For Your Consideration…SmackDown! (Now with 50% more Festus)

For Your Consideration…SmackDown! (Now with 50% more Festus)

Yes, two “For Your Consideration” columns in one week. Due to a series of circumstances that are not particularly pertinent or interesting, I am home on a Friday Night and figured I would cover this week’s Smackdown. Since this is the stellar PulseWrestling, you can expect this column to be posted sometime Monday afternoon (along with those AWESOME banner ads that make noises and signal to your boss that you’re checking the IWC instead of doing work.)

With that said, I will take a moment to touch on the passing of Eddie “Umaga” Fatu. There are many reasons that this is a tragedy. Obviously the primary reason this is a tragedy is the loss of a tremendous talent, a husband and a member of the wrestling community. This is also a tragedy because now Umaga has the dubious distinction of being added to the ever-growing list of wrestlers gone before their time. What this means is that most people, upon reading about the news of his passing, will immediately lump him into a group without taking time to pause over the loss of the individual. Yes, Umaga’s departure from the WWE was under the banner of the “Wellness Policy”, but that alone should not define who he was.

The Wellness Policy has had two effects on the business. First, it has attempted to add a level of legitimacy to Vince’s constant claims that the WWE is clean. Many wrestlers continue to break the rules, but now at least we can say that some of them do in fact get busted. Umaga was one such individual, who unfortunately chose termination of his contract over pursuing rehab. Even worse, there have been the rumors over the past few weeks that he was looking to mount a return to the WWE. Everyone can agree that seeing Umaga again in a WWE ring would be a welcome sight, as the big Samoan tended to be one of the few monsters who also could wrestle. The man overcame a cheesy gimmick and the inability to speak and, in a short amount of time, got himself over as a legit contender for the WWE Title. Hell, John Cena needed to use the ring ropes just to beat him. Second, the Wellness Policy has provided help desperately needed to individuals who could not help themselves. There are countless former wrestlers who were offered rehabilitation programs, and while we know of those that publicly turned them down, we don’t know the countless many who accepted the generous offer. Hopefully the passing of Umaga will send yet another message to those wrestlers who choose to ignore the warning signs, and perhaps this will be the final tragedy of our wrestling generation.

In the end, it will be impossible to ever watch an Umaga match without associating him with the circumstances around his death. Just like Eddie Guerrero years before him, Umaga’s passing will be inextricably linked to his in-ring performances. People will use him as an example of the evils of wrestling and people will be quick to make crass jokes or blind condemnations, but for right now let’s all try to remember that this was a man with a family who entertained millions of us and deserves the proper respect.

Alright, it’s time to move on to the heart of the column, the SmackDown recap/rant/thing. Just a reminder, you can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/awheeler316.

“Gimme a hell yeah.”

We open with a recap of last Friday’s main event; Jericho/Taker. As this plays out, allow me to pontificate as to how TLC will play out (well before the Roundtable). Taker and Batista will have a (hopefully) great chairs match, but it will be a returning Rey Mysterio who will cost Batista the strap. This will set up their rematch for the Rumble. Also, this coming Monday, Jericho will go on to beat DX in the handicap match thanks to Big Show. This allows Jericho to say that not only was he the first person ever to beat Austin and The Rock in one night, but he is also the only person to beat DX in a handicap match. Then, at TLC, the soon-to-depart Big Show will accidentally cost JeriShow the tag straps, freeing Chris up to challenge Taker one-on-one for the World Title at the Rumble. Book it, folks. Book it.

The new SmackDown theme is growing on me. Then again, anything is better than RAW’s Nickelback garbage.

We get pyro and ballyhoo and we are TAPED from Hampton, Virginia. Ah, there’s no bigger hotbed for wrestling than Hampton Virginia.

And here comes CM Punk with Luke “Don’t Call Me Festus…Or Bull Buchannan” Gallows. While some might be crying foul over Punk partnering with Gallows, this may be an HBK/Diesel situation, in which case I think Punk will be fine. Also, I think it ensures that Punk won’t have to job to R-Truth again.

