WWE SmackDown! for 06/05/2003
(Taped 06/03/2003 in Anaheim CA at Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim)
Results: The Undertaker def. Chuck Palumbo via pinfall, Tajiri and Eddie Guerrero def. Doug and Danny Basham via pinfall, John Cena def. Chris Benoit via pinfall, Torrie Wilson and Rikishi def. Nidia and Jamie Noble via pinfall, Rey Mysterio def. Matt Hardy and becomes WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
Memorable: Kurt actually likes being told he sucks. Not much wrestling today, but we had Angle and Blassie videos. I'll bite.
The Good: The Cruiserweight Championship seems important tonight - not only is it the focal point of a main-event match, but the match itself was long (for TV) and they pulled out all the stops in promoting it. They aired a fantastic Blassie video. (Blassie's gone, Curt Hennig's gone, Douglas Adams' gone, George Burn's gone - we're going to need new heroes soon!) They finally mentioned the Vengeance PPV as being SmackDown!'s, but only in the vein of, "Meet Torrie Wilson at the Box Office Saturday Morning," or whatever it was. Speaking of which, this is the first week they didn't (overtly) try to sell an issue of Playboy which (and I can verify this), is not on the newsstands anymore.
The Bad: Vince's "big change" was adding Sable as Stephanie's assistant. Blah. Maybe she'll last as long as Dawn Marie. I just don't care much about the "non-wrestling" storylines anymore. If there aren't any matches involved AND the story isn't compelling in and of itself, why waste TV time on it? I was hoping this angle might inspire Stephanie to rebel and get Vince off TV (and she came close tonight), but I've lost all hope now. Also, Kurt Angle's face turn feels strained - it could collapse at any moment.
The Ugly (besides Sable): (Actually, Sable was pretty hot tonight and (most importantly) didn't say anything; but that's my line and I'm sticking to it.) Tazz wondering if Rey's family knows what he looks like. I can't believe that WWE purchased WCW and their tape library to ignore the parts they don't like, such as Rey being unmasked. WWE is like the Microsoft of wrestling when what we really need is an IBM that's willing to integrate their offerings into solutions and hardware from other vendors (sorry, I get eWeek in the mail by pretending my dot-com website is a business). Tazz also couldn't distinguish between Doug and Danny Basham at times - both announcers were extremely reluctant to call out a name - but that's a mistake anyone would make. Doug and Danny - both are bald-ish and both wear black pants. Nobody has trouble telling the difference between Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, who were sadly missed tonight - there's a little gap in my heart where a Team Angle match would have slid in nicely.
Cena ought to come out and do his rap in a Devils uniform. It'd be a great way to get some cheap heat. I hope this show pops a rating.
The show is dedicated to the memory of Freddie Blassie (1918-2003). Wow, it's a good thing that book was written. They show us the Coldplay Angle video again.
Piper comes out and tells us that tonight's a special night and he has a special guest - a young man who has been dreaming of becoming a pro wrestler his whole life - "... physically challenged; I know, I pulled his damn leg off." We must give this kid credit for being so special... "30 years I've been going... no one called me special..." He said that O'Haire isn't special either. O'Haire interrupts, "I'm not special?" "Oh, you're special... next champion with special muscles... but this is Zach Gowen, he's 'special.'" Okay, so Piper still doesn't like him. "Give a warm welcome to the young fellow with the dream, Mr. Zach Gowen." But Mr. McMahon comes out instead (I'd protest, but I'm tired of protesting. Mr. McMahon needs to get off TV for a few months, NOW.). He says that he'll put Zach Gowen on in a few minutes, but first he'd like to compel us to switch over to the hockey pre-game. (I sure wanted to.) "Last week I said things were going to change - right here, right now, with me. I'd like to say something for the record - " and "Asshole! Asshole!" chants pick up for a second. "That's not what I had in mind. ... I'd like to say I was wrong. Zach Gowen is special. I was blinded by my hate for the Mr. America and Hulk Hogan crap that seems to consume me, and I took it out on Zach Gowen. I recognize Zach Gowen for an America Success Story, like my story - I'm a living, breathing American Success Story. I know, in success, no one is going to *hand* you success - not in life, and not in this business (a-hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha) ... though Zach Gowen can *earn* a WWE contract. He introduces Zach Gowen, who comes out with Mr. America to "Real American." Cole doesn't get the change of heart and Tazz smells a set-up.
