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October 30, 2009
– Adam Russell

Nothing to brag about

Coming just a few days after the Bragging Rights pay-per-view, where the big story was Batista turning on Rey Mysterio, and after the
announcement on Raw that the Big Show would challenge World Heavyweight Champion, The Undertaker, at Survivor Series, I was a
little surprised by how lacklustre this week’s Smackdown was. The mark in me (which is still a big unapologetic part of me) was
pleased that Team Smackdown won the Bragging Rights trophy, as they have been by far the superior brand for the best part of the last
year, but coming off that success, there wasn’t much to brag about on this week’s show.

We kicked things off with general manager, Theodore Long, coming out to the ring, congratulating his Smackdown soldiers on their
victory at the pay-per-view, and announcing that Batista and Rey Mysterio would have a heart-to-heart in the ring later in the night (I know if
my best friend and I ever had problems, I’d want to iron them out in a wrestling ring in front of thousands of people). Long then turned
his attention to the Big Show, and this brought out Show’s tag team championship partner, Chris Jericho, Bragging Rights trophy in
hand. Long told Jericho that the trophy belonged to the whole of Smackdown, and took it off, to which Jericho responded that the brand
wouldn’t have got the victory without him. He went on that Long giving Show a championship match behind his back shows how
devious he is, and that he should be Smackdown’s champion. This brought Kane, Team Smackdown’s co-captain at Bragging
Rights, out, and he questioned Jericho’s claims that he won the trophy single-handedly, then saying that he deserves a shot at the
world championship. Jericho shot back that it was he who got the winning pinfall, which only incited Kane into grabbing him by the throat
and preparing to chokeslam him. Long managed to talk Kane out of delivering the move, placating him by signing a match between he
and Jericho for later in the night, with the winner being inserted into the Undertaker/Show match at Survivor Series (because the best way
to prove your brand’s dominance is to copy the other brand’s idea for a pay-per-view main event).

This was your pretty standard opening segment, setting up a match for later in the show. Jericho/Kane isn’t necessarily a match I
needed to see, but the set-up made sense. I know that if I was the Big Show I’d be annoyed at Long for making the championship
match that I betrayed my brand for (and incurred the wrath of a roster for) a triple threat match, but I certainly wouldn’t expect WWE to
think about things that deeply.

--- John Morrison Vs Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler got on the mic before this non-title match, and said that he liked his chances because Morrison was the only guy on the
Smackdown roster who didn’t win his match at Bragging Rights (he lost to The Miz). Morrison responded that he didn’t see
Ziggler at the pay-per-view, and then made a crack about Ziggler being ’premature’. The action got underway with a bit of
wrestling, before Morrison hit a flapjack and a standing shooting star press. Ziggler gained control by flapjacking Morrison into the
turnbuckle, mounting him with punches, and hitting a powerslam and an elbowdrop for a two count. He earned another two with an
overhead suplex, before we went to commercial at 3’03. We returned 5’46 in to find Morrison in a facelock, then mounting a
comeback with a clothesline and a leg lariat. Dolph regained control with a snap powerslam, but Morrison countered the Trid Yap with a
catapult into the corner. Ziggler landed on the turnbuckle, but Morrison connected with the Flying Chuck and went for Starship Pain.
Ziggler rolled out of the ring to avoid the move, and then swept Morrison’s legs out from under him as he climbed onto the apron. He
followed that up with a wheelbarrow slam onto the announce table, which was enough to earn him a count-out victory at 10’04. This
no doubt leads to another Intercontinental championship show for Ziggler, and they have to pull the trigger on a run with the belt soon, or
all credibility will be lost. I’d like to see them on opposite Survivor Series teams before that though, to add to the feud.

We cut to Teddy Long in the back, joined by Vince McMahon. Vince congratulated Long on Bragging Rights, and said that he might lift his
probation. CM Punk came in at that point, claiming that Long doesn’t deserve to come off probation after giving a world
championship match to a guy who isn’t even on the Smackdown roster. Punk said it should be his match, and Vince responded that
he’ll give him his match. Punk thought he was getting a world championship match, but Vince corrected him that he would be taking
on referee Scott Armstrong instead. Punk seemed happy with this.

--- Beth Phoenix Vs Jenny Brooks

This had to be a first next- a women’s squash match, with stand-in announcer Matt Striker informing us that Brooks was the only
blemish on Phoenix’s amateur wrestling record. That meant nothing here, at Phoenix crushed her with the Glam Slam, picking up
the win at 2’16.

--- Eric Escobar (w/ Vickie Guerrero) Vs Matt Hardy

Hardy tried to stick and move on Escobar, until he was caught by an elbow. Escobar then missed an elbowdrop, allowing Hardy to
splash him against the ropes, hit the clothesline/bulldog combo, and then pick up a two count with a moonsault. Matt sold his knee upon
impact of the move, and Escobar zoned in on it, before Hardy hit a Twist of Fate out of nowhere for the win at 3’21. It doesn’t bode
well for Escobar that he’s doing clean three minute pinfall jobs three weeks into his Smackdown career, although having Vickie in
his corner should be his saving grace for now.

