From Providence, Rhode Island, Matt Striker and Todd Grisham bring you SmackDown! as we head toward Survivor Series. Tonight: Batista vs. Matt Hardy. Striker says Batista's true feelings are starting to show.
But first, world champion Undertaker moseys to the ring. That shoe-polish goatee has apparently been banished to the underworld. He looks good. Looks rested. That +3 robe of ass-kickery is still working for him. He reminds us that he started his career at Survivor Series in a sentence that goes on for three days. Dude needs an editor. “The dark birth of the Undertaker was born.” Wow. He's the OverTalker. Everyone wants his title. Big Show betrayed his entire team for a shot at the belt but won an “opportunity to be terminated.” Jericho denied Taker the chance to fight his brother Kane (which he loves just as much as fighting WITH his brother Kane) by winning the title shot last week.
This brings out unified tag champ Chris Jericho who says finally they will stand toe-to-toe. Jericho says he is, in fact, the Phenom, proven by his victory over Kane and Cena (and Show, by dint of the PPV tag win). Jericho casts aspersions at the Deadman's deadness. “You're just a man.” He's on the roll of his career. He can't be stopped. He's gonna get the belt for the sixth time. “I'm not afraid of the dark.” That's what Diesel said too. Taker rebuts with a goozle. Jericho punches out but runs into a boot and rolls out to ringside. GONG.
Our hosts shift gears to Batista/Rey, and we get a video recap of the PPV betrayal and last week's conversation. They edit out the part where Batista says Eddie's dead. “Rey … I'm gonna rip your head off,” followed by the glare and clothesline, is a damn fine rasslin' moment. I'm genuinely rooting for both guys to tear this up. Wow me, guys. Ad break.
Dolph Ziggler/The Hart Dynasty vs. IC champ John Morrison/Cryme Tyme We see Ziggler win via countout last week over Morrison, but there's no word whether he's the top contender for the IC title. During Morrison's entrance, Striker recaps his appearance on “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.” Striker can't relate to Cryme Tyme. “I'm sorry. It's Hall and Oates and sensible slacks for me.” Morrison and Kidd start off. A hiptoss convinces Kidd to tag in Ziggler, and Morrison starts selling his rib injury from last week's match. Just before we go to ads, Morrison tags out to Shad.
Ziggler has JTG in a headlock, but he comes back with a snap hiptoss and running blockbuster. A psuedo-Stunner sets up a Mugshot, but DH Smith interferes. Ziggler gets two. Smith tags in and sets up a doubleteam with Kidd. A backslide/legdrop combo brings in Smith again for two. Striker compares the Harts to the Brainbusters and other veteran teams, and it's a little early for that. Ziggler tags in for the running snapmare. The elevated headlock is applied. JTG escapes with the shortarm backbreaker. Kidd tags in. So does Morrison. He sets up a leg lariat after a backdrop, but the ribs are tender. Smith tags in and eats a Flying Chuck. A shot for Ziggler precedes Shad tagging in. Morrison slingshots out onto Kidd, and Shad goes for generic offense. He doesn't see the blind tag, and Ziggler hits the Zig Zag for three. Neither Cryme Tyme nor the Harts do anything for me, and JeriShow have no opponents for the tag titles on SmackDown. Kidd and JTG would make solid midcard singles.
Josh Matthews sits down with Rey Mysterio backstage. Rey says Batista walked out over something “so small,” and that makes this feud good: Rey sees the friendship that should keep them together while Batista is focused on getting the title back. Batista can't understand why Rey doesn't respect his competitiveness. Josh says GM Teddy Long has made it official, and the two will meet at Survivor Series. Rey tells the camera (and Batista) that Dave has chucked the friendship and the spirit of Eddie. He says he'll show Batista a side Dave never thought existed.
Beth Phoenix vs. Brittany Carter Another jobber. What make these gals immediately identifiable as cannon fodder is their normal appearance. Like Brooks last week, Carter is built like a human being. Beth is built (and dresses) like She Hulk. Striker confuses Josh and Todd. I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE. He says Carter has a dance background. Maybe flexibility can counter the power moves. Or maybe not. Beth corners her twice and sets up... is that a Umaga hip charge? Interesting. Repeated delayed backbreakers set up an airplane spin and standing backbreaker. The crowd is eating this up. Glam Slam ends it, and Beth preens before the pinfall again. That's cute.
Drew McIntyre vs. Jimmy Wang Yang Drew has a new robe each week. And now he's growing the slimmest facial hair this side of Escobar. Yang poses in the corner, and Drew dumps him. He's hurt before the match, and this is the pattern that happened with R-Truth and Finlay. I hadn't see Yang wrestle in over a year. Drew gets the mic. Hide the missus! He demands the competition worthy of a future world heavyweight champion. Drew leaves the ring, but Yang crawls back in and demands the match start. He calls for Drew and meets him with chops. Drew returns with punches to set up the “double underhook Kobashi DDT,” as Striker calls it. St. Andrew's Cross. Just sayin'. It's right there. The pin is academic. Drew gives him a knee to the neck as a parting shot.
