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October 11, 2009

Smackdown: Four will settle the score

It was announced on Smackdown Friday night that The Undertaker will defend the world heavyweight title in a fatal four-way at the Bragging Rights pay-per-view on Oct. 25 against CM Punk, Batista and Rey Mysterio. That’s probably the best option at this point for The Undertaker’s first title defense.

We already have Randy Orton and John Cena wrestling each other month after month, so I’m glad that there’s not going to be an Undertaker-Punk match for the third consecutive pay-per-view. Undertaker and Batista have had some classic matches in the past, but, again, Cena-Orton and Undertaker-Batista on the same show would scream “been there, done that” to a fan base dying for fresh matchups on top. The only thing that could make an Undertaker-Batista program fresh would be if Batista were to turn heel. An Undertaker-Mysterio match would be something different, but the timing just doesn’t seem right for that program.

In all honesty, anything WWE came up with for the world heavyweight title match at Bragging Rights would be a bit lackluster with the awesome Punk-Jeff Hardy program still fresh in everyone’s minds. Plus, I just don’t find The Undertaker as world champ all that compelling, especially since Punk was doing such a great job as champion and was generating a lot of heel heat.

Other thoughts on Friday’s show:

What exactly has Mysterio done to warrant inclusion in the world title match at Bragging Rights? Let’s review: He lost the Intercontinental title last month to John Morrison before serving a 30-day suspension, and then did the job when teaming with Batista against unified WWE tag team champions Chris Jericho and The Big Show. I think a more logical scenario for Mysterio getting into the pay-per-view main event would have been to have his match against Jericho determine who gets the fourth and final spot. By announcing that Mysterio would be in the world title match before his match against Jericho, it pretty much gave away the result. ...

And speaking of that result, yes, Jericho did yet another clean job. There’s no shame in losing to Mysterio, but it is a shame that Jericho’s winning percentage as of late has been about as bad as the Baltimore Orioles’ was this season. As for the quality of the match, I don’t think Jericho and Mysterio could have a bad match if they tried, but it wasn’t as good as some of their previous encounters. ...

After watching Dolph Ziggler fail to win the Intercontinental title again, I think Jericho has some competition for the title of Biggest Loser. ...

Ziggler’s loss to Morrison did serve as a plot device in the Ziggler-Maria story line, as she inadvertently cost him the match and then he dumped her afterward. My guess is that she turns heel and helps Ziggler win the IC title in an effort to redeem herself. ...

The Punk-Batista match was all right, but the crowd wasn’t all that hot for it. ...

Drew McIntyre looked good in the tag team match in which he and Kane defeated Matt Hardy and R-Truth. I fully expected the heels to win, but I was surprised that Hardy was the one to do the job. ...

The Michelle McCool-Eve match wasn’t bad. McCool is a decent worker, but I get the impression that the crowd just doesn’t really care about her. With the way Eve is improving, I wouldn’t be shocked if a title run was in her future.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 1:09 AM | | Comments (27)
        

Comments

My only question is why the Undertaker made the four-way sound like an elimination match. I actually prefer them to be elimination matches, but know that it doesn't really happen anymore.

i dont think anyone has ever cared about mcool, but they have continued to push her for the last year. they need to start listening to the fans again...

The fatal four-way is the only way that Undertaker can lose the title to Punk without having to job. There seems to be a rather dull clause in the Undertaker's contract were he isn't allowed to lose. Fair play we can tell he'll never lose at Wrestlemania, but it would be nice if he put over someone for a change!

Drew McIntyre looks like someone Photoshopped his head onto his body. He's a strange looking person.

My guess is, Punk wins the title back by pinning Mysterio so Undertaker doesn't have to lose cleanly, and Punk/Mysterio can have a series of matches.

Well at least Jericho has a won a championship in the recent past unlike the Orioles

I thought Smackdown was a good show. I skipped both RAW and ECW this week because I felt burnt out after that horrible PPV last Sunday.Smackdown had 3 really solid matches, which is really all I ask, which both RAW and iMPACT almost never give. But as you said Kevin, right now its hard to watch Smackdown and not think of how tremendous it was this summer, which makes it seem lackluster now. Who knew that Jeff Hardy would leave such a gaping hole that both the Undertaker and Batista cant fill it?

I agree with Mysterio. What kind of message does it send to the rest of the locker room? You can do drugs and when you come back we'll ELEVATE you. How does he go from being IC champ, suspended, thrown in PPV title match with the most compelling tag team in a while, then headlining a PPV for a heavyweight championship. Absolutely disgusting. I doubt they will, but wouldn't it be great if they let Punk shoot on Rey for all this next week on Smackdown?

Wow, that Undertaker guy is nasty. He said he was going to steal those other wrestler's underware at the next show. I don't know why he wants their underware, after all that's kind of disgusting.

Oh, sorry. HE said he would steal their soul, not their underware.

Well, that's not so bad.

