Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
As you already know, I had the opportunity to go to Smackdown last week, and most of the people that were in attendance were well-behaved and polite. Columbus is a very wrestling-friendly town....we filled up an arena for the Nitro that occurred immediately after The Revolution left for the WWF. Columbus manages to give an audience for the wrestling shows that book the main auditoriums, and we put 8000-9000 people in the Nationwide Arena for Vince's people....and we behaved well.
In fact, my brother, cousin, and wife made it on TV....right during the Rey Mysterio entrance...they were to the right of the 'REY' sign that was shown after he popped out of his little hole. I didn't....all dressed in my Saint's garb. Oh well...the Luck of the Irish strikes again.
The event was, as I expected, was much better than the Raw shows that I have been to....there were breaks, but nothing like the almost-countless commercial breaks that occur during those live shows. Add to that the quality of the wrestlers (Angle, Benoit, Rey, Eddy G., and the rest), and the fact that this was the last WWE offering before a big PPV, we ALMOST got our money's worth.
People, $47 is too damn much for an event that happens 50 times a year. I can see paying that once every couple years or so for an Ohio State football game, or $25 for a Columbus Blue Jackets game once or twice a year.....but, $47 for a Smackdown? Next time, I won't be dishing out that much for the tickets....I'll try to win them, or ask for them for a birthday present.
OK...on to the PPV.
Very, very good show, don't you think? There were matches that felt too long (the last match, for example), and some of the endings were pretty predictable (again, the last match), but there were no bad matches...it was the PPV that the WWE needed to have. They really needed to have a PPV that demonstrated the entertainment that the WWE could offer, and I think that the PPV event did that. No matter if the fact is that the PPV's are not marketing tools...they are the goals of the WWE marketing...this PPV had to be good.
The first match was a very good one...possibly one of the top matches of the night. The Three Minute Gang did a pretty good job, and the re-unification of the Dudley Boyz was timed very, very well....the location was second only to Philadelphia in terms of ECW-love, and D-Von's characters since the roster split have been terrible. This may signal the end of Bubba's singles run, but I think the Tag-Team Division needs a couple more-or-less permanent teams.....
....speaking of that, the Tag Team match. Good match, and the result was the best one, in my book, though I saw it as a predictable outcome. The Guererro's are great singles workers, but neither have been able to maintain a good singles push (even though Eddy has a lot of heat, he seems to need a partner, valet, or clique to be associated with to succeed), so this move is a good one, both for them, and for the Tag-Team Division. Now, the question is, will they have to face off with the Dudleys?
Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit.....one of them has to turn face, don't you think? Last night, the feeling I got was that they were still trying to play on the 'misunderstanding' card, and keep both of them feuding. I know these guys are great on the ring, and Angle's actions over the last week (the hugging thing, for one) have been pretty funny, but this feud is getting repetitive, and they need to be loosed from it to either pursue singles titles (what's left of them), or further develop their characters. Their best offerings to the WWE come in the one-on-one venue, and they need to be used there. I expect that they will finalize this feud with a match at the next PPV.....I hope.
Now, I asked my brother this, and he said that they had the match on Heat (which I didn't see)....I thought the Hurricane and Goldust were supposed to face off with Lance Storm and William Regal.....at the PPV. Maybe they were a last-minute scratch....nevertheless, I was disappointed. I like Hurricane and Lance Storm, and would have enjoyed seeing them work together. Go Figure...I guess you can't have anything you want...but you get what you need.
OK....the Main Event. I wrote in the Crossface Report that I thought that the winner should be Booker T. Why? Change of pace, different Champion, a new direction (a similar thought the WCW had when they made Booker T Champion)...all those reasons. Of course, he went out early in the game. RVD was my second choice, Kane was my third. Of course, again, they all limped back to the exit. The two people I thought needed to NOT be around at the end (HHH and HBK) were, of course (3rd one of those...) the finalists, and, predictably, HBK beat HHH.
