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SmackDown from JHawk's Beak (July 3, 2003)

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Guest TSMAdmin

Smackdown from JHawk's Beak (7/3/2003)

by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins


Since most of you in the States will be reading this on July 4th, happy Independence Day everybody. For the rest of you...um...enjoy the weekend or something.


E-Mail of the Week: This week's selection comes from Geoff Setty.


Well it seems from all descriptions the "US Title" tournament is exactly like the WCW re-instated tag title tournament of a few years ago. So expect Rikishi to get another shot at the belt, and expect no f'n brackets, but also expect someone shit and country hick to win (Bradshaw maybe?), but if history repeats itself Benoit will get the belt off him, just so it can be a longer period of time before he can get the belt everyone in the world wants to see him get (well everyone except a McMahon)... perhaps he should change his surname, speaking of which is it me or is everyone who graduated from the dungeon in Calgary now treated like crap?? Jericho, Storm, Benoit... just a theory. Better stop rambling.


That's probably the best explanation of how this bogus tournament has gone so far, with no brackets announced and nobody rumored to win the title being worthy of it. As far as the people from the dungeon being treated like crap, Jericho at least gets a ton of airtime, Benoit is hugely over despite winning maybe 50% of the time, and Storm...well, Storm is definitely being treated like crap right now.


Forums Quote of the Week: ...


How the hell is it anyone else's business is what I want to know. Christ, what it is about these message boards that turns everyone into a Sally Jesse Raphael freak, not only willing but eager to answer questions that would get the questioner soundly slapped in any halfway decent society. -Cancer Marney in a thread about how many orgasms our female posters have had in one session


You wouldn't think it would be rocket science: As you tennis fans know, Wimbledon has taken place over the last ten days, and it's one of just two tournaments that I watch a lot of during the year. But NBC's coverage bothers the hell out of me.


Today, the Mark Phillipousis (I probably mispelled that, but oh well) match was 5-5 in the fifth set when ESPN's coverage ended at noon. "No problem," I thought to myself, "as NBC is continuing coverage until 5pm. I'll just flip over there and finish the match." WRONG! I flip over there, and they decide that despite this kickass fifth set in a men's quarterfinal that people are sure to be enthralled with, they're going to show Serena Williams' semifinal match...which was taped earlier that morning.


Now, I am not arguing over whether or not Serena Williams is a ratings draw, even though she gets so much coverage that she makes Triple H's push look like Barry Horowitz circa 1987. My argument is with basic logic. Any moron would think that live coverage of a match deep in the fifth set would override taped coverage of a match that aired on ESPN earlier that morning. Then again, this is NBC we're dealing with. OK, I understand that you were advertising the Serena Williams match, but would it have really killed you to hold off on a taped match for 15-20 minutes so the people who were watching the live coverage can finish what they were already watching?


How soon until WWE uses that tactic on Raw?


Tonight: Zach Gowen gets his third shot at a WWE contract as he teams with Stephanie McMahon to take on the Big Show. Please say this is the end of the Feud that Wouldn't Die before I drive myself completely insane. Plus a few other matches too, one of which is probably going to single-handedly save the show. Join us, won't you?

Segment 1


Last week, the storyline that won't die despite two blow-offs continued.


Mr. McAsshole joins us via pretape. Tonight, once and for all, he will seal the fate of Mr. America as well as present that handicap main event.


One fall for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Misterio (champion) vs. Nunzio (w/Chuck Palumbo and Johnny Stamboli)


