This Friday’s edition of SmackDown is WWE’s Hell in a Cell go-home show; it’s the one that’s meant to convince us to buy their pay-per-view on Sunday.
It looks to do a decent job at that. The Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton and CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman rivalries look to be ending on Sunday, so this is the show where both feuds are meant to reach a boiling point.
The undercard is not without its fun, though, particularly due to the tag team division, as teams like The Usos, The Real Americans and of course Cody Rhodes and Goldust are really shining.
Below are the full spoilers, per WrestlingInc.com, for this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown from Birmingham, Alabama.
- SmackDown opens with Michael Cole interviewing Triple H in the ring. The COO talks about how he’s fired six people over Raw’s Big Show incidents, but is then interrupted by Daniel Bryan. The main event of the night is announced to be Bryan, Rhodes Brothers and The Miz facing Randy Orton and The Shield.
- The Usos takes on Eric Rowan and Luke Harper with both The Miz and Bray Wyatt at ringside. Miz attacks Bray, which distracts Rowan, allowing Harper to be pinned.
- AJ Lee gets a submission victory over Nikki Bella with the Black Widow.
- Los Matadores defeat Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre. After the match The Real Americans come to the stage, and Zeb cuts a promo on how they’ll be victorious at Hell in a Cell.
- In a backstage segment, the Wyatt Family has Miz trapped in a cage with the word "liar" painted on his chest.
- Ryback and Paul Heyman defeat a local jobber called CM Skunk. After the match, Heyman talks about how badly they’ll hurt the real CM Punk on Sunday.
- Big E Langston tells Vickie Guererro backstage that he’s ready for the main event. She puts him in Miz’s place in the eight-man tag match.
- Alberto Del Rio cuts a promo on his match with John Cena at Hell in a Cell.
- Fandango vs. The Great Khali ends in a no-contest after a brawl breaks out between Natalya and Summer Rae.
- Team Bryan gets the win over Orton and The Shield in the main event.
Bryan Leading to a Loss?
Daniel Bryan got the best of Randy Orton on Raw, laying him out with his Cena-killing flying knee. The show closed with him and Big Show defiantly chanting "Yes!" at The Authority.
On SmackDown, Bryan gets a pinfall victory over The Viper following an assist from Big E Langston. That’s two shows in a row that he’s come out on top, which, in the world of the WWE, often foreshadows a pay-per-view loss.
But then, this isn’t any old promo. The Hell in a Cell match between Orton and Bryan is the culmination of about four months of buildup.
WWE has been teasing a (proper) WWE Championship reign for The American Dragon ever since Money in the Bank back in July. If Bryan loses on Sunday, he’ll likely be out of the chase until next year.
Then there’s also The Big Show and Shawn Michaels, neither of which appear to be a threat to Bryan at the moment, but don’t be shocked if the title is decided following a knockout punch or some Sweet Chin Music.
The "Daniel Bryan" iron is once again hot. Sunday is make-or-break time. No more false finishes: Either the WWE strikes the iron, or they don’t.
Matadores vs. Rockstars
It’s hard to tell how interested the WWE is in Los Matadores.
On one hand, they piqued everyone’s interest with months of vignettes and buildup, but they almost seem to be almost forgotten since debuting.
It’s nice to see a tag team feud not centered on the championships, but at the same time, the company hasn’t done a great job at getting the new team over.
Every match they’ve wrestled has been against 3MB! Well, that’s not true—they had one match with Los Locales. So…there’s that.
If WWE were interested in getting them over, you’d think they’d have them do more than beat the same team of jobbers over and over.
It’s especially troublesome considering the competition. The Real Americans get better and better every week, so if Los Matadores are going to go over, let’s hope the company doesn’t squander the rub they get, because it’ll be at the expense of a potentially great tag team.
Take THAT, CM Skunk!
CM Punk is arguably the most talented man in the company right now, and Paul Heyman is one of the best talkers of all time, but their feud doesn’t quite work.
Initially it was looking very promising, but their program lost a lot of life once Brock Lesnar was out of the picture. Heyman is a terrific villain, but Ryback doesn’t cut it as legitimate competition for Punk. The less said about Curtis Axel’s involvement, the better.
The reason the feud has gone on for so long is probably because the WWE needs a reason to keep The Second City Saint out of the WWE Championship picture, but it has more than run its course.
It doesn’t matter how good Heyman and Punk are on the mic—there are only so many weeks we can be interested in hearing them talk about what they’re going to do to one another.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @dvanboom