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COMMENT





Smackdown!: Battle royal mayhem
By JON WALDMAN - SLAM! Wrestling


Greetings one and all and welcome to the Smackdown! report. I\'m Jon Waldman, subbing for Dale while he celebrates the American turkey festival.

We begin Smackdown! tonight with the nearly the entire roster of male wrestlers on the ring apron and GM Paul Heyman holding court. He announces that tonight there will be a Battle Royal that will determine the number one contender for the heavyweight title. That contender will cash in tonight and face Brock Lesnar in the main event. Lesnar comes out to add his two cents, amidst chants of \"you tapped out.\"

Before the segment ends, however, we learn that Chris Benoit and John Cena will have to earn there way into tonight\'s bout. Cena faces A-Train while Benoit faces…

Match 1> Chris Benoit vs. Matt Morgan

And another rookie is set to get a wrestling lesson. Benoit attacks before the bell sounds, but Morgan gets the adv. To officially start the bout. The two then go back and forth for quite some time, and Morgan is doing a good job of hanging with the Crippler.

Morgan gains the control and really, really impresses me. He\'s a little green and his moveset could use some work, but that will come with time. We get a variety of moves, but no pin attempts from Morgan. Morgan at one point goes for the Bossman rope vice but Benoit moves. Benoit goes to the top for the Swandive, but Morgan moves. Morgan sets up for the sit-out P-Bomb, but Benoit escapes and hits the Crossface for the win.

Winner: Chris Benoit
Rating: 4 out of 10 - Solid but unspectacular, this one was better than I thought it would be.

Backstage, Jamie Noble is suspicious of Nidia\'s blindness, and doesn\'t want her coming out to the ring. She wants to come, and the lovebirds compromise, with her sitting with Michael Cole and Tazz. Nidia, as odd as it sounds, is actually showing some good acting here.

Back from break, we get two CGI turkey versions of Cole and Tazz. I have no dea of the point behind this, but it was funny.

Next up is another promo for the Cat. Yay.

Match 2> Jamie Noble vs. Akio

I was thinking about this the other day - given his martial-arts background and stunning moveset, Akio should be moved into a Bruce Lee-type gimmick. Maybe even have someone like Ricky Steamboat or Mr. Fuji act as a sensei as we see him go through training to become a blackbelt. Just a thought.

Akio is accompanied by Tajiri, but no Sakada. Akio starts off quickly, but Noble gains control, throws Akio out and hits the Tope Canadiene. He chases Tajiri through the ring, and meets a spinning Muay Thai kick from Akio. That gets two. Akio and Jamie trade sleepers, Akio getting out of Noble\'s with a chin-breaker that gets two. Nidia\'s acting continues to impress me on commentary. We then head into NINE pinfall reversals and end it off with a double KO clothesline! Hot! Back up and chops are exchanges until Noble gets control. he gets two off a swinging neckbreaker, but Akio reverses the flow and gets in his own offence, including the Hangman\'s chokehold! I love that move. Since Tajiri\'s Tarantula is very similar to this one, I shall dub it the Arachni-lock unless someone can come up with a better name.

Tajiri sneaks over to the announce position and start messing with Nidia. Of course, Tazz is retired, so he can\'t do anything. Noble, in the ring gets a top-rope superplex that also gets two. Nidia starts to move her hands up Tajiri\'s legs as he motions for… well, you know, except she low-blows him. Tajiri\'s eyes bugging out is a site to be seen. Back in the ring, Akio gets a roll-up for the three-count.

Winner: Akio
Rating: 6 out of 10 - This was a hot bout, but the finish cost it a few points. It could\'ve been better and I hope to see these two mix it up again. I seem to be saying that about Akio and everyone these days.

Backstage, Paul Heyman gives Shannon Moore a pep-talk, shills the Smackdown! mag, and announces that Moore will face Nathan Jones.

Before the break we get a Thanksgiving greeting from Mysterio Jr. Hey Rey, you\'re a month la… oh yeah... Americans.

Match 3> Shannon Moore vs. Nathan Jones

Where\'s my remote control?

