Smackdown – March 4, 2004

Date: March 4, 2004
Location: Savannah Civic Center, Savannah, Georgia
Attendance: 4,000
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We have two shows left before Wrestlemania and the show is mostly set on the blue side. It includes the best built match on the card with Smackdown World Champion Eddie Guerrero defending against Kurt Angle. Last week Angle turned it into a morality play, which makes for an interesting story between the two. Let’s get to it.

Paul Heyman is in his office and welcomes us to the show, which is a very stressful time for him. He narrates a recap of last week’s show with Eddie trying to get at Angle and getting arrested for his efforts, which Heyman says is a familiar place for him. Tonight, both of them will get to tell their side of the story live, in the ring. By that, he means Eddie is ordered to apologize.

Opening sequence.

Steve Austin’s music hits and here’s Brock Lesnar riding out on Austin’s ATV. Lesnar admits to stealing the ATV (I think he’s made that clear) and says it’ll drive over anything, except a tow truck. Unlike Austin, Lesnar has the courage to come on another man’s show and do something he feels like doing. We get a clip of the F5 to Austin and Lesnar promises that Goldberg is next. Actually someone else is next.

Hardcore Holly vs. Brock Lesnar

Holly charges in and kicks Lesnar to the floor but walks into a big spinebuster back inside. It’s already off to the gutwrench that dominated their Royal Rumble match because it worked so well the first time. As Cole calls their Royal Rumble match a classic (egads man), Holly fights up but gets clotheslined outside. Holly manages to post the shoulder and gets two off a belly to back suplex. Lesnar shakes that off though and hits the F5 for the pin. Too short to rate but much more energetic and better than the “classic” at the Rumble.

Post match Lesnar has some beers to Austin’s music.

Danny Basham vs. Scotty 2 Hotty

Scotty headlocks him down to start and hits a suplex into some dancing. That earns him a posting and a Fujiwara armbar (makes sense) keeps the shoulder in trouble. The hold doesn’t last long (they probably don’t have the time) so Scotty comes up with a superkick but the referee yells at Rikishi. The distraction lets Doug come in instead, setting up a small package for the pin on Scotty. Just a way to set up the title match at Wrestlemania.

Video on Angle vs. Guerrero.

Angle joins us via satellite and talks about all the horrible things you hear athletes doing today. You can’t open the paper without seeing someone with a drug or legal issue. He’s not going to let that happen again with Eddie. Cole talks about Eddie’s public apology tonight but Eddie isn’t buying it. Would Cole be ok with his children acting like Eddie? If his actions are able to change one person’s mind about Eddie, the boos are worth it. He won’t let people like Eddie take over this company.

This was a great lesson in heel psychology. A heel doesn’t have to be right in their actions. All they have to do is justify their actions in their own mind, which is what Angle has done here. Angle has turned heel, but he still thinks he’s doing the right thing and views himself as the hero in the whole thing. That makes for a great heel turn and Angle is selling it very well.

Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Funaki

Non-title. Funaki dropkicks him to the floor to start and adds a baseball slide to break up some consultation with Chavo Sr. Back in and Chavo takes over with a shot to the ribs and an abdominal stretch. With the hold on, Chavo Sr. jumps on commentary to complain about his son having to defend the title nine times at Wrestlemania. Funaki gets two off a bulldog as the fans aren’t exactly thrilled here. A high crossbody drops Chavo but Sr. gets on the apron for a distraction. Chavo rams the back of Funaki’s neck into his knee and steals the pin after kind of a weird finish.

Rating: D. I’m not sure what the point is in having Chavo win the match here and take away whatever momentum Funaki could have as a challenger. I know he doesn’t have much of a chance to win the title but why give him a loss when you don’t have to? This could have been good if they had some more time but at three and a half minutes, it’s the longest match on the show so far.

Heyman tells Dawn Marie that it’s time for Eddie’s apology.

Video on the South Africa tour.

Heyman and Dawn Marie are in the ring but he sends her to the back in case things get ugly. Here’s Eddie (on foot this week) and Heyman lays out the reasons Eddie needs to apologize, including knocking Dawn Marie down last week. Eddie actually apologizes….but he was lying! He even mocks Heyman for falling for something like that and looking like the deer in the headlights. Eddie is proud of being a father, husband and the WWE Champion who represents these fans. He going to walk into Wrestlemania XX as WWE Champion but then he’s walking out just the same.

Heyman is livid and says the only thing he disdains more than Eddie as WWE Champion is Eddie as a person. He wishes his hands weren’t tied by the board of directors or he’d give Eddie a beating himself. Eddie: “You couldn’t beat me if I had both hands tied behind my back.” You can figure out where this, including the ending of the show, is going. Heyman makes a match between the two of them for later tonight with Eddie handcuffed. Eddie’s face is perfect as he couldn’t look more relaxed about the whole thing.

