The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
My Weekly Smackdown Notebook
The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his analytical report on the 8/22 installment of TNA iMPACT
Vickie Guerrero spoke to the unseen audience. She claimed that she was “a victim of Edge’s love,” which caused her to do things that weren’t the real her.
She promised the fans to show them that real Vickie Guerrero, now that she is free of Edge’s evil domination.
Vickie said she was proud of reinstating the Undertaker and urged the fans to give him a standing ovation when he eventually came to the ring later in the show.
The General Manager then described the Smackdown Championship Scramble at Unforgiven As with RAW, qualifiers will establish four contenders who will meet Triple H in a free-for-all, Whenever any of the five scores a pin or submission, that wrestler becomes the champion. Whomever holds the belt at the end of the 20-minute time limit leaves the pay per view as WWE Champion.
The Kingfish Comments: The fans didn’t buy Vickie Guerrero’s pseudo-apology, which is exactly what was intended. The smarter fans knew she was insincere and that built anticipation for the inevitable confrontation with Undertaker.
Vickie Guerrero continues to prove a valuable character for the Smackdown show. Her fear and semi-hysterics over the impending arrival of Taker did seem a bit over-the-top, but that kind of extreme reaction has become her trademark in WWE.
<aria d. Natalia via DQ
The two women did some very creditable chain wrestling during the first portion of the match. Maria took her foe to the mat with a Tornado DDT, but Natalia fired back with a Keg Lariat!
Maria connected with a pair of Clotheslines and then a very animated Bronco Buster! When she knocked the third-generation wrestler off the apron, the two brawled in the ringside area.
When Maryse came to the ring and assaulted Maria, the referee awarded the match to the fan favorite by disqualification.
Maryse and Natalia combined against Maria until Michelle McCool rushed in to make the save.
The Kingfish Comments: I guess they’re going to feed Maryse to Maria to build her up Maria into a contender. That suggests that, now that the first Diva Championship has been won by poster girl McCool, Natalia might get a run as a heel champion.
Maryse is better in dramatic scenes than in the ring. It might be a good idea to finish that rivalry with one decisive win for Maria rather than make fans sit through a series of contests in which Maria has to carry her opponent.
The Big Show asked Vickie Guerrero who he’d fight in the qualifying match. Instead, she gave him an insultingly lame excuse for not including him in any of the qualifying bouts.
Ten-Man Battle Royal
Smackdown Championship Scramble qualifying Match
Big Show came out before the bell and gave himself a ringside seat.
Alex Koslov had the distinction of going out first when the other nine participants joined forces against him.
After watching for a while, Big Show strode into the ring and proceeded to heave the remaining nine men over the top rope. When he sent The Brian Kendrick Flying, Ezekiel caught him employer on the fly.
This proved crucial, because after Show left, Ezekiel deposited Kendrick in the ring. The referee had no choice except to declare the arrogant former tag team specialist the winner.
The Kingfish Comments: When they announced the participants, my first thought was that this match was an ideal way to propel Alex Koslov into the ranks of major Smackdown performers. Now that they’ve straightened out his character a little, getting rid of the robot concept, he looks ready to make the step forward.
And then he was the first one eliminated. That’s an opportunity missed, because The Bryan Kendrick will never be a singles star due to his size. At least they made it obvious that he couldn’t have been eliminated except by a gang of rivals.
A video gave R Truth a chance to dispense a little more of his philosophy of life.
Eve Torrez interviewed MVP in a video taped immediately after SummerSlam. Porter said that his long-time nemesis Jeff Hardy is a loser.
MVP d. Festus via COR
Smackdown Championship Scramble Qualifying Match
Festus surprising MVP with a thunderous Fallaway Slam, but the flamboyant heel ran Festus into a ring post, twice.
MVBP connected with a variety of kicks that toppled Festus to the mat. MVP pursued his advantage by beating his rival on the canvas, refusing to let him regain a vertical base for a long time.
MVP worked on Festus’ left arm so effectively that it hung useless for the second half of the match. Festus did land some solid right hands, but in the long run, MVP gained a decisive edge.
The Corn-fed Colossus hit a Corner Splash and a Diving Forearm Smash. Festus banged the ropes and came off with a Double Kneedrop to the chest!
Festus had his way with MVP in a ringside struggle, but he didn’t notice that the referee was counting. MVP zipped back inside just in time to win by a count out.
After the bell rang and Festus reverted to his autistic state, MVP caught him with the Big Boot and sent him all the way to the outer barrier.
