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Good morning! So, cutting to the chase, the Undertaker is returning to SmackDown tonight, straight into a main event feud against CM Punk, whom he is facing at Breaking Point in a submission match for the World Title. Sigh. I remember when it was cool to like Undertaker. Sure, he's good - one of the best big guys the WWE has ever had - but he's so perma-over that it's ridiculous. Whoever he feuds with, he almost always comes out on top. How many feuds has he lost recently? Has he ever tapped out in a match, ever? Either they have something up their sleeve to put CM Punk over him (unlikely) or go-go-gadget-plata, Taker's getting another World Title reign, with no real buildup whatsoever and completely stalling Punk's momentum. Argh.

So that's what's rattling round my head, as we kick off with (of course) a recap of the Punk/Jeff cage match from last week, emo-ed to the max. Crying teenage girls abound. It's so over-wraught that it's as if he died. Awesome THUNK accompanying Punk's belt shot to fade it out...

And we're underway. JEFF'S music hits, and it seems that Jeff is here! The crowd goes nuts but - genius - it's CM Punk, dolled up as Jeff. The cheers gradually subside as Punk hits the ring. There is a shot of a hilariously pissed-off geeky kid with huge hair. Talk about heat, this is something else. People in the crowd are reacting as if this is the single sickest, lowest thing they've ever seen, and it's perfect. Punk gloats wonderfully, saying "no more stupid facepaint, no more stupid armbands" whilst taking the getup off. He calls Jeff the 'charismatic enabler' as some seriously deluded kids start a 'Hardy' chant. He preaches, puts himself over in his usual way - he calls himself 'the choice of a new generation' - and soaks up the heat. He brings up Taker, getting a pop, but keeps putting himself over, and actually calls Taker out. This is great stuff. Punk is over-playing the cockiness slightly but he's coming off like a cross between Edge and Jericho during their respective heel peaks. Punk mockingly checks his watch, still no Taker. He mocks Taker's tricks and pantomime, basically saying only stoners like the Undertaker. Nice. He says Taker's never faced anybody like him before (which is true, actually). He says he has no breaking point, and that he's "harder than any alcohol you can drink, straighter than any line you can snort up your nose, and I certainly can hurt you a lot faster than any pill" - great, great stuff. He says he does have one vice "it's not a typical monkey-on-your-back, it's more like... an anaconda". This, amusingly brings out Matt Hardy. Okay.

Matt strolls out wearing a ridiculous blue sports vest, oddly resembling a knight. He then rushes the ring and simply jumps Punk. FOUR mighty referees are needed to separate them. Epic.

BACK and John Morrison has challenged Rey for the Intercontinental title tonight aaand I think we can see where this is going. This is awesome. Morrison was apparently going to be feuding with Kane in coming months (ugh) - this is a big relief. Punk is bitching to Teddy Long backstage about his little interruption, saying Matt is "hopped up on somethin'!" - somewhat inevitably Long makes Punk vs Matt for later.

And here is the most electrifying man in sports entertainment! Of course, I'm talking about The Great Khali. Boo yaa. Blah blah Kane getting DQed last week blah blah. Time to rest my eyes. Oh fuck, Khali is taking on Kane in a Singapore cane match at Breaking Point. Are they trying to 'top' their classic from SummerSlam? Fuck. Anyway, he's teaming with Finlay against exactly who you'd expect.

Finlay & The Great Khali w/ Ranjin Singh vs Mike Knox & Kane

"Can you imagine the pre-game conversation Kane and Mike Knox had? I bet there was a lot of diabolical laughter involved"... Tard, of course. This is cutting-edge satire coming from him. Knox kicks off by beating the shit out of Finlay, including one of the most vicious powerslams I've ever seen. Kane tags in before long. The crowd is utterly dead. Kane does nothing particularly interesting to Finlay until he misses a dive from the top rope. Finlay tags in Khali, and Kane of course wusses out (despite winning their match at SummerSlam, yay psychology) and tags in Knox, who immediately gets his head taken off by a clothesline. So far, we have a four-way match in which The Great Khali is the most over. Yikes. Big boot and Vise Grip on Knox before Kane rescues him by pulling him outside as we go to glorious

