I was late starting the tape, so if anything happened before the opening pyro (like packages, whatever) – who cares?
We are in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the first Smackdown! since Paul Heyman’s departure! MICHAEL COLE and TAZZ have maintained their positions in the announcing booth despite the shakeup.
We kick it off immediately with Triple H’s theme to a surprisingly loud pop – but Hunter does not emerge. Instead, we’ve got KURT ANGLE in a suit, walking in a very professional manner. The fans chant “YOU SUCK” because they in fact suck. Angle states that Hunter won’t be coming out here – and he’ll explain why in a moment. But first, he wants to address the issue of the lack of a GM. Thankfully, a new GM has already been named, and is here tonight. That person is someone with class, and has a very familiar face. And that person (Tazz: “Gotta be Stephanie McMahon.”) is none other than…Kurt Angle. The fans don’t like that ONE bit! “Oh it’s true! I have made the ultimate sacrifice. I have put my wrestling career on hold. I have set aside my personal goals of becoming WWE champion again.” I think that more or less confirms his neck is in worse condition than they’ll let us believe. Kurt promises he will not be backing down to anyone. When Hunter came up to him earlier and demanded a rematch with Eddie Guerrero for the belt, Kurt told him no. As a matter of fact, Hunter isn’t going to be on Smackdown! at all. In his first act as commissioner, Kurt traded Hunter back to RAW. And the superstars he got in return? First off, the Dudley Boyz are coming over (oh dear god, just release them). Their music plays. “The Dudley Boyz will be wrestling later tonight and I’m sure it will be very brutal.” I don’t doubt that either Kurt… He also managed to acquire a 5-time WCW champion, BOOKER T. The fans respond by…booing? What the hell??? Booker T enters, and shakes Kurt’s hand. However, Booker’s not real happy to be here. He’s pissed he didn’t have a say in his trade, and was quite happy wrestling on RAW. The RAW fans appreciated Booker T, and compared to RAW, Smackdown! is the minor leagues. He sees a bunch of great hands in the back, but he’s better than each and every one of them. “I’m better than your champion Eddie Guerrero. I’m hotter than John Cena. And I’m bigger than the Big Show. Hell, I’m better than the Undertaker.” Kurt cuts him off and tells Booker this is the major leagues – but agrees that Booker’s a better wrestler than everyone else in the locker room, the reason he traded for him in the first place. Angle agrees that the fans don’t appreciate great athletes on Smackdown!, but wants Booker to stick to his guns, and demands that the fans give Booker a standing ovation. The crowd splits, with the boos eventually overpowering the cheers. Cole goes on and on about earning your respect on Smackdown! while Booker slowly walks to the back, looking pretty pissed off about the whole ordeal.
Here’s a look at Wrestlemania ReVenge – the tour sponsored by the Alliance InVasion. V-tastic! A trip to Scotland has the video package backed by Roddy Piper’s WCW theme music.
ROB VAN DAM vs. CHARLIE HAAS
Cole says that RVD was quoted earlier as being thrilled to be a member of the Smackdown! brand, unlike his former tag-team partner. In fact, here’s a pre-taped promo. “Dude, I am so stoked to be part of Smackdown! Get used to calling me Mr. Thursday Night. And you can count on me taking Smackdown! to new heights, because nobody gets higher than R-V-D.”
Fans chant for RVD while Haas shoves him. “This is my house!” Rob responds by pointing to himself. Haas puts on a headlock, but gets shoved off – so he hits a fireman’s carry. Gutwrench takedown – and Haas rolls Van Dam to the apron. RVD comes back with a series of punches and a spinning heel kick. Haas responds by throwing RVD face first into the turnbuckle and stomps away. Scoop slam – but Van Dam comes right back with hiptosses, and puts on an armbar. Haas escapes, Van Dam goes up – and gets shoved to the outside, face first into the security wall. They head back in where Haas gets 2. Haas senses a hurt knee, and ties it up in the ropes. While the referee tries to untie him, Haas stands on RVD’s throat. It’s finally untangled, allowing Haas to pounce with the half-crab. RVD kicks his way out of that, but Haas keeps stomping and pulling at the leg. Van Dam manages an enzuigiri, and follows with a boot to Haas’ face. Step over sidekick, legdrop, Rolling Thunder, 1, 2, kickout by Haas! The monkey flip is attempted, but blocked by Haas, who then covers with his feet on the ropes – but is caught by the referee at 2. Haas kicks Van Dam in the head, and undoes the turnbuckle. Turning around, Van Dam rolls him up for 3. Weird finish. (6:12) *1/4
Here’s a look back at all the wheeling and dealing that took place on Monday, thanks to the Lottery – highlighting Rene Dupree’s move to Smackdown! He’s up next…
Recap of the brawl at the end of RAW.
