Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it's time for Express! I'm in a happy, happy mood because I just got back from a screening of the original Superman movie as prep for the new Superman Returns flick. Will a Smackdown without Chris Benoit, JBL, Kurt Angle, and Randy Orton on the roster anymore be able to maintain my happiness? Let's find out! First though, it's time for the triumphant return of your hero and mine, trivia guru Seth Berger!
Raw Is Trivial thinks it's back on track. Just as Dusty-G, the Trivialmeister has had some computer issues that prevented its appearance on the Express last week. But, we're back now.(By the way, if you haven't checked out Stardust's "Raw Deal", you really should. The only recap with a pregame, post-game & halftime report with some of the world's greatest minds.)
But enough of "da Adam Bomb", onto Trivial! (Since I was postponed last week, I'll just give you the question I have had planned.)
June is not really a kind month for title changes. Families find better things to do with their time than attend wrestling matches or watch the latest installment of that week's television show. So, why waste the time and effort by pushing a wrestler far beyond their capabilities and strapping a title around their waist just to boost a buyrate?
I think ECW will change that, despite their meager history of June title switches. In all their short but illustrious history, only 5 times did an ECW title of some sort change hands during the month of June. Since I'm feeling rather generous, I'll even make this multiple choice. Name the wrestler on the list who DID NOT win a title during the featured month.
b) Rob Van Dam
c) Shane Douglas
e) Chris Jericho
We'll return in a short while. Enjoy some SmackDown fun while you wait.
The show opened with an "In memory of John Tenta/"Earthquake"/1963-2006" graphic. Growing up, I wasn't much of a wrestling fan, but Earthquake was definitely one of the wrestlers I know, probably thanks to the great WWF arcade game that he was in. My thoughts and prayers are definitely with his friends and family, and if you'd like to sent messages to his family or donate money, you can do so at the WrestleCrap website.
*** They moved to the Power Is Back intro, then cut straight to the host of Smackdown, Mike "The Miz" Mizanin. He introduced himself and did his goofy "Hoo rah!" bit. Tonight's main event is going to be Finlay versus Rey Mysterio! Sweet! We've also got Ashley, Jillian, Kristal, and Michelle McCool in a "Summer kick off bikini contest." Whoopie. Anyway, the pyro went off, and we were on our way! Michael Cole and Tazz introduced the show from Wheeling, West Virginia.
*** William Regal came out first to brand new music. Cole called him King Booker's town crier. Regal walked down a red carpet that had been laid out to the ring, which was also covered in red carpet, with King Booker's throne sitting in the middle. Regal got on the mic to loud boos from the crowd that Regal paused for. He said he was about to show us all a lesson learned by "that disgusting peasant," Bobby Lashley, a lesson that we should all hail King Booker! We saw highlights from last week of King Booker versus Bobby Lashley. Lashley won with a running powerslam, but was jumped after the match by Regal and Finlay (and Finlay's shillelagh), with King Booker finishing him off with the Bookend and an axe kick. Regal and Finlay made Lashley bow down to King Booker, then forced him to "kiss" Booker's feet, with Regal and Finlay rubbing the beaten Lashley's face on Booker's boot. Back in the ring, Regal said that all who don't learn this lesson will incur the wrath of "our king." Regal started his annoying "All hail King Booker!" bit. However, as Booker's music played, Lashley ran into the ring and attacked Regal from behind! Regal bailed to the outside, but Lashley followed and continued the beating! Referees and officials (including Michael Hayes, Gerald Brisco, and the Brooklyn Brawler!) ran out and pulled Lashley off of Regal, but he broke free and continued beating Lashley on the announce table! They finally pulled Lashley off and Regal spazzed out and started walking to the back. This was so awesome.
However, Teddy Long's music hit and out he came! Lashley said that, if he's looking for a fight, he's got one. Regal was happy about this. Not for long, though, as Long said that, tonight, it would be William Regal versus Bobby Lashley! Long said that, if Lashley defeats Regal, he'll get another match with King Booker! Lashley pulled free from the officials and started walking to the back, though the officials were still trying to calm him down. Booker never showed up.
*** Batista is on his way back! He returns to Smackdown in 28 days!
(1) Super Crazy (with Psicosis) defeated Brian Kendrick (with Paul London).
Pre-match analysis: The Mexicools came out! Super Crazy led the way, accompanied by Psicosis in what was his first Smackdown appearance in forever, though he's been on Velocity. The announcers actually made one of their rare references to Velocity, noting that the Mexicools defeated the tag champions on Velocity and were hoping to keep up their momentum. Brian Kendrick and Paul London were out next, in their even creepier than before masks (white with bigger noses instead of the kind of happy gold ones).
Match analysis: This match was treated as filler to some extent by the announcers, with Cole talking to Tazz about what it was like being ringside for the WWE versus ECW special on Wednesday and asking him about how he was so pro-ECW on the show. Crazy hit a Russian leg sweep into a pin cover, but Kendrick bridged out. Kendrick made his way to his feet and rolled up Crazy with a wacky lucha roll for a two count, but Crazy turned it into a cover of his own. Kendrick covered Crazy, but Crazy bridged out and delivered a modified monkey flip which led to both men having their shoulders down, but they both bridged up. Crazy did another wacky rollup, followed by one from Kendrick, but Crazy kicked out.
