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KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 10/23: Punk vs. Undertaker with Long and Armstrong, Batista & Ray vs. Jericho & Big Show, final Bragging Rights hype

Oct 23, 2009 - 10:09:50 PM
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UndertakerArt_130GG_22.jpg
By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
OCTOBER 23, 2009
AIRED ON MY NETWORK TV


[Q1]

-After a clip of Teddy Long giving C.M. Punk what he wanted last week, a rematch against Undertaker with Scott Armstrong as referee, the Smackdown opening aired. Then Michael Cole introduced the show with Jerry Lawler as his color commentator, the current Raw crew. Cole said it's not Raw nor is it Smackdown circa 1999, but he's there because Jim Ross is "under the weather." They didn't mention why Todd Grisham wasn't there. Lawler said he plans to brag about Raw all night long. He said Smackdown will be better with them instead of Ross & Grisham calling the show.

-As Chris Jericho walked to the ring, Cole and Lawler plugged the 12-man tag team match with Raw vs. Smackdown. Lawler said the deck is stacked, in his view, for Raw. A clip aired of the in-ring brawl at the end of Raw on Monday between the two teams. Jericho used some fancy words to say he wants to prove his dominance over Team Raw and especially DX. He said he also plans to man-handle Cryme Tyme later. J.T.G. stepped out to his music. Jericho asked where his partner was, "in jail?" J.T.G. said he got the flu. Jericho said, "What makes me sick is that I have to be on the same team as you. Jericho called the fans "germ incubators," which might be my favorite derisive term aimed at fans ever. It's top ten for sure.

Vickie Guerrero stepped out, yelling, "Excuse me?! Excuse me?!" She introduced Eric Escobar. He said DX doesn't know who he is. He said after he leads his team to victory at Bragging Rights, they'll never forget his name. He then said his name. Dolph Ziggler then stepped out and said he wanted to get down to business. He said if anybody's going to be responsible for a win for Team Smackdown, it's going to be him. J.T.G. said he's a loser for losing Maria. Drew McIntyre walked out onto the stage and said he is the ace up their sleeve. He declared himself the future World Champion. He said he should have been named the captain. Kane's music interrupted him and he walked out. Kane said none of them are worthy to be fighting along side him. Dolph interjected, "Or me!" He said since he and Jericho will be busy with Rey Mysterio & Batista later, the four of them should be busy as well. Jericho said they're going to have a four-on-five tag match later, and if they lose, they'll be replaced at Bragging Rights by the five men they replace tonight. [c]

[Q2]

1 -- R-TRUTH & MATT HARDY & FINLAY & THE HART DYNASTY (David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd) vs. J.T.G. & DOLPH ZIGGLER & DREW MCINTYRE & ERIC ESCOBAR

Truth sang his way to the ring. He came as close as ever to his words matching the beat of the music without getting tripped up on his own lyrics. At 2:00 with Ziggler and Finlay fighting at ringside they cut to a break. The place was as quiet as a library. [c] Back in the ring, Escobar had the obligatory post-commercial break rest hold on Finlay in center-ring. Cole called Smackdown the "blue brand" and said sometimes Smackdown gets defensive about Raw being called the "flagship show," and Bragging Rights gives Smackdown a chance to prove that wrong. Lawler asked Cole which show is best since he's been part of both. Cole said without hesitation: "Monday Night Raw." Finlay hit J.T.G. with his shillelagh from behind and then Hardy hit the Twist of Fate for the win. Shad was designated the one to take the fall in this one, but once he was told that, he decided his flu was too much for him to make it to the ring. The flu is no fun, so even considering wrestling with it in the first place was nuts. Lawler said he thinks the new Smackdown team is much more formidable.

WINNERS: Hardy & Truth & Finlay & Hart Dynasty in 9:00.

