“Who is Vince’s illegitimate child?” The question of the evening and the recurring theme of tonight’s show as actual wrestling is upstaged by the drama starring Vince McMahon and his sidekick Jonathan Coachman.
SmackDown opens and the show is already off to a questionable start with the debut of the “VIP Lounge,” MVP’s new talk show. MVP begins discussing the boxing match that is scheduled between Matt Hardy and Evander Holyfield, MVP’s surrogate as he wasn’t able to do the match due to doctor’s orders. He brings out Matt Hardy, who reminds MVP that he has beat him in every challenge they have had. MVP tells Hardy he’s lying to the fans and Hardy say he’ll accept the Holyfield match – and any other challenge MVP puts before him. The segment is pretty dead as both MVP and Hardy are unable to make this really work. Before the “VIP Lounge” totally dies, things are livened up by the arrival of Chris Masters, who has the unenviable task of rescuing another failing skit. He’s the next “challenge” for Hardy – the Masterlock Challenge. Masters gets in Hardy’s face and Hardy sucker punches him, prompting MVP to exit the ring where he starts ordering the ref to get things going. With the full nelson locked on, MVP taunts Hardy from outside the ring, claiming Hardy is “out of steam.” Hardy makes a valiant attempt at a comeback, but it’s clear that Masters’ hold is too much for him, whereby MVP gets back in the ring to add to the punishment. A kick to the stomach and a slap to the face by MVP and the two of them work Hardy over with Masters finally tossing Hardy to the mat. As they are about to leave, they see Matt struggling to his feet and they get back in the ring. Masters goes for him, but the ref holds him off, leaving MVP to deliver his Playmaker to take Hardy out.
The opening of last Monday’s Raw is reviewed and we see Vince and Jonathan Coachman arriving. Tonight they plan on going over the SmackDown roster for possibilities that one of them may be Vince’s illegitimate child. Big Daddy V, Jesse and Festus….start checking off the list.
Tag Team Champions Deuce & Domino vs the Major Brothers
Good match between two equal teams and there’s little predictability here as both teams are allowed to display some offense. Brian works Domino’s arm and tags in Brett who continues on the arm. The two Majors bring Domino down for a near count but Domino turns it around on Brett and tags in Deuce. Brett is looking for the tag as Deuce works him over with punches, a snap mare and a boot to the head. A one count and Deuce slams his head into the corner as his reward. Deuce works Brett on the mat and Brett tries to power out and crawl to his corner for the tag. He makes it halfway across the ring before Deuce stops it, taking Brett to the corner. Deuce misses a charge to the corner and almost loses the match when Brett springs from the corner and rolls him up. Deuce escapes and tags in Domino and a kick to the ribs brings Brett back down. Domino stretches out his back and many in the crowd get behind Brett, but a neckbreaker by Domino silences them. Domino drags him back to his corner and tags in Deuce. A near fall and Brett is getting the living daylights punched out of him and then he’s in a sleeper but Brett escapes it, lifting Deuce with a suplex. He makes the tag to Brian and Brian dropkicks Deuce, clotheslines him and then kicks Domino in the corner. A flying axe hammer to the temple brings Deuce down and as Domino tries to interfere, Brett ejects him, along with himself, from the ring. It comes down to Brian and Deuce with a near upset for the Majors as Brian takes control. Brian misses a flying cross bodyblock off the corner and Deuce boots him viciously in the head, taking him down for the three count.
Winners: Deuce & Domino
Backstage Vince congratulates Teddy Long and Kristal on their upcoming wedding. Khali appears, complaining about the match with Kane. Why, we are not told. Teddy Long clears up any confusion Khali may have, saying the match is on. Vince sizes Khali up as Coachman asks him about “that time in India.” No further comment.
After a recap of the doings between Jamie Noble, Hornswoggle and Finlay on last week’s show, we are off to our second match:
Finlay vs Jamie Noble
Finlay brings the shillelagh to the ring with little objection from the ref, even though it’s frequently used during matches. They lock up and it’s a stand off until Finlay shoves Noble into the corner and whips him across the ring. Noble clocks the oncoming Finlay with his boots and begins punching him. He’s not doing too badly for a cruiserweight against a barroom brawler. Noble whips him across the ring and slams into him with an elbow, ejecting Finlay from the ring. Outside, Finlay uses the steel stairs to take some of the steam out of Noble and then shoves him back in. Finlay then targets Noble’s knee with a series of kicks, bodyslams directly on the ropes, and a modified Boston Crab-type submission move. Noble is howling to beat the band until it’s all interrupted by – you guessed it – Kane. Bandaged across the waist from last week’s attack, Kane attacks Finlay. Since Noble has a grudge as well, he moves in to work Finlay over. Kane shoves Noble off and as Kane turns back to the downed Finlay, Hornswoggle shows up and shoves Noble into Kane from behind, disappearing under the ring. Suddenly Kane’s attention is on Noble. Not being the most understanding of persons, you can guess what happens. Chokeslam on Noble. Finlay makes his exit leaving Kane scowling in the ring.
