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1/12 WWE Smackdown TV review: Fitzpatrick's detailed early report from Australia Fox 8

Jan 12, 2007 - 3:23:00 PM
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By Joe Fitzpatrick, Torch contributor

WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JANUARY 12, 2006
TAPED IN PEORIA, ILLINOIS.
AIRED IN AUTRALIA ON FOX8


CONTEXT / QUICK REVIEW:

We're halfway through the Sprint, and the bookers have a bit of a problem. Plenty of non-Sprint filler is in the offing. In the end, they opted for rematches from last week's Sprint, and the whole thing didn't really work out that well. The only real news from this show is contained in the last few sections of the report, so feel free to scroll down.

THE SHOW:

- A three minute video recap of the Sprint kicks us off on a night of time-filling. The regular intro sequence follows.

1 - - Sprint match: FINLAY vs. MATT HARDY

Kennedy "joins" the commentators momentarily in the locker room for a very short promo. The crowd is hot for Hardy, as the match by definition is into the final minutes and everybody knows it. Matt Hardy throws terribly unconvincing punches and bulldogs Finlay for two. A rollup brings him two more. Finlay hits what Cole identifies as a "unique cover there" for two. Double countout spot as we get down to 2:30 to go. Matt Hardy tries a backslide for two. Side effect gets two. Another side effect gets two. Way to bury a finisher there. Inside two minutes and the Little Bastard gets in. Finlay uses the shillelagh to the knee, but Hardy kicks out with one minute to go. Finlay locks in an Indian deathlock (thank god for JBL as Cole has know idea what even that most basic maneuver is). Buzzer sounds.

NO RESULT in 5:07. Wait! It's face-masked Joey Mercury out for a beatdown on Hardy whilst Finlay keeps in the submission hold. Mercury places a chair over Hardy's face and heads to the top rope for some revenge. Ringstaff intervene. At least the non-finish matches are helping to advance the storylines.

- Up soon, Benoit vs. Kennedy in a revenge match for the US title. Makes you wonder why they didn't save that for the PPV unless, of course, Kennedy is going to be chasing a bigger title.

[Commercial break]

- Kristal interviews and intense and dissatisfied Mercury backstage. He won't rest until he destroys Matt Hardy's face. He and Jillian should team up for a mixed tag match at some point.

- A recap of Tatanka's attack on Yang airs as he makes his way to the ring.

2 – JIMMING WANG YANG vs. TATANKA

A battle of perpetual match losers. Yang charges Tatanka early. JBL muses about matches from 30 years ago which remind him of this one. Tatanka begins to dominate with his stiff gut-related offense. JBL claims the increased ratings and attendances are due to him. Yang is selling like a trooper again as Tatanka moves … slowly and … er … methodically around the ring. Ah, a headlock spot. Yang turns it into a jawbreaker and kicks his man to the ground for a leglock. Ah, another headlock spot from Tanka which it turned into another jawbreaker from Yang. They slug it out, which Yang wins(!). Standing moonsault (call a damn move, Cole) from Yang gets two. Spinning heelkick gets two from Yang. Crossbody is caught mid-air by Tatanka and turned into a slam for the win.

Winner: TATANKA in 6:30. Is that it for the feud? No psychology at all, minimal fan interest. They liked Yang once, but someone at the WWE should realize that if your mid-card face keeps losing, they soon lose interest too.

- Coming up: Tag titles match – London & Kendrick vs. Regal & Taylor.

[Commercial break]

- Candles. Shower. Maryse talks French. "Le Smackdown" etc.

- Mega-post-produced dramatic recap of Armageddon tag title match. Backstage, Regal and Taylor remind the champs that's it's a straight wrestling match tonight. Cole and JBL tell us that Benoit will face Kennedy next.

[Commercial break. Sheesh.]

- Things are dragging a bit tonight, but Kennedy and Benoit might change all that. Kennedy is way over now, drawing massive heat in his intro spot. A recap airs of his cheat-to-win victory of Batista.

