SmackDown starts with footage of the Punjabi Prison match from the No Mercy PPV. A dramatically edited version is shown, teasing us with a possible Khali win and then showing the final victory moment by Batista. On to the credits. A contender’s match between Finlay and Mysterio is announced as well as a tag match between Kane & Undertaker and MVP & Matt Hardy. We get right to the opening match with the arrival of Chuck Palumbo on his bike with Michelle McCool.

Chris Masters vs Chuck Palumbo (with Michelle McCool)
Lots of noise, but a pan of the audience shows little reaction. McCool tries to drum up some response until the Masters’ music hits and the crowd really shows some reaction. Some footage is shown of last week’s match where Masters attacked Palumbo after his match with Ace Steel. The announcers indicate that Palumbo has a score to settle, but it’s actually Masters who has the score to settle from their initial encounter where Palumbo attacked Masters before the bell rang to start their match. Like that first week, Palumbo quickly goes on the attack with lots of illegal moves in the corner that the ref allows. He continues to beat on Masters, taking him down with a few clotheslines. Masters kicks out and attempts a suplex which Palumbo reverses. Palumbo starts his standard “roaring” – to little reaction – and then goes for a dramatic flying elbow drop – which he misses. Masters blasts him in the corner and takes his head off with some punches. The ref doesn’t allow Masters the same corner attack that he allowed Palumbo and he is pulled off the cowering Palumbo. A suplex by Masters and Palumbo isn’t looking good. Masters goes for a version of the Camel Clutch but Palumbo works his way out of it and whips Masters into the ropes, but Masters ducks and takes Palumbo over in a powerbomb, almost getting a three-count. Masters signals for the Masterlock but he can’t get it secured before Palumbo backs him into the corner. He pulls Masters out and takes him off his feet with a clothesline. An exchange of punches ensues and Palumbo takes Masters down. Masters is whipped into the corner and Palumbo charges, only to eat Masters’ boot. Palumbo whips Masters into the ropes and goes for a boot to Masters’ face, but Masters ducks, hits the ropes and when he comes off Palumbo rolls him up for a pin.
Winner: Chuck Palumbo

After the match, Palumbo and McCool prepare to make their exit on the bike, but Chris Masters puts Palumbo in the Masterlock while he is on the bike, drags his body off and starts pouring on the Masterlock heat. Palumbo starts roaring, but it’s no use; he can’t escape and Masters executes one of the most powerful looking Masterlocks I’ve ever seen. Palumbo goes out and Master throws his body to the arena floor. Masters makes an exit to great heat while McCool kneels next to the fallen Palumbo. Masters continues to elevate the exchanges between these two beyond the ordinary. Big Daddy V promo follows.

Jesse & Festus vs Conrad Carnes & Jay Adams
The “transformation” gimmick of Festus from dimwit to “tiger” is highlighted. The usual happens, Festus makes the tag and begins cleaning house on the jobbers. Festus moves well and is actually a good wrestler, so no gimmick is needed. Jesse comes back in and the jobbers take control. Festus is tagged back in and the tide turns. Predictable stuff as Jesse & Festus defeat the jobbers. Jesse, for some reason, is allowed to get the pin after all the work was done by Festus.
Winners: Jesse & Festus

The Major Brothers vs Dave Taylor & Drew McIntyre
An impressive newcomer in the form of Drew McIntyre makes his debut in a tag match with Dave Taylor. The Major Brothers show great skill but they are matched by the newcomer McIntyre. When the Majors get McIntyre in a position for a possible pin, Taylor interferes and McIntyre is able to roll up one of the Majors.
Winners: Dave Taylor & Drew McIntyre

Backstage, MVP and Matt Hardy discuss their upcoming match against Kane and the Undertaker. Hardy says they have to be “a team.” MVP responds and says “follow my lead.”

