A video recaps the final moments of the Street Fight for the World Heavyweight Championship match at Summerslam. Orton hit Christian with an RKO on the steel steps and regained the World Heavyweight Championship. They promote Orton’s first appearance since winning the championship.
We’re brought into the arena and Smackdown’s General Manager Teddy Long is already in the ring. Long asks the crowd to welcome the new World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton to the ring. Josh Mathews, Michael Cole, and Booker T welcome us to the show as Orton makes his way to the ring. Orton’s thumb is all taped up. It was messed up at Summerslam. Orton gets in the ring and shakes hands with Long.
The crowd chants for Orton. Orton said that everyone is used to Smackdown starting with Christian in the ring, whining and complaining, begging for one more match, he sure as hell is no Christian. His name is Randy Orton and he’s the World Heavyweight Champion. Orton beat Christian so badly at Summerslam that he couldn’t even show up tonight to beg for one more match. He used to respect Christian, then he began to annoy him, and then he despised him with every fiber of his being. Now it’s all over. Orton says he’s ready to start anew. Long says he’s glad Orton brought that up. Long says Orton will be moving on to face the winner of tonight’s main event: a 20-man Battle Royal!
Cody Rhodes’s music hits and he comes to the ring with Ted DiBiase. Rhodes says Long knows what this is. It’s “The Legacy” reunited in the ring. Rhodes asks if he remembers the Legacy – it was the group on Monday Night Raw with him and Ted where they were considered lesser sons of a greater sire. Times have changed because he’s a champion like Orton. Unlike Randy Orton, he didn’t have to resort to common barbarism to get him title and please the masses. Rhodes says he could care less about any of the hideous people. Rhodes says Orton knows him and he knows he’s not happy just being the Intercontinental Champion. That’s why he’ll compete in the 20-man Battle Royal because he wants what Orton has. Sooner than later he’ll take the title.
Rhodes says that DiBiase has a voice and he should use it. DiBiase says they know Orton better than everyone else in the WWE. They know his strengths but most importantly they know his weaknesses. DiBiase says they haven’t forgotten about all the times Orton used them – and Orton RKOs him out of nowhere! Rhodes backs away to the corner in shock and slimes out of the ring.
Orton leaves and Rhodes gets back in the ring. Rhodes screams at Long that this is his show and he wants to know if he’s going to do something about that. Rhodes demands it. Long says he’s going to march back there and demand that Orton stands in the corner on one leg and write 100 times that he will not RKO Ted DiBiase ever again. In the meantime, since DiBiase can’t compete, Rhodes will take his place. The Intercontinental Championship will be on the line and his opponent is Ezekiel Jackson. The match is next. HOLLA!
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Ezekiel Jackson
Before the match, they show footage of Rhodes beating Jackson for the title last week. Rhodes took advantage of a well-timed distraction by Ted DiBiase and picked up the win. This is Rhodes’s first singles championship in the WWE. Rhodes put a bag over Jackson’s face. Jackson soon got up and destroyed Ted DiBiase as Rhodes stayed far away.
They lock up and Jackson quickly powers Rhodes to the corner. Jackson punches before sending him to the opposite corner and hitting a spinning sidewalk slam for a one count. Jackson grabs him by the foot, ducks an enzuigiri, and drops an elbow for a one count. Rhodes punches back but Jackson punches back harder. Jackson sends him to the ropes but Rhodes ducks down and uppercuts him. Rhodes charges into a back body drop for a one count. Rhodes rolls to the apron and snaps Jackson off the top rope. Rhodes runs in and hits a bulldog for a two count.
Rhodes kicks and punches away at Jackson in the corner. Rhodes backs up and talks some trash. Rhodes punches and goes for a move but Jackson punches out. Jackson charges into a flying forearm for a two count. Rhodes applies a claw to the back of Jackson’s neck. Jackson simply throws him off. Jackson punches away at Rhodes in the corner. Jackson goes for a press slam but Rhodes slides off and rolls out of the ring. Jackson follows and throws him into the steps. Rhodes quickly kicks the steps into Jackson’s knee. Jackson gets in the ring and goes for the Torture Rack, but Rhodes slides out and kicks him in the back of the knee. Rhodes hits the Beautiful Disaster and follows up with the Cross Rhodes for the win.
Winner & still WWE Intercontinental Champion: Cody Rhodes
Match Rating: * 1/4
Tonight’s main event will be a 20-man Battle Royal. The winner will face Randy Orton for the title in the future.
