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Smackdown: New Game in town
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Meet the new boss – same as the old boss? Triple H throws his weight around on Friday night, Teddy Long gets some help coming up with impromptu matches, a title defense, and a couple of bad apples are turning sweet.

A Broad St. Bully if ever there was one, Chief Operating Officer Triple H (who, in his new capacity, should really be referred to as Mr. H) opens the show in Philadelphia, PA by having an in-ring meeting with the World Heavyweight Champion: Christian. The champ is pleased that Mr. H is in charge, but not so much after learning that Randy Orton is getting his rematch at Summerslam in a No-Holds-Barred match.

R-Truth slips into the mix, wishing to continue his conversation with Mr. H from Monday Night (R-Truth apparently agrees with the “Mr. H” moniker). Acting as pseudo-General Manager, Mr. H makes a match between R-Truth and Randy Orton, and another one between Christian and John Morrison. One more development sees Zack Ryder snagging a new job as Teddy Long’s assistant. Weird.

Match #1 – John Morrison vs. Christian

Christian employs his modus operandi early on and circles around Morrison, looking for a safe time to strike, but Morrison doesn’t wait and launches himself over the top rope to take out the champ on the floor. Christian takes a beating until he dodges Morrison’s charging knee and responds soon afterwards with a spear for a two-count. Christian climbs to the top rope but is pulled down and set up for Starship Pain. The champ dodges Morrison’s finisher, though, responding with the Kill Switch for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Christian

After the break, Wade Barrett is in the ring with a mic to explain why his greed for the biggest possible paycheck will lead him to championship success, at the expense of Daniel Bryan. Mr. Money in the Bank himself comes to the ring and stands up for himself, but takes a straight bare-knuckle punch to the jaw. As Barrett stands over top of Bryan, he finds himself suckered into the LeBell Lock, tapping just for mercy and release.

Backstage, Long and Ryder get a visit from Mark Henry. Long doesn’t want Henry on the show, but Ryder promises to find him an opponent. Next up, Justin Gabriel continues his march to babyface status as we see him soaking up the hometown vibes on a tour of South Africa.

Match #2 – Natalya, Kaitlyn, & AJ vs. Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, & Tamina

Natalya tries for an early Sharpshooter on Tamina but is hoisted up for a Samoan Drop instead. AJ and Alicia Fox are next in, and Fox ends it with a scissors kick.

Winners via pinfall: Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, & Tamina

Match #3 – Mark Henry vs. ???

Henry awaits the opponent that Zack Ryder has lined up for him, and it’s a Philly-grown fella by the name of Bobby Howard -- who really looks like one of the created players on a video game before you have any attributes to add on. He thinks about turning back up the ramp, but Ryder emerges to encourage him into the ring. Two-handed chokeslam. World’s Strongest Slam; repeat; repeat; pin.

Winner via pinfall: Mark Henry

After the bell, Henry goes for a chair to continue his new favourite method of torture, but Teddy Long rushes to the ring to talk him out of it. He promises to find Henry a worthy opponent, and Sheamus struts down to the ring to significant cheers and offers himself up. He lays the bad mouth on Henry and chases him from the ring.

Match #4 – Jimmy & Jey Uso vs. The New Nexus (David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty) (champions) – for the WWE Tag Team Championship

Amazingly little happens before Jey has McGillicutty down in the ring, ready for a top-rope splash – but Otunga knocks him down and allows McGillicutty to run him over with a neckbreaker for the win.

Winners via pinfall and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Nexus

Backstage, Ryder is going a little nuts booking matches, leaving Long less than impressed. Elsewhere, R-Truth tells Matt Striker what he thinks of Mr. H with one of his excellently absurd monologues.

Match #5 – Ezekial Jackson vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase

This is a Zack Ryder special, and opens with DiBiase taking the early punishment from Jackson. Rhodes tags in only to be repeatedly body slammed and set up for the Torture Rack. DiBiase distracts Jackson long enough, though, for Cross Rhodes to fell the big man.

Winners via pinfall: Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase

Up in a suite, Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali have been watching the show. They take this opportunity to tell the crowd what’s on their mind, but the Phildelphia denizens don’t seem to speak the language –- so they just boo the lack of English.

Match #6 – R-Truth vs. Randy Orton

Both wrestlers set a rapid pace right from the bell, before Orton starts pandering before almost all of his attacks. Truth takes over and holds a lengthy advantage, as Christian appears at the top of the ramp. After the break, Truth is holding Orton at bay with a rear-chinlock, also stopping him from grabbing any momentum. Finally, Orton gets back into the match and pulls out his greatest hits before sizing Truth up for an RKO. Truth slips out of the ring as Christian distracts the ref, allowing Truth to smack Orton in the face with a water bottle. A temper tantrum later, and Orton is disqualified after hitting Truth with a chair.

Winner via disqualification: R-Truth

Orton continues to vent on Truth, dropping him with two RKOs on the announcer’s table. Christian looks more than a little worried about the impending title defense.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and is saddened to see the Tag Team Championship match get about as much traction as the Divas match.