Date: September 5, 2002
Location: Resch Center Arena, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
It’s hard to say what to expect here but hopefully it’s another rocking tag match with some talented people getting to show what they can do instead of jobbing to Undertaker after a former World Champion’s finisher doesn’t have much of an effect. Oh and we get the debut of Crash Holly for reasons I don’t even want to think about. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week, which somehow gets to be narrated by Stephanie. Dang they’re getting right to the point this week. Anyway, Undertaker is challenging Brock Lesnar at Unforgiven.
Billy vs. Rey Mysterio
A very early Rico distraction (those sideburns are mesmerizing) lets Billy jump Rey and choke in the corner. The tilt-a-whirl powerslam plants Rey and Tazz makes gay jokes. Rey gets in his first offense with a dropkick to the knee so Billy clotheslines his head off, making sure that Mysterio has nothing of note so far. Rico cheats a bit more so the fans are all over him, making Rico the best thing about the match so far. More shots to the back keep Rey in trouble but a springboard dropkick sets up the 619 with Chuck making the save. That means Billy gets to work Rey over even more until Mysterio gets a fluke cradle for the pin.
Rating: D. So Mysterio can go move for move with Kurt Angle in a classic but can barely get in a dropkick on Billy Gunn of all people? This is almost entirely on Billy as he just wasn’t giving Rey anything to work with and it showed horribly. It’s ok to let Mysterio get in a little offense, get taken down, let the comeback go on for a bit and have the co-villains cheat so Rey can do the big comeback at the end. It’s called having a match with a story but this was all about Billy working Rey over without much effort.
Post match Rico tells Chuck it’s time….and he proposes to Billy because he wants to be tag team partners for life. Note that the word “marry”, “husband” or “I love you” are never mentioned. Billy says yes and hugging ensues.
Cruiserweight Title: Jamie Noble vs. Shannon Moore
Shannon is challenging after pinning Jamie in some recent tag matches. The battle of wristlockery start things off until Shannon armdrags him down. Nidia grabs a leg but Shannon dropkicks the champ to the floor anyway. Back in and a harder clothesline than you would expect from a cruiserweight match puts Shannon back down and a belly to back gets two.
Of course the fans would rather talk about Nidia’s puppies because Raw featured a match talking about Molly Holly’s hymen, meaning you can’t quite blame them at this point. That’s what WWE has deemed acceptable from its employees so don’t act surprised when no one cares about your matches as a result. Moore elbows him in the jaw and gets a near fall of his own off a neckbreaker. A Whisper in the Wind gets the same but Jamie counters a hurricanrana with a powerbomb. The Tiger Bomb retains the title.
Rating: C+. Good match here but the fans didn’t care because WWE has given us no reason to care about them. Just because there’s good wrestling out there, no one is going to notice because WWE has made us care more about the women at ringside. I’m not sure what it means that Nidia is possibly treated with more respect than the women on Raw but it seems to be the case.
Paul Heyman is hyping Brock Lesnar up for his match with Randy Orton when Randy comes up and says absolutely nothing of note.
Edge and Rikishi are ready for a six man tag later and Rikishi actually tries to explain how the Stinkface is a symbol or something. Piece of the Kish still isn’t a good catchphrase.
Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
Non-title and one of those matches that would be totally different just a few years later. Also Lesnar is now WWE Champion instead of Undisputed Champion as continuity takes another hit for the sake of pulling a title out of a briefcase. Orton charges straight at him and actually gets two off a rollup. That just means an overhead belly to belly though and Brock is already smiling.
Brock throws him over the top and hits an STO back inside. He throws Orton onto his shoulders and drives Randy back first into the buckle over and over as this is a total squash. Heyman: “HE WANTS THIS!” A dropkick to the ribs staggers Lesnar and Orton gets in the backbreaker. For reasons of general stupidity, he heads up top for the high crossbody but gets rolled through into the F5 for the pin.
Rating: C-. Is there something in the water over on Monday Night Raw? You can have Brock roll through people like this but the big solution is to have him sell for people and need Heyman to save him all the time? Ever since he’s gone to Smackdown he’s been treated like the monster he’s supposed to be and it’s made him a hundred times more interesting.
Mark Henry congratulates Billy and Chuck.
Crash signs his contract and thanks Stephanie when D-Von comes in. The Reverend is upset about Billy and Chuck but again we never heard the word wedding or marriage. He talks about how immoral is it but OF COURSE Stephanie cuts him off for not showing her enough respect. The ceremony is next week, D-Von faces Batista later and just in case you forgot, Stephanie is the most amazing and intimidating person ever.
Tajiri vs. Mark Henry
Tajiri’s kicks and strikes have the effect you would expect them to have and it’s time for the slow beating. The handspring elbow is knocked out of the air and Tajiri’s sunset flip has no effect at all. A running dropkick to the head works a bit better but Henry shrugs it off and powerslams him for the pin.
Rating: D. Hey, did you know that Henry is really strong? Like, REALLY strong? To the point that he can bend frying pans and is barely hurt by someone kicking him really hard in the head? I’m still not sure who is supposed to be impressed by Henry squashing a member of the cruiserweight division, which is often treated as a bunch of second class citizens in the first place.