BILLY KIDMAN vs. RENE DUPREE (with Fifi)
Once upon a time I might actually get jacked for a Billy Kidman match. This was of course about 6 years ago – but it’s the thought that counts. Fifi appears to have spent more time getting done up for this match then I’ve spent grooming my cat since I got her a year ago. Kidman’s not looking too happy about something. Lockup – Dupree wins, poses, and gets boos. Boot to Kidman, and he goes for an early powerbomb. COME ON Rene! He of course takes a rana. Hiptoss by Kidman, and Dupree rolls out. Kidman follows, but gets driven back first into the security wall, and rolled back in. Dupree stomps, and whips Kidman into the turnbuckle. Backdrop by Dupree, and we’ve got a the dance now named “The French Tickler”. Good gawd. Bearhug applied by Dupree, but Kidman elbows out and delivers a jawbreaker. Kidman boots Dupree in the face, hits a flying shoulderblock from the top, and finishes the sequence with an enzuigiri for 2! Kidman mocks the dance, whips Dupree face first to the buckle, but misses a bulldog and gets slammed. Kidman comes back with a dropkick (Tazz: “Best dropkick in the game.” So much for Bob Holly’s claim to fame.) and sets up Dupree for the Shooting Star Press! Dupree dropkicks him, crotching Kidman, hits a really funny looking Juvi Driver, and scores the pinfall. (3:29) 3/4* JOHN CENA joins the post-match fun, belt around his waist.
“Welcome to Smackdown! This is where the Franchise plays That’s Tazz, he’s a thug And that’s Michael Cole, he’s gay There’s some things you need to know I’m here to keep you prepared bro Don’t leave your watch or your wallet anywhere near Eddie Guerrero Fool pickpocketed me like 5 times, he still owes me 50 bucks, and he’s still got my ID Here’s the most important thing, which you’ll remember this one’s easy Don’t go nowhere near a bathroom after Big Show or Rikishi They be droppin’ them bowl (can’t hear the word) they got that like something crawled up and died in here And get your eyes off my equipment, I don’t care how bad you want some This chain ain’t for yankin’, and don’t touch my Magic Johnson Those French folks got their own thing, I don’t judge, but that’s you, you do you I do me, you know what I’m sayin’? I’d introduce you to these fans, but it’s obvious they want none of you It’s because they know that France sucks, they’s throwin’ up the W Be a good time for you to leave, don’t let the door hit you when it shuts Oh, I got something you can do man…choke these nuts!”
He throws a bag of nuts at Dupree and takes off while Dupree makes irritated French faces, while waving his flag. He reminds me of Dave Taylor.
JOSH MATTHEWS catches up to the WWE tag-team champions in the back. He wants to know what RIKISHI and SCOTTY 2 HOTTY think about the GM switch. Rikishi thinks it’s a great thing, with doors being opened up now – but before he can get any further, THEODORE LONG makes his presence felt! He talks about equal opportunity for everyone, and wants to represent a great team. He says that the champs are good, but not great yet. He wants to take them further, and if they’re interested they can e-mail, fax, or take a very special playa’s card (Josh isn’t allowed one, it’s for playas only).
