Daniel Bryan is World Heavyweight Champion, but he has quickly gone from sentimental, underdog favourite to a weasel. Will former friend and former champ Big Show wrest the belt away from him in yet another Friday night title match?
First up, Bryan comes to the ring to remind the fans that he’s living his dream as champ, but he has to pump up the volume over a steady flood of boos. He pegs the blame for last week’s DQ ending on Mark Henry, which naturally brings out the World’s Strongest Man.
Henry announces that Smackdown GM Teddy Long has granted him a title match next week against whoever wins tonight’s tilt for the belt. Bryan is okay with that.
Match #1 – Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater
Slater has early answers for Gabriel’s aerial assaults, responding with counters like a high spinebuster. What Slater isn’t ready for is Hornswoggle, as the little fella sneaks into the ring as Slater stands atop the corner buckle. Gabriel takes advantage with a kick to Slater’s head followed by a 450 splash.
Winner via pinfall: Justin Gabriel
Backstage, we find Bryan warming up when AJ stops by just to say she loves him.
Match #2 – Cody Rhodes vs. Ezekial Jackson
Cody Rhodes has a mic in hand as he does a sort of Honk-a-Meter update by rating his five months as Intercontinental Champion against history – but he has bigger plans as he wants to be World Heavyweight Champion, too. Jackson easily tosses Rhodes around, but Rhodes punches his way out of the Torture Rack, then finishes things with a Beautiful Disaster kick and Cross-Rhodes.
Winner via pinfall: Cody Rhodes
In Teddy Long’s office, Assistant GM Santino Marella is trying out some new ideas – the Russian Nesting Doll Cage Match sounds particularly interesting. David Otunga interrupts and, as is the risk involved with just being in Long’s office, ends up in a match with Santino. Finally, Drew McIntyre is again threatened with the loss of his job is he doesn’t win this next match:
Match #3 – Drew McIntyre vs. Ted DiBiase
Hunico & Camacho come out on their bike, which is promising for McIntyre and he gets an early near-fall on the distracted DiBiase. Hunico gets on commentary and complains about not getting an invite to a Posse Party. In the ring, McIntyre is in dire straits as he fumbles a suplex off the top rope and suffers Dream Street.
Winner via pinfall: Ted DiBiase
Match #4 – Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal
Mahal tells the crowd on his way down that he’s most dangerous when he’s least expected. In that case, he should reconsider his whole entrance. Mahal does well with knee-lifts a-plenty, but Sheamus proves that forearms and a Brogue Kick are top trump as he takes the match cleanly.
Winner via pinfall: Sheamus
Backstage, Big Show is doing his warm-ups, and he also gets a visit from AJ. She is worried for her man’s health and safety, but Bryan interrupts and misinterprets Big Show’s intentions. Awkward. After Big Show leaves, Bryan mysteriously asks AJ how much she loves him, and has something to talk about.
Match #5 – David Otunga vs. Santino Marella
Santino’s comedy/attack routine gets him as far as actually pulling out his Cobra Socko, but Otunga catches him with his Verdict driver for the win.
Winner via pinfall: David Otunga
Maybe Brodus Clay’s new routine wouldn’t work without his big goofy grin. Maybe it wouldn’t work if he hadn’t transformed from such a beast. It really doesn’t matter: it works, and here's some proof:
Match #6 – Brodus Clay vs. Tyson Kidd
Cross-body splash by Clay at about 10 seconds in and Kidd is done.
Winner via pinfall: Brodus Clay
Long is in his office with Aksana as she spins a double-entendre in a roulette analogy looking forward to next week’s show in Las Vegas. Long spits out his coffee in shock.
Match #7 – Natalya vs. Tamina
Natalya lasts a little longer than Tyson Kidd – but not by much as Tamina lands the Super Fly Splash. My, how the Hart Dynasty has fallen.
Winner via pinfall: Tamina
Wade Barrett steps out onto the entrance ramp before the match is seconds over, and he challenges Sheamus to a match next week. By the time we return from commercial, Sheamus has accepted.
Match #8 – Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan (champion) – No Count-Out, No DQ match for the World Heavyweight Championship.
AJ joins her man at ringside for this one. Big Show accepts a handshake, but does so ostensibly to hoist the champ over his head and slam him to the mat. After the break, both Big Show and Bryan take advantage of the stipulations as they beat each other with a chair, with Bryan doing the most damage with a DDT on top of the steel.
The fight goes to the floor and, as Big Show chases Bryan around the ring, he runs full-steam into AJ and knocks her out. The fight stops as a stretcher arrives to take AJ to the back. On the way, Bryan gives an earful to an already upset Big Show, calling him reckless.
Match result: No contest
Dave Hillhouse has misspelled Big Show as “Big Sow” enough times now that it doesn’t seem like a random coincidence anymore.