July 7, 2006
The show opened with footage from Jan. 6, 2006 of
Mark Henry breaking free from the chain on the cage, and then beating up
Batista. Then a clip aired of Batista relinquishing his World Hvt. Title due to
his injury and getting hugs backstage from colleagues. The mood changed in the
music as the screen said, "Tonight... Batista... Is Back!"
-The Smackdown opening aired. Chris Benoit's still included twice, and they're usually pretty quick about removing people from that opening.
1 -- BATTLE ROYAL FOR A TITLE SHOT AT REY MYSTERIO
The winner of the match earns a title shot against Rey Mysterio at the Great American Bash. The ring was filled with wrestlers already, but they aired the ring intros for Finlay, Matt Hardy, William Regal, and Booker T (w/Sharmell). JBL stood and repeated, "All hail King Booker" during his approach to the ring. Others in the match were Scott 2 Hotty (my pick), Kennedy, Brian Kendrick, Paul London, Psicosis, Funaki (wait, he's my pick), Jamie Noble, Kid Kash, Super Crazy, and Simon Diamond (can I change my pick to him?). Nothing made Smackdown's heavyweight contender depth seem shallower than this group. Cole said G.M. Teddy Long picked the competitors in this match. Is there a fan in the building who couldn't narrow down the potential winners to two or three people? I was going to say it was a good sign for Hardy that they gave him an intro, but when compared to others in the match, it's no indication of an elevation in the eyes of management. That said, given those involved, it had a chance to be a good battle royal. JBL predicted that Batista wouldn't really face Henry, that he'd back out for fear of another injury. Cole said, "The Animal is a very proud man." (What is it, Cole? Is he animal or man?) When Crazy and Psicosis were the first two eliminated, they fought. Kash was eliminated next as the cut to a break.
It came down to Kennedy, Regal, Finlay, Hardy, London, Hendrick, and Booker. Kennedy was eliminated next. It came down to Hardy, Finlay, Regal, and Booker (big surprise). Hardy eliminated Finlay next. Gee, Hardy vs. Rey, Regal vs. Rey, or Booker vs. Rey at the Bash? The drama. (Actually, Hardy vs. Rey popped a strong main event rating on Smackdown a few years ago.) Hardy gave Booker the Side Effect as Regal was knocked out in the corner. When he tried to leverage Booker over the top rope, Regal hit him from behind. Hardy nailed Regal with a flying forearm. JBL said, "No matter what I've said about him before, Hardy has the potential to be a main event player and this could be is chance." Hardy hit Booker and Regal with a flying double clothesline and then showed fire. Regal tried to dump Hardy, then Booker eliminated both at once from behind. Regal didn't look thrilled. "Once again, a man of stature beat a low-life immigrant." Where is Hardy from? And what continent is Regal from that JBL's great great grand parents weren't? Regal took a deep breath, realized Booker can actually do no wrong, and declared over and over, "All hail King Booker!"
WINNER: Booker in 15:00.
STAR RATING: ** -- Okay battle royal.
-Kristal interviewed Rey Mysterio regarding facing Booker at the Bash. He said first he wanted to address what Henry did last week disrespecting Chavo Guerrero and the Guerrero name. He said Chavo is a man of pride and dignity. A clip aired of Henry splashed Chavo last week. Rey apologized to Chavo, saying he was knocked out and couldn't help him. He said every day he brings the World Title home with him, he realizes it's a gift and a blessing. He said it has been the biggest ride of his life. He told Booker T that royalty or not, at the Bash, "you're just one move away from the 619." They trusted Rey with more mic time there than I can remember, and he did well. It's not his strength, but he said what needed to be said without wasted words.
-Sylvan walked to the ring. JBL said he hates the French and he hates Canada, so he double-hates Sylvan. Sylvan said he is ambassador at large for Quebec. He wanted to personally invite all of them "to spend their summer in the greatest place on the face of the Earth, Quebec." Said JBL: "I'd rather spend it in hell." Photos of the beautiful Quebec flashed on the screen as Sylvan talked in French. He closed, "Come to Quebec, an Island of tranquility in a chocolate world." I'm sticking to my guns that he says chocolate. JBL said, "He looks a little light in his loafers, if you know what I'm talking about." Those over the age of 50 might have heard that term.
-The Miz stood among the fans and screamed, "The Animal is here." He tried to get a "Hoo-Rah" chant going. My dream is for that request to be met with silence one of these days.
