Date: December 26, 2002
Location: Tulsa Convention Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
It’s the final show of the year as we’re getting ready to start the build towards the Royal Rumble. We also have Brock Lesnar vs. Paul Heyman/Big Show/Kurt Angle in a feud that is likely to lead to a major feud down the line, though Lesnar is likely going to need some help along the way. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week’s Angle heel turn and the announcement of Angle vs. Big Show for the title this week.
Here’s Stephanie, who seems to be a face again, to open the show. She’s not going to lie to us and say the World Title match is going to happen because it’s been canceled. Last week, after Smackdown went off the air, Brock did something to Angle and now Kurt is out of action for a good while, potentially all the way until the Rumble. She won’t tell us what happened but she’ll show us later tonight. Since there’s no reason given for the delay, here’s Big Show to interrupt.
He’s not happy with the idea of waiting until Royal Rumble but he’s even more annoyed at the fact that Stephanie didn’t name him #1 contender. She was just about to make that match though, RIGHT? Show tries to intimidate her and for once, Stephanie actually sounds scared as she threatens to suspend him. He’ll have a chance to be #1 contender when he faces Chris Benoit in the main event. That’s not cool with Show either but here’s Benoit to interrupt. Benoit says he’ll break Show’s neck later tonight but Show plays the size card. That just earns him a low blow and Benoit leaves with a smile on his face.
Crash vs. Bill DeMott
DeMott is now all mean and angry, which the announcers tell you as often as they can. He works on Crash’s arm before the match and sends it into the post but of course the referee starts the match anyway. DeMott slaps on an armbar as Tazz praises his psychology. A powerbomb and the moonsault finish Crash in a hurry.
Al Wilson and Dawn Marie exchange gifts: a bottle of Viagra and a camera. Both are for the honeymoon. Again: why is this such a bad thing for Al? Can I get some clarification on that?
Here are Matt Hardy, who was MVP in the 1999 No Mercy ladder match and always sticks to his New Year’s resolution, and a badly damaged Shannon Moore with something to say. They want to talk about something destroying WWE: Brock Lesnar. After that belly to belly injured Moore last week, Shannon didn’t stop but someone must stop Lesnar. Next week, Hardy wants Brock one on one and has a special plan for him. Matt beats Shannon down, though it feels like a lesson instead of a turn.
Heyman and Angle arrive with the latter on crutches and with a big cast around his leg.
Tag Team Titles: Los Guerreros vs. Edge/Billy Kidman
Edge and Kidman, who seems to get a shot at these titles every other week, are challenging. Kidman hiptosses both champs to start before snapping off a headscissors on Chavo. The champs take over with some chicanery and it’s Kidman in early trouble. Eddie’s slingshot hilo connects but so does an enziguri, allowing the tag to Edge. A double missile dropkick puts both champs down and a flapjack to Chavo makes things even worse.
As usual though, Eddie is smart enough to go after the bad knee but Kidman breaks up the Lasso From El Paso. A quick spear gets two on Eddie and the champs tease leaving, only to have the referee say a countout will give us new champions. Back from a break with Edge missing a charge into the corner to put the champs back in control. Chavo’s chinlock works as well as any other chinlock (aside from Kevin Owens’ of course) and the Edge-O-Matic gets Edge out of trouble.
A double flapjack really gets him out of trouble and it’s off to Kidman, who is suplexed down almost immediately. Eddie misses the Frog Splash and Kidman drops the shooting star on Chavo, only to have Eddie pull the referee out for the DQ. And again never mind as the referee is restarting this as a No DQ match.
Chavo is in trouble to start the second fall but Eddie breaks up another shooting star attempt. Edge hits Chavo with the belt (which Chavo brought in) for two and heads to the apron for a tag for some reason. Cue A-Train with the backbreaker on Edge though, allowing Eddie to Frog Splash Kidman to retain.
Rating: B. Gah they were rolling here until the A-Train interference. Edge vs. A-Train isn’t interesting but these four going on for nearly twenty minutes certainly was with Los Guerreros’ cheating not working for a change. I was digging this match as Kidman continues to show that cruiserweights are more than capable of hanging with the big guys, making the division kind of a waste of time.
