SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com 20 years ago this week…
Taped January 28, 2003 in Green Bay, Wisc.
Aired January 30, 2003 on UPN
Report by B.J. Bethel, Torch Team Contributor
Pre-Intro: Recap of Hulkamania taking on Vince from last week.
1st Quarter Hour
(1) Albert pinned Rey Mysterio. (clean) Rey came out sporting his new sock hat on top of his mask and his new t-shirt wrapped around his waist. He looked like Ultra-Man if he were to join the Wu-Tang Clan. Misterio attacked Train on the outside to start. Back inside, and Rey punched out of a choke slam. Springboard body press backfired, as Gay-Train caught Misterio and power slammed him. Train used the chokeslam bomb to score a two count. Train looked like a cross-breeding experiment between a bear rug, a tackle box and Sloth from The Goonies</>. Train applied the full nelson to Misterio, but Misterio countered it into a Stunner. Spinning DDT by Misterio scored a two count. Rey went for the 619, but Train was playing possum and caught Misterio with a boot. Train then used his over the shoulder backbreaker to finish Misterio and to get the pinfall. Somewhere Credible, Raven and Buchanan are watching their TV and shaking their heads. I would really like to know what kind of pictures Albert has on Johnny Laryngitis.
Josh Matthews talked to Paul Heyman backstage. It isn’t saying much, but Matthews is better then Lloyd. Heyman is giving Show the night off. That’s the best idea WWE has ever had for him.
2nd Quarter Hour
(2) Eddie Guerrero pinned John Cena. (Red Dogg and Chavo were involved through out the match, including the finish.) The Guerreros were sporting their new Cheat2Win t-shirts. Still not as cool as the WCW ones. Cena and Red Dogg came out as Cena rapped. Hearing these lines, I can’t wait to hear Cena on the radio show circuit talking about how stupid this gimmick is in about a year. Cena tried to make a run at Eddie in the ring, but Eddie stomped some since in him and sent him outside. Chavo attacked him on the outside as Eddie jawed with the ref. Back suplex by Eddie, but Cena came back and threw him out of the ring. Cena got a two count with a suplex as the crowd chanted for Eddie. Another vertical suplex by Cena, this time with a good five second pause. Eddie tried elbowing his way out of trouble, but Cena knocked him down with some blows and hit him with another suplex. Side slam by Cena for a two count. Cena has a lot of potential, but give me a break. Three suplexes and a side slam? Show us a little more then that, John. Side head lock by Cena on the mat, but Eddie fought back to his feet as the crowd chanted for him. Eddie took Cena off his feet with a take down and battered Cena on the ropes with a couple European uppercuts. Drop kick by Eddie. Eddie tried going off the ropes, but Red Dogg tripped him up, allowing Cena to hit him with a back suplex. Red Dogg argued with the ref as Cena went up top. Chavo knocked him down, setting him up for Eddie’s frog splash to get the three count. Huge pop for Eddie. Cheat to win, baby.
Undertaker is shown arriving at the building.
Heyman is on his cell phone when he spotted Brian “Spanky” Kendrich. He offered to give Spanky a break and the two walked off.
Steph is on the phone talking when Vince walked in and hung it up. Steph’s packing on some pounds, if you ask me. Vince is upset over Steph bringing Hogan back. Steph said she was trying to pull out all the stops. Vince told her he had a big surprise tonight and walked off.
Hey. Waterworld’s on.
