NFB Watches Wrestling #58: Smackdown (21/03/2002)

We continue to fallout from Wrestlemania and the road to Backlash. It’s the 21st of March 2002 (filmed on the 19th) and we’re in the Corel Centre of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada for episode #136 of Smackdown! Your main event tonight: Kevin Nash vs The Rock!

Attitude splash, and straight into a recap of the main programme from Raw, otherwise known as “the Hogan show”. The WWF guys know how to make matches look amazing, even if the repeated shots of Hogan’s Leg Drop to Hall show him hitting the chest, not the head.

“Beautiful People”, pyro and Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcome us to Ottawa. They announce the aforementioned main event, but before all of that out comes Kurt Angle. Recap of the tag match on Raw where Edge pinned your Olympic hero clean in the middle of the ring. Angle is here to join the commentary team, and immediately claims Edge never beat him, it was really Kane. Not sure that really makes it any better. Anyway, Kurt is here to watch a Wrestlemania re-match.

Booker T vs Edge

I imagine Angle is going to be taking a lot of my attention. He dismisses having his feet on the ropes to beat Kane at Mania, since winning is all that matters. Says he used to hang with Edge, but he hangs with Booker now because “he’s cool”. Lock-up, Booker with chops in the corner, Takedown from Edge to the top, and hits a flying clothesline for two. Backbreaker, two. Nice comment from Angle when he’s asked where he thinks he’ll end up in the draft: Smackdown, because Vince has the #1 pick. Great heel line.

Clothesline from Edge, two. Booker back with elbows and his own clothesline. Angle, trying to show his street cred, quotes the “Up In Here” song to go with Booker’s offence. Stomps from T in the corner, as Angle talks about visiting Booker’s “crib” . Resthold in the ring, Edge out of it, takes a shoulder on a charge but then hits a flapjack. Inverted Atomic Drop, running lariat, running forearm, modified facebuster, and Edge heads to the top. Kurt intercepts him but kicked off, and Edge hits a double axe-handle to Kurt on the outside. Back in, Booker with a kick to the mid-section, Edge dodges the Scissors Kick, and hits his backslam. Looking for the Edgeacution, Booker out of it, Edge dodges a heel kick but the ref takes it instead. Edge hits a spear, no ref, and Angle in to hit the Angle Slam. Scissors Kick, ref has recovered, and that’s the 1, 2, 3, in four-and-a-half.

Winner: The cool dude.

Verdict: Short, but fun. Edge can bring the offence, and it furthered the new feud. Booker is going to get left behind though.

Booker gives us a Spinarooni before heading off. Backstage, Hulk Hogan has arrived, to another thunderous response. He’s just walking down a hallway! He bumps into Vince McMahon, and the two have a staredown. Think this is their first onscreen interaction between the two since Hogan’s return? Vince says he invented sports-entertainment, and he made Hogan, and the second part is accurate at least. Adds that Hogan turning his back on the nWo isn’t “cool, brother”, but he’s happy to let bygones be bygones. No more lethal poison? Does Hogan want to be his #1 draft choice? Gives Hogan the night off to think about it, but Hogan says he’s going to hang around, to the crowd’s delight. But of an awkward segment.

Elsewhere, the APA play cards, drink beer and smoke cigars. William Regal passes by, and Bradshaw asks him for five dollars. Regal dismisses the request the only way he can do, and brings up the draft. Farrooq and Bradshaw say they were already drafted by NFL teams, and they also like draft beer. Puns! Regal clarifies that he means the draft on Monday, and brings up the possibility of the APA being out of business. Bradshaw comforts himself with the assurance that, no matter what happens, one member of the APA will be on the same show as Regal to kick his ass. After submitting to their insistence that he “use the door”, amazing, Regal runs into DDP. Page wonders why Regal has become the Draft Day doommonger, and figures it might be because he was shown up as a loser at Mania. Regal counters he might be mad because a person he hates holds the Euro Title, and challenges Page to a match tonight “sunshine”. Drink! Page accepts, reasoning that once he beats Regal, Regal will forget all about being humiliated at Mania. Smiles!

