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Smackdown: A champion is crowned
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


The tendency for a pre-PPV episode of Smackdown is to be very lame-duck. Tonight's edition however, was certainly not. Read on to see why.

We start off the show with Teddy Long, more gleeful than he should be, announcing that Edge must forfeit the World Title due to an injury suffered at the hands of Kane last week (legitimately), utilizing the one clause WWE has seemingly always held - that a belt that cannot be defended in 30 days is pulled off the champ's waist.

Edge delivers a very strong, heartfelt "farewell" speech, which the crowd initially boos at before an Edge chant began. When he starts talking about Kane, the fans cheer again. During the segment, Edge plays a video of himself to the '80s classic Simply the Best. Interestingly, each of Edge's title victories is shown in clips aside from him pinning Rob Van Dam.

Long again puts down Edge, saying when he comes back he'll earn his way back, rather than get an automatic title shot. Somehow, if Batista went down with injury, I doubt Long would make him wait.

Edge then goes into another great speech, showing amazing passion. During this, Long announces that there will be a 20-man Battle Royale to determine the new champ. Are there even 20 men left on the roster?

Backstage we get shots of several of the participants prepping for the Rumble.

Match 1 - Torrie Wilson vs. Victoria

Okay, McNamara owes me big time for having to watch this dreck two weeks in a row.

Seriously, why bother with this match or feud? Does Smackdown have an official Women's Division? No. There's absolutely no logical reason for the bout (or last week's for that matter), because it's not like there's anything for either woman to aspire to. They're stuck in a dead-end scenario, especially since they just got moved from Raw. This is why top titles like the Women's belt and the tags should be travelling belts.

In case you're an uber historian that really cares about wins and losses, Victoria wins with the Widow's Peak, proving even more that Torrie's victory last week was a complete and utter fluke.

Backstage, we get a couple more shots of Smackdown's roster headed to the ring.

Before we get to the match, we get another promo video for Rey Mysterio's return. You know, if WWE had half a mind, they'd have brought him back in the Battle Royale and win the gold right out of the chute.

Match 2 - 20-man Battle Royale (World Heavyweight Title Match)

Okay, rather than be a smart-alec (pffft. I almost wrote that with a straight face), let's just run down the elimination order:

1/2 Brian Major/Brett Major - both brothers eliminated simultaneously by Mark Henry in a nice spot.
3 Shannon Moore - eliminated by The Great Khali.
4 Funaki - eliminated by Khali.
5 Mark Henty - eliminated by a slew of wrestlers. Good strategy, but why the group didn't go after Khali, Batista and/or Kane next shows how limited the storytelling is. Heck, have five or six guys gang up on one of the big men only to be chucked en masse. There's your story Michael Hayes. Geez.
6 Deuce - eliminated by Batista.
7 Domino - eliminated by Batista, shortly after his tag partner. Another nice spot.
8 David Taylor - eliminated by Batista. He hit Domino on the way out, didn't look like any sort of injury though.
9 Jamie Noble - eliminated by Batista and Kane.
10 Eugene - eliminated by Batista and Kane.
11 Kenny Dykstra - eliminated by Chris Masters.
12 MVP - eliminated by Matt Hardy. Great psychology here, as it shows, at least in one respect, that Matt can beat MVP.
13 Chris Masters - eliminated by Chavo Guerrero and Jimmy Yang.
14 Chavo Guerrero - eliminated by Jimmy Yang, with a Huricanrana no less. Beautiful spot.
15 Jimmy Yang - eliminated by Hornswoggle, who comes out from under the ring after Fit Finlay had put Yang over the top and onto the apron.
16 Matt Hardy - eliminated by Khali.
17 Fit Finlay - eliminated by Batista.
18/19 Kane/Batista - eliminated by Khali simultaneously, and yes, their feet hit the floor at the exact same time.

Winner: The Great Khali

Post-match, Khali is presented with the belt as his interpreter jumps around in the ring like a child, while Batista has a fit, like a child.

Back from the break, Cole and JBL talk up Khali before Kristal interviews him, talking about the uniqueness of being the first Indian to be the World champ. Interesting switch here from the heartless big man to the man proud of his heritage.

Backstage Vicki Guerrero and Long chat it up about Khali's opponent at the Great American Bash, and decide to put Kane and Batista against each other in a number one contender's match.

Match 3 - Matt Hardy vs. Kenny Dykstra

MVP watches from the back as Dykstra more than holds his own in the match, showing some strong, RoH-esque wrestling. Kenny actually gets a strong amount of offence here before Hardy gets the win with an impressive Twist of Fate while Dykstra was on the second rope. Very, very solid bout.

Winner: Matt Hardy

Before we go to break, we get a promo spot for Chuck Palumbo, after he debuted two weeks ago. Great timing, Hayes.

Backstage, Lenny and George, I mean Jesse and Festus talk about the WWE Magazine.

Elsewhere, MVP cuts a wicked promo about his match Sunday against Matt Hardy. JBL and Cole then run down the card.

Match 4 - Kane vs. Batista (Number One Contender's Match)

The match, as one might expect with two faces squaring off, is very back-and-forth and also, as one might expect from these two, not that entertaining. Eventually Khali comes out and attacks both men.

Winner: none (DDQ)

Long then comes out and declares a Triple Threat Match for Sunday. Oh joy, the bad Batista/Khali match just got worse.

If you missed Edge's promo, go out of your way to see it. Otherwise, this edition of Smackdown was pretty forgettable.


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  • WWE Ladder Match DVD Set
    Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.