WWE SMACKDOWN! 12/12/02

Right off the bat: I’m fighting a losing battle against the flu right now, so my apologies in advance if this report is not up to its usual standard of excellence. It’s a little later than normal because I had to run out and buy some OTC medication to make it until the morning.

Last week, Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie almost did their own HLA show. It’s a shame that such a well-produced video was dedicated to such a pointless segment.

On tape from Hot-lanta, GA, this is WWE Smackdown for 12 December 2002. Your hosts are Michael Cole and Taz(z).

Opening Match: Rikishi vs. B-2 (with Ice Ice Cena). I guess he’s not “B-Squared” anymore. At least that saves me the trouble of using superscript about 50 times. B2 does some posing, so Rikishi slugs him down and strikes the same hip-hop pose. Rikishi controls a brawl ans backdrops B2. B stops that with a knee to the gut, snd goes postal in the corner. B2 does the turnaround clothesline for 2 – the one he did when he was Bull Buchanan, when he runs toward the corner, leaps right to the top, and turns around with the clothesline. It’s a pretty nifty move, I’ll give him that. B2 goes to the headlock, and Rikishi fights out, then hits a Samoan Drop. Cena gets up on the apron, so Rikishi brings him in the hard way and slugs him back out. Why bring him in, then? Rikishi superkicks B2 and nails him with a superkick. He goes for the Stinkface, but Cena’s distraction allows B2 to lowblow Rikishi. The ref checks B2 for foreign objects, so Cena waffles Rikishi with his dope hip-hop neck chain, yo. B2 picks up the pin at 2:41. I’ve always liked the turnaround clothesline, but this match sure didn’t have anything else going for it. 0.5/10
(Winner: B2, Cena Greco-Roman bling-bling shot to the head @ 2:41)


Meanwhile, Torrie arrives and learns that Dawn has been a rumor-spreading tramp.

After the break, we go to footage of earlier today, when a Brock Lesnar autograph session was interrupted by Kurt Angle. Angle offers to get Brock’s suspension lifted if Brock will be in his corner against The Big Slow Sunday at Armageddon. Since Brock has been assured of not getting a title shot from Slow, Angle offers him first crack at the belt. Brock says he’ll think about it, if Kurt can get the suspension lifted.

Back at the arena, Paul Heyman and Slow give Albert his badly-needed new name: A-Train. Well, it’s a start, I guess, though for us football fans, it calls up images of injured running backs who had one good year. Josh Matthews informs Paul of the Angle-Brock meeting, and both he and Slow kirk out for a moment.

So let’s see . . . they have the A-Train and B-2. They could safely call Stephanie “Double D,” leaving C untapped for cheesy character names. Maybe someone could dye their hair orange and go by Vitamin C. Or even C4, if they’re especially EXPLOSIVE~!

Meanwhile, Paul and Slow fume at having to wait a moment to see Stephanie McMahon.

Earlier today, Bill DeMott cut an INTENSE~! promo about loving to beat people up.

Bill DeMott vs Shannon Moore. And the tough guy gets his chance against a fearsome cruiserweight. Bill slugs Shannon and suplexes him. A nasty powerbomb sends Moore to the apron, but he can’t do the rollup sliding back in. Bill pounds him again, and Moore gets in his token offense for the match with a rollup for 2. Bill powerslams Moore, and finishes with the moonsault at 1:35. Yay, a squash. DUD
(Winner: Bill DeMott, pinfall via moonsault @ 1:35)


Meanwhile, Paul pleads the case to keep Brock’s suspension intact. Steph gets irritated with Paul’s yelling, and decides to reinstate Brock effective Sunday.

