SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MAY 8, 2009
AIRED ON MY NETWORK TV
-The show opened with Jeff Hardy winning the four-wrestler elimination match last week over Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, and Kane to earn a World Title shot at Judgment Day. The music and production of the video was well done in that it didn’t seem melodramatic or life or death, but just a winning effort from a popular wrestler in a good match.
-G.M. Teddy Long stood center-ring and introduced Rey Mysterio, hyping him as a big acquisition for Smackdown in the recent draft. Jim Ross and Todd Grisham praised Rey on his way to the ring. Rey said it feels great to be home. He said he came close last week, but he knows he’ll have another chance. He said in the mean time he’ll continue to defend the Intercontinental Title against any challengers. Chris Jericho’s music played and he walked out to the ring. Ross said Jericho’s major beef lately is not getting enough respect in the locker room. Grisham said Jericho’s always got a gripe.
Jericho got in Long’s face and complained about the praise he heaped on Rey as “the face of Smackdown.” He said Long should introduce him as that. Long refused. Jericho said that’s fine because he is the Superstar of the Year 2008. He listed his title reigns and said just being on the show makes Smackdown a higher profile show and the preeminent brand of WWE. He insulted the fans and Long for being disrespectful. He demanded he apologize to him and wanted an explanation for being disqualified last week. “I want a championship match,” Jericho insisted. Rey said, “And I want you to shut up.” Jericho said, “You better watch your mouth, little man.” There aren’t many WWE wrestlers Jericho can say that to. Rey said, “I want you to shut up,” and then he shoved him to the mat. “Face it, man. You lost,” said Rey. He said the fans don’t need to hear his crap “and neither do I.” He walked away. Jericho complained that Rey was disrespecting him by walking away. Hardy’s music played and he walked to the ring.
Hardy told Jericho if he wants a title shot, he has to “beat me, your charismatic number one contender.” Hardy shouldn’t be referring to himself as charismatic; leave that to others. Hardy said Jericho throws a lot of words around, but he is the biggest liar and hypocrite. Hardy offered to wrestle Jericho, and if he wins, he wants Long to add him to the title match at Judgment Day and make it a three-way. He said he will win and prove he’s a sore loser, then he slapped him to the mat. Jericho slinked out of the ring while rubbing his chin and staring down Hardy. Long said it’s official, if he beats Hardy he’ll be added to the Triple Threat match at Judgment Day. Ross said, “Jericho seemingly got rewarded for whining.” But he added that if he loses, he has egg all over his face.
1 — R-TRUTH vs. MIKE KNOX
He gets a 10 score this week for actually singing to the beat of his own song for the first time in WWE. He was spot on. Why was that so hard not to seem entirely overwhelmed by the pace of the lyrics and the beat of his own song? This is an interesting match because the outcome could determine which of these two are on the way up the card. They showed Ross and Grisham on camera during Knox’s intro. Ross talked about Knox’s attributes. He said backstage when Knox wears his glasses, he looks like a science professor, but then when he takes them off, he looks like a product of a crazy professor. Knox overpowered Truth early, but Truth came back at 2:00 and his a scissors kick for a near fall. Grisham gave Truth the title that used to belong to Shelton Benjamin as the best pure athlete in WWE. When the ref pulled Truth out of the corner when he had Knox there for the five count, Knox surprised him with a big boot and his finsher, which neither announced called by a name.
WINNER: Knox in 3:00.
STAR RATING: * — What did we learn from this? Not a lot other than Knox isn’t there to be a jobber. He didn’t get a clean win since the ref distraction cost Truth the match, so they were protecting Truth somewhat, but they’re not planning on pushing Truth to the top tier quickly, either, based on him losing here.
-They showed a split screen of Gail Km and Michelle McCool heading to the entrance tunnel.
2 — MICHELLE MCCOOL (w/Alicia Fox) vs. GAIL KIM
After initial offense by Kim, McCool bailed out. Kim went after her and threw her back into the ring. McCool caught Kim and dropped her over the top rope and scored a one count.
Kim made a comeback at 3:00 and climbed to the top rope and hit a blockbuster for a two count. McCool draped her leg over the bottom rope. Kim came back with a hurancanrana attempt, but McCool turned it into Faith Breaker (a/k/a Styles Clash) for the win.
