They aired a video package of Daniel Bryan and his tainted victory at Night of Champions, spliced with footage of what happened on Raw and Triple H’s WWE.com interview with Michael Cole. They also showed part of Bryan’s match with Roman Reigns, and the babyfaces coming out to aid Bryan at the end of Raw.
In the arena, Lilian Garcia introduced Vickie Guerrero, who was in the ring. Vickie billed tonight’s show as the most entertaining Smackdown ever. Vickie intro’d the man who has gone from hero to zero, the laughingstock of WWE: Daniel Bryan. Bryan came out and he said he’d much rather be champion for only one day than be a shrill, corporate suck-up for his entire life. He was talking about Vickie. She offered him the chance to “come clean” in front of everyone tonight. He said he was innocent. Vickie didn’t believe him. “You want the truth?” he asked. Thankfully, he didn’t follow it up with “you can’t handle the truth!” Instead, he said the ref could’ve counted to 20 because Randy Orton was knocked out. Vickie said Triple H may have promised Bryan a match at Battleground, but she would’ve fired him. So she’s his boss…but can’t fire him. And right after I typed that, Bryan claimed Vickie didn’t have any real power. Vickie brought up the 10 superstars who saved Bryan at the end of Raw. She showed still photos of them on the TitanTron to refresh the memory of the fans.
Vickie said tonight there would be an 11-on-3 gauntlet match. The Shield would be in the ring at all times, and one man will face The Shield until he is defeated. She said the Hounds of Justice will run through each of the men who helped Bryan, as well as Bryan himself. She promised to save Bryan for last. Then she cackled like a movie villain. “Things keep getting worse for Daniel Bryan,” said Michael Cole.
- Cole and JBL, from ringside, discussed the mechanics of a gauntlet match and previewed tonight’s match.
1. NAOMI vs. A.J. LEE
Natalya was at ringside on commentary and sadly, her headset was working tonight. A.J. did an inset interview before the match and said she mow through the entire Divas division. Naomi didn’t get a full entrance, by the way. Naomi came at A.J. with a springboard, but A.J. kicked her in mid-air. Cameron was at ringside to cheer on Naomi. A.J. wore down Naomi with a chin-lock. Jaw-breaker by Naomi allowed her to break free. The announcers weren’t giving Natalya anything and were definitely forcing her to think on her feet. Naomi made a comeback with a dropkick and clothesline. Rear View from Naomi for two at 2:33. Sleeper hold by A.J. Naomi tried a side slam, but A.J. spun it into the Black Widow for the submission win.
WINNER: A.J., at 3:22
- The Real Americans were in the ring. Zeb Colter previewed Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella. He advised Santino to take the ravioli out of his ears because he’s going to give him a “pizza” his mind. He accused Santino of sneaking across the border and owning a reptile without a permit. Following the “We the People” bit, Santino came out.
2. JACK SWAGGER vs. SANTINO MARELLA
The announcers plugged that Santino and Billy Gunn were the special guests on the JBL and Cole Show on WWE’s YouTube channel. Beal out of the corner, then some trash-talking from Swagger. Santino ducked a clothesline and applied a backslide for the pinfall win.
WINNER: Marella, at 2:03.
- Curtis Axel was wheeling Paul Heyman in Heyman’s wheelchair backstage, with Ryback walking alongside them. Ryback is in action, next.
- Cole and JBL plugged the Wrestlemania XXX on-sale date.
- Stills photos of Punk vs. Heyman & Axel from Night of Champions were shown, narrated by Cole.
- Ryback, along with Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel, came to the ring for Ryback’s match. They stopped short of the ring and Heyman got the mic. He claimed to be the Best in the World. He said Punk gave him all he could handle at Night of Champions. Heyman was really laying it on thick here. He said he could not have done it without his hero, Ryback. Ryback took the mic and said Heyman is a “gracious and appreciative man.” He called Punk a “bully” and said he can’t stand bullies. He said earlier in the day, he was told by Heyman that his opponent refused to sign an autograph for a kid. Ryback told his opponent to try to intimidate him. He vowed to do to Punk what he’s going to do with his opponent tonight.
3. RYBACK vs. NICK NARDONE
Ryback sent Nardone face-first into the mat. Nardone fought back with forearms, but fell victim to the Meat Hook clothesline. Shell Shock finished it.
WINNER: Ryback, at :50.
A replay of Ryback’s impressive offense was shown.
- An angry Randy Orton was walking backstage. He’ll address the WWE Title controversy next.
- Randy Orton came out. Orton said he blames himself for what happened on Sunday night. He said for the last few years, he has been someone he’s not; he has tried to appease the fans, against his own wishes. Heck, he even went to anger management. Orton said Stephanie McMahon and Triple H asked him to become his true self. He said he made an example out of the Miz on Monday night. They aired clips of his beat-down of Miz. He said that stands as a warning to anyone who thinks they’re going to stand in his way. He said he’s looking to massacre Daniel Bryan at Battleground. He vowed to end the war between him and Bryan. He promised to become WWE Champion once again. The Shield’s music played once his promo was finished. They descended the stairs as Cole went over the rules. The gauntlet match is next.
- Vickie Guerrero was sitting ringside as The Shield awaited their first gauntlet opponent.
4. 11-ON-3 GAUNTLET MATCH
A. DARREN YOUNG vs. THE SHIELD
The Shield smothered Young before he could even get his shirt off. They ended up whipping him with it. Reigns with the Spear and the pin.
WINNERS: The Shield, at :41.
B. TITUS O’NEIL vs. THE SHIELD
WINNERS: The Shield, at 1:51 (running time).
C. DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. THE SHIELD
Ziggler got even more offense than O’Neil, unloading on Reigns until the other Shield members pulled him off. Ambrose was the one who really laid in the beating here, due to their United States Title feud. Ziggler ended up fighting back, and low-bridged Reigns out of the ring. Fameasser for Rollins, and a clothesline that sent both he and Ambrose over the top rope and to ringside. Ambrose held Ziggler’s foot while Ziggler was on the apron, allowing Rollins to kick him to the floor. A spear by Reigns nearly took Ziggler out of his boots.
WINNERS: The Shield, via count-out, at 5:37.
D. KOFI KINGSTON vs. THE SHIELD
Kingston hopped over Reigns, who charged at him in the aisle. He took the fight to Rollins and Ambrose in the ring. Trouble in Paradise to Reigns, but Ambrose made the save. Ambrose ended up putting Kingston down with his finisher.
WINNERS: The Shield, at 7:11
E. ROB VAN DAM vs. THE SHIELD
RVD used his educated feet to keep Ambrose and Rollins at bay. Springboard kick sent Reigns to ringside. Spin kick caught Ambrose. Rolling Thunder for Rollins. As Van Dam went to the top rope, Triple H’s music hit. He came out and Reigns shoved RVD off the top rope. Hunter called for the bell.
WINNER: No Contest, at 8:57.
Hunter was incensed with Vickie and, a la Liz Lemon, told everyone to “shut it down.” He scolded her and told her to come to his office immediately. She followed him back up the ramp.
- Hunter was dressing down Vickie backstage. Hunter predicted a full-scale revolt after what happened tonight. She said she thought it was best for business, and Hunter said she doesn’t know what best for business is. He said what’s best is a competitive environment, and that’s what he’s going to give them. So Vickie was ordered to put The Shield in a six-man tag match against The Usos and Daniel Bryan.
- After the announcers reacted to what just happened, the Raw Rebound aired.
- More fun backstage with Triple H. Zack Ryder and Justin Gabriel walked in. Hunter apologized to them for Vickie putting them in a gauntlet match. Gabriel said they appreciated it and Ryder said it was too bad because they wanted some competition. Hunter told them to go to the ring and he’d find them some good, fair competition.
5. ZACK RYDER & JUSTIN GABRIEL vs. LUKE HARPER & ERICK ROWAN
Dropkick by Ryder, but Harper caught him with a big boot. Gabriel broke up a pin and kicked away at Rowan. Rowan tossed Gabriel out of the ring, and Harper powerbombed Ryder in the corner. Big clothesline folded up Ryder, and that was that.
WINNERS: Harper and Rowan, at 1:08.
After the match, Bray Wyatt gave Sister Abigail to Ryder. Rowan kicked Gabriel off the top rope when he tried to prevent the move. Wyatt got the mic and said he promised to keep knocking them down if WWE keeps lining them up for him. “For you, Abigail,” he said.
- The recently-made six-man tag match is still to come.
- One of the WWE doctors was checking over RVD in the training room. The diagnosis: He was just sore. Triple H walked in and apologized for what Vickie did earlier tonight. He gave RVD a rematch with Alberto Del Rio for the World Title at Battleground in a few weeks. After Hunter left, Alberto Del Rio attacked RVD out of nowhere. He threw RVD into various objects scattered around the room, then kicked him in the head. Finally, two referees ran in and shooed ADR away.
- Cole and JBL talked at ringside, with Cole thinking aloud that it was odd ADR attacked RVD right after Triple H gave RVD a title rematch.
6. R-TRUTH vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO
Lilian does a Spanish introduction for Del Rio. Big splash in the corner by Truth, followed by a mid-ring suplex for two. Del Rio took back over with a chin-lock. Del Rio flexed his pecs to get heel heat. It backfired, with Truth nailing Del Rio with a heel kick. Front suplex for two at 2:09. Enziguiri in the corner by Del Rio for two. Truth with an axe kick for two. Del Rio once again came back, this time locking in the cross arm-breaker for the tap-out win.
WINNER: Del Rio, at 3:33.
- Next, The Shield face The Usos and Daniel Bryan in the main event.
7. THE SHIELD vs. THE USOS & DANIEL BRYAN
Bryan began the match with Rollins. Bryan ducked a leap-frog and plucked him out of the air to apply a surfboard. The Usos double-teamed Ambrose, leading to Jey working him over. Bryan tagged in and kicked away at Reigns in the babyface corner. That momentum was halted by a back-elbow to the chest. Rollins dropkicked Jey once Jey became the legal man. The Shield were on offense when they went to break at 6:03 of the match.
Back to the match, nine minutes in. Hot tag made to Jimmy Uso. Samoan drop dropped Rollins. But Rollins kicked Jimmy in the back of his head, then tagged Reigns. Rear chin-lock by Ambrose on Jimmy, as the crowd attempted to keep the babyfaces in the match. Jimmy again worked to his feet, fighting off a rest-hold. Jumping clothesline by Reigns felled Jimmy for two. And then into another chin-lock. Jimmy fought out of the heel corner and he crawled to try to make the tag. Rollins attempted to stop him, but Jimmy gave him the Bubba Bomb. Ambrose interfered to cheap shot Jey, so Jimmy tagged Bryan. Bryan kicked both Rollins and Reigns off the apron, then hit his flurry of offense on Ambrose. Bryan set Ambrose on the top rope and gave him a hurricanrana to the mat. The pin was broken up by Reigns, and things began to break down with The Shield and Usos taking each other out. Ambrose clotheslined Bryan down, but Bryan applied the Yes Lock. Ambrose got to the ropes, but Bryan gave him a running knee for the pinfall victory.
WINNERS: The Usos and Bryan, at 16:22.
The winners celebrated in the ring post-match to close the show a minute past the top of the hour.
Report by Greg Parks & PWtorch.com