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WWE Smackdown!- June 14, 2013
-When big things happen on Smackdown, Rowe just might review it.
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-From Greensboro, NC. Our hosts are Michael Cole and JBL.
-Daniel Bryan comes to the ring for the opening interview. Bryan asks himself a bunch of yes and no questions about his WWE career to date. He calls out his tag partner, Kane, and amusingly plugs his ears for the pyro. Bryan tries to prepare Kane for the fact that he’s about to become Tag Team Champions with Randy Orton. Kane scoffs that Bryan is breaking up with him and reminds us that he’s about to become U.S. Champion. Bryan declares his team name with Orton to be “Team RK-NO!” Kane doesn’t think the tag titles are changing hands since he and Bryan couldn’t beat the Shield, and Bryan hates Orton. Bryan accuses Kane of being the “weak link” and they almost fight when Randy Orton joins the discussion. Orton needs Bryan at 100% for Payback and threatens to attack Kane if he hurts him. All three men bicker until The Shield appear on the Titantron to chuckle at their dissension. They promise victory tonight and at Payback. Good opening segment here, all six men are benefiting from this storyline.
Sheamus vs. Antonio Cesaro
Before the bell can ring, Sheamus’ Payback pre-show opponent, Damien Sandow, shows up throw insults and threats. Cesaro takes control but a slap to the face fires up Sheamus. A power slam by Sheamus gets a 2 count, but Cesaro goes after the back. Sheamus comes back with a fall away slam into the barricade. After a commercial, Sheamus continues to roll with a backbreaker. Cesaro turns it around by using the ring steps. Sheamus is bleeding a bit on the shoulder as Cesaro foils a comeback. Sheamus builds some steam clubbing Cesaro in the ropes and hits a backbreaker. Uppercut by Cesaro and a DVD variation gets a 2 count. Sheamus explodes with a surprise Brogue Kick for the win at 7:24 (shown). These guys could probably have this match in their sleep, but entertaining for what it was.
-Damien Sandow attacks Sheamus from behind to further build their Youtube match.
-Spooky video package hyping the pending debut of The Wyatt Family. These vignettes are awesome and make the Wyatts come across as scary bad guys you might see on a cable drama, not cheesy wrestling villains. I could imagine them threatening Rick Grimes and company on The Walking Dead. (Editor's Note: or lighting farts with the cast of Duck Dynasty. Hey-oh!)
-Video package hyping the return of CM Punk. It looks as though he might be turning face.
-Theodore Long is about to enjoy a Hardee’s meal when he’s interrupted by Dolph Ziggler, Big E Langston, and AJ. Ziggler is put out that he has to compete in a tag match tonight when he’s only 2 days away from the “biggest World title defense” of his career. He’s going to give Alberto Del Rio a taste of what to expect at Payback. Long is about to scarf down a cheeseburger when Big E steals it and eats in front of him. Now that’s a serious heel move right there.
The Great Khali (with Natalya and Hornswoggle) vs. Heath Slater (with Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal)
Khali bats Slater around for a bit as Natalya and Hornswoggle cheer on. A 3MB distraction gives Slater an opening to deliver some ineffective offense. Khali makes his comeback but is once again distracted when 3MB threatens his friends. Slater delivers a swinging DDT for the win (!!!) at 2:18. This was nothing short of a modern Khali classic.
Winner: Heath Slater
Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) and Chris Jericho vs. World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler (with AJ Lee) and Big E Langston
Ziggler wants no part of Del Rio and immediately tags in Big E. Del Rio nails an enziguri and tags in Jericho to fluster Langston. Ziggler picks his spot well and works over Jericho. Y2J outmaneuvers Langston and tags in Del Rio, who suffers a shoulder block from Big E. Backstabber on Langston, and Ziggler runs away. Cue the commercial! After the break, Jericho tosses Langston to the floor for a basement drop-kick. AJ slaps Jericho, allowing Langston to knock him off the apron to turn the momentum. Jericho makes the hot tag and Del Rio nails a tirt-a-whirl backbreaker on Dolph. Jericho dumps Langston and eats a Ziggler drop-kick. Del Rio rolls up Ziggler for the win at 7:45 (shown). The good guys get some needed momentum heading into Payback. The match was a completely cookie cutter tag formula.
