Vickie opened SmackDown after a video that recapped Bryan's title win and then the fallout from Raw. Vickie said this would be the most exciting SmackDown ever, but first she had to introduce the laughing stock of the WWE. It was Bryan, but before revealing that she listed Bob Backlund's run as champion and CM Punk's recent run. She also listed Bryan's last two reigns, one for five minutes and one just short of a day.
Bryan said he would rather be champion for a day than a corporate suck up his whole life. She offered him one last chance to confess. Vickie was chewing her words which is rather rare. I guess that's what happens when a script is written on the day. Bryan told her the truth, he kneed Orton and could have pinned him to twenty. He said he didn't know about Armstrong but Bryan should still be champion. Vickie said she had to disagree with Triple H, he's giving Bryan a match at Battleground, while she would have fired him. Bryan said that it's a good thing then that Vickie doesn't have any real power. Her reaction to that was great.
Vickie showed pictures of everyone who helped Bryan on Raw up on the titontron and mentioned something about them being eliminated. She finally explained that the main event would be an 11 on 3 handicap match. But the 11 good guys would have to wrestle the match as a gauntlet, while the three members of the Shield would all be in the ring at once. She said Bryan would be saved for last.
Match Number One: Naomi w/ Cameron Vs. AJ Lee (C), Non-Title Match.
Natalya was on commentary and her headset at least worked. But I think it's a bit unfair that they had Cole and JBL asking her logical questions about a non-logical storyline. How is it Natalya's responsibility to explain why AJ wasn't on Total Divas? And one of her repeated lines came off a bit unlikeable, where she said AJ was just a title holder, while she was born a champion. Just not a line I'd have someone I wanted people to get behind use.
Naomi had a few of her athletic spots, but she's still just missing that crispness that only time in the ring will bring. She hit the Rearview (butt bump) for a nearfall, but AJ came back, put on a rear naked choke, then transitioned to the Black Widow for the submission.
Winner: AJ, Submission.
AJ sat in the ropes, holding her title and smiling towards Natalya. Natalya got up and returned the stare but nothing happened.
After a break Zeb cut a promo in the ring on Santino. He asked if Santino snuck into the country, then wanted to know if he had a permit for his reptile.
Match Number Two: Jack Swagger w/ Cesaro & Zeb Vs. Santino.
Santino got zero offence in until a backslide for the pinfall. I thought it was a nice change, rather than doing the usual Santino shenanigans. Match was just Swagger throwing him around until he got caught.
Winner: Santino, Pinfall.
Match Number Three: RyBack w/ Paul Heyman & Curtis Axel Vs. Nick Nardone.
Axel was in a suit to push Heyman around in his chair. In the clip before the ad break showing the three walking the halls, Heyman had big puppy dog eyes for RyBack like he was meeting his hero for the first time.
Heyman cut a promo from the bottom of the ramp as Nardone, the cannon Fodder, stood in the ring waiting. Heyman declared himself the best in the world again. He gave Punk credit for giving him all he could handle, but only one man could come out of battle the winner, and that was Paul Heyman. RyBack said Paul didn't deserve to be bullied. He hates bullies and he heard that Nardone refused to sign an autograph earlier, then tried to intimidate the kid. RyBack told Heyman that what he's about to do to Nardone is what he'll do to Punk next time they meet.
RyBack flattened Nardone with the meat hook after Nardone got in a shot or two. He then pinned him with the Shell Shock. RyBack said “I hate bullies” as the ref counted to three.
Winner: RyBack, Pinfall.
Orton came out to say that he title was stolen from him. He said it was still his fault though, because he shouldn't have been in a position for a fast count to happen. For the last two years he had lived a lie, locking away the real him because he thought it was what the fans and company wanted. But now he has permission to be himself, and he started by making an example of the Miz. He said at Battleground he's not just looking to win the battle, he's going to end the war between him and Bryan. He swore that he'd be WWE champion.
While Orton was in the ring the Shield's music hit and they made their way down for the gauntlet match.
Match Number Four: Uprising Vs. The Shield, 11-3 gauntlet handicap match.
They weren't all refereed to as “Uprising”, it was just easier to type than list all 11 guys. Vickie was ringside to enjoy the show.
Darren Young was out first. Young was speared and pinned in a minute. He was hesitant getting in the ring and as soon as he did he was swarmed.
Darren Young, Eliminated.
Titus was next. Again he was swarmed getting into the ring but managed to push them away and create some space. That was until Ambrose jumped on his back and Rollins grabbed a leg. Reigns shoulderblocked him and then they hit the triple powerbomb for the pinfall.
Titus O'Neil, Eliminated.
Dolph was next, and not his usual show off self. He made a b-line for Ambrose instead and managed to double leg him and get a few good shots in until he was pulled off. He got some shots in on Rollins and then Reigns in the corner until he took a heavy fall off the middle buckle. They took turns holding Dolph up and laying into him. Ambrose eventually got a bit too mouthy and Ziggler attacked. He avoided a charge from Reigns who went flying outside, hit the fame asser on Rollins and tumbled over the ropes himself as he clotheslined Ambrose from the ring. Ambrose held his shoe as he tried to get back to the ring so Rollins could dropkick him off the apron, then Reigns speared him on the floor. Dolph was then counted out.
