LOWDOWN ON SMACKDOWN
BY IAN SPARKE
Evenin' all. I'm in
the wrong country this week. Instead of northern
England, I am in New York. Closer to Titan Towers
than I've ever been! I can smell the Wellness in the
air... at least I think that's what it is.
kick off this week with a typically overdramatised
recap of last week's main event (Hardy/Mysterio vs
Jericho/Ziggler). Turns out Jeff never actually
threw Jericho INTO Punk - Punk leisurely got out of
the way about two seconds before, making his
pissedoffness slightly funnier. The voiceover here
is highlighting the heelish stuff Punk has said in
recent promos. All he needs is one big I AM A HEEL
NOW moment and I'll be a happy monkey. Will this be
Live from Richmond, Virginia and we
have a champion-vs-champion main event tonight, CM
Punk vs Rey Mysterio. I remember a very decent match
between these two, so good. YET AGAIN we have Jeff
Hardy out to open the show. Sorry, JEEEEEEEEEFFF
HARDY. Huge pop, even for him. Should be a hot
crowd. Crowd still going nuts after a minute or two,
and he even gets some 'we're not worthy' bows. He's
on the mic. He says he's sick of CM Punk preaching
his straightedge lifestyle. Uh, he only mentioned it
once, but okay.
Jeff is facing Chris
Jericho tonight. He says it's time for Jericho's
walls to come crumbling down, then throws in an
amusing "thankyou, Richmond!" at the end as if he's
literally a rock star. For two seconds I reminisce
upon Van Hammer vs JT Southern, then I'm glad to be
in 2009. Jericho is out and we're underway.
Jeff Hardy w/o facepaint vs Chris Jericho w/o Tag
Hardy takes the upper hand from
the start, taking it in and out of the ring. Generic
Hardy stuff including a very nice hurricanrana,
before Jericho blocks a baseball slide and pulls
Jeff out of the ring as we go to ADVERTISING.
BACK and I have a hunch there will be CM Punk
shenanigans in this match. And probably Jeff Hardy
shenanigans in Punk's match later on. Y'know, just a
wild stab in the dark. Jericho has Hardy in a
sort-of sleeper (I really need to brush up on my
move names. I know a lot but I MUST KNOW ALL). This
rest hold lasts for a while as JR and Tard play up
Night of Champions, which actually doesn't look too
bad. Jeff escapes and hits a crossbody for two. Nice
running enzuigiri by Jericho gets two also. Jericho
gets some brief offense in and Jeff is down. Jericho
taunts Jeff, stepping on his chest and kicking him
around. Jeff seems more on planet earth than he has
done in recent weeks. Good. Jericho goes for a
Hitman-style second rope elbowdrop but actually hits
Jeff with his knees. He goes for a cover with his
feet on the ropes, which the ref stops. Second rope
hangman gets two. Jeff is overplaying the
face-in-peril thing in this match I feel - he's
getting away with it though, this crowd is really
fired up. He comes back with a sort of forearm thing
and a couple more forearm things. Atomic drop,
crotch legdrop, low dropkick, two count. Trademark
Hardy comeback leading up to a Swanton attempt which
misses. Jericho hits the lionsault (for a change!)
which gets a close two. I don't think these two have
much chemistry together, to be honest, even though
they're both good. It's like Mr Perfect vs Shawn
Michaels. To and fro from here, eventually Jericho
reverses Hardy's corner dropkick into the Walls,
which Jeff escapes. My apologies for not recapping
this in a more entertaining manner, I'm being
distracted by an insane thunderstorm. Whisper in the
Wind gets two, more to-and-fro... codebreaker causes
Jeff to roll outside the ring unseen, with a
hilarious "where'd he go?" moment from Jericho.
Jericho's epic search ends and he rolls the
apparently unconscious Jeff in for... two! JEFF
HARDY IN 'NOT UNCONSCIOUS' SHOCKER. Jericho switches
into 'pissed off' mode, kicking Hardy around before
walking into a Twist of Fate. With the speed of a
tectonic plate, Hardy goes up for a Swanton, but
Jericho crotches him on the turnbuckle. Punchup on
the turnbuckles leads to Jericho falling and Jeff
hitting a pretty stiff-looking Swanton for three.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
That was pretty generic stuff. Functional I guess.
Where was Punk?
TO THE BACK and Michelle
McCool is having her makeup done by an unattractive
middleaged woman. Figures. She talks in a slightly
vacant monotone about how amazing she is. Melina
comes in with straightened hair to be a bitch. They
have a rematch for the Women's title at Night of
Champions. Melina throws a bunch of makeup over
McCool before saying "I also do hair". Women just
aren't funny, are they? Ever. ADVERTISING.
