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   Sat, September 12, 2009



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Smackdown: The return of the vice
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Smackdown launches this week just a couple days away from Breaking Point. That should mean World Title and Tag Title buildup. Let's see how things went down.

We kick off Smackdown with an appearance by Undertaker, who sadly is looking a little... okay a lot thinner on top than I'm used to seeing. Taker cuts a pretty damn good promo on CM Punk and promises to put the champ in Hell's Gate. This brings out Punk, naturally, who mixes shots on Jeff Hardy with a promise to lock the Anaconda Vice in on 'Taker and make him tap, just as he will do tonight with Matt Hardy. Another good promo by Punk, and I love the tagline "the choice of a new generation" -- I'm just waiting for WWE to make a Pepsi send-up shirt with that! 'Taker responds rather weakly with the Rest in Peace line.

Match 1 - Finlay vs. Mike Knox (Belfast Brawl)

Knox again delivers a twisted, yet deep promo. I'm really beginning to dig his character.

This was the kind of stiff bout you'd expect from these two, with some hardcore apparati mixed in, including the shillelagh, which Finlay uses to end the bout.

Winner: Finlay

Backstage, Dolph Ziggler is looking for Maria but only finds Michelle McCool, who "falls". McCool catches him as Layla watches on with her Crackberry, recording the whole thing. How evil. indeed!

Match 2 - David Hart Smith vs. The Great Khali

Kane gets in the ring and takes it to Khali before the match can even begin. Khali ends up getting the better end of the exchange.

Winner: No contest

Match 3 - Cryme Tyme vs. Jerishow

Wow has CT fallen down the ladder quickly eh? Elegant job-out here leading to the PPV. Actually much longer than it should've been.

Winners: Jerishow

Backstage, Teddy Long and Vince McMahon meet for their weekly chat. Vince again criticizes Long again and Teddy promises something that will change the face of Smackdown next week, and promises something excellent for Smackdown.

Match 4 - John Morrison vs. Charlie Haas

They don't say for certain from the outset if it's a title bout, but I don't think the title was ever in jeopardy.

Haas is given a decent amount of time to show off his technical work, but at this point he's just not going to be a believable threat. He needs to be in ECW to establish a new character for a while. Starship Pain finishes this one in shorter order than usual for Morrison.

Winner: John Morrison

Post-match, Morrison cuts a promo and thanks Rey Mysterio for their match last week and guarantees the former champ a return bout whenever he wants it.

Before the segment ends, Dolph Ziggler comes out. The two have a good interchange before Morrison challenges Ziggler to use his due title match tonight and when Dolph refuses, Morrison, and the audience call him Mr. Ziggles. Cute.

Next up, Matt Hardy talkes about the upcoming submission match with Punk.

Match 5 - Melina vs. Layla

Match is okay but nothing special. The big part here is Michelle McCool, who's at ringside, using her crutch to injure Melina enough to allow Layla to get the duke.

Winner: Layla

Backstage, R-Truth talks to Josh Mathews about Drew MacIntyre and asks Long to make a match, until Drew attacks again.

Match 6 - CM Punk vs. Matt Hardy (non-title submission match)

Good submission exhibition and scientific wrestling from Matt Hardy while Punk, but the "it factor" isn't here and the match feels somewhat bland at times. Of course, Punk wins with the Vice. Punk sells the knee a bit too much here for my liking, but he's a dedicated star so i can't completely blame him.

Winner: CM Punk

Post-match, the Undertaker's gong strikes, the lights go out, and when they're back on, Taker has the title at the top of the ramp. Yay.

Not really that strong a show from SD! this week, in fact its the worst I've seen in a while. The hard sell for the PPV didn't really work that effectively, but hey, who knows what will happen come Sunday.

See you next week.