Smackdown – March 24, 2006

Smackdown
Date: March 24, 2006
Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We are less than ten days away from Wrestlemania and Smackdown is in a tough spot. The problem is their side of things is completely set up but we have two more shows before we get to the big show in Chicago. In other words, there is more time for Mark Henry to remind us he isn’t afraid and for Rey Mysterio to talk about Eddie Guerrero. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence, I believe with a new theme song.

Here’s Randy Orton, coming up through Rey Mysterio’s trap door, to open things up. He stands on the platform and says he doesn’t need a fancy entrance or gold medals to be a star around here. Orton talks about the Saturday Night’s Main Event handicap match where he turned on his partners but it’s just that his they would rather fight with him than win a match. They’re just jealous of all of his skills and talents, so feast your eyes on the next World Champion. Short and sweet here.

We look at Finlay cheating to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match, plus Road Warrior Animal costing himself his spot.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Battle Royal

Johnny Nitro, Joey Mercury, Bobby Lashley, Simon Dean, Gymini #1, Gymini #2, Paul London, Scotty 2 Hotty, Funaki, Orlando Jordan, Jamie Noble, Nunzio, Sylvan, Super Crazy, Psicosis, Tatanka, Paul Burchill, Kid Kash, Road Warrior Animal

Animal rants a lot on the way to the ring, talking about how unfair this is because he’s more money than anyone here. That earns him a big beatdown and a quick toss over the top for the elimination. Everyone else starts brawling and it’s Scotty being dumped out next. There goes Kid Kash with him and Burchill gets rid of Nunzio. Lashley dumps out the posing Gymini and Dean is thrown out with them as we take a break.

Back with more brawling as Sylvan and Jordan are dumped. Kendrick and Noble save themselves from the apron but MNM dump both of them. There go London and Psicosis and Burchill gets rid of Super Crazy. Tatanka gets rid of Burchill and we’re down to Tatanka, Lashley and MNM. The war path legdrop hits Mercury, who sends Tatanka through the ropes.

The Snapshot hits Lashley but Tatanka comes back in with the double chops to the head. Mercury low bridges him out though and we’re down to three as Cole and Tazz argue over Melina screaming. The double Boston crab has Lashley in trouble but he powers up and suplexes both of them. Lashley’s spear hits post but he’s right back with a spear. Mercury gets gorilla pressed into Nitro though and they’re both out to give Lashley the win.

Rating: C. Other than the bizarre continuing Tatanka push, this was as good as it was going to be. Lashley was about the only possible option to win here and there was no need to pretend it was going to be anyone else. Having Lashley go in as the final option works well enough and we should be in for a good Money in the Bank. They didn’t go too far with this one and that’s all they needed to do.

We look at JBL’s failed cheating in the Saturday Night’s Main Event beer drinking contest, earning himself a beating from Steve Austin.

After saying Kristal Marshall needs to stand there like the woman she is, JBL says the video didn’t show him winning the contest. As for tonight, JBL isn’t cleared to face Chris Benoit, but William Regal is.

We look at Undertaker destroying Daivari at Saturday Night’s Main Event.

Mark Henry is ready to take Undertaker’s Streak. Tonight though, Kurt Angle is the next victim.

Finlay vs. Rey Mysterio

Rey isn’t sure what to do to start so Finlay grabs a headlock to take him down. To mix it up a bit, Finlay pulls back on the head (think a Crossface with Mysterio face up) and then slams him down. The chinlock (and a rather aggressive one at that) goes on and a forearm to the face cuts off the comeback bid. A camel clutch goes on for a bit, followed by Finlay sending him outside for a face first drop onto the apron.

Back in and Finlay misses a charge into the corner, allowing Rey to strike away in a hurry. Rey sends him face first into the middle buckle and a split legged moonsault gets two. Finlay bails to the floor to escape a 619 attempt so Rey hits a baseball slide. The slingshot dive lands on the ring skirt though and Finlay hammers away. There’s a whip into the barricade and Finlay posts him back inside to make it worse.

Rey kicks at the leg but gets pulled into a double arm crank. That’s escaped and Finlay’s sunset flip is countered with a kick to the head. Rey hits the springboard seated senton for two but Finlay is back with a Regal Roll for the same. That earns him a kick to the head and Rey loads up the springboard as Finlay goes for the shillelagh. That’s enough of a distraction for Orton to run in for the RKO to give Finlay the pin.

Rating: B. They were rolling by the end of this and it was one of the better back and forth matches I can remember on Smackdown in a good while. You had two talented people with different enough styles that meshed well together. I was getting into and wanted to see how it would go, which wound up being in a surprise direction thanks to some well timed interference.

Raw Rebound.

Here’s Teddy Long for the Boogeyman/Booker T. contract signing. The match was supposed to take place at Saturday Night’s Main Event but claimed a knee injury. The interesting thing though was Booker’s doctors couldn’t find a thing wrong with him. That’s why if Booker doesn’t have the match at Wrestlemania, he’s fired. Booker goes on a rant about how he shouldn’t have to wrestle because he’s that good. Teddy is willing to make it a handicap match with Teddy choosing the partner. Booker signs and Teddy picks Sharmell as the partner.

Miz is currently at Spring Break but he’s coming to Smackdown.

Chris Benoit vs. William Regal

Regal gets a ride to the ring in JBL’s limo. Joined in progress with Benoit’s wristlock being reversed into an armbar until Regal takes him down. With JBL and Jillian Hall watching from the top of the limo, Regal can’t bridge out of a test of strength. They go to the mat with Benoit sending him to the floor. That earns him an exploder from Regal and a kick to the head crushes Benoit’s skull against the post. Back in and we hit the chinlock until Benoit fights up and chops away. Regal goes old school with a crossface chickenwing of all things but Benoit reverses into a dragon suplex. The Crossface makes Regal tap in a hurry.

Rating: B-. This could have been longer but it did its job. Benoit was in a physical fight and might have gotten a little banged up before Wrestlemania but still got the win in the end. These two could have a good match no matter what and they did it here again. If nothing else it was nice to see Regal getting another chance to do something in the ring, which doesn’t happen enough these days.

Wrestlemania rundown.

Mark Henry vs. Kurt Angle

Non-title. Joined in progress again with Henry grabbing the corner to block a German suplex attempt. Angle takes the leg out instead and cranks on the knee but Henry gets up and hits a quick slam. The kickout annoys Henry and the choking is on in the ropes. Henry knocks him outside and a headbutt sends Angle into the barricade. A ram sends Angle into the barricade and we hit the bearhug back inside.

Angle reverses into a German suplex but Henry is back with a running splash, crushing the referee in the corner. The ankle lock goes on but here’s Randy Orton. Rey Mysterio comes in to go after him but takes out Angle with the seated senton by mistake. Henry gets up and the World’s Strongest Slam is good for the pin on Angle.

Rating: C. Much like their Royal Rumble match, there was a little too much insanity going on around here for the match to really work. What we got instead was Orton getting to mess with his other Wrestlemania opponent after doing so earlier in the night. That’s a good idea, but it didn’t come after nearly as good of a match as Finlay vs. Mysterio.

Angle yells at Mysterio to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. This was much better and the kind of a show that made me want to watch Wrestlemania that much more. Playing up some issues other than Eddie Guerrero has been rather refreshing as Eddie has barely been mentioned in the last few weeks. The rest of the card isn’t exactly looking great, but I’ll take this over what we had last week again.

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