Battle before the war

Battle before the war

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- With WWE Bragging Rights just two days away, SmackDown's Superstars took advantage of a final opportunity to build momentum for the massive pay-per-view encounter.

World Heavyweight Champion Undertaker def. CM Punk in a Submission Match (PHOTOS | WATCH)
The odds were stacked against World Heavyweight Champion Undertaker from the start. In CM Punk's corner were referee Scott Armstrong and SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long, setting the stage for a repeat of what transpired at WWE Breaking Point. However, the champion took matters into his own hands to keep his coveted gold. After chokeslamming Armstrong and escaping Punk's deadly Anaconda Vise, The Phenom locked The Straightedge Superstar in Hell's Gate, forcing him to submit. Long looked visibly shaken at the outcome.

Stacking the deck (WATCH 1 | WATCH 2)
Prior to the night's main event, Mr. McMahon met with Armstrong, Long and Punk to discuss The Straightedge Superstar's match with The Phenom. Clearly, The Chairman has a strong interest in who holds the World Title. Will his influence carry over to the Fatal Four Way at WWE Bragging Rights? (Preview)

Co-captains' challenge (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Kicking off the night were Team SmackDown co-captains Unified Tag Team Champion Chris Jericho and Kane, who issued a stunning challenge to their team members -- to keep their spots on the team, they needed to win a lopsided Nine-Man Tag Team Match right there on SmackDown!

Finlay, R-Truth, Matt Hardy & The Hart Dynasty def. Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Eric Escobar & JTG (Nine-Man Tag Team Match) (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Team SmackDown co-captains Jericho and Kane wielded their power in arranging this match of epic proportions. The winning team would join the elite "SmackDown Seven" at WWE Bragging Rights. The match itself -- and its outcome -- proved how fast big things can happen in WWE. After Finlay smashed JTG with his shillelagh, Matt Hardy dropped the Cryme Tyme member with a Twist of Fate to stamp his team's ticket to join Jericho & Kane at WWE Bragging Rights. (Tag Team Match preview)

Intercontinental Champion John Morrison def. Mike Knox (PHOTOS | WATCH)
With his highly-anticipated match against The Miz just two days away, Intercontinental Champion John Morrison first had to do battle with big Mike Knox. The Friday Night Delight stood toe-to-toe with the formidable foe and eventually finished him off with Starship Pain. Does The Miz have what it takes to take on his former tag team partner and co-host of "The Dirt Sheet"? (Preview)

Rey Mysterio & Batista def. Chris Jericho & Kane (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Last week, the WWE Universe witnessed Rey Mysterio defeat Batista despite uncertainty on whether he was fully pinned. This week, Mysterio took a "hit" for Batista when he received the full brunt of a chokeslam from Kane instead of The Animal. Despite being crushed, the move proved to be a wise one for the masked superstar as it allowed his partner to deliver a vicious spear, dropping The Big Red Machine for the win.

Mickie James def. Layla (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Making her SmackDown debut since the tri-brand Divas trade, Mickie James picked up an impressive win over Layla. With James not in action at WWE Bragging Rights, how long before the former Raw Diva looks to make a statement on Friday nights? (SmackDown Divas vs. Raw Divas Tag Team Match preview)

WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross battling Bell's palsy
The entire WWE Universe is pulling for a swift recovery for J.R. Stay with for the latest on J.R.'s condition. (Story | J.R.'s blogs)

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