Los Angeles, California
February 18, 2007
thanks to pwtorch.com
We start with crowd shots of the
Staples Center and Michael Cole's voice sounds scratchy. Maybe could use a cough
drop. JBL said tonight could be a 22-car pile-up, and then he tried to avoid the
Spanish announce table because he's tired of people speaking another language
beside English. We're opening with the unadvertised, last-second six-man tag
1 -- MVP & MNM (MERCURY & NITRO w/Melina) vs. IC champion JEFF HARDY & MATT HARDY & U.S. champion CHRIS BENOIT
JBL ripped on Cole before the bell even rang for only being able to muster, "Oh my" during Benoit's entrance. One minute into the match, we have our first "fruits and nuts" reference from JBL since they're in L.A. The Hardys worked on MNM early on before Benoit battled MVP. At 13:00, the action broke down with Benoit hitting an amazing double German suplex on MNM. Jeff then ran off Matt's back onto Mercury for a corner splash. Jeff followed with the top rope Swanton Bomb and Benoit hit a top rope headbutt dive, but MVP broke up the pin. Jeff tried to powerbomb Nitro off the apron to the floor, but Nitro countered with a sidekick. MVP went for a belt shot on MVP, but Benoit countered into the Crossface, which Nitro broke up. Benoit then blocked the Snapshot and put Mercury in the Crossfac. Mercury barely had a chance to fight it and he tapped out.
WINNERS: Benoit & Hardys in 15:00. Standard six-man tag match to start the show. Subdued action that wasn't a suitable replacement for the previously advertised ladder match, but it was safer for Mercury than possibly risking more face damage in another ladder match. (**1/4)
Kristal Marshall stumbled over her cue to interview Vickie Guerrero, then she paused forever before asking Vickie her first question. They discussed their conversation from a few weeks ago, then Vickie said she would have an announcement on Smackdown. They hugged.
Finlay tried to drag Little Bastard backstage to the ring. LB said he's scared of the Little Boogeyman, not the big Boogeyman. He screamed, "Little people are scary!" That got a laugh from the live crowd. Finlay suggested getting his shillelagh to make things easier on him. They hugged, then Finlay picked him up and dumped him into the trash and closed the lid. The red lights started flashing red, then L.B. escaped the dumpster only to find Little Boogeyman.
2 -- GREGORY HELMS vs. DAIVARI vs. SCOTTY 2 HOTTY vs. JAMIE NOBLE vs. FUNAKI vs. SHANNON MOORE vs. JIMMY WANG YANG vs. CHAVO GUERRERO -- Cruiserweight Open for the Cruiserweight Title
Scotty 2 Hotty and Daivari started things off in the gauntlet-style match, just without the TNA battle royale rules. Scotty did the W-O-R-M for the pin less than one minute into the match. Unbelievable. Maybe five percent of the crowd recognized and sang along with Scotty's finisher.
CW champion Gregory Helms then ran to the ring and attacked Scotty. Cole and JBL debated the value of aerial wrestlers. JBL said, "Flip-flop guys, while they may be exciting, are not the guys you put the company on." Helms dropped Scotty with his finisher two minutes after entering the match and scored the pin for the second elimination. Funaki then ran in. He went for a top rope cross body, but Helms rolled through and hooked the tights for the next elimination.
Shannon Moore ran to the ring and pulled Helms to the outside for a brief fight. Back in the ring, they exchanged quick pin attempts. Helms then caught Shannon with a face-buster using his knee for the next pin and elimination. We're six minutes in and we have four eliminations.
Jimmy Wang Yang then came to the ring and scored a standing moonsault early on. He went for a top rope moonsault, but Helms answered with a clothesline. Yang then surprised Helms with a roll up and scored a three count, meaning Helms loses yet another match and won't be champion at match end.
Upset, Helms gave Yang his finisher, then Jamie Noble tried to run into the ring and score a quick pin, but Yang kicked out. Noble went for a roll up after Yang crashed into the ringpost, but Yang kicked out. He then caught Noble with a top rope moonsault at 12:00 and scored the pin. He thought he won the belt, but Chavo Guerrero's music hit. Cole had to act surprised that Chavo was in the match, even though he oversees WWE.com and Chavo was on the WWE.com listing.
