Smackdown – May 30, 2002

Smackdown
Date: May 30, 2002
Location: Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re still in Canada and maybe we can find the next challenger to Undertaker for the WWE World Title. As much fun as it was to see him make Tommy Dreamer drink tobacco juice and then beat him up, I could go for an actual match with a challenger instead of just random attacks. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – May 23, 2002

Smackdown
Date: May 23, 2002
Location: BankcorpSouth Center, Tupelo, Mississippi
Attendance: 7,450
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We might be in for a major announcement this week as new WWE World Champion the Undertaker has suggested that Hulk Hogan will be retiring tonight. I know 2002 was a different time but does anyone believe that Hogan’s retirement is coming on a regular Smackdown in Mississippi? Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – April 4, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 4, 2002
Location: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, New York
Attendance: 8,500
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

After Monday’s less than amazing debut for Raw, it’s time to see if Smackdown can save the opening week of the Brand Split. This show has its share of stars including The Rock, Chris Jericho, Hulk Hogan and Kurt Angle. Those names alone should be enough to help carry this past Raw but this company has managed to disappoint me with less. Let’s get to it.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 22, 1999

Steve Austin arrives at the arena and comes across a driver of a Coor’s Light truck.  Product placement 101.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are calling the action and they are live from Albany, New York.  This is the last RAW we have to hear called by Cole for a while so I am happy about that.  This is the go home show for WrestleMania XV.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 22, 1999

A video package recaps the Rock winning the WWF title in a ladder match against Mankind on last week’s show.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Vince McMahon comes out to hype tonight’s Inferno Match between the Undertaker and Kane.  He welcomes Paul Wight to the ring, who is booked to be the guest referee at WrestleMania.  Cole is trying to get Wight over as “The Big Nasty,” so I guess it is good that “The Big Show” name was chosen instead.  WWF Champion The Rock also comes out, quickly getting into a verbal confrontation with Wight, telling him to “Know his role.”  McMahon’s efforts at playing peacemaker get nowhere until Mankind marches onto the stage and volunteers to referee the WrestleMania main event, as well as referee a Rock-Wight encounter tonight.  Wight then proceeds to challenge the Rock to a match, which the Rock gladly accepts and he says he will put the WWF title on the line too.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – December 14, 1998

Pictures and
commentary from last night’s Rock Bottom pay-per-view are aired.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Tacoma,
Washington
.

