Really, can you get a more basic match-up of finishing moves than is offered by Big Show and Sheamus? Both get to showcase their wares tonight, while the tag team tournament continues with the former champs getting their shot. Also, there’s another good Divas match and a heelish main event.
Big Show gets to open the show with vows of victory at Hell in a Cell and a video package of his greatest WMD hits. Sheamus, while at the same time rudely interrupting Big Show’s speech, comes to the ring to graciously wish for the best man to win.
Big Show refuses a handshake and leaves the ring, so Sheamus rolls his own video package of his challenger’s short title reign from last year and his own short match against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania. Big Show returns to the ring to offer a handshake of his own, and Sheamus in turn rejects him.
Match #1 – Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (w/ Little Jimmy) vs. The Primetime Players (Darren Young & Titus O’Neil – #1 Contenders’ Tag Team Tournament
Little Jimmy can do nothing but watch as Truth is roughed up by Young and O’Neil, until a spinning heel kick on Young allows Kingston to tag in and run a hot streak ending in a Boom Drop. O’Neil distracts Kingston as he sets up Trouble in Paradise, then trips him so Young can deliver a gut-buster.
Winners via pinfall: The Primetime Players
Match #2 – Primo (w/ Epico & Rosa Mendes) vs. Ryback
Pretty costly loss for Primo and Epico in the tournament to be fed to Ryback as a result. Primo gets a nice headlock on Ryback, but that’s the extent of his offense. After he’s clotheslined and had his head bounced off the mat he decides it’s time to leave. Ryback catches him and throws him back in the ring, delivering Shell Shocked.
Winner via pinfall: Ryback
Wow, star power: WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman are backstage.
Match #3 – Layla vs. Alicia Fox
Layla has a little fun with Fox, spanking her after a dropkick, but Fox zeroes in on Layla’s still-recovering left knee to take over. After Layla kicks out of a Lance Storm approved pinning attempt, she uses her fully functional right knee to deliver a roundhouse kick to pry out a victory.
Winner via pinfall: Layla
Matt Striker finds his way into the ring to interview Layla on the prospect of regaining the championship. Layla says it will be sweet winning it back from Eve, then walks away without favouring her knee at all.
Star power, part two: Heyman and Punk bump into Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero and a passionate debate about respect fires up. Booker T sees an opportunity and lets them know they get to continue their argument in a match tonight.
Match #4 – Wade Barrett vs. Brandon Groom
When the announcers don’t provide the name for the opponent it ever bodes well for the contestant. Barrett sits the unnamed on the top rope and shoves him to the floor, then gifts him a Souvenir Elbow to thank him for coming out.
Winner via pinfall: Wade Barrett
Match #5 – Sheamus vs. The Miz
This is not your father’s Hulk Hogan/Ultimate Warrior champion vs. champion match. Miz looks all right with an attack-from-afar strategy, levelling Sheamus with knees, but Sheamus grabs him in mid-air as he attempts his corner clothesline, then White Noise follows and likely a Brogue Kick ... but Big Show ambles casually down to the ring. While Sheamus is inviting him in to fight, Big Show decides to deck Miz instead.
Winner via disqualification: Sheamus
Big Show leaves, having sent his message to Sheamus, which will probably be a cleverly coded to have Sheamus interfere in Big Show’s own match later tonight.
After the break, David Otunga is in the ring bragging on Alberto Del Rio’s behalf about the beating he lay on Randy Orton last week after Smackdown went off the air. Orton’s music hits the arena, but it’s actually Ricardo Rodriguez accompanying Del Rio, who is doing his best Orton impression (including his signature pose on the turnbuckles and the complete lack of expression).
Booker T has had enough of the shenanigans, and makes a match that delights the crowd:
Match #6 – Alberto Del Rio & David Otunga (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane)
Bryan uncharacteristically flexes his muscles after putting Otunga down on the mat, and it costs him as the heels take him from behind enjoy a long double-team advantage. Eventually, Bryan gets to Kane, who soon has Del Rio ready for a chokeslam. Bryan tries tagging in as Kane has his hand raised, but Kane grabs his arm to stop him. Not sure how that isn’t a tag.
Kane instead drops Otunga with a chokeslam, and Bryan gets the blind tag he was after anyway. He launches a head-butt off the top rope and he is, as he would certainly tell you, the winner.
Winners via pinfall: Team Hell No
Backstage, Teddy Long is trying to source the truth about Eve’s machinations while she protests innocence, but Booker T comes in at the wrong time and thinks that Long is making a power play.
Match #7 – Big Show vs. Tensai
Many giant-sized punches and kicks are thrown, but as Big Show readies the launch of the biggest bomb of all, Sheamus absolutely sprints to the ring and lays a Brogue Kick on Tensai.
Winner via disqualification: Tensai
Match #8 – CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero)
Nice main-event feel to this match; both men slip away from their opponent’s finisher within the first few moments, and the return from break finds CM Punk in charge. Both men perch on the corner turnbuckles, punching each other until they also both tumble to the floor.
Punk slams Ziggler down and is thinking Macho Man elbow, but he spends too long pandering to the crowd and is tossed to the mat. Still, he rolls to his feet, dodges a corner splash, and puts Ziggler to sleep.
Winner via pinfall: CM Punk
Punk grabs a mic and once again says he will not face Cena at Hell in a Cell.
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and is happy for the Orioles getting into the ALDS, since they’re at least the other bird-team from the A.L. East.