The John Report: Talking Smack for Sept. 11/09 (Plus Breaking Point Preview)
Welcome to the Talking Smack column where I offer up a quick rundown of WWE’s Friday broadcast, Smackdown. This week will be very quick. At the end of it I’ll give some brief predictions on WWE’s PPV this Sunday, Breaking Point. If you’re looking for thoughts on Jeff Hardy all I can really say is I’m disappointed. I don’t want to judge everything before all the details get out, but it’s pretty sad that he would even be in that kind of situation. My hope is there was some kind of misunderstanding. However, with the amount of drugs they found and the different kids they found it’s one of those situations where you wonder what could his defense be? I’m sure we’ll see more about this one. I’ll write more about it on Tuesday most likely.
Taped from Cleveland, Ohio let’s talk some smack…
– We start the show with a promo from the Undertaker. He comes out to explain to us why he was out for five months. Or not. He basically says Punk’s scared of him and at Breaking Point he’s going to be the new champion. Punk told him that he was going to make him tap out and after he beats him all of the Undertaker’s fans are going to drink alcohol to mourn the loss. Either that or they’ll watch the rematch in three weeks. I added that part. Taker said the fans won’t be saying “just say no,” they’ll be saying “rest in peace.” Wow, what a wordsmith.
Finlay d. Mike Knox in a Belfast Brawl (*1/4)
This was fine. They used weapons, Finlay took most of the beating and Knox looked like a good heel monster while he did it. I really like Knox’s potential although I think the silly beard hurts him more than it helps. After getting beat up the whole time by trash cans mainly, Finlay KO’d him with the shillelagh for the win out of nowhere. I assume Knox wins the feud, so I guess we’ll see more of them.
– There was a terrible segment backstage with Michelle McCool flirting with Dolph Ziggler. She had Layla standing off in the distance videotaping the whole thing, so that when she accidentally fell into Ziggler’s arms it was made to look like Ziggler was groping her. I guess we’re supposed to believe that Maria, who is almost never on screen with Ziggler by the way, never watches Smackdown and would miss this thing. She would, however, believe a video sent to her by Layla and Michelle. This show is on WORLDWIDE TELEVISION. Please, don’t insult our intelligence like this. This was brutal. Like I say every week, why should anybody care about Ziggler being with Maria if they have almost no on screen time together?
– Khali vs. David Hart Smith was supposed to happen. Kane came out to attack Khali with a Singapore Cane, Khali fought him off and the Punjabi Playboy won the beating. Good for him.
Chris Jericho & Big Show d. Cryme Tyme (**1/4)
This is a rematch from Summerslam although they’ve barely used Cryme Tyme since then. They don’t even get the “Word Up” segments anymore. It made sense for Jerishow to go over since they’re wrestling on the PPV while Cryme Tyme has nothing going on. I’m a huge fan of the Big Show going KNOCKING THE FUCK OUT of the unsuspecting babyface to win the match. That’s great.
– Vince talked to Teddy Long. Teddy’s still on probation even though Smackdown’s better than Raw every week. Vince said he wanted Long to deliver something excellent, which led a couple of people to email me to ask me if that means Bret Hart showing up at Breaking Point. I doubt it. I really do. Long also said he has a huge surprise that will change the face of Smackdown next week. I think that’s Batista leaving Raw to come back to Smackdown. That’s just a hunch on my part.
John Morrison d. Charlie Haas (*)
It was only about three minutes, so there wasn’t much to talk about here. Morrison won clean.
Post match, Morrison thanked Rey for the great match last week (my #2 of the year) and they showed clips of the emotion Morrison had on his face. Dolph Ziggler came out, said he was the number one contender to the belt. Morrison said let’s fight right now, Ziggler says only on his terms. Then Morrison busted out some ridiculous names for the already ridiculously named Ziggler by calling him, “Mr. Ziggles.” He tried valiantly to get the crowd into it and they chanted along with him. Then Ziggler walked out because he hated the name so much. Yeah he hates that, but loves Dolph Ziggler. Figure that one out. This was a nice attempt to give promo time to two guys that don’t get a lot of it. I’m cool with that. Not everybody can talk like Jericho. Need to throw them out there and give them a shot. It was fine.
– Josh Matthews talked to Matt Hardy, who talked to somebody in the far right on the screen that’s not Matthews or the camera in another one of those funky backstage interviews on Smackdown. He’s going to get a submission hold on Punk and not let go. Yeah, I doubt it too.
Layla d. Melina (1/4*)
Layla, with her brutal offense, won the match. Michelle hit Melina with a crutch and Layla made the sloppy pin for the win. I guess the never ending Michelle/Melina feud has to continue because a division with five women in it isn’t exactly full of contenders. By the way, what happened to telling women to cover up the cleavage? It was nice to see Melina’s “girls” again. I missed them.
– Josh interviewed R-Truth. He wanted to wrestle Drew McIntyre, but just as he was about to say more Drew came out for another cheap attack. He chucked him into some stuff backstage, and then yelled about some things. I guess they’ll have a real match soon.
CM Punk d. Matt Hardy via submission (***)
I enjoyed it. They’ve wrestled many times in recent weeks, so by this point the chemistry was pretty good and they hit everything crisply in a 15 minute match. It was also nice to see Matt going for some submissions. The problem is there should have been way more matches in the last three weeks with people going for subs because that’s what the PPV is about. Fans need to be conditioned to react to them. When Punk hooked on the Anaconda Vice the crowd wasn’t used to it because he barely uses it anymore. The announcers can go nuts for it, but you probably noticed the crowd was silent just as I did. Still, a very good workmanlike match.
