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Smackdown: Champs make their mark
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


With already a month’s worth of Christmas-themed shenanigans behind them, will the WWE squeeze out one more night of festive fun, or will more important issues be addressed? Namely: Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum, does Big Show smell the blood of Daniel Bryan?

Speaking of the recent transitional World Heavyweight Champion, Big Show is all smiles as the jolly green-camo giant heads to the ring to vent his feelings. He still talks like a happy-go-lucky guy, but Mark Henry gets in the ring alongside him to brush him off and seek a rematch with Daniel Bryan.

Big Show is about to question Henry’s logic, seeing as you can’t have a rematch without having an initial match, when new champ Daniel Bryan gets in between the big men and dishes out a little self-deprecation with a dash of pride in being champion. Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long gets the last word, making a number-one contender’s match between Henry and Big Show for tonight.

Match #1 – Cody Rhodes vs. Zack Ryder

Big reception for the new U.S. Champion ... not so much for Rhodes. Ryder keeps Rhodes down with arm-drags into arm-bars until Rhodes hits a decidedly Goldust-esque uppercut and evens the match with a lengthy cross-face. Ryder cues up a greatest hits package with a corner-clothesline and Broski Boot, then Booker T gets an assist by singing “Cody the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on the house mic as the Rough Ryder ends the distracted Rhodes’ evening.

Winner via pinfall: Zack Ryder

Santino Marella is in Teddy Long’s office, pitching himself as Ryder’s replacement as his assistant. Aksana inserts herself into the conversation, pitching a presumably different kind of assistance altogether. Lastly, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler make their own pitch, with Ziggler eyeing a shot at Bryan’s title. Long makes a non-title match between them for later tonight.

Match #2 – Mark Henry vs. Big Show – Number One Contender’s Match

Just as the immoveable force is about to meet the irresistible object, David Otunga intercedes and announces that Henry is not medically cleared for competition tonight, cancelling the match.

Match results: No Contest

Otunga finishes offering holiday wishes on behalf of John Laurinaitis just in time to receive a lump of coal in the form of a Big Show WMD. After the break, Teddy Long is strutting backstage and runs into The Miz, wanting to know why he was asked to be on the show tonight. Long doesn’t know, so Miz heads to the ring for a challenge from anyone, and he gets...

Match #3 – Sheamus vs. The Miz

Miz focuses a strong attack on Sheamus’ left arm and shoulder, but finds that the Irishman’s right arm works just fine after a clothesline. Sheamus then powers out of the Skull-Crushing Finale with ease and counters with a Brogue Kick – taking an easy win over the must-see Miz.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Wade Barrett is in the ring after the break, promoting himself and looking for a heavyweight title shot. As he leaves the ring, Orton’s music heralds his attack, with Barrett scrambling away to the backstage. Orton follows him and they have a good donnybrook through the arena and parking lot, with an RKO on top of some poor person’s car topping it off.

Match #4 – Kofi Kingston (w/ Evan Bourne) vs. Primo (w/ Epico & Rosa Mendes)

Primo has things well-in-hand from the start, hitting Kingston high and low – until Kingston hits from even higher with a cross-body off the top rope to wrest away control. As Primo consults (or argues?) with his teammates on the floor, Kingston pops up with Trouble in Paradise for the last word.

Winner via pinfall: Kofi Kingston

Match #5 – Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero)

Ziggler finds himself in a surfboard submission very early on, but escapes to the ropes, dodges a dropkick and takes a moment for some sit-ups. Although Ziggler is not in any real trouble, Jack Swagger strides to ringside and runs Bryan over when the ref’s attention is on Vickie. Big Show is out as proof that he has no personal grudge against Bryan, and soon there’s a brouhaha with all four in the ring, so Teddy Long makes it legal.

Match Result: No Contest

Match #6 – Daniel Bryan & Big Show vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger (w/ Vickie Guerrero)

The fresh faces, Big Show and Swagger, start it off, but Swagger soon wants out and lets Ziggler take a beating instead. Bryan tags in and Big Show can’t honestly be too upset about watching Bryan getting worked over by both of his opponents. Bryan escapes Ziggler’s sleeper hold then, after a destructive cameo from Big Show, Bryan turns Swagger’s ankle lock into a LeBell Lock for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Big Show & Daniel Bryan

Big Show lets Bryan have the ring to celebrate, and if there’s any bad blood between them it’s not showing up tonight.

Dave Hillhouse is surprised that the WWE didn’t create a Mayan character for this year, getting some traction as we tick towards 2012.