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TV REPORTS
12/2 WWE Friday Night Smackdown report: Smackdown Express

Dec 3, 2005 - 5:53:00 AM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY


By Mike Roe, Torch OVW/Smackdown Specialist

WWE Smackdown review
December 2, 2005
Taped 11/29/05 in Cincinnati, Ohio
Aired on UPN
Report by Mike Roe, Torch OVW/Smackdown Specialist


Welcome to another visceral edition of Express! I'm your friendly neighborhood host/Pat Sajack wannabe, Mike Roe. Time to send things down for our usual pre-show festivities, trivia goodness from your pal, Seth!

***

Raw Is Trival with the "Supreme" Seth Berger!

Raw Is Trivial has returned from the bowels of a turkey. Last Friday, the Trivialmeister and the rest of the brood spent it at my mom's. But instead of the usual Thanksgiving fare of watching football, we watched wrestling. Yes, I got control of the television. And I was met with the usual fare of "this is so stupid" comments, even though my mom popped for Kennedy's entrance. Not really due to his delivery, but because he announced himself as being "from Green Ba-a-ay, Wisconsi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-in!"

Anyway, I didn't even know when Survivor Series was, so I have a December PPV question for you this week. Titled "Armageddon" every year except for one; that ill-fated year 2001 when the then-WWF decided to actually show some sort of decorum that - maybe (just maybe) naming a PPV "Armageddon" after what happened on September 11th wasn't too bright of an idea. (Kinda odd, considering they once showed a clip of Vince McMahon being stretchered out right after Owen Hart had his tragic fall from the rafters.) So the name was changed.

For only that year. Then, back to "Armageddon".

But, be priveliged that same PPV now infiltrates the umpteen number of shows WWE throws on PPV every year. My question for you is this: What's the name of that PPV?

(You remember the format of these questions, but I'll refresh: no wagering, no cheating, no hints and no doubting El Dandy. Because, as Bret Hart once said to Gene Okerlund, "Who are you to doubt El Dandy?!?")

***

Let's get to this review like it's going out of style! The show started with the Power Is Back intro video, whatever that means. They then showed a recap of last Tuesday's Smackdown special. They showed Rey Mysterio versus Big Show highlights, focusing on Big Show powerbombing Rey Mysterio on the low rider in the ramp, with Mysterio making a big comeback with a chairshot, a 619, and in memory of Eddie, a frog splash (whoo!). Mysterio crawled over to try making the cover when Kane's music and pyro hit. Uh, crap. Mysterio got up, and didn't run like a wise man would have, getting double chokeslammed by Kane and the Big Show. Then the lights went out, and Sabu came... Oh, wait, wrong company. The Undertaker's gong hit, the lights went out, and when they came back on, the Undertaker was standing behind Kane and Big Show. In a hilarious moment, they were both looking at the ramp and Big Show was explaining to Kane how, ha ha, Taker's not hear, he's just psyching us out, but then Kane turns around and just looks like "Oh, crud. I so hate when family shows up. Here we go again." Taker took out Show with a flying shoulder block, chokeslammed Kane, and big booted Show to the outside. However, before he cold finish the job, Randy Orton ran down to the ring and delivered the RKO! Orton then pulled a freakin' tire iron out of the trunk of the low rider as Taker sat up in the ring. Taker still got most of the offense on Orton, despite getting hit several times with the tire iron. Taker bounced Orton head first off the trunk of the car and was about to get chokeslammed, when who should make the save but WWE's proudest papa, Cowboy Bob Orton! Taker punched him, but it allowed Orton to beat down Taker, but him on the trunk of the low rider, and then Orton drove said low rider backwards through the smackdown entrance into a bunch of crap backstage that exploded in flames. They didn't include any of the "That's Eddie Guerrero's car!" commentary, thankfully. Orton looked shocked at first, then happy at what he did. However, the Undertaker is harder to kill than a cockroach, so I doubt this will do much of anything.

*** Michael Cole introduced the show and they showed on the stage that the piece of the set that Orton broke through was still broken out, covered over with caution tape. Randy Orton made his way out with Cowboy Bob, and they checked out the broken piece of the set and were pleased with their handiwork. Cowboy Bob pointed toward Randy Orton and said "You're the man!" God, I love Cowboy Bob. Cole said that Orton doing that to Taker means he was turning his back on the Smackdown locker room. Um, shouldn't Cole be complaining about him being a mmurderer? Cole talked about how, at Survivor Series, Orton was the Smackdown hero for winning for their etam, but now he's the Smackdown pariah. Orton did his little pose in the corner, and Orton kneeled and pointed to him and again said "You're the man!" Did I mention how much I love Cowboy Bob? He's so good. Always doing whatever he can to get over his boy, darn it!

Randy Orton got on the mic and said that he didn't come out there to brag about what he did to the Undertaker, because he didn't need to, because, get this, "I'm not an arrogant man." Ha! Orton said that what he did to Undertaker speaks for itself. He then pointed to the piece of the little dome thingy on the stage that was still broken out. Orton said that any of the fans here expecting to see Taker rise from the ashes, well guess what? "Ain't gonna happen!" Orton said that it's over, he's done, his legacy is killed, he's dead, and Orton killed him. Seriously, he said all that. Shouldn't he not be confessing this on national television, in front of thousands of witnesses? Well, if that's how he gets his kicks. Orton said that the only true "phenom" now in the WWE is, well, Randy Orton. Orton said that he deserves something for what he's accomplished: the World Heavyweight Championship. Orton asked if the fans disagree with him, and they all cheered. However, Orton said that you're looking at the sole survivor in the Survivor Series for three years in a row, the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history, and a third generation superstar. Then they showed a group of teen girls that looked drunk (seriously!) booing Orton. Orton said that you are also looking at the man that killed the Undertaker. Orton said that, if the people disagree, their opinions mean nothing to him whatsoever. The crowd broke into an "asshole!" chant. Orton called out Batista, which got major cheers from the crowd. Orton demanded a World Heavyweight Championship match. He said he doesn't want one at Armaggedon, he demands one at Armageddon! If he wants the belt so much, why doesn't he just challenge for it tonight? Orton said he would become the World Heavyweight Champion, and it's not arrogance, it's destiny. Orton set his mic down and his music played. That may have been the best Orton promo since he was Intercontinental Champion and did that amazing promo where he started the promo in the back and then came out to the arena through the back way while continuing his promo.

They showed a recap of what he did last Tuesday once again, driving the car backwards with Taker across the back, through the Smackdown entrance. There was then an explosion, that looked incredibly fake at first, but looked better once the fire got going. They cut back to the arena, where Orton was posing on the rampway with his trademark pose as Cowboy Bob applauded him as he does so wonderfully. Tazz said that, if you look in the dictionary under "arrogance," you'll see Randy Orton's face. Of course, I think if you look in the dictionary under "cliché comments," you'll see that one, but hey, no one bats a thousand.

