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1/1 Smackdown review: Giebink's detailed report on show

Jan 2, 2004 - 5:09:00 PM

By Dusty Giebink, Torch Team Contributor

WWE Smackdown review
January 1, 2004
Taped 12/30/03 in Laredo, Tex.
Aired on UPN
Report by Dusty Giebink, Torch Team Contributor

Hello everyone, it is me, Dusty Giebink, back once again. Im filling in for Sean The Man Radican, who has had a plethora of computer difficulties lately and asked me to fill in for him. I am anxiously awaiting Dusty Giebink Week at the Torch, where I fill in for everyone and do every single show review. And, I should note, by anxiously awaiting I mean not at all waiting for. I should note further that this is the first WWE show of 2004, if for no other reason than I like that kind of thing.

Will Smackdown achieve the standard this week?

Last weeks Smackdown was largely a throw-away show meant solely to entertain the troops and just generally be a feel-good type moment. Thats why it was excusable that Stone Cold Steve Austin, who is fixin to be reinstated in the Raw storylines, could appear on the show at all. And thats why it was excusable for Austin to give the Stunner to up-and-coming face John Cena. Its because the whole show was done for the purpose of entertaining the troops, and not to further advance or complete any storylines. I have a feeling, heading into this show, that the only thing that is going to mentioned from that show will be wrestlers giving more props to the troops, and not anything that happened in the wrestling ring. This show will act as a sort of reset, continuing where they let off while beginning anew. Most importantly, Smackdown better achieve the standard this week, elst it will get a scathing review from yours truly. On to the show!

Show opens with clips documenting the match where Hardcore Holly would either lose his job in wrestling for good, or else be brought back and given a shot at Brock Lesnars title. It was a tag match between him and Shannon Moore against A-Train and Matt Morgan. Finish came when Holly hit the Alabama Slam on Morgan and pinned him. I still cant believe they didnt have him pin Train instead of the guy with the potential to draw money in the future. Ah well. Opening montage airs, and Michael Cole and Tazz welcome us to tonights show. At the Royal Rumble PPV, in fact, Lesnar will defend his championship against Hardcore Holly in the money match of the decade.

(1) Rey Mysterio defeated Tajiri to win the Cruiserweight Title. It was back in September that Tajiri defeated Mysterio to win the belt, using the red mist. Im waiting for aqua mist or something. Some great mat wrestling early. Cole notes that Tajiri is working on Mysterios legs to keep him grounded, so as to avoid Mysterios high flying aerialisticness. Cole teases a huge surprise coming up. Tajiri attempts the handspring elbow, but Mysterio hits a dropkick on him with his back turned to send Tajiri spilling to the outside. Rey then hits a senton onto Tajiri on the outside. Then, in the next major occurrence of the match, they. . . break for commercial. Sheesh.

Back from break, and Mysterio sets Tajiri up for the 6-1-9. Akio dives into the ring to try to stop it, which distracts the ref. On the other side of the ring, Sakoda catches Mysterio bouncing off the ropes and drops him to the outside. This gets two, back in the ring. Tazz points out that its like a three-on-one handicap match. So, why isnt there a second ref on the outside to watch things? Mysterio gets a sunset flip out of nowhere for two, but Tajiri sends him back out to the outside. Mysterios selling his knee here. Tajiri ties Mysterio up in the Tree of Woe and dropkicks his knee in an innovative spot. It gets two. Tajiri attempts a Tarantula but Mysterio hangs on to the ropes. Mysterio hits a low dropkick, and then a huracanrana for two. Mysterio reverses something by Tajiri and hits a bulldog for two. Tajiri reverses the West Coast Pop into a single-leg Boston Crab. Mysterio gets to the ropes. Mysterio goes for something off the top rope, but Akio shoves him down. A Tajiri sit-out powerbomb gets two. Tajiri misses a big kick to the head and Mysterio rolls him up for two. Mysterio finally hits the 6-1-9 for real, but misses the West Coast Pop and tastes a big boot from Tajiri. Tajiri accidentally nails Sakoda with the mist, while Mysterio fights off Akio. Rey hits a huracanrana into a pinning combination for the victory and the title.

Grade: 4 (Above the standard.) This was a phenomenal match. It was the kind of match, with the kind of fan reaction, that leads me to believe a properly promoted Cruiserweight division would be a serious money drawing entity for WWE. This was a great way to start 2004, although you have to believe that not every match this year is going to be that good. I mean, look at some of the guys still employed by WWE. Such is life.