Elsewhere elsewhere, Nash and Hall hang out. They play to “bring it” on The Rock. I bet. Three backstage segments in a row, but at least this last one was short. After the break…

Lita & Trish Stratus vs Jazz & Ivory

At least there is a story to this one, though I’d be surprised if this goes over five minutes. Trish and Ivory to start, as Cole takes the time to plug house shows. Side headlock from Ivory, some lock chains, Ivory with a kick, Stratus back with a roll-up for two, then floored with a clothesline. Corner smash, shoulders, but Trish hits a crossbody for two, with Jazz breaking it up. Delay Scoop Slam, and Jazz tagged in. Leg drop, two. We just skipped the opening act of this one, huh? Beatdown on Stratus, Lita cleared off the apron and as she remonstrates with the ref the heels give Stratus a quick double Boston Crab.

Trish dodges a corner splash and gets the hot tag to Lita. Lita clears house with clotheslines, drop-kick to Jazz, rana to Ivory, then hung up on the ropes by Jazz. Trish tags in, and crossbody’s Jazz for two, Ivory breaks it up. Things break down, Lita dumped out, double team on Stratus, but able to hit Jazz with a head kick as Lita pulls Ivory out. Stratusfaction off the ropes and that’s it in just under four-and-a-half.

Winners: Two thirds of the fulltime womens division.

Verdict: Went stright to face-in-peril, but it was fine. Sets up a future title programme for Trish, and that’s as much as you can hope for with womens matches on TV really.

Cole makes a big deal of Stratus pinning the champion, so you know what’s coming.

Backstage, RVD is with Lillian Garcia. She asks where he might end up in the draft, but Van Dam just says “whatever”. Wherever he goes, he’ll still be RVD. That’s it. What was the point of this?

“Tobacco is whacko, if you’re a teen” sponsors a look at Brock Lesner annihilating Spike Dudley on Raw, and that sponsor will never not be hilarious.

Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs William Regal (WWF European Championship)

The bell rings so quick the ref can only hold the belt up one-handed like he’s celebrating. Lock-up, Page sent down with a shoulder block and then Regal’s patented triple pin spot. DDP back with hard whips, and delivers a back body drop, then his discus clothesline. Reverses a hip toss attempt into a swinging neckbreaker. Regal back with strikes to the gut and then a running knee, two. Jumping knees, stomps, Page back with his own strikes, but then Regal counters into a drop two-hold and lays it some vicious forearms to the back of the head. Suplex gets two. Good stuff with these two guys.

Regal delivers his Cutter for two, and that move is still look cool enough looking that it should be a finisher. Too busy playing heel with the crowd, and Page able to rally back with strikes, hard whip to the corner, clothesline, and a sit-down powerbomb for two. Follows up with a DDT for two, but suddenly Christian is here to pull Page out of the pin. Ref distracted by Christian, Regal nails DDP with the brass knucks, and locks on the Regal Stretch. DDP is out and the ref calls it in just under four, curiously without any arm drop spot.

Winner (and new WWF European Champion): Slick Willy. At least he is European.

Verdict: Short, but again fun, good TV match from two old hands. Doesn’t bode well for DDP’s future career prospects though.

Regal walks over holding the belt with a satisfied smirk on his face.

After the break Y2J makes his entrance, flanked by Stephanie McMahon, as Cole runs down the stipulations for Raw’s re-match with Triple H. The crowd mocks Jericho, and he mocks back, saying that he without the Undisputed Title is not going to last. “You people”, drink! He won’t be robbed of his dignity or self-respect, and reminds people of when he beat The Rock and Austin in one night, or when he injured Triple H. Claims HHH is scared to death of him, because he insisted Steph be involved in their match. The stip appears to have changed a bit between shows, because Jericho says Steph is gone from WWF if any of the two are pinned, not just her, though he insists he will not allow “this terrible tragedy” to happen.

