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Smackdown: Vegan vs. Viper
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


In case the Wrestlemania sign is obscuring your view, the Elimination Chamber gets some more love nine days away from the show. Also read about part two in the flatulent saga, and AJ has a moment to tell us who she’s mad at.

2012 Royal Rumble winner Sheamus (we are reminded of his victory twice in the opening moments), goes on a bit of a rant about how he refused to change for anyone once he arrived in the WWE, and 2012 Royal Rumble near-winner Wade Barrett must have something to say about that because here he comes to the ring.

Barrett is here to tell Sheamus to go for the WWE Championship, since Barrett plans on winning the Smackdown Elimination Chamber. Before Sheamus gets his retort in full gear, Cody Rhodes strides down and promises victory, too. Wait, here comes Big Show ... there’s definitely a pattern here.

Big Show doesn’t promise victory, but he does help Sheamus clear the ring of the other braggarts. Coming back from break, we learn that Smackdown GM Teddy Long has unpredictably arranged a tag match between the four of them for later tonight.

Match #1 – Jinder Mahal vs. The Great Khali

Mahal takes a stiff punch at the bell, then proceeds to walk into a few clotheslines before succumbing to the Punjabi Plunge.

Winner via pinfall: Jinder Mahal

Backstage, Aksana continues her incessant flirtation with Long when Bryan interrupts, claiming the mere thought of a parking lot barbecue earlier on has him unable to compete against Randy Orton tonight. Long doesn’t buy it, and the match is on.

Match #2 – Beth Phoenix vs. Alicia Fox

Phoenix invites Fox the chance to leave the ring, but she declines. A Glam Slam later, Fox may be regretting the refusal.

Winner via pinfall: Beth Phoenix

Phoenix is about to dish out some more hurt when Tamina flies in for a staredown. Backstage, Natalya is explaining her embarrassing problem to Tyson Kidd: she means that she talks when she gets nervous; Kidd thinks she means her farting problem. She squeaks out another one and this time Hornswoggle walks into it and falls flat. Oh, the humanity.

Match #3 – Sheamus & Big Show vs. Wade Barrett & Cody Rhodes

Rhodes gets rag-dolled by Big Show before both teams tag, with Barrett not faring much better. Sheamus gets Rhodes next, and creatively escapes a backslide by powering Rhodes right over top of himself. Rhodes and Barrett follow with some good tag wrestling against Big Show, but eventually Sheamus gets in like a ball of fire and Brogue Kicks Barrett back across the pond.

Winners via pinfall: Sheamus & Big Show

After a break, Michael Cole welcomes AJ to the ring to address her recovery. She doesn’t blame Big Show for what happened, but she takes Cole to task for never respecting Bryan or the Divas. Cole responds with rumours that Bryan set her up for the whole thing.

Bryan power-walks to the ring, chasing Cole out. He rants to the crowd about avoiding meat and about the importance of recycling (which Booker T didn’t seem to see coming, chuckling and glancing over at Josh Matthews in the background). Although Bryan tries to escort AJ away from the arena, Long forces him to stay by threatening to strip him of the title.

Match #4 – Ted DiBiase vs. Hunico (w/Camacho)

DiBiase is steamed and seems poised to run right through Hunico, until a trip to the outside lets Camacho lend a hand. Hunico attacks the left arm relentlessly, but DiBiase surprises him with a roll-up for a quick win.

Winner via pinfall: Ted DiBiase

Returning from commercial, John Laurinaitis is “live” on the phone from Abu Dhabi with the WWE on tour, promising more fun from Mr. Excitement. That’s himself, by the way.

Match #5 – Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton

Big Show is on commentary, and AJ is indeed absent, for this Battle of the Beards. A slow-ish start sees Bryan taking a share of lumps, including being flipped out to the floor. Orton chases him but is caught talking with Big Show as Bryan delivers a knee off the apron.

Back in the ring, several of Bryan’s intriguing holds and strikes are undone by some Orton punches and uppercuts. Bryan escapes the rope-leveraged DDT with a kick, but Orton follows with a superplex. Bryan rolls out of the ring and gets in Big Show’s face, and he is thrown back in for an RKO. The ref, though, calls the match on interference.

Winner via disqualification: Daniel Bryan

Orton and Big Show scrap outside of the ring as Bryan backs up the ramp, content with the chaos he has caused.

Dave Hillhouse can imagine anyone winning the Chamber match ... anyone not wearing baggy red pants, that is.