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   July 31, 2014



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Smackdown: No more Ace up the sleeve
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


While the sudden end to Laurinaitis’ tenure creates uncertain futures for many (Teddy Long? Eve? Antonio Cesaro?), tonight’s show addresses exactly none of them. Instead, Big Show moves on, while AJ makes another move for Kane.

”He’s back” hollers Booker T, but Teddy Long never really went away. He introduces Mick Foley as tonight’s GM for his own cheap pop, but Big Show’s music stops him cold as the mean monster rumbles down to the ring.

Big Show actually delivers a backhanded compliment to John Cena for his win last Sunday but says he’s shifting his focus to winning Money in the Bank. Being on Smackdown, though, there’s a certain individual who is not restricted from coming to say hello.

Minus a disco ball, Brodus Clay charges the ring (with Naomi and Cameron, who watch from the safety of the announcer’s area) and actually knocks Big Show down. David Otunga, however, drops Clay from behind and allows Big Show to beat on him at his leisure.

Eventually a WMD knocks Clay out and Big Show stalks away to a “You can’t wrestle chant”. Otunga gets in the ring and asks for Clay’s music, doing a sort of Carlton-inspired version of the Funkasaurus.

Match #1 – Frank Venezia & Jared Wachtler vs. Ryback

I thought Ryback wanted three opponents this time? Ah well, he decimates these guys in short order.

Winner via pinfall: Ryback

Backstage, Mick Foley is conversing with Yoshi Tatsu when Vickie Guerrero interrupts to announce that she’s GM for both shows next week.

Match #2 – Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Christian

Christian makes the first big move by backdropping Del Rio over the corner turnbuckles to the floor then landing on him with a cross-body off the top. During the break, though, Del Rio lets Christian runs himself into the steps and takes over the match.

Del Rio’s efforts on working over Christian’s left arm are paying off, as even big moves like a top-rope hurricanrana and a second-rope tornado DDT seem to hurt Christian as much as his opponent. Rodriguez provides a momentary distraction to help Del Rio lock in a cross arm-breaker for the win.

Winner via submission: Alberto Del Rio

After Del Rio departs, Cody Rhodes arrives to inflict more damage on Christian’s arm.

Match #3 – Kane vs. Daniel Bryan

AJ is ringside, officially as the bell-girl, as Bryan and Kane fight, perhaps, for her affection. They trade moves very evenly, but Bryan takes over with a missile dropkick off the top highlighting his offence and a chokeslam turned into a guillotine choke. Bryan then turns to the Yes Lock but AJ rings the bell before a submission. As Bryan celebrates, the ref re-starts the match and Kane chokeslams his way to victory.

Winner via pinfall: Kane

AJ skips away, as Kane seems to be the only guy who doesn’t get what she is up to and stares at her in apparent confusion. After the break, Foley is in the ring only to be interrupted by the incessant Heath Slater, looking for vengeance against Roddy Piper and Cyndi Lauper. Foley responds with a match:

Match #4 – Heath Slater vs. Zack Ryder

So, the Long Island crowd on Monday chants for Ryder but doesn’t get him, and Baltimore sees him instead? People Power wouldn’t have stood for such foolishness. A Rough Ryder makes for another quick night for Slater.

Winner via pinfall: Zack Ryder

Backstage sees Ryder and Foley continuing their newfound bromance when Damien Sandow stops by to insult them. It doesn’t seem to faze either of them.

Match #5 –The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. The Primetime Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young)

The Usos do a number on Young together, and Jimmy takes care of O’Neil once he gets in the ring with a charging inverse posterior to the cranium (as Sandow might put it) and a Samoan Drop. A.W. gets on the apron as Jimmy rises the ropes for a splash, allowing O’Neil a moment to recuperate and bring Jimmy down with a sit-out powerslam.

Winners via pinfall: The Primetime Players

Following this is a tongue-in-cheek promo for the DVD release of No Holds Barred, because nobody beats the WWE for making fun of the things that they convinced you to like in the first place.

Backstage, Primo and Epico interrupt the post-match confab between Young, O’Neil, and A.W. and a brawl breaks out with Rosa Mendes shrieking in the background.

Next up is a strange segment as Santino is in the ring to recognize great signs in the crowd. The camera picks up three of the least original and impressive signs before settling on an “I Love Santino” placard. The woman holding the sign is invited into the ring where she plants a big, lipsticky kiss on Santino, knocking him to the mat.

Match #6 – Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Sheamus

Is there an unofficial championship-loser rematch clause now? While Ziggler shows off with calisthenics, the champ shows off by throwing Ziggler into things. Still, Ziggler takes ownership of the match with a leg lariat from off the steps with Sheamus on the floor. Sheamus recovers with shoulder-blocks and knee-lifts, and ends this ultimately inconsequential match with a Brogue Kick.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and is hoping that this whole Laurinaitis thing is a plan to finally reveal the Anonymous Raw GM.