Chavo and Yang locked up in the ring, then Yang knocked Chavo to the outside and hit a high-flying splash. Back in the ring, Chavo side-stepped a missile dropkick and executed the Three Amigos suplexes to a round of boos. Finally, some crowd response. He then went up top for the frog splash, but Yang crotched him and executed a huracanrana for a nearfall. Yang went for a spinning moonsault, but Chavo moved. Chavo then came off the top with a frogsplash onto Yang's back. He rolled him over and scored the pin for the win.
WINNER: Chavo in 16:00 to capture the CW Title. They basically had seven matches in the span of 16 minutes. Unrealistic and a poor use of the Cruiserweight division. At least we can move on from the Helms Era, which was about Helms a) never defending the belt and b) losing a ridiculous number of non-title matches. (*1/2)
Kristal was backstage with WWE champion John Cena. A noticeable round of boos for Cena with the live crowd. Kristal stumbled over her questions, then Cena reminded everyone that he and HBK aren't hunky-dory because he's not Triple H. Unbelievable. He said they got the tag titles by accident, then Cena acknowledged that Kristal's a little nervous tonight. Cena went rhetorical and said, "Is someone going to turn on someone? Are we going to get a taste of WrestleMania? I have no idea!" They needed to re-take this.
3 -- FINLAY & LITTLE BASTARD vs. BOOGEYMAN & LITTLE BOOGEYMAN
L.B. hid behind Finlay's legs on the way to the ring, then ran under the ring to hide. Boogeyman and Little Boogeyman then came out. I was at Staples Center for Mordecai's debut at Judgment Day 2004 and the crowd was absolutely dead silent for his entrance. We saw a similar result for Boogeyman's entrance. Finlay and Boogeyman started things off, which led to a debate of logic between JBL and Cole as to how Boogeyman gets around from city to city in the airport. JBL apparently forget to shut his brain off before calling the PPV. Little Boogeyman tagged in and sat on Finlay's chest. Finally, L.B. jumped in the ring and squared off with Little Boogeyman. The crowd popped for the mini-confrontation, then Finlay kicked Little Boogeyman square in the face. He found Boogeyman hiding under the ring, then he kicked him in the face. They returned to the ring and Boogeyman made a comeback to no crowd response. L.B. then distracted Boogeyman, who chased him out of the ring with worms. With the ref distracted, Finlay smashed Little Boogeyman in the face with a shillelagh for the pin.
WINNERS: Finlay & Little Bastard in 7:00. A sideshow freak comedy match, but minus the comedy. We didn't get any midgets rolling over the referee, though, so that was a surprise. (1/4*)
Kristal stood backstage with Shawn Michaels for an interview. She did that long pause again, and HBK tried to roll his eyebrows to drop a hint that it's time to ask a question. HBK did a going-through-the-motions-I'm-on-Smackdown promo about having Cena's back tonight.
4 -- KING BOOKER (w/Sharmell) vs. KANE
Kane's pyro interrupted Sharmell doing "All Hail" before the match. Booker danced and danced and danced around the ring before the match, then Kane just stood still and waited for Booker to stop dancing before landing a hard uppercut below the chin. They fought to the outside and Booker slammed Kane head-first into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Booker hit a missile dropkick and went to work. Kane made a comeback and went for a chokeslam at 10:00, but Booker escaped. He went for the axe kick, but Kane side-stepped him and landed a hard clothesline. Booker reached his feet at eight, then Kane sat up at eight to break the ref's ten count. Kane landed successive corner punches before hitting a sideslam leading to a top rope clothesline. Sharmell jumped on the apron to distract Kane, then Booker landed a kick to the face. He went for the axe kick, but Kane blocked with a chokeslam for the win.
WINNER: Kane in 12:00. Glimpses of good action, but sluggish. The crowd is dead quiet for the show, which doesn't help the wrestlers and doesn't help mask the flaws in lackluster matches. (*3/4)
We saw a DX DVD promo. It's available on Tuesday at Circuit City.
