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Dr. Tom's Smackdown! Report: 3/13/03

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(Sorry this is a bit late, but I accidentally closed IE after coding this entire article in TSM's article publisher. Yes, I'm a dumbass.)


Earlier today, Brock Lesnar made a triumphant arrival, while Kurt Angle looked like he was marching in a funeral procession.


On tape from Pittsburgh, PA, this is WWE Smackdown! for 13 March 2003. Your bobbleheads are Michael Cole and Taz(z).


Nontitle Match: Team Angle vs. Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman. Kidman and Haas start, and Haas brings the rasslin’ right away with a fireman’s carry and armdrag. Kidman takes him down with a legscissors, then armdrags Benjamin coming in. Rey sunset flips in, getting 2. He flips out of a suplex and does a mad spinning legscissors for 2. Kidman is back in, and he and Rey work a double-team legdrop spot for 2, brother. Kidman posts himself on a charge, though, giving Team Angle something to focus on. And focus on it they do, as Benjamin immediately busts out a flying armbar, and Haas tags in for some general abuse on the arm. An armwringer takedown forces Rey to make the save, and Benjamin adds some armwork of his own. Benjamin decks Rey off the apron, and Haas tags in to work the doubleteam leapfrog spot for 2, as Rey again saves. Kidman hits the desperation enzuigiri, and there’s the hot tag to Rey. He’s a hoparound house afire, shunning the usual clotheslines for things like flying bodypresses and Bombs Away. Kidman blind tags in and X-Factors out of a Haas powerbomb for 2, as Benjamin saves. Rey sends Shelton to the floor, then gives Haas the 619. He stays on the apron, delivering a beautiful Asai moonsault to Benjamin. Kidman hits the Shooting Star Press (and his foot on the ropes on the way down, which he wouldn’t do if he actually JUMPED out to do the damn move), forcing Benjamin to recover quickly and pull Kidman off Haas. The ref keeps illegal man Rey out of the ring while Team Angle do the superkick/German combo for the win at 7:15. Solid tag match, and an excellent choice for an opener. 6/10

(Winners: Team Angle, pinfall via superkick/German suplex combo at 7:15)


Meanwhile, Stephanie McMahon interrupts a phone call to talk to a flower-bearing Brian Kendrick. He’s not trying to hit on her, but instead thanks her for giving him a chance.


After the break, a video airs of Jamie Noble visiting the Playboy mansion earlier today. He got mistaken for a pool cleaner before going into the expected spiel and getting evicted. Wow, that was a waste of time.


Rikishi vs. Chuck Palumbo (with Nunzio and Johnny Stamboli). Yay, it’s the feud no one cares about. Raw has one, too, and theirs is worse, but that’s not really saying a lot. Rikish dispatches Nunzio and Stamboli from the apron, then turns around into a Palumbo superkick for 2. Belly-to-belly gets 2, and then Chuck breaks out the Exciting Display of Punching. Rikishi finally counters with – guess – more punching. I wish I would have chosen this time to arrange some matches, or something. Los Guerreros prevent the FBI runin, allowing Rikishi to do the usual, setting up the Banzai Drop at 2:52. Yawn. .5/10

(Winner: Rikishi, pinfall via Banzai Drop at 2:52)


Meanwhile, The Undertaker goes looking for Nathan Jones and finds him sitting in a dimmed room. They’re going to be doing a little scouting for Mania.


Tag Match: Team Slow Train vs. Tajiri and NUMBAH ONE Announcer Funaki. Gee, I’m not looking for a squash here at all. Slow smashes the small Japanese men for a while, before allowing A-Train to do some pummeling of his own. Slow takes the third commentary chair as A-Train shrugs off some jobber offense. Funaki takes a stungun and gorilla press before a fluke sunset flip gets 2. Slow gets involved again, getting the tar kicked out of him by Tajiri before ignoring it and hitting a chokeslam. Slow finishes Funaki with the Train Wreck at 3:43. “Train Wreck” is an apt description of this farce. DUD

(Winners: Team Slow Train, pinfall via Train Wreck at 3:43)


Some fans are surveyed as to the winner of the Angle-Brock match. This was about as exciting as local newscasters asking people on the street what they thought of the Walgreen’s burning down.


After the break, Dawn Marie laments to Sean O’Haire that she didn’t get the Playboy spot. O’Haire talks her into some exhibitionism, which, of course, is nothing she doesn’t already know.


Earlier today, Torrie Wilson revealed her Playboy cover.


