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Smackdown!: Titles shuffle around in Buffalo
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Before broadcasting the next couple of shows from Canada, Smackdown! is housed by border-city Buffalo. That means the Women’s Champion comes home, and the Intercontinental Title picture is also cleared up. Add another exciting episode of Fun Facts About Jack Swagger, and you’ve got yourself a show.

Teddy Long is in the ring, getting straight down to business and introducing the finalists for the mini-tournament to crown a new Intercontinental Champion, with Long stripping Drew McIntyre of the title last week.

Match #1 – Christian vs Kofi Kingston – Finals to determine new Intercontinental Champion

Both Kingston and Christian set a quick tempo to start the match, with plenty of reversals and neither gaining a clear advantage – until Kingston makes the first mistake and misses a dive onto Christian outside on the floor. Kingston gets back on track inside the ring, though, hitting Christian with his very own “I’ll sit between the ropes and kick you in the face” maneuver (patent on the name is pending). Kingston follows with a cross-body block off the top rope and a high-altitude standing drop-kick. After a series of near-falls, Christian misses a cross-body block attempt of his own, but also gets to reclaim the “I’ll sit between the ropes and kick you in the face” maneuver. After escaping a sunset flip by Christian, Kingston lands Trouble in Paradise for the win.

Winner via pinfall and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Kofi Kingston.

Kingston’s celebration is short-lived as former guest host Don Johnson arrives – no, sorry, it’s Drew McIntyre in a brilliant white suit. He hands Long a letter that compels the Smackdown! GM to take the title back from Kingston and return it to McIntyre. After the break, Matt Striker reads the letter – it was from Vince McMahon, who overturned McIntyre’s suspension while chastising Long for “abuse of power”. Insert your own euphemisms for pots and kettles here.

Jack Swagger is backstage in a loading zone, overseeing the delivery of a large number of boxes, imploring the workers to be careful with his prized possessions.

Match #2 – Shad Gaspard vs. Jesse Guyver

Guyver gets to tell all of his friends that he was on TV for the few moments it takes for Gaspard to destroy him.

Winner via pinfall: Shad Gaspard

Match #3 – JTG and MVP vs. The Dude Busters

Creating the tag team that the world was clamouring for, MVP and JTG work together for the first time. JTG starts off against Barreta in the ring, but Croft inserts himself as well and The Dude Busters keep JTG in their corner, wearing him down for an extended period of time. Once JTG reaches MVP for the tag, though, the dudes get busted as MVP brings us the Play of the Day for the win.

Winner via pinfall: JTG and MVP

CM Punk is in the locker room, letting Gallows and Serena know that he was disappointed in their lack of faith demonstrated last week, and he intends to show them the path by competing against Mysterio later tonight without their help at ringside. The segment ends with a heartfelt Straight Edge Society group hug.

Back in the ring, workers have lined up trophies and awards from Jack Swagger’s storied past, and the champ arrives for this week’s Fun Facts About Jack Swagger. More importantly, though, Swagger brings back the push-ups and seems to be having more fun again. He irritates the crowd with a lengthy review of all the trophies and keepsakes in the ring (most notably a Ballroom Dancing Championship) before Big Show interrupts the proceedings to a loud ovation. Granted, the crowd was getting so tired of listening to Swagger that they probably would have cheered if Muhammad Hussein had returned to shut Swagger up. Big Show destroys all of Swagger’s precious memorabilia, enraging the champ.

Match #4 – Beth Phoenix (C) vs. Rosa Mendes

Phoenix enters to a great reception from her hometown fans, but Vickie Guerrero quickly kills the mood by ejecting Mendes from the match and replacing her with both members of Laycool in a handicap match for the Women’s Championship.

Match #4.5 – Beth Phoenix (C) vs. Michelle McCool and Layla

Phoenix, favouring her left leg, puts up a good fight, highlighted by a power display of hoisting up both of her opponents for a Samoan Drop at the same time. After McCool and Phoenix bang heads, though, Layla sneaks in for the cover and the win. Surprisingly, McCool shows no resentment towards her partner-in-crime for her victory, and Buffalo suffers yet another heartbreaking loss.

Winner via pinfall and NEW Women’s Champion: Layla.

Match #5 – Chavo Guerrero vs. Kane

Guerrero escapes an early attempt at a chokeslam and manages to stay alive for a while, but he’s caught by Kane leaping off the ropes and receives a chokeslam after all.

Winner via pinfall: Kane

Teddy Long is in his office, watching a recap of the Intercontinental Title shenanigans when McIntyre arrives to learn that he’s been put in a match against Big Show next week.

Match #6 – CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio

If the point of the upcoming match between these two at Over the Limit was to serve as the deciding match, since they had each beaten the other one time, then why is this match happening? They exchange many kicks between them before Punk runs Mysterio over outside the ring. After Mysterio escapes from an abdominal stretch, he teases a 619 but chooses instead to dropkick Luke Gallows who has just arrived at ringside. After Mysterio does hit Punk with the 619, he spots a masked assailant in the ring – but not the masked assailant. The first was Serena, serving as a decoy, and the true mystery man nails Mysterio from behind. As the Straight Edge Society gangs up on Mysterio and beats him senseless, Striker once again ponders just how many members of the Society there might be - when it seems pretty clear that there are four.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and can only presume that a big JTG/MVP versus Mark Henry/Shad Gaspard main event looms on the horizon.