Smackdown – February 17, 2005

Date: February 17, 2005
Location: Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the go home show for No Way Out but the big story tonight is going to focus on something for Wrestlemania. Batista is here to deal with JBL, who tried to run him down on Raw. We’re still not sure who Batista is going to face at Wrestlemania but things are getting interesting. In another Wrestlemania story, tonight we’re getting John Cena vs. Booker T. in a semifinal match in the #1 contenders tournament. Oh and there are currently three matches announced for No Way Out so we need to get some stuff set up. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of HHH shoving Batista out of the way of the limo on Monday and Batista saying he was coming here alone tonight.

Opening sequence.

Rey Mysterio vs. Doug Basham

Danny Basham is here with Doug. Before the match, Rey calls out the Bashams for tearing up Rob Van Dam’s knee. Don’t worry though because he has a new partner and they’re coming for the titles on Sunday. Since Rey is bad at keeping secrets, he announces Eddie Guerrero has his new partner, meaning here’s Eddie to even things up. Danny runs him over with some shoulders to start so it’s a springboard armdrag to put Danny down as well.

A chase lets Rey try a 619 to send Danny outside but an argument with Eddie lets Doug get in some cheap shots. Rey’s sitout bulldog is countered into a belly to back suplex and it’s off to a chinlock. Rey pops up and hits the springboard moonsault press for two, drawing Doug up to the apron. Eddie returns the cheating from earlier by tripping Danny, allowing Rey to hit the 619. Dropping the Dime is good for the pin.

Rating: D+. Just a quick match here to set up Sunday’s title match because they don’t have time to give it much attention. That being said, it helps to have a match ready like this with Eddie being inserted in for what was likely a Van Dam/Mysterio rematch. Rey winning was fine and it was very nice to not have it be a tag loss for the champs here, as tends to be the case far too often.

JBL asks Theodore Long what he’s going to do about Batista but Long says it’s not his fault. That makes JBL think Long was behind the attack on Monday to get the title off of him. Long still doesn’t care because Batista is going to be at No Way Out and then on Monday, Long is going to sign him to Smackdown. JBL threatens lawsuits.

We look at the No Way Out press conference with Long promising that this will be the biggest pay per view in the history of Pittsburgh. I don’t quite buy that but it’s a nice line. There are going to be some Divas competitions, which are destined to make my head hurt.

Chavo Guerrero/Spike Dudley/Akio vs. Funaki/Paul London/Shannon Moore

Preview of a six man elimination match for the Cruiserweight Title on Sunday. Shannon and Akio start things off with Akio grabbing a hammerlock and slapping him in the back of the head. That earns him a spinwheel kick to the face and a double suplex with London helping Moore. Chavo comes in and gets headlocked straight down but Akio’s distraction lets Chavo knock London outside. And hang on as here are the four women in the competition on Sunday with signs to campaign for themselves.

After that completely unnecessary cameo, it’s Akio hammering away on London as the previously scheduled match continues. London fights up and brings in Funaki for a high crossbody to start the house cleaning. Everything breaks down with everyone hitting something until Chavo breaks up Funaki’s tornado DDT. London and Moore hit stereo running flip dives to take out Chavo and Akio, leaving Funaki to superkick Spike for the pin.

Rating: C-. If you ignore the Diva cameos, this was a nice enough six man with a fast pace and energized ending. Funaki losing all but guarantees that he’s losing the title on Sunday. That’s fine as he hasn’t been the most thrilling champion, though he has certainly been trying and that’s always nice to see.

Wrestlemania ad, this time featuring Booker T. and Eddie Guerrero as Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta from Pulp Fiction. Booker can be quite the intimidating presence, though adding in CAN YOU DIG THAT SUCKA at the end of the Ezekiel verse is a bit questionable. Then they accidentally shoot the guy they’re sent to scare because they’re not very good at their jobs.

Here’s Kurt Angle for his Invitational. Before we get an opponent out here though, he wishes Booker T. and Cena good luck for Sunday. There’s won’t be any rapping, but there will be some tapping. Angle: “Now can you dig that suckers?” Now get the opponent out here.

Kurt Angle vs. Danny Gimondo

I believe that’s Danny Inferno, who wrestled in OVW as a stereotypical guy from New Jersey but says he’s from Cleveland here. Angle goes after the leg to start but gets kicked away. That’s fine with Kurt as it’s the Angle Slam into the ankle lock for the easy win.

#1 Contenders Tournament Semifinals: John Cena vs. Booker T.

Non-title. Cena and Angle have a staredown in the ramp to preview Sunday. Cena in a Cleveland Indians jersey is a very welcome sight. Feeling out process to start with Cena hitting a shoulder and a hiptoss for two. Some right hands in the corner and an elbow to the face give Cena two more, followed by the armbar. Cena’s big clothesline cuts off the comeback and we hit the front facelock.

