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Smackdown: Blood on TV and a title match
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Blood may not seem headline-worthy, but do you remember when the sight of a bloody-faced wrestler in the WWE's last PG-era was a big deal? What made it a big deal was its rarity. Someone takes one for the team tonight, and the mere sight of the red stuff is once again an extreme event. There's also an impromptu match for the World Heavyweight Championship.

The night kicks off with John Laurinaitis in the ring and a gaggle of wrestlers on the floor by the ramp. Laurinaitis wants to clear the air and insists that Mr. H is doing a fine job, then he calls down World’s Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry. Henry calls out a couple of non-believers, but he’s interrupted by Mr. H himself.

Before the COO can get in a word, Christian steps into the ring with a mic, relentless in his argument for one more title shot, insinuating in the process that Henry won’t have the belt for long. Mr. H responds by making a lumberjack match for the championship between Henry and Christian for later in the show.

Match #1 – Sheamus vs. Heath Slater

Booker T might have given away the ending when he says that Slater is going to get a whuppin’ from Sheamus, but Slater gets Sheamus down early with a swinging neckbreaker (a roll, without the shake and rattle). Sheamus fights back with a shoulder-block off the top rope, then shows off a new “Huh” chant, letting his opponent know that his Brogue Kick is coming. Booker T was right.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Christian is backstage, looking to rally support for himself during the lumberjack match. He tries to strike a deal with The Great Khali, but the only thing they agree upon is that Christian is small.

Match #2 – Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel

Barrett ties Gabriel up in the ropes, railing against him with knee-lifts and a running kick to the head. Gabriel sends Barrett to the floor, though, following with a dive over the top, crashing into Barrett. Gabriel gets him back in the ring and lands a Lionsault, then heads to the corner ropes. Oops, he spends too much time pandering to the fans and gets kicked in the head again. Barrett drops him with Wasteland for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Wade Barrett

Match #3 – AJ & Kaitlyn vs. Beth Phoenix & Natalya

Kaitlyn suffers a double-team suplex early on, and AJ tags in soon afterwards for a Glam Slam to take the loss.

Winners via pinfall: Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya

Match #4 – Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes

Things are fast-paced from the get-go, as Orton pounces on Rhodes before the Intercontinental champ focuses his attack on Orton’s taped knee. The official catches Rhodes taking off a turnbuckle pad, but doesn’t see an attack on Orton using the facemask. All this does is anger Orton, who grabs the mask and attacks Rhodes in front of the ref, ending the match.

Winner via disqualification: Cody Rhodes

Rhodes takes several more shots to the face with his own mask, then finds himself on the floor being run in the face with the bell by Orton. Blood immediately runs heavily from Rhodes’ head, and Orton follows with an RKO on the announcer’s table. Is this the end of the face

Next up on Christian’s search for friends is Sheamus –- he even brings along a potato as a peace offering. Sheamus feigns gratitude for the present, promising Christian that he has his back. Sheamus eventually takes a bite of the potato, lamenting that it’s from Idaho, not Ireland. Christian should have got something from Bud the Spud instead.

Match #5 – The Great Khali vs. Jinder Mahal

Mahal attacks eagerly first with a high kick, which is still sort of a low kick on Khali, weathers a chop, and brings Khali down with a DDT. Mahal can’t keep Khali on the mat, though, and soon finds himself in a Punjabi Plunge, taking the loss. For extra emphasis, Khali makes the pin with one foot.

Winner via pinfall: The Great Khali

Match #6 – Daniel Bryan vs. Sin Cara

A handshake opens this contest, which turns out to be a pretty sloppy match. The pace is fast, perhaps to quickly cover up the awkward moves between these two reliable opponents. With Bryan on the floor, Cara leaps off the apron, locking him in a head-scissors and throwing him into the stairs. Cara rolls Bryan back in and climbs the turnbuckles, but Twin Cara knocks him off without the ref seeing anything. The imposter climbs the ropes instead and lands a Senton Bomb for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Sin Cara?

Christian’s next stop is Randy Orton’s office, but while he’s working up the nerve to ask for his help, Zack Ryder emerges. Ryder says he can’t get involved in the Lumberback Match, then has to take a call from Hugh Jackman and takes off.

Match #7 – Air Boom (Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)

Very early on, Jimmy holds Bourne for Jey to leap off the top buckle with a sort of Demolition Elbow, but Kingston gets the early hot tag, splashing Jey off the top and preparing Trouble in Paradise. Jey responds with a superkick, but Kingston fights back with a surprise TIP, tagging in Bourne for the Air Bourne finish.

Winners via pinfall: Air Boom

Match #8 – Christian vs. Mark Henry (champion) – for the World Heavyweight Championship

The lumberjacks surround the ring, notably missing Orton, Sheamus, and, not surprisingly, Rhodes. Christian thinks about taking a walk early, but he’s encouraged to stay in the ring. Henry tosses him over the top anyway, where Jackson greets Christian with a knee-lift before rolling him back in. Christian gets Henry down on the mat after two missile dropkicks, giving Henry the idea to roll out for a breather. He pulls Christian out with him, and every lumberjack attacks Henry. He blows them all off with ease, and Christian heads up the ramp, apparently ready to call it a night. Sheamus thinks otherwise, running down and throwing Christian right into a World’s Strongest Slam.

Winner via pinfall and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Mark Henry

Orton makes his presence felt by rushing into the ring and dropkicking Henry through the ropes to the floor. An epic staredown ensues.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and thinks that maybe all of this time, Sheamus has been bringing back memories of Soda Popinski from Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!.