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Smackdown: Squeaky wheels get the grease
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Alberto del Rio takes a swing at Sheamus. Photos by Devin Chen, www.chdevinphotos.com


Lots of people staking claim to what they want tonight and making headway. A new #1 Contender is named for the World Heavyweight Championship in a match notable for its complete lack of controversy; cracks start showing between Santino Marella and The Cobra; and Dolph Ziggler is running around like Scrat from Ice Age, looking for a place to cash in.

There’s a Johnny-come-lately of sorts to the World Championship picture, and his name, as he will make sure to tell you, is Randy Orton. He says he knows there are some who have a problem with him being a top contender, and invites them to come out and discuss it. To his surprise, Sheamus heads to the ring.

The champ endorses Orton’s bid, which brings out Booker T, but Del Rio storms out alongside Ricardo Rodriguez before Booker can really get going. Del Rio’s in overdrive, though, running down Booker T and the audience. Booker finally retorts that Del Rio was going to get the next title shot ... until he ran his mouth. Now, Orton and Del Rio will fight a #1 Contender’s match tonight.

Josh Matthews is taking the week off after running into Kane backstage at Summerslam, so Teddy Long is here to provide commentary with Michael Cole for the first match, with a different guest commentator for every other match (here’s hoping for Matt Striker just once).

Match #1 – Ryback vs. Jinder Mahal

This is almost like a real match for Ryback. Mahal manages to slip away from some slams and put some boots to Ryback’s head. All the same, once Ryback catches one of those kicks he turns things his way with a clothesline and running Samoan Drop. The crowd chanting “U.S.A.” must have really gotten to Mahal.

Winner via pinfall: Ryback

Match #2 – Alicia Fox vs. Layla

This match’s guest commentator is Kaitlyn, who expresses appropriate surprise herself for her Battle Royal win on Raw. In the ring, Fox gets a good sequence working on Layla’s braced right leg, culminating with a half-Boston Crab that Layla pops out of with a kick to Fox’s head for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Layla

After the match, Kaitlyn enters the ring for a handshake and hug with the champ, and Eve struts down to raise both Divas’ hands. Hm. After the break, Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero are backstage still glowing over turfing Chris Jericho. Sheamus stops by to suggest that Ziggler cash in his contract tonight, which Ziggler snubs. Teddy Long is by next, saying he’ll advise Booker T to make a match between Ziggler and Sheamus for later on.

Match #3 – Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater

Cody Rhodes is on the mic, offering everything but tips on how to be dashing. Cara is in firm control, at one point diving over the top rope to land on Slater on the floor. Rhodes then sneaks up to turn Cara’s mask around on him, blinding him to Slater’s neckbreaker attack.

Winner via pinfall: Heath Slater

Match #4 – Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero)

Guerrero takes the seat next to Cole. Despite a slow start, Ziggler sneaks away from Sheamus’ patented potato forearms and drops the champ mush-first on the apron. Sheamus comes back strong, though, driving Ziggler down with White Noise and readying a Brogue Kick, when Ziggler appears to have an inspired plan. He strikes Sheamus with the briefcase, losing the match.

Winner via disqualification: Sheamus


Dolph Ziggler enthusiastically tries to cash in.

Ziggler strikes Sheamus again and hands his briefcase to the ref, but Sheamus stirs and Ziggler grabs it back before the bell is rung and retreats.

Not many wrestlers can do a solo comedy routine with a sock on their arm and make it work, so more power to Santino Marella. He first blames the Cobra for their loss at Summerslam before pumping his buddy up with a quote from Rocky IV.

Antonio Cesaro and Aksana emerge and taunt Santino (once again in five different languages, once again including the non-existent “Swiss” language), so he speed-walks up the ramp and nearly gets the Cobra on Cesaro, except it’s distracted again by Aksana and Santino gets a boot to the head.

Match #5 – Primo & Epico (w/ Rosa Mendes) vs. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth

Darren Young and Titus O’Neil are on the mic as Epico and Kofi set a quick pace, but Kofi falls prey to some quick tags and struggles to tag in Truth. Once in, Truth does fine with Primo, dodging a Backstabber and landing a Lie Detector.

Winners via pinfall: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth

Immediately after the match, Matt Striker has the tag champs talking about taking on all comers. The Primetime Players shove Striker aside and stake a claim, but so do The Usos, Primo & Epico, and finally Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel. A big brawl breaks out and the tag division looks a little more interesting.

After the break, Booker T and Teddy Long are debating the merits of contenders for the World Title, and Eve pops in with all of her homework done, impressing Booker T –- Teddy Long less so.

Match #6 – Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) - #1 Contender’s Match

Another battle of the black shorts also has Sheamus at ringside on commentary. Del Rio ain’t no dummy, and he works on Orton’s left arm from the outset going into the first break, and slamming it on the steel steps during commercials. The Viper jumps away from the cross-arm breaker, though, countering with his great standing dropkick.

Del Rio then finds himself inconveniently draped over the ropes for a DDT, but he holds on to the ropes to break up an RKO. The cross arm-breaker is next, and it’s not long before Randy Orton taps out, clean as a whistle.

Winner via submission and #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio

Del Rio grabs a shoe off of Rodriguez and tosses it at Sheamus, bringing the champ into the ring where he gets more footwear abuse. This brings Ziggler out again, but as he’s about to cash in, Orton pops up with an RKO to give him something to feel good about tonight.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and never imagined that Josh Matthews would be so missed.

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