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LOWDOWN ON SMACKDOWN
(11/06/09)
BY IAN SPARKE

[Editor's note: For last week's edition click HERE].
 
Good evening dudes, it's SmackDown time again, and we're creeping towards Survivor Series, one of the Big Four as you should know (not that you'd notice from RAW - building for a PPV? Nah, let's have Chris Masters flex his fucking tits). We're in Providence, Rhode Island, and our hilariously crap main event has Batista emerging from his pit of danger to battle the mighty MATT HARDY, after last week's unforgiveable shove. Whoo.

Anyway, apropos of nothing and perhaps remembering that he wasn't on last week's show at all, here's the Undertaker. As is becoming traditional, as he brings the house lights back up, I scrutinise his hair. Well, it's an interesting look this week, the beard is almost shaved and the Just For Men is in his hair. It almost looks like he's wearing a wig. That's where he was last week - getting hair plugs! He talks up Survivor Series, as that was where he debuted back in 1990 (If only they'd bring back Brother Looove). He talks about Big Show and Jericho (Taker/Jericho would be a damn good feud, actually). He says that one of the few things that brings joy to his "dark heart" is fighting alongside his brother, Kane. Uh, where is this going. He says another thing is fighting against his brother, Kane. Right. He's pissed at Jericho for beating Kane last week. Oh, I see. He says Jericho's soul will be his.

This brings out Jericho instantly, wearing a very dapper suit, in stark contrast to Taker's all-the-members-of-Manowar-combined vibe. Jericho talks up how long-awaited the Taker/Jericho feud is, and I guess this is on. Cool. Jericho uses long words and self-aggrandisation. Untertaker has been brainwashing these gelatinous tapeworms, etc etc, because he's not a 'dead man', he's just a man, like Kane. Jericho says Taker's "infamous gong" doesn't scare him, and yeah I thought he said dong. He calls himself the 'new Phenom' and slinks into the ring, only for Taker to grab his throat, but Jericho fights back before eating a big boot and rolling to the outside. That was pretty cool. Set up the feud nicely, even if they completely glossed over the presence of Big Show in the title match. And if we're taking "Phenom" to be a title of any worth, the first guy to be called that was actually Jimmy Snuka. So if you weigh it up, it's kind of a meaningless title.

Long vid package of Batista WALKING ALONE all over Rey at Bragging Rights, and their promo from last week. This could get old fast. I do like the little monster noise they added to Batista though. Grr. There's an ad break here but I've decided to stop mentioning them so boldly because, really, what's the point. So there's some stupid fucking thing about "where is Parts Unknown" on wwe.com. It's UNKNOWN! LEAVE IT BE! LET'S HAVE A MATCH!

Okay, I just sat and worked it out, and this is the 45,216th time the Harts have faced Cryme Tyme in whatever form. I always say it takes forty thousand matches to really make a feud memorable. This could be fun though, throwing Ziggler and Morrison in there. A hilariously awkward exchange takes place when Striker says that he never got along with guys like Cryme Tyme in high school because they were always "trying to get everyone up and dancing. No, it's Hall & Oates and sensible slacks for me". Then Tard said "and KD Lang." to a deathly silence. I bet Striker just punched him in the balls.

Dolph Ziggler & The Hart Dynasty vs. John Morrison & Cryme Tyme

I get the feeling this will be tricky to recap. Just so you know, it's very hard to recap actual good matches, especially with guys like this, because there's so much going on, and it's easy to get sucked into watching it rather than writing about it. Shitty matches with big guys are boring but easy to recap. As I typed that, Morrison and Kidd flipped around interestingly for about ten seconds and we sailed into an ad break. Post-break, our traditional post-break headlock is being applied to JTG by Ziggler. JTG fights out, hitting a couple of hiptosses, a blockbuster and a jawbreaker before a Natalya distraction leads to JTG getting clocked by David Hart Smith, who tags in. Striker calls him a "baby bull". Kidd tags in for a low dropkick and a two-count. Striker and Tard struggle to find other tag teams that are like the Hart Dynasty. Adrian Adonis and Jesse Ventura, the Andersons... Tard says the British Bulldogs are 'as close as you get'. Uh, the Hart Foundation anybody? Anyway, Smith hosses around on JTG for several minutes. Ziggler tags in and hits a rolling neck snap for one, before some screaming headlockery. JTG flips out of a suplex attempt and hits a backbreaker, and manages to tag in Morrison whilst Ziggler tags in Kidd. Morrison is favouring his ribs from when he started off because of something Kidd did that I missed. He takes Kidd down with some punches, a backdrop and a leg lariat, but is too slow to make the cover and Smith manages to tag in. Morrison quickly hits the Chuck on Smith. Attempted shenanigans from Ziggler see him getting clocked. Shad tags in as Morrison flips outside, hitting a corkscrew plancha on Kidd. Shad flattens Smith with punches and clotheslines and stuff like that. Shad hoists Smith up to drop him on the top rope, but not before Ziggler gets the blind tag. He sneaks up and hits the Zig Zag on Shad for the win.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler & The Hart Dynasty
Rating: ***