D-Generation X
comes out dressed as the Corporation as Cole is so nice to tell us that all of
this is supposed to be funny over and over again.  Jason Sensation also makes a return as
Commissioner Shawn Michaels.  Aside from
Sensation, the only entertaining part of this segment is X-Pac’s imitation of
Shamrock where he screams about how he is in the zone and how its “five knuckle
shuffle time!”  After this long segment
comes to a close, Shawn Michaels, the Big Bossman, Ken Shamrock, and the Rock
walk out.  Michaels books a rematch of
last night’s tag team title match between the New Age Outlaws and Shamrock and
the Bossman.  Michaels takes a dig at
Triple H as being a “midcarder for life,” but Triple H goads the Rock into
putting the WWF title on the line in the main event.
Vince McMahon
gives a pep talk to the Corporation in the locker room
, ending it with a promise to go after Kane
since Kane is deemed as one of the primary reasons Steve Austin qualified for
the Royal Rumble at Rock Bottom.
Opening
Contest:  Supply & Demand (w/The Hos)
defeat Edge & Christian (w/Gangrel) when Val Venis pins Christian with a
fisherman’s suplex at 2:34:
The Godfather was beginning to get the “Pimpin’ ain’t
easy” line over at this point, adding to the number of catchphrases by the
company’s stars.  The Brood is so weird
that the Godfather does not bother to give them any hos.  Edge and Christian make one of their first
appearances as a tag team as the company was realizing that they could put on
better matches than Edge and Gangrel.  Or
maybe the company realized that if you are going to bill Edge and Christian as
brothers that it was nonsensical to not have them for a tag team.  This is just a quick TV bout, typical of the
era, with the ending being messy as Venis enters the ring too late after a
blind tag and Edge does not even bother trying to break up the final pin.   With the Brood’s gimmick you would think
Russo would find more for these guys to do, but they keep losing to other
midcard acts week after week.
After the match,
Gangrel says that there is going to be a bloodbath the next time that the Brood
appears.
Kevin Kelly
interviews Steve Blackman who says he will unmask the Blue Blazer tonight.  For a guy who is a legitimate bad ass like
Blackman, it is a shame that he cannot cut a convincing promo.
Goldust beats The
Blue Blazer via disqualification when Jeff Jarrett interferes at 2:10:
This is a revenge match from the previous evening as the
Blue Blazer kept Debra McMichael from finishing her striptease at Rock
Bottom.  As several have commented in my
reviews it is tough to watch this Blue Blazer angle when you know how it is
going to end in six months.  This match
hardly gets going before Jeff Jarrett interferes to break up Shattered Dreams.  Steve Blackman lives up to his promise to
also do a run-in and he does unmask the Blazer as Owen.  Why not do the unmasking on
pay-per-view?  In a humorous bit, Jarrett
tosses a black cloth over Owen’s head as if he is too ugly to be seen after the
unmasking.
Mark Henry gets
ready for a match backstage
.
The New Age
Outlaws and the Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock are prevented from having a
confrontation backstage by WWF officials
.
Mark Henry &
D-Lo Brown (w/PMS) beats Scorpio & Bob Holly (w/Al Snow, Duane Gill &
The Blue Meanie) when Henry pins Holly after a powerslam at 3:00:
This might be the RAW debut of the “Sexual Chocolate”
theme song, although it is not a great tag team entrance theme since it does
not work for D-Lo.  Before the match,
Henry talks about his date with Chyna and how it got intimate, with D-Lo giving
fantastic facial expressions throughout. 
The Chyna angle is where Henry started to show the personality that made
him an effective superstar as he participated in some ridiculous segments that
were meant to discourage him and get him to quit.  The whole point of this match is to keep
building D-Lo and Henry, as well as PMS, and the JOB Squad are manhandled and
outwitted.  Rating:  *
Mankind’s attack
on the Rock before the Rock Bottom pay-per-view is the Acclaim Sports Slam of
the Week
.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock &
The Big Bossman (w/Shawn Michaels) defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) when
Shamrock makes Billy Gunn submit to the ankle lock to win the titles at 6:45:
One fan has a big “Clinton 3:16” sign near the front of
the ring that cracks me up since that is not something that you would expect to
see at a wrestling show.  Unlike last
night’s pay-per-view, the challengers focus on a body part, targeting Billy
Gunn’s left knee after Shamrock smashes a chair into it.  The Road Dogg also gets a chair to the back
and a Bossman slam, which leads to a second hot tag to Gunn, which is a bad
idea since he is fighting on one leg. 
Still, it takes a Michaels night stick shot to the back of the head to
put the Outlaws down for the count.  So
why could we not have just done this finish last night?  Rating:  **
Vince and Shane
McMahon walk out to conduct the drawing of Steve Austin’s number for the Royal
Rumble.  Vince says that he will get
revenge against Kane and Mankind tonight and he books them to face each other
in a no holds barred match.  In the
subsequent drawing, Austin is awarded #1, but you see, the drawing is rigged as
it appears that all of the numbers in the tumbler are #1.  To make Austin’s job of winning the Rumble
even more difficult, Vince also promises to give the superstar that tosses
Austin over the top rope $100,000 (which will be taken from one of Shane’s
trust funds).  As a final announcement,
Vince says that another participant in the Rumble match, someone who is the
only person that “could save Ted Turner’s WCW,” will be him.  Shane proceeds to draw a number out of the
tumbler for Vince and he gets #30. 
Christening his new theme song, Vince says there is “no chance in hell”
that Austin will win the Rumble.  Mankind
then appears on the Titantron from the boiler room and challenges Vince to a
match instead of facing Kane, but Vince does not accept.
Get your Jesse
“the Body” Ventura videotape!  You know,
the guy that the WWF tried to purge from its history until he won the Minnesota
gubernatorial election!
Debra McMichael’s
striptease at Rock Bottom is the Glover Rewind segment.
Vince huddles with
stooges about what to do with Mankind until deciding that he is better off
coming up with his own solution for the problem.  Gerald Brisco is still offering to get him
coffee
.
Guitar on a Pole
Match:  “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra
McMichael) pins Steve Blackman after Owen Hart hits Blackman with a guitar at
3:33:
Russo’s pole fetish finally finds its way to television
here.  It would have made more sense to
book this as Jarrett-Goldust since Goldust is the one that got blasted with a
guitar last night at Rock Bottom.  Debra
starts stripping to distract Blackman and allow Jarrett to get the guitar, but
then we also get a ref bump after Blackman avoids getting hit with it.  Then, Owen Hart runs in with a guitar and
hits Blackman to give his partner in crime a victory.  This match was like a sick preview of what
Russo would do to WCW a couple of years later. 
Rating:  *
Tiger Ali Singh
calls the stooges into his locker room where “Bloodbath” has been written on
the wall.  He said that he does not want
to compete tonight under these conditions.
Vince tells Shane
that he is going to face Mankind tonight, but he will do it his way.
The next match is
booked as Gangrel-Tiger Ali Singh, but it never gets started as Tiger tries to
flee but the Broods prevents him from doing so, beat him down, and pour blood
on him.  You have to use your imagination
for all of this, though, because it takes place in the darkness of the Brood’s
entrance.
No Holds Barred
Match:  Mankind and Kane wrestle to a
no-contest at 4:28:
In this match, Lawler claims that the steps weigh 150
pounds, but last year’s TLCS pay-per-view told me they were over 500
pounds.  Poor Art Donovan would be so
confused.  This match is more about
angles as Mankind and Kane brawl for a few minutes before Vince comes out and
asks Mankind to come into the parking lot to face him in a street fight.  Then, while we are away at a commercial
break, Ken Shamrock and the Big Bossman beatdown Kane so that orderlies can
take him to a mental institution. 
Meanwhile, Mankind destroys Vince in the parking lot before the Rock
shows up and Rock Bottoms Mankind on the hood of a car.  Rating:  *
WWF Championship
Match:  The Rock (Champion w/Shawn
Michaels) defeats Triple H (w/Chyna) when Test interferes at 10:49:
Seeing the Rock and Michaels by each other just makes you
wish that they would have had a match at some point.  This match shows how wild crowds used to be
as people mob Triple H during his entrance when he gets close to the guardrail
and some fans even try to prevent the Rock from attacking Triple H near the
ringside barrier on the floor.  The Rock
is bit too liberal with the chinlocks in this one, but one could say the same
for Triple H’s knee attacks in this era. 
In true WWE style, they kick out of each other’s big moves, but when the
referee is distracted Test makes his in-ring debut by nailing Triple H with a pumphandle
slam and helping the Rock retain.  Rating: 
***
The Final Report:  Despite the absence of Steve Austin this show
effectively framed some of the big angles heading into the Royal Rumble
pay-per-view.  The matches were really abbreviated,
something that could be expected of WWF television at the time, but the main
event was solid since the Rock and Triple H usually had fantastic
chemistry.  On the basis of the main
event and the entertaining McMahon segments, this show garners a thumbs up.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.2 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Judgment Day – In Your House

