SmackDown Report – August 3, 2007 from Phoenix, Arizona (taped July 31)

SmackDown opens with an update on the wedding of Teddy Long and Kristal, both of whom are in the ring. It’s set for the September 21st show, and as Long and Kristal give us a display of their affection, the proceedings are interrupted by the appearance of the Great Khali, along with his translator. Khali, whose Indian celebration on last week’s show was interrupted by Batista – who challenged him to a title match amid the breakup of the frivolity – is not happy. Long abandons his wedding plans long enough – and Kristal abandons the ring – to announce that Khali will face Batista at SummerSlam. There’s a round of shouting as the house lights dim and Kane’s music is heard. He isn’t out there to argue with Khali, at least not from the television viewers’ perspective, so it’s an odd moment as the announcers tell us that Kane is there for the opening match. I guess he got tired of listening to Khali. I did, too. When we return from the commercial break we are treated to:

Chris Masters vs Kane
Kane is already in the ring and Masters has arrived, ascending the corner ropes and giving the crowd an amazing display of pec development and control as he bounces them for the fans. This sort of thing is completely natural for Masters and he carries it off with great aplomb. Kane doesn’t appear too happy about the fans’ attention to Masters and as Masters descends and they lock up, Kane pulls him down in a side headlock. Masters shoves him off and Kane comes off the ropes with a shoulder block that knocks Masters over and he rolls into the corner, assessing Kane’s power. Kane gives Masters a confident nod and grin, but it’s short lived as Masters folds him with a kick and then gets his own side headlock on Kane. Kane tries to power out and he shoves Masters off who comes off the ropes and gives Kane a taste of his own brand of power with not one, but two shoulder blocks of his own. Kane responds with a close-fisted illegal shot to the jaw – I guess he doesn’t like being upstaged in the power department. A headslam to the corner and Kane tries to stop Masters with some more illegal moves in the corner. Kane then brings him down with a side arm bar and they hold on the mat for a short time. Masters works his way to his feet and Kane works the arm more, trying to hold Masters off, shoulder blocking him a few times. Masters muscles him into the corner and a back elbow stuns Kane, with a second one keeping him under control. A right forearm and Masters whips Kane out. Kane reverses it and he charges Masters into the corner, running into Masters’ cocked elbow. Masters charges into him and attempts the Masterlock but Kane doesn’t let him get it all the way locked and flips him over. Kane goes for the chokeslam but Masters avoids it, wisely going to the ropes so Kane will advance – and when he does Masters drops to the outside, driving Kane’s throat into the top ropes.

Masters is back in and two powerful hammers to the back drop the huge monster Kane to the mat. The power moves by Masters are very impressive in this match and they demonstrate how capable he is at dealing with men who are physically bigger than he is. Masters goes for the Masterlock again but Kane retreats to the ropes to escape. Masters works him in the corner before being warned by the ref. Masters then pulls Kane to center ring and stuns the fans – and Kane, by taking him off his feet with a huge, impressive standing clothesline. A two count pinfall attempt. Masters works the head as he keeps Kane on the mat. Kane works his way to his feet, shouldering his way out of it and follows that with another close-fisted shot to Masters’ jaw. Masters gets whipped across the ring but he returns the favor with a classic, textbook swinging neckbreaker that brings Kane down again. Kane is looking more and more fatigued, and it seems like he’s having trouble containing Masters’ power. Masters makes another pin attempt and gets a two count. Masters goes for some work on the head again as he twists Kane’s neck. Kane manages to work his way up and he lifts Masters and drops him with a backbreaker to release Masters’ grip. Kane goes for another chokeslam but Masters gets to the ropes and then turns right around and applies the Masterlock again. The fans are loving it when each of these men apply their signature moves. Kane battles out before Masters can lock it on again and Masters works him over with some punches and kicks to the leg. He attempts a suplex, but Kane reverses it and Masters goes over, feeling the effects of the height with which Kane delivers this move. Kane boots him in the head, slams his head into the corner and then he hits him with another closed fist – and it looks like Kane is trying everything legal and illegal to stop Masters’ advance. Kane delivers another close-fisted punch, defying the ref’s warning. A whip and Kane drives in two clotheslines to the corner, finally cutting off some of Masters’ nonstop offense. Another whip and Kane delivers a sidewalk slam for the pin, but Masters is not weakened and he kicks out at two. Kane goes high on the corner turnbuckles but Masters catches him with the Masterlock – to a huge response from the crowd. Kane, having felt the power of Masters’ signature move several times, quickly retreats to the ropes with the momentum and the ref forces Masters to break the hold. Masters can’t believe that he had to break it and in a quick series of moves, he goes for the Masterlock again, but Kane shoves him into the ropes, then dodges Masters fist. He quickly grabs a surprised Masters in the chokeslam hold and rapidly applies it before Masters can get an offense. The powerful move allows Kane to get the three count.
Winner: Kane