Mr. America comes out and does his thing and gets Zach to copy him. "Cut the music, Brothers. ... Well, let me tell you something, - " Vince: "You don't tell me a damn thing - it's not about you; this is about Zach. And, for the record, I have it on good authority that that lie detector equipment was faulty." He tells Zach that he admires him as a human being but not for his choice in friends. He says that his friends can't do anything for him; Mr. America can't give him a contract, Hulk Hogan can't give you a contract... Piper, Sean O'Haire, also cannot. There's only one person, "and that is me, Vincent Kennedy McMahon." He tells Zach that he'll have the opportunity to earn a contract next week in Orlando FL, where there will be an Arm Wrestling contest. He tells Mr. America to wipe the smile off his face. He says the contest will be made with Zach Gowen's contract hanging in the balance. Vince will represent WWE; if his arm goes down, Zach gets his contract. Mr. America: "If you're looking for an opponent, Mr. McMahon; I accept, brother!" Vince says that all he accepts is that he's Hulk Hogan under the mask. Mr. America says that he accepts that Vince is a total ass. Vince tells Mr. America that he makes his blood boil; that he accepts - "Asshole! Asshole!" says the crowd. Vince says they're not going to get him to boil over. It'll be Mr. America vs. Zach Gowen for the contest. "What's the matter, Zach, you do look like you have two *arms*..." O'Haire taunts Mr. America towards the corner and Vince shoves Zach over a keeling Piper. The heels take off. "Hey Zach, you don't have much of a chance - you've got as much chance as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest!"
I think all of this would have been more fun with Mr. America and Mr. McMahon, but perhaps we ought to save that encounter for later. Of course, the later we push it back, the longer this angle goes on. I've only been watching wrestling since Unforgiven 2001, but I'm already starting to realize that the lifespan of an angle is determined by how many McMahons are involved in it.
We come back from break with an "Angle Classic Moment" clip - this one from when he drives up to ringside with the milk truck and sprays Austin and the Alliance. "The million dollar princess has become a Dairy Queen..." A classic moment, but I don't know if it's one of my personal favourites - I think mine is from when he was feuding with HHH and he takes a plush baby monkey out to the ring in a baby carriage and gives the proposed child of Stephanie and HHH some baby bananas. "What? They're that damn good?" Well, I thought it was funny.
Undertaker comes out on his bike; he's got a score to settle with the FBI. He'll be wrestling Chuck Palumbo. Palumbo doesn't come out alone, of course. The FBI tease messing with Taker's bike, but move on to the ring.
Chuck Palumbo vs. The Undertaker: The FBI clear out and Taker and Palumbo hook up. Palumbo gets Taker in a side headlock. They go to the ropes, and Palumbo knocks Taker down on a ricochet. Taker dodges a second try, and give him a toss and arm drag and starts working on Palumbo's left arm. Palumbo comes back a bit, even gets off a knee to Taker's face, but he gets nothing. Taker give him chops, a flying clothesline, and then he climbs up in the corner with Palumbo's arm and repeat the move from last week where he walks a couple of steps on the top rope and comes down with a blow to the back of Palumbo's head. He knocks down Stamboli and scares off Nunzio, but that provides opportunity for Palumbo to sneak in a spinebuster. Palumbo punches Taker right out of the ring, where the FBI kick him around a lot. Palumbo gets out and punches Taker and puts him back in the ring. He gives Taker a kick to the gut, goes for a vertical suplex (big height here), gets that, and a forearm into the side of the face, and a cover, but Taker gets his shoulder up. Taker comes back with some punches, but Palumbo tries to gets him into a sleeper hold on the ricochet. Taker counters this into a suplex. Both men are down for 3. They get up and exchange rights. Taker gets the momentum back. Palumbo gets off a knee to the sternum, and goes for a backdrop, but Taker counters with a DDT. Taker gets to his feet, and runs Palumbo down in the corner with a clothesline. Palumbo receives another clothesline, and then a big boot to his face. Taker clears the FBI from the apron, allowing Palumbo to get on Taker, but Taker throws him for the snake eyes into the turnbuckle. Palumbo misses a boot shot attempt and taker counters him into a choke slam, and 1-2-3 it's over. Taker floors Stamboli and Nunzio, and he's about to take Nunzio for the Last Ride, but Palumbo saves him with a boot. Stamboli kicks him around and Nunzio gives Taker the big slap while the other two hold him down. Taker powers out of the two of them holding him down; Nunzio comes in with a chair, but Taker boots him in the face. The FBI scatter. The ref comes in and Taker threatens to whack him too. Taker unfolds the chair and sits down.
