Tonight, Orton and Rhodes use a blow-off match to build towards a future blow-off, Mark Henry seems to be getting grumpier, and is Big Show stealing John Cena’s “Vanilla Ice” gimmick in an attempt to reach new heights of superstardom?
Match #1 – Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes -- Street Fight
Smackdown starts with a PPV-worthy match, which is half a compliment for the performance, and half a question of why it’s on TV. Neither wrestler shows up in traditional street fight attire, and it stays in the ring long enough to cause wonder if there’s been a mix-up in booking.
Eventually, the fight goes outside the ring, where both wrestlers take turns being launched into the steps, then Orton clotheslines Rhodes over the barrier and they fight amongst the fans. Rhodes wants a break so he runs up the ramp, feeding one of his paper-bag flunkies to Orton for an RKO.
After a break, and a skirmish at the top of the ramp, Orton practically drags Rhodes up the turnbuckles, then brings him back down with a superplex. After a second break, Rhodes is on fire as he traps Orton in a figure-four leglock. Rhodes employs questionable strategy when he breaks his own hold to smack Orton in the face with his protective mask. Orton gets the mask himself and repays Rhodes in kind.
After a dodged RKO and escaped Cross Rhodes, Orton takes Rhodes to the floor and gives him a leveraged DDT off the security barrier, then brings Rhodes back into the ring for an RKO and the win.
Winner via pinfall: Randy Orton
After living with the same and humiliation, and the lingering smell of recycled fiber, Orton gets his revenge by paper-bagging Rhodes. Plus, that's payback for doing it to Kermit, Cody.
Match #2 – Ted DiBiase vs. Tyson Kidd
Extremely even match until DiBiase gets his knees up to block an incoming elbow. DiBiase follows with his fake-out, rope-running clothesline. How does that still work? Does nobody watch tapes before their matches? DiBiase fights his way out of the Sharpshooter and takes Kidd to Dream Street.
Winner via pinfall: Ted DiBiase
Backstage, Mark Henry is talking to Matt Striker about why Big Show won’t get another match, when he’s distracted by Daniel Bryan looking for the vegan options at the craft services table. Henry has some choice words regarding Bryan and his chances of ever successfully capitalizing on his Money in the Bank contract. As often happens in the ruthless and aggressive world of wrestling, this conversation eventually turns into a challenge for a match which will come later on tonight.
Match #3 – Alicia Fox vs. Natalya (without Beth Phoenix)
All you need to know is that Natalya has Fox in the Sharpshooter, then releases it to try and re-apply it. Why? Fox slips away from the second attempt, hits an enzuigiri, and finishes Natalya with a somersault leg drop thing.
Winner via pinfall: Alicia Fox
Big Show comes to the ring with something to get off his chest, and it's a somewhat Christian-esque plea for one more match with Mark Henry to knock him out -- because mama said knock you out. Big Show really does his best LL Cool J, which is not to say it’s all that good, just that it’s his best. Next week, Big Show will be wearing the hottest throwback jerseys and laying some freestyle badmouth on anybody who looks at him sideways. Or not. Christian comes to the ring and makes basically the same observations I just made, while also suggesting that Big Show doesn't deserve another shot. Christian, however, is stupid enough to have said it in person, and Big Show delivers his choke-slam rebuttal.
Match #4 – Christian vs. Sheamus
Sheamus is more than ready for the match, but Christian is still recovering at ringside. Wade Barrett emerges to stand up and fight for the injured Christian. Is this what Barrett meant by not needing partners and walking alone (© Batista/Saliva)?
There are lots of heavy hits back and forth, as Sheamus potatoes Barrett in the ropes, and Barrett responding with his big kick while Sheamus is tied up. It gets sloppy after that, looking like a bad schoolyard fight with half-hearted forearm slaps. Sheamus is poised for the win when he lifts Barrett up for the High Cross, but Christian jumps up on the apron, allowing Barrett to roll Sheamus up for the victory.
Winner via pinfall: Wade Barrett
Christian slips into the ring to spear Sheamus, and he walks up the ramp triumphantly with Barrett. After the break, all three continue their hands-on discussion backstage, eventually to be separated by security. Elsewhere, Big Show lets Daniel Bryan know that he'll be in his corner later on.
Match #5 – Sin Cara vs. Epico
Epico looks strong with a sort of Three Amigos on Cara, but Cara is on his way to success as he sets up Epico for the Senton Bomb. Cara's troubles instantly double, though, as Hunico (the wrestler formerly known as Twin Cara) knocks him off the ropes and gleefully double-teams the faceless luchador along with Epico.
Winner via disqualification: Sin Cara
Match #6 – Mark Henry vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan tries the required hit-and-run offense, but is unfortunately caught by Henry and tossed all around and out of the ring. Henry is unceremoniously squashing Bryan’s face against the ringpost when Big Show blatantly interferes by chasing Henry away. The ref keeps the match going. Bryan starts chopping at Henry’s legs, bringing him down to eye-level, but Bryan can’t get any momentum. He is crushed in the corner by three running splashes when Big Show once again interjects, this time with a knock-out punch on Henry. The ref can’t ignore this one.
Winner via disqualification: Mark Henry
With Mark Henry knocked out, Big Show pours some cold water in Bryan's face and seems to convince him to cash in Money in the Bank. Here are three reasons he doesn't: firstly, Bryan's storyline is that he is steadfastly waiting for Wrestlemania; secondly, the WWE learned their lesson regarding spoilers when Jack Swagger cashed in on pre-recorded Smackdown; and thirdly, Mark Henry wakes up and slams Bryan in the world's strongest manner.
The show is capped off by Teddy Long announcing that Big Show gets one more match against Mark Henry at Survivor Series. I would rather see them captain opposing teams filled with all the biggest mountains of men that the WWE could put together, but that’s just the 1980s fan in me.
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and likes the name Epico. Makes me thing of Faith No More, and also hopes that his finishing move will be the Epi-Pen.