wrestling / TV Reports

The SmarKdown Rant – March 13 2003

March 13, 2003 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarKdown Rant – March 13, 2003

– Plug time! Yes, the surest way to get me to spread the hitcount love to your column these days is to review my book, and that tried-and-true formula works again as Michael Poffel has a look at the book in his latest column.

– Taped from Pittsburgh, PA. Why would you want to name an arena after produce?

– Your hosts are Cole & Tazz. Cole stresses that there absolutely WILL be an Angle-Lesnar match tonight! Honest! Would we lie?

– Opening match: Team Angle v. Kidman & Rey Mysterio. Haas takes down Kidman to start with a fireman’s carry, but Kidman overpowers him and gets a rana for two. Rey sunset-flips in for two on Benjamin and gets a very unique airplane-spin headscissors for two. Physics doesn’t really work there, but it sure looks cool. A double-team gets two. Kidman pounds away in the corner, but charges and hits post. Shelton takes him down with an armbar and gets two, and goes to work with some nice kicks on it. Haas comes in with a standing armbar, and takes him down with another one for two. Benjamin takes him down with an armdrag and legdrops it, hanging on with an armbar. The leapfrog choke gets two. They really need a name for that move. Kidman rolls up Haas for two, and gets an enzuigiri to allow the hot tag to Rey Rey. He somersaults in with a bombs away and springs off Benjamin onto Haas with a press for two. Kidman makes the blind tag and dumps Benjamin, but Haas tries a powerbomb. He must be new here. Benjamin tries to dump Kidman, but gets dumped, and Haas feels the wrath of the 619, and Rey heads out with an Asai moonsault onto Benjamin for good measure. The Shooting Star Press gets two, but Benjamin saves. Kidman goes after him too, apparently having hurt his shoulder on the finisher, but Benjamin superkicks Kidman into the Haas german suplex at 7:12. TEAM ANGLE WINS! TEAM ANGLE WINS! So now they’re like 1-10439 since winning the titles. Damn good tag wrestling. **3/4

– Elsewhere, Brian Kendrick gives Steph some flowers. She crinkles her nose, so you know she’s trying to act.

– Earlier today, at the Playboy mansion, Jamie Noble shows up (In a cab? Is he that Rockerfella guy now? Where’s the pickup truck filled with chickens?) and gets mistaken for a pool-cleaner.

– Rikishi v. Chuck Palumbo. I see this feud continues its rocket-like momentum. Palumbo attacks with the Junglekick and gets two. Short-arm clothesline and belly-to-bellies suplex gets two. He slugs away in the corner and gets a corner clothesline, as the FBI get their shots in. Just wondering: How does dressing like Alex Wright make Nunzio look butch? Rikishi comes back with his own punches and a clothesline, and a samoan drop sets up his own superkick. Is there a new moveset limit so that we can only use a certain amount per match? Rikishi blocks a sunset flip with a buttdrop, and Los Guerreros run in and take out the FBI. Big fat buttdrop finishes at 2:58. I guess they lie, cheat, steal, and hate Italians. Ѕ*

– Elsewhere, Undertaker finds Nathan Jones brooding, and orders him to watch the A-Train & Big Show match as scouting. I know Jones is a convicted felon, but there ARE laws against cruel & unusual punishment!

– A-Train & Big Show v. Funaki & Tajiri. Show bowls over Funaki and hammers him down. Press slam and A-Train comes in and hammers away in the corner. Show does color while Train handles things. Tajiri tries to chop him down and gets nowhere. The Japanese faction work him over with kicks, but A-Train shrugs them off and hammers them both down. Tajiri dropkicks the knee, however, and Funaki gets a missile dropkick. A-Train no-sells that, too, and guillotines him for two. Tajiri kicks Train into a rollup for two, and then kicks Show down when he comes back in. Show no-sells and chokeslams him, and Train kicks Funaki down and gets the backbreaker for the pin at 3:46. It’s funny – people care about Funaki & Tajiri and there’s a million things you can do with them as a team, but they get sacrificed to build up a midcard match no one cares about with a guy who actively injures people but gets pushed because he’s big. I mean, you knew that, but you’ve gotta keep saying it. Ѕ*

– Elsewhere, Sean O’Haire returns from purgatory and consoles Dawn Marie, hinting that she should flash the audience.

– Earlier today, Torrie shows us the Playboy cover.

– Dawn comes out and flashes the camera, with impressively strategic placement of the ring ropes blocking the nipplage in the long shot.