Dolph Ziggler, Eliminated.
Kofi came out, even though his involvement on Monday was just being speared. Reigns tried to spear him on the ramp but Kofi jumped over him and then up to the apron to snap both Ambrose and Rollins over the rope, then hit a springboard cross body on both. He got Ambrose and Rollins down in separate corners, then dodged another charge from Reigns before hitting a very awkward Trouble in Paradise. He would have gotten the pin but Ambrose broke it up. He was quickly finished off with Ambrose's headlock driver.
Kofi Kingston, Eliminated.
RVD came out without Ricardo. He only had to go two on one as Reigns was still down from Kofi's kick. Reigns did try to help out but RVD hit a springboard sidekick to knock him back down, then hit rolling thunder on Ambrose and Rollins at the same time. He hopped up for the Five Star Frogsplash but stopped as Hunter's music hit. Reigns used the distraction to push RVD off the rope. Hunter wasn't interested on what was going on in ring as he walked around it yelling for the bell and for them to shut it down.
Triple H demanded Vickie follow him to his office, asking her if she had any idea what she'd done. They then walked up the ramp and The Shield slowly followed. After the break Hunter was dressing down Vickie. He said it was only ten guys that helped Bryan, but if you beat them down you'll then have ten more guys, then another ten before you have a full scale revolt. Vickie said she thought she was doing what was best for business. He said fair, honest competition was what was best for business right now, they need to feel safe and in a competitive environment. He demanded she go make a six man between The Shield and The Usos with Bryan.
After a Raw recap Hunter was welcoming Ryder and Gabriel into his office. He apologised about them being booked in the previous match. He called them both young and talented guys. They took the apology as genuine but Ryder stepped in it when he said it was too bad, that they wanted some competition bro, then jokingly hit Hunter's arm. Hunter bro'd back and told them to go to the ring right now and he'd find them some good fair competition. He said go get 'em tiger to end it.
Match Number Five: Zack Ryder & Justin Gabriel Vs. The Wyatt Family.
Bray watched from the ramp in his chair. Ryder got a brief moment of offence at the start but it ended quickly for him. Harper pinned him with a tornado clothesline after Rowan took Gabriel out.
Winners: The Waytt Family, Pinfall.
Bray hit Sister Abigail on Ryder after the bell. Gabriel tried to stop it but Rowan just booted him off the top rope.
RVD was being attended to by a medic when Hunter came in to apologise. He also wanted RVD to know he was getting a rematch with ADR at Battleground. Hunter left, saying RVD deserved it. Del Rio then flew in from the opposite side that Hunter left and laid a beating to him. RVD was unresponsive to the refs after Del Rio left.
Match Number Six: R-Truth Vs. Alberto Del Rio (C), Non-Title Match.
Truth rapped his way to the ring, and they found the biggest dweeb in the whole arena dancing along to put on camera just long enough for someone to turn into a gif.
Del Rio controlled most of the match until Truth avoided the armbreaker. He then hit an axe kick for a nearfall. Del Rio just came back with a superkick though and put on the arm breaker for the victory.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio, Submission.
Match Number Seven: The Shield Vs. The Usos & Daniel Bryan, Six-Man Tag.
It wasn't a normal six man, the action just went back and forth, until the last ad break. Afterwards it settled into an Uso being beaten on by all of The Shield for a while. The crowd did “Us-so” for him at one point. Just as the hot tag was about to be made, Ambrose ran in and knocked the other Uso off the apron. But his attack on the legal Uso was avoided and he got the hot tag to Bryan. Bryan immediately ran passed Ambrose and dropkicked both other Shield members off the apron, one with each foot.
Bryan made his comeback on Ambrose and the crowd woke up for the first time to this degree, followed by Bryan hitting a top rope Frankensteiner on Ambrose. An Uso dove over the ropes onto Reigns on the outside, which led to Rollins diving onto both the Uso and Reigns, which led to the other Uso hitting an Arabian press onto Rollins. Bryan and Ambrose were the last two left standing and Bryan got the Yes Lock on Ambrose. Ambrose was close to the ropes facing the ramp and grabbed the bottom rope to break the hold. Bryan let go and Ambrose pulled himself to the ropes and rested his chin on the bottom rope. Both Usos then superkicked his chin from the outside of the ring, Bryan started the yes chant and hit the Busaiku knee for the pinfall.
Winners: Daniel Bryan & The Usos, Pinfall.
They celebrated in the ring to send the show off the air. By the start of the last match the show felt three hours long. Not that it had all been bad, just a lot of it. It really did feel like a show written at the last minute, even if they were trying to create a clearer story arch throughout the show. Hunter was good when he was pretending to be buddies with Ryder and Gabriel, but not a lot of the other stuff clicked. Bryan as usual against the Shield was the wake up call to end the show, and for their part the Usos added to the match, rather than bring it down.