Date: October 14, 2004
Location: Manchester Evening News Arena, Manchester, England
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
It’s the first ever Smackdown in England and we’re coming off a big surprise last week when the debuting Carlito Caribbean Cool won the US Title from John Cena. That wasn’t it though as Cena was attacked in a nightclub after the show, meaning he probably won’t be here tonight. However, we do get Hardcore Holly vs. JBL in a hardcore match for the World Title. That’s WWE’s gift to England: a Hardcore Holly title shot. Let’s get to it.
Teddy Long addresses the roster, including Rey Mysterio in a black suit, about Cena’s condition. Apparently he wanted this to be kept quiet, which makes me wonder why it was mentioned on Raw. Cena was stabbed in the kidney and it’s not clear when he will be back. The show must go on and now we need a #1 contender to the US Title. Therefore, it’s a battle royal later tonight for a shot later tonight. The roster is happy and leaves with Carlito coming in to say what happened to Cena was bound to happen sooner or later.
The color seems a bit more washed out for some reason. Must be a British thing.
Rob Van Dam vs. Rene Dupree
Dupree rants in French, which somehow gets Kenzo Suzuki ejected. I’m not sure I get the connection there. Van Dam starts fast and monkey flips Dupree out to the floor but misses a suicide dive. The chinlock doesn’t last long for Dupree as he switches to the French Tickler, earning himself a SCARY release German suplex with Van Dam dropping him on the back of the head. Thankfully Dupree can still walk and even knocks Rob down before going outside for a chair. Rob kicks him in the face though and hits the Five Star for a fast pin.
The announcers get serious to talk about Heidenreich going into the crowd and attacking fans last week. The only thing we see is a kid crying for an effective visual.
Theodore Long yells at Paul Heyman for Heidenreich’s actions and rants about being responsible for the fans’ safety. They’re just lucky that they didn’t get sued. Tonight, Heyman and Heidenreich are going to apologize and they better be sincere. If Undertaker comes out there, they can deal with it.
Charlie Haas vs. Billy Kidman
Haas has a bad knee and no Jackie due to a neck injury, both suffered at Kidman’s hands. Charlie chokes away in the corner to start so Kidman gets smart and kicks at the knee like any intelligent villain. The knee gets wrapped around the post so here’s Dawn Marie to check on Charlie. Kidman doesn’t mind and hits the shooting star onto the knee for the pin. Using that as a weapon is an interesting way to go and Kidman has gotten a lot better in short order.
Post match Charlie gets put on a stretcher as Dawn screams a lot.
Luther Reigns rubs oil on himself and hits on the Page 3 girls. If they’re lucky, they’ll see him in action after the show too. They’re already seeing someone tonight though and of course that’s Eddie Guerrero. Reigns calls that a mistake and isn’t happy. Oh and he lied: they’re not that hot.
JBL is annoyed at what Undertaker did to him at No Mercy and now he has to face Hardcore Holly tonight. He’s a technical wrestler like Mil Mascaras or Bret Hart instead of a brawler. Now he has to come over here and defend the title in front of these barbaric fans. No one cares about England anyway but if the country was getting an enema, he would start it right here in Manchester. I’m sure Bret loved the comparison and stolen line in the same promo.
We look back at Cena losing the US Title last week.
Kurt Angle, Luther Reigns, Mark Jindrak, Nunzio, Johnny Stamboli, Orlando Jordan, Billy Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Spike Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Rico, Scotty 2 Hotty, Rob Van Dam, Eddie Guerrero, Rene Dupree, Kenzo Suzuki, Funaki
The winner gets a US Title shot later tonight and I think I’ve got everyone. The fans are behind Eddie as everyone starts punching to start. Eddie backdrops Jordan out for the first elimination and Funaki follows him out thanks to Angle. Dupree and Suzuki throw Nunzio out but Dupree dumps Suzuki immediately thereafter. Stamboli and Spike go out next as the ring is cleared out a bit.
The remaining Dudleys get rid of Van Dam (pretty early elimination for him) as the fans are still behind Eddie. Rey gets rid of Bubba and D-Von at the same time and Rob runs back in to dive onto Bubba as we take a break. Back with no more eliminations and Eddie raking Reigns’ eyes to get out of a gorilla press attempt. Scotty hits the Worm on Kidman, which seems a good bit excessive and indeed, Angle uses the distraction to toss Scotty without much effort.
Rico slugs away at Dupree and then kisses him, sending Rene over the top to eliminate himself. Rey headscissors Kidman out and Jindrak tosses Rico. We’re down to Mysterio, Guerrero, Angle, Jindrak and Reigns for a solid handicap match. Eddie hurricanranas Jindrak out in a hurry but gets knocked out as well to leave us with three. Eddie isn’t done though and distracts Reigns, allowing Rey to dropkick him out. Angle slams him down hard but it’s too early to throw him out.
