Ciao once again and welcome back to the Casa. Yet again I write this whilst recovering from the effect’s of several days of alcohol abuse. Luckily Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds have helped my condition, as have the BBQ leftovers from yesterday. Nothing cures a hangover better than eating your own body weight in chicken kebabs and chilli sausages. Although always remember not to overload on Reggae Reggae Sauce. That shit can be LETHAL.
So onto this week’s column. The second in my fantasy booking trilogy as I take some down time from my usual surreal ramblings to indulge in a guilty IWC pleasure. This time it’s the turn of the blue brand to get themselves booked by yours truly from now up until Wrestlemania 26. So what does your favourite Anglo Italian columnist have in store for Smackdown over the next nine months? Seek and ye shall find!
So heading into Night Of The Champions this Sunday, the blue brand’s main feuds are the programme between World Champion CM Punk and Jeff Hardy along with the new found feud between Rey Mysterio and Tommy Rich look a like Dolph Ziggler and also the guessing game as to who will be Chris Jericho’s mystery tag team partner as he defends the Unified gold against Priceless.
Jericho’s partner turns out to be none other than the ?Shaman of Sexy? himself, John Morrison. Jericho tells everyone that he sees a young Chris Jericho in Morrison and also knows him to be the finest tag team champion of his generation. Unfortunately for Jericho, he and Morrison lose the Tag Titles at NoC and Jericho blames Morrison, beating him down after the match and spitting on him. Jericho calls Morrison a disappointment and a pretender and claims he will never amount to anything. Morrison tells Jericho to prove his claims and challenges him to a match at Summerslam, which Jericho accepts.
Meanwhile, Rey Mysterio successfully defends his IC Title against Rich? I mean Ziggler at NoC. However, Ziggler, with the help of CM Punk, wins the Title in a rematch against Rey on the following episode of Smackdown.
Punk meanwhile successfully defends his World Title against Jeff Hardy with the Go To Sleep. Post match, Hardy is distraught, and Punk takes the mic and apologises for everything he’s done and said the past few weeks. He says he can now see just how much the World Title means to Hardy and says he?ll happily give him a rematch for the strap at Summerslam. Hardy seems to like the idea and goes to accept Punk’s offer of a handshake when Punk nails him with a low blow and smashes the belt into Hardy’s rainbow coloured dome. Punk then knocks Jeff silly with three Go To Sleeps, leaving Jeff in need of medical attention.
The following SD, it is revealed that Jeff had suffered a compound fracture of the skull (hey, I had to think of something!) and Punk shows absolutely no remorse. He says Jeff Hardy represents everything he despises, namely drug use. His actions last night were meant as a statement that he was putting Hardy out of his misery and he says he couldn?t stand Hardy’s constant crying over lost Title opportunities. It is also revealed that Hardy will be out of action indefinitely. Punk then bumps into Rey backstage and acts as if they?re still close. Rey tells Punk that he’s not the guy he was once friends with and blows the champ off (That isn?t supposed to be any kind of euphemism by the way). Not one to be disrespected, the Straight Edge Superstar exacts revenge on his ex muchacho and distracts Rey during his IC Title defense against Ziggler, costing Rey the Title.
Being the pissed off little Mexican that he is, Rey demands a shot at Punk’s Title at Summerslam, a request that Teddy Long accepts and books? PLAYA!
So come the biggest party of the Summer, Morrison stuns Jericho and picks up a flash pin victory, whilst Punk prevails against Rey Rey.
Incensed, Jericho vows vengeance (and various other long words meaning revenge) over Morrison and the two are booked in a match at Breaking Point, along with Punk and Rey, who are also booked in a rematch.
Jericho gains his measure of revenge over Morrison after making him tap to the Walls of Jericho, whilst a Punk Anaconda Vice sees Mysterio off.
The following Smackdown, Punk and Jericho are having a mutual love in and Punk declares that Jericho is the caliber of superstar he needs to be defending his Title against. He says peons like Hardy and Rey are never going to be championship material, whereas Jericho has proven himself to be worthy of a shot at the gold. However, before the two can agree on a match, the lights shut off and a cryptic video appears on the Titantron. When the light returns, Punk and Jericho both look spooked, as if they know what’s coming. Meanwhile, Morrison is making a run at Ziggler’s IC gold.
The following week, Punk again attempts to book a match against Jericho, when another cryptic occurrence interrupts him. Punk fears the worst, and decides to feign an injury in the tag team main event of the evening when teaming with Jericho against Morrison and Rey. Punk claims he’s injured his ankle and won?t be able to compete at Hell In A Cell. Teddy Long gives Punk the OK to miss the show and tells him not to worry about the cryptic events any more as, ?that guy ain?t coming back around here?. Relieved, Punk’s ankle injury mysteriously disappears, only for the Mac Militant to reveal he duped Punk into believing the Undertaker wasn?t coming back to prove Punk was lying about his injury in order to avoid having to face The Undertaker upon his return.
