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   July 28, 2014



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Smackdown: The Good, the Bad, and the Funky
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


The Undertaker isn’t the only one dusting off his boots for Wrestlemania season, as the theme this year seems to be comebacks. Mark Henry and Jack Swagger, for example, both make an impact on Friday night, while Big Show gets bamboozled again by Alberto Del Rio.

Big Show sets us off with a big rant, calling out first that “Mexican Clint Eastwood”, and then the “pencil-pusher” Booker T. Since Del Rio is suspended for the night, out comes the Smackdown GM to defend himself.

Booker T tells Big Show that his bullying won’t get him anywhere, and he has a match for the 7 foot, 550 pound (sic) former world champion. So, he should get ready to fight Kane tonight; Big Show is not impressed.

Match #1 – Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes

Rhodes’ moustache gives a split-screen promo, promising better days after his break-up with Damien Sandow. In the ring, Rhodes survives a streak of attacks from Kingston, culminating in a dodged Trouble in Paradise, a reversed Cross Rhodes, and another attempted Trouble in Paradise. Rhodes finally catches Kingston with a Beautiful Disaster, then puts the Wildcat down with Cross Rhodes.

Winner via pinfall: Cody Rhodes

Most of the time these Smackdown reviews don’t bother addressing Raw recaps; enough can’t be said about Bruno Sammartino’s Hall of Fame induction, though. Whether you’re for or against the WWE Hall of Fame in principle, there shouldn’t be any debate over this.

Match #2 – Titus O’Neil vs. The Great Khali (w/ Natalya & Hornswoggle)

Dancing by Khali. Chop to the head by Khali. Pin by Khali.

Winner via pinfall: The Great Khali

As the dancing is about to pick up again, so does business (to coin a phrase). Mark Henry marches to the ring, dismisses O’Neil into the security barrier, and fights with Khali, eventually dropping him with a World’s Strongest Slam, which must be a unique feeling for the playboy.

Back from commercial, Henry is still in the ring claiming to be bent on destruction, thereby reading out his t-shirt to everyone -- wonder what Ron Simmons would have to say about that? Henry wants in on the Elimination Chamber, and demands that Booker T explain his exclusion.

The GM is out on the stage again, and tells Henry that if he can beat Randy Orton tonight, Henry will take his place in the chamber.

Outside, we see Alberto Del Rio skulking around Big Show’s bus as his current nemesis heads to the ring.

Match #3 – Kane vs. Big Show

The big guys are looking limber tonight, with diving attacks, spears, and Vader bombs, before things finally break down into a contest of closed fists. The final fist, as you might guess, belongs to Big Show.

Winner via pinfall: Big Show

As Big Show stands triumphant, Del Rio appears on the big screen, with his arm around Big Show’s bus driver. The champ invites his challenger to come check out the improvements made to his bus.

Big Show arrives outside to see his wheels up on cinder blocks with the tires gone, and as he wails about the injustice of it all, Del Rio pours orange paint all over him from atop the bus before taking off in a tow truck with Ricardo Rodriguez. Big Show wails some more.

Match #4 – Jack Swagger vs. Justin Gabriel

So, the new Swagger outlook is angry. He looks tough, but I’m going to miss the push-ups. Gabriel doesn’t stand a chance, especially after Swagger pulls him from the apron to the floor. Then it’s a gut-wrench suplex and an ankle lock ... apparently now called The Patriot Act.

Winner via submission: Jack Swagger

Fandango! What a promo.

Match #5 – Tensai vs. Drew McIntyre (w/ Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal)

A big boot knocks Tensai down early, but Tensai uses his newfound popular powers to pound McIntyre into the ground. The other 3MB members make sure they don’t suffer a pinfall loss by charging the ring.

Winner via disqualification: Tensai

Tensai is getting thrashed like a Pete Townshend guitar when Brodus Clay makes the save, and the new buddies clear the ring for a little dancing with Naomi and Cameron.

Match #6 – Sin Cara vs. Antonio Cesaro

Haven’t seen the Sin Cara mood lighting for a while. Cesaro has the early solution for Cara’s high-flying tendencies, which is namely a gut-wrench suplex and headlock. Cara pulls out a great-looking sunset-flip into a sit-out powerbomb, but Cesaro catches him with a forearm in mid-air and a Neutralizer ends this abruptly.

Winner via pinfall: Antonio Cesaro

Matt Striker gets Randy Orton’s thoughts on his match and, surprisingly, Orton is focused on Henry and isn’t mad at Booker T for putting up his Chamber spot.

After the break, Striker is now with the Miz asking him (indirectly) what he was thinking getting mixed up with Brock Lesnar on Raw. From the “pick on someone your own size department”, Cesaro stops by to tell The Miz how pathetic he is. A dust-up starts easily enough, and refs struggle to break these two apart.

Match #5 – Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton

The clock says this one will have to be quick. Orton gets a leveraged DDT on Henry and gets close enough to prime the RKO, but Henry responds with an avalanche and a World’s Strongest Slam.

Winner via pinfall: Mark Henry

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and figures if Tensai can’t scare anyone, he might as well do that funky robot dance.