SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Recap: Tonight was a celebration of the 1000th episode of SmackDown. After a video package showing highlights from the past thousand episodes, the show opened with a short TruthTV segment. The scheduled guest was Stephanie McMahon, but she was quickly interrupted by her brother Shane. As the two bickered about whether Raw or SmackDown was superior, Vince McMahon came out to a huge pop. He said the crowd was uninterested in hearing the two bicker, and did a dance break with R-Truth and Carmella to cheers.
Throughout the night, there were still shots from SmackDown history. GMs Teddy Long, Vicky Guerrero, and John Laurinitis made brief appearances. Booker T and Jerry Lawler were on commentary for a match. Edge had a “Cutting Edge” segment with Becky Lynch.
After the main event, Undertaker came to the ring to tell DX to “Rest in Peace.”
Evaluation: This wasn’t as big of a celebration as Raw’s 25th anniversary. Notably missing were arguably SmackDown’s two largest figures: the Rock and John Cena (although Cena did to a pretaped message).
The number of times we were shown Stephanie McMahon winning the women’s title back in 2000 is odd, considering it sort of cuts against the idea of making the women’s division more of a serious thing.
Forecast: Nothing to forecast on this one, as SmackDown has only one 1000th episode.
THE RETURN OF EVOLUTION…
Recap: Triple H, Batista, Ric Flair, and Randy Orton came to the ring for an Evolution reunion. Triple H started with some puns on the word “evolution.”
Ric Flair spoke next. He didn’t say much, but did say he’s more used to the 10,000 number than 1,000.
Randy Orton went next, speaking about getting his start in Evolution. Orton said while Triple H has been running the show, Flair has been living vicariously through his daughter’s achievements, and Batista has spent more time in a make-up chair than in the ring, he’s been out making a name for himself and making a legacy.
Batista went next, saying that he was nervous and would ignore what Orton had just said. He said that those who know him know that holding a mic is the last thing he would want to do (a reference to his social anxiety disorder and other mental health issues), but he put a lot of thought into his message to the fans. He said he thought of four things. First, he said he wanted to be here tonight because it’s SmackDown 1000 and he helped build the Blue Brand. Second, he said he wanted to be on SmackDown 1000 because it was in his home town of DC, where he was a poor kid and bouncer for years, seeing more violence than anyone should. Third, he said he wanted to be there for the fans. Whether they booed or cheered, he wanted nothing other than to entertain them. Fourth, he wanted to be there for the other members of Evolution. He said they had done it all as four world champions. He said Orton has more talent his pinky than half the guys who have stepped foot in the ring. When Batista turned to Ric, Triple H whispered something to Flair and they laughed. Batista said there isn’t anything he could say about Ric that the fans don’t already know. “Or could I?” he said. “Keep that thing in your pants,” Batista said. Orton and Triple H began to laugh.
Batista then addressed Triple H, saying he had done everything other than beat him. Hunter suddenly became serious, but any tension was broken up by Flair. The group all smiled, although Triple H shot Batista one more death stare before continuing the celebration.
Evaluation: This was a good segment and the fans loved it. Batista was very good, although his reference to not wanting to be on the mic was probably lost on fans unfamiliar with his mental health issues.
Considering television programming today is so hyper-politically correct, it was nice to see the guys acting loose and making some mildly off-color references.
Forecast: It certainly seems like Batista will be taking on Triple H at WrestleMania next year. Batista as said publicly that he wanted to wrestle at WrestleMania again, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. Triple H is still solid in the ring, but as we saw with his match against Undertaker he can’t carry a broken down opponent. Time will tell how well Batista still performs in the ring.
THE RETURN OF REY MYSTERIO…
Recap: Rey Mysterio made his return to WWE television by winning a World Cup qualifier match against Shinsuke Nakamura. It was solid, but short.
Evaluation: I would’ve liked to have seen the return match for Rey Mysterio be made a bigger deal. It would have been better if there were some promos in the weeks leading up to it to build tension with an opponent. It also would have been better at a pay per view where he could have 20 minutes instead of 10. You only get one return match.
Forecast: Hopefully Crown Jewel will be used to create an actual angle for Rey going forward.
The Cutting Edge segment was another attempt to make Becky Lynch a heel that the fans didn’t buy. When she said that the didn’t like herself, but rather loved herself, they popped. People love her….
Considering Big Show’s lack of mobility, manager for the Bar as new tag champions is a good role for him….
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 10/9: Last Woman Standing, Miz Remains in the Picture, Another Night in Milwaukee