The following article was originally published ten years ago this week on PWTorch.com…
KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
APRIL 11, 2009
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
AIRED ON MY NETWORK TV
-The show opened with the abbreviated WrestleMania 25 highlight video, same one that aired on Raw. The Smackdown opening then aired, followed by Jim Ross introducing the show and hyping John Cena on “The Cutting Edge” later. No mention at all of Tazz leaving. He’s persona nongrata right now, apparently.
-Matt Hardy walked out onto the stage, looking about as pleased with himself as anyone can get. They went to ringside with Todd Grisham and Ross. Ross said he didn’t know if he’d be there next week due to the draft. Grisham is good now, and working with Matt Striker has helped him, so if he ends up hosting Smackdown, it’s not bad at all.
-Hardy stood center ring and said there were a lot of great WrestleMania Moments on Sunday that will be burned into the heads of WWE fans for eternity. He said Shawn Michaels and Undertaker had what many are calling the greatest WrestleMania match of all time. He said what is indisputable is that the absolute greatest WrestleMania Moment of all time happened last Sunday – his victory over Jeff Hardy with an extreme Twist of Fate. He told Jeff that means he’s nothing more than an “extreme disappointment” for those 72,000+ fans of his at WrestleMania.
He said for years he’s been looked upon as “the other Hardy,” but he knew after beating him, he’d prove to the world he is the superior Hardy and he always has been. He said as long as Jeff’s around, he’ll have his fans, so he has to erase him from WWE. He said for as long as he’s around WWE, he will have to look over his shoulder because he that’s the way it has to end. He told him to come down to the ring and apologize to his people for being a disappointment. Good line. “And then apologize to me for attempting to be my brother,” he added. He said if he doesn’t, he will end up strapped to a stretcher and he’ll never wrestle again.
Jeff’s music played and he walked onto the stage, hands in his jeans pockets, no dancing or celebrating. No face paint, either. Jeff charged into the ring. Matt bailed out quickly. Jeff grabbed at his thigh as if he pulled a muscle or something. Matt retreated. Teddy Long walked out and said he’s “living long and back in charge right here on Smackdown.” Long said one or both of them may be leaving Smackdown. He said that would be a disappointment, but the only way one of them will leave tonight is on a stretcher, just as Matt had brought up seconds earlier. He said for the first time ever, he will go one-on-one with Jeff in a stretcher match. Not Long’s smoothest announcement ever, but the point was made. Grisham hyped the match as they went to a break. Good opening segment.
-Eve Torres interviewed Kofi Kingston about his first WrestleMaia. He said he wondered before WrestleMania how he could shock the world just as Michaels and Razor Ramon did. He said he did it then, and tonight he’ll do it again against seven feet of danger in The Big Show. Eve’s job is to look at all of the babyface wrestlers when they finish their promo as if she’d sleep with them in a second. I like the concept of a pre-match interview. They don’t all have to be killer promos, but just 30 seconds of stage-setting and character-enhancing can do wonders over time in building the undercard and just adding a sense of depth to the entire WWE programming schedule.
1 — THE BIG SHOW vs. KOFI KINGSTON
During Kofi’s ring intro, they showed freeze-frames of Kofi highlights from the Money in the Bank ladder match. Grisham said while he didn’t win the match, many believe he had the breakout performance. Ross said he had the most amazingly gifted athletic maneuvers. Kofi hit Show with an ineffective handstand Pele kick. On a second attempt, Show easily blocked him and shoved him over, then overpowered him for a couple minutes. Kofi came back with a flurry of offense but again Show largely brushed him off, including swatting away his flying dropkick. He was relentless and eventually hit a top rope dropkick to drop Show. He went into a finishing sequence including a double legdrop for a two count. Show then punched Kofi as he flew at him off the top rope and scored the pin. At Show’s weight, his offense is limited, but Kofi was a good opponent to create movement around him.
WINNER: Big Show in 5:00.
STAR RATING: *
-A highlight video aired of the Hall of Fame ceremony including an excerpt of Steve Austin’s acceptance speech.
-They hyped the Matt vs. Jeff stretcher match.
-Highlights aired of Santina vs. Beth Phoenix on Raw on Monday.
-As Santino walked out, Ross and Grisham, with a tongue-and-cheek tone, talked about Santina being Santino’s twin sister. He entered the ring and addressed his presence on Raw. He said there are a whole bunch of Divas who are upset that he is Mr. WrestleMania. When a picture was shown of Santina, he said, “She’s gorgeous.” Santino said he wanted to come to Smackdown this week, so he talked to Teddy Long and got permission. He said he might be drafted next Monday, plus he wants to show that there’s more than one Marella you should be jealous of. He issued an open challenge to any Superstar in the back. The Great Khali walked out, accompanied by Ranjin Singh.
