Date: December 4, 2003
Location: HP Pavilion, San Jose, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
It’s a big night as we have a World Title match headlining the show. Before we can get to that match though, we need a challenger for the title. Therefore, tonight we’ll be seeing John Cena vs. Chris Benoit in a #1 contenders match with the winner facing Brock Lesnar for the World Title later in the night. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the battle royal with Benoit and Cena both winning, setting up tonight’s title situation.
Here’s Brock to start things off and he wants us to get our YOU TAPPED OUT chants in now because no one will be able to say anything after tonight. He will never tap out again because he’s the greatest WWE Champion ever. Lesnar recaps last week’s events and says he knows Benoit and Cena are scared of him. He beats people up, just like Kurt Angle and Hardcore Holly. Tonight, he’s making someone tap out. This was one of the most unnecessary recaps in recent memory.
Rikishi/Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Basham Brothers
Non-title. Shaniqua unmasks the Bashams and let’s pause for a whipping. Again: these are your champions. Danny starts stupid by trying a sunset flip on Rikishi, earning himself a sitdown splash to the face. Doug and Scotty come in as things speed up, including Scotty hitting a flying forearm. Shaniqua’s save attempt earns her an ejection, leaving Danny to drop a Vader Bomb elbow for two on Scotty.
It’s off to an abdominal stretch for a bit with Scotty kicking Doug off and bringing Rikishi in. The big man cleans house and crushes Doug in the corner but here’s Shaniqua again. What a rule breaker. The Bashams switch and Danny hits Rikishi low. The Worm connects anyway but Rikishi is back up with the Samoan drop for the pin.
Rating: D-. Egads what a wreck, and that’s not even including the champions being whipped before the match. The match had very little flow to the match and was a bunch of back and forth brawling with little reason to any of it. The Bashams have been treated like jokes since winning the titles and I have no idea why they’re still champions, save for having no one else to win the things. It’s not like the World’s Greatest Tag Team is on the same show and could have great matches with just about anyone.
Post match Shaniqua yells that they don’t deserve her and walks off. Again: the Tag Team Champions everyone.
We recap the Hardcore Holly vs. Brock Lesnar feud.
Paul Heyman is sick of Holly when Dawn Marie comes in, trying to sleep her way into power. Heyman isn’t interested but does tell her to take a memo: Holly is still suspended. She can also have Shannon Moore meet him in the ring. Thank you for not having Heyman turn into a Vince clone.
Here’s Heyman, flanked by Nathan Jones and Matt Morgan. We see some clips of Shannon Moore’s decimation in recent weeks at the monsters’ hands. Heyman wants Shannon out here right now, which tells me that Dawn is really bad at her job. With Shannon in the ring, Heyman praises him for taking a beating and coming back for more over and over again. Therefore, Shannon gets another match tonight.
Big Show vs. Shannon Moore
Non-title of course. Shannon, who looks terrified, tries a plancha to the floor. Show catches him in midair and throws Shannon from the floor onto the top rope in a cool power display. They head inside with a heck of a clothesline taking Shannon’s head off. Show rips at his face and drops a leg before finishing with the chokeslam in very short order.
Jamie Noble again tells Nidia to stay in the back during his match. She’s already caused him to have two strikes against ever getting another Cruiserweight Title shot. This is about her safety though. Nidia is disappointed but Jamie has an idea.
Sakoda vs. Jamie Noble
Jamie brings Nidia out with him and hammers away at Sakoda to start. A clothesline takes Noble down and a backbreaker keeps him in trouble. Sakoda gets sent outside though and Jamie adds a suicide dive (more like a suicide shove) to keep him down. The referee has to deal with Tajiri though, allowing Noble to throw Nidia inside and ram her into Sakoda. That’s enough to set up a rollup to give Noble the pin.
Rating: D+. There wasn’t much time to do anything here but it’s nice to see Noble get a win. At the same time though, it’s not nice to see Noble turning heel again after he was starting to find his footing as a face. I’m not sure where this leaves Noble though, as he doesn’t have an opponent since the division basically doesn’t exist. Hopefully he’s still around though because I’ve enjoyed him more than most people on this show as of late.
Post match Nidia freaks out so Noble tells her that Tajiri’s other goon threw her inside.
Cole and Tazz act like Noble shot someone.
We look back at the end of the battle royal again. It’s impressive that they managed to get their feet on the ground at the exact same time.
Cena is ready to do whatever it takes to win. Benoit comes in and says he can get the Crossface on at anytime.
John Cena vs. Chris Benoit
Before the match, Cena says Heyman is protecting Brock because either of them could beat Brock. Benoit wastes no time in pounding Cena down in the corner and getting two off a shoulder. The hard clothesline and the Shuffle give Cena the same as the fans are behind Cena so far. A double chickenwing keeps Benoit in trouble and a spinebuster gets two. Cena shows off the power with a delayed vertical suplex but the frustration over the kickout lets Benoit roll the German suplexes. The Swan Dive misses though and the FU connects for the pin….but Benoit’s foot was on the ropes.
