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Dr. Tom's Smackdown! Report

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A very overproduced, Steph-centric opening video sets up a few matches for tonight: Edge vs. Kurt Angle, The Undertaker vs. Mattitude v1.0, and Chris Benoit vs. Rey Mysterio. There’s also going to be a tournament for the new Tag Team titles, which I’m guessing will be exclusive to this show. The titles will be won at No Mercy, but the tourney starts NOW.


Tag Team Tourney Match: La Familia Guerrero vs. Team Fat Guy. Rikishi and Mark Henry (who else?) overpower the Guerreros and splash them. Mizark tosses Eddy onto Chavo, and Rikishi plows them both down with a double clothesline. Eddy slugs it out with the big man and dropkicks him. Chavo comes in, right into a Samoan Drop. Henry tosses the puny Guerreros around before getting chop-blocked by Chavo. They start working on the leg, including a nifty slingshot senton right onto the leg by Eddy. Why Henry is playing face in peril here is a mystery: Rikishi is the much better seller. He actually looks sort of convincing, while Henry’s “selling” consists of frowning and grunting while prone. Eddy draws Rikishi in illegally, allowing Chavo to smash Henry in the leg with a chair, and Eddy’s sort-of Cloverleaf leglock gets him to submit at 5:16. The right team won, and it was good to see the psychology figure into the finish. This was watachable because of the excellent Guerreros. 2/10


On tape from the home of Mardi Gras, this is WWE Smackdown for 10/3/02. Your cajun hosts are Michael Cole and Taz(z).


Meanwhile, Torrie Wilson and her dad bump into Billy and Chuck. Dawn Marie walks up and adds nothing to the segment.


Meanwhile, Paul E. Dangerously interrupts Brock Lesnarberg’s joyous reviewing of his pasting of the Undertaker by informing Brock he’ll have to give UT another title shot at No Mercy, with stips unknown. Is anyone surprised? Matt Hardy expresses his typical self-confidence for tonight.


Falls Count Anywhere: The Undertaker vs. Mattitude v1.0. UT pounds Matt in the corner and legdrops him on the apron. Matt gets introduced to the tables, and UT sets him up for a chokeslam on the announce table. Matt lowblows out of that and tries the Twist of Fate, but Taker shoves him off into the wall. Into the crowd they go, then backstage. Finally, Brock ends the monotony by jumping Taker from behind. UT fights off Brock and Matt for a while, but Brock gains the upper hand and delivers an F5 onto a pallet of foam-filled bags. Wow, that must have hurt. I bet Undertaker’s foam allergy is just KILLING him right now. Matt picks up the opportunistic pin at 4:49. Afterwards, Brock smashes Taker’s hand with a propane tank. I guess that gives him something to sell this month. Blah brawl all the way. 1/10


After the break, Taker refuses medical help again. Marc Loyd learns from the trainer that Taker’s hand is probably “broken.”


Cruiser Title Match: Jamie Noble (with Nidia) vs. Crash Not-Holly. Crash? CRASH!? Gah, what’s this belt coming to? Who’s the face here, anyway? Arm wringers are exchanged to establish parity. Noble beats on Crash in the corner and puts the boots to him. He snapmares Crash over and drops elbows to the back. Noble cinches in a camel clutch, but Crash eventually fights out by backing Noble into the corner. Crash clotheslines Noble and faceplants him, but Nidia distracts him from any further offense. Crash runs Noble into Nidia, knocking her off the apron, and they exchange rollups. Noble counters the Crash landing, and grabs an inside cradle (and the ropes) to get the duke at 3:35. Completely bland cruiser match here; both men are capable of better than this yawner. Along with the allergy medicine I’m doped up on, this one almost put me out like a light. 1/10


Meanwhile, Angle has no regrets about disparaging Rey Mysterio because he’s (Angle, that is) the best wrestler in the world. Preach on, Kurt. Angle starts talking about what a work of art he is, until Edge reminds him he’s not perfect. Gold medals vs. bald head are the platforms for this, um, fascinating debate. Angle sucker-punches Edge to end the segment, reminding all Americans how to treat those inferior Canadians who claim to like us. That PSA was the highlight of an unusually drab Angle interview.


