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Smackdown from JHawk's Beak

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Guest TSMAdmin

SmackDown from JHawk's Beak (8/5/2003)

by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins


E-Mail of the Week: For proof that either people really do read my archives or that e-mail servers can be really really really slow, I received this e-mail from "Marsha Mary" earlier this week, and with football season upon us, I thought I'd get the TSM staff prepared for it.


Why do you people proclaim the prevent doesn't work? Here is why.

Hawk, your comment on the prevent is comical. The Prevent in fact works more then it doesn't and I have personally counted up to an 80% success rate when using it. There is a pretty good reason why teams still use it and will continue to use and ignore you and the legion of fans that hate it. Especially in the greater Cleveland area.


First you must ask this very simple question, what is the prevent designed to do?


A. Prevent points

B. Use up the clock

C. Stop the deep pass

D. All of the above

E. None of the above


Well the above question is not the easiest to answer but it is more simple then one would believe. Now one has to ask what proof would I have to show the prevent works? I have 4 case in points to show that the prevent works or is given a bad name by the scatter brain media.


Case 1:

Jan. 1991

Game: Super Bowl between the Giants and the Bills. Bills down by 1 on the Bills final drive, Giants go to a 2 man rush w/ only LT and a Dlineman going after Kelly while 9 men drop off in coverage. The prevent D forces Jim Kelly out of his rythym which forces him to dump the ball to Thurman Thomas. Granted Thurman had a great game, but the rest of his teamates had a rough outing because everytime they got the ball the Giants DB's beat the living tar out of them and wore them down. So you don't have to put pressure on a QB to put pressure on, it can go on WR's as well.

End result: The ball ends up on the 30 yd line which led to Norwood missing a kick on a surface he wasn't the most successful on and put in a situation because of his teams lack of run D. Giants 20, Bills 19 with 0:00 left on the clock in the 4th Qtr.


Case 2:

Jan. 2000

Game: Super Bowl between the Rams and the Titans. Titans on the final drive need a TD to tie and with the ball inside their own 20 yd line with 1:48 left on the clock. Rams go to a prevent D and stick with it all the way to the last gasp effort of Kevin Dyson on the one. Rams LB makes the tackle on the one and the scoreboard shows 0:00 left on the clock. So, lets hear it for the prevent, anyone, anyone, anyone.................


Case 3: September 9th 2002 Game: A game involving yours truly on the college level in southeastern US. I will not reveal so you will have to trust me on it. My team is up 7-6 w/ 2:38 left in the game. The ball is on the 18 yard line. The opponents start their final drive and we go to a 3 man rush with a 4 deep cover. The opponents start the drive with 2 first downs, I notice our Nickel and Dimebacks responsible for the flats are not spreading out but are in fact going straight back next to our LB's in the hook zones. I was infuriated. I instructed the 2 players to widen their drops to prevent letting the offensive players get out of bounds. Then I told the 2 LB's in the hooks to look for recievers coming in and out of their zones and not stare at the QB so the underneath would be covered properly. Our opponents stall around the 50 yard line after 2 completions inbounds and a QB scramble chews up 1:10 bringing the ball to our 40. There is only 12 seconds left in the game and the QB is forced to scramble after the coverage forces him out of his rythym. He runs 10 yards and the game is over. We wasted 2:38 to preserve a win. What is funny is the players that were playing for me said they hated the prevent D but I just didn't have the heart to tell them that they were in the prevent D that last drive and that is what they used to beat them.

All it took was reminding our Defenders that the flat has to be taken away and that they should look for the routes heading in the middle after that. I'm sure the games that the prevent loses could be attributed more to that then the strategy.


Case 4:

September 1997

2nd Monday Night game between the Chiefs and the Raiders. Ball is on the 30 yard line of the Raiders who hold the lead. Elvis Grbac drops back looking for Andre Rison on a out route near the end of the game. Elvis pump fakes and launches it deep to Rison for the game winner. Now everyone is screaming "Prevent prevents you from winning," but the funny thing is that the Raiders were in tight man coverage biting on a Out and up route with no deep coverage. Very unprevent like coverage because the prevent is designed to take away the deep with hopes that the under coverage will be there to scoop up anything short. DB was Washington in a very man unprevent coverage technique and the Raiders got burned on it. How novel.


