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WWF Smackdown - January 31, 2002
by Scrooge McSuck
Taped on January 29th from the Scope in Norfolk, VA, with approximately 8,434 in attendance. Michael Cole and Jerry "The King" Lawler are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. The only stuff not taped for TV included Orlando Jordan going over Jim Jeffries and a posedown featuring Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson against Chuck and Billy. That last one would be done almost weekly, sometimes with Stacy involved, but always against Chuck and Billy. This past Monday Night on Raw, Steve Austin earned the right to challenge Chris Jericho for the Undisputed Title, there appears to be trouble in paradise for Mr. and Mrs Helmsley, and Ric Flair's deadline to answer Mr. McMahon's demands will expire tonight. In tonight's Main Event, Triple H teams with The Rock to take on Kurt Angle and The Undertaker!
Non-Title Match: Chris Jericho (Undisputed Champion) vs. Tazz:
Tazz is still one-half of the reigning Tag Team Champions along with Little Spike Dudley, but obviously that wouldn't be on the line unless we had Vince Russo booking. If Jericho vs. Tazz wasn't a weird enough match for our Undisputed Champion, Jackie is the referee of the contest. At this point I'm having a hard time accepting Jericho's reign as the 3rd most important part of the weekly package, with the Undertaker/Maven drama feeling more important. Cole notes Tazz is sticking up for his Tough Enough student Maven by taking this match. Tazz doesn't waste time, throwing a series of rights. Jericho avoids a back body-drop but gets caught with an overhead throw. Jericho powders, with Tazz in hot pursuit. Back inside, Jericho surprises Tazz with a diving forearm. Tazz meets a boot in the corner but recovers quickly enough to catch Jericho with another capture suplex. Tazz with a Judo throw, followed by a clothesline. Jericho's DDT is countered with a Northern Lights suplex for two. Jericho bounces back with a bulldog, but Tazz rolls away from the Lionsault. Tazz hooks the Tazzmission, but Jericho bumps Jackie away, hits a low-blow to break the hold, and finishes with "The Breakdown" at 2:33. The Breakdown was that forward face-buster out of a full nelson stance, for those like me that forget. Afterwards, Jackie has words for Jericho and he puts her in the Walls of Jericho for the hell of it.
The APA are backstage doing what they do when they're joined by the stars of Rollerball, LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, and Chris Klein.
Ric Flair not waiting until the top of the hour for his appearance, coming to the ring to hopefully make his decision regarding Vince's ultimatum quickly. Did you know we're in Flair territory? Can't run TV through the Carolina's, Virginia, or Georgia without mentioning it 67 times. As usual, Flair opens his promo by addressing his history in the area. He was tasked in making the correct decision for "the greatest Sports Entertainment company in the world." Very next sentence features the word "wrestlers". He's here tonight to say goodbye. A year ago, he didn't get to say goodbye to anyone (except for the promo that opened the last Nitro where he basically said goodbye). The crowd doesn't accept his resignation. He says guys like Austin, Rock, Undertaker, the Hardys, the Dudleys, and Jericho don't need to know what it's like to deal with the nWo. I'm sorry, did he say JERICHO? THE GUY WHO LEFT WCW BECAUSE HE WAS TIRED OF BEING TREATED AS A MID-CARD GUY WITH NO CHANCE TO MOVE BEYOND THAT LEVEL? Flair has made his choice to sell his stock and leaves the microphone in the ring.
WWF European Championship Match:
Christian (c ) vs. Diamond Dallas Page:
Last week on Sunday Night Heat, DDP pinned Christian in a non-title match and scored the fall in a tag team match against Christian and Lance Storm on Raw, so momentum is on his side at the moment. Christian opens with a slap, then quickly leads DDP on a ringside chase. Christian gets the jump on DDP trying to get back in the ring, but that's short-lived, as DDP plants him with a tilt-o-whirl slam, followed by a discus lariat for two. Christian slips out of the ring again and hangs DDP across the top rope. He leaves out to dry with a suplex and shoulder bops him into the barricade. Back inside, Christian slaps on a sleeper, immediately broken with elbows to the midsection. Whip is reversed and DDP with a spinning sleeper slam. DDP with a Liger-Bomb for a near-fall. Whip to the corner, DDP slides to the floor and pulls Christian into the post. He goes for the Diamond Cutter, but Christian holds the ropes to avoid the impact and tries using the ropes for leverage on a pin attempt. Christian counters another Cutter with the reverse DDT, but that only gets two. DDP counters the Unprettier with the Diamond Cutter for three and the European Championship at 4:04. I know it's the least meaningful singles belt for the men to win, but this was still a surprise considering how little DDP was utilized in the final months of 2001. Good action while it lasted.
