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Smackdown: Friday night in Toledo, Ohio
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


John Denver once sang about how nothing happened in Toldeo, except for watching the buns rise at the bakery. If only he were alive to see Smackdown take over the big, sleepy town, where a few Night of Champions opponents try to psyche one another out, Christian picks on someone not his own size, and, for silent film fans: Sin Cara talks!

The show opens with a look back at Mark Henry’s Hall of Pain inductees, and then The World’s Strongest Man heads into the ring. He says that some people wonder if his best years are behind him – though that seems improbable. Zack Ryder struts down the ramp to tell Henry that he and Randy Orton are both in action tonight, but Teddy Long has established a no-contact rule between the two of them. Henry sees a loophole and establishes contact with Ryder, slamming him to the canvas.

Match #1 – Ezekial Jackson vs. Mark Henry

Classic opening: Mark Henry calls for a test of strength, and, as Henry is about to lose, flips Jackson over his shoulder instead. Jackson gets in a few punches, but two splashes and a World’s Strongest Slam ends Jackson’s evening very easily.

Winner via pinfall: Mark Henry

It was a quiet night in Teddy Long’s office, as the Smackdown GM was having a pleasant phone conversation. Suddenly, the strains of a sultry saxophone, and an abrupt shift to mood lighting, announces Aksana’s arrival. She wants to do some more guest ring announcing, but Long takes off to check on Zack Ryder.

Match #2 – Sin Cara vs. Tyson Kidd

In stark contrast to the previous match, both wrestlers spend as much time in the air as on the ground. Kidd takes the first advantage by flipping a charging Cara back-first into the corner. An enzuigiri regains the hammer for Cara, and he finishes Kidd with his double-moonsault.

Winner via pinfall: Sin Cara

Josh Matthews steps into the ring to ask Sin Cara in a little Spanglish why he attacked Daniel Bryan after the bell last week. Cara says nobody in the WWE will stop him, and his new attitude is the “real” Sin Cara. Bryan marches down to challenge for a rematch next week, but ends up being suckered down into his own LeBell Lock.

Backstage, Matt Striker wants Orton’s opinion on Cody Rhodes, but Orton deftly avoids the question and talks about Mark Henry instead. Maybe Orton’ll follow Jesse Ventura into politics someday.

Match #3 – Kelly Kelly (champion) vs. Natalya (w/ Beth Phoenix)

Although Natalya works Kelly over with an abdominal stretch, modified airplane spin, and even gets as far as readying her for a sharpshooter, Kelly responds with an inside cradle for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Kelly Kelly

As the next match is about to be set up, Christian emerges in street clothes and insists that he’s pulling a filibuster until Teddy Long gives him another title shot. In response, Sheamus appears and threatens Christian out of the ring.

Match #4 – Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett

Ireland looks to settle some issues with England here, as Sheamus sends Barrett for a walk after a championship-calibre bare-knuckle punch. When Barrett steps back in, he’s beaten to the mat with forearms and knee drops. Barrett turns the tide, and a driving boot to Sheamus’s face sends him spilling to the floor. Not long after, as Sheamus has regained the upper hand, Christian returns to the ring and the ref calls for the bell.

Match result not announced (presumably a DQ for Barrett)

Christian attempts an attack on Sheamus, but has to wriggle out of the Celtic Cross and escape back up the ramp.

Match #5 – Air Boom (Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston - champions) vs. Jinder Mahal & The Great Khali

Mahal starts off with Bourne, grounding him with a hard clothesline. Khali makes his entrance and dominates, but Mahal wants back in. Bourne sneaks over to his corner and brings in Kingston, who delivers all of his greatest hits except for Trouble in Paradise ... yet. Mahal orders Khali in the ring, slapping his face, and Khali shoves Mahal back right into TIP from Kingston.

Winners via pinfall: Air Boom

Match #6 – Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton (champion)

Rhodes has a mic before Orton arrives, delivering an entertainingly creepy build-up for the match. Orton is polite enough to let him finish, then ambles down for the contest. Orton seems amused by Rhodes’ opening attack, then drops him with two dropkicks and his melodramatic Lou Thesz Press –- but a head-butt by Rhodes evens the odds.

A Beautiful Disaster kick sends Orton off the apron to the floor, and we return from the break to see Rhodes stretching the champ for a long period. Orton recovers with a leveraged DDT, but Rhodes escapes an RKO. He tries another Beautiful Disaster, but Orton ducks under and gets his RKO or the win.

Winner: Randy Orton

With the match over, Mark Henry feels free to come to the ring, planting Orton with two of his slams, finishing the show by sitting triumphantly over top of his upcoming opponent.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and hopes that The Great Khali watched a tape of Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania VI in preparation for his latest face turn.