Friday night's alright for fighting! And before I butcher any more Elton John songs, let's send it down to Seth for trivia!
Raw Is Trivial with the "Supreme" Seth Berger!
Raw Is Trivial brings you the 1997 experimental tag-team known as the "Road Dogg" Jesse James & the "Bad Ass" Billy Gunn. On this date nine long years ago, the team soon to be known as "The New Age Outlaws" we're on their second week as a team. October 20th 1997 saw them win their first match together when they defeated the Headbangers; a team just a couple of weeks removed from their non-title win over then-tag champs the Godwinns.
Week two of the Outlaws experiment saw them run into trouble and get DQed. This week's simple but doable question: Which of the following established teams beat the Dogg and Billy?
a) Los Boriquas
b) The New Blackjacks
c) The Legion Of Doom
d) The Godwinns
e) Disciples Of Apocolypse
We'll have the answer to this all-important question later in the column. Now, back to our hero and more SmackDown fun!
*** We got a cold open in St. Louis, Missouri with Batista coming out to open the show. It was a nice way to make Batista seem relevant again, as he's been a background player a lot recently. Putting him in the opening segment reminds you that "Oh yeah, this guy's a star!"
Tonight: Michael Cole hyped up the big main event with Smackdown champion King Booker teaming with ECW Champion Big Show to take on Raw champion John Cena and former Smackdown champion Batista.
JBL mentioned how Batista never lost the title in a match. JBL also mentioned K-Fed and King Booker being guest stars on Raw this week and how you never know what's going to happen on the road to Cyber Sunday. Cole mentioned how Finlay cost Batista the title when he fought King Booker.
Batista talked about how, at WrestleMania 21, he realized a lifelong dream when he became World Heavyweight Champion. Ten months ago was one of the saddest days of his life, when he was forced to surrender his title. This got boos from the crowd, but Batista said it was alright, and it lit a fire under his butt, and ever since that day, he's been on a mission to reclaim his title! One man, one Irish thorn in his side (What's an Irish thorn?) has been hellbent on ruining it for him, that being Finlay! Batista said that he'll tell you what: Finlay says he loves to fight, so guess what? So does Batista! He told Finlay to get his ass out there, now, and he's long overdue for someone to take the shillelagh and shove it straight up his-- He was cut off by Paul Heyman's ECW music. (Batista's gag would have been funnier if he hadn't just said ass a few seconds earlier.)
Heyman headed out with his security team. JBL said he was coming from the swamps outside of New York. Cole said that Heyman must feel like he has the license to do what he wants on Smackdown since ECW Champion the Big Show is there. JBL made fun of his skullet. Paul Heyman introduced himself to "Mr. Batista." He said he would be remiss if he didn't point out something painfully obvious: Tonight's main event on Smackdown may be the biggest main event in the history of Friday Night Smackdown! In one corner you have the World Heavyweight Champion, King Booker, and his partner, Heyman's ECW World Heavyweight Champion, the 500 pound, seven foot tall Big Show, one of the many reasons why he's here this evening. In the other corner, you've got the WWE Champion John Cena (who Batista applauded) and the Animal himself, Batista! Heyman pointed to the imaginary places where they would be standing and said champion, champion, champion... not champion when he pointed to Batista. This got an "Uh oh" on commentary from JBL. Batista asked what his point was. Heyman said there's something really wrong with that. Batista's not just the man, he's the animal, he's Batista, and he should be World Heavyweight Champion! Heyman said that the fact that this main event features all these people and he's the only one who's not a champion bothers Heyman, and it should bother Batista too. He looks like a champion, he carries himself like a champion, and everything about him screams champion. Heyman said that the reason why is that Teddy Long has been holding Batista back, and let's face facts: These Smackdown fans don't give a damn about Batista. (Ouch!) Heyman said that he does care about Batista, though. The fans chanted "Heyman sucks!" JBL said that, whatever you want to say about Batista, these fans love him. Heyman said that he covets Batista and would cherish the opportunity to work in ECW with a man like Batista, and that if Batista were to consider coming over to ECW, his talents would be appreciated and his ECW audience would love to have the animal in ECW, and Heyman could guide him and mold his career to where he knows it needs to be, and all he's asking is that Batista consider his offer. Batista stroked his Miami Vie style facial hair. Batista said that's an interesting proposition and asked if Heyman minded if he took a little time to think about that. Heyman told Mr. Batista, "Dave," thank you very much. He started to walk away, but Batista said that he'd thought about it. Heyman got excited and went "Really?! Really?!" He extended his hand and yelled "Yeah! The animal!" Batista gave him a thumbs up and Heyman gave a thumbs up of his own, but Batista obviously turned it to a thumbs down. Heyman looked ready to crap himself and fled, and Batista then kicked the asses of Heyman's private security, including giving both of them spinebusters! The Big Show ran in from behind Batista and went for a chokeslam, but Batista slipped out and speared Big Show! King Booker ran in and attacked Batista from behind. The crowd popped and you knew that it was John Cena on the way down, and of course it was, running in and sending King Booker over the top rope. Cena and Batista then gave a double clothesline over the top rope to send Big Show out. They celebrated their victory. Cena grabbed one of Heyman's security's nightsticks, seemingly to make sure that the opposition didn't try to get back in the ring. Heyman glared at Cena and Batista from the ramp, with his security at his side. Big Show was still lying on the outside as Booker looked pissed at Cena and Batista.
Tonight: King Booker and Big Show versus John Cena and Batista! Cole said it could be the biggest tag team match in Smackdown history. We've also got a "Trick or Treat Diva Battle Royal" with Ashley, Layla, Kristal, Michelle McCool, and my girl Jillian Hall! JBL said that we've got so much eye candy that he's going to go home with his whole bag full, and he's not even going to have to break up his black AmEx tonight! (Wait, what?!)
Promo time: WWE's winter special, the Secret Lives of Superstars, is available now! It's basically various superstars chilling and doing whatever it is that they do. My favorite was Edge looking thoughtful and playing acoustic guitar.
