Smackdown – August 22, 2002: Hear Us Roar!

Smackdown
Date: August 22, 2002
Location: Crown Coliseum, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the go home show for Summerslam and the show is finally starting to pick up some steam. The midcard is still in need of some work and thankfully that’s where Smackdown shines. Hopefully they don’t spend all night talking about Lesnar vs. Rock as Monday handled most of the remaining necessary build. A promo or two would be fine but it doesn’t need to be much more than that. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here are Lesnar and Paul Heyman to get things going. Heyman talks about Rock’s Hollywood star power but is really talking about how big of a star Hollywood Hogan used to be. Even in WWE’s wildest dreams, I don’t think Hogan was ever the #1 box office star in entertainment. Anyway, the fate Hogan suffered is the same thing waiting for Rock at Lesnar’s hands. Brock is all fired up and feels the same he did as the night he fought Hulk Hogan.

Cue Rock to say he’s tired of listening to Brock so tonight will be a night like no other. There are no catchphrases tonight because Rock is bringing it to Lesnar (good for a ROAR from the crowd). Rock is ready to fight right now but Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero jump him, meaning it’s time for the Crossface with Lesnar adding trash talk.

Back from a break and Benoit/Guerrero attack Edge as well. I smell a tag match.

Tajiri/Jamie Noble vs. Hurricane/Shannon Moore

Moore and Tajiri flip around to start as Cole actually does a good job of explaining how stacked this match is. Hurricane comes in with a high crossbody and a Shining Wizard for two on Noble. Nidia distracts Moore though and Tajiri kicks his head off, which Tazz says probably saved Moore from some disease. A chinlock keeps Moore in trouble until the hot tag brings in Hurricane to clean house. The chokeslam doesn’t work and a Samoan drop/neckbreaker combo gets two on Jamie and one heck of a chokeslam plants Tajiri. Shannon sunset flips Jamie for the pin.

Rating: C+. The division is really starting to pick up and that’s the best thing that could happen for the title picture. Throw in Rey Mysterio as the title’s overlord and everything should be just fine. I’m digging these matches more and more every single week and I really wouldn’t have bet on that a few months back.

Matt Hardy comes out to pose with Moore and Hurricane, who have to put him on their shoulders for some reason.

Stephanie yells at Benoit and Guerrero for beating Rock up because that’s what Stephanie does. Benoit brings up Stephanie telling him to hurt Rock last week. Stephanie: “BACK OFF!” This turns into another Stephanie diatribe that makes NO sense because Stephanie changes positions every single week. Oh and Eddie is in trouble for attacking Edge but before Stephanie can collect some Latino balls, Edge jumps Eddie with a chair. A tag match is made for later with the two horrible employees vs. Edge/Rock.

Matt brags about his reaction and it has nothing to do with them being in North Carolina. He goes out again and gets another big pop because there’s nothing scheduled to be taking place at all right now. Matt comes out and poses but Chavo Guerrero interrupts and calls Matt a white boy. That means a match.

Chavo Guerrero vs. Matt Hardy

Chavo sends him outside to start before grabbing an Octopus Hold of all things. Matt powers out and we get a pinfall reversal sequence for some near falls. A double clothesline drops both guys before Chavo dives into the Side Effect for two. Matt loads up the Twist of Fate but the Kane music and pyro distract him enough so Chavo can grab a rollup for the pin. Cole: “Chavo pins Matt in his hometown area!”

Rating: D+. I’m liking the new Matt character and I’m glad they’re running with him as a heel after the whole turn on Jeff but the Kane stuff is getting annoying. Chavo is still fine in the ring but he’s not the most interesting wrestler in the world. There’s just something about him that sucks the charisma out of the room and I’m sure being Eddie’s nephew didn’t help in that area.

Matt says the explosion should have been a stoppage due to the Earl Hebner doctrine of not being able to get screwed near your own hometown. I chuckled.

Funaki goes into the women’s locker room where Nidia is getting changed and likes the attention. Molly Holly panics of course and a culture clash ensues. Nidia promises to flash the crowd if she wins the title tonight.

Rey Mysterio is ready for Summerslam when Kurt Angle cuts him off with a smirk. Kurt says Rey can sit back in his booster chair tonight and watch Angle vs. Billy Kidman (that could be really, really good) as a Summerslam preview. Oh and if Rey shows up, it’s a broken freaking ankle.

Kurt Angle vs. Billy Kidman

Angle knocks him to the apron to start but a hurricanrana sends Kurt into the corner. Why Kidman thought that was a good idea isn’t clear as Angle rolls the German suplexes, only to have Rey pop out of the stage. After teasing a chase to go after the masked man, Angle comes back in and stomps Kidman like he stole something.

An ankle scissors sends Angle outside where he gets mad at a fan for wearing a Mysterio mask. I can always go for a paranoid Angle. Kidman is smart enough to go up top for a big dive to the floor. A good looking DDT gets two more on Kurt but Kidman makes the mistake of going up for the Shooting Star, allowing Angle to run the corner for the superplex.

