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The following report was published ten years ago this week on PWTorch.com…
KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
APRIL 18, 2008
AIRED ON THE CW
-The show opened with Chris Jericho’s music. Michael Cole said he is “from Raw” as Jericho walked to the ring. Coach introduced himself and played annoyed that Cole didn’t earlier.
-In the ring, Jericho stood in his Highlight Reel set. He introduced Batista as his special guest. Jericho talked about Batista’s “huge main event” later on the show against Undertaker. Jericho said he has determined that Shawn Michaels is a phony and he doesn’t mind he retired Ric Flair. He also said Michaels has enjoyed all of the backstabbing over the years. He went to a replay of Michaels superkicking him after he suggested that Michaels proposed the Flair retirement plan to Vince McMahon in the first place. Jericho said Michaels “proved that you and I are correct.” He said he could have denied what he said and “been the grand voice of reason,” but instead he took a cheap shot and proved all of Batista’s suspicions about Michaels. “For that, I say you’re welcome.” Batista laughed at Jericho, then took the mic and said, “You see, the thing is, I don’t remember asking you to be my lawyer. I don’t need you to speak on my behalf. If I have a problem with someone, I will confront them to their face.” Jericho asked if he’s not allowed to express his opinions. “No, not when it interferes with my business, you can’t,” he said. “I was fine dealing with Shawn Michaels myself at Backlash. Now I have to deal with you as special referee at Backlash.” He said he wanted to deal with Michaels himself.
Jericho said he’s feeling a little unappreciated, so he’s going to do a little analysis of Batista himself and call him out. He said he finds it odd and irrational that he has such a problem with Michaels. He noted that Flair was okay with it. He said he realizes now that Batista wanted to retire Flair himself. The crowd booed. Batista stared down, then said, “I’ve heard this theory.” Jericho interrupted and said he wanted Michaels to lose to Flair so he could challenge Flair next, retire him himself, and “get the proverbial passing of the torch, but Shawn Michaels took that from you, Dave.” He said it must have crushed him to have Flair pick Michaels instead of him for his opponent at WrestleMania. “It must have been horrible to know Flair hand-picked Shawn Michaels over you to be his opponent at WrestleMania,” he said. “He wanted to be in the ring with the best, and he chose Shawn Michaels, not Batista. That’s a horrible feeling to know that when it came down to it, you weren’t up to snuff for Ric Flair and his biggest match at WrestleMania.”
Jericho talked about Flair hugging Michaels and exchanging “I love yous.” He said he didn’t see any emotions in Batista because he was wearing sunglasses and was “too cool for school” to show his true emotions to the mentor he allegedly cares so much about. He said he knows he’s right, and so do the people. He said he’ll prove it to him. He asked for a show of hands of those who think Batista wanted to retire Flair himself. He asked for a show of hands of fans who think Batista is more jealous than Michaels. They showed the crowd each time with a good percentage raising their hands. As Jericho began to ask for another show of hands, Batista jumped Jericho and gave him a Batista Bomb. Cole and Coach said Batista had heard enough. Cole said it hasn’t been a good week for Jericho. Cole said Batista has to refocus because he has World Champion Undertaker later.
-Matt Hardy came out to his entrance music and joined Coach and Cole at ringside. He said he was excited to be back on Smackdown, which is his home, and the U.S. Title will come back home soon, too.
1 — TOMMY DREAMER vs. MVP
Cole touted this as the first singles match ever on Smackdown for Dreamer. Coach said, “Tommy Dreamer is no slouch.” Well, there’s news. Why would anyone think WWE would have a wrestler on the roster who is a “slouch” (whatever that is.) Hardy, with a hoarse voice, said MVP is great and has done more in a couple years than most wrestlers do in their careers. Cole said MVP said he’s accomplished more than Hardy has because he’s done something Hardy never has – a singles title. Instead of correcting Cole and pointing out he held the Cruiserweight Title, Hardy went into an explanation about how he’s been a tag team specialist most of his time in WWE. Cole plugged an upcoming Matt Hardy DVD. Cole said on the DVD, he said he aspires to be a World Champion. Hardy said each and every night he steps into the ring, he wants to steal the show, and he sees a U.S. Title reign as a stepping stone to the World Title. After an early flurry in the match by Dreamer. MVP dominated for three minutes. Dreamer made a comeback at 3:00 and hit a running bulldog and a neckbreaker leading to a two count. Hardy said his presence intimidates MVP. Dreamer DDT’d MVP next. MVP grabbed the bottom rope to avoid the pin. Dreamer dragged MVP to center ring and set up a Dreamer Driver, but MVP escaped and threw Dreamer shoulder-first into the ringpost. MVP nailed Dreamer with a running boot and scored the pin.
