Sunday, November 30, 2008

WWE Smackdown! 11/14/08

1. Matt Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin - 6
2. Carlito vs. Brian Kendrick - 4
3. MVP vs. Kung Fu Naki - 1
4. Maria vs. Michelle McCool - 2
5. The Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy - Extreme Rules Match - 5

I’m going to talk about this show in an order descending from what I personally enjoyed the most downward to the things I’d rather soon forget. Benjamin versus Matt Hardy was a really terrific match, especially for an opener, and even more so for TV fare. A lot of limb work, by both men, a slow build, this all led to a sense of believability and athletic competition lacking from much of today’s American product. Even the announcers, Ross in particular, tried to invoke an MMA-like vibe to it, saying, “if we were going by points Benjamin would be winning” but alas, that’s not how it works, and Hardy’s completely unexpected “Twist of Fate” came out of nowhere like a big knockout in MMA and really helped complete the analogous tracts of the match.

I thought Kendrick and Carlito was pretty good for a more typical throwaway TV bout. The highlight clearly being Kendrick laying in tons of real stiff leg kicks, it seemed like he was trying to raise the ire of apple eating mid-carder, just going back to the nasty kicks again and again. We also got to see big Zeke take out Primo on the floor in a great visual. The Undertaker versus Hardy (donned in pseudo-Joker face paint) was seriously pimped online, overly so, as I felt it wasn’t the mind-blowing spectacle I’d come to anticipate. Granted, it got a little more mileage out of the tired hardcore milieu, and had a couple big bumps (Hardy’s legdrop off the ladder made my boner from the Maria match soften in empathy) to boot. I’m still confused about the whole new direction of Hardy’s character, and this didn’t help clear up any of my mystification.

The further burial of MVP just makes me shake my head in disapproval. Here, he got beat by perennial jobber Funaki (for the second time) and afterward, was the victim of molestation by a pale, fat, redheaded beast plucked from the crowd by the Great Khali. I was disappointed that the Maria versus McCool match, which they’d actually built up decently on TV the past couple weeks, was a colossal bowl of fecal fettuccini. As soon as it started, Jesse and Festus came to ringside, immediately turning this from a match to a bullshit story development piece, continuing the ongoing “romance” of the oddest on-screen pairing since that rough-looking footage of R. Kelly urinating on that young girl.

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