WWE Friday Night SmackDown comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (July 26, 2013) from Corpus Christi, Texas, with a taped show on the SyFy channel featuring Alberto Del Rio taking on Rob Van Dam in the advertised main event.
If you're the impatient type and wish to read full spoilers for the show you can find out exactly what goes down by clicking here.
Either way, come back here at 8 p.m. ET for the SmackDown live blog.
WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG FOR JULY 26
Broadcast is live.
Randy Orton is in the house and Lilian Garcia is introducing him for a match. He's carrying the red briefcase around, which still looks so odd to me with his being a blue brand wrestler.
Speaking of the blue brand, here comes Damien Sandow, holder of the blue briefcase.
Battle of the briefcases.
Randy Orton vs. Damien Sandow
Orton working big time babyface here, though he is rocking a black beard. Bad guys wear black, Cagesiders, that's just how it works. Or at least that's what Phil Anselmo always taught me.
These two are getting a lot of time to work, as we're almost 20 minutes into the show and they're still going strong. As I say that, Cody Rhodes comes walking out to ringside in a suit, no tie, and grabs the blue briefcase. Back in the ring, Sandow is incredulous.
The distraction allows Orton time to be a "sneaky snake," as Michael Cole called him, and RKO Sandow to pick up the pin.
Rhodes toys with Sandow a bit post-match, showing off the briefcase to the crowd before just outright walking out with it. His entrance music even hits the speakers.
Hey, it's CM Punk!
He's out with a pipe bomb in hand. "Well, it's official: I got what I wanted at SummerSlam. It's The Best vs. The Beast."
Punk tells us Paul Heyman is deceiving us all and everyone is buying it but he's surprised by it to some extent. And he would know more than anyone because he was friends with Heyman for 8 long years, best friends even. It was Paul who taught him to be the dirtiest player in the game. It was Paul who taught him to find an opponent's weak spot and hammer it over and over and over.
Well, Brock Lesnar's biggest weak spot is the fact that he trusts Paul Heyman and that very fact will be his downfall.
Now, it's important to note, Punk says, that Heyman did indeed stick his neck out for "The Straight Edge Superstar" many times throughout his career. But he wasn't doing it for anyone other than himself.
Because, you see, Heyman always wanted everything. He always wanted this match to happen and he wanted to be in both men's corners because, well, he's really fucking greedy.
But Punk is going to kick Lesnar in his big head until he's reduced to nothing more than a big heaping pile of failure.
After that, he's got something real special for Heyman. What he's got is ...
Wait a minute, that's Fandango's music!
Indeed, we're joined by the former stripper turned ballroom dancer. Actually, we're not. Not really. As soon as he gets in the ring, Punk clubs him with the microphone and proceeds to clobber him until he's vulnerable enough to get hit with the GTS.
And that's that.
I'd like to note, though, that Fandango sold that GTS better than anyone I've seen in a long time.
Mark Henry & The Usos vs. Wade Barrett & Prime Time Players
The heels got jobber entrances for this match.
The babyfaces win pretty easy. Henry has adjusted to his role as a good guy with ease. He puts over The Usos by emphatically raising their hands to a loud ovation from the crowd at the arena.
Alberto Del Rio shows up in Vickie Guerrero's office and starts doing some serious brown nosing. Del Rio cites Brad Maddox allowing John Cena to choose his opponent for SummerSlam, and says Vickie should allow him to do the same.
In comes Rob Van Dam, and he says the answer to the question of who should challenge for the world heavyweight championship is obvious.
Del Rio says Van Dam has been gone for six years and he needs to prove himself first. So RVD says he'll do just that by beating ADR in a match tonight.
See ya in the ring!
Meanwhile, Sandow is backstage asking everyone he can find if they've seen Rhodes, who made off with his briefcase. That includes arena staff, who all seem to be standing around doing very little actual work.
Finally, Sandow comes across Sin Cara, who is just hanging out by himself, wearing his wrestling gear with his mask on. Sandow asks if he's seen Rhodes and Sin Cara, apparently a mute, plays dumb. He does understand English, though, as his head nod response to said question proves.
Sandow calls him vermin anyway. You know, for wasting his time.
And the search for Cody and the blue briefcase continues.
Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio gets a lot of heat on himself early by being the cowardly heel who was really just playing chicken. He was acting hurt, holding his injured ribs, which is apparently a legitimate injury, and speaking in Spanish to the referee, acting like he was going to quit.
RVD tried to get in and work him over, but the referee held him back. This helped Del Rio launch a sneak attack by kicking Van Dam in the head.
