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August 7, 2009
â€“ Adam Russell
Smackdown has built up a reputation in the last few months for giving us matches of genuine pay-per-view quality, for free. Last week we
got a lengthy World Heavyweight Championship match between Jeff Hardy and John Morrison, and this week we were promised another
championship match between Hardy and former champ, CM Punk. I'm not sure how wise this practise is from a business standpoint
(does it whet the appetite for more, or convince people they don't need to part with their cash to see the big matches?), but from a
wrestling standpoint, you won't hear me complaining.
This week's show started with a recap of the overrated Hardy/Morrison match from last week, before CM Punk came out for his shot at the
belt. Of course, starting the show with the main event guarantees something screwy is about to go down.
Punk got on the mic, one week after his vicious beatdown of Hardy, and said that he tried to empathise with the weaknesses of the fans,
and implored them to just say no, but they just ended up loving Hardy even more. That, he continued, won't deter him from trying to teach
them right from wrong. He said it will be a challenge, but he has overcome every challenge he's ever faced, and that led to the video of
last week's attack on the champion. He then told the fans that they love Hardy because they are just like him, lacking the strength to be
straight-edge. He said he still believes the fans deserve better, but they need a strong leader to carry the World Heavyweight
Championship with honour, dignity and class.
That led to the introduction of Hardy. Punk tried to get a jump on the champion as he climbed into the ring, but Hardy turned the tables,
mounting him with punches until a stream of officials, including Teddy Long, came out to separate them. Vince McMahon's music then
hit, and the chairman came out to say that since Long can't control anything, he will find someone who will, announcing that they
championship match would take place later in the night (yep), with a special guest enforcer.
--- John Morrison Vs Tyson Kidd
This was a rematch from last week's Superstars, and featured DH Smith and Natalya at ringside. After some trading of holds, Kidd used
a kick to gain the advantage, and slammed Morrison's head into the corner. He sent him to the ropes, but Morrison came back with a
dropkick for a two count and then, after pulling Kidd from the ropes into the middle of the ring, hit his breakdance legdrop for another two.
He then hit the ropes, but Kidd sidestepped him and threw him over the top to the outside, where Morrison was nailed from behind by
Natalya after eyeballing Smith. Smith then got in a shot of his own for good measure, and Kidd hit a baseball slide which sent Morrison
into the security. Back in the ring, Kidd picked up a two count, as we went to break at 3'05. We returned 6'20 in with Morrison in a facelock.
Kidd then hit a kneedrop for a two count, and then reapplied the hold, until Morrison elbowed his way out. He backed Kidd into the corner,
and the two exchanged punches and kicks, with Morrison using a legsweep to win the duel. He then hit a pair of clotheslines, a leg lariat,
and a standing shooting star press for a two count, before sending Kidd into the corner. Morrison followed in, but ate an elbow, before
Tyson reversed a roll up into an armbar submission. He broke the hold to choke Morrison in the ropes, and then hit a slingshot legdrop
onto the apron, and then a springboard blockbuster back into the ring for a two count. Morrison back body dropped Kidd onto the apron,
and when Kidd tried to sunset flip his way back in, Morrison rolled through, only for Kidd to duck his running knee attempt- the same
move that led to his downfall on Superstars. Morrison did connect, however, with a sit-out powerbomb, but Kidd blocked the Moonlight
Drive and sent Morrison through the ropes onto the apron. Morrison slipped back in between Kidd's legs, and hit the flying chuck, which
he followed up with the Starship Pain, landing right on Kidd's face, and picked up the victory after 11'34 of good action. The landing on the
finishing move looked very painful for Kidd, and Morrison's face betrayed concern for his opponent after the bell, though he looked to be
Next, it was time for another fun-packed edition of Word Up. The word this week was 'pretenda', which means pretty much the same thing
as pretender. Cryme Tyme called their Summerslam opponents, The Big Show and Chris Jericho, pretendas, before Jesse made his
regular appearance, and told them that he was having a match tonight, which was actually up next.
