August 25, 2009
Scott Criscuolo

Friday Night Smackdown!
July 24, 2009
Richmond, Virginia
Jim Ross and Todd Grisham

-We go back to last week with the tag team main event.

OPENING ANIMATION

JR welcomes us to Richmond, and tonight it’s Champion vs. Champion as CM Punk takes on Rey Mysterio. But first we’re joined by the #1 contender, and CM Punk’s opponent this Sunday at Night of Champions. Jeff takes the mike as the crowd seems very emotional. The rumors about Jeff not coming back when his contract is up continue to percolate. Jeff says last week CM Punk said he was nothing more than a statistic and a poor example to the fans. Jeff says after Night of Champions the wave of emotions will ride him straight to the World Heavyweight Championship. Jeff says his opponent tonight Chris Jericho should worry more about tonight and less about who his partner will be Sunday.

Jeff Hardy vs. Unified WWE Tag Team Champion Chris Jericho
These two have had great matches in the past dating back to early 2003, but this is a very neutered tv match. Jericho’s future is in a bit of doubt, not job security, but more because with Edge clearly on the shelf for a while, Y2J may be given a more high profile slot. However with Punk clearly sliding into the heel column, Jericho’s not the only one at the top of the heel ladder. Jericho dominated the tempo in this match, but eventually the pace went back and forth as both guys would attempt to hit their big spots. Jericho would get the Walls on Jeff, but he would get to the ropes. Jericho would try again, but Jeff would hit Whisper in the Wind. Jericho would hit the Codebreaker out of nowhere but Jeff rolled all the way outside. Jericho would get the dead weight back in, but Hardy would kick out at 2. Eventually a winded Jeff would hit the Twist of Fate, but Jericho would disrupt the Swanton attempt. Jeff would then kick Jericho off the top rope, hit the Swanton and win what turned out to be a great back and forth match. WINNER: Jeff Hardy (Grade: 3)

-Backstage and Michelle McCool is getting her hair done and talking highly of herself, until Melina comes over. She says she enacted her rematch clause at Night of Champions, then throws makeup at McCool.

-We return from break with a short vignette on John Morrison.

The Great Khali vs. Mike Knox
Where has Mike Knox been? Wow his beard has gotten really Bruiser Brody long. He’s gotten a little plump. The match goes about 2 minutes before Kane comes out to the ramp. Khali came out during Kane’s match with John Morrison on this week’s Superstars. The match continues, but it doesn’t matter, as Khali drops that powerbomb to win the match. This feud with Kane will have a lot of time to marinate until Summerslam. WINNER: Great Khali (Grade: 1.5)

-Kane comes down to the apron, but won’t get in the ring. He instead walks back up the ramp.

-We return from break with this week’s edition of “WORD UP”, and Cryme Tyme says this week’s word is “GOAT”, which is an acronym for “Greatest of All Time” as they pimp the new Tag Team DVD. The Hart Dynasty comes over to start stuff and new ghetto Jesse comes in to actually get some funny lines in on them. Enjoying that mini-feud.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Finlay
Before the match Ziggler gets the mike and says he’s not much into introductions, but after Sunday he’ll be known as Intercontinental Champion. Maria came out with Ziggler, which is funny because they always put her with heels when she’s a babyface. Finlay needs to bring his heel music back, even though he’s a face. The happy-go-lucky Irishman music doesn’t work without Hornswoggle. Ziggler spent the match beating on Finlay’s arm, until Finlay took control for some time. Maria looks over Ziggler outside after Finlay clotheslined him, which makes Finlay back off and Ziggler hits Finlay with some type of move that kept Finlay to the floor on the 10 count. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler by countout (Grade: 2)

-Backstage and an iced down Chris Jericho is chatting with Kane, as the speculation continues as to who his partner will be at Night of Champions.

-We return from break and are joined by the World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk. The crowd’s not cheering, but they’re not really booing either. Punk needs to slide really far in either direction. Punk says he’s come out to challenge the WWE Universe to see things his way. He says those who cheer Jeff Hardy are slaves to his vices. Punk says he feels sorry for those who walk around with prescriptions on their sleeves. Punk preaches about drinking, smoking and taking recreational and prescription drugs. He tells the fans they’ll never be able to live a “straight edge” lifestyle. They’ll never be able to eliminate the vices. Punk is cut off by Jeff Hardy, who comes out and tells Punk he has a lot of nerve doing what he’s doing tonight. Jeff says Punk has forgotten what it’s like to be human. Punk says he will not enable Jeff right now, and leave the ring. So he does. Good segment that ended kind of strange.

Eve Torres vs. Natalya
Natalya has gotten pretty damn hot again, and as I mentioned earlier this is a great Smackdown feud for both sides. Cryme Tyme accompanies her to the ring, as they’ve done 10 times more stuff here than on Raw. Natalya shows off her goods with a slick bow and arrow on Eve, who’s slowly getting better with each match. To prove that she hits a pretty sweet moonsault to get the victory. Very impressive and keeps the feud going. WINNER: Eve Torres (Grade: 2)

-Backstage Khali is with Runjin Singh until Chris Jericho comes in the room. He tells Khali that he’s one of the frontrunners for his partner at Night of Champions. Khali politely refuses.

R-Truth vs. Charlie Haas
Haas suddenly looks like Christian. As much as I like his teaming with old partner Shelton Benjamin, now that Shelton’s on ECW Haas should go back to his old gimmick of impersonating other wrestlers. It was really funny. Good back and forth match, as after a really hot start, R-Truth seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. I’m getting concerned he’ll be a “future endeavors” casualty. I certainly hope not. Haas misses a charge in the corner and Truth hits that spinning leg drop to get the win. WINNER: R-Truth (Grade: 2.5)

-We return from break and JR and Todd do the stand-up in the ring like Cole and King do on Raw. Of course Night of Champions is this Sunday in Philly. The card:

WWE Championship Triple Threat match: Randy Orton © vs. John Cena vs. Triple H
WWE Unified Tag Team Championship: Chris Jericho & a mystery partner © vs. Legacy
Intercontinental Championship: Rey Mysterio © vs. Dolph Ziggler
World Heavyweight Championship: CM Punk © vs. Jeff Hardy
United States Championship Six-Pack Challenge: Kofi Kingston © vs. Big Show vs. Carlito vs. Miz vs. MVP vs. Jack Swagger
ECW Championship: Tommy Dreamer © vs. Christian
Women’s Championship: Michelle McCool © vs. Melina
Divas Championship: Maryse © vs. Mickie James

World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk vs. Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio
Good start to this match as both guys do some nice chain wrestling maneuvers and Punk is really letting his heel side show, the side he had when he was champ in Ring of Honor. I wonder if he’ll die his hair blonde like he had during that summer of 2005 when he was ROH Champion. He and Samoa Joe had those ridiculous 60 minute wars. Punk worked over Rey’s left shoulder/arm during a majority of the match, Punk pulls off this nice move where he carried Rey on his back while clamping Rey’s arms together. Dolph Ziggler actually comes down the ramp about halfway through the match to check things out. Rey eventually hits the 619 and the West Coast Pop, but going for the 3 count Ziggler breaks the count and ends the match. Rey then goes for the 619 on Ziggler but Punk throws him down in mid-move. Punk leaves the ring and Ziggler hits that behind DDT-type move. Punk just went up the ramp and let Ziggler beat Rey down, until Jeff Hardy runs down to save Rey from the beatdown, but Punk comes back into the ring and hits the GTS on Hardy to end the show.

FINAL GRADE: B-

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