Date: April 20, 2007
Location: Datchforum, Milan, Italy
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
The Italian trip continues with the blue show and that could make for a good Smackdown. Last week saw the announcement of Undertaker vs. Batista II in a Last Man Standing match at Backlash, complete with some wacky bad partnering. I’m curious to see what else they have on tap around here as Smackdown has been pretty good as of late. Let’s get to it.
It’s the 400th episode for a nice milestone.
Batista vs. Finlay
The referee warns Finlay about the shillelagh to start and Batista shoves him down to make it even worse. Back up and Batista works on the arm, including an armdrag into an armbar for a little variety. With that broken up, Finlay backs into the corner but comes back with a cheap shot to the face. That just annoys Batista so he takes Finlay down, sending Finlay to the ropes with complaints of something in his eye.
They head outside with Batista nailing a big boot to keep Finlay in trouble. We hit the chinlock back inside as we look at the third replay of the big boot. Finlay fights up and gets knocked over the top in a heap as we take a break. Back with Batista beating on Finlay on the floor but Mr. Kennedy runs in for the DQ. The post break part was maybe fifteen seconds.
Rating: C. This was a weird one as Batista basically squashed him throughout. They’ve done a good job of making Batista feel like that much more of a monster heading into Backlash though it’s weird to see Finlay taking this kind of a beating. It wasn’t a bad match or anything, but it was a strange way to go.
Post match the double beatdown is on and Batista is left laying with the Celtic Cross.
Smackdown is in an Italian newspaper.
Here’s your weekly Condemned video.
Here is Jillian Hall for a chat. Hall asks if the fans remember her and we see a clip of her attacking Ashley last week. Since Ashley can’t be here tonight, Hall has a special operatic song for us. The song is about eating a pizza so here is Michelle McCool to say Hall is horrible (in Italian for a twist). The brawl is on and Hall bails in a hurry.
Hardys/Chris Benoit vs. MVP/Gregory Helms/Chavo Guerrero
When did Chavo and Helms become the new midcard heel team? Benoit and Guerrero get things going with Benoit shouldering him down. Guerrero grabs him by the leg and hands it off to MVP to stomp away. Helms comes in just as fast and gets taken into the corner so Matt can come in with the middle rope elbow to the head.
Matt gets hit in the face a few times though and Helms is back with a running clothesline. That just earns him a trip into the corner so it’s off to Jeff for a hiptoss. The Whisper in the Wind misses though and Helms gets him into the corner to set up the triple teaming. MVP’s big boot gets a Masahiro Chono reference from JBL (in case you thought it came from Cole) and it’s back to Helms to hammer away on the ropes.
Chavo’s basement dropkick gets two and we hit the front facelock. A dropkick gets two on Jeff and it’s a Demolition Decapitator of all things for two more. MVP’s kick to the back sets up a suplex for two but he makes the mistake of going after Benoit. The distraction lets Jeff get over for the hot tag to Benoit as everything breaks down. The Twist of Fate into the Swanton into the Swan Dive crushes Helms and a weird looking Sharpshooter is enough for the tap.
Rating: C+. I can always go for a good six man tag, if nothing else just for the sake of keeping things a little more fresh. Helms has fallen a few miles over the last few months and taking a fall here doesn’t change anything for him. It’s a perfectly good match and a fine way to use some TV time.
Maryse welcomes us back to the show.
Tag Team Titles: Brian Kendrick/Paul London vs. Deuce N Domino
Deuce N Domino are challenging (again) and have Cherry with them. Kendrick and Deuce start things off with Kendrick running the ropes for a forearm to the face. London comes in to work on the arm with Kendrick coming back in with the elbow to the shoulder. A top rope stomp to the arm sets up another kick to said arm but Cherry offers a distraction. Domino is knocked outside and London loads up a moonsault…which only hits mat. The referee goes to check on London and the double teaming is on back inside.
Cue the trainers to check on London and he is taken to the back, leaving Kendrick to get double pummeled. The chinlock goes on and Domino hits a clothesline for two. Deuce grabs the front facelock before choking with a knee in the corner. It’s back to Domino for another two off another clothesline but Kendrick fights out of the corner. The attempt at a tag lets Kendrick know there is no London available and Crack Em In Da Mouth FINALLY gives Deuce N Domino the titles.