A headscissors gets Rey out of trouble but the ankle lock over the rope makes it even worse. Angle grabs a suplex and throws him over the ropes again but still can’t stomp him out. A springboard dropkick staggers Angle and there’s a tornado DDT for good measure. They fight up top with Rey crotching Angle but only being able to knock him to the apron. The 619 is blocked and the straps come down but Rey hurricanranas him to the apron. This time the 619 to the back is enough to give Rey the win and the title shot.
Rating: B-. They had a lot of potential with the final five but went straight to the final two instead. The good thing is those two worked very well together and the last stretch was good. Rey as the first challenger to Carlito is a nice choice and the match advanced some feuds at the same time. It was long but didn’t feel long, which is about as good as you can get for a match like this.
Post break Rey is proud of his win but Carlito comes up to interrupt. He wants the title match tonight (which I thought was already established), as long as Rey doesn’t mind wrestling twice in one night. Rey says it’s on and turns away like a moron, allowing Carlito to deck him and spit the apple.
Smackdown World Title: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Hardcore Holly
JBL is defending in a hardcore match and comes out in a Rolls-Royce. Holly goes with the dropkick to start and clotheslines the champ outside as it’s already time for the weapons. He takes a bit too long looking at them though and gets sent into the steps, leaving JBL to look at them too long as well. That means a street sign to the head over and over before sending JBL into the announcers’ table.
A monitor to the head doesn’t do much to Holly as he comes back with a cricket bat. For the third time so far, Holly takes too long to swing something and gets kicked in the face. The fans want tables but have to settle for Holly backdropping out of a piledriver attempt and trashcaning JBL in the head. The steps take too long though and a nasty chair to the head retains JBL’s title.
Rating: C+. These two have chemistry together and they were smart to keep this short. Holly isn’t going to be taken seriously as a challenger so they were smart to get in and get out with the hard weapons shots being the focus. It’s not like this was anything more than a way to kill time before JBL’s next challenger emerges but at least we got some far better than expected matches.
We see Heidenreich making the kid cry again.
British fans are glad to have Smackdown.
Here are Heyman and Heidenreich to apologize. Heyman gives a simple one and makes Heidenreich read one off a paper. That’s not it though as Heidenreich says he’s sorry for what happened last week, but not what he did to Undertaker at No Mercy. That was done with malice and intent and now, he wants Undertaker to bring the fight to him. With no Undertaker appearing, Heidenreich heads outside and threatens some people, including Heyman, before letting it go.
We look back at Eddie Guerrero cheating to beat Luther Reigns at No Mercy.
Chavo Guerrero is back next week.
US Title: Carlito Caribbean Cool vs. Rey Mysterio
Mysterio is banged up and challenging. Feeling out process to start until Rey gets sent to the apron for a quick springboard seated senton. Carlito is back up with a shot to the ribs but gets knocked off the apron for a heck of a dive from Mysterio. Back from a break with Rey in an armbar (better than a chinlock) before being thrown face first out to the floor. The armbar goes on again but this time Rey fights up and hits a dropkick for his second escape.
Something close to la majistral gives Rey two and a tornado DDT is good for the same. Carlito gets back up and just throws Rey into the air for a crash before getting two off a flying armbar. A hammerlock slam stays on the arm but Carlito decides to go up for the rather obvious dive into raised boots. The 619 looks to set up the West Coast Pop, which is countered into a Fujiwara armbar. Rey finally makes a rope so Carlito rolls him up and grabs the rope for the pin to retain.
Rating: C+. I liked this way better than the Cena match last week as it had more of a focus and wasn’t just Carlito getting destroyed until he stole a win. The arm work was fine and Carlito cheating when he couldn’t win through normal means worked well. A win over Mysterio will help solidify Carlito, who needs to establish himself so soon out of the gate.
More Tough Enough contestants.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Luther Reigns
Eddie rides in with the Page 3 girls. Reigns isn’t happy and goes after him to start but gets dropkicked down for his efforts. That earns him a crotching and a belly to back suplex as Reigns is mad enough that he throws Eddie’s shirt to the floor. A few backbreakers keep Eddie in trouble with Reigns bending the back over his knee for some extra pain. Eddie dances up though and slugs away but the Third Amigo is blocked. Reigns’ swinging neckbreaker is countered as Eddie walks the ropes into something like a Sliced Bread #2 but an invading Jindrak breaks up the frog splash. Reigns throws him into the steps for the DQ.
Rating: C-. Not enough time here as they only had a few minutes before a DQ ending. That being said, Reigns is FAR better in the short form matches as he’s really not able to do much aside from the basics. Jindrak interfering to mess with Eddie is fine, though there’s still not much to care about with Jindrak so far. Has he actually won a match yet?
Post match the beatdown is on and here’s Angle with the clippers. Big Show makes the save to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. This was a well paced show as they kept things moving and nothing felt like it was longer than it needed to be. They advanced some of the stories as well and while it’s a long way before we get to Survivor Series, there’s at least enough to keep me interested going forward. More than anything else, I’m surprised at how tolerable JBL has been as champion. Maybe the bad comes later, but so far it’s been acceptable. Granted that might change over time, but I can’t complain much about the recent months. Good show here, and one of the better ones in a few months.
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