Arena Reports 10/9 WWE Smackdown in Finland: Overseas tour results - Lesnar vs. Taker
Oct 10, 2003 - 1:03:00 PM
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WWE Smackdown house show
October 9, 2003
Turkuhalli, Turku, Finland
Report by Mikael Heinrichs, PWTorch.com reader
The WWE made their second showing in Finland, an after last year's so-so show in Helsinki, Vince's boys sure put on a better one for us over here this time. The attendance was approximately 8,000 (just my own assessment, no official number has yet been announced), and the crowd was really hot.
Sable came out to start the show, and got quite a welcome from the crowd. No heel-rap, just a plain opening speech.
(1) Matt Hardy (w/local rock-star Toni Wirtanen) beat A-Train. Fair opener, Hardy got a mixed reaction to start with, but the crowd quickly got on A-Trains back - literally. Loud "Shave your back" and "A-Train sucks"-chants. Hardy looked to actually injure his leg near the end. Hardy won with a roll-up at about the 6-minute mark.
(2) Ultimo Dragon beat Funaki and Nunzio in a triple threat match. The crowd didn't know what to expect, as Funaki was originally scheduled for MC-work on a divas tag-match. The triple threat-rules didn't really work so well with the Finnish crowd, as the majority just seemed confused who to cheer for. Nunzio drew quite a lot of heat, Dragon got the most pops - nobody seemed to care about Funaki. Nunzio and Funaki botched a few spots early on, and neither looked very convincing. Dragon got the win pinning Nunzio after that reverse-DDT-ish finisher after some 10 minutes. Dragon's asai moonsault on both opponents early on got the biggest reaction.
(3) Charlie Haas (w/Shelton Benjamin) beat Chavo Guerrero. Match of the night-contender right here, the crowd was really in to Chavo. Shelton got sent off before the match started by the official. Lots of aerial moves, kind of old-school style. Haas actually got lots of heat, and seemed genuinely surprised. Solid 15-minutes of wrestling, capped by a crappy finish, as Haas distracts the ref, while Shelton delivers a superkick on Chavo. Charlie gets the easy 1-2-3 after that
(4) Bikini contest: Torrie Wilson beat Sable, Dawn Marie and Nidia. This was actually slated to be a divas tag match, but instead went as a bikini contest - and the crowd loved every second of it. Sable was the hottest, closely followed by Dawn Marie, but Torrie got the win, as the crowd was the judge. Nidia got DQ'd when Sable busted (no pun intended) her for having a stuffed bra (as if they didn't all). Tony Chimmel was spanked by Torrie and Dawn after the contest was over
(5) Billy Kidman & Jamie Noble beat The Bashams. Kidman complained about the second rope being too loose before the match, and the crew spent some time working on that before we got started. Everybody was just waiting for the SSP, and didn't seem too interested in Nobles antics. Jamie got to carry the majority of the workload, as Kidman just came in for the high-spots. The Bashams weren't all that familiar to the crowd, as we're running 3 weeks behind on TV-shows (and just get 1 hour versions of RAW and SmackDown). No Shaniqua either as a matter of fact. Kidman got the win for his team with the SSP on one or the other of the Bashams at about the 15-minute mark. A little dragging at times, and the crowd just wasn't into this one.
(6) Eddie Guerrero cheated his way to a win over Rhyno retaining his U.S. Title. Rhyno came out first, and got a slight - very so - ECW-chant going right next to me. Part of the crowd actually knew it was Eddies birthday, and got out a impromptu "Happy Birthday"-song as they were getting ready to lock up. Eddie seemed to be genuinely surprised, and even Rhyno played on it shouting "C'mon, birthday-boy" as he applied a headlock early on. Definitely the MOTN, no doubt. At the end Eddie got a small hammer out of his boot, and threw it in the hands of Rhyno. When the ref made sure to get it out of the ring, Eddie nailed Rhyno with the belt, then hit the froggy of the top for the pin at the 25-minute mark. Real PPV-class here.
(7) Tajiri beat Rey Mysterio to retain the Cruiserweight title. Rey got the biggest pops this far, as he's really over in Finland. Even the buzzsaw got a good reaction, as the Finns really seem to like the cruisers - not a bad sign. The ref made sure to chack Tajiri's mouth for any mist beforehand. I was actually a little too busy marking out to remember much, other than Tajiri's stiff-looking kicks and Rey grabbing a sign and taking it in the ring with him. Finish comes as Rey hits the ref with the West Coast Pop, enabling Tajiri to spray his green mist in Rey-Rey's eyes. A superkick later Tajiri had retained the belt.
Chimmel came out to thank the crowd.
(8) Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle beat John Cena & The Big Show. Rounding out the evenings top-3 was this pretty comical tag-number. Cena came out first to the most heel heat all night, cutting a promo that unfortunately lost quite a lot to the lousy PA. I was kind of surprised not to see Cena wearing a Team Sweden-hockey jersey or something like that, though. After Show's and Benoit's entrances the crowd went really bananas as Kurt came in. Standing ovation and all that, true mega-pop for Your Olympic Hero. Kurt came to the ring with a camcorder in hand, shooting the crowd. Big Show really played the crowd well during the match, his grins and looks were really awesome. The match itself was amazing, but way too short to get MOTN-honors. Angle pinned Show at the 10-minute mark after an Angle Slam and Benoit's top-rope headbutt.
(9) Brock Lesnar beat The Undertaker to retain the WWE Championship. This match was VERY slow after the two very good matches beforehand. Taker got an ok reaction, but the crowd seemed somewhat tired after all the popping in the last two contests. Nothing really special here, Old-School got a good reaction, but the end was a typical ref-bump into chairshot and pin-thingy at about 15 minutes. After the match, Rhyno came out to pound Taker, and was saved by Eddie.
Then the fun began, as all the wrestlers (except Brock) came down to celebrate Eddies birthday. Angle started on the mic, and made Big Show congratulate Eddie as "The Showster" - gathering lots of laughs from the crowd. Then Angle along with the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" (really loud!) to Eddie, and celebrated him. Really nice and fun gesture, Eddie seemed a bit overwhelmed by it all. After everybody had left the ring, Brock came down and dissed Eddie just to keep his heel-heat.
Very good show, beating last year's offering in Helsinki by a mile. All matches were good quality, and the crowd was very good. The post-show was way better than Rikishi's dancing last year, and I sure hope WWE will be back in Finland next year!
1. Kurt Angle
2. Rey Mysterio
3. Eddie Guerrero
4. Torrie Wilson
5. Chavo Guerrero
1. John Cena
2. Brock Lesnar
3. Charlie Haas
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