WWE Friday Night Smackdown
November 25th, 2005

It's the final Smackdown before Survivor Series '05, with the Raw/Smackdown match looming over everything these guys do. Will Raw once again appear on SD, and cause problems in jolly old England? Well, of course. The question is, what will happen when they do? Let's get to it.

- Just like Raw, Smackdown showed what happened two weeks ago, with Edge getting Kane & the Big Show to attack (and injure) Batista, then showcased what happened on the last Raw. Good for them; keep the casual viewer informed.

- Theodore Long gives the security outside a pep talk, telling them to spread out and keep their eyes open. I personally think they should stay together, considering how many Raw stars could show up, but that's just me.

- Match #1: Booker T and Chris Benoit wrestled to a No-Contest for the United States Heavyweight Title. Quite frankly, I was surprised to see this match, since I knew it would be happening at the Survivor Series. Still, I can't complain about a long Booker T/Benoit match-up. Sharmell introduced her man before the match, dressed like Miss Black America. Might as well seize an available character, right? Actually, this match swerved me a little. When the ref went down while Benoit was in charge, I thought that we were going to see Sharmell cost Benoit again. But when Benoit locked on the Sharpshooter, a second ref ran out, causing me to mark out a little. I soon figured out the new ending, though, as Sharmell distracted Benoit on the ropes, allowing Booker T to get a modified Superplex. Both men hit the mat and held the other, causing both refs to count, leading to mass confusion about who the winner was. Nice match, definitely a good way to kick things off.

- After the break, Teddy Long came out and asked for the replay, which, of course, was inconclusive. Sharmell was quick to tell Long that, in the event of a tie, the Champion keeps the title. Long agreed, saying that Benoit wasn't the champ. He also, however, stripped Booker T of the US Title as well! Long then announced that Booker T & Benoit would be revisiting history, as they would have another Best of 7 Series to decide the new US Champion, with the first match at the Survivor Series. Personally, I wasn't excited by the Series announcement, since I wonder how many people will buy the PPV for that match (which doesn't mean anything now). I think a "Three Falls" Match would have been better, with the Series starting afterwards and building to the Rumble. Then again, I'm all but guaranteed 7 matches between these two, so how can I complain?

- JBL, seen in the back, approached a suspicious van, telling the nearby security that it was probably Raw. It turned out to have the Boogeyman inside. Freaky. After he did his song (a Mary Poppins tune, which made it almost creepy), JBL slowly closed the door, looking completely off his game. I love how they keep throwing the Boogeyman out there; I just wonder if he can wrestle.

- Match #2: The Dicks (Chad & James Dick) defeated the Legion of Doom '05 (Animal & Heidenreich). I'm still shaking my head over these guys getting named like this. What was wrong with the Tolands again? Oh well. The Dicks pulled out the win with cheating tactics, as Chad sprayed baby lotion into Animal's eyes, blinding him. James was then able to catch Animal with a pin, with Chad helping him hold the pin from the outside, getting the "upset". I put quotations around that because every new tag-team always 'surprises' the veterans they're facing. I'm just surprised that the Dicks didn't win the belts.

- Match #3: Matt Hardy won, via DQ, over Ken Kennedy. They're still announcing Kennedy as undefeated, even though he lost by DQ two weeks ago against Eddie. Hmph. Good match, with Kennedy apparently starting to have more and more of a temper problem. He tried to bring a chair into the ring, with the same referee as last time (little 'Natch) grabbing it. When Kennedy tried to pull it free, he shoved it (barely) into the ref's chest, who sold it like a punch to the guts, then called for the DQ. Kennedy lost it after the match, slamming the chair onto the ground. I'm interested to see where this is going, although, honestly, I think Kennedy was actually getting over without this gimmick. Gotta love the WWE writers, right?

- Eric Bischoff is stopped by security and confronted by Teddy Long outside. Bischoff simply passes along a message: they're coming. Teddy actually says "Who's coming?" Sheesh, Teddy, put two and two together already! Bischoff replies with "They're closer than you think". Yep, they're in the locker room already.

- Match #4: Melina defeated Christy Hemme. A much-needed storyline match, as I don't think many people were buying Melina as a true contender to Trish's Women's Title. Right at the beginning of the match, M-N-M interfered with Hemme, causing the ref to send both to the back. This left Melina on her own, with the two ladies going back-and-forth. Honestly, Christy looked dominant at times, showing how far she's come as a wrestler. But Melina was stronger in the end, getting a vicious-looking face jam into the mat on Christy for the win. M-N-M came back out to celebrate with Melina after the match.

- With Batista being taped in the back, Randy Orton came in to talk with him. Orton apologized (in a way) for not being there when Kane & the Big Show attacked Batista on Smackdown 2 weeks ago. But that was about it for "nice Randy", as he wanted to know if Batista was going to use his injury as an excuse when he lost to Orton that night. Orton talked about being the best in Evolution, but Batista countered that, pointing out that while Orton had been kicked out of Evolution and had lost to Triple H, Batista walked out on his own terms and won the belt FROM Triple H, a noticable difference. Batista then walked out on his own terms again, leaving Orton behind.

- We're shown footage of Nunzio winning the Cruiserweight Title in Italy, to the roar of the crowd there. Good to hear cheers for a cruiserweight. During the replay, though, Carlito & Chris Masters from Raw made their way to seats along the front row, showing their tickets to security. Of course. We couldn't have a Cruiserweight Match without something else going on, right?

