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November 13, 2009
– Adam Russell

Home away from home

Smackdown was in my mother land this past week, and the show was pretty stacked, featuring the first ever televised meeting between
Chris Jericho and the Undertaker, two thirds of Smackdown’s Survivor Series main event, an Intercontinental championship match
between John Morrison and perennial number one contender Dolph Ziggler, and the contract signing for the Batista/Rey Mysterio match
at Survivor Series. The problem with this is that shows in England have always flattered to deceive, sounding good on paper, but not
really delivering on the promise. Would this buck the trend? For my part, I always enjoy the shows emanating from England, as I like to
compare the crowd’s reactions to the wrestlers to those here in the states. I like to think the English fans are, in general, a â
€™smarter’ breed of fan, whatever that might suggest.

--- CM Punk Vs R-Truth

For the first time in a really long time, it appeared we were going to start an episode of Smackdown with a match, and not a promo
segment. This turned out to be only half true, as both Punk and Truth had a few words to say before this match got underway. First, Punk
ripped into the British crowd, saying the UK used to be a country of kings, knights and noblemen, but now it’s just as sad and
pathetic as the U.S. Well, I wouldn’t go that far. The choice of a new generation went on that the fans need someone like him to
preach to them, as he is perfect in everyway, and doesn’t need a crooked official like Scott Armstrong to fight his battles for him. This
was in reference to the Punk-Truth match from last week, in which Armstrong fast-counted Punk’s shoulders down. Punk finished by
saying that he has filed an official complaint against Armstrong, and that he will defeat R-Truth tonight. Truth then came out and said that
the fans paid to see some action, not to here Punk preach. He then went on for about as long as Punk had, about nothing in particular,
before the match got underway. The fans were with Truth here, until he started waffling, which is when a ‘ring the bell’ chant broke
out.

When we did get started, Truth came out firing with punches, before Punk went for an early Go To Sleep. Truth escaped the move, and hit
a leg lariat, before back body dropping Punk to the outside. This took us to commercial at 1’12, and we returned at 4’30 with
Truth controlling Punk in an armbar. Punk fought back, hit some shoulders to the gut of Truth, before Truth cut him off with an elbow. Truth
then went up top, only for Punk to kick him in the leg, sending him to the mat. Punk then went on the offensive with some legwork,
showcasing some impressive submission moves. He went for the springboard clothesline, but Truth caught him with a dropkick, then hit
a clothesline and a back suplex for a two count. It was evident at this point that this was something of a lacklustre crowd- for all the
eagerness to get he action underway, and the action was fine, by the way, there wasn’t much noise in the arena. Truth missed an
axe kick, allowing Punk back in, which led to the finishing sequence. Punk went for the GTS, which Truth countered into a sunset flip,
which Punk in turn countered, picking up the win at 9’16 with a healthy grab of the ropes.

It looks like the Punk-Truth rivalry will continue for a while longer, with the two also being on opposite Survivor Series team. Only Truth can
really benefit from this feud, but as a stop-gap for Punk, this can be very entertaining.

We cut to Mickie in the back, making her way to the ring. She was stopped in the corridor by Layla, who told her that she should leave
Smackdown. Mickie was having none of it, which left Layla none-to-pleased.

--- Mickie James Vs Natalya

Natalya outwrestled Mickie at the onset of this match, maybe vexed that she didn’t even get an introduction, before Mickie hit back
with a snap mare and a low dropkick, with Nattie bailing to the outside. Mickie went out after her, where Natalya pushed her into the steel
steps, and then, back in the ring, applied a surfboard. Mickie responded with the hurricanrana out of the corner, and a couple of
clotheslines, before the match, as seems to happen a lot in Mickie James matches lately, briefly seemed to lose direction. Mickie hit a
Thesz press from the top rope, but then Michelle McCool and Layla came out with some of Mickie’s clothes. This caused a
distraction, allowing Natalya to lock on a sharpshooter, and get the tap out victory at 3’50. Michelle and Layla then cut up Mickie’s
clothes. This seemed kind of random.

In the back, we saw Josh Matthews with John Morrison, with Morrison telling us that he feels the pressure of defending the
championship, as he is, after all, human. You wouldn’t really guess it from the way he delivers his promos. To be fair though, this
was decent, as he went on to namedrop Ricky Hatton, David Beckham, and the Beatles (the English holy trinity, apparently), and said that
he can handle pressure, whereas Dolph Ziggler can’t.

--- Drew McIntyre Vs Finlay

Another pre-match promo here from Drew, where he told us that he is going to make a statement against Finlay. This match,
unsurprisingly, was a physical brawl. Finlay kicked off the violence with a short clothesline, before Drew sent the Irishman to the outside
with a kick, and then delivered a short clothesline of his own on the arena floor. Finlay came storming back, sending Drew into the
security wall. The two then began exchanging punches and clubs, leading to the ref to call for the bell at 2‘15. This was quite an abrupt
and confusing ending to the match, as the two didn’t seem to be doing anything that we don’t get in every other match. After the
bell, Finlay went for his shillelagh, but Drew gave him a big boot to the face, and then knocked him out with a shillelagh shot. McIntyre
then left the ring, before returning to deliver another blow to his fallen opponent. Finlay was then helped to his feet, and received a warm
reception.

