SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report by current PWTorch columnist Sean Radican was originally published 20 year ago this week here at PWTorch.com…
WWE Smackdown Review
September 25, 2003
Taped on 9/23/03 in Philadelphia, Pa.
Aired on UPN
Will Smackdown achieve the standard this week?
The Big Picture: Smackdown featured an incredible Iron Man match last week that easily surpassed any other match I have seen this year. The problem is that despite announcing the match two weeks in advance, the match had zero impact on the ratings. So where does Smackdown go from here? No Mercy is on the horizon and it’s time for Smackdown to begin announcing matches for the PPV. Presumably Undertaker will have a prominent spot on the card. Will he move into the title picture or feud with Mr. McMahon? Where does Kurt Angle go from here? Angle lost his belt last week and I think his feud with Lesnar needs a rest. I see Angle sliding down the scale to an upper card feud, but I can’t speculate as to who his opponent would be. Judging from the interaction between Steph and Vince I can see that Vince wants to get rid of his little girl. The only good that can come out of this feud is that it would take Steph off of television for a period of time, hopefully forever, but I can only dream. It’s funny that Vince is so out of it that he believes he is the heel in his feud with his daughter, but to me he is a great babyface. Vince may be popular with me these days, but as much as he believes that feuding with his family members draws ratings, he is sadly mistaken. So put your feet up on the coach and relax guy (Credit Saddam on South Park) as we take in another episode of as the McMahon’s turn. But now, it’s time for my…
Points of Argument: I firmly believe that in order for Smackdown and Raw to remain fresh that the two brands need to make some trades. If I were given more space or perhaps another forum, I would pontificate upon this point some more, but alas I must keep it short. I think it would be interesting if some sort of trade were made between the brands to bring about some fresh feuds. I’m tired of seeing the Dudley’s fight La Resistance on Raw. The tag division is very stale in the Raw brand. An example of a feud that is in danger of being overexposed on the Smackdown brand is the feud between Lesnar and Kurt Angle. I miss the times when feuds had a slow build. Macho Man vs. Hogan in the WWF is one example of a great feud that had a slow build to it. That doesn’t happen anymore. Feuds are thrown together quickly and die slowly (like Test vs. Steiner you ask?) Yes. So, if you have an idea of a great trade that would benefit both brands, shoot me an email.
Let’s take it to Tazz and Cole at ringside!
But first, on to my weekly picks…
Book of the Week: The Clientby John Grisham. This is a great novel, with a lot of suspense and action. Sadly, it is Grisham’s last great novel.
Game of the Week: on X-Box and PS2. Do you like the Simpsons? I thought you did. So go buy this game, now!
DVD pick of the week: Trish Stratus: Stratusfaction 100% Guaranteed.. This is actually a great DVD that Stratus produced herself. It provides an interesting look into her background, detailing her love of wrestling as a child and her path to the WWE. There are also several entertaining backstage moments on the DVD. I found the interaction between Stratus and Stone Cold to be particularly entertaining. The WWE didn’t forget to give some bonus matches and other goodies as well. If you like Trish Stratus this is a must buy.
My beloved Red Sox are on the verge of clinching a spot in the playoffs as I type this, but I am still going to bring you my Smackdown report!
…And now, on to Smackdown!
1st Quarter Hour
Cole announces that the Tag Team Titles, The Cruiserweight Title and The US Title will be defended tonight.
Mr. McMahon makes his way to the ring with Sablelicious to present the WWE Title to Brock Lesnar. Cole goes on about Lesnar cheating his way to the title in the Iron Man match. Sable is six tissue worthy tonight. Vince puts over the Iron Man match from last week. Vince says all are here tonight to honor Brock Lesnar, but Kurt Angle’s music interrupts him. Angle has a freedom of choice T-shirt on. This is another shirt guaranteed to bring you popularity in your neighborhood and you can purchase it in the Shopzone. Vince says Kurt is here tonight to challenge Brock for the WWE championship. Vince says it isn’t going to happen. I’m shocked. Vince says Kurt is going to start from the bottom and work his way up. Vince says he thinks Kurt is really here to honor Brock Lesnar tonight. Vince is really going out on a limb here. Kurt says he didn’t come out here to congratulate Brock, he came out to kick Brock’s ass. Kurt says tonight Brock will either come to the ring and get the hell beat out of him or Kurt will go backstage and beat the hell out of him.
