The Smackdown Ramble: June 29th, 2007

Before I begin – I apologise if anyone feels that I’m going over old ground and if you feel that you’ve read something similar to the following a thousand times recently.

I’d just like to say that my sympathy goes to everyone who is in any way affected by the awful situation that has manifested itself over the past week. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that my sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of everyone concerned. May Nancy and Daniel rest in peace.

When I came to watch the tape of RAW on Tuesday morning, I hadn’t heard any of the news and didn’t know anything, so naturally it came as a bit of a shock with the opening to the show. Since I’ve watched that show and heard more and seen more, it’s just been one shock after another. Every time I come on here to check the news, it seems like something else has happened to add to this terrible situation. There’s an update that just adds another detail to an already long list of terrible events over the past week. I’m still having trouble understanding it all.

Usually, I’ll have one of my video tapes or DVDs on in the background whilst I’m doing work, or if I’ve got an hour free, put on an old edition of Raw or Smackdown and lose myself in the world of pro wrestling. I haven’t done that this week. Not in a ‘I’m walking away from being a wrestling fan’ way, it’s been more of a sub-conscious thing, and I didn’t even notice it until I came to watch this show, when I suddenly realised I hadn’t been anywhere near the collection all week. Despite it being almost a week since this tragedy occurred, I think the reality of the situation is only just starting to set in. It’s almost surreal, yet unfortunately for everyone, it is all too real. It’s something that everyone is going to take a long, long time to fully recover from.

For now though, it’s on with the show.

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-With Michael Cole and JBL, TAPED! from San Antonio, Texas.

-Tonight, it’s Edge vs. Batista, non-title.

-Ric Flair vs. Carlito

Flair struts and Woooo’s to start, and then fires off with chops and punches in the corner, but Carlito back body drops him. I still cringe every time Flair takes one of those. Carlito gets a couple of two counts off a vertical suplex and a dropkick. They exchange punches and chops in the corner, but Carlito takes over and works over the ribs. Carlito punches Flair down, and then goes to a bodyscissors. Still can’t believe how thin Flair’s hair is, although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I know it’s a random observation, by the way. Flair fights back with chops and lots of ‘em, and Carlito gets backdropped and misses a dropkick. Flair locks in the Figure Four, but Carlito makes it to the ropes. Flair lets go, pulls Carlito into the middle of the ring, locks it on again, and Carlito taps at 7:59. I’m not rating the matches tonight. This was pretty much the same thing we’ve seen between these two before, though.

-Matt Hardy vs. Lance Cade

Cole says he’s not buying the whole ‘sportsmanship’ thing Cade and Murdoch have had going on. Well geez, it’s easy enough to say that AFTER they won the belts illegally and assaulted the Hardyz afterwards. Reversal sequence to start, and Cade hits Matt with a dropkick which Cole calls ‘average’. They trade hammerlocks, and Matt tosses Cade to the floor. Back inside, Cade fools Matt and hits a sit out spinebuster. Cover gets two. Running reverse elbow also gets two. Cade misses an elbow drop though, and Matt gets a nice enziguri. Clothesline/bulldog out of the corner gets two for Matt. Twist of Fate is blocked and a clothesline knocks Matt to the mat. Cade gets a superplex for a two count. Cade tries to put Matt on the top rope to do it a second time, but for the second week in a row, Matt switches gears and hits the Twist of Fate out of nowhere, and that gets the three count in 7:10. JBL mentioned afterwards that some day soon, the ToF will win Matt a major championship. The US or the World Heavyweight, though? I don’t see him winning the World Heavyweight, but either feud is as likely as the other given his build up over the last few months.

-Cole runs down Batista’s defeat at Judgment Day, before hyping the main event again.

-Michelle McCool is still loving life.

-WWE Cruiserweight Championship, triple threat match: Chavo Guerrero (c) vs. Jamie Noble vs. Funaki

This is for the Cruiserweight Title, so typically they spend the first minute punching and kicking each other. Funaki gets a roll up on Chavo for two, and Noble gets a leg drop on Chavo for one. Chavo gets a Tilt-a-whirl slam on Noble for two, but Funaki breaks it up. Sunset flip by Chavo on Noble, who in turn German suplexes Funaki in a nice spot. Chavo gets two off that. Chavo gets dumped and Noble quickly follows, and Funaki hits a crossbody onto both of them. Back in, cover by Funaki on Noble gets two. Chavo gets dumped again and Noble and Funaki fight it out for a bit, before Noble gets thrown to the floor. Cole says that Funaki is looking great in this match, but the curse of the commentator strikes as he walks straight into the Gory Special, and Chavo retains at 6:09. A few nice spots with no real story or psychology to it.

-Backstage, Edge is PISSED. He doesn’t want any part of Batista tonight and is competing under protest.

-Jesse and Festus are coming to Smackdown. This tag division needs all the help it can get, so any teams are acceptable at the moment.

