The normal videos show accompanied by a highlight reel of the US title situation between Booker T and Chris Benoit. Here’s a big question: why the hell was JBL in that match for a shot at the title? He held the WWE title for almost a year and now he’s begging for a US shot? Like him or not, that’s just some bad booking. Simon Dean and Ken Kennedy could have been slid very easily into JBL’s slot, and I guarantee you that it would have made a ton of more sense as well as probably making the match better. Anyway, the announcers hype up the main event and the debut of Hardy and we got right into the United States bout.
WWE United States Championship
Chris Benoit (c) Vs. Booker T
This match had all the hype going into it, and it deserved it and so much more. Everything was clicking tonight and this was the kind of match we should have gotten at No Mercy. Nothing either man did in the ring the whole fifteen-seventeen minutes was wasted energy or movement. Everything made sense, everything flowed, and in the end, everything was amazing. Before I forget, the first commercial break came during this match, but I am just so flabbergasted by the match that I got nothing witty to say about it. This is probably one of the best SmackDown! matches of the year. I didn’t get a chance to see Eddie-Orton, but I am fairly confident that this one was better by far. The only match this whole year I can think of that may beat this one would be Eddie-Rey from June, but that’s actually my match of the year, so what could beat that? Benoit’s suicide dive on the outside was just brutal and I know Benoit is not going to be confident until he is confined to a wheelchair like his idol. Look at all the bumps Benoit takes: the Wrestlemania ladder bump, those weird ones with Orton last year, all the high risk stuff he did when his neck was broken, et cetera. Benoit is legitimately nuts, people. Booker T was probably his best all year in this match too. He stayed on top of Benoit’s neck/back following that spot and kept working it and had an answer for everything Benoit did. This match reminded me so much of their WCW days, it was scary. I pray to God this isn’t even close to the end of this feud as they are going to deliver some damn fine matches. Finish finally came when Sharmell gave Benoit a low blow on the apron. Benoit sold it by bending over allowing Booker T to hit the Scissors Kick, in probably the only instance in WWE history where that move was placed well and didn’t expose the buisness.
Winner: Booker T
Star Wrestler: Chris Benoit
God, what a match. The only thing that’s bothering me right now is how quickly Benoit lost the belt. The way they built him up led me to believe a long title reign was coming, but it didn’t happen. I would have loved to see WWE do a more gradual turn of Booker with maybe Booker losing some more and maybe even tagging with Benoit regularly until it boils down like this. There is literally no complaint about the match though; however, as commendable as Booker T’s workrate was, Benoit was that much better. The selling, the insane bump, the offense, and the flow he used were all amazing. The attention to detail he gave was amazing too as for a two minute span; he tried falling on his side to lessen the blow to his back. This is the Benoit everyone knows; not the one who phones it in from time to time on TV and crappy PPV matches. This match was pure excitement and a true story told in the ring with action alone and I applaud both men, but Benoit just a little bit more.
They then hype up the main event as well as a Rey-JBL rematch and we go to a break so I can calm myself down a bit.
Commercial break times two equals a match requiring me to put on some new pants.
They show a brief Taker highlight reel hyping up his death at No Mercy. Definitely overkill at this point, but what are you going to do? Booker T and Sharmell are then celebrating with the belt and some champagne. Benoit shows up and gets in his face and the two argue over Sharmell. Eventually, Booker turns on him and they storm off. Good segment to follow the great match and they are selling the “woman getting between two friends storyline” real well.
Long is then walking with security which is in case of Raw and they find the Ortons in the trainer’s office as Bob is complaining about his trick back. Maybe that’s why Bob Orton can’t work like he used to anymore! Randy says he needs one week, but Teddy tells him he can either go at against Batista and Eddie alone or with a replacement partner. Josh Matthews then keeps the backstage segments going and going and going and he is with JBL and Jillian, and they talk about what happened on Raw. JBL claims he wasn’t the one who did it in his own long-winded manner. He puts over his mini-feud with Rey later over tonight and then challenges Edge then and there. They then pump up the return of Matt Hardy and we go to another break.
Commercial break times three equals a trifecta of segments ranging from good to mediocre to just plain bad.
We then see a highlight reel of Matt Hardy and his feud with Edge and we go right into his debut which gets a huge pop. Why wasn’t he on the Peep Show? Isn’t that what they pumped up last week? Continuity is definitely not a luxury you can afford not to have. Of course, Simon cuts a promo before the match; when does he not? Dean makes a joke that if he was in better shape, Lita wouldn’t have left him. Great line! Hardy then lays out Dean and we go into it.
Matt Hardy Vs. Simon Dean
This was a fun match as normal with Dean, and Hardy’s great brawling he’s picked up since returning to WWE made it more enjoyable than your typical Dean Machine bout. Hardy’s new survivor gimmick suits him really well as the way he sells everything as well as the brawling comebacks and offense he does matches perfectly. Without Jeff, the daredevil gimmick was just stale, and the Mattitude gimmick was funny in theory, but didn’t really play out that well in the ring unlike this one. This is a gimmick that suits Hardy to a “T.” I love Dean’s cast too; the way they play with it in every match just adds more flavor to Dean’s offense as well as drawing reference back to Lashley which will do good in the end as to get that guy over. I’d like to see Dean use it a bit more, but the way this whole match flowed was just a fun match and an excellent way of debuting Matt Hardy. For the finish, Hardy hit the Side Effect followed by the Twist of Fate for the win.
Winner: Matt Hardy
Star Wrestler: Matt Hardy
The only complaint I have about Dean is that by this point, his controlling spots are literally the same each and every time. The cast is mixing it up a bit here and there, but not much. I’m still marking for the guy, but in another month or two, he’s going to have me and probably a lot of others yawning. Hardy on the other hand is amazing to watch as his brawling is so great and fits him so well at this stage in his career. The best part about Hardy is that I love how he is able to stay in control of a guy without any holds whatsoever. It’s incredible and a great way for Hardy to go in WWE.
Steve Romero is then in the parking lot and he puts over the security in case Raw shows up. Is it really that big of a deal if they show up? They’ve done this before and I’ve never seen them bust out the security? Did we see the security at No Mercy when Bischoff himself said he would be there? Nope. They then hype up the Rey-JBL match and another break comes.
Commercial break times four equals a great Hardy debut and a dumb Raw-SD precaution.
They show the Raw Rebound which is the amazing Austin segment from Monday. It was just pure comedy from Austin with the crowd pissing their pants a la 1999. It’s just sad that Raw itself couldn’t back up that segment with anything good in the ring. Rey’s music hits and we go into the next match. Gee, I wonder if Edge will show up!