The SmackDown Report

Mandatory WrestleMania Thoughts:
– I don’t think JBL / Finlay was as good as everyone seems to think it is, but was a very good choice to open the show at the same time.
– I also don’t think the MITB match was as stellar as the other matches, but it had it’s fair share of awesome moments such as Matt Hardy, Morrison’s moonsault, super Backstabber – I’d put this as the 3rd best MITB match, just above WrestleMania 22. What I don’t get is how people are actually claiming CM Punk’s victory as a shock? If Benjamin, Morrison or Kennedy had won it then that would have been a shock. Don’t even get me started on how impossible it was for Carlito to win. As I said on the roundtable, Jericho and Porter can easily be inserted into the main event slot – and while Punk may need a bit more build, that’s what the Money in the Bank is for. By the way, the first Money In The Bank still ranks as my favourite, with last year’s being second.
– I was not happy about Batista / Umaga, but that’s one of the few matches which I’m expecting no shortage of return matches for.
– Kane and Chavo Guerrero served it’s purpose. At first I wasn’t happy about the outcome, but I never cared for Chavo Guerrero as champion. I’m happy to see Kane finally get a ‘World’ Championship reign once more.
– Carlito vs. Seagull was awesome, I’ll leave it at that.
– Flair and Michaels was fantastic. Genuine emotion, a hot crowd, and a good match. If this doesn’t get on every single top ten match of the year list, then I’ll be shocked. And it takes a great to put on a good promo using just four words. This and the Ric Flair Farewell speech are two of the few legitimately great moments I’ve been lucky enough to see in my near decade as a wrestling fan.
– BunnyMania was better than it should have been. Ten points to Maria and Beth keeping professional when the lights blacked out. Ashley should never be allowed back in the ring.
– Orton going over HHH and John Cena was an awesome surprise. I loved Cena’s entrance, even if it was a bit too reminiscent of Warrior’s profiled entrance. As far as the match itself goes, didn’t particularly care for it – it was good, but nothing to gush over.
– Mayweather and Show was much far, far better than I expected. But, then again, I expected a draw. I don’t know if it’s because he’s being paired up against people who can’t wrestle like Mayweather and Khali, but the fans are happier to see Big Show than they ever have been. HHH should help organize more matches.
– While there was never any doubt that Edge was going to lose the main event, they sure did go their best to make it look like he could. Sometimes a loss isn’t all that bad – Edge came off looking pretty damned good here.

Overall, WrestleMania 24 is one of my favourites. If only for atmosphere. I may not have seen all the WrestleMania events, but I still know when I’ve seen a good one.

Anyways, on to SmackDown. Tonight: Shawn Michaels will conduct an interview.

Edge, the Guerreros and The Edgeheads open the show and none of them look particularly happy. In an interesting note, Edge is wearing a Chavo t-shirt. A pretty bad ass Chavo t-shirt too. Edge says he’s never been so “ticked off” in his life. Do people still say ticked off? Edge says he feels naked (I like this episode already), and feels like he’s let everyone down by loosing to the Undertaker. But, most importantly, he feels like he’s let Vickie down – he apologises to her and promises to regain the belt. Chavo also feels like he’s let the Guerrero family down, and claims that Kane cheated. A pretty good “Chavo Sucks” chant starts up. Chavo promises to regain the ECW Championship. Vickie then gets the microphone buit gets the heck booed out of her by the fans, before she announces Championship rematches at Backlash! Chavo Guerrero vs. Kane for the ECW Championship, and Edge vs. The Undertaker for the World Heavy Weight Championship. Vickie also announces Kane vs. Undertaker for tonight. Been a while since we’ve seen that match, hasn’t it?

Commercials.

Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Matt Hardy
Almost a year long feud … opening SmackDown. I hope to god this isn’t the end of this. Porter takes Hardy into the corner for shoulders, and the two begin brawling around the ring. Hardy with a neck breaker, thankfully Hardy doesn’t follow up with a cover but follows up with punches to Porter. Porter and Hardy spill to the outside. Back in the ring, Hardy with a pair of elbows for a one count over Porter. Porter gets some shots in on Hardy, but Hardy keeps control. Hardy with a clothesline, and Porter escapes the ring. Hardy follows and sends Porter back into the ring. As Hardy is returning to the ring, Porter attacks and nails a nice reverse DDT variation. Porter slams Hardy’s head onto the canvas multiple times. All the while Porter has control of the match, Coach is reaching new heights of horrid commentary. Porter drops several elbows on Hardy. Hardy with a backdrop on Porter. Hardy with some rights to Porter, but Porter kicks Hardy in the gut and nails a cool big boot which takes Hardy down. Porter covers for a two count. Porter forces his shin / knee into the head of Hardy, before getting some dramatic stomps to Hardy. Porter jumps off the second turnbuckle with a double stomp, but Hardy rolls out of the way.

