Smackdown – September 19, 2002: They’re the Faces?

Smackdown
Date: September 19, 2002
Location: World Arena, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the go home show for Unforgiven and that means we’ll be getting some more of Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar. At the same time though, you can really see the Smackdown Six being built up before our eyes and that’s nothing but good. If we can get a few ten minute matches with some outstanding action here and there in between the Eric Bischoff vs. Stephanie McMahon nonsense, everything should be fine. Let’s get to it.

We open with a long recap of the wedding because that’s the top story at the moment since it involves the feuding bosses.

Opening sequence.

Rey Mysterio/Torrie Wilson vs. Nidia/Jamie Noble

Torrie looks outstanding here, as in even moreso than usual. Nidia slaps her in the face to start and gets caught in a neckbreaker (normally Torrie’s finisher) for two. It’s off to Jamie to take Torrie to the mat but she brings Rey in almost immediately. Rey gets planted on his face but gets in the sitout bulldog for two. Nidia keeps validating her employment by distracting Rey so Noble can get in a hard clothesline. Everything breaks down and Torrie gives Nidia a Bronco Buster for the pop of the match. Noble offers to take one of his own so of course it’s Rey doing it instead. The 619 into a Code Red puts Noble away.

Rating: C. I know the women weren’t exactly the best in the world at this point but the ending accomplished its goal and the Bronco Buster spot was all it needed to be. I’ll gladly take this over the champion getting pinned all over again. To be fair though I had almost forgotten that Noble was champion in the first place. Also, Mysterio goes from a classic opener against Kurt Angle at Summerslam and can’t even get on Unforgiven?

D-Von yells at Stephanie about Batista so Stephanie collects his balls. Paul Heyman comes in and says he’s brought in some off duty police officers to guard Lesnar. They might not be necessary though as Undertaker had to take his wife Sara to the hospital for false labor. He’s on his way here though and Heyman is distraught. Lesnar seems pleased though.

Here’s Stephanie in the arena because we haven’t seen her recently enough. You don’t screw with McMahons because they always get even in the end. That means a clip of the women’s protest on Monday and another to set up 3 Minute Warning vs. Billy and Chuck on Sunday. As for the stipulations, she’ll address those when she and Bischoff have a face to face video chat later tonight (OF COURSE there’s a big segment for that story later) but for now, here are Billy and Chuck.

Billy says it’s time to set the record straight….so to speak. Maybe he could keep teaming with Chuck or maybe he could work on a singles career. Chuck: “So you’re saying you go both ways?” Cue Kurt Angle of all people to say this sounds like a bad episode of Three’s Company.

Angle made some publicity of his own back in 1996 and he didn’t do it by making out with Carl Lewis. Kurt insists that he’s not gay and he has no problem with anyone who is because gays love him. Angle: “I’m freaking adorable!” A tag match is made for later and Stephanie gives Angle Chris Benoit as a partner. Angle is so freaked out that he keeps making unintentional gay jokes, such as that being a hard one to swallow. More greatness from Angle.

Security won’t come out to the ring with Lesnar because they weren’t hired to work in the arena.

Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena

Non-title and something that would be a bit different today. Like Cena would be wearing jean shorts while Lesnar squashed him. Lesnar forearms him in the back of the head to start and hits the first overhead belly to belly. Brock starts pounding him in the back and gets two off a delayed vertical suplex. A waistlock has Cena in even more trouble as the very slow pace continues. Brock stays on the ribs for a bit longer, shrugs off the comeback, and finishes with the F5.

Rating: D. What the heck happened to Cena? He was the hottest rookie around for a long time (possibly even hotter than Brock, or at least showing more fire) and now I can’t even remember the last time he won a match. It doesn’t help that he never really had a character so there wasn’t exactly anywhere for him to go. Lesnar vs. Undertaker still isn’t looking interesting but at least they’re doing something with the feud to try and get it somewhere.

Video on Rikishi, who was shot back in 1986. Ok then.

Video on Undertaker, who really doesn’t need a video package. At least it’s set to Adrenaline by Gavin Rossdale, which I’ve always liked.

Eddie Guerrero wants revenge on Edge for the Stinkface. If that means more Edge vs. Eddie, I guess I can live with it.

Eddie Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero vs. Edge/Rikishi

Chavo slaps Rikishi to start in what is apparently a show of disrespect, because Rikishi is someone to be respected all of a sudden. Edge comes in to take over without much effort but gets sent to the floor where he has to avoid a chair shot from Eddie. The cousins start in on the back and of course we get some classic cheating because that’s what Guerreros do.

