TJR Retro: WWF Smackdown 04/27/00 Review (Steve Austin Returns)

This was the go-home show for the WWF heading into Backlash. The big story for this episode is that Steve Austin was there to send a message to Triple H and his buddies. There was a memorable moment in the “main event” of this episode.

Here’s the synopsis from WWE Network: “Steve Austin plays mind games with the McMahon-Helmsley regime. What surprises does the Texas Rattlesnake have in store for DX?”

Everybody remembers the Austin bus incident, but what some people may not be aware of is that there were major problems when the WWF was taping it. I’ll cover that at the end of this review as well.

Check out our WWF TV in 2000 archives in case you missed anything from earlier in the year. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport and tweet me to talk about this show or anything else. Please visit my website TJRWrestling.net daily for review of current WWE shows like Raw, Smackdown and previews/reviews of all the PPVs, plus news and columns from our team of writers. Let’s get to it.

WWF Smackdown #36
April 27, 2000 (Taped April 25)
From the Charlotte Coliseum aka “The Hive” in Charlotte, North Carolina

This show has a TV-PG rating and “S” for Sexual Content on WWE Network.

The Smackdown intro video aired to start the show. The pyro went off in the arena, there were signs everywhere and a lot of noise as usual. The announce team of Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcomed us to the show.

Eddie Guerrero and Chyna vs. Val Venis and Essa Rios (w/Lita)

Pre-match notes: Eddie and Chyna were heels that were becoming faces due to the popularity of their act. Eddie was the European Champion that was set to defend the title against Rios at Backlash. Venis was a face that pinned Guerrero on Raw. Rios and Lita were heels.

Venis started with Guerrero with a lefty clothesline and a gorilla press slam. Jumping kick to the head by Guerrero on Venis. Spinning slam from Venis. Guerrero hit a backbreaker leading to Chyna tagging, Val tripped her up and Chyna tripped up Rios, who was legal. Back elbow by Chyna on Rios, then a body slam and Eddie hit a senton over the top. Chyna hit her cartwheel into a back elbow on Rios against the turnbuckle. Guerrero with a high angle belly to back suplex for two. Rios avoided a slam, did some cool moves off the ropes and a hit a hurricanrana to a big pop. Venis back in as he slammed Guerrero’s body into the feet of Rios. Guerrero came back with a headscissors of his own. Chyna got the hot tag, but Lita distracted the ref to prevent him from seeing it. The referee made Chyna leave the ring. Venis hit a spinebuster on Guerrero and Rios hit a moonsault on Guerrero for the win because Venis tackled Chyna to prevent her from making the save. The match went 4:36.

Winners by pinfall: Val Venis and Essa Rios

Analysis: **1/4 Solid tag team action with a nice finish that you don’t see all the time because the referee not seeing the tag spot is usually done earlier than the finish. The win gave Rios some positive momentum going into the title match with Eddie.

Post match, Lita went up top and hit a moonsault on Guerrero as well. Rios and Lita stomped away on Guerrero. Chyna threw Venis into the steps, then went back into the ring to check on Eddie and that led to Rios/Lita leaving.

The DX Express bus was shown pulling up to the arena. That led to Triple H, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, Road Dogg and Tori to walk out of the bus to let us know they were here. Vince wasn’t thrilled about being on a bus.

The Rock was shown walking backstage to let us know he was there.

(Commercial)

The Lugz Boot of the Week showed the end of Raw when Vince kicked Rock in the groin leading to Triple H pinning Rock to win a tag team match.

There was a “Stone Cold Strikes” video of Austin driving a monster truck and destroying four cars in a parking lot.

Let’s Hear from The Rock

The Rock made his entrance to a thunderous ovation. Having The Rock out there for a promo was a nice change from the usual heel promo we got nearly every week. Rock was in his street clothes including an expensive shirt as the fans greeted him with “Rocky” chants. Rock began with his “finally” line as usual.

