Thank God it's Friday night, and I just got pai-- Oh, wait, this isn't a Johnny Kemp song. It's Friday night, and it's time for Smackdown! Trivia guru Seth is off this week, so let's get to it!
No flashback segment this week, so we had the WWE and Smackdown video introductions, followed by the pyro from this past Monday's supershow, so we've got the Raw set in action tonight at the Continental Airlines Arena. Cole referred to JBL as a "hometown hero" since they were near New York City. Also tonight, Kennedy faces Batista for the third time, plus King Booker faces off against the Undertaker in a rare Smackdown appearance!
(1) William Regeal defeated United States Champion Finlay via disqualification in a United States Championship match.
Pre-match analysis: We started in great fashion with Finlay! He's facing off once again with what the announcers called his "former friend" William Regal. JBL went off on Teddy Long for turning these two friends against one another. Regal was out next. Cole said that they'd talked to Regal backstage earlier today and that he said he'd been embarrassed and humiliated the past few weeks by Finlay and the troll/leprechaun/Little Bastard. The match is for the United States Championship. In the best line ever, JBL got offended at Cole calling him a little bastard, because he pointed out that the leprechaun could have parents, Cole doesn't know! Also, JBL was talking about Regal and Finlay's friendship and said it was something Cole doesn't know anything about, to which Cole responded that he thought JBL was his friend, and JBL said "You thought wrong, pal." Nice.
Match analysis: Regal delivered a knee to the side of the face and a big hand to the face, followed by a back elbow. Regal threw knees to a kneeling Finlay, followed by a left hand and a knee drop. Regal put a knee on the throat, then covered, but Finlay kicked out. Regal locked his arms around Finlay's face, then went for an uppercut. Finlay whipped Regal into the corner and delivered a shoulder thrust, followed by a snapmare and his seated senton. (JBL accused Cole of being racist for talking about Finlay using the Irish whip.) Finlay delivered forearms to the chest in the ropes. Regal delivered a big uppercut followed by his butterfly suplex into a cover, but Finlay kicked out of two cover attempts. Regal kicked Finlay in the chest, then slapped him in the face! Finlay went for the shillelagh, causing Regal to bail to the outside. The Little Bastard ran out, then ran down the apron, and Finlay threw him at Regal! He then kicked the troll back under the ring. Finlay kept up the assault, driving Regal kidney first into the ring apron. (JBL questioned whether the leprechaun lived in the ring truck, and if there were perhaps more of them.) Regal delivered a big clothesline and covered, but another kickout. Finlay kicked out of two more covers. (JBL made an interesting comment, comparing these guys to Babalu, who's going to be appearing on a UFC pay-per-view against Chuck Liddell later this month.) Regal threw knees to Finlay's head, then headbutted him and raked his face.Regal locked one of Finlay's arm with his leg, and the other with his arms. Regal delivered more elbows to the head, but Finlay began making his way to his feet and escaping. (Cole talked about Smackdown being all about smash mouth wrestling like this.) Regal delivered a straight shot to the face. Finlay avoided ramming into the turnbuckle in the corner, but ran right into a big forearm from Regal. Regal covered, but Finlay kicked out. Regal went to the outside where he grabbed the shillelagh. He got in the ring to use it, but Finlay kicked him in the gut, then grabbed and used the shillelagh himself for the disqualification!
Post-match analysis: After the match, Lashley ran in! Finlay hit him in the gut with the shillelagh. Finlay went to Regal and tried to get him to go attack Lashley with him. Finlay slapped his hand, but as Regal went after Lashley, Finlay hit Regal in the back with the shillelagh! Finlay started walking up the ramp. Regal got up and Lashley took him out with a running powerslam. Finlay held up his title belt on the ramp and pointed to it with his shillelagh.
Match grade: B. A fun match to kick things off, and it ended up being the best match of the show by far. Finlay's awesome and Regal still has it mentally, even though he's not in the physical shape he once was. A solid, physical match, that wasn't anything original, but good like everything Finlay and Regal do.
Tonight: "On the record" with Chavo Guerrero!
(2) Elijah Burke (with Sylvester Terkay) defeated Scott Wright.
Pre-match analysis: Elijah Burke was on the mic in the ring, wearing his black ring jacket. He introduced himself and introduced Sylvester Terkay. Terkay came out next. They showed highlights of Terkay squashing Matt Hardy last week. JBL said he'd never seen a more impressive debut than Terkay's last week. JBL did put over Hardy as well, saying that he was a six time tag champ, but that Terkay still threw him around like a rag doll. He finished the match by making Hardy tap out. JBL talked about him being 71 and 1 in his last two years in college, with his only loss coming in a national championship match in 1992 to Kurt Angle with 14 seconds left.
Terkay stared down tonight's jobber, Scott Wright. Terkay looked to Burke and told cornerman Burke to wrestle Wright tonight. JBL talked about how Burke was undefeated in one fight night, and 103 and 1 on Friday Night Fights in Jacksonville, as well as in law enforcement for five years.
