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TV REPORTS
KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 7/4: Edge-Vickie break-up, Matt Hardy defends U.S. Title, Jeff Hardy vs. Morrison, Triple H on Lounge

Jul 6, 2008 - 11:39:16 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor

KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JULY 6, 2008
TULSA, OKLA.


WHAT HAPPENED: 1ST HOUR

-A video aired acknowledging the Fourth of July holiday and noting that tonight WWE performers celebrate their freedom and independence with their version of freedom and independence.

-The Smackdown opening aired, then Jim Ross and Mick Foley introduced the show. They hyped the TV main event - a four-way match with Matt Hardy defending the U.S. Title against Shelton Benjamin, Chavo Guerrero, and Mr. Kennedy. Ross said it was 34 years ago his career began in Tulsa at this very arena. He said he's as happy to be there tonight as he was back then.

-MVP stood center-ring in the MVP Lounge set. He said big things are poppin' and little things are stoppin' because he's in the ring. He said the VIP Lounge is for people "better than all of you." He introduced his guest, Triple H. As Triple H came out, Foley joked that if Triple H hadn't retained the WWE Title at Night of Champions, they'd be naked. Ross said that's not an image he wants to create in his head. Foley said Triple H beat John Cena on Sunday and was the better man that night.

MVP asked Hunter to have a seat on his couch. He congratulated him on his successful title defense at Night of the Champions. He wanted to be among the first to welcome him to Smackdown. MVP asked if he's aware The MVP Lounge is the highest rated segment on Smackdown. Triple H said he watched Smackdown every week when he was on Raw. He complimented his suit and shoes, then said, "You've got that - what do you guys call it - bling on there." (He mean "you people.") He then said he even likes his Power Rangers outfit. MVP got up and expressed offense. Hunter said it was a compliment; it's why all of the kids love him. MVP said the attire he wears in the ring is world class apparel. He said it's the same stuff Olympic sprinters and skiers wear. Triple H said he just read about it in the paper where Olympic swimmers are wearing it and cutting down on their times because it eliminates resistance. He leaned in to MVP and said, "Between you and me, that stuff's kind of like a performance enhancer; you might get a call from Dr. Black. That's 30 days off." (Translated: Those who think the hoopla over steroids has always been overblown have been talking behind the scenes, convincing themselves that the new swimsuits should be categorized the same way as steroids, since they both enhance athletic performance in competition, and Triple H just had to say it on the air.)

MVP said it must bug him with his resume that he's standing in the ring with someone who has only been around WWE two years and makes a whole lot more money than him. Triple H said he'd rather go down in history as a 12 time World Champion rather than going down in history as the biggest waste of money in Smackdown history. (Wasn't that Heidenreich? Or Mark Henry? Or Kenzo Suzuki?...) He told MVP to calm down because he came out there to get some rub from him. He wanted to throw to a video package. MVP interrupted and said this is his show and he decides what goes on the TitanTron. Triple H said he'd get the credit. MVP insisted he introduced the footage. "Roll the footage," he said. A recap aired of Edge appearing on Raw, Batista beating him up, C.M. Punk defeating him for the title, JBL declaring Marshall Law, and Punk pinning JBL when Cena and Cryme Tyme walked out and distracted him.

Back in the ring, Triple H said, "It's safe to say Edge got Punked Out." MVP said, "C.M. really pulled Edge's Punk Card." Triple H said, "You could even say Punk is Straight Edge." MVP said maybe they should call Ashton Kuchner. Vickie Guerrero interrupted from the stage in her wheelchair. He declared "Excuse me! Excuse me!" as the crowd booed. She said she has heard enough. Triple H said he's been looking forward to meeting with her ever since he was drafted to Smackdown. He congratulated her on her upcoming wedding. Triple H said her fiance is some kind of genius - marrying the boss to get ahead in this business. "Honestly, who thinks up that kind of stuff." He asked if the stress of the wedding was getting to her. He suggested they just get in a car and head to Vegas. He suggested a drive-in chapel. He said the great thing is you don't even have to be conscious when you go through. Fans who go back several years with memories laughed at that historical reference. She said there are things Edge has accomplished in his life that he will never do in his. She noted that he has successfully retained the title every time he faced Batista. She added that he is the only man who has defeated and banished Undertaker from WWE. She added with a smile, "And you will never do that."

