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Smackdown: Sorry seems to be the hardest word
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


This week, Sheamus has more pressure put upon him to make an apology, and there’s a World Title defense – but it’s not his. There’s also a returning Sin Cara, and Big Show continues his latest transition from ultimately ineffective monster babyface to ultimately ineffective monster heel.

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus opens the show by addressing his upcoming title match with Alberto Del Rio and reminds the fans how Del Rio won the opportunity; not, as you might expect, by virtue of Randy Orton’s suspension, but with his sneaky victory in the triple threat match from last week.

Out comes David Otunga on behalf of John Laurinaitis still seeking an apology for Sheamus’ railroad number on the GM, and Del Rio also arrives to offer support against the hooligan. The cahoots continue as Otunga reveals that Del Rio can choose Sheamus’ opponent for tonight. Sheamus responds with a Brogue Kick on Otunga – but at least he apologized in advance.

Match #1 – Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater

Cara, in a red costume, minus the trampoline entrance but still with the mood lighting, looks to be a half-step behind as he nonetheless defeats Slater with la Mistica.

Winner via pinfall: Sin Cara

Match #2 – Damien Sandow vs. Ezekial Jackson

Sandow gets in the ring, takes off his robe and towel, and then says he’s not going to compete. Jackson grabs him on the apron and tosses him into the ring, but a series of knee-lifts and a neckbreaker help dismantle the previously beastly Jackson.

Winner via pinfall: Damien Sandow

Match #3 – Ryan Shelton & Chris Lyons vs. Ryback

The two flunkies try a little Alabama cheer to pump themselves up. Powerslams, clothesline, and a double-running Samoan drop is what pumps Ryback up.

Winner via pinfall: Ryback

Match #4 – Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus

Ziggler, looking especially tanned by comparison, also looks like a poor choice for Del Rio early on as he takes shoulder-blocks and forearms before getting tossed to the floor. After the break, it’s more of the same until Ziggler baits Sheamus to the apron and dropkicks him all the way to the announcer’s table.

Ziggler employs a submissive strategy after that, but Sheamus shrugs off the sleeper hold attempt and an intervention attempt by Jack Swagger fails, leaving Ziggler primed for a Brogue Kick.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Backstage, Matt Striker elicits a lucid rant from CM Punk as he talks poorly of Laurinaitis and promises that he’s more than a match for Kane tonight.

Match #5 – Titus O’Neil & Darren Young vs. Santino Marella & Zack Ryder

Young and O’Neil corner Santino and have the match well in-hand before Santino surprises Young with a roll-up pin.

Winners via pinfall: Santino Marella & Zack Ryder

Speaking of surprises, one awaits the winners in the form of Big Show, who tosses them both around, plus knocking out Santino, while O’Neil and Young have apparently made for the hills.

Backstage again, AJ sports a CM Punk shirt for her weekly mental deconstruction session with Daniel Bryan as he messes with her in a “love you, love you not” kind of way.

Match #6 – Cody Rhodes vs. Tyson Kidd

Christian is on commentary for this short match that ends with a Cross Rhodes.

Winner via pinfall: Cody Rhodes

Match #7 – Kane vs. CM Punk – for the WWE Championship

So, Kane loses a match last week to contend for the World Heavyweight Championship, and his next match is for the WWE Championship? The challenger delivers his patented high-powered, low-speed offence, surprising Punk by tossing him effortlessly over the ropes.

After the break, Punk is in a similar position on the floor when AJ comes to presumably support her new crush, the champ. Punk narrowly escapes a chokeslam and lets his feet do the talking with a series of kicks to make Chuck Norris proud.

After Punk collapses under the weight of an attempted GTS, he climbs the ropes but has to leap onto a charging Daniel Bryan instead. Kane has Punk ready for a chokeslam soon afterwards, but Bryan leaps in with a dropkick on both wrestlers.

Match result: No Contest

As Bryan and Punk exhibit their current dislike for one another, Kane returns to chokeslam both of them. As he departs, John Laurinaitis wheels in with Eve to announce a triple-threat match for No Way Out: Punk, Bryan, and Kane.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and wishes more matches would end with moves like Santino’s.