The Kingfish Comments: Did anyone think Festus would win this? MVP was a mortal lock for the Scramble. It was heartening that they qualified him with a decent match instead of a pointless squash.
The WWE 24/7 Classic Clip was the same bikini contest they showed on RAW
Shelton Benjamin took the mic before his match to protest the media’s use of the phrase “The Gold Standard” to refer to the record-setting swimmer.
Shelton Benjamin d. Finley (with Hornswoggle
Smackdown Championship Scramble Qualifying Match
They swapped holds fairly evenly until Benjamin put it into a higher gear with a dirty break when the two got stuck in a corner.
Finley lost no time grounding his opponent. Once they started rolling around on the mat, though, neither could gain control. They rolled right out of the ring to the arena floor!
The Fighting Irishman worked on Shelton Benjamin’s ankle. He twisted it in several painful directions and added a Kneedrop. Benjamin pounded away at Finley, who refused to relinquish the hold. The Gold Standard reached the safety of the ropes to cause the referee to break the stalemate and release him.
When Finley ran his own shoulder into the ring post on a blown Corner Charge, Benjamin began to dial in the punishment. Shelton worked on a Rear Naked Choke, but he soon returned to stomping his foe into the mat!
Finley tried to climb the turnbuckles. Benjamin tried to join him, but Finley knocked him back to the earth. Shelton then kicked his rival off the top turnbuckle to the floor!
A boot to the stomach and a Reverse Roundkick had Finley in trouble, but the gritty veteran got his shoulder off the mat in time. Finley got an offensive run with punches and a Legdrop!
Shelton Benjamin withstood the final assault and connected with his Paydirt finisher. Hornswoggle wanted to interfere to help his dad, but Mike Knox came out to stop him.
Knox decided to continue his feud with Finley from ECW on Sci Fi by attacking Finley after the end of the match! He used a flurry of punches and a crunching Kneedrop to dole out some agony to the defeated wrestler.
The Kingfish Comments: It is amazing how Fit Finley has kept himself a viable part of the pro wrestling show. At an age when most performers have hung up the boots, he continues to work solid matches like this. Shelton Benjamin was clearly earmarked for the Scramble, but Finley made the actual match reasonably interesting.
They showed the lengthy Shawn Michaels video to bring Smackdown fans up to date on the Jericho-JBK feud.
Chavo Guerrero talked with Vickie in her backstage office. He voiced regret at not being considered for one of the Championship Scramble qualifiers, though the real thing on both their minds was the imminent arrival of The Dead Man.
Vickie told Chavo that she’s going ahead with the apology.
Jeff Hardy d. Great Khali
Smackdown Championship Scramble qualifying Match
Triple H joined Jim Ross and Tazz at the announce table prior to the match.
After he watched Jeff Hardy’s hit-and-run tactics fail to neutralize Great Khali’s strength, The Game hit Khali with a chair and Jeff Hardy contributed a Whisper in the Wind and a Swanton Bomb to end the match and give Jeff a spot in the Scramble.
The Kingfish Comments: This sure wasn’t very creative booking, especially after the way the Finley-MVP match finished. Still, it made it one of Great Khali’s most interesting matches to date, so it’s hard to be too critical. You might’ve thought, though, that Triple H would want Khali in the match where he can lay hands on him, but they weren’t working that aspect of the feud in this booking.
Triple H came to the ring to review the Championship Scramble. The Game said that, as the 12-time champion, he planned to defy the odds.
Kenny Dykstra joined Triple H in the ring to complain that he wasn’t included in the qualifying matches.
That earned the young competitor an all-out Pedigree.
Vickie told the rest of La Familia that she was ready to give her apology.
After the commercial break, La Familia assembled in the ring. Vickie Guerrero said pretty much the same things she said at the top of the episode.
The Undertaker came to the ring and Vickie went to pieces. She ended up on her knees, begging for her soul.
As she played the pity card, though, the rest of La Familia slowly moved to surround Undertaker.
Taker took them all on and gave a lot better than he got until numbers overwhelmed him. They held him for Chavo, who intended to clout him with a chair, but Undertaker broke free and went back to obliterating the whole group, including the tag team champions!
Undertaker gave Vickie Guerrero a death ray stare and made the throat-cutting gesture.
The Kingfish Comments: I’ll admit that I am a bit baffled about whether this storyline goes from here. There’s no one in La Familia that is a believable foe for Undertaker. That means they either have to bring Edge back into the mix or strike out in some new directions. I’m betting that Edge will somehow get back in Vickie’s good graces – or at least make common cause with La Familia.
Overall Grade for this show: B
I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me and bring your friends.
— Arnie Katz