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Dr. Tom's Penultimate Smackdown! Report: 5/22/03, May 22, 2003
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post Jun 19 2003, 04:14 PM
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WWE SMACKDOWN! 5/22/03

This is my penultimate (that means “second to last,” for those who stopped reading in sixth grade) Smackdown! Report, loyal readers. Since I got home from class at about 9:15, this is going to be a hybrid of watching the last 45 minutes of the show live, and the previous hour-plus on tape. The parts I watched “live” will have the more detailed write-ups.

On tape from Greensboro, Noth Calina, this is WWE Smackdown! for 22 May 2K3. Your bobbleheads are Michael Cole and Taz(z).

Vince McMahon is here tonight, and decides to place the blame for all his problems with daughter Stephanie’s decision to sign Mr. America sight unseen. Since he’s persistently failed to unmask Mr. America as the devious Hulk Hogan, he’s taking over tonight’s show, and promises it’ll end with a smile on his face. We’ll see.

Tag Team Title Match: Eddy Guerrero and Tajiri vs. Team Angle. Tajiri and Benjamin reverse nicely off of arm holds until Tajiri gets a backslide for 2. Eddy breaks up a double-team, causing the challengers to bail. Haas gets worked over in the corner, and Eddy tags in and goes to town. Benjamin ends up on the floorm and Tajiri somersaults onto both members of Team Angle. Commercial break, and after the break, Eddy is getting worked over in the corner, Haas cuts off the tag, then manages to lift the knees on a desperation Frog Splash. Haas of Pain is locked in, but Tajiri breaks it up. Haas cuts off the tag again and Team Angle does the leapfrog choke on the ropes. Benjamin adds a nice Northern Lights suplex, but Eddy fights off the heels with headscissors. Tajiri gets the hot tag and kicks the SHIT out of everyone he sees. Tarantula for Benjamin, but Haas breaks it up. Benjamin superkicks Tajiri, and Eddy saves the pin with a chairshot. He then tosses the chair to Haas, who gets caught with and gets his team DQ’ed at 15:33. Nice to see Eddy adding an inventive dimension to the concept of CHEATING TO WIN~! This was an excellent tag match with a definite old-school flavor. We need one of these every week. 8/10
(Winners: Eddy Guerrero and Tajiri via DQ at 15:33)


Meanwhile, Vince and Stephanie have a not-fascinating conversation about control.

Since we haven’t seen enough of Vince yet, he joins us in the ring. He says Rotund Roddy Piper will pay for not winning at the PPV. Vince slaps Piper, triggering a geriatric near-brawl, but Sean O’Haire breaks it up and takes responsibility for Judgment Day. Vince books O’Haire vs. Mr. America tonight, with the stip that Piper is fired if O’Haire doesn’t win.

Ice Ice Cena vs. Spanky. Spanky hammers away, shrugs off an elbow, and hammers away some more. Cena kills him dead with a clothesline, suplexes him, and pounds away. Spanky rallies briefly with an enzuigiri, but Cena regains control and finishes with the FU. (I forgot to start the stopwatch for this one.) Pretty disappointing, really, since with a few more minutes, this wouldn’t have been a glorified squash for Cena. Then again, Spanky supposedly has a concussion, so this might have been all he could do. 1.5/10
(Winner: John Cena, pinfall via FU)


Matt Hardy v1.0 (with MFers) vs. Chris Benoit. Tonight’s Matt facts: he likes his steak medium-well (heathen – a real man eats his steak well goddamn done), and has more teeth than Benoit. Benoit grabs a quick Crossface, but Matt gets to the ropes. A wristlock leads to Benoit unleashing the mad choppage, then hitting a German suplex. A Moore lowblow gives Matt the edge, which he capitalizes on with a Side Effect. Benoit blocks the Twist of Fate and snap suplexes Matt down. Back suplex sets up the Kamikaze Headbutt, but the MFers get involved. Rey Mysterio takes care of them, and Benoit counters the Twist of Fate into the Crossface for the tapout at 8:08. Very good stuff here – Benoit sold like a madman for Matt, and both guys brought their A-games to the ring. It’s a shame there’s no secondary title on this show for Benoit. 7/10
(Winner: Chris Benoit, submission via Crippler Crossface at 8:08)


After the bell, Matt offers Rey a title shot whenever he wants it ... presuming he can beat both MFers right now to earn it.

Rey Mysterio vs. Crash Not-Holly and Shannon Moore. Rey dumps Moore, but gets backdropped to the floor and posted. Double-team powerbomb gets 2, but Rey turns the tandem suplex into a double DDT. Bombs Away for Crash, and a springboard crossbody gets 2. It looked like Rey injured his groin there. They have to hurry the finish, so a limping 619 and an abbreviated West Coast Pop (with Moore’s leg beneath the ropes) eliminates Shannon. Crash tries a powerbomb, but Rey ‘ranas out for the pin at 3:45. This had a good vibe going before they had to cut it off for Rey’s injury. Considering that Mike Piazza is going to miss months (and maybe the season) with a groin injury, I hope Rey doesn’t meet a similar fate. 3/10
(Winner: Rey Mysterio, double pinfalls at 3:31 and 3:45)


After the break, Stephanie McMahon interviews Zach Gowen, aka Tenacious Z. When Zach was eight, in 1991, he had to have his left leg amputated to stop the spread of a form of bone cancer. At the time, the Make-A-Wish Foundation approached him, offering to grant him his wish of meeting Hulk Hogan, but he declined since he knew he was going to live. His goal is to be a Smackdown! Wrestler. Vince watches the end of the interview and gives one of those arrogant smirks. Y’know, Stephanie’s improved on-camera a lot in her WWE tenure, but she just doesn’t make a good interviewer.