We are taped July 1 from the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York. Billy Kidman is in the crowd again this week. Mike Chioda sends the non-cruiserweights to the locker room. Waistlock takedown by Nunzio to start, and he works into a wristlock. Rey avoids a snap mare and shoulderblocks Nunzio down. Rey takes Nunzio down with a rana. Nunzio to the floor, and Rey comes outside with a slingshot somersault senton. Nunzio is rolled back in, and Rey heads to the top, but Nunzio cuts him off. Rey shoves Nunzio off a superplex attempt and jumps at him, but Nunzio counters with a power bomb for 2. Hard forearm. Rey tries to counter with a headscissors, but Nunzio dumps Rey on his face and covers for 2. Modified surfboard. Rey avoids a back suplex and gets a rolling cradle for 2, but Nunzio immediately gets a spinning side slam for a 2 count of his own. Nunzio locks in a reverse chinlock to slow Rey down. Backbreaker, and he holds it into a submission hold. Rey counters with a headscissors but is met with a knee, but Rey immediately counters with a DDT to start the double 10 count. Rey with some punches and a flapjack. Rey lands on the apron after an attempted backdrop, slingshots onto Nunzio, and gets a standing moonsault for 2. Nunzio comes back with a knee and an elbow. Rey ranas Nunzio over the top to avoid a power bomb. Rey rolls Nunzio back into the ring, and Stamboli and Palumbo runs out to the ring and take Rey down on the floor. Rey is rolled back in, and Nunzio covers for 2. Here come the APA to cut off Palumbo and Stamboli as Rey headscissors Nunzio into position for the 619, then hits a slingshot legdrop for the pin at 6:49. Pretty good until the meaningless outside interference. **1/2 Postmatch, Billy Kidman comes in to congratulate Rey.


Tonight, Eddy Guerrero and Tajiri defend against Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, which conveniently leads to clips of the tag team title match from last week.



As a stand-alone match, this was an absolutely great way to start the show and get the crowd popping, but they decide to ignore a stipulation that was set up six minutes earlier and have the FBI come back to ringside anyway. And it was done to set up the APA vs. the FBI, because we all know that the FBI will become more over losing to the APA than they would if they lost competitive matches to people who had more talent. It shouldn't take away from the effort of the two legal combatants, but I have a feeling we're not meant to remember that those two were actually wrestling anyway.

Segment 2


The main event for Vengeance is signed off-camera: Brock defends against Angle. And speaking of which, King Brock I and My Olympic Hero are debating over whether some chick was referring to Angle or Brock as "champ". Brock tells Angle to keep drinking his milk if he wants to win the title. And Angle tries to drink it in front of the chick, but Brock slaps him in the back, and he spits it onto her. I guess someone in creative thought that would be funny.


Tag Team Contest scheduled for one fall: The Basham Brothers (w/Shaniqua) vs. The Man Beast Rhyno and Chris BeNOIT


Shouldn't Benoit wrestle singles matches to get ready for the next round of the US Title tournament? The Bashams jump Rhyno and Benoit as they enter the ring. Benoit and Rhyno fight back, and we have a punching fest early. Doug and Rhyno finally establish legal men. Rhyno gets a corner whip and a mini-Gore, but is caught in the gut, and Doug tags in Danny. Rhyno takes Danny down with a short clothesline and gets a Boston crab. Rhyno wisely avoids Doug's illegal clothesline, but not Danny's enzuigiri, and we've established a face-in-peril early. Doug tags in and gets a springboard elbowdrop for 2. Hard crossface blows to the face and a cover for 2. Tag to Danny, and he drops an elbow for 2. Into a crevatte as the apparent strategy is to work on Rhyno's neck. Rhyno counters a forearm shot with a back suplex. They draw Benoit in for a double team, but it backfires, and there's the hot tag to Benoit. Benoit has suplexes for both Bashams, and soon we have a four way brawl. Benoit gets the Crippler Crossface on Danny, but Doug makes the save. Benoit gets a release German suplex on Danny and calls for it...Swan Dive Headbutt, and Doug has to make a save to prevent the pin. Rhyno in for a Gore, but Danny trips him, and the Bashams double team Benoit. They go for the Ball and Gag, but before we can find out what the Ball and Gag is, Rhyno Gores Doug, and Benoit locks Danny in the Crossface for the submission victory in 5:15. Not bad, but all over the place. *1/2 Postmatch, Benoit and Shaniqua stare each other down.


Backstage, Vince is beating up Steph's desk, and Stephanie McBitch comes in to see if he's serious. Well, he was in harm's way with the low blow last week, so he can put her in harm's way against The Big Show. After all, it's "spare the rod, spoil the child". But Daddy, even Brock can't beat Show. Remember that for later.



