The Smackdown Ramble: June 15th, 2007

-Sorry this is a bit late – I’ve been suffering from a REALLY annoying cold over the past couple of days.

-With Michael Cole and JBL, TAPED! from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

-We start with a recap of Raw, from Vince reading out the statement before the show, to then coming out to the ring to say thank you, and then finally, the limo blowing up. In all fairness, Cole and JBL’s commentary and analysis over the top of all of this was pretty convincing.

-Now allow me to change my stance completely. The Smackdown superstars line up on the stage, and they toll the bell ten times for Vince.

This is where this storyline crosses the line in my opinion. Even though it has no place on a wrestling show, I don’t have too much of an issue with the limo blow-up itself. I think the fans can distinguish that it’s part of a storyline, much like Trips being dropped 20 feet in a car, Kane being kicked into a burning dumpster or Undertaker being buried alive.

But when you start having the superstars standing on the stage and toll the bell ten times in a way that is so reminiscent of the Owen and Eddie tributes, that’s not cool. To see the same people standing there, who did the exact same thing when Owen and/or Eddie died it’s just something I can’t agree with. The only thing that can result from it is the fans not taking any such marks of respect to real deaths seriously in the future and the issue being trivialised. If/when Vince returns, there’s a distinct possibility that fans will cite this as an example and if a wrestler were to die, say ‘Well we’re not going to pay that much respect to it, they might be back in a few months.’

To those of you who will inevitably say that they had to do this to make the storyline seem convincing – I disagree. They had an easy get-out. There’s no evidence that Vince is actually dead – he’s only presumed dead. They could have just said ‘Well, we decided we weren’t going to toll the bell until it’s actually confirmed.’ That keeps a degree of believability to the storyline (presuming there’s any in the first place), without trivialising the tributes for Owen and Eddie and for anything that might happen in the future.

Rant over.

-Earlier this week, Ed Kaufman, the Exec. VP and General Counsel for WWE, released a brief statement on behalf of the McMahon family. The show will go on, apparently.

-Deuce ‘n’ Domino w/Cherry vs. Paul London and Brian Kendrick

This is non-title. Kendrick and London take out the heels to start, and hit a few double teams on Domino. Deuce pulls the top rope down as Kendrick tries to bounce off the ropes, and Kendrick falls to the outside. Back in, a vertical suplex on Kendrick gets two. Deuce gets a couple of near falls as Cole and JBL switch effortlessly from Mr. McMahon’s death to the more important issue of the supplemental draft. It’s things like that make the story unbelievable, as in actually something that is not possible to believe. The heels work over Kendrick for a bit, but he fights back with an enziguri and hot tags London. Spinning heel kick by London gets two. Kendrick and Domino fall to the outside, and London gets caught with a running kick from Deuce, which wins it at 4:55. *1/4 This never really had time to get going.

-William Regal offers his heartfelt tribute to Mr. McMahon, recounting the time he had to join the Kiss My Ass club.

-Smackdown GM Theodore Long also joins in the festivities.

-Matt Hardy vs. William Regal

Hardy gets a side headlock to start off, as Cole says that every match tonight is in tribute to Mr. McMahon. More chain wrestling, as they trade headlocks. Some good mat wrestling continues things, but Regal ends that with a shot to the jaw. Matt fights back with a reverse elbow and second rope elbow. Twist of Fate is blocked and another left punch knocks down Matt. Matt gets back up and hits a back body drop, but Regal suckers him outside and works him over with a kick, jamming Matt against the ringpost. Back in, Regal stomps away in the corner, followed by knees to the back. Regal works away with various submissions on the back, but Matt gets a Side Effect for two. Regal folds Matt up with a suplex for two, but Matt gets his foot on the ropes. Double underhook powerbomb by Regal gets two. Regal runs into a boot in the corner, and the Twist of Fate wins it for Matt at 9:18. **1/2 Really good match, although the finish was a little bit out of nowhere Wonder if they’re thinking of pulling the trigger on Hardy? He’s certainly over enough with the fans and he’s been consistently pulling it off with his in ring work. Given the history between him and Edge, I could easily see him being Edge’s next feud after Vengeance.

-Jillian doesn’t know what to say about the Vince thing. Say nothing would be my suggestion.

-Cole and JBL introduce exclusive footage of firefighters putting out the limo on Monday. Thrilling. Back at the table, Cole and JBL discuss the ongoing investigation, and you can keep up to date with things at WWE.com over the weekend.

-Chavo Guerrero is next to pay his respects to Vince.

