Smackdown – June 24, 2004

Smackdown
Date: June 24, 2004
Location: TD Waterhouse Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the go home show for Great American Bash and while I would normally say that it’s going to be nice to get the show down….it’s the Great American Bash. Featuring murder! Or maybe murder! The big story coming out of last week was the Undertaker attacking a bunch of people, including John Cena. That could be interesting so let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Undertaker attacking Cena and Rob Van Dam last week at Paul Heyman’s orders.

Charlie Haas and Jackie Gayda tell Cena that what he’s going to do is suicide.

There’s a cement truck in the arena again.

Here’s a serious Cena in the arena for a chat. Cena knows what he’s getting into tonight because just saying Undertaker the wrong way can get you in trouble. Last week he got Tombstoned in this ring and now, even though he knows what it means, he needs to call Undertaker out.

Instead he gets Kurt Angle, who says he remembers what Cena was telling him last week. That’s why he has a rap for Cena. He already won a gold medal with a broken freakin neck, so he can handle hip hop. It’s a bunch of rhymes about Cena losing and Orlando sports teams, but ends with Cena thinking he’s slick like grease, but tonight he’s going to rest in peace. The match is officially on, meaning Cena got what he wanted and just had to sit through some dumb jokes. Angle needs to work on his evil plans.

Post break JBL comes in to see Angle and Luther Reigns. JBL calls Angle an inspiration and gets Reigns vs. Eddie Guerrero set up for later as a way to teach Eddie some respect. As usual, never underestimate the value of a muscular lackey.

Battle Royal

Chavo Guerrero Jr., Funaki, Jamie Noble, Akio, Billy Kidman, Spike Dudley, Scotty 2 Hotty, Nunzio, Shannon Moore, Paul London

The winner gets a shot at Rey Mysterio on Sunday so Rey is on commentary. It’s a standard battle royal opening as Rey gives the expected cop out answer by saying he’d love to face anyone. Nunzio backdrops Spike out and gets thrown out a few seconds later. The referee doesn’t see it somehow and Nunzio gets back in to jump London from behind.

London is fine enough to hit a springboard kick to the chest to get rid of Nunzio. A few people get together to throw London over the top and Nunzio (geez he hasn’t had this much screen time in the last month combined) grabs the legs to get rid of him. Akio enziguris Shannon on the apron but can’t get him out, allowing Shannon to grab a headscissors to get Akio out, only to fall out as well.

Scotty loads up the Worm on Chavo but stops to superkick Noble. That’s enough to let Chavo throw Scotty out and get us down to four. Funaki follows him out, leaving us with Kidman, Chavo and Noble. Kidman takes both of them down but has to save himself from an elimination.

A double clothesline gets Kidman out of trouble but Jamie is right back up to tie him into the Tree of Woe. Ever the cheater, Jamie turns on Chavo and sends him to the apron. Chavo hangs in though and comes back in to get rid of Noble. Kidman sends Chavo to the apron and is smart enough to realize he didn’t get the win. Instead Chavo comes back in and Gory Bombs Kidman out for the win and the title shot.

Rating: D+. This was as good as it was going to get with a short enough match and the ending not being as obvious as it seemed. I don’t need to see Rey vs. Chavo, but it’s not like anyone else in the division means anything else at the moment. It was nice to see them all in there though and the match could have been a lot worse.

Paul Heyman is on the phone with the designers of the concrete crypt and explains the idea again for the sake of exposition. The Dudleys come up and don’t look pleased. Apparently they still don’t know what Heyman means by doing the right thing and they don’t trust him. As this is going on, Mordecai knocks Hardcore Holly into a wall and beats him into the arena. They head back into the back where Angle shows up to say break drop it. Heyman and the Dudleys are still there so Angle asks if he and Heyman are set for the main even tonight. That means Undertaker taking Cena out and Heyman says it’s on.

They didn’t exactly sell me on the pay per view there, as we’re likely getting Mordecai vs. Holly to go with the Dudleys in a big handicap match centered around murder. I know I say it every week but the lack of compelling villains on this show are killing things. Heyman is fine, but he needs someone to do his heavy lifting. Undertaker doesn’t feel like that guy, as this isn’t coming off as a long term story. With no good villains, the heroes don’t look important and it’s taking away everything on this show.

Kenzo Suzuki vs. Billy Gunn

Egads I had forgotten about Kenzo. The new development here: his geisha girl is named Hiroko. Gunn is the hometown boy so he’s a little more popular than usual. Suzuki starts with the strikes but gets elbowed in the face and stomped in the corner. Some more kicks take Gunn down and it’s off to a chinlock. Gunn comes back with a shot to the face and a Stinger Splash, causing Tazz to say this is going to be Suzuki’s first loss. The Fameasser connects but Hiroko throws powder in Gunn’s face for the DQ.

Rating: D-. It’s not a good sign when Gunn is the best thing you have going in a match. Suzuki shouldn’t be needing help to avoid getting pinned in his third match, especially against a career midcarder like Gunn. The worst part: this is likely setting up a rematch on Sunday because we don’t have much on the card already.

