Torch Flashbacks WWE SMACKDOWN FLASHBACK - 7 yrs. ago (12-04-03): Standout matches of Lesnar vs. Benoit & Cena vs. Benoit, more wrestlers in TNA than WWE in 2010
Dec 3, 2010 - 3:08:07 PM
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WWE Smackdown Flashback
December 4, 2003 - seven years ago
Top Ten Things!
(1) Top Star: Brock Lesnar as WWE champion.
(2) Great Smackdown Wrestling Action: Chris Benoit beat John Cena in 16:00 (***1/2), Lesnar beat Benoit in 18:00 (****1/2).
(3) Smackdown Authority Figure: Paul Heyman.
(4) Traditional Big Show Squash Recipient On Smackdown Was: Shannon Moore.
(5) Match You Could Have Seen Earlier In 2010: Chavo Guerrero vs. Shelton Benjamin.
(6) When You Think Smackdown 2003 Mid-Card, You Think: Bashams vs. Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty.
(7) When You Think Part II: Jamie Noble and Nidia having relationship issues.
(8) Wrestlers Currently On Smackdown: Big Show, Chavo Guerrero.
(9) Wrestlers Currently On Raw: John Cena.
(10) Wrestlers/Talent Currently In TNA: Matt Morgan, Kurt Angle, Shannon Moore, Taz.
DECEMBER 4, 2003
TAPED TUESDAY IN SAN JOSE, CALIF.
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR
-Highlights aired of last week's show. Michael Cole and Tazz introduced the show.
-Brock Lesnar said he'd never, ever tap out again. He declared himself the greatest WWE Champion in history. He talked about last week's battle royal winners. He said he thought those two had it all planned out to land outside the ring at the same time because they were scared to face him. He said they're scared of him because he beats people up. He said to ask Hardcore Holly and Kurt Angle. (He didn't mention Zach Gowen, which might be an indication that Zach is being written out of WWE history right now.) He said he will face whoever wins between Chris Benoit and John Cena and he will make whoever it is tap out.
1 -- RIKISHI & SCOTTY 2 HOTTY vs. THE BASHAMS (w/Shaniqua)
The Bashams wore leather masks to the ring. Cole asked Tazz what the masks were fore. Tazz said it was for hiding their identities during sex. Scotty opened the match, then tagged in Rikishi at 1:00. Scotty tagged back in and did a little dance Shaniqua yanked Scotty off the ring apron as Doug distracted the ref at 2:15. The ref ordered Shaniqua to the back, realizing what happened. Meanwhile, the Bashams took over offense. Scotty hot-tagged Rikishi at 4:00. Rikishi took off Danny's head with a hard clothesline, then DDT'd Doug. Rikishi splashed Doug in the corner, then signalled for the Stink Face. Shaniqua came back and distracted the ref as the Bashams switched placed. Rikishi went to set up Stink Face, but Danny gave him a low blow. Scotty gave Danny a bulldog and then spazzed in the ring and hit The Worm. Doug then entered the ring and threw Scotty out of the ring. Rikishi backdropped Doug out of the ring, then gave a Samoan Drop to Danny for the win. Shaniqua chewed out the Bashams after the match.
WINNERS: Rikishi & Hotty at 5:41.
STAR RATING: *3/4
-Paul Heyman watched a replay of Hardcore Holly attacking Brock on Smackdown two weeks ago. He told Dawn Marie that he doesn't "do the help" so if she was expecting to get ahead that way, it won't happen. He asked her to take a memo for him. "Dear Sir: In light of your repugnant actions, you suspension remains in tact until further notice. Paul Heyman, General Manager, Smackdown." He told her to overnight that to Hardcore Holly. He then told Dawn, as she moved in for a kiss, that he wanted her to tell Shannon Moore he wants him in the ring next. They're doing a good job building up multiple opponents for Brock at one time - Cena, Benoit, and eventually Holly. The interaction between Heyman and Dawn was well done, too.
-Paul Heyman stood in the ring with Nathan Jones and Matt Morgan. He said contrary to popular belief, he doesn't speak because he likes the sound of his own voice. He said when you see a mic in his hand, it's because he has something to say of importance. He narrated as highlights aired of Morton and Jones destroying Moore the last two weeks. Cole pointed out that the reason Heyman put Moore in the ring originally against Morgan is to punish him for Matt Hardy, his buddy, skipping out on Smackdown leaving him with egg on his face when he jumped to Raw. Heyman called Moore to the ring. He says everyone is telling him that Moore takes a beating, but comes back for "more, more, more." He said he is going to give him more, a singles match against Big Show.
2 -- BIG SHOW vs. SHANNON MOORE
Show threw Moore into the ringpost at ringside, then to the floor off the top turnbuckle. Moore attempted a comeback early, but Show took him down with a hard clothesline. Cole asked someone to explain to him how this was an "opportunity" for Moore. Show followed up with a slap. Cole said Show's hand is bigger than Moore's entire body. That slight exaggeration aside, Cole did a good job selling the brutal domination of Show in the match. He finished with a power legdrop and chokeslam.
