March 31, 2012
Smackdown: ‘Twas the night before (the night before) Wrestlemania
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling
The optimist might say that on the last show for selling Wrestlemania, rising stars like Zack Ryder and Drew McIntyre are given the chance to carry the flag. A realist probably admits that the big stars get the night off to avoid any last-minute injuries before the big show. That being said, Chris Jericho gets a warm-up before his quest to prove he is the best in the world.
Even Booker T and Michael Cole get the night off, as Smackdown is brought to you by Josh Matthews and Matt Striker (great to have him back for one night, at least).
Match #1 – Zack Ryder vs. Drew McIntyre
McIntyre dances into the ring all smiles tonight, and backs up his happy mood by grounding Ryder with back-and-forth combinations of suplexes and submission holds. Ryder responds with a Broski Boot and Rough Ryder, reversing momentum in a heartbeat for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Zack Ryder
Ah, there’s Michael Cole. He’s with Jerry Lawler at Fan Axxess, and they’re all buddy-buddy as they talk about Sunday’s upcoming matches. What a difference a year makes for these two.
They point out The Undertaker’s display area at the show, with headstones for his previous 19 matches – including last year’s with Triple H. There’s still no mention of their first Wrestlemania encounter.
Madonna is contributing an official theme song to Wrestlemania. Her career is now complete.
Speaking of complete careers, Edge is also at Axxess signing autographs, sporting a new, short haircut, perhaps in honour of The Undertaker.
Back in the ring, Big Show has a chance to express gratitude for his career, reminding us that he is seeking his first Wrestlemania moment on Sunday. He vows to be the new Intercontinental Champion.
Match #2 – Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston
Continuing their program from the most recent house show tour, Jericho takes the early damage from Kingston until he turns the tide by knocking Kingston off the ropes mid-springboard. The fight goes to the floor as Jericho roughs Kingston up against the announcer’s table and security barrier.
Kingston bides his time until he can start working Jericho down with chops and a Boom Drop, but finds his Trouble in Paradise blocked and turned towards a Walls of Jericho –- but Kingston wriggles out of that too and lands a cross-body off the top rope for a two-count.
Jericho fells Kingston with an elbow and tries a Lionsault, only to introduce his midsection to Kingston’s knees. A Second Trouble in Paradise again results in a Walls of Jericho –- this time cinched in.
Winner via submission: Chris Jericho
And so the wrestlers are all tucked in their beds, while visions of Funkasauruses danced in their heads. Or maybe Flash Funk. Not Terry Funk, though.
Merry Wrestlemania to all.
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher.