TV REPORTS 12/8 WWE Smackdown Review: Fitzpatrick's detailed report on show as aired in Australia
Dec 8, 2006 - 2:51:00 PM
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WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
DECEMBER 8, 2006
AIRED IN AUTRALIA ON FOX8
CONTEXT: Nine days away from yet another PPV - Armageddon, and the top four contenders are booked for a tag match with nothing at stake. The Kane/Taker/MVP/Kennedy gimmick match saga continues. Smackdown might begin to test the patience of its viewers if it just keeps repeating slightly altered versions of the same matches and feuds for another month. Still, the booking team like to keep viewers on their toes by throwing out matches in a unpredictable order - perhaps because the match order is the only unpredictable thing left at the moment.
- Back to the usual intro this week. Batista and Finlay face each other as the big event tonight. Kennedy is facing Kane.
- "Kennedy!" For some reason, a hearse is parked at ringside. The reason is obviously to highlight that a Last Ride match involves a hearse, but it seems a bit odd given that the match isn't actually happening tonight. Kennedy is fascinated by the hearse, looking through the windows almost like he's thinking of buying it. Finally he hits the ring and tells us it's Undertaker who parked the hearse there. But it won't work to unsettle him, no it won't, because he's already beaten him. We await the Undertaker's music and perhaps some weird special effect involving the hearse. It's sure taking its time.
GONG! and Kennedy's microphone flies back to the roof. Oh my god the hearse is reversing!!! Nobody is driving it!!! There is dry ice suddenly appearing. Quite clever and of course it pays not to interrogate the internal logic of developments like these too much. Taker's music ends, and restarts, and there he is - emerging from the back of the hearse. Kennedy bails through the crowd and Undertaker does his pose in the ring. Would have been funny if the hearse hadn't moved.
- Up next, Cena's making an appearance.
1 -- PAUL LONDON & BRIAN KENDRICK (w/ Ashely) vs. WILLIAM REGAL & DAVID TAYLOR
A non-title match this one, as we finally kick off the feud that's been looming for a month or so. A quick reminder of Regal and Taylor's interference last week airs.
The faces jump the heels outside before the match even starts and dominate the early going with double-team moves and quick tags against Regal, who can't get a blow in. He tags Taylor in. Looks like we're booked for a long match. Taylor works over London and tags Regal back in. Crossbody from London gets two. Taylor gets involved to even the odds while the ref is distracted. Half-nelson choke from Regal into a release suplex. Fourth minute, and Taylor is tagged and puts London into a full nelson. Perfect heel offence. Regal comes in and London teases an escape after hitting a dropsault, but the quick tags continue and Taylor is back in for his own half-nelson choke. Nice psychology. Back to Regal at the seventh minuten and London slugs his way out of the corner and tags Kendrick in. Clotheslines and dropkicks and something resembling a neckbreaker and then hits Sliced Bread #2 (three quarter facelock, springboard backflip, reverse driving DDT) but it only gets a two count as Regal dives in, and then notices Ashley on the outside. He walks after her pointing at her and she falls over backwards, screaming in fear. That was unconvincing.
And apparently it's time to finish. The Ashley situation continues to look unconvincing, as London just stands in front of her at ringside forever and Kendrick stands on the edge of the ring and just looks at her. JBL is just as puzzled, yelling, "What are they doing?" Finally Regal chopblocks Kendrick from behind, and he falls backwards hard. Taylor cleans up the scraps by hitting a double underhook belly-to-belly for the pin.
WINNERS: REGAL & TAYLOR in 9:30. Decent enough, but the finish wasn't particularly smooth.
- The announcers do their best to make sense of the slow finish, and then remind us of Armageddon's main event.
- Repeat of John Cena's promo on Raw. He's honored and excited to participate at the PPV.
- Batista is announced to crowd, but is actually cutting the promo backstage. He's excited by this unprecedented combination of WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion. For some reason I'm starting to suspect a heel turn for someone here.
- In a moment to please some of the WWE's critics, Booker T and Finlay are actually watching the promo live on TV in another room. They argue about the obvious points, before Finlay suggests they just take care of business.