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Chicago, Illinois
.

Opening
Contest:  Al Snow (w/Head) beats “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with the Snow Plow at 7:14:
This is a curious opener since Snow has a lingering feud
with Jeff Jarrett.  Jarrett does come out
to crickets and tries to convince Mero to let him wrestle Snow instead, but
Mero says refuses.  After all, he has a
job to do for the new hot act in the company. 
Mero puts on a good effort in his last pay-per-view match in the
company, but unless Sable is involved no one really cares about him
anymore.  Snow reverses the TKO into his
finisher and picks up the win.  Rating: 
**¾
LOD 2000 beat The
Disciples of Apocalypse & Paul Ellering when Droz pins Skull after a
Doomsday Device at 5:55:
The awful DOA-LOD feud reaches its climax here, at least on
pay-per-view.  Chainz and Sunny ended up
as casualties of this feud, never reaching the end of the story.  It’s so weird to see the Hawk and Animal with
their hair grown out.  Hawk is not doped
up on pain pills tonight and works with Animal to deliver the Doomsday Device,
but Droz steals the pin and Hawk is not happy. 
Boring bout, but at least they kept this short.  Rating:  ½*
Dok Hendrix talks
with Al Snow and Sable and hypes the Superstar Line.  Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear from the winners
and losers!  Sable reminds us that “everyone
likes a little Head.”
Light Heavyweight
Championship Match:  Christian
(w/Gangrel) pins Taka Michinoku (Champion w/Yamaguchi-San) with an inside
cradle to win the title at 8:36:
The light heavyweight title is defended for the first
time in ages here and since they pulled it out of mothballs the outcome could
be predicted from a mile away.  This was
Christian’s in-ring WWF debut.  Michinoku
had no heat, but the crowd reacts to the high spots.  Ross makes a subtle dig at the booking by
saying that he wants to see more light heavyweight matches.  Spots happen, but they do not mesh together
and the match fails to tell an adequate story as a result.  Michinoku appears headed to win the match
with a Michinoku Driver, but Christian cradles out of it to win the meaningless
title.  Solid match, but the crowd was
not buying into it.  Rating:  **¾
Kevin Kelly and
Tom Pritchard interview Droz in the WWF.com backstage area.  Droz says he seized an opportunity and that
is why he is on the first string.  Droz
actually cuts a really good heel promo here.
A video package
recaps the Goldust-Val Venis feud.
Goldust pins Val
Venis (w/Terri Runnels) after a low blow at 12:09:
The crowd is happy to see the return of Goldust, but
unfortunately there are not that many mind games that find their way into this
contest.  Venis spends the bulk of the match
working the shoulder, but none of that factors into the closing stretches of
this match.  Venis nearly runs into Terri
on the apron and that allows Goldust to shatter Venis’s dreams and pick up a
win.  This was better than most expected,
but this storyline is still a little confusing as to who the face and heel
really are.  Goldust got a small push
from this win, while Venis was shifted back into the midcard.  Rating:  **½
Michael Cole tells
us that Triple H and Ken Shamrock got into an altercation backstage, where
Shamrock smashes a car door into Triple H’s knee.  X-Pac interrupts to say that he will deal
with Shamrock tomorrow night on RAW.  He
promises to regain the European title.
European
Championship Match:  X-Pac (w/Chyna) defeats
D-Lo Brown (Champion) with an X-Factor to win the title at 14:36:
Since he is the champion, D-Lo is back to selecting a
European hometown and in this match he is from Milan, Italy.  Ross announces that the Nation of Domination
has parted ways, which I always thought was a cop out.  A stable that lasted for nearly two years
deserved a better send off than dissolving off-air.  Looking back at the series of matches between
these two, one forgets how much X-Pac carried them as Brown’s offense aside
from a few signature spots was pretty deficient.  In this match X-Pac bumps all over the place
as his high flying offense fails him.  They
run a false finish off of a ref bump where D-Lo clocks X-Pac with the title and
D-Lo makes the same mistake of jumping into an X-Factor, which is what cost him
the title to X-Pac the first time, to lose. 
Did not care for the finish because Brown should have learned not to do
that again, but the crowd came unglued at the end.  Rating:  ***½
Call 815-734-1161
to purchase your Austin 3:16 baseball jersey for $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!
Cole tells us that
Paul Bearer was allegedly seen going into the Undertaker’s locker room
earlier.  The Headbangers interrupt his
report and hurl some insults at the New Age Outlaws.  Mosh insinuates that the Outlaws are doing
each other and says that they will do the j-o-b on the p-p-v.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Headbangers beat
The New Age Outlaws (Champions) via disqualification when the Road Dogg blasts
Mosh with a boombox at 14:10:
The Headbangers earned this title shot by busting the
Road Dogg open on the previous RAW with a boombox.  It shows how little depth there is in the tag
division that they are even getting a title shot.  What is funny about the boombox spot from RAW