-Deuce ‘n’ Domino vs. Cryme Tyme

This is non-title. Cryme Tyme really should have gone to Smackdown! in the supplemental draft. Domino and JTG start it off, and JTG gets a seated senton for two. Domino is bleeding from the nose after a faceplant, looked nasty. He applies a cobra clutch to JTG, but he manages to tag in Shad. He cleans house and gets a powerslam, but Cherry comes in and distracts the referee, which allows Domino to dump JTG to the floor and Deuce to roll Shad up for the win at 3:32. I like Cryme Tyme, but this was a bit rushed.

-Afterwards, Cryme Tyme steal D&D’s car.

-MVP vs. Kane

This is Kane’s first match for nearly a month. Kane overpowers MVP to start and tosses him to the outside. MVP comes back in and Kane tries a gutwrench powerbomb, but MVP gets out of it and then bails. He comes back in and knocks Kane down with a dropkick to the knees and a big boot for two. MVP works over the shoulder for a while, then punches Kane in the corner and gets the running boot. That gets a two count. Back to the shoulder, but Kane knocks MVP down with a boot of his own. Kane hits the flying clothesline, but MVP elbows out of a chokeslam. He tries the running boot in the corner again, but Kane catches it and then chokeslams him for the pin at 5:42. Kane’s looked like a chump for ages, so I’d say it’s good news that he’s won cleanly. Not sure MVP’s the right man to be jobbing to him, although I suppose we shouldn’t read too much into who wins and loses on this particular show.

-Recap of One Night Stand, when Edge won a cage match against Batista.

-Recap of the three world title matches from Vengeance. Well, the two world title matches and the ECW Title match.

-Backstage, Random Announcer Dude is with Eugene. He’s still mental. The Great Khali interrupts. He’s still big and useless. Through the interpreter, Khali says it’ll be fun in the ring tonight. They really have to turn Eugene heel. This character is just ridiculously stale.

-Backstage, Victoria and Mickie James dispute their craziness, edginess and wildness, and Victoria says she’ll prove it by kissing the next man who walks through the door. It’s Finkel, so she passes because she wasn’t warmed up. Next is Jim Duggan, but Victoria claims he went too fast. A big fat oily guy waits at the door, but Ron Simmons makes it through the doorway first, so Mickie kisses him, cue the catchphrase. Not as bad a skit as I probably made it out to be, actually.

-Mickie James vs. Victoria

Trash talking to start, followed by some chain wrestling. Cole asks if JBL can imagine kissing Howard Finkel. Mickie hits a crossbody, but gets hung up in a Tree of Woe as she goes up top. Victoria pulls the hair and gets a kick to the head. Cover gets two. JBL says how lucky they were to get Torrie and Victoria in the draft without even a hint of irony.. Tilt-a-whirl side slam gets two for Victoria. Mickie gets a hurricanrana out of the corner, and a neckbreaker gets two. Victoria goes up, but the moonsault misses. They get to their feet, but Mickie gets an Oklahoma Roll and that ends it at 4:32. That was quite the unexpected finish.

-Recap of Vengeance again, when Batista was counted out against Edge.

-The Great Khali vs. Eugene

Overhand chop and the double handed chokeslam finishes in 0:40. If you can think of anything worse they could do to waste a talent like Nick Dinsmore, please get in touch.

-Backstage, Random Announcer Dude wants Batista’s thoughts on this match with Edge. He has one word for Edge – PUNISHMENT.

-Edge vs. Batista

This is non-title, obviously. Batista intimidates Edge to start, and makes the champ dive for the ropes three times. Edge gets the advantage with kicks and works over Batista in the corner. Batista powers out however, and works on Edge’s leg. He goes to some sort of Stretch Muffler (!), but Edge makes the ropes. Batista gets a shinbreaker and works on the leg with a Boston crab. Can’t say that I’ve ever seen Batista use two different submissions one after the other too often. Running powerslam plants Edge. Edge tries a low blow ala Vengeance, but Batista blocks it. Nice continuity there. Edge gets knocked to the floor as we head to a break. Back from the commercial, with Batista spearing Edge in the corner. Edge gets the advantage with a boot and a neckbreaker, though. Edge stomps away and rolls to the floor, whilst telling Cole to shut up. Can’t argue with that sentiment. Edge goes back in and works away with a chinlock. Batista fights out of it with a jawbreaker, and runs at Edge with a spear. Corner clotheslines by Batista, and a sidewalk slam gets two. Edge-O-Matic, and both men are down. Edge waits in the corner and wants the spear, but does nothing but run into a spinebuster. Edge rolls to the floor, and Batista attacks out there before throwing Edge back into the ring. Batista goes up top, but gets caught with a dropkick. Slightly foolish of Batista, methinks. Edge’s spear is blocked though, and the Batista Bomb finishes at just over 15:00, including commercials. Pretty good TV main event.

-Afterwards, Batista holds the belt up and puts it on top of Edge.

The Inside Pulse
I enjoyed this show, and I know that it was dictated by the circumstances, but I think if WWE went to this formula more often, they’d be putting out a far better product. Pro wrestling fans want to see wrestling, no matter how much Stephanie wants to think otherwise. This had the right mix of wrestling and backstage segments for me. You can’t have a show full of wrestling because that isn’t what the audience wants to see, either – but this had seven acceptable matches and one squash. Perfectly acceptable. Tie that in with some decent storylines and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent show.

Until next week, take care.

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