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Dr. Tom's Smackdown! Report: 1/2/03

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The Call Goes Out: We at The Smartmarks are looking for a few more writers. Specifically, we need someone to cover the last few weeks of Tough Enough, do North American and Japanese tape reviews, and review music and video games in the Pop Culture section. Previous experience writing for a website is not required, though you will need to be a competent, reasonably polished writer. If you’re interested, send me an email, with “Sample Submissions” in the subject line, and a sample or two of your work attached. Not everyone will make the cut, but I will read and answer every submission I get.


LIVE (yes, live) from Albequerque, NM, this is WWE Smackdown! for 2 January 2003. Your hosts are Michael Cole and Taz(z).


Before we even get to see the announcers, Ice Ice Cena and B-2 head to the ring, with Cena using his dope rhymes, yo, to insult Rikishi. You know what that’s setting up . . .


Ice Ice Cena (with B-2) vs. Rikishi. Rikishi starts before the bell, pounding on Cena and tossing him out to the floor. Cena gets a brief tour of ringside, getting introduced to the table and the steps in short order. Back in, Rikishi gets 2 off the legdrop, brother. He superkicks Cena, but B-2 pulls his dawg out before any ass-based shenanigans can occur. Rikishi steps out to beat on B-2, but gets ambushed by Cena back in the ring. Cena tosses Rikishi out, where B-2 rams him into the apron. Back in, that gets 2. Cena back suplexes Rikishi for 2. He goes to the chinlock, but Rikishi elbows out and slugs him down. Rikishi misses the fatass splash this time, and B-2 tries to put the bling-bling chain on the turnbuckle. The ref spies his skullduggery and admonishes him for it, missing Rikishi’s spinebuster of Cena. Rikishi brings B-2 in the hard way, and Cena ends up bumping the ref trying to get involved in the fracas. It ends soon enough, with Cena rolling Rikishi up for the win at 3:52. The ending seemed like a total clusterfuck from my seat, though it’s not like it dragged down a good match or anything. 1/10

(Winner: John Cena, pinfall via rollup at 3:52)


Dawn Marie joins us on stage, in her wedding dress, to point out how beatiful she looks in white. I bet weddings don’t draw “Slut!” chants often, even in Vegas. Dawn promises to make history by marrying Mr. Charisma in the nude. I think getting thru an actual wedding on a wrestling show would be enough of an accomplishment.


After the break, Stephanie McMahon objects to Dawn wanting to have her nuptials in the nude. Steph promises serious repercussions if Dawn ties the knot in her borthday suit.


Chuck Palumbo vs. Bill DeMott. They lock it up to start, with DeMott tossing Chuck down. Chuck decks DeMott in the head, then they do it all over again. Nothing like variety, I always say. DeMott splashes Chuck in the corner and takes him over with a vertical suplex. Chuck fights out of a chinlock, but Bill knees him in the gut and clubs him down. He really needs the heat machine. Chuck avoids another splash, and clotheslines DeMott in the opposite corner. Chuck gets the overhead suplex and starts the silly punches, but DeMott preempts the discus punch with a hard clothesline. A reverse neckbreaker gets the pin for DeMott at 3:54. This was terribly boring, as neither man has an offensive arsenal that's in any way exciting. DUD

(Winner: Bill DeMott, pinfall via reverse neckbreaker at 3:54)


Interesting commercial for the Royal Rumble, showing a lot of old-school Undertaker clips, with the tagline of, “Darkness consumes the light, beckoning his return. The Dead Man walks again.” Hmmm.


Meanwhile, Torrie Wilson and Billy Kidman discuss the impending nuptials, with Kidman aping both Al and Dawn. His impressions are actually pretty decent. If they keep this up, Kidman might actually get a personality.


Meanwhile, Not Tough Enough asks Kurt Angle, accompanied by Team Angle, if he’ll be ready to face Chris Benoit at the Rumble. Angle retorts by showing the footage of Team Angle laying the beats down on Benoit last week. Angle also isn’t sweating Team Angle’s tag match later, putting over his lackeys’ wrestling pedigrees. Kurt stresses the importance of the second W in WWE, and I am in complete agreement.