Steph on the mike to insist “You need me” as the chanting starts, but she’s cut off by Motorhead as Triple H comes out onto the stage. Y2J says he’s going to finish him off Monday. Triple H retorts by criticising Jericho’s clothes, which causes Cole to give the world’s fakest chuckle. Maybe Jericho is right about SMH, and the WWF can’t have enough “lying, conniving bitches” opines the Game. It’s a Triple H mike segment, so we cut to a video package. This one is a collection of Stephanie’s most humiliating moments, which includes clips of various substances getting dumped on her, Jericho pointing out her boob job, the rash spot (“I’m like a monster!” she says, like she’s Buster Bluth) and getting a Stink Face. Jericho gallantly covers Stephanie’s eyes, probably at Vince’s insistence in case she twigs that she’s a pratfall in human form for him. HHH polls the crowd on whether Stephanie should stick around, and it seems only King wants her to stay. “Hey, hey, hey Goodbye” gets Stephanie in meltdown mood, screeching “Stop singing!”

The Game turns to Jericho, says he earned his respect at Mania, but that doesn’t mean he’s the best. He came up against the unstoppable force, and Monday will be no different. It’s a whole new game, and this game is forever. Is that a pitch for a new catchphrase? Steph decides now is the moment to announce that Monday’s handicap match is now a Triple Threat, which astonishes Jericho. Steph teases the idea of being the Undisputed Champion, and the crowd does not like that, and neither does a slackjawed Jericho. More interested in seeing the match though, I’ll admit.

After a break, Jericho is doorstepped by Lillian Garcia. He sums up the new stipulations for Monday, and suddenly realises that if he pins Stephanie, he’d become the champion. Evil smile, and exit.

Tajiri w/Torrie Wilson vs Test (non-title)

Tajiri is the current Cruiserweight Champion, still in this strange relationship with Wilson. Test has by now transitioned firmly from mid-level face to mid-level heel, and his appearance in this contextless match reminds me about that “Immunity Battle Royal” match he won at the previous Survivor Series, the plot for which they just dropped after a few weeks.

Test with strikes, but floored by a spinning heel kick. Tajiri to the top, but crotched when Test hits the ropes. Strikes, corner clotheslines, two. “Test’s got it all” says Cole, and he fairness he did, the build and look that Vince clearly prefers, what ever happened? Scoop Slam, Sidewalk Slam, but Tajiri able to come back with a clothesline duck into a superkick. Out of a powerslam attempt, Tornado DDT out of the corner, two. Dodges a corner charge and turns it into the Tarantula for a four count. Sunset Flip attempt, Test sits down, Tajiri squirms out, and a hard kick to the back of the head. Crowd popping big for those.

Looking for the Buzzsaw, Test ducks, Tajiri dodges the Big Boot, looking for the handspring elbow but Test catches him and hits a Full Nelson Slam for two, though the ref slapped the match three times pretty clearly. Wilson onto the apron, Test shoves her off hard, walks into another superkick, but only a near fall. Tajiri out of a powerbomb attempt but then runs into the Big Boot, and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in just under four.

Winner: Test, whom Cole says we should be looking at real close for the draft. Really?

Verdict: Nice big/small encounter. Bigger guy always going to go over against the Cruiserweight Champ at this time. Most times. All times.

Backstage, Vince is with the Outsiders. Vince thinks the nWo will make a statement tonight, by castrating the Brahma Bull. He’s also arranged it so that the nWo can only be drafted as a unit, and plans to bring them to Smackdown. It won’t help guys.

Stacker 2 sponsors a Raw highlight, and it’s Linda’s announcement of the draft followed by hopefully the last Vince/Flair brawl. I’m sure Stacker 2 was delighted at their name being put with boardroom announcements and two old men fighting.

