Friday Night Smackdown!
Albany, New York
December 5, 2008
results thanks to pwtorch.com
-Extended clips aired of last week's Beat the Clock matches, ending with Vickie Guerrero's announcement that Edge would defend against Triple H and Jeff Hardy at Armageddon.
-The Smackdown opening aired. Then Jim Ross and Tazz introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. They don't announce the city they're in now because they're taping two Smackdowns at a time and don't want to give away that they're in the same city two weeks in a row. It does feel strange not having the city they're in acknowledged, though.
1 -- EDGE vs. FUNANKI
Edge walked to the ring with Vickie Guerrero. Ross said "WWE higher ups" intervened and put both Hardy and Triple into the title match at Armageddon. Funaki jump-started the match and even hit a big DDT off the second rope for an early pin attempt. He scored two more two counts with leverage pins before Edge was able to gain his composure. Funaki hit a crane kick and scored another two count. Edge had enough and nailed Funaki with a boot to the face, then finished him with a spear. Ross said regarding Edge: "The eyes of that man tell a very dangerous, complex story."
WINNER: Edge in 2:00.
-Vickie got into the ring and asked everyone to join her in another round of applause for "their" WWE Champion, Edge. She said he looks so great and it's so good to have him back on Smackdown. She said it's only fair that since he had to compete tonight, his opponents at Armageddon also wrestle. She announced that Triple H and Jeff Hardy will team together in a tag team gauntlet match. She let out a big "Excuse me! Excuse me!" (I can't believe they don't have t-shirts for that yet. Seriously, I think it'd be the best selling heel t-shirt in WWE for a while.) She said the only way the match will end is when Hardy and Hunter finally lose. She cackled with self-pleasure at her own evil scheme. Of course, Hardy and Hunter should just lose on purpose right away.
2 -- MICHELLE MCCOOL vs. MARIA
Maria took a bump by doing the splits mid-ring. Ross said, "That hurt me just looking at it." McCool applied a bodyscissors and sleeper mid-ring at 2:00. Maria fought out of it within 20 seconds and delivered a jaw-jacker. She elbowed McCool as she charged her, then clotheslined her twice. Her clotheslines do not look good. Maria ducked a McCool round kick and schoolgirled her for the win.
WINNER: Maria in 3:00.
-Backstage Maria excitedly asked the other Divas backstage if they saw her win. McCool walked up to her and kicked her in the gut. The other Divas just watched. Carlito and Primo just stood there and watched, also.
-Tazz told Ross that two divas who used to be friends sure are going at it. Tazz has a lot of grey in his goatee now. I remember back when he was an indy wrestler walking around a bar with a lot of hair on his head, and now he's almost professorial! Ross threw to the video package on Mr. Kennedy's first movie, "Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia." Can't wait! Lots of things blowing up, just like in Dukes of Hazard. Remember when Spike TV was The National Network, they had "Pop," and they built their network around Raw and Dukes of Hazard?
-Big Show looked into the camera and said he had a big reminder of what he's capable of. A video package aired on Undertaker taking the KO punch to the chin against Big Show. After the video, he said it'll be just the two of them in a cage with his fist, without any other tables or caskets or other gimmicks. He said they're both going to hell and only one of them is coming back. Good promo, but that blue screen has to go. It looked like it was just dying for a You Tube spoof image to be added to the background.
-WWE Fact: WWE is no. 2 in Yahoo searches for 2008! WWE beat Barack Omaba, American Idol, Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, and Angelina Jolie.
-MVP addressed the crowd from mid-ring. He said that everyone knows he's been on "an extraordinarily bad run of luck" lately. He said if it weren't for bad luck, he'd have no luck at all. He said he wasn't able to secure the victory he needed before Survivor Series, and as a result he lost his incentive clause. He said he was going to take that money and buy some great gifts for his family, but now he can't. (First O.J. earlier today and now a sob story from MVP.) He said WWE took away his all-star entrance tunnel and his spectacular pryo display. He said what they can't take away is everything that made him MVP. He said the man who pops up and spouts off is about to popped in the mouth right now.