I think the WWE is right not to give Ziggler the intercontinental title just as yet. We have all complained about how non-meaningful the titles have become especially the Intercontinental title. After so many attempts, eventually when Ziggler gets his hands on the title it will be a big moment of his career within the WWE. He is still young and upcoming and there is nothing wrong with him failing for a while as long as he has decent performances. Morrison still deserves the title on his shoulders and can put over Ziggler with a good fairly long intense feud which is what we are all missing from the glory days of the WWE. The Intercontinental title seems to be regaining its prestige as of late. Ziggler could get it in a couple of months and run with it till WM26 where he could drop to someone else.Giving the IC title so quick to Ziggler would be the same as giving the WHC to Morisson. They both still have to work their way up respectively. That to me makes more sense PLAYAS!!!

Kevin,

What do you make of all the Internet talk regarding Punk losing the title to Undertaker? According to the stories, Punk and Undertaker had a confrontation about Punk not "dressing" appropriately as a world champion for his appearances. Supposedly, words were exchanged and the WWE decided to punish Punk for his cavalier attitude. Is this all just nonsense? Do you think there is any truth to these rumors? Just wondering.... it seems pretty ludicrous to me to remove a world champion as a form of punishment, but who knows...

Holden

RESPONSE FROM KE: I have no idea what to make of that gossip.

If the finish to the Ziggler-Morrison match was scripted, that writer needs to be fired. It was awkward and completely nonsensical. If the chair was still where Ziggler had left it, what was his plan? He didn't have an opening to use it, so his looking for it just looked weird. Horrible end to a decent match between arguably the two best young talents in the business.

And I've been calling it for a couple months now, Maria is turning heel and we're going to have a Maria/Ziggler-Melina/Morrison angle.

Is it just me or has Matt Hardy gone from being one of the most fit/hard working wrestlers to Out of shape and slow?

I was glad to see the Undertaker cut the exact same promo for the 7,467th time.

Hey Kevin
I noticed that on the WWE website that the Ultimate Warrior is on the alumni page. Does that mean that Hellwig is on good terms with WWE after the lawsuit? I thought that was very odd.

Also I loved the Jim Ross interview. He is about the only reason I watch Smackdown anymore. With all the absurd things that happen there anymore he brings credibillity to the sport. Hopefully they don't make the mistake of not resigning him when his contract runs out soon. What a loss that would be.

Also I agree totally with your points on the constant title switches. One solution would be to go old school and not have the champions wrestle on tv every week like in the 70's and 80's. That would prolong feuds and lengthen title reigns. The thing that makes the current feuds and rivalries stale is because they wrestle almost every week in tag matches and stuff. When Hogan and Savage were champions they only did interviews and appearances and very rarely wrestled on free tv. The Cenas, Ortons, Undertakers, Triple Hs and so on wrestle every single week and it gets stale quick.

MARIA #1!!!

I think the WWE is making the right move with Ziggler. The storyline is taking a slow build. The title has change hands while he is still in the picture. But most of all if the fans have not lost interest or respect in Ziggler, then something good is happening we still care about him.

Has Undertaker and Rey Mysterio ever faced each other? If so, when was their last match together?

a couple quick things as long as McCool & taker are together you can expect a nice long reign for her its smackdowns version of the Mcmahon/hemsley era. I was really happy to see punk beat batista by countout its nice to see some old school finishes where not everything has to be pinfall or submission. I am really shocked but happy to See morrison win I was expecting maria's heel turn here & its also unfortunate to see that Matt is back to his midcard status jobbing to rookies

Hi Kevin, regular reader from England here.

I just want to agree with you that today's World Heavyweight Title program is rather disappointing after the fantastic program that Jeff Hardy and CM Punk had undergone. As much as a great face and character that the Undertaker is, I kind of resent his return to the show as we were enjoying some brilliant episodes of Smackdown at the time; not that they're bad now, but I have missed the last two and not been too gutted about it.

I wonder whether it would have been better to delay the Undertaker's return and give him an extended hiatus. That way, we could have entered into the enthralling prospect - at least at the time - of Punk against John Morrison. Morrison would have thoroughly deserved a title program after a series of big performaces and wins, and I think the fans would have bought it as well. Obviously, it hasn't been a bad move to put the Intercontinental Championship belt on him, but, in my mind, Dolph Ziggler is suffering slightly by his continued pay-per-view defeats. Ziggler could be over, with a lot more heel heat, right now if he was the champ, and he could help someone like R-Truth get over even more so as a credible threat on Smackdown.

I remember you writing one blog a few months ago about the "fabulous five" who were carrying Smackdown and making it such a brilliant watch at that time. CM Punk, Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and John Morrison were having fantastic matches no matter what the combination of personnel it was. I wonder whether the WWE writers missed a trick by not trying to exhaust a bit more out of this period of time.

One final thing, I am another Jericholic and it dismays me to see him do job after job, week by week. I also hate the pattern that emerges in each and every tag team match where Big Show is the one who dominates constantly before the seemingly inept Jericho lets the other partnership back into the fight. I know Big show is a man-mountain and it's tough to convey slighter figures to bully him, but surely there are at least some ways to do so?

