Smackdown – December 29, 2006

Date: December 29, 2006
Hosts: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

It’s the final show of the year from any brand and that means it’s Best Of time again. This show will likely feature a bit of a better selection than ECW so it should be a nice upgrade. There were some good things to pick from this year so hopefully it’s a rather easy night. Let’s get to it.

Of note: I’ll be posting the full versions of the matches rather than the clipped versions shown on the broadcast.

Michael Cole and JBL welcome us to the show and throw us straight to the first match.

From the Royal Rumble.

Royal Rumble

Ninety second intervals with HHH in at #1 and Rey Mysterio, in a low rider, in at #2. Lawler: “If you’re number one or two, you’re screwed.” This company really doesn’t have much of a memory does it? Rey goes fast to start with a running dropkick to the knee and a headscissors. The right hands in the corner set up the missed 619 and it’s Simon Dean in at #3. Dean stomps on Rey but can only send him to the apron. For some reason Dean thinks HHH will like him and that’s good for an elimination in a hurry.

Rey hits the Bronco Buster on HHH and it’s Psicosis in at #4. Psicosis goes after Rey as well and a swinging sitout faceplant drops him again. An attempt at a Razor’s Edge over the top results in a hurricanrana to get rid of Psicosis. Before anything else can happen, it’s Ric Flair in at #5 (Flair was in five Rumbles. In four of them, he was in the first five entrants.). HHH panics and the fight is on, with Flair grabbing him low but getting poked in the eyes.

A backdrop gets rid of Flair and it’s Big Show in at #6. That means another beatdown on HHH, including the standing legdrop and an elbow. Jonathan Coachman is in at #7 and Big Show gets rid of him as quickly as you would expect. Show stands on HHH’s head again and it’s Bobby Lashley (a dark horse according to Cole) in at #8. A big right hand puts Lashley down but he backdrops Show in a nice power display.

Lashley kicks Show to the floor (not eliminated) and it’s Kane in at #9 as they’re stacking the first part of this thing. Kane and Lashley slug it out with Kane hitting a big boot. Lashley snaps off a belly to belly, knocks down HHH, and hits the Dominator on Kane. It’s Sylvan in at #10, giving us HHH, Mysterio, Big Show, Lashley, Kane and Sylvan.

After Lashley dispatches him even faster than Show got rid of Coach, it’s a double chokeslam to plant Lashley. Kane and Show get rid of him after a strong showing and it’s the giant slugout. They choke each other on the ropes until HHH dumps both of them out (I’m shocked too) so here’s Carlito at #11 to fill in the ring a little more. Carlito stomps on Rey and HHH until a Roddy Piper style eye poke gets HHH out of trouble. Chris Benoit is in at #12 with Cole explaining about Benoit winning last year (hopefully jogging Lawler’s memory a bit).

The Crossface has Carlito in trouble, with HHH making the fast save. That wasn’t the brightest idea in the world but he sends Benoit to the apron where they fight over a suplex attempt. Benoit puts him down and hits the Swanton but here’s Booker T. (back in the long tights) in at #13. Benoit gets rid of Booker in about 20 seconds (Booker was probably still injured) so it’s back to chopping away at everyone else.

Joey Mercury is in at #14 and Benoit gives him a German suplex in a hurry. More chopping ensues as Tatanka of all people is in at #15 to go after HHH. The fans seem to remember him, but that might just be the Florida State Seminoles chant. Everyone pairs off and it’s Johnny Nitro in at #16 as Benoit gets HHH to the apron. Trevor Murdoch is in at #17 (Lawler: “He looks like a big bottle of milk.”) as the ring is getting full in a hurry. Rey is sent to the apron for the third time but is right back in with a basement dropkick to HHH.

Eugene is in at #18 for an airplane spin on Murdoch so Rey gives the two of them a double bulldog. Animal, with bright green shoulder pads, is in at #19. Things slow down again with the only thing between entrances being MNM failing to get rid of Rey. The returning Rob Van Dam is in at #20, giving us HHH, Mysterio, Carlito, Benoit, Mercury, Tatanka, Nitro, Murdoch, Eugene, Animal and Van Dam. Rob goes after almost everyone, including a spinwheel kick to HHH. MNM goes after Rob but he shrugs that off and gets rid of Animal.

Orlando Jordan is in at #21 and doesn’t even get a reaction in his hometown. There are WAY too many people in there and it’s making it hard to do much. Van Dam manages a middle rope kick to Carlito’s face and it’s Chavo Guerrero in at #22. Rolling Thunder hits Jordan and Chavo gets to clean a little house, including Three Amigos to Nitro. For some reason Chavo goes up top and HHH shove shim out without much effort.