Promo time: We saw the Marine promo they've been running about who's tougher, John Cena or John Triton, the Marine. It seems awfully dumb to argue that the character you're going to be promoting on pay-per-view, John Cena, isn't as good as his movie character, when you're doing it on a wrestling program with an audience that, if they haven't seen the movie by now, probably aren't going to go see it. Also seems awfully suspicious to have Triple H talk up John Triton instead of fellow babyface John Cena. The rest of it broke down with John Triton getting the support of Ric Flair, Carlito, Marine director John Bonito, and an actual marine, with John Cena having Candace and Coach in his camp. Maria's comments were a little ambiguous but seemed to say that they're both great, not saying either one was that much better. John Cena was humble and said that there's no comparison and John Triton is much tougher. He said he'd like to meet Triton and tell him that he's the toughest man on the planet.
(1) William Regal & Dave Taylor defeated Tatanka & Bobby Lashley when Regal pinned Tatanka.
Pre-match analysis: Bobby Lashley came out for his match. JBL talked up his amateur credentials, particularly being a military amateur wrestling champion. Cole asked JBL if he's ever been around anyone as intense as Lashley. JBL answered that he's never seen anyone as athletically gifted and had never seen as great a pure athlete in the sport. Seems like that could have been a shot at the guy who they used to say that about, Kurt Angle. Lashley partnered with Tatanka. Whoopie. JBL claimed that WWE Films offered him the part of John Triton in the Marine, but he couldn't do it due to various deals he was working on on Wall Street, but he hears that John Cena did an admirable job. (Great, even one of your own commentators won't take the time to go see this movie.) Cole called him on it, since JBL had previously said he'd seen a sneak preview of the movie, but JBL weaseled out of it by saying he didn't want to leave it to a first impression and had also read about it in the New York Post. (Note: The New York Post review gave this film one star, called it "preposterous," and referred to John Cena as the Marky Mark of wrestling.) They're facing the new team of William Regal and Dave Taylor. For those of you who haven't heard, Taylor sadly got injured during this match.
Match analysis: Tatanka and Regal started things off. Michael Cole and JBL mentioned that Tatanka had had a rough couple of months. Cole talked about how Regal said last week he would no longer be a doormat and introduced his partner, Dave Taylor, and JBL talked up Taylor's background. Tatanka dominated early and brought in Taylor over the ropes. He gave Taylor a flapjack. JBL put over Taylor as a brawling, smash mouth wrestler. Tatanka tagged in Lashley and held him in the corner so that Lashley could hit a running shoulder thrust. Lashley went to follow up but ran into a high knee, and Regal threw him to the outside. As Regal distracted the ref, Taylor attacked Lashley on the outside and sent him back into the ring, where Regal beat on him. Regal tagged Taylor in, who hit an uppercut and a scoop slam. Taylor hit another uppercut and attacked Lashley in the corner before tagging Regal back in as the fans chanted for Lashley. Regal tossed Lashley into the corner, but Lashley got his boot up in Regal's face and tagged in Tatanka. Tatanka hit big chops to both men, followed by backdrops. Lashley got in the ring and gave a belly-to-belly to Taylor as Tatanka fought Regal. It looked like Taylor might have been injured on the belly-to-belly due to a freak accident with the landing, but it was unclear. Taylor moved out of the way of a running shoulder thrust, sending Lashley shoulder first into the steel post as Taylor bailed to the outside and limped away. Tatanka delivered punches on the turnbuckle, but after just two, Regal shoved him down and rolled him up for the pinfall, putting his feet on the ropes with an assist from Taylor, though Regal didn't totally reach both feet to the ropes.
Post-match analysis: Regal and Taylor celebrated as Taylor limped. Tatanka was pissed. Regal helped Taylor to the back. Tatanka got in an argument with the referee and yelled at him "You didn't see that?!" The ref had no idea what he was talking about as Tatanka continued to lose it, slamming the mat. Tatanka finally just decked the referee and yelled at him, asking if he saw that. That was actually pretty funny. Tatanka turned and took down Lashley with a big right hand. Tatanka beat on Lashley on the floor. JBL said he has no love lost for Lashley, but he didn't approve of this and said that Tatanka should look in the mirror to see who's responsible. Tatanka repeatedly slammed Lashley's head against the floor. JBL said that if "Big Chief Goofball" wants to get noticed, he should win a match. (Nice to know that someone still thinks wins and losses are important.) Tatanka yelled that he had something for Lashley and stomped on Lashley's balls. Tatanka kicked the ring apron and then kicked the steel steps in frustration, then yelled more as he made his way to the back. JBL called him a piece of garbage for losing, throwing a fit, attacking a helpless referee and sucker punching Bobby Lashley. The announcers said he had no class.
Match grade: C+. Nothing overly remarkable, but I enjoy Regal and Taylor's technical mixed with brawling style. Taylor was still looking a little rusty, and unfortunately, he got injured here and won't get the chance to get rid of that ring rust anytime soon. Lashley's still green and it looks like WWE's pulling the reigns back on his push, going from main eventer to bit player in the Tatanka heel turn. It's disappointing that they wasted all that time with all those vignettes reintroducing the face Tatanka, but at least he looks to be showing more as a heel already.
Tonight: A no disqualification match between Kane and MVP, and Cole said it was up next! Cole mentioned how MVP is not looking forward to this and had been wandering around in dazed fear. Cole said that MVP could be DOA (dead on arrival, for those of you not in the know) tonight.
Promo time: A commercial aired for Cyber Sunday's match between DX and Randy Orton teaming with Edge, with a guest referee decided by fan voting: the Coach, Eric Bischoff, or Mr. McMahon. Personally, I'm rooting for Eric, but Vince is the smart bet here to win the vote. All loyal Express readers should go vote for Eric early and often, though!
We got the standard outside shot of the arena, in this case in St. Louis, Missouri at the Scottrade Center.
