Smackdown – January 20, 2005

Date: January 20, 2005
Location: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s time to get ready for the Royal Rumble and so far that means focusing on the Smackdown World Title match. JBL, Kurt Angle and Big Show have been playing mind games with each other and I don’t see that ending well. Other than that, John Cena is still looking for anything to fill his time before he can get to the World Title scene. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of last week’s issues between everyone involved in Joy Giovanni’s disappearance, which was one of the most entertaining things they’ve done in a good while. Kurt Angle and company were behind the whole thing and that is likely going to have some repercussions this week.

Theodore Long is in the ring to open things up. He talks about what Angle did last week and promises that Angle will face the music tonight. Angle isn’t here yet, but when he arrives, it’s time for an official apology to Joy Giovanni, all by himself. Otherwise, he is out of the title shot at the Royal Rumble and won’t get another title shot this year. Now holla holla holla.

Tag Team Titles: Bashams vs. Eddie Guerrero/Booker T.

The Bashams are defending and has Orlando Jordan here with them. Doug takes Booker into the corner to start so Booker clotheslines him right back. Eddie comes in to a rather nice reaction and stomps away in the corner. The slingshot hilo hits and it’s time to start on the arm. Booker’s spinning kick to the face gets one and Eddie goes very old school with an airplane spin. Eddie is so dizzy that he staggers into the corner for a poke to Danny’s eyes.

Back to back planchas to the floor keep the champs down and we take a break. Back with Doug STILL in trouble to continue the rather long beatdown segment. A suplex finally gets Doug a breather and it’s off to Danny for some fresh Basham. Booker comes in and the champs do a very fast twin switch, which would seem to be a rather bad idea. The cheap shot lets Doug take Booker down and it’s back to Danny for some choking on the apron.

Danny grabs a seated full nelson and then gets two off a powerslam. The hold goes back on and Eddie gets yelled at for not holding the tag rope. In a rather brilliant move, Eddie unties the rope and holds onto it as he walks down the apron, though it doesn’t matter as Danny puts on the third full nelson in the span of a few minutes. A regular chinlock changes the pace a bit and that’s enough to trigger the comeback, including a spinebuster to drop Danny.

It’s Eddie coming back in and hitting the rope walk wristdrag/headscissors combination to the champs. Three Amigos have Doug in trouble so Eddie brings Orlando in for a bonus. The distraction lets Doug bring in a title but Eddie knocks it away and hits Doug with it….as the referee turns around. He SWEARS that he didn’t do it but that’s a DQ anyway.

Rating: C-. The long stretch of holds in the middle hurt it a lot but this got some time and was allowed to develop a bit. The Bashams are fine champions at the moment and a team can be built up to take them away in time. Eddie vs. Booker seems to be building as well and that could be a rather nice feud.

Post match Booker yells at Eddie, who walks out on him instead. Danny and Jordan jump Booker and Eddie makes a somewhat delayed save. A scissors kick into the frog splash takes care of Orlando.

JBL is upset over Jordan but Amy reminds him that the Bashams retained the title. Josh Matthews comes in so JBL can talk about some things he’s done in his life. Those things were a matter of doing business though and what Angle did crossed the line. Tonight, Angle will pay. I hope he gets a receipt.

Big Show and an upset Joy Giovanni are waiting on Angle. Show doesn’t think this is the place for her so she leaves.

Royal Rumble Qualifying Match: Akio vs. Scotty 2 Hotty

This is Scotty’s return after having a benign tumor removed. Akio gets aggressive to start and stomps away but Scotty armdrags him into an armbar. They head outside with Akio sending him back first into the apron and grabbing his own armbar. A suplex gets two as the cameras stay close to avoid showing the large number of empty seats during this match. The abdominal stretch has Scotty in more trouble and a belly to back plants him again. Akio Time (corkscrew moonsault) misses and the Worm gives Scotty the pin.

Rating: D+. They were trying but there’s nothing you can do with two cruiserweight job guys fighting to be cannon fodder in the Rumble. The Worm still gets a reaction but other than some dancing, Scotty doesn’t have much more than that. Akio was aggressive here and it was one of his better performances.

John Cena is all fired up for the Royal Rumble because it’s about the movement. If you want some, come get some. Not much to say this week.

Steve Austin had a press conference on Wednesday. This show is airing on Thursday so tune in Monday to find out what he said!

