– WWE Open.
– Smackdown Open.
– They started with a shot outside the Rose Garden in Portland, then a close-up to near the roof, where The Undertaker was standing, though the face looked a little different. They kept it a long shot, so it certainly wasn’t close up and obvious.
– Michael Cole, Todd Grisham and Matt Striker were shown at ringside. They talked about Paul Bearer’s challenge to the Undertaker, which will be made later tonight.
– Theodore Long was in the ring. He said it was that time of year again, and Smackdown plans on keeping the Bragging Rights trophy. He showed an image of six of the seven Raw team members for the big tag match. Long said Smackdown’s team captain is Big Show, but his teammates will be determined in a series of qualifying matches, one of which starts now.
1 – REY MYSTERIO vs. CODY RHODES – BRAGGING RIGHTS QUALIFYING MATCH
Striker said winning the Bragging Rights match affords the winning brand certain luxuries, such as getting the first pick in the Draft Lottery and getting to board the plane first for interbrand shows. Front-first suplex by Rhodes, but a cover only got one. The match slowed within the first minute of the contest. Mysterio wiggled out of a suplex and set Rhodes up for a 619, but Cody escaped the ring before any damage could be done. They went to break about 2:10 into the match.
Rhodes had a version of the rear chinlock applied on Rey, while the crowd was trying to get their man back into the match. Beautiful dropkick from Rhodes after a surprise near-fall by Mysterio. Rhodes fell back with Mysterio in a chicken-wing submission hold. The youngest Rhodes showed a lot of aggressiveness, using kicks and an elbowdrop to keep Mysterio down near the ropes. Overhead wheelbarrow throw for only a two-count. Rhodes tried a knee-drop off the ropes, but Mysterio moved. Seated senton off the top by Rey, then a cross-body, but Cody rolled through for a near-fall. Mysterio rolled through a sunset flip and kicked Rhodes in the face. Unfortunately, Rhodes had to wait seated a beat or two too long, and it didn’t look great. Springboard legdrop from Rey for two. Rhodes came back with an Alabama Slam attempt, but Rey turned it into a headscissors into 619 position. That connected, as did a springboard splash for the win.
WINNER: Mysterio, at 10:36. Kind of had a weird flow to it at times, but overall, the match worked for me.
– Paul Bearer’s challenge to the Undertaker is coming up next.
– Striker thanked Green Day for “Know Your Enemy,” the new Smackdown theme song. He also plugged “American Idiot” on Broadway.
– Backstge, Big Show and Hornswoggle were chatting. Horny had a candy bar and was dressed up the same way he was last week, as the Smackdown mascot. Kaval walked in and said if Show gave him the opportunity, he wouldn’t let Show down. Show said Kaval was new here, as if that meant he couldn’t be on the team. WWE politics on display right there. Kaval tried to do a bit of a job interview here and Show said he was looking for seasoned veterans (of which Kaval is, just not in WWE, you know, where it counts). Show said Kaval wouldn’t last five minutes in the ring with him, and Kaval took umbrage. Kaval challenged Show tonight, saying if he could last five minutes in the ring with him, Show has to put him on the Bragging Rights team. Show made the deal. Show and Hornswoggle argued over whether Show was a “heightest” or not.
– Backstage, amid much pomp and circumstance (mood lighting, fancy camera shots and music), Paul Bearer offered Taker one final shot at Kane. Why would he do that, since Kane already won at Hell in a Cell? Bearer challenged him to a Buried Alive match, and said he knew Taker’s sin of pride would lead to his downfall. Bearer talked about the finish of the Buried Alive match and what Kane would do to Taker. He said Kane’s plan was almost complete and everyone will see the empty shell of a man Taker has become.
– Tony Chimel introduced Big Show as the captain of Bragging Rights and the star of the family comedy, “Knucklehead.” Based on the trailer, it looks like it should be called, “Big Show Running Into Things.” Jack Swagger came out next…I guess Show is just out to watch? Yep, he joined the announce team.
2 – JACK SWAGGER vs. MVP – BRAGGING RIGHTS QUALIFYING MATCH
Swagger’s mascot was back this week. MVP went for an early cover, but only got a one-count. Swagger tried to flee MVP early on, but found an opening and threw MVP shoulder-first into the ring post. He tried it with the opposite post, but MVP stopped him short and booted him in the face. Face-first went Swagger, courtesy of MVP. He set up for the Ballin’ elbowdrop. It found the mark. Swagger slid out of the ring and took a break, but when MVP went out after him, the Swagger Soaring Eagle stood in front and did a dance. MVP threw the Eagle over the announce table. Back in the ring, Swagger took advantage of the distraction and locked in the ankle-lock for the submission victory.
