The SmarK Rant for WWE Velocity – 08.17.02
OK, so after the chronological order of the first four episodes of this show, we now start jumping forward two months for reasons that will become completely obvious shortly.
Also HOLY SHIT, they fixed the WWE Network interface on Windows so it’s no longer formatted for a touchscreen. Everything is now all on one page and I can scroll up and down with my mouse like the good lord intended.
Taped from the site of Smackdown, whatever that might be.
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Marc Loyd (?) This doofus cannot have lasted long.
Rico v. Hardcore Holly
Oh lord the audio sweetening is OBNOXIOUS here. Like ridiculously overdone reactions for both guys. Also this guy Loyd is apparently doing an angle with Rico over Holly cutting his hair or something. They trade chops in the corner and Bob beats him down and gets the boot on the ropes into a clothesline for two. Rico comes back with a spinkick for two as they pipe in exaggerated “OOHHHH!” noises for every move and then the crowd magically goes back to being silent again. Rico with a neckbreaker for two and he goes up, but Holly crotches him, which the fake crowd approves of. Superplex gets two. They exchange more chops and Holly puts him down with a clothesline and follows with the dropkick for two. Bob steals Pete Gas’s dreaded GAS MASK finish, and goes up with a crossbody for two off that. Rico escaped the GAS MASK? Rico comes back with a superkick for two. Rico misses the big Karate Kid kick and Bob puts him away with the Alabama Slam at 4:19. They had no idea what to do with Rico, clearly. **
Meanwhile, WWE tours Melbourne, drawing over 50,000 digeridoos and even a few thousand chaswassers! All matches were decided by a two out of three games of Knifey-Spooney.
Bull Buchanan v. Albert
So it’s another dead zone for Bull, post-RTC but pre-B Squared repackage. So he’s just kind of a guy at this point. Bull tries to attack and gets caught with an atomic drop and press slam, and Bull escapes to the floor. Back in, Albert slugs away in the corner, but Bull fires back and dodges a blind charge. Bull drops elbows for two, but Albert tries a suplex, so Bull escapes that and hits the springboard clothesline. They spent YEARS trying to get that move over as a big deal and it doesn’t even get a near-fall. Bull tries a piledriver, but Albert backdrops him out of the ring, and Bull skins the cat back in. And then Albert cuts him off with a pump kick and follows with a corner clothesline and a hiptoss for two. Albert hits an avalanche and goes up for the Vaderbomb, but Bull gets his feet up to block. They fight on top and Bull sends him down for a flying legdrop to finish at 4:40. I have no idea who was supposed to be the babyface here, but I assume Bull? Bull did some cool stuff but this just wasn’t a good match and had no particular flow to it. *
Meanwhile on Smackdown, Kurt Angle confronts that cocky young kid Rey Mysterio and they agree to a match at Summerslam, although Kurt thinks it should be dwarf-tossing rules. So Mark Henry stops by to defend Rey’s honor, and Angle demands SATISIFACTION for Mark’s disrespect. So we get a battle of the Olympians later on, and Angle taps him out after a decent match. But then Rey chases him off and I totally forgot about Rey’s original music. The “booyaka 619” theme completely eclipsed that one. Later in the evening, Edge and Mysterio face the Guerreros and they have what looks like a HELL of a match before Angle yanks Rey off the apron and anklelocks him for the DQ. And then they do another awesome brawl between 5 of the Smackdown Six and shit, they should just scrap the rest of the Velocity show and have this stuff instead because it was GREAT. Angle putting Rey in the anklelock while Chavo kicks him in the head repeatedly like a complete dick was tremendous.
EXTREME BLAST OF THE NIGHT! BROUGHT TO YOU BY SOME STUPID FUCKING JVC STEREO! D-Von and Batista have apparently broken up. Hopefully Batista’s career can survive going solo.
Reverend D-Von v. John Cena
I’m assuming we’re in Seattle or maybe Hartford given Cena’s color scheme. So yeah, we’ve moved forward to what I presume is John Cena’s first appearance on this show after debuting on Smackdown a few weeks previous. Cena gets some dropkicks as Cole declares this Cena guy “The future of WWE”, which seems like a bit too much hyperbole. D-Von takes Cena down and drops an elbow on his midsection for two, and then slugs away in the corner and chokes him out. Cena slugs back, but D-Von cuts him off with a jawbreaker and chokes him out. D-Von with the back elbow and a clothesline, and he goes up to finish, but takes forever and gets slammed off. Cena comes back with forearms and clotheslines, and the hiptoss slam for two. Belly to belly gets two. He slugs away in the corner, but D-Von takes him down with a neckbreaker for two. And then Cena rolls him up for the pin at 5:31. And then D-Von gets his heat back by laying him out with an inverted DDT and diving headbutt. Like honestly, if you had watched this nothing of a match at the time and been told “Creative would have nothing for Cena by October and WWE gave him his release”, it would have been easy to believe. *
Meanwhile, on Smackdown, Rock and Chris Benoit also have a pretty great match, although I went back to check and apparently I wasn’t a huge fan of this episode. Well 2002 was a different time for me.
Jamie Noble & Tajiri v. Billy Kidman & Funaki
Now this is the Velocity wackiness we know and love. Noble is now Cruiserweight champion after King of the Ring while Funaki has begun transitioning to an announcer. The babyfaces double-team Noble with dropkicks and a move pretty close to an ushigoroshi from Kidman that gets two. Kidman tries a rana, but Noble blocks and hangs Kidman upside down for a low dropkick from Tajiri that gets two. Tajiri goes to a chinlock and follows with a leg lariat for two, and the heels hit a sweet stereo dropkick on Kidman’s head for two. Noble continues with the chinlock on Kidman, but he fights out and goes for a springboard bulldog, which Noble blocks with a suplex for two. Funaki gets a hot tag and hits Tajiri with a backbreaker for two and counters the Tarantula with a facebuster for two. They trade near-falls and Nidia brawls with Torrie outside, but Funaki reverses a Tajiri kick into a rollup for the pin at 5:08. Well that was a slightly unexpected finish. Very energetic match here although they felt like they got rushed to the finish. **1/2
Felt like the Smackdown highlights way eclipsed the actual show this time around as they did a pretty impressive job of making Summerslam seem like a hell of a show coming up. Which it was, to be fair.