This week marks the first episode for SmackDown’s move back to Thursday nights, where it originally started. This week originates from Baton Rouge, LA.
The show opens with Byron Saxton in the ring, and he welcomes Daniel Bryan out, who will return to action later this evening. The announce team for tonight is Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler, with JBL thankfully nowhere to be found. Bryan says he’s back at home where he belongs, in front of the great fans, and he’s not out here wearing jeans and flannel; he’s out here in gear, because he’s ready to fight. Saxton says the man Bryan will face nearly single-handedly destroyed Bryan’s career. We get a video clip from Bryan’s run with the WWE World title, when he was repeatedly tombstoned by Kane. Back to the arena, Saxton says Bryan must be taking things more seriously. Bryan says that’s exactly what he’s doing. He knows Kane better than anyone. They had a rivalry, then became Team Hell No!, winning the tag titles and holding them for nine months. He considered Kane a friend and brother. But Kane stabbed him in the back, as well as all of the fans the moment he traded in a mask for a suit. Since then, Bryan has had all the doctors telling him he’d never wrestle again…but he’s here tonight. He’s here, and despite what the doctors say, he’s ready. He’s a little worried about his neck. No one knows what will happen until he gets into the ring. But this is how he’s going to prove his worth. Tonight, he fights Kane, and he wins. Then, in two weeks, at the Royal Rumble, he wins. Then, in three months at Wrestlemania XXXI, he wins. Now, some people think that’s a pipe dream. Does he actually think he can do it? Do the fans think he can do it? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Triple H comes out, flanked by Corporate Kane, the Big Show, Seth Rollins and J&J Security. They march down to the ring, and the bell sounds.
MATCH 1: DANIEL BRYAN VS. CORPORATE KANE (W/THE BIG SHOW, J&J SECURITY, SETH ROLLINS AND TRIPLE H)
Bryan immediately hits a dropkick in the corner, then tees off on Kane with punches and kicks. Kane comes back with a kneelift as Byron Saxton has joined the announce desk. Bryan avoids a back suplex, then trips Kane into the buckles. Bryan kicks the middle buckle into Kane’s face, then starts to fire up the Yes! Kicks. Bryan ties up Kane’s left leg in the ropes, then hits it with a running dropkick. Bryan nails some European uppercuts until Kane hits an uppercut of his own. Kane throws Bryan to the corner for an assault, stomping him down. Kane drops Bryan with a straight right, then hits a neckbreaker. He follows up with another one, but it’s only good for 2. Kane locks in a cravat, but Bryan elbows his way out. Off the ropes, Bryan runs into a big boot for 2. Kane hits a DDT for another 2 before applying a neck vice. Bryan fights out again until Kane hits him with a kneelift. Bryan blocks an Irish whip, then low-bridges Kane to the floor. Bryan hits a dropkick through the ropes, then dives off the apron, only to have Kane floor him with an uppercut. Commercials.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: DANIEL BRYAN.
As Kane bails, Bryan takes out both members of J&J, dropkicks Show through the ropes, ducks a briefcase shot from Rollins and bails to the ramp.
The Authority start to stalk Bryan up the ramp, but he’s joined by Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, causing the Authority to stop almost immediately. Triple H tells them if they want to get involved, later tonight, we’re going to have a 6-man tag team match. We’ll put an end to this uprising, because that is what’s best for business.
We get the announcement for Randy Savage being inducted into the Hall of Fame, which we can all agree is long overdue.
Bray Wyatt appears on the TitanTron. He says he’s not a human being; he’s an ideology. He’s the forbidden fruit; he’s the cure. For thousands of years, your society labels things like him a threat. You can only contain a poison of this caliber for so long before it starts to seep out of the cracks and starts to contaminate all things they hold precious. They were right, and after he wins the Royal Rumble, it will be too late to run. Accept your fate, and follow the buzzards.