Now, this wasn't really smart, in my view. Can HBK carry the load demanded by a main-event run? Most people I have heard on the Internet have talked like this guy was six steps from certain death, so I figure that there is a lot of exaggeration there, and that HBK is in OK shape. However, how old is he....40? We'll get an opportunity to see how long he can go up there. HHH was not going to win, because Raw has nose-dived under his push (self-arranged, no doubt), and he needs de-pushed. Jericho has little heat...he was in as filler, like Mr. Perfect was at the Royal Rumble, and needs a character overhaul.
Now, I thought they were getting warmer by giving Kane the Belt, as he is way over, and there is still that 'revenge' factor from the Vick (yecch) Angle. He would be a good Champion...but, Vince must not have agreed with me. I think RVD has paid enough dues to get a run, now, and he hasn't busted anyone open in at least, well, two months.....But, again, the bookers had other ideas. Mike made fun of me for that, too. He makes fun of me a lot......
I think Raw was a good enough show to warrant an increase in their poor 3.1 rating last week. The standard post-PPV bump will help them as well..I say they pop up to a 3.5 or 3.6 again. The important thing now is for them to give us a great show, something that is rare after a PPV...usually, the Raw following a PPV is flat, and understandably so. Those guys and gals are sore.....
Speaking of gals.....was that Women's Championship match not a great match? When you see a woman with a bloody nose, you know she was in a good match. Also, the ending seemed weird, didn't it? Again, (you guessed it), go figure.
Well, I'm going to turn it off here, and let you get to Earl's "The Way I See It". Two thoughts....Solie's Storefront..hint hint. I plan on going there myself, with a gift for my sister and brother in mind. Secondly, bodyslam.cc....for all your wrestling needs. That seems clear enough....
See you next week for another Connection.
SmackDown! was taped Tuesday at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio where Paul Heyman was interviewed at the top of the program. He was asked about the condition of Lesnar. He said that Brock suffered a broken rib, then turned around to find himself face-to-face with the Big Show, who said that if Lesnar shows up tonight, he is calling him out.
First up, Edge came to the ring wearing his new Tag Team Title belt. He was there to take on Chavo Guerrero in a one-on-one match, the first of three singles matches tonight featuring the three teams involved in the Triple Threat Tag Title match coming up on Sunday. This one was mildly competitive, but the outcome was a foregone conclusion. Edge took the pin with the Edgecution.
Backstage, Brock Lesnar showed up. Meanwhile, Dawn Marie was still stringing Al Wilson along, telling him he should invite Torrie to the wedding. Backstage after the break, Paul Heyman was again trying to talk sense to Brock Lesnar, who was barely listening. Heyman told him he had a plan to get them out of the spot they are in.
John Cena and Matt Hardy took on Tajiri and Rikishi in the next match. This match might have been edited because I heard from people who saw it live that Cena made all kinds of mistakes. In any case, Hardy pinned Tajiri in the end.
backstage Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle argued about whose fault it was they lost the Tag Titles. After some rather juvenile by-play, they decided to settle it in the ring.
Heyman went to see the Big Show after the break and asked him to back off until the PPV. Show said he would think about it, but didn't promise anything. In another part of the building, the Guerreros ran into the Tag Champs and engaged in some verbal intimidation...in Spanish, which Edge turned out to understand and was able to give some back.
Eddie and Rey Rey were next. This was a fast paced match - a little too fast for the referee, who got in the way at one point and was caught in the 619. With the referee out of it, both Chavo and Edge showed up and ended up in a ringside brawl while their respective partners were laying in the ring, trying to pull it back together. We cut to a commercial as a bunch of officials showed up to usher the two non-combatants away. Coming back from the break, the match was back in high gear again. The intensity of Eddie Guerrero is almost scary sometimes. This guy is so good! Guerrero won it by submission with an Indian Death lock variation.
Al met Torrie coming in - but she just walked away from him. He followed her into the Womens' locker room and invited her to the wedding. She refused, telling him again that Dawn Marie is playing him - quoting to him, "There's no fool, like an old fool..."
