The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 2002
– Live from Monosodium glutamate
– Your host is Tazz King Cole Jr.
Opening match: Three Minute Warning v. Jeff Hardy & The Dudley Boyz.
The Dudleyz clean house to start and Spike gets pressed onto the samoans, and Jeff follows them out with a dive onto everyone. In the ring, Rico pounds on Bubba while Spike hits a samoan with a rana. They hit the Wazzup drop on both Rico and Jamal and get the tables. Tyler’s idea: 3MW should do like the Killer Bees and change shirts at some point in the match, thus guaranteeing confusion for the referee. Rosie faceplants Spike and dumps Jeff, thus crushing the hopes of fans everywhere. He charges Spike in the corner, but misses and puts himself through a table. He then no-sells his own offense and hits Bubba with a spinebuster, then catches Jeff in mid-air in a terrible looking spot, and splashes him. Rico sets up a table and tries to suplex Spike through it, but it gets blocked. 3MW team up to put him through and eliminate him about 4:30 or so. The remaining faces are set up to be splashed to death, but they make the comeback until getting overwhelmed by the awesome force of Samoa. Rosie drags Jeff into the crowd and sets up a table in the aisle, while heel miscommunication in the ring results in Jamal taking a BubbaBomb. Bubba saves Jeff from certain table-dom, and Jeff climbs over the exit and puts Rosie through the table at 8:00. Great, but we already saw that spot at Rumble 2000, in the same building no less. Back in the ring, Rico and Jamal double-team Bubba and Rico goes up for the moonsault, but takes forever and audibly calls out “C’mon Jeff goddammit!” while waiting for Jeff to trip him up. Of course, that’s just what happens, and Jeff hits Jamal with the corkscrew and Jamal bails. Jeff follows him out and does the most pathetic railrunner I’ve seen in a while, nearly slipping and breaking his neck in mid-move. Get this guy off TV, seriously. Jamal puts him on a fresh table and splashes him through it to finish the elimination at 11:00. It was time for Jeff to go beddy-bye anyway. So Bubba is left 2-on-1, and he hammers on Rico in the ring and puts him on a table, but Jamal saves him, stalls for a while, and then follows Bubba to the top and gets powerbombed through the table at 12:00 in a move so obvious that he might as well have sent everyone in the audience a telegram saying “Dear audience (stop) I am about to get powerbombed through this table (stop) PS I am fat and talentless (stop)”. Jamal however, rebel to the end, will not leave, and hits Bubba with a belly to belly suplex, and Rosie joins them. JR protests the poor sportsmanship, but D-Von Dudley returns to the Dudley fold and cleans house on the heels, before setting up Rico and helping Bubba to hit 3D at 14:19. Well, that was certainly the right move on the WWE’s part – the singles pushes weren’t going anywhere and they knew it. Match was okay, but the sloppiness from Jeff and the samoans hurt it a lot. **3/4 (2011 Scott sez: I would not have bet in a million years that Jamal would actually go on to be a big star and his death would be a huge loss to the industry.)
– Saliva plays “Always” at the World. That album is pretty tough to find up here for some reason. (2011 Scott sez: It’s still hard to find, but that’s mainly because no one gives a shit about Saliva anymore)
Jobberweight title: Jamie Noble v. Billy Kidman.