Chris Masters makes another impressive showing this week. It must not be easy to overpower the 300 pound Kane, but Masters accomplished it here. He finally became the victim of Kane’s desperate chokeslam that cut off what could possibly have been Kane’s defeat to Masters. A tough match for Kane as Masters gives him a run for his money that Kane rarely sees.

A promo for Chuck Palumbo is shown before the start of the next match:

Mark Henry vs Nate Nickerson
Henry is reported at 390 pounds, Nickerson at 175. I think this was supposed to be another promo for the self-proclaimed “World’s Strongest Man,” but it doesn’t really take the world’s strongest man to gorilla press a 175-pounder. Not much to report on this as it’s the usual squash for Henry, defeating Nickerson by bearhug within minutes, possibly less.
Winner: Mark Henry

Post match, Henry takes the microphone and announces that the ring is “his jungle.” “You wanna know why nobody of consequence takes my challenge?” he asks. I guess this explains why Nickerson is in the ring with him. Henry answers his own question by directing us to a video of him taking out the Undertaker. Henry whoops it up in the ring as the Undertaker is carried off in the videoclip. The crowd is not so into it and a chorus of boos answers Henry’s laughter.

Jesse and Festus on Fashion. Yup, that’s the next promo. It’s unbelievable and doesn’t deserve further mention.

MVP vs Matt Hardy – Arm Wrestling Contest
The equipment for the arm wrestling contest is brought to the ring. Hardy makes his entrance to the usual standard cheers and MVP is out to a somewhat quiet reaction. After a lot of prancing about and hemming and hawing from MVP, they get started. Hardy asks MVP to remove his shades and MVP makes a big deal of it, stalling the contest. They lock up and of the ref notices that MVP has locked his leg around the table leg. The ref calls off the hold and they begin again. MVP causes some more delays by taping up his fingers, then untaping them and fooling around with some chalk. I’m not sure why MVP feels he has to stall unless it’s his way of intimidating Hardy. Hardy doesn’t seem to be bothered by it at all, though. A third attempt and they finally get into it. Then MVP calls it off again. He produces a tennis ball and begins to crunch it in his hand. The crowd is clearly upset and we are underway again. About a minute into and it’s appearing to be a stalemate with neither getting the advantage. It looks like MVP is taking Hardy down but Hardy comes back, slowly at first, and then as MVP watches in disbelief, Hardy takes him down with little fanfare.
Winner: Matt Hardy

The prematch shenanigans were really more interesting than the actual contest itself, so it wasn’t anything to miss if you didn’t see it. MVP continues to trash Hardy after the contest, saying it was rigged and then he says he can beat Hardy wrestling “any time, any place.” He says he’ll even do it tonight. And so we are on for our next match.

