We open with a recap of Michaels vs. Undertaker from last yearâ€™s Royal Rumble. They had so better do another long closing this year.
Cut to the SmackDown arena and the Undertaker makes his entrance. Undertaker says he doesnâ€™t often have much to say, since heâ€™s more of an action man. Undertaker hypes up the Royal Rumble and he issues a warning to the other 29 men in the match: if he stands before him, they will fall before him. He says they will all rest in peace, so cue Matt Striker and Big Daddy V. Striker says that there is one big difference between last yearâ€™s and this yearâ€™s Royal Rumble, Big Daddy V (Iâ€™m pretty sure he was in last yearâ€™s, but gimmick changes mean ignoring history). Striker says that V will dominate in the Rumble, before V storms down to the ring. Undertaker knocks V off the apron to start, so V drags Undertaker outside. The pair brawl and Undertaker sends V into the steel steps. Undertaker returns to the ring while V retreats. Wouldâ€™ve meant more if Undertaker hadnâ€™t written off V and Henry last week.
Recap of the Rey, Guerrero and Edge segments from last week. Interesting way to set up the show – something that seemed like a midshow promo followed by what shouldâ€™ve been the opening montage.
Tonight: CM Punk and Rey Mysterio vs. Edge and Chavo Guerrero. That should be good.
Also tonight: Batista vs. Mark Henry, and Ric Flair is MVPâ€™s guest on the V.I.P Lounge.
The Great Khali w/ Ranjin Singh vs. Finlay w/ Hornswoggle
Cole calls the Mini-Rumble on RAW â€œvery entertainingâ€. Hornswoggle and Singh stuff to start, and we quickly head into a commercial break.
Weâ€™re back and Khali takes Finlay down with a clothesline. Khali stomps on Finlay in the corner before nailing elbows. Khali throws Finlay to the outside. Khali sends Finlay into the guard rail and the apron. Khali goes for a chop but Finlay ducks and Khali connects with the apron. Finlay kicks Khali from the apron, but Khali chops Finlay down. Back into the ring, Khali boots Finlay down. Scoop slam by Khali. Khali gets the shoulder claw. Finlay escapes the shoulder claw but Khali clubs him back down before nailing another scoop slam. Finlay kicks at the leg of Khali, and thanks to Hornswoggle distracting the referee Finlay is able to low blow Khali. Finlay with a flying shoulder lock. Hornswoggle goes after Singh, but Khali grabs Hornswoggle. Khali lets go of Hornswoggle and nails Finlay with a Double Handed Chokeslam. Vice Grip ends this.
Winner: The Great Khali
Started off slow, but once it got going it was alright. Two out of Ten. How long will it be until we see Khali move on to destroy other people though?
Edge and Vickie are backstage. Vickie has the neck brace off, and will be able to walk soon. Edge says he will always be there for Vickie, and Vickie says she admires him. Vickie says that heâ€™s a hero. Long stops any unwanted making out, so Vickie sends him off to collect food. Just before the making out is to commence, Chavo Guerrero walks on in. Guerrero now gives Vickie and Edge the Guerrero Familyâ€™s blessing, and that these three become a happy family. Well they sure patched things up quickly – not like they couldâ€™ve given it a tad more build or anything. This had better be building to Edge vs. Chavo.
RAW Rebound: Jeff Hardyâ€™s Swanton. That was awesome, Orton getting the match just to end it so quickly.
Deuce â€˜n Domino w/ Cherry vs. Jimmy Wang Yang and Shannon Moore
Yang and Deuce start. Lock up and Deuce forces Yang into the corner. Deuce with a headlock to Yang, Yang pushes him off and Deuce back with a shoulder block. Yang gets a headlock on Deuce and turns it into a headlock takedown. Moore in with a vaulting senton for a pinfall attempt. Moore dropkicks Deuce down for a two count. Yang tagged in with a low dropkick to Deuce for a one count. Domino tagged in but right away gets caught in a Yang small package for a two count. Moore in with a sunset flip for a two count. Domino military presses Moore face first into the ring apron for a one count. Deuce tagged back in with a fist drop on Moore for a two count. Deuce with a front facelock before taking Moore down with a heel kick. Domino in and he applies a sleeper variation to Moore. Domino nails a nice elbow to Moore before tagging out to Deuce. Deuce stomps away on Moore and covers for a two count. Is that a new referee? Someone tell me that itâ€™s a new referee and that Iâ€™m not just imagining stuff. Aback to the match, Domino misses a splash in the corner and Moore tags out to Yang. Yang in with a high cross body off the top rope. Yang with those kicks of his, including the heel kick in the corner. Yang off the top rope with a missile dropkick to Domino for a two count, broken by Deuce. Moore with a flying hurricanrana to Deuce. Yang with the moonsault to Domino for the three count.
