The SmarkDown Rant - January 3 / 2002
Posted by Scott Keith on 01.04.2002
The World Wrestling Federation: For over 50 years the worldwide leader in curing insomnia when they're not trying.
The SmarkDown Rant – January 3, 2002
-2002. Huh. How about that.
- Surprise surprise, the postal system continues to suck, as my book contract was mailed to me with Priority mail on the 22nd of December and still hasn't arrived yet. Dollars to donuts says that customs is dicking with it as we speak, but it's things like this that cause me to rant against corporate America at a moment's notice.
- Live live live from Washington, DC, home of sex, drugs and dirty politics. Oh, wait, that’s just the WWF, sorry.
- Your hosts are Cole & King.
- Opening match, WWF tag title: The Dudley Boyz v. Spike Dudley & Tazz. Dudz double-team Spike, while Tazz makes a dramatic late entrance. He holds off both Dudleyz, and Spike bulldogs D-Von for two. Bubba gives him a messed up backdrop out of the ring, and back in for more beatings from D-Von. Legdrop gets two. Bubba drops an elbow for two. Flapjack, but Spike comes back with a gutstomp on D-Von, tags abound. Tazz gets the hot tag and T-Bones D-Von for two. Spike dropkicks Bubba and they run around for a bit and Spike gets two. Spike makes that fatal error of ripping Stacy’s skirt down, as Tazz chokes out Bubba, but he goes low to escape. And this time D-Von blocks the Acid Drop and turns into a Superbomb with the help of Bubba, for the pin at 4:05. Another day, another potential challenging team dead and buried. I understand the idea of building up a monster team, but when there’s LITERALLY no one else in the division to provide competition, you have to let someone get over eventually. Hell, stick Raven & Saturn together or Storm & Christian or Hurricane & Kidman or any of the other 50 people not doing anything right now. ½*
- Else, Jazz is pissed, and she gives Lillian attitude. I officially rescind the title of “Scariest Supposed Woman Alive” from Chyna and award it to Jazz, who looks like her face got stuck in a trash compactor and talks like a man. Sure, I can see why they bothered to bring her in.
- Vince comes out to share his hatred of Ric Flair. The fans keep annoying him with the “What” chants, so he shuts down the show and turns the lights out one-by-one until the arena is black. When the lights come back on, of course Steve Austin is there. He promises to beat up Vince to start the year, but of course Booker T & Bossman run in and do a WEAK-ASS heel beatdown, including Bossman waving the microphone in the general direction of Austin’s forehead while the poor guy has to pretend that he’s suffering any damage at all. If Tully Blanchard were dead, he’d be rolling over in his grave right now seeing that pathetic attempt at mashing a microphone into someone’s head. Austin can’t even do a proper bladejob, barely coaxing a trickle of blood out, but that’s enough for him to get carried off by EMTs, apparently.
- The replay reveals, via Michael Cole, that in fact the microphone is made out of STEEL. Between the steel stairs, steel railing, steel ringposts and now apparently steel microphones, the WWF must single-handedly keep Pittsburgh in business. Further updates reveal that Austin has “shards of metal from the microphone” lodged in his head. You know, I never realized what kind of a dangerous weapon the microphone truly must be. And they let KIDS play with these things? Why doesn’t someone start a microphone-registration program to prevent serious microphone-related injuries? In fact, come to think of it, the other night on Law & Order it was that episode from ’99 where a kid shot up a cafeteria full of his classmates with a semi-automatic microphone and they all cut their foreheads open with razor blades until they bled to death. Tragic story.
- Mighty Molly v. Jazz. I think Paul Heyman’s penchant for hiring his ex-ECW rejects is getting a little out of hand at this point. Jazz gets a quick clothesline, but Molly gets a headscissors for two, a spot which they nearly blow. Jazz gives her a bad-looking quasi-hotshot, then repeats the spot on the other ropes and gets two off a legdrop. She hits the chinlock, yelling “This is it for Mighty Molly!” in dramatic fashion as though she can intimidate her to death with the crushing force of her wit. I mean, really, with heel tactics like that, how can she NOT become the dominant force in the ultra-competitive women’s division? I hear next the WWF is gonna plant signs in the crowd against Jazz and put little old ladies in the front row for her to pick on. Molly escapes, thus showing Jazz to be a LIAR of the worst sort, because that definitely was NOT it for Mighty Molly, contrary to what Jazz would have us believe. IT’S A SHOCKING SWERVE! I mean, why even say it and get our hopes up like that? That’s not only misleading, it’s just downright rude. Fisherman’s buster finishes at 2:32 for Jazz, but the crowd is still upset at the misdirection involved in the chinlock spot and can’t even be bothered to boo. There’s just no excuse for bad manners. DUD
- Elsewhere, Stephanie (who I again remind you was thrown off WWF TV about a month ago) can’t get by the crack security guard. She again pulls the HHH card and leaves.
- Elsewhere, Test & Christian & Storm all gather for a secret meeting called by a mysterious benefactor. Well, actually it’s just Jericho, but he wants backup, as I smell CANADIAN MAFIA about to start running wild. Jericho gives out gifts, but Christian thinks it’s motivated by HHH’s return. Yes, because god knows we haven’t heard about THAT enough yet tonight.
- Elsewhere, Undertaker whines about respect.
- Elsewhere, Test re-gifts his Jericho shirt to Torrie, but she’s not interested. I’m very disturbed by this whole “Once you’ve gone Test, forget the rest” thing that seems to be going on. It SUCKS as a catchphrase. It’s something that a lame white guy would say and won’t even fit on a t-shirt.