Kristal was set to interview Batista backstage, and she did the long pause again. Someone producing these promos needs to give her direction. Batista cut a short-and-sweet promo that Smackdown is going to beat up Raw. She then asked Batista about Undertaker clotheslining him on Raw two weeks ago. Batista said he's not intimidated by anyone. That was it. This is clearly one of the worst nights for promos on a PPV.
5 -- BRIAN KENDRICK & PAUL LONDON vs. DEUCE & DOMINO (w/Cherry) -- WWE Tag Title match
JBL predicted victory for Deuce & Domino based on their TV victories over the champs, but Cole said it's a PPV, so London & Kendrick have the advantage. JBL answered that Cole is losing his voice and his mind. If Cole makes it through to the main event, I will be shocked. Domino came up with a bloody mouth two minutes into the match. He then stood on the apron as Deuce worked on London in the heel corner. Cole said D&D are like the bullies in high school, and JBL acknowledged that he's a bully himself. We had a psychological moment with Cole as he explained his problems with bullies in high school. London flipped over Domino and finally reached his corner for a hot tag. Kendrick came in with a flurry of offense before D&D caught him in the corner with an attempted Doomsday Device. Domino went for the clothesline portion of the move, but Kendrick ducked, did a victory roll on Deuce, and scored a pin for the win.
WINNERS: London & Kendrick in 7:00 to retain the WWE Tag titles. What do Gemini, Kash & Noble, Idol & K.C. James, and Deuce & Domino all have in common? WWE built up all of these tag teams on TV, realized they're not worth putting the belts on, and then we get a bad PPV tag title match with London & Kendrick retaining the belts again. Time to re-start the cycle. (*1/2)
We saw a repeat profile video package on Lashley, with interviews with his family.
Kristal interviewed Mr. Kennedy backstage. She did a shorter pause this time, and Kennedy just kept staring straight ahead. He said his thoughts on Lashley are similar to what he thinks of the people in L.A. He said they're phony and wanabees. Kennedy then asked the crowd how many of them came to L.A. to become rich and famous. He said they can talk the talk, but it's only gotten them squat. Kennedy said they had a dream, which is why they're standing there and the fans are out there paying for a ticket. He said he had a dream as well to declare himself the winner of his match against Lashley and new ECW World Hvt. cham-. Lashley interrupted and said he has one word for him. I believe he said elastosis. No one could hear him, though. Kennedy went for a right hand punch, but Lashley blocked and shoved him to the ground.
6 -- BOBBY LASHLEY vs. MR. KENNEDY -- ECW Title match
Lashley came out first and Kennedy jumped him from behind in the aisle. They fought ringside before entering the ring to officially start the match. Lashley executed a high-elevated suplex for a nearfall at 3:00. Kennedy then slammed him into the ringpost to begin his offensive attack. He went to work on Lashley's left knee to little fanfare, as expected. At 11:00, the catcalls started as Kennedy cut off a brief comeback from Lashley and sat down on the knee with a half-crab. Lashley broke free, then Kennedy went up top for a Kentaun Bomb, but Lashley got his knees up in time. Lashley made his comeback with suplexes, then he put Kennedy in a torture rack. JBL said the move was made famous by someone who wasn't nearly the total package that Lashley is. Cole tried to chime in with a few comments, but it was JBL doing the play-by-play and color at this point. Kennedy then grabbed a chair from the outside and brought it into the ring. Lashley stole it and slammed the chair over Kennedy's back, causing a DQ. Kennedy tried to run away, but Lashley kept hitting him with a chair until agents and referees pulled Lashley away.
WINNER: Kennedy via DQ in 17:00; Lashley retained the ECW Title. The post-match angle was heel-turn quality with Lashley landing at least ten chair shots to Kennedy. Too bad the crowd was too quiet to give us an impression of whether they care about Lashley snapping on Kennedy. The match, in and of itself, wasn't bad, but they couldn't get the crowd into anything. (**1/4)
We saw a trailer on "The Condemned", featuring Steve Austin. Michael Cole then interviewed one of Austin's co-stars, Vinnie Jones. No crowd reaction for Jones. He then did a heel promo on Austin, saying he was the real star of the movie. Eye-rolling stuff here.