So the answer to the above question is B) Use up the clock


So as you can see the Prevent has provided huge successess on many levels and had it been used it would have preserved victory and not been scorned had anyone known what the prevent was in the first place.


Understand the prevent and it's true success and then rip on it.


I honestly do appreciate that this reader read my take in my January 6 Raw recap and offered this up, but allow me to respond since I was unable to respond to this e-mail during the week.


Personally, I think 80% is really high unless you're only factoring in the last two minutes of the game. If I'm assuming correctly, we're referring to the Cleveland-Pittsburgh playoff game, right? In that game, they went into the prevent defense with at least 12 minutes to go in the game. Therefore, the prevent defense, even if it does what it's designed to do (eat up the clock) is a stupid thing to go into, because even the best defense can't run twelve minutes off the clock. In fact, odds are if your defense is on the field for 12 minutes straight, you're already in danger of losing the game anyway, so to hell with the prevent. When the prevent is effective: The last two minutes of a game when the other team has no timeouts and absolutely has to score a touchdown. I think I said the last minute in my initial rant, so I'll edit that a bit, but that's basically it. You can get away with it in other circumstances, but sorry, no matter what numbers you toss out at me, unless you've got the numbers of every game that ever had a prevent defense used, you'll never convince me that it works more than maybe half the time, and I'm probably being generous there. Let's take a look at the games you've sent me as "proof" the prevent works.


Case 1: The Bills were still in a position to win that football game and didn't because of the missed field goal. Would you even know who Scott Norwood is if he doesn't miss that field goal? No, because Bills fans wouldn't even know who the hell he was. Even Giants fans thank Norwood for missing that FG rather than praise the Giants defense for it.


Case 2: I would need to know how many timeouts the Titans had on that drive, and I honestly don't remember, but if they have one more timeout they likely win that football game. Hell, if Dyson is about three or four inches taller, they may have won it anyway.


Case 3: Even you acknowledge that the offense was wasting time around midfield, which might have been more detrimental to them pulling that game off than your prevent defense was.


Case 4: Um...this doesn't prove anything about the prevent, just that Washington fucked up royally on one play. Hell, Mariano Rivera blew two leads in the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks, and I didn't hear anybody claim that as proof that putting a closer who already worked two games of a World Series was a bad idea.


Basically, you gave me three examples of a prevent defense saving a game, and only one of those saving a game with more than two minutes remaining on the clock. I'm making the assumption from case number 3 you're a football coach, so I'll grant you have probably seen more games from the sidelines than I ever will, but I watch a lot of football, and only in the very late stages of the game have I ever seen the prevent work, and even then not at an 80% clip.


There's an expression in most sports that goes "If you play not to lose, you'll lose the game." It's like in boxing. There was an Oscar de la Hoya fight (I think it was the Felix Trinidad fight), and de la Hoya thought he was well ahead of the fight and coasted the last two or three rounds. He lost the decision. Or in baseball when a manager makes a substitution for defense way too early and it winds up that he needs a hitter when that sub comes to the plate and he doesn't have one. Even in amateur wrestling, where someone has a two point lead in the last 30 seconds, goes on defense to prevent a three point takedown, and winds up getting pinned because he tried NOT to be taken down. How about basketball, when a team tries to prevent but ends up giving up the easy two with too much time left on the clock and ends up losing? It happens all the time.


So basically, yeah, the prevent can work, but I have a better defense than the prevent...play defense like you usually do and tackle the ball carrier before he gets out of bounds. You've got a better chance of running out the clock by making your opponent go three and out than you do by letting them get first downs and going "But they're staying in bounds, so the pressure's on." That way you can run the clock down on offense by getting your own first downs, prevent the long pass, AND prevent the other team from scoring all at the same time.



Onto other things.


Forums Quote of the Week: Jeez, guys, stop with this oversensitive, bleeding-heart bullshit.


I'm sure the people who are making fun of this situation, including me, realize that Nash is a human being. But all that has happened is that he fainted - and then got up fine. I mean, the guy didn't die. He didn't get seriously injured. He isn't being held at gunpoint, isn't stuck in a ditch with his ankle in a bear trap, and isn't trapped in a shower with Bradshaw. No, all that happened was - he fainted. Then he got up.


