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SD! Becomes WWE's Taint...
Taint Offensive, but Taint Exciting
March 19, 2006

by Jeff J. Snider
Special for OnlineOnslaught.com


So it's Japan and Cuba in the World Baseball Classic final Monday night. As an American, I think this is the best possible matchup. How many countries in the world are there that have there own professional baseball league? Three: the U.S., Japan, and Cuba . Sure, there's a Mexican league, but they don't even pretend to have the best players in the world. Japan and Cuba are the only countries that could, with a straight face, claim to have a league that could compete with Major League Baseball. The fact that those two countries are now playing for the title of Best Baseball Country in the World will (hopefully) grate on the nerves of a few American players. And probably a few Dominican players, because let's face it, MLB is as much the Dominicans' as it is ours. The fact that America, the D.R., and Venezuela are all sitting at home watching this final on TV -- well, if that doesn't improve the quality of play for 2009, nothing will. 
Oh yeah, there's basketball going on, too. As I type this, George Mason just knocked off North Carolina 65-60 to go to the Sweet 16. Now, I have been a big George Mason fan ever since he saved Jack Bauer and the rest of America by flying that plane with the nuclear bomb down into the desert, but this is just the latest in a string of

upsets. This was the tenth game so far in the tournament that the winning team had a seed at least three spots lower than the loser, with eight in the first round, and Bradley and Mason following it up in the second round. It just goes to show: the NCAA Tournament doesn't necessarily give the championship to the best team in the country, but when you give every single team a chance to win it all, the excitement is unbeatable.

Enough about the real sports. Let's talk about Smackdown. I am going to try a new approach tonight: I am not going to worry about the play-by-play as much as I am going to try to tell the story of the match. The thing is, I figure there are two kinds of people who are reading this recap: people who saw the show and people who didn't. Neither group, as far as I can tell, cares about who hit a clothesline three minutes into the match. They care who won, what the vibe of the match was, what the overriding theme was, and whether it was effective. As a side benefit, I enjoy the show much more when I can look for those overriding themes instead of taking copious notes about moves and stuff. I don't plan on doing a halfhearted job; I just think the wholehearted version will be more effective with a little restructuring. Please let me know if you agree or disagree. Let's give it a shot:

Last week: Mark Henry was fat, and Kurt Angle's ribs won't ever forget it.

Tonight: Angle, Rey Mysterio, and Randy Orton take on MNM and Henry.

Smackdown theme, pyro, etc., and we are taped from somewhere in Louisiana . When we get started, the ring is already surrounded by lumberjacks, getting ready for...

Finlay vs. Lashley (Money in the Bank Qualifying Lumberjack Match)

During the entrances, we get a flashback to last week, when Lashley rolled a car over. These two guys don't seem to care much for each other, and I have been digging the intensity.

This match often looked like a 15-on-1 match, with Finlay using the heel lumberjacks (with a face-unpainted Animal as the ringleader) as his henchmen. When Lashley would begin to get an advantage (which was often, due to the strength advantage), Finlay would somehow get him out of the ring, into the waiting arms of the heels. It's never enough, though, as Lashley is just too strong. He hits a pretty sweet one-armed delayed suplex, holding Finlay over his head with one arm for what seemed like an hour, and even though it was probably only ten seconds or so, it was long enough that Finlay had to tap Lashley's chest to let him know, “Hey, I've had enough, drop me already.” Lashley then military presses Finlay and throws him over the top rope onto the lumberjacks. Lashley heads out to the ring himself and beats down all the bad guys, then heads back into the ring with Finlay. Sylvan comes from behind with a chair, but Lashley turns around and spears him. (Actually, Sylvan was holding the chair too low, so Lashley actually speared the chair, but it didn't faze him at all.) With the ref distracted with Sylvan, Finlay grabs his shillelagh and whacks Lashley in the head with it. 1-2-3.

Your winner: Finlay (about 11 minutes). This was another intense, quality match between these two guys. Make no mistake about it, Finlay is not a great wrestler at this point in his career, but he is a great brawler. He is genuinely good at making the crowd hate him, which is a good thing (as long as they don't hate you in a “Why are you wasting time on my TV?” sort of way -- no offense, Mark Henry).


