NFB Watches Wrestling #71: Smackdown (02/05/2002)

Welcome to the go-home for the vital PPV of Insurrection, which I’m sure will get talked about a lot. It’s the 2nd of April (filmed 30th of March) 2002 and we’re in the Mellon Arena of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for episode #142 of WWF Smackdown! Your main event tonight: Hulk Hogan defends the Undisputed Championship against Chris Jericho in a No-DQ match! Will there be interference? But of course!

Video recap of last weeks main event and the aftermath, and then the same for the main event of Raw. The common theme is Hogan and Taker beating each other up, while Jericho smiles evilly. “Beautiful People”, pyro and Cole/Tazz welcome us to Pittsburgh. “The arena is jacked!” No, that’s a different show Cole. Cole and Tazz hype the main event, but we have another title match first.

Billy & Chuck (c) w/Rico vs Rikishi & The Hurricane

Another instance of just handing random people a title match. Commentary reminds us of the way last week ended for the Champs: “It was disgusting, it was despicable…but it was damn funny”. Hmm. Rikishi and Billy to start, lock-up, strikes from Billy, but Kish easily shoves him off. Billy tries a sunset Flip, dodges out of a Banzai Drop, in comes Chuck who runs into a swinging powerslam. Cane in, top-rope Sunset Flip gets two. “Rico Sucks” chants, leg-scissors rana from Hurricane, and Kish gets in some ass taunts. Cane looking for a chokeslam, but Billy prevents him embarrassing himself.

Chuck nails a belly-to-belly after some help from Billy, two. Clothesline, hard right, Billy in, rope choke, strikes, but then Hurricane hits a Tornado DDT off a whip. Chuck in to try a reverse suplex,Cane lands on his feet, neckbreaker and hot tag to Rikishi. Kish clears house, both Champs in the corner, hip smash, back body-drop to Chuck, Billy is sitting down in the corner, Kish calling for it, crowd going crazy, but Rico pulls Billy out to prevent the Stinkface

Kish hits a Samoan Drop to Chuck, tag to Cane, crossbody from the top rope, ref distracted by Billy, Rico in to hit a spinning heel kick, and Chuck is able to get the pin in under four-and-a-half.

Winners (and still WWF Tag Team Champions): Rico really.

Verdict: Was alright, hit all of the expected beats. The heels need a new finishing sequence.

Rikishi clears the heels out in the aftermath, Hurricane nails Rico with a chokeslam, and Kish adds a Stinkface. Rico heads out like he’s been poisoned, and the faces are left standing tall. Everyone wins, right Vince?

Backstage, Val Venis, remember him, chats with Lance Storm, remember him too, when Kurt Angle rocks up. He says the two are some of the most talented wrestlers in the company, but their biggest contribution is betting on Mark Henry. Damn, is this a shoot? It’s OK, as Kurt is here to offer them some ring-time, modeling his new, real, t-shirt. Venis says that Angle’s shirt sucks, just like Angle, and stalks off. Storm is game to be a model, as “it’s a fine shirt”, but wonders if Angle is worried about “You Suck” chants? Angle insist his hometown won’t boo him as, without him “Pittsburgh would be the pits”. Angle runs down some local sports star I don’t know, and the two head to the ring.

Out they come, and the “You Suck” chants are louder than ever. Storm shows off the shirt as Angle takes the mike. Angle insists Lance Storm “does not suck”. He may be Canadian, but he’s pretty cool, as he is wearing the real Kurt Angle t-shirt. Angle runs down the wording on the shirt to “what” chants. The back lists his accomplishments, but Angle didn’t actually have enough room for all of them. Storm thinks the shirt is great. Kurt knows “you people”, drink, are unemployed and having budget problems, but they should spend the money they usually use on beer or porn and put it better use.

That brings out “moppy head”, as Tazz puts it, Edge. He says he wants to buy a t-shirt, but there’s a better one out there. Edge has his own model: “the Big Valbowski”, wearing the “You Suck” shirt. Have they dropped the Val Venis name? Angle is furious, and challenges Angle to another match at Judgement Day: and after that, Edge will be the one who sucks, “sucking your meals throw a straw at a freakin hospital”. Lance whispers in Kurt’s ear, and Angle announces that he wants to humiliate Edge at Judgement Day, so he suggests they make it a Hair Vs Hair! Edge is game, and the match is set, even though “these people would die if they saw my head shaved”. Valbowski gets the crowd to give their acclimation through a “You Suck”. Edge adds that at Judgement Day Kurt will be “red, white and bald”. That brings this segment to an end, and not a word on any match between these guys later? Good segment though.

