The SmarKdown Rant – November 22 / 2001
The SmarKdown Rant – November 22 2001
– Taped from Fayatteville, NC
– Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler. I know everyone is creaming themselves over Lawler coming back, but for me his act was played in 99 and I appreciated Heyman’s basic grasp of the storylines and history much more. I actually think Heyman & Cole were a more effective combination at times than Heyman and Ross. I mean, Lawler’s a great guy and I wish him the best, but he adds nothing to the program for me.
– Ric Flair gets the opening slot this week after the usual RAW recap. He gives some thanks and announces that the Vengeance PPV (which really has nothing to do with ‘vengeance’ anymore – I miss Dusty Rhodes and his names, which were actually descriptive, as opposed to the WWF’s more artsy-fartsy high-concept names for their PPVs and creative directions, like “Attitude” and “Desire”) will be headlined by a unification match between Rock & Austin, as though Rock’s belt means anything more than jackshit at this point. It’s just a belt now, that’s all it is. Vince interrupts and again, wants everyone to thank Angle. Vince is mildly astounded at having a partner, but seems to take it remarkably well. Small point: If Shane & Stephanie had 25% of the stock, logically it would follow that Vince & Linda each had 25% if the continuity remains the same. So Flair has 50%, Vince has 25%, and I fail to see how Flair is anything but the majority owner. I mean, maybe you can argue that Linda gave her 25% to Vince at some point, but she spent the better part of the year threatening to divorce him and/or in a mental institution, so there wasn’t much opportunity unless it somehow happened within the past few weeks and they just didn’t tell us. If I was Flair, I’d style and profile and steal Linda and her 25% from Vince, then force Vince out for good. Whoo! Anyway, Vince thinks Austin & Rock might want to settle things with Angle & Jericho first. So instead, we get the Wrestlemania X mini-tournament, with the difference being that Yokozuna is dead and thus isn’t likely to drag two of the matches under **** this time. Flair likes the idea. Vince still has issues with Flair, however, as one might suspect due to stealing half of his company out from under him and all. Vince just wants a little trust. Ask Bret about that. What kind of partner will Flair be, he wonders? Why, the kiss-stealin’, wheelin-dealin’, jet flying, limousine-riding partner, of course. Flair is God as always, but I’m dying here waiting for Flair to go Whoo v. What with Austin on the mic.
– Test v. Scotty 2 Hotty. This match was deleted from the RAW lineup for time reasons, and thankfully they put it here so I can stop losing sleep over it. Test pounds on him and gets a corner clothesline for two. Suplex gets two. Scotty reverses another one and gets a missile dropkick for two. Superkick sets up the W-O-R-M, but Test channels the spirit of George Hackenshmidt and executes the complex counter of the night – he sticks his foot in the air and blocks it. Personally, I’d think someone would just move while Scotty was going “Hoo hoo hoo” but maybe the chant has some sort of strange paralyzing effect on the victim, kinda like those Haitian death rituals I read about in the Weekly World News. Someone should look into that. Big kick finishes at 3:04. Two words: Yee haw. Ѕ*
– Sharmell Sullivan adds yet another useless face to the already overcrowded T&A herd, debuting as an interviewer. Funaki mocks Tazz for getting beat up by Regal and gets choked out. Big Show saves.
– Hey, it’s another Creed video. Very well done, but enough with the Creed song already. Maybe if they’d switch to another hot nu-metal band like Hoobastank or something. Nice mullet in Edge’s yearbook photo, by the way.
– Elsewhere, Angle vents at Vince. Funny body language here as Angle obviously wants a hug, but Vince pulls away. Christian delivers some turkey and sucks up, but Undertaker chases him off and bitches about Vince not trusting him. So Vince gives him Kurt Angle tonight. Very long and draggy sketch here.
– Tazz v. Big Slow. Tazz gets the choke, but Slow falls back for the pin at 1:31. You can always tell when business is down by how fast the big guys beat the little guys. DUD
– Elsewhere, Christian feeds Vince his turkey dinner. Regal interrupts and Vince whispers some instructions to him.
– Kurt Angle v. Undertaker. Taker hammers away, and Angle hammers back, but gets legdropped, brother. Angle works the arm, but gets booted for two. He bails, then heads in and baseball slides UT. They brawl and Taker hits the post. Back in, Angle stomps away and the rolling germans get two. Angle hits the chinlock, but Taker comes back with the flying clothesline for two. Taker clotheslines him twice, displaying his awesome moveset and gets Snake Eyes. I love how Undertaker is augmenting his moveset with stuff from the Best of Nash & Hogan (a 5-minute video only available in Eric Bischoff’s imagination) and yet the Torch is still kissing his ass a mile a minute. Chokeslam is reversed to the anklelock, but of course Undertaker has undead, superhuman ankles and powers out of it. He gets the chokeslam, but he has a boo-boo on his ankle and is hurt. He does his own anklelock, but Vince runs in with a chair and the match limps to a Sportz Entertainment Finish at 8:00 or so. Undertaker tells him that he just wants “a little respect”. So did Erasure, and I don’t see them charting anymore. Same match as RAW a couple of weeks ago. *1/2
– William Regal comes out to let us know how honored he was to be kissing Vince’s ass on RAW. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. He calls out Steve Austin, using his full arsenal of British insults. Regal starts to vent at Austin, but he keeps getting hit with “What”. The crowd is just going NUTS for that routine, and it’s obvious they’ve been dying to cheer the guy for months now. Austin keeps making fun of Regal’s breath until he snaps and attacks, at which point it’s KICK, WHAT, I SAID, KICK WHAM STUNNER, but the remaining ex-Alliance expatriates attack Austin and give him a beatdown to cement the babyface turn.
