Date: March 10, 2005
Location: Civic Center, Roanoke, Virginia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
We’re less than a month away from Wrestlemania and that means this show is going to be more about John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield, which is almost all that matters from Smackdown. Odds are we’ll get some more on the interpromotional matches but John vs. John is the only exclusive Smackdown match that has gotten any focus so far. Maybe that changes tonight. Let’s get to it.
We open with a look back at last week with JBL and the Cabinet costing Cena the US Title to Orlando Jordan in a smart and logical next step.
Here’s the Cabinet to open things up, complete with security, which hopefully coordinated with the Bashams. JBL talks about how they’ve done something cool every week and this week it’s time to honor someone who values respect. That would be Jordan, who won the US Title last week all by himself. The CENA chants begin and JBL tells them to stop cheering for the loser.
We hear a bit about Jordan’s past, growing up with several brothers and sisters in the inner cities. Jordan did the right thing: he turned his back on his family and here he is as the US Champion and the people in the seats watching him. JBL is a wrestling god and can show these people how great everything can be. Common people can never stand here with championships and….what is Jordan holding? JBL looks disturbed by the spinner title (well yeah) because common people like Cena put things like that on their cars instead of investing in education. That’s why we need to do what we’ll be seeing next.
A trashcan is brought in and, after a rant about what Cena has ruined about the title, JBL puts it in the can and lights the belt on fire (with the can exploding in something Kane would fine excessive). JBL presents the traditional US Title to Jordan and we get some solid heel posing. They kept this short and the segment and promo both worked. Thank goodness it wasn’t on Raw as HHH would have made it ten minutes longer.
Booker T. vs. Heidenreich
No DQ because WWE wants us to suffer. Heidenreich slugs Booker into the corner to start in the only thing he does remotely well. A knee to the ribs cuts Booker off and Heidenreich slowly stomps away in the corner. In a smart move, Booker kicks him low because he can get away with it here, sending the announcers into near hysterics over the pain.
Heidenreich seems fine as he sends Booker face first into the announcers’ table and then the post for a bonus. Back in and Heidenreich punches even more, followed by a hard clothesline for two. Heidenreich brings the chair in but takes too long crawling around, allowing Booker to ax kick him onto said chair. A scary chair shot to the head knocks Heidenreich cold for the pin.
Rating: D. The match was a conclusion to a story that didn’t warrant a second part, let alone a third, but it was an emphatic way to end things. However, it also (again) showed just how useless Heidenreich was in the ring. Most of his offense was punching and he looked incapable of doing anything beyond entry level stuff. Booker, as well as everyone else involved, deserves better than that.
We look back at Randy Orton challenging Undertaker for Wrestlemania.
Theodore Long isn’t sure what is going to happen when Cena gets here tonight. Carlito comes in and Long has a job for him: find out Undertaker’s response to Orton’s challenge. Do it or be fired.
Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero admire their Tag Team Titles when Chavo Guerrero comes in to wish them luck tonight. See, tonight JBL and Jordan have a Tag Team Title shot and Chavo wouldn’t want to be the only Guerrero with a title. Eddie: “No one’s grandma would be happy with that!” Chavo leaves and Eddie says it’s not his fault that Chavo is his nephew.
Carlito goes looking for Undertaker, because the only place he could be is in the bottom of the building. The lights go out and Carlito lets out a high pitched scream. A maintenance worker apologizes for turning them out because he didn’t know anyone was in there. That was kind of funny.
Mark Jindrak vs. Luther Reigns
Jindrak jumps him during the entrance but gets beaten down because Jindrak isn’t very good. They get inside with Reigns powering him down in the corner and pulling on the arm. Back up and Jindrak makes his comeback with every basic bit of offense you can imagine. A high crossbody gets two so Jindrak knocks him out with a left hand for the pin. Can these two be done already?
A ticked off Cena arrives, pipe in hand, and doesn’t want to be asked questions. Or maybe he just doesn’t like Josh Matthews.
Back from a break with Cena in the arena (makes sense because there would be no reason for him to wait in the back until after the commercial and wanting the noise killed. He and JBL both like to break things, but he likes to break faces instead of titles. So the Cabinet can get out here right now so we can handle this. No one comes out so Cena demands that they get out here so we can deal with this right now. Instead it’s Long coming out, saying he knows that Cena is a little razzle dazzled. Cena: “Razzle dazzled?”
Tonight Jordan and JBL have a Tag Team Title shot but Long has another idea: Cena can have his rematch for the US Title tonight. Cena would rather take all of them apart, but Long says we can’t have the Wrestlemania main event destroyed. That’s not cool with Cena, who thinks Long is sounding like JBL. Since that makes him part of the problem, Cena lays Long out with an FU. That didn’t quite fit with the rest of what Cena was saying, which was one of his first really serious main event promos, where Cena can excel.
Post break, Cena has been removed from the building.