EDDIE GUERRERO bonds with ORLANDO JORDAN and SHANNON MOORE before bumping into ROB VAN DAM. They hug, and discuss the Frog Splash. Yeesh – continuity be damned as usual. Last time I checked, these 2 hated eachother. FUNAKI applauds the hug while REY MYSTERIO JR. wants to shake Eddie’s hand. SPIKE DUDLEY is topless, and as a result I’m blind. Thankfully, Eddie’s voice guides me through this scene – as he calls out for the 5-time WCW champion, BOOKER T. Booker’s not much for the talking though, and tells Eddie he doesn’t need anyone to watch his back. He liked where he was, and is none-to-thrilled to be in a place with no competition. Booker says Eddie’s a mere champion of the minor leagues – which naturally causes Eddie to flip. “You didn’t just do that essa!” Eddie rants about the folks who have bled and paid the price to hold the belt. Booker’s response is to spit on the floor. “Yo essa, consider yourself insulted, sucka. Now whatchoo gonna do?” Eddie attacks Booker – and the jobbers standing around break it up.
THE DUDLEY BOYZ vs. THE BASHAMS
Everyone brawls to start – with Doug getting tossed by Bubba Ray Dudley. Bubba and Danny start, with Danny getting a boot to the midsection. Bubba drives him back to the corner, and D-Von comes in. Punches are thrown – but little else happens for awhile until Doug is tagged in. Clubbering forearms are thrown by Doug, but D-Von comes back with a shoulder tackle and slam for 2. Bubba tags in, and hits a neckbreaker for 2. D-Von heads in shortly thereafter and aids in a double flapjack, but there’s no count because the ref is distracted with getting Bubba out of the ring. The Bashams do the switch – and Danny immediately goes to the belly to back suplex. He stomps at D-Von and tags out. Together, they throw D-Von spine first to the corner, and Doug covers for 2. Doug applies an abdominal stretch, and makes sure to ease slowly towards his own corner – and with the referee busy checking on D-Von, they can hold hands and pull at the hold harder. Bubba throws a fit, distracting the ref further. Danny comes in and gets 2. Tagging back out, Doug comes in and boots D-Von in the ribs – but off an Irish whip winds up taking a spear. He makes the tag and Bubba cleans house. Backdrops, clotheslines, and neckbreakers for all! He gets 2 on Doug. Avalanche and side slam nail Doug – so Danny hits the ring again to stop the madness!!! Bubba winds up backdropping Doug to the outside, and hits the Flip Flop and Fly on Danny. Scoop slam, WAZZUP drop, 3-D on Doug, 1, 2, 3. (6:00) *3/4 Same old Dudley Boyz, different show.
Backstage, KURT ANGLE sets up his office, and BOOKER T runs in to find out what Angle is going to do about the unprovoked attack? Booker: “I hate Smackdown!” Angle says he beat Eddie to a pulp at Wrestlemania, who then went to Europe for a week and wrestled every night, and THEN had to wrestle Hunter on RAW. And whether he likes it or not, Guerrero has to defend his belt tonight against Booker. Booker certainly digs that.
CHAVO GUERRERO JR. (with Chavo Guerrero Sr.) vs. SPIKE DUDLEY (with The Dudley Boyz) (for the WWE cruiserweight title)
The Dudleyz refuse to leave ringside, which annoys Chavo Sr. to no end. Spike chooses to wrestle topless. Lucky us. They trade hammerlocks while Tazz uses the irritating “pound for pound” cliché on Spike. Spike throws a series of punches, tries for an early Dudley Dawg, and gets dumped on the outside. This allows the Dudleys to will their brother on, on the outside. Spike heads back in, and Chavo covers for 2. Chavo tries to apply a mat abdominal stretch, but Spike fights his way out. In the corner, Spike throws the haymakers – and hits an atomic drop and clothesline combo for 2. Headbutt to the midsection, small package, only a 2 count for Spike. Spike charges Chavo, but gets dumped onto the apron. He heads up top, fights Chavo off, and does the Kevin Sullivan Stomp To The Chest off the top…and gets 2. Chavo whips Spike to the corner, tries the Gory Guerrero Special, but Spike rolls through, hooking Chavo’s legs, and gets 2! A senton from the top misses, Chavo’s backbreaker does not, and we have 3! (4:23) ** Now let’s please throw Spike onto Velocity Hell and never force us to watch him again.
We recap last week’s APA breakup – with Bradshaw choosing to carry on his WWE career without Faarooq.
