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WWE Smackdown tapings Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Smackdown tapings
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas


Bell time on the tickets was listed at 7:30 p.m. At 5:15 p.m., there was a small line of less than 100 people at the box office. By 5:45 p.m. Toyota Center signs stated that Smackdown was sold out.

The building didn't fill up completely until dark matches were underway, but from all angles I could see, the show looked legitimately sold out. The Toyota Center can seat 18,000 and change for basketball, so I'm guessing a Smackdown sellout is around 12-13,000 people.

The crowd was hot for nearly the entire taping, which lasted nearly 4 hours. The breakdown of crowd type was very mixed both racially (Houston has a heavy Latino and African American population) and age wise (lots of small children with lots of 18-25 year old men and women).

Dark Matches: (all match times are bell to bell)

Chuck Palumbo d Funaki: Palumbo was dressed in all black, and his hair was back to black as well. A seemingly solid effort. The crowd "oohed" and "aahed" at Palumbo's offense on Funaki, and both men looked good. Palumbo wins in just over 5:00 with a fall-away slam like Scott Hall and JBL have done in the past.

Winner: Chuck Palumbo in 5:00

Vladimir Kozlov (or so we think) d Jamie Knoble: Kozlov's intro video is xenophobically designed to give him heel heat. He cut a pre-match promo to some good heat from the crowd, which took advantage of the opportunity to chant "USA." The match was a basic power-man match, and Kozlov didn't take any move risks that would see him botching something. USA chants were heard at various times during the match. Kozlov did the old Eddie Gilbert "Hot Shot" move, and made Knoble tap to a combo cross armbreaker/headscissors hold in around 3 minutes. While his video said "Vladimir Kozlov," Tony Chimel announced the winner as "Boris Alexiev."

Winner: Vladimir Kozlov/Boris Alexiev in 3:00

Next, we had a Divas video that JBL's music interrupted. JBL and Michael Cole came out together.


Smackdown started with a Royal Rumble recap plus the Raw closing of Cena, Michaels and the Undertaker.

1. Chris Benoit d Fit Finlay: Both men received great reactions. I'm not sure how much of this will be edited or not, but it wasn't due to mistakes. If anything, it would be due to length, as the match went 14:30. Benoit had the early advantage only to see Finlay take over working on the knee. Benoit fails in a suplex attempt due to selling the knee. Although Benoit finally capped off three back suplexes in a row, he still sold the knee. Benoit misses a top rope headbutt, which Finlay used to take a top turnbuckle pad off. With the referee distracted, Finlay went under the ring to grab Little Bastard, who for some reason was not coming out. Finlay nearly got counted out in the process. Out of nowhere, Boogeyman's music plays, and he emerges from under the ring with Little Bastard and begins to carry him off to the back. This distraction led to Benoit rolling up Finlay for the pinfall win.

Winner: Chris Benoit in 14:30

Post-match saw Finlay chase LB on the announce table and the two get into an argument. LB tries to run away, but Boogeyman is at the entrance, and LB gets caught between the two men. It seems as if they are going with a Finlay-Boogeyman program.

A graphic is seen with King Booker getting a Key to the City tonight, followed by a commercial plays for the Marine unrated DVD. (this would play four times during the night at different points)

They show Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top in the crowd.

Kristal interviews Vicki Guerrero, who states that she is returning to Smackdown soon despite the unsafe working conditions that GM Teddy Long allows. She states that there is an opportunity that has caught her eye that would lead to much success. She wishes Kristal luck for later tonight.

2. Deuce-Domino w/Cherry d Paul London-Brian Kendrick w/Ashley Massaro: Again, both teams received decent reactions from the crowd. This was not announced as a title match. London plays your face in peril, who hot tags to Kendrick. While Deuce and Domino didn't embarass themselves, they were a bit out of place at times during Kendrick's offense. London is hip-tossed over the top rope in a highspot, while Kendrick misses sliced bread. Deuce and Domino double team Kendrick, with one holding his face in place while the other rebounds off the ropes with a shining wizard for the win in 7:42.

Winners: Deuce and Domino in 7:42

Teddy Long and Batista are backstage. Batista demands an answer from the Undertaker tonight as to who he is challenging at Wrestlemania 23. Batista was cheered heavily.

