SMACKDOWN RANT ARCHIVE: July 2004













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SMACKDOWN RANT ARCHIVE (July 2004)

Smackdown Report (07/01/04)-by Michael Melchor
 
-Edit: To read Michael's awesome full pre-recap Rant, head over to 411 Mania or click here -S.C.
 
Show opens with Kurt Angle reiterating his decision to name Bradshaw the champion at the end of the bullrope match (complete with stills from the show). Angle swears that this wasn’t an act of malice and that he holds no ill will toward Gurrero. Tell another lie, Pinocchio. Angle announces the arrival of Bradshaw—

And Bradshaw arrives in the arena in a refurbished Longhorn Limousine. Cole and Tazz welcome us to Fayetteville, NC (no credits, no pyro) as Bradshaw shakes hands and kisses babies (!) on the way to the ring, which is bedecked in red, white, and blue decorations, a banner congratulating Bradshaw on his win, and a red carpet. Bradshaw informs us that the JBL era has begun and promises to become the most popular WWE Champion of all time. HAH! He’s not afraid to use hand sanitizer for those looking to shake his hand, and he’ll kiss babies all day long – provided that they don’t smell bad nor have runny noses. That’s just great. He declares that TONIGHT he will defend the WWE Title against someone who was at the Bash.

Cole tells us that TONIGHT, we will see actual footage of the "burial" of Paul Bearer – and, if they’re smart, a way out of their "no murder" policy – as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to
Rob Van Dam vs. Rene Dupree vs. Booker T – Triple Threat Match – winner becomes #1 Contender for the US Title

Triple Threat rules apply, meaning that, of course, the first decision scored wins the match. To that end, both Booker and Dupree work over Van Dam with impact moves and a solid ground game, respectively, to weaken him. In the meantime, both do their best to keep each other out of the decision (but they DO team up, however, to work over RVD en route to victory). Rob Van Dam, meanwhile...all right, I told you this was coming... RVD brings his aerial game, along with his unorthodox kicks and speed to dazzle Dupree AND Booker for the victory. As tempers flare between the heels, RVD takes every opportunity to get a surprise victory on either man. Not to mention that neither Booker nor Dupree are afraid to take a shortcut or 2 against RVD – or each other – to go on to victory...

Finish comes when RVD lands the Five Star Frog Splash on Booker and Dupree takes advantage and covers, but only gets 2 on RVD. RVD lands another Five Star Frog Splash on Dupree, but Booker pulls Van Dam off and covers Dupree himself for the 3-count and the #1 contendership. Nice match by all three, including the "unmotivated" Van Dam.

In The Back, a PA knocks on Bradshaw’s dressing room door to tell him that the candidates are gathered and are waiting on him. Bradshaw tries to put his hat on – and can’t because of the head wounds suffered at the Bash. Nice touch. JBL goes to meet the candidates and takes us to:

Commercial.

Back to In The Back, Luther Reigns is admonishing Charles Robinson for blowing the finish to the Bash encounter between Torrie Wilson and Sable. As if anyone gave a shit. Luther tells Robinson that he has another chance tonight – and had better not screw it up. Man, Luther is more intimidating when he opens his mouth than when he’s silent!

Elsewhere In The Back, the candidates are gathered – Booker T, Rey Mysterio, John Cena, Hardcore Holly (?!!?), and both Dudley Boyz. Cena and Booker are jawing about Booker being the #1 contender when Bradshaw arrives. He runs down the qualifications of each "candidate", and the interplay here is great. Example: Bradshaw goes for a handshake from Cena with the line, "Word, dog!" Nice. Bradshaw finally decides that tonight, he will face...a Dudley. Spike Dudley. Like we didn’t see that coming as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to Replay of Earlier Tonight: Booker becomes the #1 contender to the US Title. And that match happens next week!

WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio vs. Mordecai – non-title match

Okay, this one is pretty elementary...Mysterio is concentrating on the legs of Mordecai to take the big man off of his base and leave him prone to the aerial attack. Mordecai is using the size advantage to beat Mysterio senseless – especially about the head, back, and shoulders to prevent a kickout and set up the Crucifix. Both men have each other scouted well, as the counters here are innovative as hell. Case in point...

Finish comes when Mordecai, after taking the 619 and blocking the West Coast Pop, goers for the Crucifix. Rey uses momentum to counter and land the West Coast Pop proper for the pin. Okay, did Mordecai go out over the weekend and slip some college chick some GHB after a house show or something? Seriously, who did this guy piss off to lose to a man he, point blank, should not lose to? UNLESS there’s another story being told here...

Commercial.

Back to Cole and Tazz talking about Paul Bearer and The Undertaker. Cole informs us that Bearer suffered severe internal injuries, including to the lungs and trachea. Smart move, corporate. Cole announces the footage—

And Paul Heyman is out. Heyman states that, while he was in control of The Undertaker, even HE was surprised at The Undertaker’s actions. Footage of the incident airs and then, as Heyman gloats some more, lightning strikes the ring and The Undertaker appears on the Video Tron Thingie. Undertaker tells Heyman that he had one weakness on this planet in Paul Bearer, and he had to do away with that weakness. If he were able to do THAT to the one soul on this earth that he cared about (wait, isn’t he married?), imagine what he’ll do to Heyman once he gets his hands on him. Heyman looks about ready to piss himself as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to
Sable vs. Torriw Wilson

Side note one: Speaking of people ready to piss themselves, referee Charles Robinson looks like he could use a pack of Depends, also.

Side note two: a nice exchange between Cole and Tazz...

Cole: Sure, because I have to sit here and carry you every week.
Tazz: That’s cool, Cole – you can steal all my lines.
Cole: Yeah, because I wrote that one for you.

Ouch.

And MAN, I thought trying the "psychological" viewpoint with someone like Rob Van Dam would be a challenge...Torrie is out to flatten Sable with non-stop offense, going so far as to jump Sable before the bell. Sable, meanwhile, is out to not only surive the onslaught, but to weaken Torrie with a focused attack on the head...okay, does the hair count?

Finish comes when Torrie DDTs Sable and gets the 3-count. Nothing to see here, people.

Post-match, Angle appears on the screen to congratulate Robinson on a job well done. HOWEVER, Robinson must see how his actions affect other superstars by becoming one himself. Angle orders Robinson to take off his shirt as he will face his opponent – Luther Reigns (!!) – right after this:

Commercial.

