Smackdown – March 17, 2005

Date: March 17, 2005
Location: Savannah Civic Center, Savannah, Georgia
Commentators: Tazz, Michael Cole

We’re rapidly closing in on Wrestlemania and this week will focus on the build towards the two big interpromotional matches. Tonight we have Kurt Angle vs. Marty Jannetty as Kurt tries to prepare for Shawn Michaels, plus the contract signing for Randy Orton vs. Undertaker. For once, I’m looking forward to all of the big stuff. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Kurt Angle to get things going. He liked what Shawn Michaels did on Raw and it seemed like a way to get Marty ready for tonight, but there is no way to prepare for an Olympic gold medalist. Shawn can find that out at Wrestlemania but Marty is finding out right now.

Kurt Angle vs. Marty Jannetty

They’re starting fast and the fans are behind Marty early on. Angle takes over with a hammerlock but misses an elbow drop. Marty gets kicked away but nips up and it’s an early standoff. A headlock takeover keeps Marty in trouble though as he can’t do much to escape. Back up and Marty works on the arm again as Cole talks about Marty’s accomplishments. Why being the Intercontinental Champion isn’t mentioned isn’t clear.

Angle takes him down again without much effort but Marty reverses right back into an armbar. A toss to the floor is countered with a skinning of the cat into a headscissors to send Angle outside. Cole calls this “the fight of Angle’s life” as we take a break. Cole isn’t a history buff. Back with Angle holding a waistlock, which he switches into a waistlock to mix things up a bit.

Since these holds aren’t exactly interesting, Angle snaps off a German suplex for two and it’s right back to a waistlock to stay on the ribs. Jannetty finally fights up and hits a DDT for a much needed breather (and a much needed anything else than another hold on the ribs). A spinwheel kick drops Angle and a hurricanrana out of the corner puts him down again.

Marty hits a high crossbody but Angle rolls through and hits a German suplex. The Angle Slam and ankle lock are both broken up and a rollup gives Marty a close two. Now the ankle lock goes on full but Marty rolls him into the buckle for the break. Angle isn’t having that and puts it right back on, this time with the grapevine for the tap.

Rating: C. I know this match has some fond memories and the last five minutes are good, but almost everything before that is Angle holding him on the mat. I don’t know if that was just to extend the match but it was little more than the same style hold over and over. Marty looked better near the end, though it’s not like this was some all time performance. The ending helped bring it back up, but it wasn’t enough to make this any kind of a special match.

Theodore Long is in his office to respond to John Cena giving him the FU last week. It is his responsibility to give us the best in action and entertainment but no one can put their hands on him. JBL comes in to interrupt him mid speech and says he’s rather happy that Long is going to take away Cena’s title shot. Not so fast though as Long isn’t suspending Cena, but if he touches JBL before Wrestlemania, he loses the title shot. That is, unless it’s in a sanctioned match, like tonight when Cena is teaming with Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio to face JBL and the Bashams. We get a classic annoyed JBL face before he storms off, leaving Long to dance.

Chavo Guerrero comes up Eddie, asking if he’s seen Rey. Chavo wants to know what happened to Eddie, who is a disappointment to the family. See, Rey is holding Eddie back because Rey beat him over and over before Eddie agreed to team with him. Chavo: “If you can’t beat him, join him right?” Eddie tells him to get out of here but Chavo says either stop acting like this or stop calling yourself a Guerrero. Chavo leaves and Eddie throws a chair.

Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, Torrie Wilson and Joy Giovanni are in green as they take pictures with the fans. Joy looks like she’s about to scream.

Booker T. vs. Luther Reigns

During the entrance, Booker kisses his new wife Sharmell, who is sitting in the front row. Heidenreich comes out to do commentary because we’re STILL not done with Heidenreich vs. Booker. Reigns misses an early clothesline but grabs a hot shot to set up the second clothesline for two.

Heidenreich is silent on commentary (I can live with this) as Reigns grabs a neck crank, followed by another clothesline for some more twos. The chinlock goes on as we’re two minutes in and somehow have run through most of Reigns’ offense. Booker suplexes his way to freedom and grabs a spinebuster to put Reigns down again. The superkick into the Spinarooni sets up the ax kick to finish Reigns.

Rating: D. How you can run out of offense that soon isn’t clear but leave it to Reigns to figure out a way to make it work. Reigns just isn’t working and there isn’t much of a way to make him look like any more than a clueless putz. Booker has nothing going on before Wrestlemania but leaving him off of the show is better than a showdown with Heidenreich.

Post match Heidenreich reads a poem about Booker showing him the light with the chair shot. Now he has a new way to live his life. Can that way of life involve a career change?

Wrestlemania trailer, this time featuring When Harry Met Sally. Linda McMahon doing the “I’ll have what she’s having” line might be the funniest thing she’s ever done in WWE. Take that for what it’s worth.