is that Ross keeps having to say that the boombox that broke over the Road Dogg’s
head is not a JVC boombox.  JVC was a
sponsor at the time so I suppose they got upset that fans might think their
product was cheap.  Both Outlaws end up
in peril in this match and the Headbangers do a good job cutting off comebacks.  In fact, the Headbangers do such a good job
with it that the Road Dogg breaks up the Stage Dive by hitting Mosh with a
boombox, thereby causing a disqualification. 
This was a great booking technique to give the Headbangers another title
match down the road and rebuilding them as threats.  Rating:  ***¼
Michael Cole says
he can confirm that Paul Bearer entered Kane’s locker room backstage.  Mankind comes by and via Socko he
communicates that he is fired up.  He
blasts Shamrock’s promo ability, saying it has to be the second leading cause
of teen suicide.  He then does a weird
routine where he interrogates Mr. Socko about what underwear he is wearing.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock
(Champion) defeats Mankind via submission when Mankind applies the Mandible
Claw to himself at 14:36:
The dueling stories of this match are whether Shamrock
can make Mankind submit and whether the Mandible Claw is enough to put Shamrock
down for the count.  Shamrock outmaneuvers
Mankind throughout the bout, but the Mandible Claw is put over as Mankind’s
equalizer.  Mankind takes one too many
risks on the floor near the end and Shamrock powerslams him into the
steps.  This leads to the ankle lock in
the center of the ring, but instead of submitting to the hold, Mankind chooses
to apply the Mandible Claw to himself. 
Nice finish to a true battle of wills. 
Rating:  ***
After the bout,
when Shamrock hears he won by Mandible Claw he beats on the unconscious Mankind
and gives the referee a belly-to-belly suplex. 
WWF officials rush out and Mankind recovers in time to apply the
Mandible Claw to Shamrock and walk out to a decent pop.
The Big Bossman
tells Cole that unauthorized camera crews are not allowed near Vince McMahon.
Mark Henry
(w/D-Lo Brown) pins The Rock after a splash at 5:04:
The Rock is the hottest act in the company at this time,
so you would figure he squashes Henry to move onto bigger and better things
right?  Wrong.  The Rock does dominate a lot of the action,
but in a piece of booking that made no sense at the time Henry gets the win
after D-Lo runs interference.  To the WWF’s
credit, this did factor into the storylines leading up to Survivor Series, but
it was probably the biggest pay-per-view upset of 1998.  Rating:  *
A vignette is
aired for Survivor Series with the Deadly Game song.
A video package
hypes the Undertaker-Kane main event.
WWF Championship
Match with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as Special Guest Referee:  The Undertaker and Kane wrestle to a no
contest at 17:38:
The crowd is way more into Austin than they are either of
the guys wrestling for the title, so it creates a really strange dynamic.  Austin does not take his job seriously, as he
mixes ridiculously slow counts with ridiculously fast counts.  A funny spot takes place when Kane and the
Undertaker fight on the floor and Austin volunteers to give the Undertaker some
microphone chord to choke his brother.  I
wish I could report that this match broke the mold for the Undertaker-Kane
series, but that’s not the case here as the Undertaker works the leg for five
minutes and puts the crowd into a coma. 
Austin even looks bored doing his job. 
After fifteen minutes of dullness cue the overbooking as Kane chokeslams
Austin and Paul Bearer wanders out with a chair.  However, instead of hitting the Undertaker he
turns and hits Kane, which has zero impact. 
The Undertaker’s chair shot to Kane is another matter, but Austin
refuses to count the pinfall.  When the
Undertaker complains, Austin gives him a Stunner and tees off with a chair and
then counts both men out and declares himself the winner.  I bet Vince Russo was screaming to book this
as “Austin is refusing to follow the script!” until he was shot down by
McMahon, Cornette, and a few other members of the booking team.  Austin’s antics are the only reason
this avoids a DUD.  Rating:  ½*
Austin goes
backstage looking for McMahon but is unsuccessful so he goes back into the ring.  Austin gloats that McMahon will not fire him,
but McMahon has the Titantron raised and appears in a box behind it.  As the crowd pelts him with memorabilia and
garbage, McMahon tells Austin that he is fired. 
Austin closes the show by promising McMahon that he has not seen the
last of him.
The Final Report Card:  I remember not enjoying this show in 1998,
but looking back it had some pretty solid in-ring work.  There are a few clunkers, but outside of the
main event the other matches put the crowd in a good mood and displayed
perfectly acceptable wrestling.  While it
is annoying that we did not get a WWF champion after this show, the selling point
was more about whether Austin would do his job or not and if you thought Austin
was really going to crown a winner here you were a moron.  I will go with a thumbs up on this show, but
save yourself the trouble if you ever watch this thing on the Network and turn
it off after Shamrock-Mankind.
Attendance: 
18,153
Buyrate: 
0.89 (+0.29 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

