The SmarKdown Rant - February 7 / 2002
Posted by Scott Keith on 02.07.2002
The SmarKdown Rant – February 7, 2002
- Taped from Los Angeles.
- Your hosts are MC & The King
- Another live rant via the TV tuner card this week, so for those of you in the US, spoilers ahoy…
- Opening interview: Finally, the Rock has come back yada yada. Rock is FURIOUS with Undertaker, sayeth Michael Cole. That’s hearsay, your honor, witness is not qualified to tie his own shoes, let alone make expert judgments on the Great One’s emotional state. Rock wants Undertaker, now, but Booker T butts in again. This is like that year at the Emmys where Tony Danza accepted the awards on everyone’s behalf. “Accepting the challenge for Mr. Undertaker, Booker T.” So it’s another Impromptu Match.
- Booker T v. The Rock. Slugfest and Rock gets the forearm and pounds on him. Booker bicycle kicks him out of nowhere, putting Albert to shame, and stomps away. Booker chops away, but Rock returns fire because he’s quite awesome. Booker gets a standing sidekick to take Rock out again, but Rock dumps him. They brawl for a bit, which Booker wins. Back in, sidekick misses and Rock catches him with a DDT for the double-knockout. They slug it out, won by Rock because it’s his show, and a belly to belly gets two. Booker clotheslines him back and gets an axe kick, triggering the heat machine. SPINAROONI, but Rock kips up, spine on the pine, People’s Elbow, goodbye at 4:55. Certainly better than Booker’s job to HHH on Monday. **1/4
- The No Way Out ad is now an nWo ad, as it’s been turned into a black and white propaganda piece. It’s funny that we’re now getting the WWF-ified version of the nWo, where even the scratchy B&W footage is slickly produced and filtered.
- The HHHappy Couple meet with a doctor, who offers a sonigram of the demon child and lets us know that Stephanie is 8 weeks along. I’d have to consult with an exorcist to tell for sure, but I think that’s about right for an incubus.
- More nWo wackiness.
- Kurt Angle, the Olympic champion of awesome, wheels out a baby carriage in honor of The HHHappy Couple. Angle gloats about how he’ll easily beat HHH at No Way Out. Kurt feels badly for the poor kid, having to go through life with HHH as a father. He does his knuckle-dragging HHH impression, theorizing that HHH has in fact turned into an ape-man. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. He produces “HHH, Jr.” , a toy gorilla with a huge nose on it. I’m DYING here. Even the crowd is losing it. Triple Ape, who of course had his sense of humor surgically removed to make room for bigger pecs, comes out and beats the crap out of Angle. ROID RAGE!
- William Regal & The Dudley Boyz v. Edge, Rob Van Dam & Rikishi. Big brawl to start, and D-Von starts proper with RVD. D-Von misses a charge and gets rana’d, and Rob gets a cross body for two out of the corner. Spinkick and Edge comes in with a leg lariat. Missile dropkick gets two. The heels post him, but gets a crossbody on Regal for two. Regal knees him down and gets two. Bubba pounds him down and then yells “Get up!” at him. Well, that’s just counterproductive. Elbowdrops get two. D-Von pounds away in the corner, but Edge escapes an inverted suplex with a bulldog, hot tag Rikishi. FAT MAN ON FIRE! Samoan drop gets two, and Regal gets dumped. Rob gets a missile dropkick and Rolling Thunder on D-Von, but Regal powerbombs him, only to get speared by Edge, only to get posted by Bubba, only to get avalanched by Rikishi, and then Rikishi is dumb enough to waddle into 3D at 5:07. Good energetic little six-man. ** Edge gets laid out by Regal afterwards. Apparently Edge has internal injuries after getting hit in the face with brass knuckles. Thank god Michael Cole isn’t MY doctor. I love WWF medicine, however, as any sort of blood coming from the mouth automatically indicates “internal injuries”. Good thing emergency rooms don’t work that way – “Oh, he’s bleeding from the mouth, it’s internal injuries, tape up his ribs and send him home.” Of course, that WOULD explain the last 5 years of DDP’s career.
- Cue the porno music!
- Chris Jericho and the DISCO PANTS OF DOOM come out to get some face time. TO HELL with Steve Austin, because he wants to fight him right now. Will Sasso, in full Austin gear, makes the response. He can’t seem to get the “What” bit down. Sasso does a dead-on Austin promo, in which he rightly declares that Jericho is the better man, but of course Steve Austin has to chase Jericho away so as not to face the Canadian Wrath. We get the Austin v. Austin showdown, as I flash back to Summerslam 94. Austin critiques the impersonation. They drink some beer, KICK WHAM STUNNER. This was remarkably not funny given what they could have done with it. Just felt like we’ve seen it before.
- Elsewhere, Al Snow gives Maven a peptalk.
- More nWo clips. Hogan’s aging about as gracefully as the sour cream in my fridge.
- Elsewhere, Flair makes a non-title match between Jericho & HHH tonight.
- Hardcore title: Undertaker v. Maven. Taker beats the crap out of Maven, until Snow simply pulls him away from the line of fire. UT chases him out and keeps destroying him. Back in, more garbage cannery busts Maven open and the Poochiebomb looks to finish, but Snow comes in and bells Taker, giving Maven a rollup for two. Maven goes up but gets caught and casually chokeslammed, for two. Dragon Sleeper, but Rock comes in, chairs Taker, and Rock Bottoms him, as Maven crawls over for the pin at 5:33. This was so obviously written by Paul Heyman that he might as well have imported Mikey Whipwreck and Pitbull #1 to play the roles. Pretty uninspired Hardcore match. ½*
- nWo. You might as well call them new WACKY order, because that’s what they are. Wacky.
