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September 27, 2008

Smackdown quietly ends run on CW

There’s not a whole lot to say about last night’s Smackdown, which was the final episode of the show on the CW network before next week’s move to MyNetworkTV.

It was mostly a straight-forward wrestling program except for a show-long angle in which Chavo Guerrero, Vickie Guerrero and The Big Show readied themselves for an attack by The Undertaker. It concluded with Undertaker delivering a Tombstone piledriver to Vickie Guerrero. Time to dust off the neck brace and wheelchair, I guess.

I was a little surprised that Undertaker actually got his hands on Vickie before the No Mercy pay-per-view a week from tomorrow. I figured that would happen down the line after more buildup. Perhaps this is a prelude to the return of Edge. It would make sense to bring him back for the show’s big debut on the new network next week.

The other noteworthy development saw Carlito and Primo Colon win the WWE tag team title from Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder. The crowd was into the Colons and there was a good pop for the title change. Hawkins and Ryder were not over at all as champions, so it’s a good call to take the belts off them. I keep hoping Jesse and Festus get a title run at some point.

Other thoughts on last night’s show:

The Undertaker’s facial expressions during his attack on Vickie were tremendous. …

The tag match, in which Triple H and Jeff Hardy defeated MVP and The Brian Kendrick, had a lot of action and was a good way to kick off the show. The hot crowd added to the excitement of the match. …

Vladimir Kozloz continues to get a push, which I’m fine with, but it seems odd to take the focus off Hardy so close to his WWE title shot at No Mercy. …

Fortunately, the Kozlov-Great Khali match was kept short. They weren’t out there long enough for anything too embarrassing to happen. …

I understand that WWE is trying to get the Brie Bella angle over, but it still seems wrong to have Natalya and Victoria jobbing to Bella and Maria. …

I’m looking forward to the next Shelton Benjamin/R-Truth match. R-Truth is getting over primarily because of his entertaining entrance, but he has shown that he also has some slick moves after the music stops. …

Jimmy Wang Yang, who had a good match with Chavo Guerrero, is a very underrated performer. It’s unfortunate that Yang doesn’t have a better spot on the card. He’d be better off on ECW’s roster.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 3:00 PM | | Comments (14)


There was actually a moment in the women's tag match where you could see Brie Bella crawling under the ring and her twin coming from the other side at the same time. JR and Tazz were tripping over themselves trying to pretend they didn't notice it; it was kind of embarassing watching them still try to act as though they haven't figured out the "surprise".
Considering Hawkins and Ryder were barely on TV anymore, let alone defending the titles, I can only hope that Carlito and Primo get a chance to actually make the tag titles mean something. A program between them and Jesse and Festus could be a good start.
I understand the Undertaker is scary and all, but they really made Chavo look like a coward last night. He was on the verge of tears all night at the mere mention of UT's name.
And as much as I realize R-Truth's rapping is over with the fans and all, it seemed kind of awkward to have R-Truth interrupt Shelton Benjamin's promo, then make Shelton wait about 5 minutes while R-Truth rapped in the crowd, before entering the ring to confront him. And why did Shelton wait all that time for R-Truth to make his way to the ring, just to leave as soon as R-Truth said 2 words to him? Very odd segment..

So how long has Brie Bella had an identical twin sister? Reminds me of the ole switch with Earl Hebner and his Twin Brother during the Hogan match.

..... speaking of Jeff Hardy , has there been a determination / resolution regarding his "incident" at the airport ? Just curious.

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: Not that I've heard.

Shelton Benjamin's super-jealous face was the best thing on the show this week, hands down. He can really hold his own when it comes to looking the part - still a short way to go with the promos, though, but this week was fair enough. I think he's made enough improvement lately to justify the time he's been awarded to run his mouth. And again, he looks the part so good it doesn't really even matter what he says...

On the other hand, I can't wait R-Truth to get mic time, too. He's gutsy on the mic and I think it will work better as the babyface he is right now. The way Benjamin and Truth are positioned now is going to help both get more over, too.

The crowd was incredibly loud and into Hardy, too, in the tag opener. He is so over it probably hurts. I do hope they stay the course and give him the belt though.

Kozlov looked like he had some ring awareness in the Khali match. Bonus points for the creative team for not making him look like a [jerk].

I'm into the Vladimir Kozlov push. The only thing missing is a manager. He needs somebody who can articulate his points for him & further get him over as a monster.

Perhaps he's forming an alliance with Great Khali, or more specificially, Ranjin Singh.

Maybe WWE should do some sort of "Rough Cuts" TNA style package (still in character, though) talking about the history of this character, how he was in Russia & came to WWE looking for a challenge.

Just a thought.

"seems wrong to have Natalya and Victoria jobbing to Bella and Maria"

Couldn't agree more. Who did Victoria [tick] off in the powers that be to get crapped on like she's been lately. She should be doing a title run, either with a title or gunning for one.

I've always felt that the only thing keeping Killings from being a star IS his entrance. It's Cena's annoying entrance on roids. Cut the rapping and dancing, make him a serious badass, and go from there. Thank goodness for fast forward.