*** Kristal was backstage to interview Chris Benoit. Cole introduced him on commentary as a "very special guest." (Apparently so special that he wasn't on last week's show and wasn't even mentioned.) Kristal said that fans have the chance to vote for ECW's Sandman, Kane, or Benoit to go up against Umaga. (The smart money here's on Kane, but with the promos Sandman and Benoit have gotten, it seems at least feasible that one of them could get a surprise win in fan voting.) Kristal asked for his thoughts on going up against the Samoan Bulldozer. Benoit said what matters is how the fans feel about the United States Champion, Chris Benoit, the Wolverine, stepping into the ring against Umaga, the Samoan-- He noticed something off camera and excused himself mid-sentence. He walked over to Vickie Guerrero, who was talking to two anonymous, random women backstage (including one in an unbelievably long scarf). Vickie turned and said "Hey, Chris" before turning back to her conversation. Benoit told the other women to excuse him. Vickie told them that she would talk to them later, and they walked off. Vickie said "Hey, Chris" again. Chris acted incredulous at her saying "Hey, Chris." He asked how long it's been, and he gets a "Hey, Chris." She asked what's going on. He said that's a good question and asked her what is going on. He wanted to know what is going on with her and Chavo and this thing with Rey, and Chris didn't understand. Vickie said that they have nothing to talk about. Benoit said they do have something to talk about. Vickie asked Chris if he wanted to talk about how Rey used the Guerrero legacy to build his career. She stuck her finger in his chest and stumbled over her words a little. She asked if he wanted to talk about how Rey wouldn't let her family move on. She knows he was close to Eddie, but said he wasn't as close to Eddie as he thought he was, before walking off.
*** MVP was talking with a sore throat backstage and had some guy hand him a cup and some pills. He patted his forehead and face with a towel. Teddy Long came into the room and asked what was wrong with them. MVP said that he knows he has that "deal" tonight. Teddy said it isn't a "deal," it's a no disqualification match with Kane. MVP said he's not a hundred percent and that he's got a clause in his contract that, if he's not a hundred percent, he can take a sick day. MVP said that the doc said he's got an intestinal virus and he needs the time off. Long said he was real sorry he OK'd that sick clause in MVP's contract, but if he's got an intestinal virus, then he's got to deal with that. MVP told him to hold on because he's vibrating, then said his agent was calling and said he'd get back to Teddy later. Mr. Kennedy walked in and Long asked what he could do for him. Kennedy said he'd been looking for Long all day and that he had a little idea, something for the people, something a little special: Kennedy going one on one, mano a mano, with the Undertaker, the monster, tonight! Long asked if he really wanted the Undertaker. Kennedy asked Long if he thinks the people deserve that kind of match. Long said that Kennedy's running in there with a whole bunch of bravado and trying to play him, and he knows as well as Long that the Undertaker isn't there tonight. (The crowd expressed their disappointment.) Long said he could have a match with someone who is there, though. He asked Kennedy, how about Kennedy, one on one, in a no disqualification match against the monster Kane! Long said he had a show to run and left Kennedy looking shocked. (That was a little overly obvious with Kennedy using the word "monster" to describe Kane.)
Raw last Monday: They showed a recap from Raw, with K-Fed slapping Cena, then leading him into an ambush by the Big Show and King Booker. Big Show gave Cena a chokeslam, but Booker also gave a Bookend to the Big Show and a scissors kick on Cena.
Tonight: King Booker and the Big Show versus John Cena and Batista!
*** Vickie Guerrero was backstage with Chavo Guerrero. Vickie told Chavo that all she was doing was talking and Chris came up to her. Chavo said that you have to be very careful what you say around Chris Benoit, because he suspects something. Vickie said that she thinks the best thing to do is stay away from Chris. Chavo said something in Spanish and then said, no, keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.
(2) Gregory Helms defeated Matt Hardy.
Pre-match analysis: Matt Hardy came out for yet another non-title match against Gregory Helms, despite Helms getting absolutely murdered on television recently. Cole talked about how this feud was about how anything you can do, I can do better, and said that they'd taken it to a whole other level over the past couple of months on Smackdown. They showed a recap of their feud, with Helms kicking Hardy in the crotch to pick up a victory. The following week, Hardy hit a low blow of his own to pick up a win. Then, three weeks ago at No Mercy, Hardy blocked a low blow and hit the twist of fate to pick up the victory over Helms. Helms's music now has him saying his name before the music starts. Cole said that JBL had the chance to talk to him about his No Mercy loss. JBL said that Helms isn't getting any sleep at night and can't believe that "Matt Hardy of all people" (Ain't that right), the guy that he grew up with, always wanting to be the toughest guy in the neighborhood, beat Helms in front of his friends, his family, and his hometown. Hardy's tights were far too bright tonight.
Match analysis: They exchanged some moves on the mat, with Helms getting the advantage with blows to the back and some knee strikes. However, Hardy countered and hit a clothesline in the corner into a bulldog. He hooked the leg, but Helms kicked out. Helms sent Hardy to the outside. Cole asked whether a win by Hardy here would put this feud to rest, but JBL said no, that Helms would not resist until he buried Matt Hardy. (Isn't he already buried?) Helms tried to suplex Hardy into the ring from the apron, but Hardy blocked it. Helms slid under Hardy's legs and pulled Hardy's leg out from under him, causing him to go face first into the apron. Helms clotheslined Hardy on the outside. Cole questioned what went wrong with their friendship over the years. JBL said that Hardy fell in love with the internet, fell in love with the fans, and fell in love with a woman who wanted to leave him for a main event guy. Helms hit a cross body off the top rope and hooked the leg, but Hardy kicked out. JBL said that, unlike Hardy, Helms fell in love with winning. JBL said Hardy could be a main event guy someday. He mentioned how Matt's brother Jeff became the Intercontinental Champion and his best friend Gregory Helms became the Cruiserweight Champion. Helms stood on Hardy's back with his neck draped over the bottom rope. He delivered a modified snapmare and dropped an elbow on Hardy before locking on a headlock. Cole hyped that they did the highest ratings ever for Smackdown on the CW last Friday. JBL said that it shouldn't be a surprise because he puts eyeballs on TV sets and butts in seats. Hardy hit a running forearm, followed by a clothesline. Cole asked JBL why the ratings were so bad for JBL's weekend shows. JBL said that these men are so evenly matches, it's like watching them fight themselves. Cole said it was like shadowboxing, and JBL said Cole would lose a fight to a shadow. Hardy went for either a legdrop or an elbow drop off the second rope, but Helms rolled out of the way. Helms delivered an inverted atomic drop and covered, but Hardy kicked out. Helms went for the shining wizard, but Hardy ducked underneath and hit the side effect. He covered, but Helms kicked out again. Hardy called for the finish. He went for the twist of fate but Helms countered and was going for the eye of the hurricane, but Hardy reversed it and picked up Helms and delivered a version of a samoan drop. He laid back and covered, but Helms rolled him up, grabbed the bottom rope out of the sight of the referee, and got the pin.
