TV REPORTS KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 7/18: Lashley vs. Finlay, Rey vs. Regal, Diva Boot Camp
Jul 18, 2006 - 6:02:00 PM
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WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JULY 14, 2006
TAPED 7/10 IN MINNEAPOLIS
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, TORCH EDITOR
-After a clip aired of last week's return of Batista and the show's intro, Michael Cole and Tazz previewed the show. They hyped Bobby Lashley vs. Finlay, the Batista-Mark Henry contract signing, and Sgt. Slaughter's Diva Search Boot Camp.
-In the ring, King Booker sat on a throne with Sharmell at his side and William Regal repeating, "All hail King Booker." Regal declared that Booker T would become the new World Champion at the Great American Bash. JBL said that Booker has earned his spot among the gods. Regal vowed that he would reign victorious over Rey Mysterio later, all for the honor of Queen Sharmell and King Booker. Booker stood and vowed to beat Mysterio and said fools who doubt him will be made to think again. Booker narrated footage of Batista beating up Henry last week, then footage of Booker beating up Rey backstage last week in previously unaired footage. Booker tossed Rey into a variety of objects backstage, and then Sharmell gave Rey a stiff kick between the legs. Eventually Rey interrupted Booker's ongoing boasting. When his music played, Booker, Sharmell, and Regal looked at the stage. Instead, Rey attacked then from behind, then slipped out of the ring before they could regroup.
1 -- MR. KENNEDY vs. MATT HARDY
Kennedy came out second, grabbed the mic, and apologized for the lack of star power in the ring. Then he touted he was from Green Bay to get heel heat, since that always draws boos in Minnesota due to the Viking-Packer border rivalry in the NFL. JBL again said Hardy could be a major main event star some day. He said what prevents it is his caring too much for is girlfriend or the fans or the peripherals around him. Kennedy threw Hardy shoulder-first into the ringpost. JBL touted that he'll be on three networks this weekend - UPN on Friday, Fox News on Saturday morning, and Saturday night in Dallas. He didn't say NBC, since UPN frowns on that since they're broadcast rivals. "If you do not have a black heart in this business, you will not be successful," he said. Kennedy dominated for a few minutes, changing up his offense more than last week, but Hardy came back at 4:00. He hit a Side Effect for a near fall. He followed with an elbow to the head off the ropes and the Twist of Fate attempt. Predictably, Kennedy escaped and took Hardy down with a neckbreaker for a near fall. Kennedy went for a Twist of Fate, but Hardy escaped and then punched Kennedy in the corner ten times. He again went for the Twist of Fate, but Kennedy blocked it and Hardy slammed the mat hard. Kennedy went for a cover, but Hardy put his foot over the bottom rope to stop the count. Kennedy complained for a few seconds, then was rolled up by Hardy for the win. Cole said that's the first time Kennedy's been pinned in a Smackdown ring. JBL said, "Dammit! Dammit!"
WINNER: Hardy in 7:00.
STAR RATING: *3/4 -- Solid TV match. Kennedy looked better this week. Doing the job might have been a message being sent about last week's effort.
-They plugged the Rey Mysterio vs. Regal main event.
-The Raw Rebound aired.
-Four Smackdown Divas argued and fought backstage.
-Daivari walked out with Khali. He asked for Undertaker to send a signal that he's returning. Instead, the lights went out and when they came back on, Undertaker was standing mid-ring in the flesh, the first time since Judgment Day. They did the lightning strike special effect, knocking Daivari down. JBL pointed out that Khali didn't flinch. Daivari is quite tough, as he got right up himself. Daivari and Taker had a distant staredown.
2 -- PAUL LONDON (w/Brian Kendrick) vs. JAMIE NOBLE (w/Kid Kash)
It's not often you get an ROH Dream Match-Up on Smackdown. Cole noted that London & Kendrick would be defending the tag titles against the Pitbulls at the Bash. JBL said the Pitbulls' politics makes Jerry Fallwell look like Howard Dean. Cole didn't get it, either, and asked for an explanation. JBL said he's there to add color, but otherwise didn't explain anything. After interference from Kash yanking London throat-first over the top rope, Noble finished off London with a double knee gutbuster drop.
WINNER: Noble in 5:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 - Just a tease of what those two could do if given a chance to let loose.
-The Miz screamed "Hoo-Rah" with the Diva Search contestants backstage.
-Sylvan stood backstage and gave another plug for Quebec. "I'd rather go to Rwanda," said JBL.
-Teddy Long introduced the Henry-Batista contract signing, and said the winner would go on to meet the World Champion at Summerslam. He said if Batista or Henry touch each other during the signing, that person will forfeit the chance at the no. 1 contender slot "and he will watch Summerslam at home." Batista walked out wearing all white other than a dark belt - white pants, t-shirt, jacket, and white feathered head dress. Okay, there wasn't a head dress. Long asked if Batista had anything to say before he brought Henry out. Batista yelled "yeah" and then said, "It is good to be back!" He said it feels so good to be back in the ring and he wishes everyone could share the high he feels. The crowd chanted "Ba-ti-sta!" He choked up as he said fans had no idea how much he missed Smackdown. JBL told him to grab a cry towel. He said he was having the best year of his life and then in one night it all changed. Everything he worked so hard for was taken away by one man. (I thought he was going to say Eddie Guerrero's death ruined his year.) He took off his jacket and said it's time to talk about Henry. He said for six months he's had to sit at home and watch Henry run rampant on Smackdown. He said he is filled with hatred he can't get rid of. He said he has taken it out on everyone he loves - his friends, his family, everyone. "If Mark Henry thinks that last week was payback, Mark, that was nothing. That was a small taste, a sample, that was nothing compared to what I'm going to do to you at the Great American Bash."
