Welcome to the Talking Smack column where I offer up a quick rundown of WWE’s Friday broadcast, Smackdown. I’ve been asked to write about ECW a lot in the past and I’ve always been lazy about doing it, but this week I decided to write something up about it. I’ll lead off with that briefly, then get on to Smackdown.

Five Quick Thoughts on ECW from Sept. 15/09
I’m not running down the whole show. I’ll just give my take on five things that I thought about the show.

1. I was disappointed that Christian wasn’t on the show considering it was in Hamilton, which is very close to where he (and I, for the record) grew up. Why wouldn’t you want to put your babyface champion out there in his home province to show the rest of the world what kind of respect he’s got from the fans? I don’t understand that logic. Better yet, just get him on Smackdown.

2. I think Tiffany’s gorgeous. However, the way she delivers her promos is the way somebody would talk that is memorizing their lines rather than believing in what they are actually saying. She might be a smart person. I have no idea. I just know her wrestling character sounds like she’s not. I won’t even get into how phony it is for a 25 year old woman with no wrestling background gets to run a show because I’d rather look at her than most people in that position.

3. Big fan of Zach Ryder. The gimmick isn’t that creative or anything, but you know what? It works perfectly. It’s the prototypical cocky young wrestler that thinks he’s the hot shit, but he’s developed a good look and that “woo woo woo you know it” catchphrase that is definitely catching on. In the ring, he’s fine. He had that very good match against Christian that was about 5 minutes from two months ago that I really enjoyed. I like his potential a lot and he’s come a long way from his Edgehead days to create a career for himself, which is something to admire. Glad he won the battle royal even though he lost earlier in the show.

4. The Regal group with Kozlov and Jackson works for me. Kozlov’s boring as hell on his own, but as an enforcer he’s perfect. He even played that role in a few episodes of The Wire (great show by the way). A guy like Regal knows how to generate heat. If this alliance leads to a bright future for Jackson then it will all be worth it. Oh, and I loved the running knee finish on Helms through the ropes.

5. Since I don’t write about it often I’ll use this space to say I like ECW. I think the name ECW is stupid for a show that is not about being extreme in any way shape or form, but the concept of the show works. Mix some veterans in with the younger talent, have them work together and see who can become stars in WWE. Look at where guys like Punk and Morrison are now compared to two years ago when they were on ECW. I like that the show still exists. I just think they should call it something else, that’s all. I should add too that when/if this show gets Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuiness I will like it even more.

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Smackdown from September 18, 2009
Taped from “The Hammer” Hamilton, Ontario let’s talk some smack…

– Batista comes out first with a lot of enthusiasm. Insert your own “I’m surprised he didn’t hurt himself” comment here. He mentions how it felt good to decide his own future by going to Smackdown. Apparently he was a free agent. It’s amazing how a contract “expires” just when he’s able to wrestle again. He talks about feeling at home on Smackdown, which brings out my boy Chris Jericho. I loved how Jericho immediately compared him to that “other injury prone loser, Edge.” Am I the only one really looking forward to Edge vs. Jericho in 2010? I don’t think I am. Jericho told him he was the man on Smackdown, Batista steals the Ric Flair line about beating the man and hits a spinebuster on Jericho to set up the main event. This was fine although I’m not one of those people that were clamoring for Batista to be on Smackdown.

– Jericho asked Show why he didn’t help. Show told him he was asked to stay back. Chris said fine, I’ll handle Batista in the main event. Stupid Big Show actually listening to what a person asks!

John Morrison d. Mike Knox (*3/4)
I was surprised at how well they were able to work because of the obvious contrast in styles. Being able to have solid 8 minute matches like this with a bigger guy like Knox is a fine example of how good Morrison has become. The great ones aren’t just great because of their matches with the best (like Rey), but what they do with workers of a different style. Solid win by Morrison. Ziggler was at ringside, so Morrison taunted him some more calling him “Mr. Ziggles” again while the crowd cheered along a bit, but not as much as you might expect. I’m looking forward to Morrison/Ziggler at the next PPV.

– Josh interviewed referee Scott Armstrong, who if you don’t know is a former wrestler from back in the NWA/WCW and is also the brother of the Road Dogg Jesse James. Anyway, he basically talks about how nervous he was to screw over Undertaker, but that he was following orders (from Teddy Long) and he had to do it because he’s got a family that needs him working. This was good enough of an explanation.

Melina d. Michelle McCool (*1/4)
The good chemistry from these two continues although they got just under five minutes. The basic story was that Michelle was still hurt while Melina was relentless with her offense. When Michelle was close to winning, Melina countered with her counter into the flipping powerbomb. Of course this feud will continue because there are only five women on Smackdown.

– Backstage, Teddy Long was scared of Undertaker attacking him, so he told security to stay with him the whole night. Vinny Mac came in and told him to explain his actions to the WWE Universe. Yes, that means you.

