The Weekly Awesomeness Meter, this week depicted in Smurfs.
A = Papa Smurf (come on, he got to wear different colour pyjama bottoms!)
B = Smurfette (you would)
C = Hefty Smurf
D = Handy Smurf (clearly gay)
E = Brainy Smurf
Match One: Rey Mysterio vs Super Crazy
With Eddie Guerrero having ambled out to ringside at the 5 minute mark, then providing some very peculiar commentary which sounded like he was smoking helium or being pounded in the crotch, Rey went about his business and seemed just about to finish Crazy off with the 619 after about 12 minutes. Eddie grabbed Psicosis’ rake and broke it over Rey’s back for the ultra-cheap DQ win for Mysterio.
Great way to start Smackdown, as these two kept the pace going, except for a couple of rest hold spots, but for free TV, this was pretty good stuff. It built from looking like it might be a squash early on to actually making Super Crazy look pretty good and competitive against Rey Rey, which can only be a good thing. Both men came off well although the ending was a cop out and cheapened the whole affair a smidge – though the match was good enough to weather this inconvenience.
Eddie Guerrero attempts to make his escape from the building but is stopped in his tracks by Teddy Long, who reports that Eddie has a match against a mystery opponent later on in the show. I so totally hope it’s the Boogeyman.
Christian brings the awesome (or attempts to) in an interview backstage, mouthing off about how great he is and how much Booker T is going to totally get his ass kicked at the Bash. Josh Matthews plays the gimp for the interview and Christian takes the bait, succeeding in coming across cool where John Cena fails each and every week.
Heidenreich reads a poem for Animal – it’s quite a good poem. Animal says that Big John is more like Hawk than he imagined. I didn’t know that Hawk wrote poetry. Perhaps it was a backhanded compliment because Hawk sucked in the ring too? Either way, Heidenreich seems pretty happy with that and looks suspiciously like he’s about to dart off to the bogs and embark on a gentleman’s wrist adventure.
Match Two: Heidenreich and Road Warrior Animal vs Two Jobbers
In less than a minute, Heidenreich and Chubs pounded the scrubbers and finished them with a rather ropey looking replica of the Doomsday Device (courtesy of Heidenreich making a boo-boo on the clothesline part of it)
You can’t beat a good quick squash – they make the point, disguise weaknesses (generally) and aren’t long enough to get boring. Amazingly though, Heidenreich STILL managed to show his ineptitude in a match that went less than 60 seconds. Animal could do with a few less pies and a few more servings of Slim Fast. Either that or not trying to fit into his 1992 wrestling gear would be good. Their match with MNM at GAB won’t be pretty, I fear. I suspect Animal and JH will get the belts come Sunday, for two reasons – firstly, there doesn’t look like a lot of matches that faces will win and secondly, MNM will then get the straps back on SD the next week and send Animal packing.
Match Three: Eddie Guerrro vs Chris Benoit
After some 15 – 20 minutes of back and forth, Benoit locks in the Crossface but Eddie quickly makes the ropes, then scoots to the outside of the ring and strolls back to the locker room for an ultra-ultra cheap countout loss. Rey then jumped Eddie from behind and got a few licks in ahead of Sunday night.
I was fearing a re-tread of One Night Stand here, as they started very slowly but as the match went on, the two of them picked it up nicely and worked a clever pace into the affair, creating quite the engaging little bout. Benoit busted himself open again here, thus scoring serious man points for the amount of blood-letting he’s done in the last year. The ending was cheap, yes, but as per the opener, didn’t detract totally from the affair because of the high standard of the combat.
Candice Michelle comes out to the ring and spends 3 minutes saying “we’re giving the PPV free to our troops”, showing absolutely zero aptitude for sports entertainment in the process. She’s not even particularly attractive. Sure, she’s decent looking, but given that the entirety of her job description seems to be “must look good”, surely they could find someone better looking? Lord knows why they got rid of Joy Giovanni, who actually could talk to at least C grade standard and looked a whole lot better. Either way, Melina comes out and totally embarrasses Candice by showing her how to use the microphone, then knocks Candice down and lays in with some nice looking forearms, then strips her down to her smalls. Torrie Wilson makes the save with a shockingly stiff leaping clothesline and Melina legs it. Surprisingly solid build segment for the PPV match.