Tobacco Is Whacko sponsors a look back at Randy Orton’s shock win over Hardcore Holly last week. Well, time for some receipts it would seem.

Hardcore Holly vs Randy Orton

Please Bob, Bob please. Only now do they announce a tag match between the guys in the previous segment, which seems strange. During Randy’s entrance we get footage from “earlier today” where Stacy Kiebler interrupts his workout. “Last week was last week, and this is this week”. She wishes him good luck with a kiss, but Orton isn’t in the mood for her villainous sexuality. That’s the best I can call it.

Lock-up and Orton thrown back. Waistlock into a drop toe-hold from Orton, drop-kick then gets two. Holly looks pissed, back with shots, hard chops, then Orton with a cool springboard counter from a corner charge, transitioning into a roll-up for two. Clothesline, Oklahoma Roll gets two off what seems like a fast count. Funs over as Holly hits a powerbomb, follows up with stomps, a rope choke, then that sweet-ass drop-kick. More shots in the corner, including a few loud chops. Holly gets a shoulder in on a corner charge, then walks into a spinning powerslam for two.

Awkward, springboard leg-drop from Orton gets two, another drop-kick, back body-drop, then Holly just low-blows him for the DQ finish in just over three.

Winner (by DQ): Randy Orton, and now the fun shall begin.

Verdict: Was fine, as good as last week.

Holly dumps Orton out of the ring, drags him up the ramp, and hits the Alabama Slam on the steel. “How do you like me now?” Cole is angry: “You’re a jerk Holly!” Tazz speculates that Orton’s career may be over, ha!

Backstage, Faarooq thanks Mark Henry for all of the money he’s won on his tests of strength, and offers him some of the winnings. They politely discuss how much of said winnings Mark Henry is entitled when up rocks Reverend D-Von. He reminds Simmons that money is the root of all evil, and suggests a donation to the “United D-Von Building fund”. Henry is unimpressed, suggesting that D-Von “Testify your ass up out of here”. D-Von claims lightning will strike Henry down, but perhaps he’ll do it first. So, Henry/D-Von next week?

Elsewhere, Vince McMahon fondles Stacy’s bare belly, and I’m throwing up a little bit. Chris Jericho arrives before things can get criminally sleazy, thankfully. He’s looking forward to regaining the Undisputed Championship, but is worried Hogan will get himself intentionally disqualified tonight. McMahon agrees, and makes the title match a no-DQ. Y2J is also worried about Undertaker interference, but Vince says he and Flair have agreed there will be no more inter-brand appearances. What about Triple H? Vince says HHH interfering would be tantamount to career suicide. Vince wants to go back to his philandering, but first has to chase Jericho off. This seems very needless, and I don’t mean just the Kiebler stuff. Thankfully we cut before we have to see some kissing.

There follows an In Memorium for Edward “Wahoo” McDaniels and Lou Thesz, both recently deceased. Nice touch. Wahoo you can find my thoughts on for my review of Starrcade 1986.

Edge & The Big Valbowski vs Kurt Angle & Lance Storm

I had to look up the deal with Val Venis’ name change but there’s nothing to it, it’s just what he started calling himself upon his return from surgery recovery earlier this year. No more porn star gimmick though. Notwithstanding his recent turn to QAnon conspiracy nut, Morley was a very good talent at the time, and was probably as under-used as Storm. Storm is probably my pick for the best wrestler who never hit the very top of the industry like he deserved. Actually all four of these guys are great, I’d take this tag team pairing over anything they serve up on Raw right now.

Angle and Edge to start. Angle backing Edge into the corner with strikes, Edge back with some of his own, gets a shoulder on a corner charge then a second-rope drop-kick for two. Valbowski in, huge chop to Angle, shoulder block, falling elbow, falling knee, two. Rake to the eyes then a stiff clothesline puts Angle on top. Storm in, shots to Venis, but then Morley back with those whip knees. Side Russian Leg Sweep, prone abdominal stretch but Angle breaks it up. Edge in, he and Angle exchanging shots, and this allows Storm to hit a heel kick.

Angle in, beatdown on Edge, snap suplex gets two. Cole thinks Angle would “look silly” without hair, really selling it. Angle nails a big German Suplex, Storm tagged, gets in a big hair pull, leg-drop, two. Drop toe-hold into a kneebar, and Angle in to keep Edge as the face-in-peril. Double team as Valbowski remonstrates with the ref, Storm in to lock on a resthold and there is an honest-to-goodness “Angle” chant from parts of the crowd. Storm looking for a big springboard move but Edge counters it into a powerslam.

