Following the commercial break, the cameras open up inside the arena. “Longhorn” hits and for the second time this evening, John Layfield enters the arena. This time, however, he is not alone. Standing at either side of him are his henchmen, Mike Wesson (formerly known as Mike Knox) and David Smith (also formerly known as David Hart Smith), dubbed Smith & Wesson. Trailing the trio is the Uncle of David Smith, Jim Neidhart, who has officially become the spokesman of the duo.
Layfield and his titled Hired Guns, walk to the ring and around to the announcer’s table. There, JBL orders Smith & Wesson to either side of him takes a seat next to Todd Grisham, the lonely announcer left standing after Striker’s resignation.
Todd Grisham – “Mr. Layfield, what do I owe this pleasure?”
John Layfield – “Todd, let me be frank with you. I was sitting in the back, listening to you banter on, talking to yourself, and I couldn’t help think to myself, ‘I’d like to punch him in the mouth so that he could never speak again,’ but I’m not in the business of paying workman’s compensation, so I thought I’d do these fans an even bigger favor and come grace them with my presence and even more important, my voice. Haha!”
Todd Grisham – “Mr. Layfield, I’m not certain I’m comfortable doing my job with my boss sitting right next to me, constantly criticizing me.”
John Layfield – “That’s tough, nerd. Because at least for the time being, I’m your new partner.”
Todd Grisham – “I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Striker.”
John Layfield – “Speaking of Matt Striker; I’d just like to say that I’m setting up my General Manager Office, right here. From now on, I’m going to be right here in the thick of it. I’m going to hold court right here in front of everyone from now on.”
Todd Grisham – “Well, it is certainly an honor and my pleasure.”
John Layfield – “The pleasure is all yours, I’m certain of that.”
Todd Grisham – “Well Mr. GM, what’s next on the agenda?”
John Layfield – “I’ve got some business that I need to tend to. Matt Striker, I’ll get to you shortly. But first, last week I gave someone an order to do something and they disregarded my message. So now I’m going to send an even louder message. Jack Swagger, when I tell you to do something, you’re going to listen to me.”
Todd Grisham – “Now we’re talking. If someone ever deserved to be punished, his name was Jack Swagger.”
John Layfield – “In four weeks time, Raw will host its first next-generation single branded pay-per-view titled Night of Champions and that night Jack Swagger will defend his United States Title against the winner of this… TEN MAN BATTLE ROYAL!”
Todd Grisham – “Wow.”
Just then a slew of Raw Superstars begin to walk out of the back. As the walk out, there music begins playing, but as the wrestler behind them enters, his music cuts over theirs and so on. Jimmy Uso is the first man out.
Justin Roberts – “The next match of the evening will be a TEN MAN BATTLE ROYAL, where the winner will go on to Night of Champions to fight Jack Swagger for the United States Championship. Introducing first.. JIMMY USO!”
Uso gets a thunderous disapproval from the crowd for his antics last week.
Todd Grisham – “Jimmy Uso certainly turned some heads last week when he utilized his twin brother to help secure a win that he otherwise wouldn’t have got.”
John Layfield – “Jimmy Uso did what he had to do to win. And how do you know it was his twin brother? Last I heard, Jay Uso was on the shelf indefinitely following an injury.”
Todd Grisham – “Are you blind?”
John Layfield – “Do you want me to answer that, or would you wish to stay employed?”
Todd Grisham – “Disregard.”
John Layfield – “I thought so.”
Jimmy is almost to the ring before his music is cut in favor of the next man, a man who may be wrestling under a legitimate injury, Carlito.
Justin Roberts – “CARLITO COLON!”
Carlito holds his wrist in pain. A recent WWE.com interview conducted by Gene Okerlund asked Carlito about a wrist injury he sustained during another battle royal from two weeks ago and how he was fighting through the pain. Following Carlito, Yoshi Tatsu enters the building to the sound of a roaring crowd as one of the fan favorites in the match. Tatsu is coming off of a hands-down loss to the MasterLock the week before.
Justin Roberts – “YOSHI TATSU!”
Following Yoshi Tatsu, the music of Tyson Kidd hits and he too walks into the building to a very negative reaction. He appears to be on the losing end of the success spectrum after his split with his former partner, David Hart Smith.
Justin Roberts – “TYSON KIDD!”