Rey Mysterio came out next, for the main segment of the show. He said that he still considers Batista his best friend, even after the
beating he took at his hands, and that he at first felt anger, but then realised he owed Batista the benefit of the doubt. Batista then came
out and said he’ll be the bigger man and give Rey one chance to leave his ring. Rey said he was going to stay until they straightened
things out, and then talked about Batista being like a big brother to him, whilst calling him ‘dog’ a bunch of times. Batista
responded that Rey is really thinking that he shouldn’t have stabbed him in the back, and Rey said that if he knew it would come to
this he never would have taken the match. Batista then gave Rey one last chance to leave, but Rey again refused. Rey then made the
obligatory Eddie Guerrero reference, to which Batista responded that Eddie’s dead, and that he isn’t thinking about him or what
they’ve been through- only about himself. He then left the ring, making his earlier threats empty.

In fairness, this was a very well done segment, getting across Rey’s sense of helplessness, and Batista’s new uncaring
attitude. I could have done without the reference to Eddie, but everybody had to know it was coming- now hopefully that’s the end of it.
I’m looking forward to Rey finally breaking down and going after Batista, and like the way this feud, and Batista’s heel run, has
started.

After the break, Matt Hardy confronted Batista in the back, and warned him about doing something he’ll regret, drawing parallels with
his recent feud with his brother, Jeff. Batista laughed off Matt’s warning, before attacking him from behind and leaving him lying,
setting up a match for next week. Matt is the perfect first victim for the new Batista- credible and popular.

--- Drew McIntyre Vs Finlay

Before the match began, Drew congratulated Team Smackdown on their win, then saying that he didn’t want to be a part of that team
anyway, and that he would make his own impact. That impact came before his match with Finlay ever began, as he attacked the Irishman
before the bell, big booting him to the floor, and sending him into the steel steps. This feud is sure to be physical, and Finlay is just the
man to season McIntyre.

Cryme Tyme hosted a diva Halloween costume contest next, featuring Natalya (as a matador), Layla (as Michael Jackson), Michelle
McCool (as a devil), and Mickie James (as Elektra). James won the vote, before a mini-brawl broke out, ending with McCool beating
down Mickie. It looked like garbage. James is clearly McCool’s next challenger for the diva’s championship. I hope their matches
are better than James’ with Gail Kim and Rosa Mendes.

--- CM Punk Vs Scott Armstrong

No mention of Armstrong’s wrestling background and heritage here, as this was played as a straight squash. Armstrong did get a
few licks in after Punk riled him up with trash talk, but after that it was a quick Go To Sleep for the victory after 2’04. Punk continues to
be awesome in his heel role, and I’m interested to see where this is all going. Could a Road Dogg comeback be in the works?

--- Kane Vs Chris Jericho

Main event time, and Jericho tried stalling, until walking into a big powerslam, then eating a low dropkick to the face and a big boot. A
missed elbowdrop allowed Jericho to hit back with a low dropkick of his own, but when he went for the Walls of Jericho, Kane kicked him
to the floor. Kane tossed Jericho back inside the ring, but this gave Jericho a chance to knock the big man from the apron into the security
wall, this taking us to a break at 3’31. We returned at 7’05 with Jericho in control, catapulting Kane against the bottom rope and
then applying a half nelson facelock. Kane countered a bulldog attempt into a back suplex and then hit a side suplex for a two count.
Jericho came back with an enziguri kick, but then ran into a big boot. Kane went for the choke slam, but Jericho countered into a
Codebreaker which was only enough for a two count. He hit the bulldog and then went for the Lionsault, but Kane caught him by the
throat and delivered the choke slam. Jericho managed to roll out of the ring, and by the time Kane got him back inside, Jericho had
recovered enough to kick out at two. Jericho clipped Kane’s knee and applied the Walls, but Kane got to the ropes, and then caught
Jericho with an uppercut thrust, before going up to the top rope. His leap off was met by a sloppy-looking Codebreaker, and that was all
she wrote for the match at 14’33, putting Jericho, predictably, into the main event at Survivor Series.

So, while this wasn’t a bad show, with several storylines being progressed, it just came across to me as being rather ‘meh’.
The highlight was definitely the Rey-Batista interaction, and the Punk stuff was good for what it was, but none of the matches stood out in
any way, and nothing felt ‘must-see’. Amazingly, I’d consider this week’s Smackdown only the third best WWE produced
show of the week, behind ECW and, yes, Raw.

MVP of the night- Big Dave Batista. Convincingly menacing and heartless in his segment with Rey.

Line of the night- Punk to Armstrong after hitting him with the GTS; “when you wake up from your nap, remember that I did this to youâ
€�. Heelishly awesome.