WWE Battleground on The Network and Pay Per View is tomorrow and with a few loose ends left to tie up before then, this week’s edition of SmackDown was crucial for those looking to attain some momentum heading into Sunday’s festivities.
Dean Ambrose Addresses The Authority
After opening Monday Night Raw the victim of a savage beating, Dean Ambrose opens this week in what is quickly becoming his trademark sour mood two days before he squares off with Seth Rollins. All Ambrose has heard for the last two years is how smart Seth Rollins is. Ambrose agrees, which is why he was ganged up on Monday night. But if Ambrose thought the beating was going to keep him from Sunday, then Rollins is not as smart as everyone gives him credit for. Ambrose then asks if Monday night’s beating was all The Authority had. Stating that his question wasn’t rhetorical, he then challenges The Authority to the ring.
Seth Rollins’ visage shows up on the Titantron and TV screen telling Ambrose he is destined for the looney bin, and while he would love to wrestle Ambrose, he tweaked his knee Monday night and isn’t cleared for competition tonight. Ambrose responds that Seth is scared. Rollins however informs that Ambrose does have a match this evening, against Kane.
Fandango and The Miz vs. Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler
Fandango is dancing solo this week after last week’s events with Layla and Summer Rae resulting in the two joining forces against Fandango. He’s in tag team action tonight with The Miz as they take on common enemies Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus. Cole quickly reminds us that all four men will be in the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal, Sunday.
Miz begins the match once again making known that he doesn’t want his face being attacked, being a a big Hollywood Star. Ziggler was in control to open the match staying a step ahead of The Miz until he was able to tag in Fandango, though Ziggler was a step ahead of him as well before tagging in Sheamus, who could become the first person since Edge to hold the US and Intercontinental Championships should he win Sunday. Fandango used several strikes to stay in control, the Sheamus was able to wrest it quickly and send Fandango to the outside as the show went to break.
Back from break as Fandango drops Sheamus’ throat across the ropes to get in control, and despite almost losing it thanks to some showboating was able to keep that control along with The Miz, as he focused his attack almost solely on Sheamus’ face for several near falls as Ziggler desperately reached for a tag. The Miz and Fandango were able to prevent the tag from happening however. Once Sheamus was able to reach Ziggler, the Show Off was on all cylinders, connecting with a picture perfect Fame Asser for a near fall. A big DDT almost got the victory as well but it was borken up by Fandango who ate a Brogue Kick for his trouble, followed by Ziggler hitting The Zig Zag on The Miz for the victory. The victorious duo taking turns staring at each other and the title that could be theirs on Sunday.
Right before the commercial break we see Nikki Bella walking through the locker room with referee’s stripes on. One can only guess that Stephanie McMahon’s vendetta against The Bellas has something to do with this.
Alicia Fox vs. Eva Marie (Special Referee: Nikki Bella)
Cole confirms the McMahon suspicions at the start of the match, saying it was ordered by Stephanie earlier in the afternoon. A lot of tie ups between the Divas in the early going with Bella eventually separating the two. The ladies fared evenly against each other until an out of position Bella frustrated the fiery redhead who was quick to admonish Bella who was then ambushed by both combatants resulting in a no contest as the Divas continued to demolish Nikki.
Stardust and Goldust delve further into the bizarre.
The Dust Brothers get a little more eccentric and bizarre each week and this Friday was no different as the two discussed the key to bizarre with the elder brother saying Stardust held it. The brothers are as entrancing and interesting as they are out there and that is meant to be a compliment in the highest order.
Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper
Y2J finally gets his hand on a member of The Wyatt Family in advance of his showdown Sunday evening with family patriarch (for lack of a better term) Bray. Jericho is sporting quite the shiner on his left side, we’re told it’s the result of the Sister Abigail on the steel ramp Jericho suffered Monday. Harper is preparing for a two-out-of-three falls match against The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championship with Erick Rowan.
Harper uses his power advantage in the opening stages while also taking advantage of the distraction provided by Erick Rowan and Bray Wyatt on the inside. Despite quick flashes here and there however, Harper maintained control with his high impact, powerful attacks though Jericho seemed to be on the brink of gaining the upper hand in sending Harper to the outside, however it was to the waiting arms of his brethren, seemingly nixing any chance of Jericho giving chase as we went to commercial.
Back from the break and Harper is wrenching in a headlock cutting off Jericho’s air supply and slowly draining the life from him as JBL reveals that Jericho did wind up on the outside during the break and as could be expected for the Manitoban, things did not end well, as Harper “ran him over.” Jericho was almost in the drivers seat at one point, however a quick slug to the tenderized eye of Jericho quelled that threat quickly, resulting in Jericho being on the receiving end of a vertical suplex. Harper has done a great job of staying in control this entire match and using his advantages to their fullest, managing to quash any flashes of brilliance from the former World Champion as Bray laughed on maniacally ringside. Jericho’s tenacity appeared to be the only thing keeping him in the match with the big man.
Jericho was able to mount some offense and quickly went to apply The Walls of Jericho, however Harper was able to quickly power out of it. However Chris stayed in control before Harper was able to counter with a big slam for a near fall. Y2J was still in the drivers seat after this continuing to weaken his opponent before eating shoe leather with a big boot to the face, and only just managing to kick out of a sick power bomb to give Harper control back until Jericho sidestepped an attack and connected with a Lionsault for a near fall.
