SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following was published ten years ago this week on PWTorch.com…
KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MARCH 29, 2008
AIRED ON THE CW
-The show opened with Kane’s ring intro as Michaels Cole and Coach introduced the show. Chavo Guerrero joined them at ringside. As the flames blasted for Kane’s ring intro, Coach said, “You can feel the heat. Literally!” It’s like he was celebrating the opportunity to say “literally” in the proper context.
1 — KANE vs. THE GREAT KHALI vs. CHUCK PALUMBO vs. MARK HENRY – Over-the-top rope challenge
Kane sneered at Khali as he climbed into the ring. Chavo said he’s been preparing his whole life for this moment at WrestleMania, so whoever his opponent is better be ready. He said it again a minute later. Then he said one his secrets is that he’s a Guerrero. Well, that never was a secret, but if it were, he just revealed it, so that kind defeats it being a secret – even if it was. A four-way brawl broke out. Kane threw a charging Palumbo over the top rope to the floor in the opening minute. Cole talked about some of the other battle royal entrants. Cole asked Chavo was feeling pressure. This is good attention being given to the ECW Title match. Henry lifted and dropped Kane over hte top rope at 2:00. A minute later he eliminated Khali, too, to win. Chavo jumped Henry from behind and clipped his legs several times followed y a dove off the second rope. Henry caught him and powerslammed him. Coach said he may be the next ECW Champion.
WINNER: Henry in 3:00.
-Cole and Coach hyped “Edge Presents: The Burial of Undertaker’s WrestleMania Undefeated Streak.”
-Backstage, Michelle, Eve, and Cherry chatted backstage. Teddy Long approached them and recapped the status of the Diva Smackdown Contest. He the was about to reveal the latest diva voted out. They reacted in a comical way to the drum roll music, then Long announced Eve was voted out. Victoria and Maryse walked into the room and mocked them. Long said since they’ve having a conflict, how about they solve it in the ring. He suggested a “Wet and Wild Water Fight.” The women paused, then enthusiastically agreed.
2 — JOHN MORRISON vs. C.M. PUNK
They wrestled mid-ring for nearly two minutes with various leverage and power battles. When the action spilled to ringside, they cut to a break. During this match a crawler indicating “Breaking News” revealing that the Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather match would be no-DQ, must-be-a-winner. In other words, expect chaos and interference so the loser (Big Show) saves face in losing and has a feud established for post-WM against whoever costs him the match.
Morrison dominated for several minutes after the break, including working over Punk’s shoulder. At 8:00 Punk came back with some roundhouse kicks followed by a Wendi Richter-style monkey flip. He clotheslined Morrison to the mat, then followed with torpedo dive onto Morrison at ringside. Punk went for a pin. Morrison battled out of it and bridged up. Punk returned with a backbreaker. Morrison countered with a backbreaker for a near fall at 11:00. Punk lifted Morrison for his GTS, but Morrison escaped. Punk countered with a Fabulous Moolah-style catapult and a running knee into the corner followed by a bulldog for a near fall. At 12:00 Punk met Morrison on the top rope and came off with a huracanrana. Both were slow to get up. Punk crawled over and made a one-armed cover for a two count. Punk went for a GTS again. Morrison elbowed out, but Punk blocked Morrison’s finisher and hit the GTS for the win. Punk pointed up at the brief case and pretended to climb a ladder. I’ll take a guess at his charades and say he was communicating his desire to win the Money in the Bank match, but he gave away his strategy – climbing the ladder to get to the briefcase. Shhhh.
WINNER: Punk in 13:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4 — Good TV match. Also a good opportunity for Cole and Coach to talk about the Money in the Bank match.
-A video package aired promoting the Mayweather-Show match including boxing people talking about the ramifications on Mayweather’s career.