Next it was time for the contract signing, which Matt Striker was MC’ing. He introduced Rey and Batista, with Batista trying to do the
cool heel thing, which totally doesn’t work for him. They both signed the contract, and then Batista revealed he had another document
that he wanted Rey to sign, absolving him of any responsibility for what he might do to Rey at Survivor Series. Isn’t that already sort of
implied with a wrestling match? Otherwise, why doesn’t everybody just sue everybody else for any pain they suffer in a match? Rey
said he wasn’t going to sign, but then he did, saying that he won’t be bullied. Rey then said that he would embarrass Batista at
Survivor Series, before tipping the table over on top of him. This was a pretty dull and uneventful contract signing, the highlight of which
being Batista lying on his back with his legs in the air under the table, like a tortoise.

--- Intercontinental Championship Match- John Morrison (champion) Vs Dolph Ziggler

Dolph beat Morrison down in the early going, before the champion hit back with a flapjack, and then a breakdance legdrop. He went up to
the top rope, but Dolph took his legs out, and followed up with a gut buster as we went to break at 1’54. We returned at 5’46, with
Morrison in a waistlock. He then hit the Mr Perfect head-snap, and a series of elbowdrops to the gut. A punch exchange broke out, which
Morrison won with a flying forearm and then a leg lariat. He went for the Moonlight Drive, but Dolph countered into a face jam. Morrison
again hit back with an enziguri, and went for the Starship Pain, landing on his feet when Dolph moved. Dolph went for a cover with his feet
on the ropes, and when the ref refused to count, Ziggler’s remonstrations allowed Morrison to hit the Flying Chuck for a two count.
Both men then found themselves on the top rope, and an exchange of punches sent them both to the outside, which resulted in a double
count-out at 11’39. Tony Chimmel, announcing the decision, referred to Morrison and Ziggler as wrestlers, rather than superstars,
which is sure to land him in hot water with the boss. So, the second non-result of the night, but this makes sense in that it keeps the feud
going without either man taking the fall. The match was fine, but nothing special.

--- Beth Phoenix Vs Lisa Taylor

The weekly Phoenix squash, and this time she was up against the British Commonwealth Champion. In what, we weren’t told. Beth
won the match in 1’25 with a shoulderbreaker, tree of woe into a neckbreaker, and the Glam Slam.

We cut to Chris Jericho in the back next, who was asked by Josh Matthews if he was concerned about his match with the Undertaker.
Jericho said that ‘Taker is made of flesh and blood, and can be beat, and that’s exactly what he’s going to do tonight.

It was announced that the Intercontinental Championship would be on the line on next week’s show in a best two out of three falls
match between John Morrison and Dolph Ziggler. I’m all for two out of three falls matches making a return to TV. This should be fun.

--- The Undertaker Vs Chris Jericho

Jericho was the aggressor in the early stages, beating ‘Taker down with punches, before the Undertaker turned the tables, sending
Jericho over the top rope with a clothesline. He then hit a legdrop on the ring apron, and attempted “old school�, which Jericho
countered with a throw after climbing the ropes. That took us to break at 2’42, and we came back at 6’54 with Jericho in control.
He hit a second rope dropkick, sent ‘Taker to the outside with a kick, and then hit an axe handle off the apron to the floor, before
sending the world champion into the security wall. Undertaker hit back with a clothesline in the corner and snake eyes, but Jericho
regained control with a dropkick. He then ran into a big boot, but ‘Taker missed another big boot in the corner, which led to Jericho
hitting the Codebreaker. However, Jericho couldn’t get into the cover fast enough, and the Phenom kicked out at two. Jericho was
feeling cocky now, and mocked the Undertaker’s ‘cut-throat’ gesture, before attempting a tombstone. ‘Taker reversed, but
Jericho wriggled out of his grasp, hit a shot block, and then the Lionsault. ‘Taker sat up after the move, and went for a choke slam,
which Jericho countered into the Walls of Jericho. ‘Taker struggled for a while in the move, before reversing into the Hell’s Gate,
causing the immediate tap-out at 14’00. After the bell, the Big Show came out, and Jeri-Show double-teamed ‘Taker. Show hit a
chokeslam and legdrop, and then the two applied a dual Walls/Cobra Clutch, until Kane came out to make the save. Show ducked out of
the ring, but Jericho ate a big boot.

We then cut to the back where Vince McMahon was on the phone to Teddy Long, and suggested Kane and The Undertaker, the Brothers
of Destruction, versus Jeri-Show for next week.

This was a good main event, built around Jericho’s ability to counter the Undertaker’s signature moves, and ending when â
€˜Taker finally found a counter of his own. My major complaint with the match was actually Matt Striker’s commentary. Striker gets a
lot of praise for his work, and deservedly so, as he’s usually excellent. Sometimes though, as was the case here I felt, he can be
distracting with his endless nicknames (Dark Terminator, and about a million others). Another negative was the speed in which Jericho
tapped out to the Hell’s Gate, which is surely the most over submission move in the company. This, in itself, isn’t a problem, but
‘Taker already has two or three very over finishers- does he really need this one too?

Overall, a solid episode of Smackdown and I was very surprised that the main event got to play out in full with a clean winner. In honesty,
you could make a good case for ending this early with outside interference, saving the ’Taker-Jericho showdown for a bigger stage.

MVP of the night- Jericho. Great work in the ring and on the mic.

Line of the night- “Both wrestlers have been counted out�. Tony Chimmel effectively handing in his notice.