Aghast, Punk says Taker should have to earn his Title shot like he did by winning Money In The Bank. Long actually agrees and declares that The Undertaker’s return match at Hell In A Cell will not be against CM Punk, but against Chris Jericho in a Number One Contender’s match. Jericho is livid that he now no longer has a guaranteed Title match and instead has to face a returning Deadman. Jericho blames Punk and tells him he can?t wait to take his Title from him and informs Punker that he just lost himself an ally because of his foolishness.
Punk however isn?t perturbed by Jericho’s threats and is happy to sit out Hell In A Cell until Teddy Long breaks the news that he will be defending his strap at the PPV. Punk bemoans Teddy’s decision to book him in a Title match when there is no decent competition left for him. Long assures Punk that there is and that he may not be getting The Undertaker, but the next best thing, his younger brother Kane! The man who pinned Punk cleanly at Backlash!
Rey meanwhile has become embroiled in a feud with Matt Hardy after Matt criticized Rey for being just like his brother Jeff following his feud with Punk. Matt chastises Rey for the way he lived off Eddie’s memory back in ?06 and says it sickens him the way he sucks up to the fans, the fans who now boo Matt because he gives them the truth rather than pander to them.
Punk manages to retain the WHC over Kane with some questionable tactics involving the dreaded feet on the rope/handful of tights combination for the win. However, as Monsieur Straight Edge is celebrating on the entrance ramp, the new number one contender to his crown interrupts him. The Undertaker, fresh from his victory over Chris Jericho earlier in the night, cuts Punk off on the ramp and beats him back down to the ring where him and Kane deliver a devastating double chokeslam to the Champ as a message of intent.
Matt Hardy meanwhile overcomes Rey in their first battle thanks to the return of his trusty Bob Orton Snr style arm cast.
Heading into Bragging Rights (Would it be so bad to resurrect an old show name or even steal a WCW or ECW PPV name? Living Dangerously or anything not as shit awful as Bragging Rights. Hell In A Cell is bad enough) Punk attempts to get Jericho on his side once more as he maneuvers a way to overcome The Deadman. Jericho demands that Punk grant him a Title shot if he helps him beat Taker. Punk promises it to Jericho. Teddy Long has other ideas though, and bans Jericho from ringside for the Punk/Taker match at the PPV. Jericho won?t take no for an answer though and attacks Taker on SD in an attempt to weaken him or put him out of commission altogether before Bragging Rights.
Unfortunately for the former ?Ayatollah of Rock ?N? Rolla? Taker makes it to Bragging Rights, and for his actions, Jericho is fined $10,000 by Teddy Long and booked into a match against The Great Khali, which he attempts to baulk from. No such luck though as Long orders him back to the ring otherwise he loses another ten grand. Outraged Jericho storms back into the ring, only to have his head Khali chopped in half before a Khali Bomb finishes the match off.
Following this, Jericho tells Punk he better get the job done, because he’s taken a beating from Khali and lost ten grand in order to gain a shot at the Title, not to mention he’s pissed off The Undertaker even more by attacking him. To make matters worse for Jericho, Long places him in a match with Kane at Bragging Rights. Meanwhile, Morrison wins the IC Title from Ziggler.
At Bragging Rights, Jericho squeaks past Kane and Punk takes a chair to Taker and gets himself DQ?d, so he retains his Title. Believing his plan to have worked, Punk celebrates a couple of nights later on SD, until he is informed that he?ll be facing The Undertaker again, at the event where he debuted, Survivor Series.
Jericho demands an explanation from Long as to why he hasn?t yet been granted a Title shot. Long then tells Jericho that he is going to be busy at Survivor Series in a ten man traditional Survivor Series match. On Jericho’s team there will be Matt Hardy, Dolph Ziggler and The Hart Dynasty facing Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, Khali, Finlay and Kane. Jericho, naturally, is disgusted by this turn of events.
Come Survivor Series, Teddy Long ensures Punk can?t get himself disqualified or counted out as the Title match is now a Casket Match! During the match, Punk takes a chair to The Undertaker several times before going to open the casket and roll him in. However, as he opens the casket, Jeff Hardy is inside! Punk freaks out and runs right into a Tombstone and is rolled lifelessly into the casket as his Title reign comes to an end. Jericho was slightly more fortunate as he was the sole survivor in the ten man elimination tag, lastly eliminating John Morrison.
