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October 3, 2009

A Decade of Smackdown scores a Perfect 10

Current and former WWE stars gathered to party like it was 1999 on a special episode of Smackdown Friday night to celebrate the show’s 10th year on the air.

A very special guest couldn’t make it to the party at the arena, but he still made his presence felt, as Dwayne Johnson made a taped appearance. Correction: The Rock made a taped appearance, and on this night he once again was the undisputed most electrifying man in sports entertainment.

The Great One took us on a trip down memory lane to the Smackdown Hotel at the corner of Know Your Role Boulevard and Jabroni Drive. He laid the smack down, had us chanting his name and asked us if we smelled what he was cooking. Without a doubt, we all did. Then he put an exclamation point on it by raising his eyebrow as only he can.

There were plenty of raised eyebrows among the viewers, too, when Rock said the words that wrestling fans around the world had been anxiously waiting to hear:

This show will always belong to the jabroni-beating, pie-eating, has no peer, has no flaw, now that he’s tried Smackdown, maybe it’s time that The Rock guests hosts Raw!

The Rock will be the most electrifying host the show has ever seen. The people’s champ The Rock. There’s only one. Get ready!

The Rock’s inspired promo was the highlight of a very entertaining episode that also featured a night of intrabrand matches – including a star-studded eight-man tag in the main event – the return of Vickie Guerrero, cameo appearances by a couple WWE Hall of Famers and some funny sketches from a backstage party commemorating the occasion.

Other thoughts on Friday’s show:

It was a fun main event, as The Undertaker, John Cena, Triple H and Shawn Michaels defeated Randy Orton, CM Punk, Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes. I was surprised that Undertaker scored the winning pin on Orton instead of Punk since he faces Punk for the world heavyweight title at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Sunday. ...

I like that there was some tension between Undertaker and Michaels, who haven’t been in the ring with each other – at least on TV anyway – since their classic match at WrestleMania XXV last April. I also liked that DiBiase and Rhodes got another rub by being in a match with all those heavy hitters. Even better is that neither one of them did the job. ...

The backstage festivities reminded me of The Saturday Night’s Main Event days in the ’80s. I’m sure a lot of “serious” fans don’t like that kind of stuff, but I can appreciate sports entertainment and old-school rasslin.’ ...

On the old SNME shows, someone always ended up with either a pie or a cake in their face during parties. I would have bet anything that Michael Cole was going to be wearing the cake by the end of this show, but instead it was Drew McIntyre and R-Truth scuffling into the cake, and it wasn’t played for laughs. ...

Cole was a big hit at the party. That was the most personality he has showed since, well, ever. The “vintage” bit was pretty funny. ...

The creative team must have had a ball writing this show. In one memorable scene, a bombed Cole threw up on Chris Jericho, which then prompted The Big Show to lose his lunch. While that was going on, Tony Atlas was yucking it up as if Abraham Washington had just told a racist joke. Then Joey Styles surveyed the scene and exclaimed, “Oh my God!” Classic. ...

Another funny skit saw longtime rivals Sgt. Slaughter and The Iron Sheik going nose-to-nose. When Sheik was about to do his trademark spitting on the ground to show his contempt for the USA, he choked on a piece of food, and The Hurricane stepped in to deliver the Heimlich maneuver. The food popped out of Sheik’s mouth and flew onto Cole’s table, and Cole ate it. ...

Punk being a killjoy when Theodore Long was about to take a drink of alcohol during Finlay’s toast was good, too. ...

I’m very happy to see the return of Vickie Guerrero. The look on her face when Long kissed her on the cheek was tremendous. It’s a smart move making her the manager of newcomer Eric Escobar. He has instant heel heat right from his first on-camera appearance. ...

The Eddie Guerrero tribute video was a nice touch. The wrestling business definitely misses him. ...

Considering the stardom that Brock Lesnar has achieved in the MMA world, it was pretty amazing to see the clip of Guerrero pinning him to win the WWE title. ...

The Undertaker’s spooky promo was kind of cheesy, but it’s certainly worked for him for going on 20 years. ...

I’m surprised none of the McMahons appeared on the show, not even Vince. Then again, if Shane had shown up, Orton, DiBiase and Rhodes probably would have run out the back door in fear of their lives – and careers. ...

Batista and Kane had a good big man’s match. ...

The Michelle McCool-Melina match was a disappointment considering some of their past matches. ...

What was the point of Jack Swagger sitting at the announce table during the match pitting Dolph Ziggler and The Miz against John Morrison and Kofi Kingston if he wasn’t going to say anything?

Posted by Kevin Eck at 6:09 PM | | Comments (18)


I hope when Rocky comes to Raw its not announced and it's a suprise. It's not impossible regardless of the internet's powers, ie Cena's return in the Royal Rumble. The crowd would pop bigger than ever if they didn't know!

But, WWE will go for ratings so they'll be building it up for weeks I imagine!

One side note, has Rock fogotten about the millions (and millions) catchphrase! I seem to remember at his HOF speech he acted like he'd just realised!

Makes me glad I DVR'd it, since I work nights. Can't wait to watch it. Thanks for doing what you do, some of us are grateful.

How recently have they started using Kofi's real birthplace instead of pretending he's from Jamaica?

RESPONSE FROM KE: I just started noticing it this week.

I was a little disappointed that none of the McMahons showed up--especially since Stephanie was once Smackdown General Manager (and for a more meaningful stint than her time on Raw), but otherwise the show was perfect. it made me eager for another ten years.

Batista and Kane worked better together than I had expected. However, I still agree with a comment that was posted a few weeks ago: Smackdown's brief golden age is over.