BRADSHAW joins us in the ring, with new music, a suit, and a 10-gallon cowboy hat. He’s introduced as John “Bradshaw” Layfield. Perhaps John Layfield (Rep. – TX) might be appropriate. Mr. Layfield states he was misunderstood last week – and that infact what he did was the right thing. His best friend is still Ron Simmons, and says with Paul Heyman gone he can get Ron’s job back – and keep the APA in business. But he’s not going to do that. While he appreciates Ron, he’s got a portfolio that’s beat the stock market 7 out of 7 years. He’s got a radio show, he’ll be releasing a new book, and has become the top financial analyst on TV. He feels that anyone would have done the same thing. He understands cause and effect, which is why it’s people like him who run businesses. It’s people like him who run governments. “The only thing I sold was stock about 2 weeks ago before terrorism scared the market, and I made a helluva lot of money, so you can stop the You Sold Out chants right now.” He says normal people don’t let their dreams go beyond the front door because they’re afraid a failure. He’s not afraid of failure, and as a result he’s never failed. After years of drinking beer, playing cards, and visiting troops – which was fun – he’s now ready to drop an impact. “Business is about to pick up!” I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a character makeover that’s felt so natural, and work so beautifully so QUICKLY since perhaps the change from Mankind to Dude Love… I’m impressed, for at least 1 week.
Backstage, BOOKER T bumps into BOB HOLLY, who announces he doesn’t want Booker on Smackdown! And when Eddie’s done with him later, there’s a whole list of people who are prepared to rip him apart. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate Bob Holly?
Here’s a look back at the very good Triple H/Eddie Guerrero matchup on RAW.
BOOKER T vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (for the WWE title)
Booker locks up, and shoves Eddie back to the corner, breaking clean. Booker hits an armdrag, but Eddie retaliates with one of his own. Booker charges, getting hit with a drop toe hold – and the two fight to the corner. Booker comes back with a back elbow for 2. Eddie slams Booker’s head into the turnbuckle in the corner, and snapmares him, holding the headlock. Booker counters with a jawbreaker, and clotheslines Guerrero for 2. Booker applies a surfboard, but Eddie fights his way to his feet and backdrops the challenger. Slingshot senton, Eddie covers, and gets a 2. Cole suggests that Eddie doesn’t really know his opponent – which I think just caused my head to explode again. Eddie boots Booker in the face, but gets slammed. Kick to the head – and Booker gets a 2. Eddie fires back with a dropkick, but gets hotshotted onto the top rope. Eddie falls to the floor, and we take a commercial break.
Upon returning, Booker’s got Eddie locked in a headlock. Eddie hits a belly to back suplex to escape – but can’t follow up, winding up in a sleeper. Eddie passes out, Booker covers, but Eddie kicks out at 2. Booker goes back to the sleeper once again, but Eddie shoves him off and flapjacks him on the rebound. Eddie heads up for the Froggy Splash – but Booker catches him and superplexes him!!! It gets 2. Booker hits the 110th Street Slam, and works a rear chinlock. Big knee to the midsection from Booker, and he chokes Eddie out in the ropes. To the corner, and Booker chops away. He throws one too many however, and it misses – allowing Eddie to throw a bunch of his own, and clothesline Booker. Booker tries another 110th Street Slam, but Eddie turns it into a rana!!! The vertical suplexes are BLOCKED – BOOK END, 1, 2, Eddie JUST kicks out!!! Booker tries a rollup out of the corner which gets another 2. Frustrated, he takes everything he’s learned on RAW, and superkicks the shit out of Eddie…resulting in 2! The axekick misses – and Eddie moves into the vertical suplex trifecta! To the top, Eddie hits the Froggy Splash…but GEORGE W. BUSH breaks it up??? (16:32) ***1/4 Dear god, when I praised the Bradshaw segment I did NOT ask for a main event push. Clothesline From Hell, tip of the hat, and the fans chant “YOU SOLD OUT” as the credits come up.
Thread ahead: Guest Shot: Wrestling News Central for Saturday 27th March, 2004 (for the Guest Editorial Section) Next thread: Inside The Ropes - Between The Sheets Previous thread: WWE RAW: March 22, 2004
8 years ago this week – WCW held their annual Halloween Havoc event. We’ve been watching the build for it in my Nitro recaps over the past couple months, and we’re finally here. Monster Truck Madness indeed!