Smackdown – August 21, 2003

Date: August 21, 2003
Location: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the go home show for Summerslam and by definition this show has to be better than Raw. I mean it’s not possible for it to be worse than the drek that they aired on Monday. Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle for the Smackdown World Title is pretty much the only good looking match on Sunday’s card so hopefully they can increase that to two matches tonight. Let’s get to it.

This one is TV-MA, which the WWE Network tells me three times in the first thirty seconds. What in the world do they have on here? This week’s Raw had implied rape, sexual slavery and cruelty to animals. What’s this going to have? The Young Bucks vs. New Jack?

We open with a long recap of Vince McMahon joining forces with Brock to screw over Angle. You know, because Angle vs. Lesnar just wasn’t good enough for Summerslam after being good enough for Wrestlemania.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Angle to open things up and I know it’s brought up a lot, but he just looks cool in that track suit look with the title. Angle yells at Brock for running to Vince McMahon for help because Kurt isn’t someone who needs a 58 year old to fight his battles for him. Tonight, Angle is coming to find Lesnar and give him the beating that he deserves. He can win the match on Sunday because tonight is about a fight. He’ll fight Lesnar or Vince or even both at the same time because he just wants a fight against someone.

This brings out Vince to say that he can’t give Kurt what he wants tonight. See, tonight is about what Vince wants so Angle won’t be having a fight. If Angle lays a hand on either Vince or Brock tonight, he’s suspended and no longer champion. Instead, Angle can have a match with Big Show. This brings out Show and Angle is willing to fight him now, meaning the brawl is on in the aisle. Kurt easily kicks him low and gets in a belt shot until referees pull him off. This was a bit shorter than some recent opening segments and while it set up a match that we’ve covered enough, Angle showed some great fire.

Post match Show freaks out in the back and Vince tells him that the main event is now a falls count anywhere street fight.

Rey Mysterio vs. Matt Hardy

Non-title because….you know the reasons by now. Therefore, Matt, who has never lost his cell phone and has hipper pants than Rey, can’t win the title. Hardy wastes no time in taking him down for some early two counts, only to have Rey come back with a springboard headscissors. Billy Kidman has to intercept a cheating Shannon Moore but the distraction lets Matt get in a thumb to the eye. That doesn’t stop Rey from hitting a corkscrew dive to the floor but a springboard is broken up with a hard forearm. Shannon misses a chair shot but Kidman is accused instead, earning him an ejection.

Back from a break with Rey being posted and an elbow drop getting two. A Side Effect plants Rey for two but he comes right back with a spinning DDT to put both guys down. The springboard seated senton gets two but Matt grabs a reverse Side Effect (that’s not a bad finisher) for two of his own. Rey’s moonsault press gives him two of his own but a Shannon distraction saves Matt from the 619. Cue Zach Gowen to cane Matt in the back, setting up the 619. West Coast Pop gives Rey the pin.

Rating: B. As usual, these two were working out there and if you give Rey an opponent who can keep up with him, you’re going to get a solid performance. I like the idea of Rey fighting off both guys and winning in the end, but setting up Matt vs. Gowen on Sunday when the Cruiserweight Champion, the Intercontinental Champion and the Smackdown Tag Team Champions don’t make the pay per view seems like missing the point.

Brock comes in to see Vince and says if Angle has a match, he wants one too. Vince gives him Gowen, making Brock laugh. He promises to break Gowen’s leg tonight. As in his good leg. Well it wouldn’t mean much otherwise.

We actually look back at A-Train brawling with Undertaker and pinning Stephanie in a match. Oh but that’s not good enough so we also see the BUILD to the match, including A-Train talking to Stephanie in the back. Do they really think that fans sympathize or identify with Stephanie? Who would actually write that story other than Stephanie herself?

Zack Gowen’s mother is here (Gowen is the hometown boy tonight) and is so proud of him but is also worried about seeing him get hurt.

