Smackdown – October 10, 2002

Smackdown
Date: October 10, 2002
Location: America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re ten days away from No Mercy and the big question is Undertaker’s hand, which was broken last week. That’s not good when he’s heading into the Cell with Brock Lesnar. The other major story is the Tag Team Title tournament, which is almost destined to offer a string of great matches. Let’s get to it.

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NXT – December 28, 2016

NXT
Date: December 28, 2016
Location: Edion Arena, Osaka, Japan
Commentators: Corey Graves, Tom Phillips

It’s a special week in NXT as we’re closing out the year with a house show taped over in Japan earlier this month. The main event is Shinsuke Nakamura challenging Samoa Joe for the title in a match we saw a few weeks back. This is also a two hour show, meaning the matches won’t have to be as clipped. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – July 11, 2002

Smackdown
Date: July 11, 2002
Location: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the week after a big show and the top story is the return of the Rock. It’s not clear what he’s going to be doing here but odds are it’s something rather simple that is going to be considered amazing because it’s the Rock. If nothing else he needs to start the build towards Vengeance when he challenges for the World Title. Let’s get to it.

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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 16, 2002

Smackdown
Date: May 16, 2002
Location: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the go home show for Judgment Day and luckily hopefully we should get something competent this week. Smackdown may not be great but they’re put together far better than Raw. At least this show has more than one top level good guy, which the red show certainly can’t say at the moment. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – May 9, 2002

Smackdown
Date: May 9, 2002
Location: Harbor Yard Arena, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

As horrible as Raw has been in recent weeks, Smackdown is really starting to find a groove. They’ve hit that perfect balance of wrestling, storyline and entertainment to make two hours go by very quickly. The shows aren’t great but they’re easy to sit through and you actually get some good wrestling. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – April 18, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 18, 2002
Location: Compaq Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Tazz, Michael Cole

It’s the go home show for Backlash and since this is Smackdown, we have a tag team main event which doesn’t have a lot to do with the pay per view. In this case it’s HHH/Hulk Hogan vs. Chris Jericho/Kurt Angle as Jericho doesn’t actually have a match on Sunday. Then again I’m not sure who he could fight save for Rock, who wasn’t around last week and probably won’t be again this week. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – April 11, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 11, 2002
Location: Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

This has to be better than Raw right? I’m almost convinced that it has to be just based on the law of nearly anything would be better than the mess that I sat through earlier this week. The big story continues to be the build towards Hulk Hogan vs. HHH for reasons of pure nostalgia. 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 – October 20, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
.

