Previously on Smackdown
Ryback opened the show with a decent promo explaining his actions in his quest for WWE champion John Cena's belt. Then, he earned a victory in a decent match against Daniel Bryan.
Renee Young worked double duty and got a kiss from Ricardo Rodriguez as a reward. Zeb Coulter felt that Alberto Del Rio's ring announcer had snuck away with a victory on Monday Night Raw, and he was going to rectify that in a match against Rodriguez.
When none of the scheduled participants in the triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship (WHC) at the Extereme Rules pay-per-view (PPV) could mind their own business, Teddy Long took it as an opportunity to be Teddy Long. A singles match became a tag match became a triple threat tag match, that ended when Del Rio forced Dolph Ziggler to tap out to the cross armbreaker.
The Shield took out Bryan while filming a shaky cam taunt directed at his tag team partner. Then they made off with his belt. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins kept the upper hand in their ongoing battle with Team Hell No when Ambrose defeated Kane in singles action and the group beat him down further after the bell, posing with both of the copper belts on which the group now has their sights set.
Randy Orton steamrolled the other half of Rhodes Scholars before Big Show again accused him of being a bad teammate. Mark Henry and Sheamus engaged in feats of strength before Sheamus engaged in feats of douchebaggery. And Khali gave Kaitlyn relationship advice. For reals.
(NOTE: This show was taped on Tuesday for broadcast tonight. Previews are spoiler free, but results are available here)
WWE is advertising an appearance by the #1 contender to the WWE championship on Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel. So, Y2J's quest to get over everyone who might make Vince McMahon money in the future continues. I just hope he doesn't take the Jeritron 6000 out of storage...That thing is expensive, and it doesn't have a great track record of making it through these things (roll the footage, monkeys!).
With only a little more than a week remaining until the next PPV, expect several feuds to be moved along. Daniel Bryan has been itching for a fight, especially against The Shield. Will it be his turn to take on one of the hounds of justice tonight? Will a Shield-man other than Ambrose get to go one-on-one with another member of the WWE roster?
Not sure that the Sheamus/Orton/Henry/Show drama can top the world's strongest man's tanning of the Celtic warrior's pasty hide from Raw. But surely (and you can call me Shirley, unlike some cranky-pants around here, I don't mind) they'll be up to something. It's welcome news that one match will involve straps. Hopefully, we'll get the "extreme" stipulations for the other match at Extreme Rules soon.
I'm sure there's some combination of sidekicks and wrestlers from the WHC mix that we haven't seen before. Coulter vs AJ? Langston vs Swagger? Nah, they'll probably just have Dolph lose to Ricardo.
Expect to pop for:
Cody Rhodes. If we truly are living in an age where good matches are being recognized and influencing backstage direction, Cody has been doing all the right things. If the commonly believed adage that the best way to handle mid-card or jobber treatment in WWE is to grin and bear it is true, Cody has been doing all the right things. So, could we be on the cusp of something bigger for Dusty's baby boy? He's always made whatever he's been given work, from grooming tips to paper bags to DAT 'STACHE. I believe that he could even overcome the curse of the secret admirer if being cast in that role with Kaitlyn was the means to a push. The good thing is that, at 27, he has plenty of time...but based on his match against his former Legacy mentor on Raw last week, there's no point in waiting.
Mark Henry. Mizark has always been a controversial figure: he's never been seen as deserving of the contracts Vince McMahon gives him, he's a pretty poor worker and has in the past been saddled with some ridiculous gimmicks. But he's another example of a guy being rewarded for soldiering on, and he's into the second year of an amazingly entertaining heel run. While his opponent has been acting like a bigger jerk than he has, Henry hasn't taken the route of his sometimes tag partner Big Show and whined about it. That isn't what he do. What he do do is split ginger wigs. Whenever the Great White doesn't sucker punch him first, that is.
The heat is on:
Kofi Kingston. Is there a United States championship curse? Are Cody, Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, even Zack Ryder getting increased time on Raw and Smackdown a sign that the wildcat is headed for more time on Superstars? There's nothing wrong with being a four time Intercontinental, three time US and three time tag champ, even in this era of diminished value of holding any belt not named after the company. But Kofi will be 32 by the time SummerSlam rolls around, and it's beginning to look like he's already on the downward side of his career arc.
Natalya. How does Jim Neidhart's little girl do it? She knows she can outwork any Diva and probably 25-30% of the men on the roster, but since the Hart Dynasty exploded, she's been most visible as a woman in need of Activia and Bean-o. The Punjabi Princess thing was bad enough when it was mostly confined to internet shows. But now she's being forced to swoon at the romantic gestures of the Punjabi Playboy and laugh at the jokes of Dr Khali, relationship counselor? What's next, Watson to The Great Kholmes? Don't answer that, WWE. I'm serious. Don't.
The blue brand acquitted itself nicely last week by offering solid wrestling that advanced storylines. Can they keep it up?
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