TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 3/27: Cena dumps Show, HBK vs. Taker 1990s flashback, Rey vs. Chavo WCW flashback
Mar 28, 2009 - 2:56:19 AM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch.com assistant editor
WWE Smackdown Report - Episode #501
March 27, 2009
Taped Mar. 17 in Corpus Christi, Tex.
The next-to-last WWE Smackdown before WrestleMania 25 did not feature Smackdown mainstays Edge and Vickie Guerrero. Nevertheless, John Cena rallied the fans with a passionate WrestleMania promo to set up a match against Big Show on this Monday's final Raw before Mania. This week's Smackdown was missing a sense of urgency being the second-half of a double-header TV taping. Couple that with short TV matches and this was an example of WWE playing it safe nine days before Mania.
-- The show started with the now-typical random Money in the Bank-themed match. C.M. Punk was last man into the ring with the other seven competitors staring up at the MITB briefcase hanging from the ceiling.
(1) Christian & Shelton Benjamin & Kane & Finlay (w/Hornswoggle) beat U.S. champion MVP & Mark Henry & Kofi Kingston & Mark Henry (w/Tony Atlas) in 10:00. A mix of heels and faces in this version of the eight-man tag. As a result, there was some dissension in the ranks leading to commercial. After a break, MVP and Shelton picked up their feud and Jim Ross announced a U.S. Title re-match on next week's Smackdown. It came down to Kane and Punk and they battled until Kane caught Punk in mid-air with a chokeslam for the pin and the win with no one running interference to save Punk. Poor guy has been on a major league slide the past two months, including an IC Title loss. (*1/2)
Punk rolled out of the ring post-match, then a giant brawl broke out. Christian introduced a ladder into the ring and he started climbing the ladder while everyone else was brawling ringside. Suddenly, Hornswoggle climbed up the ladder to distract Christian. Finlay then tipped the ladder over and Christian crashed to the floor in the waiting arms of some folks. Finlay and Horny stood tall on the ladder.
(2) Big Show beat Jesse & Festus in 2:00. J&F were already in the ring out of the break, so you knew they were losing. Bell rang and Show ripped off a chop on Festus. WWE has apparently given up on the big man/small man combo, as Festus's entire drawing power as a big man was eliminated up against Show. Festus took a big right hand, then Show gave Jesse a chokeslam and a straight right hand for the KO and the win. Basic enhancement match to get over Show as a threat to the World Title at WrestleMania 25. (1/2*)
-- "12 Rounds" plug. I'll have my review of the movie on the site on Saturday.
-- Local Houston promo: Todd Grisham plugged the WrestleMania Axxess schedule. Get up early on Saturday morning for Triple H and JBL. On Saturday night, MVP and Kane will be at Axxess. Apparently they'll be missing part of the Hall of Fame. Grisham brought in a very special guest: Eve. She said she will be at "Diva Hot Spots" to give the fans a chance to hang with the divas. They hugged it out, then Grisham plugged the Rockets vs. Clippers game on Saturday night. Based on Greg Parks's report, the local Houston promo aired in place of a Matt Hardy promo.
(3) Rey Mysterio beat Chavo Guerrero in 6:00. The WCW special opened with Rey pulling out his trademark aerial offense. Ross and Tazz talked about Rey vs. JBL for the IC Title at WrestleMania while Ross presented Rey as the babyface going into Houston. Some really good action in the first five minutes as the men exchanged control. Chavo tried an awkward frog splash, but Rey moved and set up Chavo for the 619. Rey then hit a top rope dive for the pin and the win. Strong match-up with good action. (**) Post-match: JBL suddenly stepped into the ring and smashed Rey with a big boot to the face. After making his point, JBL simply turned and left the ring. Ouch.
-- Raw Rebound: John Cena read his Get Well card to Vickie Guerrero. He's in the building tonight.
-- Back from break, Cena came out to the ring and popped the crowd. Cena said fans have heard from every marquee wrestler in this industry about the importance of WrestleMania. He said 75 trucks will eventually bring the whole Mania feel down the highway to Houston for an event like none other. Cena said the biggest issues of this industry will be solved at Mania. Off-season, schedule, drug dependency, and independent contractor status?! No, the love triangle surrounding the World Hvt. Title, silly!
