A special Independence Day edition of SmackDown featured a United States Championship showdown, Chris Jericho’s Friday night return amidst the dark shadow of The Wyatt Family and a brutal main event clash pitting The Viper against The Lunatic Fringe.
Four days after winning the grueling Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match at Sunday’s pay-per-view, Seth Rollins made his triumphant return to SmackDown. He informed John Cena that The Champ got lucky when the treacherous Superstar nearly cashed in on his WWE World Heavyweight Title on Raw. He also stated that, sooner or later, the Cenation leader’s time as World Champion would meet an abrupt end.
Dean Ambrose crashed the party, however, labeling his former “brother” delusional and promising to stop Rollins from ever claiming the World Title. But, when The Lunatic Fringe attacked, Randy Orton joined the fray to form a 2-on-1 assault against him. After Roman Reigns emerged to even the odds, WWE COO Triple H responded by putting Ambrose in a main event match against The Viper.
The Game made it clear that if Reigns interfered in the contest, he would be out of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match at WWE Battleground.
After United States Champion Sheamus issued a special Fourth of July United States Championship Challenge on Raw, it was his longtime adversary, Alberto Del Rio, who would answer the call.
And in the height of the incredible matchup between two Superstars who are very familiar with each other’s respective arsenals, The Celtic Warrior escaped both the Cross Armbreaker and a near Moonsault to overcome The Mexican Aristocrat with the Brogue Kick.
SmackDown took a turn into the bizarre, as Goldust and Stardust played the name game.
Referring to Daniel Bryan as a “special little fella,” Bo Dallas came to SmackDown promising to win the Battleground Battle Royal for “Little Daniel.” He then extended his winning streak to “12-Bo” over Diego with his Running “Bo-Dog.”
But when Dallas attempted to give some post-match “inspiration” to El Torito by telling him he could be taller if he “Bo-lieved,” the pint-sized Superstar answered with a Gore. He then mocked the undefeated competitor, prompting Dallas to hit him with an inspirational Body Slam.
For the first time in nearly a year, Chris Jericho returned to SmackDown, four days after The Wyatt Family attacked him on Raw. The Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla promised that if Bray Wyatt wanted to get nuts, he was definitely up to the challenge. In response, The Eater of Worlds appeared on the TitianTron, warning that the “savior” better worry about saving himself from The New Face of Fear.
Then, when The Miz interrupted Y2J’s attempt to call Wyatt down to the ring, The Awesome One received one awesome Codebreaker for his trouble.
Even as he set his sights on winning the Battleground Battle Royal to capture the Intercontinental Championship at WWE Battleground, Big E looked to “stand up” for his friend Kofi Kingston by “standing up” to fellow Battle Royal competitor, Cesaro. Four days earlier, it was The Swiss Superman who delivered an absolutely vicious beating to The Wildcat on Raw.
But before the SmackDown match could get started, a fierce brawl broke out between the two competitors outside the ring, resulting in a No Contest.
After AJ Lee returned to Raw to win back the Divas Championship from Paige Monday, the English Diva walked down to ringside to see the new titleholder make Eva Marie tap out with the Black Widow. Curiously, after the match, Paige got in the ring and shook AJ’s hand and clapped for her victory.
Although the “Born in the USA” Damien Sandow walked into Newark dressed as Bruce Springsteen, Rusev emerged to play a sour note by annihilating the would-be “Boss.”
But when Lana followed with some disparaging remarks about Independence Day, Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter stormed to the ring, igniting a fierce stare down between The Bulgarian Brute and The Real American.
With Mr. Money in the Bank Seth Rollins joining the SmackDown announce team and Roman Reigns banned from ringside, Dean Ambrose went to battle against Randy Orton in SmackDown’s main event.
Despite the fact that Ambrose couldn’t stop himself from attacking Rollins once again, he still seemed to be in firm control in the match’s final moments. However, as he lunged through the ropes at The Viper, Rollins recovered enough to nail Ambrose in midair with the Money in the Bank briefcase, bringing the disqualification.
With the official match over, Rollins and Orton initiated another 2-on-1 assault on Ambrose. But, as Rollins prepared an aerial assault from the top rope, the powerhouse Reigns emerged to send him crashing to the canvas and unleashed a major onslaught that included an earth-shattering Superman Punch on the Apex Predator.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sheamus (c) defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain the WWE United States Championship (8:23)
- Bo Dallas defeated Diego (1:49)
Other on-screen talent
A clash between Rollins and Ambrose for main event
Sheamus v Alberto Del Rio
Big E v Cesaro
Bo Dallas v Diego
Chris Jericho returned to SmackDown
AJ Lee v Eva Marie
Rusev and Swagger engaged in an American/Russian Standoff
Dean Ambrose v Randy Orton
- WWE Smackdown #776 at CAGEMATCH.net
- [Smackdown #776 on WWE Network]