– Los Guerreros v. Chris Benoit & Rhyno. Benoit & Chavo work off a wristlock and Benoit takes him down, but Chavo gets a cross-armlock until Benoit makes the ropes. Eddie comes in, but so does Rhyno. Eddie takes him down with a drop-toehold and they jockey for position in the corner, but Rhyno shoves him down. Chavo dropkicks Rhyno off a snapmare and slugs him in the corner, and Eddie comes back in, but walks into a faceplant. Benoit knees him down with CHEESE on it, and a snap suplex sets up the CANADIAN VIOLENCE. Eddie fires back, but Rhyno clocks him from behind to stop that and uses his own. He charges and hits elbow, allowing Chavo to come in with a backdrop suplex for two. Tazz actually stops to explain that Chavo rolled in to speed up his approach. Benoit gets a backbreaker on him for two, and the backdrop suplex gets two. Chavo reverses another try for two. Benoit & Eddie slug it out, and Eddie gets the snap dropkick for two. Eddie unloads the chops, but Benoit takes him down with a crossface. Eddie rolls away, but Benoit hangs on and makes him fight to the ropes instead. Chavo hammers on Benoit until Eddie calms him down and they proceed to double-teaming him. Chavo forearms him down and stomps on him, and we hit the chinlock. Benoit escapes and rolls him up for two, but Chavo clotheslines him down again. Eddie slingshots in for two, and grabs an armbar. Chavo keeps working Benoit over, but he walks into another crossface. He makes the ropes and bails, but Benoit follows with a plancha, and soon everyone is fighting and out on the floor as we take a break. We return with Chavo trying his own crossface on Benoit, but Rhyno tags in with a belly-to-belly for two. Back to the chinlock as Rhyno talks some trash to Chavo at the same time and the match grinds to a halt. Chavo escapes and gets a missile dropkick and it’s a double-count. Tags abound and Benoit overpowers Eddie and gets a snap suplex. Eddie escapes a tilt-a-whirl and gets a crazy backdrop suplex, and a rana. He heads up and gets chopped down by Benoit, but turns it into the MURDERDEATHKILL powerbomb off the top for two. Rhyno saves and it’s BONZO GONZO as Eddie cradles Benoit for two. Chavo dumps Rhyno and Benoit sends Eddie over the top the hard way, leaving Chavo and Benoit. Dropkick from Chavo and he hammers away in the corner, but gets caught with a crossface. Eddie breaks it up with a frog splash, but Rhyno comes in with GORE GORE GORE. Powerbomb puts both Chavo & Rhyno on the floor, and Benoit gets two on Eddie. Benoit starts the rolling germans, but Eddie switches to a vertical suplex series of his own, which Benoit absorbs and then rolls into the crossface. Eddie counters to go-behind, but Benoit counters that and suplexes him, and Team Angle runs in for the DQ at 20:08. Jesus, why book a match to go 20:00 and then have a lame DQ finish? Just book a 20:00 broadway and it not only serves the same purpose but it’s more interesting than the lazy Insta-Feud booking to set up a three-way that’s only so more people get a payoff at Wrestlemania. Besides, they already did that exact same finish (minus 19:30 or so) on Monday with the Women’s title. The match was solid, but it was over just when Eddie & Benoit started rocking it. ***

– Elsewhere, Stephanie makes a three-way match at Wrestlemania to punish Team Angle. Wow, that’s so unexpected.

– Hulk Hogan video package covering 1984 until last week. Lots of clips from WM and his talk show appearances. Hey, how come they didn’t show when he lied about his steroid use on Arsenio? That’ll really inspire the kids.

– Vince then offers a rebuttal after showing his handshake with Hogan in 1992 before Hogan’s first “retirement”. That was apparently the only time Hogan ever said “thank you” to him. Vince talks about how Hogan’s change hurt his feelings (with all the steroids, it was probably menopause), and this upsets him. Having to watch that match upsets me.

– Matt Hardy (Matt Facts: He has never locked his keys in the car, and hates cleaning his carpet) comes out for a challenge for whoever is under 220 pounds.

– Matt Hardy v. The Pittsburgh Penguin. It’s a mysterious masked man with a big orange nose. Can’t even guess who it might be. Matt slams him to start and snapmares him down. He whips the mysterious penguin around, but gets taken down with a headscissors. Matt protests that it’s an exhibition, and then cheapshots him. He exhibits some choking, as does Shannon, and then gets the Ricochet for two. Tazz & Cole get into a fight over penguin metaphors, as the Penguin fights back but gets poked in the eye and surfboarded. Tilt-a-whirl slam and Matt rips off the mask, and it’s BRIAN KENDRICK! Oh my god, that’s so totally not what I was expecting. I had my money on Bull Buchanan making a surprise comeback at 180, personally. Kendrick fights back and knees him down for two. Sliced Bread #2 gets two. He chops away and takes out Moore, then blocks the Twist of Fate and gets another Sliced Bread #2. Shannon pulls Matt out for the countout at 5:00. Geez, another screwjob finish tonight. Nothing special at all. ѕ*

– A lengthy video recap hypes the upcoming “main event”. It’s really obnoxious of them to not only hype a match for a week, but then use up 10 minutes of TV time building up the match when they knew well in advance it wasn’t going to happen.

– WWE title: Kurt Angle v. Brock Lesnar. Great sign in the front row: “He who has gold does not suck”. Well said. Angle keeps his tracksuit jacket on even after introductions, which normally would make him awesome but only arouses suspicion here. And now, the epic match: Brock attacks, hammers him down, F5, and we discover that “Kurt” is actually Eric Angle, in a repeat of the same gimmick from Surivor Series 2000. Brock chases Team Angle while the Angles switch off and the real Kurt gets a rollup for the pin at 1:17 to retain. Shitty angle to end a lackluster show. DUD Brock does the ringpost F5 on Eric to work out his anger, however. This whole Angle injury thing has completely fucked up the build to this match.

The Bottom Line:

Yup, another bait-and-switch finishes the show, which had some good wrestling marred by screwjob finishes and lazy booking. Nearly 30:00 total of tag wrestling is nothing to sneeze at, however, so it’s another thumbs up for Smackdown this week.

Gotta wonder how long the fans are going to keep biting on the undelivered main events, though.

Until next week, BUY THE BOOK!


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