All sorts of things wrong with this segment. Brock and Angle are supposed to hate each other because of a milk bottle? Benoit's still wrestling mostly tag team matches when he's in the US Title tournament? We're using Brock's lack of victories over Show to get the handicap match over? Does that mean Judgment Day never happened? And if Judgment Day never happened, can the seven people who ordered it get their money back?

Segment 3


"Price to Play" by Staind is the official theme song for Vengeance.


Steph is getting her gear together when No Longer Able Sable shows how slow she is, because she's just now heard about Steph's match tonight. She'll be watching and wishes Steph luck, but she's willing to take over Steph's duties should Steph die or something tonight.


Earlier today, Jamie By God Noble and Nidia got out of a limo, and Jamie got some Terminator shades. Nidia got a fur coat, so they're spending that inheritance money. It's a bit warm for it, but it's authentic imitation mink something or other. Noble skimps on the tip for the driver. I think the point is that Noble's being somewhat conservative with the money while Nidia is being a gold digging whore. I think.


Backstage, The Undertaker officially meets Orlando Jordan. Taker reminds Jordan that he needs to pay his dues by getting his ass kicked week after week. "You earn your victories around here." Tell that to that guy on the other show. Taker gives Jordan some advice...let guys like John Cena know you've got a set so that they respect you. In comes John Cena to question why Cena no longer gets the love, then tells Jordan not to "let this white boy brainwash you". Taker: "Everybody gotta learn the hard way."


One fall: Billy Gunn (w/Torrie Wilson) vs.


What does Maven think about his girlfriend hanging out with Gunn?



I hate when the commercials are placed in mid-intros. *sigh* Whether any of this is important or not remains to be seen, but somehow the only thing that might matter is Undertaker-Cena. Well, Cena can't be worse off against Taker than the FBI. Right?

Segment 4


United States Title Tournament First Round Match scheduled for one fall: Billy Gunn (w/Torrie Wilson) vs. John Cena


Nice of them to tell Tony Chimmel that this was a tournament match, huh? Cena does a freestyle berating the Undertaker, then turns to Gunn. "I'm not scared that you've got this obsession with butts. I'm scared because your favorite food is sausage and nuts." Gunn wastes no time going to work on Cena, and he's doing some downhome babyface choking. Cena reverses a corner whip but is met with a clothesline for a couple of two counts. Cena finally slides out of the ring to stop the momentum, but Gunn follows as a "Let's go Cena" chant starts. Cena finally knocks Gunn silly via the ringpost and takes control in the ring. Vertical suplex for 2. Reverse chinlock, followed by a shot of Torrie's ass. Which is more exciting that this match so far, by the way. Billy elbows away at Cena, but Cena takes him down and stomps away before covering for 2. A series of right hands by Cena. Boot to the face for 2. Cena with a side slam for 2. Back into the reverse chinlock as Cole once again tries to sell WCW's lineage for a brand new title. Gunn elbows out and takes Cena down with a powerslam. Series of punches by Gunn, and a sloppy Ace crusher for 2. Gunn goes for a charge in the corner, but he gets nothing but ringpost. Cena uses a new move that Cole names (and I didn't catch it) for 2, so he goes for the chain, and here comes The Undertaker on his bike for a distraction. The referee gets the chain from Cena, which allows Gunn to get an inside cradle for the pin at 5:54, and this crowd is NOT happy. Quite frankly, neither am I. 3/4*, mostly for Cena.


Backstage, Brock is laughing over the milk spitting angle, and Angle isn't as amused, and it turns into a shoving contest. Brock's a very competitive guy, so Angle wants a real man's competition...push-ups. Who can do 300 of them? Who would want to? Brock goes down to do them: "So this is what it's like at your level." Brock starts doing them, and Angle tries to repeat numbers.



Evidence that WWE has no clue what their fan base wants (exhibit #203394): The crowd chants for Cena and they push Billy Gunn instead. The crowd was cheering for the heel because Billy Gunn sucks as a singles wrestler. Somebody think about that. And why exactly was the referee lenient with Gunn's choking but quick to grab the chain from Cena? As for the Brock-Angle stuff, I can hear our own Anglesault complaining already...and I'm inclined to agree with him for a change. What is this doing for either guy? Is Angle going to turn heel (a la Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan) but get cheered because he's not the jerk between the two of them?

