Dark Match, WWE Smackdown! *Spoilers* (11/14/06) - Manchester, England

Credit: wrestlingobserver.com

Dark Match:

(A) Funaki pinned K.C. James after a crossbody block. Decent opener. Crowd hated James and booed him unmercifully. There was actually a Funaki chant. Fun opener.

JBL and Michael Cole made their entrance to JBL’s theme music. Huge babyface pop for JBL, and a lot of JBL chants, not just upon his entrance, but throughout the night, during breaks in the taping. At one point the chants were so loud, JBL stood up and waved to the crowd.

The Miz and an extremely reluctant Krystal Marshall made their way to the ring before the show open aired. Friday’s Smackdown show will open with Boogeyman’s ring entrance.

(1) The Boogeyman went to a no-contest with The Miz & Krystal Marshall in a handicap match. Horrible and short. Miz and Boogeyman had a brief brawl (I use the word ‘brawl’ loosely here) and Miz bailed. Krystal attempted to jump on Boogeyman’s back, he shook her off, and she ‘twisted her ankle’. Boogeyman then dragged her into centre ring, pulled out live worms and dribbled them on her. Then he spat in her face a second time. Miz stood in the aisleway, looking distressed. Boogeyman’s music played and he made his exit. Krystal freaked out big time in the ring, and Miz dragged her by the arms all the way to the back. This was REAL bad, to the point even the young kids in the audience were looking at each going, ‘What was that?’

King Booker and Queen Sharmell were backstage with Finlay, discussing strategy for their match with Batista and Bobby Lashley later in the evening. Finlay told a cocky Booker to focus on the match.

A Rey Mysterio medical update video aired, straight from the operating room. Footage aired of him having surgery. This was unfortunately a bit campy, as he had his mask on whilst lying on the hospital bed, and conferring with doctors over an x-ray of his knee. It was an attempt to put it over as a major deal, but due to the mask being worn, it was a little hard to take seriously. They should have just digitised his face.

(2) Chris Benoit defeated Tatanka via the sharpshooter. Decent match. Tatanka has changed his face paint to just a thin black band of paint across his eyes, so he now unintentionally looks like the Lone Ranger. Or maybe Repo Man, one of the two. Tatanka took control early, but Benoit recovered to hit the three German suplexes and place him in the sharpshooter for the win. After the match, Chavo Guerrero ran in (no Vicki Guerrero on this show) and destroyed Benoit’s knee with a chairshot. Major crowd heat for that. Benoit was helped to the back by two referees.

Leyla came out to kill some time. Even though she’s British, due to her lack of British accent (kind of an American twang to it) she wasn’t given the big ‘Welcome home’ cheer that perhaps WWE was likely expecting. The camera panned the crowd showing various fans signs, which she read out.

Teddy Long was shown talking to Kane about his upcoming match MVP. Long actually managed to mess up MVP’s initials and stuttered a little. They may re-do that before it airs. A Mr Kennedy-Undertaker recap video aired.

Mr Kennedy did a long promo backstage, explaining how he was the saviour of both sports entertainment and the WWE, and that at Survivor Series, he’d be ending Undertaker’s career. Good promo, although some in the crowd were chanting ‘boring’ and ‘what’ towards the end.

(3) William Regal defeated Paul London (with Ashley at ringside) in easily the best match of the night. This is not my British bias showing through, this really was a very good match that should play well on tv. These two worked extremely well together and Regal put on a real clinic. He was clearly motivated and on his game tonight. Surprisingly the crowd was split early (probably due to the high number of young kids who like London) but as the match wore on, they were far more in favour of Regal. Key moment in the match saw Regal throw London over the top rope, and he accidentally landed on Ashley, who sold the bump big time. Regal didn’t really play heel during this match, and received a big crowd pop for his win. After the match, Brian Kendrick ran out and consoled both London and Ashley.

Teddy Long met with Bobby Lashley backstage. It’s official that Lashley is switching full time to ECW, and Long gave him his blessing, saying he can return to Smackdown anytime he likes, as the door is open. Lashley said he wanted to be ECW Champion, and thanked Long for the opportunity. This was one of those nice, feel good Teddy Long segments. From a logical point of view, why did Long bust a gut to sign someone like MVP, and refused to let Mr Kennedy go to Raw, but he’s just allowing someone like Lashley to leave Smackdown for ECW, without putting up a fight? It doesn’t make sense.

