April 5, 2008
Smackdown: Two debuts for first Friday
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
The first Friday after 'Mania is upon us, and we should have an interesting show with a new World champ and some interesting storylines developing from the big show. Let's see what happens as Smackdown hits the air.
We kick off Smackdown with Edge and Co. strolling out to the ring. Edge starts chatting about losing the World Title and how he let everyone, especially Vickie Guerrero, down. He says he will get the back though. Chavo then gets on the mic and trashtalks Kane, then promises that he will regain the ECW belt.
Vickie then gets on the mic and announces that both rematch clauses will be enacted at Backlash, and further that Kane and Undertaker will square off tonight. Big whoop - they've only done that, what, 100, 200 times?
Match 1 - MVP vs Matt Hardy
I understand the psychology of the Matt vs. Randy Orton match on Monday, but handing Hardy a loss in his first match back was a bad move.
Slightly back and forth match here as the two show that the chemistry they had in confrontations in '07 will translate into strong matches in '08. Matt works the leg for a while, but it doesn't mean much when Hardy has yet to add a submission move to his arsenal. Instead, Hardy gets the W with the Twist of Fate. Again, odd finish; I personally would've booked an intentional countout by MVP.
Match 2 - Zack Ryder vs. Festus
Festus shows off a pretty strong arsenal before finishing Ryder off in this near-sqauash with the 5F.
Next, we go back to Monday to see Ric Flair's fairwell speech, which is follows by an in-ring appearance by Shawn Michaels. HBK talks about Monday and how it was closure for him before Batista comes out with a noticeably different look. Gone is the suit, and now it's the leather vest and jeans. He talks about how Sunday was hard for him because he saw his friend Ric Flair compete for the last time, and tells Shawn he made the wrong decision in doing the match and how HBK's old egotistical self is the same as it was back then, refusing to lay down for Flair. This is a very effective heel turn so long as they carry through with it fully.
Back from break, Kane and Undertaker stare at each other for a brief moment.
Match 3 - Vladimir Kozlov vs. Matt Bentley
Sweet, look who's back - Michael Shane! Oh, and Vladimir Kozlov as well. Please, please give him the mic!
I'll note this - interesting that he has no ring music and a couple spotlights. Very old school and very effective. Kozlov is admittedly effective here as a powerhouse, winning with the Derailer.
Winner: Vladimir Kozlov
Match 4 - John Morrison/The Miz vs. Jimmy Wang Yang/Shannon Moore
Short match victory for the champs.
Instead of Morrison or Miz's music playing after the match though, Great Khali's does and he comes out to the ring and quickly disposes of the champs, then their opponents. Khali then gets on the mic but doesn't get to mouth off for long as Big Show comes out. After a very quick exchange, Khali leaves.
Next up, Teddy Long is in the ring to announce the winner of the Diva contest. The guys who made the chopper the winning woman gets are out. Cherry comes out first, with her own do-wopp theme. Lovely. Michelle McCool then comes out as the other finalist. The winner is announced as McCool.
Victoria quicly comes out to spoil the fun. The two come to blows quickly before Nattie Neidhart(!) comes out to lay some serious smack down. Of course, she's not identified, but come on - if you're a fan of Canadian wrestling, you know who she is.
Match 5 - Undertaker vs. Kane
Same match, different year. Sorry guys and gals, I just can't watch this again. Thankfully, Edge and Co. interrupt the proceedings.
Winner: No contest
The beatdown coninues before both men do the zombie situp. The result is stereo tombstones.
Jon Waldman is the editor of SLAM! Wrestling.