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Episode 724 (Topeka, KS) - Recap

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Michael Cole welcomes us to Friday Night Smackdown--and "Cult of Personality" hits immediately! CM Punk enters to a loud pop. Punk makes his way to the ring, clad in his tights and characteristic black hoodie.

The Money in the Bank briefcase is hanging high above the ring and we're reminded that Punk is competing in the Money in the Bank All-Stars ladder match for the WWE Championship match contract.

Punk takes the microphone and soaks in the crowd as they chant his name. Punk says that the 4th of July is about independence and that is a concept that he can get behind. Punk says he doesn't like following rules. Punk says he's a simple guy with simple needs and he has two goals: one is to get his hands on Brock Lesnar. His second goal is hanging above his head: to win the Money in the Bank All-Stars ladder match and eventually become the WWE Champion again.

Alberto del Rio's music hits and out comes the World Heavyweight Champion in a beautiful black suit. Del Rio says that he was expecting more from Punk. Del Rio is the World Heavyweight Champion and this is his show.
Punk says that Smackdown has never been del Rio's show. Del Rio mocks the way Americans celebrate the 4th of July. Del Rio says that all that Americans do with their freedom is watch TV and get fatter. Then they come to Smackdown and they cheer a filthy pig named Dolph Ziggler and they chant "USA!" Del Rio says they chant that because they're a bunch of sheep.

Punk says that the fans saw through del Rio's schtick. The fans boo him because he put on a facade. They see him as a phoney. Del Rio says that Punk is a little chihuahua and someone needs to teach him manners.
Punk says he is the Best in the World. Del Rio says it's his world and he orders Punk to leave right now.

Punk smirks.

"That sounds painfully like you're telling me to do something!" Punk says that he's going to stay in the ring until del Rio makes him get out of it.

"Holla Holla" plays and Theodore Long takes the stage. Long sets up the main event for tonight's show: CM Punk vs the World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto del Rio!

We see that later on, Christian will face off against Randy Orton.

Backstage we see Punk getting ready for his match, approached by Paul Heyman. Heyman says that the match aganst del Rio makes no sense; Punk should be focused on the MitB ladder match. Heyman reminds Punk that the MitB contract is so important that Heyman wants to head to the ring with Punk for the All-Stars ladder match. Punk asks Heyman to stay out of it.

In the ring, Jimmy & Jey Uso are wearing war-paint and are ready for action. "Hallelujah" plays and Team Rhodes Scholars head down the ramp. Damian Sandow takes the mic and tells the fans that they're about to witness a new era in the WWE, once a member of Team Rhodes Scholars wins the Money in the Bank ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship opportunity.

Rhodes takes the mic and says "may the best man win" and both Sandow and Rhodes shake hands.

MATCH ONE: The Usos vs Team Rhodes Scholars


The bell rings and Jimmy Uso locks up with Cody Rhodes. Rhodes leads Uso around with a key lock until Jimmy tosses Rhodes into the turnbuckle. Quick tag to Jey Uso and the Usos hit a double-team. Rhodes drags Jey back to the corner and tags in Sandow, who stomps Uso to the mat. Sandow hits a Russian leg-sweep into the Elbow of Disdain for a nearfall. Sandow tags in Rhodes, who hits a vertical face-drop on Jey Uso. Sandow is tagged in again to attempt a double team but Jimmy superkicks Rhodes from the apron. Sandow is laid out in the ring as Jimmy and Jey climb opposite turnbuckles.. and they both splash Sandow at the same moment! Three-count!

WINNERS: The #1 Contenders for the Tag Team Championship, The Usos.

The Shield appear on the titantron and Rollins talks trash to the Usos. Reigns says that no one can take the Tag Team Championship from them and that The Shield are going to put them back in their place. Then, Dean Ambrose says he is going to put Christian in his place and he's going to win the MitB ladder match. "Believe that and believe in The Shield."

Alicia Fox is in ring and Kaitlyn enters with Layla El, and we're ready for our next match.

MATCH TWO: Alicia Fox vs Kaitlyn, w/ Layla El


Kaitlyn is the #1 Contender for the Divas Championship at Money in the Bank. Alicia opens up the match with kicks and shoulder blocks, keeping Kaitlyn in the corner. Fox hits a Northern Lights suplex for a nearfall. She hits another slam for another nearfall. Fox locks in a chinlock and Kaitlyn tries to fight out but Fox throws her back to the mat. Fox tosses Kaitlyn into the turnbuckle and continues to dominate. A rear naked choke from Fox, as Layla tries to get Kaitlyn into the match. Kaitlyn hits a back elbow and a few right hands--suddenly, "Light it Up" hits and AJ Lee skips around the ring with the Divas Championship in hand. Kaitlyn is distracted and Fox lands a kick to Kaitlyn's head. Kaitlyn reverses Fox's throw and Kaitlyn charges to kick Lee off of the apron. Fox rolls Kaitlyn up for a surprise three-count!

