Smackdown: Everything old is new again
DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling
In what feels like a WWE video game with all of the classic characters unlocked, the likes of Hillbilly Jim and Sgt. Slaughter mingle with youngsters at least two wrestling generations removed. Plus, Extreme Rules starts to take shape.
”Mean” Gene Okerlund is the first past-blaster in the ring, welcoming one his favourites in with him: World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. The champ endures a brief “Daniel Bryan” chant before apologizing to the referee Chad Patton, whom he kicked in the head last week, all of the officials, and the fans.
One man is, not surprisingly, unsatisfied with the apology. GM John Laurinaitis power-walks to the ring and asks Sheamus to apologize to Patton, the officials, and the world. Sheamus reminds him that he just did all of that, but Laurinaitis gets him to do it all over again.
Still, Laurinaitis is unsatisfied, and puts Sheamus on probation. If the red-head touches an official again, on purpose or otherwise, he will be fired. He’s also fined $500,000, and put in a match against Bryan and Alberto Del Rio with Okerlund as his partner.
Backstage, Bob Orton checks in with his son Randy to wish him luck against:
Match #1 – Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry
Orton absorbs a running powerslam early on, and is having his head awkwardly re-positioned by Henry after the break. Henry follows with a much more legitimately powerful splash than his usual gentle fare, but only gets a two-count. Even two successive avalanches in the corner net only two-thirds of a win.
Orton dodges another splash and builds a comeback with clotheslines and a DDT. Henry pushes him away during an RKO attempt, sending Orton through the ropes to the floor. When Henry follows, he gets rammed into the ringpost twice. Orton slips back into the ring when Kane’s fire bursts from the turnbuckles.
Match Result: No Contest
Both Henry and the referee have taken a powder, so no decision is announced. Kane shows up on the big screen, though, professing how much fun he’s having and showing Bob Orton knocked out on the floor. Orton races backstage and finds his dad, only to be beaten down as well. Somehow, he didn’t see that coming.
Elsewhere, Tony Atlas tells Ted DiBiase Sr. that he’s looking forward to this upcoming “Good old fashioned squash match”:
Match #2 – Benny Camer vs. Ryback
Hillbilly Jim and Pat Patterson have joined the peanut gallery watching from backstage. Camer is game, but a nearly decapitating clothesline is followed by Ryback’s running Samoan Drop the for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Ryback
Heath Slater is in the locker room, trying to recruit Tyson Kidd to be his partner against the Usos, and he has enlisted Jimmy Hart as his manager. After the break, Mick Foley takes a seat at the announcer’s table for the match.
Match #3 – Heath Slater & Tyson Kidd (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
Hearing Jimmy Hart on the megaphone is like a time-travel machine. Kidd holds his own against Jimmy, but Slater tags himself in as he clearly seeks Hart’s approval. Jey gets in on a blind tag, though, and while Foley chases Hart with Mr. Socko, Jey drops Slater with a Samoan Drop and tags in Jimmy for the top-rope splash.
Winners via pinfall: The Usos
As Hart and Slater confer over the loss, Foley gets his sock into the Mouth of the South. He then apologizes, claiming it was a mistake, with no further pay-off.
After the break, the ring is decorated with a tartan get-up, so that means the best of all talk segments is back for a night: Roddy Piper and Piper’s Pit. He welcomes Daniel Bryan to the ring, and Bryan announces that he has his rematch with Sheamus in a two out of three falls match at Extreme Rules. Piper has his own plan for The Pit, though, and calls down AJ.
AJ exhibits some really disturbing emotional issues by admitting that Bryan’s loss was her fault, and that she wants to make it up to him. Piper tries to convince her that Bryan’s not worth it, but Bryan steps in and tells her to leave. She does, and Bryan’s ensuing smile is a mile wide.
Bryan also tries to leave, but Piper calls him back in and lectures him on how to treat a lady. Bryan responds with a slap to the face and takes off, leaving a crazy-eyed Piper yelling after him.
We come back from commercial to a strange sight indeed: The Great Khali dancing in the ring with Natalya and Alicia Fox, while Drew McIntyre lays back in the corner with a Bella Twin on each arm.
Match #4 – The Great Khali, Alicia Fox & Natalya vs. Drew McIntyre & The Bella Twins (Brie & Nikki)
McIntyre is all bravado until he gets a single forearm from Khali, so he tags in a Bella and takes off to the back. It’s not announced which one was tagged, and I admit I can’t tell the difference. Whomever it is gets pinned by Fox in a bridge suplex.
Winners via pinfall: The Great Khali, Alicia Fox & Natalya
As the winners gyrate up the ramp, another past-blaster is out as Mae Young sort of kicks Khali in the knees, bringing him down lower so she can kiss him. After a break, Damien Sandow is after Twitter this week, promising to be a beacon of sophistication to us all. It’s kind of like having The Genius on this flashback evening.
Elsewhere, Okerlund is sporting a Great White t-shirt, as he and Sheamus contemplate the likely hopelessness of them winning their match. This bothers Okerlund much more than it does Sheamus.
Match #5 – “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. Hunico (w/ Camacho)
Duggan pulls out his flying fists early on, but when Camacho threatens to intervene he calls on some help and Sgt. Slaughter heads ringside. The Sarge tosses Duggan his 2X4, which Duggan uses on Hunico in full-view of the ref, then on Camacho for good measure.
Winner via disqualification: Hunico
Slaughter does his part by locking Hunico in the Cobra Clutch. After commercial, Cody Rhodes is in the ring urging the Legends to stop wasting time and to let stars like himself have the focus. You get exactly zero guesses who comes to the ring next: Dusty Rhodes has some words for his son.
Rhodes tells his father that he’s embarrassing him and that they should talk in the back, but he only makes it to the apron before Big Show steps out. He shows one of Rhodes’ old “Dashing” promos (the “Lip Balm” episode), and walks away. Cody soon follows, leaving Dusty in the ring with nothing to do but dance.
Match #6 – Sheamus & “Mean” Gene Okerlund vs. Daniel Bryan & Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez)
Howard Finkel introduces the good guys for this match. Sheamus knocks Del Rio down, but gets himself into trouble by going after Bryan as well. Soon the champ is trapped in the corner getting double-teamed. Bryan dropkicks Sheamus to the floor and Del Rio follows with a kick to the side of the head.
With Sheamus out, the heels circle around Okerlund in the ring. All seems lost until Piper leads the cavalry of legends back down to the ring. While Bryan jaws with Piper, Sheamus slips back into the ring and finishes him off with a Brogue Kick.
Winners via pinfall: Sheamus & “Mean” Gene Okerlund
Ricardo Rodriguez plays the part of piñata as a number of the legends take out their aggressions on the poor guy. For some incomprehensible reason, Michael Cole gets in the ring next and pokes fun at them, and he takes a punch from Pat Patterson to close out the feel-good night.
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and welcomes the return of the Saturday morning-style squash match.