Written by: Arnold Furious
We’re in Los Angeles, California. Hosts are Michael Cole & JBL. The latter is on something tonight as he goes off on a rant immediately about how they speak English in America not Spanish and refuses to introduce Cabrera and Savinovich claiming they “make me sick”.
MVP/MNM w/Melina v Chris Benoit/Hardys
Am I the only smark in the world who likes MVP? It seems that way. JBL goes off on another rant at Cole for only saying “oh my” when Benoit comes out here. What is he on? I want some. Mercury and Matt start out with a rather bland brawl. Matt breaks out the Yodelling elbow drop. In comes Jeff, who’s a RAW wrestler btw. So are Nitro and Melina. Odd they keep ignoring the brand split when it suits their mood. MVP gets in with Benoit and MVP gets tired of being chopped and tries to tag out but MNM bail. Frequent tags on both sides follow with Jeff breaking out the entertainment with the mule kick before Nitro slaps him. Jeff gets himself isolated by MNM teamwork though and here comes a heat segment. The heels do an effective job of cutting the ring off. Nitro foolishly allows Jeff space to hit the Whisper in the Wind though and the heat segment comes up somewhat short. Matt gets the tag to virtually no reaction. He does the bulldog/clothesline spot on MNM. Side Effect on Nitro gets 2. JBL is now ranting about Matt Hardy and how he could be a world champion. The heels pick off Matt and isolate him for heat segment #2 and because it’s so soon after the last one the crowd are still biting on it. MVP with a gutwrench suplex and Matt looked like dead weight on that. MVP with his showboating elbow for 2. Mercury tries to take Matt’s eye. Harsh. Melina fucks up her timing on some interference and thanks to Charles Robinson turning around she can’t do it. Nitro in with a smooth looking neckbreaker for 2. Nitro really is improving a great deal. It’s a pity it’s coincided with Melina being a bitch and them being punished for it. Benoit gets the tag after Mercury lets him in. He cleans house and suplexes Mercury onto MVP. He goes for the German suplex on Mercury who grabs Nitro and they BOTH get taken over. Whoa. Poetry in Motion for Mercury and it seems like tags are out the window. Twist of Fate, Swanton and the diving headbutt for Mercury but the other heels make the save. Nitro and Jeff end up fighting outside. MVP goes to bash Benoit with the US title but he’s caught in the Crossface. Little Naitch points out he isn’t legal. Benoit is left with MNM who go for the Snapshot but Matt saves. Benoit rolls Mercury up but can’t get that so goes to the Crossface and Mercury, whose face is being abused in that hold, taps right away at 14.18. ***. Fun formula opener.
BACKSTAGE Kristal stumbles through introducing Vickie Guerrero before delivering another sycophantic interview. Vickie’s opportunity is “close to happening” but she has something to sort out on Smackdown this week first. Can’t we just let Vickie go home now?
ELSEWHERE Little Bastard is scared of Little Boogeyman because “little people are scary”. Finlay gives him a big hug to make him feel better but that’s just an excuse so he can throw him into an equipment hamper. He walks off and of course Little Boogeyman is in there. Little Bastard freaks out and runs away. Midgets are awesome. I heart Little Bastard.
This is a gauntlet match rather than a six way, which sucks.
Scotty 2 Hotty v Khosrow Daivari
So Daivari was a pick for a lot of people. Guess again folks. Crowd is totally disinterested because of how badly their division has been booked. Basically nothing is important until Helms walks out here. Then it’ll be fun seeing if anyone can beat him. This match is a load of nothing before Daivari gets caught in the bulldog. Why does everyone Scotty bulldogs just flip over onto their back afterwards? What’s that about? The Worm finishes Daivari off at 1.38. ¼*
Scotty 2 Hotty v Gregory Helms
New music for Helms, which made me confused as to who he was to begin with. That helpful “Gregory Helms” at the start was a giveaway. Helms goes all shoot style by holding Scotty down and throwing knees. That eats up a great deal of time sadly. JBL goes off on another rant about how cruiserweights are pushing 225lbs so they’re still big guys. Scotty manages a back suplex but when he goes for the Worm he gets cut off and kneed in the face for the pin at 2.05. ¼*.
