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   September 01, 2014



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Smackdown: Hands-free for safety
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


Booker T shows utter disregard for the history of wrestling as he invokes a No Contact rule between World Heavyweight Champion Big Show and Sheamus ahead of the TLC pay-per-view (that always works), and also invites them both to the ring for a peaceful contract signing (that always works, too). Since an entertaining main event comes of it, let’s call it worthwhile.

There’s not much better TV than watching two people read over and sign contracts. Sheamus suggests that his Christmas will come early when he beats Big Show for the championship. Big Show pulls a fast one by tipping the table onto Sheamus just before signing the contract, thereby invoking the no contact clause.

Sheamus is angry, naturally, but Big Show actually does a bit of a jig. Booker T tries to soothe the challenger by offering up Alberto Del Rio as a means to vent his frustration. Big Show? He gets a match, too:

Match #1 – Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show

Big Show looks slow and lumbering as he misses big punches and Bryan responds with quick kicks. Soon enough, though, a headbutt and chop are enough to tip the scales in the big guy’s favour.

After the break, Big Show continues to stalk and chop and punch, and generally push Bryan around. The former Yes Man gets some traction as he turns a chokeslam into a DDT, but he’s caught on the top rope and brought down in a chokeslam after all.

Winner via pinfall: Big Show

The Shield comes to Smackdown, as Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns slink into the ring, ignoring Big Show and letting him leave before assaulting Bryan. Kane comes to his partner’s defense, but all he gets is a powerslam onto a table.

After the break, Damien Sandow is once again in the ring seeking an apprentice. Once again he asks three questions, and just like the guardian of the bridge in Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, he saves the hardest for last. The poor schmoe gets it wrong and Sandow is still apprentice-less.

Down comes The Miz to insult Sandow’s robe and tights before turning back as quickly as he arrived. Sandow seethes.

Match #2 – Brodus Clay (w/ Naomi & Cameron) & The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, & Jinder Mahal)

Fast tags and an apparent lack of resiliency on everyone’s part lead to McIntyre pinning Jimmy after a Future Shock DDT. Mahal never makes it into the match.

Winners via pinfall: 3MB

Matt Striker is in the locker room getting thoughts from Wade Barrett about his umpteenth match with Randy Orton. Barrett has every confidence in his own elbow.

Match #3 – Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton

Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston joins the commentary team ahead of his title defence against Barrett at TLC. The fight is scrappy and equal as per usual, until Barrett runs Orton into the ring steps. He follows by missing an elbow off the apron, cueing Orton’s greatest hits.

Barrett blocks the RKO by holding on to the ropes, then tries to take the turnbuckle pad off. Kingston will have none of it and alerts the official, which gives Orton time to recuperate and hit the RKO.

Winner via pinfall: Randy Orton

Backstage, a truly odd trio of Natalya, The Great Khali, and Hornswoggle are on their way to the ring.

Match #4 – The Great Khali & Hornswoggle (w/ Natalya) vs. Primo & Epico (w/ Rosa Mendes)

Most of the early focus is on the shenanigans outside as Hornswoggle trips up Rosa, who gives chase but runs into Natalya for a scrap. Khali chops down Epico and tags in Hornswoggle for a Tadpole Splash.

Winners via pinfall: The Great Khali & Hornswoggle

The Shield delivers a videotaped promo that proves one thing above all: they need a better camera as their “edgy” video of threats and promises just looks like a bad video capture.

Antonio Cesaro is in the ring, calling out America on its weaknesses when R-Truth interrupts with a vow to stand up for hard-working Americans and win the United States Championship from Cesaro at TLC. Of course, Truth doesn’t really want to wait, and ends up in the ring somehow surprising Cesaro with an attack, though the U.S. Champ escapes before Truth can deliver a Lie Detector.

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

Sheamus drops Del Rio early with a slow-motion neckbreaker, but as Del Rio knocks Sheamus off the apron and to the floor, Big Show comes out on the ramp for a look. This can’t be good, as he could almost certainly get a better view from a backstage monitor.

Back from break, Del Rio busts out a moonsault off the second rope, then traps Sheamus in a rope-assisted cross-arm breaker for just less than five seconds. A real slug-fest follows with Sheamus coming out on top, and he leaps off the top rope with a shoulder-block.

A backstabber and enzuigiri by Del Rio precede a second, missed moonsault. Sheamus capitalizes with the Cloverleaf and Del Rio has to quit.

Winner via submission: Sheamus

Big Show gets in the ring and dares Sheamus to punch him, even closing his eyes and jutting out his jaw. Sheamus feigns backing up for a Brogue Kick before throwing Rodriguez into Big Show’s sack of toys to close out the show.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and is absolutely certain that David Otunga could find Sheamus in violation of the no-contact clause by way of purposefully creating contact through a third party. Let’s hope that Big Show calls him.