Vince McMahon arrives to finalize the deal with Ric Flair.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are... Robert DeNiro, Cape Fear, 1991." Goldust says he's tired of the waiting and the hiding. The madness won't end, it will simply begin, THIS MONDAY NIGHT. This Monday Night, Goldust will reveal himself "to him", and promises it will be a bumpy night. Monday Night, he will never forget the name "Goldust."
Earlier in the week, Jim Ross taped a sit-down interview with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. I'll get the popcorn. Ross says that Stephanie's career is on the downside since the failure of trying to put the WWF out of business and some suggest she's hanging on to Triple H's coattails to maintain relevancy. Stephanie claims she nursed her husband back to health and puts over her role in the Alliance, then pushing the blame on Shane for their shortcomings. We replay the finish of Triple H vs Booker T on Monday Night Raw, where Stephanie's involvement leads to Hunter's defeat. In her defense, one isolated incident shouldn't tell the whole story of their relationship. I didn't need to see the terrible acting from Raw for a second time, to be honest. Stephanie does the worst fake cry as we come out of the replay. Ross brings up Stephanie's alleged infidelities earlier in her relationship with Triple H, then asks if she thinks he would be capable of the same. Stephanie says no other woman is as good looking, intelligent, "as good in bed" as she is. Please, I'll watch 2-hours of nothing but Austin's "What" promos. MAKE. THIS. STOP. Stephanie says she'll prove to everyone how much Triple H loves her and how perfect their marriage is.
More APA and the cast of Rollerball playing cards, with Rebecca Romijn-Stamos chomping on a cigar. Booker T interrupts, looking for answers from LL Cool J about not getting an invitation to the premiere of the movie. He's a 5-time WCW Champion and the man who single-handedly whooped Triple H on Raw. LL says there's no room for a man in the movie who got his butt kicked in a grocery store. Booker tells Bradshaw and Faarooq to lace them up and he'll find himself a partner.
Edge & Rob Van Dam vs. The Dudley Boyz (w/ Stacy Keibler):
William Regal joins the commentary team for this match, and yes, referee Jimmy Kordera searches him for the brass knuckles. Why the Dudley Boyz decided to get involved in the beef Edge and RVD has with Regal is anyone's guess at this point. Edge and RVD hit the ring and immediately bail to take some shots at Regal. OK, I didn't expect that and it was great. Edge and D'Von start formally. Edge with a reverse DDT and RVD with Rolling Thunder for two. RVD avoids a charge to the corner, but Bubba whacks him in the opposite corner and D'Von takes him down with a super-sized neck breaker for a near-fall. Bubba with a hangman's neck breaker, followed by a pair of elbow drops for another two-count. Stacy sits on Regal's lap, and wouldn't you know it, tucked in her skirt is a pair of brass knuckles. Back to the action, RVD comes off the ropes with a spinning heel kick. Michael Cole notes that Edge was fined for his assault on WWF officials. Good to know. Edge with the hot tag, running wild on Bubba with a clothesline and spinning heel kick. Edge busts out his own neck breaker but D'Von makes the save. Bubba with a clothesline, taking Edge and himself over the top rope. RVD with a trap heel kick on D'Von, followed by the 5-Star Frog Splash. Bubba back in with a Powerbomb to RVD. Edge hits the Spear and... Bubba Ray kicks out at two?! Regal hops on the apron, whiffs with the Power of the Punch, and Edge finishes with the Edge-ecution at 3:51. I don't know if they muffed the finish or something, but Edge's Spear was usually well protected.
Booker T is still steamed about being disrespected by LL Cool J. Luckily, Test is in the building and willing to reform their team just to impress Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.
Lillian Garcia catches up with Kurt Angle, annoying him about how he "lost his shot" at the Undisputed Championship, then reminding Kurt that he technically never won the Royal Rumble. Angle says he's better, tougher, and stronger than Triple H, and plans to go "Olympic on his a$$."
Ric Flair mumbles some words at the Rock as he's warming up for his match.
The APA vs. Booker T & Test:
Bradshaw and Faarooq come to the ring with Chris Klein, LL Cool J, and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. I think I've seen Rollerball once, and that was more than enough. I can't tell if they remixed Test's music again or if I forgot how it sounded. No time wasted getting the action started, with the APA controlling early. Test trips up Faarooq, pulls him to the outside, and rams him face-first into the table. He wastes time flirting with Romijn-Stamos and gets jumped by Bradshaw. Back inside, Booker unloads on Faarooq in the corner. Whip is reversed but Faarooq meets an elbow. He shrugs it off and catches Booker with a powerslam. Bradshaw in, running through Test with a shoulder block, followed by a big boot and clothesline that sends him to the floor. Test and Bradshaw brawl at ringside as Booker hits Faarooq with a scissors-kick. Test loads up for the boot, hitting Booker T by mistake. Faarooq counters a Pump-Handle Slam and Bradshaw finishes with the Clothesline From Hell at 2:39. I honestly expected some gaga from LL Cool J, but I guess not. APA does celebrate with the guests after the bell.
