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Smackdown in Philadelphia







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Smackdown: Enter the Chamber
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Smackdown is back after a shocking Royal Rumble, and appears to follow Raw's trend tonight in establishing all the players for the Elimination Chamber match at...Elimination Chamber. Creativity, thy name is WWE.

We start the show tonight with Chris Jericho talking about Edge winning the Royal Rumble by nefarious means, then find out that Teddy Long has put Jericho into one of tonight's EC matches. Jericho isn't happy and heads backstage, still talking on the mic, to talk to Teddy, but instead finds one Adam Copeland in Teddy's seat. The two have a brief exchange before we fade to black.

Match 1 - John Morrison vs. Kane vs. Drew McIntyre (Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match)

Very well constructed match that gave each wrestler the chance to shine for a period. Morrison ends up getting the duke on Kane via Starship Pain, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Kane spin-off into a feud with McIntyre. By the way, Future Shock may be the best finishing move name in WWE today.

Winner: Morrison

Match 2 - R-Truth vs. Mike Knox (Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match)

The match I believe was shorter than Truth's entrance. I'm curious to see Truth in the cage.

Winner: R-Truth

We then move to bonus footage from Raw of Batista attacking Cena and giving him a Powerbomb on steel steps. It really did look brutal folks, if you missed it. I get the feeling Cena's going to take a few weeks off to rest his back before 'Mania, but more on that in a moment.

Back in the locker room we go next as the Straight Edge Society pledges to do whatever they need to do to protect Punk tonight in his EC qualifier vs. Batista. It's interesting how Punk's career, when you look at it, has come full circle since being in TNA where he was once pawn for Raven in The Gathering and now being a cult leader himself. I wonder if Scott Levy is proud of his disciple...

Match 3 - Batista vs. CM Punk (Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match)

Batista quietly and calmly leaves the ring, giving Punk the countout victory.

Winner: CM Punk

If I may break from this report for a moment, kiddos, this is absolutely brilliant. See what WWE has done? They've put Cena out of action on TV so he can rest and won't go through the torture of the Chamber, and by aligning Batista with Vince McMahon, you've now got an open door for Batista to be in the Raw chamber. That is why Batista didn't bother with the match tonight -- Vinnie Mac's going to put Big Dave in the Chamber. This will also allow Cena to make his heroic appearance at the PPV and cost Batista his opportunity to claim the title, creating more heat for their feud. Love it!

Backstage, Matt Hardy congratulates Maria for being on Celebrity Apprentice. Oh yeah, I guess that starts up soon. Enjoy her while she's still ours WWE fans, Maria's headed to bigger and better things.

Match 4 - Matt Hardy vs. Chris Jericho (Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match)

If you don't know who wins here, you're new to watching Smackdown. In that case, welcome.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Mickie James is out next to celebrate her title victory at the Rumble, but is quickly interrupted by Beth Phoenix who makes a play for the belt. Vickie Guerrero comes out soon after and makes a match between the two ladies in the ring and... Simply Flawless? That's what their gear says. *cough*Beautiful People ripoff*cough* Sorry foks, but it's true. It's damn true.

Match 5 - Simply Flawless vs. Beth Phoenix/Mickie James

The match doesn't get going much before Beth turns on her partner and also lays the beats on McCool. Michelle tags out to Layla, who in turn gets rolled up by Mickie. I like that Phoenix and James are headed towards a 'Mania match, but anything McCool is near is just wrong.

Winners: Phoenix/James

Word Up is next, featuring Cryme Tyme, with a pointless Jerry Lawler shot. It's just not the same without Eve...

Match 6 - Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler (Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match)

Decent match between these two, but Ziggler didn't get enough out of the mini feud with Kane to make him seem like a legit threat here.

Winner: Mysterio

We then close the show with The Cutting Edge, which starts with Edge cutting another great promo and Jericho returning to again draw heat for their inevitable feud. Punk later joins the fray with the Society in tow. Eventually, Taker appears and he and Edge fend off the heels before they have their own drama-building square off.

This was definitely one of the better SD! shows in a while, with great matches and promos. I'm really anxious now for EC, with a good mix of potential cieling bustersin the match. It seems inevitable that Jericho wins the belt here to set up the main event at 'Mania with Edge, but there's always the potential for Morrison, Mysterio or Punk to come out with the belt.

See you in seven.