Previously on SmackDown
Remember Vickie Guerrero? General Manager on Friday nights, has beef with HHH, might be turning face? Well, only one of those is still true. Having cleared the air with Trips, she welcomed the new face of WWE to the blue brand's ring. WWE Champion Randy Orton asked for the fans' support, but they were still clearly with the bearded guy who drop kicked him from the ring to make our main event for Night of Champions.
Last week was a night of, if not squashes, then at least very brief contests. Intercontinental champ Curtis Axel continued to throw the brakes on Cody Rhodes' post Money in the Bank momentum while still being a supporting player in his manager's program against CM Punk.
Big Show and Mark Henry beat up 3MB in a handicap match as prelude to some more tension between them and another trio - United States champ Dean Ambrose and tag champs Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
Darren Young defeated Antonio Cesaro, because DY is a draw for now and WWE doesn't want us to have nice things. Dolph Ziggler took out Big E Langston, and that better mean they have some plans for the Zig-Zag man or else I don't know what they're doing.
Meanwhile, in actual wrestling action, Christian came up short in another strong match against World Heavyweight Champion (WHC) Alberto Del Rio. After the bout, new #1 contender Rob Van Dam rolling thundered his way into the ring, but the Rio Deal bailed to fight another day (on Raw, and at the NoC pay-per-view (PPV)).
Vickie's scheme to get back at that darn Daniel Bryan was to put him in a steel cage against Wade Barrett. Didn't work out too well for the Brit, but the Viper slithered in to RKO D-Bry, so his corporate overlords could head into the weekend with a smile.
(NOTE: This show was taped on Tuesday for broadcast tonight. Previews are spoiler free, but results are available here)
What happens in Vegas...
Miz TV is scheduled to welcome two men who have been silenced by the tyrannical reign of Chief Operating Officer Hunter Hearst Helmsley - Big Show and Dolph Ziggler. Both have been triple powerbombed by The Shield as punishment for speaking their minds. What will they have to say to the man who came the closest to giving HHH a piece of his mind on the stage Monday night?
While that billed segment is probably a sign that the the Daniel Bryan versus This Business-ah (or The Better for Business Bureau, © Nick Bond) feud is spilling over from Raw, the WHC's issues with former ring announcer Rodriguez and new best bud (pun intended) RVD should also feature prominently. Who knows if the holder of the MitB briefcase will be here? He wasn't last week.
My last prediction would be that since Bray Wyatt and his family only had the pre-tape of the Sister Abigail promo appear on Monday, they'll be in the arena for something tonight. Maybe the rumored push of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan will gain some steam?
There's only one way to find out. Okay, two ways, if you count reading spoilers.
Expect to pop for:
Rob Van Dam. Suddenly in the midst of a WHC feud, being brought to the ring by a personal ring announcer...things are going well for a guy who was sleepwalking through X-Division matches not too long ago.
If the general assumptions about his schedule are correct, he's probably not sticking around for a run with the belt. Maybe he holds it for a second to be the face that Damien Sandow cashes in on, but I don't think the Intellectual Savior is done being a jobber with a briefcase yet. So RVD is probably furthering the company's agenda of giving ADR a long reign with victories over famous names with whom he can put on good matches- even if it's in lieu of scripting proper feuds.
(And can we maybe re-evaluate the loudly held assumption that "the most over thing about Del Rio was Ricardo Rodriguez"? I'm as big an El Local mark as you'll find, but the ring announcer gimmick doesn't seem to have a lot of legs separated from the Mexican Aristocrat with a name full of 'R's to roll.)
I'll give The Whole F'n Show his props - he's never been a favorite of mine, but he entertains a lot of people and I like seeing guys energized by and while doing what they love to do. But I'd caution he and his fans to enjoy it while it lasts. Internet fans have been turning on veterans who do talent enhancement pretty quick these days, ask Chris Jericho or Christian.
The heat is on:
Team Rhodes Scholars. Remember when this was a happening program five weeks ago? What happened to that?
A whole episode of this show was devoted to them, and they even got to do the vaunted "body of water" scene with Damien's blue briefcase. Then last week, Rhodes jobs to Axel and the Duke of Decency and his leather appointed baggage can't even get on the show!
I saw them there on Monday night, mixed in between Fandango, Summer Rae, Miz dressed like Fandango and Rosa doing what she used to do for a couple of Puerto Ricans who are coming soon to a WWE show near you dressed as matadores enmascarados. And just about any opportunity to let Sandow sit at the announce table and make snide comments is a-okay by this unwashed mass. But that segment did not feel about them, or the WHC, or the contract that guarantees a shot at it that is contained in that fine piece of luggage.
What was the point of having Cody get his revenge from Money in the Bank on back-to-back nights? Are we building to something, or was that just a preemptive "he's beaten the guy so he's earned a title shot whenever he becomes champ" deal as Cole was trying to push it on Raw? Do they really think that's going to help Rhodes get (and stay) over?
The curse of the Smackdown briefcase is really a symptom of the larger problem of not having anything beyond month-to-month plans for the WHC. Unfortunately, this year it looks like it might take two guys down instead of the usual one.
Will anything of note happen on the last show before a holiday weekend here in the States?
Feel free to use the space below to provide your thoughts on RVD, the Rhodes Scholars or anything else that might come up tonight. Then come on back for tonight's live blog!