Really pleased to see much interest still in the thread, with eleven reviews for the return show. I'll get to returning those reviews in the near future, hopefully Friday night, if I'm not out, or Saturday late morning / early afternoon. Only situation I need to really address from the show would be the Edge / Christian situation. I'm not planning on them feuding any time soon, but I added in the tension after the match just to show that despite they worked well as a team, there is still bad blood between them from their past feuds in real life and this thread, so with Christian getting the fall, he wanted to rub it in Edges face.
I'll post the Smackdown recap now (with one promo in full), and the Raw recap for next week on Friday, before posting the full Smackdown on Sunday or Monday. Not expecting the type of reviews like I did for Raw, and not expecting as many either, but hopefully those interested still at least read the recap as there is plenty going on...
Smackdown; January 26th; Madison Square Garden:
The show opens with an announcement from Linda McMahon that an interim GM will be announced tonight, and that Chris Benoit will also make his decision regarding WM 22.
Jamie Noble retains the Cruiserweight Championship in a Fatal Four Way Match against Chavo Guerrero, Billy Kidman and Tajiri, surprisingly cleanly, forcing Kidman to tap out to the Dragon Sleeper.
Chris Jericho hosts the Highlight Reel. He opens up, talking about his loss at The Royal Rumble, before moving on to the news that Bret Hart will be relinquishing his GM responsibilities in order to extensively train for his Wrestle Mania showdown with Kurt Angle.
Jericho then says he doesn’t know who the replacement is, but on tonights Highlight Reel, he will unveil him. Jericho waits for a moment, until RICKY STEAMBOAT makes a shocking return to the WWE, on screen anyway. Steamboat exchanges pleasantries with Y2J, before making his objectives known that he plans on keeping things in shape on Smackdown up to Wrestle Mania, but he wont be playing any politics, and will call things as he sees it. Steamboat then goes on to say that he will attempt to make the Smackdown product the most exciting brand today, and plans on backing up both statements immediately, signing a WWE Championship rematch for next weeks show, with Brock Lesnar to defend against Chris Jericho … in a sixty minute Iron Man Match!!!!
Y2J is overjoyed with the news, and thanks Steamboat for the awesome decision, but then, Brock Lesnar enters the arena, looking far from pleased. Paul Heyman at first tries to suck up to Ricky Steamboat, before turning nasty, telling him in just five minutes, he has already become the worst GM in the Smackdown Brands history. Steamboat fires back, stating he must be second worst, considering Heyman wasn’t given the interim role after his last run. Brock has words with Steamboat, but tells The Dragon that he will overcome Jericho, and move onto Wrestle Mania. This leads to a showdown with Jericho, which almost ends up in a fight, but Steamboat orders Lesnar from the ring, trying to diffuse some of the tension.
Highlights from The Royal Rumble are played, including Austin vs. Goldberg. Following the video, Cole and Tazz discuss the ramifications of that match, stipulating Goldberg is gone, and that Austin will be taking an LOA for the next few weeks in order to recover from the brutal streetfight.
Paul London defeats Simon Dean, with Dean unable to gain any revenge from being eliminated by London at the Royal Rumble, as Paul London scores the three count after hitting a 450 Splash.
Backstage, Chris Benoit arrives to a rousing reception from the majority of the Smackdown locker room. Benoit soaks up the well wishing, before making a beeline to Ricky Steamboats office…
The Cabinet trio of JBL & The Basham Brothers take on Matt Hardy & AMW, with James Storm pinning Danny Basham with a roll up, giving the faces a well earned victory.
In the ring after a commercial break, Michael Cole awaits Kurt Angle for an in ring interview.
**Medal** Kurt Angle enters the arena to an UNREAL amount of heat, just four days removed from Sunday, when he was roundly cheered, until his heel turn on Bret Hart. Angle is met with thick ‘You Suck’ chants, which get Angles temper boiling. He steps into the ring, and twirls around, to yet more heat. The Olympian takes a mic, and pushes Michael Cole aside, wanting to address the fans.