Winners: Moore and Yang
Went a bit too long, specifically the Moore segment, but Moore and Yang work well together anyways. Four out of Ten.
McMahon gets angry at Finlay backstage. McMahon demands an apology from Finlay, and Finlay kind of gives one. McMahon announces Finlay vs. Khali next week in a Belfast Brawl. I thought it was called a Belfast Street Fight? â€¦ Oh, whatever.
Batista is walking!
Batista vs. Mark Henry
Lock up and Henry throws Batista into the corner. Well, pushes but throws sounds more dramatic. Batista with a headlock on Henry, Henry forces Batista off and Batista comes back off the ropes into a shoulder block by Henry. The two yell at each other. Batista punches Henry into the corner for a series of spears before he kicks Henry to the outside. Henry head butts Batista down and sends him into the steel post. Back in the ring, Henry climbs the turnbuckles and jumps off with a splash from the second rope but Batista gets his knees up. Henry charges right into the corner and Batista takes him down with a spear for a two count. Batista with another spear before he tries for the Batista Bomb, but Henry turns it into a shoulder body toss. Henry misses the splash and Batista nails a spine buster for the three count!
Kind of good, actually. Three out of Ten.
Recap of Guerrero vs. Punk from ECW. Dude, I havenâ€™t watched ECW in ages.
Still to come: Mysterio and Punk vs. Edge and Guerrero, but next is the V.I.P Lounge.
The V.I.P Lounge is set up and Montel Vontavious Porter welcomes us by putting Ric Flair over (heâ€™s been taking notes from Lance Storm – donâ€™t bury your opponent). Flair thanks Porter for the introduction, but says he doesnâ€™t think thereâ€™s anyone who doesnâ€™t know about Flair. True. Flair says that he was tearing up VIP Lounges before Porter was even born. True. Flair says he likes Porterâ€™s thought process but he doesnâ€™t have what it takes to beat Flair, and Porter reminds him of Vengeance when he did beat Flair. Porter hypes himself up, but Flair cuts him off by going â€˜Youâ€™re half man, half amazing, but I am the manâ€™. Flair calls his loss to Porter as a blemish on his career, and that he canâ€™t lace the boots of any legend – but Porter says that they can lace his. Porter with a good quote â€˜the Royal Rumble will be the greatest day of my life and the last day of your dreamâ€™. Flair says Porter reminds him of a younger Flair, but heâ€™s nothing like him. Porter says heâ€™s better and than leads to Flair challenging Porter to a fight right then and there. Porter says that theyâ€™re saving it for the Mecca, Madison Square Garden. Flair chops Porter down and leaves peacefully as Porter tries to gather himself. Another classic V.I.P Lounge. Whoâ€™s the next veteran heâ€™ll get on?
Michelle McCool vs. Layla El
Mc with a headlock takedown to El. Mc with another headlock takedown , but El escapes and gets a headlock of her own. Mc shoves El off and El comes back into a shoulder block by Mc. El with a sunset flip but Mc rolls through and gets a dropkick to El. El evades a clothesline in the corner and kicks away at the leg of Mc, finally getting her down with a clothesline. El drops an elbow on the leg of Mc before slamming it down onto the canvas. El hooks the leg with the ropes before slamming it against the apron. El with another elbow drop to the leg of Mc before she locks in an inverted figure four, but Mc escapes. Mc kicks El down. Mc with chops to El before taking her down with a clothesline. Mc with a dropkick to El. Mc big boots El down. Mc with a nice fall forward face plant for the three count.