Post-match analysis: JBL said it was a decisive victory. I noticed that the music also has a voice whispering his name in his music as well. Creepy. JBL said that Helms won and Cole should stop whining like St. Louis is about Kenny Rogers and pine tar.
Match grade: C. OK, but nothing better or worse than that. Helms and Hardy have a nice chemistry, but they need to start mixing it up and doing something to differentiate all these matches they're having from one another. If they want to keep throwing them out there, how about at least doing some simple stipulations, like a no DQ match, or let them do some more tags. Helms worked really well with Chavo when they tagged against Hardy and Rey Mysterio before the last Smackdown pay-per-view, so maybe Helms and Chavo can team up against Hardy and Benoit. I'd like to see Helms and Hardy do a ladder match on pay-per-view, preferably for the cruiserweight title.
*** Brian Kendrick and Paul London were watching the match backstage in their street clothes. Kendrick told London "Talk about a match!" London had the world's goofiest expression on his face as he mumbled a reply. Ashley came up, dressed with butterfly wings on her back and... sorry, my brain had to reboot for a second there. She was showing more cleavage than Paris Hilton at a kegger. She had her hair done up in curls and looked smokin'. She had a little butterfly around her neck, in case you didn't get what her costume was supposed to be, along with a black corset type top. She asked London and Kendrick what they thought about her costume for the trick or treat divas battle royal. Paul London asked "What the hell, Ashley?!" Ashley was confused, but Paul said "You stole my costume! You knew I was gonna wear that for Halloween!" Ashley laughed as Paul pulled out some purple and black thing that Ashley said was from her costume and that she couldn't believe Paul had that this whole time, as she'd been looking for it everywhere. Ashley asked Brian who he thought would look better in this costume, her or Paul. Brian told Ashley she looked great, she's a fairy! Ashley asked if they're going out after the show or what. London went "Yeeeeah! Of course!" She said she's excited and to wish her luck. In a sing song high pitched voice, London went "Good luck!" Ashley walked off. Kendrick grabbed London and went "Oh my God, buddy, did you see that outfit?!" London nodded and chuckled a little as he said he did. (Wow, London and Kendrick actually got to show some personality! Shocking!)
Tonight: Ashley, Kristal, Layla, Jillian, and my girl Michelle McCool (Hey, she can be my girl too!) in a trick or treat battle royal coming up later tonight!
Up next: Kane versus Mr. Kennedy in a no disqualification match!
Promo time: Brian Pillman, on DVD! This was a great DVD, and I'd recommend it to everyone. It was incredible in retrospect to see how well Pillman's ring work still holds up today.
Promo time: One of those great Eric Bischoff book commercials for Controversy Create Cash aired. He talked about how they tried being different from WWE, and that automatically made them better. Sounds like a lesson TNA could learn from. He bragged about Nitro beating Raw for 84 straight weeks. He said it's not because of being "ATM Eric," though. He talked about DX being a really good ripoff of the NWO concept. He asked what impact Nitro and Eric Bischoff had on WWE. It's unfortunate that early reviews of the book that I've heard, including early word from Torch columnist Bruce Mitchell, are not good. It sounds like a combination of a lousy ghostwriter and a lack of introspection on the part of Bischoff.
(3) Mr. Kennedy defeated Kane in a no disqualification match.
Pre-match analysis: Tony Chimel introduced the no disqualification match. Kane came out first. His entrance looks much cooler on Smackdown than Raw, as his pyro and red lighting doesn't blend in like it does with the red Raw set, and instead stands out with the blue Smackdown color scheme. Kennedy came out next. Cole said that he looked reluctant on his way to the ring and shouldn't have been running his mouth. Kane smirked and stared down Kennedy as he got in the ring. JBL said that you might say that Kane "sees no evil." (I don't think I've ever heard a worse joke from JBL.)
Match analysis: Kennedy started with leg kicks, but got a big right hand from Kane. He put on a side headlock, but Kane shoved him off and hit a shoulder knockdown. Kennedy tried begging off and call for a timeout, but Kane wasn't having it. Kennedy put his boots up, but Kane grabbed a boot and pulled him to his feet, then knocked him down. Cole noted that Kennedy could beat another champion tonight. JBL said that, at this point, he'll own a victory over all the champions or ex-champions on this roster, except for JBL. Kane delivered a hip toss. Cole accidentally said "Victoria's" instead of "victorious," which led to JBL mocking it as a Freudian slip and asking if that's where he does his shopping, calling him a fruit booty and asking if he buys a "silky little thong" to go under his suit. (Yikes.) Cole claimed he was thinking of the trick or treat diva battle royal. Kane picked Kennedy up by his throat with both hands and threw him down. Kennedy tried escaping to the outside, but Kane stopped him and delivered boots. Kane suplexed Kennedy back into the ring. He covered, but Kennedy kicked out at two. JBL mocked MVP for exercising a sick clause. Kennedy delivered more leg kicks, but Kane cut him off with a clothesline. JBL said that MVP's intestinal issue is that he has no guts. Kane clotheslined Kennedy in the corner, but then ran into a boot, before Kennedy moved out of the way and Kane got his leg hung up on the top rope. Kennedy delivered leg kicks to Kane, sending him down. He delivered more boots and Kane bailed to the outside. Kane hit a big right hand on the outside. Kennedy delivered a knee to the midsection and threw Kane, knee first, into the steel steps. Kennedy went back in the ring first. Kane followed, and Kennedy hit a low dropkick to Kane's injured left knee. Kennedy then went to the outside and whipped the knee into the steel post. Kennedy picked up a steel chair on the outside and hit Kane in what JBL called the point of the knee with that chair. Kennedy got back in the ring and shot a half and covered, but Kane kicked out at one. Kennedy stomped on the knee, then slammed it against the mat. He covered again, hooking the back leg, but Kane kicked out at two.