Back to

Referee Charles Robinson vs. Luther Reigns

Well, Robinson, having never wrestled a man before, has no real strategy to speak of, as this is the LAST thing he expected. Luther doesn’t have much of one either – just beat Robinson to a pulp.

Finish comes after Luther just gets warmed up and Charlie Haas is out to save Robinson and get him out of Dodge. Luther screams at Haas that he will pay for this. The way Luther can talk (and he CAN...make no mistake there), he should be doing a lot more than beating up midgets and referees.

The
Raw Rebound airs, followed by...

In The Back, The Dudley Boyz backhandedly wish Spike luck in his match against Bradshaw tonight and tell him that, should they be needed, they’ll be there. Spike politely declines the offer and leaves them looking stupid as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to Kenzo Suzuki out to the ring with his wife, Hiroko. Suzuki takes the mic and cuts a promo...in Japanese. Out to help translate is John Cena. Oh boy. Cena’s translation has a lot to do with poop – which seems to be the focal point of all his jokes. First the thing with Booker and the Spinerroonie, and now this...John, please, get some new material. I’m begging you. Suzuki looks confused, but Hiroko doesn’t – and her expressions are just awesome (especially when Cena says that she "gets her face painted white every night", which shockingly makes it past the censors). Cena leaves and Hiroko fills Suzuki in on what John said. And boy is Suzuki pissed. I smell a run-in during next week’s US Title Match – and Cena’s next challenger...

In The Back, Bradshaw is greeting everyone he comes in contact with – and happens upon Eddie Gurrero’s car. Bradshaw looks a little worried as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to

Spike Dudley vs. John Bradshaw Layfield - WWE Championship Match

This may look a little familiar, but...Spike is bringing all the speed and surprises he can to take Bradshaw off of his base and leave him prone to the aerial attack. Bradshaw is using the size advantage to beat Spike senseless – especially about the head, back, and shoulders to prevent a kickout and set up the Powerbomb.

Finish comes when Spike hits the Dudley Dog Acid Drop, but only gets 2. Bradshaw is back up to club Spike down and nail the Powerbomb for the victory, successfully retaining the Title.

Post-match, Eddie is out (sans lowrider) and rushes Bradshaw. Bradshaw bails and retreats for the safety of the Longhorn Limousine when Eddie has an announcement to make. When he became WWE Champion, Eddie was smart enough to not only have a rematch clause in his contract, but to also be able to name the match stipulation. So, in 2 weeks on SmackDown, Eddie challenges Bradshaw for the WWE Title in a steel cage match. Bradshaw looks scared and Eddie celebrates to end the show.

So far, so good. The crowd really ate up the new WWE Champ but, as you may have read above, the problem with the show isn’t the Champion...rather, it’s the rest of it. SmackDown hasn’t had a clear direction for a while, but steps were taken to fix that tonight by getting the newbies over. Suzuki looks to be Cena’s next foe as the groundwork has now been laid for that feud. As for Mordecai, I questioned his loss to Rey, but now I understand where it’s going...

Mordecai has already stated that his first target is Eddie Gurrero. Rey Mysterio – who we already know is one of Eddie’s good friends – upset Mordecai tonight. Mordecai now has 2 weeks to absolutely MURDER Rey Mysterio and get Eddie’s attention after Eddie and Bradshaw settle their feud in 2 weeks.

And that’s NOT to say that Eddie will have his belt back by then. It’s possible that he will, certainly, but it’s also possible that Bradshaw works out so well that McMahon decides to keep the title on him just to see how successful his latest experiment can be. Interesting times we live in, folks...interesting times.

L8. Thanks for again reading.


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WWE SmackDown Report - 07.08.04 by: Michael Melchor

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.

Hey hey. Thanks again for stopping in. I need to get to this quick, as Sean already has the revised version of "Heil Bradshaw!" to go with the whole "Double Feature" thing...

...but before I do, be sure you check out The Wrestling Fan's main page. Sean, Gonzo, Ghdadffi, Freda, Simon, Renee, Richard and EVERYONE there have really stepped up their game lately, and the results have been just stellar. Pop some popcorn and enjoy the good reading.

Now then, I believe there was a Rasslin show on recently...

SmackDown - 07.08.04

Before the report itself gets started, keep an eye out for 2 "psychological challenges", wherein I attempt to apply strategy to places where there's none to be found. Oughtta be a hoot AND a holler...

Show opens with updated credits (including shots of JBL as WWE Champion shown on the "success" lyric and John Cena mouthing the words "I want it all" - both nice touches), pyro, and TONIGHT: John Cena defends the US Title against Booker T.

Rene Dupree is out for commentary for our fist match...

Mark Jindrak vs. Rob Van Dam

Cole is kind enough to inform us that Teddy Long and Mark Jindrak have "amicably parted ways", hence no Godfather at ringside...

Let's get the obvious out of the way first - RVD brings his aerial game, along with his unorthodox kicks and speed to dazzle Jindrak for the victory. Jindrak has other plans, however, using his size advantage to aggressively focus (as evidenced by Jindrak jumping RVD and taking the fight outside to start) on RVD's lower back to prevent a pinfall kickout. Jindrak utilizes suplexes, surfboards, and at one point, when RVD leaps to the top, a standing dropkick (!) to RVD's back, sending him to the outside. Ultimately, RVD would prove to be too experienced for the powerful youngster...

Side note: the commentary here is pretty funny as Cole tattles on Tazz, telling Dupree that (according to Tazz) FiFi was shaved because she had fleas. Dupree asks if the same is true of Tazz's head, then Tazz states that he "knew a girl who had fleas because she shaved all the time!" Excellent.

Finish comes when Jindrak attempts a back suplex from the top rope, but RVD knocks him off and hits the split-legged moonsault for the 3-count and the victory. Not a bad match at all from these two.

Video airs of Eddie's rematch statement last week and In The Back, Josh Matthews is with John Bradshaw Layfield. With hand sanitizer in tow, Bradshaw says, after proclaiming his love for Canada (which no one there in Winnipeg believes), that he is confident about the cage match and brings in his opponent for tonight, El Gran Luchadore. Bradshaw notifies El Gran that tonight it's champion vs. champion, and that he will pay for El Gran's hospital expenses out of his own pocket because he's THAT gracious of a guy as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to

The Dudley Boyz vs. Billy Kidman & Paul London - WWE Tag Team Championship Match

Video recap airs of Kidman & London scoring an upset non-title win on the Dudley Boyz on Velocity via DQ when Buh Buh pulled the ref out of the ring. Afterward, the Dudleys laid the beatdown on Kidman & London, setting up tonight's match. Waitasec, since when did that show become important?

