Smackdown – October 16, 2003

Date: October 16, 2003
Location: US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the go home show for No Mercy and….yeah I’m having some issues getting fired up for this one. The battling McMahons are out of control at this point and hopefully it ends on Sunday. Other than that, maybe we can find out what a Biker Chain match is because no one but Undertaker seemed to know last week. Let’s get to it.

Earlier today, Stephanie gave a sitdown interview talking about how sad she was to not be on the show tonight when it could be her last night. Vince is mean you see.

Opening sequence.

Cole: “Tonight! A powerful, emotional interview with STEPHANIE MCMAHON!” Yes that’s really what they’re leading with tonight.

Here’s Kurt Angle to John Cena’s music and in Cena gear. Angle: “Yo yo yo yo kill the beat.” Kurt, speaking as Cena, rhymes about winning the battle rap and various gay jokes. Naturally Cole and Tazz find this HILARIOUS, though Angle doing Cena’s mannerisms actually is funny. The challenge is issued and Angle explains the joke of the rap, including holding the mic in the air so the crowd could finish the joke.

Angle’s music hits….and here’s a mini Angle. Ah ok so it’s comedy time. Again: Cole and Tazz are in stitches over this. Angle calls the mini version half the man that he is and does you can’t see me. Cole: “I love that.” Mini Kurt takes the mic and calls Cena (as in Kurt) a wiener, sending big Angle out to the floor. Back in and Mini Kurt gets an ankle lock so Big Kurt has to tap. This brings out the real Cena but Mini Kurt hits him low, allowing the real one to hit the Angle Slam. Much longer than it needed to be and the jokes weren’t exactly funny. Kurt was of course, but that’s the case almost every time.

Chris Benoit vs. Doug Basham

No Shaniqua in sight and suddenly I’m taking the Bashams much more seriously. Doug tries to go technical for some reason and has to bail out of a Crossface attempt. A hard whip into the corner has Doug in more trouble and Benoit sends him outside, only to miss a dive. Back in and Doug stays on the neck with some legdrops and a hard drop onto the buckle. A top rope legdrop misses though and it’s time for the comeback. Danny throws a chair in but Benoit dropkicks it into Doug’s face, only to have Twin Magic cause the Swan Dive to miss. Not that it matters as the Crossface is good for the win.

Rating: C. It really is amazing how much better the Bashams are with no Shaniqua out there. It’s a dumb gimmick for a team that isn’t very good in the first place so how good can they be? Benoit beating them both is fine as it’s not like the team has any value at this point anyway. Just keep Shaniqua away and they can get better.

Post match A-Train comes in to take Benoit out until referees break it up.

Another clip of the Stephanie interview shows her crying over Vince attacking her. Good grief after everything he did to her in 1999 this is tame.

It’s time for the full interview with Cole thanking her for taking the time, because Stephanie is so opposed to being on camera. She talks about Vince wanting to take away her opportunity to thank the Smackdown fans and locker room for their support. Who actually supports Stephanie? Cole: “Is the McMahon Family normal?”

As I try to get the image of Cole dressed like Oprah out of my head, Stephanie says this is the only family she’s known. Stephanie: “I love this business. It’s the business that my father, my grandfather and my great grandfather created.” Cole wants to focus on Stephanie for a second. THEN WHAT HAVE WE BEEN DOING FOR THE WHOLE INTERVIEW??? After Stephanie says some would consider Vince to be wrestling, it’s time to talk about how awesome Linda is as a mom.

As for Stephanie, yeah she was spoiled as a child but she wasn’t handed her job. There’s definitely some of Vince in her (not as much as he’d probably like) but she wants to be different than him. Stephanie starts crying because she never thought it would come to this. She goes into the story of being clotheslined and slammed, making it sound like the most devastating thing in the world. If the match happens, Vince won’t walk her down the aisle or get to see his grandchildren. After all of this though, she still loves her dad but doesn’t like him. That’s enough for her as she walks out in tears.

