Smackdown – August 8, 2002

Date: August 8, 2002
Location: Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s time for a showdown as we have what would have been a dream match back in the 80s, assuming it could have actually been booked. Tonight we have Brock Lesnar vs. Hulk Hogan in what could either make Lesnar look like a killer or wind up killing what little heat he’s built up over the last few months. Let’s get to it.

We open with a newsreel style video about Hogan’s career, which is somehow contained in about a minute. This switches to a much more modern look at Lesnar’s brief career, which is a pretty nice way to set up the match.

Opening sequence.

Kurt Angle vs. John Cena

Angle takes him down by the arm to start but Cena gets in a shoulder to put him on the floor for a breather. Back in and Angle sends him outside before a ram into the steps allows Cena to slap the steel instead of actually having his head touch it. Cena’s early comeback is cut off in a hurry via a belly to belly and Angle drives him into the corner as this is one sided so far.

A chinlock slows things down again and the rolling German suplexes make things even worse for Cena. The third is blocked though and Cena gets in a DDT for a breather. Another comeback is countered with the ankle lock but Cena rolls through that as well. Angle goes shoulder first into the post and here’s Benoit to Crossface Cena for the DQ.

Rating: C+. Not a great match or anything but Cena has hit the ground on fire and looks like he belongs in the ring with these guys. The key thing here is that Cena has no business hanging with someone like Angle but he does well enough to make it work, especially due to the intensity. He’s doing basic offense well enough and the intensity carries him even further, which is a great sign for him going forward.

Cue Mysterio, Guerrero and Edge for ensuing saves/beatdowns.

Post break Benoit and Guerrero yell a lot because Benoit is the best submission wrestler on the show. Angle shows up to protest but Eddie makes peace and proposes a six man for later. Angle: “That’s fine but I thought you wanted real competition.”

Mark Henry vs. Reverend D-Von

Henry is all evil by jumping the preacher from behind as I try to remember why in the world these two are fighting. D-Von trips him up though and gets in a double stomp, only to have Henry grab the boot to stop a regular stomp. Henry knocks Batista off the apron and hits a side kick (!?!?!) followed by a powerslam (that’s more like it) for the quick pin.

Batista beats Henry down but Rikishi makes the save, setting up a match.

Rikishi vs. Batista

Batista shrugs off some right hands and hits a full nelson slam to start fast. Some forearms to the back have Rikishi in trouble until Batista walks into a DDT. The charge is stopped but D-Von hits his buddy by mistake, setting up a superkick to give Rikishi the pin.

Batista is ticked off at the mistake.

Brock goes into Hogan’s locker room despite Heyman’s protests. After a break they go into the locker room with Brock asking if Hogan wants to do this. Not only does Hulk want to, but if he was Brock, he’d put the title shot on the line. Brock is in. Heyman: “WHAT DID YOU JUST DO???” He goes on about how this guy is different because Hogan has overcome the odds for twenty years. Brock thinks Heyman is losing confidence in him.

Torrie Wilson jumps Nidia. I’m sure the fact that Torrie is in lingerie is just a detail.

Billy and Chuck vs. Hurricane/Shannon Moore

These teams have been having issues on Velocity as of late. Hurricane trips Chuck down to start and a Shining Wizard gets two. Billy comes in from behind and hammers away on Shannon to take over. That doesn’t last long though as the hot tag brings in Hurricane for a failed chokeslam. Instead it’s a double flapjack for two on the superhero and Tazz makes sex jokes because that’s what you do when there’s a gay gimmick in the ring.

A double knockdown allows for the real hot tag to Shannon for the house cleaning as everything breaks down. Rico is sent to the floor (Tazz: “There go the sideburns!”) and Billy shoves him in the way of a Hurricane dive. Back in and Billy and Chuck load up a Doomsday Device (Code Red), only to have Shannon turn it into a victory roll for the pin.

Rating: C. Not bad here and again, it’s a good idea to have a new team win some matches. Well, I mean it would be if there were TITLES for them to win but this leaves you with a tag match for the sake of a tag match. That’s fine for some filler, but if this is supposed to be anything serious they need to make some major adjustments.

Edge, Mysterio and Cena are getting ready with Cena freaking Edge out a bit. Mysterio says he’ll take care of Angle tonight.

Kane is coming back. Shouldn’t that be on Raw? Or is he the subject of another “bidding war”?

Heyman can’t talk Stephanie into changing the stipulation for Lesnar vs. Hogan.

