On the final show en route to WWE Payback, SmackDown played host to both a Champion vs. Champion Match and a Last Man Standing showdown.
After feeling the wrath of Evolution in a Raw Contract Signing gone south, an extremely focused and intense Shield reemerged, wondering just how crazy their Payback opponents are willing to get when two of the greatest factions in WWE history go head-to-head in a No Holds Barred Elimination Match this Sunday.
While many scenarios are possible in such an unpredictable free-for-all, The Hounds of Justice made one thing perfectly clear: At Payback, "The end of Evolution will be extinction."
In the first match of the night, Paul Heyman joined the SmackDown announce team to watch his Superstar Cesaro in action against Kofi Kingston. In the height of the matchup, The King of Swing countered The Wildcat's aerial assault with a vicious uppercut for the victory.
But the action didn't stop there. Looking to send United States Champion Sheamus a message heading into their monumental title match at Payback, The Swiss Superman finished off his fallen opponent with a post-match Neutralizer.
As Divas Champion Paige took on Tamina, her unpredictable No. 1 Contender, Alicia Fox, emerged, creating a major distraction by doing everything from taking selfies to “borrowing” the Divas Title.
Despite Fox's antics, Paige overcame Tamina by making her tap out to the Scorpion Crosslock. Still, the question remains: What factor will Alicia's erratic behavior play in Sunday's title showdown?
Bo Dallas continued to make the WWE Universe Bo-lieve, scoring a huge Friday night win over the up-and-coming Xavier Woods with his running "Bo-Dog" – followed by another victory lap and an inspirational hug to his fallen opponent.
EL Torito may have started his SmackDown match against Jinder Mahal completely tailless, but his humiliation wouldn't stop the pint-sized Superstar from besting his opponent with the “Bull-Sault.”
Moments after the bell, however, El Torito found himself surrounded by the remaining members of 3MB. But, when Los Matadors took out Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre, it was Hornswoggle who nearly lost his head!
Who will be humiliated this Sunday in Payback's Hair vs. Mask Match?
At Payback, United States Champion Sheamus will defend his title against Cesaro and Intercontinental Champion Bad New Barrett will defend against Rob Van Dam. Before they put their titles on the line Sunday, the two champions went head-to-head on SmackDown.
With Paul Heyman returning to the SmackDown announce team, not wanting to miss a chance to profess the attributes of his own Superstar, Cesaro, Sheamus overcame his fellow possessor of gold with a furious Brogue Kick. The Celtic Warrior then climbed out of the ring and sent a message of his own to The King of Swing by intimidating his outspoken advocate.
As an American flag waving Big E prepared to battle Titus O’Neil, Lana emerged to speak the praises of the Russian flag and Rusev - who now resides in Russia - all while demanding the subjugation of the people of the United States.
After Big E decimated The Real Deal and finished him off with The Big Ending, both he and his Payback opponent began to feverishly wave their respective flags.
After turning his match against Jack Swagger into an in-ring party, Adam Rose trapped The Real American's legs with his feet to pick up a rather strange three-count.
Two days before facing his nemesis, John Cena, in a Last Man Standing Match, Bray Wyatt decided to take on one-half of the WWE Tag Team Champions in the same fashion.
Though Jimmy Uso took him to hell and back, when the battling Samoan missed The Eater of Worlds and inadvertently collided with the steel ring steps, Bray finished off the highflyer by delivering Sister Abigail onto the ringside floor.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Dolph Ziggler defeats Sami Zayn
- Cesaro (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated Kofi Kingston (2:48)
- Paige defeated Tamina Snuka (3:09)
- Bo Dallas defeated Xavier Woods (2:46)
- El Torito (w/ Diego & Fernando) defeated Jinder Mahal (w/ Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater & Hornswoggle) (1:39)
- Sheamus defeated Bad News Barrett (10:47)
- Big E defeated Titus O'Neil (1:12)
- Adam Rose defeated Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) (2:18)
- Bray Wyatt (w/ Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeated Jimmy Uso (w/ Jey Uso) in a Last Man Standing Match (12:13)
- Dark Match: The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) defeated The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper)
Other on-screen talent
The Shield predicted Evolution is headed for extinction
Cesaro v Kofi Kingston
Paige v Tamina Snuka
Bo Dallas v Xavier Woods
El Torito v Jinder Mahal
Sheamus v Bad News Barrett
Big E v Titus O'Neil
Adam Rose v Jack Swagger
Bray Wyatt v Jimmy Uso
- WWE Smackdown #771 at CAGEMATCH.net
- [Smackdown #771 on WWE Network]