STAR RATING: *1/4

[Q3]

-Punk told Scott Armstrong backstage that he doesn't understand the severity of the situation. Armstrong said he gets it because all he's thought about since he rang that bell at Breaking Point is what he did to his and his family's reputation. Punk said what matters is him becoming Straight Edge World Champion for a fourth time. Teddy Long said he's still on probation, so his job and even his life is at stake. Punk said they did the right thing in Montreal, but tonight they're second-guessing themselves. Armstrong said his dad taught him that a man is nothing without his good name. He said he has to find someone else to do his dirty work. As he walked out of the room, Vince McMahon was standing outside with a big smile. He told Armstrong, "We need to talk."

-They showed John Morrison heading toward the entrance tunnel. [c]

2 -- JOHN MORRISON vs. MIKE KNOX

Cole ruined Morrison's cool-factor by declaring his entrance "one of the coolest ring entrance you'll ever see." It's like your dad introducing you as a teenager to a band he thinks is just "totally rad." Knox talked about injuring Morrison's abs, but the music was played so loud it was hard to hear what the soft-spoken weirdo was saying, but he talked about bile leaking out of the liver and causing the body to shut down. Morrison took a brutal kick to the face at 2:00, but came back with his own kick a minute later for the win.

WINNER: Morrison in 3:00.

-Morrison did a brief post-match promo talking about Miz wanting to prove he's more Shawn Michaels and not Marty Jannetty. Not a scintillating final push for their match. [c]


-WWE Fact: Last month, over 100 million photos of WWE ringside action were viewers on WWE.com. "Ringside action?" or "In-ring action?" Are they only counting brawls outside of the ring in that tally?

-Jericho and Kane told their new partners backstage that they expect them to follow their lead. Truth told Jericho to save the Gen. Patton speech. He said they may not like him, but they respect him. They all agreed they're on the same page, eager to embarrass and humiliate Raw to prove once and for all they're the superior show. They're not "brands" anymore, apparently; they're now "shows," after all. Jericho said they'll all destroy Team Raw at Bragging Rights if they follow their lead after watching he and Kane beat Rey & Batista later.

[Q4]

-Backstage Mickie James was sitting next to Mae Young. Michelle McCool gloated in a sarcastic way about her not making it onto the Smackdown team. McCool said Beth Phoenix and Natalya are more talented than she is. Mickie said she's scared because she knows she'll show her up and she's her biggest threat. She said more importantly she's scared beacuse she knows she's going to take that Diva's Title from her. She told her to "break a leg on Sunday." Phoenix told Mae she looks beautiful. She told McCool not to plan on holding the title very long. Mae said, "She told you." McCool told her to shut up. Mae slapped her and the crowd popped.

-Cole and Lawler at ringside narrated a replay of Rey scoring a pin on Batista despite the ref not seeing that his shoulder was up. They went backstage to Batista telling Rey, with a smile, that his shoulder was up. Rey said all he saw was the referee count three. Rey then plugged the Batista DVD, saying he learned a lot about him he didn't know. They argued in a friendly way who would win at the PPV. [c]

-Cole and Lawler hyped the Punk-Taker submissions match TV main event.

-The Rey Mysterio ring entrance took place followed by Batista's, then the heel duo.

[Q5]

3 -- REY MYSTERIO & BATISTA vs. CHRIS JERICHO & KANE

Rey set up an early 619 on Jericho, but Kane yanked him out of the ring by his legs. They cut to an early break at 2:00. [c] Kane beat up Rey after the break. Jericho tagged in and applied a chinlock on Rey. Rey stood and head scissored Jericho to the floor. At 9:00 Batista hot-tagged in and went to work on Kane. He hit a spinebuster and then shook the top rope. Jericho entered the ring and kicked Batista in the head as he set up the Batista Bomb. He went for a Code Breaker, but Batista escaped and slammed him. Kane then gave Batista a bit boot. Kane then threw Batista shoulder-first into the ringpost. Rey entered the ring, but Kane chokeslammed him. Batista, the legal man, surprised Kane with a spear for the win.

WINNER: Mysterio & Batista in 10:00.

STAR RATING: ** -- Decent TV match.

-McMahon talked to Armstrong, Long, and Punk backstage. He told everyone to do their job. He took a deep breath and asked if everyone can smell "the change in the air, like something is going to happen, something is imminent." He said, "What starts here ends in WrestleMania." He talked about Fan Axxess and how fans can reach out and touch Superstars. He said it's all about family. He told Scott Armstrong that his father is a candidate for the Hall of Fame. Vince asked how old he is. Scott said turned 70. Vince told him to keep that thought. He thanked everyone for contributing to one big family atmosphere. Scott seemed torn.

