Smackdown – November 18, 2005 (Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show)

Date: November 18, 2005
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Attendance: 6,000
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the second of two Eddie Guerrero tribute shows, both of which were filmed back to back on the previous Sunday, as the roster was off to Europe later this week. That has to be one of the roughest days the company has ever seen and I’m not sure what to expect after the great tribute on Monday. Let’s get to it.

In Memory of Eddie Guerrero.

Here’s Batista in Eddie’s low rider for the opening chat. He’s fighting back tears as he talks about how much Eddie meant to him. Eddie’s family meant the world to him and while he had demons, Eddie fought back and regained his family. Eddie also loved this business and he gave everything he could every single night. We pause for an Eddie chant and Batista smiles very hard. You can call Batista selfish but he’d give anything to have him back right here. Eddie’s music plays Batista out and he leaves the title on the low rider.

We get an Eddie tribute video, set to 3 Doors Down’s Here Without You, which is as emotional as you imagine it being.

Tonight is going to feature some segments from Eddie’s Cheating Death, Stealing Life DVD, starting with Eddie driving around his hometown. Eddie’s mom talks about how his father taught everyone to wrestle and Eddie explains how the family got into wrestling.

Matt Hardy vs. Carlito

Smackdown vs. Raw continues tonight and the low rider stays in the aisle. Matt starts fast by sending him into the turnbuckle over and over. A missed charge puts Hardy on the floor though and Carlito rams him into the apron. Back in and stomping ensues, setting up the double arm crank. Carlito goes to the middle rope for the mocking of Matt’s pose, plus a dive into a raised boot because of course. The Side Effect gives Matt two but he gets caught in the yet to be named Backstabber for the same. Matt knocks him off the ropes though and the middle rope legdrop connects. The Twist of Fate is enough to finish Carlito.

Rating: C. Just a match here as the popular guy beats the annoying pest. Matt continues to be someone who needs a story to be overly interesting, but the fans still buy into him so he’ll be fine for the time being. Carlito on the other hand is almost never interesting and would be much better off as a manager/talker for someone else.

Vince McMahon talks about what a craftsman Eddie was and how happy it made him. He actually gets choked up a bit when he talks about what Eddie’s family meant to him. You don’t see Vince like that very often and it’s strange to see in a good way.

More from the DVD, with Eddie talking about losing Vickie, having a daughter while they were separated, and then getting back together two years later.

Heidenreich/Animal vs. Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch

Cade and Heidenreich start things off with Cade hitting the shoulders in the corner to start. A clothesline takes him down but Murdoch gets in a kick to the back from from the apron. The cowboys stomp Heidenreich down in the corner and Murdoch slaps on an abdominal stretch. That goes nowhere so it’s back to Cade to keep up the beating in the corner. Heidenreich shrugs that off without too much trouble and brings Animal back in to clean house. The Doomsday Device finishes Cade in a hurry.

Rating: D. Another short one here as the matches continue to not matter in the slightest tonight. These teams didn’t exactly mesh well together but at least they gave the good guys the win. Cade and Murdoch have more of a future as a team, but it’s not like this is going to mean anything to either team.

Booker T., with Sharmell, talks about how much Eddie meant to him. They had their battles in WCW and even got in a fist fight backstage. Booker can’t imagine what it’s like for his family but if they ever need to talk, he and Sharmell are there anytime. Eddie would want the fans to go out and have a great show and that’s all anyone can do.

From the DVD, we look at the Lie, Cheat and Steal vignettes, plus Eddie doing all three things in the ring as well. It’s a great case where the fans knew exactly what was going to happen and wanted nothing else.

Big Show talks about how hard it is to lose a friend but Eddie is safe now.

From the DVD, Eddie talks about growing up in a wrestling family and how his dad had his family wrestling when they were kids.

Chavo Guerrero vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

Jillian Hall is here with JBL and yes it’s Chavo rather than Kerwin White (one of the few silver linings out of this whole situation). Chavo grabs a headlock to start and sends JBL outside in a hurry. A dive to the floor takes him down again and it’s a missile dropkick for two back inside. JBL hits the fall away slam though and throws in an Eddie dance.

The beating continues in the corner and we hit the sleeper on Chavo. That’s broken up in a hurry and the comeback is on, naturally featuring a bunch of Eddie offense. A DDT gives Chavo two and it’s time for a chair, with Chavo throwing it at JBL and dropping down. Like it could have (or should have) been anything else. Chavo uses the distraction to hit Three Amigos and the frog splash finishes JBL.

