Ready for WrestleMania?
Twenty-three nights before WrestleMania 29, the 708th edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown came to you from the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, IN. After two weeks of intense stare-downs and a back-and-forth game of one-upsmanship, two of the most powerful and destructive forces in the WWE will collide, head-on, on SmackDown as “The Sin City Cyborg” Ryback goes one-on-one with “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry in what promises to be a ring-rattling war for supremacy in the WWE!
- Sheamus & Randy Orton def. Team Rhodes Scholars by Randy Orton pinning Cody Rhodes following the RKO.
- Kaitlyn & Layla def. Tamina Snuka & Aksana by Layla pinning Aksana with a high cross body.
- Dolph Ziggler (with AJ Lee & Big E. Langston) def. Kane (with Daniel Bryan) by pin following the Zig Zag.
- Ryback and Mark Henry fight to a No Contest after The Shield comes out.
- Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter) def. Chris Jericho by pin following the Swagger Bomb.
After they were ambushed by The Shield on RAW where the dangerous trio left both men laid out again, the show kicks off with “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus & “The Viper” Randy Orton facing Team Rhodes Scholars, Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow, in a rematch from RAW. In the end, it was the newly dubbed “Celtic Vipers” picking up the win after Randy Orton puts Cody Rhodes down with the RKO. After the match, The Shield appears on the TitanTron with a special message for The Celtic Vipers. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns tell Orton & Sheamus that the ring they are standing in belongs to The Shield, saying that they “served justice” to Big Show on RAW just like they have done to several Superstars. The Shield continues, saying that they have left both John Cena and WWE Champion The Rock laid out in the past, yet Cena and The Rock are in the main event of WrestleMania while The Shield is not even on the card. The Shield then lays out an open challenge to Sheamus & Randy Orton, allowing the duo to pick any tag team partner they want to face The Shield in a 6-Man Tag Match at WrestleMania! Sheamus & Orton waste no time in accepting the challenge and The Shield says that WrestleMania will become known as “The Showcase of Justice”, advising everyone to “believe in the Shield”. Who will Sheamus & Randy Orton select as their tag team partner for their collision with The Shield on “The Grandest Stage of Them All”, WrestleMania?
Backstage, Sheamus & Randy Orton are discussing potential tag team partners for their match against The Shield at WrestleMania when Big Show confronts the two men, saying that it looks like they could use a tag team partner. Big Show says that, even though he does not trust either one of them, they need a tag team partner that is the “ultimate destroyer”. Sheamus & Randy Orton agree, saying that is the exact reason that they selected “The Sin City Cyborg” Ryback to be their tag partner!
The Divas were in tag team action on SmackDown as Divas Champion Kaitlyn teams with former champion Layla to face the team of Tamina Snuka & Aksana. During the match, Kaitlyn would hit the Spear on Aksana, but before the Divas Champion could go for the pin, Layla tags herself in and comes off of the top rope with a high cross body on Aksana, taking the pinfall away from Kaitlyn to win the match for her team.
Backstage, The Bella Twins confront The Funkadactyls as Cameron & Naomi say that The Bella Twins were a “big influence” to them, saying that they may not be twins, but they watched Brie & Nikki when they were trying to make it in the WWE. The Bella Twins call Cameron & Naomi “hoochie mamas”, saying that they “shake their butts for a dancing dinosaur and his fat friend who thinks that he’s Japanese”. When The Funkadactyls take offense, The Bellas say that they did not mean to offend them, but they just wanted to introduce themselves. Brie & Nikki then extend their hands for a handshake, but when The Funkadactyls look at each other for advice, The Bella Twins cheap-shot Cameron & Naomi, pummeling the dancing Divas in the backstage area before referees are able to break it up!
Still coping with the loss of his father, Paul Bearer, as well as the extreme disrespect shown by CM Punk on RAW, an emotionally disturbed and driven Kane, with his tag team partner Daniel Bryan in his corner, went one-on-one with “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Dolph Ziggler, with AJ Lee & Big E. Langston in his corner. All hell would break loose during the match as, when Kane sets Dolph Ziggler up for the chokeslam, AJ Lee gets on the ring apron, distracting Kane. Meanwhile, on the outside of the ring, Daniel Bryan attacks Big E. Langston to keep Langston from interfering, but Langston overpowers Bryan, tossing Bryan over the ringside barricade. However, Langston would turn around right into a big boot by Kane, but this would allow Ziggler to take advantage, catching Kane with the Zig Zag en route to picking up the win! After the match, Dolph would taunt Kane, but Kane would reach up and grab “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” by the throat, but, thankfully for Ziggler, Langston would step in, hoisting one-half of the WWE Tag Team Champions up and dropping him with the Big Ending!