2 -- MVP vs. HURRICANE HELMS
Helms has a new entrance song. He's grown his hair out. Ross said it's been a year since we've seen him in the ring. He said he had serious neck surgery. His new look includes a much less cut physique. Tazz observed that MVP seemed a lot less confident and cocky than before. The crowd chanted, "I'm just saying." Well, I should say about five or six fans near a ring mic. It didn't catch on. Helms hit a deep armdrag and then applied a cross armbreaker. MVP grabbed the top rope right away to force a break. MVP came back with a big boot to the head. Then he applied a cool mat hold where he wrapped up Hurrican'es arms with his legs and then applied a headlock. The back and forth action continued for a minute with Helms hitting MVP on the back with his spin round kick. Tazz pointed out he wasn't even sure where he caught him because it didn't look good. Helms pointed to the sky afterward, surely a signal to his mom and step-mom, both of whom died in the last year. He seemed to get a bit choked out. In all honesty, not an impressive return for him. His timing didn't seem right and the flabby belly is something that doesn't go over well with Vince McMahon.
WINNER: Helms in 4:00.
-In a back hall, Triple H confronted Jeff Hardy. He told him if he gets in his way tonight, he won't make it to Armageddon. Hardy said he's sick of him and he'll see him in the ring. Hunter said if he wants to hit him in the head with a chair again, "try it, try it." Hardy stared him down briefly, then walked away without further word. Good way to add tension to their match right before it begins.
-A commercial aired hyping Armageddon's Chris Jericho vs. John Cena match.
3a -- TRIPLE H & JEFF HARDY vs. ZACH RYDER & CURT HAWKINS
Ryder and Hawkins are still with the promotion? Man, did they drop off the face of the promotion. Ross noted again that WWE higher-ups intervened in last week's controversy and forced the three-way match at Armageddon. Triple H tagged himself in. Hardy didn't like that. Ryder jumped Triple H right away, but Triple H gave him a spinebuster seconds later. He then gave him a Pedigree for the apparent win. Hardy, though, dove off the top rope with a Swanton. Triple H had to move. Hardy landed on Ryder. Hardy got up and had a brief staredown with Triple H. Hawkins ran into the ring, so Hardy cut him off as Triple H went for the pin. They shoved each other, but the music of Miz & John Morrison began.
WINNERS: Triple H & Hardy in 2:00.
3b -- TRIPLE H & JEFF HARDY vs. MIZ & JOHN MORRISON
The match was joined in progress with Hardy beating up Miz. The fact that wrestlers trust each other to just lie there as their opponent drops a knee toward their forehead is one of the most amazing aspects of being a pro wrestler. It cost Bret Hart against Goldberg, and Steve Austin against Owen Hart, and Droz against D-Lo Brown among other screw-ups, but it's relatively rare. After a couple minutes without disputes between Triple H and Hardy, Ross said we shouldn't get a false sense of security about their ability to continue to coexist peacefully. Miz and Morrison were able to double-team Triple H for several minutes, tagging in and out while isolating Hunter. Hardy didn't seem bothered by Hunter being on defense for so long.
At 8:00 Hunter hot-tagged Hardy. He cleaned house on both heels. Ross wondered aloud how things would have gone at Survivor Series had Hardy participated as scheduled. Four-way action broke out. Hardy launched himself onto all three others on the floor, taking both opponents and his partner down to the floor hard. Hunter recovered and attacked Hardy. He threw him into the steel steps and then the ringside barrier. Several referees came out from the back to try to restore order. Hardy reversed Hunter into the steps. The referees pulled them apart. Several security members joined in.
WINNERS: Miz & Morrison via countout at 10:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Solid action. The heels were just extras as the real purpose of this match was to build tension between Hunter and Hardy - which it did with success. Well done segment, and it's nice to see Miz & Morrison not sacrificed for Triple H. When Triple H is given a chance to plow through several tag teams, he usually seizes the opportunity.
-They replayed the brawl between Triple H and Hardy at ringside.
-Edge and Vickie gloated backstage after watching their plan play out. Edge said those two can't see eye to eye. He laughed. Vickie said her plan was brilliant. She said she's matching Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy one-on-one next week. Edge said they'll tear each other apart and that's why she's brilliant. Vickie said she's so glad he appreciates her. Hardy barged in and broke up their special moment. Hardy said, "So you wanted to see me?" Edge said he wanted to set the record straight because he's tired of him blaming them for taking him out of the Survivor Series. He told him to think about who had the most to gain and the least to lose - Triple H. Triple H walked in and said, "You wanted to see me?" Hardy immediately pounced on Hunter. They had another pullapart brawl. Tazz exclaimed: "Bedlam!" Security got everyone out of the room so Edge and Vickie could make out. The camera thankfully zoomed in so we could really feel their love.