Anyway, I just wanted to express some thoughts from across the pond. Love the blog; I read it every day. Keep up the good work.

"When Hogan and Savage were champions they only did interviews and appearances and very rarely wrestled on free tv"

___________________________

Those kind of shows seemed great when I was ten years old and had never seen anything other form of wrestling program, but now, the standard has been set much higher, so I won't go back to watching a weekly promo/squash match/interview show.

Here is the deal with them not wrestling each week because, then people would not see the chanpsions going to a wwe event, when they want to see them wrestle, you got to have the big boys wrestle now, they have done it to long to go back. A lot of the stuff in the old school days will not work now, it seems like they are going back, I think long title reigns are okay, just dont have them 2 years, that will not work now. to me.

The lack of comments to the TNA shows compared to Smackdown really shows just how little interest there is in TNA these days.

Why put the belt on Undertaker if he can't be expected to work a main event match? How over would Punk be now if he simply BEAT Undertaker in the Cell and moved on to a new challenger? Now they've booked into a hole again and have to do this match to get out of it.

After Morrison beating Ziggler AGAIN, i hope they don't put the belt on Ziggler. Let Morrison build that strap up and put him against Matt Hardy or Mysterio. If we could get a few months of awesome IC title matches, I'd be looking forward to that match every show. Letting Ziggler take it is just another bland storyline that makes the belt look like crap.

I have only one take. The Miz will have to turn face, so we can Swagger in the mix for US champion. Drew seems headed for an IC title with morrison. I love smackdown. And cant wait to see Cena, as it was given away, that he surely will lose BR.

Kev Undertaker not that compelling dude the Undertaker is the only reason I still watch WWE programing. I gotta admit if he were to leave then I'd probably would stop watching all togeather especially now since Jeffs gone and it doesn't look like he's coming back. And as for Punk Im really not a big fan He just doesn't seem like a really good Heel to me. When the Hell is edge coming back

Jim Ross shot down that ridiculous rumor about CM Punk being punished on his blog. Also, Bret Hart has debunked the rumors that he's returning to the WWE. Both of those stories were created by Dave Meltzer, who some people think is a reliable source but is really anything but. As Public Enemy would say, don't believe the hype!

http://www.wrestleview.com/news2009/1255299629.php

I think your point on Mysterio also ties in with your previous blog on the constant title changes these days. It all comes back to one thing, credibility. The constant title changes have made the titles less credible in the modern day. What has Mysterio done in recent time to warrant a title shot? the answer is nothing (apart from sitting at home for 30 days). The WWE have obviously decided that as Mysterio is popular with the fans, they'll stick him into the main event as well, meaning Mysterio fans will be more likely to buy the pay per view. The fact that their is little to no rhyme or reason to his inclusion almost smacks of laziness by the creative team.

Lately the WWE appears to be solely concentrating on the "next pay per view" as opposed to formulating any kind of long term plan, as well as having ridiculously short memories. One month a guy is getting squashed on Raw/Smackdown, and the next he's challenging for a world title, it just makes no sense and takes away from the title itself. The IC/US/ECW/Tag titles used to actually mean something, now they are little more then props. In years gone by the IC title was used to give wrestlers a chance to prove they could handle a title run, a test run if you like before getting an opportunity at the heavyweight title. Now it is given no air time or credibility. I strongly feel that the only reason Jericho is a tag team champion is because they have for the moment ran out of idea's for him. That in itself is ridiculous as their are few heels capable of generating heat like Jericho. Put him in a program with with Matt Hardy or John Morrison, he'll make them better

Sports entertainment should loosely (and I do mean loosely) follow the basic concept that all sports follow in terms of competivness and achievement. Taking boxing as an example, in terms of title belts, shots at a title need to be earned, and winning or losing does matter. It should be the same in wrestling. Very often "The number 1 contender" is announced and we're all left scratching our heads as to how exactly this particular wrestler became a number one contender.

The increase in the amount of pay per views has contributed to the problem, leading to increased amounts of TV time having to be given to the main eventers. The amount of pay per views will realistically never be cut as they generate money, but I think it may take pressure off the brands if they alternate them i.e.. One month has a smackdown only pay per view and the following month has a raw only pay per view. This would give the creative team more time to build storylines, and would allow for increased exposure for the mid-carders. Needless to say the main events such as Wrestlemania, Summerslam etc should include full rosters

At the end of the day constant title changes are a quick fix to a bigger problem, while they may work in the short term they don't in the long term and only result in the impact of a title change being diminished. I agree with very little Bret Hart says, but I do believe that the art of story telling and building a bout both in and outside the ring appears to be disappearing. This has been a problem on WWE programming for some time now and it appears to be worsening

"If the chair was still where Ziggler had left it, what was his plan? He didn't have an opening to use it, so his looking for it just looked weird. Horrible end to a decent match between arguably the two best young talents in the business".

Got to agree with the weird set up. How would he be able to use the chair? And if he could, why not immediately?

Why was Mysterio suspended?

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