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I have returrrrned! Oh yes indeedy. SmackDown wasn't great last week, really. Largely due to Kane stinking up the joint, 'Word Up' annoying the shit out of me, and worst of all R-Truth's massively poi ntless skit (apparently something to do with Martin Lawrence's long-canceled TV show...) - three strikes. Let's hope they've learned.

All the WWE shows have crappy theme tunes, but SmackDown's is probably the worst. It sounds like an Aerosmith B-side. Hey, remember B-sides?

Here we go! Live from Miami, Florida. Our main event will be Jeff Hardy & Rey Mysterio vs Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler. That's pretty cool. And Edge will be interviewed about his busted ankle. Okay.

Once again it's JEEEEEFFFF HARDY! But he's in what used to be "street clothes". White vest and jeans. Yeah. No eye patch this week. Shame. JR points out that Jeff has "no face paint!" yeah, he only wears that for matches, Jimbo. Jeff reminds us of CM Punk's cool promo from last week. Jeff has waited one whole week to respond, and he does so by saying he hasn't been suspended for over a year, that he's ne ver been to rehab, he "healed himself" (that means he just stayed at home and took more drugs). CM Punk comes out before long in his pretty cool shirt which makes it look like someone has shat on him. Yeah, that's cool. Punk says that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. "you remember that from school? Probably not, because you were a screw-up then, too." Jeff does a hilarious "ooh, I'm scared!" face. This is a great two-man promo. Punk is a natural. Crowd are firmly behind Hardy. I just typed 'Crowdy' instead of Hardy. Finally, Punk pulls out his ace - "a guy like you could never beat me - I'M STRAIGHT EDGE!" I notice Punk has even subtly 'heeled-up' his facial hair. Jeff cuts off Punk's coolness - he said Jeff was going to become 'another... statistic' - by slapping Punk right out of the ring. Punk keeps his cool though, saying he has a match coming up. He then... sits down. Okay. Recap of the (superb) John Morrison vs CM Pu nk match from a few weeks back.

Wrestling time! Punk is facing... aww yeah.

John Morrison vs World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk

So glad Morrison hasn't changed his entrance or ring attire or really anything at all since turning face. Man... Morrison makes Punk look downright pudgy. Tard tells us exactly what chemical constitutes Punk's eye drops. Thanks. Punk actually does have a bit of a paunch going on. That's pretty funny. Oh yeah, wrestling. It's real good, very fluid and evenly matched for the first few minutes. Punk goes for the GTS early but Morrison turned it rather awkwardly into a monkey flip. Morrison is painfully yanked out of the ring, just in time for ADVERTISING!

BACK and JoMo is in a body scissors. He fights out briefly but pretty soon is back in it. What is that written on the soles of Punk's boots? And why does he have "31" on them? Morr ison, after about six years, escapes the body scissors and does his flippy kicky shit culminating in his running knee which got two. Top rope hurricanrana from Morrison is rolled through by Punk very smoothly into a sunset flip for two. JoMo rolling cradle gets two, Punk bridges out and immediately hits a fantastic double-underhook backbreaker for another two. Amusing kick-punch exchange before Punk slaps on a sleeper hold. Remember in the late 80s when a sleeper would get a huge pop? Well, this crowd doesn't. Morrison is out quickly anyway and gets his own sleeper for a few seconds before the always-nonsensical 'double clothesline' double knockdown. Both men are up at six, and Morrison hits his 'Chuck kick' before dragging Punk over for a Starship Pain attempt, which Punk stops, grabbing Morrison for a GTS, but JoMo slips out. Suddenly Punk goes for some sort of weird armbar thing which Morrison turns into a sort of reverse cradle - for the win! Wow . Decent little match I guess. They've done better.
Winner: John Morrison.

Morrison offers Punk a handshake. Punk looks really pissed off, and slinks out of the ring. Apparently it was an Oklahoma Roll which Punk was going for before he lost. I don't know what that is, but it sounds delicious. I bet it's just spare ribs on a bun. So, two big wins in a row for JoMo. Nice. Let's not screw up this much-deserved push, shall we?

Promo for the fantastic-looking World's Greatest Tag Teams DVD set leads into ADVERTISING followed by.... Layla. With a mic. Bourbon, please, lots of ice.

