The Smackdown video plays, and we’re brought into the arena with an always impressive pyrotechnics display. Josh Mathews, Booker T, and Michael Cole welcome us to the show. Tonight, we’ll see Sheamus defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. They then show footage of AJ prancing out to the ring last Monday on Raw, which caused Kane to get eliminated from the triple threat elimination match against CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Bryan then capitalized on the distraction and defeated Punk.
AJ vs. Layla
They showed footage of AJ winning the Diva’s Beach Battle Royal on Monday by eliminating Layla and Vickie Guerrero. Layla came out to new music. They circle the ring and lock up. Layla applies a side headlock and hits a takeover. AJ gets out with a head-scissor, but Layla quickly gets out. They circle the ring again and lock up. AJ hits a headlock takeover, but Layla quickly turns and pins her for a one count. They circle the ring once again, and Layla kicks her down. Layla applies a side headlock, but AJ whips her off. Layla takes her down with a shoulder block and blows a kiss. Layla goes into the ropes and counters a hip toss into a pinfall attempt for a two count. Layla wrenches the arm, but AJ punches out of it. AJ whips her into the ropes and hits a drop-toe-hold. She quickly follows up with a dropkick. AJ splashes her in the corner and picks up a one count.
Layla hits a spin kick to the midsection before hitting a springboard cross-body block for a near fall. Layla takes her down by the hair and gets an innovative cover for a near fall. AJ punches back at her and kicks her down. Layla twists out of a whip and kicks her. Layla hits the ropes, and AJ takes her out with a nasty roundhouse kick! All of a sudden, Daniel Bryan’s music hits, and he circles the ring screaming “Yes”. Layla capitalizes on the distraction and rolls AJ up for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Layla
Match Rating: * 1/4
Layla celebrates with the crowd before AJ attacks her from behind. AJ viciously punches away at her until the referee rips her off the Diva’s Champion. Layla rolls out of the ring. AJ viciously turns and looks at Daniel Bryan, who has been on the apron watching the whole thing. Bryan gets in the ring, telling her to calm down. He says it’s not so much fun when someone distracts you during a match. Bryan isn’t out here because he craves attention like her. He’s out here because he has something very important that he needs to discuss. AJ turns to leave, but he tells her not to leave. Bryan says there’s something he needs to talk about with Vickie Guerrero that he wants AJ to hear. Bryan says he’s not leaving the ring until Vickie gives him what he wants. Bryan says he will hold the show hostage if he has to. AJ looks impatient with him. Bryan starts chanting, “Yes” and stops when AJ starts doing it.
Daniel Bryan and AJ are going back and forth with the “Yes” chants, trying to outdo one another. Cole says this has been going on throughout the break.
EXCUSE ME! Interim General Manager Vickie Guerrero makes her way to the ring. Vickie says she doesn’t know what Bryan wants, but she’s sure that everyone is tired of him repeating his same, tired catchphrase.
Bryan says he needed to make a point because he defeated both Kane and CM Punk in the same match on Raw. He’s the new number one contender and the soon to be new WWE Champion. He needed to show everyone that both Raw and Smackdown will soon revolve around him. He also wanted to applaud Vickie for seeing what he did on Raw by working so quickly with the Board of Directors and rewarding him with his justified WWE Title match. It’s that sort of management style that makes him want to see Vickie run both Raw and Smackdown on a permanent basis. Bryan shushes the crowd. He says she’ll be the GM, he’ll be the champion, and they’ll need to work together, hand in hand. Assuming that it happens, he has an idea that he wants her to take to the Board of Directors. For his championship match against CM Punk at the Money in the Bank PPV, he wants AJ banned from ringside. Vickie goes to speak, but he stops her. Bryan says AJ is a liability and is unstable. She is a menace, and he refuses to lose his opportunity because of her. Bryan asks if she understands that.
Vickie says she completely understands him, and she is not a fan of AJ. Vickie tells the “little girl” that she has not forgotten what she did to her at the Beach Battle Royal. Vickie says she saw AJ’s tweet calling her a “cougar.” Vickie says she’s also tired of AJ calling her “grandma”. Bryan says this is not about her and AJ. This is about him. Vickie apologizes and says he’s right. However, there was a poll this week on WWE.com, and it asked the WWE Universe what role they want to see AJ play in his match against CM Punk. The four options were special guest referee, guest ring announcer, guest commentator, and guest timekeeper. The Board of Directors listened to the WWE Universe, and 76% of them want AJ as the special guest referee. Vickie cannot believe it. Vickie says she has respect for the Board of Directors, and she agrees to have AJ as the guest referee at Money in the Bank. AJ starts a “Yes” chant and leaves the ring.