Segment 5


Brock is still doing his pushups, and he's at 294...295...296...297...298 (barely)...299 (more barely)...300! Brock wants "one more for you baby" and just barely gets it. Brock's tired as hell and wants help up because he can't feel his arms, but Angle laughs at him and walks off.


One fall for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin vs. Eddy Guerrero and Tajiri (champions)


Low rider of choice: A black pickup truck. Of course, Eddy and Tajiri have cheated to win in two previous meetings since winning the belts. Tajiri and Haas start. Tajiri gets some kicks in right away, then counters a slam with a bulldog headlock. Side headlock, Haas counters with a top wristlock, Tajiri counters with an armdrag, works into a hammerlock, and there's the tag to Eddy, who works the left arm. Haas grabs a front facelock and tags in Benjamin, but Eddy armdrags him and hooks an armbar. Wristlock by Shelton, a series of reversals, and Eddy counters a flapjack with a dropkick. Haas is in, and Eddy takes them both down with a wristlock takedown and a headscissors at the same time. Haas tags in and goes for a waistlock suplex, but he turns it into a backbreaker in midstream. Suplex for 2, and Haas goes into an eye gouge. Eddy catches Haas with an elbow and gets a belly-to-belly suplex. Tag to Tajiri, who gets in a spinning heel kick. Reverse bulldog for 2, but some nifty double teaming by the challengers leads to a form of the Hart Attack and a cover for 2. Benjamin comes in, and they key in on the back, even making Tajiri scream. There's a chinlock...



Am I supposed to take Brock vs. Angle seriously? Because right this second, I'm really not feeling it as a serious match, and a World Title match should not be a comedy match. As for the ongoing tag team match, it's bit slow so far, and they've hardly done anything major of note, but they're likely building to a hot finish. So let's see how this finishes up before we make a final judgment.

Segment 6


The Match Continues...


...and Benjamin has Tajiri in an abdominal stretch. Tajiri gets out of it, but Benjamin goes right back to it. An illegal switch as Brian Hebner somehow yells at Eddy to get back in the corner even though Eddy's holding the tag rope, but he actually forces the challengers to switch back. Series of rabbit punches by Benjamin, and a tag to Haas, as his move of choice is the stomp. Hard corner whip and a cover for 2. In comes Eddy, who is stopped by Hebner. Front facelock, tag to Haas, and there's the double team leading to the springboard to the back. Shelton covers, and Eddy makes the save. Huge "Eddy" chant as Benjamin goes for a doctor bomb, but Tajiri lands on his feet behind him and superkicks him in the back of the head. Tag to each man, and Eddy is taking it to both challengers. Eddy goes for rolling vertical suplexes to Benjamin, but Haas (the legal man) stops it. So Eddy gives the rolling suplexes to Haas and heads up top, but Benjamin cuts him off. Superplex a la The Dynamite Kid by Benjamin. Tajiri with a handspring elbow to Benjamin, and those two both head to the floor. Haas covers Guerrero, who kicks out at two. Counter sequence leading to a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and Benjamin makes the save at 2. Tajiri after Benjamin, and he avoids a double team to superkick Benjamin. Tarantula to Haas as Eddy tries to frog splash over it, but Benjamin misses. Benjamin kicks Tajiri into the hood of the truck, and that gets the referee to the floor to check on Tajiri. Eddy sees it, and that's a distraction. Haas with an inverted atomic drop, Benjamin with a superkick, and Haas covers for the pin and the titles at 14:31 (give or take commercial time). Pretty hot final few minutes, but that was kind of an anti-climatic finish. ***1/4


Zach Gowen stretches backstage, and here comes The Too Damn Big Show to imply that he'll rip off the good leg.



As I said, that was a solid match overall. Slow start, hot middle, anticlimatic finish. Not the best match these two have had, but that's like saying that's not the best match Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat ever had. I'll take it, and I'm hoping this means that Eddy can move on to a singles push. My biggest problem is that they never really played off of the previous two "DQ" finishes, and you really needed to in order to properly pay it off.


