WWE SMACKDOWN! 12/26/02

Ho Ho Ho: Whatever you celebrated this December – Xmas, Hanukah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, or Saturnalia – I hope it was a good one.

The opening video shows Kurt Angle ducking Brock Lesnar’s challenge before revealing he was in league with Paul Heyman all along.

On tape from Tulsa, Oklahoma, this is WWE Smackdown! for National Gift Return Day 2K2. Your hosts are Michael Cole and Taz(z).

It’s a promo to open the show this week, as GM Stephanie McMahon sashays to the ring with some canned heat playing in the background. She informs us that the advertised match between Angle and The Big Slow will not take place. It seems Angle was “injured” by Brock after the show went off the air last week, and Steph will air footage later to prove it. Angle might not be able to compete until the Royal Rumble. This draws out Slow to object. Slow gets in Steph’s face about being Angle’s opponent for the Rumble. She doesn’t back away from him, but she sprouts wings and flies out of the ring when Brock’s in her grill? That helps get your “giant” over, yessiree. Steph books Slow in a #1 Contender’s match against Chris Benoit. Slow whines some more, drawing Benoit out. He might need a ladder to get in Slow’s face, but I’ll be damned if he’s not trying. Slow informs Benoit that he’ll only win by bringing Slow down to his size, so Benoit does just that by walloping Slow right in the junk. Good tactic, that.

Bill DeMott vs. Crash. This is apparently Crash’s revenge for the mad cruiserweight-squashing rampage DeMott went on last week. Crash tries to pull DeMott out before the bell, but is greeted with a boot to the head. Bill posts Crash’s arm a few times, then works the arm in the ring. Crash gets in some token jobber offense before DeMott finishes him with a powerbomb and moonsault. I’ve never liked the taste of squash, myself. DUD
(Winner: Bill DeMott, pinfall via moonsault at ~2:00)


Meanwhile, Dawn Marie and Mr. Charisma exchange holiday gifts. Viagra and a camcorder, in case you actually give two pins about any of this meaningless tripe.

Matt Hardy v1.0 and Shannon Moore head to the ring. Today’s Mattitude.com facts: Matt was MVP of the ‘99 No Mercy ladder match, and he always sticks to his New Year’s resolution. Matt says that Brock is a problem that's destroying Smackdown. Matt shows footage from last week, of Brock decimating both Moore and Matt. He says Brock must be stopped, so he challenges Brock to a match next week. Matt says MATTITUDE~! needs to go to a whole new level, so he beats the hell out of Moore to prove that.

Meanwhile, Angle (on crutches) arrives with Heyman, who’s inspired by Angle’s toughness and courage. Truly he is an inspiration to us all.

