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2/24 WWE Friday Night Smackdown Express: Second chances, fake explosions, and more!

Feb 25, 2006 - 4:36:00 AM

By Mike Roe, Torch Team Contributor

WWE Smackdown review
February 24, 2006
Taped 2/21/2006 in Richmond, Virginia
Aired on UPN
Report by Mike Roe, Torch OVW/Smackdown Specialist

Quick Links

* Raw Is Trivial
* Christi's Corner
* Show rating
* Newsworthy Countdown

Hi everyone, and welcome to Express! I'm still sick, which is why you once again got no Specialist column this week. I'm pretty sure I have plague, but I'm getting better! I'm in the middle of American Idol fever, but I'm pulling myself back into wrestling mode, so let's get to it! First, let's send it down to the only man smarter than Einstein (at least when it comes to wrestling trivia), Seth!


Raw Is Trivial with the "Supreme" Seth Berger!

Raw Is Trivial brings you down the "Road to WrestleMania". Useless trivia you can use to impress your friends at that WrestleMania party! (The following does not include dark matches, "Free-For-All" or "Sunday Night Heat" before the show.)

-Chicago is the only WrestleMania to not have Roman numbers, ever. (2, 13, and now, 22.) Strange, isn't it? (We can't be bothered by no Roman numbers!)
-Paul Orndorff is the only wrestler to go from Main Eventing one WM, only to open the next year's event. (WM1 & 2.)
-Chris Jericho is the only wrestler to go from opening a WM to Main Eventing the next year. (WM X7 & X8.)
-Five men have opened WM13 & XIV in #1 Tag contenders matches; The Headbangers, The Godwinns & Bradshaw. Bradshaw has had two different tag partners; "Blackjack" Windham & "DOA" Chainz.
-D'Lo Brown has wrestled tag matches in 3 consecutive WrestleManias with 3 different partners. (Mark Henry @ XIV, Test @ XV, The Godfather @ WM2000.)

And, one more, which I shall turn into Raw Is Trivial's question-of-the-week: One wrestler has opened 3 consecutive WMs. First match of a PPV. And, that wrestler is still in action today. So, since I gave you a huge hint, take your wild, uneducated guess and see you later on in the Express. Now, back to Mike.


Seth, why must you always make me feel clueless? Well, more clueless than normal. Anyway, on to the show!

*** After the WWE intro, we cut right to Randy Orton coming down to the ring! Michael Cole started by calling him a disgusting excuse for a human being. The crowd (and probably the crowd noise machine) was booing the hell out of him. Cole talked about his "controversial" victory over Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania, explaining how Orton used the death of Rey's friend Eddie Guerrero to goad him into a match for his title shot, and then cheated to get the win.

Tonight: The main event is Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, and Lashley versus JBL, Finlay, and Randy Orton. It looks like, aside from the obvious main event, they're setting up JBL versus Chris Benoit and Lashley versus Finaly for WrestleMania. Cole also hyped highlights from the No Way Out main event, Kurt Angle versus Undertaker, calling it perhaps the best main event in Smackdown history. I do think that it may be the best on a Smackdown brand exclusive pay-per-view. Also tonight, "Rey Mysterio addresses the public" about his victory at the Royal Rumble and his subsequent loss at No Way Out.

Cole was really foaming at the mouth about Orton, and did a good job making him seem like an absolute heel. Orton cleared his throat and tried settling the crowd down. He said that he's not the kind of guy to come out and say "I told you so." ... Long dramatic pause... "but I told you so!" Orton said that he would compete for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, and Rey Mysterio is not. "All of Rey's hopes, dreams, fantasies of having a storybook victory over me were shattered." Orton said it didn't matter who was cheering for him, it didn't matter who he dedicated his match to (as Randy pointed upwards), Randy had destiny on his side. It was hard to make out, but it seemed like the fans started loudly chanting for Eddie, and Orton yelled at them to shut up. Orton continued on to say that he had destiny on his side, and it will be fulfilled at WrestleMania when he becomes the World Heavyweight Champion.

Orton turned to addressing Kurt Angle. He said that Angle is lucky, because it took lucky to beat the Undertaker at No Way Out, and all the luck in the world isn't going to help him at WrestleMania when he steps in the ring with Orton. When he becomes world champion he will take his "rightful place" at the top of the business. Orton said it was a business his family built. Orton said that his grandfather was the greatest wrestler of his generation, his father was the greatest wrestler of his generation (Ha!), and when Orton becomes world champion, he will prove to everyone that he is the greatest wrestler of his generation. Orton said it's not Kurt Angle, not the Undertaker, not Rey Mysterio, not the "late, great" Eddie Guerrero. Orton said that he is without peers, and that nobody is better than him. Orton said the fans can chant and say whatever they want, but was cut off mid-sentence as Raw superstar Chavo Guerrero charged the ring and attacked Orton from behind!

Chavo, in street clothes, began beating the Hell out of Orton. He ripped off his t-shirt and did the Eddie shimmy. He also had an Eddie wristband on. Chavo went on to deliver the triple vertical Three Amigos suplexes! Chavo pointed up and climbed the ropes, pointed up as security tried waving him off from outside the ring, and hit the frog splash to Orton! A security member at ringside grabbed Chavo's leg, and one guard in the ring and a bunch outside the ring grabbed onto Chavo. Chavo was carried out by a big group of security guards as Chavo yelled at Orton in the ring, talking about how the Guerreros are the best family, something which Chavo yelled that Orton had forgotten.

(Commercial break.)

Moments ago: They recapped Orton bragging about being better than everyone. They played the last few seconds of his speech and then showed highlights of the Chavo attack, with the Three Amigos, the frog splash, and then getting dragged out. Cole emphasized that the fans should listen to what Chavo said. "The Guerreros are the best family! You forgot! You forgot! You forgot about me!"

(1) WWE Tag Team Champions MNM (Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro with Melina) defeated Matt Hardy & Tatanka in a WWE Tag Team Championship match.

Pre-match analysis: Ohhhh yeeeeeah! It's Matt Hardy and his wacky partner in a match for the tag team championships! Hardy came out by himself. They showed a recap from No Way Out of Hardy and his mystery tag partner Tatanka fighting MNM and getting a surprise win with double finishers (twist of fate and Samoan drop), with Tatanka getting the pin. Tatanka came out next. God, that Tatanka war cry/yelp/whatever at the beginning of his music is so annoying. Tatanka got in, did his dance, and the tomahawk chop.