Tonight: JBL and Rey Mysterio will be teaming up against Raw's Big Show and Kane! Are they just going to keep doing interbrand matches forever? Also, even better, the Boogeyman makes his in-ring debut tonight! Freaking sweet! This may either be the best or worst thing ever. Stay tuned!

Up next: We've also got a tag team battle royal that is insanely huge, with Nunzio & Vito (are they considered the FBI?), the Dicks, LOD, Mexicools, Scotty 2 Hotty & Funaki (How did they get on Smackdown?), and Paul London & Brian Kendrick/Spanky (How did they get on Smackdown?!)! The winner gets a tag team title shot at Armageddon!


(Commercial break.)

Michael Cole talked about how ironic the splash page of WWE.com was earlier this week, which read "Deadman rises" after Survivor Series. Not so much after Tuesday night. They then laughed about Smackdown winning and moved on to the tag team match. Um, the guy just supposedly died, you goofs! I swear, I'll never understand Undertaker storylines.

(1) Super Crazy & Psicosis (the Mexicools, with Juventud) won a Tag Team Battle Royal at 8:30. (Order of elimination: Nunzio & Vito, LOD (Road Warrior Animal & Heidenreich), Scotty 2 Hotty & Funaki, Brian Kendrick & Paul London, the Dicks (Chad Dick & James Dick).)

Pre-match analysis: MNM came out before the match, and Melina looked so amazing I was worried my head was going to explode. She was wearing an MNM shirt. She's worn one before, and had cut it previously to fit her amazing body, but she'd messed with it even more and made it look even more amazing on her amazing amazingness. Right below the "It's okay to STARE" tag line on the front, she'd cut a hole, Power Girl style, to show off, ahem, what God gave her. She'd cut out holes in the shoulders to show off her beautiful shoulders. She also had on this awesome giant belt, a big diamond choker, a tan colored skirt (What, is he getting her fashion advice from Jillian Hall now?), and tan boots. God, I love Melina. In an interesting twist, instead of their usual matching coats, Johnny Nitro was sporting a grey fur coat, while Joey Mercury had on a sort of light yellow and black one. They came down to ringside and, before Melina could do her oh so sweet entrance, she pointed to the right and MNM walked around the ring. Michael Cole complained about not getting to see the greatest entrance in sports entertainment history. I'm telling his wife. They came over to the announce booth and MNM, with the belts still dangling from their crotches, but them up on the announce desk to show them off. Melina coyly looked at Cole and Tazz. She then put her leg up the announce table, and holy crap she did the splits on the announce table! This may be the greatest moment in Smackdown history. She then kissed her boys on the cheek. It was great hearing Cole and Tazz losing their minds looking at Melina. Like her chest says, it's okay to stare. Johnny Nitro asked the announce guys if they wanted some, and Joey Mercury specified "You guys!" and pointed at Cole and Tazz. I couldn't totally make out what was said, so I thought maybe Mercury was inviting them for a five way. Although, in a five way with four dudes and one girl, there's probably going to be some guy on guy. Thanks, but no thanks.

Oh, what a rush! LOD were out next. I think the entrances for this match will never end. LOD has cool pyro. Heidenreich marched to the ring, and then LOD posed in the corners. They showed MNM's reactions to all the tag teams, which was a nice touch. Melina sat on the announce table as Melina stood by her. MNM acted a little intimidated by LOD. Scotty 2 Hotty and Funaki were out next, to Scotty's music. I think these guys have jobs for life. They must know better than to complain about constantly jobbing. Funaki had on a Funaki number 1 shirt, and I totally want one of those. In one of the funniest things I've ever seen, Mercury did the Scotty wave your hands side to side bit, Nitro made the sign for the Worm with his hand, and Melina rolled her eyes. The Dicks were next, oiling themselves up on their way down. Tazz said that this was Cole's favorite team. Cole talked about how baby oil makes your skin nice and soft and supple. Yikes. Tazz asked Cole whether he loaned them that bottle of baby oil. Double yikes. Way too much information, Tazz. Paul London and Brian Kendrick were next, out to London's music, running down to the ring and doing wacky movements around the ring. MNM sarcastically acted afraid. London and Kendrick did double backflips off the second rope! Sweet! Nunzio and Vito were next. God, Vito looks like a gay biker. Seriously, the Village People ruined leather vests and biker caps for everyone. The Mexicools rounded things out, coming out on their Juan Deeres. Psicosis and Super Crazy (which they're spelling as one word now for some reason in the graphic). Psicosis showed to the camera that he had on an EG Eddie Guerrero memorial armband. They were supposedly close, so it makes sense.

Match analysis: The Mexicools ran into the ring and this thing got underway! Heidenreich was busy standing in the corner yelling at Mercury and Melina. Heidenreich didn't realize that it had started yet. Everyone had teamed up on Animal to start the match, trying to eliminate the former tag team champions first. Heidenreich tried running in for the save, but he was stopped. Most of the guys left to go take out Heidenreich. Vito kept up the work on Animal. Vito left to go after Heidenreich, at which point Nunzio ran at Animal and was backdropped to the floor! Nunzio and Vito were the first tag team eliminated. Animal whipped Kendrick into the corner, then shot James Dick and Chad Dick into the corner and splashed all three of them. The Dicks double teamed Animal from behind (No, seriously!), and then, as Cole put it, "Animal just beating on the Dicks with those big right hands!" Animal whipped Kendrick into the big pile of guys teaming up on Heidenreich, causing Heidenreich to be sent to the outside, causing LOD to be the second group eliminated. MNM celebrated, thankful they wouldn't be facing LOD. In the middle of the match, the lights started flickering, with wacky light flickering sound effects, then went out before coming back on. Everyone looked around and, much likes yours truly, had no clue what that was about. I'm betting it's something to do with the Boogeyman, but we'll see.

(Commercial break.)

