Friday nights SmackDown was mostly just filler material for the upcoming Royal Rumble on January 28th in San Antonio. The main event of the show was a match between Kennedy and Undertaker. The stip was if Taker won, the SD main event of RR between Kennedy and Batista for the title would turn into a 3-way between Batista, Kennedy and the Undertaker. The match saw Batista at ringside doing commentary, and in the end, he caused a DQ of Taker when he went after Kennedy after Ken gave him a cheap shot. It was an effective way to continue to build the storyline between Taker and Batista, as well as keep next Sunday’s title match at the Rumble a 1-on-1 between Kennedy and Batista.
Other highlights of the show was a match between Matt Hardy and Joey Mercury, where Hardy won, but in the end he got beat down by both members of MNM. That beatdown will set up a tag match at the Rumble between the Hardys and MNM, and eventually that will lead to a match at Mania April 1st with a TLC or just a ladder stip added to it. There was a six-man tag with MVP, William Regal & Dave Taylor taking on Vito, Paul London & Brian Kendrick. Not much of a match, and for some reason they are pushing an MVP and Vito feud, which I don’t get, but oh well. In the end, it was the heels getting over with MVP getting the pin.
Chris Benoit vs. Chavo Guerrero in a no-DQ match for the US title was the best match of the night, and as has been the case for the past few months, Benoit got a win with a submission. Time to let these two face others, as we have now seen this match about 7-8 times over PPV and TV. Benoit has a lot to give, and having him fight one guy over and over and over is getting a bit old. It will be interesting to see what they do with Guerrero from here as well.
They introduced a new tag team – Deuce and Domino. They have a 50’s greaser gimmick, and it reminds me basically of two Honkey Tonk Man’s instead of one. They also have a girl named Cherry in their corner, and she comes complete with roller skates. Ugh.
That was about it for this show, an okay show that continues to build up the SmackDown side of the Royal Rumble. They are keeping it pretty generic as far as feuds and what not is concerned, and they need to start to push some things first for the Rumble, and then for Mania in a few months.