Smackdown – April 8, 2004

Date: April 8, 2004
Location: SBC Center, San Antonio, Texas
Attendance: 5,000
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

Just realizing that this is going to be heavy on the JBL makes me feel deflated. Eddie Guerrero is trying but they’re fighting over a hat and JBL’s stock portfolio. Who in the world is this supposed to appeal to? Those hardcore capitalist wrestling fans? Or the people who are cowboy hat enthusiasts? It’s certainly not likely to appeal to the more hardcore fans. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of the Great American Award and JBL being added to the mix because reasons. Eddie ruining JBL’s hat is thrown in as a bonus.

Opening sequence.

Here’s JBL to open things up, complete with Cole ripping on the horned limo which sounds like something that’s going to become a trend. JBL talks about being glad he left this state to go to New York City. Tonight he’s going to win the Great American Award and represent the country as only he can. He talks about the hat desecration and even though the money doesn’t bother him, it’s all about the principle.

JBL pulls out his money clip and offers $1000 to anyone who can do something. The fans are excited so we get a quick jab at welfare (“Now you’re cheering me because I’m giving out money.”) as a fan gets chosen. It’s a guy in a Latino Heat shirt coming across the barricade, which JBL equates to him crossing a river. His name is Enrique (“Piece of advice: go by the name Ricky.”) and if he can wax the hood of the limo in less than one minute, he’ll get $1000. With thirteen seconds left, JBL pours most of the bottle of wax out and that’s too much. No money, as people like Enrique can’t depend on the rich for a handout.

Well he’s no Ted DiBiase. I know DiBiase did the same kind of thing back in the day, but it’s not quite the same thing. First of all, a character like that fit in well in the 1980s, especially one as over the top with it like DiBiase. You could buy him as this rich guy who flaunted his money, especially with the over the top laugh. DiBiase was the kind of character that felt like he belonged in a bad movie, which fit in with the late 1980s WWF. JBL actually is a financial analyst and has all this money, which makes it feel too real. When you take away the over the top nature, the entertaining part of the character goes away.

The bigger thing though is the same problem it’s always been: it’s Bradshaw. We’ve seen the guy for over eight years now and he’s never been more than a brawler in a tag team. Who is going to buy him as suddenly being a World Champion caliber wrestler? It’s one of the reasons people compare him to Jinder Mahal: you can’t go from being a low level guy to the top of the promotion overnight. It’s too much of a jump and the fans aren’t going to buy it.

We go over the nominees.

Dudley Boyz vs. Scotty 2 Hotty/Rikishi

Non-title. D-Von and Rikishi open things up and we get a clean break in the corner. Some right hands from D-Von (he’s pretty good at those) don’t have much effect so it’s off to Scotty to pick up the pace. Bubba comes in to elbow him in the back and then hit him between the eyes with a right hand. Scotty gets in a shot of his own though and the hot tag brings in Rikishi. D-Von is sent outside and Rikishi flattens Bubba in the corner. A blind tag brings Scotty back in and Rikishi clotheslines both Dudleys. Everything breaks down and Rikishi gets posted, allowing D-Von to break up the Worm. The 3D finishes Scotty.

Rating: D. The ending picked things up a bit but the Tag Team Champions shouldn’t be losing clean in less than five minutes. They’re not a great team in the first place but protect the titles at least a little bit. Or just give them to the Dudleys already, who may be stale but they’ve got way more credibility than what we’re getting at the moment.

Charlie Haas tells Angle that he can be better than Shelton Benjamin on Raw, but then freaks out at the notion that he might not be able to do it. Big Show, Haas’ partner tonight, comes in and says the award is his.

Rico and Miss Jackie are here next week.

Cruiserweight Title: Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Jamie Noble

Chavo is defending and has his dad with him but Noble counters with….regular tights instead of the cutoff jeans. A flying mare takes Noble down but he’s right back up with a backdrop to the floor. That means a suicide dive to drop the champ, only to have Chavo Sr. offer a distraction so the son can take over again. A Vertebreaker is broken up and Noble grabs a neckbreaker. Noble gets two off a middle rope legdrop but Chavo rolls him up and grabs the rope to retain.

Rating: C-. The time hurt it (again) but this was a good example of two talented guys getting to show off. Chavo grabbing the ropes is a perfectly fine way to get him out of the match and make him look like a heel so what else can you ask them to do? Well giving Chavo some more credible challengers might help. Still though, not a bad match while it lasted.

Theodore Long offers his services to Orlando Jordan and Shannon Moore. Not so much to Spike Dudley, so Spike wants to fight Long tonight. That’s a no, even if Long is taller than him. Long actually agrees to “play whitey’s game” and the match is on.

