Boston, Massachusetts

Finally..The Rock, has come back to Smackdown. Well, in video form at least; delivering a special message to wrestlers and wrestling fans alike as part of the ten year anniversary of WWE Smackdown. Celebrating in style, all three brands are on hand for a very special edition of the best wrestling show on TV that culminates with an epic eight-man tag team main event.

Here's what went down when the stars of Smackdown celebrated their birthday.

*Note. This review was written live at the time back in December 2009. I found it recently whilst going through my writing portfolio and decided to post it here.* 

Batista vs. Kane 

Following an exciting video highlighting some of Smackdown's most memorable moments, two of the brand's biggest men collide in the ring.

As Big Dave makes his way to the ring, we're treated a flashback of the time he and Rey Mysterio defeated MNM for the tag team titles, and whilst he'll no doubt be hoping that a similar scene plays out come Hell in the Cell this Sunday, right now 'The Animal' has his hands full with 'The Big Red Machine'.

It's a decent effort from both men which produces a reasonably entertaining match, at least by their individual standards. After some hard-hitting, back-and-forth action, a Bastita Bomb puts Kane away for the three count.

Your Winner: Batista

Out in the back, the entire WWE roster is on hand for one giant party, celebrating ten years of Smackdown. Michael Cole pokes fun of himself by over-using his 'vintage' catchphrase (it's funny the first time, but soon gets just as annoying as when he uses it at the commentator's table) before Finlay orders some Irish whiskey and proposes a toast to Smackdown. Not surprisingly, CM Punk arrives on the scene to denounce the debauchery.

There's a cameo from Santino who, under the impression that it's a fancy-dress party, is decked in Undertaker attire and thus scares the life out of Teddy Long, but the highlight of the whole segment is the appearance of a returning Vickie Guerrero.

After lambasting Teddy for reinstating The Undertaker's Hell's Gate, the nuclear heat machine herself announces that she'll be returning to the brand to manage newcomer, Eric Escobar. Whether Escobar is much good remains to be seen, but this writer welcomes the return of one of the most entertaining women the show has ever seen.

After a quick commercial, we've got more from the big party. There are some things in life that this reporter never thought he'd have to commit to writing and 'a drunken Michael Cole eats shrimp with Finlay' is certainly one of them. Vintage Cole makes a joke about Hornswoggle's height, causing the little leprechaun to kick him in the shin.

Over on the other side of the room, Zack Ryder is denied access to MVP's V.I.P Lounge, whilst everyone from Charlie Haas to The Iron Sheik are allowed inside.

A Tribute to Eddie...

Smackdown fades into an emotional tribute video to the late, great Eddie Guerrero, and your reporter isn't ashamed to admit that it brought a tear to the eye.

Tag Team Match: Intercontinental Champion John Morrison & United States Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler & The Miz

Building towards their respective title matches at Hell in a Cell, Ziggler and Miz take it to their opponents in a very entertaining tag team contest as Jack Swagger watches on from ringside.

Meeting in the ring for the first time since they were separated, The Miz and John Morrison elicit a rave response from the Boston crowd as they kick things off, before things explode into an exciting, fast-paced bout which ends when Ziggler hits the Zig Zag on Morrison to pick up the win for his team.

Your Winners: Dolph Ziggler & The Miz 

Back at the party, racial stereotyping is in full effect as Yoshi Tatsu and Kung Fu Naki indulge in a spot of karaoke, singing Shawn Michael's theme tune. Jillian Hall takes over and the party comes screeching to a halt as her voice sends a disturbing chill up your writer's spine.

Whilst all this is going on, Sgt. Slaughter and the Iron Sheik get into a less-than-eloquent argument over which is better; the USA or Iran. The Sheik chokes on a piece of food, causing The Hurricane to come to the rescue.

Elsewhere, Michael Cole throws up on Chris Jericho's shoe, setting off a chain reaction as The Big Show also hurls. The look on Jericho's face deserves several awards.

Finally, The Rock has Come Back to Smackdown...

You could argue that the reason The Rock's appearance on tonight's show is such fun is all down to nostalgia. You could even argue that the reason his appearance makes for such a good segment is simply down to the novelty factor. You could, but you'd be wrong.

The reason why The Rock's segment on the tenth anniversary of Smackdown show is so good, is because The Rock himself is so good. Despite his years away from the business, 'The Great One' manages to deliver an incredible promo that puts most of today's current stars to shame. It's a hilarious, exciting performance from one of the most popular superstars in WWE history as The Rock brings out all his old catchphrases, puts over the Hell in a Cell pay per view and even hints at a possible guest host spot on Raw.

WWE Women's Championship Lumberjack Match: Michelle McCool defends against Melina 

With what looks like every WWE Diva in the company surrounding the ring, McCool defends her title against Melina in a fun little match that eventually breaks down into a full-scale diva riot.

As the lumberjacks, or jills, if you will, lay into each other on the outside, Beth Phoenix gives McCool the assist in keeping hold of her gold.

Your Winner and still WWE Divas Champion:

In a silly promo complete with creepy music, The Undertaker cuts his usual 'you will burn in the depths of hell' promo on CM Punk, and promises to make the champion need pills and alcohol. Yeah, great message for the PG crowd, 'Taker.

From the Vault: Matt Hardy vs. Chavo Guerrero, Smackdown 2002.

Is it just me, or is Chavo becoming something of a FTV regular? Not that anyone's complaining; going up against another FTV regular in Matt Hardy, the Mexican warrior takes it to his opponent in a very enjoyable, hard-hitting contest which is interrupted towards the finish by Kane...not the actual person, just, as Michael Cole describes it, his 'presence being felt'. This distraction is enough to allow Chavo to drill his opponent and pick up the win.

Your Winner: Chavo Guerrero

Heading to the back, the party is in full flow when Drew McIntyre takes up the microphone and proposes a toast; to Smackdown, to the future World Champion, to himself, and to the party just getting started. This brings out R-Truth, who ruins everybody's evening, and the cake, by brawling with McIntyre. The WWE Superstars come together to break things up, and the party is pretty much over.

Eight-Man Tag Team Match: DX, WWE Champion John Cena & The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton, Legacy and CM Punk

Billed as  'the biggest eight man tag team match in Smackdown history', this one certainly isn't short of star power as the top performers of both the red and blue brands do battle in a solid, action-packed main event.

A particularly nice touch comes in the form of lingering tension between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, still playing up the rivalry that led to their MOTY candidate at Wrestlemania 25.

The two legends aside, everybody plays their part well, creating a very enjoyable match which brings an equally enjoyable show to a close when The Undertaker pops Orton with the Tombstone for the win.

Your Winners: DX, John Cena and The Undertaker

In the post-match, the winners celebrate, each star posing to their own theme music as blue confetti falls from the rafters.

Final Thoughts:
For the last ten years, Smackdown has consistently proved its worth as an entertaining show and tonight's anniversary celebrations were a fitting tribute to a program which rarely fails to deliver. Despite not achieving very much (other than reaffirming the beliefs of most people that Michael Cole is some sort of idiot), the backstage party skits were entertaining, whilst the in-ring action ranged from good to great.

The return of Vickie Guerrero is most welcomed by this writer, and even after months away from the spot-light the former General Manager didn't miss a beat.

Yet for all that was great about tonight's show, one thing stood head and shoulders above the rest as the greatest; that spine-tingling promo from The Rock. If any one of Smackdown's current stars could develop even half the skill and charisma possessed by 'The Great One' in his prime, then the Friday night show may well continue to impress for many more years to come.

Happy tenth anniversary, Smackdown. Here's to ten more great years.

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