The end of November is a notoriously rough time for the WWE. The dust from Survivor Series has normally settled and the build heading into the December PPV is slowly building, leaving the last few days barren of PPV events in history and thin on groundbreaking television.
November 30 doesn’t present us with many outstanding historical options. But the most worthy of remembrance was the year 2007, exactly a decade ago. SmackDown was on Friday nights and the biggest moment of the evening was when general manager Teddy Long returned from a hiatus.
The main event of the evening featured Batista defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Edge. Just weeks prior, The Animal had retained the belt inside of Hell in a Cell against The Undertaker, thanks to the assistance of the Rated R Superstar.
Then it comes with no surprise that as the conclusion was nearing between Batista and Edge, The Deadman made his return. There would be no finish to the contest, as The Undertaker struck and laid waste to Batista, with Edge scampering up the ramp, but things didn’t end there.
I know what you’re thinking: that return come have been a little less awkward, Teddy. And you’d be right. Gracefulness wasn’t always Theodore R. Long’s strong suit, but he had previously been gone before this, leaving the bizarre Vickie Guerrero/Edge scenario as the power struggle.
The Batista-Undertaker-Edge triangle rivalry for the World Title is an underrated World Title feud. It came at a strange time for the promotion, but there’s no doubt it carried Friday nights through the malaise of the late fall into the winter. The payoff at Armageddon 2007 was anything but glamorous with Edge walking out with the title, but the rivalry between Edge and The Undertaker was far from over. The two men met at SummerSlam 2008 inside of Hell in a Cell, with wounds from this initial feud still raw.
Teddy Long was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this past year, overwhelmingly in part to the work he put in as general manager of SmackDown. He fought through some lean years when the blue brand was relegated to being televised days after it was filmed, yet still managed to make it a product worth tuning in for and not merely glossing over the results.
He became a niche character when a cheap pop was necessitated towards the end, but the yeoman work Long put in shouldn’t be forgotten. There was the occasional weird moment (like the reading off the paper in the scene above) but those bizarre instances won’t outweigh the positives.
As for the rest of this episode of SmackDown, the names alone are enough to take you on a trip down memory lane.
Fit Finlay and Hornswoggle won a tag team match over Duece & Domino (!!!) earlier in the night. After that, we had a long-haired, Killswitch Engage-theme songed, CM Punk pick up the win over Kenny Dykstra of the Spirit Squad. If Jamie Noble defeating Chuck Palumbo doesn’t wet your palate for oddities, the tag team of Kane and Rey Mysterio defeating Big Daddy V and MVP might do it for you.
It’s probably best we leave this episode a decade in the past where it belongs. Ten years ago, we had the set-up for an Armageddon Triple Threat Match that is far in the past, but quite nothing tops an Undertaker return and a surprise return from a general manager.