Report from last night’s show tapings, from John Massey and WrestlingObserver.com:
WWE Smackdown Tapings/ECW Live Report
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Roanoke Civic Center, Roanoke, VA
by John Massey, Radford, VA
A few interesting notes before the show began. First, there was no alcohol sold at the event, as signs were posted notifying fans that they would not be able to purchase alcoholic beverages. Secondly, security was probably more strict than any other WWE event I’ve been to in recent years. Security checked all signs brought into the arena and confiscated many of them (including many which there was really no problem with). There were plenty of scattered seats available throughout the arena and one large portion of the arena was tarped off. I would estimate attendance at around 4,500 to 5,000. Also, before the show began, it was announced that Tony Atlas was backstage and Atlas came out to greet the fans at the top of the aisle.
The show began with a Wrestlemania 22 video at 7:30.
Funaki defeated Eric Perez
-Our first dark match started at 7:35 and Funaki picked up the win via pinfall in 5 minutes.
JBL and Michael Cole then made their way out to the broadcast table (to JBL’s music). Shortly after, Smackdown began.
-The show began with an opening video showcasing the events last week involving Mark Henry, Rey Misterio, and Chavo Guerrero Jr. The Smackdown opening then aired before pyro exploded in the arena.
MARK HENRY PROMO
-Mark Henry made his way out to open up the show. Henry took the mic in the ring and stated that he should be the champion. He said that he has beaten up Batista, Kurt Angle (who he said ran off to ECW because he beat him so badly, which prompted an “ECW” chant), Chris Benoit, The Undertaker, and many others. During this, there were loud “What?” and “ECW” chants. He then called Chavo Guerrero Jr. a parasite and said he is milking the Guerrero name and that all the Guerreros are parasites. This brought out Chavo Guerrero. There was an exchange between the two, and Chavo said that he would not come out of retirement to face Henry. Henry continued to bash the Guerreros, saying that if Eddie Guerrero were still alive, he would spit on him. This prompted Chavo to hit the ring. Henry began to destroy him until Rey Misterio made the save. Henry then destroyed Misterio. The next few minutes involved Henry beating up both men, and this segment began to drag quite a bit. At the end of the segment, he put Chavo in the torture rack and dropped him. Near the end, the crowd chanted “Eddie.” The segment was solid in establishing Henry as unstoppable for Batista’s return next week but it did drag towards the final half. It ran about 12 minutes.
We then had a replay of what just took place, for those three fans out there that tune into a wrestling show 13-16 minutes after it begins.
Cruiserweight Title Match
Super Crazy defeated Gregory Helms via DQ
-Solid match that ran about 4 minutes. The match really didn’t have enough time to amount to anything. It felt like the first four minutes of what could have been a great fifteen minute match. There was a “Super Crazy” chant during the match. Psychosis ran out near the end of the match and interfered, kicking Super Crazy in the head. Crazy and Psychosis then brawled after the referee called for the DQ. Crazy kicked Psychosis out of the ring to end the match/segment.
Booker T, Sharmell, and Teddy Long were shown backstage. Booker was complaining about having to face Lashley in the steel cage later in the night. He wanted the match cancelled but Long said it was still on. Booker said if that’s the case, he would be taking the United States title later tonight.
Batista Returns….Next Week
The Pitbulls (Kid Kash & Jamie Noble) defeated Two Unnamed Opponents
-During the commercial, two wrestlers made their way out to the ring (while the lights were darkened in the arena). They received no music or introduction and their names were never announced (boy, that kills the possibility that they could even come close to winning this match). Noble and Kash made their way out and were announced as the Pitbulls. The match was pretty quick, lasting about three minutes, and ending with Noble holding up one of the men and Kash coming off the top rope with a clothsline on the man for the pin.
Later Tonight, a Steel Cage Match for the U.S. Title (as if you didn’t already know by this point).
A Wreckless Intent Commercial aired. A Diva Search Video followed this.
Backstage, Tony Atlas gave Bobby Lashley a pep talk about his upcoming match with King Booker.
Fit Finlay defeated Matt Hardy
-Finaly pinned Hardy after a 7 minute matchup. During the match, there was a spot where Finlay was outside of the ring. Hardy went for the baseball slide dropkick but Finlay pulled the ring apron out and Hardy slipped in between the apron and ring. It was a pretty innovative spot. Near the end of the match, Finlay had exposed the top turnbuckle. He dropped Hardy into it and then lifted him into a fireman’s carry before dropping him backwards and getting the pin. Little Bastard was under the ring. Finlay starred down JBL after the match (you’ll have to pay attention to the commentary here to understand this part of the show). This was the best match of the show up until this point.
