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Smackdown: A kiss from a rose
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


On the same day that WWE released five wrestlers and one referee, Smackdown aired in Canada and the U.S. Undeniably, this will be a low-rated episode due to the Olympics kicking off, which means you likely missed the action. Here's how things broke down.

We kick off tonight's show with Jim Ross introducing his new...er I mean temporary broadcast partner, Tazz, who takes over for Mick Foley after the attack last week by Edge.

Match 1 - Natalya/Maryse/Victoria vs. Michelle McCool/Cherry/Maria

Apparently this is an "Olympic" Divas Match. Does this mean amateur wrestling rules apply? Nope, it's just another way to humiliate women by putting them in different outfits.

And as little sense as this makes, the end of the match is worse, as Natalya puts Maria in the Sharpshooter for the win. Why do I say it's bad booking? Let's see - you build up Maria for nearly a month as a big deal coming to SD!, have her go over Victoria strong in her debut, then make her the sacrificial lamb, when putting Cherry in that role harms no one and putting McCool in that role puts doubt into viewers' minds that she can keep her strap over the Canadian sensation.

Great booking guys, glad to see that Michael Hayes still has influence on the SD! staff.

Backstage we go to see Ryder and Hawkins, who come across one Bam Neely, laid out with a black rose beside him. Oh no, Nunzio has struck! Now we know why he was released! Chavito and Vickie come on the scene.

Match 2 - Ryder/Hawkins vs. Jimmy Wang Yang/Shannon Moore

I guess that the WWE.com news spoils the end of this match. Bravo to Ryder and Hawkins for being able to put the black rose out of their minds and concentrate on the bout.

Winners: Ryder/Hawkins

Backstage we go and MVP is standing with Eve Torres. He announces that he will face Jeff Hardy at Summerslam. I'm calling showstealer!

Match 3 - Shelton Benjamin vs. Jeff Hardy

How good does Mike Adamle look right now? Both this and the last bout are non-title, while he gave three title matches on Raw?

As one would expect from these two, this was a great match, with Hardy nearly securing the victory before MVP comes out to ruin his fun. In this context this was the right decision, but had the strap been on the line, it would have been nonsensical, because that would've added the belt to the title match at 'Slam. So kudos to the writing crew on this one.

Winner: Jeff Hardy (DQ)

Backstage, there's concern about Neely's condition, which escalates when Hawkins comes in and says that Ryder is nowhere to be found.

Match 4 - The Great Khali vs. Triple H (Indian Broken Glass Arm Wrestling Match)

Okay...an interesting variant on the normal match, but really, is it worth the danger?

Khali gives a pre "match" promo, which is helpfully translated by Ranjin Singh. God I thought we'd seen the last of this guy! Trips replies, and the match starts. Just as HHH is about to win, Khali headbutts him for the DQ.

Winner: Triple H (DQ)

Afterwards, the two scuffle until Khali puts Triple H out with the Khona Krunch.

Next up, Hawkins is found, with another black rose. Man, whoever does the decor for SD! really needs to be fired.

Before we go to the next match, an R-Truth video is shown. I'm really getting excited for his debut now.

Match 5 - Jesse vs. Vladimir Kozlov

Kozlov wins in usual fashion. Festus was a non-factor at ringside after much explaining from Jesse about the dynamic of the match. Meh.

Winner: Vladimir Kozlov

Backstage, Vickie and Chavo Guerrero have a chat.

Match 6 - The Brian Kendrick vs. Super Crazy

TBK (yes, I think that will work just fine) is really growing on me. I thought there was no way he'd ever get a push in WWE. Guess I was wrong.

It's good to see that Crazy is back on TV, but he should have made his re-debut on ECW on SciFi. Alas, we know what happens here.

Winner: TBK

Post-match Ezekiel enters the ring and Torture Racks Crazy to show off his power. Nice touch.

Backstage, Edge joins the party and says that he has a plan to make sure that nothing happens to the rest of La Familia. The trio then make their way to the ring.

Once in the arena, the three take a seat and have an old-fashioned sit-in for the Undertaker. Edge asks Chavo to give him his chair, and then Edge gives it back to him, in the form of a stiff shot to the back. Vickie screams (as only she can), as Edge ponders, then tips her over. The old Edge is back folks, and I'm glad to see it!

Overall we had a pretty decent show tonight if you can discount the ladies humiliation.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.