Crazy hit a deep armdrag, followed by a Japanese armdrag from Kendrick into a standoff. Kendrick put on a front headlock. Crazy double legged Kendrick into a modified headlock on the mat. Kendrick made it to his feet and hit a shoulder block, but ran into a backbreaker from Crazy into a cover. Kendrick kicked out after two. Tazz talked about how Kendrick and/or Paul London would be a perfect fit in ECW, but said that he wasn't recruiting, just stating his opinion. Crazy whipped Kendrick into the corner, but Kendrick moved and kicked Crazy in the head! Kendrick covered and hooked the leg, but Crazy kicked out. Crazy clotheslined Kendrick in the corner, followed by a tornado twisting powerbomb into a cover, but Kendrick kicked out! Psicosis complained, saying it was a three.
The announcers talked about Big Show's defection and Cole noted that there was an exclusive interview with Show on WWE.com. Crazy put on a tabletop submission and rolled it over a couple times, which was pretty cool, then moved into a modified neck submission with the legs still hooked, but Kendrick grabbed the ropes for the break. Crazy went for a scoop slam, but Kendrick rolled Crazy into a small package and Crazy kicked out! Kendrick telegraphed a backdrop, so Crazy kicked him in the face, then put on a submission with the knee in the back. Cole said that, at One Night Stand, Crazy would be teaming with Tajiri against the FBI. Crazy dropped a leg on Kendrick and covered, but Kendrick kicked out at two.
Crazy put on another submission, cranking back on Kendrick's neck, but Crazy released the hold. Crazy went for a suplex, but Kendrick countered into a rollup, and Crazy kicked out at two. Crazy followed up with a clothesline and hooked the leg, but Kendrick kicked out. Cole noted that Crazy had Kendrick on the run. Kendrick put on another submission, driving the knee into the spine with the leg locked, but Kendrick escaped with back elbows. Tazz said Kendrick looked hurt. Crazy went for a powerbomb, but Kendrick countered into a spinning DDT! He rolled Crazy over and hooked the leg, but Crazy kicked out at two! Kendrick went up top, but Crazy cut him off. Kendrick and Crazy exchanged shots, with Crazy getting the better of the exchange and climbing to the top rope, delivering a backflip suplex! (I believe Burchill was using that as his finisher for a while, but from a standing position.) Crazy covered and picked up the win!
Post-match analysis: As Crazy and Psicosis celebrated, the Great Khali's music hit and he started marching to the ring with Daivari. London was trying to drag Kendrick out of the ring, but couldn't do it in time so he left the ring. Khali had Kendrick in one hand. London ran in with a steel chair and hit Khali in the back, but Khali no sold it and grabbed London, delivering a double headbutt, sending London to the outside. Khali picked up Kendrick and pressed him over his head, then threw him onto London on the outside. Crazy turned toward Psicosis, but he just stayed on the outside of the ring and clung to the barrier. Khali whipped Crazy hard into the turnbuckle. Psicosis ran in and looked to be going for the save, but when Khali turned toward him, Psicosis ran back out. Khali delivered a big boot to Crazy's skull. Psicosis kept looking like he was going to get in, but whenever Khali turned toward him, he would lose his nerve. Khali palmed Crazy's head and picked him up by the throat, then threw him hard down to the mat. Psicosis tried getting in again, but Khali turned and he ran away, up the ramp. The announcers were pissed at Psicosis, saying you can't leave your partner high and dry, even if you get your butt kicked. They showed a replay of the end of the match with Crazy getting the pinfall, followed by London's steel chair shot, Kendrick and London getting the double headbutt, and Crazy getting picked up and thrown down. They talked about Khali destroying the tag team champions. Tazz complained about Psicosis running for the hills. Khali yelled up on the stage. Cole said that the only man who might be able to stop him is the Undertaker (Really? Didn't Khali already destroy him twice?), but that we hadn't seen Taker in weeks.
Match grade: B+. This was fantastic. It had a lot of fast paced high spots, like a lucha libre or X division match, as well as some great mat work, similar to the new vision they're going for with ECW. It would definitely be fun to see some of these guys there. They also actually let the cruiserweights be cruisers instead of being forced to work a big man style, which was a nice surprise.
A See No Evil promo played. I really, really, really do not care. It was pretty ridiculous when they had this on the WWE versus ECW special. I wonder if ECW is going to have constant See No Evil promos, too. Not exactly the anti-sports entertainment feel they're going for.
Tonight: William Regal versus Bobby Lashley, and if Lashley wins, he gets to face Booker next week!
(Commercial break: Nacho Libre is coming out next week, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see some sort of cross-promotion on next week's Smackdown, perhaps even including an appearance by Jack Black.)
Tonight: Rey Mysterio versus Finlay! Just 48 hours (well, kind of) before his title match at One Night Stand against Sabu!
Cole said that, earlier this week on WWE.com, a story broke that Cole said could be destructive to Smackdown. Paul Heyman made an offer to Rey Mysterio to leave Smackdown and go to ECW. Tazz said that was cool, because either way at One Night Stand, the championship would end up in ECW!
*** Kristal had Finlay backstage for an interview. She asked him about what the little, "bizarre" thing in his matches was. He covered her mouth before she could finish the question. Finlay asked what they wanted to know. Do they want to know about global warming? Kristal shook her head no. Do they want to know about Iran's nuclear program? Kristal shook her head no. Finlay said he didn't think so. What they want to know is if Rey Mysterio will defect to ECW. Finlay said, personally, he doesn't care where Rey Mysterio goes. He doesn't care if Rey goes to the World Cup and they use his head for a ball! Finlay released Kristal and shoved her off camera, then turned and talked directly into the camera. "Rey Mysterio, my name is Finlay, and you are in for the fight of your life!" That was so awesome.