Kendrick did a nice flying punch coming back from break. They showed that Scotty was on the floor at ringside. We saw in the recap that, during the break, Scotty was beating on Chad Dick in the corner, punching him while standing on the second rope, but James Dick ran for the save and pushed Scotty to the outside, eliminating Scotty and Funaki. The remaining teams were the Dicks, London and Kendrick, and the Mexicools. London and Kendrick did this great spot where Kendrick bounced off the ropes and London elevated him, allowing him to dropkick the Mexicools! Psicosis almost fell to the outside, but Super Crazy saved him from being eliminated. Tazz said that he was rooting for the Mexicools, while Cole said, and I quote, "I like the Dicks!" Wait a second, announcer predictions are pretty much always wrong. Could they possibly show a little love to my boys and Internet wet dream tag team, Kendrick and London? Shock! Kendrick caught himself on the ropes after getting whipped there by James Dick, and elevated James Dick over the top, but James landed on the apron.London whipped Chad Dick into the corner and ran after him, but Chad elevated him over the top rope. However, London landed on the apron. He jumped up to the top rope to follow up with what looked like a moonsault setup, but James Dick ran over and knocked London to the outside! That bastard! I should have known WWE would never push a team the Internet loves. The Mexicools double teamed Chad Dick, hitting a double Russian leg sweep, followed by a great double rolling move, flipping Chad hard onto his back, with his head hitting the bottom rope. James Dick ran over, but they hit a double back bodydrop and Super Crazy hit him with a standing moonsault! Super Crazy kipped up and they celebrated. They went back over to the Dicks, but the Dicks countered and took down the Mexicools. They hit a double team move on Super Crazy, with each man standing on either side and, while facing opposite directions and holding him in between them, fell to the mat, sending him down face first. Cole: "Imagine the explosion the Dicks would have if they won this matchup?" Ewwwwwww. Tazz talked about how there were a couple of happy Dicks in the ring. Ew two. The Dicks sent Psicosis onto the apron and celebrated, but Psicosis held onto the rope, pulled himself into the ring, grabbed a Dick with each leg, and pulled them over the top to the outside! The Mexicools win!

Post-match analysis: MNM didn't look too happy to be facing the Mexicools. All three Mexicools celebrated in the ring. Psicosis pointed to the EG on his arm as he celebrated. Juventud pointed to his Cruiserweight Championship and symbolically said that all three of them were going to be champions. Psicosis pointed out the EG on his arm to MNM as they trash talked against one another. Mercury pointed to each of the Mexicools and said "You're next!," Goldberg style!

Match grade: B. One of the better battle royals that you will see. There was a nice combination of workers here, including several quite good wrestlers and some more middle of the road guys, with a couple not so good guys who held up their part of the match. I was hoping that Kendrick and London would get the nod, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. I hope that they get a substantial run for the tag team belts somewhere down the road.

*** Backstage, Josh Mathews, wearing much dorkier glasses than normal, interviewed JBL, asking him about his tag team match against Kane and the Big Show. JBL said he had the same thoughts as every Smackdown fan that chants his name. Whoo! If JBL had been with Rey Mysterio on the Smackdown UPN special, nothing would have happened "to 619." Is that his nickname now? JBL said this rivalry will have a winner, and a loser, and the loser is Raw. JBL complained about Kane and Big Show raising Hell on "my show," Smackdown, and was outraged! JBL said that he understands why the people don't like me, because you always hate what you can't be. Oooooooh. JBL said, though, that in times like these, they need someone like him. Tonight, he's going out with a guy he really doesn't like to defend his show, and he will defend his show. Tonight, the Raw giants will face the wrestling god! JBL was walking off, when he went by a Smackdown screen and what should happen but the screen was bleeding! Smells like Boogeyman to me! JBL's promo was great, and I'm excited to see him turn full out babyface one of these days.

(Commercial break.)

(2) Chris Benoit defeated William Regal via submission at 7:28.

Pre-match analysis: Booker T and Sharmell were on their way down to do commentary coming back from break. Sharmell had on a gorgeous blue-green gown and her crown. She was blowing kisses to everyone and doing the princess wave. Booker had on this great blue suit, the type of thing you'd see a football player wear, and he looked stylin', as the Nature Boy would say. They shook hands with Cole and Tazz. Booker hugged Tazz and even did a cool handshake with Cole, and Cole didn't screw it up! I'm shocked! Guess he's not as white as I thought. Booker was in a happy mood and said he'd been checking Cole out lately and listening to everything he was saying. Hm, why would he be happy with Cole? I smell setup!

Chris Benoit was down next. They had a graphic up on the vertical screens to the side of the stage showing that Booker was up two matches to none in their best of seven series. Cole hyped that, next week, it's a must win for Chris Benoit in match three of the best of seven series. Booker said he was on top of the world right now, being up two oh. Booker said that taking this series, straight down the middle, fair and square, has meant so much to him. Cole made a comment about how he was glad Booker hadn't had to use his wife to win, and Sharmell cut him off, saying that Cole talks to much and that Booker won.

William Regal came out next. Booker said he was tough, and Sharmell said he is, but not as tough as Booker! Cole talked about how Regal and Benoit have had their battles in the past, most recently on Velocity. They showed photos courtesy of WWE.com in black and white of a bloody Regal from that match.

Match analysis: Booker said that they were getting ready to bring down the broom for him to sweep the series. Ha! Booker said he would call this match right down the middle. Well, he's not a ref, but I suppose you can do that on announcing too. He said he'd be doing it in the third person, unbiased. Benoit and Regal locked up early, with Benoit getting an early advantage, but Regal did a nice technical reversal by grabbing at Benoit's head with his legs. Tazz, Booker, and Sharmell joked about Booker taking Michael Cole's job. They locked up again with a collar and elbow tie up, but Benoit countered and hit a toehold with an armlock to send Regal down. Regal sold his arm. Booker said on commentary that, with Benoit banged up and not working out a hundred percent, when you get in there with a guy like Booker T who's technically sound, the most decorated champion in wrestling, you have to think Benoit's going to lose. Booker speaking about himself in third person is awesome. Benoit and Regal locked up again, with Benoit getting the early advantage, then taking Regal over by the leg. Benoit was going for the sharpshooter, but Regal threw some punches and kicks to stop the hold from being locked. Regal then punched Benoit repeatedly in the back of the head. Regal covered Benoit, but Benoit kicked out. Regal sent Benoit down to the floor.

Booker pointed out that this was England versus Canada, and how this was a main event anywhere in the world. Nice! Regal dropped Benoit on the neck on the apron. Tazz talked to Booker and pointed out the pressure he put on Benoit's neck on Tuesday, but Booker corrected him since he was speaking in third person, and said it wasn't him, it was Booker T (you following this?) that put the pressure on the neck. Regal sent Benoit back into the ring. Regal dropped a knee to the back of Benoit's neck until the ref called for a break. Booker was going on, and Cole actually showed some fire and a spine, yelling "Booker!" at him and telling him to stop talking for a second, pointing out that he still had to win two matches and that he hasn't won the title yet. Regal picked up Benoit and delivered a shoulder breaker. Regal then set up a sitting surfboard submission, pulling back on the legs and arms. It took him a little time to get it set up. Regal released the arms and applied a dragon sleeper while his legs still had Benoit's legs locked. Great hold. Benoit elbowed out. Booker complained, saying that, in a hold like that, it's like when a boxer is on Dream Street, and the ref should have stopped the match. Regal went to the outside and slammed Benoit's neck down on the apron, then kicked his head into the steel post! Booker kept calling for the ref to stop this match, and that Benoit should be put in an ambulance. They showed a replay of Regal kicking Benoit's head into that steel post. Booker said that Benoit is on Dream Street and the referee should do his job.

