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Smackdown – May 1, 2003

Smackdown
Date: May 1, 2003
Location: Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re past Backlash now and Brock Lesnar retained the Smackdown World Title against John Cena in the Smackdown main event. Therefore, it’s time to get a new challenger to the title and that scares me a bit. Odds are we’re looking at Big Show again, because that’s what you have nowhere else to go. Let’s get to it.

We open with a look at Big Show attacking Rey Mysterio. Oh yeah we’re seeing Big Show vs. Lesnar this month.

Opening sequence.

Los Guerreros vs. Matt Hardy/Shannon Moore

Los Guerreros have the stolen titles but aren’t champions, meaning Matt, (Have you read his new Book?) who invented Mattitude, can’t win a second championship here. Eddie wastes no time and starts in on the leg with a hilo. Chavo slaps on a legbar and it’s time for some changing places with no tags.

Crash, that little Moore-On, gets in a book shot from behind so Matt can take over. We hit a full nelson of all things as we talk about Crash’s diet, which sounds like a stream of gay jokes. Chavo tries to make a save but gets his uncle stomped down by mistake. That’s enough waiting though as he comes in and dropkicks away as everything breaks down.

Eddie’s top rope hurricanrana gets two on Matt but Three Amigos are broken up. Moore throws Eddie into a fireman’s carry and it’s a swinging neckbreaker from Matt for two. The referee finally tries to calm things down, allowing Chavo to hit Matt in the head with the belt, setting up the frog splash for the pin.

Rating: C. At least Matt didn’t lose clean. Los Guerreros vs. Team Angle is fine for a feud and it’s not like they have anyone else to go after them at the moment. The tag division has fallen apart in the span of about seven months but at least we’re getting a good match here or there.

Team Angle comes after their belts but Los Guerreros escape without too much effort.

Stephanie McMahon says she signed Mr. America without knowing who he is or even seeing him. I’m sure she invented bad business ideas too. Team Angle comes in and demands their titles back but Stephanie talks down to them for letting Los Guerreros take them away. Less than thirty seconds ago she said she signed someone WITHOUT KNOWING WHO HE IS and now she’s being condescending. Anyway it’s a ladder match at Judgment Day between Los Guerreros and Team Angle.

Video on Rey Mysterio vs. Big Show, which doesn’t make it any less stupid.

Stephanie leaves Mr. America’s dressing room and looks somewhere between terrified and near tears.

Mr. America is coming. We know.

Big Show vs. Funaki

So, brilliant businesswoman Stephanie knows what happened to Rey, who is still in the hospital, on Sunday and then books this match less than a week later. Maybe she didn’t see the post match attack either? Before the match, Show basically says he’s going to kill Funaki. The early chops send Funaki outside with Show throwing him all over the place as you would expect. Back in and Show gets crotched, setting up a missile dropkick to the ribs. A tornado DDT gets two on Show but he lifts Funaki up for the chokeslam….and sits him back down. Instead it’s a hard clothesline to take Funaki’s head off for the pin.

Rating: D-. So now he’s stolen Bill DeMott’s gimmick? I’m assuming this is designed to set up Show as the next challenger to Lesnar, who is going to be standing up for the cruiserweights. It doesn’t exactly make sense but it’s not like Lesnar has anyone else to challenge him. It’s not like Guerrero or Benoit are available as a short term challenger, or just ANYONE other than Big Show again.

Stephanie is worried when a production worker comes in to say that Vince is coming.

Show glares at various cruiserweights until he runs into A-Train, who liked what he saw.

Here’s Cena to rap about how he busted Lesnar open on Sunday and had him beat. Of course this includes some shots at the Red Sox, which he manages to get through without crying. This brings out Brian Kendrick of all people, dressed like a rapper but with a big clock around his neck. Kendrick says, and I quote, “the name is Spanky McBarrel Scrapings dawg”.

