Smackdown – July 1, 2004

Date: July 1, 2004
Location: Crown Coliseum, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s very fitting that this is the halfway point of the year because it’s all downhill from here. JBL won the Smackdown World Title on Sunday, leaving us with a barren wasteland to look forward to. Other than that, Undertaker murdered Paul Bearer, which I’m sure will result in an explanation rather than, you know, life in prison for killing a man on television. Let’s get to it.

Just like on Monday, we open with the announcement that WWE has won some marketing awards.

A smug Kurt Angle opens the show and brags about costing Eddie Guerrero the title, even though the replay shows that it wasn’t exactly a questionable call. We see a video on the match and my stomach turns a bit at having to relieve the start of such a nightmare. Angle introduces JBL as the new champion and we jump to the arena.

Cole sounds as depressed as I am about the whole thing, though hearing Cole makes things even worse. The limo is covered in American flags and we get the long form entrance. The one compliment I’ll give JBL: I like the way he held the title with the belt clasped. Just looked cool. He even shakes hands and kisses babies on the way to the ring. There are even more flags on the ring, plus a CONGRATULATIONS JBL banner.

JBL declares it the dawning of a new era (wrestling loves eras) and promises to become the most popular WWE Champion of all time. He’ll shake hands, followed by a good washing of course because the champ can’t get sick. JBL: “It’s not personal. It’s just personal hygiene.” He talks about how JFK and Ronald Reagan were both taken away from us so America needs a hero. If you’d like, you can chant JBL. Those chants will inspire him to be a better champion than Eddie Guerrero, and they make him want to defend the title tonight.

After having to be reminded what city they’re in, it turns out that he gets to pick who gets the title shot. It will NOT be Eddie though, because Eddie has fallen off the wagon a bit. Right now, Eddie is probably knee deep in pills or vodka because he’s not here shaking JBL’s hand and calling him the better man. JBL promises to be a fighting champion to wrap things up. This was what you would have expected from a new gloating champion, but that doesn’t make the fact that JBL is champion any better.

Rob Van Dam vs. Booker T. vs. Rene Dupree

The winner gets a US Title shot at some point in the future. Rob strikes away to start and cleans a bit of the house, including backdropping Dupree to the floor. Another kick and the standing moonsault get two on Booker and the top rope kick to the face is good for the same with Dupree making the save. They’re certainly starting fast here. Dupree punches Rob down but gets kicked down just as fast as Booker was.

Rolling Thunder gets two and of course Booker comes in just in time for the save. It’s kind of amazing how triple threat matches wind up having so many coincidences no? They all stay in for a change with Rene dropping an elbow on Van Dam but Booker’s kick misses Van Dam and puts Dupree down by mistake. With Dupree tied in the ropes, Booker tries to bring in a chair but gets caught in a Van Daminator for his efforts. A big dive to the floor drops Dupree again and we take a break.

Back with Dupree dropping a middle rope elbow on Van Dam and getting annoyed when Booker goes for the cover. Fair enough. That’s the extent of the argument as it’s back to double teaming Van Dam in the corner until Dupree throws him outside. Booker takes a low blow and gets choked a bit until Van Dam comes back in, only to be thrown face first into a chair in the corner.

The spinebuster sends Dupree outside and there’s the Spinarooni for good measure. Van Dam kicks him down though and the Five Star crushes Booker, with Rob writhing around in so much pain that Dupree covers him for two. With Booker on the floor, Dupree gets in some snap jabs until Rob kicks him down again. The Five Star hits Dupree this time but Booker pulls Rob out at two and steals the pin.

Rating: B-. This was much better than I was expecting, even though it was the same formula that you’ve seen a dozen times in these things. Booker winning is the best option as a feud with Cena will only do good for both guys. If nothing else, maybe it can make Booker put in some more effort after some uninspired performances. Dupree vs. Van Dam can be fine for a one off match if that’s where they want to go.

JBL’s opponents are assembled in the locker room whenever he can get around to them.

Luther Reigns makes Charles Robinson watch a clip of the end of Torrie Wilson vs. Sable with the horribly botched ending where Torrie’s shoulders were both up. Robinson is sorry, but tonight he has to referee the rematch. Sweet goodness can’t we just have him tarred and feathered instead?

Cena and Booker yell at each other when JBL comes in. A few others are there and one of them will get a title shot tonight. After teasing various people getting the shot, he picks Spike Dudley, who isn’t in the room. Cena laughs at Bubba and D-Von for this, even though it’s not funny.

We look back at Booker winning the title shot. We’ve had a promo, the match and some backstage segments. That really needed to be shown again? Anyway the title match is next week.

Rey Mysterio vs. Mordecai

Non-title, though that might just be understood. Rey kicks at the leg to start but a drop toehold doesn’t work. Instead he goes with the basement dropkick and Mordecai is in more trouble than he’s been in to date. A lifting full nelson puts Rey in some trouble and Mordecai puts the back of Rey’s head against the post for a good pulling.

Mordecai throws Rey over his back for a choke until Rey slips out and starts kicking even more. No wonder he and Van Dam teamed up so often. A crossbody gives Rey two and the springboard DDT plants Mordecai. The 619 looks to set up the West Coast Pop but Mordecai powerbombs him onto the rope (looked like a botch). The crucifix bomb is countered into a hurricanrana to put Mordecai away.

