Hey, myself and my brother-in-law (Schippewreck, happy birthday, btw) just returned from the Smackdown tapings at the Pond in Anaheim. We were also at said venue for RAW last September. That show was great (live) but this was pretty much off the charts. I'll start off with my experiences from the event and Mr. Schippewreck will chime in with his experience in the morning probably since he's going directly to bed. Bare with me here as far as the ordering of some of the Smackdown stuff and match details.
Preshow/Dark Match stuff: Our seats are facing the camera side, with a side view of the main entry way about 4 rows back. We start off with the Kid Rock "Lonely Road of Faith" WWE/F tribute vid. Some scenes added in since we last saw it live at RAW were Mysterio with a flying cross-body block, Jeff Hardy with a similar flying movie (it went too quick for me to tell), and a montage of world champions including Brock (but no HHH) that fades into a picture of Vince. Live crowd booed HHH and Nash, surprise-surprise. Big cheers for HBK, Bret Hart (and the whole Montreal incident with Bret spitting on Vince), Austin and Rock.
We then move on to the first dark match... Shannon Moore vs. Ultimo Dragon Shannon comes out first followed by Ultimo who recieved a big reaction. He stands in the entry way while fireballs go off at each side of him. Mat wrestling to start. Lots of screaming from some Shannon Moore fan girls behind us. Lots of kicks from Ultimo. Not too many huge spots. Suplex here and there. More kicks from Ultimo. Sorry, can't remember much more. I was just too hyped. Interesting way Ultimo sliipped on his finisher though. He had Shannon setup like he was going to put on a sharpshooter then falls back and rolls in a snapping-type move, gets back to his feet with the legs still wrapped and puts on a reverse STF. Shannon taps.
Winner: Ultimo Dragon
next we had...
"Mr. Ass" Billy Gunn vs. Navajo WarriorSolo Snuka (from UPW but he was announced as Solo or Solu. At first I thought it was Skulu, another UPW star, but after checking their site, i'm pretty sure it was Navajo Warrior, edit: CORRECTION, it was Solo Snuka, according to the great folks at SoCalUncensored) Crowd went crazy for Mr. Ass. Usual wrestling stuff. I can remember too many details as I took the time to eat during this match. Mr. Ass won with the fameasser. Teased a mooning but only pulled his pants down slightly and left.
Winner: Billy "Monty Sopp" Gunn
Velocity: Josh Matthews and The Cat come out.
Sean O' Haire vs. Spanky I love Sean O' Haire's new music. It takes awhile before the vocals kick in so you don't hear too much of it on TV but live, it rules. Great reaction for Spanky. Hot crowd for this match. Everyone was way behind Spanky. This should be the Velocity main event, IMO. Spanky did the Shining Wizard, the trademark spinning neckbreaker into a facebuster move, flying forearm in the corner, tornado DDT, etc. Finish saw Spanky go for the Sliced Bread #2, but right when he flipped, O' Haire reversed it into the Cruel Intentions. F'N SWEET!
Winner: Sean O' Haire
Crash vs. Orlando Jordan Orlando Jordan is another new guy brought up from OVW. My brother-in-law thought he looked like Mace Windu, I thought he looked like Billy Blanks. Ok match. Crash wins after pinning Jordan with help from Shannon.
A-Train vs. Funaki....wait....A-Train vs. Bill DeMott It was A-Train Funaki at first but he quickly squashed him. A-Train said that wasn't enough. He wanted more and outcame DeMott. He told a knock, knock joke that I don't recall at this point but obviously it had to do with A-Train shaving his back. DeMott won this one....with something
Winner: Bill DeMott
The Velocity pyro was done either before the last match or the Crash/Jordan match. Tazz/Cole come out. They then showed us the Angle "Clocks" video which was over HUGE with the crowd. We then got an "in memory of" graphic for Freddie Blassy which had most of the Pond chanting "FREDDIE! FREDDIE!"
