SmackDown from JHawk's Beak (7/31/2003)
Still shots of the main event at Vengeance.
On tape from 7/29/2003 from the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado! Torrie Wilson sleeps with Jamie Noble! Tajiri vs. Eddy Guerrero for the United States Title!
But first, My Olympic Hero comes down to the ring with his new championship belt! And it looks damn good around his waist! Angle thanks the fans for the cheers and gets more cheers as a result, including a "USA" chant. He says he could come out here with some sob story about battling adversity en route to his fourth WWE Title, but was there any doubt? "I'm Kurt freaking Angle, what did you expect?" But this is the definitive highlight of his career, because this time as champion is his favorite because he never thought he'd get the shot again after breaking his neck at WrestleMania. While he was away rehabbing and training, he could only think about returning to the ring and being the best, so standing in the ring as WWE Champion is not only an honor. It's a dream come true. It's true. And it's also true that King Brock I is making his way to the ring. He doesn't mean to come out here and spoil his big moment, because Kurt did the impossible...pin Brock Lesnar. But Brock was there when Kurt was rehabbing, so he knows what it meant to him. But Kurt knows what the title means to Brock. So he wants to challenge Kurt Angle face-to-face for his WWE Title. The crowd chants "rematch", and Kurt says there's a lot to consider. There are a lot of athletes who more than deserve a shot at the title, "so I just don't think...OK you're on!" BUT WAIT! You think we'll go more than 11 minutes without Mr. McAsshole coming to the ring uninvited? Especially when his daughter is out with a bruised sternum? Look at Kurt with his belt all shined up, smiling at everybody, bragging about his title victory. This is even where he trained for the Olympics. "And what a gracious champion! Wow, I'm impressed!" But what Brock doesn't know is that Kurt practically begged Vince not to book that match. Why, Kurt's a backstabber who would sell anybody right down the river. And Vince might be in the minority, but he finds that admirable. And since Vince is the only McMahon here tonight, he says "No." He has to earn it. But he does want to see them compete tonight, so they'll be in tag team action against opponents of Vince's choosing. "Your friendship's going to be tested on way or another, I guarantee that!"
Ooo, there's that word again. "Guarantee". I can't complain about this as an opening segment. Everybody wants to see Brock vs. Kurt one-on-one when they're both healthy, and Vince McMahon decides to try to get between their friendship and build some tension between them. The quality of tponight's match depends on who the team's going to be, but hey, Kurt Angle on my TV is a good thing!
Chris Benoit vs. Rhyno tonight!
One fall: Rey Misterio Jr. (Cruiserweight Champion--w/Billy Kidman) vs. Shelton Benjamin (w/Charlie Haas)
Why it's a singles match between the guys who were in a tag match at Vengeance! Shouldn't this have been part of the buildup? Non-title, by the way. Benjamin with a waistlock to start. Rey is out and into a drop toehold. Another drop toehold into the ropes, but Benjamin avoids the 619. Benjamin with a hammerlock, and he throws Rey shoulder first into the ringpost and goes to work on the left arm. And Haas gets involved liberally as well. Benjamin with a hammerlock shoulderbreaker and a cover for 2. Sweet move! Back to the hammerlock. Rey elbows out of it and snap mares Benjamin shoulder first into the ringpost. A series of punches, followed by an enzuigiri for 2. Benjamin tosses Rey into the air, but Rey lands on him with a sitdown for 2. Wow! Rey avoids a tilt-a-whirl, but not a single-arm DDT, and Benjamin covers for 2. Benjamin with a chinlock and an arm scissors in one. Haas pulls the ropes away, but Rey gets to them anyway. Rey with a leg dive, and Haas gets involved, so Kidman finally goes after Haas. Rey puts Benjamin into the ropes...619, but Benjamin catches Rey's West Coast Pop...and Rey counters into a Victory roll for the pin at 4:28. Short, but some good stuff here. **
Michael Coleslaw and Tazz thank those of us who ordered Vengeance. And part of that fallout is that Torrie Wilson must sleep with Jamie Noble, and here's how it happened, as they show the finish.
