Previously on Smackdown
The Undertaker appeared on the "Blue Brand" for the first time in nearly three years, and managed to avenge the loss he and Team Hell No suffered at the hands of The Shield on Raw. While the London crowd was able to enjoy seeing Dean Ambrose tap out to the Hell's Gate, they could only look on in shock as the trio destroyed the Dead Man, eventually sending him through the announce team with their patented triple power bomb.
Dual #1 contenders to the World Heavyweight Championship (WHC), Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger, continued their ongoing issues, this time in a no disqualification match. Just when it seemed that Del Rio would come out on top again with Swagger trapped in a cross armbreaker, Zeb Coulter managed to get a kendo stick into his charge's hands so he could escape the hold and the match with a victory.
Fandango danced along with the crowd, and dropped a leg on Justin Gabriel to keep his winning streak alive. Meanwhile, England natives Wade Barrett and Layla had their hands raised in victory - the Intercontinental champion having defeated fellow countryman William Regal; the former Divas champion took out Aksana.
Meanwhile, the issues between Mark Henry, Randy Orton, Big Show and Sheamus continued. Show knocked out the Celtic Warrior after a distraction by the World's Strongest Man. But the Irishman returned the favor by Brogue Kicking Henry into unconsciousness during his match with the Viper.
(NOTE: This show was taped on Tuesday for broadcast tonight. Previews are spoiler free, but results are available here)
With the hounds of justice crowing about having put The Phenom on the shelf, and coming off another victory over the tag champs and John Cena this past Monday on Raw, the Devil's favorite demon is vowing to get revenge. But with Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins also hinting that they have designs on the tag belts currently worn by Kane and Daniel Bryan, he's not going to be able to sneak up on them.
Ryback bailed on his scheduled match with Cena against The Shield earlier this week, choosing instead to watch the WWE champ's loss from the ramp. Will he address his reasoning tonight? And is Big Hungry hungry for some competition?
The upcoming triple threat match for the WHC was made into a ladder match by Alberto Del Rio. He earned the right to pick the "extreme" stipulation for Extreme Rules when his amigo Ricardo Rodriguez defeated Coulter and Big E Langston on Raw. Now that the sidekicks/managers/bodyguards of the participants are involved, the variety of match possibilities for the run-up to the pay-per-view (PPV) just doubled!
Following the most unsportsmanlike tug of war ever, Mark Henry will surely be looking for payback. Also on Raw, Randy Orton took out his frustration with Big Show on Cody Rhodes. These brawlers will be circling each other for sure on Friday night, as, according to JBL, it is when they fight.
And probably something with Vince's ballroom dancing pet project; maybe some Divas, if there's time.
Expect to pop for:
Kane. Even more than his Money in the Bank win and subsequent title run from 2011, Team Hell No has been an epic capstone to a Hall of Fame career. The Big Red Machine has been over on his costume and gimmick from the jump, but doesn't always get credit for being a strong worker who moves extremely well for a big man. Partnering with Daniel Bryan has allowed him to flex his comedy muscles (including ones we didn't even know existed), but they haven't been responsible for as many in-ring classics as I'd like. A feud with The Shield, featuring an angry Kane out to avenge his brother, could be just the thing for this Brother of Destruction to showcase another aspect of his brilliance.
The sidekicks of the WHC scene. It's long been said that Zeb Coulter and Ricardo Rodriguez are the best things about Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio, respectively. WWE seems to have known this throughout their WrestleMania feud, and it's carrying over to the three way dance at Extreme Rules.
The same could be said for Dolph Ziggler. We in the internet wrestling community (IWC) for the most part adore him, but he's never been allowed to run solo. With AJ co-starring in many of his backstage scenes, and now Big E Langston joining them there and getting more work for himself in the ring, could the bodyguard eclipse the champ sooner than anyone expected?
The heat is on:
Randy Orton. Apparently thwarted on his long-requested return to the dark side. Forced to work a buddy team with Sheamus where there doesn't seem to be much chemistry. Orton is still loved by much of the WWE Universe, but not in the way he wants to be. His issues with Mark Henry and Big Show are keeping him from the main event, and even though the story seems to provide several reasons for him to turn on Sheamus, creative isn't letting him pull the trigger. Will he come out of this feud with a direction, or can he just learn to enjoy himself doing what he's given?
The combatants in the WHC scene. Things look promising for Ziggler in that he should successfully make it through at least one PPV with his belt. But he hasn't made it onto Smackdown in a few weeks, and his challengers may be unpopular enough that he doesn't get much of a rub from working with them.
Swagger and Del Rio have been having solid matches for a few weeks now, but is the audience catching on? Ricardo got a bigger pop for winning on Monday than Alberto. Swagger is barely allowed to say "We the People" any more. Can they get some momentum heading into a PPV that needs a strong WHC match to cover for an injured guy versus a poor worker in the other championship match on the card?
Smackdown got quite a charge out of Undertaker's presence last week. Can it keep it going in his absence?