SmackDown! report for 07/24/2003
(Taped 07/22/2003 in Fresno CA at the Selland Arena)
Results: 1) Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio def. Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore via pinfall. (Very good.) 2) Billy Gunn def. Jamie Noble via pinfall. (Squash.) 3) Eddie Guerrero def. Rhyno via pinfall. (Very good.) 4) The APA def. The FBI via pinfall. (Squash.) 5) The World's Greatest Tag Team and The Big Show def. Kurt Angle, Zach Gowen, and Brock Lesnar. (Good.)
Good: This was a throw-together show but it delivered good action and was much better than I thought it would be. The main event was interesting, if a trifle long, and Lesnar and Gowen and Angle delighted the crowd. Benoit came tantalizingly close to making a heel turn even though he was supposed to be the face, but it was all fun to watch. This show will help make me regret missing Vengeance (even if only for that sure-to-be-five-star match).
Less Good: Two squashes in a five-match show? The verbal bits from everyone from Cena to Tazz seemed a little without energy tonight - but it was 43ºC in Fresno and the talent just got back from Japan, so that's forgivable. It seems like we're supposed to care more about Stephanie vs. Sable than most everything else on the Vengeance card. Speaking of Vengeance itself, while it will have some good matches, it is also taking some of the worst bits of Armageddon 2002 (Indecent Proposals, "Cat Fights"), Bad Blood 2003 (Non-wrestling contests of any kind), and WrestleMania XVI (McMahons) and putting them together to make a show.
Clips from last week's main event. Stephanie comes out while Tazz and Cole talk about Kane going AWOL on Linda. (Must have been something to see, but I've stopped watching RAW and listening to the LAW in order to prepare myself for my four-month wrestling hiatus. I miss both already.) Stephanie says that she's not going to let her personal life affect business. (Chortle, chortle, chortle.) Since her father's taking care of her mother, she is taking back SmackDown! About time. She'll bring us a little real competition: tonight will be a six-man-tag with WWE Tag Team Champions The World's Greatest Tag Team and The Big Show vs. Kurt Angle, Zach Gowen and WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. Oh, and Sable had better watch out, because she's got pent up aggression, and she's going to take it out on her. Out comes Cena with his Magic jersey (pardon the pun). He begins with apologizing for interrupting and says, "I had this dream about you... you had me standing at att-" and if you haven't seen it I'll leave the rest to your imagination. It's kind of lewd. He gives Stephanie 20 dollars to rip Sable's top off. "Sable's a ho, you're a Diva with class... Why don't you let me smack that..." and the audience finishes the line and the segment ends with Cena smacking Stephanie in said spot after she dares him to do it.
Sable gets on the Tit.. anTron and taunts Stephanie. Oooh, she's wearing a see-through shirt. She shows some of the SkyBox fight footage from last week, carefully skipping the bits where Stephanie had the upper hand. Stephanie calls her on this. Sable comes back by saying that Stephanie had better take care of her mother because she'll be taking special care of her daddy. Sable says if Stephanie doesn't like what she has to say, she can go shut her up manually. Stephanie stomps up the ramp and we go to break.
We see (boring) footage of Stephanie looking for Sable during the break. She thinks she finds Sable, but it's actually Torrie, wearing the same sort of outfit. You know, they probably spent twenty minutes planning that, or maybe the Creative guys were thumbing through the wardrobe, found the similar outfits, and said, "Sounds like we got ourselves a segment!" If only this attention to detail would migrate to the Brand Extension. Here's Rey.
Okay, Heat is still on this Sunday. "SmackDown! takes over Heat!" Crazy. Talk about your ultimate conquests. And now it won't be just A-Train with the Heat experience anymore! =) Weren't they going to just put Heat on Saturday night or something? Oh, well. They never seem to know what they're doing for some reason. They promise Ultimo Dragon for the curtain jerker. Anyone who says Ultimo Dragon won't be used to his potential has egg on his face now; he's already the SmackDown! answer to Spike Dudley. Matt and Moore come to face Rey and Kidman. Tonight's Matt Facts: "Mattitude is considered sacred in Japan." "Matt defeated Kidman & Mysterio on consecutive pay per views."
1) Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore vs. Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman: Matt and Rey hook up. Things are good. Kidman comes in with a leg drop and Matt kicks out. Kidman gets the leg scissors on Moore. They switch up and Matt dives at Kidman. Kidman kicks out. It's Matt and Kidman again. Moore hangs Kidman on the rope; neckbreaker and Kidman kicks out. Moore finds Kidman with the swinging neckbreaker. Moore torques his elbow into Kidman's face, and Kidman fights out. Matt gets a shot to the back of Kidman's head before tagging in. Matt hooks the leg and Kidman gets the shoulder up. Matt applies pressure to the back of his neck. Big bulldog from the second rope on Matt by Kidman. Both men are down. Matt makes it to Moore. Kidman finds Matt with the springboard. Nice snap mare. Matt comes in again and Rey counters a move into a bulldog. Rey goes up but Moore gets him and goes for the electric chair. However, he gets flipped into the ropes. It's 619 time, but Matt slows him down on the other end. Moore finds Rey with a heel kick. Kidman give Moore the BK Bomb (It's his initials! Get it?! j/k). Matt gives Kidman the Side Effect. Moore gets Springboard-ed but Matt gets Rey with a sit-down power bomb. Matt is forced to go back to the corner by the ref. Shannon takes the cover opportunity, but Rey kicks out. Rey gets on his feet. Kidman is tagged in and makes his re-entrance with a cross-body lateral. The ref misses a leg drop from Matt. Rey saves the match. Rey flips Matt out of the ring. Kidman drop kicks Moore. Rey 619s Moore. Matt slows him down and Rey springboards Matt backwards. Meanwhile, Kidman applies the Shooting Star Press and wins. Good match. More like this, please.
Stephanie finds Sable backstage. If nothing else about this segment, I love Sable's shirt. Stephanie chases her and Sable soft-steps to the waiting limo in a "Don't chase me so fast! I'm wearing heels!" manner. There are some bumps against the doors and hood. It's so lame. Stephanie rips Sable's shirt off. Really! Seriously, go to smackdown.wwe.com and you can see a bit of b**b. Sable makes it into the limo, and Stephanie grabs a pipe (what? No sledgehammer?), but Vince stops her and the limo takes off. Stephanie says he's supposed to be taking care of Mom. Vince says she should have her match with Sable at the front of her mind, or she'll end up incapacitated like her mother. Holy crap, do you know how high this week's show is going to score on Jeremy Wall's Sable Boob-O-Meter?! Ten, baby, ten! These two couldn't work a VCR, so I guess we might as well play up the smut.
During the break, Vince heels on Calgary in anticipation of the house show he'll be attending. He says that he hates everything and everyone in Calgary, especially members of the Hart family. Cute. He goes on to talk about how he's going to make things miserable for Zach Gowen.
Noble comes out with a new shirt. Jason Roberts is the ring announcer tonight. The more people stacked between Lillian Garcia / Finkel and Josh Matthews, the better! (I mean, you just *know*... it's just a matter of *time*...) Noble gets booed a bit as he takes the mic from Roberts. "Before all you low-life people jump to conclusions... Nidia's not here 'cause she's sick! It's got nothing to do with what I offered Torrie! Speaking of... I am sick of you acting like you're some kind of angel. What's it gonna take - everyone knows a girl like you has a price! 50 thousand? 75 thousand? 100 thousand?" Billy Gunn and Torrie interrupt the UPN edition of The Price Is Right.
2) Billy Gunn vs. Jamie Noble: Billy is hot. No, not that kind of hot... well, maybe. I just mean he's upset. Look, I made a lame joke about a double entendre. I'm the smartest thirteen-year-old wrestling writer on the block. Things spill outside, and Jamie chases Torrie around a bit; back in the ring Billy gives Noble a swinging version of the Rock Bottom and Noble's finished. You know, I was almost hoping Noble would take Torrie's shirt off! See what happens when people rely on WWE as their only source of porn? Well, as Meltzer's 13 year old, I can tell you first hand that - oh, forget it!
Noble says he's not finished - he wants a rematch. He says that he's better than Billy in every way, especially in bed. Torrie persuades Billy not to beat on him and announces a proposition of her own: "I'm so confident in Billy's abilities... all of them... (WRONG BILLY!) If you beat Billy at Vengeance, I'll sleep with you... on SmackDown! next week." What's wrong with a motel room? They show clips of SmackDown!s "Unleashed in the East" tour. It looks pretty cool, and the wrestlers look like they had fun. I'm sure WWE isn't anxious to have another India - heck, I'm sure William Regal isn't anxious to get anywhere near the Tropic of Cancer ever, ever, ever again. To sum it up, Lance Storm said India was worse for him than Lebanon. Developing nations need their WWE love too, but I imagine they'll do their homework before heading to any more places where you can't take clean water or food for granted.
