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FOOniverse: SmackDown!, Week One...
JBL Makes a Statement & Kennedy Returns
January 5, 2006

by The Rick
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


The 2006 Fantasy Online Onslaught Universe represents OO's vision for the most entertaining WrestleMania 22 possible, and then reverse-engineering a full 13-week Road to WM22.

The FOOniverse picks up current WWE storylines effective the week of January 2, 2006, and will attempt to create a seamless transition

to OO's intended storylines, which will culminate exactly 3 months later on April 2, 2006, at our Fantasy WrestleMania.

For those new to the FOOniverse, you may want to check out the archived results, which began deviating from WWE's televised storylines on January 2. You can, if you are interested in knowing where all this is headed, check out the Introduction to the FOOniverse, which not only contains an expanded "mission statement" and the general guidelines which rule the creation of the FOOniverse, but which also contain full spoilers for the Fantasy WrestleMania 22 Line-Up

If everybody's read to go, then.... onward with the recaps of this week's SmackDown! transmission from the Fantasy OO Universe!

Friday Night SmackDown!
January 6, 2006

Last Week on SD!: After suffering an injury, Booker T was allowed to pick his own substitute in the US Title Best of Seven Series; he selected Randy Orton, but Orton was DQ'ed when Booker's wife Sharmell interfered in the match; Booker still leads the series 3-to-2...  JBL claimed that he no longer had "matches," he made "statements"; in a statement against Matt Hardy, JBL was interrupted by the Boogeyman, prompting JBL to freak out and get counted out...  Melina, accompanied by a lawyer, announced that she intends to sue Batista for sexual harassment, stemming from an incident 3 weeks ago where she behaved like a conniving whore and Batista just did what came naturally.... Kid Kash was interviewed by Funaki, and revealed a hatred of all foreigners, including Funaki (who got a Brainbuster on the "Okerlund Platform" for his troubles).... MNM became Tag Champs again, defeating Batista and Rey Mysterio, when Melina's new insurance policy, Mark Henry, returned to TV and attacked Batista behind the ref's back.

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and we're live to tape on the United Paramount Network. Oh, you didn't know that's what UPN stood for? Well, your ass better recall that when it started a decade ago, they only programmed 2 nights a week, and based the entire network on the fact that they had the latest "Star Trek" spin-off which they'd arranged to purchase from Paramount Studios, which was ACTUALLY the culmination of a 25 year plan to start a new network based entirely on a new Star Trek TV series. It's true, it's true. None of which is pertinent, but it's fun trivia to know. Tazz and Cole are in the midst of welcoming us to tonight's show -- promising a Tag Team Title Rematch (MNM vs. Batista/Rey) among other things -- when they are rudely interrupted by an unexpected guest....

JBL Shall Not Be Boogeyed

The clanging bell can only signify the interruption is being made by one man: John Bradshaw Layfield. And, once the limo door opens, also one woman: his image consultant (or whatever her title is) Jillian Hall. Hey, lookit Jillian: no more Thing on her face! 

JBL and Jillian make their way to the ring (accompanied by footage of last week when a match against Matt Hardy was interrupted by the Boogeyman), and JBL grabs a mic. He says last week, his run-in with the Boogeyman made him realize a few things.

First: having a psycho running around on TV eating worms and doing voodoo dances was pretty stupid. Almost as stupid as a beautiful woman going around with a six inch growth on her face. So as a New Year's present, JBL sent Jillian Hall back to the same doctor who installed her rack, and now everybody's happy with the results. The look on Jillian's face makes it clear that she's happy to be out from under one of 2005's most pointlessly-retarded "gimmicks" and can commence to trying-to-be-taken-seriously. Assuming the new writing team has anything interesting for her to do. Which is not necessarily likely, but hey, at least this makes her eligible for participation in storylines going forward....

But secondly (and MUCH more importantly): the Boogeyman's interruption made JBL realize that nobody on this show appreciates what he does for the brand. Everything JBL does, it's for the sake of SmackDown!, not for his own good. [Cole: "This is the same man who never misses an opportunity to tell us he's a Wrestling God?"] And still, his own peers and co-workers don't respect his efforts, and try to chop him down. Last week, JBL was in the middle of "making a statement" against Matt Hardy, and that statement would have been for the benefit of all of SmackDown!.... but the Boogeyman interrupted, and JBL lost a match, which only goes to make all of SmackDown! look weaker.

