Come along with me, the Chrononaut, as I travel back 15(!) years to the 2002 Halloween edition of SmackDown, featuring a beast, a murderer, an Olympic gold medalist, and more Halloween spirit than you can possibly handle. Plus, John Cena finally finds a gimmick and NEVER LETS IT GO.
The Chrononaut Chronicles – WWE 24/7: WWE SmackDown! – Thursday, October 31, 2002
– Here is Part 2 of the WWE 24/7 Halloween series from yours truly. This episode of SmackDown has some kickass matches and is a pretty entertaining program, so I thought I’d recap it to continue the Halloween theme.
– Candice Michelle talks about all the sexy costumes she’s worn and winks at us like the naughty nymph she desperately wants us to think she is as she introduces the feature. God, she was horrible.
– We open backstage at the SmackDown Halloween party as Faarooq is dressed like a pimp and advises a french maid to hustle her ass and make more money for him tonight. They missed a golden opportunity to recreate the Godfather gimmick here with Simmons, but as a vile and nasty heel. Los Guerreros arrive as Eddie, in a Zorro costume, plans to carve his initials into Kurt Angle’s gold medals and Chavo, dressed like Pancho Villa, asks him to include a “C” for Chavo. They scamper off as those rascally Latinos are known to do and we move on to Tajiri, in a leisure suit with an afro wig, telling Shannon Moore, in a devilish priest getup, that he’s going to score. SmackDown General Manager Stephanie McMahon, dressed like the Wicked Bitch of the Northeast, welcomes everybody to the party and announces that the main event will be Brock Lesnar meeting Rey Mysterio, in the spirit of Halloween since Rey wears a mask “365 days a year.” So he wears it on his days off, funerals, weddings? Rey celebrates by standing on a chair and pounding a Jello shooter as we go to the SmackDown opening.
– LIVE from Grand Rapids, Michigan! I like the special Halloween graphics and orange chyron, but I wish they had Michael Cole & Tazz in costumes like WCW used to do at Halloween Havoc.
– Edge vs. Chris Benoit
Benoit is one-half of the WWE Tag Team Champions (with Kurt Angle) and goes through some smooth chain-wrestling with the babyface Edge until Edge catches him with a knee to the gut and a stomachbreaker across the knee. Edge zeroes in on Benoit’s midsection in the corner, but Benoit throws chops and levels Edge with a short-arm clothesline. Edge reverses an Irish-whip and Benoit takes the Bret Hart chest-first turnbuckle bump, allowing Edge to score a two-count before tossing Benoit to ringside and dropping his ribs on the barricade. Back inside, Edge covers for two and Benoit chops back, but Edge front-suplexes the Crippler’s midsection across the top rope and he falls to the floor. Edge tries to slide out with a dropkick, but Benoit sidesteps him and just clubs him across the shoulder with elbows. Edge collapses beside the ringsteps and Benoit dropkicks his shoulder into the steps for a one-count back inside. Benoit rams Edge’s shoulder into the turnbuckles and wrenches the arm as Cole talks about the dangerously-competitive partnership between Benoit & Angle. Edge armdrags out of the armbar, but Benoit hits a back-elbow that bloodies Edge’s nose before throwing Edge’s shoulder into the ringpost and back-suplexing him for two. Benoit drop-toeholds Edge into position for a nice sliding dropkick to the shoulder and the Rabid Wolverine snap-suplexes him for two. Benoit Irish-whips Edge to the corner by the bad arm and legdrops him across the back of the head as Tazz comments that Benoit has “machine-like emotions” and Cole notes that machines don’t have emotions. Guess he’s never seen AI, or Blade Runner, or almost any sci-fi movie in the last 30 years. Benoit continues to pound Edge, but eats an elbow when he charges in the corner and throws chops at Edge on the middle turnbuckle. Benoit climbs up and they struggle until Edge drops him with a sweet sit-out gourdbuster off the turnbuckles as we go to break.
