Smackdown – August 15, 2002

Date: August 15, 2002
Location: Key Arena, Seattle, Washington
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

With ten days to go before Summerslam, the Raw half of the card is mostly filled in. That leaves a lot of Smackdown to go and that could mean some interesting things going on. Now of course the important thing tonight is Brock Lesnar vs. Rikishi because that’s the kind of match that needs to be advertised. Let’s get to it.

Here are Paul Heyman and Lesnar for a chat after destroying Hulk Hogan last week. You can imagine how happy Heyman is to talk about Hogan being destroyed last week and seemingly ending his career (again). Heyman gets to narrate video of last week and it’s as entertaining as you would expect it to be (during the F5: “When it comes crashing down and it hurts inside.”).

Lesnar rips up a Hogan shirt as Heyman talks about how the people’s blood will be on Lesnar’s hands at Summerslam. Brock promises to end Rock’s title reign just like he ended Hogan’s career. Rikishi comes out to interrupt and I continue to fail to see the appeal of this match. The fat man threatens to back it up and then make Brock kiss it before clearing the ring. Lesnar saves Heyman from a Stinkface.

Hurricane/Shannon Moore/Hardcore Holly vs. Billy and Chuck/Rico

Holly and Rico are having issues over Hardcore shaving off part of Rico’s sideburns. Billy and Hardcore start fast with Holly hitting that dropkick. It’s off to Shannon vs. Rico for the spinning kicks to put Moore down. A backslide to Rico sets up Hurricane’s top rope legdrop for a nice spot. Chuck comes in and gets hurricanranaed to set up a Shining Wizard for two as the cruiserweights are moving very well so far.

Those loud and heavy right hands from Chuck stagger Hurricane though as the fans tell Rico that he sucks. A neckbreaker gets Hurricane out of trouble and a double falling tag brings in Shannon and Chuck as things speed up again. Something like a Whisper in the Wind connects as everything breaks down. Billy gets in the One and Only on Shannon to give Chuck the pin after a quick referee distraction.

Rating: C+. I liked this a lot more than I expected as it was quite the snappy little six man tag. Hurricane and Shannon looked good out there and Holly was just kind of there. Billy and Chuck and Rico are fine for a three man team when necessary and it’s nice to see Rico getting in the ring instead of just being on the floor.

The post match beatdown is on until Matt Hardy arrives as the newest name to jump over. No heel beatdown ensues so I guess we’re just forgetting Raw.

Stephanie, who is supposed to be a face here, does the full on heel shouting rant to Dawn Marie over the contracts from last week. Of course Stephanie was able to use her brilliance by signing Matt Hardy and buying commercial time on Raw. Dawn needs to dress more professionally or she’ll be fired. I really have no idea how I’m supposed to think Stephanie is interesting or care about her but that’s the way things work around here whether we like it or not.

Matt talks to the losers of the six man tag and says Smackdown is ready for Matt Hardy Version I. Holly doesn’t look impressed.

Chris Benoit comes in to see Stephanie and we get a great example of Stephanie’s really weird way of speaking as she keeps saying Intercontinental Title and that people will tap. Tonight it’s Benoit vs. Rock as a way to send a message to Van Dam. Again: Stephanie does not act like a face in the slightest but there’s no reason for her to be a heel either. She just changes back and forth, thereby making it really hard to figure out how to react to her. I get the idea of shades of gray but when you’re used to wrestling working one way and one person does it differently, it’s going to be difficult to understand.

Kurt Angle thinks Rey Mysterio is a twelve year old who put on a mask and cheated to beat him. Mysterio comes in (Angle: “Sorry. You must be this tall to talk to Kurt Angle. Try again next year.”) and a match is made for Summerslam. Angle: “You want me at Summerslam? La freaking cucaracha. You’re on man.” Mark Henry comes up and gets a match with Angle tonight. Kurt was HILARIOUS here.

Kurt Angle vs. Mark Henry

Henry shoulders him down and smiles to start so Kurt tries right hands to even less avail. They head outside for a bit with Henry missing a charge and coming up with a bad ankle. It’s a good thing Angle has the luck of Ric Flair when it comes to opponents tweaking a body part during a match. Kurt starts going after the ankle as Cole brags about having multiple Olympians on the roster. The ankle gets attacked even more and Kurt grabs a leglock. The ankle lock is broken up and Henry does a gorilla press drop because his ankle is just fine. A chop block into another ankle lock makes Henry tap.

Rating: D. Egads Henry was worthless around this point. Kurt was trying but when Henry’s selling was this bad there’s only so much he can do. I’m not sure what you can ask for out of this other than Henry not being able to do his normal stuff but that gorilla press was completely normal. He’s been around over six years at this point and there’s no excuse for something like this.

Mysterio makes the save with a hurricanrana and Angle gets busted open somewhere in there.

