Smackdown – January 6, 2006

Date: January 6, 2006
Location: Wachovia Arena, Wlkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re into the new year and the big story coming out of last week’s show is the return of Mark Henry, who seems to be Melina’s hired monster to take out Batista. I’ve heard of worse ideas and you can probably pencil in the title match for the Royal Rumble. Speaking of that show, the build starts either tonight or next week so let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of last week with Melina announcing that she’s suing Batista, followed by Henry attacking Batista to cost he and Rey Mysterio the Tag Team Titles back to MNM.

Opening sequence.

John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Matt Hardy

Falls Count Anywhere. Before the match, JBL brags about all the places he could beat Hardy (and Tazz swoons over Jillian Hall’s skirt). He goes into the crowd (where a fan takes the most obvious picture of Jillian’s chest imaginable) to brag some more and here’s Matt to get things going. The brawl is on in the crowd because they can and JBL chokes with his shirt. Matt gets whipped over the barricade for a big crash and it’s time to drop him onto the announcers’ table.

The Side Effect through the table gives Matt two so JBL CRACKS him with a chair for two inside. Matt hits a dropkick through the ropes and follows with a slingshot dive onto the floor for another near fall. It’s time for a ladder to JBL’s ribs but he sends Matt into the barricade again. Matt gets in a few shots and climbs the ladder, only to have Jillian grab his leg. That’s enough for JBL to shove Matt onto the hood of the limo for the win.

Rating: C. It was short but they got in some stuff here, with Matt fighting for revenge and trying to beat JBL however he could. JBL on the other hand was able to beat Matt up well enough in a short time that you could believe the match would go this way. I’ll take the crash over another Clothesline From JBL for the pin too. Jillian continues to be a far less annoying assistant than Orlando Jordan too.

Post match Boogeyman pops out of the limo and gives chase, including putting the worms down Jillian’s skirt. JBL’s panicked face is rather good.

Mark Henry vs. Rob Eckos/Jon Troske/Gus Harlacher

It’s a gauntlet match for Henry and you probably know Eckos better as Robbie E./Robert Stone. Henry has Melina with him and bends Troske’s back around the post to start. A torture rack gets rid of Troske in about thirty seconds and a reverse chokeslam gets rid of Harlacher even faster. Eckos’ shots from behind have no effect so Henry hits a Banzai Drop to the back. The World’s Strongest Slam finishes Eckos with ease. That was the kind of effective squash you don’t get often enough in a situation like this.

Post match Melina fights through tears to say that she is the victim here.

Randy Orton insists he wasn’t going to tap out last week and blames Sharmell for the loss. He’ll go out there and win tonight so he can hand the US Title to Booker T. Booker taking the invisible title and putting it on his shoulder fits him rather well.

Cruiserweight Title: Juventud vs. Kid Kash

Kash is defending and Mr. Kennedy is on commentary after being gone for a few weeks. Juventud starts fast with a dropkick and Kash is knocked outside, with Juventud’s top rope flip dive not making a ton of contact. Back in and Kash pulls him off the middle rope for a face first crash but a springboard moonsault misses. Juventud’s knee is banged up from the crash so the Juvy Driver doesn’t work, allowing Kash to grab a half crab. That’s broken up and the knee is good enough to catch Kash in a super hurricanrana. The 450 misses though and Kash hits the Dead Level to retain.

Rating: C. Given that Juventud was released earlier in the day, there wasn’t a ton of drama about who was winning. Juventud had backstage issues for a good while and since the 450 was banned at this point, there wasn’t a big shock when he was let go. The match was entertaining enough, but it wasn’t a great time for the division and that was very obvious.

Orlando Jordan again asks Booker T. to be his replacement against Chris Benoit but is told to get to stepping. Jordan seems to threaten retaliation.

Batista holds a press conference in the locker room and denies all of Melina’s charges, saying that while they were intimate, she never said no and he never forced anything on her. Mark Henry comes in and asks what if it was him. Batista doesn’t want to hear it and Mark leaves.

Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton

Match #6 in the best of seven series with Benoit down 3-2. Booker comes out for commentary as Benoit sends Orton face first into the buckle to start. Benoit’s snap suplex gets two so Sharmell grabs Benoit’s foot, earning himself an ejection. Orton hits a dropkick and starts hammering away, setting up a chinlock. Back up and Benoit hits a release German suplex, only to be sent outside. We come back from a break with Orton holding another chinlock. Benoit fights out again and hits Three Amigos, setting up the Sharpshooter. That’s switched into the Crossface so Orton bails straight to the ropes. The over the back backbreaker gets two but here’s Orlando Jordan to jump Booker. He’s not done yet though as a crutch shot to Benoit’s head is good for the DQ to tie the series.

Rating: C-. This was a lot of chinlocking with some interference around the rest of the match. It wasn’t as good as last week’s either, with this one not even having the action to make things better. I’m glad they’re wrapping this up too as we’ve been on the same story for a good while now without any major developments. As soon as you get to the Orlando Jordan section of a story, it’s time to go home already.

Raw Rebound.

Finlay is coming.

Here’s Simon Dean for a chat. He issues an open challenge for any two wrestlers to come out and face him. Cue Paul London and Brian Kendrick, but Dean has some different opponents for them. That brings out the Gymini, a pair of huge muscular twins, to wreck London and Kendrick in short order.

Bobby Lashley is ready for the Royal Rumble and likes the sound of facing Batista at Wrestlemania. The need for a mouthpiece is on full display here.

Video on Lashley.

Tag Team Titles: MNM vs. Batista/Rey Mysterio

In a cage with MNM, with Melina, defending. Also, no escape here with pinfall or submission only. Thankfully there are no tags either so the brawl is on in a hurry with the champs in trouble. Rey drops a leg on Mercury but MNM blocks a double ram into the cage. They’re pulled off the wall though and we take a break.

Back with MNM still not being able to climb out as Rey knocks Nitro down and bulldogs Mercury off the top. Mysterio gets sent hard into the corner though and there’s a missile dropkick to Batista. A DDT gets two on Batista and a double baseball slide sends him into the cage. Mysterio bounces face first off the cage but he knocks both champs down without much trouble.

That means a climb to the top of the cage for a high crossbody onto Mercury. Nitro makes the save but Batista is up to start wrecking people. Both champs are crotched on top (with Melina wincing), so here’s Mark Henry. After a few shakes of the cage, Henry rips the door off (which actually took several minutes live and had to be edited) and comes in side to beat up Batista. Henry hits Batista and Rey with the door so MNM can steal the pin to retain.

Rating: C. There were some good spots here in a match that should have been window dressing for the angle at the end. Henry presents a good challenge to Batista and it’s nice to see MNM wrap up the story so they can move on to something else. One good thing here was that while Batista and Rey were winning at the time Henry came out, they didn’t have the match completely won so it doesn’t look like they got completely rescued.

Overall Rating: C-. Pretty run of the mill show here but they don’t have anything to build towards until the end of the month anyway. Next week can start the big build towards the Royal Rumble and things will pick up in a hurry. As for here though, it’s just ok for the most part, with nothing bad but nothing very good either. In other words, Smackdown.

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