March 19, 2011
Smackdown: Matches galore
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling
Providing the flip side to last week’s talk-heavy Smackdown, tonight’s show in Kansas City, MO rips through match after match. It’s all topped off by a steel cage encounter between Christian and Alberto Del Rio, who must wonder if cage matches are now standard for starting feuds, not ending them.
Michael Cole’s “Cole Mine” is being set up, and The Voice of the WWE comes out to Raw’s theme music, touting a Slammy as Josh Matthews and Booker T wait patiently and open-mouthed. Since the plastic cage is purportedly to protect Cole from attack by Jerry Lawler, Cole may be thinking that The King might show up tonight. Or he may just like it.
Match #1 – Brodus Clay (w/ Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Edge (C)
Edge cannot get started as he falls prey to Clay’s brute strength, and the champ looks spent after only a couple of minutes. After Clay holds Edge in a heart-clutch, The Rated R Superstar starts playing duck and dodge, moving away from Clay’s brutal attacks. After Del Rio gets an assist by holding Edge for Clay to deliver a running tackle, Christian runs down to even the odds – and that gives Edge room to hit Clay with the Spear for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Edge
Del Rio jumps Edge in the ring, and Christian fights him to the outside and tackles Del Rio on the announce table. Smackdown GM Teddy Long interrupts the fisticuffs and makes a match between Christian and Del Rio for the main event in a steel cage.
Match #2 – King Sheamus (C) vs. Kofi Kingston (C)
Sheamus, the new U.S. Champion, keeps Kingston grounded early with hard kicks and clotheslines, to which the Intercontinental Champ responds with his own hard knocks attacks. Sheamus suffers a Boom Drop and an SOS, and barely grabs the bottom rope to stop an otherwise sure three count. With the fight spilling to the outside, Sheamus runs Kingston into the stairs and brings him back into the ring for a Brogue Kick and a pin.
Winner via pinfall: King Sheamus
After a review of the twisted road that has brought Kane and Big Show together again in a fight against The Corre, we see the WWE Tag Team Titles challengers backstage. Big Show wants to talk strategy, but Kane locks in a chokehold on his partner before the two of them laugh it off.
Match #3 – Trent Barreta vs. Cody Rhodes
Rhodes still has his protective mask, but wears a towel over his head like he’s channelling Tazz. The bell goes, and Rhodes takes control immediately with a series of head-butts, utilizing the mask to defeat Barreta.
Winner via pinfall: Cody Rhodes
We get new tidbits of Shawn Michaels’ take on the Undertaker’s mystique; or at least some of the tidbits are new, while some have been used before.
Match #4 – Kelly Kelly vs. Layla (w/ Michelle McCool)
McCool takes a seat with the announce team, and she and Cole seem more interested in talking Snooki than watching the match. Kelly and Layla are actually putting some heart into this one, with Layla blocking Kelly’s corner-somersault attack and pulling her off the turnbuckles to knock her silly for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Layla
Match #5 – Kane & Big Show vs. Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel (C) – WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Big Show’s entrance chases the champs from the ring, so Kane awaits an opponent before Gabriel slowly makes his way in for the bell. A few hard shots later, Gabriel wants out, tagging Slater. Slater actually gets Kane down after dodging a kick, and the champs tag frequently to wear down Kane’s leg. Big Show gets the tag, though, and runs roughshod over Slater. A chokeslam spells doom for the champs, but Gabriel pulls the ref out of the ring in mid-count, causing a disqualification.
Winners via disqualification: Kane & Big Show (titles do not change hands)
As Big Show looks to relieve his frustrations on Gabriel, Wade Barrett and Ezekial Jackson attack and lay out both challengers, including a sort of steel sandwich attack on Kane using the steps. Big Show gets hoisted up by Barrett for Wasteland and is soon wasted on the announce table.
Backstage, Todd Grisham asks Del Rio for his thoughts going into his first cage match. Del Rio’s not worried, but more angry at being caged like an animal.
Match #6 – Jack Swagger vs. Chris Masters
The Cole Mine is still roomy enough for a standing ovation as Swagger comes to the ring. In fact, Cole stays on his feet for the duration of the match. Both Swagger and Masters escape the Master Lock and ankle lock, respectively, but the tide turns when Swagger traps Masters’ leg against the ring-post. His second attempt at the ankle lock leads to the win.
Winner via submission: Jack Swagger
Cole enters the ring to practise his ankle lock on Masters, and the two buddies prance around the ring in celebration. Speaking of prancing, Chris Jericho gets a chance to explain that he simply couldn’t pass up the chance to appear on Dancing with the Stars, and that he plans to win.
Match #7 – Rey Mysterio vs. Ted Dibiase, Jr. (w/ Maryse)
Mysterio faces his Wrestlemania opponent’s old Legacy partner, and is felled with a dropkick coming off the top rope. Mysterio hits a hurricanrana, but a second attempt is turned into a hard slam by DiBiase. Not long afterwards, though, Maryse watches with disgust as Dibiase takes a 619 and splash for the loss, walking away and leaving him behind in the ring.
Winner via pinfall: Rey Mysterio
This week’s Raw recap shows the mainstream media attention that Mr. McMahon has always unwaveringly craved, created by Snooki’s appearance and upcoming Wrestlemania match.
Match #8 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
Del Rio looks uncharacteristically serious as Rodriguez announces his entrance. He attacks Christian right at the bell, and is soon trying to make his way over the top of the cage. After Christian catches him, Del Rio brings him down with a Samoan Drop off the ropes, giving him the advantage for a long stretch. Both stop the other from making escapes, until Del Rio tries to end it with his cross arm-breaker. Christian turns it into a Kill Switch, but only gets a two count. Both end up atop the cage together, and Del Rio inadvertently elbows Christian into a position to fall to the ground for the win.
Winner via escape: Christian
Del Rio takes out his frustrations on Christian, but is stopped in his tracks by the sound of Edge laying on the horn of his car. As Edge discusses the finer points of how he could un-pimp Del Rio’s ride, Clay attacks Edge from behind and lays him out. Del Rio rushes to capitalize, and ends the show with a solid-looking one-man con-chair-to on Edge’s arm, damaging the champ only two weeks before Wrestlemania.
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and has nothing witty to add this week.