Smackdown – March 17, 2006

Smackdown
Date: March 17, 2006
Location: CenturyTelCenter, Bossier City, Louisiana
Commentators: Tazz, Michael Cole

It’s the go home show for Saturday Night’s Main Event, which is the last real stop on the Road to Wrestlemania. Things have been a little strange as of late as we have been building towards both shows at once, but Saturday Night is just a commercial for Wrestlemania anyway. Let’s get to it.

The opening recap looks at last week’s main event tag and Undertaker challenging Mark Henry for the Wrestlemania casket match to end the show.

Opening sequence.

Money In The Bank Qualifying Match: Finlay vs. Bobby Lashley

Lumberjack match. Lashley kicks Finlay outside to start and Finlay gets to beat up the lumberjacks. Back in and Lashley pulls him away from the ropes for a crash to the mat. A clothesline into a backdrop sends Finlay outside again and it’s time for the big staredown between everyone involved. Some cheap shots from the lumberjacks put Lashley down so Finlay throws him outside again to keep up the beating. The chinlock goes on back inside, followed by some forearms to the back.

Those just annoy Lashley, so Finlay sends him outside for more lumberjack fun. Finlay misses a charge into the post though and Lashley pops off a belly to belly. A clothesline gives Lashley two and there’s the one armed delayed vertical suplex. Lashley throws Finlay onto the lumberjacks and then goes outside to beat on him some more. I’m not sure if he understands the idea of a lumberjack match. Back in and Sylvan grabs a chair, but Lashley takes him down. The distraction works though as Finlay gets in the shillelagh shot for the pin.

Rating: C. This was a weird one as they were beating the heck out of each other but they kept going with the lumberjacks to make things a little off. What we had was a good brawl though and I liked all of the physicality. Sometimes you need to just throw people in there and have them beat each other up, which worked out well enough with two power guys like them.

Wrestlemania Big Time Moment: the Gimmick Battle Royal. Works for me.

MNM is gawking over Vince McMahon’s Muscle and Fitness cover and admiring his glutes. Melina comes up to take it away, revealing that they are looking at Candice Michelle’s Playboy. She keeps it for her own personal use. Nitro: “What are you going to do with it?” Melina: “Use your imagination.” Melina walks over to Kristal Marshall and says that she’s beautiful in the Divas Magazine, but Kristal needs to learn her place around here. Paul Burchill comes up so Melina call MNM over. Burchill whips out the sword and the villains run off.

William Regal/Jillian Hall vs. Kristal Marshall/Paul Burchill

Regal keeps stealing glances at Jillian in her gear. The women fight over a lockup to start with Jillian sending her into the corner. That allows commentary to discuss their gear, as commentary tends to do around here. Regal tries to break things up and gets slapped in the face so Burchill comes in for a running crossbody. A shove out of the corner puts Burchill down though and Regal kicks him in the head (simple things can work just fine). We hit the chinlock but Burchill fights up and it’s back to the women for the catfighting. Since that can’t last long, Burchill comes back in for the C4 to finish Regal in a hurry.

Rating: D+. It really is amazing to see the differences between people with Wrestlemania stories and people who are destined for the pre-show battle royal. They’re fighting over a magazine and Burchill’s choice to be a pirate, which doesn’t exactly make me think much of them going into the biggest show of the year. Then again I’m a sucker for most pirate shenanigans so this was entertaining in a few ways.

Sharmell and Booker are in the back with Sharmell screaming about how scared she is of the Boogeyman. Booker has a box for her though and knows everything will be ok.

Verne Gagne Hall of Fame video.

Booker T. vs. Jeremy Young

Sharmell is in a beekeeper’s suit. Booker runs Young over as Sharmell continues to panic on the floor. Some more shots to the face let Booker stomp him down in the corner and there’s a spinebuster to cut off the comeback. The ax kick finishes Young.

Rating: D. Yeah I don’t think there’s any secret to what they were going for here. I’m hoping they wrap up the Boogeyman stuff sooner rather than later as it is the kind of story that was fun once or twice (and that’s a stretch) and now it’s just silly. Well sillier that is. Let him be a special attraction if he has to be on the show, but having him with big names like this is a little too much.

Post match Boogeyman’s music plays so Booker and Sharmell hide underneath the ring. Guess who they find under there.

We look at last week’s main event again.

We get a sitdown interview with Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio and Kurt Angle. Orton cuts Cole off to ask Angle how healthy he is after last week’s attacks. Angle thinks it’s funny and loads up the broken freaking neck line but Orton cuts him off as well because we’ve heard it before. As for Mysterio, Orton is going to embarrass him at Wrestlemania because he doesn’t belong in the main event. Angle calls out Orton for not respecting Mysterio, who beat Orton to win the Royal Rumble.

