WWE GAB - New Champ, Many Match Changes, A Good Guy Goes Bad
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* In the opener, Paul London and Bran Kendrick defeated "The Pitbulls" Kid Kash and Jamie Noble to retain the tag team titles. This was an excellent opener and the best match of the night, in my opinion. The action was fast, London proved why Ring of Honor sold "Please don't die, Paul London" T-Shirts when he was regularly wrestling for them, and the match got the crowd off to the right start.
* Finlay defeated William Regal to retain the US Championship
This was the first match that was changed due to unforeseen circumstances. Lashley was scheduled to wrestle in a three way match with the other two but, in a routine exam, the doctor found that he had elevated liver enzymes (or, at least, that is the story WWE is pushing anyway) and refused to allow him to work. He was present at the show and Teddy Long announced that Lashley would not be able to compete due to his health problems. Lashley protested but the decision stood so the three-way match turned into a singles match. The fight was good but the two wrestled in a classic style that today's fans just don't get into. The little green guy interfered on behalf of Finlay. Not a bad match but nothing off the charts. The two, who I know quite well, can do so much better.
* Gregory Helms defeated Matt Hardy to retain the Cruiserweight Championship
This should have been better. These two have been friends for years and trained and wrestled together many times. I really wanted to see more than I did. Matt Hardy was not announced as Helms' opponent until the show. Super Crazy was slated to battle for the title. I have no idea why they changed opponents in this match. The match was solid but I guess I just expected more. Still, it was the second best match on the show as far as action goes.
* Undertaker defeated The Big Show in a Punjabi Prison Match
This was another match that was totally changed at the last moment. The Great Khali was slated to fight the Undertaker and they were hyping the match right up until Smackdown in Friday night. However, he, too, has some sort of funky liver problem (This whole situation with sudden liver problems is eye raising) and was unable to compete. They did an angle with Big Show attacking Undertaker and Khali giving Taker the big boot in the back before the match. Teddy Long, for some reason, was all mad at that and declared that Khali was out and Big Show was in the match. Odd how a Smackdown GM can force an ECW worker to wrestle on a Smackdown show, isn't it?
Nonetheless, the cage was cool and different and there were weapons all around. But the match plodded along for 22 long minutes with only a few good spots. It looked as though neither man had any idea what to do in there. Khali and Daivari got involved at the end but only minimally. It was a close fight but Undertaker ended up with the win. This was a big disappointment and went on way too long.
* Ashley defeated Jillian, Kristal, and Michelle McCool
This was just a vehicle for all the women to strip each other. A fluff match with no wrestling that I could discern. A waste of time.
* Ken Kennedy defeated Batista by Disqualification
Another match that was forced to be changed at the last moment due to Mark Henry's severe knee injury. Henry is slated to be out of action six to eight months.
This wasn't the squash I expected which bodes well for Kennedy but it forced the fans to pick a favorite from two fan favorites leading to a split reaction. Lots of blood poured from Kennedy's head and he looked like a younger Ric Flair for the latter part of the match. The end came when Batista refused to break a hold and was disqualified.
I think the idea here was to not make Kennedy look weak but to also not make Batista look weak resulting in pretty ho hum match with a wimpy ending. The wrestling actually wasn't bad but keeping the match so even and allowing Kennedy the win after pushing Batista's big pay per view return was somewhat of a disappointment to the fans in attendance. But what can you do when a long-standing feud has to be scrapped due to injury?
* Booker T. defeated Rey Mysterio to become the new World Heavyweight Champion
I hate calling him King Booker. Yeck. The match was pretty solid early on until Sharmell started to interfere. Eventually she was sent to he back by the ref. Rey had the match won at one point but there was no ref to count as he has been bumped earlier in the bout. As the ref took a nap, Booker went after Rey with a chair and then Chavo Guerrero ran down with a chair of his own. He jumped into the ring and ... you guessed it, slammed Rey with it and walked off, completing his anticipated heel turn. Booker was surprised but capitalized and covered Rey as the ref woke up and counted to three.
King Booker is now the new World Heavyweight Champion and the story will unfold between Chavo and Rey and, unfortunately, Eddie Guerrero's name is going to be dragged back into a storyline. I wonder why WWE just can't let Eddie's memory live on without making him part of these storylines?
The show was average. With all the last minute changes, it came off better than expected but the best match was surely the first one. The others were decent except for the Undertaker/Big Show one that just came off as two guys lost in a weird cage not knowing what to do for nearly a half an hour.
Changes, Turns, and Championships
* The scheduled Lashley vs. Regal vs. Finlay match was changed to a singles match between Finlay and Regal due to Lashley's elevated liver enzyme situation. Expect him to be off the road and off TV for a while.
* The scheduled Cruiserweight match between Gregory Helms and Super Crazy turned into Helms vs. Matt Hardy with no explanation.
* The slated Great Khali vs. Undertaker match was switched to Big Show vs Undertaker when Khali also turned out to have some liver problem. He will be off TV until the situation is corrected. I wouldn't be surprised if WWE let him go, frankly.
* The scheduled and long anticipated Batista vs. Mark Henry match was switched to Batista vs. Ken Kennedy due to Mark Henry's severe knee injury.
* Chavo Guerrero finally turned on Rey Mysterio, costing him the World Heavyweight Championship. This turn has been in the planning stages for many weeks and Eddie Guerrero's widow, Vicky, had been looking over scripts and approving them for use since Eddie will again be part of a storyline posthumously.
* Lastly, "King Booker" is the new Heavyweight Champion.
No other belts changed hands.
I will be back with news you can use in a day or so!
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