Credit: Chad Matthews
The show opened with the new #1 contender to the World Heavyweight title (at Wrestlemania), Randy Orton, making his way down to the ring. Orton wasted little time in saying “I told you so,” and said that neither Rey Mysterio nor Eddie Guerrero’s spirit could stop destiny…Randy Orton’s destiny. He then turned his attention toward his Wrestlemania opponent, Kurt Angle, calling him lucky to have beaten the Undertaker at No Way Out. The Legend Killer insisted that Kurt’s luck would run out at Mania, and that he’d take Angle’s spot atop the business…a business that his father and the rest of his family built. He called the Ortons the greatest wrestling family of any and all generations and said that he, himself, would be the greatest of this generation. At that point, Chavo Guerrero came in through the crowd and attacked Orton, hitting him with the Three Amigo rolling vertical suplexes and following up with a Frog Splash to the delight of the crowd. Security pulled Guerrero away as the segment closed with Chavo shouting at Orton that the Guerreros were the best wrestling family ever. (CMV1 note- good promo from Orton and a good little side feud for Orton. It makes sense to have Chavo get involved after all the Eddie comments. I’ll look forward to that match. Anyhow, solid start to the push toward Mania 22).
Match 1: WWE Tag Team Champions MNM vs. Matt Hardy and Tatanka
-(CMV1 note- this time, the tag team titles are on the line…keeping in mind that Hardy and Tatanka won a non-title match at NWO). Hardy and Mercury started things off with a little back and forth action before Nitro tagged in and got a backslide for his troubles. He kicked out, but soon fell victim to Tatanka’s mind-blowing offense. Tatanka with a hip toss on Nitro followed by a quick strike on Mercury. He then got Irish whipped toward the ropes, but Mercury retaliated the cheap shot by pulling the top rope down and sending Tatanka over and to the floor. MNM proceeded to hit a double suplex on the outside. Back in the ring, MNM executed another double team maneuver, as Nitro caught Tatanka with a running knee drop after a Mercury drop toehold. A double back elbow smash and a double missile dropkick later and MNM were on a major role. Tatanka finally made a comeback when he rolled up Nitro, but Mercury had the ref distracted. Eventually, Tatanka made the hot tag to Hardy after countering another MNM double team attempt and catching each of them with clothesline. Hardy went wild on the heels, even hitting that nice spot he hit at NWO where he bulldogs one of them while clotheslining the other. He then caught Mercury with the Side Effect and tried for a pin attempt, only to see Nitro interfere and allow Joey to regain some momentum. Looking to put MHV1 away, Mercury connected with a Northern Lights suplex pin, but could only manage a near fall. MNM looked for the Snap Shot soon after, but Tatanka helped break it up, while Hardy countered and got a near fall with a sunset flip. Tatanka and Hardy tried for a little double team of their own, but it was not to be, as Nitro made the save. Melee ensued until Hardy’s attempt at the Twist of Fate was broken when up Melina grabbed hold of his feet. The finish came when Mercury capitalized on the situation and pinned Hardy with a roll-up. MNM retained the tag titles at 7:27. (CMV1 rating- ** ¼) (CMV1 note- solid tag title match that left the door open for a rematch. I must say that Hardy and Tatanka work rather well together for two guys who really have no business working so well together. Also, what’s with the IWC hate on Tatanka? He’s in pretty good shape and is moving well out there).
Backstage, William Regal read a letter to Paul Burchill imploring him, essentially, to drop the pirate gimmick because it was embarrassing to Regal. In the line of the night, Regal ended the letter-reading with the words, “P.S.- you’re gorgeous and delectable.” Burchill again stayed mute, though, and simply handed Regal a bomb with a lit-fuse. Burchill hightailed it, but just as Regal looked like he was going to lose his mind, Captain Paul jumped back in the picture and calmly said, “Boom.” (CMV1 note- amusing segment for the second week in a row…but unfortunately the amusement again had very little to do with Burchill and mostly to do with the guys playing off him).
Match 2: Boogeyman vs. The Dicks
-(CMV1 note- Booker T joined Tazz and Cole for commentary). The finish came when Boogey ended the Dicks WWE careers (for the time being) with a pump-handle slam at 1:39. (CMV1 rating- ¼ *). After the match, Boogey dumped worms on the announce table. (CMV1 note- ZZZZZZzzzzzzz, except for Booker’s commentary. Seriously, what could you possibly find entertaining about that guy!!! Man, I hope that doesn’t get signed for Mania…Book vs. Boogey would be a squash…and squash matches don’t belong on PPV, much less Wrestlemania).
Rey Mysterio came out to the ring and said he was thrilled that Eddie Guerrero was going to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the night before Wrestlemania. He said it’s a shame, however, that he won’t be wrestling in the main-event the following night and winning the World title in his honor. He apologized to Eddie’s family, the fans, and of course, Eddie for allowing Randy Orton to get into his head and put his title shot on the line. At that point, Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long came out and told Rey that while he couldn’t take Randy out of the main-event at Wrestlemania, he could put Rey in since Orton clearly didn’t prove himself to be the definitive better man on Sunday (he used the tights and the ropes). Thus, we are now looking at a triple threat main-event for the second time in three years. Rey was thrilled, to say the least, and showed it as the segment ended. (CMV1 note- thank you, WWE, for adding Rey to the main-event. That was an expected move, but a necessary one to ensure that this year’s main-event is special. Orton vs. Rey vs. Angle is a money match, and one that I’m glad I’ll be attending Wrestlemania to see. No matter the outcome, it’ll be a great match. It also sets up the SD main-event scene really well throughout the summer until Batista’s return, for Orton vs. Mysterio, Mysterio vs. Angle, and Orton vs. Angle in singles matches can all be used as PPV main-events over the next several months).