– Teddy Long came out and basically turned heel after being a babyface for so long. He said he had a plan to make sure Undertaker didn’t leave as World Champion and that Armstrong as well as CM Punk knew about it. Yes, a complete recreation of the 1997 screwjob. So creative, huh? His reasoning was that he was on probation and that he was too old to learn something new, so he felt like he had to do it to keep his job. He apologized for his actions and hoped that the Undertaker would forgive him, which of course meant something bad was going to happen. I guess this explanation was fine, but as somebody that watched the actual screwjob and the multiple ones that followed, I really am tired of going through it again.

– Time for the comedy with Long going back to his limo and finding out that the Undertaker was his driver. “BUCKLE UP, TEDDY!” Then some eerie music and purple smoke filled up the limo with Long screaming. Of course cameras were there to film it all. This was so bad that it was good. I could watch this all day for a laugh. It was the typical “throw all logic out the window because it’s the Undertaker” angle that we’ve seen many times over the years. I guess we’ll find out next week where the limo driving Deadman took him. Oh, the suspense.

– More promos. CM Punk came out. I like him a lot, but this was basically the same thing he says every week except he said “I told you so” with regards to him retaining his title.

The Hart Dynasty d. Cryme Tyme (*3/4)
The Canadian crowd gave THD the nice babyface pop they deserve, but it wasn’t huge or anything. The match was fine, but not as good as previous ones these teams have had. I don’t know what it was. Maybe too much Shad in the match. Not enough Tyson Kidd too. It was still fine and I liked the finisher that Tyson busted out on JTG to score the win. I guess I was expecting more. Also, can the Hart Dynasty get an actual feud? That would be nice.

– Backstage, Melina went into the women’s locker room to find the wall was filled with pictures from last week of when Michelle fooled Dolph into grabbing her ass while Layla took a photo of it. Maria believed Melina put this up, then said she was done with her. Oh no, the friendship is over! I am in tears! Will they get back to being friends in senior years? That’s right, they’re not in high school. It’s just that the writing is. And by the way, we’re supposed to believe that not only does Maria not watch Smackdown when they filmed the Dolph/Michelle thing last week, but that none of her friends told her about it either. This whole thing is brutal. I still don’t know why we should give a damn about the Maria/Dolph relationship when they are never on screen together, or why we should care if Michelle is framing Melina to break it up. Never mind the part about how all of this stuff happens on a WORLDWIDE TELEVISION SHOW, yet some of the people apparently don’t watch TV. I can’t believe I wrote that much about all this!

The Great Khali d. Kane via DQ (NR)
Kane attacked him with a chair early, then took him out with one of the worst looking beatdowns I’ve ever seen. This was bad. The ring steps didn’t look like they came close to touching Khali’s leg and the crowd was absolutely dead for it too. I don’t blame them one bit. Anyway, this was done because Khali’s having major knee surgery and there’s no timetable for his return. I will miss Ranjin Singh’s dancing during the intro. That’s about all that I will miss.

– We were supposed to have a R-Truth vs. Charlie Haas match. Instead, Drew McIntyre came out to say Truth had an accident backstage so Haas won by forfeit. Then Drew attacked Haas because attacking people without having matches is what he does. What a gimmick.

Batista d. Chris Jericho (*1/4)
It was the typical Batista match that everybody has seen many times by now. It wasn’t supposed to be a squash, but in 7 minutes that’s what it felt like. You knew Jericho had no chance of winning as soon as it started. I guess it’s okay because Batista’s fresh on Smackdown again. I’m just not crazy about jobbing Jericho like this. The finish was pretty cool with Batista reversing a Codebreaker into a Batista Bomb.

Post match, Big Show basically challenged Batista to a match next week. Look out Morrison/Mysterio, we have a new TV match of the year on the horizon! Or not.

Three Stars of the Show
1. BUCKLE UP, TEDDY! – It made me laugh more than it should have.
2. John Morrison – Got a decent match out of Knox.
3. Chris Jericho – Because he’s a main eventer that actually loses clean. What a concept.

Rating: 4 (out of 10)
Last week: 6

That’s the lowest score I’ve given an episode of Smackdown, I think. There weren’t any memorable matches like we usually get. I thought two of the segments were very bad (the Undertaker/Long and Maria/Melina ones) and it ruined a lot of the show for me. I don’t know who these hokey things appeal to (kids maybe?), but to me it doesn’t draw viewers the way that WWE probably thinks it does.

I assume that CM Punk vs. Undertaker will be announced for Hell in a Cell. We also know Morrison & Ziggler will have a match there. I’m not sure where they’re going with Batista vs. Jerishow, but it might lead to Batista teaming up with a returning Rey Mysterio against the tag champs because Mysterio should be back by then.

I don’t know who to blame for Smackdown being crappy this week. The combination of The Undertaker and Batista being on this show hurt it, though, that’s for sure.

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