Still to come, King Booker and Bobby Lashley inside the steel cage.
A WWE magazine commercial aired.
Mr. Kennedy defeated Gunner Scott
-Scott made his way out first. Then, it seems as though production could not get his music or entrance video to stop playing. Finally, after a few minutes, Mr. Kennedy made his entrance (I’m sure this will be edited). Kennedy won the match via pinfall with the swanton dive off the top rope. Some “You Can’t Wrestle” chants directed towards Kennedy from a small part of the crowd. Kennedy did mic work before the match. After the match, The Great Khali and Daviari made their way out. Khali chokeslammed Scott as the crowd chanted for The Undertaker. Daviari and Khali then put Scott into a bodybag. Daviari then made a challenge on behalf of Khali to the Undertaker for a “Punjabi Prison” match at The Great American Bash (he never explained what that type of match is exactly).
The Miz then made his way out.
-The Raw Rebound aired looking at the DX skit from Monday night. The Raw Rebound was longer than half of the Smackdown matches tonight.
The Miz then talked about how crazy tonight has been, mentioning Mark Henry, The Great Khali, and things under the ring (a reference to Little Bastard). He then talks about the cage match as the cage lowers. He gives a big “Hoo Rah”, I tell him to shut up, and then the segment ends.
A Vito video aired showing him out shopping while wearing a dress. Nothing like character development in 2006.
Vito defeated Simon Dean
-Vito wore a lovely lime green dress. This was another short match, coming in at four minutes. Vito hit a top rope elbow drop and then put Dean’s head under his dress which resulted in Dean tapping out. Yes, that’s Vito’s submission move.
We took a look at Finlay, William Regal, Booker T. and Sharmell backstage getting ready for the Steel Cage Match.
T-shirts were then shot into the crowd.
We then had a video recap of the Bobby Lashley/Booker T. fued. By this point, the fued is feeling like it’s Hogan/Savage (you can interpret that however you’d like).
United States Title Steel Cage Match
Bobby Lashley defeated King Booker T.
-William Regal made his way out and introduced Booker. For the next 5 minutes, Regal said: “All Hail King Booker” 46 times. Finlay, Sharmell, and Regal all were at ringside for the match. It was a good cage match, and probably the best Lashley/Booker match we’ve seen so far. The match went about 15 minutes and at various stages, Finlay and Regal tried to interfer. The match ended when Lashley escaped over the top of the cage to win the match and retain the title. The crowd was pretty hot for the title match and after the match ended, Booker and his comrades stood in the ring and Booker and the cameras focused on them. This is where the show will end on Friday night.
Everyone then began running around frantically. I’ve seriously never seen so many people in disarray. The production crew began to strip the set and get ready for ECW. At this point, it was about 9:32. At 9:45, with the cage still up, the ring announcer said that we would be going live on the air with ECW in 90 seconds. Well, obviously that was not the case. A lot of fans left during this transition period. Finally, around 9:52, all the production changes had been made. Taz and Joey Styles made their way to the announce table. Roadkill then made his way out and the ECW show actually began about 2-3 minutes before 10:00 (so they were running on a very short tape delay tonight).
ECW POST-SHOW NOTES
The main event was a very good match and the crowd was very into it live and in person. After the match ended, RVD and Kurt Angle shook hands and RVD’s music played for a few minutes before we moved to our dark match main event.
DARK MATCH MAIN EVENT
The Undertaker defeated The Great Khali and Mark Henry
-Khali and Henry had separate entrances. 10 minute match ends with Taker pinning Khali after the chokeslam. Taker was very intense, but Khali was just absolutely horrible.
-The crowd definitely came awake for the ECW show. The crowd around the ringside area was hot for the entire live show (not sure if it came off that way). There were a number of kids around the ringside area and I noticed this as a real problem. The families and children at ringside were there for Smackdown but stayed for ECW because, well, it’s part of the show. It’s hard to put it into words but this is why ECW needs to run its own shows separately away from Smackdown and at smaller arenas. In addition, the crowd began a “We Want Cena” chant in the main event. The fans chanting this were fans in the higher level seats. I began a very loud “No We Don’t” chant which others quickly joined in. It seems as though the ringside people were very passionate about ECW while the upper level fans were more into WWE and “established superstars.” The dueling chants went back and forth for a good 3-4 minutes and it got very intense. The show ended around 11:30, so it clocked in right at 4 hours. It was a fun show overall but after going to Vengeance on Sunday in Charlotte, it’s so easy to tell that Vince and Company treat Raw and Smackdown like day and a night.