WWE Smackdown- January 2, 2009
-Vickie Guerrero comes to the ring (or as Triple H would put it, “waddles”) to a roar of crowd heat. It’s hard to believe how awesome Vickie is, as she ignores the boos and shouts an overly cheerful “Happy New Year!” Vickie talks about the Royal Rumble and makes Jeff Hardy vs. Edge for the WWE title. Also, the Smackdown Rumble participants will be named later on. Vickie is finished, but Triple H joins her. He’s impatient and wants to know if he’s in the Royal Rumble now. Vickie says that if he keeps harassing her, Triple H won’t be in the Rumble. HHH warns Vickie that he’s the best chance Smackdown has for a Rumble victory, and Vickie doesn’t want to be seen as a weak General Manager. HHH pulls out a Vickie Guerrero action figure and continues to mock her weight every chance he gets. Triple H calls the action figure “hot” and reveals he found nude photos of Vickie on the internet. Vickie runs from the ring while Triple H makes the toy say “excuse me.” At least the crowd liked it.
-Backstage, The Great Khali, Finlay, and Ranjin Singh are having trouble getting Hornswoggle to pose for a photograph.
-Hype video for Umaga. He’ll be making his return soon.
Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder vs. Finlay (with Hornswoggle) and The Great Khali (with Ranjin Singh)
Khali easily fights off both Hawkins and Ryder, knocking their heads together. Khali poses, while Hornswoggle runs in and copies the attack. Finlay tags and dominates. Short-arm clothesline by Finlay and he wraps up Hawkins in the apron. Finlay knocks off Ryder, but eats a baseball slide from Hawkins. Ryder tags and snapmares Finlay into a reverse chinlock. Finlay knocks Ryder off and makes the tag to Khali. Khali cleans house on Ryder. Hawkins tries to make a save but gets chopped to the head. Khali nails the Punjabi Plunge on Ryder for the win at 4:03. Well, that was a bit better than I was expecting, *.
Winners: Finlay and The Great Khali
-After the match, Finlay, Khali, and Hornswoggle lay a beat-down on Hawkins and Ryder, finishing up with the tadpole splash.
-Eve talks to the only former Divas Champion, Michelle McCool. They look back at Michelle’s title loss and her sad beat-down of referee Maria. Michelle is all “What about me, what about Raven?!” Eve asks Michelle to consider that she’s wrong about this. Michelle tells Eve to stick to what she does best. Yeouch, this is a rather horrible heel turn.
-Edge is upset about the nude photos of Vickie floating around the internet. Big Show says he’s seen the pictures and they weren’t bad. Vickie runs from the room, leaving Big Show and Edge to bicker. Now THIS was fun.
Jesse and Festus vs. The Brian Kendrick and Ezekiel Jackson
Festus goes crazy and cleans house in the early going. Festus plants Kendrick and slams Jesse onto him. Jesse snapmares Kendrick into an armbar. Jesse drops Kendrick with an elbow for a near fall. Festus tags and Jesse whips Kendrick into his giant arms. Festus splashes but misses on a head of steam. Kendrick flies into Festus’s arms, but it seems that the big man hurt his knees. Ezekiel tags and tackles the hurt knee. Jackson wears down the hurt leg, ignoring an eye rake. Kendrick tags and stomps the knee off the top. Kendrick drop-kicks the knee and connects with some hard kicks. Festus shoves off Kendrick and tags Jesse, who nails an inverted atomic drop. Jesse cleans house on Kendrick. Suplex by Jesse gets a cover broken by Ezekiel. Festus tries to make the save, but Ezekiel dumps him to the floor. Jesse blocks The Kendrick and hit’s a back suplex. Ezekiel had made a blind tag and plants Jesse for the win at 4:42. This was short, but lively and well-worked, **.
Winners: The Brian Kendrick and Ezekiel Jackson
Vladimir Kozlov vs. Hurricane Helms
Crap, I’m sad to see that they’re going to feed Helms to Kozlov this quickly. Helms throws some kicks but can’t connect. Kozlov strikes and gets a hip toss. Kozlov goes to work on the arm. Helms fights out of the key lock and gets some shots to the head. Kozlov locks the arms and head-butts. Kozlov pummels Helms into the corner. Nasty arm throw by Kozlov and he goes back to work on the arm. Helms fights to his feet, but Kozlov knees him. Kozlov drops Helms on the top rope and hits a fall away slam. Helms gets some token offense in, but runs into a head thrust. Kozlov slams Helms again and gets the win at 4:02. Just an extended squash, but Kozlov looked good, ¾*.
Winner: Vladimir Kozlov
-Jim Ross is in the ring to announce the Royal Rumble participants from Smackdown. Turns out that he’s only announcing some of them. They are Triple H, Big Show, Vladimir Kozlov, Shelton Benjamin, and… Ross is cut off by Shelton Benjamin, who storms out with a microphone. Benjamin gets into J.R.’s face and is upset that he wasn’t introduced as the “odd’s on favorite” to win the Rumble. Benjamin shows off his U.S. title and reminds us that he’s held onto it for six months now. Benjamin says that he is the gold standard because everyone else is compared to him. Benjamin lists off some top names. Suddenly, The Undertaker appears in the ring and chokeslams Benjamin. They should let Benjamin cut these types of promos more often, as I was buying him as a big deal (at least until Undertaker flattened him, but oh well).