BACK and Khali is thudding and stomping and chopping Kane. "Khali's style is not a Norman Rockwell painting" according to JR. What the hell does that even mean. Khali is so slow, Kane is able to escape by simply slapping him in the face and strolling across the ring to tag Knox, who obviously enjoyed walking straight into a clothesline earlier, as he does it again. More boots. Yawn. Khali does a very loud chop on Knox which is like a "sonic boom" according to Tard. No, that would mean it was very fast. Khali couldn't produce a sonic boom if you fired him out of a rocket launcher. Which, incidentally, I would pay to see. Anyway, Finlay is in now to trade potatoes with Knox. Finlay goes to climb the turnbuckles, Khali distracts the ref by being an idiot and Kane knocks Finlay to the outside. Exciting. Khali gradually checks on Finlay. Finlay stebs back in to be beaten up by Knox and then Kane. This is obviously slow, and dull, but if you think back to the late 80s, most matches were this kind of pace. It's nostalgia. For the record I do like Mike Knox. I think he has a lot of potential. He's surprisingly quick when he wants to be, he's not just a tree-trunk of a guy. Awesome crossbody from Knox onto Finlay is the most interesting move so far. This match is really dragging now. I can't believe Kane and Khali have another PPV match. God, it's gonna be so fucking shitty. Canes, woo. Finlay has been beaten down for several years now. Kane goes after Singh, Khali to the rescue, distracting the ref. Finlay cracks Knox with the shillelagh for the win.
Winners: Finlay & The Great Khali

Wow, four big slow guys in a match and it WASN'T EXCITING. Confounding! Preposterous! TO THE BACK! Teddy Long is wisely watching an old Dusty Rhodes match instead of his own show. Vince walks in wearing a hilarious pink blazer. "Are you saying this jacket looks like pepto-bismol?" They're muttering, I can't really understand what's going on. McMahon just walked off. No idea what that was about. ADVERTISING.

BACK and we are in Cleveland, which hasn't had a championship in any sport since 1964! Yay! And yay, divas! Maria, Eve, Michelle McCool, Melina. I don't god damn care. "Maria... did you talk to Dolph?" "Melina, I'm a big girl, I appreciate your help, just stay out of my business" tune in next week for more Knots Landing.

Aww. Hell. Yeah. It's the Intercontinental Title match. John Morrison is out first to a pretty god damn good pop. I have the feeling that this match is going to be awesome. Rey's out to a GIGANTIC pop. Tangible atmosphere here. Obviously a lot of the crowd know what's going on, and are wishing little drugmaster Rey well. Fair enough. ADVERTISING right away. I hope this means the match won't have an ad break in it.

BACK. Quick Breaking Point promo... Yeah, I'm glad they're not just having Rey vacate the title after being beat up by Dolph while giving a promo. That's what'd happen on Raw. Fuck Raw. Here we go - match of the year, fingers crossed:

Rey Mysterio (c) vs John Morrison, Intercontinental Championship match

And we're off. Morrison's a contender, dude. A 'let's go Morrison' chant starts up very early. Nice. There's a test of strength early on which Morrison of course wins, but Rey lands a few kicks as Morrison monkeyflips him backwards into a pin for a few one-counts. Rey leaps up onto Morrison's shoulders and sunset flips him for two. All the while, their hands were locked. This is fantastic already. Big boot from Morrison turns into a headlock as we cut to Dolph watching the match in the back. Dolph is facing the winner of this match at Breaking Point, and I think that not only would Dolph/Morrison be a fantastic match, but also a great feud if they gave them both mic time. Some quick flippy dodging shit turns into lightning-fast two-counts for both guys. Very fluid and innovative chain-wrestling from both guys, and they stand back, each giving each other an 'okay, you're good' look as we go to ADVERTISING.

