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WWE SmackDown! for 06/19/2003 (Episode 200)
(Taped 06/17/2003 in San Antonio TX at the SBC Center)

Results: The Undertaker def. Nunzio via pinfall, Chris Benoit def. Rhyno via submission and advances to the second round of the WWE US Championship tournament, Rey Mysterio def. Kanyon via pinfall (non-title), Kurt Angle def. Charlie Haas via pinfall, Billy Gunn def. Jamie Noble via pinfall, Sean O'Haire def. Eddie Guerrero via pinfall, Brock Lesnar (WWE Champion) and The Big Show wrestle to a DQ.

The Good: Wow. This was a spectacular show. Not that there were any "Holy s**t!" moments as there were last week, but this show was solid from start to finish, and there was an uncommonly lengthy abundance of great wrestling. Mr. McMahon and Mr. America make only brief, effective, appearances and don't bog down the show like they usually do. They celebrate 200 shows simply by putting on another great show. I'll raise a glass to the HHH / Stephanie wedding - but have it on RAW and stay off our weekly *wrestling* show. Also, and this should not be overlooked, they managed to turn someone heel using a match and little else. Rhyno can get good small-h heat, but I think Test is on his way to capital-H Heat if you follow me.

The Bad: The "Unfinished Business" probably isn't really finished.

The Ugly (besides Sable): What? No Linda Miles in leather?


They show the highlights from last week's title match, especially the Superplex and the collapsing ring. Very crisp. The rematch tonight is billed as "Unfinished Business," and they tell us that the ring has been reinforced. Taker comes out. Hmm... I expect him to win here, since this is his home state, but when are the FBI going to get over? I'll let him have it here, though - nothing wrong with a big face victory.

The Undertaker vs. Nunzio: It's a while before they actually connect - Nunzio shadow boxes Taker a bit, mocks him a little, and when Taker flinches as to move, Nunzio dives out of the ring through the ropes. Taker climbs out, and Nunzio goes up and gives taker a flying boot to the side of the head. Nunzio leaps on top of Taker, and so Taker backs him up into the post. Choke slam for Nunzio? No, he tosses Nunzio to the ropes to knock the rest of the FBI off the apron. Then he tosses Nunzio onto the FBI with one hand. "Taker! Taker!" says the crowd. Nunzio tries to escape the contest, but Taker grabs him and takes him up for the last ride. Nunzio does a "Hail Mary" before going down for the count. Hilarious match. Taker wins of course, but the FBI swarm in and Stamboli gives Taker a low blow. The APA of all people come in to make the face save. Bradshaw? What'd you do to your hair? You look like Billy Gunn.

Zach Gowen meets up with Spanky and Bill DeMott (I imagine there must be a contract stip for Velocity / Heat wrestlers that if they don't appear on the big shows in x amount of weeks, that they're entitled to a five-second appearance before slipping back into obscurity.) backstage, and all agree that it sucks that he can't get a contract now. He asks if anyone has seen Stephanie? Zach goes to her office and knocks with his cane (slick!), but Sable answers. Sable says that Stephanie isn't in but would like to see him, and invites him in to wait. Zach hesitates, and Sable asks him if he's afraid to be alone with a woman. Zach does go in, and we go to break.

They show the first of several "Brock Lesnar / Big Show Timeline" clips, this one covering the F-5 and screwjob finish at Survivor Series 2002. Chris Benoit comes out for a match. Is it heel turn time yet? Rhyno comes out. It's not clear if they're opponents or tag partners. Either way, this ought to be good. Stephanie comes out with the WWE US Championship belt and announces that Chris Benoit and Rhyno will face each other as part of the opening round of the tournament, right now.