Gregory Helms v Shoichi Funaki
Some serious barrel scraping in this match. It seems that everyone comes out here I thought got released ages ago. Funaki still has a job? Whatever for? He goes for a crossbody but Helms rolls through it and grabs the tights for the serious speedy job at 0.27. DUD.
Gregory Helms v Shannon Moore
Oh great, the princess of puke. Isn’t she lovely. I am impressed with how solid that Mohawk is. Think of how much semen he must have gone through to get that effect. Helms treats him like slightly less of a jobber possibly because they used to buddy around in Three Count. Mooregasm gets 2 but as soon as Helms kicks out of that you know he’s going to win. Shannon gets the knee to the face at 1.59. DUD.
Gregory Helms v Jimmy Wang Yang
Finally we get somewhere serious. Although Yang isn’t terribly talented he is at least over with the crowd. Standing moonsault gets 2. Thumb to the eye and the legsweep gets 2. Russian legsweep into the Octopus, grounded version, into a pin for 2. Someone close to the ring shouts “boring” a few times. Helms with a big clothesline after Yang misses a moonsault press. These guys have history in WCW too as Yang was in Yung Dragons when they feuded with Three Count. Yang with a rana into the pin and that’s Helms 13 month title reign over at 1.50. Well, that was very underwhelming. ¼*
Jimmy Wang Yang v Jamie Noble
So this is for the cruiserweight title. Helms hits the Eye of the Hurricane before leaving. He’s clearly frustrated and upset. Noble goes for a quick pin for 2. He’s been totally wasted since coming back to the WWE. Think about how hot he was in the Indies, especially for ROH. JBL goes off on one at Cole again. He’s seriously up for this show. I think he might have been at the coffee pre-show. Yang misses in the corner and Noble uses the jeans on the pin for 2. Keep in mind these guys were team mates in WCW as the Yung Dragons. Jamie-San wore a mask though. Yang catches him with a spinning heel kick to the top of the head for 2. That looked good. Noble meets Yang with a flying knee for 2. Noble chops away but can’t get a superplex. Yang dumps him off onto his face and hits a moonsault press for the win and the title at 3.42. ½*. Almost a match there! Seriously though, what was the point of all this? Get the title off Helms? A guy who gets crushed every time he goes outside the cruiserweight division. If they wanted to get someone over they should have just had them straight up beat Helms for the title. Here no one gets over because everyone in the division got treated like a jobber apart from Yang. Ah, but the WWE aren’t done flushing this division down the toilet yet…
Jimmy Wang Yang v Chavo Guerrero
See it was a cruiserweight OPEN so Chavo could enter. At 220lbs he just scrapes into the weight limit. Chavo takes over easily on an already tired Yang. Saito suplex and Chavo doesn’t even bother pinning. Yang breaks out the spinning heel kick but Chavo is already established as a top guy so Yang needs to break out something really special. He manages a plancha but when they get back inside Chavo takes over easily. Three Amigos and the Frogsplash would finish but Yang gets back up because Chavo spends too long showboating. Cole irritates me by claiming that Eddie Guerrero invented the frogsplash. Get your facts right Cole. Ever hear of Art Barr? Probably not. Damn WWE revisionist history. Yang with a super rana for 2. He goes up for another moonsault but Chavo takes him out. Yang is only in contention because Chavo is showboating too much. Yang Time misses and the Frogsplash finishes this at 4.02. ½*. Chavo Guerrero is the new cruiserweight champion. Well the division continues to bury itself thanks to the WWE’s insistence that cruiserweights don’t work cruiserweight style. The closest they have to a guy who does is Yang, the most popular guy in the match. A waste of PPV time. No one cares about the belt change because no one cares about the belt, which has been totally buried over the past year or so.
SHILL – Wrestlemania. 42 days away.
BACKSTAGE Kristal asks John Cena some stupid questions. He’s particularly sarcastic and makes fun of Kristal for flubbing half her lines because we’re live. Cena name drops the Bad News Bears of all things comparing himself and Shawn to them. He says he’ll fight as hard with Shawn tonight as he will against him at Wrestlemania.