Triple H said he agrees, but as he stands there looking at her, there are a lot of things Edge would do that he would never do. He said it with an air of disgust at her appearance. She asked him what she meant by that. Hunter said he's seen women Edge has dated and she's a big step up. MVP tried to interject, but Vickie told her to shut up. She said her fiance was about to arrive and he was not going to be happy. She said, "Hunter, I have news for you." (Almost nobody calls him "Hunter" on the air; it's almost always Triple H or The Game.) She said at the end of the main event at the Great American Bash, the ring announcer will declare Edge the new WWE Champion. She concluded, "Thank you, gentlemen."

Solid opening segment. It's good for MVP to mix with a top level veteran like Triple H. Vickie was good as usual with her role. And they built anticipation for Edge's arrival and his reaction to events at Raw without being heavy-handed about it.

[Commercial Break]

-Did You Know?... that in 2007, WWE held over 300 live events including 75 international.

-They showed the new Divas Title belt at ringside. The plate is a pink butterfly. It's pretty fly. (Ha!)

1 -- VICTORIA vs. CHERRY vs. MARYSE vs. KELLY KELLY vs. MICHELLE MCCOOL -- Diva's Title Contender Star on a Pole Match

Natalya joined Ross and Lawler at ringside. She said she's looking forward to seeing who she'll be squaring off against. She added that the colors of the new title belt suit her well. Foley complimented her new red hair. Maryse was given an electric chair off the top rope as she reached for the star at 1:00. Cherry went for it next. McCool stopped her. Natalya focused her commentary on McCool, saying she may think she's tough, but she didn't get trained in the Stu Hart Dungeon. Victoria nailed Cherry with a flip legdrop over the top rope. When she climbed the ropes to get to the star, McCool. Kelly Kelly knocked them both to the floor. McCool got back to the top rope a minute later and grabbed the star to win. Natalya stood with her hands on her hips at ringside.

WINNER: McCool in 3:00.

-The wedding planner assured Vickie Guerrero she'd take care of everything. Then Curt Hawkins and Zach Ryder walked into the room and asked Vickie what she wanted. She blamed them for Edge losing. She said it's their fault and she's disgusted by them. She said to punish them she had booked them to face Jesse & Festus next.

-They showed Edge arriving backstage, looking like a British rock star who hadn't gotten any sleep in weeks. He looked around at everyone, who all averted their eyes from him. He sneered as he dragged his suitcase behind him.

[Commercial Break]

-Ross and Foley were shown on camera at ringside. They re-plugged the four-way main event for the U.S. Title. They threw to a video package on Vladimir Kozlov, after Foley said he has no idea who the first will be to defeat him.

2 -- JESSE & FESTUS vs. ZACH RYDER & CURT HAWKINS

Festus came out dressed like Uncle Sam. Pretty funny looking. Festus took off part of his outfit (the hat and suit coat), but kept a white beard, white shirt, and patriotic flag-striped pants. Jesse took a beating early. Foley said he saw the Punk-Edge title change on Monday at J.R.'s family BBQ in Norman, Okla. and he was shocked. Foley said Ryder & Hawkins are in a must-win situation since they have to make the boss happy. Festus tagged in at 2:00. Festus finished Ryder (or was it Hawkins - nobody ever says who's whom) with his Flying Biscuit and flapjack type finisher.

WINNERS: Jesse & Festus in 3:00

-Afterward, Edge strode to the ring. Hawkins and Ryder jumped Jesse from behind. Festus just stood there because the bell rang to end the match and he was nearly catatonic. Edge speared a hapless Festus, then pounded away at his head as Ryder and Hawkins held Jesse in the corner. Edge grabbed a chair at ringside and swung it, hitting Festus flush across the side of his head without hands up or anything to blunt the blow. Save that clip for the next wave of attention WWE gets about how wrestlers' health is needless put at risk in the daily course of events.

