Here’s hoping this is a better show than Raw. Monday, Raw came to my hometown of Baltimore, and it was the first time in the last five years that I’ve been unable to make a WWE/F show at the Arena. Watching it on TV Monday, I’m really glad I wasn’t there live.

As always, feedback can be directed to this address.

A good montage of Hogan clips old and new segues into footage of Brock Lesnar in full monster mode. That’s a good video to set up tonight’s match.

On tape (two days earlier than normal, for those scoring at home) from Richmond, VA, this is WWE Smackdown for 8/8/02. Calling the action are Michael Cole and Taz(z).

Opening Match: Kurt Angle vs. John Cena. Angle starts with a fireman’s carry into an armbar. Cena shoulderblocks him, and Angle bails after a big right. Angle hits the shoulderblock on this go-round, but the big right gets him again. Cena powerslams Angle for 2, but gets tossed. Angle introduces him to the steel steps. That’s nice of him to show the rookie around like that. Back in, Angle wails on Cena in the corner. They exchange chops, and Angle gets a pair of overhead belly-to-belly suplexes for 2. Cena blocks a vertical suplex and hits one of his own. Angle backbreakers him for 2 and goes to the chinlock. Cena fights out, but walks into a pair of Germans. He blocks the third and drops Angle with a DDT, leaving them both down. They brawl, leading to a flying jalapeno from Cena. Angle grabs a quick Anglelock, but Cena finds the counter just as quickly. Cena gets 2 off the Protobomb. Angle posts himself on a charge, and Cena dropkicks him off the apron. Angle hits the steps on the way down and looks to be in danger of losing by countout. Cue the schmoz, as Chris Benoit runs in and slaps the Crossface on Cena. (DQ @ 8:17) Rey Mysterio dumps Benoit, but walks into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker from Eddy Guerrero. Edge does the last run-in and saves the day. Looks like we’re getting a six-man later. This was a good match to jerk the curtain. If Cena can’t learn a lot being in the ring with Angle, then he just can’t learn. It looks like he's learning. 6/10

Meanwhile, Marc Loyd asks Benoit and Eddy why they left Raw for Smackdown. Eddy puts Benoit over in Spanglish, but Angle objects to the “Master of Submission” tag and answers in Hip Whitey. Benoit and Angle debate the merits of competition before Eddy reminds them they need to book themselves into that six-man match.

Reverend D’Von Damn Dudley (with Batista) vs. Mark Henry (with canned heat). Henry plays fat strongman for a while. D’Von gets in a clothesline and fistdrop, then does a leaping stomp onto Henry’s chest. That’s all for his offense, as Henry clubs him and tosses him around some more, even breaking out a Harlem sidekick. Well, that was unexpectedly impressive. Big powerslam ends it at 2:46. Brief, but a little better than I expected, and the Harlem Sidekick was surprising to see from a big man like Henry. 1.5/10

Post-bell, Batista attacks Henry, only to get thwarted by Rikishi. This leads to . . .

Impromptu Match: Rikishi vs Batista. Rikishi clotheslines Batista, but can’t hiptoss him. Batista hits an Uncle Slam and chokes Rikishi in the corner. A clothesline leaves Rikishi under the ropes, and Batista chokes him on the apron. Rikishi hits a DDT and goes for the Fatass Splash, but Batista kicks him the back. D’Von tries to cheapshot Rikishi, but hits Batista instead, and Rikishi nails a superkick for the win at 2:39. They’ve done a decent job of protecting Batista thus far, so jobbing him to Rikishi doesn’t make sense, even if it sets up him turning on D’Von. I mean, it’s Rikishi, for chrissakes. DUD

Meanwhile, Brock Lesnarberg and Paul E. Dangerously decide to pay Hollywood Hulk Hogan a visit.

After the break, Brock lets Hogan talk him into putting the title shot on the line tonight. Heyman has kittens over it before Brock shouts him down.

This segues into a catfight between Torrie Wilson and Nidia that their respective menfolk have to break up. Damn, bitches be trippin’. My smarky-sense is buzzing about a mixed tag match later.

Tag Match: The Ambiguously Gay Duo (with Rico) vs. The Hurricane and Shannon Moore. After 2 weeks on Velocity, this matchup makes its prime-time debut. Chuck pounds Hurricane, but takes a drop toehold. The Shining Wizard only gets 2, because we’re an Occidental nation. Moore comes in off a blind tag with a top-rope legscissors. Billy comes in and pounds on him until Moore hits a dropkick. Hurricane plants Billy with a swinging DDT. He tries to double-chokeslam the heels, but takes a double flapjack for his troubles. Billy wails on Hurricane in the corner, but a missed charge sets up a Helms neckbreaker. Tags all around, and Moore goes into house-cleaning mode. He hits a nice corkscrew moonsault on Chuck, but turns around into the One and Only. Hurricane chokeslams Billy and knocks Rico off the apron. He follows with a pescado onto the stylist. Moore tries a ‘rana, but Chuck catches him and they go for the Doomsday Device (renamed “Code Red” here). Moore ducks and rolls up Chuck for the win at 4:36. Decent little match, but it plodded when Billy Gunn was in the ring. 3/10

Meanwhile, Cena whines to Edge about Benoit’s interference. Mysterio promises to take care of Angle in the six-man, to the surprise of his partners.

After the break, Paul chats up Stephanie McMahon, who’s more interested in finding Dawn Marie than doing anything about Paul’s problem with the title shot.