Zack Ryder walks into Teddy Long’s office and says Alberto Del Rio is on his way. Long says he wanted him to invite the WWE Undisputed Champion which he thought would be John Cena or CM Punk. Ryder says life is full of surprises, like when he wins the Battle Royal tonight to get a shot at the title. Long says that will be a big surprise. Aksana walks up and the cheesy saxophone starts to play. Aksana flirts with him and makes some sexual innuendos, like where the Long comes from in his last name. Long is smitten but says he’ll watch the Battle Royal by himself.
They show footage of Justin Gabriel’s massive following in South Africa. He’ll be in action next.
Justin Gabriel vs. Tyson Kidd
They circle the ring and Kidd quickly takes him down with a waist lock. Kidd gets a side headlock applied. Gabriel whips him off but Kidd shoulder blocks him down. They go into the ropes and Gabriel flips through a hip toss. Gabriel takes him down with a leg sweep and follows up with an arm drag. Gabriel keeps the arm bar applied but Kidd fights up and backs him to the corner. Kidd punches but has a whip to the opposite corner reversed. Kidd goes for a slingshot but gets caught. Kidd counters by hitting head-scissor takeover that sends Gabriel into the turnbuckle. Kidd chokes him in the corner. Kidd hits a snapmare and dropkicks him in the head for a one count.
Kidd elbows him in the face before sending him into the ropes and hitting a back elbow for a near fall. Kidd applies a surfboard stretch. Gabriel takes a while before he’s able to fight up. Kidd goes for a back suplex but Gabriel flips through. Kidd ducks a roundhouse but Gabriel catches him with a second attempt. Gabriel takes him down with a few kicks, flips over him, and hits a roundhouse. Gabriel hits a spinning forearm shiver for a near fall. Gabriel punches him in the corner. Kidd counters and goes for a splash but Gabriel moves. Gabriel hits a springboard cross-body, but Kidd rolls through and goes for a single leg crab. Gabriel counters by rolling him up for a near fall. Gabriel quickly takes him down with a TKO. Gabriel goes to the top rope. Kidd tries to surprise him with a superplex but Gabriel fights him off. Gabriel hits the 450 Splash and picks up the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Justin Gabriel
Match Rating: **
Matt Striker is backstage with The Great Khali and Jinder Mahal. Striker asks Mahal about his chances in the Battle Royal and Khali interrupts. Mahal translates that Khali said he would win the Battle Royal. Mahal scolds him and says he serves him.
WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio returns to Smackdown next.
Ricardo Rodriguez is in the ring to introduce the WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio drives into the arena and comes into the ring. Del Rio says his name and what title he holds… but we already knew that. We also know that he’s been talking about destiny for months. Even though we thought he was crazy, which he’s not, he’s here to show us that destiny is real. Del Rio says he cashed his Money in the Bank last Sunday at Summerslam to become our Undisputed WWE Champion. He says “our champion” because we know what Bakersfield represents to him. One year ago he made his debut in the very same place. He defeated Rey Mysterio. Del Rio says he remembers how much people hated him. Now, a year later, everyone loves him.
Del Rio says it’s funny that he defeated Rey Mysterio last year and he defeated Rey Mysterio in his first title defense a year later. Del Rio shows a replay of him beating Mysterio on Raw in San Diego. Del Rio tried to break Mysterio’s arm afterwards. Del Rio is shown watching the video with pride. Del Rio says he is a real champion. That’s the reason he’s here – because that’s what a real champion does. He faces everyone. Del Rio asks who wants to face him.
Daniel Bryan’s music hits and he makes his way to the stage. Del Rio laughs and asks if he’s kidding. Del Rio asks if Bryan wants another beat down. Bryan says if Del Rio thinks he’s so special then he has a question for him. If he’s so special, then why did he cash in his Money in the Bank contract like everyone else? The champion was beaten down and he picked the bones. Bryan says that’s not special. That is ordinary, predictable, and pathetic. Bryan makes his way to the ring to face Del Rio. That match is next.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Daniel Bryan
Charles Robinson, my favorite referee in the world, is the official for this match. They circle the ring and lock up. They tussle around the ropes, jockeying for position. Robinson goes to break them up but Del Rio goes for a cheap shot. Bryan ducks it and kicks him down in the corner. Bryan sends him to the ropes but Del Rio holds on and rolls out of the ring. Bryan chases him and Del Rio kicks him as he tries to get back in the ring. Del Rio taunts the crowd after he’s done kicking him. Del Rio sends him hard into the corner and kicks him in the head for a near fall. Del Rio applies an arm bar (not his finisher). Bryan fights up and punches out. Del Rio quickly head-butts him down and kicks him in the face for a one count.