Bryan screams that this isn’t fair. He wants to know why they’d do this. Vickie says she has to respect their decision. Bryan screams, “No” over and over again before leaving the ring. Vickie says she personally wants to thank the Board of Directors on their decision and for approving her decision tonight. The crowd boos, and she thanks them. Over the next two weeks, Smackdown will be having a series of qualifying matches for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match. Unlike the WWE Championship Money in the Bank match, which will feature only former WWE Champions, this match will be open to anyone. It’s time for the first qualifying match.
Zack Ryder makes his way to the ring ready to compete in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match. We’ll find out who his opponent is, next.
Zack Ryder will face Damien Sandow, the self-proclaimed intellectual savior of the masses. He begs the crowd’s attention for a moment. He’s here to help not only the crowd, but also his opponent, the WWE’s official ambassador of ignorance, mediocrity, and stupidity. He’s no different than the crowd. When he emerges victorious, he’ll ensure that the unwashed masses of the WWE Universe will soon have a World Champion that will shepherd them all into the enlightenment that they desperately yearn for. “You’re welcome.”
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Zack Ryder vs. Damien Sandow
They circle the ring and lock up. Ryder applies a side headlock, but Sandow quickly whips him off. Ryder takes him down with a shoulder block, goes into the ropes, ducks a clothesline, and takes Sandow down with a flying forearm. Ryder hits a flapjack for a one count. Sandow quickly kicks him in the knee before driving him into the turnbuckle. Sandow stomps away and rubs his face in the mat. Sandow hits a side leg sweep and hits the Elbow of Disdain for a near fall. Sandow applies a full nelson and drives his face into the turnbuckle a few times. Sandow sends him to the ropes, but Ryder takes him down with a face-buster.
Sandow runs into a back elbow and then runs into the knees. Ryder quickly follows up with a missile dropkick for a near fall. Ryder head-butts him, but Sandow punches back. Ryder quickly punches him down in the corner and hits the Broski Boot. Ryder goes for the Rough Ryder, but Sandow counters by snapping him off the top rope. Sandow quickly hits his Double Arm Neckbreaker for the win. He’ll compete in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match.
Winner by Pinfall: Damien Sandow
Match Rating: 3/4 *
The announcers talk about Charlie Sheen being the Social Media Ambassador for the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw on July 23.
Daniel Bryan pounds on the Diva’s Locker Room door looking for AJ. Kaitlyn answers the knocks and says AJ isn’t inside. If she were, she wouldn’t be in there. Bryan asks where she is, and Kaitlyn says she doesn’t know. Kaitlyn says he should get on her good side because she’s a little mentally unstable. Bryan acts like he’s not surprised and says she’s got to help him. Kaitlyn quickly goes back in the locker room.
They play a video that highlights John Cena granting his 300th wish for the Make a Wish Foundation.
Tyson Kidd is in the ring with no TV entrance. He’ll face Jack Swagger in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Tyson Kidd vs. Jack Swagger
Kidd gets a quick waistlock, but Swagger quickly turns it and takes him down. Kidd counters a second takedown with a roll up for a one count. Swagger throws him to the apron, but Kidd gets a quick shoulder to the midsection. Kidd rolls him up for a two count, and Swagger rolls out of the ring, frustrated with himself. Kidd quickly takes him out with a baseball slide. Swagger gets in the ring as Kidd slingshots to the apron. Kidd ducks a clothesline and goes for a wheelbarrow move, but Swagger counters into a German suplex for a near fall. Swagger beats him down in the corner, hits an impressive arm drag, drops a leg, and picks up a near fall. Swagger applies an arm bar. Kidd fights up, but Swagger sends him to the ropes. Kidd counters with a rollup for a two count. Swagger counters a kick by throwing him to the corner and splashing him. Swagger throws him across the ring and hits a Vader Bomb for a near fall. Swagger applies another arm bar, but Kidd fights up again. Kidd kicks him in the face, and he counters a back body drop into a DDT.
