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Smackdown: Kickin’ it old school
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Smackdown dramatically increased their title ownership at Night of Champions, with the team of Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre taking the Tag Team Championship, Michelle McCool unifying the Women’s Championships, and both Kane and Dolph Ziggler retaining their respective belts. Now, from Bloomington, IL, the focus turns quickly towards Hell in a Cell, and a familiar face makes a dramatic return.

Match #1 – Kane (C) vs. Chris Masters – Non-Title Match

The champ enters first, basking in his red glow and in his decisive victory on Sunday. Kane predictably overpowers Masters early, but Masters soon fights back with a sequence that culminates in applying the Masterlock. Kane escapes, ramming Masters back into the corner, then starts his own offensive streak with low dropkick and several hard clotheslines. He finishes Masters off with a chokeslam and a Tombstone piledriver.

Winner via pinfall: Kane

Kane is on the mic after the match, claiming he smells The Undertaker’s fear. He moves through the crowd insisting that the fear permeates the whole arena, but to be honest, the young man he settles beside doesn’t seem too scared of Kane (the boy’s dad was even smirking, so the camera angle quickly cut him off).

Match #2 – Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre (C) vs. The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd)

This is a rematch from last week’s Smackdown, and a hunt for a measure of revenge for The Hart Dynasty after losing the titles. The two big men again start it off, with Smith and McIntyre in the ring. Smith gets the upper hand, and tags in Kidd who launches McIntyre off the apron to the floor with a hurricanrana. After the break, Rhodes and McIntyre are effectively double-teaming Smith. Smith makes the tag to Kidd, but McIntyre exposes the top turnbuckle and drives Kidd over his shoulders and face first into the steel. After that, it’s a Future Shock DDT and a win.

Winners via pinfall: Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre

The Undertaker is seen sitting in a stairwell, pensive and perhaps even suffering from debilitating uncertainty. Elsewhere, Alberto Del Rio has physically debilitated Christian, laying him out in the parking garage. In yet another area backstage, The Dude Busters, Caylen Croft and Trent Barreta, have joined in the mission to teach Hornswoggle how to speak. Tonight’s lesson: say “Dude Busters”. Long interrupts them and the Dude Busters proceed to pack things up for the move to SyFy in October. Finally, Luke Gallows menaces CM Punk in the locker room, claiming he’ll defeat him tonight and celebrate in a decidedly non-straight-edge fashion.

Match #3 – Chavo Guerrero vs. Kaval

Guerrero is not impressed by Kaval, and quickly takes it to the rookie. Kaval falls awkwardly off the ropes to the outside floor, nursing his elbow thereafter. Guerrero follows by driving Kaval chest-first into the barrier. Back in the ring, Guerrero lands all Three Amigos, and then, although Kaval dodges the first attempt at a Five-Star Frog Splash, Guerrero doesn’t miss the second attempt and gets the win.

Winner via pinfall: Chavo Guerrero

Ricardo Rodriguez takes the mic in the ring, and that means Alberto Del Rio isn’t far behind. He has come to make an announcement: he will fight Rey Mysterio next week. Christian interrupts and gamely makes his way to the ring. He puts up a fight, but Rodriguez enters the ring to grab his leg, giving Del Rio the chance to take Christian down and injure his arm as he did to Mysterio weeks ago. Oblivious to all of this, The Undertaker is still hanging out in the stairwell, looking even more depressed.

Match #4 – Big Show vs. Curt Hawkins and Vance Archer

Big Show manhandles Hawkins first, tossing him around until Hawkins tags in Archer for a similar result. Big Show opts for a Camel Clutch for the submission win.

Winner via submission: Big Show

In yet another backstage vignette, Josh Matthews is talking to Jack Swagger about Smackdown coming to Oklahoma next week, and Swagger displays some more of his home-state memorabilia. Behind his back, Hornswoggle and The Dude Busters pack up Swagger’s stuff.

Match #4 – Luke Gallows vs. CM Punk

Punk is falling back on his heels from the outset, overpowered until he manages to get Gallows in a front-face lock. Gallows powers out, hits two big splashes on Punk, but misses the third and gets hoisted up for a GTS and a win by Punk.

Winner via submission: CM Punk

Undertaker update: he’s still hanging out in the stairwell.

Match #4 – Dolph Ziggler (C) (w/ Vickie Guerrero & Kaitlyn) vs. MVP – Non-Title Match

MVP opens the affair with a series of Steamboat-esque arm drags, and boots Ziggler through the ropes to the floor. Kaitlyn attempts to help Ziggler, which gets Guerrero mad. Kaitlyn pushes Guerrero to the floor and walks away. Ziggler tries consoling Guerrero but she also exits. By the way, this has been going on for over 70 seconds and the referee has yet to count out Ziggler. The Intercontinental Champ is distracted for the rest of the match, and, as MVP is building up steam, Ziggler grabs his belt and walks away to suffer a count-out loss.

Winner via count-out: MVP

Backstage, The Dude Busters are packing things onto a transport truck when Guerrero comes looking for Kaitlyn. Guerrero makes the logical assumption that she’d be in the truck, so in she goes, leaving the Dude Busters clear to lock her inside and send the truck on its way. On a more serious note, The Undertaker, still on the stairs, looks up as light from an opening door pours in on him. Who is it? Undertaker greets the visitor with the whites of his eyes and a scowl.

Kane returns to the ring to close the show. He lays out the final part of his plan, to defeat his brother at Hell in a Cell. The Undertaker’s music heralds the arrival of a group of druids and a casket. Kane confidently opens it to find ... Paul Bearer! Bearer emerges with the urn, and Kane soon finds The Undertaker in the ring as well, full of power and rage. Kane backpedals up the ramp, leaving The Undertaker and Paul Bearer to pose for an old-school photo-op.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and thought for just a moment that the white light pouring in on The Undertaker would be Shawn Michaels returning to show The Taker the power of the “other” side – but Paul Bearer was a better idea.