The SmarK Rant for WWF Smackdown – 12.02.99
So here we go with the replacement for Heat here on the blog, as we’ll do 1999 RAW during the week and then Smackdown on Sundays.
Now, to do what I do best and make it about me: I have no recollection of what the TV situation for this show was in Canada, but I definitely was recapping it for someone for the first few episodes. Maybe CBS Sportsline? UPN was definitely available in Canada, if you subscribed to the movie channels or had…other means…which we definitely did in the days before digital cable ruined it for hard-working Mexican electronics exporters the world over. So I probably watched it. But I don’t remember.
We recap the wedding debacle to start, and Vince is pacing backstage with a baseball bat. Shane thinks this might be a bad idea, but then he was always the reasonable one. Dave’s summation of the wedding from the Observer that week:
“HHH came out, showed a video of Steph passed out from being spiked by the guy in the hotel, they drove to a quickie wedding chapel in Vegas and somehow HHH married Stephanie. And just before the show went off the air, HHH mentioned that they had consummated the marriage many times that evening”
That’s some epic underselling of an angle that literally altered the course of the business.
Taped from Anaheim, CA
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler.
Stephanie McMahon joins us and the crowd actually BOOS her and calls her a slut. What the FUCK, Anaheim? So she apologizes for getting so drunk at the bachelorette party and hopes that “Andrew” can find it in his heart to forgive her. Vince and Shane come out looking to avenge her, but she makes them promise that they’ll let her handle it herself.
Meanwhile, Viscera is ready to put the moves on Tori, which results in a beating from Kane.
You know it’s the Attitude Era because the “Boot of the Week” is X-Pac kicking Tori in the face. Yup.
Kane v. Viscera
We get the KANEZUIGIRI and he no-sells a belly to belly suplex and slugs away, but Vis backdrops him to the floor. Kane necks him on the top rope and goes up with the flying clothesline, but X-Pac interrupts and Kane is counted out at 2:00. Apparently they’re having their blowoff match at Armageddon in 10 days, a show that I literally remember nothing about outside of the main event angle. DUD
Meanwhile, Al Snow continues to rage against the Rock, even as Mick Foley tries to be the voice of reason and seeks out the Rock himself.
Edge & Christian v. The Dudley Boyz
Kind of weird to see the Dudleyz still in tie-dye mode early in their WWF career. Edge with the hiptoss and dropkick on D-Von and he works the arm, and Christian comes in with a dropkick for two. Bubba comes in and beats on Christian, and hits a whiplash slam out of the corner to set up the move that would become the Wazzup months later. That gets two for D-Von. Christian and D-Von trade rollups and Bubba puts D-Von on top for two. Bubba with a clothesline for two as his smack-talking is hampered by his stutter. The Dudz switch off while Edge is trying to come in, but Christian comes back with an inverted DDT on D-Von and makes the hot tag to Edge. He runs wild with slams and the heels collide, but Bubba catches him with a samoan drop and goes up. Edge brings him down with a top rope rana, but he blows out his own knee on the way down and D-Von gets a bodypress for the pin at 5:57. The Acolytes sort of save Edge from further injury by attacking the Dudleyz in retaliation for the poker game on Monday. You can immediately see them slowly working longer matches back into the mix again here. Six minutes isn’t a marathon, but it was a normal match with a clean finish, so huzzah! **1/2
European title: British Bulldog v. D-Lo Brown
Bulldog as European champion, with the Mean Street Posse as his backup: Two things I have no recollection of. One thing I do remember is his god-awful music and blue jeans covering up his bionic knee braces. D-Lo attacks and immediately goes for the running powerbomb, but Bulldog counters with a rana of sorts and follows with a delayed suplex for two. D-Lo tosses him out and Val Venis attacks for the DQ at 1:45. This all went nowhere and Bulldog looked pathetic trying to move around the ring. ½*
Meanwhile, HHH shows up to greet his blushing bride.
The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac are here with wedding gifts for the happy couple and various threats for all the other teams who were quickly passing them by. Dogg and Gunn were painfully stale and, worst of all, looking old and uncool. So they bring out HHH and give him the gifts, including a family portrait where HHH’s head is pasted onto a McMahon family photo. And TWO toasters! And for the big gift, a front row ticket at Armageddon so Stephanie can watch her father get pummeled by his new son-in-law.
Meanwhile, Mick finally tracks down the Rock, and Rock isn’t sweating threats from Al Snow. Can you blame him? Snow jumps in and attacks and poor Mick has to play peacemaker again.
Mankind joins us and he’s pretty pumped because his book is #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. That book was of course huge not just because it sold so much, but because it finally broke the stigma of “Wrestling fans don’t read” and opened the floodgates of wrestling biographies that continue to this day. But back to business at hand! Mick wants to broker a deal between Rock and Snow, but Chris Jericho interrupts to remind Mick that everyone hates him. Mostly Y2J. Jericho promises to write his own autobiography and the first chapter will be him ending Mick’s career TONIGHT. I don’t recall that being in Jericho’s first book, actually.