MNM was out next. Melina is looking, if possible, more incredible than ever this week. She's got on a red halter top with a couple, ahem, well placed holes in the middle (Let those straps break!), red boots, a black mini-mini-miniskirt, and a red sash/belt around her waist. Her hair was done real cool, too, curled and looking hot. MNM had on those cool fur coats with a whole bunch of LED screens sewn in showing their respective names. Cole said that Melina's hair made her look like a "lion," and Tazz rightfully pointed out that Cole is a crazy, crazy man who doesn't know what he's talking about.

Match analysis: Hardy and Mercury started things off. The fans chanted for Hardy early. Hardy hit a shoulder block and covered with the leg hooked, but Mercury kicked out. Nitro blind tagged in. Nitro blocked a hip toss, then hardy blocked a hip toss from Nitro and got a backslide pin, but Nitro kicked out at two. Hardy drove Nitro into the corner and tagged in Tatanka.

They each grabbed a leg and pulled him back from the corner, flipping him over in a cool looking move. Tatanka covered, but Nitro kicked out. Tatanka threw Nitro on top of the ropes in the corner. Tatanka kicked Nitro in the gut several times, which caused Nitro to land on the top rope, crotching himself. Cole talked about how, at one point, Tatanka was undefeated for two years in WWE. Cole talked about what an upset it would be for Hardy and Tatanka to win this. Tatanka hip tossed Nitro off the ropes into the ring and punched Mercury off the apron when he tried to interfere. Melina distracted the ref, allowing Mercury to pull down the top rope for Tatanka's momentum to carry him to the outside. Hardy complained to the ref, distracting him as MNM hit a double suplex on Tatanka on the outside. Nitro covered in the ring, but Tatanka kicked out. Nitro tagged in Mercury.

Hardy was yelling at his partner "Come on, T!" Nitro hit a drop toehold to set up Mercury dropping a knee. Melina let out one of her primal screams, which I love but I know some find the most annoying thing in the world. Mercury covered, but Tatanka kicked out. Tatanka and Melina need to have a scream battle. Mercury took Tatanka into the corner and tagged in Nitro. Mercury stood in front of Tatanka to hold him in the corner, allowing Nitro to hit a running knee. Melina screamed again. Tatanka began to battle out, but Nitro cut him off with a right hand and tagged in Mercury.

Nitro and Mercury double whipped Tatanka and gave him a double back elbow. Mercury covered, but Tatanka kicked out. Melina was pissed and yelled "Come on!" at the ref. Mercury tagged Nitro back in and they hit a double legdrop to Tatanka. Nitro hooked the leg, but Tatanka kicked out at two. For one of the first times in a while, Tazz brought up one of his "guys," in this case a statistician. (Is it Joey Numbers? Yay Velocity references!) Nitro drove Tatanka into the corner. Tatanka knocked Mercury off the apron with his tomahawk chop style shots. Nitro kicked Tatanka in the gut and was going for a suplex, but Tatanka blocked it and got a small package! However, Mercury distracted the ref as Tatanka got a visual three count. Cole said that he had at least a count of five. Melina was holding her chest (Oh!) in relief. Mercury tagged back into the match.

They both held Tatanka and delivered alternating cuts to his chest as we got another Melina scream, followed by a big clothesline from Mercury as Nitro held Tatanka. Mercury covered, but Hardy broke up the three count. Nitro tagged in and started delivering shoulder thrusts in the corner before tagging in Mercury once more. Mercury was running in with a shoulder, but Tatanka pushed Nitro in the way, stunning both members of MNM! Tatanka hit a double jumping clothesline that took him down as well. Tatanka crawled over to his corner and Hardy got the hot tag!

Hardy took down MNM several times, including a hip toss to Mercury and a running clothesline into the corner and, in a cool spot, bulldogged Nitro while clotheslining Mercury, which he also did at No Way Out. Hardy got charaged up and hit the side effect on Mercury. Hardy hooked the leg, but Nitro broke it up. Hardy dropped Nitro with a shot to the head. Mercury got a go behind but Hardy held onto the ropes and Mercury fell backwards. Nitro held the ropes and hit his big breakdance style kick to the sternum, allowing Mercury to hit a northern lights suplex into a cover, but Hardy kicked out.

Mercury signaled for Nitro to get in there and they signaled for the snapshot finisher. However, Tatanka broke it up, attacking Nitro and knocking him out of the ring! Hardy countered out of the snapshot position and rolled up Mercury, but Mercury kicked out! Melina was pumped. Mercury went for a back bodydrop, but he telegraphed it and Hardy kicked him in the face. Tatanka picked up Mercury and Hardy hit an assisted neckbreaker into a cover. Nitro broke it up.

Tatanka went after Nitro and hit some big chops. Tatanka tried charging Nitro in the corner, but he moved out of the way and Tatanka ran into the steel post. Hardy was going for the twist of fate on Mercury, but while the ref was dealing with Nitro, Melina ran into the ring and grabbed Hardy's leg! Hardy released Nitro and turned to Melina. Mercury rolled up Hardy and grabbed a handful of Hardy's pants for the pinfall victory!

Post-match analysis: MNM quickly fled the ring. Mercury pounded the apron and was pumped. Mercury primped and preened as MNM celebrated their victory. Hardy was pissed. Cole talked about how Hardy and his partner looked great tonight, but got screwed. (Hardy's gotten screwed a lot lately.) Melina did that thing where she lifts one foot up to her knee on the other leg, and I love it.

Match grade: C+. An OK opening match. It was hard for me to get emotionally involved in this match due to how much they've absolutely buried Matt Hardy, along with his tag partner being, well, freaking Tatanka. I don't think they've given us much reason to care about this feud, especially if Hardy and Tatanka are going to continue to tag. One way they could go with it is to have Hardy continue to seek out new tag partners. I'd suggest Jeff Hardy, but since he can't even manage to get to a few TNA appearances a month, I doubt he'd be able to deal with a WWE schedule once again.

Tonight: Cole hyped the highlights of Taker versus Angle, saying it was one of the greatest matches he has ever had the opportunity to call, and he sounded genuine in saying so. Tazz hyped that big six man main event.

Promo time: Highlights aired from No Way Out, including the return of Batista, Chris Benoit making Booker tap out to pick up the United States Championship, Randy Orton cheating to defeat Rey Mysterio for his WrestleMania title shot, and the great main event between Undertaker and Kurt Angle with the controversial finish, with Angle in the triangle choke from Taker as he covered. This was all, of course, to hype the replays all week long.

(Commercial break.)

Big time! WrestleMania 22 is only 37 days away. Save up your money so that you can get absolutely raped on pay-per-view fees in just 37 days!