Newer, crappier music for Kidman tonight. Kidman gets a fast rollup for one, and another one for two. Rana gets one. Noble takes a well-advised breather, and catches Kidman on the chase to take over. Kidman’s rebound lariat is reversed to the neckbreaker by Noble for two. Noble chokes him out and goes to the surfboard. Rumor du jour: Noble is cheating on his wife with Nidia in real life. (2011 Scott sez: Nothing to that one.) Kidman gets dumped and Noble follows with a tope, and back in, he goes up but gets dropkicked on the way down. They slug it out and Kidman gets an elbow and a dropkick to come back, but Noble switches under into a pumphandle, which Kidman reverses to a DVD-neckbreaker for two. Nice little sequence there. Noble comes back with a Falcon Arrow for two. Kidman gets a reverse Falcon Arrow and goes up for the SSP, but Nidia pulls Noble to safety, which allows Kidman to follow him out with a plancha. Sadly the crowd isn’t into any of this. Kidman springboards back in with a legdrop for two. Noble’s powerbomb is reversed by Kidman, but Nidia trips him up. This backfires as the heels collide and Kidman gets the Rydien Bomb for two. Kidman tries a powerbomb, but you can’t powerbomb Noble either, and they go into a swank powerbomb reversal sequence that leads to Noble getting the tigerbomb for two. Noble charges and gets nothing, and Kidman goes up, but Noble follows him up. They fight up there and Kidman wins that battle with a top rope X-Factor that gets two. Noble hangs Kidman on the top and DDTs him out of the corner for two. That’s just insanely vicious. Kidman immediately shrugs it off, however, and gets an enzuigiri to set up the Shooting Star Press, but Noble blocks it. He goes back down, however, and it’s sayonara at 7:28. Kidman no-selling the DDT was kind of typical of the cruiserweights in general, so I’m not gonna harp on that too much, but it was SUCH a vicious move that he should have been dead, or at least selling the neck or something. **1/2
– Meanwhile, Angle & Benoit share another hug, which is not exactly welcomed by Benoit.
Women’s title: Trish Stratus v. Victoria.
This is hardcore rules. Man, we’ve sure had a lot of those matches after the “last ever hardcore match”, haven’t we? Victoria attacks to start and chokes out Trish, then grabs a broom from the conveniently placed trashcans o’ plunder. Trish avoids the broom, but gets choked out with it. Note to camerapeople: Don’t zoom in on the six inches of space between the broom and Trish’s throat. Trish snapmares her with the broom to escape, and grabs a lid, but gets broomed again. They head out and Trish meets a trashcan, and back in we go. Victoria slingshots in with a legdrop for two. She puts a trashcan into the corner (the wrong way), but gets catapulted into it instead. That gets two for Trish. I won’t even mention the strange golf shot with the trashcan. An ironing board gets set up (in theory) by Trish and Victoria runs into it, and the Kawada kick gets two. Trish canes her, but Victoria counters with a lid and goes up, but Trish takes her down with the lid. They fight out and Victoria meets the stairs. Back in, Victoria powerbombs her, and then finds a mirror outside. Trish gives her another kick on the way in, another one gets two. Victoria comes back with a weak cane shot, and Trish gets the worst bulldog ever for two. That was just embarrassing, even by woman’s wrestling standards. Victoria gets the FIRE EXTINGUISHER OF DOOM and suplexes her for the pin and the title at 7:00. There was some good stuff in there and it was better than, say, Terri v. Stacy, but it pretty much fell apart once they went past the 5:00 mark. **1/4 (2011 Scott sez: I have really fond memories of this match for some reason. Huh.)
Smackdown World title: Brock Lesnar v. The Big Show.
Brock gets quite the monster pop. MSG does love their big muscleheaded lugs. Show goes for the ribs to start and gets a hiptoss, but Brock takes him down and pounds away. They head out and Show posts Brock, and back in Brock gets a suplex where Show barely even leaves the mat. C’mon, even Andre was able to take a bodyslam. Show charges and misses, and Brock gets another suplex, as Show again is unable to take the bump properly. F5 is blocked with a knee, and the ref is bumped in record time. Overhead suplex and F5 (and a beauty too) look to finish , but Heyman pulls out the ref at two, and we have a heel turn. Show chokeslams Lesnar on the chair for the pin and the title at 4:18 . Note to aspiring wrestlers: If you want to guarantee yourself a run at the top, make sure to weigh 500 pounds after being repeatedly asked to get down to 350, then wrestle the champion in a house show match and injure him right before a PPV where you’re the lame duck challenger of the month. I assume (and this is probably a big assumption at this point) that the WWE braintrust is at least smart enough to know that Show needs to lose the title right away because he won’t be able to go more than 5:00 in a PPV main event, but god knows if they were smart they wouldn’t have booked themselves into a corner by having Show be the challenger of the month to begin with. I mean, give your rationalizations and excuses about Brock’s injuries and “viable challengers” and blah blah blah but at the end of the day you have to go to sleep at night knowing that the FUCKING BIG SHOW is champion again. I mean, really now, Big Show is the champion of the World again. What the fuck? You’ve got six guys floundering around in the tag team division who could be interchanging in the main events for the next four months with (I’m 150% sure) just as good a chance to pop a buyrate as Lesnar or Big Show has, so why not GIVE SOMEONE ELSE A CHANCE FOR ONCE? People are digging this Benoit-Angle stuff, so let them run with the title for a couple of PPVs. It’s not like Lesnar has been hot shit in terms of money drawn anyway. I hate to start laying blame on a guy who’s only been pushed since June, but house shows HAVE been a total disaster since he won the title. Somebody’s gotta say it, and it might as well be me. * (2011 Scott sez: In fact, they DID put the title on Angle right away, and let him run with a Benoit program, and it was pretty awesome. Go me.)
