The opening announcements set the stage for another card of repetitive matches and segments. Seems like the roster of SmackDown consists of a limited number of people, regardless of what you see listed on the WWE website. Rey Mysterio vs Chavo Guerrero in an “I Quit Match.” (Guerrero is being suspended, so is this a surprise?) Batista & Kane vs Khali & Finlay – how many times will be see various combinations of these guys? All this leading into more repetition from MVP and Matt Hardy in another episode of “In the VIP Lounge.”
The show begins with the VIP Lounge. MVP’s guests are himself and Matt Hardy. Different angle – MVP and Hardy are the tag champs and that duo is really the “guest,” explaining what MVP means about himself being the guest. After some video footage of things we’ve seen from past SmackDown shows, Hardy requests a match against MVP for the US championship at Unforgiven. Rather than agree, MVP tells Hardy he accepted a tag title rematch with Deuce & Domino at Unforgiven as well as getting Matt a match tonight. I guess the US title match and more repetition between Hardy and MVP are in the cards.
Matt Hardy vs Deuce
Back from a commercial and the match is already in progress with Deuce taking charge. Some corner work and Deuce is working Hardy over. A whip by Deuce and he finally drops Hardy for a pin attempt. A kickout and Hardy tries to get back with some punches. Three head slams to the corner take some of the steam out of Deuce and Hardy comes off the ropes and drops him with a clothesline. A headlock by Hardy, shoved off, a whip by Deuce and Hardy goes over him and reverses a hip toss. Hardy misses a move and Deuce snaps his neck against the top ropes. Hardy has but one expression – dazed – and he’s over-using it. An elbow to the jaw and Deuce is in charge again. Hardy breaks out with a shove to the corner but he still ends up on the turnbuckle with Deuce going up for offense. Some punches and headbutts from Hardy land Deuce back on the mat. The usual Hardy moves now – the flying elbow off the corner, the sidewalk slam, clothesline to the corner, but a foiled bulldog. A double clothesline and both men are down. Domino gets up on the apron to distract Hardy but MVP knocks him off. Deuce gets an atomic drop and MVP interferes as Deuce celebrates. A quick Twist of Fate by Hardy ends it.
Winner: Matt Hardy
For the endless repetition, this wasn’t a bad match, and the interference at the end saved it. But the concept is getting old. The VIP Lounge segment is sleep-inducing and seems to annoy the crowd. Time to get this US Title rematch over with and move on.
Backstage Jamie Noble is setting a “leprechaun trap.” This is a take-off on the old Coyote-Roadrunner cartoons. The trap is labeled “AKME” but I think they meant “ACME.” The cruiserweight division of the WWE is officially a laughingstock with the shenanigans that are going on here. Noble sets a trap, a box suspended by a stick attached to a rope. He proceeds to lay a trail of Lucky Charms to lure Hornswoggle under it – while Shannon Moore looks on, trying hard not to bust a gut laughing.
Kenny Dykstra vs Chuck Palumbo
Kenny has Victoria as his second and Palumbo enters on his bike with Michelle McCool. Dykstra manages a little offense, but Palumbo wins the match very quickly with a move they call the “Full Throttle,” a name that was already applied to a different Palumbo move, one that was probably too similar to Matt Hardy’s sidewalk slam.
Winner: Chuck Palumbo
Palumbo, a man who continues to draw very little reaction from the crowd, continues his winning ways despite the dead reaction. The reason for his push is a mystery and the only thing saving him right now is the caliber of his opponents, all of whom outclass him. Both Masters, and his opponent this week, Kenny Dykstra, wrestle circles around him and generate much more magnetism just by standing in the ring. Palumbo has a “hulk out roar” moment in all his matches that fail to bring the crowd around – it’s actually kind of embarrassing.
Backstage again. Kristal and Vickie are discussing the wedding. Teddy Long comes in and gives Kristal a gift – the new Jagged Edge CD – which has not yet been released for general distribution. Long says he wants something to play when he and Kristal…well, we get the message. Kristal’s phone rings and it’s her mother. A rag by Long on mothers-in-law ends the segment with a yawn.