*** Paul Burchill was cutting his facial hair with a dagger, looking at himself in a "mirror" that was more like a shard of a mirror. William Regal interrupted and said that he'd hate to be negative, but he wanted to read a letter from Jenny in New England. It said "Dear Mr. Regal, I was watching Smackdown last week and saw that Paul Burchill was dressed as a buccaneer." Burchill was happy and looked down at his goofy pirate gear. "Could you please help him from embarrassing himself and, most importantly, embarrassing you as Burchill's former tag partner. I'd hate for your repuation, Mr. Regal, to be besmirched by a man pretending to be a pirate. Your number one Regal fan, Jenny. P.S. You're gorgeous, and delectable!" Besmirched! Regal asked Burchill if he realizes how this makes him look and how it reflects on him. Regal said that he took Burchill under his wing, and wanted to know if these people on Smackdown care about swashbuckling and pirates. Regal said it was madness and that he should stop it now, he's a "bloody hooligan," not a pirate. Burchill was getting more and more angry during this and walked off screen. Regal was muttering that it was absolute tripe, and that he'd never heard such rubbish in all his life. Burchill came back and handed a black ball to Regal. Regal asked what it was, and said "It's not a bomb, is it? It's not a bloody bomb is it?!" Burchill lit the long fuse that burned pretty quickly. Regal then yelled "Bloody Hell, fire! Bloody Hell, not! Bloody, whoa, whoa, whoa!" The fuse ran out and nothing happened. Regal looked ready to have a heart attack. Burchill got in his face and said "Boom!" before walking out.

Tazz said that he'd seen stranger things work around here. They have a Boogeyman, why not a pirate? Cole started talking about the Hall of Fame ceremony on April 1st. Cole and Tazz put over Bret Hart. Tazz said he was a gigantic fan of his work and that Hart was ahead of his team. Tazz called his in-ring style phenomenal. Cole talked about how, earlier this week, they made another huge announcement: The second huge inductee into the Hall of Fame for the class of 2006. This was followed by the absolutely fantastic video package for Eddie Guerrero, which you must see. You can check it out on at this link. There's also video up of Vickie Guerrero talking about Eddie being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Vince McMahon: "Eddie Guerrero has passed away, so tonight, we celebrate the life of Eddie Guerrero."
John Cena: "One thing that rings true is Eddie Guerrero was a great man."
Big Show: "He loved his family."
Shane McMahon: "He loved his wife Vickie, and he loved his daughters, and that's what he fought for."
Chris Benoit: "And I want you to know that I love you, and I miss you. (Benoit loses his composure, sobbing.)"
Vince McMahon: "Eddie Guerrero loved this business. He loved it. He had a passion for it like no one else... Eddie's goal every night was to steal the show."

They then played highlights from various Eddie Guerrero matches, including him cheating to win and winning the title at No Way Out from Brock Lesnar, as well as winning the tag titles. They had an Eddie voiceover thanking the fans, saying "For everyone that supported me, and everybody that's been behind me since the beginning, I say gracias! Thank you! Hola le!" (I'm sure I just butchered that last phrase. Anyone who wants to correct me can write in at Finally, Vince McMahon said "Viva la raza!" The video closed with the fans chanting Eddie with a graphic announcing Eddie as a class of 2006 inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, and they showed a fan in the crowd holding up an Eddie tribute t-shirt.

(Commercial break.)

Promo time: WWE is coming to a town near you! Not me, but that's OK, because I'm going to an indy show this weekend, whoo! Smackdown also has a three night Australian tour coming up.

(2) Boogeyman defeated The Dicks (Chad Dick & James Dick) (Handicap Match).

Pre-match analysis: Booker T, sucka! I guess, when he's no longer a champion, his wife Sharmell is in no mood to give him an introduction. Booker and Sharmell did not look happy. Booker had on a goldish suit, and Sharmell was all in black, almost like she was in mourning over the title loss. Booker checked his watch. He got pissed when a fan at ringside patted him on the shoulder, and brushed off his suit. Greatness! He was there to, once again, join in on commentary. God bless this man.

The Dicks were out next, making their last Smackdown appearance. I cannot believe how royally WWE screwed over these men. Chad Dick checked himself out in a mirror on his way down to the ring. Booker was complaining about the "conspiracy," with Teddy Long doing everything he can to break Booker's spirits. Booker was complaining that even his headset not winning was part of the conspiracy! Booker complained that he had to work at only eighty percent, even though he's better at 80 than 90 percent of the guys are at 100. You get that? Tony Chimel said that he had just been informed that this wasn't a tag match, it was a handicap match. And what should happen but the Boogeyman's music hits!

The Dicks were not happy Dicks, so to speak. Booker didn't seem to be too big on the Boogeyman. He asked if Boogeyman had an agent. Booker asked who signed this guy, and said he'd heard that this guy can't even leave the country because he doesn't have a passport. He doesn't have a driver's license, he doesn't even have a birth certificate. Booker asked why he was in the company, and said it's all about Teddy Long. Cole said he was a pretty good wrestler and he hadn't lost yet. Cole asked if Booker and Sharmell had gotten the trunk of their car cleaned out of all the worms yet. (Holy crap... could we have Booker T versus the Boogeyman at WrestleMania?! Or at least Saturday Night's Main Event?) Booker talked about how he got told about the Boogeyman as a kid, and he would say that he hoped Boogeyman was in his closet or under his bed, because Booker would knock him out! Booker said that Teddy Long was nothing but a boot licking, butt dancing (wha?), little puppet running around here, always doing what people tell him to do. Booker said that he doesn't do what people tell him to do. Booker asked where the Bottomless Pit is located.

Match analysis: The Dicks cowered in the corner, holding each other at first before splitting up. Booker talked about this "voodoo crap," and for anyone who knows about Boogeyman, that's great. Boogeyman psyched out James Dick. Chad attacked from behind. Boogeyman turned and James attack. Boogeyman turned again and Chad attacked, but Boogey quickly turned and grabbed Chad by the throat. Boogeyman knocked down the other Dick with an elbow. Boogeyman shoved Chad into the corner and scoop slammed him. Boogeyman clotheslined James to the outside. Chad attacked from behind again. Sharmell had a great line about how Teddy Long hired Michael Cole, so of course he hired the Boogeyman. Boogeyman no sold Chad's offense, then grabbed him around the throat and tossed him into James Dick on the apron, who bounced off into the announce table, and pulled the announce table cover off with him. Booker asked where this guy's mother is, and if Boogeyman looked like her. (That is a scary, scary thought.) Boogeyman grabbed Chad by the throat with both hands, lifted him up, then slammed him down and hooked the leg for the win!

