Smackdown – May 15, 2006

Date: December 15, 2006
Location: TD Banknorth Garden Arena, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 5,500
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

It’s the go home show for Armageddon and that isn’t exactly giving me hope for this week. The big story this week is Undertaker and Kane vs. MVP/Mr. Kennedy as the two long running feuds merge into one for a change. The rest of the show might not be all that great, but that has never stopped Smackdown before. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here is Raw’s John Cena to get things going. Cena knows that the question on everyone’s mind is where is Parts Unknown, but they also might be wondering why he is here on Smackdown. He does know that, and it’s because of three reasons. First of all, he lives here, which is why his father is ringside. After a hug to his dad, Cena says there was no way he was going to miss a show here.

It’s Christmas time though and WWE runs a Secret Santa game with its employees. This time around, Cena got Michael Cole, and managed to get him everything he wanted: a salami, a shirtless picture of David Hasselhoff, and a bag of salty nuts. With that gag out of the way, Cena talks about Armageddon (which is his favorite Def Leppard song) and how important the tag team match is going to be.

Cue King Booker and Finlay, who promise to give Cena the same beating they gave to Batista last week. Cena is ready to fight but here is a taped up Batista for the save. Cue Teddy Long to make it a singles match playa, with Cena vs. Finlay set for later, which thankfully means we don’t have another Booker vs. Batista match.

William Regal/Dave Taylor/Gregory Helms vs. Brian Kendrick/Paul London/Jimmy Want Yang

Take two title feuds, throw them into one match. London and Helms start things off with London cranking on an armbar. Kendrick comes in for a front facelock but Regal gets in a cheap shot from behind to take over. Taylor adds a suplex as commentary talks Ashley being more than friendly with London and Kendrick.

It’s off to Regal for some knees and a chinlock, followed by the suplex into the corner. An uppercut knocks Kendrick down again and Helms comes back in for a front facelock. A missed charge lets Kendrick kick Taylor in the head though and the hot tag brings in Yang to clean house. Regal and Taylor have had enough and walk out, leaving Yang to hit a moonsault press for the pin on Helms.

Rating: C-. This didn’t have the time to do much with so many people involved but they did a basic story well enough. Kendrick takes a good beating and it was smart to let Yang get the pin over Helms to suggest even the possibility of a title change. Of course that is pretty much guaranteed to not happen, but it’s a nice way to go here.

Clip from the Armageddon press conference, the high point of many a journalist’s resume.

Matt Hardy vs. Joey Mercury

No seconds here, which is kind of weird to see. Commentary immediately ignores the match to talk about Tribute to the Troops on Christmas night as Mercury takes Hardy into the corner to start. That is broken up in a hurry but Mercury hammers away against the ropes, being a bit more aggressive than usual here. Mercury knocks him down and grabs a chinlock, followed by a neckbreaker for no cover. A knockoff screaming elbow gets two on Hardy, who fights up at the idea of gimmick infringement. Hardy hits a clothesline of his own into the real screaming middle rope elbow and the Twist of Fate finishes Mercury.

Rating: C. I’m not sure how to process the idea of a clean match like this one but it worked out fine. Hardy is the bigger name here and it isn’t like anyone cares about Mercury as a singles wrestler in the first place. That being said, since there isn’t a match set for either of the teams or their individual members, this was a bit of a strange use of Smackdown time.

Video on the history of the Inferno match.

MVP tells his agent to get him out of the Inferno match but here is Mr. Kennedy to interrupt. The argument is on, with the two of them explaining the idea of their matches on Sunday.

MVP/Mr. Kennedy vs. Undertaker/Kane

MVP gets scared by the fire during his own entrance, which I’m not sure I remember being there before. Kennedy slowly opens the door of the hearse in the aisle and finds nothing, which doesn’t mean much around here. Joined in progress with Kane stomping Kennedy into the corner and then lifting him into the air for the choking. A rake to the eyes allows for the tag off to MVP, who is side slammed down in a hurry. The top rope clothesline makes it even worse and Undertaker comes in to unload in the corner.

Kennedy finally does something worthwhile by offering a distraction to break up Old School and Undertaker gets stomped down for a change. Undertaker is right back with right hands to MVP in the corner though and now Old School connects. Kane tags himself in and the brothers hit some big boots. The double chokeslam plants Kennedy but MVP saves him from the Tombstone. Undertaker stalks MVP to the back as Kennedy and Kane fight on the floor for the double countout.

