Smackdown – December 22, 2006

Date: December 22, 2006
Location: Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

We are done with Armageddon and pretty much a grand total of nothing happened. The main event saw John Cena joining forces with Batista to beat King Booker and Finlay. Other than that, Kane and Undertaker beat up MVP and Mr. Kennedy to presumably end both of those feuds. That means we have about a month to get to the Royal Rumble so let’s get to it.

King Booker, Queen Sharmell and Finlay are in Teddy Long’s office and demanding a rematch with Batista and John Cena. That isn’t happening, but they can have Kane and Undertaker instead. This does not go well.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Batista to get things going. He wishes us a Happy Holidays and even has red trunks on in celebration. It was a good ending to the year and he is going to start the new year even better, because he is World Heavyweight Champion. Cue Santa Claus (JBL: “I don’t need presents. I’m rich.”) with some presents, including a shirt and Roddy Piper DVD for Cole. Batista gets some candy canes, which he throws into the crowd, but Santa hits him in his bad arm with a pipe. Cue Teddy Long and the match is on.

Santa Claus vs. Batista

Santa charges in and goes after the arm, including slamming it into the apron. Batista uses the good arm to hit a clothesline and spear, which reveals that it’s Sylvan as Santa. The spinebuster and Batista Bomb finish Santa in a hurry. This was harmless Christmas fun.

We look at Chris Benoit retaining the US Title over Chavo Guerrero at Armageddon.

Tribute to the Troops video.

US Title: Chris Benoit vs. Chavo Guerrero

Chavo is defending and has Vickie Guerrero with him. The fans are all over Chavo as he pounds away in the corner to start. That earns him a hard whip into another corner and the snap suplex gives Benoit two. Back up and Chavo gets in some forearms, setting up a whip into the corner of his own. A small package gives Benoit two and there’s the first German suplex. Another is blocked though and they fall outside as we take a break.

Back with Chavo holding a waistlock until Benoit belly to back suplexes his way to freedom. An over the shoulder backbreaker gives Chavo two but he has to break out of a quick Sharpshooter attempt. Benoit tries it again but gets kicked away again, allowing Chavo to hit a running knee to the ribs. Some chops have Chavo staggered though and there are the rolling German suplexes. The Swan Dive gets two and the Crossface goes on, drawing in Vickie with the title for the DQ.

Rating: C. I’m not quite sure why we needed a rematch here but the ending might set them up for another rematch. I don’t think the feud has that kind of legs, though that has never stopped WWE before. Maybe they have some kind of twist coming for it later, but for now, this is losing steam in a hurry.

Post match Benoit stares Vickie down but walks away without going near her. Chavo yells at Vickie and knocks her down himself. Benoit comes back in to check on Vickie and gets jumped by Chavo.

King Booker is worried about the tag match tonight but Finlay says they can do this. That’s enough to convince Booker.

Here is Gregory Helms for a chat. Helms says he is ready to move up to the heavyweight division because he needs some competition….and here is Boogeyman to interrupt. Helms’ shots to the back do nothing so he runs away from the threat of worms. Ring announcer Tony Chimmel says Boogeyman’s catchphrase for no logical reason and gets wormed instead.

Here is Joey Mercury, whose face looks horrible after Sunday’s ladder match, for a chat. Mercury talks about his injuries and we see what happened, which is even worse in slow motion. He holds the Hardys responsible for what happened because he has lost 50% of the vision in his left eye. His movie star good looks are gone and it might be forever!

Cue Matt Hardy, to say no one meant for this to happen. It was a ladder match for the Tag Team Titles and that’s a dangerous place to be. Any of them could have been hurt and that is the price you could pay, but nothing was intentional. Matt goes to leave but Mercury doesn’t like Matt saying it was “unfortunate”. The challenge is on but Matt isn’t going to fight someone as banged up as Mercury is right now. That’s fine with Mercury, because Matt can fight this guy.

Matt Hardy vs. Johnny Nitro

Melina is here with Nitro, who jumps Matt before the bell. The beating is on in a hurry with Matt falling out to the floor, where Nitro stays on him in a hurry. Back in and Matt hits a bulldog for two but Nitro is back with some right hands to the face. Nitro grabs a ladder from underneath the ring (this can’t end well) and we take a break.

