As the fierce field of warfare began to take shape for WWE Battleground, Vickie Guerrero’s Gauntlet Match initiative gave way to COO Triple H’s policy of “fair and honest competition,” Divas Champion AJ Lee set out to conquer the “Total Divas” and a trifecta of No. 1 contenders turned back The Hounds of Justice!
General Manager Vickie Guerrero and Daniel Bryan traded insults at the top of SmackDown, as the Queen Diva attempted to get "The Beard" to admit his involvement in a conspiracy to rob Randy Orton of the WWE Championship at Night of Champions.
When Bryan maintained his innocence, Vickie set out to punish both the outspoken No. 1 contender to the WWE Title and those Superstars who stormed the ring in an "active protest" to help him repel The Shield on Raw – creating an 11-on-3 Handicap Gauntlet Match.
Accordingly, United States Champion Dean Ambrose and WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns would take on the following Superstars, one-at-a-time: RVD, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, R-Truth, Justin Gabriel, The Prime Time Players, The Usos, Dolph Ziggler and Bryan himself. Guerrero informed the submission specialist that he would compete last, promising that The Hounds of Justice will run over every one of the Superstars in their way.
Prior to her match against one-half of The Funkadactyls, AJ Lee made the bold statement that she will single-handedly defeat every cast member of E! Network's “Total Divas” – starting with Naomi on SmackDown. And with third-generation Diva Natalya joining the SmackDown announce team, the outrageous titleholder made Naomi tap out to the Black Widow.
Although Zeb Colter had plenty of derogatory statements for Italian-born Santino Marella, that didn’t stop The Milan Miracle from picking up the quick pinfall over former World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger with a backslide out of nowhere!
Echoing his comments four days earlier on Raw, Paul Heyman once again labeled himself the “Best in the World” for defeating CM Punk at Night of Champions – a feat he credited his “hero,” Ryback, for helping to make possible.
The “Big Guy” opted to add his two cents as well, accusing both The Second City Saint and his imminent opponent in the ring of being bullies. He then put his mayhem where his mouth was, destroying the local competitor with Shell Shocked.
In spite of COO Triple H’s decision on Raw to strip Daniel Bryan of the WWE Championship and declare it to be in abeyance, Randy Orton took the “fault” for his no longer having the title upon himself.
WWE’s Apex Predator explained that, for years, he had locked away the truly sadistic part of himself in order to give the WWE Universe what he thought they wanted. But, he served notice that that time was over and – as The Miz discovered on Monday – The Viper had now reopened the door on that sadistic side. Orton promised that he wouldn't just reclaim the WWE Championship at the first-ever WWE Battleground pay-per-view, but he would also massacre his opponent in the process.
Battling their opponents one at a time, The Shield overcame Darren Young, Titus O’Neal, Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston in the opening stages of the first-ever 11-on-3 Handicap Gauntlet Match.
But just when it looked as if their next opponent, Rob Van Dam, might triumph over The Hounds' number advantage, a furious COO Triple H rushed onto SmackDown from a meeting that apparently ran late at WWE World Headquarters in Stamford, CT – putting a stop to the action and ordering SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero back to his office.
The Game admonished Guerrero for her actions, stating that they would only lead to further opposition if they punished those that stood in opposition on Monday. Instead, Triple H said Superstars must feel the security of “fair, honest competition.” And he started by putting Daniel Bryan & The Usos into a main event clash against The Shield!
After summoning Justin Gabriel and Zack Ryder to his office to apologize for Vickie Guerrero putting them into the Handicap Gauntlet Match, Triple H responded to the pair’s desire to engage in competition by putting them into a match against Luke Harper & Erick Rowan of The Wyatt Family.
And after Harper overcame Zack Ryder with a wicked clothesline that nearly took his opponent’s head off, Bray Wyatt put the exclamation point on it with a post-match Sister Abigail.
After apologizing to Rob Van Dam for Vickie Guerrero involving him in a Handicap Gauntlet Match, Triple H offered the high-flyer another opportunity at Alberto Del Rio’s World Heavyweight Championship at WWE Battleground. But, seconds after The Game left the room, Del Rio carried out a vicious sneak attack on his renewed No. 1 contender.
Moments later, The Mexican titleholder then stepped into the ring and overcame R-Truth with the Cross Armbreaker.
After taking Daniel Bryan and The Usos out of the Handicap Gauntlet Match eariler in the evening, Triple H placed the No. 1 contender to the WWE Title and the No. 1 contenders to the WWE Tag Team Titles into a main event Six-Man Tag Team Match against The Shield.
And when the match broke down into absolute chaos that would leave Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Jimmy & Jey reeling on the ringside floor, Bryan cinched in the “YES!” lock on Dean Ambrose. While the United States Champion was able to reach the ropes – forcing the submission specialist to break the maneuver – a double kick by the revived Usos through the ropes set up “The Beard” to hit the high knee for the victory.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil), Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston & Rob Van Dam vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) ended in a No Contest in a Gauntlet Match (9:00)
- The Shield defeated Darren Young (0:43)
- The Shield defeated Titus O'Neil (1:58)
- The Shield defeated Dolph Ziggler by Countout (5:38)
- The Shield defeated Kofi Kingston (7:13)
- The Shield vs. Rob Van Dam ended in a No Contest (9:00)
- The Wyatt Family (Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) (w/ Bray Wyatt) defeated Justin Gabriel & Zack Ryder (1:09)
- Daniel Bryan & The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeated The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) (13:27)
Other on-screen talent
Guerrero created the first-ever 11-on-3 Handicap Gauntlet Match
AJ Lee v Naomi
Santino Marella v Jack Swagger
Ryback v Nick Nardone
Orton served notice: The sadistic side of The Viper is back
Triple H stopped 11-on-3 Handicap Gauntlet Match
The Wyatt Family v Justin Gabriel & Zack Ryder
Alberto Del Rio v R-Truth
Daniel Bryan & The Usos v The Shield
- WWE Smackdown #735 at CAGEMATCH.net
- [Smackdown #735 on WWE Network]