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Smackdown: The Deadman returns again ... again
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


For the second time this year, The Undertaker returns from a lengthy lay-off. In his absence, things have certainly changed; he finds his treacherous brother Kane holding the World Heavyweight Championship and reviving their on-again, off-again feud, newcomer Alberto Del Rio is running roughshod over Friday night, and Cody Rhodes is shaving his legs on national television.

Match #1 – Rey Mysterio vs. Kane (C)

Things seem a little backwards tonight, as the show opens with a World Title match and ends in a promo. The title match has a No-Disqualification stipulation, specifically requested by Mysterio as he still seeks retribution for his Money in the Bank loss to Kane. Mysterio starts the match as the aggressor, but Kane deflects his attacks looking more irritated than anything else. The champ is the first to utilize the no DQ rule, producing a thick-looking kendo stick from beneath the ring, but he never gets to use it as Mysterio uses it himself to build some momentum, culminating with a seated senton from off the announcer’s table. Kane brings a second weapon into the ring in the form of a chair, but once again Mysterio strikes first with the steel equalizer. After Mysterio connects with a 619, though, Kane gets his hand around the challenger’s throat and chokeslams him on top of the folded chair for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Kane

After Kane’s exit, Alberto Del Rio arrives, feigning concern for Mysterio’s well-being. He soon shows his true intent, though, laying a hard beating on Mysterio, topped by an attack that sees Del Rio wrapping Mysterio’s arm in a chair before ramming it into the ring post.

Match #2 – CM Punk (w/ Straight Edge Society) vs. JTG

CM Punk is especially aggressive tonight, and JTG is especially green in his outfit. Punk’s mission is to inspire his followers and lead by example, and as such JTG fails to land any offensive maneuvers, succumbing to the Anaconda Vise after also receiving the Go To Sleep.

Winner via submission: CM Punk

Punk admonishes his disciples after the match, demanding that Gallows defeat Big Show later in the evening and they all need to “be better, or be gone”. Backstage in Teddy Long’s office, Long is chatting with Rosa Mendes who is still working out. After she exits, Hornswoggle emerges from another planter to let Long know he’s been spying on Laycool, something Long finds intriguing. Also, this week’s advice from Cody Rhodes has him recommending that men shave their entire body for that clean, masculine look. Can a partnership with Goldust really be that far away?

Match #3 – Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler (C) (w/ Vickie Guerrero) – Intercontinental Title Match

Kingston gets another opportunity to recapture the IC title from Ziggler, and is showing no ill effects from the post-match beating he took from Ziggler last week – well, except that he’s really mad. The challenger owns the match until the first break, after which he misses a leg drop off the top rope as Ziggler rolls to safety. A slugfest ensues, and Ziggler gains the upper hand with a hard kick to Kingston’s head. It’s Kingston who gets the first near-fall, though, after dropping Ziggler with some kind of rotating side-slam. In truth, the referee counted to three, but quickly changed the ruling after noticing Ziggler’s hand on the bottom rope. The champ regroups and clamps on his sleeper hold, but Kingston quickly makes it to the ropes himself. As the ref breaks the hold, Guerrero slaps Kingston across the face. Oddly, Ziggler seems more upset over this than Kingston. Kingston takes over again, sending Ziggler out of the ring and hitting him with a flying cross-body. As both men scramble to re-enter before the ten-count, Guerrero pulls Ziggler back out, allowing Kingston to win by count-out, but Ziggler to keep the title.

Winner via count-out: Kofi Kingston

Match #4 – Jack Swagger vs MVP – Jack Swagger, Sr. Invitational

This is it – the match that determines if Swagger gets to host MVP’s VIP Lounge interview segment, or if MVP gets to host a summer party at Swagger’s expense. The rules of this match will see the first wrestler to land 5 amateur-style falls to be the winner. Swagger easily gets the first three falls in a row, but MVP gets himself disqualified with a punch to Swagger’s face.

Winner via disqualification: Jack Swagger

After the match, Swagger shows his customary sportsmanship by attacking MVP and debilitating him with his ankle lock. Backstage, Layla and Michelle McCool, along with Kaval, have another secretive discussion regarding their plans for Melina.

Match #5 – Alberto Del Rio vs Carlos Sanchez

In what feels like a match from the good ol’ days of Saturday morning WWF wrestling, Del Rio dismantles the local wrestler, finishing him off with his cross armbreaker.

Winner via submission: Alberto Del Rio

Match #6 – Big Show (w/ Kelly Kelly) vs Luke Gallows (w/ Serena and Joseph Mercury)

In another quick match, Big Show has plenty of chops for Gallows both inside and outside of the ring. Kelly Kelly takes a moment to attack attack Serena, while Gallows succumbs to Big Show’s knock-out punch.

Winner via pinfall: Big Show

CM Punk is furious backstage, watching Gallows’ defeat on the monitor. While there is surely a fall-out to come within the Straight Edge Society, all attention now focuses on The Undertaker as he makes his way to the ring. His voice is rough and his breathing laborious, making it seem like the vegetative state he was found in may have just been a bad case of the flu. Nonetheless, he espouses his dominion over the dark side, claiming that Kane is no challenge for him. Kane emerges to dispute the claim, and the two brothers close the show with a stare-down, but nothing in the way of promoting a match as of yet.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and thinks that Hornswoggle’s acting abilities may be seriously underrated.