Not too bad, nice to see the heels win, but still nothing we haven't seen before. These guys are amongst the best we've got on SmackDown, and I guess this is about as good as a storyline-free six-man tag match gets. Up next, an "up close and personal interview" with tiny, tiny Rey. After the ads, Josh Mathews interviews Rey in the locker room, in a moodily-lit, emotastic puff piece where Rey showcases his actually-not-all-that-bad promo skills. At Survivor Series, it's Rey vs Batista one on one, which is kind of good. Team Rey vs Team Batista would've been weak. I'm cautiously optimistic about this match, if not the feud. I hope it's not dragged out into some horrible soap opera like a lot of Rey's storylines. Rey said he'll show Batista a side of him that he never knew existed. Does he secretly have really long legs, that fold up in some mad way? We'll find out. Ah, a Beth Phoenix squash match. Yay for character development.

Beth Phoenix vs Brittany Carter

This week's jobber isn't as scrawny as last week's, but she does look like a teenager, and screams a lot. Phoenix, in alluring green, completely (wo)manhandles her of course, and Jobberina gets in no offense whatsoever. Beth actually gets a couple of pops with her offense. Glam Slam seals it.
Winner: Beth Phoenix
Rating: **

Yes, we get it, Beth is a tough cookie. Do we really need squash matches to prove it though? I guess it's a tried-and-tested way of getting a monster over, but Beth's been around for years, we're not stupid. Here comes Drew McIntyre anyway, with a new jacket (it's got blue on it). I wonder if he'll actually have a proper match this week. He still has the hilarious entrance pose, by the way. Lordy! It's another squasharoo.

Drew McIntyre vs Jimmy Wang Yang

Jimmy gets into the ring and poses on the ropes, and McIntyre just shoves him off and out of the ring. He then gets a mic. "This party cannot even begin to get started until I get some competition worthy of a future World Heavyweight Champion". Hmm, some of that does make sense. So what's his catchphrase? Is the party over, or just getting started? Is that his gimmick? Drew "Ambivalent Regarding Parties" McIntyre? Jimmy actually crawls into the ring just as Drew leaves, and the bell rings. Drew says "are you serious?" and walks straight into a couple of chops from Yang. McIntyre just pounds the hell out of him though, and crushes him with what Striker called a double underhook Kobashi DDT. That's it, anyway. McIntyre knees Yang in the back of the head after the bell for good measure.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Rating: **

Not really a match. McIntyre does look pretty formidable, to be fair, he's just in danger of floundering unless he's put in a solid feud. He needs matches, not random beatdowns like this. I think he has skills we aren't seeing. Batista is approached in the back by Matthews now, and is asked why he cracked Matt Hardy last week. Matt shouldn't have put his "big nose" in Batista's business, so it seems. Hmm. Tough talk! Following an ad break, here's what could be a good little match, providing it's shenanigan-free. DAVE, I'm talking to you.

Rey Mysterio vs Mike Knox

Hey remember when every single guy in the company was billed as being way over 200 pounds? They exaggerated weights and heights like crazy. Even tiny guys like Koko B. Ware were apparently 230lbs. I remember reading that 1-2-3 Kid was something like 212lbs and thinking 'wow, he's tiny'. Irrelevant, I know. Anyway, Knox - who convincingly dwarfs Rey - dominates to start with, with chunky-looking punches and kicks. Knox is slung into the 619 position early, but slides outside the ring. Rey misses a senton to the outside, but lands on his feet. Knox then plants Rey with his still-pretty-good crossbody on the outside. He rolls Rey in for a two. He crushes Rey under his knee, and Rey makes that funny 'nyaaa!' noise he does sometimes when he's in a rest hold. Knox gets another two, before delivering a couple of stomps and a bear hug. Rey fights out of the bear hug with some kicks, and comes off the ropes for a stiff kick to the face. Knox doesn't move, but looks really pissed off. He charges at Rey and misses, winding up outside. Rey hits a baseball slide, but Knox slides back into the ring as he comes off the ropes, and Rey eats a shoulderblock and a splash for two. Knox slaps on an abdominal stretch, which doesn't look like much because Rey is very, very small. He gets bored and lifts Rey into a nice backbreaker for yet another two. Another stretch. Knox lifts Rey very smoothly into a powerslam position but Rey keeps going and turns it into a DDT. Nice. Some shoves, as both guys get up, and Rey hits a baseball slide followed by a wheelbarrow bulldog for two. Crowd are good tonight, by the way. Big step up from wherever the fuck we were last week. Knox hits a knee, Rey bounces off the bottom rope but Knox catches him on his shoulder. Rey escapes and hits a springboard senton, but Knox flattens him with a clothesline. Knox lumbers at Rey in the corner, Rey ducks and Knox eats the post. Rey dropkicks knox into the 619 position, hits it, then follows with a springboard splash for the win.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Rating: ***

