SmackDown Report – July 20, 2007 from Laredo, Texas (taped July 17)

Home / SmackDown Report – July 20, 2007 from Laredo, Texas (taped July 17)

Teddy Long gets things going by announcing that Edge is injured and can’t compete at the Great American Bash. Long tells the crowd that Edge must relinquish the World Heavyweight Title and a large portion of the crowd roars its approval. Many are chanting “Loser!” as Edge takes the microphone to make his announcement. Edge, one of the WWE’s best performers with the microphone, does a great job at his assignment of laying the blame for his injury at the feet of Kane, explaining to the jeering crowd that Kane was looking for a way to make their match at the Great American Bash a little easier. Edge tosses in just the right amounts of emotion and threats and the crowd seems unsure if Edge is really upset about this – for real – or if he’s working a story. Edge gets them going with a little smacktalk and the booing starts again. Edge perseveres throughout it, however, and makes the crowd sit through a tribute video that he has prepared. Long coaxes Edge to hand over the title and he announces that there will be a 20-Man Over-the-Top Battle Royal to determine the new World Heavyweight Champion. Edge won’t give up the title, mouthing off, and the crowd turns on him even more. Edge works it to near tears and he makes a great deal of drama about it all, finally handing over the belt after announcing the names of all the men he’s beaten, including John Cena, Batista and the Undertaker. As it’s handed over, the crowd goes wild. Edge exits to chants of “Loser!” It’s a rough business.

We are treated to a few of the Battle Royal men prepping backstage: Mark Henry pressing some backstage equipment overhead, the spectacular physique of Chris Masters as he does a few sets of biceps curls, Kane pacing back and forth and some comic relief with Eugene doing his version of jumping jacks.

Victoria vs Torrie Wilson
Following up from their disagreement two weeks ago and the match last week that Torrie Wilson won by count out, these two meet again in a long match that doesn’t have the same edge that last week’s match had. There were more kicks to the stomach than I think I’ve ever seen in any match. Torrie makes the most of the opening moments, keeping Victoria either down on the mat from punches or out of the ring. I’d say she gets the majority of the offense in their match this week. Victoria takes the added angle of working both the ref and Torrie with a lot of lip service and she answers most of Torrie’s attempts to drive her down. There’s no doubt that Victoria is an accomplished wrestler and tonight Torrie shows she’s pretty good in the ring, too. As the match progresses, Torrie manages to turn most of Victoria’s offense back at her but Victoria does get her up in the Widow’s Peak and it seems like Torrie might be able to get out of it, as she had done for many of Victoria’s earlier holds. No dice – Victoria executes the move and wins the match. A nice touch at the end with Victoria pointing down at Torrie and screaming, “I told you so!”
Winner: Victoria

A few more of the Battle Royal men are shown backstage: Deuce and Domino contemplating their chances, Jimmy Wang Yang doing a redneck yell and an appearance by Batista who simply walks by Deuce and Domino, snickering. Deuce makes a feeble attempt to lunge at him as Domino and Cherry “hold” him back. Kind of funny… A Rey Mysterio Return Promo is shown and we see some repeat footage of Edge handing the belt to Teddy Long.