Matt Hardy is in at #23 as there is only room for about two people to do anything at a time. MNM dumps Tatanka and it’s Super Crazy in at #24. He comes in with a very high crossbody to MNM and it’s back to fighting on the ropes. Shawn Michaels is in at #25 and PLEASE GET RID OF SOME PEOPLE. Murdoch is Shawn’s first victim and it’s Chris Masters in at #26 because the ring MUST stay overly full. Mercury and Hardy both save themselves and HHH has to do it as well.

Viscera is in at #27 (lucky us) for a Samoan drop on Hardy. There’s the Visagra and Hardy is out for daring to try a Twist of Fate on the monster. Shelton Benjamin is in at #28 as Benoit gets rid of Eugene. There’s a Dragon Whip to HHH as Goldust is in at #29. Crazy seems to have been put out off camera and Randy Orton is in at #30.

Side note: Cole says Orton is coming off a phenomenal 2005. What exactly did he do? Lose the title match against HHH at the Rumble, lose against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania and in the Cell, and need his dad to help him beat Undertaker. Oh and be the sole survivor at Survivor Series (thanks to a distraction), which he had done twice before. That’s phenomenal?

Anyway, the final grouping is HHH, Mysterio, Carlito, Benoit, Mercury, Nitro, Van Dam, Jordan, Michaels, Masters, Viscera, Benjamin, Goldust and Orton, or nearly half of the field. Orton gets rid of Benoit in a hurry to make up for Smackdown and Carlito/Masters dump Viscera. Carlito immediately turns on Masters to eliminate him as they’re picking up the pace in a hurry.

Goldust hits Shattered Dreams on Carlito, and is quickly eliminated by Van Dam. Orton gets rid of Jordan (after a ridiculous sixteen minutes), leaving Shawn and HHH to do their big showdown. MNM breaks that up but Michaels breaks that up and sends Nitro into Mercury to get rid of Joey. Michaels clotheslines Nitro out and skins the cat back in but Shelton jumps him. Shawn superkicks Shelton out without much effort but here’s Vince McMahon to order Michaels out.

Cue Shane McMahon from behind to dump Shawn, who charges back in, chases Shane off, superkicks HHH for old times’ sake, and follows the McMahons to the back. Van Dam gets rid of Carlito and we’re down to Van Dam, HHH, Orton and Mysterio. The tag match breaks out with Van Dam and Mysterio getting the better of it. For some reason Rob goes up and gets crotched by HHH, who sends Rey into Van Dam for the elimination.

Rey has to knock HHH and Orton down at the same time, setting up a double 619. Orton clotheslines Rey down though and powerslams HHH for a bonus. HHH is back up with a spinebuster to Orton but Rey gets rid of HHH to bring the fans WAY back into it. Just because he’s evil, HHH pulls Mysterio to the floor and sends him into the steps. The EDDIE chants start up and Rey manages to slip off Orton’s shoulder and a hurricanrana gives Rey the win.

Rating: B-. It’s good enough, but the Eddie praise got a little rough to take as the match went on. The far bigger problem though was having so many people in the ring at once for long stretches, leaving the people to have to find what openings they could in their limited room. That’s not a good setup for the Rumble and when it’s for the sake of having people like Tatanka and Jordan in there for long stretches, they seem to be missing the point.

Next up is the Diva Search, with Layla winning.

From June 9.

Miz is in the ring to host a Divas bikini contest between Ashley, Jillian Hall (Miz: “She’s buoyant!”), Kristal and Michelle McCool. The first three disrobe, Miz makes jokes, and Michelle stands up for teachers who are being accused of having inappropriate relations with students because the teachers have needs too. Anyway, she leaves because no one should see her A+ body. Ashley wins.

We see JBL losing the US Title to Bobby Lashley and then being retired by Rey Mysterio later in the night.

Video on Tribute to the Troops.

We recap Vickie Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio.

From October 20.

Chavo Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio

I Quit match. Chavo hammers away in the corner to start but the 619 chants bring Rey back up. Rey sends him outside for the big running flip dive and they’re both down on the floor. A posting puts Chavo down again, followed by Rey dropkicking a chair into Chavo’s face in the corner.

Back up and a Vickie distraction lets Chavo start in on the leg, which has a history of working against Rey. Chavo even ties the chair around the knee for a frog splash, which still isn’t enough to make Rey give up. They go up the ramp with Chavo staying on the knee, only to have Rey kick him off the ramp. The running seated senton to the floor hits Chavo again, which shows you just how high that stage is.

A Crossface isn’t enough to make Chavo quit so Rey chokes with the chair. He can’t follow up though, allowing Chavo to throw him onto some equipment cases. Rey gets in a right hand and climbs the lighting structure but Chavo knocks him into a Tree of Woe in the structure. Some chair shots to the knee are enough to make Rey give up.