Post-match analysis: Booker questioned whether he went to the Boogeyman wrestling school, and wanted to know where he learned that finisher. Boogeyman dripped worms on Chad Dick's face. Booker said that Teddy Long was letting this show go to Hell in a handbasket. Sharmell yelled that Boogeyman was looking at Booker. Booker yelled at Boogeyman "Bust yo' ass up!" Boogeyman grabbed what looked like a big bag of worms, grabbed worms out of his pocket and put them in his mouth, and caused Booker and Sharmell to flee into the crowd. Boogeyman opened his bag on the announce table and poured worms all over the announce desk! Michael Cole and Tazz bailed into the crowd. Cole had a great look of absolute disgust on his face. Tazz just looked confused as Booker and Sharmell escaped through the crowd.

Match grade: Not applicable. Sort of sad to see the once great Tolands of OVW fame and acclaim go out like this. Still, the Boogeyman's going to keep needing people to squash, since God knows he can't wrestle legitimate competitive matches that well. A Boogeyman versus Booker T match could be fun, and Booker is another guy, much like JBL, who could easily bounce back from a loss to the Boogeyman if they intend to keep this gimmick going strong.

Up next: Rey Mysterio addresses the public. No announcers to hype this, of course, after that last segment. I feel bad for Cole and Tazz if they don't do some serious cleanup out there before they go back to commentating.

Raw Rebound: Raw this week had the Road to WrestleMania tournament finals. Triple H said "WrestleMania. Just the word sends a shiver up your spine." RVD said, in the most unconvincing way ever, "It's the gateway to immortality!" Big Show: "What's in front of me tonight: A chance to go to the main event at WrestleMania!" Triple H: "A place where I have been more than any man alive." RVD: "There's no greater opportunity to strive for." Big Show: "I know what it takes to be in the main event at WrestleMania." RVD: "All I have to do is win, and my name gets put down in the history books." This all aired over clips from the match. The best part was that, as Triple H stood on the apron duringh is entrance, Big Show came up right behind him, creating a great image of this giant man right behind Triple H with the spotlight and all that. Triple H pedigreed the Big Show and covered, but no luck. Big Show chokeslammed both of his opponents, but still no luck. RVD came very close to the win, hiting the five star frog splash on Big Show and hooking the leg, but Triple H grabbed the ref's leg! Triple H then pedigreed Rob Van Dam and got the victory! Triple H: "At WrestleMania, the king of kings goes back on his throne." As Triple H posed and made the belt sign around his waist, John Cena's music hit and he came down to the ring, accompanied by his title belt and his awful, awful new t-shirt. (Hustle. Loyalty. Respect. Lame.) They had one of those slightly homoerotic faceoffs in the middle of the ring.

(Commercial break.)

WrestleMania 22 Big Time moment: They showed a recap of the triangle ladder match, a precursor to the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches, from WrestleMania 2000, when Jeff Hardy climbed to the top of the giant ladder and did a swanton bomb on Bubba Ray Dudley through a table! It looked like Jeff just hit the edge of the table and barely hit it at all, so probably in a bit of pain after that one.

The worms were still on the announce table. Cole was insisting that Tazz sit down first. Tazz was complaining that he had a new suit on. They directed the production crew to clean things up. They were busy picking up worms and putting them in boxes and sweeping them off the table. Cole asked for someone to get him a towel.

*** Rey Mysterio's music hit and he started coming down to the ring to address his loss at No Way Out to Randy Orton, losing his WrestleMania title opportunity. Cole talked about Randy cheating. He said that Rey had to live with this for five days, and that Rey believes in his soul that he let a lot of people down, including Eddie Guerrero. Tazz talked about how Rey dedicated the match to Eddie, and he felt bad for Rey.

Rey Mysterio got on the mic and said "It makes me feel very happy that Eddie Guerrero will be inducted in the Hall of Fame." This got a pop from the crowd. "You know, I dedicated my performance in the Royal Rumble to the memory of my good friend, of my brother, Eddie Guerrero." A cute blonde girl held up a sign for Eddie. (Hey baby, any chance you read Internet wrestling reports? No? Damn it.) "I know very well that that night Eddie was smiling down on me when I eliminated Randy Orton and won my chance to main event for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. But, Randy Orton, he got in my head." Rey did a good job acting emotional. "Orton, he got me so upset that I put my WrestleMania title opportunity on the line at No Way Out, and I lost. It's... It's no one's fault but my own. I've let everyone down." They showed a young fan in a Rey Mysterio mask shaking his head no. "I just want to say one thing to everyone that I've let down: I apologize. I apologize to my family, I apologize to Vickie Guerrero, to Chavo Guerrero, to each and every one of you here, and most importantly, I apologize to you, Eddie Guerrero." This was a really emotional moment and almost brought a tear or two from yours truly. Mysterio set the mic down on the mat and slowly started to leave the ring as the fans chanted for Eddie.

Theodore Long's music hit and he started swaggering down to the ring. Tazz talked about how it was big of Mysterio to come out here in front of millions of people and say what he just said, while Cole said that it was an absolute emotional apology from Rey Mysterio and perhaps the hardest thing he's ever had to do. Tazz said that it took a man to do it, and Rey Mysterio's all man. Long said that we feel Rey's pain, and that what happened to him on Sunday was wrong. Long wanted to show everybody how wrong it was and played the footage. Orton was about to hit the RKO when Mysterio hit a front dropkick to Orton. Orton fell down with his head on the second rope. Mysterio went for the 619, but Orton ducked out of the way, then rolled up Mysterio and held the rope for leverage! Mysterio looked on in disbelief as Orton smugly looked back at Mysterio.

Long said that he reviewed the tape, and as far as him reversing the decision, his hands are tied, because the referee's decision is final. At WrestleMania, Randy Orton will be in the main event. Long can't change that, but he said that he'd tell Rey what he could do. He can't take Randy Orton out of the match, but he damn sure can add to the match! So, at WrestleMania, it will be Randy Orton versus the world champion versus Rey Mysterio! Rey was hyped. Long clarified that, yes, this will be a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship! Rey celebrated and hugged Long and heartily thanked him. Rey pounded his chest and posed, pounding his Eddie Guerrero armband. Rey did the Eddie shimmy in the corner. The announcers talked about how this is probably the most popular decision that Teddy Long has ever made. Rey was making the belt sign around his waist in the corner. They showed a recap in slow motion of Rey Mysterio's reaction. Whoo! (I guess that, with no babyface authority figure on Raw, there's no one to help out Rob Van Dam. Just his luck.)


Christi's Corner: Chairs, Steel Steps, Whatever… Just Make It Personal

Hello there, and welcome to the second Christi’s Corner! Thanks to everyone on the Forums who left a message letting me know they liked the first installment. I didn’t get flamed for the first effort so hopefully that’s a good sign! …And I know that opened up an invitation for this week.

Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton. Everyone out there has chimed in on the use of Eddie Guerrero’s name in their feud. Now that No Way Out and another episode of Smackdown are behind us, I want to look at how Rey regained his spot in the Smackdown main event at Wrestlemania aside from any of the controversy.

