Smackdown – October 3, 2002: This is the Good Half

Smackdown
Date: October 3, 2002
Location: CajunDome, Lafayette, Louisiana
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

I don’t know what lit the fire underneath Smackdown as of late but they’ve been on fire. Last week was one of the best episodes of TV I’ve ever seen and while there’s a good chance things will go downhill tonight, at least things are on a roll coming in. We’ve got about three weeks before No Mercy and it should be time to announce a Smackdown match or two. Let’s get to it.

Stephanie McMahon does the seizure inducing intro to talk about tonight’s card, including Edge vs. Kurt Angle, Matt Hardy vs. Undertaker in a falls count anywhere match and the start of a tournament for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles with the finals at No Mercy. This is your first (of many) ways to put Stephanie on screen and remind us that she’s just so darn cool.

Smackdown Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Rikishi/Mark Henry vs. Eddie Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero

The cousins try to get in a sneak attack to start but the big guys throw Chavo onto Eddie. That goes nowhere though as it’s basically a high crossbody, meaning Eddie pops back up and hammers on Rikishi. Cole: “You’ve got to take your hat off to Smackdown GM Stephanie McMahon!”

Eddie comes in and walks into a Samoan drop, followed by a superkick to Chavo. It’s time to start in on Mark’s knee with both Guerreros taking a few shots, only to have Mark keep kicking them away. Rikishi comes in and is immediately forced out by the referee, allowing Chavo to hit Henry in the knee with a chair. Eddie slaps on a leglock for the tap out.

Rating: C-. You can see the greatness in Eddie and Chavo as a team and the monsters were a fine choice for some monsters they needed to cheat. This was a good way to get around one of the nothing teams and advance the talented guys, which is exactly how this should have gone. When you get the right opponents, there’s going to be a classic for the Guerreros somewhere in this tournament.

Torrie Wilson arrives….with her dad Al. Oh geez it’s this mess. They run into Billy and Chuck when Dawn Marie comes in and hits on Al.

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar are watching a clip of Lesnar attacking Undertaker when Heyman says Stephanie has made a rematch at No Mercy. The thing is she won’t tell him the stipulation and Heyman is worried. Lesnar laughs it off when Matt Hardy comes in to say it won’t be falls count anywhere.

Matt Hardy vs. Undertaker

Falls count anywhere. Undertaker slugs him into the corner to start and takes it outside to throw Matt into various things. A low blow breaks up a chokeslam through the table but Undertaker shoves him into the barricade for a breather. More right hands send Matt through the crowd and Undertaker gets a soda thrown in his face. They head to the back with Matt getting in a cheap shot so Undertaker rams him into a wall. Matt runs off while shouting that they’ll meet again and here’s Lesnar to jump Undertaker. An F5 sends Undertaker onto what looks like popcorn (seriously) to give Matt the easy pin.

Rating: F. Unless I’m missing something, Undertaker took a total of some right hands, a low blow, forearms from Lesnar and an F5 onto a glorified stack of pillows. That’s enough for him to do a job for Matt Hardy but the fight he and Lesnar had wasn’t enough to do a job to Brock on pay per view? Horrible stuff here as Hardy got squashed until the stupid ending.

Post match Lesnar crushes Undertaker’s hand with a propane tank.

Survivor Series ad.

Undertaker’s hand is being iced and he walks away from an interview attempt. The trainer thinks the hand is broken.

Cruiserweight Title: Crash vs. Jamie Noble

Jamie is defending and they start with a fight over a wristlock. The announcers are of course more interested in talking about Undertaker’s hand injury, which isn’t all that surprising given how worthless the title has become in the last few months. Noble takes him into the corner before cranking on a camel clutch. Crash fights up with some basic stuff, including an O’Connor roll to knock Nidia off the apron. The Crash Landing (Styles Clash) is countered into a rollup and Noble grabs the rope to retain.

Rating: C-. Crash made this better with a nice comeback but unfortunately the fans really didn’t care. Like I said though, the division is just nothing at this point and there’s no reason to care about Jamie Noble vs. Crash in a four minute match serving as a backdrop for all the Undertaker vs. Lesnar talk. That switch from Raw really did wonders for Crash’s career though.

Kurt Angle brags about how awesome he is and thinks Chris Benoit will lose to Rey Mysterio tonight. Angle says he’s awesome when Edge comes in and makes bald jokes but at least ties it back to their hair vs. hair match. A sucker punch puts Edge down.

Edge vs. Kurt Angle

We get a replay of the sucker punch from five minutes ago during Kurt’s entrance. Angle takes him down by the arm to start and kicks Edge off the leg without much effort. Back up and Edge goes after an arm as well, this time with a hammerlock, both standing and laying down. See that’s versatility. Angle finally gets tired of the beating and hammers away in the corner, only to have Edge reverse into the same.

They head outside with Angle’s arm going into the post as Edge is in a lot more control than you would expect. Back in and Edge is thrown over the top for a big crash to the floor. A drop onto the barricade makes things even worse and an overhead belly to belly gives Kurt two. We hit a chinlock with a bodyscissors for a bit before Angle knees him in the banged up ribs.