Kidd ducks a clothesline and kicks away at Swagger, taking him down. Kidd hits a spin kick to the midsection and hits a dropkick to the side of the head for a two count. Kidd punches him in the corner, but Swagger counters a whip to the opposite corner. Swagger runs into a boot to the face. Swagger counters a victory roll by slamming him on his face and applying the Ankle Lock. Kidd quickly climbs the ropes while in the hold and twists out. Swagger runs into a kick, and Kidd goes to the top rope. Kidd hits a top rope blockbuster for the upset win!
Winner by Pinfall: Tyson Kidd
Match Rating: * 1/4
Tyson Kidd celebrates big time with the crowd as Jack Swagger looks on in stunned disbelief. Swagger then begins to flip out and scream in the ring. Tyson Kidd will join Damien Sandow in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match.
Sheamus will defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio in tonight’s main event.
They show footage from this past Monday’s Raw when Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler’s Contract on a Pole match ended in a no contest. Sheamus then announced that Vickie decided they’d have a triple threat match on tonight’s Smackdown.
Dolph Ziggler is backstage in Vickie Guerrero’s office. Ziggler says she’s not using her power to help him. Vickie says the Board of Directors is watching her. She’s trying to become the General Manager of Raw and Smackdown. Ziggler says he’s trying to become the World Heavyweight Championship. Vickie asks what he’d have her do. Ziggler tells her to ban the Brogue Kick and the Cross Arm Breaker. She asks how that would look on her. Ziggler asks if this is all about her. He says this is his life and career. It’s six year of his life of stealing the show and never getting rewarded. He’s not asking her – he’s telling her to do this. She slaps him in the face midsentence. Ziggler asks that she at least introduce him and be out there to raise his hand when he wins the title. She says she will.
Santino Marella and Christian will compete in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Tag Team match. The winners will both be entered into the match.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Tag Team Match
Santino Marella and Christian vs. David Otunga and Cody Rhodes
They added a new sequence to Otunga’s entrance where he poses with a spotlight and new music playing. Santino Marella and Cody Rhodes start the match. Rhodes quickly applies a hammerlock, but Santino gets out and punches him to his corner. Christian is tagged in, and he punches Rhodes. Christian wrenches the arm and punches him down. Christian hits the ropes, and Rhodes digs a knee into his midsection. Rhodes hits a front suplex for a two count. David Otunga is tagged in, and he slams Christian down before hitting a running shoulder block for a near fall. Otunga chokes him on the ropes, and Rhodes gets a cheap shot in. Rhodes is tagged back in, and he hits a snapmare. Rhodes applies a chin lock, but Christian fights up. Christian counters a whip to the corner, but he runs into the boots. Christian then punches Rhodes coming off the second rope. Otunga is tagged in, and he tries to stop Christian from tagging. Christian kicks him away and tags in Santino.
Santino hits some punches, splits under a clothesline, and hits a hip toss. Santino follows up with a diving head-butt before taking the Cobra out. The Cobra strikes Otunga, and Rhodes pulls him out of the ring. Santino yells at him, and Rhodes punches him. Rhodes throws Otunga into the ring, tags in, and takes Santino down for a one count. Rhodes applies a jackknife pin for a two count. Rhodes takes the Cobra and throws it into the crowd. Rhodes stands on his face and tags in Otunga, who punches away at him. Otunga hits a back elbow before dropping one for a two count. Otunga applies a chin lock, but Santino counters into a nice back suplex.
Christian and Rhodes are tagged in. Christian punches away and hits a running forearm. Christian runs into a back elbow, but he quickly comes back with a flapjack. Christian hits a diving back elbow and gets the crowd pumped up. Rhodes comes back with an uppercut, but Christian soon catches him with a shoulder to the midsection. Christian snaps him off the top rope and goes for the Kill Switch, but Rhodes pushes him off. Christian quickly hits a reverse DDT and goes for the Spear, but Otunga distracts him. Rhodes hits Christian from behind and tags in Otunga. Rhodes holds Christian for Otunga to punch, but Christian ducks, allowing Rhodes to take it. Santino knocks Rhodes out of the ring, and Otunga clotheslines Santino out. Christian then surprises him with a Spear for the win!
