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Dr. Tom's Smackdown! Report 12/19/02

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Shameless Plug: I saw The Two Towers at 12:01 AM Wednesday morning. There is a review available from yours truly at thesmartmarks.com, and you can find it right here. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I recommend taking yourself to a theatre this weekend. The crowds will only add to the experience.


Let me also say that the “I Love The 80s” series on VH1 is damned engrossing. It was the first decade I really remember, and they’ve managed to capture its highlights and be entertaining about some of the things I shake my head at now. Good work.


Last week, we had a tag team main event, and one team really sucked. At Armageddon, Brock Lesnar helped Kurt Angle win the Disputed Title from The Big Slow.


On tape from Tampa, Florida, this is WWE Smackdown for 19 December 2K2. Your hosts are Michael Cole and Taz(z).


New champ Angle comes to the ring. He’s still getting the “You suck!” chants; I’m surprised they weren’t edited out. Angle rattles off his championship pedigree before unburdening himself of the fact that he needed help to win the strap this time. Before Angle can give props to Brock for his help, Brock comes out and does the slow march to the ring. That’s like people who say, “You’re welcome” before a body gets the chance to thank them. Angle talks about a match between the two men, and Brock breaks out in the HAPPY DANCE~! Brock wants his promised match tonight, but Angle already has a non-title match signed. Angle offers next week, and Brock stews for a while before accepting.


After the break, Slow shows what a tough hoss he is by taking his anger out on an innocent locker. Just because he couldn’t fit his lunch in there is no reason for that. Paul Heyman cowers appropriately before revealing he has a contingency plan to guarantee Slow a rematch before Brock gets a shot.


Non-title Match: Eddy Guerrero (with Chavo Guerrero) vs. Billy Kidman. Sign in the crowd: “Eddie Guerrero mow’s my lawn.” Y’know, if you’re a barely-literate cretin, you shouldn’t make a sign to try and insult someone. Eddy jumps Kidman and pounds him down in the corner. Kidman catapults Eddy into the opposite corner and courteously monkey flips him back to the center of the ring. Kidman suplexes Eddy, but Eddy pounds him down again and hits the Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker. He goes up, and rolls thru the Frog Splash when Kidman gets out of the way. I hate when they do spots like that because it looks REALLY choreographed. Kidman enzuigiris Eddy and nails a sitout powerbomb for 2. Chavo tries to interfere, but Chavo deals with him before kicking him in the head on a tornado DDT. Kidman goes up and connects with the Shooting Star Press, but Chavo pulls him off at two. Kidman wails on Chavo, then turns around into a kick from Eddy. Eddy finishes Kidman with a NICE crucifix powerbomb at 3:06. Chavo lays the beatdown on Chavo after the bell. For a three-minute match, this was pretty damn good. 4/10

(Winner: Eddy Guerrero, pinfall via crucifix powerbomb at 3:06)


Meanwhile, Matt Hardy v1.0 is back from Velocity hell, and is going on with his match against Brock despite an eye injury. He provides us a lesson in Mattematics: Matt + 1 bad eye > Brock.


Chuck Palumbo vs. Ice Ice Cena (with B2). After some headlockery, Palumbo suplexes Cena, then does an overhead suplex for 2. Cena dumps Palumbo so “Bling Bling” Buchanan can abuse him. Cole called him that, not me, so email HIM to bitch about the stupid name this time. Palumbo gets rolled in for 2. Cena pounds away in the corner, and elbows Palumbo off the ropes for 2. Cena grabs a full nelson, but that only works if your name’s Billy Jack. Palumbo suplexes out, and thrills the crowd with his dazzling array of punches. A belly-to-belly suplex sets up the FEARSOME discus punch. Palumbo passes up the cover, even though Cena’s face is obviously crushed beyond repair. Palumbo goes up and hits a crossbody, but Cena rolls thru with a handful of tights for the cheap win at 2:47. After the bell, Rikishi attacks the Wigger Twins, though B2 manages to save Cena from the Banzai Drop. I’m just quivering in anticipation of the tag match next week, let me tell you. It probably couldn’t be more boring and predictable than this match was. DUD

(Winner: John Cena, pinfall via trunks-assisted rollup at 2:47)


After the break, we’re “treated” to a recap of the amazingly dull and pointless Torrie Wilson-Dawn Marie “feud.” Cole has been making a big deal all night about the footage they couldn’t show last week, but somehow can tonight. Obviously, the network standards regarding ten seconds of sterile footage showing pretend lesbianism have been relaxed in the past week. Taz hypes up the incredibly bland footage, before Torrie gives an awkward, pointless interview about her father breaking her heart.