Speaking of things not making sense, a truly bizarre segment happened next. I’m 99.9% certain this won’t air on tv. Michael Cole addressed the crowd from the ring. Of course he was booed at first. He announced he’d watched a soccer game on tv on Sunday afternoon and didn’t understand any of the fans’ chants. So he asked if there were any soccer fans in the crowd who could explain to him some of the chants he heard. They picked out three guys from the crowd, all wearing soccer shirts, and they got into the ring. Cole then asked each of them which team they followed. Two of the three said Manchester United (huge boos as expected) and the third guy said Liverpool (United’s big rivals, again loud boos as it was a crowd from all over England). Cole then asked each fan to sing a football chant of their choice, which they did. Then the segment ended and everyone left the ring. If I had a pound for every time I heard ‘What was the point of that? from the people sitting near me, I’d be a very rich man.

Speaking of very rich men, MVP did a promo backstage, declaring how he was going to beat Kane in the streetfight tonight, and was then flying back to the U.S. on a corporate jet, to have breakfast with the American billionaire owner of Manchester United soccer club, Malcolm Glazier (loud boos).

(4) MVP defeated Kane in a Streetfight match, after Mr Kennedy interfered. This was a decent match, saved by the gimmicks and shortcuts used. They brawled all around ringside and up the ramp. The highlight of the match was MVP throwing Kane inside the telephone booth and closing the door on him, but Kane then punched straight through a (gimmicked) glass panel and nailed MVP. He then threw MVP inside the booth and tipped it on its side. MVP was busted open. They made their way back to the ring, and MVP recovered to get some offence in on Kane. The crowd was noticeably dead when MVP was on the offensive. Kane made a comeback and brought ringsteps into the ring. Kennedy then ran in and teamed with MVP to nail Kane in the head with the steps. MVP then picked up the pinfall win. Kennedy & MVP beat up Kane after the match, only for Undertaker’s music to start up (huge crowd pop, second best of the night) and Taker ran to the ring. Kennedy bailed, and Taker and Kane double chokeslammed MVP.

After the match, MVP lay in the ring and complained on the mic about how he was busted open, wanted immediate medical attention, wanted a nurse, a doctor, a plastic surgeon…. Basically he complained a lot. As he made his exit, Tony Chimel announced, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, show your appreciation for MVP’ and of course everyone booed.

Michelle McCool then came out to kill more time, and did a ‘Kiss Cam’ segment. She’s no Maria. Why on earth she was acting like a face too, when she’s been a heel manager for the past couple of months is another of those Smackdown logic gaps.

(5) Matt Hardy defeated Gregory Helms with the Twist of Fate in their 1,287,657th match. Decent action, but the same match they always have.

Teddy Long met with MVP backstage and informed him he’d be facing Kane in a Steel Cage match on next week’s Smackdown.

Batista met King Booker and Queen Sharmell backstage. Booker did his usual overblown regal schtick, and Batista was short and blunt, telling him he’s be ‘beating him up and taking his title’ at Survivor Series.

They pulled what I presume was a ‘hilarious’ rib on Tony Chimel, by having Big Dick Johnson come out and do his almost-naked stripper dance routine. They then invited fans into the ring to dance with Johnson. Nine males (all appearing to be over 18) and one female climbed into the ring to dance with him. One of the male fans grossed everyone out by rubbing Johnson’s nipples from behind. I really didn’t need to see this.

(6) Batista & Bobby Lashley defeated King Booker & Fit Finlay in the main event. Decent match. Batista was over huge and got the best crowd pop of the night. There was a cool spot where both Batista and Lashley teamed up to do a standing vertical suplex on Finlay, and as they both held Finlay upside down and in the air with one hand, they waved to the crowd with big cheesy grins on their faces with the other. Finlay and Booker worked over Lashley, including Little Bastard under the ring making an appearance, striking Lashley on the leg, before Lashley made his own comeback and hot-tagged Batista. Finish came when Batista hit Booker with a spinebuster to pick up the win.

After the show, Batista milked the crowd’s cheers. An angry Finlay hit both Tony Chimel and Michael Cole over the head with his shillelagh, with Cole taking a bump at the announce desk and staying down for a while. Batista chased Little Bastard to the back and did several curtain calls with the crowd cheering him on. End of show.

This was a okay show overall, and Smackdown was decent enough. Nobody went home too disappointed, but nothing spectacular occurred, and it was a definite step below ECW, and maybe even Raw this week. Last night’s tapings felt far more ‘big time’ and major. Tonight’s Smackdown taping seemed less newsworthy than ever before, due to the lack of real star power, and maybe even angles, and felt a lot like a house show at times. The time killing aspects such as Leyla, McCool, Cole, and Big Dick Johnson appeared to bemuse the crowd rather than cause them to pop or be excited. I think WWE needs to rethink what ‘extras’ they give the crowd at these tapings.