Billy Gunn/Jamie Noble vs. Basham Brothers

Tazz: “Jamie’s Got a Gunn!” I’ve heard worse. The brawl starts on the floor with the announcers putting Shaniqua over as a monster, making me worried that she’s supposed to be the star of the whole thing. Billy gives Danny a tilt-a-whirl powerslam to start as the announcers talk about Lesnar wanting to break Gowen’s leg. Why is this so shocking? It kind of fits what he would normally do no?

The Bashams beat Billy down in the corner as Cole laments Stephanie not being here tonight. See, she can show up and fix everything of course. Billy gets stomped down for two more and some crossface shots to the face make it even worse. A charge in the corner misses though and Gunn Diamond Cuts his way into the hot tag to Noble.

Jamie comes in and starts cleaning house, including a swinging neckbreaker for two on Doug. A good looking top rope elbow gets the same as everything breaks down. Shaniqua pulls Jamie out of the ring and clotheslines Nidia and Torrie down with ease. The Fameasser plants Doug but the twins switch, including a riding crop shot to Gunn. Doug small packages Jamie for the pin.

Rating: D+. The Bashams get a much needed win but this story hasn’t exactly done anyone any favors. Billy is bringing Jamie down and it’s not exactly helping Noble to have him as a good guy when he’s a naturally good heel. The Bashams are playing second fiddle to their manager, who isn’t interesting in the first place. But at least we got that “funny” hotel segment between the good guys.

Lesnar threatens to break Gowen’s leg again.

We look at Brock destroying Spanky last week. Cool. Now do the same to Gowen.

Brock Lesnar vs. Zack Gowen

Gowen’s entrance focuses on his mom so you know this one is going to hurt. Before the bell, Brock goes outside and gets in the mom’s face but she won’t even shake his hand. The distraction lets Gowen hit a dive which I don’t believe would drop Lesnar for a second. Brock throws him down but gets hit with the prosthetic leg, only to drive Gowen into the post. Back in and we get the opening bell as the slaughter is in full swing. The mom continues to look completely emotionless, even as Brock hits the double powerbomb. A chair to the head gives Gowen the DQ win in short order. Good. Now keep him off TV.

Gowen is busted open (and it is a GUSHER, which is probably the reason for the TV-MA) so Brock F5’s the leg into the post. Another chair shot and another F5 into the post seems to destroy Gowen’s leg. Cole is LIVID over the idea that Lesnar would do this as Gowen goes out on a stretcher. Brock shoves the stretcher over and the VERY bloody Gowen crashes down while his mother….looks exactly the same as she did earlier.

Back from a break and we see the attack again. Cole: “Tragedy has struck Smackdown.” Oh good grief. Cole says he’s breaking tradition and taking sides here to rant against Lesnar. Tazz even takes off the sunglasses to talk about how he didn’t know Brock like he thought he did. This is as forced as trying to make me believe that Gowen could compete against WWE wrestlers.

Undertaker/Orlando Jordan vs. John Cena/A-Train

Pre-match, Cena rants about hating Detroit. If they think he sucks, Cena knows they swallow. Cole says that Vince has taken over with Stephanie gone. You know, because Stephanie was above Vince when she was around. Undertaker takes Cena down to start and hammers on the ribs but stops to glare at A-Train.

Back up and Cena low bridges Undertaker out to the floor for some shots to the back, only to get his throat snapped over the ropes. Old School gets two as Cole talks about the devastating work Undertaker did to Cena’s shoulder a few weeks back. It’s so devastating that Cena has been hiding the effects ever since.

Jordan and A-Train come in with A-Train easily suckering Jordan in and giving him an early beating. Orlando gets in a DDT and is already crawling over to the corner despite taking all of thirty seconds of offense. Undertaker comes in to do the work, including Snake Eyes into the big boot on Cena.

