Ladies and gentleman, welcome to another edition of Express! As always, we love to hear your comments, questions, and critiques, but I just wanted to make a quick request here at the top of the report for your input. We'd love to hear what we can do to make Express better and to help fit your needs, so drop us a line with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. With that, let's get to Seth for some trivia, then it's on to the show!
Raw Is Trivial presents the new musical from WWE Home Video: "Rematches, Rematches!" Get your rematches here! Not only did the White Sox and the Cleveland Indians pick up where they ended last season, the main event of the upcoming Backlash PPV is also a sort of rematch from WrestleMania 22, albeit Edge has been added to pick up the monotony a little bit.
So, I did some research. Backlash is world-famous for their return matches. In fact, all but 3...count 'em, 3 were such matches from WrestleMania. And the odd thing about this little nugget of information is they were in 3 consecutive years. 2001-2003 gave us: Steve Austin/Triple H vs. Kane/The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan vs. Triple H, and Goldberg vs. The Rock.
This week's question will divert from the overly difficult. Backlash has been a WWF/E April tradition since 1999.
Except for one year when it was held in May. Concern is: What year was Backlash diverted from an April showing to May? I'll be back later, but first, get your SmackDown fix right here at the Express.
It looked like they slightly tweaked the intro for Smackdown once again, though not too much. I still find the new version of the Smackdown theme song incredibly annoying, but I guess they need to promote their new hard rawwwwwwk album. WWE's wacky sign guy was in the front row at this show as well.
Tonight: Mark Henry is on this show, having a rematch against the Undertaker. Uh, didn't he just lose a casket match? I guess that I shouldn't be that surprised after they brought Vince McMahon back on Monday after being absolutely murderized by Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania. Henry better at least have some freaking taped ribs or something. We've also got Randy Orton challenging Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship in his first title defense. The announcers noted that he is the smallest champion of all time, and noted that it was an example of dreams coming true.
(1) Paul London & Brian Kendrick defeated WWE Tag Team Champions MNM (Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro with Melina) (Non-Title Match).
Pre-match analysis: MNM! Which means Melina! Like Mick Foley's been doing on his WWE.com blog, I seize every opportunity to make gratuitous mentions of Melina. Melina had on a great low cut pink/purple top over a jean miniskirt, with some dark pink/light purple boots. I'm thinking that Melina had to have some serious tape in place to keep, um, inside of that top. They showed Wacky Sign Guy with a "Melina scream-o-meter" that went from sexy to annoying to "shut up!!!!!" I think everything Melina does is sexy, so no meter is needed. The announcers talked about what an incredible year it had been for MNM, but after they didn't even make it on the WrestleMania card (other than a DVD dark match), I don't know how much I agree with that.
In the middle of Melina making the most fantastic ring entrance ever, while she was doing the splits on the ring apron, Brian Kendrick and Paul London ran up from behind and picked her up! London made a wacky face, while Kendrick was still wearing his gold mask that both men usually come to the ring with. MNM saw what was going on and ran out of the ring for the save, but London and Kendrick turned and started beating them up. Kendrick took off his mask and both men took off their vests, threw Johnny Nitro into the ring and went to start the match!
Match analysis: London and Kendrick hit a double back elbow to Nitro. London started out, but quickly tagged in Kendrick. They hit a double hit toss, followed by double strong style kicks, one to the front, one to the back! Kendrick covered, but Nitro quickly kicked out. Nitro started beating on Kendrick. Michael Cole sounded the whitest he ever has, talking about how the way the match started with Kendrick and London was "how these unique cats like to roll." Kendrick went up in the corner and hit a tilt-a-whirl headscissors to Nitro, followed by a dropkick. Kendrick covered, but Nitro kicked out. Melina grabbed Kendrick's legs behind the referee's back to knock him down, and then Mercury and Melina grabbed his legs and yanked him out of the ring to the floor. Mercury picked up Kendrick and tossed him back into the ring. Nitro covered, but Kendrick kicked out at two.
Nitro beat away on Kendrick, then tagged in Mercury. Mercury applied a rear bearhug on the mat. Kendrick fought out of the hold. Michael Cole noted that MNM won the tag titles this month in 2005 and went on to hold the title three times in 2005, more than any team in Smackdown history! Kendrick hit a high elbow to the jaw of Mercury, but before he could follow up, Nitro ran into the ring and tossed Kendrick to the outside! Melina raked the eyes on the outside. London was pissed. Nitro tossed Kendrick back into the ring.
Mercury hung Kendrick up on the top rope. He hooked the leg, but Kendrick kicked out at two. Mercury tagged in Nitro. They double Irish whipped him hard into the corner. Melina let out one of her trademark primal screams! Nitro hit his break dance leg drop and drove Kendrick into the courner with a shoulder to the gut. Kendrick started battling out, but Nitro kicked him in the gut to cut him off. He went for a suplex, but Kendrick got a small package! However, Mercury distracted the ref, who didn't see the visual five count and didn't count the pin.