Cena said even he had to resort to blackmail to get on the Mania card, and for that, he apologizes, but there was no way he would stay off the Mania card. At least they acknowledged that curious aspect of Cena's character and took ownership over it. Cena then entered major promo land and vowed to become World Hvt. champion. Before Cena could wrap it up, Big Show interrupted. Show told Cena to show up on Monday for a fight before Mania. Cena said that doesn't make any sense, but he's on. With the match signed, Show started to leave, but he only got one foot over the top rope as Cena dumped him over the top rope to the floor to embarrass him. Show dropped the strap and showed some fire we haven't seen during this program. Nice. Good set-up for Raw and Mania.
(4) Matt Hardy beat R-Truth in 3:00. Duke vs. Carolina started with the heel Hardy in control working over Truth. Ross talked about Jeff and Matt's father having to sit at home watching his two sons tear each other apart in Extreme Rules at WrestleMania. Nice pull on the emotional strings to encourage PPV buys. Hardy avoided the spinning fist, then Hardy avoided the axe kick later to set up the Twist of Fate for the pin and the win. Fine match to reinforce Hardy in control as a heel going into Mania. Everything on TV is pointed toward Mania and this was an effective use of Hardy. Not so much Truth. (*)
-- Raw Rebound: They re-focused on The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels exchange from Monday when Michaels appeared on the video screen from a graveyard to signify the end of Taker's streak. Tonight: A tribute to Taker from Michaels.
(5) WWE tag team champions PRIMO & CARLITO COLON & BRIE BELLA beat World tag team champions MIZ & MORRISON & NIKKI BELLA in 3:00. Before the bell sounded, the twins had a verbal exchange before they were separated to opposite corners. Ross equated Miz & Morrison to the Midnight Express tag team because of how well they work as one unit. Twins broke out into a brawl, then Carlito slipped over Morrison in mid-air into the backstabber for the pin and the win. Nice finish, but very short match. Decent preview for the tag title unification match. (*1/2)
-- Jeff Hardy promo: The camera focused on the top of Jeff's head as he talked about becoming Matt's healer. Jeff threw back his hair to reveal no facepaint. Jeff said Matt took everything away from him, so he'll take everything away from Matt. Jeff said they're brothers no more.
-- Raw Rebound: Orton's Law video package - They focused on Randy Orton taking out Triple H and Stephanie McMahon on Raw last week.
(6) Divas champion Maryse vs. Michelle McCool went to a No Contest in 4:00. The action moved to the floor twice during the match to get over the aggression between the rival divas. Suddenly, Gail Kim entered the ring up top and nailed a missile dropkick on McCool to make an emphatic return to WWE. Ross acknowledged her by name. Gail then grabbed the Divas Title and held it over the fallen competitors to signify she wants the belt. Crowd reaction was decent for someone who hasn't been on WWE TV in several years.
-- Main event segment: Druid music hit, then white-covered druids came to the ring. Kevin Thorn back on the roster as Mordecai? Not quite. Some dramatic music played, then Shawn Michaels appeared on stage dressed completely in white, including a white Undertaker hat. They used a far-away camera shot so they didn't reveal that it was Michaels and not Taker until Michaels entered the ring and took off the hat. Michaels then smiled for the hard camera and quoted scripture from Genesis chapter one. Really uncomfortable incorporating the Bible into WWE storylines, especially after WWE booked Michaels & God in a mock tag match a few years ago.
Michaels said light (himself) and dark (Taker) have co-existed in WWE for 20 years and they have many similarities. Both at the top of their games. Both criticized and praised. Michaels said Taker walks among the shadows while he thrives in the spotlight. Michaels said he has victory over death because he has eternal life. He said the same cannot be said for Taker's undefeated streak. Michaels said he will be victorious in front of 70,000 at WrestleMania.
Michaels then bowed his head toward the mat as the dramatic music played. Michaels's regular music hit and he started dancing, butn Taker popped up through the mat and tried to drag Michaels down below. Taker grabbed Michaels and tried a chokeslam, but Michaels escaped over the top rope and scampered down the entrance ramp out of Taker's clutches. Michaels smirked and Taker did the slow throat-slash gesture before they had a stare down. Michaels played the cocky mid-90s HBK to show he's getting in Taker's head leading to Mania. End show.
We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "Smackdown Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Smackdown, email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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