Tazz and Cole plug the Cruiserweight Championship match. They show Rey's family in ringside seats. It's obvious that WWE is taking advantage of the extra week of build-up, and it's nice to seem them make the effort to make this match and the title mean something - of course, it's just the start of the long road towards rebuilding all the titles, but they're making said start.
We go to break and come back with Tazz and Cole putting over the arena. We go back to last week where Lesnar gets the F-3 on a couple of FBI members, but Big Show comes in and pins him. Hmm, I smell 'rematch from Judgement Day.' Yes, next week, Big Show will face Lesnar for the WWE championship. This is a good trend, having important matches through all these weeks before Vengeance. Tazz and Cole talk about Blassie. Tazz: "Heaven will not be the same with Blassie." They show a great Blassie video. I think his book is going to be a bestseller now - I hate to say that, but it'll add urgency to his story. Wow, what a nice video. As (Meltzer?) has said, the WWE Creative might be a little out of step at times, but their technical people are some of the best on television. What impresses me the most is how they can roll this great stuff together on such notice.
We come back from another break, and Tazz and Cole thank Evanescence for the use of "My Immortal" with the Blassie video. The blip seems to have been added in post, since there's no crowd noise or anything. Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri come out in a Cadillac convertible. They play with the shocks - it's a low-rider! Tazz says that the shocks are filled with corks so they bounce higher. Ha-ha. (I believe Sosa is innocent - I mean, all his other bats came out negative ... it's like that time on the PGA tour where this guy discovered that his caddie forgot to take his practise driver out of the bag before his round, and he ended up with a two-stroke penalty. Stuff like that happens.) They get in the ring and get their photo moments. Out come the... Basham Brothers?!
Tajiri and Eddie Guerrero vs. Doug and Danny Basham: Tajiri and uh, someone, lock up. Tajiri gives him a boot to the back. The other guy comes back a bit; Tajiri gives him an arm drag. Oh, I'm so confused. Eddie tags in and gives some chops to ... Doug! Thanks, guys. (Like, you want to give them maybe different colours or something? The two guys in La Resistance are easier to tell apart!) There's a ricochet; Doug puts Eddie down and tags in Danny. Danny extends his hand to lock up, but Eddie gives him a drop-kick. Eddie gives Danny some kicks in the corner. The announcers say that they've heard that Danny is the odd one of the brothers. (Okay, so what's he doing to be odd? He looks like a conformist to me; black pants and bald just like his 'brother.') Eddie takes Danny for three big vertical suplexes. The crowd roars. Eddie goes to the corner and fends off Doug. He goes up holding the arm, and WOW! A simultaneous leg scissors and arm drag to the two of them. Rock on. ... Doug knocks Eddie down in the corner, there's some kicks to the head... a bit of choking, tags in ? and they double-team Eddie with a Dual Clothesline. Eddie kicks out. One brother puts Eddie in a leg lock. The other brother comes in. Someone gets a suplex and a cover, and plays the isolation game. Okay, it's Doug. No, it's Danny. (Even Tazz can't keep the guys straight! This is ridiculous! How do they expect us to identify with this tag team if the - actually, no, I guess it only matters to people like me trying to write reports. Seriously.) Danny comes in; Eddie counters a move and drops Danny down on his head. Tags both ways: Tajiri faces Doug. Tajiri gives Doug a big kick to the side of the head, then a handspring elbow. Doug has Tajiri up for something, but he lands on his feet and gives Danny at the apron a handspring kick. He plants Doug with a DDT, but Danny saves the match. Danny runs Tajiri into the corner, but gets a Tarantula for his trouble. Tazz sings, "Caught in a trap..." Eddie gives Doug a Frog Splash from the opposite corner while the ref's dealing with the Tarantula. Tajiri connects a boot with the back of Doug's head and cover, it's over while Eddie holds back Danny from interfering. Pretty good. They could have added a few minutes to this; say what you will about the Basham Brothers lacking personality - at least they can work. Tajiri and Eddie get back in the car and back out.