King Booker's "Key to the City" ceremony is next. The "Ancient Order of Houstonians," whomever they are have given King Booker a key to the city. Booker receives very good heel heat from his hometown, and Queen Sharmell was very effective in her role, repeating the "All Hail King Booker" line many times. Booker reads from a sheet of paper in what looks like a prepared speech. He references famous Houstonians like Walter Cronkite, Roger Clemens, Patrick Swayze and the Houston Rockets, stating that their accomplishments didn't touch his. At times, Booker lost the fake accent and morphed into his normal voice, and even brought the "Five time-Five time WCW Champion" line out. He then tells the dignitaries to bow and kiss his ring. Some of them do. Booker then turns his attention to Billy Gibbons in the crowd. He goes out of the ring to address Gibbons, telling the legendary rocker to kiss Booker's ring. Gibbons, clearly having fun, motions with body language a "no." Booker then tells Gibbons to kiss his royal feet, again met with a non-verbal "no." At this point, Kane interrupts, chokeslams one dignitary while pushing aside the other two, and begins to punch Booker. After a big boot knocks Booker over the top rope, King Booker and Queen Sharmell escape via the arena floor. It seems that they are continuing a Kane-Booker program from Sunday.

3. Mr. Kennedy d Vito: There was no pre-match mic work for Kennedy. He pulls Vito's dress off, and finishes Vito off with a fireman's carry type somersault move standing on the second rope. (Finlay did the same move in WCW a few times but was always standing in the ring, not on the second rope) The post-match sees Kennedy choke Vito with his dress, and call for the microphone, which slips out of his hands at first. Kennedy then states his name once, but with more seriousness than usual.

Winner: Mr. Kennedy in 2:41

JBL then judges the Diva Bikini Contest with Kristal, Jillian (no more Hall seemingly) and Ashley. Ashley received the biggest ovation from the live crowd. JBL plugged Ashley as the future Playboy cover girl. The most audience applause wins. Kristal went first, followed by Ashley. Jillian then revealed a t-shirt and shorts, and cuts an anti-bikini promo, insisting on singing instead. JBL agrees, and Jillian launches into the Britney Spears song "Hit Me Baby One More Time" to a chorus of boos. JBL gets off two lines; "that sounds like Barbaro being euthanized," and "Michael Hayes did better on Badstreet USA." The second line was lost to the audience at large, although I heard a few people laughing in my section. Ashley then strips Jillian down to her bra and panties.

Teddy Long is backstage with Mr. Kennedy, who demands a rematch against Batista, bringing up the visionary fall from the Royal Rumble. Long grants Kennedy a rematch next week on Smackdown to a small pop from the live crowd.

They aired a promo for Vengeance on June 24. Tickets go on sale Saturday, February 3. Many arena ushers were passing out small Vengeance promo papers all night as well.

4. Miz d. Matt Hardy: As usual, Matt Hardy received a nice pop. There were very loud "Hardy" chants during the match. Joey Mercury emerges out of the crowd to hit Hardy with his faceguard, leading to Miz pinning Hardy in 5:44

Winner: Miz in 5:44

Matt Hardy still received a "Hardy" chant on his way back to the locker room.

Batista is shown backstage on his way to the ring to another round of cheers.

Closing Segment: Batista's music plays as he walks down to the ring in a suit. He received one of the biggest ovations all night. He cuts a promo on how all week, he's been hearing from people, "can you beat the Undertaker? You can't do it." He "welcomes the challenge," and wants to know, man to man, what Undertaker's decision is. John Cena's music plays to the loudest pop of the night. "I'm here for the same reason you are," Cena states, recalling his past 48 hours from the Umaga match to winning the tag belts with Shawn Michaels, to nearly getting superkicked after the match from his own partner, to Undertaker making a surprise Raw appearance seemingly wanting Cena's belt.

Undertaker then comes out to nearly the pop Cena had, and stares down both men. Then, the DX theme song plays as Shawn Michaels emerges. "You two aren't the only ones who want an answer from the Undertaker." He proceeds to challenge Undertaker to a match with the title shot on the line and "give these people what they want to see." The crowd heat for this is very hot, the hottest the crowd would get all night.

Vince McMahon's music hits as he very angrily makes his way to the ring. Vince states that Undertaker does have a decision to make, and that he doesn't care what Michaels or the people wants. He tells the people what they want. He does make a match however: John Cena and Shawn Michaels vs. Batista and The Undertaker as the main event of No Way Out.
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