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Smackdown: Numbers game too much for 'Taker
By ANDY MCNAMARA -- SLAM! Wrestling


The countdown to the biggest show of the year continues tonight on Smackdown. The Undertaker will have his hands full as Edge and his soulmate general manager puts him to the test in a handicapped match. Part three of the MVP vs. Batista feud takes place as well, but this time the United States championship is up for grabs. From the home of the Browns, it is time for Cleveland, Ohio to feel the Smackdown!

The Cutting Edge opens up the program with Edge, Vickie Guerrero and Theodore Long in the ring. The world heavyweight champion states that two streaks will come to an end at WrestleMania. He will end the Undertakerís undefeated streak, and Guerrero then makes a main event for tonight: Taker vs. Edge, Zack Ryder, and Curt Hawkins. Ric Flair is the guest and Edge initially shows respect before mocking The Nature Boy. Flair obviously disagrees that Shawn Michaels will end his career at Mania, and the two verbally joust. Edge and Vickie make a 3 on 1 steel cage match for next week: Flair vs. Edge and his Edge Heads. This will be a non-career threatening contest, however.

Match 1: John Morrison, The Miz, & Chavo Guerrero vs. Jesse, Festus, & CM Punk

Oh there are still Smackdown tag belts? How nice for Morrison and Miz to make an appearance. The tag titles on both shows mean absolutely nothing. Festus clears house as usual when the bell rings, however, Punk starts things off officially against The Miz. The heels take control after Chavo pushes Jesse off the top turnbuckle to the outside when standing on the apron. Punk and Jesse dive out of the ring to neutralize Guerrero and Morrison, allowing Festus to hit his modified F5 finisher.

WINNERS: Jesse, Festus, CM Punk

Backstage Jamie Noble lets Michelle McCool "off the hook and back into the sea" because he is not a one woman man. Michelle seems relieved in this funny segment.

Match 2: U.S. Championship- MVP (c) vs. Batista

I guess Jeff Hardy wins the pool of which non-world title could go the longest without being defended. These two have had a couple of stellar matches, which shows how much MVPís in-ring has improved. Good Lord, Michael Cole and Coach are awful as a commentating pair. In a change from previous weeks it is Batista out of the gate hot and laying a beat down on the champ. MVP hurt his right leg, but that does not stop him from executing a ferocious running boot to the head of Batista, which was hanging over the apron. MVP goes for the Play Maker, however, The Animal reversed it to a Batista Bomb set up. MVP scrambles away and the challenger chucks him into the audience. The Animal follows him out, but the U.S. title holder is able to scramble into the ring at nine and Batista is counted out. Batista missed getting back in by about a half second.

WINNER: MVP via countout

In the back Jamie Noble interrupts Edge and Vickie and complains that he wants Chuck Palumbo tonight. Guerrero says that Palumbo is already fighting Kane, so she puts him with The Big Show.

Swimsuit competition time and each week a Diva will be voted off via fans text messages to determine who is the ultimate diva. Eva Torres, Cherry, Maryse, Victoria, and Michelle McCool. Michelle goes for the cheap pop by wearing Lebron Jamesí Cleveland Cavaliers jersey. Afterward McCool slaps Maryse, and then Maryse pulls out Eve. Michelle high heel kicks Victoria out of the ring.

Match 4: Kane vs. Chuck Palumbo

Palumbo lands some heavy right hands and hits a running clothesline for a near fall. Kane bounces back and hurls Palumbo down with a chokeslam for the 1-2-3.

WINNER: Kane

Match 5: Big Show vs Jamie Noble

Jamie Nobleís comedy is definitely one of the weekly highlights of Smackdown. Noble gets himself intentionally disqualified with a low blow to Show. This does not deter the giant as he tosses Jamie around like a rag doll, and busts open his mouth in the process. Big Show then gets on the mic and taunts his WrestleMania opponent Floyd "Money" Mayweather.

WINNER: Big Show

Match 6: Main Event- Edge, Zack Ryder, & Curt Hawkins vs. The Undertaker

Undertaker is pounding away on Ryder and Hawkins from turnbuckle to turnbuckle. Taker tries to take Ryderís hand to tag Edge, but the champion ducks away. Edge is able to pull Ryder out of the corner as The Dead Man slams into it, and this gives The Edge Heads some much needed momentum. Edge finally tags in when he thinks Undertaker is hurt -- but Taker sits up and grabs the champís throat. Undertaker double chokeslams Hawkins and Ryder, however, this allows Edge to nail the spear and roll up his WrestleMania opponent.

WINNERS: Edge, Zack Ryder, & Curt Hawkins

Andy McNamara is a SLAM! Wrestling writer, a play-by-play broadcaster for both Rogers Television in Toronto, and on the radio for Durham College sports. Contact Andy at andymcnamara@hotmail.com.