This is the final show before WrestleMania XXV! Wow ? it’s FINALLY here!
?Yes, sir, we promised you a great main event?? The WWE video leads us into the show.
No pyro to open up the show as Diva’s Champion Maryse’s music hits and we?re welcomed to Friday Night Smackdown by Jim Ross ? no Tazz speaking yet! JR talks about how Maryse attempted to defend her Diva’s Championship against Michelle McCool last week but the match was interrupted by Gail Kim! She?ll be in the 25 Diva Battle Royal in two days at WrestleMania to determine Miss WrestleMania! Tazz is now talking.
Maryse & Michelle McCool vs. Gail Kim & Maria
This is Gail Kim’s first televised match for Smackdown since returning to WWE!
The referee calls for the bell and it?ll be Michelle McCool starting the match out against Maria. They lock up and McCool quickly backs Maria into the corner, prompting the referee to count for the clean break. McCool lets go and Maria pushes her back! McCool doesn?t like that so she executed a double leg takedown and pulls her hair! McCool picks her up and just as quickly punches her back down to her knees. McCool then hits a European Uppercut and then a kick to the midsection before attempting to blindside Gail Kim with a wild punch, which she ducks! McCool then turns into a roundhouse kick from Maria, who covers for a one count. Maria hits a whole bunch of forearms and a knee to the midsection followed by a huge kick in the face! Maria backs into the ropes and is hit by Maryse! Maria forearms her down on the apron and turns into a big boot from McCool! McCool puts Maria in the corner and tags in Maryse!
Maryse comes in, kicks Maria in the midsection, slaps her on the head, and tags back in Michelle McCool. Ok. McCool stomps a mud hole in Maria ?Steve Austin? style (not really) before taking her out of the corner to hit a European Uppercut. McCool brings her back to the corner and bounces her head off the top turnbuckle before tagging back in Maryse.
Maryse forearms Maria in the face before locking her in the Tree of Woe ? and when I say locking I mean she doesn?t wrap Maria’s leg around the turnbuckle to hold her up. Maria just hangs upside down seemingly on her own free will ? now why would you do that if you know this isn?t a good position to be in? I know I?m nitpicking but still! I want a little realism in my fake wrestling, please.
Maryse tags in Michelle McCool who goes into the ropes and hits a low dropkick to Maria’s midsection! Maria crashes down to the mat and McCool allows her to climb up her body for a few seconds before hammering her down again. McCool forces Maria to the corner and tags in Maryse, who comes in and shoves Maria down on her face! Maryse gets on her back and pulls back on her head with the rear Camel Clutch, laughing and slapping her in the head while doing it! The crowd is chanting Maria on, who gets up and, with Maryse on her back, flips Maryse off her and tags in Gail Kim!!
Gail Kim quickly comes in, ducks a clothesline, and clotheslines Maryse down! She hits another clothesline and forces Maryse into the corner, hitting a kind of forearm on her face! Kim whips her into the corner hard and hits a jumping corner clothesline! Kim has a whip into the opposite corner reversed on her but she counters by jumping to the second rope and flipping into a cross-body, which she releases at the two count when she sees Michelle McCool coming in! Kim simply dropkicks her out of the ring! Kim turns into a kick to the midsection from Maryse. Maryse attempts an Irish whip but Kim counters by twisting her arm, putting her boot in Maryse’s face, and falling on her back in an impressive move! Gail Kim then picks her up, hits her Double Arm Neckbreaker, and pins the Diva’s Champion! Gail Kim performed well in this one!
Winners by Pinfall: Gail Kim & Maria
Match Rating: * ?
Gail Kim and Maria both have their arms raised as we see replays of Gail Kim dominating the match! JR reminds us we?ll see all four of these ladies in the 25 Diva Battle Royal where someone will be crowned Miss WrestleMania!