Backstage, Batista tells Josh he is here for one reason: to be the champion. Rey robbed him of that. And Matt Hardy should have stayed out of it. If it means he has to hurt anyone on SD to become champ, that's what he's gonna do.
Rey Mysterio vs. Mike Knox Rey shaved, and he looks better without the chin smudge. Striker shills Rey's new book, on sale Tuesday. Barnes and Noble have it on the shelves now. I saw a copy yesterday. Knox gets no inset monologue. Striker says he's a recluse who spends his time in a mountain cabin reading books on human anatomy. He clubs and kicks to begin. Rey scissors him into the ropes for the 619, and Knox rolls out to evade. Rey hops out after him. Knox avoids the senton from the apron and KNOX BLOCKS him at ringside. Rey is a ribbon. Boots follow, and Rey is rolled back in for two. He's shoved into the corner, and Knox drops a knee on the gut. Rey's in agony. More boots. There's a bearhug, and Knox hasn't learned any new moves lately.
Rey punches out and tricks Knox into crashing to the floor. A baseball slide keeps Knox reeling, but he sneaks back in for a beefy shoulder block. Jumping splash gets two. Abdominal stretch now. And it's turned into a pumphandle backbreaker. I take it back. That was good. Another two. Another stretch, and Rey won't quit. The pumphandle is applied again, but Rey reverses for a towering DDT. Rey punches and hits the wheelbarrow bulldog for two. A springboard senton puts Knox down again, but Rey runs into a kneeling clothesline. That gets two. Rey ducks a charge, and there's the 619. Springboard splash gets the pin. Nice match, guys! Rey gestures to the EG armband as he leaves the ring. The Eddie references helped get this feud started, but they don't need to rely on them.
Todd announces Morrison/Ziggler for the title next week.
CM Punk vs. R-Truth “It's clobbering time!” We see clips of Punk's win over Scott Armstrong last week, and then we see Scott is refereeing the match tonight. Punk gives him lip and that million-dollar smile. Todd says this is their very first meet-up. Truth corners him and eventually breaks clean, but Punk grouses at Armstrong for the delay. Truth shoulders him down and dances, and Punk goes back to the ref. Punk headlocks Truth down, and it's reversed to a headscissors. Striker namedrops Minor Threat to define “straight edge.” Punk turns the scissors into a reverse full nelson before getting cornered. He charges to take control. A headbutt seemingly does nothing to either man, and Punk runs into a hiptoss before getting clotheslined outside. A springboard dive looked bad as Truth lands headfirst on the floor. If they're outside the ring, we must go to ads.
Truth reverses a suplex when we come back. Punk comes back with a springboard clothesline to the back of the neck for one. Boots ensue. Punk blows a kiss to the camera before a snap suplex. He slaps on a bow-and-arrow. He releases and tries the knee/bulldog but crotches the turnbuckle. Truth comes back with slaps and clotheslines. Truth kicks Punk after some flip, flop, and fly. A weak corner splash does nothing, and Punk takes him down with a leg lariat. It only gets two, and he gives the ref the hairy eyeball. Scott stands his ground. Truth rolls him up, and a fast count gives Truth the win. Punk is in shock as winner and ref clear the ring.
Layla and women's champ Michelle McCool surround Mickie James backstage. Playground taunting has no effect on her. Mickie blows them off after promising to take back the belt after the PPV, and McCool promises to make her life a living hell. Layla may have found her calling as a comic sidekick.
We see Matt Hardy talk to Batista from last week and the resulting ambush. That match is soonish!
A RAW recap shows Khali. I'll take down the missing posters.
Josh stands with Matt Hardy backstage. Matt says he was wrong about Batista. He's changed, and Matt is gonna give him a reality check. He's here not to talk but to fight.
Matt Hardy vs. Batista Batista can't hide his smile, but he eschews the machine-gun pantomime in his entrance. Striker defends Batista's focus following his injuries. Grisham argues that Rey had the same focus to also win the title in the fatal fourway. Batista corners Hardy before clotheslining him down. Matt is shoved into the corner again. A back elbow gets two. Matt can't get momentum, but Batista does get a suplex for two. He chokes him in the ropes. He blocks a roll-up try by sitting on Hardy. In the corner again for the shoulder thrusts. He punches him now and sweeps him off the second rope as we go to ads.
