Just days away from Extreme Rules and The Shield's war with Evolution, the unpredictable Dean Ambrose defends his United States Championship against Ryback, Curtis Axel and Alberto Del Rio in a Fatal 4-Way match on SmackDown.
Set up by The Authority to lose the title he has held for nearly a year, Ambrose will have to overcome the challenge of three of the Superstars he and his Shield teammates helped dismantle on last week's show if he wants to escape with the United States title intact.
Would he be able to thwart his opponents' efforts and further infuriate the Authority just as The Shield has since the April 7 episode of Raw or would the Hounds of Justice's actions over the last month come back to haunt Ambrose and result in the end of his championship reign?
With three legitimate main events scheduled for Extreme Rules and a handful of other intriguing and exciting matches slated for the Mat 4 card, SmackDown is sure to be a busy show.
What will go down when WWE presents this week's SmackDown on the SyFy network?
Find out now, courtesy of our friends at WrestlingInc.com!
Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- Hornswoggle and El Torito signed the contract for their Wee-LC match on Sunday's Extreme Rules Kickoff Show.
- Rob Van Dam defeated Jack Swagger in a match where Cesaro and Paul Heyman were at ringside. After the match, Cesaro attacked Van Dam.
- Alexander Rusev defeated R-Truth by disqualification when Xavier Woods interfered.
- Daniel Bryan came to the ring for a promo but was interrupted by Kane's pyro. The Big Red Monster cut a promo on the big screen.
- The Wyatt Family defeated Sheamus and The Usos when Bray pinned Jey Uso.
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Damien Sandow; Sandow was again dressed as Magneto.
- R-Truth vs. Alexander Rusev was retaped with the same disqualification outcome but a different finish. What that finish is is not described.
- Big E defeated Titus O'Neil by disqualification when Titus refused to break on the referee's five count. After the match, they brawled and Big E got the upper hand.
- United States champion Dean Ambrose defeated Ryback, Curtis Axel and Alberto Del Rio to retain his title. Ryback apparently had the match won but was cost the victory by his own tag team partner.
Wrestling With Meaning
Everything on this week's SmackDown has meaning of some sort. Every match and promo is built off on something that came before it. The opening contract signing, the Van Dam vs. Cesaro match, the Rusev vs. Truth match and the promo involving Bryan and Kane helps build to three different matches at Sunday's Extreme Rules.
The six-man tag match pitting the Wyatt Family against Sheamus and the Usos plays up the events that concluded this week's Main Event broadcast and Ziggler vs. Sandow is the result of Monday's Raw and the segment involving Hugh Jackman.
Titus O'Neil's newfound aggression continues to this week as he meets Intercontinental champion Big E in a match that more closely resembles a violent brawl by the end of the evening.
The night's main event, which pits US champion Dean Ambrose against Ryback, Curtis Axel and Alberto Del Rio in a Fatal 4-Way for his title, both plays up the Authority's desire to stick it to the Hounds of Justice and gives the three challengers a chance of revenge following last week's beatdown at the hands of The Shield.
Any time that everything on a show has a purpose or is building to something meaningful, it makes for a much better and more coherent show.
Trouble With RybAxel?
In the night's main event, Ryback is moments away from capturing the United States title when his own partner and friend Curtis Axel pulls him out of the ring, costing him the match and creating a schism between them.
There is still a great deal of marketability that exists with Ryback and if the company can properly rehabilitate him, he could still generate a great deal of money for them as an upper-midcard star, at the very least.
To capitalize on that potential, he needs to be split from Axel, who is a very skilled wrestler but at this point, he is unlikely to advance past utility-player status in WWE.
Van Dam's Revenge
After Monday's Raw in which Jack Swagger and Cesaro provided distractions that led to Rob Van Dam losing to Bad News Barrett in the finals of the No. 1 Contender Tournament, RVD gained a measure of revenge by defeating Swagger in singles competition.
Considering that Van Dam and Swagger will be joined by Cesaro in a triple-threat match at Sunday's Extreme Rules, it makes sense to set that match up with a singles bout between two of the three competitors on SmackDown.
Swagger is in most danger of becoming lost in the shuffle at this point. He has lost to both Cesaro and Van Dam and has no momentum to speak of heading into Extreme Rules. Cesaro is likely to win the match but if anyone could desperately use it, it would be the former World Heavyweight champion.
Six-Man Tag War
After Tuesday night's Main Event saw the Usos come to the aid of Sheamus, who was on the receiving end of a beatdown at the hands of the Wyatt Family, a huge six-man tag match took place at the SmackDown tapings.
As they roll into a big match between Bray and John Cena, the Wyatt Family scored a huge win over the tag champions and the former World champion.
One has to wonder if Luke Harper and Erick Rowan may find themselves on the receiving end of a tag team title opportunity in the near future.