Del Rio applies a side headlock and takes him down. Bryan fights up and whips him into the ropes. Del Rio takes him down with a shoulder block. Del Rio goes into the ropes and runs into a knee to the midsection. Bryan viciously kicks away at Del Rio for a near fall. Bryan hits a pair of uppercuts but has a whip to the corner reversed on him. Del Rio runs into a back elbow. Bryan goes to the top rope but Del Rio catches him with an arm breaker off the second rope for a near fall. Del Rio punches away at him and reapplies that arm bar. Ricardo Rodriguez is seen at ringside clapping away. Bryan fights up and goes for a sunset flip but Del Rio drops an elbow on his arm for a near fall. Del Rio works on the arm and gets a one count. Del Rio applies an overhead wristlock. Del Rio turns it to another arm bar but Bryan fights up and punches out. Bryan uppercuts away at him, but has a whip reversed on him. Bryan hits the corner hard. Del Rio drops a leg for a near fall.
Del Rio goes back to an arm bar. Bryan fights up and punches. Del Rio punches back and beats him down. Del Rio kicks him in the face and covers for a near fall. Del Rio applies another arm bar but Bryan quickly fights up and punches out. Del Rio head-butts him and charges into a back elbow. Del Rio charges again into a boot and misses a splash on his third attempt. Bryan viciously kicks away at him in the corner. Bryan has a whip reversed but he flips over him. Bryan goes into the ropes and hits a flying elbow. Bryan can’t immediately capitalize because of his arm. Bryan sends him to the ropes but lowers his head and eats a kick. Del Rio charges and Bryan back body drops him over the top rope.
Bryan gets on the apron and hits a flying knee to Del Rio’s face. That connected nicely. Bryan sends him back to the ring and goes to the top rope. Del Rio ducks and hits a German suplex with a bridge for a near fall! Nice move! Del Rio kicks away at him and bounces him in the corner. Del Rio’s mouth is busted. For a second it looked like his tooth was hanging out. Del Rio puts him on the top rope and goes for a super back suplex but Bryan turns it to a cross-body! Hell of a match so far!
We come back from the break to see Bryan and Del Rio trading punches. Bryan punches away and sends him to the corner. Bryan hits a running dropkick in the corner and the crowd is really into this match now. Bryan goes to the top rope and hits a nice missile dropkick for a near fall. Charles Robinson looks exhausted from all the action. Bryan kicks away at Del Rio’s chest as he’s on his knees. Del Rio counters and goes for a German suplex but Bryan flips through. Del Rio charges into a boot. Bryan charges and counters a tilt-a-whirl slam into a Guillotine Choke! Del Rio nearly taps but instead is able to drive him into the corner. Del Rio slams him and quickly catches him with the Cross Arm Breaker for the win!
Winner by Submission: Alberto Del Rio
Match Rating: ***
Del Rio hits another arm breaker on Bryan and applies the Cross Arm Breaker again. Sin Cara runs down and hits a head-scissor takeover on Del Rio! Cara dropkicks him out of the ring and hits him with a top rope plancha! Cara runs over to check on Bryan.
Mark Henry is backstage with Matt Striker. Striker shows some images of Henry slamming Sheamus through the barricade at Summerslam. Striker asks how Henry feels about the Battle Royal. Henry says his thoughts are “no respect”. He should already be the number one contender. He put out Big Show and Kane. He drove Sheamus through a wall at Summerslam. They put him in the same boat with everybody else and that’s the wrong thing to do. Henry looks at this Battle Royal as a boat. 20 men. The sea is going to get rocked. It’ll get tossed and turned. 19 of those 20 men are going overboard and they’re going to sink.
Kelly Kelly & AJ vs. Natalya & Alicia Fox
Natalya looks none too pleased entering this match tonight. Natalya orders Fox to the corner. She’ll start the match out against AJ. They lock up and Natalya quickly takes her down. Natalya grabs her by the hair but AJ pushes her off. AJ goes for a roll up but Natalya doesn’t budge. Natalya lifts her up by the neck and throws her to the corner. AJ kicks her away and goes for a cross-body but Natalya catches her. Natalya goes for a powerslam but AJ gets out. AJ runs into a back elbow but quickly gets on the offensive with a nice head-scissor takeover. Natalya quickly gets out and sends her to the corner. Natalya slams her down by the hair. Natalya drags her by the hair to her corner and tags in Alicia Fox.