Kennedy hung Kane's left leg over the middle rope, then hit a running dropkick to that knee. JBL pointed out that, in this match, there's no five count in the ropes. Kennedy covered, but Kane kicked out. Kennedy went for a submission on the leg, but Kane kicked him off and sent him to the outside. JBL pointed out that, somewhere, "the man from the dark side," the Undertaker, is watching this. Kennedy went up to the top rope and went for an axe handle, but ran into a right hand from Kane. Kane's knee buckled underneath him. JBL said he didn't know if anyone had ever beat both of these brothers before and that, if Kennedy won here, he'd have a victory over both Kane and the Undertaker. Cole pointed out that Kennedy beat Taker via DQ, not pinfall. Kennedy delivered more kicks to the injured knee and drove Kane into the corner. He delivered a shoulder thrust and went back for more, but ran into a clothesline! Kane positioned himself, then delivered a clothesline and a backdrop, followed by a side slam. Kane stumbled over to the apron and climbed up top. However, MVP ran down and shoved Kane off into the ring! Kennedy took Kane down and delivered elbows to Kane's left knee. He then positioned him and went up top as MVP cheered him on. He went for the Kenton Bomb, but Kane rolled out of the way. MVP took off his sunglasses and ran into the ring, but Kane knocked him down. Kane ran wild with big right hands on both MVP and Kennedy. Kane tossed MVP to the outside as JBL made fun of MVP's bright red shows. Kennedy kicked Kane in the knee and went to follow up, but Kane hit the big boot. He put his hand up for the chokeslam and was going for it, but MVP ran in and delivered a steel chair to Kane's injured knee! Kennedy fell down into the cover. MVP pushed down on the cover as well, allowing Kennedy to pick up the victory!
Post-match analysis: JBL talked about how Kennedy had a victory over every present and former champion on the roster. They showed MVP happily walking to the back after the match as Kane fumed and stared him down.
Match grade: D+. Boring. This didn't do much to even justify it being a no disqualification match, other than allowing for the predictable and lame interference from MVP. Kennedy is a mediocre worker, and while Kane can be good under the right circumstances, he's not going to be carrying anyone to a good match who can't get there by themselves.
*** Batista was backstage in a locker room, getting ready for his match. John Cena came in, with the spinning belt over his shoulder. He said that Friday Night Smackdown is Batista's territory, and he knows tonight's main event is big. He said there's no beef and he's got Batista's back, and held out his hand for a handshake. Batista laughed and said it was the sappiest thing he'd ever heard. "Who are you? I need John Cena! You can't see me!" Cena said he was just trying to be polite. "Doctor of thuganomics!" Cena said that if he wants real, he'll give you real. Cena said that word around the locker room is that Batista's been sandbagging since he's been back from his injury, that he's lost his fire! Cena yelled at Batista to look at him. "I am the stupid son of a bitch that will go out there and fight Booker T and the Big Show myself! Why?! Because I gotta do it on Cyber Sunday anyway! Refuse to be stopped! I don't care if it's one guy, two guys, refuse to be stopped! The fireworks, that music, all that, it doesn't mean a damn thing! What I want from you tonight is, when you step in the ring, have that look in your eye like I've got right now! I'm going out there to war!" Batista: "You want to go to war?" Cena: "Hell yes!" Batista: "You want to go to war?!" Cena: "And I'll be fighting with you!" Batista: "Let's do it!" Cena: "Hell yeah!" Batista: "Come on!" They slapped each other in the chest a couple times and then grabbed hands with each other before going their separate ways. (This was awesome. Intense, and it got both guys over, with Batista in particular benefiting a lot from being involved in this.)
Promo time: Smackdown, coming soon to a town near you!
*** Oooooh, Chavo! I swear, that's one of the best intros to heel music ever. He came out with his "business manager" Vickie. Michael Cole mentioned that Rey Mysterio was going to have surgery sometime next week for a torn ACL and a torn patella in his knee. They sold it as being due to Chavo beating the crap out of his knee. They showed the freaking WWE sign guy with a great fake wanted poster for Chavo. JBL said that Rey has been in the ring against the Great Khali, the Undertaker, "me," but Chavo was the only one to make the "machismo" of Rey Mysterio quit.
Chavo said that we were looking at a man and a family that finally has some peace in their lives. He responded to the fans chanting "you suck" by saying that he doesn't suck because he's a Guerrero and Guerreros don't suck. They cut to one of the most stereotypical looking wrestling fans ever giving the thumbs down to Chavo. Chavo said that they finally have peace in their lives because Rey Mysterio is no longer around because Chavo put an end to his career! Chavo said that he crushed Rey's leg and made him say "I quit," and wants to see him say "I quit" again. Chavo suddenly became a robot, saying "Roll footage from last Smackdown" in the most monotone way possible. They played the clip from last week of Rey being tied up in the lighting rig as Chavo destroyed his leg, hitting his knee over and over again with a steel chair. Rey resisted at first, but he finally said "I quit!" They played this slightly sped up, which made it look almost cartoony. Chavo told the fans they could boo all they want, because they're just like Rey Mysterio: Selfish. None of them wanted Chavo and Vickie to move on with their lives, and they're moving on because of this! He pointed to the screen and they rolled the footage again. I love that, after Rey said "I quit," you got referee Charles Robinson yelling the immortal line "Ring the bell! Ring the damn bell!" Chavo said that Rey was trying to steal the Guerrero name and make a career out of the Guerrero legacy, so that's why he had to do this! He played the clip again. Chavo said that he could watch that all day long, because that was the exact moment that his family became whole again. "Again!" This time they played the clip without the chairshots, just Rey saying "I quit!" The fans were chanting "You suck!" Chavo pointed to the screen and said "Again!" but, instead of a clip that was now becoming funny due to being played so much, Chris Benoit's music hit! Benoit came out in the street clothes he was wearing earlier. You can tell that Benoit isn't exactly the highest priority, as he was wearing a Cyber Sunday t-shirt the official gear of jobbers everywhere. As Chris Benoit got in the ring, Chavo and Vickie jumped out of the ring and walked off. (Uh, weren't they supposed to keep their enemies close?) Cole said that Chavo and Vickie were in no hurry to give Chris Benoit answers tonight.
Promo time: The Hulkster, brother! His DVD is available in stores everywhere. I was watching Hogan Knows Best the other day (Yes, I have a wrestling addiction problem) and noticed that they were advertising his Ultimate Anthology there too, which I thought was pretty smart. I'm surprised that you don't see more wrestling products advertised elsewhere, as it seems that there are certain wrestling products that would appeal outside of the wrestling audience. It does seem like Smackdown's at least been getting more advertising elsewhere on the CW.
