Smackdown began with a slow-motion video package on Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena from Summerslam. Clips from the final segment of Raw were added in after as well.
- Smackdown Open.
- Vickie Guerrero started the show in the ring. Vickie intimated that she’s on the good side of the McMahon family since taking over Smackdown. She then introduced Randy Orton as the new WWE Champion. Orton came to the ring and was met at the bottom of the ramp by Vickie, who offered a hug. Randy instead accepted a handshake. Michael Cole and JBL were shown on commentary at ringside as Orton finished up his entrance. Orton told the fans that as WWE Champion, he’ll give the fans what they want and what they deserve. Orton said he did nothing but tell the truth: He told everyone that no one would see his MITB cash-in coming. He said the only person who should be surprised about what happened should be him. He claimed he didn’t know Triple H was going to Pedigree Daniel Bryan. He said he didn’t need Triple H’s help at Summerslam and didn’t need The Shield’s help on Raw. He thanked the fans for their support as well. They responded by booing him.
Orton said he’s not only WWE Champion, but his is the face of WWE. Daniel Bryan’s music then interrupted and he came down to the ring jumping around and doing his “Yes!” arm thrusts. I know the fans love that, but after Sunday and Monday, you’d think he’d be a little more serious in this situation. Bryan wanted to say what he was going to say on Raw before Stephanie McMahon interrupted him. He thanked John Cena for giving him the opportunity to wrestle him (Cena) at Summerslam. And he thanked Cena for being bold enough and brave enough to wrestle with a torn triceps. Ugh. Said without a hint of sarcasm. Bryan addressed Orton and said the face of WWE needs to change. Bryan acknowledged that he doesn’t look like Orton, who is chiseled and “pretty.” Bryan said he can see why Triple H likes him so much.
Bryan said Orton is also arrogant for someone who has been handed opportunity after opportunity thanks to his lineage and having “the genetic golden ticket” to make it in WWE. Bryan went back to Orton looking pretty. It made him want to kick Orton in the face. “Yes!” chants from the fans. Bryan again brought up what it was like for him to wrestle and live as an indie wrestler. Bryan said he’s not tall and he’s certainly not pretty. But, he said he can wrestle and beat Orton. Hey, he already has. Bryan told the fans he is entitled to a rematch for the WWE Title. He said he wanted the rematch tonight. Orton told him he’d have to wait until Night of Champions. Orton then dropped the mic and trash-talked Bryan. He held the belt over his head as the two were face-to-face. Orton turned away and tried an RKO, blocked by Bryan. Bryan then dropkicked Orton over the top rope and to the floor. Cole claimed Orton was “embarrassed” by Bryan.
- Tonight, Christian faces Alberto Del Rio. It’s apparently non-title.
- Backstage, Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman were walking. Axel wrestles (sports-entertains?) next.
- Vickie Guerrero was on the phone backstage, barking to some unfortunate soul about what Daniel Bryan did in the previous segment. Wade Barrett walked in and said she and he have mutual dislike for Bryan. Barrett guaranteed that if she put him in a match with Bryan tonight, Bryan wouldn’t make it to Night of Champions. Guerrero wanted to make it No Holds Barred. Then, she decided it would be better if it was an Extreme Rules match. Is there a difference? Finally, she decided on a Steel Cage Match. So are we supposed to believe they take the cage from town-to-town just in case a Cage match is made on a whim by the GM?
1 – CODY RHODES vs. CURTIS AXEL
Heyman’s arm was still in a sling. As Axel and Heyman came to the ring, C.M. Punk’s attack on Axel on Raw was shown. Dropkick by Axel on Rhodes. Springboard dropkick by Rhodes for a two-count at :56. With Axel outside the ring, Rhodes was tripped up on the apron as he tried to go after Axel. They went to break at 1:32 of the match.
