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Smackdown: 600 birthday smacks
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Monday night really upped the ante this week in bringing back The Rock. What will Smackdown have up its sleeve on its 600th episode? For starters, will the host of Wrestlemania bring it to Friday night for another lucid promo? Will Vickie Guerrero follow through on her promise to crown Dolph Ziggler the World Heavyweight Champion? All this and a 12-man tag match from San Diego, CA.

The 12 man tag match, featuring all of the competitors from the fast-approaching Elimination Chamber matches (conveniently arranged into groups of faces and heels), is up first.

Match #1 – Edge (C?), Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, R-Truth, & John Cena vs. CM Punk, King Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Wade Barrett, Kane, & Dolph Ziggler

Edge stands in against Sheamus first, but McIntyre convinces the King to bring him in instead. Edge absorbs the first few blows but returns with a big boot to knock the haggis right out of McIntyre’s mouth. A revolving door of tags sees Dolph Ziggler take on R-Truth, Orton, Cena (to the usual mix of cheers and boos), then finally John Morrison.

With Ziggler down near the corner, Morrison sets up Starship Pain – but Ziggler grabs him off the ropes and downs him with an inverted body slam. As we go to commercial break, this feels like a Major League Baseball All-Star Game where everyone has to get their inning of work.

After the break, Sheamus is putting the hurt on Morrison before tagging in Punk. The San Diego crowd goes wild when Mysterio finally tags in, but they’re quickly silenced as Mysterio succumbs to attacks from Punk, Kane, Barrett, Sheamus, and then Barrett again. Mysterio finds life, though, sneaking a drop-toe-hold on Barrett and driving him into the corner pads before hitting a moonsault on him.

Mysterio makes it to his corner and tags Edge, who comes in to see his current nemesis Ziggler awaiting him. Edge drops the would-be World Champion and lines him up for the Spear, but Sheamus enters with a Brogue Kick to save his team. The official loses control at this point as everyone makes their way into the ring one at a time to show off a maneuver or two. Finally, Mysterio stops the insanity with a double-619 on Ziggler and Barrett, leaving Edge in the ring to Spear Ziggler for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Edge, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, R-Truth, & John Cena

As Edge soaks in the adulation following the win, Vickie Guerrero comes out to excuse herself. She not only orders Edge to hand over the World Heavyweight Championship belt so that she can deliver it to Ziggler, but accuses him of attacking Teddy Long – and fires him! Edge stands shell-shocked in the ring.

Time for an update on Dashing Cody Rhodes. After seeing the footage of his match against Mysterio where Rhodes suffered the broken nose and deviated septum, we watch footage from “earlier this week” with Todd Grisham giving Rhodes a chance to address the crowd. Rhodes claims that there’s no point in bashing Mysterio, but, now wearing an NBA-style face-guard, says that doctors have cleared him to travel and he’ll be on Smackdown next week with an announcement.

Speaking of announcements, we see another preview for the mysterious figure in the trenchcoat who is coming to Raw this Monday. It sure looks like The Undertaker ... but that would be too obvious, wouldn’t it? We also get our first trip down Smackdown’s memory lane, as The Rock takes on Triple H with the awfully biased referee Shawn Michaels.

Match #2 – Eve (C) & Beth Phoenix vs. Layla & Maryse (w/ Michelle McCool)

Eve and Phoenix square off against the temporary tag team that I will dub Lay-Ryse, as McCool sits at the announcer’s table claiming to nurse an injured foot. Phoenix shows her ability to outmuscle any other woman, hoisting Layla around the ring. Phoenix lifts her up for may be a body slam, but Layla wriggles awkwardly out of it. Eve enters the ring, dodges a kick from Layla, but has to deal with McCool who has stepped up on the apron. Phoenix knocks McCool down, but the distraction allows Lay-Ryse to hit Sweet Tummy Music on Eve with a double kick to the gut for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Layla & Maryse

One of my questions is answered: no, The Rock does not see fit to show up on Smackdown to electrify the crowd. Instead, Smackdown continues to feed off of scraps that fall of Raw’s table and they replay most of his promo from Monday night.

