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Smackdown: The final turn towards Night of Champions.
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight, in Detroit, MI, everyone is gearing up for Sunday’s Night of Champions. The Hart Dynasty returns to Smackdown for a non-title bout, still not knowing who they’ll face on Sunday; Laycool looks to settle the issue of who is to combat Melina; Kofi Kingston vows a defeat of Dolph Ziggler; and, in the culmination of a series of promos that has felt like two brothers passing notes to one another in class, Kane responds to The Undertaker’s challenge from last week.

First up, though, is a man without a match on Sunday: Christian and his Peep Show. As he’s about to bring out his guest, he is interrupted by Ricardo Rodriguez who insists on making the introduction himself. So it is that Alberto Del Rio’s grand entrance begins. Once the interview starts, Christian wants to know two things: is Del Rio for real, and will he accept a match for Sunday? Del Rio refuses, eliciting a slap from Christian. Del Rio fumes, but exits the ring and again refuses the match.

Match #1 – The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd) (C) vs. Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre. – Non-Title Match

As backwards as it seems to have tag team partners enter to their own music, at least Rhodes and McIntyre have teamed before and create a formidable team. Smith and McIntyre start off the match, bringing back memories of Robert Bruce facing off against King Edward II’s army at Bannockburn. The two grapplers are evenly matched, forcing both to tag in their partners. Rhodes ends up outside the ring and gets a slap across his dashing face from Natalya (or, Grisham lets slip: Natalie). Back in the ring, Kidd gets caught in a double-team trap, but escapes the Future Shock DDT to tag Smith. McIntyre breaks up a Sharpshooter on Rhodes, then stops Kidd from hitting the Hart Attack, allowing Rhodes to collect himself and bring down Smith with Cross Rhodes for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre

Match #2 – Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger

First to arrive is Kofi Kingston, laying out the stipulations for his upcoming match with Ziggler. If Ziggler is disqualified, he will lose the title (which always makes sense), and also if he is counted out. Swagger, after patiently waiting for Kingston to say his piece, enters to a smattering of cheers. There is plenty of posturing and amateur-style histrionics between the two, and Kingston’s arsenal of kicks slowly start to win out over Swagger’s takedowns. When Kingston tries to fly off the top rope onto Swagger, though, the former World Champion catches him and plants Kingston into the mat. Swagger stretches his opponent, thoroughly tormenting Kingston’s upper body. Swagger can’t quite put the win away, though, and Kingston escapes the ankle lock via the ropes, then returns with Trouble in Paradise, knocking Swagger out for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Kofi Kingston

In the tradition of Bing Crosby & Bob Hope, Mel Brooks & Carl Reiner, and Jackie Chan & Chris Tucker, the adventures of Teddy Long and Hornswoggle continue. This week, Long brings Hornswoggle for English lesson from a nun that looks like Molly Shannon and acts like Sister Mary Stigmata from The Blues Brothers. Swoggle proves to be too much for her to handle as well, and the search for the little troublemaker’s voice (and a truly funny sketch with these two) continues.

Match #3 – Rosa Mendes & Kelly Kelly (w/ Naomi) vs. Laycool (Michelle McCool & Layla) (w/ Kaval)

Laycool take a little time to harass Naomi outside the ring before Kelly drags McCool in to start the match. McCool feigns revulsion over Kelly’s odour, so Kelly roughs her up a bit. Layla and Mendes both get tagged and the co-Women’s Champ easily gains the upper hand, finishing Mendes with a neckbreaker for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Laycool

After the break, Laycool is backstage with Kaval with a plan: he will draw a name from a hat to determine whether McCool or Layla will face Melina. Kaval draws McCool’s name, and Layla is more or less okay with it until Kaval points out that every entry had McCool’s name. Trouble in BFF-land?

Match #4 – CM Punk (w/ nobody!) vs. Christian

There’s barely any mention made of The Straight Edge Society tonight as Del Rio takes a seat for some ringside commentary. Punk and Christian are evenly matched, with Punk slightly ahead and able to clamp in several submission holds. Christian fights back with some high-flying attacks, and seeks to put Punk away after reversing a bulldog into a neckbreaker. Del Rio grabs a house mic, though, and tells Christian he is reconsidering his answer to the challenge. This gives Punk a window to nail Christian with his Go To Sleep for the win.

Winner via pinfall: CM Punk

Del Rio sits over top of Christian on a chair, telling him the answer is still no. Big Show runs to the ring, and I mean he really ran and chases Del Rio away. Punk tries to blindside Big Show, but takes a knock-out punch for his efforts.

Closing the show, Kane delivers a threat-laden diatribe to answer The Undertaker’s challenge to make their match on Sunday a No-Holds-Barred contest. Essentially, Kane says “okay”. He stresses that this is all part of his thirteen-year-long master plan. The Undertaker heads towards the ring to start the festivities early, but Kane attacks him on the ramp and proceeds to brutalize his brother, culminating with a chokeslam and Tombstone piledriver.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and also has a master plan that has been brewing for thirteen years. It involves a Lex Luthor-style real estate gambit that requires a rapid erosion of Niagara Falls. Don’t tell anyone.