Benoit stood up and chopped Regal in the chest hard. Benoit fired up and delivered a series of chops. Tazz asked Booker to tell him what they feel like it. Booker underplayed it and said "they have a little steam to them." Regal countered and grabbed Benoit, kneeing him in the head. Benoit grabbed Regal's leg and took him down, and he was going for the sharpshooter again, but Regal kicked him off. They showed a recap of Benoit's chop comeback. Regal hit a running knee to the side of the head and covered, but Benoit kicked out three times. Regal underhooked Benoit, but Benoit rammed him into the turnbuckle. Benoit chopped Regal across the forehead, which Regal sold huge, grabbing at his head. Regal's chest was red from the chops. Regal kicked Benoit and hit a T-bone suplex! Regal then hit a second T-bone/exploder suplex and hit a big running forearm and covered, but Benoit got the shoulder up. Regal covered again, but Benoit kicked out three more times! They showed a recap of Benoit's chop across the forehead. Booker complained that it was an illegal chop. Regal was picking up Benoit, but he blocked a forearm and overhooked Regal's arm and delivered a series of headbutts. Both men's heads were busted open from the headbutts! Benoit went into the triple Germans. He hit two before Regal tried elbowing out, at which point Benoit went for a full nelson. There was a double switch and Benoit hit a dragon suplex! Benoit then locked in the crossface and Regal tapped like a motha.

Post-match analysis: Booker put his feet up on the announce table and was still happy, bragging that there was no way that Chris Benoit is going to do that to someone like Booker T, as Sharmell served as his yes girl. No sooner was this said than Benoit pulled away from having his arm held up and leaped across the announce table with a flying forearm to Booker T! He started just beating the crap out of Booker at ringside and bounced his shoulder off the steel post before going for the crossface at ringside! Sharmell slapped at Benoit's back and tried pulling him off, but had no luck. Booker T tried tapping desperately and was basically selling going out from the pain. Sharmell came after Benoit with a steel chair, but he got up and turned around before she could hit him with it. She dropped the chair and hightailed it away from Benoit, circling the ring as Benoit initially followed and going to check on her husband, still lying on the floor. They showed a great replay of Benoit diving across the announce table at Booker and Sharmell screaming in horror, then showed a replay of Booker tapping out to the crossface. Benoit celebrated on the stage after the match and repeatedly punched himself in the chest. Sweet.

Match grade: B+. A strong television match, and about as good as you're likely to get off of pay-per-view outside of the occasional great TV main event or a long Velocity cruiserweight match. The clean finish was a nice touch, too. It's always a pleasure to watch Benoit and Regal go out it, as they bring out the best in one another. I strongly recommend that you go out of your way to see their Velocity match. You can see highlights at WWE.com at one of the following two links: 1 or 2.

*** Backstage, Randy Orton said that Batista won't come back with an answer to his challenge because he's scared. When he's done running through Matt Hardy, he's going to go to Batista's locker room, look him in the eye, and if he doesn't respond then, Randy's going to spit in his face! Cowboy Bob said "That's my boy!" and patted him on the back. In the background, they zoomed in on a clock that was quickly moving backwards. (Boogeyman!)

Up next: Matt Hardy versus Randy Orton! Michael Cole sold this match as helping Orton cement his claim for a World Heavyweight Championship opportunity.

Promo time: WWE's coming soon to a town near you! Unless you live where I live, in Seattle, Washington, in which case you will never, eeeeever get to see WWE. I swear, I'm thinking more and more that my memories of WWE shows must have been hallucinations based on how little they come out here.

(Commercial break.)

Promo time: The new WWE magazine features the divas of Smackdown dressed up for Christmas. No Jillian, sadly, but there are pictures of Christy, Stacy Keibler (whoo!), and, most importantly, Melina (double whoo!). This will be bought by me, I promise you that.

Tonight: Boogeyman debuts tonight! Cole talked about how Tazz had been waiting for this. Michael Cole called him "sports entertainment's weirdest dude!" Dude? What the... OK, sure. Tazz then did his Boogeyman impression, which ruled.

(3) Randy Orton (with Cowboy Bob Orton) defeated Matt Hardy at 5:25.

Pre-match analysis: Randy and Cowboy Bob came down to the ring. Randy looked back once more at the destruction he'd caused to the Smackdown set. I'm hoping that this leads to a new Smackdown set, but I'm not holding my breath. God, that big fist is stupid. Orton looked up and did the sign of the cross. I couldn't totally make out what he was mouthing, but it ended with "Undertaker," so I guess he's mocking Taker being dead as a doornail. Orton ran into the ring and did his magnificent corner pose.

Matt Hardy made his way out next. He might be able to slam a tornado, but he apparently can't slam anything else to win a match. The best part was that they showed some kid in the crowd throwing up double V One-uhhhh hand symbols, with what looked like his older brother looking at his brother and sarcastically mocking him for doing so. Ha!

Match analysis: Tazz did a nice job putting over Matt Hardy as the match started, saying he wasn't a joke. Orton applied a side headlock and then spun into a drop toehold intoa front facelock. Hardy grabbed a hammerlock into a standing side headlock. Orton pulled back on Hardy's hair and applied a side headlock. Hardy fought out, but Orton came back with a shoulder block and posed to boos from the crowd. Hardy came back with a hip toss and two deep armdrags into an armbar. Hardy got a wristlock, but Orton delivered a thumb to the eyes to come back and hit a dropkick. Orton covered with a forearm in the face, but Hardy quickly kicked out. Orton dropped a knee and covered again, but Hardy again kicked out.

Orton hit a snapmare and applied one of his trademark trying really hard side headlocks, moving around a bunch while doing it. Hardy tried fighting out, but Orton slammed him to the mat. Orton went for another knee drop, but Hardy rolled out of the way and Orton sold the knee. Orton hit a back elbow and covered, but Hardy kicked out. Orton locked on a rear chinlock. Tazz talked about how Orton had body control. Hardy made it to a vertical base and fought out. They traded punches. Orton hit a big uppercut in the middle and got the better of the exchange with a clubbing blow. Hardy ducked an Orton clothesline and Orton hit a flying forearm to send Orton down and to the outside. Hardy celebrated and then springboarded onto Orton on the outside.

Hardy tossed Orton back into the ring and covered, but Orton kicked out. Orton whipped Hardy, and Hardy paused and had to avoid Cowboy Bob trying to grab his leg. I thought Orton would seize on the opportunity, but they didn't go the obvious route and had Hardy hit the side effect into a cover. Orton kicked out. Hardy signaled for the end and went for the twist of fate, but as he did his little yell thing, Orton rammed him into the corner. It's so dumb when babyfaces get their cockiness used against them. Orton whipped Hardy into the other corner and was going after him, but Hardy got his boots up to send Orton down to the mat. Hardy climbed the ropes and went for a moonsault, but Orton rolled out of the way and, as Tazz put it, Hardy crashed and burned. Hardy stood up and was doubled over, allowing Orton to hit an RKO out of nowhere, hooking both legs and picking up the victory!

