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Smackdown: Ta ta Thursday nights
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Well, a legacy ends tonight.

Tonight is the last episode of Smackdown on Thursday nights. There have been some great matches on SD!, and from the spoilers that were on the 'net, it looks like we're going to get another one tonight in the main event.

I sincerely hope that we'll get a best of Smackdown DVD, like there used to be of Raw. There have been some wicked bouts, including TLC III, Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar in the Iron Man Match and Eddie Guererro vs. Edge, No Holds Barred.

Let's see what's cooking on this week's show.

Match 1 - Heidenreich vs. Joey Mercury

Before we get into the match, I want to send my thoughts out to the Heidenreich family, who are from New Orleans. If you haven't heard yet, John hasn't heard from his father since Katrina blew through the Louisiana city.

The bout starts off much like any other "tag team singles match" starts - the babyface has the advantage until the heel's partner runs interference, swinging the momentum. In this case, Johnny "Copeland" Nitro runs amok, allowing Mercury to get one of my favourite moves in, the HSS (Hot Shot Stunner). The advantage doesn't last too long, and the former Ti-Cat gets back in control. Quickly, the match is over with Heidenrich borrowing Viscera's Chokebomb to score the W.

Winner: John Heidenreich
Rating: 1.5 out of 10
Wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I wish it would've gone a bit longer.

Not surprisingly, we get all four men in the ring immediately after the match, as well as Melina. L.O.D. 2K5 tries to Doomsday Device Melina, which proves to be a huge mistake as MNM takes over and does some big-time damage.

Backstage, Jillian Hall is talking with The Network Guy, confirming next week's tag team title match. After she and her twin leave, Stacy and Christy Hemme come in. TNG tells them they'll have a match later tonight, in traditional wrestling gear. Maybe it's just me, but this guy is going to get over huge sooner rather than later, and you have to applaud WWE using him as a smooth-talker, as opposed to completely ripping off Cyrus's gimmick in ECW.

Back from break, we get a replay of last week's Randy Orton/Hardcore Holly match.

Back to "live" TV, Bob Orton is in the ring and brings out Randy. The gist of their promo is that Undertaker's career has been killed, and the proceeds for the Undertaker Retirement Fund raised from the DVD auction. Randy then cuts a slick promo on Rey Mysterio Jr.

Back from the break, the Chris Benoit Quickness Challenge continues, and this week Benoit beats his time by 2.1 seconds. The task this week? a trip to the bathroom, with handwashing. Well, I guess he won't be making pizza and Poppie's. Very funny.

Match 2 - Chris Benoit vs. Orlando Jordan

You know, we often make jokes about some matches being shorter than the entrances. This actually happens this week, with the entrances combined being one mite, four seconds, and the bout lasting 23. 4 ticks.

Winner: Chris Benoit
Rating: 2 out of 10 Quick by design, this was wicked funny and served to get Benoit over as a killer.

Match 3 - Christy Hemme vs. Stacy Kiebler

Almost as soon as the match starts, Sylvain Grenier comes out. He starts to rip on the Divas until Hardcore Holly interrupts him. Natually, the two come to quick blows. I don't know how WWE has done it, but they've found a decent gimmick for Grenier.

Winner: No Contest
Rating: 0 out of 10

Man, what is with WWE? That's two baits-and-switches in one week!

Next up, we head backstage where TNG and Theodore R. Long are meeting and go over the line-up for next week. They announce that next week's Heavyweight Title bout between Batista and JBL will be a Bullrope match, and Eddie Guererro vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. will be inside the steel cage.

Next, Christian comes out to join the announce team, with his freshly cast nose

Match 4 - Booker T vs. Ken Kennedy

Kennedy, not satisfied with Tony Chimel's announcing job, and does a much better job himself.

Booker starts out with the advantage, but Kennedy comes back with an absolutely beautiful double spin, standing enziguri. Christian, in the meantime, talks about his nose injury, claiming he has a deviated septum, which in rhinoplasty speak, is the excuse given for someone getting a nosejob. The more you know (add rainbow for full effect).

Back and forth action between Booker and Kennedy carries through the match. As Booker gains control, Sharmell decides to put on a headset and jaw it out with Captain Charisma Christian. This distracts Booker long enough for Kennedy to get the RFC (Rolling Fireman Carry) from the top rope for the duke.

Winner: Ken Kenndy
Rating: 3 out of 10
I would've liked to have seen more from Kennedy, but what I saw I liked, a lot.

Match 5 - Simon Dean vs. Batista

Dean comes out on a standing scooter, which kinda makes you wonder just how in shape he is if he can't even walk to the ring.

Before the match gets underway, Batista has a couple Simon Shakes, which he says actually work, and increase his agression. After a couple quick moves, Batista fakes blowing up, gets nother Simon Shake and gets his strength back. Demon Bomb finishes it off in near Benoit time.

Winner - Batista
Rating: 3 out of 10
Once again, Big Dave shows off his humourous side, and that works for me.

Match 6 - William Regal/Paul Burchill vs. Scotty II Hottie/Funaki

Well, we know what happens here, but based on Burchill's debut last week, I was curious enough to not hit the fast forward button.

Regal gets some really strong offence in here, making me want to see more of him against Benoit. After a few minutes and the Titan Tag Team Formula (c), Burchill picks up the W for his team with Move # 764 (Fujiwara Armbar).

Winners: William Regal/Paul Burchill
Rating: 1 out of 10
I was honestly expecting more from these guys, a lot more.

After getting the rundown of next week's show, we cut to Guererro making a promo from behind the cage. Great job here, once again.

Match 6 - Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

The match starts off hot with back and forth action, including a wicked 360 Headscissor from Rey. Heading into the break, however, Orton had the avantage.

The back and forth action continues back from commercials, with both men putting it all out there. Mysterio works mainly on the leg, while Orton concentrates on the head and neck region. This goes on for a few minutes before they switch to just all out beatdowns. Both men try multiple pin attempts whie they have the heat, but neither is able to get the three count. Just when Rey is about to go for the West Coast Pop, Ace gets involved, and Randy is able to get a giant uppercut to the groin as Mysterio was airborn. Just to make sure Rey is done for good, Orton hits the RKO with Mysterio on the top rope.

Winner: Randy Orton
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Extremely strong match, with Orton really proving to a lot of people that he can go in the ring. This was by far the best he has had in a long time, probably since Summerslam 2004.

Well, that's it for Smackdown on Thursday nights...well, at least Stateside. As we in Canada know, we're still getting our Thursday night wrestling fix on the Score. Next week's show will be super hot, so we'll see you in seven (or eight) days.

Jon Waldman, a SLAM! writer since 2000, is hoping to re-live TLC III on a future WWE DVD release. To check out what Jon's been up to lately, head over to his official website, jonwaldman.com.