When we come back, Benoit avoids a missile dropkick off the top turnbuckle and locks Edge in the Crippler Crossface, but Edge quickly grabs the ropes to break it, so Benoit elbowdrops the shoulder and drags Edge away from the ropes as we see footage from the break of Edge knocking Benoit off the apron with a spear. Benoit snaps off three Rolling Germans and soars off the top with the diving headbutt, but Edge rolls out of the way and both men struggle to their feet as they trade chops. Benoit tries to ram Edge’s shoulder into the turnbuckle, but Edge counters by dropping him face-first on the turnbuckle and snaps him back with the Edge-O-Matic for two. Edge sells the injured shoulder as he follows with the faceplant bulldog for a near-fall and flapjacks Benoit to set up the spear, but Benoit dodges the spear and traps Edge in the Crossface. Edge tries to roll out of it but Benoit holds on to the Crossface like the Rabid Wolverine he is, so Edge desperately molests the referee with his free hand. Benoit suddenly releases the Crossface and rolls out to the floor to confront Kurt Angle before Edge runs off the ropes with a sliding dropkick to Benoit’s back, causing him to crack skulls with Angle. The Tag Team Champions stumble to their feet and Edge dives off the top turnbuckle as Benoit ducks out of the way and Angle absorbs the full impact of the flying clothesline. Benoit throws Edge back in the ring and misses a clothesline before Edge spears him for the 1-2-3. Afterwards, Angle smirks at ringside and taunts Benoit from the ramp. ****1/2 Wow, that was a pretty awesome (and long) match. Benoit’s relentless armwork was just sick and Edge working the midsection figured into the finish. Great psychology and crisp execution.
– Backstage at the Halloween party, history is made (for better or worse) as John Cena is dressed like Vanilla Ice and cuts a freestyle rap that gets booed by Billy Kidman in a Phantom of the Opera costume and cheered by Indian Chief Chuck Palumbo. Torrie Wilson arrives in a Xena costume and runs into Tajiri, who decides to leave Torrie alone and hits on a saggy old yak dressed like Marilyn Monroe from behind. Apparently the costume fooled Tajiri because he is surprised to find it is Mae Young when she turns around, along with the Fabulous Moolah in a Wilma Flintstone getup. He is horrified as the old hags ravage him. Dawn Marie, in a naughty cop uniform, arrives arm-in-arm with the legendary Al Wilson, who is dressed like The Fonz and flashes a “HEEEYYYY!” thumbs-up just like good ol’ Arthur Fonzarelli.
– Moments Ago!, Angle’s involvement in the opening match caused Benoit to lose to Edge.
– Backstage, Benoit crashes the Halloween party on a search for Angle and storms off when he can’t find him, but after the Crippler leaves, one of the partygoers removes his Scream mask to reveal a grinning Gold Medalist.
– Elsewhere, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar is walking down a hallway (WALKING!) when some douchebag wearing a wig and a cavewoman costume stops Brock to ask him what he’s supposed to be. Lesnar gruffly responds that he is “The WWE Champion” and enters the locker room, where Paul Heyman is waiting to explain to Lesnar that he hasn’t been the same since the Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker. Heyman notes that Lesnar won’t let the doctors examine him and warns Brock that since he won’t be able to manhandle/suplex/F5 the Big Show at Survivor Series, he won’t be able to beat Show. Brock looks surprised by his agent’s assessment, but Heyman claims that’s what Brock pays him for and adds that’s why people like him make decisions for guys like Lesnar.
– The WWE Slam of the Week, brought to us by Sega Sports’ NBA 2K3, is from last week’s SmackDown as Big Show interrupted Rikishi’s dancing and laid him out with a chokeslam.