The Dudley Boyz bring the tried-and-true formula of in-your-face brawling and Buh Buh's considerable power to wear down their challengers. The focal point of the attack seems to be on London's neck in an eventual set up for the 3D. Kidman & London, however, counter with not only unorthodox in-ring tactics and a little aerial work, but the most fluid teamwork seen in quite some time. As most viewers may not watch Velocity (see what I mean?), they may not realize that Kidman & London are quite a team - and may be a match for the 17-time Tag Team Champions...

Finish comes when Kidman & London reverse the "Wassup" headbutt and London NAILS Buh Buh Ray (that was direct contact with the ballsac, folks...and that HURT). London superkicks Buh Buh into position for Kidman's Shooting Star Press for the 3-count. Holy shit, we have new WWE Tag Team Champions~!

Post-match, Kidman & London celebrate in the ring - as well they should. Glad to see a couple fresh faces and a possible rejuvenation of the tag team scene on SmackDown as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to Replay of Moments Ago: Kidman & London score the upset - and the Tag team Champoionships. In The Back, there's a welcoming committee of faces and feels alike (!) congratulating the new champs. Buh Buh Ray and D-Von arrive and a tense moment occurs before the former champs shake the hands of Kidman & London. The Dudleys take their leave and the party continues.

Elsewhere In The Back, Josh Matthews is with Kenzo Suzuki and Hiroko. Hiroko translates for Suzuki: Kenzo lost face to John Cena last week, and he is out for revenges. He's also been misunderstood - Kenzo loves America. After Hiroko's translations, Kenzo takes this one himself - he breaks out a very pained (and very funny) smile and declares "God bless America." A funny bit that sets up Kenzo's bid for the US Title and his character's evolution as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to

John Cena vs. Booker T - United States Championship Match

Cena is out for his title defense and cuts a rhyming promo (we can't even call them "raps" anymore) on Booker T. Suzuki runs out for his revenge and gets handled by Cena. Luther Reigns is out, however, and gets in a kidney shot and twisting neckbreaker (something akin to the Last Rites), laying Cena out cold as we go to:

Commercial. Back to WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Mexican Champion (of what exactly I have no idea) El Gran Luchadore

Cole informs us that the US Title match has been delayed, but WILL take place later tonight.

And we arrive at "psychological challenge" #1. This isn't so much a match as much as it is one big mindgame. "El Gran Luchadore" is surmised to be someone that Bradshaw has hired (or brought in from Mexico, if you believe that line of crap) solely for the purpose of showing his superiority over Mexico - the land of Eddie Gurrereo's heritage - by beating their "champion" senseless. Bradshaw slaughters El Gran Luchadore with his size advantage and power brawling to achieve his goal there.

But, a funny thing happens during the match...the mind game takes an interesting twist as another El Gran Luchadore appears from under the ring and the original slides under. Luchadore II tosses Bradshaw over the top and leaves a banana peel (?) for ther referee to find, utilizing someone's trademark "cheating". More signs are evident that the tables have been turned on Bradshaw, including a "Latino Heat" dance and some trademark maneuvers...

Finish comes when Bradshaw attempts to powerbomb "Luchadore II", but "Luchadore II" escapes and hits...the triple verticals...on Bradshaw. JBL ducks out of the ring and takes the countout loss rather than face Eddie Gurrero "El Gran Luchadore"

Post-match, "El Gran" is on the mic, stating that he and Eddie Gurrero are tight and that "Eddie" will beat JBL's ass next week with a Frog Splash from the top of the cage. THAT promises to be a sight to see as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to In The Back, Josh Matthews holds the mic as Booker T promises to win the US Title tonight.

Next is the Raw Rebound followed by...

Elsewhere In The Back, Spike is approached by Buh Buh Ray and D-Von. Buh Buh tells Spike that if he had taken their advice last week, he would be WWE Champion right now before offering their services again. Spike rudely blows them off, leaving them standing and looking stupid (and leaving me with the bad taste of the prospect of seeing another angle we've seen hundreds of times already) as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to

Spike Dudley, Scotty Go Potty, & WE Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Gurrero, Jamie Noble, & Akio

Now we come to "psychological challenge" #2...a six-man cruiserfest. The psychology starts with a smart strategy by the heels in isolating and working over Rey Mysterio - the best that the opposing team has to offer. Once Rey tags out, however, psychology and strategy both leave the building as the match degenerates into a contest of "top the last spot". Bodies soon begin to fly out of the ring, either by their own volition or by being sent there.

Side note: this is the problem many fans have with cruiser spotfests. No strategy and no psychology equals no in-ring story - just a bunch of flippy moves and an eventual finish out of seemingly nowhere. Personally, I can enjoy this sort of thing (done right) as well as I can a long and involved mat classic, but those are just my tastes.

Finish comes when Jamie Noble and Spike Dudley are the only two left in the ring. Spike goes for the Dudley Dog Acid Drop, but Noble counters with a wicked neckbreaker. Noble then drills Spike with the Tiger Driver for the 3-count victory. Excellent effort by all involved - including Worm Boy.

In The Back, Josh Matthews asks Paul Heyman about last week's ominous threat by The Undertaker. Paul begins to explain, then stops himself...he needs to do this in the ring...in public, if you weeeill...right after this:

Commercial.

Back to Paul Heyman in the ring with the urn. Paul states that he has to apologize "from the bottom of his heart", then produces a prepared written statement. Paul reads the statement (and, in a nice touch, loses his place at one point), which basically places the blame for EVERYTHING on the Dudley Boyz. Paul begs not for forgiveness or absolution, but to "just let this one slide". Heh. Paul offers to return the urn to the Undertaker as we return to:

Commercial.

Back to

Booker T vs. John Cena - Unites States Championship Match

General Manager Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns are out to watch, and Cena is not happy. Booker takes the opportunity to jump Cena from behind. From there, Booker pounds away at Cena - some on the ribs (to soften him up a little), but mostly on the chest and higher to weaken Cena's facilities and set up the Scissor Kick. Cena counters this strategy with his high-impact style, working over Booker's neck and torso to eventually hit the FU.

Finish comes as both men are outside and Cena charges Booker - who's standing precariously close to the GM. Booker moves and Cena clotheslines Angle, then drops Luther for good measure. Back in the ring, Cena ducks the Scissor kick and hits the FU, but Luther is in to attack Cena, causing the disqualification.

