With just nine days to go before the year's most extreme pay-per-view descends upon the WWE Universe, Chris Jericho may have won a battle against Ryback, but it came at a huge physical cost. While Y2J and “The Human Wrecking Ball” put the exclamation point on a big night, there was plenty more SmackDown action, including a classic confrontation between Daniel Bryan and Dean Ambrose and an injury to the World Heavyweight Champion.
Chris Jericho brought “The Highlight Reel” back to SmackDown. His guest? The No. 1 Contender to the WWE Title, Ryback!
Coming off a massive Monday night victory over WWE Tag Team Champion Kane and embroiled in controversy as he readies to face injured WWE Champion John Cena at Extreme Rules, “The Human Wrecking Ball” remained a Superstar of questionable action. While Y2J related to the challenger's win-at-all-cost mentality, the six-time World Champion insinuated that Ryback would lose the respect of the WWE Universe if he goes ahead with his Last Man Standing Match against the injured Cena.
As tensions approached a breaking point, Senior Advisor to the SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long interjected. For the first time ever, Y2J would face off against Ryback in SmackDown's main event! But Ryback couldn't wait for the match to begin, and blindsided Jericho with a thundering right hand to the face.
espite his brewing frustration over this week's WWE.com poll declaring him the most “Underrated Superstar in WWE,” Cody Rhodes was knocked off by high-flying United States Champion Kofi Kingston in a SmackDown match that showcased two of WWE's most dynamic Superstars. Just when Cody looked to connect with the Disaster Kick, Kofi caught him mid-air with Trouble in Paradise instead! A three-count later, and “The Wildcat” had racked up a big blue brand victory.
In a characteristically incendiary message to the “lame-stream media,” Zeb Colter labeled World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler a man of “questionable morals” and Alberto Del Rio a “criminale,” before promising that Jack Swagger would make a statement against “Blondie’s bodyguard,” Big E Langston, when they locked up on SmackDown. The “Founding Father” insisted that, without a doubt, “The Real American” would then go on to win the World Heavyweight Title at Extreme Rules and “take back” the country.
Four days after Jack Swagger's ladder rampage on Raw, “The Real American” was set to take on Big E Langston — who was joined by Ziggler and AJ Lee at ringside — on SmackDown. But the match would never even get underway.
With Ricardo recovering from Swagger's Raw attack, Alberto Del Rio leaped from the SmackDown announce table before the match began and tossed a ladder into play. Chaos quickly ensued and the Mexican Superstar cleaned house inside the ring.
The action was capped off with a vicious kick to Dolph Ziggler's head, followed by a ladder attack on both The Showoff and Jack Swagger, courtesy of Del Rio, leaving The Showoff injured. Del Rio, World Title in hand, proceeded to climb that very ladder in the center of the ring — a symbolic gesture of what the former champion hopes will happen in the Triple Threat Ladder Match at Extreme Rules.
The Shield looked to continue their measured decimation of WWE's Tag Team Champions on SmackDown, as Dean Ambrose went head-to-head with Daniel Bryan. With Kane watching his partner's back at ringside to keep the other “Hounds of Justice” at bay, Bryan looked confident inside the ring, and a thrilling back-and-forth took place between the two evenly matched Superstars.
But when the submission specialist snapped in the “No! Lock” on Ambrose, a Seth Rollins distraction kept The Big Red Monster occupied and allowed Roman Reigns to bum-rush the ring. In response, United States Champion Kofi Kingston flew down the ramp to even the odds. While the “The Wildcat’s” emergence gave Bryan a loss by disqualification, it provided Team Hell No with a shot of adrenaline as they chased The Shield from ringside!
He's not called The World's Strongest Man for nothing.
Mark Henry has performed some mind-boggling feats of strength over the years, but Friday night's WWE tractor-trailer pull may have topped them all. Having already successfully pulled one 55,000-pound trailer earlier in the day, Henry did the unthinkable on SmackDown as he dragged two WWE tractor trailers — weighing in excess of 110,000 pounds — and destroyed the world record.
With the Extreme Rules Strap Match looming against Sheamus, one thing's for sure—The Celtic Warrior is going to have one truly tall order ahead of him come May 19.
Randy Orton talked about Big Show's sneak-attack KO Punch Monday on Raw, telling Renee Young that he vouched for Big Show at WrestleMania — and that has now cost him twice. As a result, The World's Largest Athlete will have to deal with The Viper's bite — and according to Orton, there will be no antidote for that when they square off at Extreme Rules!
Despite another spirited entrance by Tons of Funk, the music stopped short for Tensai when Big Show leveled the dancing Superstar with a thundering KO Punch just moments into their bout. Just like that, the match was over and The World's Largest Athlete turned his attentions to Tensai's tag team partner, Brodus Clay.
But when Big Show looked to put The Funkasaurus down, Randy Orton came out of nowhere to strike — leveling The World's Largest Athlete with an RKO!
It's safe to say that the friendship is most definitely fractured between Divas Champion Kaitlyn and AJ Lee. Making fun of Kaitlyn and her secret admirer, AJ ragged on Kaitlyn's “man arms,” prompting the Divas Champion to shoot back with some zingers of her own.
When Natalya came to break up the increasingly heated exchange, AJ vacated the premises and was replaced by The Great Khali, who arrived donning a Rey Mysterio mask — and, later, a Cody Rhodes mustache — in an attempt to go “undercover” to help find out who Kaitlyn's secret admirer really is.
It was a clash of extremely differing styles in SmackDown's main event, as Chris Jericho faced off against Ryback, quickly turning the Friday night blockbuster into an instant classic.
When “The Human Wrecking Ball” finally looked ready to finish off Jericho with Shell Shocked, the six-time World Champion roared back, flipping his monstrous opponent over into the Walls of Jericho! Ryback would use his massive strength to get to the ropes, only to walk right into a Code Breaker.
However, when the action spilled outside, Ryback stopped Y2J's rally stone cold, throwing him into the barricade, then using the steel ring post to deliver a low-blow for the DQ victory.
Ryback wasn't yet done, though, as he stomped back to ringside and destroyed Jericho with another meathook clothesline — this time directly onto, and then over, the blue brand announce table, as SmackDown went off the air.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Kofi Kingston defeated Cody Rhodes (3:28)
- Dean Ambrose (w/ Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) defeated Daniel Bryan (w/ Kane) by DQ (9:21)
- The Big Show defeated Tensai (w/ Brodus Clay) (0:50)
- Chris Jericho defeated Ryback by DQ (11:29)
- Dark match: Randy Orton & Sheamus defeated Mark Henry & The Big Show
Other on-screen talent
Kofi Kingston v Cody Rhodes
Big E. Langston v Jack Swagger
Dean Ambrose v Daniel Bryan
Henry shattered another World Record
The Big Show v Tensai
Chris Jericho v Ryback
- WWE Smackdown #716 at CAGEMATCH.net
- [Smackdown #716 on WWE Network]