Just nine days before WrestleMania, The Rock laid the SmackDown on John Laurinaitis, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio dished out painful retribution on Jack Swagger and The Shield’s Show of Shows opponents stood united on their enemy’s battleground. After explaining how the origin of his catchphrase “kicking your candy ass” originated in Hershey — during a special SmackDown edition of Story Time With The Rock — the WWE Champion reaffirmed he will triumph over 10-time WWE Champion John Cena at WrestleMania. But The Brahma Bull wasn’t the only person to make their return to Friday night. To the surprise of the WWE Universe, he was soon joined by John Laurinaitis.
Citing his bad history with Cena, Big Johnny sought to position himself in Rock’s corner at The Showcase of The Immortals, claiming they went together like a peanut butter cup. But after consulting the people about joining with “People Power,” The Great One treated the former General Manager of Raw and SmackDown to the People’s Elbow, sending a strong message to Cena in the process.
With his WrestleMania No. 1 contender, The Miz, joining the SmackDown announce team, Wade Barrett took on Chris Jericho for the first time on the blue brand. But after Barrett got caught up in a verbal altercation with The Awesome One outside the ring, Y2J took advantage of the distraction and hit The Bare-Knuckle Brawler with a surprise Codebreaker for the non-title victory.
Realizing that his own WrestleMania opponent, Fandango, was about to enter after the bell, Jericho elected to forgo his celebration to once again ridicule the name of WWE’s newest Superstar. While The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla invited his pay-per-view adversary into the ring nine days early, Fandango chose to dance away.
Dismissing Josh Mathew’s questions in what was supposed to be a SmackDown exclusive interview, Paul Heyman instead pontificated on the terrible position that he and Brock Lesnar had put Triple H into. He claimed The Game had made two huge mistakes: assuming he could compete with Heyman intellectually and Brock Lesnar physically — by blindly agreeing to a No Holds Barred Match and to his own retirement if he loses to The Anomaly on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
By signing that contract, Heyman claimed Triple H had ruined much more than his in-ring career. He said WWE’s COO also ruined his future career as a leader, painting a grim picture of what will happen once The King of Kings loses to Lesnar.
After SmackDown General Manager Booker T kept Mark Henry and Ryback from attacking each other with the help of a No-Contact Clause until their showdown at WrestleMania, the two powerhouses engaged in a bench press challenge.
Henry kicked things off, lifting 225 pounds a stunning 53 times to shatter the NFL combine record of 51! Ryback fired back with 53 reps of his own. But when it looked like he was going to beat Henry’s mark with 54, The World’s Strongest Man opted to push the bar back down.
Trapping the “Human Wrecking Ball,” the enraged Superstar proceeded to choke his WrestleMania adversary, before the weights eventually broke loose and the bar went flying. Somehow, Booker was able to order Henry to back off, but the damage to Ryback had clearly been done.
With so much potential mayhem in one place at one time, it’s no wonder that the Mixed Tag Team Match pitting WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan & Divas Champion Kaitlyn against Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee would produce so much mayhem from start to finish — especially with their partners Kane and Big E Langston looming at ringside.
In the height of the melee, Ziggler tagged in his girlfriend. While the rules dictated that both Divas step into the ring against each other at that point, Bryan continued to brawl with The Showoff outside the squared circle. Seeing this, AJ leaped onto her ex-fiancé, instigating even more bedlam between all parties involved. When the unpredictable Diva finally re-entered the ring, however, Kaitlyn was waiting to blast her with a monster spear for the pin.
From an undisclosed location, The Shield suggested distrust might cause their adversaries, Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show, to implode on each other before they even had the chance to face the treacherous faction at WrestleMania.
While The Viper, Sheamus and Big Show had made it clear publically that they will play well with each other, The Hounds of Justice said that The Show of Shows was not about games. Instead, they reaffirmed that on April 7, their opponents would believe in The Shield.
In addition to describing The Great Khali, Natalya and Hornswoggle as “multiculturalism gone awry,” Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter remarked that breaking Ricardo Rodriguez’s ankle was simply “breaking a bone to bind a country.”
When the succeeding match moved outside the ring, the “Real American” cinched in the Patriot Lock on Khali — refusing to release it even after the referee counted both Superstars out. Then, when ’Swoggle got involved, Swagger attacked him as well.
The voice of an emerging Rodriguez finally ended the abuse. As the injured announcer distracted Swagger, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio came at his WrestleMania No. 1 contender from behind, locking him into the Cross Armbreaker. When Zeb Colter got involved, Rodriguez clocked him with his crutch before throwing it to his friend. Del Rio nearly took Swagger’s head off before the scrambling competitor could escape.
Though Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show already established that they’d put aside their differences to face The Shield at WrestleMania, there was massive speculation that they wouldn’t even be able to maintain their alliance in the SmackDown main event.
But doubt quickly vanished in the final moments of their Six-Man Tag Team Match against United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and Team Rhodes Scholars. After changing into a double team on Sheamus, the giant hit the KO Punch on Cesaro, before hurling Sandow into The Viper’s RKO. That cleared the road for The Celtic Warrior to hit the Brogue Kick on Rhodes for a victory built on pure teamwork.
Then, when The Shield emerged for another post-match assault, the unified trio met them in the crowd, executing an explosive counter attack that sent their black-clad WrestleMania adversaries packing.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Chris Jericho defeated Wade Barrett (8:09)
- Daniel Bryan & Kaitlyn (w/ Kane) defeated AJ Lee & Dolph Ziggler (w/ Big E. Langston) (3:19)
- Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) vs. The Great Khali (w/ Hornswoggle & Natalya) ended in a Double Count Out (3:03)
- Randy Orton, Sheamus & The Big Show defeated Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) & Antonio Cesaro (10:12)
- Dark match: Randy Orton, Sheamus & The Big Show defeated The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) by DQ
Other on-screen talent