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   August 21, 2014



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Smackdown: New challengers for Big Show
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


It’s time to turn the page on 2012, with Big Show still in possession of the World Heavyweight Championship. Booker T has a plan, though, to deliver a title match tonight. There’s also a good match between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, and a few resolutions made along the way.

Sheamus opens the show with some jokes about egg-nog flavoured ale and all the sunscreen he received for Christmas, and then goes all Christian (the wrestler, not the faith) by calling out Big Show to have one more match for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Big Show enters the ring and quite logically suggests that Sheamus has had his fair share of rematches. As the redhead gets all ornery and looks to fight with or without a sanctioned match, Booker T steps out to unveil a plan that he says he’s been working on all week.

Every Smackdown wrestler will have their name put into a tumbler, and whomever’s name is pulled will get a title shot tonight. Sensible ranking for contendership be damned.

We don’t have to wait long, and before the average fan might have time to think “Well, obviously it won’t be someone like Santino Marella”, Booker T pulls out Santino Marella’s name. Big Show laughs, and Santino goes from excited to concerned and back again. That match will be later on.

Match #1 – Primo (w/ Epico & Rosa Mendes) vs. Brodus Clay (w/ Cameron & Naomi)

Short and sweet as Clay drops a splash on Primo for the easy win.

Winner via pinfall: Brodus Clay

Mendes gets in Clay’s face during the post-match celebratory dance, so Cameron and Naomi step in, knock her down, and each land a splitsville leg-drop on her as punishment for interrupting the funk.

After the break, Sheamus is giving tips to Santino on performing the Brogue Kick, but the challenger pulls a muscle while practising.

Match #2 – Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) & Wade Barrett vs. Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) & Kofi Kingston

As entrances are made, three things are noteworthy: Josh Matthews passes along the news that Daniel Bryan wants to be called The Dazzler in 2013; Kane gets the biggest cheer of all three babyfaces; and five out of six participants are sporting facial hair in some sort of manly revival.

Lots of quick tags give everyone a chance to strut their stuff, before the Elbow of Disdain by Sandow on Bryan leads to all three villains taking turns at beating on the smaller half of the tag champs. Kingston gets a hot tag and he and Barrett renew their rivalry as the others scrap on the outside.

Kingston dodges the Bull Hammer elbow, but Rhodes enters the ring and absorbs Trouble in Paradise, allowing Barrett to try again for the elbow, this time successfully.

Winners via pinfall: Rhodes Scholars & Wade Barrett

Breaking news: Santino’s hamstring injury has taken him out of the title match. Backstage, Booker T pulls out another name in front of a very irate Big Show. This time, though, Booker will not reveal the name of the challenger until later.

After the break, Booker and Big Show are still arguing as later becomes now: Booker introduces Ricardo Rodriguez as the challenger. As Big Show toys with Rodriguez and places the belt on his shoulder, he knocks him out, presumably taking him out of contention.

Match #3 – Zack Ryder vs. Antonio Cesaro

Ah, nothing like a “U.S.A.” chant to raise the ire of the evil foreign champion. Cesaro takes it out on Ryder with a dead-lift gut-wrench suplex and a leaping stomp onto his chest. Ryder gets a little traction but misses a Broski Boot and is Neutralized for his efforts.

Winner via pinfall: Antonio Cesaro

Match #4 – Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ & Big E Langston) vs. The Miz

First hyperbole of the night goes to Matthews as Miz tosses Ziggler over the ropes and into the arms of Langston. Matthews is in shock that Langston didn’t budge and wants to know if JBL has ever seen anything quite like it. Wisely, JBL doesn’t answer the question directly.

The match is very even as Ziggler launches a dropkick while Miz leaps off the top rope, but Miz soon retaliates with his neckbreaker combo and his corner elbow. Another attack from the top rope works with a double-axe handle on Ziggler.

Miz takes a moment to blow a kiss towards AJ, so she sends Langston up the steps to get in Miz’s face. The distraction is enough and the result is a Zig-Zag.

Winner via pinfall: Dolph Ziggler

As the victorious trio ascends the ramp, Miz grabs a mic and throws a little trash in AJ’s direction about all of her canoodling this year. Ziggler charges back into the ring to defend her honour, but it’s Langston with the big hits on Miz to shut him up.

Back in the trainer’s room, Booker T is hovering over a catatonic Rodriguez when Brad Maddox bursts in looking for one more chance. Booker grants it, and then grants a concerned Alberto Del Rio the title shot at Big Show tonight.

Match #5 – Brad Maddox vs. Sheamus

This is, according to Booker T, Maddox’s last chance. The second hyperbole of the night goes to JBL who calls Booker T the greatest GM in the history of sport. Maddox, who resolves to be a WWE superstar in 2013, gets to experience the rope-bound forearms, White Noise, and Brogue Kick to seemingly end his Smackdown career aspirations.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Match #6 – The Primetime Player (Darren Young & Titus O’Neil) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)

An early miscue by the Players sees Young accidentally boot O’Neil in the face, but the real trick comes when Jimmy rolls the hurt Jey out of the ring and takes his place, rolling up Young for the win.

Winners via pinfall: The Usos

After the break, The Shield delivers a video message promising more of the same from them in 2013. Backstage, Matt Striker hears from the still peeved Big Show, and the champ looks to release his frustrations upon Del Rio.

Match #7 – Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show (champion) - for the World Heavyweight Championship

Del Rio enters on foot, so it must be serious. The challenger is all fists and fury until a sizeable chop knocks him onto his back. Big Show misses an elbow drop which allows Del Rio to switch to a kick-based attack, but he fails to lock in the cross-arm breaker.

Big Show figures enough is enough and he starts walking away from the ring. Sheamus tries to force him back but he’s beaten and left at ringside, so Big Show foils Booker T’s championship match plans after all.

Winner via count-out: Alberto Del Rio

The rest of the roster shows up and forces the champ back, though, where Del Rio waits with an enzuigiri and Sheamus with a Brogue Kick. 2012 ends, therefore, with Big Show as champion and Del Rio getting cheers.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and imagines that the stagnant Randy Orton will turn heel to balance against the turns of Miz and Del Rio.