Theodore Long tells Big Show that he can’t attack Angle until the apology takes place. Show isn’t convinced.

Here’s Carlito with his petition and he gets some signatures on the way to the ring. He promises to keep collecting signatures but here’s Heidenreich of all people to interrupt. Heidenreich actually signs as well because Long is forcing him into a casket match. He’s not scared of Undertaker but he doesn’t like caskets, so he’ll do anything to get out of that match. The lights go out and Undertaker appears on screen, promising to introduce Heidenreich to a casket. There’s a casket in front of him and Heidenreich is inside. This story can gladly end anytime. Like, say before we have to watch them fight again.

Lauren and Rochelle arrive and Show nearly hits them with a chair.

Royal Rumble Qualifying Match: John Cena vs. Rene Dupree

Non-title. Rene shoulders him down to start and throws in his own You Can’t See Me. A much harder shoulder puts Rene on the floor and the fans are rather pleased. Cena spends a bit too much time high fiving a fan and walks into a dropkick. Back in and a clothesline connects as the announcers try to figure out what Rene’s trunks say.

The chinlock goes on for a bit as Tazz is confused why Rene isn’t the hometown favorite. Cena comes back with clotheslines and elbows for two, followed by the ProtoBomb for the same. The Shuffle actually misses, so Cena hits a DDT and then the Shuffle connects. The FU sends Cena tot he Rumble.

Rating: D+. I know I say this every week but Cena has nothing to do at the moment until we get to the Rumble because no one in the midcard can touch him. We’re just waiting to get him to the main event scene where he belongs, and having him beat up Rene one week and Kenzo Suzuki the next isn’t the most interesting thing in the world.

Post match here’s Kenzo to jump Cena, likely setting up one more match between the two of them next week.

Royal Rumble rundown.

JBL comes up to Big Show and offers to help him deal with Angle tonight. After the apology, they can beat him up. Show doesn’t say no.

Royal Rumble Qualifying Match: Chavo Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio

They lock hands to start with Chavo monkey flipping him over, leading to a standoff. A reverse powerbomb plants Rey and Chavo gets to talk a little trash. Rey sends him to the apron though and it’s a springboard Stunner to put Chavo on the floor as we take a break. Back with Rey getting caught in the chinlock, which is a little better than coming back to the chinlock. Chavo starts kicking at the knee but Rey kicks him in the chest, followed by a springboard moonsault.

It’s right back to Rey’s knee though but Chavo switches to an armbar for some reason. Chavo dives into raised boots and falls into 619 position but thankfully stands up so Rey can get two off a basement dropkick. A faceplant gives Chavo two of his own with Rey putting his foot on the rope. Rey tries a running headscissors but gets planted with a reverse powerbomb for two as the fans are VERY impressed. Another headscissors works better for Rey though, meaning it’s the 619 into the springboard splash for the pin.

Rating: B-. Well of course these two are capable of having a good match. That almost always seems to be the case and I’m not surprised in the slightest. Rey winning was the mostly obvious ending but Chavo was trying here, giving us one of the better Smackdown matches in recent memory.

Raw Rebound.

Next week: Kenzo gets another US Title shot.

Here’s a scared looking Kurt Angle coming through the crowd. After a break, he calls out Joy for the apology. Joy comes out and Angle reads an apology, blaming last week on his overly competitive spirit. Any pain and suffering was unintentional….and here’s Big Show. Once Show is in the ring, Angle bails to the floor because they can settle this at the Rumble. Cue JBL and the Cabinet to threaten Angle, followed by a handshake. Angle calls out Jindrak and Reigns so Show is down 7-1. Cole, after the handshake and smile: “Have JBL and Angle joined forces here?”

It’s the classic villain strategy of sending one or two people at a time before the villains wake up and rush Show at the same time. Show fights them off and even no sells a low blow from Jordan. The Angle Slam takes him down though and JBL chairs him in the head. JBL and Angle take turns hitting Show in his busted head and a great looking shot with the steps put Show on the floor to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. The transitional phase continues as we slowly crawl towards Cena getting into the main event picture and having no one to touch him until then. At the same time though, Big Show, Angle and JBL are giving it all they have in the title feud and it’s working far better than I would have expected. The women are adding in enough of a difference that the story is working and I’m wanting to see the title match. The wrestling tonight wasn’t very good, but I’m digging the show enough at the moment. Things are building towards Cena at the Rumble though and there’s no need to try and hide it.

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