Kidd is coming off of an off week. He has taken on a mean streak following the split up of the Hart Dynasty and seeing his girlfriend drafted to Smackdown. Kidd climbs into the ring and his music is cut for that of Vladimir Kozlov.
Justin Roberts – “VLADIMIR KOZLOV!”
Kozlov comes out to one of the more heated reactions of the night. He stomps to the ring, never taking his eyes off of the competition inside the ring. His music cuts and the largest athlete of the match walks out to another very heated reception. The Great Khali walks slowly to the ring, raising a shadow over most everyone in the match.
Justin Roberts – “THE GREAT KHALI!”
Once inside the ring, the music of Ezekiel Jackson hits and the man who narrowly lost his Intercontinental Championship match against Jack Swagger last week rushes out of the back to a very surprising positive reaction from the fans. Jackson rushes down the entrance ramp and slides into the ring. Instantly, he has six men staring him down; all wondering how he was selected to be the first opponent for the title last week.
Justin Roberts – “EZEKIEL JACKSON!”
This appears to be the last of the announcements for the time being. That is, until John Layfield stands up from the announcer’s table with a microphone in his hand.
John Layfield – “Jack Swagger, I have three surprises for you tonight. The first two are members of not the Raw roster, but the Smackdown roster. I asked Ted Dibiase if he had two men that he’d like to send to Raw in an opportunity to headline Night of Champions against you and he said he had two men in mind. So without further delay…”
Sheamus’ music hits and the fans all stand up, excited to see the former Raw Superstar making his way out from the back. The Raw Superstars all have their eyes gunned at Sheamus. The Irish Curse doesn’t get in the ring, however. He waits for the other member of the Smackdown roster.
Justin Roberts – “SHEAMUS!”
As Sheamus’ music fades, it is replaced with that of Wade Barrett’s. Wade makes his way out wearing his Nexus t-shirt and he joins the side of Sheamus and the two climb up onto the apron, slowly, to make sure they wouldn’t be attacked before hand.
Justin Roberts – “WADE BARRETT!”
With nine of the ten superstars in the ring, Layfield stands up once again holding a microphone to address the crowd and more directly, Jack Swagger.
John Layfield – “And my last surprise is not a member of the Smackdown Roster, nor is he a member of the Raw Roster. Well, at least he wasn’t until earlier today. Please welcome my next free agent signing…”
A very familiar music hits and all heads in the arena turn and almost without question, they begin booing as Muhammad Hassan makes his return to World Wrestling Entertainment. Every man in the ring is watching closely as Hassan stops at the edge of the entrance stage and drops to his knees and looks up to the sky with his arms stretched outward.
Justin Roberts – “MUHAMMAD HASSAN!”
Hassan is clearly a marked man now. He climbs up onto the edge of the ring and slowly steps through the ropes and joins the other nine competitors in the ring.
Ten Man Over the Top Rope Battle Royal
The Great Khali | Tyson Kidd | Jimmy Uso | Carlito Colon | Vladimir Kozlov
Wade Barrett | Ezekiel Jackson | Muhammad Hassan | Yoshi Tatus | Sheamus
#1 Contendership of United States Title
The match kicks off as soon as the bell rings and instantly, it seems like every man in the ring is gunning for Muhammad Hassan. It’s uncertain whether it’s because of the bad taste he left in most of their mouths during his first stint with the WWE because of his racial banter or because he is the newest free agent signing. Hassan doesn’t have much of an opportunity to try and understand it either, as he begins fighting off the wave of attack coming from nine other superstars. He seems to hold his own against the likes of Tyson Kidd and Carlito Colon, but as soon as the Great Khali got ahold of him, Hassan’s size proved to be his downfall and he succumbed to Khali’s attacks. With Hassan down, Khali went on a rampage, beating at the other eight competitors until he was the last man standing in the ring. There was no cause for celebration as Khali hadn’t successfully eliminated any of them; he merely just knocked them down with his attacks. The first elimination was not at the hands of Khali, though, but it was Khali himself who was first eliminated. The first two men up from Khali’s attacks were Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson. Knowing that acting alone, Khali would brutalize him, they created a makeshift alliance and begin pounding away at Khali and wearing him down close to the ropes. Kozlov would score a victory blow with a big boot that caught Khali right in the throat that he nearly had to deliver a high jump to connect with. With Khali stumbling around holding his throat, Jackson rebounded off the far ropes and dove through the air and connected with a shoulder tackle that sent Khali back into the ropes. With him resting against the top rope, Kozlov and Jackson each grabbed a foot and flipped him over the top rope to his elimination.