WINNER: Big Show at 1:55.
STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Just a squash, but accomplished what it needed to effectively.
-They showed a tale of the tape for Cena and Benoit. Nice touch. The on-screen comparison always makes a match seem special.
-A commercial aired for Smackdown magazine, featuring John Cena on the cover.
-Jamie Noble told Nidia backstage that he's putting his foot down and he's not allowing her at ringside this week. Nidia asked for some leeway. She said since going blind she feels useless. He said she cost him his match last week. He said he needs to keep an eye on getting cruiserweight title matches in the future. She eventually gave in to Noble insistence that she stay backstage. Then he said, "On second thought, I've got an idea."
3 -- SHAKODA (w/Tajiri) vs. JAMIE NOBLE (w/Nidia)
Cole and Tazz wondered why Noble allowed Nidia to come to ringside. Sakoda dominated offense for the first two minutes.
Noble sent Sakoda through the second rope to the floor at 2:15 and then dove through the ropes with a bodyblock onto him at ringside. Tajiri began to sneak to that side of the ring. The ref ordered him to stop. Noble then threw Nidia into the ring as she screamed. He threw Nidia into Sakoda, then rolled up Sakoda for the three count. Noble then roughly shoved Nidia out of the ring. Cole said he couldn't believe what he just witnessed. Tazz said he didn't understand what that was about. Nidia cried after the match. Noble told her that one of Tajiri's boys shoved her into the ring and then kicked her out of the ring. But then he said at least he won. Cole and Tazz chastised Noble's actions. Cole said Noble is "an absolutely pathetic excuse for a human being." Tazz said, "That just wasn't cool." Their outrage was at a 10 on a 1-10 scale, which doesn't leave them much room in the future for outrage at other things that are much worse and commonplace in the WWE world.
WINNER: Noble at 2:55
STAR RATING: * -- Good action leading to the creative, strange finish.
-Cole and Tazz talked over replays of Cena and Benoit landing at the same time last week at the end of the battle royal.
-Josh Matthews interviewed Cena backstage. Benoit interrupted Cena's promo early and told him that he can lock on the Crossface from anywhere. They went nose to nose.
4 -- CHRIS BENOIT vs. JOHN CENA
Cena did a prematch rap with a reference to making Benoit's "colon cough" and talking about how wrong "a first grade dance at the Netherland Ranch" is. As Cena gets elevated, I can't think of many opponents who are better for him to wrestle against than a pro like Benoit. They opened with some nice, solid exchanged back and forth. Cena scored the first two count at 2:30 after a sidewalk slam. Benoit came back with a surprise small package for a near fall. Cena came back with an uppercut. Benoit came back and went for a top rope headbutt. Cena moved out of the way. Cole wondered if Cena could seize the opportunity. He postured to the crowd, giving Benoit a chance to recover. Benoit threw some chops. Cena quickly set up Benoit for an FU, though, and hit it. He scored the three count at 5:35. Benoit protested the pinfall, claiming his leg was draped over the bottom rope during the count. A second ref, Brian Hebner, explained to Nick Patrick that his foot was over the bottom rope during the pin. Patrick said he saw the replay on the big screen, he said he had no choice but to restart the match. Boy does that open a can of worms! The rule has always been that "referee decisions are final" and replays can't change decisions (only crooked GMs can). Now, if replays are fair game, it's going to limit how many heels are able to win by cheating in the future.
Benoit got in most of the offense for the first few minutes after the break, concentrating on Cena's arm with creative offense. Tazz and Cole debating whether Patrick should have changed his initial decision. Cole was against it; Tazz defended the ref. Cena got in some comeback teases here and there. Benoit locked on a Sharpshooter at 15:00. Cena crawled to the bottom rope, forcing a break. Cena escaped a German suplex attempt by throwing some swinging elbows and then hitting the FU out of nowhere. Big Show ran to ringside. Cena knocked him off the apron. Benoit then put Cena in the Crossface and Cena quickly tapped out. Show laughed at ringside.
WINNER: Benoit in 16:00 (time approximate due to commercial break editing)
STAR RATING: ***1/2 -- Really good match. Stiff, solid, and believable. Both guys looked strong, although rightfully Benoit came away looking like the more experienced, savvy veteran.
-Cole and Tazz talked about the previous match and hyped the main event title match.
-Chavo Guerrero chewed out Eddie Guerrero backstage. Eddie asked him what is wrong with him. Chavo said he's never felt better about himself than he does now. He said for once it's not all about "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie." Eddie said, "That's right, it's about us." Chavo disagreed and said tonight it's about him (Chavo) getting revenge on Shelton Benjamin by himself. He asked Eddie to remain in the back.