[Commercial Break]

-They replayed the end of the previous tag match including Edge's post-match attack.

-Backstage Vickie told a nerve-wracked Edge to relax. He said he can't because he doesn't have his title. Vickie said it was kind of stupid what happened on Monday. She said she didn't give him permission to be there on Monday night. The crowd gasped. Edge jumped to his feet and said he doesn't understand what he goes through or has gone through for 16 years to get to that stage. Vickie stood up and got in his face and said he needs to understand when he talks to her that she is her boss. She said he is the fool so he should be mad at her. Edge stormed away and Vickie broke into tears. It's interesting that they positioned Vickie almost heelish, standing up to Edge and blaming him for being foolish and asserting her authority. She's to this point been the gooey-eyed smitten submission female character.

-A video hyped Jeff Hardy appearing on Smackdown next.

[Commercial Break]

-They showed a clip of Jeff Hardy being drafted to Smackdown with Michael Cole on commentary celebrating the acquisition. "What a pick for Smackdown!"

WHAT HAPPENED: 2ND HOUR

3 -- JEFF HARDY vs. JOHN MORRISON

During Jeff's ring intro, they showed a fan sign that said, "Jeff is flying high!" Uh, that might not be quite the sign they should zoom in on, all things considered. Ross plugged a WWE Magazine story with Jeff talking about his recent personal turmoil. He said Jeff says he is a new person and the story he tells is compelling. Foley said he has re-prioritized himself professionally. Ross and Foley did a nice job hyping this match-up, with Ross touting Morrison as someone who reminds him sometimes of "Ravishing" Rick Rude and other times "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig. At 1:00, when Morrison was at ringside, Hardy dove off the ring apron onto him. Back in the ring Hardy mounted Morrison and punched him numerous times. Morrison came back with a running knee for a two count. Foley said Miz & Morrison may be "the greatest revolutionary tag team since The Rockers." That's leapfrogging a number of athletic teams, most notably Jeff & Matt Hardy. Morrison dumped Hardy over the top rope to the floor at 4:00. As the ref checked on Hardy's condition they cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

A fan held up a sign that said, "Carlito's Apples Have a Carb Hole." What? Anyway, Morrison controlled offense after the break after Hardy missed a Whisper in the Wind attempt. Morrison applied a cross arm breaker. Hardy countered into a near fall in a nice sequence. Morrison leaped off the middle rope at 11:00, but Hardy caught him and turned it into a powerbomb. At 12:00 Hardy hit a Whisper in the Wind for a near fall. He climbed to the top rope, but Morrison hit him with a Pele Kick for a near fall. Hardy came back with a faceplant suplex and a Swanton for the clean win.

WINNER: Hardy in 13:00.

STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Really good TV match. Nice debut for Hardy, and also good to see Morrison get extended competitive time against a star the level of Hardy.

[Commercial Break]

-A video aired hyping the arrival of Maria soon. Ross said they look forward to the former Playboy cover girl joining Smackdown next week. He said it was time to go from beauty to the beast.

4 -- UMAGA vs. FUNAKI

Foley said Umaga is a beauty in the sense that he's an abstract work of art. Only Foley can pull off lines like that one. Total squash. Nothing was really done to set an agenda for Umaga. Ross just asked who would be next to get in his crosshairs. Otherwise, just a general "introduction" of sorts to his signature moves. It's telling that announcers have nothing to say about his character, even when "reintroducing" him to a Smackdown audience. He's just a shallow, paper-thin character.

WINNER: Umaga in 2:00.