3rd Quarter Hour
(3) Billy Kidman pinned Shannon Moore. (clean) Kidman took Moore down with a leg scissors take over. Kidman sent Moore to the outside, but lost the advantage and got sent into the guardrail. Two count by Shannon, who then locked on a chin lock. Kidman tried getting out with some elbows, but Moore took him down by his hair. Moore then worked Kidman’s back over with some forearms. Double arm chin lock now, as the crowd tried rallying Kidman. Kidman finally worked his way out, but took a double boot in the corner. Kidman nailed Moore coming out with a sweet dropkick, however. Back elbow and the neck breaker across the knee, out of the fireman’s carry, got a two count for Kidman. Springboard leg lariat by Moore scored a two count. Kidman bomb by Kidman, but Moore came back with a float-over neck breaker for a two count. Moore argued with the ref, allowing Kidman enough time to recover and to nail him with an enziguiri. Kidman dragged him to the corner for the SSP, but Moore blocked him. Kidman knocked Moore down to the mat and Hardy down to the floor and scored the three count. Huge pop for Kidman as he gained the pin. How’s that for no pop, Brad? Hardy then stomped Moore after the match. Hardy then came back into the ring and gave Kidman a Twist of Fate as the fans chanted “Hardy sucks.” Yeah Johnny, push Albert, I’ll take Kidman/Hardy any day.
4th Quarter Hour
A big “Hogan” chant as Vince McMahonentered the ring. Vince threatened to walk out if they “started that crap.” Vince said Hulkamania is not dead, but it is on life support. Vince said is a predator as a business man and a bottom feeder as a human being. He said the fans believed in him because he’s a master in the art of deception. Vince, using his middle name again, vowed to kill Hulkamania. Basically, Vince tried digging heat out of the crowd for five minutes. Vince finally got to the point and said that in one corner at No Way Out, he was going to have Hogan and in the other would be the Rock. Vince then walked up the ramp and teased leaving before showing the Rock via satellite, who got a big mix of boos and cheers. Rock had his head shaved and is wearing all black. He then slammed Green Bay for being cold. Rock said he didn’t answer to Vince, he answered to the people. He said it would be the biggest star in the history of the industry vs……. Hulk Hogan. Rock was definitely more comfortable this time out playing the heel. I guess you can go home again….
5th Quarter Hour
(4) Bill DeMott pinned Rikishi. (DeMott used the ropes to get the pinfall) DeMott is sporting both a cast and a knee brace. That may explain why he has backed away from his mobility since the heel turn. DeMott took Rikishi off his feet with a monster clothesline. DeMott applied an abdominal stretch and used the ropes for some leverage. Rikishi tried to come back with a belly-to-belly, but DeMott countered with a head butt. Body slam by DeMott left him favoring his back. DeMott then went up top for the moonsault, but Rikishi managed to get to his feet and bring him down. Rikishi managed to finally get some offense going with his side kick. He then went for a DDT, but DeMott grabbed the ropes for leverage and used a roll up to get the pinfall.
After the match, Undertaker came out almost immediately on his bike.
6th Quarter Hour
Undertaker addressed Heyman and Big Show from the ring steps. Show’s music played, but Heyman came out by himself. Heyman then said Show had sent Undertaker a personal message. Spanky then rode a girls BMX bike out to the ring, dressed up in a bell hop outfit. Spanky said he had a singing telegram from Big Show. ‘Taker basically feigned like he was going to hit Spanky and told him not to wet himself. Wow, what a tough guy, just kick him in the groin Spanky and he’ll be out another six months. ‘Taker then told Heyman if this was his idea of a joke, he needed to think again, and said Big Show was going to really be sorry when he came back. Spanky then held his hand out for a tip. ‘Taker then gave him credit for having guts for coming out and doing what he just did. ‘Taker pulled out a 100 dollar bill and gave it to him. ‘Taker then asked him to do it one more time. As Spanky started, he gave him a kick in the gut and the Last Ride. ‘Taker then took his 100 bucks back.
Another Nathan Jones promo.
Our Olympic hero gave Haas and Benjamin a pep talk in the locker room. Edge and Benoit are in the back getting ready.