-MVP vs. Batista

This is non-title. Lots of feeling out to start things, but Batista gets the upper hand with a shoulder block and MVP rolls to the outside. He rolls back in, and Batista locks in a chinlock, so MVP rolls to the floor again. Back inside, MVP doesn’t want any part of Batista and holds onto the ropes, and then cheap shots him. Shots in the corner by MVP, followed by a clothesline for two. Batista kicks MVP and sets him up for a Batista Bomb, but MVP rolls out of it and we go to a break. Back from the commercials, and MVP throws Batista into the steps. They go back in, but MVP misses the running boot. Outside, Batista gets tossed into the ringpost and kicked into the crowd by an MVP boot. MVP tosses him back into the ring, and a cover gets two. MVP drops some elbows, and that gets two as well. MVP bounces off the ropes, but runs straight into a clothesline. Back body drop by Batista, followed by a clothesline, and a Boss Man Slam by Batista gets two. DDT by MVP gets two. Standing dropkick by MVP, but he runs straight into a Batista spear. Batista Bomb wins it at around 11:00, televised. ** Nothing wrong with this match at all.

-Sgt. Slaughter gives his two cents on the McMahon incident.

-Earlier this week, Mr. McMahon’s limo was taken away for further investigation. Federal Investigator Daniel Beck says he will not be answering any questions at this time.

-Edge talks about how Vince has sacrificed so much and he doesn’t know what the future holds for the company.

-Kristal talks about Vince. The time that they spent coming up with these tributes could easily have been added onto another match, but I suppose we’re focusing on the entertainment rather than the wrestling.

-Daivari vs. Jamie Noble vs. Shannon Moore vs. Jimmy Wang Yang

Winner gets Chavo at Vengeance. Shannon gets dumped to the floor and Noble, Yang and Daivari exchange near falls. Noble gets hit with a spinning heel kick by Yang, and Moore gets one on Daivari that knocks him to the floor. Chops by Noble on Moore in the corner, and a scoop slam gets one. Noble hits a crossbody to the floor on Daivari, followed by Moore taking out both of them, followed by Yang taking them all out with a crossbody. Back inside, Noble hits a powerbomb on Moore as Moore hits a superplex on Yang. Cover by Noble gets two. Daivari tries to capitalise and gets some near falls, but Noble kicks him to the floor. Corkscrew moonsault gets two for Moore on Noble, and they both get dumped by Daivari. Yang hits the moonsault on a standing Daivari, and that finishes at 4:31. *1/2 Nice spotfest, but unsurprising to see them giving the cruisers less than five minutes.

-Edge vs. Ric Flair

This is non-title. So Flair gets a match against the World Champion straight away? Flair styles and profiles to start, and Edge complains about his hair being pulled. Edge slaps Flair, who retaliates with several chops. Hiptoss by Flair, and Edge rolls to the outside. Back in, Edge hits Flair with a knee to the ribs, but Flair fights back with, you guessed it, chops. Edge misses a dropkick and gets chop blocked down. Flair tries to go for the Figure Four, but Edge makes the ropes. Stomps to the leg, as Cole mentions that Flair is throwing ‘the occasional chop in’. For occasional, try ‘every other move’. More chops by Flair, followed a shinbreaker, and another chop. Figure Four attempt, but Edge kicks him away and bails. Flair (foolishly) goes after him, and gets back body dropped on the outside as we head to a commercial. Back from the break, and Flair fights out of the corner with chops. They exchange punches, and Edge gets the upper hand, Vertical suplex by Edge gets one. Edge knocks down Flair with a right hand, and a knee to the chest. Punches in the corner by Edge, and a splash results in the Flair Flop. That gets a one count for Edge. Flair tries to work on the leg, but gets caught with an enziguri. Edge comes off the top with well, I’m not sure what it would have been, but anyway, he walks into a chop from Flair. Back body drop by Flair, followed by chops and a back suplex. Flair gets the Figure Four, but MVP runs in and that brings the DQ at around 13:00. *3/4 Flair’s offence these days is really just chops and stomps. Edge’s selling of the knee throughout was good, though.

Afterwards, Edge gets a spear on Flair as the heels work over Flair, but Batista runs out and cleans house, clotheslining MVP over the top rope. However, he turns around straight into a spear by Edge, and that ends the show.

The Inside Pulse
Well, this show was dominated by Vince, even though he’s presumed dead. The wrestling portion was entertaining, with Hardy/Regal and Edge/Flair standing out as matches of the night.

As I said earlier, I have no problem with the limo blow-up, but I think it’s out of order to trivialise the bell tolling and tributes that happen when wrestlers actually do pass away. There are ways around it. It wasn’t necessary to have wrestlers standing on the stage and for Cole to repeat that every match was a tribute to McMahon.

‘Sensational’ Sherri Martel unfortunately passed away on Friday. The fact that her headline on WWE.com sits below the storyline death of Mr. McMahon tells you all you need to know about this company at the moment.

And on a final note – imagine if Vince has a heart attack tomorrow and dies. What do they do then in terms of acknowledging it on television?

As you can tell, this hasn’t really sat well with me at all. Until next week boys and girls, take care.

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