The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com 15 years ago this week…
WWE Smackdown Review
October 9, 2003
Taped on 10/7/03 in Hartford, Conn.
Aired on UPN
By Sean Radican, Torch Team Karate Master
Will Smackdown achieve the standard this week?
The Big Picture: In my opinion, Smackdown lost some steam last week. The Tajiri-Kidman match was very good, but the McMahon segments, the commentary from A-Train, and the match with the Basham Brothers really slowed the show down. For several months, Smackdown was the best wrestling show on television. I think Vince has failed by not pushing Eddie Guerrero in the proper manner, especially in a feud with the Big Show. I don’t think these two are capable of putting on an entertaining match on in the ring. Eddie was getting over by playing the clever heel. I loved his facial expressions as he outwitted opponents and referees alike to win matches.
The problem with pushing Eddie as a comedy act is that no one will take him seriously when he is portrayed as a silly character. I’m looking forward to the continuation of the feud between John Cena and Kurt Angle. Hopefully, Angle can take Cena to another level in the ring. I’m not thrilled by the Taker-Lesnar feud for the WWE Title, but they should be able to pull off a passable ‘big man’ match at the PPV. I have really enjoyed Tajiri’s push as the Cruiserweight Champion and I think the WWE should showcase the Cruiserweight Title each and every week on Smackdown to make it seem important. I also believe it should be mandatory for the Cruiserweight Title to be defended on Smackdown brand PPV’s.
Finally, I expect the Steph-Vince feud to take center stage this week and overshadow the important matches that would actually sell the PPV. I dislike this feud because I don’t think Steph belongs on WWE television. I think Vince is a great talker and would best be used as the mouthpiece for Lesnar. I look forward to the day when the McMahon family stops pushing themselves and starts pushing the wrestlers.
Points of Argument: I want to start doing something every so often called ten good things about wrestling. I’m going to start with my list of ten good things about wrestling in 2003. I want you to send me your list to email@example.com. I will tally the lists up and post the winning ten good things about wrestling in 2003 next week and add my commentary.
10) The Worlds Greatest Tag Team
9) Ric Flair
8) Randy Orton
7) John Cena
6) Jim Ross
4) Chris Benoit
2) Wrestlemania XIX
1) Kurt Angle-Brock Lesnar feud
Let’s take it to Tazz and Cole at ringside!
But first, on to my weekly picks’
Book of the Week: Dude, Where’s My Country? by Michael Moore. A new release that looks at the world from a perspective that only Moore can share with us.
Game of the Week: Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home on PS2 and X-Box. This game is a solid start for Eidos Interactive as they branch out into the wrestling genre. The create a player option is fairly deep, so it’s worth it to see how you would fair in backyards around the nation with your own created player.
DVD pick of the week: Three O’clock High.This is a great movie, a possible candidate for my top five favorite movies of all time. The final scene is a must see for anyone who enjoys high school comedies. This is newly available on DVD, which doesn’t reflect in this link.
And now, on to Smackdown!
Highlights air from the Steph-Vince feud last week. This might be the worst feud in the history of wrestling. If you can remember something worse than this, by all means shoot me an email.
Cole and Tazz hype a Cena-Angle battle rap.
Linda McMahon comes down to the ring. Linda talks about how things are always screwed up with the McMahon. She can’t believe what Shane did to Kane on Monday night. Last week on Smackdown, she saw Vince bodyslam Steph. Linda can’t believe there is an ‘I quit’ match between Vince and Steph. I think she speaks for all of us. Steph comes down to the ring with her ‘Goodyear Blimps.’
Steph says she appreciates that her mom came down to the ring. Steph begins to say she isn’t going to back out of her match at No Mercy, but Vince’s music interrupts her. This show is going about a Sox-Yankees playoff game and two college football games being aired ESPN and ESPN 2. I can only wonder which program America is going to choose. Vince says Stephanie is going to make him brutalize her. He goes on to say that when he does brutalize her, he will have a clear conscience. He says his soul will be cleansed much like mine will be when this feud is over. Linda tells Vince he is twice Steph’s size and the match is unfair. Linda asks Vince what he will give up if he doesn’t win. Vince says he won’t give up anything. Vince eventually says that just like Linda quit on their marriage years ago, he will resign as chairman of the WWE if he loses at No Mercy. It would be nice if they had a match where somehow both Steph and Vince had to leave the WWE.
Sable makes her way down to the ring and Vince ogles over her breasts right in front of Linda. Sable says hi to Linda. Sable goes on to say behind every great man is a great woman. She says she will be in Vince’s corner at No Mercy. Vince likes that idea. Linda says Sable offers her services freely to just about anyone. Sable gives Linda a boot to the gut, which prompts Steph to attack Sable. Vince throws Steph off of Sable and Steph gets up and charges right into a clothesline from Vince. Linda tends to Steph while Vince tells her that she made him clothesline Steph. If there is such a thing as Velocity hell than this must be Smackdown hell.
