And as far as I’m concerned, the writers did much better with this pre-PPV Smackdown! than they did leading up to No Mercy.
Shall we Swanton, everyone?
What’s the big story this week? Matt Hardy, of course. As Wrestle Zone reported earlier, Hardy suffered a seven-inch gash on his head during his tag match with MVP against Finlay and Rey Mysterio. The blood was flowing pretty heavily and even Mysterio, whose knee brace was the unfortunate culprit behind the gash, could be seen with Hardy’s blood on him.
The gash required 35 stitches, and according to a blog post by Hardy he now has one eye swollen shut. Despite the injury, Hardy finished the match and said he will be competing at Cyber Sunday against MVP for the U.S. Title.
What a trooper. This just goes to show all those who still call wrestling “fake,” that despite any scripting that may be involved it takes great athletes with tremendous skill to do what they do – and still accidents may happen. Definite props to Hardy for his endurance.
Also, props to tonight’s ref (Jim Korderas, I believe – correct me if I’m wrong) for immediately checking and continuing to check on Hardy’s status after the injury.
Must â<80>¦ fight the â<80>¦ urge to â<80>¦ keep â<80>¦ repeating myself â<80>¦ ARRRGH!
I just can’t help it. Any time I see Big Daddy V step out, he’s almost an instant Downsider to me. Granted, he looks mean as hell. I certainly wouldn’t want to get caught in a dark alley with him. In fact, with all I’ve written about him, I should probably just hope I never meet the man period. But anyone whose entire chest hangs down over their gut really should wear a shirt.
Well, Big V was involved in a triple-threat match with fellow ECW title contenders John Morrison and The Miz. It looked as though Morrison and Miz would do the wise thing at first and combine forces against the monster, but Morrison promptly shoved Miz into V who quickly began annihilating his prey.
Morrison took the opportunity to jump V from behind, but he was promptly picked up and slammed to the mat as a reward. V placed both his opponents in the corner for a big avalanche, followed by a double-clothesline that sent both of them outside the ring. V went for another avalanche on Morrison and Miz after lining them up against the ring post. As if you couldn’t see this one coming – they moved.
Rather than capitalizing, Morrison and Miz went at it, with Miz gaining the upper hand quickly with a kick to the mid-section of a charging Morrison. Morrison landed a kick to the head of Miz, however, to take back momentum for a few moments. Miz regained control and seemed to be on a good roll after raking the eyes of his opponent, putting Morrison on the second rope and then vaulting himself over Morrison and the top rope to hit a Hangman of sorts.
But V was rested and waiting and nails Miz as quickly as he hits the floor. Morrison attacked V on the way back into the ring, but a Samoan drop quickly put an end to that. Add a side slam to Miz and V takes the win.
In case you were wondering why I didn’t do a detailed recap of the Matt Hardy/MVP vs. Rey Mysterio/Finlay tag match in The Headliners, now you know why. This one was not only the best match of the night (not that there was a whole lot to choose from) but also carried the heavy storyline for the evening as well.
Smackdown! opened with the VIP Lounge and two sets of rival partners, MVP and Hardy of course, and their opponents later, Rey Mysterio and Finlay. MVP starts by letting everyone know they are guests in his Lounge and he expects them to act accordingly. Yeah – like this one’s not going to degenerate?
Finlay puts down Rey a bit while speaking of their upcoming PPV match, and good ol’ 619 responds with mucho Espanol which only Hardy and MVP seem to comprehend. Rey turns the conversation toward MVP and Hardy’s Cyber Sunday match, and the tag champs continued to voice differing opinions on that one. Hardy, who has the U.S. Title to gain, seems to think the match will be good for their partnership while MVP, the champ, spoke of their “friendship and relationship” as tag champs.
In one of the great one-liners in recent times, Hardy referred to he and MVP as “the most fully functional dysfunctional team” in the WWE. Time for some degeneration, though, as Rey showed a general dislike to being shoved repeatedly throughout the segment by Finlay and decided to express that dislike by attacking Finlay, putting him out of the ring and then dropping him once more.
Says Matt Hardy to his partner, “And we thought we were bad?”
Move ahead now and these unlikely partners must work together. Hardy and Finlay start things off with some of the standard lock-ups, and Finlay quickly tags in Mysterio. Rey applied an armbar to Hardy, who reversed and put Rey down in a Hammerlock. Rey works back up and pushes Hardy to the corner where a waiting MVP tagged in.
MVP put Rey down with some elbows, but the high-flying one turned momentum with a Hurricanrana. Both competitors tagged out putting Hardy and Finlay back into the match. Finlay attempted a single-leg takedown but couldn’t quite take Hardy off his feet. A couple of shoulder blocks from Hardy dropped the Irishman, who quickly tagged his partner back in.
Mysterio was quickly on the attack, but Hardy put him down with a clothesline followed quickly by a scoop slam and an elbow drop for a near fall. Tag goes to MVP who turned up the offense on Mysterio with kicks, focusing on the knee of 619. Rey mounted enough of a counter to get the tag to Finlay who began driving knees into the back of the U.S. Champ. He followed with a scoop slam for a near fall.