Miz then interrupted near the entrance stage in a combination suit and t-shirt and gloves. I donít get the look. He then introduced the Diva talent invitational to no reaction. Extreme Expose started things off with a dance number in the ring. Jillian Hall came out in a Britney Spears number, minus the shaven head. She said she's going to wow the Hollywood movie execs that came to see her sing her own original song. Miz cut her off and said she's a female version of William Hung. That's so two years ago. She then said Extreme Expose couldn't even be her back-up dancers. Jillian ripped on Candice, Maria, and Ariel, then said all of them are talentless bitches. Candice then led Maria and Ariel out to the ring. They all ganged up on Jillian leading to a giant catfight. Referees hit the ring to break up the action, then Ashley came out in a black Halloween costume. Her Playboy cover exploded from the ceiling, then Ashley took off her top revealing hand-painted Playboy bunnies over her breasts, ala Sable at Fully Loaded 1998. Miz announced Ashley as the winner as the divas in the ring were upset with Ashley's tactics. Boy, the hoopla over Sable at FL '98 was such a big deal, and this won't even be a blip on anyone's radar because it's been done before, the audience is desensitized to T&A in WWE, and Ashley is the real dime-a-dozen in this era.
We saw a video package on the interaction between Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Batista, and The Undertaker leading to the main event. HBK came out first for the first real crowd reaction in about an hour. Cena's music hit and the crowd finally woke up. Batista and Taker then followed out, and the match started at 10:23 p.m. EST.
7 -- SHAWN MICHAELS & WWE champion JOHN CENA vs. World Hvt. champion BATISTA & THE UNDERTAKER
Cena and Batista started things off with Batista dominating Cena. After Batista missed with a corner shoulder block, Cena tagged out to HBK, who took a beating from Batista. Taker then took a tag and landed blows on HBK, who was in full bump-machine mode. HBK moved out of the way of an elbow drop from Batista, then he tagged out to Cena, who immediately took a beating from Batista. The boos are out for Cena for one of the few times lately. Taker then tagged out and landed a charging knee strike in the corner. Cena then blocked Old School and took Taker to the corner for a superplex. Taker sat up, though, and cut off Cena with a clothesline. HBK tagged in and went toe-to-toe with Taker before taking a gorilla press slam over the top rope to the floor. Batista then picked up HBK and dropped him head-first across the edge of the ring steps. Back in the ring, Batista tagged in and delivered a big boot to HBK's face as he was seated on the mat. Taker and Batista then exchanged tags to continue working on HBK in their corner. Cena took a hot tag at 12:00 and knocked down Batista before going up top for a leaping Fameasser. Unique move. Cole was completely off the broadcast at this point. Cena then dropped the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Batista and went for the FU, but Taker kicked him in the face. HBK then shoved Taker out of the ring and kicked him into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Batista went for the Batistabomb, but Taker inexplicably threw HBK into the ring and HBK chopblocked Batista from behind.
HBK and Cena then worked on Batista's left knee before Cena landed a knock-down clothesline for a nearfall. HBK and Cena continued to exchange tags as we saw that Batista as bleeding hardway from above his left eye. Cena then put Batista in the STFU as Taker stood on the apron instead of breaking up the hold. Finally, Taker entered the ring and broke up the hold. Perhaps he wanted Batista to suffer a little bit before their Mania match. HBK tagged in and dropped a top rope elbow on Batista before giving Taker a crotch chop. He warmed up the band, but Batista ducked a superkick and hit the Black Hole Slam. Taker and Cena then took simultaneous tags and Taker cleared the Raw faces. HBK took Snake Eyes and a big boot before Cena took a flying shoulder tackle. Taker gave Cena a chokeslam, then he called for the Tombstone, but Batista grabbed Taker and gave him a spinebuster. The fans booed, then Batista left the ring and watched the rest of the action from the floor. Meanwhile, HBK tuned up the band and Taker took Sweet Chin Music right into the FU from Cena for the win.
Afterward, Batista held his World Title belt over Taker's fallen body. With Batista at the top of the entrance ramp, Taker sat up and stared down Batista.
WINNERS: Cena & HBK in 23:00. The fans were more into the action than any other match, of course. A good main event, but not a show-saver that it unfortunately needed to be after two-and-a-half hours of dull action. Batista turning on Taker was needed to jumpstart the feud and Batista's stale character. (***1/2)
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