Smackdown – June 12, 2003

Date: June 12, 2003
Location: TD Waterhouse Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s a big night here as Smackdown has one of those pay per view main events on TV when Raw has the brand exclusive show. Tonight it’s Brock Lesnar defending the title against Big Show, plus Vince McMahon vs. Zack Gowan in an arm wrestling match for Gowan’s contract. Ok I didn’t say it was a high quality pay per view match. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Rey Mysterio winning the Cruiserweight Title last week. You really would have thought it would be the Mr. America stuff or Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show but this is a nice surprise.

Opening sequence.

Cruiserweight Title: Matt Hardy vs. Rey Mysterio

Rey is defending and Matt, who is too handsome to wear a mask like Rey, tells the MF’ers to stay in the back. Matt goes right at Rey to start and whips him hard into the corner. An early 619 misses and Matt hammers away some more. A middle rope neckbreaker is broken up so Rey hits a super bulldog to put both guys down instead.

Rey’s springboard seated senton gets two, only to tweak the bad groin on a leapfrog attempt. It’s fine enough for the 619 though and a springboard legdrop gets two. Back up and Matt drops him onto the middle rope, messing up the injury again. Splash Mountain gets two on the champ but he blocks the Twist of Fate. A West Coast Pop from the top without the springboard retains the title in a hurry.

Rating: B-. They kept it moving out there and that’s what this needed to be. Mysterio retaining again, despite being injured, makes it clear that he’s the better man of the two and should wrap things up between them. As a bonus, it’s a great way to open the show as they’re in and out less than ten minutes into the show with the fans having something to cheer about.

It’s time for Piper’s Pit, but an international version. Piper has a table set up with sombreros, booze and various other things, all set up for guests Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri. Eddie is very excited to be on the show and Piper seems equally happy. He talks about Eddie and Tajiri being all about lying, cheating and stealing, which Eddie says is them being honest.

Piper says the truth is Sean O’Haire will be the next World Champion, so Eddie should let him hold one of the Tag Team Titles. Eddie isn’t going to do that, but Tajiri hands his over for a plate of sushi. A fight is about to break out so let’s have some tequila instead. Tajiri spits his in Piper’s face though and they steal the belt back without much effort.

Sable is in Stephanie’s office and using her computer when Stephanie comes in. After claiming to have been looking for Zack Gowan’s contract, Sable mentions that Stephanie is bringing back the US Title (well thank goodness). Stephanie says it’s true and insults Sable a bit, saying that Sable will never be able to con her (Stephanie is too smart you see).

Billy Gunn vs. A-Train

Torrie Wilson is guest ring announcer here for no apparent reason. She introduces the returning Billy and seems to have a thing for him. Billy slugs away with some clotheslines, followed by the Stinger Splash in the corner. A bicycle kick cuts him off but the Derailer is countered, setting up a quick Fameasser to give Billy the pin.

Torrie lets Billy give him a quick spank post match.

Undertaker vs. Johnny Stamboli

Yes this is still going. Stamboli charges in and gets punched down in the corner for his efforts. The FBI distraction doesn’t work as Undertaker punches them away without too much effort, mainly because he’s the Undertaker and they’re the FBI. Stamboli finally gets in a baseball slide for a breather and Palumbo’s superkick takes Undertaker down. A slingshot legdrop and a suplex get two on Undertaker. Since he’s an athletic freak, Stamboli jumps from the mat to the top and spins around with a legdrop that only hits mat. The Last Ride gives Undertaker the pin.

Rating: D. The more I see of Stamboli, the more impressed I am. He was never going to be a big star because the basics weren’t exactly great but some of the athletic feats he pulled off were very impressive. Of course when he’s done those feats he’s lost to Rikishi and Undertaker, at least one of which wasn’t exactly necessary. This feud really needs to end soon though as it’s not doing anything for anyone involved.

The FBI chairs Undertaker down.

Mr. America helps Gowan warm up for the arm wrestling.

Here’s Stephanie to run the arm wrestling match. Naturally she has something to say but Sable comes out to cut her off. Apparently she’s Stephanie’s assistant, even though I thought they said she was Vince’s last week. Eh it’s not interesting either way so here are Gowan and Mr. America. Vince is out next and looks as jacked as he has in years.