Smackdown: *cue Smackdown intro but no pyro*
We jump right into Piper's Pit. Piper's Pit says Zach Gowan is special and says it in many ways. Vince then comes out. He says some stuff and out come Zach and Mr. America. Vince says if Zach wants a contract so much, he'll have to earn it. He proposes an arm-wrestling challenge next week. First, he makes us think it's gonna be Mr. America vs. Vince, instead, it's gonna be Zach vs. McMahon, "you got two arms, don't you?" says Vince (not posted verbatim). Piper then gets on his hands and knees behind Zach, they trip Zach over Piper but Mr. America manages to run everyone else out. Vince says that Zach's chances next week equal to that of a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. I guess the show goes to commercial at this point but we get Zach and Hogan posing down for the crowd and even saying something like next week, with the power of the Hulkamaniacs on his side (yes, he said Hulkamaniacs, it was a "commercial break" anyway), Zach was going to win and get the contract.
Undertaker vs. Chuck Palumbo From our area, we can clearly see behind the stage. We see Taker pacing around before the match, getting ready. He gets a good reaction, I couldn't help but cheer too when he came out. During the match, FBI interferes but Taker manages to take them out. He finishes Chuckie off with a chokeslam.
An Angle Classic vid reliving the Alliance milk-down
Freddie Blassie tribute vid. Gets more "FREDDIE! FREDDIE" chants. Then we see the lowrider being prepared in the back. Tajiri and Eddie are inside. We get some good shots of Eddie in the low rider backstage.
Eddie/Tajiri vs. Basham Brothers Good action in the match. Usual stuff. Eddie busting out the triple suplexes. Tajiri is just awesome live. He did all his trademarks. Springboard elbow to Danny, Doug is on the outside and gets on the apron, springboard kick to him. Tajiri busted out the tarantula on Doug, then Eddied hits the Frog Splash on Danny. There was more in between but again, I can't recall at the moment.
Matt Hardy backstage segment hyping the match later on with Rey Jr.
Kurt Angle returns. Big pop. People were hesitant to yell "YOU SUCK" during his entrance. Kurt grabs the mic. Says it's good to be back and he misses hearing the sounds of people yelling "YOU SUCK" during his music so he makes them play his music again. EVERYONE is screaming "YOU SUCK" with the music. Then he starts talking, scattered "WHAT?'s". He says that's another word he misses. People say it louder. Then says his time in the hospital, there was one man always checking in on him, always leaving messages, visiting him regularly, then gets cut off by Big Show. Show says how he knows Angle probably wants his belt back (I think Kurt mentioned it a little bit earlier on as well) and said that if he wants a shot, he'll have to go thru Show. Show is all up in his face. Angle pulls out one of those breathstrips (are those what those small minty film things are called?) and says Big Show needs to use one. Crowd laughs. Show gets even more pissed. Kurt climbs the turnbuckles behind so that he towers over Big Show. He then rants on him saying how he's beat his ass before, etc. Then Brock comes out. Show gets out and backs out. Though next week, it's Brock vs. Big Show on SD, title match. Brock and Angle then talk face to face in the ring. Angle goes back to what he was saying earlier. HE says how Brock was constantly calling, checking on him, leaving messages and whatnot. I got really caught up in the moment and forgot exactly what Angle closed the segment with but they shook hands and Angle raised Brock's arms up. During the "break" as Brock was leaving, he stopped and decided to do the Brock shuffle for us once before leaving.
Chris Beniot vs. John Cena Cena comes out first. Raps about all the hoopla around the Rey/Matt match, makes fun of them for their size. He makes all of us finish off his rap by yelling "BITCH". A few rest holds in this match. Benoit busted out the flying headbutt. He tried to go for the triple Germans but Cena got out after one German, ref bump occurred. Cena went for the masterlock but Rhyno came out for the save. He grabbed the chain, went to swing at Cena but Cena ducked and Rhyno hit Benoit. Cena then knocked Rhyno to the floor and pinned Benoit for the win.
Winner: John Cena
Rikishi/Torrie Wilson vs. Jamie Noble/Nidia Entertaining match. It's fun to watch the women wrestle live. Torrie teased a stinkface on Nidia but tagged in Rikishi. Noble saved Nidia though. Later on, Torrie pulled off a cross-body block. Rikishi managed to give Nidia the stinkface and Torrie gave Nidia a swinging neckbreaker to finish the match. Afterwards, Torrie and Rikishi danced. Rikishi=lucky bastard.
Rey backstage interview. Talks about how he's gonna win tonight. He's wearing a wifebeater with "REY 619" on it in red letters. Eddie then comes in wearing the same shirt showing his support to Rey. And says that they're not gonna let him back in the locker room if he doesn't have the Cruiserweight title with him.