He has a rap for Cena but needs a beat. Cena tells Brian Hebner to give him a beat….which he actually does rather well. Cena looks stunned and Kendrick raps about how Lesnar beat Cena on Sunday. Kendrick even rubs Cena’s hair as you can see Cena (make your own jokes) about to explode. Cena finally takes his head off and hits the AA, which Tazz finally dubs the FU. This was way more entertaining than it should have been, mainly due to Kendrick being so over the top and Cena’s great visuals.

The FBI shoots dice with a production worker and hustles him before charging him for autographs.

Chris Benoit vs. Johnny Stamboli

Benoit stops looking at the other Italians and starts chopping away, only to head outside to deck Palumbo. Nunzio trips Benoit so he hits Palumbo instead, only to get taken down by Stamboli. The gorilla press is countered into a Crossface attempt, sending Stamboli straight to the ropes. A backslide gives Benoit two but Johnny is right back with some elbows to keep him down. That just earns Stamboli a hard German suplex and the Swan Dive but Nunzio comes in. Cue Rhyno to Gore him down and then to slug away at Palumbo as the match is thrown out.

Rating: D. Stamboli could have been something with a better name (Johnny the Bull was fine), if nothing else for the insane gorilla presses he could pull off. Benoit needs to get FAR away from the Italians though as this feud is just completely nothing for him. I have no idea why he’s stuck in the middle of this thing when he could be fighting for the World Title, or at least be in the mix for the thing.

Actually let’s keep this going as a tag match.

Chris Benoit/Rhyno vs. FBI

Nunzio is the odd man out. We’re joined in progress with Rhyno stomping on Palumbo in the corner. A belly to belly gets two on Stamboli and it’s off to Benoit….but the referee doesn’t see the tag, which you rarely see enforced this early in the match. Palumbo’s belly to back gets two more on Rhyno and it’s back to Stamboli for a bearhug. Rhyno finally gets out of trouble with a spinebuster and it’s off to Benoit to clean house. Benoit rolls Palumbo up as Rhyno Gores Stamboli, sending him into the referee to break it up by mistake. The distraction lets Nunzio turn Palumbo and Benoit over to give Chuck the pin.

Rating: D. More bad stuff here as you can only get so much out of a team like Palumbo and Stamboli. The ending suggests that they’re going to split up Benoit and Rhyno pretty soon, which would be somewhat of a waste of a perfectly fine team but at the same time I’d be glad to see Benoit get to do something important again.

A nervous Stephanie calls Vince and tells him to not bother coming to the show tonight. As she’s talking, Lesnar arrives despite having the night off.

Video on Kurt Angle. I guess they want to keep him in our minds despite him only leaving about a month ago?

Here’s Lesnar for a chat. Brock had a heck of a fight with Cena at Backlash but now he’s looking for another fight. That would be with Big Show, who Lesnar saw bullying Rey at Backlash. If Show wants to pick on people that small because they have more heart, why not come try to bully Brock Lesnar? Show comes out and says he’ll fight Lesnar but only if the title is on the line. Brock says bring it on and seems to agree but Show leaves anyway.

Mr. America video. They do know they’ve already established this right?

Team Angle vs. John Walters/Aaron Stevens

Non-title. Walters would go on to become an ROH Pure Champion and Stevens (better known as Erick and not to be confused with Aaron “the Idol” Stevens who would go on to become Damien Sandow) would be a pretty big deal in FIP. Stevens wastes no time in rolling Haas up for two but gets taken down with ease. It’s off to Shelton for the jump onto Stevens’ back so let’s try Walters instead. Everything breaks down in a bit of a surprise and it’s an atomic drop into a superkick to put Walters away in a hurry.

Post match Team Angle demands their titles back so here are Los Guerreros to return the belts….and then steal Kurt Angle’s medals off the framed picture Team Angle brought with them.

Sable hits on Torrie, who isn’t interested this week. Torrie rants about the Test/Stacy Keibler thing at Backlash and does NOT want to team with Sable tonight. Innuendo occurs and Sable threatens to have Torrie beaten down again if she doesn’t get what she wants.