See, there's this thing people sometimes do. It's called jokes. If Nash was dead right now, sure - jokes would be highly inappropriate. But all he did was fucking faint - and it's pretty god damn tiring to hear a whole bunch of people whine "He's a human ! You guys are cruel smarks ! I don't care what he did." What humanitarians some of you people are. Really. The type of people who never stifle a laugh when someone trips. The type of people who have never uttered a bad word about anybody. The type of people who give all their money to homeless men in the street. Maybe I'm the only one here that realizes this, but some people here who go "He's a human, so let's give him our well wishes" are just bullshitting to make themselves seem better than others. To elevate themselves to a higher sense of morality, no matter how fake it is.


Nash fainted. Nash got up. Nothing worse for now - which, yes, is a relief. So, if I wish to make a joke about it, I will - hoping that I won't receive any more bitching for doing it. -OlympicHeroRVD on Kevin Nash fainting in Australia



Time for tonight's cheap plugs: Even though NWATNA is in the can, please be sure to check out Bryan Staebell's From the Outside for all things TNA. I'm loving the new format. And don't forget to check out my on-site report from Tuesday's UWC taping.



Tonight: Brock Lesnar vs. Vince McMahon in a steel cage with special referee Kurt Angle, plus two Vengeance rematches as John Cena meets The Undertaker and Eddie Guerrero meets Chris Benoit. The booking might need to be awesome for the first two of these to be passable, but maybe Eddie and Benoit will captrue the magic of Vengeance...


Who am I kidding?


Segment 1


Recap of the stuff leading to tonight's cage match.


We are on tape from 8/5/2003 in Kelwona, British Columbia! The cage is overhead!


One fall Non-Title Match: Eddy Guerrero (US Champion) vs. Chris BeNOIT


Tonight's low rider is blue as we get told there's no Stephanie McMahon until next week. Oh, damn. Lockup. Stalemate. Single-leg by Eddy, and they go into a wrestling sequence. "Benoit" chant as he locks in a wristlock, but Eddy reverses, and an "Eddy" chant breaks out. More counter wrestling, and Benoit backdrops Eddy and hooks an arm, but Eddy is quickly to the ropes. Test of strength, and Benoit controls it. Eddy uses kicks to get the edge and does the Mil Mascaras ankle scissors takedown, but they soon exchange chops, which gives Benoit the advantage. Thumb to the eye by Eddy, and he snap mares Benoit and kicks him in the face. Whip, duck, flying elbow. Into the hilo, and a cover for the first 2 count of the match. Cross armbreaker, but Benoit hooks his arms to prevent the full pressure. Forearms by Eddy, and a huge waistlock suplex for 2. Into an armbar, and Benoit screams in pain. Wow, an armbar that actually hurts. Go figure. Eddy with knees and forearms, but Benoit comes back with chops and forearms. Whip, elbowsmash, back suplex. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. Eddy blocks a German, but now the knees to the gut, and Benoit takes him down with a power bomb. There's the cut throat gesture, and up to the top...and The Man Beast Rhyno shoves Benoit off the turnbuckle behind the referee's back. Eddy up top, but he misses the Frog Splash. Benoit dives out to Rhyno, and Tajiri comes in through the crowd and takes Eddy out. There's the bell for the double disqualification at 6:56, and here comes the referees and officials to try to separate everybody. ***1/4 Sgt. Slaughter grabs the mic (I thought he was a Raw official) and he's tired of the interference, so he wants the match restarted as a tag team match. I'm down!



I'm a bit disappointed, as that was basically the first five minutes and the last two minutes of a 20 minute match without the rest of the stuff in between to tie it together, but what we got out of that was spot on, and this tag match should continue to be spot on. Hopefully they didn't make this thing worse by turning it into a tag team match. And for those asking "Why not make it a tag team match to begin with", I'll say...um...actually, I have no answer for that one.