Opening
Contest:  Rocky Maivia & Kama Mustafa
(w/Faarooq & D-Lo Brown) defeat Ahmed Johnson & Ken Shamrock (w/The
Legion of Doom) when Maivia pins Shamrock after Faarooq hits Shamrock with Rick
Rude’s briefcase at 6:44:
As the match gets underway, D-Generation X comes out to
sit by the entrance and they showcase signs that read “Spank Me Vince,” “Who
Booked this Crap?,” and “I’d Rather be in Chyna.”  One of them is the non-politically correct
“Uncle Tom 3:16”, which I’m surprised they didn’t catch a great deal of heat
for.  The crowd is hot for this and
Maivia and Shamrock have a good exchange in a small preview of what is to come
in their 1998 feud.  Faarooq spends much
of the match talking with Rick Rude and Kama forgets to nail Shamrock when he
runs the ropes to trigger the initial finishing sequence and all of this
results in a small upset for the Nation. 
Rating:  *¾
After the match, Ahmed goes after the Nation
and gets beaten down and the Legion of Doom just casually walk to aid him
before they are intercepted by WWF officials. Then out of nowhere the Godwinns
jump onto the entrance ramp and attack the LOD with garbage cans.
McMahon says that
tonight a former WCW champion will be with us tonight
.
Michael Cole is in
the locker room and shows us the Nation of Domination’s locker room, which has
been painted with anti-black graffiti.  A
Canadian flag is left behind, along with a “Canada rules,” which is meant to
implicate the Hart Foundation.  THIS did
get the company in hot water with civil rights groups if I remember correctly.
The Nation come
out and get in McMahon’s face about the graffiti in their locker room and
allege that he is a racist and is running a racist company.  Faarooq gives his pro-black message and
demands that WWF Champion Bret Hart come and face him immediately, despite
their match being booked for later in the evening.
Non-Title Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF Champion w/The
Hart Foundation) pins Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) after Steve Austin
gives Faarooq a Stone Cold Stunner at 5:12 shown:
D-Generation X quickly makes their presence felt and
Shawn Michaels accuses him of being a racist on commentary.  Bret goes after Michaels, but he is
restrained by the Nation and that leads to a brawl between the Nation and the
Hart Foundation at ringside.  Bret works
the leg, but when he goes for the ring post figure-four the Nation attacks
him.  In the midst of the chaos, Steve
Austin comes into the ring and attacks Faarooq to a nuclear crowd reaction and
that enables Bret to pick up a cheap win. 
The match was butchered by the commercial and extra curriculars and
Austin’s interference adds an extra ½ to it. 
Rating:  *½
The 1997 edition
of the Milton Bradley Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament is previewed by Kevin
Kelly and Grandmaster Robbie.  Next week
will be the first match of the tournament between Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher.
Jeff Jarrett comes
out, thereby making his return to the company, and says that since we refused
to resign with WCW, Eric Bischoff tried to bury him.  He says that WCW put a lid on his potential
and he criticizes being placed with “an ex-football player’s ex-wife that
defines dumb blonde.”  He runs down his
old WWF country music gimmick and McMahon’s handling of his career.  He then runs down Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels,
and Steve Austin.  This “shoot” promo
might mean more if Jarrett was as valuable to the wrestling business as he
thinks he is.  None of this would amount
to much since Jarrett would soon go back to his old country music gimmick and
would be partnered with Debra when she came to the WWF.  In fact, it actually hurt Jarrett in 1999 since
Austin refused to work a main event program with him because Jarrett called the
3:16 part of Austin’s gimmick “blasphemous.” 
Austin rightly worried that Jarrett’s comments could have led to a
Christian boycott of the WWF and derailed his push.
Marc Mero
(w/Sable) defeats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher with a TKO at 4:11:
This match begins the “Mero is jealous of Sable”
storyline, as Lawler puts a Steve Austin hat on Sable during the match and when
Mero sees it he takes it off of her face and throws it into the crowd.  Aside from that, this match is okay but no
one cares about it.  Mero uses a low blow
to set up the TKO, thereby showing that he is moving away from his babyface
roots.  Rating:  *½
The announcers
hype the house show circuit
.
A video package
hypes the title for title match between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart.  It recounts the enziguri incident with Shawn
Michaels and the SummerSlam piledriver on Steve Austin.
Title for
Title:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (European Champion) wrestles Owen Hart (Intercontinental Champion) to
a disqualification at 6:20 shown:
Owen challenges Michaels to leave his crew backstage and