Undertaker & Kane vs MVP & Matt Hardy
An interminably long entrance by Undertaker is followed by UT working Hardy over and tossing him from the ring. MVP gets in the ring and UT and Kane give him the same treatment and are about to double chokeslam him until Hardy saves him by yanking at his legs from the outside. A commercial break interrupts the action of four of the biggest stars of SmackDown. When we come back, UT is working MVP over, tagging in Kane. Kane has MVP in the corner and MVP tries reversing a whip, but Kane reverses that. MVP manages to foil the plan and he ascends the corner but Kane throws him off. MVP tries again and Kane throws him off once more. On the third attempt, MVP goes in and boots Kane in the face, getting a two count as a follow-up. MVP drags Kane to his corner and tags Hardy in. Hardy shoulder blocks Kane in the corner but Kane punches his way out and drops Hardy with a boot to the face. He deposits Hardy in his own corner then works him in the midsection and tags in UT. UT punches Hardy several times- illegally – with no objection from the ref. UT finds himself in the wrong corner and Hardy shoulder blocks him, tagging in MVP. MVP goes for body and face shots – lots of them and finally the ref pulls him off. He’s distracted and UT takes over in another corner, doing the same punching, but with no objection from the ref. UT does his rope walk and he takes MVP down with an elbow drop but MVP has his boot on the ropes to prevent a pin. Kane is tagged in and the two of them work MVP over. Kane whips him into the corner and a sideslam leaves MVP on the mat. Kane goes high while MVP tries to get up. Kane takes him down with a flying clothesline but MVP kicks out. After some footage of the last move, we come back and MVP is outside the ring. UT slams his head into the stairs and the rolls him back in the ring. He sets MVP up with his head hanging over the apron and then drops a leg on his extended head. MVP falls to the floor. Kane is outside and rolls him back in. A cover by UT and MVP kicks out. Kane is back in – no tag seen – punching MVP in the corner. A whip and Kane meets a boot and then a kneedrop by MVP. Hardy is tagged in and he unloads on Kane, getting the best of him with many of his signature moves. Hardy comes off the ropes with his flying elbow and signals for the Twist of Fate but can’t get it and he is whipped into the ropes and meets Kane’s boot. Kane scoops him up but Hardy reverses it and gets the Twist of Fate. He backs into MVP, who uses the moment as a tag, and he tries to cover Kane, who kicks out. MVP calls for Hardy but Kane has his boot and clotheslines him down. UT is tagged in and manhandles MVP enough to get another two count. MVP tries to back away after Hardy is beat off the apron but he receives a vicious punch by Kane and UT delivers a Tombstone for the win.
Winners: Kane & Undertaker

Kane & Undertaker don’t appear to need the biased ref judging or the double teaming, so it’s a mystery why so much of this took place. A repeat of some RAW footage is shown. More Triple H overkill. The finale from RAW is shown – the return of Shawn Michaels. Oddly, the RAW champion, Randy Orton, is taking a backseat to Triple H and Shawn Michaels. Interview with Rey Mysterio. The winner of their Contender’s Match will face Batista. Teddy Long’s collapse at his wedding is shown and a report on his condition is given. We cut to Vickie Guerrero and Jamie Noble discussing various issues. Noble is patting himself on the back so Vickie announces that Jamie Noble will face the Great Khali – and the match is next. The segment ends with Noble hysterically objecting. Apparently, this is supposed to be effective management.

The Great Khali vs Jamie Noble
The Great Khali defeats Noble in a match that lasted less than one minute. The Vice Grip and it’s over for Noble. I didn’t understand the point of this.
Winner: Khali

A promo for the next PPV, Cyber Sunday, is shown. People must still believe that the WWE will honor the interactive decisions made by the fans.

Jimmy Wang Yang vs Deuce (with his tag partner Domino, and Cherry)
Deuce appears angry about this whole affair and begins a brutal attack on Wang Yang. Wang Yang is hung up on the top turnbuckle but he surprises Deuce with an elbow, knocking him off. A reverse moonsault and Wang Yang lands on Deuce and rolls him up for the pin in a short match. Domino attacks Wang Yang and holds him while Cherry slaps him three times. Deuce delivers another slap and Domino boots him in the face. Apparently, Wang Yang was badmouthing Deuce’s girlfriend somewhere along the way here – which I missed – and he deserved his beatdown. Three against one.
Winner: Jimmy Wang Yang

After some additional footage of the Punjabi Prison Match, Batista makes an appearance to the biggest reaction of the night. We break for a commercial and come back to find Batista at the announcers’ table with JBL and Michael Cole. He’s out there because he’s facing the winner of the next match at Cyber Sunday.

Finlay vs Rey Mysterio
Finlay enters with his shillelagh. Can’t say why, the use of it is illegal. Batista comments that he wouldn’t mind getting his hands on Finlay. JBL stands up and interrupts everything – to dead silence – and tells the crowd that they have the power to make decisions at Cyber Sunday. Uh, right. At least JBL ends on a comical note – he tells the crowd they can pick him to return to the ring – and he’s soundly- and deservedly – razzed.
Finlay brutalizes Mysterio for most of the match. The match turns into a brawl where both men get disqualified – with Rey, oddly, the clear aggressor of the illegal tactics. The Undertaker’s music is heard and suddenly he’s in the ring, Finlay and Mysterio are stretched out and he’s staring Batista who is holding his belt.
Winner: Double DQ

What was it all about this week?
There was little to crow about this week. A lot of mundane, repetitive action and/or gimmicks. The highlights were the entrance of Batista in his first appearance after winning the belt (he didn’t even have to wrestle be one of the highlights), and a magnificent Masterlock by Chris Masters to finish off a boasting Chuck Palumbo. This guy really sells his stuff beautifully, even when he’s scripted to be the fall guy. The WWE’s big push – Hardy and MVP – continue to be lackluster. Their pairing seems just as awkward as their feud – it had promise, but it’s going on far too long.

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