Hot tag to Val, he cleans house, shoulder tackle to Angle, swinging powerslam to Storm, but then Angle lays in a German. Valbowski out of another, then hits a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Heels looking for a double reverse suplex, Morley lands on his feet, and then Edge hits a double clothesline from the top. In the ring Angle hits a belly-to-belly throw, then gets nailed with a Spear. Storm Cactus clotheslines Edge out, Valbowski gets two on Angle, Angle back with strikes but then Venis hits a spinebuster. Valbowski to the top, Storm attempts to intervene, and this allows Angle to scramble up and hit that top-rope throw, but only two. Crazy pace to this one.

Off come the straps, but Edge in to floor Angle with a clothesline. Storm thrown out, Angle looking for an Angle Slam, Valbowski counters into a roll-up, but Storm hits his Superkick, Angle reverses the roll-up and that’s it in just under eight.

Winners: North America’s greatest heroes.

Verdict: Fun tag, funny how you get good wrestling when you put four solid workers in the ring and give them a bit of time to demonstrate that work rate.

The heels vacate the ring quick enough as Cole and Tazz remind us of the main event.

After the break out comes Chris Jericho for his full entrance. He wants the jackasses to shut up and let him talk, because tonight he is the King of the world, the Mac Daddy, because he beat Triple H last week. He faces Hollywood Hulk Has-Been tonight, and he’s going to do what “the Shame” couldn’t do at Backlash and become Champion once again. Tonight he’s going to drive a stake through the heart of Hulkamania. It’s not running wild, it’s running out of time. He asks the crowd to shush so they can literally hear it, but all they hear is Motorhead.

The Game looks miffed as he heads to the ring, but then breaks into a smile as he goes nose-to-nose with Jericho. Y2J says Triple H is just jealous, and can’t touch him because of McMahon’s edict. Haitch was just a four-week embarrassment as Champion. He challenges Triple H to hit him right then and there, demands it even, says HHH is scared of him, repeats his insistence that he is going to win tonight. Haitch finally responds, and says he’s smiling because he knows something Jericho doesn’t: there’s no chance in hell that Y2J becomes the Champion tonight. His music plays while he is still talking and he walks off. Triple H got his full entrance to say two lines? Man this felt a bit over-done. This kind of crap takes time from actual wrestling, and could have been half as long as it was.

Faarooq & Mark Henry vs Christian & Test

This one brought to you by Subway, and it feels like we’ve been building to it for a while. Henry and Test to start, lock-up and Test flung back. Christian with the distraction and this lets Test get in some shots. Double team attempt, but Henry floors both heels with a double clothesline. Christian out of a powerslam attempt, but then press-slammed into oblivion. Faarooq in, and Christian is press-slammed onto his knee. Shoulder on a corner charge, Test with a sneaky clothesline from the apron, and in he comes. Working Simmons over in the corner, corner clotheslines, Christian in, floored, Faarooq floors Test too, spinning powerslam to Christian, Henry in to clear Test out and suddenly Reverend D-Von can be heard in the crowd, out soliciting donations.

A few suckers actually give him some cash to get their smiling mugs on camera, and then Henry is jawing with D-Von at ringside. Faarooq joins him, grabs the donation box, and Henry flings the money into the crowd. A furious Reverend with a cheapshot to Henry, and Henry runs after him into the crowd. In the ring Faarooq dodges the Big Boot, hits Test with the Spinebuster but then gets nailed with a Reverse DDT from Christian for the win in just over three-and-a-half.

Winners: The future anti-American Alliance.

Verdict: It seems weird to use the pay-off match for one built up feud – Henry/Sore loser heels – to set-up a completely different one – Henry/D-Von – before the first one is even over. Test/Christian as a tag team has potential at least.

Test and Christian embrace like they have won the Tag Titles, so doubt we have seen the last of them together. Backstage, close-up on Hulk Hogan’s locker-room in case you have forgotten that the Champ is here tonight. After the break we get a reminder that we are in Pittsburgh ahead of the next title match. Pretty stacked show tonight on paper.

Tajiri (c) w/Torrie Wilson vs Billy Kidman (WWF Cruiserweight Championship)

Torrie still in the kimono, and Tajiri now carrying the belt in the ultimate heel style, around his neck. Still has that face music though. Some very piped in applause for Kidman. Tajiri with hard kicks to the leg right from the off, but Kidman back with a cool back rana from the second rope. Arm drag, Tajiri back with kicks and a low drop-kick. Working over the left leg with stomps, elbows and an Atomic Drop. Looking for another, countered into a Sunset Flip for two. Tajiri back with a leg takedown. Nice pace to this one, and psychology in Tajiri targeting the leg so Kidman can’t go high.

