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SmackDown: Orton, Christian and Sheamus continue their three-man weave
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


The SmackDown spotlight shines on Tucson, Arizona as the seeds continue to be sown for the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Tonight's taped show begins with a video recap of the feud between Christian and Randy Orton, with unwanted guest Sheamus also in the mix. Plus the most exciting thing in pro wrestling: Shady legal maneuverings!

Michael Cole and Booker T are doing the announcing, as Josh Mathews is already in the ring with the SmackDown MITB participants. Well, all but one, anyway. Mathews explains the stakes, including the fact that every winner of the SmackDown briefcase has gone on to win the title. He talks to Daniel Bryan first, but Cody Rhodes interrupts to talk about how exceptional he is, overcoming personal tragedy and pain. Wade Barrett says he's sick and tired of hearing what everyone else will do, as the achievements of all of the other men pale in comparison to his. Apparently bored with Barrett's explanation, Sheamus rushes in wielding a chair. The Irishman makes Barrett taste the steel as everyone else heads for the hills. Sheamus wants everyone to hear what's really going to happen: He's going to win the MITB ladder match and cash it in right away once Orton beats Christian, walking away as the new World Heavyweight Champion. That's a good plan. Sheamus also threatens to knock the voices out of Orton's head. Why? Because Orton punted him in the head last month. Christian comes out to the stage, upset because Sheamus was calling him a “scrawny, malnourished, googly-eyed weasel.” Christian reminds Sheamus who won the match before the head punt (hint: it wasn't Sheamus) On top of that, Christian's legal team has ensured that if Orton gets disqualified or there is more bad officiating, Christian wins the title. He also calls Sheamus Ronald McDonald and questions his ability to read a contract before Teddy Long comes out. The GM says that if Sheamus wants to get his hands on Orton so badly, he's sure Randy will oblige. Even though it won't be for the title, tonight's main event will be Sheamus and Orton, mano e mano.

Match 1 – Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase vs. Daniel Bryan and Ezekiel Jackson

Paper bags are handed out so Rhodes doesn't have to see the lying eyes and disgusting faces of the denizens of the WWE Universe. Jackson clears the heels to the outside and Bryan dives between the ropes. We duck out for a commercial break. Old buddies Rhodes and DiBiase finally gain the upper hand when we return. Bryan takes a beating until he can get the hot tag to Jackson. He dishes out body slams to both heels. But with the ref distracted, Rhodes soars in with a flying kick, allowing DiBiase to pin Jackson with Dream Street.

The announcers talk about Mark Henry and how out of control he's been. Booker calls his actions “borderline criminal” and airs a recap video to prove it. Sweet, Henry has been in the WWE forever, billed as the World's Strongest Man, and we're just now getting around to pushing him as a raging juggernaut. Matt Striker tries to talk to Henry about assaulting the audio technician last week, facing Kane tonight and his upcoming PPV match with Big Show. Henry glares and Striker decides not to wait for a reply.

Match 2 – Jinder Mahal vs. Trent Barreta

Great Khali comes to the announce table, where he and Booker T engage in the most incomprehensible exchange I have ever heard on a wrestling broadcast. It doesn't last long as Mahal puts away Barreta in about two minutes with his finisher, a full nelson slam that needs a catchy name. Mahal gives Barreta another one after the bell.

Mathews asks Sheamus what's behind his recent rampage. “It's an Irish thing, fella. You wouldn't understand.” No. No he wouldn't.

(Quick aside: I've never taken, nor do I endorse the taking of illegal drugs. That being said, they may be necessary to enjoy The Smurfs in 3D. Just a thought.)

Match 3 – Tamina vs. AJ

Tamina is accompanied by Alicia Fox, while AJ has Natalya by her side. Not much to note here except Michael Cole making fun of Booker T for calling AJ a “spitfire,” though she does win this brief match. Fox berates Tamina for losing to the much smaller AJ. Or maybe for having the match run for more than two minutes, I'm not sure which.