Billy Kidman and Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) had a rematch of their fight from last week. Kidman won that one...and this one...despite Nidia's attempt to interfere.
Backstage, Dawn Marie accused Torrie of being jealous, using the charge to drive the wedge in further.
After the break, Heyman tried to get his boy to go home, but Brock declined, saying he was going to the ring to call the Big Show out.
Kurt Angle came out to the ring to brag on himself...as usual, declaring that he doesn't need Chris Benoit, that he will win the Tag team Titles back on his own. This brought the Guerreros out to dispute his claims, followed by Edge and Misterio who reminded him that they beat Angle and Benoit for the belts. Angle accused them all of being out at ringside to "scout" him, then he called Benoit out for their match...before we cut to commercial.
Benoit showed up as we returned. Edge, Rey Rey and the Guerreros had pulled up chairs ringside to watch the match. As could be expected, the match was brutal - lots of big power moves and heavy duty shots. At one point, Benoit and Angle traded German suplex's - two for Benoit then three for Angle. Almost immediately after that, Benoit slapped on the Crippler Crossface - but Angle escaped and reversed it into the ankle lock. Benoit escaped as well Angle came back with a page from Eddie G's play book, slapping on the Deathlock variation. Then the next thing we knew, the champs and the Guerreros were brawling outside the ring. The brawl spilled into the ring and ended the match in a DQ. The champs ended up with Edge having Angle in an ankle lock, while Misterio put Benoit into the crossface submission. But then each reversed his own hold and in the end the champs were laying on the mat while the upcoming challengers went nose to nose again. They ended up shaking hands, then Benoit reluctantly allowed Angle to hug him...
Meanwhile, Brock Lesnar was on his way to the ring to call out the Big Show, who was already headed that way himself.
Heyman accompanied his man to the ring, trying to wrest the mic away from him as he called out Show. When the giant didn't show up, Lesnar threatened to go after him. That brought Big Show out. The two grappled and Lesnar shoved the giant into the ring steps. It looked like Show suffered a pretty severe injury to his arm from that shot. There was a bulge on the side of his arm and the skin split and he started bleeding pretty badly. Lesnar went ahead then and whacked his tormentor with a chair several times. The big guy was bleeding from the head, and his arm, as Lesnar made his way from the arena.
Next we went to the World for a live performance by Saliva.
Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) put up the Cruiserweight Title against former champ Billy Kidman. As could be expected, this was a very fast paced match pitting Noble's solid mat wrestling against Kidman's high-flying style. Kidman had pinned Noble in non-titles outing on two occasions lately. As usual, Nidia had some affect during the match, but her participation was not critical. Noble pulled off the weirdest DDT I ever saw. Placing his opponent's feet on the top corner, he then drove him face first into the mat. A few moments later, however, Kidman came back and hit the Shooting Star press for the win and the title.
Backstage, Kurt Angle talked Chris Benoit into another hug, while F-View showed us Victoria loosing it, accusing a mirror of being crazy...
Trish Stratus defended her Womens' Title in a hardcore match against challenger Victoria, who jumped right into the frey. As soon as the champ entered the ring, Victoria grabbed her ring robe and used it as a weapon to choke Trish, before grabbing a broom and using it for the same purpose. Soon a couple of trash cans and an ironing board came into play. There was quite a bit of by-play with a Singapore cane - then, after spraying her in the face with fire extinguisher, Victoria pinned the champ and won the title.
Backstage, Paul Heyman told Brock lesnar that he intends to do anything he can to make sure that his client walks out of Survivor Series as the WWE Heavyweight Champion. What was he actually saying? I smell a rat...
That match was up next - Brock Lesnar putting the WWE Title on the line against the Big Show. My gut tells me that Heyman is about to turn on his champion. Lesnar came in with a broken rib, while the Big Show had his arm bandaged from the injury the other night. Lesnar accomplished several amazing suplexes on his 500 lbs. opponent, and then actually pulled off an F-5. The referee of record had been knocked out so a new ref ran in and started the count, but Heyman grabbed his legs and dragged him to the floor then started pummeling him!! I knew it!!! As Heyman ran through the ring and distracted Lesnar, the giant grabbed the chair and hammered the champ with it several times before choke slamming him and taking the pin. The Big Show is the WWE Champion once again.
