The Quick and Dirty for WWE SmackDown 1.23.09 from Omaha, Nebraska.
* Note: I'm lazy and so I didn't time the matches, instead choosing to use our very own geemoney's match timings from his review over at The Torch (pwtorch.com).
- The show opened with a recap of Jeff getting blown up. I think this only proves that Bill Goldberg > Jeff Hardy. Tazz confirms that someone tampered with the pyro, and that Jeff is ok and will give an exclusive interview tonight.
- Edge comes down to reiterate his innocence. He says he doesn't need such attacks on Jeff to beat him. He says he admires Jeff's ability to come back, but Jeff's made the biggest mistake of his life and will pay for it with his WWE Title. After a bit, Matt Hardy runs down to attack him and chase him through the crowd.
Match 1: The Undertaker over Shelton Benjamin via Gogoplate (Devil's/Hell's Gate) in 9:19. A nice back-and-forth between these guys that was about par with the match from two weeks ago. And while I wouldn't have minded a Shelton victory, they did a good job of keeping it even and making Shelton look credible.
- Chavo Guerrero is in the ring with a mic to refute Trips' claims that he's a gopher. Chavo claims to be a go-getter, a Guerrero, and promises to take care of Khali for attempting to embarrass his family. That leads to...
Match 2: The Great Khali over Chavo Guerrero via Punjabi Plunge in 1:50. Total squash, which is best when Khali is involved.
- Backstage, Edge demands more security so nutjobs like Matt Hardy can't hurt him. Vickie puts them in a no-DQ match instead. Edge thinks Vickie's messing with him because she believes that he's the one behind the attacks on Jeff, but Vickie simply wants him to "man up." Talk about tough love.
- Maryse comes down to join commentary, leading to...
Match 3: Michelle McCool and Nattie Neidhart over The Bella Twins via DQ when Maria attacked McCool in 0:48. Wow, under a minute. But it stops the Bellas from competing in the ring, so I'm all for it. Maryse notes on commentary that she's all up for a rematch against McCool. Heel/Heel? I'm not too sure. Michelle crushed Maria's head into the guardrail to end that little catfight. Michelle's beatdowns are pretty ok, actually.
- The sit-down with Jeff Hardy is rather predictable, with Hardy playing the plucky underdog screwup card, saying that nothing can stop him from living his dream. He's rather poetic if you pay attention to him. He promises to beat Edge at the Rumble. Decent enough promo to hype that feud, which I felt was forgotten on last week's show.
- Vladimir Kozlov trains! And breaks some wooden boards with his head!
No-DQ: Edge over Matt Hardy via Gutwrench Powerbomb (Swagger), World's Strongest Slam (Henry), and Spear (Edge) in 6:23. While it lasted, it was a pretty intense, quick-paced match between these guys. I'm not a big fan of the finish, but it works here, serving not to bury Matt Hardy in the loss.
- We hit the Vault to get the John Cena portion of Royal Rumble 2008. Pretty fun when I was watching it live.
Non-Title: The Miz and John Morrison over The Colons when Miz rolled up Carlito in 12:46. This got hot towards the end, and the Colons looked strong in the loss. It's sad that neither of these teams has anything to do at the moment.
- We get McMahon getting his head punted (would've been more awesome if Steph had taken an RKO or a Codebreaker), and a Royal Rumble preview.
Match 6: Vladimir Kozlov v Triple H: As soon as Trips gets an advantage, Vickie comes out (to more heat than every other heel on this show combined) to turn this into... Handicap Match: The Big Show and Vladimir Kozlov over Triple H when Kozlov pinned H after the Uranage in 13:48. Couldn't the same thing be achieved by giving Kozlov the win by interference? In any case, this was what you would expect, slow and plodding. I kept hoping for MVP to come in and save Trips, but no go.
- End Show.
Wrestling Counter: 45 minutes.
** A good go-home show for the Rumble, with the correct amount of focus on the Title match. It still continues to be, more or less, the Triple-H Show, but that is to be expected. What counts is that they put matches in the undercard that make me care, and with proper focus on the proper elements heading into a big PPV, this was a good show.
Forfeit the game, before somebody else takes you outta the game, and puts your name to shame Cover up your face, you can't run the race The pace is too fast, you just won't last - "Points Of Authority" - Linkin Park
And tomorrow night on SmackDown!, ladies and gentlemen, Bradshaw wins the WWE Tag Team Title despite the fact that his partner turned on him halfway through the match. The following week, he introduces his new tag-team partner, Mrs. Guerrero.