Dawn hits the ring and promises to go wild right now. And as long as opening your shirt for the fans (nice use of the ropes on one camera shot, btw) counts as going wild, there you go. Good line from Tazz: “You know they call this the Mellon Arena, Cole.” Heh.


After the break, Ice Ice Cena raps some more threats to Brock. At his current rate of "rehab," this one should get blown off by Survivor Series or so.


#1 Contenders Match: Los Guerreros vs. Rhyno and Chris Benoit. Two observations: Los Guerreros’ new music really blows, and WWE could have a hell of a team just using the guys who have had neck surgery. The Spinal Fusion Stable could have Benoit, Angle, Edge, and Rhyno, with Lita as their valet and Scott Taylor as their mascot. Chavo and Benoit start, exchanging arm and leg holds until Parity Is Achieved. Eddy and Rhyno tag in, and Eddy works Rhyno into the corner after a drop toehold. Eddy lays in the forearms, and his snapmare setsup Chavo’s seated dropkick. Chavo works Rhyno over in the corner before yielding to Eddy, who gets backdropped immediately. Benoit suplexes Eddy and brings the mad choppage, but Eddy turns the tide with a thumb to the eye and some brawling. CHEAT TO WIN~! Rhyno tags in and pounds Eddy, but Eddy elbows him on a charge. Chavo back suplexes Rhyno for 1 and goes to the chinlock. Rhyno bulls him into the corner, where Benoit takes over with a backbreaker for 1. Benoit hits a nice HIGH back suplex for 2. He tries a second one, which Chavo counters with a bodypress for 2. Eddy takes Benoit down with a standing dropkick for 2 and lays in the chops. Benoit takes umbrage to his chops being used against him, and demonstrates the proper technique on Eddy’s chest. Benoit goes for the Crossface, but Eddy rolls away into the ropes. Chavo puts the boots to Benoit and goes to the chinlock. Benoit armdrags out, but Chavo goes right back to the chinlock. Benoit fights out and chops away, and grabs an Oklahoma roll for 2. Chavo chops Benoit back down, allowing Eddy to slingshot in for 2. Eddy locks in an armbar, with his knee on Benoit’s neck, and Benoit finally makes the ropes. Chavo brings the brawl, but Benoit answers with the power of the chop. He goes for another Crossface, but Chavo rolls to the ropes, forcing Benoit to the floor. Chavo misses the plancha, but Eddy follows him and nails Benoit with one of his own. Rhyno takes out the Guerreros on the floor as we go to a commercial. Back from the break, Benoit hits a pair of Germans on Chavo. Chavo armdrags out of the Crossface and applies one of his own. Benoit crawls to his corner, reaching his foot out for Rhyno to tag. It all counts, and Rhyno comes in with the boots and a belly-to-belly for Chavo. He snapmares Chavo into a chinlock, which Chavo fights out of before hitting a missile dropkick. Both men are down. Benoit and Eddy tag back in, with Benoit getting the better of the exchange with a shoulderblock and snap suplex. Eddy slips out of a Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker and hits a back suplex. Eddy follows up with a legscissors and goes up. Benoit fights him over the top rope, with Eddy winning the scrum and coming down with the sunset flip powerbomb, forcing Rhyno to save at 2. Rhyno tosses Chavo and misses his charge at Eddy, who rolls up Benoit for 2. Chavo dumps Rhyno, Benoit dumps Eddy, and Chavo dropkicks Benoit. Benoit locks in the Crossface, which Eddy breaks up with a Frog Splash. Rhyno hits the GORE GORE GORE on Eddy, then he and Chavo tie up and mutually toss each other out of the ring. Benoit covers Eddy for 2, then hits a pair of Germans. Eddy blocks the third and nails a pair of vertical suplexes. Benoit goes for the Crossface, which Eddy counters. Benoit hits a German, but before he can get them rolling, Team Angle runs in and pastes everyone with the tag belts. Goddamnit! The crowd justifiably boos the lousy ending. Whoever booked this one can go eat a dick in Hell. This was excellent stuff before the cheesy no contest stepped in and shit all over it. Did they HAVE to do a triple threat this way? 7/10

(No contest, Team Angle run-in at 19:32 (16:25 ring time))


Last week, Vince McMahon and Hollywood Hulk Hogan had a verbal showdown.


After the break, Stephanie catches up to those dastardly dudes in Team Angle and announces the expected triple threat tag match for Mania.