We get a replay of R-Truth channeling Duke “The Dumpster” as he dumps a trash can onto Punk. We then get a replay of Matt Freakin’ Hardy getting beaten up by Festus. I mean Freaken’ Deacon. I mean Fake Kane. I mean Luke Gallows. My bad.

Punk’s opponent starts asking us “Wuz Up?”, to which I respond, “My remote so I can fast forward through your poor man’s Men on a Mission entrance.” On the plus side, I love watching Punk yelling at the ref to stop Truth from rapping during his entrance.

Why the hell is R-Truth wearing what appears to be my grandmother’s afghan? Guess we won’t know as R-Truth starts hammering away on Truth. Punk reverses this and wails away on him in the corner, which is fine. Punk and his beard says that no one disrespects him, but then has to sell for a series of Truth’s gymnastics moves before a kick.

Truth now grabs key lock resthold, but Punk kicks him a few times in the head. At least I have Stryker on commentary to keep me entertained. Matt knows how to tell these ludicrous stories and make them make sense. He is explaining why Punk saving Luke Gallows is a noble endeavor, and that Gallows feels indebted to Punk, hence why he accompanies him.

Truth gets rammed into the ring post, bounces off and lands on a…

Commercial.

Is it just me is or is the hype over already for “Avatar”? The technology looks great, but the movie itself looks kinda eh. Hope I’m wrong.

Punk is on the offensive as Stryker again reminds us that Gallows, as Festus, was in a haze of drugs. No Stryker, that was Eugene. Oh well. Punk now has a key lock on Truth as Stryker explains to us that the move is pulling on your metacarpals. Well there ya go.

Gallows is leaning on the apron, which makes him look like Hornswoggle at that height. I like it because it makes him seem unassuming, so when you see his size, it seems impressive. Speaking of impressive, Punk pauses mid-suplex to inform the crowd that he can save everybody. I guess he’s going to continue down this path until he’s like Raven, except with fewer flunkies and no chance of filing a frivolous lawsuit against Vince alongside “Above Average” Mike Sanders.

Truth bounces off the ropes but gets yanked outside by Luke Gallows. Gallows throws Truth into the turnbuckle and allows Punk to hit his flying knee and bulldog combo. Gallows locks Punk into his finishing move, which is apparently called “Twelve Steps.” Punk then pulls off Gallows’ skullcap and kisses his forehead. If he would have said it was like kissing a peanut, this would have been the best SmackDown ever. Oh well.

Commercial.

Through hellfire, brimstone and an ad break, it’s Kane. His opponent is Mike Knox, so I guess Kane is now a face again. Hey, remember that Mike Knox push? No, not the one where he was with Kelly Kelly. Or the one where he dominated RAW. Yes, I am talking about the one where he feuded with Finlay and seemed to lose to him every week.

On the plus side, when Kane leaves, it’s good to know the nondescript big man who can fill any slot role can be filled by the bearded dude. Seriously, can you imagine seeing that facial hair in real life? I can only imagine it doesn’t smell too good.

Kane and Knox are going at it in the standard “We are two big men so you should be impressed when we throw fists.” Knox then hits that flying splash, which is admittedly pretty cool.

Knox continues to stomp away on Kane as Stryker explains that bumping your head is kinda like being hit with a steel chair. You know what’s also like bumping your head? Watching an R-Truth match followed by a Mike Knox match. Kane takes over and Stryker calls him Jacob Goodnight. Well, I guess someone remembered “See No Evil.”

Kane delivers a clothesline off the top rope and goes for a chokeslam, but that gets blocked and Knox goes for the bicycle kick but Kane catches him and hits the chokeslam for the pin. So I guess the point here was to remind us that Kane is on the show and that now he’s a good guy (which means we should buy his merchandise).

JeriShow are in the back with Josh Matthews, who I guess is on all three brands. Josh asks Jericho about the handicap match and his match tonight against Cryme Time (oh come on, are you serious?!), but Chris instead decides to talk about how he’s going to end DX at TLC. Jericho talks about how hard Big Show can swing a chair, which finally makes the chair seem dangerous. Jericho then talks about setting up Shawn Michaels and his surgically repaired back being driven through a table. Finally, Chris talks about how he can damage people with ladders and he is the King of the ladder match. Then, just as we think this is going to be an epic and amazing promo, it ends with Big Show doing a lame fake punch knocking us into…

Commercial.

