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WWE Smackdown - January 27, 2004

by Scrooge McSuck

- Originally taped on January 27th, 2004, from Washington, D.C. Michael Cole and Tazz handle the commentary duties. We're only a few days removed from the Royal Rumble, and the top contender from Smackdown is no longer on Smackdown. Well, that throws a wrench in the machine, doesn't it?

- Paul Heyman, at the time the General Manager of Smackdown (I forgot how that came to be), comes out to address the situation where Chris Benoit, the winner of the Royal Rumble Match, jumped to Monday Night Raw to challenge for Triple H's World Heavyweight Championship. This brings out Vince McMahon, which leads to Heyman trying to be a huge suck up by announcing that there will be a Royal Rumble Match tonight, with all the Smackdown superstars that participated in the PPV Rumble. With Benoit gone, he'll be subbed in by Eddie Guerrero.

WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
The Basham Brothers (w/ Shaniqua) vs. Paul London & Billy Kidman:

Not to be racially insensitive, but was it really necessary to change Linda Miles' name to SHANIQUA? She may have been god awful at everything when it came to "the business", but don't dig that deep for a black name. The Basham's are Doug and Danny, who had a notable OVW feud before a call up made them partners. That makes sense. London and Kidman are practically JTTS fodder at this point, so don't expect much. Kidman and Doug start. Lockup, Doug with a knee to the midsection. Whip to the ropes, and Kidman takes him over with a head scissors. Whip to the ropes and London connects with a jumping heel kick. Doug comes in and takes a dropkick. London remains in control until Danny Basham pulls the ropes down on him. Danny with a back suplex. Doug tags back in and stomps away. London offers a comeback, but Doug cuts it off and applies a modified surfboard. London escapes and Kidman with the hot tag. He comes off the top with a body press, and a double-effort headlock/head scissors takes both Basham's down. Kidman with dropkicks to both men, followed by a spinebuster on Doug. Kidman goes for the star press, but Danny crotches him and hits the rope assisted DDT for the three count at 3:46.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match:
Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia):

ReMatch from the Royal Rumble PPV. Hopefully they'll will get more than three minutes this time. Again, for those who skipped that recap, Noble was taking advantage of a "blind" Nidia, turning himself heel again in the process. Lockup and Noble with a quick takedown for a one count. Mysterio with a crucifix, but Noble rolls through and grabs a front facelock. Noble with a sweep of the legs, but can't get the shoulders down. Modified Northern lights suplex by Noble for two. A series of counters leads to Mysterio sending Noble across the ring with a head scissors. Whip to the ropes, Noble catches Mysterio across his shoulders in a reverse Torture Rack. Mysterio escapes, taking Noble down with an arm drag. Drop toe hold into the ropes, but Noble recovers to avoid the 619. Nidia trips Noble up "by mistake", and Mysterio with a hurricanrana for two. Noble with a back breaker for a one count, then slaps on a seated abdominal stretch. Another sequence of reversals until Mysterio lands on top for a two count. Noble rams Mysterio into the turnbuckle and uses the ring post for a bow-and-arrow effect. Whip to the corner, and a charge misses. Mysterio to the top rope, but Noble climbs up along with him and takes the champ down with a super-plex. Noble crawls over to cover, but only gets two. Noble with another failed charge attempt, and Mysterio comes off the second rope with a bulldog for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and Mysterio with a hard sunset flip for another two count. Noble goes for the Tiger Suplex, but Mysterio counters and hits 619. Mysterio misses the West Coast Pop, and a leverage throw sends him to the floor, in front of Nidia. Noble to the top rope, and surprise, surprise, Nidia walks into the line of fire. Noble throws her into the ring and tries to use her as a weapon, but Mysterio finishes him off with the seated senton at 7:50. Oh, Nidia's not blind. Who didn't see that coming. Michael Cole: Nidia just screwed her boyfriend. Well, that doesn't sound right out of context. Good match, much better than the 3-minute rush-job we had at the PPV, but it still could've used more time. All this to simply set up a match at No Way Out, where Nidia wrestled a blindfolded Jamie Noble, then just hung around until being released in November.

