Payback is mere weeks away and WWE continues its trek to the June 1 pay-per-view event this Friday night on SmackDown.
With Bray Wyatt issuing a challenge for a Last Man Standing match at the show, John Cena will head to SmackDown to respond. What will the leader of the Cenation have to say in response to his enigmatic rival? What will Wyatt have in store for the former WWE and World Heavyweight champion?
After falling victim to three separate onslaughts by The Shield on Monday night, Batista enters SmackDown angry and determined to unleash his fury on Dolph Ziggler. Will the Show Off ensure that Batista has a miserable week or will The Animal punish the former World champion and send a message to Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns at the same time?
With half of the roster overseas for the European tour, yet plenty of stories to follow, here is a look at what fans will see this Friday night on SmackDown.
Results courtesy of our friends at ProWrestling.net.
Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- John Cena cut a promo that descended into comedy momentarily before accepting Bray Wyatt's challenge for a Last Man Standing match at Payback. He ended by challenging any member of the Wyatt Family. Wyatt appeared on the screen and thanked Cena for helping him "find a cure."
- WWE Tag Team champions The Usos defeated Goldust and Cody Rhodes; after the match, Cody left without his brother.
- El Torito pinned Heath Slater (You read that correctly)
- Nikki Bella defeated Natalya in a match with Eva Marie as guest referee
- Dolph Ziggler cut a promo about facing Batista
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Batista via disqualification following a low blow; Batista beat Ziggler down after the match
- Sheamus defeated Titus O'Neil; O'Neil cut a promo before the match making fun of Sheamus
- Santino defeated Damien Sandow; after the match, Sandow cut a promo insinuating that he was being "handcuffed" and held back by management. The microphone was cut and Sandow made his way to the back.
- Cesaro defeated R-Truth
- John Cena pinned Erick Rowan
Cena's War With Wyatt Continues
John Cena accepting Bray Wyatt's challenge for a Last Man Standing match at Payback sets up one of the marquee bouts of that show and, hopefully, leads to that show-stealer that fans are still waiting for between them.
Cena's win over Rowan marks the second time this week the sheep mask-wearing Superstar has fallen prey to the Attitude Era. Still, despite the two wins, it is difficult to say that Cena has regained control of the feud, especially after seeing the depths to which Wyatt will sink to drag the hero of so many children down to his level.
With The Shield, Randy Orton and the injured Daniel Bryan missing from this week's show, Cena is the unquestioned star of the broadcast and featuring him as heavily as he is (kicking off and closing out the show) is a smart move.
Dolph Ziggler Steps Up
Early Tuesday, Dolph Ziggler Tweeted that he was ready to step up in the absence of Daniel Bryan.
Friday night on SmackDown, he takes on Batista, proving that he can back his words up.
The low blow by Batista that draws the disqualification win for Ziggler is exactly the type of dastardly deed one would expect from a villain, but is it the type of deed fans would expect from the Animal himself?
No matter how much they dislike him, Batista is still a respect for champion, a man recognized as a main event star. With the lack of top talent on the heel side, is it worth booking Batista as a cowardly heel when he can be used as that dominating force whose losses mean something great for the babyfaces beating them?
Perhaps the finish plays into the fact that Batista is NOT the same man he was when he was winning titles and focused solely on the wrestling industry.
For Ziggler, the match against Batista is a sign that no matter how poorly he is booked at times, the company still feels comfortable throwing him in the ring with top stars and reaping the show-stealing rewards as a result.
While he certainly deserves better, that is not a bad place to be in considering the current status of the likes of Miz and Kofi Kingston.