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SmackDown! and Some Weekend Newsbites
August 8, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


SmackDown! Recap

I'm a freaking idiot.  Danny warned me about a month ago that he'd be off-duty this week... and I completely lunched on remembering to get a replacement SD! Recap in place until he re-reminded me yesterday.  At which point, I figured I'd just do a quick recap myself.  You know, as penance.

I've got a few newsbites to get to today, as well, and I'll put those at the end (just skip ahead and look for another big maroon header, if you don't need results and analysis of SD! from Yours Truly)... and knowing I've still got that to cover, I'll probably be more brief in recapping SD! than I usually am on RAW.

I say it's your own damn fault: if you missed this show, you missed an outstanding one.  I even warned you on Wednesday not to miss it.    

Here's what went down:

Video Package: Vince McMahon puts the kibosh on an Angle vs. Lesnar rematch last week, and ends up agreeing, instead, to face Lesnar, one-on-one and inside a steel cage with Angle as the special ref, THIS WEEK on SD!.

Opening music/credits/pyro, and a quick bit of hype from Tazz and Mitchell Cole regarding tonight's big matches, before we head to the ring for ANOTHER big match.  A PPV re-match, actually....

Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit (Non-Title Match)

Announcers tell us that Eddie refused to put the title on the line, and that he feels Benoit has to earn a title rematch.  Crowd is 100% behind Benoit here, as is wont to happen when the Fed travels north of the border.  Eddie's working the arm/shoulder of Benoit, as the pace is a bit slow to start.  But it picks up soon enough with some suplexes, throws, and even a powerbomb from Benoit.  Benoit is getting ready to finish Eddie off with a swandive headbutt, but Rhyno manages to run-in and interrupt.  When Benoit dives over the top rope onto Rhyno and starts brawling with him, Tajiri also runs out and starts fighting with Eddie.  The ref signals for the bell (I actually think he was gonna DQ Benoit, because he managed to only see Tajiri's attack at first), and this match is over in cheap fashion after a very good 6 or 7 minutes of action.

Or is it?  "Senior WWE Official" Sgt. Slaughter is out, and orders that this match must continue.  As a tag match!  

Chris Benoit/Tajiri vs. Eddie Guerrero/Rhyno

After an ad break, we come back to Benoit vs. Eddie in the ring.  Benoit quickly tags out to the fresher Tajiri, however, and that's when the heels start to dominate.  Tajiri finally makes the hot tag to Benoit, but neither Rhyno nor Eddie realize it.  Rhyno (not the legal man, either) keeps pounding on Tajiri, and gets a face full of green mist for his troubles.  Then, when Eddie sees Tajiri still laid out on the canvas, he tries to pin him, only to have Benoit swoop down with the Crippler Crossface for the submission win.  Benoit makes the "I Want the Belt" motions as he left with Tajiri.  Awesome way to kick off the show.  Two matches in one, the second even better than the first, and a total elapsed time of over 20 minutes (counting an ad break).

Backstage: Kurt Angle insults interviewer Josh Matthews, and then moves on to more serious business.  He says he intends to sit down, face-to-face, with Brock Lesnar tonight to find out why Lesnar F-5'ed him last week.

Zach Gowen vs. Nunzio

Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore are out on commentary for this one, and are hilarious for the most part.  Palumbo and Stamboli are sent packing, so this is one-on-one for the most part.  I say "for the most part" because the finish wound up being Matt and Moore distracting Gowen long enough for Nunzio to land a kick from the second rope on Zach for a quick and cheap pinfall win.  Prior to that, it was another eye-opening outing from Zach, who introduced us to more new moves from his arsenal.  An entertaining 4 minute TV special.  Of course, Matt ruined it afterwards by attacking Zach after the match and nailing him with a RUDE Twist of Fate.