20-Man Battle Royal
This match is to determine the next SmackDown World Heavyweight Champion. When we come back from a commercial break all the men are in the ring except Batista, MVP, Finlay, Khali and Kane, who enter in that order. The belt – with Edge’s name on it – sits ringside. The usual all-hell-breaks-loose action starts things off. Batista and Khali go at it right away. The camera is all over the place at the beginning and it’s difficult to capture everything that’s happening with so many men in the ring. Chris Masters tries to eliminate Jimmy Wang Yang and Funaki comes over to make the save and the two of them turn on Masters but Masters shrugs them both off and then proceeds to pound the two of them into the mat at the same time. There are a lot of nice touches like that throughout this Battle Royal. Khali makes the rounds of the ring and anyone he hits is on the mat instantly. Most people avoid him. The first elimination – or eliminations – is the Major Brothers who are both eliminated by Mark Henry – at the same time. Shannon Moore goes out next, eliminated by Khali who then sends Funaki out. Khali is chopping everyone until he faces off with Mark Henry. The two do some smacktalking until Kane comes by to beat on Khali and Batista beats on Henry, ending the showdown. All the wrestlers team up and eliminate Henry – to wild applause. MVP is working Matt Hardy in the corner until Dykstra takes over and works them both. Chavo and Finlay try to get Batista out but fail. Khali slams the brakes on some offense that MVP tries to take to him. Dave Taylor is laid out flat by Khali after he finishes with MVP. Chris Masters blasts Eugene in the corner while Khali works Matt Hardy some more. MVP wants more of Hardy and he interferes, only to find himself KO’d on his feet by a Khali chop. Matt Hardy takes over again on Khali – to no effect – and retreats. Batista eliminates Deuce and Domino and Dave Taylor is suddenly flying over the ropes. Kane and Batista face off and the camera lingers on them while other action happens all around them. Suddenly, the diminutive Jamie Noble appears between them and starts chopping them, hulking out – or so he thinks. Batista and Kane just stand there as Noble does a “Tarzan” chest beating. Then he’s airborne in another comic relief moment as Batista and Kane send him over the top ropes. Eugene appears in his place, looking for a high five but he gets the bum’s rush over the top ropes – same exit as Noble. I may have missed an exit, but we are down to ten men now. We cut to a commercial break A nice touch, no?

When we return, we see Finlay trying unsuccessfully to eliminate Masters. Chavo goes for a high flying dive off the top turnbuckle and flattens Batista but Kane drops Chavo with a punch and then does the same to an oncoming Finlay. Hardy goes for the Side Effect on MVP. Finlay tries to eliminate Batista but fails. There’s another commercial break and when we return Dykstra is eliminated by Masters. Hardy eliminates MVP. Wang Yang flies off the top turnbuckles and lands in Masters arms, who slips the Masterlock on him to a huge pop. Chavo attacks Masters from behind, releasing Wang Yang and Masters reverses that, almost getting Chavo into the Masterlock. Wang Yang dropkicks Masters from behind but fails to eliminate Masters with it. With Masters tying Chavo up, Wang Yang double teams him and together he and Chavo struggle to get Masters out. When they succeed, Chavo turns on Wang Yang and but Chavo ends up outside the ring.

The action slows down now with six men remaining. Hardy bulldogs Finlay and Khali drops Kane. Hardy had Finlay almost over the ropes and Kane works on Khali, who is finally beginning to show the fatigue of the match, although he won’t go over the ropes, even with Batista and Kane working together. Finlay gets Wang Yang on the apron and Hornswoggle appears, pulling him off the apron before disappearing under the ring. Hardy foolishly attacks Khali and finds himself stretched out on the mat. Khali drags him up, kicks him in the head and that’s it for Matt Hardy. Out he goes. Khali pounds on Kane, kicking him in the corner. Batista comes in but Khali turns on him, staggering Batista and then punching him to the mat. Khali clotheslines Kane and he waves for the staggered Batista to get up. A chop to the temple and Batista timbers to the mat. Kane gets the same treatment and Khali raises his arms overhead in premature victory. Finlay attacks Khali with the shillelagh until Kane puts an end to that. Kane tries a chokeslam on Finlay but Batista cuts that off. Batista eliminates Finlay and we are down to Batista, Kane and Khali. Batista and Kane go at each other and its pretty brutal at this point with some real looking punches landing. Batista attempts to bodyslam Kane over the ropes and they become tied up in the struggle until Khali comes over and shoves them both to the floor. And so…we have a new champion. The translator makes an entrance and the two of them celebrate in the ring. Khali, for once, breaks into a smile and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a happy emotion on him. Not for long, though- as Long makes the announcement and offers him the title, Khali swipes it from a shocked Long’s hands. Batista is livid outside the ring, kicking the stairs in frustration as Khali and his sidekick raise their arms in victory.
Winner: The Great Khali, new World Heavyweight Champion

Kristal is interviewing the winner backstage and the translator lets us know that that Indians all over the world are celebrating. The translator then says that Khali says “…the days of Indians being labeled as quick mart owners, taxi drivers…and doctors….are over.” I didn’t get this, but then the WWE’s humor is often lost on me. We switch to Teddy Long and Vickie having a discussion backstage – their dilemma is who will face Khali at the Great American Bash? Their quandary is quickly ended when Long suggests that Batista and Kane duke it out tonight for that honor.

