TV REVIEW: WWE SMACKDOWN - September 25th, 2009

September 25th, 2009 
Tulsa, Oklahoma

**This is a WWE Smackdown review that I wrote live at the time in 2009 during the run up to that year's Hell in a Cell pay per view*

CM Punk Speaks

Hoping to get the Tulsa crowd riled up and ready for action, WWE send out the hottest heel in the company, CM Punk to do the job (not the job). And a fine job he does too; goading the audience about their alleged substance abuse and running over a list of his accomplishments to a thunderous chorus of boos. After demanding that someone in a position of authority comes down to give him some respect, Punk is instead confronted by a small army of druids who proceed to wheel a coffin to ringside accompanied by eeiry music.

Naturally, Punk acts scared and proceeds to bash the closed casket with a steel chair, expecting The Undertaker to surface. Yet when the Dead Man does not cometh, the World Heavyweight Champion makes the brave move of opening the coffin, only to find a bound and gagged Teddy Long inside.

Finally getting free, Long grabs a microphone and declares that, effective immediately, Taker's 'Hells Gate' submission hold is no longer banned and that, not only will The Phenom be able to use it when he battles Punk for the title at Hell in a Cell, but also when the two meet tonight in a non-title main event.

A good, solid segment to get things under way then.

Tag Match: Intercontinental Champion John Morrison and Finlay vs. Mike Knox and Dolph Ziggler 

As two of the hottest feuds on the Smackdown undercard collide in an entertaining, well-paced opening match, Knox and Ziggler work well to cut the ring in half and isolate Finlay from his corner right from the opening bell. It's a good strategy by the villans  which ensures that the inevitable hot-tag to Morrison drives the crowd wild.

Despite dominating most of the contest, a well-placed shillelagh shot to Knox's head by Finlay, followed by the always impressive Starship Pain from Morrison is enough to earn the win for the good guys.
Your Winners: John Morrison & Finlay 

Out in the back, Eve and her boys Cryme Tyme seem to be warming to the pesky Slam Master Jay and even allow him to take an initiation of sorts; handing him a spray can and telling him to take care of it, and that's as much as your writer gets to see.

Now apparently, what happened next was that Jay defaced Teddy Long's office, annoyed the GM and got himself booked in a match with Kane. For reasons I can't quite explain to you, dear reader, this bit was missing from the UK version of the show so when we head back to ringside, the next match doesn't seem to make much sense.

Slam Master Jay vs. Kane

Luckily, us Brits don't have to sit through something which doesn't make sense for very long as The Big Red Machine makes light work of the hip-hop homeboy, taking him out with a chokeslam in about two minutes.

In the back, Cryme Tyme are dissapointed.
Your Winner: Kane

Vince McMahon arrives at the arena. Before making his way to the ring, the Chairman is stopped by CM Punk, still angry at the announcement made earlier in the show. With little sympathy, Vinny Mac tells the champ he should have thought about the consequences of his actions.

In the ring, a jovial McMahon is an absolute riot. After insulting the crowd, he hypes next week's Ten Year Anniversary of Smackdown show, before singing the praises of one Drew McIntyre. Big things must be on the cards for the Angry Scot if he's getting the personal hype from McMahon himself.

Eliciting deafening 'USA! USA!' chants from the audience, McIntyre cuts a convincing promo as he lets us know that, from now on, Smackdown is all about him.

Not surprisingly, R-Truth finally makes his way to the ring, looking to extract some revenge for the recent spate of attacks he's suffered at the hands of McIntyre. Somewhat comically, despite being very angry, Truth still delivers his usual rap on the way to the ring.

It's worth noting that, even though he doesn't use it very long, or very often, Truth is great on the microphone. He quickly drops it and heads into the ring for a quick brawl that gets broken up by the refs.

This is shaping up to be an entertaining feud, and it should be interesting to see where it goes next.

Unified Tag Team Champion The Big Show (with Chris Jericho) vs. Batista

It is often said that the only entertaining part of any Batista match is the entrance, and whilst there is usually some truth in that, 'The Animal' at least manages to have a half-decent bout with 'The World's Largest Athlete'.

This is far from the greatest match you'll ever see, but it's at the least an entertaining psychological battle of the big men. Of course, it certainly helps that Chris Jericho is wonderful in his role as what can only be described as Big Show's manager, and the former Y2J's banter with commentator Jim Ross is nothing short of hilarious.

