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8/14 WWE Smackdown review: Steph vs. A-Train headlines

Aug 14, 2003 - 9:47:00 PM

By Sean Radican, Torch Team Phenomenon

WWE Smackdown review
August 14, 2003
Taped on Aug. 12 in St. Louis, Mo.

Will Smackdown achieve the standard set for by your Smackdown reviewer?

I was listening to an old Jay-Z CD and he said, " I sell ice in the winter. I sell fire in hell. I am a hustler baby, I sell water to a well." Somehow this quote seems appropriate as we head to

The big picture: I've had a week or so to think about the John Cena/ Undertaker match and I've come away from it with a bad taste in my mouth. No, not because it was a bad match, but because of the big lumbering furball who interfered, A-Train. Vince has gotten away with selling his viewers some crap and we've put up with it because in general the good outweighs the bad, but a line must be drawn here. We have seen Vince feud with Hogan and then by default Zach Gowen for seven months now, but that has been offset by the presence of Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Matt Hardy and John Cena. We have all seen the stock of those performers rise, but guess whom Vince wants to push at the second biggest PPV of the year? The A-Train. Now, I was anticipating an Undertaker/Cena rematch at Summerslam, which would serve as a match to give Cena a permanent place at the upper end of the card, but that is not going to happen. Last week when the A-Train lumbered down to the ring and attacked the Undertaker I knew it was going to lead to a match between the Undertaker and A-Train at Summerslam. I know that Vince is obsessed with big men and McMahon logic dictates that A-Train is going to get another push. A-Train has been pushed before, but guess what? No one cared about him. He has no charisma and his defining trait is that he is hairy. I can think of several matches that fans would like to see at Summerslam: Mysterio vs. Dragon for the Cruiserweight Title, Zach Gowen vs. Matt Hardy, heck even a Taker/ Cena rematch might help the buy rate. The fact is no one is going to want to see Undertaker take on the A-Train.

On Smackdown this week, I look for Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar to continue their feud, which gained some serious steam when Brock turned heel and sided with Vince at the end of last week's show. I'm sure Vince will have some gloating to do as he now has Lesnar and the WWE Title in the palm of his hand. I also look for TWGTT and Kidman and Mysterio to continue their feud. These two teams will face off for the WWE Tag Team Titles in what should be an excellent match. Also, Stephanie has been gone for two weeks, will she be back? I look for Zach Gowen to continue his feud against Matt Hardy. Perhaps this is leading to a match down the road between Gowen and Hardy. It's funny that Hardy seems to be initiating Gowen as a Mattitude follower. Shannon Moore took similar beating from Hardy during their first few months together, but Hardy seems to have turned his attention towards Gowen now. Finally, I look for Benoit and Rhyno to continue their feud. Rhyno owes Benoit a match, but will Guerrero get involved or will Tajiri occupy his time?

On to my weekly picks

Book of the Week: The Firm by John Grisham. This is one of my favorite books and it keeps you reading from beginning to end.

Game of the Week: John Madden Football: 2004. All that needs to be said is that this is best Madden game ever.

DVD pick of the week: American Beauty. Kevin Spacey and company turn in a wonderful performance in this film that takes a look at the human condition.

***Last night on the NWA-TNA PPV, Low-Ki and A.J. Styles went above and beyond the standard of what a good match should be. I think that when it comes time to consider the match of the year that you have to consider this match along with the AMW vs. Daniels and Skipper cage match and the Angle vs. Benoit match at the Royal Rumble. These are the three matches I remember the most from this year. Smackdown has its work cut out if any of its matches are to exceed the standard. Can anyone think of another match that deserves consideration?

And now, on to Smackdown!

1st Quarter Hour
We go right to Cole and Tazz at ringside.

No Chance! VKM struts down to ringside as Cole wonders how Mr. McMahon got to Brock Lesnar last week. It sounds so stupid when Cole calls Lesnar a "Manster".

