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WWE SmackDown! for 05/15/2003
(Taped 05/13/2003 in Baltimore MD at the 1st Mariner Arena)


Memorable: Cena can sell, and Brock can smile and tap-dance. Someone evidentely put some 'pills' in JR's barbeque sauce.

The Good: The usual suspects delivered tonight. Rey came back, but...

The Bad: ... they exposed his size AGAIN! Vince McMahon and Mr. America are hogging too much TV. But what else is new?

The Ugly (besides Sable): The Brand Extension is now officialy a joke. It's clear now that they've completely given up on the whole "competition" thing, especailly since the announcers can just appear on each other's shows like they did all this week. WWE had an opportunity to creatively justify this (see below), but they missed the boat again.


I catch a "Sable is an Old Hag" sign in the crowd. We come to air with Cole and Tazz advertising the return of Piper's Pit - this edition will feature Mr. America. Again! No, everyone else is a boring interview, don't you know?

The show per se begins with Vince coming out to boos. Again! No, noone else can get good heel heat, don't you know? Vince tells us that there is no doubt in anyone's mind who Mr. America is. Well, yes. We know this. Vince says that Mr. America is Hulk Hogan and that Mr. America's values are different from the American values of everyone else - Mr. America's values are twisted; Mr. America is full of decit because he won't show us his true identity. Mr. America is greedy. "What?" says the crowd. "SHUT UP!" says Vince. "What?" "I said, SHUT UP!" "What?" "Don't get me any more riled up than I already am..." "Asshole! Asshole! Asshole!" Mr. America is greedy because while Vince is paying Hulk Hogan to stay at home, Hogan is also collecting salary as Mr. America. In other words, he's 'double-dipping.' I never thought of that! They need more things like this; more beliveable reasons for Vince to be angry with people. But there's one thing that Vince really cannnot accept... "that Mr. America obviously... Shut up! ... Mr. America apparently doesn't care that he batters women." (Now *here's* an inoffensive angle! Forget necrophilia, it's all about violence against women! Surely that'll draw for the PPVs! But it's only a groundless accusation, so no foul apart from my 'joke.') He blames what happened to Stephanie (oh, a bruise, big deal...) squarely on Mr. America. They replay what happened in Halifax. Cole sets the record straight while the video airs. Vince says that Stephanie was partially responsible for bungling the whole plan to unmask Mr. America. So this was all Hogan's fault. What's Vince going to do about it? Vince says we probably think he's going to beat up Mr. America, but no - he's not going to soil his hands; he's going to let someone else do it. He issues an open contract to anyone who'll take Hogan on at Judegement Day. (I'll take him on! I need the money!) Vince banks on the fact that someone will step forward tonight and promise more than just a beating - they'll castrate Mr. America. They'll beat Mr. America down into a pool of his own feces. (how pleasant) After all that, Vince will just walk into the ring and snap Mr. America's mask off.

The FBI's music plays. Tazz wonders if they're crazy for interrupting? Nunzio takes the mic and introduces them. He says that even though they're called the FBI, they're not to be confused with the Feds who Vince soundly defeated in court. Hey, Stamboli has a cool new hairstyle. Nunzio says the FBI specialize in taking care of problems like this. He shows a video, "FBI's Greatest Hits" (Hit List) In it, they show the back alley heist, they show Stamboli slamming Rikishi, Palumbo chairing Taker... their superkicks, chair shots, and other stuff to Nathan Jones (thank you, Chuck!)... they show Benoit WHACKED, then Lesnar WHACKED (via a fork lift driven into a door). Pretty impressive. Mr. McMahon seems to be buying all this, but Nunzio does all of the talking. "This open contract, you hire us, you can consider it closed, 'cause we are a bunch of professionals." Stamboli adds, "Not for nothing, Vinny. You give us the word, we'll be on Mr. America like bait on zeni." Nunzio: "I gotta apologize; he's definieely not the sharpest tool in the shed, but ... he's strong as a freaking ox!" So, what do you say, Vince? Vince says that he and Nunzio can go to his office and talk, and Nunzio suggests they grab a coffee on the way.

Rikishi comes out for his match with Chuck Palumbo. Rikishi has a breif stand-off with Vince, but Nunzio gets in front of Vince. Vince and Nunzio walk off talking while Rikishi gets in the ring.