This wasn’t so much terrible as much as it was…..stupid. Ignoring all of the history between the two of them, the fact that Stephanie is freaking out and acting like her world has been shattered because someone DARED to lay a finger on her is laughable. She’s destroyed because Vince McMahon, the guy who allowed Undertaker to kidnap her and attempt to marry her in a black wedding ceremony for the sake of getting the WWF Title off of Steve Austin, slammed her?

This is after she talked about getting whatever she wanted as a child because she’s the son of a billionaire. This is the character we’re supposed to sympathize with and support? All because she doesn’t want to quit the job that she was handed (by her father of course) because she’s a big girl and can handle herself after being on the job for all of sixteen months?

The acting was laughably bad too but above all else, it was how over the top serious Stephanie treated this. I get that it’s a dramatic story but given the history between the two, a slam and a clothesline aren’t exactly worth getting upset about. Just a dumb segment here that you can’t take seriously if you’re above about eight years old.

Back in the arena, Tazz takes his glasses off as he and Cole talk about this in the most serious terms.

Jamie Noble and Nidia are talking Vince and Stephanie with Nidia taking her side. Jamie agrees because this place would be better without Vince. Tajiri overhears and runs off to tell Vince. As a result, Jamie has to face Tajiri tonight. So now, not only is Vince vs. Stephanie dominating the show, but a champion is being put in a match over whose side he’s on in the feud.

Jamie Noble vs. Tajiri

Non-title. Jamie starts in on the arm as Tazz wonders why he’s not going after the leg to weaken the kicks. Well no one ever accused Jamie of being smart. That’s enough analysis so let’s talk about what kind of a mood Stephanie must be in. Tajiri starts in on the leg but gets caught in a swinging neckbreaker to put both guys down. A powerslam gets two on Tajiri with Cole thinking Jamie wants to stick it to Vince. Tajiri’s powerbomb is countered into a hurricanrana over the top so Tajiri goes after the title. Nidia pulls it away, only to have the black mist go into her eyes. She freaks out so badly that the match is thrown out.

Rating: C-. And this is why the cruiserweights mean as little as they do. Tajiri is the Cruiserweight Champion and coming up on a major title defense but instead of talking about that, it’s about whether or not Jamie Noble wants to show up Vince. Not only does that not make sense, but it’s the best they can do with the Cruiserweight Champion. All for the sake of pushing Stephanie vs. Vince. Nice job guys.

Nidia gets her eyes cleaned out so Jamie calls Tajiri back to the ring for a fight. There’s no Tajiri so Jamie goes up the ramp….and gets mauled by Brock Lesnar. That’s your treatment for acting serious for a change. Jamie gets laid out with an F5 on the floor and Brock sneers at him.

If that’s not enough, here are Vince and Sable to congratulate Brock on his handiwork. Vince calls what Stephanie did earlier a performance but it’s true that she hates him. Stephanie stopped loving him a long time ago but Vince understands the meaning of true love. He loves Stephanie so much that he’ll hurt her on Sunday. At No Mercy, he won’t be sparing the rod with his daughter.

As for the fans, they want to be like Vince but aren’t willing to work for it. They would rather win the lottery while Vince reached down and took what was his. Stephanie has the same chance of winning as people here do of winning the lottery. He’s been asked what he’ll do to Stephanie and the thought scared him. May God have mercy on Stephanie’s soul because Vince certainly won’t.

Sable is proud to be in Vince’s corner and proud to stand by him. Linda has forgotten what it takes to satisfy a genuine American icon and OH MY GOODNESS GET ON WITH IT ALREADY! She brags about being able to satisfy every sexual craving Vince has before kissing him to wrap things up.

I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen a story this insufferable. We’re over an hour into this show and well over half of that time has been spent on this one story. I’m sure Vince and Stephanie think this is the greatest thing ever but I don’t think I want to know who else finds this nonsense interesting. Now please, talk about ANYTHING else for the rest of the show.

Video on a European tour.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Rhyno

Non-title, which Cole emphasizes at least twice, along with saying what a big chance it is for Rhyno. A test of strength has Eddie in early trouble and his comeback is cut off by a clothesline. There’s a good looking spinebuster (Rhyno was always good at those) for two and a gorilla press gutbuster for the same as Rhyno stays on the ribs. For some reason Rhyno goes for one of the titles and gets caught with a dropkick for his efforts. The rolling vertical suplexes put Rhyno down but the frog splash hits knees. Tazz: “Rhyno hitting possum! How can a rhino be a possum?”

