Date: August 5, 2004
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
We’re getting close to Summerslam and the big story around here is over the US Title with Booker T. winning the title in an eight way match last week. John Cena isn’t happy though and is still coming for Booker and the title, which you have to imagine will take place at Summerslam. Oh and Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero still hate each other. Let’s get to it.
New General Manager Theodore Long opens the show with pictures of Vince McMahon and Martin Luther King Jr. in his office. One had a vision and the other had a dream but they’ve both made him want to make Smackdown a great show for the fans. If you thought last week’s show was great, you haven’t seen anything yet. Call your friends and knock on your neighbor’s door because we’re starting with a #1 contenders match.
John Cena vs. Rob Van Dam
The winner gets a shot at Booker at some point in the future. They trade waistlocks to start and that’s a clean break. Van Dam slips out of a headscissors of all things and that’s an early standoff. Another clean break gives us a handshake as the fans switch from Van Dam to Cena. Van Dam gets tossed outside where he kicks Cena in the head to take over. Cena is smart enough to get off the barricade before the spinning kick can connect. Now why has no one else ever thought of that?
They fight over a suplex on the apron with Cena suplexing him out to the floor for a nasty landing as we take a break. Back with Cena getting two off a release fisherman’s suplex but Van Dam kicks him in the head again. Another kick to the face keeps Cena in trouble as Booker is cheering both of them on in the back. The split legged moonsault gives Van Dam two and Rolling Thunder is good for the same.
Since it’s been a few minutes since we’ve seen one, Van Dam kicks him in the face and goes up top for….actually a guillotine legdrop instead of the Five Star. Cena grabs a DDT (Why did he stop using that?) for a delayed two of his own. One heck of an elbow to the jaw rocks Van Dam and the ProtoBomb plants him again.
The Shuffle gets two and Cena goes up, which isn’t likely to be a good idea. Indeed Van Dam kicks him in the head and grabs a superplex but Cena reverses into a small package for the pin (the stupid kind where they’re both laying down and then kick their legs up for no reason other than to get to the finish) and the title shot.
Rating: B-. Cena is looking more and more like the guy who could be the next star every time he’s out there. The comedy is starting to take a backseat to the good, quality matches and while this wasn’t a great one, it was solid with Cena helping Van Dam put on a nice performance. A feud with Booker is only going to help him.
We get a show of respect post match.
Long comes in to see Booker and says he and Cena are so equal that one match isn’t enough. There’s going to be a best of five series for the title with the first match taking place at “Summer Games”.
Here’s Eddie Guerrero for a chat, complete with Torrie Wilson, Sable and Dawn Marie in the low rider. All of Kurt Angle’s stuff that Eddie is auctioning off is in the ring and the auction ends tonight. That’s why the women are here: to help raise the value. This includes putting the cast on Torrie and having her sit in the wheelchair so the women can sign the cast. Then we have the signed photo of Angle but Eddie is staring at Sable instead.
The girls autograph that too before Eddie moves on to talking about Angle’s last match. That just happened to be against Eddie at Wrestlemania where Eddie pinned him in a classic. Eddie promises to win again and we see an Olympic themed commercial of Eddie gluing the other runners to their starting blocks to win a Gold Medal of his own.
Rene Dupree vs. Orlando Jordan
I had almost forgotten Jordan existed. Dupree knocks him outside and into the steps to start before throwing right hands inside. Jordan gets thrown to the apron so Dupree can hit the French Tickler. With the dancing done, Dupree turns around into a high crossbody to give Jordan the upset. Yay.
JBL arrives and asks Josh how he’s doing while using hand sanitizer after shaking hands. He’s not afraid of Undertaker you see and is calling him out tonight.
Kurt Angle vs. Charlie Haas
This is Angle’s first match since Wrestlemania with Luther Reigns and Miss Jackie here as well. Feeling out process to start as they trade takedowns and escapes. Angle hits a hiptoss and Haas is right back with an armdrag into an armbar. Another armdrag sends Angle bailing out to the floor and we take an early break.
Back with Haas grabbing a hammerlock but getting snapmared into a chinlock. With the wrestling not getting us very far, Angle starts hammering away in the corner to really take over. Haas grabs a suplex and hammers away in the corner but walks into the belly to belly. The chinlock with a knee in the back goes on before Angle gets frustrated at the repeated kickouts.