Kidman set up in the Tree Of Woe, takes a big drop-kick. Back with a one-legged enziguri, “Lets Go Kidman”, hard clothesline to the Champ, and counters a handspring elbow with a drop-kick. Kidman dodges a kick, out of a Tilt-A-Whirl, but then eats a spinning heel kick. Tajiri looking for a powerbomb, Kidman out of it and hits his own, sitting, variety for two. Tajiri right back with a hard superkick, gets two. Those kicks look so stiff. Looking for the Tarantula but Kidman counters and sends Tajiri out. Challenger looking for a springboard crossbody but Tajiri pulls Torrie into the line of fire, and she takes it like a champ. Back in, Buzzsaw, and that’s it in under four.

Winner (and still WWF Cruiserweight Champion): Heeljiri, mocking white knight Kidman.

Verdict: They did a lot in a few minutes, but this feud needs a bit of a boost at this stage.

Tajiri orders Wilson to follow after first making sure his title belt is OK. No sign of Kidman, Hmm.

Backstage, Vince pulls his clothes back on and orders Stacey to bring Triple H to him. Yuck. After the break the Game arrives. “Listen pal”, drink, McMahon declares that if HHH interferes in the main event his career is done. Haitch just smiles, Vince smiles back, and that’s it. Shenanigans! Shenanigans I say!

Elsewhere Jericho heads to the ring with a big smile on his face. There’s confidence and then there’s stupidity.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan (c) vs Chris Jericho (WWF Undisputed Championship) (No-DQ)

Pittsburgh loves Hulk Hogan anyway, and he milks the entrance time for all that it is worth. Big “Hogan” chants. Jericho slow to take to the ring, lock-up and he gets thrown back to the delight of the crowd. Lock-up, and Y2J thrown back again, this time all the way to the outside. Jericho kicks the commentary desk in frustration then limps away, nice. Back in, circling, huge “Hogan” chants, lock-up, Hogan headlock, into a wristlock, back into a headlock, then Jericho floored by a shoulder block. Hip toss where Jericho was doing 90% of the work, Scoop Slam, wristlock, but Jericho able to hit a reverse suplex before cleaning his arm pits with Hulk’s bandana.

Stomps, looking for a falling elbow but nobody home. Hogan back with strikes, but Jericho with a shoulder on a charge, to the top but intercepted and flung off with force. More strikes in the corner, elevated punches with the crowd counting along, but then a low blow with the ref looking the other way, not that it matters given the stip. Beatdown commencing, chops in the corner, but no-one home on a big corner charge so Y2J ends up outside the ring. Hogan follows, looking to put Jericho into the post but the challenger shoves Hogan into it instead. To the top, and a double axe-handle to the outside. Bulldog move into the rope, that’s new for Jericho, hip attack, rope choke, shots, then another hip attack where it’s so obvious Hogan is looking for the exact moment to dodge.

Hogan comes back, Scoop Slam, elbows, but Jericho out of the last one. Bulldog, Lionsault and suddenly Motorhead hits and out comes Triple H. Jericho looks pissed, but HHH just smiling at ringside. He heads to commentary as Jericho screams at him. Hogan gets in an eye poke, strikes, but Y2J dodges the big boot and comes back with a DDT for two. On commentary, Haitch insists he has nothing up his sleeve. In the ring Hogan starts hulking up, strikes, big boot, but Jericho counters the leg drop into the Walls. Hogan sells it for a bit, but gets to the ropes. Um, it’s no-DQ, why break it? Jericho does anyway, grabs a chair from ringside, shot to the back, and as Triple H predicts at commentary “Rollin” starts playing. A distracted Jericho lets Hogan sneak up, roll-up and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in under ten-and-a-half.

Winner (and still WWF Undisputed Champion): You didn’t think I was going to drop this on TV, did you brother?

Verdict: As much as you can expect from a guy like Hogan. Finish was dumb. Roll-on to the Jericho and HHH having their own thing.

Jericho attacks Hogan after, now HHH gets involved and chases Jericho off. “The Game” hits, so you Know who the main focus here is, even as Triple H raises Hogan’s hand. He then chases after Y2J, so Hogan’s music can hit. Messy, messy finish.

Best Match: The Edge & Venis/Angle & Storm tag, just four brilliant guts showing what they can do.

Best Wrestler: Tajiri’s kicks could each individually be finishers.

Worst Match: The other tag match, which just was a disappointing pay-off to something they had at least been trying to build for a while.

Worst Wrestler: The guy right at the top, brother.

Overall Verdict: Another less than stellar episode really, with just one feud really popping at the moment. Here’s to Hair vs Hair. See you at Insurrextion.

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

This entry was posted in Reviews, TV/Movies, Wrestling and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to NFB Watches Wrestling #71: Smackdown (02/05/2002)

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

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