Non-Title Match: Orlando Jordan vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE Champion):

What, no title shot for a jobber? Hardcore Holly got a chance at the title the night before, but now Orlando Jordan has to settle for nothing? Jordan had no definable role on Smackdown at this point. He just kind of popped up now and then before becoming a member of JBL's cabinet (there's a stable of shit for ya... JBL, Orlando Jordan, the Bashams, and Amy Weber). Lesnar pounds away before the bell and slams him into the corner. Lesnar tosses him to the floor and basks in the boos of the crowd, allowing Jordan to recover and connect with a dropkick to the back. Jordan with a sunset flip for a one count. Another pin attempt for one, and it's back to Brock destroying him in the corner. Whip to the corner, Lesnar meets an elbow on a charge, but still has enough to take Jordan over with a powerslam. Lesnar slaps on that body scissors/chinlock that filled up half the match against Holly at the Rumble. Jordan struggles back to his feet and escapes with elbows. Jordan kicks away at the knee and comes off the ropes with a diving forearm. Jordan with a pair of dropkicks for two. Whip to the corner, and Brock explodes out with a clothesline. He slaps on the Brock-Lock, and Jordan taps at 4:20. For those unfamiliar with the hold, it looks like a boston crab, but with one leg wrapped over the back of his neck. Just a squash match for Lesnar. Jordan's little offense seemed unimpressive.

- Special Note: I skipped over all of the backstage "drawing the numbers" segments that took place between matches. The only thing notable from all of this was the discovery of Eddie Guerrero being knocked out, and Rey Mysterio accusing the Chavo's for it.

15 Man Royal Rumble Match:

Winner of this one gets to face Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at No Way Out. I never really understood the logic in the Rumble Match once there were two World Title's. Someone has to win the Rumble to challenge for one, and the other... I don't know, pee on someone's leg or run over the Champion's dog? Seems unbalanced to me. Kurt Angle draws #1 and Rhyno is #2. 90 second intervals. Rhyno pounds away, but Angle quickly retaliates. Whip to the corner, and Rhyno hits the GORE~!. Rhyno drags Angle to the ropes, but Angle's playing lame quite well. Angle with an Angle-Slam from out of nowhere. #3 is Charlie Haas and he goes after his former mentor (remember Team Angle?). Whip to the ropes, and he connects with a dropkicks. He pulls down the straps, but Rhyno hits him from behind to break things up. Everyone trades shots for a while. #4 is Shelton Benjamin, so now we've got Angle, Benjamin, and Haas. and Rhyno. Oh well. Shelton with a T-Bone Suplex on Angle. Haas with a Stun Gun to Rhyno, and Benjamin with a leap frog splash across the back. Angle with release Germans on both Haas and Benjamin. Angle with another suplex on Benjamin, and then Haas with a powerslam on Angle. #5 is Bradshaw (of the APA) and he hits Haas with the Clothesline from Hell. Rhyno ducks the first, but not the second attempt. Benjamin offers up and takes a boot to the face as we take a commercial.

We come back with Tajiri entering at #7, KO'ing Lamont on the floor with his roundhouse kick. I guess Ernest Miller was #6, but his entire tenure took place during the commercial. Same as his 2004 Rumble PPV appearance: Runs in as a comedy bit, but also gets some offense on all the participants before finally being shown the floor by Angle. We see the replay, pretty much in full during a downtime of the match. Rhyno and Tajiri go at it. Didn't they become tag team partners on Raw sometime later in the year? #8 is Mr. Ass, Billy Gunn. He gives Bradshaw a Fame-Asser. Rhyno with a spinebuster on Tajiri as Gunn fails to eliminate TWGTT. Tajiri with the handspring elbow on Haas. Angle hooks the Ankle-Lock on Benjamin, but Gunn interrupts. #9 is The Big Show, the runner up of the other Rumble. Everyone stops to witness his entrance. It's a dog pile, but Show fights them off. Tajiri is thrown out via chokeslam at 9:24, and Bradshaw practically throws himself out at 9:43. Angle tries for a German suplex, but Show butts him off. John Cena is #10... hey, wait, wasn't Big Show the U.S. Champion? Damn, did that title become worthless with Big Show as Champion. He literally defended it THREE TIMES in a 6 month reign. Once against Billy friggin' Gunn. Anyway, back to the Rumble: Cena is #10, and he has a large brace on the knee he tweaked at the PPV. Cena with clotheslines, knocking Show to the apron, but not the floor.

