TV REPORTS 7/8 WWE Smackdown review: Keller's ongoing "virtual time" analysis of broadcast
Jul 8, 2004 - 9:00:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
JULY 8, 2004
TAPED TUESDAY IN WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
-Michael Cole and Tazz introduced the show.
1 -- ROB VAN DAM vs. MARK JINDRAK
Rene Dupree came to the ring with Fifi to join Cole and Tazz on commentary. Cole sold out Tazz, telling Dupree that Tazz said Fifi had fleas and that's why she was shaved. Dupree asked Tazz if he shaves his head and if that means he has fleas. Cole pointed out that Teddy Long was no longer managing Jindrak as the two had an amicable split. Jindrak dominated early with some ringside brawling, a nice dropkick, and finally a chinlock. Why would someone looking for a push and thus looking to get the biggest crowd response possible apply two consecutive chinlocks for over a minute in a short TV match when there's hundreds of more interesting holds he could have applied? RVD surprised Jindrak with a front kick to the face and then fired at him with punches and a jump sidekick off the second rope. RVD monkey flipped Jindrak and followed with a spin wheel kick (Cole got the names of all the kicks wrong, as usual. Within martial arts, some kicks are called different things different places, but Cole rarely manages to luck out and get any even close to right.) RVD went for Rolling Thunder, but Jindrak caught him with knees. When he went for a suplex on RVD off the ropes, RVD elbowed out of it, hit a moonsault, and scored the pin.
WINNER: RVD at 5:10.
STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Acceptable short TV match. I'm not sure if having Jindrak appear on Smackdown after months relegated to Velocity and having him job in five minutes to RVD puts Jindrak in a tough position to get over at house shows since he's seen as just an opening match jobber.
-A video package aired on the Bradshaw vs. Eddie Guerrero feud and the announcement that Guerrero would face Bradshaw in a cage next week.
-"Metro" Josh Matthews interviewed Bradshaw, asking him if he was nervous about his cage match next week. Bradshaw said he has wrestled all over the world for the sake of his fans as he has. He said Guerrero probably hasn't graduated high school, much less been a speaker at graduations and special events. He said that wasn't an insult, it was fact. He said he is a champion's champion, a "man's man." Hmmm. He said he should not have to defend the WWE Title in such a barbaric fashion as a steel cage. He said when his fans get to know him, he'll be the most popular WWE Champion of all time. He said the fans chanting his name will inspire him. He said he will be defending his title later against the Mexican Champion. He welcomed the masked champion, El Gran Luchador, into the picture and said he would gladly pay his medical bills when he was done with him because it would be a massacre.
2 -- BUBBA & D-VON DUDLEY vs. PAUL LONDON & KIDMAN -- WWE Tag Team Title match
London and Kidman charged the ring to jump-start the match. Kidman threw Bubba into London as he flew off the top rope with a dropkick. Kidman flipped London onto D-Von in middle ring for a two count. When Bubba held the top rope down at ringside, London flew over the top rope to the floor. Bubba then rammed London into the ringpost and threw him back into the ring. D-Von dominated London for several minutes, going to a head twist at 4:00. London hot-tagged Kidman at 6:00. Four-way ensued, with London showing great fire against Bubba. Bubba, though, yanked him by his hair over the top rope. Kidman then cradled Bubba from behind with a schoolboy for a near fall. Bubba slammed Kidman and signalled for the diving D-Von "What's Up" spread-legged crotch headbutt. London, though, shoved D-Von off the top rope. London then imitated D-Von and gave Bubba the What's Up. Kidman beat on D-Von at ringside as London superkicked Bubba. Kidman, the legal wrestler, then climbed to the top rope and hit the shooting star press for the win. Cole said it might be the upset of the year so far.
WINNERS: London & Kidman at 8:06 to capture the WWE Tag Team Titles.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Basic formula TV match, but not bad. It's nice to see that just days after the Torch Talk with Samoa Joe that talked about London being underutilized, WWE gives London a significant promotion in terms of push. Kidman showed more fire and personality in his tag title celebration than he has in the past year of matches.
-Cole and Tazz then plugged the "Champion vs. Champion" match later. I have no problem with Bradshaw pretending the masked guy is the real Mexican Champion, but does Cole have to buy the b.s. hook, line, and sinker and mortgage any credibility he has in the process by selling it as such? Why not have Cole skeptically say, "Bradshaw will face the so-called Mexican Champion later." Then have Tazz give Cole a hard time for not believing Bradshaw.
-Kidman & London were greeted backstage by other wrestlers congratulating them on their win, including the Bashams, FBI, Billy Gunn, Funaki, Bob Holly, and Scotty 2 Hotty. Then they saw the Dudleys, who offered handshakes. The other wrestlers applauded when the handshake came off without incident.
-Metro Josh then congratulated London & Kidman, then interviewed Kenzo Suzuki and Horuko. Horuko acted as interpreter. She said he felt he was shown up by John Cena last week and wanted revenge. He then started saying political pro-American cliches, closing with his attempt at saying "God Bless America."
-John Cena stepped out and cut a promo mid-ring before the match, saying Booker may be five-time champion, but he (Cena) is five-times better and has five-times the groupies. He said Booker needs a seatless bike so he can do the Spinaroonie. He closed by saying he isn't going to lose to a Whoopi Goldberg look-alike. Kenzo then charged the ring and went after Cena. Cena dispatched of him rather convincingly, clotheslining him over the top rope. Luther Reigns then punched Cena in the back and then gave him his modified neckbreaker and then stood over him and smiled like a thug should. Cole wondered how that would affect the scheduled U.S. Title match.
-Cole said the U.S. Title match was delayed until later due to Reigns's attack. He said Kurt Angle is so obsessed with unseating Cena as U.S. Champion that he's sending Reigns out to attack him.