*** Backstage, the Smackdown C-listers were talking to Nunzio. The group included Gregory Helms, Simon Dean, Jamie Noble, and Kid Kash. Helms wanted to know what was up with Nunzio's boy. Vito walked up in an off-white dress. Dean said that he had to go get a protein shake and said he had three extras, whatever the other guys wanted, and left Nunzio alone with Vito. Vito asked the guys as they were leaving if they want to talk about the ball game. Nunzio told Vito that he's got to stop dressing like this, but Vito said there was nothing wrong with it. Nunzio asked about all the rumors flying around about Vito, and Vito said, who cares? Nunzio asked about Vito coming out in public like this, and Vito asked, why not? Nunzio asked if Vito was trying to embarrass Nunzio, and Vito said, not at all. Nunzio said that he'd been protecting Vito for all these years, and cut himself off when he said he'd been protecting Vito's secret. (So, looks like Nunzio's known about Vito's, ahem, activities.) Vito cut him off and said that he thinks Nunzio has it mixed up. Vito's the one who's been protecting Nunzio, and he doesn't give a damn what anyone says. He's the toughest guy in the dressing room, and the toughest guy to ever wear a dress. Vito has a match with Nunzio tonight, and he's going to show everyone exactly what kind of man he is! Cole said that match is up next.
Tonight: Also tonight, Lashley versus Regal!
Promo time: Smackdown, coming to a town near you! I thought it was kind of lame that they were doing the ECW version of this on Wednesday in the exact same style, so hopefully they change that up.
A sponsorship promo aired for One Night Stand.
Raw Rebound: John Cena and Rob Van Dam signed their contract for RVD's Money In The Bank title shot at One night Stand. This recap included old school RVD clips from ECW. RVD said that he couldn't wait for the hardcore action in front of the "extremely judgmental crowd" at One Night Stand that couldn't wait to boo John Cena out of the building. John Cena did a great job responding, saying that he had fought and bled to keep his title. "I fear nothing and regret less!" He said not to think he's just going to lay down and give Rob the title. Paul Heyman said that, so Cena could sample the flavor of ECW, he brought a couple of the participants with him to Raw! ECW wrestlers started coming out of the woodwork from all around the arena. Cena threw the first punch at Sandman, but then got hit in the head with the kendo stick and the group beatdown began on Cena. Sabu at least tried dropping a chair on Cena through a table, but he didn't quite make it. The Raw locker room emptied out and chased off the ECW guys (including what was apparently the accidental TV debut of Harry Smith).
(2) Vito defeated Nunzio.
Pre-match analysis: Vito's music hit (Vito has his own music?) and he started walking out to the ring... in his dress. Nunzio was out next. Nunzio shook his head on stage at Vito before walking down to the ring. Vito was begging Vito to cut this out, but when Nunzio pulled at Vito's dress, Vito threw a clothesline!
Match analysis: Vito kicked Nunzio in the gut, then went to the outside and hammered on Nunzio who was in the ring. Vito came back in and dropped an elbow to the back, followed by a straight shot. He yelled "I'm the man here!" Vito kicked Nunzio in the gut again. Michael Cole talked about how Nunzio was representing ECW at Head to Head on Wednesda. Tazz talked about how, on Wednesday, he was Little Guido, and tonight, he's Nunzio. Nunzio rolled to the outside. Vito threw Nunzio back into the ring. Nunzio delivered shots to the midsection of Vito, but Vito cut him off with a knee to the head. Vito charged at Nunzio in the corner, but he was cut off with a shot to the sternum. Nunzio leapt off the second rope, but Vito caught him and drove him into the corner, followed by a series of shoulders to the gut. Vito yelled "I am the man!" before kicking Nunzio in the gut.
Vito delivered an arm drag before putting on a headlock on the mat. Tazz said that being able to come out as who he is, wearing that dress, has made him more confident and helped him up his game. This led, of course, to Tazz saying that Cole should try that too since maybe it would up Cole's game. Vito delivered a clubbing blow to Nunzio's back and went to charge at Nunzio, but Nunzio got his boots up, followed by a front dropkick off the second rope! Nunzio covered, but Vito kicked out at two. Tazz said that Cole should try coming out in women's clothing next week, but Cole said he didn't think that was going to happen, though Tazz said he knows Cole wears panties. Vito hit a big right hand to Nunzio, then delivered his fuhgeddaboudit spinning DDT finisher, hooked the leg, and picked up the victory!
Post-match analysis: They showed a fan holding up a "Vito-ria's secret" sign. Vito yelled at the crowd after the match. They showed a replay of the big right hand into the finisher from Vito. The announcers talked up Vito after the match, saying he showed everyone what kind of man he really is.
Match grade: C. This was a fun little squash. Vito was solid and I actually think this new character is a cool idea, and came off a million times better than I expected. It's amazing to see it being treated so progressively by the announcers and for Vito to be a face, essentially proving that, yes, he is the toughest dude around, dress or no dress. It's one of those things where fans at live events may let him have it, but it can play at another level on TV so they have plausible deniability that they are putting this gimmick out there to get ridiculed.
*** A promo aired for Mr. Kennedy! It started off with a teacher calling attendance for Kallahan, Kelly, Kenney, and then Kennedy. No one answered, so the teacher said in an exasperated voice "Mr. Kennedy?" We then got highlights of Kennedy. Whoo! Mr. Kennedy returns to Smackdown tonight!