3 - - CHRIS BENOIT vs. MR KENNEDY – U.S. Heavyweight Title match

JBL: "Chris Benoit is a man among men." Huh? Soon after he remembers he thinks Benoit is a disgraceful woman-beater. Physical stuff early on. Nothing spectacular, but both workers are operating with speed and intensity. Big "Benoit" chant. Kennedy misses an elbow drop as the commentators put him over huge. Belly-to-belly bridged into a 2 count from Benoit. Rolling Germans from Benoit. He's ready to finish thing, but Chavo is walking very slowly out to the ring and …

[Commercial break. Wadda? I wonder if they'll go with that in the US, because we're getting a lot of ads down here.]

We're back, and Chavo is a commentator rings side and Kennedy has Benoit in a chicken wing. Benoit gets out as Chavo ducks questions about Vickie. Benoit tries a suplex over the top but Kennedy takes him out with him. Back in the ring, Kennedy goes for an abdominal stretch. Guerrero says he has "nothing but respect" for Chris Benoit as a wrestler and that Kennedy is a great wrestler. This is all a bit surreal, seriously. Sounds like we're back into "heels are rational, too" mode for this week. The match itself is a bit slow.

At the ten minute mark, both men are on the top rope. Kennedy hits the superplex but is winded. Two only. Crossface attempt fails from Benoit. Sharpshooter attempt fails. Two backbreakers from Kennedy, but Benoit struggles out of the back stretch and tries to hit a crossface, but Kennedy bails again. Triple Germans at the fourteenth minute. Signals again for the finisher whilst looking at Chavo. Flying headbutt hits but Benoit takes ages to cover. Two only. Kennedy hits a fallaway onto the top rope to nearly behead Benoit and he yells in pure frustration when he only gets two. Benoit attempts a small package and fails. Fireman's carry into a rolling slam (identified by JBL as the "Kanton", which I'll call it from now on). Benoit gets his foot on the ropes. The crowd are watching, but not enthralled. It's lacking something. Kennedy goes up top but misses. Benoit on offence now and it's rolling Germans again. He did seven last week, and does five this week. Sharphooter. Chavo leaps to ringside and is dragged in by Benoit for a sharpshooter. Kennedy schoolboys him from behind, grabs the tights and gets the win.

Winner: KENNEDY in 19:30. Chavo bails and runs into the crowd. Match wasn't as good as hoped. Benoit seems cautious. He gets back in the ring to a generous ovation, though.

- Up next, the "Batista Story Part 2" Ye gads. Surely not another match-free segment.

[Commercial break]

- We're back for the super-post-produced Batista recap, covering his comeback feud with Mark Henry, and essentially replaying a video segment of his regaining the title which we saw about a fortnight ago.

4 - - KENDRICK & LONDON (w/ Ashley) vs TAYLOR & REGAL

[Commercial break. Both teams were out, so it's a novel way to get started.]

- Taylor works a stiff headlock sequence against Kendrick to start. London comes in and turns the table. Regals in and eats leg-scissors. Every fourth camera shot is of Ashley and her finely sculpted silicone. Quick tags from the faces as Regal is heel in peril for a while. Then the roles reverse and London is in trouble for ages. Little scroll bar appears on the screen: 79 days until Wrestlemania! Autographed diva lingerie available! Pictures of Triple H's injury on wwe.com! For trivia's sake, I'll add that so far only Kane, Tatanka and Ashley have had clean wins in 2007.

The crowd seems a bit flat. This perhaps should have been the opener. Chickenwing choke hold from Regal, but London escapes. Regal knee for Regal and he proceeds to just mug London before Taylor tags in to continue the mugging with various chokes. Regal is in for a three quarter nelson and a delaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyed powerbomb attempt which fails as Kendrick gets the hot tag. He cleans house and hits some sweet kicks on the heels. Taylor saves Regal, who then rolls through on cross-body for almost three. Out of nowhere, Kendrick hits a backslide for the clean win.