Match analysis: Burke took Wright down and did some amateur wrestling early on. Burke countered in the corner and started throwing lefts and rights to the body and face. (The announcers continued to talk about Burke's boxing skills, including on the Toughman circuit.) Burke delivered a big heel kick to the body, followed by a big front kick and a flying shoulder tackle. Burke covered, but Wright kicked out. Burke put on a submission hold, twisting the neck with the arm locked. (JBL compared Terkay to Mike Tyson and talked about Burke having 102 knockouts out of those 103 wins.) Burke threw a nice dropkick and covered, but Wright kicked out at two. Burke threw left and right forearms to the face in the mount on the mat. Burke kicked Wright in the back, then put on that neck submission once more. Burke put on a modified chinlock. Wright started making a brief comeback, but Burke managed to hit a huge STO (which Cole called a clothesline), followed by his finisher, the Elijah Experience, into a submission on the mat, which I believe JBL called the Elijah. Wright tapped out.
Post-match analysis: Terkay delivered a belly-to-belly throw after the match, followed by a big right hand, and slapped him around. Wright then locked on his own submission finisher as Burke cheered him on. JBL cried for Terkay to break his arm, but Terkay finally released the guy. Burke held up Terkay's hand after the match. Cole called him a bully, while JBL explained that Tyson, Joe Lewis, and Joe Frazier weren't bullies, because when you can do it, you aren't a bully.
Match grade: C-. Burke's fine, but having him wrestle a competitive match here against a jobber was just lame. Burke's not over yet and doesn't have any moves exciting enough to get the fans into this with as little build up as he has against someone else who people know nothing about.
*** Mike "The Miz" Mizanin was backstage and said that there were five divas left in the diva search, so tonight, they're going to tell you why they think they should be the next WWE diva. Miz said that, in WWE, anything can happen, as we shall all see. I'm expecting that this is going to be like last year's pie to the face challenge where they see how the women will react.
*** They cut to the first of these segments with Jen. Jen was wearing a blue bikini, and was doing her often imitated, never duplicated catchphrase that doesn't even make any sense. She got pied with 18 of her 30 seconds left. She started wiping the pie out of her eyes, then said "He's going down!" and went after the person who pied her with the pie. They cut it off before her time was up.
Tonight: King of the world, King Booker, takes on the Undertaker!
Promo time: WWE Smackdown, coming to a town near you! I always think it's interesting in video packages they regularly use to see who they have footage of jobbing. Clips here include Matt Hardy and Booker T getting beat up.
*** Milena was wearing a black strapless bra, black shorts, a studded belt, studded bracelets, and a necklace. She talked about how she's been told since she was a little kid that she was crazy, edgy, and always getting into trouble. She got pied and laughed, then started eating some and saying how she loved the flavor before also getting cut off before her time was up. I guess that the clock here was just to trick the contestants or something, as it really has nothing to do with the challenge.
(3) Kristal defeated Ashley.
Pre-match analysis: Ashley came out. She's writing a new column on music over on WWE.com. It sounded like she had new music too, perhaps because they didn't want to pay for her old Audoslave theme ("Be Yourself") anymore. She had on one of her typical pseudo punk outfits, with black boots, pink fishnet stockings, a pink and black miniskirt, studded belt, pink and black cutoff top, and her backwards baseball cap. Her t-shirt said "role model." I really hope that diva search contestants aren't role models for any girls out there. She's taking on Kristal, who came out in a cutoff white top with wacky pink suspenders with straps across her stomach, black trunks, and black and pink boots, as well as a black and white tie. Kristal stuck her finger in Ashley's chest and talked trash, which led to Ashley delivering a big forearm to get things started before the bell.
Match analysis: Ashley took Kristal to the mat and delivered lefts and rights in the mount. Ashley kicked Kristal in the gut and delivered a scoop slam, then threw her baseball cap down and dropped an elbow. Kristal tried to escape, but Ashley pulled back the suspenders and snapped them onto Kristal's back. Ashley grabbed Kristal's ankle, but Kristal managed to turn it into an enzuigiri! Kristal dragged her around by the hair, then did the spot where she pulls up on Ashley's arm while standing on her hair. Kristal bounced Ashley's face off the top turnbuckle twice. (JBL did his best Jerry Lawler impression, as while Cole talked about how the ref is going to have his hands full here, JBL talked about how he'd like to have his hands full.) Kristal threw a dropkick, but ended up with nothing but air as Ashley caught herself in the ropes. Ashley threw awful right hands on the mat. Ashley delivered a right hand to the gut, then repeatedly bounced Kristal's head off the turnbuckle, five times. (JBL talked about how he bet Cole had shorts just like Kristal, some little "bun huggers." That may be the worst mental image ever.) Ashley went for a monkey flip in the corner, but Kristal shoved her off, then rolled her up while holding the tights for the victory!
Post-match analysis: JBL said how he wished they were going to have a wardrobe malfunction, and that while Cole might have closed his eyes, JBL wouldn't. Ashley did look dangerously close to falling out of her top, so I'm thinking that extra strength duct tape must have been in play.