Here’s the footage from after last week’s Smackdown. Angle talks trash and beat on Brock bit more until Lesnar fought back and beat up Kurt and Big Show. Kurt took a chair to the head and back to back F5’s on the floor with his knee hitting the post both times. Trainers came out but Lesnar dropped Angle’s knee onto the barricade just to be sure. This would be a way to write Angle off for knee surgery, which makes you wonder why they put the title on him in the first place. Then again, an injured Angle is probably worth more than Big Show at this point.
Back from a break with Heyman in the ring to blame Stephanie for Kurt’s injuries. This brings out Angle on crutches to compare his rookie year to Lesnar. They both won the World Title in their first year but Angle did it without Heyman helping him out. Kurt: “AND I’M AN OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST! WHO SUCKS NOW???” Fans: “YOU SUCK!” Angle has an agent because he’s a very important person. More importantly though, he’s the kind of man that Lesnar could never be. He’ll defend the title at the Royal Rumble and then he’ll take Lesnar down like the punk that he is.
Heyman agrees, but he has a surprise for Kurt: Team Angle. That would be Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, a pair of All-American wrestlers, with Shelton being Brock’s former roommate at the University of Minnesota. Angle tells Lesnar that’s checkmate. This is a great idea and something that could do a lot of good. If Team Angle is kept strong, they could be a great addition to the tag division, which suddenly needs a burst of energy. The segment was long but it did its job, which is far more important.
B-2 vs. Rikishi
Cena’s rap says that B-2 is the physical version of R2-D2. Rikishi sends B-2 into the steps before the bell as Cena sits in on commentary. That lasts all of ten seconds until he gets up to break up the Stinkface. Back in and Buchanan (mostly) hits his top rope spinning clothesline. Cena tries to bring in a chair but uses the distraction to throw B-2 the chain. That just earns B-2 a superkick and the Rump Shaker for the pin.
Torrie Wilson isn’t sure she’ll be here for the wedding. Her dad comes up to yell at her for being selfish and says he’s getting married next week no matter what. After the wedding, he and Dawn are going to have a child and he hopes it won’t be a disappointment like her.
Los Guerreros celebrate their win when they run into Cena and B-2. Eddie and Chavo speak Spanish but Cena goes into a rap. Eddie mocks Cena’s voice and says they still have the title. This was completely bizarre and yet still rather funny.
Benoit says he’ll win and then go on to win the World Title that has always eluded him.
Angle fires Big Show up.
Chris Benoit vs. Big Show
The winner gets Angle at the Rumble. Show doesn’t waste time by throwing Benoit into the corner, followed by a big boot to make things even worse. Benoit chops away and tries the Crossface but gets tossed away with ease. More power offense sends Benoit flying into the corner before Show pulls off a turnbuckle pad. Benoit goes for the knee for a breather, followed by muscling Show up for a German suplex. The Swan Dive (a splash this time as Show is too close to the corner) gets two but the chokeslam is countered into a rollup (with feet on the ropes, though it might not have been intentional) for the pin.
Rating: D+. This was as good as Big Show throwing Benoit around for a few minutes before getting caught at the end was going to be. Benoit as the #1 contender is a great thing and the story of him never winning the title is a strong story. The match wasn’t bad and they made sure to keep it short to make sure Big Show didn’t mess anything up.
Show tries a chokeslam but gets countered into the Crossface (I always love that counter). Cue Team Angle for the superkick into a German suplex and the debut of the Haas of Pain (kind of a Liontamer/Indian deathlock combo). Show adds a chokeslam as the fans don’t get their requested Brock. Angle comes out to talk trash and chokes Benoit with a crutch to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. They were very heavy on the storylines this week with several long explanations about what’s going on in the main event. However, we also got a long title match, a World Title match set up for a month away and the debut of a new team. They covered a lot of stuff tonight and that’s the best thing you could have after the mess that Raw has become.
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