Orton says Angle is a paper champion who won the title in a battle royal that Orton wasn’t even in. That sends Angle into a rant about Orton being a one time champion who held it for a month. Mysterio says he’ll win the title at Wrestlemania because dreams come true. Rey says he will have Angle’s back tonight and tomorrow, but that won’t be the case at Wrestlemania. Angle doesn’t want it any other way and Orton promises to dominate in all three matches. This didn’t add much but it worked well enough and reinforced what was already set up.

The Miz is coming.

Money In The Bank Qualifying Match: Road Warrior Animal vs. Matt Hardy

Matt slugs away to start and gets shoved down. That’s fine with Matt as he takes Animal down and hammers away again. Animal goes after Matt’s banged up knee, which only draws up some louder HARDY chants. The leg cranking is on but Matt uses the good leg to kick him away. A reverse DDT into the Side Effect gets two and there’s another Side Effect to send Animal into the corner. Matt unloads in the corner but almost hits the referee, allowing Animal to get in a brass knuckles shot for the pin.

Rating: D. I’m not exactly expecting this to stand as even 2006 Smackdown isn’t insane enough to put Animal in a big match at Summerslam. The match was nothing of course because it’s Animal, but what else were you expecting? Was there really a rub to get from beating an old member of half of the Legion of Doom?

Post match the referee sees the knuckles and reverses the decision to send Matt to Wrestlemania. Dang Matt really can’t catch a break. Yeah he’s going to Wrestlemania, but he has to keep heat on Animal?

Orlando Jordan vs. Chris Benoit

Non-title and JBL is on commentary with a cooler of beer to hype up the beer drinking contest with Steve Austin. Benoit goes straight to the suplex to set up the corner chops. Jordan is sent outside for more chops, allowing Benoit to glare at JBL. Back in and Jordan takes him down by the arm as JBL goes into one of his rather intense rants about Austin meaning nothing in Texas. Benoit fights out of an armbar and snaps off the German suplexes. JBL: “I GOT FIRED IN GERMANY ONE TIME AND I REALLY DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT!” The Sharpshooter finishes Jordan.

Rating: D+. These two had to set some kind of a record for facing each other in matches that weren’t all that good. It isn’t like Jordan is making anyone look good as he’s someone out there to get beaten up with no doubt about who is winning. Can we see what Benoit can do against a stuff giraffe named Irving instead?

Post match JBL hits Benoit with the cooler (good shot too).

We look back at Mark Henry costing Kurt Angle the World Title two weeks ago.

Mark Henry isn’t scared of the casket or the Streak. Tomorrow, Undertaker can come face him on Saturday Night’s Main Event.

MNM/Mark Henry vs. Kurt Angle/Randy Orton/Rey Mysterio

Melina and Daivari are here with the villains and Angle has bad ribs from last week. Orton slaps Nitro before the bell and it’s Angle top wristlocking Nitro to start. Mercury comes in and gets a knee to Angle’s ribs to take over in the corner. Angle’s ribs are fine enough to snap off a belly to belly and it’s off to Rey. The springboard moonsault gets two on Mercury and a spinning bulldog to Nitro gets the same.

Mysterio gets sent into the corner though and Henry comes in to step on Rey’s chest. The splash misses though and Rey hammers away in the corner, only to have Orton distract the referee so Daivari can get in a cheap shot. That of course means an EDDIE chant, because that’s all Rey means these days. We take a break and come back with Melina slapping Mysterio.

A headscissors choke on the apron (with the camera cutting to the other side of the ring because the skirt is a little short) keeps Rey down and Nitro drops an elbow on Rey’s back. Henry comes back in for the gorilla press drop but another splash misses. An enziguri allows the diving tag to Angle, as Orton stops to fix his boot. Angle starts cleaning house as everything breaks down, including the Angle Slam to Henry. There’s the 619 to Nitro but Orton tags himself in and throws Mysterio outside to steal the pin on Nitro.

Rating: C. And yes, the Tag Team Champions lose again. It was to a bigger name, but can we go a few weeks without them losing? Just for a change of pace? Anyway, this was another way of enforcing things that we already know, because there isn’t much else that can be done to set up the triple threat. That’s not good with two weeks to go before Wrestlemania, but it isn’t the deepest story in the world.

Overall Rating: C-. This was another show that bounced back and forth between building to Saturday Night’s Main Event and Wrestlemania but it didn’t work as well as Raw. The triple threat match is as set as it is going to be, though it was nice to have the three of them not bring up Eddie every few seconds. The wrestling wasn’t great, but that is rarely the point this time of year. Not a bad show, but the build for Wrestlemania is just tightening up everything that is already set, plus some MITB qualifying. That could make for some fairly week shows on the way to Chicago, but this could have been worse.

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