WWE Smackdown - June 27, 2002
by Erick Von Erich
More random WWE Network bandwagoning, as it's something I've never seen; nor even cared about! The Network description teases that this episode has the "debut of two superstars who forever changed the face of the industry". Really? FOREVER? It's only been a little less than 12 years. Aw hell, I couldn't even remember what I was doing in June, 2002. Well, besides Not-Watching-Smackdown. Anyways, this episode is dealing with the fallout from King of the Ring 2002. Our commentators, Michale Cole and Tazz tell us that the main event tonight is Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Chris Jericho. Whoa, I never knew that happened. It seems like a match that'd pop up on somebody's modern WWE video game, with all the "legends" unlocked and user-created stuff added. We get a shot of the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois, where some PYRO is going off! Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People" is blasting, set to shots of guys like Hogan, The Rock, Rikishi and Stacy Keibler. Huh. But with so much going on in the World Wrestling Entertainment, let's get down to ringside for...
Vince McMahon in the ring! He introduces the man who "made Hulk Hogan TAP OUT at King of the Ring", his buddy Kurt Angle! Angle comes down the ramp, just eating up the new "You Suck" chants his music has spawned. He's wearing his wrestling headgear with a silly wig tucked underneath. Angle declares himself the "poster boy for Ruthless Agression™" and runs down the crowd. He's sick of being a laughingstock and takes off his wig to unveil his bald head. I'm guessing this may have been when Angle became a little more serious and not the "goofy dangerous nerd" he had been. He then throws out an open challenge to anybody in the back, even the rookies. Nobody steps up... until "Beautiful People" plays again, along with the generic Smackdwon graphics. Out comes... Some Rookie in Red Tights, who gets right in Angle's face. Angle, like the rest of the crowd wants to do, asks: "who the hell are you?"! "I'm John Cena!" is the reply. Angle asks him if there's one quality he has that permits him to be in the ring. "Ruthless Agression™!! says Cena as he smacks Angle in the mush! Looks like we've got...
John Cena vs. Kurt Angle
Cena is a house 'a fire, and Angle is selling like crazy. A charging clothesline sends Angle over the top and out to the floor. Back in the ring for two more charging clotheslines from Cena and a... whoa.. a Stinger Splash into the corner! Cena covers for 2 and the crowd is eating this up, big time. Angle grabs the leg for the Ankle Lock, but Cena kicks out. Angle lands a series of German suplexes, then tires another, but Cena counters into a roll-up and another 2 count. Angle beats his around, delivers a suplex, but only gets 2. Angle with a front facelock to the mat as things finally slow down. They pop back up and Cena hits the ropes for a flying forearm. Angle is back with a spinebuster for another 2. Angle goes for the Olympic Slam, but Cena hops out and counters it into a DDT for a near 3 count! Into the corner, where Cena dodges as Angle hits the post. Cnea takes him down for a 2 count...and then a small package for another 2! Cena tries again, but Angle catches him in a double underhook/backslide pinning predicament. 3 count pin for Angle puts away the fiery rookie.
Afterwards, Cena offers a handshake, but Angle refuses and walks away. At the top of the ramp, he turns around and teases getting back into the ring... but leaves again to a huge chorus of boo-birds. Pretty effective segment, as Angle really made Cena look like a star. Cena worked a completely different style than what modern audiences are used to-- basic straightforward offense with no goofy over-acted moves like the Five Knuckle Shuffle. By no means have I followed Cena's career and know all of his matches, but I can safely say this is My Most Favoritest John Cena Match.
After the commercial break, Billy Kidman, Farooq and Rikishi are congratulating Cena on the...uhh, loss. Rikishi even says: "you'll be a great superstar". They all quietly leave as they notice The Undertaker approaching. Undertaker asks Cena who he is, then simply says: "Nice job" and shakes his hand. Cena looks like a little kid who just got to shake Santa Claus's hand.
