Just four days after making his shocking return to WWE, only to be beaten down in a three-on-one assault at the hands of the Wyatt Family, Chris Jericho makes his SmackDown return this Friday night on a very special Fourth of July episode.
Also on tap for the broadcast is a performance by United States champion Sheamus, who defends his title against former WWE and World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio.
The two Superstars have had numerous battles in the past and have dished out tremendous pain and punishment. What will they have in store for each other when they battle with the Celtic Warrior's championship at stake?
New Divas champion AJ Lee returns to SmackDown for the first time since prior to WrestleMania.
Would she feel any hangover from her title victory Monday as she went one-on-one against Total Divas star Eva Marie or would she pick up her second victory in as many nights?
With fans everywhere celebrating the holidays, the company pulls out a show chock-full of Superstars fresh off their returns and matches with implications to ongoing stories and upcoming bouts in attempt to convince them to tune in after all of the cookouts are over.
Check out everything the company has on tap for Friday's show right now, courtesy of our friends at WrestlingInc.com.
Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- Seth Rollins kicked off the show, but was attacked by Dean Ambrose. Randy Orton made the save and Roman Reigns followed shortly thereafter.
- Big E defeated Cesaro by count-out.
- United States champion Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio.
- Chris Jericho cut a promo on Bray Wyatt, but The Miz interrupted him. Jericho delivered a Codebreaker to shut him up.
- Divas champion AJ Lee defeated Eva Marie. AJ cut a promo before the match and Paige was on commentary.
- Damien Sandow appeared dressed as Bruce Springsteen and sings "Born in the USA". Lana and Rusev interrupted him, but were cut off by Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter, who made fun of Russia to a huge pop.
- Ambrose defeated Orton by disqualification when Rollins interfered. Reigns made the save and laid Orton out to end the show.
Returning Former Champions, Part Deux
Coming out of Monday's Raw, the talk of the wrestling world centered on the returns of Chris Jericho, The Miz and AJ Lee.
Friday night, they will appear on SmackDown as they continue building momentum heading into Battleground.
AJ continues her winning ways while former Divas champion Paige sits in on commentary, suggesting that the feud between them will continue. Both of them are incredibly talented and could bring out the best in each other if given the chance to have a match that lasts longer than two minutes.
The continued interactions between Jericho and Miz are more interesting because it seems as though Jericho is headed toward a feud with Wyatt.
If that is the case, why waste time with Miz unless there is some sort of secondary program in the works?
That would not necessarily be a bad idea. Jericho shaking off the ring rust in a few matches against The Awesome One prior to pay-per-view bouts against Wyatt would be a wise move. At the same time, it would help elevate Miz, who lost a lot of steam over the course of the last two years.
Jack Swagger: Real American
On Monday night, Jack Swagger became a babyface for the first time in his career when he and Zeb Colter confronted Rusev and Lana.
Their support for the United States in the face of anti-American sentiments from the Russian power couple resulted in a huge pop and chants of "Let's go Swagger," something the former World Heavyweight champion has never experienced.
Friday night, on a special July 4 episode of SmackDown, Swagger and Colter again stand up to The Bulgarian Brute and his social ambassador to the delight of the fans in Newark.
On a day celebrating the independence of America, it is only fitting that Swagger defends the country against the foreign fanatics.
United States Championship Match
During Tuesday night's live Main Event broadcast on the WWE Network, Alberto Del Rio answered Sheamus' United States Championship challenge, revealing that he will compete against the Celtic Warrior Friday night on SmackDown.
Sheamus wins the match, as you can see from the quick results, but the big question surrounds the quality of the work by both men.
Champion and challenger have been part of several hard-hitting, high-quality matches over the past two years and their chemistry with one another is undeniable.
The fact that Sheamus has established himself as a workhorse for WWE and one of its finest performers only supports the idea that the match has the potential to be a show-stealing affair for the former World Heavyweight champions.
Ambrose's Monumental Week Continues
Sunday night at Money in the Bank, Ambrose delivered the breakout performance of his career in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Monday night, he followed it up with a strong promo about his desire to keep Rollins from successfully cashing in his guaranteed title opportunity.
Friday, he caps his fine week off with a one-on-one main event match against "The Viper," Randy Orton.
The match is a big one for Ambrose, who has the opportunity to prove that he can hang with the top stars in the industry.
Whether he does or not remains to be seen, but what is a certainty is that he will get his hands on former partner Rollins—as will Reigns, who is in the building and always has his friend's back.
Ambrose has had the best week of any Superstar on the roster. He has shaken off all doubts that he can be a major singles star for the company, thanks to his unique and compelling promo work and his intense and dedicated ring performances.
A signature bout against a star of Orton's caliber could be his golden ticket to the top of WWE sooner rather than later.
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