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September 18, 2009
– Adam Russell

The Anomaly

Smackdown hasn’t been all amazing matches and top notch rivalries since the draft shortly after Wrestlemania, but it sure feels like
it sometimes. There’s no doubt that the show has been on an incredible roll, and I’m hopeful that that will continue. That’s
why I’m happy to write off this week’s episode as an anomaly, rather than the start of a downward trend. For the first time in a
long, long time, Smackdown was not a particularly good show.

We started off with Teddy Long arriving in a limousine, and surrounding himself with security, looking worried in the wake of his screwing
of the Undertaker at Breaking Point.

After the opening credits, the newest member of the Smackdown roster, Batista, made his way out, and explained that he chose to sign
to Smackdown after his Raw contract expired. Before he could say much more, Chris Jericho came out and said that Batista makes him
sick by pandering to the WWE Hypocrites. He told Batista that he is the true face of Smackdown, and that a lot has changed since Batista
has been off the show, with him now being the man. Batista responded that he was always told that to be the man, you have to beat the
man, and tonight the two of them have a match against one another. He then downed Jericho with a spinebuster to bring the segment to
a close. This was a decent opening to the show, setting up the main event of the evening. Batista and Jericho both performed well.

In the back, Jericho confronted his tag team partner, The Big Show, asking him why he didn’t come to his aid. Show responded that
he told him he wanted to do it alone.

We were told that there was going to be an interview with Scott Armstrong, the referee at the centre of the Breaking Point screwjob, before
it was time for our first match, which featured Dolph Ziggler on commentary.

--- John Morrison Vs Mike Knox

Morrison took control of the head of Knox early on, but was sent to the ropes and received a big shoulderblock from Knox which sent him
to the mat. Knox then beat Morrison down with punches and kicks, before Morrison hit back with an overhead kick, then low-bridged the
big man to the outside and followed up with a springboard moonsault. That took us to the break at 1’21, and we returned at 4’02
with Morrison in a chinlock. Morrison worked up to his feet, but Knox sent him to the ropes and hit him with a pump kick to the back of the
head. This earned him a two count, and he picked up another nearfall with a splash to the back of the Intercontinental Champion. He
gave Morrison a backbreaker and held him over his knee, putting pressure on the back and, when Morrison tried to fight out, Knox gave
him another backbeaker. Knox went to the well once too often though as, trying another backbreaker, Morrison countered into an around-
the-world DDT. He then hit a leg lariat and a running knee, followed by a standing shooting star press for a two count. He went for the
Moonlight Drive next, but Knox pushed him off and hit him with a cross body block. Knox then went for Hard Knox, but Morrison countered
by pushing Knox into the corner, then hitting the flying chuck and Starship Pain for the win at 7’54. After the match, Morrison told
Dolph that he knows he’s trying to make a name for himself, but the only name people will be chanting is Mr Ziggles. As with last
week, the ensuing chant was half-hearted at best.

The match was okay, but it could have done with five or so extra minutes, and really, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t have got
them. I’m not keen on Knox doing the clean job to Morrison here, but there’s only so many people on the roster for Morrison to
face, and we’ve seen him beat Charlie Haas a number of times in the recent past. The feud with Ziggler should be entertaining, but I
have a feeling all the entertainment will come in the ring, rather than on the mic.

We next cut to Josh Matthews, who was being joined by Scott Armstrong. Josh asked Scott why he did what he did at Breaking Point, ,
and Scott said that he’s asked himself that question many times. He explained that if you don’t run the business, you answer to
someone who does, and he answers to someone in a much higher position than him. He continued that he knew what he did was
wrong, and it made him sick to his stomach, but at the end of the day he did what he had to do to keep his job.

--- Melina Vs Michelle McCool

Michelle, who was still selling the leg injury that had kept her out of action for the last month, spent the early part of the match trying to
avoid Melina, eventually suckering her in, and mounting her with punches. She locked on a dragon sleeper, which Melina kicked her way
out of, but Michelle kept the advantage with a kneedrop. The tables turned when Melina dodged a baseball slide, which sent McCool to
the outside, and then Melina jumped of the apron onto her opponent with a pair of knees. Back in the ring, Melina drop toe holded McCool
against the ropes, hit a pair of jumping knees to the back, and then scored with a face jam for a two count. Michelle regained control with
a big boot for a two count, but Melina countered the Faithbreaker into the Paparazzi Destroyer to pick up the win after 4’18 of decent

In the back, Teddy Long was telling his security to watch his back, when Vince McMahon entered and sent the security away. Vince
praised Long for bringing Batista to Smackdown, which I guess was the announcement Long teased last week that was going to change
the face of the show. He also seemed impressed with what Long did at Breaking Point, but asked him why he did it. Long insinuated that
it was because of McMahon’s urging him on, but Vince said that he only asked him to entertain. He told Long that he owes him and
the WWE Hypocrites an answer, so Long made his way to the ring to do just that.