A hard whip sent MVP bouncing out of the corner, then Finlay decided to have a seat (firmly so) in the middle of MVP’s back. Another near fall, but MVP’s foot found the rope. Finlay tagged in Rey who catapulted himself over the top rope onto MVP. Rey then went to the top rope, but a quick reaction from MVP straddled Rey on the top turnbuckle.
MVP again focused on the knee of Mysterio, who recovered by nailing MVP in the jaw with a kick. An inverted mat slam of sorts ended that, however, and MVP had a near fall broken up by Finlay. Hardy entered the ring to balance things out, but it was only moments before each set of partners was turning on each other in verbal spats.
Back from a commercial break, and Hardy is dishing out some hard-pounding offense on Finlay. He tagged in MVP and the pair both commenced with dishing out more punishment. Finlay escaped long enough to attempt a tag, but Mysterio backed away and refused to exchange places with his partner and eventual opponent. MVP then put Finlay in the corner and hits some shoulders to the gut. Finlay finally got a blow in edgewise, and got the tag from Rey who nailed MVP with a drop kick for a near fall.
After a leg drop from Rey, he locked MVP’s head in a leg scissor, but MVP escaped and reversed it into a leg lock on Mysterio. He then maintained his focus on the knee by picking it up and dropping it to the mat. Rey rolled away to the ropes, but his partner walked over and shoved him back into the ring with his boot. MVP tagged in Hardy who set Rey up for a slam, but Mysterio reversed into a Huricanrana, the move that left Hardy with the large gash on his head. Hardy still had the wherewithal to hit the Side Effect for a near fall.
Rey got the tag to Finlay who mounted a heavy attack to the now-bloody head of Hardy, including driving his head into the mat with his knee for a near fall. A couple of kicks to the head were followed by a hard clothesline and a tag back to Mysterio.
Rey appeared hesitant at first, showing his face side, but then kicked Hardy to the second rope for perfect 619 position. MVP tagged himself in, however, and went to intercept Rey but was put down right next to his partner and they shared the wealth of the 619. Rey next lunged over the top rope, but Finlay was waiting with shillelagh in hand for a hard blow to the gut. One Playmaker later, and MVP pinned Mysterio for the victory.
Afterwards, keeping with the “why can’t we be friends” act, MVP appeared to be guarding a very bloody Hardy from Finlay.
– Kane vs. Mark Henry. Still selling his rib injury from his match on ECW, Kane had a bull’s eye on him as the Silverback put Kane down right away and targeted the ribs. The match was back and forth, but looked as thought it might go Henry’s way when he locked in the bear hug. Kane fought back with some punches and head butts and a firm grip to Henry’s throat, who proceeded to drive Kane into the corner. Kane nailed Henry with a boot to the skull and an uppercut, then went for a choke slam. Henry escaped by again targeting the ribs of the Big Red Machine, but a second attempt at a choke slam soon after would prove successful and Kane scored the pin.
– Jamie Noble again opened his big mouth to GM Vickie Guerrero, coming on to her actually. Just when he thought he was making progress, however, he found himself in another squash match – this time against the World Heavyweight Champion. An intimidated Noble entered the match and merely pissed Batista off with a kick to the gut and a couple of blows. He was quickly speared, spinebustered (hmm – don’t think that actually qualifies as a word) and Batista bombed. Game over.
– In another quick match, Jesse and Festus destroyed to guys whose names I don’t believe were ever even shown. This really can be a great tag team, just wish the gimmick was different.
– JBL was in full campaign mode tonight, complete with banners, buttons and T-shirts begging for votes to be special referee at Cyber Sunday in the Batista vs. ‘Taker match. The man put on one hell of a promo toward the end of the show, complete with a campaign commercial that would be the envy of many political candidates. Unfortunately for him, he pushed it a bit far when it was time for an in-ring interview with The Undertaker. He told the Dead Man to put a T-shirt on and pledge allegiance to JBL. When Undertaker didn’t immediately take him up on the offer, JBL said that Batista may have never beat ‘Taker, but he had several times. Not tonight. Choke slam from ‘Taker ends the ranting of JBL.
– The same SAVE_US.X29 promo aired as had at Raw, but unless Iâ<80><99>m mistaken there was one slight difference. At the very end, Cyber Sunday could be seen flashing across the screen. It’s no big secret, we believe, as to what’s going on – I personally am looking forward to (hopefully) seeing Y2J this Sunday.
– The two Diva Search finalists remaining were allowed to diss each other for 30 seconds. Fun fun.
Don’t like my take? Let’s hear yours! Send me your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org … the best and worst of the bunch may be featured in the weekly editions of Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80><99>s Pullinâ<80><99> No Punches (found in the editorial section). Remember, short ones are good, long ones may be cut, and keep the name of the column in mind when you come looking for answers!
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