Hardy begins targeting the knee, including hooking it on the second rope. Hardy slams Porter’s knee into the steel post! And again! Hardy picks Porter up and sends him stumbling into the corner with some right elbows. Hardy with a bulldog for a two count. Hardy extends the knee of Porter, and Porter tries elbowing Hardy off but fails. Hardy with a snap mare, before forcing his weight onto the knee of Porter! Hardy slams Porter’s knee into the ring apron. Porter slams Hardy face first into the ring apron before rolling him back into the ring for a two count. Hardy with the side effect! Hardy goes up onto the second turnbuckle and nails the elbow to the back of Porter’s neck! Hardy tries setting up for the Twist of Fate, but Porter blocks the kick and clotheslines Hardy down! Porter looks to go for his corner boot, but Hardy dropkicks the weakened knee of Porter. Hardy with the Twist of Fate for the victory!
Winner: Matt Hardy

First of all, props for such a long match going uninterrupted by commercials. Secondly, nice psychology of Hardy going after the knee. This was a good match but felt like it was missing a bit of a middle portion. Five out of Ten.

Commercials.

Zach Ryder w/ Curt Hawkins vs. Festus w/ Jesse
Festus dominates to start. Ryder gets a knee to the gut of Festus and follows with a sleeper hold, but Festus throws him and nails some head butts. Ryder with some right hands to Festus, getting an arm lock on Festus – keeping it locked in even after Festus gets an arm drag. Festus with punches to Ryder, splash in the corner is followed up by a running head butt. Festus with a throw away slam, butt drop to the ribs of Ryder. Festus finishes Ryder off with the flapjack.
Winner: Festus

Yeah, way to put over the cronies. They’re still on a better platform than they were as the Major Brothers, I guess. Pretty much just a squash, but a good one none the less. -Two out of Ten.

Still to come: Shawn Michaels Interview. Up next: recap of Ric Flair’s Farewell Address.

Commercials.

Still to come: Undertaker vs. Kane. If either refuses to wrestle their brother tonight, then they will be stripped of their championship. Since when has either not wanted to fight the other?!

Video recap of the awesome Michaels vs. Flair match, and RAW’s Ric Flair Farewell Speech.

Shawn Michaels is walking backstage!

Commercials.

We’re back and Shawn Michaels makes his way on out. Michaels says, on RAW, he did his best to vocalise his emotions since he defeated Ric Flair at WrestleMania – and says he doesn’t know if he did a particularly good job of it. Michaels says during the Ric Flair Farewell Address he had no idea of what was going to happen, but the reaction from Flair gave him closure. Batista’s music cuts him off. Cole calls Batista disciple of Ric Flair, which just sounds odd. Batista says he’s glad Michaels found closure, but Batista hasn’t. Batista calls WrestleMania one of the hardest nights of his career because it was the last time he saw his friend and mentor Ric Flair in the ring, and he’s taken it a little personal. Batista says Michaels took Flair’s career away, and Batista acknowledges his mixed emotions – but Batista thinks Michaels should have laid down for Flair. Michaels says Flair asked for his a-game, and Michaels says Batista would’ve done the same thing. Batista says his ego wouldn’t have gotten in the way of his friendship with Ric. Burn. Michaels says he had a job to do and he did it, Batista says he had a job to do but he didn’t do it. Batista: “Oh, that’s right, Shawn Michaels doesn’t do jobs”. Batista says Shawn Michaels is the most selfish man he knows, and says if he laid down just once then Ric Flair would still be there. Michaels says he’s sorry Batista feels that way. Batista says he can say sorry all he wants, but it won’t change the fact that Ric Flair isn’t here. Batista brings up the old yeller comment, and asks if he seriously sees Ric Flair as some sick, pathetic dying dog. Batista drops the microphone and walks off … very, very good promo here.

No revolutionary catchphrases, but something which seemed genuine and heartfelt instead of staged. It’s not often that they give us a reason to see Batista as a character as opposed to a generic badass wrestler, which makes this segment even sweeter. If this is just the beginning of this feud, then I can’t wait for the rest of it. If this was just a segment for characterization’s sake then, well, it was a hell of a segment none the less.

Still to come: The Undertaker vs. Kane.

Commercials.

Kane and The Undertaker have a heart felt, brotherly exchange of stares backstage.

Vladimir Koslov vs. Matt Bentley
Wasn’t Koslov supposed to have a happy silly foreigner gimmick? … Wasn’t he supposed to debut ages ago?! Bentley gets in very little offence, and Koslov wins with a weird rib breaker variation.
Winner: Vladimir Koslov

In a very nice touch, though, Koslov has no music. -Five out of Ten.

Commercials.

STILL to come: Kane vs. The Undertaker. First time in four years Cole says, which I think is pretty accurate. They’re promoting the match as Brother vs. Brother AND Champion vs. Champion, but NOT a rematch of TWO previous WrestleManias? Wouldn’t have hurt.

