The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
SEPTEMBER 12, 2008
AIRED ON THE CW
-Highlights aired from Unforgiven culminating with Triple H’s last second pinfall in his Scramble Match.
-The Smackdown opening aired, then Jim Ross and Tazz introduced the show. They announced the Fatal Four-way later with the four Scramble contenders battling it out for a shot at Triple H at No Mercy.
-Triple H came out to the ring to his music. Ross called Unforgiven one of the most exciting nights of his broadcast career. Tazz touted how many title changes there were in the match. He referred to them as “current champions” so it’s still not clear if WWE Is going to acknowledge the title changes as being the same as other title changes. Ross said, “I would love to see this concept again.” Triple H said, “If you didn’t see Unforgiven, you need to. If, for some reason, you didn’t get to see the Championship Scramble matches, trust me, the second it comes out, you have to run out and buy the DVD. Partly because I get really good residuals from that, but also what a night it was.” He talked about hundreds of title changes and thousands of pinfalls. He said C.M. Punk got knocked out by Randy Orton, allowing Chris Jericho to “win the lottery.” He said a giant cheated death and Rey Mysterio came out with the craziest mohawk you’ll ever see. He said only one man walked in as champion and walked out as champion. He said if you see his name on the card, bet on it, because it’s a sure thing. He said he found a way to beat the odds and walk out as champion. As he talked about his last second win, Jeff Hardy’s music interrupted.
Hardy danced onto the stage. He said, “Congratulations, Triple H. Is he not the man?” He said he did all he could, but Triple H still came out the champ. “You truly are the King of Kings. You are awesome. Everybody here, everyone in the locker room, they look up to you. And so do I.” He then applauded. He said Triple H, in the WWE universe, is like a god. “You’ve got strength, you’ve got talent, you’ve got power. Man, you’ve got it all.” Everybody was dripping with smugness. Triple H sarcastically thanked him for his heartfelt praise. Triple H said he wants to say how much he respects him. He said he admires his passion, his desire, that every night he puts his body on the line like no other superstar in the history of “this business” has done. He said he dances to his own drum and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He said most of all, he respects that he reaches up for that brass ring, but he’s always one second away. Triple H said that’s the story of his life, isn’t it?
Hardy said maybe he’s right. Maybe he is always one step away, or maybe he just never had the right people to push him along. “Maybe I never had the Clique. Maybe I never had DX. Or maybe I didn’t have the family.” The crowd oohed and ahhed. “Because if I did, maybe I’d have what you have.” Triple H said that might be true, “although have you forgotten about your brother Matt.” He teaming with him is when he’s had the most success of his career. He said today Matt is a champion, but he’s not. Triple H said Matt kept him focused, but without him he hasn’t been able to stay focused enough to keep his extra curricular activities from preventing him from getting what he most wants out of life. He said that may be harsh, but he doesn’t want to get into some bitter war of words. “It doesn’t do you any good and it doesn’t do me any good,” he said. He said whether he believes it or not, he does respect him. He said tonight he has a chance to win the Fatal Four-way and get one more shot at the brass ring. He said he hopes he wins. Hardy said, “I will.” Triple H closed by saying that no matter what happens tonight, when he gets to No Mercy he’ll prove him right.
A lot of good build-up for a match that isn’t official yet. An argument can be made that took some of the mystery out of the outcome of the Fatal Four-way because how can Hardy not win after all of that time invested in that segment, but the segment did certainly build anticipation at the same time to see Hardy prove Triple H wrong and create incentive for Hardy fans to want to stay tuned to see him win.
-WWE Fact: WWE is watched by more than 15 million people every week in the U.S. If by people, they mean the person who watches Raw on Monday is a different person than the one who watches ECW the next night, and then turns into a third person Friday, and each of them who watches WWE on its website is a different person, also, then the number works out that way.
1 — NATALYA & MARYSE & VICTORIA vs. MARIA & MICHELLE MCCOOL & BRIE BELLA
As Tazz talked up Natalya’s power, Ross told him just not to bring up her hips because that could be seen as mean. Okay, maybe in the WWE universe Natalya’s hips are considered big, but she’s hardly got big hips based on the reality of what real women living real lives look like. Out of nowhere, Bri pinned Victoria with a fisherman’s suplex.
