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Tonight's show was taped in Fayetteville, North Carolina. On this date in wrestling history in 1987, Dusty Rhodes defeated Tully Blanchard in a "Lights Out" barbed wire/ladder match at NWA's Great American Bash. Titans they were, maybe someday they'll be mentioned in the same breath as some of this evening's biggest attractions, including Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt.
Dean Ambrose kicks off the show strolling to the ring in what looks like the coolest Members Only jacket ever scored from a Fayetteville thrift store. The beatdown he received from Rollins, Kane and Orton is reviewed for posterity and then the Lunatic Fringe gets the mic. He tells everyone that Seth isn't that good and then asks rhetorically if Rollins and company are the best the Authority has to offer. Ambrose doesn't want to wait until Battleground to mix it up. Rollins offers a rebuttal from the safety of the Tron and then explains that he tweaked his knee on Monday and isn't medically cleared. As a consolation, Rollins tells Ambrose that he will have a match tonight but it's against Kane. Cole and JBL tell us Jericho is facing Luke Harper later tonight, they plug Battleground and it's time for some important messages.
WWE returns from the break informing us that "last Friday, more viewers watched SmackDown than any other show on cable TV." It wouldn't hurt to believe that the top-notch coverage from WrestlingINC.com has some small part in that kind of success, eh? Fandango and The Miz are up next for a tag match against Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler. Seems like an odd group in concept but there are a lot of possibilities for this one. WWE staff remind us that Sheamus and The Miz crossed swords on this week's Main Event and The Miz got the short end of that particular stick. Ziggler and Miz get it on first and JBL relentlessly plays up the "moneymaker" moniker that's now attached to the face of The Miz. After Miz steps out, Fandango and Ziggler fight for a hot minute and then Sheamus gets the tag. The men trade offense a few times and Ziggler and Sheamus end up tossing their opponents outside and we have commercial sign…
Once the action is rejoined, Fandango appears to have gained a slight Edge on Sheamus. The Miz gets a tag and holds his own against his the big Irish dude, eventually tagging Fandango in. Fandango, and then Miz once again, pick apart Sheamus until the spectral Superman gets a tag. Ziggler cleans house, puts the moves to Miz and eventually gets the pin after Sheamus thwarts some interference by Fandango.
Result: Ziggler and Sheamus defeat The Miz and Fandango by pinfall.
Backstage, Nikki Bella is shown making her way to the Gorilla position wearing a referee shirt. JBL wonders aloud why she's wearing ref togs, prompting many viewers to wonder if he skipped rehearsal today. More to come after a smattering of food and alcohol advertisements.
After WWE pays some bills, we're treated to a recap of Brie's "You can't fire me—I quit" argument with Steph. Nikki is a special guest ref for a Divas match pitting Eva Marie against Cameron. But after a few precious minutes, the fix is in and both ladies turn on Nikki to whoop up on her, ostensibly at the behest of The Authority. And just like that, the segment comes to an end.
Result: Eva Marie vs. Alicia Fox ends as a no-contest.
The Rhodes brothers engage in some backstage antics for a short spell and then back in the arena Y2J's pyro hits. His theme music is playing but it's really hard to hear. Kind of odd that they didn't clean that up for the broadcast. Before his match with Harper, we get another look at Sting in WWE 2K15.
Fresh off the Sharknado Week promotion, the guys in the truck offer up a video package of Monday Night's meeting between Jericho and the Wyatts before the match gets underway. All of the Wyatts file out for the match and we get another recap, this time showing the Usos throwing down with Harper and Rowan on Monday. It's like two feuds in one, folks. Bray Wyatt takes to the mic from his rocking chair and hurls insults and threats at Jericho, telling him it'll be too late come Battleground time. Let's fight, guys.
Harper has a noteworthy size advantage as the guys square off and Y2J is clearly distracted by Wyatt's presence at ringside. Harper dominates the first minute or two and one of the guys on commentary mentions Jericho's nasty-looking shiner, suggesting that it's affecting Y2J's performance in the ring. Jericho knocks Harper out of the ring just in time for a commercial.
After some blipverts, the match is rejoined in progress and Harper is back on top briefly until Y2J shakes off the cobwebs and takes the fight to Harper. Harper retaliates with some impressive feats of strength and dismantles Jericho for what seems like forever. Outside of the ring, Harper acts tough as his brethren conspire at The Rocking chair. Luke continues to whip Y2J around like a big ol' sack of dirty laundry but Jericho gets a second wind and pumps himself up along with the live crowd. He gets a near fall on the former Brody Lee but Harper fights back and tips the scales again. Jericho battles back yet again and lands a wicket cross body followed by a near fall. He can't keep Harper down for long, though and Harper punishes the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla some more. More back and forth ensues as Harper counters some of Jericho's best stuff. Jericho gets the Walls on Harper and right before the big man taps, Rowan attempts a run-in which is blocked by Jericho. Y2J then rolls up Harper for the pin and Rowan and Wyatt storm the ring but the Usos join the melee and chase off the bad guys. A pretty good match for a Friday night, really.
