January 31, 2009
Smackdown: Heading into the Chamber
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling

With the Royal Rumble fresh in our memories, WWE presents Smackdown for our viewing pleasure, with a look forward to the Elimination Chamber at No Way Out being the focus of a couple of our bouts.

We kick things off with Matt Hardy, coming to the ring with the same chair he used to crack Jeff Hardy over the head with. Matt delivers the best promo of his career here, talking about the burden of being Jeff's brother (and I'm thinking there was a bit of shoot in there). He closes by telling Jeff that the Hardy Boyz are done and they're no longer brothers.

Match 1 - R-Truth vs. The Brian Kendrick

Kendrick really has fallen off the map, and really, I'm not upset by that, because Brian's quickly becoming one of the most annoying characters on SD!. Maybe I should start calling him K-Pac...

Regardless, R-Truth comes away with the quick victory following the spinning axe kick.

Winner: R-Truth

Match 2 - Chavo Guerrero vs. MVP

This is a solid match, with some good back and forth action and strong intensity form all parties. Chavito pulls out a sweet Koppo Kick at one point, but in the end MVP wins with the Driveby, which has now been modified to where the prone wrestler is in the Shining Wizard position. Works for me.

Winner: MVP

Post-match, Tazz comes in to interview MVP, selling the victory like two in a row is the biggest thing since Sliced Bread No. 2. He and JR did the same hard sell at the commentary booth also. MVP, though, no-sells it and gives a good, intense promo about wanting his US Title back (probably picked that up from Sgt. Slaughter before Sarge was released), then pulls out his new catchphrase, "ballin'!".

Match 3 - Umaga vs. Jimmy Wang Yang

Match goes as you'd expect it to. In a funny moment, Umaga grabs Yang by the shirt and part of it tears off in his hand. The look on Umaga's face, trying desperately to stay in character and not laugh his rump off, is priceless.

The usual wins it for Umaga, which kinda dissapoints me because I would've liked to have seen a couple new moves added to his arsenal during his time away.

Winner: Umaga

Match 4 - Undertaker vs. Mark Henry (Elimination Chamber qualifier)

No surprises here. Gogoplata puts this baby to sleep.

Winner: Undertaker

Next up, we get a look at Chris Jericho and Mickey Rourke from Larry King Live. Jericho is four different breeds of awesome and I sincerely hope that Hollywood is paying attention.

Back to the arena we go then and Edge delivers a fun I-told-you-so promo about not being the one that was behind the "accidents" involving Jeff. Edge busts out the five-second pose, and honestly, had I not read the spoilers (or known that Edge was going to be in the Elimination Chamber defending his belt at No Way Out), I would've thought Christian would be debuting after that. A tease like this though, built up over a few weeks, would be a great way to bring Mr. Cage back. I look forward to next week, when Edge comes to the ring with some Pepsi (sodas rule!).

So Edge continues with a really good promo, when Big Show comes out to "celebrate" and check out Edge's title. Me likey, likey long time.

Match 5 - Big Show vs. Festus (Elimination Chamber qualifier)

This was...watchable? Really? Wow...wonders will never cease. Show gets some good looking offense in, including the Alley Oop (Powerbomb position, into an overhead back toss) and, to add a bit of Japanese-style believability to his punch, a Roaring Fist.

Winner: Big Show

Backstage, Eve interviews Michelle McCool. MM taunts Eve, and gets a slap for her troubles. Oh...crap....

Match 5 - Triple H vs. Vladimir Kozlov vs. Great Khali (Elimination Chamber qualifier)

As bad as you'd expect it to be. Poor Hunter. Khali takes the pin, so I guess Kozlov's streak is still alive? I'm sure WWE will play it up that way.

Winner: Triple H

So now we have Trips, Edge, 'Taker and Show in the Chamber. I'm guessing Jeff Hardy will go in also, and maybe John Morrison. Not a bad lineup, but it could be better. As is though, this edition of SD! wasn't great for in-ring, which means my TiVo has a quick deletion.

See you next week.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.

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