Back in the ring, Michael Cole is interviewing the newly crowned champion, Mysterio. Reys New Years Resolution was to become the Cruiserweight champion. He didnt think it was going to happen so soon, however. He wishes us all a Happy New Year, in English and in Spanish. This was really a nice touch, and I wish they would do things like this more often. Then, just like that, they ruined it. Out comes Big Show, wearing a suit I must add. Hes got some kind of championship with him, but Ill be darned if I can remember what it is. Oh yeah, Tazz reminds us its the U.S. Title. I remember when that title meant something. Fan sign: Fat in the Hat, with a picture of Show wearing the Cat in the Hat, uh, hat. Nice. Show hypes his newest shirt, Chicks Dig It Big. Show: Thats one of them there innuendos, know what Im saying? Big Show can be so great.

On the back it says And It Just Dont Get Any Bigger Than This, which according to Show is a little play on words. Gotcha. Show admits that some people out in the crowd are kinda fat, which is why his shirt is made up to size 3X. Mysterio, not taking too kindly to Shows interruption, swipes the shirt. Show asks if Mysterio could please give it back to him. Mysterio pretends like hes going to toss the shirt into the crowd. Thats not very nice. Show threatens to beat his ass if he does. Mysterio finally tosses the shirt into the crowd, which wasnt the brightest thing he could do. Show attacks and Mysterio fares about as well as you could imagine he would fare against Big Show. Hardcore Holly runs out to make the save, and Mysterio hits the 6-1-9 on Show. I was just about ready to give the show a bonus point for the post-match interview with Mysterio. Then, Show comes out to hype his new t-shirt. Then, Show beats the crap out of Mysterio to further diminish the Cruiserweights and their championship. Then, Hardcore Holly makes the save. So, Im generously letting these events cancel each other out, even though I was frustrated.

Backstage, Show is furious and throwing a temper tantrum. Heyman speed talks Show into calming down. Hes giving Show a match against the man that victimized him, Hardcore Holly. Heyman is great here, Show tosses a monitor, which I imagine is his primitive way of accepting the offer. He never actually spoke, so I have to guess here.

(2) Bradshaw defeated Rhyno. This is promoted as the rubber match of this thrilling feud, with both men having won one match apiece. Bradshaw gets a two count literally seconds into the match. Rhyno hits a DDT, and I remember when that would finish a guy. This gets two. Bradshaw catches Rhyno diving, and hits the Last Call fallaway slam. Bradshaw hits the Clothesline From Hell to hopefully end this feud, and hopefully (but I know better) send Rhyno off to better things. Fan sign, while Bradshaw was celebrating his victory: More Gore in 2004. I think it was supposed to be about Rhynos Gore, but it was still funny.

Grade: 2 (Nearing the standard.) This was a decent, relatively inoffensive match between two competent veterans. I cannot lament enough on how badly Rhyno is being wasted here, especially having to seemingly lose his feud to Bradshaw like this. Match was too short to fully achieve the standard, but was good enough to be passable.

Earlier today, Eddie and Chavo Guerrero were invited to participate in a low rider parade. Clips of the various ensuing madness of that event air. Eddie is so great.

Michael Cole talks of how incredible last weeks Smackdown show was. Tazz adds that it was an honor to do something like that for the troops. Clips air of the show. This was nothing new if you saw last weeks show, or even just read about it. Back in the arena, and the fans are chanting U.S.A., which is nice.

Backstage, Paul Heyman talks about how big of an honor and privilege it was for the Smackdown superstars to perform for the troops like that. John Cena interrupts his rhetoric. Cena was over in Baghdad, wrestling for the troops. Where was Heyman? Cena thinks Heyman was scurred to show up. Heyman is nothing but a big, fat coward. Heyman has never been called a coward before, what with him being a leader of men. He believes in his country and all that. He believes in opportunity, as well. For example, the Royal Rumble offers the opportunity for 15 Smackdown superstars to compete for a chance at the championship. Cena will get that opportunity, if and his partner win a handicap, two-on-three match against the F.B.I. Thats right Velocity Tag Team Champions, the F.B.I. The deal is that if Cena and the partner of his choice dont win the match, they dont get into the Rumble, so they have to win, which is enough added pressure to match this storyline work. Then Heyman sarcastically wishes Cena a Happy New Year in a high pitched voice, which was great.

Tazz and Cole do a scripted promo for the new UPN show Top Model, which was unintentionally hilariously bad.

