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Smackdown: Champions reign on
By CHRIS SOKOL - SLAM! Wrestling


Smackdown has returned from Iraq to deliver some holiday cheer to the United States. Last week we saw minimal feud build up, due to the fact that the show took place in Iraq and was for the troops, so tonight expect there to be more hype than ever before, as WWE has some making up to do.

We open the show with Teddy Long saying that tonight is a "Night of Champions" as a treat for us supporting Smackdown, saying that all the champions will be defending their titles tonight, and the champs get to choose their challengers. He says that 2004 was off the hizzle for sizzle, and that 2005 will be even better. YIPEEEE!

Out comes John Cena who has a mic and does his little rap for us. That belt of his makes me sick. Cena now calls his fans, get this, "The Chain Gang". I am sure the D.O.A. are real happy about that. Cena goes out into the crowd and hugs his fans, or shall I cay his Chain Gangers, boy that sounds ... weird. Anyway, while he's in the crowd he gives his throwback jersey and chain to a kid in the crowd. Cena says that he doesn't care who steps up to challenge for his title. "The French Phenom" comes out and yaks with Cena, which leads to ...

Match One- WWE United States Championship Match- John Cena vs Rene Dupree

These two go at it back and forth, until Cena knocks Dupree down and then puts on his robe. We see "The French Tickler" 5 Knuckle Shuffle. Rene rolls out, and Cena chases him, dragging him back to the ring. Dupree catches Cena with a slew of boots. Dupree whips Cena into the turnbuckles, and then sets him up for a suplex, which is blocked, Cena goes for a flying crossbody, but he misses. Dupree then does "The French Tickler". The two go back and forth once again. Hotshot on Dupree. Cena pumps up his sneakers, and hits Dupree with the F-U for the one-two-three.

Winner and STILL WWE United States Champion Via Pinfall- John Cena

Backstage Amy Weber and JBL are talking, when they run into Joy Giovanni. Weber starts taunting Giovanni, claiming she gained weight. Giovanni fires right back, until JBL starts screaming at her. That prompts The Big Show to come out, Big Show asks if JBL was trying to run, but JBL says that he doesn't run from anybody. Big Show tells JBL that he should put the title on the line against him tonight, JBL replys by saying that he will take that into consideration. Big Show then asks Giovanni if shes alright as her stares down the hallway.

We return to Kurt Angle coming out with his security guards, as it's time for the Kurt Angle Invitational! Angle gets on the mic and says that JBL is generous, loves children and is kind to animals. Angle goes on saying that JBL is the most fighting champion of all time. Angle basically wants to the title shot tonight. Angle calls out his opponent, who is none other than Ring of Honor's own Matt Stryker.

Match Two- Kurt Angle Invitational- Kurt Angle vs Matt Stryker

Angle hits Stryker with the mic, busting him open. He then takes him down into the rope. Angle takes him down again and locks the Angle Lock on him, forcing Stryker to tap out.

Winner Via Submission- Kurt Angle

We take things backstage to RVD and Rey Mysterio, talking about picking challengers. Rey names some of the teams on Smackdown, while RVD asks about Moolah and Mae Young. In walk Booker T and Eddie Guerrero, who claim that JBL wouldn't defend the WWE Title against them, so they want a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships. RVD and Mysterio say that they will take them under consideration. Booker and Guerrero fantasize about winning the titles, but argue about whose name should go first. They go to ask RVD and Rey what sounds better, but they had already left. Good move guys!

We go to a recap of Heidenreich vs Undertaker from last week in Iraq. It is then announced that at the Royal Rumble, it will be The Undertaker vs Heidenreich.

We go backstage to Daniel Puder walking into the lockerroom, and introducing himself to everyone. He knocks someone's gear off a bench, and that someone turns out to be Hardcore Holly, who has a habit of disliking Tough Enough kids. Holly tells Puder that the lockerroom is full of guys who trained more than eight weeks to get where they are today. Puder asks Holly if he's ever been in the main event at Wrestlemania. Puder then goes on to say that he is in the Royal Rumble, and that when he wins he'll be in the main event at Wrestlemania. Holly tells him that he has a lot to learn. As Holly walks away, Puder laughs.

Teddy Long's office is our next stop, and he's in there talking with some lady about her New Years eve plans. JBL walks in with Amy Weber and Orlando Jordan. Weber is holding a bowl, containing the names of all the superstars on the Smackdown Roster. JBL reaches in and chooses a name in front of Teddy Long. JBL then says that since its champion's choice, he'll pick again, Long tells him that if hes such a great champion he will wrestle the person who's name he chooses. JBL agrees and leaves.

We return to JBL's Long Horn Limo pulling into the arena, as we get set for the WWE Championship Match.

Match Three- WWE Championship Match- JBL vs Shannon Moore

Moore runs into a big boot as he charges the ring. Wow, didn't see this coming. JBL beats on Moore and powerbombs him. Two Clotheslines from Hell and the three count is made.

Winner and STILL WWE Champion Via Pinfall- JBL

Out comes Teddy Long, who will make an announcement after the commercial break.

We come back, and Teddy Long wants to look at the bowl with the names in it. Weber tries getting away with the bowl, but Joy Giovanni comes down and cracks her in the head with the bowl. Long grabs the papers and every name says Shannon Moore. Long wants an explanation from JBL. JBL blames it on Jordan. Long says that at the Royal Rumble it will be JBL vs Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship. Kurt Angle then makes his way to the ring. Angle takes back all the nice things he said about JBL. The two start bickering, until Teddy Long breaks it up. Long says that they didn't let him finish, and announced that it will be a Triple Threat match, with Big Show added to the equation. The Big Show comes out and everyone scatters.

