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8/7 WWE Smackdown review: Radican's reaction to program

Aug 10, 2003 - 8:35:00 PM

By Sean Radican, Torch Team Phenomenon

WWE Smackdown review
August 7, 2002
Taped on 8/05/03 in Kelwona, B.C.
Aired on UPN

New this week! Will Smackdown achieve the standard set for by your Smackdown reviewer? See below for further details...

The Big Picture: This week is a big week for Smackdown. Two matches that should garner a lot of interest were announced during last week. The Undertaker will face John Cena in a rematch from Vengeance. The other match announced was VKM facing Brock Lesnar in a 15-ft high steel cage! My staff has informed me that there are crappy rumors going around that the A-Train is going to face Undertaker at Summerslam (WTF?!). If that is going to happen then my guess is that the match between Cena and Undertaker is going to serve as some kind of setup for a feud between Undertaker and A-Train. I hope this doesn't happen because I wanted John Cena to have a spot at Summerslam, but I guess that hope is all I have. The steel cage match should be very interesting because something has to give here. VKM has someone in his pocket and I think that we will find out who that is tonight, presumably setting up another Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle match at Summerslam. I think their feud will be much more interesting once one of them turns heel. I also look for the feud between Rhyno and Chris Benoit to continue. Last week, Rhyno played chicken, refusing to come down to the ring for his match against Benoit and he sent out Doink to take his place. I don't find this feud to be too interesting because Benoit and Rhyno just don't have good chemistry together in the ring and on the mic. I also look for the feud between The World's Greatest Tag Team and the team of Kidman and Mysterio to continue. Last week, Mysterio defeated Benjamin in a singles match; will he give Haas a try this week? It seems like Zach Gowen has taken on the role of being the Lance Storm of Smackdown and putting everyone over. Last week, Shannon Moore got a rare non-Velocity win against Gowen. After the match, the master of Mattitude beat down Gowen. I look for Gowen to continue putting other wrestlers over, but I hope that he gets a pinfall against someone in the future. Lastly, all fans are waiting with baited breath to see if Steph makes a triumphant return to Smackdown this week. Hopefully, Steph is on well-deserved permanent vacation and the new GM of Smackdown will be the lovely Sablelicious. Hey, I guy can dream, can't he? So lets begin our journey on the path to Summerslam on this week's Smackdown! But first...

*** Radican's staff has been busy trying to formulate a way to grade the matches on Smackdown. After several hours of intense meetings, the Phenom of the Torch and his staff have decided that each match will be reviewed based on standards. Here is how the ratings will work: each match will be given a rating that has a corresponding point value. At the end of the night, all the points will be added up and a grade will be determined. For example, if there are six matches and they are rated as above standard, they will each get four points, for a total of 24 points. If this happens, the show will be an above standard show and I will give it an "A". I will also give out bonus points for each segment that does not involve wrestling and contributes to the overall quality of the show.

Above Standard (4): The match was a great match, which told an exceptional story in the ring. The effort put in by all participants was exceptional and all the action in the ring built towards a satisfying and entertaining finish. To go above the standard there must be no " dead spots" in the match or more than one commercial break. This is a highest grade a match can receive.

Achieved Standard (3): The match was a good match. The effort put in by all participants was good and the action in the ring builds towards a satisfying finish. The match is given enough time to develop and there are some mistakes, which do not detract from the overall value of the match. Some parts of the match may not "click", but overall the match is entertaining with the exception of a few dead spots.

Nearing Standard (2): The match was fair and nothing special. The effort may be there from the participants, but something is lacking. The matches that get this rating are usually short and sometimes contain missed spots or several lolls in action (too many rest holds, stalling, etc... ).

Below Standard (1): The match was really bad and contributed nothing to the show. The match is totally forgettable and it scars my brain just thinking about watching it.

On to my weekly picks...

Book of the Week: The Professor of Desire by Phillip Roth. Roth is a great psychological writer who takes you into the minds of his characters in a way that no other author can.

Game of the Week: Silent Hill 3(PS2). Turn up the sound on your TV and turn out the lights. This game is crap-your-pants scary and it includes a soundtrack containing all your favorite creepy tunes.

DVD pick of the week: Hard Knocks and Cheap Pops. This is a nice little DVD that showcases Mick Foley's final months in the WWE and his run as commissioner. It also contains some great bonus matches.

... And now, on to Smackdown!

1st Quarter Hour

Highlights air from last week, focusing on the Lesnar, Angle, and VKM love triangle.

Cole welcomes us as the lights flash on the steel cage. Did he just call Lesnar a manster?

Eddie Guerrero makes his way down to the ring in a low-rider. Using his head, he decides to just leave the trunk alone this week.