Word Life! John Cena comes down to the ring and tells Kurt to quit his bitching. Kurt beats the crap out of Cena and throws him out of the ring. Way to make Cena look good. Cena runs away to the back and Kurt says he is going to the back to find Brock.
The cameras pick up Kurt backstage. Kurt goes into Brock’s locker room, but he isn’t there. John Cena ambushes Kurt and we go to the break.
During the break Cena runs away from Kurt into the parking lot and drives off. Kurt hijacks Vince’s limo and follows Cena.
2nd Quarter Hour
(1) Eddie Guerrero & Chavo defeated Matt Hardy & Shannon Moore to retain the Tag Team Titles.
Eddie and Hardy start the match. Chavo makes a blind tag and dropkicks Hardy. Chavo connects with a drop toehold and tags in Guerrero who hits a rolling senton over the top rope. Eddie tags in Chavo, who hits a nice dropkick to Hardy’s head. Shannon Moore distracts Chavo on the outside, which allows Hardy to connect with a dropkick. Moore throws Chavo back in for a two count. Moore tags in and goes to work on Chavo. Moore punches away at Chavo in the corner and tags in Hardy. Hardy tags Moore back, but Chavo fights back and tags Eddie. Eddie goes to work on Hardy. Moore tries to interfere, but Guerrero connects with his walking top rope arm bar and headscissors combination. Moore and Hardy gain the advantage on Guerrero and get a two count. The finish saw Chavo give Shannon Moore a belly to back suplex, which Eddie followed with a frog splash for the pin.
After the match, Hardy hit a side effect, which drove Eddie’s ribs into the championship.
Grade: 2 (Nearing the standard, but too short to warrant a three).
During the commercial break, Haas came in and threw Chavo out of the ring and went to town on Guerrero. Haas applied the Haas of Pain on Guerrero, who sold the move really well. The Haas of Pain is an awesome looking submission hold. Haas is a good hand in the ring.
A-Train, another good hand in the ring, comes down and says he can beat Chris Benoit and everyone else in the arena. In the most ironic wrestling moment of all time, A-Train calls someone else a fat boy. A-Train throws the timekeeper into the ring and applies the crossface. Benoit makes his way to the ring and attacks A-Train. Benoit applies the crossface, but A-Train sits up and throws him out of the ring. A-Train connects with a stiff looking chairshot to lay Benoit out.
3rd Quarter Hour
Eddie is backstage holding his ribs. The medic says he shouldn’t wrestle, but Eddie isn’t going to listen.
The superstars of the WWE are coming to Providence, RI! Lance Storm actually says he’s coming to Providence with a disturbing look in his eyes.
Vince and Sablelicious are backstage. Vince tells her how nice her breasts are. Vince makes out with Sable, but some guy with a headset interrupts him on. Vince says that before the night is over, he wants the red carpet in the ring so he can present Brock Lesnar with the title. Sable tells Vince that before the night is over she will personally present herself to Vince. That Mr. McMahon is sure a stud.
A little boy interviews Haas. He says Guerrero got what he deserved, after what he and Chavo did to Benjamin last week. Haas says that tonight he will take the US Title.
Highlights are aired of the feud between Mysterio and Tajiri. Wow! There is a feud in the Cruiserweight division? Who would have thunk it? I’m not a big fan of Rey’s pink outfit.
Tajiri is shown backstage kicking through some wooden panels.
Some clips of The Rundown are aired with commentary from The Rock and Sean William Scott.
4th Quarter Hour
(2) Tajiri defeated Rey Mysterio for the Cruiserweight Title.
The two lock up and Tajiri backs down and connects with a kick. Tajiri slams Mysterio to the mat and follows that up with a knee to the face. Mysterio hits a second rope huracanrana and tries to roll up Tajiri, but he counters it for two count. Mysterio dropkicks Tajiri in the face for a two count. Instead of discussing the match, Cole and Tazz discuss the presentation of the championship to Brock Lesnar as Tajiri applies the tarantula. Tajiri tries to take the turnbuckle off, but is met with a dropkick to the back. Tajiri looks as if he was going to use the mist, but Mysterio thwarted that plan. Mysterio throws Tajiri out of the ring and hits a huge springboard splash from the top rope to the outside as we go to the break.