Singh said Great Khali says he doesn’t have to fight him tonight – on one condition. “The Great Khali thinks that your sister Santina is hot,” he said. Khali smiled as Singh said Khali can’t think of anyone but Santina. He wants her to be his guest on the Khali Kiss-Cam. He said if Santino makes sure that happens, he won’t have to fight him. “You think my sister is some kind of woman of the night, huh? You think my sister graduated from the University of Texas?” said Santino. Great line. He said he’s going to say on behalf of his sister no. “You could probably open your mouth and swallow her whole like Jonah the Whale,” he said. Khali couldn’t keep a straight face as he spoke what sounded like nonsense. Singh said Khali said Santino’s answer was wrong, so the match is on.
2 — THE GREAT KHALI vs. SANTINO MARELLA
Khali gave Santino a Punjabi Plunge and it was over just like that.
WINNER: Khali in 0:10.
-Grisham plugged a look at Undertaker’s perfect 17-0 record was up next.
-A video aired of all of Undertaker’s WrestleMania wins. Grisham said it’s a streak that will never be challenged.
-Gail Kim’s ring intro took place. Grisham said she would face Michelle McCool next.
-A highlight package aired of John Cena’s media tour for “12 Rounds.” Same video as Raw.
3 — GAIL KIM vs. MICHELLE MCCOOL
Before the match they showed Kim’s win in a tag match on Smackdown last week. They showed Maryse watching backstage, doing her best “no she didn’t” head shake that women do on daytime talk shows when someone is revealed as doing something controversial. McCool took control at ringside at 2:00, but Kim regained control at 3:00 by avoiding a legdrop. Ross mentioned that Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase were present to face the undisputed tag team champions later. Nice for them to get around to mentioning that relatively big item this far into the show. Kim surprised McCool with a reverse of a small package for the pin out of nowhere.
WINNER: Kim in 4:00.
STAR RATING: *
-They showed Edge heading toward the entrance tunnel for “The Cutting Edge” interview segment.
“The Cutting Edge” – Grisham said it’s always a controversial segment. Edge sat on a stool in the ring and absorbed some boos. He said he entered Houston expecting to walk out of the “25th Anniversary of WrestleMania,” but John Cena stole that win and the title from him. (That’s weird, because the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania is in Arizona next year, but anyway…) Cena came out to his full ring intro. Cena began by saying that since he didn’t get a chance to say it Monday, “The Champ is Here!” Edge said, “I said have a seat!” Cena sat down. Edge said he knows he tries to say things to pander and get a reaction out of the thousands of fans in the arena. Cena said the thousands of fans there are loud. The crowd cheered. Edge pointed at Cena’s belt and said it keep his heart beating, it’s his life preserver if he’s lost at sea. Edge said he stole it from him.
Cena sat down and asked Edge how long they’ve been “chasing each other’s tail around the country.” He down their history and reminded fans how many angles and feuds and matches they’ve had over the years. He said the reason the fans love their fights whether they were cheering for Edge or him, they knew that every time they would raise the bar. Cena said if Edge was there to complain instead of acknowledge one of the greatest feuds in sports entertainment history, he’s just wasting his time. As Cena got up to walk away, Edge interrupted.
“I hate you,” Edge said. “I hate you. Hate is a strong word, but it sums up everything I feel for you, Cena. I hate your hat. I hate your t-shirts. I hate your wrist bands. I hate your shoes. I hate your music. I hate the C-Nation. I hate everything that you stand for. And John, whether you want to admit it or not, this, all of the years between you and I, it’s exhausted you as much as it has me. This can’t go on any longer. It has shortened both of our careers. And at Backlash, this is finally going to end. One of us will be the other so badly that they can’t get back up.” Cena gulped right on cue. Edge vowed that he’d be the one left standing.
Cena got in Edge’s face, kicked away his stool, and paused as the crowd chanted, “Cena, Cena.” Cena said Edge may be a better wrestler than him, smarter than him, and more clever in using his resources, but he can tell he’s tired and exhausted and grasping at straws. He said a Last Man Standing match is a match based on punishment. He said one thing Edge knows as well as he does is he (Cena) is tougher than him. “That’s why you hate me,” Cena said. Cena said it’s not the hat or wristbands or the t-shirt or the dog tags. “It’s the truth!” he said. He turned it up to ten and said Edge hates him because every time he’s beat him down, he’s gotten back up. He yelled that if he wants to end it, hit him now and see what happens. “I will unleash hell on you. Come on, right now!” Edge stared back. Cena beat his steroid-free massive chest muscles with his even more massive steroid-free arms, then put his arms behind his back and stuck his chin out. Edge backed up and left the ring. Cena right now is flashing-red-light ridiculously muscular right now. Cena’s music played.