Another backstage segment with Vince and Stephanie. Stephanie saying Vince has no right to put Zach thru what he's doing and that she can give Zach a contract if he wants to. Vince said if he does that, he'll fire her. Then says that Steph needs assistance. He hired her a new personal assistant....Sable. Steph asks what qualities does Sable have to qualify for the position. She goes on to say she can't be trusted. She tried to sue the company before, etc, etc. And that she only got the job because she shakes her T&A at Vince with Stephanie even doing the motions of shaking her chest and rear end at Vince. creepy. But Vince says it's final. Scene ends with Sable behind Steph and Steph with a strange look.
What an odd segment.
Main Event: Rey Mysterio vs. Matt Hardy "MysusSterio" is in the crowd with "lil' Sterios". heh. Crowd was way into this match. Great match, I won't delve into too many details. But lots of close pinfalls. The crowd was into each pinfall. At one point, Rey hit the Twist of Fate on Matt. Shannon and Crash were ejected at first but ran out later (I can't recall if there was a ref bump or not, there probably was though). They give Rey a double suplex (or was it a brainbuster?) but no dice. Rey with the 619 and a West Coast Pop, no luck. Matt with a top rope yodel leg drop, no luck. I forgot how it was setup, but Rey with a flipover pin on Matt for the 1-2-3
Winner and new Crusierweight Champion: Rey Jr.
Rey proceeded to celebrate in the ring with his son. And that was the show for the night.
I can't really rate the biggest pops and most heat since it was hard to tell. The nosebleeds were tarped off. But I don't think they even sell all the tickets for those areas since the view in some places is obstructed by the lighting fixtures above the ring. Packed crowd on the camera side. Some scattered empty seats on the opposite side.
3 solid hours of great action though. 3 Favorite matches of the night: Rey vs. Matt Spanky vs. O'Haire Tajiri/Eddie vs. Bashams
I apologize for the lack of details in some of the segments. I think the order is correct, more or less. There were barely any backstage segments. Great action. It was well worth the $30. Not sure how it'll come off on TV. My brother-in-law pointed out someone with a "CRZ STOLE MY JOKE" sign.
Hopefully, I at least got all the big parts down. Mr. Schippe will chime in with his info tomorrow.
other stuff at the show: UPW had a booth setup with their superstars there. I saw Lil' Nate and Ghostwalker. I was in a rush to get to my seat so I didn't take a good look at everyone. Some guys sitting in front of us might've been UPW staff too. Funky Billy Kim, Joey Ryan, and someone else came down and said hi to the guys and left. Terry Taylor also came by and said hi to one of the guys. There were also members of Revolution Pro passing out their fliers including former XPW competitor Angel (a.k.a. "The Hardcore Homo").
Hey, it does look like three hours of SOLID action and I can't wait to see it Thrusday. FYI: Breathstrips was what you were looking for in the Kurt Angle segment, exactly right. They are now put out by every mint maker I know of. I wish I could get a Smackdown card here since the split. Every time the send the RAW roster and Smackdown seems to inprove even more every week. Where, at least to me, RAW tubes itself for some reason.
(edited by jwrestle on 4.6.03 0055)
Banned Once! The independant thought alarm went off, knew to much about b*tching.
Crash can beat Orlando Jordan, but Knoble can't? O...K...
Speaking of Knoble, being in mixed tag matches is such a waste of his talent, especially being in there against Rikishi. Knoble's one of the best talents on the entire roster, and he's nothing but a jobber. ::sigh::
Palumbo jobs to Taker, even after FBI interference? I'm *SHOCKED* Way to put over the new heel stable, Marky-Mark.
I'm looking forward to the Eddy/Tajiri vs. Bashams match. Hopefully the Bashams (and Doug in particular) get more offense than last week's match. Also looking forward to the Rey/Mattitude match.
You know something? This actually sounds way better than last week (except the arm contest thing). Angle being Angle, Rey/Matt, Los Tajiros, Benoit/Cena. Matt Hardy in the main event? In a MATCH in the main event?! Holy crap! Okay, I'll give Smackdown a chance this week. Sounds pretty good as long as my brother edits out the Mr. America stuff (I'll make sure I'll tell him to do just that). Steph/Sable?!?! Well, we know her history with "personal assistants" has been pretty bad (Dawn Marie, Stacy Kiebler). But, with tongue firmly in cheek, I will just go ahead and pray for that eventual Steph/Sable match. Go get her, Steph!