The alternating corner clotheslines have the villains in trouble and Undertaker grabs a dragon sleeper on Cena. Jordan cuts off A-Train and gets the Derailer for his efforts (my goodness this guy is worthless). Undertaker chokeslams A-Train but gets caught in a spinebuster from Cena. The Last Ride is broken up by a chain shot to the ribs, giving Cena the pin.

Rating: D. The only thing I got out of this is a good laugh at how pathetic Jordan was. Really, he gets beaten down for thirty seconds and can’t even get to his feet? This is supposed to be the guy Undertaker is mentoring? Cena pinning Undertaker was the right ending, even if Cena is another name on the long list of people not making the pay per view. Again: Shane McMahon vs. Eric Bischoff and La Resistance are part of an eight match card where ten people are in two matches. If you can’t fit three different titles and an up and comer like Cena on there, learn to plan better.

Post break Sable hits on A-Train and wants to thank him on behalf of Vince for taking care of Stephanie. She gives him a hotel room key.

Eddie Guerrero/Rhyno vs. Chris Benoit/Tajiri

Rhyno gets a ride in the low rider. Tazz: “CALL THE ZOO!” Eddie has the REALLY strong hydraulics this week as he gets half of the car about three and a half feet off the ground and holds it there to show off. Eddie and Benoit start things off with Guerrero actually winning a chop off and sending Benoit into the corner. Benoit is back with a backdrop but Eddie hides behind the referee and gets in a shot to the knee.

It’s off to Rhyno for a backbreaker but Eddie has to break up a very fast Crossface. Eddie comes back in with a seated abdominal stretch, followed by the rolling suplexes. He takes a bit too long going up though and it’s a superplex back down, allowing the double tag to Rhyno and Tajiri. Rhyno gets caught in the Tarantula, leaving Benoit to hit the Swan Dive on Eddie. Tajiri decks Benoit by mistake though and the Gore is good for the pin.

Rating: C+. The four way is the only match I’m looking forward to outside of Lesnar vs. Angle and a good tag match helped the building process. Rhyno getting the pin gives him a little momentum and helps shake the feeling that only Benoit and Eddie are likely to leave as champion. This was an example of letting the wrestlers wrestle and that’s always going to work.

Post match Benoit puts Rhyno in the Crossface but Eddie breaks it up with a belt shot. Just to show it’s not personal, Eddie belts both Rhyno and Tajiri as a bonus.

Kurt Angle vs. Big Show

Non-title and hardcore. Angle waits at the entrance and hammers on Show as soon as he comes through the curtain. Show gets the better of the fight and knocks Angle down at ringside. It’s already table time but Show slides it in instead of setting it up. A slam onto the unset table keeps Angle down and a legdrop is good for two. There’s a big toss across the ring and one of those scary loud chops to Angle’s chest.

Show puts the table in front of Angle in the corner yet seems surprised when Angle shoves it into his charging head. The Angle Slam gets a delayed two but Show kicks him out to the floor again. The table is set but Kurt gets in a chair shot. That has very little effect though as Show punches the chair back into his face and Angle is down again.

A powerbomb through the table is countered with a chair to the head for two more, followed by a running chair shot to put Show outside. Show drops him over the barricade and loads up the steps but Angle grabs him low for a breather. The ankle lock over the steps is broken up so Angle knocks him over the table. An Arabian facebuster of all things gets two on Show but the Angle Slam through the table is enough to put Show away.

Rating: B. Actually a fun brawl here as they were doing some different spots instead of all the usual stuff you would see here. Angle getting a win helps, even though Big Show got in a lot of offense. Of course that doesn’t mean much as Big Show is another name not on Summerslam but why let that get in the way of a good match?

Lesnar comes out for the staredown to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. This is a harder one to rate as the wrestling was good for the most part (the bad matches were mostly short) but it didn’t do a great job of making me want to see the pay per view. Undertaker vs. A-Train is going to be about Stephanie vs. Sable/Vince and I’m not exactly thrilled by the two good looking Smackdown matches. Maybe I’ll be surprised but with Raw looking dreadful, the possibilities aren’t strong.

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