Post-match, Angle calls for Luther to grab the US Title. Angle warned Cena before that if he touched Angle, there would be serious repercussions. Now that he has (albeit accidentally), Angle STRIPS Cena of the US Title, leaving Cena looking dejected to end the show.

Hurrm. Not a bad effort all the way around as the build to next week's "Free PPV" show continues. Next week will be a BIG one, as we not only have the steel cage WWE Title match, but now the fate of the US Title as well. The Angle/Cena feud is starting to take off heavy as we head for SummerSlam - and the rest of the SmackDown side of that show could come into focus in one week's time.

L8. Thanks for reading.

Double M’s WWE SmackDown Recap – 07.15.04
by:  Michael Melchor

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race. Hey there and welcome back. Glad you could join in for yet another recap from yours truly. For those that read it and liked it, you may be glad to know that the Double M RAW Recap is about to become more of a regular thing instead of a set of “guest appearances”.

At least I know one person liked it, as I received my FIRST EVER piece of feedback from The Wrestling Fan, courtesy of Turambar3019:

I've been a fan of The Wrestling Fan for about six months now. Everything I've read has been great. Your Raw and Smackdown rants and "Double Impact" are highlights of my week. Keep up the good work.

Much appreciated, Turambar. Glad you enjoy the recaps, as well as the rest of the site. While we’re on the subject, be sure YOU check out the main page for some good stuff, including:

Sean Carless’s latest column (and a wrong – but hilarious – picture of the late, lamented Mordecai character)

Christopher Freda’s excellent coverage of RoH

Dr. Gonzo’s return of the Psychic PS2

Gadaffi’s tips on ripping off loved ones (that would make Penn & Teller proud)

Renee’s take on the greatness of Kurt Angle

Richard Water’s views on the Diva search

And Jason Hart’s guide to dating “etiquette”.

And since I’m nothing if not a self-promotional whore, there’s also the revised version of “Heil Bradshaw” to be found on that page. But I’m not done yet, as there are TWO other pieces I have available. First, if you like the Double M SmackDown Recaps, be sure to see the Raw Recap on this very site. Then, over at Maximum Metal, there’s a review of the new Ministry album available for your perusal.

Now then, quoth Tone Loc: “Let’s do it...”

SmackDown – 07.15.04

Show opens with video of last week’s stripping of the US Title off of Cena by Angle after Cena accidentally nailed him. PLEASE tell me we get to find out how the championship will be decided tonight...

Credits and pyro from Providence, RI where TONIGHT: Bradshaw defends the WWE Title against Eddie Gurrero inside a steel cage...and the IWC prays harder than they ever have before.

Booker T is out to stake his claim to the US Title, based on the fact that he didn’t lose to Cena last week (although technically Booker DID lose by disqualification). Rene Dupree is out to stake his claim to the US Title, based on the fact that no American has enough class and culture to be US Champion (although that statement makes almost no sense whatsoever – this is the US Title we’re talking about). Kenzo Suzuki is out (with Hiroko) to stake HIS claim to the US Title, based on the fact that (translated by Hiroko) he loves the United States of America (although his reasoning is very simplistic). Booker asks Kenzo to say something, and Suzuki asks Booker if he can dig it, SUCCKKAAAA! Booker retorts with another catchphrase and the 3 get to arguing when Cena makes his appearance to denigrate all of them. Cena compares the foursome to The Wizard Of Oz with Hiroko as Dorothy (the token female), Booker as Scarecrow (who has no brains), Kenzo as the Tin Man (because he has no heart balls), Michael Cole as one of the Lollipop Kids (Hah!) and Dupree as The Cowardly Frenchman. Cena is there to see the wonderful wizard of SmackDown – Kurt Angle – and get his title back. Since Angle didn’t show himself, Cena promises to walk his a[censored]s down the yellow brick road to Angle’s office and demand his belt back. In The Ring, the others argue. In The Back, Cena barges into Angle’s office and demands his belt. Angle says he brought it on himself, cueing Luther to attack and get thrown through the wall (!). Angle has security eject Cena, calls for Luther (who’s out cold), and sends us to:

Commercial.

Back to Replay of Moments Ago: Cena destroys Angle’s office with Luther Reigns’s carcass.

WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio & Spike Dudley vs. Chavo Gurrero & Jamie Noble

Side note: Noble’s “Dukes Of Hazard” tights are just awesome.

Spike is driven to avenge his loss last week by using his superior speed and ability to outwrestle both heels (especially Jamie Noble). Once Rey joins in, he adopts the same strategy, utilizing his deadly aerial attack as a compliment to Spike’s mat work. Chavito and Noble, meanwhile, use illegal means (they are the heels, after all) to gain the advantage and isolate either man (preferably Spike, the smallest in the match) and wear down the back to prevent movement. Rey and Spike are quicker, however, and keep control of most of the match. It doesn’t hurt that they have unexpected help...

Finish comes when Noble lands the Tiger Driver and “Outside Interference Night” officially begins as D-Von appears to distract the referee and Buh Buh Ray lands a low blow on Noble. Unaware of his brothers’ help, Spike pins Noble for the victory. Excellent TV match, but...again... the whole situation with The Dudleys and Spike...haven't we seen this before? And shouldn't Buh Buh Ray D-Von be more concerned with Paul Heyman, who sold them down the river last week to The Undertaker?

Raw Rebound airs, taking us to:

Commercial.

Back to video recap of Bradshaw’s title win at the Great American Bash and
the REVENGE of El Gran Luchadore to hype up tonight’s main event.

In The Back, Angle makes sure that Luther is okay and makes Cena pay for what happened, booking Cena in a 3-on-1 match against Booker, Dupree, AND Suzuki in an elimination rules handicap match NEXT as we head to:

Commercial.

Back to

Booker T, Rene Dupree, and Kenzo Suzuki (with Hiroko) vs. John Cena

With elimination rules, the strategies on both sides becomes very simple. For the advantaged team, the goal is to beat down Cena – Booker with the torso attack, Dupree with the finesse, and Suzuki with the powerful martial arts – and gain the victory. For Cena, his goal is simply to survive the onslaught of all 3 men. Once we return from

Commercial,

we see that Cena relies on his toughness and roughneck ability to confound Dupree (pinning him after sending the Frenchman head-first to the steel ringpost) and outwrestle Suzuki (causing him to lose his temper and get disqualified), but remember – it’s “Outside Interference Night”!