Promo time: They did one of their world tour clips, showing clips from Smackdown's tour to Manila, Philippines. It seemed like the most popular merch was from Eddie Guerrero and John Cena. Several fans had "I'm your papi" t-shirts on. They showed Batista, Lashley, and Miz posing with fans. Miz talked about how there are Misfits all over the place. Some filipino girl grabbed onto Miz and yelled "I love Miz! I love Miz! We love you, Miz!" That was scary. Another fan explained in broken English how this was his first time to watch live and he was so grateful to be there. They showed a graphic that said there were over 25,000 in attendance there at the Araneta Coliseum. Lashley said that they do have a special attachment there for some reason. King Booker explained that this was the venue that held "the spectacle of all spectacles," the "Thrilla In Manila" on October 1, 1975 between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Mr. Kennedy said that, no matter where he is in the world, these fans are going to get the show of a lifetime. Chris Benoit said the fans have been extremely appreciative. They included clips of the tag champs and the Undertaker. One girl said that she was super excited because she wants to see Batista, who is her crush! Awwwwww! Batista said that it was very special for him to be there because he's half-filipino and they've welcomed him home. He said he was going to "hold my heart forever," and he loves it there. Michael Cole mentioned that Batista was inducted into the walk of fame in Manila.
*** Teddy Long's music hit and he made it onto the stage. He explained that since we know what went down earlier in Kane's match, he is going to sign MVP to team up with Mr. Kennedy to take on the team of "the monster" Kane and Kane's partner, the Undertaker! Long said that means that the "brothers of destruction" are going to team up for the first time in years, next week on Smackdown! However, right here tonight, we're going to have a trick or treat battle royal, and said it's time to get the divas out here, holla, holla holla!
(4) Kristal defeated Jillian Hall, Michelle McCool, Ashley, and Layla in a Trick Or Treat Diva Battle Royal.
Pre-match analysis: Jillian came out first in the world's most ridiculous Elvis outfit. She had her blonde hair done up in a sort of pompadour. The front was, of course, super low cut, going all the way down in a V past her stomach. She did some Elvis moves on the stage. She was wearing yellow Elvis sunglasses and fake sideburns! Cole said that ever since she left JBL's employ, she's been better than ever. JBL said that, speaking of the next Mrs. Layfield, Michelle McCool was out next! She was dressed up in a slutty nurse outfit. JBL immediately exclaimed "I'm sick!" Cole said he needed an IV. JBL said, as Farooq would say, "Damn!" He told Cole not to repeat anything he said about Farooq to him since Farooq's around again. Kristal came out next, and at first I had no clue what she was supposed to be. She had on a tiny gold outfit that may have been one piece, with a gold bucket, gold boots, a gold miner's helmet, a gold rope, and a gold spade. Michael Cole explained that she was, of course, a gold digger. JBL said that was his first wife right there! Ashley came out next. Cole said that she was a nymph. JBL said that she's dressed just like Cole, a fairy! "She's in a Michael Cole costume!" OK, that made me laugh. Cole said he could never look like that, and JBL said "I'd bet you, though. Weirdo." Layla was out next, in a really crappy bunny outfit. The only way you could tell that's what she was supposed to be was that she had on fake ears and bit into a carrot. However, she was wearing a black top and black bikini bottoms and black boots. Not very rabbity. It did at least have fur around the top of the boots, and she then proceeded to do a rabbit hop and wiggle her butt, which had a little tail on it. These costumes are awful. The only really hot one was Michelle McCool's, though Ashley's was OK. And, of course, Jillian is hot no matter what she's wearing.
The Miz's music hit and he came out and did his little introduction and walked wackily down the ramp. He said that he's the special guest referee tonight for the Trick Or Treat Diva Battle Royal. He started doing the annoying Hoo-rah yells and talking about his Mizfits until he got a "You suck!" from the fans. Miz said he knows what you're thinking: How does the Miz get to be with these hot divas, week after week? He said the answer's simple: Because he's the Miz, and they love him! He put his arm around Layla against her will. He said that while you guys are all being ghosts and goblins like little kids on Halloween, he's hanging with the sexiest women on television! "Hoo rah! Hoo rah!" Miz said to get this bad boy started right now.
Match analysis: I hadn't realized this was going to be an actual match. Michelle and Kristal double teamed Layla and shoved her to the ground, then put the boots to her. Cole explained how Layla really won the diva danceoff last week, but Miz announced Kristal as the winner. JBL didn't respond at first, as he was too busy staring at the girls. Jillian went for a tilt-a-whirl in the corner, but Ashley grabbed her legs and pushed her over onto the apron. Jillian blocked a shot from Ashley and hit a headbutt to the stomach of Ashley from the apron. She went to go over the ropes to follow up, but Michelle came up and shoved Jillian off to the floor! Michelle then kicked Ashley and shoved her through to the floor. Apparently you don't have to go over the top rope in this battle royal. Miz had a microphone, as he was saying who was eliminated. Michelle knocked down Layla and picked up Kristal on her shoulders, but Kristal escaped. She dropkicked Michelle through the ropes to the outside. JBL asked if Miss Layfield was OK. Cole said eh should go check her out. JBL said Cole is dang right he should. I've never wanted to be JBL more. The match was down to Kristal and Layla. Kristal shoved Layla into the corner and worked on her there. She went to put a boot in her face, but Layla grabbed her foot and started clotheslining Kristal several times. Layla went after Kristal in the corner, but Kristal lifted her over to the apron. Layla went for a suplex on Kristal to the outside. JBL said this reminded him of the gimmick battle royal from Wrestlemania at the Astrodome, except for Kristal looks a lot better than the Iron Sheik! As Layla was trying to suplex Kristal, Miz grabbed Layla around the front and shoved her to the outside!
Post-match analysis: Miz announced Kristal as the winner and went to embrace her in the ring. Cole brought up how Layla embarrassed Miz on his birthday, having Big Dick Johnson dance for him. Miz told Kristal how she beat Layla. JBL made fun of Miz for winning a reality contest, and it seems kind of silly since the girl he's feuding with (Yes, Miz is feuding with a girl) also won a reality contest to be here. Layla yelled in frustration on the ramp as Miz did the "I'm not worthy" bow to Kristal in the ring.
Match grade: D-. If it weren't for that TNA reverse battle royal, this could have easily been the worst match of the week. This sucked and blew simultaneously. The only one of these girls who had a hope of making it watchable was Jillian, and she was the first one eliminated.
