SmackDown results: The Great White outfought Jericho, only to be blindsided by a Del Rio counterstrike

BY Alex Giannini July 13, 2012

Friday Night “ZackDown” takes the blue brand by storm

DENVER – With just two days to go until Money in the Bank rocks the WWE Universe, Zack Ryder took the helm of the blue brand Friday as this week’s Interim General Manager, transforming SmackDown to “ZackDown.” While Ryder’s goal was to bring excitement to the WWE Universe, Alberto Del Rio’s Friday night goal was to act as an agent of chaos, attacking World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus after The Great White’s impressive victory over Chris Jericho.

The night’s Interim General Manager, Zack Ryder, kicked off the Friday festivities by welcoming the WWE Universe to the very first edition of Friday Night “ZackDown”! Ryder, who won last week’s 20-Man Battle Royal to become the one-night Interim GM, certainly made “ZackDown” his own, as he organized the world’s largest fist pump with members of the WWE Universe in attendance and promised the greatest SmackDown ever.

But the good vibrations didn’t last long, as No. 1 contender to Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Championship, Alberto Del Rio, interrupted the party atmosphere with some pointed words for both Ryder (who he called a “stupid clown”) and The Great White. Del Rio promised that, after their title match at Money in the Bank, not only will he become the “real” World Champion, but he’ll “rule SmackDown.” Ryder’s answer to Del Rio’s bombastic claims was a resounding one — the Broski-in-charge showed he has some GM chops by setting up a match between Sin Cara and Del Rio!

SmackDown results: The Great White outfought Jericho, only to be blindsided by a Del Rio counterstrike

BY Alex Giannini July 13, 2012

Alberto Del Rio def. Sin Cara After Alberto Del Rio’s vicious pre-match assault on the July 2 edition of Raw SuperShow (WATCH), the high-flying Sin Cara came to “ZackDown” with thoughts of payback on his mind. It was a back-and-forth battle early on, but Sin Cara – who qualified earlier this week for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Championship Contract – appeared to take control as the action spilled to ringside.

The No. 1 contender put himself back in the driver’s seat thanks to a straight-ahead offensive assault, however, and then slowed the action down as he zoned in on Sin Cara’s shoulder in an effort to soften him up for a Cross Armbreaker. Sin Cara hung tight and connected with a spectacular hurricanrana, and for a moment, victory seemed within his grasp.

But when the daredevil Superstar went to the top rope looking to put Del Rio away, The Mexican Aristocrat dodged the aerial attack and locked Sin Cara in the painful Cross Armbreaker. Sin Cara tapped out, and Del Rio once again proved how dangerous he can be, showing that his focus is laser-like as he eyes the prize potentially awaiting him Sunday night at Money in the Bank.

SmackDown results: The Great White outfought Jericho, only to be blindsided by a Del Rio counterstrike

BY Alex Giannini July 13, 2012

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus def. Chris Jericho; Alberto Del Rio attacked The Great White

As a result of a backstage encounter earlier in the show where Sheamus challenged Chris Jericho, Zack Ryder scheduled the bout as the night’s main event! The two competitors entered the fray with different long-term objectives, but with the same short-term goal in mind. Both looked to build momentum heading into Money in the Bank, as Sheamus readied for his title defense and Jericho set his sights on the match he created, where four former champions will battle for a chance to challenge for the WWE Title.

The battle began with a slap to the face and quickly spiraled into a brawl, plain and simple. Jericho, ever the wily veteran, did what he could to set the pace of the bout right off the bat, but he couldn’t escape Sheamus in the early going, as The Celtic Warrior brought his trademark power game to Friday night. It was destined to be a brutal, physical battle when Sheamus launched Jericho off the apron and out onto the SmackDown announce table. But Y2J regained control after he slammed Sheamus into the steel ring steps and launched The Great White over the announce table — a clear indication that Jericho was more than willing to do a little brawling himself.

After Jericho connected with the Lionsault, the World Heavyweight Champion kicked out of a cover attempt, a scene that would become familiar as the battle raged on. Sheamus started to rally, but Jericho put up a huge stop sign and locked The Celtic Warrior in the Walls of Jericho not once, but twice!

Sheamus, hand hovering over the mat, simply refused to tap, and turned Jericho over to break the hold and connect with White Noise. But Y2J showed his own resilience by kicking out, and the Superstars traded a flurry of potentially match-ending maneuvers.

As the epic battled continued, Sheamus went to extreme measures and headed to the top rope. But the high-risk maneuver did not pay off for The Great White, who landed directly into a Code Breaker! Jericho covered the champ, but Sheamus somehow managed to kick out.

Using the ropes to pull himself to his feet, The Great White answered Jericho’s taunts with a ring-rattling Brogue Kick, followed by the cover!

Alberto Del Rio attacked Sheamus after the bell After the bell, No. 1 contender Alberto Del Rio once again made his presence felt, taking out Sheamus from behind as the champion made his way to the ramp. There, Del Rio used the leverage of the ramp to lock in the excruciating Cross Armbreaker, wrenching The Great White’s left arm to an extreme degree.

After this latest attack, the WWE Universe is left to wonder what kind of shape the champion will be in come Sunday night at Money in the Bank when he faces The Mexican Aristocrat with the title on the line. Just how much of The Great White’s ability to remain a fighting champion has Del Rio taken? Sheamus may have won the night’s battle, but at what cost?