Jones tosses Moore around in what is a glorified squash. Jones looks better, but he\'s facing a man half his size. That doesn\'t impress me. Hell if I had a guy like Shannon Moore bumping like crazy for me I\'d look impressive.

I\'d hit the remote right now, but I\'m just waiting for Moore to actually get a move in. Jones wins after, of all things, a gutwrench suplex. F\'get about it.

Winner: Nathan Jones
Rating: 1 out of 10 - Moore did everything to make Jones look good, and he looked slightly impressive, but the gutwrench as a finisher sucks big-time.

As we take a break, I have to comment how geniously hilarious the Solo WWE telephone commercials are.

Next up we get another CGI graphic with a trurkey doing the Guerrro entrance. Again, funny but pointless, though I suspect the web division of PETA is pissed.

Backstage, Chavo and Eddy chat. Chavito says he will back Eddy.

Match 4> Charlie Haas vs. Eddy Guererro

Shelton Benjamin is with Haas. Before the match we see a recap of last week\'s goings-on. Early on, Eddy gets a Tilt-a-Whirl backbreaker for two. Eddy gets Haas into the corner and Chavo gets some stuff in. Haas takes control, however, and gets a back-breaker-plex for two as the back-and-forth stuff continues. Haas gets a back suplex for two, and keeps control with Move #483 (back-bending armbar). Eddy fights out and gets some turnbuckle smashes and a \'rana. He follows it up with the suplex trio.

Benjamin gets up on the apron as Eddy heads up for a hilo. Haas rolls out of the way and Eddy rolls through and attacks Benjamin. As the ref checks on Benjamin, Eddy grabs Chavo\'s crutch (sending Chavo down in the process) and nails Haas with it for the duke.

Winner: Eddy Guerrero
Rating: 4 out of 10 - Cheat to Win! Nice, but too short.

Post-match, the usual beatings take place, with the Edy making the eventual save for Chavo. Chavo as always, is pissed at Eddy. Upside - Chavo finally shaved his beard down to a goatee, so he no longer looks lime Mr. Kotter.

Match 5> A-Train vs. John Cena

What? No! I wanna see A-Train and Bradshaw\'s rubber match! Damn you WWE! Damn you to… oh who am I kidding.

Cena gets ready to rhyme but A-Train breaks that up. We start with back and forth action and A-Train slides out of an early F-U attempt. Back in, it\'s more back and forth action until A-Train gets a thrust kick. He then hits his usual assortment of moves. Bulldog Slam gets two. Train moves to the abdominal stretch but Cena fights out of it. He sets up for a fall-away slam, but forgets the away part and A-Train falls on him for two. Remote patrol calls until Cena gains control with an over-spin neckbreaker. Cena hits a variety of good stuff and gets a bodyslam on the big man. A juke-and-jive fist-drop gets two. A-Train re-gains control, but that doesn\'t last. 180 back suplex gets two, and Cena calls for the F-U. he sets it up, but A-Trian escapes and gets the Baldobomb for two. A secondd try gets two also. In frustration, A-Train gets chairs and chucks them in, but Cena reverses the flow and picks up the win after the F-U.

Winner: John Cena
Rating - 3 out of 10 - Watchable when Cena was in control, but A-Train continues to cause me to use my remote.

Next up, we get ANOTHER Cat promo. For god sake this had better be huge with the build-up Miller\'s getting.

Back from break and we have Bob Holly via remote satellite. Damn him, he\'s getting over.

Back to the ring, the butler guy brings out the Cat, who… dances… THIS is what all the build-up was for? Oh wait, it gets better. He brings out hometown girl Torrie Wilson to dance with him. I think this is the biggest WWF/E Thanksgiving turkey since the Gobbeldygooker. This sucked the life out of the crowd, and had me hitting the FF button big-time.

Before break, Cena offers up some Thanksgiving thugga-love.

Fortunately for the WWE, I\'m a fan of Battle Royals, which is up next.

Match 6 - Battle Royal
Tone of people in here, so I\'ll just list them off as they go. For some reason, I should note, the Bashams come out in Demolition-type vest-thingys, and one of them is wearing a mask. It\'s getting stupid guys, time to make then a NORMAL tag-team.

