TV REPORTS 8/5 WWE Smackdown review: Keller's ongoing "virtual time" analysis of show
Aug 5, 2004 - 9:02:00 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
By Wade Keller, Torch editor
AUGUST 5, 2004
TAPED TUESDAY IN HOUSTON, TEX.
-The show opened with Teddy Long standing in front of portraits of Vince McMahon and Martin Luther King Jr. He said one man had a vision and the other had a dream. He said both inspired him and now he's going to make Smackdown the best show ever. He said if people thought last week's was good, this week's will be even better. He told everyone to get on the phone and tell somebody not to miss one minute of Smackdown.
-Michael Cole and Tazz introduced the show without any Smackdown opening montage airing.
1 - JOHN CENA vs. ROB VAN DAM
Cena wore a retro Houston Astros shirt. When Tazz pointed out that fans were once chanting for Cena, and now for RVD, Cole called it a great observation. I'd say it was an obvious observation. Cena was draped over the ring barrier. RVD went for a flying move off the ropes and Cena moved. Cole said that was really smart of Cena, as if it took brains rather than stamina and awareness to make the decision to move out of the way of a body flying at you.
Both wrestlers traded offense and near falls without any real theme to the match. Cena reversed RVD after a superplex into a small package for the pin. They went to shots of Booker backstage a couple times during the match as he watched on a monitor to see who would end up his top contender. RVD and Cena shook hands after the match. Cole said it was a great sportsmanship.
WINNER: Cena at 12:43 to become no. 1 contender to the U.S. Title
STAR RATING: **1/4 -- Average match.
-Teddy Long approached Booker backstage and told him he had a great idea. Since he is a five time WCW Champion, he wants to book a "Best of Five Series" between Booker and Cena. Booker didn't like the idea of having to face Cena three to five times. Cole asked, "Can you believe it?" Believe what? What is so unbelievable about Long's idea? Cole's commentary is so tone deaf, his inflection so forced, his emotions so manufactured. You can just tell he's working really hard to say what he thinks he's supposed to say the way he's supposed to say it, rather than just being a genuine fan of the product he's calling and "feeling" it as he calls it. There's definitely been worse announcers over the years, but they've been bad in different ways than Cole. There have been bad announcers over the years who were at least wrestling fans. Cole comes across as a professional who was hired for his everyman professional looks and sound pipes and due to his lack of genuine enthusiasm for wrestling because Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon want "sports entertainment announcers," not "wrestling marks," hosting their shows. It's why Jim Ross, the best ever, doesn't get the respect from all areas within WWE like he should.
-Eddie Guerrero drove to the ring in a yellow bouncy car with Dan Marie, Sable, and Torrie Wilson in the car with him. Cole asked why he doesn't get to have the Divas with him when he comes to the ring. I've got the answer. Because you're supposed to be a professional announcer, not someone trying so hard to be cool with the teenagers and twentysomething guys that you have hit viewers over the head with your attraction to women and desire to be with them. That's why. Guerrero entered the ring with all of Kurt Angle's stolen goods. Cole and Tazz both said they put in bids on the objects.
When Guerrero entered the ring, he said he wanted to have the WWE Divas help "raise the value." He suggestively put his enclosed hand near his crotch and lifted his arm as he said that. He had Torrie put the cast on her leg. He had Sable pose next to the portrait of Angle and then had them all sign both the cast and portrait. All proceeds from the auction, which ends tonight at 1 a.m. ET, goes to charity, which is a nice touch - mixing an angle with a charity auction. Guerrero said at Summerslam he would wrestling Kurt Angle in "Angle's first match since WrestleMania." I'm not crazy about the top babyface saying something that many fans know isn't true. It's not as if Angle's practice matches were in Ohio Valley Wrestling. He's been working major house shows for two weeks in the U.S. not to mention his matches in Japan which many internet reading fans know about. Footage aired of Guerrero pinning Angle at WrestleMania.
A Summer Games skit aired with Eddie Guerrero participating in a Olympic Summer Games sprint competition, but when the starting gun shot off, he laughed be he glued the feet of his competition to the starting blocks. He laughed as the crowd chanted "Eddie, Eddie."
2 -- ORLANDO JORDAN vs. RENE DUPREE (w/Fifi)
Cole said Jordan, the youngest of 11 children, hasn't been around lately because he's been having some family problems. Tazz said he has family problems, too, but he shows up for a work. Cole pointed out that Jordan was once an amateur boxer. At 1:00 Dupree did his French Tickler dance a little too long. Jordan then surprised him with a top rope crossbody block and scored the pin.
WINNER: Jordan at 1:14.
STAR RATING: 1/4* -- I'd like to see them give Jordan a real push at this point and see if he can catch on with fans. Management isn't crazy about Dupree's work ethic lately, so this quick TV job may have been a way to send him a message.
