Friday night’s edition of WWE SmackDown follows a pretty important episode of Monday Night Raw.
We saw the next stage of the huge McMahon-family angle, as the babyfaces are actually beginning to fight back. Not only that, but the McMahon-appointed face of the WWE, Randy Orton, is no longer the company’s champion.
The midcard is also getting interesting, mainly due to the rivalry between Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose and the potentially terrific match that the two could work (but haven’t quite gotten to yet).
This week’s show emanates from Cincinnati, Ohio—below are the full spoilers (courtesy of PWmania.com).
- Vickie Guerrero opens the show and brings Daniel Bryan out. She says she hopes he never becomes the face of the WWE and announces a massive 11-on-3 Gauntlet match for tonight. Bryan and the 10 Superstars who helped him on Raw will face The Shield one by one.
- AJ Lee defeats Naomi via submission.
- Santino Marella gets the win over Jack Swagger using a roll-up. Poor Jack…
- Ryback, Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel come to the ring. Heyman cuts a promo about how he’s now the best in the world. Ryback squashes a local jobber.
- Randy Orton hits the ring and gives us a promo about how he’s tried to be like John Cena for the past two years because he thought that’s what the fans wanted. He says that he’s sick of that and will now go back to being The Viper. He claimed that he’ll end the war with Bryan at Battleground but that he won’t be our champion, he’ll be his WWE champion.
- The Gauntlet match is up next. The Shield defeat, in order, Darren Young, Titus O’Neil, Dolph Ziggler and then Kofi Kingston. RVD is next and hits a double Rolling Thunder on Rollins and Ambrose. He ascends the turnbuckle but Triple H comes out before he can use the Frog Splash. The Game argues with Vickie and calls off the match.
- Triple H and Vickie are arguing backstage, he tells her to make a six-man tag match between The Shield and Daniel Bryan plus The Usos. He then meets Zack Ryder and Justin Gabriel and puts them in a match with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, which they lose.
- Backstage Triple H apologizes to RVD for Vickie putting him in the Gauntlet Match and gives him a rematch with Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground.
- Del Rio defeats R-Truth with the Cross Armbreaker.
- Daniel Bryan and The Usos defeat The Shield after Bryan hits the flying knee on Ambrose.
- In what reportedly may be a post-show segment, Bryan was attacked by Randy Orton but managed to fight him off.
A Good Day for the Babyfaces
The most interesting part of this week’s SmackDown certainly looks to be the huge Gauntlet match. Originally scheduled to be 11-on-3, the 5-on-3 gauntlet is something fresh that we haven’t really seen on WWE television.
Even if they mostly lost, it’s great to see all the babyfaces from Raw’s ending get a rub from the angle—for a while Daniel Bryan was the only hero on the roster benefiting from the McMahon angle. Zack Ryder and Justin Gabriel being on SmackDown is hopefully a sign of things to come for the talented but underused stars.
Daniel Bryan, after being dismantled by Orton and The Shield every show for three weeks following SummerSlam, has come out on top for the WWE’s last five shows. WWE is striking a good balance between victory and defeat for Bryan, and his momentum shows no signs of slowing down.
Second Time’s The Charm?
Despite Alberto Del Rio’s deficiencies in the way of character (which aren’t necessarily his fault), he’s a talented in-ring performer, and Rob Van Dam seems to have only gotten better with age. That’s why it’s disappointing that their match at Night of Champions was so underwhelming.
Christian and Alberto Del Rio had a weak story behind their SummerSlam faceoff, but we forgot about that because their match was so strong. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Van Dam and Del Rio.
With the two veterans now booked to face each other for the big gold belt at Battleground, they’ve got another chance to work the match we know they’re capable of. More importantly, WWE has another chance at giving us a feud that actually improves the value of the World Heavyweight Championship.
They don’t really seem to care about the title much these days, and honestly that doesn’t seem like it’ll change. But we can hope, right?