Segment 2


Eddy Guerrero/The Man Beast Rhyno vs. Chris BeNOIT/Tajiri


Benoit whips Rhyno into the corner as we return from the break. Into the Crippler Crossface, so Eddy makes the save. That gives Rhyno a chance to take advantage of Benoit. Tag to Eddy, and he rams Benoit back into the corner. Top-rope rana, and Tajiri makes the save at 2. Whip, and Benoit "hits" a dropkick to the knee. Tag on each end, and Tajiri kicks away at both men. Rana to Eddy, but Rhyno catches Tajiri. Handspring elbow from Tajiri, and he kicks away at Eddy. But when he turns around, BAM! Clothesline by Rhyno. Tajiri is able to lock in the Tarantula, but Benoit accidentally distracts Mike Chioda, which enables Eddy to hit Tajiri with a baseball slide to break the hold. Rhyno pounds away at Tajiri. Backbreaker as the Canadian crowd chants for Benoit. Snap mare, kick to the back. Into a sharpshooter to massive boos, and Benoit's all "You're not Canadian" and breaks it up. No tag, but Eddy comes in and locks in a half crab anyway. "Eddy sucks" says the crowd as Tajiri reaches the ropes. Tajiri is able to kick Eddy to the mat and reach for a tag, but Eddy knocks Benoit off the apron. Tag to Rhyno, and Benoit tries to come in but gets stopped by Chioda. Choke against the ropes by Rhyno, and then Eddy does it as Chioda yells at Rhyno. Tajiri tries punching back. Bodyslam by Rhyno, and a diving headbutt for 2. Forearm by Rhyno, but Tajiri kicks him...and another forearm by Rhyno. Stomps by Eddy after a tag, and he chokes Tajiri. Turnbuckle smash. Corner whip, but Tajiri with an elbow. Over the top goes Eddy via a backdrop, and Rhyno shoves Tajiri into the tag. Rhyno power bombs Tajiri. Rhyno bends down to pick up Tajiri, but there's the green mist. Benoit suplexes Rhyno, Eddy frog splashes Tajiri, and Benoit locks Eddy in the Crossface for the tapout at 7:28. **3/4 And yes, they were both the legal men.


Josh Matthews interviews My Olympic Hero, and rumor has it...um, don't talk to Angle about rumors, since there's one about Matthews making the rounds...ew, that's disgusting. Anyway, Lesnar F5'd Angle for no reason last week, so he was upset about it, but he still considers him a friend. Friends don't let issues go unresolved, so they'll resolve their issues face-to-face tonight.



Not as good as what we were getting with the singles match, but certainly better than anything that other show put on this week (and I'm not referring to NWATNA, if you catch my drift). Four guys with talent doing their thing, and an easy way to build up both of those feuds. Plus, Benoit getting the pin over the U.S. Champion should assure us of another title match between Eddy and Benoit, and that's always a plus.


As far as the Angle-Lesnar thing goes...as long as they're not resolving their issues over a glass of warm milk and a chocolate chip cookie, that could be quite intriguing.

Segment 3


Matt Hardy v.1.0 and Shannon Moore v.0.75 are making their way to the announce table. Matt Facts: "Matt puts ketchup on one fry at a time" and "Matt is a better commentator than Michael Cole". Who isn't? Besides Lawler?


One fall: Zach Gowen vs. Nunzio (w/Chuck Palumbo/Johnny Stamboli)


Did Nunzio ask for this one so The Dames could give them **** a la A-Train vs. Nathan Jones? Oh, wait, sorry. I've been playing way too much EWR. Go-behind by Gowen into a legtrip, and they go into a wrestling sequence. Nunzio grabs the leg and takes Gowen down, then into a stepover toehold. Gowen counters into a form of a bow-and-arrow, and Nunzio reaches the ropes. Gowen takes him down with an inverted Russian legsweep for 2. Nunzio eventually takes Gowen down with a clothesline for 2. Gowen avoids a bodyslam, but not a legsweep, and Nunzio covers for 2. Into a chinlock. Shot to the back. Gowen avoids a squisher (tm Kevin Nash), and Gowen punches away...and into a moonsault! Moore: "There's that move again." Springboard leg lariat for 2. Flying Rocker Dropper for 2. Neckbreaker out of a suplex position, and Moore and Hardu leave the booth. Hardy distracts the ref, Gowen takes out Moore, but Nunzio kicks Gowen in the face and covers for the pin at 4:00. *1/2 Postmatch, Hardy reenters the ring and takes Gowen down with the Twist of Fate again, just like last week.