By my count, that's four segments already devoted to this main event. Why can't we give that kind of build to a match that has a chance in hell of being good?


Segment 7


The referees are still checking on Tajiri, and Eddy goes over to check on...the truck. "My car! NO!" Hmm...


Let's rehash the entire Mr. America storyline because I don't a gun in my desk drawer to put myself out of my misery.


Your hosts wonder what McMahon has in mind as Eddy continues to check on his car. Overheard in the crowd: "Who cares?" And then Eddy is pissed and attacks Tajiri...and throws him through the windshield. Well, that's rather counterproductive, isn't it?



And I can't help but laugh, because even with an apparent heel turn you could make out an "Eddy" chant in the crowd. Yet another piece of evidence that WWE creative and/or Vince McMahon have no idea what the hell they're doing right now.

Segment 8


Let's show you what happened moments ago since it's only been 15 minutes since the match ended.


During the break, Tajiri was taken out on a stretcher.


One fall: Orlando Jordan vs. A-Train


My God, why? This was on Velocity like two weeks ago, and it sucked then too! Lockup, and A-Train quickly throws Jordan down. Jordan gets in a dropkick, but A-Train outpowers him. Hard shoulderblock. A slam and a splash for 2. Slingshot into the middle rope. Forearm smashes to the face and back, followed by an avalanche. Jordan punches out of it but eats an elbow. Corner whip. Another corner whip, followed by A-Train's inverted full nelson. I love that move. Seriously. Jordan gets out of it with a sunset flip for 2. Nice! A-Train misses the bicycle kick, and Jordan kicks away at the legs. Enzuigiri! Flying forearm for 2. A-Train gets a forearm to the kidney, and it's Derailer time! One, two, thr...kickout. Jordan comes back and drop toe holds A-Train into the turnbuckle. Up top for a flying bodypress, but A-Train side steps. Train Wreck, three count at 4:25. Why didn't they just end it at the Derailer then? 1/2*


The Big Show has Stephanie cowering in a hallway, presumably because she didn't do favors for him when he signed his contract in 1999. See what happens when you're desperate enough to leave WCW? You miss out on all the fun stuff. Vince runs after Steph as she runs away, then he reminds Show that Steph's her daughter. But he should listen to what Vince has to say, because it concerns him and Mr. America.



Call me silly, but wouldn't the point of the earlier backstage bit with Jordan and the subsequent match mean you were going to push him? And if so, wouldn't Jordan have been better served with a win? But realisitically, it's better for Jordan to lose tonight, as it ties into The Undertaker's "get your ass kicked each week but keep coming back" speech earlier tonight. The problem? Casual fans look at the wins and losses, so if this lasts too long it could set his career back for a long time.

Segment 9


WrestleMania Recall: Alice Cooper accompanies Jake Roberts to the ring as he loses to The Honky Tonk Man, but Jake and Cooper scare Jimmy Hart half to death with Damian.


Vince and Sable make their way to the ring for segment 7 of our main event build. And Sable stole Stacy Keibler's outfit, apparently just to piss me off. Mixed reaction for Sable, by the way. Anyway, it was a matter of time before Vince sent Mr. America packing. Vince goes into the entire story, which you can read for yourself in Nik Johnson's latst column, located here because I have no patience to rehash this anymore than I have to. Now let's go back to last week's SmackDown. Mr. America promised something special for MSG, and he didn't disappoint. Vince asked for the cameras to keep rolling, and he shows us some footage that shows Hogan unmasking. Why has the crowd not reacted to that at all? Ah, there's the somewhat weak Hogan chant! Neither of them are there though, but they'll both be in the unemployment line tomorrow. There's the YOU'RE FIRED because he can't let anybody leave gracefully, and now it's onto tonight's main event. Vince is giving him a shot tonight, just like he did last week. And three weeks ago. But Zach had to do things the hard way, which is why he's in tonight's no holds barred handicap match. Oh boy, that makes it sooooooo much more interesting. In another big announcement, it's WWE Championship time. They announced this one earlier. Oh wait, he's made it a three way to include the Big Show. How many shots does The Big Show get? Chris Benoit gets ONE TITLE SHOT when his matches are GOOD, but Show gets FOUR when his matches SUCK ASS. Vince promises to remain at ringside for this one.