Post-match analysis: Randy and Cowboy Bob celebrated after the match. They showed a replay of Hardy missing the proverbial high risk maneuver, the moonsault, and getting an RKO for his efforts. Hardy was still down after the replay. The ref came to check on him. However, the happy celebration was interrupted by the Undertaker's gong! Undertaker came over the loudspeaker and said "Hello, Randy!" Well, hi to you too! Taker asked if Orton knew who it was, and said that it was the man that he tried to kill, the Undertaker. This is even goofier knowing that they taped this on the same night as the Tuesday night special. Orton and Cowboy Bob tried making their way out of the ringside area when Taker sent a lightning bolt! The Ortons freaked out, with Randy climbing back in the ring and Cowboy Bob, in a classic moment, crawling under the ring! Taker asked over the intercom what was wrong, and wanted to know if Orton felt safe anymore. Taker asked where he was, and then said that he was right behind Orton! Orton spun around, but no, he's just psyching Orton out. Taker then said he was "over here." Taker said "I'm coming for you" and Orton bailed again, looking under the ring and bailing out into the crowd. Orton walked through a big group of fans and kept yelling "Stop!" Orton pulled aside a curtain in between the stands when what should happen but another Taker gong, and fog coming from the back with an illuminated coffin standing up. Orton ran back through the fans, one of whom derisively said to him "Don't be a fraid!" Taker asked Randy what was wrong, and if he minded caskets. Taker asked if he minded caskets, since he didn't seem to mind caskets when it was Taker inside. Taker asked if Orton was scared and told him to remember his "destiny." Taker said that Orton's destiny is right before his eyes. Randy tried to kill Taker, but Taker said that he's the one who does the killing! Great, now the babyface is a murderer too. I don't know who to root for anymore. Orton was in the ring for a minute, then went through the crowd again and yelled "Get off me!" to the fans repeatedly, then yelled out "Where are you?!" several times. He did a great job selling his fear. In a funny bit, he pushed back this one fan who looked totally high, and another fan with an RKO shirt on patted him on the back. Orton was about to go through another exit from the floor area, when another explosion went off. Orton backed up again and fell down as he backed up through the crowd. He went back to the ringside area and got back in the ring. I swear, is this segment ever going to end? Taker got on the intercom and said "You look lost, boy!" and said that he doesn't know where he's going. Orton put his hands together in the ring, praying for mercy. Taker said "Randy, you're going with me... straight to Hell! Hell... in the cell!" Orton looked like he'd just crapped his pants after this. He slowly shook his head, saying no and clutching at his head.

Match grade: C+. A decent short match that left Hardy looking strong even in defeat, particularly due to the finish coming from out of nowhere and Hardy getting to deliver several of his signature moves and going for the moonsault, even though he missed. You have to wonder if Hardy is kicking himself while looking at the push that Christian is getting over in TNA now, yelling out a Napoleon Dynamite style "Gosh!"

*** Backstage, Orton was talking to Theodore Long. He was frantically telling Teddy that he killed the Undertaker and saying Long didn't understand. Long calmly explained that, he heard the Undertaker, Randy's going to Hell. Long said that he didn't know why Orton was looking at him, because he's not going with Orton, and Hell in a Cell is happening at Armageddon. Long asked what Orton wanted from him. Orton complained that he deserved a World Title shot, he deserves Batista, and Undertaker's dead. Long said that he saw what happened out there, and with someone as mad as the Undertaker was, "I ain't messin' with him, dawg, living or dead!" Are we ever going to get a general manager with a spine? Long said that, as far as he was concerned, the match was on. Randy sobbed in fright and frustration.

*** They showed an outside shot of the US Bank Arena in Cincinatti, Ohio before going to their newest broadcast colleague, Kristal Marshall, who had an interview with Simon Dean! You might remember Kristal as the black girl from this year's diva search, and not the one who was a wrestling fan and got eliminated right away. Kristal said that a lot of strange things had been happening there tonight, but she still had to be there with her first guest, Simon Dean. She acted scared. Dean said it was nice to meet her and kissed her on the hand. Kristal said that Dean was facing the Boogeyman and asked him if he was afraid of the Boogeyman. Dean said of course he wasn't. Dean said, let's face facts. The Boogeyman is someone who lurks in people's closets, who hides under people's beds. Dean said there's a word for people like that: lunatic. Dean said that, lucky for him, he's in peak physical condition, thanks to the Simon System! Dean showed off some pieces of his Simon System, including an "Eat Like Simon" DVD, another DVD, some Simon System Fitno-Powder, and more! Dean said, with his Simon System, he has nothing to fear! Dean pointed to it with a metal pointer. There was a mysterious item underneath a metal serving tray lid. Dean said, with the help of his brand new, revolutionary item, he will face whatever adversity life, or the Boogeyman, throws at him. Dean pulled off the metal tray, to reveal Boogeyman's head! There were pieces of whatever was in there in the first place to the sides of Simon Dean's head. A red light appeared behind Boogeyman's head. Boogeyman ate some of whatever it was next to him and sang "Oh My Darling." Dean yelped "Oh, God!" Boogeyman said that the time is coming near for Simon Dean to face his fear. There were also worms crawling on Simon Dean's head. Yikes. He then did his catchphrase and started eating the worms. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Raw Rebound: Vince McMahon strutted to the ring and said that Eric Bischoff told him at Survivor Series that he had three goals. Team Raw was going to defeat Team Smackdown, which didn't happen; Eric Bischoff was going to defeat Teddy Long, General Manager of Smackdown, and that didn't happen either; and Kurt Angle was going to defeat John cena for the WWE title, and that didn't happen, either! They showed clips of what really happened along with each of the goals. Vince said that he was giving Bischoff a simple ultimatum that night: Set a goal, and achieve it. If Bischoff didn't set his goal and achieve it, he may very well be looking for a new general manager for Raw! Eric Bischoff said that he didn't think Vince could come up with anyone to replace him. This would cue none other than your hero and mine, Shane-O-Mac himself, Shane McMahon! He danced down to the ring, and I must admit that, back during the Invasion, I was doing that dance all the time myself. My friends thought I was a goof, but I didn't care, darn it! Shane hugged his dad, then told Bischoff that he never liked Eric and is looking forward to seeing him go, as he was born to do this job! Eric Bischoff said that his goal was to see Cena tap out and lose the WWE Championship. Um, if it were me, I would have set a goal of, say, breathing. That would have been a lot easier. Bischoff set up a match between Cena, Kurt Angle, and Chris Masters in a no disqualification, triple threat submission match! They continually emphasized that Cena had to submission move. Cena hit Chris Masters in the legs several times with a steel chair and locked in an STF to get the submission victory. I was so angry at this stupid, ridiculous win on Monday and have never hated John Cena more in my lifetime. Cena celebrated and, backstage, Vince told Shane that, next week, time to take out the trash! Bischoff didn't look happy with the series of events.

