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Smackdown: Gettin' down with the Boogeyman
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


We kick off this week’s show with a recap of No Mercy, which has probably never been more needed, since buyrates were likely the lowest in years.

As soon as we’re live, Randy Orton comes out with Bob Orton Jr. The younger Orton is sporting his wicked nWo-esque tee-shirt. He gives a pseudo-eulogy, before announcing he wants the World Title. Eddy Guererro interrupts his speech, and the two have a decent verbal exchange until Batista comes out. He then makes a match between Randy and Eddy for later tonight to decide the number one contender.

Match 1 – Chris Benoit vs. Orlando Jordan (US Title/Retirement match)

Prior to the bout, OJ announces that if he taps to the Crossface, he’ll retire. Unfortunately, Benoit can’t fulfill every fan’s wish, opting instead to take Jordan out with the Sharpshooter.

Winner: Chris Benoit
Rating – 3 out of 10
I love psychologically aimed matches, and this one did enough to satisfy me.

Next, Cannon Palmer and Teddy Long are backstage when Sharmell interrupts and demands a title shot on behalf of her husband, Booker T. End result is a Fatal Four-Way, between Booker, JBL, Christian and Rey Mysterio Jr.

Match 2 – Legion of Cool vs. MNMRB

Hey, if Psychosis and Super Crazy can re-ignite the tag division, then I’m all for it. A solid match, mainly because Psychosis is in the ring the vast majority of the time, and Heidenreich doesn’t get involved at all. There was one very creative spot, where Melina and Christy Hemme do a duelling distraction spot. Super Crazy ends up getting the pin on Joey Mercury.

Winners: Legion of Cool
Rating- 2.5 out of 10
This followed the ECW formula to a tee – emphasize your strengths (Psychosis), hide your weaknesses (Heidenreich).

Right after the bout, The Mexicools are attacked by the debuting Toland brothers. They utilize two finishers here, one being a Double Fireman Carry Drop on Super Crazy, and the Death Sentence (America’s Most Wanted’s finisher) on Psychosis. Impresive debut for these two, and it looks like we’re one step closer to a legitimate tag team division.

Back from break, it’s the Peep Show. Christian’s guest is Stacy Kiebler to talk about the Star article involving Jennifer Aniston. Of course, Kiebler denies any problems with Jenny from the Perk, which prompts Gillian Hall to come out. Stacy asks what the deal is with her face, and we get a scuffle for a brief second. Stacy, sweetheart, I know you read SLAM! religiously, but I’ll just remind you; Jillian has conjoined-twin myslexia.

Match 3 – Booker T. vs. JBL vs. Christian vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. (Number-One US Title Contender’s Match)

If you couldn’t see the finish coming a mile away, you are obviously new to the show. Anyways, we get a couple teases of someone other than Booker T winning, but the Booker Man ends up taking the W by pinning Rey Rey after Sharmell interrupts the 619.

Winner: Booker T
Rating – 1 out of 10
The finish was blatantly obvious, and you know next week’s match will be just as bad.

Backstage, Booker T and Sharmell celebrate. Benoit comes in and implies how Booker won, but Sharmell won’t let him finish.

Mr. Kennedy comes out and gets ready to announce his match, but there is no opponent, as he claims, no one is wanting to face him.

Match 4 – Bobby Lashley vs. Nunzio

How about that; Nunzio finally gets on Smackdown. I don’t think he had a single match on the big show as Cruiserweight Champ. Lashley dominates, even with some Vito interference. Nunzio gets some shots in, but his offence doesn’t last long, as Lashley soon picks up the W after a Canadian Backbreaker Slam (or CBS if you prefer).

Winner: Bobby Lashley
Rating – 2 out of 10
WWE has to be very careful with Lashley’s push, or he’ll end up looking like a Brock Lesnar wannabe.

Back to the break, Cannon and Long talk about Boogeyman. Cannon talks about the bumpers for Boogeyman being promos for a new show on UPN, that didn’t work out. Cannon claims there is still a commitment, so the actor from the show will now be a wrestler. Okay; in the days of cartoonish characters in WWE, this would have rocked and scared the crap out of kids. Now, it is just terrible.

Match 5 – Eddy Guererro vs. Randy Orton (Number-One World Title Contender’s Match)

Back and forth action starts the bout off, with a few interruptions by Bob Orton. Eventually, Randy gets control of the bout and maintains through the break. Guererro eventually gets into the match again, using a beautiful backdrop to backbreaker move. The younger Orton, however, regains control quickly. Outside the ring, the back-and-forth action resumes until Randy gets us to the Titan Sleeper Spot ©. As is standard, Guererro gets the advantage and heads up for the Frog Splash when Ace interferes, causing the DQ

Winner: Eddy Guererro
Rating: 1 out of 10
Dissapointingly formulaic match

After the bout, The Ortons continue to work over Guererro until Batista makes the save.

Once the ring is cleared, Long comes down and announces that Guererro and Batista will team up against the Ortons next week.

Well, this was a show. Not good, not bad. It was just kind of there. There’s a reasonable amount of potential in the Tolands, while the Boogeyman should be done in about a week.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.