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   November 26, 2014



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Smackdown: Heeeeere's Johnny!
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


John Laurinaitis makes his debut as GM of Friday night’s show, while Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Big Show, and Cody Rhodes also adjust to life after Wrestlemania. Plus, Barry Stevens fans won’t want to miss this one.

Laurinaitis wastes no time in coming to the ring, accompanied by David Otunga, to address the Teddy Long-partial crowd, promising excitement and partiality. He invites the outgoing GM to come out and pass the torch, but Long is more interested in roasting Laurinaitis.

Long thanks the fans and says goodbye to the greatest job he’s ever had, but only gets halfway out of the ring before Laurinaitis offers him a job in his new administration. Long turns him down flat, but Otunga points out a stipulation in Long’s old contract that says his grandkids’ college fund is controlled by the Smackdown GM, not by Teddy Long personally.

Long swallows his pride and tells the crowd that Laurinaitis is better than him (at the new GM’s urging), and heads to the back still not sure what his new job is, but knowing his grandkids will be cared for. Laurinaitis announces the first match as a handicap contest:

Match #1 – David Otunga & Mark Henry vs. R-Truth

Truth takes care of Otunga with ease with an aerial assault, but his tricks fail against Henry as he’s laid out with a big boot. A.W (Abraham Washington) is backstage watching the match as Henry catches Truth in mid-air and delivers a World’s Strongest Slam. Otunga demands a tag and makes the pin.

Winners via pinfall: David Otunga & Mark Henry

Henry stops Otunga in mid-pose and tells him “You owe me one.” Seconds later, Kane’s pyro explodes and he lumbers to the ring for:

Match #2 – Kane vs. Randy Orton – No Disqualification Match

Neither man wants to fight this in the ring early on, as they brawl to the announcer’s desk and Orton uses Kane to clear off the table. Kane responds by running Orton’s noggin into the steps before the fight goes all the way up the ramp. Apparently this is a No Count-Out match, too.

Kane is thinking chokeslam off the stage, and Orton escapes only to be DDT’d on the grate. Back from break, they’ve returned to the ring where Kane is removing a turnbuckle pad. Orton creates a surge, though, dropkicking Kane to the mat and setting up a leveraged DDT –- but Kane has an answer to that and drags Orton to the floor instead. A big boot leaves Orton motionless and Kane floods the ring with chairs.

Kane immediately regrets this decision as Orton finally gets his leveraged DDT on a chair, but it’s only worth a two-count. Orton employs more irony as he runs Kane into the exposed turnbuckle and plants him with an RKO.

Winner via pinfall: Randy Orton

After a break, Lillian Garcia is in the ring introducing the next match, starting with Barry Stevens from Queens, NY. As the less-than-imposing Stevens tells the Orlando fans that they live in the meanest place on Earth, a few wrestlers are watching from the back, awaiting his destruction.

Match #3 – Barry Stevens vs. Ryback

Ryback makes it a quick night with a couple of powerful attacks, including his unnamed finisher –- a sort of running Samoan Drop. Matthews, for the record, acknowledges Ryback’s part in the original Nexus (though not by his previous name of Skip Sheffield).

Winner via pinfall: Ryback

Next up is the former World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan, coming out to his newfound ovation. He starts to talk about when it all went wrong, but he can’t continue. AJ takes the mic and gives him positive affirmations as the crowd continues to chant for him.

Bryan refuses to accept the love, saying that the fans are mocking him and that AJ cost him the title at Wrestlemania. He really tears a strip off of her, calling out her selfishness and clinginess; that, my friends, is a prelude to a break-up, and there goes the latest wrestling power-couple.

Match #4 – Big Show vs. Heath Slater

Cody Rhodes is on commentary for this one, and Big Show replays his admittedly much less creative “Cody Rhodes’ Embarrassing Wrestlemania Moment” video. That takes only slightly less time than it does for Big Show to spear and chokeslam Slater.

Winner via pinfall: Big Show

Big Show beckons Rhodes into the ring, but when the former Intercontinental champ declines, Big Show takes it out on Slater with a WMD. Backstage, Laurinaitis is chatting with the Bella twins, giving Nikki a match to Brie’s discontent. Sheamus walks in and Laurinaitis asks him to be more sportsmanlike. Sheamus agrees with a thinly-veiled threat for the new GM if he continues to be a bully.

Match #5 – Nikki Bella vs. Beth Phoenix

Kelly Kelly walks out for this one, distracting Phoenix long enough to let Nikki take a surprise win with a Bella Buster.

Winner via pinfall: Nikki Bella

Before the next break, there’s a resoundingly appropriate tribute to the late Chief Jay Strongbow.

After this, a fella named Damien Sandow takes some time to criticize the current era’s lack of sophisticated entertainment, promising to save us from mediocrity.

Match #6 – Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez)

Del Rio loosens up Sheamus’ left arm early on and very nearly gets his cross-arm breaker applied, but Sheamus wiggles away and tries a Brogue Kick –- from which Del Rio ducks away. Del Rio tries a different tact, booting Sheamus off the apron to the floor and running his left arm into the steps, but the champ fights back with a cluster of forearms.

As Sheamus readies another Brogue Kick, Ricardo Rodriguez steps up on the apron, distracting both Sheamus and the referee and allowing Del Rio to bring in a chair. Sheamus wrests the steel away from him, but the ref turns to see Del Rio rolling around on the mat in apparent agony, and so he disqualifies the champ.

Winner via disqualification: Alberto Del Rio

Sheamus is so displeased with the officiating that he finally gets his Brogue Kick -– on the ref. Del Rio and Rodriguez celebrate their way up the ramp, secure in knowing that Del Rio gets a future title shot.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and recognizes that a year of not having The Rock appear on Smackdown will be followed by a year of not having Brock appear on Smackdown.