It's a John Morrison video package! Cool. And now,
it's The Great Khali! Sigh. He is facing the beard
that ate MIKE KNOX, who I completely and utterly
forgot was still on the roster. Welcome back, Mike.
The Great Khali w/ Ranjin Singh vs Mike Knox
Knox is apparently over 6'6". Huh. Khali makes him
look like a jobber for approximately ten
seconds before Kane shows up and uses his vast
sucking power to telepathically remove all of
Khali's strength, allowing Knox to get some offense
in. Khali quickly recovers and hits a Punjabi Plunge
Winner: The Great
Kane has just been standing motionless
on the ramp like a huge muscular baby. Khali goads
him into the ring and Tard actually says "we may
just see these two buildings collide!"... Okay,
there's hyperbole and there's just nonsense,
Grisham. THESE AREN'T MEN! THEY'RE PLANETS! THE
GREAT KHALI IS A PLANET, AND RANJIN SINGH IS HIS
MOON! Anyway, Kane puts one foot into the ring and
then wimps out. "Is Kane playing mind games?"
wonders Tard. No, he's just being a huge hairless
Tonight, aside from his match with
Mysterio, CM Punk is challenging THE ENTIRE WWE
UNIVERSE! Woah, don't let that World Title go to
your head yet, Mr. Ring of Honor... there is no way
this will be as entertaining as the mental image in
my head, but it might be cool anyway. Oh, lovely!
It's 'Word Up', my least favourite thing on WWE TV.
I let them yammer on mindlessly as usual without
paying attention really at all. Today's word is
'G.O.A.T.' which is an acronym for Greatest Of All
Time. The Hart Dynasty shows up and this leads into
a shill for the Tag Team DVD set, which shouldn't
need any shilling as it looks great. The inherently
slappable Jesse ('Slam Masta J' seems to have stuck)
says he should be on the DVD set. Completely
ignoring Festus, he says it's because he comes from
the same place as the Fabulous Freebirds. That's
actually a good point. Fuck Festus. I zoned out a
little and paid attention to the insane weather
ZIGGLER! And his chickadee, Maria - has she turned
heel?! Dolph's on the mic. He reminds us of his
Intercontinental title match. I really hope he wins
that one actually. ADVERTISING and we find out he's
facing Finlay who STILL has that fucking midget's
Dolph Ziggler w/ Maria vs Finlay
Finlay is apparently a third-generation wrestler.
'Finlay' is just his surname, so I hope his father
and grandfather were just 'Finlay' too. Finlay also
has quite a paunch these days. And Dolph is actually
kicking his ass. I won't bother recapping this
move-by move but Dolph gets in most of the offense
and looks pretty good. Things turn around briefly
when Finlay boots Ziggler into the announcer's
table. Maria tends to her beau and Ziggler hits his
finisher outside the ring (which looks good) - and
Finlay gets counted out.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler.
Maria gives DOLPH a hug. Aww. Decent little match I
guess. TO THE BACK and Chris Jericho (with a huge
icepack taped to his shoulder for some reason -
maybe Jeff fucked him up with that Swanton) is
chatting to Kane. This means that his partner for
the tag title match will not be Kane. ADVERTISING.
BACK and CM Punk is out to 'challenge the WWE
Universe' in what should be another great promo.
Solid boos for him at last. Awesome. As soon as he
utters the words 'Just Say No', I'm hooked. This is
absolutely the way to go. Punk's straightedge promos
from ROH are priceless as we all know by now, and
this is a big-time version of that. Punk apparently
is a big-time asshole about being straightedge in
real life, refusing autographs to smokers, etc, so
this promo is totally natural, and fantastically
Eventually Jeff Hardy
comes out. The atmosphere here is brilliant, as Punk
says 'I'm not going to enable you' and 'I'm gonna
just say no' before strolling out of the ring and up
the ramp without even turning around. That was
pretty cool but I was expecting a bit of a POW!
moment. Maybe that'll come later. ADVERTISING. Jeez,
how many ad breaks are there on US TV? It takes
about three days to watch a film.
it's Diva time. Yay. Eve is out with Cryme Tyme, to
their music. Natalya is out 'with The Hart Dynasty',
well hang on, she's IN the Hart Dynasty. Semantics!
Eve w/ Cryme Tyme vs Natalya w/ The Rest Of The
Glad to see Natalya get some
ring time, she's one of the most capable Divas on
the roster. Eve is still improving too, and we're
getting an above-average Diva match. ie, it's not
all slapping, hair-pulling and screaming. Natalya
dusts off her surfboard (not a euphemism) before Eve
turns it around with some dropkicks. These two are
actually pretty stiff together (insert joke here).
Eve hits a pretty good moonsault, which gets three.
I was actually distracted by how non-shit that was.
Chris Jericho tells The Great Khali that he's one of
the front runners to hold the tag titles with him.