WINNER: MVP in 5:00.
STAR RATING: * — Solid five minute match.
-They showed Finlay and Hornswoggle getting each other psyched up by yelling and flexing backstage.
-Matt Striker stood mid-ring. He said last week he was embarrassed by “Finlay and his Leprechaun son.” He said it’s not one-on-one, but instead, one-on-point-five. He told a laughing fan this is an insult to him because he has a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology and a 186 IQ.
2 — HORNSWOGGLE (w/Finlay) vs. MATT STRIKER
Hornswoggle juggled tennis balls at the start, then threw them at Striker who sold it like he was being shot with paintballs. Out came a squirt gun. Striker stomped on it. Hornswoggle pulled out a bigger one. Cole said, “Striker’s all washed up.” Cole had that uncomfortable forced laugh that was really a cry for mercy. Striker jumped Finlay at ringside. Hornswoggle jumped on Striker off the ring apron. Striker finally got his hands on Hornswoggle in the ring and shoved him down and slapped him. He stood and stomped him. Cole said it’s disturbing. The ref blocked Striker from using a shillelagh. As the ref discarded it, Finlay hit Striker with another shillelalgh. “This is great! This is what Smackdown is all about!” declared Cole.
WINNER: Hornswoggle in 2:00.
-Coach held up the new WWE Kids magazine. Cole said Hornswoggle answers some “pretty provocative” questions. Coach said it’s educational and challenging and fun.
-A clip aired from last week of the Punjabi Peace Offering last week ending with Big Show hitting Great Khali for no reason after a handshake. In a backstage interview, Show said Khali found out that “getting in his face” and offering him a goat and a chicken isn’t the way to win his affection. He said at Backlash he’ll finish what he started. He said tonight Mark Henry will need all of his strength to take on the world’s largest living athlete. A smug side of Show, not particularly appealing. Last week’s angle was booked poorly because, despite Show’s explanation this week, Show came across as a jerk for punching Khali unprovoked. It came across as if Show punched Khali because he didn’t like having “another culture” thrown in his face. It’s just a bad message to send to a show so clearly marketed to kids right now.
-They showed scenes of London, England. Then they aired a clip of the debut of Chavo Guerrero’s new bodyguard. Cole said he’s a former border agent and “one-man fence.” That’s creative, having a Hispanic heel hire a former border agent to be his bodyguard.
3 — CHAVO GUERRERO (w/Bam Neely, his bodyguard) vs. JAMIE NOBLE
Coach said Neely will prevent someone like Kane from sneaking up behind him ever again and scoring a quick pin. Noble was described by Cole as “scrappy,” which in pro wrestling means he’s losing this match. Cole said it was impressive Chavo didn’t need the help of Neely to win. Afterward, Neely one-arm slammed Noble.
WINNER: Chavo in 3:00 with a frog splash.
-They showed a split screen of Show and Henry approaching the entrance tunnels.
-The commercial aired inviting Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton to settle their differences on Raw.
-They showed an empty throne on the stage as Cole plugged the three-hour King of the Ring tournament on Raw. Cole said he hoped a Smackdown wrestler wins the tournament. No wrestlers were named as being in the one-night tournament.
4 — MARK HENRY vs. BIG SHOW
Coach said this wouldn’t be pretty; no one would be coming off the top rope; it would be brute force against brute force. He was right. After a test of strength, they stood and punched each other, then Henry settled into a long bearhug. Show eventually punched his way out of it, but Henry shoved him back-first into the corner. Show caught a charging Henry with a boot to the face. The Great Khali walked to the ring as Show chokeslammed Henry. Show collapsed to one knee and grabbed his back. He then left the ring to battle Khali at ringside as the ref called for the bell. Coach said there will be no more peace offerings. They brawled into the ring. They grabbed each other’s throats. Khali lifted and dropped Show. Cole and Coach reacted with amazement. Cole said he evened the playing field. Coach said he couldn’t believe what he just saw. Cole suggested maybe Show should have signed that peace treaty.
WINNER: Show via DQ in 4:00.
STAR RATING: DUD
-A plug aired for Batista vs. Undertaker as the TV main event.
-Cole and Coach talked over a clip of Show, during the commercial break, struggling to get to his feet after the Khali chokeslam. Then they plugged the Backlash line-up. Then a video package aired on the Batista-Undertaker series over the past year or so.