Rob Van Dam offers to reform the team with Booker T. but Booker isn’t up for it. They treat people different around here and Booker will cheat however he has to. Rob has his back around here if Booker needs it. That’s enough for Booker actually and they’ll go after the Tag Team Titles.

John Cena vs. Danny Basham

Non-title and a jobber entrance for Basham. Before the match, Cena plays to the crowd a bit and they seem VERY happy to see him. Cena is ready to win tonight and had fun messing with Rene Dupree’s dog last week. After making a George Gervin reference (look him up), we’re ready to go. Feeling out process to start until Cena hits him in the face for two. A poke to the eye allows some Twin Magic but Cena shrugs it off. Basham’s sunset flip is blocked and it’s the Throwback, the Shuffle and the FU for the easy pin. Pretty much a squash as Cena has figured out the formula.

Booker T./Rob Van Dam vs. Charlie Haas/Big Show

Rob and Charlie start things off as the mini feud continues. Charlie gets the better of it to start but makes the mistake of going after Booker, allowing Rob to kick him down. A clothesline drops Van Dam and it’s off to Show for the big beating in the corner, including the loud chop. Van Dam gets away from Charlie and goes over for a tag but Booker is on the floor yelling at Big Show. That means it’s a gorilla press to Van Dam and it’s back to Haas, who gets kicked down.

Rob goes for the tag but that’s not cool with Booker, who walks away. Booker says he didn’t want to do this and Haas puts on a bearhug. Some more kicks get Rob out of trouble and a monkey flip sends Charlie down. Van Dam makes the mistake of kicking Show down though, meaning the Five Star to Haas doesn’t even get a count as Show comes in with the chokeslam. Haas gets the easy pin.

Rating: D+. That was all about the angle instead of the match so there was only so much they could do. The Booker heel turn is fine and should set up a match with Van Dam at Judgment Day, which isn’t the most thrilling thing in the world but Booker doesn’t have an expensive hat. I’ll give them points for pushing Haas as a midcard act though, as it’s not the worst idea in the world.

Post break Van Dam glares at Angle and gets Booker next week as a result. So much for the pay per view match (more than likely).

Orlando Jordan vs. Rene Dupree

Dupree gets aggressive to start and pounds Jordan out to the floor. More forearms follow but Jordan gets two off a rollup. A spinebuster sets up the French Tickler (with Tazz singing) and the Michinoku Driver finishes Jordan in very short order.

Theodore Long is warming up and is actually in great shape.

Angle wants Eddie Guerrero in his office immediately.

John Cena has run away with the Great American votes, with over 280,000 out of 420,000 cast. Booker was in second with less than 70,000.

Raw Rebound.

Eddie come in to see Angle and talks about how cool the trophy is. The trophy is taken to the ring and Angle gets serious. Eddie isn’t going to be in front of the people tonight so he has the night off.

Theodore R. Long vs. Spike Dudley

Actually hang on as Long thinks Spike needs a warmup.

Johnny The Bull vs. Spike Dudley

Johnny wastes no time in picking Spike up for one heck of a launch into the air for an even bigger crash. The bearhug goes on but Spike slips out and avoids a charge in the corner. The Dudley Dog finishes Johnny in a hurry.

Post match Teddy gets in the ring but here’s Mark Jindrak to beat Spike down as Teddy’s new client.

Here’s Angle for the Great American Award presentation. The nominees (Cena, Haas, Booker, Big Show and JBL) are all brought out and we take a break. Back with Angle trying to talk over the CENA chants. We see the votes and Angle is ready to announce Cena as the winner but JBL says hang on a second. He’s the most American of all of us and he has proof.

We go to a video of….oh dear….JBL at the Mexican border, where he goes on a whispered rant about how these people come to our country and steal everything we have. People who made their own money like JBL aren’t supposed to pay for all these illegal immigrants. JBL sees someone sneaking across the border (his words) and chases them down, going into a loud rant about how they need to go back to Mexico because he’ll be waiting on this side. I’m not going near that one so let’s go back to the arena as fast as possible.

That’s enough for Angle, who wins the trophy and the title shot. The trophy is unveiled….and it’s been replaced by a picture of Eddie. Cue Eddie, with the trophy attached to the hood of the low rider. Eddie says he found it in the parking lot and brings it inside to JBL. Before he hands it over though, Eddie leans on the eagle’s wing and breaks it off. A trophy shot to the ribs has JBL bailing and Angle follows. Despite Angle’s threats, Eddie smashes the trophy with a chair to end the show.

Overall Rating: D-. The biggest problem here is there’s only one story that really matters. Other than JBL and the World Title, the biggest story here seems to be Booker turning heel. Aside from that, what in the world is there to talk about? The Dudleys wanting the Tag Team Titles? Mark Jindrak joining Theodore Long? I need a lot more support for the rather dull main event stuff and that’s just not happening right now. A good match might help too.

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