We return to Josh Matthews, who is standing with Carlito Carribean Cool. Carlito speaks about all the unfair decisions Teddy Long has made, like having Carlito defend his title against Cena while he was injured. He also said it was unfair that JBL has to defend his title against Kurt Angle and The Big Show at the Royal Rumble. Carlito says that his New Years Resolution is to get rid of Teddy Long.

Heidenreich makes his way to the ring for some mic time. Heidenreich says that he doesn't fear anything. He goes on to say that he speared The Undertaker last week. He goes on to say he fears no man living or dead. The lights go out, DONG! The Undertakers voice is heard, and he says that at the Royal Rumble, Heidenreich will Rest in Peace. Druids come to the ring carrying a casket. Heidenreich goes over to the casket and rubs it, and out comes The Undertaker. Michael Cole speculates that at the Royal Rumble, it will be a Casket Match!

Josh Matthews is standing backstage with Mark Jindrak and Luther Reigns, who are convinced that RVD and Rey will choose to defend the titles against them. The Bashams walk in, followed by Eddie Guerrero and Booker T.

Funaki is in the ring, and ready to defend the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. His opponent is........Spike Dudley.

Match Four-WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match- Funaki vs Spike Dudley

The two go back and forth, but Spike gains the upperhand with a powerbomb. Funaki's head is bounced off the turnbuckles. Spike continues with some heavy offense on the champion. Spike drags Funaki to the outside and continues to beat on him. Funaki fights back with some stiff punches to the face, but Spike regains the advantage with a rake to the eyes of Funaki. Funaki fires back again with some punches. Spike continues to get rocked by punches. Bulldog on Spike, but only a two count. Sunset flip gets the three count though.

Winner and STILL WWE Cruiserweight Champion Via Pinfall- Funaki

Next we recap Christmas in Iraq with a tremendous video package.

Backstage these three girls are talking about this hot guy, who turns out to be John Cena. They look down and ask Cena if they can "Touch it", "Play with it", etc. Cena says yeah, and they start spinning his belt. Cena then says that being the United States champion, definitely has its advantages.

We go to the Raw Rebound, but in my opinion, your better off reading Nick Tywalk's BRILLANT report. Now that I said it, I want my money!

Josh Matthews is standing by with RVD and Rey Mysterio, its decision time! RVD and Rey joke around a little, but announce that the team they will be fighting is... Booker T and Eddie Guerrero.

Match Five- WWE Tag Team Championship Match- Rey Mysterio and RVD vs Eddie Guerrero and Booker T

Before the match they show clips of Booker T in Iraq, along with his feelings on the trip. Then we see the same thing for Eddie Guerrero. Guerrero starts off with Mysterio, as they go through a feeling out process. Series of reversals ensue. Booker T comes in backs Mysterio into the turnbuckles and beats on him. Mysterio off the ropes, reverses Booker T and hits him with a drop kick. RVD is then tagged in, and he locks it up with former partner, Booker T. These two go back and forth, until RVD scores a second rope kick to the face. Side headlock is then applied to Booker T. RVD and Mysterio hit the 420 on Booker T, but they can only get a two count. All four men are in the ring now, and Eddie and Booker take over. We come back from commercials, and Rey Mysterio is in firm control of Booker T, until he misses him charging the corner, and takes a ring post to the shoulder. Booker T suplexes Rey and Eddie hits his flip into the ring. Eddie puts pressure on the arm and puts Mysterio in some sort of an arm submission move, an inverted armbar chicken wing of sorts, until RVD broke it up. Booker then came in and knocked RVD off the ring apron. Eddie and Booker begin the double team on Mysterio. Eddie comes back in and once again applies pressure on the arm of Mysterio, but Mysterio fights out and hits a DDT. Mysterio then crawled over and tagged in RVD, who proceeded to beat Guerrero from one end of the ring to the other. RVD was able to connect with the Five Star Frog Splash, but Booker broke the count up at two. RVD was then sent shoulder first into the turnbuckle post. Booker T is tagged back in, and he goes to town on RVD. Eddie and Booker go back to their double teaming ways. Eddie then hits the Three Amigos on RVD, but Mysterio breaks up the count. RVD fights back out of a headlock, but is taken back down by Booker T. Book End on RVD, but again Mysterio breaks up the pinfall attempt. CHOP WOOOOOOOOO, RVD is rocked, but he is able to take down Booker T. Both men tag out and its Guerrero and Mysterio, who show off their lucha libre styles. Top rope hurricanrana on Guerrero only gets a two thanks to Booker T. Booker T hits Nick Patrick by mistake and is caught off guard by Rey, who attempts the Six One Nine. Eddie has a cover and has been pinning Mysterio for quite some time now, since Booker hit a Scissor Kick on him. Booker and RVD fight it out and both men roll to the outside and both men are down. Guerrero goes outside and grabs the title and puts it on Mysterio. Nick Patrick asks Rey if he hit him with the belt, Guerrero gets caught taunting by Patrick and pretends to be out cold again. Mysterio comes off the ropes, roll up and its over! Phew.

Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions Via Pinfall- RVD and Rey Mysterio

The show ends with Michael Cole wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year it will be, if WWE shapes up. Thus far, their PPV lineups look a thousand times better, and with any luck, they will introduce some more fresh, new talent, and new gimmicks. Yes, you heard me right, I want more gimmicks! Anyway, on behalf of SLAM! Wrestling, I would like to wish everyone a Happy, safe and healthy New Year.


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    Chris Sokol lives in Long Island, NY.