Batista has a camel clutch when we come back. He shoves Hardy into the ropes to meet him with forearms. A standing slam gets two. The crowd is dead. Matt tries his floppy punches, and Batista takes him down with an ugly leg sweep. He hurls Hardy into the corner again. Now he uses a body scissors/sleeper combo. He's smiling while Hardy tries to fight out. They milk a weak chant for Matt. The hold is broken, and Matt gets a breather after a neckbreaker. FLOPPY PUNCHES! Hardy dropkicks the knee before going for a kneeling DDT. He drags Batista over for a moonsault, but Dave rolls away (kinda; Matt's head got his knees). Batista scoops him up. TWIST OF FATE! But Dave grabs the rope to stop the count. Hardy goes for it again, and Batista hits a spinebuster. He sends Matt out and into the railing. Now into the announce table. He clocks Matt with a monitor, and that draws the DQ loss. Matt goes into the steps. Back inside, Dave strips off his own elbow pads for the Bomb, but he shoves Matt down instead. The announcers try to package it as Dave denying the fans the big move. He celebrates on the ramp as we close.
Next week: Jericho vs. Undertaker one-on-one for the first time ever. EEEEEHHHHHHEVEER.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
That was Undertaker's wackiest promo in years. He was still speaking his quasi-formal spooky speech but he was swaggering around, not strictly in old school Deadman character. I liked his references to loving teaming with Kane and loving beating up Kane. Either way, he just loves that Kane.
CM Punk is getting scruffier by the week. He stopped shaving his chest and combined with the beard, it'd half expect birds to be nesting in his hair before long.
Beth Phoenix Saturday morning Wrestling Challenge SquashMania is fun. I guess they're keeping her busy with this and building her up gradually as a face the people enjoy watching annihilate no name Not Divas until Mickie's done with McCool.
Speaking of annihilation, I could watch Batista beat the crap out of Matt Hardy all night. I'm gonna do some Matt Hardy bashing now, so be warned: Matt's a shell of his former self. Fat, slow, slovenly-looking. It's been a few months since he over came his latest health crisis but he doesn't look any better for it. He's still a hell of a talented wrestler, but look at what he looked like five years ago as V1 and look at him now. He's only 33 or 34 and he looks like crap. Also his moonsault attempt on Batista was ugly.
On the other hand, the new Batista works for me.
So, uh, no Undertaker vs. Chris Jericho first time ever at WrestleMania, then.
Originally posted by John OrquiolaSpeaking of annihilation, I could watch Batista beat the crap out of Matt Hardy all night. I'm gonna do some Matt Hardy bashing now, so be warned: Matt's a shell of his former self. Fat, slow, slovenly-looking. It's been a few months since he over came his latest health crisis but he doesn't look any better for it. He's still a hell of a talented wrestler, but look at what he looked like five years ago as V1 and look at him now. He's only 33 or 34 and he looks like crap. Also his moonsault attempt on Batista was ugly.
It was an ugly match. Batista isn't setting me on fire in the ring. Here's the perfect opportunity to bring back the anklelock he used on JeriShow and put the hurt on somebody. I understand withholding the big power move to spite the fans, but it also reduces the threat to Rey. Rey cleanly pinned Knox. Batista had to cheat to put away Matt and still lost the match. He has no monster momentum a few weeks removed from the PPV.
Matt needs a makeover too. That hair does him no favors.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
Here's the thing - I'm a huge Matt Hardy fan. But even I have to admit he's something of a shell of his former self. Ever since his feud with Jeff wrapped (and, probably not coincidentally, ever since he suffered that abdominal injury) he just hasn't been the same. Even still, you get occasional glimpses of good stuff in his matches. It's just really sad when you remember that just a year or so ago, he was consistently having the best match of the week every week.
Also, I'll agree with everyone else - his new look is not helping him. He either needs to go back to his old look, or do a complete make-over on his appearance.
I also enjoyed his use of the phrase "Vulgar Display of Power" in reference to Beth Phoenix. It must be more like Hall & Oates, Morrissey, Notorious B.I.G, Pantera and sensible slacks for Striker. Nice mix.
Matt is a physical wreck, it's kind of unsettling to look at. And it was just this time last year when he was having his most singles success regularly having good long ECW title matches against a variety of dudes. I'm not sure whether the heel turn, the injuries, Jeff's arrest, or Matt being annoying has derailed him the most, but it's not fun to watch. At least he got to beat Esssscobar, even if it was just to give him some steam going into the Batista match.
As for the hair, I don't know. He's getting pretty bald in the front now so it looks rather bad, but I guess I can understand wanting to cling to the teenager Hardy look for as long as possible, Rock'n'Roll Express style.
I know Undertaker and Jericho probably won't be putting on a PPV quality match or a finish, but it's still kind of annoying when the PPV teaser main event is a more intriguing match than the PPV match itself.
Shouldn`t the Taker feud with the Show upon his return, since he`s the one that dropped him off the stage? Then he can move onto Albert later on..maybe for his traditional WM victory? What thrilling matches await us in 2003!