Tag Title Match: Los Guerreros vs. Billy Kidman and Chris Benoit. Eddy and Benoit start and lock it up. Benoit grabs a headlock and takes Eddy down with a shoulderblock. Eddy escapes a quick try at the Crossface and brings the choppage to Benoit. Benoit whiffs on a wild chop, but recovers and pounds Eddy. Chavo comes in off the blind tag, but Benoit turns around and chops him. Benoit slams Chavo, and Kidman comes in over the top with a legdrop for 2. He follows with a ‘rana and a clothesline, but Chavo pounds him in the corner. Eddy adds to the beatings while the ref is distracted. Chavo suplexes Kidman, and Eddy slingshots in with the senton. Eddy pounds away and suplexes Kidman for 2. He snapmares Kidman, and Chavo adds the dropkick to the face after tagging in. Spinebuster gets 2, and Chavo tosses Kidman out so Eddy can administer some abuse. Eddy stays in without a tag (using the old heel hand-clapping to fool the ref) and tries to powerbomb Kidman, but Kidman couters with an X-Factor. Chavo gets the tag and chokes Kidman on the ropes. Kidman bulls him into the corner, but Chavo cuts off the tag, and Eddy comes in to pound away. Kidman wails away like a madman on Eddy and powerbombs him. Benoit gets the tag and brings the choppage to Eddy. He locks in the Crossface, and it’s time for an inconvenient commercial break. Back from the break, Kidman has a chinlock on Chavo. During the commercial, Eddy tapped to the Crossface, but the ref was otherwise occupied. Eddy lowers the rope on an Irish whip, sending Kidman to the floor. Eddy works him over, and teams with Chavo for a rolling leglace back in the ring. Eddy maintains the hold, but Benoit clubs him to break it. Kidman bodypresses Eddy on a suplex try for 2, but Eddy gets in some rudo kicks to the ribs. Eddy puts Kidman in a keylock, with Chavo helping the leverage. The Guerreros are playing great old-school heels. Benoit breaks it up with a dropkick. Chavo is in with no tag, and he goes right back to the arm. Kidman fights out, but Chavo knees him in the gut and cheap-shots Benoit. Eddy comes in, and Kidmans fight off both Guerreros. Benoit comes in, but it’s a false tag. He stays in and suplexes the shit out of Eddy and Chavo, and nails Eddy with the Kamikaze Headbutt. Chavo saves at 2. Why count the fall if Benoit isn’t the legal man? Benoit puts Chavo in the Crossface, but Kidman misses the Shooting Star Press on Eddy. Eddy capitalizes with the Flair Pin at 15:13. The commercial break sucked, but this match had a great old-school feel to it, thanks to the Guerreros’ great heel work. 8/10
(Winners: Los Guerreros, Eddy pins Kidman via Flair pin in the corner @ 15:13)


Meanwhile, Torrie confronts Dawn over the rumor-spreading. Torrie demands Dawn call off the wedding, as promised, but Dawn looks noncommital.

Raw Moment: HHHGH (with theme music he certainly didn’t have then) breaks up Stephanie’s wedding and introduces himself as he new groom.

Dawn comes out to the ring, ostensibly to call off the wedding to Mr. Charisma. The announcers seem quite relieved that Al might be on the way out. Dawn spins the HLA as happening because she missed Al so much. Come on, I’m ALREADY sick. It’s just bad form to pile on like that. This angle just gets dumber and dumber, especially considering that NO ONE involved is a wrestler. Al still wants to go thru with the wedding, so Dawn goes against her word and recommits to the ceremony. This brings Torrie out to destroy Dawn, and toss her old man around a bit in the process. Dawn promises to show the world a tape of what happened last week, at Armageddon.

Jamie Noble (with Nidia) vs. Crash. Noble kicks and pounds away, but Crash stops that with a hiptoss. He dropkicks Noble and hits an inverted atomic drop. They brawl, and Crash comes out a head with a clothesline and faceplant for 2. Noble counters the Tornado Bulldog and tries a ‘rana. Crash tries to turn that into the Crash Landing, but Noble’s cousin Nunzio assaults Crash for the DQ at 2:09. Nunzio caps off the beatdown with a fisherman’s buster. The match was obviously designed to introduce Nunzio, but it was boring for the two or so minutes it lasted. 1/10
(Winner: Crash, DQ via Nunzio interference at 2:09)


Meanwhile, Scott Steroid arrives, and everyone looks suitably excited.

After the break, Steiner hesitates signing the contract because Steph didn’t put out. Steiner puts her on the table and tries to get some instant gratification, but Steph isn’t having any of that. A “Slut!” chant rains down on Stephanie. Sure, she’s a slut because she didn’t put out – WWE "Logic" at its finest. Steiner decides that Steph is a tease, and announces he’s going to Raw, even going so far as to walk off with a gloating Easy Eric Bischoff.