Layla's a heel but gets cheap face pops from a) being from Miami and b) being a cheerleader. She then proceeds to dance. The most obvious piped-in cheer ever indicates what is obvious to me: this crowd does not care. Layla is rather hilariously interrupted by RICKY ORTIZ, who is handing out towels. Erm, where is this going? Aren't they both heels? Aaah, the old mocking-the-local-sports-team stuff. Nice, Ricky. Ricky tells everyone to rally up. Layla mockingly does so before leaving. What, she's a face now? Tard tells us Ricky is 'heartbroken'. He has no idea, folks, for this nonsense segues straight into Word Up. Y'know, I really like Cryme Tyme - in the ring. This bullshit is just terrible. Today's word is 'championized' which isn't a fucking word. Fuck this. I have absolutely no idea what any of them are talking about. Jesse comes in again. I hope they give him a gun next week. Or me. White boy gets thrown in a laundry basket, before wondering "man, why y'all keep doin' me this way?" I feel ya, Jesse. R-Truth has an actual MATCH next. Fantastic. Oh, he's facing Kane. Ugggghhhhh...

Kane vs R-Truth

Kane is officially way past his sell-by date. He was useless last week. Maybe this will be different. Maybe he'll have a really good match, and maybe The Great Khali won't show up. Yeah, that'd be nice. R-Truth is getting great pops at the moment but his entrance is starting to grate on me ever so slightly. At least he doesn't come through the crowd anymore. Shit used to take him 25 minutes. We're underway with lots of shoving and punching. Kane does his usual crap for a while while JR puts over how big he is. God, Kane is so sloooowwww. Putting him against someone as quick as Truth just exaggerates it. Truth boots Kane out of the ring. Kane mopes around outside the ring as we go to ADVERTISING.

BACK and Truth is still being squashed by Kane. Truth manages to come back with his backflip stuff and a kick, but runs straight into a sidewalk slam which gets two. This is boring. R-Truth is a really talented guy but Kane always has the same damn match no matter who he's with. Losing the will to recap this accurately. If you've seen Kane vs anybody over the last couple of years, it's like that. Only slower. This is making Truth look useless. Please tell me why Kane needs a push of any kind. SmackDown has been notably worse since he returned. Kane is 'a former champion', says Tard rather pathetically. Truth manages to hit a DDT which gets two. He comes off the top rope straight into a big boot from Kane which gets three. LAME.
Winner: Kane

Oh wonderful, here's Khali, looking hilariously "angry". Lamest feud in WWE right now. "How about this - Kane attacks Khali for no reason causing him to lose to Dolph Ziggler. They then hit each other with chairs occasionally. GOLD!" Khali doesn't even do anything this week, as R-Truth just hit Kane with a missile dropkick, causing him to escape into the crowd. Khali isn't even chasing him. Kane, you're a bitch.

So the last 20 minutes of this show has been complete shit. Hmm. Hey, RAW next week will be hosted by ZZ TOP! Brilliant. I swear, this happened in one of my dreams once. If Raw ends with ZZ Top giving away magic lollipops to the crowd whilst John Cena rides an ostrich, I am Nostradamus.

Oh for fuck's sake. It's R-Truth doing the same fucking unfunny horrible Buckwheat bullshit from last week. He talks to the least intelligible man in history, before wandering around Miami beach being unfunny. MAKE IT STOP. Oh good, a match.

All Three Of The Hart Dynasty vs Cryme Tyme & Eve Torres

Recap of the pretty good Dynasty/Cryme Tyme match from Superstars. Unfortunately, the ladies are starting off. Natalya is awesome but totally wasted in this role. Very quickly, the gentlemen take over, and Cryme Tyme take turns pasting Kidd. JTG gets crotched on the top rope and David Hart Smith tags in. I kinda like Smith. He's improving. Solid tandem offense from Smith and Kidd. God, Kidd screams a lot. "YEAAAHH! I'VE GOT HIM IN A HEADLOCK! AAARGH!" Back to the laydeez now, with Eve hitting some nice dropkicks. I have to concur with JR that Eve has improved. She hits a decent handspring moonsault which signals all-round clusterfuckery. Kidd breaks up the pin. Natalya drops Eve onto the ropes before hitting a nutty little spinning clothesline, which gets three.
Winners: The Hart Dynasty

TO THE BACK where Ziggler is doing pushups. Maria interrupts to kiss his bicep. Ugh. So word is that Edge is gonna return around Royal Rumble time, as a full-on face. Good. He's been heel for way too long. They'd better keep him on camera. He's onscreen now to cheers. He talks about his career in a sombre, believable manner. Jericho comes out and interrupts Edge, despite the fact that Edge is on a screen. Awkward. He says he came out because Edge is making him sick. Ed ge doesn't care aboot Chris Jericho! Edge doesn't care aboot the tag titles - big whoop, Jericho seems to have left his tag belts at home. Jericho talks about being 'the ruler of the WWE Universe', causing me to picture him wielding Force lightning. That'd be cool. He lists Edge's injuries, calling him frail. Jericho's apparently never been injured. Is this true? Props to him. Hang on, wasn't it Edge who asked Jericho to tag with him? Yay, revisionism! Edge effortlessly gets cheers when he talks about returning. His theme music then hilariously hits. ADVERTISING.