WINNERS: Mara & Bri & McCool in 5:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2*
2 — R-TRUTH vs. CHAVO GUERRERO (w/Bam Neely)
R-Truth rapped his way to the ring through the crowd. Was he rapping to a different song than played because he’s so of. He then did his Elaine Bennis dance in the ring. As George Costanza called it, “Full body dry heaves set to music.” Seriously, put Elaine’s dance on You Tube next to a replay of R-Truth’s dance on your TV screen. It’s uncanny. Chavo hit the Three Amigos as 3:00. The crowd booed for two reasons. Chavo then went to the top rope. Tazz said, “Someone is feeling froggy.” I could live without that phrase. When R-Truth met Chavo up there, Bam knocked him to the mat, prompting the ref to DQ Chavo. Chavo yelled at Bam for screwing up his match, claiming he had him right where he wanted. Chavo insisted, “I pay you. You’re not going to get paid today.” He shoved Bam. Bam shoved him back and told him to put his hands on him again. R-Truth kicked Bam, then axe kicked Chavo.
WINNER: R-Truth in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2*
-Shelton Benjamin told Eve backstage he should have won the Scramble. Triple H walked up. Shelton asked, “Can I help you?” Triple H joked that Eve is hot and wondered if he’s got a shot. Triple H told Shelton he’s the only one who didn’t get pinned at Sunday, yet he has to prove himself again. He said it doesn’t seem fair to him. Triple H said Hardy seems determined to win. Shelton told him the last thing he has to worry about if Jeff Hardy. Shelton said, “I don’t reach for brass rings, I’ll be reaching for your gold title.” Triple H smiled, nodded, and said cool.
-Ross plugged that on Oct. 3, WrestleMania will air followed by the Smackdown kickoff. They aren’t allowed to say which network, but that creates incentive for viewers to find them on My Network. Tazz then boasted that Smackdown had three times the viewers last Friday as ESPN has for college football.
3 — KENNY DYKSTRA vs. FESTUS (w/Jesse)
Festus and Jesse came out with a two wheeler and box. Dykstra said he’s obviously a good enough athlete to be an all-star in any sport and he has more potential than anyone in WWE. “I’m a 22 year old stud, but I still don’t get the respect I deserve.” He wondered if he has to dress like a garbage man like Festus to get noticed. He said he’s about to take the garbage out to the dumpster about “now,” then he punched Festus. The match hadn’t officially started, but when Jesse rang the bell at ringside, Festus amped up his intensity and destroyed Dykstra in about 20 seconds. However, rather than pin him, Jesse joined him in the ring and they duct taped his arms and legs together. They rolled him out of the ring and onto the two wheeler. Ross wondered where he was being moved.
-Back at ringside, Dykstra called for help as he was wrapped in bubble wrap. They taped his mouth with duct tape to shut him and wheeled him to the back. Okay, that was just odd and almost kinky.
WINNER: No decision.
-Ross said Big Show will be coming out soon to explain his actions at Unforgiven. They threw to clips from Unforgiven. Then Justin Roberts introduced Vickie Guerrero. Vickie said, “Excuse me!” a few times, then said Undertaker made several threats, such as taking her soul and sending her to the depths of hell. She said in response she literally spit in his face. She then introduced the man who helped her stand up to Undertaker, The Big Show. Ross said he still doesn’t understand her relationship to Big Show. Show said Vickie’s family abandoned her, so Vickie approached her and asked for help. He said at first he didn’t want to do it since what did Vickie ever do for him. But then he thought, who does Undertaker think he is, defying the orders of the G.M. He said if he doesn’t want to do something, there’s not a man, a beast, or a machine that can make him do it, but he must follow the G.M.’s orders.
He said it bothers him that Undertaker doesn’t have to play by the rules. So they came up with a plan. He said he and Vickie are the true power couple. Strictly business. No love, not weddings, no sweet nothings. He said Vickie can help him get where he wants to be – which is with the WWE Title around his waist. But to get there, he has to give her what she wants, which is an apology from Undertaker. Show said he will make sure Taker is sorry and does apologize.
-A video aired hyping the WrestleMania 25 ticket sales launch on Oct. 11 at 10 a.m.
4 — FUNAKI & SCOTTY GOLDMAN vs. VLADIMIR KOZLOV
Kozlov kicked Funaki at the bell, then fended off Goldman who went for a side headlock early. Kozlov threw him to the mat, kicked him, kicked Funaki again, then nailed Goldman with a couple headbutts to the chest, then finished Funaki with a boot. The old-school heel build-up of Kozlov via squash matches is refreshing and it’s building anticipation for how he’ll do against top level competition.
WINNER: Kozlov in 1:00.
-Afterward, Kozlov demanded that Smackdown give him better challenge. He said if no one will give him challenge, he will find one himself.
