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   Fri, May 20, 2011



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COMMENT





Smackdown: Friendly competition for the belt
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


The Orton/Christian rivalry is roughly two weeks old, so it’s hard to imagine them having any deep grudge against one another. In fact, they both seem committed to helping each other make it to Sunday unharmed – sort of. Corpus Christi, TX, hosts the last show before Over the Limit.

Match #1 – Sheamus vs. Christian

Sheamus is keen to insert himself into the upper tier of Smackdown’s roster, and he looks to make his mark by tossing Christian around the ring. He transitions to a rear chinlock and, after weathering a comeback by Christian, lays him out with a running axe-handle. Christian fights back again, though, sliding out of Pale Justice to wrap up Sheamus with a small package for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Christian

As Sheamus vents his frustrations outside the ring, Mark Henry runs down to assist in a beating on Christian. Orton shows up on the ramp, but waits before actually running down to make the save. Eventually he does, though, and Christian thanks his upcoming opponent for the help.

Next up is a lengthy recap of the John Cena/Miz feud, before Todd Grisham interviews Nikki & Brie Bella backstage. Well, he stands there while Nikki and Brie come to peace about the champ having split on her sister while Kharma laid her out on Raw.

Match #2 – Natalya vs. Brie Bella (C) (w/ Nikki)

Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter very early, but Brie slides on her back to the ropes. Brie tries a headlock which Natalya counters into a mid-height electric chair. Brie fights back and gets a remarkably clean win after a mere kick to Natalya’s knee and throwing her into the corner turnbuckles.

Winner via pinfall: Brie Bella

Following the break, Ezekial Jackson comes to the ring with mic in hand and explains to a not very attentive crowd that he has realized he doesn’t need The Corre - and promises to take them all out. Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, and Heath Slater power-walk to the ring, but before they get a chance to make their statement, Teddy Long gives Jackson a pair of partners and makes a six-man tag match.

Match #3 – The Corre vs. Ezekial Jackson, Big Show, and Kane

After Kane and Big Show have some fun by tossing Gabriel and Slater around, Jackson and Barrett find themselves in the ring to preview their match on Sunday. A commercial break puts a stop to that, though, as upon return we see Big Show and Gabriel having another round with similar results. Kane enters next, but Barrett pulls down the ropes as he runs across the ring, sending Kane to the floor. The Corre triple-teams him for a while, but Kane escapes to tag in Jackson. Jackson slams Gabriel numerous times before putting him in a torture rack for the victory.

Winners via submission: Ezekial Jackson, Big Show, and Kane

Christian is backstage, still insisting that he’s not mad at Orton for taking his title away. He just hopes Orton won’t be mad at him when he takes it back. In the ring, Chavo Guerrero calls Sin Cara out for disrespecting him, and promises a victory over Daniel Bryan in less than five minutes (which he unfortunately follows up by saying that it’s a lot less time than he needs to beat Cara on Sunday).

Match #4 – Chavo Guerrero vs. Daniel Bryan

The 5:00 countdown shows up on the screen, and Guerrero keeps his eye on it as he fails to come close to a pinfall in the first four minutes. With less than a minute to go, Bryan kicks Guerrero to the floor then dives through the ropes, knocking Guerrero into the barrier. Back in the ring, Guerrero hits the Three Amigos sequence of suplexes and the Five-Star Frog Splash, but Bryan Kicks out as the time expires.

No decision

Guerrero is embarrassed and runs Bryan through the ropes to the ringpost. Sin Cara makes his leaping entrance and disposes of Guerrero with a head scissors. Guerrero couldn’t look weaker going into Sunday.

Let’s get surreal for a moment. Ted DiBiase’s music fills the arena, but he walks down with Cody Rhodes and the paper-bag flunkies. Rhodes gets DiBiase to put on a paper bag and conducts an interview with him, with DiBiase calling himself Corpus Christi and talking like Speedy Gonzalez. All of this leads to the next match.

Match #5 – Ted DiBiase vs. Trent Baretta

Baretta makes a good show of it for a few moments, but he gets taken to Dream Street in short order and ends up with a paper bag on his head.

Winner via pinfall: Ted DiBiase

Match #6 – Jey Uso (w/ Jimmy) vs. The Great Khali

After only a few moments into the match, Jinder Mahal storms down the ramp with a mic and once again berates Khali, slapping the big guy. Khali marches back into the ring and immediately dispatches of Uso with a chop and two-handed chokeslam. Khali then chops down Jimmy and that gets a smile from Mahal.

Winner via pinfall: The Great Khali

Matt Striker is backstage with Orton and wants to know what he thinks about Christian’s claim that, at 100%, he can beat the champ. Orton counters by saying he’s 99% sure that Christian’s 100% isn’t going to be enough. That’s laying the math-based smackdown.

Match #7 – Randy Orton (C) vs. Mark Henry

Orton makes sure that Henry’s power game is nullified early, delivering a series of drop-kicks at different heights to weaken Henry’s knees and then knock him off his feet. Returning from the break, Henry gets a hold of the champ and slows the match down, but not for long before Orton seemingly overpowers him to the mat. As Orton punches the mat to announce the RKO, Sheamus enters the ring and the match falls apart.

Winner via disqualification: Randy Orton

Henry and Sheamus double-team Orton and the crowd pops for Christian as he appears on the ramp – but he takes more than a few moments just watching Orton take the punishment. Finally he charges and helps rid the ring of villains. Orton closes the show by giving Henry the RKO he had been planning, and bouncing around with the most jubilant post-match celebration I’ve ever seen Orton perform. The Viper looks positively giddy before he and Christian shake hands in preparation for their bout on Sunday.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and enjoyed Sheamus’ early 90s-style screen-insert promo during his entrance.