SmackDown results: The Great White outfought Jericho, only to be blindsided by a Del Rio counterstrike


Friday Night "ZackDown" took the blue brand by storm

DENVER – With just two days to go until Money in the Bank rocks the WWE Universe, Zack Ryder took the helm of the blue brand Friday as this week's Interim General Manager, transforming SmackDown to "ZackDown." While Ryder’s goal was to bring excitement to the WWE Universe, Alberto Del Rio's Friday night goal was to act as an agent of chaos, attacking World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus after The Great White’s impressive victory over Chris Jericho.

The night’s Interim General Manager, Zack Ryder, kicked off the Friday festivities by welcoming the WWE Universe to the very first edition of Friday Night "ZackDown"! Ryder, who won last week’s 20-Man Battle Royal to become the one-night Interim GM, certainly made "ZackDown" his own, as he organized the world’s largest fist pump with members of the WWE Universe in attendance and promised the greatest SmackDown ever.

But the good vibrations didn’t last long, as No. 1 contender to Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Championship, Alberto Del Rio, interrupted the party atmosphere with some pointed words for both Ryder (who he called a "stupid clown") and The Great White. Del Rio promised that, after their title match at Money in the Bank, not only will he become the "real" World Champion, but he’ll "rule SmackDown." Ryder’s answer to Del Rio’s bombastic claims was a resounding one — the Broski-in-charge showed he has some GM chops by setting up a match between Sin Cara and Del Rio!

Zack Ryder's in charge of SmackDown and opens the show with the world's largest fist-pump!

Alberto Del Rio def. Sin Cara

After Alberto Del Rio’s vicious pre-match assault on the July 2 edition of Raw SuperShow ( WATCH), the high-flying Sin Cara came to "ZackDown" with thoughts of payback on his mind. It was a back-and-forth battle early on, but Sin Cara – who qualified earlier this week for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Championship Contract – appeared to take control as the action spilled to ringside.

Sin Cara looks to get revenge on Alberto Del Rio for his attack on Raw a week ago.

The No. 1 contender put himself back in the driver's seat thanks to a straight-ahead offensive assault, however, and then slowed the action down as he zoned in on Sin Cara’s shoulder in an effort to soften him up for a Cross Armbreaker. Sin Cara hung tight and connected with a spectacular hurricanrana, and for a moment, victory seemed within his grasp.

But when the daredevil Superstar went to the top rope looking to put Del Rio away, The Mexican Aristocrat dodged the aerial attack and locked Sin Cara in the painful Cross Armbreaker. Sin Cara tapped out, and Del Rio once again proved how dangerous he can be, showing that his focus is laser-like as he eyes the prize potentially awaiting him Sunday night at Money in the Bank.

Zack Ryder announced Great Khali vs. Big Show

After getting some words of encouragement from Theodore Long, who has a long and successful history in the General Manager chair himself, Ryder was "greeted" by Big Show. The angry giant disagreed with Long’s assessment of Long Island Iced-Z’s job performance, however, saying that Ryder is doing a terrible job and saying in no uncertain terms that he, meaning Big Show, should take over SmackDown as GM.

To make that happen, The World’s Largest Athlete reared back, seemingly to level Ryder with the WMD. But The Great Khali arrived just in time, and right on cue, Ryder announced that the two giants would square off in a match later in the night!

Zack Ryder literally makes the biggest match of the night with Big Show facing Great Khali.

Primo def. Darren Young

In advance of his one-on-one bout against Primo, Darren Young entered the SmackDown arena flanked by tag team partner Titus O’Neil and Prime Time Players' promoter, A.W., who talked up his clients from the moment their entrance music hit the speaker system. Primo, one-half of the former WWE Tag Team Champions, and still harboring a major beef with A.W., looked to get back at the head of All World Promotions with a victory over one of A.W.’s prized clients.

Primo looks to score a win over Darren Young to get revenge on AW.

With A.W. shouting instructions from ringside, Young and Primo locked up in the middle of the ring. Primo controlled the action in the early stages, but Young turned the tables and went on the offensive. When "Mr. No Days Off" connected with a neckbreaker, he signaled it was "prime time" to score the victory. Primo wasn't done, though, and kicked out of the cover attempt to scratch and claw his way back into the battle.

Young countered a Backstabber, leading A.W. to tell him to "finish it." But Primo snatched victory, rolling Young up for the pinfall and leaving A.W., D-Young and O’Neil yapping in the ring.

Dolph Ziggler & Cody Rhodes def. Intercontinental Champion Christian & U.S. Champion Santino Marella

Four of the Superstars who will compete in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship Contract Sunday all converged in tag team action on "ZackDown" as Intercontinental Champion Christian & United States Champion Santino Marella took on Dolph Ziggler & Cody Rhodes.

Christian mixed it up with old foe Cody Rhodes to kick off the match, and after a fast-paced back-and-forth exchange, Christian tagged Santino into the fray. The move incited Rhodes to loudly declare that he wanted "nothing to do with" the U.S. Champion, and the second-generation Superstar quickly tagged in Ziggler so The Showoff and The Milan Miracle could face off.

Intercontinental Champion Christian teams up with United States Champion Santino Marella against two of their Money In The Bank opponents, Dolph Ziggler & Cody Rhodes.