Torrie Wilson/Sable vs. Dawn Marie/Nidia

What does it say when Nidia is the best worker in a match? Torrie gets jumped to start and Sable calmly pushes Dawn (who has dropped the Wilson name in a story that the company has likely forgotten) away. Nidia grabs an early suplex for two but gets caught in the swinging neckbreaker (the one move Torrie can do) for the same.

A clothesline knocks Dawn off the apron, allowing Nidia to kick at the leg to take over. It’s off to Dawn for something like a Vader Bomb onto the legs but a second attempt only hits mat. Sable won’t tag though and Torrie taps to a half crab (with Dawn making it look more like a Disarm-Her on the leg than anything else).

Rating: F. Now who would have guessed this would be terrible? Normally I can appreciate something like putting in work on the knee to set up a hold but when the wrestling is this bad, there’s only so much you can do. I’m not sure what else there is to say about something like this. They’re just not good at this stuff.

Stephanie tries to call Vince again but he arrives and wants to meet Mr. America. I guess this is Stephanie’s version of bad luck or finally having someone get something up on her. Makes sense actually. The only person you could possibly buy beating Stephanie is Stephanie herself.

It’s time for Piper’s Pit. Roddy makes fun of Chris Jericho for mocking Piper’s weight. When Piper loses weight, he’ll call Jericho. When Jericho gets some talent, call him. After praising Sean O’Haire (in the ring with him) for winning at Backlash, Piper calls out Mr. America, who of course is Hulk Hogan under a mask doing the bit where everyone knows it’s him but no one can prove it. Cole and Tazz set a new record for Hogan references in a thirty second period as Piper is beside himself. Like, more than O’Haire is beside him.

Piper accuses America of being Hogan, but America thinks that’s ridiculous brother dude. America threatens to beat him from sea to shining sea but he is NOT Hulk Hogan. This brings out Vince with the biggest eyes you’ll see on him this side of an Austin segment. Vince yells about the whole thing and says Hogan is suspended so he’s going home again, this time with a lawsuit. Vince: “You’re insulting my intelligence, and that’s something I just won’t stand for at all.”

Mr. America is fired but that won’t work because of a clause in his contract saying he CAN’T BE FIRED OR SUSPENDED. Stephanie signed someone to a contract without seeing him and HE CAN’T BE FIRED. So not only is she annoying and on screen way too much, but she’s very, very stupid. I’m not big on Stephanie but that’s WAY out of character for her. Vince panics and we get a “God bless America” from America to start a weak USA chant. That’s fine with Vince, who goes for the mask but America cleans house and bails. Pyro and confetti come down (with Piper covering a downed Vince for some reason) to end the show.

Here’s the thing: this idea isn’t bad as a one or two off joke. Think back to the days of the Machines when Hogan Machine or Piper Machine showed up or Juan Cena. They were really stupid but perfectly harmless, especially when the segments aren’t even trying to hide what’s going on. Everyone is in on the joke and it’s over in a week or two with everyone having a good time and laughing along with it. That works just fine.

However, that’s not what we’re getting here. This is the big story on Smackdown (and pretty much in the entire company due to Vince and Hogan being involved) and is likely setting up America vs. McMahon or Piper. It’s probably going to go on for weeks if not months and completely overstay its welcome. One of the worst things you can do with something that should be funny is to drive it into the ground because then the charm is gone and it’s just stupid stuff getting way more time than it should.

If this was a three minute segment to set up a five minute match with America beating some foreign monster, then fine. The problem is it was a fifteen minute segment that is going to spend weeks likely building to America vs. Piper in a match that’s going to set wrestling back fifteen or more years. In other words, the horrible 2003 rolls on.

Overall Rating: D. Other than the ending segment, this wasn’t the worst show in the world. Above all else here though, everything is built up to the big Mr. America segment, which requires Stephanie to be horribly stupid and a bunch of talking about contracts, again. The wrestling was nothing special as usual but the problem here continues to be the horrible storylines, which are neither quality nor interesting in the slightest. Bad show, but more uninteresting than anything else.

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