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   Fri, October 21, 2005



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Smackdown: Booking a U.S. title change
By ANDY MCNAMARA - SLAM! Wrestling


Let's roll the dice in Reno, Nevada as the Smackdown! crew dares to answer the question: Can Eddie and Batista co-exist? The odds aren't good.

A recap is shown from the U.S. title Fatal 4-Way match last week, with the main focus on Booker T.

Match 1: U.S. Championship- Chris Benoit (c) vs. Booker T w/ Sharmel

Michael Cole gives a bit of history informing us that the U.S. title is 30 years old. The two former WCW starts start with a handshake and begin slowly with lockups along with chain wrestling. Booker spills to the outside as Benoit delivers an awesome suicide dive, clipping Booker. This was a scary looking spot as Benoit flipped over and smashed his lower back off the announce table. The crowd pops huge with "Holy s**t" chants. Things slow down with plenty of rest holds, probably to give The Crippler some recovering time. The action picks back up with a Benoit flying headbutt and a snap superplex, it always amazes me just how crisp Benoit is. Sharmell then jumps up on the apron, low blowing Benoit as Booker T hits his Scissor Kick and this 20-minute gem ends with a new United States champion. Although I find Sharmell incredibly annoying, she is making a great heel.

WINNER: New U.S. champion Booker T

Booker T is celebrating with Sharmell as an enraged Benoit storms in yelling how Sharmell interfered. Booker calls Benoit a sore loser and walks away.

The cameras then cut to the Ortons with Bob saying his trick back is acting up and he cannot team with his son in the main event against Batista and Eddie.

Another backstage promo follows with JBL saying that he doesn't know how his entrance music was played in the Edge vs. Big Show match on Raw.

Match 2: Matt Hardy vs. Simon Dean

A highlight package of Hardy introduces Matt's return to Smackdown. When both wrestlers are in the ring Dean insults Hardy in regards to Lita. Hardy promptly attacks Dean as the match keeps a fast-paced tempo throughout. V1 controls the majority of the matchup and after a Twist of Fate, Mr. Hardy is the winner. Hopefully this is the start of a great run for Matt and not the beginning of fledgling mid-card feuds.

WINNER: Matt Hardy

Match 3: Rey Mysterio vs. JBL w/ Jillian

A good contest with the usual big man/small man moves with Rey flying and Bradshaw clubbing away. As Mysterio hits the 619 Edge's theme music comes on, making Rey lose focus. Edge comes from behind and spears Mysterio ending the match. JBL chases the Raw star out of the ring, when all of a sudden Chris Masters pops in and applies The Masterlock on Rey. The low end Smackdown stars, like Funaki and Scotty, rush in to attempt the save but are downed by Masters. He finally high tails it once Mr. Charisma himself, Bob Holly, storms in. WWE is doing a nice job building towards the inevitable Raw vs. Smackdown showdown at Survivor Series.

WINNER: Rey Mysterio via DQ

After the commercial break the Smackdown locker room rallies behind Rey as Mysterio demands revenge on Edge.

Match 4: Bobby Lashley vs. Big Vito

Lashley is so talented but man does he need a manager to take him to the next level. AS we all know no matter how technically sound a wrestler is if he cannot cut a promo then he will not get to that main event level. With a plethora of suplexes, Lashley dominates, quickly finishing Vito with his Dominator maneuver.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley

Backstage with Teddy Long and Palmer Cannon as all the WWE Juniors rush in and jump around. Then The Boogey Man, who looks like a chiseled Papa Shango, sings a creepy song to Long. I really don't see Boogey getting over as the scary heel the company is aiming for.

Match 5: Bob Holly vs. Sylvain Grenier

Wow is Grenier "Rick 'The Model' Martel" 2000 or what! Holly starts this hardcore match backstage as Sylvain is being interviewed. The two fight into an elevator as the show goes to break. As the program resumes we see shades of the old Moondog matches from Memphis with Holly taking it to Grenier on the concession stand. This is your typical hardcore bout with lots of plunder and stiff looking object shots. An impressive spinning Alabama Slam through a table in the rings gives Holly the 1-2-3.

WINNER: Bob Holly

Back in the locker room with Eddie and Batista, Guerrerro reminisces about his past title success and tells Batista how good a friend he is.

Match 6: Main Event- Randy Orton and ? vs. Eddie and Batista

Orton has announced that his partner is Ken Kennedy. Eddie jumps Mr. Kennedy from behind, pummeling the rookie early on. A good pace to the match where the former Evolution teammates battle it out and Kennedy is holding his own with Eddie. Orton Sr. runs in to distract the ref as Kennedy goes to attack the world champion with a chair. Eddie throws himself on top of Batista and takes the chair shot, "saving" his friend. A three-on-one mauling ensues on Batista as Eddie is down and out. The match is thrown out as Teddy Long struts out announcing a giant six-man tag next week with Kennedy and the Ortons vs. Batista, Eddie, and Roddy Piper.

WINNER: Eddie and Batista via DQ

An average show overall with nothing overly noteworthy occurring. The Benoit/Booker T match was fantastic and Sharmell's continuing interference should be interesting to see played out.

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Chris Benoit vs. Booker T


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    Andy McNamara is a SLAM! Wrestling writer and can be reached at andymcnamara@hotmail.com.