Winner: No contest. Interrupted by Kane
Chavo Guerrero vs Shannon Moore
Chavo makes his entrance with a black Mysterio-style mask in his hand. Like MVP and Hardy earlier in the night, this one is being worked to death for the upcoming PPV. I’m all for the promotion – it’s good business sense, but there’s a fine line between promotion and overkill. Moore makes a very good showing for himself against the “star,” hitting a headscissors, a baseball slide, and some other high-flying moves that he’s known for. It’s almost a case of him outwrestling Chavo, and he gets a two-count with a moonsault. Chavo ends any further Moore offense with a kick in the knee and then a final Brainbuster for the pin.
Winner: Chavo Guerrero
After the match, Chavo puts the Mysterio mask on Moore and then flattens him with a frogsplash targeted to his knee. It’s a great move, but the idea of the “bad guy” trashing someone to promote a PPV match is really getting old.
What’s not old is the next segment as Batista comes out – clothed – but no less sensational. Batista talks to the crowd about Ric Flair being clawed by Khali last week. As he’s speaking, Khali appears on the Titantron and says, through his translator, that he’s going to pop Batista’s head like a basketball, and produces a real basketball, which he actually crushes with his huge mitts. This is juvenile stuff but Batista is beyond the silliness of this by his appearance alone. “You’re not going to be in the ring with a basketball at Summerslam for the World Heavyweight Championship!” Off comes the shirt and Batista makes his way around the ring to the crowd’s delight, what little delight they have been offered so far. JBL says he doesn’t give Batista “a snowball’s chance in the middle of hell,” but Cole disagrees.
More speculating on Vince’s child (it seems to have evolved into a male child at this point). Coach sucks up to Vince by comparing the great physique of Batista to Vince’s “great physique.” I wonder which creative member thought up that line. Big Dick Johnson, clad in an oversize (really oversize) diaper and pacifier, confronts Vince and Coach – as his possible offspring, I gather. I hope they’re paying him well to do this gig.
Mark Henry vs Greg Cardona
Another Henry squash. Followed by more footage of Henry destroying the Undertaker. A mysterious robed figure appears to signal the return of the Undertaker. We saw this last week. And the week before. Nothing new to see here, folks.
Winner: Mark Henry
Backstage we go again, where Kristal has dubbed Michelle McCool and Torrie Wilson as bridesmaids. Victoria and Kenny Dykstra arrive and Victoria thinks she’s a bridesmaid, too. When she is given the unfortunate news, all hell breaks loose and she and McCool are at each others’ throats. Drumroll and we are on to our next match, but not before Vince and Coachman pass Jimmy Wang Yang and Funaki backstage. “Ah’m you’re boy!” twangs Wang Yang. “Papa-san!” intones Funaki.
Victoria vs Michelle McCool
I was expecting more from this match, which I learn from the spoilers was actually presented to the fans twice, once with Victoria winning and once with McCool winning. The television audience got the McCool victory, which was essentially a match where Victoria did most of the domination and McCool ended up eking out a victory with a few final moves, the last being a clothesline off the corner turnbuckle. Whatever the outcome, Victoria is always a breath of fresh air.
Winner: Michelle McCool
One more forgettable segment with Vince and Coachman and we are back to the ring with the main event:
Great Khali vs Kane
It’s a fact to say that the Great Khali doesn’t really wrestle. His stock-in-trade is simple power moves, throwing wrestlers around the ring – and out of it. With Kane finding little effect to be had by his own punches, he finds himself thrown over the top ropes. The most interesting part of this match was Kane finally taking a little control with a series of headslams to the corner padding followed by a series of clotheslines. I’d say that Khali’s reaction was more lethargic due to his size rather than any power Kane was able to have over him. Kane goes for a chokeslam – that is clear will go nowhere with the size differential – and Khali goes for the claw. It’s a standoff for what seems like ages until Kanes loses the battle and he goes down for the count. Before any call can be made, Finlay charges the ring.
Winner: No contest. Interrupted by Finlay
After the match, Finlay attacks Kane and Batista makes the save, giving him a spinebuster. He’s about to deliver the Batista Bomb but Khali gets him with the claw from behind. It takes a while, but Khali finally puts Batista’s lights out with the claw. There isn’t much inspiration to see Khali with Batista, so perhaps they are setting up some kind of tag with Finlay and Khali taking on Batista and Kane. I don’t see the inspiration there either. We’ll see. At this point anything will do to stop the ongoing McMahon backstage stories.
And now the rest….
All in all the show was painfully dull with the horrible trend of wrestling taking a backseat to silly McMahon driven storylines and antics. Superstars that come along once in a decade or so like Chris Masters get wasted in skits to promote PPVs for others. And other talented wrestlers like Kenny Dykstra get put into supporting roles that aren’t even targeting PPVs. True, we still get Batista making the most of a non-wrestling role, but that’s just the point. Why is wrestling now the secondary focus of a wrestling program?