Last Giant Standing?
Just two nights before the Royal Rumble, the 701st edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown came to you from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, CA. After The Shield attacked The Rock on RAW, leaving “The Great One” in a heap in the middle of the ring, both WWE Champion CM Punk and The Rock will appear on SmackDown to address The Shield! Also, with the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match just around the corner, what will go down between such Rumble entrants as Randy Orton, Sheamus, 3MB, and Ryback? Will more entrants throw their names into the hat? Also at the Royal Rumble, Big Show will attempt to regain the World Heavyweight Championship when he faces Alberto Del Rio in a Last Man Standing Match, but what will champion and challenger do two nights before their intense rematch for SmackDown’s top prize?
- Non-Title: Sheamus def. Wade Barrett by pin following the Brogue Kick.
- Natalya (with Hornswoggle) def. Rosa Mendes by submission to the Sharpshooter.
- Randy Orton def. Drew McIntyre (with Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal) by DQ after Jinder Mahal interferes.
- The Miz def. Darren Young by submission to the Figure-Four Leg Lock.
- 6-Man Elimination Tag Match: Alberto Del Rio & Team Hell No def. Big Show & Team Rhodes Scholars.
- Kane elim. Damien Sandow by pin following the chokeslam.
- Big Show elim. Kane by count-out.
- Big Show elim. Daniel Bryan by count-out.
- Alberto Del Rio elim. Big Show by count-out.
- Alberto Del Rio elim. Cody Rhodes by pin following the step-up enziguiri.
Two nights before their busy night at the Royal Rumble as they will not only defend their WWE Tag Team Titles against Team Rhodes Scholars, but they will also be two of the 30 participants in the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, SmackDown kicks off with the WWE Tag Team Champions, Team Hell No. Kane says that they are out there to address the rumors that they have “gone soft” because they have got their anger issues under control. Kane advises these naysayers to watch the Royal Rumble, when Team Hell No successfully defends the WWE Tag Team Titles and he goes on to win the Royal Rumble Match. This sparks another argument between Kane & Daniel Bryan as both tag champions say that they will win the Royal Rumble Match. Big Show then interrupts as “The World’s Largest Athlete” tells Team Hell No that they have a 1-in-30 chance of winning the Royal Rumble Match while he has a 100% chance of regaining the World Heavyweight Title at the Royal Rumble, claiming that Alberto Del Rio “stole” the title from him. Big Show continues that, this Sunday, he will “squish” the bug that is Alberto Del Rio and, if Kane & Daniel Bryan do not leave the ring, then he will squish them too! Team Hell No does not back down from “The World’s Largest Athlete” as Kane reminds Big Show that they are the WWE Tag Team Champions and they are not going anywhere. Team Rhodes Scholars then make their way to the ring, telling Team Hell No that they should be concentrating on their title defense against them at the Royal Rumble. Damien Sandow says that their destruction of Team Hell No will be of “biblical proportions” and Cody Rhodes adds that they will take the WWE Tag Team Titles from Kane & Daniel Bryan. Damien Sandow then proposes an “alliance” with Big Show with the promise of destroying Team Hell No. Before the unholy alliance can target the tag champions, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio comes out, ready to fight alongside Team Hell No. This brings out SmackDown General Manager Booker T, who says that he appreciates their desire for a fight and, therefore, the main event of SmackDown will see Big Show teaming with Team Rhodes Scholars to face World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio and the WWE Tag Team Champions, Team Hell No, in a 6-Man Elimination Tag Match! In the ring, Team Hell No scares Team Rhodes Scholars out of the ring before Del Rio manages a drop toe hold on Big Show, sending Show face-first into the turnbuckle before Big Show exits the ring, embarrassed by the World Heavyweight Champion yet again.
After their match ended inconclusively on RAW, the rematch would take place on SmackDown as “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus went one-on-one with Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett in the non-title opening match of the night. In the end, it was Sheamus blasting Wade Barrett with the Brogue Kick en route to picking up the win and gaining major momentum heading into the Royal Rumble Match this Sunday night.
The Divas were in action on SmackDown as Natalya went one-on-one with Rosa Mendes with their respective allies, The Great Khali, Hornswoggle, Primo & Epico, all guests on commentary. During the match, Hornswoggle would get on top of the announce table, mocking Rosa Mendes’ dancing. This would distract Rosa long enough for Natalya to get the Sharpshooter locked in on Rosa, forcing Rosa to tap out to pick up the win.