Winners: KENDRICK & LONDON in 9:30. Cole and JBL acknowledge that the heels legitimately dominated and seemed destined to win. Odd booking.

- A video recap of the inferno match airs. Lingering slow motion of MVP on fire. He's up next to attempt to beat the clock.

- MORE Candles, black silk lingerie, leather couch. Maryse throws to the break. Man, her house has gotta burn down sooner or later.

[Commercial break}

- MVP gimps out to the ring. We suddenly skip about 5 seconds in Australia. Not sure why.

5 - - Sprint match: MVP vs. VITO

JBL: "Was Funaki busy???" MVP is going to wrestle with his arm straps dangling from the waist and a huge set of white bandaging. He keeps selling the burns between spots, especially when Vito starts to target it. Vito dominates as JBL becomes increasingly terrified of the possible upset. It's intense brawling, but the booking is a bit weird and a boring chant or two can be heard, but the canned crowd noise is enjoying itself at times. I'm not sure anyone's buying into this. Big boot from MVP with one minute to go. Only two. This was a bad idea. MVP keeps re-covering Vito, the clock counts down. Buzzer.

NO RESULT in 5:07. MVP beats down Vito for a while afterwards, but gets whipped into the steel stairs for his trouble.

- Undertaker is up next. His entrance will help to kill the required time left. Miz, Boogeyman, Funaki, Regal, Taylor, Sylvan, Noble, Scotty 2 Hotty are all the candidates I can think of as opponents – but nobody else seems to care.

[Commercial break]

- Guerrero vs. Benoit, No DQ next week for the title.

- Kristal interviews Batista saying his opponent is either Kennedy or the Undertaker. Gee, way to build up suspense for Taker's opponent. Batista doesn't really have much to say. He's ready etc.

[ANOTHER Commercial break. Sheesh!!!!]

- GONG. Maybe there is no opponent, and the sprint will be to see if he can get to the ring before the time expires? As it turns out, he clocks in at a decidedly brisk 2:15 from the first gong to the removal of the hat.

- It's the Miz. I'll say it again - sheesh. No good can come of this.

6 - - Sprint match: UNDERTAKER vs. THE MIZ

Presumably Kennedy will interfere or something. MVP plays mouse to Undertaker's cat early on. Taker begins offense: punch, punch, headbutt, knee, punch, irsih whip, clothesline. Only two. Miz kicked out? Taker works the arm and goes old school. Only two. Are you kidding me? Who booked this? Miz is making Taker look decidedly weak by kicking out of this offense. Leg drop and a cover …and two. Here's Kennedy to distract but not interfere. Taker is duly distracted. Miz hits some offense. Lots of offense - punching, and kicking and drop-kicking. What the hell is this? Kennedy stays on the ramp as Taker hits a clothesline to deliberately drive Miz over the rope. Why do that? Obviously he doesn't know, so he goes and gets Miz and puts him in the ring again. He checks the clock. 1:30 to go. Pin, but Miz puts his foot on the rope and the crowd boos. He kicks out and there are more boos. This was such a bad idea, and it makes Taker look like an idiot.

Under a minute to go and it's snake eyes, big boot and a ref bump. Kennedy comes to the apron and gets knocked off. Chokeslam at 35 seconds. Cover. No ref. Taker goes to get the ref, Kennedy drags Miz out. Crowd is crapping all over this. Tombstone at 2 seconds. Buzzer.

NO RESULT in 5:07. I might be wrong, but I think was all booked terribly, just burying the legitimacy of the concept and, in the pursuit of trying to protect Undertaker, actually harming him too. He's the guy who couldn't get it done against the Miz, and Kennedy never actually laid a hand on him. Why not treat Taker the way they treated Kane? Have him beat Regal in ten minutes in the first match or something. If a heel is going to win the Sprint why not have them cheat to win in the last match, screwing over the face that way?

OVERALL: The Sprint is a great idea, but week two led to Friday Night Sheeshdown. Tape if you must, ignore otherwise. They had a hot crowd to start with and it all faded away with every segment. Nothing to see here.


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