Backstage, Chris Jericho and R-Truth are laughing at the latest parody video from Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodriguez where they mock the propaganda messages delivered by Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter. However, Swagger & Colter catch Jericho & Truth laughing at the video and, after Jericho keeps R-Truth at bay, Swagger tells Jericho that Y2J is no better than Del Rio, saying that Jericho “snuck” across the border from Canada and he is trying to take what does not belong to him. Never at a loss for words, Jericho lets Swagger know that he was raised in Canada, but he was actually born in America, so that makes him a “real American” like Swagger. Jericho then pokes fun at Zeb Colter, saying Colter looks like a “cross between Rush Limbaugh and Yosemite Sam”. Jericho then tells Swagger that he needs to worry about his title match at WrestleMania in a few weeks and, more importantly, Swagger has a match with him tonight. Jericho then tells Swagger that, until Swagger defeats him, then Swagger should “please, shut the hell up”!
The Great Khali & Natalya appear on SmackDown as the unusual couple dances in the ring before The Great Khali’s scheduled match with Fandango. Fandango dances out to the staging area with his lovely dance partner before saying that he is fluent in the “language of dance”, calling Khali’s dancing “unacceptable”. Fandango then gives “The Punjabi Giant” the opportunity to correctly pronounce his name. Fandango tries to walk the big man through his name, but when Khali puts “fawn, dawn, and go” together, Fandango claims that Khali still mispronounced his name and, as a result, he will not be debuting tonight!
Backstage, Matt Striker is interviewing Sheamus & Randy Orton regarding their selection of Ryback as their tag team partner for WrestleMania when Roman Reigns comes out of nowhere, driving Sheamus through the interview set with an intense Spear! Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins then arrive on the scene as well and, together, The Shield pummels both Sheamus and Orton, tossing Orton into a steel garage door before driving Sheamus through a table! Referees then arrive on the scene, breaking up the mugging. Shortly after this, SmackDown General Manager Booker T & Senior Advisor Theodore Long arrives on the scene, followed by Ryback, who demands to know what happened. However, Booker tells Ryback to keep his focus on Mark Henry.
Moments after his WrestleMania teammates, Sheamus & Randy Orton, were laid waste to in the backstage area, Ryback would have a major obstacle to deal with as “The Sin City Cyborg” would collide with “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry in the first ever meeting of the two goliaths. In the middle of a battle for strength between the two men early on in the match, The Shield would arrive on the scene, bringing a halt to the action in the ring. However, Mark Henry would exit the ring, allowing The Shield to jump Ryback, but “The Sin City Cyborg” fights back, managing to send all three members of The Shield packing from the ring, but when Mark Henry gets back into the ring, Ryback’s focus turns back to “The World’s Strongest Man”, providing the opportunity for Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns to catch Ryback from behind. The Shield then overwhelms Ryback before dropping Ryback with the three-man powerbomb! After The Shield makes their exit through the crowd, Mark Henry picks up the scraps as Henry heads back to the ring, where he decimates Ryback with not one, not two, but three thunderous World’s Strongest Slams!
Then it was time for the main event as, twenty-three nights before he challenges Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania 29, “A Real American” Jack Swagger, with Zeb Colter in his corner, would go one-on-one with the six-time former World Champion, “Y2J” Chris Jericho. During the intense match, Chris Jericho would manage to lock in the Walls of Jericho on Jack Swagger, but Zeb Colter would distract the referee, as well as Jericho, which allows Swagger to make it to the ropes to break up the submission. In the end, it was Jack Swagger narrowly surviving the onslaught of Chris Jericho as Swagger shoves Jericho off the attempted Codebreaker before dropping Jericho with the Swagger Bomb en route to picking up a major victory in a hard-fought war!
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