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Howdy, here's another beautiful SmackDown rant for one and all, and we kick off with a simple single-frame tribute to Lou Albano, who was pretty cool. RIP, Cap.

I've decided to start rating the matches on SmackDown. Nothing fancy, just a stars-out-of-five deal. I'm no Meltzer of course - I have normal-looking ears for starters; ever seen the dude's ears? They're weird.

Tonight's main event is Batista vs Rey Mysterio, which... could be good, I guess. Rey will be doing the work, no doubt. And Jim Ross is absent tonight, so filling in is.... Michael fucking Cole. Oh fuck. Thank the lord that I have a nice bottle of red. Yes, I drink wine. It's the best drink to drink.

Teddy Long is out, to boos, even though he never really turned heel. That's what happens when you fuck with the Undertaker. He talks up the seven-on-seven RAW vs SmackDown tag match, which I kinda wish was an elimination match. I'm a Survivor Series nerd, deal with it. He introduces SmackDown's team captain, Chris Jericho, in a nice suit. Jericho snatches Long's mic, leaving him on the ramp like a bitch. In the ring, Jericho puts himself over as the face of SmackDown, yada yada, and he's here to 'address the possibility of John Cena returning' which is worrying me a little, I won't lie - Cena CAN be very, very good; but it's entirely dependent on who he's facing. Cena is the #1 should-turn-heel candidate in the whole company for me, just ahead of Triple H. I just hope to god they have some inventive booking planned for him if they wheel him in here on SmackDown. Cena vs Undertaker? That would be good. Cena vs Punk? Cena vs Jericho? Also good. Actually I guess I'd kinda like Cena on SmackDown. Jericho of course says things have changed, because he's THE MAN now. Impressive sea of boos for Jericho. He's not as whiny as usual. He's wearing a very bartender-esque stripy shirt, too. He talks about leading his team to the promised land... o-kay. He lays into DX, amusingly saying that their book is "FILLED WITH LIES!" He tears up their book in a brilliantly petty way. "What I did to this book is the same thing I will do to DX at Bragging Rights!" Then all of a sudden Kane interrupts, and gets a pop... oh dear. Is he gonna talk? Yup, he's got a mic. Apparently Kane is now the co-captain of the SmackDown team. Kane, for all his uselessness in the ring, actually isn't all that bad on the stick. Kane attempts to get some of his heat back by saying DX will go up in flames. Jericho smiles but looks a little uncomfortable. I guess that's that. ADVERTISING.

BACK and I admit that I sorta watched RAW this week, and yeah, it was largely shit. I don't know who Nancy O'Dell is. I will most definitely be watching the Snoop Dogg episode though. Not into his music but he's a funny guy. Here's a triple threat Bragging Rights qualifying match! Whee!

Finlay vs Mike Knox vs Dolph Ziggler; Triple Threat Bragging Rights qualifier

Apparently Jericho booked these qualifying matches himself. A very funny one-man "Mr. Ziggles" chant comes and goes. Ziggler attempts to get Knox on his side but Knox just fucks him right off with a vicious clothesline. Then Finlay launches Knox over and out before laying into Ziggler with his usual austere Irishness. Ziggler clotheslines Finlay over and out and goes to the apron, where Knox shoves him off. Knox goes for an elbow off the apron but Finlay snares him in the apron and Knox bites the dust. Finlay rams Knox's head into the apron before eating a beautiful Ziggler dropkick. Ziggler rolls Knox inside and gets a two. Zig continues with some punches and an elbow but Finlay breaks up the count. Finlay then starts serving potatoes to both guys. The crowd is DEAD. Nice bodyslam from Finlay on Ziggler gets two. Finlay lifts Ziggler onto the top buckle and hits some punches, before Knox barges in and scoops Finlay up in an electric chair drop. Knox is apparently half dead from the Finlay/apron stuff. Ziggler hits a nice top rope splash on Finlay but Knox breaks the count. Very little happens from here except fro punches and attempted covers. I tell ya, Ziggler throws one hell of a dropkick. Finlay hits Rolling Fields on both Ziggler and, impressively, Knox. Knox squashes both guys in the corner. Big boot from Knox to Ziggler. Knox goes for his bodypress on Finlay but there was a shillelagh in there somewhere and Knox is out cold. Ah! Ziggler simply pull
s Finlay off and covers Knox himself for the win.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Rating: **1/2

Kinda slow, totally silent crowd, Finlay seemed to be on autopilot, Knox was underused. Sick of shillelagh-related finishes. Not bad, not great. ADVERTISING.