BACK and it's still right down the middle, as Rey goes for a cannonball off the ropes but is caught by Morrison, but Rey's momentum turns it into a hurricanrana over the ropes and both men crash to the outside. Nice. Both guys stay down for a second and I get the feeling there may be shenanigans before this thing is over. Both men are back in the ring on nine. Two stiff kicks and a forearm from Rey, who misses a corner charge and hits the post. Morrison rolls him up for two. There will be no amusing comments for this one, folks, it's just a fucking good match. Armbar by Morrison. Rey fights his way up and Morrison sends him into the ropes, misses a clothesline and catches Rey for a tilt-a-whirl somethingorother but Rey just clings on and tilt-a-whirls AGAIN right round Morrison's back into a hurricanrana for two. Christ, that was nuts. Crowd is pretty hot for this, as well they should be. Some more to-and-fro in the corner leads to Rey landing a stiff kick and a springboard moonsault for two. Rey hits a few legdrops as Tard reminds us that Morrison has held the IC belt twice before (as Johnny Nitro of course). Rey with a headlock. Pretty solid 'Morrison' chant. Stiff kick to Morrison's back. Mysterio applies a surfboard which Morrison forward-flips out of, kicking Rey in the face, for two. Morrison kips-up out of a springboard attack from Rey before hitting a clothesline and a beautiful leg lariat, follows by a standing SSP for two. All that happened in a matter of seconds. This is a flawless match so far. The pair exchange kicks before Morrison simply fires Rey under the ropes and out. Morrison takes a breather before rolling Rey back in for two. He stands on Rey's chest and a breakdancing legdrop gets two. Headlock. No time for rest holds, as Rey escapes and does some crazy lucha rollups which get two. Morrison goes to flip Rey out but he lands on the apron, shoulders Morrison in the gut and springboard-hurricanranas him into the 619 position. Morrison leaps up and boots Rey in the gut, going for a back suplex which Rey flips out of, and then both men are down after a brutal-looking double bodypress collision. Rey's lip is busted open and both men are down as we go to ADVERTISING.

BACK and phew, that ad break was actually needed. This match has been relentless. We return to Morrison covering Rey for two before applying a headlock and a body scissors. Both guys are quickly up. Morrison is kicked in the chest, I turn away for a second and both guys are outside, with Rey rana'ing Morrison. They're back in real quick and a springboard legdrop from Rey gets a long two. Wheelbarrow front slam from Morrison gets two, and a stiff running knee gets another two. I almost feel bad recapping this blow-by-blow, you should just watch it. It's PPV quality, without a doubt. Springboard body press from Rey for two. Aha, never try to sunset flip Rey - he's too fucking small and he'll dropkick your face off. Two. Todd talks sense for once, wondering "where are these men getting this energy from?" Morrison is down as Rey ascends to the top and comes sailing straight into a picture-perfect mid-air dropkick from Morrison. Another two-count. Morrison drags Rey into position for Starship Pain. Rey gets up and Morrison lands on his feet. A few shoulders and a springboard senton and Morrison is down for the 619 which connects. Rey drags himself to his feet and misses the springboard splash, landing on his feet and turning straight into the best Chuck kick I've seen Morrison do. Two-count. Crowd is hot for this - a 'this is awesome' chant starts up. It really fucking is. Morrison shoves Rey into the corner, gets elbowed in the face but delivers a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He goes for Starship Pain again but Rey is instantly on his feet, clubbing Morrison in the back. Rey goes for a hurricanrana while Morrison is sat on the ropes but Morrison holds on and Rey bites the dust. Ouch. Then, from a seated positionthe second rope, Morrison leaps up and hits Starship Pain for the pin and the title.
Winner and new Intercontinental Champion: John Morrison

BRILLIANT match, one of the best in SmackDown history, seriously. Great psychology, very physical, totally fluid, perfectly paced. John helps Rey to his feet and they embrace. Endless replays of all the crazy shit we just saw.  Man, Morrison looks fucking cool with that title. Seriously, seriously amazing match - and shenanigan-free, too. ADVERTISING.

BACK and heeeere's R-Truth - who makes it to the ring before being jumped by Drew McIntyre again, wearing the reddest shirt I've ever seen. He calls R-Truth a dancing fool. He says R-Truth has a match this week, and he isn't even on the show, so he's gonna come out every week and ruin our little parties. Uh, so who was R-Truth's opponent supposed to be? It looked like he just came to the ring rapping for no reason. ADVERTISING...

BACK and yay, I get to sleep through a Diva match.