WINNER: McCool in 4:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 — I know WWE doesn’t want to push one diva over the others so they can keep anyone from getting too big of a head and too big a contract, but this even-steven booking with the top six or eight divas makes them all seem mediocre. Who wants to watch an NFL season of all teams who make the playoffs going 9-7 or 8-8 and the worst teams being 7-9? They need to get behind someone and make them “the one to beat.”
-A clip aired of Hardy on “The Cutting Edge” on WWE Superstars on Thursday night.
-Josh Matthews interviewed Hardy backstage regarding his main event against Jericho later. Hardy said the only thing running through his mind right now is the World Title and stopping Jericho from running his mouth.
-Backstage, Ricky Ortiz chatted with Maria, with Long sitting by, about marketing. Edge walked in and mocked Ortiz’s “Rally Up!” catch phrase. Long asked what he can do for Edge. Edge said he can start by not giving Jericho a chance at his title at Judgment Day. Long said he should feel lucky about having his title this week since Umaga saved him from losing it to Punk last week. Long said he’s going to book Edge vs. Punk tonight. Edge said, “A non-title match, right?” Long said that’s the case unless Punk decides to cash in his Money in the Bank contract tonight. “Now you feelin’ that?” asked Long.
-John Morrison’s ring intro took place. They blured his belt buckle or crotch region for some reason as he gyrated on the second rope and posted for the crowd. Not sure why.
-A local house show ad for the Mankato, Minn. event in August hyped that tickets begin at $20 and it’s the best value in live entertainment. They really stressed the affordability factor.
3 — JOHN MORRISON vs. CHARLIE HAAS
Shelton Benjamin accompanied Haas to ringside and sat down. Apparently there’s a smudge on the camera lens as the same camera blurred a similar area of the screen as they showed Benjamin sitting down. They’re playing up that Haas is being more aggressive and showing a mean streak. At 2:00 Haas scored a two count after a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Two minutes later, much to the dismay of Shelton at ringside, Morrison hit a running knee and a split-legged corkscrew legdrop for the win.
WINNER: Morrison in 4:00.
STAR RATING: * — Haas is still Haas, but the involvement of Shelton in Haas’s business again is intriguing. Could we see the World’s Greatest Tag Team reunited? It seemed they were pushing the singles feud between Morrison and Shelton as opposed to any hints of a reuniting of the tag team.
-The showed Punk with his briefcase heading toward the entrance tunnel.
-A sponsored replay aired of Umaga attacking Punk las week. Ross said we still don’t know the meaning of that sneak attack.
4 — C.M. PUNK vs. EDGE
Ross said Punk is in Edge’s head after beating him with the Go To Sleep last week. At 3:00 Punk dove through the ropes onto Edge on the floor, then threw him right back into the ring. He sprung off the top rope, but Edge moved and then hit Punk with a kick to the face.
Punk made a comeback at 5:00 and hit a kneelift and then a springboard clothesline for a two count. Edge lifted Punk onto his shoulders, but Punk flipped into a victory roll for a near fall. He then went for a Go To Sleep. Edge blocked it. Punk hit the running knee and went for another GTS. Edge grabbed the top rope with both hands. Punk pulled him free. Edge went for a spear. Punk leapfrogged him. Edge flew to the floor. He then walked back up the ramp and was intentionally counted out.
WINNER: Punk via countout in 7:00.
STAR RATING: *3/4 — Good short match. The finish in isolation is fine as they’re playing up that Edge does not fight with honor, but too many non-pinfall/submission finishes can undercut the value of matches in general over time, so WWE should try work more matches into TV shows where they feel they can afford a clean finish.
-As Punk watched Edge retreat, Umaga attacked him again, giving him a Samoan Spike and knocking him out. It’s still odd that Umaga, who just speaks gibberish and is portrayed as some wild savage who can’t be controlled, has such an intricate braided hairstyle. Is he drugged by some mysterious unknown handler and tied down for the multi-hour braiding process against his will? Or is he a fake savage who’s actually vain about his hair looking just so?
-They showed the skyline of Pittsburgh, then showed the Pittsburg Steelers having a fun brawl in the front row.
-Cryme Tyme came out and said they wanted to help settle the dispute between Layla and Eve Torres. They refereed an arm wrestling contest between them and did play-by-play during it. Layla called time out mid-stream and began screaming like a monkey. Afterward, Layla attacked Eve with a modified neckbreaker.
-Backstage Dolph Ziggler interrupted Jesse and Jimmy Wang Yang. He said they’ll want to listen to what he has to say in the ring next.