The Rock said that it’s safe to say that he’s been through hell to get where he’s at. He said looking back at everything the McMahons have done with every Pedigree and every chairshot, The Rock still stands here today and he’s still going to Backlash. The “Rocky” chants continued. Rock said he realizes that they still have one more night to do something to The Rock, so what kind of matches will you put Rock in tonight? Rock wondered if they would put him in a steel cage match, a lumberjack match or a “Stephanie dirty panties on a pole” match. That drew laughs. Rock called out the McMahon-Helmsley regime.

Triple H, the WWF Champion, made his entrance with his crew that included Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley (with her title that is never defended), Shane McMahon, Road Dogg and Tori. No X-Pac because he had a death in his family, which led to him missing Raw as well.

Hunter said that Rock had some pretty good ideas for some matches as fans chanted “Asshole” at Trips. Hunter said that they have been putting their minds together trying to come up with some matches to beat the hell out of Rock again. Hunter said that Shane is very creative while Hunter credited Stephanie and fans chanted “slut” at her. Hunter said he’s kicked Rock’s ass so many times he’s getting bored of it. Hunter told Rock to wait until Sunday for Hunter to kick his ass one last time at Backlash for the WWF Championship.

Hunter said that Rock seemed tense tonight. Hunter told Rock to relax. Hunter told Rock to take the night off while adding that Hunter, Shane and Vince will take the night off. Hunter said that they’ll watch Road Dogg as he destroys Christian. Hunter noted that Christian’s “brother” Edge needs to learn to keep his nose out of other people’s business, so if Edge gets involved, they will be stripped of their Tag Team Titles. Hunter said that if there’s one thing they won’t put up with is interfering in other people’s matches. Heels lie, my friends.

Vince took over the promo on the stage, so fans chanted “Asshole” and Vince yelled at them because he said he was talking. Vince said he knows Rock is excited to have Stone Cold in his corner. Vince added that his son Shane is excited about Backlash because we aren’t going to have an Earl Hebner situation again. Vince announced that Shane will be the referee for the Triple H vs. Rock match.

Analysis: That’s some new information with Shane as the referee in the WWF Title match. They should have announced it on Raw or earlier in the build to Backlash, but that’s okay.

Vince said he knows Rock is wondering if he can trust Stone Cold Steve Austin. Vince reminded Rock of “DTA” – don’t trust anybody.

The Rock said speaking of don’t trust anybody, Rock said he spoke with Stone Cold. Rock added that Stone Cold didn’t want to wait until Backlash and the crowd went wild! They popped huge. Rock said that Stone Cold was going to make a special appearance on Smackdown. Vince had a great facial expression reaction to that one.

Vince called Rock a damn liar. Vince added that Austin would never show up here tonight because quite frankly, Austin doesn’t have the temerity and the grapefruits (aka balls) to show up here tonight. Rock told Vince to shut his mouth. Rock said just like he is guaranteeing to walk out of Backlash as the WWF Champion, Rock also guaranteed Austin is there tonight. That led to Vince doing the classic “gulp” reaction, which I was able to find a GIF of.

Rock ended it with the “if you smell what The Rock is cooking.” The crowd popped big time for all of this.

Analysis: It was a massive announcement. Austin was advertised heavily for Backlash, so it’s not a surprise that he would be on Smackdown. When you read about what happened in the main event, you’ll know why it wasn’t on Raw. I thought this promo exchange was very good and entertaining as opposed to some weeks where it was too much of Triple H rambling. Even though there was no Rock or Triple H match on the show, they managed to keep the audience watching because of Rock saying that Austin would be there later.

(Commercial)

The Rock was shown in the parking lot and he left in a limo.

The McMahon-Helmsley regime walked up to the DX Express bus where they saw some Austin foam fingers on the front of the bus. The group went on the bus.

Light Heavyweight Championship: Scott 2 Hotty vs. Dean Malenko

Pre-match notes: Scotty was the champion that won the title from Malenko ten days earlier. Malenko was the heel. Cole noted that the title match was originally set for Backlash, but the rivalry is too hot, so we get it on this show. They still had a match at Backlash as well.