This, JBL says, cannot stand. He wants to talk directly to the Big Man Himself, GM Teddy Long, to straighten this out. Get out here, Teddy! But when Long's music starts up, it's "Carson" Palmer Cannon who enters, instead. JBL is miffed at being pawned off on an underling, but allows Cannon to speak.

Turns out, GM Long is busy in preparations for a ground-breaking new segment that will change Friday nights forever, or something. But Cannon was listening, and will gladly be JBL's conduit to Teddy Long.

JBL decides this might be acceptable, as he remembers, "Hey, it was you who brought this freak, the Boogeyman, to SD! to begin with." He says it's time for Cannon to rein in his circus act. Cannon says he has solid demographic evidence to support the idea that the Boogeyman is a huge hit among Morons Age 18-34, and he'd love it if JBL and Boogey could go-exist. But JBL's in no mood for this crap...

JBL says that the Boogeyman is a side show freak, but JBL is a Wrestling God who is the only man who can save SD! in their on-going battle against RAW. When JBL was on the front lines of that war in October and November, what happened? SD! went to Taboo Tuesday and swept RAW in two matches. SD! went to Survivor Series and swept RAW in two matches. But what's happened ever since then, since Batista and Rey Mysterio were made the poster-boys for SD!? Simple: they were humiliated by RAW's Big Show and Kane on a SD! PPV and they've lost the tag team titles. 

JBL elevated SD! to a level where they weren't just competing with RAW, they were BEATING them. And now, Batista and Rey have left SD!'s reputation in the toilet. Bottom line: you might not like JBL, but you want him on that wall, you NEED him on that wall, and if JBL doesn't start getting the goddamned respect he deserves around here, he'll just pack up and leave forever, and to hell with SD!. Are we clear? Cannon assures him they are "crystal."

JBL is satisfied that he's getting through to SD! management, now. He only requires two more things from Cannon tonight. First, a "statement" from JBL was interrupted last week, and Matt Hardy stole a win as a result. Tonight, JBL wants to make his statement again, and punctuate it with an exclamation point. He wants Matt Hardy again, and he wants him in a match where there will be no cheap wins like last week's count-out: he wants Matt Hardy in a No-Count-Out, No-Disqualification match. Cannon assures him this is do-able.

And secondly: JBL never wants to see or hear from the Boogeyman again. JBL has important work to do, and he has no time to be worrying about Cannon's "side show freak." JBL says, "If that psycho interferes in my business ever again, I promise you that SD! will be going to war against RAW without its best weapon. And the Network wouldn't want that, now would they?".... Cannon knows that Network would, in fact, not like losing any talent. But the look on his face suggests he's not entirely sure he has any control over the Boogeyman.

"I promise I'll do what I can, sir," is Cannon's eventual compromise. JBL's response, "You better do a whole lot more than that, son." Hit JBL's music, as we've just concluded an effective, if lengthy, 15 minute opening promo....


Backstage: Melina, Mark Henry, and Melina's lawyer are chatting. Melina's lawyer is telling her that she might have a case against Batista, but she'll do herself no favors in the court's eyes if she keeps unleashing a 400 pound manbeast on Batista. He implores her to cease and desist and let the legal system do its job for her. Melina's rolling of her eyeballs suggests that Pointdexter doesn't quite understand that this is all part of a much bigger scheme that doesn't involve any court of law....

Kid Kash vs. Funaki (Cruiserweight Title Match)

The logical out-growth of last week's run-in, this match has the fans solidly behind their boy Funaki. Opening minutes set the tone, with Funaki doing all kinds of quick babyface type moves, while Kash is befuddled, and frequently ducks outside the ring to collect his thoughts like the yellow bastard that he is.

Things start to ramp up, and at the 4 minute mark, we do a big ass trainwreck spot to shift us into high gear finally.... but both men are also down, so lets us take a break for....


Back, and formula pretty much dictates Kash is back in control. He's working the back and neck in anticipation of hitting his wicked brainbuster finisher. And all the while he's avoiding restholds and hitting sweet moves, he's also taking enough time to turn to the crowd and taunt them, to ensure that he remains a solid villain.

Kash eventually goes for some move from the top rope to ringside, and whiffs on it, giving Funaki the chance to start a unique Babyface Fire-Up on the floor (instead of in the center of the ring). He takes advantage of the opportunity, launching himself off all manner of props (ring steps, barricade), and also launching Kash into the same things. Funaki breaks the ref's count once, and then resumes the outside-the-ring rally. But when Funaki tries to tackle Kash into the timekeepers table, Kash is able to dodge to one side, and KO's Funaki by hitting him in the head with the Cruiserweight Title belt. But the positioning of their bodies, and the ref's spot in the ring meant the ref didn't see Funaki's head crash into the belt. So he's still counting.

