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Smackdown: Contender tournament kicks off
By CHRIS SOKOL - SLAM! Wrestling


Smackdown comes to us from San Jose, CA with a brand new look. They changed the set to make it nearly the same as Raw, but blue. What will be the Backlash of the Royal Rumble? Who will face who at Wrestlemania? how many more PPV's can I mention in this series of questions? Seriously, the Rumble was less than stellar, but can Smackdown build some steam and make No Way Out a memorable PPV? We'll see....but for now lets take you to the Smackdown Recap.

John Cena comes out and cuts a promo about controversy. He tells Batista to come to Smackdown because "The champ is here!" Teddy Long makes his way to the ring; questioning which title Batista is going after. Teddy announces an Eight Man Number One Contenders tournament, for a shot at the WWE Championship. He goes on to say that if Batista does come to Smackdown, it will be a Triple Threat Match! This prompts J.B.L to come to the ring. He says that now the champ is here, he goes on to complain about all the fights he has to compete in, BOO HOO. JBL demands the tournament be called off, Long calls him "Dog", which prompts J.B.L to say that he doesn't speak ebonics. Whew, things are getting heated. It is announced that next week, a Quarterfinal Match will take place between John Cena and Orlando Jordan. J.B.L isn't so pissed after all. This breaks down into Jordan getting thrown out of the ring and J.B.L receiving an F-U.

We come back and we recap Kurt Angle attacking Shawn Michaels at the Royal Rumble. Michaels/Angle should be off the charts as Tazz would say.

Match One- KURT ANGLE INVITATIONAL MATCH- Kurt Angle vs Nunzio

Angle grabs a mic and says how he was satisfied with what happened at the Royal Rumble. He says that he is happy that he beat the crap out of Shawn Michaels. Angle calls out the hometown hero, who turns out to be Nunzio. Nunzio is pissed because Angle stole his number at the Royal Rumble. Angle attempts to land a cheap shot on Nunzio, but Nunzio is ahead of the game. Nunzio gets a couple of near falls, but falls prey to an Angle Slam and an Angle Lock.

Winner via Submission- Kurt Angle

Next week, Kurt Angle takes on Rey Mysterio in the quarterfinal match.

We come back to a video package of the Press Conference that announced that Raw and Smackdown would be taking place in Japan. First England, now Japan, nice job.

We go backstage to Kurt Angle, Mark Jindrak and Luther Reigns. Angle is told that if he defeats Rey, he will have to fight either Rene Dupree or The Undertaker. This doesn't sit well with Angle and he decides to talk strategy with Luther Reigns while Jindrak gets ready for his match with Rey.

Next we are in Theodore Long's office and in walks Carlito Caribbean Cool. Carlito tells Long that next week when Smackdown is in Japan, he will be in Stamford, CT, defending himself and his actions as General Manager. Stick it to the man!

Match Two- Mark Jindrak vs. Rey Mysterio

Rey uses his quickness to his advantage and puts Jindrak on the defensive, but Jindrak is able to overwhelm Mysterio with his power and take him down. Jindrak uses the choke to keep Rey on his back. A left hand to the face of Mysterio gets only a two count. Jindrak shakes his backside like a stripper and gets taken down, pair of boots to the face. San Jose has a new area code, 6-1-9! Tilt a whirl headscissors picks up the duke.

Winner via Pinfall- Rey Mysterio Backstage Amy Weber and Joy Giovanni get into a little tiff over last weeks happenings. I smell a Catfight!

They play the mini movie with Eugene hyping Wrestlemania. Hereís a riddle, what do WWE Films, XFL, and World Bodybuilding Federation have in common? You know.....

Match Three- HANDICAP MATCH- The Big Show vs The Basham Brothers

The Big Show starts out walking all over The Basham Brothers. The Bashams get a spur of offense, but Big Show fights out of it, Danny Basham receives a Chokeslam and its over.

Winner via Pinfall- The Big Show

The Hall of Fame Class is announced, they are... Paul Orndorff, The Iron Sheik, Bob Orton, Nikolai Volkoff, Jimmy Hart. Congratulations to you fellas, you deserve it.

Match Four- Quarter Final Tournament Match- Rene Dupree w/ Fifi vs The Undertaker

Undertaker puts Rene down and to the outside of the ring where the fog is still spewing. The Undertaker continues the beatdown on Dupree as Jindrak and Reigns come out to ringside. Undertaker is sent to the outside, but Jindrak and Reigns won't touch him. Rene fights back and even does a French Tickler. HOOORAY! Undertaker swings the momentum back in his favor; Reigns and Jindrak get involved and are taken out. Brawling on the outside ensues, and Reigns holds the foot of the Taker while he was trying to get back into the ring, the ref calls for a double count out.

Winner- Double Count Out

After the match The Undertaker delivers a tombstone piledriver to Dupree.

We come back from commercial, with Michael Cole informing us that neither man will advance in the tournament. Wow, thanks for telling us what we didn't already know.

Josh Matthews is standing by with The Big Show and Joy Giovanni. Show pumps himself up for his upcoming Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match. Hopefully they don't get their Barbed Wire from the same guys WCW did. BAAZING!

We then move to Eddie Guerrero and Booker T, who argue a bit and end their convo with Booker saying that he will be going to Wrestlemania. I am not sure if this angle will ever have a solid heel and a solid face.

We go to another Wrestlemania Mini Movie, with HHH as a warrior in Scotland. Scotland fights? HHH basically puts himself over as the greatest warrior ever, this was a stretch, HHH put himself over. Anyway his pep talk encourages one man, Ric Flair, HHH is then thrown off his horse, so the two of them decide to walk down the road to Wrestlemania together. How sweet.

Match Five- Quarter Final Match- Eddie Guerrero vs Booker T

Guerrero locks it up and uses some mat based wrestling to ground Booker, Booker fights out with a knee to the mid section of Guerrero, sending him back into the ropes. Now its Booker's turn to apply the headlock, and wear down Guerrero, Guerrero gets to a vertical base, and hits a flapjack on Booker. We come back, and Guerrero is all over Booker. Booker fights Guerrero off with a back heel kick, Booker follows it up with come knees to the face of Guerrero, Booker then sends Guerrero into the steel steps, but that is not enough for the three. BOOK END! One-Two-NO! Foot on the rope. Booker hooks Guerrero into a chin lock, only for him to Salsa Dance his way out of it, a dropkick to Booker puts Guerrero in the drivers seat. Three Amigos! Booker Spin-a-rooni's his way to his feet, he fires away and the ref goes down. Scissors kick, but the ref is down. The ref gets a two count off, and is knocked down again, Guerrero fakes a knee injury that has Booker fooled, Guerrero goes for a suplex, but is reversed, Booker has the tights and he gets the three.

Winner via Pinfall- Booker T

What a show, not that great, but still, it did its job, and its job was to build for the PPV. C'mon WWE, at least make your Japan trip a little special. Raw was an alright show, but Smackdown has been going downhill. No Way Out should be a decent PPV considering that they will be incorporating the idea of a Barbed Wire Steel Cage. Thatís it for now, so let me send it on over to Nick Tywalk as he takes us to Japan for Monday Night Raw!


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    Chris Sokol is from Long Island, NY and found out that Dale called in sick because he realized he has to watch Smackdown every week.