Back from a break with Eddie caught in a Sharpshooter for a long time until he fights up and grabs the leg for the escape. It’s time for the comeback with Eddie hitting a jumping leg lariat and a slingshot hilo but the bad back slows him down. That’s how you keep a story going through a match and Eddie is as good as anyone at selling the thing.

Rhyno catches him on top and hits a superplex but Eddie is right back up with a super hurricanrana for two of his own. A toss sends Eddie outside though and he unhooks his boot. Instead of an injury though, Eddie steals the ring bell hammer and loads it into his boot. Back in and a quick ref bump allows Eddie to throw Rhyno the hammer. That and a boot shot to the head are enough for the pin.

Rating: B. The rib work was good (setting up the Gore throughout the match) and as usual, Eddie was in a pure showcase here with more brilliance. He’s the best thing in WWE right now and it’s turned into a treat to watch him. This was a lot of fun and just a great example of how to turn something that shouldn’t have mattered into a good match.

Post match here’s Big Show with a pipe to destroy both Eddie and the low rider. Eddie’s back is cut up by the glass and a powerbomb onto the hood makes it a lot worse. Show isn’t done and chokeslams him onto the top of the truck. Good segment, but they lost me with the burritos and sewage.

Rey Mysterio vs. Johnny Stamboli

Just be glad that Rey isn’t a Vince fan to balance things out. Palumbo and Nunzio are sent to the back so Rey can headscissor Stamboli down in peace. A backbreaker cuts Rey off and we’re in a chinlock less than a minute in. Rey gets tied in the Tree of Woe but s still able to pull himself up to avoid a charge into the post. Another backbreaker cuts Rey down as Stamboli is still looking for the offense to go with looking like a shrunken A-Train. Stamboli hits a third backbreaker (come on already) but his gorilla press is countered into a hurricanrana for the pin.

Rating: D. Was Stamboli the last person in catering? They couldn’t trot Shannon Moore out there for this match instead? Rey and the Cruiserweight Title are being sent to the back burner here and it’s getting sad at this point. Mysterio deserves better than this but for some reason Ultimate Dragon is sitting on the sidelines. Such is life in WWE.

Matt Hardy gives Shannon Moore a framed picture when Jon Heidenreich comes in. He asks Matt to give his highlight tape to Stephanie, but Matt says she won’t be GM much longer. Matt promises to take care of it and throws the tape away after Heidenreich leaves.

PPV rundown. It’s not bad until you get to the real main event.

Undertaker is in the back and explains the Biker Chain match: it’s a chain on a pole match, which is the oldest form of combat known to man. He’s more ready to be champion than ever before….and now let’s talk about Stephanie! Undertaker hopes otherwise but thinks it’s going to be a long night for our lovely boss. Cue Lesnar with some chain shots before wrapping it around Undertaker’s neck and dragging him away.

Back with Lesnar dragging him to the ring and Undertaker getting in some right hands. That earns him a whip into the steps and more choking from Brock. Undertaker gets choked over the corner but manages to kick Lesnar in the face. They get in and an F5 is countered with Undertaker choking a swell. Brock hits him low but gets caught in a very high chokeslam. The threat of another chain show sends Lesnar bailing to end the show. The match’s gimmick is a mess but this was at least a nice brawl to set it up.

Overall Rating: D. They did a nice job of setting up No Mercy but there’s no way around all the McMahon stuff. It’s weighing everything down and making the show almost unwatchable. Stephanie is suddenly a horribly abused woman who is just fighting the good fight and standing on her own two feet. It’s not good, it’s not well written, it’s not well acted and it’s not worth watching.

The rest of the show was actually pretty good from a storytelling perspective, though the wrestling was hit and miss. I do kind of want to see the pay per view but I want to get through that Vince vs. Stephanie match as fast as I can. The problem is that story dominates the show and until it’s over, there’s no way to make this show good.

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