Back from commercial, as we see Cena eliminated Nunzio with an F-U. Looks like A-Train also joined the Rumble. #13 is Eddie Guerrero, filling the spot vacated by Chris Benoit, and he was attacked during the show, probably by Chavo and Chavo (or at least that's why Mysterio believes), so he's selling an injury. A-Train quickly attacks, but gets thrown out at 12:10. Show attacks with a headbutt, laying Guerrero out. #14 is Rikishi (no one cares). Maybe he and Show will eliminate each other to get rid of the suck in the ring. Sorry, forgot Gunn's in there, too. Show can stay if Gunn goes. Rikishi with crescent kicks to the Big Show, setting him up for his only spot: Stinkface. Then, in the FUNNIEST MOMENT EVER, Benjamin screams in terror as Rikishi delivers a Stink Face to him, too. Text can't describe that reaction. Off the charts. #15 is... Hardcore Holly? Zuh? Who's he replacing? Looks like Matt Morgan is unaccounted for. Maybe Holly beat the crap out of him to teach respect. Holly goes to work on Gunn, for the hell of it, I guess. Cena tries to fireman carry Show, unsuccessfully. Show ends up tossing him at 15:27. Everyone gangs up on Show and finally toss him out at 16:00, with plenty of help from Cena. We get a replay of eliminations, just for the hell of it. Eddie with a hurricanrana on Haas, but it's blown, so Eddie just casually tosses him at 18:02. Dammit, Haas! Don't botch Rumble eliminations. Angle clotheslines Benjamin out at 18:19. Angle-Slam to Rikishi, and Eddie follows with the Frog Splash. Angle tosses Holly at 18:45. Holly, sore-loser of all time, whines. Gunn reminds us all he's still in the match, only to be thrown out by Guerrero at 19:35. Despite a valiant effort of fending off two of the best wrestlers in the WWE, Angle and Eddie team up to toss Rikishi at 21:37, leaving the two of them to battle it out. As if anyone bought him as a possible winner, anyway.

Angle grabs a waistlock and brings Eddie to the canvas. Eddie with an elbow to the side of the head to break. Angle charges and almost gets back dropped out because of it. Guerrero with rights, and Angle with the trio of German suplex. Angle tries to back suplex Eddie out, but he hangs onto the top rope. Eddie grabs the leg through the ropes and slaps on an Ankle-Lock. Angle rolls through and counters with the same. He throws Eddie across the top rope and reapplies the hold. Eddie uses the momentum to take the both of them over, but both land on the apron and re-enter the ring. Whip to the ropes, Eddie with an elbow, followed by a snap suplex... and it's Three Amigo's time! Eddie to the top rope, but Angle runs up the ropes to cut him off. They both end up being crotched across the top rope, and once again, both hang on to avoid elimination. Slugfest, whip to the ropes, Angle grabs a sleeper. This lasts a surprisingly long time, but not long enough to make a complaint about it. Eddie slowly makes it back to his feet, then uses a leverage throw to send Angle over the ropes. Angle teases elimination from the apron, but saves himself by ramming a shoulder into the midsection. He tries to suplex Eddie out, but Eddie counters and drops Angle to the floor for the victory at 29:36 (minus three commercial breaks). that last 8 or so minutes was some pretty good drama and decent wrestling, of course. The Rumble leading up to the final two was standard fare, with some hugging, big spots, and a comedy routine, but things really picked up nicely once it came down to Eddie and Angle. This of course set up Angle's heel turn (yes, another) and eventually lead to Angle challenging Eddie for the title at WrestleMania XX.

Final Thoughts: Just like the Royal Rumble PPV, the "undercard" stuff is mostly trash, but Mysterio/Noble was considerably better this time around with more than double the time given for their previous match. The Rumble Match itself isn't a classic or must-see, but it's a satisfying watch, and at the time, really came across as a big deal to see, given away for free on broadcast television. I'm not going to do a recommendation for a weekly show, but it's a memorable episode of Smackdown from an era when the show was on the verge of becoming a second-rate joke.

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