Orton needed to go further at No Way Out. Now, in saying that I’m in no way referring to further degrading Eddie’s legacy. If anything, while some have remarked about the classlessness of the use of Vickie and Chavo Guerrero at the pay-per-view, I was surprised by how tame their involvement was compared to what was done in the weeks of television leading up to it. And I’m happy about that. It’s time to let Eddie’s memory rest and honor him like he deserves at the Hall of Fame ceremony in April.

The story of the past week is that Rey fought against all odds, was cheated out of his main event spot unfairly by Orton, and placed the blame for the whole thing on himself until Theodore Long reviewed the tape on Smackdown tonight and placed Rey in the match.

On a side note, did anyone else notice that Long told Rey his hands were tied when it came to removing Orton from the Wrestlemania main event… but a few minutes later he was threatening to take Orton out of the main event if he refused to wrestle in his Smackdown match?

I prefer cleaner finishes on the whole like many people do. But in the case of Mysterio-Orton, the finish wasn’t dramatic enough to get the emotion out of the set-up that they were hoping for. The way it happened, as they showed on the Titan Tron tonight, was that Orton rolled up Mysterio and grabbed the rope for the pin. In WWE, that’s about as clean as you’re going to see many heels win. Audiences have been numbed to the usual tricks to the point that if you want a babyface to look like they’ve been screwed over, you have to go with something with higher stakes.

And No Way Out was a show where, by throwing in a ref bump, a chair shot, or preferably some other weapon for the knockout on Mysterio that we don’t usually see, it wouldn’t have stepped on the toes of any of the other finishes that. Just going down the list: Helms had a relatively clean pin, Tatanka and Hardy had a clean win over MNM, Benoit won by clean tap-out, and while Angle-Undertaker went outside the ring for a number of spots, no weapons influenced the actual finish. Only JBL-Lashley involved outside interference from Finlay, and that was lower on the card with two matches between it and Mysterio-Orton. There was enough time in the middle of the two that the finishes would not have felt like repeats.

We’ve seen it before, but they could have even done the RKO on a chair spot leading to the pin, and Rey could have had the same reaction once he woke up and realized what happened, more than likely to a greater reaction from the live crowd in Baltimore than he got on Sunday.

Smackdown tonight was a decent enough recovery. Rey isn’t always the best on the mic, but he sold the news of being added to the main event well. But while last week I was writing about the missed opportunity of the build-up to Undertaker and Angle, this week I feel like they missed a chance to really put some meaning behind this main event Wrestlemania match. They’ve had the whole Eddie Guerrero storyline, but I agree with Wade that the fans are seeing it as a writer-imposed storyline rather than an actual reason to boo for Randy and cheer for Rey. Mysterio was still over in Richmond, but notice those RKO signs starting to creep up again?

As I was thinking about writing this once Smackdown finished, it interestingly made me remember the late Eddie Guerrero and to one of the most memorable moments of Smackdown last year: Eddie finally snapping on Rey, ripping his mask, and giving him the brainbuster on the steps. That made things personal.

This build-up to Wrestlemania doesn’t need a repeat of the past, but that’s the key phrase. It needs to be made personal without Eddie Guerrero’s memory as the middle man. They have over one month to do it, and there’s a lot they could start next week to make it happen. But after No Way Out and Smackdown this week, it’s still just three random guys thrown together for Mania. Next week, hopefully they’ll raise the stakes.

That’s it for now. Back to Mike!

(Back to top.)


Tonight: They hyped the six man main event tag match once more, and talked about how Rey will probably be in a very good mood during the main event later tonight. They also once more hyped the highlights from No Way Out of Kurt Angle versus the Undertaker.

Promo time: A wrestleMania promo aired. I went to WrestleMania 19 and I hope to have the opportunity to go to another WrestleMania at some point, as it was just an absolutely incredible experience.

(Commercial break.)

A video package aired on Mark freakin' Henry. They had some cool shots lit in an interesting way, along with some video putting over his real athletic background, showing some of his incredible weight lifting feats, then showing some of his highlights from wrestling, including taking out Batista, Kurt Angle, and even Brock Lesnar. It closed with the tag line on the screen "Mark Henry: World's Strongest Man."

The voiceover went back and forth between an announcer and Mark Henry, from his promo against Kurt Angle last week.
Announcer: Many times national champion in weight lifting and American record holder.
Mark Henry: You can't beat me with strength.
Announcer: World power lifting champion in the super heavyweight class.
Mark Henry: Speed can't beat me.
Announcer: Holder of the world record dead lift of 903 pounds.
Mark Henry: You're gonna find out you're looking at the strongest man. You just can't beat me, period!
Michael Cole: Talk about making a major impact!
Mark Henry: I am the world's strongest man.
Tazz: The visciousness, the power.
Mark Henry: You better worry about surviving through the night.
Michael Cole: Look at the size of Mark Henry.
Mark Henry: You can't beat me!

*** Kristal came out in a silk robe, wearing her glasses. Kristal apparently has her very own generic music now! Tazz was talking about us going from a beast (Mark Henry) to a beauty. I thought at first he was talking about Kristal going from beast to beauty, but sadly, Tazz isn't that mean. She was carrying the new divas magazine with her as well. The announcers talked about how she was runner up for Miss California and that she was a "Barker beauty," one of the lovely ladies on the Price Is Right. (There were actually some girls from my college who went and won one of the showcases on that show during spring break. Sadly, they did not choose to share the wealth.)

Kristal said that, normally, you know her as the conservative backstage announcer on Smackdown. (This was already the worst promo ever, and she was just getting started. I'm also not sure that most fans even remember her.) She said that, she is, but she's got another side, one that's chronicled along with all of the other WWE divas in the new Divas 2006 magazine. She set the magazine down and said, right now, she wants to give you a sneak peek at her other side. She started pulling open her top, showing a green bra underneath, when she was intterupted by Jillian! Yaaaay! Now, please, just strip Jillian and keep your clothes on.