Khali says "comedy" I think, but Ranjin Singh gives
a much longer translation. Basically Khali said no.
What a surprise.
Apparently Vince McMahon is
'high' on R-Truth's Pretty Ricky "character" (which
he was doing backstage just for a laugh before
McMahon decided to put it on TV...) - this is both
crushingly unsurprising and really irritating.
Luckily R-Truth is in action next. ADVERTISING.
Back and Truth is doing his entrance where he
normally raps horribly off-time. He's actually
dead-on tonight, and even throws in some dance
moves. Hilariously, he's facing a jobber. Oh wait,
it's Charlie Haas, who doesn't even get announced.
R-Truth vs Charlie Haas
Pointless wager: if Charlie Haas wins this match, I
will never watch wrestling again. Interesting spot
comes when Truth apparently jarrs his knee doing his
cartwheel out of the corner. Haas does some generic
heelery, targeting Truth's knee. Which he does for a
very long time. JR and Tard refer to Truth's alter
ego as 'Delicious' which is wrong. Maybe Martin
Lawrence sued them. That'd be classic. Has Haas
always had ginger hair? How have I not noticed? Hm.
Anyway, Truth comes back, momentarily thinking it's
1983 or something as he goes for a pin after an
armdrag. Haas misses a corner charge and Truth hits
an insane corkscrew scissors kick for three.
JR and Tard take to the ring
to go over the NoC lineup. I maintain that it looks
promising, minus the
seen-it-so-many-times-I-might-fucking-cry WWE Title
And here's our main event - something
like 20 minutes to go, this should be interesting.
World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk vs
Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio
Rey is out with a ridiculous over-mask which looks
like it was made out of gift wrap by a child. Oh, ha
ha. It was. It was designed by a contest winner in
WWE Kids magazine - who is present in the crowd to
get the monstrosity given back to him. Fuck you,
kid. Slow start to this with the two warily
exchanging leg holds - we do have almost fifteen
minutes to go to be fair. There's soon a staredown.
Well, a stare-up. Rey gets quickly fired into the
ring post and Punk takes the upper hand. He works
basic stuff but throws in shoves and cocky glances
and nice little heely touches. Rey eventually
backflips out of an armbar, gets a few strikes in on
Punk whilst keeping hold of his hand, goes up to the
top for some lucha shit but gets shoved to the
outside. Punk keeps him out with a baseball slide as
we go to ADVERTISING.
BACK and surprise
surprise, Rey's in a rest hold. Punk maintains the
momentum convincingly, working Rey over in a
distinctly heelish manner, mostly working on Rey's
arm. A logical thing to do with a high-flyer. Punk's
always-cool tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two before
he puts Rey in another armbar. The crowd are getting
a little quiet now. Just as I type that, every
ten-year-old in the building slowly starts a '619'
chant. It doesn't work, Rey's still getting beaten
up. Another armbar. Hmm. A little rash, giving these
two 15 minutes plus? Punk is showing off how many
submission holds he knows, including a slightly
comical standing reverse surfboard thing which sees
him wearing Rey like a tiny Mexican backpack. Rey
starts to slowly come back as DOLPH strolls down to
ringside. This somehow gives Rey magical powers, as
he hits a springboard crossbody for two, and a
superb dropkick for another two. Punk is set up for
a 619 but turns and backdrops Rey, who hits a
springboard senton instead before knocking Ziggler
off the apron and running straight into a spinning
heel kick from Punk. Punk keeps it going from here,
and a nice little sequence sees Rey go for another
springboard senton before being caught by Punk in
the GTS position. Rey fights out, turning it into a
wheelbarrow bulldog. As Punk uses the ropes to crawl
to his feet, Rey hits a quick 619 and a splash,
before Ziggler breaks up the pin for the DQ.
disqualification: Rey Mysterio.
bell, Rey goes for a 619 on Ziggler, but Punk takes
Rey down (why?) before rolling out of the ring and
escaping extremely slowly. Ziggler stalks Rey before
hitting his increasingly cool-looking finisher -
twice - which really needs a name. Ziggler continues
working on Rey before Jeff Hardy storms out at top
speed straight past Punk (causing Punk to drop the
belt! FORESHADOWING?!) to rescue Rey. Punk then
callously sneaks in and hits the GTS on Jeff. Nice.
This was a decent SD, better than
either of the last two, easy.
There wasn't a bad match tonight, which is great.
Punk continues to be extremely watchable and Jeff
looked a lot better than he has done recently also.
Also, NO PRETTY RICKY!
NO: Word Up still exists. Khali/Knox was
pointless. Kane continues to be a ridiculous
WHAT?: Rey's mask was... funny. And once
again, WHERE IS TEDDY LONG?
That is that! I
am Ian Sparke, King of New York (for a while).
TO IAN SPARKE