Eric Bischoff does a Subway commercial from the Raw set to get back at Stephanie for buying commercial time on Monday. You know, which Raw would have profited from. WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THIS STUFF???

Rikishi vs. Brock Lesnar

Rikishi is thrown around to start but he stands still off a shoulder. Brock starts in on the arm before grabbing a bearhug though Tazz thinks Rikishi can hang on, unlike Hogan. For the life of me I do not get this love for Rikishi, who fights out of the bearhug and gets in the Samoan drop. Heyman comes in to save Brock from the Stinkface (which the #1 contender shouldn’t need saving from) and takes one himself. The F5 wraps this up shortly thereafter.

Rating: D-. Sweet goodness enough with the big guys who can’t do much other than big guy offense. Rikishi is suddenly a veteran who we’re supposed to respect despite being the same character who was a glorified comedy guy. He’s still huge and does comedy spots but now we’re supposed to be impressed that Lesnar beat him? It doesn’t work that way.

We run down the Summerslam card.

Funaki interviews Nidia, who invites him to touch her chest. Seriously. An arguing D-Von and Batista come in with the deacon sending D-Von through a door, likely ending the team for good.

Torrie Wilson vs. Nidia

Torrie does her bad looking clotheslines, which are even more impressive since very little Torrie does can be classified as bad looking. Cole actually brags about the crowd being louder than Raw’s crowd as Nidia knees her in the ribs for two. Jamie Noble gets slapped so he grabs Torrie’s ankle, earning himself a cheap shot from Kidman. Torrie gets back in and Jamie adds in a clothesline, giving Nidia the cheap pin.

Kane’s music hits and, just like Monday, nothing happens.

Eddie is on the phone with grandma, who will be sure the whole family is watching tonight. Various cousins are listed off. Eddie isn’t cool with Edge and wants to beat that bad smile off his face.

Chavo Guerrero/Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio/Edge

Edge and Chavo start with the Guerrero taking a flapjack (always love that move) as Cole refers to Eddie as the Raw defector. Chavo takes it to the floor and sends Edge into the barricade so Eddie can start in on the ribs. They botch what looked to be a backdrop and it’s off to Rey as things speed way up.

One heck of a powerbomb crushes Rey and Chavo adds a splash to the back for two. Mysterio gets in a spinwheel kick to Chavo’s face and for some reason the referee stops to check on both guys. It’s not like the shot was that hard. Everything breaks down and Eddie gives Edge a brainbuster, only to have Rey break up the frog splash. The 619 connects but Angle pulls Rey off the apron for the DQ.

Rating: C. This was WAY too short (but at least we had Nidia talking about how hot she was) but it helped set up Mysterio vs. Angle, which is one of the best things that can happen at the moment. You can see the talent starting to build up around the midcard and a lot of that is due to a main eventer like Angle being involved. With the younger guys getting wins over him, they seem like bigger deals as a result.

Video on the Australia tour with 56,734 people at the Melbourne show.

The Rock and Marc Lloyd discuss squealing and bending over. Lloyd actually bends over and Rock freaks out as only he can. Rock: “SWEET CREAM ON AN ICE CREAM SAMMICH GET UP!” Marc leaves and Rock is ready for Benoit tonight and is going to send Brock a message tonight.

The Rock vs. Chris Benoit

Non-title. During Rock’s entrance, a WATCH TRIPLE H VS. ROCK ON RAW banner goes through the crowd. Cole wants to know what it would mean if Benoit can make Rock tap twice in a row. Rock starts in on the arm and clotheslines him down as this is high energy to start.

Benoit takes him into the corner for some chops, only to get caught in the belly to belly for two. The rolling German suplexes get two on Rock and a DDT drops him again. Benoit goes up (which Cole calls rare despite him doing it in almost every match) and hits the Swan Dive for two.

Rock’s Sharpshooter (which Benoit would laugh at) sends Benoit straight to the ropes so it’s the spinebuster instead. Cue Lesnar for the staredown though, allowing Benoit to get in a cheap shot. The fans want Hogan but have to settle for a Crossface from Benoit. That means we tease the tap out finish but this time Rock makes the rope. Back up and a quick Rock Bottom ends Benoit.

Rating: B. Were you expecting anything else here? I really liked that tease of the tap out again as it was set up in their previous match, which made you think it could happen. Benoit losing here is fine as it’s to a bigger name so it’s not like he falls that far. Rock vs. Lesnar has been built up very well as it’s hard to imagine either of them actually losing. Good main event here.

Lesnar and Rock stare each other down to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. Not the best show in the world here but the good stuff was quite good. The problem though is the bad stuff was really bad, making the show really unbalanced. The Stephanie stuff was HORRIBLE though as she just won’t shut up with will of the RAW IS EVIL when absolutely no one cares. It’s one of the least interesting stories I can ever remember and for some reason they’re doing it again in the modern Brand Split. Stephanie must really love that story and if that’s the case, you know it’s what we’re going to get.

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