VKM says we are going to be introduced to someone who we don't know. He goes on to say that we will be introduced to the real Brock Lesnar. Vince goes over Lesnar's accomplishments (NCAA Wrestling Champion, 2x WWE champion), but there is another side of Brock Lesnar that we don't know. The crowd gets the " asshole" chant going as we watch highlights from last week when Vince and Lesnar swerved Kurt. Vince narrates the proceedings, calling Kurt a human dart as he is thrown into the sides of the cage. Vince is sure proud of himself; we never saw it coming, like an A-Train/Taker match at Summerslam. Vince says that Kurt is at home recuperating and then calls out "The Real" Brock Lesnar.

Brock takes the mic and says " Let's just get something clear. Friendship had nothing to do with what I did to Kurt Angle last week. Kurt Angle is not my friend, but he used to be". Brock says that his definition of a friend is someone who helps you to succeed in life. He goes on to say that Kurt stopped being his friend when he took his title at Summerslam. He says that the people and Kurt Angle have something in common, they both suck. Vince announces that Kurt Angle will defend the WWE Championship against Lesnar at Summerslam.

Oh no! Steph is back and she looks angry. Vince asks her if she came out to congratulate Brock Lesnar or to say that she learned her lesson at Vengeance. The crowd noise is on high tonight as the crowd cheers Steph. Stephanie says she won't quit until she is fired. Steph says that as a businessman Vince is a success, but as a husband and father he is a piece of garbage. Vince says he doesn't take that kind of talk from anyone, much less a woman. Vince says that Steph has been a disappointment, boy that's an understatement. Steph tries to slap Vince, but Lesnar stops her. Vince says that if Steph wants physical abuse she can take on A-Train (yes!). Steph looks like one of her writers just told her that her latest booking idea sucked.

Bonus Points: 2 for Vince's performance as he narrated his cage match against Lesnar last week and for the announcement of the A-Train Steph match, which could spell the end of Steph forever!

(Commercial Break) Oh man, this new YJ stinger aired and Triple H is beating up some jobber in the ring. This was so unintentionally funny on so many levels.

2nd Quarter Hour

(1) TWGTT defeated Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman for the WWE Tag Team Championship via pinfall. Haas and Kidman begin the match with Kidman taking control. Haas backs Kidman into the corner, but he fights out. Benjamin hits him on the kneecap and takes the advantage. Mysterio is tagged in and turns a springboard into a bulldog on Haas. Haas hits Mysterio in the back with a knee, allowing Benjamin to take the advantage. Kidman leaps onto Haas who is outside the ring. Meanwhile, back inside the ring, Mysterio hits a HUGE top rope spinning huracanrana on Benjamin, awesome move.

(Commercial Break) Great match so far with plenty of non-stop action.

We come back from the break and Mysterio goes for the 619, but Haas backdrops him to the outside and then he throws him back in to Benjamin. Haas tags and chokes Mysterio on the ropes. Benjamin is tagged in and he throws Mysterio across the knee of Haas. Benjamin locks in a bearhug on Mysterio and Mysterio powers out, but Benjamin hits him with a high knee to the ribs for a near fall.

3rd Quarter Hour
Benjamin applies an abdominal stretch as this match has slowed quite a bit since the beginning. Mysterio powers out, but Benjamin tags in Haas and they double-team Mysterio, with Benjamin landing on his back after leaping over Haas. Mysterio knocks Haas off the turnbuckle and goes for a plancha, but Haas kicks him in the ribs. Haas tags Benjamin in, who stops Mysterio from making the tag. Mysterio eventually takes Benjamin down and tags in Kidman who cleans house. Kidman hits an awesome head scissors/headlock takedown on Benjamin and Haas. Kidman hits Benjamin with a dropkick, but Haas hits a nice looking belly to belly, but Mysterio breaks up the pin with a leg drop from the top rope. Haas goes to set up Kidman on the top turnbuckle, but Mysterio comes over and gives him a huracanrana, leaving Kidman on the top rope. Kidman hits the shooting star press and Mysterio simultaneously hits the 619 on Benjamin, but Haas kicks out! The crowd was fully expecting the pinfall and is going bananas at this point. Kidman is pushed into the ropes and Benjamin hits him with a superkick and Haas suplexes him for the pin.

