The SmarK Rant for WWE Smackdown – 09.12.02
It’s the SEASON PREMIERE. This one features a couple of things you may have heard about on the internet before.
Taped from Minneapolis, MN
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Tazz
Brock Lesnar v. Hardcore Holly
Non-title match here. They slug it out to start and Brock hits him with an overhead suplex and goes to a facelock on the mat, but Bob makes the ropes. So Holly shoots for a takedown and they land on the floor, where Brock puts the boots to him and powers him into the post. Another suplex on the floor, and back in for two. After dubbing in boos for Brock earlier, the crowd is now chanting his name because it’s in Minnesota. Brock takes him down with an STO and a delayed suplex, so delayed they should call it Brock’s latest return from vacation, and Brock beats on him with forearms while Heyman clutches the title outside. It’s a tremendous touch that Heyman still hugs the belts in the exact same way 21 years later. Brock with the bearhug and Holly seems ready to escape that, so Brock suplexes him again for two. Holly comes back with a missile dropkick, but Brock just swats him aside and hits him with a backbreaker. Holly fights out of that, so Brock tries a powerbomb and drops Holly right on his goddamn head, like he’s Kenny Omega or something. Holy crap. So Brock tries it again, but Holly somehow manages to make a comeback with the dropkick and his rope kick, and he rolls up Brock for two. But then Brock quickly finishes with the F5 so Holly can go get some damn medical attention at 6:15. I know people have accused Bob of sandbagging him on the way up, but it was clear Brock never had a good grip and just accidentally tried to murder him as a result. Pretty good hoss fight to start here. **1/2.
Eddie & Chavo Guerrero v. Edge & John Cena
Another historic first as the Guerreros team up on Smackdown for the first time. OK, second. One guess who’s doing the job here. Hint: Not Chavo. The Guerreros attack, but the babyfaces fight them off and clear the ring. Cena pulls Eddie back in by the mullet, but Eddie takes him down with a wristlock. So the Guerreros try the double wristlock spot and Cena powers out of that for his big rookie sensation spot. But then the Guerreros toss him to the floor and put the boots to him out there. Back in, Chavo puts him down with a clothesline as Tazz notes all of Red Hook is pumped about the commitment ceremony tonight, and Joey Numbers most of all. Cena comes back with a press slam on Eddie, but Chavo clips the knee to break that up. Cena fights over and makes the tag, with a guy helpfully holding up a “HOT TAG” sign in the background, but Eddie trips up Edge and crotches him on the post to take over again. That gets two for Chavo. Eddie with a snap suplex for two. Eddie with a rana for two and he slugs Edge down, and Chavo comes in with a slingshot knee to the back and then puts Edge down with a knee to the gut for two. Edge comes back with the bulldog and makes the hot tag to Cena, and he hits Eddie with the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. So funny to see him do that with no followup. Edge comes in and gets dumped, allowing Chavo to hit Cena with a brainbuster, into the frog splash from Eddie for the pin at 7:01. Man the Guerreros looked SMOOOOOOOOOOOOTH as hell here. *** So then Chavito wants to give Edge a Stinkface, but of course Eddie is the one who ends up with his face stinked. The forced laughter from the announcers makes me feel like they should have left things with the heels getting some heat on Edge instead.
Meanwhile, Eddie freaks out on Chavo and tries to wash the ass smell off his face. Chavo: “I’m sorry Eddie, I didn’t know! I thought it was his face!” Eddie: “IT WAS MY FACE, HOMES!” OK, I changed my mind, I’m back on the side of leaving it in again.
Meanwhile, Matt Hardy congratulates Undertaker on his impending child and longs for the day when he has a kid of his own, who will have all of his Mattributes. Taker doesn’t really appreciate Matt’s congratulations and leaves him laying.
Meanwhile, Rico tries to explain “two grooms” to a cake maker, and then asks Stephanie to attend the ceremony, but she has “really bad luck” at weddings and doesn’t want to wreck it for him. OK that was a funny line. But Rico is freaking out and needs a witness, so Stephanie reluctantly agrees. I’m sure it’ll work out fine.
Kurt Angle v. Rey Mysterio
Angle’s promo before the match is legendary, as he complains about Rey Mysterio being a boy, but Angle’s a man who loves to play with boys! And then he’s gonna get on top of the little boy and manhandle him. Meanwhile the announcers mock Eric Bischoff’s “HLA” ploy on RAW as “ratings desperation” while they hype the impending wedding. Oh the layers of irony. Angle slams him out of the lockup, and as promised, gets on top of him and manhandles him a little bit. Speaking of big man v little man matches, if you have access to Plex on your TV, I’d recommend checking out the Plex Channel called “Ultimate Classic Wrestling”, which is a 24 hour live stream of just what the name implies. Last night I tuned in and got a six-man match from the 70s with Bobby Heenan & The Blackjacks v. Crusher/Bruiser & Little Bruiser and it was TREMENDOUS, with Bobby doing the job for the midget after bleeding buckets. Rey gets a pair of rollups for two, but Angle tosses him with a german suplex and beats him down in the corner. Angle with a pair of backbreakers for two off that. Rey makes a comeback and Angle cuts him off with a bodyscissors on the mat, which Rey reverses for two. Angle hits him with the rolling germans, but Rey counters with a bulldog and they’re both down. Rey makes a comeback and pops up into a moonsault for two before putting Angle on the floor with a bodypress. He follows with a dive as I again ponder how WCW had this guy for FIVE YEARS and couldn’t figure out what to do with him. Rey with a springboard legdrop for two and Angle rolls into an anklelock, but Rey kicks out of that to set up the 619. Michael notes you should get your cell phone and dial 619. Wait, you can use a phone to make CALLS? Holy shit. Rey with a rana for two and he goes up, but Angle cuts him off with an Angle Slam off the top rope, which gets the pin at 8:25. Yeah I’d hope so. This was pretty incredible for 2002 TV. ****
Meanwhile, a limo arrives for the wedding party.