Post match, Punk held the belt up, the lights went out and about five seconds later the belt was in the hands of the Undertaker, who was standing at the top of the stage holding it up. No word on if they hired Usain Bolt to run the belt from Punk’s hands to Undertaker’s. It was fast. The magic of editing is nice, isn’t it?
Three Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk – Not a show stealing performance, but good as always.
2. Matt Hardy – He’s getting healthy. Always been a fan of his work. You can tell he’s more comfortable working as a babyface too.
3. Finlay – The man’s 51 and still works his ass off. Have to respect the guy.
Rating: 6 (out of 10)
Last week: 8.5
This was a pretty basic Smackdown, which is still pretty good. The matches got time and there weren’t that many bad segments aside from the McCool/Ziggler thing. I don’t really blame them. Even good actors couldn’t have saved that thing.
I’m not sure what to think of the Punk/Undertaker feud. It’s hard to get into it. Punk vs. Jeff Hardy was arguably the feud of the year and whatever followed that was going to be a disappointment to some extent. I think this is the beginning of what will be a feud that carries Smackdown over a few months, so don’t look for any kind of finality at Breaking Point.
Breaking Point Predictions
It’s in Montreal, a great wrestling city even if you only think about it because of what happened on a cold November night 12 years ago. This PPV is the one with three Submission matches even though one of the three really isn’t a submission match. Confusing? Yes. Let’s get to it.
United States Title: Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
This was added late. Neither guy was on Raw this week. I don’t care if they’re on Superstars. That’s not Raw. This is here to fill ten minutes of time with the babyface going over. Miz will get the belt soon. Not yet. The Pick: Kofi Kingston
Singapore Cane Match: Kane vs. The Great Khali
Khali beat him up on Smackdown, so I guess Kane wins here due to the “beat up on TV, win on PPV” philosophy that I have. With a feud like this, the truth is nobody wins. Especially not the viewer at home. The Pick: Kane
ECW Title: Christian vs. William Regal
One of two things is going to happen here. Either Tommy Dreamer’s going to come out to help Regal and his associates (Kozlov and Jackson) as his way of turning on Christian or Christian’s going to retain the belt in a straight wrestling match. I’m going with Christian winning while the obvious Dreamer team happens maybe at the next PPV. The Pick: Christian
Tag Titles: Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. MVP & Kool-Aid Man Mark Henry
Hopefully Montreal gives Jericho the huge ovation he deserves. The champs retain. There’s no reason to move the belt off of them. Plus, Jericho needs to be on both shows every week because he’s the greatest. The right finish would be for Big Show to knock out Henry with a punch, but this company would rather protect the over the hill Henry than the up and comer MVP, so of course MVP will take the fall. The Pick: Jerishow
Submissions Count Anywhere: Shawn Michaels & HHH vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase
“The first ever Submissions count anywhere match” is how they book this one. You know why it’s the first? Because it’s a stupid stipulation. These guys rarely use submissions, especially Legacy. I mean Ted’s dad had a submission finisher (the Million Dollar Dream sleeper) and they couldn’t even use that to build this match. All logic points to Legacy going over in decisive fashion because losing a tag match shouldn’t hurt guys like DX that much. However, it’s HHH we’re talking about, so throw logic out the window. He’ll get booked like superman and then win the match with a sharpshooter just to stick it to the Hart family in the same building where they screwed Bret. And Vince will love it. I think DX will move to an extended feud with Jerishow soon while Legacy will probably have Ted split from the group sooner rather than later. The Pick: DX
WWE Title “I Quit” Match: Randy Orton vs. John Cena
This is another one that’s going to the Hell in a Cell PPV, so the question is how do they get there? One rumor floating around is that Orton gets a hold of Cena’s “wife” that happens to be sitting in the crowd and puts her into some hold or maybe threatens the punt on her. Then Cena says he quits and the match ends there in controversial fashion. The other theory is Cena dominates the match to win clean. Considering that he lost at the last two PPVs and got beat down on Raw it would make sense for Cena to get the victory. Making sense doesn’t seem to matter, though, so I’ll go with Orton on the screwy finish whether it’s due to “the wife” thing or maybe the phony I Quit scenario similar to Rock/Mankind from the 1999 Rumble. Either way, the rematch is happening at Hell in a Cell in three weeks. The Pick: Randy Orton
World Heavyweight Title Submission Match: CM Punk vs. Undertaker
If this wasn’t a submission match the booking would be obvious with Punk getting DQ’d after realizing he can’t beat Undertaker. With this being a submission match, it’s hard to know what the finish will be. Something fishy might have to happen where somebody knocks Undertaker out behind the ref’s back and Punk wins after he passes out or something. I have no idea how they could book it. They should have Punk hold the belt from now until Mania before dropping it to a worthy person (Christian), but that won’t happen. They love title changes these days. I’m going with the Undertaker winning because they like to pass this belt around like a whore in a professional sports team’s locker room. Either way they’re having another match at the Hell in a Cell PPV in three weeks. The Pick: Undertaker
I’m not crazy about this PPV. Summerslam was the best of the year. It will be hard to follow that one. This one seems rushed with some overbooked finishes coming. I’ll be watching Bears vs. Packers on Sunday night. If I get to see this before Tuesday I’ll write about it in the Raw Deal. If not then I’ll get to it in next week’s Talking Smack column.
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I’ll be back on Tuesday for the Raw Deal. If I see Breaking Point before that I’ll comment on it. If I don’t then it will be during next week’s Talking Smack. Enjoy the PPV.
Smell ya later,
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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