Backstage: my shitty local UPN affiliate gives me about 60 seconds of black screen, and finally cuts back to the show with Funaki pulling Vince McMahon away from a staredown with Undertaker.  We follow Vince and Funaki into the hall to find Brock Lesnar face down and KO'ed.  The FBI and Kurt Angle are sort of looking on, showing varying levels of concern.  When Vince gives Angle a "Hey, you did this, didn't you?" look, Angle storms off in a huff.

Undertaker vs. John Cena

Prior to the match, Cena got in a little rap in which he dropped Kobe Bryant's name, and also promised to shove Taker's head so far up his ass that he'd be eating his own shit.  Taker, not amused, starts the match in red hot fashion.  Announcers play up that Taker was busted up inside at the PPV, but is showing no signs of the rib injury tonight.  Cena manages to break up the first Old School attempt by Taker, but Taker keeps working the arm and shoulder, and gets the move in a few minutes later.  But then, when Taker goes for a superplex, the momentum shifts: Taker lands the move beautifully, but the impact apparently jars the ribs, and now Taker's hurting.  Cena goes to work and dominates the second half of the match.  Taker starts to stage a comeback, but the two accidentally bump the ref.  All of a sudden, Taker is in control, but there's no ref to count... and out comes A-Train, who attacks Taker, and causes him to start bleeding internally (a laceration of the hidden blood capsule is my diagnosis) after a back breaker.  The ref is coming around, but as Cena makes the cover, he only gets the slow, dramatic two count.  Cena almost immediately follows up with an F-U, however, and this time, Taker stays down for 3.  Cena has pinned Undertaker.  A second really good match, probably around 12-15 minutes total (tough to tell cuz of a commercial in the middle).

I'm guessing the Vince/Taker showdown is where the motivation for A-Train's interference came from...  not that I'd be any more enamored of it if I'd seen that full vignette.  This is still a Taker/A-Train feud staring us in the face, and that ain't all that promising.  And I hope that all you who bitched about Cena not winning at Vengeance are happy: to be honest, I think the story at Vengeance was more in his favor.  I mean, he lost, but he left Taker lying as he walked away.  Tonight, Cena won, but it was only because Taker injured himself on the superplex and because A-Train interfered.  

Jamie Noble vs. Doug Basham

No real motivation for this match, but it's still very well worked by these guys.  Shaniqua and Nidia are only minor players here, as Noble wins with a reversal into a roll-up at about the 4 minute mark.  After the match, Shaniqua KO'ed Nidia, allowing the Bashams to double team Noble for a bit, until Billy Gunn made the save.  You heard it here first: Bashams vs. Noble/Gunn in a "Noble's Toy Box vs. A Night with Shaniqua" Match.

Backstage: Angle denies having had anything to do with Lesnar's attack, and is upset at the very insinuation.  By the way, throughout the other matches, we've learned that Lesnar has apparently suffered a concussion, but still intends to compete in the main event.  That brave, brave man!

Charlie Haas vs. Rey Mysterio

Benjamin IS here in Haas' corner.  Kidman is NOT here in Rey's, because he is on his honeymoon (with who, Cole?  I must know!).  That ends up not making a huge difference, though, as this is an outstanding (if a bit short) contest that ends cleanly when Haas reverses the West Coast Pop directly into a wicked-looking Haas of Pain.  Rey taps out at about the 5 minute mark.  Really good stuff here, and Haas is starting to REALLY click, not just in terms of ring-work, but also in terms of some in-ring charisma that the fans are responding to.  Now, if only he'd lose the faggoty "Maxim Hair Color for Men Poster Boy" look, it'd be time to start seriously talking singles gold.

Backstage: Kurt Angle is spied coming out of Vince McMahon's office.  Uh oh.  Even the densest fan -- and also Michael Cole -- can start to put this one together: Brock Lesnar's walking into a trap!