Kash tries to figure out his best course of action, and eventually decides he'll just get back into the ring, just as the ref hits his 10 count.

Your Winner: Kid Kash, via count-out, in about 10 minutes to retain the Cruiserweight Title.

After the Match: Kash decides to take the fight back out to Funaki... he administers a bit of a beatdown, and then he lifts up some of the protective black mats to expose the concrete.... he's not... no he couldn't be.... BUT HE IS! It's gonna be a brainbuster on the concrete floor! Until Juventud Guerrera sprints in from out of nowhere and makes the save. Kash could continue the fight against Juvi, but opts to just take his title belt, smirk a mighty smirk, and leave the ringside area.

Backstage: Kristal approaches the GM's Office, and asks if she can have a moment of Teddy Long's time.... sure thing, playa. Kristal wnats to know what the rest of the SD! audience wants to know: what exactly is it that Teddy Long's been busy planning for that kept him from addressing JBL? Teddy says that's a secret playa, but that we'll find out soon enough. As a tease, though, Teddy says that a former SD! Superstar is returning tonight, and intends to solve the Benoit/Booker US Title Situation once and for all... Teddy doesn't know how things'll turn out, but he's giving the returning star a chance. Now, if you'll excuse me, playa, Teddy still has a bit of homework to do before tonight's Big Surprise. "Homework?" wonders Kristal...


Bobby Lashley vs. Sylvan

Sylvan enters first, and does some promo work. He talks about how last week, he got counted out in a match against Lashley because Lashely hit him in his gorgeous face. And now, GM Teddy Long has ordered a rematch. But Sylvan will not risk his life's work as a male model; he will not rob all the other gay men in the fashion industry of the arousal they feel when they gaze upon the work of art that is Sylvan, I guess. So Sylvan says he'll just leave the ring again unless Lashley agrees to a stipulation: if Lashley punches Sylvan in the face, he will be immediately disqualified. What says you, Lashley?

So Black Lesnar enters, takes a mic, and says, "You got it. I promise I won't touch your face. But I can't promise that you'll be able to walk out of here when I'm done with you." An appropriate level of fear and intimidation from Sylvan, but he *did* get his requested stipulation, so he can't back out now. Even the other homosexuals in his industry would find *that* fruity.

Thus begins the match.... and while normally we'd open with the "back-and-forthy," here there's a bit of a deviation, because the "back-and-forthy" usually entails trading a lot of punches. But Lashley knows he can't punch Sylvan. At least: not in the face. So there are lots of moments where Lashley could gain control, but he has to stop himself at the last second from doing what comes natural. This results in Sylvan being able to get a few cheap offensive rallies in (but they are always snuffed out by the mighty Black Lesnar)... and as Lashley adjusts, he realizes that when he feels the urge to face-punch, he can also go downstairs with body blows, or administer big-ass chops and stuff like that.

So once he discovers that, it's on a tear for Bobby Lashley... there are absolutely no openings for Sylvan now that Lashley's got this stip figured out. In fact, in between basic pummeling of Sylvan, Lashley begins a new playful little trick: he backs Sylvan into a corner, and threatens to punch him in the face, just for the hell of it. Who cares, right? Lashley's point has been made. But he still does have that undefeated streak on the line, so in the end, he always rope-a-dopes, and instead of punching Sylvan in the face, he rocks him with a body blow. 

He does this 2 or 3 times, with success, but as it turns out, Sylvan may be gayer than a French Trombone, but he's not quite the man-bimbo he pretends to be. On the next try, Lashley rope-a-dopes, but when he swings for Sylvan's body, Sylvan just drops to his ass in the corner, and Lashley ends up hitting him in the face. That can't feel good, but it *is* the end of the match.

Your Winner: Sylvan, via mega-cheap DQ, in about 4 minutes.