WWE Tag Team Championship:
Yes, "Big Valbowski" was how they billed him for awhile. I'm curious if Holly and Val were a regular team, or if this is TNA/WCW style of tag booking, where they just throw two midcard guys into a team for one episode. I know, I know... the team of "Jumpin'" Jim Brunzell and Tito Santana from 1990 are probably a little upset with me. Oh, and I'm also wondering if some Testament fans ever felt slighted that lead singer Chuck Billy was never mentioned when talking about "Billy & Chuck". Billy and Holly criss-cross (JUMP! JUMP!) the ropes, ending when Holly hits a nice dropkick. Each side tags off as Valbowski whales away on Chuck. Val and Holly do an old school double-team of whip to the ropes, then drop down for a big slam (think: Young Stallions). They drop some doubleteam elbows until the ref tries to slow things down. Billy with his own drop-kick on Holly. Holly gets tossed out, where Billy introduces him to the ring apron. Thinsg settle back into the ring as Val takes over with a clothesline and shoulderblock on Billy. Chuck tries to make the save, but Val catches him with a neckbreaker. Val with a spinebuster on Billy, but then Rico gets up on the apron. Holly's there to cut the interference when he gives Rico an Alabama Slam™. In the brouhaha, Chuck manages to sneak up behind Val and blast him in the mush with his "Jungle Kick" finisher (a super kick). Billy's right there to hit Val with a Fame-Asser, then covers to retain the titles. Pretty much non-stop, basic action. A bit of a throwback to a late 80's SNME tag bout, even.
Billy & Chuck (c) (w/Rico) vs. Hardcore Holly & The Big Valbowski
We get a basckstage shot of Torrie Wilson oiling up. There's a Divas Special, this weekend. Or something. Back from commercial as the ring announcer introduces Torrie to the live audience. She comes out on the entryway and walks around in a bikini. OMG! A woman in a bikini!
More backstage shenanigans, as this time it'sJamie Noble and Nidia making out. Tajiri is looking on and Noble asks him if he'd like some of this. Nidia slaps a big open-mouth smooch on Tajiri and leaves her gum in his mouth. Nyuk nyuk.
Flashback to King of the Ring, where the Unertaker injured Triple H's elbow with a chairshot. It's announced that Triple H had surgery and will be out for a bit.
MORE backstage stuff, as we see Hulk Hogan entering the building. Next is a promo from Lance Storm, who predicts that he'll "beat an American", tonight. Huh. Storm had been in the WWF for about a year at this point and considering about 75% of the roster was American, I'm curious if we should check his win/loss record. Oh, and here's Mark Henry, who lifted some dumbells in a hotel ballroom to set some sort of obscure "World's Strongest Man" record, again. In a random surprise, we get a soundbyte from Bill Kazmaier saying how impressive this was!
Mark Henry vs. Lance Storm
Starts with some basic duck-n-doge stuff and Henry shoves Storm around. Storm tries a side headlock, but of course that doesn't last long. Storm keeps trying and Henry kinda' shrugs him off and plants him on the turnbuckle. Storm slaps Henry, then gets shoved off the turnbuckles to the floor. Henry's outside to grab him and fling him back in, by completely clearing the top rope. Henry gets back in the ring and deliver smore thumpin' and a Bearhug Happens. Storm gets a elbowsmash in, but Henry no-sells. Big press-slam from Henry! Henry sets up in the corner for a reverse splash. Storm rolls away to escape and hits Henry with a dropkick. Henry staggers and wanders right into Storm's Super Kick. That scores the 3 count pin for Storm.
Backstage?! Why not? Here's the Undertaker, looking at his motorcycle.
A Very Special In-Ring Promo with The Undertaker
The UNDISPUTED champ rides to the ring on his bike and gloats about beating Triple H at King of the Ring. He calls out The Rock for getting involved and challenges him to a match, in two weeks, right here on Smackdown! Taker helpfully reminds us to set our VCR's. Taker aks Rock to watch RAW on Monday, where he promises to make an example out of Jeff Hardy. This suddenly brings out Kurt Angle, who also wants a title match. He challenges Taker for next week.. but Taker wants to go, right now! In typical heel style, Angle says that he's already wrestled a tune-up match tonight. Taker counters: "a tune-up match?! Hell, boy, you almost got beat by a rookie"! Angle re-iterates his challenge and asks if he can hold the title. Taker tells him this is as close as he'll ever get to the title and hands it to him... it appears a brawl is starting, but Angle ducks Taker's charge and slaps on the Ankle Lock! Angle quickly releases and walks off, proving that he could easily win the title. Wow, they were really selling the whole UNDSIPUTED and "everyone is gunning for the champ" thing, huh?