Vince McMahon vs. Brock Lesnar (Steel Cage Match, Kurt Angle is the Special Ref)

Vince and Lesnar do a few "tests of strength," which Lesnar dominates.  However, after each showdown, he kind of grabs his head and shakes it, like he's a bit dizzy or something.  At the one minute mark, Lesnar's finally had enough of toying with Vince, and he sets him up for the F-5... but he promptly loses his balance, drops Vince harmlessly, and passes out on the mat.  Vince wants to pin Lesnar, but Angle won't count the fall.  Instead, Angle starts calling for medics.  Vince gets mad, and slaps Angle.  Angle responds by putting Vince in the ankle lock.  

And it's at that point that Lesnar immediately kips up behind Angle, and pulls him up for a brutal F-5.  Vince and Lesnar share a smile, indicating THEY were the ones in league together and that Angle's the one who fell for a trap.  Lesnar proceeds to decimate Angle with slams and tosses into the steel cage.  Angle is left bleeding on the mat to end the show, while Vince and Lesnar embrace.

Great angle, great finish.  It's exactly how I envisioned this show would end after seeing last week's SD!  Honest, you can check my last Friday's column if you don't believe me!  Vince now has a monster of his own on SD!, which matches his MO from 2 weeks ago on RAW, when he started to see the value of having the monster Kane in his control.  Ah, continuity, how I love you.

Note to Cole: just call Lesnar a "monster."  Please, I'm beggin' ya.  "Manster" is OK for when you're just sort of joking around or talking about Lesnar in the abstract.  But when he's right there, having committed a heinous act right in front of you, a crappy pun is not the way to go.

Super show.  RAW was strong, but SD! was even better this week.  