Finish comes when Booker T sends Cena outside and Luther Reigns is out to send Cena into the ringpost. In the ring, Booker takes advantage and hits the Scissor Kick for the pin. Decent match, but I’d REALLY like to know what they plan on doing with the US Title. I understand that the story between Angle and Cena is at the forefront, but must you neglect a major championship to spotlight that? If you couldn’t tell, ignoring a title for the sake of an angle always bugs me. I didn’t like it when it happened with Austin and McMahon, and I don’t like it now.

Commercial.

Back to video hyping the return of John Heidenreich (sp?), who says that no one wanted to give him a chance – until he met Paul Heyman, who’s bringing him to SmackDown. If Heyman thinks HE’S gonna stop The Undertaker, he’s lost his mind worse than Manes has.

In The Back, Eddie Gurrero praises El Gran Luchadore and says that he patterned his style after El Gran (HA!), then says that Bradshaw will have nowhere to run tonight when Eddie comes off the top with the massive Frog Splash from the top of the cage. I’m really looking forward to this match – for a couple reasons, really. The outcome should let us know how serious WWE is about having Bradshaw as WWE Champion, and the match itself should be great despite the IWC consensus that Eddie will have to “carry” Bradshaw.

Commercial, including one for Van Halen’s Best Of Both Worlds greatest-hits collection, which claims to be the only one that covers Van Halen’s entire career. Right – like
The Best Of Van Halen, Vol. 1 didn’t do that already. Sorry, but I’m not buying a cheap excuse to welcome the return of the far-inferior Van Hagar – especially since “Me Wise Magic” kicked 8 shades of ass. And THAT has been YOUR Musical Interlude (and moment of excessive self-promotional whoring) of the week.

Back to video of Kidman & London defeating The Dudley Boyz last week for the WWE Tag Team Championships, leading straight to:

D-Von Dudley (with Buh Buh Ray Dudley) vs. Paul London (with Billy Kidman)

Holy shit – a Paul London singles match on SmackDown!

D-Von, still angered by last week’s loss, wants to beat London senseless with the trademark Dudley brawling style and surprising speed. London, meanwhile, looks to defeat D-Von with his aerial style and superior agility. And don’t forget that we have both partners outside the ring...

Finish comes when Buh Buh drills London on the outside, then sends him back in, staying on the apron. London runs D-Von into Buh Buh on a rollup attempt, then Kidman dispatches of Buh Buh as London roll sup D-Von for the pin. Short and sweet, as we have a cage match to get to...

In The Back, Angle promises payback for Luther by booking Reigns vs. John Cena next week and promises that tonight will be a night that no one will forget (uh oh)...

Introductions are made for the steel cage match and the ring announcer states that the ways to win are to pin your opponent, make him submit, or climb up and over the cage to escape (as the door will be locked). Between Angle’s promises and the fact that it’s “Outside Interference Night”, I smell a screwjob waiting to happen here as we head to:

Commercial.

Back to

John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Eddie Gurrero – WWE Championship Steel Cage Match

Where are “Tazz’s Keys To Victory” when you need them? Obviously, the objective of a cage match is to disable your opponent bad enough to be able to escape without being impeded (with this set of rules, anyway). And since Tazz won’t discuss the obvious, I guess I’ll have to...

Why did Eddie choose a steel cage match? It may seem to put him at a disadvantage, but consider all of these factors:

Eddie has Bradshaw trapped with nowhere to go and uses his speed and superior wrestling ability to utilize the confined space to its best effect (such as smartly trying to take out the hamstring of Bradshaw) and diffuse Bradshaw’s power advantage (with a brilliant counter to the Last Call with a tornado DDT).

Gurrero also has a point in his favor in that he can cheat with the best of them, and there are NO RULES inside the cage.

In addition to all of this (as Eddie himself has alluded to), Gurrero also has a much higher perch to launch his aerial attacks from.

Bradshaw, being the bigger and stronger of the two, uses the unforgiving cage – as well as his power – to put more force behind his brawling tactics and leverage moves (such as a well-timed superplex from the top rope) in an attempt to destroy Eddie. Bradshaw employs those tactics in small doses as he’s more concerned with keeping his title with all the cowardice he can muster.

Side note one: The commercials should have all been during the earlier portions of the show, as three of them during a match of this magnitude is just plain inexcusable.

Side note two: In traditional WWE fashion, both men pass up great opportunities to escape the cage and win the match in favor of dishing out more punishment – particularly Gurrero with his vow to hit the Frog Splash off the top of the cage (when climbing over after beating Bradshaw down that badly would be a much smarter move).

Finish comes when Gurrero lives up to his word and hits the Frog Splash from the top of the cage – but is too weak to make the cover (see what I mean?). Eddie finally covers, but Bradshaw kicks out at 2 after a long delay. Bradshaw scores a DDT and climbs the cage, and Eddie climbs up to meet him. El Gran Luchadore (?!) is out to climb the cage to the inside of the ring in record time and hold Eddie’s leg, allowing Bradshaw to reach the floor and retain the WWE Championship. An excellent match out of BOTH men, right up until the ending. I’d rather have seen a clean victory out of either one, but can I smell a screwjob a mile away or what?

Post-match, El Gran Luchadore climbs out (MUCH slower than he came in) and gets caught by Eddie Gurrero. Eddie yanks of the mask as El Gran escapes, revealing that it was Kurt Angle (?!!?) who screwed Eddie out of the WWE Title as the show ends.

...I don’t get it. Just when I get on a good roll in SmackDown’s defense, they book a MAJOR show that makes absolutely no sense whatsofuckingever.

Why are the Dudleys more concerned with their little brother Spike than with a man who sold them down the river (Paul Heyman) and a seemingly indestructible member of the roster (The Undertaker) out for revenge? What the hell is being done about the US Title? And, most perplexing of all, why build up a month or 2 of Angle hassling Cena, THEN suddenly switch his focus to Eddie Gurrero? I know the 2 have a prior history, but wouldn't Angle helping put over a less-established star that he’s been harassing for so long – and enough that it almost became the focal point of the show – make just a little more sense?

There had better be some good answers next week. Otherwise, SmackDown has given its detractors plenty of ammunition to use in the debate that it’s considered a far inferior brand to Raw. And the howls will probably get that much louder now that Bradshaw has become more than just a “transitional champion”, but the show’s problem isn’t the man holding the belt. Rather, SmackDown’s biggest shortcoming is what Creative is doing to the rest of the roster.

L8. Thanks again for reading.
 

