Recap of the events between Henry, Mysterio and Guerrero last week takes us into the SmackDown opening vignette. You’d expect a show with a headlining match like King Booker and Lashley in a Steel Cage to get dibs on opening vignette, but you were wrong.
Mark Henry makes his way out first and looks to have been practicing his microphone work. On a side note say what you will about Henry, but he’s slowly improving, and starting to be given some legitimate booking power. Henry yet again runs down his list of wrestlers destroyed, getting more dramatic than usually, before calls Guerrerro a parasite – just like all of their family members, which JBL agrees with. Chavo Guerrero makes his way out and asks if Henry has been indeed practicing his mic work albeit in front of a mirror, and tells Henry that he’s not going to return to the ring to face him and that his family name is bulletproof. Henry says he spits on the family name, and brings up the almost obligatory Eddie insult which results in a brawl. Henry gets the better of Chavo with a World’s Strongest Slam. Splash off the second rope by Henry before Mysterio runs out for the save, only to get splashed instead. Henry destroys Mysterio on the outside of the ring. Henry sends Guerrero into the steel pole, spine first, before he locks Guerrero in the Torture Rack .. Wait, Torture Rack? Henry learnt a new move! Guerrero sells like gold, Mysterio gets destroyed .. They’re finally starting to push Henry like how he should be pushed.
Opening Contest: Cruiser Weight Championship: Super Crazy verses Gregory Helms (Champion)
Talk about your predictable matches. JBL calls Helms the best kept secret on SmackDown, which may just be true. Crazy takes him down but Helms gets to the ropes quickly. Lock up and Helms takes Crazy to the corner and misses a punch, which allows Cazy to get a arm drag. Crazy with a springboard dropkick, sending Helms out of the ring, which allows Crazy to get a senton out of the ring. Up top, Helms sends Crazy throat first into the top rope for a two count. Helms with some kicks to the chest followed by a swinging neckbreaker for another two. Helms with some elbows to the neck of Crazy before he locks on a variation of a sleeper hold, Crazy gets to his feet and off the ropes with a spinning headscissors, followed by a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker times two, spinning heel kick on Helms for two. Helms with a sky high for a two. Crazy off the top rope with a missile dropkick and standing moonsault for a two, close to a three count if that helps. Crazy locks in the abdominal stretch, but Psicosis runs in and nails Helms with a spinning heel kick!
Winner by DQ: Gregory Helms
Crazy and Psicosis fight afterwards. Not a bad match and rather rushed, but that makes sense with these two between light weight based / speed based wrestlers. Seven out of Ten.
Backstage our King and Queen yell at Long about how tonight’s match is, Long reminds him that his match tonight is for the Championship. After much royal persisting, Long tell him that the match isn’t cancelled. Booker says that he’s been in a cage before, unlike Lashley, and going to finish his career .. and it’s all going to be on Theodore Long’s bald head.
The Steel Cage gets the light hype treatment.
Second Contest: The Pitbulls verses The Squash Guys
The jobbers don’t even get an introduction, making my job very fustrating. In reality is also means that this match is a glorified squash, though JBL spends a nice portion of this match hyping up the Pitbulls as Kendrick and London’s biggest threat ever. Pitbulls end the squash with the powerbomb and top rope clothesline move, not exactly the Doomsday Device but pretty close.
Winners: The Pitbulls
It DID show off the Pitbulls, but when it’s a glorified squash when even the jobbers don’t get their names mentioned then it still follows regular squash procedures. -Five out of Ten.
Diva Search recap. Jen England or Amy Zidian win. And did you see that chick with the BBBAAADDD blonde that got through?
Krystal interviews Ashley Massaro. Her advice for the rest of them is not to focus on winning or losing, but having fun. The Diva Search opens up so many doors and pokes fun at Krystal; “I finished fourth. Bitch!”. COULD be interesting, and might actually make someone take Krystal seriously .. okay, it won’t, especially considering she did last year with that paint, but still.