Nitro hit a series of knees to the gut, followed by a Russian leg sweep. More Melina screamage! This is a family affair, so no making Melina scream jokes. Oh, wait. Well, too late now. Nitro hooked the leg, but Kendrick kicked out at two. Michael Cole had a great line, telling the director to cut the microphones at ringside off. Nitro choked Kendrick in the ropes. While the ref was reprimanding him, Melina crawled up on the apron and hit a cool kick to the head of Kendrick. Nitro tagged in Mercury and they hit a double team leg drop. Mercury hooked the leg, but Kendrick kicked out. Mercury covered again and a kickout, then a third and a fourth time, but Kendrick kept kicking out.
The fans were chanting "We want London!" Wow, it's amazing to hear something like that after seeing how deeply buried London and Kendrick have been. It just goes to show that exciting wrestlers can get the crowd behind them in any case. Mercury hit a straight punch to knock Kendrick down and tagged in Nitro. Mercury hit a backbreaker to Kendrick and held him for Nitro to slingshot into the ring and hit an elbow drop to Kendrick. Melina screamed and Nitro hooked the leg, but London broke it up.
Nitro applied a front facelock. Kendrick managed to toss Nitro off and tag in London for what looked like the hot tag, but Mercury had been distracting the referee and the ref didn't see the tag, so back to the corner for London! Mercury and Nitro started mugging Kendrick with both men kicking the downed Kendrick. They went for a double back suplex, but Kendrick landed on his feet! Kendrick rolled under a double clothesline and tagged in London!
London ran wild on Mercury and Nitro. He hit great dropkicks to both men. He whipped Mercury into Nitro, then hit a spin kick to the jaw of Mercury and hooked the leg, but Nitro broke it up. London hit the dropsault to Nitro, landed it on Mercury and hooked the leg, but only got a two and a half count!
London went to suplex Mercury, but Mercury countered and got a go behind. London went for the standing switch, but Mercury hit a back elbow. Nitro cheapshotted London with a guillotine over the top rope behind the ref's back and Mercury used the opportunity to roll up London, but London kicked out! Mercury signaled for the snapshot, but Kendrick ran in and dropkicked Nitro, who rolled to the outside! Mercury didn't know that Nitro had been taken out and was still holding London for the dropsault. Kendrick hit a slingshot crossbody to the outside! London rolled through into a cover, but didn't get the three count!
London got his boots up to the face of Mercury in the corner. Melina distracted the ref as London climbed the ropes, allowing Nitro to shove him off. Mercury took down London, but Kendrick took out Nitro. London rolled through as Mercury looked to be trying for a Boston crab, and got the three count!
Post-match analysis: London and Kendrick quickly rolled to the outside, ecstatic about their victory, and had a really fun celebration. Melina looked ready to smack someone. MNM was shocked. That was a cool moment. They showed a replay of London's great dropsault into a cover, as well as one of the attempted snapshot. They showed a replay of London getting pushed off the ropes but getting the roll through victory.
Match grade: B+. A really fun tag match to start things off, and it's nice to see them giving at least a small push to Kendrick and London. The crowd seemed to dig them a lot and get into their fast paced style, so I think it would be a good move to keep pushing them and give them a good chase for the belts. I think that MNM should drop the belts, as they really don't need the belts to stay over, but on the other hand, Smackdown has done such a lousy job building their tag division, they would need to establish some other heel teams for Kendrick and London to face.
*** Teddy Long was on the phone in his office, talking about Rey Mysterio winning the World Title and having his first title defense against Randy Orton tonight. Teddy Long told whoever was at the door to come in. It was Booker T and Sharmell! Booker was psyched. He complimented Teddy's suit and asked what color it was. (I believe it was a light blue.) Teddy didn't know why Booker was so happy, since he lost to the Boogeyman at WrestleMania, and also noted that his wife, beauty queen Sharmell, had one of the most disgusting WrestleMania moments in history, where Boogeyman had all those worms in his mouth and gave her an open mouth kiss! Long said that he had a question, and she can tell him since he'll be nice about it, and asked if any of those worms went down her throat! She started dry heaving and Long said he didn't even want to know. Booker calmed his wife down, then said that Teddy can say or do anything he wants to try to get that smile off his face, but that won't happen, not tonight! Booker said that he told Long exactly what he would do if anything happened to him or his wife, and said that he went and got a restraining order against "this Boogey Man!" He asked his wife if she had anything for him, and she whipped out the restraining order. Booker: "Bam! You've been served, dog!" That was so great. Booker told Teddy to look it over, and said that if this Boogeyman comes within a hundred feet of Booker or his lovely wife in any arena around the country, they can lock Long up! Booker said he would sue Long for every dime, even that ugly suit he had on! (Oh no he didn't!) Booker said that means that, from now on, there's no such thing as a Boogeyman! Booker stuck his tongue out at Long and Booker and Sharmell left to "take care of this punk" in his next match.
Tonight: Rey Mysterio defends the World Heavyweight Championship against the Legend Killer himself, Randy Orton!
Rey Mysterio's Road To The Championship: They did a recap showing Rey's road to the title called, appropriately enough, "Rey Mysterio's Road To The Championship." He dedicated the Royal Rumble to Eddie Guerrero. He came out in a low rider, Eddie style! He started at number two, while Randy Orton came in at number two, and it came down to them. Mysterio headscissored Orton to the outside to win the match! Cole noted that he set a Royal Rumble record, lasting one hour, two minutes, and fifteen seconds in the Rumble. This was apparently going to be the first of a series, and hey, I'm down with that!
