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Smackdown: The Rock and Punk bring it to Friday night
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


CM Punk looks up at his future with The Rock at Tuesday's Smackdown taping in Sacramento, Calif. Photos by Devin Chen, www.chdevinphotos.com


Smackdown gets some star power with CM Punk and The Rock getting face-to-face two days before their encounter for the championship. There’s also a six-man tag match with surprising results, and the 3MB, which, of course, is what you’ve all come to see.

Team Hell No members, World Tag Team Champions, and anger management graduates Kane & Daniel Bryan have something on their minds. They both look forward to successfully defending their titles on Sunday, but they also both look forward to winning the Rumble.

As they bicker about their chances, a cavalcade of similarly bickering wrestlers fill up the ring. First, Big Show is complaining about Albert Del Rio, then Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow come down to promise a win over Team Hell No on Sunday, before Del Rio finally joins the fiesta.

Smackdown GM Booker T has a marvelous idea, and makes a six-man tag team elimination match with all those in the ring for later on. Big Show tries to sucker Del Rio from behind, but the world champ slips away and throws his challenger a wink.

Match #1 – Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett

Lots of big, bruising blows between these two, with Barrett getting the early advantage and knocking Sheamus twice to the floor. Sheamus powers back into things but is slowed and hampered by a straight kick to his stomach, then later his head. Still, White Noise and a Brogue Kick leaves the Intercontinental Champion down for a clean three.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Match #2 – Rosa Mendes (w/ Primo & Epico) vs. The Great Khali & Natalya (w/ Hornswoggle)

Natalya is in a chipper mood, but less so after Mendes slams the back of her head against the mat. As Mendes dances around, though, Natalya rolls her up and locks in the Sharpshooter.

Winner via submission: Natalya

After a break, CM Punk heads to the ring with Paul Heyman in tow. The champ is upset with the stipulation that any interference by The Shield on Sunday will cause Punk to be stripped of the WWE Championship.

Because of this, Punk demands that Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins come to the ring to clear the air, and The Shield complies. Punk is wielding a chair as the three justice seekers surround him on the apron, and he implores them to stay out of the match on Sunday.

It seems like there might be an arrangement made as The Shield members vacate, leaving Punk to proclaim himself the greatest of all time. The Rock disagrees, and comes into the ring to discuss his opinion.

Rock thinks that Punk will crack under the pressure on Sunday, tells him that the walls are closing in, promises a victory, and then leaves. That was actually a pretty cordial conversation.

Match #3 – Drew McIntyre (w/ Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal) vs. Randy Orton

Orton is thinking DDT on McIntyre when Mahal interferes (though all he gets is an RKO). After the DDT, Slater enters the ring for his own RKO. Finally, McIntyre succumbs to the inevitable and an RKO finishes the match.

Winner via disqualification: Randy Orton

Match #4 – The Miz vs. Darren Young (w/ Titus O’Neil)

Antonio Cesaro is on commentary for this. Miz has a pretty easy time; he’s foiled in going for a Skull-Crushing Finale, but locks in a figure-four to get the win.

Winner via pinfall: The Miz

That “by the numbers” Royal Rumble retrospective video is great, but it’s in desperate need of an update.


Alberto del Rio clocks The Big Show with a chair.

Match #5 – Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) & Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) vs. Big Show & The Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) – Elimination Match

Because we’re short on time, Damien Sandow takes a chokeslam from Kane very early on and is eliminated. Big Show enters the ring and takes Kane to the floor, hitting him with the KO punch and leaving him there to suffer a count-out elimination.

After the break, Big Show delivers another KO punch to Bryan, sending him to the floor for another ten-count. Del Rio enters and continues the trend, kicking Big Show from the apron to the floor for another ten-count. Del Rio then makes pretty quick work of Rhodes with an enzuigiri for the win.

Winners via elimination: Albert Del Rio & Team Hell No

Del Rio celebrates, but not for long as Big Show returns with a spear, then buries Del Rio under the announce table for a measure of revenge. Counting to ten in Spanish is a nice touch, and might land Big Show a guest spot on Dora the Explorer.

RELATED LINKS

  • Smackdown / Main Event / Saturday Morning Slam Photo Gallery from Sacramento
    Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


  • Order WWE Royal Rumble 2003 PPV Folding Chair
  • Order WWF Royal Rumble 1991 Program
  • Order WWE Royal Rumble 2004 DVD

    Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and wants to see a ring chock-a-block with wrestlers on Sunday. Like fifteen. That shot of Del Rio hitting Big Show with the chair must not have made the cut for the TV broadcast.