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CALDWELL'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 7/31: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Hardy vs. Morrison title match

Jul 31, 2009 - 9:00:14 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor

WWE Smackdown TV Report
July 31, 2009
Taped July 28 in Baltimore, Md.


The WWE show started with an awesome video package focusing on how Jeff Hardy captured the World Hvt. Title from C.M. Punk at the Night of Champions PPV. Nice inclusion of the classic "younger Hardy" clips to show the culmination of a journey.

In-ring: Jeff Hardy came to the ring to start the show. A little white undershirt and some jeans. They showed a clip from after the PPV went off the air when Jeff teased walking away from a Punk handshake before accepting. After Jeff took a long ovation from the crowd, he started his first promo as the new World Hvt. champ saying don't wake him if he's dreaming. Hardy said Punk said a lot of rotten things toward him leading to the PPV and he's glad his people didn't buy into and kept supporting him. Hardy said the only thing he's high on is being World Hvt. champion for the people. Hardy tried to sell the audience on living however you want to live and being free.

Hardy transitioned into talking about Punk getting his World Title re-match whenever he wants, but tonight he has a match tonight against a man who shines like none other, John Morrison. Hardy said he doesn't plan on ending his title run quickly like the last one. He said Morrison has beaten Punk twice, so the audience might be in for one of the greatest Smackdown main events in history. Suddenly, Cryme Tyme's music interrupted. Jim Ross let us know business is about to pick up. Ross and Todd Grisham then plugged Cryme Tyme on Raw with Shaq on Monday. CT celebrated with Hardy to get some rub from being associated with the World champ. Cut to break with CT up next.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Cryme Tyme were still in the ring when Justin Roberts announced this as a #1 contender match to the Unified tag titles at Summerslam. Natalya then led Hart Dynasty to the ring for the important match-up. Ross plugged Tyson Kidd's "extremely impressive" showing on Superstars last night on Superstars against Morrison.

1 -- CRYME TYME (SHAD GASPAR & JTG) vs. HART DYNASTY (TYSON KIDD & D.H. SMITH w/Natalya) -- #1 contender match to Unified tag titles

Shad ran over Smith in the early going and Smith sold a head injury. Kidd then blind-tagged himself into the match and chop-blocked Shad from behind to take his knee out. Kidd started screaming as he worked over Shad's left knee. Kidd then knocked Shad to the outside and Smith did some heavy lifting behind the ref's back leading to a break. CT in trouble...so it seems.

[Commercial Break]

Hart Dynasty continued to work over Shad, then JTG took a red-hot tag and cleaned house. JTG hit a leaping leg lariat from the second rope on Kidd, the legal man, but Kidd kicked out. Kidd then cut JTG off and nailed a springboard blockbuster for a close count. JTG tried to come back with a sunset flip, but Kidd kicked out. Nice exchange, then the action broke down. Men everywhere as Shad, the big man, took out Smith, the big man. Back in the ring, JTG tried to steal a win with a hook of the tights on Kidd, but Kidd kicked out. JTG then hit a wrap-his-forearms-around-the-neck-and-slam-the-opponent Shout-Out for the pin and the win. JTG and Shad then celebrated the win with JTG as they realized their good fortune of a title match.,

WINNERS: Cryme Tyme in 8:00. Good tag match with a very nice finish focused on JTG vs. Tyson Kidd. I'd like to see a one-on-one between them down the road. Nice, high-energy tag match with something on the line. (**)

Post-match: A mixture of Big Show and Chris Jericho's theme music hit to interrupt. The Unified tag champs came out on stage and Jericho gave a mock applause toward Cryme Tyme, who were catching their breath in the ring. Jericho let the fans get their boos in before telling CT to enjoy their little moment because they will be failures at Summerslam. Jericho said he's a hopes-and-dreams killer. Jericho said they are the perfect combo of greatness, ruthlessness, and ... honesty. Shad interrupted and said he sees a combo of Chewbacca and Han Solo. Shad then did a mock Chewbacca voice for Big Show doing the big grunt for the chokeslam. Well done to appeal to the audience. Jericho said this is not a joke. Crowd thought it was. Big Show just Stonewall Jackson throughout this. JTG addressed Show and said he doesn't have much to say after Shaq put him flat on his back on Raw. Shad said they're going to be leaving Summerslam with the tag titles around their waist.

Big Show finally spoke and said they're letting them run their mouths because they're letting them do so. Show said they already surpass some of the greatest tag teams in history. He said Jericho is a former five-time WWE World champ and one of the greatest all-around performers in wrestling history. Show said he's the only man in history to hold the WWE, WCW, and ECW titles. And, don't forget, he's a giant. He's bigger than all of them. Jericho with the final word to let them know to enjoy their time now because the party is over at Summerslam.