--- Charlie Haas Vs Slam Master J
Being billed from the ATL, and sporting cornrows, Jesse, or Slam Master J, was debuting his new character in the ring. Haas tried to
wrestle him in the early going, then sent him to the ropes and tried a hiptoss. J blocked the move and delivered a punch before running
into a belly to belly suplex, as we saw Cryme Tyme watching in the back. Haas next locked on a cobra clutch, dropping SMJ across his
knee, and then applied a surfboard of the arms. J fought back with a flying forearm, an inverted atomic drop, and a clothesline, before
going to the top rope. Haas forearmed him and climbed up with him, but J blocked his superplex attempt and sent him to the mat,
following up with a big splash to pick up the victory after 2'37. The crowd were absolutely dead for this match, to the point that Todd
Grisham had to make mention of it. An inauspicious start for the Slam Master and personally I think they should have built the character
up more with the Word Up segments, or even had him do a couple of run-ins on Cryme Tyme's behalf. I like Jesse and hope he
Rey Mysterio came out next to provide commentary for a fatal fourway match which would decide who he would defend his
Intercontinental championship against at Summerslam.
--- Fatal Fourway Match- R-Truth Vs Finlay Vs Mike Knox Vs Dolph Ziggler
As usual with these matches, it wasn't always hard to follow with four men going at it at one time. We started with all four guys
exchanging punches, with Truth paired up with Knox, and Finlay with Dolph. Truth hit the ropes and delivered a kick to Knox, which sent
the big man bouncing off the ropes. Truth ducked his charge, and Dolph ate a cross body block. Knox then double clotheslined Finlay
and Truth to take us to commercial only 40 seconds in. We came back 3 and a half minutes later to see Knox splashing Truth in the
corner, but then running into a pair of boots from Finlay. Finlay took him down with a clothesline, and then hit a senton, before Dolph
dropkicked the Irishman out of the ring, and Truth heel kicked Dolph and low-bridged Knox to the outside. He followed up with a rolling
plancha on Knox, as the focus shifted to Finlay and Ziggler in the ring. Finlay hit an inverted backbreaker on Dolph, and went for a cover,
but Knox broke the count and clotheslined Finlay, before Truth came off the top with a high cross body block on the big man, causing
Dolph to break up the pinfall attempt. Dolph hit a duel DDT on Finlay and R-Truth, picking up a two on the latter, and Knox legdropped him
as he attempted a pin on Finlay. Dolph grabbed a headlock on Knox, who sent him to the ropes, and the two collided, while Finlay Regal
Rolled Truth. He went for a cover, but Knox broke it with a splash intended for Finlay. Finlay moved and Truth caught the impact, and then
Finlay dropkicked Knox. Ziggler re-entered the fray at this point, but was sent into the corner by Finlay, who followed up with a shoulder to
the midsection, and then picked Dolph up for the Celtic Cross. Before the move could be delivered, Knox connected with a pump kick,
sending both men down, and then Truth hit the Lie Detector on Knox, forcing Ziggler to break up another pinfall attempt. Knox back body
dropped Truth to the outside, and Finlay hit Knox with the shillelagh, and with those two out of the picture, Dolph caught Finlay with the
Trid Yap (when are WWE going to give this move a name) to pick up the victory at 7'55. The match was nowhere near long enough to tell
any kind of story, or be anything more than a series of spot-pinfall break-repeat. The result was predictable, but undoubtedly the right one.
After the match, Ziggler got in Rey's face, but then backed off when Rey got up from the commentary position. This allowed Finlay to grab
at Dolph from in the ring and, while Dolph got free of the Irishman's grip, he didn't see the seated senton from the announce table
We cut to the back, where Melina was expressing concern to her 'closest friend' Maria about her relationship with Ziggler. Maria said that
he is a different guy away from the ring, and Melina said that she is happy for her. Pointless.
--- Chris Jericho Vs JTG
Both men were accompanied by their respective partners for this match, which meant that Jericho came out to that horrible new music. It
was he who got the early advantage, applying a headlock to JTG, and then coming off the ropes with a shoulderblock, before JTG got in a
spur of offence with a flying elbow, and a jumping legdrop for a two count. Jericho turned the tables by firing in a cheapshot as JTG was
talking to the referee, and threw his opponent out of the ring where the Big Show got involved with a punch to the gut. Jericho went to the
outside and slammed JTG's head into the announce table and then, back in the ring, applied an abdominal stretch. JTG countered with a
hiptoss, and went for a splash, but Jericho got his knees up, and then went back to the abdominal stretch. JTG punched his way free
and, after Jericho sent him to the ropes, connected with a flying shoulderblock, before running into a big boot. Jericho looked to put JTG
away with a bulldog, but JTG sent him into the corner, and then hit a facebuster off the ropes for a two count. He then hit a neckbreaker for
another two count, before Jericho countered a jumping leg lariat by going for the Walls of Jericho. When he couldn't turn JTG over he
slingshot him to the corner, but JTG landed on the turnbuckle and came off with a flying leg for a two count, before Jericho hit the
Codebreaker out of nowhere. The impact of the move sent JTG into the ropes and, as Jericho pulled him into the middle of the ring, JTG
small packaged him to pick up the huge upset at 6'33. The match was okay, establishing the roles for the tag team championship match
at Summerslam- Big Show and Jericho being clearly the more dominant and accomplished team, but Cryme Tyme refusing to quit. It
would be nice if JTG added some actual wrestling moves to his repertoir though.