WINNER: Swagger, at 2:14. Not much to this one. Good to see Swagger get a spot on the team though.
– Another shot of Taker standing atop the Rose Garden in Portland.
3 – ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. CHRIS MASTERS – BRAGGING RIGHTS QUALIFYING MATCH
Show was still with the announcers doing guest commentary. Kind of the bottom of the barrel with Masters here. Unless he’s the Smackdown version of Santino Marella. Del Rio did not cleanly break in the corner, but Masters suplexed Del Rio down early for a two-count. He tried the Masterlock within the first minute, but Del rio got to the ropes. Shot to the left arm by Del Rio. More work on the arm by the newcomer. Missed clothesline by Del Rio led to a Samoan drop from Masters. He fired back with clotheslines of his own, but Del Rio again went to the arm. One-armed bodyslam by Masters for a near-fall. Arm-breaker on the knee by Del Rio, followed by his cross arm-breaker. Quick tap-out by Masters.
WINNER: Del Rio, at 2:24. Good win for Del Rio after the loss to Mysterio last week.
Del Rio went to ringside and Show tried to congratulate him with a handshake, but Del Rio didn’t take. Instead, he looked Show in the eye and winked. Show said he doesn’t mind and that Del Rio doesn’t have to like him, but he better be ready at Bragging Rights.
– Grisham sent it to a trailer of “Knucklehead.”
– Edge was walking backstage…he’s involved in a qualifying match against Dolph Ziggler next. He passed Rosa Mendes working out in the hallway.
4 – EDGE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – BRAGGING RIGHTS QUALIFYING MATCH
Again, Show was on commentary. Ziggler came out alone for his match. The two men traded holds as Vickie Guerrero and Kaitlyn were shown watching the match backstage, together. Edge avoided a boot in the corner and took the legs out from under his opposition. Ziggler fired back with elbows and did some choking of Edge in the middle ropes. Ziggler ended up grounding Edge, but Edge was soon back on his feet. Ziggler was shot off the ropes, but slipped under the bottom rope. Edge met him with a baseball slide. He rolled Ziggler back in the ring, but Dolph got Edge with a boot to the face. He laid in the boots to the chest of Edge while Edge was lying on the mat. Edge ran into an elbow in the corner and Ziggler set up for a Tornado DDT. Edge finagled his way out and booted Ziggler off the top rope and to the arena floor. Ziggler turned things around by simply avoiding the spear. He performed the Zig Zag on Edge, with the back of Edge’s head bouncing off the ring steps. The count was applied by referee John Cone. Edge did make it back in at nine. That’s another type of move that, to me, should be a count-out. Not only was it the finisher of Ziggler, but against the steel steps. Ziggler stayed on offense as they went to break about 5:00 in.
Back with Ziggler dominating Edge on the mat. They showed a replay of the Zig Zag on the outside, and the move looked nasty on replay too – it would’ve been easy for Edge’s head to hit the edge of the steps. Ziggler missed a corner splash and Edge pancaked him. Both men got to their feet and Edge caught Ziggler with a few clotheslines. Two-count for the Rated R Superstar. Sunset flip by Ziggler, but Edge set Ziggler up for the catapult, and Ziggler went head-first into the steel post behind the turnbuckle. Edge-O-Matic for two. Sleeper locked in, but he couldn’t get it fully and Edge DDT’d Ziggler for a near-fall. Crowd was really into it at this point. Edge shrugged off a Zig Zag. Ziggler dodged a spear and went to the second rope, only to be speared out of mid-air. Edge made the cover and got the pin, much to the delight of Smackdown’s team captain.
WINNER: Edge, at 13:00. Individually, both men seem to have become stale in the ring lately, but this match was pretty entertaining.
– A close-up shot was done of Taker, brooding in atop the Rose Garden. The cameraman was standing right next to him, and filmed the ground below, to show just how high up he was standing.
– The Raw Rebound aired. It focused on John Cena vs. The Miz, and the aftermath. The announcers then plugged Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett at the PPV.