Mid-Show Main Event: Kurt Angle vs. Edge. Lockups and a mat sequence start. Edge armdrags Angle into an armbar. Angle fights out, but ends up back in the same bind. He slugs out again, and again ends up in the armbar after an armdrag. Angle pounds Edge in the corner, but eats a heel kick. Angle bails, and gets posted back in the ring. Edge goes back to the arm, but Angle backdrops him to the floor. He drops Edge on the wall, “injuring” his ribs. Back in, Angle works over the midsection and hits a vertical suplex. Overhead belly-to-belly gets 2, and Angle applies a headlock with a bodyscissors. Angle knees Edge in the gut coming off the ropes, and locks in an abdominal stretch. Sadly, he’s too far from the ropes to use it like a proper heel. Edge hiptosses out, but takes a back suplex. Edge does his own overhead suplex, and both men are down. They slug it out, leading to an Edge flying jalapeno. He faceplants Angle for 2 and goes for the spear; Angle counters with an overhead suplex that wipes out the ref. Impaler, no ref. A lowblow sets up the Olympic Slam, and a second ref counts 2. I think I see where this is headed already, and I don’t like it one bit. Edge makes the ropes quickly on the Anglelock and hangs Kurt on the top rope. He goes up, and shoves Angle down when he goes for the nifty running superplex. Angle crotches Edge, though, and brings him down with a superplex. The first ref is awake, and the second one counts the fall with both men’s shoulders down at 15:36. The refs get into it, of course, and we don’t have a winner going into the break. Hmmm, I wonder if this one will be restarted? I hate obvious overbooking like this. Back from the break, the match has been restarted (What a SHOCK!), and Angle is wailing on Edge. During the break, Angle suplexed Edge on the floor. Angle slaps Edge around and ties him in the ropes. One spear hits, two spears hit, but Edge avoids the third and sends Angle to the floor. Edge spears Angle off the apron, and leaps onto him with a flying clothesline from the top rope. Edge gets 2 off a missile dropkick, but Angle rallies with a German suplex. Three more Germans follow as Chris Benoit wanders out. Angle hits another German, but Edge victory rolls him for 2 on the second try. Edge rolls Angle up out of the corner, but Kurt turns it into an Anglelock. Edge rolls thru, sending Angle to the floor. Kurt brings a chair back in with him, which Benoit tries to pilfer before he can use it. Like an idiot, Angle swings, hits the top rope, and causes the chair to bounce back into his own face. Edge capitalizes with a spear for the win at about 21:30 of total ring time. The action was first-rate, but the stupid bit with the restart hurts this one, and the silly ending just pours salt in that wound. It’s hard to take a lot away from a 20-minute free TV match between two guys this good, though. 8/10


After the break, Angle shouts at Benoit until Stephanie intervenes by making them a tag team next week, under threat of suspension for a year.


Meanwhile, Paul congratulates Brock on his hand-breaking techniques. Matt Hardy uses some roundabout logic to try and insert himself in the #1 Contender’s spot, but Brock and Paul aren’t impressed.


Tag Team Tourney Match: Billy and Chuck vs. Reverend D’Von Damn Dudley and Faarooq. Since D’Von is still supposed to be a Reverend, is Faarooq then still an Acolyte? The heels beatdown to start, and Faarooq takes Chuck over with a snap suplex. D’Von comes in, and immediately takes a modified underhook suplex. Faarooq comes back in and cheapshots Billy, but gets pounded on by Chuck. Faarooq stops him with a drop toehold, and the heels get in some double-teaming after a tag to D’Von. The tag ropes are definitely back, as Faarooq uses his to choke out Chuck. D’Von powerslams Chuck and tags Faarooq. He cheapshots Billy again and tries to do a Wassup. Chuck reverses, though, and D’Von dives onto his partner. Ho, the comedy. Tazz says the arena’s hopping, so I guess the Cajun crowd is really good at hopping while sitting on their hands. I’ll have to practice that the next time a house show comes this way. Billy gets the hot tag and cleans house, only to fall victim to Faarooq’s spinebuster of death (with D’Von getting the pin) at 4:08. Hey, at least we’ve had one good match so far. This turdburger obviously wasn't it. 1/10


Meanwhile, Dawn Marie gives Torrie’s dad a sneak preview.