Rikishi vs. Chuck Palumbo: Rikishi is unprepared and Palumbo lays in early. Rkishi gets a reversal, and Palumbo is flinged into two corners, then given a clothesline. Stamboli gets up on the apron, and when Rikishi and Stamboli are  trash talking, Palumbo, coming from behind, accidently hits Stamboli when Rikishi ducks out of the way. Rikishi plants Palumbo. Palumbo comes back with some rights. Rikishi belly-to-bellies him and goes for the pin, but Palumbo gets his foot on the rope. Rikishi pike drops on him and pulls him away from the apron, but he's also dragging Stamboli, who is holding onto Palumbo's foot. Rikishi walks back and gets Stamboli out of the way, and Palumbo gives Rikishi a good foot shot. Palumbo waits for Rikishi to get up and misses a second kick. Rikishi gets off a kick to the chin, a clothesline, and a Samoan Drop. Poloumbo takes the Thump from Hell. Raise the roof! Stamboli tries to ineterfere, but Rikishi tosses him down and kicks him in the chin, but then Palumbo kicks Rikishi in the chin and gets the pinfall. "The Numbers Game catches up to Rikshi." A pretty-good opener.

Palumbo and Stamboli gang up on Rikishi. We see Brock backstage; he's on his way out. He runs down the ramp about sixteen times faster than Kevin Nash, and lays out the FBI. He finishes with an F5 on Palumbo. Well done. Tazz and Cole mention the stretcher match at Judgement Day.

We come back from break with the replay of Lesnar beating on the FBI. Stephanie confronts him backstage. I figure she's going to dress him down for beating on people outside of a match, but Stephanie says that what he did was very impressive, and that the FBI deserved eveything they got. Stephanie says that Brock needs to bring this same aggression to the Stretcher Match. She puts over the brutality of the match. Brock smiles. Tazz: "How cool a GM do we have?" Cole puts over Piper's Pit.

They show Mr. America at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he meets and talks to some of the men and women who were hurt in the Iraq operations. They were happy to see Mr. America, and a few of them had "Oh, I get it," smirks on their faces. This is cute. Now they just need to separate the merch pages, and we're all set. Tazz makes fun of Cole's shirt (that never gets old), and Torrie comes out in a white silk robe with floral prints. She says that people are asking her what bikini she'll wear at Judgement Day. (No, but I *do* care aboutt who'll win the Battle Royal.) She shows us one she's considering; it's plain blue - not bad, but she's worn better. She says that this Sunday she'll wear something more revealing. You know, ordinarily I'd say "leave porn to the the professionals," but Judgement Day could be so bad that a little smut might be needed to keep us awake. Oh, but: PLEASE DON'T HAVE THE BIKINI CONTEST RIGHT AFTER THE LADDER MATCH! Please, don't; you'll slaughter the crowd.

Stepanie comes into her office, and it's full of flowers. You can see her 'bruise' if you pause your tape. She says, "Dad!" and thinks that they're from her dad. She reads the cards to herself as Vince comes in. Vince says that even though Stephanie bungled the whole thing with Mr. America, he accepts her apology. Stephanie says, "It's funny... I thought these roses were an apology from you to me. ... These Red and Yellow roses are from Hulk Hogan." Hogan was watching SmackDown last week (from his home in Tampa!), and he wants to make sure Stephanie's okay. The Red and White roses are from Mr America, who wants to apologize for what happened last week. Vince tears up the cards. Stephanie is about to go away, but Vince tells Stephanie to wait. Stephanie tells Vince thanks for accepting her apology, then she leaves. Vince destroys the flowers.

Freddie Blassie's book is advertised. They also say they're going to have a report on Elizabeth Huelette's death. New information? That might be welcome.

We come back with Rey Mysterio's return, in an "Earlier Today!" bit where he comes to the arena through an entrance staked-out by the crowd. Rey signs a few autographs on the way in. Back in the building, we're getting set for Matt Hardy vs. Tajiri. Today's Matt Facts: 1) Matt thinks Tajiri weighs too much to be a Cruiserweight. 2) Matt can eat more sushi than Tajiri.