Michaels agrees.  Michaels gives Owen a
piledriver on the arena floor, which would have meant Owen’s career was over in
Memphis, but he rallies with his belly-to-belly suplex.  I hate when big moves like that are done on
the arena floor since by wrestling standards moves on the arena floor are ten
times as devastating as those done in the ring. 
This is an interesting match from a crowd reaction perspective because
they don’t necessarily care for Michaels, but they don’t like Owen either.  Owen counters Sweet Chin Music with the
enziguri, but Steve Austin comes out from the crowd.  The referee makes the mistake of getting in
his way and eats a Stunner and Michaels KO’s Owen with the Sweet Chin Music,
which leads to Bret running out to tear apart Michaels and this is thrown
out.  Owen-Michaels is always a great
match, but they just didn’t have the time to take this to another level.  Rating:  **½
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear another one of Jim Cornette’s rants!
The Undertaker in
a pre-taped segment says that he has carried the grief of his family for a long
time and argues that Paul Bearer has poisoned Kane’s mind.  He promises to never fight Kane.
The next match is
scheduled to be the British Bulldog against Dude Love, but Kane interrupts
after Love’s entrance.  Love clotheslines
Kane over the top rope and hits him with a chair, but Kane barely sells it and
chokeslams Love twice on the entrance ramp. 
This lays the foundation for a Kane-Foley match at Survivor Series.
“The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn defeat The Headbangers when James pins
Thrasher after Gunn hits Thrasher with a boom box at 4:05:
Road Dogg cuts a promo to introduce himself and “Bad Ass”
Billy Gunn.  Gunn’s attire is something
like Taka Michinoku would wear, but it at least gets him away from the cowboy
gimmick he has been sporting in some fashion since 1993.  If you are looking for some trademark New Age
Outlaws spots you aren’t going to get them in this match since this is one of
the formative outings of the team and they are still working out the
gimmick.  The Headbangers look to have
the match in hand, but Gunn smashes Thrasher over the head with a boom box that
explodes on impact, thereby putting some of those Paul E. Dangerously cell
phone shots to shame, and the soon to be named Outlaws pick up a win over
former tag team champions.  A really
boring match until the finish and you would think from the ring work that the
Outlaws weren’t going anywhere, but James’ mic work put the team on the
map.  Rating:  *
Marc Mero giving
the TKO to a jobber on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Lazer Tag Slam of the
Week.
Bret Hart’s
appearance on Mad TV is shown
.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for the next match
.
Footage of Taka
Michinoku signing a long-term contract with the WWF is shown.  Could they do anything more to telegraph the
fact that this guy was going to be the light heavyweight champion?
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  Taka Michinoku beats Tajiri
with a Michinoku Driver at 2:52:
Tajiri gets the jobber entrance.  Ross finally gives us a date for the
beginning of the light heavyweight championship tournament, which will kick off
on the November 3rd edition of Monday Night Raw.  Tajiri folds Michinoku up like an accordion
on a sit out powerbomb and the two proceed to put most of the light heavyweight
matches done so far to shame.  They work
a fast match, which has the predictable finish, but the WWF just didn’t know
what they had with Tajiri at this stage of his career.
Jim Cornette reads
some fan comments about his rant against Phil Mushnick last week.  He urges fans to make their voice heard and
McMahon tells fans to write to TV Guide and voice their displeasure with Phil
Mushnick
.
Footage of the
Godwinns losing the tag team championships to the Legion of Doom last week is
shown, along with their beating of Uncle Cletus.
The Godwinns are
scheduled to face the Disciples of Apocalypse, but the DOA do a four-on-two
attack on the Godwinns before the Truth Commission comes to the Godwinns aid to
continue their feud.
Mankind cuts a
promo from the arena boiler room, where he says that he is the master of mayhem
and if the Undertaker will not fight against his own brother then he will.
Tune in next week
to see Bret Hart defend the WWF title against Ken Shamrock!  See, they didn’t have to do Montreal unless
they really wanted to.
The Final Report Card:  This episode was a version of crash TV as
tons of different angles fly at the audience from all kinds of different
directions, but it made for a quick and enjoyable show.  The matches were brief and not very exciting
outside of the light heavyweight exhibition and Shawn-Owen, but everyone has
something to do and that keeps you invested in the non-main event matches.
Monday Night Raw Rating:  2.9 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 14, 1997