Rey Mysterio comes down to do commentary. Rey says he is here to scout Tajiri for their match at No Mercy. I think it’s about time these two have a match on PPV.
Is that The Ultimo Dragon? It can’t be. I haven’t seen him in months!
(1) Tajiri defeated The Ultimo Dragon via pinfall.
Tajiri starts out in control as Rey puts over Tajiri’s dangerous kicks. Tajiri goes for his handspring elbow, but Dragon kick him in the back. Dragon hits a nice asai moonsault. The action goes back to the ring and Tajiri throws the Dragon neck first over the top rope. Dragon lands a nice tilt a whirl backbreaker on Tajiri, but it has little effect as Tajiri gets up and slams him. Tajiri went for the Tarantula, but Dragon slammed him face first on the mat for a two count. Dragon went for his finisher, but was met with a kick by Tajiri. Tajiri hit his execution kick to the back of Dragon’s head for the pin.
After the match, Tajiri kicked Dragon again. Mysterio entered the ring and landed the 619 on Tajiri.
Grade: 2 (Nearing standard). This match was too short to develop anything, but the commentary by Mysterio did a great job of selling the effects of Tajiri’s kicks. It was good to see The Ultimo Dragon again after several months, but he didn’t do much of anything to stand out in the ring. I still think it would be a good idea to give these matches more time to develop.
Stephanie is interviewed backstage by a little boy. Steph says that Linda will be in her corner at No Mercy. The Stephanie involvement in segments on Smackdown meter is now at 2.
Back from the break, Taker makes his way to the ring. Highlights are aired from the main event on Smackdown last week.
Taker says Vince is so nervous that he is sending the FBI out to soften Taker up. Taker says he has a best friend, which is a steel chain.
(2) Undertaker defeated Chuck Palumbo (w/ Johnny Stamboli) & Nunzio via the chokeslam.
Taker starts out in control and hits the old school early on in the match. The FBI jumps up on the apron, which allows Palumbo to land a couple of punches. Palumbo charges Taker, but he ducks out of the way and lands the snake eyes on Palumbo, followed up by a boot to the face. Nunzio and Stamboli try to interfere again, but Taker boots them both off of the apron. Undertaker gave Palumbo the chokeslam for the pin.
After the match, Brock Lesnar came in and attacked Taker along with the FBI. Taker fought back and nailed all three members of the FBI with his steel chain. Lesnar charged in with a chair, but Taker punched it with his chain. This was a good segment, which established the fact that Taker a veteran who is too smart to fall into traps placed by Vince McMahon.
Grade: 1 (Below standard) This was an extremely short match, which didn’t do anything but put Taker over as someone who can overcome three on one odds to win a match. I liked the segment after the match, which showed that Brock and Vince will have to think of something cleverer in order to outsmart Taker.
Highlights air from the previous segment.
Vince is backstage talking about how he can’t get the best of Taker. Paul London comes in and says he wants a match tonight. Vince says he’s got a tryout match tonight against Brock Lesnar. I’m sure this match is going to be a great way to put London. Vince says the match will be for the WWE Title.
Show is shown walking backstage. He walks up to some guy backstage who is hiding a bag. Show asks him what he’s got and he says he has a burrito, which makes Show mad. Show beats him up as we go to the break.
Zach Gowen is shown arriving backstage and he gets a hug from Earl Hebner and some lady.
Cole and Tazz announce that Show and Guerrero will fight for the US Title at No Mercy.
(3) The Big Show defeated Orlando Jordan via pinfall.
These two provided us with a mat classic last week, so let’s see if they can top that match. Show starts out by pounding Jordan in the corner. Show kicks Jordan in the back and throws him out of the corner. Show steps on Jordan’s head and lifts him up, but Jordan escapes and kicks show into the corner. Jordan charges Show, but is met with a clothesline. Show charges at Jordan, but he is met with a kick to the knees. Jordan comes off the ropes and walks into a boot from Show. Show gives Jordan a chokeslam as Tazz says that Guerrero’s championship is in trouble.
Grade: 1 (Below standard). I don’t think this match did much for Show or Jordan. Show squashing Jordan doesn’t make me think he will take the US Title from Eddie at No Mercy. This show almost reminds me of watching Superstars on Saturday morning when I was little because of all the squash matches so far.
Cole hypes the battle rap between Cena and Angle.
Highlights from the main event last week are aired again. Cole announces that Angle and Cena will do battle at No Mercy.
Tazz comes out to MC the battle rap.
