WWE draws us into the big show with a lengthy recap of the opening and closing segments from Monday’s Raw. As SmackDown gets officially underway, The Miz is in the ring with his protégée Mizdow and we get one more recap of Dean Ambrose’s dust-up with Miz from Tuesday’s Main Event Show. The Lunatic Fringe’s music hits and it looks like we have a match on deck.
Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz
Miz takes a swing at Ambrose right after the bell and after he misses, he decides to slip out of the ring for some “strategery” with Mizdow. Back inside, the two guys mix it up. Ambrose comes on strong but Miz gets the upper hand and keeps the momentum going for a short stretch. Ambrose gets back on top, working Miz into a submission hold and clawing at his pretty face. He then moves to a torrent of offensive moves, slowed down only by a cheap shot to the eye. Miz tries to capitalize but Ambrose roars back with a dropkick, knocking Miz outside and continuing their scrap on the floor. Dean remains dominant until they’re back inside the ring but Mizdow’s distractions eventually give Miz the edge to regain control. Then it’s time for a break.
After the break, Miz ends up outside again and Ambrose comes at him with a suicide dive. He then turns his attention to Mizdow, chasing him around for a bit until he heads back into the ring at his opponent. Miz gets a near fall and Ambrose returns that favor with a DDT and a near-fall of his own. Miz works Dean into a Figure Four but Ambrose won’t tap and reaches the rope to break it. Back on two feet, Ambrose levels Miz with a huge clothseling and just when he seems to have things in hand, Kane and Rollins show up on the ramp. Dean still manages to land “Dirty Deeds” and cover for the win.
Result: Dean Ambrose defeats The Miz via pinfall
Post-match, Rollins and Corporate Kane get into the ring to try and pick apart Ambrose but he gets the jump on both of them and then steals the Money in the Bank briefcase before retreating into the crowd. A very entertaining opening segment, for sure.
The Dust Brothers cut an ethereal promo backstage, we get a look at what else is on the card tonight and we head for commercial country…
Back inside the venue, the ring is full of guys who want to become the next number-one contender for the Intercontinental title. There’s only one way to settle this.
Battle Royal for #1 Contender to the Intercontinental Title: Bo Dallas, Jack Swagger, Los Matadores, Cesaro, Zack Ryder, Damien Sandow, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Heath Slater, Titus O’Neil, Big E, Justin Gabriel and Sin Cara
JBL quickly announces “there goes one of the bullfighters” but it appears that nobody affiliated with WWE is interested in finding out which one it was. Bo Dalls quickly eliminates Sin Cara after that. The other half of Los Matadores goes next. Kingston takes out Gabriel in short order, which is surprising because those guys had a great match on this week’s Superstars. Cesaro dumps Xavier Woods next. Big E takes Cesaroto task and it looks like Cesaro will toss him via the gorilla press but Titus breaks it up. Another minute or so later, Cesaro goes for a second attempt and pulls it off. Break time.
The pace picks up when we rejoin the action. Titus dumps Ryder and then Swagger tosses Titus. Heath Slater gets all fired up but Swagger comes up underneath him and launches him over the top and outside. Sandow has a funny spot when he tries to wave off all the remaining guys from ganging up on him, He ends up outside and we’re down to four. There’s a compelling series in which Kofi starts to skin the cat and Bo Dallas bites his knuckles to try and stop him. Kofi pulls him outside with a headscissors and eventually eliminates Dallas. Swagger and Cesaro duke it out at the ropes, Kofi gets involved and Cesaro eliminates them both to earn the #1 spot.
Afterwards, WWE breaks down the value of the WWE Network compared to the old PPV days, using a fancy bar graph. Backstage, Renee talks to the Usos. They’re in a match next.
The Usos vs. Stardust and Goldust
The Dust Brothers put the titles up on a Friday night and everyone can benefit from this. Out of the gate, the Usos toss Stardust, then Goldus and finally take them both out with a double suicide dive. Then we go to commercial.