Following this elimination, it became a two man show. Jackson and Kozlov, now acting as separate entities, began an assault on the remaining participants. One of the more dastardly assaults saw Kozlov wrap Carlito’s injured wrist around his back and picked him up and body slam him onto it. He then grabbed the afro-haired Puerto Rican and tossed him over the top rope as the second elimination. Tyson Kidd made the mistake of a lifetime when he dove off the top rope with a flying crossbody in the direction of Ezekiel Jackson. Zeke would turn around and catch Kidd in mid-air and drive him to the floor with one of the most devastating spinebusters in recent memory. Jackson then grabbed Kidd by the little bit of hair he had left and pulled him to his feet. He picked him up into a military press and walked him to the edge of the ring and tossed him over the top rope, causing him to fall on the floor at the feet of David Smith. Smith looks down at his former partner in disgust and then turns his attention back to the action at hand, forgetting about Kidd entirely. With seven participants left, the action began to thin out and many of the wrestlers began to pair off, fighting in individual corners. One thing that sticks out in mind is Muhammad Hassan, even though he had been attacked by nearly everyone early on, had now escaped their minds and was hiding in his own corner, away from everything.
With Kozlov and Sheamus tied up in one corner; Jackson and Wade Barrett in another; Muhammad Hassan licking his wounds in another; the action turned to Yoshi Tatsu and Jimmy Uso. Uso appeared to be making short work of the Japanese Sensation; but one failed move by Uso proved costly. Going for his patent Samoan Drop with Extension, Uso grabbed Tatsu and hoisted him high into the air in a military press. Looking to drop him onto his shoulders and into the a Samoan Drop, he tried to position him closer to the center of the ring. But Tatsu knew better and begin squirming and chopping at the edge of Uso’s head. Jimmy stumbled back until he hit the ropes, at which time he dropped Tatsu. Yoshi hung onto the top rope and wrapped his feet around the head of Jimmy Uso and drug him over the top rope. Tatsu twisted and fell back into the ring, while Jimmy hung upside down with a knee twisted into the bottom and middle rope. Facing sure elimination if he couldn’t get himself loose, Uso reached for anything he could and grabbed the nearby official by the collar and jerked him head first into the side of the ring. The official fell to the floor out-cold at just about the same time that Tatsu dropkicked the ropes sending Jimmy Uso to the floor on his back.
With just six participants left, Tatsu turned his attention to the free Muhammad Hassan. This would be a huge mistake as the cameras saw Jimmy Uso slide underneath the ring and a second later, he returned looking like he hadn’t wrestled a second of the match; with more speculation that this could be Jay Uso instead. Uso jumped back onto the apron, with the nearby official still out. He ran across the ring and grabbed Tatsu by the tights and hurled him over the top rope. The official on that side of the ring, saw Tatsu hit the floor, clear as day and called for his elimination. Yoshi plead his case once he figured out what happened, but to no avail. Jimmy (or Jay) Uso’s elimination of Tatsu proved to be his own downfall as he considered it a win in its own right and didn’t even notice when he backed into Ezekiel Jackson. Jackson grabbed him by the dreadlocks and flung him one hundred and eighty degrees over the top rope to his own elimination. With just five men left in the ring, Jackson stumbled back to the center of the ring and looked to see that in each of the four corners stood a man who had their eyes set on the last ‘honest’ man left in the ring. Muhammad Hassan, trying to look like he is going to ‘fit-in’ to this plan; Sheamus who has his teeth grit and ready to pounce; Wade Barrett who is ready to give some of the punishment he just took from Jackson back at him; and Vladimir Kozlov who is looking at possibly the only man left in the ring who has the sheer power to eliminate him.