(3) John Cena & Chris Benoit defeated The F.B.I. (Nunzio & Johnny The Bull & Chuck Palumbo). Cena was ready to do battle against the F.B.I. with a mic and a chain as his partners, but out comes Benoit, and rhymes his acceptance speech about making the Italians tap. Cena hits the Road Dogg-esque Knuckle Shuffle on Stamboli. The F.B.I. do much triple team work in their corner on Cena, cutting the ring off. Palumbo hits a nice side suplex on Cena for two, but Benoit makes the save. Cena gets close to making the tag, but Palumbo cuts him off and drags him back into his teams corner. Referee distracted and more triple team numbers game chicanery abounds. Stamboli hits a clothesline with extra Velocity for a two count. Palumbo hits a big running boot, and again Benoit makes the tag. Cena hits a gorgeous maneuver, reversing a suplex into a powerbomb-like maneuver, according to Tazz. Benoit gets the hot tag and runs wild on the heels.

Palumbo attempts a fallaway slam on Benoit, but Chris reverses it into a German suplex. Nunzio gets a German suplex of his own, and then Stamboli gets one to make it a perfect three-for-three. Benoit signals the end and goes up to the top. He hit a diving headbutt on Stamboli, but Nuzio made the save. Palumbo and Stamboli hit the double team, according to Cole and get a two count but Cena runs in to make the save. Benoit locks on a Sharpshooter on Stamboli, but Palumbo hits a big boot with the refs back turned. Stamboli covers, but only gets two. Benoit counters something on locks the Crossface on Stamboli. Cena hits an F-U on Palumbo and Stamboli taps out, giving Cena and Benoit entrance into the Royal Rumble. My question is, since the F.B.I. lost this match, they shouldnt be allowed in the Rumble themselves, right? Dont answer that.

Grade: 4 (Above the standard.) This was a very good match, actually. Plus, I really dug the story it told. Heyman was so upset with Cena that he stacked the odds of him getting into the Rumble to a seemingly insurmountable level. Then, Benoit becomes the mystery partner as a way of getting back at Heyman for saying he would never get another title shot by seeing this as the loophole he needed. Finally, the faces win against the odds and get to participate in the Rumble. Good stuff, and this has really been a good show up to this point.

That old familiar music hits, and Kurt Angle makes his way to the ring to a huge pop. Angle thanks the troops that are fighting for this country overseas, and the crowd breaks into another U.S.A. chant. Being there made him proud to be an American. Angle tells the story a soldier about 22 years old thats been there for about a year. When he left, his wife was eight months or so pregnant. A few weeks into his stint, his wife gave birth to a little baby girl. All this soldier wanted to do was to get home and get to know his little baby girl. Each day he spent over there, was a day wasted away from his little girl. He wasnt able to hear her speak for the first time, or to see her first steps because he was over there, 10,000 miles away, fighting for us. She wont know him when he comes back as anything other than an acquaintance. Angle admits that he cant kick ass overseas, but will kick ass in the ring, and so he is entering himself in the Royal Rumble right now. He vows to go through all 29 other guys, and win the Rumble. And hes going to do it for each and every brave soldier overseas, and he thanks them one last time for all they do. This was seriously a great interview, and it leads me to believe Angle is going to win the Rumble.

(4) Big Show defeated Hardcore Holly by disqualification in, you guessed it, a non-title match. In the name of all that is holy, would Big Show just once defend his title?! Please! We are shown clips of the angle with Show/Mysterio/Holly that set this match up, because we all have ADD and cant remember things that happened just an hour before. Holly tries to use his speed to his advantage, while Show powers him into the turnbuckles a few times, and hits a phat clothesline. And then an elbow drop. Very slowly Show goes to work on Holly. Show hits an Andre-style headbutt to the back of the head. Show hits a leg lariat, which Tazz refers to as a hog log, which is absolutely hilarious. It gets two. Holly hits a desperation spot, taking Shows knee out. Holly snaps Shows neck on the top rope, then hits a clothesline off the top rope for two. Show hits a sidewalk slam, but fails to make the cover. He does the Jerry Lawler-style drop the strap move, so you know he means biznaz. Show locks on a Billy Jack Haynes-style full nelson (if Cole isnt going to make old school references like Josh Matthews does, then Im going to make up my own). Mysterio comes out and leaps off the top rope with a steel chair, but Show throws his fist up to break it up. Holly hits a blatant low blow for the DQ, and then lays Show out with the chair.

Grade: 2 (Nearing the standard.) Well, this was about what you would expect from a match consisting of Hardcore Holly carrying Big Show. I dont think fans are buying Holly as a serious contender to Lesnars title, and everyone pretty much expects Lesnar to keep the belt in that match. Thats exactly the right finish, but how do they expect that to sell the PPV? I mean, its the kind of match that would work on Smackdown, but I dont think it will on PPV. And if Holly gets DQed in that match to set up a rematch, well I dont want to talk about that. Nice shot after the match of a bloody Big Show screaming in anger. That was cool.