Since Angle is smarter than the average wrestler, he grabs an abdominal stretch to keep Edge in trouble. Edge fights up and hits an overhead belly to belly (good one too) to set up some clotheslines. The half nelson faceplant gets two but the spear hits the referee. The Edgecution should get the finish but there’s no count. Therefore, the Angle Slam connects as well, only to have another referee come in for the two.

The ankle lock sends Edge bailing to the ropes and he goes up top, only to have Angle superplex him down. They interlock their legs into a small package though and it’s a double pin. Naturally the referees disagree (with Mike Chioda nailing Mike Sparks) to send us to a break and a restart. Cole: “Don’t adjust your sets! This match has been restarted!” Does Cole think that adjusting the sharpness is going to rewind a video or something? Angle misses a charge and flies out to the floor, leaving Edge to dive off the top for a big crash.

Back in and a missile dropkick gets two on Kurt as the crowd is losing their minds on these near falls. A very hard German suplex drops Edge and Angle rolls some more for good measure. Cue Chris Benoit for a distraction, allowing Edge to cradle Angle for two. That would have been the finish in today’s WWE. The ankle lock is easily broken up and Angle grabs a chair. Benoit offers a distraction though, causing the chair shot to hit the top rope and bounce back into Kurt’s head. The spear gives Edge the pin.

Rating: A-. This was one less referee fight and false finish away from being a classic. As it is, this was just another great match to be added to the recent string of them on this show. Edge is getting hotter and hotter every single week and thankfully seems to be getting somewhere as a result. I love it when you see someone work hard and get rewarded for it, which is far rarer than it should be.

Benoit thinks it’s hilarious.

Rey Mysterio video.

Post break Angle goes into the locker room to go after Benoit but Stephanie is RIGHT THERE to break it up and put them together as partners in the tournament. If they fight while they’re partners, they’re suspended without pay for a year. Angle sucker punches Benoit (that’s two tonight) but Stephanie SCREECHES at them to shake hands right now. Lesnar gives Heyman another pep talk when Matt Hardy interrupts. Since Undertaker is injured and Matt just beat him, he should probably be #1 contender. Makes sense actually. Matt leaves and Heyman whispers to Lesnar: “I’d be careful. He could kill you.” Laughter ensues.

Raw Roulette is coming. That has way less potential than they’re building it up to have here, though to be fair that’s kind of the point.

Smackdown Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Billy and Chuck vs. Faarooq/Reverend D-Von

Billy asks Faarooq if he’s actually associating with D-Von and gets mic’d in the head for his efforts. Chuck gets jumped from behind but manages a butterfly suplex on D-Von. Faarooq beats him down again though until Chuck gets in a shot and makes the hot tag to Gunn. Everything breaks down and Faarooq gets in a spinebuster on Billy to give D-Von the upset pin.

Rating: D. Nothing to see here and that’s not really surprising. I’m not sure why you have Billy and Chuck lose here as I can’t imagine anyone is thinking much of D-Von and Faarooq. You’re trying to establish some new titles and it might help to have a multiple time Tag Team Championship combination in the later rounds.

Dawn shows Al her bikini.

It’s time for the bikini contest and let’s see how fast we can get this over with: Dawn looks great but Torrie looks better and has a sucker so she wins. Dawn offers a handshake and throws Torrie outside.

Stephanie gets to tell Heyman and Lesnar that Undertaker’s hand is broken. Undertaker is insisting to fight at No Mercy though and it’s going to be Hell in a Cell. That’s quite a speedy trip to the hospital (when you remember Undertaker refused treatment), x-ray, diagnosis, phone call to Stephanie and decision since Undertaker got hurt all of an hour and fifteen minutes ago. Heyman looks nervous but Brock looks eerily pleased.

Chris Benoit vs. Rey Mysterio

Benoit wastes no time and sends Mysterio into the corner, followed by what looks to be a Razor’s Edge attempt, only to have Rey reverse into a hurricanrana. Chris is sent outside for a big flip dive but comes right back with those hard suplexes that only he can throw. A cross arm choke keeps Rey down until a sunset flip gives him two. Back up and Benoit sends him into the corner over and over before grabbing a surfboard hold.

Rey fights up and slips out of a dragon suplex, only to get caught in a wicked wheelbarrow suplex instead. A dropkick gives Rey a breather and a springboard split legged moonsault gives him a near fall. The 619 is countered into a shoulder breaker though and the Swan Dive gives Benoit two more. Rey is quickly out of the Crossface and a springboard Fameasser sets up the 619. Cue Angle to snap Benoit’s throat across the top so Rey can grab a hurricanrana for the pin.

Rating: B. Were you really expecting this to be anything but solid? Smackdown has figured out the secret to an exciting in-ring product: stop trying to do anything too complicated and just let us have a fun match with some minor angle advancement. You can see these two plus Angle and someone else (probably Edge) in the tournament and that’s going to be awesome. Talented wrestlers can do something like this when given the chance and that’s what we got here.

Benoit Crossfaces Angle until security breaks it up to end the show.

Overall Rating: B+. What does it say when this is one heck of a downgrade over the previous week? Those two matches more than made up for the horrible Undertaker stuff and the fact that it’s setting up a Cell match does make things a little easier to sit through. I’m having a blast watching these shows every week and it’s amazing that Raw is such a polar opposite from this. How can one company be so totally different? Either way, great stuff here, again.

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