Jamie By God Noble is in his boxers (and cowboy hat) preparing to the big night. Knock knock. It's Torrie Wilson, who is disgusted by Noble's attire. Noble assures her everything will be OK. He's got chocolates, champagne, leopard skin handcuffs, a paddle...if they go through with this, I really don't want to see it...A cat o'nine tails, a Lone Ranger mask...and Torrie's as sick as I am and heads off to puke.
The usual goodness from these two from an in-ring standpoint, but it's a shame they had to compact all of that into a four-minute special. My one question: Is Rey ever going to defend the title again? If it wasn't for house shows the 30-day rule would have long passed by now.
As far as Noble and Torrie goes, I'll give them credit for one thing. This has already gone farther than Torrie and Dawn Marie did in December.
Tajiri meets Eddy for the U.S. Title tonight!
One fall: Chris BeNOIT vs. The Man Beast Rhyno
Rhyno is on the video wall, and he'd be pissed if he was screwed out of the title. Apparently, Benoit treated Rhyno as a joke, but Rhyno has a warm-up opponent for Benoit...someone who knows about jokes...
One fall: Chris BeNOIT vs. Doink the Clown
And here I was thinking Bill "Hugh Morrus" DeMott, but that would be using somebody who allegedly works full-time for WWE. Benoit gets pissed of Doink's crowd pandering and attacks him on the floor. Back in the ring, Benoit takes him down with a back suplex. Lots and lots of chops, and into the turnbuckle. Doink comes back with an elbow and heads up top, but Benoit knocks him onto the buckle...and it's a back superplex. Benoit to the top...Swan Dive Headbutt! Crippler Crossface, tapout in 1:22. DUD And he hesitates to release the hold.
Benoit grabs the mic, and he wants Rhyno to take it like a man. Now that he's all warmed up, Rhyno's ready...but sometimes you just don't get what you want. Benoit's the joke tonight, and Rhyno's the one who's laughing.
Back in the hotel, Noble has the bed warmed up. He got the king size so there'd be enough room for both of them. Another knock on the door, and Noble tries to send them away, but room service is persistent. Oh wait. It's just Nidia. And tonight's not about Torrie. It's about her, and she looks damn good in that lingerie. They go at it while Torrie looks on...
I don't mind if they want to hold off on Benoit vs. Rhyno until SummerSlam, but is the bait and switch to pull it off really necessary? Especially when we have to watch Doink the freaking Clown? Decent enough angle though, so it's not so bad.
Now please tell me that this is the end of the Noble-Torrie segments for tonight. I've read better sex stories in Penthouse.
Kurt Angle is shaking hands with Spanky and Funaki, and Brock comes in to ask Kurt if he talked to Vince McMahon. Kurt simply said that if Vince wanted to think of Brock vs. Kurt at SummerSlam, then remember WrestleMania. Just to think about his investment in both of them. Angle wants to give him the rematch, and he has a great idea on how to get it for him.
One fall for the WWE United States Championship: Eddy Guerrero (champion) vs. Tajiri
This low rider isn't bouncing. Good shocks on a low rider? And Eddy is pissed about it. So Eddy opens the trunk...and Tajiri's waiting on him, spraying green mist into his eyes. One referee sends him into the ring as two others check on Eddy, and the trainer is trying to clear out his eyes. Eddy claims he can't see and therefore can't wrestle. The trainer isn't convinced, and neither is Mike Chioda, who tells Tony Chimel that if he doesn't wrestle, he forfeits.
The tension continues to build between Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, and I'm less into this right now for one simple reason. Wasn't Angle being afraid of Lesnar the main problem most people had with the WrestleMania buildup? So now we're doing that again? Maybe they'll surprise me with this one, but it's looking as though it's March all over again.