Fit Finlay/Little Bastard v The Boogeymen
JBL gets pissed off about all the freaks in the ring. Cole starts with the height gags and his voice is starting to go. Uh oh. JBL decides to have a pop at Cole for being xenophobic and “anti-immigration”, which is rich considering how he patrolled the US-Mexico border during his angle with Eddie Guerrero stopping wetbacks getting into the country. JBL gets so upset he can’t come up with a new insult and calls Cole “non-heterosexual”. Finlay tries his best at working with Boogey but ends up just letting Boogeyman do all his crap. In comes Little Boogeyman, which is great because Little Bastard, who’s been hiding under the ring, demands a tag. In he comes, off comes the hat and the jacket and the crowd goes NUTZ. I mean mental for Little Bastard rolling his sleeves up. Finlay was totally faking Little Boogeyman out though and boots him in the face sending worms flying everywhere. Brilliant. Little Boogeyman comes back with a SMALL package. You see, because he’s short. Finlay comes back with a SHORT arm scissors. I think we’re out of height related moves now. The Boogeymen switch under the ring and they goof around some more on the floor. There are worms all over the ring. That can’t be good. Boogey runs through some more crappy offence. Finlay just seems content to let him do whatever knowing full well that no one will remember any of this shit. Boogey throws Little Boogeyman onto Finlay for 2. That Little Boogeyman sure is a fat bastard. Little Bastard makes the save with the shillelagh, which is only for him to distract Boogeyman. This gives Finlay the chance to bash Little Boogeyman with the shillelagh for the pin at 6.45. I laughed loud and hard the first time I saw that. *1/2. It was fun crap. Could have done with more laughs and less Boogeyman.
BACKSTAGE Kristal gets a word with Shawn Michaels who again states that he only trusts Triple H, not that he should, and doesn’t trust John Cena. But he’s going to make sure Cena gets to Wrestlemania in one piece.
King Booker w/Queen Sharmell v Kane
This feud has been weak in booking terms. Booker has been doing his best with limited segments to make it work but there isn’t much doing. I also don’t think Kane should be going over anyone at this point. What’s he being kept strong for? Cole’s voice is really going now. Booker tries the MMA circling approach so Kane opens up with strikes after cutting the ring off George Foreman style. He could probably use one of his grills too, if you catch my drift. This match is slow and plodding because both guys are making it up as they go along and that isn’t when Kane is at his best. It was so dull I actually fell asleep during it when I was watching live. I woke up in time for the main event. There’s a great bit here where Booker is clotheslined outside and Sharmell goes to check on him but Kane follows out and she freaks and runs the other way. Like when Booker abandoned her the other week she loves her man but not enough to put herself in harm’s way. I like the dynamic they have with stuff like that. Booker runs Kane into the ring steps and hits a missile dropkick for 2. Kane comes back and goes for a diving clothesline but Booker kicks him in mid-air. Between high spots this match has been really painfully slow. Booker with the back kick for 2. Kane slowly moves around into position for Booker to hit him with the flying forearm. His timing is starting to go in his old age. Booker gets all excited and lays in a load of chops. Kane folds in the corner looking like he’s blown up. Booker tries to suplex him but can’t get it. Kane reverses into his own. They lie around for a while. Booker is up first and hits a thrust kick. Again both guys lie around for a while. No wonder I fell asleep during this. Kane throws some weak looking punches. Booker avoids a chokeslam and goes for the scissors kick but Kane just moves. Clothesline and they lie around some more. FEEL THE WORKRATE! Kane lays in with the 10 count punches and he really is starting to look like crap. I think age has finally caught up with Glenn Jacobs. Sideslam. Kane goes up top again and this time scores with the diving clothesline. Sharmell jumps on the apron but Kane scares her. Booker hits a sidekick but then just walks into a chokeslam and that’s it at 12.39. ½*. Really, really boring. I think Kane needs to be in a retirement angle and shipped off before the summer. His decline is increasingly rapid and worrying. I hope he saved his money.
