Tuesday Smackdown not too special
JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
Tuesday, WWE presented a "Smackdown Special" on UPN. As has been the case in previous years, this special event showcased two matches. Let's see what happened.
Match 1 -- Booker T vs. Chris Benoit (Best of Seven match #2)
We start off tonight's bout with Miss Sharmell, introducing her husband, Booker T. Maybe if I ask nicely, someone will get me what I really want for the holidays -- Sharmell off my TV set for good.
Benoit starts off dominating the match, longer than one might expect for a TV bout. In fact, Booker only gets two or three moves in before the commercial break, which we head into after Benoit crashes and burns on a missed Tope Canadiene. Back from break, it's Booker's turn to dominate. He even pulls out a semi Crossface, in a nice touch.
Benoit turns it around soon after the submission attempt, and uses three belly-to-belly overhead suplexes in a variation from his usual offence. Booker tries the Book End soon after to no avail. As the Crippler goes up for the Swan Dive, Sharmell stopped him once, but doesn't on the second attempt.
Eventually, Booker tries to suplex Benoit from the ring outside, but Benoit lands on the apron with Booker. Benoit goes for a German off the apron, but Booker pushes him away. Benoit almost looks legitimately injured, and Booker eventually gets the Scissor Kick
Winner: Booker T
Rating: 6 out of 10 Booker can still have good matches as long as Sharmell doesn't get involved and this proved it.
We then head to an Eddie Guerrero video, since tonight's "David vs. Goliath match" is being dedicated to Latino Heat by Rey Mysterio Jr.
Back from break, we get a video of Mysterio preparing for the bout, then go to a preview video of both men. In an interesting clip, Big Show (then the Giant) tosses Rey from the ring, presumably during a battle royale, from their days in WCW. We also get a lengthy look at the injury angle from a couple years ago between the two.
Match 2 -- Big Show vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Rey comes out to Eddie's music in a lowrider in a further tribute to Latino Heat, and Mysterio's friendship with Guerrero is played up big time.
Show quickly takes control, not surprisingly, but Rey Rey uses his quickness to combat Show's size. Quickly, we go to break, and return with Show firmly in control. Rey cheats a bit with a thumb to the eye. Show, however, keeps his offence going, and even does the heelish pull up on a two-count. Outside, the lowrider gets involved as Show slams Mysterio into the hood. Then, in a vicious moment, Rey tries a top rope Thesz Press to Show on the outside, but Show turns around and powerbombs Mysterio on the hood of the lowrider. Surprisingly, there's no "holy sh**" chant, but then again, the crowd noise may have been overdubbed.
Back from break, Mysterio is still sprawled on the hood with EMTs tending to him. Show eventually comes out to get some more of Mysterio. Show brings Rey Rey back into the ring. Mysterio tries to bite Show, but the former Giant pushes Mysterio off into the referee, Charles Robinson. Show brings a chair in the ring, which Rey uses several times on Show, eventually getting the 619. Rey then looks to have polished Show off with a Frog Splash, until Kane makes his presence felt with a double chokeslam with his Raw Tag Team Championship partner.
Winner: no contest
Rating: 4 out of 10 Before the whole scmhozz ending, which continued after the interference as you'll see in a second, this was telling a decent story. Unfortunately, it fell apart.
As Kane and Show congratulate themselves, the lights go out. When they come back on, after a few gongs, Undertaker is in the ring. Kane bails on his partner, or appears to until he tries to get at 'Taker, but Kane gets chokeslammed. Show then gets booted out, with Randy Orton then striking the 'Taker with an RKO out of nowhere.
Orton then goes into the back of the lowrider to get a tire iron, and the brawl between the two Smackdown superstars continues, with Bob Orton getting involved as well. Eventually, Randy gets the advantage with the use of the tire iron. Randy then gets in the lowrider and backs it through the panelling and into electrical equipment. The car gets burnt up in a series of fireworks.
Well, the show tonight did three things: one, it served to further the Randy Orton/Undertaker feud, which wasn't even supposed to be part of the show; two, it blurred the heel/face line for Big Show, which seemed to be solidly established on Monday with his promo on HHH; and three, it left a bad taste in people's mouths for the use of Eddie Guerrero's memory a little more than two weeks after his death. (Did Big Show actually spit on the lowrider??)
Oh yeah, and Booker's up 2-0 now in the best of seven series.
In reality, the Smackdown special was terrible in comparison to the show a few years ago, which set up Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar after an awesome Fatal Fourway match and pushed the Raw teams for that year's Survivor Series. Nothing was gained by putting this show on. The more-than-decent Benoit/Booker match could have been shown Friday and no one would be any the wiser.
If anything, I'm less interested in seeing Orton/Taker. Even if I could suspend belief for a second, I'd still see that being set ablaze in a casket is just as harsh, if not worse, than being backed into a vinyl partition and getting smoke inhalation from fireworks going off; ergo, I know 'Taker survives.
Really, this was a poor effort by WWE, almost WCW-like in execution, and like the days of Nitro, hot matches on the undercard get lost in the shuffle of a cluster in the main event.
But hey, they did inform us that there will be a tag team battle royal on Friday Night Smackdown, including the teams of Nunzio and Vito, The Dicks, L.O.D., Scotty 2 Hotty and Funaki, Paul London and Brian Kendrick, and the Mexicools. The winning team gets a shot at MNM for the WWE Tag Team Titles at Armaggeddon.
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Jon Waldman, a SLAM! member since 2000, is now asking WWE for a tape of The Amazing Race to make up for the time spent watching tonight's Smackdown special.