Rating: B-. That’s the last you’ll be seeing of Rey until August as he needed another knee surgery. This was a heck of a showcase for Chavo, who really does not have a major win to his credit. Rey was World Champion about three months ago so this still carries some weight. Rey needed to go away and it was nice to see them elevate someone on his way out for a bit.

Teddy Long announced the Smackdown Sprint, which is basically a Beat The Clock Challenge for the World Title shot against Batista at the Royal Rumble.

Cole and JBL talk about Undertaker/Kane vs. MVP/Mr. Kennedy.

From December 15.

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.

We hear about Undertaker vs. Kennedy and Kane vs. MVP at Armageddon.

We look at the Finlay’s Leprechaun debuting.

From Judgment Day.

Chris Benoit vs. Finlay

They had a good match a few weeks ago so this should work. Finlay takes him into the corner to start and we actually get a clean break. The lockup goes all the way to the floor and against the barricade before they finally break up. Back in and they go nose to nose until Benoit grabs the legs for a failed Sharpshooter attempt. The chinlock goes on Finlay instead before Benoit switches over to a headlock. Finlay accuses Benoit of an eye poke though and then jumps him when the referee stops to check on things.

It’s a chinlock on Benoit this time but he isn’t sitting in that for very long. Instead it’s Benoit getting up and unloading in the corner, setting up another chinlock. Benoit tries to switch into the Crossface before turning Finlay over for two. Finlay hits him in the face and then pulls on the arm while putting his foot on Benoit’s head for some pulling. The chinlock is countered and Benoit snaps off another German suplex, followed by the Swan Dive for two.

Finlay is right back with a knockdown of his own into a running seated senton and it’s off to a chinlock with a knee in the back. A hammerlock/dragon sleeper combination (that’s a new one) keeps Benoit down and Finlay just pounds him in the back. Finlay says get up so he can show Benoit how tough he is. That means a clothesline to drop Benoit again but he’s right back up with a German suplex.

They head outside with Benoit hitting another German suplex on the floor, followed by Three Amigos back inside. The threat of another Swan Dive makes Finlay knock him off the top, with Benoit’s head hitting the barricade. Back in and Benoit’s shoulder goes into the post but he’s fine enough to snap on the Crossface for the tap.

Rating: B+. Oh like these two getting twenty minutes wasn’t going to be really good. They had an awesome match a few weeks back and now they did it again on the bigger stage. These two compliment each other really well and it felt like a fight with wrestling moves instead of a match, which worked very well. I could go for it again and it’s the kind of match where you could see it going either way.

Here’s a rapid fire recap of Gregory Helms, Paul London and Brian Kendrick, Jimmy Wang Yang, Boogeyman, Miz and Vito, the latter of whom kissed Cole. This was described as “fun”. That last bit was never before seen, which does make me feel a bit better.

Another Tribute to the Troops video.

We look at the rise of King Booker, which leads us to this.

From Survivor Series.

Smackdown World Title: King Booker vs. Batista

Batista is challenging and starts fast by jumping him before the bell. They get inside to officially start the match with Batista hammering away in the corner. The threat of a Batista Bomb sends Booker bailing to the floor and the fans aren’t pleased. Back in and Batista hammers away even more but a hot shot gets Booker out of trouble. A catapult sends Batista throat first into the bottom rope and Booker stomps away even more.

Booker pokes him in the eye but you don’t need two eyes to hit a side slam for two. They head to the apron for a slugout with Batista knocking him back in. Sharmell grabs the leg though and Booker kicks him out to the floor again. Back in and Booker pounds him down into a chinlock as Cole asks JBL what it feels like to try and get the title back. JBL: “I’m not a loser Michael. Bring up something else.”

Batista fights up and hits the clotheslines into a big boot to send Booker outside. That means a whip into the steps, followed by a top rope shoulder (dang) for two back inside. Booker is right back with a Bookend for two but Batista is up with the Batista Bomb. They’re right next to the rope so Booker saves himself, allowing Sharmell to hand him the title. A Sharmell distraction doesn’t work though as Batista ducks the shot and takes the belt away. Batista’s belt shot is enough for the pin, the title, and the energized celebration.

Rating: D, This really didn’t work and the ending was stupid. How much of a conqueror does this make Batista, when he needed a belt shot to beat Booker? It’s a reclaiming the glory story and that should work, but the lack of drama didn’t help anything. Pretty awful main event with the main bright spot being the fact that they didn’t go long here. It’s the longest match of the show at less than fourteen minutes and it felt every one of them.

Cole and JBL wrap it up.

Overall Rating: C+. It’s always a little weird when “Best Of Smackdown” turns into “Best Of Smackdown People In Various Places”. This was what you would expect from a clip show with some good matches, including some that you have probably forgotten about. What we got was good enough though, even if it had a few major names missing (Kurt Angle, Great Khali, Mark Henry etc.). Good show here, as it’s really, really had to have a bad Best Of show.


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