Up next, Taker vs. Cena.



I only have one real problem with this segment, and that's the way they're setting up Gowen vs. Hardy. Hardy will almost have to lose that match the way they've booked this so far, and what will it say about him if he's the first guy to lose to the one-legged kid without Gowen getting outside help? Then again, this is WWE, where logic never factors into the booking decisions anyway.

Segment 4


The more they hype The Mullets, the less I care...but I'll get a short night on September 11, so what the hell.


We're on tape from the Skyreach Place in Kelwona.


The Undertaker is warming backstage and heading to...Mr. McMahon's office, and he walks in on Mr. McAsshole and No Longer Able Sable making out. Vince is upset with the interruption, but Taker overheard the party. After 13 years, he thought he'd seen all of Vince's dirty tricks, but when he sent A-Train after his daughter so his hoochie could win a match, that was just too low. And Vince is lucky Taker isn't family, or else he'd have already gotten his ass kicked. Vince reminds him who's boss, but in comes SmackDown's NUMBAH ONE Annoucnah to tell Vince there's an emergency...and it's King Brock I, who has been laid out with a pipe. The FBI deny it, but Angle happens to be standing there, and Vince points an accusing finger...and Angle just walks off.


One fall: John Cena vs. The Undertaker


Cena's got his Kobe Bryant throwback on. Cena's still talking smack like the "white Muhammed Ali", and he claims Dead Man Walking is bankrupt like Mike Tyson. Tonight he'll leave Taker "on the wrong side of a Kobe Bryant violation". Yikes.



They're obviously trying to make us believe that Kurt Angle laid out Brock Lesnar, as Angle has already said he'd settle his dispute with Lesnar tonight...and he was standing there when they found Brock out cold. However, that seems to obvious even for WWE's creative team, who never have just gone with the most sensible option, so who knows?


Another kickass promo for Cena, but most of these won't hold up a year or two down the road if he keeps dropping the current events into his freestyles like that.

Segment 5


One fall: John Cena vs. The Undertaker


Remember, at Vengeance Cena worked heavily on Taker's ribs. Will we remember that in booking this one? Lockup, and Taker quickly with a waistlock takedown into a front facelock. Interesting. Turnbuckle smash. Kicks to the midsection. Hard right hand, and the crowd's already out of it. Bodyslam. A legdrop wakes the crowd up, and Taker covers for 2. Kicks to the head. Choke against the ropes. Elbow to the shoulder as Taker works over the left arm (although Cole tries to claim they're hitting the head and neck). Cena finally gets some offense (a rake to the eyes and some punches and elbows). Chokehold. Taker reverses a corner whip and hits a clothesline. Hammerlock into a turnbuckle smash, and the focus remains the left arm and shoulder. Shoulderdrives. Taker wants to go Old School, but Cena with a shot to the knee, and now a series of shots to the knee and face. Forearm smashes. Taker back with a hard elbow. Taker goes back to work on the left arm. Taker throws Cena to the mat by the arm (um...ouch?). Still working on the arm, and Taker goes Old School. Cover for 2, but Taker grabs the wristlock as Cena lifts the shoulder. Hard right hand, and Cena rolls to the floor for a Tastykake break. Taker follows him to the floor and rams the arm of Cena over the barricade. Taker shouts "Who do you respect now" as he knocks Cena down. Taker rolls in and out of the ring to break the count (this is old school), and he rolls Cena into the ring. Taker places Cena on the top turnbuckle...and he takes him down with a Dynamite Kid-style superplex...and Taker grasps his ribs!



This is very slow and rather boring, but the psychology is kicking ass so far. Taker works on one of the five points of balance, as Gordon Solie would say, but working on the arm, and he's got things well in hand, but he decides to keep going for the punishment rather than the win, and now he's aggravated the ribs he injured at Vengeance. It's basic booking 101. I really didn't want a 20-minute match out of these two, but I'm digging the psychology.