We’re not ready to go yet though as America challenges Vince to arm wrestle him instead. Sable whispers into Vince’s ear and the boss agrees, upon two conditions. First of all, Gowan vs. Vince is still on for later. However, if Vince beats America, he leaves for the other arm wrestling. Why do I feel like I need legal representation for this? They go left handed to save Vince’s arm for later and America flips him off at the same time. Sable accuses America of cheating so they let go, causing Stephanie to threaten to disqualify her father.

This time it’s right handed and America is about to win until Sable flashes him to give Vince the win. Vince gloats about the win and compliments Sable’s……eyes as America and Stephanie leave. So Gowan and Vince go now with Vince being in some trouble until he kicks the bad leg out to win. Gowan is stunned and Vince tells him that he needs athletes, not freaks. I’m not going to be able to top that one so thankfully this is over. This was really long and I don’t think it actually changed anything, making it a perfect fit for this story.

Post break America is consoling Gowan when Big Show comes in to gloat a bit.

Chris Benoit/Rhyno vs. Basham Brothers

The Bashams debut Linda Miles as their manager Shaniqua. Tazz recognizes her as Miles (it’s not hard to miss) and wants to know why she has a riding crop. Rhyno runs Danny over to start but a hair pull from the apron lets Danny put on a chinlock. That’s shoved away without much effort and the hot tag brings in Benoit. Suplexes abound and Doug gets caught in the Crossface until Danny makes a save. Rhyno punches Benoit by mistake and a Rough Ryder gives Danny the pin.

Rating: D+. More angle advancement here as we move closer to Benoit and Rhyno finally splitting. The Bashams aren’t much yet and Shaniqua really doesn’t need to be there but that’s never stopped WWE before. The tag division does need some fresh talent and it’s not like they’re as dull as the FBI. At the moment the Bashams don’t have any real characters so they’re already better than the stereotype gimmicks.

Benoit and Rhyno argue in the back.

John Cena vs. Funaki

Before the match, Cena raps about Cole loves boy bands, including O-Town. Cena charges into a boot, blocks the tornado DDT and finishes with the FU (much more like the modern version) in less than a minute.

Here’s Kurt Angle for a chat. After promising to be a champion again soon, Kurt wants to talk to Team Angle. Kurt wants to know where they were last week but Team Angle says they were sick. Benjamin: “Sick of being in your shadow.” Where was Kurt when they needed him to be part of the team? Angle yells at them for not responding to a setback before telling them to think about how to get the Tag Team Titles back.

Haas says hang on a second and points out the loss at Wrestlemania where he broke his neck (not exactly). They fought Lesnar and didn’t break their necks, meaning Angle is a loser! Kurt says the YOU SUCK chants have been earned, which only he can make sound like a positive.

Haas says Kurt can still be on the team, but they’re the leaders now. That’s not cool with Kurt, who throws both of them off the team. Angle even kicks dirt on them like an umpire and they actually leave. Kurt was hilarious here but Haas’ line about not breaking their necks was the best in the whole thing. Good stuff here and funny, as Angle can always do.

During the break, Haas and Benjamin beat Angle down. Cole: “Is that how you handle things? You get fired and you beat up your boss?” Tazz: “Well yeah. I did.”

Smackdown World Title: Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar

Brock is defending and gets clotheslined down early on. Show blocks a belly to belly without too much effort but gets low bridged to the floor in a rather large crash. A whip sends Brock into the steps and a side slam gives Show two. Show’s half crab has Brock in some trouble but he makes the rope, as expected.

Lesnar shrugs it off but can’t hold him up for the F5. The chokeslam is broken up but Show runs him over and drops a leg for two. Now the chokeslam connects for another two and Show is frustrated. He loads up a super chokeslam but Lesnar reverses into a superplex….and they break the ring. They’re both pretty much dead so the match is thrown out.

Rating: D+. I’m rather sick of seeing these two fight but that was quite the visual to help move things along. It’s certainly a great crash and a unique finish but it also likely means a rematch. Lesnar sold a bunch here and Show’s stuff was fine, though once you’ve seen these two fight once, you’ve seen it every time and that’s not good for the champion and almost perennial #1 contender.

Doctors come out (with Cole getting in the of “trainers, referees, EMT’s down”, which was used on the Do Not Try This At Home announcements for years) and check on them both to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. Really weak show for the most part here with only a big visual and a good opener on the positive side. They need something fresh around here and while the US Title coming back will open up some possibilities, Lesnar vs. Big Show and the Mr. America stuff just isn’t going to get them very far. Bad show here, but not a hopeless disaster.

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