We come back from the break and Mysterio punches away at Tajiri in the corner. Rey goes for a splash from the top rope, but Tajiri meets him with a kick to the ribs. Cole and Tazz are doing a good job of selling the effectiveness of Tajiri’s kicks on Mysterio. Tajiri locks in a half nelson to capitalize on Mysterio’s injured ribs. Mysterio goes for a clothesline, but Tajiri ducks and nails Mysterio’s ribs with a dropkick. Mysterio tries to power out, but is met with another sharp kick to the ribs. Tajiri applies a bodyscissors to Mysterio. The ref checks on Mysterio who doesn’t tap. Tajiri releases the hold and lifts Mysterio up and drives his ribs into his knees. Tajiri applies another bodyscissors and rolls over to get a two count, while still applying the bodyscissors. Mysterio connects with a couple of elbows to fight out, but Tajiri hit him with another kick. Mysterio hit a nice bulldog on Tajiri for a two count. James Guttman made a great point about announcers who say the same thing and I definitely notice that tonight as Cole and Tazz echo each other’s comments about each move in the match. Tajiri retains the advantage and nails Mysterio with a kick to the head as he was hung upside down from the turnbuckle. Tajiri followed that up with a Michinoku driver for a two count. Mysterio ducked a kick from Tajiri, which connect with the ref’s head. Tajiri goes for the handspring elbow, but Rey counters it and lands the 619. Mysterio went for the West Coast pop, but Tajiri ducked and hit a huge kick to Mysterio’s head. Another ref came down and counted, but Tajiri only got a two count. Mysterio had Tajiri rolled up, but the second official was checking on the other ref, which allowed Tajiri to spit his red mist into Mysterio’s face. Tajiri followed that up with an awesome kick to the back of Mysterio’s head for the pin.
Grade: 3 (Achieved the standard). This was a great match, which had a different feel than the other matches involving these two, due to the ring psychology that was laid out in this match.
5th Quarter Hour
Cole says we will get an update on Zach Gowen’s condition next week.
Highlights air of the Smackdown Your Vote press conference from earlier in the week.
Cole reminds us to register to vote. In other news, Smackdown is the number one rated show on UPN.
Noble comes out and says Billy Gunn is hurt. Noble brags about being rich and shows off all of the things that he bought Nidia. Noble says he bought the services of Bradshaw for the night.
(3) Jamie Noble & Bradshaw defeated The Bland Bros. (w/Maniqua) via DQ.
Bradshaw gives Doug a belly to back suplex and tags in Noble who puts the boots to Doug. Doug whips Noble into the ropes, but he goes through because Danny held the rope down. Maniqua kicks Noble in the face and tosses him back in the ring for a two count. Danny tags in and goes to work on Noble. He attempts a pin, but Bradshaw breaks it up. Doug comes back in and applies a submission hold. Noble breaks out and hits a nice swinging neck breaker and tags in Bradshaw. Bradshaw hits a nice suplex and clotheslines both of the Bashams. Bradshaw connects with a fall away slam on one of the Basham Brothers. Noble takes out Danny Basham, who tried to interfere. Back in the ring, Bradshaw hits a DDT on Danny, but Doug breaks up the pin. On the outside, Maniqua destroyed Nidia with a clothesline. Bradshaw hits the clothesline from hell on Doug, but Maniqua broke up the pin for the DQ
After the match, The Bland Bros and Maniqua put the boots to Bradshaw and Noble.
Grade: 1(Below standard). This match didn’t do much for me, although Noble is entertaining.
6th Quarter Hour
Footage airs from the premier of The Rundown on Monday.
A great highlight package from last weeks Iron Man match is aired. It’s scary how good that match was. I can’t wait for the day when two great athletes attempt to top that match.
1 bonus point.
The Big Show makes his way down to the ring and he’s pissed. Someone must have stolen his beefy tacos.
7th Quarter Hour
Show is on commentary. The camera gives us a nice shot of Show’s man boobs. Show acts like he is going to leave, but turns around and throws Eddie into the steel post.
*** Questions for the next half-hour:
1) Will Vince introduce Lesnar as the manster?
2) Will Steph not appear on Smackdown this week?
3) Where is the Undertaker?
(4) Eddie Guerrero defeated Charlie Haas to retain the U.S. Title.
