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Smackdown: Rumblings of opportunities and change
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


The holiday season is over, but it’s the most wonderful time of the year in the WWE. Announcers and wrestlers are all abuzz about the possibilities for the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania, while one of 2010’s big stories, The Nexus, actually takes on a Smackdown flavour. Plus, Edge invites his Royal Rumble opponent Dolph Ziggler to the ring for what is sure to be a civil discussion.

Alberto Del Rio is first out of the gate tonight, ready to talk about his destiny leading him towards a Royal Rumble win, but R-Truth isn’t so ready to listen. He interrupts and caps off a strange string of insults against Del Rio by calling him “Lucy”, and tells Del Rio that he can’t buy his way into the main event of Wrestlemania. “Dashing” Cody Rhodes emerges with his own logic: nobody but him is well-groomed enough to win the title shot. To be fair, “The Model” Rick Martel usually did well in the Royal Rumble, so Rhodes may be on to something. However, Rey Mysterio enters the fray with the best all-around argument yet: he’s actually been victorious before.

The talk soon gives way to a fracas between the four wrestlers, but Teddy Long comes out with a plan. While thinking to himself how great it is when an even number of wrestlers get themselves into an argument, the Smackdown GM makes a tag match happen right now.

Match #1 – Rey Mysterio & R-Truth vs. Dashing Cody Rhodes & Alberto Del Rio

Mysterio and Rhodes take the first shift, but Rhodes soon ducks out after receiving a drop-kick perilously close to his face. Del Rio corners Mysterio, then takes him outside and runs him into the barricade. Working his way back into the ring, Mysterio counters with a flying cross-body block off the top rope, allowing him to tag in R-Truth. Mysterio and R-Truth clean house and go to commercial break in control, but upon return we see Rhodes in charge. R-Truth brings Rhodes down with an Electric Chair and then makes quite an unnecessarily dramatic dive to tag in Mysterio, especially since Rhodes chose not to tag in Del Rio at the same time. That marks the beginning of the end, as Rhodes soon suffers the 619 and takes the loss for his team.

Winners via pinfall: Rey Mysterio & R-Truth

JTG is here with another “Str8 Outta Brooklyn” segment. He talks, and then it ends. Those were the highlights. Elsewhere, Todd Grisham speaks to Wade Barrett about his plans for being on Smackdown. Barrett describes himself as the Julius Caesar of Raw, and says he has come to rule over Smackdown.

Match #2 – Drew McIntyre vs. Trent Barreta

In his quest for vengeance since McIntyre DDT’d him on the outside floor two weeks ago, Barreta attacks the Scotsman on the apron before the bell. McIntyre quickly takes over, though, with a driving boot to the head, standing dropkick, and running Barreta’s head into the announcer’s table. McIntyre is about to press slam Barreta over the ropes when Barreta wriggles free and catches McIntyre with a sunset flip for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Trent Barreta

Barreta ducks out of the ring quickly, leaving McIntyre to stew over the loss. After the break, McIntyre catches up with Barreta and throws him into the corridor wall. Wouldn’t you know it, though, Kelly Kelly is walking by and McIntyre tries to spin his behaviour into a sign of his passion. Kelly is angry, though, and says she doesn’t want to spend time with someone who takes pleasure in beating up on other people. There’s a joke to made here, I just know it...

Match #3 – Big Show vs. Wade Barrett

Big Show gets in his chops early, but Barrett holds his own by bringing Big Show down to one knee easily. Big Show claws back and has Barrett set up for the chokeslam before the real intrigue starts: Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel, fresh off of walking away from new Nexus leader CM Punk, enter the ring to help take down Big Show.

Winner via disqualification: Big Show

Slater and Gabriel are not alone, though, as Ezekial Jackson shows up to help chop the giant down. The four men stand hand in hand, victorious above Big Show and sending a warning to Smackdown.

Match #4 – Beth Phoenix vs. Michelle McCool w/ Layla

McCool is begging off early, but gets the upper hand as she zeroes in on Phoenix’s left knee. Phoenix turns it around, though, and has McCool up for the Glam Slam, but McCool turns it into a roll-up only to have Phoenix roll her right back over for the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Beth Phoenix

Teddy Long is in his office with Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler, but he has to excuse himself to take a call regarding the Barrett situation. He’ll be glad he left, because it gives Guerrero and Ziggler a chance to profess their love for each other and share an Eskimo kiss that goes on way too long.

In the ring, Kofi Kingston has arrived to thank the fans for their support. The night’s interruptions continue, though, as Jack Swagger enters the ring laying down trash talk like he’s Ben Stiller from Dodgeball. Kingston wants to turn it into a match, and, I guess you can do that.

Match #5 – Kofi Kingston (C) vs. Jack Swagger

Swagger block a corner splash attempt and takes control of the match from that point onwards. He connects with his own trademark running splash off the corner ropes, but he misses his second attempt. Swagger tries his gut-wrench powerbomb instead, but only gets the gut-wrench part as Kingston spins away. The champ misses his Trouble in Paradise kick, but succeeds in landing the SOS for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Kofi Kingston

This brings us to the finishing touch of the evening, The World Heavyweight Champion’s show: The Cutting Edge. Edge brings out the number-one contender Ziggler and Guerrero as his guests, and the history between Edge and Guerrero is featured prominently. The guests have brought a video, so we get to relive Alicia Fox’s cameo as temptress/wedding planner from the video of Edge smooching her on the day he was to marry Guerrero; and Edge counters with footage of Ziggler and Kaitlyn sharing more than a friendly kiss on NXT. Ziggler has had it with Edge and attacks him, but Edge disposes of him and finds himself alone in the ring with Guerrero. With her screaming and slapping him, Edge is actually thinking Spear when Ziggler pulls him from the ring and knocks him out. Ziggler and Guerrero celebrate with a lusty kiss right over top of the thankfully unconscious Edge.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and wonders if my spellchecker will ever stop trying to take the second Kelly out from Kelly Kelly.