Date: January 5, 2007
Location: Lakeland Center, Lakeland, Florida
Commentators: John Bradshaw Layfield, Michael Cole
It’s the first Smackdown of the new year and we are just a few weeks away from the Royal Rumble. That means we need to get some things ready and in this case that includes a theme show, as Teddy Long has announced the Beat The Clock Sprint. In other words, we are getting a Beat The Clock Challenge to determine Batista’s challenger for the pay per view. Let’s get to it.
Here is Teddy Long to get things going. As has already been announced, Long explains the Beat The Clock Challenge. There will be sixteen wrestlers in eight random matches, with whoever wins in the fastest time getting the World Title shot against Batista at the Royal Rumble. This brings out Batista (to quite the eruption) to say he likes the idea of being in the ring against the best. With that out of the way, it’s time to get things going.
Beat The Clock: Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero
Chavo looks a good bit nervous to start and an early rollup attempt goes rather badly. Kane powers him out to the floor where Chavo isn’t sure what to do. Back in and a slam into a jumping legdrop gives Kane two, followed by another trip to the floor. Chavo gets in some stomps on the way back in and sends Kane into the steps for his first breather. Back in and Chavo hits a dropkick between the shoulders, setting up a headscissor choke to keep Kane in trouble.
That’s broken up in a hurry but Kane’s suplex is countered into a DDT. That just makes Kane sit up and the real beating is on. A running clothesline in the corner sets up a side slam but the chokeslam is broken up. Instead Kane backdrops him down and puts Chavo on top. That is broken up as well though and Chavo hits the frog splash….with Kane catching him by the throat for the chokeslam and the pin at 7:53.
Rating: C-. I’m not sure how much drama there was here but it is nice to have some kind of stakes on the match. That time isn’t going to last for more than a match or two but at least they had something simple and to the point here. Kane beating up Chavo worked, even though Chavo’s offense wasn’t exactly the most convincing.
Maryse, in limited clothing, welcomes us back to the show.
Beat The Clock: Paul London vs. Brian Kendrick
The clock is set at 7:53 and what a coincidence. They trade quick rollups to start and Kendrick grabs a headlock. This gives JBL a chance to talk about drinking with Faarooq as Batista is watching in the back. London’s headlock is countered into a headscissors and Kendrick grabs a headlock takeover of his own. They trade some more near falls until London tries to force Kenrdrick’s arms down for a cover. London’s double underhook doesn’t work either as Kendrick backdrops him for two.
You can hear the BORING chants as they get up for a standoff. Kendrick tries an O’Connor roll but gets sent outside for….nothing actually. Back in and they hit stereo crossbodies for a double knockdown. Another exchange of rollups goes nowhere as Kendrick falls out to the floor. Back in and Kendrick grabs a headlock with less than a minute to go. That doesn’t last long so they try some rollups for two each as time expires.
Rating: C-. I wasn’t feeling this one and there were times where they came off as rather dumb. Why would you grab a headlock in a timed match with less than a minute to go? On top of that, JBL wasn’t even screaming at them for being stupid. This was going off the style of they know each other so well and are mirror images of each other, which might make for a nice idea but it rarely works well in practice.
Post match Ashley comes out to make sure everything is cool, allowing JBL to plug her Playboy appearance. Again.
JBL is in the ring for a chat, as he continues to rant about Teddy Long ruining Smackdown. We see another clip of the Inferno match with MVP’s back being burned, plus some photos of MVP’s burned back. Cue MVP to thank JBL for speaking for him, as he was busy being in the hospital and all that jazz. Then he heard about the Beat The Clock Challenge and knew he had to come back and get his shot at the title. That’s why he’ll be here next week in case Long is willing to put him in the competition. This wasn’t exactly a heel promo as it’s kind of hard to take issue with MVP being mad about being SET ON FIRE.
Beat The Clock: King Booker vs. Gregory Helms
Non-title, Queen Sharmell handles Booker’s introduction and the clock is set at 7:53. Booker wastes no time (because he’s smart) by clotheslining him into the ropes as, again, Batista looks on. Helms escapes a suplex and hammers away but Booker grabs a spinebuster for two.