The referee didn’t see it so here’s a second referee to throw us to instant replay. As you try to figure out if WWE has ever done that before or since, the match is ruled to restart. Back from a break with Cena missing a clothesline and having his arm slammed into the mat. Benoit dropkicks the arm and hits a hammerlock northern lights suplex as the target is set up. More kicks and stomps to the arm as Taz thinks Cena can’t get out of the blocks. How much more out of them does he need to get when he already pinned Benoit once?
We hit an armbar for a few moments but Cena shoves him away and scores with a knee to the ribs. That’s fine with Benoit, who is right back with a Sharpshooter. Cena makes a rope and Tazz calls this a pick’em, despite Benoit being in full control. An FU (more like a Samoan drop) puts Benoit down but here’s Big Show for a distraction. Benoit is right there with the Crossface and Cena taps to give Benoit the title shot.
Rating: B. It was a little overbooked but it told a story and the right guy won. Even if Benoit loses later in the night, it’s as simple of an excuse as he went fifteen minutes earlier in the night and isn’t at 100%. Cena isn’t ready for this big of a win yet and he gets some points back from the pin earlier in the match. This should set up Big Show vs. Cena (non-title of course because Big Show isn’t that kind of champion) but I could see them waiting around even more on the big Cena push.
Chavo Guerrero has a match but wants Eddie to stay in the back, despite Chavo having a bad knee. Eddie wants to know what’s wrong with him but Chavo says for once, it’s about him.
Shelton Benjamin vs. Chavo Guerrero
Chavo is ready to go but here’s Eddie in a lowrider anyway. Well he did rent the thing already so it’s not costing anything extra. Shelton jumps the distracted Chavo from behind but a headscissors gets Chavo out of trouble. As this is going on, Eddie pulls out a lawn chair, one of those hats with a pair of drinks (Y J Stinger in this case) and a Smackdown Magazine.
Shelton uses the second distraction to start going after the knee with a shinbreaker and a leglock. Back up and Chavo makes a standard comeback, capped off with a tornado DDT. The referee has to deal with Charlie Haas though, leaving Eddie to frog splash Shelton and give Eddie the pin.
Rating: C-. Just a quick angle advancement here as Chavo’s full on heel turn gets one week close. That’s the smart move too as the fans aren’t going to boo Eddie no matter what he does at this point. Chavo isn’t the most interesting guy but a family member stabbing him in the back and turning on him is going to work just fine.
Video on Brock Lesnar.
Benoit shows us the clip of Brock tapping at Survivor Series, triggering the YOU TAPPED OUT chants.
The FBI takes bets on the main event with A-Train betting $10,000 on Benoit. That’s quite the show of respect. It’s also a show of the two feuding again after Benoit loses.
Smackdown World Title: Brock Lesnar vs. Chris Benoit
Benoit is challenging. Brock wastes no time in firing off the hard shoulders in the corner and stomping at the ribs. Some armdrags send Lesnar outside and Benoit posts him for good measure. Back in and a Crossface attempt sends Lesnar outside again. Benoit tries to go a bit too fast though and gets caught in what would become known as the Shell Shock. Brock sends him outside again and gorilla press drops him on the announcers’ table.
It’s time for the rear naked choke but since this isn’t MMA Brock yet, it’s a glorified chinlock. Benoit fights up, only to charge into a tilt-a-whirl powerslam to send us to a break. Back with Benoit missing a charge and falling out to the floor. One heck of a whip into the steps rocks Benoit but really seems to wake him up for some right hands to Lesnar’s head. Another whip into the steps has Brock in trouble but he’s right back with a release German suplex to cut Benoit off again.
Much like Benoit earlier, Brock tries to get too speedy and charges into the post, allowing Benoit to show him the proper way to roll German suplexes. A flying tackle of all things sets up the Swan Dive for two but Brock rolls out of the Crossface. The ref gets bumped (erg) and the Crossface goes on, making Lesnar tap. Brock hits a very fast F5 with Benoit landing on his back for a delayed two. With the YOU TAPPED OUT chants making Brock angrier, he chairs Benoit on the knee and debuts the Brock Lock, bending Benoit’s knee around his neck and sitting down like a half crab. Benoit passes out to retain Brock’s title.
Rating: B+. That’s all you could hope for it to be with Benoit getting closer and closer every single time but not being able to get over the goal line again. As mentioned though, you can just point to him having two matches tonight and it’s instantly excused. Throw in Brock tapping to the Crossface and you could easily have a rematch.
Post match Brock puts on a Crossface of his own and grabs Benoit’s hand to make him tap.
Overall Rating: B-. They’re advancing several stories here and that’s a good thing, though some of the stories are a good bit better than others. Benoit looked like a star here and that’s what matters most. I could go for Cena vs. Lesnar at the Royal Rumble instead of Lesnar vs. Holly, but since the story is already there with Holly, WWE’s hands are completely tied and they have no choice but to go that way instead of with the interesting and better match. The wrestling was good here, but I could go for some heels that aren’t either Heyman or not covered in muscles for a change. Issues aside, good night overall.
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