They show another Angle Classic Moment video. Oh, here's a good one. Stone Cold: "Can you play the axe?" Kurt realizes he means the guitar. Kurt says that he plays the ukulele, but he can probably adapt to a guitar. (In real life, Kurt can also play the drums.) Kurt: "Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care... Jimmy crack corn and I don't care... I've got Olympic Gold!" Oh, boy. During the break they air the video for Goldberg / Jericho at Bad Blood. Man, I can't wait for that one. And say what you (or I, I make fun of him too) will about Kevin Nash; I'm sure HHH and Nash will crank it up a notch for Hell in a Cell. I think it has potential to be watchable, and this PPV should be better than Judgement Day, and Vengeance ought to be better than Bad Blood. Marek says it's going to be a lean summer (and it's easy to see why), but I have a little hope left.
We come back with Angle's entrance - yes, it's Kurt! (Tazz and Cole said earlier that Team Angle "called in sick." Yeah, it's probably a good idea to minimize their association with Kurt until it's established whether he'll be heel or face.) Wow, it's so weird to see the real thing now. You can hear lots of people going "You suck!" but it's kind of subdued. There are a few "You Suck" signs too, but most of the reaction and most of the signs are positive. In fact, there's a pretty huge pop. Wait for it, yes! "Angle! Angle! Angle!" they say. It's been a while. Kurt: "I can't believe I'm going to say this, but it feels good to hear those words again. Play my music!" "You suck! You suck!" goes the crowd. Crazy; he's actually leading them on into it. But the music stops and they cheer. "You know, I don't care; after 2 months, Your Olympic Hero is back! Whooo! ... And I'm back for one reason, 'cause Kurt Angle is a champion, and I want to become champion again." ("What?") "Hey, I miss that word, too!" ("What?") "I said, I miss that too!" ("What?") The crowd cheers again. "Angle! Angle! Angle! Angle! Angle!" Man, this is awesome, and I would have really liked to be there. Kurt: "I'm here to talk about something else - there's one person, personally, that I would like to thank... I was laid up, I didn't know if I would wrestle ever again... Someone kept in close contact. He's now a genuine friend... that guy is..." but Big Show comes out. Kurt looks bewildered. Big Show smiles and shakes his head happily. Kurt: "What the Hell are you doing here?" Big Show: "Well, Kurt, I'm not out here to tell you how happy I am that you're back in WWE, 'cause personally, I don't give a damn. You can come out here and earn all these fans' respect - ("Big Show sucks!") - you haven't earned mine." Big Show presses his face against Angle's in the corner for the close staredown. "Kurt, you wanna be champ - wait in line! Next week, when I beat Lesnar ("Boo!") maybe, just maybe, I'll give you a shot at a real champion. Kurt... you better pray that doesn't happen. You don't want to face me one-on-one; I'll put you in the hospital again - permanently. Kurt wipes his face a little. Kurt: "Okay Show... these are called breath strips. What you do with them is you open it up and take one out and you -" Big Show: "You better get serious real fast, Kurt..." Kurt climbs up to the second rope to look down on The Big Show. "Listen to me, you big overgrown SOB! Last time we fought, I whooped your ass for the WWE title. If you want to intimidate me, remember this: I won a gold medal and wrestled in the WrestleMania main event with a broken freakin' neck, so excuse me if I don't feel poopy in my pants right now!" Big Show: "Kurt, I could snap your neck..." Kurt: "I always wanted to do this... if you want to see Kurt Angle open up a big can of whoop-ass, give me a 'You suck!'" ("You suck!") Big Show chokes Angle, but before anything happens, Lesnar comes out, and has his little dance and pyro. Lesnar and Show face off. ("Big Show sucks!") The Big Show leaves. Wow, that was one of his best segments in a while. Big Show: "Not now, Kurt."
Kurt taps Lesnar on the shoulder. "Whoa, whoa - easy Brock! I think I've had enough of you at WrestleMania! You kicked my butt so bad - I can't remember the last time I've have my butt kicked that bad. You put me in the hospital. ... I didn't need your help with Big Show; I had it covered, unlike you, Brock. It seems Big Show has been giving you a hard time... getting the better of you..." Kurt says that Brock isn't a sure thing to beat Big Show next week. "Let's face facts; Big Show has beaten you twice!" Brock: "Let me tell you something, Kurt: When I beat Big Show next week, if you want a shot at this title, I say it's on!" Kurt: "That sounds pretty good to me, Brock. You know, our match at WrestleMania... I'll be honest, I wanted that to go down as the best match ever... but I learned something. In order to beat Lesnar, you have to be at the very top of your game. Guess what? I am! I didn't ask you to come out and help with Big Show, but I did want you to come out... All the phone calls from you... all the concern for me and my family - for being a friend, for giving me the hardest fought match of my career, and most of all, for earning my respect, I just want to say one thing: Thank you." They shake hands and hug and Lesnar's music plays.