Grade: 3 (Achieved the Standard) Good match, with non-stop action that went from one move to another. This was the first time in awhile when I was expecting a three count and the wrestler kicked out. Good job by the WWE for adding to the unpredictability of a match.

(Commercial Break)

(2) Danny Basham w/ Doug Basham and Maniqua defeated Billy Gunn w/ Torrie via pinfall Disgusting start as The Basham's stroke Maniqua and my signal goes out. It comes back and Danny Basham gets the three on Gunn.

Grade: 1 point (below standard). I didn't see this match until the end, but I can't imagine they did much in a minute and a half.

4th Quarter Hour

After the match Maniqua wants a piece of Torrie and gives her a crappy looking bodyslam. The Bashams double team Gunn until Noble and Nidia come down and make the save. The Bashams gain the advantage again and one of the Bashams hit a second turnbuckle spinebuster on Gunn. Maniqua then gives Nidia a huge powerbomb. This wasn't a great segment because none of the wrestlers involved are over. Why should anyone care about this feud? I have heard great things about the Basham's from their feud in OVW, but it sure doesn't shine through on Smackdown.

In the back, the APA states that Maniqua is Shelton Benjamin in drag. Bradshaw is holding a picture of Benjamin with long hair drawn in. Faarooq says that a lot of people need protection and they should open their agency again. Bradshaw says that they should let sleeping dogs lie. He goes on to state that you never see Maniqua and Benjamin in the same room, we can also say the same about Bradshaw and Patrick Swayze. Bradshaw states again that Maniqua is a man and Faarooq looks at the picture and says, "Damn".

Bonus: 1 point. Funny stuff from the APA.

Show comes out of Vince's office smiling.

(Commercial Break)

(3) Big Show defeated the Undertaker via count out.Show throws Taker around the ring to being the match. Taker tried to take Show down with a couple of clothesline, but Show grabs his neck and goes for the chokeslam. Taker reverses it into an arm bar as Show screams in pain. Show reaches the rope to break the hold. Undertaker nails Show with a huge DDT, but Show kicks out of his cover at two. Taker sets up Show so that his neck is hanging over the apron and then gives him a leg drop on the top of the head. Taker works over Show's left shoulder and goes for the old school and is successful, but Show doesn't go down. Taker comes off the ropes, but Show catches him and hits a sidewalk slam. Show targets the constantly injured ribs of the Taker. Taker lands a couple punches, but show clotheslines him for a near fall. Show steps on Taker's ribs as he screams in pain. Taker is really selling tonight. Cole says that Mr. McMahon has told Show to target the Taker's ribs.

5th Quarter Hour
Taker comes off the ropes and hits his panted huge clothesline and follows that up with a leg drop for a two count. Taker means business as he takes his straps off and hits Show with a couple of jabs in the corner. Taker hits a couple of huge clotheslines and goes for the chokeslam, but Show knocks him away and throws him into the referee. Show tells Taker to get up and goes for the big boot, but gets hung up on the top rope. The action spills outside and Taker takes control, slamming Show's head into the steel post. The two big men brawl into the crowd. Taker sends Show back over the barrier, but the A-Train comes in from the crowd and attacks him with a 2x4. The referee is counting and Show makes it into the ring. The Show wins by count out.

I keep losing my signal. Am I going to be screwed by this power outage that is plaguing the East?

Grade: 2(Nearing the standard) I just don't find these matches too exciting. The ring psychology is okay, with each wrestler attacking the vulnerability of the other. It just seemed to go on and on. Show definitely doesn't mesh well in the ring with Taker.