After fighting his way back from a vicious assault at the hands of his opponent, Batista stupidly attempts a Batista Bomb. Show counters with a chokeslam attempt, but Big Dave locks on an ankle lock. This causes Jericho to race to his partner's aid, only to recieve an ankle lock of his own.

And as Jericho frantically taps you have to believe that, somewhere in America, Ken Shamrock is nodding on with approval.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Batista

Up next, we get a video recap of the recent shenanigans between CM Punk, Teddy Long and The Undertaker. What's annoying about this is that Long still hasn't explained what's so wrong with Undertaker being champions.

Moving to Teddy Long's office, a visiting Vince McMahon demands to see his portrait. Despite Long's protests, the GM is forced to show the boss his picture. Wouldn't you know it, it's been vandalised by Slam Master Jay. Well, you have to credit to the Smackdown writers for turning a seemingly inconsequential segment earlier in the show into a big plot-point in the ongoing saga between McMahon and Long.

From the Vault: Cruiserweight Championship: Hurricane defends against Chavo Guerrero (Smackdown 2002)

Back in the days before Chavo Guerrero became the proverbial laughing stock of the WWE, he was actually a pretty awesome cruiserweight wrestler, and in this terrific bout from 2002 against The Hurricane, we're reminded of just how good Hornswoggle's arch-rival could be.

Following a superb display of speed and agility, Hurricane retains the title.
Your Winner: Hurricane

Coming back from the break, we're shown a funny clip of The Miz and John Morrison on 'Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader' which, of course, is America's answer to that 'Are You Smarter than a 10 Year-old' programme Noel Edmonds hosts over here. It has no bearing on tonight's show, but it's worth mentioning anyway, especially since Jeff Foxworthy is the host and your writer is big fan of the man's stand-up.

Getting back to more important things, we have a match on our hands.

JTG vs. David Hart Smith

Backed up by their partners and valets; JTG by Eve and Shad and Smith by Tyson Kidd and Natayla, both men into a short, spirited performance, with the son of Wigan's own British Bulldog taking the early advantage.

JTG makes a brief comeback, yet thanks to some interference by Nattie and Kidd, it's David Hart Smith who not only walks away with the win, but also proceeds to show more charisma than he ever has since being called up to the main event.
Your Winner: David Hart Smith

In the back, Josh Matthews interviews Batista. Big Dave announces that he'll be teaming up with Rey Mysterio to challenge Chris Jericho and Big Show for the Unified Tag Team Titles at Hell in a Cell.

Non-Title Match: World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk vs. The Undertaker

With twenty minutes remaining before the show ends, 'The Demon of Death Valley' takes several millennia to get to the ring. Not that you can blame him at this stage of his career. It's no secret that after years of service, The Dead Man's body just ain't what it used to be, and if anyone deserves to get a huge reaction without running himself ragged in the ring, it's The Undertaker.

Yet that doesn't seem to stop the former 'Mean Mark' from performing in a good main event as he catches the ever-cocky Punk in the corner and proceeds to pick him apart. Taker looks slow, and not quite his usual self, but he still manages to garner huge cheers from the crowd for every heavy blow delivered to the body of the seriously overpowered champion.

Eventually, Punk manages to turn things around with a hard-hitting top-rope vertical suplex and quickly starts to wear down his adversary with a headscissors.

From there, things really start to get interesting, until Punk manages to escape the Hell's Gate and escape to the outside only to be followed to the outside by Undertaker. With the referee's count drawing ever closer to ten, the champion dives into the ring to win the contest by a whisker.
Your Winner via Count Out: CM Punk

As Punk celebrates, Undertaker looks on annoyed and Smackdown comes to an end.

Final Thoughts: It's becoming more and more difficult to say anything other than "another good show from the blue brand," but say it I must. For whilst this wasn't the best show the Friday night crew have produced this year, it was still nonetheless an entertaining two hours.

The only thing that's really bugging me is the current feud between CM Punk and The Undertaker. When Jeff Hardy left the company after Summerslam, it didn't take a genius to work out that The Dead Man would likely be the next person to step up and challenge Punk for the World Heavyweight Championship. It could have been so brilliant too, had they just kept the story of the plucky champion finding cheap ways to hang on to his title whilst the clearly superior challenger grows more frustrated with every loss, but when you throw in the whole 'Montreal Revisited' angle with Teddy Long, it all becomes a little too much.

Why did Teddy feel the need to keep the belt away from The Undertaker? How was his job likely to be at stake if he didn't? Such things remain unanswered and, to me at least, seem to be really diluting what could have otherwise been a terrific feud.

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