(Commercial break.)

Smack of the night!: They showed a recap from Survivor Series. Eric Bischoff had Theodore Long in a sleeper hold. Long flailed around, but Boogeyman's voice came over the speakers and announced that he was coming to get you, steam shot out on the ramp, then his music hit and Boogeyman appeared in the ring as a red light bathed the arena! He even had his clock! Boogeyman took out Bischoff with a pump handle slam, allowing Theodore Long to get the victory.

(4) The Boogeyman defeated Simon Dean at 0:25.

Pre-match analysis: Simon Dean was supposed to make his way out first. His music played, but the Dean Machine was nowhere in sight. Tony Chimel announced him a second time and they restarted Dean's music. In a funny bit, the security team dragged Simon Dean to the ring! He tried stopping them with his feet, so these six guards had to totally pick him out and throw him into the ring! Dean did, thankfully, have his Simon System bag. He tried bailing out, but the security guards threw him back in. Sim looked ready to cry.

Boogeyman's music was next, with his catchphrase, then his music. He crawled through fog on the ramp that largely veiled him as he mysteriously made his way to the ring. He had his staff and his clock with him. His pyro went off next. Sweet. He was announced as being from "The Bottomles Pit." It's Parts Unknown, the next generation! He had on this crazy necklace thing. They said that he still had the glass from the clock he smashed on his skull! He did this crazy dancing move that looked like something Monty Brown would do. You may notice me using the word "crazy" a lot when describing the Boogeyman, but wouldn't you? Tazz and Cole made some funny comments about how Boogeyman has no teeth, and that's why he eats worms, as they go down easier. There was more drool dripping from Boogeyman's mouth. Tazz thought it might be worm juice.

Match analysis: Dean tried sneaking up on Boogeyman, but when Boggeyman turned around, Dean thought better of it and fell back to the corner. He threw a tube of Simon System product at Boogeyman and tried begging off. Boogeyman kicked it to the outside, then reached into his pocket, pulled out some worms, and started eating more worms! Then he threw the worms into Dean's face! Dean better be making a lot of money for this. Boogeyman yelled out his catchphrase and hit a reverse bodyslam type move, holding Dean facing forward but sideways, then dropping forward. A little like a samoan drop, but totally backwards. Boogeyman covered and won the match.

Match grade: Not applicable. This match was more of an angle than a match, mostly just to get over a finisher for the Boogeyman and his crazy character, so it's hard to grade it in comparison to other matches. Still, I think Boogeyman continues to get over well and has a super fun character. I thought it was unclear if the crazy happenings backstage were supposed to be an Undertaker or a Boogeyman thing, but they were goofy enough to make me think it was a Boogeyman thing. They should have done a better job selling that Boogeyman was responsible for all the weird, wacky happenings.

Post-match analysis: They showed the worms still crawling around in the ring, followed by a replay of his finisher. Cole kept yelling for them to move onto something else and stop showing the worms.

Tonight: Rey Mysterio and JBL versus Big Show and Kane!

Promo time: Bret Hart DVD. Buy it if you like wrestling. If you don't, why are you reading this?

(Commercial break.)

Smackdown Survivor Series Tour: They showed highlights of another international tour. Batista talked about the tour first, eight shows in eight days. He talked about his adrenaline getting up because of the hot crowd. Rey Mysterio said that the Italian fans are some of the rowdiest fans that he's ever seen, and he said that they liked to live the moment. They showed some Italian fans singing. Christy Hemme waved to some fans and hugged some of them. He said that the cutest part was the way they say her name, "Krees-tee, Krees-tee!" An Italian fan welcomed WWE to Italy in Italian. The highlights included Melina doing her amazing, awe inspiring ring entrance, as well as Sylvan Grenier getting the only TV time he's likely to get for a while. Heidenreich and Road Warrior Animal were doing an autograph signing. (Wait a second, people wanted Heidenreich's autograph?) Nunzio said that the highlight of his career was winning the Cruiserweight Championship in Rome. Yeah, that sure lasted. It was cool to see Nunzio throwing himself into the Italian crowd, though. One fan said it was the best show in the world. In what may be the funniest thing I have ever seen, a fan was giving an interview answer in Italian, when out of nowhere, Ken Kennedy ducks his head in and yells "Ken-ne-dyyyy!" in the guy's ear. The guy flinched at first and then cracked up as he finished his interview. They showed highlights from Helsinki, Finland next. Lashley talked about how these people were ready for a show. Matt Hardy talked a bout their passion and enthusiasm. Some black haired pale girl talked about how she loved Matt Hardy. Wow, a gothy girl in love with Matt Hardy? What a shock!

They then went to some slow, dramatic music and showed fans with a giant Eddie Guerrero banner, and another fan with a great cartoon drawing of eddie, silver on a black piece of posterboard, with big letters next to it saying "I miss you." One Italian fan said that Eddie was like a hero and a brother to the fans. Rey Mysterio said "Coming to Italy and Europe, we realize fans love Eddie so much, as we see it every night... The only thing we can do is keep Eddie in our hearts, because that's the way he wants it." They showed other fan signs, as well as Chris Benoit crying in the ring. Rey Mysterio held up some fan signs in a ring in Europe and kneeled down over them in the ring, kissing a picture of Eddie and rubbing it.

(5) Lashley defeated Sylvan.

Pre-match analysis: Lashley came out. Here's hoping they can rebuild him after being the first guy to job at Survivor Series. They went to a great highlight video of Lashley, including clips of him working out and beating up wrestler after wrestler. Or, at least, Simon Dean, Nunzio, and Vito. Didn't he squash some other guys? In any case, it at least got over Lashley's power. They talked about his amateur background, including in the military. Cole and Tazz talked about him being on the Survivor Series team, but wisely stayed away from what exactly he did in the ring.

Remember what I said earlier about Sylvan Grenier not getting any TV time? Well, color me pink, I was wrong! Former Torch Euro Heat reviewer Celian Varini must have been ecstatic. Sylvan, Smackdown's fashion consultant/former model, got on the mic and addressed "Bobby" and asked him if he heard all those screaming women, who came there to see Sylvan, not Lashley! Sylvan handed his sunglasses to some blonde plants at ringside and asked if he was right. He said they came to see the most handsome man in WWE, the most beautiful face, the little French accent, and the best body ever! Lashley grabbed Sylvan's hand holding the mic, saying that they came to see this!

