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   July 31, 2014



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Smackdown: A new lunatic to run the asylum
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Let’s be honest, there are few occupations with poorer job security than General Manager on either Raw or Smackdown. There are also terrible occupational hazards and insubordinate employees but, for some reason, it’s a job that many pine for and, tonight, someone gets a shot.

Vince McMahon wastes no time in getting to the ring and introducing the new long arm of the law for Friday night: Booker T. As Michael Cole and linguists worldwide celebrate Booker’s removal from the announcing team, Alberto Del Rio comes to the ring and speaks unkindly of Sheamus, while also pronouncing that he won’t lower himself to the point of competing at Summerslam.

Sheamus is out next to defend his upbringing, claiming that he grew up learning to take care of himself because he didn’t have someone to wipe his arse every time he cried. Rewind, double-check; yep, that’s what he said. Anyway, Booker makes matches for both of them tonight, starting with:

Match #1 – Sheamus vs. Tensai (w/ Sakamoto)

Early tests of strength actually give Tensai the advantage, until Sheamus gets a head of steam and manages to kick Tensai around in and out of the ring. Speaking of poor occupational conditions, Sakamoto must be hoping for a win as he has been bearing the brunt of Tensai’s frustrations lately.

It’s looking good for his charge as Tensai runs Sheamus into the turnbuckle and seemingly does a number on the champ’s back, so much so that Sheamus fails multiple times to lift his opponent up in the air. There’s always plan B, though, as in Brogue Kick, and that does the job.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

With more focus on scrambling for positions within Booker T’s new regime, Eve awaits the GM in his office, looking for a job. Unfortunately for her, Teddy Long comes in to say hi and gets a job as Senior Advisor to the GM, filling all of Booker’s current employee needs. She is displeased.

Match #2 – Antonio Cesaro (w/ Aksana) vs. Santino Marella

Cesaro is on the mic before the bell, saying hello to the fans in five languages. He then tosses Santino around rather effortlessly before being felled by a Cobra –- but his foot is under the ropes and the ref calls off the pin. Cesaro then faceplants Santino in five languages for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Antonio Cesaro

Backstage, Daniel Bryan is with Matt Striker, re-living his issues from last week, wearing a new “No!” short, and once again insisting that the crowd not chant “Yes!” anymore.

Match #3 – Chris Jericho, Christian, & Kane vs. The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, & Daniel Bryan

Kane and Christian take turns pounding on Bryan at first, but the subtext of the match has Jericho desperate to get in the ring with Ziggler. Of course, there are other feuds to consider, and after The Miz and Christian nearly knock each other out, the jubilant Jericho gets the tag but only half of his wish, and he is forced to hit a Codebreaker on Ziggler but Bryan, the legal man, rolls him up for the win.

Winners via pinfall: The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, & Daniel Bryan

Matt Striker brings us another penetrating interview, as Orton considers Del Rio’s #1 Contender’s status to be suspect as he himself has been out of action. He doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, but I’m sure he didn’t plan on being gone for a while in the first place.

Match #4 – Jinder Mahal vs. Ryback

Ryback has no plans for letting Mahal escape this week, but a great big pansy knee brings Ryback down to the mat and Mahal rolls outside. He strikes Ryback with a microphone, ending the match as he runs for the hills once again.

Winner via disqualification: Ryback

Match #5 – R-Truth (w/ Kofi Kingston) vs. Darren Young (w/ Titus O’Neil & A.W.)

A.W. distracts the ref early on and a brawl breaks out on the outside very quickly, and this becomes a de facto tag match before Young finishes Truth with a gutbuster.

Winner via pinfall: Darren Young

Booker’s next visiting sycophant is Layla before Cody Rhodes interrupts to learn that he has a match with Sin Cara next week, and also gets a lesson in the subtle difference in pronunciation between “sucker” and “sucka”.

Match #5 – Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez)

Orton looks a little rusty in this battle of the black shorts, getting tossed from corner to corner and getting the bad-mouth laid upon him to boot. That seems to wake Orton up, and his greatest hits package leads to a near-RKO, but Rodriguez interferes to cut the match short.

Winner via disqualification: Randy Orton

Del Rio considers a cross-arm breaker, but escapes the ring as Orton was ready for him. Sheamus, however, returns to run Del Rio back between the ropes and into an RKO from a positively frothing Randy Orton.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and thinks that Smackdown has been missing Mark Henry more than Randy Orton; Wade Barrett, too.