Match grade: D+. A bad match, largely thanks to Ashley. Kristal had a couple good spots, including going for an enzuigiri, and the bit where she steps on Ashley's hair and pulls up on her arms. However, Ashley just needs much more work. The punches that she threw on the mat may have been the worst that I've seen on WWE television in a long time, and possibly ever. Ashley trying to bounce Kristal's head off the turnbuckle was awful too. Ashley just has no crispness to anything she does.
*** Layla said she should be the next diva because she's strong, independent, and will give you a hundred percent, entertaining you in any way that she can, and will give you some "damage" when she gets in the ring. She got pied, and kept on going with her prommo, while also rubbing the pie all over her body. Oh my. She said she's also loyal to her fans, and you don't know what you will get with Layla, so make sure you vote for her.
Cole talked about how you never know what will happen in WWE or the quarter million dollar diva search, then hyped up the Batista versus Kennedy match. JBL said that Kennedy has Batista's number, and that while Batista is called the Animal, Kennedy must be Steve Irwin or Gunther Gables, as he's figured out how to tame Batista. Also tonight, King Booker faced the Undertaker in what they hyped as a rare appearance by the Undertaker.
Raw Rebound: Armando, Umaga's manager, came in to thank Vince and Shane McMahon for giving his monster Umaga a match against Shawn Michaels, so as a thank you, he gave Vince and Shane Cuban cigars! Vince asked if he had any more. Estrada said he had three more boxes in the car, so Vince asked him to bring them in. Later that night, some wacky federal agents came in to DX's locker room and said that they had been informed that they may have some illegal substances in their possession, so they searched DX's bags and, whadda ya know, they found some Cuban cigars! Triple H said they weren't his and that he doesn't even smoke. The agents explained that Cubans are considered contraband. They walked by Vince and Shane as they were being taken away, and Triple H said that, if they want to play, they'll play. Michaels had the advantage on Umaga in the main event and was going for the superkick, but Vince and Shane interfered. Michaels took down Shane and kipped up, right into the Samoan Spike! After the match, Vince strapped Michaels as Shane held him, then delivered a stiff superkick into a chair to the head of Michaels! Vince said that, next week, Triple H takes on Umaga!
(4) Tatanka defeated Sylvan.
Pre-match analysis: We were back and out came Tatanka, already cleared after an elevated liver enzyme scare the other week. They talked about the Lakota "journey of life" that Tatanka went through to become an honorary Lakota tribe member a few months ago that we'd seen vignettes of. They decided to show another vignette since it had been a while since we saw this.
The narrator talked about the Lakotas carrying on the traditions of generations past. The chief talked about how they still have their heritage and culture intact. The narrator explained that the initiation into the Lakota nation is based on the character of the man and what he stands for. The chief said, from now on, the Lakota way will recognize Tatanka. The narrator explained that now a new warrior will be born and that he will embody the soul of all Native Americans. His name means "buffalo," and he will be called Tatanka. This was basically the same vignette that we saw the week before he redebuted.
JBL mocked Tatanka and said he shouldn't be proud, as he can tell you why the cowboys lived in town while they lived on the reservation. Sylvan was out next and looked at Tatanka with disdain. JBL asked Cole how he'd like his name to mean walrus or buffalo or elephant. He mocked Tatanka being named buffalo. Cole said that the buffalo is a sacred animal to the Native Americans, while JBL asked if his last name is Chips. Cole talked about how buffalo meant food and warmth in the winter time. Sylvan was taking off his ring jacket when Tatanka jumped him from behind to start things off.
Match analysis: Tatanka worked on Sylvan in the corner and delivered a hip toss and a scoop slam, then dropped a leg across Sylvan's jaw. Tatanka delivered right hands to the face of Sylvan. (JBL talked about how Sylvan is French and Canadian, so JBL double hates him.) Tatanka drove Sylvan kidney first into the apron on the outside, then chopped him and rolled him into the ring. (Cole asked if JBL would take his wife for a summer vacation to Quebec this year, and JBL said he'd rather go to Hell.) Tatanka delivered right hands to Sylvan on the mat until the ref forced a break. Sylvan rolled to the outside. Tatanka followed, but Sylvan was playing possum and delivered a clothesline. He kicked Tatanka several times in the kidney, then rolled him back in the ring and delivered right hands to the face from the mount. He broke, then went back to the punches, followed by a running knee to the face. Sylvan then hit a running knee to the back of Tatank's head. Sylvan slapped him, then delivered crossfaces. (The announcers talked about Sylvan desecrating Tatanka's headdress last week.) Sylvan spinebustered Tatanka and hooked the leg, but kickout. Sylvan put on a chinlock. (JBL argued that Tatanka is listed at 253, but that he can't be a "biscuit" under 280. JBL said how Tatanka may have his makeup messed up if this match continues.) Tatanka made it to his feet and drove Sylvan into the corner, then hit a big back body drop and a couple of clotheslines. He fired up and did his war dance. Tatanka chopped down Sylvan twice. (JBL compared Tatanka to Chief Jay Strongbow.) Sylvan delivered a big front kick, but ran right into a Samoan drop by Tatanka which they called "the End of the Trail." Tatanka went up to the top rope and delivered a tomahawk off the top. He covered and hooked the leg, but Sylvan kicked out at two. (JBL was surprised that Sylvan was still going, since the French just surrender most of the time. He also said that, when the fireworks went off at Euro Disney, three French platoons surrendered on the spot.) Tatanka delivered "the Waikea," or "the thunder" and covered and defeated Sylvan.
