Batista is out right away and he really needs to stick to the generic white and black suit look. He reminds us of the usual stuff regarding Undertaker, and that their match at WrestleMania will get ugly. I don’t think so, Undertaker brings his work rate this time of year and it could be a good match. Eventually, a video begins playing from a cemetery, and Undertaker says all things must die and begins filling up a grave. Buried Alive match at WrestleMania? This segment dragged, but only went for a few minutes. Actually come to think about it, why is this feud getting such little screen time? Considering how many storylines set for Mania have their wheels turning (which is pretty much compacted to the two main events, MITB, Melina / Ashley, Trump / McMahon) I’d think that this angle would be getting at least fifteen minutes every week. Yes, fifteen minutes for these two every week isn’t a pretty thought, but it’s a WrestleMania Main Event. I hate to see matches depending on name power alone unless it’s guaranteed to be a good match.
Tonight we’ve got two MITB matches. Hey, eight guys in the match and I wanted nine, I was close! Booker and Sharmell are out for commentary, and JBL makes Cole kiss Booker’s hand.
Opening Contest: Money In The Bank Qualifier: Matt Hardy vs. Joey Mercury
Mercury with a headlock on Hardy early in, Hardy gets a hip toss for a one. Booker is really getting into the commentating. Mercury gets some right hands to Hardy in the corner, but Hardy quickly hits him with a nice rib breaker. Hardy kicks Mercury in the gut a few times for a pinfall attempt. Hardy with a fall forward suplex on Mercury for another pinfall attempt. Hardy misses a moonsault. Mercury gets a boot to the face of Hardy, and Hardy looks like he’ll get the upper hand again but Mercury sends him shoulder first into the steel post.
Mercury takes Hardy down with an arm drag before he gets a pair of failed pinfall attempts. Mercury takes it outside and continues to work Hardy’s arm. Mercury hooks Hardy’s arm on the ropes and kicks it, before he gets a tight pinning package but Hardy kicks out again. Mercury goes up top but Hardy throws him onto the canvas. Hardy with a clothesline bulldog combo on Mercury for a two count. Hardy misses an elbow from the second rope, but connects with the side effect for a two count! Hardy pulls the mask off of Mercury, Mercury elbows Hardy away and goes up top but Hardy hits a Twist of Fate from the second rope for the three count.
Winner and Money In The Bank Qualifier: Matt Hardy
Harmless little match, but I’m getting really sick of seeing these two wrestle each other. Booker’s commentary really helped this match though. Four out of Ten.
Kristal Marshall is backstage with Montel Vontavious Porter. MVP is his usual douche-self.
Still to come: Ashley Massaro vs. Jillian Hall.
WrestleMania Recall: Bart Gunn vs. Butterbean from WrestleMania 15.
Maryse welcomes us back to SmackDown.
Second Contest: Scotty Too Hotty, Shannon Moore, and Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Gregory Helms, Daivari, and Chavo Guerrero
Good decision to put Moore back on SmackDown. Helms and Moore start. Lock up and Helms takes Moore to the corner right away, but Moore ducks and poses. Helms takes Moore back to the corner for some punches. Moore with a spinning heel kick before he gets a nice hurricanrana from the second rope on Helms. Guerrero tagged in, and he comes right in to an arm drag before Moore tags out to Hotty. Hotty works the arm of Guerrero before Hotty gets a back drop on Guerrero. Guerrero with upper cuts in the corner before he runs into an elbow by Hotty, Hotty with a ten count punch attempt but Guerrero sends Hotty onto the apron and Helms attacks. Hotty back in the ring for a one count by Guerrero. Daivari tagged in, wastes some time, and Helms gets tagged in afterwards. Suplex on Hotty by Helms, and Guerrero tagged back in. Hotty gets in a superkick to Guerrero; Daivari and Yang tagged in, and Yang takes care of the heels. Yang with a standing moonsault on Daivari for a two count. Yang gets in a sweet moonsault kick, Helms attacks Helms from behind and signals for the Worm but the referee stops him. All the guys get their piece of action, but Yang gets a moonsault on Daivari for the three count.