They replay Torrie's proposal. The APA are backstage, and Bradshaw's reading his new personal finance book. "Here's A-Train!" "Here's a train!" I'm not making this up. They were looking for him. They invite him to the brawl. A-Train seems only halfway impressed; he's been through bigger fights, so who's here that he can beat up? Brother Love and The Conquistadors and some forgotten people from Tough Enough III are going to be in (hey, let's get Hardcore Holly in on this!), as well as the Easter Bunny. A-Train: "Where I come from, we hate the Easter Bunny." (You know who else should be in this? Tajiri Claus!) A-Train accepts the invitation but turns down a copy of "Have More Money Now." The Brooklyn Brawler comes in and complains that he didn't get his invitation. He wants to get his hands on Doink the Clown. The APA is reluctant, but they say they'll let him in if he can prove he's the Brawler by way of losing a bunch of matches again and again. The Brawler leaves. Bradshaw tries to push his book on Faros. "Save it."
They air a pretty cool taped promo of Cena cutting up Taker from within a flaming pentagram. Cena says that Taker is scared to death to pass this new legend the torch. He'll claim heavenly Vengeance. Scary. Taped. Good. Man, I'm really going to be sad to miss this show.
Eddie drives out in his low rider. He opens the trunk and checks the hydraulic systems. He grabs a bottle of spray wax and waxes the chrome on his front bumper. This is actually compelling television. Eddie gets in the ring and the crowd goes nuts. He talks about SmackDown!s first-ever PPV and how he's honoured to be in it, and wrestling for the US Championship. "You know, I'm going to wrestle my best friend Chris Benoit. We've been through thick and thin: Japan, ECW, WCW... WWE." Eddie has nothing but respect for Benoit, and "may the best man win." Benoit comes out.
Ah, sorry guys. I have to go to PEI in four and a half hours... I need to compress things a little more than usual. Chris doesn't agree with the 'friends' assessment, even mentioning Tajiri. Chris won't let his guard down like he did. Chris asserts that he's the best technical wrestler in the world. Eddie says that the truth is he can't stand Chris. "It's always been, 'Chris Benoit, the best technical wrestler, and Eddie Guerrero Who?!'" He mentions coming in as the Radicals: "'Have you seen Chris Benoit - what a wrestler! Eddie, he's pretty good, but he's not a leader like Chris Benoit...' I'm sick and tired of being in your shadow! It's time for me to be numero uno!" He promises to kick Benoit's ass Sunday night. ("Eddie!") Benoit says he must have struck a nerve, and why not prove everyone wrong right now? "Now, Chris, that's what I'm taking about! You tell me something, you want me to jump - I say, 'how high?' No, this time, it's on my time, and my terms ("... my rights, my rhyme...")..." and he's not fighting until Vengeance. ("Booo!") Eddie feigns departure, then comes in to strike but Benoit gets him with a back body drop. Eddie rolls out and sprays Benoit in the eyes with the wax. Eddie beats Benoit around on the outside, and everyone starts marking out. Oh, well, a derailed compelling angle is better than a perfectly executed boring angle, I guess. Rhyno eventually comes to Benoit's aid. Rhyno challenges Eddie. Eddie nonchalantly squirts some wax and goes to walk away. Rhyno says that he knew Eddie didn't have any friends for being an a**hole, but he didn't know that Eddie didn't have any cah****as. Eddie takes up the challenge.
