Smackdown – March 9, 2007

Smackdown
Date: March 9, 2007
Location: Tuscon Convention Center, Tuscon, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

Wrestlemania is less than a month away and the only story that matters around here is Batista vs. Undertaker. That’s more than enough to carry a show but it could make for some fairly rough Smackdowns on the way there. Both guys are in action tonight though and we could be in for a good one. Let’s get to it.

We open with a long video on Undertaker and Batista, who have called each other out over and over. Tonight, they’re both in the building for the first time since No Way Out.

King Booker vs. Matt Hardy

No entrance for Booker and Queen Sharmell is on commentary. Cole explains that this match is about “establishing dominance” going to Wrestlemania. Seems like a building momentum situati….and Cole says that too before I can even get it out. They trade right hands to start until Hardy pulls him into a headlock takeover. Booker is sent outside for a slingshot dive and we take an early break.

Back with Booker working on the arm with Sharmell screaming a bit. A spinning kick to the face drops Matt for two but he reverses a suplex into a pretty sloppy looking one of his own. Hardy grabs a Russian legsweep for two and the middle rope elbow to the back of the head has Booker down again. Sharmell offers a distraction but Booker misses the kick to the head. Instead, Booker blocks the Twist of Fate, allowing Sharmell to hit Matt with a shoe. The ax kick gives Booker the pin.

Rating: C. You might have expected a bit more than this from these two as it just wasn’t very good. That’s kind of the problem with the matches building towards Money in the Bank though: they couldn’t figure out if this was about building momentum or establishing dominance and the match was messy as a result. I’m sure this will make all the difference in the world at Money in the Bank though, as commentary promised it mattered.

Batista, after watching a video on the Streak and hitting on Kristal a bit, promises to break the Streak and retain the title. As for Kane tonight, it’s time for a Wrestlemania preview.

Maryse welcomes us back to the show.

We recap the long guest referee announcement from Raw with Steve Austin as the big reveal.

MVP comes in to see Teddy Long and calls Kristal a chicken head. Long: “I don’t appreciate you calling Kristal a chicken head.” Anyway, the point is that MVP didn’t get pinned in last week’s Money in the Bank qualifying match so he wants a US Title shot at Wrestlemania. Long will consider it.

Kane says Batista has no idea how right he was when he called Kane sick, demented and twisted.

Kane vs. Batista

Non-title. Kane actually wrestles him down to the mat to start (that’s some sick, demented and twisted amateur grappling) but Batista is back up with a clothesline in the corner. Some hard shots to the face put Batista down in the corner for some boot choking but he comes back with a DDT for two. We take a break and come back with Kane being knocked outside, where he takes over with more right hands.

Back in and Kane grabs a bodyscissors of all things to keep Batista in trouble. A knee to the back stays on the ribs, which are then bent around the post. The kneeling bearhug goes on and some forearms to the back cut off the comeback attempt. Kane kicks him in the side of the head but the top rope clothesline is knocked out of the air. The cover is countered (you don’t see that every day) with a grab to the throat but Batista’s own kick to the head gets two.

A side slam gets two on Batista and now the top rope clothesline connects for two more. The chokeslam is reversed into the spinebuster but the Batista Bomb attempt is driven into the corner. Kane gets two off the chokeslam and the elbow pad comes off in frustration. Since Kane has never seen an Undertaker match, he rains down right hands in the corner, only to be reversed into the Batista Bomb for the pin.

Rating: B. This was the power match that these two should have had and it worked well. Kane worked on the back to take away the power but then got stupid in the end to cost him. I liked this more than I was expecting to as they set up a logical story (Batista gets a Wrestlemania preview/warmup) and they over delivered. Good stuff.

Video on Bobby Lashley’s troubles with Vince McMahon over the last few weeks.

Celebrities pick Vince vs. Trump. John Travolta still has no idea what he’s being asked about.

It’s time for the FIRST EVER MizTV, with Miz sitting on the mat between the chairs to introduce the show. He needs a hot, smoking guest to start so here is Ashley. She is rather excited about the Playboy release on Monday….and here is Melina to interrupt, with Miz announcing her as the other guest (See? He wasn’t being stupid by sitting between the chairs. Just being polite.).