A bodyscissors keeps Haas down but he fights up and sends Angle outside for a breather. Back in and Angle goes shoulder first into the post, setting up a springboard twisting ax handle (the announcers are surprised too) to give Haas two. That’s enough for Angle as he picks the ankle but gets sent into the corner. Angle isn’t having that either and takes down the straps, setting up the grapevined ankle lock for the tap.
Rating: B-. This was a good return for Angle as he wasn’t as sharp as he used to be but started to put it together as the match went on. Haas was a smart choice here as Angle is better at everything that Haas can do but Haas can still make him work. Angle is going to get better and better with some more matches, capped off by the big one at Summerslam.
Tag Team Titles: Basham Brothers vs. Billy Kidman/Paul London
Kidman and London are defending. Danny starts with Kidman but it’s quickly off to London for a double hiptoss. A slingshot legdrop keeps Danny in trouble but Doug pulls Kidman off the apron to take over. Kidman gets dropped ribs first onto the top rope to make things even worse and we hit the bearhug. A kick to the head gives Danny two but Kidman scores with a dropkick and dives over for the tag off to London. Everything breaks down and Kidman uses London’s back as a launchpad for an enziguri. The 450 retains the titles.
Rating: C. Now this is the kind of thing that the champs needed. They had a nice little title defense here against a known team and won clean. Build up the credibility a bit and the reign will feel a little more important. The Bashams are so much better without Shaniqua, as they’ve gone from a joke to an average team, which is quite the upgrade.
John Cena wants you to vote.
Paul Heyman/Heidenreich video.
Rey Mysterio/Spike Dudley vs. Dudley Boyz
A loud Bubba drives Spike into the corner to start and a dropkick to Bubba only hurts Spike’s knee. Rey comes in and Spike walks it off on the floor as you might see something coming here. Mysterio’s springboard moonsault has Bubba in trouble and D-Von charges into a boot in the corner. In a questionable move, Spike tags himself in and missile dropkicks D-Von, only to hurt the knee again.
The distraction lets Bubba gorilla press Rey onto D-Von’s raised knee to bang up the ribs. The bearhug doesn’t last long and Bubba/s big elbow draws a smile. D-Von dives into a raised boot and the springboard seated senton puts Bubba down. Rey has to fight both Dudleys off at the same time with D-Von breaking up the 619. The 3D finishes Mysterio with Spike not being able to get in for the save.
Rating: D+. Just a match here and there’s a good chance that its main purpose was to set up a post match angle. Mysterio losing to both Dudleys in a glorified handicap match is fine and it gets the Dudleys some momentum back, though I’m not sure how interesting a story built around Spike is going to be.
Post match Spike helps Rey up and then turns on him, celebrating with his brothers instead. Spike wants a table and puts Rey through one with a top rope double stomp, setting up villainous posing. Uh, ok. I’m not sure why I’m supposed to care about Spike Dudley as a big villain, but this is somewhat (I think) better than having the Dudleys as the top heels. At least there’s no attempted murder involved.
Here’s JBL in the ring to call out Undertaker. He used to be a Texan but now he’s so glad to have moved to New York City. Now that he’s returned, he was hoping for the hero’s welcome that he deserved but tonight is about business. That’s why he’s calling Undertaker out right here and right now instead of waiting for Summerslam. The gong sounds and, in one of the famous WWE tropes, it’s a mini Taker. Tazz finds it hilarious, calling him the Undertoddler. JBL: “You look a lot bigger on television.”
He gets on his knees to look Undertaker eye to eye and makes a bunch of short jokes before loading the mini Taker up for a Tombstone. The gong goes off again though and the real Undertaker appears. It’s a quick beatdown to set up a Tombstone but Orlando Jordan of all people runs in for the save. Undertaker poses and the mini version does the same, earning a chokeslam to end the show. There were some good lines from JBL but this was eye rolling WWE comedy at its “finest”.
Overall Rating: C+. The wrestling was good here and they advanced some stories, there were a few things on here holding it back. The ending segment, along with Spike’s turn, aren’t exactly thrilling stuff and having Jordan be JBL’s lackey is far from interesting. I mean, there’s a reason that I had forgotten Jordan even existed until tonight. There’s some good stuff on here and enough to make the show easy to watch, which is about as you can ask for at times. Hopefully Summerslam is as good as the better half of the build has been, though it’s still not as strong as Raw at the moment.
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