Pleasantly, this was shenanigan-free. It went nearly eight minutes without an ad break too, which was nice. Good performances by both men. Knox is impressive considering the inherent dullness associated with most big guys. Lovely stuff. WWE Championship triple threat at Survivor Series... possibly could be interesting? All three are faces... Teasing a DX split is kind of yawn-inducing though. Similar issue with Jerishow/Taker... Why don't they just abolish the tag division entirely and be done with it? Following a break, Tard informs us that the main event next week will be an Intercontinental Title match between John Morrison and Dolph Ziggler. Yes, the MAIN EVENT. Whether "main event" corresponds with "last match on the show" like it fucking should remains to be seen. It's bound to be a very, very good match anyway. We're then reminded of the five-star game-changer that was CM Punk vs Scott Armstrong, as Punk has a match. Ooh, interesting. Armstrong is
 the ref.

CM Punk vs R-Truth

Punk amusingly mocks Armstrong. Yeah, you fuckin' ref. I beat you! And, It's always funny when Truth does his entrance and there's one random person in the crowd who says WHAT'S UP twenty times louder than the others. Striker, talking out of an orifice not normally used for speech, says CM Punk is Friday night's Johnny Cash, and R-Truth is SmackDown's Suge Knight. Rrright... that Cash comparison? Punk is straight edge. I rest my case. I guess Striker's brand of nonsense is more interesting than Tard saying Truth "brings the flava". I had time to type that because there's a very hesitant start here, but things finally get underway when Truth flattens Punk with a shoulderblock, before doing a little dance. What's that chant? "We want shogun?" "We want shotgun?" Hmm. Truth and Punk go back and forth with a bit of mat wrestling to start with. Striker has now decided (after giving a silly explanation of the term 'straight edge', including the first and only time Minor Threat have ever been mentioned on WWE TV) that Punk is SmackDown's Iggy Pop. I'll shut up about the commentary now. These guys are pretty good together, and Punk gets on the offense with a few kicks and punches, and a headbutt. Punk comes off the ropes from this, straight into an arm drag. He clotheslines Punk over and out before flying out with a crossbody as we go to a break. Punk seems to be in control, but Truth escapes a suplex, delivering one of his own. Punk escapes to the apron, dropping Truth's neck across the ropes (what is the proper name for that move?) before hitting a springboard clothesline to the back of Truth's neck, which gets one. Stomps and a very stiff kick lead into Punk hitting a snap suplex (after blowing a kiss to the crowd for some reason) for two. Punk then slaps on a bow and arrow kinda thing. Always good to see more interesting submission holds. He releases Truth before delivering a few strikes and slinging Truth into the corner for the knee, which Truth dodges, and Punk is soon eating strikes and clotheslines.Truth does his missed-corner-charge/cartwheel/splits thing and hits a leg lariat and a forearm in the corner. Truth comes off the ropes and Punk delivers a leg lariat of his own out of the blue for two. Punk argues that it should've been three, and yells at Armstrong "count faster! do your job!" - and promptly gets rolled up by Truth for a speedy three-count. Ha.
Winner: R-Truth
Rating: ***

Good match. Armstrong stormed up the ramp, and Punk went in pursuit but as soon as Armstrong disappeared backstage Punk gave up and started having a hissy fit which took him back into the ring. We then go to Mickie James getting bullied high-school brat style by Michelle McCool and Layla. There's a Diva Survivor Series match... is that SmackDown-only? There are about six Divas on the whole brand. I am not enlightened, nor am I remotely interested. Replay of Batista's amusingly crap attack on Matt Hardy from last week. Seriously, shoving him into a fence? That was it? Crappiest backstage attack ever! Speaking of crap. Ozzy. RAW Rebound. That was sort of stupidly watchable, but it was still crap. I tell ya, every single episode of RAW since they started with the guest hosts, has had at least one segment of ten-carat wrestlecrap. Chris Masters' bouncing tits was priceless, though. It was his facial expression which made it. I'd quite like to blow Jillian up with dynamite. Ugh, not watching this crap again. FUCK RAW.