Long, who came out with his bevy of security guards, started by welcoming back Batista, and then admitted that what happened at
Breaking Point was premeditated to prevent The Undertaker from winning the world heavyweight championship. He went on that he isnâ
€™t proud of what he did, and that he is afraid of the Undertaker, but made sure to remind everyone of Scott Armstrong and CM Punkâ
€™s complicity. He said the reason he did it is because he can’t afford to lose his job because he’s too old to learn something
new, and then apologised to the fans and the Undertaker, saying that he hopes the Dead Man can find it in his heart to forgive him.

Long then left to the back, and climbed into his limousine, where a camera was conveniently set up. Predictably, The Undertaker was in
the driver’s seat, and he turned to the camera to say ‘buckle up, Teddy’, reminiscent of some campy comedy. The car then
filled with smoke as Long desperately tried to get out, only for the Undertaker to drive away.

This was probably the worst thing I have seen on a wrestling programme since the Triple H/Randy Orton home invasion angle, and itâ
€™s made worse by the fact that it occurs on Smackdown, a show which has largely foregone this kind of cornball skit. This is the kind of
thing that makes me embarrassed to be a wrestling fan, and makes it really hard for me to get behind anything the Undertaker does. I
am hoping that this isn’t the start of a heel Teddy Long vs. Undertaker storyline, which would just be a rehash of the Vickie Guerrero
vs. Undertaker storyline from last year. No thanks.

CM Punk came out next, and started by saying ‘I told you so’, and that he seems to get the chance to say that a lot. He didn’t
come out to brag though, he said, but rather to call out The Undertaker, who is conveniently not there. In lieu of the Dead Man, he said that
he wanted to address the people, and then went into a diatribe hitting his usual bullet points of the fans all being inebriated zombies, and
smoking and drinking being bad, m’kay? You may gather that I wasn’t a fan of this promo, and it’s about the first thing CM
Punk has done in months that I haven’t been a fan of. To me this just came across as long and boring, and unlike previous work,
there was no point to it. I understand the need to have your big stars as visible entities, but Raw did a much better job of this on Monday
with John Cena’s brief backstage interview segment. I’m happy Punk is in a position to get TV time when he doesn’t really
have anything to do or say, but this promo just didn’t hit the mark with me.

--- Cryme Tyme (w/ Eve Torres) Vs The Hart Dynasty (w/ Natalya)

These two teams are approaching double figures now in terms of television matches in the last few months, and really, with the lack of
other tag teams for them to compete against, we could be in line for more. David Hart Smith and Shad started the match, with Shad
controlling the head, and then hitting a shoulderblock as he was fired against the ropes. Smith came back with a kneelift, and then sent
Shad’s head to the corner. Shad hit back with a big clothesline, and then a back suplex into a front slam, before JTG tagged in. Shad
threw JTG onto Smith, and then JTG dropkicked Smith out of the ring, with Shad following up by press slamming Tyson Kidd to the
outside, as we went to commercial at 2’02. We came back at 5’54, with Kidd in control of Shad, and tagging out to Smith. Smith
clotheslined Shad for a one count, and then applied a facelock. Shad worked up to his feet, but Smith took him back down with a knee,
and then tagged in Kidd. Kidd hit a low dropkick and an elbowdrop, and then went back to the facelock, tagging in Smith before Shad
could break the hold. Smith hit a Curt Hennig-esque neck snap on Shad for a two count, and then applied a half nelson chinlock. Shad
fought out and knocked Smith down with a big boot, but Smith prevented the tag and himself tagged out to Kidd. Kidd whipped Shad into
the corner and then applied a side headlock, but Shad sent him to the ropes and downed him with a clothesline. Shad made the tag to
JTG, and JTG lit up on Kidd with his usual poor offence, topped off with a leg lariat off the second rope for a two count. JTG drove Kidd
down to the mat with another crappy move, bringing Smith in to break the pinning attempt. Shad came in, but Smith threw him out the ring
and, as Natalya caused a distraction by climbing onto the apron, Smith hit JTG with a big boot, giving Kidd the opening to hit what I can
only describe as a snap mare into a slam and pick up the victory at 11’49. This was a fairly decent match, with nothing to really make
it stand out. The right team won at least, but there doesn’t seem to be really anywhere for them to go at the moment.