INDEED, I was there as well, and this was definitely a show that breaks the crap streak that Smackdown has been on.
A few more details added to my brother's already fine report:
-I missed Ultimo because I was getting food. I got to see Mr. Ass, though. JOY! -Eddie did the Frog Splash onto Doug's back while the ref's back was turned. Tajiri finished with the kick of death. -Grubby missed the best line from Kurt. When he was on the turnbuckles looking down at Show, he said, "I won an Olympic Gold Medal and wrestled in the Main Event of Wrestlemania with a BROKEN FREAKIN' NECK, so excuse me if I don't poopie myself right here and now!" He also told Brock that at Wrestlemania he realized that to beat Brock Lesnar, you have to be at the top of yoru game, and guess what...he is now! -Whoops! Just remembered the best line from Cena's rap: "I'm not in it for the money, cuz LeBron James took it all!" -Not sure how much of the dancing they're planning on showing, but Torrie busted out some stripper moves on the ropes. -A good chunk of the Rey/Eddy backstage segment was in Spanish which got good pops from the SoCal crowd. -I can't tell you how cool it was to see a Cruiser match main eventing the show. The West Coast Pop was blocked and Matt dumped Rey to the outside (not quite a powerbomb). The MFers ran out while Matt had the ref distracted. I think it was a double brainbuster. Rey reversed the TOF into a rollup for the win. -There were very few backstage segments, but they could be taping more later. Who knows?
Oh, and a correction: I didn't see a "CRZ stole my joke" sign, I was telling Grubby about me saying that in another thread.
It was a great show, but seriously, people who hold up signs during dark matches and commercial breaks need to be beaten severely around the ears.
I missed Ultimo! GAAAHH!!!!
(edited by SchippeWreck on 4.6.03 0939)
"And you've been so busy lately, that you haven't found the time,
To open up your mind,
And watch the world spinning, gently out of time."
Yeah, no Team Angle at all. I'm sure this was to ensure Kurt would get a proper pop, but I'm curious to see how their absence is explained. Perhaps a "promotional tour"?
One other note:
During the evening they showed 2 promos for Bad Blood. Interesting crowd reactions. For the Goldberg/Jericho promo, it was big boos for Goldberg and cheers for Jericho. The HHH/Nash promo was booed out of the building.
"Brand" loyalty or crappy product? You decide.
"And you've been so busy lately, that you haven't found the time,
To open up your mind,
And watch the world spinning, gently out of time."
The whole experience was so grand that it's hard to take every single thing in. I forgot to mention a few other promos aired. This included two Bad Blood promos (as mentioned a couple posts above). Also shown were the Gail Kim promo from RAW Monday and a new Ultimo Promo.
I have to say, luck is on our side at these shows. When we went to RAW there were barely any in-ring promos. This show, the in-ring talking was pretty short and entertaining and there were few backstage segments (shown to the live crowd anyway). The crowd was much hotter than RAW. I don't know how to compare this to other Smackdown live crowds since they tweak the sound alot in post-production. But for segments like the Angle stuff, they probably won't have to do any sound tweaking there.
"Why didn't they just move the Cruiser belt at Mania? It's not like they've done a damn thing with Hardy since then. Oh right, Crash. Whatever..."
It got five minutes in the opening match with little build-up at WrestleMania. Here, Rey won the title in the main event of a show in his home-town that will be seen by many more people. I'm sure it went longer than their previous match, too. Why moan about inconsequential crap when there's good to celebrate? With Rey holding the cruiser belt you can be damn sure it won't be forgotten about, and with Dragon weeks away from debuting things could get fucking sweet real soon.
Dude, back in The Day (2000, when Rock & Austin were out), HHH was a ***** worker, so even if he won (and even if he was booking), I didn't care because it was good viewing. If it's entertaining wrestling, I'll watch it. If it sucks, I blame the guys in the ring. Stephanie or HHH or Vince or whoever can book whatever they want, but it's up to the folks inside the ring to make it happen.
Quest for Lord Stanley's Cup The Final Four New Jersey Devils vs. Ottawa Senators Minnesota Wild vs. Anaheim Mighty Ducks
Starting out, I believe they get a base salary which covers most expenses since WWE doesn't pay for everything mostly the plane trips and some of the hotels. Then you get part of the gate, merchandising and so on.