WINNER: Alicia Fox


Kaitlyn is furious and sprints after Lee, chasing the Divas Champion to the back.

After the commercial we see Lee fleeing backstage. The Bellas cut her off and tell AJ that she needs to watch her back. AJ says she doesn't care. AJ finds Big E Langston and tells him that they need to get out of there. "What about Dolph?" Langston asks. AJ says that she'll text him later and yells at Langston to go get the car.

Backstage, Renee Young is interviewing Christian and Randy Orton. The two have a storied rivalry and they're about to face each other next. Christian says he has beaten Orton in the past for the World Championship and tonight he's going to do it again. Orton says that Christian is about to find out why he's the man that everyone should be worried about going in to Money in the Bank All-Stars ladder match.

We get a vignette for the Wyatt Family, debuting on Raw this coming Monday.

"I Hear Voices" hits and Randy Orton makes his way to the ring. "Just Close Your Eyes" follows and Christian heads to the ring, looking determined.

MATCH THREE: Christian vs Randy Orton

Money in the Bank All-Stars will be Christian's sixth Money in the Bank ladder match. The match begins with a waistlock takedown from Orton, who puts Christian in a side headlock. Orton shoulder-blocks Christian to the mat and lets Christian get up and compete. Christian claps to get his peeps behind him and gets caught in another side-headlock. He shoves Orton off and catches a back elbow under Orton's chin. Orton springs out of the corner with a lariat to Christian's face for a nearfall. Christian hangs Orton on the middle rope and goes for his leap to the outside slap, but Orton catches him for the hanging DDT. Christian reverses the DDT and back-body-drops Orton to the floor outside!

Back from commercial and we see Orton miss a leaping kneedrop and Christian is stepping on Orton's face. Christian stomps away at Orton but Orton fights to his feet. Christian slaps Orton and Orton becomes furious; Orton hits a Thesz press and hammers away on Christian. Christian escapes and hotshots Randy on the top rope. Christian scales the ropes and comes off the top rope with a beautiful cross-body for a nearfall! Christian locks a rear naked choke and Orton fights his way to his feet and throws Christian hard into the turnbuckle.
Both men are trading punches from their knees... Christian gets the upper hand until Orton kicks him in the gut. Christian comes off the ropes and runs into a dropkick from The Viper. Orton is rolling now and goes for the Powerslam but Christian counters and kicks Orton's ribs. Orton is incensed and climbs the ropes for a 10-punch down on Christian.
Christian slips through the ropes and kicks Orton in the face. Orton gutwrenches Christian to his shoulders and comes down with a neckbreaker!!

Christian kicks out!

Christian crawls to the corner and Orton, the Apex Predator stalks his prey.
Christian goes to springboard off the middle rope and Randy goes for the RKO, but Christian was ready for it and lands on his feet. He charges Orton in the corner, but Orton reverses and escapes through the ropes. Orton slips through the ropes and schoolboys Christian for a nearfall! These two men know each other's tricks.

Christian slaps Orton and runs into a Powerslam for another nearfall.
Both men are exhausted and the ref is counting. Back up and Christian goes for the Killswitch! Orton reverses but Christian grabs him and hits a back suplex. Christian is calling for a spear! He hits it--but Orton kicks out of the spear!

Christian is frustrated and is calling for the Killswitch again as Orton struggles to his feet. Orton kicks Christian in the gut and swings him out for the hanging DDT! Orton hypes up the crowd and he's ready for the RKO--but Christian launches Orton to the mat when he leaps for it! Christian leaps off the top rope but Orton ducks--and catches him with an RKO on the second try! Threecount!

WINNER: Randy Orton

Orton celebrates with the crowd and looks more than ready for Money in the Bank All-Stars.

Backstage, Teddy Long is interrupted by Paul Heyman. Long asks Heyman to join the commentary booth for the main event tonight. Heyman says that Punk doesn't want him out there--Long says that it doesn't matter what Punk says, it matters what Long says.

We get a hype vignette for The Whole Dam Show, Rob Van Dam! He returns at Money in the Bank.

"I'm Here to Show the World" hits and The Show-Off, Dolph Ziggler makes his way out for the next match. Cole makes note that AJ Lee hasn't been joining Ziggler at ringside of late. Ziggler remains the #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. Ziggler takes the mic and says the past few months have been a blur... but he'll never forget the night he beat del Rio and became World Heavyweight Champion. Del Rio took advantage of his concussion and took it back. Ziggler admits that he doesn't remember too much after that... but he does remember del Rio coming out grinning and pretending he loved America and the fans. But he's full of crap. Ziggler is a lot of things... he's cocky, he's arrogant, but he's never pretended to be something he's not. And at Money in the Bank, he's taking back the World Heavyweight Championship.

"Three Man Band" hits and 3MB rock their way to the ring. After Ziggler beat Jinder Mahal on Monday, he gets Drew McIntyre tonight.