The Hurricane vs Mighty Molly

Not one “The Superpowers Explode!” joke for this, a match arising out of the Hardcore Title shenanigans at Mania. King suggests this match is like “Batman vs Robin, or the Green Hornet vs Kato or Wonder Woman vs Aquaman”, and he was doing alright for a bit. Hurricane asks Molly why she brained him with a pan, she says she got caught up looking for a title, offers the hand, but of course it’s an ambush! Helms looking for the chokeslam early, but relents and goes for powder. Molly attacks from behind because she is an evil woman. Chops, whip into the corner, and a multi-handstand corner elbow, nice. Dropkick, but then back body-dropped out and to the floor on a charge. Hurricane to the top, but then relents again.

But here’s Brock Lesnar, through the crowd! Takedown on Cane, F-5, Heyman is here, Molly takes to the ring and gets absolutely annihilated by a Lesnar clothesline. Heyman raises the hand as the crowd boos. Umm, the match is over.

Winner: No contest I presume, nothing is announced.

Verdict: Typical intergender fare for this era, Molly can pull off some decent moves, but more importantly can take them: Lesnar nearly tore her head off with that clothesline, they could have been finishers.

Backstage, Undertaker is here, described as a “red devil”. He asks a random guy where Ric Flair’s office is. Ohhhhhhh.

Cole plugs WWF.com and the Mania attendance record, like either matters. Taker arrives in Flair’s office. Says he had the night off Monday (we noticed) but he’s here now and he needs a favour. He wants to be Flair’s #1 draft pick, which gets a “Whaaaa?” from the crowd. He wants to be drafted by Flair so every day of Flair’s life can be a Wrestlemania moment. What, an over-hyped, disappointing Wrestlemania moment?Like their match last Sunday? Eh? Anyway, Taker leaves Flair to think about and leaves.

Elsewhere, Billy and Chuck prepare for their title defence. They talk about recent hire “Rico” being the toughest there is. Said Rico arrives, says they are pathetic and doesn’t know how they live with themselves…because their headbands and hair are terrible. “The best stylist money can buy”.

Poor Rico. He’d been a big deal in OVW for a few years, winning that promotion’s top title three times and feuding with Nick “Eugene” Dinsmore a lot. He had a lot of talent and notice, but then when he was called-up he was instantly saddled with this comedy gimmick, and that put a time limit on his top tier career for sure. Considering some of the details of his background and life experiences, there was a lot they could have done with him, and “Billy & Chuck’s flamboyantly gay manager/stylist” was not the formula for long-time success. But it is what it is.

The Lugz Boot of the Week next and its…Stacy Kiebler getting powerbombed through a table by Bubba Ray. That’s not a boot!

Billy & Chuck (c) w/Rico vs The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) (WWF Tag Team Championships)

What have the Hardy’s done exactly to earn this title shot? The same thing the Dudley’s on Monday did apparently. Matt and Chuck to start, Matt shoved hard into the corner, ducks a clothesline roll-up, two. Knocked around a bit, but then able to hit a swinging neckbreaker for two. Billy in, misses a charge and double teamed quick. Whip chain, and Jeff hits an awkward looking crossbody, before getting taken out of it by Chuck. Tilt-A-Whirl sends him down, then Chuck in. Discus forearm, and a Jeff rally cut off by an elbow. Billy in, attempted double team, but Jeff able to hit drop-kicks to both. Hot tag to Matt, cleans house, back body-drop to Chuck, gut shot to Billy, Poetry In Motion to Chuck, but Billy dodges the same. Side Effect to Matt, Jeff looking for the Swanton but shoved off. Matt hits a leg drop instead, but the count interrupted when Rico throws Jeff into the ring on top of Nick Patrick. Matt looking for the Twist Of Fate, Billy pushes off, Rico gets in a shot, Billy hits the Famouser, and that’s it in just over three-and-a-half.

Winners (and still WWF Tag Team Champions): Billy and Chuck…and Rico, essentially.