5 -- CHAVO GUERRERO (w/Eddie) vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN (w/Charlie Haas)
Eddie drove to the ring in his bouncy car, distracting Chavo. That gave Benjamin a chance to take early control. Chavo came back at 0:45 with a cool spinning head scissors. Chavo then yelled at Eddie. Eddie pulled out a folding chair and watched the match from ringside. Tazz said Eddie is friend of his, but he can't stand not being in the spotlight. Benjamin got in offense for a couple of minutes. Chavo came back at 3:00 including a tornado DDT at 3:30. Haas was going to jump into the ring and the ref turned to yell at him. Eddie then hit a Frog Splash on Benjamin. Chavo turned around and made the cover for the win. Chavo chewed out Eddie after the match for not respecting his wishes. He refused to ride to the back with Eddie in his car. Cole said Chavo was acting irrationally since Eddie helped him win.
WINNER: Chavo Guerrero at 3:42.
STAR RATING: *
-A plug aired for The Cat appearing on Smackdown next week.
-A highlight video aired on Brock Lesnar. Matthews then interviewed Benoit who said a picture is worth a thousand words and showed a clip of him making Brock tap out.
-Nunzio took bets backstage on the match. He said the fact that Benoit already wrestled worked against him, but the fact that he made Brock tapout at Survivor Series worked in his favor. A-Train put $10,000 down on Benoit. Cool image. It made it seem in a creative way that everyone backstage would be carefully watching the match. The betting angle was a creative way to communicate the pros and cons of each man's likelihood of winning.
6 -- BROCK LESNAR vs. CHRIS BENOIT -- WWE Title match.
Lesnar went after Benoit aggressively at the start. Benoit came back and clotheslined Lesnar over the top rope, then chopped away at him at ringside. Brock threw a knee, checked in the ring to break the ten count, but then Benoit reversed a Lesnar whip into the ringpost at ringside at 1:30. Then he threw Brock into the ring and immediately put on the Crossface. Lesnar "slithered like a snake," using Cole's words, to quickly get out of the hold and bail to ringside. When he returned to the ring, he dropped Benoit over the top rope. Lesnar dominated offense in the body of the match, including a cradle suplex in the ring and dropping him on the announcers table at ringside. Back in the ring, Lesnar put Benoit in a choke submission on the mat. They cut to a commercial.
Benoit escaped the submission hold and charged at Lesnar, but Lesnar moved out of the way and pulled down on the top rope, so Benoit flew to the floor. Lesnar whipped Benoit into the ring stairs. Benoit's bump was vicous. Benoit, though came back and returned the favor to Lesnar at 11:30. Tazz said that may be the last gasp of Benoit's second wind given the beating he has taken. Lesnar began to run from Benoit at ringside, a great move to establish firmly he's the cowardly heel running froma fight. It's important for Lesnar to do subtle stuff like that because he's so tough and takes on all challengers and is such a good wrestler that he is always at risk to being cheered, especially in matches like this where fans are going to respect his effort. In the ring both men were down for a near ten count. Both got up at the same time and exchange punches. Benoit took control with chops. Brock reversed Benoit into the turnbuckle and Brock hit shoulder-first into the ringpost. Benoit then hit three unreleased German suplexes. He followed up with the top rope headbutt for a near fall at 14:30. Benoit attempted a Crossface, but Lesnar wouldn't leave his feet. Benoit eventually got him down onto one knee. Lesnar resisted and then reversed with a rollout. Benoit went for it again right away. Lesnar lifted Benoit and spun him around, knocking the ref down. Benoit applied the Crossface. Lesnar tapped out loudly and repeatedly, but the ref was down. Benoit released the hold in frustration and went to check on the ref. Lesnar grabbed Benoit from behind and gave him an F5. The ref eventually recovered and made a slow, groggy three count. Benoit lifted his shoulder at three. Lesnar bailed out in frustration. Cole said, "I think Benoit's going to do it." The crowd chanted "You tapped out!" Lesnar grabbed a chair and bashed Benoit across the back of his leg. Lesnar then lifted Benoit for a new submission hold where he locked in his leg over his shoulder and then dropped down into a half Boston crab type position. Great visual. Benoit held on for about 30 seconds or so. The ref then called for the bell, concluding that Benoit had passed out. Lesnar raised his title belt in mid-ring with a big smile on his face. Cole pointed out that Benoit did not tapout to the champion.
WINNER: Lesnar in 18:00 (time approximate due to commercial break editing).
STAR RATING: ****1/2 -- Really good match. The finish fits the storyline perfectly because Lesnar had an unrecognized tapout, whereas Benoit refused to tapout to the point of actually passing out, giving Benoit a semblance of a moral victory, especially since Lesnar used a chairshot to set up his submission. The match itself was tremendous. I don't know how much they edited out on TV (the really good Smackdown wrestlers absolutely hate working big matches on Smackdown because they hate being edited after the fact), but they held the crowd's interest really well. Lesnar has gotten so good so fast it's scary. And he's likely going to get quite a bit better in coming years if his body holds up.
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