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Smackdown: Wrestlemania lingers on
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Charlotte, NC has, as Edge points out during the show, as rich a wrestling history as it gets, and tonight’s show feeds off that aura with a little old-school flair. There’s a Best of Three falls match, a story well told in a main event Number One Contender’s match, and even the Divas get more than two minutes in the ring to put on an actual match.

Last Sunday’s event did little to settle any issues, as rematches and run-ins continue feuds towards the next pay-per-view. To begin, Alberto Del Rio is still certain of his destiny to win the World Heavyweight Championship despite a Wrestlemania loss. He walks to the ring alongside Ricardo Rodriguez and Brodus Clay – walks, mind you, not drives. He’s missing his customary beaming smile as he explains that his destiny has only been delayed, not denied.

World Heavyweight Champion Edge has other ideas, though. He enters the arena astride a tow truck, which carries Del Rio’s mauled luxury car, and tells Del Rio that he won’t get a rematch before several other worthy contenders get their shot. The driver of the tow truck lays on the horn to insert himself in the proceedings – and it’s Christian, one of those whom Edge says deserves a chance.

Smackdown GM Teddy Long has something to say about all of this: he struts out to make a Number One Contender’s match between Del Rio and Christian for Edge’s title at Extreme Rules. After looking ahead to next month’s show, we take a peek back and get a Wrestlemania re-match, with a twist.

Match #1 – Big Show, Kane, Kofi Kingston & Santino Marella vs. The Corre (Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater & Ezekial Jackson) – Best of Three Falls

Gabriel starts off against Santino, whose ineffectual kicks leave him open for a drubbing from Gabriel and then Slater. The One-Man Rock Band soon finds himself being double-teamed by Big Show and Kane, then laid out for a Kingston splash off of Big Show’s shoulders. After a commercial break, Kane is trapped in The Corrner and everyone gets their licks in against him. Kane tags in Kingston, though, who explodes into the ring and drops Gabriel with a cross-body of the top rope for the first fall.

First fall won by Kofi Kingston via pinfall

We return from break to find Santino struggling against Slater in the battle of the two weak links. Santino finds his opening for a comeback, tough, and prepares The Cobra for Slater. What he didn’t see, though, was Barrett getting the tag. The Intercontinental Champ levels Santino with a boot to the face and follows with Wasteland to even the match.

Second fall won by Wade Barrett via pinfall

The Corre is eager to start the match again and keep Santino down. Jackson knocks Santino silly with a clothesline in the corner, and it takes Big Show to break up the pin and save the match. Santino absorbs some more punishment before slipping away to tag in Kane. The Big Red Monster lands a sidewalk slam and clothesline off the top rope onto Barrett, and this time Jackson interferes to break up the pin. Tempers flare and everyone gets involved, but The Corre specifically gang up on Kane in the ring and are disqualified for it.

Winners via disqualification: Big Show, Kane, Kofi Kingston & Santino Marella

The Corre are picked apart one by one after the match, which, following a Wrestlemania loss and beatdown by Cena and The Rock on Raw, has momentarily taken all wind out of the group’s sails.

Match #2 – Cody Rhodes vs. Trent Barreta

Barreta gets a missile-dropkick in on Rhodes, but is run shoulder-first into the ring-post and then felled by Cross Rhodes for the loss.

Winner via submission: Cody Rhodes

Rhodes continues his assault on Barreta after the bell before Mysterio charges in and chases Rhodes from the ring. A commercial break later and we get a repeat of the segment between Cena and The Rock from last week. Following that, Edge and Christian are hanging around in the locker room, with Edge hoping for a match between them at Extreme Rules. Edge walks away, leaving his belt behind for Christian to ogle before slipping back in to pick it up.

Match #3 – Kelly Kelly & Beth Phoenix vs. Lay-Cool (Michelle McCool & Layla)

Very early on, Phoenix runs McCool into the ropes and knocks Layla off of the apron, preventing a tag for McCool. Moments later, Layla tags herself in and McCool chews her out, shoving her into Phoenix’s arms for a press slam. Kelly tags in and stretches Layla across the ropes, then lands a cross body off the top rope. As Layla tries for a tag, McCool feigns a back injury and rolls to the floor. With Layla distracted, Kelly rolls up Layla for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Kelly Kelly & Beth Phoenix

McCool and Layla keep their argument going after the match, but are nowhere near coming to blows. After the break, Michael Cole is in the ring to have a talk with Jack Swagger. Cole’s delusional appreciation of himself makes sense enough, but how is Swagger going to benefit from this partnership? Perhaps only the Raw GM knows ...

Cole suggests that nobody in the locker room could defeat his trainer, and, just like The Honky Tonk Man would regret similar words just moments before a match against The Ultimate Warrior, Swagger gets serious in a hurry as Sin Cara emerges. Cara enters the ring with his amazing (and, this time, flawless) dive over the top rope. He hits and runs on Swagger, leaving the All-American American and Cole loudly complaining about their treatment.

After the break, Layla catches up with McCool backstage and gives her a slip of paper with an appointment for couples’ therapy. McCool is less than enthused. A recap of the Hall of Fame ceremony leads us to the night’s main event.

Match #4 –Alberto Del Rio (w/ Brodus Clay & Ricardo Rodriguez)) vs. Christian – Number One Contender’s Match

Now Del Rio looks to be his customary jubilant self as he struts to the ring and awaits Christian. Just before the bell, Edge joins the commentary team. Christian and Del Rio start cautiously, but Christian takes control when he throws Del Rio over the top and follows with a dropkick as Del Rio clambers up on the apron. After the break, though, Del Rio is in charge, capping off an offensive charge with a superplex. It takes as much out of Del Rio as Christian, as Captain Charisma rebounds by clotheslining Del Rio and himself over the top rope.

Both wrestlers slink back into the ring and Christian nearly puts Del Rio away with a dropkick and cross body, both off the top rope. Del Rio cinches in the cross arm-breaker, but Christian gets his feet on the ropes to break it off. Clay tries to distract Christian from the floor, but Edge spears the big man down. Christian scales the ropes again, but Del Rio counters with his climbing enzuigiri, knocking Christian out for the win.

Winner via pinfall and #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and predicts a triple threat ladder match, with Christian included, at Extreme Rules.