Fox hits a snapmare and Natalya kicks AJ. Fox slams her down and drives a knee into her ribs. Fox kicks her and applies a chin lock. AJ fights up and tries to get out but Fox takes her down. Fox drags her to the corner and Natalya tags in. They hit a double suplex and Natalya gets a near fall. Natalya slaps her and tags Fox back in. Fox kicks her and chokes her with her boot. AJ fights her off and elbows Natalya. AJ makes the tag to Kelly.
Kelly hits a Thesz Press and slaps her in her posterior area. Kelly hits her head-scissor takeover and a bulldog. Kelly does the stink face and hits a scary hurricanrana but Natalya breaks it up. AJ runs in and Natalya takes her out. Fox misses a Scissor Kick and Kelly hits the K2 for the win.
Winners by Pinfall: Kelly Kelly & AJ
Match Rating: *
Natalya looks furious at ringside. Natalya confronts Alicia Fox and calls her an idiot. Natalya gets in her face and Fox goes right back at her. Fox goes to walk off and Natalya punches her off the apron. Natalya applies the Sharpshooter at ringside! Natalya then calmly walks off.
The 20-man Battle Royal will be next.
They show footage from Summerslam Axxess.
Randy Orton makes his way to the ring to watch the #1 Contender’s Battle Royal. The match is next.
#1 Contender’s 20-Man Battle Royal
The Great Khali vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Johnny Curtis vs. Heath Slater vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Trent Barreta vs. Zack Ryder vs. William Regal vs. The Usos vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Sin Cara vs. Wade Barrett vs. Mark Henry vs. Sheamus
They all quickly try to gang up on Mark Henry but he swats the entire bunch of wrestlers away. Barreta charges Henry and takes a flapjack. Henry eliminates him from there. Henry head-butts Tatsu down and clotheslines him over the top rope. Sheamus tries to eliminate Rhodes but he punches him away. Khali is protecting Mahal in the corner. Barrett throws Curtis to the apron and punches him off, eliminating him. The Usos try to eliminate Slater but he hangs on. Gabriel nearly eliminates Rhodes but he hangs on as well. Regal tries to get to Khali and Mahal so Khali chops his chest. Sheamus nearly has DiBiase eliminated but can’t finish the job. Ryder dukes it out with Cara. Ryder charges and Cara hip tosses him over the top rope. Jackson nearly eliminates Rhodes but he skins the cat. Jackson then clotheslines him over the top rope.
Jackson squares off against Khali, punching away at him in the corner. Jackson clotheslines Khali in the corner which, in turn, squashes Mahal. Jackson back up and runs into a Brain Chop. Khali then eliminates him. Henry stares at Khali and they go face to face. Henry pushes him and Khali hits a Brain Chop that takes Henry down. Khali signals for his vice but Henry breaks the hold. Henry picks him up and slams Khali over the top rope! Sheamus and Henry punch it out and Henry slides under the bottom rope. That is not an elimination. Slater tries to eliminate Sheamus but gets put on the apron. Sheamus then hits a Brogue Kick that eliminates Slater. Henry picks him up on the outside and press slams Slater on the steel steps. Orton is sitting at ringside watching closely.
We come back from the break to see Sheamus nearly eliminated. Regal was eliminated during the break. Sheamus beats on Kidd in the corner. The Usos are working on Gabriel. Henry is still at ringside. Sheamus tries to eliminate Kidd but can’t quite do it. Kidd nearly eliminates Sheamus but he hangs on. Gabriel and Cara punch away at Mahal in the corner. Cara throws Gabriel into the ropes and eliminates him with a cross-body block. Henry grabs Gabriel at ringside and throws him over the barricade. Sheamus eliminates The Usos with a clothesline. Henry throws one of them into the barricade and puts the other through the announcer’s table!
Henry gets in the ring and beats off anyone who challenges him. Henry picks Mahal up and dumps him out like yesterday’s garbage. DiBiase meets the same fate. Cara eliminates Kidd with a hurricanrana variation. Wade Barrett, Sheamus, Sin Cara, and Mark Henry are the final four.
They all go after Mark Henry and beat him down in the corner. Sheamus goes to town on Henry with some vicious knees in the corner. Sheamus turns and takes a clothesline from Barrett. Barrett tosses him but Sheamus hangs on. Barrett punches away at him but Sheamus counters. Sheamus pulls him on to the apron with him. They punch it out but Sheamus comes out on top with a big kick to the chest. Sin Cara tries to surprise Sheamus, but he sidesteps him. Cara dropkicks him and is nearly eliminated but he hangs on. Cara kicks and punches away at Sheamus. Sheamus sends him to the corner and nearly eliminates him. Sheamus pumps up but Henry sneaks up on him and dumps him over the top rope.