Promo time: The Champion of Champions match at Cyber Sunday between John Cena, the Big Show, and King Booker! They emphasized that you decide which championship is on the line. It's one week from Sunday, live on pay-per-view!
Next week: The Undertaker and Kane team up to take on Mr. Kennedy and MVP. I was a little dubious about the announcement at first, but Taker and Kane teaming up is a pretty big deal.
Moments ago: They showed a recap of Miz helping Kristal win over Layla.
*** Miz and Kristal were still celebrating in the ring. Cole noted that minutes had gone by and told them to get out of the ring. Miz said that, tonight, Layla wasn't playing any tricks on the Miz, eh eh! Because the Miz got a little bit back on her for what she did to him with that "fat, disgusting, blubbery, oily, nasty" gift she gave him on his birthday! Kristal gave a disgusted look as Miz described Big Dick Johnson. Miz said she had to give a special Halloween treat to his girl, Kristal. He said she was one the one girl who respects the awesomeness of the undefeated Miz, "hoo rah!" However, the Boogeyman's music then hit! Cole and JBL freaked out on commentary.
Boogeyman crawled out on the stage, with the clock in his mouth, and did his whole wacky entrance. Cole talked about how Boogeyman beat JBL in two minutes and made him eat worms! JBL asked how you get through an airport looking like that. Boogeyman cornered Miz and Kristal in the ring, who were too dumb to run away. Cole and JBL talked about the sick, putrid smell filling the arena. Miz shoved Kristal toward the Boogeyman and bailed to the outside. Boogeyman psyched out Kristal, who screamed and fell to the mat. Boogeyman grabbed Kristal's leg as Cole reminded everyone about Jillian Hall's mole being eaten by the Boogeyman. Boogeyman pulled the worms out of his pocket and shoved them in his mouth, then mounted Kristal (That sounds fun.) and dripped them down on her face. Only a couple, though. Kristal bailed to the outside and fled to the back. Boogeyman left the ring and did more wacky things at ringside. JBL said that Teddy Long needs to do something to ban this freak from Smackdown.
Earlier tonight: They recapped Tatanka flipping out after losing his tag match and decking the referee, then taking down Lashley with one punch and beating the crap out of him.
*** Sharmell was stroking the hair of her king backstage. Big Show walked up and said to make sure that crown's on real tight, because come Cyber Sunday, he's going to knock it and Booker's head clean off for what Booker pulled on Raw! Booker said "How dare you speak ill of your king like that!" Show said that he's a giant and he'll speak to Booker any way he "friggin'" wants to. He said Booker talked about how they were supposed to be a team, a tandem last Monday night, team up on John Cena, but after Show chokeslammed him, Booker gave him a Bookend! Booker said, last Monday, it was every man for himself, so that's why he did what he did. Tonight, though, they're a team, as he proved when he came out and "valiantly" battled that rogue, Batista! Booker said they should go out together and violently beat these scoundrels! Booker took his queen with him out to the ring.
Up next: King Booker and Big Show against Cena and Batista!
Promo time: We got another Marine promo. Cena talked about his character, John Triton. Kelly Carlson is pretty ridiculously hot. Robert Patrick talked about the great action sequences.
(5) John Cena & Batista defeated King Booker (with Sharmell) & the Big Show.
Pre-match analysis: King Booker was in the ring, posing with his right arm up with one pinky extended! Sharmell, his queen, was with him, wearing a lovely black top and long black skirt. Booker whirled around in the ring. Cole pointed out a "King Sucketh" sign in the crowd. JBL pointed out the extended pinky. The Big Show was out next. JBL said this was straight out of a fairy tale: A king and an ogre on the same team! Cole teased the dissension between the king and the Big Show. John Cena came out next, staring down Booker and Big Show as he got into the ring. He held his belt and bent his knees, ready to defend himself against the both of them if he needed to. Batista came out last, which was a nice touch to make him seem like a big star on this show. Batista yelled about going to war before his pyro went off. JBL talked about K-Fed coming out on Raw to get retribution against John Cena and said that he hates a guy who lives off his wife, which set up Cole to take a shot at JBL for living off his wife. (She works for Fox News and helped get JBL a gig as a commentator there, which helped him land a job on Wall Street.) JBL made fun of K-Fed's wife Britney Spears being a trailer park girl.
Match analysis: Cena and Booker started things off. JBL talked about how, in the days of WCW and WWE, you never saw champions fought each other. Cena delivered a hip toss to Booker and covered, but he kicked out. Cena tagged in Batista. Booker delivered a thumb to the eye and chopped Batista in the corner. Batista managed to fight back and clothesline Booker, though, then covered and hooked the leg, but Booker kicked out at two. Batista choked Booker on the ropes and tagged in Cena. Cena went for a backdrop, but he telegraphed it and Booker hit him with a big clothesline. Booker went for a high back kick, but Cena ducked and delivered a big suplex. Cena floated into the cover and hooked the leg, but Booker kicked out. Cena tagged Batista back in. They hit a double back elbow to Booker, then double clotheslined him to the outside. Big Show was seething on the apron.
Next week: They hyped every man in the Champion of Champions match being out for themselves, focusing on Booker taking down Big Show with the Bookend. They also questioned whether the odds had finally caught up with DX thanks to the special guest referees, including Eric Bischoff and the Coach (they didn't show Vince), as well as Randy Orton and Edge.
