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Smackdown: The search for vengeance and championships
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Everything, they say, is big in Texas. Tonight, Smackdown illustrates that maxim as it broadcasts from Laredo, TX, and provides big ramifications for both Rey Mysterio and Kane ahead of their SummerSlam championship match, as well as a big opportunity for Dolph Ziggler in a title match against Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston.

First, though, proof that not everything needs to be over-sized: Rey Mysterio walks down the ramp to address the crowd and defend himself against Kane’s accusation that it was he who attacked and debilitated The Undertaker. Mysterio denies Kane’s power to judge him, putting over God as the only one capable of judgment. Mysterio also has big news, claiming to know the identity of The Undertaker’s attacker. Before he can spill the beans, though, Drew McIntyre interrupts. He berates Mysterio for pulling the wool over the fans’ eyes and goads him into a match later tonight.

Match #1 – Matt Hardy vs. Dashing Cody Rhodes

Rhodes, in desperate need of not only knee pads but a new, more expansive pair of shorts, quickly gains the upper hand over the suddenly relevant Hardy. Hardy fights back with a bulldog and quickly sets up for a Twist of Fate, but Rhodes rolls out of the ring to catch his breath. Back from break, Rhodes pulls Hardy off the second rope and follows with a big springboard kick. Hardy counters with a series of pinning maneuvers and hits a Side Effect, but Rhodes escapes a second bulldog attempt and follows with Cross Rhodes for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Cody Rhodes

Alberto Del Rio is here to tell us about his ability to achieve everything he wants, but unfortunately everything he says after he utters the phrase “mental constipation” is hard to take seriously. Elsewhere, Rosa Mendes is having a chat with Teddy Long when Michelle McCool and Layla arrive, shooing Mendes away to continue her training. Long keeps to his word and insists that one of Team Laycool give up their Women’s title. McCool gives it up seemingly under duress (why it wasn’t automatically McCool anyway is a bit bewildering), but then Layla and McCool have a surprise: they’ve cut the remaining belt in two like a big ol’ charm bracelet.

Match #2 – Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Kofi Kingston (C) – Intercontinental Championship match

The WWE hyperbole machine is in full effect here, as Striker and Grisham claim that we’ve never seen Kingston as aggressive as he was last week, nor has Ziggler ever been this close to an Intercontinental Championship before. Granted, Kingston is aggressive tonight, as he hits Ziggler with a dropkick, clotheslines him to the outside, then dives through the ropes on top of the challenger. After the break, though, Ziggler has Kingston grounded thanks in big part to Guerrero’s distraction as Ziggler drove Kingston into the ring post. Ziggler wraps Kingston’s arm around the rope to stretch him out and then follows with his standing elbow drop. Ziggler, feeling confident, motions to Vickie who rises to the apron with pride in her man – but Kingston explodes with Trouble in Paradise. Guerrero instantly enters the ring and distracts the referee, allowing Ziggler time to recoup and hit Kingston with the Zig Zag for the win!

Winner via pinfall and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Dolph Ziggler

After the match, Kingston shows poor sportsmanship by laying a big beating on Ziggler all around the outside of the ring as Vickie keeps her distance. Shortly after, The Straight Edge Society makes its way to the ring where CM Punk proudly shows last week’s footage of their attack on Big Show. Punk then reprimands his team, chastising them for being too pleased with themselves and demanding that they hunger for more.

Match #3 – CM Punk, Luke Gallows, Joey Mercury (w/ Serena) vs. MVP, JTG, and Chris Masters

While Chris Masters wonders why he can’t have a three-initial name to fit in with his teammates, JTG wonders why he can’t even be a part of this match as Gallows and Mercury double-team MVP before Punk kicks him in the head from the apron, allowing Gallows to get the big win for his team.

Winners via pinfall: The Straight Edge Society

It’s time for Dashing Cody Rhodes to give us the straight goods on caring for eyebrows, especially the big bushy type and uni-brows. If they continue putting these promos on after Rhodes’ matches, it would be interesting to see him care for himself after a fight. Elsewhere, Kane is hanging out in a darkroom with a casket, promising to make Mysterio pay. The crowd is solidly against him now.

Match #4 – Rey Mysterio vs. Drew McIntyre

McIntyre opens the match by confidently stalking his opponent, dodging Mysterio’s leap off the ropes and hitting him with a big clothesline instead. Mysterio tries gamely to mount a comeback, but is driven into the turnbuckles, then onto the announcer’s table, and then falls prey to lengthy submission holds by McIntyre. After a long while with next to no offense, Mysterio retaliates enough to set up the 619. He misses it, but follows by leaping off the ropes onto McIntyre and spinning him around into a pinning combination, pulling the win out from nowhere.

Winner via pinfall: Rey Mysterio

Big surprise: after the match, Kane arrives with his casket and has Mysterio by the throat in the ring. Mysterio escapes, though, and, from the top of the ramp, accuses Kane himself of attacking The Undertaker. Kane is traumatized by the accusation, and ends the show shaking his head and muttering to himself.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and honoured Texas by using the word “big” once in every paragraph.