It’s time for the Kurt Angle Invitational but this time around, the medal is above the ring. During Angle’s entrance, we see a clip from last week with a spot shadow on Shawn Michaels unmasking as a cameraman. Just in case you thought it was one of the people standing still and now revealing themselves to be a famous wrestler.
Angle talks about working hard to become an Olympic champion in 1994 but he kept hearing about this. We see a clip of the Wrestlemania ladder match, with Angle talking about how revered the match is. Angle knows he could put Shawn’s performance to shame, so tonight it’s a ladder match for the medal. Get an opponent out here.
Kurt Angle vs. Mike Haywood
Angle forearms him in the face to start and chokes with a knee in the back. The Angle Slam and an ankle lock let Kurt win probably the shortest ladder match in history.
Post match Angle sits on the ladder and says that wasn’t hard. He didn’t even use the ladder as a weapon. Now let’s jump to 1989, when Shawn made his Wrestlemania debut. We see a clip of the Rockers’ entrance before Angle says he’s arranged a match with Marty Jannetty next week. Shawn better be watching so he can learn what it’s like to tap out to Kurt.
Wrestlemania Recall: Bobby Heenan and Gene Okerlund are found with Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah. Bobby begging not to let them drag him back in is hilarious.
Big Show accepts Akebono’s challenge to a sumo match at Wrestlemania. Something I had forgotten: Big Show getting together with Joy is a bit more interesting when you remember she was mentioned as a wife and mother during the Diva Search.
Wrestlemania rundown. There is still just one Smackdown vs. Smackdown match.
Carlito is looking for Undertaker but Torrie Wilson scares him out of his wits. Since he can’t find Undertaker, he’ll have to call him out in the ring. That was a rather worthless waste of time.
Video on Christy Hemme’s Playboy shoot.
Here’s Carlito to call out Undertaker. He’s tired of this wild goose chase and now he needs an answer before he gets fired from Smackdown. Going to Raw is that out of the question for him? Anyway, it would be cool if Undertaker could give him an answer so there’s the gong. Undertaker does the full entrance, leaving Carlito to sheepishly ask about Orton’s challenge. Undertaker says that many have come at Wrestlemania, and like the rest of them, Orton will fall. The Tombstone leaves Carlito laying.
JBL tells the security to guard the hallway in case Cena comes back.
Hall of Fame video.
Next week: Orton and Undertaker sign the contract.
Tag Team Titles: Eddie Guerrero/Rey Mysterio vs. John Bradshaw Layfield/Orlando Jordan
Mysterio and Guerrero are defending and the Bashams are out here too. Eddie and JBL start things off with Eddie suckering him in with a slap to the face. Thankfully commentary doesn’t waste time getting to a discussion of JBL taking the title from him here in Virginia last year. Some armdrags send JBL outside so Jordan comes in and holds his arms up. Eddie isn’t impressed and pokes him in the eye as casually as you can.
Rey comes in for a sliding dropkick to the knee and some kicks to the head. Again commentary does well as they explain that Jordan hurt his leg at a show over the weekend (that would explain the half trunks/half shorts). A shoulder lets JBL come in and he has to lean rather far down to say something to Rey. The powerbomb attempt is countered with some right hands and it’s Eddie coming in with the slingshot hilo for two.
Eddie draws Jordan in so Rey can snap JBL’s throat across the rope and it’s more choking with the tag rope for a bonus. It’s back to Jordan, who actually has more success with punches and stomps in the corner. Rey’s comeback is cut off by a Bashams distraction and a big boot from JBL.
The Bashams are ejected for their efforts and we take a break. Back with JBL sending Rey outside with the fall away slam so Jordan can send him back first into the apron. The logical bearhug follows from JBL and Jordan gets in one of his own. Rey gets in a tornado DDT and brings Eddie back in as everything breaks down. The 619 is loaded up but JBL hits Rey in the knees with a chair for the DQ.
Rating: C+. They were making sense for the most part though it was nothing more than a main event tag where we were waiting around for whatever Cena is going to do end the show. It was also clear that JBL and Jordan weren’t getting the other titles so close to Wrestlemania so while the wrestling was good, it was more about waiting around until the ending.
Post match the beatdown is on and here’s Cena to clean house, including the FU to Jordan as JBL bails into the crowd. A lot of glaring ends the show.
Overall Rating: C-. The JBL vs. Cena stuff has been very well put together as JBL is feeling the promos, but it’s incredible how little else Smackdown is offering Wrestlemania. Yeah there are the two big interpromotional matches and they’ve gotten some time on these shows, but hearing about Big Show in a sumo challenge isn’t quite the same as the introduction of Money in the Bank. Wrestlemania really is a two match show at its core, but Orton vs. Undertaker and Michaels vs. Angle are doing a lot of good to prop up the rest of the show. Throw in Money in the Bank and we’re looking at a pretty stacked card.
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