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Dr. Tom's Smackdown! Report

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Brock Lesnarberg and Paul E. Dangerously are out for the opening promo. Lesnar tears off his Hulkamania T-shirt in mockery of the “injured” Hollywood Hulk Hogan. He should have come out to Hogan's theme. Paul questions the merits of the vitamin-taking, prayer-saying preparation program. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with vitamins. Here’s some footage of Hogan getting taken apart last week. Paul makes it out that Hogan’s career is over. Well, a fellow can dream, can’t he? After Paul goes on about Summerslam, Brock gets on the stick and does some INTENSE~! shouting. It only lasts a few seconds, though, as Rikishi interrupts. They have a match later on, and I PROMISE I’m counting the seconds until that classic happens. Anyway, the predictable brawl ensues, and Lesnar gets tossed. He manages to save Paul from the Stinkface, though. All that, and I still don’t want to see their match later.


On tape from Seattle, this is WWE Smackdown for the ides of August. Manning the commentary table are The Usual Suspects.


Six-Man Tag Match: The Hurricane, Shannon Moore, and Hardcore Holly vs. The Ambiguously Gay Duo and Rico. The ref is clad in a dark blue shirt, which is supposed to further separate the brands, I guess. Nice touch there. Billy and Holly slug it out to start. Bob shoulderblocks Billy and hits The Best Dropkick In the Business. How do you like him now? Oh. He brings Rico in the hard way and suplexes him. Moore comes in, and walks right into some kicks. Apparently, Rico is an expert in Kenpo. Maybe he trained with Jeff Speakman. Don’t laugh, that street knight was the perfect weapon. Of course, Michael Cole has tried to put the freaking Godfather over as a "martial arts expert," so do your own math there. Moore heel kicks Rico and backslides him, allowing Hurricane to come down with a flying legdrop. Chuck saves at 2. Hurricane headscissors Chuck over and nails the Shining Wizard. Chuck comes back with Snake Eyes and an underhook suplex for 2. He slaps on a chinlock, then joins Billy in making a wish. Billy does some slow brawling and tries a Tilt-A-Whirl slam, which Helms escapes and hits the Eye of the Hurricane. Tags all around, and Moore is in housecleaning mode. That goes well until Chuck tosses Hurricane and Billy nails the One And Only on Moore. Chuck covers for the 3 at 5:24. After the bell, the heels do a brief beatdown, until Holly and Helms chase them off. After the fact, Matt Hardy runs out and tries to make it look like the contributed something. Decent little match to open the show. 4/10


Meanwhile, Dawn Marie apologizes profusely to Stephanie McMahon for the folder fiasco last week.


After the break, Matt Hardy has a "me" moment in front of all his friends.


Chris Benoit joins Stephanie for a chat, and she practically creams her shorts at the though of Benoit making The Rock and RVD tap. Yeah, she’s sure acting like a face tonight.


Marc Loyd talks to Kurt Angle about his loss to Rey Mysterio last week. Angle says the win didn’t count, since Mysterio is a cheater. Rey challenges Angle at Summerslam, which Angle accepts. Just so this segment can become even more crowded, Mark Henry joins us to poke fun at Angle, which of course, leads to a match. Be still my heart.


Kurt Angle vs. Mark Henry. Henry tosses Angle around and shoulderblocks him. Don’t all of his matches start that way? Angle tries a suplex, which Henry cleverly blocks with his enormous girth. Angle tries to brawl, and you can figure out how that goes, Henry clotheslines Angle and does the running straddle choke on the 2nd rope. Henry is selling some kind of ankle tweak, so Angle goes right to work on the leg. Angle chopblocks Henry and works on the leg some more. Anglelock, but Henry kicks out of it, dumping Angle in the process. He does a press slam, but Angle escapes a powerslam and goes back to the Anglelock. Henry taps out at 5:34. After the bell, Mysterio comes in and takes Angle over with a top-rope hurricanrana and does a 619 to Angle while he’s on the floor. Looks like Angle bladed on that one. Can Angle get some offense in during these matches? I know he’s making rookies and stiffs look good, but is it too much to ask for him not to get his ass handed to him in the process? 1/10


Brock Lesnarberg (with Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Rikishi. Lockup starts, and Rikishi tries a hiptoss, but Lesnar blocks it and takes him over with a fireman’s carry. Brock bounces off the jelly belly on a shoulderblock and takes a clothesline for his troubles. Rikishi posts himself on a charge, and Brock goes after the arm, ramming it into the post. Rikishi sells the arm on an Irish whip, which is something you just don’t see anymore. Ok, so he’s not completely useless. Brock goes to the bearhug, but Rikishi slugs out of it and clotheslines him. Rikishi keeps selling the shoulder, doing a one-armed Samoan Drop. BELLY-to-belly sets up a Fatass Splash. Brock falls into Stinkface position, so Heyman runs in and gets shoved around. He falls into the dreaded position, too, of course. Brock tries to save his agent, but Rikishi superkicks him and does the Stinkface to Heyman. Brock grabs him and hits the F5 for the win at 5:41. There was some decent action and selling in spots, but the ending was terribly anticlimactic. 2/10


Meanwhile, Funaki sort of talks to Nidia about her match with Torrie Wilson. Nidia awkwardly whores herself, which is interrupted by Batista tossing Reverend D’Von Damn Dudley around and shouting at him. Well, I guess that partnership’s over.