Winners: Alberto Del Rio and Chris Jericho
-Renee Young interviews Chris Jericho about his match with CM Punk at Payback. Jericho tries to play up the match as the third chapter in an epic trilogy that started in 2012. He’s not worried about the Chicago crowd possibly being against him and says no one will want to miss this. He’s joined by Paul Heyman, who offers Jericho a handshake and wishes him luck. Jericho rejects the handshake, so Heyman calls him a loser who is going to need luck if he’s going to beat The Best in the World. Jericho slaps Paul and mockingly calls it a pipe bomb.
Aksana vs. Divas Champion Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn is upset from being made a fool of by AJ on Raw and she takes it out on Aksana. The ref pulls Kailtyn off but the vicious attack continues at ringside. Kaitlyn slaps the referee and Aksana retreats so I guess the match is over at about the 1 minute mark. I’m not sure the match ever officially got started, but this was just meant to build up Kaitlyn’s emotional distress anyhow.
-Wade Barrett grabs a mic before his match with Curtis Axel so he can chat with Paul Heyman. Barrett doesn’t think they should have the match because he might injure Axel. He thinks it would make business sense to call off the match and wait for the triple threat at Payback. They’re joined by The Miz, who pressures them to fight because that’s what the fans allegedly want.
Curtis Axel (with Paul Heyman) vs. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett
The Miz is watching at ringside as Axel takes the fight to Barrett. The crowd chants for Miz as Barrett turns it around. Axel nails a beautiful drop-kick but Barrett dumps him to the floor. Axel misses a charge and accidentally clocks Miz. Axel catches Barrett with a neck breaker for the win at 2:03. Barrett deserves so much better.
Winner: Curtis Axel
-Axel barely has a chance to celebrate when Miz drops him with the Skull Crushing Finale. Amazingly, this triple threat has some steam behind it.
-Another Wyatt Family vignette. Eric Rowan’s lamb mask is seriously creepy, as is the visual of Bray Wyatt rocking in a chair as Rowan and Luke Harper stand there.
The Shield (United States Champion Dean Ambrose and WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) vs. Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, and Kane
Bryan kicks things off against Rollins and they show off their athletic abilities. Kane tags and slams Rollins, but Ambrose gets a tag. The good guys demonstrate team work as they make quick tags to work over Ambrose. Bryan finds himself in Shield territory. Orton gets a needed tag and plows through the Shield. Ambrose saves his partners from a double DDT to shift the momentum. Cue the commercial! Back from the break, and The Shield are in control of Orton. Kane gets a hot tag and overwhelms Ambrose. Kane takes a drop-kick and Bryan tags himself in. Bryan fires up the crowd with his rapid-fire destruction of The Shield. Bryan shakes Ambrose off but misses a flying head butt on Rollins. Kane dumps Ambrose but gets ambushed by Reigns, who then falls to the RKO! Kane choke slams Ambrose onto Reigns over the barricade. Rollins is pushed off the top into the RKO and Bryan finishes it with the Lebell Lock at 10:09 (shown)! The Shield’s undefeated streak in six-man matches is over! Bryan celebrates like a conquering hero with his friends. Typically exciting Shield match, but not up to the level of some of their epic pay-per-view and Raw matches, ***.
Winners: Daniel Bryan, Kane, and Randy Orton
Final Thoughts: The Shield’s first six-man loss is a big moment and was treated as such, and it gives a much needed profile boost not only to Daniel Bryan, but to Smackdown as a show. Almost everything here kept the ball rolling on storylines for Payback and there was a minimum of recap fluff, so thumbs up to an enjoyable, meaningful episode of Smackdown.
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