WWE Friday Night Smackdown
October 7th, 2005

It’s day one of four for me “review-wise”, as I start a string of shows with Friday Night Smackdown. Shown only two days before WWE No Mercy ’05, it’s the show that’s set up to push the PPV as hard as possible. Did it work? Or at least give us a good show? You be the judge.

- We started out with Teddy Long and Palmer Cannon in the ring, with Long announcing that the 6-Man Match that Bischoff blocked on Raw would be happening tonight. Makes sense to me. Cannon then stole the mic to tell Long how much the Network supported him in his fight against Raw, with Long daring Bischoff to try something at No Mercy. Smell the buyrate!

- Randy & Bob Orton then interrupted the bosses, telling them to leave the ring. Long gets ready to get in Randy’s face, but Cannon AGAIN steals the mic, saying to let “the future of Smackdown” get what he wants. If I was Long, I’d just start bringing 2 mics to the ring and be done with it. Anyway, Randy & Bob taunted both the Undertaker and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, whom Randy RKO’ed on Homecoming. Piper then came out, with both Ortons thinking that he simply wanted to start their match right away. Instead, Piper, who had a concealed pipe, beat the snot out of Randy and forced the Ortons out of the ring. Well, I’ll say this: that was about the only way to get me interested in a match involving Piper and “Cowboy Bob”.

- Match #1: Booker T defeated Orlando Jordan. Sharmell introduced her man to the ring, and as the two #1 Contenders to the US Title went at it, she proved to be the deciding factor, tripping up OJ as he tried to suplex Booker T into the ring, allowing Booker to get the pin. Booker seemed slightly annoyed afterwards in Sharmell’s actions. And OJ, of course, was ticked. I could probably complain again about OJ being able to stay with Booker T after losing so many times to Benoit, but honestly, this match came off well, and gave both men some push going into the PPV, so it did its job.

- Match #2: Sylvan Grenier defeated Hardcore Holly, thanks to interference from guest commentator Mr. Ken Kennedy. Kennedy was pretty funny at the announce table (I loved him calling Holly “the NASCAR guy” (from his old WWF days). They also sold Grenier’s problems with Holly, although they were almost after-thoughts to the growing problems between Kennedy & Holly. At one point, Holly shoved Kennedy down outside. This, of course, backfired on Holly, as Kennedy later clobbered him with his mic, allowing Grenier to get his brain buster finisher for the win. Kennedy taunted Holly after the match, announcing him as the loser. Once again, this match did its job, as more people will be interested in Kennedy/Holly at the PPV.

- “Rowdy” Roddy Piper talked in the back about how “Cowboy Bob” was slow in the old days. He was kind of hard to follow, but then, that’s just Piper.

- Match #3: The LoD ’05 (with Christy Hemme) won, via DQ, over William Regal & Paul Birchall, when M-N-M came down and attacked. I was actually a little disappointed in this one, as it looked like Heidenreich & Animal really just stomped all over Regal & Birchall, who have prospects as a strong tag-team on Smackdown. I mean, 2 minutes in, and they were preparing for their Doomsday Device on Birchall! Oh well. Anyway, Melina ran in first and took out Christy, with Mercury & Nitro then pasting LoD ‘05, before hitting a Snapshot on Christy to take her out. LoD ’05 ran them off with chairs, then carried Christy out.

- Eddie Guerrero came out to the ring to prove his loyalty & friendship to Batista, even wearing a Batista t-shirt. He talked about having Batista’s back at the Homecoming brawl. Batista then came out and asked about Eddie “having his back” at the last SD, where Eddie ‘accidentally’ hit Batista with a chair. Eddie was angry about Batista’s insinuations, almost talking like Batista was the one ending the friendship. The two eventually ‘reconciled’, with Batista saying that, after Evolution, he’s grown eyes in the back of his head (that’s GOTTA help in pro wrestling), and that if Eddie screws him, Batista will hurt him. Eddie promises to prove himself later that night.