After the break, they thanked the over seventeen thousand fans who came to the Chicago All-State Arena on Sunday and the millions who watched on pay-per-view, and showed the splash page from WWE.com that focused on Mysterio winning the title.
(2) Gunner Scott defeated Booker T (with Sharmell).
Pre-match analysis: Booker T and Sharmell came out They are such a great act. I love Sharmell doing her elegant curtsy as Booker's doing his wacky hand stare during the pyro. They're just so opposite, yet so much alike. "Gunner Scott," his opponent, was already in the ring. Mr. Scott is (slightly) better known as OVW headliner Brent Albright. He definitely works a style similar to Chris Benoit, in the ring and when it comes to his character, and if they do call him up full time, I think that he'd be a great fit on the Smackdown roster. The announcers said that Boogeyman couldn't even be in the arena, since he could get within a hundred feet of Booker T and cause Teddy Long to go to jail!
Match analysis: Booker slammed Scott early on. Booker applied a side headlock and followed up with a flying shoulder. Scott hit a drop toehold, surprising Booker T. Booker delivered a series of knees to the gut of Scott, followed by a scoop slam. He applied a chinlock, but Scott moved to his feet and hit a nice armdrag which Tazz complimented. Scott was on offense, but Booker hit a thumb to the eye and went for a suplex, but Scott landed on his feet. Booker shot him off when Scott tried to grab him by the ropes, then followed up with a superkick to the jaw. Booker chopped Scott and took him down with a big forearm. They exchanged offense and Scott got the brief advantage, but came off the ropes and ran into a spinebuster from Booker T. Suddenly, Boogeyman's music hit! Scott ran up from behind, rolled up Booker and bridged for a jackknife cover to get the victory!
Post-match analysis: Scott was as shocked as anyone. Booker and Sharmell were looking all around for the Boogeyman when Teddy Long's music hit. Long said he was sorry and that must have been some kind of miscue in the Boogeyman's music. (Ha!) Long said that he may have a restraining order, but Booker and everyone here just felt the presence of the Boogeyman! Long called Scott over and said that we should make this official once more, held up his arm and said that the winner of the match is Gunner Scott! Long danced on the stage as Booker and Sharmell looked on in disbelief.
Match grade: C-. Just kind of there. Not bad, but not that great either. It should be interesting to see what they do with Albright/Scott in WWE. He definitely has a ways to go, but he's got a lot of talent and I think that he'll be a good fit on Smackdown. It could be fun to also have Chris Benoit take Scott under his wing due how Scott seems to emulate Benoit's style. I'm also interested to see how they bring Boogeyman back to TV and get around Booker's restraining order, though I'd like to see Booker move on to a new feud soon.
Tonight: Mark Henry versus the Undertaker three! (It's three now, right?) Whoopieeee!
Rey Mysterio's Road To The Championship: They showed highlights of Rey Mysterio versus Randy Orton for Mysterio's title shot at No Way Out. Orton cheated to win, holding the ropes and rolling up Mysterio to get the victory. They showed Long saying that what happened to Rey was wrong and that, while he couldn't change Randy Orton being in the main event at WrestleMania, he could add to the match! He made it Randy Orton, versus the World Champion (who turned out to be Kurt Angle), versus Rey Mysterio! Mysterio was ecstatic.
Tonight: Rey Mysterio defends the title against Randy Orton!
The announcers thanked Shinedown for one of the WrestleMania theme songs, "I Dare You," off of the album Us and Them.
Moments ago: They showed a recap of Booker about to finish off "Gunner Scott," but Boogeyman's music hit and Scott rolled him up into a jackknife cover for the big upset win!
*** Gunner Scott was backstage celebrating his victory, when who should walk up but Chris Benoit! Benoit congratulated Scott and said that's what he's talking about! Scott kept yelling "Yeah!" From what I've seen before, Scott is, um, not exactly Mr. Promo, but he's got that same intense sort of charisma that Benoit has.
(3) Chris Benoit defeated Simon Dean.
Pre-match analysis: Simon Dean came out in a neon green tracksuit! He also had his hair slicked back different than usual. What's going on?! It's just not the same without the purple outfit. He came down to the ring on the Dean Machine. Before he even got down to the ring, Chris Benoit's music hit! Dean actually turned his scooter around and started going at Benoit, but Benoit knocked Dean off the scooter! The announcers said that Benoit wasn't in a good mood tonight since JBL stole the U.S. Championship from him at WrestleMania. Benoit kneeded Dean a couple times and then pulled him down to the ring and threw him in to start the match.
Match analysis: Benoit bounced Dean's head off the turnbuckle. They showed a recap of Benoit knocking Dean off of the Dean Machine. Benoit snap suplexed Dean and the fans chanted "Ben-oit!" Benoit chopped Dean and hit a knee to the head. Benoit back suplexed poor Mr. Dean. He followed up with a running elbow drop, then picked Dean back up and hit a knee lift. Benoit hit a scoop slam, then hit another running elbow drop. Dean tried to fight back and got some brief offense after a thumb to the eye, including elbows in the corner and a sloppy looking bulldog. Dan put on a front facelock and hit a suplex! He hooked the leg, but Benoit kicked out. Dean applied another submission, with one arm trapped. Benoit threw elbows to the gut and escaped. Benoit hit two German suplexes, but instead of a third, when Dean went to reach for the rope, Benoit grabbed the arm and locked in the crossface for the tapout victory!