They advertise the Cruiserweight title match. This should be a good main event.
We see the Ultimo Dragon teaser video. John Cena comes out, but not in a Devils Jersey, rather a jersey that says, "IRISH." (Notre Dame? I don't know US college sports.) He does his rap on the cruiserweights. He says that he gets more hits on his mic than on a free porno website. Ha-ha. He tells Chris Benoit that the only Wolverine he sees is in X-Men Two. Benoit comes out. Man, I hope he gets his win back tonight.
Chris Benoit vs. John Cena: Benoit bring the offence to Cena with some frightening chops, which Cena sells well. Cena plants Benoit in the turnbuckle, gives him an elbow... Benoit tries to get Cena into the Crossface, but Cena gets to the ropes and slides Benoit right out. Cena puts Benoit into the post, and he attacks him some more before putting him back in the ring. Cover, but Benoit gets the shoulder up. Cena applies a chin lock, but Benoit gets up and elbows out. He gives Cena a punch and a chop and knocks him down. He gives Cena a snap suplex. Cover, and Cena kicks out. Cena takes Benoit up for an F-U, but Benoit counters with a DDT and plants him. Benoit goes up and dooownnnn... Cover, but Cena gets the shoulder up. Benoit gives Cena a German Suplex, and doesn't release his grip when they're standing again. Benoit drives Cena into the ref. Low blow by Cena. Cena gets the chain, but Rhyno climbs up the apron and snatches the chain and goes to punch Cena but accidentally knocks out Benoit. Cena knocks Rhyno out of the ring, covers Benoit, and wins by pinfall. Hmm, a very intense match. Fun to watch. Someone here is probably going to take a heel turn, probably Benoit, who could align himself with Cena. He doesn't need a fancy excuse - he can just say he's tired of losing all the time.
Tazz and Cole plug the upcoming tag match - Rikishi and Torrie Wilson vs. Jamie Noble and Nidia. Well, I hope Noble and Nidia have their working boots on. =) Torrie comes out - WOW! She looks NICE! That's the hottest ring gear I've ever seen! When she's in the ring, Tazz and Cole mention Vengeance as a SmackDown! PPV for the first time. Rock on. Rikishi comes out. Noble and Nidia enter. I love Nidia's shtick - she's such a great heel. Noble presents Nidia. Rikishi presents Torrie. Crowd likes her.
Jamie Noble and Nidia vs. Rikishi and Torrie Wilson: Noble starts trash talking Rikishi which looks kind of funny in the Rikishi doesn't move much when he's shoved. Rikishi plants Noble, then Torrie and Nidia start the match. Torrie leaps over Nidia, and gets her with an arm drag. Torrie clotheslines Nidia in the corner. She takes the Thump from Hell. Torrie raises the roof, and - no, she tags in Rikishi (The crowd boos. I don't like it either; if I can't watch the hockey game, I want to see Torrie give Nidia a Stink Face! Ha-ha, okay, perhaps not.). Nidia screeches out of the way (Nidia rules) and tags in Noble. Rikishi gives Noble a sunset flip, but Noble avoids the ensuing ... er, drop. Noble drop kicks and gives some rights to Rikishi, but on the ricochet, Rikishi gives Noble a big choke slam, with a bit of a bounce in it that allows Noble to tag in Nidia. Nidia tries to shove and get Rikishi to snap, but Rikishi tags in Torrie. Torrie clotheslines Nidia. She kicks Noble away and Nidia takes advantage of Torrie. Torrie goes to the ropes and climbs up and goes down with a cross-body lateral press. Nidia kicks out. Noble trips Torrie at the ropes; Noble is about to do something, but Rikishi stops him. Nidia hops on Rikishi and falls off of him onto her back. She stumbles about in the corner. Noble goes into Rikishi with the rights, and gets driven into the corner (slamming into Nidia) and tossed over the ropes. Stink Face? Yep. ("When it rains it snows...") Nidia sells it like she's going to vomit. Torrie comes in with a swinging neckbreaker and gets the pinfall victory.