-The same Kizarny package from last week airs. He’s debuting tonight!
-Michelle McCool comes to the ring for a (ugh) promo. Michelle says that she owes Maria an apology. Note to WWE: don’t let her talk again. Michelle then asks for Eve to come to the ring so she can apologize to her in person. Michelle asks for her forgiveness. Eve says of course and they hug. As you might have guessed, Michelle cheap shots Eve while she’s making her exit. Michelle kicks Eve’s head into the barricade, which is actually kind of cool. Still, I’m dreading the eventual Michelle/Maria matches that will come from this.
-Backstage, Triple H storms into Vickie and Chavo Guerrero’s office to insult them some more. Vickie tells Triple H that he can’t insult people whenever he wants. She says that Triple H will compete in three matches next week, it will be Triple Jeopardy.
-MVP is in the ring and it looks like someone just shot his puppy. In fact, he has lost all his money. He cuts a brief promo looking for whoever he’s wrestling to just come out so they can get it over with. Turns out his opponent is Kizarny.
Kizarny vs. MVP
MVP is outsmarted in the early going, getting caught with a backslide. Kizarny dominates, planting MVP with a scoop slam and leg drop. Kizarny kicks MVP to the floor and connects with a suicide dive! Back to the ring, Kizarny gets a cover for 2. Flying cross body by Kizarny gets 2. MVP blocks and slides Kizarny to the floor. MVP drops Kizarny on the barricade and directs him back to the ring. Cover by MVP gets almost 2. Elbow drop by MVP and a reverse bear hug. Kizarny shoulders out but suffers some knee lifts to the midsection. MVP keeps targeting the guts but can’t seem to finish the job. Kizarny fights out of another airlock, but runs into an overhead suplex. Kizarny blocks MVP and picks up some momentum. Cover by Kizarny gets 2. The crowd has become impatient with the match. Kizarny counters the playmaker and nails a double underhook DDT for the win at 5:58. A bit too long for what they were going for, as there a few dead spots in there, *½.
-Just like last week, Mr. Kennedy comes out to gloat over MVP’s loss and to push his DVD.
-Next week: Triple H competes in a tables match, handicap match, and last man standing match. Also, Primo and Carlito Colon defend the WWE Tag titles against The Brian Kendrick and Ezekiel Jackson.
-Edge comes out for his match and decides to cut a promo first. Naked pictures or not, he feels the fans should respect Vickie. Edge demands respect from the fans, since after the Royal Rumble he will be a 7-time World champion. He resents that the fans blame him for everything. After all, they thought he was taking advantage of Vickie Guerrero a year ago, but they are still together and still in love. The fans also blamed him for taking out Jeff Hardy before Survivor Series, when in fact Jeff is a screw-up. However, when this irrational, immature period of WWE history known as Jeff Hardy’s title reign comes to an end, you can blame Edge all you want. Nice promo.
Edge and Big Show vs. Matt and Jeff Hardy
Matt starts the match against Edge, and what a history these two have. Matt takes Edge down, so Edge is cautious to restart. Armdrag by Matt inspires more stalling from Edge. Hammerlock by Matt is reversed into a headlock by Edge. Matt counters with a back suplex and Jeff tags. The Hardy’s double team Edge. They toss Edge over the ropes onto Big Show, but Show catches him with one arm. Show and Edge talk strategy as we head to a break.
After the commercial, Edge has taken control of Jeff and is choking him on the ropes. Jeff blocks and connects with Whisper in the Wind for 2. Matt tags and scoop slams Edge. Matt misses a moonsault. Big Show tags and pummels Matt into the corner. Vertical suplex by Big Show and an elbow drop gets a cover for 2. Edge tags and continues to dominate Matt. After wearing down Matt, Edge tags in Big Show, who targets Matt’s arm. Edge tags and works a headlock. Matt almost gets a tag, but Edge rolls into a sunset flip and gets a cover for 2. Another cover by Edge comes up short. Edge works the arm some more. By the way, the match has become quite dull. Edge stops a Matt Hardy comeback with a big boot. For no apparent reason, Big Show decides to take a hike, leaving Edge to fight alone. Edge reverses a Twist of Fate and gets a near fall. Edge signals the spear, but Matt blocks. Side effect by Matt! Jeff finally gets a hot tag and cleans house on Edge. Matt tags and the Hardy’s double team Edge in classic Hardy Boy style. Twist of Fate by Matt. Jeff tags and nails the Swanton Bomb for the victory at 11:09 (shown). Match was by the numbers, but picked up around Big Show’s betrayal, **¼.
Winners: Matt and Jeff Hardy
Final Thoughts: It’s always nice when the stories on Smackdown actually progress. That’s what we got this week, with Big Show walking away from Edge, Kendrick and Ezekiel finally becoming #1 Tag Team contenders, Michelle McCool establishing her mean streak, and the debut of Kizarny. We still had some holding pattern moments, with Triple H continuing to comment on Vickie’s weight, the continuing MVP burial, and another Kozlov squash. But hey, at least they’re trying. Compare the last month of Smackdown back to the spring of 2008 when nothing happened for months on end and you’ll see the improvements.