Backstage MVP is looking at his United States Championship when Eve Torres comes in, asking for a word with him. He agrees to let her have a word and she says that tonight Shelton Benjamin is getting his rematch for the United States Championship so she asks who will be walking into WrestleMania as the champ. MVP says he?ll answer that by saying tonight is the first step in a three step process. Step One: He defeats Shelton Benjamin and retains his United States Championship. Step Two: He goes to the twenty-fifth anniversary of WrestleMania, climb the ladder, retrieve the briefcase, and win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. This leads to Step Three where he cashes in the said briefcase for the World Championship!
Shelton Benjamin now interrupts and says to stop this. Benjamin says he makes it sound so easy and he doesn?t know who MVP thinks he’s facing but he’s not just facing the Gold Standard ? he’s facing a man with a chip on his shoulder. He’s facing a man who is hungry, angry, and absolutely will not stop until he gets back what is rightfully his! MVP’s step-by-step program won?t make a difference when he’s beating him to a pulp and taking back his United States Championship!
MVP says there is no question in his mind that Benjamin is one of the best athletes on the planet and is without question one of the most amazing athletes he’s ever faced. MVP says he’s the best of the best, no doubt. MVP then says he?ll find out tonight and at WrestleMania that while he may be the best in the planet, he isn?t better than MVP! Benjamin says, ?We?ll see,? and MVP says, ?We will!? Benjamin then walks off and MVP scoffs, saying it?ll never happen!
Tonight we?ll be seeing MVP defend his United States Championship against Shelton Benjamin but next we?ll be seeing a sample of WrestleMania Axxess from Houston, Texas!
We see the build-up for the Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy Extreme Rules Match at WrestleMania. This is one I can?t wait for. Todd Grisham announces tonight we?ll be seeing Jeff Hardy take on Ezekiel Jackson, just two days before WrestleMania!
We?re now in Houston, Texas and Todd Grisham is alongside Jerry ?The King? Lawler at WrestleMania Fan Axxess! We catch a glimpse of Hornswoggle’s house under the ring as he mugs with some fans and we also see where Undertaker buries the dead ? his graveyard with all his WrestleMania opponent’s names on it. There’s a fresh grave dug for the next victim! King and Grisham talk about how awesome it is there and then discuss how it’s probably not so happy at the Hardy household ? assuming Matt and Jeff live together I guess? Grisham asks King who’s going to win and King admits he’s not much good at picking sibling rivalries ? he had the South plus points in the Civil War. We now get another longer look at the Hardy vs. Hardy feud.
We now get a WrestleMania flashback ? March 31, 1985: The Birth of WrestleMania! It talks about the big gamble of it and how successful it turned out. Duh ? we?re still talking about it twenty-four years later!
We now get a shot of some little kids punching blow up punching bags and bouncing around in an inflatable ?moon walk? ring. King says he wishes he could have his next match in there? They also show some people getting Henna tattoos of some Superstar symbols.
Grisham and King now discuss the Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship. King says it’s a love triangle and should be called, ?As the Stomach Turns.? He’s still pretty good at one-liners. We now get a long preview of the World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match.
Coming up next we?ll have a comment from World Heavyweight Champion Edge to John Cena!
We get an aerial shot of downtown Houston. King mentions he met the Mayor of Houston.
They discuss more about the Triple Threat Match. We see Big Show defeat John Cena on Raw and then stand by as Edge assaults John Cena.
Edge is now sitting down somewhere staring down at his World Heavyweight Championship. Edge says he had a moment on Raw as he was punching John Cena repeatedly in the skull. He had a moment of enlightenment ? an epiphany! For the last six weeks his focus has been clouded by the selfish desires of his wife. It’s turned their personal and professional lives upside down. But Monday, as he bashed Cena in the skull, it all came rushing back to him ? he remembered that he is the best in the world at what he does! These aren?t just hollow words ? the title backs him up! The title is the key to his happiness! As long as he has it, everything in his life will fall into place! The title allows him to put up with the people who surround him in his life! He caresses the title and says he will never, ever let it go! Big Show is bigger than him but he is BETTER! John Cena is stronger than him but he is BETTER! In just forty-eight hours, on the grandest stage of them all, the twenty-fifth anniversary of WrestleMania, he is going to PROVE it! He then looks wildly into the camera as the segment ends!
