SmackDown results: Del Rio def. Barrett as WrestleMania fever became an international incident

SmackDown results: Del Rio def. Barrett as WrestleMania fever became an international incident

Alberto Del Rio roared back against Jack Swagger’s “State of the Union" address

BILOXI, Miss. —Just more than 40 days until WWE steps onto The Grandest Stage of Them All, The Road to WrestleMania 29 heated up on SmackDown as World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio battled The Barrett Barrage and his No. 1 contender Jack Swagger’s radical new agenda.

After acknowledging his World Title victory over Big Show at Elimination Chamber, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio turned his attention to his WrestleMania No. 1 contender — the winner of Sunday’s Elimination Chamber Match — Jack Swagger.

Del Rio spoke passionately against Swagger and Zeb Colter’s views on immigration, expressed during their “State of the Union” on Raw, as well as their incendiary videos on YouTube. He stated, in no uncertain terms, that the nation had been built on the hard work of immigrants and informed his opposition that his World Heavyweight Title reign was, in fact, the result of the American Dream. Insulting the “Real American,” he challenged Swagger to join him, so the fired-up titleholder could put his “hand out” and smack his challenger “all across his face.”

Alberto Del Rio gives a rebuttal to Jack Swagger's "State of the Union" address: SmackDown, Feb. 22, 2013

World Champion Alberto Del Rio reacts to Jack Swagger's controversial "State of the Union" address.

Del Rio was interrupted, not by Swagger but by Randy Orton. Five days after coming within seconds of winning the Chamber, the nine-time World Champion “asked” Del Rio to step aside for the night and allow him to release his rage and aggression the Oklahoma-born Superstar. And if Del Rio said no, Orton made it clear that he was more than happy to fight for the privilege.

Before things could come to blows, though, SmackDown General Manager Booker T emerged, revealing that he had different plans in mind: a Champion vs. Champion Match pitting Del Rio against Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett and Jack Swagger one-on-one against Orton.

Sheamus def. Damien Sandow

Before the first SmackDown match of the night could get underway, Damien Sandow declared that he would destroy the WWE Universe’s “false idol” Sheamus and that The Celtic Warrior’s “reign of terror” was at an end.

But when the end of the fierce encounter came to pass, it was the Irish Superstar who would lay the matter to rest, sending “The Intellectual Savior of the Masses” into mental dreamland with the White Noise–Brogue Kick combination.

Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow: SmackDown, Feb. 22, 2013

Damien Sandow shares his unique brand of intellect with the WWE Universe before stepping inside the ring with Sheamus.

Divas Champion Kaitlyn & Layla def. Tamina & Aksana

While Tamina looked to have Layla right where she wanted her at the height of their explosive Divas tag team showdown — hoisting the English Diva over her head with incredible strength — the former champion had enough presence of mind to tag in the nearby Kaitlyn. Bouncing off the ropes, the Divas Champion made quick work of the disoriented daughter of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, laying her out with the spear for the three-count as Layla took down an interfering Aksana.

In a curious moment after the bell, SmackDown color commentator JBL noted that Layla perhaps held onto the Divas Title a second too long before handing it over to the current titleholder. 

Kaitlyn & Layla vs. Tamina & Aksana: SmackDown, Feb. 22, 2013

Divas Champion Kaitlyn & Tamina team up against the duo of Tamina & Aksana.

Jack Swagger def. Randy Orton

Before his showdown against Randy Orton, Jack Swagger and his compatriot Zeb Colter chose to reject the support of one Wade Barrett, claiming the English Superstar was part of the same “problem” that Del Rio represents. ( WATCH)

In the tough-as-nails contest that followed between Swagger and WWE’s Apex Predator, the “Real American” ultimately stole victory from Orton for the second time in a week. First, Colter managed to get his Superstar under the ropes just as The Viper looked ready to hit the RKO. Then, Swagger would hit his serpentine opponent with a thumb to the eye, allowing him the score the pinfall with his legs on the ropes. “We the people!”

Randy Orton vs. Jack Swagger: SmackDown, Feb. 22, 2013

No. 1 contender for the World Title, Jack Swagger, goes one-on-one with Randy Orton on SmackDown.

The Miz def. Cody Rhodes

Following an awkward moment between himself and Divas Champion Kaitlyn earlier in the night on WWE Active ( WATCH), Cody Rhodes seemed more enthusiastic than ever to talk about his infamous “love ’stache.”

But all the love in the world couldn’t prevent the grandson of a plumber from losing to The Miz when all was said and done. Still injured, The Awesome One — who was disqualified in his U.S. Title Match at Elimination Chamber amid a sea of controversy and then defeated Antonio Cesaro the following night in a non-title No Disqualification Match on Raw — was still able to make Rhodes tap out with the Figure-Four Leglock.

The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes: SmackDown, Feb. 22, 2013

The Miz steps inside the squared circle with Cody Rhodes on SmackDown.

World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett

With Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter making their formidable presence known at the top of the ramp, Alberto Del Rio took on Wade Barrett in a pay-per-view caliber Champion vs. Champion showdown on The Road to WrestleMania 29.

In a pivotal early moment in the contest, the purveyor of The Barrett Barrage temporarily lost focus, choosing to pursue a mocking Ricardo Rodriguez outside the ring. Once again, this proved just how important Del Rio’s friend could be, as the distraction allowed Del Rio to gain an important advantage. 

Alberto Del Rio vs. Wade Barrett: SmackDown, Feb. 22, 2013

Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter watch from the entrance ramp while World Champion Alberto Del Rio faces Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett in the main event of SmackDown.

Barrett would get payback on the World Heavyweight Champion as the match progressed, pushing him off the top rope and out onto the floor in absolutely brutal fashion.

The English mugging that followed soon gave way to a back-and-forth battle of pure aggression, with both Superstars leaving it all on the canvas.

Then, when Del Rio looked set to attempt the Cross Armbreaker, the observing Jack Swagger suddenly moved closer to the ring, screaming “We the people!” This allowed Barrett to regain the advantage. But when the bare-knuckled fighter went for the Bull Hammer elbow, the savvy Mexican champion countered, finally cinching in his signature submission maneuver to bring The Barrett Barrage to a screeching halt.

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