– Big Show vs. Rikishi
The Big Show looks pretty badass here, in black jeans and a black t-shirt. He grabs Rikishi for an early chokeslam, but Rikishi superkicks him through the ropes and follows him out to the floor. Show grips Rikishi by the throat and slams the back of his head against the ringpost before unleashing the “Frying Pan” chop to the chest. Back in the ring, Show elbowdrops the Samoan across the back of the head and headbutts him into the corner for the Andre butt-bump, then turns him inside-out with a clothesline for a two-count. Show rips the pads off the turnbuckles before whipping Rikishi into the exposed bolts and crushing him with an avalanche, then impressively scoops up the 350-pounder and plants him with a running powerslam. Rikishi staggers to his feet and Show chokeslams him for the three-count in a mercifully short and well-executed squash. **
– Afterwards, Show explains that what he did to Rikishi is just a taste of what he’ll do to Brock and invites the WWE Champion to see for himself face-to-face, “little man.” Backstage, we see Heyman plead with Lesnar not to go out as we go to break. When we come back, Show is still in the ring and says he has all night, warning that SmackDown will not continue until Lesnar comes out and suggests that maybe Brock is scared because of what he did to the Undertaker, as we see footage from last week of Show tossing the Dead Man off the stage. Show alludes to his former status as a “Next Big Thing” in the ’90s and makes endless threats until Brock finally marches out and goes eye-to-chin with the 7-foot giant. Brock calls him a “giant piece of (poop)” and Show calmly walks off as he states that he’s been “advised” not to kick Brock’s ass until Survivor Series when it’s for the title. Show finishes by threatening to do something to Lesnar tonight that has never been done before.
– Torrie Wilson bends over a lot to warm up for her “match” as we go to break.
– Trick or Treat: Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson
In the spirit of the season, this falls-count-anywhere match takes place in full costume near the stage where there is a wading pool full of chocolate milk with a table set up next to it, covered with pies and cakes. A food fight kicks things off and Torrie tackles Dawn into the chocolate pool as they splash around and we get plenty of lovely thong shots. The referee gets pulled in and soaked as Torrie suplexes Dawn and rips off her top to choke her with it. They trade chops and roll around with the ref before Torrie chops Dawn out of the pool and pins her on the floor to win the Trick or Treat match. Afterwards, Torrie throws ring announcer Tony Chimel into the chocolate milk.
– Backstage at the Halloween party, Mae & Moolah refuse to let Tajiri escape and the lights go out as Matt Hardy Version 1.0 enters the room with his entrance music playing on a boombox he’s carrying on his shoulder. That’s pretty funny. I’ve always wanted to arrive at a party while my entrance music (“Snowblind” by Black Sabbath, if anybody cares) is playing. Hardy thinks the party needs a dose of “Mattitude” and wonders why Tajiri is flirting with “Mae & Moolah Versions BC” since their Mattitude “dried up” long ago. Ewww. Mae stands up for her “boyfriend” and plants a sloppy kiss on Tajiri as the Japanese Buzzsaw makes hilarious faces and Moolah pleads with Young to be a lady.
– After the break, Nidia (dressed like Jamie Noble) is bobbing for apples at the Halloween party and Noble (dressed like Nidia) cheers her on as he bumps into Stephanie McMahon and checks her out. Los Guerreros approach Steph and ogle her as Eddie says that if he beats Angle tonight, they want a title shot. Steph replies that she’ll think about it and the Guerreros scamper off as John Cena informs Steph that her dad is in her office waiting for her. She is surprised and heads off while Cena acts conflicted.
– Matt Hardy vs. Tajiri
The special seasonal Mattitude Facts for tonight are “Matt always got more Halloween candy than his brother” and “Matt has seen all of the Friday The 13th movies.” Matt celebrates over an armdrag while Cole & Tazz discuss the bidding war between Raw and SmackDown for the contract of premier free agent “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner. Hahaha, what a lemon that deal turned out to be. Matt fights out of a headlock and applies a top-wristlock, but Tajiri flips out of it and armdrags Matt a couple of times. Hardy schoolboys Tajiri for a two-count and claims he almost had him, but Tajiri levels him with a stiff kick to the head and follows Matt out to ringside with a sliding dropkick. Tajiri flattens Matt with a beautiful Asai moonsault and they go back inside, where Matt slams Tajiri with the Side Effect for two and pounds away until Tajiri fires back with some chops. Hardy rakes the eyes to take back the advantage and Tajiri battles out of a neckwrench, but Matt elbows him down and legdrops him before missing the yodeling legdrop off the middle turnbuckle and both men are down. They slug it out on their knees until Tajiri snaps off the gunshot dropkick and connects with a crescent kick for two. Tajiri lands the handspring back-elbow off the ropes and goes for a sunset flip, but Matt counters by sitting on him and Tajiri bridges out of the pin before quickly cracking Matt with a back-kick to the back of the head for a near-fall. Tajiri attempts the Tarantula, but Matt counters with a wheelbarrow suplex for a near-fall of his own and misses a roundhouse right near the ropes, as Tajiri successfully applies the Tarantula. Matt ducks the Buzzsaw Kick and grabs Tajiri for the Twist of Fate, but Tajiri counters with a backslide attempt and Matt breaks that with a mulekick to the eggrolls. Hardy plants Tajiri with the Twist of Fate for the three-count to win a really good little match. ***1/2 Man, I miss Tajiri. For that matter, I miss Matt Hardy Version 1.0.