And just like that, all four men pounced. They began whipping away at Jackson. Ezekiel tries everything in his hand to defend himself but just can’t come up with the means to survive. He hurls bodies off of him, left and right, but just like jackals they keep pouncing. He delivers a very stiff uppercut to Hassan that rocks him back into his corner. A headbutt to Barrett gives him just a little bit of breathing room. But a Brogue Kick from Sheamus nearly took Jackson’s head off. Sheamus and Kozlov drug Jackson by an arm each to the nearby ropes and pulled him to his feet and attempted to hoist him over the top. Jackson didn’t have much fight, but his long and muscular body wasn’t the easiest of tasks for the two men to dispose of. Barrett would also find his way over to three and offer his own assistance to aid in the elimination. Jackson uses his last bit of energy to fight them off, but they are just like leaches and they attach to him; tugging and pushing, they all offer up their own strengths in order to get him rocking onto the top rope. They appear to be going for one last surge. They’ve all got their weight scaled against him and Jackson is only hanging on by an arm around the ropes with his legs mostly in the air. This looks like it could be it. Out of nowhere, Muhammad Hassan rushes behind the group and grabs Kozlov by the ankle and flips him upside down. The added weight of Kozlov’s body, on top of Jackson’s shifts the scale of weight proportionality and Jackson, Hassan, Sheamus, and Barrett all go flipping and tumbling over the top rope. When the dust settles, all four men are shown lying on the floor and the referee calls for the bell signaling that Muhammad Hassan had won the match.
Winner – Muhammad Hassan.
Hassan quickly drops to his knees and says a prayer to the sky, thanking his god for the win. And just like that Hassan has made such an impactful debut. His music plays and the fans boo relentlessly at the thought of Hassan fighting Swagger for the United States Championship. All of the sudden, Hassan’s music snaps and is replaced by that of the United States Champion, Jack Swagger. The All-American American enters onto the stage from the back carrying his United States title and the now-retired Intercontinental Title on his shoulder. He has a microphone in his hand and he’s not going to waste any time.
Jack Swagger – “Very cute, JBL. But I see right through it. I told you once that I am not going to defend my United States title against a man who doesn’t even claim to be an American.”
Jack Swagger telling Layfield what he will and will not do, infuriates the General Manager and he stands up from the announcer’s table to address him.
John Layfield – “How dare you tell me what you’re going and not going to do. I’m the General Manager of this show, damn it and when I tell you to do dance, you’d better damn sure ask me if I want it to be the Mamba or Salsa.”
Jack Swagger – “I was willing to play along with this, but after this battle royal you orchestrated…”
John Layfield – “Orchestrated? Son, it’s my job to entertain these fans by any means necessary.”
Jack Swagger – “So you designed a battle royal comprised of ten non-American wrestlers, giving the winner a shot at the very United States title that I refused to defend against someone who was not an American citizen?”
John Layfield – “Oh, they were all non-American wrestlers? I didn’t seem to notice.”
Jack Swagger – “Cut the crap, JBL. I understand you want this title defended at Night of Champions, so maybe we can make a compromise. I’ll agree to fight your winner Muhammad Hassan if you’ll allow me to defend the Intercontinental Championship instead of the United States title?”
John Layfield – “That Intercontinental Title is retired.”
Jack Swagger – “But you have the power to bring it back.”
John Layfield – “I have the power to do whatever I please. The question is, why should i?”
Jack Swagger – “Because I have Ted Dibiase on speed dial and I’m sure he’d love to sign a hot shot free agent that is in possession of both the United States and Intercontinental Titles.”
John Layfield – “Now, hold it right there. You can go to Smackdown, but those titles will stay here.”
Jack Swagger – “Of course, I’ll leave whatever’s left of them on your desk after I get done shredding them to bits.”
John Layfield – “You wouldn’t dare.”
Jack Swagger – “Try me.”
John Layfield – “Alright, alright. Look, I’ll play along with this. You’ll only defend your United States Title against Americans, but you’ll defend that Intercontinental Title against whoever the hell I tell you to. You understand me?”
Jack Swagger – “Anyone.”
John Layfield – “So at Night of Champions, it will be Jack Swagger, defending his Intercontinental Championship against my brand new free agent, Muhammad Hassan!”
Jack Swagger – “I’m glad you could see it my…”
John Layfield – “And also at Night of Champions, it will be Jack Swagger, defending his United States Championship against next week’s All-American American Battle Royal winner.”
Jack Swagger – “Wait, what?”
John Layfield – “You heard me. If you want to defend your Intercontinental Title, you’re going to defend both titles. One against an American athlete, and one against my choice of athlete. Hahaha.”
Swagger is left standing in awe of the decision of John Layfield that he will defend both titles at Night of Champions. Muhammad Hassan is still standing in the ring, laughing and in his mind wondering what it will do the psyche of Jack Swagger to have to defend both titles in the same evening in two separate matches as we cut to commercial break.