Date: September 9, 2005
Location: Gwinnett Center, Duluth, Georgia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
It’s a big night as Smackdown moves over to Fridays, where it would stay for a very long time to come. This is a stacked card with Batista defending the World Title against JBL in a bullrope match, Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio in a cage match and Heidenreich/Animal defending the Tag Team Titles against MNM. Let’s get to it.
A small note about this show: the first hour was aired on WWE.com due to a benefit concert for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Tag Team Titles: Heidenreich/Animal vs. MNM
MNM is challenging with Melina at ringside. Heidenreich rushes both of them to start and the fight is on in a hurry, with Nitro’s flip over him only resulting in a crash. Animal drives Nitro into the barricade and punches Mercury in the face as the dominance is strong early on. Mercury’s arm is wrapped around the post but Melina offers a distraction so he can snap Heidenreich’s throat across the top.
A running knee in the corner lets Nitro hammer away and it’s back to Mercury for a front facelock. With Heidenreich down, Mercury goes up but takes his time, earning himself a slam right back down. The hot tag brings in Animal to clean house but the referee gets bumped. Melina brings in a title but gets caught, allowing Animal to belt Mercury in the head to retain.
Rating: D+. I was kind of surprised by how not horrible this was. Animal and Heidenreich have been champions for about a month now and while they really don’t need to be around much longer, they could have been worse. At least the ending wasn’t clean so there is a reason for a rematch in the near future.
Video on Randy Orton vs. Undertaker with Orton promising to retire the Undertaker.
Here’s Ken Kennedy for his match, but first he needs to tell Tony Chimmel that there are two things he sucks at: announcing and announcing. Kennedy handles his own introduction again and you really can feel the charisma dripping off of him.
Ken Kennedy vs. Paul London
Kennedy elbows him down to start and stomps away, setting up a middle rope elbow. A bearhug (what an odd visual) goes on but London is out in a hurry with a spinning kick to the head. London takes him up but gets caught with the middle rope Regal Roll for the pin, meaning Kennedy can handle the victory announcement.
Rating: D+. Not much to this one but Kennedy continues to roll. It’s easy to see what they see in Kennedy and I could go for more of him. The It Factor is strong with him, though it’s a little weird to have him go from beating Booker T. one week to beating Paul London the next. At least he looked dominant though and that’s the right idea early on.
Theodore Long and Palmer Cannon are shown watching. Yes, the bosses are in fact here.
Paul Burchill vs. Scotty 2 Hotty
Fallout from an attack on Velocity and William Regal is on commentary to make our lives better. Burchill declares himself the most dangerous import since Regal, which makes his eyebrows go up. Scotty slugs away to start but Burchill takes him down by the arm and hammers away. The armbar with a chinlock goes on early on but Scotty fights up. That earns him three straight whips into the post, setting up a shoulder breaker. The Fujiwara armbar makes Scotty tap.
Rating: C-. Burchill is someone else who gets your attention and has the aggression that can take him a long way. That and being out there with Regal will always help him, as the evil British guys is a trope that has worked for years. I liked what I saw here and they’re doing some interesting stuff with the new talent, so well done there.
Kennedy comes up to Sharmell in the back and introduces himself, while bragging about beating Booker T. last week. Sharmell leaves but Kennedy brings up the lack of title shots that Booker T. has received. Like say, against Chris Benoit. Friends shouldn’t let friends drive drunk but they should give friends title shots.
Here’s the Undertaker to deal with the Ortons. Undertaker says that he and death wait for no man so Randy and Bob can get out here right now. Cue the Ortons on the stage and Randy brings out the check for $1,416 towards Undertaker’s retirement fund. If Undertaker wants it, come get it. Instead, Undertaker sends a bolt of lightning to light it on fire. The idea of Undertaker and money is just wrong.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio
In a cage and Eddie has new music. Eddie walks right over to him before the bell and hammers away in the corner before sending him into the cage three times in a row. Rey is back up with a spinning armdrag and a monkey flip but the cage prevents a 619. It’s too early to climb though and Eddie powerbombs him down for a double knockdown. Eddie pulls him down again, this time wrenching Rey’s knee (yes, a Mysterio knee injury) and we take a break.
Back with Rey trying to pull Eddie down and getting kicked away. Instead, he jumps up onto the ropes for a super Russian legsweep, because going Russian usually works. Rey goes up again and this time they both wind up sitting on top of the cage for the slugout. It’s Rey getting his legs over the side first but Eddie pulls him back in and they wind up on the top rope instead. In a pretty unique spot, Rey dropkicks him into the cage and they both crash down.
Eddie is back up with a DDT but Rey grabs the leg for the save. Back from another break with Rey hurricanranaing him off the top but tweaking the knee again. Rey goes up again but makes the rather dumb mistake of trying a high crossbody, earning the crash and burn landing. Eddie has the chance to leave but goes up top instead and hits the frog splash to FINALLY beat Rey.
Rating: B. This felt like a weird afterthought with Summerslam already done but at least Eddie FINALLY got a win over Rey. It’s the only way the story could end from Eddie’s side and that’s the right call if they’re going that way. Both guys are ready for something new and that’s long overdue at this point.
Linda McMahon asks you to donate to Hurricane Katrina relief.
US Title: Chris Benoit vs. Orlando Jordan
Benoit is defending and we see both full title matches during his entrance. Jordan misses a right hand and gets Crossfaced for the tap at 22.5 seconds. Yeah it’s still funny.
Video on Batista.
Long and Cannon announce Undertaker vs. Randy Orton for next week.
Smackdown World Title: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Batista
Batista is defending in the four corners variety bullrope match. JBL slugs away to start but Batista uses the rope to cut him off in about half a second. The rope gets wrapped around JBL’s neck for a few buckle slaps (complete with the lights so you know who has scored) but JBL breaks it up. That earns him some stomping in the corner so JBL has to hit a big clothesline to cut Batista off again.
A poke to the eye and a kick to the head have Batista down in the corner and a cowbell to the head knocks him silly. That’s good for three turnbuckles but Batista pulls him back again, despite laying on the ropes at the time. Maybe JBL needs to hit the gym a bit harder. JBL hits him low with the rope and we take a break.
Back with Batista carrying him on his shoulders for two buckles but it’s broken up again and reset. The Clothesline From JBL is blocked with a forearm and the whipping begins. The Batista Bomb connects and JBL is busted open. Batista doesn’t mind as we get the slow walk around the ring with both of them hitting three buckles. A spinebuster lets Batista get to the fourth buckle for the win.
Rating: D+. What were you expecting from this one? These matches are only going to be so good with the gimmick limiting what they can do. This was almost every version of this that you’ve ever seen with both of them going cutting the other off and then the near tie to end the show. That’s almost all you see here and the lack of drama really hurt things. Not the worst, but really lame for a main event.
An Undertaker vs. Orton video ends the show.
Overall Rating: C-. The cage match was good and felt like a big moment, but this show came off as underwhelming. They had a lot of matches that felt important but almost none of them lived up to the hype. For a show on a new night, they didn’t exactly treat it like some major change, but at least we had that one good match. It’s not a bad show, but I was expecting a lot more.
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