TJR: Talking Smack for 10/23/09 (Taker/Punk & Bragging Rights Preview)

The John Report: Talking Smack for 10/23/09 (Taker/Punk & Bragging Rights Preview)

Welcome to the Talking Smack column where I offer up a quick rundown of WWE’s Friday broadcast, Smackdown. I will also end this column with a short preview of Sunday’s Bragging Rights PPV. Before I start, big thanks to my man Jarrod L. for the new banner you see up above. My girl Mickie looks out of it a bit, but that’s okay. She’s tough.

Before I start, I’d be remiss in not mentioning the great Christian/Jericho match from ECW this week. I don’t always watch ECW, but when I read Jericho was on it I knew it was must see. And he was great in putting over Christian in clean fashion. They’re two of my top five favorite performers in WWE right now, so to see that match this week was great. I’d rate it at ***1/2 and I highly recommend it to those that didn’t see it. It’s really a shame that Christian’s not on the PPV this Sunday because he’s one of the better performers in WWE right now. Please get him on Raw or Smackdown soon. I’d prefer Smackdown because I really want a Jericho/Christian feud. The fact that they’re really good friends helps a lot too.

Taped from Columbia, South Carolina let’s talk some smack…

– No Todd Grisham (on his honeymoon) or Jim Ross this week, we get Cole & Lawler. I want to send my best wishes to Jim Ross, who is recovering from Bell’s Pallsy. He’s a good man who I’ve exchanged emails with in the past and he’s always been helpful. Plus, having watched WWE as much as I have and read so much of his words in the past I feel like I know the guy. He’s a great man. He won’t be working the PPV. Hopefully he’s on our TV screens again soon. I’ll miss him.

– We start out with the best in the business, Chris Jericho. He talks about how his Team Smackdown is weak. Then each of the SD guys came out. JTG without Shad, who was sick, who Jericho claimed was arrested for stealing a car. Classy. Then each guy came out. First Escobar with Vickie, then Ziggler, then McIntyre (who claimed to be captain of the team with his experience of one month) and finally co-captain Kane came out. He said none of them were worthy of being on his team. Uh, didn’t they all win matches last week? I saw them win matches. This all led to these four guys against five new guys who, in most cases, lost last week. In other words, having qualifying matches last week meant absolutely nothing.

R-Truth, Finlay, Matt Hardy & Hart Dynasty d. JTG, Eric Escobar, Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre (*1/2)
They got about 9 minutes and it was nothing special. The problem with a match with this many people in it is it’s hard to work over one guy for a while like in a traditional tag since there are so many standing on the apron. The new team won after Finlay hit JTG with the shillelagh while the ref wasn’t looking and Hardy pinned him after a Twist of Fate. Basically they’re telling us that the new five guys had to cheat with a weapon to beat the team of four guys who are supposedly weak. Does that make sense? I don’t think so. Keep in mind everybody on Team Smackdown won a match last week, so they did earn their spot. The reason it was changed was apparently because when Vince McMahon saw Team Smackdown in the ring against Raw he thought they looked weak. Yes, the same guy that put over all five SD guys last week changed his mind this week. Maybe on Sunday there’ll be a whole new team.

– Backstage Punk talked with ref Scott Armstrong (a former wrestler in WCW by the way) and Teddy Long. Basically, Armstrong wasn’t sure if he should screw Undertaker because of his family’s good name (his dad was a wrestler and he has brothers in the business including Road Dogg). He told Punk that somebody else had to do the dirty work and then he left, only to run into crazy Vince who said, “we need to talk.” A month ago, they screwed the Undertaker in private. Now they do it in front of the camera. Gee, I wonder if it will work.

John Morrison d. Mike Knox (*)
Remember when Knox was being built up like a monster? Now he’s losing in three minutes. At least he gets a 20 second clip every match talking about body parts. The chemistry wasn’t that great and Morrison barely hit the Starship Pain for the win. I don’t love that as a finisher. Post match, he cut a promo. It was okay. As I said last week he’s much better at talking to somebody in-ring than he is at speaking to the crowd.

– Backstage Jerikane (not as good as Jerishow, I admit) told their new team they were more impressive than the pervious team and that they should watch the Jerikane vs. Batisterio match later.