It’s way too early for the FU though and a standoff takes us to a break. Back with Cena getting two off a snapmare (A snapmare?) and grabbing a chinlock. That’s broken up in a hurry and Booker hits a heck of a superkick to take over. A spinning kick to the face puts Cena down again but he’s right back up with a flapjack. Booker sends him outside and Tazz wants to talk about Cena’s kidney.

Cena walks into a scoop powerslam for two and it’s off to another chinlock. That’s broken up again and Cena hits a flying shoulder to get a breather. The spinebuster takes Cena right back down but the ax kick is countered into the AA. Booker grabs the rope and Booker hits the side kick for two but the Book End is blocked. Cena gets elbowed in the face, which only fires him up enough to hit the AA and advance to No Way Out.

Rating: C+. This story has turned into basically the same thing that happens on Raw: it’s clear that Cena is going on to the World Title match at Wrestlemania so there isn’t much drama to anything Cena, or Batista on Raw, is going to do. That’s not the worst thing in the world either though as Cena is racking up one win after another, which is going to help validate him as the top star on the show. It’s a long road, but it’s a road with the right ending.

Video on last week’s Japan show.

JBL talks to the Cabinet about Batista and mentions that he has fired Amy Weber.

Big Show doesn’t care about Batista showing up because he wants to win the title on Sunday. A barbed wire cage match is unlike anything he’s ever seen but he’s ready to take care of JBL. He doesn’t care if Batista shows up because he’s not getting in. JBL isn’t getting out though, because there is no way out.

Booker runs into Heidenreich, who laughs at him while writing a poem. Booker makes fun of him for being scared of caskets and heavy breathing ensues. There’s your third match announced for No Way Out.

Hall of Fame video, now featuring Roddy Piper.

Nunzio vs. Luther Reigns

Reigns doesn’t waste any time and hits some backbreakers to put Nunzio on the floor early on. A kick to the head rocks Nunzio again and the faceplant neckbreaker completes the squash for Reigns.

Post match Reigns says he isn’t scared of the Undertaker because Undertaker isn’t throwing him off his game. It’s his yard now and if Undertaker wants it back, come take it back.

Undertaker vs. Mark Jindrak

The threat of a big boot scares Reigns off so Jindrak tries to get in a cheap shot, earning himself a toss into the corner. Hang on though as Undertaker needs to go outside and beat Reigns up again, only to miss the big boot on Jindrak. That lets Jindrak take him down into the corner for some choking as I wouldn’t bet on the offense lasting long. A dropkick sets up a chinlock, with Undertaker fighting up without much effort. Undertaker’s running DDT gets two and there’s the chokeslam. The Tombstone is good for the pin.

Rating: D. It’s almost weird seeing Undertaker in such a short match but it’s not strange to see Jindrak lose again. I don’t remember the last time he won a match and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Reigns is little more than a muscular monster for Undertaker to face before he can do something bigger at Wrestlemania, which is par for the course in February.

Post match, and before the bell is even done ringing, Reigns hits Undertaker in the back of the head with a camera. He’s sitting up before Reigns can even get up the ramp so Reigns knows he’s done on Sunday.

Carlito comes in to see Long, who is not happy to see him. The decision on Long’s future is coming next week, which doesn’t sit well with Carlito. Long doesn’t care because he’s working on signing Batista this Monday. A staredown of two very different looking heads ensues.

No Way Out rundown, now featuring a six match card.

John Cena accuses Josh Matthews of liking boy bands when Angle comes up. They talk about Cena’s first match in the WWE where Angle beat him. Cena is tired of hearing about not belonging here (Angle: “You don’t.”) or not being good enough (Angle: “You’re not.”) or being a punk kid (Angle: “You are.”). Cena knows that he almost had Angle in his debut and on Sunday, Angle is looking at a hungry son of a b**** who is going to Wrestlemania.

JBL and the Cabinet are ready for Batista.

Here are JBL and the Cabinet to address the Batista situation. JBL isn’t someone to try and attack Batista with a car because he’ll face Batista like he has everyone else. If Batista wants some, come get it right now. Oh and Big Show needs to watch if he can put down the pizza. Batista arrives in the parking lot and takes a look at JBL’s limo. He’s not done though and pulls a baseball bat out of his own very nice car.

The limo windows are promptly destroyed and Batista breaks the longhorns with his bare hands. After making sure he looks ok in the side mirror, Batista gets back in his car as the Cabinet runs up the ramp. Batista drives away so here’s Big Show to go after JBL. The Cabinet runs out but here’s Batista again for the save. JBL and the Cabinet bail with a lot of yelling ending the show.

Overall Rating: D+. This wasn’t a great show as a lot of stuff feels like it doesn’t matter on the way to Wrestlemania. The top two title matches have been known for a long time now but there is only so much that you can do to fill time before you start the actual build to those matches. The rest of the show wasn’t the most thrilling in the world, but the Booker vs. Cena match wasn’t bad and Batista continues to look incredible, even on another show. Then again, none of this matters as next week starts the real build and even though everyone knows what’s coming, the interest goes up because of the big matches.

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