Long is in the ring for the Undertaker/Randy Orton contract signing. We get a quick intro but here’s Eric Bischoff to interrupt. Bischoff promises Raw dominance at Wrestlemania so here’s Orton, who will bring Raw a huge victory. We see one single fan cheering for Orton, which just makes things feel sad. Long handles Undertaker’s entrance, which takes as long as you would expect it to.

Undertaker signs without saying anything and hands the contract to Orton. You can’t get through a contract signing so simply though as Orton says Undertaker will be 12-1 soon. Orton is unlike the rest of his opponents because he isn’t afraid. Everyone says facing Undertaker is like facing no one on earth, but facing Orton is what’s unlike anything else. Orton signs and slaps Undertaker in the face, which just isn’t that bright. Undertaker starts shaking and the lights flicker, followed by the fire exploding behind Orton. That’s never a good sign.

Jackie Gayda and Lauren Jones take more pictures in the crowd.

Paul London vs. Billy Kidman

It feels like we haven’t seen a cruiserweight match in a long time. Kidman takes him into the corner to star as the announcers immediately switch over to talking about Undertaker vs. Orton. Fair enough in this case though at least try to make it sound a little less obvious. London grabs a sunset flip for two and hits a dropsault for the same. A dropkick breaks up London’s springboard though and it’s time to work on the back. We hit the chinlock with a knee in London’s back, which starts the comeback as London hits another dropsault. The 450 finishes Kidman in a hurry.

Rating: C-. London is the current #1 contender after winning a match on Velocity so this wasn’t exactly shocking. The cruiserweight division barely exists anymore but it’s a nice way to fill in some time, when WWE remembers that they exist. Pushing London is as good as pushing anyone else, assuming it actually goes anywhere.

Carlito is working the concession stand this week and that means reading the paper. He eventually sells a kid a hot dog but sprays ketchup on him for requesting change. An adult complains and gets some spit.

Classic Steve Austin moment: crushing Rock’s Lincoln.

Here’s Big Show for a chat. He’s never been in a sumo match before but he’s the one person Akebono can’t push around. That is all.

Orlando Jordan tells JBL to not be worried about tonight’s six man.

Raw Rebound.

Dawn Marie is in the crowd this time but gets in a fight with Michelle McCool. It’s quickly broken up as we continue a string of what feels like filler material.

Wrestlemania rundown.

JBL comes up to Cena and tries to provoke him into violence. He knows that Cena wants to be rich like him because Cena came from a poor family where his mama had to sleep with the landlord to pay the rent. Cena says JBL is as stupid as he looks and he can wait five minutes for the bell to ring. Thanks for the motivation though.

Video on Christy Hemme’s Playboy.

John Bradshaw Layfield/Basham Brothers vs. Eddie Guerrero/Rey Mysterio/John Cena

Historical note: My Time Is Now makes its debut. Cena makes sure to wait for the bell before slugging away at JBL to start but he has to settle for a hiptoss on Danny when the champ bails. A little dancing sets up an early Shuffle for two and it’s a heavily cheered Eddie coming in with a slingshot hilo. The springboard headscissors/armdrag takes both Bashams down at the same time and we take a break.

Back with Eddie bringing Rey in, much to Cena’s….I think annoyance? Shock maybe? Rey’s springboard crossbody gets two on Doug but the Bashams get him into the corner. That means JBL can come in so Rey gets straight over to Cena, sending JBL bailing to the floor. Cena gets to suplex Danny instead as the powder keg continues to simmer. The fans still want Eddie as Rey comes back in for the 619 to Danny. Doug throws him into the barricade though and it’s JBL coming in for a swinging neckbreaker.

The fall away slam, with a glare to Mysterio, gets no cover so it’s back to the Bashams to take turns on Rey. A double flapjack sets up a front facelock, which is escaped in a hurry for the tag off to Cena. That means house can be cleaned but JBL reverses a whip to send him into the steps. Rey dives onto JBL, leaving Eddie to hit Three Amigos to Doug Basham. Eddie goes up for the frog splash but Rey Drops The Dime for the pin.

Rating: C+. This was the storytelling match more than anything else and the stories they’re advancing worked well. Pushing the idea of Cena being ready to explode on JBL is as good of an idea as they have as Cena winning the title isn’t much of a secret anymore (if it ever was). Rey getting the pin after Eddie did most of the work wasn’t talked about but it’s a perfect way to move things forward.

Post match Cena grabs a chair but realizes the bell has rung and can’t do it. He hits Danny over and over instead as JBL cowers. Cena says you can’t see me to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. What a weird show at times with a bunch of stuff that came and went, plus stories that feel like they belong in the middle of June when there is nothing going on rather than two and a half weeks before Wrestlemania. Did we really need the Divas deal or the cruiserweight match or Booker and Heidenreich (AGAIN)? What matters here is they moved the bigger stories, with JBL vs. Cena all but set and Eddie’s issues with Rey starting to take shape. This would have been a great hour long show but for what we got, it only worked well enough.

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