Match Four: Booker T vs Simon Dean
Simon gets nothing here but bumps well and makes Booker look super – that’s all you can really ask for, I guess… Booker hits a few tasty kicks and then the scissors kick for the three count.
I’m torn on this one – it was perfectly acceptable but didn’t help Simon Dean at all (not that he’s a major concern) and Booker would have got the same rub off a squash match, so why not just do the squash OR give Simon some offence? Minor point, and at least Booker came off looking like a star *and*, continuing the recent welcome trend for him, looking motivated. Fingers crossed that he and Christian gel better than they have before come Sunday night.
JBL is introduced by Orlando Jordan (who, by the way, looked like a jobber when walking the aisle and had about as much charisma on the microphone as a tortoise) and proceeds to bang on about how he’s going to beat Batista at the Bash in what appears to be, unless I’m much mistaken, an exact repeat of almost everything he said in his promo last week. Batista grows bored of this, walks down to the ring, cuts a basic promo, promises to kick JBLs ass in 2 seconds and gets his first punch in some 10 seconds thereafter. Ah well! Orlando eats a Spinebuster, JBL legs it and Batista models Bradshaw’s natty Star Spangled Banner attire as we go off air.
The Overall Verdict:
A far superior show to RAW and last week’s Smackdown, this episode actually held my attention for the vast majority of the show. There were two good matches in there and the other two outings weren’t offensive in any way. The only down point was that the interview that closed the show was stale – which I think can be attributed to overexposure of JBL – so let’s hope that Bradshaw takes a little time off after GAB. I love the character, but a couple of months without him would allow others to come through and freshen him up a smidge. The biggest complaint I have about this week’s effort is that we were given two good matches with inconclusive finishes – loved the bouts, was fine with either of them ending with a count out or DQ, but not both – I think Rey pinning Super Crazy would have been fine, not damaged the Mexicools and then Eddie could have put the boots in. It wouldn’t have diluted Eddie’s walking out later either.
Overall Grade: B
Chris Benoit – another in a string of superior performances. Not quite Benoit PPV standard, but very good nonetheless.
Eddie Guerrero – good, but a step behind Benoit
Rey Mysterio – when Rey is motivated and gets more than 10 minutes, he can actually put together more than a string of high spots, which this match demonstrated
Super Crazy – a promising SD debut for this chap – more of the same please
Christian – John Cena can only dream of being as smooth on the microphone as Cpt. Charisma.
Simon Dean – didn’t get much (any?) offence but was game with his selling and made Booker look great
Booker T – held up his end of the bargain and looked decent in his basic offence.
Melina – easily the most talented female on Smackdown, she’s got a lot to learn but early signs are promising.
Animal – you can’t go too far wrong with a 1 minute squash.
JBL – a decent promo but just too similar to last week to rate any higher than average
Batista – big Dave didn’t really get much of a chance to raise his rating – let’s see how Sunday goes, it’s a big test for the man being in a high-profile match where Hunter can’t hold his hand.
Torrie Wilson – not enough input to rate higher but she’d usually have blown her run in, so that’s a good start!
Heidenreich – what the f*ck was that “clothesline”?
Orlando Jordan – doesn’t talk like a star, doesn’t carry himself as a star, doesn’t deserve the US Title, give it to Benoit stat!
Candice Michelle – not as attractive as you’d expect given the publicity received and no talent on the microphone. Not a good start.
Great American Bash predictions:
Batista pins JBL
Chris Benoit beats Orlando Jordan for the US belt
Eddie Guerrero beats Rey Mysterio
Melina beats Torrie Wilson
The Mexicools beat The bWo (Juventud pins Nova)
Christian beats Booker T
Animal and Heidenreich beat MNM