MATCH FOUR: Dolph Ziggler vs Drew McIntyre, w/ 3MB

Ziggler begins on the offense and shows off for the fans. McIntyre gets angry and begins clubbing away at Ziggler. Ziggler goes for a hurricanrana--but McIntyre tosses him backwards into the turnbuckles. Drew stomps Ziggler in the corner and then drags him out for a snap suplex. McIntyre locks in an arm-bar as the crowd chants for Ziggler. McIntyre irish whips Dolph and catches him with two huge backbreakers! McIntyre gets a nearfall.

Ziggler crawls to the apron and McIntyre goes for a dropkick but Ziggler dodges. Ziggler hits a dropkick of his own for a nearfall. Drew gets up swinging, but Dolph escapes and hits a Zig-Zag out of nowhere for the win!

WINNER: The #1 Contender for the World Title, Dolph Ziggler

Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal attack Ziggler, but Ziggler escapes to the ramp. As 3MB taunt him from the ring, Ziggler rushes back to the ring and escapes all three men again, making 3MB look like fools.

We see a great video covering the seventeen-year career of Mark Henry; he challenges John Cena for the WWE Title at Money in the Bank.

Backstage, Fandango and Summer Rae head to the ring. After the commercial, Fandango's music hits and he and Summer Rae dance their way down the ramp.

Fandango will compete in the Money in the Bank ladder match for the World Championship match contract.

"Unstoppable" hits and Justin Gabriel makes his way to the ring for a rare appearance on Smackdown!

MATCH FIVE: Justin Gabriel vs Fandango

Gabriel, a former two-time Tag Team Champion, locks up with Fandango. Fandango and Gabriel continually reverse and evade each other. Fandango dances after a dodge. After Gabriel catches Fandango with a lariat, the Cape Town Werewolf does some dancing of his own. Fandango is tossed outside and Gabriel goes for a suicide plancha--but Fandango kicks him in the face from the apron! Fandango ascends the top rope and hits a HUGE leaping leg-drop for a win.

WINNER: Fandango

We see replays of Fandango's incredible leg-drop. Summer Rae does the splits in the ring as Fandango says his name.

After the commercial, "Cult of Personality" hits and CM Punk heads to the ring for tonight's Main Event. Paul Heyman has joined ringside commentary with JBL and Michael Cole.
Alberto del Rio's music hits and the World Champion makes his way to the ring.

MATCH SIX: CM Punk vs World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto del Rio (non-title match)


Punk and del Rio lock it up and Punk forces del Rio into the corner. Punk is fired up and calls for del Rio to face him in the middle of the ring. Del Rio unloads on Punk with kicks until Punk hits a snapmare takeover and a dropkick to del Rio's back. Punk begins working over del Rio's arm and del Rio reverses and starts laying in right hands on Punk's body. Del Rio goes for a Stinger Splash and misses--Punk follows with a high running knee. Del Rio is down and Punk ascends for the elbow drop, but the Champion rolls out of the ring for a breather.

Back from commercial and del Rio hits an enzuguiri on Punk. Del Rio has an armbar locked in as the crowd chants for Punk. Punk hits an armdrag to escape and shoulder-blocks del Rio in the corner... but Punk's arm is hurt. Del Rio kicks Punk in the head and wraps Punk's arm around the ropes. Del Rio keeps working Punk's arm over as the crowd tries to get the Second City Saint back in this thing. Del Rio hits an arm-breaker for a nearfall and Punk is in pain.

Del Rio smirks and plays to the crowd as Punk tries to get the feeling back in his left arm. Del Rio hits a huge kick to the side of Punk's head for another nearfall.

Punk is stuck in another arm-bar but he refuses to quit. Punk struggles to his feet and begins landing forearms to del Rio's jaw, followed by a scoop slam. Punk heads to the top rope again but del Rio leaps into a shining wizard from the top rope! Punk still manages to kick out and del Rio can't believe it.

Del Rio stomps Punk's head and calls for the cross arm-breaker. Punk slips out and begins kicking and striking del Rio with everything he's got. Punk charges del Rio but gets caught by a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Del Rio hits a baseball slide and Punk is sent to the outside. Del Rio pursues and sends Punk into the barricade, then kicks Punk in the face. Del Rio tosses Punk over the announce table and Punk is in trouble.

Heyman says this is exactly what he wanted Punk to avoid. Heyman begins trying to reason with del Rio... and del Rio punches Heyman and tosses Heyman to the floor! Heyman is in pain and CM Punk is incensed!

Punk leaps off the announce table and attacks del Rio. Punk throws del Rio into the barricade and the ref calls for the bell due to double-count-out.

WINNER: No Contest

Punk is livid as Heyman is in pain on the outside. Punk lifts del Rio up and hits the Go 2 Sleep. "Cult of Personality" plays as Punk stares down, furious, at del Rio.

Punk checks on Paul as Heyman apologizes. Punk helps him up and he and Heyman head to the back as Smackdown goes off the air.



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