5 — CHERRY (w/Michelle McCool) vs. VICTORIA (w/Natalia)
Cole noted this is Cherry’s first-ever singles match on Smackdown. Not a great start to the second hour as the Big Show-Henry match ended 17 minutes before this match began, and not much of anything actually happened to fill that time. Victoria slapped Cherry. Cherry cried. Victoria said there’s no time to cry in wrestling, then continued the beating. Cherry surprised Victoria with a schoolgirl out of the corner for a two count. Cole said she almost got the pin. Coach said it wasn’t even close. Victoria applied an upperbody chinlock, then methodically kicked and kneed her. Victoria turned to trash talk Michelle at ringside, then Cherry rolled up Victoria for the win. Cole sold it like this huge upset, as if fans have any idea that one diva is considered tougher than other other than Beth Phoenix.
WINNER: Cherry in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2*
-A video aired promoting Mick Foley’s movie appearance.
6 — VLADIMIR KOZLOV vs. LEROY KINCAID
Kincaid was billed as being from London. Kozlov armdragged Kincaid at the start, then applied a keylock. He methodically dominated offense including a headbutt to the stomach (or the “bread basket” as Cole called it; ugh!), then scored the pin quickly. His offense stands out as different and forceful, but not particularly exciting.
WINNER: Kozlov in 2:00.
-A video package aired on the Edge-Undertaker feud and Edge and Vickie Guerrero’s relationship.
-A commercial hyped the King of the Ring on Raw.
-They showed Edge, Zach Ryder, and Curt Hawkins waling to the front row with tickets in hand to watch Undertaker vs. Batista up close. Cole said Vickie has put Batista in a tough position because he doesn’t do their dirty work, but if he puts up a strong fight against Undertaker, it does play into the plans of Vickie and Edge for him soften up Taker before Backlash. The match began with 17 minutes left in the show. Taker took Batista down with a early clothesline and scored a one count. Taker went for a running elbow, but Batista moved. Batista went on offense including a boot to the face. Coach said Undertaker is so good because he knows when to climax at the right time. Cole said, “Climax at the right time?” Coach said, “You wouldn’t know anything about it.” If you speed through Smackdown, that’s the type of scintillating exchanging you miss out on. The camera kept showing Edge, Ryder, and Hawkins watching from the front row. At 3:00 they cut to a commercial break.
Taker was on offense after the break at 7:00. Taker climbed to the top rope, walked it, and came off with a forearm at 9:00. Taker tossed Batista out of the ring to the floor. Taker then gave Batista the guillotine legdrop on the edge of the ring apron. Batista fell to the floor. Taker threw him back into the ring and made the cover, scoring a two count. Batista hit a spear out of nowhere to knock out Undertaker. He scored a near fall. Batista and Taker exchanged blows. Batista knocked Taker over the top rope. Taker threw Batista into the ringside steps at 11:00. The ref counted both men out as they brawled at ringside.
WINNERS: Double countout in 12:00.
STAR RATING: ** — Okay intensity and pacing, but nothing more than okay and sometimes a bit clunky and slo-mo.
-Taker and Batista continued to brawl at ringside. Batista rammed Taker’s head into the security barrier right by Edge. Taker yanked Edge over the barrier and into the ringside area, then inside the ring. Hawkins and Ryder brawled with Batista. Taker chokeslammed Edge after giving a big boot to Hawkins. Chavo Guerrero and Neely charged to the ring, but Taker and Batista knocked them out of the ring quickly. Vickie was wheeled out onto the stage by Teddy Long. She asked Taker and Batista “who in the hell do you think you are?” She asked if they realize the legal jeopardy they put her company in. She said Edge, Hawkins, and Ryder were simply members of the audience watching their match and they attacked them. She said they have every right to file civil and criminal charges against both of them. She said that’s not going to be necessary because her guys are going to find justice in watching the both of them beat the hell out of each other one more time. She announced Undertaker vs. Batista next week in a rematch for the World Hvt. Title. She laughed, then added that the winner of next week’s match on Smackdown would face Edge at Backlash. She rewards Batista with a title match and puts Edge in a position to not know who to prepare for two days later on Backlash isn’t the most sinister of plans ever. It also is counterproductive to the focus of the Batista vs. Shawn Michaels marquee match at Backlash.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Weak show overall. One of the worst in a while in all respects. Too much filler, lousy matches, unsatisfying main event, odd final announcement.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS 2008 FLASHBACK: 10 YRS AGO – KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT (4-21-08): Jericho, Cena, Undertaker, Punk, Michaels, Batista, Sen. John McCain video, Obama and Hillary impersonators
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