Kid Rock will be performing at WrestleMania in case you didn?t know. Grisham and King wonder if he’s ever performed in front of seventy thousand people before. My gut says yes.
Grisham then says that Kid Rock’s song ?So Hott? is the official theme song of the Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal! Hopefully Kid Rock won?t fall asleep like Snoop Dogg did last year. Why was Snoop there again? King is excited about this match but it just doesn?t feel right without him talking about puppies. They then talk about Santino Marella’s possible involvement in the match. We now see the 18 Diva Tag Team Match from Raw ? my question is WHY?? We already saw a Diva’s match on Smackdown to build up the Battle Royal? So far so torturous.
Coming up next is the United States Championship Match ? THANK GOD!
We now get another WrestleMania moment ? WrestleMania 11 which is the worst WrestleMania of all time ? just to notch up my torture a little more.
WWE United States Championship
Shelton Benjamin vs. MVP (c)
My favorite referee in the world Charles Robinson is calling the match. The bell sounds and Benjamin quickly gets on MVP, viciously punching and kicking the United States Champion down! Benjamin hit a snapmare and covered for a nothing count. Benjamin reared back with a strong right hand. He whips MVP into the ropes but MVP ducks the clothesline and hits a flying forearm! MVP hits some right hands of his own, pushing Benjamin into the corner and against the ropes. Charles Robinson has to pull MVP away. MVP then approaches Benjamin and he kicks him in the knee, sending MVP down! Shelton Benjamin lifts MVP up and powerbombs him into the corner! Benjamin covers the champion for two. Benjamin picks him up and throws him through the ropes to the outside!
Benjamin follows him out and sends MVP into the ring steps! Benjamin slides in the ring to break up the count out. He then puts MVP into the ring and covers him for a two count. Benjamin forces MVP to be on the second rope and uses the bottom rope to lift up high and come down on the back with a hard knee! Benjamin then digs his knee into MVP’s back and locks on a rear chin lock. Benjamin releases the hold and drives the knee into the back again. He goes to pick MVP up but MVP starts firing back with some elbows and right hands! MVP has an Irish whip reversed on him and Benjamin hits him with a T-Bone Suplex for a two and a half count! Tazz mentions that was one of his favorite suplexes to throw back in the day. I?m going to miss Tazz.
Benjamin rides MVP’s back and forearms him in the neck. He then locks him in a modified Camel Clutch. The crowd is chanting for MVP but Benjamin has him controlled. Benjamin drives his lower body into MVP’s back and punches him in the back of the head before locking the hold back on! MVP now fights up and gets Benjamin on his shoulders and hits the Electric Chair!
Robinson is counting both men down and MVP gets up at the three count. MVP picks Benjamin up and Benjamin hits him with a jaw breaker! MVP picks himself up in the corner as Benjamin sizes him up. Benjamin goes for a splash in the corner and MVP moves, letting Benjamin crash! MVP then charges but gets hit with a back elbow! Benjamin then charges and MVP hits him with a belly to belly overhead suplex! MVP covers for a two and a half count!
MVP blocks a punch from Benjamin and delivers some punches of his own! The last punch sends Benjamin staggering back and he bounces off the ropes into a clothesline! Benjamin quickly gets up and eats a back elbow. MVP then gets him up and whips him into the ropes, hitting Benjamin with a powerslam! MVP taunts to the crowd and then goes for a whip, which Benjamin counters by twisting through and kicking him in the midsection! Benjamin charges and gets hit with a throat thrust followed by MVP’s knee to face buster! MVP gets the crowd into it and hits his BALLIN? Elbow for a two and a half count!!