Tajiri v. Matt: The WWE Cruiserweight Championship is on the line tonight. Tajiri and Matt hook up, Matt gets the arm drag and puts Tajiri on the mat. Matt climbs the ropes and poses to the crowd. They hook up again, and this time, Tajiri puts Matt on his back with a snap marin- (either I need more experience, or the CC guys need to talk directly with Tazz). Matt comes back while Tajiri has his back turned. Tajiri goes into the corner, and pushes himself in the air as if to do a leg move but Matt just picks him up from behind and carries him back into the middle of the ring. Tajiri slips off Matt and gets back onto his feet as Matt heads towards the corner. Matt doubles back and falls for a drop toe hold. Tajiri plants Matt's face into the Matt, walking over him and doubling back for a jumping spinning leg lariat as Matt is getting up. Tajiri goes for the pin, but Matt kicks out. Tajiri chases Matt into a corner, where Matt picks him up and places him outside the ropes on the apron. It feels like a Tarantuala tease, but Tajiri kicks Matt in the face and while Matt's in the centre of the ring, Shannon pulls on Tajiri's leg from the outside. Matt comes in and clubs Tajiri. Now Matt takes control for a bit. Matt puts Tajiri in the corner, Tajiri fends him off with the elbow, but Matt gets the Side Effect. Tajiri kicks out of the cover. Matt has Tajiri in an abdominal strech, and then an inverted arm bar. Crash is reading the Hardy book at ringside. Tajiri gets flung into the corener and stands on the second rope. Matt picks him up and goes for the Splash Mountain, but Tajiri lands on his feet and comes back with a brilliant kick and both are down. The count gets up to 3. Tajiri takes it to Matt Hardy again. Tajiri roars. This is cool. Tajiri gets off a handspring into an elbow. He does another handstand and kick to get rind of Shannon. Matt kicks out of a Springboard. Matt falls back into the corner, so Tajiri gets up on the second rope and puts Matt in the Tarantuala. Matt stumbles into the middle, and Tajiri lines up Matt but is forced to go for Crash at the ropes. The distraction works; Matt gets the Twist of Fate and finishes Tajiri by pinfall. Gee, Tajiri would be a great Crusierweight Champion with a mounthpiece. Or does he need to do promos at all? Let's hope these two hook up at Vengeance or something. Great match, and Matt was good at making it look like Tajiri should have won. What I like about SmackDown! is that the matchups are being made well. I mean, it's not Heyman-well, but when I watch a match I tend to want to see more matches involving the same competitors. Oh, that sounds silly. You'd think any TV show would be able to make people want to watch more of the same TV, right?

Matt says that Matt Hardy version 1 has the Mattributes to take care of Mr. America. He says that if us Mooreons had Mattitude, we could be just as succesful as himself. Tajiri lands on Matt and Moore while they're grandstanding. To the camera, it's almost like he comes down from the air - Matt and Moore barely get turned around to catch him. Slick spot, also funny.

We see Eddie Guerrero backstage talking to Kurt Angle's portrait. There's a sombrero on top of the portrait and a cape draped over it as well. Eddie mentions that Chavo was hurt overseas*, "but I got YOU in my corner, Homes, and I'm gonna need you - I'm taking on your boy, Shelton Benjamin... But you know what, I'm not worried about that! ... and you have the pleasure of being in Latino Heat's corner! ... There's just something missing..." Eddie draws a bushy moustache on Kurt Angle, and then a goatie. "Uncle Chewie!" He puts on the sombrero and takes the portait away with him. Ha-ha. A good promo, but you realize the true beauty of it when you consider that he did it talking to an enlarged picture-print.

* - Chavo was actually hurt at a SmackDown! taping.

I see an ad for Judgement Day during the break and I come to the conclusion that this Stretcher Match, just because of the gimmick involved, has the potential to be okay or even pretty good. Here's hoping. On another note, it feels like too many of the SmackDown! matches are gimmick-laced - there's no plain, regular one-on-one match (yet - the one we do get ought not to be considered a "match").

We come back with Mr. America backstage, who runs into Stephanie, who thanks him for the flowers. She says that they meant a lot and she asks him to thank Hulk Hogan for her, kissing him on the cheek. Cena walks out (he's starting to get mild face pops - hilarious).