Kurt Angle/Eddie Guerrero/Chris Benoit vs. Edge/John Cena/Rey Mysterio

This has serious potential. Cena has a bad shoulder coming in. Thankfully we take the break BEFORE the opening bell but come back with this joined in progress. Eh I’ll take what I can get. Back with Angle working over Edge in the corner but Benoit walks into a flapjack. Mysterio comes in and hurricanranas Benoit out of the corner, only to be taken down into the corner for the heel beatdown sequence.

Again it doesn’t last long though as Rey headscissors him down and brings Cena back in for a tilt-a-whirl slam. Everything breaks down for a bit and Cena winds up getting beaten down again with Benoit picking him apart as only Benoit can. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Angle hits a rare spinebuster for two.

As is always the case though, the heels make the mistake of going for their finisher, allowing Cena to superplex Eddie down. The hot tag brings in Edge and everything breaks down again with everyone getting to hit a single spot before someone else takes them out. I love that kind of sequence. The Angle Slam drops Cena but Kurt’s trash talk sets up the 619 into the West Coast Pop for the pin.

Rating: C+. This could have easily gone on longer but I don’t think they wanted to have Cena out there that long, which I can understand. The faces looked great here and I don’t think the heels really need to prove themselves that much. You can see the Smackdown Six being formed though and that’s nothing but great for all of us.

Angle is livid about getting pinned by a 12 year old and promises to take care of Rey later. He accurately points out that Mysterio wasn’t legal so the pin shouldn’t have counted.

XXX plug.

Jamie Noble/Nidia vs. Torrie Wilson/Kidman

Genders have to match here. Thankfully the men start after breaking up an attempt at a catfight. Kidman dropkicks Noble into the corner as Tazz reminds us that Noble is the Cruiserweight Champion. Jamie is sent outside but dives back in to save Nidia from the spanking. Torrie comes in for some slapping but Jamie trips her up, allowing Nidia to grab a rollup for the pin. This was nothing.

Stacy and Dawn Marie are catty to each other and sex with Vince is implied. Dawn gives Stacy some papers to give to Stephanie but she hides them under the couch.

After a break, Stephanie comes in to get the papers but Stacy says she sent Dawn after Stephanie. It’s a ruse of course and Bischoff pops up to take the papers while Stephanie laughs. I love that Stacy’s plan doesn’t include waiting until the cameras are gone.

Hogan knows Lesnar is stronger and younger but he has the Hulkamaniacs in his corner and is ready to fight.

Hulk Hogan vs. Brock Lesnar

The winner gets Rock at Summerslam. We get the big staredown to start and Hogan can’t do the shove out of the lockup. On the other hand, Lesnar shoves Hogan so hard that the bandana flies off. Brock’s slam is no sold and he misses a charge into the corner. Hulk drops the elbows for little effect as we hear about Hogan slamming Andre. Lesnar takes a breather on the floor and uses a Heyman distraction to crotch Hogan against the post.

Back in and the beating continues as Heyman keeps shouting HE’S DIFFERENT. For some reason Lesnar heads outside to set up the announcers’ table, earning himself a ram into the post. Cole: “That is why Hogan has been successful for twenty years in this business!” Because his opponents are idiots? A powerbomb gets two for Lesnar but it’s already Hulk Up time.

The big boot is pretty much no sold so Hogan does it again and drops the leg but the kickout puts Hulk on his feet. A third big boot looks to set up a second legdrop but Heyman grabs the boot. There’s the F5 but Brock doesn’t cover. Instead we hit the bearhug with Hogan bleeding from the mouth for the knockout.

Rating: D+. The ending was a really good symbolic way to have Hogan lose as he always survived something like that but the build to it was really lacking. This felt like it didn’t have a middle with Hogan dominating to start, Lesnar getting in a little offense and then the finish. It’s far from terrible and it accomplished the necessary goal but it was hardly anything special.

Post match Lesnar chairs Hogan in the head, putting him out of action until February. Lesnar rubs the blood on his chest as the ROCKY chants go nowhere to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. It’s not a great show but the important thing here is you can see what they’re trying to accomplish. There’s clearly a goal going forward and that’s really all that matters at this point. The youth movement is in full swing and with Hogan presumably out of the way for a long time, there’s a good chance that we could get somewhere in the near future. That being said, there’s a lot of bad stuff going on as well, by which I mean Stephanie vs. Bischoff. They kept it shorter this week but dang it brings the show to a grinding halt when it shows up. There’s good stuff here but it’s not quite good enough.

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