Post-match analysis: After Benoit won, a march of sorts started to play and a video began to play on the video screens. It started with an American flag, then a bald eagle, then a shot in the clouds. It showed fireworks going off behind the Statue of Liberty, then a bald eagle flying. The voiceover said "The United States of America was built by great men. Washington. Lincoln. Roosevelt. Men who fought valiantly for the freedoms of the greatest nation in the world. Men like the new United States Champion, John Bradshaw Layfield!" They used some great stock footage in here, including soldiers marching in a ticker tape parade and children raising a flag while a dog ran by barking. They showed Mount Rushmore, and then, when JBL's name was said, they superimposed JBL's head over Washington's! "We invite each and every one of you next week to join JBL for the biggest celebration in American history." Footage of JBL winning the United States Championship, as well as previous JBL parties, was shown. "America, join us in celebrating a truly great American. J... B... L! J... B... L! J... B... L! JBL! JBL! JBL!" This failed in getting a chant started, but it was so, so great.
Match grade: C. A good but short match. Dean got in a surprising amount of offense, and I was actually a bit shocked by it, despite it being an obvious squash match. It's interesting to see Benoit involved in a variety of areas, from his feud with JBL, to his interaction with Gunner Scott, to (announced later on this show) the King of the Ring, so it should be interesting to see how they bring all of those together. Also, with Dean, where the heck were the Gymini?
*** Randy Orton was shown warming up backstage. Michael Cole said that Orton told him that, tonight, he doesn't want to be known as the Legend Killer, he wants to be known as the Dream Killer!
Up next: Randy Orton challenges Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship!
Promo time: A commercial aired talking about how history happens at WrestleMania and how, last Sunday, it happened again! They showed highlights, with most of the actual moves cut out to get people to pay to see them. It finished telling us all to order the replay. Personally, I would recommend it, as I thought it was a fun show, and it's especially worth it if you can get a couple friends to chip in.
Rey Mysterio's Road to the Championship: Still shots were shown from the triple threat Smackdown main event from WrestleMania. Rey was in trouble, but he sent Angle to the outside, hit the 619, and hit the West Coast Pop to win the championship! Michael Cole: "Dreams do come true!" Tazz talked about Eddie looking down on his "amigo." After the match, Mysterio hugged Chavo Guerrero and Vickie Guerrero. It was definitely a great moment.
*** Orton was warming up backstage. An intense looking Kurt Angle came up to him, black mouthguard and all! Orton said that Angle seemed to be missing something. He told Kurt to hold on and thought about it for a minute, then said "Wait, I know what it is! It's the World Title around your waist!" Orton said, if Angle's looking for it, Orton can help him out. After this match with Rey, it'll be around Orton's waist, so Kurt will know where it is! Angle slapped the crap out of Orton! (That ruled.) Orton then, well, kind of growled. Seriously, that's the best way to describe it. He growled a few times. Something tells me that that slap was freaking hard, based on Orton's recent backstage behavior.
(4) World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio defeated Randy Orton.
Pre-match analysis: Randy Orton came out, still holding the side of his mouth. The announcers were still putting Orton over, so they at least know that Orton's still a moneymaker and it wouldn't be wise to bury him, at least not when he can still help build up other stars, even if they are unsure about investing in him over the long term. They noted that he was the youngest World Heavyweight Champion of all time, winning the title at SummerSlam two years ago.
After the break, Orton's music was still playing and Orton was announced as the challenger in this title match. Rey Mysterio was up next. I kind of think he should scale back the merchandise shilling now that he's world champion, but I guess they're making a ton of money off of Mysterio merch and probably even more now that he's the champion, so I can see where they're coming from. Still, it doesn't seem like a natural part of his attire like it does with Cena. They did a nice bit on commentary with Tazz explaining what it's like being a champion, and the announcers talked about how difficult it is to hold on to the title once you've won it.
Match analysis: Sign of the night: "That's Rey, not Eddie." Ha! Speaking of which, as the match started, the fans were loudly chanting "Edd-ie!" Mysterio also had one Eddie Guerrero armband on. Mysterio backed off and soaked up the chants... for another man. Alright, sure. The match started slow and was obviously being paced to be a somewhat longer match. Orton shoved Mysterio, but Mysterio shoved back, and Cole noted that the champion won't be punked out. The fans chanted "Let's go Rey Rey, let's go!" Nice to hear them chanting for Rey instead of Eddie for once. Mysterio applied a side headlock and then went for a side headlock takedown. Orton countered into a neck scissors on Mysterio. Mysterio kicked out, but Orton quickly went to a side headlock, followed by a shoulder knockdown. Orton hooked the leg, but Mysterio kicked out.
Orton ducked between Mysterio's legs and hit a double kick from the mat to Orton's sternum. Orton quickly cut him off. As Orton beat on Mysterio, the Eddie chants began again. Mysterio went up and over in the corner, but Orton managed to hit an uppercut and cover. Mysterio kicked out. Orton locked on a chinlock. Mysterio fought out and hit a kick to the hamstring. He was going for a wheelbarrow bulldog, but Orton scouted it and shoved Mysterio facedown to the mat in the middle of the move! Orton hooked the leg, but Mysterio kicked out at one.