It was a brutally stiff kick and it got the three count to end the match. I'm assuming this was done because of Del Rio's rib injury, although he was moving really well and acting like he's not injured at all.
Back to Sandow and his search for Rhodes.
He runs into Mark Henry and Booker T. He understands Henry is looking for The Shield, but he really needs to find Cody so he can get his briefcase back.
"Do I look like a snitch to you, man?"
Henry says he doesn't know. Sandow brings up the fact that Booker used to be General Manager, so he should know what's going on. Booker acts like he's going to attack but Henry holds him back while Sandow walks off to continue his search.
AJ Lee is out to give a "state of my mind" address. I'm not shitting you, that's what Michael Cole just called it.
Here we go.
"I'm out here to clear the air. For everyone that thinks that I'm just a nudge away from a complete mental breakdown because of my former best friend Kaitlyn or because I recently had my good hearted, caring, noble actions misinterpreted and had my heart stomped on into oblivion by that heartless, cold-blooded, selfish jerk, son-of-a... Dolph Ziggler, well, you would just be mistaken."
Off to a good start.
"I am fine."
Yes, you are.
"I am a-okay, and you know why? Because I have this."
She holds up the Diva's championship and all it serves to accomplish is showing off how cliche and ugly that piece of trash is right now.
Oh dear god, now she's got keys to Ziggler's house, or at least that's what she says. She remembered he gave her a copy and while she was going to use them to break in and burn everything to the ground, she's decided not to do that.
He says he's passed out hundreds and even thousands of those keys in his life. The locks have been changed multiple times since they broke up.
AJ calls him out for being pretty but not entirely smart. She breaks out a suitcase and he says everything in the ring right now, and he means everything, is totally replaceable.
She breaks out a pair of scissors, then a wallet. She starts cutting up his license while he says a day at the DMV would be like a picnic compared to anything with her. She breaks out his passport and cuts that up too.
He says he can get one just down the block from his house and he knows the lady who works there well because he taught her a few things while banging her. He doesn't say that, because it's not PG, but that's what he's inferring.
She keeps going through his stuff, finding cash and credit cards to throw around. Ziggler doesn't care about any of this, coming back with a clever quip for each thing she does.
The crowd starts chanting "YOU'VE ARE PSYCHO" and she starts crying and saying she's fine. This segment is getting next to no heat save for those chants. They didn't even pipe anything in for this.
AJ snaps her way out of the ring, throwing everything around, when suddenly Kaitlyn shows up to drill her with a spear. Big E. goes out to help her but Ziggler runs down and hits him with the Famouser.
That was awful in every way.
Tons of Funk vs. Wyatt Family
Full entrance for the Wyatt family. Luke Harper starts with Sweet T and they work really physical. They trade offense, though, leading to Erick Rowan coming in to make a save for Harper. That brings out Brodus Clay, but the babyfaces are quickly disposed of and this ends up being not much more than a squash.
After, Sweet T is left in the ring with the sheep. They hold him up and Bray comes in to deliver Sister Abigail. He tells him "This is not your fault."
After, Wyatt picks up a mic and calls out Kane. "We've been waiting for you, Kane. We've always been waiting for you. Look to the sky and follow the buzzards."
Sandow has finally made his way to Vickie Guerrero, and he's really pissed now. She says she hasn't seen Rhodes but has alerted the authorities and the situation is going to be handled.
Sandow says he'll take care of it himself seeing as everyone else is so incompetent.
And off he goes to continue the search.
Christian vs. Jack Swagger
Christian won a relatively boring match.
Sandow is back out to the ring. He's now gone absolutely bonkers, demanding to know where Rhodes is with his briefcase, saying there's nothing worse than a thief and he wants his property back.
As he's shouting in the ring, Rhodes comes on over the Titantron in front of the Gulf of Mexico. He tells Sandow to come on out to get his briefcase.
So that's what happens.
Sandow gets there and tries to appeal to his old friend. Sandow is kissing ass, saying during their time as the Rhodes Scholars, Rhodes carried him. He's also an intellectual superior, has better facial hair, and is more handsome.
Despite this, Rhodes throws the briefcase into the water anyway.
Sandow gives an awesome performance shouting in dismay.
"SOMEBODY HELP ME! MY BRIEFCASE! MY CONTRACT! I CAN'T SWIM! HELP!
He jumps in after it but immediately struggles to swim and makes his way back to land. That water looks absolutely disgusting.
He lays dejected, cold and alone, without his precious briefcase.
That's comeuppance, everybody.
They show multiple replays and, much to my surprise, it's time to go off the air. They end the show with Sandow sobbing and choking on water.