Terrific angle to set up this Eddy-Tajiri match, and hopefully the match pays off like it should. But shouldn't this be a PPV match with a month's worth of build?
We're back in progress with Tajiri getting a heel kick in and simply kicking and stomping away at Eddy until he covers for 2. He drives the forearm into Eddy's face. Eddy with a thumb to the eye. A huge chop and a forearm. Mounted punches in the corner, but Tajiri slips out until he has Eddy in the tree of woe...baseball slide! Kicks to the leg and a faceslam. Cover for 2. Eddy pulls Tajiri into the corner via the tights. He sends Tajiri to the floor, and Chioda keeps him from going to the floor. He finally gets to the floor and gets a double-axhandle to the back. Back into the ring, and Tajiri rolls out to the other side. Both men back in, and Tajiri gets some kicks in. Eddy with kicks, chops, forearms, and a running elbowsmash. Into the hilo and a cover for 2. Waistlock suplex for 2. Eddy goes into a chinlock as we find out that Zach Gowen is in action tonight. Knee to the midsection and a bodyslam. Eddy to the top rope, but Tajiri's on his feet and kicks away at Eddy, and then it's a Dynamite Kid-style superplex! There's Chioda's double ten count, and both men get to their feet. Eddy with forearms. And kicks. Whip, reversal, leapfrog, monkey flip. Eddy rolls to the floor, and Tajiri follows him outside. Into the steel steps goes Eddy Guerrero! Tajiri rolls back into the ring to break the count. Baseball slide, and Eddy hits the announce table. Tajiri follows him outside and gets a solid kick that nearly knocks Eddy out cold. Tajiri rolls him into the ring and covers for 2. Eddy comes back with right hands, but Tajiri counters a back suplex with a flying headscissors. Handspring elbow. Tornado DDT. Another double ten count, and Tajiri covers for 2. They trade punches on their knees, and Tajiri hops up into a dropkick for a near fall. Eddy with a knee to the midsection, and that leads into the rolling vertical suplexes. Tajiri goes behind on the third suplex attempt, and we're into the Tarantula. Tajiri breaks the hold at 4, and there's the Kick to the Head...Eddy ducks, grabs Chioda, then gets the low blow in. Chioda knows what happened and yells at Eddy, but he didn't see it and therefore can't disqualify him. Green mist, but Eddy ducks, and the mist hits the referee. Tajiri knocks Eddy down and checks on the referee, but Eddy grabs the belt and wallops Tajiri with it. Eddy grabs Tazz's bottle of water and pours it into the referee's eyes, and then he's up top...Frog Splash for the pin at 12:15. Good stuff, but it felt flat. ***
Still to come, Brock and Angle vs. a mystery team, but next, the Zach Gowen stuff from Confidential.
A really good match, but it came off rather flat, and it showed in the crowd reaction, as they did very little through the duration of this one. I don't know if it was because they just kind of threw this together with Tajiri's unhyped return, or if they just didn't click together like they should have, or what it was, but I was expecting something better with the time they got. Hopefully this doesn't end Tajiri's usefulness on the roster, but they weren't using him before the team with Eddy, so I have a bad feeling Tajiri won't be around much longer.
Thank you for joining us on SmackDown, sayeth out hosts, and what a performance by Zach Gowen at Vengeance. Here's his story, and if you care, check out Retro Rob's Confidential recap.
Up next, Zach Gowen in action.
It's a touching story, and I know that the audience for Confidential isn't as large as it is for SmackDown, but that makes it three times this has been shown since Saturday night now (they also showed it on Heat), and it's ready to scream of overkill.