-Josh Matthews interviewed Bradshaw backstage when he got out of a limo. JBL said fans have been asking him if he's scared of Undertaker taking his belt from him. He quoted JFK and said there is nothing to fear but fear itself. He said he is calling Undertaker to the ring and certainly has nothing to fear. Tazz called it a gutsy move.
3 -- KURT ANGLE (w/Luther Reigns) vs. CHARLIE HAAS (w/Jackie Gayda)
Cole said Angle is wrestling this match because he knows he needs a warm-up match before facing Eddie Guerrero. He talked about how Haas used to be a protege of Angle. He also brought up Shelton Benjamin, saying he'd be back on Raw soon. They had a series of wrestling exchanges, then when Angle bailed out at 3:00 to have a conference with Reigns, they cut to a break.
More headlocks and armbars. Credit Cole for saying this was Angle's first match on Smackdown since WrestleMania. Angle gave Haas a belly-to-belly and then played to the crowd. Angle dominated for a few minutes. Haas took over at 11:00 and hit a dropkick. Angle took a flat-back bump. At 12:00 Haas flipped off the top rope with a springboard axe handle for a two count. Angle tried for the anklelock, but Haas escaped and cradled Angle for a convincing near fall Angle hit an Olympic Slam and then applied the full ankle lock for the tapout win.
WINNER: Angle at13:30.
STAR RATING: *3/4 -- Okay match, but a bit slowly paced without enough emotional peaks and valleys to fill the 13:30 it lasted.
-Cole and Tazz talked about Summerslam's full line-up so far, including commenting on Raw. They acknowledged angles and talked about them as if they watch the show themselves.
-Raw Rebound aired with highlights of Monday's show.
4 -- BILLY KIDMAN & PAUL LONDON vs. THE BASHAM BROTHERS - WWE Tag Team Championship match
Cole and Tazz discussed whether Kidman & London should still be regarded as underdog champions since they have two wins over the Dudleys. They gave them credit for being fighting champions. London and Kidman got in early offense until Doug yanked Kidman off the ring apron from behind. They dominated Kidman for two minutes until he hot-tagged London at 3:30. London then finished off Basham with a 450 splash.
WINNERS: Kidman & London at 4:32 to retain the tag team titles.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Nice short tag match.
-They showed Spike Dudley and Rey Mysterio backstage heading to the entrance rampway.
5 -- REY MYSTERIO & SPIKE DUDLEY vs. BUBBA RAY & D-VON DUDLEY
Spike dove off the top ropes and went for his double stomp, but he landed on the mat hard and began favoring his ankle to the point that he couldn't help Mysterio during the match. Rey fought the rest of the match. He got beat up for a few minutes, then made a comeback and scored a near fall. When he went for a 619 on Bubba, D-Von tripped him coming off the ropes. The Dudleys the finished off Rey with the Dudley Death Drop. Afterward, Spike sucker punched Mysterio, then smiled as he stood between the Dudleys. Spike then told Bubba and D-Von to "get the table!" They brought in the table and Spike brought in his Cruiserweight Title belt. Spike then put his belt on Rey who was lying on the table and then leaped off the top rope with both feet, breaking the table underneath Mysterio. Cole said he was shocked. Bubba carried Spike on his shoulders. Tazz said he's known Spike for years and he never saw it coming.
WINNERS: Bubba & D-Von Dudley at 5:27.
STAR RATING: * -- Fine match that set up the turn well.
-Bradshaw ripped on the fans in Texas, then called out Undertaker. Taker's whole entrance production began. Then out walked a little person dressed as Undertaker. Bradshaw made fun of him for walking slowly. He vowed to beat him like a rented mule. JBL got on his knees and made some short jokes at the fake Undertaker. JBL said it was time to fight, then he lifted him for a Tombstone. Then the real Undertaker appeared behind Bradshaw as his music played. He threw the little person in to JBL. He said he hates short people and wasn't behind his dressing up as him. JBL punched Taker, but Taker revesred him and gave him a big boot. He set up a Tombstone, but Orlando Jordan ran out to save him. JBL seemed shocked that Jordan helped him. I guess since Jordan is siding with JBL, that means JBL's character was never racist after all. The show closed with Undertaker kneeling and staring as his hand as his lights flashed and music played. The mini-Undertaker then kneeled beside him and struck the same post. Taker didn't find it funny and then chokeslammed him. I guess Taker takes himself quite seriously. JBL shook his head on the stage in fear with his arm still wrapped over Jordan's shoulder. The little jokes were a bit obvious, but JBL in the end appeared sufficiently humiliated. The angle did a nice job setting up fans to want to see Taker get his hands on JBL. And now the new Million Dollar Man has a new Virgil. I bet Orlando Jordan's dream as a kid was to one way walk in Mike Jones's shoes.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**