Tazz tells us that tonight is Haas’ night, which means that he won’t win the title. Silly announcers’, telling us it’s someone’s night when we know it never is when they say that. Haas had the advantage at the beginning, but Eddie fights back with a dropkick. Eddie drops down and holds his ribs. Eddie charges at Haas, who picks him up and drops him awkwardly. Tazz calls it a double leg takedown. Haas bends Guerrero back over his knee. Does anyone ever go into their second match in one night without an injury? Guerrero counters a gut wrench suplex with a nice looking headscissors takedown. Haas drives Eddie’s ribs into the steel post on the outside and Guerrero holds his ribs in agony. Chavo comes down to check on Eddie, but Haas punches him and goes to work on Eddie, who is really selling his rib injury. Two refs push Chavo to the back, while Haas had Guerrero pinned. Haas applies the Haas of Pain, but Eddie eventually powers out. Haas puts the boots to Guerrero, but Eddie is able to flip him out of the ring. Haas grabs the US Title on the outside, but the ref takes it away. Haas argues with the ref as Eddie crawls towards the belt. Eddie wraps the title over the top turnbuckle. Haas charges Eddie in the corner, but Eddie ducks and Haas hits the belt. Guerrero hits the frogsplash for the pin. Guerrero really held down Haas’ arm when he pinned Haas.
Grade: 3 (Achieved the standard). Eddie showed a lot of versatility in this match. Eddie has shown the WWE viewers that he can work a fast paced match as well as a slower paced match, which involves a lot of selling. Haas looked good in the ring as a singles wrestler and his Haas of Pain finisher is solid.
8th Quarter Hour
Vince is in the ring for the title presentation. Sable still looks great and so do her voluptuous breasts (credit Vince McMahon). Vince tells us to stand on out feet and cheer Brock Lesnar. I wonder if Kurt Angle will come down to the ring. Brock draws some descent heel heat, in fact he’s more over than Triple H judging from the reaction of the crowd. I wonder if the bees can control the audio sweetener and make it work on Raw. Vince says Lesnar is the face of Smackdown. He says Brock is unstoppable. Vince says he speaks for everyone when he says congratulations to Brock Lesnar. The fans remind Brock that he tapped out, which prompts Vince to tell the fans to shut up. Brock laughs about his title victory. Brock thanks Vince from the bottom of his heart because it was Vince who reminded Brock of exactly who he is. Vince has some great facial expressions during this segment while Brock is talking. Brock tells Kurt that he had him in the palm of his hand during the Iron Man match last week. Brock is greatly improved on the mic. Brock says he is unstoppable. Undertaker comes out and flexes his backstage power. Tazz says Philadelphia is freaking out. I don’t see many people marking out.
Taker grabs the mic from Vince and it looks like he has some words for Brock. Taker says he didn’t interfere in the Iron Man match because he has too much respect for the title. Taker says he doesn’t respect Brock Lesnar. Taker says he is mad that Lesnar hit him in the back with a chair during his title match with Kurt Angle. Taker says he doesn’t forgive or forget. Brock looks concerned. Taker says Brock needs to take that belt and enjoy it because his first title defense is going to be against him. Taker says Brock has a date with the Deadman.
Vince asks on whose authority did Taker make this match. Oh no. It’s Steph Mcjiggles. Taker gives Steph the mic and Steph says she is the one who made the match. Vince says that isn’t going to happen. Vince says her authority will be rescinded. Vince says he is going to give her an opportunity to change her mind. Vince says if Steph doesn’t change her mind there will be a father-daughter match. Steph asks Vince if he’s serious. Steph says she isn’t changing her mind, so Vince says he hates to do it, but he is going to make his match against Steph an I Quit match. Lesnar attacks Taker with the belt, but Taker sits up and delivers a huge chokeslam on Lesnar.
Cole says that Vince is insane as the show goes to black.
This was a solid, but not spectacular show that saw three titles defended in one night. The highlight of the three matches was Tajiri’s win over Rey Mysterio. These two had a good match, which was different than any of their other matches between these two because Rey sold a rib injury for the majority of the match. It’s nice to see the Cruiserweight division receive some attention for a change. The rest of the show was forgettable, especially the bland Basham Brothers who are in desperate need of a new gimmick if they are ever to get over. Eddie Guerrero continues to shine on Smackdown as he worked two solid matches in one night. I have to give Haas credit for doing some good work on the mic before the match and then delivering a good performance in the ring. We’ve seen Taker and Lesnar before, so it will be interesting to see what they can develop with their renewed feud. The biggest disappointment of the night has to be the announcement of a match between Steph and Vince at No Mercy. It leaves me sitting here shaking my head.
Drum roll please…
There were four matches for a total of 16 available points to be had for Smackdown this week. Smackdown scored a 12, giving it a C.
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