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The Game Show edition of Smackdown

If you are a Triple H fan, you probably loved last night’s episode of Smackdown. “The Game” opened the show with a promo – which was interrupted by Jeff Hardy – and went on to appear in three more segments.

One by one, Triple H confronted the participants in last night’s fatal four-way, which determined the challenger for his WWE title at next month’s No Mercy pay-per-view. The idea was that Triple H, with his condescending tone and smart aleck remarks, was trying to get into the head of his potential challengers.

The question is: Were the four participants – Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, The Brian Kendrick and MVP – buried in these segments, or did they get a “rub” by interacting with Triple H?

You certainly could make a strong case for either side. Being somewhat cynical by nature, my initial instinct tells me it is the former, but I’m going to try to take a less pessimistic view.

Let’s look at the opening segment, in which Triple H had a verbal confrontation with Hardy. This was a good back-and-forth exchange, and Hardy had the fans on his side at the end. There were two key lines of dialogue that made Hardy look good.

One was when Hardy insinuated that Triple H was in such a prominent position because of his political and family connections. To the best of my knowledge, that was the first time that Triple H had ever allowed someone to pull the “married to the boss’ daughter” card. The other was when Triple H basically said that, all kidding aside, he did respect Hardy.

To a lesser extent, Benjamin also held his own. He did not appear at all intimidated by Triple H. With his standout performances in the ring, the way Jim Ross puts him over in commentary and his somewhat-improving mic skills, Benjamin is starting to look like a legitimate world title contender.

Kendrick, on the other hand, has not looked nearly as strong as Benjamin. He was pinned four times in the Championship Scramble last Sunday at Unforgiven, and then did the job in last night’s four-way (well, somebody had to). To add insult to injury, Triple H called Kendrick the “biggest loser” of all the losers in the Scramble.

That sure seems like a burial to me, but perhaps I’m not taking the big picture into account. Kendrick’s momentum might have stalled, but where was Kendrick a few months ago? Not challenging for world titles in pay-per-view main events, that’s for sure.

And that brings us to MVP. I’m not even going to try to argue that he hasn’t been buried the past couple weeks. Triple H contributed to it last night when he pointed out that everyone but MVP had something to brag about coming out of the Scramble (Hardy lost by just one second; Benjamin was never pinned; and Kendrick theoretically was “champion” the longest during the match).

Before 2008 began, I fully expected MVP to win a world title sometime this year, but that is extremely doubtful at this point. Hopefully, he will be able to get back on track in the near future.

As for Triple H and all his sarcasm, I think it would be easier for his detractors to take if there was some form of retribution. I would like to see Benjamin, Kendrick and MVP form an alliance of convenience and attack Triple H. Not only would it be a receipt for Triple H’s demeaning comments, but it at also could lead to a compelling story line for the upcoming Triple H-Hardy title match.

I envision a scenario in which Triple H is wrestling Benjamin, and then MVP, Kendrick and Ezekiel all run in for a four-on-one beat-down of Triple H. Hardy comes out to make the save. Triple H recovers and grabs his sledgehammer, and he and Hardy clear the ring. Then Triple H shakes Hardy’s hand, but when Hardy turns his back, Triple H clobbers him with the sledgehammer and brutalizes him.

Ric Flair turned on Dusty Rhodes in a similar manner on more than one occasion, and it would generate a lot of heat for Triple H versus Hardy. I’ve said many times that I like Triple H better as a babyface, but he’s probably turning heel at some point, and this would be a great way to do it.

Other thoughts on last night’s show:

The fatal four-way was good, although it did drag a little at times. The big story – besides Hardy winning – was Kozlov attacking Hardy after the match. With Kozlov now in the mix, there is no shortage of challengers to the WWE title. And you know at some point that Edge, The Undertaker and Big Show are also going to be in the title picture. …

Speaking of the title picture, I wouldn’t be surprised to see R-Truth involved down the line. …

Kendrick had the funniest line of the night when he said that he was the longest-reigning champion in the history of the Championship Scrambles. …

It was good to see Carlito (and his afro) back on TV. I think teaming with his brother Primo benefits both of them, but there was an inexcusable lack of attention to detail here. The last time we saw Carlito, he was a heel; and the last time we saw his brother Primo, he was on Raw bad-mouthing Carlito. Now they are a babyface tag team on Smackdown.

Since WWE’s creative team gave no explanation for this turn of events, I’ll just make it up myself: Carlito heard what Primo said about him on Raw, and he came to the realization that he has been a jerk and he wants to patch things up with his brother. He tells Primo he wants to team with him. Primo is convinced that Carlito is sincere, so he asks Raw general manager Mike Adamle to release him from his contract so that he can team with his brother on Smackdown. There, was that so hard? …

It looks like Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neely are headed for a split. That seemed to come out of nowhere. Has there even been a hint of dissension between them before their physical confrontation last night? This is not a feud I am very excited about. …

That was a weird segment when Jesse and Festus came out dressed as movers, taped up Kenny Dykstra and wheeled him away. Jesse and Festus were wearing jumpsuits that had “MyMoving Co.” written on the back, so I guess this was WWE’s subtle way of reminding viewers that Smackdown is moving to MyNetworkTV next month. …

Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder have potential, but they just aren’t connecting with the audience right now.

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