SmackDown Rant: (07/23/04) By Sean Carless

With our friend Mr. Melchor temporarily indisposed this week, he asked me to fill in with the “recap”, but sadly I cannot provide you with the hilarity* of an actual “Rant”, because it requires me to reach a certain level of Zen, and frankly I’m not feeling really “Zen-like” right now. That and I’m kind of bloated from consuming the contents from a can that only 40 minutes ago I learned was in fact from the Y2K stock of food I kept incase the world ended when the computers went down 4 years ago…. (I’ll be dead by morning)

However, that said, what I do have for you, is a brief look at this week’s SmackDown, in a formula borrowed (stolen) from the brilliant Dean Rasmussen of Death Valley Driver.

In this particular unnamed piece, I will break down a few nuances from the SmackDown episode in question and in turn provide my honest take (with a spattering of dick and fart jokes for good measure. Hey, I know my demographic…)

SmackDown 07/22/04 : Sean’s Take:

Match Results & Occurrences:
-Spike Dudley defeated Jamie Noble & Jamie Noble; Pins Chavo with the Dudley-Dog; As a result, Spike will get a CW title shot next week.

Kurt Angle fires Tony Chimmel (after making him beg) and later Funaki for not speaking English; He also promises to make Eddie Guerrero “beg for his job” later tonight;

Kurt Angle tells Booker T. he will award him the U.S. Title by next week.

-Bubba Ray Dudley pinned Billy Kidman after D-Von pushed Kidman off the ropes and Bubba finishes with a “Bubba Bomb”

-JBL over Mike Kruel  (local jobber) Clothesline from Hell;

Undertaker challenges JBL for a Title match at Summer Slam after he lays out Bradshaw with a choke-slam.

-Torrie vs. Dawn Marie vs. Miss Jackie vs. Sable was a no contest (Thank God) when Kurt calls off the match and “fires” all four;

-Rey Mysterio pinned D-Von Dudley; Kidman & London get involved and Rey pins D-Von after a springboard splash.

-John Cena defeated Luther Reigns; Booker T. tries to interfere but accidentally hits Luther with the belt allowing Cena to pick up the win.

Vince McMahon shows up and relieves Kurt of his GM position then reinstates him onto the active roster after exposing angle as a fraud.

Vince and Eddie Guerrero close the show in the low-rider.

What Worked For Me:

JBL. I just cannot hate this man. I’ve tried, but he just entertains the hell out of me too much.

Truth be told, had the real life Layfield not opened his big trap about the Internet, all the nay-sayers would be on his bandwagon right now. Sure his wrestling is not up to certain standards but what he does do, he does well. And right now, whether you care to admit it or not, he’s cutting the best promos on SmackDown right now.

I also enjoyed the smarminess of his “Rocky” challenge and subsequent squashing of local boy Mike Kruel who surprisingly didn’t wrestle in a medieval codpiece …Hey he is *technically* the newest guy in Bradshaw’s locker room….

Anyway, I enjoyed the squash (Hey kid, you thought he was stiff here! Just wait! …Ok, sorry, force of habit) and more so than that, his facials during Undertaker’s entrance were classic stuff.

Who knows? With a little patience on our part, this title run might not be the act of Armageddon we’ve made it out to be. However, if Heidenreich  (repeat phonetically to get full effect) is the one who costs Taker the title at Summer Slam, I will take my all-in-one remote and drive through my skull.

Spike Dudley Vs. Jamie Noble Vs. Chavo Guerrero; Easily the match of the night, although Chavo looks kind of funny out there as a cruiserweight.

You see Chavo has reached that Owen Hart level, in that he’s really too big to be a cruiserweight, but a little smallish to be a heavyweight contender. It’s his paradox. However, Chavo, if the company asks you to don a hood as the “Guacamole Blazer”, I’d say “No.”

Anyway, as already mentioned, this was a great fast paced match, won by Spike, thus making him the number one contender to his “good friend” (Since when are they friends?) Rey Mysterio’s cruiserweight title. And hey, I’ve watched enough wrestling to know two things. You don’t punch Hulk Hogan…and you never have “friends” in wrestling. This is a turn that even Ray Charles could see coming…umm if he wasn’t blind….or dead. Whatever.

Kurt Angle/Vince McMahon. Tell me you didn’t mark out when Vince did that power walk to the ring looking like he was “prairie-dogging it” after a huge lunch.

I for one totally buy the Kurt storyline. It’s all been tied together now very nicely.

His entire term has been used to really “get back” at those men that wronged him, and in typical “sociopath” fashion, he continues with the lie even though he’s been totally exposed as a fraud. (Not that the giant cast OVER HIS PANTS didn’t tip you off. I mean, how could you change your pants with 15 pounds of plaster fused over your pant-leg? I don’t know about you, but I’m just not that dedicated to my cause that I’d risk the ass-rot that wearing the same pants day in and day out would bring.

Also it would be totally within the limits of his character to, in one fit of glory, fire all those who oppose him. It’s really a shame they only revealed this aspect of his character in recent weeks and not all along. However, it did build the foundation nicely to a program with Eddie…and from there presumably Cena, now that his tenure as GM is finished.

However, unfortunately, much like the boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the gigantic shadow of Steph looms over SmackDown ready to steam-roll the heat of anyone who gets in her way.

Pray that Vince’s mandate of  “limited McMahons” on TV holds out. Because, as I much as I’d like to climb that mountain chain and plant my flag between the peaks of Mount Steph, I know that anytime SD has featured Stephanie as lead babyface, it has sucked worse than a prostitute with a hair lip. GREATEST. VISUAL. EVER.

Now if Vince and company can resist the urge to install Steph back as GM, I’d like to make a suggestion:

No GM. That’s right. It’s TOTALLY played out. Instead, maybe have a board of directors made up of a few entertaining characters to settle things and only appear sporadically. (Think Jack Tunney…only not dead.) This would make great TV (depending on the chemistry of those involved) and would spare us the monotony of having the same tired GM vs. the wrestlers shtick.

 

What Didn’t Work For Me:

Shitty UPN Commercials;

Man I can’t tell you how sick I am of the commercials on this Network.

From shows I wouldn’t ever dream of watching like “America’s next top model” (Do you get addicted to heroin if you have sex with any of those women?) All the way to the Micro-touch hair-trimmer. I mean, dude, if you’re back is THAT fucking hairy, you should be released back into the wilderness, and not be worrying about grooming yourself. It’s a lost cause.

The Divas; I’m sorry but I just can’t suspend enough disbelief to feel sorry for these women getting “fired”. “We’re being underutilized!” Bleh. I have news for you, we all know what the (non-wrestling) divas talents really are. I’d just have to shine a black light on their dresses to prove it….