Back with Hardy knocking him down and they get a quick breather (and the ladder nowhere in sight). It’s Hardy getting back up first but Melina grabs his foot, allowing Nitro to hit an enziguri out to the floor. The springboard kick to the face misses though and they’re both down again. Some knees and a kick to the face give Hardy two and a neckbreaker sets up the middle rope legdrop for two. Nitro comes right back with a backslide and throws his feet on the ropes for the pin.

Rating: C. Perfectly logical match here, though I’m not sure how much vindication there is for Mercury to have Nitro win with a backslide. The ladder part was kind of weird as it just came and went with nothing changing. There are a few ways they could go with this, but until Mercury is back healthy, it is going to be Nitro on his own, assuming he doesn’t get a new partner. Mercury’s face alone gives it some interest though and that’s a good thing.

Here is JBL in the ring for a chat. He isn’t happy with Teddy Long bringing back all these horrible matches, including the Inferno match. On Sunday, we saw a man burning (with JBL referring to MVP as a corpse) and he had to be put out. That is Long’s doing so JBL wants him out here right now for an apology.

Long doesn’t show up, so JBL blames the fans, going into a rant about how they keep demanding more, no matter what happens to the wrestlers. Rome did not fall because of the gladiators but because of the sick people in the stands. No one will pay to see them though, and they might even bring down America. JBL can sell something like this, though this feels like it is going to be the start of something long.

Ashley/Layla vs. Krystal/Jillian Hall

Ashley slams Krystal down to start as we hear about Ashley’s Playboy short. JBL complains about the lack of closeups of Layla as Jillian knees her down and sends her head first into the mat a few times. Jillian’s handspring elbow hits raised boots in the corner and it’s off to Ashley to clean house. Everything breaks down and Krystal breaks up a monkey flip out of the corner. Layla breaks up a monkey flip though and Ashley drops a middle rope elbow for the pin.

Rating: D. You can only get so annoyed at four women who were given the bare minimum of training and then sent out there on national TV. As usual, this was about getting the good looking women in revealing outfits in the ring so you can only get so mad at the whole thing. Bad match of course, but were you expecting anything else?

Vladimir Kozlov is very excited and shouts in Russian a lot.

King Booker/Finlay vs. Kane/Undertaker

Queen Sharmell is here with Booker/Finlay. Booker ducks a clothesline from Undertaker to start but the stalking is on in a hurry. Undertaker hammers him down in the corner and lifts Booker up by one arm. Old School connects with Booker but he breaks up the same thing to Finlay. A top rope superplex brings Undertaker back down for two and it’s off to Finlay for….actually for a kind of intriguing match.

Undertaker catches him with a running DDT and Kane comes in to clean house. Uppercuts abound and the side slam gets two on Booker. The threat of double chokeslams send the villains outside and us to a break. Back with Kane choking Booker in the corner, allowing Undertaker to add the apron legdrop. Finlay breaks up a cover but Kane is fine enough to drag Booker into the corner to keep up the beating. Booker gets in a shot to the face and brings Finlay back in, where he walks into Snake Eyes.

The big boot drops Finlay again but Booker low bridges Undertaker to the floor. Apparently Kane got a tag in there somewhere (Cole is confused as well) and Booker dropkicks him out of the air. Finlay drops Undertaker on the floor and goes inside for a chinlock. Booker takes Finlay’s place and chairs Undertaker down, with the distraction allowing Finlay to hit Kane with the shillelagh. Kane kicks Booker down though and somehow Undertaker is back up to get the hot tag. House is cleaned in a hurry and the Tombstone (Cole: “This may make Finlay think he’s an Englishman!”) finishes Finlay.

Rating: C-. Not awful here, but it was pretty clear that they wanted to get done with this and take their Christmas vacation. It isn’t like losing to Undertaker and Kane is going to hurt Booker and Finlay, the latter of whom more or less exists for the sake of taking losses. Booker is already falling down the Smackdown depth chart, but I’m curious to see where all four of them go from here.

Overall Rating: C-. This was far from a serious show, but it was hardly some disaster. They dealt with some fallout from the pay per view and did just enough to make it feel like a regular TV show. Nothing was too horrible and odds are next week is a Best Of show anyway, meaning it’s off to 2007 from here.

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