Batista & Kane vs Khali & Finlay
Batista rules the match at the outset until we go a commercial break. When we come back, it’s the usual stuff, with Finlay’s presence dominating this match, until the end approaches. Finlay brings in the shillelagh, Batista interferes and Batista and Kane clothesline Khali out of the ring. Kane gets a chokeslam on Finlay for the pin.
Winners: Kane and Batista
Horribly mundane. The repetition of these four men engaging in matches with each other is another thing that’s getting tiresome. Finlay, a member of the creative team, writes himself into more matches than you can shake a shillelagh at, and this has to be creating some kind of dissent among the other roster members. There has to be more to offer than we’ve seen so far.
Backstage again to the silly Nobe-Hornswoggle-Lucky Charms scene. This isn’t even worth going into detail on. Noble ends up under the trap. While we’re on the topic of silly, we move on to Jesse and Festus. These two encounter the “AKME” (sic) box and hear Noble’s voice from within. Jesse asks the box its name and is delighted that he gets and answer. He tells Festus that “with a face like that, it ain’t gonna be no time before they name a box after you!” Note: This is the first time I noticed how big Festus is. They are using this guy all wrong. He’s as big as Kane, if not bigger and has an impressive build even though it’s fleshed out for his hillbilly role. With a different angle, they could have some real success with a presence like his – but not in the current role.
Hornswoggle vs Jamie Noble – for the Cruiserweight Championship
With Noble trapped under the box, he fails to make his entrance. The ref starts the match, indicating that Noble must make it to the ring before a ten count. As expected, as the ref counts “eight,” Noble comes running out but doesn’t make it to the ring on time. Noble fumes outside the ring as the bell is sounded, counting him out. Hornswoggle spreads marbles in the ring and when Noble gets in the ring, he pratfalls all over the place. Hornswoggle steps over him and exits, attempting, but failing to do a good Irish jig. What self-respecting leprechaun can’t do a jig? Mortifying display for the WWE and Noble.
A recap of the Raw segment about McMahon’s son. Another Mark Henry spot that highlights the return of the Undertaker with a video of the Death Valley goings-on. I’m lost as to what significance any of this has. The Undertaker is coming back – that I understand. The relevance of Death Valley, that I don’t understand. Druids are from Celtic countries, not California.
Rey Myterio vs Chavo Guerrero – “I Quit Match”
Mysterio wins this by making Guerrero say “I quit” in the same way Guerrero did to him a few months back. Guerrero is hung upside down off the corner – outside the ring, and Mysterio attacks his knee with a steel chair until Guerrero quits. Khali interrupts the proceedings and shrugs off feeble offense from Mysterio, putting the claw on him. Batista runs in and hits Khali with the belt and spears him.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Not worth the time. Predictable Mysterio stuff. We knew Guerrero was being suspended, so the ending wasn’t a surprise. What is a surprise is the continued use of foreign objects like steel chairs and sledgehammers. That isn’t wrestling. Perhaps with the recent developments regarding Benoit’s death and his head trauma, the WWE will rethink the use of chair shots and sledgehammer usage. Although, they’ll probably move from the head to other body parts, as in this farce that pretended to be a match but was really just an exit road for Guerrero.
A final backstage moment where Teddy Long announces to Khali – I’m guessing because of his attack on Mysterio – that Batista had been added to the World Title match at Unforgiven. We can assume that Batista, regardless of his alleged involvement in the recent scandal, won’t be suspended.
What was it all about this week?
I’m here to watch the show for you so we all don’t have to be bored to tears. The show has become nothing but repetition. Hardy and MVP continue to put us to sleep. The cruiserweight division is a sitcom. Batista, Finlay, Khali, Kane….it’s just a matter of how they’re going to work them, but it all looks the same each week. Palumbo continues to get a mysterious push regardless of the lack of crowd response. The “bastard son” angle forces its way into everything. And JBL continues to be the worst announcer in wrestling history. Why would anyone want to watch unless they had to?