Ross called that one of the most introspective, intriguing, thought-provoking verbal confrontations he’s ever seen on Smackdown. I liked the framing of the match being built around who is tougher, which matches the rules.
-They plugged the tag team match with Rhodes & DiBiase vs. Carlito & Primo up next.
-A commercial aired for the WWE Draft Special on Raw on Monday where things will be shaken up. Who knows, maybe after the draft you’ll be able to see Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase on Smackdown, or John Cena even! Heck, Todd Grisham and Teddy Long could end up o Smackdown, too. Or even Raw mainstay Santino could make his Smackdown debut. In other words, things could really be shaken up next week. I can’t wait!
-Grisham thanked everyone for being part of the so-called 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania. Grisham said one thing that happened at WrestleMania is the tag team titles were unified. The Colon Brothers then walked out with both sets of tag titles over their shoulders. They showed a clip of the tag title unification match. Grisham called it a “WrestleMania bonus match,” which was news to people who bought WrestleMania in part to see the advertised match between the two tag champs to unify the belts.
4 — CARLITO & PRIMO COLON vs. CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE
Carlito and DiBiase opened the match. Ross wondered what the mission is of Legacy. Basic action for two minutes and then they cut to a break.
The heels were in control as Ross hyped the six-man tag main event at Backlash. In the end, Carlito caught Cody with a boot to the face as he charged him in the corner. As he climbed to the top rope, DiBiase yanked him down from ringside and then Cody finished him with Crossroads for the win.
WINNER: DiBiase & Rhodes in 9:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 — Pretty basic and borderline dull. Not the best way to establish that holding the unified tag titles means anything at all in terms of the quality or toughness of the title holders. But what else is new?
-The heels attacked Carlito and Primo afterward. Randy Orton walked out and joined them in the ring, looking at their fallen foes. Orton then raised the arms of Rhodes and DiBiase. Ross said they were imposing their will on Smackdown.
-Orton spoke about the six-man tag at Backlash to determine the champion. He spoke about Batista’s surprise return. He said he was the one who sent him away with a kick last time. He explained the rules of the match quite slowly, as if he was told to stretch the segment. Orton said the Batista, Triple H, Shane McMahon team is full of egomaniacs who will turn on one another. He said no matter what happens, he’ll end up the WWE Champion again. At ringside, Ross and Grisham commented. Ross said Triple H should be uncomfortable because of not only the formidable Legacy team, but also the rules of the match that leaves him vulnerable. Grisham agreed it’s a difficult dichotomy for him. They hyped the Backlash line-up so far.
-Grisham walked to ringside and explained the rules of a stretcher match. Jeff Hardy’s ring intro then took place.
-Matt Hardy’s ring intro took place. Ross wondered what kind of condition they were in just five days after their Extreme Rulez match at WrestleMania.
5 — MATT HARDY vs. JEFF HARDY — Stretcher Match
This is the type of match that deserves a couple weeks of hype. Matt managed to get the first near-win as he rolled Jeff up the aisle right to the yellow line, but Jeff got off just in time, then rode the stretcher down the aisle and dove onto Matt. They cut to a break at 3:00.
-Another commercial aired for the WWE Draft on Monday. Remember, incredible things could happen with Raw wrestlers like Jeff Hardy or even Randy Orton appearing on Smackdown next week. Matt applied a cool overhead underhook bodywrap submission. They dropped to the mat. Grisham said Matt looks like a leech, sucking the life out of Jeff. Good analogy. Matt rolled the stretcher back to ringside at 8:00 and yanked Jeff onto it. Jeff fought free half way up the ramp. He held onto the railing and then reverse kicked Matt n the face. He followed with a hard whip of Matt into the ringside steps. Matt charged at Jeff with the stroller and almost ran him over, but Jeff moved just in time. When Matt tried to bring a chair into the ring, Jeff charged at Matt and shoved the chair into him. Then he shoved Matt backward onto the stretcher. Jeff then leaped off the top rope and aimed for Matt, but badly missed and landed on the stretcher. Matt didn’t really move; Jeff just missed him. Grisham said he had too many hits to the head. Grisham then stood corrected afterward, saying Jeff meant to miss and actually catapulted the stretcher into Matt. They fought up the ramp, with Matt in control including a chairshot to Jeff’s skull. He rolled the stretcher up to and past the line to win. Matt then shoved the stretcher and it rolled all the way back to ringside and into the side of the ring.
WINNER: Matt Hardy in 14:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4 — Good main event match. Nice continued build up to Jeff Hardy fans wanting to see him prove Matt is wrong, but so far Matt has been right.
RECOMMENDED: 10 YRS AGO – KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT 4/6: WrestleMania 25 fallout, Vince McMahon vs. Randy Orton, inter gender match between Santino and Beth Phoenix, plus Punk, Steamboat, Jericho, Natalya, Miz