[Commercial Break]

2 -- Women's champion MICHELLE McCOOL & LAYLA vs. MELINA & EVE TORRES

McCool and Melina had a solid singles match at the PPV, so they picked up the feud with the supporting cast in the Women's division. Back and forth action to start, then Melina took a hot tag and the action broke down. McCool then blasted the crap out of Melina with a kick to the face. She took a legal tag, then slid into the ring and wanted a Widow's Peak-like "Faith Breaker" on Melina, but Melina countered in mid-air with the Canadian Destroyer for the pin and the win. Great counter.

WINNERS: Melina & Eve in 4:00. Story here was Melina scoring a pin over the champ to continue the feud. Fine, high-energy match that carried over from the Melina-McCool singles match at the PPV. (*)

Backstage: Josh Mathews brought in former World Hvt. champion C.M. Punk, who received some boos off-camera in the arena. Punk said he considers Hardy's win at the PPV an upset. Punk said he doesn't think the better man won the match on Sunday and he doesn't think Hardy could ever be the better man. He told Hardy to enjoy the moment because it's not going to last a while. Punk said he's taking on the winner of Hardy vs. Punk.

Backstage: They showed Maria locked arm-in-arm with Dolph Ziggler. She gave him a kiss good luck in his tag match. Dolph shot her an eyebrow, then continued walking down the hallway.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Dolph Ziggler came out first for the semi-main event tag match on the show. Ross hyped him as proving to be a "main event" player after coming close to winning the Intercontinental Title from Rey Mysterio at the PPV. Mike Knox and his giant beard then came out. Babyfaces were Finlay and still-IC champ Rey Mysterio. Match up next.

[Commercial Break]

3 -- IC champ REY MYSTERIO & FINLAY vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & MIKE KNOX

Knox tried to show off his power early on with a powerbomb on Rey, but Rey blocked and teased the 619. Knox avoided it, but Rey landed an enziguiri kick instead. Finlay then tagged in and gave Knox the Rolling Hills drop for a two count. Why doesn't anyone just pull his beard into submission? Is there a code of honor against using facial hair as a weapon? Anyways, Knox took out Finlay's knee and began working him over. Dolph then tagged in and got some of Finlay's knee and leg. Knox then knocked Rey off the apron, rekindling those warm and fuzzy ... and perhaps gassy feelings from the Rey-Knox feud on Raw. Finlay continued to tease a hot tag to Rey, but Knox kept cutting him off. Dolph took a tag, then missed with a corner splash on Finlay allowing Rey to get a tag.

Rey quickly dialed up 619 for a smash on Dolph. He followed with the trademark springboard splash for the apparent pin, but Knox yanked Rey to the floor to break up the pin. Finlay took Knox out, then Dolph tried to take Finlay out, but Rey snuck in the back door and grappled Dolph from behind. He rolled him up and scored a pin with Dolph nearly in the ropes. Looked like Dolph "broke the plane" of the bottom rope, but ref allowed the pin to be counted for the win.

WINNERS: Mysterio & Finlay in 10:00. Another good, high-energy tag match on the show. Would have liked to have seen Dolph get a chance to stand tall and not take "The Miz treatment" from Miz's program against John Cena, but this was about giving the fans a "feel good" moment with Rey and Finlay winning. (*1/2)

Backstage: Mathews brought in John Morrison for a promo leading to his World Title match in the main event tonight. Morrison said he hopes Jeff Hardy has had a good Hardy Party the last few days because it ends tonight.

Hallway backstage: They showed Great Khali walking and smiling with Runjin Singh talking him up.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Charlie Haas was already in the ring preparing himself to be eaten by Great Khali, who slowly strolled out to the ring not really concerned about the opposition.

4 -- GREAT KHALI (w/Runjin Singh) vs. CHARLIE HAAS

A little buffer match action before the main event tonight. Khali methodically picked apart Haas before telling Haas to get up on his feet. Haas obliged and took The Chop to the head. Khali told Haas to get up again. Haas was ready to be finished, but Kane suddenly showed up in the ring, then ran away when Khali approached him. Kane took Singh hostage on the floor and dragged him up the rampway. Khali "gave chase" as only Khali can do, then Kane dropped Singh and walked away. Khali leaned down to check on Singh while staring back at Kane. End segment.

WINNER: No Decision in 2:00. Just a continuation of the Khali vs. Kane feud. Looks like a Summerslam match is on the horizon, or perhaps just a Smackdown TV "main event" leading to Summerslam. WWE should book a sumo wrestling match or test-of-strength or arm-wrestling contest or some gimmick match that takes advantage of their size as a spectacle without having to wrestle a long, drawn-out regular wrestling match. (n/a)

Backstage split screen: WWE showed Jeff Hardy and John Morrison warming up in anticipation of the title match in the main event.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: John Morrison came to the ring for the main event title match. It's up next.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: World Hvt. champ Jeff Hardy came to the ring in a bright pink and black warm-up jacket. No face paint tonight for the title match defense. Match is starting 30 minutes before the top of the hour, so this should be a barn-burner. Justin Roberts with the formal ring intros before everyone readied for the opening bell.

