Smackdown – August 1, 2002

Date: August 1, 2002
Location: Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s back to the blue show where Brock Lesnar is a monster and everyone else is just hoping he doesn’t come after them. On top of that though we have a new face force comprised of John Cena, Rey Mysterio and Edge, who cleaned house to end last week’s show. That being said, their opponents are now gone due to Bischoff vs. Stephanie. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Rey Mysteiro vs. Tajiri

Mysterio baseball slides him during the entrances and scores with a headscissors. Tajiri shows him how to really kick someone in the face and bends the back around the post. A baseball slide in the Tree of Woe makes things even worse for Rey as we’re just waiting on the big comeback here.

Back up and Mysterio flips into a tornado DDT for two, only to get caught in the Tarantula. Another hurricanrana is countered into a sitout powerbomb but Rey comes right back with the Six Nineteen (Tazz dubs it the 619). The West Coast Pop is broken up but Mysterio comes back with a top rope version for the quick pin, earning the crowd reaction you would expect from a Mysterio match.

Rating: C. That’s more like it and amazingly enough, Chavo Guerrero wasn’t the best choice to face Mysterio in his debut. This wasn’t great or anything but it popped the crowd multiple times and Tajiri looked good in defeat. It’s clear that Mysterio is going to be a big deal around here, especially with the Cruiserweight Title not being the hottest thing in the world at the moment.

Here’s Kurt Angle with something to say. He owes us an apology for scaring everyone last week by making us think he might be leaving. Who would even watch the show if he left? Last week he had to blow off some steam due to that punk kid Brock Lesnar. I mean, Lesnar only won an NCAA Title. Angle: “Where are YOUR gold medals???” Lesnar got him disqualified and then had THE NERVE to suggest that Angle was done. That means a challenge and the fans really like that idea.

Instead they get Hulk Hogan (with no music) to make fun of Angle for whining too much. Ignore the fact that Angle was cutting a pretty face promo actually. Hogan wants a piece of Lesnar too but Angle thinks the best Hogan could do is challenge him to a game of shuffleboard.

A fight is teased but here’s Stephanie to say we’ll have a match instead. Thanks for that Steph. I’m so thankful for the completely unnecessary cameo. Anyway they fight tonight and the winner gets Lesnar. Angle promises to make him tap so Hogan punches him to the floor. Again: no need for Stephanie here but she’s going to be here all night.

Bischoff is in Stephanie’s office to brag about stealing talent. Eric thinks they can be friends but it’s just an excuse for Stephanie to shout SECURITY over and over in that loud voice that only she likes. We get MAD STEPHANIE MODE as he’s tossed. As a bonus, we follow them through the halls as she tells security to get rid of him. For some reason he asks what she has for a main event and it’s Edge and Rock.

Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Henry

Henry wants to fight Lesnar face to face. Lesnar bounces off of him to start so a hard clothesline gets two on Henry. A suplex gets the same for Mark but Brock belly to bellies him down. The F5 is enough for the easy pin.

In the back, Lesnar tells Hogan that he wants to face him next week.

Billy and Chuck consider splitting up because there are no titles for them to win. Rico comes in and says it’s ok which sends the team away. John Cena comes in to say the boys are in trouble but Rico makes fun of his fashion sense. Gay jokes ensue.

Angle runs into Lesnar, who wants Kurt to win tonight. All three of these segments were in one long shot. I kind of like that actually.

Kurt Angle vs. Hulk Hogan

The winner gets Lesnar next week. Hogan shoves him around to start but is easily taken down into a front facelock. For some reason Angle lets go and lets Hulk grab a wristlock followed by a hiptoss. This is more basic wrestling than Hogan has done in years. They head outside for the brawling and that’s much more Hogan’s style.

Back in and Angle drives some shoulders to the ribs in the corner but let’s talk about Bischoff and Stephanie! This time it’s asking whose mind Bischoff poisoned (seriously) to get inside. I mean, the fact that he works for the company doesn’t get him past security in the first place? Kurt hammers away in the corner before grabbing a chinlock to give Hogan a breather.

It’s Hulk Up time and, after escaping the ankle lock, the big boot puts Angle down. Amazingly enough he can pop up from a simple kick to the face and grabs the Angle Slam for two. The ankle lock results in a ref bump but Hogan kicks the ensuing chair shot back into Kurt’s face. Now the leg connects for no count so here’s Lesnar for the distraction, allowing Angle to get in that chair shot…..just as the referee wakes up to draw the DQ.

Rating: D+. Actually not horrible here as they just had Hogan stand around while Angle did most of the work. It’s also a good idea to not have Hogan pin Angle when you can accomplish the same ending with a simple DQ. Hogan jobbing to Lesnar should do Brock some good as they try to make Lesnar ready for Summerslam at a break neck pace.

Hogan takes the F5.