3 -- BRADSHAW vs. EL GRAN LUCHADOR
Bradshaw shook hands with fans on his way to the ring, playing into his new gimmick as a "suck up" while toning down the "bigot" element of his character. Good plan. Bradshaw dominated, hitting a top rope back suplex at 4:15. After Bradshaw tossed El Gran Luchador to the floor, a second El Gran Luchador attacked Bradshaw from behind. Cole said there can be more than one, just as there was Mr. Wrestling I and Mr. Wrestling II. I can't believe Cole has ever really heard of Mr. Wrestling I and II. Someone had to feed him that line. The second EGL rolled the first under the ring and then replaced him. A confused and unsuspecting Bradshaw rolled the replacement EGL into the ring. I think it's Doug and Danny Bradshaw under the mask. EGL made a full-fledged comeback. Tazz finally realized it was Eddie Guerrero under the mask. He hit the three consecutive vertical suplexes and then played to the crowd. Bradshaw, meanwhile, begged off up the entrance ramp. EGL2 then cut a promo on the mic, saying he knows Eddie Guerrero well and he is going to give him the best frog splash ever and become the new WWE Champion.
WINNER: No decision at 8:00.
STAR RATING: 3/4* -- The match served its purpose in entertaining fashion.
-Metro Josh interviewed Booker T backstage about his U.S. Title shot. He vowed that the title would change hands just as the tag titles did. He said it was a shame what happened to Cena earlier because he's going to use the beat down as an excuse he won the title. He said he is winning because he is a bigger star and a better wrestler than Cena. Ohhh, the "W" word on a "Sports Entertainment" broadcast. Booker's going to get a tongue lashing later.
-Raw Rebound aired with clips of the Triple H-Eugene-Evolution storyline.
-Bubba and D-Von Dudley tried to talk Spike Dudley into taking their advice and letting them have his back. Spike said last week he didn't take their advice when they were tag champs, so what makes them think he'd trust their advice now. He then laughed in their faces in walked away.
4 -- REY MYSTERIO & SCOTTY 2 HOTTY& SPIKE DUDLEY vs. JAMIE NOBLE & AKIO & CHAVO GUERRERO
Rey sold for the heels for the first 2:30, with the heels tagging out every 30 or 45 seconds. Rey hot-tagged in Scotty at 2:30, who ended up giving Chavo the Worm. Akio then hit Scotty from behind with a kick to the head and knocked him out of the ring. Rey then dove onto Akio and Chavo at ringside, but inside the ring Noble escaped Spike's finisher and then gave Spike his tiger driver for the win. Cole and Tazz touted that you could see that action "only on Smackdown." I assume they weren't counting Impact.
WINNERS: Noble & Chavo & Akio at 5:31.
STAR RATING: ** -- Nice five minute TV highspot match. More athleticism than we're used to on Smackdown.
-Matthews interviewed Heyman backstage. When asked what his reaction was to the Dudley's tag title loss, Heyman said he couldn't care less. He said he had bigger issues to deal with regarding Undertaker. He said he had a message to deliver to Taker and would read it aloud publicly.
-Heyman stood center ring with the urn in one hand and a script in the other. He read his statement, saying he has made many mistakes in his life, but the one he most regrets is his role in stealing Taker's urn. He said the whole kidnapping of Paul Bearer and stealing the urn was the idea of the Dudleys. He then offered to return the urn. He got on his knees and asked for "a pass" on this one. He said he is all alone on this one. "I'm like the little lamb lost in the wilderness," he said. He said "please" half a dozen times and asked for "pity on my wretched sole." He vowed if Taker did that, he would cross his path no more. No Taker response this week.
-Cole and Tazz gave a final plug for Booker vs. Cena.
[Commercial Break - Including a commercial for Vengeance featuring William Regal and Eugene doing a Fourth of July skit where Eugene set Regal on fire by mistake, then sprayed with an extinguisher. He laughed and said, "Stop, drop, and roll." Kinda like "WCW Mini Movies" in that it's so obviously a skit and not reality that it just doesn't feel right within the context of the pro wrestling world. That said, for what it was, it was well done at getting across the two personalities involved.]
5 -- JOHN CENA vs. BOOKER T -- U.S. Hvt. Title match
Kurt Angle was wheeled out by Luther Reigns. That distracted Cena, giving Booker the initial advantage. At 2:00, Cena made a comeback and hit some signature spots. Booker blocked Cena's FU attempt at 3:00, then backdropped Cena over the top rope. Angle attacked Cena at ringside, bashing him with his crutch several times, then they cut to a commercial.
Booker dominated for over five minutes with methodical offense including a 60 second "where's my remote" chinlock. At 11:30 Cena teased a comeback, and then a minute later hit a DDT to take control. Cena scored some near falls by 13:30. He then jumped at Booker against the ropes and both fell to the floor. At ringside, Cena mistakenly hit Angle. He then hit Reigns with Angle's crutch several times. Back in the ring, as Cena set up Booker for the FU, Reigns attacked him, prompting the ref to call for the bell.
WINNER: No contest at 15:12.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- I first gave this an above-average score, but after rewatching it, I just can't. Really rudimentary with an unsatisfying (but storyline-sensible) finish. Booker and Cena don't do each other's styles any favors. Three chinlocks/headlocks by Booker? He really doesn't care anymore.
-Angle told Cena afterward that the WWE Board said if Cena ever touched him again, there would be severe consequences. He said as a result, with the authority of the WWE Board, he was stripping Cena of the U.S. Hvt. Title. Cole said: "You've got to be kidding me! That was an accident. It's a crime. The General Manager finally got what he wanted."
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