Tonight’s episode of SmackDown! is the final episode before the 26th annual Royal Rumble event.
This week’s episode starts off with WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No! making their way to the ring. In addition to defending their titles against The Rhodes Scholars at RR, they will both be in the Rumble match itself. We see some footage from Monday night’s hug fest ordered by Dr. Shelby. Back to SD!, Kane says they’ve come out to address the rumors that they’ve somehow gone soft because they’ve learned to channel their angle. Bryan says that isn’t true. Kane says that, for those that don’t believe them, just watch the PPV this Sunday. After they retain their tag titles, Kane is going on to win the Rumble and move onto Wrestlemania 29. Bryan agrees with Kane up until this point. Kane has been in 13 Rumble matches. In one of those matches, he eliminated 11 superstars. Bryan points out Kane has still never won one, which is exactly what Bryan is going to do this Sunday. The two begin arguing over who is going to win the match until The Big Show’s music hits. Show steps into the ring and says that no one cares about the champs. They each have a 1 in 30 chance of winning the Rumble, while he has a 100% chance of reclaiming the World title from Alberto Del Rio. The only plans the champs should be making are retirement plans. Bryan reminds Show that he beat him for the title in 2011. Show cuts him off to begin complaining about ADR stealing his title. This Sunday, he’s going to squish ADR like a bug, and if Team Hell No! doesn’t get out of his ring right now, he’ll squish both of them. Kane says they’re not bugs, big man. They ARE the Tag Team Champions, and they are not going anywhere. Bryan begins a “No!” chant.
Tonight, CM Punk will call out The Shield. We will also get comments from The Rock in regards to The Shield’s attack.
Up next, Sheamus takes on Wade Barrett. Thank you, WWE.
MATCH 1: Sheamus vs. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett (non-title)
Barrett starts off with some strikes to the back, but Sheamus comes back with body shots. Sheamus blocks a hip toss and hits a short-arm clothesline for 2. More body shots in the corner, and Barrett rakes the eyes before hitting a dropkick for 1. Barrett stomps Sheamus down, but Sheamus kicks him away and begins driving some knees to the back. Barrett dodges a Brogue Kick by sliding to the floor. Barrett drags him to the floor, but Sheamus blocks some punches and slams Barrett’s head into the apron. Back in the ring, Sheamus goes for the forearms from the apron and connects with 2 before Barrett mule kicks him and lands a running boot, sending Sheamus to the floor. Commercials.
We’re back, and Barrett has a rear chinlock applied. Sheamus fights out before getting clotheslined to the floor. Sheamus makes it up, and Barrett chokes him over the top rope before hitting some knee strikes to the face. Sheamus drops him with a slingshot Battering Ram as Barrett is arguing with the referee. Sheamus hits a pair of Irish Hammers and a running shoulder thrust in the corner. Barrett blocks the running knee lift, but Sheamus regroups and sends Barrett to the floor. Sheamus goes for the forearms on the apron once more, connecting with all 10. Sheamus picks Barrett up on his shoulders from the apron and hits the rolling fireman’s carry slam for 2. Barrett blocks the Irish Curse and hits a mule kick to the gut. Sheamus dodges one to the face and gets a schoolboy for 2. Irish Curse connects for 2. Sheamus goes for the fireman’s carry once more, but Barrett slides out and shoves Sheamus to the floor. Sheamus lands on his feet on the apron and goes up top, but Barrett whips him down to the mat. Barrett lands a mule kick to the face for 2. Barrett mounts the middle buckle and goes for the elbow, but Sheamus counters and goes for the Irish Clover Leaf. Barrett counters this into a small package for 2. Sheamus breaks free and goes for White Noise, which connects. Brogue Kick is signaled, and it hits for 3.
WINNER: Sheamus. Great way to start the show. I’ve seen better matches out of these two, but this was still a damn fine old school brawl.
MATCH 2: Natalya (w/The Great Khali and Hornswoggle) vs. Rosa Mendes (w/Epico and Primo)
The tag teams are joining in on commentary for this one. Nattie starts with a hip throw, and Rosa counters into a headscissors. Nattie kips out and goes for a kick. Rosa blocks it, so Nattie rolls through, knocking Rosa down in the process, then applies a variation of the Indian Deathlock. Rosa regroups and applies a side headlock, then whips Nattie down by the hair for 2. Rosa applies a variation of the straightjacket, driving her knees into Nattie’s back. Nattie armdrags out and hits a discus clothesline for 2. Rosa counters a spinebuster with a sunset flip, but Nattie rolls through and goes for the Sharpshooter. Rosa makes it to the ropes before it can be applied, then drops Nattie with a clothesline. Rosa gets distracted by Hornswoggle dancing on the announce desk, which allows Nattie to roll her up and apply the Sharpshooter for the tap-out.
WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman make their way down to the ring. Punk says he’s scared, so frightened that he can’t sleep at night. What he’s afraid of is his own potential. 432 days as champion, and everything you see around you is all a surface he’s just begun to scratch at, and that keeps him up at night. One thing jeopardizes 432 days of unparalleled brilliance. One thing can make those days go up in smoke. It’s not The Rock. He’s breakable, and Punk will break him. He’s talking about The Shield. Because of them and their independent actions, a stipulation has been put in place for Sunday. Heyman has a letter from Vince McMahon, basically stating that if The Shield interfere in the championship match on Sunday, Punk will be stripped of the title. Back to Punk, he says that, because of The Shield, McMahon wants to swoop in and take what belongs to him, that being the title. No, McMahon wants to steal the title from him. Looks like the champ has a problem, but it will be fixed. He’s going to do something no one else has had the stones to do since day one: he wants The Shield out here right now. He knows they’re here. They’re going to have words, and Punk isn’t leaving until they get out here.