Malenko attacked Scotty as soon as he got in the ring. Malenko with a knee to the ribs. Scotty came back with a rollup, so Malenko hit him with a clothesline followed by a belly to back suplex. Malenko with a corner clothesline and he set up Scotty on the top rope. Malenko wanted a superplex, Scotty blocked it and jumped off the top with a missile dropkick. Scotty countered a suplex attempt into an inside cradle for two followed by a back body drop. Scotty hit the bulldog leading to the W-O-R-M chop to a huge pop. Malenko dumped Scotty out of the ring. Scotty went for a sunset flip for the pin attempt, Malenko sat on top, used the ropes for leverage, the ref never saw it and Malenko won the title again at 3:20.

Winner by pinfall and New Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko

Analysis: **1/2 It was a quick match with Malenko getting the cheap win to set up the rematch at Backlash. Good intensity from Malenko while Scotty did well with the comeback. I’m not sure why they did two title changes in such a short time when they already had the match set up for Backlash. It was probably done that way just to give Scotty a feel good moment.

Post match, they showed the replay of the blatant cheating while Cole complained about Malenko cheating.

There was a shot of the McMahon-Helmsley group on the bus. Hunter had a pager and claimed it said “3:16” on it. Vince said that he didn’t think Austin would be there, but he had a funny feeling about tonight. Shane said you’re letting Rock get in your head and Vince said he just had a funny feeling about later.

(Commercial)

There was a shot of Crash Holly backstage looking sad about losing the Hardcore Title on Raw. Hardcore Holly said he’s got a chance at the title Sunday at Backlash just like Hardcore and others.

The T&A team entered with Trish Stratus leading to a video package of Trish’s “table tips” from Raw.

T&A – Test & Albert (w/Trish Stratus) vs. Hardcore Holly and Crash Holly

Pre-match notes: T&A were heels set to face the Dudleys at Backlash. Hardcore and Crash were heels for the most part, but Crash was a face sometimes. The Hollys were in a six-way match for the Hardcore Title at Backlash.

Test hit a full nelson slam on Hardcore, who came back by sending face first into the turnbuckle. Hardcore hit a running clothesline for two. Crash tagged in, Test missed a corner charge and Crash hit a Tornado DDT for a two count. Test countered a charge with a Powerbomb while the Dudleys were shown watching on a TV backstage. Albert tagged in, he tossed Crash across the ring, then he missed a splash and Hardcore tagged back in with a dropkick on Albert for two. Hardcore hit a suplex. Crash wanted a tag, so he got the tag and missed a top rope splash when Albert moved. Hardcore yelled at Crash for screwing up. Test hit a boot to the face. Albert with a Gorilla Press Slam on Crash. Test up top and he hit a flying elbow drop on Crash for the pinfall win at 3:18 even though Albert was the legal man.

Winners by pinfall: Test & Albert

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win to put T&A over ahead of their match with the Dudleys. The right team went over. The referees counting pinfalls when the wrong guy was in the ring happened way too often in this era. They are better about it in WWE these days because it almost never happens anymore.

Post match, Hardcore argued with Crash while Stratus smiled at ringside. When T&A went up the ramp, The Dudleys showed up with chairs to attack Test and Albert from behind.

Bubba grabbed Trish by the hair and sent her into the ring while D-Von brought a table into the ring. Bubba went to the top rope, he teased a Powerbomb, but Trish kissed Bubba in the forehead, which stopped him from putting her through the table. Test saved Trish, Albert grabbed Bubba and gave him a two-handed Chokeslam through the table in the ring. That drew a big pop because the fans loved table bumps.

Analysis: I think the build to T&A vs. the Dudleys was very good. It was not a title feud, yet it was very successful in terms of getting the Dudleys over as faces while also developing Trish’s work with the T&A team. The key thing to the Backlash match was Bubba wanting to put Trish through the table. Would he be able to do it? That was the question that needed to be answered at Backlash and it was.