Henry turns around into a cross-body block from Cara. Henry presses him off him and Cara goes through the bottom rope. Cara kicks away at his knee and goes for a hurricanrana but Henry holds on. Cara gets off and goes for a springboard cross-body. Henry catches him and hits the World’s Strongest Slam. Henry picks him up and press slams him out of the ring for the win!
Winner: Mark Henry
Match Rating: * 3/4
Mark Henry leaves the ring and goes face to face with Randy Orton. Henry talks some trash to Orton as Smackdown ends.
Quick Match Results
Cody Rhodes def. Ezekiel Jackson to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Justin Gabriel def. Tyson Kidd
Alberto Del Rio def. Daniel Bryan via Submission (non-title)
Kelly Kelly & AJ def. Natalya & Alicia Fox
Mark Henry wins a 20-Man Battle Royal to become the #1 Contender to the World Title
Bump of the Night: Henry’s ringside destruction of Slater, Gabriel, and The Usos
Match of the Night: Alberto Del Rio vs. Daniel Bryan ***
The beginning of the show was really lame. Randy Orton made his “triumphant” return to Smackdown as the new World Heavyweight Champion but it didn’t feel that special at all. It wasn’t that long ago he was champion. They set up tonight’s main event from here. The segment then just dragged on and on, especially when Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase came out. Legacy was boring when it was around and I didn’t need to be reminded of it once again. This ending of this segment reminded me of The Miz and Jared’s segment on Raw, but they added an RKO. It was just filler and a waste of time.
Cody Rhodes beat Ezekiel Jackson to retain the Intercontinental Championship and I’m hoping this is the last time we have to watch Jackson in a title match for a while. This guy just doesn’t click with the crowd and looks extremely awkward in the ring. Just because a guy is a jacked up buffoon doesn’t automatically mean he should be pushed. When will they learn? It was nice to see Rhodes pick up a clean win over him.
Justin Gabriel had a really nice, short match against Tyson Kidd. They’re really trying to build Gabriel up as a special guy. They continue to show that video package of their trip to South Africa with him. I don’t know if it’ll translate to anything, but I’m excited to see where they go with him. They guy has talent, no doubt about it, and he is connecting with the crowd a bit. I just wish he had some sort of a character other than the guy who does the 450 Splash. A quick note about Tyson Kidd – it looks like he’s the new Chavo Guerrero. He’s a guy that can have a good match against anybody but will never win. Kidd is far too talented for this role but, alas, this is what he’s stuck with for now.
It was nice to have Alberto Del Rio acknowledge that it’s been almost exactly a year since he debuted on Smackdown in the same city. His promo was good. Daniel Bryan’s promo work leaves a little to be desired. However, his in-ring work does not. That, simply put, was an awesome match. It was fast paced, hard hitting, and well wrestled. I have no problems with Del Rio coming out on top for the second week in a row over Bryan. Bryan has plenty of time between now and WrestleMania to build up some steam. On the plus side, the crowd was really into him. Bryan’s ability to tell a story in the ring makes up for the killer promos that he can’t cut. There’s lots of time to improve that aspect of his game as well.
The Divas tag match wasn’t horrible tonight. That’s always something. Alicia Fox still sucks and Kelly’s offense isn’t the greatest, but Natalya is killer right now. AJ was great in this match, too. I loved watching her get thrown around like a Raggedy Ann doll. My only wish is that Beth Phoenix was with her tonight. These two divas are quickly making me sort of care about the divas again. A shake-up in that division is long overdue. We have to wait a year for Kharma to come back so this is a nice substitute in the meantime.
The Battle Royal drove me crazy at the beginning. As you all know, I strive every week to give you the most accurate recap I can possibly give you. I wanted to write out all the names in the so-called “20-Man” Battle Royal, but I kept coming up with 19. I paused the TV, counted a bunch of times, and still kept coming up with 19. I guess they didn’t think anyone would notice, but I did. We know that Smackdown’s roster is crazy thin. If there aren’t twenty guys to fill up the match then just call it a Battle Royal. That’s just me nitpicking, though. Other than that it was a decent Battle Royal. I’m happy that Mark Henry got the win. The guy has been on fire since coming over to Smackdown. It seems like everything has finally clicked with him. His character is just so damn good it’s ridiculous. I loved his match at Summerslam and I’m looking forward to a hard-hitting brawl with Orton for the title. Orton can definitely go. He’s been on fire himself since coming over to Smackdown. I’m really excited to see these two collide.
Final Rating: ** 1/2