After the Match: Lashley is pissed. And that's not good for Sylvan. Sylvan tries to beg off, but it's to no avail: Lashley puts a beating on him, culminating in a center-ring Dominator. Play Lashley's music, and let Lashley celebrate with the appreciative fans for a minute or two.... but then let's cut back to Sylvan, who has crawled over to a corner, and is still pointing to and "framing" his face in the International Sign For "I'm Still Ever So Pretty." Remembering that he *did* threaten the rest of Sylvan's stupid little body before the match, Lashley has an epiphany: he goes over, and starts putting a stomping on Sylvan... then he takes Sylvan out of the ring and pounds on him some more.... and then, for a finale.... Lashley hits another Dominator, it's just that this time, instead of landing on the ground, Sylvan lands -- ribs first -- across the ringside barricade. OUCH~! Play Lashley's music again, as it appears that Sylvan will NOT be walking out tonight under his own power...

Backstage: MNM are WALKING~! And Melina's lawyer is still lurking about, BEGGING Melina that she won't have Mark Henry interfere in this match against Batista and Rey, because if she does, it'll really hurt her case in court.... Melina assures him that it's OK, and she's got everything under control and Mark Henry shouldn't be necessary tonight.


During the Break: footage confirms that Sylvan did, indeed, need to be carried out of the ring. Lashley lost the match, but made good on his promise, folks.

MNM vs. Batista and Rey Mysterio (Tag Team Title Match)

Two-on-two and without outside factors, this is, as you would expect, a bit of a Happy Fun Start to the match, as Batista and Rey dominate. Quick tags, highly variable offense (alternating between Batista's power and Rey's high-flying/speed), and you've got a rock solid opening 2 minutes of crowd-pleasing action at the expense of M and N.

But that's where Melina comes into play: trying to shift the advantage, she gets up on the apron and points that fine rump of hers in Batista's direction and gives a little shake. But the whole point of this story so far is that Batista knew exactly what he was doing and what he was getting into a month ago when Melina went all Whore on him, and he's still our favorite Logical Monster today, so he's not gonna let it affect him in the middle of a match. Batista, instead, waves back at Melina, maybe even winks flirtatiously at her, and then LEVELS M an N with a double clothesline. Then he probably winks again, cuz he knows his sweetie loves it. 

This enrages Melina, who is apparently not used to dealing with men who actually possess the mental capacity to draw the line between "biologically obligated to want to schlong her" and "knowing when is not necessarily the best time to be pursuing it." She hops in the ring and starts flailing away at Batista, who -- to his credit -- realizes there *is* still a legal case proceeding, and so he can't just shove Melina away like the gnat she's behaving like. Instead, Batista backs into a corner, insists on tagging in Rey, and gets himself to the apron, where he figures his' inactivity in the match will cool Melina off again. Which it kind of does.

But then, as the ref is finally comfortable enough to start ushering Melina back to her side of the ring, M and N have had enough time to recover and they strike -- double-team style -- on Rey. Batista decides he needs to lend a hand, but the ref turns back around just in time to see Batista one-leg-into-the-ring and heads over to tell Batista to stay out. This, of course, gives M and N enough time to do another couple double team moves on Rey before the ref finally turns back around to pay attention. Rey has been decimated, Batista is frustrated and impotent out on the apron, M and N are pleased with their handiwork, and Melina is laughing and pointing at Batista because things are back in her favor, afterall. A good time for....


Back, and it's more of your basic Rey-gets-his-ass-kicked deal. The always-excellent double-team psychology of M and N is in effect, too, though Melina is quiet throughout, having already served her purpose. 

Rey gets enough hope spots to drag this out a good 4-5 minutes, but it's essentially a one-sided affair as we approach and surpass the 10 minute mark. As these teams have faced each other 3 times, now, in the last month, the eventually come-back and hot tag is a bit of a playfully-decoyed affair, too. Rey thinks he's got the hot tag 2 or 3 times, but each time, MNM manages to short-circuit him. Finally, after a quadruple-reverse-y spot, Rey *is* allowed to tag in Batista at the 12 minute mark.

And a more kinetically active house o' fire you'll not see. Clotheslines and spinebusters all around. Interference from Melina is again no-sold by Batista, and although you'd think the mere distraction would be enough, it isn't, as he turns back around and easily trumps M and N's attempted chicanery. After a bit of this, Batista seems to tire of playing around, and decides it's time to win the match (and the tag titles).... but as soon as he hits the Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, there's an interruption: the Dicks run down to ringside. Both the ref and Batista are distracted, and although the Dicks never make it even so far as up onto the ring apron, the interruption is enough to end Batista's rally. In fact, while the ref is ushering the Dicks away, MNM hit a double team move on Batista.