That was probably the most anticlimatic blow-off to a six month long feud I've ever seen, and they could have done that six weeks ago and been done with this whole mess. And something else that bothers the hell out of me right now. Since the entire point of using Zach Gowen in this angle was his friendship with Mr. America, then why can't they drop this unexplained like they did with Ivory's recent push? I suppose I should be happy that they're explaining it, but come on!

Segment 10


No Holds Barred Handicap Match scheduled for one fall with Zach Gowen's contract on the line: The Too Damn Big Show vs. Stephanie McBitch and Zach Gowen


Let's get a closeup on the guy that happens to have a "Stephanie is a goddess" sign. How conveeeeeeeenient (tm Dana Carvey). Gowen gets a forearm before the bell but gets tossed to the mat. Slap to the chest. Show shoves Steph to the mat, then takes the fight with Gowen to the floor. Steph jumps onto Show's back to try to make a save, but Show snap mares her off. I know some people who'd like Steph to ride them like that... Anyway! Show pulls the prosthetic leg off, but Gowen hits a baseball slide! WOW! He goes for a pescado but gets caught. Steph tries in vain to help, but Show throws them both into the ring. Gowen keeps coming forward, but Show headbutts him. Show wants to Choke Slam Steph, and Vince stops him...to tell him to throw her over the top. Gowen gets Vince off the apron, then dropkicks Show in the stomach for the save, but again Show takes control. Choke Slam! Vince chokes Gowen with his foot, but here comes Steph to slap Vince. Show again picks up Steph, but out comes Kurt Angle to hit a low blow...Anglelock! Vince breaks it with a chair shot, and here comes Brock Lesnar! He picks up Vince for an F5 (not bad for some one who couldn't feel his arms an hour ago), but Show superkicks him. Gowen knocks the chair into Show's head, then it's an Angle Slam and an F5. Gowen dropkicks Vince, then MOONSAULTS onto Show to a huge pop and gets the pin (and a contract) at 4:45. Vince has nobody to blame but himself for that one, because he had already accomplished his goal three weeks ago. Overbooked mess, but Gowen is AWESOME! * for the markout value.



That's the first time I've seen Gowen in the ring, and OH MY GOD! How he can balance himself on the top rope and do dropkicks and moonsaults is simply astounding! That's the positive.


Now the negative. Where do you go from here? There's no logical reason to have Vince McMahon remain a part of Gowen's climb up the WWE ladder, so you know he will be anyway. But now you've got The Big Show in a pay-per-view main event...a World Title match...and he's just been pinned by a guy with one leg with no previous experience (by WWE standards). Remember Steph's comment from earlier: "Even Brock can't beat The Big Show." By WWE logic, that means that Brock can't speak Zach Gowen either, right?


On top of that, you've got some hastily put together "competitive rivalry" between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle that looks like it was inspired by an argument by two six-year-olds at recess. All we need is to add "My dad can beat your dad" and we're officially booking an episode of Romper Room.


Overall, this was a usual SmackDown effort in that when the focus was on the in-ring action, it was tolerable and better, but with some poor booking and too many unnecessary questions raised.


Wasn't Billy Kidman bitching last week? So why isn't he still pissed this week?


How is Benoit preparing for his next tournament match exactly?


Billy Gunn over John Cena? Did we learn nothing from summer 1999 and late-2000?


No Matt Hardy, who ALSO needs to prepare for another tournament match?


Eddy turning heel over the hood of a pickup truck? Then again, he never really turned face, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt there.


A-Train getting TV time?


Ultimo Dragon NOT getting TV time a week after his much-hyped debut?


STILL no brackets for the tournament?


And to top it off, eight segments had something to do with this main event when some of the people mentioned in these questions were barely seen in the opening.


I'm surprised they haven't just called Vengeance "The Vince McMahon Show", because SmackDown sure felt like it this week.


As usual, send me your feedback and don't forget to check out my archives and my latest Today in Wrestling History.

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