Cena says Angle has as much street cred as Cole. Cena goes on to say he will make Angle look foolish. Cole says Angle has in ring cred. That was pretty funny. Tazz says the crowd will decide the winner. Tazz says Cena will go first. Cena begins by saying Kurt couldn’t rap a gift. He goes on to say Angle has worn out his gimmick and couldn’t win a bronze medal at the Special Olympics. Cena goes on to flip Angle off and Angle eventually grabs Cena’s mic.
Angle says he can’t compete with Cena’s rap. Angle says he has a story for Cena. Angle says Cena is whiter than he is, but thinks he’s black. Angle says Cena thinks he’s the king of talking trash, but Angle is the king of kicking ass. Kurt goes on to mock Cena’s use of the steel chain. Kurt says Cena will tap at No Mercy. Angle says the real reason he’s out here tonight is to fight.
Angle attacks Cena and puts the boots to Cena in the corner. The action spills outside, but back in the ring Cena nails Kurt with the mic and puts the boots to his head. Cena kicks Angle in the ribs. Cena goes for the F-U, but Angle rolls out and hits three German suplexes. Angle was going to apply the anklelock, but Cena rolled to the outside.
Highlights air from Gowen’s career in the WWE, including the attack on him by Lesnar from several weeks ago.
Matt Facts: Matt is not afraid to eat alone in public and Matt likes portabella mushrooms.
(4) Shannon Moore (w/Matt Hardy) defeated vs. Zach Gowen via pinfall.
Hardy complains that there the WWE has never made a great video package about him like the one just aired featuring Zach Gowen. Moore elbows Gowen in the face and suplexes him into the turnbuckle for a two count. Moore gives Gowen another suplex, but Gowen kicks out. Matt says Moore is better looking than Gowen. Gowen tries to fight out of the corner, but Moore pushes him back and puts the boots to him in the corner. Moore tried to pull Zach out of the corner, but Zach held onto the ropes. In a really cool looking moment, Moore pulled Gowen off the ropes and flipped him completely over.
Gowen eventually gained the advantage and hit a nice neck breaker on Moore. Hardy tried to interfere and Moore rolled up Gowen for a near fall. Moore followed this up by putting Gowen on the top rope. Moore was about to give Gowen a suplex, but Gowen pushed him off and hit a second rope DDT on Moore. Gowen went up to the top rope, but Hardy pushed him off. Moore hit a huge neck breaker for the pin.
Grade: 2(Nearing standard). This was a good match while it lasted, but it was very short. I thought Hardy was good on commentary. It seems to me that a Hardy-Gowen match will be added to No Mercy. I’m glad that Gowen came back to a feud that was established before his injury. It makes Gowen seem like less of an afterthought in the planning done by the WWE booking committee.
Cole and Tazz discuss the matches announced for No Mercy. There might be enough descent matches to make this a passable PPV. I think the WWE is making a mistake by pushing the ‘I quit’ match as the main selling point of No Mercy.
Highlights air from the McMahon’s segment, which began the show.
(5) The Bashams & The Hair Train defeated Chris Benoit & The APA when Train pinned Benoit in a six man tag match.
The match opens up with The Bland Bros attacking the APA with steel chairs. Chris Benoit fends off both Bland Bros until Train attacks him from behind. One of the Bland Bros has the advantage over Bradshaw in the ring. The other member of the Bland Bros comes in and puts the boots to Bradshaw before tagging in Train. Train hits a top rope splash on Bradshaw while medics tend to Farooq, who is helped to the back. The Bland Bros try to execute a double team move on Bradshaw in the corner, but he gives one of them a boot and clotheslines the other. Train tries to give Bradshaw a standing splash, but he rolls out of the way and tags Benoit in. Benoit comes in and cleans house. Benoit gives Train a suplex and then locks him in the sharpshooter, before it is broken up by one of the Bland Bros. Benoit gives one of the Bland Bros the sharpshooter, but Train pulls him off and gives him the Derailer for the pin. I can’t tell the Basham’s apart yet unless Cole tells me which one is in the ring, which he didn’t do tonight.
After the match, The Bland Bros hit the ball and gag on Bradshaw. The Basham’s are good in the ring. I think they would benefit from a gimmick change.
Grade: 2 (Nearing the standard). This was a descent match, which benefited from the absence of Maniqua. I think Benoit continually shines in the ring and for some reason I liked the Basham’s without Maniqua. That being said, I’m still not looking forward to a Train-Benoit match on PPV. The WWE has to be able to do better than that when asking viewers to pay 34.95. At least Pat found a way to review the PPV’s without having to pay for them.
*** Questions for the next half-hour:
1) Will Paul London hold his own against Brock Lesnar?
2) Will I ever learn how to spell Orlando Jordan’s name correctly?
3) Will Hardy and Gowen have a match at No Mercy?