Tonight's Cena Rap: "I will squash Mr. America! Vinnie Mac, please pick me. I'll change him back to the Hulk so quick you'll think his name was Bill Bixbie. And then at Judgement Day, you can throw away that patriotic masked man. Don't recycle Hulkamania, throw it in the trash can. Hey Chris Benoit, you think I let your Crossface hurt me? I'll cross your face with steel chains; I'll throw you back like my jersey. (I'll) Have you wrapped up in so many bandages, they'll think you're Saudi Arabian. Instead of the Canadian Crippler, you'll just be a Crippled Canadian. Yo, I can't skate, but I still play with my pucks and stick. I'll have them callin' you John Bobbit, 'cause I cut off your - " and this week the audience gets to fill in the blank. Out comes Benoit.

Chris Benoit vs. John Cena: Benoit locks up with Cena, and the jockey for position in the corner. Benoit starts on Cena again with some powerful rights. He takes Cena for a neat flip when Cena comes back from the ropes, then he gives Cena a backbreaker. Cena kicks out of the cover. Benoit puts Cena in the corner and chops Cena big time, then he does it again... Cena is selling these like a Pro. Benoit comes in with some kicks, turns his back to address the referee, and then Cena takes advantage with a clothesline. Benoit is on the mat; Cena picks him up and throws him into the post. Cena comes back and tries for the pin but Benoit kicks out. Cena gets Benoit in an arm bar hold, and the crowd starts clapping. Benoit gets up, but Cena puts him down again. He kicks Benoit around a bit and flings him into the post again, shoulder-first. Cena hooks the leg but Benoit kicks out. Cena gives Benoit a bodyslam and Benoit kicks out. Cena gets whipped into the corner but Benoit gets caught by Cena's boots on his approach. Cena comes in with some chops, but Benoit comes back with chops of his own, followed by a snap suplex. Nunzio and Stamboli come out. Nunzio gets on the apron and Benoit scares him off. Cena moves in from behind to take advantage, but Benoit turns and floors him with a right. Benoit turns again to address the FBI, but with his back turned, Cena gets him with a hit of his own. Benoit rolls out of the ring, but the referee kicks the FBI from ringside before they do anything, and we go to break.

We come back with the continuation of the match. Cena has Benoit in an neck submission hold, using Benoit's own arm for leverage. Benoit makes it to his feet and goes for an arm bar, but Cena uses a deep arm drag to get out of trouble. Cena knocks him down with a shoulder tackle and covers but Benoit kicks out. Cena takes Benoit for a hammerlock into a body slam, and covers, but Benoit kicks out again. Cena stomps on Benoit. Cena keeps working on Benoit's left shoulder. Cena puts Benoit face-first into the top turnbuckle, then flings Benoit into another corner shoulder-first. Cena hooks the leg but Benoit grabs the bottom rope with both hands. Cena takes Benoit into the hammerlock, but Benoit lands on his feet and gets the standing drop kick. Both men are down. Benoit puts Cena into the second turnbuckle and rolls him up, but Cena kicks out. Benoit gets the chops, the clothesline, a big running back elbow, and a german suplex. Benoit gestures for the flight. He goes up and comes down with the head-butt. Benoit goes for the pin, but Nunzio interrupts. Benoit summarily tosses him over the opposite ropes. Cena comes back and goes for the F-U, but Benoit turns it into the crossface. Before Cena can even consider tapping, Stamboli comes in and kicks Benoit in the back for the DQ finish.

Stamboli is beating on Benoit, so he doesn't notice Rhyno, who comes in and gives him the gore. Nunzio gets up and whacks Rhyno from behind with a chair. Kendrick comes in an gets a Van Daminator-like move on Nunzio (a flying kick to the chair when the guy's holding it in front of his face). Cena goes after Kendrick and is about to take him for a slam, but Kendrick uses his legs to flip Cena over. Cena and the FBI crawl away up the ramp. A six-man tag match isn't officially announced for Judgement Day, perhaps because they need Benoit for the Ladder Match. Rey Mysterio is advertised - he'll be in an interview tonight. Piper's Pit is advertised. The "Kurt Angle: A Champion's Champion" video airs. This ought to be the Comeback of the Century.

We come back from break with a reminder that we're going to hear Lex Lugar's 911 call. They put over the arena, then they show a video of the SmackDown! United Kingdom tour (Tour de Force), with footage from the stops in Aberdeen (Scotland), London (England), Belfast (Northern Island), and Sheffield (England). What, they didn't go to Wales!? Anyway, it's clear from the fottage and the audio clips that the wrestlers enjoyed this trip more than the RAW folks enjoyed the trip to India. You can see Cena driking a Guiness, Brock entertaining the crowd, and lots of excited fans. Benoit and Torrie say how much they enjoyed the experience. A really honest feeling of fun shines through these clips; it doesn't seem like they're trying to put over a crappy tour (like the one that just passed through Eastern Canada).