After the break, Mr. America poses backstage, only to be interrupted by Vince. He has a stip: if Mr. America loses tonight, he has to take a lie detector test next week. And if he doesn’t, Zach doesn’t get a contract anywhere in the world. Vince goes on a red-faced rant after Mr. America calls him an SOB.

Non-Title Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Johnny Stamboli (with the rest of the FBI). All 3 FBI types get in the ring to start, and Brock quickly goes down to superior numbers. Stamboli remains in and works Brock over in the corner. Brock bulls him (no pun intended) into the opposite corner, then back again, then takes his head clean off with a clothesline. Brock takes Stamboli down with a fallaway slam, then brings the apron-dwelling Nunzio in the hard way. Palumbo drags Lesnar out and sends him into the ringpost while the referee is apparently distracted. Brock gets sent back in and gets posted by Stamboli. He legdrops the bad arm, brother, and works that into an armbar, then a cross-armbreaker. Brock powers out, standing up and slamming Stamboli down with a spinebuster-like move. Both men are down. Stamboli misses a charge, and Brock capitalizes with an overhead suplex. Kick-Wham-F5, but Palumbo comes in and breaks it up, drawing the DQ at 4:12. The FBI does a triple-team beatdown after the bell, and The Undertaker runs out to make the save and clear the ring. Decent power match before the DQ. 4/10
(Winner: Brock Lesnar via DQ at 4:12)


Sable comes out to the ring to show off the fact that she’s the cover girl on this month’s WWE rag. Tazz gets called on th carpet for awarding the PPV bikini contest to Torrie Wilson without consulting the fans first. Sable refreshes herself by pouring water on her chest. Always an excellent way for a woman to cool down, sez I, especially if wearing a white T-shirt. Sable felt Tazz’s decision was premature, then makes the expected crack that premature comes naturally to him. She dumps the rest of her water bottle on Tazz, which causes him to leap out of his chare and glare impotently at her. I would have laughed my ass off had he put her in the Tazzmission right there.

Meanwhile, Vince reiterates that Piper will be fired if Sean O’Haire doesn’t beat Mr. America tonight.

Main Event: Mr. America (with Zach Gowen) vs. Sean O’Haire (with Rotund Roddy Piper). I’m just going to call Mr. America “Hogan” here to make things easier. A pair of lockups, and O’Haire overpowers Hogan each time. They lock it up again, with Hogan shoving O’Haire into the corner. He punches away and clotheslines O’Haire in the corner. Piper grabs his leg and gets dragged up to the apron, but O’Haire stops that by charging Hogan from behind. He slams him and kicks away, covering for 2. A running kick to Hogan’s face gets 2. O’Haire grabs a headlock, turning it into a head vice. Piper screams for the bell as the ref checks Hogan. The arm falls once, then twice, but does not fall thrice. Hogan elbows out, but gets kicked right back down. Hulk up, three rights, big boot, and the legdrop, brother, but Piper pulls Hogan off at 2. Vince comes out, with police, to arrest Zach Gowen for trespassing and assault. Yay, a lame police angle in the middle of a lame match. Hogan goes out to intervene and gets counted out at 7:06. So, a lame countout to end a lame match featuring a lame police angle. It’s not often you get the triumvirate of lame in one match, friends. Hogan walks up the ramp after Vince, but gets chaired down by Piper. DUD
(Winner: Sean O’Haire via countout at 7:06)


The breakdown:

The Good: The opening tag team match was excellent, with a nice old-school Southern feel to it. Benoit and Matt Hardy put on quite a good match, also. Rey’s handicap match was looking good before his injury, and the Lesnar/Stamboli match was a decent power clash. The Cena squash and the main event were nothing, but you can’t win ‘em all every week.

The Bad: Too much Vince. There’s no reason he should be the show’s top heel. Build up a new star (like Cena and O’Haire, both of whom could be easily groomed for the role) to serve that purpose and complement Kurt Angle when he comes back. Also, the Mr. America crap is getting tiresome. I’m sure the “lie detector test” next week will be a farce that leads to some kind of match at the Smackdown PPV in June. Be still my beating heart.

The Ugly: Rey’s injury could be a very tough break. Let’s hope he’s only shelved for a week or two.

Overall: There was a definite drop in quality after the first hour was over, but this was still an above-average show. There was too much Vince and too much drivel with “Mr. America” for my liking. Hurry back, Kurt, because I’m sick of Vince TV already. 6/10

Next week, my era of recapping Smackdown! every week comes to a close. Be there for the big finale.

Dr. Tom
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