Smackdown – November 27, 2003

Date: November 27, 2003
Location: BSU Pavilion, Boise, Idaho
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s Thanksgiving and there are some stories that are starting to pick up steam. Last week saw Chris Benoit continue his feud with Smackdown World Champion Brock Lesnar and John Cena seemed ready to start something with Vince McMahon. They have about two months before they can do anything on pay per view but maybe we can get a big TV match in there somewhere. Let’s get to it.

We open with most of the roster standing on the apron and Paul Heyman in the ring. Tonight the spirit of opportunity is in the air because there will be a twenty man battle royal. The winner will receive a shot at Brock Lesnar, who comes to the ring to join Heyman. Lesnar is thankful to be twenty six years old and on his way to being the greatest WWE Champion of all time.

The YOU TAPPED OUT chants get on his nerves but he swears that he’s not afraid of anyone. He’s not afraid of a Mexican jumping bean, or someone who stands 7ft tall and weighs 500lbs or a guy who has never been champion (Cena) or a guy who will never be champion (Benoit). The chants start again and Lesnar admits that he did, but he’ll never do it again. Whoever wins the battle royal is going to tap out instead. Brock whispers something to Heyman, who decides that Cena and Benoit have to qualify for the battle royal. Cena has to defeat A-Train and Benoit will face a hand picked opponent, with that match starting next.

Chris Benoit vs. Matt Morgan

This couldn’t be announced five minutes in advance? Benoit baseball slides him before the bell but Morgan goes to the basic power by throwing him into various corners. A suplex and legdrop to the stomp give Morgan two but he misses the running crotch attack to the back. The Swan Dive misses but Benoit reverses a powerbomb into the Crossface for the win.

Rating: D. Time takes another one here as there’s not much Benoit can do when all he’s able to hit are chops and the Crossface. Morgan is still very green and needs more time in developmental, but he has the look and some of the movement down. The size, power and visuals will carry him far enough though and that’s a good starting point.

Jamie Noble asks Nidia if she can’t see because she might be trying to get extra attention. Nidia mocks her for the stupid question so he shouts in her ear because he thinks being blind and deaf are the same things. He brings up her being a liability at ringside so she promises to just sit at ringside, which is enough to make him give in. Also of note: Jamie says a win tonight could get him into the battle royal so he could become WWE Champion. If he’s allowed to compete for that title, why does the Cruiserweight Title exist?

We get a weird (and stupid) bit with Cole and Tazz as CGI turkeys. It’s as dumb as it sounds.

The Cat is here tonight.

Jamie Noble vs. Akio

Nidia is on commentary. Akio jumps him from behind to start and stomps away in the corner as Nidia talks about the possibilities of getting her sight back. A suicide dive takes Akio down but Noble chases Tajiri, allowing Akio to spinwheel kick him down. We hit the pinfall reversal sequence as Nidia is getting annoyed at not being able to see any of this.

A double clothesline takes both guys down and cheers for Jamie after hearing what happened. Jamie gets two off a swinging neckbreaker but Tajiri is going over to Nidia. A superplex drops Akio as Tajiri is now standing on the table in front of her. Nidia is told what’s going on and slowly walks her hands up Tajiri’s legs, setting up one of the best looking low blows I’ve seen in a long time. Tajiri’s eyes bug out as Akio rolls up a distracted Jamie for the pin.

Rating: C-. That low blow alone made the match work and Jamie continues to be one of the most consistent performers on the roster at the moment. Even with an annoying gimmick he’s making the thing work and putting on good matches. I’d love to see him actually get the title back but that’s as far as he’s going to go, which is the annoying part of being a cruiserweight.

Heyman comes in to see the injured Shannon Moore and, after a plug for Smackdown Magazine, gives him a match with Nathan Jones.

Rey Mysterio is thankful for the fans dialing up 619 and for being alive. Well those are rather opposite ends of the spectrum.

Shannon Moore vs. Nathan Jones

Shannon tries his luck and dropkicks Jones before he can get inside. Jones lifts him from the floor to the top rope and shoves him back onto the floor in a big crash. Two raised feet in the corner rock Jones but he’s right back with a reverse slam off the top. Back in and a release gutwrench suplexes ends the slaughter. Moore’s selling continues to be good in something like this.

The Thanksgiving party took place earlier today with John Cena coming in to rap the blessing, which involves sex jokes about every woman on the roster.

Eddie Guerrero runs into Chavo, who is on crutches after last week. Chavo is going to be ringside for Eddie’s match but Eddie wants Chavo to worry about the knee. Don’t worry though, because Eddie’s success is more important.

Charlie Haas vs. Eddie Guerrero

Charlie’s right hands have very little effect to start as Eddie snaps off a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. That’s enough of the back so Eddie starts in on the knee with Chavo adding in a few shots of his own. Haas gets in his own backbreaker for his own two as the fans start some solid Eddie chanting. With that not working, Charlie starts in on the arm to really change things up. Annoyed at Haas for not trying the same thing for very long, Eddie sends him head first into the buckle a few times, followed by Three Amigos. Shelton Benjamin gets on the apron so Eddie steals Chavo’s crutch to hit Charlie for the pin.

Rating: C. As has been the case for the last few weeks, this was a short match that could have gone longer but I can get the idea of putting in more stuff and going with the logical, positive development. Eddie using the crutch was pretty heelish but he’s just going to grin his way out of it, as tends to be his case.