3) Eddie Guerrero vs. Rhyno: This match is a good way to get Rhyno involved in the US Championship picture, and it's also fun to watch. Lots of moves and holds and psychology and everything fun. Rhyno actually has Eddie in a Crossface at one point, but Eddie reaches the ropes with his feet. Later, Eddie goes up and down at the ropes and hooks the leg, but Rhyno kicks out, and - this is gold - Tazz and Cole mention how it was good strategy to hook the leg closest to the ropes such that he's forced to kick out instead of just putting the leg on the rope. Eddie does some stepping on Rhyno's hair and head. Don't cut your hair, Rhyno, they'll call you a hippie. Lots of ("Eddie! Eddie!") even though Eddie's totally heeling all over the place. He's probably too good to be a true heel unless he's paired against a superstrong babyface (and those are scarce now). Double leg spinebuster by Rhyno to Eddie looks impressive. Eddie takes Rhyno down from up in the corner with leg scissors, which Rhyno kicks out of. A belly-to-belly connects on Eddie. Rhyno sets up Eddie for the Gore, but Eddie yanks the ref in front of Rhyno. Rhyno slows down enough to just stumble into the ref, but it's enough time for Eddie to get a low blow and then pretend that he got a low blow himself. He groans at the ref and winks at the camera; it's priceless. Working a work is just such a cool concept, and it's great Eddie can pull it off. Tazz and Cole say he deserves an Academy Award. Anyway, Eddie gives Rhyno a shot to the chest, covers Rhyno, hooks the leg, and gets the pin using the ropes. What a legend. Eddie gets in the low rider and leaves.
Tonight's WrestleMania recall moment is from 1988. Andre the Giant announces that Hulkamania is over. April 2002: Hollywood Hulk Hogan wins WWE Undisputed Championship. Man, why can't we market Lance Storm* or Chris Jericho or Booker T or RVD or Sean O'Haire or... (you get the idea) like this? Marketing is really nine-tenths of the battle - it's scary. We all know that if a big guy can be good, then he'll soar above all others. But there are more Stieners than Lesnars, and the fans don't want to wait for big guys to be good at the time expense of seeing little guys who are good. Why do we have to see the learning / degenerating process of the super heavyweights and junior announcers and fading colour commentators (anyone but Tazz) on TV? Send A-Train to the indies and have him scare little kids. Seriously! Man, guys like him would kill in the old territory system. But he's one of the better big guys.
(* - What's Dawn Marie been doing lately? I guarantee that if you put her back with him, the "Boring!" chants will QUICKLY cease! This has been said elsewhere, but the Divas should probably be used as amplifiers, not band-aids.)
They show a clip of the APA in the "middle east," where they meet a soldier. They ask him to invite Saddam Hussein to the brawl if he finds him. (Oh, you KNOW where they're going with this!) In fact, everyone in the deck of cards is invited to the brawl. The solider asks if they have any spare water. "Oh, of course; we've got plenty of water, if you don't drink it, you die out here," and they keep on walking.
4) The APA vs. The FBI**: This match features the WrestleMania XX watermark. Don't stare at that, though, or you'll miss an effective Clothesline from Hell to Chuck Palumbo courtesy of Bradshaw. Ding-ding. That was insultingly short.
(** - It seems like just a few weeks ago they were cunning and shrewd and capable of putting the hit on anyone. Hey, they should be cast in those new photocopier commercials, "putting the hit on inefficiency.")
The APA double team Nunzio. The Brooklyn Brawler comes down and takes out the APA with a chair. The Bashams come in, followed by O'Haire, and the APA basically just get the tar beat out of them. Guess who'll still be standing on Sunday? Actually, this won't be too bad, because the APA are entertaining in their own unique way.
McMahon is backstage with Zach. Blah, blah, maul and beat your ass, blah... "people all over the world will have real reasons to feel sorry for you." Zach calls Vince a sorry excuse for a human being. Brock and Angle come in to back Zach up. Vince says he was there to wish the three of them good luck, as they'll probably need it. They run the card. Noble vs. Gunn is being billed as an "Indecent Proposal Match." We go to break. Oh! Ugh! Augh! Awful! Who... ugh! Yuck! Ick! Blecchhh! Argh! Ewwwwww!! Gross! I mean, who... Aughhh! Disgusting! Putrid! Annoying! Glary! Tacky! Bleargggghhh! Who... Who gave Mark Lloyd that shirt?! It's like one of those blue sparkle girl shirts except that it's a boy on the shirt. I don't know who thinks that sort of thing is stylish. The only guys in WWE who know how to dress are Tazz and Booker T. Well, maybe Jericho. His clothes are cool because they're unique.
Vince is headed to Hamilton... why would he come to Hamilton? Why, to get his hands on Zach Gowen, of course! We come back and eat up some minutes with everyone's intros. I guess that's fine.
5) Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar and Zach Gowen vs. The Big Show and The World's Greatest Tag Team: Kurt and Shelton start things off with some compelling amateur manoeuvres. Haas comes in and they do more pro-style stuff. Angle tags in Lesnar, and boy does he put the pizzazz into his power moves tonight. Shoulders to the gut of Haas. Belly to belly on Haas. Huge press slam. Zach tags in and Lesnar tosses him into Haas and Benjamin. Gowen gets off a leg drop, covers, and Haas kicks out. Shelton finds Zach with a vicious clothesline and WGTT double-team him. Show comes in. Zach punches back but gets tossed and chopped down. Brock takes out Show at the leg to stop the choke slam. Kyoto misses the chance to count a pinfall, and Show kicks out and knocks down Angle and Lesnar and tosses Zach off the apron. Angle and Brock double team Show out of the ring and then turn to Haas and Benjamin. Meanwhile, Vince comes out with a chair and strikes Zach in his one leg. Kurt vertical suplexes his man. Kurt and Brock notice what happened to Zach and some other refs come down to take him away and we go to break. As we come back, I'm wondering how much of this is necessary. We've been seeing variations on this match maybe a trifle much, but at least they try to give us something new every time. Show finds Angle with a Sidewalk Slam. During the break, Show ran Lesnar's head into the post. Benjamin works on Angle, and Angle battles back. Knee to the gut by Benjamin, who tags in Haas. Vertical suplex and Angle gets the shoulder up. I've never heard ("Angle! Angle!") so loud in years. Haas knocks Lesnar out of his corner. The WGTT double team leapfrog Angle at the ropes, though Brock tries to stop it. Cover, and Angle kicks out. THIS PLACE IS LOUD. Show vertical suplexes Angle. Show gets Angle in a half Boston Crab, but Angle reverses it and Show has to kick out of a cover. Clothesline by Show. Haas tags in, and puts a belly-to-belly on Angle. Shelton kicks Angle in the chin. He hooks the leg, but Lesnar makes the save. Haas and Angle exchange punches. Haas finds Angle with a clothesline. Angle clotheslines Shelton. Can Angle get to Lesnar? Yes. Lesnar and Show meet up. Lesnar puts him down with a forearm and finds belly-to-belly suplexes for Haas and Benjamin. He runs Haas into the turnbuckles. He shoulders Benjamin in the gut five times but walks into Show's boot. Choke slam? No, Lesnar lands on his feet and gives Show a vertical suplex. Lesnar tags in Angle and knocks Benjamin and Haas out of the action. Angle takes the straps down. Ankle lock! on Show. Lesnar fends off Haas and gives him an F-5 over Angle and Show and accidentally clips Angle in the head with Haas' boots, breaking the hold. It's just Angle and Show now, and Show finds Angle with the Choke Slam. It's over.
Outside, Lesnar puts Haas and Benjamin in a heap. Some victory for them. Lesnar gets a chair and whacks Show five times. Lesnar boots Show down in the corner. Haas gets an F-3. Angle wants the chair now, but Lesnar doesn't want to give it up. Angle punks Brock out, and Brock finally lets loose on him. Angle is ready, and he is about to put Brock through and Angle Slam but Show double choke slams the pair and the show's over.
Grade (B+): I've seen worse. This was like watching last week's show all over again, except perhaps for the car waxing and the inclusion of Rhyno. At least most of the show had something to do with Vengeance.
As I've said, I've stopped watching RAW and listening to the LAW and I miss both already. I'm taking the hiatus because I won't be able to see at least the next two Pay-Per-Views, and will be away from satellite / cable sets (or at least ones that I could freely watch wrestling on) for extended periods over the next month and change. Just to make things clear, my departure, whether temporary or permanent, has little or nothing to do with the product, which has been surprisingly mediocre lately.
In fact, to make myself the Anti-Garside =) here's a few things that I will miss the most during my time away:
- Chris Jericho doing anything
- Tazz's match analysis
- Chuck from Detroit
- People with their CAPS LOCK stuck on Your Call! ("THIS WAS THE BEST SHOW EVER!!" "PROMETH19THEMASKEDSUPREMEPERSONOFTHENONWWERINGIMASMARTMARK, YOU'RE TOTALLY STUPID!! THIS SHOW SUCKED!!" lather rinse repeat "JERICHOSUCKS, JERICHO ROCKS!!" "JERICHOROCKS, JERICHO SUCKS!!")
- Matches of the calibre of Benoit vs. Angle at Royal Rumble 2003 (and there ought to be some).
So take care everyone, and thank you for all your feedback. Someone mark out for O'Haire for me.
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