-Cole and JBL were shown on camera. Cole said the rumors are out there all week are that Batista is going to call out Henry later tonight. JBL said it won't happen.
-A video feature aired on Henry injuring Benoit and Batista.
2 -- MR. KENNEDY vs. SUPER CRAZY
There's just a little too much of Kip James (Billy Gunn) in his delivery for my comfort. Kennedy's self-intro was interrupted by Crazy. He should be mad at the music guy, not Crazy. Kennedy beat up Crazy in the opening minute and tossed him out of the ring. JBL referred to Crazy as his beer salesman at Yankee Stadium again. With all the racial epithets out there, does JBL really have to rely on the same ones week after week? "We may not have to build a wall. One out of 12 million might get sent back tonight," he said. Cole praised the new WWE Magazine. He said the magazine selects JBL as the "Jerk of the Month." JBL responded to the magazine writer and Cole, "You sexually frustrated, pent up little Internet geek!" Kennedy put Crazy in a chinlock and complained more about his interrupting his ring intro. JBL threw in a Nancy Pilosi "cut and run" reference. He said he's heard Batista has fallen completely out of shape. "From what my sources have told me, Batista is not the same guy he was. I hear he's about 340 pounds and he's been eating Krispy Kremes." Crazy surprised Kennedy with a small package for a two count. JBL said Crazy "has been a tag team wrestler his entire life" and that being a singles wrestler is entirely different. JBL isn't an ECW history buff, obviously. After Kennedy's sleep-inducing offense for a few minutes (it's not just his mic work that resembles Mr. Ass), Crazy woke the crowd up with some highspots. When he went to the top rope, Psicosis distracted him. Kennedy then lifted him onto his shoulders and dropped him backward to the mat. Kennedy then hit the flying flip splash for the win.
WINNER: Kennedy at 7:00.
STAR RATING: * -- Blah. He's going to lose fans fast with that type of effort.
-Kristal was scheduled to interview Tatanka about facing The Great Khali later. They went backstage and Kristal was in the midst of a rant about Ashley to a production staffer, saying, "I really should have slapped the hell out of her." She then noticed the camera was on and had to "act surprised." She then interviewed Tatanka, who admitted he was afraid. He said any man in the same position would feel the same way. He said courage with his people is about facing his fears and not being afraid. "I will show him the spirit of the this Native American Warrior."
-Daivari rubbed a casket backstage. He said it was time to roll the casket to ringside.
-The Raw Rebound aired.
-A clip aired of Smackdown in Puerto Rico, Santa Domingo, and Panama City with fans chanting "Kennedy" and interacting with wrestlers as they made their way to the ring.
3 -- THE GREAT KHALI (w/Daivari) vs. TATANKA
Daivari declared that Undertaker's career will be buried at the Bash. He said Tatanka will be an example. Daivari knocked Tatanka off the apron as he tried to enter the ring. Khali threw him into the ringpost. "We have an Indian vs. a Native American Indian. I don't know whether to yell for a taxi or bingo," said JBL. Khali threw Tatanka to the mat. Then Khali's music played. Not sure why. JBL said it is impressive that Khali is destroying a wrestler who had a two year undefeated streak. When Daivari opened the casket to roll Tatanka into, smoke came out of it. Undertaker's voice blared over the sound system. He said Khali should have quit while he was ahead. He said he will face him at the Bash and "you will rest in peace!"
WINNER: No decision in 2:00.
STAR RATING: 1/4* -- That was strange. No explanation for the non-finish at all. Did they just not want Tatanka to do the job?
-Diva Search footage aired. One of them said, "I'm complete natural. Young and willing to learn. I want to be part of the family." Another from London, who is a Miami Heat dancer, said she will fight for the win. She is British and Moroccan. Another is a high school teacher who did bikini modelling. Miz said he always wanted a hot teacher. We fans always wanted a non-obnoxious wrestling host. We can't all get what we want. Another finalist said she can be naughty. She wins. Another is the seventh child in a big family. She said her best asset is she "has real boobs, and I'm proud of that." Another was a Guess model "who can throw someone down."