Melina is looking quite pleased... the announcers speculate this is what she meant earlier when she had a plan that didn't involve Mark Henry (that conniving wench). But that fades quickly when MNM set Batista up for the Snap Shot, they get too close to Rey's corner, and Rey blind-tags himself in. M and N hit their finisher, but the ref won't even count it, informing them that Rey's now the legal man: and quite fired up, as it so happens. Now, Melina's upset that her plan has gone awry and that Rey will finish her men off. Rey going to town on MNM is the main thrust of the next 30 seconds, but there are also frequent reaction-takes of Melina who is.... rubbing the side of her nose? Yep. When did she become 3rd Base Coach Don Zimmer?

'Tis all part of a plan, as it turns out. As Rey's rally continues, suddenly Mark Henry does appear, and lumbers out to ringside. Batista has recovered enough to spot him, and Batista's still upset about last week, so he goes out to meet Henry halfway. The ref becomes distracted by this, but since Batista inititates the brawling, there can be no DQ. Meantime, behind the ref's back, Melina passes in a tag title belt to M or N, and they plaster Rey with it. Then, as the ref gives up on the ringside brawl, MNM hit Rey with the Snap Shot, and get the pinfall.

Your Winners: MNM, via pinfall, in about 16 minutes to retain the Tag Team Titles. If you care, as I envisioned this week in my head, *this* was my FOOniverse Match of the Week. Just the perfect mix of drama, characters, and plenty of action. Yes, even with Mark Henry involved.

After the Match: Batista was "winning" his brawl against Mark Henry enough that he could disengage at will.... which he did as soon as he heard the bell ring. Batista's return to the ring sent MNM scattering. They celebrated with Henry at ringside, while Batista tended to his little buddy. If there's a little hint of frustratio in Rey Rey's eyes that Batista abandoned him, it's a transient one, and it's gone quickly, as the two end up embracing. Play Batista's music! Because he lost!


Backstage: Melina, Mark Henry, M, and N, are celebrating some more (photogs optional)... in walks Melina's lawyer, who is NOT celebrating. He's all nerdy and whiny as he says, "I told you not to use Mark Henry against Batista again! Do you want to win this sexual harassment case or not?"... Melina goes all head-cheerleader-patronizing-the-captain-of-the-chess-club as she says, "Oh honey, I'm so sorry to have wasted your time, but you've served your purpose. You distracted Batista long enough for me to win back the tag team titles. And now, I'm going to win the World Heavyweight Title.... because why would I want to win a lawsuit against Batista when I've got a walking, talking, 400 pound restraining order like Big Mark Henry right here to take care of business for me?" Pause for effect. "You know what? Don't answer that. Just get lost. This after-party is A-list only." The lawyer is ejected. As are the cameras. And the stupid Sexual Harassment Suit storyline, too. You can thank me later....

Road Warrior Animal/Heidenreich vs. William Regal/Paul Burchill

Just a quick filler match, really.... but also one with a surprising outcome. After a time-condensed formulaic match, Animal and Heidenreich make their comeback and are setting up for the Doomsday Device. But they take too much time showboating and pandering to the fans...

So when they finally set it up (aiming for Burchill), Regal has enough time to chopblock Animal at the last second. Heidenreich then misses the clothesline high and crashes to the mat. And in one smooth motion, Burchill rolls forward and ties Animal up into a pinning combo. Done and done.

Your Winners: Regal and Burchill, via pinfall, in about 3-4 minutes.

After the Match: the Brits appear to be gaining in confidence. Animal and Heidenreich appear a bit surprised and confused that they lost to a relatively unheralded team.

Backstage: Teddy Long is WALKING~! But what is this new surprise that's coming up? You'll only find out if you stay tuned through these....


Welcome to "The Shooting Range," with your Host Ken Kennedy (kennedy)

Back from break, and we have a wide shot of the entrance stage... all of a sudden, Ken Kennedy's music starts up.... but then a fancy computer-animated video thingie kicks in. Lots of eagles and national monuments and stuff like that. Just think the over-wrought, pompous openings of any "punditry" show on those 24-hour news channels, and you have the idea. Or better yet: don't watch a single minute of a 24-hour "news" channel, and just consider this whole thing a direct rip-off of "The Colbert Report," which is itself a highly amusing parody of those punditry shows.

Once the humorously self-important video package wraps up, we cut back to the wide shot of the stage.... and all of a sudden, on the left side (opposite of the "vehicular entry" side), a portion of the shiny metallic set spins around (bat-cave-entry-poll-style) to reveal an entire new part of the set: a fancy desk, with four chairs, monitors behind the desk running looped footage of recent SD! events, and seated at the head of the desk: Ken Kennedy in a suit and tie.