Tag Title Match: Los Guerreros vs. Billy Kidman and Edge. Kidman and Chavo start. Chavo armdrags Kidman into a wristlock, but Kidman reverses to a hammerlock. He hiptosses both Guerreros, then catapults Chavo off the ropes into a dropkick of Eddy. Kidman armdrags Chavo down and locks in an armbar. Chavo knees his way out of it and whips Kidman into the ropes, where Eddy has a knee to the back waiting. Chavo tosses Kidman out for some abuse from Eddy. Back in, Chavo backbreakers Kidman and holds him for Eddy’s slingshot senton. Eddy batters Kidman down, but Kidman flips out of a suplex and drops Eddy with an enzuigiri. Edge tags in and clotheslines Eddy down. He backdrops both Guerreros, then faceplants Eddy. Edge goes up, wins a struggle with Chavo over the top rope, and comes down with a missile dropkick that takes out both Guerreros. He covers Eddy for 2. Chavo takes a flapjack, but Eddy kicks Edge’s knee out and slaps on the El Paso Lasso. Kidman bulldogs Eddy to break it. Chavo hits Kidman with a Cactus clothesline. Edge spears Eddy and gets 2 when Chavo saves. Chavo grabs the belts, and it looks like the Guerreros are packing it in. The ref adds a stipulation that they’ll lose the titles if they get counted out. The count reaches 6 when a commercial break intrudes. Back from the break, Edge misses a spear on Eddy and goes shoulder-first into the buckle. Chavo comes in and works the arm briefly before getting 2 off a European uppercut. Chavo goes to the chinlock, and Edge fights out. He hits the Edge-O-Matic and crawls for the tag. Eddy tags in first and cheap-shots Kidman off the apron. Edge flapjacks both Guerreros, and there’s the hot tag to Kidman. Kidman goes into house afire mode, and it’s dropkicks for everyone. Chavo takes the Death Valley neckbreaker, but Eddy saves and plants Kidman with a back suplex. He misses the Frog Splash, though he recovers to toss Edge out. Kidman dropkicks Eddy out and powerbombs Chavo. He goes up and hits the Shooting Star Press. Eddy pulls the ref out at 2, and the bell rings for the DQ. However, the ref restarts the match with a no-DQ stip since he felt Los Guerreros were intentionally trying to get DQ’ed. Eddy and Chavo get knocked off the apron, and Kidman pounds Chavo in the ring. Chavo whips Kidman toward the corner, which he turns into a baseball slide on Eddy. Chavo tries to powerbomb Kidman, but Kidman has an X-Factor ready as the counter. He goes up for the SSP again, but Eddy shoves him to the floor. Edge goes to work on Eddy in the ring without a tag – smart, since it’s no DQ. Chavo grabs a belt, but he misses the beltshot. Edge takes the belt and waylays Chavo with it. Again, smart. Kidman’s still the legal man, though, and he crawls over for the cover, forcing Eddy to make the save at 2. Edge clotheslines Eddy out, but gets pulled out by A-Train. Train hits the over-the-shoulder backbreaker on Edge. Chavo holds Kidman down, and Eddy finishes him with the Frog Splash. Call it 11:12, not counting the commercial break and time spent on the stips. I’m not a fan of the run-in ending, but this was some hella good tag team action otherwise. 7.5/10
(Winners: Los Guerreros, Eddy pins Kidman, pinfall via Frog Splash at 11:12)


After the break, the footage airs from after 10:00 last week. Brock gets beaten down by Angle and Slow as the crowd chants his name. Brock wails on Slow and clotheslines him out, then goes to work on Angle. Slow tries to bring a chair in, so Brock crotches him on the top rope and clobbers him with it. Angle tries to get away, but Brock grabs him and tosses him into the post, knee-first. It was basically an F5 that was aborted early when Angle’s leg smashed into the post. After the refs come out to tend to Angle, Brock picks him up and drops him knee-first on the barricade. Angle gets help hobbling to the back.

After the break, Heyman is already in the ring, and blames Stephanie for Angle’s injuries, since she forced him to admit his alliance with Paul. Paul asks for the fans to refrain from the normal “You suck!” chants when Angle comes out, so of course, they chant even louder. Angle calls Brock a disgrace, and says he only won the title because of Heyman. Angle says he’s done everything Brock did – on his own, no less – and won Olympic gold on top of that. Angle says all athletes have agents, but you don’t see Kobe Bryant attacking Michael Jordan with a chair, do you. When the man has a point, folks, he has a point. Angle has a fit of pique at the fans’ bloodlust, and swears Brock will never get a title shot against him. Heyman reveals his latest contingency plan: Team Angle, consisting of Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin. They both have amateur backgrounds, which Heyman talks up at length. It’s good to see a pair of new guys debut and get an immediate rub from people like Angle and Heyman.

After another break, NUMBAH ONE Announcer Funaki waits outside Torrie Wilson’s locker room.

