TV REPORTS KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 6/2: Booker vs. Lashley, Heyman on commentary, Angle vs. Rey
Jun 5, 2006 - 6:12:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JUNE 2, 2006
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, TORCH EDITOR
-This will turn Smackdown's sagging ratings around. The Miz was introduced as the new host of Smackdown. The hearts of Michael Cole fans the world around skipped a beat before they realized host and lead play-by-plan man are different roles. The Miz stood in the crowd and announced that the feature attraction was King Booker vs. Shelton Benjamin and Piper's Pit with The Great Khali. Khali looked to suddenly have a bigger upper body than Scott Steiner in the graphic they showed. Miz also plugged Kurt Angle's farewell match against Rey Mysterio. I can't believe anyone would act as obnoxious as The Miz with a straight face, and I can't believe anyone (such as Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon) would think The Miz would even appeal to young teenage boys, much less everyone else who watches Smackdown. Ugh.
-Michael Cole and Tazz then welcomed Paul Heyman to the broadcast table. After hand shaking, Heyman put on a headset and sat down. He said it was great to see Tazz. Angle's ring entrance then began.
1 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. KURT ANGLE
Heyman said, "ECW's own Kurt Angle" as Angle walked to the ring. Tazz called Angle "a great pick" for ECW. Cole noted, during Rey's ring entrance, that JBL has quit Smackdown and Teddy Long is holding him to his word. Heyman patted himself on the back for taking Angle as his one pick. Cole said he is sad to see Angle go. Heyman said Rey got his biggest career break in ECW in 1996. He said in essence ECW sees into the future. There remains the proverbian pink elephant in the middle of the living room that no one is talking about, which is why, if Rey lost so quickly and easily to several giants in recent weeks, and Angle is having a tough time against Rey, why is Angle the best choice for Heyman. If wrestling (or sports entertainment) is about winning and losing, then why is Angle a top pick? That's the problem that results from the ridiculous booking of Rey over the past six weeks. As Angle controlled Rey on the mat after an inside trip, Tazz said he's never seen Angle do that in WWE before. Heyman responded: "ECW is always about innovation, ECW is about bringing new styles to the public's attention, and here Kurt Angle has a chance to reinvent the image of not just of himself, but of ECW itself. You'll still see the barbed wire and flaming tables and piledriving women, but you'll see a whole lot more - you're going to see this type of wrestling from Kurt Angle and others." Rey moved out of the path of a charging Angle, who went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Angle immediately came back by slamming Rey to the mat as he punched him in the corner. Heyman said to Tazz, "I like the way you commentate, if you get my hint on that one." Tazz laughingly responded, "You're so subtle, Heyman." They cut to a break with Angle and Rey having a face-to-face staredown.
Heyman announced that Rey had accepted a challenge to defend the World Title against Sabu at the ECW PPV. He said it's the match that ECW fans have been clamoring for for years. Heyman said they'd be showing video highlights of exactly what Sabu is capable of later on the show. Cole expressed surprise. "One way or another a championship if not both championships are coming to ECW. And one title, if not both, will be rechristenend the ECW World Championship." The match ten minutes in had been largely a backdrop for Heyman's commentary. Tazz reminded viewers that Rey's body can't be 100 percent after the beatings he's taken from Kane, Khali, and Mark Henry. Heyman said when he explained the new vision for ECW, "the competitor in Kurt Angle was awakened again. You're not going to see the Kurt Angle you've see the past few years. You're going to see an amped up, ramped up Kurt Angle... Kurt Angle has a chance now to become the number one superstar in the entire sport. Read into that open challenge, Michael. Read into it. Whether it's a four sided, six sided, eight sided ring, anybody wants to take on Kurt Angle, they can." Heyman said Angle is dominating Rey and he's a World Champion. While Angle dominated, Rey made a number of comeback attempts throughout the opening 15 minutes. Rey made a full comeback at 15:00 with a DDT, some roundhouse kicks to Angle's legs, and a head scissors takover. Cole called Rey a "resilient champion" (not count May 2006 on Smackdown). Rey sent Angle into the middle turnbuckle with a drop toe hold, then knocked Angle to ringside. He then took Angle down with a head scissors takedown at ringside. Back in the ring they exchanged leverage two counts. Angle flipped Rey over with a released german suplex for another two count. Rey came back with a schoolboy for a near fall. Angle fired back with a clothesline. Angle dropped his strap and signalled for the Angle Slam. He hit the Angle Slam, but Rey draped his leg over the bottom rope to break the count. Rey fired back with a 619, but Cole wondered aloud if Rey had anything left to follow up on it. Rey went to the top rope, but Angle ran up and met him there. Rey went for a sunset flip of the top rope. Angle, though, rolled through and applied an anklelock. Rey flipped out and went for another 619, but Angle caught him. Rey countered into a leverage near fall. Angle tossed Rey over the top rope. Tazz said Rey may have twisted his knee. Rey got back onto the ring apron just as the ref counted to ten, but he wasn't in the ring, so the ref called for the bell. Heyman said viewers just got glimpse of the new ECW Kurt Angle. Angle grabbed the World Title belt, shook Rey's hand, and handed him the title. The announcers complimented both wrestlers.
