Just 48 hours away from Money in the Bank, World Wrestling Entertainment rolled into the Steel City for the final SmackDown before the much-anticipated pay-per-view event!
As we learned on WWE Main Event, Roman Reigns was faced with the unenviable task of squaring off with the Demon Kane. Reigns showed no fear in the face of The Big Red Monster, but whether his fearless attitude would translate into a victory remained to be seen.
The competitors involved in Sunday's Money in the Bank Ladder matches were spotlighted, as Dolph Ziggler and Rob Van Dam partnered to take on Alberto Del Rio and Cesaro. Would Ziggler and Van Dam be able to put a damper on Del Rio and Cesaro's potential championship weekend, or would the hard-hitting heels work together long enough to score the victory?
Intercontinental champion Bad News Barrett played corporate henchman for The Authority again this week, as he went one-on-one with Dean Ambrose. With Seth Rollins lurking around the Consol Energy Center, it was highly unlikely that Ambrose would escape without encountering his former tag team partner.
The last opportunity to gain momentum heading into this weekend's extravaganza, SmackDown looks to be another entertaining, action-packed show. Here now is everything you can expect from Friday's broadcast, courtesy of our friends at WrestlingInc.com!
Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- Triple H, Seth Rollins and Randy Orton get SmackDown started. They discussed this Sunday's Money in the Bank pay-per-view and announced Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose.
- Barrett came to the ring and ran down Pittsburgh sports teams.
- Dean Ambrose defeated Bad News Barrett with Dirty Deeds. After the match, Jack Swagger attacked Barrett, and Seth Rollins left Ambrose lying with the Curb Stomp.
- Paige defeated Cameron.
- Sheamus defeated Bray Wyatt via disqualification when Erick Rowan and Luke Harper interfered. The Usos hit the ring to make the save afterward.
- Alberto Del Rio and Cesaro defeated Rob Van Dam and Dolph Ziggler when Del Rio made RVD tap to a cross armbreaker. Post-match, Cesaro took out Del Rio.
- Rusev def. Sin Cara; Lana and Rusev cut an anti-American promo before the match. After the match, Big E hit the ring and sidestepped a Rusev sneak attack. He cleared The Bulgarian Brute out and was left standing tall to end the segment.
- Roman Reigns defeated Kane by disqualification when Randy Orton interfered. After the match, Orton attempted to pose with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but Reigns cleared both of the heels out of the ring and posed with the belts to end the show.
Last Stop: Money in the Bank
Like this past Monday's Raw, Friday night's SmackDown appears to be a very focused show. Everything that plays out has repercussions on the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
Roman Reigns vs. Kane is a showdown between two of the powerhouse competitors in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match, and the involvement of Randy Orton in the post-match activities helps build what should be a singles rivalry between Reigns and The Viper at Battleground in July.
Sheamus vs. Bray Wyatt is a match that not only highlights two of the men involved in Sunday's main event, but also incorporates Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and the Usos, giving the tag team title program some exposure just two days before the teams lock horns for the top prize in the division.
Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro, Rob Van Dam and Dolph Ziggler will all compete in this weekend's Ladder matches, and pairing them up for a high-profile tag bout featuring three former heavyweight champions should, at the very least, result in a great match.
Bad News Barrett losing to Dean Ambrose continues a developing pattern that could prove troublesome for the intercontinental champion. When competing against midcard or undercard talents, he typically wins. When he shares the ring with a guy perceived to be a main event player, he loses.
How is anyone to take him seriously when he cannot win a match against the top stars in the industry?
It appears as though Big E and Rusev are on a crash course for a second consecutive pay-per-view showdown. With Big E getting the upper hand on the last stop before Money in the Bank, expect Rusev to unleash a new level of intensity and aggression on the former intercontinental champion if (when) they clash Sunday night.
Even Paige's victory over Cameron has a direct effect on her Divas Championship defense against Naomi Sunday night. With Cameron constantly finding herself in the shadow of the more athletic, better wrestler Naomi, it looks like the Tough Enough alumni could be headed toward a singles heel push.
Whenever a show can touch on as many of the upcoming pay-per-view matches and stories as this Friday's show does, it is an unbridled success. Expect one of the better SmackDowns in recent memory when it hits the SyFy airwaves this Friday at 8 p.m. ET.