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Dr. Tom's Smackdown! Report: 1/16/03

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For those who asked, I thought the Raw X special sucked a savage sausage. It was easily one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen any wrestling company produce, and I remember the AWA’s “Team Challenge Series.”


The opening video shows a few clips of Mr. Charisma and Dawn Marie’s wedding, then the honeymoon clips that ended in the weepy melodrama of last week. Then a tacky “In Memory” (whatever happened to “In Memoriam?”) graphic flashes, so Al has apparently died. Hell, he looked mostly dead every time I saw him on TV. Dawn the Black Widow gives a teary speech about her love for Al, etc. Tonight, there will be a public viewing. Apparently, we’re supposed to care about all of this bad soap opera bullshit.


On tape from New Jersey, this is WWE Smackdown for 16 January 2k3. Your hosts are Michael Cole and Taz(z).


Tag Title Match: Los Guerreros vs. Ice Ice Cena and B-2. Both Eddy and Chavo are in the Royal Rumble. Cena’s opening rap only manages to work in about a half-dozen Latino stereotypes. Eddy and Cena kick it off with a waistlock sequence, leading to an Eddy drop toehold. Cena works the arm, but Eddy dropkicks out of it and tags in Chavo. He snapmares Cena so Chavo can deliver the seated dropkick for 2. Chavo back suplexes Cena and tags out, allowing Eddy to slingshot in. Eddy brings the brawling and takes Cena down with a nice back suplex. Chavo adds a snap suplex, and B2 comes in, right into a drop toehold. Chavo continues the back suplex brigade, and switches with Eddy as Cena’s histrionics have the ref distracted. Cena pulls the rope down, spilling Eddy to the floor, where Cena beats on him and bodyslams him. Back in, B2 hits a Falcon Arrow for 2. Cena tags in, going to the cover right away and getting 2. Cena locks in a facelock, and it seems like Eddy’s hurt. Chavo is in, and Cena snap suplexes him for 2 before going back to the facelock. Chavo dropkicks Cena and tags Eddy, who neither managed to leave the ring nor stand while Chavo was in. B2 is in, and Eddy DDTs him for 2, forcing Cena to save. Chavo tosses Cena and B2 and tries the pescado, which is caught. Eddy follows with a pescado of his own, sending everyone to the floor. Eddy doesn’t get back up, though, so Chavo goes back in with B2. They slug it out before Chavo dropkicks B2 down and goes up. He channels Eddy, nailing the Frog Splash for the win at 5:03. They obviously changed and rushed this match after Eddy’s injury, but what was left was still solid. His injury isn’t believed to be serious, just so you know. 4/10

(Winners: Los Guerreros, pinfall via Frog Splash at 5:03)


After the bell, Cena and B-2 get into a shoving match, which Cena wins thanks to new homey Red Dogg from OVW. They post B-2 and ram him into the post outside the ring, where Dogg locks him in a Fujiwara armbar.


A video package shows the origins of Team Angle, then their singles debuts from last week. Kurt Angle makes sure it’s on like NECKBONE~! with that crutch.


Chris Benoit gives another introspective interview about his family, sacrifices, and the WWE title. Benoit promises Angle will not be 100% for their Rumble match. Benoit admits he has Toothless Aggression, finally adopting a joke used by many.


Stephanie McMahon hypes the Smackdown matches on the Royal Rumble this Sunday, for those who have been sleeping under a rock and didn’t know about it. Tonight, it’ll be The Big Slow and A-Train vs. Brock Lesnar and a partner of his choosing.


Rikishi vs. Bill DeMott. DeMott is on the stick, trying to live down his rep as a cruiserweight-smashing bully by taking on the man with the world’s largest ass. Well, whatever works, I guess. Tieup, and Rikishi slugs DeMott down. Another tieup, which Rikishi breaks with a hiptoss and a bodyslam. Rikishi pounds DeMott’s arm and goes to the armbar. DeMott slugs his way out and shoulders Rikishi in the gut. Big enough target. DeMott chokes Rikishi on the middle rope. Rikishi slugs his way back, but DeMott pounds him down and locks in an armbar. Rikishi brawls, but posts himself on a charge. DeMott rolls him up for 2, then turns around into a superkick. He’s selling the shoulder and can’t cover right away, so the slow cover gets 2. Rikishi catches a charge and slugs away. DeMott charges again, and makes the fatal error of bumping heads with a Samoan. Rikishi goes for the Banzai Drop, but DeMott gets up and powerbombs him down, grabbing the “tights” for the pin at 4:13. Not as dismal as it could have been, but this still wasn’t something to tell the kids about. 1/10

(Winner: Bill DeMott, pinfall via powerbomb at 4:13)


Meanwhile, NUMBAH ONE Announcer Funaki listens to Billy Kidman bad-mouthing Shannon Moore and Matt Hardy v1.0. Matt gives them all a lesson in MATTITUDE~! for their insolence, which triggers a brawl. Call me crazy, but I think we're getting a match out of this one.