And now, the rebuttal: Dawn and Mr. Charisma defend their relationship. Dawn mentions talking to Al for hours, meaning she really must be a freak and a masochist. The only bright spot: the “wedding” is set for two weeks, which means the end of this godawful, utterly pointless angle is in sight.


This week’s Raw Retro: Hulk Hogan and The Rock agree to throw it down at Mania X8.


Brock Lesnar vs. Matt Hardy v1.0 (with Shannon Moore). Today’s fun Matt fact: Matt has wrestled in 44 states. I guess you only get one fact after getting busted down to the B-show. Before the match, Matt begs off with eye problems, so pegs Moore to sub for him. Hmm, I’m sensing a squash coming up. Brock tosses Moore across the ring, then disregards his opponent to jaw at Matt. Moore dropkicks him from behind, but Brock takes great umbrage at his conversation being interrupted by tossing Moore clear out of the ring with an overhead suplex. Moore lands on his hip and leg, and all I can say is OUCH. The F5 is academic at 0:43. After the bell, Brock gives Matt the F5, too. Hope you enjoyed your cup of coffee on the big show, Matt. DUD

(Winner: Brock Lesnar, pinfall via F5 at 0:43)


Meanwhile, Stephanie McMahon demands Angle go out and clear something up. Hmm.


After the break, Angle reveals he hired a management team to represent him before Armageddon. It turns out to be the esteemed firm of Heyman and Dangerously Inc., and CEO Paul Heyman joins Kurt in the ring. Well, so much for that face turn. Heyman lays out their setup every step of the way. Paul’s other client, however, is pretty cheesed, and Slow comes out to ring to voice his displeasure. Heyman talks him down with promises of Brock’s title shot next week, which gets Angle’s Irish up. Paul placates everyone by talking about the power the three of them wield as long as Angle or Slow holds the belt, and Brock doesn’t get near it. I guess it worked, ‘cause everyone is hugging.


Tag Match: Jamie Noble and Nunzio (with Nidia) vs. Crash Not-Holly and Bill DeMott. Nunzio and DeMott start. DeMott takes Nunzio down and beats on him. He bulls Nunzio into the corner, where Noble makes a not quite-blind tag. DeMott brings Noble in he hard way and military presses him into a Snake Eyes. DeMott hits a German suplex, then grabs the dazed Nobe’s arm and forces him to tag Nunzio. Nunzio tries to wail away, but DeMott is a HOSS BAH GAWD, and no puny cruiserweight can pound him down. Noble comes back in for more of the same. DeMott powerbombs Noble, and passes up the tag to Crash to end the match with the moonsault at 2:08. Yes, it’s much better to push a guy nearing the end of his career instead of a pair of talented smaller guys who can really go. Way to get Nunzio over in his first week in the ring, too. It’s not that DeMott shouldn’t get a push, but he shouldn’t get one at the expense of people who have greater value to the company. After the bell, DeMott gives Crash a share of the “cruiserweight = jobber” treatment, as well. Basically just a power squash. 1/10

(Winners: DeMott/Crash, pinfall via DeMott moonsault at 2:08)


Meanwhile, Edge talks to The Cat about his hatred of The A-Train. Don’t worry, Edge, a lot of us hate him too.


Edge vs. The A-Train. A-Train wails away on Edge and shoulderblocks him down. Edge comes back and slugs away. He escapes a military press, but A-Train chop-blocks his bad knee. A-Train works the knee, forcing Edge to fight him off. Edge chops away, but takes a sidewalk slam for 2. A-Train locks in a half-crab, and Edge struggles to the ropes. A-Train pounds Edge in the corner, but Edge boots him on a charge and hits an enzuigiri. It takes a flying jalapeno to get the big man off his feet, though. Bulldog, and Edge goes up, winning the eventual fight over the top rope. A missile dropkick gets 2. A-Train escapes the Impaler, but Edge takes him down with an Edge-O-Matic for 2. A-Train knees Edge in the gut on a spear, and gets 2 off a bicycle kick. Back to the half-crab, and Edge again struggles to the ropes. Edge dropkicks out of a Baldobomb and finishes A-Train with the Spear at 5:27. They let Edge do all the important work, so this was decent enough. I remain VERY skeptical of the former Albert’s sudden push, though – they can’t hide him behind better workers forever. 3/10

(Winner: Edge, pinfall via Spear at 5:27)


Meanwhile, Josh Matthews waits outside Brock’s locker room. Brock offers cryptic comments about his state of mind before walking off.


