Back in the Fight.
Five nights after Night of Champions, the 735th edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown came to you from the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH. After 10 Superstars came to the aid of Daniel Bryan on RAW, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero plans to make a “major match announcement” that will involve Daniel Bryan, as well as those 10 Superstars! Plus, the Divas Champion would be in action on SmackDown as AJ Lee would face Naomi in a non-title match.
- Non-Title: AJ Lee def. Naomi by submission to the Black Widow.
- Santino Marella def. Jack Swagger by backslide roll-up.
- Ryback def. Nick Nardone (jobber) by pin following Shell Shocked.
- 11-on-3 Gauntlet Match: Match #1: The Shield def. Darren Young by Roman Reigns pinning Darren Young following the Spear.
- 11-on-3 Gauntlet Match: Match #2: The Shield def. Titus O’Neil by Roman Reigns pinning Titus O’Neil following the three-man powerbomb.
- 11-on-3 Gauntlet Match: Match #3: The Shield def. Dolph Ziggler by count-out following the Spear by Roman Reigns on the outside.
- 11-on-3 Gauntlet Match: Match #4: The Shield def. Kofi Kingston by Dean Ambrose pinning Kofi Kingston following the Headlock Driver.
- 11-on-3 Gauntlet Match: Match #5: The Shield and Rob Van Dam fight to a No Contest after Triple H ends the match.
- Luke Harper & Erick Rowan def. Zack Ryder & Justin Gabriel by Luke Harper pinning Zack Ryder following the Discus Clothesline.
- Non-Title: Alberto Del Rio def. R-Truth by submission to the cross armbreaker.
- 6-Man Tag: Daniel Bryan & The Usos def. The Shield by Daniel Bryan pinning Dean Ambrose following the running knee.
The show kicks off with SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero, who says she is there to make the most entertaining show possible. Vickie Guerrero then introduces a man who she calls the “laughing stock” of the WWE, saying that he has gone from “hero to zero”. The GM continues, saying that WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund held the WWE Championship for 2,135 days and CM Punk held the WWE Championship for 434 days, but this Superstar only held the title for five minutes, 25 seconds at SummerSlam. Vickie then says that the Superstar did a “little bit better” at Night of Champions when he “stole” the WWE Title and held it for 21 hours, 34 minutes, and 32 seconds. After the berating, Vickie introduces the “man who got caught red-handed” on RAW, Daniel Bryan, who makes his way to the ring at the request of the biased GM. Daniel Bryan tells the GM that he would rather hold the WWE Title for one day than be a “corporate suck-up” for an entire career like Vickie. Bryan then says that they both know that he did nothing wrong, but Vickie argues that the video footage proves that Bryan and now fired referee Scott Armstrong worked together in a conspiracy against Randy Orton. Bryan says that the speed of the count is irrelevant, saying that he would have defeated Orton at Night of Champions regardless and he should still be the WWE Champion. Vickie shouts that Daniel Bryan is a “liar”, saying that, if it were up to her, she would have fired Bryan! Vickie continues, saying that she hopes that Bryan never becomes the face of the WWE. Bryan fires back, saying that everyone should be glad that Vickie does not have any “real power”.
Vickie says that ten Superstars came to the aid of Bryan on RAW, interrupting a beating that Bryan “deserved” from Randy Orton and The Shield. Vickie then reminds everyone who the ten Superstars that aided Daniel Bryan were, showing Dolph Ziggler, The Usos, R-Truth, Justin Gabriel, Zack Ryder, The Prime Time Players, Kofi Kingston, & Rob Van Dam. Vickie then announces a first in the WWE as the GM reveals that there will be an 11-on-3 Gauntlet Match, where all three members of The Shield will be allowed in the ring at the same time to face one Superstar and one Superstar only with the match continuing until all eleven Superstars, including Daniel Bryan, have been defeated or until one of the Superstars manage to defeat The Shield. Vickie then vows that The Shield will run through each and every one of them, informing Daniel Bryan that she is saving him for last in the match!
With Natalya a guest on commentary, the opening match of the night would see Divas Champion AJ Lee square off with Naomi, with Cameron in her corner, in a non-title match. In the end, it was AJ Lee locking in the Black Widow, making Naomi tap out to pick up the win.
One-half of The Real Americans was in action on SmackDown as Jack Swagger, with Zeb Colter & Antonio Cesaro in his corner, went one-on-one with Santino Marella. In the end, it was Santino catching Swagger with a backslide to pick up the win.
With Paul Heyman & Curtis Axel in his corner, Ryback was in action on SmackDown as the powerhouse went one-on-one with local competitor, Nick Nardone. Naturally, Ryback would make quick work of the jobber, hitting Shell Shocked to pick up the win.
After a fast-count cost him the WWE Championship at Night of Champions and after Triple H refused to hand the title back to him on RAW, former WWE Champion Randy Orton makes an appearance on SmackDown just over two weeks before he goes one-on-one with Daniel Bryan for the vacant WWE Championship at Battleground. Orton says that, at Night of Champions, Daniel Bryan and Scott Armstrong “conspired” to take the WWE Title away from him and they succeeded. Orton then says that it was completely his fault, admitting that he went to “anger management” and locked away the “relentless, remorseless side” of Randy Orton because he thought that’s what everyone wanted. Orton continues, saying Triple H & Stephanie McMahon opened his eyes to who he should really be and he made an “example” out of The Miz on RAW in front of his mother and father in Miz’s hometown, showing the footage from RAW that depicts “The Viper” crushing the larynx of The Miz with the aid of a steel chair wrapped around the head and neck of The Miz. Orton then says that there is no WWE Champion right now, but that will change two weeks from Sunday at Battleground, vowing to “end the war” between him and Daniel Bryan, guaranteeing that he will regain the WWE Championship!
