LOWDOWN ON SMACKDOWN
BY IAN SPARKE
Here we go, LIVE from Phoenix. Our main event is Hardy vs Punk in a steel cage, for the title. Alright. The cage is hanging ominously and Punk is out, awkwardly introduced as “the new and only straightedge World Heavyweight Champion in history”. He's limping to the ring, possibly legit. Real heavy boos, building up when he brilliantly says “I tooold ya so!”. Vid package from the TLC match makes me want to watch it again. Sad music over slow-motion plummeting Jeff to make the girls cry. Punk does his smug bastard stuff and is real good. He also reminds us of the pretty fucking cool return of The Undertaker, stepping back into his #1 Face slot now Jeff's taking time off (whoops, spoilt the main event). I'm not totally sure how well a Taker/Punk feud would work, really. Punk's character is a bastard but a very down-to-earth, human one. He's the polar opposite of Taker. Anyway, Jeff just cut Punk off and has hobbled out to the ring to a good pop.
Jeff says Punk's reign ends tonight, usual “I'm going to win” face stuff. Punk's promo isn't as good as it usually is, he's gone a bit Chris Jericho, constantly insulting the crowd. Hmm. He does say he's sick and tired of being booed. Ha ha, “I'm fed up with you!” Punk proposes that the loser of the match is thrown out of the WWE and there are audible 'aw no' type noises, as the crowd know where this is going. Big 'Hardy' chant starts anyway and Jeff accepts. And here's our occasionally-MIA GM, playa. Teddy Long is out and confirms the Loser Leaves Town stipulation, as well as saying that the winner will defend the title against Taker in a submission match at Breaking Point (the mention of which got some piped-in cheers). Undertaker makes his official return to SmackDown next week according to a short video, and we're at ADVERTISING.
BACK and here's the best in-ring performer in WWE right now, John Morrison. Yup, he's my favourite guy in the whole company. Deal with it. He's tagging with Matt Hardy, who hopefully won't hit the deck giving an Irish whip this week (tee hee). He's also thankfully lost that awful chinstrap beard he had for a while that made him look like an Amish strip-o-gram. Anyway, they're facing (surprise surprise), the Hart Dynasty, who are really sort of treading water I think. Stick 'em in a proper feud! Give them promo time, for fuck's sake. Or does Tyson Kidd only communicate by screaming?
John Morrison & Matt Hardy vs The Hart Dynasty
Matt still has a gut. Morrison makes him look downright flabby. Matt and Kidd start off and quickly Kidd is the victim of some pretty nice double-teaming from Matt & John (most boring tag team name ever). Natalya distracts Matt and Kidd lands a kick and tags in David Hart Smith, and Matt is made to look like a fat bitch, the 'let's go Hardy!' chants doing zip. Matt escapes a neckbreaker and turns it into a reverse DDT, tagging in Morrison, who hits some beautiful kicks and his pitch-perfect standing SSP for two. Kidd and Hardy brawl a little on the outside, and soon Smith falls victim to Starship Pain for the win. Wow, that was way too short.
Winners: John Morrison & Matt Hardy
Way, way too short. I guess Matt is still a little rusty, that was essentially a squash with Morrison doing the lion's share of the work. Passable I guess.
BACK and I don't want to watch Wrestlemania 25 again thankyou (“twenty-fifth anniversary” my ass. It was the twenty-fourth. Work it out). Melina and Maria are yammering backstage. Maria is wondering why people can't be happy for her and Dolph. Maria accuses Melina of being jealous. It's bad soap opera acting as Melina leaves. Dolph apparently brought a woman backstage, ho ho, it was his sister. Riveting.
What's this music? It sounds like The Police. Real fearsome. Oh hey, it's Drew McIntyre. Remember him? Me either. He's here to lose to R-Truth.
R-Truth vs Drew McIntyre
In an instant-heat move, McIntyre jumps Truth and apparently knocks him out cold right as he gets into the ring. He then gets a mic, says some ineffectual Scottish stuff, throws the mic down and leaves. I HATE NO-CONTEST FINISHES.
Here's Michelle McCool, on crutches. What? Apparently when Melina shoved McCool last week, that injured her knee. Lame. She introduces Layla, who is facing Melina.
Melina vs Layla
Boy howdy, I can't wait for this surefire classic. Melina tweaks her knee early on, and Layla pathetically targets it for a few minutes before falling into Melina's screaming legdrop thing for the loss. Crap! Winner: Melina
Melina then shoves McCool over. No! She'll never walk again if you keep shoving her to the floor! Man, I remember when Melina was good. Fuck this, the divas are boring at the moment, every last one.