B-2 (with Ice Ice Cena) vs. Rikishi. One week, B-2 is 265 pounds, the next week, 326. I guess that’s the quick way to become a HOSS BAH GAWD~! They brawl on the floor, and B2 goes into the steps. Cena takes third chair at the announce table. In the ring, Rikishi pounds B2 and superkicks him. Cena pulls him out before the Stinkface. B2 legdrops Rikishi across the neck as he tries to get back in the ring. Out they go, and it’s Rikishi’s turn to eat the steps. Rikishi gets posted, but recovers enough to send B2's head into the table. Back in, B2 hits the rebound clothesline for 2. Rikishi dumps him and beats on Cena. Cena tosses B2 a bling-bling chain, but he whiffs on the punch. Superkick and Banzai Drop finish him at 2:23. I fail to see how this gets either Cena or B-2 over. DUD
(Winner: Rikishi, pinfall via Banzai Drop at 2:23)


Meanwhile, Torrie says she doesn’t know if she’ll be at the wedding next week. Dear Old Dad wanders up to tell Torrie she’s self-centered, and that he hopes his next kid isn’t such a disappointment. WHEN WILL THIS END!?!

After the break, Los Guerreros run into the Wannabe Twins. Eddy and Chavo’s mock white guy accents are absolutely hilarious, especially when they talk like wannabes themselves. Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock aren't the only ones who can do that voice well.

Meanwhile, Benoit promises to win the #1 Contender’s match, then the title itself.

Meanwhile, Angle gives Slow a pep talk, and promises to be there in spirit.

Main Event, #1 Contender’s Match: Chris Benoit vs. The Big Slow (with Paul Heyman). Benoit chops away, but Slow shoves him down. More chops from Benoit, but Slow tosses him into the corner and does some chops of his own. Benoit, of course, sells it like someone poured Napalm on his chest. Slow does something that looks vaguely like a superkick. Benoit tries a Crossface, but Slow shrugs that off and military presses him. Slow kicks away at Benoit. Benoit tries to chop his way back into this one. He goes for the Crossface again, but Slow blocks it by being TOO FAT, and sidewalk slams Benoit to counter. Slow removes a turnbuckle pad and chops Benoit some more. He whips Benoit toward the exposed buckle, but Benoit slides out of the ring. Slow waddles after him in chase, so Benoit gets the drop on him coming back in. Benoit kicks the crouching Slow and dropkicks his knee. He goes for the German suplex . . . and gets it! Benoit goes up, and because of Slow’s massive girth, the Kamikaze Headbutt ends up looking more like a splash. Whatever it was, it gets 2. Slow charges Benoit, but Benoit trips him up and sends him into the exposed turnbuckle. Slow basically no-sells it and goes for a chokeslam, but Benoit rolls him up and picks up the pin with the aid of the bottom rope. Pretty plodding match, and what did work was 110% Chris Benoit. 2/10
(Winner: Chris Benoit, pinfall via rope-assisted rollup at 6:40)

(Forgive the time if it’s not correct there: my stopwatch obstinately refused to reset, and I didn’t record the initial time on it. The figure is a guess, but it should be reasonably close.)

After the bell, Team Angle jumps Benoit. Benjamin and Haas do some nice double-team offense, with a Benjamin superkick enabling a pretty nasty German suplex from Haas. Slow adds the chokeslam, and Benoit gets dragged up the ramp. Angle comes out and talks trash to Benoit before choking him out with one of his crutches.

The breakdown:

The Good: As far as the matches go, the only good one was the tag title match. Angle’s injury angle was done well, and Angle turned in his best mike work in a while to help it along. It was also good to see promising youngsters like Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin debut. I’ve seen them both in dark matches, and it’s good to see them getting a shot now, especially in such a high-profile angle. No pun intended.

The Bad: The Torrie/Al Wilson/Dawn Marie storyline continues. I really hope it ends next week, though I have a feeling it’ll end up festering like an open wound for a while after that. The rest of the matches were nothing to write home about, with Benoit dragging a watchable match out of Big Slow the only thing of note.

The Ugly: Four matches!? FOUR!?! That’s a travesty. There’s NO way the focus should ever be outside the ring as heavily as it was tonight.

Overall: Ho ho ho, this show sure did blow. I hope it was just a holiday letdown; next week’s first effort of ‘03 will be telling in that respect. It’s appropriate this episode was filmed for Xmas, because it certainly was a turkey. Here’s hoping the new year brings some better shows. 3/10

Dr. Tom
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