One fall: Zach Gowen vs. Shannon Moore v.0.75 (w/Matt Hardy v.1.0)
Someone holds up an "I love you Zach" sign, and he or she is wearing a mask. Way to not be ashamed. Matt Facts: "Matt's favorite season is summer" and "Matt is twice the wrestler Zach Gowen is". Lockup, and Moore throws Gowen down. Gowen goes behind and hits a forearm, then it's a Japanese armdrag and and a dropkick. Series of forearms, and he goes for a tornado DDT, but Moore backdrops Gowen into the turnbuckle. Gowen favors the leg as Moore pulls him through the air by the leg and flips him over before covering for 2. Swinging neckbreaker for 2. Moore drives Gowen into the corner. A charge, but Gowen with an elbow and a series of kicks. Jumping leg lariat, and Gowen to the middle rope for a missile dropkick and a 2 count. Gowen up top...moonsault bodyblock for 2. Neckbreaker out of a suplex position, and Hardy to the apron...and down with a springboard clothesline...and the distraction enables Moore to get a roll up for the pin at 3:40. *1/2 Postmatch, Hardy attacks Gowen and takes him down with the Side Effect. There's the Twist of Fate. He stares Gowen down, and the crowd ERUPTS!
Zach Gowen is kind of a weird phenomenon, as it seems that the fans like to see him work and appreciate how he's been doing...but they have no interest in seeing him win because they know how damaging it could be to his opponents. Still, he's got a better moveset on one leg than some of these guys have on two, so as long as Gowen doesn't get a ridiculous push, I've got no problems with him being in the ring.
One fall: John Cena vs. Orlando Jordan
It's time for a lesson in thuganomics, as everybody said Cena failed the test, "but it was The Undertaker who was a bloody mess!" He wants a rematch for SmackDown for next week, but expects a no-show so the rookies can give him a "low blow", particularly Jordan. Ah, the whole "Taker's given each guy respect" deal. Jordan gets a right hand before the bell, and Cena punches back. He suplexes Jordan stomach first onto the top rope and starts working the ribs...just like he did to Taker on Sunday. Jordan punches back to sell his boxing background, but Cena stops it with a kick to the ribs. Jordan goes for a rollup, but Cena grabs the ropes to block. Chokeholds, and right back to the ribs. Jordan punching back, but Cena hits the F-U for the pin at 2:26. Ugh. 1/4*
In the hotel room, Torrie's been drinking heavily, and Nidia and Noble have apparently just gotten out of the shower. Noble suggests a menage a trois, but there's another knock on the door. Of course, it's "Not the One" Billy Gunn, and Noble immediately begs off. Gunn and Torrie hug (Gunn: "Are you OK?" Torrie: "I'm drunk.")... and Noble and Nidia are at it again. And Gunn and Torrie look on.
A bad match and a nothing payoff in the same segment. Hooray for us, huh? Well, at least the match was trying to build to something, as Cena showed the same basic strategy he used against The Undertaker to an apparent Taker protege and got a victory out of it en route to an apparent rematch for next week. But did the hotel segments get anybody over?
Metallica's "St. Anger" is the SummerSlam theme song. I bet they didn't get it off of Napster. Or even KaZaA, for that matter.
We're in Colorado Springs, and who are the opponents for Brock and Angle?
Mr. McMahon is in the GM office, and he's got Brock Lesnar to deal with. He wants Brock to earn his rematch? Well, what about that match with Brock that he agreed to? Next week? For Brock's title shot? Vince will take the rematch into consideration, and as for the match...he's on. Just don't turn your back on Angle in that tag team match. Back to the phone Vince goes.
Back to the hotel, and we have a foursome going on. Or over. That took all of what, four minutes for them to finish up?
No Longer Able Sable is on her way to the ring. Sign in crowd: "Sable rides the A-Train." And everyone else from what I hear. ::rimshot:: She's got the mic, and she's not one to say "I told you so", but she told us she would beat the hell out of Stephanie McMahon at Vengeance. I'm still waiting to see that... Anyway, Steph's just a pussycat, and Sable's the dominant female on SmackDown. Here's the clip of A-Train running in and nearly killing Steph with one shot. Sable: "I guess it does help to have friends in high places. Thank you Vince, and I'll be seeing you later." She introduces partner number one: A-Train. So much for that killer main event. Do I even need to guess partner number two is The Big Show? Well, it looks like I'm right, as the music plays for The Too Damn Big Show's entrance.