Result: Chris Jericho defeats Luke Harper by pinfall.
Lana and Rusev are up next…
Fresh from the land of commercials, Zeb Coulter and Jack Swagger are in the center of the ring as Zeb trashes the Russians and says that the Real Americans will make everything right for the USA at Battleground. Lana and Rusev emerge and keep a safe distance as Lana shrieks at Zeb and the stare-down between Swagger and Rusev escalates to the most menacing spate of flag-wagging in the history of television. The live crowd chants "USA!" and the segment winds down. Commercials follow, including some ads for a new thing called "WWE Network," which seems like a good idea on paper. More action to follow...
Alberto Del Rio is introduced and a backstage promo is aired in which ADR discusses some kind of vague beef with Kofi Kingston. No time to figure it out; they'll just fight and you can pick your side, okay? Okay, in all seriousness, they're going to be in the battle royal for the IC title at Battlegound. But tonight they are taking each other on in singles action and ADR gets all over Kofi pretty quickly. Kofi lands a high spot against Del Rio and the men end up out of the ring for a moment but they both get back inside and Kofi maintains control. Del Rio avoids the Trouble in Paradise and then surprises Kingston with some offense and gets a temporary upper hand as well as a near fall. Kofi comes close to a victory but Del Rio turns it around, stomps Kingston good coming off the turnbuckle and lands the pin.
Result: Alberto Del Rio defeats Kofi Kingston by pinfall.
After the match, Fandango is shown trying to make peace with Lana and Summer Rae. Good luck with that, pal. The women give their mutual ex the brush off and Bo Dallas comes in to poke fun at Fandango, adding insult to injury. AJ skips to the ring area as we all get another precious look at that Mountain Dew Kickstart commercial.
Summer Rae and Layla area already in the ring when the show resumes and we're reminded by video of the history between their rivals for tonight, Paige and AJ. Of course, Paige and AJ will meet at Battleground in a rematch for the Divas title, but you already knew that. Summer Rae starts off against AJ and she dances around a little until AJ flattens her and then does a dance of her own. Layla tags in and Paige comes in from the other side. Layla reminds everyone that she's a seasoned vet by showing some mad skill and she tags Summer back in but the blonde has a hard time holding her own against the Divas' answer to Sheamus. Paige seems to have things in hand but AJ makes the blind tag and locks in the Black Widow, forcing Summer Rae to tag. After the bell, Paige looks mildly peeved but AJ bats her eyes and the ladies hug in a display of mega-awkward weirdness.
Result: AJ and Paige defeat Summer Rae and Layla when Summer Rae submits to AJ.
JBL and Cole tout Battleground and show a recap of Y2J/Harper. The Usos star in a Sonic commercial for Polynesian Punch with Nerds candy and Hornswoggle makes a funny cameo. On the other side of the break, it'll be main event time. Maybe.
After a lengthy overview of the four-way rivalry for the title that'll play out at Battleground, Rollins tries to level with Kane backstage about the need to take out Ambrose. Hard telling if they're really on the same page because there's a lot of tension surrounding the potential double-crosses should anyone from Team Authority win the straps. Ambrose paces in the ring and we get another commercial for Road to Paloma.
Kane barely gets his pyro off before Ambrose charges him and gets things moving. Call it "unbridled enthusiasm." Ambrose doesn't capitalize on the ambush for long, though, as Kane dishes out some serious punishment. Ambrose even talks trash while he's on the mat getting beaten up. Wild stuff. Ambrose pushes back and peppers Kane with punches, looking a lot like a skinny version of Phil Hickerson. Kane switches things up and goes for a choke slam but Ambrose scrambles out, dumps Kane out of the ring and follows up with a wicked suicide dive. The war continues outside of the ring and Kane tries for a tombstone on the ring steps but ends up eating the ring post. Before Ambrose can fully plan his next move, Rollins attacks him from behind prompting the DQ. Rollins gets him back into the ring and the bad guys slide in the bottom half of the ring steps. For a hot second, Ambrose pounds on Rollins but Kane chokeslams Dean and Rollins follows up by curb-stomping Ambrose's head on to the steel steps. Ambrose and Kane strike some menacing poses as we fade to black.
Result: Dean Ambrose wins when Kane is disqualified due to interference by Seth Rollins.
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