- Hardcore title: Undertaker v. Big Show. Show chases Taker up the ramp and pulls him off the bike, and they head down to the ring. Had Undertaker successfully driven down the ring, then back up the ramp again and away, I would have given it a courtesy *** rating and smiled about it. But NO. Show loads up the plunder, but it backfires as he takes a vicious garbagecan lid to the head. I guess it’s one of those specially-made steel lids, just for WWF hardcore matches. Show wins a slugfest and gets a garbage can shot for two. Taker clips him and sends him out, but Show ignores the crushing pain and keeps pounding away. Taker uses the STEEL stairs on the knee and a STEEL chair, and they head back in, where Show again shrugs off the pain and chokeslams him. But he immediately starts selling the knee injury, even though 5 seconds before he had the ability to lift a 300 pound guy 3 feet off the ground on a supposedly bad knee. I guess that’s “WWF style” psychology or something. No wonder DDP wasn’t able to grasp the intricacies involved in being a WWF superstar – IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY GODDAMNED SENSE. Show clotheslines him and goes for his own Last Ride, but Taker goes low and takes advantage of the knee injury…by using a dragon sleeper for the win at 5:07. Would it have killed him to use a kneebar or something? This gets nothing and likes it. DUD JR of course further ruins my night with the most painful words in the English language: “This situation is far from over!”
- Elsewhere, Stephanie, now in two segments tonight after removing herself from TV a month ago to concentrate on the creative aspect of the product, tries to wheel an old man past security. No dice. She hits on the guard, but he’s gay. And here’s his friends, Gunn & Palumbo. You know, they should just call it the World Subtlety Federation.
- Kurt Angle & Chris Jericho v. Rob Van Dam & Edge. Edge starts with Angle and gets a leg lariat and bulldog for two. Rob comes in with a bodypress for two, but gets nailed from behind by Angle. Rob comes back with a senton and goes up, but Jericho crotches him and Angle stomps a mudhole. Jericho comes in and punts him, and the heels work RVD over for a while. Jericho misses a charge, however, and Angle has a superplex blocked and countered with the frog splash. Jericho hotshots him to end that, however. Hot tag Edge, and he comes in with an Edge-O-Matic on Jericho and the heels collide soon after. Edge pulls out the anklelock (to get him into that weird main eventer zone where they all steal each others’ finishers) but Jericho bulldogs him. Edge spears him for two, and Angle saves. RVD comes flying out of nowhere with a missile dropkick for Angle, but he misses the moonsault. Edge Impales Jericho for the sure win, but Angle sneaks in with the Angle Slam and Jericho rolls over for the pin at 5:12. So-so match with an incredibly hot finish. And they’ve gotta just keep giving Jericho the big win until he’s viewed as a top guy. **
- Elsewhere, AA stooges to Flair on the happenings tonight.
- Flair comes out to take care of some business. He endorses the Rock and calls out Vince, but instead Stephanie charges in through the crowd, which now makes her THIRD segment tonight. Good thing she’s not on TV anymore or else people might accuse her of being on TV too much. Flair lets her into the ring and she sucks up to him, but claims that his business skills aren’t up to her level. Yeah, selling 25% of a billion-dollar wrestling promotion in order to back the Alliance, THAT sure proved to be a good investment. Flair starts into his crazy old man routine and hits on her, so she slaps him. Well of COURSE Stephanie can resist the Nature Boy. She gives Flair one last chance to give in before Monday. That segment killed the show deader than glam rock.
- Test v. Tajiri. Test hammers him down and chases Torrie, but gets kicked and heads back in. He casually chokeslams Tajiri and pounds away in the corner. Tajiri fights back with a handspring and gets a kneedrop for two. Tarantula, but Test shrugs it off and finishes with the big kick at 2:28. Sloppy squash for Test, which would be okay if they had any clue what to do with him at this point. He’s bouncing from samoan to samoan and searching for a character at this point, when it’s obvious that he should be Jericho’s version of Diesel. ½*
- Elsewhere, Bossman & Vince confer, and are joined by Booker. Booker wants to establish his own catchphrase, “who?”, and thinks that the t-shirts will sell like hotcakes. Why can’t the writers find funny lines for SMART people unless they’re the Rock? It seems like all the humor is predicated on how stupid a heel is. The great thing about someone like a Mick Foley was that he could be funny on one level, while still not talking down to the audience.
- Oh, did you know that HHH is coming back to the WWF on Monday? Thought I’d mention it.
- Elsewhere, the Coach makes the mistake of admitting that he likes Barry Manilow to the Rock, which earns him a mocking. As if the shit that Rock named is any better. Yeah, Destiny’s Child, there’s some street cred for you. Anyway, Coach gets into it, singing “Copa Cabana” in a bit we’ve all seen done better before before Rock cuts him off and tells a funny story about thrilling the nurses in the pediatric ward. Rock is always awesome, but Coachman is not exactly Mick Foley.
- #1 Contender match: The Rock v. Booker T. Booker attacks, but Rock gets a samoan drop for two. Booker gets a spinebuster and stomps away. Back kick misses, but sidekick gets two. Axe kick misses, and Rock punches him out of the ring. Booker eats stairs, and back in we go. Vince joins us, however, and nails Rock from behind before tossing him in. Axe kick gets two. Rock comes back with a DDT for two. Flair comes out and takes care of the Vince problem, and Rock fights back with a lariat and spinebuster. People’s Elbow is tripped up by the Bossman, but it’s for naught as Rock Bottom finishes at 5:13. Why all the interference for such a lacklustre match? * Booker & Bossman do a heel beatdown, Austin saves but gets laid out again. I smell a tag match on RAW.
The Bottom Line: Not sure why they bothered going live when they could have just taped it at the same time as the other shows last week for all the effort put into it. Nothing horrible, just a show like every other for the past month now.
RAW had better live up to the hype, I’ll say that much. They’re losing fans as it is and pissing off more people with a crappy payoff on Monday won’t help.