Torrie Wilson appeas on the ramp, again, wearing a different outfit. Okay, I'll admit that I thought Torrie was Incredibly Hot in March 1999 as "Miss nWo Spring Break", but by this time seeing a Hot Chick on TV was nothing special. Plus, I always had the internet.
Rikishi vs. Test
Oh golly...this is the kind of "meh" stuff that always makes me lose interest whenever I try to watch WWF/WWE. Basic brawling to start, then Rikishi with a belly-to-belly suplex. Heat develops between Test and referee Mike Chioda as Test keeps trying to use closed fists. Test ducks a kick from Rikishi, then slams him. Test asks for more and misses a Big Boot.... so Rikishi gets up and super-kicks him. Rikishi goes for a big butt-drop in the corner, but Test gets his legs up. Big clothesline from Test for 2. More arguing with Chioda. Test goes for...something (his finisher?), but Rikishi shoves him away and into Chioda. Big boot from Test lands and he goes for the cover... but Chioda calls for the bell, awarding the disqualification win to Rikishi for the ref bump. Test is livid and shoves Chioda to the mat. Rikishi attacks with a splash and gives Test the "stink face" to make the crowd happy. Christian suddenly runs in, but Rikishi super-kicks him. Lance Storm also arrives, as Rikishi finally leaves the ring, celebrating with his new pal Chioda.
Let's check on the Magic Office of Vince McMahon, where Hulk Hogan has entered. McMahon needles Hogan about tapping out to Kurt Angle at King of the Ring and, golly, sure hopes he doesn't tap out to Chris Jericho's Walls of Jericho, tonight. McMahon: "As the man who personally built Hulkamania, I'd hate to see you tap out once again". Hogan grits his teeth, clenches his fists and says: "one day, Vince..." then walks out.
Over to Christian, Lance Storm and Test. Christian complains how all the officials in the WWE are prejudiced against Canadians. Test keeps wiping his face off. Umm, take a g'damn shower or at least hit a sink! Test says: "America likes to stick her ass in the face of the world. I don't like the smell that's on my face". They all agree: "America SUCKS"! This whole segment played like: Guys Reading Lines 101.
Tajiri & Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) vs. Billy Kidman & The Hurricane
Noble's the NEW Cruiserweight champ, having just won it from Hurricane. This match woulda' been at home on Thunder in 2001. Tajiri takes over with a slam on Hurricane. Tag to Noble, who gets chased outside the ring by Hurricane. Back inside for some chain-wrestling moves and a short-artm clothesline from Noble. They try double-teaming Hurricane, but he flips out and hits a double bulldog. Kidman comes in for the double-team hip-toss on Tajiri, then and another one off the ropes (the Invaders' old finisher)! Kidman flips out of the corner with a flying armdrag, but Tajiri catches him with his back-flip elbow off the ropes. Noble comes in and walks right into a ...umm...reverse wheelbarrow powerbomb from Kidman for 2. Noble distarcts the ref, allowing Tajiri to get in a cheapshot on Kidman. Back and forth, but Tajiri briefly locks in the Tarantula on the ropes. Tajiri goes for a top-rope DDT, which Kidman counters into a powerbomb. Hurricane comes in, tosses Tajiri out, then thumps on Noble. Noble to the corner and he tries a reverse splash, but Hurricane presses him over and to the floor! Super-kick from Tajiri, but only 2. Hurri-choke-slam! Tag to Kidman, then Hurricane leaps out to nail Noble. Kidman off the top with the Shooting Star Press for the 3 count.
More stuff with Torrie Wilson in another costume. She's interrupted by Stacy Keibler in a schoolgirl outfit, then Dawn Marie. Marie babbles on the mic, then Stacy and Torrie "fight". Okay.