Main Event, Non-title Match: Kurt Angle (with Paul Heyman) vs. Chris Benoit. They exchange waistlocks before Angle breaks out Ye Olde Amateur Take-downe. Benoit promptly turns that into a hammerlock, then a headlock. He shoulderblocks Angle and hits a pair of armdrags. Benoit unleashes some MAD chops in the corner, and Angle bails. Benoit follows him for some more abuse and puts him back in. More chops lead to a clothesline, and Benoit grabs a snap suplex for 2. Angle gets an overhead throw off the ropes and pounds Benoit in the corner. He tosses Benoit out, where Heyman waylays him with the title belt. Back in, that gets 2. Anlge hits a vertical suplex for 2. Benoit tries to chop his way back, but Angle rakes the eyes and answers with some chops of his own. The exchange rate definitely favors Canada on the chops. That’s a good thing, I guess, since their dollar is worth about six cents down here. Angle slaps on a chinlock with a body vise, and Benoit eventually fights out. Angle knees him in the gut off the ropes for 2. Angle hits a German and tries for the Olympic Slam, but Benoit armdrags out of it. A mutual clothesline leaves both men down, with the crowd counting along all the way to 9. Benoit is up with a fury, hammering Angle and taking him down with a clothesline. He hits a pair of Germans, but Angle blocks the third one and rolls into the Anglelock. Benoit kicks out of it, sending Angle into the buckle. Benoit gives a further demonstration on the art of the German suplex, nailing four in a row. Angle rolls out, so Benoit rolls him back in and hits three more Germans. Angle is dead, to the point that snot bubbles out of his nose. That’s the first step in zombification right there. Benoit hits the Kamikaze Headbutt, and locks in the Crossface instead of going for the cover. He breaks it when the Big Slow runs in and chokeslams him for the cheap finish at 9:27. LAME. Brock runs in and takes Slow down with an overhead suplex, then gives Angle the same. He tries to give Heyman the F5, but Slow takes his leg out. Angle gives Brock the Olympic Slam, and Slow adds the chokeslam. The Heyman Family, as Cole has dubbed the mini-stable, stand over Brock as the credits roll. If you’re going to use the DQ, why not add a little something by making it a title match? This was good, good stuff before the cheap ending. 6/10

(Winner: Chris Benoit, DQ via interference at 9:27)


The breakdown:


The Good: The best matches, not surprisingly, involved Angle, Benoit, and Guerrero. Edge dragged a watchable match out of A-Train, and with someone better across from him, would have put on a quite decent match. The Angle-Heyman alliance was pulled off very well, too. I’m not sure the pairing is necessary – Heyman’s best role on the show is to be a very good mouthpiece for someone who can’t work the stick, and Angle’s good on the mike. Still, the storyline has a lot of potential to be good.


The Bad: None of the other matches were worth writing home about. Two squashes and a snore-fest don’t exactly fill out the card.


The Ugly: This Dawn Marie-Torrie angle has gone on way too long. Since they can’t pay it off with anything other than a stilted smooch or two, I fail to see why all this time is being given to a story involving two non-wrestlers. Why waste the time on it, when there’s nothing in the ring to keep things going? Trucking out Al Wilson every week is an offense to the viewing audience, too. How about getting an actual actor for a role like that? The whole thing is a first-division clusterfuck, and the only silver lining is that it should be over in two weeks. Hurry up and get here, 2003.


Overall: The run of good shows has definitely ended. Instead of watching Rey-Rey tear up the ring, we get Bill DeMott, Albert, and the Big Slow. Not only does the Hoss Parade get prime airtime every week, but the matches are getting shorter and more meaningless. I already avoid Raw for Monday Night Football, and I don’t want to feel that watching Smackdown is something I have to do rather than something I want to do. Here’s hoping for a turnaround, and soon. There was some good stuff this week, but there was just too much crap weighing it down. 4/10


Dr. Tom

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