This was an entertaining show. As soon as I saw the cake I thought for sure that Vince would end up in it. Drew McIntyre getting it was a surprise. I was disappointed that Vince was not there especially after the great interactions he has had with Teddy Long lately.

Jericho's face after the puking was classic.

As for The Rock, it is good to hear that he will guest host Raw. Hopefully he is used fully and integrated well into the show. He should be the best host yet.

Pretty sad when the person who made me most excited for HIAC hasn't stepped in a ring in 5 years.

There were some Stephanie clips,she looked pretty amazing.What shocked me though was the Vickie Guerrero clips,I certainly did not remember her being so good looking.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I saw the Stephanie clips. I thought it was odd that neither she nor Vince or Shane appeared live on camera.

Great blog as always -- Vintage Eck!

It's odd that they didn't just switch venues. Rock was in Albany this week where Raw was held. Why not just have Raw in Boston then Smackdown in Albany and have Rock appear live?

"How recently have they started using Kofi's real birthplace instead of pretending he's from Jamaica?"

Maybe because he grew up in the Boston area and with his appearance in Boston there was an article in the paper about him and his high school wrestling days.

The Rock is my favourite wrestler of all time and Friday night once again he proved why. Forget Undertaker, HBK HHH even Stone Cold, ok may be not Stone Cold as he is my second favourite of all time but the Rock showed that after five years out of wrestling he still knows how to get the fans going. He is a legend and I can't wait till he guest hosts Raw.

The Rock lost a bit in his promo, less fluent than what it used to be. His intensity not as high as before. At times he had a hard time restraining himself from laughing. The Great One still can cut a promo a lot better than anyone in the WWE roster.

i though the show was good i am actually glad to see that Vickie will be back after the way she left and i hope that after Edge comes back and finishes off his feud with Jericho that her new freind starts a feud with him to try and take revenge instead of acting like the Vickie/Edge thing never happened. i was also surprised that their was no Stephanie she was a big part of SD for that matter the King wasn't their either I wonder why that is because Beth was their and she's never been on SD. You know what would have been great to try and get the UFC champ tehir he was a big part if SD I would have tryed to work something out with him & Dana.

I wish Paul Heyman could have been there. The 6 months that he ran the show were pretty fun, and he could have done something at the party. Also, why wasn't Edge at the show? He's been the face of Smackdown for the last 2 years and he didn't do one thing.

Hey Kev,

Enjoy ur blogs. The Rocks promo was easily the best this year and it would be awesome if he came back to guest host raw. Is it me or did the rock's appearance not garner that much of a reaction as expected ( or atleast to me ) that it should have . I blame it on the PG rated theme , most of the audience members are families and of course John Cena :P . Did you feel the same way ??

I don't usually laugh at puke jokes, but in this case the fallout from Michael Cole puking on Jericho's shoes did have me busting a gut.

What was the point of Jack Swagger sitting at the announce table during the match pitting Dolph Ziggler and The Miz against John Morrison and Kofi Kingston if he wasn’t going to say anything?

One explanation might be that he couldn't take Vince's voice in his ear for one second longer and that's why he got rid of the headset. I'm kidding, of course, but I do seriously wonder if J.R. thought to himself "I wish I could do that" when he saw Swagger do it.

You know, even though the Miz is kind of due for a championship I think that Swagger will win tonight. My thinking is that lately we've seen Kofi and Miz feuding while Swagger has run down and demolished both of them once and was at ringside silently looming--yet looming nonetheless--on Smackdown. From that I can think of two conclusions: either the creative team decided to focus mostly on the other two guys and draw attention away from Swagger so that his victory would surprise people...or they just said to themselves "You know, this would be better as a triple threat match. Let's throw one more guy in there and have him do a job. Who can we add....who can we add...AHA! Jack Swagger!" Unfortunately, given the pitiful booking that's led up to this with the three participants playing musical belts, the second one seems as plausible to me as the first. I guess we'll find out tonight.

I don't believe that Kofi will win. He's already successfully defended his title in a SIX man match, after all, and if he won consecutive "defend your title against more than one opponent simultaneously" matches then he'd look a bit too invincible.

I was glad to see Morrison/Kingston vs. Miz/Ziggler and liked the fact that the two former tag team champs were in one another's faces, but I was surprised that they didn't show a clip of how the Miz attacked Morrison right after he was drafted to Raw after losing a match due to Morrison's botched attempt to help him. One would think that even after all this time Morrison would want to get some payback, and it would have been good to remind people of what happened. (Or in the case of the newer fans, let them know the story.)

THAT is how you do a wrestling show with entertaining backstage skits. Raw could take note.

One problem, Morrison and Kingston teaming versus Miz and Ziggler, I was hoping for far far more from all of them them, but obviously there were time constraints.

That was VINTAGE Smackdown

I was a little shocked at the response The Rock got when he did his "They're chanting the The Rock's name" bit. Back in the day the whole building was shaking when he did that. When they panned the camera on the crowd alot of them were there with their arms folded not saying anything. I guess that's what 5 years away from the ring will do to ya.
I'm just hoping that this little video and his impending apperance on RAW as guest host leads to The Rock vs. Cena at WresleMania. That has to happen!! Rock has to remember how big it was for him and Hogan to go at it at WM. this is alot like that in my opinion. It's not as big but by todays standards that will be the highest profile match in wrestling.

As much as I respect and love to see Sgt. Slaughter and Iron Shiek (surprised to see him!) and Brooklyn Brawler.. what was the point of them there? They never had anything to do with Smackdown. I'd have expected maybe JBL and Ron Simmons and I don't know, Scotty 2 Hotty or something. I miss Scotty :(.

Oh yeah.. it was really too bad Mysterio had to get suspended now out of all times, he's been such a big part of Smackdown this show really would have been right for him.

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

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