Rikishi vs. Revered D-Von

The big man runs D-Von over to start until Batista grabs Rikishi’s leg. A legdrop to the back of Rikishi’s head has D-Von in control and he sends Rikishi into the barricade for good measure. Batista demands punishment and seems pleased with a middle rope legdrop as WE TALK ABOUT BISCHOFF AND STEPHANIE AGAIN. D-Von goes up top for the Swan Dive and lands right between Rikishi’s legs because that’s so funny. A DDT to D-Von and a superkick to Batista sets up the Rump Shaker to give Rikishi the pin.

Rating: D. Sweet goodness these two are so boring. As usual, there’s nothing to see from either of them but yet they somehow manage to be on the show almost every week. At least Batista didn’t job to Rikishi, whose extended push I still fail to understand. It’s a bad match of course but you have to expect that given who was in there.

Rikishi gets beaten down after the match.

Stephanie yells at Stacy Keibler for letting Bischoff in. This better not happen again. Stephanie is just mad that Stacy wound up with Test isn’t she? Stacy smiles as Stephanie leaves.

Here are Nidia and Jamie Noble to make fun of the crowd. Basically they’re rich now and don’t have to deal with these rednecks. Anyway, Jamie isn’t cool with Cole making eyes at Nidia so he has her kiss Cole for a VERY long time, including doing “that trick with the tongue”. Jamie calls her off because the crowd is liking it too much. If Cole treats them nice from now on, he’ll let Nidia give Cole some more lovin.

Kidman, Hardcore Holly and Mike Awesome are watching a tape of Shawn Michaels getting attacked on Monday when STEPHANIE comes in to ask why they’re watching this instead of Smackdown. That’s why they’re not in any main events: they’re not paying attention. From now on, there is NO WATCHING SMACKDOWN. Why do I have a feeling this is an inside joke that isn’t connecting with the audience? Not that it matters as it gets Stephanie another appearance.

John Cena vs. Rico

This would have been a much better, and very different, match down in OVW (Rico was awesome back then). Rico slaps him in the face to start and fires off his kicks in the corner until Cena gets in a spinebuster. A tilt-a-whirl powerslam gets two but Cena gets dropkicked out of the air. Not that it matters as the ProtoBomb ends Rico a few seconds later. Not much to see here.

Billy and Chuck, seemingly fine again, come out for the big beatdown.

Bischoff has a ticket and sits in the front row. In an unimportant detail, he has an upper deck seat but pays off a fan to upgrade. I’ve always wondered why there’s always an empty front row seat for this angle.

Back from a break with Bischoff starting a WATCH RAW chant and guess who comes out for a chat. Apparently she misspoke when she said the main event was Rock vs. Edge because it’s actually the two of them teaming together to face the newest Smackdown talent acquisitions.

The Rock/Edge vs. Chris Benoit/Eddie Guerrero

Cole: “WHAT A COUP FOR STEPHANIE!” Benoit brings the Intercontinental Title with him to Smackdown. Bischoff jumps the barricade and gets in a fight with security, allowing Stephanie to demand (by screeching of course) that he be thrown out of her building. Eddie goes after Rock to start as Cole talks about them having a war a few weeks back. That sounds like someone has been watching Raw lately. No wonder Cole hasn’t been in any main events lately.

It’s off to Benoit who gets suplexed for two as the announcers compare the talent stealing. Apparently the Tag Team Champions plus Chris Jericho and Test pale in comparison to Benoit and Guerrero. Rock gets taken back into the corner for the double stomping until a faceplant drops Eddie.

The hot tag brings in Edge but let’s talk about Stephanie getting in all those great lines as Bischoff was taken away. The beating doesn’t last long though as Benoit gets in a cheap shot to take over on Edge for the real heat sequence. Guerrero works on a leglock and it’s off to Benoit for the rolling German suplexes. We hit a half crab Liontamer (cool looking move) for a bit before Edge has to fight out of a double superplex.

A top rope sunset flip gets two on Eddie but Benoit is right there to break up the tag again. Edge powerbombs Eddie out of the corner and there’s the hot tag to Rock, who doesn’t get the pop you would expect. Everything breaks down and the Rock Bottom plants Eddie. Cue Lesnar for a distraction though, allowing the Crossface to make Rock tap completely clean.

Rating: B+. Heck of a match here and the fact that the pin was entirely clean (well, almost entirely clean) makes it work even more. Rock isn’t going to lose anything by tapping to the Intercontinental Champion and it helps build up his match with Lesnar, which needs all the help it can get at this point. Eddie vs. Edge could be awesome stuff too.

Hogan hits Lesnar with a chair to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. The main event pulls this one from out of the abyss because otherwise it’s one of the weakest episodes the show has ever done. I know I’ve harped on it a lot but the big problem here is Stephanie, who comes off like the annoying kid who keeps shouting “HEY! DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME!” every five minutes while the adults try to do something important. It’s often a case of here she is again in a cameo that doesn’t need to exist and that gets old in a hurry.

Other than that though, the wrestling really didn’t have much to offer. Main event aside, this was a really dull show that didn’t advance much as the bigger story for Summerslam is over on Raw. They’re also not doing much to hide the fact that Lesnar is getting the title at the pay per view and that makes the build a little weird. Rock is really just here to be beaten and while it’s going to be a big moment, it’s still a strange way to get to the pay per view.

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