(1) Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit in a non-title match went to a no-decision. Cole says that Guerrero believes that Benoit has to earn another title shot, so he has decided to not put the title on the line. The Canadians start up with a large "Benoit" chant. This match is really slow to start, with each wrestler exchanging submission holds. Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit exchange chops and the cameraman gets a great shot of Guerrero's facial expression. Guerrero hits a nice rolling senton over the top rope and then locks in yet another submission hold. Benoit screams and the crowd tries to get the rabid wolverine fired up by chanting his name. Benoit manages to power out and hit a suplex as the action picks up. Benoit hits a huge powerbomb and the Canadians go bananas, but when he goes up to the top rope Rhyno pushes him off. Guerrero goes to the top rope, but misses the frog splash. Benoit dives through the ropes to the outside and nails Rhyno. Tajiri comes into the ring and attacks Guerrero as the referee calls for the bell.

Sarge comes out and says the match will now be a tag match.

Grade: 2 points (Nearing standard, but too short to amount to much).

(Commercial Break)

2nd Quarter Hour

(2) Chris Benoit and Tajiri defeated Rhyno and Eddie Guerrero via submission. The match is already in action when we come back from the break. I really think that the WWE should show some highlights of what went on during the commercial break, rather than just throwing the viewer into the middle of the match. Eddie Guerrero hits a nice top rope huracanrana on Benoit. Tajiri and Rhyno tag in and Tajiri cleans house, including hitting a nice handspring elbow on Rhyno. Tajiri also hits several incredible looking kicks on Guerrero, before being stopped by Rhyno. Tajiri locks Rhyno in the tarantula, but Guerrero kicks Tajiri in the face to break up the hold. The crowd chants for Benoit as Guerrero plays it up to the crowd from the apron by making throat-slashing gestures. Rhyno actually uses the sharpshooter and Guerrero comes in without a tag because the ref is distracted and locks in a submission. Tajiri tries to make the tag, but is stopped. Tajiri has been in the corner of the opposition for most of the match. Tajiri nearly is able to get a tag but Rhyno stops him and hits a powerbomb. Tajiri sprays the green mist on Rhyno, but Guerrero nails him with the frog splash. Chris Benoit pulls him off Tajiri and forces Guerrero to tap out to the crossface.

Grade: 3 points (achieved the standard). This was a great television match with non-stop action. Guerrero and Rhyno did a great job of bending the rules and keeping Tajiri out of his corner during this match.

Kurt Angle is backstage with a little boy. Kurt says he has heard some rumors about Josh that prevent him from sleeping at night. Angle says he is upset about getting F-5'd last week, but he still considers Brock a friend. Good interview from Kurt.

Bonus Points: 1

(Commercial Break)

Matt Facts: Matt puts his ketchup on one fry at a time and Matt is a better commentator than Cole. Did I just see a Shannon Moore Mattitude Follower shirt in the corner of my screen?

Zach Gowen limps down to the ring without his cane. Matt is on commentary and says that he was defending himself last week when he attacked Gowen.

(3) Nunzio defeated Zach Gowen via pinfall. Matt says that his problem with Zach is that he doesn't deserve to be in the WWE. Gowen locks in a nice looking submission hold, but Nunzio reaches the ropes. Gowen takes a nice bump from a clothesline by Nunzio, spinning in the air. Tazz says that no one is going to take is easy on Zach Gowen. Zach hits a huge moonsault on Nunzio, who was lying against the rope. Gowen then jumps off the second rope and hits a spinning heel kick, followed by a leg drop from the top rope. Gowen goes to the top rope and takes out Shannon Moore who was trying to knock him off the apron. Nunzio hits Gowen, who was distracted by the master of Mattitude, with a kick from the second rope for the pin.

Grade: 2 points (Nearing Standard). This match was too short to achieve the standard, but Zach Gowen impresses me with his in-ring ability. I hope the WWE has something planned for Gowen as a result of his losing streak.

Third Quarter Hour

After the match, Hardy attacks Gowen again, hitting him with the Twist-of -Fate.

(Commercial Break)

Undertaker walks into VKM's office where he is making out with Sablelicious. Taker says that he has seen every dirty trick that Vince has. He says that sending A-Train to attack Steph is the lowest thing he has ever seen. Taker says that if he were in the family he would beat Vince up. Vince goes on about being the dominant male in the WWE, but is interrupted by Funaki. In a really funny moment, Vince tells Funaki to speak English. Funaki shows Vince that Lesnar has been laid out.

Bonus Points: 1

4th Quarter Hour

Word life! John Cena comes out in a Kobe Bryant jersey. Cena says he is amazing and he will leave Taker on the wrong side of a Kobe Bryant violation. He also tells Taker that he is going to shove his head up his own ass so he can eat his own s**t. Word life! This was a good promo from Cena.

Bonus: 1 point for wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey.