MVP whips Benjamin into the ropes but Benjamin ducks the clothesline and goes for a kick but MVP blocks that and Benjamin counters with a Dragon Kick for a two and a half count! Benjamin whips MVP into the ropes but MVP hangs on to them to stop the momentum! Benjamin charges and MVP back bodies him out of the ring ? or so he thinks. Benjamin lands on the apron, unbeknownst to MVP and goes to the top rope and hits an AMAZING Blockbuster (or flying neckbreaker for you new fans) but this only gets him a two and a half count!!
Benjamin gets MVP up and has a whip into the corner reversed on him but he’s able to springboard over a charging MVP’s head but gets hit with a big boot immediately after! MVP then hits the Playmaker to end the match and retain his United States Championship!!
Winner & STILL United States Champion: MVP
Match Rating: ** ?
This was a great match but seven minutes isn?t enough for these guys. They should?ve given them a commercial break to let the match build a bit more ? if they?re going to do a whole recap show they should at least throw in some good, long matches when they can!
Still to come tonight is Jeff Hardy vs. Ezekiel Jackson, two days before he faces his brother Matt at WrestleMania!
Todd Grisham, in Houston, Texas, thanks AC/DC for the use of the song ?Shoot to Thrill,? one of the many official theme songs of WrestleMania.
We now see some kids doing entrances as their favorite WWE Superstars and also see the Championships Display ? they even have the Fabulous Moolah’s original Women’s Championship in there. I can respect that. They then talk about the art show that Jerry Lawler participated in as well as many other Superstars. They then mention that tomorrow is the Hall of Fame ceremony, which King is hosting, and then Sunday is WrestleMania. They then run down the card which looks exciting.
Up next we?ll see Vince McMahon’s surprise return. Remember who the real stars are in WWE.
Still to come tonight is Jeff Hardy going one on one with Ezekiel Jackson.
We now get another aerial shot of Houston as Todd Grisham and King talk about WWE being featured in Variety Magazine.
We now get a long (and I mean LONG) look at the Triple H vs. Randy Orton match. The angle has been mostly good stuff but Vince McMahon isn?t allowed to call what TNA does reprehensible after this one.
We get another WrestleMania flashback ? 1998’s WrestleMania XIV! This was a great WrestleMania ? it featured Pete Rose getting a Tombstone, Undertaker defeating Kane, The Rock defeating Ken Shamrock, and Shawn Michaels putting his career on hold for four years after having his back broken by the man he faces in two days. Stone Cold Steve Austin, who enters the Hall of Fame tomorrow, defeated Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship and Mike Tyson counted the pin.
Todd Grisham then mentions Chris Jericho vs. The Legends. Jerry Lawler says that Mickey Rourke WILL be at ringside and Chris Jericho has threatened him, saying he?ll exit the ring and slap Rourke in the face! This leads into them talking about the Hall of Fame and we look at Steve Austin’s induction video. He?ll be inducted by his old archrival Vince McMahon!
Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Whores will be bringing some skank to the National Anthem at WrestleMania. Not a fan of the Dolls in case you couldn?t tell.
Up next we?ll be seeing Jeff Hardy take on Ezekiel Jackson.
We now see Shawn Michaels? funeral for Undertaker’s WrestleMania Streak. This was a really good segment. We now see a long look at Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels.
The WWE Smack of the Night is brought to us by MLB ?09: The Show. Too bad they don?t have that on Xbox 360. It’s from two weeks ago when Jeff Hardy demolished The Brian Kendrick in an Extreme Rules Match on the 500th Episode of Smackdown!
Jeff Hardy’s music hit and he comes out with some wild face paint, two days before he faces his brother Matt Hardy at WrestleMania!
Jeff Hardy vs. Ezekiel Jackson
The bell rings and they do a circle before Jeff Hardy gets on the offensive with punches that don?t really affect Jackson, who hits Hardy with a knee to the midsection. Jackson body slams Hardy down and goes for an elbow which Hardy avoids! Hardy hits some more right hands but is cut off again with a knee to the midsection! Jackson whips Hardy into the corner and charges only for Hardy to hit him with a droptoe hold into the second turnbuckle! Jackson is sitting prone in the corner so Hardy hits him with his slingshot corner dropkick! Hardy now goes for the Twist of Fate but Jackson pushes him off into the ropes and hits him with a shoulder block!