*** Not quite yet, though, as Queen Sharmell's music hit. She walked out in a teal gown tonight. She introduced "your imperial majesty, in all his royal splendor, my man and your beloved, Kiiiiiing Booker!" Booker came out and gestured to his loyal subjects, then signaled for his queen to rise from her kneeling position. He had a suit on underneath his king gear. Sharmell held up Booker's cape as he walked onto a platform with his throne that was on the stage. They showed a recap from earlier tonight of Lashley ambushing Regal and beating the crap out of him in a great pull apart. Pyro shot out from the back of the platform with his throne, much like last week. Sharmell did the "All hail King Booker!" bit.
(3) United States Champion Bobby Lashley defeated William Regal via countout in a non-title match.
Pre-match analysis: Back from break, we were still getting more "All hail King Booker!" Lashley's music hit and he came out. Lashley glared at Booker and was turning toward his platform, but Regal jumped him from behind and attacked! He threw Lashley into Booker's platform, then into the metal barrier on the side of hte ramp. Regal threw Lashley in the ring to start the match.
Match analysis: Regal hit a back elbow, to much joy from King Booker! The announcers talked up Lashley's work in the battle royal on Wednesday's WWE/ECW show, and Tazz said that Teddy Long should watch out, because Heyman might have his eye on Lashley. Regal delivered a series of knees to Lashley's midsection, then threw punches in the corner. Lashley reversed a whip, but ran into a knee from Regal. However, as Regal was coming off the ropes, he ran into a big forearm from Lashley, followed by a clothesline and a kick to the gut to set up a big vertical suplex! Regal shoved Lashley through the ropes, and Lashley's knee got stuck in the ropes. Regal went outside and beat on Lashley. A chant broke out for Regal as he waved to the crowd. Regal got back in the ring and kicked Lashley's knee. Regal put on a half nelson with a choke. Booker yelled "Put him to sleep!" The fans started a Lashley chant and Lashley began to power out and delivered a back drop! Regal hit a knee and delivered some straight shots. Regal snapmared Lashley and dropped a knee to the face, then covered, but Lashley kicked out. Regal covered again, but another kickout.
Regal put another submission on Lashley, putting his knee in Lashley's back and putting on a headlock. Booker yelled "Stretch him!" Regal moved into a front facelock, but Lashley drove Regal into the corner and delivered shoulders to the gut! Lashley beat on Regal in the corner, then delivered a scoop slam and hooked the leg, but Regal kicked out after two. Booker yelled "Come on! Do it for the queen!" Regal kicked Lashley in the gut. Regal put on an abdominal stretch as the crowd chanted "Regal sucks!" Booker yelled "Stretch him hard! Yes!" Lashley stood up and had Regal on his back, but Regal delivered a knee to the gut to get down, then delivered forearms, followed by a dropkick! Regal covered, but Lashley kicked out. Another cover, another kickout.
Regal drove his shin into Lashley's throat, but the ref forced him to get off the throat. Regal was going for another submission, but Lashley started fighting out. Regal cut him off and whipped him into the corner, but Lashley managed to get his boot up and kicked Regal in the side of the head! Lashley followed up with two belly-to-belly throws! Lashley signaled for the finish. Lashley was going for the dominator, but Regal countered into a back body drop! Regal hit a running knee to send Lashley to the outside! Regal grabbed a steel chair from ringside and was going after Lashley, but he turned around the corner of the ring into a spear from Lashley! King Booker stood up from his throne and went down to ringside, where he and Sharmell tried to help Regal up, but he was down and out. Regal was counted out!
Post-match analysis: Booker and Sharmell were sad, sad people after this match. Booker yelled "Oh, Hell no!" Lashley got on the mic and just said "Booker! You're mine!" before finishing his celebration and holding up his title belt.
Match grade: B-. Pretty good, though Lashley is still obviously limited, but he continues to improve. Regal was great here with his mat work. Overall, didn't feel like it totally clicked, but not bad.
Tonight: Cole said that Rey Mysterio's "Hell Week" continues tonight, as he goes one on one with Finlay. How about his "Hell title run?"
*** Ashley was shown backstage in a black silk robe getting ready for the bikini contest, hosted by the Miz. She put on some lip gloss and then put on her backwards baseball cap. It's up next!
ECW One Night Stand, this Sunday, starring Rob Van Dam, Sabu, and the return to action of Terry Funk!
Ashley won a Summer Kickoff Divas Bikini Contest.
*** Miz was in the ring coming back from break. "Is it hot in here, or is it just me?" (A-hole.) "I'm just kidding!" Uh huh. Anyway, Miz said it is summer time, and the way Smackdown starts off summer is with a divas bikini contest! Ashley was out first and was coming out to new, awful generic music. Looks like they might not want to pay for her licensed music anymore. Jillian was up next in a great light pink robe. Miz had a good line, saying "This girl couldn't drown even if she tried! She's buoyant!" Kristal was out next in a dark pink robe. Miz said that she was the hottest interviewer on Smackdown and that "She'll do anything for scoop! And I mean an... y... thing!" (Wait, did Miz just call Kristal a whore?) Michelle McCool was last. She has a schoolteacher entrance video with a chalkboard behind her saying "Ms. McCool." She walked out carrying a yardstick and wearing her glasses. She lifted them up and put them on her head as she walked down. Miz said this contest was for the Mizfits. Oy. Fans were supposed to cheer for who they liked most the loudest.