Weekend Newsbites

  • Overnight rating for SD! was a 4.0....  down a few ticks from the usual overnight number.  You probably oughta keep in mind that that rating does NOT include New York City, traditionally the biggest market for WWE.  SD! was pre-empted there in favor of pre-season Giants football.  NYC can account for anywhere between 5 and 10 percent of the overnight rating for SD!, so that's a significant factor in the number we've got today.
    A final rating will be added to Battle of the Brands at some point over the weekend, and I'll also mention it in Monday's OO. 
  • FYI: last night's SD! apparently ran a little long, and needed some extra editing before going to air.  An entire Sable promo was cut from the show, as was a bit of mic work from Jamie Noble.  One of my on-site reporters from earlier this week also thought that the backstage bits seemed slightly different from what he remembered seeing live.
    In any case, thumbs up to the Fed for making some wise decisions in the editing bay.  It would have been easy for them to shave time out of both the opening dual match and the Taker/Cena match, but they left those mostly intact, much to the benefit of the overall product.
  • Hulk Hogan's managed to worm his way back into the headlines... during this week's appearance on the "Bubba the Love Sponge" show, Hogan talked about how negotiations are on-going between him and Clear Channel Communications for a full-on Hulk Hogan Farewell Wrestling Tour.
    Clear Channel has ostensibly made the promise to commit tens of millions of dollars to the project, which would amount to a glorified indie show with the added bonus of Hogan wrestling another 80s superstar in the main event.  They'd hit major arenas in cities across North America, and thanks to the Clear Channel network, they'd be able to very effectively (and cheaply) promote every show.
    I have no idea if this will really solidify or not.  Nor do I know if Hogan's pursuit of this deal is a replacement for a potential WWE return for a farewell match at WrestleMania XX, or if it is in addition to keeping that door open.
    I realize Hogan's appeal is such that it doesn't matter so much if he's got a quality opponent or puts on a **** wrestling match.  But I just think he'd end up doing himself a disservice if his farewell was somewhere other than in a WWE ring.  Clear Channel may have money to throw at this tour, but they simply don't have the personnel or promotional acumen to put together a genuinely marketable Sports Entertainment product.  That's my opinion, anyway...
  • Hogan, during the same radio appearance, also made passing reference to a rap song being released by Randy Savage.  That baffled the handful of OO readers who were listening in... and it kind of baffled me for a second, too.
    But a quick visit to Savage's official website -- machoman.com -- answers everything.  It's not just a single rap song Randy's releasing... it's a full 13 song album.  The single is "Be a Man," and is a challenge directed at Hulk Hogan, which is probably why Hogan made a dismissive, joking reference about it.
    Not only is Savage releasing the album, but he also intends to tour and perform his songs live.  I don't want to judge without hearing for myself, but does anyone else think that a guy who made a career out of always sounding mildly-constipated in his promos might not have the chops to be a really good vocalist?
    Now that I know what's going on, I'll be keeping a morbidly curious eye on this situation....
  • Diamond Dallas Page was on WWE.com's Byte This yesterday.  He considers himself completely out of wrestling at this point (due to a neck injury that might have been repairable if DDP was a younger man, but which he now views as career ending), and even has a hard time watching the WWE TV shows, because they only serve to remind him how much he misses being there.
    Of note: Page says Randy Orton has his full blessing to use the Diamond Cutter (RKO) as a finisher, and that the two spoke on the phone about it before Orton debuted it.  Also, Page again mentioned that he might be interested, down the line, in re-joining WWE in a non-wrestling capacity.  Anyone besides me ready to replace the King?
    Special SportsCenter rip-off corner:  "Did You Know?"  Hey, did you know DDP is a paid shill for SlamBall?  I didn't, but apparently, he is, and he'll be SlamBall's TV spokesperson starting up here soon.  You'd think that they would have used THAT instead of an interview with Pat Croce on Monday night...  I mean, it wouldn't have made ME any more likely to watch, but I'm sure that they could have converted a few more RAW viewers if they knew DDP endorsed the product.
    Then again, maybe they didn't need any more help.  When collected the SD! overnight number, I noticed a write-up about SlamBall doing a huge rating for it's post-RAW season two debut.  They retained just about half of RAW's audience, and did amazingly well in the young male demographic (more men 18-34 watched SlamBall on Monday night than watched FOX's weekend baseball game).  
  • RAW and SlamBall have had their last Monday on The New TNN...  on Monday, the network finally gets its makeover and becomes Spike TV.  Please, people, try to contain yourselves! 
  • Local promos have revealed a total of six matches for this year's SummerSlam in Arizona...  in addition to the Elimination Chamber match and Kane vs. RVD, local ads promise fans that they'll see:  Shane McMahon vs. Eric Bischoff, Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar, Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit vs. Rhyno, and Undertaker vs. A-Train.
    Taker and A-Train?  Why is Matt Hardy vs. Zach Gowen not ahead of that on the depth chart, dammit?  I suspect that'll be SD!'s fourth contribution to the PPV, while RAW will add the Dudleys/La Resistance tag title match to make it four apiece.  I'm less indignant, but still upset, about Tajiri being left out of the US Title match....
  • The local ads for September's RAW-only Unforgiven PPV in Pennsylvania also feature two promised matches, even though we're still over a month away.  As you'd expect, the one-on-one HHH/Goldberg match will take place there, as will Shane McMahon vs. Kane.  
  • Normally, I'd just toss this in the "It Doesn't Count if It Doesn't Happen on TV" file, but I got a couple e-mails about it, and folks are acting like it's a hot scoop, so I'll go ahead and mention it....
    Apparently, advance house show cards being published by WWE include (for RAW) Lance Storm vs. Goldust matches and (for SD!) six-man tags with Zach Gowen joining Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore.  These shows are still about a month away in early September, so I guess there's plenty of time for LanceDust to break up and for Zach to get a Mattitude adjustment, but honestly.... I'd say just wait and let the TV shows do their jobs.  Remember, the card is ALWAYS subject to change.
    Plus, if I had to guess: I bet Matt and Zach to a stipulation match where, if Matt wins, Zach must become an MF'er.  Which would make those six-man tag deals a forced affair, and make an even later Zach/Matt match that much more important.  If I had to guess.
  • And with that, I'm done for the week.  See you again on Monday. 


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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