Vince was backstage with his allies saying that they should go searching for Austin. Shane thought it was ridiculous. Hunter went with Stephanie and Tori one way while Vince and Shane went another way. Shane thought Vince was letting Rock get in his head. Vince opened up a green curtain and behind it was a Stone Cold cardboard cutout, so Shane attacked it. Vince said it was just cardboard and Shane said he’s all freaked out.

(Commercial)

Stephanie was shown walking backstage when Kurt Angle walked up to her saying that he was invited by personally invited by Steven Spielberg to see the premiere of Gladiator. Stephanie said that’s fine. She asked if Kurt has seen Austin, he said no, he’s never met him and he left.

Analysis: Gladiator is one of my favorite movies. I saw it the week it came out and many times since then. It lived up to the hype for sure. The Steph/Kurt flirting segments happened nearly every show. It would be a bigger story in the summer.

Chris Jericho and Tazz vs. Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn

Pre-match notes: Benoit was the heel Intercontinental Champion while Jericho was his face challenger at Backlash. Saturn and Tazz were in the 6-man Hardcore Title match at Backlash.

Saturn hit a slam off the shoulders on Jericho. Jericho tripped up Saturn looking for the Walls of Jericho, Tazz decked Benoit with a punch, the ref was distracted by Saturn and Benoit hit Jericho in the back of the head with the title. That led to a two count for Saturn because Tazz made the save. Jericho came back with a jumping forearm on Saturn. Tazz tagged in, he hit a Northern Lights Suplex and Benoit broke up a pin attempt. Saturn with a belly to back suplex on Tazz. Benoit with a back elbow on Tazz for a two count followed by a suplex for two. Saturn went up top and jumped off with a knee drop for a two count. Benoit slapped on the Crippler Crossface on Tazz, but Jericho broke the hold with a dropkick to the back. Jericho back in, elbow smash to Benoit followed by a bulldog for two as Saturn broke up the pin. Tazz and Saturn went tumbling out of the ring. Jericho whipped Benoit into Saturn on the apron and Jericho hit the Lionsault on Benoit for the pinfall win at 4:18.

Winners by pinfall: Chris Jericho and Tazz

Analysis: **1/4 There was a lot of action and it was fun to watch. Jericho getting the win gave him some positive momentum going into Backlash. The finish was booked well and everybody worked hard in the match.

It was back to the backstage area where Triple H and Shane McMahon were in a hallway. Shane saw some beer cans outside of a door, so he opened the door and fell onto the beer cans in the room. Hunter helped Shane back up as they left the room.

Analysis: That was silly. The mind games continued.

(Commercial)

Road Dogg vs. Christian

Pre-match notes: They were both heels. Edge can’t interfere in this match or they are stripped of the titles.

They started on the floor with Christian hitting a suplex that sent Dogg to the barricade. Christian went up top and hit a cross body block off the top on Dogg on the floor. Christian went for an attack off the top, but Dogg stopped him with a punch. They battled on the turnbuckle with Christian hitting a reverse DDT off the ropes. Christian with a running shoulder tackle and a front suplex that got a two count. Christian tried a slam, Dogg avoided it and hit a pumphandle slam for the pinfall win at 2:54.

Winner by pinfall: Road Dogg

Analysis: *1/2 It was boring with a weak finish. That pumphandle slam by Road Dogg was one of the worst finishers of this era. It didn’t look devastating at all.

Post match, Dogg whipped Christian ribs first into the ring post. Road Dogg punched the referee. Dogg whipped Christian into the steel steps. More referees went down to ringside. Dogg was furious. The match result was reversed by referee Chad Patton and Christian was announced as the winner.

Winner by referee’s decision: Christian

Analysis: The idea was that Road Dogg was pissed off after he was attacked by Edge and Christian on Raw, so he got revenge. Since Dogg hit the referee, that led to the referee changing the decision.