Winners: Jimmy Wang Yang, Shannon Moore, and Scotty Too Hotty
Fun match, least I enjoyed it. Five out of Ten.
Recap of the ever so boring Mysterio segment from last week.
Mr. McMahon makes his way on out. McMahon puts over Umaga, and how much he’ll enjoy getting a victory at WrestleMania. Video recap of Trump announcing Lashley as his representative takes us into a video recap of Lashley and the cage from ECW. Lashley opening the cage is a pretty sweet visual. Lashley makes his way out, and McMahon asks Lashley is he wants to make a deal. McMahon will offer Lashley twice as much as what Trump has offered him; Lashley says it’ll be his pleasure to beat Umaga. McMahon slaps Lashley, but Lashley scares him off.
McMahon is backstage yelling at a stage hand, when Mr. Kennedy says he wants Lashley in a match tonight. McMahon books the match and says it’ll be for the ECW Championship and No Holds Barred, but that rule only applies for Kennedy. Lashley can be disqualified and counted out; he must abide by the roles. Interesting.
Third Match: Ashley Massaro vs. Jillian Hall
I don’t like Massaro’s new music as much as I did Audioslave or the generic stuff, but it’s different for the divas I suppose. JBL has the line of the night in saying he’s been subscribed to Playboy since he was five. Massaro gets some elbows to Hall, and gets Hall with a headscissors. Massaro with a hurricanrana before she gets in a crucifix on Hall, Hall turns it into a Samoan for a two. Hall pulls on the hair of Massaro. Massaro with a school boy for a two count. Hall whips Massaro into the corner, Massaro goes for a hurricanrana but Hall turns it into a powerbomb. Massaro falls behind a scoop slam and gets a reverse DDT and gets the elbow drop from the second rope for the pinfall.
Winner: Ashley Massaro
Hall was all kinds of off her game tonight, and is officially no longer the next Trish Stratus. Massaro’s still improving, but needs to perfect the moves she already knows before she goes back to learning more especially if there’s any truth to her becoming the next Women’s Champion, but then again we’ve had less talented champions. One out of Ten. SmackDown Diva Standards.
Still to come: MITB Qualifier: Benoit vs. MVP vs. Finlay!
Fourth Match: Money In The Bank Qualifier: Finlay vs. Chris Benoit vs. Montel Vontavious Porter
Pre-match, Hornswoggle causes mischief with JBL and Cole, Finlay punks out Cole and tells them his name. Almost a year or so into the character, and now we get his name. Hm. Benoit attacks MVP right away and Finlay attacks Benoit from behind; MVP and Finlay isolate Benoit, with Finlay getting the upperhand with an uppercut and short-arm clothesline. MVP slingshots Finlay out of the ring and the two exchange shots, Finlay evades a suicide dive by Benoit and MVP gets hit.
Finlay takes Benoit down with a short arm clothesline before he gets in a headlock; Benoit turns it into an arm drag but gets tripped up by MVP. MVP clubs away at Benoit and gets a two count before getting a snapmare on Benoit, and Finlay stops a pinfall attempt made by MVP. Finlay and MVP double team Benoit; Finlay gets a spear to Benoit in the corner and MVP follows with a scoop slam on Benoit. Finlay clotheslines MVP and sends Benoit into the corner, Finlay shoulder blocks the turnbuckle and Benoit goes for the Triple Germans on MVP but Finlay stops the second one, so Benoit Germans him as well. Benoit with a Sharpshooter on MVP but Finlay stops the Sharpshooter, and Benoit puts him in the Crippler Crossface! MVP stops the Crossface with a low dropkick. Benoit with an enziguri to MVP and a German suplex to Finlay on the outside. MVP attacks Benoit on the apron and drags him inside for knees to the head. MVP misses a big boot and Benoit gets the Triple Germans! Benoit goes up top and misses the headbutt. Hornswoggle distracts the referee and Finlay hits both Benoit and MVP with the shillelagh, and Finlay gets the victory over Benoit!