-A video package aired on the WrestleMania Press Conference. Edge’s promo was shown, along with clips of Big Show and Mayweather. Show got some laughs when he said there’s all this talk about Mayweather getting hurt, but no talk about people worrying about him getting hurt. He said there’s a reason for that. Good clips. It made WM feel like a big deal, which should not be taken for granted by WWE. All of the small things they do, from celebrity involvement, press conferences, video packages without outsiders talking about it, and special settings such as the Orange Bowl all confirm and continue the tradition of WM being truly the biggest show of the year and not just a label slapped on it out of complacency.
3 — KOFI KINGSTON & JESSE & FESTUS vs. LANCE CADE & TREVOR MURDOCH & THE MIZ
The bell rang and the camera focused on Festus’s transformation. Festus bashed in the heels in the opening minute. Jesse tagged in and took over on Cade. He scored a one count. Love those early-match one counts, thus making two counts more dramatic later in the match as it’s a sign of progress. Miz ended up taking over on Jesse. “Have you ever watched that disgusting Dirt Sheet that Miz and Morrison put together.,” said Cole. “They make fun of every Superstar in the WWE. They made fun of you one week.” At 6:00 Jesse reached to tag Festus. Murdoch yanked Festus off the ring apron, so Jesse tagged Kingston in. He went on an energetic flurry against Miz. When he covered Miz, Murdoch and Cade intervened. Kofi nailed Miz with a 360 degree roundhouse kick, dubbed The Jamaican Buzzsaw, for the win.
WINNERS: Kingston & Jesse & Festus in 7:00.
STAR RATING: ** — Good basic six-man tag match.
-The Gordon Solie HOF video aired. Just as entertaining the second time around. Great vintage footage that did a good job, and honest job, capturing the influence and essence of Solie on wrestling.
4 — BATISTA vs. SNITSKY
WINNER: Batista in 0:30 after a spear and a Batista Bomb.
-Afterward, Batista gave Snitsky a powerbomb onto a chair. Cole called it “an uncalled for and disgusting display.” Oh, way, it was Batista doing it to Snitsky, not Edge doing it to Undertaker or Randy Orton doing it to John Cena, so it was merely “a message being sent to Umaga.”
-A video package aired on the Edge vs. Undertaker feud including a focus on Undertaker’s WM winning streak. They interspersed Edge’s music and Taker’s music.
5 — MARYSE & VICTORIA vs. MICHELLE MCCOOL & CHERRY
The teams came out to Victoria’s and Michelle’s music respectively. Eve Torres was the special referee for the match. They threw water balloons at each other, then poured buckets of water on each other. Michelle pinned Victoria in the end with a Wings of Love double-underhook front suplex.
WINNERS: Michelle & Cherry in 5:00.
-A Hall of Fame video aired, followed by Coach and Cole running down the entire WrestleMania line-up.
-MVP came out to his music. He stopped half way to the ring with a mic in hand and cut a promo. He said after Sunday, everyone will call him what his accountant, his agent, and his attorney calls him – “Money in the Bank.” He said he’s better than everyone else in the MITB match, including Chris Jericho.
6 — MVP vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Clips aired before the match of their confrontation on Smackdown during the MVP Lounge segment last week. Then Jericho’s full ring intro aired. After some early tests of strength, MVP slapped Jericho. Jericho charged back with a double leg takedown and an MMA-like mount. MVP bailed out to ringside. MVP ended up taking control of the match. Coach said MVP has Jericho “well scouted.” Cole said MVP “does his homework.” Ugh. At 4:00, after MVP knocked Jericho to the floor, they cut to a break.
MVP got in sustained offense after the break. They ran a crawler again plugging the rules for Show vs. Mayweather. At 10:00 Jericho avoided a big boot charge by MVP. He followed with a forearm off the second rope to MVP’s back. They were both slow to get up. Jericho blocked an MVP punch then chopped and elbowed him. MVP fired back with a knee, but Jericho fired right back with a clothesline for a two count. MVP gave Jericho a sudden overhead suplex leading to a two count. Jericho suplexed MVP into a bridge for a near fall at 12:00. Jericho followed with an enzuigiri and face smash. When he went for a Lionsault, MVP lifted his knee and followed with a stiff boot to the face for a near fall. MVP set up a Playmaker. Jericho countered into the Walls of Jericho. MVP reached the bottom rope quickly, then snapped Jericho’s neck over the top rope. A frustrated MVP grabbed both the U.S. and IC title belts. (I still miss the IC title belt from the late-’80s/early-’90s that Randy Savage, Bret Hart, and Ultimate Warrior wore. That was the best version.) He then charged Jericho with a belt. Jericho blocked it and drove the belt into MVP’s face. The ref DQ’d MVP. Afterward Jericho grabbed a ladder from under the ring and bashed MVP with it, then celebrated as his music played.