Standing behind Kennedy, a stoic looking man also in a suit and tie, giving off a vibe of "don't fuck with me." He is, it turns out, OVW's Brent Albright, a talented in-ring worker with a bit of a personality deficiency ("Baby Benoit" could suit him, if you wanted to be just a touch generous) who was always one of JR's favorites before Johnny Ace took over the Talent Relations job. Brent is sometimes known by the nickname "Shooter" Albright. And he's here backing up Ken Kennedy on a segment known as "The Shooting Range"? Surely that can't be coincidence, can it? Nope, not when The Rick has wrested created control away from the Hollywood Writer Monkeys, it can't.

Kennedy: "Welcome to the Shooting Range, where I, Ken Kennedy, will Tell It Like It Is. I'm not some corporate mouthpiece like Tazz or Cole. I'm a man who worked his way up the ladder in this business, who understands it inside and out, and who will say what's on his mind each and every week, no matter what the company or the network things of me. And why am I sitting here at a desk telling you people what I think about the latest happening in wrestling, instead of going out there and MAKING the latest happenings as only Mister Kennedy can do? Well, I've got a bit of bad news for you people, and it's tonight's topic:


At this point, Kennedy will launch into a prepared 90-second riff on the night's topic, while a split-screen graphic will punctuate the prepared speech with sometimes-funny, sometimes-incisive words/images/sayings. If you have seen O'Reilly's "no spin zone" or Colbert's "The Word," then you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, then, well, the sheer creative perfection of this new role for Kennedy will be partially lost on you. Don't worry, it's not important.... it's just part of the imagineering process of inventing this bit that massively amused me, so I'm going to continue envisioning it as being there even if it's not vital to the narrative.

And tonight's topic is "Injuries." Which is exactly the reason why Kennedy has been relegated to a desk. While competing in December, he suffered a severe back and shoulder injury, and while (so soon after surgery) his range of motion "already stands at an impressive and jaw-dropping 43 and one-quarter percent," he's months away from returning to the ring. So he came up with this format: coming on TV and shooting straight with the fans. Because he knows he'll be controversial, and because he, himself, is unable to defend himself, Kennedy set up this program, where all guests will be required to act with proper decorum (including proper dress), and express themselves only verbally. Any attempt to get physical with the host or another guest will not be tolerated. Which brings Kennedy to another point: the man behind him is his (for-now-unnamed) enforcer. Kennedy says, "And if you want to break the rules on the Shooting Range, you're making a big mistake. But don't take my word for it. Just try him. Go ahead. Try him. Because he would love it." Hmmmm, intriguing. What's this guy's story? And who will try him? And when? And to what result? 

But enough about Kennedy's injury, it's time to open things up to our Panel Discussion for tonight, which will address another Key Injury in WWE. That of Booker T. So Kennedy welcomes his four-person panel out to the desk: all enter together (and to Kennedy's Theme Song, or possibly some other generic music, but you do NOT get your own entrance on The Shooting Range), and all are dressed nicely.... Booker T and Sharmell take one side of the desk, while Chris Benoit and Teddy Long take the other.

Kennedy works off of note-cards (or pretends to, it's all part of maintaining the illusion of parodying those stupid punditry shows), and starts talking about how Booker T and Benoit are supposed to be in the middle of a Best of Seven Series for the US Title. But now, Booker's hurt. Last week, Teddy Long allowed Booker to select a replacement. But this week, Booker's still hurt.... how is this situation going to play out? Will Teddy just wait until Booker's healthy to continue the series? Or will Teddy risk the "legitimacy of the title" by continuing to allow all manner of un-announced substitutions to mar this once-epic-seven-match series? These are the questions on Ken Kennedy's mind...

And clearly, although GM Long knew he was walking into a tough situation, he wasn't quite expecting the quesitoning to be quite THIS controversial. He sputters for a bit about just wanting to entertain the fans.... "But, Mr. Long, wouldn't the fans be entertained by having a US Champion who will defend his title week in and week out? Answer the question: what do you intend to do about this situation?" asks Kennedy.

