This week on WWE Friday Night SmackDown, we get a rare CM Punk appearance as he makes his way out to open the show. He says that, if he were John Cena, he’d give a heartfelt speech about Independence Day, and how America was founded on hustle, loyalty and respect. Fortunately for us, he is not John Cena. He is CM Punk. He tends to have a drastically different point of view than Cena, and Independence Day means independence to him. A group of guys got together and decided they wouldn’t conform to the rules. They would make their own rules, and they’d die to see it happen. He can get behind that, as independence is very important to him. If someone tells him he has to follow rules, his first instinct is to break them. If someone tells him to do something, even if it’s a good idea, his gut feeling is to go against that. When he was told he’d be the biggest thing in WWE after Wrestlemania, he walked away. When everyone told him he should have kept Paul Heyman in his corner, he told Paul to stay in the back. When he was told that, despite his track record in MITB matches, the odds weren’t in his favor. So, he’s decided to take everyone he’s facing in the match and tell them off, one-by-one. He’s a simple guy with simple needs. He has two goals: first is to get his hands on Brock Lesnar. He’s going to hold Lesnar accountable for his actions. Second, is to win the MITB All-Star Ladder Match and become the WWE Champion again. He has no problem telling everyone his goals in a public forum…
Teddy Long comes out and says they had fireworks for Independence Day, and now we’ll have fireworks for the main event. ADR faces CM Punk tonight.
Christian will face Randy Orton later tonight as well.
We see Punk warming up for his match when Paul Heyman approaches. He’s honored Punk’s request to stay out of his business, but wants to say something as a friend. This match tonight makes no sense tonight. He has nothing to gain and everything to lose. Punk agrees, but says this is him, and he’s going to fight ADR anyway. Heyman brings up MITB, and says Punk needs eyes in the back of the head. He volunteers to be in Punk’s corner for the match, and Punk says, as his friend, please stay out of it. Heyman agrees to do so and leaves.
MATCH 1: The Usos (Jey and Jimmy) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow)
Sandow says we are about to witness a new era in WWE. In a little over a week, they will find themselves in an MITB match. For everyone waiting for the Scholars to be decimated, they could not be more mistaken. Rhodes simply says may the best man win. Sandow agrees and shakes Rhodes’ hand. You’re welcome. Rhodes and Jimmy start. Jimmy goes to the corner, and comes back with a chop. Jey tags in and hits a forearm for 2. Rhodes pops up with a dropkick, then tags in Sandow. Sandow stomps Jey down near the ropes, then hits a side-Russian legsweep. The Cobito Aquiet connects for 2, and Rhodes tags back in. Rhodes hits a standing gourdbuster, then hits a kneedrop before tagging in Sandow. The Scholars go for a double back suplex, but Jey escapes, sends Rhodes to the floor and nails Sandow with a thrust kick. Jimmy tags in, and the two hit a double Samoan Splash for 3.
WINNERS: The Usos. The Shield pop up on the TitanTron. Seth Rollins calls the Usos lucky, and got one over on the Shield. All the loss did was make them more focused and stronger. Roman Reigns says they won’t take the belts with luck. Dean Ambrose says Christian might beat him 1 out of 100 times. RAW was just the first of 99 times Ambrose beats him in a row. Prepare to live in a world where Ambrose is holding a MITB briefcase. He’s winning the ladder match, whether anyone likes it or not. He’ll be Mr. MITB and the US Champion, and he’s going to own the world. Believe that. Believe in the Shield.
MATCH 2: Alicia Fox vs. Kaitlyn (w/Layla)
Lock-up to start, and Fox hits some kneelifts. She rams Kaitlyn into the corner and hits a northern lights suplex for 2. Fox slams Kaitlyn’s face into the mat for another 2, then applies a rear chinlock before whipping Kaitlyn down by the hair. Kaitlyn gets thrown to the corner a couple of times, then goes back to the chinlock. Kaitlyn snapmares out of it and hits a series of strikes when AJ Lee’s music hits. Kaitlyn nails a dropkick and a running shoulderblock as AJ skips around the ring. Kaitlyn gets distracted, and Fox hits a kick to the head. AJ jumps on the apron, and Kaitlyn dropkicks her. Fox rolls Kaitlyn up and gets 3.
WINNER: Alicia Fox. Kaitlyn chases AJ to the back, and Layla follows.
We see AJ trying to leave the building when the Bella Twins stop her. They care about the title, and it will be theirs soon. AJ blows them off before running into Big E. Langston. She says they need to get out of here, and Langston asks about Dolph. She says they don’t have time, and she’ll text him later before screaming that they need to get the car.
Renee Young is standing by with Christian and Randy Orton. She reminds them of their rivalry. Christian says he’s already beaten Orton for the World title, and he puts everyone on notice when he beats Orton again and moves onto MITB. Orton says Christian is about to find out why everyone should be worried about him, and Christian will see why when he beats him in one. More. Match.
Another video for the Wyatt Family.
MATCH 3: Randy Orton vs. Christian
Christian goes into a waistlock, and Orton counters into a takedown, right into a front chancery. He applies a side headlock, then shoulders Christian off the ropes. Orton goes back to the side headlock, then gets hit with a back elbow. Christian lands an uppercut in the corner, then whips Orton. Orton comes back with a clothesline, getting 2. Christian trips Orton into the ropes then stands on his back. He misses the uppercut from the floor, and Orton goes for the suspended DDT. Christian counters with a backdrop to the floor. Commercials.
