But why build up my own anticipation? Let’s get the ball rolling.
But first, a question. Did I just miss it during a bathroom break – or was there no SAVE_US promo tonight? Hmmâ<80>¦
Stealing the headline for this week’s Smackdown! is the revelation that the Undertaker will get a rematch against World Heavyweight Champion Batista at Survivor Series, this time in a Hell in a Cell match.
The story unfolded quickly as Batista was the first man out this night to the ring. He told the audience that, growing up poor in Washington D.C., he was used to fighting his way out of bad situations. It was the same thing in the WWE, explained Batista, having been in fights “from A to Z.” But at Cyber Sunday, Batista said he accomplished something he thought he’d never do – beat the Undertaker.
He went on to say that in their rivalry, he’s won one, Taker’s won one, and they’ve had two draws. That made it perfect for tonight, said Batista, since they would be tag-team partners. Batista told an absent Undertaker that he’d have his back in their match tonight, but he wondered if Taker had his. “Because if you don’t â<80>¦”
The lights go out, and whadya know – the Dead Man is in the ring. (Actually, I still love it when they do that.)
After a stare-down between the two rivals, Undertaker lifted a microphone and told Batista that he could rest assured that he’s got Batista’s back, because he still had the one thing that Undertaker wanted. He then looked at the World Heavyweight Championship belt.
Says Batista: “You saying you want a rematch? Done. You’ve got it.”
The reply? As the champ began to leave the ring, Undertaker stopped him. “Batista. Hell – in – a – Cell!” Eye-rolling and scowling ensued.
Although more strikers and power-players than technical wrestlers, let’s face it. Undertaker and Batista are crowd favorites. Taker’s in-ring veteran status has done well in working with Batista, and having this match at Survivor Series will definitely be a draw. It is, after all, a rubber match between the two, and anyone enjoying this rivalry had probably better soak it in at the next PPV before Edge re-enters the fray for the belt.
Having Hell in a Cell will probably by the “PiÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance” for this rivalry, and I’m actually going to look forward to watching it.
You know something? For the first time since I’ve been here, I actually had trouble deciding on someone to put into The Downsiders. It’s not that every match found a new level of excellence, or every story was riveting. But I’ve tended to reserve the distinction for matches or storylines that I’ve found below average, boring, or just plain stupid.
But tonight, I’m honestly stumped. Even the match between Jonathan Coachman and Mick Foley with guest referee Hornswoggle got a laugh or two out of me.
Perhaps the mere thought of Twisted Sister – who were shown at ringside – putting out a holiday album would qualify?
Somebody’s got to get it, so tonight I’m just going to hand the category to someone who’s used to it by now – Big Daddy V.
Yeah, great – he comes out after Kane’s match and destroys the Big Red Machine. But I still maintain that no man should expose any part of his body that produces extensive floppage when performing a wrestling maneuver.
Please, WWE – can we at least put this man in a full-body getup like Big Show or Andre the Giant used to wear? I mean, anything would help.
Another tough choice here fans, but tonight’s High-fliers kudos go to Rey Mysterio and – believe it or not after the squashing he’s been experiencing lately – Jamie Noble.
Before this match came about, Noble was shown backstage flipping out at even the sight of GM Vickie Guerrero, fearing he would be put in another match with the likes of Great Khali or Batista. She instead presented him with a gift, a copy of Rey Mysterio’s new DVD set, “The Biggest Little Man.” He at first turned them down, saying Rey was good, but Jamie Noble was great. Guerrero then told him that she thought he’d want to watch them because he was in a match against Mysterio tonight.
Noble seemed pretty pleased at having a match against someone near his own altitude.
Skip ahead a bit, and Rey Mysterio’s entrance is followed not by Noble, but by the man he defeated at Cyber Sunday in a Stretcher Match – Finlay. The Irishman sat at the announcers’ table and fortunately didn’t factor into the match as much of a distraction.
Then entered Noble looking much happier coming down the ramp than in recent weeks.
The match began with a technical feel as the contenders rolled around attempting takedowns, and Mysterio would gain the upper hand taking Noble down in an armbar. Noble reversed and locked one in of his own, then just locked hands with Mysterio as he attempted to push Rey’s shoulders to the mat.
Mysterio, after working his way back up, got the high-flying started as he leapt up to mount himself on Noble’s shoulders and rolled him over for a pinning combination. Noble escaped, and nailed a hard knee to the mid-section of Mr. 619 – who quickly countered the blow by nailing a Hurricanrana. A drop toe hold set Noble up for a 619 – and possibly a quick finish – but Noble rolled out of the ring before Rey could find his mark.