Edge gets in a powerslam but Eddie cheap shots Rikishi to prevent the hot tag. I love how so many of those spots have been used for the better part of twenty years and simply do not get old. A tornado DDT is broken up and the hot tag brings in Rikishi to clean house. We get the double crush in the corner but only Chavo takes the Stinkface. Eddie bails to the floor so Chavo hits Rikishi with a TV camera for the pin.

Rating: C-. Rikishi is fine for the hot tag stuff but I still don’t see why he’s in this spot and the story about him being shot really didn’t do much to get him to another level. Eddie vs. Edge is still good and the idea of Eddie not liking him due to Edge being considered a pretty boy is more than fine.

Post match Eddie chairs Edge in the face to cut him open.

It’s time for the Stephanie vs. Bischoff sitdown interview with Stephanie getting to be all smug over kicking Eric low on Monday. Bischoff laughs it off and loves the idea of Stephanie having to perform HLA if Billy and Chuck lose on Sunday. Stephanie accepts and says she’s not even worried about Billy and Chuck losing (What confidence!) because she might just enjoy HLA. In other words, no matter what happens, Stephanie doesn’t lose. Well of course she doesn’t.

Matt Hardy vs. The Hurricane

Hurricane is just in tights here with no sleeveless shirt on. Matt has something to say before the match but a WE WANT JEFF chant cuts him off. A quick rollup gives Matt two and the Jeff chants throw him off again. Hurricane grabs a victory roll for his own two and does his pose, earning himself a right hand to the jaw. The announcers try to figure out what Matt Hardy Version I means as Hurricane can’t hit the chokeslam.

A Ricochet gets two on Hurricane as the fans switch over to wanting Lita. Hurricane’s neckbreaker drops Matt and now the announcers want Undertaker to shot up and pummel Hardy. The Shining Wizard gets two on Matt as this is WAY better than I was expecting. Matt grabs a quick Side Effect and sneaks in a low blow to set up the Twist of Fate for the pin.

Rating: B-. It’s amazing what happens when you let these North Carolina guys get together. This was a really fun match with both guys trading good looking moves until Matt cheated to win. It made for some entertaining stuff and while the announcers got annoying (as expected), that’s what you can expect from Smackdown.

Heyman thinks Undertaker is waiting on Lesnar so they’re not leaving.

We run down Sunday’s card and it’s still not very interesting.

Billy and Chuck vs. Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit

Angle and Benoit don’t get along. Billy and Benoit start things off but Chris chops Angle for a tag. The team that actually gets along takes over on Kurt and Benoit finds this very amusing. Billy’s tilt-a-whirl slam gets two but Billy poses a bit too much, allowing Benoit to get in a cheap shot. It’s off to Benoit for the rolling German suplexes as this really isn’t the way you want to treat your new top face tag team.

Billy finally avoids a charge from Benoit and gives Kurt the One and Only, setting up the hot tag. Chuck cleans as much house as Chuck Palumbo is going to be able to do before getting caught in the ankle lock. That’s not cool with Benoit who throws Angle away so he can put Chuck in the Crossface. Billy makes the save, meaning Chuck should have gotten beaten twice. Chuck gets in a superkick on Benoit for the pin.

Rating: D+. What the heck was that? I mean, Billy and Chuck are going into the semi-main event at Unforgiven (it’s gotten WAY more hype than anything other than the two World Title matches and you could easily argue it’s beaten both of those) and this is the best you can do for them? They couldn’t beat up some thrown together team for their big face debut? Speaking of them being faces, why is that the case? Their big moment was admitting they were lying to the fans and then they stand up for Stephanie or whatever and now they’re fan favorites? That’s really not impressive.

Benoit and Angle trade submissions post match, making Billy and Chuck look even more worthless.

Undertaker arrives with ten minutes left in the show.

Here’s Undertaker to the ring for the last minute hard sell. He calls Lesnar out and gets his wish in a hurry with Heyman not being able to hold him back. Undertaker starts slugging away as Heyman calls out the troops. That means Matt Hardy, who takes the beating on Lesnar’s behalf. Undertaker chases after Lesnar, who has been arrested and put into protective custody. What a lame ending.

Overall Rating: C+. This was a good show on its own but a pretty horrible go home show. To be fair though that’s because Unforgiven is a miserable pay per view and really doesn’t need to exist at this point. Lesnar vs. Undertaker isn’t going to be worth seeing and the build is showing it more every week. There was enough good wrestling tonight to make the show work but the pay per view just isn’t interesting and there’s no way around it.

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