Triple H & The Rock vs. Kurt Angle & The Undertaker:
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Ric Flair selling his stock to Vince McMahon is the "Main Event" segment for this week. Does anyone else remember the Undertaker is the Hardcore Champion? I guess THAT is the lowest tier belt for the men. Even though nothing is official, you can draw your own conclusion when it comes to the involvement of all four men at the upcoming "No Way Out" PPV. Triple H and Angle tease starting. Undertaker comes in wanting the Rock, but it all ends up with Angle jumping Hunter. The early advantage doesn't last, as Angle meets a boot in the corner and has his leg wrapped around the post. Triple H with a chop block, followed by a series of elbows across the knee. Taker with a big boot to save Angle from the Pedigree. Taker in officially, working Hunter over in the corner. Angle with the German suplex train, then a cheap shot at the Rock for the hell of it. Hunter counters the Angle Slam and hits a German suplex of his own. Rock tags in for the first time and hammers on Angle with right hands. Whip is reversed and Rock hits a diving clothesline. Rock knocks Taker off the apron and plants Angle with a spine-buster, but Taker is back to interrupt the People's Elbow. Angle and Hunter draw the attention of the referee while Taker works Rock over at ringside. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate this version of the Undertaker? Rock teases his own comeback, taking Angle down with a dragon screw and applying the Sharpshooter, but here comes Taker to save again. Taker with the illegal switch, grinding his elbow across the face of the Rock. Another Rock comeback is cut short, with Taker blocking the Rock Bottom. Rock blocks a Chokeslam and hits a DDT. Hunter with the hot tag, running wild on both men. Taker gets sent to the outside and a high knee to Angle gets a near-fall. Angle counters the mounted rights with an inverted atomic drop. Whip to the ropes and Hunter counters a back body-drop with a knee to the face. Helmsley with the Pedigree, but Taker breaks the pin with a chair shot, drawing the DQ at 8:50. Taker looks to add further punishment, but Rock interrupts and clears Taker out. Rock undresses the announce table, buying Taker time to recover. The referee interrupts Taker's attempt to ram a chair into Rock's throat, but the fight continues and Rock puts Taker through the table with a Rock Bottom. Meanwhile, Angle has Triple H trapped in the Ankle-Lock until a group of officials force him off. Lots of after-the-bell gaga to an OK match. **¼
Ric Flair continues his goodbyes, this time with Arn Anderson, who's role in the company is never identified, he just shows up from time to time.
With about 13-minutes left of TV time, Mr. McMahon and his legal representatives come to the ring to make the deal official. Lawler talks about this making it to CNN and all the other news networks for how big of a deal this is. McMahon says he's not here to publicly humiliate Ric Flair, because he's a bigger man than that. He's here to teach Flair and everyone in attendance a lesson. Perception is not always reality. Flair is perceived to be a great Champion and one of the all-time greats. In the ring, Ric Flair IS a winner, then again, in life, Flair is a loser, and tonight proves it. The Ric Flair's of the life when pitted against the McMahon's of the world always lose. McMahon wants it known that the documents he's about to sign state he owns 100% of the WWF. Unfortunately, Flair inserted a clause that says Vince is prohibited from bringing in the nWo. McMahon has Flair's music cut as he makes his way out for the last time. Vince says he feels bad for Flair because they heard his last "Woo" in a town like Norfolk, VA. Whatever Flair does, it better not be having second thoughts in signing the document. Flair steps away from the table, frustrating McMahon. Flair signs his first name, which should be enough as there is representation of both parties to witness, but before he finishes, here comes "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. He heckles McMahon with "What" chants. Austin says Vince is a pathetic jacka$$ and miserable piece of trash. Austin polls the audience whether or not Flair should tear up the contract and tell McMahon to go to hell. The overwhelming reaction is "Hell Yeah." McMahon takes a shot at Flair, so Flair fires back and tears up the documents as Austin hits McMahon with a Stunner.
Final Thoughts: We've got a lot of moving parts as No Way Out approaches. Though nothing is official, there's high probability we see singles matches between Angle/Triple H and Rock/Undertaker underneath Austin and Jericho for the Undisputed Title, and we're all but guaranteed Regal defending the Intercontinental Title, but it's unclear if Edge or RVD is the clear path. DDP winning the European Championship is a nice moment for a guy who was completely written off TV during the final months of the Invasion, and hey, maybe you're a big fan of LL Cool J and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. You can check out this episode for them having fun with the APA.
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