Eddy Guerrero (with Chavo Guerrero) vs. Billy Kidman. Eddy actually cut the MULLET~! It is indeed a sad way to kick off the new year, with the demise of Eddy’s mullet. Eddy starts with an armdrag, so Kidman answers with a pair of his own. He misses a dropkick, but monkey flips Eddy coming bck. Eddy chops his way out and pounds away. Eddy hits a fallaway slam for 2, then goes to the headlock. The Wannabe Twins come out, but Eddy ignores their unprofessional, rapping interruption and keeps his hold on. Chavo and B-2 go at it, as Eddy and Kidman tumble out to the floor. Rikishi comes out to assault B-2, and this match has officially turned into a clusterfuck. Kidman wails away on Eddy outside as the refs try to gain control of the situation. They’ll need a commercial break to do that, apparently. Back from the break, all extraneous persons have been removed, except for Cena, who sits at the commentary table. Kidman slugs Eddy, but runs into a Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker for 2. Eddy looks like he’s going for a crucifix powerbomb, but instead spins around and releases Kidman into a slam on the mat. That gets 2. Cena is rapping all of his commentary, in case you were curious, and he’s actually doing a decent job of it. Eddy goes to the chinlock, and Kidman fights out, only to get tossed out. Eddy puts him back in, and follows him with a slingshot senton for 2. He locks in a sleeper, which Kidman escapes with a back suplex. Kidman goes up, but Eddy wins the struggle over the top rope and comes down with a superplex. Eddy goes up, but misses the Frog Splash. Kidman powerbombs Eddy for 2 and dropkicks him down. He flips out of a Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker and hits a sitout powerbomb for 2. Eddy knees Kidman and tries a powerbomb, which Kidman counters with what was ostensibly supposed to be an X-Factor, but ended up looking like a lame faceplant. Kidman goes up and hits a crossbody for 2. He slips out of a vertical suplex and bumps heads with Eddy in the corner. Cena, with the bling-bling chain wrapped around his fist, decks Eddy, leaving him out cold for the Shooting Star Press to end it at 13:31. The first half of this was rather a train wreck, but it got better after the commercial break. 6/10

(Winner: Billy Kidman, pinfall via Shooting Star Press at 13:31)


The Wedding: Groom and bride make their ways to the ring, which is bedecked in pink and other wedding accoutrements. The crowd chants for Torrie as the preacher kicks the ceremony off with the usual spiel. Dawn objects to her dress being on, so she doffs it in favor of a nice little lingerie set – white, of course. Dawn then decides Al should get married in the nude, as I feel my dinner threatening to make a return appearance. She strips Al down to his tighty whities (of COURSE) and decides to spare us all further pain and suffering by stopping there. Al struggles with the vow lines, and just declares he takes them all. Well, that’s pretty comprehensive. Dawn does the vows, and it’s official. That’s IT? All that buildup, all that alleged controversy, and it goes off without a hitch? Whatever, as long as this is end of the damn thing.


Tag Match: Team Angle (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) (with Kurt Angle) vs. Chris Benoit and Edge. Benoit and Haas start things off. Haas locks it up with Benoit and takes him down, amateur-style. Benoit gets out of that and shoulderblocks Haas down. Benjamin comes in to try his luck with the amateur stuff, so Benoit grabs a waistlock posthaste. Benjamin takes Benoit down with a drop toehold, but Benoit turns that into the Crossface. Haas is forced to save. Edge tags in and stomps a mudhole in Benjamin. He chops away in the corner and hits a missile dropkick for 2. Haas grabs Edge on a whip, so Edge slugs him off the apron, allowing Benjamin to pound on him and toss him out. Edge goes into the wall before getting rolled back in. Benjamin suplexes Edge for 2, then goes to the chinlock. Haas tags in and chokes Edge on the rope, allowing Angle a cheap shot. Haas hits an overhead suplex for 2 and tags in Benjamin. Haas does a hangman on the top rope and holds on while Benjamin leapfrogs onto Edge’s back. Inventive spot, that. Haas is back in, and he pounds on Edge and takes the opportunity to cheapshot Benoit. Haas flapjacks Edge and locks in that Cloverleaf-style leg submission he debuted last week. Benoit makes the save. Benjamin comes in, but Edge ducks his kick and faceplants him. Haas gets the tag, and Edge makes the hot tag to Benoit, who goes into house afire mode by clotheslining anything that moves. Release German for Haas, then one for Benjamin. Benoit snap suplexes Benjamin and goes up. He nails the Kamikaze Headbutt, but Haas saves at 2. Benoit shoves Haas into an Edge clothesline, then he and Edge each hit a trio of stereo German suplexes. Edge was a little slower in the execution, but it’s not a move he regularly does, so he can be forgiven. Angle drags Edge out, but Benoit baseball slides into him. Benoit blocks a Benjamin superkick and locks in the Crossface. Edge spears Haas, forcing Angle to end things by pasting Benoit with his title belt. (DQ, 7:11) Edge tosses Angle out, only to get killed by Haas. Angle kirks out, assaulting both the ref and the ring announcer before forcing the reluctant announcement of his team as the “winners.” Good effort from all four men here. The team of Haas and Benjamin has a lot of promise, and there are few people better to learn from in the ring than Chris Benoit. 6/10