SHILL – DX DVD. Don’t let the fact one of them is injured get in the way of selling stuff.
BACKSTAGE Kristal continues her night of straight up interviews by talking with Dave Batista. He says that Smackdown is going to “beat up on Raw”. Kristal reminds Dave that Taker chokeslammed him on Raw a few weeks back. A little shit stirring there!
Tag titles – Paul London/Brian Kendrick (c) v Deuce/Domino w/Cherry
Champs have had the belts since May. This was originally due to be a 4-way ladder match. I don’t know why they announced that. They must have known where the Untouchables angle was going. No Ashley Massaro out here. The challengers have beaten Londrick twice and then Kendrick in singles last week. For me that seems to scream “losers” on PPV. I even called it three weeks ago. I just didn’t expect the Untouchables to get a title shot on PPV. Not at this early juncture. JBL points out that Cole is losing his voice “and also your damn mind”. London isn’t intimidated and Domino probably doesn’t expect to get slapped but he does. The champs start making tags early and they’ve already got better teaming skills than in the past three weeks. They pick off Domino and specifically his arm. Domino bails for Deuce to fire him up. London fights off a double team but then Deuce is in with a backbreaker for 2. Domino sure looked fucking useless there eh? The heels work London over so I guess it’s his turn to take a heat segment. Domino acts like a jerk and goes to a rest hold. I hate this guy. He doesn’t look like the gimmick he’s playing, he barely acts like it and he’s at best a mediocre wrestler. Deuce comes in to helpfully drop London on his head. He sends 50’s style abuse towards Kendrick. Not sure if he told him to “sit on it” or not. More heat on London. Crowd is chanting “Cherry”. This crowd sucks. They haven’t cared all night. But then the WWE is hardly giving them reasons to care so I guess they’re justified. Deuce cheap shots Kendrick to prevent the hot tag. Deuce with a nice trip up to stop London hot tagging but then Domino, like a chump, lets him tag out with a sloppy backdrop. Then he starts falling over before getting dropkicked. Kendrick kicks away at Deuce but runs into a big overhand punch. The heels look for the Doomsday Device but Kendrick ducks into a victory roll for the pin at 8.06. *1/2. Curious finish. Another mediocre match between these two teams. The champs are significantly more entertaining. Their only problem on Smackdown is a lack of teams to work with. Which is weird because Raw has a tag team division (WGTT, Highlanders, Cryme Tyme etc) but seems incapable of using any of them. WGTT should come over to Smackdown and work for six months with the champs. That’d be awesome.
SHILL – “Powertrip” by Monster Magnet, which is the theme music of this PPV. It’s also fantastic, which is weird for the WWE. Not only a good song promoting the PPV but the Wrestlemania one is good too.
CLIPS – Bobby Lashley’s biography. He still has no personality but things like this help. Get. Him. A. Manager.
BACKSTAGE Mr Kennedy is interviewed. He has that weird intense stare again. He calls Lashley, and LA, phoney wannabes. The idea here being that the crowd were cheering Kennedy at Royal Rumble so they need to heel him up a bit for this show. He points out that everyone in LA wants to be rich and famous but he had a dream too but he’s standing here and they’re sat there paying to watch him. Lashley strolls in to wonder if anyone has seen his charisma lately. Sadly no one has. Kennedy goes to punk him out but Lashley blocks it and lays him out.
