SmackDown opened with a recap of the main event of SummerSlam and then of Raw. Vickie was in the ring, introducing Randy Orton on behalf of the entire McMahon family. He cut a heel promo about being a role model. He said no one should be surprised, he told everyone he was going to do it. He was the only one who should be surprised since he didn't know Triple H was going to Pedigree Bryan, but he wasn't going to waste an opportunity. He said he had the full support of the McMahons and asked for the same from the crowd.
Bryan came out and got in the ring with Orton. Bryan finished his message to Cena that Steph stopped him giving Monday. He said thank you. For giving him the championship opportunity and wrestling with a messed up arm. He said even if he was only better than Cena that one night, it gave him the taste of things to come. Bryan then turned his attention to Orton, who had previously referenced himself as the face of the WWE. Bryan said he can see why Hunter liked Orton's face so much, since he's so tall and pretty. He said Orton was given a genetic ticket to the WWE. He again stopped to comment on how pretty Orton was, so pretty Bryan wanted to kick him in the face. Bryan put over how hard he had to work to get where he was since since he doesn't have the genetics. But he can wrestle and beat Orton for the championship.
Bryan brought up his rematch clause and suggested they do it tonight. Orton said �sorry short stuff� and told him he'd have to wait for Night of Champions. Orton then held the title over Bryan and teased walking away before trying for the RKO. Bryan shoved him into the ropes then charged with a dropkick to send Orton from the ring. There were way more people yes'ing with Bryan after the segment than before it, so put it down as a success.
Vickie was yelling one the phone in the back about how someone needed to teach the little troll a lesson. Barrett came in and proposed a match between himself and Bryan, which he guaranteed would stop Bryan from making it to the PPV. She loved it, but liked it more as a no holds barred match, then an extreme rules match, before settling on a steel cage match.
Match Number One: Cody Rhodes Vs. Curtis Axel (c) w/ Paul Heyman, Non-Title Match.
Axel controlled the body of the match until Cody took over. Axel dodged the Disaster Kick though and a CM Punk chant broke out. Cody again got on top but was crotched when trying for a moonsault and then pinned clean with a hangman facebuster. They tried to say that Heyman distracted Rhodes by making eye contact when he was up top, but it didn't actually affect anything.
Winner: Curtis Axel, Pinfall.
Heyman took the mic after the match and said he was in agony. He said it was emotional distress not physical pain, since a man he considered a friend has been reduced to a sad pathetic loser. Heyman said without himself in Punk's corner, he never stood a chance against Brock. Without him Punk's lost. Now with Paul, Axel has found himself and if full of confidence. He said no one could defeat Curtis for the IC championship. Axel took the mic and said Punk didn't deserve a shot at the title, and Punk was so jealous he assaulted him with a chair Monday. He then challenged Punk to a match Monday to finish the job Brock started.
Match Number Two: Dolph Ziggler Vs. Big E. w/ AJ.
Big E. attacked Dolph the moment Ziggler stepped through the ropes. The ref eventually got Langston off him to make sure Dolph was ok to compete. After the bell rang Big E. was straight back on top. Dolph avoided a charge by Langston in the corner and made a comeback, but AJ slapped him behind the ref's back which let Big E. run through him for a nearfall. Big E. then took down his shoulder straps, picked up Dolph and Ziggler slipped off to land the ZigZag for the pinfall.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler, Pinfall.
Match Number Three: Christian Vs. Alberto Del Rio (C), Non-Title Match.
For those keeping track, this is the third time this match has taken place in 8 days. I really enjoyed the first two, but I have no desire to see it again. Cole brought up Sin Cara's injury on Raw and JBL said the only thing wrong with him was a lack of guts.
Christian backdropped Del Rio over the corner to the floor when Alberto charged him. He followed it up with a dropkick through the middle and bottom rope, but when he climbed the turnbuckles again, Del Rio hid up the ramp. Del Rio then took control during an ad, by throwing Christian into the announce table and pushing him off the top turnbuckle to the floor.
It was here that I started enjoying the action again. Christian's just really good, and doesn't have any of his whingey characteristics at the moment. They traded counters to all their big moves with Del Rio getting angry about not being able to put him away. He finally did by sending Christian shoulder first into the steel post and jumping into the arm breaker from the middle rope. Good match by the end. But to nit pick, and this isn't necessarily their fault, but every now and then SmackDown gets really over saturated with the shoulder charge being missed in the corner where the guy hits the steel post. This was the second match with it in a row, but the second or third week in a row with the spot happening multiple times.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio, Submission.
Alberto cut his hero promo again, but Ricardo came out after. He said he had a problem with Del Rio asking them to follow him to greatness. He then passionately introduced RVD. RVD started making his way to the ring so Del Rio ran the other way. Except Christian met him with a missile dropkick. RVD then hit Rolling Thunder before Del Rio ran up the ramp. Ricardo grabbed Del Rio's belt and posed with RVD.
Match Number Four: The Big Show & Mark Henry Vs. 3MB, Handicap Match.
Show was pointing out how much weight he's lost and it is a lot. Slater managed to get out from beneath Henry as he tried to sit on him, which let 3MB get the heat for a moment. Show then got a hot tag and gave Drew a beating. He hit the Chokeslam before Slater broke the pin. Show threw Slater into a World's Strongest Slam, shoved Jinder from the ring and hit the WMD on Drew for the pinfall.
Winners: The Big Show & Mark Henry, Pinfall.
Rollins and Reigns got their attention from the titantron. They mocked them for beating 3MB. They said they were a wake up call. They said Henry had just been floating for fifteen years. But the Shield are just better than them.
Match Number Five: Darren Young w/ Titus Vs. Antonio Cesaro w/ Zeb & Swagger
Antonio has been fantastic on NXT lately. If you don't care about the show, at leats go out of your way to see highlights of any match he's in from the show. Cesaro had control for most of the match. Young then came back and had the Gut Check set up, but Swagger distracted him on the apron. Tituus pulled Swagger down and while Cesaro got out, Young hit it a few seconds later for the pinfall.
Winner: Darren Young, Pinfall.
RyBack bullied someone who asked for a signature for his son, Billy. RyBack played nice, signing, but the guy didn't actually know who he was, saying he hadn't watched in years. He apologised for any offence, saying his son would be thrilled, but RyBack tore up the poster. Cole again said RyBack was not an ambassador for the Be a Star campaign.
They announced Punk had accepted the match with Axel Monday.
Match Number Six: Daniel Bryan Vs. Wade Barrett, Steel Cage Match.
Good action from the two, though very obviously a TV cage match rather than a PPV one. Bryan was the first one to try to climb. He had trapped Barrett between the ropes and cage which let him hit a few running dropkicks. Barrett grabbed Bryan's foot though so Bryan kicked him away and hit a top rope dropkick. Barrett avoided a headkick after copping a few to the chest and sent Bryan into the cage, then turned him inside out with a clothesline for a nearfall.
It was then Bryan's turn to stop Barrett from climbing out. Bryan teased hitting a German suplex off the top rope but Barrett held on, knocked Bryan off and tried to climb out. Bryan dragged him back in and started kicking him when both were on the top rope. Bryan then jumped off into a powerful powerbomb and got the crowd to yes with him. Like SummerSlam it set for his running knee which he nailed for the pinfall.
Winner: Daniel Bryan, Pinfall.
Bryan did a lap of the ring yessing with the crowd. Orton then slid out from under the ring to hit an RKO. The show then ended with Orton standing over Bryan holding the title. Much better show than last week. And while we've seen Bryan and Orton play off one another a fair bit this year, they're finally doing it with well defined roles.