TV REPORTS KELLER'S SMACKDOWN REPORT 12/9: JBL & Jordan vs. Rey & Batista, Undertaker plays mind games
Dec 12, 2005 - 3:50:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN
DECEMBER 9, 2005 (Taped Dec. 4)
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA
-The show opened with clips of Undertaker tormenting Randy Orton after Survivor Series concluded and Orton was celebrating his win.
-After the Smackdown opening, Michael Cole and Tazz introduced the show, previewing Chris Benoit vs. Booker T. Tazz called it a "must win" for Tazz.
-JBL was standing in the ring with a bandage over his right eye. He thanked the fans from the bottom of his heart for the love the fans have shown him through his horrible, horrible injury. He compared his injury to Sugar Ray Leonard, whose career was cut short for an injury "less than this one." He said his doctor has told him to retire. He said what bothers him most isn't the terrible pain he's in, but the fact that people think he deserted Rey Mysterio. "I stood by Rey Mysterio through a terrible injury against Kane and Big Show," he said. Then he blamed Rey for not doing his part. "The correct thing to do may be to retire to my fantasy life of money and wealth that quite frankly you can only dream of, but I understand those with more have to give to people with less. I understand that you people have saved up your hard-earned money to come see me. Because of your love, because of your support, I will not retire. I will give you people Mr. Smackdown. I will give you people a reason to live. That there is a one and only and he is right here - a Wrestling God." He ripped the patch off of his eye. Tazz applauded JBL's will to go on.
-Rey Mysterio then popped up through the stage and made his way to the ring with his abdomen wrapped in bandages. They replayed Rey being slammed into the hood of "the lowrider" (no reference to Eddie Guerrero). Then clips aired of Show and Kane double-slamming Rey. Cole said Rey's injury is serious, whereas JBL's isn't. Tazz told Cole not to insult his intelligence. JBL put on a huge show about how tough it was to see out of his right eye.
1 -- JBL vs. REY MYSTERIO
JBL attacked Rey aggressively at the start of the match. "He's a one-eyed monster," said Tazz. Rey nailed JBL with a boot to the face to begin a comeback. Mysterio poked JBL in the eye at 1:00, then punched away at his face. Rey dove onto JBL at ringside, thus of course prompting a break. No, wait, they stayed with the match. Rey went for a headbutt off the top rope, but JBL moved. JBL took Rey down with a shoulder tackle. Rey set up the 619, but Orlando Jordan nailed him with a clothesline for the DQ. Batista ran out and made the save.
WINNER: Rey at 2:33 via DQ.
STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Good start, but it didn't get far.
-G.M. Teddy Long walked out and told JBL that he seems to be getting his cabinet back together, so therefore he was booking him in a tag match. JBL pointed to his eye in a panic. Long announced that JBL & Jordan would face Rey & Batista later. Tazz cried that JBL shouldn't have to wrestle two matches in one night.
-Bob Orton asked Randy Orton if he was sure he wanted to do what he planned. Randy said he was determined to call out Undertaker. Bob said he hoped Randy knew what he was doing.
-Randy and Bob Orton walked to the ring. Randy said he is sick and tired of the mind games. "It's not fair," he said. "You're messing with my head. And yeah, it's working a little bit. I'm this close to snapping." The big screen began playing jumbled pictures and sound of Orton in various matches and poses. Orton called Taker to come out so they could end it. He said he could feel his presence. "I want to finish this thing tonight," he said. "Please come to this ring, Undertaker." Pause. Silence in the arena. Orton paced. No response from Taker. Randy got a little weepy and pleaded with Taker to resolve it. He admitted he might have made some mistakes. Taker appeared on the big screen. They showed him tossing Foley off the top of the Hell in a Cell. Taker read a quote by John Calvin: "The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul." Another by Dante "Abandon all hope, those who enter here!" Taker added, "Hell in a Cell." Randy began having a breakdown in the ring, collapsing to one knee. The lighting in the arena was a deep purple with a strange negative effect. Taker said Orton was in the fast lane on the Highway to Hell and to "enjoy the ride." Those were great special effects and a really good video. This feud may have lasted three times longer than most of us would prefer, but this segment was well produced and executed. Randy did a good job reacting to the circumstances without becoming overly campy.
-Crystal knocked on Booker T's locker room door for an interview. Sharmell answered. Booker then walked up and asked Crystal if she was looking for a scoop. He put a big "0" next to Benoit's name on an inkboard and a "3" next to his, predicting the outcome of tonight's match. He then complained about getting assaulted by Benoit while he and his wife were commenting on Benoit's match last week. Benoit said it's time to prepare the brooms for the big sweep.