[Round 1 match of WWE US Championship tournament] Chris Benoit vs. Rhyno: They shake hands but don't let go. They exchange arm holds. The stupid crowd (probably some of the same clueless jerks that gave Rico the "Boring!" chant on Monday) chants "Go Spurs go!" Well, do it during the damn commercial breaks. Anyway, there's our standard fare in this match: hammerlocks, big chops from Benoit... Rhyno goes for a spear but misses and harmlessly rolls out of the ring. We go to break. When we come back, Rhyno is dominant and puts Chris in a single-leg Boston Crab. Later, Chris retorts with a running back elbow. Rhyno takes Chris up and tries for a power bomb but instead plants Chris face-first into the turnbuckle. Rhyno taunts the crowd, asking, "Who's the bad guy now?" The crowd finally gets a clue and chants, "Benoit! Benoit!" Rhyno gets a twoooo count, and he gets the crowd to turn on him (in a good way!) - he's kind of doing the arrogant heel thing that Benoit and Angle did so well around this time last year. Rhyno gives Chris a power slam and gets another near fall. He works on Chris' neck. Small package by Benoit, but Rhyno gets out of that. Rhyno raises his arms and plays up the arrogance thing. He applies a rear chinlock on Benoit. Rhyno tells the crowd that the Spurs suck. He tells Benoit to fight back. Benoit does fight his way up, and he gets off some vicious clotheslines and a snap suplex, which Rhyno kicks out of. Chris tries for the German Suplex, but Rhyno grabs hold of the rope. Rhyno gives Benoit a spine buster and gets a two count. Chris comes back with a German Suplex and flying head-butt. The crowd is eating this up now. Benoit connects with the head-butt, and covers, but Rhyno kicks out. Benoit's slightly frustrated expression is priceless. Rhyno gives him a DDT and both men are down for eight. Chris Benoit sidesteps out of a Gore, Rhyno has him down again, and Chris kicks out. As Tazz puts it, both men have each other scouted well. They're putting on a good match that highlights their respective strengths. Oh! Crossface! Rhyno taps. Good match, guys! Chris goes to help Rhyno up, but Rhyno fights him off.

We go back to the office with Zach and Sable. Sable asks Zach if he wants to make himself comfortable. Sable gets up and tells Zach that she's sorry about what happened and that she has a lot of respect for Zach. She tells him that last week he could see her, er, eyes, so how would he like to feel it? Sable puts Zach's hand on her and tells him it feels good. Zach, man, you're a genius. A freaking genius. The best part is that he doesn't look ridiculous doing all this nutbar stuff. He's helping make these angles very watchable.

They give us an Ultimo Dragon teaser video - he starts (on TV) next week at Madison Square Garden! Rock on!

Rey Mysterio vs. Kanyon (haven't seen him in a while): Wow, someone's actually going to job to Rey. Rey starts off with a drop toe hold and a clean-looking leg scissors. Rey hangs on the ropes and gives Kanyon a boot to the face... he flips Kanyon over. Things go outside, and Kanyon plants Rey on the barricade, and the crowd goes, "Kanyon sucks!" This is perfect!! Kanyon catches Rey in a high spot and gives him a backbreaker. Rey kicks out of the cover, and gets up - Kanyon gets him in a bridge, but Rey kicks out. The fight moves to the top turnbuckle. Kanyon teeters. Swanton! Cover, and Kanyon kicks out. Mysterio boots Kanyon in the face through the ropes, then gives him a springboard Moonsault from said rope. (I betcha' Brock Lesnar can't do THAT! No, no, no, NO, Lesnar... don't! NO! I didn't mean - Augh! I can't look!) Kanyon kicks out and takes Rey up for a... Electric Chair? No, just a sort of face-planting drop move. Rey kicks out. Kanyon takes Rey to the apron and teases a vertical suplex right there, but Rey slips down and gives Kanyon a leg drop on the rope to flip him up. 619, West Coast Pop, and Rey winds the match. Rey rules, but Kanyon's not too shabby either. Good little match.

They show another Big Show moment, this one from Armageddon 2002. An ad talks about actual matches planned for a Calgary house show (Brock and Show, Piper and Vince). Do that more often! But I'd rather pay to see a guy like RVD headline a house show.

We come back with Shelton and Haas entering to new music. The crowd knows to go "You suck! You suck!" anyway when the music dies down. Shelton says that they know Kurt thinks they're going to apologize for jumping him last week. They know he's going to expect them to beg him to let them back into Team Angle, but they're not going to grovel - leaving Team Angle was the best thing for them. Haas says that the name 'Angle' was holding them back and that Angle represents what they're not. He says that they don't need to be called 'Team Angle' because they're the best tag team, period. Haas says that if Kurt wants to come down and get a piece of them, he can do it next week. Kurt comes out to some healthy "You suck!" chants. After the music dies, "USA!" goes up. Kurt soaks it in for a moment before addressing Shelton and Haas. Kurt says that he's not going to disagree - maybe Team Angle was holding them back, maybe they are the best tag team. ("Booooo!") "In fact, there are only two words I take exception to: 'Next week.'" "Yeah, next week, if Kurt wants a pi-" "Shut up. 'Next week' is for wimps. Look at me! 'Next week' is for crybabies. 'Next week' is a polite way of saying, 'We have no balls.' You are right; Kurt Angle represents what you're not... Kurt represents, not 'Next week' - Kurt represents 'Right freakin' now.' So if you wanna piece of me, shut your mouth, step up to the plate, and do something, right freaking now!" ("Angle! Angle!") Brian Hebner runs in to referee.

