Sunday, August 24, 2008

8/22/08 Smackdown

Star rating key:
(negative stars) = Huh?! (BS finish; most squash matches)
DUD = Boring match (or could not enjoy the match)
1/4* to 3/4* = It had watchable moments.
* to *3/4 = Average match.
** to **3/4 = Above average match.
*** to ***3/4 = Great match; usually saved for PPVs
**** to ****3/4 = Match of the year candidate
***** = The rarest of all matches. A classic.

8/22/08 Smackdown:
Natalya vs. Maria: Maria has improved dramatically in the ring, and to have a ring veteran like Natalya work a match with her will only make the match better. Excellent job by Natalya to work on Maria's leg, perhaps to set up the Sharpshooter. The match was actually very good until Maryse came down to interfere. The interference does make sense because Maria broke Maryse's nose in a previous match, but regardless, the rating must take a slight hit. *1/2

10-man Battle Royal (WWE Championship Scramble Qualifying Match featuring The Brian Kendrick, Curt Hawkins, Zach Ryder, Jimmy Wang Yang, Vladimir Kozlov, Armando Estrada, Funaki, Super Crazy, Scotty Goldman, & Ryan Braddock): The one thing I like about battle royals is the non-stop action the match provides. I like how they made Kozlov look strong by having a ton of people eliminate him. Big Show then comes in and puts on an impressive cleaning house display, including a spot where he eliminated three people at once (Hawkins, Ryder, and Super Crazy). Show then exited the ring over the top rope, but didn't notice Kendrick wasn't eliminated. Smart to have Kendrick win on a technicality (Ezekiel Jackson caught Kendrick and Kendrick's feet never touched the floor). That was entertaining and very smart booking. I did wish the match went a little longer though so I could see some flashy moves from the actual participants in the match. *3/4

MVP vs. Festus (WWE Championship Scramble Qualifying Match): Festus is one hell of an entertaining character. Great impactful moves from Festus. Nice work by MVP to target the arm of Festus throughout the match. Nice back-and-forth action. The finish was a bit confusing and quite a letdown, but MVP maintains his big-time momentum. **1/4

Shelton Benjamin vs. Finlay (WWE Championship Scramble Qualifying Match): The best match of the night, featuring a ring veteran in Finlay and an awesome talent in Shelton Benjamin. Great talent as usual from these two. Exciting brawling segment. Great submission wrestling from Finlay, and he showed his toughness by keeping the submission on despite the kicks and shots to the face from Shelton. Shelton then worked on Finlay's injured arm; very smart wrestling strategy. Exciting match overall, but Knox's interference, although logical from a storyline standpoint, does decrease the rating. **3/4

Jeff Hardy vs. The Great Khali (WWE Championship Scramble Qualifying Match): I remember these two did a match several weeks back which I originally gave negative stars but decided to give a DUD later. Khali is a terrible worker (it was probably one of the worst-looking Twist of Fates and Whisper in the Winds I've ever seen) and has such a limited moveset, so it's real hard to get into the match. It was a pretty cool ending, however. In my opinion, this is a match where HHH needed to get involved to get the crowd pumped again, so the interference was a good thing. 1/2*

So the Championship Scramble for the WWE Title at Unforgiven will be HHH vs. Kendrick vs. Benjamin vs. MVP vs. Jeff Hardy. Should be an excellent match.

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