Segment 6


Back we go with Cena stomping away at Taker's ribs until he stomps Taker out of the ring. Cena follows him outside and rams Taker's ribs into the apron. And punches and forearms to the ribs. Back into the ring, and Cena covers for 2. Cena continues to work over the ribs. Forearm to the back, and Taker back to the floor. Cena jumps, but Taker catches him and rams him into the ringpost. Back into the ring they go, and Cena covers for 2. Irish whip, but Taker telegraphs a backdrop, so Cena locks in a front facelock and pounds away at the ribs. Off the ropes...Cena hits the Throwback for 2. An exchange of punches here, which Taker gets the better of, and he takes Cena down with a big boot. Elbowdrop for 2.75. Corner whip, snake eyes. Missing a boot, and Cena gets a spinebuster for a near fall. Punches to the ribs, but Taker switches positions and punches away. Corner whip, clothesline. Taker signals for his finisher, and he sets up the Last Ride...but he grabs the ribs when goes for the lift. Cena gets shoved into Brian Hebner, and it's Taker with a choke slam. Cover, but no referee...and as if you're actually surprised, here comes A-Train to interfere. It doesn't stop Taker for long, but there's the bicycle kick and a backbreaker. He pulls Cena on top, and Hebner wakes up...and he can only get 2. Good, because that finish would have sucked. Taker is spitting up blood. Taker lifts Cena, but Cena is over the back, and he turns it into the F-U for the pin at 19:57. I was going to give this a decent rating, but subtract half a star for the run-in, half a star for Cena's not selling the arm on the F-U, and it gets *3/4, mostly for the kickass psychology. A-Train's interference sucked, but Cena needed that win.



This is definitely going to be a backhanded compliment, but prior to the run-in, that was probably the best boring match I've seen all year. I'm sure most of you are complaining it was too slow, but that was solid psychology throughout. I'm glad that A-Train's interference didn't lead directly to the finish, but my fear is that casual fans won't remember that the F-U came after that and will only remember that Cena needed A-Train's help to win the match. Where is it in the rulebook that a heel can't win on his own and has to have another heel's help to beat the established face?

Segment 7


Metallica's "St. Anger" is the official theme song for SummerSlam.


Moments ago, they more or less say "Just remember A-Train and forget who got the win."


One fall: Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) vs. Doug Basham (w/Shanniqua/Danny Basham)


So exactly how fast was that foursome last week? And couldn't Noble take his damn boots off? I guess Noble's a face after that at any rate. Basham outpowers Noble early. Series of forearms. Wristlock, but Noble with a kick-off. We get word that Lesnar will compete tonight as Doug Basham tosses Noble into the corner. Series of punches and a running knee. Hard elbow for 2. Snap mare. Stomps to the head. Back suplex for 2. A series of knees, but Noble with a dragon screw. Noble wants a crucifix, but Basham tosses him to the mat and covers for 2. Jujitsu hold, but here comes Noble...back suplex. Noble with a series of kicks and into a roll up for 2. Neckbreaker for 2. Whip reversal, dropkick by Noble, and a flying elbowdrop. Cover, but Danny Basham distracts Mike Sparks. Noble knocks Danny off the apron, and Doug goes to suplex Noble, but Noble counter into a small package for the pin at 4:10. *3/4 Postmatch, Shanniqua knocks Noble down, the Bashams take Noble down with the Ball and Gag, and out comes Not the One Billy Gunn to make the save. That makes Noble's face turn official, even though smarks probably hate him more now.


Josh Matthews asks Angle flat out if he took Lesnar out, and Angle denies it. Angle wants to talk to him, but he's probably pissed, so he'll resolve the issue late.



I guess having a foursome with somebody for less than four minutes makes you friends with that person, because that's the only possible explanation for the formation of a Gunn/Noble team. OK, SmackDown needs more teams, I can't and won't deny that. And Gunn isn't bad as a tag team wrestler, so maybe this will work out fine. But my initial reaction is that this hurts Noble more than it helps anybody, and that's not a good thing.

Segment 8


Next week, The World's Greatest Tag Team defend the Tag Team Titles against Rey Misterio Jr. and Billy Kidman in yet another Vengeance rematch. I'm there!