Orton applied a rear naked choke. Mysterio quickly made it to his feet and escaped, then followed up with a long tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Mysterio followed up and hit a drop toehold to put Mysterio on the second rope, then went for the 619, but Orton ducked and rolled to the outside. Mysterio swung on the top rope to hit a double kick to the throat of Orton. Mysterio then hit a springboard seated senton to Orton on the outside! They showed a replay of the springboard seated senton in slow motion. The fans again chanted for Eddie and Tazz pointed out the armband. Mysterio rolled Orton into the ring and he went for a cover, but Orton kicked out.
Mysterio hit the double punches in the corner, and hit two sets of ten punches! Cole said that each of those punches is for every time Orton called Mysterio a charity case. Orton reversed an Irish whip and hit his modified neckbreaker to his own back. Orton covered, but Mysterio kicked out at two. Orton was frustrated at the kickout, but quickly went back to a chinlock. He modified it a bit from normal, putting more pressure on the throat by bridging on his head. There were yet more Eddie chants. Mysterio started elbowing out, but Orton pulled the mask and slammed Mysterio down to the mat. Orton covered with an arm to the face, but Mysterio kicked out at two.
Orton applied another chinlock. Orton dragged Mysterio back from the rope, then delivered a series of blows to the sternum and head. Orton whipped Mysterio, but he caught himself on the ropes and hit a double front kick to the jaw. Mysterio went for a springboard move into the ring, but Orton hit a dropkick while Mysterio was in mid-move to send Mysterio to the floor!
Orton had Mysterio in a chinlock with a bodyscissor coming back from break. They showed replays from a couple angles of Orton hitting the dropkick to send Mysterio to the outside before the break. Mysterio managed to grabbed the rope, forcing Orton to break the hold. Mysterio hit a back elbow to the jaw. He wrapped his legs around Orton's head in the corner, but Orton pulled Mysterio back and slammed him face first to the mat! Orton hooked the leg, but Mysterio kicked out at two.
Mysterio rolled to the edge of the ring, but Orton dragged him back to the center and locked on another submission hold, a chinlock with his legs on both sides of Mysterio, though Mysterio quickly fought out. Mysterio whipped Orton and was going for a dropkick, but Orton held onto the ropes, so Mysterio got nothing but air. Orton climbed to the second rope and signaled for an elbow drop. However, Mysterio got his leg up, right in Orton's face! Orton fell on the second rope for the 619 tease! However, Mysterio was still crawling up and Orton got up before Mysterio could go for the 619. Mysterio hit a couple kicks to the hamstring and hit a spinning wheelbarrow bulldog! Mysterio hooked the leg, but Orton kicked out!
Mysterio hit a springboard seated senton to Orton! He followed up with a front dropkick to the back of the head, then hooked the leg, but Orton kicked out at two! Orton hit a thumb to the eye! He whipped Mysterio into the ropes. Mysterio went for a springboard moonsault, but Orton caught him in midair. However, Mysterio countered into an inverted DDT! He hooked the leg, but Orton kicked out again! Mysterio went up over Orton in the corner and landed on the apron. He knocked Orton down, then pointed upwards. He climbed the ropes and went for a crossbody, but Orton hit a dropkick to the ribs in mid-move! Orton went into the cover and Tazz said that the shortest championship reign in history was about to come to an end (Not sure what wacky math he's using there, though maybe the shortest for the World Heavyweight Championship). Before Mysterio could be pinned, Mysterio got his foot over the bottom rope to stop the count.
Orton started stalking Mysterio for the RKO. He grabbed Mysterio by the shoulder and tried turning him around to hit the move, but Mysterio turned into a spinning roundkick to the side of the head! Orton did his great glassy eyed stare on the mat. Orton gutwrenched Mysterio up onto his shoulder. Mysterio escaped, but Orton hit a big clothesline! Orton hooked both legs, but Mysterio kicked out yet again! Orton was steamed.
Orton went for a running shoulder in the corner, but Mysterio rolled out of the way and Orton's shoulder hit the post! Mysterio followed up with a 619 around the ringpost! Mysterio looked to be going for a springboard move, but Orton fell on the second rope on the other side of the ring, so Mysterio hit another 619, then dropped the dime on the back of Orton's neck! He hooked the leg and retained the title!
Post-match analysis: The crowd was ecstatic with Mysterio retaining the title here. They did a nice job of presenting Mysterio as the underdog despite being the champion. If they can keep that up, there's definitely something to Mysterio's title run. They showed a replay of the 619 around the post, followed by another 619 and then Dropping the Dime for the win! THey showed a fan in the crowd with a "Dreams do come true" sign, and another with a sign that said "Rey, Eddie is proud!"
Match grade: A. That was great. I think that match actually made Mysterio look like more of a star than winning the title at WrestleMania did. I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't bury Orton, either, despite his suspension. It's much smarter for them to do so, but WWE often chooses the petty thing over the smart thing. Mysterio looked like both a lovable underdog and a star, which is definitely a fine balancing act to pull off. I still would have liked to see Mysterio's first big title defense in the main event, but because of what they had planned post-match, it ended up making more sense for the story to put him in the middle of the show.
Tonight: Mark Henry versus Undertaker in the main event. It's a bit mind boggling that we have to see that in the main event instead of, you know, the big title match, but whatever.