5 -- World Hvt. champion JEFF HARDY vs. C.M. PUNK -- World Hvt. Title match

Jim Ross referenced "Superstar" Billy Graham's famous 1977 WWWF Title victory over Bruno Sammartino in Baltimore that ended Bruno's three-and-a-half-year reign to set the stage for tonight's match. Morrison started aggressively with a flurry of offense to take it to the champ. He then slingshot Hardy over the top rope to the floor. Nice move. Morrison teased a springboard dive on the floor, but Hardy moved out of the way. Morrison waited, then nailed a sweet springboard moonsault onto Hardy on the floor. Awesome move. They cut to break with Morrison in control.

[Commercial Break]

They returned with Morrison still in control. This time, he was in the ring with a headlock on Hardy to work him over on the mat. On cue, WWE replayed the sweet moonsault leading into the commercial break. Hardy broke free of the headlock and teased a Twist of Fate, but Morrison countered by sling shotting Hardy throat-first across the top rope. Morrison teased the Starship Pain finisher, but Hardy moved and hit the Whisper in the Wind for a two count. Nice exchange. Both men recovered on the mat, then Hardy settled into a reverse chinlock. Ross told us some stories about two-out-of-three fall matches back in the day that gave some wiggle room to make a mistake. He nicely contrasted that to there being no room for error in a one-fall match with a major title on the line, meaning every move is important. Morrison made a comeback and nailed a standing moonsault for a two count. Morrison and Hardy then punched each other simultaneously in the corner and both men crashed down to the floor. Both men in jeopardy going to break.

[Commercial Break]

At 15:00, they returned with Morrison and Hardy exchanging control. Hardy landed a signature double-foot dropkick for a two count, then he wiped his hair back and thought about his next move. Hardy took Morrison to the floor and whipped him back-first into the guardrail. Hardy then ran off the ring steps and nailed a leg lariat that left both men KO'ed on the floor. Back in the ring, Hardy wanted the Whisper in the Wind, but Morrison ducked and smashed Hardy in the face with a running knee strike. He only scored a close two count, though. Morrison then wanted a springboard smash, but Hardy ducked. Morrison followed with a leaping leg lariat for another two count. Morrison so athletic. It's just ridiculous. Morrison then crotched Hardy across the top rope and landed a springboard enziguiri kick. The flying chuck had Hardy KO'ed, but Hardy kicked out just before three.

At 20:00, Hardy came back with a faceplant suplex. He then went up top and teased the Swanton Bomb and connected. Hardy needed some extra time to make the cover, though, and Morrison kicked out in a shock to the crowd. "Oh my!" Ross exclaimed. Grisham hyped Morrison's resilience in the biggest match of his career. Hardy then tried his lift-up dropkick out of the corner, but Morrison kicked him in the gut to block. Morrison wanted to follow with the Starship Pain, but Hardy got the knees up to block. Hardy hit the Twist of Fate, then went up top. He wanted the Swanton Bomb and connected again. Hardy didn't hesitate and made the cover for the win.

WINNER: Hardy in 24:00 to retain the World Hvt. Title. What a match. Dang, that was awesome. What stood out? Morrison's athleticism, Hardy scoring the win, and the crowd almost itching for a title change, but still very satisfied with Hardy winning. Roles reversed from when the crowd was itching for Hardy to win over Punk. Overall, match was a clear contender for Match of the Month. Just great athleticism from two of WWE's top stars. Morrison has arrived as a main eventer if he hadn't already. (****)

Post-match: C.M. Punk's music hit and Hardy rolled his eyes. Punk half-congratulated Morrison as he left up the ramp, then hit the ring. Punk raised Hardy's hand in victory twice and sold love for Hardy after his victory. Punk took the mic, checked it for sound, then started a gracious promo toward Hardy. Suddenly, he snapped on Hardy and smashed him in the head with the mic. Here's your full-fledged heel turn for Punk, who took Hardy to the outside and beat the crap out of him. Right hand blow after right hand blow.

Punk stopped his attack, then took off his t-shirt and started to walk away. Punk then decided he hadn't given Hardy enough of a hard time, so he ran back to the announce table area and punched Hardy some more. He flung him over the table to Ross and Grisham's feet and they cut to a crowd shot of some not-so-pleased fans expressing their dismay. Punk, finally satisfied, walked up the ramp to the back. Medics and Ross checked on Hardy, who was pulling a George Costanza taking a nap under the desk. Punk took the mic at the top of the ramp and, with self-satisfaction, said he's getting his title re-match on Smackdown next week. They replayed the post-match attack as Grisham talked about Punk "showing his true colors" tonight. End show with Punk standing tall going into next week's title match.

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE Smackdown Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Smackdown, click here.


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