The divas stripped to the song "Holla" by Desiree Jackson off the Wreckless Intent album. Ashley took off her robe to reveal a teeny black bikini. The other girls were all also wearing heels, but she had on boots. Jillian was next, and revealed a gold bikini. Miz sounded like an amateur porn photographer, shouting out commands at the divas, and even pulled out a goofy Austin Powers accent at one point. Kristal had on a rainbow bikini top and a beaded rainbow bottom. She wiggled her behind in the camera. Miz said to shake it like a saltshaker. She also spanked herself. Miz asked her to do it one more time. Miz came off like the world's biggest geek during this segment. Last was Michelle. She dropped her yardstick and started revealing a green bikini top, but stopped in mid-strip and grabbed the mic from Miz. She said lately, there's been a lot of people out there criticizing female schoolteachers. You know who bugs her? The media! (Wait, Michelle's a Republican now?) The media loves to criticize "the extracurricular activities" that some female teachers have with their students. She said she wanted to make one thing clear: Teachers have needs too. She said, after seeing how the crowd reacted to the girls' C+ bodies, her A+ figure and her needs will never be fulfilled by anybody in this building. She handed the mic to Miz and started leaving to light boos from the crowd. Miz said "My, aren't we conceited? I guess we're all not teachers pets, huh?" Miz said it was time to pick a winner for this bikini contest. Ashley got cheers first. Jillian was next, though it sounded like she got more boos than cheers. Kristal was last, and got quite a few boos herself. They did give it to Ashley, which was the right choice, as if either of these two other girls would have won, people would have rioted. I actually expected them to give it to Kristal, but Ashley makes sense too. Ashley hugged Miz, and he was far too excited.
Tonight: A short promo aired for Kennedy's return. Also tonight, Rey Mysterio versus Finlay!
WWE Smack of the Night: We saw a clip from two weeks ago of Mark Henry murderizing Chris Benoit so that he could be written out of storylines. Cole talked about Benoit taking an indefinite sabbatical, saying that Henry's attack was the straw that broke the camel's back. Interesting to see this worked shoot explanation for his absence.
(4) Mark Henry defeated Raymond Rowe.
Pre-match analysis: Mark Henry came out, with his jobber opponent already waiting in the ring. Henry is so believable, and I love him. His opponent had black boots, white trunks/shorts, and tattoos on his stomach. Rowe charged at Henry before the bell rung, right into a clothesline!
Match analysis: Henry whipped Rowe into the corner and splashed him three times in the corner. Henry threw Rowe across the ring, then picked him up and delivered the World's Strongest Slam! He covered, but picked up Rowe before the three count and delivered another World's Strongest Slam! He hooked the leg and picked up the victory.
Post-match analysis: His song is so prophetic. It says that somebody's gonna get their ass kicked, and then they do, and it's great.
Henry got on the mic and said that, in 28 days, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Batista is coming back. He says that everyone in "this stinking crowd" knows what he's capable of. Henry asked where Chris Benoit is, and Henry said he's gone. In 28 days, the worst mistake of Batista's life is going to happen, with him coming back to "the WWE." Hendry dropped the mic and left to his music. They showed a replay of Henry clotheslining Rowe from a couple angles at the beginning of the match and turning Rowe inside out, followed by a replay of the second World's Strongest Slam. Henry yelled at the crowd on the ramp.
Match grade: Not applicable. Just a squash, but Henry is believable and entertaining in his killer heel role. It's also nice that he actually has a purpose going forward as they build to the return of Batista. I do hope that Batista doesn't just kill Henry when he gets back, though, as I feel that would be a real waste.
Up next: Mr. Kennedy returns! Whoooooo!
The second See No Evil promo of the night played. Who... effing... cares? Awful. Is this really getting more viewers to the theaters? Stop the pain.
(5) Ken Kennedy defeated Scotty 2 Hotty.
Pre-match analysis: Mr. Kennedy! ... Kennedy! He was wearing a Kennedy t-shirt, which is kind of lame, but oh well, that's life. He called for the mic to drop down from the ceiling. Tazz and Cole both said they missed this. "I'm here, I'm back, I am the man who is single-handedly changing Friday nights! I am Misterrrrrrrr Kennedyyyyyy!" He got up on the ropes and, after an appropriate dramatic pause, delivered the second "Kennedyyyy!" before whipping his t-shirt at Michael Cole! Scotty 2 Hotty was out next. They showed fans dancing along to his music in the crowd. Goofs. As Scotty got in the ring, Kennedy didn't waste any time and attacked him in the ropes.
Match analysis: Kennedy kicked away at Scotty and yelled at him "I didn't come here to play games!" He went for a scoop slam, but Scotty escaped and landed on his feet, delivering some right hands and a hip toss! Scotty took off his button up shirt and ducked a clothesline, then schoolboyed Kennedy, but Kennedy kicked out. Kennedy kneed Scotty in the gut and went to throw him out, but Scotty skinned the cat. However, Kennedy saw him coming and clotheslined Scotty, then hooked the leg, but Scotty kicked out. Kennedy elbowed Scotty in the back of the head, then choked him on the ropes. The crowd chanted for Scotty. Scotty had a bit of a comeback with a right hand and a chop, but Kennedy fought back with a right forearm of his own. Tazz talked on commentary about Jerry Lawler being a hypocrite, since he used weapons and fireballs and so forth down in Memphis. Kennedy threw some shots and was going for a Russian leg sweep, but Scotty held onto the ropes, sending Kennedy down. Scotty punched Kennedy on the mat. Scotty went after Kennedy in the corner, but Kennedy hit a clothesline to the back of Scotty. The fans chanted for Scotty, but Scotty set up Scotty on the mat. Kennedy then climbed up top and delivered his new finisher, a senton bomb (or, as Tazz called it, a front springing hilo)! (I guess they thought his old finisher may be a little too dangerous.) Kennedy hooked the leg and got the victory!