– Stephanie has finally made it to her office and finds a man in a Vince McMahon mask, who informs Steph that Scott Steiner will be joining Raw and unmasks to predictably reveal Raw GM Eric Bischoff with jet-black hair. Steph tries to slap Eric, but he blocks it and forces a kiss on her. She resists but like all women, deep down she really does want it and “no” apparently means “yes” as she succumbs to this savage sexual assault by a man dressed like her father and they make out on her desk. Great message reinforced time and time again by WWE. I have to be offended, because the only other reaction is to be completely grossed out and vomit all over the keyboard.
– Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero
Cole notes that Eddie is the instigator that drove a wedge between Angle & Benoit as they go through the criss-cross sequence and Angle pops off a hiptoss, an armdrag, and a double-leg pickup toss. Guerrero stalls at ringside and comes back in as Angle outwrestles him, but Guerrero cheapshots him and stomps away in the corner. Angle unloads on Guerrero and lands a nice flying forearm off the ropes for a two-count, but Latino Heat drop-toeholds him into the turnbuckles and folds him in half with a belly-to-back suplex. Those bumps will come back to haunt Kurt one day! Eddie rains blows on Angle’s head and applies a chinlock as the crowd chants “Let’s Go, Angle” and Kurt escapes, only for Eddie to take him back down in a crossface chinlock. Angle mounts a comeback and powerslams Guerrero, but Eddie clips him with a dropkick to the knee and a dropkick to the head when he’s on his hands and knees. In a scary spot to see now, Eddie chokes Kurt guillotine-style with Kurt’s head over the bottom rope, his body on the floor, and Eddie’s leg across his neck. Guerrero suplexes Angle back in for two and applies a chinlock, but Angle fights out until Guerrero catches him with a knee to the gut and traps him in a figure-four headscissor, occasionally using the ropes for leverage. Angle finally escapes and picks the ankle for the anklelock, but Guerrero rolls out of it and levels Angle with a clothesline. Guerrero dropkicks Angle in the back of the neck and hammers him down in the corner, but Angle reverses a waistlock and pops off a wicked release German suplex that sees Latino Heat land on his face.
Angle unloads on Eddie and slams him with an overhead belly-to-belly, but only gets a two-count when Eddie puts his foot over the rope. Eddie tries to come back, but Angle snaps off the three Rolling Germans for a near-fall and pulls down the straps to signify that it’s time to get serious. However, Guerrero counters the Angle Slam with a cradle for a very close near-fall (I thought that was it) and drills Angle with a nasty twisting tornado DDT for another near-fall. Damn. Eddie applies the “Lasso From El Paso” leg submission, but Angle picks the ankle and counters into the anklelock as Eddie desperately grabs the rope to break. Angle attempts to pull Eddie off the ropes in a standing waistlock, but Eddie pulls the ref in to distract him and mulekicks Kurt in the medals. Tazz actually remembers that Matt Hardy did the same thing to Tajiri earlier! Guerrero suplexes Angle and goes to the top turnbuckle, but Angle shoves the ref into the ropes to knock Eddie off-balance and he ends up crotched on the turnbuckle. Chavo Guerrero appears on the apron and Angle knocks him to the floor, but when Angle runs up the turnbuckles to superplex Eddie, Benoit pops up and whallops the Olympian with his tag title belt. Eddie adds the frog splash off the top on Angle to steal the uno-dos-tres in another damn good match. **** Afterwards, Eddie looks for a hug from his old friend, but Benoit lays him out with the belt and does the same to Chavito at ringside. Toothless Aggression, indeed.