Jillian also has her own music now, and even her generic music is better than Kristal's generic music. It had kind of a hip hop vibe. Jillian said, excuse me, she hates to be the one to break it to Kristal, but no one here really wants to see her disrobe. Jillian was looking absolutely astonishing in a grey suit jacket with buttons barely holding it together as her breasts begged to break through, with a white minisirt, along with heels. Jillian said that what everyone wants to see is her client JBL in the main event later tonight. Jillian got into the ring and told Kristal to save herself the embarrassment and get on out of here. Kristal didn't dig that. She asked if Jillian thought she looked better than Kristal does in the new divas magazine. Jillian said absolutely! Kristal said, if she thinks so, why doesn't she give everyone here a sneak peek at her? I'm all for that idea! Jillian said to listen here, "you cheap bimbo," and took Kristal's glasses off for some reason. Sharmell then slapped the taste out of Jillian's mouth... twice! She then ripped off Jillian's jacket, and, whoa. Those things are, like, globes. Jillian, being a heel woman, cover her boobs (well, as much as her relatively miniscule hands could) and ran to the back. Meanwhile, Kristal stripped in the ring, revealing yellow/green lingerie. Cole begged for her to be his new broadcast partner at ringside, and said she should do interviews like that. Tazz said maybe they should have a three man booth, or maybe just a two man booth with Tazz and Kristal. Cole complained about Tazz stealing his line, but Tazz clarified that he hadn't been paying attention since he was, uh, distracted. Kristal made her way to the back.

(Commercial break.)

Cole said that he was still "drunk" from an unbelievable No Way Out. Drunk? Hm, OK. Cole said it was a night of big surprises, including the return of Batista. Tazz introduced the Batista footage.

Batista was the "special guest." Word is that he was backstage visiting since he was in the area, and they decided to have him come out and talk to the crowd. He talked about how much he missed the Smackdown fans and how it was torture not hearing the roar of the crowd. He said that his torn tricep ain't torn anymore, and sooner rather than later, he will be back and will reclaim his World Heavyweight Title.

(3) Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms defeated Psicosis in a Cruiserweight Championship match.

Pre-match analysis: Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms came out first. Cole talked about how, last week, Helms said that he could defeat any cruiserweight at any time, so Theodore Long is putting Helms to the test: Each week he is going to force Helms to defend the title against a fellow cruiserweight. It's a great idea for a storyline that will help draw some attention to the cruiserweight division with a fighting champion. Cole pointed out that Helms is still seen as an outsider from Raw. This week, the challenger was Psicosis! He came out with no Super Crazy, because I guess they want to keep this as a fair match since Psicosis is obviously the babyface.

Match analysis: Psicosis clapped to get the crowd into the match. Helms hit an armdrag takedown into a side headlock, but Psicosis countered out. Helms shoved Psicosis in the face, but Psicosis shoved Helms down to the mat. Helms threw a flurry of offense in the corner, then backed out and yelled at the crowd "That's how I do it!" He turned back but got a big open hand to the chest. Psicosis used the Ropes to boost himself up and hit a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Psicosis blogged a hip toss, hit a short clothesline, and hooked both legs, but Helms kicked out.

Helms blocked a kick, but Psicosis did a wacky lucha rollup! Helms kicked out. Psicosis was trying to go up and over, but Helms grabbed his legs and tossed him to the floor. Psicosis was selling his lower back. Helms left the ring to go after Psicosis on the outside. Helms put him up on the apron. Psicosis tried to kick back, but Helms spun his leg into the ring. Helms then delivered clubbing blows to the sternum. Cole said that Helms was like a hyena, picking at the bone when someone's injured.

Helms got in the ring and crossed Psicosis's arms across his throat from behind and hit a great sitdown slam. Helms hooked the leg, but Psicosis kicked out. Helms hit a nice vertical suplex and followed up with a running legdrop and a low dropkick to the head. Helms applied an arm drap submission, with one arm across the side of the neck. Psicsois tried moving to a vertical base, but Helms cut him off with an elbow to the back of the head. Cole talked about how Helms used to be beloved by the fans, but he turned his back on them. Helms whipped Psicosis, but Psicosis went up and got his legs around Helms, then rolled him up and hooked hte leg for a near fall.

Helms hit a clothesline and then put a knee in the back. He pulled back on Psicosis's hair for leverage before going to a more regular hold, then turned Psicosis onto his front and put the knee in on the pat while pulling back on his chin. Psicosis made it to his feet and began to elbow out, but Helms threw a clubbing blow to the back. Helms took Psicosis into a fireman's carry position and was going to spin him around, but Psicosis landed on his feet. Helms went for a clothesline but Psicosis ducked and hit a spin kick to the jaw. Psicosis covered, but Helms got the shoulder up at two and a half.

Psicsosis went for another spin kick, but Helms ducked. Helms picked up Psicosis again and hit the spinning jawbreaker to the knee. He covered Psicosis, but he kicked out at two. Helms went to whip Psicosis into the corner, but it was reversed. Psicosis went to follow up, but Helms lifted him up and he landed on the apron. Psicosis blocked a right, hit a right hand of his own, and climbed up top. Helms was stunned but recovered and cut him off. He was going for a superplex, but Psicosis shoved him off. Helms hid behind the referee, then ran into the top rope, crotching Psicosis. Helms covered and rolled up Psicosis, putting his foot on the second rope for leverage, and retained the belt.

Post-match analysis: He rolled out of the ring and went to the ringside barrier, where he smirked at the fans. Helms grabbed a water bottle at ringside as he walked to the back.

Match grade: C+. A solid match from these two. Psicosis is a good opponent for Helms, as he can work some cool looking highspots while also delivering solid ground based action. Torch columnist James Caldwell brought up an interesting complaint that this storyline is going to prevent the buildup of a long term feud, but I think that there are ways for them to still do that. They said that Helms had to defend his title every week, but not necessarily against a different opponent, so you could have someone get several title shots in a row with Helms continually cheating to retain his belt. You could also utilize outside interference, someone observing his match, doing commentary, backstage skits, etc. I also don't think there's much chance of ever seeing a completely high paced cruiserweight style in WWE, but I do think that things have picked up a notch with Helms as champion. I don't think that the cruiserweights look particularly small unless you have them in a match with heavyweights, and as long as you keep them separated, it works.

Tonight: Six man tag baby, whoo!

Up next: Highlights from "one of the greatest matches of all time," according to Michael Cole!

(Commercial break.)

We got the standard outside shot of the arena in Richmond, Virginia, before going to highlights from the main event at No Way Out. Cole said that neither of these men had ever tapped out, but that's not exactly true... Taker went for his legdrop on the apron, but Angle grabbed the leg and applied the ankle lock on the outside! Taker applied the triangle choke in the ring. Taker rammed Angle's back into the ringpost on the outside. Angle locked in another ankle lock in the ring. Angle took Taker and Angle slammed him through the announce table. Angle ran up and did his belly to belly suplex from off the ropes. Taker hit a chokeslam and went for the last ride, but Angle rolled through and locked in the ankle lock! He yelled for Taker to tap, but Taker powered out! Angle hit the Angle slam and hooked the leg, but Taker kicked out! They were punching away at one another, but Taker caught him and was going for a tombstone. Angle countered and was going for a tombstone of his own! However, Taker countered and was going for the tombstone again, but Angle grabbed Taker's ankle and locked in the ankle lock once again! Taker delivered boots to the face to break the grip. Angle hit another Angle slam and hooked the leg, but Taker countered and applied the triangle choke! Angle rolled through and bridged, picking up the win via pinfall! The ending was supposed to be controversial, but it was pretty clear that Angle got the pin and Angle didn't tap. Taker picked up Angle and shoved him into the corner and said "I got your number! I'm not done with you!" Cole said that it was like being a part of history, and was a rollercoaster of emotion from the beginning to the end.