Post-match analysis: Kennedy called down the ceiling mic and announced his victory, saying this is the part he likes the most. They showed a replay of Kennedy's new finisher. Kennedy yelled on the stage.
Match grade: C. I'm happy to see Kennedy back, but this match didn't really click. Kennedy also seemed to be missing something on the mic before and after that was there when he left. He didn't seem to have as much confidence, and there was definitely some ring rust. I like his new finisher, as it's probably safer than the old rolling slam off the ropes and still looks cool.
*** Rey Mysterio was getting ready backstage. Chavo came up to him and asked him if he was ready for tonight. Chavo wanted to know if he was going to stay in WWE or go to ECW, and wanted to know what Rey would tell Paul Heyman. Rey said he'd given it a lot of thought, and thought he knew what he was going to say. Chavo said, whatever happens, Chavo's there to support him, just like he's always been. Rey said he knows that and that it's been a rollercoaster. He knows that Chavo took a chairshot for Rey, and Rey wanted to say thank you and gracias. Chavo said de nada and shook hands and hugged Rey. Rey asked Chavo if he'd reconsidered coming back to the ring, but Chavo said, no, he retired, and he's never going to wrestle again. Rey said that wrestling's in Chavo's blood just like it's in Rey's blood, and they grew up wrestling, and wanted to know how Chavo can just call it quits like that. Rey asked Chavo to reconsider, and said to remember one thing: "In this business, never say never." Rey told Chavo to think about that, then went out for his match.
Up next: Rey Mysterio versus Finlay!
They did a video package recapping WWE Versus ECW Head To Head. They started off with Big Show giving a pep talk to the WWE team, then highlights of the battle royal. It looked like Team WWE had won when Randy Orton eliminated Kurt Angle, but Big Show was still in the match and pulled off his Raw shirt and revealed an ECW shirt underneath! Orton turned around into a chokeslam and got eliminated! Big Show celebrated with Kurt ANgle in the ring, then celebrated with beers with the ECW crowd backstage afterwards. We then saw highlights of John Cena versus Sabu. Cena hit the FU and had him in the STFU, but Big Show ran in and attacked. The ECW and WWE crews both flooded the ring and it was on to close the show.
Next week: King Booker versus Bobby Lashley!
*** Michael Cole was in the ring, and said there was a report on WWE.com that Paul Heyman had made an offer to Rey Mysterio to leave Smackdown and go to ECW. Before his match, Cole wanted to know what Mysterio had to say about this offer. Tazz stood up at ringside with a mic and said he had something to add to this, and got in the ring. The crowd started an "E C dub!" chant. Tazz said he didn't know if Rey had made his decision in regards to staying on Smackdown or going to ECW, but Tazz knows he's made his decision. But first, Tazz had something else to say and took off his sunglasses and turned toward the camera.
"Jerry Lawler, I want to explain something to you. I am done telling you, this Sunday night, at One Night Stand, I am going to choke you out! Mark my words! Look into my eyes, Lawler! I swear to you on my child, I'm chokin' you out!" Tazz went back over to Cole and said, right now, Tazz is going where Tazz belongs. Tazz is going "home." Tazz is going back to ECW! Cole was shocked and asked what he was talking about. Tazz said he's going back to ECW for good. "I had a great time here on Smackdown. I'm done. I'm going home. Goodbye!" He shoved his mic in Cole's chest and left the ring and walked to the back as the ECW music played and Paul Heyman walked out.
Tazz smiled and they embraced on the stage. Cole shook his head at this chain of events from inside the ring. Heyman said "Thank you, you'll never regret it!" Tazz headed to the back as Heyman came down to the ring. (Where do you get one of those long leather jackets?) Heyman said that Tazz took an offer and explained that to Cole. He took Cole's mic and said thank you, he could take it from there. He said Cole had done a wonderful job, and that he's a wonderful play-by-play guy, but he has one already, so thank you very much anyway. Heyman said to indulge him for a moment, because he understands that superstars from both Raw and Smackdown taking him up on the offer to jump to ECW may not make him the most popular person on Smackdown right now, but it does make him a hero to the ECW crowd. Heyman got some cheers. Heyman said, as you can see, some people are taking him up on the offer. Heyman mentioned Rob Van Dam coming home, as well as Kurt Angle "carving out a new image for ECW in his name," which got loud boos from the crowd. Heyman talked about the best commentator in the sport, Tazz, coming home to ECW. Also, Heyman said that the rumors are true that he's extended an invitation for Smackdown world champion Rey Mysterio to come back to ECW. Heyman talked about Mysterio defending the title against Sabu at One Night Stand. A small Sabu chant started. Heyman said this doesn't have to be a one night stand for Rey, as they would welcome him back with open arms and would love Rey Mysterio to be part of ECW. Heyman smiled as Mysterio's music cut him off.
Mysterio came down to the ring as Cole talked about this potentially being a destructive evening for Smackdown, and he didn't want to think about what would happen if Rey Mysterio left Smackdown to join ECW. Cole talked about Tazz walking out, Big Show defecting Wednesday at Head to Heat, as well as Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio. Cole said that Mysterio is the heart and soul of Friday Night Smackdown, starting his WWE career on this show at Summerslam four years ago. Cole said that was his most significant match since he started with WWE (what?) and that he won the world title on this show, as well as battling the late, great Eddie Guerrero on this show. Cole said this could be the last time we saw Rey Mysterio in a Smackdown ring, and that would be a damn shame.