Chris Jericho is backstage with...some interviewer whose name I completely forget. Jericho is priding himself on watching a flashback from when he beat up Edge, then warns Hogan.
Promo video of Rey Mysterio! He's Coming!
Faarooq & Randy Orton vs. Reverend D-Von & Batista
Tazz and Cole get man-boners over seeing "Deadon" Batista in wrestling togs for the first time. D-von starts by kicking Orton, then gets hip-tossed and side-slammed as Orton gets a 2 count. Drop-kick from D-von, followed by a flying reverse-elbow. He stomps Orton into the corner as the announcers wonder if D-Von's showing "Ruthless Aggression™". He sets up Orton for a super-plex, but Orton knocks him off and retaliates with a flying bulldog. Faarooq is in for a backdrop and a big powerslam for 2. He goes for the gut-wrench, but D-Von counters into a DDT. D-Von goes up top, but misses a diving headbutt. Orton's up top with a nice flying bodypress for 2. Whip and drop-kick get another 2 for Orton. Batista comes in and decapitates Orton with a big clothesline, smack to Faarooq, then shoulder-tackles Orton into the corner. Batista whips him to the ropes for a BIG choke-slam/spinebuster to score the 3 count.
"Hollywood" Hulk Hogan vs. Chris Jericho
Crowd seems dubbed-over for Hogan's entrance, so who knows if they're playing his actual theme music of the time. Jericho attacks before the bell, chopping Hogan into the corner. Whip to corner, but Hulkster comes back with two big clotheslines, backdrop and a slam. Well, Hogan's already exceeded the workrate of his Kamala matches from 1986! Hogan misses an elbowdrop, allowing Jericho to take over. Kicky/punchy/choppy and Hogan tries to throw him over the top. Jericho skins-the-cat to stay in and eats a clothesline. Hogan chops him into the corner and delivers 9 elevated punches. Ref scolds Hogan about the fists, so Jericho sneaks in with a low-blow to the 4 inch Python Eggs. Belly-to-back from Jericho and he goes for this arrogant "Tarzan" cover. Jericho chokes Hogan on the ropes and lands a charging straddle splash. Jericho works the crowd, as Hogan makes a mini-comeback. Jericho catches him with a DDT for 2. Jericho thumps a little then applies an abdoimnal stretch. Hogan fights out, then punches Jericho into the corner. Reversal to the ropes as Jericho hits the post. Hogan gets his 3 punches, but misses the boot. Jericho is quick with the leg take-down, going for the Walls of Jericho, but Hogan twists out. Off the ropes and Jericho with a facebuster and a lionsault for 2. HULK UP TIME! Fans are eating this up with a BIG spoon! 3 punches! Big boot! But Jericho rolls out and grabs a chair! He brings it in and brains Hogan, drawing the disqualification.
Post-match, Jericho cthrows Hogan outside for another chairshot, then sets him up on the steel steps for another. Suddenly, Jericho's music and entrance video play! Jericho's confused.. but it's the return of Edge, mimicking Jericho's moves. Edge slides into the ring for a brawl and clotheslines Jericho over the top. Hogan's there to toss him back, as Edge hits a spear into the corner and a leg lariat. Jericho tries to leave through the crowd, but Hogan pulls him back in. Once more into the ring, where Edge spears him. Edge and Hogan having a bonding moment as they close the show with both doing the usual "Hogan Postmatch Antics".
Why'd You Watch This?
Primarily due to the oddity of a Hogan/Jericho match. That was indeed the highlight as they worked together much better than I expected. The Hogan nostalgia movement was in full effect at this point and it's fun to watch. Cena/Angle is the other highlight, as that match is worth your time. Angle on the mic in WWE was always a plus, too. It's a little funny that Cena debuted in a fairly high-profile match and managed to keep his momentum. The other matches are kind of a blur, but I'd say the Tag Title Match was the best of the bunch with an "Average Plus" rating. It's odd how many SUPER-KICKS took place in this show; Chris Adams would be proud. So only a two match show, here.
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