In a Triple Threat Tag Team Title match, Edge and Rey Misterio defended their titles against Chris Benoit/Kurt Angle and the Guerreros. Misterio started the match against Benoit and bested him in the opening exchanges. Edge tagged in but lost the initiative. Angle came in but quickly tagged Chavo Guerrero to face Edge. The action became a little more confused from there, with a lot of quick tags in and out by all six combatants. At one point, Benoit was felled by Chavo with one of the title belts. When he recovered, he saw Angle holding a belt and immediately assumed he's been cold-cocked by his partner. They brawled right out of the ring, leaving the Guerreros and Edge/Misterio to battle it out. The Guerreros eventually won it.
Chris Nowinski came to the ring apropos of nothing (he doesn't have a match tonight). Matt Hardy came down to dispute his findings (that New Yorkers are stupid). He contends that they are "losers". He then joined Nowiski in his condemnation of the crowd. They pretended to disagree for a moment, then decided to compromise by declaring them losers and stupid - lupid. At that moment, Scott Steiner made his WWE debut! He strutted to the ring looking as big as a house. Both of the youngsters decided to attack him. He made mincemeat out of them in seconds, then paused to do some pushups as they ran away. He yelled, "Give me a f*cken mic..." and then delivered his signature catch phrase...pumped up for the crowd, then left to a wild pop.
Terri caught up with Shawn Michaels backstage and asked him why he believes he will win the World Title tonight. This was interrupted by one of those Randy Orton bulletins that nobody is interested in. After an Elimination Chamber promo, HHH (with Ric Flair at his side) was interviewed by Coach. He vowed to win the match, of course...
The Elimination Chamber match for the World Title was the main event. Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Kane, Rob Van Dam all trying to take the title away from HHH. The unique structure made from steel chains and solid steel beams and containing an inner chamber in each corner of the ring to hold the remaining four wrestlers as the first two started the match. At 5 minute intervals after the opening bell, the individual cages are opened to admit another competitor into the frey. Eric Bischoff came to the ring first to explain the rules and the working of the chamber, then left before the wrestlers were introduced. Saliva sang the Survivor Series theme music live from the World as the introductions were made. Chris Jericho was called first and loaded into a side chamber. Booker T was next, followed by Kane and Shawn Michaels. This left Rob Van Dam to start the match with Triple H. The way I see it, these first two are at a disadvantage since they have to survive the whole thing in order to win. The last guy left in a side chamber is in the best position, theoretically. Within moments it was made clear that there is a steel apron that extends right to the edge of the cage, making yet another twist in the proceedings. Van Dam managed to use that to his advantage in the early going, throwing HHH into the cage walls then hitting Rolling Thunder on the champ as the latter lay on the apron. HHH was bleeding before the match was 3 minutes old. Van Dam then climbed on top of Jericho's cage to leap on HHH, but Jericho reached up through the chain mesh of the top of his chamber and thwarted Van Dam's efforts. He managed to keep the initiative however, and again ran the champ into the cage wall face first. Jericho was the first man released and went after RVD right away. HHH lay in a corner recovering as the two challengers fought. RVD also dominated this phase of the proceedings. But then HHH was back in it, and scored with a clothesline, although he was still reeling a bit. RVD found himself taking on both of the heels in the match. Booker T was released next and evened the heel-face odds. But, since HHH and Jericho were both down, it was RVD who faced Booker in the next phase of the match. Soon the heels were back into it. Van Dam climbed onto an inner chamber again and launched himself onto HHH - but he hurt his knee. Booker T quickly eliminated him. One down. Kane was the next one out and immediately went after everybody, but settled on Booker as the only man on his feet at that moment. Jericho got into and was quickly run head first into the wall - and then right through the plexiglass wall of