Smackdown: The Big Show returns big time
DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling
After last week’s show put on matches seemingly as an after-thought, tonight the Buffalo, NY crowd is treated to the best overall collection of matches from Smackdown this year (arguably topped by a match that shows what the Divas division could be). Hell in a Cell also looms as the PPV card starts taking shape.
Big Show looks mad tonight as he lumbers first into the ring, re-living his embarrassment over losing the World Heavyweight Championship to Daniel Bryan. He says it was even more embarrassing to watch Bryan lose in 18 seconds to Sheamus (interestingly, he refers to the Sheamus/Bryan match from Wrestlemania as the Main Event; it was of course, almost as far from a main event as you could get). He claims to be the one man on the roster who can beat Sheamus.
Two gentlemen disagree with that: Randy Orton, who announces that the match between himself and Big Show tonight is for the chance to face Sheamus at Hell in a Cell; and Alberto Del Rio, who might have had something interesting to say were it not for Orton greeting him with an RKO as soon as he steps through the ropes.
Match #1 – Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro (champion) – for the United States Championship
Cesaro also looks grumpy tonight, pounding Santino with fists and suplexes. At one point, Santino slams the champ and pulls out the Cobra sock, but Cesaro manages to toss it from the ring. Forced to improvise, Santino connects with a super-kick and tries a headbutt off the top. Cesaro rolls away and follows with the Neutralizer to retain.
Winner via pinfall and STILL United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro
Match #2 – Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya
A handshake opens this contest, but a series of reversals gets the tempers flaring until Natalya slaps Phoenix and an ugly looking scrap ensues. Phoenix, sporting a Buffalo Sabres-style patch on her trunks, appeals to the crowd for energy before finding herself trapped in the Sharpshooter. She escapes via the ropes and soon enough plants a Glam Slam on Natalya for a two-count. A reversal of a roll-up shortly afterwards nets Phoenix a home-town win.
Winner via pinfall: Beth Phoenix
Immediately after the decision is announced, Eve arrives on the ramp to let Phoenix know that she’s suspended indefinitely pending the investigation into the attack on Kaitlyn. Don’t worry, though, because after the break Booker T annuls the suspension after hearing from Phoenix and Eve.
Eve’s machinations seem to plant a seed of doubt in Booker’s mind about Teddy Long, as she suggests the suspension was Long’s idea. Oh, and there’s also going to be a tag-team tournament to find a team to face Daniel Bryan & Kane at Hell in a Cell.
Match #3 – Zack Ryder vs. Wade Barrett
Ryder survives the early barrage to deliver a dropkick off the top and a Broski Boot of sorts (Barrett had rolled out of the ring as Ryder was “Woo-wooing”, but got a kick to the face delivered through the ropes anyway), but Barrett’s newly christened Souvenir Elbow wraps things up.
Winner via pinfall: Wade Barrett
Sheamus responds to The Miz.
Next up is Miz TV with tonight’s guest, Sheamus. Actually, Sheamus acts more like the host, swiping the mic from Miz and not letting him talk until the crafty MTV star produces his own. They talk about the importance of tonight’s main event, but that brings out Dolph Ziggler who thinks Sheamus should still be most concerned about him and his Money in the Bank contract. After an awkward pause, Sheamus attacks both men, violently throwing Miz into the soft couch cushions (making Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition proud) before launching both men from the ring.
Match #4 – The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. The Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) – #1 Contenders’ Tag Team Tournament
This match moves at lightning speed before Rhodes puts up the knees to block a Jimmy top-rope splash, following with Cross Rhodes for the win.
Winners via pinfall: Rhodes Scholars
Match #5 – Ryback vs. Tensai
Ryback lifts up the big man for a belly-to-belly, and Tensai responds with a sort of sit-out powerslam. A clothesline by Ryback gets him on track for his Shell-Shocked drop.
Winner via pinfall: Ryback
We see Randy Orton slinking through the backstage on his way to the main event, when Del Rio repays him with a blindside attack, working over his left arm and ribs. This seems to lead to a change in the match-up as Del Rio comes out to announce he has replaced Orton, but the Viper disagrees, lays Del Rio out, and heads to the ring.
Match #6 – Randy Orton vs. Big Show – for the World Heavyweight Championship’s #1 Contender’s spot
Big Show has a headbutt and a clutch at Orton’s ribs, while Orton turns a chokeslam into a DDT, and a second attempt into an RKO. Orton’s too slow to cover, though, and only gets a two-count. He thinks about a punt, but Big Show pops up into a chokeslam, also for a two-count. No matter, a second chokeslam finishes Orton off.
Winner via pinfall and #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and misses happy Del Rio.
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