Lashley backstage and says that King Booker is probably the favorite for tonight’s match. But tonight he’s coming in as U.S. Champion, and going out U.S. Champion.
Matt Hardy makes his entrance, and we briefly see that Little Bastard. JBL says he’s going to buy one of his own. Classic. SmackDown Recappers Heart JBL.
Third Contest: Matt Hardy verses Finlay
Hardy makes a few Joker inspired aces before the match starts. Lock up and Finlay gets a headlock on, before working the arm of Hardy and taking him down for a one count. Finlay with an uppercut, followed by the short arm clothesline for a two. Finlay with a spear in the corner. Hardy gets some punches in and gets an elbow to the throat of Finlay, elbow drop for a two by Hardy. Finlay looks to have something wrong with his eye but cheap shots Hardy instead, Hardy looks to have the better hand until Finlay nails an inverted atomic drop. Hardy goes for a baseball slide but Finlay sends Hardy under the ring apron and clubs away at him, back in the ring for a two. Snapmare into rear choke by Finlay, but Hardy fan faves out of it and sends Finlay into the corner for the clothesline bulldog for a two count. Finlay gets in the short arm clothesline, before he super secretly (to the referee, at least) removes the top turnbuckle padding.
Side Effect out of nowhere by Hardy for a two count. Hardy goes up top, Finlay follows afterwards but gets sent back down for the yodelling leg drop. Kick to the gut, Twist of Fate set up but Finlay pushes Hardy into the ropes, Hardy hangs on and Finlay gets sent over the top rope and dragged under the ring! Hardy looks under the ring but gets kicked by that Little Bastard, Finlay comes out and rolls Hardy back into the ring for some elbow drops. In a nice touch the leprechaun throws JBL a beer. Ha! Finlay goes for the shaleleigh but misses, Hardy with punches and goes to use the Shaleleigh! The referee pulls it off him and Finlay sends him into the exposed turnbuckle! Celtic Cross for the victory!
Winner: Fit Finlay
Another nice enough match. Seven out of Ten. I’m in a good mood tonight because I just got home from a party, and glad that I wasn’t obsessed with booze when I was fifteen.
Still to come: Steel Cage for the United States Championship!
Mr Kennedy schtick welcomes us to the commercial break.
Fourth Contest: Mr Kennedy verses Gunner Scott
Kennedy works the arm but Scott reverses it and work’s Kennedy’s arm in reply, with Kennedy eventually escaping with an eye poke. In a nice touch Kennedy sends Scott throat first into the second rope. Kennedy clubs away at Scott, delivering a few elbows for a two count. Kennedy continues to nail more punches on Scott afterwards, before he scoop slams Scott and comes off the second rope with a leg drop but lands on his feet after Scott raises his foot, and Kennedy catches it! Didn’t expect that. Kennedy slams down the leg and misses the elbow drop. Scott gets the upper hand with a clothesline only to be slammed back down not long after by Kennedy. Kennedy goes up top and nails the Kenton Bomb for the three count.
Winner: Mr Kennedy
What a terrible and abrupt way to demolish Gunner Scott’s interest. -Five out of Ten. Khali comes out post match as Kennedy is about to do his second Kennedy. Kennedy escapes, but Khali picks up Scott and nails a double handed chokeslam and demands Daivari come into the ring .. carrying a body bag? Um, k? Daivari gets on the microphone and puts forward a challenge to Undertaker for the Great Khali. A some sort of Prison Match at the Great American Bash. Again; Um, k? Khali does the Undertaker poses afterwards.
RAW Rebound recaps the best segment in years .. minus the ending. Which sucked.
Mike The Miz pimps tonight’s event, and hypes up the Steel Cage Match.
Video of Vito shopping for dresses. Ah huh.