Match 4 – Kane vs. Mark Henry

Kane goes right after Henry with punches and a clothesline, but Mark no-sells them and goes on the attack. Kane rallies with several low drop kicks for a near fall. The big men go back and forth until Kane strikes with a big boot to the face for another two count. Kane comes off the top with his flying clothesline, then signals for the choke slam. Henry breaks out with a big head butt. Kane counters the World's Strongest Slam with a choke slam... but Henry gets his foot on the bottom rope. Kane goes out and clears the announce table off. Henry is having none of that, ramming Kane's back into the post on the outside. Back inside, Henry hits a running splash, screams, and connects with the WSS to get the pinfall. After the bell, Henry has some words with Booker, who says it was Cole who was badmouthing him. Though Booker thinks he just showed everyone how to prevent a Henry attack, Cole calls him a coward. We're definitely a long way from Sexual Chocolate, that's for sure.

Todd Grisham gets with Orton. He promises to beat Christian, but says he knows he'll have to face Sheamus for the title down the road. Randy tells Grisham to wish Sheamus good luck for him. What a sportsman!

Match 5 – Tyson Kidd vs. Sin Cara

I'm not going to do our loyal readers a disservice by attempting to recap this match, as I simply don't know the names of a bunch of Sin Cara's moves (yes, even with Wikipedia to help). Suffice it to say that Kidd tries to ground him early and has his moments later, but we all know how this is going to end. Sin Cara hits his moonsault side slam to wrap things up.

Striker asks Long about the Henry investigation. Teddy says he'll take the findings into consideration and refuses to answer a follow-up question about whether or not he's intimidated by Henry himself. Come on now. No one attacks Long. He's too cool.

Match 6 – Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel vs. Jimmy and Jey Uso

Jimmy Uso gets the hot tag after a pretty even opening. He unloads on Slater, but Gabriel saves him from a pin attempt. Gabriel tags in and goes up top, but Slater is hurled into ropes, crotching him. A superplex (Jimmy) and splash (Jey) are on target for the Usos, and that's it for Gabriel. Predictably, Slater and Gabriel bicker after the bell.

Johnny Curtis wonders why he hasn't made his SmackDown debut since he's got the perfect look and attitude. Snatching a cake away from a convenient random guy nearby, Curtis vows that once he gets his shot, he's going to take the cake. Get it? Curtis laughs, but no one else does. Maybe that's why you haven't officially been on the show yet.

The Raw Rebound takes us back to CM Punk's promo and the fallout from it. Say what you want, but this angle has people interested in a non-major pay-per-view for the first time in... well, a long time. Don't blow this momentum WWE.

Main Event – Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

Christian joins the commentators as a very interested observer. Orton sets up for early punt, causing Sheamus to take a powder on the outside. Cole kisses up to Christian at the announce table. A Thesz press by Orton scores, but Sheamus takes the fight to the floor. Orton is whipped into a retaining wall, then back into ring. Sheamus counters Orton's DDT on the ropes by throwing him along the apron and into the post. Christian heads over for a closer look. Time for one last word from our sponsors.

Upon our return, we fins Sheamus in control with a leg whip. He tries a single arm DDT, but Orton slips away. Sheamus lands on the apron when Orton tries to flip him over the ropes to the floor. Orton connects with clotheslines and a power slam. Sheamus gets his boot up in the corner but runs into a belly-to-belly suplex for a two count. Sheamus rallies for a pair of his own near falls. He continues the punishment with running ax handles and repeated knee drops. Sheamus misses the Brogue Kick, and Orton also whiffs on an RKO. The champ does hit a backbreaker, but that's all the fun he'll get to have as Christian slides into the ring and proceeds to pound on him. The ref calls for the bell right before a Brogue Kick knocks Christian senseless. Sheamus turns to find an RKO waiting for him, allowing Orton to end the show with the upper hand. Good night from the desert!

Nick Tylwalk has been on the SLAM! Wrestling staff for over a decade in a variety of roles. Now he appears when needed and then fades away silently into the night. Is he a ninja, a wizard, a relief pitcher, or something far more mysterious? Find out by following his Twitter feed @Nick_Tylwalk or droppping him a line at ntylwalk7@yahoo.com.