Rating: C-. This was the teaser trailer for Sunday and that’s all it needed to be. We’ve seen these four fight in various combinations for weeks now and there isn’t much left to do than have the big blowoff matches at the pay per view. I’m glad they didn’t waste time on a long match before the ending either, so while this might not have been very good, it was at least efficient.

Post match Kennedy sends Kane into the steps and gets in the hearse. Kennedy revs the engine but the lights go out, allowing Undertaker to appear in the driver’s seat. That sends Kennedy and MVP running….right into Kane as he sits up for a pretty funny moment. The villains run off in a hurry.

Chavo Guerrero vs. Funaki

Vickie Guerrero is here with Chavo and Funaki gets the jobber’s entrance, likely because he is a jobber. Before the match, Chavo calls out Chris Benoit to apologize for hurting Vickie. Benoit comes out (looking odd in a suit) and says he isn’t apologizing for anything so Chavo beats on Funaki to vent some frustration. A pair of belly to back suplexes have Funaki in trouble and, after shrugging off a few kicks, Chavo plants him with the brainbuster. The frog splash finishes Funaki in a hurry.

Post match Benoit comes in and puts Chavo in the Sharpshooter. Vickie comes in and gets in Benoit’s face, causing him to get up and Vickie to curl up into a screaming ball without being touched.

Video on Tribute to the Troops, set to a Creed song.

Vito vs. Sylvan

Merry freaking Christmas. Cole talks about Vito trying to force himself on him and I think we might need to hear more about that. Vito hammers away to start but gets backdropped to the apron and clotheslined out to the floor. JBL’s jokes continue to abound as Vito makes the comeback, pulls up the dress (thankfully revealing trunks instead of the thong), and drops a leg for two. Vito walks into a Samoan drop but pops up for an O’Connor roll to finish Sylvan.

Rating: D. This was back to the old stuff for Vito, which wasn’t funny in the first place and wasn’t exactly good here either. It is pretty clear that the hype he had is gone, but at least they kept it short. JBL’s jokes and the whole idea have not exactly aged well, but it isn’t like Vito is being treated as a big deal in the first place.

Armageddon rundown.

Here are the Miz and Kristal to prove that Miz is not afraid of Boogeyman. Tonight, he is going to eat some scary foods to show just how fearless he really is. First up, Miz eats some pig’s tongue, followed by monkey brains….but he can’t eat the worms on plate three. Then Boogeyman pops up through the plate to scare them off.

Finlay vs. John Cena

Non-title. Finlay grabs a quick headlock and then runs Cena over with a shoulder. That’s enough to start Cena back up and he runs Finlay down, followed by an elbow. Finlay is right back with a clothesline into a nerve hold, followed by a rip to the face. Cena fights up with a belly to belly for two, only to have Finlay run him over again and send Cena face first into the apron.

As commentary talks about Vince McMahon being the first Irish champion, the Leprechaun pops out and is promptly thrown at JBL. Finlay decks Cena and puts the Leprechaun back underneath the ring as we take a break. Back with Finlay hitting another running clothesline and sitting on Cena’s chest for two. Finlay’s armbar keeps Cena down for a bit and he pulls Cena down into the Fujiwara version to make it even worse.

Back up and Cena wins a strike out but Finlay rakes the eyes to escape the FU. Cena doesn’t seem to mind and hits the ProtoBomb into the Shuffle but Finlay goes back to the bad arm. The Celtic Cross gets two so here’s the Leprechaun again, allowing Finlay to grab a chair. Cena kicks that back into his face though and it’s the FU for the pin.

Rating: B-. Finlay continues his series of good jobs as the upper midcard brawler that bigger stars have a bit of trouble beating. That is a fine spot to be in as Finlay is tough enough to make the matches work without feeling like a threat to jump up to the next level. Good main event here, and it’s rather nice to see the hometown boy get to have a big win for a change. And they even tossed around a leprechaun!

Post match here’s Booker to double team Cena but Batista makes the save to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. Your taste may vary here as they did a nice enough job building up the pay per view, but the pay per view isn’t that interesting in the first place. It is very clear that the show is going to be built around the two gimmick matches with the main event tag match being thrown in to have a main event level match. This show wasn’t too bad, but it isn’t something you need to see, much like Sunday’s show.



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