Just 48 hours before a huge showdown with Bray Wyatt at Battleground, Chris Jericho will look to gain a measure of revenge against the Wyatt Family for the attack he suffered on Raw when he takes on Luke Harper one-on-one.
The match headlines an episode of SmackDown that will serve as the final stop on the road to the July 20 WWE Network exclusive event.
Meanwhile, Dean Ambrose suffered a brutal assault at the hands of The Authority Monday night and will undoubtedly be looking for a measure of revenge as he enters the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for WWE's weekly Friday night broadcast.
Will he be able to maintain what little health he has as he prepares to face Seth Rollins at Battleground or will he find himself on the receiving end of another assault that puts his availability in doubt?
Superstars involved in the intercontinental Battle Royal took center stage Friday night, just as they did Monday on Raw and Tuesday on Main Event.
Which Superstar would build momentum for himself heading into Sunday's match?
Perhaps it would be former world champions Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus or Alberto Del Rio. Maybe it would be a dark-horse candidate like Kofi Kingston or Fandango.
Whatever the case may be, there are several very talented Superstars looking to leave an impression just two days before the huge Battleground event. Who accomplished their goals and who will need to recover when they arrive in Tampa Bay, Florida, for the big show?
Find out now, courtesy of our friends at WrestlingInc.
Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- Ambrose kicked off the show and promised to gain a measure of revenge for the beatdown he suffered at the hands of Kane, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins on Raw.
- Alberto Del Rio defeated Kofi Kingston.
- Alicia Fox vs. Eva Marie with Nikki Bella as guest referee ended in a no-contest when both competitors attacked Bella.
- Jericho cut a promo.
- Jericho defeated Harper by disqualification when Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan interfered. The Usos made the save.
- Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter cut a pro-America promo but were interrupted by Rusev and Lana. The two sides exchanged words ahead of Swagger and Rusev's match at Battleground.
- Ziggler and Sheamus defeated Fandango and The Miz.
- Ambrose defeated Kane by disqualification when Rollins interfered. Kane delivered a chokeslam on the steel steps and Rollins follows with a Curb Stomp.
After a few weeks of angle advancement and appearances by the top stars in the industry, SmackDown has once again become a placeholder show.
The two main events on this week's show end in disqualifications that do little to progress stories or add anything in the way of fresh hype to Sunday's pay-per-view.
Sure, odds are that the matches between Jericho and Harper, Ziggler-Sheamus and Fandango-The Miz, and Dean Ambrose and Kane will be very good, but they likely won't constitute must-see television.
With a network to promote and so much content to provide, one would assume the company would make better use of the television time it has.
Instead, it treats SmackDown like the B-show it is perceived to be. As a result, the show is destination programming only for hardcore fans who watch wrestling regardless of what is going on.
Battleground is an event with an abnormally strong card for one of WWE's C-level extravaganzas.
Failing to deliver one last strong night of programming that entices the audience to subscribe to the WWE Network and watch the show will be detrimental to all involved.
Friday's show will likely be an entertaining way to pass two hours before the weekend kicks off in full force, as is the case most weeks, but it doesn't appear set to have a long-lasting effect on any ongoing programs.
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