We are back and Layla and McCool are ringside wearing Piggie James shirts. So when I made fun of her for looking like a pig, I’m a misogynist. When they do it, it’s heelish. Okay then.

Tony Chimmel is in the ring and he explains our triple threat #1 contender Divas match.

Out first is the jaunty capped Piggy James. Out next is Beth Phoenix, who scares me too much to make fun of her. Seriously, when you have a muscular forehead, you are someone not to be fucked with. Or fucked. Though I’m sure there are some folks out there who would do that. Speaking of women most wouldn’t go near but probably has a loyal niche following, here’s Natalya.

Well, these might be three of the four most talented Divas on the roster, so this could be good. Beth punches Natalya and goes after Mickie, but she catches Phoenix and then takes out Natalya before being launched over the top rope. Natalya and Beth go face-to-face and I’m shocked at the possibility of these two reminding us that women’s wrestling means more than Kelly Kelly dressed as an Indian.

Mickie slides into the ring and gets launched out so that Beth and Natalya can go at it. They bump heads and things start to fade to black. Concussion? Nope, just a…

Commercial.

We’re back and Natalya is attempting to rip Mickie’s arms out of their sockets. She might not succeed, but if anyone hears an audible pop, I think it’s another trip to the plastic surgeon.

Mickie hits a neckbreaker on Natalya but Phoenix makes the save. She then goes for a springboard suplex buck Mickie breaks free and almost gets pinned by Natalya. What this match is saying, folks, is that women’s wrestling may finally find a home on Friday Nights. Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter but she eats a Glam-Slam. Mickie kicks Beth out of the ring and gets the pinfall. Michelle McCool looks scared on the outside; probably because this is going to lead to a hogpen match.

Josh Matthews is in the ring to interview Mickie. Hey, Josh finally looks tall. Mickie feels on top of the world, which is a little sad. Mickie promises to become Women’s Champion and to show Michelle McCool that this is beyond personal…it’s…uh…personal.

Wow, Michelle McCool towers over Mickie James. Mickie shoves McCool down and then beats up Layla. They double-team Mickie and now we’re watching a women in prison movie. Maria comes out of nowhere to make the save and the mixed race lesbian couple flees.

Batista is in the back with Teddy Long. Apparently Teddy doesn’t like how Batista treated Mysterio, so next week Rey will face Batista in a street fight. Dave asks to extend his hold harmless agreement (which is completely nonbinding) before asking who the hell is actually in charge.

Matt Hardy is in the back playing Smackdown v. RAW as John Morrison watches on. Morrison and Drew McIntyre is next. Matt Hardy is so excited that he keeps playing his game.

Commercial.

We’re back and here comes John Morrison, complete with slow-motion entrance (now with pyro). Drew McIntyre comes out next in his ridiculous coat. He cuts a promo on Morrison, talking about how he hurts people, so Morrison punches him in the face.

Drew stomps Morrison down and you really have to be excited about the future of the WWE with the potential these guys have. Morrison ducks a kick and then kips up and connects with a kick. Morrison goes to climb the top rope but both guys get launched to the outside.

Drew locks in a resthold as we are reminded that Drew was on the winning Survivor Series team, while Morrison captained the losers. Morrison breaks out of the hold, leaps off the top rope but eats knees to the stomach and gets pounded into a…

Commercial.

We’re back and there’s yet another resthold. These guys keep showing the flashes of what lays in the years ahead, but it still feels like they are dipping their toe in the deep end. Someday soon, they will dive headfirst into what should be a series of entertaining matches.

John and Drew trade punches and Morrison hits a flying kick for two. Morrison goes for the flying chuck but Drew kicks him off the ropes for two. Drew goes for that double-arm DDT but Morrison breaks free and hits a dropkick. He now goes for Starship Pain but Drew rolls onto the apron. Drew reaches under the ring apron. Morrison follows and gets his head bounced off the exposed steel of the ring. Well that was kinda innovative.