Nunzio (with Jamie Noble and Nidia) vs. Tajiri. Tajiri mocks Nunzio and kicks him, so Nunzio takes him down and gets slap-happy. Tajiri grabs a waistlock, which Nunzio rolls out of. Tajiri takes Nunzio down with a ‘rana and nails him with a heel kick for 2. Nunzio goes for a bodypress, which Tajir catches, but the resourceful redneck escapes by rolling out and grabbing an armbar. Nunzio stomps on the arm and uses the ropes to help him work it over. Snapmare, and Nunzio goes back to the arm. Tajiri grabs his leg, but Nunzio misses the enzuigir. Tajiri kicks his legs, but Nunzio buries a knee in his gut and hits a second-rope Fame-Asser for 2. Nunzio locks in the cross armbreaker, and Tajiri struggles to the ropes. Tajiri does an interesting airplane spin variant (across the back instead of the shoulders), and hits a NICE German with a bridge for 2. Tajiri hits the handspring elbow. He misses a kick, but manages to nail Nunzio coming back across with the rebound kick for 2. Nice. Nunzio kicks the bad shoulder on a charge and gets an over-the-shoulder armbreaker. Tajiri goes to the Tarantula, and has trouble getting it because of his arm. Noble gets on the apron, only to get kicked off rudely. Nidia tries her charms on the apron, but Tajiri spits the GREEN MIST~! in her face. Nunzio capitalizes, though, hitting a sppringboard armbar DDT for the win at 4:52. Nice, fun match, with good spots and good psychology. 6/10

(Winner: Nunzio, pinfall via springboard armbar DDT at 4:52)


Raw Retro: A look at the absolutely godawful Raw X show. Even WWE was unhappy with it, so why are they showing “highlights” of it here.


Meanwhile, Cena waxes philosophical to Not Tough Enough about tossing B-2 aside for Red Dogg.


Now the Undertaker video says “The Bad Ass returns.” We’ll see Sunday.


The funeral home footage opens with Cole saying, “This must be so hard for Dawn Marie.” All I could think was, “Not since their honeymoon,” but that’s just me. Dawn weeps at the casket, on the shoulder of the mortician, or funeral director, or whatever those chaps are called. She then sobs even more, as I wonder what the point to this clusterfuck is. The last time WWE had a segment involving a casket, the results weren’t very pretty. Here’s hoping for something better this time, or at least something that doesn’t involve necrophilia.


Meanwhile, Stephanie talks to Shane-O Mac on the phone about Easy Eric Bischoff’s 30-day deadline on Raw. Brock answers her summons and declares he doesn’t need a tag team partner, but Stephanie insists.


Tag Match: The Slow Train (with Paul Heyman) vs. Brock Lesnar and Rey Mysterio. Hey, look who’s back! Paul has the stick before the match, talking about Slow vs. Angle on the Rumble. Paul swears Brock won’t win the Rumble because he can’t beat Slow, despite having humiliated him several times. The faces charge the ring, and Brock throws it down with Slow. A-Train gets the better of Rey until Brock walks up and casually hits the F5 on him. Brock escapes Slow’s chokeslam and tosses him out. Rey hits the 619 on A-Train, and that gets the win at 0:37. Way too brief to amount to anything except a welcome-back match for Rey. DUD

(Winners: Brock/Rey, pinfall via 619 at 0:37)


After the break, Dawn talks to a woman who has to be related to Al, since she’s as wooden as he is. Or was. The room falls silent as Torrie Wilson arrives, and she and Dawn stare down at the coffin.


Matt Hardy v1.0 (with Shannon Moore) vs. NUMBAH ONE Announcer Funaki (with Billy Kidman). Only one fun fact from Mattitude.com today: Matt was in the gifted class in elementary school. A brief brawl to start, and Funaki takes Matt down with a clothesline and wails away on him. Funaki kicks away, but Matt gets a Side Effect out of nowhere for 2. Matt slams Funaki down and adds an elbowdrop for 2. Matt chokes Funaki on the rope and does the running straddle. He hits the chinlock, turning it into a modified slop drop for 2. Funaki sunset flips Matt for 2, but Matt hotshots him on the tope rope. Matt goes to the chinlock. Funaki slips out and runs him into the corner for some kicking. Matt misses a charge, giving Funaki an easy chance for a bulldog. The seated dropkick gets 2. Funaki enzuigiris Matt and sends him to the corner for a tornado reverse neckbreaker, which only gets 2. Funaki drop toeholds Matt into the second rope, and Matt bails. Funaki chases him with a pescado. He rolls Matt in and goes up, where Moore tries to knock him down. Kidman is all over that, though, allowing Funaki to come down with the crossbody. The ref is busy with the shenanigans on the apron, though. Matt whips Funaki into Moore and finishes him with the Twist of Fate at 4:24. Fun, energetic match with a few nice spots. 5/10

(Winner: Matt Hardy, pinfall via Twist of Fate at 4:24)


Meanwhile, back at the funeral home, Dawn accuses Torrie of killing Al via a broken heart. She slaps Torrie a good one, leading to a brief catfight. Dawn waylays Torrie with a very breakable lamp to finish her off, and it takes Torrie a second or two to realize an act like she's been hit. Al was noticably alive a couple times here. It’s kind of tasteless to use a supposed funeral to set up a meaningless, shitty match on a PPV.