4 -- VITO vs. PSICOSIS
They aired a clip of Vito on a shopping spree at a mall in the Caribbean. "All the man-on-humanity, good lord!" said JBL. He said he's "a cross between RuPaul and Doctor Evil." JBL gave Cole a hard time for saying he was "behind him." When Vito freaked out Psicosis by lifting his dress, Cole said, "How can you not find this funny." The only thing missing is Vince McMahon's hillbilly cackle. They blurred out Vito's crotch area when his dress lifted. Cole pointed out to JBL that cross dressing has nothing to do with sexual orientation, and he even asked out a woman last year. JBL said, "That's a beard." Cole again applauded Vito for being a man and standing up for what he believes in. "This is sick!" said JBL as Vito did the Macarena. "I think I need to take a shower after watching this." He added later, "I became a Wrestling God by wearing wrestling belts, not garter belts and panties." When Psicosis took control, Crazy returned the favor from earlier by distracting him. Vito then hit Psicosis from behind, draped his dress over him, and made him tap out.
WINNER: Vito in 6:00.
STAR RATING: *
-Backstage, Booker, Sharmell, and Regal talked about Booker winning the battle royal and facing Rey at the Bash. "I want my kingdom to rejoice in all of my royal splendor," he said. "King Booker will soon be King of the World!" Regal poured Sharmell and Booker glasses of wine.
-A clip aired of Henry splashed Kurt Angle through a table at ringside.
5 -- THE PITBULLS (Jamie Noble & Kid Kash) vs. FUNAKI & SCOTTY 2 HOTTY
JBL and Cole raved about the debut of The Pitbulls last week. Cole said sometimes wrestlers can go a long time before they find a partner they click with. JBL said he teamed with a great wrestler, Barry Windham, at one point, but they didn't click. He said then he teamed with Ron Simmons and it worked out. Cole noted that Simmons, Maria, Ashley, and Jimmy Hart went on a publicity tour of Kuwait last week. Now there's a foursome!
WINNERS: Pitbulls in 4:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Good, fast-paced action packed into a short TV match.
-Cole plugged the champion vs. champion match up next: Bobby Lashley vs. Gregory "Denny Brown" Helms. (Helms kinda sounds like Denny Brown, too, the famed NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion in the 1980s who never won and often lost to champions on World Championship Wrestling TV.)
-An highlight package aired of what happened on ECW TV this week, titled, creatively enough, "ECW Rebound."
-Cole and JBL were shown on camera again as they ran down the line-up for the Great American Bash - Rey vs. Booker, Undertaker vs. Khali in a Punjabi Prison Match, Batista vs. Henry, and Lashley vs. Regal vs. Finlay for the U.S. Title.
-Regal and Finlay reminisced backstage about their old battles over the years. Finlay said, "It will be every man for himself." The Little Green Guy was shown humping Regal's leg. Then he hit Finlay's hand and ran away. Finlay chased after.
6 -- GREGORY HELMS vs. BOBBY LASHLEY
"Have you seen English women?" said JBL. "I just got back from there. I'd rather hump Regal, too." After ring intros, they cut to a break. That was the trend this week with ECW, TNA, and now Smackdown.
The match was joined in progress. JBL and Cole touted how long Helms has been Cruiserweight Champion. Lashley caught Helms on the top rope and turned it into a press powerslam for the win. "A good big man always beats a good little man," said JBL.
WINNER: Lashley in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Boy, that says a lot about the Cruiserweight Champ and the entire division.
-Cole and JBL were shown on camera again. Cole interviewed Henry in the back remotely. He asked about Batista calling him out. Henry said he's sick and tired of hearing about Batista. He said there's a reason Batista is out in the first place, "and that reason is the World's Strongest Man." He said Batista will get the longest whoopin' in his life and the shortest comeback in history.
-Back to The Miz in the crowd. He was with his people this time, the 8 and 12 year olds. He hyped the pending return of Batista.
-Batista came out to his ring intro. After playing to the crowd, he grabbed the mic and said, "Mark Henry, get out here right now. Come out, or I'm going back there." Henry's music played and he walked out. As Henry walked to the ring, Rey Mysterio attacked him from behind. Henry swatted him away. Batista then joined in and dropped Henry with a clothesline. His arm seemed in tact afterward, which is a good thing. He threw Henry head-first into the ringside steps. A "Batista" chant rang out as he pounded Henry's head. Cole said he's never seen Batista unleashed like this. He rammed the steps into Henry just as he stood up. JBL said he never dreamed he'd see Henry taken down like this. Henry was bleeding from the forehead. WWE officials came to ringside. Batista grabbed a chair and nailed Henry across the back with it. "The Animal has been unleashed tonight!" said Cole as the show ended.