MATCH 2-6-PERSON TAG TEAM MATCH: WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE USOS (JEY & JIMMY) AND NOAMI VS. THE MIZ, DAMIEN MIZDOW AND ALICIA FOX
Miz and Jimmy start. Miz applies a side headlock, then hits a shoulder off the ropes. The two crisscross until Jimmy hits a back elbow. He nails a chop, then another, and he makes the tag to Jey. They hit Miz with their double back elbow, which leads to Mizdow running into the ring and bumping off it as well. The Usos just shrug and drop a double elbow on Miz as Mizdow continues to sell. Miz gets clotheslined to the floor, then gets floored by a suicide dive by Jey. Back in the ring, the crowd begs for a Mizdow tag, which they get. However, Fox immediately tags herself in. Naomi automatically becomes legal and hits Fox with a dropsh*t. Naomi pelts her with rights, then hits a leaping hurricanrana. Fox backdrops her to the apron, where Naomi lands on her feet and hits a high kick. He follows with a top rope cross-body for 2. Fox tags out to Miz, and Jey comes in as well. Miz nails him with a big boot, then stomps him down in the corner. Michael Cole basically just called Miz talentless, which makes me happy. Miz hits a few knees, then teases a tag to Mizdow. Jey hits a few weeks shots until Miz goes for the Reality Check. Jey blocks it, and the two wind up simultaneously clotheslining each other. Jey makes the tag to Jimmy, who hits a series of strikes, ending in a release Samoan drop. He goes for the hip attack, but Miz sees it coming. Jimmy instead climbs the buckles and hits a corkscrew moonsault. Fox breaks up the pin before the ref can start counting. Naomi comes in, and Jimmy throws her over his head onto Fox in a cannonball. Meanwhile, Miz rolls Jimmy up for 2, but Jimmy reverses for 2. Mizdow comes in, and Miz shoves him into a superkick. Miz sneaks in from behind and hits the Skull-Crushing Finale for 3.
WINNERS: ALICIA FOX, THE MIZ AND DAMIEN MIZDOW.
Renee Young is standing by with Roman Reigns. She says he’ll be in the Royal Rumble in 10 days, where it’s every man for themselves. Tonight, can he coexist with his partners, knowing they could stand in between him and a title match at Wrestlemania? Reigns says if tonight was the RR, those boys would be in a world of hurt. But it’s not. Ambrose is his boy, and he has no beef with Bryan. However, he has a huge problem with the Authority and their huge crybaby, the Big Show. Tonight is another chance to screw over the Authority. As for the RR, it’s one vs. all, and we’re looking at the one. Believe that.
We see Paul Heyman marching into the arena.
After some commercials, Heyman is making his way down to the ring as we see what happened between Rollins, John Cena and Brock Lesnar on RAW, ending with Rollins curb-stomping them both. Back to the arena, Heyman introduces himself, then says he doesn’t mind admitting publicly that, for the first time in his career, he’s afraid. If you think about it, Lesnar does what he does because he’s a beast. When he conquered “The Streak”, he did it because he wanted to, because he could. When Lesnar took a hundred-million dollar franchise in Cena and dumped him on his head en route to winning the title, he did it because he wanted to. It was a Sunday, and he had nothing better to do. Now, Lesnar is pissed off. He’s walking with a purpose, and that purpose is to get his hands on Rollins and F-5 the future straight into the past.
On that note, Rollins comes down, with J&J Security. Rollins says he’s sick and tired of everyone walking around on eggshells in regards to Lesnar. He’s sick of everyone telling him he hides the Authority and J&J. He is not afraid of Lesnar. And you know what? He’s so sick of it, to hell with it, he’s cashing in tonight. He wants Heyman’s client tonight. Let’s give the crowd the biggest main event in the history of this show: Lesnar vs. Rollins for the WWE World title, right here, right now! Heyman calls the challenge interesting, but they both know Lesnar is not here tonight. Rollins says if he can’t curb stomp Lesnar, then he’s going to do it to Heyman. Heyman laughs and calls this stereotypical. Everyone says stuff like this when Lesnar isn’t around. Will this attack make him tough? Will that prove he’s the future of WWE? Rollins says it isn’t about being tough, it’s about being smart. If he feels like stomping Heyman tonight, he takes away Lesnar’s greatest asset. Then, at the RR, he’ll be fighting all brawn with no brains. Then, Lesnar is nothing more than a 300-lb. mass of muscle he will run circles around. And he’s proven Cena is not a threat to him. Let’s face the facts: he’s curb stomped Lesnar twice, and at the RR, he’ll make it count for the third time, beat Lesnar and walk out as the champion. So, tell him again why he shouldn’t stomp Heyman right now? Heyman says the Authority in power now, but they’ve already been removed once. What makes him think the Authority can’t be removed again? By hook, by crook, by the Board of Directors, by Vince McMahon’s whims. The future of WWE is a long-term vision, and since Heyman has been back in WWE, he’s gained power every day. He gained it when Lesnar conquered “The Streak”. He gained it when Lesnar became the WWE World Champion. His client has a death grip on the title, and Lesnar will control the title as he deems appropriate. Lesnar can control the title by defending it, or he can protect the new champion when Heyman decides the future is now. Heyman then marches off as Rollins looks contemplative.