Booker hits a superkick and strikes away in the corner but Helms is back with some forearms. Helms wraps the leg around the rope and hammers away in the corner until he is dropped throat first across the top. Another kick to the face gives Booker two but Helms gets fast and hits a quick middle rope dropkick. A high crossbody/forearm gives Helms two more and he dodges the ax kick for a bonus. Sharmell offers a distraction though and it’s the side kick into the ax kick to give Booker the win at 6:24.
Rating: C. This was a weird one but both guys felt like they were trying to win as fast as they could here. It is nice to see people being smart in a match like this for a change as that has not quite been the case so far. Again though, can we PLEASE get rid of the Cruiserweight Title already? It is very clear that WWE does not care about it so drop the thing before it makes Helms look even worse.
Post match Booker and Sharmell leave so here is the Boogeyman to plant Helms again. Boogeyman worms him to make it worse.
We gt a pretty long video on Batista, looking over his entire career from the Deacon days to Evolution to the injury to the return to get the title back. This was pretty good.
Ashley vs. Jillian Hall
During the entrances, Jillian talks about wanting to destroy Ashley’s pretty face. Jillian takes her down to start and rips at the face a bit. A running knee hits Ashley in the face but she gets a boot up in the corner. Ashley headscissors her out of the corner but walks into a powerbomb for two. Not that it matters as Ashley grabs a quick small package for the pin.
Maryse welcomes us back to the show again.
Beat The Clock: Tatanka vs. Jimmy Wang Yang
The clock is set at 6:24 and JBL is all over the cowboy vs. Indian story. Tatanka jumps him to start but walks into a rollup and a neckbreaker for two each. A sleeper doesn’t work very well on Tatanka as he powers out and gorilla presses Yang outside for a crash. Back in and it’s something like a pumphandle slam into a suplex into a backbreaker for two each on Yang.
A few kicks get Yang out of trouble though, including a middle rope missile dropkick for two. The comeback is so strong that Yang’s chaps fall apart. Yang goes up but gets suplexed back down as the time is starting to wrap up. A slam gets two on Yang but he is right back up with the moonsault press as time expires.
Rating: C. I wouldn’t have bet on this working but they had a pretty nice match here. Tatanka isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire but he can wrestle a good enough power style. Yang is quick enough to hang in there with most opponents and they pulled out a pretty shocking match here. Not great, but what kind of expectations would there have been coming in?
Post match, Tatanka beats Yang down again.
Vickie Guerrero talks about how Chris Benoit caused the problems between herself and Chavo Guerrero. Everyone has turned their backs on her and now she has nothing. Crying ensues.
We recap the Challenge matches so far.
Here is Mr. Kennedy to talk about how he is sports entertainment. I think he means he’s going to win.
Beat The Clock: Mr. Kennedy vs. Chris Benoit
Non-title and the clock is set at 6:24. They grapple into the corner to start with Kennedy actually getting the better of things. A whip into the corner puts Benoit down for two as we see Batista watching in the back. There’s another whip into the corner for two more as this is one sided so far. Benoit grabs a quick rollup for two but the Sharpshooter is countered into Kennedy’s own near fall.
The Kenton Bomb hits raised knees and it’s time to roll the German suplexes. The Swanton misses though and Kennedy takes a turnbuckle pad off. Benoit snaps on the Crossface, with Kennedy going straight into the rope. Back up and Benoit is sent into the exposed buckle to give Kennedy the pin at 5:07.
Rating: C. This was kind of a weird match as Kennedy dominated for the most part with Benoit barely getting in any offense. I did like the recurring idea of Benoit being whipped into the corner before the big one at the end finished him off so they did have a theme to the match. This worked out well enough and Kennedy is a good potential challenger for Batista.
Post match Kennedy brags about the win but here is Teddy Long to remind us that the second half of the challenge is next week. Next week we will have MVP, Finlay, Matt Hardy and the Undertaker trying their luck, which does not sit well with Kennedy. Kennedy: “KENNEDY!”.
Commentary recaps the remaining challengers to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. I love a show where there is a theme throughout the night and that was absolutely the case here. They had a good show with almost everyone working on the same angle. It was a smart idea to have something like this as the year starts, as it isn’t like the title match is going to mean given that it is at the Royal Rumble. Simple and to the point here, which might not be exciting, but it is rather safe and that is not a bad thing from time to time.
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