Back from the break, Goldust lands a near fall. Stardus gets involved and bounces his opponent around outside while screaming about the key. Goldust tags back in to continue the punishment and then he brings Cody back in. There’s no offense from the Usos at this point…and not much defense, for that matter. JBL and Cole have a funny exchange about how difficult it is to tell the Usos apart when covering a match and they eventually agree that it’s Jey in the ring for the moment. Jey eventually chucks Goldust outside and tags Jimmy in who lands an awkward scoop-suplex on Stardust. All four guys end up in a melee outside and Stardust rolls Jimmy back in to continue the fight. The Usos land a double-team maneuver and go for a cover on Stardust but Goldie interrupts the pin, hitting Jimmy with a title belt and earning a DQ.
Result: Usos win by DQ; Stardust and Goldust retain titles.
Recaps roll and Kane consoles Rollins backstage. He wants his big, gold briefcase back. Later on we’ll see an IC title match and Big Show vs. Rusev.
Natalya and Rosa Mendes vs. Layla and Summer Rae
This match presents some spill-over from Total Divas, the latter of which may or may not be a wrestling-related TV show. Natalya starts off against Layla and Layla reminds us all that she has a noteworthy set of lungs as she yells her brains out while scrambling on the mat to escape her competition. She tags in Summer who surprisingly gets all over Natalya’s case. Layla and Summer exchange a series of quick tags as they work Nattie over in their corner. Layla gets Nattie into something like a tarantula on the ropes and then hands things over to Summer for some mat work. Natalya looks like she’ll power out but Summer sends her back down and tries for a tag. She eventually gets Rosa into the fray who cleans house as Cole hails her as “Latina Heat.” Layla eventually cools Mendez off with a kick to the head, gets her with a rollup just a few seconds later and it’s over.
Following the match, Big Show cuts a promo saying he’s going to knock Rusev’s posterior out. He doesn’t say anything about Rusev’s anterior, though. That could be a small flaw in his overall strategy if you really think hard enough about it.
Layla and Summer Rae defeat Natalya and Rosa Mendes via pinfall
Following the match, Big Show cuts a promo saying he’s going to knock Rusev’s posterior out. He doesn’t say anything about Rusev’s anterior, though.
Next up, it’s IC title match time. Two monsters of the midcard with strong fan bases.
Intercontinental Title Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro
Cesaro and Ziggler lock up almost right after the bell. After a spate of grappling, Ziggler is backed on to the rope, prompting a break but both guys look evenly matched. The grapple again and Cesaro works Ziggler into a corner but this time the break isn’t clean. Ziggler bounces back quickly and takes the fight right back to Cesaro who scoops the champ up and dumps him outside. This isn’t the battler royal any more, Cesaro…
They brawl on the floor for a spell and when the men end up back in the ring, Cesaro is the guy on top. Ziggler does put up a fight but Cesaro keeps the advantage through strength and power. He eventually gets Ziggler into the abdominal stretch but can’t extract a submission. He comes off the second rope (in the middle of the rope as opposed to the turnbuckle) with an elbow on Ziggler but still can’t seal the deal with a pinfall. Ziggler mounts a sudden comeback, avoiding a slam and instead rolling the big guy up for the count. Cesaro grabbed the rope before the ref counted three and the announce team notes this, signaling that there’s a feud brewing now.
Result: Dolph Ziggler wins (and retains) via pinfall.
After a generous batch of commercials, Rusev’s music elicits a chorus of boos from the live audience. The Big Show, on the other hand, is warmly greeted by fans.
Big Show vs. Rusev
Interestingly enough, Big Show dominates Rusev very early in the match. Rusev comes back but he is virtually dwarfed by Show in terms of size. Commercial break.
Rusev keeps coming at Show but he’s met with resistance and a very, very powerful offense. He shushes the crowd to deliver a nasty chop to Rusev and looks to hit the Bulgarian off the ropes but Rusev spears Show’s knee and takes over from there. He works Big Show’s leg for quite a while and it becomes difficult to see the World’s Biggest Athlete leaving this one with a win. Show makes it back on to his feet and lands a side slam but misses with knock out punch. Rusev lands a kick to Show’s chest and gets a near fall, coming back to the mat and looking for a submission. Show powers out with a flurry of elbows, pours on the offense and gets a well-timed choke slam. He loads up the knock out punch again but Lana gets into the ring and distracts Show. Rusev gets the Russian flag and hits Show with it, earning a disqualification.
Result: Big Show defeats Rusev
After the match, Rusev tries to beat down Show but Show catches him and delivers the knockout punch to lay out his competition in the center of the ring. If you believe in the concept of a “moral victory,” then count this as one.