– More backstage with my girl Mickie James-Canton with Mae Young. Mae is still hanging in there, good for her. Michelle McHeel comes in. Mickie talks about how Michelle left her off team Smackdown because she wants to avoid her. Mickie told her to break a leg. Yeah, you go girl. I love wishing harm on another person! It’s smart, sexy and powerful. Beth came in, told McHeel that she won’t have the belt for long and Mae was like, “she told you.” McHeel told her to shut up and Mae gave her a bitchslap. I liked it just fine.

– They threw to a video package about Rey and Batista last week where Rey pinned him although Batista had his shoulder up, which the ref didn’t see. Then the two walked and Rey said he learned a lot about Batista that he didn’t know. Is there a chapter on how many of the WWE divas that Batista has been with? Their tag match is next.

Rey Mysterio & Batista d. Chris Jericho & Kane (**1/4)
Two minutes in, Kane pulled Rey out of the ring and that meant a commercial. Predictably, the heel side worked on Rey for the majority of the match until he got Batista in there. He went to finish off Kane, Jericho saved him, Batista took care of Jericho, which allowed Kane to big boot and then post him. Rey went at Kane, who spiked Rey into the mat with a chokeslam. That looked stiff. When Kane turned around he was met by a Batista spear for the victory. No real controversy by the faces. Just a solid TV tag match.

– More backstage with the conspirators huddling up. Vince was talking to Armstrong about how his dad “Bullet” Bob might make the Hall of Fame next year if Scott co-operated tonight. That left Scott to think. During all this, Punk had this goofy grin on his face.

Mickie James d. Layla (*)
Two minutes. Mickie James-Canton won. Layla wasn’t in the right spot at least twice, but they held it together enough to make it decent. Mickie hit a really nice looking neckbreaker and also a spinning kick for the win. I love how they say it came “out of nowhere” even though she was standing in front of her opponent. Please put Mickie against Michelle or Natalya.

– Another video tribute for Captain Lou Albano. The crowd cheered at the end as they should. Same one as Monday, which was great.

– They aired the excellent Cena/Orton video package that makes the feud better than it has been. Then they ran down the PPV card. My preview is at the end of this review.

World Title Submission Match: The Undertaker (c) d. CM Punk (**)
Punk came out with Teddy Long and Scott Armstrong. The deal was Punk was very happy about this, thinking that he’d win the match because he’s got the same corrupt ref and GM. Of course since that match happened they barely mentioned that Undertaker beat Punk clean in about ten minutes to win the belt, or that Undertaker abducted Long for a week. They didn’t work that hard in the match. It was more about the story than anything. Punk kept trying to go for a submission while Undertaker kept fighting out of it. They did little things like when Undertaker was going for the top rope clothesline, Long would stand up and that distracted him enough to hurt him. That allowed Punk to work him over a bit when he asked Long for a chair. He gave it to Armstrong. Punk took it from him, then missed a charge on Undertaker, who proceeded to chokeslam Armstrong. Then he stared down Long, who took off. This allowed Punk to hut Undertaker with chair shots in the gut, back and head (Undertaker did smartly block it with his hand). Punk told Teddy to get another ref, so he waved down Mike Chioda and while this was happening Punk had his Anaconda Vice reversed into a Hell’s Gate for the Undertaker. Crowd went nuts, Punk tapped about five seconds later as the Deadman retained. The show ended with Punk retreating while Undertaker held the belt up triumphantly.

Three Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk – He was great as the smiling heel who thought everything would go well.
2. Rey Mysterio – He’s here because Kane spiked him and it looked nasty.
3. Captain Lou Albano – There’s nobody else that stood out, plus I love the Captain Lou song so much!

Rating: 5 (out of 10)
Last week: 5

It was an average show again this week, much like last week. The problem is the Bragging Rights PPV isn’t that appealing, so when you spend the majority of the show hyping up that show it’s hard for me to get excited as a viewer. The matches weren’t great. They were Raw-like in their normalcy. If you missed this show you really didn’t miss much although I’m sure WWE thinks that changing the Smackdown team is a big deal. To me it’s a sign that the person booking the shows (Vince) needs to plan better long term.


A Quick and Painless Preview of WWE Bragging Rights
I don’t think this PPV is going to do very well in terms of PPV buys. The concept of the show is pretty weak and while they probably think that Cena vs. Orton “one last time” is going to draw I really have my doubts. Throw in the fact that there’s UFC on Saturday, a pretty huge NFL game Sunday night and quite possibly an even bigger MLB playoff game on Sunday night and I could see a situation where a lot of people that may have watched this PPV might choose to pass on it. I don’t mean to be a downer. I think the PPV’s going to be pretty good in terms of match quality. I’m just being realistic, that’s all.

