The Smackdown Ramble: June 22nd, 2007

-With Michael Cole and JBL, TAPED! from Charlotte, North Carolina.

-Cutting Edge (w/Torrie Wilson)

No credits or pyro to start, and we’re straight into the Cutting Edge. The champ is already looking past his match on Sunday and straight to the memorial service for Vince on Monday. This is eerily reminiscent of the opening segment of Raw, when the five guys in the title match implicated each other in Vince’s murder instead of thinking about their important title match at the PPV. Good to know the writers have got their priorities in order, anyway. Edge brings out Torrie and says she was one of the biggest names Smackdown drafted. I think the irony was lost on everyone there, not least Torrie. Edge calls Torrie a liar for denying her involvement, and MVP comes out to interrupt, pink tie and all. MVP thinks Torrie should take a lie detector test, and that brings out Flair to a good pop. Flair tries to take them both on but gets double teamed, but Batista is on hand to make the save and I’m guessing we have our main event for tonight.

-And indeed, tonight, it’s Edge/MVP vs. Batista/Flair.

-Jimmy Wang Yang and Shannon Moore vs. Chavo Guerrero and Jamie Noble

Moore and Noble start it off with some mat wrestling, and Moore takes Noble over with a hiptoss. Tag to Chavo, but he gets dropkicked for two. Tag to Yang, but Chavo doesn’t want any of that and tags out to Noble. Hurricanrana by Yang, but he gets distracted by Chavo and Noble takes him down with an armbar. Stomps by Noble and a tag to Chavo. Side suplex by Chavo gets two. The heels work Yang over for a bit, until Yang hot tags Moore. He gets a spinning heel kick on Noble and a corkscrew moonsault on Chavo, but the count is broken at two by Noble. Yang and Noble brawl on the floor, but Chavo gets the Gory Bomb on Moore for the three at 6:13. *3/4 Solid enough.

-Tonight, Federal Investigator Daniel Beck will have an announcement regarding the McMahon case. I can hardly wait.

Funaki vs. Mark Henry

Doesn’t take a genius to work out what’s gonna happen here. Cole claims he’s never seen Mark Henry smile. That’s because he’s wrestling, not selling toothpaste. Henry beats down Funaki and tosses him around as you’d expect. Bearhug wins it at 2:15. DUD Just a squash, and not an entertaining one.

-Cole and JBL intro some MORE footage recapping the McMahon angle. Fastforward, sorry if I miss anything important.

-Backstage, GM Long is planning an important announcement, and he wants Kristal to be with him.

-Matt Hardy vs. Finlay

They fight over a lockup in the corner to start, but it’s too aggressive for referee Jimmy Korderas’ liking. Matt tries to take the advantage with an armwringer, but Finlay knocks him down with a shoulderblock. Side headlock takeover by Hardy is countered into a side suplex for one for Finlay. Finlay goes to a chinlock, but Matt fights out with punches to the ribs and the clothesline/bulldog out of the corner for a one count. For some reason, Cole and JBL go off on a tangent about Vince (again) instead of focusing on the in-ring action. Matt rams Finlay’s head into the top turnbuckle three times and tosses him to the floor, but Hornswoggle appears from under the ring and that allows Finlay to clothesline Hardy down as we go to a break. Back from the break, and Finlay has a chinlock on Hardy, but Matt fights out with a jawbreaker. Elbow by Matt gets two. Finlay trips Matt down and goes back to the chinlock. Matt fights out and tries to go to the second rope, but Finlay throws him down and Matt hurts his knee. Finlay takes him down with a half crab, but Matt makes the ropes. Back heel trip by Finlay, and he goes back to the half crab, but Hardy kicks him away. Finlay fights back with an elbow to the knee and then a nasty looking leglock, before dumping Matt to the floor. Outside, he pushes Hardy into the steps, hurting the knee further. Back in, Hardy gets a clothesline but can’t escape Finlay’s clutches, and Finlay goes after the knee brace and takes it off. Finlay locks on an Indian deathlock, and Matt breaks it with right hands and an enziguri. Side Effect gets two. Hardy gets the double axe handle, but reinjures the knee. Hornswoggle distracts the ref and Finlay hits Matt with the shillaleigh in the knee, but Matt finishes with the Twist of Fate out of nowhere at just over the 16:00 mark by my stopwatch (including commercials). *** Matt is just brilliant at the moment – they have to go with him against Edge at some point. I presume Mysterio’s lined up for SummerSlam against Edge, but a short term program (possibly with a PPV match at the Great American Bash?) is definitely workable at the moment. Maybe they should wait a while though. Either way, Matt’s definitely breaking out as a singles star.

-More recap from Raw. More fastforwarding.

-GM Long is out for his big announcement with Kristal. He’s nervous, as shown by dropping the mic and tripping on his way into the ring. Summary: because of Vince’s death, Long realises that life is too short and therefore, wants Kristal to marry him. She runs out of the ring crying, and Long is disappointed.

-Moments ago, GM Long had his heart RIPPED out of him. Or something.