One fall: Rey Misterio Jr. (Cruiserweight Champion) vs. Charlie Haas (Tag Team Champion--w/Shelton Benjamin)


Another non-title match for Misterio? That's two separate cruiserweight titles that never got defended once Rey Rey on them (think WCW circa summer 1999 for proof). And where's Kidman? His honeymoon with Torrie Wilson. (No mention of Torrie, by the way.) Wrestling sequence to start, and Rey takes control, but Haas gets in a clothesline after a Benjamin distraction. Bodyscissors by Rey, but Haas counters with a backbreaker. Hard corner whip. Both arms trapped, and into the turnbuckle goes Rey. Benjamin gets his own cheap shots in as well, as Haas covers for 2. Into a hammerlock. Rey punches out of it and gets a knee, but he gets caught into a backbreaker, which Haas only releases to cover for 2. Corner whip, but a boot to Haas' face. Drop toehold into the turnbuckle for Rey, and he goes up top, but Haas levels him with a right hand. Kick to the ribs and some punches, but Rey avoids Haas' charge into the corner. Springboard somersault sitdown! Wow! Slingshot corkscrew bodyblock for 2. Enzuigiri, meaningless backflip, 619, but Haas avoids a West Coast Pop. Haas counters the West Coast Pop and locks in the Haas of Pain for the submission win in 5:01. Just when it was getting good too. **


Look at the cage, because the main event is coming up.



This may prove that Benjamin's the more talented of the Tag Team Champions, as he gave Rey a better match than Haas did, but this was still a decent match for the time allowed. Now the question: Does this loss mean a title change next week? I'm not sure I'd book one, but either way, it should be one hell of a match to get to that point.

Segment 9


WrestleMania Recall: Andre the Giant bodyslams Big John Studd at WrestleMania I. Didn't they already use that one? They can't be out of ideas for this already!


Lower the cage to ominous music! Remember, earlier tonight Brock Lesnar was laid out by somebody. Angle denied any involvement.


This time we really are lowering the cage, because the match is next.


What the...? Kurt Angle just left Mr. McMahon's office!



A pretty self-explantaory segment unless you FEEL THE INTRIGUE of Kurt leaving Vince's office. Nah, me neither.

Segment 10


The cage is down!


Steel Cage Match with special referee My Olympic Hero (WWE Champion): Mr. McAsshole vs. King Brock I


I refuse to refer to Brock Lesnar as "The Manster" like Tazz and Cole do. I'm sorry, that sounds...um...I won't use "gay" because that sounds worse than what I'm actually shooting for. Angle shuts the cage door. Pins, submissions, or escapes to win. Lockup, and Brock tosses Vince to the mat. Another lockup, another throwdown. Kick, and he goes for the F5, but he drops him and falls down face-first a la Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart. Angle checks on him, and he looks at Vince in disgust as Vince tells him to count to three. Vince covers, but Angle refuses to count. Vince again tells him to count, but Angle calls for help. Vince is pissed now and shoves Angle, and this time he adds a slap. Vince covers, but Angle hooks him into an ankle lock...and Brock kips up, F5's Angle...and he and Vince share a smile. I'll say this one is over now. No contest in approx. 3:30. It's a heel turn, as Brock continues to toss Angle repeatedly into the cage as Vince leaves the cage. Does Vince win then? Vince reenters the cage and holds the belt to Brock and tells him "This is yours! You own this. He doesn't." A bloody Angle stands up...and Brock takes him down with the belt. Brock taunts Angle with the belt and yells "Look at this! This is mine!" Gorilla press into the cage. Brock and Vince stand over Angle with their arms in the air. No match = no rating, by the way.



I hate it when they promise a match and don't deliver, but I gotta admit, this was a very well done angle. Sure, I kinda saw it coming (as did just about anybody who follows wrestling somewhat closely), but the reactions of everybody helped to sell this. Cole and Tazz sounded concerned, Angle's expression made it seem legit...the biggest flaw was Brock falling when he passed out, but hell, I'll overlook it. A great angle, but had Vince McMahon not helped with it I'd feel better about a longer-term investment here.


Overall, I liked the format for this show. A lot. No excessively long in-ring interview, a minimal amount of backstage stuff, and a whole lot of in-ring action. Some matches worked, some didn't, but that will always be the case. Bottom line: How much you enjoyed this show depends on how much you liked Undertaker vs. Cena. I loved the psychology and thus enjoyed it even though it was hardly a great match, so I'll give this show a thumbs up. The rest of you...well, I'm sure those of you who send me feedback will probably complain, but whatever.


I'll be back early in the week with an on-site Ring of Honor report.

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