A video package shows the highlights of two decades of Hulkamania. Like most WWE video packages, it was very well put together. After it airs, Vince harps on the one time Hogan ever said, “Thank you” to him. Vince then launches into a diatribe about Hogan putting a knife in his back after them being close for years. It all culminates in their “fight” (read: we’re too old and shitty to have an actual match) at Mania. So far, the only thing this crappy feud is missing is a boring contract signing . . . and there’s the graphic advertising one next week. This one now officially has it all.


Matt Hardy v1.0 (with Shannon Moore) joins us for an open challenge for some cruiserweight “sparring.” Today’s fun facts from Mattitude.com: Matt has never locked his keys in his car, and Matt hates cleaning his carpet. Hmm . . . I’ve never locked my keys in my car, and I hate cleaning anything. I have MATTITUDE~! Anyway, any lightweight except Rey can accept. A masked chap in a penguin mask (obviously Kendrick) accepts.


Matt Hardy v1.0 vs. Spanky The Penguin. Matt slams the Penguin and snapmares him down. Penguin flips out of a hammerlock and legscissors Matt out of the corner. Matt chokes Penguin on the ropes and does the Bossman straddle. A Ricochet gets 2, and Matt snapmares Penguin into a surfboard. Matt goes for the mask, so Penguin kicks him away. Matt hits a Tilt-A-Whirl slam and unmasks Penguin, of course revealing Kendrick. Kendrick goes on the offensive, unleashing a flurry of forearms and hitting a nice springboard dropkick. He knocks Moore off the apron nad jawbreakers Matt for 2. Sliced Bread #2 gets 2. Kendrick blocks a Side Effect, and there’s Sliced Bread #2 again, but Moore pulls Matt out and Matt takes a walk, getting counted out at 5:06. Good enough for government work before the countout, but what’s with the non-finishes? 3/10

(Winner: Brian Kendrick via countout at 5:06)


After the break, Rey gives mad props to Kendrick. He says the match was off the hizzle fo shizzle . . . or words to that effect.


A video package shows the important moments in the Angle-Lesnar feud.


Main Event, WWE Title Match: Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar. Let me go on record as saying that, as much as I absolutely love Kurt Angle as a performer, he is STUPID for going on with the match at Mania. There’s no point in risking injury with his neck as messed up as it is. Brock could be as gentle as a baby, and all Angle has to do is twist or land wrong, and it’s all over. Why risk his health, his future, just for one match? He’s doing it against the orders of Dr. Andrews, which, if I were WWE, I would force him to listen to. The last person you can protect someone from is themselves, though. I hope Kurt comes through these few weeks OK, and I hope the rumors of his retirement after Mania are just that: rumors. To the match: Brock ambuses Angle and shoulder rams his back in the corner. Brock buries some knees in Angle’s gut. Angle’s still wearing the hoodie, btw. Brock hits the F5, but stops at 2 and looks confused. He chases Team Angle away, and the camera catches Angle changing places with someone. Brock returns his attention to his opponent, only to get caught with a surprise rollup for the pin at 1:22. I generally dislike bait-and-switch tactics like this, but I don’t mind it here for a few reasons: the Angle brothers doing this ruse is a nod to history, it keeps Kurt healthy for another week, and it’s a mind game for Brock to deal with. DUD, obviously.

(Winner: Kurt Angle, pinfall via rollup at 1:22)


After the bell, Brock fumes at falling victim to the Angle Ruse, and takes his frustrations out on Eric Angle. Eric takes the F5 into the ringpost before the credits roll.


The breakdown:


The Good: Two very good tag matches highlighted tonight’s card, and even though one of them had a godawful ending, the in-ring action was still first-rate. There’s not much else to mention here except . . . um, there were some good video packages.


The Bad: The lame no-contest ending to the Team Angle/Team Spinal Fusion match ruined what had been a tremendous bout. More time was wasted on the Playboy Mansion shoots, the Rikishi/FBI feud that no one cares about, and the Vince/Hogan feud (Vince was his usual sharp self on the stick; I just don’t give a tinker’s damn about the “fight”). This week’s show seemed to spin its wheels a lot.


The Ugly: Nothing too bad to complain about.


Overall: Past the good action in the tag matches, there just wasn’t much to like this week. The push for Mania was definitely on, but this show gave me the feeling it was just stuck in neutral and grinding gears. The good in-ring action salvages mediocrity, but that’s as high as I can go this week. 5/10


Dr. Tom

(Zap the spam-sniffing X's to holler back at me)

Browse my TSM Archive to catch up on what you missed.

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