[Commercial break. Well that was edifying]
- Here's Batista. He's pumped, posing, bouncing, yelling, mouthing off excitedly at the camera, patting his chest, jumping, spinning around a bit effeminately, and he's got a truckload of pyro behind him and on his way to the ring.
2 - World Heavyweight Champion BATISTA vs. FINLAY
Heat building to start as they mouth off and try to intimidate each other. Batista slaps Finlay three or four times and Cole mentions that he was once a member of Evolution (I'm glad someone remembers, just no-one on Raw). Batista is on top early with very basic big-man offence. Side headlock from Finlay. This is very late 1980s style at this point. Right on cue we have a test of strength spot, as this match gets more and more like a Hogan title match. Now they're just staring at each other. Three minutes. We have our first clothesline of the match, and Finlay capitalizes on it with a side headlock. Outside the ring now as Batista works over Finlay with clubbing blows, and then drops him over the barricade, and takes us to the break with a big boot.
[Commercial break. Batista's lack of in-ring credibility has to be causing concern somewhere]
We're back and Finlay takes Batista to the mat with a hammerlock, and then just lies on him for a few seconds before trying something resembling a Fujiwara armbar, which just looks horribly unpainful. Finlay gives up on that tries a nerve pinch. I think his better days are behind him too, and I can't help but think the main event at Armageddon could be terrible. Some more brawling from Finlay, as I lay out from calling spots until something other than kicks and punches occurs. The crowd, which was initially quite hot for this is now silent and fading at the 10 minute mark (give or take, depending on how many advertisements you get). There is a very disturbing amount of standing around and slow stalking going on here. Vertical suplex from Batista gets two at 12 minutes. He's selling an injury to his eyes. Cole describes Batista as "slowly but surely", which isn't as bad as "bowling shoe", but in the same ballpark. Individual cheers echo around the arena as Batista catches Finlay as he jumps off the second rope and ... put him down? He kicks him afterwards, but where was the big power move? This is just awful, so let's speculate as to an ending. Booker T interference? Batista shouldn't win, and Finlay shouldn't go over clean. So I guess we're waiting for the leprechaun as the ref tries to deal with Booker T.
Sixteen minutes, and another totally unconvincing armbar from Finlay, which he then switches to a hammerlock on his prone opponent. Cole and JBL have resorted to abusing each other. Batista "powers out" and hits a Samoan drop. And Powerslam. And Spinebuster. And then the Leprachaun tries a crossbody from the top rope? That's just stupid. Batista auditions for a dwarf throwing contest by using the little bastard as a weapon. Here's Booker in street clothes, and Batista goes after him, before Finlay takes us to the DQ finish with the shillelagh.
WINNER: BATISTA via disqualification in 19:00. Not a good match in any possible sense.
- Postmatch beatdown follows as the heels work over the injured arm with a ring post, steel chair and a hard-to-spell Irish stick. Booker and Finlay stand over the prone body and shake hands.
- Moments ago etc. JBL Is pro-heel, calling out Cena as the footage re-airs. By the way, where is Tatanka?
3 -- JIMMY WANG YANG (w/ Amy) vs. JAMIE NOBLE
Amy isn't getting any better, and it's not like she has to remember to do much for the ring intro. Gregory Helms joins the commentators at ringside. He does a decent job of helping to put the match and himself over. Winner of this match faces Noble for the Cruiserweight title at Armageddon.
Yang comes out firing, but it's Noble on top early gets him in a cobra clutch, and a chinlock. Empty seats in the background - maybe trotting Batista out that early was counter-productive. It's very random back-and-forth offence, with no selling. Yang hits a dropkick from the top rope. Noble hit s a scoopslam. Again we have the pointless commentary debate about whether Yang is a redneck. You don't hear them wondering if Undertaker is actually an undertaker. Yang finally gets a clean win with a moonsault.
WINNER: YANG in 4:00. Quick and inoffensive, like most cruiserweight matches at the moment. Amy is terrible.
- Helms mouths off afterwards, all caught on his commentary microphone.
- Backstage, Chris Benoit is interviewed by Kristal and asked about the women-beating allegations (video recap included). Vickie is here to scream at him and slap him. Having demanded he stay out of her life a fortnight ago, she now wants to know why he hasn't called. She thought he was family. This angle still isn't making sense - though it almost seems like that's how it's meant to be.