Backstage: Mercury and Nitro appear to be ogling Vince McMahon in Muscle & Fitness magazine, but when Melina pulls it away, they are actually ogling Candice Michelle. Melina, for some reason, seems upset that they find an attractive young woman more appealing than an ugly old man, but whatever. Melina tells her boys to get ready for their match, and then she goes to play nice with Kristal (if by “play nice,” you mean “stumble over a few lines while basically saying, ‘I'm prettier than you'”). Suddenly, Paul Burchill shows up, and M&N show back up to join Melina in laughing at Burchill. Burchill pulls out his sword, and after MNM slowly back away, Kristal make some sort of innuendo-filled flirtatious remark.

Elsewhere backstage: Randy Orton is preparing for the big three-way interview with Angle, Rey, and Orton. And to reinforce the idea that the previous MNM backstage bit lasted way too long, we already head to more...


William Regal and Jillian vs. Paul Burchill and Kristal

This match really just served to ramp up the intensity between the two sets of enemies. Did it work? Well, Kristal and Jillian certainly seem to hate each other, but I don't know that I actually, ya know, CARE. As for Regal and Burchill? They were a little more crisp than last week, and the match-ending flippy move certainly looked better -- still not as good as the one I saw online, but definitely better.

Your winners: Paul Burchill and Kristal (maybe 4 or 5 minutes).

Backstage: Sharmell is scared and annoying. Booker gives her a box that he says “is going to take care of everything.” Will it be something interesting and cool? Or will it be a freaking beekeeper's suit? BANK ON IT~!

Elsewhere backstage: Rey prepares for the interview.


Recap of the 2006 Hall of Fame class, with the latest inductee: Vern Gagne.

Sharmell comes down in her new bee-suit (I told you to BANK ON IT~!), and she quickly introduces Booker.

Booker T vs. Jeremy Young

This Jeremy Young guy actually goes by “The Fire” or “The Flame” or “Hot Stuff” or something like that. Of course, I don't recap squashes, and that's what this match was. I think it would be effective, if they are going to have Boogey cost Booker matches like they did against Tatanka last week, to have Booker lose a match to a guy like Flamin' Jeremy Young. But alas, Booker wins in squashy fashion.

Your winner: Booker T (about 2 minutes).

After the match: Boogey's music hits, and despite the fact that he just recently came out of the stands, Booker keeps his eyes peeled on the entrance ramp. Booker eventually decides that he and Sharmell should hide under the ring, despite the fact that my casual fan wife JUST SAID, “You just know Boogeyman is hiding under the ring.” Sure enough, there he was, and the T's rush out from under the ring as quickly as they went in. As BookShar run up the ramp, Boogey -- wait for it ... wait for it -- eats some worms. Go figure.

If I haven't made this abundantly clear before, this feud is annoying. Anything that involves Boogeyman is annoying. Sharmell is scared to death of Boogeyman, despite the fact that to this point in the feud, there has been absolutely ZERO physical contact. So Boogeyman eats worms. That's a good reason to not want to kiss him. Or to not want your daughter to bring him home. Or to not want him to ever show up on your TV screen again. But to be scared to death of him? I don't think so.

Backstage: Angle is getting ready for the interview.


Video Package: Mark Henry can't wrestle, but he sure is big. Oh, and the Undertaker hates him.

(Obviously Pre-Recorded) Interview: Orton, Angle, and Mysterio

Here's how this went. Orton stumbles over his lines, responding to statements before they are made. Angle and Rey do their best to keep things on track, and if you overlook the stumbling, Orton certainly does a good job coming off as a prick. He says Rey doesn't belong in the main event at Wrestlemania, which both Angle and Mysterio refute. He says Angle is a paper champion, and Angle points out the logic flaws there. The recorded voice of Michael Cole asks all three guys if they can work together as a team tonight, and the overall response is “Don't count on it.”