Match analysis: Lashley shot for Sylvan's leg and backdropped him onto his head, then hip tossed him halfway across the ring! Sylvan bailed to the outside and sold his back. Lashley followed and pulled Sylvan's shoulder into the steel post. Sylvan tried escaping into the ring, but ran right into, well, Lashley's cross. No, seriously. Anyway, Sylvan was scared, and Lashley picked him up and delivered a delayed vertical suplex, even holding it up near the end with one hand! Lashley tossed Sylvan into the corner and hit a couple big shoulder blocks before, on his attempt at a third, Sylvan got his knee up into lashley's head! Sylvan came back with a punch to the face and hit a missile dropkick to Lashley's torso. Sylvan covered, but Lashley kicked out early. Sylvan followed up with elbow drops, then dropped a leg across the back of Lashley's neck. He followed up with a big kick. Sylvan tried choking him, using the five count. He broke and went for another choke until just before the five count. Sylvan ran the ropes and kicked Lashley in the ropes, then stretched Lashley's face with both hands, another illegal move that he held until just before the five count. Sylvan dropped elbows, but Lashley shoved him off. Sylvan got a big boot into Lashley's face. Sylvan delivered more boots to Lashley's ribs. He was going for another, but Lashley grabbed his foot and had a crazed look in his eye and came back with clotheslines. Lashley hit a snap suplex, then a delayed body slam. Lashley ducked under, got a double leg hold and slammed him into two turnbuckles before backdropping him! Lashley picked him up high and then hit a modified spinebuster. Lashley signaled for the finish, repeatedly raising his arms up in the air. Cole claimed that the Raw guys knew this from Survivor Series. Uh, not that much, I don't think, but sure. Lashley delivered the dominator, then covered and picked up the win.

Post-match analysis: Lashley held his arms high after the match and punched his chest, then posed in the corner.

Match grade: D+. Lashley was, well, Lashley. Nice power moves, and not a lot of depth to his work beyond that. I still think he was called up from OVW too early. He's still working down there while not doing WWE shows, but he should have been allowed to continue in OVW full time so that he could develop into a more well rounded worker and become stronger in his mic work.

Up next: JBL and Rey Mysterio take on the Big Show and Kane! It's Smackdown boys versus the World Tag Team Champions from Raw!

WWE Rewind: They showed a clip from the Smackdown Special on Tuesday. Mysterio hit a nice kick to the sternum on Big Show and went up top to follow up, leaping to the outside, but Big Show caught him and powerbombed Rey Mysterio on the hood of the low rider!

(Commercial break.)

Promo time: They showed a promo for the Hell In A Cell match between the Undertaker and Randy Orton. They used a WWE production song that has been used several times before whose lyrics are "The end is near!" Tazz pointed this out and talked about how, for Orton, that may be true, and this may be the last time we ever see this guy. Cole delivered a line I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot over the next few weeks, "Orton is going straight to Hell!"

(6) World Tag Team Champions Big Show & Kane defeated Rey Mysterio & JBL (with Jillian Hall).

Pre-match analysis: Big Show made his way out first, looking dismissively at the fans. As this was taped the same night as him beating the crap out of Rey Mysterio, I don't think the fans would be too fond of Big Show. It's so goofy how Show is a heel on Smackdown and a face on Raw. They showed what I believe was the fourth replay of Big Show powerbombing Mysterio into that car. Cole said that, if it weren't for Show powerbombing Mysterio into that car, he thinks that Mysterio would have won that match against the Big Show. Kane did his entrance next, pyro and all.

JBL came out next in his long white limo. Cole talked about how JBL was a self-made millionare, he's got a radio show, he's written a book, and Saturday he's on "Cashin' In" on Fox, giving financial advice. JBL stepped out of his limo with Jillian Hall, who was looking phenomenal tonight. She had on this great pink shirt. I swear, that woman always shows more cleavage than you would think is humanly possible. She had her beloved clipboard and some tight, yumtastic pants. Rey Mysterio was out next, with his ribs taped up. He did the sign of the cross and pointed up, symbolically remembering Eddie. He stumbled down from the ramp. he also had on not just one but two EG armbands, one on each arm. It was interesting, the rib tape actually made Mysterio look kind of fat as it drew attention to his gut. JBL talked to Mysterio before the match, telling him to get in the corner, but Kane seized on the opportunity to sneak up behind JBL.

Match analysis: However, JBL turned in time and delivered a series of right hands to start the match and get the early advantage. He kneed Kane and delivered a punch to the head. He went to send Kane head first into the turnbuckle, but Kane countered and went after JBL, hitting a high elbow and a big punch of his own. JBL ran the ropes and hit a big boot and then dropped a knee, followed by a knee lift to the sternum. He tried following up with a Clothesline From Hell, but Kane ducked to the outside. JBL sucker punched Big Show in the corner. Meanwhile, Rey Mysterio jumped off the apron and took down Kane with a sitdown senton. JBL went to the outside and hit a forearm to the side of Kane's head. JBL threw Kane back into the ring, but ran into a Kane big boot.

Kane tagged in Big Show. JBL tried fighting off both men before turning his attention to Big Show and clipping Show's knee. Mysterio ran in and delivered a pair of legdrops to Big Show. JBL climbed the ropes and hit a top rope flying shoulder tackle! JBL covered, but Show kicked out. JBL signaled for the finish, but ran into a chokeslam attempt. JBL kicked Show in the knee to get Show to release the hand from JBL's throat, but Big Show headbutted JBL and got the advantage. Show headbutted him again and chopped him in the chest before tagging out to Kane.

Kane delivered one of his signature punches in the corner, then bounced JBL's head off the turnbuckle. Kane splashed JBL in the corner and covered, but JBL kicked out. Kane whipped JBL into the corner, but JBL got a boot up and followed up with a shoulder block. JBL posed and, as he did, Mysterio blind tagged in. JBL was outraged at the injured Mysterio tagging himself in.

Mysterio tried bouncing off the ropes to go for a 619 on Kane, who was climbing up but had his head on the second rope, but Big Show grabbed him and pulled him down from behind as he ran the ropes. Mysterio got back up and went after Kane, but walked right into a huge clothesline. JBL broke up the count before it could even begin. The ref was trying to get JBL to back up off of Kane and Mysterio and accidentally hit JBL in the eye while waving him off. Jillian got apoplectic on the outside and wanted to know what the Hell was up with that. Cheater! JBL bailed to the outside and held his eye, saying he couldn't see. He backed up the ramp as the fans booed. Mysterio desperately looked to JBL for help as JBL and Jillian walkd up the ramp, holding his eye. Kane smiled and knew he could win this one now. Mysterio yelled out "Bradshaw!" several times as JBL and Jillian walked to the back. Kane was coming up from behind on Mysterio as we went to break! What?! You can't cut to commercial there! Come on!

(Commercial break.)

Kane had the advantage on Mysterio coming back from break. Kane tagged in Big Show, who kept up the assault, kicking Mysterio in his injured ribs. The fans chanted for Batista to make the save. Big Show glared at the fans. Big Show picked up Mysterio and delivered a gutbuster to those injured ribs, dropping him across his knee. Big Show stood on Mysterio's ribs in the corner. The ref called for the break as Big Show comically said that he was following the rules. Big Show hit a slap to Mysterio's chest in the corner before tagging in Kane. Show held Mysterio and Kane hit a big straight kick to the injured ribs. Cole called for the match to be stopped for Mysterio to go get some medical help. Kane hung up Mysterio on his ribs on the top rope. Kane then punched at the ribs on the mat and kicked Mysterio in the ribs. The fans started chanting for Batista again. Kane whipped Mysterio into the corner and tagged in Big Show.