Two nights before he defends the WWE Championship against The Rock at the Royal Rumble, WWE Champion CM Punk, with Paul Heyman, appears on SmackDown to address the rumors of his involvement with The Shield, who attacked The Rock on RAW. CM Punk says that he is “afraid” of his own “potential” and the entire WWE is just a surface that he has hardly begun to scratch. Punk says that there is one thing that can bring his historic reign to an end and that is The Shield as WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon has passed down a letter that officially decrees that, if The Shield interferes in the WWE Title match at the Royal Rumble, then CM Punk will be stripped of the WWE Title. Punk says that McMahon is trying to do what no other man could do, take the WWE Title from him. Punk continues, saying that he has a “problem” and he is going to fix it, so he is going to do what no one else has had the “stones” to do and that is call out The Shield! The WWE Champion then grabs a steel chair and sets it up in the middle of the ring, saying that he will not leave until The Shield comes out there. However, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns would not keep the champion waiting as The Shield make their entrance through the crowd as CM Punk waits in the ring with steel chair in hand. The Shield then surrounds the ring and stand on the ring apron as CM Punk says that he has never asked for anything from The Shield in his life, telling the trio to stay out of his way. Punk continues, saying that there would be no greater “injustice” than to have his WWE Title taken away because of their interference. CM Punk says that his victory over The Rock at the Royal Rumble will be the greatest win of his career and he will do it without the help of The Shield and he does not need help because he is the “best in the world”. Punk then says that, if The Shield truly wants “justice”, then they will never have to cross paths again. With that, The Shield drops down from the ring apron, making their exit through the crowd. Meanwhile, in the ring, CM Punk proclaims that is how he handles his business, saying that he tackles his problems head-on. Punk then says that, when it comes to him, the people are just like The Rock as they are “inferior” and he is the “greatest of all-time”!
Having heard enough from the WWE Champion, “The Great One” himself, The Rock, makes his way to the ring to confront CM Punk for the final time before their Royal Rumble showdown. The Rock tells CM Punk that he is going to “put an end” to Punk’s garbage, saying that Punk is a “liar” because he believes that Punk is working with The Shield. Rock then says that none of that matters because he will still kick CM Punk’s candy ass at the Royal Rumble. Rock continues, saying that the walls are closing in for CM Punk and, at the Royal Rumble, Punk will “crack” and, when he lifts CM Punk up for the Rock Bottom, Punk’s final thought will be “it’s over”!
Before he joins 29 other Superstars in the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, Randy Orton was in action on SmackDown as “The Viper” went one-on-one with Drew McIntyre, with his 3MB cohorts, Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal, in his corner. It would not take long for 3MB to get involved on their band mate’s behalf, however, as Jinder Mahal tries to attack Randy Orton, but Orton puts Jinder Mahal down with the RKO, followed shortly by an RKO to Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre, as well!
With United States Champion Antonio Cesaro a guest on commentary, his Royal Rumble Pre-Show opponent, The Miz, went one-on-one with Darren Young, with Titus O’Neil in his corner. In the end, it was The Miz locking in the Figure-Four Leg Lock on Darren Young, forcing Young to tap out to pick up the win.
Then it was time for the main event as World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio, with Ricardo Rodriguez in his corner, would team with WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No to face the team of “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show and Team Rhodes Scholars in a 6-Man Elimination Tag Match. The first Superstar to get sent packing was Damien Sandow as Kane drills “The Intellectual Savior of the Masses” with a chokeslam en route to eliminating Sandow from the match. Shortly after this, the two giants in the match, Big Show and Kane, would go to war, a war that would end on the outside of the ring as Big Show delivers the K.O. Punch to Kane, who gets knocked into the steel ring post, as well! Big Show makes it back into the ring, but Kane is unable to make it back in time and “The Big Red Monster” is eliminated by count-out, evening the match up with two men on each side. Later on in the match, Daniel Bryan suffered a similar fate as his tag team partner as Big Show levels Bryan with a K.O. Punch that knocks the WWE Tag Team Champion out of the ring with Bryan not being able to answer the ten-count, eliminating Daniel Bryan and leaving Alberto Del Rio to face both Big Show and Cody Rhodes. In what could be a sign of things to come for the Royal Rumble, Alberto Del Rio delivers a series of kicks to Big Show, knocking the giant out of the ring and “The World’s Largest Athlete” is then eliminated by count-out! Then it came down to Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes and, despite Rhodes’ best efforts, Del Rio would refuse to accept defeat as the World Heavyweight Champion puts Cody Rhodes down with the step-up enziguiri, pinning Rhodes to pick up the win for himself and Team Hell No. However, after the match, Big Show would return to the ring, nearly breaking Del Rio in half with a huge Spear! Big Show then pulls the World Heavyweight Champion to the outside of the ring and, in a measure of revenge from a couple of weeks ago, Big Show levels Del Rio with the K.O. Punch before tipping the announce table over, burying the World Heavyweight Champion! Big Show then emphatically counts to ten, sending a clear message to Alberto Del Rio and the world that he will be the last man standing this Sunday and, to really drive the message home, Big Show counts to ten for a second time, this time in Spanish!
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