The McMahon-Helmsley faction were backstage again and they went up to a room where it sounded like Austin was in it. When they opened the door, it was just a boom box, so Triple H destroyed it.

(Commercial)

Kurt Angle entered the arena saying that many people feel that he hates Big Show, but really he feels sorry for Show. Angle said it’s like the Charlotte Hornets, who are a talented bunch, but they aren’t going to accomplish anything. That drew some boos. Angle said that at Backlash, he’ll beat some sense into Big Show.

Big Boss Man, Bull Buchanan and Kurt Angle vs. Big Show and Rikishi Phatu

Pre-match notes: The trio of Angle, Boss Man and Buchanan were the heels while Show and Rikishi were the faces.

Boss Man worked over show with punches while Buchanan hit Rikishi with the steel steps. Buchanan went back into the ring and hit an axe kick. Angle worked over Show with punches. Show got back into it with a double clothesline on Bull and Boss Man along with a kick for Angle. Show kicked Boss Man out of the ring while Rikishi got revenge by hitting Bull in the head with the steel steps. Back in the ring, Show kicked Bull into the turnbuckle leading to Rikishi hitting the Stinkface on Bull, which drew a good pop from the crowd. Show hit a Chokeslam on Bull for the pinfall win at 1:53.

Winners by pinfall: Big Show and Rikishi Phatu

Analysis: 1/2* Easy win for the faces. Angle was barely involved in the match. Show continued to build momentum as a face.

Post match, Rikishi and Show were about to dance, but Boss Man attacked both of them with a nightstick. Angle, Boss Man and Buchanan attacked Show and Rikishi. The APA duo of Bradshaw and Faarooq went after Boss Man and Buchanan, so they chased the heels out of the ring while Angle retreated. Show and Rikishi still did their post match dance routine. The fans loved the dancing.

There was a shot of the bathroom backstage with Triple H and Shane attacking a guy that had a hat on. They thought it was Austin, so they attacked him, but it wasn’t Austin. The guy said he works there, Shane said he was fired and that was it.

(Commercial)

The Castrol GTX Slam of the Week showed what happened on Raw when Matt Hardy became the Hardcore Champion.

Al Snow was in the locker room with Steve Blackman saying they should get back together. Blackman said to forget it. Snow said he could be serious. Blackman said you can’t take Snow serious when he talks to a damn head. Blackman left while Snow looked at the Head in his hands.

Hardcore Championship: Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

Pre-match notes: They were both faces obviously. Matt brought a trash can full of weapons to the ring. The Hardcore Title match at Backlash was a 6-Way match with both Hardys in the match.

Matt hit Jeff with a trash can lid to the head. Jeff whipped Matt head first into a cookie sheet that was against a turnbuckle. Jeff hit a suplex. Jeff went up top and did a leg drop off the top while holding a broom. Perry Saturn walked down to ringside. Matt sent Jeff into a trash can and he hit a dropkick into the trash can. Matt went up top and hit a moonsault onto the trash can. Hardcore Holly walked down to ringside to join the fun. Jeff dumped Matt out of the ring. Jeff and Matt each brought a ladder into the ring. Jeff dropkicked the ladder into Matt. Jeff set up a ladder by the turnbuckle as Tazz walked down to the ring. Jeff slammed Matt. Jeff went up the turnbuckle by the ladder and Jeff jumped over the ladder with a leg drop on Matt for two. It’s always impressive when Jeff does that.

The Hardys each scaled a ladder, Matt was knocked down and Matt sprayed a fire extinguisher in Jeff’s face. Matt threw a trash can at Jeff and knocked him off a ladder onto the guys on the floor. Matt went up top, he jumped off with a cross body block, barely connected with it and then sent Jeff back into the ring. Crash Holly ran down to the ring to break the pin. Crash hit Matt in the head with a trash can, Crash covered Matt and got the pinfall win to become Hardcore Champion again at 4:33.