Melina doesn’t like the attention that Ashley is getting for taking her clothes off because the only man who gets to see Melina naked is Johnny Nitro. Ashley: “That ain’t what I heard honey.” The Wrestlemania title match is set up in a hurry and the catfight is on with Ashley standing tall.

Kane, still tired from his match, doesn’t like being asked about a comparison between Undertaker and Batista at the moment. Great Khali comes in and lays Kane out with some headbutts, busting Kane open in the process. Khali rams him into a metal fence to leave him laying. That looked good and Khali looked even more like a monster than usual.

Mr. Kennedy vs. CM Punk

Before the match, Kennedy promises to win Money in the……Bank. They fight over headlock control to start until Kennedy hits him in the face and bails to the floor. The annoyed Punk charges outside and gets clotheslined down to put Kennedy in control early. Back in and Kennedy stomps away in the corner as commentary goes over Kennedy’s wins over World Champions. Punk’s running knee in the corner is countered into a toss over the top and we take a break.

Back with Kennedy hammering away and grabbing a cravate as the CM PUNK chants start up. Punk fights back, including the leg lariat for two and a whip to send Kennedy shoulder first into the post. Now the running knee can connect to set up the bulldog out of the corner but Kennedy knocks him off the ropes to tie Punk up. A hanging neckbreaker, with a quick camera cut in the middle, finishes Punk.

Rating: C. Kind of a slow paced match here and Punk lost in a hurry. That being said, Kennedy was a much bigger star at this point and shouldn’t be losing to just about anyone, especially as his star seems to be rising even more. I’m not sure I would have had Punk losing either, but he hasn’t been doing much of late either.

Finlay isn’t scared of the Undertaker because he is all grown up. He isn’t afraid of the dark, death or the Undertaker. Who cares if Undertaker wants to take him to h***? He’s Irish, so he has already been there.

Finlay vs. Undertaker

This could be interesting. Undertaker goes straight to the shoulder and Old School gets an early two. The arm is tied around the ropes for some right hands but Finlay rakes the eyes. A single right hand knocks Undertaker to the floor with Finlay following, only to be sent into the barricade. Hornswoggle comes out for a distraction but gets stared back, allowing Finlay to get in a chair shot to the ribs to take over.

We take a break and come back with Finlay staying on the ribs as he should be. Undertaker gets in a shot to the face and they fight to the floor, with Undertaker getting in the big boot on the apron. There’s the apron legdrop and Finlay is sent face first into the announcers’ table. Finlay manages to send him into the steps though and the knee is banged up to match the ribs.

The ribs are sent into the apron but he catches a diving Finlay coming off the apron for a ram into the post. Finlay sends him into the steps again though and some knees to the ribs keep Undertaker in trouble back inside. The ribs are fine enough to reverse a suplex into one of his own to put Finlay down again.

They slug it out until Undertaker hits the jumping clothesline. The running corner clotheslines rock Finlay again and Snake Eyes into the legdrop gets two. Cue Hornswoggle for the Shillelagh shot, which has no effect. Finlay’s low blow has an effect but the referee gets bumped. The Shillelagh shot to the head gets a delayed two but Undertaker is back up with the chokeslam and Tombstone for the pin.

Rating: B. Another rather good power match here, though the shenanigans at the end didn’t help things. Undertaker is feeling it right now and having him in there against people like Finlay is going to make it better. I did like Undertaker having none of the Hornswoggle nonsense, though Hornswoggle is terrified of the Boogeyman but not Undertaker? Anyway, good main event here, as you probably expected.

Post match Batista comes out for the staredown, including thumbs up, thumbs down. Undertaker’s eyes go big to end the show.

Overall Rating: B+. Smackdown, and arguably WWE as a whole, is feeling it right now as things are clicking at the right time. Wrestlemania is all but set and they even added something else tot he card this week. I actually want to see the show (even if the obsession with Trump vs. McMahon is getting annoying, though you can’t argue with the success) and that says a lot for a show I’ve seen several times before. Very strong show this week and hopefully they can keep it up for the next few weeks.

 

 

 

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