Eve Torres & Maria vs Natalya & Layla

Of course, Natalya pinned Eve to win the six-person mixed tag match on Superstars - which was actually really good - so that warrants another match. Yeah. A Natalya-Eve feud? I guess that's better than most of the other Diva combinations. Eve is really stepping up, to be fair. She's gone from 'awful' to 'quite good'. Maria starts off with Natalya. I can't be bothered recapping this. Like the crowd here, I remain quietly exhausted by the Mysterio/Morrison match. I'll just sit, and stare. You get the idea anyway. Eve and Natalya are both pretty good. Maria and Layla are both shitty. Finish comes after about five minutes of generic stuff as Eve fudges her handspring moonsault, landing with her knees in Layla's abdomen. That looked painful. The match itself wasn't bad. Just inoffensive.
Winners: Eve Torres & Maria

TO THE BACK where crazy-eyed Josh is interviewing Matt Hardy, who is rocking his EVIL OVERCOAT. Cool. He says he's gonna beat CM Punk. Hmm - as the Undertaker has yet to appear and they keep advertising him, they might as well be saying THE UNDERTAKER WILL INTERFERE IN THE CM PUNK/MATT HARDY MATCH - TONIGHT! Oh, speaking of which...

World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk vs Matt Hardy

Sho'nuff, Matt's out with this cool jacket. It makes him look like a photo-negative of Gangrel. Punk takes a powder after about two seconds. Matt still looks a little pudgy. JR reminds us of his recent abdominal surgery, and Tard labours the point by saying "his intestines exploded!" - maybe that could be his new finisher. The GUT FOUNTAIN. Mmmm. Jeff uses the Twist Of Fate as a setup move, so it looks dumb when Matt wins matches with it. Why does Matt have a key on his tights? ... anyway. A decent first few minutes has Matt take charge with some rather dull offense. For the record I've never found either Hardy particularly wonderful. They're equally average. Matt is all over Punk, the first notable spot being a superplex a few minutes in, which gets two. Ten minutes of show left. Matt has turned into a character from Final Fight. Punch. Kick. Forearm. Punk lifts Matt out of a suplex and places him on the apron, where Punk shoulders him to the outside.

BACK and Matt is in an abdominal stretch, going "AAARGH". Not too hard, Punk, he might split apart and cover you in shit. Punk takes his chances and kicks Matt in the stomach multiple times. Punk saliently says "you ain't Jeff". Soon Matt is in a body scissors, which he elbows his way out of, before hitting many, many forearms. Punk fires Matt hard into the buckles for two. Punk was introduced as 'the first and only straightedge World Heavyweight Champion' again. A little clumsy I feel, but okay. Back to the body scissors. We're all mentally counting down to Taker's inevitable appearance. The match is kind of dull, actually. Punk is totally carrying Matt. Abdominal stretch again. "AAARGH". Matt picks up Punk from the stretch and does a hilariously crap little slam. Punk shoots Matt into the corner and goes for the corner knee but eats the ring post, Matt dodging and hitting a bulldog for two. Matt is clutching his stomach as he hits a second rope legdrop for two. He looks really out of shape, sweating like a bastard. CM Punk escapes the twist of fate and goes for a backslide, but Matt flips Punk over into the world's slowest inside cradle for two. Stiff as hell roundhouse kick from Punk gets a surprising two; it looked harsh. Hardy catches Punk's springboard clothesline in a Side Effect for two. Hardy punches Punk to the outside, and comes off the apron straight into a knee to the gut. Punk drops Hardy gut-first over the guardrail before grabbing a chair and laying into Hardy. Somehow he isn't instantly disqualified, as he puts Matt's head through the chair. BONG! Lights out. Lights on, and Taker's instantly at ringside, which is pretty cool. He picks up Punk like a rag doll and chokeslams him through the announce table. Taker stands over the fallen Punk and raises his hand, signalling his pyro and a very abrupt ending. I guess that was a no contest...

YES: Morrison/Mysterio was just phenomenal. Almost twenty minutes long, this is one of the most flat-out enjoyable matches I have ever seen. Totally stole the show. Punk's opening promo was very good too.

NO: The main event itself was kind of anticlimactic, with Taker's appearance being too little, too late. Drew McIntyre is rather ineffectual, and he looks remarkably like Brian Kendrick. Hmm. Divas were just there, again, and the Khali/Finlay/Knox/Kane match wasn't great.

WHAT?: Really, where was Dolph this week? I was expecting at least a run-in after the IC title match. And what was with Vince's pink jacket?

A lot of wrestling on the show tonight, all the matches got a decent amount of time. A lot of it was patchy but if you appreciate a good, believable wrestling match you HAVE to watch this episode for Morrison/Mysterio. Do it. Till next week, I'm Ian Sparke, and like Matt Hardy's intestines, I'm gonna split.

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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.).