Winners by Pinfall: Santino Marella and Christian
Match Rating: * 1/2
Cody Rhodes screams in the ring that he didn’t lose the match while Christian and Santino Marella celebrate. They join Damien Sandow and Tyson Kidd in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match.
Matt Striker is backstage with the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus. Striker asks if he’s worried about tonight’s match because he doesn’t need to be beaten to lose the title. Sheamus says he didn’t become champion by being worried. There’s a good chance that he could lose. But let’s say he does win and defends it at Money in the Bank, the Money in the Bank winner could ambush him. Or a car driven by Lindsay Lohan could hit him. He doesn’t worry about the “what if’s”. He does know that Alberto Del Rio thinks he’s better than everyone else because he’s rich, and Dolph Ziggler thinks he’s better than everyone because he’s Dolph Ziggler. Either way, he gets an opportunity to prove he’s better than both guys by winning the match. So to answer the question, he doesn’t worry. He just kicks arse.
AJ is backstage saying “Special Guest Referee AJ.” Daniel Bryan walks up to her and says he’s been looking all over for her. Bryan apologizes for costing her the match tonight. He’s just concerned for her wellbeing. She viciously attacked Layla, and that’s not like her. Bryan asks if she has ever considered seeking professional help. He has a doctor who can help her. That’s what people who care for each other do – they help each other. Bryan asks if she wants the number, and she says, “Yes” over an over again before skipping away. Bryan looks frustrated.
JOBBER ALERTS: Local wrestlers, Dan Barone and Brendan Burke, are in the ring with no TV entrance. They freestyle something.
Dan Barone and Brendan Burke vs. Ryback
Charles Robinson, my favorite referee ever, is the official of this match. Ryback slams the first one down, and the other runs away. Ryback catches him with a big boot on the outside. Ryback rips the other out of the ring. Ryback absorbs some kicks from the other in the ring and kicks him down. The other guy sneaks up and jumps on his back, but Ryback kills him with a sit-out stunner. Ryback viciously powerbombs the one guy down and clotheslines the other. Ryback finishes them off with the double fisherman’s buster for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Ryback
Match Rating: N/A
Aksana is making out with Antonio Cesaro backstage. Teddy Long walks up to them and says he doesn’t harbor any ill feelings toward them and their relationship. He also wants them to know that he’ll be the General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown next week. Aksana starts to come onto him, but he turns her down. Long says not only do they deserve each other, they need each other. On next week’s live Smackdown, they’ll team up in a mixed tag match against Layla and The Great Khali. Holla!
Justin Gabriel makes his way to the ring for a Money in the Bank Qualifying match. He’ll fight, next.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Justin Gabriel vs. Tensai w/ Sakamoto
Gabriel punches and chops Tensai, ducks a clothesline, and gets run over by a shoulder block. Tensai throws him over the top rope by his face. Gabriel punches and goes to the top rope, but Tensai punches him out of the air. Tensai drops some elbows and punches away at him. Tensai hits a double arm suplex for a two count. Tensai rubs his forearm on his face before applying a bear hug. Gabriel elbows out and hits a jawbreaker. Tensai tries for another bear hung, but Gabriel counters into a roll-up attempt. Tensai powers him up, but Gabriel kicks away at him until he’s stunned. Tensai pushes him off and runs into a boot. Gabriel takes him down with a springboard dropkick. Gabriel quickly follows up with a springboard moonsault for a one count. Gabriel kicks away at him, but he gets caught with a double-hand chokeslam. Tensai follows up with a running senton for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Tensai
Match Rating: 1/4 *
Tensai will join Damien Sandow, Tyson Kidd, Christian and Santino Marella in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match.
Sheamus will defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio, next.
Ricardo Rodriguez introduces Alberto Del Rio to the ring. Del Rio says even though he’s forced to compete in a triple threat instead of a one-on-one match against Sheamus and forced to compete in a filthy town, this place, a place with nothing, will have a new champion at the end of the night. He will be the new World Heavyweight Champion. He knows these people know nothing about greatness, he wonders if they know why he’ll be victorious.
EXCUSE ME! Vickie Guerrero comes out, and she says that Del Rio will not win tonight. The crowning jewel of her week as General Manager is that she gets to introduce the next World Heavyweight Champion, the “Show Off” Dolph Ziggler.
