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Smackdown: Building to Bragging Rights
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Smackdown returns to the airwaves, ready to move past the 10th anniversary celebration and Hell in a Cell, and move straight toward Bragging Rights. Time's short between pay-per-views, so it's safe to assume one or two matches will be set tonight. Let's take a closer look at the start of the new Smackdown season, shall we?

We get a good rundown of tonight's card off the top, with Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho (yay!) and Batista vs. CM Punk (meh) announced. After a shot at the broadcasters' desk, we slide over to Teddy Long, who congratulates Undertaker on his win at HIAC and begins some smack talk for Bragging Rights before letting John Cena knows that if he loses the Iron Man match (wishful thinking, Mr. Long) he's welcome on SD!

Punk then comes out and demands a rematch - a submission match no less - against 'Taker instead of a bout with Batista. Long starts to speak but Vince McMahon comes out, who announces that the Bragging Rights main event from Smackdown will be a Fatal Fourway match between Punk, 'Taker, Batista and Mysterio. Man, if I was Jericho I'd feel slighted. Speaking of Y2J...

Match 1 - Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio

In a nice bit of continuity from their feud, Jericho at one point goes for the mask. I'm still a bit mystified that ReyRey's getting this massive push after some time on the sidelines for a Wellness violation, but I guess dollars speak. Rey gets the win with his splash, and I quickly check the Rise and Fall of WCW lineup to see if there's a match between these two from their best days in the ring together (sadly, there isn't).

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Next up is Cryme Tyme with Word Up, basically talking up Eve. I still dig this trio, but the segments can be lame some times.

Match 2 - Michelle McCool vs. Eve Torres

I wonder if a boycott of McCool's matches in my recaps will make the title change hands. Let's find out.

Winner: Michelle McCool

Backstage, Vickie Guerrero (oh come on, we all missed her a bit, didn't we?) and Eric Escobar complained about his not having a match to Teddy and reminded him of the probation. Right... because past GMs were only fired after they were put on probation. What's next, two weeks notice?

Match 3 - John Morrison vs. Dolph Ziggler

Okay. This is the match where Maria finally turns heel and helps out her man despite all the warnings, right?

Wrong.

Look, I like these two in the ring together and could watch them for weeks on end, but there's been no story to drive this (other than Morrison's awesome Mr. Ziggles promo a couple weeks back). Maria should have played Miss Elizabeth here (or at least Debra), but as is, the match is good for action but bad for character furtherment. Morrison wins, as you'd expect.

Winner: John Morrison

Backstage, Maria gets the old heave-ho from Dolph. Wow... I didn't see that coming. Is someone getting the boot or failing a Wellness Policy?

Elsewhere in the arena, Rey and Batista talk about the Tag title loss then the World title match. If this was the Russo Era, I'd say one of them is turning, and actually I'd like that. Batista's been a face wayyyy too long.

Match 4 - R-Truth/Matt Hardy vs. Drew McIntyre/Kane

One of these things is not like the others... Guess which one? This is the definition of throw-together, likely leading to Hardy vs. McIntyre for a series of bouts. If so, it's Drew who strikes first blood.

Winner: McIntyre/Kane

Undertaker's out next and he cuts a promo on his three Bragging Rights opponents. Nothing really new here.

Match 5 - CM Punk vs. Batista

About what you'd expect from this mismatch. Man, remember a couple months ago when Smackdown was all about the "smaller" guys with huge movesets and speed to go around? No disrespect to Batista, but he's much more suited for Raw.

Still, this wasn't a bad match, just one that it didn't seem like Punk could win clean, and indeed he didn't really, reversing out of a Batista Bomb on the floor and getting the countout duke.

Winner: CM Punk

Post-match, the Bomb, as they say is dropped and Batista stands tall.

Well, this was not quite what we're used to out of Smackdown. There were a couple good matches, but nothing that was absolute blowaway in the ring. I'm guessing next week Morrison will face a new foe while Rey and Punk mix it up, which wouldn't be a bad fit. See you in seven.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000. Along with Greg Oliver, Jon co-edited SLAM! Wrestling, Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle and will be hosting the book's official launch in Winnipeg on November 5th. Check out our official Facebook event page for all the details.