-Edge asked Ryder and Hawkins where Vickie was coming from with her comments about not giving him permission. A stagehand told Edge that Vickie wants to see him. Edge headed to her office slowly, deliberately. Edge sarcastically told her, "You summoned me?" He said she wouldn't have her position if not for him, she'd still be fetching Teddy Long as his lapdog. He said she didn't earn her job out of some kind of ability. He said as a matter of fact, he's the real general manager of Smackdown. She asked if he realizes the sacrifices she made for him. She said her back is always going to be messed up and she's confined to her wheelchair for the rest of her life. Edge told her to shut up. He told her not to talk to her "in that gibberish." She snarled at him to get out. Edge turned and left, hanging his head. The camera followed. He paused, then tried to get back into her office. The door was locked. He told Vickie to open up. She didn't respond. He kicked the door and did his best Jack Bauer "dammit!" Then stormed away.

[Commercial Break]

-A video recap aired of Night of the Champions.

5 -- MATT HARDY vs. MR. KENNEDY vs. CHAVO GUERRERO (w/Bam Neeley) vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN -- Fatal Four-way U.S. Title match

Foley said Kennedy told him he feels like he's back home; he said he bleeds Smackdown blue. Kennedy came out first and introduced himself. He declared himself the next United States Champion. Ross said Shelton is arguably the most athletically gifted. Foley said Shelton is the favorite wrestler of his oldest son Dewey. After three minutes of good action, they cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

Shelton powerbombed Kennedy as Kennedy superplexed Hardy off the top rope. You can tell now why Matt at first reacted with surprise, but then shrugged when he was drafted to ECW. It really meant very little as he's still on Smackdown without a special reason or explanation when he appears. At 9:00 Chavo frog splashed Hardy for a two count. They went into a series of near falls with various people. Hardy backdropped Kennedy onto Neely at ringside. Hardy then gave Shelton a Twist of Fate onto Chavo, then pinned Chavo to retain the title.

WINNER: Hardy in 11:00 to retain the U.S. Title.

STAR RATING: ** -- Some decent exchanges, but mostly a mish-mash cluster of spots.

-They cut to a break without a hint of what would fill the final segment of the show, which is unusual.

[Commercial Break]

-They went to a sponsored recap of Punk's World Title win.

-Edge walked to the ring without any music or fanfare. He demanded the mic. He said this would be his first and last public statement about what happened to him last Monday on Raw. He said he was a victim of two cowardly attacks. First, by Batista. Second, by Punk, which cost him his title. He said the match wasn't a match and shouldn't have happened. He said it wasn't fair to him at all. He said the only solace he has is he won't be without championship gold very long because he will beat Triple H at the Great American Bash. He said he will become WWE Champion for a third time. He said it has been the most difficult week of his life both personally and professionally. He said he's felt disrespect from the second he walked into the building. He said Hawkins and Ryder should be tripping over themselves to make him happy, but they've done nothing. He asked the fans what they'd done for him. He said he stands up there an island unto himself, alone and solitary. He said he will be fine and will battle through it. He said he has all of the attributes none of the fans have. He said he hasn't even received the support of the person who should be standing by him more than anyone else in his time of need, the love of his life, his fiance, Vickie Guerrero. He said she locked him out of her office instead. He said that should tell everyone all there is know about her. He said he knows a few dirty little secrets about her. Vickie interrupted. "What do you think you're doing!" she shouted from the stage. She walked out, sans a wheelchair. She wanted to know why he's making their private life public. He asked if he's lost his mind along with the championship. She shrieked that she doesn't know what he's doing. Edge said, "What am I doing? That's a really good question." He hopped out of the ring and approached her on the stage. He said he has one last public statement to make to her and the people. He shouted, "The wedding is off!" Vickie shrieked and stomped as the show ended. She ripped off her engagement ring and threw it away and continued shrieking and crying as the show ended without comment from Ross and Foley.

Final Thought: A newsworthy show for a holiday edition. It's an intriguing approach to not cast either Vickie or Edge as a babyface in their break-up. At least it appears we've been spared another "wrestling wedding." Ross and Foley have already become a really good announcing pair with strong chemistry. Good show.


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