WINNER: Angle via countout in 20:00.
STAR RATING: ***1/2 -- The opening 15 minutes were strong, but not great. The final five minutes were great with believable near falls and reversals. That's about as satisfying as a countout finish can be. It was the right finish given the importance of both wrestlers to be at the top of their respective brands. Rey couldn't absorb another loss, but it wouldn't make sense to have Angle lose.
-A segment aired on "See No Evil" with wrestlers talking about him. It aired on Raw, also.
-A vignetted aired promoting the pending return of Batista to Smackdown. Batista said he'd be reclaiming his title.
-Cole and Tazz talked about "the Animal coming back." Tazz said he is more intense than ever.
-Bobby Lashley spoke in a recorded statement in front of a plain backdrop about his U.S. Title victory in his first match for a title in WWE. He said he looks forward to earning people's respect with every title defense. He also said he looks forward to getting his hands on Booker T later.
-Elsewhere backstage, Nunzio was warming up for his match against Matt Hardy. He told a backstage worker to help him find Big Vito.
2 -- MATT HARDY vs. NUNZIO
Cole said Hardy believes it's his time to break out on Smackdown. Tazz said he believes in Hardy.
WINNER: Hardy in 4:00 with a Twist of Fate.
STAR RATING: * -- Good action. Pretty one-sided.
-After the match, Vito walked to the ring in a stress and flip-flops. Hardy and the ref looked at each other like they couldn't believe their eyes. Fans whistled at Vito. Guido jumped backward like someone had risen from the dead. He fled. Yes, there's nothing scarier than a person wearing another gender's clothing. It's like a spider or snake, only worse for some reason. Guido ran and Vito followed. People seem to have accepted Marv Albert, so maybe this is Vito's ticket to fans caring about him for the first time in his career. Or maybe it's just a silly mid-card angle that will be forgotten about soon enough. Oh, up next, the kilt-wearing Piper.
-The Miz stood center ring and said it's time for Piper's Pit. He introduced "Portland's own Rowdy Roddy Piper." Even Miz has to hate his character. I remain flabbergasted that anyone would see The Miz's character as anything but a heel.
-Piper's Pit: Piper began, "You know, anytime they've got a difficult situation in the WWE, anytime there's someplace nobody will go but a sewer rat, they call me. I'm a one-man band." Piper said he doesn't believe that Khali is the next big thing until he sees it, so he called him out to the ring. Khali and Daivari walked to the ring. Khali walked over the top rope and stepped into the ring, going chest to chest with Piper. Well, chest to face. Piper asked Daivari if he spoke any English. Daivari said none. "Let me check. No bolts," said Piper. Then he checked out Khali's ass and said, "There's a Brokeback Mountain look for you." That's Piper's obligatory, "Despite rumors, there's no way I'm a kinky bisexual because I always make fun of gays during every single promo I give dating back to Nitro, TNA, and WWE" moment. Daivari protested Piper's mocking of his man. It is absolutely astounding how Piper finds a way to sneak in a gay reference to every single promo he gives and has done so going on ten years. Daivari said he eats people like Piper every day. Piper asked where he was from. He said the jungles of India. Piper imitated an elephant. Piper said Undertaker is the toughest man to ever come through WWE. Daivari said that was true until Judgment Day. Piper stood on the bottom rope so he could speak to him eye-to-eye and said, "If this was 20 years ago." Khali grabbed Piper by the throat. Daivari talked him into releasing Piper. Daivari said he could have snapped him "just like that." (Daivari has totally lost his accent lately.) Daivari said he is the new most dominant force in "the WWE." Piper said, "Maybe he is, but you sure ain't." Piper slapped Daivari. Khali then headbutted Piper to the mat. Daivari ordered him to give him that killer chop. He chopped Piper, who fell to the mat like he was a hit by lighting.
-Ashley Massaro was introduced as the newest Smackdown Diva. As she walked out, Cole plugged the 2006 Diva Search. She joined Tazz and Cole at ringside.
