This week’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown opens up with Triple H in the ring, accompanied by GMs Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox as all three members of the Shield stand guard at ringside. Trips says that, before they get started, regretfully, as of this past Monday night, Cody Rhodes is no longer a WWE superstar. Rhodes was fired for just cause, but he was also insubordinate and disrespectful to the COO. The COO represents the WWE, so as COO, Trips IS the WWE. Rhodes was disrespectful and insubordinate to all of the fans as well, and he won’t stand for that. Even with that, he gave Rhodes the opportunity to fight for his job. Rhodes failed and as a result, Rhodes fired Rhodes. That pains Trips because he’s friends with Rhodes. He’s friends with Rhodes’ dad and his brother. That decision was painful, but that’s the burden he takes as COO. Hard decisions have to be made, and sometimes, you’re the bad guy. He accepts that responsibility as long as he is able to do what is best for business. Now, onto tonight. He wants to create an open forum for the WWE roster, which we see on the stage. He doesn’t want anyone to have to fight for their jobs anymore. He wants them to be able to ask questions or make statements with no fear of repercussions. The floor is theirs. Who is going to go first? No one moves, and Trips says he works for all of them, but can only do that if they open up to him. If they tell him how they feels, he will work harder than anyone for each one of them. He wants everyone to grow, but that can only happen if they’re all honest with each other.
Before we go further, Trips notices that Daniel Bryan is conspicuous by his absence. Bryan not being up there is symptomatic of his problem. Bryan’s ego is out of control and has gotten so big he’s too big to stand out here with everyone. That’s a shame, because he’d like to tell Bryan to his face that he will be in the ring tonight and gets a 1-on-1 match against a member of the Shield of his choosing. Trips says this has been helpful and cathartic. He’s excited and would like to reward those that spoke up tonight. Starting with Kofi, he will get a “non-title Intercontinental Championship match” with Curtis Axel. RVD, dude, you will get the opportunity to get in the ring next, and you will face the face of this whole thing. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the WWE Champion, Randy Orton.
MATCH 1: Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. WWE Champion Randy Orton (non-title)
Alberto Del Rio is on color commentary. Fortunately, the audio track on this feed kind of sucks. RVD immediately hits a kick and follows up with shoulder thrusts in the corner, a snapmare and a spinning legdrop from the top rope for 2. RVD hits a high kick to the face for another 2. Orton rolls to the apron, and RVD hits a slingshot legdrop. Back in, RVD hits a thrust kick from the top rope for another 2. Orton sees Rolling Thunder coming and counters with a powerslam for 2. Orton stomps RVD down in the corner, then sends RVD into the ropes. RVD avoids a back body drop and hits a spinning dropkick for 2. More shoulder thrusts in the corner, but Orton recovers with some kneelifts for 2. Orton rakes RVD’s face while in the ropes, then punches him in the head several times. RVD blocks a corner charge and hits a split-legged moonsault for 2. Orton heads to the outside and RVD follows. Orton slams him into the guardrail and goes for a suplex, but RVD counters into a gourdbuster across the barricade. RVD sets up the spinning legdrop from the apron, but misses as Orton slides into the crowd. Orton throws RVD back in the ring and hits the Garvin Stomp. RVD fights back before Orton botches a dropkick. Orton throws RVD back to the outside, where he lands in front of the announce desk. Commercials.
Back from the break, Orton has RVD in a rear chinlock. RVD elbows out, but receives a forearm to the back. Orton sends him into the corner, and RVD blocks the charge before hitting a pair of clotheslines and a superkick. A standing moonsault gets 2 for RVD, and he follows up with a spinning heel kick in the corner. Orton avoids the rolling monkey flip and kicks RVD’s leg out from under him before rolling him up for 2. Orton hits the 3.0, then throws RVD to the apron for an elevated DDT, which connects. Orton signals for the RKO, but RVD blocks it with a high kick to the face and body-scissors Orton for 2. RVD follows up with a jumping side kick from the middle rope, as well as Rolling Thunder. He calls for the Five-Star, but misses as Orton rolls out of the way. RVD rolls to the floor, and Orton follows suit, throwing RVD back in the ring. RVD recovers and hits a spin kick as ADR throws Ricardo into the ring post on the outside. RVD takes ADR out with a somersault plancha, and Orton then throws RVD into the announce desk before rolling him back into the ring, where he hits the suspended DDT from the apron to the floor. Orton rolls RVD back in, then picks him up and hits the RKO for 3.
WINNER: Randy Orton. After the match, ADR stomps RVD a few times, then throws his scarf at him before applying a jujigatame.
We get a video package for the Real Americans.
Renee Young is standing by with Daniel Bryan and asks why he was absent earlier. Bryan says he’s not better than anyone, and wasn’t out there because management told him he wasn’t welcome there. As far as his ego goes, it’s simply him wanting to be WWE Champion. As for the Shield, we all know it won’t be 1-on-1 tonight, so he’s going to let them decide who he faces. He can beat any member of the Shield, just like he can beat Randy Orton for the title.