Mysterio pursued, nailing kicks to Noble’s hamstring and a fist or two before sending him back into the ring. Mysterio received a kick of his own to the head when following Noble into the ring, however.
Rey looked as thought he was moving for momentum again as he went sliding under Noble, but a kick to the mid-section by Noble, followed by basically a hotshot, sent Rey falling out of the ring. This time Noble pursued, nailing a big hammer blow to put Rey down again.
Back in the ring, Noble worked Rey over with kicks in the corner, then hit a hammer-lock slam, focusing on the right arm of Mysterio. Rey would try to mount some offense, but a suplex from Noble led to a near fall.
Noble continued his focus on Mysterio’s arm, but a quick pin attempt came for Mysterio when he hit a cross body. Noble recovered quickly and caught Rey off a rope bounce to elevate the high-flyer and send him falling to the mat for another near fall.
Noble locked the arm of Mysterio again, and Rey rolled out of it to put Noble down. Rey then got a hold of Noble with some flying headscissors, but soon found his head bouncing off the second turnbuckle. Noble then charged at Mysterio, but his shoulder found nothing but ring post. He soon felt Mysterio’s feet upon his chin after trying to lock in the arm again, followed soon by a Senton. Noble surprisingly recovered and hit a quick scoop power slam for a near fall.
But as we’ve seen before, things can turn on a dime in a match with the “Biggest Little Man,” and Noble wasn’t able to roll away from a second attempt at the 619. He did recover in time to catch Mysterio as he came on for the West Coast Pop, but not well enough as Rey countered to bring Noble down and get the pin.
After the match, the waiting Finlay congratulated Mysterio on his victory. He said he knew a lot about him – and that he was a quitter. He told Mysterio that the way he was looking at Finlay, he could smell fear. He again called him a quitter, weak, soft, fearful – and said next week Rey would be a loser. Guess we get another Mysterio vs. Finlay match!
This was another good match for Mysterio, and it was nice to see Noble – annoying as he may be to me – getting in a real match after several weeks of getting squashed by Smackdown! titans.
– Domino took on Festus in the first match of the evening. Again, Festus went from the gentle ignoramus to fierce giant at the sound of the bell, quickly tossing Domino about the ring like so much garbage. Thanks to a distraction from Deuce, Domino did manage to get some offense in. Festus eventually got fed up with that, however, and started beating the hell out of Domino. Another distraction attempt by Deuce was cut short by Jesse, and Festus picked up the win.
– Kane and MVP locked up again in a good match, with the two both focusing on the ribs and mid-section of their opponent. A lot of mat work took place in this one, and for a moment it seemed as though this would be a battle of dueling leg scissors. Kane picked up the win clean over MVP before Big Daddy V had to come in and ruin everything with his mere presence.
– Mick Foley took on Jonathan Coachman, and Coach seemed pretty pleased – and Foley upset – when the special guest referee was announced as Mr. McMahon. The expressions changed for both when it was revealed that Hornswoggle was the McMahon of whom they spoke. Foley worked over Coach with some help from the little ref, putting him down finally with Socko and a big splash from Hornswoggle for the win.
– Chuck Palumbo, accompanied by Michelle McCool, took on Kenny Dykstra, who was in the company of Victoria. The match was mostly dominated by Palumbo, with a brief offense from Dykstra. Throw in Victoria dropping from the apron after being tripped up by McCool, and Palumbo picked up the victory. I’ve knocked the Palumbo-motorcycle-ride gimmick as being an old angle redone, but now I’ve figured out why he does it. Hell, if I could have McCool wrapped around me every week while riding a tricycle, I’d do it.
– In the big match of the night, and I don’t use the word “big” lightly, Batista and Undertaker joined forces in a tag-team match against Mark Henry and the Great Khali. Despite my usual dislike for any match involving Khali, both Taker and Batista did more than their part to keep the match entertaining. In fact, Undertaker looked better tonight than I’ve seen him recently – having moments where he completely unloaded in striker-mode. The rival partners appeared to be headed for a victory until JBL interfered, giving Taker and Batista the win by DQ but allowing Khali and Henry to put the duo down with a head vice and bear hug, respectively. JBL called it “reciprocity” for getting speared and choke slammed during his interviews with each, that it was open season and that JBL “is the one sitting in the hunter’s stand.” Anyone care to watch JBL get a “fair and balanced” ass-whipping next week?
Don’t like my take? Let’s hear yours! Send me your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org … the best and worst of the bunch may be featured in the weekly editions of Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80><99>s Pullinâ<80><99> No Punches (found in the editorial section). Remember, short ones are good, long ones may be cut, and keep the name of the column in mind when you come looking for answers!
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?