ECW title – Bobby Lashley (c) v Mr Kennedy
Could ECW be anymore of a joke? The company that’s so extreme it’s represented by a vanilla midcarder who’s been in one hardcore match ever. Kennedy jumps him from behind during the entrances. Lashley overpowers and dominates the early going. They brawl around ringside a bit. Why isn’t this a no count out match? Count outs are not extreme. This is a fucking PPV you know. Kennedy gets laid out a few more times. Crowd isn’t impressed. JBL mentions the SEVEN world champions Kennedy has beaten. CHUG! Lashley takes his sweet time over a clothesline, which leaves Kennedy just staring at him. Boy, did he look like an idiot there. Kennedy hooks on the reverse figure four. JBL mentions the seven world champions he’s beaten. CHUG! This reverse figure four goes on for ages. Lashley doesn’t even look in pain because that would require displaying emotion. So this is really dull. Lashley turns it over and gets out but Kennedy picks off the leg and starts assaulting it. Half crab from Kennedy and that’s on for ages too. Like we really needed another yawner on this show. Kennedy keeps on the leg. Cole’s minimal PBP is allowing JBL to run a stream of consciousness, which is far more interesting than the match because he’s talking mostly about psychology. Cole just about manages to call a DDT. That voice is all but gone. JBL talks about how the leg work allows Kennedy to assault the head. Crowd is BORED big time. They’re just not interested in the lengthy rest holds that have proliferated this match. Well, the entire night. Rolling Fireman’s carry but the Kenton Bomb gets knees. Some folks are now booing Lashley. He comes back with a t-bone and JBL name drops Hiroshi Hase because he’s practically doing the PBP. Lashley with the Rack but he can’t do that properly. Kennedy isn’t really selling it either. Make me think the match could be over. Come on now. Kennedy comes back with a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Lame ref bump follows. They proceed to do nothing while the referee is bumped. Kennedy bails for a chair and the crowd wakes up. The referee is doing a horrible job of selling this bump. Kennedy manages a chair shot but Lashley grabs the chair and the ref miraculously comes around to see him use it for the EXTREME DQ at 15.23. ¼*. That was so horribly tedious. What were they thinking? It felt like they were told to deliberately not have a good match because it’d mess with the main event or something. The ECW title goes further down the crapper as they can’t book a finish on two straight major defences.
POST MATCH Lashley wears Kennedy out with a chair and still no flicker of emotion. Has this guy even got a pulse? He’s like the Terminator only with less personality. JBL continues to rant about this for some time. Cole segues it into Rey Mysterio being on Smackdown. He’s still rehabbing his knee.
SHILL – The Condemned. Looks very generic. Hopefully the script is better than the clips. Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones star. Cole has Vinnie Jones at ringside. He says he’s the star of that movie not Austin. He says he’d kick Stonecold’s arse. So, Wrestlemania then? Vinnie is a big wrestling fan. That could work. JBL calls it the best action flick he’s seen in years. It looks like No Escape. That movie was very “meh”.
Diva Talent Invitational
The Miz is hosting. ECW’s Extreme Expose kicks this off. That’s Layla, Kelly and the other chick dancing in the ring. Layla is the leader because she used to cheerlead. Larry’s “Nitro Girls” comparison is fairly accurate. Yeah, they can dance and they’re pretty but I’m still struggling to care. Next up is Jillian Hall. She calls tonight her big break. She claims to have a record deal coming up because she’s written a song she’s about to perform. Her warm up is horrendous. I fast forward the actual song. Painful doesn’t some it up. Miz makes fun of her and the crowd boo. Jillian continues to ramble into the mic wasting PPV time. If her aim was to make me hate everything she stands for then mission accomplished. She runs down Candice Michelle, Maria Kanellis and Ariel who all come out here to kick her ass. The Extreme Expose ends up rolling around with them and that’s good for chuckles. The referees get booed. HAHA. Where’s Ashley? “Let them fight”. Ashley unveils the cover of Playboy and for a bonus strips. She has Playboy bunnies over her nipples. Miz pronounces her the winner. Ashley seems comfortable with her body! I can’t help but think this was another WWE thing where they killed a bunch of PPV time for no real reason. I guess something had to go into the dead spot before the main event but the entire show has been dead so I don’t think it really matters. The worrying thing was even though this segment wasn’t very good it wasn’t close to being the worst on the card.