Kev, I get the feeling that management was preparing to either have a long program with Jeff/HHH or have him win the belt.But with the airport incident, they may have decided to take the air out of that balloon slowly and using Kozlov as a diversion to give them an out if they decide it is too risky to let Jeff go on a long program w/ HHH or let him win the strap is probably sound strategy.If I were them, that airplane incident would scare me to death. I'd want to see a prolonged period of good decision making from Senor Hardy first before giving him the ball and asking him to help carry the company.Their big problem is that fans REALLY want to see him win the title. The few times he has come close seems to really deflate fans, and there is only so many times you can do that before they start to feel as if they are merely being toyed with and he is just there to offer believable challenges, not to actually hold the belt. While I do feel he has the quality I always thought made The Rock so great, not needing artificial pushing to get over, there are limits to how far that goes these days without the payoff. And with fans wanting so badly for him to do well, WWE knows it would not have to contrive ways to make him popular. They know as champ he would put butts in seats and sell merchandise.For WWE this is the ultimate risk/reward scenario. I can imagine there is a lot of debate inside the company as to whether the risk is worth the reward.What do you think Kevin?By the way, sadly, I get all your 80's references...Thanks for making it cool to enjoy wrestling again.I'll even tolerate your side job writing columns about 'other' sports if it keeps the blog alive. :-)Because...Whether you like it or don't like it, learn to love it, because it is the best thing going...Whooo!

The Brian Kendrick is my favourite wrestler at the moment and it's great to see he can hold his own in a match with people in a different weight class than him.

The only problem is, that to me it looks like he's only there to make Hardy look stronger than he really his. All of Hardy's big grapples are prefeormed on Kendrick, and I guess this is because he doesn't have the strength to o it to someone like HHH.

Just a little baffled by the tag team division... they are finally putting a few teams together, yet the belt still doesn't mean anything. From my perspective they are using the belts to try to get a team over, rather than getting a team over, THEN giving them the belts. (same thing with the US title)

I find it hard to believe that Vince, who's whole life has been in wrestling, does not seem realize that this is a huge error.

Huge mid card story lines make the main event draw money. The main event alone cannot carry the card. Back in the day, I ordered PPv's to see Bret Hart and Shawn Micheals, The Hardy's, Edge and Christian, etc. Hogan was just a side show for me, because I like good matches with good stories.

On the off chance that someone from WWE is reading, we fans (especially long time ones like me who make up your core income) get behind people who can have great matches, have a great story and EARN their spot in the main event. This takes time!! Koslov, for example will fail as a heel because he is being thrown in with HHH and Hardy, having only ever beaten some jobbers. Had they slowly moved him up the card as they used to, he might have gotten over.

Umaga, GREAT talent, look and potential. Wasted - pushed too fast. Turned into Jobber. What a waste of a monster heel.

Kane - good talent, good promos. Pushed fast. Turned into Jobber. Wasted talent.... may possibly recover with the mysterio angle (finally)

Kennedy. Great talent, very good promos. Pushed WAY too fast, fell off the wagon.
Wasted talent.

Great Khali - squashed the undertaker, then found out he can hardly work. Finlay beat him some time after the undertaker squash. ??? What the hell?

Lex Luger (a while ago but relevent because you think they would have learned) Good look, pushed down our throats, never got over.

The fact that there hasn't been a faction for ages, (since DX last broke up I think), there are a million belts which mean nothing and stories are few and far between are the main reasons why ratings are falling.

Like I say, I'm a 20 something year fan, and I still like to watch good matches, but I now tape raw and fast forward through all the wasted air time to watch the few good matches. The few attempts at lame quick fixes for ratings (the million dollar draw for eg.) were never going to work.

When they make the belts meaningful, push the under card through stories and cool angles, (which I'll find out about on their website and thru this blog) and go back to having only ONE WWE title belt, I'll be back watching raw and smackdown live. So will the other guys like me and there are a lot of us!!

A few other suggestions
1.Turn John Cena heel for a while in a cool angle when he returns and get someone like Shawn Micheals to show him a few new moves.
2. Forget about the Great Khali.
3. Don't just fire Mike Adamle, tie an anvil to his hips and throw him off a pier (for real, not just for TV)
4. Establish Shane as a monster tv heel. He'll get over better than Vince as a heel now. We've seen enough of Vince as a heel.

Well - this is going to be hard, but even though two of my top favorite wrestlers Triple H and Jeff Hardy are on Smackdown (or should I call it the Vickie Guerrero show????) ----I'm probably going to stop watching it. A lot of my friends who used to watch it already have stopped. For the last show on CW, I think it was a huge disappointment, and the quality of the show in general is lousy. Most of my friends watched it to watch wrestling, not Vickie, who is dominating the show now. Some things that have turned me away are Vickie/Big Show (enough's enough), The Brian Kendrick, Ryder and Hawkins (I'm glad they lost, but I can't stand Carlito either, and this whole Brie Bella, you know there's a twin under the ring, considering on Friday's show, you still saw Brie's legs going under one side as the twin was coming out the other.
And don't even get me started on Kozlov/Khali, both of those are BORING. Oh well, I used to look forward to Friday nights - now I'll have to find something else to do --- I'll just periodically catch up on it thru your blogs, Kevin.

Actually I think Wang Yang is still in the doghouse, wasn't he caught by WWE Wellness policy 2-3 months ago?

Wow, it just seems weird that in the space of 3 or 4 shows people have went from saying Smackdown was the best thing in wrestling today to they are never watching again. Strange...

Personally, I'm not intrigued at all by the Hardy-HHH fued as they are two of the most over-rated performers in the WWE. As much as I am bored seeing Tripper with the title, I think putting the belt on Hardy would be a massive mistake. Maybe it's because I'm old-fashioned but I believe to be top dog you need to be able to do more than jump off a building.

Also, he can't cut a promo. The last high-flyer who couldn't interest the fans in his reign was only given three weeks with the title before Edge took it off him.

Hmmmm, I wonder??

Kevin can u or anyone tell me whats this airport incident thats mentioned in the other coments?
And whats the big idea with smackdown changing stations? CW is a basic cable station, My network t.v. isn't a cable station so [smackdown is going to lose a lot of viewers] who dont receive the my network station. I feel instead of moving smackdown they should have moved ECW???

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: Rather than me telling you about the airport incident, you can read what Jeff Hardy himself had to say about it.

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.

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