Despite the advertised Ambrose/Bryan matchup from Monday, we instead got an Orton/Bryan rematch after the opening Bryan promo, as they're building off the doctor's stoppage to continue their issues. Orton tried to defend himself and said he respected Bryan's spirit and toughness, but Bryan would have none of it, accusing Orton of pitying him and saying WWE felt Bryan was the weak link, which is why the match was stopped. The frustrated Orton promised to hurt Bryan in their match, but despite his best efforts he couldn't get it done. When it seemed like Bryan had Orton beaten by countout, he launched himself at him in a suicide dive anyway. Bryan made it back into the ring at nine, but Orton couldn't, so Bryan won by countout. Bryan was not pleased and demanded the match be restarted, to no avail.
In other news, Chris Jericho faced Alberto Del Rio, in an unstated attempt to one-up CM Punk for doing so on Raw. Dolph Ziggler failed to wait for the match to end to do his run-in this time, causing Jericho to lose by DQ (despite applying what Michael Cole called a "Liontamer-style" Walls of Jericho on Ricardo). Jericho didn't appreciate the loss and delivered a Codebreaker to Ziggler, which led Del Rio in to pick the bones and nail Ziggler with a superkick. Ziggler was said to be cleared for Raw on Monday, but did this attack change that?
Drew McIntyre lost to Christian, who got his first promo since returning and declared, to no one's surprise, that he wanted one more match. The Shield took umbrage to that, catching Christian by surprise by entering via the ramp rather than the crowd, then delivering the three on one beatdown and triple powerbomb.
AJ beat Natalya in the rare Divas match that had a commercial break in the middle. Watching the match backstage, Kaitlyn took offense to an insult by Aksana and attacked her.
Sheamus beat Cody Rhodes by submission via the Irish Cloverleaf. Cody working Sheamus' arm during the match (including countering a slingshot shoulderblock into a Fujiwara armbar) reminded Sheamus that he has a submission move, apparently. Damien Sandow delivered a post-match beatdown.
Curtis Axel got his rematch with Wade Barrett out of the way, beating him with the McGillicutter. Miz wants a shot at the title, but Paul Heyman led Axel away. Heyman was also asked by Renee Young about the Lesnar and Punk situation from Raw, and Heyman said he doesn't discuss personal business, dredging up some apparent dirt from Renee's personal life to make his point.
They also replayed the Mark Henry 'retirement' in its entirety, which is one of the few times I won't complain about a replay/recap on Smackdown because lets face it, it was awesome.
The Orton/Bryan match we got tonight was far superior to the one from Monday, even before Bryan's stinger. For starters, there was a lot more heat on both sides going into the match. Tonight's opening promo did a much better job making it seem like these two guys don't like each other. The match itself clicked better than the one on Monday, and I liked them using the suicide dive as the finish.
I'm not sure how Jericho the face justifies using the Codebreaker on a guy with a concussion who he's not even in an actual match with.
Jericho's justification, I'm sure, is that Dolph just cost him his match, which upsets him both because he loses the winner's purse and because CM Punk beat Del Rio on Monday, and Jericho doesn't want to be outshone by Punk. But more importantly, it's continuity. Jericho and Ziggler don't like each other, Ziggler cost Jericho his job once already and they've been feuding off and on for a whole calendar year. Yeah, Ziggler's turned face now, but Jericho's not going to instantly forgive and forget.
Leading up to his run as the ECW champ, Matt Hardy was the reason I watched Smackdown. I think it's really sad how far he fell, when for about a year and a half he was having some of the very best matches in the entire company.