one of the inside chambers!! Kane choke slammed Booker, then Jericho staggered out to pin him and eliminated him from the contest. Kane then faced both HHH and Jericho, who again cooperated against the sole remaining face in the match. Then HBK was released. he took on Jericho right away then was attacked by Kane. HHH continued to pretend he was out of it, lying over on the side of the ring, waiting for his opportunity. When he finally did get back into it, he was immediately choke slammed by Kane, who went on to slam Jericho and Michaels. Then HBK came back with a super kick on kane, Triple H hit a Pedigree, then Jericho hit a Lionsault and pinned Kane to eliminate him. Now Triple H and Jericho took turns working on Michaels, trying to open up his forehead for some reason. All three were bleeding, Michaels wore the crimson mask as Jericho continued to work him over. HBK made a come back and put Jericho into a Boston Crab, but HHH broke that up - then he and Jericho got into a fight as HBK lay in the corner. Jericho got HHH into the Walls of Jericho, but HBK hit the super kick on Jericho then pinned him! HBK vs. HHH remained. Moments later, HBK was catapulted into the side of one of the inner chambers, shattering the plexiglass wall. It looked real bad for Michaels, but he kicked out when HHH tried to pin him. A little later, Michaels climbed on top of one of the inner chambers and the delivered an elbow drop, then he waited for the chance to deliver sweet chin music. But then when he went for it, HHH blocked the move then delivered a Pedigree. He staggered over and laid an arm across his opponent...who kicked out! HHH went for the Pedigree again, but was back dropped! Shawn hit the super kick and it was all over. HBK has done it!!! Shawn Michaels is the World Champion!!!
Raw came to us live from the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut and opened with Eric Bischoff out in the parking lot welcoming a limo - which disgorged Ric Flair. He told Flair that he had a #1 contender's match in mind for the former champ, HHH. Flair told him that Triple H had just checked out of the hospital with a crushed trachea from last night's main event, and wouldn't be able to compete. Bischoff then proposed a match for Flair himself against Kane. Flair didn't turn a hair, saying that he's not worried about Kane because the Big Red Machine knows that if he lays a hand on Flair he'll have to answer to Triple H (huh?) He then challenged Bischoff to put on a show without "the Game". Out in the arena, the new World Champion, Shawn Michaels, was introduced. He talked about having achieved his goal of revenge against his former friend - by becoming the World Champ last night. Then he levels with the crowd, saying that his best days are behind him and he has a decision to make about whether to go on as champ, or maybe retire as champ - the sensible thing, as he put it. Then he said - "...but I've never been sensible..." and announced his intention to defend the title for as long as he can! Rob Van Dam then appeared and made his way to the ring. Van Dam started right in, emphasizing that he used to love watching HBK...as a kid. He then proposed a title challenge for himself. Before Shawn could respond, Bischoff showed up to nix that idea, saying that RVD would have to earn his shot by facing Booker T and Chris Jericho in a Triple Threat match tonight, for a chance to face HBK next week on the show.
Backstage, Spike Dudley was seen heading to the ring - then in a second shot, Bubba left the locker room...followed by D'Von!
The Dudley Boyz' opponents were Three Minute Warning and Rico, of course... JR gave the reason for D'Von being here as having to do with Bischoff's talent trade for the Big Show...okay... Personally, I think this is great. RAW needs some star power and the reunited Dudley Boyz certainly have it. They won, by the way, with a 3D on Rico.
Backstage, Stacy was on the phone - first with the vendor producing the new Test t-shirt, then with the man himself. There was a lot of talk about...ugh...testicles...
An aid barged into Bischoff's office to "warn" him that Triple H was on his way to the arena. Bischoff seemed unconcerned. After the break he was out in the parking lot again welcoming another limo - this time it was Scott Steiner who emerged. Bischoff was ecstatic about what he saw as Steiner's coming to RAW. Steiner looked at him without saying a word, then headed into the building.
