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July 24, 2006

I saw my second professional wrestling show last week, and boy was it an experience.

The first was a joint Mid-South/World Class Championship Wrestling show on Easter Sunday, 1985. The triple main event was a four-way elimination match for the Mid-South Tag Team Titles with the Rock-n-Roll Express, the Midnight Express, the Dirty White Boys, and the Fantastiks (R-n-R successfully defended); North American champion Terry Taylor retained after Kamala was disqualified for throwing Taylor over the top rope; and NWA World Champion Ric Flair went to a sixty-minute draw against the late, great Kerry von Erich. After the N.A. Title match, Kamala's manager, Kimchee, was screaming at him and using his whip. When Kamala started beating Kimchee was the only time I've ever seen Kamala cheered, but it didn't last long as Kimchee begged forgiveness and got it.

On July 16, 2006, the stars of WWE SmackDown! came into Houston. A friend and I went to see the show, and it was quite an event. We sat in front of a local celebrity, one of the local business owners who does his own commercials. I won't say which one (but it's probably not the one you long-time Houston Wrestling fans are thinking of). I won't go into a bunch of details, but this was the card:

WWE Tag Team Championship:
Paul London and Brian Kendrick (champs) vs. The Pit Bulls
(4 stars)

It took a while to keep them from going after each other so the ref could start the match, but once it did, Kid Kash knew how to warm up the crowd. As the crowd booed, and my friend jeered rather loudly, he turned, pointed along our section, and screamed, "Shut up!" loud enough for everyone to hear. Needless to say, everyone got louder. Kendrick pinned Noble, then Kash got in the face of a fan along the entryway. That started to heat up the crowd.

Simon Dean vs. Vito (2 1/2 stars)

Simon, a self-proclaimed fitness guru, couldn't help but complain about how he hates anyone who's different before the "Toughest Man in a Dress" came out. The match was longer than most WWE fans would think, but Vito won, despite Simon trying to use his drink can at one point. The only problem with this match was that we saw too much of Vito's . . . um . . . thong.

Funaki vs. Supercrazy (3 stars)

I was surprised the crowd didn't really warm up that much for Funaki, but the partly Hispanic crowd went nuts for the former Mexican 01 champion. It was an excellent match with 'Crazy coming out on top, but he and Funaki held up each others' hands afterward. That's sportsmanship, and it's something you seldom see in pro wrestling.


was announced as the special ring announcer for

Jillian Hall vs. Crystal Marshall (2 1/2 stars)
Special Referee: Michelle McCool

You knew Michelle would turn on Jillian in this match. Ashley interfered, grabbing Michelle's leg as she went off the ropes, allowing Jillian to get the rollup as Ashley made the three-count. Kind of an expected finish. The "divas" are usually mainly eye candy, but Jillian can wrestle! I mean, she may be the next Trish Stratus, or even Sensational Sherri! (Although I still think Michelle's the hottest diva since Steph before she got 'em done.)

World Championship:
Rey Mysterio (champ) vs. "King" Booker
with "Queen" Sharmell (3 1/2 stars)

It was before this match that I got my thrill of the night. Before his match, Rey goes on each turnbuckle and holds up the belt, turning to face each quadrant of the audience. As he turned toward me, he uncharacteristically stopped as he faced my sign. It read, "Viva Latino Heat", a tribute to Eddie. A second later, he pushed the belt in my direction as acknowledgement.


Rey teased the audience: Who'll get his cap? He handed it to a kid in the audience, like he always does. As expected, Charmelle interfered, and Booker survived three 619's before Rey hit the frog splash to win. Afterward, Rey took a sign from the audience. One side said, "Rey 619", but it was the other side he showed to the audience: "R.I.P. Eddie". We will never forget Eddie Guerrero, and Rey especially won't, and he said so over the mic. He put the sign in the middle of the ring and prayed on top of it for about forty seconds.


After the intermission, a drumbeat I had never heard before filled the Toyota Center. I thought it was Psycosis, but after a few seconds, it became the sound of the all-too-familiar entrance music to my, and my friend's favorite wrestler of all, Matt Hardy.

Matt Hardy vs. Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms (non-title) (3 1/2 stars)

This was a non-title match because Matt is too heavy; in fact, during his bad-guy days, he deliberately lost over ten pounds just so he could take the belt from someone he didn't like. Matt offered his shirt, a la Rey's cap, and threw it into the audience. Helms, formerly "The Hurricane", put up a good show, but Matt was just too much for him. A Twist of Fate after some ten minutes, and it was over. Our favorite won! My friend was going insane!

I had another sign for this one: "Read the M[attitude]-F[ollowing] Sign: Mattitude: Face It". He stared in our direction for a moment while I held it up. I'm not sure if he actually saw it or not.

Tag Team Match:
William Regal and United States champion Finley
vs. Bobby Lashley and Batista
(4 stars)

This was somewhat of a comedy match. Regal testing strength with Batista and failing miserably, Finley looked confused as Batista flexed his pecks, people who'd never seen Lashley before screaming, "Holy--!", and Finley's little friend trying to jump the barricade at some fans, being used as a weapon, then running backstage when Batista screamed at him. Naturally, Batista pinned Regal.

Final Match: The Great Khali with Daivari vs. The Undertaker (1 star)

Yes, this match was nearly a dud. Khali dominated too much, but 'Taker hit Old School and several knockdowns. He even kicked out when Khali put his foot on him, then sat up. But Daivari went to the steel chair too many times and got Khali disqualified.

Overall, it was a 3 1/2 star evening, only because of the letdown in the final match. It looks like they'll be back in September, so I plan to be there!

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