Smackdown tag title match: Edge & Rey Mysterio v. Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle v. Los Guerreros.
This is elimination rules. Chavo makes sure to lay down the law to everyone before the match, then opts out of the match. Mysterio starts with Benoit, and gets CHOPPED. You have to capitalize it for full effect. Rey snaps off a rana and flapjacks him, and Edge comes in for a double-team hiptoss and some elbows. Benoit comes back with more chops and brings in Angle, who immediately gets backdropped and tags in Chavo instead. Edge takes him down and gets a dropkick, and Rey comes in with the falling splash for two. Chavo tries a powerbomb, but Rey reverses to an armdrag. Eddy comes in to take care of business, however, and pounds on Rey Rey. Rey comes back with a flying headscissors and a monkey flip, so Eddy tags Angle again. Kurt hammers on Rey, but gets headscissored. He charges and misses, and Rey’s alley-oop to the top is blown, as he slips and falls onto the mat. That’s pretty rare for Rey. Angle suplex gets two. Benoit gets a standing neckbreaker and a vicious backdrop suplex for two. Angle gets his own backdrop suplex for two. Angle gives Edge a cheapshot and tries the Angle Slam on Rey, but it’s reversed. Angle hits him with a clothesline to recover and gets two. Benoit gives Rey a knee to the gut and snaps a suplex for two. I should point out that if you stare at Rey’s tights long enough, you can see a sailboat. Or maybe it’s the Statue of Liberty – I was never good at those 3D puzzle things. Angle hits the facelock, and counters a reversal attempt by Rey. Rey fights out and gets a leg lariat, and everyone’s out. The Guerreros decline the tag from Angle, so Benoit gets it instead. Hot tag Edge, and he’s a heel-killing machine. Faceplant for Benoit and overhead suplex for Angle, as Eddy & Rey tumble over the top rope. Edge goes for the spear, but lands into a crossface- anklelock combo that’s so awesome that it deserves it’s own spot in the Hall of Awesome. Rey breaks it up as Angle bails, and hits a bunch of people with a spinning tope. Meanwhile, Benoit suplexes Edge, until Eddy hits a sunset flip on Benoit while Benoit carries Edge over with a german suplex, and gets two. That’s insane. Benoit goes right back to suplexing Edge, but the hair saves Edge from permanent brain damage. Benoit goes up, but Eddy sneaks in with a frog splash for two, so Benoit hits him with the headbutt instead. Angle Slam for Eddy and anklelock, while Benoit puts Edge in the crossface, but the ref is distracted. Chavo lays out Benoit with the belt and gives it to Angle, thus convincing Benoit that Angle did the deed. More shoving results, and Edge finishes Benoit with the spear at 13:08. Crowd kinda didn’t like that one, actually. Angle, hero of sportsmanship, destroys Edge with a suplex afterwards, and Benoit takes out his problems on Chavo. God’s Team fights back to the dressing room, while Eddy tries to steal a fall on Edge. Los Guerreros work Edge over in the corner, and Chavo gets two. Eddy’s senton gets two. Main Event Sleeper wastes some time, and Chavo gets a dropkick for two. Eddy uses the tag rope for some choking, and a backdrop suplex follows. We go back to the facelock again. Chavo dropkicks him for two. Edge comes back with a flapjack on both of them, and makes the hot tag to Mysterio. Crossbody for Chavo and a tilt-a-whirl for Eddy, and the heels collide to set up an alley-oop rana on Eddy that gets two. Edge dumps Chavo, and does a sloppy reversal sequence with Eddy to set up the 619, but the ref is distracted, allowing Chavo to hit Rey with the belt. Lasso From El Paso finishes at 19:25. That beltshot finish is kinda played, to say the least. This was pretty disappointing, but in a “weak Smackdown” way rather than a “weak RAW” kind of way. One problem Heyman has is giving away the great matches on free TV and then not being able to top them on PPV, where it counts. This really should have had 40-45 minutes, given the buildup for it. ***1/2
Chris Nowinski and Matt Hardy come out and cut brutally stupid anti-New York promos until Scott Steiner destroys them, just to show where the pecking order is once and for all.