Billy Kidman/Ultimo Dragon/Rey Mysterio vs. Tajiri/Sakoda/Akio

It needs the time, but I can’t believe the Cruiserweight Open is getting two matches of build. Or that Dragon is still employed. Dragon misses an early spinwheel kick but settles for rolling out of a sunset flip and kicking Sakoda in the chest. Tajiri and Kidman come in with more kicks having Kidman in trouble.

Akio slaps on a bearhug as Tazz completely loses himself in a discussion of what would happen if Tajiri and Akio wind up fighting for the title. Even Cole calls him out for making no sense and Tazz actually concedes. You know it’s stupid if even he’ll admit it. Kidman gets in a bulldog and dives over for the hot tag to Mysterio so things can pick up in a hurry. Everything breaks down and Dragon dives onto Sakoda but Tajiri breaks up the 619. Kidman dives onto him instead and Rey’s spinning DDT finishes Akio.

Rating: C-. This needed about three more minutes as it was really turning into the usual awesome cruiserweight spot fest, which is what these six should be doing. Mysterio is the top challenger for the title at Wrestlemania so having Kidman or Dragon getting the pin here would have made sense, but at least we got something with a little more time.

Heyman swears vengeance on Guerrero and Dawn Marie isn’t talking him out of it.

Here’s the World’s Greatest Tag Team dressed up as the APA (with Shelton as Bradshaw and Charlie as Bradshaw for some reason). Southern jokes run amok, including shots at beer drinking, smoking and marrying your sister’s cousin. Bradshaw thinks Haas and Benjamin are a couple of sexual tyrannosauruses but it’s time for a song.

Just when I’m thinking the only thing missing is a West Texas Rednecks song, THEY SING A WEST TEXAS REDNECKS SONG with APA Is Crap. Cue the real APA for the brawl, followed by the Bashams and Scotty 2 Hotty/Rikishi. So yes, sixteen people are going to be in two bad Tag Team Title matches. Is it too early to request a battle royal instead? Throw the cruiserweights in there and you’re already at 26.

Wrestlemania recall: Rock vs. Hogan. Well that works, even if they don’t show the Hulk Up.

Big Show vs. A-Train

First up, Cena makes American Idol jokes and promises to win the US Title. The energetic Cena gets shoved down, bringing a smile to his face. They head outside with A-Train clotheslining the post by mistake to give Cena a target. Back in and some arm cranking doesn’t get Cena far as A-Train uses the good arm to clothesline him down.

It’s time to work on Cena’s bad knee with A-Train in trouble as we take a break. Back with Cena firing off some right hands and forearms until more shots to the knee cut him off. Cena’s big clothesline gets him out of trouble and there’s the Shuffle. The FU gives Cena the easy pin.

Rating: D. I can appreciated A-Train working on the knee and all that good stuff but there wasn’t exactly much to see here. They were going with the idea of Cena fighting a giant to set up his more important match against the other giant so the booking is sound, but there’s not much of a way around such a lame match.

Post match Big Show comes out to brag about how awesome he is and lists off the things he’s done. The girls may love Cena’s abs but Big Show isn’t exactly impressed. At Madison Square Garden, everything ends for Cena.

Wrestlemania rundown. It looks good, but really, really long.

Heyman tells the referee to make Eddie’s handcuffs tight. Oh and Heyman will keep the key so he can beat some sense into Eddie.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2004 is announced:

Jesse Ventura

Harley Race

Billy Graham

Tito Santana

Sgt. Slaughter

Bobby Heenan

Don Muraco

Greg Valentine

Big John Studd

Junkyard Dog

Pete Rose

I’m glad the thing is back, but for the first class in nearly ten years, they don’t really have a major headliner, at least not for their time in WWE. Some big names, but the biggest WWE name is….Heenan? Ventura? Maybe Slaughter? Not exactly the big headliner you would expect.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Paul Heyman

Non-title with Eddie’s hands cuffed behind his back and the announcers acting like this is Austin vs. Hogan. Heyman talks a lot of trash and gets kicked into the corner where he shouts in pain. Another kick is enough for Heyman and he walks out….with Angle replacing him as the match ends.

Angle gives him a death stare that would intimidate Ivan Drago before slowly taping his fists. Not being the brightest guy in the world, Eddie gets into the ring (still cuffed) instead of running through the crowd. Angle slowly gets in and stalks Eddie before taking him down so the proper beating can begin. The taped right hand puts Eddie down and the fans chant for the champ. You can see the fear in Eddie’s eyes as he knows he’s screwed. Angle picks up the belt and knocks Eddie cold to end the show. More great stuff from Angle, who came off like a heartless machine here, which makes me want to see Eddie fight back.

Overall Rating: D+. Eddie and Angle are carrying this show on their backs but the weight is a little too much for them. Looking back over this show, there is next to nothing going on that would make me want to see what’s next for Smackdown. We’re ten days from Wrestlemania and there’s one Smackdown match worth seeing. The problem continues to be cramming so much stuff on there and the bad is outweighing the good. I’ve said something similar to this before and it’s true here: the good is very good but the bad is much more uninspiring and dull, which can be a lot worse than bad.

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