- Match #4: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper won a “Handicap” Match over Randy & Cowboy Bob Orton. Yep, that’s what I wrote. Randy & Bob overwhelmed Piper early on, and looked to have the easy win, but an Undertaker Gong distracted them. It went away, though, so Cowboy Bob kept hitting Piper. The lights then dimmed with another gong, and as Cowboy Bob looked around, Piper grabbed him from behind and got the roll-up victory.

- After the match, the acolytes came out again, this time with a huge-looking casket. Inside were two ‘dummies’ of Randy & Bob Orton (more camera trickery, heh), which freaked the Ortons out a little bit. The Undertaker, on the screen, taunted the Ortons, then the lights went out, with the Undertaker appearing behind the Ortons, sending them fleeing from the ring. Ok, I’m a big mark for the Undertaker, and I love seeing his mystical ways in action, but does he have to win EVERY TIME going into the PPV? Seriously, he’s gotten the best of the Ortons every step of the way.

- Match #5: Bobby Lashley defeated Eddie Craven. Simon Dean, broken hand and all, came to the ring to do squats during Lashley’s match, to prove his cardiovascular fitness. Lashley was hilarious when he started doing squats as well – with Craven on his shoulders! Later, Dean tried to interfere with a trip, but Lashley stomped on the cast, which actually looked pretty painful, before Lashley finished off Craven with his Dominator finisher. I’m interested in seeing Lashley destroy Dean in a short match at No Mercy (although, obviously, I wouldn’t pay to see it, since I DID see it for free a few weeks ago).

- Match #6: Batista, Chris Benoit, & Rey Mysterio defeated JBL, Eddie Guerrero, & Christian in the promised Six-Man Tag. Mysterio spent a lot of the match as the face-in-peril, thanks to a distraction from Guerrero (hey, sticking with storylines, cool!) that allowed JBL to send Mysterio painfully off the apron and into the guardrail. Mysterio eventually made the hot tag to Batista, who cleared out Christian & JBL. When JBL started to come back, as if to go for the Clothesline From Hell, Eddie surprisingly pulled down the ropes to send JBL to the outside. This allowed Batista to beat Christian with a Spinebuster (ok, not even the Batista Bomb? Sheesh, poor Christian). Afterwards Eddie came into the ring to celebrate with the faces, but was then attacked by JBL & Christian, with Batista making the save. Eddie, holding himself on the mat, could be seen grinning, as if he had finally tricked Batista into believing him.

Summary: All-in-all? Damn good set-up show for the PPV. It covered almost everything that we’re expecting this weekend, which is all you can ask for in a weekly broadcast. I was a little annoyed at the Ortons actually jobbing to Piper, as well as Regal/Birchall not getting a push (when it would be so easy to have the match undecided when M-N-M interfered), but even those matches weren’t bad, and helped continue their storylines. Here’s the expected line-up for WWE No Mercy ’05:

Batista(c) vs. Eddie Guerrero, WWE World Championship Match
Chris Benoit(c) vs. Booker T vs. Christian vs. Orlando Jordan, US Title Match
Nunzio(c) vs. Juventud Guerrera, Cruiserweight Title Match
Randy & Cowboy Bob Orton vs. the Undertaker, Handicap Casket Match
Rey Mysterio vs. JBL
LoD ’05 & Christy Hemme vs. M-N-M
Mr. Ken Kennedy vs. Hardcore Holly
Bobby Lashley vs. Simon Dean

Obviously, the only match not getting much play is the Cruiserweight Title Match, but then, it’d be too much for me to ask Vince to actually display the cruiserweights on Smackdown, wouldn’t it? Personally, while I’ve seen much worse cards in my time, this one looks a little too predictable, except for one or two matches. The only “unpredictable” part is where the Raw superstars will come in. Still, this one Smackdown might have been enough to raise the buy rate of this weekend’s show significantly, if only because people are actually focusing on the PPV now (instead of Homecoming).

The Accelerator