Verdict: Quick, forgettable tag action, meant to introduce Rico more than anything.

Michael Cole plugs the main event tonight, and the main event on next weeks Raw.

Kevin Nash w/Scott Hall vs The Rock

At least the Outsiders get an entrance this time. Huge reaction for Rock. Think this is pretty much Nash’s first proper match in months? Remember, he supposedly didn’t wrestle at Mania because of an injury. I wonder if he was booked to lose? Ha! Nash would never take not going over lying down, literally.

Staredown. Rock blocks a shot, back with his own, but then floored with a clothesline. Rock sent packing with a few rights, tries to rally back, but Nash’s strikes are too powerful. Snake Eyes, and Rock choked on the middle rope. Hall keeps it going while the ref is distracted, then a hip attack. Crowd just calling for “Hogan” the whole time. Foot choke in the corner, and as Nash distracts Earl, Hall gives Rock a really loud clothesline from the apron. Come on now Hebner, you’re meant to be senior referee!

More shots in the corner, Nash has almost no offence worth watching. Finally Rock comes back, but quickly sent out over the top rope. Looking for another Snake Eyes into the ring post, but Rock counters and pushes Nash into it instead. Once again Hall puts in a beatdown with the ref distracted. Back in, Nash with a big Sidewalk Slam for two. Busting out his second wrestling move of the night was too much for him, so now we get an extended bear hug spot, complete with arm drops. Rock coming back, flying clothesline, DDT, Hall into the ring and Rock lays the smackdown to send him out. Spinebuster to Nash, People’s Elbow, but Hall breaks up the count and the ref calls it in just over seven.

Winner (by DQ): The Rock over Kevin “No Pin” Nash

Verdict: Only worth watching for Rock’s offence, because Nash barely has any.

Hall looking for the Razor’s Edge but back body-dropped out again, I’m guessing he’s incapable of hitting that move right now. An enraged Rock sets up the announce table but gets ambushed by the Outsiders as the crowd just waits for Hogan to show up. Powerbomb sends Rock through the table, but here comes Hogan, sans music for some reason. Nash taken out, Hall and Hogan into the ring, punch sends him down, leg-drop, but then Nash attacks from behind. Hogan back, big boot, Atomic Leg Drop, and suddenly it’s Syxx! I mean X-Pac! He’s got a chair! First time Waltman has been seen in months, having vanished just before 2001’s Survivor Series, despite being a double champ at the time. I wonder if the crowd will be welcoming (they will not).

Hogan takes a clattering before Pac mixes up his factions and gives us a Suck It. Hogan busted open as the X-Pac heat starts in earnest. Hall gives Hogan a ridiculous looking chair shot to the upper back/back of the head, take it easy moron. Nash delivers one more, protected, shot to the head. Pac rips off Hogan’s shirt, the spray paint comes out, and now parts of the crowd are chanting for “Austin”. He ain’t coming folks. “nWo”, and the new group is left standing tall. At least there’s that. You’d think they would be building to something at Backlash with all this, wouldn’t you?

Best Match: I’ll go for Regal/DDP. Even for how short it was, it’s obvious you had two very committed, competent guys in the ring with each other there.

Best Wrestler: Let’s give Tajiri some love! He’s one of the best cruiserweights in terms of hanging with the bigger guys.

Worst Match: The main event, again showcasing how limited Hall and Nash are.

Worst Wrestler: I don’t like giving it to someone in the Worst Match, but Nash simply can’t go right now.

Overall Verdict: Most of it was a decent edition of Smackdown, but the main event and the sense it was mostly about advertising stuff happening on Raw undercut it a fair bit. Still, I’ll always enjoy a show where Hogan is left laying at the end.

To view more entries in this series, click here to go to the index.

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1 Response to NFB Watches Wrestling #58: Smackdown (21/03/2002)

  1. Pingback: NFB Watches Wrestling: Index | Never Felt Better

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