Long then introduced Henry. Henry said if his opportunity to take the World Title at Summerslam was not at stake, "I would detach your head from your body." Both sat at the table. Batista signed the contract, then Henry. Batista then slapped the table and both stood up. They had a staredown, then Henry left. Cole said, "Tomorrow night in Dallas, Batista will be in a match for the first time since his injury. It's a six-man tag team match-up with Mark Henry on the other side of the ring." No mention of NBC or Saturday Night's Main Event by name. It makes Cole and WWE look bad when they advertise on their website upcoming line-ups that have listed Batista in action for several house shows in recent weeks, but contradict that WWE.com info on TV - not to mention the many who read websites with results and worst of all those who paid $70 for a house show ticket to see Batista wrestle and find that the main event they watched is not officially part of the history acknowledged by Smackdown's lead announcer. It's kind of like going to an NFL game in November, watching your favorite ten end a winning streak of the division leader, then watching next week's nationally televised game and having the announcers ignore the loss by the division leader and reference them as still undefeated. Fans may know that match outcomes are scripted, but they don't want to feel that they're being lied to for no reason or that matches they pay to see don't matter enough to be considered a part of official recent history for WWE.
3 -- BOBBY LASHLEY vs. DAVID "FIT" FINLAY -- U.S. Hvt. Title match
Michael Cole asked JBL, "Can you imagine if Finlay wins the United States Championship tonight and takes it back to Ireland?" That line worked on me when Sheik Adnon threatened to take the AWA World Title back to Iraq if he beat Verne Gagne. I was scared to death that the belt would be gone forever. But in this era, do any fans really "fear" Finlay "taking the belt back to Ireland"? They circled each other for a minute before locking up, which was an early giveaway that this wouldn't be a five minute TV match. They had major time to fill. Finlay went to a nerve hold and a chinlock to fill part of the second minute. After some uppercuts, Lashley came back with a delayed vertical suplex, so Finlay rolled out of the ring and they cut to a break.
Finlay drove Lashley face-first into the ringside steps with a drop toe hold. At 8:00 Lashley made a comeback. JBL declared Lashley the surprise of the year. Finlay brought the shillelagh into the ring. Lashley got it away from him and threatened to hit him with it. Instead, after a warning from the ref, he threw the shillelagh far away onto the entrance stage. Finlay swung a chair at Lashley at ringside, but missed. Lashley brought a chair into the ring. While the ref was trying to get him to let go of the chair, the little green guy slipped Lashley a second shillelagh and he used it to KO Lashley while the ref wasn't looking. "That little bastard!" yelled Cole. "He's a damn troll!"
WINNER: Finlay in 10:00 to capture the U.S. Title.
STAR RATING: *3/4 -- Average TV match.
-They showed Vito, wearing a dress, walking through Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. earlier in the day.
-The Miz stepped out onto the stage and introduced the 2006 Diva Search Competition. After the women paraded onto the stage, Sgt. Slaughter walked out to put them through Boot Camp. So Sergeants in the Army really wear tights over a camouflage TV shirt? If he's not wrestling, can't he wear something a little less form fitting? Sarge yelled at them as they ran an obstacle course. They blurred out their asses when they slid in and out of the ring. The whole thing was dehumanizing. The one with the shortest time got immunity.
-They showed Rey Mysterio heading to the entrance tunnel for his match.
-Cole and JBL ran through the entire Great American Bash line-up: Rey vs. Booker, Batista vs. Mark Henry, London & Kendrick vs. Pitbulls, Finlay vs. Lashley vs. Regal, and Undertaker vs. Khali.
4 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. WILLIAM REGAL
King Booker and Queen Sharmell joined Cole and JBL on commentary. They cut to a break after ring intros.
They showed that during the break, Booker distracted Rey, setting up Regal attacking him from behind. Rey came back with some offense. Sharmell distracted the ref a minute later when Regal threw Rey crotch-first into the top rope. Cole got testy with Booker and Sharmell throughout the match over their involvement in the match. JBL defended Booker and Sharmell. Booker told Cole to do his job and call the match. Rey came back with that move Cole always incorrectly describes as a "senton." Booker distracted the ref, but that gave Rey a chance to slidekick Regal between the legs. He followed with the Rough Rider and then a split-legged moonsault for a two count. Rey gave Booker a slidekick at ringside for good measure. Regal, though, went for an underhook suplex, but Rey reversed it into an armdrag, hit the 619, and then a springboard splash for the pin. Rey gave Booker a 619 around the ringpost at ringside afterward. Booker made a cartoon face. Cole said Rey's dream is far from over and he'll continue it at the Bash.
WINNER: Rey in 7:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Basic stuff. Okay. There was more focus on arguing by announcers than the match.
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