On the heels of an eventful SummerSlam, World Wrestling Entertainment rolled into Phoenix for this week's SmackDown tapings.
After two consecutive losses, Randy Orton is angrier and more motivated than ever to get back to his winning ways. To do so, he will have to defeat a man he is more than familiar with in Rob Van Dam.
It was against Van Dam that Orton won the Intercontinental Championship back in 2003. Would The Viper enjoy the same success over a decade later or would Van Dam, riding a two-match win streak, further frustrate the third-generation star and former WWE World Heavyweight champion?
We learned Tuesday night during WWE Main Event Live, exclusively on the WWE Network, that Seth Rollins will square off with Jack Swagger. After running his mouth one too many times about Swagger's disappointing loss to Rusev at SummerSlam, Big Hoss offered to shut up Mr. Money in the Bank in a huge singles contest.
That match takes place Friday night.
Now find out what else joins those two huge main events, courtesy of our friends at WrestlingInc.com!
US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- Randy Orton cut a promo about Roman Reigns and promised to make an example out of Rob Van Dam later in the night.
- Seth Rollins defeated Jack Swagger via count-out following a Curb Stomp on the arena floor. After the match, Bo Dallas offered more inspirational advice.
- Miz asked Kane for an Intercontinental Championship match during a backstage segment. Instead, he was given a match with Roman Reigns.
- Rusev defeated Sin Cara.
- Orton attacked Van Dam backstage, and the two Superstars fought out into the arena.
- Van Dam and Orton fought to a double count-out. After the match, Orton delivered a DDT off the guardrail.
- Natalya defeated Paige with the Sharpshooter in a non-title match when AJ interfered, grabbing the Divas Championship and getting into a battle over the title with the champion.
- Goldust and Stardust defeated Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. After the match, the heels jumped the babyfaces.
- Roman Reigns pinned The Miz following a Spear. Orton came out after the match, and the two rivals brawled to end the program.
One glance at the SmackDown indicates that this week's show is very much a placeholder show.
Reigns and Miz main event for the second consecutive week with no changes in the outcome or how that outcome is reached. Orton returning to the ring to attack Reigns ruins any chance of what appeared to be a blossoming feud with RVD based on the events that unfolded earlier in the evening.
Rollins vs. Swagger is a fresh match and could be extremely entertaining if they are given time. Dallas' appearance following the match continues to point to a program between him and Swagger. While that may seem like a step down for the former world champion, it at least gives him something to do without fading back into irrelevancy.
Paige and AJ continued their feud with what looks eerily similar to last week's show, though, with their roles reversed.
The losing streak that Luke Harper and Erick Rowan ride into SmackDown continues following a loss to Goldust and Stardust. Why WWE Creative continues to job Bray Wyatt's followers out to lesser teams just one month after delivering a tremendous match against The Usos at Battleground is not only questionable, it is downright moronic.
Those two guys have come through every time the company asked them to, and how are they repaid? They're left off the SummerSlam card, then lose to Big Show and Mark Henry and the Rhodes Brothers in consecutive nights. What a disappointing place they find themselves in right now.
All in all, Friday's broadcast appears to be one containing quality wrestling and a very minute amount of forward-moving story progression.