This really could have been a pretty effective interview, because like I said, Orton said all the right things. The problem is, he didn't say them at the right times, and he didn't say them very well. But it left me wondering, since this was obviously pre-taped, why not do a little more editing? Or was this version already heavily edited, and this was the best it was gonna get?


Two weeks ago: Mark Henry? Yep, he was fat back then, too. And Taker felt it.

Backstage: Josh Matthews is with Henry and Daivari. Henry isn't afraid of Taker or his casket, and he calls him out for SNME.

At this point, my local UPN station does something weird. We see the entrances for MNM and Henry, and I start wondering if we are really going to have the main event with 50 minutes left and an Animal/Hardy match still to come. Then they go to ads, and when they come back, the Animal/Hardy match is about to start. Later, before the main event really starts, we just don't see the heel entrances, because we already saw them a half-hour ago. UPN does this every once in a while. Back when JBL first showed up as JBL (the week after Farooq got fired), I saw the part where JBL attacked Eddie about an hour before I saw the part where JBL came down and introduced himself as JBL. I was confused, but since it has happened a couple times since then, I have gotten used to it. Any of you ever have that experience with UPN?

Animal vs. Matt Hardy (Money in the Bank Qualifying Match)

Hardy attacks, but Animal works on the bad knee to get an advantage. A couple minutes in, Hardy has control, and he is laying into Animal in the corner, but he accidentally elbows referee Charles Robinson in the head. Using the distraction, Animal pulls out some brass knuckles and lays Hardy out for the 1-2-3. Robinson declares Animal the winner, but as he is raising his hand, the knucks fall out, and Robinson reverses his decision.

Your winner: Matt Hardy (DQ, just over 3 minutes).

After the match: Animal lays into Hardy with the brass knuckles again.

Next week: Last Chance Battle Royale to fill the last spot in the Money in the Bank match at Wrestlemania.


JBL comes to the ring with his beer cooler, and we see the new Austin Remix song that The Rick loves so much. When that is done, JBL takes a seat at the announce table.

OrlandoJordan vs. Chris Benoit

The match lasts almost four minutes. OJ has the advantage for about 30 seconds of that. Benoit goes for the Three Amigos, but OJ blocks the third one. Benoit goes for the Hat Trick o' Germans, but OJ blocks the third one. Benoit locks in the Sharpshooter, and OJ taps.

Your winner: Chris Benoit (just under 4 minutes).

After the match: JBL blasts Benoit in the head with the beer cooler. Jerk.

This match served no purpose other than as a way to keep the Benoit/JBL feud going without actually making JBL wrestle. If they have a good match at Mania, it will be worth it.


Orton, Angle, and Mysterio vs. MNM and Henry

Three stories in this match:

1) The bad guys work on the ribs of Kurt Angle.

2) Mark Henry uses his size to great advantage over the midget-like Mysterio.

3) Randy Orton refuses to be in position to tag in when he is needed.

Obviously, WWE wasn't going to have its three main-eventers looking weak in this match, so the only question was whether Orton would somehow cost the match for his team. In the end, what he did was simple: never tag into the match until Rey and Kurt have done all the hard work, then, once Angle has taken care of Nitro and Henry with Angle Slams and Rey has hit the 619 on Mercury, make a blind tag, throw Mysterio out of the ring, and cover for the 1-2-3.

Your winners: Angle, Mysterio, and Orton.

After the match: Angle and Mysterio look upset, and we are out.

The bulk of this match was performed by Angle, Rey, Mercury, and Nitro. If we had main events between those four guys every week, I wouldn't complain much. The fact that Henry and Orton were in the match was slightly overshadowed by the fact that they didn't do much, and the four good wrestlers put on a pretty good show.

What about the show in general? Well, it wasn't bad. There was some entertaining wrestling going on throughout the night, and it kept my interest. Was anything much different at the end of the night than it was at the beginning? Not so much. So as a stand-alone product, this show was pretty good. As an episode on the Road to Wrestlemania, the night before Saturday Night's Main Event -- well, it was below average, that's for sure.



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




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