Bikini Contest: Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie. The challenger goes first, and Dawn Marie reminds us that she’s really good from the neck down. Torrie looks simply amazing, though, totally out of Dawn’s league. Hachi-machi! The audience concurs, and the usual catfight ensues. Torrie won, if you follow that kind of thing.


Meanwhile, Stephanie reports that Undertaker’s hand is broken, but he insists on competing in the rematch. Steph names the stip for No Mercy: Hell in a Cell.


Main Event: Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Benoit. Benoit pounds Rey and backbreakers him. He whips Rey HARD into the corner, but Rey has a boot waiting for the charge. Rey flips up to the top rope on another whip, so Benoit pounds him in the back. He goes for the crucifix powerbomb, but Rey turns it into a headscissors. Nice sequence. Rey does the wheelbarrow bulldog for 2 and goes for a monkey flip. Benoit catches him and sets him on the top rope to toss him out. However, Rey says, “NO POBO~!!” and headscissors Benoit to the floor. Rey follows him with a springboard hilo. Back in, Benoit counters a highspot with a vicious backbreaker. He stays on the back, hitting a back suplex and a backdrop, then kneeing Rey hard in the back. Benoit locks in a Japanese chokehold, using Rey's hands, crossed over his throat, to choke himself (sorry, I don't know the proper name). Rey reverses it, and sunset flips Benoit for 2. Benoit hooks in a bow and arrow, but Rey fights out. Rey avoids a dragon suplex (damnit!), but ends up taking a sweet wheelbarrow suplex for 2. Rey dropkicks Benoit and goes for the Asai moonsault, but Benoit catches him. Rey shoves him into the corner, heel kicks him down, and hits a stiff-looking sliding dropkick to Benoit’s face. This match rules it for brutality. Springboard moonsault gets 2. Rey tries the 619 after an enzuigiri, but Benoit catches him and turns it into a shoulder breaker. Benoit nails the kamikaze headbutt, but only for 2. I thought he wasn’t going to do that move anymore after the neck surgery? Crossface, but Rey makes the ropes. Rey escapes a German and dropkicks Benoit in the back of the head. He guillotines him from the second rope, and the 619 connects this time. Benoit avoids the West Coast Pop, but Kurt Angle hangs him on the second rope, and Rey ‘ranas Benoit over for the win at 10:54. Great match, full of action and brutal-looking spots. It was better than Edge-Angle from tonight, but a little short of Edge-Eddy from last week. This was still a great match for free TV, though, and my only wish is that they had five – even three – more minutes to give it. 8.5/10


After the bell, Angle and Benoit get it on, slugging out before each man goes for his submission hold. Angle ends up in the Crossface and taps before a pull-apart brawl ends the show.


The breakdown:


The Good:


Two great matches highlighted tonight’s show, though the Angle-Edge affair was also a lesson in needless overbooking. Still, two matches rated at 8 or above is a good night for the rasslin’ action. There’s not much else to add here, except Torrie looking mega-FINE in the bikini contest. Billy Kidman, you are truly a lucky man.


The Bad:


Can I just say “everything else” here and get away with it? The other matches were bland and lackluster. I expect that with people like Rikishi and Mark Henry in the ring, but not with the cruiserweights hooking it up. None of the promos were particularly good, Stephanie screeched a lot, and Undertaker’s “broken hand” is just an excuse for him to job at No Mercy without losing too much face. Same old, same old.


The Ugly:




Overall: The other four matches basically sucked the trouser trout, but the excellent Edge-Angle and Rey-Benoit outings are enough to help me forget about that. I knew coming in that it would be hard for them to duplicate last week’s show. They’re heading in the right direction in terms of quality shows every week, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and hope this trend continues. Suck it, Raw; you can’t even hang with Smackdown’s second tier of good. 7/10


Dr. Tom

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