Post-match analysis: Tatanka celebrated after the match as JBL belittled his victory, pointing out that all he did was defeat a Frenchman. He did concede that Tatanka was impressive. Was that the payoff to all this Quebec ambassador BS? Ugh.
Match grade: C. Sylvan's jobbing already? What the F is going on? Didn't we just watch week after week after week of promos that were supposed to build up this goof? I guess they're building up Tatanka again, even though he just had elevated liver enzymes, which makes little sense to me. Just a basic match. Tatanka was much better than Sylvan, but this feud was just pointless, as was this match.
*** Kennedy was walking backstage to the ring. Why do they always have wacky blue and purple lighting backstage at Smackdown shows? He had two bandages on his head and a black eye. His match against Batista is up next!
(5) Batista defeated Mr. Kennedy.
Pre-match analysis: It's time for some Kennedy goodness! Will he be able to make it three and oh against Batista? He got in the ring and did his posing, then signaled for his microphone to be brought down. He did a pretty good intro this week, though I think that these things should be a little longer, as it seems like it's getting shorter and shorter all the time. Batista's music hit and he came down to the ring. Kennedy did hand signs for two and oh. Cole pointed out that Kennedy may have won by DQ and countout, but Kennedy's the one who looks worse for wear. JBL pointed out that Batista hasn't won a match since his comeback.
Match analysis: Batista got the early advantage. (JBL said to look closely at what's in Kennedy's hand: Batista's number. Ha!) Kennedy cheap shotted Batista off the clean break. Kennedy delivered a leg kick then a kick to the gut, followed by a side headlock. Kennedy went into a hammerlock and delivered clubbing blows to the back. Batista managed to turn it around and began firing up, then threw a right elbow and shoulder thrusts in the corner. Batista threw Kennedy across the ring. Kennedy bailed to the outside and signaled for a timeout. Batista came after him. (Cole pointed out that he may be unsure about this after the countout last week, but went after Kennedy anyway.) Kennedy delivered right hands. Kennedy actually tried biting Batista, then kicked him in the hamstring and delivered more blows to the back. He talked trash in Batista's face and went to ram his head into the steel post, but Batista blocked it and then pulled Kennedy's shoulder into the steel post! Batista kicked Kennedy in the shoulder several times, then tied up his arm around the bottom rope. He broke, then went back to the move again. (JBL talked about how Batista may have a nickel brain, but he's finally using all five cents of it.)
Kennedy hit a low dropkick to Batista's knee as Batista ran at him in a nice spot. Kennedy dropped a couple elbows on Batista's left leg, then yanked at it several times and dropping down on it in the ropes. (Cole pointed out that, if he can't put pressure on that leg, he won't be able to use his power moves. JBL also put over his striking skills.) Kennedy shot a half nelson into a cover, but Batista kicked out. Kennedy delivered a nice kick to the face and covered, but Batista kicked out. Kennedy put on a standing leglock to keep up the work on that knee. Batista escaped and kicked Kennedy off. Kennedy went for a suplex, but Batista blocked it twice and went for a suplex of his own, but Batista's knee gave way so Kennedy fell down into a cover. Batista kicked out at two. Kennedy delivered more kicks to that hamstring, then rammed into him, but Batista came off the ropes with a clothesline! Batista delivered right hands and hit a clothesline in the corner, then a clotheslne in another corner. Batista delivered the back body drop as he continued to sell the knee. He went for another, but he telegraphed it and got a kick from Kennedy. Kennedy went for a jumping kick, but it looked like Batista dodged. Batista hit the spinebuster and fired up, then went to stomp and shake the ropes. He gave the thumbs down and delivered the Batista Bomb! He covered, hooked the leg, and picked up the win for his first victory since returning from injury.
Post-match analysis: They showed a replay of Kennedy getting that Batista Bomb. It'll be interesting to see if they move Kennedy back into his feud with Matt Hardy, or if Batista goes after the title now. Cole said he was going to try to get a word with Batista. He congratulated Batista on his victory, but Batista told him to save his congratulations until after he wins back the World Heavyweight Championship.
Match grade: C+. Better than their last match, not as good as their pay-per-view match. Just kind of alright, nothing special, just a slightly thumbs up match. It seems stupid to have Kennedy get destroyed like this when he's one of the only guys around who seems like a potential star, but that's WWE for you. This feud basically made Kennedy and Batista both look worse, with Kennedy losing whatever momentum he has and Batista looking like an idiot losing twice before finally defeating Kennedy, who never seemed enough in his league to make Batista beating him look like a real accomplishment.
