Smackdown – July 14, 2006

Date: July 14, 2006
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Attendance: 3,000
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

We are rapidly approaching the Great American Bash and now we have a main event. This time around it’s going to be King Booker challenging the weakest World Champion of modern times in Rey Mysterio. Other than that, Batista is back and that could shake things up a lot. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Batista returning and beating up Mark Henry last week.

Opening sequence.

Here are King Booker, Queen Sharmell and William Regal to get things going. Regal reads a proclamation from a scroll, saying that Booker is ready to take his rightful place. Dropping to a knee, Regal promises to destroy Mysterio tonight, all for the glory of Queen Sharmell. JBL: “She’s the queen goddess of HOT!” Booker promises to win the title and talks about Batista returning last week.

We see a clip of Batista destroying Henry, but at the same time, Booker jumped Mysterio in the back for the real beatdown. Booker promises to win the title but here’s Rey. Regal goes to the aisle so Rey can sneak in from the crowd to jump Booker. Perfectly fine opening segment to move forward on the title match.

Matt Hardy vs. Mr. Kennedy

Matt jumps him during the entrance and JBL is not pleased with the lack of the introduction. A belly to back suplex gives Matt two but Kennedy sends him shoulder first into the post. The arm is sent into the buckle for a bonus and Kennedy wraps it around the rope. We hit the armbar for a bit before Kennedy heads up top. That’s fine with Matt, who crotches him down and grabs a superplex.

The Side Effect gets two but the Twist of Fate is countered into a neckbreaker to give Kennedy two of his own. Kennedy tries his own Twist of Fate but Hardy reverses into the real thing, only to have Kennedy grab the rope. The cover takes a bit too long though and Hardy rolls him up for the fast pin.

Rating: C. It’s weird seeing Kennedy pinned and having Matt Hardy be the one to do it is all the more confusing. The match itself was average at best, putting it fairly high up on the Kennedy scale. Matt wasn’t great in the ring at this point but you could pencil him in for a pretty watchable match, which is what you got here.

Raw Rebound.

Michelle McCool and Kristal talk trash about Ashley, who pops up with Jillian Hall for the big catfight. JBL is rather pleased.

Here are Great Khali and Daivari on the stage for a chat. Daivari asks if Undertaker is scared of Khali since he didn’t even show up last week. If Undertaker is this phenom, show yourself. Then the gong sounds and Undertaker pops up in the ring, with Daivari insisting that Khali isn’t afraid. Undertaker shoots lightning at Daivari, who falls down while Khali doesn’t move. Daivari has to beg Khali to not go to the ring and eventually he backs up.

Paul London vs. Jamie Noble

Brian Kendrick and Kid Kash are at ringside as JBL talks about the Pit Bulls’ politics to start. Noble is aggressive early on and hammers away on the ropes. An elbow to the face puts Noble down but he grounds London and grabs a rear naked choke. London breaks it up with a ram into the corner and he starts to kick Noble down. A belly to belly sets up a dropkick to the back for two but Noble’s powerslam gets the same. Kash goes after Kendrick on the floor though and the chase lets Kash get in a cheap shot on London. The fireman’s carry gutbuster gives Noble the cheating pin.

Rating: C. These two are both very talented and it makes sense to put them in the ring together to draw some interest for the pay per view title match. Just don’t do the same thing with the partners swapped in and you’re onto something. We got the idea here so why waste time by doing the same thing again?

Miz is VERY excited about the Diva Search girls in their bikinis for Boot Camp.

Sylvan thinks the Diva Search girls are beautiful, but not as beautiful as Quebec. Come see it. JBL: “I’d rather go to Rwanda. I hate this guy.”

Here’s Teddy Long for the contract signing between Batista and Mark Henry. The match is taking place at the Great American Bash, but we’ll make it a little bigger: the winner gets the World Title shot at Summerslam. As for tonight though, if either of them touches the other, they forfeit the match.