5 – THE BIG SHOW vs. KAVAL – IF KAVAL LASTS FIVE MINUTES, HE BECOMES A MEMBER OF THE BRAGGING RIGHTS TEAM
The countdown began as soon as the bell rang. Kaval managed to avoid contact until 20 seconds in. Show caught a kick and slapped Kaval right in the chest. Another one by Show in the corner. Show stepped on the lower lumbar region of Kaval. He picked Kaval up by the head and just dropped him. We’re just over a minute in now. Show picked up Kaval and bodyslammed him down at 1:45 of the match. Show implored Kaval to stay down, but the NXT Season Two winner would not heed the warnings of the big man. Kaval fought back with rights to the mid-section, but Show landed a forearm that made the difference. Another slap to the chest by Show. Kaval still tried to get off the mat as the match reached the 3:00 mark. Kaval fought back again, but Show threw him into the corner and again chopped Show. Beal out of the corner that sent Kaval half-way across the ring. Show stepped on Kaval’s head and pulled on his arm. Show, with one arm, just pushed Kaval over the top rope, seemingly content with a count-out win. 45 seconds to go. Instead, Show picked up Kaval by the top of his head and put him back in the ring. Kicks to the leg by Kaval. He went to the second rope and kicked Show in the back of the head. Kaval got Show to a knee and fought off a chokeslam long enough to survive.
WINNER: Kaval, at 5:00. Kaval got so little offense in, it rides a fine line of credibility for Kaval. He survived 5:00 with Big Show, but didn’t really impress. It didn’t help that Cole and Grisham said Show could’ve put Kaval away early on.
– Kaval was still in the ring, and still in pain. Then Tyler Reks walked out to some generic music. He had a new look, staying with the dreads, but he had a beard as well. He did his best, “talk in my deepest voice because I’m a heel” work. Reks said he’s going to be the newest Smackdown breakout star and HE should be on Team Smackdown. He wanted to fight Kaval for his spot, but Teddy Long came out and said Kaval isn’t in any condition to fight after the match with Big Show. Kaval disagreed, saying if Reks wants his spot, he’s going to have to take it.
6 – KAVAL vs. TYLER REKS
Kaval tried to go for his double-stomp early but missed. Hard shoulder knock-down by Reks. He’s a long way from the surfer dude character he portrayed in ECW. Reks did a Torture Rack into a DDT on Kaval to get the pinfall win.
WINNER: Reks, at :54. That’s certainly an interesting development. I’d have to guess things will change with Reks being in the match before Bragging Rights.
– This week’s Grooming Tips with Cody Rhodes: Keeping your fingernails clean.
7 – DREW MCINTYRE vs. KOFI KINGSTON – BRAGGING RIGHTS QUALIFYING MATCH
McIntyre nailed Kingston early on with a boot and Kingston kicked out at two. More work from McIntyre, this time on the apron. This is for the final Bragging Rights Smackdown spot, while Raw still has one to fill. Shots to the back of the head by McIntyre, but Kingston countered into a cross-body for two. Out of nowhere came the Trouble in Paradise and Kingston got the win.
WINNER: Kingston, at 2:14. McIntyre lost quickly, but got enough offense in to look decent.
– Backstage, we saw a shadow on the ground, and it was of the Undertaker, who had just entered he building. He’ll be out to address Paul Bearer’s challenge next.
– Kane and Paul Bearer walked out. In the ring, Kane took the mic and said facts leave no room for arguments. He said the fans hope that Undertaker is more determined, powerful and evil than ever. But in reality, he’s a despondent, dejected shell of his former self, courtesy of Kane. He said he was superior to his brother and he’s superior to all of the fans as well. He talked about all of the failures that Taker has been through lately, and that all the fans would salivate at the chance to see Taker destroy him, but deep down, the fans know it’s not going to happen. Kane continued, saying the fans who think Taker can stop him are sadly mistaken. He said their hopes, like Taker, would be buried alive. Kane laughed as the fans chanted for Taker. The lights then went out, and Taker’s music played. He walked out onto the stage, looking ready for a fight. He quickly went to the ring and turned the lights back in. The two men stared in each other’s eyes, with Taker looking like he was trying to hold back his rage. He then turned his attention to Bearer, and back to Kane. Kane took a few steps back, but Taker went after him as Bearer avoided the collision and fled the ring. He continued pounding on his little brother, sending him down with kicks and right hands. Kane retreated to ringside and crawled up the aisle. Taker performed Kane’s “pyro from the ring posts” deal as Kane and Bearer headed to the back. Taker then called for a lightning strike, which hit right in front of Kane and Bearer, causing Bearer to drop the urn. Kane showed concern as Taker seemed to get into his head. The show ended with Taker posing and his music playing.