A promo for the John Cena vs Bobby Lashley match at the Great American Bash is shown. A variety of wrestlers opine on who will win and why, plus we see clips of Cena’s and Lashley’s matches as well as comments from both contenders. Cena has a lot of personality and fits the bill as both wrestler and speaker for the title. Lashley has very little personality at the microphone, or with a line of dialogue, so it will be interesting to see how he’ll fare if he wins the championship.

Kenny Dykstra vs Matt Hardy
The crowd didn’t seem to be into this match as much as they typically are for a Hardy match and it may be that the Battle Royal sapped some energy from them. Dykstra shows he’s an even better high-flyer than Matt Hardy, although the crowd isn’t impressed with him and continually chants for Hardy. Once again, Matt Hardy is outwrestled, as he was last week by Chris Masters, but Hardy squeaks out a Twist of Fate and takes the match just when things are looking dire for him. The crowd goes wild as Hardy makes his signature – and very odd – gesticulation to the crowd.
Winner: Matt Hardy

Chuck Palumbo commercial. “Prepare for the ride of your life.” This appears to be the latest promo gimmick – not only for those who are returning after absences, but for current performers. I guess Palumbo is the next selection for a “push.” Following this is another promo for the upcoming tag team of Jesse and Festus. It didn’t look good three weeks ago and it still doesn’t. MVP gets a short interview in the locker room and he goes off on the interviewer, telling everyone he’s the better than they are “and that includes Matt Hardy.”

Batista vs Kane
This match is to determine The Great Khali’s opponent at the Great American Bash. Batista shows Kane that he’s got just as much power, taking Kane down in a fashion that I’m sure Kane isn’t used to. Kane works Batista in the corner and bodyslams him, going for a pinfall. Kane ties Batista up until Batista lifts him up and drops him on his back. A whip to the ropes and Kane is down on the mat again. Batista then works Kane on the mat with a headlock and Kane shoves him off after getting to his feet and drops Batista after a whip to the ropes. Uppercut and Batista is hanging in the corner. A whip is reversed and Batista shows Kane his version of the uppercut. And it’s a beaut. Kane deposits Batista outside the ring and the two of them collide when they meet, dropping ringside as we go to a commercial.

When we come back, both men are in the ring. Kane ascends the ringpost and Batista punches him and does a modified version of a Batista Bomb, depositing Kane on the mat. He tries the real Batista Bomb, but Kane shoves him into the corner. Kane climbs up and begins hammering Batista’s head. Batista powers out, holding Kane aloft but Kane picks him up in a side slam. Both men are looking very winded. Kane is up on the corner as Batista crawls to his feet. A dive and Batista sidesteps him. Kane lands hard and Batista gives him a spinebuster. Batista goes for a spear and walks into Kane’s boot. Kane gets a near fall after slamming Batista to the mat. Kane stalks him and is ready for his finisher, but Batista moves – but not far enough. Kane clotheslines him over the ropes to the outside. Kane follows him out but Batista rams him into the stairs. Batista shoves him back in and climbs the ropes on his way in. A flying clothesline brings Kane down again.

Suddenly Khali is in the ring and he punches Batista, slapping him into the corner. Kane attacks and Khali is on him. Batista and Kane team up and they drive Khali over the top ropes to wild applause. The bell had rung ending the match and Long appears. This Sunday, he tells the retreating Khali, “…now you will be facing both of them!” A Triple Threat Match is now scheduled for the Great American Bash.
Winner: No contest – interference by the Great Khali.

It’s the 6th show since draft and with one Battle Royal and three singles matches, we did see a lot of the roster, but truly didn’t get a chance to really enjoy them. A Battle Royal is great fun, but the card could have included more singles matches and less repetition of Edge giving up the title. If SmackDown is to remain on an upbeat level – the way it started after the draft lottery, we need to concentrate on action, not backstage business. Too much hype for upcoming events, too much made of non-ring action happenings, this is what is dragging RAW down and we don’t need that happening on SmackDown. There’s plenty of time in two hours, but there doesn’t seem to be enough time for actual wrestling. We’ll need more than we got tonight if SmackDown is to keep improving.

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