(Commercial Break)

Taker is in the back, having his ribs attended to.

Guerrero comes down in his low-rider truck.

Cole announces that it will by Benoit vs. Rhyno vs. Guerrero vs. Tajiri in a fatal four way at Summerslam. Sounds good.

Guerrero joins Cole and Tazz for commentary. Benoit comes down with his stupid Toothless Aggression shirt on and sits down next to Guerrero. Benoit kisses up to Guerrero, telling him it's an honor to sit next to a US Champion. Benoit puts his arm around Guerrero, who looks freaked out.

(4) Tajiri defeated Rhyno via pinfall. Tajiri opens up with a couple of nice sounding kicks on Rhyno, but Rhyno takes the advantage and hits Tajiri with a nice suplex. Benoit keeps insisting that he and Guerrero are still friends as Tajiri has Rhyno tied up in the Tarantula. Rhyno gains the advantage, hitting a huge powerbomb on Tajiri. Rhyno takes the pad off the second turnbuckle and goes for the gore, but Tajiri ducks it and Rhyno hits his head on the exposed turnbuckle. Tajiri nailed Rhyno with a huge kick to the head for the pin.

Grade: 2(Nearing the standard). Good match, but short. Guerrero and Benoit were really funny on commentary.

6th Quarter Hour

Benoit says he wants a ride in the low-rider. Tazz says that Benoit is trying to get into Benoit's head. Benoit tells Guerrero he wants the hydraulics. Guerrero screams at him and says no one tells him what to do. Guerrero loses his cool and gets out of the truck.

Bonus: 1 point for Benoit wanting Guerrero to use his hydraulics.

(Commercial Break)

Zach Gowen comes down to the ring.

Word life! John Cena makes his way down to the ring with his new T-shit on. Cena busts out some Thuganomics on Gowen. Cena tells Gowen he would be a good partner in a three-legged race.

(5) John Cena defeated Zach Gowen via pinfall. Gowen takes the advantage to start, but Cena hits him with a hug shoulder block. Cena is pissed and Tazz says that this is getting ugly. Cena pushes Gowen into the corner, but he fight out. Gowen charges at Cena who gives him a backdrop. Cena goes for the FU, but drops Gowen. Cena takes Gowen to the top rope for an FU, but Gowen counters it into a top rope arm drop. That was a great looking move. Cole reminds us that Taker hurt Cena's shoulder last week. Gowen goes up to the top rope, but Cena catches him, rolls through, and stands up and gives Gowen the FU.

Grade: 2 (Nearing the standard). Good match. Gowen was really impressive, hitting a top rope arm drop to counter a top rope FU. Cena is really stepping it up in the ring as well and is showing a great mean streak.

Highlights air of the Taker/Show match.

Steph is backstage and A-Train tells her Vince paid him a lot to attack her. A-Train says that Steph likes it ruff and so does he. He goes on to remind Steph that no one brings it rougher than the A-Train.

Grade -1 (Crappy booking standard achieved).

(Commercial Break)

7th Quarter Hour

*** Questions for the next half-hour:
1) Will we see the Ultimo Dragon this week?
2) Will Steph be squashed by A-Train and never return again?
3) Will Taker interfere and pummel the A-Train to end the show.

I have a feeling that the answers to questions 1 and 2 will be no and 3 will be a yes, giving us the worse Smackdown I have seen in awhile.

We come back from commercial and we have breaking news. This is pretty funny as Hardy comes down and nails Zach in the back during the commercial break.

Bonus: 2 points. Hardy is showing that he will be a great heel.

Cole and Tazz run down the Summerslam card.

Spanky, Funaki, and Orlando Jones are backstage. Spanky was chugging some chocolate syrup and sprayed it all over Vince, who was standing in the background. Vince says that Spanky reminds him of a stain in the underwear of life. Vince asks him who the hell he is. Spanky tells Vince that he signs his checks and goes on to say that the XFL was a bad investment. Vince says he is going to make an investment in Spanky, who will go one on one with Brock Lesnar.