(Commercial Break)

(4) John Cena defeated the Undertaker via pinfall. Cole and Tazz explain Taker's absence last week by saying that he suffered a rib injury at Vengeance when he hit the exposed turnbuckle. Cole and Tazz do a great job of discussing the background of each wrestler, which is something that has been missing from the announcing team on RAW. This is a squash match to start out. Taker shows no signs of his "injuries" from Vengeance. Cena rakes Takers eyes and then chokes him in the corner, but ends up walking into a huge clothesline from the Taker. Taker continues to dominate, working on Cena's shoulder. Taker goes for the old school, but Cena is able to kick out Taker's legs. Cena builds some momentum, but walks into an elbow from the Taker. Taker goes to work on Cena's arm again. Cena hasn't gotten in much offense in this match as the Taker has been working him over methodically. Cole compares Taker to the teacher at school that you hate, who teaches you lesson after lesson. Taker hits the old school and Cole says that it is a matter of time for the Taker. The action spills outside and Taker hammers Cena's arm on the barricade and then slaps him on the face. Taker asks Cena, " Who do you respect now?" Cole says that Taker will not forget Vengeance because Cena disrespected him. Taker puts Cena on the top turnbuckle. Taker goes all the way to the top rope and lands a huge superplex. Taker comes up screaming and holding his ribs. Cole and Tazz say that the move has backfired on Undertaker.

(Commercial Break) Good match so far, with Taker selling his injuries from Vengeance. I guess that is the angle that is going to be used if Cena is able to defeat the Taker in this match. Cena really hasn't done anything in this match to establish that he can beat Undertaker on his own.

Fifth Quarter Hour

Back from the break, Cena is in control as he works on Taker's ribs. Cole says that Lesnar is extremely angry backstage. Cole says that Cena wastes little time putting his opponents away when he has an advantage. Taker throws Cena into the ring post on the outside, but is slow to get to his feet. Taker throws Cena back into the ring and goes for the pin, but Cena kicks out. I really like the dynamic of this match with Taker selling the rib injury from Vengeance. Cena hits a nice neck breaker on Taker. Both men exchange punches on their feet and Taker eventually hits the "Hogan boot" and drops the elbow, but Cena kicks out. Cena lands a nice spinebuster, but Taker gets up and goes for the Last Ride. Cena is able to counter as he goes for a DDT. Taker shoves Cena into the ref and hits a chokeslam. A-Train comes in and hits Taker with his pump kick and then a backbreaker. Cena covers Taker, but he is able to kick out. Taker comes up bleeding from the mouth. Taker doesn't look too good. Taker goes for the Tombstone, but Cena is able to reverse it and hit the FU. This match made Cena look much stronger than his match at Vengeance.

Grade: 4 (above standard) This was a really good match. The announcers did a great job of setting the table. Telling us why Taker was gone last week and highlighting his injuries at Vengeance. I don't like the fact that Cena beat Taker after interference from A-Train, but I believe that Cena came out of this match as a bigger star than he was before it.

(Commercial Break)

6th Quarter Hour

Highlights are aired from the Taker/ Cena match. Tazz says it's the biggest FU Cena has ever hit.

Jamie Noble makes his way to the ring and is apparently reunited with Nidia.

(5) Jamie Noble w/ Nidia defeated Doug Basham w/maniqua and Danny Basham via pinfall. Doug starts out in control. Cole informs us that Brock Lesnar will in fact be in the steel cage tonight. Doug Basham continues to throw Noble around the ring. Doug hits a nice splash from the second rope and follows it up with a dropkick to the head. Tazz and Cole are really into this match as they discuss Tazz's television viewing habits in his hotel room. Noble kicks out of a pin attempt by Basham. Noble hits a nice looking suplex and maniqua looks on disapprovingly. Noble hits a nice neck breaker, but Basham kicks out. Noble hits a top rope elbow, but Danny Basham distracts the ref. Noble counters a DDT attempt by Doug Basham and rolls him up for the pin.

After the match, the Basham's attack Noble until Billy Gunn comes down and cleans house leaving me to wonder if he is looking to recreate the magic of Billy and Chuck with Noble.

Grade: 2 points (nearing the standard). Good match, but too short. Basham looked good in the ring tonight. I don't see what it does for Noble or Gunn to be teaming together

The little boy interviews Kurt. He tells Angle that Vince has said Kurt is responsible for the attack on Lesnar. Kurt says that he had nothing to do with it. Kurt says that he will wait awhile to talk with the angry giant.

(Commercial Break)

7th Quarter Hour

*** Questions for the next half hour:
1) Will we get another edition of Smackdown without Steph?
2) Who is turning heel tonight?
3) Why do I have the feeling that it will be Angle?

If the answer to the first question is yes, I will be a happy Smackdown reviewer.

Next week, TWGTT will face Kidman and Mysterio.

