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Dr. Tom's Smackdown! Report

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Guest TSMAdmin

Stephanie McMahon monopolizes the rather trippy opening video package, a la her father, and welcomes us to her first official episode of Smackdown! by announcing several matches.


On tape from Indianapolis, this is WWE Smackdown for 7/25/02. Your hosts are Michael Cole and Taz(z). They're seated at ringside, by the way, not in the Nitro position.


Hey, a match to start the show? I love you, Stephanie.


Kurt Angle vs Mark Henry. Ugh, a Mark Henry match to start the show? OK, now I just like you a little, Stephanie. Henry gets the canned heat treatment again this week. I bet they don't mention the time, over a year ago, that Angle was mocking Henry for being an Olympic scrub. Henry tosses Angle around. Kurt tries a German, but Henry blocks it by being TOO FAT. Henry tosses Angle around some more, until Kurt finally gets a back suplex in, for 2. Henry powerslams and avalanches him, and then Brock Lesnarberg runs in to attack Henry (DQ, 2:57). Damn, that was a 350-pound F5. The match was basically Angle getting tossed around like a ragdoll, which only goes so far. DUD


Backstage, Angle catches up to Brock. Angle gets all uppity, until Brock reminds him he blew his chance for the title, and is no longer the #1 guy on Smackdown. If Lesnar’s first feud after Summerslam is with Angle, I’m down with that.


After the break, Yummy Stacy sucks up to Stephanie to get herself a job as an assistant. Well, if Stacy is going to be “servicing” Stephanie, I'm buying a big-screen TV. Stacy’s first duty is to answer the door, and receive a flower delivery from Easy Eric Bischoff, which Steph is none too happy to receive.


Reverend D’Von (with Former Deacon Batista) vs The Big Valbowski (with Hardcore Holly). Val pounds on D’von and drops the knee for 2. He does a crossbody, sending himself and D’Von out, and the announcers sell Val landing on his neck. Back in, D’Von pounds the neck and does a rolling necksnap for 2. He slams Val, but like his half-brother, can’t hit a move from the 2nd rope, missing an elbowdrop. Val clotheslines D’Von and hits a fisherman’s suplex. Batista pulls D’Von out at 2, so Holly beats him up at ringside while Val hits the Blue Thunder bomb for the pin at 3:06. After the bell, WWE’s particular brand of egalitarianism is again evident, as Batista destroys the faces to get his heat back. Perfectly acceptable stuff here for a three-minute match. 3/10


Meanwhile, Stacy bosses some security guards around. She spies Edge heading for the door, panics, and calls Stephanie.


After the break, Lance Storm and Christian insult Americans in preparation for their defense against The Rock and Hollywood Hulk Hogan later.


Meanwhile, the security chaps keep Edge from leaving until Stephanie arrives. Edge pledges his loyalty to Smackdown and wants to go to the production truck. Stephanie gets the ironic line of the night with, “Why are YOU going to the production truck?” I really hate to sound like a smarky smark here, but uh, Steph, why's your boyfriend going to production meetings and giving speeches backstage? Anyway, Edge has a Y2J-esque timer on the screen, counting down the minutes until his cage match with The Internet Hates Jericho.


Rikishi vs Aaaahlbert. We cut to the parking garage, since this is a filler match anyway, where Mark Loyd With One L tries to get a word with Angle, but gets blown off. Albert starts with a bicycle kick, then pounds the living hell out of Rikishi in the corner. Damn, he needs to switch to decaf. Albert avalanches Rikishi and gets 2 off a second-rope splash. He misses another Avalanche, allowing Rikishi to hit a DDT and Samoan Drop. Fatass splash sets up the Stinkface, and the Banzai Drop finishes Albert at 2:45. Not completely unwatchable, but if you stepped away to defrost your refrigerator, you didn't miss anything. 1/10


Meanwhile, Loyd reports Angle's conversation with "Eric" to Stephanie, who apparently has the entire roster on her cell phone’s speed dialer. Well, at least she’s thorough.


Tag Team Title Match: Lance Storm and Christian (with Test) vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan and The Rock. Storm and Hogan start, to a nice “USA!” chant. Hogan overpowers the puny Canadian and poses. Storm rakes the eyes and clotheslines Hogan. Hogan does his own clothesline, and pinballs Storm with The Rock. Rock in, and he suplexes Storm for 2. Storm jawbreakers Rock, and Christian comes in for some heel double-teaming in the corner. Rock clotheslines Christian and does the belly-to-belly throw. Christian heel kicks Rock for 2, and Storm comes in to choke him out in the ropes. Rock hits the spinebuster, but Test pulls the top rope down on the People’s Elbow, and Rock goes crashing into the announce table. Storm covers for 2 back in the ring. Christian chokes Rock, but walks into a neckbreaker. Test yanks Rock out and drops him on the announce table. Hogan sure distracts the ref while his partner gets pounded a lot. Storm pounds Rock and superkicks him, but Hogan saves. Test gets Hogan to chase him, leading Rock to lunge for a tag that an empty corner simply can’t make. Rock DDTs Storm and there’s the hot tag to Hogan. They could have built up more suspense there, I think. Christian is in as well, but Hogan is on a house-cleaning mission. Noggin knocker, but the heels recover enough to double suplex Hogan. Rock hits the Rock Bottom on Storm while Christian gives Hogan the Unprettier for 2. Hulk up, and the usual sequence follows, but Brock breaks up the pin at 9:11. Lesnar hoists Hogan into the F5, dispelling the notion that he can only take a back suplex bump. Well, if killing Hogan doesn’t get him over, nothing will. The match was going along quite nicely until the DQ ending. I like them trying to get Lesnar over right away, and continue his games with The Rock, but can’t he destroy people backstage, or something? Two run-in DQ finishes is a little reminiscent of Crash TV for me. 5/10


After the break, Brock demonstrates his ruthless aggression by stealing Hogan's limo.


