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Smackdown: It's time once again to beat the clock!
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Smackdown is back on the air following what can best be described as a surprising Survivor Series. We have a new champion (keeping the CanCon level up while Raw's champ changed as well) and may have a new challenger. Let's take a look at the Black Friday edition of SD!

We start off with Vickie Guerrero in the ring, who soon after is joined by her Sherpa, Edge. The bearded one began explaining his cause for coming back, at the expense of one Jeffrey Hardy, which of course led to the Charismatic Enigma joining the party. He was stopped by security long enough for Triple H to come down and inflict some revenge. Amid the fracas, Vladimir Kozlov made it to the ring and said he would be the next champ.

All of this culminated in one of my favourite gimmicks being brought out - the Beat the Clock tournament, with the three entrants being Kozlov, Trips and Hardy.

Match 1 - The Brian Kendrick vs. Jeff Hardy (Beat The Clock)

Could you imagine these two mixing it up in Ring of Honor? As is, the WWE style for Kendrick has severely limited him, though he does strut his stuff in the ring against Hardy tonight. In truth, putting Kendrick against Hardy doesn't make the former look out of place in the mid-high mix. Hardy eventually is able to get the win via the Swanton after just over 12 minutes of action.

Winner: Jeff Hardy

Backstage we go next as Matt Hardy is interviewed by Eve Torres. Matt will be facing Kozlov in the tourney, and vows to ensure that his brother wins.

After this, we learn that the main event next week will be Big Show and Undertaker. Yes, because after the match we all thought would end their feud on Sunday, we just HAD to see one more bout between these guys. Oy.

Match 2 - Maryse/Natalya/Victoria vs. Los Bellas/Michelle McCool

Short match, as you'd expect, with some face communication involving McCool leading to Maryse pinning the Divas champ for the duke.

Winners: Maryse/Natalya/Victoria

Post-match, Michelle gets pissed off at the Bellas, which brings Maria out. McCool pushes Maria down to begin the slow build of her heel turn.

Match 3 - Matt Hardy vs. Vladimir Kozlov (Beat The Clock)

Amid Hardy's approach to the ring, the Hurrapop appears and Hurricane Helms announces he will return next week. Cool.

The match was a predictable one for Kozlov, who just doesn't have the impact he had when he was burning through jobbers. The build really has slowed, and we see that perfectly here, as time expires before he's able to get a victory over Matt.

Winner: No Contest

Backstage, Jeff watches Matt's assist from a monitor. Triple H wanders into the picture and the two have a staredown.

Match 4 - Jesse/Festus vs. Morrison/Miz

Ugh, this dreck continues? That, by the way, is another week that Morrison and Miz are on all three shows. I'd say that's overkill if I didn't think these guys were the best thing going in WWE today.

The bell joke continues through the match, until at some point, Miz and Morrison are DQ'd. For what? I don't know.

Winners: Jesse/Festus

The ringing continues after the bout, making me think (and hope, for the love of God) this angle is being killed dead in short order. I suspect there's a Bell on a Pole match upcoming.

Backstage we go after the Raw Rebound to Mr. Kennedy interviewing Triple H. Some banter about Ken's return on Raw turns to the match at hand for Hunter.

Match 5 - Triple H vs. Shelton Benjamin (Beat The Clock)

I don't think Trips has ever faced anyone in BtC other than Benjamin. This of course, hearkens back to the WWE Draft when Benjamin was moved to Raw and beat Hunter two or three weeks in a row. That was back when people thought Benjamin had World title potential... sigh. Those were the days...

The match, as always, between these two is pretty damn good and seems to be going smoothly for Mr. Helmsley until referee Mike Chioda takes a bump. During Chioda's slumber, HHH nails the Pedigree and goes to work reviving the fallen official. It happens with just enough time for Chioda to count the final mat slap in sync with the timer going off.

Winner: Triple H

As Chioda raises Triple H's hand, though, Charles Robinson runs down and argues the call. The replay showed that the horn and the final mat count occurred, indeed, simultaneously, and as a result Triple H and Jeff Hardy are co-winners of the tournament.

So it looks like we're getting another Triple Threat next PPV, but we should have that confirmed next week. We'll see you then for the next edition of the Smackdown recap.

Jon Waldman has been a SLAM! Wrestling mainstay since 2000.