MVP vs Matt Hardy
After the break, the two of them are in the ring and trading punches. Hardy works on the arm and then punches MVP in the corner, almost knocking MVP out on his feet. Hardy takes him for a headslam into the opposite corner. An arm bar seems ineffective as MVP works his way up. MVP kicks him in the corner and drives Hardy to the mat. A whip and MVP tries to bodyslam him but Hardy sidesteps him and brings him down with another arm bar. Hardy now ups the pressure and you can tell MVP is feeling the effects on the arm he used in the arm wrestling contest. There’s a lot of back and forth here, and whenever Hardy is on the offense, he goes for MVP’s tender arm. Hardy tries to roll him up and MVP is looking a little worried. MVP gets free and whips Hardy to the ropes but MVP eats an elbow as he charges. Hardy come off with a flying elbow and MVP rolls to the outside. Hardy tries to bring him back in but gets his throat driven into the top ropes as MVP goes down to the floor. MVP rolls in and gets a two count. MVP now starts building some momentum, keeping Hardy on the mat while the crowd starts its usual “Hardy” chant. Another two count for MVP. Hardy works his way up and turns it around, taking MVP down and then delivering a series of rights in barroom brawl fashion. A flying elbow misses. MVP goes for another pin attempt but only gets two. After some work by MVP, Hardy lifts him onto the turnbuckle to stop him and then starts punching MVP, suplexing him – a very impressive move – over to the mat. It’s taken a lot out of Hardy and instead of going for the cover, he’s flat out, just like MVP. The ref begins a count on both men. They both recover and they trade punches. MVP is brought down with two clotheslines. A small package by Hardy fails to pin MVP and Hardy tries a bulldog out of the corner, but MVP escapes to find himself in a second bulldog attempt by Hardy – this time it works. MVP kicks out at two and heads outside. The crowd is catcalling him as MVP takes his belt and looks like he’s going to leave. Hardy ends that with a baseball slide under the bottom ropes that knocks MVP to the floor. He rolls MVP into the ring and the Side Effect has MVP on the mat. Another two count attempt by Hardy. A bodyslam and a flying leg drop and Hardy attempts another pin – for a two count. Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate but MVP escapes and goes under the ropes, heading for the back with his belt.
Winner: Matt Hardy by count out

A very abrupt ending, and unsatisfying from the crowd’s response. This is clearly a PPV buildup but that kind of ending really takes the steam out the event. There wasn’t a lot of fire in this match to begin with so the ending only decreased what was supposed to be an exciting preview to the PPV.

Backstage, Deuce is passing Batista’s dressing room and he stops, getting angry and looking like he’s going to storm it when the door opens and his sidekick, Cherry, exits. As Deuce starts shouting for an explanation, he is interrupted by Domino, who hauls them both off to talk strategy about their upcoming match with Flair and Batista. As they leave, Batista comes down the hall, about to go into his dressing room and he notices the tag team and Cherry wandering off. When he opens the door of his dressing room, Flair appears, clad in his trademark blue robe. It’s left in doubt what Flair and Cherry were up to, but the suggestive snickering by Batista and Flair are an indication that they both think alike.

Jamie Noble, Shannon Moore and Funaki have a short discussion backstage. Apparently, the “height’ issue is a tough one for Noble, having lost to Hornswoggle the week before. Moore claims that their match will be a “short” one and he and Funaki walk off, snickering, and leaving Noble in a tantrum with Hornswoggle peeking out of a trash barrel behind him. The only funny thing about it all is the outfit on Moore. We get a very long Rey Mysterio promo and then move to Vickie and Kristal thumbing through magazines. Chavo arrives to chat with Vickie and he starts going on about his ‘I Quit” match with Mysterio that occurred a long time ago. Vickie announces that it’s Chavo vs Rey Mysterio at SummerSlam. And we are off to another biker promo for Chuck Palumbo.