Jeff Hardy returns on Smackdown the next week and states that he is not medically cleared to wrestle yet, but is healthy enough to mess with CM Punk’s head until he can step in the ring with him. Punk demands Hardy be suspended or banned from attending Smackdown until he is medically cleared, but Teddy Long doesn?t heed his words and instead grants Punk his Title rematch against Taker for the next week on Smackdown. The rematch doesn?t go well for Punk though as once again The Deadman dispatches of him, prompting Jeff Hardy to saunter down to the ring, pointing and laughing at the fallen ex champ.
Hardy continues to prank Punk week in, week out on SD, until Punk threatens to walk. Hardy tells Punk he?ll stop as long as he agrees to face him one on one when he is medically cleared to wrestle. Punk agrees.
Taker meanwhile is in need of an opponent for Armageddon. A void that is filled by sole survivor from Survivor Series, Chris Jericho. Punk bemoans the fact that Jericho has a Title match after he failed to help Punk retain the Title in the first place, as per their deal. Teddy Long does grant Punk a Title match, although not for the Title he wants, as he faces off against IC Champion John Morrison.
Punk is so disgusted at the way he’s been treated that he walks out on his match at Armageddon when Morrison starts to gain an advantage, frustrating Punker, who has enough and leaves. Jericho meanwhile, comes up short in his attempt at relieving The Undertaker of his World Title.
Following their failed respective efforts at regaining the World Title, Punk and Jericho both enter the Royal Rumble whilst The Undertaker is pitted against his brother Kane in an ?OMG EPIC? Michael Cole orgasm of a match, choc full of ?VINTAGE UNDERTAKER? moments. Taker prevails once more over his (not so) little brother whilst Jericho believes himself to be the winner of the Rumble, until the mysterious number 30 who never appeared shows up behind Jericho and eliminates him. The masked superstar then reveals himself to be Edge! Edge has won the Royal Rumble and is going to Wrestlemania. Jericho looks on in disbelief as Edge celebrates the match he thought he?d won.
Edge appears on SD the week after and explains how he’s been gunning for Chris Jericho ever since he was ruled out with his Achilles tendon injury. He said but now it doesn?t matter because he’s going to Wrestlemania and Jericho isn?t. Meanwhile, Taker’s next Title defense is signed for No Way Out inside the Elimination Chamber against Rey Mysterio, Kane, John Morrison, CM Punk and Jericho. In the match, it comes down to two, Jericho and The Undertaker, after Jeff Hardy appeared to eliminate Punk from the match. Taker looks set to finish Jericho off when Jack Swagger appears and destroys The Deadman, allowing Jericho to pick up the win and the Title!
The following night on Raw, Swagger confirms he struck a deal with Jericho to help him win the Title and in turn get to challenge ?The Streak? as a result at Wrestlemania. Taker accepts Swagger’s challenge whilst Edge confirms that he’s going for Jericho’s World Title at ?Mania. During this time, Jeff Hardy confirms he’s medically cleared to wrestle and challenges Punk to a no holds barred match at Wrestlemania, which Punk accepts. Mysterio, Morrison and Matt Hardy (all the M’s in other words) all qualify for the Money In The Bank Ladder Match at ?Mania as well (that really was a lot of capital M’s for one sentence wasn?t it?).
At THA GRANDADDY OF ?EM ALL!!! Rey Rey captures the magic Money In The Bank briefcase. Similarly, there’s good news for Jeff Hardy who completes his return with victory over CM Punk in their no holds barred encounter. Jack Swagger’s attempt to cement himself in Wrestlemania history falls short however, as he ends up being cemented in the long list of Undertaker victims at Wrestlemania. However, Swagger earns the respect of the fans with his efforts in the match. And finally, Jericho manages to use enough cunning and trickery to outlast Edge and retain the World Title. This saw a returning Vickie Guerrero come back to screw Edge as revenge for him divorcing her the previous Summer.
So there my friends, it is. Another nine months worth of storylines mapped out for you all to agree on and think ?yeah, this Joe Baiamonte character really is a maverick, give him the book!?
I hope you enjoyed my vision for the next year on SmackDown. The final piece of the trilogy will be unveiled next week as I book the flagship brand, Monday Night Raw. Following that, I?ll be reviewing the Casa privately and seeing where I can perhaps change things for the better and improve for the next 25 columns, as the first 25 have been a magical mystery ride through wrestling’s alternative psyche, and I don?t want to have shot my surrealist wad too early.
Until next time, feel free to slam some love into my inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a following on Twitter at @JoeBaia. Until next Monday though, it’s arriverderci once again.