Long rambles that the situation is currently under advisement, and that a decision will surely be reached before too long. But that's not good enough here on The Shooting Range. Kennedy wants to know what's taking so long.... "Mr. Long, I appreciate that this is a difficult situation for you, but you've already had over a week to address it, and still have not presented a viable solution. I understand that you can't just hand the title over to Booker T, not knowing when or if he'll be able to defend it." At this, Booker and Sharmell pipe up and Booker insists he's leading the series, which means if the series is called off, he should win the title, and he'll defend it just as soon as he's healthy.... but you do NOT interrupt Mr. Kennedy! He asks them to settle down once. They don't. Then he asks again and the mysterious Enforcer Albright takes one step closer. Booker and Sharmell think about it, and decide to shut up.

"But Mr. Long, I also understand that you have your reasons for not forfeiting the remaining matches in the series, and awarding the title to Mr. Benoit." Confusion from all. Or is that Feigned Confusion from Benoit and Teddy? Hmmmm "I mean, is it not true, Mr. Long, that Mr. Benoit's SmackDown! contract expires within the month?" Grumbling from the crowd, and feigned surprise from Long that Kennedy would bring up this subject. "Is it not true that you want to maintain the facade of fairness, but secretly don't want Mr. Benoit to win the US Title unless he commits to a new SD! contract?" Now the lights flick on in Benoit's eyes, and he realizes the reason why Booker's injury hasn't just resulted in a simple forfeit. He turns to Teddy and asks, "Is that what you're doing? Are you screwing me?". Teddy has no easy explanation to defuse the situation. But Kennedy insists on hearing what he's got to say, anyway.

Teddy knew this would be a tough appearance, but he had no idea it'd be this tough... he composes his thoughts. He finally speaks, "Listen playas. It's true that Chris Benoit's contract expires soon. But it's also true that we're real close to hammering out an extension, and I didn't think there was any reason to bring the situation to the attention of the SD! fans. But apparently Mr. Kennedy disagreed, and brought it up anyway. So be it. So in keeping with the theme of the show, I'll 'shoot straight" withya, too, playas. No, I don't want to just hand the United States Title over to Chris Benoit if I think he's just gonna take it to RAW or lord knows where else. And that's why I haven't just forfeited the matches in his favor and awarded him the title." Kennedy looks proud at catching Teddy, and for his investigative journalistic ability. "But I still fully intend to give Chris Benoit the OPPORTUNITY to win that title, the same opportunity I promised him two months ago when this series started. And if he wins it, fair and square, he can do what he pleases, and there'll be no hard feelings here, playa." Benoit seems placated, for now. "But no: for the sake of this show and for the sake of the SD! fans, I am NOT just handing the title to Chris Benoit."

Kennedy chimes in: "You still haven't answered my question: all you've done is admit that Mr. Kennedy exposed the correct reason WHY you haven't answered his question. So what's it gonna be Teddy Long? What are you going to do about the United States Title?"

Long looks conflicted. And finally, sighs and resignedly says, "I don't know. But I promise you this. Under his current contract, Chris Benoit's last night working for SmackDown! is the Royal Rumble, so we *will* have an undisputed United States Champion before then. No more substitutes. Booker and Benoit will settle their final matches between them, and if they can't do so before the Rumble due to injury, I will award the belt to Benoit and risk the consequences."

Kennedy now turns to his other panel members: first, Booker and Sharmell, who are NOT pleased by this ruling. Booker doesn't know when he'll be medically cleared, and he could lose the US Title despite only losing 1 match in the series to Benoit. But then Kennedy turns to Benoit, and asks him a VERY probing question: "Given what you've learned here tonight and given Mr. Long's decision, how does this affect your likelihood of staying with SmackDown!?"... Benoit ponders, looks down, finally snaps his eyes back up and says simply, "I don't know."

"Well, there you have it, folks. SD! will have a new United States Champion before the Royal Rumble. But will we still have Chris Benoit? Only time will tell, and you can count on The Shooting Range to bring you all the latest scoops. See you next week!" Play the music and hit an abbreviated version of the opening animated video intro as he head to break.

And that, kids, is how you intro a "talk show" segment.


Matt Hardy vs. JBL (No-Count-Out, No-Disqualification)

Ring entrances, Hardy first, and JBL second, who leaves his limo parked up near the top of the ramp.

And then the brawl is on. It's essentially an anything-goes match, and as such, we jump start it out at ringside. As he's the one who demanded the match, we go ahead and give JBL the early advantage, as the ringside brawling actually does suit him well. 