Shannon Moore vs Jamie Noble
Noble proves Shannon Moore’s earlier statement wrong as he dominates most of the match, pinning Moore rather quickly. I think this was set up mostly to get Hornswoggle back in the ring and he appears as Noble is reveling in his victory. Noble chases him out and Hornswoggle slips under the ring. As Noble fumbles with the apron fabric, Hornswoggle appears with – yes, I’m not making this up – a cream pie. Noble gets it in the face, Hornswoggle disappears under the ring and as a furious Noble looks under it, he gets the spray from what appears to be a fire extinguisher. Hornswoggle makes a quick exit up the ramp, hopping on Noble’s flailing body and brandishing the cruiserweight belt.
Winner: Jamie Noble

Kenny Dykstra (with Victoria) vs Jimmy Wang Yang (with Torrie Wilson)
Torrie is decked out in western garb to compliment Wang Yang, but it’s the team of Dykstra and Victoria who are visually stunning in their sleek black outfits. Dykstra goes right to work on Wang Yang but Wang Yang takes him out of the ring with an over-the-top-ropes clothesline, then flies over the ropes to bodysplash Dykstra on the floor. Back in the ring, Dykstra drops a leg on Wang Yang – a nice, original version that I’ve never seen before – and then he starts talking smack to Wang Yang. A neckbreaker keeps Wang Yang down and Dykstra gets two pin attempts. Dykstra is working Wang Yang over at this point and he flips him upside down in the corner and goes to work on Wang Yang’s head. Victoria puts her two cents in by giving Wang Yang a kick to the head from outside, drawing Torrie over to her side of the ring. Dykstra attempts another pin and then exits the ring to confront the approaching Torrie. Torrie retreats and when Dykstra gets back in the ring, he meets a flying dropkick by Wang Yang and two follow-up punches rock him. A whip and Dykstra is knocked silly by a series of punches and kicks. He lands in the corner and his head is taken off by another Wang Yang high-flying move. What looks like a fouled up dive off the ropes by Wang Yang leaves him in another pin attempt by Dykstra. Dykstra goes for a back suplex off the top but Wang Yang knocks him off and a back flip bodysplash gets the pin for Wang Yang.
Winner: Jimmy Wang Yang

Torrie wants to celebrate post match, but it looks like Wang Yang is feeling the effects of the botched move. He finally recovers as the two of the poke fun at the retreating Dykstra and Victoria. Some great combinations of high-flying moves by both men during this match.

Another in a series of weekly Michelle McCool “Lovin’ Life” videos airs.

Deuce & Domino vs Ric Flair and Batista
Flair makes his entrance and while Deuce and Domino try to taunt him, Flair’s “cool” responses tick them off even more. Batista wows the crowd with his entrance and that fires up Deuce and Domino even more. Not to mention the subtle flirting Batista does with Cherry. Deuce is incensed and he goes right to work on Batista. But Batista lets him know who’s boss and softens him up before tagging in Flair. Flair quickly tags Batista back in. Deuce is tied up in the corner as Batista works on the arm. A whip – sort of -and Batista gets Deuce on the mat with an arm bar. A knee to Batista and Deuce tags in Domino but he meets a big fist and gets Batista’s trademark shoulder block in the corner. The crowd loves this move, but Batista teases them with only one. Flair is back in to choruses of “wooooos” whether he chops anyone or not. A back body drop and Flair is down. Domino gets another bodyslam on Flair and now he’s showboating over the downed Flair. Both Deuce and Domino double team Flair in the corner and while Flair tries to escape, they work him over until Flair gets some chops going, moving Domino across the ring towards Batista. Domino takes charge again and Flair is back in the wrong corner, Domino tagging in Deuce who charges Flair but eats a huge flying elbow, much to the crowd’s delight. We at home are then treated to a commercial break. This is not a delight.