Sable comes up to Torrie Wilson in the back and accuses her of hogging the spotlight as she tries to host the Great American Bash. A hot tub is mentioned for Sunday, as is an exchange of how their outfits make them look. The catfight is broken up.

We recap Eddie vs. JBL from Judgment Day, setting up Sunday’s rematch. That blade job is still sick.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Luther Reigns

Non-title and Kurt Angle is in Reigns’ corner. They take turns driving each other into the corner until Reigns scares him with a gorilla press. Eddie gets smart by trying a test of strength and poking Reigns in the eye, only to get kneed right back down. Angle offers a trip from the floor though and the fans aren’t pleased with the boss. The bearhug goes on for a bit but gets reversed into a waistlock.

Eddie fights out again and hits two Amigos but the third is reversed into a ref bump. The sitout powerslam plants Eddie so Angle gets up (on the bad leg) to count two so Luther grabs the title. That’s taken away off a low blow and a belt shot drops Luther. Eddie throws the title to Angle and drops as the referee wakes up. A frog splash looks to finish but JBL runs in with the bullrope for the DQ.

Rating: C-. This was completely watchable with Guerrero knowing exactly how to work with a rookie power guy like Reigns. They have to be setting up Guerrero vs. Angle II from here and Angle getting up on the leg certainly seems to point in that direction. Unfortunately it comes after the JBL match on Sunday, which seems to be looking worse and worse all the time.

Post match JBL chokes with the rope but gets caught with a cowbell to the head to send JBL bailing.

Rob Van Dam vs. Rene Dupree

Booker T. comes out for commentary. Cole wastes no time in ripping into Booker for turning on Van Dam a few weeks back and you can feel the heat from Booker’s eyes. As Van Dam kicks Rene to the floor, Booker threatens to beat up Fifi on Sunday. Van Dam’s spinning kick to the back keeps Rene in trouble, which Booker says won’t happen to him because he’s the master of the Spinarooni.

Rene comes back with a neckbreaker for two as Booker goes into a rant about Cena. Some more kicks set up Rolling Thunder for two on Dupree but he takes out Van Dam’s leg. A turnbuckle gets pulled off, followed by Rene grabbing a rollup with tights for two more. With that not working, Dupree sends him into the exposed buckle for the cheap pin.

Rating: D+. Booker was the star here with a bunch of jokes about how these two didn’t worry him and there was nothing standing in his way. If nothing else his rant about Fifi was more entertaining than the entire match. Speaking of the match, there’s nothing wrong with giving Dupree, the weakest of the four competitors for Sunday’s match, some momentum.

Post match Rene stares Booker down, much to Booker’s annoyance.

Great American Bash rundown, now with Torrie vs. Sable announced.

John Cena vs. Undertaker

Non-title and Cena is looking more serious than he has in a long time. Undertaker slugs him down to start but charges into an elbow, meaning it’s time to trade punches. A fired up Cena tells Undertaker that he’s not scared and wants him to bring it. Undertaker does just that with a knockdown but misses the big elbow. He’s fine enough to suplex Cena for two, followed by Old School and the jumping clothesline.

Cena’s comeback consists of a kick to the face that just annoys Undertaker but Cena low bridges him to the floor and we take a break. Back with Cena stomping away on the floor (as it seems nothing has changed) and clotheslining him into the crowd. They come back to ringside with Undertaker shrugging off a whip into the steps and dropping the apron legdrop. That’s good for two back inside and Undertaker (with a bloody arm) isn’t sure what to do.

A forearm to the back of Cena’s neck keeps Cena in trouble and it’s time for the old fashioned punches to the jaw. Things change up a bit with a superplex for two more on Cena and it’s quickly off to a chinlock. Cena fights up and hits a spinebuster, which gets quite the face reaction from the crowd. Some shoulders give Cena his own near fall and a top rope ax handle sets up the Throwback.

The Shuffle gives Cena two more and let’s pump up those shoes. The FU is countered though and Undertaker boots him in the face. Cena slips out of the Last Ride and there’s the ref bump. The running clothesline drops Undertaker and there’s the FU for no count. Undertaker eventually sits up again and there’s the chokeslam. Instead of covering, Undertaker hits Cena with the chain, followed by the Tombstone for the pin.

Rating: B. Why is this not on a DVD somewhere? This was a very different Cena as he was wrestling the serious, main event style that would become his trademark later on. Undertaker winning here was the right call as Cena was hot at this point but not ready to get a win like this one, at least not without a bunch of shenanigans. Very strong match though and that’s a great sign for Cena’s future.

Heyman comes out with the Urn again and Undertaker takes the knee to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. The main event completely bailed this one out as the rest of the show was a mixture of pretty lame and uninteresting. When we’re supposed to get hyped over what is likely going to be Mordecai vs. Hardcore Holly and Kenzo Suzuki vs. Billy Gunn II, you can tell Sunday is in trouble. The show has gotten better over the last few weeks but it’s still hard to care about so many of these stories. Eddie and Cena are carrying the show on their backs right now, but I don’t know how long they can make that work. Anyway, very good main event and nothing everything else.

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