BACK with another Bragging Rights qualifier. This is a tag-team match, both members of the winning team go onto team SmackDown. Tony Chimel is our announcer now, by the way - best one in the company for my money. It's Cryme Tyme. WILL THEY BE FACING THE HART DYNASTY I WONDER. Durrrr, booking is fun.

Cryme Tyme vs The Hart Dynasty; Bragging Rights qualifier

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I'm being punished. These two teams started feuding right when I started recapping SmackDown. Maybe if I quit, they'll quit too. Hell no. Never say die. After mere microseconds, Shad is being completely creamed by the Harts. IN THE BACK Jericho and Teddy are watching approvingly. The Harts work on Shad's leg for what feels like days. May I point out that the combination of Cole and Tard on commentary is really, really, massively, black-hole-formingly boring. JTG is in to leap around with Kidd. I'm half-assing this recap because I've seen this shit 5953 times in the last three months. Are they re-booking this match over and over because they're the only two tag teams on SmackDown? No, not even. Finish comes when Kidd misses a springboard and JTG plants him with an impressive reverse leaping bulldog thing for the win. Cole calls them 'the bling bling brothers' and I die a little inside.
Winners: Cryme Tyme
Rating: **

Serviceable, but absolutely nothing new at all. Please can we do something interesting with these guys? ADVERTISING.

BACK and Jericho is trying to hit on Michelle McCool. She looks like she's been lobotomised. Jericho says he wants 'gypsies, tramps, thieves' on his team. Uhhh... is he asking McCool to be on team SmackDown? Oh, here's Mickie James. Yeah, there was a 'Diva trade', and SmackDown has gained Mickie - and Beth Phoenix, who is here too. AND HERE'S VINCE! ON THE PHONE! CM Punk is here too, to complain about the World Heavyweight Title four-way. He wants a one-on-one rematch. Punk has "BJ" on his wrist tape. Punk lobbies for his submission-screwjob rematch against Taker. Vince agrees and it's happening next week on SmackDown. Okay.

Here's yet another Bragging Rights qualifier and it's Vickie Guerrero. Shoot me. I hate this woman. She's introducing her 'new boyfriend', Eric Escobar. Cole knows Vickie 'quite well' and calls her 'quite the cougar'... just shut up, Cole. You're hurting my brain. So, Escobar has boring black trunks, shades and a black waistcoat, and some generic Latino entrance music. His TitanTron, hilariously, comprises the two backstage appearances he's had, slowed to a crawl. ACTION! He's also rather chunky. His oppone
nt is... very apt!

Eric Escobar vs Matt Hardy; Bragging Rights qualifier

It's a paunchfest! Actually, it's a headlockfest to start with. Hardy actually takes advantage to start with, and makes Escobar look pretty fucking useless. Some crappy brawling gets Escobar two. A clothesline gets another two. Chinlock time. Wow, I guess Escobar was teleported right out of 1992. Only in 1992 he'd be called 'El Bartender' or something. He is also the least Latino-looking Latino I've ever seen. Side Effect gets Hardy two. Hardy hits a second rope elbow and Vickie starts screaming and pointing to her foot, distracting Hardy and the ref. Escobar rams Hardy into the ring post and rolls him up for the win. That was horseshit.
Winner: Eric Escobar
Rating: *

Escobar's hair was slicked back when the match started, it has now sort of inflated, and I realise he looks rather like a chunkier, less rugged Paul Burchill. Or maybe I'm just drunk. The return of the Dirt Sheet follows ADVERTISING.