Bonus: 1 point. Funny segment with Vince not knowing whom Spanky was.

(Commercial Break)

(6) Spanky defeated Brock Lesnar via DQ I haven't seen Spanky in like six months. Brock throws Spanky around the ring. Spanky tries to come off the top rope with a huracanrana, but Brock hits his "old school" three-powerbomb sequence that he did when he first came into the WWE. Lesnar goes and gets a chair on the outside. He hits Spanky with a huge chairshot and the ref calls for the bell. Spanky is bleeding hardcore.

8th Quarter Hour
Lesnar throws Spanky to the outside and then picks him up and throws him ribs first into the steel post. Spanky did a huge bladejob, wow. Cole says that Lesnar is sending a message to Kurt Angle. Tazz says that this is the real Brock Lesnar. Vince comes out and smiles with Brock.

Grade: 3(1 point for the match and 2 points for establishing Lesnar as a monster). Spanky was bleeding like someone who was shot. At one point Lesnar had Spanky's blood all over his forehead. Good segment.

Stephanie is shown jiggling backstage.

(Commercial Break)

We come back and Spanky is on a stretcher. Vince says that the ring is only going to get messier tonight. Vince introduces the guest ring announcer Sable. Wow! Sablicious is wearing an outfit that is worth a whole box of tissues worthy tonight. Vince has some great facial expressions as he watches her come down to the ring.

Sable introduces Steph as the woman she defeated at Vengeance. This is BS that Steph has to stick herself into the main event of Smackdown. Steph goes for Sablelicious, but the ref stops her. Sable tells her that there will be no count outs tonight. Steph attacks Sable, but is interrupted by A-Train's music.

(7) A-Train defeated Steph via pinfall. Steph slaps the A-Train, who throws her half way across the ring. Steph gets up and A-Train squashes her in the corner as Vince stands up and gives him the thumbs down sign. A-Train sets her up for the Train Wreck, but is interrupted by the Taker.

A-Train and Taker Brawl in the isle, but Show comes in and goes to work on Taker. Show hits Taker in the chest several times with the steel chair. A-Train goes back to the ring and sets her up for a top rope splash and gets the pin on Steph. Tazz says that Vince has all the power. Sablicious announces A-Train as the winner of the match. Cole calls Vince a disappointment as a father. Vince looks into to Steph's eyes and then makes out over Steph, who is clutching her stomach.

Grade: -3(way below standard). The last segment was a very disappointing ending to Smackdown. There was way too much of Vince and Steph.

Radican's reactionI'll talk about the good first. TWGTT and Mysterio and Kidman had a great match to open up what I though was going to be a good show. I really liked the match with Tajiri facing Rhyno because of the commentary of Benoit and Guerrero. Benoit was really funny and showed some personality tonight when he got under Guerrero's skin. I also liked the match between Cena and Gowen. Gowen continues to impress me with his ability in the ring, especially with his reversal of the FU this week. Hardy also shined tonight, showing that he is going to make a great heel in the future when he attacked Gowen after his match with Cena. That being said, things slowed down during the Undertaker vs. Big Show match, which just seemed to go on forever. The show continued to slow down as there was just way too much McMahon involvement tonight. McMahon is involved in so many feuds that it's hard to keep track of them. He's going against Spanky, Kurt Angle, Stephanie, and Undertaker now. Vince is good in smaller doses, he has great facial expressions, but it seemed like he was involved in every segment tonight. We also saw Steph on the TV a lot tonight as she more than made up for her two-week absence. Her feud with the A-Train is the most uninteresting thing I've seen on my television in quite some time. Smackdown has been really good for the last two month's but RAW was the more entertaining show this week.

Drum roll please

There were seven matches for a total of 28 available points to be had for Smackdown this week. Smackdown scored a 16, giving it an F.

The Torch bachelor, Sean Radican is looking forward to the weekend. 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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