In the back, Melina entered the dressing room to find the walls covered in pictures of Michelle McCool and Dolph Ziggler, after McCool
and Layla’s set-up the previous week. Not only was the whole plan illogical, as we must then believe that Maria doesn’t have the
ability to watch the video footage of the set-up taking place, but even in the picture it is obvious that Dolph wants no part of McCool.
Anyway, Melina set about taking the pictures down, only for Maria to walk in and blame Melina for putting them up. For some reason
Melina didn’t think to actually tell Maria that she wasn’t responsible, and Maria said that she is done with Melina. I’m done
with any angle that involves these two women ‘acting’.

--- The Great Khali (w/ Ranjin Singh) Vs Kane

A rematch from Breaking Point next, and Khali started with punches, kicks, a slap to the chest and a big boot. Kane ducked to the outside,
and Khali followed, only to walk into a thrust, which Kane followed up with a chair shot to the head, bringing about the disqualification
after just 45 seconds. Kane then sandwiched Khali’s leg between the steel steps, and repeatedly beat down on the limb with the top
part of the steps. The attack looked really bad. During the commercial break, Khali was stretchered to the back.

We got a recap of the R-Truth/Drew McIntyre situation next, before it was time for R-Truth in action.

--- Charlie Haas Vs R-Truth

Haas was waiting in the ring, but it was Drew McIntyre who came out, and explained that Truth was involved in an accident in the back. He
said that that makes Haas the winner by forfeit, and offered his hand to Charlie. Haas shook his hand, but before he could leave he was
hit by a double arm DDT and left lying. McIntyre continues to look impressive.

--- Chris Jericho Vs Batista

Jericho riled up Batista from the onset with a slap to the face, to which Batista responded by backing Jericho into the corner and driving
his shoulder into his gut. He then caught Jericho’s cross body block attempt, and sent him to the mat with a powerslam, earning
himself a two count. Jericho got a foothold in the match with a low dropkick to Batista’s knee, as the Animal charged, and a second
low dropkick knocked Batista off the apron the outside. We saw the Big Show watching on backstage as Jericho slammed Batista’s
head into the announce table and then sent him back into the ring. Jericho applied a chinlock, but Batista worked up to his feet and
backed him into the corner. Jericho again kicked at Batista’s leg, but then ran into a sidewalk slam, and Batista piled on the pressure
with an elbow and a clothesline in the corner. He sent Jericho across the ring, but then ran into a boot, which Jericho followed up with a
bulldog. He went for the Lionsault, but landed on his feet at Batista moved, only to run into the spinebuster. Batista picked Jericho up for
the Batista Bomb, but Jericho wriggled out and hit an enziguri kick, earning himself a two count. He went up to the top rope, but jumped
into a clothesline, then sidestepping a spear attempt and rolling the Animal up for another nearfall. Batista caught Jericho with a kick and
went for the Batista Bomb again, but this time Jericho pulled his legs out from under him and turned him over into the Walls of Jericho.
Batista struggled briefly before turning back around and kicking Jericho off, but Jericho retained control with a thumb to the eye. He then
looked to put the match away with the Codebreaker, but Batista caught him and converted it into a Batista Bomb to pick up the victory at 6â
€™25. The Big Show was unhappy with the result and, when Josh Matthews asked him for a reaction, he challenged Batista to a match
for next week.

The main event match was serviceable enough, but Jericho in particular looked unmotivated, and that brought to an end a show of near
misses. There was a lot on the show that was okay, decent, but lacking the class and sense of meaning of previous weeks. This,
coupled with the awful Undertaker/Teddy Long segment, made for a disappointing show and, for the first time in seemingly forever,
Smackdown was beaten out for quality by Raw this week.

MVP of the night- Josh Matthews. Eh, I told you it was a disappointing show.

Line of the night- Todd Grisham compares Harry Smith’s mocking dance to Elaine Benes in the Seinfeld episode, The Little Kicks.
Any Seinfeld reference is cool with me.