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Smackdown in Philadelphia







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COMMENT





Smackdown: Henry’s warpath continues
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


There seems to be a lot to do before Hell in a Cell, as matches move quickly and conversations even more so. Throw in an Intercontinental Title match and the un-masking of one of the Sin Caras (sort of), and St. Louis, MO has your last show before Sunday.

Booker T’s customary pre-broadcast entrance actually opens the show tonight, as he heads into the ring first to welcome Mark Henry. The World Heavyweight Champion counts Booker as one of his detractors, and twice refuses to shake his hand. He also vows that he will end Orton’s career on Sunday.

Match #1 – Mark Henry vs. The Great Khali

This is not technically a rematch between these two as the bell never rang in their previous encounter. The match is best summed up this way: twenty-one combined punches, six combined kicks, and Henry wins after the World’s Gentlest Splash and World’s Strongest Slam.

Winner via pinfall: Mark Henry

After the match, Henry nominates and approves of Khali’s entry into the Hall of Pain, dropping his full weight onto Khali’s chair-encased leg. Out of everyone that Henry has put away with this maneuver, Khali looked to grin and bear it the best.

Backstage after the break, Teddy Long is escorting Khali on a stretcher with a number of officials, when Jinder Mahal takes advantage of a chance to verbally rip Khali while he’s down.

Match #2 – Evan Bourne (w/ Kofi Kingston) vs. Jack Swagger (w/ Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero)

Swagger is beating Bourne down handily, driving him to the mat with a side suplex and sidewalk slam. Bourne recovers to block the Swagger Bomb, but Guerrero jumps up on the apron and allows Ziggler to ring Bourne’s neck against the top rope. Guerrero then stops Bourne from launching Air Bourne, and Swagger cinches in the ankle lock to take it from there.

Winner via submission: Jack Swagger

Match #3 – Heath Slater vs. Sin Cara

Slater gets in about as much offence as the Texas Rangers against the Tampa Bay Rays, and Cara finishes him quickly with a senton bomb.

Winner via pinfall: Sin Cara

While Cara celebrates and gesticulates, Twin Cara appears on the big screen. He claims that Sin Cara stole his identity once before, and removes his mask to reveal ... a different mask. Suddenly I’m brought back to Robert Stack taking off his sunglasses in Airplane! These two will settle the score at Hell in a Cell, which is promising.

John Laurinaitis is backstage with a fine collection of heels, as David Otunga leads the charge for worker’s protection. Laurinaitis says he’s sympathetic, and something will get done on Raw.

Match #4 – Natalya vs. Kelly Kelly

Beth Phoenix is doing commentary at ringside. Natalya shoves Kelly around and hits her with a hard clothesline. Kelly sneaks out another win, though, like Barry Horowitz and Skip all over again. This time Kelly uses a victory roll for the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Kelly Kelly

Kelly foolishly celebrates with her back to Phoenix, and she attacks the champ accordingly with a Glam Slam. Natalya follows with her variant finisher – kind of a cross between a surfboard and the Sharpshooter. Presumably, a clever name is coming.

Match #5 – Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes (champion) - for the Intercontinental Championship

Rhodes has a great speech that culminates in him defending the title under protest. Sheamus is the decided aggressor early on, but Rhodes goes from a Beautiful Disaster kick to a standing dropkick, and focuses on Sheamus’ left arm. After a lengthy time held in an arm wringer, Sheamus drives Rhodes into the ringpost. He is primed for the High Cross, but Christian interferes, ending the match.

Winner via disqualification: Sheamus

Christian brings Sheamus down with a Kill Switch, which must have been satisfying, but wouldn’t he have wanted Sheamus to win the title so he could have a shot at it on Sunday?

Match #6 – Zack Ryder vs. JTG

JTG challenges Slater for being least close to winning, falling prey to a Broski Boot and a Rough Ryder.

Winner via pinfall: Zack Ryder

Mr. H finds Laurinaitis backstage, and tells him he has no time for disloyal employees. Elsewhere, Matt Striker doesn’t even ask Randy Orton a question, and Orton goes off talking about himself -- how dangerous he is and that he will win on Sunday.

Match #7 – Christian vs. Randy Orton

Christian keeps his distance early on, then moves in with a spinebuster, neckbreaker, and dropkick. Orton replies with his melodramatic Lou Thesz Press and starts a slug-fest. Christian wins the punching contest, but soon after loses to an Orton clothesline. Christian escapes an RKO and delivers a spear, but only gets a two-count. He runs from a second RKO attempt, and Orton brings the fight outside until they’re both counted out.

Match Result: Double count-out

Orton clears off the announcer’s table and seems primed to beat Christian as badly as he did Rhodes last week, but out comes the IC Champ to help Christian double-team Orton. Sheamus then comes to the rescue and the ring clears out -– except for Orton, who is left to see Henry approaching. Henry is thinking of the Hall of Pain again, but Orton finally hits him with an RKO, sending the champ reeling to the outside. Orton is left to pander for the hometown crowd while Henry shakes the cobwebs.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and is not Twin Cara, so you can stop speculating on that.