I really want to see the Rise And Fall Of WCW set. I'm sure that'll be totally unbiased and partisan. I hope it covers Vince Russo's title reign in depth, he was a fantastic performer. Yeah, fuck Russo. He fucked up WCW and TNA is total dog shit. I'm calling it right down the middle, folks. And here's Rey THE DRUG FIEND Mysterio. Full of fucking drugs, he hoists his Intercontinental Title, then probably takes lots of drugs while we're not looking. His mask is pink. He thinks it looks cool because he's on loads of drugs. Sorry, I find it pretty funny that Rey got suspended. I actually said 'aww!' out loud when I read about it. We are reminded of the Ziggler/Mysterio match at Breaking Point which ain't gon' happen. After the ad break, Mysterio is facing KANE. HOW EXCITING. NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE. ADVERTISING.
Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio w/ drugs vs Kane w/ black hole-like sucking power
BACK and lord only knows how I'm gonna get through this. Kane fucking sucks now. He fucking NEEDED to go back to the mask. I'm so sick of his stupid bald head. JR and Tard attempt to salvage things by reminding us of pertinent things like how much bigger Kane is than Rey, and how vicious Kane is, and that Rey is the 'ultimate underdog'. Anyway, the match you have in your head is better than this. Kane beats up Rey for a while, Rey fights back with lucha stuff, Kane socks Mysterio in the jaw (the one thing he can do that looks good, a punch) as he comes off the top. Key spot sees Rey jump off the apron to the outside, but Kane dodges and Rey lands on his feet before being leveled by a pretty vicious-looking big boot. Kane rams Rey into the ring post, and the ref says 'one more time and that's it! Don't do it!' but Kane of course laughs and does it again and gets disqualified. Fucking idiot.
Winner by DQ: Rey Mysterio
What a waste of time. Oh fuck, here comes Khali to save the day, along with Singh (whose jacket says 'The Great Khali Says...'. Anyway, Khali blocks some punches but Kane escapes – and Singh amusingly attacks him with a Singapore cane. Kane threatens a chokeslam but Khali gets the cane and just thrashes the hell out of Kane with it, stiff as you like. Good. Tard described the cane as being 'six inches in diameter' which is of course massively incorrect. AND HERE IS DOLPH, who of course goes right after Rey and hits the Zig Zag, and gets some nice heat into the bargain. SummerSlam vid package. God, I really, really fucking hate that Aerosmith song. Piece of shit. ADVERTISING.
BACK and yes, the cage is still up there with lots of flashing lights shining on it. Here's JeriShow. Clearly their theme tune was a total fucking shambles, so they got a new one which is also shit, but at least it's semi-original shit. We are reminded of the stuff with Mayweather from Raw. I really wasn't paying attention to that episode. All the stuff with Vince and DX was like audiovisual quaaludes, I just shut down. Jericho is on the mic, again, and the day has finally arrived where I'm starting to get a little sick of Jericho as a heel. He's had a good heel run but it's like he's not even trying now. He's a slightly dull mixture of Raven and Randy Orton, promo-wise. In a very long-winded way he tells us that they are champions. He then hilariously holds the mic up to Show who says “Unified Tag Team Champions” in the manner of Frankenstein's monster. Jericho is facing Shad, which could be good I guess.
Unified Tag Team Champion Chris Jericho w/ Big Show vs Shad Gaspard w/ JTG Shad takes the wheel right away and hosses around in a pretty impressive manner. Jericho's a really great seller, especially against bigger guys (can't wait for his inevitable feud against Taker), and this is pretty fun. But, things turn to clusterfuckery with all four guys after about two minutes, which brings out Teddy Long (twice in one night! Earn that check, Theodore!) who makes the match a tag match. Okay, that was a bit pointless. ADVERTISING.
BACK, and the match is now JeriShow vs Cryme Tyme, very sorry for the inconvenience. JTG seems to have the upper hand against Jericho but is soon pitched to the outside, where Big Show rolls him back in but not before delivering a hard chop to JTG's chest. Show tags in and does his slow-motion stuff (although he's rather more technical these days, doing actual wrestling holds). Jericho tags back in and JTG escapes a quick rest hold to tag Shad in. Jericho is soon down after a very cool big boot. Jericho runs the ropes and makes the blind tag to Big Show. Shad turns around and walks right into the FALCON PUNCH for the loss. Winners: Chris Jericho and Big Show
JR just described Big Show's hand – no word of a lie – as 'carcinogenic'. Okay, hyperbole knows no bounds on WWE TV. CARCINOGENIC! There's nothing to say to that, is there. One punch from Big Show can give you CANCER! No, no, no. Stupid JR. Yet another recap of Taker returning (in a kind of nonsensical way – where did Jeff go when they switched places?), and we go TO THE BACK where Jeff is painting himself up. In comes Matt to wish him good luck. Jeff says he lives for the moment, and the moment is now, as the cage lowers accompanied by dramatic music... and we abruptly go to ADVERTISING...
BACK and the cage is finally down and with close to 20 minutes left of the show, we're underway. This should be a good match even if everybody in the room kinda knows which way it's gonna go.