Rating: D. And that’s it for Mordecai, as he’s going back to OVW. He’s a rather infamous failure and one of those guys who came and went while making a bit of a lasting impression. I never realized how short an amount of time he was around as he only had three televised matches. I know the matches he had were bad, but there’s only so much you can do when your two matches are on pay per view against Scotty 2 Hotty and Hardcore Holly, neither of which had any significant story.

Getting into a bar fight a few weeks before this and having someone get injured in the process didn’t help things either, but they didn’t exactly give him much to work with in the ring. It’s a cool gimmick and he looked awesome, though it was pretty clear that there were a lot of things working against him. Granted, the stuff he did in the ring wasn’t exactly great. What kind of a religious extremist uses chinlocks to purge sin?

The announcers talk about Undertaker turning on Paul Bearer and burying him in concrete to end the Great American Bash. Footage is promised, even though it might not be suitable for all audiences. Who exactly is that suitable for?

Before we get the footage though, here’s Paul Heyman to talk about what Undertaker did. It was Heyman who showed Undertaker the way and apparently that was the right thing, rather than what Heyman told him was the right thing (laying down in the match). Now we see the video, which is just a long recap of the match and post match murder. Back in the arena, Heyman talks about Undertaker no longer has a conscious and will be more deadly than ever.

Lighting comes out of the posts though and Undertaker appears on the screen (likely in an undisclosed location to avoids prosecution). Undertaker calls Bearer his one weakness and points out the obvious: now that Bearer is gone, Heyman is a dead man. For some reason this shocks Heyman, who is WAY smarter than this. What exactly was he expecting to happen here? This is the kind of thing that some crazy, stupid manager would do and that’s not Heyman whatsoever. It’s very out of character for him and thankfully that’s the last straw on this stupid story.

Sable vs. Torrie Wilson

So you have two Playboy cover girls here and the focus is on the referee. Torrie doesn’t wait for the bell so Sable runs outside, only to get thrown back in rather quickly. Sable gets catapulted face first into the buckle and Torrie hits some of the lamest stomps I’ve ever seen. A forearm knocks Torrie off the apron though and Sable starts in with the knees and legs. Choking ensues and Sable yells at Robinson for telling her to break. Torrie’s backslide gets two and a DDT finishes Sable. Robinson wasn’t really a factor.

Rating: D-. I’m not sure if I can call anything with Torrie and Sable involved a failure but this was about as close as you can get. They can’t wrestle, they can’t move around the ring well, they can’t show emotion and they can’t….well pretty much anything positive outside of look good. I get the gist here, but this stuff is really hard to watch.

Actually hang on a second as Kurt Angle pops up on screen to say Robinson needs to learn a lesson. Now take off your shirt.

Charles Robinson vs. Luther Reigns

And never mind as Charlie Haas runs in for the save after about ten seconds. Reigns isn’t happy.

Raw Rebound.

Spike is warming up when the Dudleys come in and think something is up. Bubba says they’ve never gotten an opportunity like this (yes he has) and tonight they’ll help Spike win so they can come get a title shot of their own. Spike turns them down and doesn’t seem happy. I don’t like where this is going.

Here are Kenzo Suzuki and Hiroko so the former can rant in Japanese and laugh evily. This brings out John Cena to say that Suzuki is angry every week but no one understands a thing he’s saying. Cena knows some basic Japanese like sushi and sake, sending him into a story about having a little too much one night. After a Godzilla impression, Cena says he’s here for Suzuki because he’s fluent in Japanese. We see the same Suzuki promo with Cena “translating” into a bunch of jokes about bodily functions and Hiroko’s white face paint. That’s about it actually, with no violence or big punch line.

JBL shakes more hands but finds Eddie Guerrero’s car. Nervous laughter abounds.

Smackdown World Title: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Spike Dudley

Spike is challenging and the announcers are smartly bringing up the small Mysterio beating the monster Mordecai earlier in the night. JBL powers him around (well duh) to start as the Eddie chants are trying to get going. The slow beating continues and the pro-Eddie chants have morphed into BRADSHAW SUCKS chants. Spike manages to take him down into the corner for some rapid fire stomps but the champ sends him outside in a heap.

A hard forearm to the back sets up a whip into the steps and it’s off to a torture rack. That’s broken up and Spike hammers away in the corner, only to get slammed right back down. The Clothesline From JBL misses and the Dudley Dog gets two, with the fans gasping at some false hope. A spinebuster sets up a pair of Clotheslines From JBL, followed by a powerbomb to retain.

Rating: D-. Well what else were you expecting from JBL vs. Spike Dudley for about eight minutes? This was mostly a squash with the fans gasping at the idea of the title changing hands. I don’t know if that’s just the shock or wanting anyone but JBL to be champion, but it’s not the best sign if this reign is going to last a long time.

Post match Eddie is here and the beatdown is on but JBL rolls away before the frog splash. As the champ leaves, Eddie says enjoy the title while you can, because the rematch is in two weeks inside a cage.

Overall Rating: D. It could have been worse. JBL has started become a bit more bearable as he’s not talking about the same things over and over again every time. Now that he’s finally champion, we can finally get back to some new challengers and not hearing about how he’s claiming his destiny or whatever it is that he babbled about forever.

Other than that the US Title stuff was fine, but the lower midcard acts were some of the weakest they’ve been in a long time. Between that and Undertaker being like “oh, and now I’m a monster again” and Heyman being stunned, there wasn’t much to get excited about this week.

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