Friday, February 02, 2007

WWE SmackDown! (26.01.2007)

Wow, a Go Home show that didn't bore me to tears! I tend not to like the Go Homes because everything's already set in place for the big show and you tend to be left with some very 'safe' booking and no major developments but I ended up being fairly entertained by this show. Downloading to an iPod for convenience and having the commercials cut (trimming the show down to 90 minutes) certainly helps but the fact they threw some decent stuff out there coupled with having not seen SmackDown! in a while (I always find it quite enjoyable to dip into, unlike RAW which I watch nearly every week and find a chore to sit through at times) meant a pretty fun show.

Batista (World Heavyweight Champion) vs. Gregory Helms (WWE Cruiserweight Champion)

Why is it that whenever I catch the blue-brand, Gregory Helms (Cruiserweight flagship no-less) is being squashed by a heavyweight main-eventer? Last time it was The Undertaker, this time it was Batista. Helms appears to have reached his zenith in WWE having racked up an impressive year-long run as champion so I guess it at least makes sense for him to occassionaly mix it up with the big boys but naturally WWE likes to underscore the difference in stature by having the big guy kill the little guy with relative ease. Here, the Demonbomb wrapped it up in a mind-blowing 3:08. Even JBL ragged on Helms by saying he would always pick a good big man to beat a good little man. I know it's been said a billion times but so much for the cruiserweight division. Helms could use a better theme too, his current one is l-a-m-e.

Chris Benoit vs. The Miz

Bow down to the God of professional wrestling, as Benoit carries Miz to a believable scrap. Well, believeable in so much as it was a solid match as opposed to believable that Miz could hang with Benoit on any level but still. Crossface takes it at 6:08, and Benoit is still the fucking man.

Deuce & Domino (w/ Cherry) vs. John Robinson & Adam Evans

As a regular OVW viewer I can safely say that I've never seen anything in Deuce or Domino. I've never found them interesting personalities or particularly exciting performers but in the space of one showing, I've realised I quite like them. I actually knew from the second I heard WWE was planning a 50's gimmick that it'd be fun, and I knew the second they made it to the big leagues WWE would turn an averagely-performed gimmick into a big league funfest. I love their look, I love the theme, I love that Cherry has rollerskates like a waitress at the diner, and I really like the dynamic of her being Deuce's girlfriend and Domino's sister. Whether or not they can hang in the ring remains to be seen and I guess we'll find out when they mix it up with Brian Kendrick & Paul London, but for now I'll just sit back and enjoy JBL riffing on Michael Cole for having rollerskated as a kid and bringing up The Dynamic Dudes. Duece boots Evans in the face for the win at 3:15.

- Backstage, Teddy Long tells MVP he has to wrestle Kane tonight or he'll lose his spot in the Rumble. And that's tabernacle! I honestly almost spit my drink out when Long said that.

King Booker vs. Finlay

Nothing much going on here as both guys were heels and crowd didn't have anyone to cheer for until Little Bastard started chasing Sharmell around the ring and everyone gets counted out at 6:18. They didn't seem to be working towards anything (and I guess there wasn't any need to with that finish) and there was a severe lack of a dynamic to latch on to and work with. They're both talented enough guys but when they're both trying to dominate and neither man is giving an inch then you've just got a stalemate that nobody can really get into. Booker playing the spunky babyface to Finlay's veteran bully in 1998 was a much better example of what these guys can do together than their 2007 dynamic could achieve.

Paul London & Brian Kendrick (WWE Tag Team Champions) & Ashley vs. MNM [Johnny Nitro, Joey Mercury & Melina]

Pretty good, but tragically short (snapshot finishes Kendrick at 5:29, hopefully setting up MNM as tag team title contenders when their series with The Hardy Boyz wraps up). Ashley still shouldn't be in the ring (redundent I know) but I guess it's something we'll have to accept with her Playboy shoot on the way. Presumably this also bags her a prime spot in WrestleMania whilst London & Kendrick are banished to the pre-show Battle Royal or something. Here's hoping they work in London & Kendrick to the MNM/Hardyz feud and bust out a TLC at Mania, could be an easy MOTYC.

- The growing feud between Batista and The Undertaker has been absolutely exceptional thus far. I assume they'll ruin it with smoke machines and floating rings soon enough but thus far, everything has been believable, fresh and exciting, leaving me hyped to see a bout that I thought sounded dreadful on paper. The thought of these two at WrestleMania didn't appeal to me in the slightest, but damn if they haven't gotten me interested. Using Mr. Kennedy as the instigator has been great as his general dickishness has driven a wedge between the top two babyfaces on the show, putting more heat on himself whilst simoultaineously getting heat on the Bastista/Undertaker program. Michael Hayes in my new booking hero.

Kane vs. MVP

Not particularly interesting but psychologically superb with Kane working over MVP's previously burned back in a number of different ways. MVP's burn coming through his DDP-rib tape was a nice touch too but this just seemed to keep going far longer than they needed to for what they were trying to achieve. After a lengthy ass-kicking, MVP gets lucky and gets himself disqualified for using a chair at 7:57, before trying to set Kane on fire post-match. Michael Cole's call of that was unintentionally amusing as he freaked out at the thought of seeing another man get burned just a couple of months after calling an inferno match but he'd already lost his credibilty for ragging on MVP trying to back out of the match due to his injuries despite his support of Batista for giving up the World Title due to the same thing.

This could definitely have done with less time which could easily have gone to the six-person tag match but then I guess Kane is a more deserving star than the longest-reigning tag team champions since Demolition or something.

Over-The-Top-Rope-Challenge: King Booker vs. Chris Benoit vs. Finlay vs. The Miz vs. Kane vs. MVP

Seems a bit unfair for MVP to have to go in right after taking a shit-kicking from Kane while Benoit cruises past Miz then has an hour to rest-up but hey man, that's just tabernacle. So this is the second Battle Royal thsi week in the lead-up to the Royal Rumble and again, they just meander about without purpose until Finlay dumps Kane (hooray!), then dumps Miz (huzzah!) , then the lights go out and The Undertaker turns up and kills everyone.

So yeah, fun show although I got kinda bored during Kane/MVP. 45 minutes of ECW is much breezier than 90 minutes of SmackDown! and thus easier to digest with less going on. I guess that's why commerical breaks can sometimes be a good thing. JBL meanwhile continues to be the best announcer in wrestling today, but he comes across as very Jeckyl and Hyde to me - sometimes his announcing is great, really fresh and funny and different to everyone else in WWE and I can't help but like him, until I remember what a dick he is. Ah, well.

Nothing to go out of your way to see but a decent waste of 90 minutes to get hyped for the Rumble.

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