Kurt Angle vs. Charlie Haas: They hook up and get into the mat stuff. Charlie keeps trying to trade holds with Kurt, but he usually fails. Kurt gives Haas some wonderful drags and tosses. ("Let's go, Angle!") As Tazz puts it, Kurt is putting on a clinic. Haas punks Angle out and they switch gears to pro-style. Kurt gives Haas a great lateral press, but Haas kicks out. Outside, Shelton puts Kurt into the steps, and Brian Hebner kicks him out. Meanwhile, Haas nails Kurt's left arm on the steps and we go to break. We come back to Haas still working on the left arm ("USA! USA!"), and Haas applies a hammerlock. He rolls the bridge over him, but Angle gets out of it. Angle gives Haas a Russian leg sweep and both men are down for seven. Angle gets up and gains momentum. Oh, a big forearm shiver! Clotheslines! Belly-to-belly! Haas gets his shoulder up from the cover. Kurt gives him a German Suplex and takes the straps down. He goes for the Angle Slam, but Haas counters and gives Kurt a suplex of his own. Haas takes his own straps down and tries for an Angle Slam, but Angle counters with an arm drag and applies the Ankle Lock! Haas boots himself out, but ends up in an Angle Slam, and that's it. What a match. Three super matches in a row, wow. Benjamin attacks Angle, gives him some boots to the throat and a slam. Hmm... Lesnar ought to make the save. There's a double team whiplash, then they apply a double Ankle Lock. Ah, Lesnar's here. He chases them off. Oddly enough, they play Angle's music, not Brock's.

They show the Big Show / Lesnar moment from the Halloween SmackDown! where The Big Show puts Lesnar through the announce table. Oooh, Sable and Zach are kissing already. Sable clears the desk and pushes Zach down. "Let me hear you yell how much you want me!" "Oh, I want you, Sable!" Most porno movies have better acting. Not that I would know, it's not like I spend time watching M-Excess or anything. Anyway, things are getting hot and Sable suddenly says, "Well, too bad! Are you crazy?! Do you think you could ever have a woman like me?! You're not a real man! You couldn't satisfy me!" Vince comes in and chases Zach away. "Freak!" Vince and Sable share a laugh and a hug. Well, I guess I don't mind seeing short Vince / Sable segments.

Billy Gunn comes out with Torrie and they play up their asses. Nidia and Noble come out and do the same thing. Oh, dear... Nidia rules. I always love her expressions and body language. They get in the ring, and Noble and Nidia try to show us that they have good asses, too. Hilarious.

Jamie Noble vs. Billy Gunn: The idiots start chanting "Torrie!" with the match underway, but the in-ring is pretty good here. Things spill outside, then back inside. Jamie gives Billy Gun a flying kick to the knee to trip him up. The stupid crowd chants, "We want puppies!" which frustrates me as much as hearing "Booring!" from a bunch of ignorant - Man, I don't think this stupid crowd deserved a great show like this. They don't know what the Hell to appreciate. It's us critics, columnists, reporters, and analysts that know what the fans ought to like - not the fans themselves! I mean, D-UH! ... Okay, seriously, I think fans should stop these chants that take away from the wrestlers. Feel free to pull a Montréal Silent Treatment on anything that doesn't grab your fancy, though. Or just chant, "so-and-so sucks!" It's all good. Okay, back to the match. Noble shouts, "What's my name?" and works on Billy's knee. Jamie takes out Billy's knee on the ropes and hooks the leg, but Billy gets his shoulder up. Jamie puts Billy in an interesting leg hold where it looks like he's trying to bend the knee outward. Billy gets down for a few two-counts during this hold, but then starts coming up to fight back. Noble slaps him down a couple of times, but Billy comes up and gives him a Tiltawhirl. Press Slam? No, Noble counters and grabs the tights on a roll-up, but Billy kicks out. Nidia tries to interfere, but Torrie takes her out. Billy separates the two and the crowd boos. (Yeah, no Divas match tonight. ... ... ... *Yeah,* no Divas match tonight!!!) Noble goes up and down but Billy moves out of the way and Noble only finds the floor. Back in the ring. Famouser? Billy evades a counter move, and gets the Famouser, hooks the leg, and wins, and celebrates with Torrie. Pretty amusing match. Billy Gunn seems very easy to utilize - it'd be cool to see him hook up with Jericho or something. Ummm... no, maybe not.