Promo time: WWE is coming to a town near you, and for once, they're coming to a town near me! Yes friends, WWE is heading to the Tacoma Dome next month, and yours truly will be in attendance! Tickets go on sale later this month, and I am psyched!
*** Palmer Canon, network executive, is back! He was in front of one of those cloth backdrops they use for the interviews where someone is talking to the camera. He was here to inform us that the views and opinions expressed in the following presentation are not necessarily those held by Palmer, the network, or any of their affiliates. He finished with "Thank you, and have a great evening!"
It was another video for the Miz! He jokingly talked about living a rough life. He threw water balloons off the top of WWE headquarters! He talked to some WWE employees about getting an action figure of himself. He held up a box of action figures that looked like it might have been an Edge and Matt Hardy set, but it was too small to tell for sure. Miz talked about his "little Mizfits." He asked some ladies to go to lunch with him, but they all said no. One woman said that they were taking a pilates class. Miz went to go do pilates with them, and also worked out in the gym on a machine. Miz was trying to talk to someone about having an eating contest or a milk chugging contest, but he was walking away and saying no. He held up a picture of Randy Orton in front of his face and said "If I was a booger, would you pick me?" (Ummm... what?) Miz said that he likes when girls say his name, and they showed several women who work for WWE saying his name. We also saw him in a chef outfit, apparently goofing around in the WWE cafeteria. "Smackdonw, you reality is about to get checked! Hoo-raaah!"
Tazz thinks Miz is cool. I guess that means he's a heel? Tazz isn't the traditional heel announcer, but for a guy like Miz, seems like he's doing the heel announcer bit.
Moments ago: They showed highlights from the Rey Mysterio versus Randy Orton match and called it a "619-fest." Cole emphasized the point about how, after that, you have to be a dreamer because it's an example of dreams come true.
*** Kristal was... whoa. Sorry, distracted, as Kristal was wearing a black top so low cut, it may even provide some competition to Jillian Hall's tops. Anyway, she congratulated Mysterio on becoming the new World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 22 and congratulated him on his title defense tonight. She said that he had proven the naysayers wrong, those who had said he would never be World Heavyweight Champion and that he would not be successful here tonight. Mysterio said that he wanted to take the time right now to thank all the people that believed in him from day one. He thanked them in Spanish. He then said he can prove that dreams do come true, and "I'm living proof that dreams come true in life." He said that, at WrestleMania 22, it was a moment in his life that he will never forget, becoming World Heavyweight Champion. He said that tonight he proved that he's ready to take on all comers in the ring. He wanted to take this time to thank some very important people in his life. He signaled for someone to come from off camera. He introduced them and thanked his son Dominic, his daughter Leah, and his wife Angie. He kissed all three of them and said gracias to them all.
*** William Regal was walking backstage with a suit bag over his shoulder. Burchill was looking through a telescope. He turned to Regal and said "Ahoy, there!" Regal shot back with "Hello, Sinbad." Regal said that, as his former protege and fellow Englishman, he is going to make a one time deal with Burchill. He said that he knows they're prepared to do battle next, but if he will start dressing like a normal person in the suit he had made in Saddle Row, he will forget the whole thing and call it quits, and forget "all this nonsense" ever happened. Burchill said "Aye, me matey!" He reminded Regal that he was wearing this to honor his family heritage, and that now that he's doing it, he's having a lot of fun. Regal deadpan said that it's terriffic fun, like a barrel full of monkeys, chattering away. Burchill: "I get to wear a sweet jacket!" Regal: "How wonderful." Burchill: "And I get to wear a sword!" Regal: "Charming." Burchill: "And I get to swing from a rope!" Regal: "How spectacular." Burchill said, besides, since doing all of this, he's undefeated! He said, correct him if he's wrong, he doesn't remember Regal winning many... any matches recently! Regal said, sunshine, he'll kick Burchill's bloody teeth down his throat! Burchill said, if that's the case, let's make a deal: If Regal wins, Burchill will dress however Regal wants him to dress, but if Burchill wins, Regal will wear whatever Burchill wants him to wear. Regal said it's a deal! Burchill came back and said "Oh, and uh, Mr. Regal? I'm sure you'll make quite the lovely buxom wench!" Regal grabbed one of his pecs and started lifting it, like, well, a boob. Regal rules.
Big Time! The announcers thanked Peter Gabriel for their official theme song from WrestleMania 22, "Big Time."
(5) Paul Burchill defeated William Regal.
Pre-match analysis: Regal came out first. The announcers emphasized that, if Regal lost, he'd have to dress like a lovely, buxom wench. That sounds... disturbing. Burchill was up next. He did his lame swing, and he didn't even look to be doing it right this week, as his feet hit before he even got to the ramp. I think they should just do a video clip before his matches of him doing a swing that actually looks cool, because it's just such a disappointment to see that lame swing every week. He pulled out his beads to throw to the crowd, and Tazz made the X rated joke of the night by questioning why Burchill hadn't given Cole a pearl necklace yet. Oh!
