Just days after an action-packed Battleground, World Wrestling Entertainment rolls into Orlando, Florida, for this Friday night's SmackDown.
On tap is a huge main event pitting the explosive Roman Reigns against savvy veteran and former world heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio.
Reigns would seem to have the upper hand heading into the bout, especially given the wave of momentum he has been riding over the last two months, but Del Rio is capable of beating any Superstar at any time. Will the Mexican aristocrat be able to knock off Reigns, or will the second generation roll through Del Rio as he continues his quest for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?
Also slated for Friday's broadcast is a rematch from Monday's Raw, as Dean Ambrose takes on Cesaro.
On Monday night, Ambrose was disqualified for using a steel chair. That will not be the case Friday night, as the Lunatic Fringe will take on the Swiss Superman in a No Disqualification match. The stipulation appears to favor Ambrose, but with the sneaky Seth Rollins lurking in the shadows, a victory is anything but certain.
With the road to SummerSlam underway, Friday's show could be a turning point for several Superstars who figure to play key roles in that event.
What can you expect from those men when the blue brand hits the SyFy airwaves?
Find out for yourself, courtesy of our friends at WrestlingInc.com.
Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- The Usos defeated RybAxel in a non-title match. After the match, Ryback walked out on Axel.
- Miz TV featured Miz celebrating his Intercontinental Championship win. Bo Dallas interrupted, followed by Dolph Ziggler. Dallas decked Ziggler with the microphone, setting up a match between the two of them.
- Bo Dallas defeated Dolph Ziggler with a rollup after Miz provided a distraction. After the match, Miz and Dallas double-teamed Ziggler.
- Renee Young interviewed Roman Reigns.
- Dean Ambrose defeated Cesaro in a No Disqualification match despite interference from Seth Rollins. After the match, Rollins attacked Ambrose and left him lying on the ground.
- Paige defeated Naomi via submission with the PTO. After the match, Cameron attacked Naomi.
- A backstage promo featuring Goldust and Stardust aired.
- Bray Wyatt defeated R-Truth. After the match, he cut a promo on Chris Jericho.
- Roman Reigns defeated Alberto Del Rio with the Spear.
Roman Reigns Over Del Rio
There is no denying the effect Roman Reigns is having on WWE programming right now. One of the company's workhorses and the next big thing, Reigns has competed against every major star on the roster. Friday night, he knocks off Del Rio as he continues his trek to the top of the industry.
While Del Rio may not be the level of star he was a year ago, there is still some name recognition and championship credibility surrounding him. At the very least, he remains one of the more talented workers on the roster.
At this point in his career, it is imperative that Reigns works with every competitor of every style. He needs to figure out what kind of worker he wants to be, and the only way he will find himself as a singles performer is by working different styles with different guys and finding what works and what does not.
With a technically skilled worker such as Del Rio, Reigns is confronted with an opponent who tests him as a performer in ways that Randy Orton, Kane, Batista and Bray Wyatt have not. How Reigns meshes with a wrestler the quality of Del Rio should be interesting to watch.
Ambrose Gets Hardcore
Dean Ambrose has a long history of hardcore wrestling. Prior to signing with WWE, he made a name for himself in the Pennsylvania-based Combat Zone Wrestling, which earned a reputation as a promotion centered around the hardcore style.
On Friday night, he gets the opportunity to showcase some of the skill and storytelling ability he learned while working with chairs, tables, ladders and light tubes when he meets Cesaro in a No Disqualification match.
Considering the chemistry that clearly existed between them when they squared off on this past Monday's Raw, there is every reason to believe they will steal the show when weapons are introduced and rules are thrown out.
That Seth Rollins gets involved and Ambrose still manages pull out the win says something about the confidence WWE is gaining in the Cincinnati native. He has, thus far, exceeded all expectations as a singles babyface and deserves the recognition a high-profile bout against the uber-talented Cesaro brings.
Ryback Walks Out?
One of the most memorable moments of the Battleground Battle Royal for the Intercontinental Championship was the staredown between Sheamus and Ryback. The reaction by the fans indicated a portion of the audience still sees Ryback as a viable star. The following night on Raw, the "Feed Me More" chants in favor of the Big Guy only legitimized the response from 24 hours earlier.
On Friday night, it appears as though the partnership between Ryback and Curtis Axel reaches its culmination following a loss to The Usos. Does that mean Ryback is poised for some sort of major push? Absolutely not. At the same time, Ryback still carries himself like a star and still looks like a star.
Somewhere along the line, no matter how many times he was jobbed out, someone forgot to tell Ryback he was not a main event star. That hardheadedness and refusal to believe any less in himself may very well benefit him in the weeks and months to come.