After the break, Stacy Keibler came to the ring to show off her three Test t-shirts prototypes to let the crowd choose which one to market. She then started shooting t-shirts into the audience with an air bazooka. Steven Richards came to the ring saying he would extract his revenge for what happened last week (since Test wasn't in the building). Stacy shot him in the crotch with a t-shirt. She started to leave but then Victoria ran in and started beating up on her! She bit off a couple of her fingernails! She then threw Stacy to the floor and helped Richards to his feet.
Jeff Hardy and Tommy Dreamer faced Willy Regal and lance Storm in the next match. Hardy was clearly not 100% after his brutal encounter with Three Minute Warning last night. As a result he spent most of the match out on the floor, knocked out, leaving Dreamer to lose the match. Afterward, the Intentional Whiners set Tommy Dreamer up and ran his jaw onto a steel chair.
Backstage, Stacy complained to Bischoff about the actions of Victoria...and found herself booked into a match against the new champ.
Steiner made his in-ring appearance in the next segment. He bragged on himself for a minute or so, and then Chris Jericho showed. Talk about being out of his league... the Millennium Bug comes off like a flea next to Big Poppa Pump, both physically and mentally. Steiner invited him to the ring, but he demurred, saying he has an important match later. BPP said that maybe he'd stick around and watch that match.
Stacy took on Victoria next...in a silly match. Trish ran in afterward to whale on Victoria for a while, until Steven Richards ran down and clobbered her.
Chris Nowinski competed in a "School of hard knocks" match against former mentor, Al Snow. Nowinski brought a black board with the words, "Brains over Brawn" chalked on it - that was the first thing Snow broke over his head! Snow then got busy throwing chairs and a bowling bag into the ring while Nowinski tried to recover among the fans at ringside. Upon returning to the ring, Nowinski used an erasure to throw dust in Snow's eyes then started pulling his own plunder out from under the ring - some signs, a dunce cap and a full skeleton among other things. Snow beat him to the punch again, however, and Nowinski ended up in the corner with the dunce cap on. Snow bowled him between the legs (ouch!), then set him up on some chairs and went for a moonsault...and missed. Nowinski rolled him up and pinned him.
Backstage, Bischoff welcomed Val Venis to RAW - who objected to being called by that name. They retired to Bischoff's office to "finish up the paperwork".
Ric Flair came to the ring for his match with Kane...wearing street clothes. I doubt that Kane cared one way or the other. Flair talked some trash then left the ring. Suddenly, batista ran in out of nowhere and trashed the Big Red Machine.
Backstage, on F-View, we saw Chris Jericho asking Christian for help in his Triple Threat match tonight. Christian told him to stuff it.
The main event was the Triple Threat match for the #1 contender ship. Booker T, Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam in a fight for a shot against Shawn Michaels next week. Booker came to the ring first and declared that he will win, then did a Spineroonie for us before we cut to commercial.
The combatants were all in the ring as we returned, and the match got underway immediately. This seemed to be initially a battle between Y2J and RVD, as Booker was knocked cold early on. He lay in the corner for several minutes. When he finally got back into it he soon had Jericho in a Boston Crab - but Van Dam broke that up. In a little turn-about, RVD hit Booker with a scissors kick, and then Jericho hit him with a frog splash! Moments later, at a critical juncture, Booker stupidly paused to set up a Spineroonie - and got drop kicked in the face by RVD. Jericho took RVD out to the floor and bulldogged him before returning to the ring to continue with Booker. The two of them clashed for a while, then Booker went for the Spineroonie again - then Christian ran down and hit him with a chair. Jericho put on his modified crab - and then Steiner ran in and clobbered him...and Christian. Since this was no-DQ, it didn't stop the match. After he left, RVD struggled to the top and frog splashed Jericho for the pin.
HBK came to the ring as RVD was celebrating his win to shake his hand and congratulate him.
RVD vs. HBK next week...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
for great wrestling discussion.
Copyright 2001 - Jump City Productions