TJR: Talking Smack for Aug 21/09 (Hardys/Morrison vs. Punk/Harts)

The John Report: Talking Smack for Aug 21/09 (Hardys/Morrison vs. Punk/Harts)

Welcome to the second official Talking Smack column where I offer up a quick rundown of WWE’s Friday broadcast, Smackdown. I’ll go over everything that matters, offer my take on what worked and what didn’t, then bring it home with the three stars of the night plus the final rating. Simple enough, right?

Once again a big thank you to Jarrod from the F1X crew for the beautiful new Talking Smack banner. You can go visit his efed at fightingonexperience.com as a way of saying thanks for the great work. There are no better smack talkers in WWE right now, so I think it’s only fitting that Jericho and Punk share the honors.

Taped from Kansas City, Missouri let’s talk some smack…

Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho & Big Show d. Rey Mysterio & Cryme Tyme (**3/4)
This was a typically good six man tag match that got about 13 minutes including a commercial in between. They had JTG play the babyface in peril while the heels worked him over for much of the match. Cool moment when Shad got the tag and then Rey jumped off his shoulders. I remember him doing that in WCW back in the day. I loved Big Show doing the clothesline over the top spot with Shad because it looked so awkward. Rey hit the 619 on Jericho, then Show punched him and that knocked Rey out. Ziggler got the tag to get the pinfall on Rey to continue his momentum heading into Summerslam. This was a fun opener with good pacing and did a fine job in showcasing two of the matches we’re going to see at Summerslam. If they did a match like this on Raw it would have been about six minutes with everybody hitting finishers within the first four minutes.

– Matt Hardy talked to Josh Matthews about how he’s sorry for turning on his brother earlier in the year. Basically he was jealous of Jeff’s success (way to put over being the former ECW champion, Matt) and he claims it was the biggest mistake of his life. Also said that he didn’t know if he could forgive himself, but he let us know that Jeff forgave him. How cute. This was fine. Question is, do you believe Matt or think he’s lying?

– Kane/Khali stuff. I’m not a fan. Basically, Khali came out aggressively and tried to fight back against Kane based on the kidnapping of Ranjin Singh last week. The story here was that Kane bailed. Do people really want to see Kane vs. Khali on Sunday? I don’t, especially at the expense of talented guys like Morrison, Kingston and Bourne not being on the Summerslam card.

Finlay d. Mike Knox via DQ (¾*)
I like that Knox is playing the role of a sophisticated, smart heel rather than the typical angry giant that most WWE big guys are. Ending the match on the “heel not stopping after five seconds” is being done too often now. It was done on Raw with Swagger against MVP most recently. I do like this as a SD only feud because Knox should be improved from working with Finlay.

– Promo time with Jeff Hardy surrounded by tables, ladders and chairs. This was great. He talked about how after his injuries his doctors said he should stop wrestling, but that he didn’t listen to doctors. He referenced being 31 years old also, which you don’t always hear in WWE. He talked about his comfort level in a TLC match, then climbed up to the top of the ladder with the belt hanging down. Cue CM Punk. He asked Jeff if he was scared of being high (Jeff high? Nice reference) or if he was drunk like “everybody in the arena.” Yes, even all those screaming kids. He told Jeff it was his match, but then added it would be his last match. He claimed to get rid of Jeff to prove that Straight Edge was the better lifestyle than Jeff’s. See, that’s what this feud is about. Obviously it’s about the belt too, but the rivalry and dislike is because of the lifestyle difference. That’s what makes it better than some of the typical feuds WWE has. They went back and forth some more, which was great and then Punk tried to tip the ladder over. Hardy landed on his feet, then hit the Twist of Fate as the ladder fell on them to end the segment.

Both guys were excellent here. I think that was the best Jeff Hardy promo I’ve ever heard while Punk was his usual awesome self. This might be the feud of the year, beating out Jericho/Mysterio, depending on how good the TLC match is. Compare this to Raw with Orton vs. Cena and it’s not even close. You’ve got Cena trying to do his cutesy promo with bad jokes while Orton beats up a guest GM. Here, you’ve got face to face confrontations and you can feel the actual hatred between the guys. This is what PPV main events should be about. I love it.