Kristal came out to promote the Divas magazine…Jillian interrupted…a cat fight ensued…(CMV1 note- who cares? What’s the point of having women wrestle at all on SD? Put them all on Raw…)
Clips of Batista’s appearance at No Way Out were shown.
Match 3: Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms vs. Psicosis
-(CMV1 note- title was on the line, and apparently will be every week since Helms said he was bigger than the entire division). Psicosis got first strike points with a tilt-a-whirl head scissor. He attempted a second one, but found that lightning did not strike twice when Helms countered and threw him out of the ring. Helms proceeded to dominate the match with basic offensive maneuvers until Psicosis caught him with a quick hurricanrana pin for a near fall. He was unable to maintain momentum, though, as Helms quickly retook control with more generic offense and a wear down hold. Psicosis made another quick comeback with a spinning wheel kick, but couldn’t capitalize, allowing Helms to connect with a fireman’s carry into a jaw buster on his knee. The finish came when Helms thwarted the last babyface comeback attempt and pinned Psicosis with his feet on the ropes. Helms retained the CW title at 5:23. (CMV1 rating- *) (CMV1 note- decent action, but again nothing overly exciting from the CWs. We need to get Super Crazy in there…he’ll step it up a notch and drag something more entertaining out of Helms. I like this CW title angle, and quite frankly if ever there were a time for a CW Open, Mania would be it. It actually has a storyline befitting such a match for a change).
Highlights of the Undertaker vs. Angle, No Way Out main-event aired, which brought out Teddy Long to inform us of the rematch set to take place next week on SD. (CMV1 note- sorry to have an opinion on almost everything tonight, but I can’t wait to review that one…seriously, folks, if last Sunday’s bout was any indication, you won’t want to miss SD next week).
Backstage, Randy Orton argued with Teddy over booking a Taker-Angle rematch.
Match 4: JBL, Randy Orton and Finlay vs. Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio and Lashley
-Orton and Mysterio started it off and gave us a preview of 2/3 of the Mania main-event. Rey looked to have Orton’s number early when he used a tilt-a-whirl head scissor to drop Randy into position for the 619. However, the Legend Killer got out of the way before Mysterio could connect with his patented move. Orton tagged Finlay, which prompted Rey to tag Lashley (Note- Finlay cost Lashley his match against JBL at the PPV). Finlay immediately connected on a few European uppercuts, but Lashley soon connected with a back body drop in retaliation. Lashley proceeded to attack Orton and JBL on the apron and give Finlay a diving shoulder tackle. Benoit and JBL then got into it, prompting Orton and Mysterio to realize it’s okay to break the rules, too. As the mayhem grew, we got a dreaded mid-match commercial break, but that was to be expected. Back from the break, Benoit had taken control, become the legal man, and locked Bradshaw in the Sharpshooter. JBL scratched, clawed, and eventually made it to the ropes, but upon getting to his feet was met with an over-the-head belly-to-belly suplex from new babyface legal man, Lashley. Bobby continued his roll until JBL poked him in the eye and tagged Orton. Lashley quickly tagged Mysterio, who flew in for a quick drop kick on Randy. Orton wasted no time in retaliating with a forearm shot, though, and then he tagged out to Finlay. Finlay slowed things down and locked in a rear chinlock. JBL then made the tag and tried for a big boot, but Mysterio countered with another head scissor. Rey tried to up the intensity, but was quickly brought back down with a Finlay kick through the ropes. Mysterio didn’t take it lightly, and tried a plancha to the outside, but Finlay pulled back the apron (as he’s quickly becoming famous for doing) and crotched Rey. Back in the ring, JBL and Finlay traded wear down holds on him until Orton tagged in a hit consecutive running knee drops before synching in a chinlock of his own. Mysterio battled back soon after and sent Orton flying into the turnbuckle. He then got the hot tag to Benoit, who went right after the new heel legal man, JBL. Benoit connected with a German suplex on him, and then one on Orton, and then one on Finlay. He proceeded up to the top rope, where he poised himself and leaped off, connecting with the diving Headbutt on JBL. 1…2…No! Finlay broke up the pin attempt. However, he was soon taken out of the ring by Lashley. Meanwhile, JBL recovered and caught Benoit with a big boot. He then went for the Clothesline from Hell, but the Crippler countered into the Crossface. 1…2…No! That pesky Finlay did it again, but got a German suplex for his troubles. Benoit headed to the outside and wedged JBL’s hand between the post and the ring steps. In what made me think the JBL injury is a work, he then dropkicked the ring steps and sandwiched JBL’s hand. The finish came when Benoit rolled Bradshaw back into the ring and set him up on the ropes, allowing Rey to hit the 619 for the win. Mysterio, Benoit, and Lashley defeated JBL, Orton, and Finlay at 15:56. (CMV1 rating- ** ¾) (CMV1 note- quite an enjoyable main-event that played up the post-PPV events. I’m seriously thinking JBL’s hand injury that wwe.com reported is a work, because that spot was too well set-up. If it is or if it isn’t, Benoit-JBL is a money match for Wrestlemania, imo, especially since the US title will likely be involved. When JBL comes back from this “injury,” he’s going to be pissed and ready to come after the Crippler, leading to a solid complimentary feud for the SD brand to back up a helluva main-event feud b/t Orton, Rey, and Angle).