The Angle Slam doesn’t work and there goes the referee off a missed clothesline. Angle’s chair is dropkicked into his face for a close two but he grabs the Angle Slam. With the referee still down, Rey comes in with a top rope seated senton, which causes the chase into the countout to give Kidman the fluke win.

Rating: B. Kidman was so underrated in the ring as he could put on a performance like this but the best he could ever do was a midcard act. Ok so he married Torrie Wilson but does that really make up for everything else? One thing I’ve always loved about Angle is how he would fight anyone at any level on the roster. This was a great rub for Kidman who got to hang with Angle for the better part of ten minutes. That helps someone else and builds up another story without hurting Kidman at all. You don’t see that out of enough veterans.

Angle beats Kidman up post match.

Brock training video.

Rock is getting his ribs looked at when Edge comes in to talk about the tag match. The injury doesn’t matter because Rock will fight even if he doesn’t have any limbs left.

John Cena/Rikishi vs. Reverend D-Von/Batista

D-Von hammers Cena down to start as revenge for John beating him on Velocity last week. Rikishi comes in and the threat of sitting on D-Von’s chest scares the Reverend a bit. An angry tag brings in Batista for that hard clothesline as he seems to be trying to prove himself to the boss.

A Samoan drop gives Batista two but everything breaks down. D-Von breaks up a Stinkface but gets DDT’ed for his efforts. Now it’s D-Von taking the Stinkface but Batista makes a save, allowing D-Von’s reverse inverted DDT to plant Cena. For some reason Batista and D-Von get in an argument with Big Dave spinebustering him. The Rump Shaker is good for the pin.

Rating: D. The sooner they get Batista away from D-Von for good, the better it is for everyone. Batista has a lot of potential and no one cares about D-Von in this dead end gimmick. Speaking of dead ends, Cena seems to have hit one but to be fair a lot of that is probably due to teaming with Rikishi.

Nidia flashes an old, overweight guy who I don’t believe works for this company.

Women’s Title: Nidia vs. Molly Holly

Molly is defending and Nidia spins out of a wristlock to start. This is little more than a backdrop for Tazz to talk about the potential flashing, making him a low rent Jerry Lawler. Nidia gets two off a backslide but Molly drops her face first onto the top turnbuckle. Molly grabs a reverse chinlock but gets small packaged for two. The handspring elbow misses though and Nidia gets two off a DDT. Molly is sat on top but kicks both rednecks away, setting up the Molly Go Round to retain.

Rating: C. Given where Nidia was at this point in her career, this was just a step beneath a miracle. She looked like a rookie but a very competent rookie, which puts her miles ahead of Jackie and Linda. It’s not a great or memorable match but Nidia looked like she was told what to do and then went out and did it, which is a good sign for her career.

Jamie tells Nidia to flash the crowd anyway but Molly dropkicks him into her. Why this stops the flashing from occurring after Molly leaves isn’t clear.

Here’s Stephanie for a chat because we’re just that lucky. She thanks the Smackdown fans and plugs Summerslam with “YOUR VERY OWN SMACKDOWN SUPERSTARS”. So….do we get in trouble for watching Raw? Could it make Stephanie yell at us for not having enough loyalty to her mission?

Video on Summerslam’s card, which really is stacked.

Chris Benoit/Eddie Guerrero vs. The Rock/Edge

Edge charges into the ring and the brawl is on in a hurry as Rock sprints out to get us going. We officially start with Eddie vs. Edge with Guerrero taking over in the corner and handing it off to Benoit. The flapjack gets two on Chris but it’s right back to Eddie to keep Edge in trouble. The beating continues with Benoit getting to pick him apart with some kicks to the ribs.

A double clothesline drops Eddie and Edge and the hot tag brings in Rock. Benoit is quickly caught in the Sharpshooter but Eddie makes the save, only to eat a spinebuster. That means the People’s Elbow but Benoit is there for another save. Now it’s Rock’s turn to take a beating with Benoit and Guerrero taking turns stomping on the banged up ribs. Benoit knocks Edge off the apron and grabs the Crossface.

Rock is quickly fading as Eddie pulls the rope away, only to hold the arm up before the third drop. The rope is grabbed so Eddie loads up the frog splash with Edge making a quick save. A diving tag brings Edge in for the running clotheslines as are his customs. Everything breaks down again and Edge spears Eddie down for the pin.

Rating: B+. Sometimes you need a hot tag match to end the show and that’s what we got here. Edge is clearly on the rise and only needs a few more big wins to break through the ceiling to the main event. Matches like this where he gets to rub elbows with the Rock and pin someone like Eddie is only going to boost him there.

Post match Brock comes in and Rock asks Edge to step aside. The brawl is on and Rock punches him out to the floor with Brock jumping over the ropes with no hands. Heyman holds Brock back to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. Above all else, I’m ready for Summerslam and that’s exactly the point of this show. The hot main event helped a lot and that’s all it needed to do here. Ignoring Stephanie’s WE ARE SMACKDOWN AND HEAR US ROAR nonsense, this show did a lot of things right and only had a few missteps, which is far better than what Raw does one week to the next. Summerslam needs to rock though and I have a feeling that’s going to be the case.

 

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