3 -- MNM (Mercury w/Nitro, Melina) vs. SUPER CRAZY (w/Psicosis, Juventud)
Cole hoped that Melina would sit next to them. Melina then split her way into the ring. Cole said he remembered Tazz entering the ring that way in his day. Cole announced that the tag titles will be on the line between both teams next week. Cole noted that Psicosis and Nitro were having words. Tazz responded: "People say that they're having words. They're arguing. What do you mean they're having words? I hate that expressions." Cole said, "It's an expression." Tazz said, "It's a bad expression." That exchange cracked me up. The chemistry between these two, and their ability to go off on completely meaningless tangents, is entertaining without seeming forced or belaboring the jokes. It sounds like they'd sound if they had dinner together before the show. "I'm running around with MNM. You're running around with the Dicks everywhere." Psicosis stopped Nitro from interfering, and Crazy then hit a moonsault for the clean win.
WINNER: Crazy at 3:58.
STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Short, but fine.
Kid Kash attacked the Mexicools after the match. Cole said Kash has been making a name for himself on Velocity. Tazz said he remembers him from his days in ECW. Add Kash to an already promising mix of MNM and the Mexicools and Smackdown may provide a good dose of quality action in coming weeks.
-Randy Orton took some deep breaths backstage and tried to regain his composure. When he splashed water on his face, Undertaker appeared in the mirror behind him. When he turned around, there was no Taker. They find some really creative ways to make Undertaker part of the show when he's actually taking one of his frequent multi-week breaks.
-Palmer Canyon stepped out and said Mr. Kennedy has sustained an injury which prevents him from wrestling. He said The Network has found his scheduled opponent, Ray Gordy, a more than suitable replacement. Out came out Boogeyman.
4 -- BOOGEYMAN vs. RAY GORDY
Gordy looked concerned as Boogeyman broke a clock over his forehead and walked to the ring. When Tazz said Boogeyman eats pig entrails, Cole asked, "How do you know he eats pig entrails?" Tazz didn't answer, he apparently just assumed. Boogeyman stuffed his mouth with worms and let them dangle out of his mouth. Gordy didn't know what to do. "I'm gonna barf," said Cole. Boogeyman slammed Gordy, threw some elbow to his face, and scored the pin, then let the worms fall out of his mouth onto Gordy's face.
WINNER: Boogeyman at 1:08.
STAR RATING: 1/4* -- More spectacle than match. I don't know if they know where they're going with him - and he's so green the options are limited - but he's a memorable, colorful character. I vote for a best of seven series with Bobby Lashley in 30 minute Iron Man Matches.
-Bob came to console Randy backstage. When he looked at his dad, Randy saw a bloody face. This was where the special effects strayed off of "plausible" and into corny editing. When Randy looked away, then looked back, Bob's face was no longer bloody. This is where this gives away that the WWE writing team still doesn't get where the line is and why it's bad business to cross it. Up until then, everything that the camera showed could have been the result of Undertaker pulling strings behind the scenes to mess with Randy's head. The image of Taker in the mirror could have been a cutout of Taker or Taker himself making a brief appearance. The noises, videos, messages - all of it could have been coordinated by Taker and the cameras were there to capture it all. This segment went to another level, which broke the suspension of disbelief and the facade of plausibility by showing us something that Randy saw that clearly didn't exist. It also required his father to cooperate with cutting the scene with blood all over his face. It exposed that Randy was just acting because obviously Bob's face wasn't really bloody one second and clean the next, so therefore it was just a camera editing trick which Randy "played along with" for the sake of getting the angle over. The view of Bob's face bleeding was meant to show viewers what Randy was seeing, but it's breaking a fourth wall because everything else on the show, week after week, is just a case of the camera catching what's happening. This was a case of deliberate cooperation from the cameras and editors and director to deceive the viewers with the cooperation of Orton. It entered the fray of the WCW Mini Movies which were so obviously scripted with wrestlers so obviously cooperating that it completely broke any suspension of disbelief and any sense of realism.
5 -- CHRIS BENOIT vs. BOOKER T (w/Sharmell) -- Third of Best of Seven Match Series
Cole and Tazz talked about how Benoit's back is against the wall, being down 2-0. They cut to a break at 8:30 after the usual professional, but all-too-familiar action between these two.