Rating: B. This is one of those matches that just makes you smile as there was nothing wrong with the whole thing. The match was designed to let Eddie’s nephew get a victory over one of Eddie’s biggest rivals and they did that to perfection. The look on Chavo’s face before the frog splash was perfect and you know JBL didn’t mind doing this one bit.

From the DVD, Eddie talks about spending time with his mom.

From the DVD, Eddie talks about how important it was to defend the WWE Title at Wrestlemania. Given that he wasn’t even in the company two years before, that’s quite the accomplishment. We see some clips of the match, which really was great. Eddie’s mom calls it a beautiful match. For a bonus, we see the end of the show with Eddie coming out to celebrate with Chris Benoit in one of those things that should have been legendary for much better reasons.

JBL talks about his feud with Eddie and all the riots that nearly broke out. They were enemies on scree but friends in real life. Eddie went to bat with him and said JBL could be a main eventer. Eddie was there for JBL during JBL’s divorce and as selfish as it was, JBL would love to see Eddie come out in that low rider one more time.

We look at Eddie beating Brock Lesnar from the title.

Battle Royal

Kid Kash, Tajiri, Gregory Helms, Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Scotty 2 Hotty, Nunzio, Juventud Guerrera, Funaki, Super Crazy, Psicosis

Non-title. The nine Smackdown guys jump the two Raw guys (Helms and Tajiri) but Tajiri kicks his way to freedom in a hurry. Juvy tosses Kendrick and Crazy gets crotched on top for a quick elimination. Funaki and Tajiri joining forces for about a second before Funaki dumps him out. Helms eliminates Funaki though and Scotty does the same to Kash.

Nunzio gets rid of Scotty and Psicosis at the same time, leaving us with Nunzio, Juvy and London. Juvy and London take turns chopping Nunzio but he gets them both to the apron. Neither are eliminated though and they backdrop him out without much trouble. Juvy headscissors London out for the win a few seconds later.

Rating: D+. What else were you expecting from this one? It wasn’t a good match of any kind but having one of Eddie’s friends win is a good idea. They went through things in a hurry and the champ won so it’s hard to complain about anything here. Eddie was a cruiserweight for a long time so having a match like this is fine.

From the DVD, we look at Latino Heat. You can almost see Eddie’s mom’s cheeks go red over the Chyna stuff.

We look at Eddie cheating to win his last match, as only he could.

Shane McMahon, also fighting back tears, talks about what it’s like to be in a legendary wrestling family. As we’ve heard from everyone else, Eddie loved his family. Yes it’s repetitive, but if it’s one of the first things that everyone says about him, it must have been something that mattered to him more than anything else.

We look at the end of Wrestlemania XX. Lawler: “What a sight!” Indeed it was.

HHH vs. Chris Benoit

A very early Crossface attempt sends HHH bailing to the floor. Back in and the same thing happens again as the frustration is on early. Back in again and this time HHH has to roll outside from the threat of a Sharpshooter so Benoit throws him back inside. This time he hammers away with right hands in the corner but HHH sends him outside in a backdrop.

Back with Benoit being whipped hard into the corner twice in a row for two. Benoit gets in a running elbow to the face though and they’re both down. HHH is back up first and hits a spinebuster for two, followed by an abdominal stretch to stay on the ribs. The referee catches him cheating though and we hit the sleeper to slow Benoit down even more.

Benoit fights out and rolls the German suplexes, setting up the Swanton for two. A quick Pedigree attempt is countered into a Crossface but HHH almost gets out. That’s fine with Benoit, who rolls him to the middle of the ring ala Wrestlemania XX and then into a crucifix for the pin.

Rating: B. Another fine match here between two people who have worked together dozens of times. As has been the case with everything else on both shows, the wrestling wasn’t the point here. They had a pretty good match here and while there was no doubt about who was winning, the match was still entertaining because of the immense talent involved.

Post match Benoit and HHH hug and here’s Dean Malenko for the big hug with Benoit in Eddie’s place.

Overall Rating: A. This is a different yet equally good show from the previous version, as this was more about celebrating Eddie’s life than mourning his passing. You can consider it a two volume set and while you can watch one or the other, doing both of them gives you more of a complete picture. The more you hear about Eddie, the more impressive his reputation becomes. He had countless amazing matches and moments and this one made me smile more than Monday, as it felt more like a celebration. Check this out if you haven’t seen it in a bit, as it’s the happier of the two shows.