So did Noble and Nidia turn face, or did Torrie and Gunn turn heel? Or will we forget this even happened next week? As far as the main event goes, I'm glad we got some explanation as to why A-Train interfered in the Steph-Sable match, but haven't we killed off the Show/A-Train team like three times this year already? So why is it always coming back just when we've forgotten they teamed up in the first place?
We've confirmed Cena vs. Undertaker and Lesnar vs. McMahon for next week.
A-Train and The Too Damn Big Show vs. King Brock I and My Olympic Hero
Angle and A-Train start. Lockup, and A-Train tosses Angle to the mat. And again. A-Train says he wants the belt...oh God no! Armdrag. Shouldertackle. Corner whip, avalanche, forearm. Corner whip, but Angle ducks and gets the Ankle Lock. A-Train kicks him into the corner, and Brock tags in. Series of shoulderblocks by Lesnar, but A-Train with a kick. Corner whip, clothesline. Series of stomps and forearms. Lesnar comes back and slams A-Train down for a 2 count. Angle tags in, but A-Train takes him down with a backbreaker. Angle fires back, but he gets whipped into Show's boot, then a boot by A-Train gets 2. Show tags in, and Angle tries to fight back, but he gets a snap mare and a boot to the chest. Lesnar pulls Angle to the corner, but Show takes him down with a headbutt. Slaps to the chest in the corner. Headbutt. Angle fights back again but runs into a sidewalk slam for 2. More punches, and the tag to A-Train, who changes things up by using kicks. Bodyslam, splash, and Lesnar makes the save. A-Train goes for a power bomb, but Angle ends up behind him and takes him down with an Angle Slam. Hot tag to Brock, who knocks Show off the apron and goes to work on A-Train...overhead belly-to-belly! Goes for the F5, but Show comes in with a superkick. Tag to Show, but Brock blocks a kick, get a kick of his own, and there's the F5. He falls into the corner, and Angle tags in and covers for the pin at 6:52. 1/2* Brock yells at Angle for getting the pin, and Angle tries to blow it off...but Lesnar takes him down with an F5. Cue Vince McMahon's music, and Vince comes out to add a stipulation. McMahon vs. Brock next week...inside a steel cage. Um...what? And the guest referee...Kurt Angle. Hmm...
END OF SHOW
Bad match, but with a decent angle to set up the main event for next week. Why would Vince McMahon agree to put himself in a cage with Brock Lesnar...unless he thinks Angle's going to play favorites? And is Angle actually going to play favorites? If so, who will he side with? And will Lesnar approve either way? The downside: How will the crowd react to whatever happens, as they seemed confused with the postmatch F5 as it was. Plenty of unanswered questions though, and I'm actually looking forward to seeing it even with a McMahon involved.
Overall, they got one thing right. They cut the on-screen time for the McMahons and Sable down bigtime. Steph wasn't on at all, Sable only got one segment, and Vince...OK, there's always an exception. But then they put on a half-assed show featuring a handful of guys in matches that mean nothing, while apparently blowing off one title feud that could have led to a show stealer at SummerSlam. I can't say this was a bad show necessarily, but it felt like "Oh yeah, we need to fill two hours on Thursday, so let's put these guys out there."
The good: Rey vs. Benjamin, Tajiri vs. Eddy, and actual matches signed for next week's show.
The bad: The Noble/Torrie payoff, Cena vs. Jordan, and replaying the Gowen Confidential piece when they could have added a match (although I appreciated the five minute break to refill my coffee mug).
The road to SummerSlam began here...and it's going to be a bumpy ride.
And before the ride continues next week, send me your feedback, check out my archives, and don't forget to keep checking the main page.
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