Rating: C. This was all about the last three seconds as London and Kendrick finally, and I do mean finally, lost the titles. It probably should have come a few weeks earlier as this is probably the fifth match between these teams. The fact that it was a handicap match for a good chunk of time at least made it a little different, though the ending was a little flat after Kendrick had been beaten up for awhile.
Mark Henry is still coming back.
Kane vs. William Regal/Dave Taylor
Regal starts for the knee and fires off the knees. That earns him a big toss into the corner as the fans are a bit silent here. Cole gets to list off various shows that don’t have as many episodes as Smackdown as Kane works on Regal’s arm. A shot to the face allows Regal to bring Taylor in, where Kane elbows him in the face. We get what sounds like an EDDIE chant as Regal sends Kane into the steps to take over.
Back in and the slow beating begins, including a variety of forearms from Regal. That earns him a heck of a right hand to knock Regal across the ring so it’s back to Taylor for a cravate. Regal comes back in and gets backdropped to give Kane a breather. Taylor grabs a crossface chickenwing (with Taylor insisting that HE’S GOT KANE NOW) and a jumping ax handle to the back gets two.
A double suplex gives Regal two more and the frustration begins to sit in. Taylor hits a dropkick into a chinlock, setting up Regal’s knee drop. A running knee to the face knocks Kane out of a fireman’s carry for two more but Kane is back with the double clothesline. Taylor is sent outside, leaving Regal to get side slammed. There’s the top rope clothesline to send Regal outside and the villains walk for the countout.
Rating: C. Everyone was working and the heels know how to do this style to perfection, but it isn’t the most interesting stuff to watch in a longer form. It also doesn’t help that they did all this stuff and then it went to a countout. These guys have been feuding for a few weeks now and it still hasn’t gotten beyond just kind of there.
The Condemned is getting media AND it has STUNTS!
William Regal and Dave Taylor complain to Teddy Long about Kane. That’s fine with Long, who puts them in a tag match (Regal: “I just told you we wanted to get AWAY from him!”) against Kane and the Boogeyman. The two of them leave so here is Kristal, who just finished a shopping spree. Various things were purchased on Teddy’s dime but he thinks she’s worth it. Kissing ensues.
We look at Mr. Kennedy and Finlay taking out Batista earlier.
Mr. Kennedy vs. Undertaker
Non-title. Before the match, Kennedy talks about how he has been called a lot of things over the years, but now he is being called Mr. Money in the Bank. Kennedy ducks a right hand in the corner to start and gets punched in the face for his efforts. More quick shots from Kennedy don’t do him much good as Undertaker knocks him down again.
A big boot gets two but Kennedy slugs his way out of Old School. The superplex brings Undertaker back down for two and Kennedy unloads as well as he can in the corner. That’s broken up with a clothesline and now Old School can connect for two. We take a break and come back with Undertaker sending Kennedy’s arm into the buckle and slapping on a Kimura. The running big boot in the corner misses though and Kennedy gets to stomp away for a change.
The kicks to the ribs and knee keep Undertaker in trouble and a running boot to the face makes it worse. We hit the chinlock as we get the second Chono reference of the night. Undertaker manages to dump him outside and the bad leg connects for the apron legdrop. They slug it out, allowing Cole to get in the best pure striker line. Snake Eyes and the big boot set up the chokeslam but Finlay runs in for the DQ.
Rating: C+. The ending was lacking a bit but at least they had a hard hitting fight on the way there. Kennedy is still good in the ring but he has yet to have that big match which takes him to the next level. This was better than some of the matches he has had before, which probably had something to do with being in there with Undertaker.
Post match the beatdown, including the briefcase to the head, puts Undertaker down and there’s the Celtic Cross to make it worse. The fans want Batista but the villains just leave, because Kennedy doesn’t seem to get how the Money in the Bank briefcase works.
Overall Rating: C+. This was a rather sandwiched edition of the show as you had the main event angle to open and close things, but not much in the middle. The Tag Team Title change meant a little something, but is anyone really going to be interested in those changing hands? It’s a fairly good show with nothing bad, though it was another show that was just a bridge to the pay per view next weekend.
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