Back at 5:27 of the match. Cole informed fans that Axel dominated Rhodes during the break. Axel missed an elbowdrop off the second rope, leading to Rhodes fighting back. Disaster Kick missed the mark, but a roll-up out of the corner, followed by a clothesline, kept him on offense. Rhodes got fired up and went for a moonsault off the top, but Heyman distracted Rhodes, allowing Axel to hit the ropes and trip up Rhodes. Face-first neckbreaker and Axel picked up the win.
WINNER: Axel, at 7:49. I think Axel winning here says a lot about where WWE is going with the Punk program: It looks like they’ll keep working him with Axel for the time being rather than going right to another, possibly bigger-name Paul Heyman guy if WWE had lost faith in Axel.
After a replay of the finish, Heyman took the mic and said Punk has caused him incredible agony. Heyman whined about guiding Punk to being the Best in the World, and someone who is now a sad, pathetic loser. Heyman said Punk is “off the rails” and “on a downward spiral.” He said his actions on Raw were “befitting a mad-man.” Heyman said that without him, Punk is lost. But with him, Curtis Axel has found himself. He said no one can defeat Axel for the Intercontinental Championship. Axel said Punk doesn’t deserve an I.C. title match. Axel addressed Punk and said he’ll finish the job that Brock Lesnar “gave you” (I think he meant that Lesnar started) and he challenged Punk to a match on Raw.
- Still to come, the main event is Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett in a steel cage match.
- Dolph Ziggler and Big E. Langston w/A.J. Lee were walking in a split screen. It’s Ziggler vs. Langston next.
2 – BIG E. LANGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
During Ziggler’s entrance, they showed clips of his three-on-one match against The Shield from Raw. Before the match, Langston attacked Ziggler as soon as he entered the ring. Langston took Ziggler by the throat and tossed him into the opposite turnbuckle. A.J., who skipped to ringside before Langston came out, seemed pleased. Referee Rod Zapata had quite the time holding Langston back in order to give Ziggler time to recover. Once the match officially began, Langston absorbed a few Ziggler punches and tossed him high on the air, gravity bringing Ziggler back to the mat. Standing splash for two. Jaw-breaker by Ziggler stunned Langston. Langston missed a shoulder-first corner charge. Face-buster by Ziggler, which he countered into in mid-air, got a two-count. A.J. punched Ziggler while the ref dealt with Langston. Hard clothesline by Langston for two. The straps came down and he set up for the Big Ending. Ziggler snuck out the back and gave Langston the Zig Zag for the win.
WINNER: Ziggler, at 2:00. High-energy match, like they tried to cram five minutes of action into two minutes.
- Next, Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match.
- Cole thanked Clinton Sparks, featuring 2 Chainz, Macklemore & D.A. for “Gold Rush,” the official theme to Summerslam.
3 – CHRISTIAN vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO
Del Rio went to the outside early on, and Christian followed him with a dropkick through the ropes. Del Rio appeared ready to take a walk, but apparently, WWE production didn’t think so as they cut to break with him at the end of the ramp at 1:24 of the match.
They returned at about 4:30 of the match. Christian was sitting atop the top turnbuckle, and Del Rio shoved him off and to the floor. Del Rio’s onslaught continued inside the ring. Del Rio missed a feet-first dive through the ropes and Christian was able to knock him back out of the ring. Del Rio reentered the ring and Christian upped the tempo. Del Rio fired back and headbutted Christian in the corner. Christian missed a second-rope dropkick and Del Rio attempted a cross arm-breaker, but Christian rolled through. Tornado DDT for two at 9:11. Christian set up for the spear, but Del Rio fled the ring. Back in, Christian went to the top, but Del Rio gave him an enziguiri. Christian fell into the ring and Del Rio got a two-count. Del Rio seemed to get frustrated with his inability to put Christian away. Christian went shoulder-first into the ring post, and Del Rio applied his finisher. The referee made sure to check on Del Rio’s shoulders to make sure they weren’t being pinned to the mat this time, unlike at Summerslam. Eventually, Christian tapped.