Backstage, Dawn Marie asks Paul Heyman when she will be on the cover of Smackdown magazine. Man, is she hot. Chris Benoit barges in on them and Heyman sends Dawn out. BOO! Benoit brags about outsmarting Heyman, and vows he will not only win the Rumble, but then go on to win the WWE championship as well. Heyman berates Benoit, saying hes better than him. Since Heyman has power and Benoit doesnt, Heyman makes Benoit the number one entrant into the Rumble, stacking the odds fully against Benoit. Benoit grabs Heymans hand and repeats his vows to win the Rumble, despite Heymans best efforts to break his will.

Mysterio is backstage celebrating his championship victory with Bradshaw, Velocity head booker Funaki, Shannon Moore, and Orlando Jordan. Eddie comes in to congratulate him, and says hes been thinking about throwing his hat into the Rumble in an attempt to win the WWE Title. Chavo pulls Eddie aside to talk to him. Chavo cant believe what he just heard, that Eddie might enter the Rumble. That would be incredibly selfish, according to Chavo. He reminds them of their pursuit of the tag team championship, and in fact, they have a tag match coming up tonight.

(5) The Self Proclaimed Worlds Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) defeated Eddie & Chavo Guerrero. Can Haas and Benjamins team name possibly get any longer? Dont answer that. Chavo hits the nice dropkick to the face on Benjamin that I like so much. Haas and Benjamin do a tag behind Chavos back, allowing for Benjamin to sneak his way into the ring and hit a nice t-bone (Tazz-style) suplex. They then hit a double team backbreaker for a two count. Eddie catches Haas sleeping and nails him in the back of his head from the apron. Chavo has a chance to make the tag, but opts not to. Both Haas and Chavo hit head-to-head. Eddie draws Benjamin into the ring, which distracts the ref. This allows Eddie to pull Chavo over to his corner, where he tags himself in and runs wild on the heels. Eddie hits the combination arm drag/headscissors. Eddie hits the triple verticals on Haas. Chavo then tags himself in and says hes going up for the frog splash. He takes way too much time and Haas lifts his knees up. Benjamin hits a big boot and Haas gets the pin. Eddie tries to make the save, but hes just a bit too late.

Grade: 4 (Above the standard) This was a great match, a most excellent way to cap this show. Haas and Benjamin are a great tag team, and I can only hope they get a better, and shorter for that matter, team name because of it. The story of Eddie and Chavos tense relationship was told to perfection once again here.

After the match, Chavo is mad at Eddie. He grabs a mic and publicly berates Eddie for being selfish and always trying to steal the spotlight from him. He blames Eddie for the loss. All he hears, every single night, are Eddie chants. Hes sick of that, and hes sick of Eddie himself. He slaps Eddie, and Eddies blood starts boiling. Before he can go after his nephew, Kurt Angle runs in to play peace maker. Chavo makes his exit, and Eddie shoves Kurt away with his temper still hot. They go to commercial break, which I was actually expecting, so its not going to upset me this time.

Back from break, we are shown clips of the match that just happened because, once again, we all have ADD and cant remember what we have seen/read just minutes before. Man, I wish they would stop that. Backstage, Eddie and Kurt are now magically backstage. Kurt is trying to get Eddie to calm down and be rational. Chavos family, Eddie should remember. Kurt wants to win the Royal Rumble for his country, Eddie wants to win the Rumble for selfish purposes. Kurt invites Eddie to look into the mirror to see what the problem is, because Chavo is right. Tazz and Cole close the program and thats that. Weak finish.

Giebinks Reaction:: This was a great Smackdown, with three great matches, those being Mysterio vs. Tajiri, Cena & Benoit vs. the F.B.I., and Haas & Benjamin vs. the Guerreros. Were those three matches, along with the fantastic Kurt Angle promo and Dawn Maries mere presence enough to give this show an A-grade?

Drum roll please. . .

Of course it is! This is me were talking about here. In case you didnt know, Ive given Velocity A-minuses on shows that other people would have given Fs to. This show gets an A, and a big thumbs up from me. No one is reading this anyway! I would like to once again point out that no one buys Holly as a serious threat to Lesnars title, so Im not sure if that storyline is working or not. It would work for sure if the match was taking place on Smackdown, but on PPV, Im not convinced. I would also like to point out that Im confused as to how this whole Guerreros/Angle storyline is going to play out. Chavo on his own is far less a commodity than when he is teaming with Eddie, so maybe Kurt will also turn heel and form a team of some sort with Chavo to help him further get over. Not sure how that one is going to work, but I do know I liked this show for the most part. Im going to pretend the Bradshaw match never happened.

Dusty Giebink can be contacted at at, and WisconsinDream on the VIP Forum, if you have something to say. He would like to assure all of Seans fans once again that Sean will hopefully be back next week and you wont have to deal with him again.

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