Post match Shelton beats on Chavo so Eddie makes the save with the crutch. Chavo rips into Eddie for STEALING AN INJURED MAN’S ONLY CRUTCH. Well yeah that’s pretty low.

John Cena vs. A-Train

A-Train breaks up the rap and stomps away but misses the bicycle kick. Instead he runs Cena over and gets two off a running powerslam. It’s off to an abdominal stretch for a few moments before Cena is tossed outside. As the announcers have a discussion of whether or not turkeys have hair, the referee gets bumped so Cena can kick the rope for a low blow. The referee is back up to see a slow motion ProtoBomb but A-Train is right back with a Derailer for two. That means it’s time to be frustrated so A-Train throws some chairs in, only to walk into the FU for the pin.

Rating: D+. They’re doing well with the progression of Cena’s face turn here as the cheating is getting less frequent. Here, he finished clean with the FU instead of using one of the chairs that A-Train threw in. He’s starting to see the light, but he’s also getting to the point where he can win without the cheating. They’re getting there.

We recap Hardcore Holly attacking Brock Lesnar last week and getting suspended.

Hardcore Holly joins us for a live interview and says he’s appealed his suspension (To whom? Vince? The mythical board of directors?) and is coming for Brock. I would say run but….is that really a threat?

Here’s Lamont to introduce his boss: The Cat, to what would become Brodus Clay’s theme music. For those of you who don’t remember him, that would be Ernest Miller, a decent talker who couldn’t wrestle a good match 80% of the time (he wasn’t the worst but rarely got out of first gear) and danced a lot while talking like James Brown. Cat dances, no one cares, hometown girl Torrie Wilson comes out to join him, a few people care. Torrie pulls out the lollipop and puts it in her mouth before lowering it into his mouth. Cat goes into convulsions as Torrie leaves. This took nearly seven minutes.

John Cena wishes some friends and family a Happy Thanksgiving.

Battle Royal

John Cena, Chris Benoit, Charlie Haas, Shelton Benjamin, A-Train, Bradshaw, Johnny Stamboli, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Ultimo Dragon, Orlando Jordan, Chuck Palumbo, Danny Basham, Doug Basham, Rhyno, Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones, Big Show

I’m pretty sure that’s everyone. Show throws Stamboli out in two seconds and Dragon actually scores with some kicks before Show tosses him as well. Orlando is out in short order as well with the masked Basham (because the Tag Team Champions are still the slaves in an S&M gimmick) being eliminated a few seconds later.

Show actually goes after Morgan for a few seconds but Jones saves Rikishi for some reason. A bunch of people go after Show but he shoves them all away. They try it again and actually try to lift him this time, meaning the elimination works. I’m surprised they got rid of him that fast. Show clotheslines Jordan in the aisle to blow off some steam as we go to a quick break.

Back with Jones and Bradshaw having been eliminated during the commercial. Mysterio and Guerrero go at it and the fans REALLY like that one but no one is tossed. Rey hurricanranas Eddie to the apron as A-Train kicks Scotty out. Rhyno is up with a Gore to A-Train and Eddie dropkicks A-Train out, followed by Morgan eliminating Rhyno as well. There’s a 619 to Shelton as everything slows down. Rikishi is the next person to get the group elimination but takes Haas, Palumbo and Morgan with him.

We’re down to Cena, Benoit, Doug Basham, Mysterio, Guerrero and Benjamin. Cena and Benoit catch Mysterio’s springboard and toss him as well with Basham going out seconds later. The final four go to a corner each and the fans are behind Cena here. Eddie hurricanranas Benoit as Cena and Shelton fight in the corner. They trade off and Cena takes Three Amigos but isn’t ready to be eliminated.

Shelton is back up with a hard powerbomb on Eddie but Benoit grabs the rolling German suplexes on Benjamin to put everyone down. Eddie is up with a frog splash on Benjamin but walks into the FU. Now the rolling German suplexes drops Cena so Shelton pops up with a superkick to Benoit. Shelton throws Benoit over but a little skinning the cat allows Benoit to pull himself up for a headscissors to get rid of Benjamin.

Cena dumps Eddie and we’re down to two. The slugout goes to Cena but Benoit grabs the Crossface to make Cena tap (you don’t see that too often). Instead of dumping him though, Benoit drops Cena ribs first onto the top rope. They fight onto the apron and fall to the floor at the same time for the double elimination.

Rating: C+. This got way better once we got to the final four when there was some drama about the winner. They didn’t waste time getting rid of a bunch of the dead weight here and it was cool to see Shelton getting a bit of a push. Cena is clearly the future around here though and that makes thing more interesting. Good match here and it didn’t feel long at all, which is a rarity in battle royals.

The referees, wrestlers and announcers argue as Lesnar and Heyman come out for the title match. Back from a break with replays showing that they really do land at the same time. The referees still don’t agree and both wrestlers swear they win. Heyman thinks that means a triple threat but that wouldn’t be in the best interest of the title. Therefore, Cena and Benoit can fight next week and the winner will get the title shot later that night. So there’s your non-pay per view big TV show of the month. Team Lesnar runs in to beat down Cena and Benoit with Lesnar wishing them a happy Thanksgiving to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. Lame ending aside with the lack of the advertised title match, it’s cool to have a show that actually has an interesting goal and then focuses on that goal for two hours. Most of the matches have to do with setting up the battle royal and you can feel Cena and Benoit getting bigger and bigger every week. There’s a lot of potential in there and if they do it right, Smackdown could be a heck of a show again in very short order.

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