Mysterio and Heyman shook hands as the crowd chanted "619!" Heyman smiled and said he hopes it's good news. Mysterio said that he's got to admit, he owes a lot to Paul Heyman. ECW was the first place in the US to give him his break. Mysterio says that Paul knows that, and Heyman said yes he does, and that Mysterio earned it, too. Mysterio said "Thank you." Rey said, ever since he came to WWE, there's been one home for Rey Mysterio: Smackdown. This got a pop from the crowd, though there were some boos mixed in. Rey said that it was in this ring that he won the world title. (Uh, wasn't it in the WrestleMania ring?) Mysterio said this is his home, and these (motioning to the crowd) are his people, and that this is where he will stay. Heyman nodded and seemed to accept it. Heyman shook Mysterio's hand and said that he thanks Mysterio for considering the offer, respects Mysterio as a champion, and admires Mysterio as a man. Heyman wished Mysterio the best of luck this Sunday against Sabu at One Night Stand, and best of luck tonight too, because Heyman thinks he's going to need it.
(6) Finlay defeated World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio in a non-title match.
Pre-match analysis: Finlay's music hit and he headed down for the main event. Heyman came down to ringside to do color commentary. Awesome!
Promo time: ECW One Night Stand! A commercial aired focusing on Rob Van Dam versus John Cena.
Match analysis: Cole talked about Tazz leaving and Mysterio saying, telling Heyman that he's only batting 500. However, Heyman said that Cole doesn't know what he's really batting, because Mysterio is the only one who's publicly acknowledged that he's been courted, and Heyman said that Cole doesn't know yet who's said yes and who's said no. After locking up and shoving one another around early, Finlay slapped Mysterio in the face in the corner, and Mysterio slapped him right back as the crowd chanted "Eddie!" Finlay got a go behind and took down Mysterio, into a front facelock, then stood up and delivered a suplex. Finlay delivered a backbreaker and slapped Mysterio around on the mat. Cole talked about Mysterio's Hell Week, beginning with his match against Kurt Angle in Angle's Smackdown farewell match last week, then facing Rob Van Dam on Wednesday, Finlay tonight, and Sabu on Sunday. (So, really, more of a Hell week and a half.) Finlay hit a European uppercut and a big clothesline. Finlay put on a nerve hold. Heyman talked about how he really liked this Finlay and said he may have made the offer to the wrong competitor.
Finlay delivered knees to the skull to escape, then kicked Finlay in the hamstring. Heyman said that ECW would have the greatest superstars and the most hard hitting action, and Finlay seems to fit the bill. Mysterio ducked underneath an attack from Finlay and hit a tilt-a-whirl headscissors! Mysterio ducked between Finlay's legs, but Finlay hit a kick to the midsection. Mysterio delivered a drop toehold to set Finlay up for a 619, but Finlay went to the outside. Mysterio was running toward Finlay, but Finlay pulled up the apron as he often does to catch his opponents. However, Mysterio stopped short and swung on the ropes to deliver boots to the face of Finlay. Mysterio kicked Finlay on the outside, but Finlay's leprechaun grabbed Mysterio's legs from under the ring and pulled him under! The green glow started under the ring! Cole asked what that was, and Heyman asked what Cole's asking him for! Finlay broke the count and then looked under the ring and pulled Mysterio out. The leprechaun was holding onto Mysterio's legs. Finlay pulled him off and threw him into the apron, then threw him under the ring! It sounded like Cole was calling him Finlay's "little bitch," and was bleeped twice for saying it. Even Heyman was a bit shocked by what Cole was saying.
Finlay rammed Mysterio's back into the apron, then rolled him back in the ring. Finlay slapped Mysterio and dropped elbows, then put a knee in the face for a cover, but Mysterio kicked out as the crowd loudly chanted "Eddie!" Heyman talked about Eddie Guerrero getting his start in ECW. Finlay put on a surfboard style submission with the knee in the back. Mysterio made it to his feet, but Finlay kicked him in the gut and put on a camel clutch! Heyman said that what would really make his night is if he could attract Fit Finlay. Finlay drove Mysterio into the corner. Heyman said that the ECW fans want "their action back. They want their stars back. They want the original stars, and they want all new stars, and that's what we're going to give them." Finlay delivered a backbreaker. Finlay delivered a big knee to the back of Mysterio. Heyman said that the open ECW invitation was made by the WWE chairman of the board, aka Vince McMahon. Heyman said that ECW would be a new breed unleashed, and Finlay's style fits right in with ECW. Mysterio got boots up by the ropes and was going for a springboard move, but Finlay delivered a forearm to cut him off. He went to bounce Mysterio's head off the turnbuckle, but Mysterio blocked it and went up top, where he delivered punches from behind to a standing Finlay. Mysterio then hit a crossbody into a lateral press cover, but Finlay kicked out.
Mysterio was going for a backdrop but Finlay scouted it and went for a sunset flip. However, Mysterio rolled through and kicked Finlay in the back of the head! He hooked the leg, but Finlay kicked out. Heyman talked up Mysterio/Sabu as a dream match between the world's two greatest high flyers. Heyman said that Mysterio's high flying has made him a world champion, while Sabu's high flying has made him a legendary hardcore athlete. The fans chanted "619!" Finlay was trying to armdrag Mysterio, but Mysterio countered and was going for a wheelbarrow suplex. However, Finlay blocked it and hit a clubbing blow to the neck. He went for a back suplex, but Mysterio landed on his feet and used his legs to send Finlay into the ropes to set up the 619! Sabu tried running in with a steel chair! Mysterio dropkicked Sabu's chair, then kicked Sabu in the head. Heyman played dumb. As the ref checked on Sabu, Finlay hit Mysterio in the gut with the shillelagh! Finlay delivered the celtic cross and covered Mysterio for the victory!