(Winners: Benoit/Edge, DQ (Angle beltshot to Benoit) at 7:11)


After the break, Paul Heyman is in the ring to say how proud he is of everyone in Team Angle. Heyman brings out The Big Slow, and confesses a feeling of empowerment just standing near him. I’m sure he meant that in a manly manner, of course. Heyman doesn’t like the chance that Brock Lesnar might win the Rumble and go on to face Angle, so he proposes raising the stakes: a one-on-one match against Slow at the Rumble, with only the winner getting to enter the Rumble match itself. Paul is confident that Brock won’t accept, since he’s afraid of Slow and all. I’d be afraid he might fall on me and suffocate me, but that would be about it. Brock, sans music, heads to the ring for a rebuttal, but gets waylaid by Matt Hardy v1.0 and Shannon Moore, and the chair they carry. Brock finally fights off the smaller men in the ring and dumps Slow. Brock’s busted open in the back of the head.


Meanwhile, NUMBAH ONE Announce Funaki catches up with Mr. and Mrs. Al, who promise to send video updates of their honeymoon.


Nunzio (with Jamie Noble and Nidia) vs. Crash. Crash climbs the corner coming in, and fends off Nunzio’s sudden assault with a kick, then comes down with a crossbody for 2. A backslide gets 2 for Crash, but Nunzio pops up with a clothesline. He goes to work on the arm right away. Crash tries to toss him out, but Nunzio hangs on and posts Crash’s bad arm on his way to the floor. Nice spot there. Nunzio goes back to the arm, and gets 2 off a nifty-looking armbreaker. Crash rolls him up for 2, but Nunzio puts Crash away with a flying armbar at 2:01. It’s a shame this had to be so brief; these two had a nice psychology-laden match going on. Of course, it’s also a shame they both got squashed by DeMott, but what can you do? 2/10

(Winner: Nunzio, pinfall via flying armbar at 2:01)


A new graphic gets displayed, a Tale of the Tape for the upcoming Brock-Hardy match. That adds a nice touch to the main events.


After the break, Matt instructs Shannon in the ways of MATTITUDE~!


Main Event: Brock Lesnar vs. Matt Hardy v1.0 (with Shannon Moore). Today’s fun fact from Mattitude.com: Matt always stays awake until sunrise on New Year’s. Just one fact tonight, as Matt and Shannon hit the ring right away, only to get killed by Brock’s clotheslines. Lesnar is still bleeding from the back of the head, by the way. Brock nearly snaps Matt in two with a HIGH backbreaker, and follows with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Brock pounds Matt and rams him spine-first into the top turnbuckle. Another spinal ram, and Brock leaves Matt in the Tree of Woe for some good old-fashioned stomping. Moore grabs Brock’s leg as the ref helps Matt down, so Brock drags him in and gives him one of the hardest tosses out of the ring that I’ve ever seen. Matt goes to work on the leg with a series of kicks, and hits a Side Effect coming off the ropes. Brock takes him over with a capture suplex. Moore gets on the apron, so Brock brings him in the hard way and whips him into Matt. Moore takes an F5, and Matt sneaks up on Brock with a Twist of Fate, but only for 2. He tries for it again, but Brock counters into the F5 for the win at 4:37. This was pretty much a squash, but Matt bumped like mad for Brock’s bloody psycho power offense, and I liked the results. 3/10

(Winner: Brock Lesnar, pinfall via F5 at 4:37)


Heyman and Slow stand on the stage. Menacing glares are exchanged. Brock gives Matt another F5, because tossing a 200-pound man around will certainly intimidate a 500-pound man. More glaring ensues as he credits flash on the screen.


Breaking it down:


The Good: Eddy – even without the power of the mullet – and Kidman put on a good match, as did Benoit and Edge against Team Angle. Overall, the wrestling was solid, with the latter four matches making up for the suckfests we saw to open the show. The Benoit-Angle (and Brock-Angle) builds continued well, with more obstacles getting thrown in front of Brock this week.


The Bad: They really need to find something else to do with Bill DeMott. Put him on a tag team, or something, because he’s just not very exciting as a singles wrestler. Palumbo might be a stiff, but I doubt many people would have mad that match entertaining.


The Ugly: Al Wilson in high tighty whities. Yeech. A few screen shots of that could probably be marketed as an effective emetic.


Overall: After hitting the doldrums last week, Smackdown! kicks off the new year with a winner. Solid action in the ring and good storyline development on the important feuds is about all you can ask from a wrestling show. Even Al Wilson in his skivvies can’t take too much away from this one. A good way to kick off 2003, and I hope the shows continue to be like this. 7/10


Dr. Tom

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