Josh Matthews talks to Matt Hardy backstage now. Fake tan fake tan fake tan. Matt's here to FIGHT. Yay, go and fight, Matt! You might win. Step forth with confidence, Matthew, into the PIT OF DANGER.

Batista vs Matt Hardy

This is such a lame matchup. Yes, it starts with shoves. Yes, Batista wins the shoving match. Matt gets some brief offense in, punches and kicks, Batista stops that shit quickly with a clothesline. More shoves and forearms and shit. Two-count. It's very slow, of course, because it's DAVE. Reasonably good suplex gets Batista two. Batista chokes Matt against the ropes, stomps on him, misses a corner charge but blocks a rollup. There is a lot of wandering-around-looking-scary. Teest tells the ref to get out of  his face. Punches. Many punches. Hardy gets a forearm in, and goes to the second rope but Batista just throws him the fuck off and screams 'COME ON' as we go to a break.When we return, Matt is being put in a camel clutch by Big Stupid Dangerous Evil Slow Alone DAVE. I'm surprised there isn't a 'boring' chant, actually. Props to the crowd for going for it. Batista releases Matt and beats him up some more. There probably should be a 'boring' chant,  because this is boring. Striker, however, is playing up the heel commentator thing a little bit, which is good. Tard reminds us that Matt handed the mighty ERIC ESCOBAR his first defeat. Yup, I forgot about him too. A shove into the corner gets Batista two. He then amusingly puts Matt in a crappy rear naked choke, which looks cosy rather than painful. He turns it into a body scissors briefly, but soon turns back to the hugging and the loving. This goes on for a very long time. Matt eventually fights his way out and gets scooped up for a powerslam, but wriggles out and hits a neckbreaker, and they do the slowly-getting-up thing. Batista charges for a spear, but Hardy actually stops him with some strikes, before hitting a low dropkick and a DDT. Hardy then goes up for a moonsault, but Batista rolls (mostly) clear (Matt's head hit Teest's boot). Batista picks Hardy up but gets caught in a quick Twist Of Fate. DAVE grabs the bottom rope to prevent a three count. Going for a second TOF, Matt is quickly flattened by a spinebuster. Batista sort of snaps, stomping the crap out of Hardy and standing on his throat. Hardy rolls outside and Batista follows, slinging him into barricade and slamming him into the announcer's table. Batista then picks up a monitor and smashes Matt in the back, causing the DQ. After the bell, Batista continues beating Hardy down, slinging him into the steps before rolling him back into the ring and removing his elbow pads before threatening a Batista Bomb, but he just lets Hardy slump to the mat, drawing boos. Uh, he's a heel now, folks.
Winner: Matt Hardy
Rating: **1/2

Serviceable match for what it was, I guess, but it's just not an inspiring pairing. I guess they needed someone for Batista to use as a punching bag, but come on, Matt Hardy? Fucker had about as much chance as Jimmy Wang Yang did. DAVE is definitely more interesting as a heel even if he still stinks in the ring, and Hardy just kinda did his best. Anyway, we then get a short video telling us that Chris Jericho is facing the Undertaker one-on-one next week, and that's that.

YES: Above average show, which was refreshing. Three very solid matches this week. There was nothing super-amazing, but there was also nothing pointless (besides, arguably, Drew McIntyre's 50th non-match). Taker and Jericho did a great promo to kick things off, and Striker was intermittently brilliant on commentary. And it was Escobar-free, too. Latino No Heat will hopefully be gone sooner rather than later.

NO: Y'know, I can't think of anything off hand. The usual crappy SmackDown segments (Teddy & Vince's mumble time, Word Up - wherefore art thou, Slam Master J & 'Pretty Ricky') were all pleasingly absent. Even the Diva stuff was fine, though I do hope they don't fuck up Beth Phoenix's push after apparently pressing the 'reset' button on her career again.

WHAT?: Drew McIntyre's entrance pose is very funny, but the comedy highlight of SmackDown is the weird and wonderful adventures of the Undertaker's hair. Dude has one schizophrenic hairdresser. He looks different every week.

Well, that was a good show, and next week's sounds very promising too. Le'ts not forget - CM Punk's WAR against Scott Armstrong rages on! Yes indeed. I am Ian Sparke, and it's Wine Tyme. Lame, you're right.
 
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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

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.).