Promo time: WWE Summerslam, "the biggest party of the summer," coming in just two weeks! Seems like they should have more of a card by now, but, well, that's WWE for ya.
*** Erica cut her promo. She sounded high. She said she's willing to give her all. She's been a teacher for the past year, and she's ready to get some direction from the fans to lead her in the right direction. SHe got pied and squealed and yelled "Oh my God!" She said she's willing to get pies in the face for you, so vote for her!
(6) Vito defeated Brooklyn Brawler.
Pre-match analysis: Vito was up next. He definitely seems to be getting more into this gimmick as the weeks go by. He had on a white dress. They showed the greatest shot ever of this guy with the world's most dumbfound expression in the audience.
They showed a clip from earlier today of Vito visiting some of his old haunts in Brooklyn, including Gleason's Gym. He was wearing a green sundress and doing pushups with weights in the ring, also doing some shadowboxing. He sparred in the ring and did pretty well with his boxing.
Also from New York, Vito's opponent came out next, the Brooklyn Brawler! Brawler waved for Vito to back off from the ropes. JBL said that these two perfectly embodied two aspects of New York, with Brawler all dirty and smelly, while Vito is dressed up like RuPaul. JBL said it was a battle of boroughs.
Match analysis: Vito did his wacky spot where he kneels down and shows some leg. (Cole talked about how there was nothing wrong with wearing a dress. JBL freaked out.) Brawler told Vito to take it easy and put his hands down, then undid the straps on Vito's dress! Vito clotheslined Brawler and dropped an axe handle on Vito's chest, then locked on a chinlock. (Cole criticized Brawler for wearing clothes from the eighties, while JBL asked what was wrong with the eighties and told Cole to leave the eighties alone. Yeah! JBL mentioned that Vito had just had a wardrobe malfunction and referenced Janet Jackson's Superbowl incident, but accidentally called her Janet Jones.) Brawler escaped and raked the eyes, then delivered an uppercut and a clubbing blow to the back and raked his face across the top rope. They began exchanging right hands, but Vito got the advantage and hit a clothesline and a big back elbow, followed by another clothesline. Vito hit his lift up DDT, then fanned his dress and showed his leopard thong. He put the dress around Brawler and locked the arm for the tapout victory!
Post-match analysis: Vito celebrated his victory as Cole put over how successful he's been since wearing a dress.
Match grade: C. A fine little squash match. Brawler was kind of fun, though he should have cut a promo about being too extreme for ECW or something like that. Vito's finisher still feels lame to me, as I'd rather he just beat people with the lift up DDT, but it was fine.
*** JT just stared at the camera as the clock ticked down as she didn't know her time had started, because she is the biggest idiot ever. This was hysterical. She went "Oh! Sorry," and was about to start, when she got piefaced and went "Ohhh... my God" and didn't say anything else. Awful but awesome.
*** Miz was backstage and said "Wow! Pie in the face? Yes please!" He is the fakest man ever. He hyped up the next elimination on Raw, but reminded everyone to vote. I guess they have to pretape these since Miz can't remember a name to save his life. He of course finished with a "Hoo rah!" Oy.
*** Teddy Long was in his office. An African-American guy in a suit with cornrows walked in, who Long referred to as Mr. Porter. Porter asked Long to call him a doctor because he's wearing so much ice, he's bound to catch hypothermia! He demanded that Long make this happen and get him signed, because when he signs Montel Vontavious Porter, Long will have the M.V.P. of the 2006 New Talent Initiative! (That's still around without Palmer Canon? Hm, alright.) Long said he's anxious to sign the guy. Porter promised he wouldn't let Long down. Long said he appreciates that, because with him, if it don't make dollars, it don't make sense. Porter's phone vibrated and he answered it. Porter said he was talking to Long right now, and then handed the phone to Long and told him he needed to talk to his agent. Long was outraged at how much money the agent asked for, and Long said they should get together and talk about that.
Tonight: Chavo Guerrero on the record! Cole said they hoped that he would explain why he betrayed Rey Mysterio at the Great American Bash. They showed a clip from the Bash, with Chavo teasing a chairshot on Booker, but turning and chairshotting Rey Mysterio. They also hyped the main event, King Booker versus the Undertaker.
Pre-match analysis: Scotty Too Hotty and Funaki were in the ring as Scotty's music played. Scotty's also apparently shaved off some of his facial hair. Michelle McCool was out there to introduced their opponents, two of her favorite "teacher's pets." She had on heels, nylons, a grey miniskirt, a shiny silver bra, and a see through black top of sorts around her shoulders. She introduced KC James and Idol Stevens, formerly known as Aaron "The Idol" Stevens in OVW. From what I've seen from OVW, Idol's not that great in the ring, but he's got a lot of charisma and is great on the mic... so of course they give him a manager. Idol did at least have on great pants that I believe were bellbottoms, with silver on black design.
