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   Fri, August 10, 2007



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Smackdown: On the highway to hell?
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


We're a couple weeks away from Summerslam (hence the title of this week's report, for those who remember the Attitude Era), and Smackdown is ready and rarin' to go. Let's see what went down on Friday's ep.

Match 1 - Batista vs. Domino
Finally, some creativity from Michael Hayes? I guess if you want to call burying the tag ranks instead of the Cruisers being "creative", sure. Do I even need to bother going through the match? Didn't think so.

Winner: Batista

Just to put an exclamation mark on the tag title uselessness, Batista gives some business to Jimmy Snuka Jr. ... I mean Deuce afterward. Damn, there goes my review of WWE's families DVD.

Next up, Khali Von Erich gives an interpreted interview about the Claw. I just hope that Lacey uses the move. Seriously - the Women's Division needs some submission wrestling. Where was I?

Match 2 - Rey Guerrero Jr. vs. Eugene
I'm not sure what the Lucha Libre code is on wearing another wrestler's mask, but hey, Chavito gets my okay. An attempted 619 falls apart at one point, which is followed by Eugene going Guerrero with a couple familia signatures. Chavo finally decides enough is enough and puts Eugene away with the Frog Splash. Nice way to build up Rey's return, bringing some of the heat back to this feud.

Winner: Rey Guerrero Jr.

Backstage, Victoria and Kenny Dykstra are...ahem...getting acquainted when Michelle McCool, apparantly finished her "love life" tour of Beverley Hills, comes in and gets all up in Victoria's grill. Man, don't you hate when that happens?

Match 3 - Sterling Keenan vs. Mark Henry
Sterling, meet squash.

Winner: Mark Henry

Post-match, we get the usual signals of Undertaker's imminent return, this time apparantly at Unforgiven. Joy.

Match 4 - Victoria vs. Torrie Wilson
I'll say it again, since apparantly my voice wasn't heard last time I did the SD! report - why bother having Women's matches when there's no title to pursue? Victoria gets the win again, this time after Kenny and Jimmy Yang get involved.

Winner: Victoria

Post-match, the beating continues until Michelle runs down for the save. Seriously?

Next up is Michael Cole and JBL discussing the WWE wellness program and MVP's heart condition. MVP then comes on and talks about it himself, but promises to be in the ring next week. I'l half scared that this is going to turn into a Ric Flair WCW angle. Yep, you know the one.

Matcb 5 - Matt Hardy vs. Fit Finlay
Admittedly, I could watch these guys over and over, but it's starting to wear a bit thin. It's like having sirloin steak every Friday - yes, it's good, but even sirloin gets boring after a while. This time, both Hornswoggle and Jamie Noble make appearances. Finaly eventually evacuates the premisis for the cheap loss.

Winner: Matt Hardy

Backstage we quickly go where Noble and Hornswoggle continue their antics, with Funaki and Shannon Moore looking on. Finlay gets involved and knocks a drink into Kane, who is standing nearby. At least it isn't coffee. Nonetheless, Kane's none too happy and puts the boots to the Irishman.

Match 6 - Kane vs. Sylvan
Welcome back Sylvan. Yes, welcome back to the jobberhood.

Winner: Kane

Post-match, Finlay returns to ringside with his international object. Looks like a new feud hath begun.

Backstage, Vickie Guerrero and Teddy Long chat wedding night. Man, just let this stupidity die already.

Match 7 - Masterlock Challenge
Masters scoffs at a challenge from a guy who apparantly just got released from jail for manslaughter. Nailz?

Instead, it's another fan who gets the "honour", and naturally taps.

Winner: Chris Masters

Match 8 - The Great Khali Von Erich vs. Ric Flair
Needless to say, not much to this bout, as Khali dismantles the Nature Boy, finishing with a Claw pin.

Winner: The Great Khali Von Erich

Post-match, Batista comes in and attempts the Batista Bomb, but can't lift the champ, and shortly thereafter succumbs to the Claw.

Well, it wasn't a bad show, but wasn't a great one either. The build towards Summerslam is effective, but anyone not on the card is completely stuck in limbo.


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    Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.