Jackson forcibly rips Hardy off the mat and clubs him in the back down to it again! Jackson stomps him a few times before picking him up and bouncing his head off the top turnbuckle! Jackson hits Hardy with some body shots to the kidneys and some kicks before Scott Armstrong, the referee, makes him back away. Big Zeke then hits a running knee to the ribs! Jackson sends Hardy into the ropes and locks him in a bear hug. Jackson holds it in for a while, working him all the way down to the mat! The Kendrick taunts him from the outside, pissing Hardy off enough to fight back up and elbow out only to get quickly clubbed down again! Jackson goes to bounce Hardy’s head off the top turnbuckle but Hardy blocks it, hits an elbow, and connects with Whisper in the Wind!! Jackson is against the ropes and Hardy clotheslines him over the top rope!!
The Kendrick is yelling at Jackson on the outside so Hardy hits an over the top rope plancha on the two of them! Hardy high-fives the fans before sending The Kendrick into the barricade! He’s blindsided by Jackson, who forearms him in the back and throws him in the ring. Jackson goes to enter and Hardy hits him with a dropkick! Hardy then wrecks him with a rough looking DDT! Hardy picks him up and hits the Twist of Fate before going to the top rope and finishing him of with the Swanton Bomb!!
Winner by Pinfall: Jeff Hardy
Match Rating: * ?
This will conclude Smackdown as Hardy looks to the WrestleMania sign and motions to ?bring it on!?
Quick Match Results
Gail Kim* & Maria def. Maryse* & Michelle McCool
U.S. Title: MVP def. Shelton Benjamin to RETAIN
Jeff Hardy def. Ezekiel Jackson
Bump of the Night: Jeff Hardy hitting a plancha
Match of the Night: United States Title Match ** ?
Definitely the most boring Smackdown I?ve ever covered, no doubt. Man, remember the days when the Smackdown before WrestleMania was a really big deal? In 2001 we saw Steve Austin and The Rock come to blows, three days before WrestleMania! Ok, that’s one memory that I can remember, but at least up until now Smackdown was actually a complete show, mixed with wrestling and storyline wrap ups. Nothing this year ? just some matches that really served no purpose in making anyone want to watch WrestleMania. They were just there. The rest was a lame look at WWE Fan Axxess and LONG video packages. No wonder WrestleMania is 4 hours long ? they need an hour and a half just for the videos. So boring!
Just to provide you with a journey into my mind so you can see how boring this Smackdown was, I was drinking an apple cider and wondering why I was drinking it since I thought it was a seasonal drink and this isn?t the season for it. I then wondered what it actually is and how it’s made ? it’s really amazing! That’s what this Smackdown did for me and if I was a fan of Smackdown (and, believe me, I am) I would have turned it off. They could?ve used this Smackdown to make even more people want to order WrestleMania, and I?m sure it?ll help that, but (and call me crazy) I think people tune into wrestling for WRESTLING ? not to be bombarded with advertisement after advertisement because they?re scared of the low buy-rate this WrestleMania may produce. Dave Stephens? ECW had nothing on this bad boy.
The saddest part is this is Tazz’s last Smackdown and he doesn?t even get to call a good one or any matches that have any meaning! His last match called was Jeff Hardy vs. Ezekiel Jackson. Ezekiel Jackson was in Tazz’s last match! Tazz is a tremendous commentator who really brings a great view to the program and I can?t wait for him to get his batteries recharged and get him back on TV! I?ll miss you Tazz! Have a good break! Now the only question is who will fill his spot?
Final Smackdown Rating: *
I?d like to wish my girlfriend Marianna a happy early birthday!
As always I?d love to hear some feedback on the recap. Did you like it or do you have any questions? Let me know!
E-Mail ? [email protected]
Thanks for reading! Enjoy WrestleMania XXV!