John Morrison and The Miz vs. Jimmy Wang Yang and Shannon Moore
Miz and Yang start. Lock up and Miz forces Yang into the corner, but the referee forces him off. Yang with a headlock on Miz, Yang forced into the ropes and he gets a hurricanrana on Miz. Moore in with a dropkick to Miz for a one count. Morrison in. Morrison starts off with a nice backbreaker to Moore, and a shove to the face as well. Morrison with the awesome swinging neck breaker … for the victory? Already?
Winners: John Morrison and The Miz

-Five out of Ten. The Great Khali makes his way out and takes out Morrison and Miz. Khali military presses Yang to the outside. Khali Bomb to Moore. Khali speaks Indian into the microphone, but The Big Show interrupts what he was saying (I think we should get legitimate translations for what Khali is saying – for all we know, he could be cutting a fantastic promo). Show steals the microphone from Khali and says on Monday Khali got in Show’s face, tonight Show is in his. Khali walks off. Very awesome visual ends this segment, of Khali doing his pose in front of the entrance screen which is showing Big Show.

Commercials.

Next week, Finlay and Hornswoggle are finally back on SmackDown. About damned time.

Theodore Long is in the ring to announce the winner of the SmackDown Diva Contest. Cherry has her own music now, which isn’t half bad. Johnny Prado announces Michelle McCool is the winner … shocking? The motorbike is, like, tiny. Victoria interrupts the celebration. Victoria admits the whole contest is a joke, and that she’s the number one diva on SmackDown. Mc and Victoria fight, and NATTIE NEIDHART ATTACKS MICHELLE MCCOOL! Neidhart bitch slaps Cherry down. Just by looking at her, Neidhart looks like she’s going to risk being compared to Beth Phoenix, although that could just be her attire tonight. Nice to see her finally called up, however. With McCool looking to be headed over to RAW, I’m expecting Maria or Mickie James to make their way over to SmackDown.

Commercials.

WrestleMania 24 video.

Kane makes his entrance …

Commercials.

ECW Champion Kane vs. World Heavy Weight Champion The Undertaker
Lock up and Taker forces Kane into the corner. Lock up, and Kane forces taker into the ropes. Taker with a headlock, Kane pushes Taker off and Taker gets a shoulder block but neither go down. Kane with a headlock, off the ropes with a shoulder block which does knock Taker down. Kane with a hip toss. Kane hooks the arm of Kane, Taker reverses it and Kane reverses it again – Taker trips Kane and pins him for a one count. Taker hooks the arm of Kane, Kane trips Taker and covers for a one count. Both back up for a moment. Taker takes Kane down and puts pressure on his leg, but Kane pushes Taker off. Lock up again, Kane goes after the arm of Taker again – HA! Cole calls Coach the best colour commentator in the business; some shit just can’t be pushed uphill.

Taker looks to go for Old School but Kane drags Taker back into the centre of the ring. Taker with a shoulder block to Kane, with Taker putting Kane in a hammerlock. Kane gets to the ropes and shoves Taker into the corner. Taker punches Kane. Kane oversells a bit, but when he punches Taker back, Taker stumbles back into the corner. The pair exchange punches, with Taker winning that exchange. Taker off the ropes into a big boot by Kane. Kane with rights to Taker in the corner, Taker throws Kane into the corner for rights of his own. Taker scoops Kane to the outside.

Back in the ring, the pair go back to exchanging right hands. Kane wins that this time. Taker ducks a clothesline from Kane and tries for the choke slam, but as usual, Kane tries for a choke slam at the same time on Taker. Taker pushes Kane off and the pair nail simultaneous big boots. Both lay next to each other and, in an awesome visual, both sit up at the same time. We need to see that visual more often. Just as they get to their feet Edge, Chavo Guerrero and The Edgeheads run in and attack!
Winner: No Contest

Taker and Kane get beat down, but then make a comeback while the heels are posing. Awesomely, they do the dual sit up again. Dual choke slams to Edge and Chavo Guerrero, followed by dual Tombstones! Taker and Kane pose to end the show. I have to say I enjoyed the match because it was something different from the decade old routine of heel Kane vs. face Undertaker brawling with a series of Tombstones. It’s nice to see these two have a psychology completely different to any of their other matches; each trying to hold back from getting into their usual brawl, and just as they do it’s cut short by La Familia. Entertaining, if only for being a good alternative. Six out of Ten.

Matt Hardy defeats Montel Vontavious Porter: 5/10
Festus defeats Zach Ryder: -2/10
Vladimir Koslov defeats Matt Bentley: -5/10
John Morrison and The Miz defeat Jimmy Wang Yang and Shannon Moore: -5/10
The Undertaker and Kane go to a no contest: 6/10
SmackDown 04/04/08: -1/50

… Well, by rating’s definition this was a tanker of a show. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The bad was kept short, we had new faces introduced, and we had an interesting main event to boot. If that wasn’t good enough for you, then check out the Batista and Shawn Michaels confrontation. A very nice post-WrestleMania edition of SmackDown, all in all. Until next week, have a good one!

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