– Hey, let’s watch it again.
– Elsewhere, Vince welcomes the Dudleyz, Test and Christian into his “family” as a reward for a beatdown well done.
– Gravy Bowl Match: Trish v. Stacy. Why have they spent the whole show hyping THIS and haven’t even mentioned the reason for the main event? You have to get a pin or submission in the giant bowl of “gravy”. It looks more like untreated raw sewage. Price of art, I guess. Food fight to start, they head into the gravy, and Stacy taps to a chinlock at 2:12. Maybe it’s because we Canadians celebrate our Thanksgiving a month earlier, but this match did nothing for me. -**
– Elsewhere, Matt broods and complains about Jeff. He’s too damn selfish, apparently. Lita wants to talk about The Relationship. This angle would be begging for Raven to swoop in and brainwash Matt if they gave a crap about him, but I ask too much I think. They REALLY need to get these guys some acting lessons if they’re gonna stick them out there in these skits where, you know, actual ACTING is required.
– Elsewhere, Jericho is all smiles.
– Intercontinental title match: Edge v. Christian. Godspeed, US title, we hardly knew ye. Now if only they’d get rid of the Hardcore and Euro titles, we’d be getting somewhere. Edge gets a hiptoss and backdrop, but Christian goes for the Unprettier, reversed to a DDT, for two. They try each other’s finishes with no luck, and Edge pulls the Downward Spiral out of mothballs for two. Spear misses and Christian goes low and gets a DDT for two. He grabs a chair, but Edge uses it and Test runs in for the DQ at 1:59. Not quite the ladder match from No Mercy. ј*
– WWF tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. Rock & Rob Van Dam. I think this match was mentioned maybe once at the beginning of the show, and even then I have no idea why Rock & RVD are even teaming up here. Vince decides to be Evil and Jericho joins the heel side.
– The Dudley Boyz & Chris Jericho v. The Rock & RVD. Rock goes after Jericho on the floor, and we’ve got a big brawl in the ring. Rock starts with D-Von and clotheslines him. RVD comes in but gets elbowed by D-Von. Bubba gets a suplex, but Rob spinkicks him and goes up. Bodypress gets two. Rock lays some smackdown, but gets clotheslined. Jericho comes in with a clothesline and Evil Canadian Violence. It’s basically the same as regular Canadian Violence, but you need to have a goatee. Elbowdrop gets one. D-Von comes in, but takes a belly-to-belly, and Rock makes the lukewarm tag to RVD. Leg lariat for D-Von, Rolling Thunder for Bubba, and Rob goes up again, only to get knocked off by Jericho. The Dudleyz hit the Wazzup for two. Jericho unleashes more chops, but hits foot on a blind charge. He hits a release german on RVD for two, however. Bubba comes in and drops three elbows for two. Double-flapjack by the Dudleyz gets two, although it looked like RVD was trying to take a backdrop bump and nearly broke his neck in the process. D-Von goes up, and misses whatever. Hot tag Rock, and he’s a house of fire. Spinebuster for Bubba and People’s Elbow gets two. Jericho tags in…and walks into the Sharpshooter. It’s BONZO GONZO. Rock Bottom for D-Von, but Jericho breaks it up and hits his own version on the Rock for the pin at 9:29. Now, tell me, would you EVER see HHH getting pinned by his own Pedigree? Or Undertaker getting powerbombed for the pin? That’s why Rock remains my personal hero and savior. Match was the usual Dudley match. **1/2
The Bottom Line: Don’t ask me why, but I get the vibe that they’re gonna switch things up and at least have Jericho make the finals against Austin at the PPV, if not win it outright. If they were gonna do Rock-Austin, they’d have just done Rock-Austin and got the big buyrate. This way, Jericho gets heat for beating Rock, AND peripheral heat for costing the fans the chance to see the match they really wanted to see. Plus then you have a strong heel in Jericho, getting chased by two strong babyfaces, and that equals BIG $$$, especially when the expectation is that Jericho could lose on any given night. I’m not counting on seeing that, but I think that’d be the smartest way to go about things, instead of unifying the titles with a WM-level match on a PPV that no one traditionally orders anyway. Hold off Rock-Austin until Royal Rumble, if not longer. Hell, you can draw a 1.0 buyrate just on a #1 contender match between those two, to see who GETS Jericho in the first place.
Anyway, the show itself was pretty much just everyone sleepwalking through their paces, but at least the main event scene has pretty much been set up so that the PPV can’t possibly suck. I hope. What? I said, I hope.