John Cena/Shawn Michaels v Undertaker/Dave Batista
So here it is the prestigious main event. Each tag team will face each other for the respective brands title matches at Wrestlemania. Cole’s voice is on the verge of disappearing. Everyone gets good reactions. JBL talks about how he’d give up everything just to get one more main event, one more Wrestlemania. He’s envious of all these guys right now. Cole has gone very quiet. I think he’s trying to save a little something for later but it’s too late for that. JBL brings up whether anyone will double cross someone here. He thinks it’s a case of when not if. Crowd is mixed with Dave battling Cena. Dave breaks out the Jackhammer for an early two count. Shawn gets a tag and lays in some chops. Compared to Dave he looks really scrawny these days. They sleepwalk through some stuff with Shawn taking bumps but not really with any purpose. Just to show he can. Taker gets a tag and the reaction is big, which shows the crowd wanted to see that Taker-Shawn match that Vince thought they didn’t want to see. Taker breaks out Old School before scaring Charles Robinson out of the ring. JBL reminds us it’s been 10 years since Taker-Shawn and the first Hell in a Cell. Shawn does the quick punches in the corner, which is how he started out in that particular match but he runs into a boot showing Taker has a decent memory. Dave gets the tag and starts working the arm. Shawn strikes at him to try and stop that. Dave looks very pedestrian since his injury lay off. Cena in and there is notable heat among the girly cheers. Taker in too and Cena bumps for him a while. This doesn’t have a big match feel to it. They really dropped the ball by having nothing at stake in it. It’s just a match. No one seems really motivated, more cautious. Cena picks off Taker on the ropes and superplexes him. Shawn gets a tag and chops away again. Flying forearm. He nips up but Taker goozles him. Shawn with more chops. Taker presses him over the top rope. Cena bitches about that while Dave runs Shawn into the ring steps. The Smackdown guys have been a touch more unpleasant here. More aggressive, if you will. Cole is still talking. Just. Dave boots Shawn in the jaw. That was excessive. The Smackdown guys continue to team well to keep Shawn isolated. Taker with a sideslam for 2. Who’d have thought Taker would stay mobile longer than Kane? Everything they do that’s similar Taker has always been better at but now it’s noticeable that he’s still on a decent level while Kane isn’t. More heat on Shawn until he comes back with a DDT on Dave. Hot tag to Cena and Cole has given up trying to talk leaving JBL holding the entire commentary together. Cena breaks out the diving Rocker Dropper for 2. Big pop for that. Flying shoulderblock on Taker. Dave gets the Protobomb. Dave can’t see him. Five Knuckle Shuffle. He goes for the FU but Taker boots him in the face. In comes Shawn to send Taker outside and it feels like we’re heading to a finish. Taker posts Shawn back first. Cena runs into a big slam off Dave. He calls for the Demonbomb but Shawn clips the knee. He tags back in and stomps a mudhole in the Mighty Dave. Cena adds in a kick from the outside. Shawn tags out again “get him”. JBL is doing a great job on commentary. It’s not even that noticeable that there’s no PBP guy. Shawn with an Enzuigiri for 2. Dave has been isolated for a while. Shawn grinds away with a facelock and somehow that opens Dave up under the eye. Dave backdrops out of another facelock from Cena but goes to tag out to Shawn. Oops. Cena hooks the STFU. Dave actually makes the mistake of tapping Cena’s forearm but luckily the referee doesn’t call it. Taker wants to win this one though so he strolls in to boot Cena in the head. Shawn back in and the Raw guys have done well as a team in the second half of this one. Savage Elbow from Shawn and Taker gestures towards Shawn. “Suck it” says gestures Shawn. He goes for the superkick but Dave ducks into a Black Hole Slam and we get two hot tags. Crowd loved that. Taker gives Shawn the Snake Eyes and the big boot. “Welcome to Mr Boot” – JBL. Taker works over both Raw guys with clotheslines and calls for the double chokeslam. Shawn ends up getting thrown off to be spinebustered by Dave. Chokeslam for Cena. Taker makes the mistake of doing that throat cutting gesture while looking at Dave. He remembers when Taker did that on Raw and gives him the spinebuster. Dave has decided that making that decision was better than winning the match. This leaves Taker prone for the superkick into the FU, which finishes at 22.10. ***1/4. A decent tag match. Much like the opener only with bigger name guys.
Final Thoughts – 4.5
A bunch of crap book ended by two decent tag matches. Not what I expect from PPV. Even single brand WWE PPV. While the tag matches are decent one of them needed to be blowaway. Dave’s attack on Taker doesn’t really compensate the fans for what preceded it. Thumbs down.