Morrison is out cold and Drew hits the double-arm DDT for the win. Hey, there was no way someone could get a completely clean win, and now we want to see these two fight again. At the very least it’s been better than everything else we’ve seen tonight (or are likely to see for the rest of the show).

Commercial.

We’re back and we relive Vickie cutting loose from the vacuum of talent that is Eric Escobar.

EXCUSE ME! And just like that, my ears are bleeding. Apparently Escobar will now face the consequences. Please let the consequences be that he’s fired, please let the consequences be that he’s fired, please let the consequences be that he’s fired.

She orders Latino No-Heat to the ring and here he comes. Fake Razor Part II apologizes for ever having met her. Is this supposed to be a face turn? The guy uses a gullible widow to get a job, uses her to get to the top and then when he can’t win, he dumps her. Yeah, total face.

Vickie asks if he should be fired. Instead, he has to face The Hart Dynasty in a handicap match. Nah, just fire him.

Tyson Kidd starts it off with Escobar and he dominates with some generic wrestling moves before being outclassed by Kidd. DH Smith comes in next and beats the hell out of Escobar. It’s at this point that realize that while Vince sometimes recognizes true talent, sometimes he pushes folks that will inevitably be released. Don’t believe me? Look at Nathan Jones, A-Train, Chris Masters, Snitsky and Ricky Ortiz. And that’s just the past few years.

Kidd hits the Hart Attack and this thing is over. Kidd escorts Vickie into the ring as DH Smith holds Escobar back so that Vickie can slap him. He sells it like he’s been shot and then Smith kicks him in the ribs. Adios muchacho.
Josh Matthews is n the back with Punk and Luke Gallows. Gallows says that his previous existence wasn’t his fault; the people who loved him were no better than street pushers. He said that he looked and walked around like a moron, which was apparently due to a pill addiction. Gallows has his arm around Punk, which is making this seem much gayer than it should. By the way, how soon until Gallows destroys Jesse?

Commercial.

We’re back as Stryker and Grisham recap the TLC PPV card. This leads to Cryme time’s entrance as we fade from black to black…

Commercial.

We’re back again and JeriShow get their full entrance. I just noticed that Shad shaved his head, so maybe he’s getting a singles push. Either that or it was part of his Swine Flu.

JTG and Jericho start off with some fast offense until Jericho bails for the outside. I guess the WWE wanted to get one more free JeriShow match before they break up after TLC.

Jericho is dominating JTG before we go to the standard double crawl for the tag. Jericho gets to Big Show but JTG tags in Shad. Shad runs in with a full head of steam and gets knocked out by a Big Show right hand to end the match. Well that’s one way to tweak the old hot tag formula.

Commercial.

Here comes the long-hyped Undertaker calling out Batista segment. Taker gets the flames for his entrance, even though all he’s doing is cutting a promo. Wait, from behind, it’s Batista with a chair and he lays out Taker on the ramp. Thank you Dave for saving us from yet another rambling Taker promo. “Something…something…creatures of the night…something something…souls…something…something…rest in peace.” There, now you don’t feel like you missed anything.

Dave wails on Taker with a chair before throwing him into the steel steps. He then chokes Taker out with the end of the chair as there is one woman in the crowd screeching at the top of her lungs. Lady, it’s fake. Calm down. Bet you’re the same woman who yells that the killer is behind the door.

Batista holds the belt for a minute before grabbing a chair and hitting a spinebuster on it. Cole says that this is Batista’s new philosophy, hakuna chairtata. Ya know, like that Disney movie? Shut up, it’s funny.

We relive Dave attacking Taker. And can you blame him? There were like eight bumpers throughout the show hyping Taker calling him out, so why not do it first?

Batista ends the beatdown by clocking Undertaker in the skull with the World Title. He then takes off his shirt to pose with the chair.

We end with a promo for the Dave/Rey streetfight before ending the show.

This has been for your consideration.

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