Torrie Wilson (with Billy Kidman) vs. Nidia (with Jamie Noble). Torrie clotheslines Nidia, then catapults her and rolls her up for 2. Nidia comes back with a kick and a decent DDT for 2. Torrie hangs her on the top rope and hits a snap suplex for 2. Torrie slaps Noble, which causes the menfolk to have a scrum on the floor. Torrie neckbreakers Nidia, but Noble sneaks in and clotheslines her down hard. Nidia gets the pin at 2:26. At least they made contact. 1/10


Meanwhile, Eddy and Chavo Guerrero have a Spanglish contest, and agree that Eddy has a fabuloso smile.


Tag Match: Edge and Rey Mysterio vs. The Familia Guerrero. Edge slugs it out with Chavo and flapjacks him. He kicks Eddy off the apron and dumps Chavo onto him. Eddy beats on Edge outside. Chavo dropkicks Edge, and Eddy comes in and wails on him. Edge faceplants Eddy, and Rey comes in with a highspot. Chavo gets knocked off the apron, and Rey does a standing moonsault for 2. He tries the 10-punch countalong, but Chavo stops him at 7, and Eddy powerbombs him out of the corner. Chavo comes in with a slingshot splash for 2. Backbreaker and back suplex follow. Eddy comes in with the senton and goes to the chinlock after a nice pumphandle backbreaker. Chavo slams Rey down, but eats a heel kick. Eddy comes in and stops the tag by knocking Edge off the apron. He tries a powerbomb, but Rey counters with a headscissors. Edge gets the hot tag, and he’s officially a house afire. He spears Chavo in the corner, but misses when he tries to hit Eddy. Eddy nails a brainbuster and goes up, but Rey shoves him down. Chavo finds himself in perfect position for the 619. He tries to do the slingshot hurricanrana, but Kurt Angle pulls him down and slaps on an Anglelock on the floor. That’s good enough for the DQ at 6:08. Gah, what a lame ending. Edge saves Mysterio from the ravages of the Anglelock after pausing to dispatch of Eddy. They had a good match going here until the cop-out ending. And here I thought Chavo was just out there to do the job. 6/10


Meanwhile, Loyd tries to talk to Rock, and after a misunderstanding about the meaning of “Bend over,” Rock carries on with the interview by himself. He tells Lesnar to "Just bring it, bitch," in several languages. See, not only is Rock entertaining, he’s educational, too. Now you can tell Germans to bring it and call them bitches in their native tongue. And if they menace you, a simple raise of the eyebrow will get you off the hook. I assume no responsibility if this doesn’t work, but you’re free to go ahead and try it.


Main Event, Non-Title: The Rock vs. Chris Benoit. A big "Watch Raw" sign makes it way past the cameras as Rock poses in the corner. Benoit starts with some armwork and cinches in a headlock. He shoulderblocks Rock down, but Rock gets a pair of armdrags into an armbar. Rock shoulderblocks Benoit, but Benoit rallies with a high back suplex. Backbreaker gets 2, and they exchange chops. Rock hits the belly-to-belly, but Benoit answers with a series of FIVE German suplexes, bridging the last one for 2. How did we survive without him for a year? Rock slugs out of an armbar and plants Benoit with a DDT for 2. Benoit gets his own DDT, then goes up and hits the Kamikaze headbutt for 2. Damn, I didn’t expect that to turn up in his repertoire after the neck surgery. Both men are down. Rock wins the ensuing brawl, and takes Benoit down with a dragon screw legwhip, into the Sharpshooter. Benoit makes the ropes and kills Rock with a running back elbow. Rock absolutely ruins what had been a great match by kipping up right away. I wish they’d cut that out. He basically no-sells the entire match when he does that, and it’s doubly infuriating when the offense he’s supposed to be selling has been as good as Benoit’s. Anyway, Rock hits the spinebuster and goes for the People’s Elbow, but notices Brock Lesnar walking down the ramp. Rock bails and they stare longingly at each other until Benoit Pearl Harbors the Rock and tosses him back in for the Crossface. Lesnar watches again, as Rock screams in pain and struggles toward the ropes. The deja vu there is a nice touch. Rock finally makes the ropes, and Benoit drops some elbows in frustration. Rock hits the Rock Bottom out of nowhere for the win at 11:28. The kip-up and the ending out of nowhere cost this, but it was first-rate stuff apart from those two exceptions. 7/10


The breakdown:


The Good: The last two matches were very good, rescuing the show from some of the less stellar efforts that went before them. The opening match was perfectly acceptable, Rock and Angle were good on the mike, and the continuing Rock-Brock dynamic came off well. It’s a shame they’re only going to be able to get a month out of what’s been a pretty interesting mini-feud, especially considering its lack of direct confrontations.


The Bad: The Funaki-Nidia segment was . . . weird. At least he could have said she was EVIL (indeed!). Stephanie’s inconsistent face-heel behavior was definitely on the heel side tonight. I can see why she’d try to keep the IC strap on Smackdown, but screwing over guys like RVD and Rock isn’t going to win her any fans. I think she plays off Bischoff much better if she’s a face, but I wish they’d just stick to a role for her, whatever it is.


The Ugly: I know Rikishi and Mark Henry have to wrestle every week, but do their matches have to be consecutive? WWE could at least warn a body about things like that. Then I could tape that part of the show and catch a power nap while it airs.


Overall: Another solid, if unspectacular, outing for WWE. It’s almost like they do it on purpose: there are always a couple very good matches and segments, and invariably, there is enough crap to drag the good stuff back down to ordinary. As long as they keep getting decent shows out of it, I won’t complain overmuch, but there’s a lot of potential being wasted here, and it’s frustrating to see. I’ll say the good outweighs the bad again this week. 6/10


Dr. Tom

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