BACK and wow, how are we only halfway through the show? I guess they front-loaded the shitty stuff. Anyway, DIRT SHEET TIME!

Miz is of course US Champion now, and he is of course facing John Morrison (who is of course Intercontinental Champion) at Bragging Rights. And of course they are former partners. They're both snappily dressed. A tiny kid in weird glasses has the crappiest JOHN MORRISON sign ever. So... this should be interesting. The ring is split into red and blue halves. Nice. I've always liked these guys. They start out quite formally. Miz says he was the star of their team, and presents a list of teams where one half has gone on to be far more succesful. His first example is... Mork & Mindy. Nice! Ahhh Mindy. My first love. Er, anyway. Nobody seems to remember Mork & Mindy. A little more audience whoop is reserved for Morrison suggesting Bill & Ted. Miz goes on to mention Wayne & Garth, Regis & Kathie Lee and of course the Rockers. Miz says he's the Shawn Michaels and Morrison's the Marty Jannetty. Morrison says he can't be the Jannetty because Jannetty never got sweet merchandise like his t-shirt. Miz's feeble comeback is that there can't be two Jannettys. Morrison says "actually there are two Marty Jannettys. There's Marty Jannetty, and there's you." He calls him Mizzy Jannetty. RAPIER-LIKE. I kind of wish Marty Jannetty would run in right now and missile dropkick both guys. But this is still fun. They start with the low blows, Morrison saying Miz has no girlfriend, then makes fun of Miz's ring gear, saying at least with the hat and the capris, he was being himself. He says now, Miz is a cross between Michael Phelps, Mr. Ed, Pink and Big Dick Johnson, accompanied by a visual aid which doesn't really make sense. Morrison says Miz is 'husky', meaning fat. This goes on for a while, back and forth. Morrison awesomely lays into RAW, comparing it to Saturday Night Live (which has never aired here in England, thankfully). They exchange more harsh words before Morrison gets up and shoves Miz, daring him to take a
 shot. The crowd is chanting 'husky', which is one of the odder chants I've heard. Miz of course just leaves. Morrison says "see you at Bragging Rights, Jannetty". Man, poor old Marty Jannetty. We're briefly reminded of the R-Truth/Drew McIntyre business; they have a Bragging Rights qualifier after ADVERTISING.

BACK and tonight we have a message from the Undertaker. He's very formal, isn't he?

R-Truth vs Drew McIntyre, Bragging Rights qualifier

So far we have Jericho (heel), Kane (heel), Eric Escobar (heel), Dolph Ziggler (heel), and Cryme Tyme (faces) on team SmackDown. So logic dictates that R-Truth should win this just to even things out - but more heels means more DX-fodder, so... anyway, crowd's pretty dead (though they do respond to the 'what's up' stuff), and we start with some punches, Truth getting the upper hand, and this blossoms into some impressive flippy shit, with Truth dropkicking McIntyre out and launching himself over and out as we go to abrupt ADVERTISING.

BACK and during the break, McIntyre shoved R-Truth into the steps, and Truth's in a chinlock. He soon escapes, and soon McIntyre is slung over the top. Truth follows him and rolls him back in. McIntyre runs Truth along the apron and rams him into the post. I guess using the post and the steps is pretty much legal now. McIntyre goes crazy with punches and another chinlock. Long and Jericho are still watching in the back. Bodyslam from McIntyre. McIntyre climbs up to the top but leaps off into a pair of boots Truth takes over, with his leapfrog/cartwheel/splits/roundhouse kick combo, which gets two. Truth misses a bicycle kick and McIntyre goes for the double-arm DDT, but Truth shoves him into the corner and clotheslines him outside. Truth follows him out and grabs McIntyre by the hair, but McIntyre trips him up and Truth lands on his back on the steps. I guess this is a countout. Yup. Boo.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Rating: **1/2

That was almost a three-star match right up until the finish. I hate pointless countouts. So Cryme Tyme are the only faces on their team. I guess RAW is winning this farce. Bull. Shit.