by Logan Scisco


McMahon discusses
the contrast between last week’s Raw in Canada and how tonight Raw is in San
Antonio, Texas, which is in Steve Austin’s native state.
McMahon and Jim
Ross are in the booth and they are broadcasting from San Antonio, Texas.
McMahon interviews
the Hart Foundation, who are booed out of the building.  Bret says he looks forward to facing the
Undertaker for the WWF title at SummerSlam. 
Owen says he doesn’t mind defending the Intercontinental title against
Steve Austin at SummerSlam, but is more focused on winning the tag team titles
with the British Bulldog tonight.  The
British Bulldog says that if he loses the European title to Ken Shamrock at
SummerSlam that he will eat a can of dog food after the match.  Brian Pillman says if he loses to Goldust
that he will wear a dress and wrestle him the next night on Raw.  Jim Neidhart then says if any of the Harts
lose at SummerSlam that he will shave off his trademark goatee on Raw.  Steve Austin appears on the entrance ramp and
as he stares at the Hart Foundation with an American flag waving on the
Titantron, Ken Shamrock walks out in matching black trunks, the Patriot walks
out to make his debut, Sid appears in street clothes, and Shawn Michaels walks
out.  Any of these men might be Austin’s
tag team partner tonight.

Opening
Contest:  Ivan & Scott Putski defeat
Jerry “the King” Lawler & “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher when Ivan pins
Lawler after a Polish Hammer at 4:55:
Ivan doesn’t look bad here, although he is much less
ripped than he was in his prime.  After
putting Scott in peril, it appears like the heels have it won after Lawler
delivers a piledriver, but Lawler agrees to let Christopher try a Tennessee
Jam, but that misses.  The old Ivan then
cleans house and wins the battle for his team. 
A serviceable tag match that gave the heels their comeuppance and the
crowd loved seeing Ivan tear into Lawler. 
Rating:  **
Footage of Mankind
coming to Steve Austin’s aid, but then getting hit with a Stone Cold Stunner
last week is shown.
Mankind is shown
backstage and he refuses to talk about what happened to him last week.
-Action between
Flash Funk and Owen Hart on Shotgun Saturday Night is our Stridex Triple
Action  segment.
Paul Bearer tells
the Undertaker that his brother has lived in a personal hell for many years and
that Kane eagerly waits to confront the Undertaker.  Bearer promises to give the Undertaker proof
that Kane is alive on next week’s show
.
A small video
showcases Michinoku’s performances against the Great Sasuke and McMahon doesn’t
bother noting that Michinoku lost those matches because he’s fired the Great
Sasuke.
Taka Michinoku
beats Tajiri Yoshihiro with a Michinoku Driver at 4:08:
Yes, this is Tajiri before he became a crazy man in ECW
and the effectiveness of that gimmick would eventually lead him back to the
company when ECW folded.  They do a great
double KO sequence where they both slap each other silly and Tajiri utilizes
the kicks that would later make him famous. 
Michinoku survives a dragon suplex and a dropkick to the back of the
head and the Michinoku Driver finishes Tajiri off.  An entertaining contest that should have
landed Tajiri a permanent spot on the light heavyweight roster and it is very
obvious from these light heavyweight exhibitions that the Asian light
heavyweights are much more entertaining than their American counterparts.  Rating:  ***
Ken Shamrock says
that he’s not Steve Austin’s tag team partner and was merely out there in order
to show him support against the Hart Foundation.  He says he’s ready to knuckle up against Jim
Neidhart later tonight.
Los Boricuas are
shown riding into the arena with a couple of women.
Get the newest WWF
Magazine to find out more about the past, present, and future of Brian Pillman!
The Headbangers
say that they are going to put Los Boricuas up in smoke tonight.
Miguel & Jose
(w/Los Boricuas) defeat The Headbangers when Miguel pins Thrasher with a rollup
at 4:25
The gang wars concept was somewhat pathbreaking in the
fact that I cannot remember a time when the WWF had four stables (The Nation of
Domination, DOA, Los Boricuas, and The Hart Foundation) under one roof.  I often wonder what younger fans that see old
footage think of the Headbangers, since that is a gimmick that you have to have
lived during the 1990s to understand. 
Mosh has a cool move of sending Jose into the turnbuckles with a
hurricanrana, but that’s really the high spot of the match as the Headbangers
lose a close contest when Miguel escapes a Thrasher powerbomb.  Rating:  **
After the match,
Los Boricuas gang up on the Headbangers, but DOA show up and begin to brawl
with Los Boricuas, which changes the numbers equation.
The Patriot says
that he’d be honored to be by Steve Austin tonight, but he’s simply in the WWF
to defend the honor of America.
Steve Austin
encourages us to buy Cause Stone Cold Said So.  Call 815-734-1161 to buy your copy for $19.99
(plus $6 shipping & handling)!
Footage of Shawn
Michaels winning the WWF title at the Royal Rumble earlier in the year is shown