Last week, Rey Mysterio was put out of action by the erstwhile Albert. The doctor of course says Rey’s injury might be career-threatening, but Rey vows to come back and take care of business.

Matthews talks to Edge, who’s still pissed about last week, when he says A-Train tore his MCL and injured his partner. Angle joins the promo, and Edge wonders if Kurt has his back.

Main Event: The Big Slow (with Paul Heyman) and A-Train vs. Edge and Kurt Angle. Edge and Slow start it off, and Slow powers Edge down. Edge kicks the leg, but Slow bulls him into the corners and chops. Edge hangs Slow, and Angle comes in to grab a headlock on A-Train. A-Train shoulderblocks him down, but Angle uses an amateur takedown to get the big man off his feet. A-Train slugs Angle in the corner, but Kurt elbows him on a charge. Angle goes up and hits a second-rope missile dropkick for 2. Edge kicks away, but gets sent hard into the corner and abused. Edge counters a miliary press into a sunset flip for 2, but A-Train bicycle kicks him coming off the ropes. He goes to work on the knee. Slow comes in and backbreakers Edge before going to work on the knee, also. Edge chops away, but Slow knees him in the gut and suplexes him for 2. A-Train works the wrong leg in the corner (they’d been working on the left so far, then Train suddenly went after the right), but Edge hammers away and gets a tornado DDT out of the corner. Slow and Angle are in, and Angle dropkicks Slow’s knee. He pounds away on the kneeling Slow, but A-Train breaks it up. A-Train misses a charge, and Angle kills him with a trfecta of German suplexes. Slow boots Angle ans powerbombs him, but turns around into a missle dropkick from Edge. Edge tries to batter Slow down, but Slow tosses him off to the side. Edge is resourceful enough to turn that into a spear on A-Train. Slow crotches himself trying a big boot, and Edge climbs again. This time, A-Train whacks him in the (wrong) knee with a chair. Slow beats on Angle and whips A-Train into him in the corner. Angle jawbreakers Slow, then steps aside, allowing the hollering A-Train to avalanche his own partner. Olympic Slam for A-Train, and Angle tries the same on Slow . . . and he gets it! That’s impressive, but I think it also cheapens Brock’s F5. Lesnar was put over as freakishly strong for getting Slow up for the F5, so what does that say about the sixty-pounds-lighter Angle? Anglelock, but Heyman distracts Angle into breaking it, and Slow ends the match with a chokeslam at 11:20. This was better than it had any right to be, mainly because Angle and Edge did the heel work and allowed Slow and A-Train to work within the confines of their limited power movesets. Going after the wrong leg was annoying, but the last few minutes had good heat, so I’ll ignore that. After the bell, A-Train does the over-the-shoulder backbreaker to Angle. That booking should mean he goes over at Armageddon, but with his knee surgery on the horizon, that really seems unlikely. 5/10
(Winners: Slow/A-Train, pinfall via chokeslam at 11:20)


The breakdown:

The Good: An excellent tag match highlighted this card, but the main event was better than I expected it to be, also. None of the other matches (and there were only five of them, damnit; that’s an annoying trend) were worth mentioning here.

The Bad: With all the lousy two-minute matches, it felt like I was watching Raw for a while. The Torrie-Dawn angle has gone on more than long enough, especially considering that neither of them actually wrestle. I wasn’t a big fan of the Steiner segment, since it was pretty much a given when he signed that he was going to Raw. And the inconsistent characterization of Stephanie McMahon continues.

The Ugly: Big Slow and A-Train in the main event? I don’t need help vomiting this week, guys.

Overall: Despite the main event being better than it should have, Smackdown suffers when people like Slow, A-Train, and Bill DeMott are pushed. Smackdown has always been about athletic competitors and good matches between great veterans, but those three have disrupted that groove quite nicely. Basically, this was Raw with a few better workers, and only two good matches saved it from completely sucking. I’ll score this one in the middle and hope for better next week. Now I'm off to go lie down and die for a few days. 5/10

Dr. Tom
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