Then it was time for the unheard-of 11-on-3 Gauntlet Match as, per the orders of Vickie Guerrero, Daniel Bryan will join the ten Superstars who saved him from a beatdown at the hands of Randy Orton & The Shield on RAW to face The Shield where all three members of The Shield, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns will face one of the eleven Superstars, either Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Darren Young, Titus O’Neil, Justin Gabriel, Zack Ryder, Kofi Kingston, & Rob Van Dam, in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match scenario. This trend will continue until all 11 Superstars have been defeated or until one of the Superstars is able to defeat any one member of The Shield with Daniel Bryan put in place as the final Superstar to come out to face The Shield.
With SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero seated at ringside, the first portion of the unusual 11-on-3 Gauntlet Match would see one-half of The Prime Time Players, Darren Young, being forced to face all three members of The Shield at the same time. Darren Young would not last long in the one-sided matchup as Roman Reigns takes Young down with the Spear, pinning Young to eliminate him first.
The next Superstar to step up was Darren Young’s tag team partner, Titus O’Neil, who does his best to combat Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns, but the three-on-one advantage wins out and The Shield drops Titus with the three-man powerbomb en route to Reigns pinning Titus to eliminate Titus.
The third man to be sent into the lion’s den was “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler, who attempts to use his speed to neutralize The Shield, but again, the numbers advantage proves too much for “The Show-Off”. However, Dolph Ziggler would have a brief flurry of offense against the trio as Dolph takes Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns out of the ring, but The Shield would quickly regroup and Reigns would hit the Spear on Ziggler on the outside of the ring, leading to a count-out victory for The Shield.
Much like Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston would use his speed to temporarily hinder The Shield, taking Ambrose & Rollins out before hitting Trouble in Paradise on Roman Reigns, but Ambrose would break up the pin. The Shield then quickly puts Kofi down as Dean Ambrose hits the Headlock Driver, taking Kofi out of the match.
Next up was “The Whole Damn Show” Rob Van Dam, who dominates The Shield, but when RVD goes to the top rope to put the finishing touches on The Shield, WWE COO Triple H comes out. This distracts RVD long enough for Roman Reigns to knock Van Dam off of the top rope, but it wouldn’t matter as the COO orders the match to be stopped! Triple H makes a beeline for Vickie Guerrero, ordering the confused General Manager to meet him in his office, following Vickie to the back and calling off The Shield!
Backstage, WWE COO Triple H is reading Vickie Guerrero the riot act, saying that ten guys ran into help Daniel Bryan on RAW, but what she did will lead to more and more Superstars joining Daniel Bryan and those ten Superstars. A confused Vickie says that she thought she was doing what was “best for business”, but the COO says that the GM has no idea what is best for business. Triple H says that those ten Superstars need to feel “safe”, ordering Vickie to go and make a 6-Man Tag Match official between The Shield and the team of Daniel Bryan and The Usos!
Backstage, Triple H calls Zack Ryder and Justin Gabriel into his office, apologizing for Vickie putting them into the Gauntlet Match. The two men accept the apology and Ryder comments that they would love some competition, so the COO seemingly gives Ryder and Gabriel what they want, putting them in a match.
After commenting to Triple H that they wanted some “competition”, Zack Ryder & Justin Gabriel may have gotten more than they bargained for as they would face The Wyatt Family’s Luke Harper & Erick Rowan, with Bray Wyatt in their corner, in tag team action. In the end, it was Luke Harper hitting the Discus Clothesline on Zack Ryder, pinning Ryder for the win. After the match, Bray Wyatt enters the ring, hitting the Sister Abigail on Zack Ryder. Bray then says that, if they keep feeding them Superstars, they will keep putting them down, kneeling by Ryder and screaming “follow the buzzards”.
In the trainer’s room, Triple H confronts Rob Van Dam, who is getting his arm checked out, as the COO apologizes to “The Whole Damn Show” for RVD getting placed in the Gauntlet Match earlier in the night. To make up for it, Triple H informs Rob Van Dam that he is giving RVD a rematch for the World Heavyweight Title against Alberto Del Rio at Battleground! The COO then exits the room seconds before Alberto Del Rio strikes as the World Heavyweight Champion jumps his Battleground challenger, pummeling RVD with stiff punches and kicks, tossing Van Dam into a steel door and ramming RVD’s skull into a wooden cabinet. Del Rio then tosses a heavy metal briefcase at the back of RVD’s head before referees are finally able to break up the assault and check on RVD.
Moments after assaulting Rob Van Dam in the trainer’s room, the World Heavyweight Champion was in action on SmackDown as Alberto Del Rio went one-on-one with R-Truth in a non-title match. In the end, it was Alberto Del Rio locking in the cross armbreaker on R-Truth, forcing Truth to tap out to pick up the win.
Then it was time for the main event as Daniel Bryan would team with two of the men who saved him from certain destruction on RAW, the #1 Contenders for the WWE Tag Team Titles The Usos, to face The Shield, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns, in a 6-Man Tag Match. During the match, The Usos would take Roman Reigns down on the outside, but Seth Rollins would dive out of the ring, taking out one of The Usos, as well as his own partner, Roman Reigns. This would leave Daniel Bryan and Dean Ambrose alone in the ring as Bryan locks in the Yes Lock on Dean Ambrose, but the United States Champion gets to the bottom rope. However, The Usos would hit a double superkick on Ambrose, setting Ambrose up for Daniel Bryan to hit his running knee on the United States Champion, pinning Ambrose to pick up the win for himself and The Usos!
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