When we return, we see little, if anything, of what happened while we were being sold products. Flair goes for the Figure Four and Deuce looks pained until Domino saves him. Deuce crawls to his corner to make a legitimate tag and so does Flair. Flair is unsuccessful and Domino now has Flair in an arm bar. Flair gets him up, though, and circles him several times, showing some of the years of experience he carries and tries to bring Domino down, but a cocky Domino reverses Flair’s attempt to bring him down and Flair is back on the mat. Again, Flair is up and but he gets taken down with a shoulder block. The tag is made and Deuce hits a fist to Flair’s jaw. Flair moans while Deuce showboats and you can see Batista getting the crowd fired up in the corner. But Deuce himself is fired up and he beats Flair down in the corner. Flair gets up, heads to his corner and – there’s usually one of these in a Flair match – timbers from the beatdown he just suffered. It’s hokey, but you never get tired of seeing him do that. Deuce drags him center ring and drops a knee on Flair’s temple A kick out and Flair retreats to the corner. Deuce is on him but he meets a chop when he tries to advance. Two chops….three…..and Deuce fights out of it, bringing the weary Flair down again. He tags Domino and they double team Flair to the mat. More showboating from Domino and he goes for a cover. With Batista working the crowd into a frenzy, I’m sensing a Batista “hulk out,” a segment I normally don’t like, but when Batista does it, he makes it real. You know he can hulk out and it doesn’t look fake at all. He’s all pure intensity – a pro – and you need that to pull that kind of thing off. As Deuce and Domino continue to work Flair, Flair chops back, trying to get out but he’s unsuccessful as he’s brought to the mat again by Deuce, who is in the ring now. Flair looks desperate to make the tag as Deuce and Domino continue to tag in and out. Flair finally unloads, punching and chopping them both – not the most realistic of escapes – and he works his way across the ring, taking Domino off his feet with a chop. Domino tries to hold him back, seeing Batista leaning over for the tag and he and Flair exchange blows and Flair finally makes the tag to Batista. To deafening applause, I might add. Batista is all over both of them, ejecting Deuce from the apron, steamrolling Domino in the corner, spearing Deuce as he tries to backstab him. He meets an elbow from Domino as he goes back to the corner but he shrugs it off and gives the shocked Domino a sidewalk slam. Batista sets him up for the Batista Bomb and there’s dramatic pause, Batista grinning as the crowd cheers, but the highlight of the match is cut off as we hear the music of the Great Khali. Khali enters and heads to the ring, Batista wondering what’s going on and he’s double teamed from behind by Deuce and Domino and a boot to the head brings him down. Deuce and Domino work him to the mat and Deuce plants a boot right in Batista’s face and then exits with Domino as Khali is now entering the ring. Batista rolled out of the ring from the kick and he’s sprawled out on the floor. Flair sees Khali going for him and he goes for Khali, an odd sight as he’s dwarfed by the huge Khali. Khali throws him off and then attaches his huge hand to Flair’s temple. Khali’s hand is so big it’s almost wrapped around Flair’s head and you can see Flair quickly going out. Khali stalks the ring, Flair is stretched out on the mat and Khali finally makes his exit as Batista rolls in to attend to the downed Flair. Batista watches in disbelief as Khali and his translator make their way to the back. He may have been saying “See you at SummerSlam!” in Punjabi. Right now we are in full setup mode for the next PPV.
Winners: Ric Flair and Batista

Eight weeks into the new roster, and we are sort of stagnating. Each week seems to bring only a few highlights surrounded by a number of matches and backstage events that don’t seem to be too exciting or generating much crowd interest. This weeks low points, I have to say, are the endless promos, the lowest being the sales pitch for Jesse and Festus. I watch this and wonder if anyone is really drawn in by this foolishness. And down there with Jesse and Festus would have to be the pseudo-comic antics of Jamie Noble and Hornswoggle. The cruiserweight belt doesn’t belong on a joker and it makes a mockery of that title. On the other hand, one of the two highlights this week was the nice high-flying moves of both Kenny Dykstra and Jimmy Wang Yang, who offered us some great wrestling with the added touch of Torrie Wilson and Victoria, who provided eye candy and let the boys do their thing. The other highlight was the dominance of Chris Masters as he showed the 300 pound Kane that he’s not to be trifled with. A near upset and well-deserved kudos to Masters.

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