Chris Benoit v. Rikishi
Benoit beats on him to start and even dares to headbutt a Samoan, so no wonder he got CTE, but Rikishi hits him with a spinebuster. So Benoit goes low and chops him down for two. Into the crossface already, but Rikishi powers out and hits him with a cutter. He goes up to finish, but Benoit pops up and brings him down with an electric chair that has the crowd gasping. Benoit goes up, but Kurt Angle runs in for the lame DQ at 2:50. And then he holds Benoit’s hands while Rikishi delivers a Stinkface in the corner, getting his revenge on Benoit. I know I saw this often for this period, but Rikishi just did not give a shit at all during this time. Benoit was like “Fuck it, I’m gonna chop the shit out of you and literally carry you on my shoulders like a freak” and Rikishi could barely be bothered to sell the crossface. *
Meanwhile, Benoit rages at Stephanie about getting LAUGHED AT, and he demands satisfaction at the PPV. So Steph makes Benoit v. Angle for Unforgiven and I might have to check out that show again. Also Matt Hardy stops by and he’s equally outraged and DEMANDS a match with the Undertaker. Tonight, in this very ring!
So Stephanie does in fact show up, and the Justice of the Peace is kind of old, and Rico is sweating all the details. So Chuck and Billy read their own vows, as Chuck declares that Billy has captured gold on numerous occasions, but now he’s captured Chuck’s HEART. Billy asks him to be his tag team partner for life and Rico presents a video recap of their love story together. So the Justice does the bit where anyone objects and the crowd of course is way ahead of the game and waits for the big reveal. This turns out to be the Godfather and he’s disappointed that Billy and Chuck aren’t playing for his team anymore. It seems that they used to be “legendary skirt-chasers” who made use of his pimping services on a regular basis but now no longer do so. This annoys Rico again, who tells Godfather to get lost and take his “good time girls” with him. So Rico tells the Justice to “skip to the good part” and we get to the “I Do” part, but Billy and Chuck get increasingly nervous because they apparently didn’t agree to going through with this all the way. And then when they’re about to be announced as married, Billy freaks out and yells at Rico because it was all supposed to be a publicity stunt. They’re not gay!
But the Justice of the Peace is tired of this ceremony going off the rails, and settles everyone down by noting that their bond will never change, whether it lasts for fifty years…or three minutes. And then of course he does the epic Mission Impossible mask reveal and it’s Eric Bischoff, as we learn that Rico was behind the whole thing, and Three Minute Warning hits the ring and destroys everyone as poor Stephanie has wrecked another wedding day. Of course, on the hyper-competitive wrestling wedding scale, this was way up there. The whole “gay panic” undertone doesn’t really work very well these days and really Billy and Chuck’s babyface turn was a bust, but as a moment it was terrific.
Not sure why they didn’t close with this to be honest. Also they were talking about Bischoff “sabotaged” the season premiere, but wouldn’t it be a big ratings success and thus actually be sabotaging his own show? I don’t really understand the logic there.
Torrie Wilson v. Nidia
Nidia gets a clothesline for two, but Torrie slams her for two. And then Nidia tries a comeback and Torrie spears her for the pin. DUD
Meanwhile, Undertaker leaves his pregnant wife in the locker room so he can go do his match, and promises it won’t be long.
Matt Hardy v. Undertaker
Yes, it’s the debut of LIVE FOR THE MOMENT as Matt’s entrance music. This show is PACKED. Matt Facts can’t be far behind. He’s also got Brock Lesnar with him for backup, just in case he can’t handle things alone. Taker beats on Matt right away and hits him with a powerslam after teasing a tombstone. He goes for the Last Ride right away, but Heyman makes a nuisance of himself and gets thrown out by the ref. Which gives him a reason to be in the dressing room again. So Brock annoys Undertaker now and lays him out with a clothesline on the floor, so the ref throws him out of the match as well. Matt makes his comeback, but Taker blocks the Twist of Fate without much trouble and puts him down with a clothesline. But then Heyman appears on the screen, putting the moves on Sara Undertaker backstage, which gives us some acting chops from Mrs. Undertaker as Mr. Undertaker runs back to make the save, allowing Matt to presumably win by countout as Brock lays out Taker with a chairshot. And then Brock flexes on Sara as well and we’re done.
What a wet fart of an angle to end a pretty great show. Granted I know they had to build up the PPV main event somehow, but they weren’t going to be able to follow the wedding reveal and they shouldn’t have tried. That being said, the wedding angle led to nothing of note and didn’t really help either team anyway. But this was definitely a notable episode worth checking out.