Back from the break, Orton misses the jumping kneedrop. Christian stands on his face, then boots him in the gut. Orton fights back with rights, and Christian comes back with an uppercut before running into a Thesz Press. Christian rolls to the apron, where he hits a hotshot. Christian up top, and a cross-body gets 2. A rear chinlock is applied by Christian, and Orton fights out. He sends Christian sternum-first into the buckles, then hits some more rights to the face. They trade punches from their knees, and when they get back up, they trade more until Orton hits a dropkick. Orton fires up the Four Moves of Boredom, but Christian counters the powerslam and hits a boot to the gut. Orton gets him in the corner for some mounted punches, but misses a charge. Christian counters with the Pendulum, and as Christian gets back in the ring, he’s hit with a powerbomb into a neckbreaker for 2. Christian hits a mule kick in the corner and springs to the middle rope. At the same time, Orton looks for an RKO, but Christian sees it coming and fakes Orton out. Christian charges in, and Orton counters into an Oklahoma roll for 2. Christian gets back up and runs into a powerslam for another 2. Christian gets back up and goes for the Killswitch. Orton escapes, goes for the RKO, and Christian counters into a back suplex. Christian signals for the spear, and it connects for 2. Christian calls for the Killswitch again, but Orton sees it coming, throws him to the apron and hits the suspended DDT. He calls for the RKO and almost connects, but Christian counters into a throw. He goes up top and misses a dive. He lands on his feet, but turns around into an RKO for 3.
WINNER: Randy Orton.
We see Teddy Long on the phone when someone bangs on his office door. Turns out it’s Paul Heyman, and Long is apparently looking for him. Long tells him he needs to be on commentary for the main event tonight. Heyman says no, saying he isn’t getting involved in Punk’s matches anymore. Long doesn’t want him to get involved; he just wants Heyman to provide insight for the match.
Video for Rob Van Dam’s return.
Before the match, Dolph Ziggler says the past few months have been a blur, but there’s one thing he’ll never forget. The biggest night of his career was beating ADR and becoming the World Champion. Unfortunately after that, things get fuzzy. He just came back from a concussion, ADR took full advantage, and it cost him the title. He doesn’t remember much after that. He’s not complaining, but what he does remember ADR coming out with a cheesy grin, his arms flailing around, and ADR proclaiming his love for America. He couldn’t convince the fans he was likeable, however. The thing with ADR is, he’s full of crap. Ziggler may be a lot of things, but he’s never claimed to be something he’s not. He has a chip on his shoulder, and he is arrogant, because he comes out every night and delivers. At MITB, he’s taking back what’s rightfully his: the World Championship. Show. Off.
MATCH 4: Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre (w/Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater)
Ziggler ducks a clothesline, then another. He fires off some rights in the corner and rolls Drew up for 2 before taunting him. Drew comes back with a forearm to the back, but Ziggler escapes a press slam and goes for a hurricanrana. Drew counters into a corner powerbomb for 2. Drew throws him back to the corner and stomps him down before hitting a snap suplex for 2. Drew applies a modified abdominal stretch, then whips Ziggler. Ziggler blocks a back body drop with a kick, but then gets hit with a pair of backbreakers for 2. Ziggler crawls to the apron, and Drew misses a running boot. Drew gets back in the ring and gets blasted with a dropkick for 2. Drew goes for a backbreaker again, but Ziggler escapes and quickly hits the Zig-Zag for 3.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler. The other two members of 3MB try to attack Ziggler after the match, but he escapes onto the ramp. Slater challenges him to get back in, and Ziggler does. They try to attack once more, but Ziggler again escapes, toying with the three.
MATCH 5: Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Justin Gabriel
Gabriel goes into a waistlock, and Fandango counters into a side headlock before shouldering Gabriel off the ropes. Crisscross ends with a Fandango cartwheel, and Gabriel drops him with a roundhouse before connecting with a chop and sending Fandango to the apron. Gabriel slides between his legs and trips him onto the apron. He goes for a suicide dive, but Fandango counters with an apron kick. Up top, Fandango connects with the guillotine legdrop for 3.
No Ricardo in ADR’s corner this week. Lock-up to start, with Punk backing ADR into the corner and giving a clean break. ADR hits a kick, then fires off some more in the corner. Punk reverses into some shoulder thrusts, hits a snapmare and a dropkick to the back of the head. Punk hits some forearms in the corner, and ADR comes back with a kick, followed by some punches. He sends ADR into the corner and misses a charge. Punk hits the Pepsi Max and goes up top for the Macho Elbow, but ADR sees it coming and rolls to the floor. Commercials.
Back from the break, ADR hits a running kick in the corner, then drives Punk down with an armbar. Punk counters with an armdrag, but ADR blocks a shoulder thrust and hits a kick for 2. ADR begins working on the left arm, but Punk counters into the GTS. ADR escapes and hits the double-knee armbreaker for 2. ADR hits a thrust kick to the face for another 2, then goes back to the arm. Punk fights back and hits a bodyslam before going up top. ADR gets to his feet and hits a step-up enziguri off the top rope for 2. He calls for the rolling jujigatame, but Punk escapes and hits a series of strikes and a clothesline. Punk runs into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, then rolls to the apron, where ADR dropkicks him to the floor. ADR goes outside, and Punk grabs him in the GTS. ADR escapes, rams Punk into the barricade and kicks him in the chest before throwing him over the announce desk. Heyman tries to talk some sense into ADR, so ADR punches him. Punk sees it, and hits a flying double axe handle off the announce desk as the bell rings.
WINNER: No contest as a result of a double count-out. Punk throws ADR into the barricade. Punk rolls ADR back in the ring and hits the GTS.
End of show.
Maybe if ADR learned how to do more than kicks (bad ones at that), fans might actually be into him as either a heel or a face. Not holding my breath, though.
Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, and you can keep track of all of his work on his Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/DustinNicholsWriter. Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out his mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:
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