BACK and Jericho's in the ring, partying down to his music and displaying some smooth breakdance moves. Not really. He's just standing there.

Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler vs Jeff Hardy & Rey Mysterio

So Ziggler is challenging Mysterio for the Intercontinental title at Night Of Champions. I'm really looking forwar d to that one actually. I'm no bandwagon-jumper (is there a Ziggler bandwagon yet?) but DolZig is really impressing me now.

I calculate that the chances of CM Punk showing up again at some point tonight are roughly 100%.

Mysterio's minty green getup makes him look like a walking toothpaste tube. AND HERE'S CM PUNK! Match hasn't even started yet. I am truly Nostradamus. Punk is joining JR and Tard on commentary. That's fine, guest commentators are just there to exhibit their love of commentary. Hardy and Jericho start off. Generic Hardy dominance to start off. Punk's eye is getting better. Poor little baba. Hardy is abruptly dropkicked off the apron, and it's ADVERTISING.

BACK and Ziggler is keeping hardy down with some distinctly Hennig-esque Advanced Headlockery. JR rather oddly says Ziggler is a contender for the world title. Er, not yet. Jericho is back in. Hardy is doing a n awful lot of lying down recently. He seems a little off his game, sadly. Hardy escapes and here comes the minty-fresh Mysterio! Usual lucha stuff from him, but it's never dull against Jericho. Natural chemistry. Rey knocks Ziggler off the apron but runs into a boot, then reverses a sunset flip, delivering a nasty kick to Jericho which gets two. Jericho winds up being hurricanrana'd but is about three feet from the ropes, so he awkwardly crawls into the 619 position, where Ziggler tags himself in, unseen by Rey. Rey hits the 619 but Ziggler pulls him off the apron hard to the outside, before rolling him back in for a two-count. Ziggler's patented Mr. Perfect headlockery ensues. Props to the guy, he can make rest holds interesting. Rey gets slammed into the corner which gets another two-count. He tries it again but gets elbowed in the face before being rana'd into the ring post. Rey escapes and both men tag out. Hardy gets the upper hand on Jericho qui ckly, getting a two-count before hitting Whisper in the Wind for another close two. Jericho tries to turn a hurricanrana into the Walls but Jeff slips out. I think it's safe to say now that it's never a wise move to try to hurricanrana Chris Jericho. Hardy hits a Twist of Fate and a Swanton, Ziggler breaks up the count but Rey attacks him. Punk isn't doing a great deal on commentary aside state the obvious. Jeff accidentally launches Jericho into Punk at ringside, and Punk returns the favour, sending Jeff into the steps and causing a DQ.
Winners by DQ: Rey Mysterio & Jeff Hardy.

Everyone is outside the ring. Ziggler goes after Rey again, hitting his nameless finisher. Jericho rolls Hardy back into the ring for a slightly screwy Codebreaker followed by the Walls. Punk looks on in a taciturn manner before leaving. JR helpfully points out that Punk is STILL the World Heavyweight Champion. Er, yeah, he wasn't in the ma tch. We close on a beaten-looking Jeff lying in the ring.

YES: I'm gonna go ahead and say that CM Punk is the best thing on SmackDown right now. He's having good matches, is great on the mic, and his heel turn has been perfectly executed. The six-man mixed tag match was formulaic, but watchable stuff. Morrison and Ziggler were also great as always.

NO: The main event should've been better. It was decent, but predictable. Why not let the heels win clean? The Layla/Ortiz bit was dumb. So she's turned face out of nowhere? R-Truth's "comedy" segment sadly returned, and failed miserably. At least he was in a match. Oh yeah, that match was crappy. Kane is a shadow of his former self and SmackDown was better off without him. Both Kane and sadly Jeff Hardy seemed to be phoning it in tonight.

WHAT? What are they doing with R-Truth? This comedy shit is just going to annoy people. And Wigga Jesse needs to just get the fuck off my screen. And what happened to Teddy Long? Is he still on "probation" or did they go ahead and imprison him?

Overall, patchy. A shame. SmackDown was really great for about five weeks, then as soon as I start recapping it, the crap starts to seep through. Figuratively, of course. Still, CM Punk is the dude at the moment, so it all balances out.

Till next week, I'm Ian Sparke, lord of all I survey.


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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).