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Smackdown: On Removing Masks & Nose Hairs
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


This latest edition of Smackdown, from Little Rock, Arkansas, rolls out the new World Heavyweight Champion in Kane, decides upon the number one contender for his title, and begins the task of setting the table for the rapidly approaching SummerSlam. Along the way, another member of the Straight Edge Society loses his mask, and Cody Rhodes has advice for the all the metrosexuals out there.

Kane emerges first, wearing his new prize around his waist and receiving a healthy reception from the crowd. He starts his championship reign with an Ultimate Warrior style promo, briefly rambling on about a pet goldfish he had as a kid. He soon comes back to Earth, though, priding himself on his victory and dedicating it to The Undertaker.

Match #1 – Matt Hardy & Christian vs. Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes

All four competitors are showing the effects of having competed in the Money in the Bank ladder match from this past Sunday, with Hardy looking the worst off with his midsection heavily taped. Nonetheless, Hardy keeps McIntyre in check to open the match. Hardy and Christian work fluently to subdue both McIntyre and Rhodes, eventually sending both of them outside to the floor before a commercial break. This allows Rhodes and McIntyre time to regroup, as they proceed to take the hammer in the match. McIntyre tries more than once for his Future Shock DDT, but instead receives a DDT from Hardy that might have earned a three-count had Rhodes not broken up the pin. The Dashing One then breaks up a small package attempt, leading to Hardy taking a swing at Rhodes but decking Christian instead. McIntyre capitalizes on the confusion, knocking Hardy out for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes

After the bell, Christian offers a handshake, which Hardy accepts with some trepidation. Alberto Del Rio tells us all about the importance of bravery, using himself as a prime example. Elsewhere, team LayCool has created a little party zone to celebrate Layla’s successful title defense from Sunday. Teddy Long congratulates her as well and announces she’ll be defending against Tiffany in 2 weeks.

Match #2 – Kofi Kingston (C) (w/ Michael McGillicutty) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) – non-title match

Ziggler starts off with a fast takedown, but gets caught running the ropes by a flying elbow from Kingston. That ends up being the last time Kingston is truly in control of the match, though, as Ziggler zones in on Kingston’s sore neck (another fall-out from Money in the Bank). Vickie inserts herself in the proceedings twice, first by personally ejecting McGillicutty and then, after a brief offensive surge from Kingston, grabbing the Intercontinental champion’s foot from the outside. This allows Ziggler to pounce and lock in the sleeper hold – earning him the win.

Winner via referee’s decision: Dolph Ziggler

Match #3 – Big Show vs. Luke Gallows (w/ Straight Edge Society)

As Gallows is about to enter the ring, Punk stops him and whispers some strategy into his ear. Gallows grins and drops to the floor as the Masked Assailant enters the ring instead.

Match #3.5 – Big Show vs. The Masked Assailant (w/ Straight Edge Society)

Big Show doesn’t put up a protest, so presumably this match is legit despite the change in participants. The truth is that Big Show doesn’t care as he makes quick work of the assailant with a knock-out punch, but not before he unmasks him and reveals ... Joey Mercury!

Winner via pinfall: Big Show

Cody Rhodes introduces a new segment, bringing us grooming tips to become dashing ourselves. Tonight, it’s all about the nose hairs and Rhodes instructs us on proper trimming techniques. Following that, Josh Matthews gets Rey Mysterio’s honest self-assessment: he’s hurting, but will still give all that he has tonight against Swagger. Alberto Del Rio gets one more promo tonight, telling us that he’s proud of the reflection he sees.

Match #4 – Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger – 2 out of 3 Falls

It’s unclear why Mysterio has to compete in this match, instead of using the vaunted rematch clause that follows so many title changes. Swagger overpowers Mysterio early, ramming his face into the turnbuckle pads with considerable force. Mysterio is moving laboriously, making it easier for Swagger to keep up with him. Swagger nails Mysterio with a powerslam but doesn’t go for a cover, instead clamping on a body scissors. When Mysterio reaches the ropes, Swagger drags him to the corner and prepares to ram his right leg into the ringpost – but he remembers that it`s the left leg of Mysterio that’s suffering and does the damage to that side instead. Finally – Swagger gets the ankle lock cinched in, but again Mysterio makes the ropes. Inexplicably, Swagger doesn’t hear the ref’s 5-count and takes a disqualification, giving Mysterio a 1-fall lead. Not long afterwards, Swagger catches Mysterio in mid-619 position, re-applying the ankle lock and forcing a submission, tying the match at 1 fall apiece. The end comes as Swagger hits two of his corner splashes, but Mysterio counters the third, then turns Swagger’s gut-wrench powerbomb into a pinning combination for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Rey Mysterio

With Mysterio now the number-one contender for Kane’s championship, Swagger looks to take out his frustration on Mysterio. Kane makes the save, though, hoisting Mysterio’s hand in victory. Moments later, though, Kane looks to punish Mysterio himself, but the scrappy giant-killer escapes after delivering a 619, leaving Kane in the ring humiliated.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and hopes that there are more masked members of the Straight Edge Society still to come.