But when he throws Matt back into the ring, the tides turn pretty rapidly. JBL gets cocky and goes for the Clothesline From Hell way too soon; Hardy counters it into a DDT, and things are even-up again. And actually, once both men are back up, Hardy's in command for a bit. Not hindered by rules, he shows his own intensity by doing unkind things to JBL's eyes and testicles and fingers and stuff.... think some of Ric Flair's more recent "diritiest player" showings, but without the wink-wink kitsch factor.

In a final desperation act, JBL ducks a charging Hardy, and manages to back-drop him out of the ring and to the floor. Both men collapse, which means it's time for our final....


Back, and JBL's firmly in control inside the ring. But after several minutes of his much-beloved Methodical Offense, he still can't put Matt away, so we finally ramp things up... JBL goes to ringside to grab a steel chair, figuring this'll do the job. But it doesn't: instead, Matt intercepts the chairshot, and we enter an End Game of back and forth brawling where the guys use all manner of foreign objects.

They go outside the ring and use the steps, and the ring posts, and everything. Out there, Matt gets a bona fide comeback because of all the crazy brawling. In fact, in a huge spot, he actually hits a Twist of Fate on the hood of JBL's limo.... but when Matt goes for the cover, the ref has to remind him that this IS an anything goes match, but it's NOT falls-count-anywhere. Stupid Matt Hardy. So he has to drag JBL back towards the ring.

And in so doing, Matt's expending energy, while JBL's marshalling his (and maybe playing a bit of possum). Matt finally gets JBL in the center of the ring, and goes for a cover. But enough time has elapsed that that's only a 2-count. Matt tries for another Twist of Fate, but JBL counters it into a Fall Away Slam. A Fall Away Slam from the ring all the way out to the floor. Nice.

But JBL can't follow-up immediately, as he's taken a beating, too. When he finally heads outside, Matt's also recovered a bit.... and in fact, Matt starts moving the monitors and stuff from the announce table, with plans of doing.... well, SOMEthing, apparently. But in doing his re-arranging, he let JBL recover.... and JBL goes back to an old standard, and once again Fall-Away-Slams Hardy. This time through the table.

JBL tosses Hardy back into a ring, and after maybe one counter/reverse-y spot, JBL hits the Lariat, and that's all she wrote.

Your Winner: JBL, via pinfall, in about 12 minutes.

After the Match: JBL is heading back to his limo, along with Jillian Hall (who was at ringside this whole match, but apparently served no purpose in so far as I didn't think of any reason to mention her presence, but I'm sure she lent a hand here and there).... but just as they get there, the lights go spooky, and the smoke starts up, as does the Boogeyman's music. JBL starts looking around, unsure of where Boogey might strike from.... but then the answer becomes clear: Boogeyman in in JBL's limo, and comes on out through the sun roof.

JBL is creeped out enough to backpeddle to the ring. But he's also got a bit more spine than last week, as he knows he gave SD!'s higher-ups an ultimatum. Boogey follows JBL up into the ring, and is just about to attack him when Palmer Cannon sprints out and gets in the way. BOOO~! He tries to talk sense to Boogey, but Boogey isn't the sense-talking kind. Boogey keeps distractedly peaking over Palmer's shoulder to give Spooky Glances at JBL, who is backed into a corner. Finally, Boogey has had enough, and gently nudges Cannon aside, and locks eyes with JBL.

Then Boogey goes into one of his Voodoo Dances. But this entails briefly turning away from the corner.... which his back to JBL, Boogey works himself into quite the lather, turns around, and sprints at the corner to deliver a wicked splash. Except: at the last second, Palmer Cannon pulled JBL out of the way, and took the bullet, instead.

JBL quickly rolls outside. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, he starts heading back to the limo, instead of worrying about Cannon. Boogey keeps an eye on him, but this involves following JBL around the ring.... which also involves Boogey's eyes passing over the carcass of Matt Hardy. Hmmm. It seems Boogeyman is not one to discriminate between heels and faces.... he suddenly becomes less interested in JBL (who makes his retreat successfully, and with a smile on his face). Boogey pulls out a pocket full of worms. Chews them. And then, out of instinct, just starts drooling them into the face of the still-dead Matt Hardy. Boo? 

The fans don't know quite what to make of it, although JBL smiling as we fade to black means it's probably a bad thing. See you next week, folks.... or if you're following RAW brand FOOniverse Events, see you over the weekend for the New Year's Revolution PPV!

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



Rick Scaia is a long-time wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  The FOOniverse shall prove, once and for all, that *that* is more important to understanding good wrestling than graduating from some joke of a "film school" or contributing to some shitty sitcom.




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