MATCH 3: NATALYA (W/PAIGE) VS. WWE DIVAS CHAMPION NIKKI BELLA (W/BRIE BELLA) (NON-TITLE)
They two lock up, and Nattie applies a hammerlock. Nikki counters with an armdrag and flexes her garter snakes. Nattie applies a waistlock, into a legbar. Nikki breaks it with a kick, then hits an elbow in the corner before hitting a tornado armbar takedown. Nikki begins to work over Nattie’s arm and snaps her over for 2. Nikki applies a scissored armbar, but Nattie rolls to her stomach and powers Nikki up, breaking the hold by slamming Nikki. In the corner, Nikki misses a clothesline. Nattie hits a snapmare, a kick to the back, a seated dropkick and a discus clothesline. She goes for the Sharpshooter, but Brie jumps on the apron with the Divas title. On the other side, Paige slaps Nikki behind the ref’s back. Nattie then applies the Sharpshooter and gets the submission win.
Renee Young is now standing by with the Big Show. Oh, joy. She starts to give the same interview she did with Reigns, but he cuts her off. He says he knocked out Cena and Reigns on RAW. As for tonight, he’ll knock out all three of them. At the RR, he’s entering himself. He dominates there. He’s a giant, and he’s going to put himself back on top. He’ll throw 29 other superstars over the top rope. Who can throw him out? There is no one who can eliminate him. The camera pans over, and we see Kane. He says he’s also in the Rumble. Also, Show has apparently forgotten all of the times people have thrown him out.
MATCH 4-INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: SIN CARA VS. BAD NEWS BARRETT (CHAMPION)
Cara immediately gets in a schoolboy for 2. He then hits another roll-up for 2. BNB nails a gut shot and sends him to the corner. Cara moves to the apron and hits a kick before going up top. BNB sends him right back down with a high hiptoss. He sends Cara into the buckles for 1 before applying a rear chinlock. Cara fights out, but BNB puts a stop to that with an elbow. Cara backlips off a back suplex, hits a kick and a pair of springboard cross-bodies for 2. BNB nails another gut shot, then hits a kneelift. Cara reverses an Irish whip, but Barrett puts on the brakes and sends Cara to the apron. Cara lands on his feet and heads up top for a dive. BNB sees it coming, moves, then catches Cara with the Winds of Change. BNB turns the elbow pad inside out for the Bullhammer, then winds up. Cara ducks and rolls BNB up in a schoolboy for 2 before powering him up and dropping him with a powerbomb. Odd spot for a cruiserweight, but it got a nice pop. Cara goes up top for the swanton bomb, but misses. He avoids another Bullhammer shot and goes for another springboard cross-body, but gets caught mid-air with the Bullhammer on the third attempt for 3.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: BAD NEWS BARRETT.
Dean Ambrose is in the back, and he says he was the kid you avoided when you were young. He was disruptive in class as well. That will serve him well in the RR. The person who wins won’t care about alliances or friendships. They won’t give a damn about their well-being, as long as the end justifies the means. Don’t count him out; count him in. Tonight, two of his RR opponents are his partners, and they have one thing in common: they detest the Authority. No one tells him what to do; he just goes out there and does it.
MATCH 5: SETH ROLLINS, THE BIG SHOW AND CORPORATE KANE (W/J&J SECURITY) VS. DANIEL BRYAN, DEAN AMBROSE AND ROMAN REIGNS
Ambrose and Rollins start, with Rollins going on the attack right away. Ambrose comes back with a series of strikes in the corner, then throws Rollins across the ring. He grinds his forearm into Rollins’ face before hitting a power-drive elbow. A neckbreaker connects, and now Ambrose is stomping Rollins in the gut. Reigns tags, and they give Rollins a wishbone. In the corner, Reigns hits a clothesline, followed by a beal throw. Reigns stares at Show as he hits Rollins with a suplex. Reigns begins working over Rollins’ left shoulder before applying a front chancery. Rollins fights out, but gets clubbed across the back for his troubles. Rollins hits a kick off the ropes and tags in Kane. Kane applies a side headlock, then hits a shoulder off the ropes for 1. He goes back to the headlock, but Reigns counters with a back suplex for 1. Kane fights off an arm wringer with rights, then sends Reigns into the ropes. Reigns ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own. Reigns hits a big uppercut, then tags in Bryan. Bryan lays in some kicks in the corner before stomping Kane down. Bryan hits a European uppercut, then several more in the corner. Kane shoves him away and hits an uppercut of his own before tossing Bryan to the floor. Show and Rollins drop down, but Ambrose and Reigns stop them from doing anything. Bryan nails Kane, and now a brawl has spilled out between the two sides. Rollins gets thrown into the timekeeper’s area by Ambrose, and now the faces are standing tall in the ring as we go to commercials.
WINNERS: DEAN AMBROSE, DANIEL BRYAN AND ROMAN REIGNS.
As Bryan is celebrating, Triple H comes out. He congratulates Bryan and says he got lucky tonight, but he has a feeling Bryan’s luck will run out. Next Thursday, Kane deserves a rematch, and when Bryan loses, he’ll not only lose the match, he’ll lose his spot in the Rumble. Good luck.
End of show.