October Classics: The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian – No Mercy ’99

This match was influential in the tag team landscape of the era. This match would lead to the Triangle Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 2000 (or XVI, if you’re anal about such things, as I am), which would lead to TLC I at SummerSlam 2000, which would lead to TLC 2 at X-7, etc. Each time out, the teams would try to outdo the last match. This is the one they all built up from. Two part video alert!

Edge & Christian vs Hardy Boyz part1 (No Mercy… by holywrestling

Edge & Christian vs Hardy Boyz part2 (No Mercy… by holywrestling

Good ol’ fashion Christian revival?

Got an email from BoD Main Eventer, Jobber123, with a small request for some talk about Christian’s possible assent back to the main.


“Hey dude I was wondering if would put up a post on Christian going over
ADR in a non title match on raw (a “week” after adr goes over sheamus).
It seemed like he was coming back to be a jtts, and was an afterthought
as any kind of main guy. But since he’s come back he’s gone over a few
big names (and del Rio is probably in the top 5 of most protected guys).
Is he getting another main event push? I think so. Why not? Fantastic
worker, attitude era tie in, great on the mic. I’m not saying he main
events any ppv but I’m betting he gets a run at a couple whc feuds. Does
the blog think this is a good thing? I know we all love Christian, but
guess whose spot he’s taking? Dolph zigglers. So are we OK with that or
is this hhh putting an old vet name up the card and fucking ziggler?” 

In all honesty, I don’t think there’s any plan for Christian. I think it’s just coincidence that he’s gone over the bigger names. I really don’t have any faith in WWE planning anything coherent like that. Plus, if they’re going to screw with Ziggler & ADR like they have, why on Earth would they make Christian a top contender? I don’t say that because I don’t think he deserves it, or can’t hold the position, I just don’t see the WWE team looking at him like that.