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Smackdown: The Dead Man Cometh
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight, the fall-out from last weekend’s Over The Limit event is overshadowed by The Undertaker’s first Friday night appearance since Wrestlemania. Smackdown also follows Raw’s lead in determining participants for the next pay-per-view’s main event, all in front of a largely listless Cleveland crowd. I thought Drew Carey said that Cleveland rocks?

General manager Teddy Long opens the broadcast by promoting the upcoming Fatal 4-Way event, explaining that Big Show gets a spot in the main event with Jack Swagger’s World Heavyweight Championship up for grabs and that the other two spots will be filled tonight. Once Long has said the important stuff, Drew McIntyre interrupts to complain about having lost his Intercontinental Title to Kofi Kingston on Sunday. McIntyre produces another letter from Vince McMahon, this time stating that Matt Hardy has been suspended. Hardy tries to get into the ring, but Long and a team of security guards manage to turn him away.

Match #1 – Drew McIntyre & Jack Swagger vs Kofi Kingston & Big Show

Kingston and Swagger take the first turns and the champ has Kingston down quickly, but a kick to his taped ribs is all Swagger needs to scamper to his corner, demanding that McIntyre tag in. The Chosen One doesn’t fare much better, and both Big Show and Kingston end up clearing out the ring before the break. Upon return, Big Show has been dismantling McIntyre. Kingston is tagged in and maintains control until Swagger interferes, giving himself and McIntyre a lengthy command over the match. Once Kingston gets away to tag in Big Show, though, it’s a quick finish via knock-out punch to McIntyre.

Winners via pinfall: Big Show & Kofi Kingston.

Backstage, Luke Gallows and Serena seem to be comforting CM Punk, hidden underneath a towel, and encouraging him to show his face tonight. Elsewhere in the building, Vickie Guerrero entertains a quick visit from Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins before Dolph Ziggler arrives to get Vickie’s thanks for his help last week. And by “thanks” I mean creepy advances made by Vickie.

Match #2 – CM Punk (w/ Gallows and Serena) vs Kane – Fatal 4-Way Qualifying Match

Punk is still wearing the towel all the way into the ring, even seeming ready to just turn around and leave a couple of times. Once the towel is lifted, though, Punk is all smiles underneath a black mask that still lets the beard jut out and, for some reason, makes him look like a video game wrestling character. Kane arrives and, before he can pass on any advice about avoiding skin irritation under a mask, Punk launches an early aggressive assault. Kane overpowers Punk handily, but then gets caught up in a sudden obsession to unmask the Straight Edge Superstar. As Punk sets up a GTS, Kane tries again to get the mask off, which lets Gallows sneak in with a hard right hand to Kane. Punk tries again for the GTS and hits it ... sort of. Apparently a glancing GTS, at best, is still good enough to defeat Kane.

Winner via pinfall: CM Punk

Match #3 – Christian & Hornswoggle vs. Chavo Guerrero & Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero)

Along with the creepiness of Vickie hitting on Dolph Ziggler earlier on, she also made this match as a way to get back at Christian and Hornswoggle for the Peep Show debacle last week. Christian and Guerrero cut a quick pace to start the match, but after Christian over-confidently tags in Hornswoggle too early, Guerrero and Ziggler work over their pint-sized nemesis without remorse. Once Hornswoggle wiggles away from Ziggler long enough for a tag, though, we’re back to Guerrero and Christian, and it’s the latter hitting the Killswitch for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Christian and Hornswoggle

After the bell, Ziggler attacks Christian from behind and demonstrates how even a classic sleeper hold can be used effectively and viciously.

Moments later, Josh Matthews is backstage to interview the Co-Women’s Champions, Layla and Michelle McCool – although they end up interviewing themselves. They make sure we know how good they are.

Match #4 – Luke Gallows (w/ Serena) vs. MVP

MVP seems to keep missing the two-minute warning in the locker room, as he enters once again with his attire only half-completed. Why not just wear shorts? The two trade punch after punch before Gallows starts hitting higher impact moves to take control. MVP gets himself (and the crowd) back into the match with a Ballin’ Elbow, but falls victim to Serena and the masked assailant’s interference, allowing Gallows to pick up the win.

Winner via pinfall: Luke Gallows.

Match #5 – Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs The Undertaker - Fatal 4-Way Qualifying Match

Mysterio holds his own from the beginning, even laying The Undertaker out on the floor with a moonsault off the ropes. The Undertaker, though, inevitably gets his hands on Mysterio and begins a meticulous barrage of power moves, including a boot to the face and running Mysterio back first into the ring post and barrier. Mysterio gamely fights back, even connecting the 619, but as he follows with a splash he’s caught by the throat. He escapes the follow-up chokeslam, but as Mysterio tries another moonsault he’s caught by The Undertaker and defeated with the Tombstone Piledriver.

Winner via pinfall: The Undertaker.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and would like to see a GTS vs Sleeper Hold showdown someday.