- MVP and Teddy backstage. MVP wants to know why the repeated gimmick matches against Kane. Good point. MVP does not want to do the match. Long will fire him if he doesn't wrestle. MVP will call his agent. Long will help him soften up Kane by booking MVP and Kennedy against Kane and the Undertaker. Oh my! The Brothers of Destructions reunited at last! After five long ...er, weeks.
- In the ring, and speaking French on the mic, is Sylvan. Chris Benoit, the French Canadian wrestler, storms to the ring, because there's nothing a French Canadian hates more than ... ah forget it.
4 -- MATT SYLVAN vs. CHRIS BENOIT
Cole claims Benoit was "emasculated" by Vickie moments ago. This one's going to be finished in record time at this rate, as Benoit hits a few suplexes and a crossface for the tap.
WINNER: BENOIT in 53 seconds. Looks like he's being groomed for a world title angle with all these squash matches.
- Benoit must really hate French Canadians, because he refuses to release the crossface for a while. It'll be Chavo vs. Benoit for the US title at Armageddon.
- Time for the gimmick quarter of the show.
5 -- MIZ vs. SCOTTY TOO HOTTY.
It takes two minutes for Scotty to get the worm, but he walks into a rollup from Miz for the win.
WINNER: MIZ in 2:30.
- Postmatch beatdown from Miz. Swinging neckbreaker. Mocker of the worm brings out the Boogeyman. He's suspended, but the ring crew still had his entrance setup on hand. Get the joke - worm / worms. Boogeyman assaults Miz. I can't remember why he hates him, but he eats some worms and sets up for the projectile vomit, but Miz runs away.
- Up next: Kane vs. Kennedy.
- The graphic for the Kane/MVP inferno match is followed up with Kane standing next to a cheap Christmas tree holding what appear to be polished black stones, but are meant to be burnt chestnuts. He sings (a loose description) "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire ... mwhehehahahahahaha", and looks like an idiot. Cole and JBL do their best. (JBL: "MVP's chestnuts are going to be roasted")
- Earlier tonight Batista was attacked. Kennedy is on his way out. If last week is the template for this match, it won't last long and end with the Undertaker. A recap of the spooky showdown between Kennedy and Kane from the start of the match airs, complete with so much post-production it's almost screaming at the audience that the show is not live.
- Kennedy does his little intro spot.
6 -- KANE vs. MR KENNEDY
Apparently, Kennedy has been awaiting Kane all through the break. Kane enters the ring and dominates. Scoop slam. Elbow drop. Elbow. Suplex. Clothesline. Kennedy bails and gains the advantage on the outside, and removes the protective barrier from the ringside barrier. Kane hits him with a right and goes back to dominating. This is entirely the wrong way to build anticipation for a PPV, even if they're facing different opponents. Kennedy works his way back into it with a Russian legsweep at 5 minutes. Conspicuously empty seats in the background, and a quiet crowd for the final match of the night. Kane powers Kennedy into a one-hand sideslam. Nobody's selling anything that happened more than 30 seconds ago, and therefore Kennedy suddenly hits a neckbreaker, but his attempt to finish from the top rope is countered, and that of course means Kane is on top. Mercifully, MVP provides a run-in for the DQ.
WINNER: KANE via DQ in 9:00.
GONG. Lights out. GONG. Lights on. Kane's disappeared, Undertaker's music is not playing (unless this is some weird trance remix). Kennedy's had enough and is heading into the crowd again. MVP is in the ring alone. And then, "OH MY LORD!" (to quote Cole), flames shoot out of the ringposts and Kane's music plays. Cole screams, "Mind games!" and MVP and Kennedy act all terrified. And still no sign of Undertaker and Kane, who perhaps is back stage ordering the techs to play his music or something.
And we're done.
OVERALL: Only one clean win out of six. The month of good shows comes to a screeching halt, due to a combination of a worryingly poor Finaly / Batista, and the sheer fact that nothing new is happening with most of the roster. Completely missable, largely inoffensive, but crippled by the fact that we've seen it all before last week, and the week before that, and any new bits were either silly, bad or both. Too much of the attempts to build heat for the PPV matches is relying on special effects that insult the intelligence. Without a doubt, and absolute THUMBS DOWN this week, and signs of trouble ahead.
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