Melina & Maria d. Natalya & Layla (½*)
Melina pinned Natalya even without doing a hot tag spot after about four minutes. Fine, I guess. There are six women on Smackdown. The division is very weak with only three credible wrestlers: Michelle, Melina and Natalya. Why not sign some girls that can work?

– Word Up segment is “Slam Master J” cheering up Cryme Tyme after their loss. The word is suspect. Then they call Jericho “Christina” and make fun of Big Show for being fat. That made CT happy. Too bad at Summerslam they’re losing losing yeah yeah. Losing losing yeah yeah. Hey, that is catchy!

– Rey talked about Ziggler being a worthy opponent, but that Rey would come out victorious on Sunday. A fine way to use a minute or two of time although what camera was Rey looking at?

– Summerslam rundown. My preview was posted in Tuesday’s Raw Deal, but the short version of the picks are: Christian, MVP, Ziggler, Jerishow, Khali, DX, CM Punk and Cena.

John Morrison, Matt & Jeff Hardy d. CM Punk & Hart Dynasty (***¼)
When ring entrances for the main event start with about 30 minutes left in the show I immediately approve. They stuck two commercials in here, but they gave us 20 minutes of solid in ring action, which obviously is great. It was cool to see the Hardy Boyz coming out with their old music as well as hitting their trademark spots. Midway through the match, the heels worked over Morrison after an awesome big boot by DHS on the floor. Jeff got the hot tag, he cleaned house a bit and as soon as he made a mistake Punk came in for the kill. Love Punk’s aggressiveness here. Jeff tagged in Matt, everything fell apart from there and it ended with Matt scoring the pinfall after the Twist of Fate.

The show ended with the Hardy brothers hugging it out while Morrison celebrated with them. Good ending to a very solid program.

Three Stars of the Show
1. Jeff Hardy – He was great in the verbal exchange with Punk.
2. CM Punk – Has really found his niche as the “I’m better than you” type of heel.
3. Mysterio – Put Ziggler over, then cut a decent promo.

Rating: 7.5 (out of 10)
Last week: 7

Very good show again. The two six man tag matches took up about half of the show while the Hardy/Punk promo exchange was given the perfect amount of time. Everything else was just okay.

One of the big questions coming from this show is do you think Matt Hardy will turn on Jeff at Summerslam? I honestly have no idea, but if I was going with a gut instinct type of pick I’d say he does. They need to do something big to explain why Jeff won’t be around. Punk can win the match, then he can continue to beat on Jeff, Matt can then come out and help Punk “injure” Jeff to the point where we don’t see Jeff again unless he decides to come back to WWE in the future. Then again if Matt stays babyface that works too. Fans generally like him, so either role works for me. It’s certainly an intriguing scenario with a number of possibilities, which is what we as fans want to have going into a major show like Summerslam.

Every feud was furthered well here, even the Kane/Khali match that I have no interest in watching. It also made me want to see Punk/Hardy even more than I did going in because the promo they did was so effective. I don’t care what match goes on last. The true main event of Summerslam is Jeff Hardy defending the title against CM Punk in a TLC match.

If this is the last Smackdown we see with Jeff Hardy for a while he can definitely hold his head up high because he went out with a bang. I hope he changes his mind and comes back sooner rather than later. I doubt he’s done for good. I can see him taking up to a year off, or even longer than that. Hopefully it’s only three or four months so that he’s able to come back in time for the Rumble and WrestleMania season. He’s been a very good performer for the past year or so, as good as he’s ever been.

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I appreciate any feedback you can give so please send me your thoughts at oratoryjohn@gmail.com about anything related to WWE past or present. If you add me on facebook (just head to Facebook.com/thejohnreport) you’ll see the links to my columns as well because I post them there just as soon as I post them on this website. I’m pretty active on there as my Facebook friends can attest, so add me as a friend and ask away with the questions or start up discussions on your own.

Enjoy Summerslam on Sunday. There’s a chance that I might post some kind of quick recap Sunday night right after the show. If not, it will be in Tuesday’s Raw Deal column. Have a great weekend.

Smell ya later,
John Canton – oratoryjohn@gmail.com
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