Time for Piper's Pit. Signs: "Steph ruined WWE" / "PIPER - 80's are over" Piper comes out with Sean O'Haire and announces that he hear about the contract Vince has out on Hulk Hogan. "Half of (the boys in the back) want to do it so they can kiss Mr. McMahon's tush and get ahead. The other half want to do it for their carrers." Piper says that he's going to take Mr. America's mask off for neither of those reasons - he's going to do it for the twenty years that he's hated Hulk Hogan. "While all you people were sitting around, screaming like little maniacs, Hot Rod stood by his guns. I never changed! I was the man I've always been! Okay, now you're catching on; I don't want Mr. America at Judgement Day - I demand it!"

Mr. America comes out on Piper's Pit. On his way into the ring, he gives a fan his flag. He poses in the ring for a bit. The place doesn't really go "Hogan Hogan" until Piper starts talking, and then not as loudly as in Montréal, Toronto, or Halifax - but maybe that's a good thing. Piper: "I'm not going to stand here and be as stupid as these people! If I was as ugly as you are, I'd wear a mask too!" Mr. America: "Well let me tell you something, Piper!" Mr. America can understand why Piper has a problem with Hulk Hogan since Hulk Hogan kept kicking Piper's ass all over the country. "And just for the record, sister... if Mr. McMahon was to put me in a match with you at Judgement Day, well then Mr. America would gladly kick your ass all over Judgement Day, just like my idol did, Hulk Hogan, again and again and again!" Piper: "I know maybe the Alzhimers is setting in here... I know Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan fought... but I'll tell you something... Hulk Hogan has never beat Roddy Piper 1-2-3!" (hey, I just figured out what the finish at Judgement Day will be!) Mr. America: "Maybe Hulk Hogan has never... but you've never beaten the Red, White and Blue, and you've never fought in an arena in front of screaming Americanmaniacs, brother!" Piper shouts a bit about how old this is getting (Oh, the irony!), then targets the fan with the flag: "You, the biggest idiot with a flag! Sit down, shut up, or I'll put that flag where the sun don't shine!" He's still waving the flag like a goof so he must be an indie. Mr. America says that that fan with a flag is exactly what America stands for, and that he has the right to wave that flag as much as he wants, wherever he pleases. Piper shouts at the fan again. "Hold it, Piper... you'd better worry about these 24-inch Patriots!" O'Haire goes after the fan. Mr. America tells O'Haire that if he has a problem, take it up with him. Piper gets a sneak attack on Mr. America. Piper keeps on punching, but Mr. America Americans up, and comes back with "Youu!" and the haymakers. Mr. America lays out O'Haire and gets the boot to the face on Piper. Mr. America goes for the leg drop, but O'Haire trips him at the ropes, then gives him a few steel chair shots to the back. "U-S-A" comes out loud. O'Haire pulls up Mr. America and Piper starts punching Mr. America and starts to work on the mask, but the "fan" gets in and whacks the flagstick across Piper's back. O'Haire makes the save, and Piper beats on the "fan" while Security tries to take him out of the ring. Piper pulls on the fan's left leg, and it comes free. It's TENACIOUS Z!! A leg!!! Holy s**t! (they don't say it's him, but he's the only one-legged wrestler who pops into my head right now) Piper lays the leg down to the tune of "Asshole!" and Piper and O'Haire walk off slowly. Tenacious Z takes hold of the flag with one hand as we go to break.

We come back with a replay of what happened in the ring. As the "fan" jumps the barricade, Tazz says, "The fan does not belong in the ring." Unless it suits the angle. What's funny is that if you look closely, you can see Piper trying to pull on the RIGHT leg for a second, then obviously realizing that that was the wrong leg and switching over. They show a "During the Break!" bit where Mr. America helps the "fan" up the ramp, Cole saying "to the locker room area." Does that mean they're not trying to hide the fact that he's really a wrestler? Shelton Benjamin comes out by himself. Eddie Guerrero comes out wearing a sombrereo and carrying the portrait.