Batista is out first and talks about how good it is to be back. Coming through that curtain is a natural high that he cannot explain and, while getting a little choked up, Batista talks about how much he loves being here. Last year was the best year of his life but then Mark Henry took it all away. The jacket comes off as Batista talks about sitting at home for six months while Henry dominated Smackdown. If Henry thinks last week was payback, he has no idea what is coming for him at the Great American Bash.

Now it’s Henry, with a bandage on his head, coming out to say that Batista must feel good about himself. That was the worst beating he ever received and all it took was the World Champion and Batista jumping him from behind. If it didn’t cost him the Summerslam match, Henry would detach Batista’s head right now. Teddy calms things down and they both sign. The table is turned over but Henry leaves without getting physical.

United States Title: Finlay vs. Bobby Lashley

Lashley is defending and drives Finlay into the corner to start. That earns him a shot to the face and we hit the chinlock early on. That’s fine with Lashley, who is right back with a delayed vertical suplex as we take a break. Back with Finlay dropping him with a clothesline for two and sending Lashley shoulder first into the post. A drop toehold sets up the Crossface but Lashley fights up again.

Clotheslines and a belly to belly have Finlay bailing to the floor, where he throws a chair inside. With that not working, Finlay grabs the Shillelagh but Lashley hits a backdrop and tosses it up to the stage. They fight to the floor where Finlay misses a chair shot so the referee has to take them away. Cue the Leprechaun to throw Finlay another Shillelagh so he can knock Lashley cold for the pin and the title.

Rating: C+. They had a pretty nice physical match here and there’s nothing wrong with putting the title on Finlay. Lashley already got a nice rub out of it and Finlay is tied into the show’s top heel. It wasn’t even a clean loss so Lashley gets to save fast. Good enough power brawl here and the title change is a fine switch.

Earlier today, Vito went shopping at the Mall of America.

Here’s Miz to introduce the Diva Search girls for Divas Boot Camp, as hosted by Sgt. Slaughter. It’s an obstacle course and the winner gets immunity.

Jen goes first and finishes in 42 seconds.

Layla, finishing with the splits gets 37 seconds.

Erica at 48 seconds.

Maryse at 41 seconds.

Milena, who loses her hat, at 49 seconds.

Rebecca, whose hair gets caught in the jump rope, at 49 seconds.

JT, who drops the jump rope, at 43 seconds.

Amy at 46 seconds.

Layla wins immunity, and more importantly, Sgt. Slaughter’s hat. I got that at a house show when I was a kid so I have to smile. This was exactly as advertised: good looking women in swimsuits running and jumping a lot. Throw in Move Along by All American Rejects as the song throughout and I’d call it a success.

Great American Bash rundown.

William Regal vs. Rey Mysterio

Non-title with King Booker and Sharmell on commentary. Joined in progress with Regal holding a chinlock as the EDDIE chants don’t work as well here. Regal elbows him in the face for three straight twos. Rey is back up with a headscissors out of the corner and a basement dropkick for two of his own. Sharmell offers a quick distraction though, allowing Regal to crotch Rey on top. Regal drops a knee and puts on a chinlock as those chants start up again.

Cole gets so annoyed at Booker that he stands up for a bit as Rey is sent to the apron. You don’t do that to Rey, who is right back with a springboard seated senton. Booker gets up for a distraction this time, allowing Rey to hit a baseball slide low blow in the corner. The split legged moonsault gets two and Rey knocks Booker off the apron. The 619 into the top rope splash finishes Regal.

Rating: C. Another run of the mill match but it’s nice to see Mysterio getting a win, even if it’s over someone not quite in the main event. This is why a villain has lackeys though, as Rey beating one of Regal’s associates is a fine way to set him up for the pay per view title match. The match was all about Rey overcoming the odds and it worked out well enough, with Rey FINALLY not looking like a loser.

Rey hits a 619 on Booker to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. The wrestling was completely acceptable throughout and it’s hard to complain about the Diva Search stuff, as you can see exactly what they are going for with the whole thing. At the same time, if that cuts down on the stupid stuff like Vito having fun out there, it’s not the worst replacement imaginable. The Bash isn’t looking like the best show ever, but there are enough things on the show that I want to see, so at least it’s feeling better than Vengeance.



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