New Hardcore Champion: Crash Holly

Analysis: **1/2 It was an entertaining match by the Hardy brothers. I liked the finish with Crash sneaking in there to get the win to get back his Hardcore Title in a cheap way. Those were the rules for the title, so it fit Crash’s character perfectly.

Post match, Crash grabbed the title from ringside and the “Houdini of Hardcore” escaped with the title again.

Vince and company were backstage saying nobody wanted to get spooked. A guy showed up saying there was a special delivery for Vince McMahon. That led to Vince, Shane and Hunter walking out to a parking lot yelling for Austin. There was a truck. It was a cement truck with the guy saying it’s supposed to go in a Corvette. Vince told him to get the hell out of here. Vince said maybe Austin went inside, so they went back into the arena.

Analysis: The cement with the Corvette was something Austin did in the past when he filled up Vince’s Corvette with cement in a memorable backstage scene from the October 12, 1998 edition of Raw. It was a way to tease Austin showing up again.

(Commercial)

Jim Ross was shown backstage talking on a cell phone saying that everybody is talking about how Sunday is going to be a tremendous day. Vince and Hunter asked who JR was talking to. JR said he was talking to his cousin that is coming to Backlash. Hunter hung up the phone for JR, who said they were paranoid and Vince said there was a reason for that.

Steve Blackman vs. The Godfather

Pre-match notes: Blackman was the heel and Godfather was the face. This was the last match of the night although I wouldn’t call it a “main event” match. Godfather had the ho’s with him Normally on Smackdown, they just get called “ladies” instead of ho’s.

Godfather hit a body slam, a leg drop and Blackman kicked him in the ribs followed by a dropkick to the back. Godfather came back with a boot to the face, clothesline and body slam. When Godfather set up for the corner attack, Al Snow ran down to the ring and hit Godfather in the back with nunchucks. The referee called for the DQ at 1:36.

Winner by disqualification: Steve Blackman

Analysis: 1/4* Boring match that ended quickly. That’s fine with me because I had no interest in the match. The idea was that Snow wanted to show to Blackman that he could be serious too.

Post match, Blackman hit Godfather with a pump kick to knock him down.

The McMahon group were in their office again. There was something in a black bag. There was noise coming out of it, which was obviously fake and sort of sounded like a snake. Shane flipped the bag over to reveal…a rattlesnake. Another Austin tease since he was known as the “rattlesnake” as one of his nicknames.

Back to the parking lot, somebody emerged from a limo. It was The Rock making his return for the main event segment.

(Commercial)

The “Smack of the Night” focused on Rock’s promo earlier in the night saying that Steve Austin will be there.

Main Event Stone Cold Appearance

The heel group of Triple H, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, Road Dogg and Tori entered the ring to Triple H’s theme song. There were about seven minutes left in the show when this started.

Shane said that “McMahon 3:16” wanted Austin to come down to the ring right now and they’ll welcome him back to the WWF. Vince said that if Austin is here, he’ll ask everyone to leave the ring, it’ll just be the two of them and Vince wanted Austin to come out there. Triple H said he’s talking to Austin, this is The Game and he’s the WWF Champion that is telling Austin to get his ass out there now.

Triple H said that Austin is either not there or Austin is a “chicken-shit” and they bleeped the “shit” part of that. Hunter said that he knows somebody that is here and he called out The Rock. Hunter told Rock it won’t matter if it’s 1 on 1, 4 on 1, so he told Rock to walk down the ramp and face Hunter like a man. Hunter said that just like Austin, Rock is nothing but a “chicken-shit.”

The Rock’s music hit as The People’s Champion stood on the ramp. Rock said he promised that Stone Cold would be there tonight and he said he’s a man that lives up to his word that also keeps his promises. Rock said he’s enjoyed watching their candy asses get confused, get paranoid by the beer and the rattlesnake, but the only regret is the rattlesnake didn’t bite one of them. Rock said he doesn’t dress like Stone Cold, talk like Stone Cold or look like Stone Cold, but “HE” looks like Stone Cold. And there he was on the video screen…Steve Austin…with a huge pop from the crowd.