- Match #5: Juventud Guerrera won the Cruiserweight Title back from Nunzio with the Juvi Driver. Big Vito got involved early on, saving Nunzio from a suicide dive from Juvy. But, in the end, Super Crazy & Psychosis made sure that Vito didn't interfere again, keeping him separated from the ring and allowing Juventud to capitalize with the Juvy Driver for the win and the title. Little reaction here, but what do you expect? The crowd (and the announcers) were all about Masters & Carlito, and the finisher basically seemed to come from nowhere to me. Oh well, it's still great to see the belt changing hands on SD. Maybe that'll show people it's actually an important title.

- Match #6: Rey Mysterio & JBL won, via DQ, over William Regal & Paul Birchall. Mysterio & JBL had the match won with their respective finishers, when Raw's Shawn Michaels appeared out of nowhere to give JBL some Sweet Chin Music. As security chased off HBK, this allowed Carlito & Masters to enter and attack Mysterio, with 4 members of the SD Locker room (Hardcore Holly, Chris Benoit, & LoD '05) making the save. Ummm, where was the rest of the SD team? Ok, so Batista's hurt and Orton probably could care less, but at least send down Lashley.

- Another dark commercial talked about the Undertaker's return at the Survivor Series. They keep calling it "The Beginning of the End". Does that mean that the Undertaker will be retiring soon? Believe it or not, I don't want to see that happen, but we'll just have to wait and see.

- Match #7: Bobby Lashley defeated Orlando Jordan with the Dominator. Squash match, pure and simple. They gave the match about a minute.

- Teddy Long was shown that all the security had been taken out in the parking lot. See? I TOLD you they should have stayed together! In response, Long tells a referee to send all of the locker room out to the ring to protect the main event. No medical personnel were called, but then, they're just nameless security guards, after all.

- Match #8... really didn't get started, as the scheduled Batista/Randy Orton No Holds Barred Match didn't get past the opening grappling. With the SD stars surrounding the ring, the entire Raw roster suddenly ran out of the back, leading to a humongous brawl! Ok, so I marked out on this one. In the ring, Orton got the RKO on both Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch, earning some face cheers, but he was then superkicked by HBK. Mysterio took out Michaels with the 619, but then was double-teamed by Carlito & Masters. Batista made the save, getting rid of the two, but then somehow got double-teamed himself by Kane & the Big Show. Is the SD crew that outnumbered by Raw? Anyway, although Batista fought back hard against them, he was eventually taken to the outside and double-chokeslammed through the announce table, again left out by the Raw Tag Champs. JBL tried to make the save, but was stopped in the ring by Shelton Benjamin (first time in a long time that JBL got cheered, while Benjamin got booed). The night ended with maniacal laughter from Kane & the Big Show, standing over Batista's broken body.

Summary: Pretty good night of wrestling, with a good final build towards the '05 Survivor Series. I only really noticed one major flaw in tonight's action, but it was a pretty big problem in my mind.

Ok, so you've got the Survivor Series in only 2 days (yeah, I know, it's pre-taped, but we're going to call it as a Friday show). You've got your World Champion, and the leader of your Smackdown Squad, Batista, badly injured, due to multiple attacks from Kane & The Big Show. You've got team unity issues, due in part by the death of Eddie Guerrero, as Batista & Guerrero's replacement, Randy Orton, just don't get along.

So what does the logical general manager do? He tells Batista to stay home and heal up, or at least makes sure that he's not involved in a match. He doesn't put Batista in harm's way again, eventually leading to Batista getting the double-chokeslam through a table, making him doubtful for the Elimination Match.

Of course, let's take this the next step, and follow some logic. Maybe, just maybe, the old 30-day stipulations are still in effect regarding the World Title. If that's true, then Batista had already gone over the limit, since he hadn't defended the belt since No Mercy (depending on if you count his 'match' with Edge). So maybe, under the rules, Batista had to defend tonight. But why does it have to be Randy Orton? Couldn't Long have pulled an old 'heel' trick out of his pocket and put Batista against, say, Funaki? Why endanger his team's ability to work together?

On that note, why not have them in a normal match for the belt, at the very least? I mean, Batista's hurting, right? So why a No Holds Barred Match, with Randy Orton always interested in using whatever he can to win? Even if Raw hadn't invaded, Orton could have taken out Batista (especially with "Cowboy Bob" on the outside). BTW, anyone noticed the obvious match error here? It was a No Holds Barred match, so once the bell rang, there's no Countouts or DQ, is there? So why didn't Orton, after the melee, head over to the downed Batista and just make the pin, becoming World Champ? Just a thought.

Really, if Teddy Long truly cared about beating Raw, why would he do what he did? The only explanation I have is that it was called down from Vince McMahon, because it makes no sense to me otherwise.

Other than that, hey, it's hard to complain about a show with multiple title changes (even if one was a vacated belt). I would have liked to see M-N-M in action as well, of course, maybe defeating a couple of jobbers, but, heck, they had enough matches already. I was also happy that the crowd knew the difference between the brands, as they cheered for SD guys and booed the Raw guys. Good to see that split loyalty out there. Smackdown has definitely restored some of my interest in the main event of the Survivor Series. Now if only there were other matches....

The Accelerator