[Q6] [c]

-Cole and Lawler were shown on camera again. They talked about Ross being "under the weather." Lawler told him to get well soon.

4 -- MICKIE JAMES vs. LAYLA

Cole said one thing he misses about Smackdown is the Thanksgiving food fight every year. Some awful timing early. Cole said this time next week Cena could be part of the Smackdown roster if he loses to Orton. Mickie won with a kick to the face out of nowhere.

WINNER: Mickie in 2:00.

-Cole and Lawler threw to the video tribute to Lou Albano. Then they showed the crowd applauding afterward. [c]

[Q7]

-Cole threw to a video package on the Randy Orton-John Cena feud.

-Punk came out with Armstrong and Long. Armstrong and Long looked solemn and defeated. Punk bragged about his chances of beating Taker. [c]

-Undertaker's ring intro took place.

[Q8]

5 -- UNDERTAKER vs. C.M. PUNK -- World Hvt. Title match

After Taker put the World Title into the hands of Armstrong, Cole said that must've been intimidating. Lawler said whatever Long is up to, he is on probation. Cole wondered how Taker could prevail with the fix being in. They broke to a very early break at 1:00 after both kneeled in the corner and had a staredown from across the ring. [c] Taker beat up Punk at ringside after the break. Punk avoided a flying Taker, who got caught up in the ropes. Punk rammed Taker's skull into the steel steps at ringside. Taker climbed to the top rope for the "Old School" walk. Long stood up and caused a distraction. Punk escaped and hit a running bulldog. Cole said Punk might be closing in on an unbelievable upset. Punk called for Long to hand him a chair. Long hesitated, but then did it. Lawler said it was a no-DQ match. Armstrong took the chair away. Punk yanked it from Armstrong and charged at Taker. Taker kicked the chair into Punk's face. Taker looked at Armstrong, who then looked at Taker. Taker chokeslammed him. Long looked worried at ringside. Taker followed him with his eyes as he backed around the ring. Punk surprised Taker with a chair to the gut and then the back and then his skull. Taker got a hand up to blunt the impact, then crashed hard to the mat and didn't move. Punk applied an Anaconda Vice, but Taker escaped and applied Hell's Gate as the second ref arrived. Punk tapped out. Long held his head in his hands with worry. Lawler said the fix was in, but it backfired. Cole hyped the Fatal Four-way PPV match as the show ended.

WINNER: Undertaker in 12:00 to retain World Hvt. Title.

STAR RATING: **1/4 -- Very gimmicky and storyline-driven, but of the nine minutes that aired, it was fine.

FINAL THOUGHTS (5.0): A flat Smackdown in terms of getting viewers excited for Bragging Rights. The wholesale Team Smackdown switch made the previous few weeks of hype seem like time wasted, and it moved some older stars such as Hard, Finlay, and Truth in place of rising heels Ziggler, McIntyre, and Escobar. It also took away a reason for fans of both brands to cheer for Raw and against Smackdown because now there's a mix of two top heels, a low-level heel tag team, and three babyfaces on Team Smackdown, which confuses the whole convoluted concept even more. The Morrison promo was forgettable. The Fatal Four-way hype was also flat, with a distracting tag match with Batista & Rey together that served no purpose and then the focus of the show being on Punk-Taker. Why not incorporate Batista and Rey into that match somehow or close with something other than a sense that "well, that's settled" with Undertaker celebrating a win over Punk. There was no "Call to Order" on this show.

QUOTEBOOOK

C.M. Punk to Scott Armstrong: "Nobody cares about your family's reputation. Think of how selfish you are. This is about me."

C.M. Punk to the fans: "I know how horrible all of your lives are and you're all holding onto one small little bastion of hope, thinking that Undertaker can conjure up some dark miracle and somehow beat him, but he can't."

[Undertaker art credit Grant Gould (c) MMATorch]


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