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Smackdown: Rated “R” for “Retirement”
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


It's two Sin Caras! Photos by Mike Mastrandrea



It’s party time for Edge as he gets an Appreciation Night while in Toronto, ON. For everyone who isn’t retired, though, Smackdown rolls on towards Sunday’s Night of Champions.

Edge is out first and reciprocates the exuberance from the crowd, unabashedly professing his love for them, the city, and, as always, the business. Who knows how long it would have gone on if it weren’t for Cody Rhodes, as the Intercontinental Champion interrupts and offers Edge a paper bag to help hide his shame.

Edge declines and walks out, leaving Rhodes stomping around the ringside calling out Toronto’s supposed ugliest. One ringside fan, already sporting a paper bag, reaches over and decks Rhodes –- but it’s Ted DiBiase. He stalks Rhodes and drops him in the ring with Dream Street.

Match #1 – Sin Cara vs. Daniel Bryan

Bryan shows the frustration that’s been building as he charges Cara hard with a knee-lift, but Cara soon responds with a low dropkick to take control. Cara has a counter for every time that Bryan tries to rally an offensive, until Bryan blocks a moonsault and gets back in the game. He has Cara set up for a superplex, but Cara slips away and hangs Bryan up in the Tree of Woe. He repeatedly kicks Bryan despite the referee’s admonitions, and thus loses the match.

Winner via disqualification: Daniel Bryan

Cara is livid over the decision, and is ready to take it out on Bryan –- but hold up. His theme music plays again, and, at the top of the ramp ... is Sin Cara? Apparently the original Sin Cara is back, and he leaps into the ring to stand off against, well, Twin Cara. They have a cheer-o-meter contest, which Sin Cara wins, and Twin Cara departs without a fight.

Stay tuned to see how the WWE will play out this angle without referencing the Wellness Policy.

Zack Ryder is in Teddy Long’s office, as the GM reveals another brilliant “No Contact” plan for a Cutting Edge segment, with Edge moderating between Randy Orton and Henry. Long orders Ryder to deliver the news to the guests, and he grudgingly obeys. After Ryder leaves, Long sees the sneaky Aksana (but not her invisible musical accompanist). She offers him a massage, and he accepts, doubling over in a most peculiar massage pose. Trish Stratus enters at an awkward time, but leaves easily since she apparently didn’t have a reason to be there anyway.

Match #2 – AJ (w/ Kaitlyn) vs. Beth Phoenix (w/ Natalya)

AJ actually opens with a slap on Phoenix, but an airplane spin, press slam, and a boot to the head set AJ up for the Glam Slam.

Winner via pinfall: Beth Phoenix

Phoenix grabs a mic and promises midnight for Kelly Kelly’s Cinderella story come Sunday. Backstage, Edge and Stratus are catching up when Christian interrupts. He and Edge seem to make peace after their falling out at SummerSlam, but Christian only wants Edge’s backing in search for one more title shot. Ryder runs past them, giving Edge the chore of enforcing the No Contact rule on his show.

Match #3 – Christian & Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus & Justin Gabriel

Just when you think you have all the answers, Toronto fans change the questions: they cheer more loudly for Sheamus than for Christian. Sheamus trashes both his opponents on the mic, then delivers a poem about Gabriel’s 450 finisher. Sadly, it’s not a limerick.

Gabriel is the early sacrificial lamb here, as he is tossed around while the crowd clamours for Sheamus. It takes a while, but eventually the Celtic Warrior gets the tag and runs Barrett down with a double axe-handle, power slam, and shoulder block off the top rope. He wiggles out of Wasteland, hits a Brogue Kick, and tags Gabriel back in for the 450 Splash and victory.

Winners via pinfall: Sheamus & Justin Gabriel

After the bell, Christian actually considers getting into the ring for a handicap challenge, but opts for discretion as the better part of valour and backs away.

Match #4 – The Great Khali vs. Heath Slater

Things have barely got started when Jinder Mahal storms out onto the ramp, tearing a strip off of Khali and getting into the ring to help Slater in attacking the giant.

Winner via disqualification: The Great Khali

Khali fights Slater off, but is unable to get his hands on Mahal.

Match #5 – Evan Bourne (w/ Kofi Kingston) vs. R-Truth (w/ The Miz)

R-Truth’s “You Suck” rap can’t stem the affection of the crowd, as they love the Truth. Oops, Truth went one step too far in dissing Toronto, and now he’s getting booed. Bourne neatly counters Truth’s ducking-splits, kicking him in the chest, then follows with a head-scissors takedown. Truth rolls away from Air Boom and drives Bourne’s head into the mat to get the win.

Winner via pinfall: R-Truth


Edge hosts The Cutting Edge with Randy Orton and Mark Henry.
The show culminates with The Cutting Edge, as the host once again thanks the fans. He notes the importance of Toronto to his career (Sportsnet, owned by Rogers, edited out where he insisted on calling the Rogers Centre by its original name: “SkyDome” –- which got a loud cheer from the crowd). The segment eventually and unquestionably belongs to Henry, who comes out first to a chorus of boos. Orton talks his tough game, insisting he will win, but Henry does something impressive.

He looks back on his career, following Edge’s lead and questioning why he has never won a World Championship (so the ECW title still counts for nothing these days). Henry is tired of playing to the fans and working on his character, and promises victory on Sunday. Why is that little speech remarkable? Lots of other people give that speech, but Henry delivers it with such conviction that he accomplishes two things.

Firstly, he wins over a large part of the crowd, as he leaves to more cheers than boos. Secondly, he uses the speech to establish himself as something more than the “threat of the month” to Orton’s title. Once Edge says that the segment is over, making the No Contact rule null and void, Orton and Henry go after one another with a bevy of wrestlers emerging with Long to try and keep them apart. Henry wins this part of the debate, too, with two World’s Strongest Slams and a big splash. He hoists the title above his head before draping it on top of the prone champion.

RELATED LINKS

  • WWE Smackdown taping in Toronto Photo Gallery -- including the Edge ceremony
  • September 14, 2011: A double Edge-d appreciation night in Toronto
  • Edge bio and story archive

    Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and has never won a World Title either, giving him something to talk about with Mark Henry should they ever be stuck in an elevator.