Match analysis: Idol jumped Funaki from behind to start the match, knocking him out of the ring. Scotty wasn't too happy and went after Idol. James hit a knee to the back from the apron, allowing Idol to hit a clothesline before tagging in Stevens. Stevens came off the second rope with a right hand to Scotty on the mat. He covered, but Scotty kicked out. James was on offense and hit a big right hand, then choked Scotty in the corner. He elbowed Scotty in the top of the head. Scotty fought back with right hands and went to follow up, but McCool grabbed his leg from the outside, then Idol delivered a knee! James covered, but Scotty kicked out again. Idol tagged in. Idol dropped Scotty onto James's knee, hitting his back. Idol hooked the leg, but Scotty kicked out at two. (Brian Kendrick and Paul London, the tag team champions in case you forgot, were shown watching backstage. London was wearing an all brown outfit while Kendrick wore black slacks with a purple long sleeved button up shirt. The dress code in effect!) Idol delivered a shoulder thrust to Scotty in the corner, then tagged in James. James hit a snapmare followed by a big elbow. James played to the crowd and did a shoulder shimmy. James bounced Scotty off of Idol's knee, then tagged him in. James choked Scotty in the corner as the ref was distracted. Scotty tried crawling underneath Idol's legs to get to his partner, but Idol grabbed his ankle. Scotty kept trying to pull away. He went for an enzuigiri, but Idol ducked and dropped an elbow. He covered, but Scotty kicked out. Idol locked on a chinlock. Idol went for a suplex, but Scotty shifted his weight and escaped, tagging in Funaki. He slingshotted himself into the ring, hitting Idol with a crossbody. He took out James with a right hand, then a back body drop to Idol! He delivered right hands, but Idol reversed. However, he ran right into a low right hand, followed by a bulldog into a cover, but Funaki had to go after James who was coming into the ring. Scotty delivered a flying right hand to take out James. As the ref got rid of Scotty, Idol hit a shoulder thrust to Funaki, hit a double leg, and catapulted Funaki into a top rope missile dropkick from Funaki (though it looked like he overshot it a bit). Idol hooked the leg as James stoped Scotty from making the save, allowing his team to pick up the win.
Post-match analysis: Michelle held up their arms after the match. James looks a lot like Curt Hennig, but goofier.
Match grade: C-. Too long, and it was boring. These guys aren't great wrestlers, especially Idol. Idol is a great talker, so of course they give them a freaking manager to do the talking for this team. This might have worked if they'd built these guys up with vignettes, but they just threw them out there for what felt like the longest match ever with Smackdown's resident jobbers.
*** King Booker was backstage, sitting with his king outfit and title on the table behind him. I love how the nameplate on his belt says "King Booker." He was deep in thought when who should come up but Sharmell. She asked what was with the long face. Booker said he was contemplating... his "contest"... with the Undertaker. Sharmell told him to contemplate no longer and show the world how great he is! Sharmell said that Undertaker is not the World Heavyweight Champion, is he? He said no as she put Booker's robe on him. She then asked if Taker was royalty as she gave him his scepter, and Booker said no. Then she asked if Taker was King of the World as she put his crown on him, and he said no. Sharmell asked what people will be saying after their match tonight, and Booker began to yell repeatedly "All hail... King Booker!" They kissed to close the segment. I liked the segment more than some other recent King Booker stuff, as Booker showed some nice intensity at first, with this sort of surreal feel with the whole royalty gimmick.
Up next: Chavo Guerrero, on the record! We saw a recap from last week of Chavo running in and tossing Rey Mysterio into the ring barrier to cost him his rematch against Booker.
Tonight: King Booker against the Undertaker!
*** Oooooh, Chavo! One of the best theme songs around. In fact, it seems like WWE has been using a lot more generic themes lately, so it's nice to have something a bit more unique to the character. WWE's super fan/sign guy who's at all the shows held up a "TRAITOR" sign with Chavo's head in place of the O, and had the best angry facial expression on. Some kid held up a "Say it ain't so, Chavo" sign. The fans shouted something, but I couldn't make out what it was.
Chavo said that the people want to know why he screwed Rey Mysterio, why he betrayed Rey Mysterio. First, though, Chavo wants to know, what is betrayal? (Oh brother, Chavo's a philosopher now?) He asked if betrayal is stealing from another man, stealing his name from him, stealing his blood, because that's what Rey Mysterio did to Chavo and his whole family, the Guerrero family. He asked, what, you don't believe him? You don't believe that Rey Mysterio is a thief? Chavo explained what Mysterio stole from him. He grew up with Eddie Guerrero. They were like brothers. The used to lie, cheat, and steal together. (Awwww, family values!) They showed a fan in the crowd with a "We miss Eddie" sign. Chavo said, when Eddie passed away, we all felt it. He retired from wrestling and walked away, but did Rey Mysterio? No. Chavo said that Mysterio used the Guerrero name, Eddie's name. Chavo said that every other match, Rey was dedicating the match to Eddie's memory. The Royal Rumble, No Way Out, even at WrestleMania. Chavo said that, every five minutes, Rey was mentioning Eddie's name, very, very conveniently. When Rey won the World Championship, it got even worse, according to Chavo. A fan held up a "U suck Chavo" sign. (I certainly do not suck Chavo!) Chavo said that Rey couldn't stand on his own and keep the title on his own, so he used another Guerrero, Chavo. Chavo said he saved Rey from losing the title to JBL, from losing the title to Mark Henry, and saved him over, and over, and over again. However, Rey decided to stand in the middle of the ring and take all the glory, using Eddie's spotlight and Eddie's name that all of the fans chanted to him. At the Great American Bash, Chavo couldn't take it anymore, so that's when he realized that he didn't steal Eddie from Chavo or from the Guerrero family, he stole the memory of Eddie from each and every one of the fans. He pointed to individual fans and singled them out. Chavo said that people ask him why he did what he did, and said it was because Rey Mysterio is just a leech living off the blood of the Guerrero name.