We cut to Vince, O'Haire, and Piper backstage. Vince: "Explain to me what I just saw." O'Haire asserts that he had nothing to do with it. Vince is hot. He says this is very bad publicity (no, Kane and HHH was bad publicity!), and that this is "lawsuit material." Whenever Piper opens his mouth to speak, Vince just tells him to shut up. "The two of you are going to stand here while I go off and think about this... and I make up my mind about what I just saw." Vince leaves and Piper asks O'Haire what the big idea is about him denying reponsbility - he was there too. O'Haire: "My job's on the line over something that you did."

Eddie Guerrero vs. Shelton Benjamin: Just underway. Eddie's applying some hits to Benjamin, then vice-versa, then Benjamin gets Eddie for two big suplexs and then a neck hold. They're into the corner with punches and kicks, and then Benjamin takes Eddie out and up for a suplex after some resistance. Eddie kicks out. Benjamin comes on the attack again, and applies a sumbimssion hold to Eddie's neck, with Eddie's back arched over Benjamin's knee. "Eddie!" chants pick up. Eddie falls out of the hold. Benjamin slams Eddie and climbs to the second rope. Eddie catches up with him and goes in with some big chops. He gets a good rana to put Benjamin out half-way accross the ring. Benjamin come in with the clothesline, he plants Eddie with a power bomb and goes for the cover, but Eddie kicks out. Tazz, looking at Angle's portrait: "I know where Saddam Hussein's moustache is!" Eddie is fired up, he gets off a drop kick and two clotheslines, then puts Benjamin in the corner and starts choking him with the tag ropes. He applies the ten punches and takes him for three vertical suplexes. Charlie Hass shows up at ringside with a ladder, and he and Eddie exchange shouts when he sets it up. Eddie turns aroud - but too late, for Benjamin kicks Eddie in the face and gets the pin. Good match!

Charlie Hass puts the ladder in the ring. Shelton tosses the referee. Team Angle picks up the ladder and they tease a ladder-clothesline, but Eddie drop-kicks the ladder and floors both of them. Eddie come back in with the portrait and beans Shelton on the head with it. Shelton's expression going down is priceless. If any of you out there are watching this on VHS, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, VCD, or PVR or whatever, you can stop watching now. You won't miss anything.

We cut back to Vince, Piper, and O'Haire in the office. He says that he think that O'Haire might be genuinely concerned about what happened, but as for Piper, he can pretend all he wants, but Vince knows that he has no remorse whatsoever (actually, I'd say O'Haire's character is the more sinister). Vince says that deep within his black heart, he's still the same Roddy Poper and that's why HE'S going to face Mr. America this Sunday - Piper is the man who's going to give him what he wants. A pretty good promo from Vince. So Piper's going to take on Hogan, but where does that leave the FBI? Or what about Stephanie - Vince is totally upstaging her with all this stuff. I can't see anyone who could do this but Vince (well, maybe Paul Heyman could, but I doubt we'll see him on WWE TV again).

We go to break and come back with the still portrait of Elizabeth Hulette. They show the stuff from last week's Confidential. Like, the whole damn segment. Nothing new. Well, that's fine by me, it makes it easier for me to review this show. There's nothing wrong with seeing this exposé twice, but what's the point of having Confidential if all the really important stuff just gets rebroadcast on the main wrestling shows? We go to break again.

We come back with Rey getting ready for his interview backstage. They show the "Tale of the Tape" for Sable vs. Torrie (like a regular "Tale of the Tape" except that this one goes "height," "bust," "waist," "hips," etc.. The numbers are very similar. I like the "Tale of the Tape" because it makes the matches feel more like real competition. Anyway, Sable comes out in her own black silk robe. Sable gets on the mic and says, as for Torrie's bikini, "let's just hope it's not MORE revealing... maybe you should wear something that's a little more appropriate for your waistline." The crowd is DEAD for this until she teases, then strips off her robe. She says "Sable-licious" again, so what more do we need to know? Her bikini looks pretty good. She still looks old, but she's still really hot. Now Cole and Tazz run the SmackDown! part of the Judgement Day card. With all due respect to whatever almost-hot, not-quite-mainstream, not-quite-indy, not-quite-sellout band that is responsible, the music for Judgement Day sucks. Or, to be polite, it just doesn't suit. There's no presence to it; there's nothing in it that tingles down my spine to make me excited. No Way Out 2002 was awful and No Way Out 2003 had not-quite-stellar main events, but I felt that the great music from Rob Zombie and Evanescence (especially Evanescence) saved them from being much worse on their respective Sunday nights. They advertise the ladder match as being "Team Angle vs. Los Guerreros," so obviously Meltzer is wrong AGAIN! (j/k) I can't believe the only normal one-on-one SmackDown! match is Roddy Piper vs. Mr. America - I mean, we're not going to see SmackDown! on PPV again until at least July, and I think they really need to leave us wanting more on Sunday. I guess we have the ladder match, and I just hope it's enough. Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler come on from Stamford to run the RAW side of the Judgement Day card. These two sound muted, durgged, and just plain awful. JR didn't sell up to his usual level - in fact, Jerry Lawler was better! JR: "And then, the big RAW main event." (said like he's putting over a tuna sandwich) Zzzz... Who drugged these two? I usually really enjoy it when they go over the card, but this time I didn't feel any sensation at all. I feel cheated. The PPV ought to be okay, though.

