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Smackdown: Last man in the ring is the last man in the chamber
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Smackdown is on the air with another episode that builds towards No Way Out. Yes, the last PPV stop before WrestleMania is the focus tonight, so let's take a look at what has gone down.

Match 1 - 25-man Battle Royal (Elimination Chamber Match spot on the line)

I'm a sucker for Battle Royals, and tonight is no exception. It's good to see Scottie Goldman and Kizarny back on TV, as brief as their stints were tonight.

The bout doesn't run too long (I'm guessing partly because some of the guys in the match would be appearing later), and Vladimir Kozlov ends up winning the bout, after disposing of The Great Khali, Los Colons and R-Truth to gain entry into the Chamber.

Winner: Vladimir Kozlov

Backstage, Todd Grisham(?!?) is interviewing Hurricane Helms about the Hardy situation. Helms sticks up for Jeff as expected.

Elsewhere, Vickie Guerrero and Edge chat about the Chamber match when Show comes in to chat with his tag partner (Mr. Copeland, not Vickie) about their bout tonight. Show puts in a solid comedy spot here, feigning support for his ally for the night. I'm really digging Paul Wight in this dual role -- a fun guy outside the ring, a knockout threat inside.

Back to the ring and Matt Hardy is out to respond to Helms. Helms is then called out, and he really should've stayed in the back. After a bit of back-and-forth, Hardy feins fleeing through the crowd, but it was all a move to sucker Helms in. Nice! Then, Hardy drags Helms' now lifeless body into the ring, locks up both arms and delivers sick elbows to his skull until he's completely unconcious. If this is Matt's new finisher, then I'm all for it. That was intense!

Shelton Benjamin is next out to the ring, and before his match with MVP begins, he rips on the former US champ.

Match 2 - Shelton Benjamin vs. MVP (non-title)

It was short, but it was good; a nice little tease of what these two can do in the ring together, and with the result being an MVP victory via the Drive-by, we're bound to see it again.

Winner: MVP

Backstage we go again for the weekly flirt session between Los Bellas and Los Colons. R-Truth comes into the picture to get the boys ready for the next match...

Match 3 - R-Truth/Los Colons vs. Miz and Morrison/Brian Kendrick

And so, the evening slows to a crawl. I like Morrison, I like Miz and I like the Colons; R-Truth, however, is sliding down the ladder quicker than Mario after Donkey Kong tosses a barrel, and Kendrick is Kendrick.

And just to annoy me, Kendrick gets the pin on Carlito, following Sliced Bread No. 2. I guess this is to further the Colons vs. Kendrick/Ezekiel feud, but I stopped caring about 3 weeks ago when the feud already felt like it was running long.

Winners: Miz and Morrison/Kendrick

Match 4 - Eve Torres vs. Michelle McCool

Apparently it's Eve's first match tonight, which I guess explains Grisham being the interviewer backstage. Calling this a match though, is a bit of a stretch. Speaking of stretches, McCool wins with the Heel Lock.

Winner: Michelle McCool

Post-match, McCool refuses to break the hold. Maria then comes out for a post-match scuffle. Methinks we've set up our lingerie pillow fight for 'Mania. Trish, where are you when we need you the most?

Next up is a quick conversation between Jim Ross and Matt Hardy about Jeff's return next week. More solid mic work from Matt here.

Match 5 - Umaga vs. Kung Fu Naki

Next.

Winner: Umaga

Match 6 - Triple H/Undertaker vs. Edge/Big Show

A very solid match here, as you would expect from these guys; and for all the cynics who will dismiss Big Show, all I'll say is look at his body of work now compared to his last run - dropping 80 or so pounds has made him way more agile and less prone to blowing up in the ring.

The match goes pretty much as you'd expect, with Show eventually doing the full turn on Edge, leaving him open for a Tombstone.

Winners: Undertaker/Triple H

Overall, this was a pretty satisfying show. Aside from the Divas bout and the Umaga squash, I was entertained throughout. We'll see you next week, for another installment of Smackdown.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.