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Smackdown: Cena draws the gauntlet
By CHRIS SOKOL - SLAM! Wrestling


With the Great American Bash approaching along with WWE Bad Blood, Smackdown had to combat with Raw's amazing show this past Monday. Although Raw is more of a legends based show, which, to make a long story short, attracts more long-time viewers, Smackdown has the talent to draw just as many viewers. Let's check out what Smackdown put in front of the WWE fans heading into WWE's Great American Bash.

We kick things off with the regular recap of what happened last week. The Deadman was given a choice. Join the Dudleys or Paul Bearer would be in some steep trouble.

Kurt Angle along with Luther kick off Smackdown in the ring. Kurt is very upset over being knocked out of his wheelchair the prior week due to a John Cena/Booker T brawl. Booker T joins them in the ring and proclaims his innocence in the whole ordeal. Booker leaves, cue "Basic Thuganomics", John Cena comes out and tells Kurt that if he meant to hit him, he'd still be in the hospital. Kurt doesn't like what he just heard so he creates a gauntlet for John Cena and whoever beats him will be the No 1 contender for the US Title. The challengers: RVD, Rene Dupree, and Booker T.

Kenzo Suzuki Promo. I love the fact that WWE is bringing back the gimmick style of wrestling. I find the gimmicks to be an interesting way to get over.

We go to a replay of JBL talking about the match between him and Guerrero at GAB being a Bullrope Match.

Match 1 - Kenzo Suzuki vs Scotty Too Hotty

Great entrance for Kenzo Suzuki. He does the Harley Race/King Haku, sit in a chair and have your "servants" carry you to the ring. He reminds me of the Oriental hitmen back in the 1990s WCW with the way he moves around in the ring and looks. Kenzo is dominant and just does to Scotty what Mordecai did to him at Judgement Day. Kenzo picks up the big V in his debut.

Winner-Kenzo Suzuki

They show The Rock on Access with the governor of California, Arnold. The Rock's doing well in Hollywood and his surprise WWE appearances have helped him more than anything.

Kurt Angle talks to the US Title contenders and wishes them all luck as they prepare to face off against John Cena.

The Undertaker is shown by himself thinking about what to do.

We go to some JBL footage. He has a group of "immigrants" shining his boots and pampering him, inside of a nice fancy NYC building. JBL makes a good heel. He's really grown into the part. At first everyone was kind of sketchy on the whole deal, but JBL has done well for himself and the Smackdown company despite his recent actions in Germany. He's a heel, he's supposed to be bad.

JBL gets into his limo, which is in the back of the Nassua Coliseum. Once he gets in, we find out that Eddie Guerrero will be driving. The limo speeds away with Eddie behind the wheel. This reminds me of the Stephanie McMahon/Undertaker abduction. Always a good thing to throw into a storyline like the Eddie/JBL one.

The Dudleys are shown backstage talking about the whole Undertaker/Paul Bearer situation they have on their hands.

Match 2-Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs Rey Mysterio Jr. w/ Chavo Sr. commentating

Great cruiserweight contest with Chavo Sr getting the best seat in the house with Michael Cole and Tazz. Reminds me of the old WCW, high-impact, quick-paced action. Back and forth with each man hitting their spots. Rey Mysterio his finisher and picks up the victory with the three count.

Winner- Rey Mysterio Jr. Postmatch- Chavo Jr and Sr. have some words with each other.

JBL's limo arrives all banged up. Eddie gets out and we see JBL in garbage in the backseat. Eddie pumps up the crowd as het cuts a promo. JBL is distraught at the condition his limo is in.

Match 3-John Cena vs Booker T (First Gauntlet match)

They are given five mintues Booker T goes to work on John Cena. They go back and forth until they hit the five minute draw.

Winner- DRAW

Match 4- John Cena vs Rob Van Dam (Second Gauntlet match)

RVD comes out and him and Cena go at it. These two just like Booker did with Cena, battle back and forth. RVD had the upperhand on Cena but could not put him away and they hit the five minute draw.

Winner- DRAW

Match 5- John Cena vs Rene Dupree (Third Gauntlet match)

Like their prior matches, this one goes back and forth. Rene Dupree gives it his all but tonight it's not enough to put away and determined John Cena and these two hit the draw.

Winner- DRAW

Kurt is not happy with this at all, so he gives our French friend Rene Dupree another five minutes with John Cena.

Match 6- John Cena vs Rene Dupree

These two go at it once again. These two will put on an entertaining match. WWE should continue with their feud as they did with Shelton Benjamin and Randy Orton. John Cena is able to get Rene in trouble and hit the FU for the one-two-three.

Winner-John Cena

Kurt Angle is furious and says at the GAB it's going to be a Four Way US TItle Match with John Cena defending against, Rene Dupree, Booker T and RVD. Booker T comes back out and starts swinging. RVD comes out Booker and Rene leave and RVD gestures that he will be the next US Champ.

The following was the Paul Heyman/Undertaker confrontation everyone was waiting for. Paul Heyman comes out with the urn and requests that the Undertaker come to the ring. Undertaker comes down to the ring with his grand entrance. Paul holds the urn high in the air and Undertaker drops to one knee and holds out his arm just like he did in the old days!

WWE Smackdown put out a shorter product than the Raw brand. It was easy to spot. You must give credit because from what I heard things were a mess due to the late taping of the JBL promo. The writers panicked and threw together this match that did not make the air,

Match 7- (Did not air) Mordecai vs Paul London

It was a legit last minute deal and was said to be so bad according to the writers that it would not make the final cut for Smackdown. With all due respect it's not their fault. They were told this match would take place literally minutes before it did. I admire the fact that they went through with it and tried their best. GIve them notice and time and that would be a match to behold. The winner though was Mordecai.

Winner-Mordecai

Smackdown has one more week to get some buyers interested for GAB. Let's check 'em out next week as they plead their final bid.


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    Chris Sokol is from Long Island, NY.