Welcome to WrestlingINC.com's live coverage and results for SmackDown. Tonight's show was taped on Tuesday in Fort Wayne, Indiana. According to the Interwebs, Fort Wayne was the site of the first professional baseball game ever played on May 4, 1871. Write that down, because it'll be on the written exam immediately following tonight's show.
Please spread word of our viewing party and complete results via Facebook and Twitter.
This week's installment of SyFy's longest-running episodic sports entertainment show (not counting ECW) opens with a recap of Sting's boffo debut at Survivor Series. Still an awesome moment, for sure. Then we head to the ring for "Miz TV." Mizdow pantomime's all of his BFF's words and gestures as Miz puts him over as the new tag team champion. Miz welcomes Big Show to the ring and WWE re-racks footage from Monday Night Raw in which Erick Rowan confronts show and then we head back to Miz TV. Miz chastises the crowd for chanting "You Sold out!" and then he addresses Big Show, praising his decision to turn on Team Cena at Survivor Series. Show offers no apologies but his tirade is cut short by Daniel Bryan's music.
Bryan gets a great welcome from the crowd and he announces that he is in charge on SmackDown tonight. He books a number of matches on the spot, including Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler for the IC title and a 20-man battle royal in which Rusev must defend the US title. Included in that contest will be Big Show, Miz, Mizdow and Erick Rowan. Erick Rowan comes out first and he is also greeted enthusiastically by the crowd. We head to break as he stares down Big Show.
20-Man Battle Royal for the US Title
Some quick eliminations occur within the first 60 seconds or so, including Curtis Axel, Sin Cara and Heath Slater. Adam Rose follows and then we see Los Matadores try and take out Big Show, but he flips the script and tosses them out. Show and Rowan face off and Erick gets one over on the world's giantest athlete by tossing him. Rowan's victory is short-lived as Rusev dumps him quickly. Then we go to commercial.
After the break, Goldust eliminates Miz and then Mizdow eliminates himself as Cole yells, "That guy is a moron!" Swagger tosses Goldust and Stardust next. After more eliminations, the final four stands as Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, Jack Swagger and Rusev. The Canadian, the Bulgarian and the Swiss dude get all over the American. Swagger fights back, landing some good shots and moves on all of them. He thwarts an effort by Cesaro to eliminate him and then turns around and dumps Tyson Kidd. Cesaro tries to get Swagger out of it and Rusev ultimately puts both of the remaining competitors out of action, retaining the title.
Result: Rusev retains the US title.
Concessions Kane is outside the venue hard at work. Santino Marella saunters up and makes with the jokes until Kane scares him off. Later in the night, we'll see some other stuff but first we get a short video blip from Bray Wyatt. Then, commercial sign.
Bray Wyatt wisely waits until after the commercial break ends to make his way to the ring. The guys in the truck remind us of his epic dust-up with Ambrose at Survivor Series. Bray says there's no room for people like him and Ambrose in Heaven. He adds that they've reached the point of no return and that TLC will change them both. He's going to put Dean in the dirt with the insects.
Later tonight, we'll see Dolph Ziggler take on Luke Harper as he tries to win back the IC title. But first, some important messages.
When we get back to the big program, we get a New Day promo and then head back to the ring. We'll see more of those guys later but first we're staring down the barrel of some Divas action.
Emma vs. Nikki Bella with Brie
Nikki locks up with Emma and puts her down right away. Hoo boy… looks like a drubbing is on deck. Emma gets some surprising offense but it's short-lived as Nikki gets back in control quickly. After the rack attack, the three-count is academic.
Result: Nikki Bella wins via pinfall.
Nikki takes to the mic and announces that she's going to tell the real truth about AJ Lee. She says she's worked harder and she's the real deal. Nikki drops the mic to leave but AJ roars out and charges the ring. Nikki steps aside and AJ takes apart Brie until both Bellas manage to vacate the premises.
Ryback hits the ramp next and he's hungry.
Ryback vs. Seth Rollins
Ryback makes it apparent very quickly that Rollins can't match his power. Rollins temporarily retreats to the safety of J & J Security outside the ring and then heads back inside. He slows Ryback with some blows to the guy but a series of chops by Seth seems to wake the Big Guy up and get him back into the game. Ryback's resurgence is derailed when he misses Rollins in the corner and charges into the ring post. Seth works him over outside and then slides him back into the ring to continue his campaign. Ryback fights back and Rollins fells him again with a big dropkick. The battle back and forth until Ryback catches Rollins off the top rope and plants him on the mat. Both guys end up outside and Ryback gets tossed into the steel steps. He's laying on the mats at ringside as we go to break again.
Back in the ring, Ryback struggles to get the advantage back. As he gets fired up again, Rollins avoids any major damage, even earning a near-fall on the big dude. Ryback sets up Seth for a big move in the corner but J & J distract the ref and Rollins almost capitalizes with the win. Rollins gets tossed outside and then when Ryback gets him back in the ring, he hits a huge clothesline. He loads up Rollins on his shoulders for the coup de grace and Kane interferes with a chair, prompting the DQ.
Result: Ryback wins via DQ.
Post-match, Kane assaults Ryback with a chair. Welcome to the Big Guy's next feud.
After the commercials roll, it's time for The New Day to debut. Fans respond well to their arrival.
6-Man Tag: The New Day vs Curtis Axel, Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil
Woods and Axel start things off and Xavier gets the jump on Axel. All three members tag in and out quickly as Axel takes a lot of punishment. Big E and woods double-team Curtis but once Langston exits, Axel finally wakes up and works Woods into the corner, tagging Slater in for a short spell. Axel tags back in but Woods turns the tables and tags in Kofi. Slater tags in and does battle with Kofi. Kofi gets a near-fall and there's a brief melee with multiple wrestlers. Slater and company end up outside and Big E launches Kofi out on top of them, taking out the entire team. Back inside the ring a short time later, Big E and Woods double-team Slater as Woods hits him off the ropes. Heath gets pinned and everybody celebrates.
Result: The New Day wins via pinfall.
Before the match, Goldust and Stardust cut a backstage promo that seems to suggest a feud with The New Day is forthcoming.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper
Dolph moves quickly, trying for a cover right off the bell. He battles with Harper who positions himself on the ring apron, trying for a suplex out of the ring. Luke can't seal the deal and we go to break.
Back on the show, the guys fight outside and then Ziggler goes for a pin inside the ring but he doesn't get the three-count. Harper gets back on top and although Dolph mounts resistance, Luke works him on to the mat and tries for a submission. Dolph escapes and stages a comeback as the crowd expresses their approval. He gets a couple of near-falls but can't quite but Harper away. They battle back and forth and Ziggler even hits a "Famouser" but Harper stays in the match. Ziggler receives a powerbomb and he kicks out as well but ends up outside. Harper comes out and tosses Dolph into the announce team. Luke clears the area and then tries to put Ziggler back in the ring but Dolph gets some daylight with a superkick. Harper goes flying and Dolph slides back inside before the count-out, winning the match.
Result: Dolph Ziggler wins via count-out; Harper retains the title.
After the match, Harper totally whoops up on Ziggler. Dolph comes to his senses in time to hit a Zig Zag and get a second moral victory for the night.
Thanks for following along with our live coverage. Tell anyone and everyone that WrestlingINC.com is the place to be every Friday for our SmackDown viewing party, complete results and reactions!