If Rikishi can't tag with Tajiri anymore, then this isn't a bad match up - as long as Torrie keeps wearing that looooovely red ring gear. Someone must have talked to her fashion people. The whites and more subdued colours aren't as good as red. And who says an intergender-tag match can't be as entertaining as a mixed-tag match? It's cool how SmackDown! always does the former and RAW the latter - it probably has something to do with SmackDown! being on earlier, and on broadcast television. Torrie also seems to be comfortable with the high spots, like that great cross-body lateral press. Good Divas match. The women's wrestling is better overall on RAW, but these matches are more fun to watch. Gail Kim and Trish Stratus ought to fix that for us.
We come back from break with the Tale of The Tape. (I love Tale of The Tape - it makes the matches seem so much more competitive.) Rey will be giving up 45 pounds and nine inches to Matt Hardy. They show Rey's family again. Rey is standing by with Josh Matthews, who I won't ridicule tonight because I'm enjoying myself. JM: "We're minutes away (from the match)... what is the status on your injured groin?" Rey: "Plain and simple, I'm ready. I've been ready since Day 1 for the Cruiserweight Title. This match means the world to me. Matt tried to put me out last week, but it didn't work. That's why, tonight, I'm bringing the Cruiserweight Title home to the west coast!" Eddie comes out and dismisses JM: "Excuse me; let me talk to my homey! I'm so excited... I'm wearing the shirt... Are you feeling it? ... (they dip into Spanish) That's our people; make us proud! ... Don't even think about coming back to the locker room without the Cruiserweight gold around your waist, ese!" That was cool. They show the Mr. McMahon / Zach Gowen stuff from earlier tonight. They must have time to fill.
We see Stephanie walking down a corridor, running into Vince, who is coming out of her office. (Since the GMs are so powerless and meaningless now, I vote we just take them off television entirely and decentralize the worked bookers into managed groups.) Stephanie tells Vince that she needs to question his judgement, especially about challenging and ridiculing Zach Gowen. Steph: "If anyone deserves a contract, it is Zach Gowen. If you don't give him a contract, *I* will." Vince: "You do that, you're fired! You calm your little self down... You need assistance; some help around the office. I've hired you a new assistant (Shane, maybe?). Steph: "I do not need an assistant." They go inside. It's Sable!! Whooo.... Steph: "Sable?! Tell me, Dad, what position is Sable qualified for?" Vince: "Sable is qualified... in a *number* of positions." (there's our cheap sex innuendo for the day) Steph: "Is that all it takes, is good looks?! Does Sable's look make you forget that she sued us!? ... What's more; she sued us for Sexual Harassment!! And all of this goes by the wayside when she waves her fanny and sticks her breasts in your face!" Vince: "That was then, and this is now. ... You're upset because you're jealous of Sable's looks." Vince leaves and Sable sort of cosies up to Stephanie. Stephanie looks kind of dazed and incredulous. Sable wisely said NOTHING through the entire segment. This was the one of the best Stephanie segments in a while (she's come a long way from the screeching days), and this can lead to: 1) A lesbian angle / feud with Sable and Stephanie, involving HHH. 2) A lesbian angle / feud with Sable and Torrie since Sable probably has the power to book matches now. 3) Zach Gowen beats Vince next week, but Vince goes back on his word, and Stephanie signs Zach Gowen anyway, and Vince tries to fire Stephanie but gets carted off to an institution for the insane. Well, there's always the hope.
We come back from break with a plug of next week's WWE Championship match, as well as next week's arm wrestling contest. Good work promoting upcoming shows, guys. Really. Do this every week and we'll stay tuned.
Today's Matt facts: "Matt is taller than Rey Mysterio. Matt despises traffic." Crash plugs Matt's poster from WWE magazine. Rey hits the ramp. His son's also wearing a mask. Tazz, about Rey: "You think his family knows what he looks like?" (there's our "nervous laughter" comment for the day) Brian Hebner holds up the belt and tells his charges that he doesn't want any monkey business.
