Date: February 6, 2003
Location: First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
No Way Out is creeping closer and it’s pretty clear that Hulk Hogan vs. the Rock is the main event, even if the big match on the horizon is Hogan vs. Vince McMahon. Other than that though we have Team Angle gearing up to face Los Guerreros for the Tag Team Titles, which should be a lot of fun. Let’s get to it.
There’s a crane in the arena and a big gift from Big Show, which has Undertaker’s name on it. Last time I remember seeing one of those things it was Cactus Jack so hopefully it’s more of the same.
Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble
Mysterio looks at the package on the way in. Is your name Undertaker Rey? Then why are you looking at it? Quit being greedy. Jamie does the same but that’s more acceptable since he’s a poor West Virginian and didn’t get many presents growing up. They run the ropes before awkwardly colliding with Jamie getting the better of it. A gutbuster gives Jamie two and we hit an early abdominal stretch.
Rey pops up and hits a spinning springboard crossbody for two of his own. Nidia pulls Rey off the apron but Rey is right back up for the 619 a few seconds later. That’s broken up by Nidia as well but an enziguri sets up the double 619 on both villains. Tazz: “TWELVE THIRTY EIGHT!” The West Coast Pop puts Jamie away.
Rating: D+. Just a match here as Rey gets some momentum back after getting crushed by A-Train. It would seem that they’re saving his Cruiserweight Title win for a major moment, though putting him in that nothing division would seem like a huge downgrade. The title can barely get five minutes a week and we’re supposed to buy Rey, who was going toe to toe with Angle just a few weeks ago, not being able to beat some of the talent down there?
Rock joins us via satellite and rips on Philadelphia and its cheese steaks before saying it’s because he’s lactose intolerant. He’ll take some Tampa Bay Tofu instead (Tampa recently eliminated the Philadelphia Eagles from the NFL Playoffs) but first let’s hear them chanting his names. They boo instead, because Rock is one of the best heels in wrestling when he wants to be.
Rock is cool with being booed because he knows he can electrify like no other. After mentioning Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, Rock says there’s one person Philadelphia never turned on: Hulk Hogan. After talking about a phone number Hogan can call to get a whipping, Rock wraps it up. This is still tweener stuff but when Rock turns on the full on heel push, it’s going to be amazing.
Rikishi vs. Nunzio
Nunzio goes straight after him to start and gets superkicked for his efforts. The running splash in the corner sets up the Rump Shaker for the fast pin. Squash.
Rikishi starts dancing but Nunzio says cut it out because he’s got friends. As I’ve said time after time: stop trying to start angles with people who just got beat in a minute and a half. It makes it really hard to care and I don’t know why wrestling companies think it’s a good idea.
Here’s Heyman to order the gift brought to the ring. Post break Heyman says Big Show isn’t here tonight but he’d like Undertaker to come out here and get his gift. Undertaker comes out and Heyman bails, leaving the gift to be opened to reveal….Brother Love. With the annoying voice sounding exactly the same, Love talks about a message of forgiveness to Big Show. Love brings up their history and says if Undertaker remembers anything from their original time together. Undertaker chokeslams and Tombstones him in short order. Good little cameo here and it didn’t overstay its welcome as so many others do.
Hogan is here and runs into Brock Lesnar, who he’s all cool with all of a sudden.
Matt Hardy vs. Billy Kidman
Non-title though Matt has a TV/DVD player in his car and usually exceeds the speed limit. Kidman goes after Shannon Moore and walks into an early Side Effect. A legdrop gets two but Kidman is back up with a dropkick and a Sky High for two of his own. Kidman heads up top but dives into a Twist of Fate attempt, only to counter it into a rollup for the pin on Hardy. Too short to rate but energetic while it lasted.
Matt promises to drop ten pounds and take Kidman’s most cherished possession. Torrie Wilson?
Kurt Angle tells his team to fly like an eagle. Kurt: “A real eagle. Not the Philadelphia Eagles.” We get the idea already.
Tag Team Titles: Los Guerreros vs. Team Angle
Eddie and Chavo are defending and it’s just Heyman with Team Angle instead of Kurt. Chavo and Benjamin start things off with the former getting in way over his head in a technical sequence. It’s off to Eddie instead and a dropkick knocks Haas down so Chavo can get two.
Benjamin comes back in and eats a clothesline before getting choked in the corner. Charlie gets drawn in so the champs can crotch Benjamin against the post, bugging Shelton’s eyes out of his head. Shelton finally fights out of a chinlock and takes Eddie into the corner, only to have Eddie whipped into Chavo for a double knockdown. Another collision sends Chavo outside in a heap and we take a break.