Johnny Stamboli is out first, courtesy Big Show. Show gets hit by Ultimo Dragon and teeters on the ropes, but a cross-body ends up bad for Mr. Asai, who gets dumped, followed immediately by Orlando Jordan as Show clears the ring. The masked Basham is next on Show\'s hitlist, as Rey tries to \'rana Chuck Palumbo out. No dice. Show is dominating everyone, and damn it if he doesn\'t look impressive in doing so. Eventuall, all of the wrestlers do the big-man-gang-up on Show, and after a couple attemps get him out. I love that spot; so sue me.

During the break, Jones was thrown out by Bradshaw, who was in turn eliminated by Rikishi. Eddy\'s almost through out by Scottie II Hottie, but Mysterio Jr. saves him. Then, Eddy, the LCS kinda guy he is, tried to eliminate Rey. Gotta love it. The two renew acquaintances and have soe good stuff going. Rey tried to headscissor Eddy out, and nearly does it. But Eddy slides in under the ropes. Sweet! Scottie is dumped by Palumbo, but stops on the apron. A-Train goes for Palumbo, but hits Scottie out for good this time. He turns around and gets hit by a Gore from Rhyno, who gets a pop as a result. Eddy then finishes A-Train off with a dropkick. Morgan then throws Rhyno out as we see Benjamin and Mysterio go at it. A bunch of guys end up in the corners, leaving room for Mysterio and Bejamin to take centre-stage. Rey rana\'s out of a powerbomb and gets the 619. He\'d spend some time on the apron as a bunch of wrestlers team up on Rikishi to get the other big man out. They succeed, kinda. Near the end of the toss, Benoit and Cena team up to dump the lot, and Haas, Palumbo and Morgan are out.

We\'re down to the last six. Mysterio attempts a spring board cross-body on Cena and Beniot, but much like Dragon before him, he\'s tossed. The Unmasked Basham misses a blind charge on Cena and we\'re down to the final four. Benoit, Eddy, Benjjamin and Cena each get in a corner and have a short feel-out before they pair-off. Eddy hits a pump-up rana on Benoit in a cool spot, then pairs up with Benjamin. Everyone\'s looking impressive here as Benoit takes over on Benjamin. Eddy gets the suplex-trio on Cena and nearly gets him out, but Cena grabs all three ropes to avoid getting tossed. Nice visual.

Back to ring action and the signature moves start. Benjamin gets a powerbomb on Eddy, who Benoit gets the hat-trick Germans on, who\'s Frog Splahed by Eddy, who gets F-U\'d by Cena, who gets hat-trick Germaned, who gets the Superkick from Benjamin. Damn that was fast and furious. Benjamin tries to throw Benoit out, but Chris gets the Steamboat rope grab, and eventually puts Benjamin out with an inverted rana! Holy that was sweet. Eddy soon gets thrown out by Benoit, and we\'re down to two.

Benoit and Cena go at it, and it\'s back and forth until Benoit gets the Crossface. Cena taps quickly, further putting the move over. Benoit hangs Cena on the rope and tries to push him off the apron. Cena, however, reverses, and tries to F-U Benoit out. Both men struggle, and end up hitting at the same time!

Winner - ???
Rating - 7.5 out of 10 - Damn that was a hot Battle Royal. Hotter than most I\'ve ever seen. The finish made sense.

On the outside the refs argue as Lesnar comes down for his match. Heyman follows, and announces that Cena and Benoit will face each other next week, with the winner facing Lesnar later on. Following this, Lesnar hits Cena with the belt, and is attacked by Benoit. Team Lesnar then comes out to take care of both men, and Lesnar finishes the show with F5\'s on both men.

Overall, this show was a good watch. The only mishaps were the Jones match and the Cat debacle. Miller\'s debut will go down as one of the worst in WWE history, and that\'s saying a lot.

Still, a good Akio/Noble match and a sweet Battle Royal made this one worth the two hours.

Plummer should be back next week. So until we meet again, this is Jon Waldman signing off; and remember, as we always say here at SLAM!, \"Don\'t get eliminated!\"

Keep it real.

Jon Waldman\'s TV fill-in reviews will soon be fully archived on his website, jonwaldman.com. Remember to e-mail him with your survey votes.