--- The Great Khali Vs Ricky Ortiz
The weekly Khali squash was next, and this was all over in half a minute, as Ortiz ran into the head chop, and then fell victim to the
Punjabi Plunge. After the match, Kane came in from behind Khali and knocked him over the top rope, then turning his attention to Ranjin
Singh. Singh tried to run away, but Kane caught him, stomped him in the chest, and then dragged him away through the crowd. Kane Vs
Khali for Summerslam looks a given.
It was now time for the main event, and first to be announced was the special guest enforcer, revealed to be Matt Hardy, which Ross and
Grisham sold as the biggest shocker in wrestling history. What was more shocking was that Matt's face looked like Seinfeld's Kramer
when he shaved with butter and then stayed out in the sun for too long.
--- World Heavyweight Championship Match- Jeff Hardy (champion) Vs CM Punk
CM Punk got the early advantage with a kneelift and a kick, but Hardy came back with a kick, an inverted atomic drop, legdrop to the groin
and a low dropkick for a two count. He then went for an early Twist of Fate, which Punk blocked, so clotheslined him over the top rope
instead. Jeff climbed onto the apron, but Punk pulled him down to the floor, which was the cue for the break at 1'46. We returned at 5'08
with Punk in control, hitting a trio of knees to the midsection, and then locking on an abdominal stretch. He transitioned into a pinfall
attempt for a two count, and then sent Hardy hard into the corner. He tried the same move again, but Hardy floated over, ducked a
clothesline, and hit Whisper in the Wind, picking up a two count after selling his injuries. An exchange of punches then commenced,
which Hardy ended by hitting an inside enziguri, and then the corner-assisted dropkick for a nearfall. Hardy went up to the top rope, but
Punk joined him, and took him down with a superplex, which got him a two count, and he followed up with a series of strikes to the face,
before attempting the Go To Sleep. Hardy wriggled out of the attempt, and went for a Twist of Fate, but Punk countered into a roll-up for a
two count, with Hardy's kickout sending the challenger to the floor. Jeff levelled Punk with a rolling plancha and rolled him back into the
ring, before getting into Matt's succulent face. This gave Punk the opportunity to hit a baseball slide, but Jeff moved, giving Matt the blow.
Jeff threw Punk back into the ring where he hit a Twist of Fate and went up top for the Swanton Bomb. Punk, though, managed to get his
knees up and followed up with the cover. Before the referee could count to three, Matt pulled him out of the ring and climbed in, causing
Punk to confront the older Hardy. This gave Jeff the chance to roll Punk up and Matt made the three count before leaving the ring and
walking up the aisle to the back. Punk, furious with the turn of events, chased after Matt, but then decided to head back to the ring where
he threw Jeff to the outside and slammed his head into the announce table repeatedly. He continued the attack with a chairshot to the
back, and then wrapped the chair around Jeff's throat and slammed him into the steel ringpost. Referees and EMTs made their way
down to check on Hardy, and Punk hilariously made them walk the long way around the ring to get to him. Teddy Long then came out,
and Punk demanded a rematch. Long granted him the rematch at Summerslam, with the added caveat that it would be a Tables,
Ladders and Chairs match.
And that wrapped up another strong Smackdown show, with Punk showing some great touches as a heel. We got the upcoming pay-per-
view main event for free, but I for one am not close to being bored with the Jeff Hardy/CM Punk feud yet, and the inclusion of Matt Hardy in
the main event adds another interesting dimension. Smackdown is still the show to watch for wrestling, and good storytelling.
MVP of the night- After a break of three weeks, Punk returns to pick up the award- a strong promo, a good match showing, and some
really classic heel work at the end.