Kurt Angle: On Sunday Night, in this very ring, in this very arena, you people deafened me with cheers … and because I did what I HAD to do, tonight, you’re telling me I suck??Maven cheats to a victory over Hardcore Holly, using the tights for leverage to gain a three count.
Kurt Angle: Very funny. But something more funny, is how fickle you imbeciles really are.
Heat from fans
Kurt Angle: One minute, you’re getting on Bret Harts back, like he just assassinated a popular American president.
More heat for Angle
Kurt Angle: Next?? You’re giving him all your sympathy. Why?? Because of a few crocodile tears?? Because Bret cant wrestle?? Who gives a crap.
Faint ‘Bret’ chant starts
Kurt Angle: Chant all you want, he wont be here. No doubt he’s sitting on his fat ass right now, crying to his lawyer, desperate to back out of Wrestle Mania.
Kurt Angle: But back to my point. Why did you all suddenly change your opinion of Bret Hart on Sunday night?? I’m dying to know. How about you, Michael Cole. Any ideas??
Cole looks a little feared, with Angle at a breaking point.
Michael Cole: Kurt, to be honest, I think it’s just compassion. The fans realised what wrestling a match co-
Angle slaps Michael Cole, knocking Cole down, grabbing his face.
Kurt Angle: SHUT UP!!! I heard you harp on for weeks about how great Angle vs. Hart would be. You knew his physical condition. I knew it, New York, West Coast, East Coast, Mid West, Africa and the whole freakin world knows about it. But that didn’t stop your support.
Fans give Angle more heat.
Kurt Angle: Bret Hart, is a scumbag.
Huge heat for Angle
Kurt Angle: And I can explain it too. Bret Hart is pissing over everyone’s reputation in the locker room. We’ve all got our problems, but we don’t broadcast it week in, and week out. What about me?? I wrestled the main event of Wrestle Mania three years ago, with a BROKEN NECK.
Angle looks around, hoping for a reaction
Kurt Angle: Where’s my sympathy?? Huh?? Bret Hart is whining about risking paralysis, quality of life, and so on, and so on, blah, blah, blah. Kurt Angle, every night, puts his body at risk, just for all of you. And this is the thanks I get?? After all my sacrifices for this business, you choose Hart over me??
Fans start a louder ‘Bret’ chant
Kurt Angle: Well, you know what?? SCREW ALL OF YOU!!! I’ve given you people what you’ve been begging for, and now you’ve got it, you don’t want it anymore?? Tough. You made the choice, live with it.
More ‘asshole chants’
Kurt Angle: And with Bret gone now for the foreseeable future, I’m gonna keep myself busy. Starting next week … I’m beginning my road to Wrestle Mania, my road to Bret Hart, by driving through his past, hit and run.
Fans quieten down
Kurt Angle: And that starts with Bret Harts former tag team partner, The Anvil, Jim Neidhart.
Kurt Angle: Jim, heads up. Enjoy your ankle for the next seven days, because next week, I’m snapping it like a twig and keeping it as a memento.
Heat for Angle. Angle looks around, shaking his head in disbelief.
Kurt Angle: You don’t realise. Everything I’ve done these last six months have been for all of you. I made the WWE Championship second best, I relinquished my spot in the Royal Rumble to give you all what you wanted. Now you have it, you’re telling me I suck??
Kurt Angle: Well … from this Angle … YOU SUCK!!!
Angle drops the mic, and climbs through the ropes, dropping off the apron, and walks up the ramp, looking extremely angered.
Wrestle Mania Recall - XI - Lawrence Taylor defeats Bam Bam Bigelow in the main event.
Triple H storms into Ricky Steamboats office, irate having been runner up at the Royal Rumble. The Game demands to know what his role will be at WM, hinting at getting some type of title opportunity. Steamboat bluntly tells Triple H that he better forget his title aspirations this year, as he blew his shot by not winning the 30 Man Rumble. Triple H is furious, and tells The Dragon that this isn’t over, and some way or another, he will main event WM.