Fake World title, Elimination Chamber: HHH v. Shawn Michaels v. Four Other Guys Who Don’t Matter.
Might as well tell it like it is. It’s a big round cage with a raised platform running flush with the ring apron, and four plexiglass cages holding the guys not immediately involved in the match. Bischoff calls it “bulletproof” glass, but is careful not to actually TOUCH it, for reasons that will become apparent later. I would be remiss in not noting how gay HBK is looking tonight, complete with his girlish haircut, tights-and-cowboy-boots look, and 120 pound frame. I mean, seriously, I’m not one to advocate drug use, but sometimes you need to shoot up with roids in order to give the match SOME degree of cred. I’ve seen Jeff Hardy look more butch than Shawn. HHH and RVD start the match, with five-minute intervals for the other guys. The small bolt holding the main door shut reminds me of the Rhino cages on the Simpsons. Rob gets a leg lariat to start, and kicks away. HHH comes back by USING THE KNEE, and gets backdropped onto the grating while trying the Pedigree. Rob stomps him down and sends him into the main door a couple of times, breaking the high-quality lock clean off. So much for craftsmanship. Rob monkey-flips him onto the grating (it kinda detracts from the intensity when you do three flips before a move), and gets Rolling Thunder onto the grating. Back into the ring, Rob climbs above Jericho’s cage (you have to question THAT wisdom) and of course gets tripped up as a result. They head back down again as Rob gets a sloppy somersault dive off the cage, only making contact in a general sense. HHH eats the cage again and they head back in, as Jericho joins us after the first interval. Rob hits him with a leg lariat and a standing moonsault for two. Springboard dropkick and Rob dumps Jericho, then follows him out with a dive that misses. He grabs the cage like Spider-Man (as noted by JR and King), and follows Jericho back in. HHH nails him with a lariat, however. Jericho hits RVD with a backdrop suplex, but Rob fights back on both heels. Jericho hits him with a senton for two. HHH tosses Rob again and they ram him into the cage and generally beat him down. HHH whips Jericho into Rob, but it misses and Rob hits both of them with kicks to come back. HHH DDTs him as we await the entrance of Booker T to hopefully get this thing moving a little faster. Booker cleans house and stops for a Spinarooni, then does a sequence with RVD that ends with a spinkick that gets two for Booker. Rob spinkicks him for two. Blind charge misses and Booker sidekicks him for two. HHH comes back in, but gets axe kicked. RVD goes up to the top of an empty cage for the frog splash, but physics is NOT his friend, as he runs out of room and blows the move, driving his knee into HHH’s throat as a result. Hebner gives the dreaded “X” sign to indicate legitimate injury, and HHH takes a breather while Booker hits Rob with a missile dropkick for the pin at 13:39. I think RVD blew out his knee on that move, too. Booker covers HHH for two. Jericho chops away on Booker and bulldogs him, but misses the Lionsault and gets hit with a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. Booker gets two, and Kane is in next. Weird thing: The order of entrance into the ring is the same as the order of entrance into the match. Kane gives Booker a corner clothesline and tosses Jericho into the cage. Next stop: The plexiglass, which turns out to be less bulletproof than advertised. Kane pounds on HHH and blocks Booker’s sidekick, then chokeslams him. Jericho Lionsaults Booker for the pin at 17:40. Note to everyone still holding out hope for a Booker push: Give it up. Kane and Jericho fight on the cage and Jericho gets slammed back into the ring, while HHH lies around and bleeds. You