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Smackdown: Eye of the Viper
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


The WWE has long been a vocal supporter of the U.S. Military, and so, despite broadcasting from Liverpool, England, the show still opens up with a Veteran’s Day message of thanks. The focus is ultimately on Survivor Series, though, so keep it right here because you will find the title of a song by the band “Survivor” in every paragraph of this report.

Randy Orton is out first, reminding the crowd of that which he seems to have spoken about ever since the world began: he doesn’t play well with others. This doesn’t mean, of course, that he isn’t ready to captain a Survivor Series team against opposing captain Wade Barrett.

Barrett interrupts his speech, promising that in the moment of truth, his team will prevail over Orton’s. Orton disagrees, but never mind that: here comes Christian in a neck brace referencing The Beatles break-up for all the Liverpudlians. After Christian and Barrett inevitably gang up on Orton, Sheamus runs out to the rescue and clears the ring – grabbing Christian’s neck brace in the process.

Teddy Long can smell an opportunity for a match in England just as well as he can across the miles in America, and so he pits Sheamus against Christian next, while also making a main event match to spoil some Survivor Series anticipation between Orton and Barrett.

Match #1 – Christian vs. Sheamus

Sheamus can’t hold back his temper after Christian slaps him, potatoing him in the ropes, press slamming him, and eventually sending Christian running to the floor. Christian reverses the momentum by running Sheamus into the ringpost, then following with a missile dropkick. Going to break, though, Sheamus tosses Christian into the security barrier with a fall-away slam.

Back from commercial, Christian tries another top-rope attack, but leaves his mid-section wide open for a strike by Sheamus. The Irishman recovers with clotheslines and punches, then catches Christian off the top again for another fall-away slam. Christian drop-kicks Sheamus to the mat and tries once more for a top-rope assault, landing a tornado DDT. Sheamus kicks out of a pinning attempt, though, knowing full well when seconds count. After Christian fails to deliver a Kill Switch, Sheamus wins by driving Christian down neck-first with the Celtic Cross.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Christian re-applies his neck brace after the match. After the break, Daniel Bryan is getting some encouragement from Kaitlyn and that popular girl AJ, before turning around to find World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry wanting a word with him. Henry likes Bryan’s moxie, but still promises to destroy him in a match tonight.

Next, Ezekial Jackson gets a promo. Does this mean that the whole town’s talkin’ about Jackson? More importantly, isn’t this his third “introductory” promo video?

Backstage, Teddy Long is commending referee Charles Robinson on his performance, but shoos him out of the room because he knows his everlasting crush Aksana is in next. Long tells her that she’ll be observing Alicia Fox in action to help her prepare for her own debut. Aksana mistakes Fox for Rihanna. That’s funny, because I always mistake Fox for Edge and Vickie Guerrero’s wedding planner.

Match #2 – Ted DiBiase vs. Jinder Mahal

DiBiase, the antithetical poor man’s son, gets all jumpy with a couple of clotheslines and Dream Street for a quick win.

Winner via pinfall: Ted DiBiase

Match #3 – Mark Henry vs. Daniel Bryan

Remember, Henry admitted earlier that he admired Bryan’s guts, but that courtesy doesn’t stop him from throwing Bryan out of the ring and squishing his face against the steps. Bryan is ready to do whatever it takes, though, and gets back in the match, over-rotates a bit on a missile dropkick and lands on the back of his head.

He still has the presence to get the champ in the LeBell Lock, but with 20/20 hindsight he might se the futility in that. Henry simply lifts him off the mat and slams him down, following with a splash that could have got a three-count, but Henry lifts him up. Bryan asks for more, and Henry obliges with a World’s Strongest Slam.

Winner via pinfall: Mark Henry

After the match, Henry decides that Bryan needs to be taken to the woodshed, and he brings his Hall of Pain chair into the ring. Bryan wrests it away from him and gets a shot in, but Henry squashes him again with two WS Slams and an elbow drop. Henry can’t give it up, and has Bryan ready for the HOP entry, but Big Show runs down to make the save.

Match #4 – Big Show vs. Three Local Competitors

That’s how WWE.com is billing this triad of trouble, so that’s good enough for me. Big Show acts like a man against the world and wins with a knock-out punch (now called the WMD).

Winner via pinfall: Big Show

Henry had stayed on the ramp to watch, and admits he is impressed, but before Big Show can ask Henry “what do you really think?”, the champ also vows to make an impression at Survivor Series.

Match #5 – Alicia Fox (w/ Aksana) vs. Tamina (w/ Rosa Mendes)

Natalya is offering some commentary on this one, watching as Tamina swings Fox around by the head a couple of times. This ain’t the first night for Fox in a ring, though, and she fights back with dropkicks and her leg drop finisher.

Winner via pinfall: Alicia Fox

Matt Striker follows a look back at Sheamus sharing a stage with Justin Bieber (fulfilling WWE PR’s desperate dreams) by asking Sheamus about his temper. Sheamus coyly admits to having one.

Match #6 – Hunico & Epico (w/ Primo) vs. The Usos

Hunico and Epico, in jeans and kind of looking like Los Boricuas, isolate Jimmy early on to great success. Jey gets in and reverses the flow of the match, but Primo decides that it doesn’t have to be this way and provides enough distraction for Hunico to rebound and finish Jey off with his Senton Bomb. The Usos take some more punishment after the bell, too.

Winners via pinfall: Hunico & Epico

Match #7 – Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett

Josh Matthews and Michael Cole keep making a big deal out of Wade Barrett flying solo and making it on his own, all while on his way to captaining a Survivor Series team. Orton meanwhile, admitting earlier on to burning bridges with the factions he’s been associated with, has the early upper hand with a vertically impressive dropkick and follow-up knee drops.

The fight spills to the floor, where Barrett jumps over the stairs after being Irish-whipped towards them, then drives the steps into Orton instead before reversing the operation and sending Orton into the steel. Barrett, before oceans of fans from close to his hometown, assumes complete control after the break.

Barrett is caught, though, on the top rope, and Bob Orton’s rebel son superplexes Barrett back to Earth. The Viper’s greatest hits follow, but Barrett stays out of the RKO and jabs Orton in the eye, rolling him up for the victory.

Winner via pinfall: Wade Barrett

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and desperately wants to teach the WWE the difference between 25th Annual and 25th Anniversary – this will be the 25th Annual Survivor Series.