TO THE BACK and Rey and Batista are having a 'brotherly' chat. I love it when people call Batista 'Dave'. They say nothing of note as we go to ADVERTISING.

BACK. RAW recap. Iron Man match. Blahhhhhh. I'm going to predict that Taker's 'message' tonight will last longer than the main event. I would LOVE to see Batista in an Iron Man match. That'd be fucking classic. Let's find out. After a lengthy vid package covering all the Punk/Taker stuff, Taker's onscreen swathed in smoke and moody lighting. He refers to the World Heavyweight title as the Holy Grail. Usual Taker vid-promo, CM Punk will recieve the last rites etc etc etc etc ADVERTISING.

BACK and with less than eight minutes of show left by my count, it's time for our super-epic main event!

Rey Mysterio vs Batista

I have no idea what to expect here, to be honest. Have these guys ever fought before? Cursory research says yes, three times. I have seen these matches, yet I have erased them from my memory. One was a triple threat with Khali, so... Hmm. Anyway, both guys are out wearing broad smiles. DAVE even almost hits his pyro right. Rey goes for a bearhug early, which gets a big laugh, as does a bodypress which Batista easily catches. Rey wrenches Batista's arm, causing him to chuckle openly. It's a friendly match! It's ADVERTISING.

BACK and apparently during the break, things deteriorated, as Batista is now shoving Rey like a big bully. Rey retaliates with a flurry of kicks, and soon Batista is ducking a 619. Rey comes off the ropes into a pretty harsh-looking spear. Batista's starting to get booed. Which is nice. Aw, leave the tiny luchador alone. He means you no harm! Rey takes a powder and comes back on the nine-count. Batista covers him twice for two. DAVE does his shoulderbarge routine in the corner. A knee off the ropes gets Batista two, and then he puts Rey in a bearhug, taking Rey to the mat. Tard just awkwardly called Cole his little brother, and JR his father... Cole covers with a fake laugh. Rey goes for a sunset flip which just doesn't fucking work. Rey escapes a powerslam, hits a chopblock, a kick and a 619 - which DAVE pretty much no-sells, staying on his feet and catching Rey from a springboard senton attempt. Batista goes for the Batista Bomb from here but Rey's so fucking tiny he rolls through and turns it into a hurricanrana - for the win!
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Rating: ***

That wasn't half bad, for what it was. Around six minutes is all I can take of big stupid DAVE. DAVE, by the way, is complaining that he had his shoulder up, but goes over to shake Rey's hand in victory anyway. Things seem slightly frosty for a second but apparently Rey and Batista are still bro's. Batista applauds Rey from the ramp - BUT HERE'S CM PUNK! Punk comes out of the crowd and nails Rey with the GTS. DAVE lumbers over to give chase, but Punk hightails it right the fuck out of there. Batista and Rey hug, we're reminded of the Taker/Punk submission match for next week, and that's that.

YES: Better show overall than last week, I guess. A fair amount of wrestling. The highlight was probably the Dirt Sheet, even if it was a little long. And Batista/Mysterio wasn't all that bad, really. Punk's hit-and-run was a nice touch.

NO: None of the matches really stood out; the crowd were half-dead most of the night; I'm officially sick of Cryme Tyme/Hart Dynasty matches; the R-Truth/McIntyre match was kinda ruined by that countout; the number of heels on team SmackDown means that team RAW will almost certainly win; I hate Vickie Guerrero, and Eric Escobar had the lamest debut ever. Fucker was in developmental for FOUR YEARS. Pathetic.

WHAT?: According to Tard Grisham, Michael Cole is his little brother, and Jim Ross is his father. What the hell is going on at Titan Towers?!

That is all, join me next week for more wine-fuelled nonsense. I'm Ian Sparke, and I can assure you that South African wine is ALWAYS good.

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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.).