I mean correct me if I’m wrong, but without a real division on SmackDown, what exactly is these women’s purpose? Well, besides walking around in lingerie, and putting on matches so bad that even Giant Gonzalez shakes his head and says “Man, that sucked”.

The fact is, you can only tease so long before people get tired of it and want you to deliver. It’s like a race horse that doesn’t run. And we all know what happens to horses when they outlive they’re usefulness.

The Dudleys in singles competition; Not bad matches, but The Dudleys are a lot like the Constructicons. Together as a unit, they’re unstoppable like Devastator, but when broken up, they’re bulky and slow moving…Ok, it’s nothing like that. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Transformers once in a while….

Anyway, I realize what they were trying to accomplish with Bubba and Kidman, (They old even-steven booking of you win last week, we win this week) thus building intrigue for the rematch next week. However, D-Von and Mysterio had no business in the ring together (besides to foreshadow Spike’s probable heel turn).

No offense to D-Von, but he’s not big enough to wrestle the dominating monster vs. speedster match that say a Big Show or even Rikishi would provide, but in the same respect, he’s not mobile enough to keep up with Rey and put on an exciting match. And is it me, or does D-Von look like he stepped on a jelly fish? I haven’t seen the good Reverend this bloated in a long time.

Luther Reigns Vs. John Cena; This match just didn’t do it for me, specifically the cheap finish. And lately, to me, Cena has really been hit or miss.

His “Wizard of Oz” shtick last week was GOLD, but the “poop” jokes have to go. I know Vince finds ‘shit’ hilarious, but then again, Vince is probably the kind of guy who laughed when the fat kid dropped his books in school…Wait, actually, that is kind of funny. Haha. Fat fuck.

The match itself wasn’t bad, but uninteresting. Perhaps I just don’t see what WWE sees in Luther Reigns.

I’ve always been of the belief that a wrestler who’s made  “bodyguard” is usually done so because in the ring he has the grace of a hemorrhaging mongoloid, and needs to be protected. And thus as “bodyguards” they get ‘over’ through brief physical interaction and spots that don’t expose their ineptness (see Tomko, Tyson). Bodyguard Diesel in the Royal Rumble 94 was classic good “bodyguard” booking, however, WWF Champion, Diesel was not.  To bottom line this, bodyguards should be restricted to ringside, wearing their giant suits and glasses, and stay out of the ring, unless it’s a battle royale or a tag match where they can be camouflaged by good workers.

But what do I know? Gotta protect that Horshu.

Final Thoughts:

Despite any criticisms I have here, I did enjoy the show. The fact is, I’m basically like that wife that takes a punch in the mouth from her husband, then complains to her friends about the fucker, but when push comes to shove, she sticks by his side because “she loves him!”… It’s like that for me with WWE…only I don’t spit out teeth when I watch SmackDown…

On that positive visual, I leave you good folks.

Sean;

*shit that only I find funny.

 

 

Double M's WWE SmackDown Recap - 07.29.04 by: Michael Melchor

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.

Greetings and all that fun stuff. Thanks again for checking in as YOUR patronage is much appreciated. Can yeh tell I don't have much for an intro this week?

It's been a little busy, really. Starting a new job (in a supervisory position), getting an interview or 3 hammered down...but of course this is all stuff I don't feel like going into gory detail on simply because I wouldn't want you to get bored & tune out before the actual show report.

Coming off a hell of a match, on Monday, tonight we get the announcement of a NEW GM. So, by last count, this makes...#4 in the last couple years? Or maybe #1 again, as I have $5 riding on Stephanie McMahon...

SmackDown - 07.29.04

Show opens with video recap of last week's demotion of Kurt Angle to the active roster, courtesy of Mr. McMahon. I guess we get our replacement tonight? As well as HOPEfully some word on the US Title? I'm not asking much, folks...

Credits and pyro from Cincinnati, OH where TONIGHT: Kidman & London face The Dudley Boyz for the WWE Tag Team Titles. And Vince McMahon announces a new GM. Ain't that what I just said? Cole mentions that everyone Angle fired last week has since been re-hired. Booker T is out to demand the US Title from whomever is in charge around here. According to Booker, the decision was made before Angle was fired and should therefore be honored. Booker is answered by the entrance of Kenzo Suzuki. Booker's upset - he wanted the General Manager, not the manager of some late-night sushi bar (heh). Hiroko declares that Suzuki should be the next US Champion because he loves America. The three (counting Hiroko) continue argue-

And Rob Van Dam joins the party! And so does Luther Reigns! It's the beginning of Raw all over again! Rene Dupree is out, and finally John Cena is the only one to enter the scene with a microphone. He pulls a great Run-DMC classic about who's house they're in and lays his claim to the US Title. Cena enters the ring and all hell breaks loose - until it's broken up by Vince McMahon. He laments how he's the center of controversy (doesn't help that you bring it on yourself, dude) all the time and pawns it off on the new General Manager of SmackDown - Theodore Long! No shit?! Wait, where'd Billy Gunn come from? Long sees 8 men arguing like children and says that only one man is obviously the US Champion - and Booker thanks him. Long cuts him off and corrects him. The one man is whoever wins an 8-Man Elimination Match for the US Title, and with that Long walks away. Not bad at ALL...this might turn out to be fun~! Rey Mysterio vs. Spike Dudley is NEXT as we go to:

Commercial.

Back to

Rey Mysterio vs. Spike Dudley - WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match

Both men shake hands to start in a nice gesture. And soon after it breaks down as both men are after the gold. Rey is out to keep it by eroding the arm and shoulders to keep any pinfall kickout attempt at bay later on when he goes for the knockout moves. Spike wants to attain it by using his tiny (even to Mysterio!) frame to its fullest and put his entire body into knocking someone down for good. He's definitely smart enough to use what he has well and to know Mysterio well, but not quite smart enough to expect those busybodies to get involved, promise or no...

Finish comes when Rey counters the Gut Stomp and goes for the 619, but D-Von is out to "encourage" Spike while Buh Buh trips Rey en route. Buh Buh ducks out of sight and Spike hits the Acid Drop off the ropes for the pinfall victory.

Post-match, Spike realizes what happened and yells at the Dudleys. They, in turn, tell him to enjoy the win. I know I've bitched about this angle so much, but if they add a new dimension to it, it may be bearable to sit through.

Raw Rebound airs, followed by:

Commercial.