Meanwhile, John Cena compares Test to a woodchuck, to the rodent's advantage. Test doesn’t find Cena’s routine funny, and delivers a fierce bitch-slap.


Meanwhile, Stephanie wants to make sure Jericho isn’t jumping ship.


Chavo Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio. What's with the weird contacts for Rey? Chavo takes Rey down and monkey flips him. Rey gets 2 off a reverse victory roll and ranas Chavo. Chavo hits a release German, flipping Rey over so that he lands on his midsection. He drops Rey on the top rope and works over the ribs in the corner. Abdominal stretch, but Rey gets out. Chavo dropkicks Rey for 2, and send him to the outside by sliding him under the bottom rope so that he lands on his ribs. I like the psychology here. Back in, Chavo hits an exploding gutbuster for 2. Rey dropkicks him out and nails a corkscrew plancha. Back in, Rey splashes Chavo, but gets kneed in the gut. Chavo hits a Gorry Bomb (!) for 2, but Rey drop toeholds him into the second rope. That sets up the 619, and Rey finishes Chavo with a springboard hurricanrana at 5:53. It’s good to see the cruisers get six minutes this week. Chavo’s psychology combined with Rey’s mad lucha style made for a very good match. 7/10


After the break, Test tosses Rey into a metal door. What did the Canadians ever have against the Mexicans? Damn, they just hate the rest of North America. Must be all the flannel.


Test vs John Cena. Test starts with a lot of stomping and pounds Cena in the corner. Cena dropkicks him, but Test does a corner clothesline. He slams Cena but misses the elbowdrop. Cena DDTs Test as a “Woodchuck” chant gets going. Cena hits a flying jalapeno and Stinger splash. Cena slips out of the Meltdown and hits a variation of the Blue Thunder bomb for 2. Test gets the Meltdown on the second try, for 2. He goes for a powerbomb, but Cena rolls thru it for the win at 3:21. Not to be outdone, Test delivers the big boot of FACE CRUSHING~! after the bell. Bah, I'm really tiring of that get-your-heat-back-right-after-the-bell crap. Brief match, but it was entertaining enough. 3/10


Meanwhile, Stephanie leaves Angle another voice mail.


Main Event, Cage Match: Edge vs The Internet Hates Jericho. Commercial break right after they get in the cage, and we come back with the match already underway. Edge flapjacks Jericho and clotheslines him. Jericho turns an Irish whip to the corner into an escape try, but Edge stops him. Jericho gets caught in the ropes and takes a spear, but tosses Edge into the cage on a second try. Edge goes into the cage twice more and blades. Jericho rakes his face over the cage. Edge gets chokes on the second rope, but somehow overcomes the awesome power of the arrogant cover. Jericho gets a drop sleeper for 2 and ties Edge in the ropes so he can pound away on him. Edge throws Jericho into the cage and faceplants him for 2. He misses a dropkick, and Jericho goes for a quick Lionsault, but hits the knees. Edge-O-Matic gets 2, and Edge climbs. Jericho stops him and tries a superplex, but Edge turns it into an inverted powerbomb. It gets 2. He goes for the Impaler, but Jericho counters into a Walls attmept, and ends up catapulting Edge into the cage. He gets a chair and pastes Edge with it, but only gets 2. Edge ducks another chairshot and spears Jericho for 2. He tries to climb out, but Jericho stops him with a lowblow and comes down with a top-rope bulldog. He does one of those patented WWE Cage Match Slow Climbs, and Edge stops him, after pausing to read War And Peace. Edge comes down with a top-rope electric chair drop, leaving both men down. Edge goes for the climb, Jericho goes for the door, and Edge hits the floor first to pick up the win at about 13:00. Storm, Christian, and Test jump Edge after the bell and work him over in the cage. Cena comes in, and is quickly overwhelmed. Rey comes back out and climbs the cage, coming down tith a crossbody on Storm, Jericho, and Christian. The heels are soon beaten into retreat. The ending was a little anticlimactic, but this was a very solid main event. 7/10


After the match, Stacy tells Stephanie that Bischoff is in the parking lot, so she dashes out to confront him. He gloats that Smackdown’s loss is Raw’s gain, but who’s in that limo with Easy E? It’s not Angle, as he walks up behind Steph and explains that he was talking to his brother Eric. We’re left with the cliffhanger ending as to who was in the limo with Bischoff. Tune in Monday, different Bat-time, different Bat-channel!


Doing The Math: Two very good matches and the absence of any extended promos combine to make me happy. I like the tension they’re building between the shows, finally trying to make them seem separate and competitive. It’s not cool that they trumped the main event to push that aspect, but the show was solid overall, so I’ll forgive them. It was a strong week of free TV for WWE, and this show should piggy-back the Raw ratings increase nicely. We’ll see if they can put out this kind of quality consistently, but they’re off to a good start so far, and that’s encouraging to see. 7/10


Dr. Tom

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