Austin said that he was in the parking lot and that he was in and out of the arena all night long. Austin said there seemed to be some concern about whose side he would be on at Backlash. Austin made it clear that he’s going to be on his own side. He said what he’s got right now is a demonstration if any of them think they can get their hands on Austin.

Austin said that the only thing he’s ever been good at is tearing s**t up and he’s good at deconstruction. Austin revealed a truck that said “Austin Deconstruction” on it. Austin sat in a truck that had a crane and some sort of long cinder block at the end of it. The DX Express was right there, so Austin lowered it onto the DX Express bus and the bus exploded. It was a big explosion. The McMahons were shown in the ring looking terrified about what just happened.

The camera was back on Austin in the truck. Austin said that’s what is going to happen to anybody that tries to mess with Stone Cold Steve Austin this Sunday at Backlash.

They showed another angle of the DX Express bus explosion with Cole saying “Austin 3:16 says I just wrecked your bus.” Good line, even from you Cole. The show signed off with a final plug for Backlash.

Analysis: What we saw looked great and it was an all-time memorable moment due to the bus explosion caused by Austin. It let people know that Austin was definitely not going to be on the side of Triple H and the McMahons, which meant that maybe Austin would help Rock deal with all the shenanigans that would take place during the match. I think it was a spectacular looking angle. I think if you asked people about the most memorable moments of Smackdown after 20+ years on the air, a lot of them will remember Austin blowing up the DX Express bus. It was a big deal at the time, no doubt about it.

This episode of Smackdown had a run time of 1:29:32 on WWE Network.

 

Epilogue:

What we saw looked great, but that’s not how it really happened when they taped it. Here’s an excerpt from the May 1 Wrestling Observer Newsletter (available via subscription) with Dave Meltzer describing what happened:

“Rock showed up and introduced Austin on the TV screen. Austin then got a crane and went to destroy the DX bus with a cinder block. However, the crane didn’t do any damage to the bus as the guy running the crane couldn’t get it to work. Luckily for WWF, this wasn’t live TV. They tried to make it work for 3-4 minutes before finally turning off the camera. Vince started ad libbing. When they finally dropped the cinder block on the bus, instead of it making the big dent, it tapped the roof and didn’t even make a dent. Finally the bus exploded since they had pyro in the bus to blow it up when the cement block was dropped on it even though it landed far too weakly to make it look decent. It’ll obviously be edited to look a lot better on TV but it was terrible live and the crowd was laughing hysterically at all of this. Fire fighters put out the fire. After the show went off, Austin came to the ring and drank a million beers to a gigantic pop, but he looked really mad.”

I think it’s fair to say that the WWF was very smart to tape this segment as opposed to doing it live on Raw. If it happened like that on Raw, it would be laughed at by the fans and remembered in a bad way. Since it looked great when Smackdown aired, fans will always think about it fondly. As for the fans in the arena, they’re probably still laughing whenever they think about it.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Steve Austin – He was only on for two minutes, but I’ll give it to Austin for his big return.
  2. The Rock
  3. Chris Jericho

 

The Scoreboard

This episode gets a 6.5 out of 10.

The theme of this edition of Smackdown was all about building to the appearance from Steve Austin, which was a huge thing since he was off TV for about five months. After talking about it for nearly two hours, the delivery of the moment was something incredible that fans will remember forever.

The rest of Smackdown was all about building up to Backlash matches. Some matches were too short and some endings were bad, but I think most of it was effective in terms of getting the fans more excited about the matches.

I actually wrote the Backlash 2000 review a few years ago because it’s one of my favorite WWE PPVs ever. That review is coming soon too.

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Please let me know what you think of these reviews. Check out our WWF in 2000 archives for my reviews of all the other shows from earlier in the year. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

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