Triple H is then in action, teaming with La Resistance to face The Rock & The AFA, who make for an entertaining trio. As always, The Rock and HHH display their awesome chemistry throughout, but in the end, it’s surprisingly Ron Simmons scoring the decisive fall, pinning Grenier after a huge spine buster.
The show closes with Chris Benoit, taking an in ring segment to make his Wrestle Mania decision. Benoit first of all talks about his run in The Rumble, then talks about his twenty years in the business finally coming together. The Wolverine gives Raw credit, and puts over Cena as a great champion, but right now, he feels he’d look like he’s running away from a challenge on Smackdown if he left, and officially declares he’ll wrestle for the WWE Championship at WM.
Current Card for WWE WrestleMania XXII:
Date: 26th March 2006
Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena; Las Vegas, Nevada
Event Music: Shinedown; Shed Some Light & Atmosphere
WWE Championship Match:
Brock Lesnar OR Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
John Cena vs. Winner of Gold Rush Tournament
Kurt Angle vs. Bret Hart
News and Notes:
The well kept secretive return of Hulk Hogan came as a major shock this past Monday Night on Raw, with absolutely no speculation beforehand that The Hulkster would be back. Despite being named as the Co-General Manager, do not expect Hulk Hogan to appear every week, as it is likely he will work selective dates only. It is not expected that Hogan will be kept in the role of Co-GM for a long period, with The Hulkster likely to stick around until Wrestle Mania only.
With that, it would seem likely after the events from this past Monday Night, Hogan will be involved in a feud with his old time rival, and now Co-GM, Ric Flair in the run up to March 26th. This leaves a question mark over the return of Mick Foley, who had been heavily rumoured to be keen on a final match against Flair at WM.
wwe.com has reported this past day that after a backstage showdown, which was exclusive to Unlimited during Raw this past week, Charlie Haas will challenge Carlito for the Intercontinental Title, this coming Monday. It comes, after Carlito got involved in a war of words with the tag champions backstage during Raw, where Carlito hinted at the prospect of him holding double gold. Now, Carlito has agreed to defend his title this week, and should he win, he gets to find himself a partner to challenge Haas and Benjamin in Tokyo the following week. Neither title is set to change hands, with the mini feud being set in place to tide both Carlito and the tag champions over, until it is time for their path to Wrestle Mania to become clear.
Expect Shawn Michaels and DX to turn up the heat on The Rock in the coming weeks, most likely by calling out The Rock on Raw with some humiliating promos, in order to goad The Rock over to face HBK.
A title change is not being ruled out next week on Smackdown, but most indications would point to Brock Lesnar retaining the title over Jericho over the sixty minute period. The finish is expected to be clean either way, with bookers wanting both champion and challenger to look as strong as possible going into Wrestle Mania.
Steve Austin is slated to return at Saturday Nights Main Event, after being given a few weeks off to recuperate from his Streetfight at The Royal Rumble.
After facing Jim Niedhart this coming week, Kurt Angle is also expected to face Bob Backlund and Roddy Piper, as he builds towards facing Bret Hart - who is in intense training at the moment - at Wrestle Mania.
Many are surprised that Triple H is beginning to express his real life feelings on his current situation in the run up to Wrestle Mania, and his matter of factly made statement that he would main event Wrestle Mania has worried quite a few backstage that The Game will use his pull to push his way into one of the title match ups on March 26th.
Expect the first couple of announcements to be made over the coming week concerning Saturday Nights Main Event. John Cena is likely to be defending the World Title at the show, possibly in a rematch against Batista, who he defeated, via restart this past Monday.
Despite a number of debuts being set up in the very near future following the hiring of Super Crazy, Psichosis, Juvi Guerrera, Kid Kash, Jamal, formerly of 3 Minute Warning, but set to be given a gimmick change, along with the impending debuts of MNM and Bobby Lashley from OVW, and a return to the ring from Dave Finlay to in ring action, none of these are set to come before Wrestle Mania, with no spots currently open for any of these individuals to make any long lasting impact. Expect all to be introduced off the back of Wrestle Mania though, as many cuts are expected to be made directly after March 26th.