Post-match analysis: Heyman said that Sabu has a mind of his own and that he doesn't have to approve of everything Sabu does. He said that he can't say he's upset, though, because Sabu's taking the fight to world champion Mysterio. Cole complained, saying it was just like when he took the fight to Cena on Monday, and that this is getting ridiculous. Heyman said Sabu is cementing his reputation going into One Night Stand, letting everyone know who he is and what he's about. Sabu got back in the ring and pointed up, then threw the chair at Mysterio's skull! It sent Mysterio to the outside. Sabu went outside and tried pulling the table out from under the ring, but it looked like the leprechaun pulled it back under! He pulled it back out and set up the table. Sabu set the chair up in the ring, then jumped off the chair and did the springboard legdrop on Mysterio through the table! Heyman laughed with glee. The crowd chanted "Holy s***!" They showed a replay of Sabu distracting the ref, allowing Finlay to use the shillelagh to pick up the win. We also saw Sabu legdropping Mysterio through that table. Cole closed with the hard sell. "Will Sabu take the world title Sunday from Mysterio at One Night Stand?" and Heyman said "He'll do anything for it!"
Match grade: B. A solid main event. Heyman on commentary was, as has often been the case recently, fantastic. Finlay and Mysterio worked really well together, though the Heyman commentary distracted a bit from the match, and the Sabu, shillelagh, and leprechaun interference took something away from things. Still, good match.
Show rating: 6.5. The final build for the ECW pay-per-view was definitely interesting. They seemed to be making Sabu a heel, but still wanted fans to get behind ECW. They're probably trying to get fans to choose sides, but it basically just made things confusing. The main event was good, with two world class workers in Rey Mysterio and Finlay allowed to go at it. It's nice to see WWE more fully utilizing the Internet too, hyping WWE.com on their show and making it seem like a destination where you can find out about future storylines. Tazz leaving Smackdown was a strong moment, though they definitely had him hedge things by putting over Smackdown before he left and not being overly derisive to anyone, such as Michael Cole. Rey Mysterio choosing Smackdown the way he did also made ECW come off as the heels, which doesn't necessarily seem like what they were going for.
Regal versus Lashley was good, but Lashley's obviously still limited, so it didn't get quite where it could if Lashley had some more experience under his belt. Lashley was fantastic in his pull apart with Regal before the match, though, and it seems like they should do angles like that more with him, as he also came off great when he was doing that with Finlay a few months ago. I'm glad that they've given Mark Henry a purpose with the return of Batista, but I'm worried that they're going to end up dimming the star power of one of these men by having them fight again, most likely Henry. Henry's been a great monster heel, and if there's any sort of match, it should be reserved for pay-per-view and done in a way to get both men over.
Super Crazy and Brian Kendrick put on the best cruiserweight match I've seen in WWE in a long, long time, and were then immediately murdered by the Great Khali. I understand that you want to get over Khali as this killer giant, but there's no reason why he couldn't just kill some of the guys that only usually appear on Velocity instead of killing the tag team champions and another one of their top cruiserweights.
Vito's cross-dressing character has been done a million times better than I could have imagined. They're actually being very progressive and actually letting the guy kick some ass. It's a thing where WWE can have plausible deniability, much like when they were doing the Billy and Chuck storyline, saying that they're not putting them out there to be ridiculed even if they really are. Still, I liked the way it was done and how the announcers treated it, and I'm looking forward to where Vito's character goes next.
Kennedy's return fell somewhat flat. It was fine, but he's not clicking on all cylinders, and I'm hoping he can prove that he wasn't just a flash in the pan, as I enjoyed his work immensely before his injury. The divas bikini contest was boring, with the Miz getting overexposed and being completely annoying, and Michelle McCool cutting a ridiculously awful promo that was so bad, I'm actually looking forward to the diva search returning and filling in the female eye candy role on the slow instead of Michelle's awful promos.
1) Vito's cross-dressing character was presented in a progressive fashion.
2) Tazz officially left Smackdown for ECW.
3) Rey Mysterio turned down an invitation to join ECW.
4) Great Khali kills the cruiserweights. Again.
5) Michelle McCool talked about the somewhat hot button issue of female teachers sleeping with their students in the most boring promo ever.
Raw Is Trivial: Answer Time with the "Supreme" Seth Berger!
We're back. The question for the week: Which of the listed wrestlers above DID NOT win an ECW title of some sort during the month of June? What? You're telling me you didn't see the list? Well, go back up top and check it out, then come back. We'll wait.
We're still waiting.
Welcome back. Now - hold on there, Sparky! You didn't read the list at all, did you? You just came down here to read the answer. Well, fine, be that way. Mike lost the key to the prize closet anyway, so nyaah! :P
So the answer for this week's question is c) Shane Douglas. Taz beat him for the TV title one June 7th, 1997. Sabu & Rob Van Dam? Tag team champions on June 28th, 1998 over the late Chris Candido & Lance Storm. And even the Ayatollah of Rock & Rollah won a small slice of ECW history by winning his TV title June 22nd, 1996.
That's all for Trivial this week. Next week, I don't know where I'll be at.
Thanks for tuning in, everyone! I'm sick and feel like I'm going to die, so I'm off to get some rest. Be sure to drop me a line with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com with your thoughts, comments, questions, critiques, or whatever other specialness you want to share. He also writes a Specialist column.
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