Batista was working over Booker. Batista delivered a suplex and hooked the leg, but Booker kicked out. Cole hyped up K-Fed's album, and JBL said it ain't Merle Haggard, but it's not bad. Cena tagged in. He bounced Booker's head off the turnbuckle. JBL asked if K-Fed's album was trick or treat. Cena ran into a high elbow from Booker. Booker ran over and tagged in the Big Show. Big Show got in and had a staredown with Cena. Show shoved Cena into the corner. Cena got out of Booker's way, but ran into a right hand from Booker, then turned into a clothesline from the Big Show. Show headbutted Cena. Show hit a big right hand to Cena's chest. The announcers talked up Show's dominance. JBL said that, in his first match, he won the WCW Championship against Hulk Hogan, and said that he's gotten better every year since. Cena tried making the tag, but Show stopped him and hit a suplex. Show shoved Cena into the corner and tagged in Booker. Booker delivered kicks to the chest, then delivered a high back kick and covered, but Cena kicked out. Booker attacked Batista on the apron. Booker tagged Big Show in. Show hit his open right hand to the chest of Cena. Show headbutted Cena, then stepped on his chest. Booker tagged in. He went for a clothesline, but Cena ducked under and hit his own clothesline. Cena was reaching out for the tag, but Booker grabbed his leg and attacked Batista on the apron. Booker tossed Cena to the outside. Show attacked Cena on the outside with a kick to the abdomen, then tossed him back in the ring. Booker smiled and hooked the leg, but Batista broke up the three count. Booker clotheslined Cena, then locked on a sleeper. Cena managed to escape by picking up Booker and slamming him down. Booker reached out for a tag, but Big Show walked away! JBL called Show a piece of crap. Show did the Eric Young style eye to eye, on the level signal. Cena made the hot tag to Batista, who looked very, very joyful. Batista clotheslined Booker a couple times, clotheslined him in the corner, delivered shoulder thrusts, and hit a running powerslam. (Hey, that's Lashley's finisher!) Batista spinebustered Booker and called in Cena to finish him off. Cena did the "You can't see me" and hit the five knuckle shuffle! Cole pointed out how Cena started that move here on Smackdown. Batista picked up Booker as Cena cheered him on in the corner, delivering the Batista Bomb and pinning him!
Post-match analysis: Batista and Cena embraced after the match. Big Show pointed to Cena from the ramp. Cena and Batista celebrated in the ring. Cena pointed over to Batista. JBL said it's every man for himself to determine who becomes the Champion of Champions.
Match grade: B. A pretty good main event. Maybe someone behind the scenes had a talk with Batista, as he seemed more in step than he'd been in a long time tonight. It didn't hurt at all, of course, to have him in a match with the three world champions, and I think Batista definitely got a rub from his participation. The crowd was into all of it as well. Cena seems to know that he's over and didn't seem to mind making sure the spotlight was on Batista for the most part here.
Next week: "The gates of Hell will open!" They hyped the Brothers of Destruction, Kane and the Undertaker, reuniting, and showed highlights of their past. They'll be taking on Kennedy and MVP.
Show rating: 7.0. A big thumbs up for the show this week. John Cena's promo firing up Batista was awesome, and something I recommend everyone go out of their way to try and see. WWE made some great strides in building up Batista this week, who before this had lost some momentum, and really hadn't been doing that well ever since he returned from his injury. Batista coming out at the top of the show from a cold open is something simple that helped establish that he is, in fact, a star. I think they went a little too far in making Paul Heyman look like a fool, but it made Batista look smart relative to Heyman's foolishness, so at least it helped get someone over. The main event was solid and also helped improve on Batista's star power, with Cena being sure to keep the focus on Batista here on his show.
Chris Benoit and Sandman have both cut good promos this week for why fans should choose them to face Umaga, though I think Kane's still the clear favorite in the voting. I liked the interaction between Benoit and Vickie Guerrero, though I'm a big concerned that when Chavo said that he thinks Benoit "suspects something," as that seems to indicate they may be considering putting Chavo with his dead uncle's widow as a couple. Chavo playing the Rey Mysterio video became comical by about the third time he played it, but I think it worked overall in making Chavo look like a real asshole heel. Chavo still comes across a bit robotic at times, but he's just good enough overall to be a good role player here with the built in credibility thanks to his feud with Rey.
MVP already seems to be the fourth biggest heel on Smackdown (after King Booker, Kennedy, and Chavo) now that he's getting a main event next week, which shows how serious the lack of roster depth is on this brand, considering the lack of any depth or intrigue in the MVP character and his definite lack of in-ring skills. Kane's match with Kennedy really showed Kennedy's weaknesses in the ring. At least the reunion of Kane and Undertaker is intriguing.
Gregory Helms versus Matt Hardy has really become the Energizer Bunny of feuds, and not in a good way. Their matches are fine, but they're not such great workers that they can be thrown out week after week in regular matches like this without it getting old.
How far has Bobby Lashley fallen? He went from being in the main event of the last pay-per-view to getting taken down by Tatanka, with one punch. It's unfortunate that Dave Taylor got injured, as there seemed to be a lot of potential for a feud between Regal & Taylor and the tag team champions, with two different styles that would be a lot of fun to watch interact. Tatanka showed a lot more charisma and fire with his heel turn than he has in any of his current WWE run.
I was astounded to see Brian Kendrick and Paul London given the opportunity to show some actual personality this week, even if it was in service to a diva contest with their interaction with Ashley, but I'll take what I can get with these guys. It made them seem like real people and helped give the viewer something to identify with. The diva battle royal was awful in pretty much every way possible, from lame, unattractive costumes to awful ring work to a boring feud between the Miz and a woman, Layla. I never thought I'd be longing for the days of the Miz actually wrestling matches. The Boogeyman should be fun now that he's back and can fill a midcard novelty slot.
1) John Cena cut an awesome, passion filled promo to fire up Batista, seemingly pulling on some "shoot" comments when talking about Batista "sandbagging" ever since he'd been back from injury.
2) Dave Taylor was injured and will be out for several months for knee surgery.
3) The Undertaker and Kane, "the Brothers of Destruction," will be teaming again next week for the first time in several years.
4) Chavo was worried that Chris Benoit "suspects something," which may indicate that WWE is planning on making Chavo and Vickie Guerrero a couple.
5) Tatanka turned heel and easily beat the crap out of Bobby Lashley, which may show that Lashley's push is being scaled back.
Raw Is Trivial: Answer Time with the "Supreme" Seth Berger!
We're back. Nine years after they first joined up, the Road Dogg and the Bad Ass are still going strong, even with a few break-ups here and there. So, this week, I asked you who the second team they ever faced were - a team to which they would lose by DQ. If you know your Raw, you know that it was b) The New Blackjacks, Barry Windham & Justin Hawk (John) Bradshaw (Layfield). Congratulations if you got it correct, tough luck if you missed out.
We'll be back next week with another edition of Trivial. Now, back to Mike.
Thanks for reading Express, everyone! I hope that you'll drop me a line with your thoughts, comments, questions, or anything you want at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also hope that you all have a happy Halloween! 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 email@example.com with your thoughts, comments, questions, critiques, or whatever other specialness you want to share. He also writes a Specialist column.
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