know, if HHH was injured, he should have just been a professional and bowed out of the match early and actually put someone over rather than waiting to give the Almighty Rub of God to his best friend. Kane slams HHH off the top, but Jericho goes low and gives him a missile dropkick. Shawn arrives on the scene and cleans house (which is a pretty ridiculous visual given the size difference) and hits Kane with the flying forearm. JR’s assessment: “He’s not quick, he’s sudden” Well, that certainly clears it up. Kane chokes Jericho down and chokeslams everyone, but goes for exactly zero pins. A superkick, a Pedigree and a Lionsault later and Kane is gone at 22:52. Poor Kane is always booked to look like an incompetent boob, and they wonder why he never gets over. Jericho sends Shawn into the cage a few times and opens a cut (using verbal encouragement for good measure), and HHH tosses Shawn. Some cheese grater action results. Back in, Jericho abuses Shawn while HHH does nothing, but looks REALLY INTENSE while doing it. Shawn fights back and goes for a piledriver on the grating, but Jericho backdrops out of it. Back in, Shawn hits HHH with his forearm (time to update the moveset, Shawn, it’s the 21st century), but gets Lionsaulted for two. Shawn gets a moonsault press for two. He puts Jericho in a Boston Crab, but HHH DDTs Shawn to break it, and Jericho gets two. The heels fight over the pin and HHH uses the knee for two. Pedigree is reversed to the Walls, but Shawn superkicks him to break it, which was a pretty obvious spot. Jericho is gonzo at 30:44. HHH & Shawn slug it out, and HHH gets the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER for two. Shawn charges and gets dumped, but they fight over the Pedigree and Shawn gets catapulted into the plexiglass. Back in, HHH gets two. They slug it out again and HHH gets yet another facebuster and dumps Shawn. I think they’re running out of spots to use tonight. Another Pedigree attempt is reversed to yet another catapult, which is like the fifth one in the match. Nice bald spot, Shawn. Back in, Shawn goes up and drops the big elbow off the cage, almost adding his contribution to the “kill HHH fund” in the process, and the band is warming up. He passes a move to HHH via Hebner on-camera, telling him to tell HHH to block the first one. And indeed, HHH blocks it and hits the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but doesn’t go for the pin. He finally gets two. Another try is reversed by Shawn to the superkick, and he wins the title at 39:21. I am astonished (well, not REALLY) that they would buy into this Shawn nostalgia crap when he’s actively tanking ratings and wasn’t a draw to begin with. Irony of course struck hard here, as HHH set things up to give himself a rematch next month, but suffered a crushed larynx in the process and thus probably won’t be able to get his title back yet. Oh well, if HHH can’t talk for a month, it’s a small price to pay. Match was, shall we say, dramatically sound in the last 10 minutes, but it was just so darn LONG that I can’t recommend bothering to watch it, and HHH’s performance was pretty useless. Guess he needs to learn how to work injured. ***1/4 (2011 Scott sez: I was very happy to be proven totally wrong about Shawn Michaels. Although HHH winning the title back was a pretty dull match.)
The Bottom Line:
I’m not even really sure what I thought of this show – everything was pretty okay at the very least, but the booking choices were so retarded that it hampered my enjoyment a lot. And we can forget about seeing the Elimination Chamber again, I think – logistically speaking, it’s just too complex and the payoff isn’t worth it.
Call it thumbs up for the work but thumbs down for the booking, and we’ll compromise and say thumbs in the middle leaning up.