Winner: Michelle McCool
A fine SmackDown Womenâ€™s Match which saw some good psychology in El trying to get Mc down to her size, with a clear foot height difference between the two. I really want to see McCool move to RAW so she can be a part of the actual division, but not before we get some Neidhart / McCool matches. Five out of Ten. In a year or two, El could become a good second tier competitor in the womenâ€™s division like Ivory or Jacqueline a few years ago.
Still to come: Mysterio and Punk vs. Edge and Guerrero
McCool runs into Noble backstage, but it turns out someoneâ€™s sent her a lot of roses. McCool flexes her bad acting muscles by thanking Noble, but Palumbo shows up and apologizes for last week and says that theyâ€™re from him. Palumbo says he doesnâ€™t want to loose her, but Noble says roses doesnâ€™t make up for the way he treated McCool – McCool separates them and they agree to calm down. For her.
Cole and Coach run down the Royal Rumble card.
Mysterio runs into Vickie Guerrero backstage. Vickie wishes him the best of luck tonight, and Mysterio walks on.
Edge and Chavo Guerrero vs. CM Punk
Man, Punkâ€™s grown his hair a bit since I saw him last. Good for him, I guess. Punk and Guerrero start. Guerrero with a headlock on Punk, Guerrero pushed into the ropes and back with a shoulder block. Guerrero back off the ropes into a heel kick by Punk. Punk tags out to Mysterio, who comes in with a top rope senton to Guerrero for a pinfall attempt. Guerrero uppercuts Mysterio down before tagging out to Edge. Edge goes for a power bomb but Mysterio turns it into an arm drag. Mysterio with a spinning head scissors takedown and sets Edge up for the 619, but Edge rolls onto the apron where Punk kicks him to the outside. Guerrero gets sent outside before Punk and Mysterio nail stereo suicide dives.
Weâ€™re back and Punk is tagged in while Edge is also the legal man. Punk with knees to Edge before he whips Edge into the corner. Punk with chops to Edge before he goes for the ten count punches, Guerrero distracts Punk only to get a flying clothesline for his efforts. Edge attacks Punk and gets the upper hand. Guerrero in with a hammerlock while forcing his knee down onto the head of Punk. Guerrero gets a quick pinfall over Punk, but Punk kicks out and Guerrero tags out to Edge. Punk gets sent shoulder first into the steel post. Guerrero in with a flying double axe handle to the weakened shoulder of Punk.
Guerrero hooks the arm of Punk but Punk kicks Guerrero off. Guerrero nails a nice backbreaker for a two count over Punk. Guerrero tags out to Edge, who knocks Mysterio off the apron only to turn around into a high knee by Punk! Punk goes for the bulldog but his weak shoulder wonâ€™t allow it – Edge goes for the spear but Punk avoids it and Edge connects with the turnbuckles! Edge tags back out to Guerrro, who knocks Punk into the tag by Mysterio! Mysterio with a springboard cross body for a two count! Mysterio rolls through the sunset flip by Guerrero and follows with a neck breaker. Mysterio with a head scissors to Guerrero, setting uip for the 619! The 619 connects but Edge hits Mysterio from behind with a steel chair for the disqualification!
Winenrs: Rey Mysterio and CM Punk
Edge attacks Mysterio, Punk tries to make the save but Guerrero and the Edge Heads beat him down as well. Armbreaker by Guerrero to Punk. Mysterio gets to his feet and gets taken back down by a spear. Guerrero and Edge hug afterwards and celebrate as SmackDown fades out. Match was good, and didnâ€™t try to keep the title opponents away from each other which is a nice twist on the usual form I canâ€˜t help but feel that they couldâ€˜ve done a lot better, though. Six out of Ten.
The Inside Pulse
The Great Khali defeats Finlay: 2/10
Yang and Moore defeat Deuce and Domino: 4/10
Batista defeats Mark Henry: 3/10
Michelle McCool defeats Layla El: 5/10
Mysterio and Punk defeat Guerrero and Edge: 6/10
SmackDown 18/01/08: 20/50
A good episode of SmackDown. The Porter / Flair segment was very well done. I only wish that we had a bit of microphone time for Edge / Mysterio, or at least from the other Rumble participants apart from Undertaker. Apart from those minor problems, which will most likely be made up for on next weekâ€™s episode, youâ€™ve got a good show with alright wrestling. Until next week, have a good one!