3 -- KRISTAL vs. JILLIAN HALL
Ashley said winning the 2006 Diva Search was the best thing to ever happen to her. Cole said the Diva Search will be on both Raw and Smackdown this year. Good thing it's not on ECW, too, because one of the contests would be being piledriven by Tommy Dreamer as a crowd full of guys cheer. Ashley said the best advice she can offer is for the contestants to be themselves.
WINNER: Jillian in 2:00.
STAR RATING: 1/4* -- Not much to it.'
-After the match, Michelle McCool walked out. Tazz said, "Michelle McCool is back?" With sagging ratings and a depleted roster, it's time to bring back the divas to get those teenage boy demos up higher and fill time on the shows. McCool said as a former school teacher, she's going to teach other women how to be a "real lady." Yeah, emulate Matt Striker's gimmick to get ahead in WWE. She said things around Smackdown are about to get a "whole lot hotter." Ashley shook her head as Jillian and Kristal laughed and shrugged.
4 -- MARK HENRY vs. PAUL BURCHILL
Clips aired before the match of Henry destroying Chris Benoit. Cole said Benoit has decided to take an indefinite sabbatical from Smackdown, but they hope he returns soon. Henry scored an early pin after a powerslam, then kicked Burchill over the top rope after the bell and rammed him spine-first into the ringpost several times. Burchill bled from the mouth. Cole said at some point something is going to have to be done about him.
WINNER: Henry in 1:00.
STAR RATING: n/a -- Too short to rate.
-A commercial aired for Raw plugging the Kiss My Ass challenge by Vince McMahon to Triple H.
-A commercial aired plugging the return of Mr. Kennedy next week.
5 -- FINLAY vs. CADEN MATHEWS
Cole and Tazz talked about the little person last week who seemed pretty vicious. They compared him to a leprechaun or troll. When Finlay yanked Mathews to ringside, the little guy under the ring apparently yanked him by the legs under the ring. Tazz and Cole played dumb, wondering if there was some suction under there. Finlay threw him back into the ring and finished him off. After the match, Finlay called for the little guy to come out. He was like a Jack Russell Terrier being let loose from his kennel all day. He ran around ringside, onto the announcers' table, and into the ring where he beat on Mathews. Finlay kicked him back under the ring. "What the hell is going on around here," said Cole. "That's an evil little man."
WINNER: Finlay in 2:00.
STAR RATING: 1/4* -- Just a basic squash.
-Another segment aired plugging "See No Evil."
-A plug aired for ECW One Night Stand's Rey Mysterio vs. Sabu match. A video then aired on Sabu. They could have done better. Everything was too grainy and fast-moving to really get a grasp of what he's about.
-Back at ringside, Tazz looked at the camera and said he needed to address Jerry Lawler. He told him to show up and get choked out. "I've got one left in me and I will choke you out. Beat me if you can, old man, survive if I let you," he said. That was a glimpse of the type of promo that helped Tazz sell tickets for ECW. Short, to the point, but believable.
-The Miz introduced the main event from the stage. What a useless role they've put him in. William Regal then stepped out and introduced King Booker. "All hail King Booker," said Regal over and over several dozen times. Sharmell then introduced Booker. That's three different people introducing Booker. Cole even pointed out the excessiveness of it. Booker sat on the throne as pyro shot off behind him. Sharmell looked as proud of the owner of a Westminster Dog Show winner. Booker then introduced Queen Sharmell to the fans. She seemed ready to faint at the honor of the ceremony. It's pretty funny, but it could get pretty tedius if done every week.
-Regal was still saying "All hail King Booker" after the commercial break. Then Lashley's intro took place.
6 -- BOBBY LASHLEY vs. BOOKER T (w/Sharmell)
Cole said Lashley should be King of the Ring, but he got screwed. Lashley won clean with a running powerslam at 5:00. Otherwise, a back and forth match.
WINNER: Lashley in 5:00.
STAR RATING: * -- Lashley looked okay, but they didn't challenge him to do much within the match.
-After the match, Regal and Finlay beat down Lashley as Booker cheered on. Booker then gave Lashley a Book End. Regal and Finlay then brought Booker's throne back into the ring. Lashley attempted to fight off Finlay and Regal, but was overwhelmed by the three-on-one attack. Booker then hit Lashley with a scissors kick. Cole asked what Lashley did to deserve this beatdown. "So much for a good and gracious king," said Cole. Booker said, "Now, Bobby, just like everybody in this arena, bow down to King Booker." Regal and Finlay forced him to bow down in front of Booker. Finlay and Regal then shoved his mouth onto his boot. Booker said, "Make him kiss my feet."
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