Six-Man Tag Match: Edge, John Cena, and Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle, Eddy Guerrero, and Chris Benoit. We’re joined in progress after a word from our sponsors. Angle chops away on Edge, but Edge hits an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Angle’s is better, in case you were curious. Benoit comes in, and walks right into a flapjack. Mysterio gets tossed around, but drops Benoit with a headscissors. Eddy comes in and works the arm, which Rey fights out of into a ‘rana. Cena and Eddy slug it out, and Cena suplexes Eddy for 2. Cena gets double-teamed in the corner, and Benoit snap suplexes him for 2. Angle wails away on the rookie and goes to the chinlock. Cena fights out, but Angle plants him with a big spinebuster. Looks like he’s been watching Tough Enough. Eddy comes in with a slingshot senton for 2. Benoit does a HIGH back suplex to Cena and chops away. Guerrero suplexes him and goes for the Frog Splash, but Rey interferes long enough to allow Cena to superplex Eddy down. Angle and Edge come in, and Edge is a house afire. He spears all the heels before Benoit hits a German. Mysterio bulldogs Benoit, then takes a nice brainbuster from Eddy. Cena Protobombs Guerrero, only to take an Olympic Slam. Rey smacks Angle with the 619, and hits the springboard hurricanrana for the win at 10:05. This had good action all the way through, culminating with a very hot ending. Is it just me, or was Edge the legal man there, though? 8/10

During the break, Angle kirked out over the loss, and complained to Loyd that he got pinned by a 12 year-old. Heh. Angle correctly points out that Mysterio was the illegal man, and questions his legality as a citizen.

Steamy Intergender Action: Nidia and Jamie Noble vs. Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson. Noble blindsides Kidman and hits a quick Northern Lights suplex for 2. Kidman headscissors him and gets 2 off a sit-out powerbomb. Nidia comes in, so Kidman tosses Noble into her, then tosses Noble out. He goes to spank Nidia, but Kidman saves his girlfriend’s honor . . . um, how about he just saves his girlfriend, with a dropkick. Noble gets tossed out again, and Torrie comes in to spank her. Kidman misses a pescado onto Noble, and Nidia rolls Torrie up at 1:59. At least it was only two minutes. DUD

Meanwhile, Dawn Marie and Yummy Stacy bicker over who gets to give Stephanie the papers and boff 100% Vince later. Stacy takes the papers and hides them under the couch.

After the break, Stacy does her best to get Dawn in a lot of trouble. She then hands the papers to a lurking Easy Eric Bischoff. He’s smiling, so that envelope must have the recent Smackdown ratings in it.

Meanwhile, Hogan holds court with Loyd, brother. Hogan promises to crush the young whippersnapper with the power of Hulkamania.

Main Event: Brock Lesnarberg (with Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Let’s see, with the title shot on the line, Brock has nothing to gain and everything to lose. By conventional booking, wouldn’t that make him the face? They stare it down, and Hogan circles Brock. Finally, a lockup at 1:08. Brock wins the lockup and pounds Hogan down. Hogan punches his way back and clotheslines Brock. He drops the elbows and dumps Brock out. Lesnar is frustrated outside the ring. I like that little subtext: Brock has been playing mind games of late, and here, it looks like he’s losing one and is none too happy about it. While Heyman and the ref are discussing the Mutumbo-Van Horn trade, however, Brock crotches Hogan on the post twice. He drops the elbows and shoulders Hogan in the corner. Hogan gets tossed, and Brock beats on him outside. He goes to dismantle the announce table, but Hogan is back up, and he tosses Brock into the ringpost. Back in, Hogan tries for the ten-punch countalong, but Lesnar tires of it at six and powerbombs him out of the corner for 2. He pounds away, but Hogan is hulking up. Three rights, big boot . . . and Brock kicks him to stop the legdrop. Hogan evades the F5, and hits another big boot. He knocks Heyman off the apron, and THERE’s the legdrop . . . for 2! Another big boot, but Heyman grabs his leg on the second legdrop try. Hogan strangles Heyman, so Brock Pearl Harbors him and hits the F5. He doesn’t cover, though, instead slapping on a side bearhug. Hogan is bleeding from the mouth, which the announcers immediately put over as internal injuries. The arm falls once, it falls twice, and . . . it falls thrice at 10:02. Hogan’s spitting up blood in the ring. Brock gets a chair, and Hogan struggles to his feet, only to get whacked with said chair. He blades, and Brock rubs some of Hogan’s blood onto his chest as a badge of honor. That’s EXACTLY what they need to do with Lesnar: have him beat someone so bad that they’re injured and basically give up. It’s a shame they haven’t been doing that more, but better late than never, I guess. 4/10

Let’s break the show down, in a slightly different format.

The Good:

Cena and Angle jerked the curtain with a solid match, and the six-man tag in the middle of the show was first-rate. It looks like Angle and Mysterio are going to throw it down at Summerslam, and the seeds for that were planted nicely tonight. Brock Lesnar got a meaningful win, in a very meaningful fashion, over Hogan. Angle’s promo work during each of his interviews was dead-on for his character and very well-done.

The Bad:

The best thing to say about the intergender match is that it was brief. Putting Rikishi over Batista is a questionable move. I’ll like it better if Batista splits with D’Von and the Dudley Boyz get back together, since neither of them are doing anything significant.

The Ugly:

Nothing goes here this week, which means this show is already way better than Raw.

Overall:

A solid but unspectacular show, and much more enjoyable to watch than Raw. One very good match helps cover the multitude of sins elsewhere, so I’ll give this week’s show a favorable nod overall. 6/10

Dr. Tom