The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – 10.03.19
I’m back with fresh content after a week of stuff that was a combination of reposts and Observer Flashbacks written two weeks ago. And a very timely set of Hidden Gems we get this week, building up the impending Brock-Kofi match on Smackdown tonight with early dark matches featuring the two of them!
Kofi Kingston v. Steve Corino (12.14.07)
Kofi’s mellow reggae entrance music is really something, mon. So this is a dark match before Smackdown during the big fist era, and Steve Corino is looking more like Jack Victory at this point. Kofi takes him down with a couple of armdrags to head off his smack-talking, and I guess his thing is going “BOOM!” to punctuate his big moves at this point. Corino gets a cheapshot on the ropes, but Kofi comes back with more armdrags and that’s also boom-worthy. How did the announce team never come up with “Lower the boom!” instead of the “Boom drop” for him? Although it is nice to finally get the backstory on why his music had the singer going “Boom boom boom” and stuff. Corino gets a backbreaker for two and takes over with a gut wrench suplex for two. Corino chokes him out on the ropes but can’t secure a powerbomb, and Kofi reverses into a backslide for two and a rollup for two. Bodypress misses, but Corino makes the fatal error of pointing to his head to indicate intelligence, and Kofi gets another bodypress for two. Corino goes to a surfboard, but Kofi escapes with a mule kick and slugs him down, then follows with another bodypress for two. Russian legsweep and Kofi makes the comeback and finishes with the Boomdrop at 5:50. I give this 5 Booms out of 10. A perfectly acceptable wrestling match, and Kofi was pretty much fully formed right out of the gate and looked like a star.
Kofi Kingston v. The Miz (03.23.07)
Another one early in the careers of both guys, again a dark match under the big fist. Miz with his wannabe-punk cutoff jeans and fingerless gloves is a much more artificial-looking dude-bro look than he eventually adopted. Sadly, Kofi’s music here is much less mellow, but we do get the bonus of him doing a Jamaican accent. I cannot oversell how amazing it is to hear him trying to sell us on how “they call that jibber-jabber ‘booty talk’ where I come from, mon!” Well at least we know he was always obsessed with booty. Kofi gets some armdrags and punctuates them with “Boom boom boom”, but Miz beats him down with forearms and a neckbreaker for two. Miz with the chinlock and Kofi elbows out of it, but Miz puts him down with a rocker dropper for two. Back to the chinlock, but Miz tries a charge and crotches himself on the ropes. Kofi makes the comeback with some atomic drops and hits the Trouble in Paradise out of nowhere for the pin at 4:32. This one only gets 3 Booms out of 10, as it was mostly chinlocks from the Miz.
Brock Lesnar v. Rico Constantino (01.03.02)
I’m sure these two probably had a million matches in OVW together but this is a dark match from before a Smackdown taping, and the arena is EMPTY. Like there’s maybe 1000 people in the building here. Crazy to think Brock would be main eventing by summer. Brock pounds away with shoulders in the corner, but Rico works the arm and rolls him up for two. Rico goes to an armbar, but Brock powerbombs out of it and beats him down in the corner. Kneelift gets two. He smashes Rico in the corner with a Gorilla Monsoon “He picked him up like a sack of potatoes” slam and then hurls him across the ring with a hiptoss in a terrifying bump that draws a “boring” chant from some of the fans. Rico fights back with a dropkick and tries a spinkick, but Brock catches him with a capture suplex to finish at 4:20. I’d rate this F1 out of F5.
Brock Lesnar v. Randy Orton (11.29.01)
And we finish with another Smackdown dark match. Randy is from Wichita, Kansas at this point, instead of the more familiar St. Louis. It’s so weird that this is from the end of the Invasion era and is about to transition the company to a whole new set of stars. Orton evades him and gets a dropkick to take over, but Brock tosses him with an overhead suplex. Randy comes back with a cross armbreaker, but Brock powerbombs out of it and beats on him in the corner. Brock with a pair of backbreakers and he runs him into the corner with the sack of potatoes slam and chokes him out in the Tree of Woe. Orton fights back but Brock pounds on the back and follows with a backdrop suplex for two. Orton fights out of a chinlock and runs Brock into the turnbuckles, then comes back with a neckbreaker and goes up with a high cross for two. Backslide gets two. They mess up a sunset flip in the corner badly and Orton gets two off that, but Brock powerslams him to finish at 5:55. Big reactions for both guys here and Orton clearly looked like someone who was going to get a shot. This is worth F3 out of F5.
So yeah, interesting batch of stuff this week. I don’t hate it at all.
Thanks as always to Jon Potter at http://wwenetworknews.com for the tip.