The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S SMACKDOWN REPORT
AUGUST 23, 2008
Taped 8/19 n Moline, Ill.
The show opened with a video package on SummerSlam including the voiceover saying the night saw “a kingdom defended” (Triple H beating Great Khali), “a grand theft victory” (MVP beating Jeff Hardy), and “a sinner sent to the fiery deptsh of hell” (Undertaker vs. Edge). The Smackdown opening then aired.
Vickie Guerrero addressed the crowd from the big screen. She said some of her decisions in recent months may not have been popular, but the person she’s been seeing during that time wasn’t the real her. She said what she did was because of Edge. “He was the real problem,” she said. She said the real Vickie is benevolent and compassionate. She said she fell victim to Edge’s love and that corrupted her. “He forced me to fall in love, only to betray such a sacred trust,” she said. She said now she is free, free to be her real self and not held back by Edge. She said Edge put her through hell, but now Edge is residing there. She let out a maniacal laugh (which was terribly awkward) and said she’s now ready to do her job well. She invited fans to give Undertaker a standing ovation.. She also said she’s excited about the Smackdown Championship Scramble. She explained the concept and rules.
On camera, Jim Ross and Tazz introduced the show. Tazz said he’s amped up about Undertaker appearing on Smackdown. Maria’s ring entrance then took place.
Ross and Tazz hyped MVP vs. Festus in a qualifying match for the Championship Scramble.
1 — MARIA vs. NATALYA
Tazz pulled a Matt Striker and said he had a chance to talk to Maria earlier and she told him she loves competition. Insight! Natalya concentrated her attack on Maria’s left leg. Maria used her right light to kick free at 2:00. She hit a jawbreaker and a Bronco Buster, then knocked Natalya to the floor. Ross said a Maria win would be an upset. Maryse walked out and jumped Maria. The ref called for the bell. Tazz said Maria broke Maryse’s nose, so this is retribution. Michelle McCool made the save and cleared the ring.
WINNER: Maria via DQ in 3:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2*
-Backstage Big Show walked up to Vickie, Chavo Guerrero, and Bam Neely. He said he was excited about the Championship Scramble. He asked whom he was facing to qualify. She said he’s not in the match and apologized for the oversight. He seemed dejected and sad, then walked away without incident. Vickie’s acting seems much worse than usual this week. In the right context, that’s part of her charm. This week, that context is missing and she just seems amateurish and awkward.
2 – BATTLE ROYAL – Championship Scramble Qualifier
Participants: Vliadimor Kozlov, Funaki, The Brian Kendrick, Scotty Goldman, Super Crazy, Curt Hawkins, Zach Ryder, Jimmy Wang Yang, Armando Estrada. Big Show walked to ringside, waving and smiling. A group of wrestlers teamed up to eliminate Kozlov first. At 2:00 Big Show entered the match and began eliminating everyone. Ezekiel caught Kendrick and his feet never touched the floor. Show then eliminated Yang. That meant Kendrick’s feet were the last to touch the ground. It’s a ridiculous premise that a match would count with a non-entrant causing most of the eliminations. Ezekiel rolled Kendrick into the ring and he celebrated.This called for Ross to point out the absurdity of the circumstances, but he just described what happened without editorial comment. Tazz said Kendrick is talented, but with Ezekiel watching his back, he may be tough to stop.
WINNER: Kendrick in 3:00. [C]
After an utterly needless recap of what just happened before the break, Ross said R-Truth is debuting on Smackdown next week. He threw to a final profile video.
-A clip aired of a backstage MVP promo that was previously a WWE Mobile exclusive saying the WWE Championship is next for him.
3 — MVP vs. FESTUS (w/Jesse)
MVP started strong and dominated most of the early minutes. He settled into a armlock at 3:00. Festus came back with a headbutt. Festus came back at 6:00 and crotch splashed MVP. MVP came back with a jawbreaker. Festus fired back with a big boot. The action spilled to the floor. Festus backdropped MVP. MVP kicked Jesse in the face and rolled into the ring. As Festus checked on Jesse, the ref counted him out. When the bell rang, Festus went calm. MVP waved his hand in front of his face. After no reaction, he gave him a running boot to knock him over the top rope to the floor.
WINNER: MVP in 9:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4
-The same 24/7 clip aired that aired on Raw. Tazz’s phony laugh afterward was much more realistic than Michael Cole’s. Ross said he doesn’t think there’s anything better on any TV than WWE 24/7. He’s clearly never watched “I Survived a Japanese Game Show.”
-Shelton Benjamain walked to the ring and compared himself to Michael Phelps. He said they’re calling him the new gold standard. “Make no mistake, there’s only one Gold Standard,” he said. “And his name is Shelton Benjamin.”
4 — SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. FINLAY (w/Hornswoggle) – Scramble Qualifier
They brawled intensely at first, but it settled by 4:00 into Finlay working over Shelton with leglocks.
Finlay charged the corner, but Shelton moved. Shelton then worked over Finlay’s arm for a while. At 7:00 Shelton knocked Finlay over the top rope and they cut to a break.
Shelton methodically grounded Finlay with a chinlock and a nerve hold. It felt like he was filling time, not fighting or wrestling. The crowd fell silent. At 15:00 Finlay caught a charging Shelton with a boot to the face, but Shelton recovered with a t-bone suplex for a two count. Finlay made a Tommy Dreamer comeback with clotheslines and a sit splash out of nowhere for a two count. Then he lifted him for the Celtic Cross, but Mike Knox walked out and grabbed Hornswoggle. Shelton surprised a distracted Finlay with the Pay Dirt for the win.