Momentum swung between the two teams until Ziggler, looking to prove that he’s one of WWE’s elite Superstars come Money in the Bank, took advantage of an opening afforded to him after Santino came up empty with a Cobra strike thanks to a disturbance by Rhodes. Christian quickly entered the ring to take Rhodes out of the equation, but Ziggler hit the Zig Zag on Santino to get the crucial tag team victory.

They may have entered as teammates for the night, but after the bell, Ziggler and Rhodes kept one eye on each other and one eye on the briefcase hanging above the ring. Come Sunday night, who will reign supreme and earn a chance to challenge Sheamus for his illustrious title? ( MATCH PREVIEW)

Big Show def. The Great Khali

In a match made by Zack Ryder, two giants faced off in squared circle combat as The Great Khali tried to silence the enormous rage of Big Show. The gargantuan grapplers traded massive chops, and when Khali got in a good lick, he raised his hands to demonstrate his dominance. Big Show used this opportunity to put an early end to The Punjabi Playboy’s celebration, connecting with a WWE Universe-shaking WMD from out of nowhere to send Khali crashing to the canvas.

Big Show overcame what could have been an enormous block in his road to Money in the Bank with the resounding victory.  

Big Show looks to defeat The Great Khali and gain momentum heading into Money in the Bank.

Ryback def. Tyler Reks

Last week, after flipping a coin on SmackDown to see who would take on the destructive force that is Ryback, Curt Hawkins was decimated by the scary-strong Superstar. One week later, with Hawkins at his side, Tyler Reks took his turn at attempting to topple the undefeated scourge of SmackDown.

Reks came flying out of the gate, trying his best to make good on his promise to defeat Ryback. But a huge boot to the chest turned the bout around, and Reks was never able to fully recover. Ryback denied any attempt at offense by his overmatched opponent and a monstrous clothesline spelled the end. When the big man hit Shell Shocked on Reks, it was all over, and Ryback remains undefeated.

Tyler Reks is the latest victim of Ryback's dominance in WWE.

Damien Sandow def. Justin Gabriel

With just two days to go before he squares off in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship Contract, Damien Sandow dominated Justin Gabriel in one-on-one competition on "ZackDown."

The self-professed "Intellectual Savior of the Unwashed Masses" shouted insults at his opponent as he dictated the pace of the bout. Gabriel appeared to garner some offense, but Sandow stopped the attempted attack and scored an impressive pinfall victory. Will Sandow be able to build on this win as he heads into Money in the Bank?

Damien Sandow looks for a victory over Justin Garbiel as he heads to Money in the Bank.

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus def. Chris Jericho; Alberto Del Rio attacked The Great White

As a result of a backstage encounter earlier in the show where Sheamus challenged Chris Jericho, Zack Ryder scheduled the bout as the night’s main event! The two competitors entered the fray with different long-term objectives, but with the same short-term goal in mind. Both looked to build momentum heading into Money in the Bank, as Sheamus readied for his title defense and Jericho set his sights on the match he created, where four former champions will battle for a chance to challenge for the WWE Title.

The battle began with a slap to the face and quickly spiraled into a brawl, plain and simple. Jericho, ever the wily veteran, did what he could to set the pace of the bout right off the bat, but he couldn’t escape Sheamus in the early going, as The Celtic Warrior brought his trademark power game to Friday night. It was destined to be a brutal, physical battle when Sheamus launched Jericho off the apron and out onto the SmackDown announce table. But Y2J regained control after he slammed Sheamus into the steel ring steps and launched The Great White over the announce table — a clear indication that Jericho was more than willing to do a little brawling himself.

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus goes takes on Chris Jericho in the main event of SmackDown.

After Jericho connected with the Lionsault, the World Heavyweight Champion kicked out of a cover attempt, a scene that would become familiar as the battle raged on. Sheamus started to rally, but Jericho put up a huge stop sign and locked The Celtic Warrior in the Walls of Jericho not once, but twice!

Sheamus, hand hovering over the mat, simply refused to tap, and turned Jericho over to break the hold and connect with White Noise. But Y2J showed his own resilience by kicking out, and the Superstars traded a flurry of potentially match-ending maneuvers.

As the epic battled continued, Sheamus went to extreme measures and headed to the top rope. But the high-risk maneuver did not pay off for The Great White, who landed directly into a Code Breaker! Jericho covered the champ, but Sheamus somehow managed to kick out.

Using the ropes to pull himself to his feet, The Great White answered Jericho’s taunts with a ring-rattling Brogue Kick, followed by the cover!

Alberto Del Rio attacked Sheamus after the bell
After the bell, No. 1 contender Alberto Del Rio once again made his presence felt, taking out Sheamus from behind as the champion made his way to the ramp. There, Del Rio used the leverage of the ramp to lock in the excruciating Cross Armbreaker, wrenching The Great White’s left arm to an extreme degree.

After this latest attack, the WWE Universe is left to wonder what kind of shape the champion will be in come Sunday night at Money in the Bank when he faces The Mexican Aristocrat with the title on the line. Just how much of The Great White’s ability to remain a fighting champion has Del Rio taken? Sheamus may have won the night’s battle, but at what cost? ( MATCH PREVIEW)

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