Back to Replay of Moments Ago - Spike wins the WWE Cruiserweight Title. During The Break, Spike apologizes to Rey.

Cole and Tazz pimp that Undertaker/JBL is official for SummerSlam and roll video of 'Taker's challenge from last week.

In The Back, Long is carrying the US Title and runs across the Divas (not The Prospective Divas from Raw) and tells them he will never be underutilized on HIS SmackDown. As he enters the office, Angle is cleaning out his stuff and says he's not afraid of Eddie Gurrero. He tells Long that he would have picked him as his successor and put in place the 1st black GM. Long calls his thinking "1985" (Hah!) and puts Angle in a match TONIGHT! Yes! Angle talks his way out of it with some story about his trunks. No! Long fines him for not being ready to work (!) and tells Kurt he WILL be in action next week - and to "get ta steppin'". Nice. Angle leaves his old office for the last time before we go to:

Commercial.

Back to

Billy Kidman & Paul London vs. The Dudley Boyz - WWE Tag Team Championship Match

Pre-match comments from London & Kidman: they have to earn respect each and every time they defend those belts. Got that right.

The Dudleys execute a 2-facet game tied together. Between the size and power advantage they have and their blatant attempts at intimidation ("I'll break your arm, Billy!"), Buh Buh Ray and D-Von pound hard to make London & Kidman regret the upset. Kidman and London, meanwhile, are content to let The Dudleys punch themselves out before going to:

Commercial

and then unleashing a fluid assault from no less than 5' above the mat. If that double-superplex had become the Spanish Fly, I would have gone nuts.

Finish comes when Buh Buh takes Kidman outside as London and D-Von fight it out inside the ring. Rey Mysterio arrives to neutralize Buh Buh ki kicking a chair in his face and London small-packages D-Von for the pin.

Ivory interviews Mick Foley from the Democratic National Convention. Strangely enough, not a word about Flair's book. Matbe he doesn't care as much as I thought he did...

In The Back Of The Arena, Eddie Gurrero arrives in a gorgeous blue lowrider. He gloats to himself (and the camera) about something HUGE he has covered in the backseat, then drives off and takes us to:

Commercial.

Back to Gurrero out to call out Kurt Angle to take care of the receipt from 2 weeks ago. No Angle, so Eddie has some guys unload the covered stuff in the car - and bring to the ring a bunch of stuff that Eddie stole from Angle's old office. Wait, wasn't he cleaning it out earlier? Eddie dares Angle to come out and reclaim it all, but still no Angle. Eddie then offers to put up the memorabilia - a picture of Kurt (with the WWE Title) and Paul E; his wheelchair; his leg cast; an old promo photo of Angle; and his medals - up for auction on WWE.com. Well, damn. The medals seem to be the breaking point, as Angle is out now to tell Eddie to put the medals down. Eddie dares him to do it himself and Angle responds by stealing something of Eddie's - his lowrider. Eddie warns him there's an anti-theft device in place and sure enough, Angle gets a face full of white powder after turning the key. Eddie caps it off by asking for Angle's music and starts the "You Suck!" chant, taking us to:

Commercial.

Back to Replay of Moments Ago - Kurt Angle attempts grand theft auto and gets a face full of powder.

Next week, Kurt Angle wrestles! And so will JBL - on Velocity! Hey, who's been hacking my e-mails? Segue to an over-the-top video for JBL resembling that of a political candidate that's actually pretty damned good!

Rob Van Dam, John Cena, Luther Reigns, Charlie Haas, Kenzo Suzuki, Rene Dupree, Billy Gunn (huh??) and Booker T - 8-Man Elimination Match for the US Title

Introductions take us to:

Commercial

before The match begins in earnest. The psychology here is as it may only be - go with the flow and base what you do on getting rid of the man in the ring with you. As a result we see (the only way to really do this justice and not write a thesis):

Aerial gymnast RVD vs. mat specialist Charlie Haas

Mat specialist Charlie Haas vs. elegantly underhanded Rene Dupree

Cagey veteran Billy Gunn eliminate Haas with the Fameasser after a blind tag that knocked Supree off the top rope and allowed Gunn to sneak in a pin (very smart move), taking us to:

Commercial

Elegantly underhanded Rene Dupree vs. cagey veteran Billy Gunn

The rapid billdozing of Luther Reigns eliminate elegantly underhanded Rene Dupree after a brutal slam

The streetwise ground-and-pound of John Cena vs. the agile bulldozer Luther Reigns. Luther also uses his (apparent) brains and, unbeknownst to Cena, tags in the sneaky martial power of Kenzo Suzuki, who eliminates himself by DQ on the outside when Cena kisses Hiroko (!) and Suzuki responds with nailing Cena in the back of the head, taking us to:

Commercial

Back to the refined impact of Booker T vs. the streetwise ground-and-pound of John Cena.

The streetwise ground-and-pound of John Cena vs. cagey veteran Billy Gunn

Side note: I didn't know the cobra clutch slam was knows as The One And Only until Cole pointed it out-

But it doesn't save Gunn from being eliminated with the FU.

The streetwise ground-and-pound of John Cena vs. the agile bulldozer Luther Reigns again - only this time Luther also gets eliminated with the FU.

The refined impact of Booker T vs. the streetwise ground-and-pound of John Cena again.

Unorthodox fleet footed RVD vs. the streetwise ground-and-pound of John Cena. At this point, Booker and RVD have an obvious target in a very weakened Cena, and they both know it.

Finish comes when RVD hits Cena with the Five Star Frog Splash and Booker T scores the pin. Afterward, Booker takes brilliant advantage of RVD's own impact and hits the Scissor Kick for the pinfall on Van Dam and final elimination. Booker T is (finally) the new US Champion.

Post-match, Booker celebrates to end the show.

I have to say...not bad at all. I've been down on the show the past couple of weeks over a lot of turns that made little sense and had almost nothing behind them whatsoever. But now some of it has taken a different turn (such as the story with all 3 of the Dudleys) and some has started anew (Theodore Long as the GM...I'll still be damned).

Looking back, the last few weeks have read almost like a mercy killing of a direction that was bogging down the show bad. But now we have actual interesting storylines for most of the roster and a LOT of character involved therein.

All-in-all, the little time they took to steer clear of the iceberg has yielded a better result than they might have been aiming for. And with absolutely nothing that insulted my intelligence or made me groan in disgust like The Prospective Divas silliness on Raw that dominated almost half of the show, I have to say that, for once, I'm rather pleased. Hope they keep this up.

L8. Thanks for again reading.

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