4 -- CHAVO GUERRERO vs. MATT HARDY
Ross said regarding Hardy, "Of course, we see him on Tuesday nights." That's about as far as WWE goes these days in acknowledging the soft brand split that sorta still exists but barely. They ought to just have ten exclusives with each brand and then let everyone else float from brand-to-brand. It'd at least explain why some wrestlers appear on multiple shows despite "belonging" to a single specific brand. Hardy hit an early bulldog for a one count. One counts are nice because they make two counts more dramatic. Ross began talking about Randy Orton vs. Batista. He said he can't wait to see that match, years in the making. Too bad it's a supporting match when it finally happens rather than the centerpiece main event for a world title. At 3:00 the reason for this oddly pointless match existing became clear as Vladimir Kozlov charged into the ring and gave Hardy a boot to the face. He knocked Chavo out of the ring, then tied Hardy's arms in the ropes. He headbutted him viciously and then trash-talked him in Russian. Several zebras entered the ring and magically talked Kozlov into leaving in peace. Kozlov returned to the back. They showed Hardy pointing at his chest and gasping for breath as medics tended to him.
WINNER: No contest in 3:00.
-Backstage they showed The Great Khali gargling backstage. Ross said it was time to lighten the mood a little with another Khali Kiss Cam. In a hilarious scene, Ranjin Singh patted him on the back and Khali swallowed the mouthwash. He rubbed his stomach and smiled.
-The DX toy elimination chamber commercial aired.
-The Great Khali walked to the ring with Singh. He wore a big Santa hat. They showed women jumping up and down in excitement at his arrival. They showed a lot of WWE fans kissing. There were a lot of "How did he/she end up with her/him?" mismatches this week. Singh then asked who wanted to kiss Khali. Khali continued to act bashful. The camera showed various woman, including a sixtysomething woman who didn't know she was on camera until someone nudged her. She laughed when she saw she was on the big screen. Singh said he wanted to offer some help. He called out "Santa's little helper." Chrismas Eve walked out (get it, it's Eve). Ross said he'd rather give than receive. Singh told Khali to hold mistletoe above her head. He did, and then Eve kissed him. It was a good solid four second basic lip lock, for those wanting play-by-play. Sing said, "As Great Khali says, make love, not war." Tazz said it must be great to be the Great Khali.
5 -- THE BIG SHOW vs. UNDERTAKER -- Cage Match
This was the least hyped mega-match ever on Smackdown. They just didn't do a good job providing the proper sense of this being a big deal during the show. Other than that Show soundbite earlier, you'd hardly know it was scheduled. When Taker entered the ring after his elaborate ring entrance, Show smiled and looked as eager to play as Kevin Garnett just before tipoff. Show powered Taker into the corner as soon as the bell rang and pounded him with headbutts and body blows. This started with 18 minutes left in the show, plenty of time for a memorable TV main event if they're up for it and booked for it. Show set up Taker for a corner swing splash. Taker moved, although Show's legs still caught Taker. Show struggled to get up. Taker recovered and got to his feet at the same time. Taker punched Show against the cage. Then he tested the strength of the cage walls by taking running starts with a body check and a big boot. On the third charge, Show caught him with an elbow. Show threw Taker into the side of the cage.
Show remained on offense after the break, throwing Taker into the cage. At 6:00 Taker showed signs of a comeback. At 8:00 Taker went to the top rope for his walk-the-rope spot, but Show punched out of it and hit a superplex. By 9:00 they both climbed to the top rope and exchanged punches. Taker eventually hit Show with a barrage of short jabs to Show's face. Show was unsteady and teetered for a dramatic few seconds before collapsing to the mat. Taker climbed to the top of the cage, did the cut-throat gesture, and then rolled his eyes backward. Then rather than climb to the floor to win, he went for a top rope legdrop. Show moved. Taker landed with a thud. Show made the cover, but Taker rolled his left shoulder up just before three. A minute later Taker countered a chokeslam attempt with a DDT. He made the cover. Show kicked out just before three. At 13:00 Show went for a chokeslam. Show powered out and chokeslammed Taker. Show fell backward afterward, but then crawled over for the cover. Taker powered out just before three. Taker blocked a right hand megapunch by Show. When e charged at Show seconds later, Show KO'd him with his megapunch. Just as Tazz declared Taker knocked out unconscious, Taker sat up. Show grabbed him by the throat. Taker slipped on his Heaven's Gate submission. Show struggled to escape, but eventually tapped out. Ross called it an amazing confrontation between two rivals. The show ended as Taker celebrated the win.
WINNER: Undertaker in 15:00.
STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Some big spots and good near fall drama, but pretty plodding and slow paced most of the time, so it's neither a must see classic nor a total bomb.