Smackdown – July 29, 2004

Smackdown
Date: July 29, 2004
Location: US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

Things are picking up around here and that’s a good thing. Last week Vince McMahon reinstated Kurt Angle as a wrestler after Angle went nuts and fired a bunch of people. That set up Eddie Guerrero vs. Angle at Summerslam, but there’s a lot of stuff to get through tonight first. Tonight we have two title matches with the Cruiserweight and Tag Team Titles on the line. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Vince and Angle with Eddie coming out in the car to celebrate. Not noteworthy on its own, but Vince getting in the car and being scared by the bouncing was funny.

Opening sequence.

Tonight: a new General Manager made.

Cole clears up a point by saying Vince rehired everyone that Angle fired after the show went off the air last week. Simple, to the point, and fixes the whole thing in one sentence during an introduction. Learn from Michael Cole people.

Here’s Booker T., wearing the US Title, for a chat. Angle promised to make him the new US Champion but now Angle is gone, so the new boss needs to officially name him champion. Instead here are Kenzo Suzuki and Hiroko to interrupt. Booker says he doesn’t want to hear from someone in charge of the late night sushi bar at the Tokyo Inn. Kenzo rants a lot and Hiroko translates to “he should be US Champion.” Oh and Booker’s breath smells bad.

This brings out Rob Van Dam but before he can say anything, Luther Reigns cuts them off. Now it’s Rene Dupree as the ring is starting to fill up. Charlie Haas and Billy Gunn are next but John Cena comes out to the big reaction. Cena makes it clear that this is his house and the big fight is on. Before that goes very far though, here’s Vince McMahon to say this isn’t happening. It’s not his place to fix things though because that’s up to the new General Manager. Vince wants the new boss out here right now and it’s…..Theodore Long.

That’s enough for Vince as Long says we have eight men arguing like children over the US Title. Only one of them deserves to be the champion and that is….not revealed yet as Booker cuts him off to accept the title. Long says not so fast because tonight, it’s an eight way elimination match to crown the new champion. Holla.

Cruiserweight Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Spike Dudley

Rey is defending and we’re ready to go after a handshake. Feeling out process to start as they both seem rather tentative. Rey grabs an armbar which seems to annoy Spike and it turns into a brawl, with both guys falling out to the floor. Back in and Rey hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two and it’s off to a double arm pull. Spike fights up and sends him hard into the corner to take over.

A headscissors sends Rey face first into the buckle but he’s fine enough to block a superplex attempt. Rey gets two off a basement dropkick but Spike sends him into the corner again, setting up a bulldog for two of his own. The top rope double stomp hits raised boots so Rey loads up the 619. Cue D-Von to distract the referee though and Bubba to trip Rey, setting up a springboard Dudley Dog to give Spike the pin and the title.

Rating: C. This didn’t have the time to get very far but what we had was good. Bubba and D-Von interfering comes off like a big storyline point and it’s not like Rey losing the title hurts him very much. He’s the most successful cruiserweight of all time and there isn’t much of a need to keep the title on him. Let the title build up someone else, like Spike for example.

Spike isn’t pleased with what his brothers did.

Raw Rebound.

In case you didn’t get it, bonus footage during the break shows that Spike isn’t pleased with what his brothers did.

We recap the Undertaker coming out last week to challenge JBL for Summerslam.

Long promises to make sure the women are utilized on Smackdown going forward. He heads into his office (an empty room aside from the desk) and finds Angle, who insists he isn’t hiding. Angle came here to get his stuff, but it’s already been packed. So wait. Angle was fired last week in Philadelphia but people came to Cincinnati and set up his stuff anyway?

With that leap in logic out of the way, Angle suggests the Long got the job because he’s black. Teddy: “You mean after all these years, it turns out that I’m black???” Long puts Angle in a match against an unspecified opponent for later. Angle isn’t happy so Long fines him for not bringing his gear. The match is moved to next week since Angle isn’t prepared.

Paul Heyman and Heidenreich are coming.

Tag Team Titles: Billy Kidman/Paul London vs. Dudley Boyz

The Dudleys are challenging. London armdrags and dropkicks D-Von for two to start. It’s off to Bubba and you can feel things getting a little more intense. A toss sends London into the corner so Kidman comes in instead. Bubba can’t quite get out of an armbar and some armdrags make things even worse. Everything breaks down for a bit until Bubba pulls Kidman down by the hair to take over. The Dudleys seem rather popular here as London gets sent to the floor, leaving Kidman in that much more trouble.

Back from a break with Kidman sunset flipping D-Von for two but getting caught in the neck crank. A quick knee to the head gets Kidman out of trouble and the hot tag brings London back in. D-Von gets kicked in the jaw for two and there’s a rolling version to Bubba’s head for a bonus. A double superplex brings D-Von back down for two but Bubba pulls Kidman to the floor. One heck of a clothesline gets two on London and Bubba grabs a chair, only to have Mysterio show up for a dropkick to drive it into Bubba’s face. Back inside and London small packages D-Von tor retain.

