Date: June 15, 2007
Location: Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
It’s the first Smackdown after the Draft, but more importantly it is the first one after Vince McMahon lost to a car bomb. That was the dominant story on ECW and it is likely going to be the case again this week. There are some new wrestlers to get to meet though and that needs to be done well. Let’s get to it.
We get a parental discretion advised notice due to issues involving Vince McMahon’s death. That’s a very specific reason.
We open with a long recap of Vince McMahon’s bad Monday, though the explosion isn’t shown. Yet.
The Smackdown roster (or at least most of it) is on the stage for the ten bell salute.
Earlier this week, a lawyer gave a statement at WWE Headquarters, saying federal officials are investigating what happened, but the show will go on.
Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs. Deuce N Domino
Non-title and it’s always a good idea to start a NEW era with a match that has been done to death. Kendrick and Domino lock up to start but London comes in for a double dropkick. Kendrick gets in a few shots to the face but gets low bridged to the floor as commentary talks about the greatness that was Vince McMahon. Back in and Deuce cranks on Kendrick’s arms but Kendrick enziguris his way to freedom. London comes back in for some kicks to the face as everything breaks down. With Kendrick and Domino on the floor, Crack Em In Da Mouth finishes London.
Rating: C. Yes, again. I’m not sure how they have no fresh tag matches after the Draft but somehow here we are again with these same teams with the same results. Not a bad match of course as these teams know each other well, but can we please never see these teams fight again? You need more than two teams for a division, and you wouldn’t guess that at the moment.
We get some sitdown interviews about Vince, starting with William Regal talking about how much he enjoyed being inducted into Vince’s special club. And something about Al Snow and clowns.
Teddy Long talks about how he had been around wrestling for fourteen years before he came to WWE and Vince gave him his first real chance to show him what he can do. The photos on his office wall are of Vince McMahon and Martin Luther King. Vince made it happen and King made it possible.
Matt Hardy vs. William Regal
The rather popular Hardy headlock takeovers him to start and grinds away for a bit. They fight over a top wristlock as JBL goes on about Torrie Wilson coming to Smackdown in the Draft. It’s too early for the Twist of Fate though and Regal hits Hardy in the face to take over. They head outside where Regal gets in a few shots to take over, meaning it’s time to stomp away back inside.
Regal starts tying up the limbs in the middle of the ring before switching to a simple kick to the back. Hardy flips out of a double arm crank and the Side Effect connects for two. Regal is right back with a belly to back suplex into a tiger driver for two. Not that it matters as Hardy gets a boot up in the corner and hits the Twist of Fate for the pin.
Rating: C+. This isn’t a match you see very often and they had a pretty solid match. I’m still not sure why we’re watching two people who were on Smackdown before the Draft rather than showcasing some of their new acquisitions, but at least it was a fresh pairing. Matt continues to seem to be someone WWE wants to push on his own, though beating Regal isn’t the fast track to the main event.
Jillian Hall is devastated at being there in person to see Vince’s final moments.
We see footage from after Raw, with firemen putting out the limo fire.
JBL and Cole talk about what could have caused the explosion, which is under investigation.
Chavo Guerrero talks about how Vince was a jerk but that is what you have to do to be successful in wrestling.
MVP vs. Batista
Non-title. In the back, Ric Flair, who is challenging MVP at Vengeance, wishes Batista luck in a reunion. MVP has to dodge a few leg dives to start but Batista blocks MVP’s own attempt. A big shove sends MVP outside where he wants a twenty second timeout. Back in and Batista hits some Razor Ramon shoulder blocks while holding MVP’s arm, sending MVP straight to the ropes. They talk trash to each other until MVP hits him in the face to take over.
MVP gets knocked outside again but this time Batista follows, only to miss a charge into the steps. A posting and whip into the barricade rock Batista again and we hit the chinlock back inside. Batista powers up and blasts MVP with a clothesline for a breather. Cole: “Can you imagine what it feels like to be hit by a cannonball?” JBL: “I know what it’s like to be hit by Batista!” A side slam gives Batista two but MVP gets in a shot of his own. The spear cuts MVP off though and the Batista Bomb gives Batista the pin.
Rating: B-. There’s a double shot for the show: a champion gets pinned clean and it’s a match we saw last week, before the Draft. It’s kind of amazing to see how inconsequential the Draft has been, as you would think this was any given episode without something special going on. I know the Vince angle changed things, but can they at least play with some of their new toys?
Sgt. Slaughter talks about how the WWE has lost its commanding officer. Vince was no ordinary general because he was on the battlefield with them and jumped in the foxhole with them. Everyone owes Vince a thank you and Slaughter promises to keep fighting for WWE and Vince’s American way.
We see some footage of the charred and destroyed limo.
Lead investigator Daniel Beck isn’t answering questions at this time.
Edge isn’t sure where he goes from here after everything has changed. He isn’t sure who becomes the rudder or the foundation around here and maybe it’s him.
Kristal talks about how her last interaction with Vince was a little strange as he went off the deep end. He’ll be missed.
Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Daivari vs. Jamie Noble vs. Shannon Moore
For the Cruiserweight Title shot at Vengeance, champion Chavo Guerrero is at ringside and Moore is looking normal. The four of them pair off to start until Noble and Yang are left alone in the ring. Yang is sent outside though and it’s Noble coming in to beat on Moore. Noble dives onto Daivari but Yang dives onto all of them for the big crash. Back in and the Tower of Doom puts everyone but Daivari down so he comes in for some near falls. Moore and Noble are sent outside, leaving Yang to moonsault press Daivari for the pin and the title shot.
Rating: C. They kept this fast and that’s all they needed to do. Yang had more or less become the #1 contender weeks ago and now he is officially getting the title shot. There was little need to do more than that and they got in and out in a hurry. Yang vs. Guerrero isn’t going to light the world on fire but at least they have a bit of a history set up.
Edge vs. Ric Flair
Non-title. Feeling out process to start and Flair slicks the hair back with a WOO. Edge grabs a headlock takeover but gets rolled up, sending him bailing to the ropes. Back up and Edge slaps him in the face in the corner, meaning it’s time to get serious. There’s a hiptoss to send Edge outside as commentary goes into a discussion of the New York Yankees. Flair chops him down but the threat of the Figure Four sends Edge bailing to the rope.
Some more chops set up a half crab of all things, with Flair eventually laying back onto the mat to pull on it even more. Another Figure Four attempt is broken up and they head outside, where Edge scores with a backdrop. We take a break and come back with Edge unloading in the corner, setting up a suplex for two. Edge chokes away but Flair kicks him in the knee, which only just annoys Flair more. An enziguri cuts Flair off again so Edge goes up, only to get chopped out of the air. Now it’s time to go after the knee again and this time the Figure Four has Edge in more trouble…and here is MVP for the DQ.
Rating: C+. This was a perfectly good Flair formula match as he went after the leg, got in trouble, then went back after the leg again before we got to the ending. I can go with MVP interfering to cost Flair the match as Edge can escape while keeping some dignity. Good enough main event and at least they finally had one of the new stars included.
Post match the double beatdown is on but Batista runs in for the save. Batista gets rid of MVP but Edge hits the spear down and runs to end the show. There’s your tag match for next week.
Overall Rating: C. The Vince stuff is the kind of a story that is going to change everything but it made this show more of a skippable week than anything else. That’s kind of annoying when they had such a huge story on Monday, but I’m not sure how else they could have done this. The biggest change they needed to make was having more of the new Smackdown stars included, but for some reason we only had Flair around, which made for a bit of a less than inspiring show.
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