Stephanie moderates a sitdown interview (in the back without much light) between Undertaker and Lesnar. After making it clear that they’re both EXCLUSIVE to Smackdown, she throws it to Brock who lists off his career accomplishments. Undertaker laughs off the idea of a young pup like Brock beating him because no one has ever taken Brock where Undertaker is taking him. Undertaker promises to beat Brock up for the first time but Heyman makes it personal by bringing up Undertaker’s wife Sara being pregnant.
If anything happens to Undertaker, he’ll take care of Sara but not the unborn child. The table it turned over and nothing happens. This was WAY too long and it really didn’t make me want to see the match any more than I already did. Granted I checked out when Stephanie started talking about how this was a Smackdown exclusive because it might be the least important detail since….oh whatever the name of whatever award/honor Stephanie has most recently won.
Reverend D-Von vs. Batista
Batista has what would be his theme song for years and the red trunks instead of the gray one he had been wearing. D-Von jumps him to start and gets in a quick chair shot, only to take a Batista Bomb for the pin in a minute and a half. The man that pinned John Cena clean last week everyone!
Nidia talks about the wedding next week (using the word for the first time) and asks Jamie if they’ll get married one day. Jamie hugs her and panics.
Matt Hardy brags about going toe to toe with Brock but Shannon isn’t all that impressed. Hardcore Holly, Matt’s opponent tonight, wants to know where the footage of Matt losing has gotten to.
Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle are ready for their six man tag tonight. Angle is annoyed at Benoit for costing him the #1 contendership so Benoit comes in and we have a staredown.
Matt Hardy vs. Hardcore Holly
They trade rollups for two to start before opting to just punch each other in the face. Tazz would rather talk about cheese jokes (Wisconsin remember.) as Holly gets two off a belly to back suplex. A backbreaker sets up a belly to back superplex, only to have Matt knock him away and get two off a moonsault press. The Side Effect gets the same but Holly gets two of his own with a powerbomb. Neither finisher can hit so Hardy grabs a rollup, only to be reversed into another one with Holly grabbing the tights for the pin.
Rating: C+. Surprisingly good match here but I’m not sure I get the point of having Matt lose over and over when he’s getting a push with the Shannon Moore stuff. Holly isn’t great but at least he’s good for a watchable match. Matt can play the heck out of these over the top characters with huge egos and that’s what we’re getting with the Mattitude stuff.
Rico doesn’t have time to talk because he has wedding plans to set up. He’s going to be Billy’s best man.
Crash vs. Hurricane
They circle each other to start until Hurricane puts him in a Tree of Woe for a good crotching. The high crossbody gets two on Crash, followed by the Eye of the Hurricane for the same. Holly misses a charge into the post and takes a super swinging neckbreaker (that’s always looked cool) to put both guys down. The chokeslam is countered into a rollup so Crash can impress Stephanie or whatever.
Rating: D+. So now we’re to the point where we’re jobbing talented guys like the Hurricane to validate Stephanie’s investments? This is a situation where it would have been better to just have Crash show up on Smackdown one night and say he changed brands off camera. There was no need to make this a story other than for the sake of more Stephanie vs. Bischoff nonsense.
Edge/Undertaker/Rikishi vs. Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit/Eddie Guerrero
These are the six people from the series of matches last weeks if the reasoning isn’t clear. Rikishi and Angle gets things going and I’ll spare you the normal “why is Rikishi here” question. Thankfully it’s quickly off to Undertaker for a big boot but it’s way too early for a chokeslam. Instead Benoit comes in and kicks away in the corner, only to get tossed into the corner for his efforts.
Rikishi comes back in to far too strong of a pop and gives Benoit a sitout Rock Bottom before throwing him into Angle. Edge gets a slightly weaker pop as he goes after Eddie, who takes over off the strength of some double teaming. The heels keep Edge in trouble with the rapid tags and it’s Angle grabbing a chinlock.
An Edgecution gets Edge out of the aforementioned trouble and the hot tag brings in Undertaker to clean house. Rikishi gets in a belly to belly on Angle and superkicks Benoit, leaving Angle to take the Stinkface. Angle and Benoit have a quick collision so Chris puts him in the Crossface. Eddie is furious….and surrounded. The OH NO look on Eddie’s face when he realizes what’s going on is perfect and his trying to chill with Rikishi is even better. The spear sets up Eddie’s face being shoved into the thong, followed by a chokeslam for the pin.
Rating: C+. If you put Rikishi in some tights or even regular trunks, this doesn’t feel nearly as awkward. They did their thing here with the villains looking slightly more inept than they should. Benoit vs. Angle should be fun but that doesn’t make for the best tag match in the world. Edge has kind of fallen through the cracks in recent weeks and his feud with Eddie needs a boost as they barely interact directly.
Overall Rating: D+. This depends on what you find more important. The wrestling is a little better this week but the booking is atrocious, with things like Crash Holly getting a story, Billy and Chuck’s impending shenanigans, John Cena being sacrificed to D-Von of all people and Hardcore Holly beating Matt Hardy. There’s so much that can be great around here but as usual, WWE seems more interested in doing the least logical and interesting things as possible.
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