Match analysis: Cole pretty much just assumed that Regal was going to lose, asking what he was going to look like as a buxom wench. Tazz said that Regal wasn't his type. Ha! Regal headbutted Burchill, but Burchill hit a deep armdrag. Burchill was beating the crap out of Regal and stomped his chest. Regal applied a side headlock briefly, but Burchill quickly fought out and hit a back body drop and hooked the leg, but Regal kicked out. Burchill hit a European uppercut, but Regal followed back with a couple of his own, and they exchanged European uppercuts several times more. Burchill took Regal down and hooked the leg, but Regal kicked out.
Regal kicked Burchill in the face and applied a half nelson into a back suplex! They showed a replay of that. Regal had the advantage and delivered a series of knees. Regal hit an uppercut from the outside, followed by a kick to the head! Regal covered, but Burchill kicked out. Regal covered three more times, but three more kickouts! Regal applied a chinlock. Regal pulled at Burchill's face, then dropped a knee on the face. Regal applied a side headlock, but Burchill back suplexed out. Burchill crazy yelled "Come oooon!" He went to attack, but Regal hit a high knee. He went for a knee lift, but Burchill countered, then hit his finisher (formerly known as the C4) and picked up the pin cover victory!
Post-match analysis: Tazz said that it was a walking the plank type move, so I'm guessing that will end up being the name of the move. Tazz described it as spinning into a suplex. Regal looked horrified at the idea of dressing up as a "lovely buxom wench." Regal begged off as Burchill laughed. Tazz yelled at Regal to cover his nipples and said that we don't want to see any areolas next week. Oh my.
Match grade: C. That was OK, and was good when Regal was on offense, but Burchill is still pretty green and hasn't found himself when it comes to his pirate character and working the WWE style. Regal as a buxom wench horrifies me.
Up next: Undertaker versus Mark Henry!
Promo time: Catch the WrestleMania encore on pay-per-view!
Promo time: April 1, 2007, WrestleMania will come to the motor city, Detroit, Michigan! It's also going to be held at Ford Field, which should make for an interesting atmosphere.
*** Booker T, Finlay, Chris Benoit, Bobby Lashley, Matt Hardy, and Kurt Angle were standing around in the locker room, talking amongst themselves. Teddy Long stepped through in between Lashley and Hardy. He said that he's assembled them all together to let them know that he's going to bring back a WWE tradition: The King of the Ring tournament! He said that all of those there were in it. He said that, in the past, some great men have won the King of the Ring, including Hall of Famer Bret Hart, "the Game" Triple H, Edge, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. He said that the tournament would start next week on Smackdown. Long started to announce the first match and said that Kurt Angle would be in it. Angle was psyched and wanted to know who his opponent would be. Both Booker and Finlay wanted the match, but Long pushed Finlay and Benoit aside to reveal Angle's opponent next week... Randy Orton! Orton had been sitting there rubbing the back of his neck, and he was pissed about the match. Angle said "Yeah! Yeah! Your butt is mine, Orton! Yeah!"
(6) Undertaker versus Mark Henry ended in a No Contest.
Pre-match analysis: Mark Henry came out first. Wacky Sign Guy held up a sign saying "Mark is so big, he needs a license plate." Oh, snap! Henry got on the mic and addressed the Undertaker. He said that he doesn't think Taker or these people understand that, after WrestleMania, he'll never be the same. His lungs will never be the same. He said to look at him. He's wide, he's big, he shouldn't be confined to small places, but when Taker closed him in that airtight coffin, and he struggled to receive his last breath, he passed out. Henry said that he almost passed on. Henry said that they opened that coffin and he looked up and saw the bright light that looked like Heaven, and then he got a breath of fresh air in his lungs. At that point, he had an epiphany, a vision! He saw Undertaker's future, and on this night, it is the Dead Man who will never, ever be the same! The match is up next!
Next week: An opening round match in the King of the Ring tournament between Kurt Angle and Randy Orton!
Undertaker was out next. The announcers emphasized that Taker made his WrestleMania record fourteen and oh at Mania 22. Henry tried jumping Taker from behind when Taker took his hat off, but Taker sidestepped and started throwing punches to start the match!
Match analysis: Taker continued the flurry. The ref tried to stop him from attacking in the corner, but Taker turned and scared the ref (Nick Patrick) to the outside. Henry hit a high back elbow to Taker, then hit a big clothesline. He hit a headbutt and followed up with a big straight right. Cole, in the weirdest analogy ever, said that a headbutt from Henry was like getting hit in the head by a steel typewriter! Tazz, of course, made fun of him by pointing out how outdated that reference is and that people use computers now. Taker hit a boot to the jaw of Henry in the corner. Taker went for the old school, which actually got a lot of boos from the Chicago crowd for some reason. He hit the old school tightrope walk move. Taker went to follow up, but Henry countered and slammed Taker down to the mat. Henry covered, but Taker kicked out.
Henry hit another headbutt in the corner, followed by a straight right. Taker ducked a clothesline and hit a flying clothesline! Taker hit a big kick to the face, sending Henry to the outside. Taker went to follow up and bounced Henry's head off the steel steps! Taker rolled Henry back into the ring, then set his head up on the apron. Taker dropped the point of the elbow on the throat, then got up on the apron and did the legdrop across the throat and chest! However, at this moment, Daivari made his triumphant return with the giant Dalip Singh! They walked out from backstage, slowly walking to the ring. The announcers didn't know who this giant man was, but noted that he was being managed by Mark Henry's manager. Taker bounced Henry's head off the announce table.