Mankind v. Chris Jericho
They trade slaps in the corner and that triggers Mankind into losing the mask and beating him down. Jericho hits the floor and Mick tries to drop the big elbow on him, but Jericho runs away. Back in, Mankind with a bulldog, but he heads to the apron to try a suplex, and Jericho dropkicks him to the floor. Mick grabs a chair and Jericho dropkicks it back in his face. Back in, Jericho goes for the Walls and then decides to kick him in the nuts instead. Mankind snaps off a piledriver to come back, but Jericho hits him with a forearm as Chyna heads down and nails Jericho with the IC belt. Mankind goes to finish, but accidentally runs into Miss Kitty, and Jericho rolls him up for the pin at 4:26. Pretty fun match. **1/2
Meanwhile, Steve Austin gets run over at Survivor Series, and now we know that he’ll need neck surgery to fix the damage from whatever unknown assailant tried to murder him.
Kurt Angle & Steve Blackman v. The Headbangers
When did the fucking Headbangers come back again? Wasn’t Mosh busy being Beaver Cleavage or some shit? So Angle is auditioning other “real athletes” to be his tag team partners in a storyline that ultimately went nowhere, and this is Blackman’s chance to prove himself. The Headbangers quickly double-team Angle in their corner, which has a disgusted Blackman running in to save him. He drops elbows on Mosh and a diving headbutt for two. Mosh comes back with a backdrop suplex and we get tags on both sides as we get weird commentary overdubs from Cole for some reason. It’s a pier-six and Angle finishes Mosh with an Angle Slam at 3:00. They were still trying to figure out what to do with Angle at this point, and luckily they quickly figured out that “PUSH THE EVERLOVING SHIT OUT OF HIM” was the correct answer. Nothing to this one. *
Meanwhile, Stephanie wants to know if Test still loves her, but he’s doesn’t know what to feel anymore!
I’m assuming he doesn’t know because he’s such a terrible actor that he literally doesn’t understand how to express love.
Crash Holly v. Rikishi
Sure, Rikishi was all lovable and fun at this point, but now with hindsight we know what horrible things he did in the name of the Rock just a couple of weeks before. Crash attacks and that goes badly for him, as Rikishi pounds in the corner and hits a cutter and sitout piledriver to finish at 0:51. Rikishi dances with Too Cool at the start of a partnership that had what can only be described as a shockingly long-term shelf life. ½*
The Rock v. Al Snow
After weeks of watching them fiddle with Rock’s music back in 1998, it’s such a relief to get the final form here, once and for all. A year removed from Rock as we knew him in December 98, he’s now a super-confident babyface with the star aura and banter down pat. It’s all there now: “Finally….”, “Millions and millions”, the whole bit. His pre-match promo is the very definition of having the crowd in the palm of his hand. Snow attacks to start in the aisle and Rock clobbers him with a clothesline, but Snow gets something that resembles Shane Douglas’s lame Franchiser jawbreaker. Rock quickly comes back with a neckbreaker and puts Snow on the floor with a clothesline. Rock goes after the ref, and Snow grabs a chair and beats him down as a result. Back in, Snow with a moonsault for two. Rock comes back with his stuff and hits the People’s Elbow and finishes at 3:52. This was fine because Rock is awesome, although I was almost worried he was going to lower himself to putting Snow over. Rock’s shrugged off a lot of jobs in his career, but that one would have likely ruined his Hollywood career and bankrupted the company. The Outlaws charge in and beat Rock down, as Snow joins in with him, but Mankind makes the save. **
The Hardy Boyz & Big Show v. The New Age Outlaws & X-Pac
As soon as that wedding angle hit RAW, Big Show’s days as WWF champion were numbered. Jeff evades Road Dogg and hits him with a baseball slide, but Dogg hits the funky punches and shaky knee back in the ring. The Hardyz and Dudleyz and E&C were out there doing all this state-of-the-art tag team wrestling and here’s Road Dogg still doing all his lame babyface moves as a heel. The tide was coming to sweep them away FAST. X-Pac hits a spinkick on Jeff and the Outlaws double-team him, but he manages to hit a double-DDT on the champs and makes the hot tag to Big Show. Show cleans house on all three D-X members and the Hardyz hit the Whisper in the Wind on both Outlaws, and Jeff hits an awesome swanton off Show’s shoulders on Mr. Ass for two. X-Pac saves, so Matt hits him with a sunset flip off the top for the pin at 4:10. Bossman runs out and nails Show with the nightstick to set up their match at the PPV, but Rock and Sock and Kane all charge in and we get the big brawl to end the show. Fun match and good angle to close things out this week. **3/4
You could see the baby steps in cleansing the Russo out of the shows here, especially with advertiser pressures forcing them to tone down the sex and violence a LOT. Unfortunately that pressure would lead to a particularly petty middle finger from Vince in the form of the Right to Censor, but we’ll get there when we get there.