They did the double team momentum whip, with Big Show whipping Kane, Kane turning it and whipping Show to go into Mysterio, but Mysterio moved out of the way just in the nick of time, leaving Show with nothing but turnbuckle. Kane went for a big boot, but crotched himself up over the top rope. Mysterio went for a ten punch to Big Show in the corner, but Big Show tossed him off into Kane. However, Mysterio turned it into a wheelbarrow DDT! Mysterio covered. Big Show went to break it up with a legdrop, but Mysterio rolled out of the way and legdropped Kane's sternum! Mysterio hit a springboard senton to Big Show. Mysterio came off the ropes and clipped Big Show's knee from behind, and delivered another shoulder to that knee, then hit two dropkicks to Big Show's back, with the second one setting him up for a 619! Kane was trying to stand up, pulling himself up with the ropes, but got a 619! Mysterio then delivered another 619 to Big Show! Both men were stunned in the ring but, as Mysterio jumped in for the senton, they both caught him and delivered a double chokeslam! Big Show covered for the pinfall victory for his team.

Post-match analysis: After the match, Big Show picked up Mysterio. Kane told Show, no, that wasn't what they should do, then went to ringside and got a steel chair! Kane tossed it into the ring and smiled. Kane threw the chair down on the mat, then Kane and Big Show went to double chokeslam Mysterio on the chair. However, before they could do so, Batista's music hit and, because they're goofs, they let Mysterio go. Batista ran down in street clothes. Well, street pants and shoes, at least, as he didn't have a shirt on. He also no longer had his ribs taped up. Batista ducked a Kane clothesline and went to work on Kane and Big Show, delivering a spinebuster to Kane and a spear to Big Show! Batista picked up the steel chair and nailed Kane with the chair, then nailed Big Show with the chair as well. Batista celebrated, holding the chair up high as Kane and Show were out on the outside. Batista helped Mysterio up and yelled. THey showed replays of Batista's chairshots, including one of the Big Show in slow motion. Big Show held up Mysterio's arm, then picked Mysterio up. Both men raised their arms to end the show.

Match grade: B. A solid main event with a strong, emotional storyline. I think they should have put the interpromotional stuff on the shelf after Survivor Series until closer to WrestleMania. Rey Mysterio came off as a star here, and I'd like to see him get a pay-per-view match for the world title sometime next year, if not sooner. JBL's character has been fascinating. He keeps showing elements that indicate a face turn is just around the corner, then he pulls a stunt like the eye injury and reminds everyone he's still a heel. Show and Kane make a pretty great giant heel tag team, but I'd like to see their opponents be given more credible reasons why they might be able to take out Show and Kane, such as a speed or technical advantage over them.

Final show rating: 7.0. A really fun show tonight. The biggest problem I had was that there doesn't seem to be as much fuel to the Raw versus Smackdown fire, which took a little of the steam out of the main event, but it was still a good match with an emotional internal storyline that held up reasonably well. The other big story of the show was obviously the return of the Undertaker. It felt like a waste for Taker to come back so soon, especially when you remember that this was taped the same night he was "killed." However, Randy Orton got his best promo in over a year tonight, his best since his run as Intercontinental Champion. If he can continue to deliver as well as he did tonight, he might be able to be seen as a strong main eventer once more. Also, if they were going to bring the Undertaker back so soon, they did a reasonably good job with it. They'll need to give Randy Orton something to make him seem like he has a realistic chance of defeating the Undertaker in Hell in a Cell.

The tag team battle royal was one of the better battle royals I've seen in a long time, and it was nice to see guys like Brian Kendrick and Paul London getting some actual television time and getting the chance to look credible, setting them up well if they want to give them a legitimate shot at the tag team belts. Chris Benoit versus William Regal was good, to the surprise of none, and it's nice to see WWE giving them a chance to wrestle on Smackdown instead of just Velocity. Not as good as their previous encounters, but still a strong television match. The Boogeyman's debut was so much fun and one of those larger than life characters that makes this business we love such a wacky good time.

***


Raw Is Trivial: Answer Time with the "Supreme" Seth Berger!

Welcome back. (Your dreams were your ticket out...)

Thank you, John Sebastian. Anyhoo, you remember the question and if you don't, please go back to the intro and read it. If you're here to cheat, the prize closet is locked. (We know who you are.)

The answer to the question "What PPV name was Armageddon changed to in 2001?" is (drum roll please, and I'm just typing a lot of this to hide the answer into the middle of the paragraph so you cheaters have to actually work hard to find it, heheh) Vengeance. You can now find that PPV slowly creeping its way into the former slot occupied by King of the Ring. (After its debut as a name in 2001, the PPV was moved to July, and has now slid into the late-June area of the calendar.)

Thank you for stopping onto the SmackDown Express. Please look off to your right and you'll see the Polar Express doing its little thing, whatever a computer-animated train does these days. Probably bopping to Nelly or some crap like that.

Catch ya in seven. Back to Mike and whatever the heck it is he does. Besides throw popcorn and talk back at the screen when Randy Orton does his little "I smell poop" pose he does on the corner buckles.

***

Smackdown quotes!

As Booker was calling Chris Benoit versus William Regal in the third person:
Tazz: Booker, on Tuesday, you put some pressure on that neck!
Booker T: Whoa whoa whoa, Booker T actually put the pressure on. Let me tell you, Booker T, I'ma tell you, he has an array of moves. He has that scissor kick, he has that side kick, he can come off the top, he can pretty much do it all. He is technically sound.

After Michael Cole interrupted Tazz and Tazz tried to get things back on track:
Tazz: I'm sorry to interrupt you while I was talking.


***

Thanks for tuning in, everyone! Be sure to check out my latest OVW notebook. I'll be taking a closer look at the Boogeyman's time in OVW this coming Monday in my next OVW Specialist column. Be sure to drop me a line with your thoughts at mikeroe@gmail.com. Until next time, be strong and remember to smile!

Mike Roe reviews Friday Night Smackdown every week for PWTorch.com. Mike always wants to hear from you at mikeroe@gmail.com with your thoughts, comments, questions, critiques, or whatever else you want to share. He also writes an OVW Specialist column for PWTorch.com every Monday.


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ABOUT US

THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE

PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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James Caldwell, assistant editor
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STAFF COLUMNISTS:
Bruce Mitchell (since 1990)
Pat McNeill (since 2001)
Greg Parks (since 2007)
Sean Radican (since 2003)

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PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.

Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.

The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...

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