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Smackdown: Edge’s master plan takes shape
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Blimey! The WWE Superstars are still across the pond as Smackdown broadcasts from Manchester, England. This week sees the fallout from last week’s Nexus invasion led by David Otunga, as well as a chance for Big Show and Kane to settle their miscommunication issues with a main event bout.

First up, though, the English Edgeheads rise to their feet as the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship heads to the ring to speak his mind. Predictably, he is supremely confident and vows to defeat Kane at Survivor Series and head to Wrestlemania 27 as champion. The Nexus interrupts his speech, though, and surround the ring in attack formation. However, Vickie Guerrero, strangely in full fan-friendly mode, stops the madness. She pronounces that Edge and Otunga’s match will now be a lumberjack match, and forces them to shake hands like English gentlemen. Edge does so reluctantly, then spears Otunga through the ropes into his teammates.

Match #1 – Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio

Del Rio begins the match with his customary ambivalence towards his opponent, going so far as to gently pat Kingston on the face. This naturally riles Kingston up, and he attacks Del Rio with such precision that the Mexican superstar rolls out of the ring for a breather. He doesn’t get one, though, as Kingston dives through the ropes and knock Del Rio down. Kingston continues his dominance after the break, hitting his Boom Drop and setting up for Trouble in Paradise. Del Rio dodges the kick, though, soon after running Kingston arm into the ringpost. He follows this with the cross arm-breaker and Kingston is forced to submit.

Winner via submission: Alberto Del Rio

As Del Rio gloats over his victory, Rey Mysterio charges the ring and quickly connects with his 619, sending Del Rio sprawling back up the ramp in anger. Backstage, The Nexus is arguing over whether they want to be a part of the lumberjack group for Otunga’s sake, but the A-Lister gets them back on his side with a “one for all, all for one” speech.

Match #2 – Natalya vs. Layla (C) – Non-Title Match

Understanding that the bar is not very high, this is one of the better Divas matches seen on TV in a while. Natalya shows off her strength by hoisting Layla up for a suplex, pumping her up and down in mid-air a few times for good measure. The Co-Women’s champ counters with a nifty leg scissors around Natalya’s head that she also uses to lift Natalya up and slam her down again. In the end, though, Layla is forced to submit to the Sharpshooter in front of her home country fans (not that many of them were cheering for her anyway).

Winner via submission: Natalya

Backstage again, Kane is in a red-drenched stairwell with Paul Bearer, promising the fans that they will be as disappointed with Edge’s attempt to win the title as they were with The Undertaker.

Match #3 – Edge vs. David Otunga

As with most Lumberjack matches, the real story happens when a wrestler tumbles out of the ring. Otunga is first to go, but is, perhaps surprisingly, helped back in without incident by the Smackdown faction. When Edge is knocked to the floor, he is also left alone to return to the ring – until Del Rio pulls him off the apron at the last moment, drawing the ire of MVP who delivers a terse lecture to Del Rio. Otunga takes advantage and holds the hammer for a while, delivering some of the gentlest kicks you’ll see on WWE TV, but when Edge fights back he takes a moment to dropkick Del Rio. This causes a brawl to break out on the floor, and Kane slips in unnoticed to chokeslam Edge. Otunga is no fool, and covers Edge for the win.

Winner via pinfall: David Otunga

Match #4 – MVP vs. Dolph Ziggler (C) – Intercontinental Championship Match

MVP is convincingly in charge early on, and nails Ziggler with a move that looks like a combination of the Attitude Adjustment and The Ultimate Warrior’s Gorilla Press Slam. After the break, though, Ziggler has taken command and counters with his own classic finisher: The Rude Awakening. Maybe this is practice for the Old School Monday Night Raw coming up? Ziggler tries to take the padding off one of the turnbuckles, forcing the ref to turn his back on the action to fix it. MVP has Ziggler in a small package for at least three seconds during this time, but the ref is too late starting the count. Ziggler follows with the Zig-Zag and, though MVP gets his foot on the ropes during the pinning attempt, Ziggler pulls it off in time for the win.

Winner via pinfall and still Intercontinental Champion: Dolph Ziggler

Backstage, Kane has a “He was here just a moment ago” look on his face as he can’t find Paul Bearer, though he does find the urn. Cody Rhodes comes out towards the ring to chastise the English fans on their dental hygiene. He replays an old flossing promo for them and walks away proud to have done his part. The fans seemed to enjoy the whole thing. Backstage again, Kane is still searching for Paul, and he beats up a poor worker in frustration.

Match #5 – Big Show vs. Kane (C) - Non-Title Match

This is a pretty fast-moving match, considering the participants. It’s also fairly one-sided early on, with Big Show overpowering the champ. The old school finishers fest continues as Big Show hits a Vader Bomb. Both try to gain leverage on each other for a chokeslam, but Kane maneuvers out of the hold and clotheslines both of them over the top rope. As we’re going to break, we see Paul Bearer, tied to a wheelchair and gagged, watching the match on a monitor. Either his attacker is the one filming him, or the WWE has some cold-hearted camera operators. After the break, Big Show is focusing on Kane’s shoulder, but the champ escapes and climbs the ropes for an attack. Big Show thinks superplex, but is knocked down and clotheslined from the top rope. Kane sets up his chokeslam, but Edge appears at the top of the ramp, pushing Paul Bearer in front of him and threatening to push him off the stage. Kane is furious and doesn’t see Big Show come from behind to hit a chokeslam and score the win.

Winner via pinfall: Big Show

Big Show celebrates as Kane stares down his Survivor Series opponent. Edge, for his part, is all smiles as he leaves, wheeling Bearer along with him.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and wonders if Kane would be embarrassed if his thirteen-year long master plan is upset by one cooked up by Edge in two weeks.