*** Teddy Long's music hit and he came out. He said that, as a thank you to everyone who had supported Friday Night Smackdown, he's got something special. Next week, from Washington, D.C., it will be one of the biggest matches in Smackdown history! This got some boos from the live crowd, since they knew they wouldn't be there. It will be a rematch, with World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle, one on one, with the Phenom himself, the Undertaker, for the championship! Right here on Smackdown!

Up next: The six man tag! Let's do it!

(Commercial break.)

They showed the splash page from and thanked the millions of fans who watched on pay-per-view. (Millions? Wha? I don't think so...)

(4) United States Champion Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio & Bobby Lashley defeated JBL, Randy Orton & Finlay.

Pre-match analysis: Randy Orton's music hit first, but Orton was no where to be seen. They cut backstage where Randy Orton was irate, complaining to Teddy Long. They did a nice job making this seem like it wasn't scripted by having the cameraman running up to get into position with the conversation already in progress. Orton was refusing to go out there because of Chavo Guerrero jumping him from behind during his ring time. Orton complained about Long making a match between Taker and Angle for the title next week on Smackdown and asked what Long was trying to do to him. Long said he wasn't trying to do anything. Orton said that, to top it all, Long was putting Rey Mysterio into his main event match at WrestleMania for the World Heavyweight Championship. He asked Long if he was crazy and said that he was the worst GM ever. (Another heel trying to get rid of the babyface GM storyline?) Long said that he'd heard just about enough. He said that there's something else the "worst GM ever" can do. If he doesn't "get to steppin" and go out there, he might pull Orton from his match at WrestleMania. Orton grabbed his head and left to go to the ring.

Orton's music hit and he slowly came out, looking sullen and angry. JBL came out next. This was the match during which JBL's hand was injured. He had surgery on Thursday morning and word is that the surgery went very well. You can see video footage of the surgery and a post-surgery promo from JBL at this link and read about it here. JBL walked out of the limo, and sadly, Jillian Hall was nowhere to be seen. He made his way down to the ring, sporting a shiner from Lashley on Sunday night. The announcers talked about how JBL ended Lashley's win streak at No Way Out, though he had an assist from a certain Irishman. Next up, it's Finlay! He loves to fight! He had that shillelagh club as well. He walked in and shook hands with Randy Orton. Tazz read down the sponsorships. I still can't believe H & R Block sponsors pro wrestling.

Our new United States Champion, Chris Benoit, came out next. The heels were spread out in the ring, so Benoit waited outside. Lashley came out next. The announcers talked about how Finlay hit Lashley in the throat with the shillelagh on Sunday night. Finlay held it up in the middle of the ring at Lashley, and Orton had to keep everyone separated before the match. Rey Mysterio came out next, and Cole talked about how he had a new lease on life. Mysterio was now jolly after being so down earlier in the night. Cole talked again how it must have been one of Theodore Long's most popular decisions, and it really does sound like that's going to be part of an upcoming storyline.

Match analysis: The bell rang, and Mysterio and Randy Orton started things out! Mysterio ducked a clothesline and was going for a wheelbarrow bulldog, but Orton stopped him in mid move and hit him in the back of the head. Orton went between Orton's legs to duck a clothesline and leg scissored Orton to the outside! Orton's leg actually hit the ropes before he rolled out. Orton ran back in, but Mysterio hit a drop toehold and he fell in 619 position! Orton quickly got to his feet and tagged in Finlay!

Mysterio nodded at Lashley and tagged him in. Finlay smirked at Lashley. Finlay taunted Lashley before hitting a big knee to the midsection, followed by a couple of European uppercuts and a kick to the back of the leg to chop him down. Finlay covered, but Lashley quickly kicked out. Finlay got in Lashley's face. Lashley whipped Finlay into the corner as the fans chanted for Lashley. Finlay delivered a thumb to the eye and went to follow up, but Lashley shot in and hit a back body drop. Lashley knocked JBL and Orton off the apron, then speared Finlay in the ribs! (Tazz said it was a double leg takedown, but looked more like a spear from the camera angle they used, and that's what Cole said.) Finlay hooked the leg, but JBL broke up the three count. Benoit came in after JBL, then Orton ran in, and Mysterio went after him! All six men were in the ring and going at it as we went to break.

(Commercial break.)

Back from break, Benoit was putting the sharpshooter on JBL! He almost reached the bottom rope but couldn't quite make it. He finally grabbed the bottom rope to break things up. Benoit hit an elbow drop and tagged in Lashley. Lashley hit a belly-to-belly suplex with a trapped arm. He followed up with a back body drop. Lashley lowered into a three point stance and speared JBL! He hooked the leg, but Finlay broke it up. JBL hit a thumb to the eye and tagged in Orton.

Lashley quickly shoulder blocked Orton right as he got in the ring. Lashley tagged in Mysterio and held Orton's arm, and Orton hit a springboard axe handle to the arm. Orton then low dropkicked that left arm before going for a wrist lock. Orton hit a forearm to the face to get out. Orton dragged him into the corner and tagged in Finlay. Finlay scoop slammed Mysterio and hit his butt splash. Finlay looked on a rear choke/headlock/chinlock. He tagged in JBL and held Mysterio for JBL to punch him in the gut.

The fans chanted for Eddie. JBL hit a boot to the face. JBL headbutted Mysterio. The fans were chanting "619!" Mysterio hit a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and went to follow up, but Finlay hit a knee to the back. Finlay once again used that ring apron, and caused Mysterio to crotch himself on the ring apron! That was great. Finlay took Mysterio up over his shoulders, then dropped him face first on the apron! They showed a replay of Mysterio getting caught on the apron. Benoit went to stop Finlay from abusing Mysterio more. Finlay tagged in JBL. JBL rolled Mysterio into the ring and hooked the leg, but Mysterio kicked out at two.

JBL started delivering elbows to the back of Mysterio. JBL picked him up and locked in a bearhug, throwing some blows at Mysterio's back to weaken him as he locked in the hold. Mysterio threw right hands to battle free. Mysterio was running the ropes, but JBL hit a running shoulder. JBL hooked the leg, but Benoit broke up the three count. Finlay ran in with no tag and locked in a headlock. The ref was saying that there was no tag, even though he didn't see it. JBL and Orton were complaining, but Orton made his way intto the ring after tagging JBL. Orton delivered some jumping knee drops to Mysterio. He covered and got a two count.