(6) Charlie Haas w/ Shelton Benjamin defeated Rey Mysterio w/o Billy Kidman via submission. Cole says that Kidman is on his honeymoon, which is funny because he doesn't mention he married Torrie Wilson. Haas is in control at the beginning of the match, throwing Mysterio into the turnbuckle several times. Haas distracts the ref, allowing Benjamin to get in a cheap shot on Mysterio. Cole and Tazz are not into this match as Tazz sings about KC next week and they also discuss the cage match that will take place later tonight. Haas covers Mysterio who kicks out. Cole says Mysterio is an idiot for taking this match, but Tazz points out the Mysterio has some pride. Mysterio kicks out of the corner and goes to the top, but Haas lays him out on the top turnbuckle. Haas goes for a splash and Mysterio moves out of the way. Mysterio hits an awesome springboard senton; I can't describe how great that it looked. Mysterio hits an enzuigiri and follows up with the 619, but misses the west-coast pop. Haas counters a huracanrana into the Haas of Pain and Mysterio taps out. Seems like even-steven booking again.

Grade: 3 points (Achieved the standard). This was a really good match, despite being short. Mysterio is incredible in the ring, as he is able to work with smaller wrestlers as well as heavyweights like Haas.

(Commercial Break)

Wrestlemania Recall: Andre slams Big John Studd in the bodyslam challenge. I don't know why, but I thought this was really cool when I was younger.

I love how the WWE shines the lights on the cage and plays the thumping music as it lowers to the ring.

Highlights are aired of Lesnar's attack earlier and Kurt's interview with the little boy.

Lesnar is shown making his way to the ring.

Kurt Angle is shown leaving VKM's office. What are we to make of that?

St. Anger is the theme for Summerslam.

(Commercial Break)

8th Quarter Hour

Kurt Angle comes out to a light reaction. Do these Canadians sense a heel turn from Kurt Angle?

No Chance! Vince struts down to the ring. Vince is bigger than Kurt Angle. That must be healthy for someone his age. Vince tries to shake Kurt's hand, but he refuses.

Here comes the pain! Brock Lesnar makes his way down to the ring as Cole wonders if this match is a trap for Lesnar. Cole says Angle has a reason to turn his back on Lesnar.

Vince McMahon vs. Brock Lesnar w/ Kurt Angle as the special guest referee went to a no contest. Vince and Lesnar go face to face and Kurt separates them. Brock throws Vince into the corner and Vince has a great facial expression as he looks stunned, but then is determined to beat Lesnar up. Lesnar goes for the F-5, but drops Vince and collapses to the mat. Kurt checks on Lesnar. Vince pins Lesnar, but Angle refuses to count to three. Kurt signals for help from the back. Vince slaps Angle in the face and goes for the cover. Angle puts Vince in the anklelock and Brock nips up and F5"s Angle. Vince and Lesnar share a smile. Vince tells Brock to go after Kurt. Lesnar throws Angle into the steel cage several times. Tazz says that Brock was never attacked tonight and that it was a setup all along.

Vince grabs the WWE Title and tells Brock that it is "Yours and mine." Angle comes up bleeding as Lesnar holds the title in his face.

Grade: 3 points for a heel turn that makes sense.

Radican's reaction: Another good episode of Smackdown. Eddie Guerrero continues to impress me with his facial expressions in the ring and his mannerisms as someone who lies, cheats and steals to get ahead. He has a really entertaining character right now. Zach Gowen is exciting to watch in the ring. It is unbelievable that someone with one leg can perform all those moves and bump so well. That being said I hope they are setting up an angle for him by having him lose week after week... I really liked the John Cena vs. Undertaker match. Cole and Tazz did a fantastic job of selling Undertaker's rib injuries from Vengeance. I thought they also put Cena over when they described him as someone who is able to take advantage of an opportunity in a match. I didn't think the interference from A-Train was necessary, but it seems like Taker is determined to keep his "spot". I think that Taker put over Cena as much as he was willing to, which is an improvement from their match at Vengeance... I don't understand the even steven booking policy of the WWE. Mysterio defeated Benjamin last week, but was defeated by Haas this week. I would have liked to have seen their match go longer than it did, but what disturbed me is that Mysterio didn't even attempt to move towards the ropes to break the submission... Finally, I enjoyed the heel turn by Brock Lesnar as it makes sense. Brock is jealous of Kurt and will do anything to get the WWE title. I think Brock will really get over as a heel with the help of VKM.

Drum roll please...

There were six matches this week, which means the highest number of points this episode of Smackdown could receive is twenty-four. I will not count the main event as a match. Smackdown received 22 points this week, which means I will give it an A- as a final grade.

Sean Radican is looking forward to hearing what you think about his review. He reviews Smackdown each and every week. He would like to remind you to always be honest with yourself and others. He encourages you to send feedback to

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