Shortly after, footage of the 9/11 Tribute show is played. It’s a rather sensationalist choice; but no more so than when the Owen Hart Tribute is listed as one of Raw’s greatest moments.

Match #3 – The Miz (C) (w/ Alex Riley) vs. Kofi Kingston (C)

Michael Cole’s gushing intro of The Miz is misinterpreted by my closed captioning, saying that the Miz is the most “musty” champion in WWE history. Funny, that. Kingston hits a big arm drag early and locks in an arm-bar, followed by a flying cross-body into another arm-bar. Miz retaliates with choppy kicks and a quick suplex, but Kingston’s quick feet fire right back and he regains the advantage. The Intercontinental Champ lands his Boom Drop, but as he prepares for Trouble in Paradise, Royal Rumble winner Alberto Del Rio comes out for a closer look. The Miz tries a roll-up from behind, but Kingston kicks out. With Kingston distracted again, The Miz finishes a sloppy match with the Skull-Crushing Finale.

Winner via pinfall: The Miz

Del Rio strides into the ring and stands atop Kingston, giving him an over-sized wink to make sure the folks in the cheap seats see it. At this point, we see where Smackdown ranks amongst the all-time longest running shows. It has surpassed The Simpsons, Law & Order, Lassie, and has its sights set on Bonanza next as it sits at #3.

Another Smackdown memory as Eddie Guerrero celebrates his WWE Championship with the fans. I guess we now know where the WWE history books stand in terms of Guerrero.

Match #4 – Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel vs. Vladimir Kozlov & Santino Marella (C) – for the World Tag Team Championship

Kozlov starts off by tossing Gabriel around the ring, and then right out of the ring. Wade Barrett and Ezekial Jackson immediately come down to offer support. Santino finds himself in the ring with Slater, and, after an HBK-inspired nip-up, hits The Cobra for a certain victory. Barrett and Jackson intervene, though, leading to a disqualification.

Winners via disqualification and STILL World Tag Team Champions: Vladimir Kozlov and Santino Marella

Before The Corre can make their mark on the tag champs, Big Show chugs down to the ring and clears it of the bad guys. He also makes a strong case for evolution, as he finally keeps his eyes on Jackson. He challenges him to come into the ring, but The Corre members convince Jackson that this is not the time.

Our last highlight from Smackdown’s rich history is the supermarket fight between Booker T and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Booker T is left speechless at the announcer’s table.

Coming back from break, the ring is decked out for celebration, with guests of honour Dolph Ziggler, Vickie Guerrero, and the World Heavyweight Championship belt. The belt, for what it’s worth, doesn’t have Ziggler’s name on it. After Guerrero makes it official and passes Ziggler the belt, the surprising return of Teddy Long turns the night around. He accuses Guerrero of orchestrating his attack, at which point Guerrero cracks and throws Ziggler under the bus as the culprit. Long exercises his power as GM, re-hires Edge, and makes a match for the title right now.

Match #5 – Dolph Ziggler (C) vs. Edge

Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Edge drops Ziggler and sets up an early Spear, but Ziggler dodges it and sends Edge into the ring post. Ziggler gets the sleeper hold on, but it’s not quite cinched and Edge escapes. The champ tries a Zig-Zag, but Edge holds onto the ropes to break it up. Edge runs the ropes and hits the Spear for the win and an addition to his number of title reigns that would make Triple H proud.

Winner via pinfall and NEW World Heavyweight Championship: Edge

Teddy Long is back out with one more thing: Ziggler is fired. Edge grabs a mic and warns us that he’s not a great singer, then proves it as he tries to lead the crowd in the Na-Na, Hey-Hey Goodbye song. Red, white and blue confetti streams down as Edge celebrates.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and will be back to work for Sunday’s Elimination Chamber.