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   April 19, 2014



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Smackdown: Chops, cheap pops, and spoiler alerts
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


A lot of fans are upset that the main event’s result for tonight’s show was revealed by the WWE. Here’s the thing, though: Smackdown hasn’t had this kind of anticipation in ages, and trust me, the way it happened was worth tuning in for. Oh, and The Rock is on the show, playing second-fiddle in his home town.

Booker T opens the 2013 broadcast schedule by promising to wow the fans with a Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship, giving Alberto Del Rio a title shot. Big Show is angry, and comes to the ring to push Booker around a bit. Big Show thinks that Booker is trying to endear Del Rio to the Latino crowd in Miami.

Del Rio, suddenly a charter member of B.A Star and out to stop bullies, comes to Booker’s rescue, setting up further antagonism for the main event.

Match #1 – Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton

Cesaro gets an insert promo during which he announces his entry into the Royal Rumble. He also waves a U.S. flag on his way to the ring ... what? The U.S. champion impressively tosses Orton around with a gut-wrench suplex and a sit-out body slam. Then, as Josh Matthews is so ready to remind us, Orton goes to “that place”, but Cesaro responds with his toss-up forearm.

Apparently, it meant very little as Orton unleashes the greatest hits anyway and is ready for an RKO –- but The Shield arrives and a tri-engineered powerbomb on Orton cancels out the match.

Winner via disqualification: Randy Orton

After the break, 3MB is with Matt Striker, throwing in as many music-themed insults and promises as they can fit, aiming much of their vitriol towards Sheamus.

Meanwhile, CM Punk is sending in a Rock Special, a message to his Royal Rumble opponent via video clip. He and Paul Heyman are at Sun Life stadium, wearing Rock’s college football jersey, and spouting a metaphor for how The Rock won’t be able to turn back the clock and beat him for the title.

After that, Striker tracks down Del Rio in the locker room, where he very confidently vows to win tonight’s Last Man Standing match. Once again, Del Rio talks up Miami Latino pride.

Match #2 – Dolph Ziggler & AJ (w/ Big E Langston) vs. The Great Khali & Natalya (w/ Hornswoggle)

Nice to hear Ziggler actually pleading to not receive Khali’s chops -– can’t be far from the truth. Ziggler tags AJ, which is supposed to force a Khali tag, but she leaps onto the big man’s back instead. Natalya does tag in, but AJ proceeds to bite her knee and neck, then drops her with a leaping inverted DDT for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Dolph Ziggler & AJ

Langston joins the party and drops Khali, then Hornswoggle with his Big Ending cutter.

More from Punk, well, more from Heyman this time. The Voice of the Voice of the Voiceless turns The Rock’s “it doesn’t matter” catchphrase right back on him, in regards to the challenger’s vision for winning the title.

Speaking of catchphrases, here comes The Rock, so get your “crowd chant” scorecard out and follow the bouncing ball to all of your favourite lines. Ironically, one of the first things he does is complain that Punk is not in attendance. After some cheap pops and cookie puss, out come The Rhodes Scholars to try and talk some sense into the masses.

This isn’t going to go well, and everyone knows it. Rhodes suggests that The Rock leave as they better deserve the TV time. Rather, Rock just wants to know what’s on Rhodes’ face. Rhodes stomps around and says he’s an adult, and can grow a moustache if he wants.

Sandow offers Rock a chance to answer three questions in similar fashion to his failed searches for an apprentice. Rock correctly identifies the 19th President of the United States; the winner of the Best Picture Oscar in 1993 -- but then Rock offers to ask his own question, a painfully orchestrated set-up for a Rock Bottom, which he dutifully delivers to Sandow before donating a People’s Elbow to Rhodes.

Match #3 – 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, & Jinder Mahal) vs. Sheamus

Slater. Brogue Kick. Pin.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Match #4 – Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) vs. The Primetime Players (Darren Young & Titus O’Neil)

Bryan starts playing up the sore right leg almost right away, but manages to tag in Kane who puts a hurting on Young, finishing up with a chokeslam.

Winners via pinfall: Team Hell No

Match #5 – Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Big Show (champion) – Last Man Standing for the World Heavyweight Championship

Del Rio absorbs some chops himself, but at least doesn’t beg like Ziggler did. Big Show takes advantage of the No-DQ element by bodyslamming Del Rio through a table for a six–count, as this match is moving in fast-forward.

Big Show thinks about using a chair next, but Del Rio takes it from him and hammers him to the mat. He then tries a cross-arm breaker, only to have Big Show lift him over the ropes instead. After the break, Big Show sets up another table in a corner, but again it backfires as Del Rio dropkicks him right through it.

Big Show is back up before ten, then gets an eight-count out of Del Rio with a chokeslam. So, a KO punch is the next strategy, but Del Rio slips his legs out to the floor, hangs off the apron, and receives a very generous call from the ref to break the ten count.

Big Show goes for broke by charging with the ring steps, but Del Rio ducks and the champ runs his own head into the steel. Three further attacks with the chair fells Big Show, and Del Rio pushes the announcer’s table right over top of him.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, and that’s it!

Winner via ten-count and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Albert Del Rio

Del Rio heads into the crowd for a celebration, throwing the world title picture heading into Wrestlemania season into disarray.

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and pssst ... here’s a spoiler for you: James Bond will beat the next villain he faces.