We see all three members of The Shield making their way to the ring through the crowd. Punk has a chair as they surround the ring. Punk says he can only explain himself in the simplest of ways. He never asked them to attack Rock or Ryback. He’s never asked them for anything. Understand him when he says stay out of his way. You three stand for justice and fight injustice? There would be no greater injustice in history if his historic title reign ended because of their interference. He promises to beat The Rock on Sunday, but it’s not just day 434 of his title reign; no, it’s the biggest victory of his career, and he’s going to do it by himself. He never asked for The Shield’s help. He doesn’t want it, because he doesn’t need it. If justice is what they stand for, then they never have to cross paths with Punk again. On this note, all three members jump back down from the ring aprons and leave through the crowd. Punk says that is how the champ takes care of business. He doesn’t whine or cry like everyone else. He tackles problems head-on, because he’s the best in the world. In two days, Punk has The Rock. Rock is “The Great One”, and Punk is the best in the world. When it comes to Punk, Rock is like everyone else in that he is inferior in comparison. Rock’s inferiority meets true greatness on Sunday, and Punk will prove he’s not only the best in the world, but the greatest of all time.
The Rock appears and stomps down to the ring. Punk taunts Rock with the belt. Rock says he’s putting an end to this garbage right now. His gut says Punk is a liar, and he’s working with The Shield. His heart says that, despite that, he doesn’t give a damn. Rock’s boot says it’s getting shoved straight up Punk’s candy ass. The walls are closing in, because what’s going to happen on Sunday is Punk is going to panic and crack. When that happens, Rock is going to hook him for the Rock Bottom. He is going to launch Punk in the air, and when he’s up there, time will stand still. His only thought at that moment, Punk’s only thought will be, “It’s over”. And Rock promises he will become WWE Champion and beat Punk, 1-2-3. It’s over. If you smell what The Rock is cookin’.
MATCH 3: Drew McIntyre (w/Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater) vs. Randy Orton
Drew fires off some kicks and punches, beating Orton down in the corner. Orton comes back with a clothesline, which is the beginning of the Four Moves of Boredom. Drew avoids the DDT, but gets hit with the 3.0. Orton goes for the suspended DDT once more, but Jinder Mahal runs interference, causing the referee to immediately ring the bell.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Randy Orton. As Mahal comes in with a running knee, Orton sidesteps him and hits the RKO. Drew gets hit with the suspended DDT. Slater runs in for a clothesline, but Orton ducks and hits the RKO on the rebound. RKO for Drew.
MATCH 4: Darren Young (w/Titus O’Neil) vs. The Miz
Antonio Cesaro is on color commentary for this match. Young starts with quick kicks and punches, rolling up Miz for 2. Young applies a rear chinlock, then breaks it to fire off more rights. Miz fires back, then throws Young to the corner for a beatdown. Hanging clothesline connects, as does a double axe handle from the top. Young counters the SKF by throwing Miz to the corner. Miz kicks him in the knee and face, then applies figure-4 for the submission victory.
WINNER: The Miz.
MATCH 5-6-Man Elimination Tag Team Match: World Champion Alberto Del Rio and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No! (Daniel Bryan and Kane) (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. The Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) and The Big Show
Rhodes and ADR start the match, with Rhodes applying an arm wringer. ADR flips out and applies an armbar. Rhodes breaks free with punches and sends ADR into the corner. ADR blocks the charge, jumps to the middle rope and catches Rhodes from behind with a headscissors. Flapjack by ADR gets 2. He goes back to the armbar before Rhodes is able to escape and tag in Sandow. Bryan tags in, and Sandow hits him with a kneelift. Bryan comes back with No! Kicks to the chest in the corner. Kane tags in as Bryan hits a snapmare, and Kane nails a low dropkick for 2. Sandow beats Kane down with punches, but runs right into a chokeslam for 3.
Damien Sandow is eliminated.
Show comes in, and Kane hits a couple corner clotheslines, followed by a DDT off the ropes for 2. Kane goes up top and hits a clothesline before clotheslining Show to the floor. Outside, Show nails Kane with the WMD and gets back in the ring. Kane can’t make the count.
Kane is eliminated.
Rhodes tags in, and Bryan comes in for his team. Commercials.
Back from the break, Bryan elbows out of a side headlock before getting hit with a kitchen sink off the ropes for 2. Rhodes applies a modified surfboard stretch. Bryan kicks his way out, and the two collide while simultaneously going for cross-bodies. Show tags in and goes for the chokeslam, but Bryan breaks it with No! Kicks. Show throws him to the corner and goes for a spear, but Bryan dropkicks him in the knee. Bryan comes off the top, getting caught with an open-hand chop to the chest. Show lands the WMD, knocking Bryan to the floor. Bryan also can’t make the count.
Daniel Bryan is eliminated.
The Big Show is eliminated.
Rhodes tries for a quick roll-up, getting 2. He starts stomping ADR down, but ADR manages to duck the Beautiful Disaster. ADR hits a clothesline, then another, then a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Thrust kick to the side of the head by ADR, but Rhodes kicks out at 2. Rhodes crawls to the corner, where ADR connects with the step-up enziguri for 3.
WINNERS: Alberto Del Rio and Team Hell No!, with ADR being the sole survivor. After the match, Show comes back down to the ring and nails ADR with a spear. Show clears the announce desk area a bit, then drags ADR over to the desk, where he connects with the WMD. He dumps the announce desk over ADR, then counts ADR out himself before declaring himself the new World Heavyweight Champion. To pour salt in the wound, he counts ADR out in Spanish.
End of show.
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