Raw Divas (Melina, Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim) vs. Smackdown Divas (Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix & Natalya)
No Mickie James-Canton on the SD side because they’re going face vs. heel and the story is Michelle doesn’t like her, so she kept her off. I’ll go with the smiling, happy, muted girls from the Raw side over the arrogant, bitchy, talkative girls from the SD side. They’re smart (how would we know since they almost never talk?), sexy (most are) and powerful (maybe Beth is). The Pick: Raw divas

Raw’s US Champ The Miz vs. Smackdown’s IC Champ John Morrison
They team these two up for a couple years, they split them up and then they waste what could be a marketable match between the two on a PPV that might get the lowest buys of the year? That’s just not right. I hope they get 10-15 minutes and they get the crowd into it because it could be fun. I’ll go with Morrison for the win because he needs the bigger push going forward. The Pick: John Morrison

Team Raw (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Big Show and Mark “Kool-Aid” Henry) vs. Team Smackdown (Chris Jericho, Kane, R-Truth, Tyson Kidd, David Hart Smith, Finlay and Matt Hardy)
I think that’s Team Smackdown unless Vince changes his mind again, which is always possible. I feel sorry for the fans in attendance who will be staring at 12 dudes standing on the apron for this one. I assume they’ll get 20 minutes at least because why promote this thing so heavily and give them less than that? I see one of two finishes happening: A) Show turns on his team, gives a chokeslam to HBK and that allows Jericho to get a pin to give SD the win while also setting up a Jerishow vs. DX feud. B) A clean win for the Raw side. I’d love to see A, but I think it’s going to be B. Really, though, with “bragging rights” on the line what’s the big deal really? The prize for the winning team should have been that the seven guys on the winning team get the last 7 spots in the Royal Rumble. At least that feels important. Instead, what do you get? Bragging Rights? Lame. Pretty, pretty lame. The Pick: Team Raw

World Title: Undertaker (c) vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk vs. Batista
I really don’t think Mysterio or Punk have a chance here. And they’re clearly going for a Batista heel turn although it will be done slowly, so it would be a poor decision to put the belt on him here. I guess that means they would go a PPV without moving the title. Holy shit, that’s crazy talk! I can see a situation happening where Batista hits the Batista Bomb on Punk, it looks like he has the win and then out of nowhere Rey breaks it up. Batista’s pissed about it, Rey just says he was trying to win, Undertaker can come back in, shove them both out of the ring, hit a Tombstone on Punk and pick up the win. Then they can re-hash the story of Batista having the win taken away from him by Rey, who is the perfect guy for him to turn on when it happens maybe as soon as Survivor Series. The Pick: The Undertaker

WWE Title Anything Goes Ironman Match: Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena
A sixty minute anything goes match should be a vicious, violent, bloody contest between two heated rivals using all kinds of weapons. Of course this is the 2009 PG version of WWE where people don’t sell moves or beatings very much, especially in a sixty minute match. I think in terms of quality it should be very good, though, in that **** range with the chance to be higher. Neither guy is as good in the ring as somebody like Michaels or Jericho, but both are good enough that I have faith in this being a good match. The question is, can they keep it fresh for the full 60 minutes like the HHH/Rock or Angle/Lesnar Ironman matches? I don’t know. I think Cena’s going to win. I don’t believe that they’re going to move him to Smackdown (or ECW – I’m still laughing about that one). I could see a situation where Dibiase comes out to help Orton (it’s no DQ), maybe he screws up and then he can intentionally drill Orton after being yelled at like he was on Monday. Then Cena capitalizes to win. Cena/Orton ends while Orton/Dibiase begins. The Pick: John Cena

I think in terms of match quality it will be pretty good as most WWE PPVs are. I just don’t think it’s an important PPV or one that will lead people to spend money to watch it. I won’t be watching live although I think I’ll see it before I see Raw, so I might have thoughts on it in the Raw Deal on Tuesday.


I’ll be back on Monday for the first part of my WWE Roster Evaluation where I will write about every single on-air performer in the company and give them a letter grade. On Tuesday I’ll be back for the Raw Deal. On Thursday I will post part two of the WWE Roster Evaluation and then next weekend as always I’ll be posting Talking Smack. It will be a busy week next week. If you’re a NFL fan check out my weekly picks column at the Sports Oratory located right here.

Enjoy the PPV if you’re watching it. Thanks for reading.

Smell ya later,
John Canton –
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