WINNER: Jericho via DQ in 14:00.
STAR RATING: ***3/4 — Good match.
-A video aired hyping WrestleMania.
-John Legend talked about going to WrestleMania to sing.
-Edge walked out in a suit to his full ring intro, flanked by Curt Hawkins and Zach Ryder. In the ring, Vickie Guerrero sat in her wheelchair with a black veil. Teddy Long formally introduced her. He then introduced Edge. With ten minutes left in the show, Edge began talking. He said they were gathered there to celebrate not a man, but the demise of an unprecedented accomplishment – Undertaker’s WrestleMania undefeated streak. He listed wrestlers he’s defeated at WrestleMania who are still part of WWE. He said sooner or later everything must come to an end. He said very soon – this Sunday at WrestleMania – he will bury the Undertaker and his streak. He said with death also comes new life and new beginnings. He said history will be rewritten. He said nobody will remember Undertaker or his streak. It will all be eclipsed by one man, “Me! The Rated-R Superstar!” He handed the mic to Vickie. She said as G.M. of Smackdown, it is her duty to be unbiased. She said she finds this extremely difficult when it comes to Edge. She said fans know him as the World Heavyweight Champion, but she knows him as a man “who is so much more.” Edge smiled broadly. “He is what men aspire to be,” she said. “Intelligent, strong, determined, tender, loving, and sexy.” Edge moved in and rubbed his face on her neck. She giggled. She said, “The boys and I have a surprise for you, a preview of WrestleMania.”
A movie-trailer style video aired, rated R of course, featuring highlights of Taker’s various wins over the years at WrestleMania. With a profession voiceover, it said a new hero will be born and will become a legend. It was very overstated, almost comically so, to be overbearing on purpose.
Edge hugged Zach and Curt and said he was overwhelmed. He looked at Vickie and said she is truly the love of his life. Edge said that video is a preview of what will happen on Sunday after his successful title defense. He said it’s time to bid farewell to Undertaker once and for all. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” he said slowly, deliberately. He then lifted Vickie’s black veil and moved in for a big make-out session. As the crowd booed, Undertaker’s bell sounded. The lights went out, then blue lights came on and flashed. Edge threw a fit and sent Zach and Curt to the stage to cut off Undertaker if he were to dare to walk out. Instead, Taker popped up from the coffin inside the ring. Edge had his back turned, looking at the stage, so Taker attacked him from behind. Cole said rumors of Taker’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Taker chokeslammed Edge into the coffin as Vickie screamed. Taker turned with that signature look and stared at Vickie. She ably popped out of her wheelchair and ran to the back. Taker then attacked Ryder and Hawkins, giving them each Tombstones. Cole said something’s got to give Sunday at WrestleMania – “Will it be Undertaker’s undefeated streak of Edge’s reign as World Champion?” The show ended with Edge looking up at the ring in fear as Undertaker did the throat-slashing gesture.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Solid, focused, well-paced show throughout, with a stellar final skit to hype Smackdown’s main event. The only thing missing from the show was a strong build for Batista vs. Umaga, although having him plow through Snitsky did great some anticipation for the immovable object clashing with the irresistible force at WM when those two face off.
NOW CHECK OUT THIS PREVIOUS 10 YRS AGO FLASHBACK: 10 YRS AGO – WWE in Canton, Ohio (3-24-18): Cena vs. Orton, plus Ric Flair, Duggan, Jeff Hardy, Khali, Kane, Eugene, Carlito