– Backstage, Angle crashes the Halloween party and takes out his aggression on Shannon Moore, tossing him over a nearby table. Angle forbids anyone from leaving the room until he finds Benoit, but when he finds someone wearing the Scream mask and reveals him, it’s Brother Love. He LOOOOOOOOVES Angle, but Benoit jumps Angle from behind and dunks his head in the apple-bobbing bucket; in a funny bit, when Kurt pops back up, he has indeed snagged an apple in his mouth. Benoit busts a breakaway chair over Angle’s head and locks him in the Crossface on the floor, but Angle picks the ankle and counters into the anklelock. Benoit kicks him off and Angle lifts him in the Angle Slam, but Benoit smashes a bottle over his head as he’s being slammed on the table. A heated, intense brawl to further the angle that would lead to the amazing Angle/Benoit showdown at the Royal Rumble.
– Moments Ago!, Angle & Benoit ensured that they will never be invited to another WWE company party by wrecking the joint.
– Non-Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Brock Lesnar
Rey takes the early advantage by luring Brock into a footrace around ringside and drops the guillotine legdrop on the WWE Champion when he slides in under the ropes. Brock grips Rey by the throat and flings him into the corner, but misses a charge and chases Mysterio around ringside until Mysterio stops and hides behind the ringsteps. Lesnar fires off a running kick to the steps, but Mysterio has escaped underneath the ring and climbs up the turnbuckles behind Lesnar, diving down on him with the seated senton. Lesnar pops right back up and Mysterio leaps off the apron for a huracanrana, but Brock catches him and violently swings Rey against the ringpost. Since the viewing audience is apparently made up of complete fucking idiots, Cole questions (not just once, but twice) if Brock will be able to manhandle the Big Show like that. Obviously not, dipshit. Back inside, Brock holds Rey in a backbreaker over his shoulder and slams him face-first to the mat as the WWE Champion looks like he’s just toying with his prey and launches Rey with an overhead belly-to-belly. Brock continues to bully Rey, but he misses a charge in the corner and Mysterio hits a 619 to the body, followed by a series of dropkicks to the knee and back to set up Brock for the proper 619. However, when Mysterio swings through the ropes for the 619, Big Show appears out of nowhere to catch Rey and hurls him into the crowd as the referee calls for the bell and presumably awards a disqualification victory to Mysterio, although no decision is announced. *** Lesnar comes out and spears Show into the ringpost, but Show reverses an Irish-whip and rams Lesnar’s spine against the post before leveling him with a clothesline. Show snatches Lesnar by the throat and hoists him up in a chokeslam, but loses his grip in mid-air and ends up just dumping Brock through the Spanish announce table. We are treated to numerous replays as Big Show stands tall to close the Halloween 2002 edition of SmackDown.
Afterthoughts: DAMN, what a show. Crazy that SmackDown was giving away matches like Angle/Eddie, Brock/Rey, Benoit/Edge, and Hardy/Tajiri on free TV, but that’s what set the show apart from the plodding crap on Raw at the time. It’s a tossup between Benoit/Edge and Angle/Eddie for best match of the night, but they were both awesome. The Halloween party segments were cool (I always liked seasonal specials), but it was obvious that Stephanie had either taken over the book or whoever was booking at the time (Heyman still?) was trying to kiss her ass, as we had guys drooling over her floppy fake titties at the party like she was the hottest thing on two legs and Bischoff raping her in her office because he apparently couldn’t control himself due to her overwhelming beauty. Unfortunately, the McMahon-centric crap would only get worse in 2003. Anyway, this was a fantastic program. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
For the rest of my Halloween offerings, head over to The Chrononaut Chronicles and check out Part 3 – Prime Time Wrestling from 1988 and Part 4 – Saturday Night’s Main Event from 1985. Have a good one and stay safe if you’re venturing out tonight!