- It’s posedown time. Billy & Chuck actually have matching bathrobes for their entrance. Torrie and Stacy win the unveiling portion of things. Billy & Chuck do some really creepy and weird feminine poses, which work much better when done by Torrie & Stacy. Shocking, I know. Stacy and Torrie get into a catfight, but it’s immediately cut off either by the WWF editing or the Score. The point of this is completely lost on me.
- Elsewhere, HHH gets all intense on Vince McMahon and reviews the last few weeks for us. He’s upset about lots of things, but Stephanie wants Vince to walk her down the aisle, so what can ya do? HHH decides to make sure Vince never gets anywhere near the little hellspawn, so Vince makes it a handicap match tonight against Jericho & HHH.
- More nWoverkill.
- Saddest thing of the week: David Arquette sitting in the front row behind Cole & King, mugging away with a sign that says “Former World Champion”. It’s sad because it’s TRUE.
- Elsewhere, UT interrupts a Rock interview and tombstones him on top of a limo. The Franco-Prussian War started EXACTLY like that, as France interrupted a Hardcore title match with a chairshot, and Prussia responded by tombstoning France on top of a limo. It’s just not sports entertainment, it’s historical allegory. Although to be fair, the concrete floor was RIGHT THERE.
- HHH v. Chris Jericho & Kurt Angle. HHH dodges both guys outside and starts with Angle back in. DDT gets two. He stomps a mudhole on both, but gets suplexed by Angle. Jericho attacks but gets elbowed, but recovers with a springboard dropkick. They all brawl out and the heels stomp him on the floor and introduce him to the stairs. Angle gets two. They start tagging in properly as Jericho chops away, but gets speared. Jericho gets the forearm and the Walls, but HHH cradles for two. Angle comes in and eats boot, but recovers with a belly to belly. Anglelock, but HHH counters that, too. So they go the non-scientific route and try a beatdown, but HHH fights that off and USES THE KNEE on Angle. Neckbreaker for Angle, lariat for Jericho and spinebuster, and he tosses Angle. He puts Jericho in his own Walls, and then Angle in his own anklelock. Jericho breaks that. “This handicap match has turned into a 2-on-1 affair!” Thanks Michael. Facebuster for Angle after Jericho is tossed, but the Pedigree is stopped by a missile dropkick attempt gone awry by Jericho. A chairshot misses, too, but the Angle Slam finishes HHH at 6:41. Could they make Angle & Jericho look ANY more useless while in the ring with the increasingly slug-like HHH? It’s a real bad sign when Angle & Jericho have to take the match DOWN about 18 notches so that HHH can keep up while making himself look like Jesus Christ in the ring. I know he’s still coming back from the injury, but he should be smart enough not to let himself get put in situations where he’s gonna get exposed like that if he can’t go yet. *1/2 HHH of course makes his own comeback and lays both guys out with a chair. But while HHH & Stephie hug, Angle lays out HHH in turn, and he falls on top of her. They’d better not do another miscarriage angle.
The Bottom Line: That second hour just killed the show, with endless skits and interviews and nWo clips and a couple of bad matches. And what they need to do with the nWo is sit down and actually explain the concept to people who weren’t watching at the time, rather than just recycle WCW clips and hope the vague “intrigue” factor will sell the show. Because it won’t – there’s no storyline here, it’s just “These guys will show up at this show, guaranteed.” Well, that’s great for the people who are actually silly enough to pay $30 (and soon $34.95) for the honor of seeing the Three Liverspots (Nash’s new catchphrase: “that’s not a liver spot, that’s my spot…oh, wait, I guess that IS a liver spot…”), but for everyone else you need at least some kind of more specific warning. I mean, sure, most of us jaded online geeks know that the nWo is going to run in and beat up Steve Austin to allow Jericho to retain the title, but you’ve gotta nudge the marks in that direction so they can figure it out for themselves. I mean, the surprise factor has already been shot once you’ve ANNOUNCED that they’re showing up. Ooo, they’re such badboys that they’re going to appear in a contractually-mandated World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Event™ after being introduced by highly-polished and well-produced videos. This isn’t Led Zep reuniting the band, it’s Coverdale-Page with Robert Plant doing a walk-on cameo to shill his new line of Robert Plant Brand Hernia Trusses. It may bang a good buyrate in the short-term, but it’s still not a new idea, it’s just a sanitized WWF version of a previous WCW gimmick. They’re on the right track by using the nWo name, but they’re missing the point of the gimmick: It’s about new blood starting a revolution by force and using fascist tactics and propaganda because the clean-cut Turner suits wouldn’t let them express themselves otherwise. What does the WWF have to say here? “We’re so desperate to find a direction that doesn’t suck that we’re willing to bring in the WWA’s castoffs”? They’re applying the cosmetic outer shell of the angle without cracking it open to see the angst-filled center, so to speak. And it was all right there, too. The names don’t even matter – the message is the important thing. When they were running the inVasion, they could just as well have had DDP, Lance Storm and Mike Awesome interrupt the usual boring 20-minute interview and rage against Billionaire Vince for bankrupting their home promotiion and stealing their jobs from them. Now there’s some angst, there’s some motivation to start fucking with the WWF and cost THEM their jobs. That’s the spirit of revolution from within that kickstarted the nWo, not just because they had the big names and the fancy production. And if they don’t understand that one simple, but important, distinction, this is doomed to fail just like every other Direction of the Week has failed.