Rating: C. The ending made sense given the previous match so the storyline certainly fits. London and Kidman retaining the titles was the right call as, just like Mysterio, the Dudleys don’t need the titles and there’s no reason to give them back when you can build up some fresh people. It was good action too and that makes for a rather nice match as some new champions (who weren’t beaten when Rey got involved) get another good win.

Mick Foley and Ivory were at the Democratic National Convention.

Eddie Guerrero has something in the back of his rather great looking low rider. One thing he doesn’t have: a smudge on the car, which he cleans off and grins a lot.

Here’s Eddie for a chat. He enjoyed seeing Angle begging for his life last week but knows that’s nothing compared to what’s going to happen at Summerslam. If Angle wants, they can do this tonight. With no Angle, Eddie says to unload the car….which is all of the stuff from Angle’s office. He stole it if that wasn’t clear. Since Angle isn’t in charge anymore, let’s give this stuff to someone else.

That’s why he’s putting all of this stuff up for auction on WWE.com, with the proceeds going to charity. That includes a fake cast, a framed photo complete with WWE Championship (Eddie recommends putting it in the bathroom), a wheelchair primed for hydraulics and a photo of Angle….which gets a few bonus drawings from Eddie.

Now we get the big item: gold medals for sale. With the bidding up to a full dollar, Angle comes out to interrupt. He has a seat in the low rider but Eddie says there’s an anti-theft device included. Angle turns the key and powder sprays into his face. Eddie: “You think I was lying?” Eddie plays Angle’s music so the fans can get in some YOU SUCK’S.

Next week: Spike and Rey vs. the Dudleys.

On Velocity: JBL in action.

Speaking of JBL, here’s a video on why he’s an amazing American who deserves your support, including videos of him playing baseball as a kid. He was a great football player but wanted one on one competition so he became a wrestler. Oh and he’s a patriot, self made millionaire, and kisser of babies.

US Title: Rob Van Dam vs. Billy Gunn vs. Charlie Haas vs. Luther Reigns vs. Kenzo Suzuki vs. Booker T., vs. John Cena vs. Rene Dupree

The title is vacant coming in and this is under elimination rules. Thankfully there are only two in at a time so tags are required. Charlie and Rob start things off with Van Dam missing a kick and getting armdragged down. Back up and Rene pulls Van Dam by the hair before tagging himself in to pound Haas between the shoulders. Haas armbars him for a bit until a right hand puts him right back in trouble. The fans chant for Cena but the preliminaries aren’t quite over yet. Billy makes a quick blind tag and hits a Fameasser for the pin on Haas.

Back from a break with Dupree flapjacking Gunn for two and hitting some rather lame right hands. The French Tickler is broken up and Gunn hits a big backdrop before hammering away in the corner. Reigns comes in and hits hit swinging neckbreaker to get rid of Dupree and now it’s off to Cena for the big reaction. Cena hammers away in the corner but gets shoved away, setting up a butterfly suplex for two.

The chinlock goes on for a bit until Cena takes him to the floor for a whip into the steps. Hiroko distracts Cena so he kisses her and dances, earning a belt to the back from Suzuki. We’ll ignore the “pinfall and submission are the only ways to be eliminated” line from Cole at the beginning of the match because Suzuki is disqualified.

Back from another break with Booker kicking Cena in the face but getting punched into the corner. That’s enough for the latest tag to Gunn, who gets two off a fisherman’s suplex. The chinlock is countered into a belly to back suplex and Cena scores with a DDT. Billy grabs the One And Only for a very close two but walks into the FU for the elimination. Reigns comes in next and runs Cena over for two more. Stomping and a knee drop look to set up a powerslam but Cena slips out and another FU gets rid of Reigns.

We’re down to Cena, Van Dam and Booker, who comes in with a Book End for two on Cena. A DDT drops Booker but Rob tags himself in for some kicks to the ribs and a northern lights suplex for two more. Cena gets kicked in the face again and there’s the split legged moonsault for another near fall. This time it’s Booker tagging himself in though and, after a Five Star from Van Dam, he steals a pin on Cena. A quick rollup finishes Van Dam to make Booker champion.

Rating: C-. The match was longer than I would have liked, but at the same time I definitely prefer something like this over having Booker beat Cena by shenanigans in a singles match. You can almost guarantee Booker vs. Cena in a big time title match at Summerslam so why burn through it here? Cena lost clean by the rules here but it wasn’t in a singles match, so maybe he can win the title back later on. Today, this would have been Booker cheats to win, then Cena wins a rematch to get another title shot, then they have three matches in a row for the title. At least this keeps things a bit more fresh, which would be very welcome today.

Overall Rating: C. The wrestling wasn’t the best here but the booking and storytelling made sense with a lot of stuff being set up for next week and beyond. Throw in JBL not actually appearing with the over the top vignette airing instead and this was a lot easier to watch. They’ve changed things for the better in recent weeks and I’ll certainly take that over the nightmares they were producing in the early summer.

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