.
McMahon interviews
Shawn Michaels, who says that he will be Steve Austin’s tag team partner if
Austin wants him to be.  Michaels says
that he’s not currently scheduled to be at SummerSlam so he appeals to McMahon
to allow him to be a part of the show and that request is honored
.
Savio Vega grabs a
camera man and tells him to come and see something getting destroyed
backstage.  When the camera man gets
there, one member of Los Boricuas is destroying one of the DOA’s motorcycles
and that triggers a brawl between the two groups.
-Jerry Lawler comes
out to do commentary.
Ken Shamrock
beats Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart via submission to a rear naked choke at 4:40:
Neidhart continues to play his role as the whipping boy
of the Hart Foundation, as Shamrock forces him to submit to a standing rear
naked choke after four minutes of boring action where Neidhart uses a great
deal of chinlocks and right hands.  Rating: 
½*
-After the match,
the British Bulldog runs in and he and Neidhart briefly double team Shamrock
until the Patriot runs in and makes the save.
Call
1-900-747-4WWF to hear about Shawn Michaels future in the WWF and what some WWF
alumni feel about tonight’s SummerSlam Flashback show!
Mankind is still
sitting backstage and refuses to talk about what he might do later tonight
after he got rejected by Steve Austin last week.  The commentators then speculate about who
Austin might choose for his tag team partner tonight against Owen Hart and the
British Bulldog.
The Headbangers
are shown playing golf and they reveal the third clue for the SummerSlam One
Million Dollar Challenge and that is life.
-The next match is
scheduled to be The Legion of Doom against The New Blackjacks, but the Godwinns
attack the Legion of Doom on their way to the ring and Slop Drop Hawk on the
ramp, which busts the back of his head open. 
Hawk no sells it because he’s Hawk.
Shawn Michaels
begging Vince McMahon earlier in the show for a spot in SummerSlam is the
Discovery Zone Rewind segment.
Vader (w/Paul Bearer)
pins Flash Funk after a powerbomb at 4:10:
Funk was settling into a role of making other guys look
good and he’s at the top of the list of guys in the company that need a gimmick
change.  Would it really have hurt them
to make him 2 Cold Scorpio at this time and put him in the light heavyweight
division?  Funk gets in far more offense
than I anticipated by hitting a plancha and tossing Vader into the ring steps.  Funk even hits his moonsault, but he can’t
keep running into Vader, which is like running into a brick wall, and Vader
goes back to his WCW roots to finish him off. 
After the match, Vader hits a Vader Bomb to make a point to
someone.  A really fun abbreviated match.  Rating:  ***
McMahon asks Steve
Austin if he’s concerned about Mankind being in the arena, but Austin says he
doesn’t care at all.
-Get your copy of Cause
Stone Cold Said So
!
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin & His Mystery Partner defeat Owen Hart & The British Bulldog to
win the titles when His Mystery Partner pins Bulldog after Austin gives the
Bulldog a Stone Cold Stunner at 7:36 shown:
As you have read in the last several reviews, Owen and
the Bulldog earned this match for the vacant tag team titles by winning an
eight team tournament.  Austin charges
the ring and opts to fight the match alone, although his partner’s feet are
shown moving through the locker room backstage before the commercial
break.  Austin takes a beating, but
manages to toss Bulldog and Owen out of the ring and that is when Mick Foley
comes on the screen and says Austin may not want to team with Mankind, but he
said nothing about Dude Love and he comes out to one of the most catchy themes
in wrestling to be Austin’s partner. 
Austin’s facial expressions during this are awesome, as he doesn’t quite
know what to make of his new partner. 
Shortly after Dude’s arrival, Austin spots an opportunity when the
referee is preoccupied with Owen Hart and he manages to become a multi-time tag
team champion with a new partner.  The
match wasn’t much, but it was entertaining from a booking perspective.  Rating:  **¼
After the match,
Dude gives Austin a tag team belt and some groupies come into the ring to
celebrate with Dude and Austin decides to give him a tag team belt and shakes
his hand before leaving.  Dude dances
with the groupies as the show goes off the air.
The Final Report Card:  The debut of Dude Love is one of the biggest
“mark out” moments that I had as a fan growing up, so this show gets an easy
thumbs up from me.  Austin’s injury at
SummerSlam made his pairing with Foley short-lived, but it could have provided
some entertaining material as Austin slowly moved up the ladder to win the WWF
title at WrestleMania XIV.  The only
thing terrible about the show was Shamrock-Neidhart, but that was to be
expected.  I don’t think a singles match
Neidhart has been in since he returned has topped * yet.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.6 (vs. 3.5 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up