-WWE Fact: Last week Smakdown was watched by more people than any program on The CW or Fox. I know WWE likes to take little digs at their former home network The CW, but this just draws attention to the network that otherwise isn’t even on most people’s radars. I’d welcome being grouped with Fox if I were The CW, no matter the context.
-Ziggler said: “Now that I am on Smackdown, I’m going to rip through the entire roster and show everyone what a real winner is.” He said he will secure his place as the top WWE Smackdown Superstar and make sure everyone knows his name.
5 — THE GREAT KHALI vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
No Ranjin Singh this week. Khali threw Ziggler into the ropes by shoving his chest, then clotheslined him. He chopped him in the corner next, drawing “ohhhs” from the crowd. Grisham said it sounded like a fire cracker. Ziggler grabbed a chair from ringside and used it against Khali. The ref DQ’d him. Ross said everyone in the Smackdown locker room should take notice that Ziggler means business.
WINNER: Khali via DQ in 2:00.
STAR RATING: 1/4* — Another in a new abundance of non-pinfall and non-submission finishes.
-The Raw Rebound aired focused on Super Shane-O-Mac against Legacy.
-They went to Grisham and Ross at ringside talking about the beating Orton gave Shane. Then they hyped the Judgment Day line-up.
-Edge walked to the ring to get an up-close look at the main event.
6 — JEFF HARDY vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Edge joined Ross and Grisham on commentary. Ross asked Edge if he stands by his description of Hardy as a screw up. Edge said he is. Ross asked how Hardy beat him for the title. Edge said it was a three-way match, something he’s hoping to avoid at Judgment Day. Hardy came out first, then Jericho. Edge accused Long of abusing his authority. Edge said he walked out earlier because it was a non-title match, and if he stuck around he’d just give Punk a chance to cash in his MITB briefcase. He said that wouldn’t be wise. At 1:00 Hardy went for an early Swanton, but Jericho rolled to the floor before Hardy took the leap. Rey walked toward the ring and approached Jericho. Hardy jumped a distracted Jericho and threw him back into the ring. Hardy whipped Jericho into the ring barrier at 3:00. He charged at Jericho, but Jericho moved and Hardy crashed into the ring barrier. “It served the risk-taker right,” said Edge.
The ref began to count Hardy out at ringside. Ross said Jericho might win by countout. Hardy made it back just before the tenth count. Jericho made a quick cover, but Hardy kicked out at the last second. They cut to a break.
Edge complained about Rey being at ringside. Jericho remained on offense for a while. Edge said this is the only time he’ll have the pompons on for Jeff Hardy. Hardy hit a Whisper in the Wind at 10:00 for a two count. Jericho flipped Hardy into a Boston crab center ring. “Don’t be a coward! Don’t be a wimp, Jeff,” pleaded Edge. “Be a man.” Hardy reached the bottom rope. Jericho complained about the forced break by the ref. Hardy gave Jericho a facebuster suplex, then went for the Swanton. Jericho moved, then hit the Lionsault for a near fall. Hardy ducked an enzuigiri, but Jericho avoided a Twist of Fate a second later. He went for another Walls of Jericho, but Hardy shoved him into the ropes and then applied a small package. Jericho reversed it into two count. Hardy clotheslined Jericho over the top rope and both tumbled to the floor at 13:00. Jericho threw Hardy into the laps of the announcers, knocking Edge down in the process. When Jericho went after Hardy, Ross said it was calculated and intentional. Back in the ring Jericho scored a near fall. Edge stood on the ring apron and yelled at Jericho. Hardy schoolboyed a distracted Jericho for a two count. Edge walked around the ring with is belt. Rey met him. Jericho then went for a pin on Jericho with his legs on the middle rope. Rey pointed it out to the ref. Jericho yelled at Rey to mind his own business. Hardy surprised Jericho with a Twist of Fate followed by a Swaton that hit, leading to the pin.
WINNER: Hardy in 16:00.
STAR RATING: ***1/4 — Good match. The Edge involvement kept the Judgment Day PPV in focus. A big win for Hardy, too, that will convince some fans he has a chance to win the title at Judgment Day, which is an important belief for WWE’s audience to have headed into a PPV.
-Afterward, Rey dove onto Jericho and then his music played. That further set up the Jericho-Rey feud based on Rey wanting to shut up the ever-complaining Jericho.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Good show. Not at the level of last week, but still a good episode with the new mix of talent freshening things up.