Back with Chavo in trouble and Haas dropping some rapid fire elbows for two. The jump over Haas onto Chavo’s back gives Shelton two more but Eddie breaks up a second attempt. Everything breaks down and Chavo DDTs both champions, allowing the hot tag to Eddie. Three Amigos get two on Charlie and it’s an old school Powerplex with Shelton making a save. Charlie German suplexes Eddie but gets caught in a sunset bomb for another near fall. Eddie shoves Shelton off the top and hits the frog splash but Benjamin isn’t legal. The confusion lets Charlie roll Eddie up for the pin and the titles.
Rating: B. I rather like the fact that Team Angle won the belts clean. Yeah it was a bit of a confusing ending but it was completely within the rules as Eddie was the one covering the wrong man. Chavo and Eddie’s antics alone will keep them over so Team Angle can get a lot more out of the titles, especially since they’re so new.
Heyman seems more excited than the new champions.
Here’s Hogan to respond to Rock but before his music even quits playing though, Rock comes on screen to interrupt again. Hogan calls Rock out for not being here in Philadelphia but Rock tells him to get to the WELL LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING BROTHER because everything else is just meaningless.
Hogan talks about Rock being lucky that he’s nowhere near Philadelphia but hang on again. It turns out that Rock has to leave because the tofu is ready. Hogan needs to get to the point already but Rock wants Hulk to remind him to give him a beating at No Way Out, if you smell (Rock: “LOOK AT THE TONGUE! LOOK AT THE TONGUE!”) what he’s cooking.
Rock leaves so Hogan goes on a rant about Vince thinking Hulkamania is on life support because he’s scared to face Hulk one on one. He dubs Rock as the Rock-a-Jabroni (egads) and promises that the millions and millions of Hulkamaniacs are going to run wild on Rock at No Way Out. As you might have guessed, Rock was entertaining because he was mixing things up while Hogan was one of the two same promos he’s cut for about five years at this point.
The locker room is watching Hogan talk in the back when Sean O’Haire comes in to talk to Brian Kendrick. O’Haire thinks Kendrick should streak to get attention and Brian thinks it’s a good idea. He puts on a scarf (reference to a commercial at the time) and thankfully we go to a break.
A-Train vs. Shannon Moore
Kendrick runs in naked, dances around, runs away from the referee and sprints through the crowd. A-Train wins in about forty five seconds with the Train Wreck.
Kendrick comes back until referees corner him, only to have Brian dive underneath the ring and escape to the back.
During the break, Kendrick ran into Stephanie’s office so penis jokes can be made. As usual, there was no reason to have Stephanie here other than for the sake of her getting screen time.
Here’s John Cena to call out Lesnar for no logical reason. Cena insults Lesnar’s intelligence and says Brock can have the next big thing if Cena takes his pants off.
Benoit talks about how amazing the ovation he received in Boston was, only to have Angle come in. Angle says the title and gold medal are his wife and children so no one is taking them away.
Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle
Angle’s wife isn’t on the line. Benoit armdrags him into an armbar and gets two off a snap suplex. Angle sends Chris outside and Heyman actually runs him over in a rare sight. Back in and we hit a chinlock with a bodyscissors. A belly to back suplex gets two but Benoit makes a quick comeback with a clothesline and backdrop. The Crossface goes on but Angle reverses into a cradle to escape.
The Angle Slam is countered into a Crossface on the other arm as the crowd is really not reacting to any of this. Angle can’t use an ankle lock to escape but he gets to the ropes for a break. Kurt is back up with a buckle bomb of all things, only to get thrown down with a release German suplex. A bloody Benoit gets two but misses the Swan Dive to get us back to even. Benoit’s headlock is countered into the Angle Slam for the VERY sudden pin. Maybe they went home fast because of the cut?
Rating: B. Well that was quick. The match ran about ten minutes and felt like it needed another five when it just ended. Benoit certainly didn’t have the same fire out there but you’re only going to get so much with a limited time on a run of the mill TV show. Even on a bad night these two are going to be good though, so it’s hard to complain much.
Post match Team Angle comes in, only to have Edge and Lesnar make the save to end the show. Sounds like a six man.
Overall Rating: C+. The two matches involving Kurt/Team Angle were both good but it’s a barren wasteland outside of them. The only things coming into my mind are Kendrick streaking, Matt needing to lose weight and Rock shouting LOOK AT THE TONGUE. As has been mentioned many times, this show (and its counterpart) really need something for the midcard to do and it’s becoming clear that there was no need to get rid of the Intercontinental and US Titles. Just bring them back already and let the show improve because of it. The good matches carry this but good night it would have been bad without them.
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