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   July 30, 2014



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Smackdown: A bad case of Laurinaitis
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


John Laurinaitis, GM of Smackdown this week, talks down to Teddy Long. Photo by Bruno Silveira, www.topropephotography.net


It’s time to see how Mr. Excitement can shake up Friday night, but it’s also time for Daniel Bryan to fall deeper into villainy and for R-Truth to keep crawling back towards the light. Plus, Drew McIntyre returns ... did you miss him?

The first image awaiting us is a descending steel cage surrounding the ring as David Otunga introduces tonight’s guest GM: John Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis says that temporarily deposed GM Teddy Long would never start the show with a steel cage championship match, but that is his gift to us.

Match #1 – Jack Swagger (w/ Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero) vs. Santino Marella (champion) – for the United States Championship

Sporting a new combed-over hairstyle, Swagger has fully embraced his inner Biff Tannen (research Back to the Future, kids). Santino is in trouble from the get-go, as he is both out-wrestled and out-muscled.

His most effective attacks come out of desperation, with a Cobra on Swagger as he is falling back in a side suplex, and therefore not able to make the cover, and later with a Tornado DDT as Swagger tries prying him off the cage.

After Ziggler is ejected for climbing up the side of the cage, Guerrero takes matters into her own hands to try and win the belt back for her guy. As Swagger holds Santino by the ankle to keep him from sliding out through the door, Guerrero swings the door shut without noticing that Santino has pulled Swagger towards the door instead. Swagger is knocked back and Santino slides out as Guerrero screams.

Winner via slithery escape and STILL United States Champion: Santino Marella

Backstage, the Long, Laurinaitis, & Otunga show continues. Long begs Laurinaitis to call off the match between Kane and Aksana, but Laurinaitis has an intriguing reply. He challenges Long to a match, and if Long wins, Aksana will fight Kane.

Back in the ring, Drew McIntyre is here thanks to Laurinaitis voiding his dismissal from last week –- if he wins tonight, that is. The Great Khali lumbers down to the ring, much to McIntyre’s chagrin, but Otunga appears again to tell Khali that he’s not in the match. Instead...

Match #2 – Drew McIntyre vs. Hornswoggle

With Khali watching from ringside, McIntyre bodyslams Hornswoggle twice and then gives him what can only be called a wedgie-backbreaker. The referee stops the match soon afterwards.

Winner via decision: Drew McIntyre

As McIntyre celebrates his regained employment, Khali chops him down and attends to Hornswoggle.

Before the break, we see Teddy Long in preparation for his match, convincing Aksana that he has to take on this fight. After the break, Laurinaitis is warming up when Otunga tells him that Kane is one angry monster tonight.

Match #3 – Ezekial Jackson vs. Mark Henry

Jackson gets a few early licks in, even drawing some blood from Henry’s nose. Henry responds angrily with a World’s Strongest Slam.

Winner via pinfall: Mark Henry

Match #4 – John Laurinaitis (w/ David Otunga) vs. Teddy Long (w/ Aksana)

Laurinaitis is sporting full body-length ringwear that makes Michael Cole look stylish and athletic. When Long refuses to lay down for the loss, Laurinaitis calls down Kane. As the big man stalks Aksana, Randy Orton makes the save and RKOs Kane out of the picture. Long takes advantage of the distraction with a roll-up for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Teddy Long

Match #5 – Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Primo & Epico (w/ Rosa Mendes)

R-Truth is in full babyface mode, even throwing out a “What’s up” to the crowd. After Kingston is cut off and double-teamed for a lengthy stretch, R-Truth gets in and hits both Primo and Epico so hard they may actually be able to see Little Jimmy. R-Truth puts Primo away.

Winners via pinfall: R-Truth & Kofi Kingston

Next up is a “Michael Cole exclusive” as he interviews both Sheamus and Daniel Bryan. Here’s the short version: Bryan says he hasn’t just been lucky in his title reign, while Sheamus promises that he’s going to win at Wrestlemania. AJ, on the other hand, doesn’t get a chance to talk as Bryan tells her to shut up.

That’s the end of the exclusive as wrestlers start filling up the ring for a six-man match.

Match #6 – Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, & The Miz vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus, & Big Show

Quick tags mark this match as most of the participants get a chance to strut their stuff: a Big Show chop on former tag partner The Miz sends him scrambling for the tag, bringing in Rhodes. Rhodes, though, doesn’t want any part of Big Show and tags Miz back in again.

Coming back from break, neither Bryan nor Sheamus have any trouble mixing it up before their Wrestlemania bout, with Bryan getting the upper hand. Pretty soon, they take their fight outside as Big Show chases Rhodes to the back. Orton and Miz, with really nothing to hold against one another, finish the match with Orton delivering an RKO.

Winners via pinfall: Randy Orton, Sheamus, & Big Show

After the bell, Kane pulls Orton from the ring and they have a brawling tour of the ringside area and stands.

Dave Hillhouse sees no discernable difference between the way Laurinaitis and Long run their shows, and is therefore still waiting patiently for the identity of the anonymous Raw GM to be revealed.

RELATED LINKS

  • Smackdown at the Mohegan Sun Arena Photo Gallery