Wow, what's with all these MATCHES?! I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe it won't. The next Timeline Moment is shown - this one the Stretcher Match from Judgement Day. "Viva la raza!" Oooohhhh yeeaaahhh!! Tajiri and Eddie come out in a custom-painted Mitsubishi Sport-Ute that's just plain slick. Oh, here's Sean O'Haire with Piper. Piper has a flask of tequila on him. They show clips of last week's Piper's Pit.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Sean O'Haire: Piper initially distracts Eddie, and Sean gets the early momentum. He takes Eddie upppppp (wow) for a flat-out drop. O'Haire applies a reverse bear huh, which Eddie punches his way out of. Eddie counters O'Haire with a drop kick. He goes up and down with a kick to the knee, then climbs up in the corner, fending off piper. Frog Splash! but O'Haire gets out of the way in time. Outside, Piper gives Tajiri a Tequila spray to the eye; meanwhile, O'Haire plants Eddie and wins the bout. Piper gets in the ring and pours tequila on Eddie.

Next up, Lesnar and The Big Show... but we're only at :35 past. I shudder. Vince and Sable are still together in the office, and Vince gloats about how he humiliated Zach last week and that Sable did the humiliating this week. He considers some way to thank her. They kiss. Then Vince says he has a better idea, and he gets on the desk and starts making fun of Zach: "Hold the phone; I've got wood! Wait, it's just my leg." OHHHHH who wrote that one? =) Stephanie comes in to interrupt the reverie - she almost tells Sable to get the F out, except that she started to get into the name of Cena's finisher, if you follow me. She turns to her father and tells him that she's upset about how he's used her all her life. "You don't think those businessmen didn't say what you promised I'd do for them?" WOAH! "I'm not going to let you do that to Zach - he's the last thing that can save myself!" She says that if he's going to fire her, then fire her (Hey, she stole that line from me from when I worked at The Carousel! =) ), maybe he'll lose the one person who ever cared about him. Good scene. I love the serious, non-screeching Stephanie. It's too bad we can't clone her and send a screeching version to RAW to give Jericho someone to pick on.

Next week: Undertaker & APA vs. FBI. Okay, the FBI has to go over. This is getting ridiculous. It would have made sense if Taker lost his match last week, but won this week. Winning all the time - ***when outnumbered!!*** I dunno. The last Timeline moment is the ring-breaking Superplex.

[WWE Championship] Brock Lesnar (champion) vs. The Big Show: Brock taps the turnbuckle and climbs up on it as if to say, "let's do the Superplex now." Show approaches, and Brock leaps over him. He gives Show a shoulder to the gut and puts Show over the ropes. They fight outside. Show tosses Lesnar into the barricade. In the ring, Show gives Lesnar a Sidewalk Slam, which Lesnar kicks out of. ("Big Show sucks!") He gives Lesnar a headbutt, then puts him down to the floor with his massive rights and stands on his neck. Match is proceeding agonisingly slowly, but it's watchable so far. Oh! Chokeslam to Lesnar, but Lesnar kicks out. Show applies an abdominal stretch that goes on for like six hours. The crowd tries to chant something, but they don't come to a consensus on what to chant. Can Lesnar apply a lasting arm bar? Nope - boot to the face by Show! Leg drop (what height!)! Lesnar kicks out. Show takes Lesnar up the ropes. Oh, no!! Disaster alert! No, Lesnar punches his way out of trouble. Lesnar sneaks in a low blow and knocks Show down to the mat. Flying elbow by Lesnar. He drives Show to the corner - German Suplex! Wow, it barely cleared Lesnar. Lesnar looks really focused and intense. F-5? No, Show grasps the rope, and Shelton and Charlie come in and cause a DQ. Show gives Lesnar a choke slam. Angle runs in. Angle Slam to Show! The former members of Team Angle each get a German Suplex. Big Show gives Angle a choke slam. Mr. America runs in! He rips off the shirt, Americans up, and Show doesn't notice him until the "Youuu!" and the haymakers. He gives Show the Big Boot and then he teases that he's going to take Show for a power move (AS *IF*!!), but the former Team Angle attacks to break them up (Wow, that'd be a bad spot to forget about!). Mr. America gives them the meeting of the minds, but then Big Show gives Mr. America a choke slam. "Is anyone safe?"


Grade (A): Front-to-back, this is the best SmackDown! I've seen in a long time. So many great matches! So little garbage! Sure, the Big Show match went a little long, but Brock tried hard again and the result was watchable - although the capital-R Result is probably going to be another Big Show headliner next week. Again, all of the matches were at least good tonight, and ... well, somebody has to do a job, somebody has to win. However, nobody's profile suffered any tonight, and lots were improved.

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