Smackdown – May 26, 2006

Date: May 26, 2006
Location: Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re past Judgment Day and Rey Mysterio is still World Champion. I’m not sure why that is going to be seen as a good thing as Mysterio was destroyed for weeks on end before surviving against JBL on Sunday. Next up is the Great American Bash but we have about two months before then. Let’s get to it.

We open with a quick package on the pay per view.

Here’s JBL in the ring to call out Mysterio for a rematch right now. Mysterio comes out to say he would take on all comers, just like he did with JBL on Sunday. Rey: “AND I BEAT YOU!” Rey doesn’t see JBL defending his US Title so JBL says he’ll face anyone anytime. You really shouldn’t say that because Rey has an idea.

US Title: Bobby Lashley vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

JBL is defending and sends him into the corner to start. That earns him a hard stare and Lashley tosses him around. A big boot and some right hands in the corner have Lashley down but the Clothesline From JBL misses. Lashley spears him for the pin and the title in less than a minute and a half.

Post break JBL storms into Teddy Long’s office and grabs Long by the suit, shouting about everything that just happened. Long isn’t having that but he’ll make a deal: JBL vs. Mysterio for the title tonight, but if JBL loses, he quits Smackdown.

Tatanka vs. Simon Dean

This is Tatanka’s big debut as a member of the Lakota tribe. Dean, in lime green, cranks on the arm to start but gets chopped for his efforts. There’s a suplex as well but Dean takes him into the corner for some racial stereotypes. Tatanka slugs him down though and hits a running shoulder. The Wykea (slam into a spinning Rock Bottom) finishes Dean in a hurry.

Rating: D+. So yeah, it’s still Tatanka about fifteen years after the start of his original run, meaning it feels rather out of place. That and it just wasn’t very good in the first place, as Tatanka was only ok more often than not. It was just a quick match but I can’t bring myself to get all that interested in Tatanka.

Matt Hardy is in Long’s office when Paul Heyman comes in. With Matt gone, Heyman praises Smackdown but Long doesn’t trust him. He thinks Heyman is here to steal talent so Heyman leaves, seemingly with no issues.

Chris Benoit vs. Mark Henry

3 6 Mafia plays Henry to the ring. Henry shoves him around to start but Benoit is right back up (duh) with the series of chops. With Henry shoving Benoit again, Benoit tries and fails at the Crossface with Henry gorilla pressing him. Benoit slips out and goes for the knee, followed by an enziguri to really rock him. A dropkick puts Henry on the floor and we take a break.

Back with Benoit working on the arm but getting splashed in the corner. Henry hits a clothesline to the back of the neck and just steps on Benoit for a more basic offense. We hit the reverse chinlock and then do it again for a bonus. Henry lets go so he can miss a splash, allowing Benoit to grab the Crossface. They fight to the floor with Henry driving him into the post a few times….and getting disqualified as a result.

Rating: C. This was an interesting way to go as Benoit isn’t going to back down but it can be rather difficult to break Henry, giving us a surprisingly good match. Henry has a bad reputation but he can work well against the right kind of opponent, which is where Benoit shines. Not too bad here and the ending should set up a rematch.

Post match Henry does it again, causing Benoit to bleed from the mouth. Henry bends his back around the ropes until referees come out to break it up.

Here’s William Regal to host the official coronation for King Booker T. He brings out Booker and Sharmell, on the throne on the back of a trailer for a pretty big entrance. Regal reads a proclamation off a scroll, sneers at being in Bakersfield, and implores all of us to stand up and hail the new king. Sharmell says we all need to bow down and then gives him the robe and the crown. Booker declares himself king and introduces us to Queen Sharmell. Pyro goes off as Regal shouts LONG LIVE KING BOOKER over and over.

Nunzio asks Vito about rumors of him wearing a dress but Vito shrugs it off.

Brian Kendrick/Paul London vs. Nunzio/Vito

Non-title. Kendrick headlocks Nunzio to start and it’s London coming in for a forearm. Vito jumps him from behind though and it’s London getting beaten down in the corner. That doesn’t last long as London fights out and makes the hot tag to Kendrick. House is cleaned in a hurry with Vito being dropkicked to the floor, leaving Nunzio to take Sliced Bread for the pin.

Rating: C-. Completely simple formula based match here as London and Kendrick get their first win as champions. They’re good together with the high flying, fast paced style where it feels like they’re a unit working together to overcome the size difference and that will sever them well long term. It wasn’t a very good match, but it did its thing well enough.

Raw Rebound.

Mr. Kennedy is coming back. Good, as he was getting some momentum before he went away with his injury.

We look at Great Khali squashing Undertaker.

Chavo Guerrero says he has Rey Mysterio’s back and JBL isn’t winning the World Title.

Finlay vs. Paul Burchill

Finlay elbows him in the face and forearms him in the back to start before sending Burchill shoulder first into the post. The Celtic Cross finishes in a hurry.

Post match Finlay pulls up the ring skirt so a small man in a green suit can come out and attack Burchill. Finlay has to pull him off so the small guy can go back underneath the ring. Thus begins a rather long running career for someone who has appeared all over the world in WAY more characters than someone would likely expect.

Smackdown World Title: Rey Mysterio vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

Rey is defending and have Chavo Guerrero in his corner and if JBL loses, he quits. JBL forearms him down to start as the EDDIE chants are on fast. Rey is whipped into Chavo to knock him of the apron and the Clothesline From JBL connects for the pin….but Rey’s foot is on the rope. Geez people you don’t have to pin Rey all the time. We take a break and come back with JBL stomping Rey in the corner. A super fall away slam gives JBL two and he kicks Rey in the face a few times.

They head outside with JBL hitting another clothesline for two back inside. The sitout bulldog is countered with a crotching though and JBL adds a big boot on the ropes. JBL whips him hard into the steps and then hammers away back inside. Another fall away slam is countered into a DDT though and they’re both down. There’s the 619 but the West Coast Pop is countered into a powerbomb, meaning we hit those EDDIE chants again.

Three Amigos keep Rey down and he’s bleeding from the mouth to make it worse. With Rey down, JBL unhooks a buckle pad, which certainly won’t come back to haunt him. The referee goes to tie it back so JBL throws Rey into him in the corner. Rey gets JBL down for the 619 but JBL lands on the referee so Rey can’t do anything.

A low blow hits Rey so it’s time for a chair. Chavo tries to take it away and gets his head caved in but Rey hits him low and dropkicks the chair into JBL’s face. The tornado DDT (or spinning tornado DDT according to Cole, because there are all those non-spinning tornadoes) onto the chair sets up the 619 into Dropping The Dime to retain the title.

Rating: C+. Well at least Rey won. I mean, it took help from Chavo, a low blow and a chair to beat someone he beat less than a week ago and he did get pinned during the match. Somehow this is an improvement, and that really shows you how bad things are for Rey at the moment. On the other hand, JBL being beaten by a very small champion who is often associated with Mexican culture is the perfect way for him to go out, which he would do for over a year and a half.

Post match JBL gets the Goodbye Song to end the night.

Overall Rating: C. I’m not sure what to make of this show as it was some weird cross between setting things up for the future and fallout from the show, but neither are all that interesting. You can probably pencil in Rey vs. Booker as it isn’t like there is another top heel to come after the title, but at this point Rey would be an underdog against a cocker spaniel. Even the title change to start the show off didn’t feel important, which is the case for almost everything around here. That’s a big problem and I don’t think they have an answer anytime soon.

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