Before the match, Lesnar gets on the mic and tells London he’s got a hell of an opportunity tonight. Lesnar is angry because he has to defend the title tonight. Lesnar says he respects London having the balls to face him tonight. Lesnar tells London to come into the ring and look at the title because someday he might hold the title. Lesnar tells London that not to many people can touch his title because it means the world to him. If I were London I wouldn’t try to touch the title.
(6) Brock Lesnar defeated Paul London to retain the WWE Title.
London proves he is the dumbest man on earth by falling for Brock’s trap. Brock clotheslines London and then gives him two back breakers. Cole and Tazz call this match an execution. So much for Paul London being taken seriously in the WWE. Lesnar gives London a wicked powerbomb and follows that up with a huge F-5. Lesnar waits a second and then pins London to retain his title.
After the match, Lesnar throws London out of the ring and smiles. Lesnar picks up London and was about to F-5 him into the steel post when he was attacked by Spanky? Lesnar gains the advantage and literally throws Spanky about 4-5 feet headfirst into the steel pole.
Taker comes out and says he’s just left the GM’s office and there have been a couple of changes at No Mercy. The championship match is now a biker chain match. I’m not sure what that is and neither are Cole and Tazz. Taker swings his chain over his head.
Grade: 2 (Nearing the standard). I have to give Lesnar a ton of credit when it comes to being an incredible looking monster in the ring. If you compare his match with Show’s match against Orlando Jordan you can see the difference between Lesnar and Show. Show doesn’t exactly look like a monster in the ring because he lacks intensity. Brock comes off as both intense and crazy, which makes him such a valuable wrestler for the WWE. Squash matches should make the featured wrestlers look stronger, which didn’t happen in the match with Show-Jordan, but occurred perfectly in the Lesnar-London match.
Highlights are aired from when Show attacked Guerrero backstage earlier in the show.
8th Quarter Hour
The little boy is standing in front of a door that says trainer on it. Chavo comes out and says Show is not going to get away with his actions. I didn’t know the trainer got his own door sign.
Back from the break, Chavo is in the ring with a mic. He tells Show to bring his big ass out to the ring. Show comes out looking like a big version of John Goodman with a blazer on. Show says he is dressed too well to come to the ring and slap Chavo around, which is stretching the truth a bit. Chavo tells Show he is chicken, which brings Show to the ring for a match.
(7) Show defeated Chavo Guerrero via count out.
In another mat classic, Chavo just left the ring and got counted out.
After the match and I use the term match loosely, Eddie came to the ring in an 18-wheeler driven by his cousin Chewey. The side of the 18-wheeler says sewage on it. Eddie explains that the hose on the 18-wheeler not only sucks, but it also blows. I guess the WWE thinks the viewing audience is retarded, judging by Guerrero’s expository commentary. Show is going to get covered in human excrement. Segments like these make me proud to be a wrestling fan (note the sarcasm in my tone here). Show must be the dumbest person on earth because instead of just running into the crowd or right to the back, he decided to walk with his attention turned to Eddie. Meanwhile, Chavo has set up a rope near the end of the entrance ramp and Show trips over it. Eddie covers Show in feces and urine as people in the crowd pretend the stuff stinks. Show tries to get up, but trips in the feces and someone decides to play his entrance theme. Words can’t describe how bad this segment was. I think it made both Guerrero and Show look bad.
Radican’s reaction: This show reminded me of watching Superstars on Saturday morning when I was growing up because of all the squash matches. Tajiri, Taker, Show, Moore and Lesnar all took care of their opponents in short order. I would like to see at least 1-2 good matches per week on Smackdown, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I’m glad that Zach Gowen came back to a feud that had been established before he was injured. It gives the fans a reason to cheer him in his inevitable match against Hardy who has cost him a couple of bouts with Moore. I made more comments than usual in my post match/segment reactions so I’ll keep it short here. I think it’s a shame that the WWE continues to waste Guerrero with low brow humor. He is most effective as the clever heel and his act tonight in the final segment was anything but clever. I’d have to say it was one of the poorest segments I’ve ever seen on Smackdown and that’s saying a lot given my thoughts about the Vince-Steph feud. It’s a shame that Smackdown was centered around Guerrero-Show and Steph-Vince, instead of Taker-Lesnar, which is really what Smackdown should be focused on right now. I liked how Taker proved he could outsmart Lesnar and McMahon. I thought it was a nice touch when Lesnar said how much the WWE Title means to him before his match against London. The match between Lesnar-London did a good job in furthering Lesnar’s persona as a monster heel. It’s too bad that the bad is really overshadowing the good on Smackdown these days.
Drum roll please…
There were seven matches for a total of 28 available points to be had for Smackdown this week. Smackdown scored a 10, giving it an F.
(Sean Radican is looking forward to the weekend. He can only be found reviewing Smackdown each and every week. He would like to remind you to always be honest with yourself and others. He encourages you to send any kind of feedback, hate mail, love, or criticism to firstname.lastname@example.org.)