Rey began to run down to the ring. Chavo dropped the mic and they went at it in the ring. Chavo took Mysterio down, but Rey looked to have the advantage. They tumbled around in the ring before going to the outside, where Chavo shoved Mysterio into the ring apron. Mysterio started coming back and hit a big knee, then threw Chavo into the steel steps. JBL and Cole argued about whether Chavo was right. Vickie Guerrero (Wha?!) ran down to the ring from out of nowhere and screamed at Mysterio, asking what's wrong with him and yellling at him to stop fighting. She also put her finger in Chavo's face and tried to get Chavo to back off. Vickie said she was embarrassed by Chavo. She yelled at them both and made sure they stayed separated. The fans loudly chanted Eddie's name. Rey complained that he didn't do anything. Chavo walked back up the ramp.
Earlier tonight: They recapped Batista taking out Kennedy with the Batista Bomb. JBL did pointed out that Kennedy was still 2 and 1 over Batista, though Cole pointed out it was a decisive victory. Batista talked about going after the World Heavyweight Championship after the match.
(8) Undertaker defeated World Champion King Booker via disqualification in a non-title match.
Pre-match analysis: King Booker came out with Queen Sharmell. Sharmell had on a nice yellow gown tonight. It's funny, JBL was talking about how Booker has elevated his game, but now, whenever I hear the word "elevated," all I can think of is "liver enzymes." Booker's spin where he holds his cape out is so great. Taker's gong hit, to much elation from the fans. Some goofy person in the crowd right in front of the camera (which was far back in the crowd, pointed at the stage, a somewhat unusual shot) was wearing glow in the dark wristbands. When Taker took his hat off, Sharmell showed some nice fear to the outside.
Match analysis: As the match started, Booker bailed to the outside. There was a ton of smoke obscuring what was going on. They got back in the ring and Booker went on offense which Taker mostly no sold, but then got an advantage with a thumb to the eye, followed by a side headlock. Taker picked up Batista, then whipped him off the ropes and delivered a shoulder knockdown, followed by right hands in the ropes and a clothesline to the outside leading to break.
Promo time: A legend returns at Summerslam! Well, maybe. Hulk Hogan was supposed to fight Randy Orton, but according to WWE.com, he hurt himself, no lie, getting up from his couch.
Booker was fighting Taker on the outside as we came back from break. He chopped Taker several times. (Cole talked about how, if Taker got the win here, he could get a title opportunity in the future.) Booker pounced Taker's head off the apron, then rolled him into the ring. Booker beat on Taker in the corner. Taker grabbed Booker and tossed him into the corner. He delivered right hands as Cole put over his striking ability. Taker delivered a shoulder and pulled on Booker's arm, working on the shoulder. Taker picked him up by that arm, then tossed him back to the mat. Taker kicked at Booker in the ropes. Taker delivered an elbow to that arm on the apron, then got back in the ring and continued the assault. Taker went for the Old School top rope walk, but Sharmell distracted him on the outside, allowing Booker to armdrag him off the top rope! Taker kicked Booker in the face, then covered and hooked the arm, but Booker kicked out. Taker bounced Booker's left arm off the top turnbuckle a couple times. Taker went for the top rope walk once more and hit the move. Taker delivered a Russian leg sweep and covered, but Booker kicked out. Taker pulled on Booker's arm in the ropes and Booker yelled for the ref to get him off. Taker hit a flying knee in the corner, then went for another, but Booker moved out of the way and left Taker to get hung up on the rope rope. Booker then slammed Taker's leg into the steel post and beat on him on the outside before getting back in, where Nick Patrick began the ten count. Booker went to the apron and dropped a forearm on Taker's back to send him to the floor. Booker rolled him back into the ring and delivered a superkick to the jaw. Booker hooked the leg, but shoulder up before three. Booker beat on Taker on the mat, then stood up and kicked Taker in the face. He hit his back high kick, then hooked the leg, but Taker rolled the shoulder up. Booker dropped a leg on Taker's crotch. Booker posed and went after Taker, but Taker started coming back. He kicked Booker in the head, then threw right hands. He went for a clothesline, but Booker ducked. He hit a kick to the clothesline and was going for the scissors kick, but Taker dodged and hit a big right hand. They exchanged rights and Taker got the advantage and hit a headbutt to send Booker down. Taker bounced King Booker off the top turnbuckle and hit a corner splash, followed by another. Taker delivered snake eyes in the corner, followed by a big boot to the face, but Booker kicked out. Taker hit the chokeslam when who should come out but the Great Khali with Daivari! Taker went after him, but Khali hit the chop to send Taker to the mat for the DQ!
