Date: October 21, 2020
Location: Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nevada
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
The Eddie Guerrero situation is getting interesting as he seems to have turned full on good guy but you never can tell with him. That makes things rather fun to watch but he can be rather crafty in his ways. Other than that, Smackdown is having some issues with Raw and things could crank up tonight as Edge has sworn vengeance for JBL costing him a match on Raw. Let’s get to it.
The opening video looks at the setup for tonight’s US Title match with Chris Benoit defending against Booker T. after Sharmell cheated to help Booker win the title shot.
US Title: Chris Benoit vs. Booker T.
Benoit is defending and Sharmell is here with Booker. They fight over a lockup to start and it’s a clean break in the corner. Booker actually wrestles him down but Benoit slips out and catches him with a hiptoss. Back up and Benoit’s hammerlock doesn’t get him far as they go into the corner for some chops. Booker misses the side kick though and crashes out to the floor, only to avoid Benoit’s dive to send him into the announcers’ table.
Back from a break with Booker holding a chinlock and whipping him hard into the corner for two. The chinlock goes on again so Benoit fights up again and hits a running forearm for two of his own. It’s time to roll the German suplexes to freak Sharmell out again. The Swan Dive gives Benoit two but Booker is back up with a kick to the face. That lets him head up top but Benoit superplexes him down, albeit with a slip on the way. The referee checks on Booker, allowing Sharmell to hit him low. Booker nails the ax kick for the pin and the title.
Rating: B. It’s the expected good match between these two, though the Sharmell stuff was as annoying as ever. She’s a heel, but she’s the kind of heel where she’s more pesky than evil. Benoit feels like a transitional champion as he spent most of his reign beating up Orlando Jordan in thirty seconds so the loss doesn’t mean much. At least Sharmell will have something else to complain about now.
Post break Benoit is furious but Booker tells him to lay off the wife.
Bob Orton Jr. has a bad back and can’t wrestle tonight. Teddy Long comes in to tell Randy Orton to find a new partner or the main event tonight is a handicap match.
JBL says he didn’t play his music on Raw and isn’t worried about Edge showing up tonight.
Matt Hardy vs. Simon Dean
This is Matt’s Smackdown debut. The bell rings but hang on as Dean needs to tell Matt that if he were in better shape, Lita might not have left him. Matt punches him out to the floor and hits the big slingshot dive, sending Dean over to his bag. That’s taken away but Dean uses the distraction to get in a cast shot to the ribs. A standing curb stomp gets two on Matt and the chinlock goes on. Matt is up in a hurry and hits the middle rope legdrop, followed by the Side Effect. The Twist of Fate puts Dean away in a hurry.
Rating: D+. Just a quick debut for Matt here and that’s fine. He desperately needed to get away from Edge and Lita after that long feud so this is the only thing he could really do. The match was nothing noteworthy of course but the fans reacted to Matt so they had something going here.
Rey Mysterio vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
Rubber match and Jillian Hall is here with JBL. Rey dodges to start and kicks at the leg a bit to little avail. JBL isn’t having that and slugs him into the corner but Rey gets to the apron for a neck snap. Jillian offers a distraction though and JBL knocks him into the barricade in a big crash.
Back in and the fall away slam sends Rey flying (that looked good), setting up the logical torture rack. Rey slips out and hits a springboard bulldog for the double knockdown, meaning the fans can get behind him again. The referee is nearly bumped but is back up in time to see Rey drop toehold JBL into the middle buckle. A split legged moonsault gets two and there’s the 619….plus Edge to spear Mysterio for the DQ.
Rating: C. I’m starting to get interested in this Raw vs. Smackdown story as they’re taking a little time to set it up. The match was just a way to get to the interference but at least we had the cool visual of Mysterio flying through the air. At least they didn’t wait a long time before getting to the ending either, which is always appreciated.
Post match JBL chases Edge into the crowd but here’s Chris Masters to Masterlock Mysterio. A bunch of goons fail to make the save until Hardcore Holly gets rid of Masters.
Post break, Mysterio demands a match with Edge tonight, telling Teddy to work his magic. That line would be a bit funnier in a few years.
Bobby Lashley vs. Vito
Lashley starts fast and knocks Vito outside, where he has to beat up Nunzio. The beating continues inside so Vito gets in a few forearms to the back. Those work as well as you might expect so Lashley is back with suplexes and the Dominator for the fast pin.
Wrestlemania tickets are on sale.
Palmer Cannon hypes up the New Talent Initiative, which is bringing in wrestlers to Smackdown. This includes the Minis Division, as six minis come in to the office. One of them enjoys pork. The Boogeyman comes in to scare them and Teddy grabs his chest.
Sylvan’s posing in front of a mirror is broken up but here’s Hardcore Holly to say his hardcore match with Sylvan starts….now.
Hardcore Holly vs. Sylvan
They start fighting in the back and nearly raid the women’s locker room. Holly sends him into an elevator and we take a break. Back with the fight in the concession stand and they head into the arena with Holly knocking him off a short balcony for two. They make it to ringside where Sylvain gets two off a clothesline, only to get kicked in the face. That means it’s weapons time with Holly finding some wooden sticks. A trashcan lid to the head gets two inside but Sylvan spinebusters him through a trashcan for the same. Sylvan loads up a table but Holly hits the Alabama Slam through said table for the fast win.
Rating: D+. This is the kind of match that you should have expected from these two and I’m not sure if that is a compliment. Holly is getting a nice push at the moment and he’s doing well enough with it, though I don’t think he’s a candidate for moving much higher up the card no matter what happens.
Batista comes in to see Eddie Guerrero, who is upset over what he became last year. He’s so thankful to Batista for giving him a chance, though Batista does catch him lying about having tears in his eyes that night. They’re cool though.
RIP Undertaker video.
Randy Orton/??? vs. Batista/Eddie Guerrero
Randy does have a mystery partner and it’s…..Mr. Kennedy. Good for him for getting some spots like this. Nick Patrick interrupts the mic drop though (egads, that’s Kennedy’s whole gimmick) so Eddie pounds away to start, including shoving Kennedy off the top. Back from a break with Batista running Orton over, setting up the corner shoulders. A suplex gets two and it’s back to Eddie for an elbow to the jaw. Kennedy comes back in for an Amigo but Eddie stops to point at Orton, allowing Kennedy to slip out.
A neckbreaker over the middle rope drops Eddie and it’s Kennedy taking over back inside. We hit the chinlock from Kennedy, followed by a chinlock from Orton to keep things even. Eddie fights up and they bang heads in the corner, allowing the hot tag off to Batista so house can be cleaned. Everything breaks down so here’s Cowboy Bob for a distraction. Kennedy grabs a chair but hits Eddie, who dove in the way to protect Batista, which is enough for the DQ.
Rating: C. Completely standard main event level tag match here though it’s good to see Kennedy getting a chance to move up a bit. You’re only going to get so far doing the same things over and over again so switching him around is a good idea. Orton seems ready to be added to the main event mix again and with Undertaker gone, it’s not like there’s anything else for him to do at the moment. Granted that’s something they need to work on in general: building up some more upper midcard faces.
Post match the beatdown is on with Randy hitting an RKO on Batista. Cue Teddy Long to make a six man tag for next week: the Ortons/Kennedy vs. Batista/Eddie Guerrero/Roddy Piper.
Overall Rating: C+. This show moved some things forward and that’s one of the best things you can see happening. I’m liking the Raw vs. Smackdown story which seems like it is going to be important in the coming weeks. Throw in the next steps with Eddie vs. Batista and a title change and the show kept things moving well enough to hold my interest. Now just keep doing that and we’ll be in a better place.
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