Matt Hardy (WWE Cruiserweight Champion) vs. Rey Mysterio: Rey and Matt stand off. Matt bullies him, and they hook up. Matt drives Rey back to the corner. Rey rolls Matt up and puts the shoulders down but Matt kicks out. The crowd's up for this one. Matt works on Rey's left arm. Rey put Matt in a neck hold and give Matt a shot to his gut, but Matt puts Rey sternum-first into the turnbuckle and gives him a blow to the head. Matt uses the ropes for a stretcher move on Rey. The m'fers sneak around to that side of the ring like vultures, but Hebner sees it and wards them off. Matt gives Rey some shots across the chest, but missed a third shot and Rey comes back with chops, a takedown, and a nice-looking kick through the ropes. Cover, and Matt kicks out. They go into the corner, and Rey counters something - he tries a shoulder to the midsection but gets caught and tossed by Hardy. The m'fers move in on Rey, and Hebner shows them the exit. Matt is shocked and scared, and climbs out of the ring to complain to Hebner. Rey goes up and down with a Springboard Swanton and we go to break.
By now I'm kind of hoping the first period at Continental Airlines Arena goes a little long so I can catch some of Coach's Corner when this is over. =) We come back from break with Mysterio taking it to Matt. Matt goes for the Splash Mountain - he doesn't get that, but he does get off a low blow. Matt continues to work on the groin. Rey is down. Matt's happy. Matt twists the leg a bit. Matt puts Rey in a single-leg Boston Crab. Tazz explains exactly how this move puts pressure on the groin (see, he's the biggest expert at the announce table WWE has right now, and he couldn't tell the difference between Doug and Danny Basham; what does that tell you about Doug and Danny Basham? We might have to bring in Rico to help those two! Speaking of Rico - why wasn't he on RAW this week? Isn't he getting a singles "push" with Jackie Gayda? Or are they wimping out and doing the storyline on Heat, which I don't watch anymore?). Mysterio reaches the bottom rope, but Matt holds on to the count of two. Matt tries for the hold again, but Rey boots him and Matt hits the ropes. Rey sees the opportunity and hobbles to set up a 619, but he looks weaker than Joe Nieuwendyk - Matt knocks Rey down and puts him up in the corner to work on the leg again. Mysterio knocks down Matt and climbs the ropes, but Matt comes in with a hit that knocks Rey upside down, clinging to the top rope with his legs. The crowd boos. Matt comes in at speed, but Rey pulls himself right-side-up (cool!) and Matt finds the post. Rey goes for a standing moonsault, but Matt picks him up in midair. Matt's doing to do something, but Rey counters into a Tornado DDT. Cover, and Matt kicks out. Rey gets into Matt again and goes up and down with a bulldog. Cover, and Matt kicks out. Tazz says that Rey is going for these quick covers because he needs this to end quickly due to his legs. Speaking of, Matt gets back on the leg again. He climbs the ropes, and... takes too long at the top, because Rey comes in on him. But Matt gives Rey the Side Effect off the second rope. Cover, and somehow Rey gets the shoulder up. Matt goes to do something, but Rey rolls up Matt and almost! gets the pin. Matt gets back in to Rey, but Rey uses Matt's Twist of Fate. Both are down, Rey manages a cover, but Matt kicks out. Matt stumbles into the ropes, and Rey gets off the one-leg 619. Matt takes too long getting up at the apron and it looks like he's going to get caught in the West Coast Pop, but Matt catches Rey. Rey counters and Matt lands on his head. Both fall out. Count-out in progress. Rey has to get back in the ring; he does, and breaks the count. The Ref catches Matt with the Cruiserweight title and strips him down over that. Meanwhile, Crash and Shannon comeback to plant Rey, and then they hightail it. Matt gets back in the ring, gets off a big leg drop, and the cover, but Rey kicks out. The crowd explodes. Matt comes in with punches - Matt takes his gauntlets off and goes for the twist of fate, but Rey rolls him up and wins the Cruiserweight title! Best cruiserweight match in a while. Rock on, now Matt can go back to heavyweight. Rey celebrates with his son in the ring. Rey's wife sheds a few tears of joy.
Grade (A-): Good show, but not enough wrestling to get an "A." Well... wait, should I give it an "A" anyway - I mean, there was that great Blassie video, and Blassie's death was probably responsible for extending the length of the promos to be longer than they had to be; to fill in the time for a missing match, maybe? Hmm... and Kurt came back... and the matches were all good... and that Blassie video is part of the show, so it ought to count... Okay, fine, "A," but just barely. I'm feeling generous. There'll be lots of wrestling next week. ... Um, no, on third thought, "A-." This show cannot be excellent while McMahons are shoved down our throats. But everything else tonight was pretty good.
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