Smackdown – March 16, 2007

Date: March 16, 2007
Location: Sovereign Bank Arena, Trenton, New Jersey
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

I’m really not sure what to expect here and I kind of like that feeling. Last week’s Smackdown was a complete success with a pair of gems in Undertaker vs. Finlay and Kane vs. Batista. If they can come close to that this week, they are going to be in fine shape as they round the turn towards Wrestlemania. Let’s get to it.

Here is Batista to get things going (while rocking the heck out of a suit) on MizTV. Miz sucks up to Batista for the sake of not being ripped in half and brings out the latest WWE Magazine. There is an interview in here where Batista said that he was unstoppable, but Undertaker is the one who is really unstoppable. Miz thinks Undertaker could come out here right now and take Batista apart. The lights go off but pop back up and Miz laughs because he paid some guy in the back to turn them off. Batista finds if funny and shakes Miz’s hand….but he doesn’t find Miz funny. Destruction ensues.

Ashley and Kane are going to be on Smallville. I remember that episode.

Mr. Kennedy vs. Matt Hardy

Feeling out process to start with Kennedy not looking all that worried. Hardy takes him down with a hammerlock but gets sent into the corner for his efforts. That earns Kennedy a running clothesline and they crash out to the floor as we take a break. Back with Kennedy grabbing a cravate to keep Hardy in trouble.

Hardy fights up but the corner bulldog is shoved away, allowing Kennedy to hit a chop block. The leg is slammed into the apron and some knees to the knee keep Hardy in trouble. A clothesline gives Kennedy two and the Indian Deathlock goes on. Hardy turns it over (Does that hurt?) and Kennedy has to grab the rope for the break.

Kennedy is fine enough to go up and miss the Kenton Bomb, allowing Hardy to strike away. The Side Effect gives Hardy two and Kennedy’s rollup, while grabbing the rope, gets the same. Another Regal Roll is countered into the Twist of Fate to give Hardy the fast pin out of nowhere.

Rating: B-. This was a longer match and it’s weird to see Kennedy getting pinned clean. Kennedy worked over the leg for a good chunk of the match and then but Hardy worked through it until he could win in the end. That’s a story that works well for both guys and Hardy winning reminds you that he is actually pretty good around here.

Post break, Kennedy says that he’s still winning Money in the Bank.

MVP vs. El Grande Latte

Non-title, as Latte’s Honduran Heavyweight Title isn’t on the line. Cole brags about winning his Little League championship as MVP dismantles the rather thin Latte. Ballin connects and MVP ties him in the Tree of Woe to stomp away. The Playmaker finishes for MVP in a hurry.

Post match, MVP reiterates his challenge to Chris Benoit for Wrestlemania. MVP lists off some of the great US Champions and says he has more style than Ric Flair and more skill than Harley Race. He’s living the American Dream too as the poor boy from Miami, but maybe Chris Benoit isn’t hearing him. Maybe we should change his name from the Crippler to the Coward. Cue Teddy Long to say the match is on and here is Benoit to start the brawl.

This Monday: John Cena vs. Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels vs. JBL. Cole isn’t convinced but JBL says he has something planned.

Melina/MNM vs. Ashley/Brian Kendrick/Paul London

Mercury (now without the mask) headlocks Kendrick to start but it’s quickly off to London to work on the arm. Enough about a match with half the people involved being champions though, as it’s time to talk about Vince McMahon and Donald Trump. The women come in and stare at each other before handing it back to Kendrick and Nitro. Everything breaks down and a double dive to the floor takes MNM down.

Back in and Melina gets in a cheap shot to the ribs and it’s a reverse chinlock with a knee in the back to keep him down. Nitro grabs the cravate and it’s back to Mercury to stay on him with some right hands. A double belly to back faceplant gets two on Kendrick and we’re off to a chinlock. Mercury goes after Ashley but the distraction allows the hot tag to London. Everything breaks down and Melina gets in a cheap shot on Ashley, leaving London to walk into the Snapshot for the pin.

Rating: C. The women might as well have been on the outside here but I get the concept at least. I’m not sure how bad it is going to be for Ashley to be in a title match at Wrestlemania but the fact that she was barely active here isn’t the most encouraging. The guys could probably work this match in their sleep, but London and Kendrick haven’t been around much as of late so there wasn’t a ton of energy to the whole thing.

Video tribute to Ernie Ladd.

Maryse welcomes us back to the show.

King Booker and Queen Sharmell are not happy that he has to wrestle the Undertaker tonight. Finlay comes in looking for Hornswoggle but they don’t care about him. Hold on though, as Booker asks Finlay for advice against Undertaker. Finlay: “RUN!” The guys leave and Hornswoggle appears, carrying a pitcher of beer. He wishes Sharmell a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and asks for a kiss, sending her running off screaming. Well that was creepy.

Celebrities pick Vince McMahon vs. Donald Trump.

Long video on the Trump vs. McMahon contract signing.

Daivari vs. Kane

Kane’s entrance cuts off Daivari’s rant so we’re starting fast. The destruction doesn’t take long as Kane knocks him into the corner and hammers away with the variety you would probably expect. The choke shove sends Daivari out through the ropes and it’s a chokeslam onto the steps. Then Kane grabs the hook chain and ties Daivari up, which I think is enough for the no contest.

Post break Kane drags Daivari backstage and seemingly into the boiler room.

Mr. Fuji Hall of Fame video.

Undertaker vs. King Booker

Batista is on commentary. Booker actually wins an early slugout but the advantage doesn’t last long as Undertaker punches him into the corner. They’re on the floor in a hurry with Booker going face first into the steps. Back in and Old School is broken up, allowing Booker to drop him with a running forearm. A big boot takes Booker down just as fast for two and now Old School can connect.

Undertaker’s running DDT gets two and it’s time for the slow rights and lefts in the corner. As Undertaker clotheslines him outside, JBL says that Batista is better than King Kong Bundy and Giant Gonzalez. Undertaker makes the mistake of stopping to glare at Batista though and Booker gets in a cheap shot as we take a break. Back with Booker hitting a side slam for two and grabbing a chinlock. That’s broken up and Undertaker pulls him outside to start the brawling again.

They get back inside with Booker kneeing away to block a superkick and we hit the front facelock. Booker hammers away but Undertaker does it a bit better, setting up Snake Eyes into the big boot. Undertaker hits the jumping clothesline but Booker is back with the jumping side kick for two. Back up and the Undertaker tries the Last Ride, only to get jumped by Finlay for the DQ.

Rating: C+. These two beat each other up and that’s all you can ask for here. Well maybe save for Undertaker getting the pin, as it isn’t like Booker losing to Undertaker is going to derail him. Booker was actually working harder here and it was a harder hitting offense than usual this week. Good match, but the ending was a bit weird.

Post match the brawl is on with Undertaker getting the better of things, including throwing Finlay into Batista. Undertaker walks up the ramp as Batista is livid to end the show. This has been a really well built story so far and I want to see these two fight.

Overall Rating: C+. This wasn’t as good as last week, but that was a pretty high ceiling to reach. What matters here is they are making Wrestlemania look good and none of the recent shows have been awful. If they can keep that momentum up for the next two weeks, Wrestlemania might be even better than it seems, which would be rather impressive. Another good show this week.




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