Jeff Hardy vs CM Punk (c), World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage match, Loser Leaves WWE
Jeff is out first with a slight limp and a great pop, but CM Punk runs out (with a bandaged arm and shoulder – where did that come from?) and jumps Jeff in the aisle, knocking him down and then catapulting him into the cage. He hiptosses Jeff and suplexes him outside the ring before finally rolling him inside so the bell can ring. Punk amusingly goes to escape right away but Hardy stops him. Hardy gets beaten down and Punk goes to escape again (it's always by climbing, never through the door of course), and this repeats a couple of times. Punk shoves Hardy backwards off the top rope, and gets a two-count. Both guys look authentically beaten up already. Great sellers, both. Things go pretty slowly, with Hardy on the receiving end of most of the brawling. Jeff hits an atomic drop and covers Punk in the missionary position. Didn't need to see that. A Whisper In The Wind gets two and both guys are down as we go to ADVERTISING.
BACK and Hardy is almost at the top of the cage. Crowd is going impressively nuts, actually. Hardy kicks Punk in the face and instead of continuing his escape, hits a crossbody off the top for two. Lots of crawling around, Hardy going for the door unsuccessfully, as Punk grabs him and catapults him into the cage wall, but Hardy clings on and starts climbing, prompting Tard to dust off the very original Spider-Man comparison. Hardy gets right to the top and the crowd goes apeshit, but Punk follows, and both guys brawl whilst walking along the top rope as Hardy attempts to dive out again. Hardy escapes a superplex and crotches Punk on the ropes, before hitting a Swanton (when he could've fucking escaped easily). Jeff's too slow on the cover, and Punk kicks out at the last microsecond. Amusingly Punk is up first, and starts to climb, but Hardy crawls for the door. Jeff makes it almost to the steps but is dragged back in by Punk, who eats a mule kick. Jeff then crossbody's Punk against the cage wall as we go, again, to ADVERTISING. Way to keep the flow of the match alive!
BACK and Punk is crawling towards the door and actually gets his hands on the floor, amusingly yelling “I'M OUT! I'M OUT!” but Hardy drags Punk back in again. “Boo”/”Yay” punch exchange, GTS attempt turned into a backslide by Hardy for two. Double underhook backbreaker by Punk gets another two. Very slowly, both guys get to their feet, and Hardy escapes another GTS attempt and hits a Twist of Fate. In ultra-slow-motion, Jeff climbs in the corner while Punk is apparently dead. Jeff gets right to the very top as Punk springs up and grabs Jeff's leg. Jeff pounds on Punk and gets to the outside, dangling over the edge with JR yelling “JUST DROP! PAY THE PRICE!” but Punk has Hardy by the head, and hits an enormous superplex. Jeff is motionless as Punk starts to climb. Punk makes it to the very top as Hardy again springs to life. Both guys make it right to the top of the cage and a brief struggle ends when Punk rams Jeff's head into the steel and shoves Jeff off, crotching him on the ropes. Punk then tumbles off the side of the cage to the outside and that's that.
Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: CM Punk
That was kind of anticlimactic, actually. The flow was totally fucked up by the ad breaks. Hmm, nearly ten minutes of show left. Punk is hugging his belt and grinning like a loon as Jeff lies in the ring, blank-faced. Punk makes a quiet exit as the cage is lifted and Hardy sits in the ring. He gets to his face as a small 'Thank you Jeff' chant starts up. Yes, we see a teenage girl with tears in her eyes. Jeff gets a mic and starts apologising. People are crying. He says it's not goodbye forever, it's only goodbye for now. “There's still a Hardy on this show!” is not the right thing to say to inspire me, Jeffrey. The crowd is subdued (some of the younger females present are seriously distraught). Jeff says his goodbyes and, awesomely, CM Punk runs back out and clocks Jeff with the belt, knocking him flat. Punk stands gloating and that's your show. Sniff.
YES: Nothing stands out this week. There was no Word Up, and therefore no wigga Jesse, so that's something.
NO: Lots of filler this week, vid packages and recaps and shit. SIX ad breaks. The main event was alright but could've been way better. I guess both guys are still a little busted up from the TLC match. Morrison/Hardy vs Harts was throwaway, way too short. Divas match was 'eh' as ever, McCool stuff was pointless, Drew McIntyre needs a better reintroduction than that, and Kane can just go to hell and fuck himself on the way. So. Sick. Of. Him.
WHAT?: Six-inch-diameter Singapore canes? “Carcinogenic” fists? Pass me some o' what you're taking, fellas. And Drew McIntyre's music sounded like The Police, which is just weird.
Reasonably good, if slightly uninspiring show this week. See you next week for the return of the Undertaker! I'm Ian Sparke, and if ever I got a tattoo, it would be of my power animal, the sloth.
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
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.).