Main Event, Handicap Tag Match: Team Angle (Charlie Haas, Shelton Benjamin, and Kurt Angle) vs. Edge and Chris Benoit. JIP after the commercial break, with Benoit hitting a nice back suplex on Haas. Benoit lays in some FILTHY chops and posts Haas. He snap suplexes Haas and elbows him down off the ropes. Benjamin distracts the ref long enough for Angle to sneak in and lowblow Benoit. Haas covers for 2. Haas kicks Benoit and applies a unique armbar, torquing the neck with his leg at the same time. Benoit comes out of it with a rollup for 2. Benoit snap suplexes Haas, and yields to Edge, who comes in with a clothesline. Benjamin yanks Edge down on a whip, allowing Haas an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Angle tags in and pounds Edge before Edge hits a flying jalapeno. He faceplants Angle and tags in Benoit, which sends Angle scurrying to the floor. Benoit gives chase like everyone else who has read Tactics For Stupid Babyfaces, Vol. IV, only to be met in the ring by a Benjamin clothesline. Angle puts the boots to Benoit and clotheslines him for 2. Angle Germans Benoit and knocks Edge off the apron. Anglelock, but Benoit kicks out quickly. Benjamin tags in, but Benoit knees him in the gut and clotheslines him down. Edge comes in with a flying clothesline for 2. He spears Benjamin in the corner, but Angle manages to draw Benoit in, leading to a Team Angle triple-team. Edge ends up on the floor, where Benjamin rams him into the apron twice. Back in, Benjamin slams Edge and adds the legdrop for 2, brutha. Haas tags in, and they do the double-team hotshot spot. Haas chokes Edge, and bulldogs him for 2. Haas chokes Edge on the rope, where Angle sneaks in a cheap shot. Benjamin stomps Edge and clotheslines him for 2. He goes to the chinlock, and Edge fights out, hitting the Edge-O-Matic to leave both of them down. Haas comes in and cuts off the tag with an elbowdrop. He suplexes Edge, forcing Benoit to make the save. Haas rams Edge into the corner, where a clever ref distraction leads to some double-team work. This match has a very nice old-school feel to it. Benjamin and Haas combine to elbow Edge down, and Angle tags in to bring the stompage. Edge tries to brawl his way back, but Angle cuts that off with a pair of overhead suplexes. Haas kicks Edge down and puts him in a head vise. Edge kicks out of it, but Angle is in quickly to put the boots to him. Edge clotheslines him, leaving both men down. Angle lets Edge get whisker-close to the tag, then Germans him back to the middle of the ring. Great spot, with an appropriate cruel twist to it. He does it again, because Angle is awesome like that. Angle cheapshots Benoit off the apron, but Edge takes him down with an overhead suplex. Benjamin tags in, Benoit gets the hot tag, and it’s throw-down time. Benoit cleans house. German for Benjamin. A pair of Germans for Haas, whom Benoit shoves into Benjamin and Germans again. Nice. Benjamin tries to set up a fireman’s carry, but Benoit counters that into the Crossface. Angle runs in with his title belt, but misses the beltshot, allowing Benoit to grab another Crossface. Edge discourages Haas from interfering with a spear. Benoit sends Benjamin to the floor, then it’s back to the Crossface. He won’t release the hold, though, so the ref calls for the bell. It could have been because Angle wasn’t the legal man, but since when has assaulting a non-legal combatant meant a DQ? (DQ at 15:01) Benoit breaks, then locks the Crossface in again, and Angle taps like Gregory Hines on speed. Edge takes the rest of Team Angle out with a pescado while Benoit grabs the crutch and beats Angle’s ass with it. I don’t mind the DQ here since it keeps Benoit looking strong going into the Rumble match. The match was hella good, with excellent action and a very cool old-school vibe to it. 8/10

(Winners: Team Angle via DQ (Benoit refuses to release the Crossface) at 15:01)


The breakdown:


The Good: THAT is what a main event should be. Top-flight competitors, solid action, and a result that advances the storylines. The Matt/Funaki, Nunzio/Tajiri, and Guerreros/Cracka Ass Crackas matches were solid, too. Four good matches is enough to make the show a winner already. Also, Rey Mysterio made his return, albeit in a brief tag team match, and Red Dogg debuted in the big leagues.


The Bad: Nothing here, really.


The Ugly: From weepy melodrama to a funeral parlor scene even the soaps wouldn’t go near, the Al Wilson/Torrie/Dawn angle sinks to new lows each week it refuses to die.


Overall: Like I said, four good matches is enough to make this a winner. Brutally bad segments like the funeral home farce are easier to swallow when a kick-ass main event comes on in short order. I still can’t say I’m interested in the Rumble, but it’s not the fault of this show. 7/10


Dr. Tom

Holler at me here.

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