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Smackdown: The People’s Court calls the shots again
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Teddy Long may have the cushiest job in the WWE right now. Each week he waits until a few wrestlers get into the ring so he can call an impromptu match, and now he’s developed a habit of letting the crowd pick the contenders for the titles. It’s a post-PPV show from Spokane, WA, firing up some new storylines for the next event.

Josh Matthews, Booker T, and a slightly more humble Michael Cole take it easy on the first shift as World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton brings his belt and a mic to the ring. He barely gets his name out, though, before Christian trots down to both congratulate and challenge the man who beat him for the title.

Joining the party again, though, is Sheamus – and he wants his own shot. Not long afterwards, Mark Henry comes out with his big smile, insisting that he’s butting into the front of line. On cue, Teddy Long walks on down and serves up some poetic justice, allowing the crowd to decide if Christian gets another title shot. Actually, it’s not so poetic, nor justified, as Long forces Christian into a triple-threat match later tonight against Sheamus and Henry for the number-one contender’s shot. Orton, you see, went straight into the title match

Match #1 – Sin Cara vs. Chavo Guerrero

Guerrero is playing defence in the early going of this rematch from Sunday, staying back until he dodges a driving knee in the corner. He then tries a power game instead of matching Cara’s acrobatics, using a body slam to lead into an arm-bar. Cara escapes, though, building his momentum to hit Guerrero with a moonsault off the ropes to the outside floor, finishing Guerrero off with Mistica for the second time this week.

Winner via pinfall: Sin Cara

Match #2 – Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan

Rhodes makes his way to the ring along with his paper bag flunkies, but Bryan’s music cuts short Rhodes’ speech about the ugliness in Spokane. Bryan starts off with a nasty maneuver that sees him twisting Rhodes’ legs around his own ankles, then jumping up and driving Rhodes’ pad-less knees into the mat. Rhodes counters with body-scissors/chin-lock submission, then both exchange pinning attempts before Bryan sneaks out of Cross Rhodes and turns it into the Lebell Lock for the win.

Winner via submission: Daniel Bryan

Bryan celebrates for only a few moments before Rhodes attacks him from behind, leaving him beaten in the ring with a bag over his head.

Match #3 – Heath Slater vs. Ezekial Jackson

Slater draws the short straw in The Corre’s locker room tonight, as he falls prey to Jackson’s body slam bonanza and Torture Rack – but his buddies interfere to force the end of the match before Slater has a chance to quit.

Winner via disqualification: Ezekial Jackson

Christian is backstage, and Matt Striker sits back as the Captain takes him on a quick flight through his kickball career, late puberty, and his determination to regain the championship.

Match #4 – The Great Khali vs. Kane

Ranjin Singh accompanies Khali again this week, but The Great One doesn’t have his happy feet on his way to the ring. Kane absorbs the early punishment, but secures the pin with a flying clothesline off the top rope

Winner via pinfall: Kane

As Singh tries to console his brother, Jinder Mahal power-walks to the ring and slaps Khali around some more. After Mahal shoves Singh away, Khali seems to come to his rescue, but applies his Vise Grip to his now former manager instead, with Mahal grinning in appreciation.

After a recap of how Kane and The Big Show lost the WWE tag Team Championship, Booker T is in the ring and invites Cole to step in for a chat. All he does is show a picture of Cole with Lawler’s foot in his mouth and engender a weak “kiss my feet” chant from the crowd.

Backstage, Matt Striker continues his investigative reporting by allowing Sheamus to recap his superior world championship record against those of Christian and Mark Henry.

Match #5 – Alicia Fox & Tamina vs. AJ & Kaitlyn (w/ Natalya)

Fox starts off with AJ, reeling back from a high-speed opening attack of a hurricanrana and dropkick, with Kaitlyn tagging in to follow with a lot of punches and elbows. After Tamina breaks up a pinning attempt, Alicia Fox lands a scissors-kick for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Alicia Fox & Tamina

Completing his triad of scoops, Matt Striker gets a word from an angry Mark Henry, who’s feeling under-appreciated.

Match #6 – Christian vs. Mark Henry vs. Sheamus – to be the Number-One Contender’s for the World Heavyweight Championship

Sheamus and Henry exchange shifty glances between one another before teaming up on Christian. As soon as Christian fights one of the heels off, the other takes up the attack. Still, Christian fights on and Henry is forced to break up a pin – and Randy Orton’s music heralds the arrival of the champ to come have a closer look. After the break, Sheamus and Mark Henry finally turn on each other, with Sheamus taking the fall and leaving Henry to beat on Christian for an extended time.

After Henry catches Christian in mid-flying cross-body, turning it into The World’s Strongest Slam, Sheamus returns to knock Henry out of the ring. While outside, Henry shoves Orton out of his chair before lumbering back in. Orton slips in to the ring to drop Henry with an RKO as Christian spears Sheamus, and the ref is too distracted to make the count. This gives Sheamus enough time to recover, land a Brogue Kick on Christian, and take the match.

Winner via pinfall and Number One Contender: Sheamus

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and thinks that maybe, just maybe, Michael Cole, freed of most of his excesses, could be turning into a decent character.