Post-match analysis: JBL compared it to Jurassic Park, or King Kong versus Godzilla. Khali put his foot on Taker and raised his arms, but Taker sat up and delivered rights and lefts to Khali, then clotheslined Khali to the outside! Taker got on the mic and said "Khali. You, me, Summerslam! Last... man... standing!" Looks like we'll be getting our Taker/Khali rematch, though sadly it won't be in the Punjabi Prison! Taker stared down Khali and Daivari as they walked up the ramp. JBL talked about feeling sorry for Khali.
Match grade: C-. Another match that made both guys look dumb. Booker doesn't come off as a credible champion at all, even moreso than the beginning of JBL's big title reign before he started getting over. I would be flabbergasted if Booker doesn't end up being a transitional champion. They didn't do a good job hyping this match up, and didn't even advertise last week that Undertaker would be wrestling on free TV this week despite him supposedly being this special attraction. It was just a long, OK match, with a non-finish. Whoopee.
Show rating: 3.5. God, was that a horrible show. King Booker's backstage segment started off great, but like a lot of the King Booker stuff, just felt like it went on too long. The main event went on too long too, wasn't hyped well, and ended with a lame DQ finish. The Great Khali's back, and even a last man standing match feels like a real letdown after the intrigue of the Punjabi Prison match, and this last man standing match may quite likely turn out to be even worse than a Punjabi Prison match between the two would have. Chavo's promo was fascinating, as it was one of those work shoot things where it seems like there's more to it under the surface. However, the whole use of Eddie Guerrero's name in this feud just feels uncomfortable and makes it not fun to watch. Vickie Guerrero showing up was a surprise. Hopefully they're compensating her well for taking part in this whole deal. Rey Mysterio better have a good rebuttal next week, because right now, Chavo looked a bit jealous, but also like he was making some good points.
Batista's feud with Kennedy made both guys look worse. Batista looked like a goof losing twice to Kennedy, including in his return match, but then Kennedy got destroyed fairly decisively, pretty much cutting his momentum off. Batista should be able to come back somewhat by going after the title, but it seemed like a foolish way to book Kennedy when he's one of the only guys on the brand or even in WWE that looks like he has much potential to break out as a future star. William Regal and Finlay had the best match of the night, and it wasn't even their best match. Lashley's return was well done. You can see how they're starting to turn Finlay, currently serving as a tweener going after both Regal and Lashley, and it's probably the most intriguing storyline on Smackdown right now.
The most interesting part of the show for me was the debuts. The MVP character seems like he's got some real charisma, and reportedly his style fits with WWE. He was in Deep South, which is a bit of a cause for concern all by itself, but I'm at least interested in where they're going with him. KC James and Idol Stevens wrestled a long, boring match that didn't get them over at all. Stevens showed in OVW that he's a great talker, but this of course meant that they placed him with a manager, Michelle McCool, who's at negative five stars on the charisma scale. Idol's bad in the ring and James is just mediocre, so I don't have much hope for these guys.
Elijah Burke's fine, and I'm digging the MMA gimmick with Sylvester Terkay, but tonight's match didn't do much to advance these characters. They needed to push harder why Terkay didn't want to wrestle the guy and give Terkay some sort of mission statement. Vito looks like he's having fun, and his match with the Brooklyn Brawler was goofy but mildly enjoyable. Still, I wish they'd go somewhere with this instead of throwing it out there week after week with basically the same thing happening each time.
Why in the world did Sylvan just lose after being built up with all of those pointless promo segments that didn't establish his character at all? On the plus side, I liked that they recapped the promos they used to build up Tatanka, though it's still not clicking. Their match was just there. I think that they could get a little more out of Tatanka, but not by feuding him with Sylvan. This ambassador gimmick may be the most pointless gimmick ever, with the announcers not doing their job to get him over as a heel or a face. Kristal's alright, but Ashley was just awful. It's also insane that they've been pushing this stupid feud for months, but they just threw this out there without recapping the feud at all or making a big deal out of Kristal winning at all. The diva search segments were among the more interesting things on this show, which is pretty sad. I especially enjoyed watching JT Tinney staring at the camera as you could almost hear the wind whistling through her head.
1) Vickie Guerrero showed up to separate Chavo Guerrero from Rey Mysterio.
2) The Great Khali and Lashley returned after being taken off the road for elevated liver enzymes.
3) KC James and Idol Stevens, formerly of OVW, debuted as a new tag team with Michelle McCool as their manager.
4) Montel Vontavious Porter, also known as MVP, debuted.
5) Elijah Burke made his in-ring debut on Smackdown.
Hey kids, I hope you had more fun reading this than I did watching it. Oy. If you'd like to drop me a line with your thoughts, comments, questions, and so forth, drop me a line at email@example.com. 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 a Specialist column.
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