As WWE wraps up its most recent set of television tapings in Canada, SmackDown rolls into Ottawa for a night of action headlined by a titanic battle between Roman Reigns and Rusev.
The two massive competitors last crossed paths in a Battle Royal to determine the final competitor in the Money in the Bank WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. Reigns won that battle, but Friday night, Rusev will look to win the war.
Chris Jericho returns to SmackDown for the second consecutive week, this time competing in a sanctioned match as he goes one-on-one with "The Viper" Randy Orton. Could Y2J net another victory over a former WWE champion this week, or would Orton halt his momentum? Would Bray Wyatt play a role in the outcome?
With so many key players in July 20's Battleground pay-per-view in the house Friday night, SmackDown is sure to be a night of exciting and energetic action.
Now, thanks to our friends at WrestlingInc.com, here is a look at what fans can expect from this week's broadcast.
Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- Rusev and Lana kicked off the show with some pro-Russia sentiment. Roman Reigns interrupted and promised not to be crushed like Rusev's other opponents. Referees split them up before they can get physical ahead of the night's main event.
- AJ Lee defeated Cameron when Naomi prevented her former partner from walking out.
- Randy Orton cut a promo with Renee Young. He vowed to introduce Chris Jericho to the Legend Killer later in the show.
- Adam Rose defeated Fandango by count-out; Summer Rae was at ringside with Rose and fought with Layla, drawing Fandango out of the ring and leading to the finish.
- The Usos defeated Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil; Byron Saxton interviewed the Usos after the match.
- Chris Jericho made his way to the ring for his match with Randy Orton. Bray Wyatt appeared on the TitanTron and cut a promo prior to the match.
- Randy Orton defeated Chris Jericho after capitalizing on a distraction from the Wyatt Family with an RKO.
- Summer Rae vs. Layla with Fandango as referee ended up in a no-contest when Layla and Summer Rae teamed up, danced and left Fandango alone
- Goldust defeated Ryback after the match, Stardust blew gold dust in Ryback's face to prevent him from delivering Shellshocked to Goldust.
- Bo Dallas defeated El Torito and Diego in a Handicap match.
- Roman Reigns defeated Rusev via disqualification when Randy Orton interfered; Lana prevented Rusev from crushing Reigns, opting to leave allow Orton to have Reigns to himself. The Viper delivered the RKO and was about to spear Reigns, but Reigns caught him with the move first to end the show.
Roman Reigns vs. Rusev is a huge main event. Given how over both Superstars are and how well they have been booked to this point, it is surprising that WWE opted to give away their first singles bout on an episode of SmackDown rather than saving it for Monday Night Raw.
The disqualification finish allows both men to escape unscathed and for WWE to retain the one big money match it has between future stars, if and when it chooses to go in that direction.
During Tuesday's Main Event broadcast, it was announced that Chris Jericho would take on Randy Orton in a huge marquee match Friday night. Almost immediately it became clear that the Wyatt Family would have some sort of role in the outcome of the match and that is exactly what happened.
The loss does not hurt Jericho, who may have defeated Orton were it not for the distraction from the Wyatt Family. More importantly, the feud is furthered, and Orton picks up a big win on his way to Battleground and the Fatal 4-Way WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.
The love triangle between Summer Rae, Layla and Fandango appears to wrap up Friday as the delightful Divas walk out on their former dance partner, leaving him to wonder if his selfish ways cost him both beautiful women. It is probably best for all involved, as the angle was clearly overstaying its welcome. Whether this leads to a new female companion for Fandango or not remains to be seen.
Bo Dallas' win over El Torito and Diego hopefully brings that story to a close as it has done nothing to help Dallas. If anything, it helped cool him momentarily. Hopefully, WWE Creative takes a more hands-off approach and lets him get over more organically again, regardless if it unexpectedly turns him babyface.
Overall, the show looks to be an entertaining one. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are noticeably missing, as are midcard stars like Dolph Ziggler, who is usually a staple of the Friday night program. In their place are what should be two very good matches involving Jericho, Orton, Reigns and Rusev, as well as the culmination of a months-long storyline between two the lovely Summer Rae and Layla.
It's a show worth going out of your way to catch, especially with Reigns and Rusev clashing for the first time in a singles match.