WINNER: Shelton in 15:00.
STAR RATING: * — Too long and quite boring. And WWE ought to reestablish how the ECW-SD talent exchange works.
-Afterward, Knox entered the ring and gave Finlay a big boot to the head, then a running kneedrop a la Bruiser Brody. He choked him, then made bug-eyes, then left the ring.
-A graphic hyped Undertaker’s return.
Ross and Tazz hyped Jeff Hardy vs. Great Khali for later, then they threw to the Raw Rebound. Tazz complained that Chris Jericho was completely remourseless over punching Shawn Michaels’s wife.
-Backstage, Chavo asked Vickie if he could be in a qualifying match for the Championship Scramble. Vickie looked away like that wasn’t happening. Chavo asked why Undertaker hasn’t shown up yet. Chavo stammered as he wondered if he’s the kind of guy who might hold a grudge. He said he’s “vendictful.” Vickie said he doesn’t hold a grudge. Chavo said maybe they should explain their previous actions toward him. Vickie said they should apologize. Chavo said he’d have to accept that.
-Triple H’s ring entrance took place. He touted his win over Khali at SummerSlam, then talked about the Championship Scramble match he faces at Unforgiven. Tazz said he’s curious about his opinion of the Scramble.
Clips aired of Triple’s win at SummerSlam. Triple H joined Ross and Tazz on commentary. Triple H said, “Big trees fall hard, don’t they, J.R.?” He said something about how if a tree falls in a forrest and nobody’s around, there is no sound, but if Khali falls at SummerSlam, 15,000 fans go crazy.
5 — THE GREAT KHALI vs. JEFF HARDY
Triple H said he wasn’t sure if he could get the Pedigree on Khali, but he found out at SummerSlam he can. Triple H said Khali is a freak of nature. Triple H quipped to Ross that if Khali wins and he gets into the scramble, he chances “are slim, Jim.” Get it? He added, “Jeff Hardy is not Triple H, I can tell you that right now.” Hardy sped around Khali and took some strategic shots. He slapped Khali and then bailed out to ringside before Khali could respond. The crowd chanted “Hardy, Hardy.” Tazz asked him what his opinion is of the Scramble. He said. “I hope you don’t mind me asking.” Why would Tazz worry about Triple H minding that question? Triple H said he needs to know who’s in the match before he judges it. At 5:00 Khali went for a chokeslam. Hardy raked his eyes and climbed to the second rope. Khali slapped his chest, sending him tumbling to the mat. Hardy returend to the ring and hit a Twist of Fate. Well, Khali’s head never really came near the mat, but Khali at least went to the mat with a thud. Hardy climbed to the second rope. Singh distracted Hardy. Khali then put him in a head vice. Triple H got up and punched Singh. He followed by grabbing a chair. When Khali grabbed Triple H from behind, Triple H bashed him with a chair. Hardy then surprised Khali with a Whisper in the Wind and a Swanton for the win. Triple H had a bit of a “what did I just do?” look on his face.
WINNER: Hardy in 6:00.
STAR RATING: *
-Triple H stood mid-ring and said, “Let me get this straight now.” He talked about the four challengers he’d have to face in the Championship Scramble: MVP, Shelton, The Brian Kendrick, and Hardy. He pointed out that none of them has to beat him to walk out as champion. He said those odds practically guarantee the title will change hands, but he wanted them to know, before they go out celebrating by buying a Rolex or sports car, that the fifth guy in that ring is a 12-time champion (11-time loser). He said he’s known for a very good reason as The Game and King of Kings. He was interrupted by Kenny Dykstra.
Dykstra walked out and complained that he isn’t even considered for the Championship Scramble. He said he’s tired of people not taking him seriously. He said his name is Kenny Dykstra. Triple H promptly interrupted and gave him a Pedigree mid-ring. Dykstra lay there motionless as Triple H picked up the mic and said, “Good to see ya’, Kenny.” Triple H’s music played and he walked to the back.
-Chavo, Vickie, and Neely chatted backstage. Hawkinsand Rider ran in and said “he’s here.” Vickie said there’s only one thing to do – go to the ring as a family and apologize to Undertaker.
-Vickie sat in her wheelchair mid-ring flanked by Chavo, Neely, Hawkins, and Ryder. She a read a statement that she considers herself a great woman who can admit mistakes, apologize for them, and do the next right thing. She said he is there to apologize to the Undertaker. She asked the fans to join her in giving Undertaker a standing ovation. She struggled to her feet. Undertaker’s music played. His full ring entrance took place. He entered the ringh and stared down Vickie. The four men hid behind her wheelchair. She asked, “Will you please accept my apology? From the bottom of my heart, I want to apologize to you. Please.” She got on her knees. Taker stepped toward her and took the mic. “Look at me, woman,” he said. “I didn’t come out here for an apology. I came out here for your soul.” Chavo, Neely, Ryder, and Hawkins surrounded Taker. Taker threw down the mic. He took them out one at a time (they were nice enough to attack him one at a time). He cleared the ring of Chavo and Neely, then set up Ryder and Hawkins for a chokeslam. Chavo jumped on his back. Neely hit him from behind. They gang attacked him. Chavo grabbed a chair. Taker kicked it into Chavo’s face, then chokeslammed the other heels. Vickie fled.
NOW CHECK OUT THIS RECENT FLASHBACK: 10 YRS AGO – WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT (8-15-08): Hardy vs. Shelton, Edge hypes Summerslam match against Undertaker, Kendrick vs. Scott Goldman, plus Festus, McCool, Triple H