Orton applied a headlock of his own. The fans were chanting for Eddie. Mysterio got his foot on the bottom rope. In a great bit, the ref was calling for it to be broken up as Finlay tried kicking Mysterio's foot off the rope several times. Orton broke the hold. Orton whipped Mysterio into the corner, but Mysterio got his boots up in Orton's face. He went up and over Randy in the corner, then tilt-a-whirl headscissored Orton shoulder first into the steel post! Orton made the desperation tag to JBL as Mysterio tagged Benoit!

Benoit took out both JBL and Finlay with several attacks, including a back body drop to Finlay. He then German suplexed all three of his opponents! First Orton, then JBL, then Finlay! Benoit did the throat slash and went up top, delivering the top rope headbutt to JBL! He hooked the leg, and in a nice change of pace, instead of "Benoit wins" or something goofy like that, Tazz said "this might do it!" Finlay broke up the three count. Lashley went after Finlay and bounced his head off the turnbuckle and fought him to the outside. Mysterio decked Orton on the outside. JBL got his boot up in Benoit's face. He was going for the clothesline from Hell, but Benoit grabbed his arm and grabbed the arm to go for the crossface! JBL rolled out before it was locked in, but Benoit held onto that arm and locked in the crossface! Finlay broke it up.

Finlay went for a clothesline, but Benoit ducked and hit a German suplex! Benoit went to dropkick JBL into the steel steps, but ended up just hitting the steps. However, JBL's hand was caught in between the steps and the ringpost. Ouch. He screamed in legit pain from the legit injury. Benoit kicked the hand and rolled JBL into the ring. They showed a replay. Benoit German suplexed JBL. JBL was trying to climb to his feet and was climbing up the ropes slowly, so Benoit tagged in Mysterio who hit the 619! Mysterio hit a springboard splash and hooked the leg to pick up the win!

Post-match analysis: Mysterio ran over and hugged Benoit. Benoit held up Mysterio as they embraced. Lashley came in and all three men celebrated their victory. Lashley held Mysterio up on his shoulders in a nice image. Benoit seemed to genuinely be having a great time, which was a nice change from the uber-serious Benoit. They ended the show with a promo for next week's Undertaker versus Kurt Angle match. They need to end more shows like that.

Match grade: B. A worthy TV main event. It was particularly good when Chris Benoit was tagged in, though everyone put in a good showing here. It was nice to see JBL tough it out and still finish the match even after he broke his hand. Lashley got in there, did his spots, and got out, and that's just the sort of stealth approach you need with a relatively green guy like Lashley. I think that Finlay's experience as an agent has made him even better in the ring, since he knows even more about laying out matches. Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio did a nice job in this match and it nicely helped transition into the next stage of their feud, as well as the next stages for the other four men involved here.

Show rating: 6.5. This wasn't the show to go to for great in-ring action this week, but I think the storylines on this week's show more than made up for it. The key talking point this week is that Rey Mysterio has been officially added to the Smackdown main event at WrestleMania. Mysterio's promo talking about his loss was filled with emotion and was a memorable television moment, and for Rey to then be given a second chance was a real feel good experience. I think that it also helps give Rey's character more purpose and drive instead of being the happy go lucky babyface that he's been for most of his stay in WWE. Randy Orton does a nice job playing a total a-hole. Chavo making a surprise appearance from Raw helped add that "anything can happen" sense to the show that WWE has lost a bit since the end of the Monday night wars. It was weird not seeing World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle on the show this week outside of highlights from his No Way Out match. I liked the way that they helped keep Mark Henry's character strong with that highlight video, and they should be doing more of that for guys throughout the card.

JBL's surgery reportedly went very well, and it could play a nice double purpose of giving his feud against Chris Benoit more umph. I suppose it would be better if the babyface was the one fighting back from an injury, but there's still ways to use this to the advantage of this potential WrestleMania match. Lashley seeking revenge against Finlay was well done here, but I'd still like to see a manager/mouthpiece for Lashley, particularly building up to something as important as WrestleMania, since Lashley hasn't proven himself on the mic yet.

I like what they're doing with the cruiserweight division. The GM decree that Helms must defend his title every week means that we're going to be getting a cruiserweight match with at least some storyline behind it every week. It's much better than when we used to go months at a time without the Cruiserweight Champion even making an appearance on Smackdown. The tag team division definitely needs more strong contenders, and Matt Hardy and Tatanka do not count. They can still salvage this storyline, but right now, they haven't given fans much reason to get behind these two. The Gymini don't look to be the answer either. I'm still holding out hope for Paul London and Brian Kendrick getting a serious shot at the tag belts, but it's a small, small hope.

Burchill being pushed as a somewhat serious character is never going to work, despite William Regal's great reactions. The Dicks/Tolands deserved better than getting stuck with this lame gimmick and then jobbing, despite having a two on one advantage, to the Boogeyman in their last WWE appearance. Kristal cut the worst promo I've heard in quite a while tonight, and if this leads to Kristal being involved in storylines, we may need to find a new Smackdown reviewer.

(Back to top.)


Newsworthy Countdown

1) Rey Mysterio officially added to the Smackdown heavyweight title match at WrestleMania.
2) Theodore Long has decreed that Gregory Helms will have to defend his Cruiserweight Championship every week.
3) JBL broke his hand in the main event.
4) The Dicks wrestled their last match for WWE.
5) Kurt Angle and the Undertaker will have a rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship on Smackdown next week.

(Back to top.)


Raw Is Trivial: Answer Time with the "Supreme" Seth Berger!

We're back to Raw Is Trivial. This week's WrestleMania question: "One wrestler has opened 3 consecutive WMs. First match of a PPV. And, that wrestler is still in action today. Name that wrestler."

Give up? You're breaking my heart, cause it's the "Heart Break Kid", Shawn Michaels. Shawn was one-half of the Rockers when they opened WM7 against the Barbarian & Haku. The next year, Shawn opened WMVIII against Tito Santana. And, the year after that, he opened WMIX by defending the I-C title against Tatanka (Buffalo!). Quite a slow ride to the top by Mr. Shawn, but all well worth it, I'm sure you'll agree.


Thanks for tuning in, everyone! If you'd like to give your thoughts to me, Seth, or Christi, be sure to drop us a line at Until next time, be strong and remember to smile!

Mike Roe reviews Friday Night Smackdown every week for Mike always wants to hear from you at with your thoughts, comments, questions, critiques, or whatever else you want to share. He also writes an OVW Specialist column.

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