Fifth Contest: Vito verses Simon Dean
Vito tries to psych out Dean to start, before he ends up punching Dean down. Vito with a scoop slam followed by a top rope splash which misses, Dean follows up with a running knee and Vito’s bottom half has been blurred out. Right. Dean gets a few elbow drops in. Vito goes for the sunset flip but Dean gets a double stomp to the chest of Vito, getting a two count. Dean locks on a nice sleeper hold, but Vito escapes and gets a russian leg sweep. Punches to the gut of Vito followed up by a running elbow. Clotheslines and Dean off the ropes into a high kick for a two. Suplex by Vito, before he goes up top and comes off with the elbow drop and locks on .. ahem .. “the groin face rub armbar” for the quick victory.
Well, he looks like he’s having fun at least, and he’s getting a push. Wasn’t terrible and I’ll give it that much; -Two out of Ten.
Recap of the King Booker / Lashley feud. As always, gold from WWE Production.
William Regal makes his way out and does his All Hail schtick. Much like last week, JBL helps in undoing years of damage to Booker T within just a matter of weeks.
Main Event: Steel Cage Match: United States Championship: King Booker with Queen Sharmell and William Regal verses Bobby Lashley (Champion)
Lock up and Lashley takes Booker to the corner, but Booker reverses it and forces Lashley back. Punches into scoop slam by Lashley, before Booker gets slammed into the turnbuckle. Spears in the corner are followed by a suplex by Lashley. Booker sends Lashley head first into the steel mesh and Finlay makes his way down to the ring. Short arm high kick by Booker. Booker punches away on Lashley in the corner and adds some chops too, before Lashley scoop slams Booker back! Lashley clubs away and throws Booker into the steel mesh. Booker picked up by Lashley, and Booker escapes a headlock only to run back into a spinebuster. Lashley begins to make his way to the door, but Finlay punks out the referee! The referee opens the door and Lashley backs off after seeing Finlay standing before him, Lashley then tries to escape but Finlay slams the door into Lashley’s skull. Booker begins to escape but Lashley grabs the foot of Booker! Another foot grabbed and Booker has been dragged bak into the ring. Clothesline by Lashley misses, as does a kick by Booker, huge spinebuster by Lashley takes us to a commercial!
We’re back to see Booker trying to climb out of the cage only for Lashley to climb with him. Lashley gets sent into the top of the steel cage face first and falls down, but is quickly back up to drag Booker into into the ring, before he kicks Booker back down. Lashley goes to escape but Booker drops him throat first on the top rope for a two count Chops by Booker in the corner, off the ropes with a Book End!! Nostalgic, baby, but Cole doesn’t even mention it. Kicks to the gut by Booker and the Scissors kick connects. Booker goes to leave through the cage, but Lashley up! Lashley slams Booker into the cage and follows up with punches. Booker off the ropes into an elbow for a two. Booker gets a cheap thumb to the eye before punching away on Lashley in the corner, and following up with kicks to the weak leg of Lashley. Boston crab by Booker but Lashley gets to the ropes. Booker goes to irish whip Lashley but Lashley reverses and Booker jumps up going for his sunset flip but Lashley catches him and nails the running powerslam! Lashley begins to climb but Finlay and Regal are awaiting him, Finlay with the shaleleigh and Regal with the chair! Booker tries to make the escape behind him but Lashley pulls Booker back in and the two exchange punches, but Lashley throws Booker off the top rope into the ring! Lashley escapes the cage!
Winner And Still United States Champion: Bobby Lashley
Not bad just not as exciting as I was hoping for. Five out of Ten. And that’s a wrap for SmackDown this week, let’s look at the results;
Gregory Helms verses Super Crazy: 7/10
Pitbulls verses Jobbers: -5/10
Matt Hardy verses Finlay: 7/10
Mr Kennedy verses Gunner Scott: -2/10
Vito verses Simon Dean: -2/10
King Booker verses Bobby Lashley: 5/10
SmackDown 30/06/06: 10/60
This episode did show some promise, not a great deal but still some, and yet it was still lacking. If there’s nothing better on TV and you just need to see an acceptable Henry and the possible closure of the Booker / Lashley feud this watch. Otherwise rent a DVD.