SmackDown Report – August 31, 2007 from Albany, New York (taped August 28)

The “explosive, awe-inspiring Rey Mysterio returns!” SmackDown opens with this announcement and we do get a double dose of Mysterio. Teddy Long is in the ring – with Khali and his translator – and he announces that tonight, in Albany, New York, Khali’s opponent for the next PPV – Unforgiven – will be announced. And that there will be a tournament to decide it. This leads us to the first match – Kane vs Finlay. Later on, the second match of the tournament will take place – Batista vs Mysterio. The winners of both matches will face each other and the winner of that match will face Khali at Unforgiven for the title.

Kane vs Finlay
Kane begins by threatening Finlay with the shillelagh. Yes, they are still bringing it to the ring, referees be damned. Is Kane the only one allowed free use of a clenched fist, by the way? (We find out later that Chuck Palumbo is permitted to use this illegal move freely.) Outside of this kind of action, this had promise to be a decent match until the entire thing was ruined by the appearance of Hornswoggle, who distracted the ref while Finlay hit Kane right on the noggin with the shillelagh. “Do what you need to do to get to the dance. That’s all this show is about tonight,” says JBL, in another of his frequent unsportsmanlike comments.
Winner: Finlay

Promo: Jesse and Festus on “Going Back to School” Jesse’s favorite class was lunch, he says, but Festus is a genius. “That is the face of an academic all American,” says Jesse. Given the success of No Child Left Behind, this is, sadly, the truth.

MVP & Matt Hardy vs Deuce & Domino
The continuation of the MVP and Matt Hardy saga continues as MVP and Hardy carry out their assignment from last week – taking on the tag team champs, Deuce & Domino. If you were expecting something exciting, you’d be disappointed. As expected, Hardy was in the match the entire time, with little to no help from MVP. Hardy delivers the Twist of Fate out of nowhere after getting beaten to a pulp by Deuce & Domino and then MVP steps in, ejects Hardy and steals the pin.
Winners: MVP & Matt Hardy

So, Matt Hardy is able to single-handedly defeat the tag team champions, even after a vicious beating? Who else will be sacrificed to continue the long saga of MVP vs Matt Hardy?

Backstage, a “Vince’s son” moment. Vince is with Batista, presupposing that Batista might be his son. Vince is a terrible actor, but Batista is a good one. After Vince compares himself to Batista, Vince suggests that Batista might be his son. Batista tells Vince that he was poor and struggling all his life while Vince lived in the lap of luxury. ‘If I found out that you were my dad….I would beat you unmercifully.” Good stuff!

Mark Henry comes to the ring while Eugene is firing t-shirts into the crowd. A nervous Eugene lets one t-shirt hit Henry and it’s all over. Bearhug and Eugene is ejected from the ring. Another in a series of “Undertaker Returning” promos while the ring is swathed in black light. Same thing as last week. Again, nothing new here.

Batista vs Rey Mysterio
This match had more back and forth than one would imagine. Batista actually held back several times, which allowed Rey Mysterio to last much longer than anyone would have expected. He got Batista in the 619 setup, but Batista caught him and powerbombed him to the mat. Interference by Finlay with a chair and Batista tries to get back at Finlay after taking the chair from him and Batista shoves the ref away. Disqualification is the official call.
Winner: Rey Mysterio

Finlay’s interference had nothing to do with Batista and yet the ref calls a disqualification against Batista. I have to assume the call was for shoving the ref, but is that considered a disqualification? Also, I find it odd that since Mysterio has been out, not one wrestler has ever been caught hanging on the ropes for a possible 619. Rey comes back and suddenly we have one!

A repeat of the tasteless, unfunny and dead skit from Raw that brought Triple H back to the show and gave us a good glimpse of the kind of “entertainment” he’ll be treating us to. Vince goes into another tasteless skit with another cast of “extra” women. There’s no place for this sort of thing on a show aimed at children.

Chris Masters vs Chuck Palumbo – Masterlock Challenge
My report isn’t even going to attempt to treat this as serious business. I’m going to call it the nonsense it is, an affront to Masters’ character that reeks of backstage shenanigans by an influence that does not have the WWE’s best interests at heart as they continue to treat Chris Masters with unusual contempt. Last week was a low blow by the WWE to Masters and they repeat themselves this week. Let’s recap. Last week Palumbo blindsided an injured Masters and won a match, with the announcers and crowd backing Palumbo. This week, Masters blindsides Palumbo – in retaliation – and the announcers decry Masters for doing the same thing they praised Palumbo for the previous week. Hmmmmmmm….. At least the crowd wasn’t booing Masters – they have more sense than the WWE and realize what an unfair setup this is.
Winner: NA Challenge aborted

Palumbo generates zero hype during all of this. The reason for his push is a mystery.

Rey Mysterio vs Fit Finlay
This began much like the Batista-Mysterio match earlier in the show. It generated more heat that the match with Batista as there was a clear favorite here. Mysterio wins the match and Khali enters the ring and attacks Mysterio. Batista makes the save and the show ends with Batista and Mysterio in the ring.
Winner: Rey Mysterio

What was it all about this week?
A 2.2 rating for SmackDown last week. This week descended to lower depths than I could have imagined, so I’m not expecting better ratings. The show had promise when the new roster began about ten weeks ago or so. But the mismanagement by the creative team and Vince’s insistence on upstaging the wrestlers is leaving this show with a gaping hole where entertainment used to be.