Taker turned around and saw Singh. Singh stepped over the top rope and got in the ring, staring down Taker. Taker got in the ring. Taker had to look up at Singh. The announcers talked about how massive Singh is. Taker threw a right hand, but Singh basically no sold it. He threw another right hand, but it barely moved him. Singh then hit a karate chop to the head of Taker, knocking him down! Taker sat up, but Singh grabbed him by the throat. He ripped open one of the turnbuckles with one hand, then bounced Taker's head off the exposed turnbuckle. Singh headbutted Taker in the back of the head twice. Daivari shouted "Do it again! Do it again!" Singh delivered another headbutt to the back of the head. There were tons of boos from the crowd. Singh hit a big kick to Taker's head. Singh stood over the downed Taker as Daivari celebrated next to him. Daivari looks like a miniature person next to Singh. They showed a replay of Singh no selling the punches then hitting the chop to the head. They also replayed Taker getting bounced off the turnbuckle and the headbutts to the back of the head, and finally Singh standing over the downed Taker. Singh and Daivari walked to the back as we closed the show. They showed a slow motion replay of Singh and Daivari celebrating over Taker.
Match grade: D+. Henry's promo was great, but it was pretty downhill after that. Singh definitely has an impressive look, but his offense just looked goofy. You could see people in the crowd mocking his karate chop move. I think he needed to do something like at least hit some sort of big slam on Taker here to come off as a big threat, but he mostly just sort of stood there and did very little. Still, on the plus side, he does have a great look, and Daivari should be able to do some good stuff with him as his manager. I hope that they transition Henry into another high level feud, as he's been very good in his most recent run, especially on the mic.
Show grade: 6.5. A good followup to WrestleMania that did a nice job establishing where the Smackdown brand is going to go in the next few months. Unlike Raw, Smackdown doesn't have a pay-per-view to promote later this month, so you got more of a traditional post-WrestleMania "reset" show that sets up new feuds. While Dalip Singh is a slug in the ring and what little he did do tonight looked like crap, he's at least memorable, and looks even more massive with Daivari as his manager. Mark Henry's pre-match promo was very good, and I'd like to see more of him cutting these preacher style promos. I hope they find a good feud to transition him into.
The Rey Mysterio versus Randy Orton match was great, and I felt that both men came out of the match looking better, while Mysterio came off as a star even moreso than he did at WrestleMania since he didn't have to play second fiddle to the Raw title match. It was a little awkward having it in the middle of the show, but due to the post-match promo with his family, it made sense to put it there. It's nice to see WWE doing what's smart for business and keeping Orton looking strong, despite his impending suspension. It makes everyone he works with look better, as opposed to if they had decided to bury him on his way out.
I'm excited for the King of the Ring tournament, though it does lose a bit of its prestige without a King of the Ring pay-per-view. Lashley seems like the clear favorite to win the tournament, but hopefully they can inject some intrigue into it and make that win less sure, perhaps by reigniting the Finlay versus Lashley feud. The opening tag match was a blast and shows that a couple young, exciting wrestlers who work a fast-paced style can get the crowd behind them. I hope that they give these two a serious run for the title belts that's more than just a title match with them immediately disappearing from television afterwards.
Paul Burchill has been the world's most boring pirate, but having Regal as his serving wench sounds like it at least has the potential of making Burchill a bit more entertaining. JBL's parties are always fun, as is, well, almost any storyline stuff JBL does, so I'm excited for next week. Gunner Scott, the artist formerly known as OVW's Brent Albright, has a ton of potential, so I hope that they have something in mind for him. I'd love to see Chris Benoit take Scott under his wing.
1) Randy Orton wrestled on the show and is scheduled for a match against Kurt Angle next week as part of the King of the Ring tournament, despite his impending sixty day suspension.
2) The King of the Ring tournament will begin next week and will include Finlay, Bobby Lashley, Chris Benoit, Randy Orton, Kurt Angle, Booker T, and Matt Hardy, as well as probably one other man.
3) Dalip Singh debuted.
4) Gunner Scott, better known as OVW's Brent Albright, made his Smackdown debut, defeating Booker T.
5) Paul London and Brian Kendrick defeated the World Tag Team Champions in a non-title match.
Raw Is Trivial: Answer Time with the "Supreme" Seth Berger!
We're back. Hope you're enjoying Mike's rundown of this evening's program. But, before you go any further, let's answer this week's question, courtesy of the Raw Is Trivial fun zone.
Backlash has been a WWE April tradition since 1999, except for one year when it was held in May. What year was this unbelievable occurrence? Why, it was last year, sillies! Backlash 2005 was held at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH on May 1st. Easier than you thought? Well, naturally, a Triple H vs. Batista rematch from WM 21 was the main event.
Why do you think they call it "Backlash"?
That's it for me here on the Express. Enjoy the rest of Mike's recap and see you 'round like a donut.
Thanks for tuning in, everyone! Be sure to drop me a line with your thoughts on Express at email@example.com. I'm off to get some rest as I have to get up far, far too early to pick up a friend who's taking in his car to get fixed, so I'm out for tonight! Until next time, be strong and remember to smile!
Mike Roe reviews Friday Night Smackdown every week for PWTorch.com. Mike always wants to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, comments, questions, critiques, or whatever other specialness you want to share. He also writes an OVW Specialist column.
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