7th Quarter Hour
(5) Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin defeated Chris Benoit & Edge by pinfall. (Kurt Angle’s shot to Benoit with the title belt allowed for Team Angle to make the pinfall) Captain Kurt took his spot at the announcers table. Benoit went after Haas in the corner before giving him a knee to the gut off the ropes. Benoit made the mistake of going after Benjamin, allowing the heels to get control. Two count on Benjamin on Benoit. Back elbow by Benjamin got a two count as the Guerreros were backstage watching on the monitor in the back. Kurt said Vince Lombardi never won a gold medal as Benoit gave Benjamin a hot shot. Benoit made the tag to Edge, who hit the heels with some body drops, a flap jack for Benjamin and a drop down chin lock for Haas. Angle interfered, but Edge took him down to the floor. Haas, Angle and Edge were on the outside, with Edge getting stomped by Haas, but Benoit nailed him with a suicide dive. Missile drop kick on Benjamin by Edge for a two count.
8th Quarter Hour
Back from the break, and Benoit is stomping away on Benjamin in the corner. Edge in now with Haas. Edge and Benoit went to work on Haas’s arm with a double team. Benoit then used a combination hammer lock/Northern Lights suplex to get a two count. Edge tagged back in, and he went back to work on Angle’s arm. Edge took Haas down with a modified hammer lock and tagged Benoit back in. Another kick to the arm, and the faces continue to work Haas’s arm. Haas caught Benoit with a boot, but Benoit countered a clothesline with the CCF. Benoit couldn’t get it applied before Haas made the ropes. Edge tagged in. Edge missed a charge and ended up eating an over-head belly-to-belly. Haas took Edge to the heel corner and distracted the ref so Benjamin could work him over. Benjamin cut Edge’s leg off from the outside of the ring. Haas worked the leg over as Benjamin tagged in. More work on the leg from Benjamin, as the crowd tried getting behind Edge. Benjamin tagged to Haas, who went to work on the leg with a modified toe hold. Edge tried to make the tag, but a drop toe hold from Haas put an end to that. Haas dragged him back to the corner and tagged to Benjamin. Fantastic submission work from the two new guys. Edge finally made an attempt to get away from the heels when he reversed a Charlie Haas figure four. Enziguiri from Edge took Haas down. Haas tagged before Edge could make the corner, but Edge nailed Benjamin with an enziguiri and made the tag anyway. Great storytelling from these guys. Benoit is just all over the two heels, suplexing the shit out of them before getting a two count on Benjamin. Clothesline on Haas and Angle grabbed Benoit’s leg. Guillotine body splash by Benjamin on Benoit got a two count as Edge got knocked to the outside. Benoit ducked a clothesline, knocking Haas down, and Benoit nailed Benjamin with the rolling Germans and signaled for the head butt as the crowd went nuts. Head butt landed, but it was only good for a two count. Benoit locked on the CCF, but Haas broke it up. Spear on Haas by Edge, but Angle nailed Benoit with the WWE title with the ref’s back turned, allowing Benjamin to make the pinfall to become #1 contenders. That, my friends, ruled ass. Team Angle celebrated as the Guerreros watched on from the back.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Why Rey wasn’t allowed to get his heat back from Albert is beyond me, especially considering that WWE just cut three workers that are better then him and are on the cusp of cutting that many more… DeMott and Rikishi delivered their most watchable match so far… We may have missed out on Edge vs. Matt Hardy, but Kidman vs. Matt Hardy more then makes up for it as far as I’m concerned. They have slowly let Kidman build back into the strengths he played to when he was hot in WCW in ’98/’99… Vince was typical Vince, giving his usual heat-baiting promo. The Rock looked more comfortable then he did at the Raw Anniversary special and was sporting a slightly different look. He’s definitely leaning more towards the heel side of things. Rock received a mixed heel/face reaction from the crowd and he gave his strongest promo in two years…Smackdown has really gained momentum by building around an entire cast of workers instead of featuring two or three people through out the entire show. The feuds being played through out the show are enough to build to a solid PPV on their own, without any help from the Raw line up… Benoit continues to be amazing. It’s almost impossible to believe this guy almost had his career ended a year and a half ago. As far as I’m concerned, he has reclaimed his crown as the best worker in North America with Eddie and Angle following closely behind.)