We began the show with a contract signing between Batista and Vickie Guerrero for the World Heavyweight title match at Night of Champions. Vickie explained that two stipulations have been added to the contract mandating that Batista has to win a main event match against Khali later in the night, and that if he loses the match he will be “banished from WWE” as The Undertaker was. Now while I like the idea of Batista having to be put through the proverbial wringer in order to face Edge at Night of Champions, I don’t like the use of the “banishment” stipulation a second time. Once again it adds a level of predictability to the show as there is virtually no way WWE is going to do without Undertaker and Batista at the same time.
This brings us to our first match of the evening, a singles contest pitting Finlay vs John Morrison. This was a solid match that saw Morrison get the victory with a roll-up after a distraction from The Miz. Morrison again looked great here and is proving, in my opinion, to be one of the most unique and innovative performers on the Smackdown/ECW roster. He delivered a few beautiful looking kicks while Finlay was solid as always which combined for a fun opening bout. My only complaint here was the match was a bit short for an opener. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give this match 5 stars.
Next up is what I suppose I’ll have to start titling as “The Tommy Dreamer Squash of the Week.” Dreamer continues to job to more and more talent, sometimes twice in one week if he appears on SD and ECW, all the while solidifying himself as completely incapable of getting in more than about 30 seconds of combined offense. I understand this is not his fault, and for the record I am a huge Dreamer fan, but I just can’t stand watching him go down this path week in and week out. So this week it was Tommy Dreamer vs Mark Henry in what I just thought was a useless match. We have seen Henry in countless numbers of squash matches, and if there’s anything more boring than watching a competitive match featuring Mark Henry, it’s watching a squash match featuring Mark Henry. Nothing of note to say here. 3 Stars.
We now know that a Smackdown/ECW Diva will be facing Natalya for a chance to win a new Diva’s title that will be debuting in the coming weeks. I like the fact that the Diva’s on Tuesday and Friday nights will now have a championship reason to wrestle as opposed to simply wrestling for the sake of competition, but I am ultimately opposed to WWE adding more titles to an already cluttered title picture on all three brands. I have always felt that WWE should move all the talented Divas to one brand to compete for the women’s championship and then get rid of useless bikini talent that can’t compete on the level of the serious female talents. But alas, Friday Night Smackdown saw Cherry vs Maryse in a singles match that hoped to get the attention of Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero. I think they should have a women’s tournament to crown Natalya’s opponent as opposed to Vickie simply picking someone based on the impression they make on her. In any case, this was a bland match that saw Cherry pick up the win over the very slowly improving Maryse. 4 Stars.
Back from commercial break and it’s time for our hour one main event featuring CM Punk vs MVP. This was a long, intense, near 20 minute bout that although slow at times was a solid competitive contest. These two talents are in my opinion two of the best competitors on the WWE roster, and more importantly, are guys that officials need to start bringing to the top of the card. People are starting to get bored with guys like Batista, Edge, Orton, Cena, HHH, and there are talents like MVP and Punk that are ready to be brought up to the next level. My hope for the draft is not so much to see new talents on news shows, but to see new talents finally rise to the top and become bigger players in the main event scene. That said, the bout between MVP and Punk was good this past Friday Night. It got bogged down a bit in the middle by too many rest holds and a weak finish, but otherwise a solid performance by both former champions. 6.5 Stars.
Chavo Guerrero has been granted a shot at Matt Hardy’s United States Championship at Night of Champions, and this past Friday Night the number one contender was looking to soften up his opponent. In singles competition, it was now time for Matt Hardy vs Chuck Palumbo. I’ve said before that I like Palumbo’s current gimmick and I think he’s a competent in ring performer. My only problem is that he has never had much of a program to speak of since debuting on Smackdown a while back and seems to be meandering around the card. I’m not sure where WWE plans to go with him and I’m not sure where they should go with him. He seems to be more or less a limbo player. Hardy got the clean win in the match with a quick Twist of Fate and it’s on to Night of Champions against The Mexican Warrior. 5 Stars.
Could we finally be seeing the end of Deuce and Domino? Will they continue as singles wrestlers if they are in fact done as a team? Who would you like to see pushed as a singles player between the two of them? Would you rather them both be “put to sleep?” These are some questions that popped up upon seeing Deuce and Domino seemingly split up after Friday Night’s losing effort. The match saw Deuce and Domino vs Jessie and Festus, with biscuits and gravy picking up the win after Festus cleaned house. For the record I don’t like either of these teams. I think Jessie and Festus are stale as a gimmick, and I think D&D are just plain boring in the ring. So this match was nothing to speak of in my opinion. The real meat and potatoes came after the match when we saw the apparent demise of a team that’s actually been dead for quite some time now. 4.5 Stars.
It’s now time for our “win or go home” main event of the evening Batista vs The Great Khali. This was a match that anyone could have predicted the flow of without having to watch it. Kick, punch, block punch, kick, Khali smash, Khali pick guy up and throw him, more kicks, more punches, Khali loses out of nowhere. There really only ever needs to be one review of a Khali match as none are ever different and if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Batista wins with a spear and goes on to face Edge at Night of Champions. 5 Stars.
Overall this was a very uneventful edition of Friday Night Smackdown. There was little in the way of creative storytelling and only one match worth calling great. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give Friday’s broadcast 4.5 Stars.
-If Vickie wanted Punk to be “taken care of,” why not put him in something a little more brutal than a normal singles match?
-Miz and Morrison vs Finlay and Horny might be fun. If it’s not booked as a complete comedy match, I’d actually want to see it take place.
-Henry and Khali should create a tag team known as “Team Dark Match.” Their gimmick is that they wrestle only on off days in empty arenas when tapings aren’t happening. They’d get over HUGE.
-Chuck Palumbo looked like Slash just ate Axl Rose.
-If Tommy Dreamer’s finisher was called “getting pinned,” he’d win every match. He should think about making that change.
-If Deuce and Domino split up, will one of them have to move to the other side of the other side of the tracks? It’s confusing.
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