-Chris Masters vs. Danny Shenley

Two squashes in one show? How privileged are we? Masters assaults the jobber to start with and clotheslines him down. Elbows and choking follow and the announcers are silenced by the ruthless aggression of Masters. That is until yep, you guessed it – God knows we couldn’t go through another match without a reference to the announcement by Federal Investigator Daniel Beck. What’s that I hear? Oh, it’s that pin dropping. Shenley makes a brief comeback but walks into a powerslam. The Masterlock finishes it at 3:44, which was about 3:00 too long. 1/4* It was just so boring. Not Mark Henry boring, but still, it was pretty bad.

-Backstage, Kristal is acting upset, and acting very badly whilst she’s at it. She then says she will marry Long, after trying the ring on. JBL says he thinks it’s the most shocking thing he’s ever seen. This is just two weeks after a limousine blew up with the company’s chairman inside it, but hey, maybe he’s got a short memory.

-We’re waiting for the announcement by Federal Investigator Daniel Beck, so let’s do something to fill the time…oh I know, we’ve got a PPV on Sunday, let’s run down some of the matches!

Cena vs. Lashley vs. Foley vs. Booker vs. Orton
Punk vs. Benoit
MVP vs. Flair
Edge vs. Batista – Last Chance

-And here’s Federal Investigator Daniel Beck with the major announcement. They found DNA from Vince, the limo driver and one other well known personality. Brilliant. Bet it was Steve-O.

-Michelle McCool is loving life because she’s playing tennis and gets to wear small outfits. You’re no Sharapova, love.

-Ric Flair and Batista vs. Edge and MVP

After some hesitation, Flair and Edge start it off. Chops by Flair, and a tag to Batista, but Edge runs and tags MVP. Batista works over MVP as Cole says that Batista’s had possibly the greatest few months of his career recently. He’s not won any of his four title matches since ‘Mania, but who am I to argue with the knowledge and expertise of Michael Cole? Flair gets an elbow for two. Edge gets a cheap shot on Batista who retaliates, but MVP knocks Batista down as we go to a commercial. We’re back, with Edge working over Batista with boots. Batista gets worked over by the heels for a bit, but MVP runs into a Boss Man Slam, and it’s hot tag Flair. He chops and punches MVP, and hits a back body drop. Shinbreaker by Flair, but he can’t get the Figure Four because Edge spears him. MVP gets two off that, but Batista breaks it up. They brawl for a bit but order is restored, and MVP applies a grounded abdominal stretch. Flair fights out with chops, but MVP takes over with punches in the corner. Running boot to the face gets two on Flair. Tag to Edge, who continues the assault on Flair. It punches vs. chops, and punches win. I still cringe when Flair takes a back body drop. Flair fights back with a chop block on MVP and gets the tag to Batista. Batista metaphorically kills Edge as Flair fires off with chops and a backdrop to the floor on Flair. In the ring, both Batista and Edge miss spears, with Edge getting hit with the Spinebuster. BatistaBomb ends it cleanly at nearly 18:00, including commercials, thus guaranteeing Edge retains on Sunday. **1/4 They were just going through the motions here to build for the PPV.

The Inside Pulse
Well they’ve done a better job than Raw in that they’ve built three of their four title matches up, but there’s no mention of a tag title match as of yet. Two solid matches at the end of both hours do, on this occasion, make up for the two squashes that I could have done without seeing.

I’m not buying Vengeance on Sunday – there’s nothing that I’m particularly interested in seeing and I don’t think anything groundbreaking will happen. A couple of the throwaway titles will change hands I suppose. The Night of Champions is a good idea if the belts actually mean something – at the moment, I think the only ones with credibility are the WWE, World, US and World Tag Team. The rest are forgettable because they are defended so infrequently (Chavo and Melina) or they’re on completely the wrong person (Marella).

Of course, it also helps to build interest if you kinda hype the PPV a bit instead of focusing on a murder angle.

Anyway, my picks:

-WWE Championship Challenge: Cena (c) vs. Lashley vs. Foley vs. Orton vs. Booker – Cena
-World Heavyweight Championship: Edge (c) vs. Batista – Edge
-ECW Championship: Benoit vs. CM Punk – Benoit
-US Championship: MVP (c) vs. Flair – MVP
-IC Championship: Marella (c) vs. Umaga – Marella (via DQ, Umaga will go crazy or summat. Weird match, this one – well, not so much weird as nonsensical. Marella can’t win in my opinion, but I think they want to give the belt to Regal at some point, hence the disqualification ending)
-World Tag Team Championships: Cade/Murdoch (c) vs. The Hardys – Cade and Murdoch
-WWE Tag Team Championships: Deuce/Domino vs. ??? (Apparently this is an open challenge. Seeing as The Majors are the only other team on the roster )
-Cruiserweight Championship: Chavo (c) vs. Yang – Yang
-Women’s Championship: Melina (c) vs. Candice – Melina

Okay, so I’ve got nearly all the champions retaining. Benoit vs. Punk will be awesome I’m sure, so if you order the PPV, hope you enjoy it and I’ll see you back here next week for the fallout on the Smackers side of things from Vengeance. Take care kids!

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