Booker settled into a mundane chinlock at 14:00 for 30 seconds before Benoit elbowed out of it. Those chinlocks are always great for ratings. There are so many things real fighters do when they're on the mat trying to wear down their opponents, and casually applying an arm around a chin and flexing isn't one of them; WWE wrestlers should be assigned the task of watching UFC events and taking a interesting mat holds from them to give their matches some new dimensions and make the WWE style seem more contemporary and less complacent. Benoit made a comeback and scored a nearfall at 16:30 after a superplex. Benoit hit the top rope headbutt for another near fall. This series seems designed so far to damage the credibility of Benoit's finishers just in case he doesn't re-sign with WWE. He hit his German suplex series, but the ref went down in the process. Booker tried to block a German, but Benoit slipped into a Crossface. Booker tapped. Sharmell brought a chair into the ring. Benoit took it from her. She begged off. Booker then hit Benoit from behind. Sharmell rolled out of the ring and caught her breath. Booker bashed Benoit in the back with a chair and then hit the scissors kick. The ref came to and counted to three. Cole called it "highway robbery." Tazz didn't ask, "Why do people say it's highway robbery? There's no highway involved." Instead, he said it was highway robbery at its blatant best.
WINNER: Booker at 18:49.
STAR RATING: **1/4 -- Hard to give a below average grade to it, but it's like a decent meal that's been eating for dinner every day for a week or two.
6 -- BOBBY LASHLEY vs. WILLIAM REGAL
Regal withstood the initial onslaught and hit some uppercuts and elbows to slow Lashley. Lashley's selling takes me back to Giant Gonzales/El Gigante (that's "The Giant" in Spanish, by the way). Lashley then scored the pin quickly after his Dominator.
WINNER: Lashley at 2:09.
STAR RATING: 1/4*
-Raw Rebound aired.
-Randy and Bob talked about their decision to leave the arena and escape the mindgames. Undertaker's image appeared on the monitor behind them. They didn't notice. They left the arena. Randy tried to get into his car, but it drove away without a driver. Josh Matthews ran up to Randy and asked him about the Hell in a Cell match. Josh then became possessed and mouthed along to Undertaker's voice as his eyes rolled back in his head. Josh then went back to talking like himself as if nothing happened. Orton backed off. Josh looked confused by his reaction. That was stupid, too, because again it went beyond "mind games" coordinated by Undertaker to something that had to be post-produced and acted with everyone's cooperation. The visual of all of this is cool, but there are ways to pull it off without the obvious fourth wall being exposed.
-Tazz and Cole ran down the Armageddon line-up.
7 -- JBL (w/Jillian Hall) & ORLANDO JORDAN vs. REY MYSTERIO & BATISTA
Cole gave Tazz a hard time for referring to JBL's speech at the start of the show as an "interview." He said, "By the way, genius, it wasn't an interview. JBL took the mic by himself. Nobody asked him questions." Jordan and Batista opened the match. Rey tagged in and scored some offense before the commercial break at 3:00.
After the break, Jordan had Batista locked in an armbar. Rey made a comeback. Jordan tagged in JBL. JBL bailed out after a flurry of energy from Ray. JBL used Hall as a shield at ringside. She slapped Rey, then JBL gave him a big boot. JBL overhead slammed Rey off of the top rope. JBL and Jordan isolated and worked over Rey for several minutes. Batista got the hot tag at 12:45 and took on both heels at once. He charged at JBL and took a boot to the face, but then he ducked a JBL Clothesline from Hell attempt and speared JBL. When he went after Jordan at ringside, Jordan threw him into the ringpost shoulder-first. Rey then dove onto JBL in the ring, but Hall distracted Rey with his clipboard. JBL almost ran into Hall. Rey dropkicked JBL into Hall, then gave both of them a 619 at the same time. JBL then tripped over Hall and fell backwards. He pretended to have a serious knee injury and begged off. Rey watched JBL bail out of the ring as Jordan hit him from behind. JBL retreated to the back. Rey then gave Jordan the 619. Batista gave Jordan a spinebuster. Batista and Rey shook the ropes in stereo. Batista then gave Jordan BatistaBomb for the win. Rey counted to three along with the ref.
WINNERS: Rey & Batista at 15:32.
STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Well orchestrated main event tag. Batista is wrestling surprisingly well for someone who was contemplating lat surgery just a few weeks ago.
We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show. To contribute your thoughts on Smackdown, click here.
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