Here's my idea for making the announcer crossovers more legitiamte: On the SmackDown! before the RAW in question, have the FBI offer Stephanie McMahon their "people," who will somehow ensure that the SmackDown! PPV matches are advertised on RAW. Stephanie accepts the offer, and on the following RAW, we see the FBI come in and WHACK the monkeys in the RAW production truck, then playing a prerecorded tape from Cole and Tazz. Bischoff gets pissed and demands someone deal with the FBI, leading to an Interpromotional Match: Lance Storm vs. Nunzio.

Tazz and Cole finally interview Rey Mysterio. Rey says he'll be cleared to wrestle in a few weeks. He wants to fulfil his goal of becoming the WWE Crusierweight Chamopion. He cuts a little promo in Spanish. He then says that he thought he wouldn't be able to wrestle again when they put him in the ambulance. He wondered what was going to happen to him. For the first time in his life, he was scared. Cole: "We were scared for you, too... Would you ever consider getting back into the ring with the Big Show?" (who we didn't see this week! Yayyyyyy!!) Rey says that he can't answer that right now, and suddenly BS grabs him by the throat and carries him off. (Oh, I spoke too soon!)

We come back with BS carrying Mysterio and a stretcher to the ring. Thanks, BS, we really need to bury Rey twice in one month. BS smacks Rey, then tosses Rey in the ring, then slides in the stetcher, resting it on an angle within the ropes. Rey bounces on the outside end of the stretcher and smacks the inside end into BS' face. Rey kicks BS in the back and then gets the 619. Rey goes to the top rope and flies, but BS catches Rey in mid-air. BS gets off an ugly Samoan Drop. BS already looks tired and lacadasial (and he didn't even wrestle tonight!). BS takes Rey up, up, up, for a crazy chokeslam but Lesnar stops him by taking him down. Rey rolls out of the way. Lesnar picks up the stretcher and beats BS across the back and ribs a few times with it. Lesnar takes BS for as good an F5 as can be hoped for. I hope Lesnar stays in good shape, because it's cool how he can F5 BS without breaking a sweat. BS is laid out and Lesnar climbs the ramp. There's a stare-off. It feels like the show's going to go off the air, but wait. Rey gets the Bulldog. Lensar smiles. BS isn't smiling. BS emits a loud, wide-eyed roar. Okay, that looks cool. Not a bad segment since noone got overtly (physically) hurt. Rey leaves on Lensar's shoulder. Well, it's clear now that WWE *wants* to expose Rey's size. I mean,. just by having him on Lesnar they make him look like a midget. Oh, well. If Rey can entertain us in spite of this (and he can), then fine, but when Heyman was booking, Rey was going toe-to-toe with the heavywheights and more than holding his own. I guess those days are over.

Back on The Score Tonight, Greg Sansone says, "You don't get as many stretcher matches as you used to back in the early 80's." True, true. There's usually a reason.

Grade (A-): It's better than the SmackDown! from Halifax, since there was less pointless stuff with Mr. America, and the few matches on this show were all pretty good. Despite my overall week-to-week gripes, I was entertained.

SmackDown! vs. RAW: RAW wins due to the Christian Factor. But he needs to get in touch with the guys who did Stamboli's hair.

SmackDown! vs. Total Lunar Eclipse: Just like the reason for Cole and Tazz appearing on RAW this week, it was clouded out.

Next week: (Meaningfully) shorter reviews!

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