Sheamus makes his way to the ring, ready to defend his championship. The match starts next.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus (c)
Sheamus quickly takes both men down with some strikes. Sheamus bounces Ziggler off the turnbuckle, punches Del Rio down, and clotheslines Ziggler over the top rope. Del Rio quickly kicks him and punches him down. Sheamus reverses a whip to the corner, but he runs into the boots. Sheamus quickly hits a rolling fireman’s carry, but Del Rio kicks out at two. Ziggler quickly attacks him from behind, and Sheamus looks bewildered. Ziggler runs away, and Sheamus chases him. Ziggler gets in the ring, ducks a Del Rio clothesline, and Sheamus gets into clothesline Del Rio. Sheamus hits a flapjack for a near fall.
Del Rio kicks him and hits an arm breaker for a near fall. Del Rio begins working on the arm with some knees and an arm bar. Sheamus fights up and punches out. Sheamus goes to hit the ropes, but Ziggler pulls the top rope down. Ziggler kicks Sheamus at ringside and gets in the ring. Ziggler counters out of a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and hits a picture perfect dropkick. Del Rio rolls out of the ring, and Ziggler follows. Ziggler kicks and punches him. Ziggler bounces him off the steel steps and throws him into the ring. Ziggler picks up a two count. Ziggler dropkicks Sheamus trying to get back in the ring. Del Rio comes back with some punches and sends him to the corner. Ziggler sidesteps him for a near fall. Ziggler stomps away and chokes him with the boot. Ziggler puts him on the top rope, but Del Rio tries to counter back with a front suplex. Ziggler stops it and punches him off the turnbuckle to the outside! Sheamus comes back in, gets Ziggler on his shoulders, and hits an electric chair drop. They’re all down as we go to commercial.
We come back from the break to see Del Rio dropkick Sheamus from behind. Del Rio kicks him out of the ring. Ziggler also rolls outside, so Del Rio has to exit to work on them. Del Rio attacks Sheamus, and they begin to double-team him outside. Sheamus tries to fight back, but they quickly stop him. They dump him into Michael Cole’s lap. They attack him, and the announcers lose their headphones. They send Sheamus into the steps before rolling him into the ring. Del Rio hits a snapmare, and Ziggler stomps away at Sheamus. Del Rio covers as Ziggler climbs the turnbuckle, and he pulls him off. They argue and push each other around. They punch it out, and Sheamus takes them out with a top rope double shoulder block!
Sheamus takes them both down with hammer throws, knees Del Rio, and takes Ziggler down. Sheamus powerslams Del Rio for a near fall. Sheamus puts Ziggler on the apron and clubs away at his chest. Del Rio goes for a surprise arm breaker on Sheamus, but Sheamus pushes him off. Del Rio ducks a Brogue Kick, but Sheamus quickly comes back with an Irish Curse. Ziggler breaks up the pin. Ziggler kicks away at Sheamus and chokes him. Sheamus sidesteps a leg drop bulldog and hits the White Noise. Sheamus gets a look in his eye and sets up for the Brogue Kick. Del Rio snaps the arm off the top, hits an arm breaker, and gets a near fall. Del Rio angrily stomps him.
Del Rio goes for the Cross Arm Breaker, but Sheamus pushes him off. Del Rio sidesteps Sheamus charging, and he hits the ring post shoulder first! Ziggler dropkicks the arm into the post from the outside, and Del Rio kicks him in the head. Del Rio applies the Cross Arm Breaker, and Sheamus struggles to get to the rope. Ziggler breaks it up and hits a leg drop bulldog for a near fall. Ricardo Rodriguez was on the apron to make an assist just in case. Ziggler drives Del Rio into Rodriguez and rolls him up. Sheamus stuns him with a Brogue Kick, throws Del Rio out of the ring, and pins Ziggler to retain his title!
Winner and still WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus
Match Rating: ***
Quick Match Results
Layla def. AJ (non-title)
MITB Qualifier: Damien Sandow def. Zack Ryder
MITB Qualifier: Tyson Kidd def. Jack Swagger
MITB Qualifier: Santino Marella and Christian def. David Otunga and Cody Rhodes
Ryback def. Dan Barone and Brendan Burke
MITB Qualifier: Tensai def. Justin Gabriel
Sheamus def. Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Bump of the Night: Bump of the Night
Match of the Night: The World Heavyweight Title Triple Threat match ***
Mike’s Thoughts will be posted later today…