AJ Lee walks by Layla, Alicia Fox and Aksana in the back. She knows they don’t like her, and that’s fine. She’s used to it. Anyway, she’d rather be defending the title against one of them instead of the Total Divas. Just because those girls are pretty, they think they deserve a shot at t the title. They also think they are better than these girls. AJ has an idea, and they begin discussing the idea in hushed tones.
MATCH 2: Dolph Ziggler vs. Ryback
Ziggler ducks a pair of clotheslines and avoids a pancake before low-bridging Ryback to the floor. Back in, Ziggler trips Ryback into the ropes and follows up with a dropkick before missing an avalanche. Ryback begins kicking Ziggler, then bodyslams him before hitting a Warrior Splash for 2. Dean Ambrose joins the commentary team as Ziggler gets thrown into the middle buckle. Ryback applies a bearhug and turns it into a pin for 2. Ryback picks Ziggler back up and punches his way out of the hold before turning it into a DDT. Ziggler avoids a charge in the corner, sending Ryback shoulder-first into the ring post. He follows up with an avalanche and turns it into some corner punches before hitting a neckbreaker for 2. Ziggler misses the rocker dropper, but slides under Ryback’s legs, kicks him in the knee and hits it on the second attempt for 2. Ryback shoulders Ziggler off the ropes, sending him to the outside in front of the announce desk. Ryback heads out and charges at Ziggler, but Ziggler moves, causing Ryback to go shoulder-first into the ring steps. Ziggler spots Ambrose as Ambrose is talking trash. Ziggler chases him away, but runs right into a Meat Hook by Ryback. Ryback rolls Ziggler back in the ring and hits Shell Shocked for 3.
MATCH 3: Kofi Kingston vs. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman; non-title)
Axel immediately applies a side headlock, and Kofi counters into his own, followed by a hip throw. Axel fights out and goes back to his own headlock before picking Kofi’s ankle and applying a front chancery. Kofi counters into a hammerlock, and Axel gets a rope break. Axel goes back to the headlock and follows up with a hip throw. Kofi gets back up and fights out, but gets shouldered back down. This leads into a crisscross that ends with a jumping back elbow from Kofi that sends Axel to the floor. Axel gets back in and clubs Kofi down. Kofi blocks an Irish whip with a hurricanrana, then dropkicks Axel to the floor. He goes for a suicide dive, but puts on the breaks when Axel sees it coming. He goes for a baseball slide, but Axel moves out of the way, kicks Kofi and sends him into the steps. Kofi jumps over them, then hits a clothesline from the steps. Back in the ring. As Heyman distracts Kofi, Axel shoulders Kofi back to the floor. Commercials.
We get a video for Rob Van Dam.
Back from the break, Axel has a rear chinlock on Kofi as the Minneapolis crowd is firmly behind Axel. Kofi fights out and hits several kicks. He ducks a clothesline, but Axel hits one from behind for 2. Axel hits a bodyslam and mounts the middle rope. Kofi blocks the dive with a pair of boots, hits a pair of chops and a jumping back elbow. He comes off the ropes, but is met with a dropkick by Axel for 2. Axel sends Kofi into the corner, but Kofi blocks the charge and mounts the top rope. Axel crotches him, and now Kofi is hanging in the tree of woe. Axel unhooks him after some forearm shots, and Kofi surprises him with a quick SOS for 3.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston.
We get a promo from the Wyatt Family. Bray Wyatt says Icarus was warned to never let his wings made of wax get too close to the sun. Pride can make even the most noble men do such foolish things. As Icarus neared the sun, his wings began to melt. Icarus fell into the ocean and was never heard from again. Where’s Kane? He warned Kane that the fire he thinks is his friend would ultimately be his ending. When Kane allowed his pride to cloud his common sense, that’s when Wyatt knew Kane was his. Like a lamb led to slaughter, where, oh where has his monster gone? Where, oh where could he be? Kane has made his bed, and now he’s burning in it. Where’s Kane?
We see Paul Heyman on his phone in the back. Renee Young stops him mid-conversation and asks if Curtis Axel is defeated at NOC, Heyman will be alone with CM Punk. Does that concern him? Heyman says she means to ask if he’s frightened or scared. Tonight was an error in judgment. They overlooked Kofi because he’s been concerned with Punk. That was Heyman’s mistake, and it’s one he won’t make again. If Punk gets his hands on Heyman, he’ll tear Heyman limb from limb. Punk promised to break Heyman’s face and would show the world a side of him they may not be comfortable with. Heyman always accepted Punk at his worst, but Heyman’s worst is worse than Punk’s. Young points out Punk guaranteed defeat over Axel and would give Heyman the beating of his life. Heyman turns around, kicks a door in and slams it behind him.
MATCH 4: Naomi (w/Cameron) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella)
Bella kicks Naomi in the knee and follows up with a low dropkick for 2. Bella hits a hairmare, then rams her knee into Naomi’s face before applying a straightjacket. Neither Bella will shut up, and it’s making my ears bleed. Naomi elbows out of the hold and hits a snapmare, followed by a pair of dropkicks. She ducks a clothesline and hits a flipping clothesline off the ropes for 2. Naomi avoids an Irish whip and kicks Bella in the head before both go tumbling out to the floor. AJ Lee, Alicia Fox, Aksana and Layla run down and attack everyone.