WINNER: Del Rio, via submission, at 11:24. Not as good as their Summerslam bout, but still a fine TV match.
Key moments of the match were replayed. Afterward, Del Rio had a mic. Del Rio said many of his Latino fans want to be like him, but like Highlander, there can be only one. The Highlander reference was mine, not ADR’s. Del Rio said people can’t be like him because they’re peasants. He told the fans to follow him. Ricardo Rodriguez came out. “There’s Judas,” said JBL. Rodriguez hyped up his new charge as the anti-Del Rio, then presented Rob Van Dam. RVD and Rodriguez came to the ring. As he did so, Christian came off the top rope with a dropkick. RVD then hit Rolling Thunder. Del Rio rolled out of the ring as Van Dam’s music played.
- Cole and JBL talked on-camera about what happened at the outset of Smackdown. Then we saw a video recap of segment one.
- A graphic aired for Bryan vs. Barrett in a steel cage tonight.
- In the ring, Zeb Colter stood between The Real Americans. “We The People” was all they could get out before the PTP’ers came to the ring.
5 – ANTONIO CESARO vs. DARREN YOUNG
Cesaro hit Young hard right off the bat. Gutwrench suplex by Cesaro. Young got his boot up on a Cesaro corner charge, but Cesaro grabbed a sleeper. Titus O’Neil worked the crowd from ringside. Cesaro slapped Young in the face, but Young took Cesaro down with a running clothesline. Belly-to-belly throw by Young. Northern Lights supelx for two. Young went to finish Cesaro, but a Jack Swagger distraction led to a near-fall for Cesaro. Hot shot on Cesaro, then the Gut Check finish by Young (who was bleeding from the mouth).
WINNER: Young, at 2:31. Nice to have a secondary feud going on in the tag division.
- Tonight, Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett in a steel cage.
- Backstage, Ryback bullied some guy who wanted an autograph for his son. Ryback happily signed, but when the guy didn’t know who Ryback was, Ryback took offense. He ripped up the autograph but caused no bodily harm to the man.
- C.M. Punk vs. Curtis Axel is official for Raw.
- The steel cage was lowered inside the arena. The main event is next.
- A vignette aired for the soon-to-debut Los Matadores.
6 – DANIEL BRYAN vs. WADE BARRETT – STEEL CAGE MATCH
During Barrett’s entrance, they showed the clip from Raw of a few weeks ago when Bryan shaved off part of Barrett’s beard. Barrett is working on growing it back, by the way. Barrett grounded Bryan early on. He rammed Bryan head-first into the cage. Barrett charged at Bryan, but Bryan pulled down the top rope and Barrett was sent into the cage. Bryan hit the ropes, but ran right into the Winds of Change. That got a two-count at 2:40. They cut to break at 2:50.
Back at 5:50 of the contest. Barrett was still in control of Bryan. Bryan knocked the back of Barrett’s head into the cage several times, then dropkicked him into it a few times, as Barrett was stuck between the ropes and the cage. Bryan found himself on the top rope and dropkicked Barrett. A pin got two at 7:41. Barrett was on his knees and Bryan kicked him in the chest a number of times. Barrett ducked the head kick and sent Bryan into the cage, then nearly took Bryan out of his boots with a clothesline. Bryan fell victim to an electric chair from Barrett for two at 9:14. Bryan had to play defense and stop Barrett from climbing out of the cage. On the top rope, Barrett elbowed Bryan down to the mat. Barrett climbed atop the cage, but Bryan made a last-ditch effort to bring him back in. He was successful. Bryan finally brought Barrett down with a powerbomb. Bryan felt the energy from the crowd and connected on a running knee, the same one that ended John Cena’s WWE title reign. And no, Wade Barrett did not kick out, either.
WINNER: Bryan, at 11:54.
After replays, Bryan celebrated outside the ring and Orton, from nowhere, RKO’d Bryan. It appeared he came from under the ring. Orton held his title over the downed Bryan as the show closed.