Winner and Money In The Bank Qualifier: Finlay
BOTH Finlay and Hardy in the MITB again?! Hm, well, I can’t think of anything better for the pair to do that’s likely. Watchable match, anyways, but nothing spectacular. Four out of Ten. MVP’s coming along, though. Not to the usual quality of Benoit / Finlay matches, but oh well.
Hall of Fame: Jerry Lawler. Nice. Good for him. Apparently William Shatner has been suggested as someone to induct him, and I approve any reason to see William Shatner.
Mr. Kennedy wrestles, next!
Next week: Undertaker vs. Finlay and Kane vs. Batista. Finlay and Undertaker should be good, but I’ll never expect a good match between Kane and Batista after Armageddon a few years ago.
Main Event: ECW Championship: Sort of No Holds Barred: Mr. Kennedy vs. Bobby Lashley (Champion)
Kennedy has already exposed some turnbuckles. Kennedy with closed fists to Lashley before he tries to send Lashley face first into the turnbuckle, but Lashley stops it and goes to send Kennedy into it but can’t – so he slams Kennedy down. Lashley sends Kennedy into the corner for a clothesline and goes for the running powerslam already, but Kennedy falls behind and gets a low blow. Kennedy sends Lashley into the turnbuckle, brings him back into a school boy for a two count.
Kennedy sends Lashley back first into the turnbuckles; Russian leg sweep by Kennedy for a pair of two counts. Kennedy gets a neckbreaker, sending Lashley onto the middle rope. Kennedy sends Lashley into the steels steps and the referee keeps the count out going. Lashley looks to be making a come back but Kennedy dropkicks the knee of Lashley, and begins choking Lashley out with his wrist tape! Lashley picks Kennedy up and sends him into the corner for elbows, Lashley again goes for the running powerslam but Kennedy clotheslines the knee of Lashley. Kennedy brings a chair into the ring and hits Lashley across the head with it for a two count! Kennedy with the flipping Samoan on the steel chair for another two count. Kennedy takes it to Lashley with the steel chair, but Lashley stops a steel chair shot and the referee stops him from hitting Kennedy with the steel chair. Lashley with clotheslines to Kennedy. Lashley gets Kennedy in a torture rack, Kennedy falls behind and goes to clothesline Lashley’s knee but Lashley jumps and hits the running powerslam for the victory.
Winner and Still ECW Champion: Bobby Lashley
Another fun match, not bad. Four out of Ten.
Matt Hardy vs. Joey Mercury: 4/10
Guerrero, Helms, and Daivari vs. Moore, Yang, and Hotty: 5/10
Ashley Massaro vs. Jillian Hall: 1/10
Finlay vs. Benoit vs. MVP: 4/10
Bobby Lashley vs. Mr. Kennedy: 4/10
SmackDown 02/03/07: 18/50
The Inside Pulse
Not bad all around, heaps better than last week’s show but still nothing to go out of your way for though. I’m not too sure on putting both Matt Hardy and Finlay in the MITB for the second year in a row, but it makes sense; both Hardys in the match could be an interesting selling point, and it isn’t as though Finlay has anything better to do since they won’t be pairing him up against Benoit for the title. Anyways. Next week should be good to finally be seeing some Undertaker and Batista confrontation. So until then, I’ll have the next part of Pop Culture in Video Games up in Retrograding as soon as possible! Hope you enjoyed this column, and I hope you have something better to do tonight.
Summary — Match Results
Matt Hardy defeated Joey Mercury via pinfall
Jimmy Wang Yang, Shannon Moore, and Scotty Too Hotty defeated Chavo Guerrero, Gregory Helms, and Daivari (Jimmy Wang Yang pins Daivari)
Ashley Massaro defeated Jillian Hall via pinfall
Finlay defeated Chris Benoit and Montel Vontavious Porter (Finlay pins Chris Benoit)
Bobby Lashley defeated Mr. Kennedy via pinfall