WINNER: No contest. After a brawl, AJ holds Brie Bella up to get hit with a Bombshell by Layla. AJ then announces herself as champion as the other three divas she came out with stand in the ring over everyone else.
We get another video for Los Matadores. I just hope that, for the sake of Primo and Epico, this gimmick doesn’t pretty much ruin their career the way it did to Tito Santana.
Zeb Colter and the Real Americans are in the ring. Zeb asks the crowd to repeat “We the People” after him. That’s pretty much it.
MATCH 5: The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger, w/Zeb Colter) vs. The Usos (Jey and Jimmy)
Cesaro immediately nails an Uso (can’t tell which one) with a dropkick. He throws the Uso to the floor before tagging in Swagger. Swagger chop-blocks the Uso on the outside, and I see that this is Jimmy. Back in the ring, Swagger throws Jimmy to his corner for some shoulder thrusts, and Cesaro hits a boot to the head from the apron. Swagger connects with the Swagger Bomb, and Cesaro tags in to hit a leapfrog double stomp. Cesaro backhands Jimmy then hits a European uppercut. Swagger tags in and the Americans hit what appears to be a double full-nelson slam for 2. Swagger applies a double chicken-wing. Jimmy fights out, hits a back elbow from the corner, then backdrops Swagger to the floor. Swagger tags in Cesaro, and Jey tags in as well. He hiptosses Cesaro the floor and follows up with a plancha. Back in the ring, Jey hits a shoulderblock from the top rope and follows up with a running hip bump in the corner for 2 as Swagger breaks up the pin. Jey takes Swagger out with a mule kick before Cesaro rolls him up for 2. Jey hits a superkick on Cesaro and mounts the top rope. Jimmy tries to stop Swagger from interfering as Zeb is distracting the referee. Swagger sends Jimmy into the barricade, then shoves Jey off the top right into a Very European Uppercut by Cesaro for 3.
WINNER: The Real Americans.
We see the Big Show pacing around in an office in the back when Triple H walks in. He asks Show what’s going on, and Show says Trips knows exactly what’s wrong. Trips says that 3MB had no right to say anything to Show. No one is going to disrespect Show. He’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders and a lot of raging building. He’s going to let Show let some steam off against 3MB. He wants Show to take his fist and treat the members of 3MB like giant stress balls.
MATCH 5-3-on-1 Handicap Match: 3MB (Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater) vs. The Big Show
Slater starts for his team, trying a kick. Show catches the foot and trips him before shoving Drew to the floor and tossing Mahal. Drew gets beat down on the outside before being sent into the barricade. Mahal gets chokeslammed into the ropes before getting slammed on the announce desk. Show unloads on Mahal’s chest with chops, then spears Drew. Drew is against the barricade, and Show knees him right in the face before rolling both Drew and Mahal into the ring. Those two receive a double chokeslam, and then Show pulls Slater up by the hair, hitting him with the Knockout Punch for 3.
WINNER: The Big Show. As Show is heading back up the ramp, the Shield make their way down to the ring, and Triple H walks out as well. He tells Show to come with him.
Roman Reigns steps up like he’s going to be Bryan’s opponent, which allows Rollins to attack from behind. Bryan recovers and hits a kitchen sink off the ropes before firing up the Yes! Kicks. Rollins avoids a roundhouse, but Bryan clotheslines him to the floor, taking himself to the floor in the process. Ambrose and Reigns cause a distraction as Bryan throws Rollins back in. Rollins recovers and throws Bryan back to the floor near his partners. Rollins rolls Bryan onto the apron, where he connects with a running boot to the head. Back in the ring, Rollins gets 2 before applying a cobra clutch. Bryan fights out, and the two trade punches until Rollins hits a kneelift. Bryan ducks a clothesline and snaps off a nice German suplex before hitting a running corner dropkick. Up top, Bryan hits a seated missile dropkick for 2. Bryan unloads the Yes! Kicks again, but Rollins ducks the Buzzsaw and pushes Bryan to the outside. Bryan lands on the apron, where he rams Rollins’ head into the top buckle. Bryan mounts the top rope, and Rollins knocks him to the floor with a kick to the head. As Rollins is distracting the ref, Reigns levels Bryan with a flying clothesline off the steps. Rollins heads outside and throws Bryan into the steps before rolling him back in the ring and mounting the top rope. Rollins dives, and Bryan counters right into the Yes! Lock. Reigns jumps on the apron, and Bryan dropkicks him to the floor. The same thing happens to Ambrose, and Rollins manages to hit Bryan from behind. Bryan ducks a clothesline and takes Reigns out with a suicide dive before hiptossing Ambrose on the floor. He forearms Rollins through the ropes, gets back in the ring and hits the running knee strike for 3.
WINNER: Daniel Bryan. As Bryan is celebrating on the stage, Randy Orton nails him in the back with the WWE title.
End of show.
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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