-They went backstage where Triple H walked up behind Ezekiel and laughed at an outfit a wrestler was wearing in the WWE Magazine tha Ezekiel was reading. Brian Kendrick walked up and asked him if he could help him. Triple H said he was there to wish him luck. Kendrick said he is the longest reigning champion in the history of the Championship Scramble and now he has to earn a title shot. Triple H said it’s ridiculous. Triple H leaned in and said he was rooting for him the whole time. Triple H said of all the losers, he was by far the biggest.
5 — CURT HAWKINS & ZACH RYDER vs. CARLITO & PRIMO COLON – Non-Title Match
After Primo talked about wanting to be his own person and not be weighed down by Carlito just a couple weeks ago on Raw, without explanation he’s now on Smackdown teaming happily with his brother. They showed an inset interview with the two acting chummy and cracking jokes. You gotta love WWE’s consistency and attention to detail. Carlito’s wears new shiny black and silver loose pants while Primo is in traditional long blue and red tights, so they’re not trying to match their look. At 6:00 Primo got the hot-tag in. He showed a good explosive offensive flurry culminating with a top rope crossbody on Hawkins for a two count. Ryder broke up the pin attempt. Carlito caught Hawkins from behind with a backstabber for the win.
WINNERS: Colon Brothers in 7:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 — Traditional tag match, but solid action.
-MVP walked up to Triple H backstage. Triple H patronizingly (does he know any other way?) called MVP the “King of Bling.” Triple H asked MVP what his claim is to be in the Fatal Four-way since he was the one who got pinned. Triple H told MVP he hopes he doesn’t choke. It’s good to get Triple H on the show more than he has lately because for him to have any impact as champion, he needs to seem to be a bigger part of the brand than he has been. That said, the more you see of him, the more you realize what a prick his character really is.
-A commercial hyped the Mr. Perfect DVD.
-A commercial aired hyping the Ric Flair vs. Harley Race match from Starrcade now available on WWE 24/7. Ross said it was great to hear Bob Caudle and Gordon Solie calling the action and Gene Kiniski refereeing.
6 — MVP vs. BRIAN KENDRICK (w/Ezekiel) vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. JEFF HARDY
All ring intros except Hardy’s took place. MVP and Shelton argued as Kendrick swaggered and danced his way to the ring.
Hardy’s ring intro aired. All four wrestled at once in this style match, trying to steal pins and be opportunistic. At 3:00 they cut to an early final break.
MVP had Shelton in a headlock in the ring as Kendrick and Hardy caught their breath at ringside. Ross said MVP makes more money on Smakdown than anybody else. That line should be dropped as nobody – nobody – believes he makes more money than Undertaker and Triple H, to name the two most obvious. Kendrick danced and then hit Shelton with a running low dropkick for a near fall. Ezekiel kept Hardy from returning to the ring by attacking him and throwing him into the security wall. At 13:00 Shelton went for a modified cross armbreaker on MVP as Hardy beat on Kendrick at ringside. Hardy entered the ring and went on sustained offense for the first time since early in the match. He scored a near fall on Shelton at 14:00. Hardy went to the top rope and attempted a Swanton, but MVP moved Shelton out of the way, then went for a pin on Hardy. Kendrick blocked that pin attempt. MVP held Hardy for Kendrick. Hardy moved. MVP clotheslined a charging Kendrick. Ross stressed, “Every man for himself could not be better illustrated.” Hardy hit the Whisper in the Wind on MVP for a near fall, broken up by Shelton. Ross touted the quality of the main event action. Shelton surprised MVP with Pay Dirt. Kendrick surprised Shelton with a running boot to the side of his head. Shelton missed a corner headbutt. Hardy fended off Ezekiel, then hit Kendrick, who had Shelton covered, with a Swanton and scored the pin on Kendrick.
WINNER: Hardy in 16:00 to earn a title shot at No Mercy.
STAR RATING: **1/2 — Slow at the start, but a good dose of chaos and near falls with a satisfying and cool looking finish helps give it a thumbs up.
-Afterward, Kozlov walked out to his music. An exhausted Hardy looked on concerned. Kozlov entered the ring and stared down Hardy. Then he threw Hardy into the ropes and headbutted his chest on the rebound. Kozlov drove his shoulder into Hardy’s mid-section several times in the corner. He followed with his finisher. The impressive push of Kozlov continued. There’s a chance they’re going to turn him into a draw of some type from scratch in less than a year from his debut. It’s a good time to be a Russian heel in pro wrestling given world events.
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