A blocked Codebreaker from Jericho and a blocked power bomb from Harper set the big man up for another, this time successful Walls of Jericho attempt that sent Erick Rowan running to the ring only to fall to a springboard drop kick from a ready Jericho. However it gave Harper the time he needed to recover to his feet and swing for a discus punch which the veteran Jericho was able to duck under and roll Harper up for the victory, though there was no time for celebration as the rest of the Wyatts hit the ring before The Usos cleared the ring in Jericho’s aid.
The Real Americans debate Lana and Rusev
With these two bulls charging toward each other Sunday at Battleground it was time for Jack Swagger’s and Rusev respectable managers/spokespeople, Zeb Colter and Lana to spar verbally after similar activities quickly fell apart Monday. Zeb starts in the center of the ring, telling the fans that he and Swagger are sick and tired of Rusev and Lana coming out every week for the last few months extolling the virtues of their country, those in power and insulting the American people. While Colter admits to being the biggest critic of the country, he says it is his right to and that “illegal” immigrants such as Lana and Rusev have no right to even say a word in criticism of the US. They are visitors and only here because the US allows them to and at Battleground Swagger will be “Crushproof.”
Lana and Rusev make their way to the top of the ramp, warning that Rusev will crush Swagger and America on Sunday. The two men then stared each other down from the ring and entrance ramp while waving their respective garrisons as chants of “USA!” loudly rang through the arena.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
Del Rio is focused on claiming the Intercontinental Championship at Sunday’s battle royal for the championship as the addition would look good in his trophy case, while Kofi stated winning the Intercontinental Championship was the greatest accomplishment of his career and he will become a five-time Intercontinental Champion this weekend in Tampa.
These two have been opposite each other quite often over the last few years and it shows, starting the match off quickly with Del Rio doing his best to avoid most of Kofi’s offense, sending him to the outside after delivering an enzugiri to Kingston while he was on the apron and gaining the advantage. Del Rio would use the ring as a weapon several times sending Kofi crashing into it and the surrounding areas on several occasions before going to the well once too often, giving Kofi the opportunity to launch himself into the ring through the middle rope and then dive back onto Del Rio on the outside showing why he is amongst the most agile of WWE stars today.
Kofi was able to handle things in the ring continuing the offense and connecting with a Boom Drop before Alberto slid out of the ring to avoid Trouble in Paradise. Kingston gave chase and got a quick crescent kick to the face. An SOS from Kingston almost sealed the victory, but the veteran savviness of Del Rio allowed him to reach the rope, using poor positioning to his favor. After leaving Kofi woozy and hanging from the middle rope after a harrowing fist fight on the top turnbuckle, a vicious double-foot stomp from Del Rio was able to secure the win for Del Rio.
Fandango tries to set things right with Layla and Summer Rae, guarantees victory Sunday
Backstage Fandango has managed to track down Layla and Summer Rae and tells the ladies that he wants to wipe the slate clean with both of them by giving them some gold on Sunday. In the form of the Intercontinental Championship around his waist and one of them around each of his arms.
Summer tells Fandango that they didn’t know they were being two-timed when Fandango was doing so to them and that neither want to share him. Layla continues that they don’t want him in their lives at all. Bo Dallas comes on the scene to console Fandango, he just has to Bolieve.
Summer Rae and Layla vs. AJ Lee and Paige
To say there is a weird dynamic going on right now between AJ Lee and Paige over the Divas Championship would be an understatement, but the two are in action against the new friends in Layla and Summer Rae.
Summer Rae starts the match off unimpressed with AJ and decides to show off her dancing acumen to the reigning champion. This is quickly met with a shove as the champion proceeded to mockingly skip around the ring before continuing to administer offense before both ladies were able to tag in their partners.
Layla quickly gained the advantage over her fellow Englishman, hooking a sickening Tarantula Lock on the ropes, before tagging in the fresh Summer Rae who was handled by Paige before AJ Lee got the blind tag and locked in the Black Widow on Summer Rae to Paige’s chagrin.
After the match AJ smiled at Paige and offered a handshake to her opponent Sunday which was met with a hug.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kane
With the continuing animosity between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins being extended to the rest of The Authority, the Demon, Kane, is looking to lay further waste to an already wounded Dean Ambrose before his match with an also injured Rollins at Battleground.
Before the match, Seth Rollins tries to get on the same page with Kane before his match, reminding him that it’s about Ambrose tonight and not the championship match Sunday. Kane quells that by telling Rollins that he doesn’t need to be reminded, he’ll take care of Orton on his own, and will be sending a message to him, via Ambrose. Rollins requests that Kane not completely finish Ambrose off as he wants to do it himself, Sunday.
Before leaving, Kane parts with a warning for Mr. Money in the Bank, telling him to not cash the contract in Sunday evening.
A heavily taped and stitched Dean Ambrose quickly assaulted Kane, attacking him during his opening fireworks, but Kane was able to withstand the opening onslaught and deal damage of his own, focusing almost exclusively on Ambrose’s injured left shoulder. Ambrose however, kept fighting out of it every time, though Kane was able to stay on top of Dean, until a Tornado DDT from Ambrose put the big man to the mat, though both men got to their feet around the same time. Ambrose maintained his assault striking with his good right arm and drop kicks before sailing from the top rope with a missile drop kick. After avoiding a chokeslam Ambrose sent Kane to the outside before connecting with a suicide dive through the middle rope and continuing the fight on the outside before being sent into the steps by The Big Red Machine.
Kane continued using the steps in his offense almost connecting with a Tombstone on the steps before Ambrose shoved Kane into the steel post. A flash of gold from out of nowhere connected square with Dean Ambrose’s back, as Seth Rollins smashed Ambrose with his briefcase, he and Kane continuing to beat down Ambrose before standing over him as the show came to a close.