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WWF Smackdown - March 21, 2002

by Scrooge McSuck

Triple H

Taped on March 19th from the Corel Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Michael Cole and Jerry "The King” Lawler are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. In matches taped for Sunday Night Heat, Val Venis defeated Lance Storm, Kane and the Big Show defeated The Dudley Boyz, Rikishi defeated Goldust, and Rob Van Dam defeated Mr. Perfect. In Dark matches, Tommy Dreamer defeated Randy Orton, and the team of Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert defeated Justin Credible and Billy Kidman.

We get a lengthy recap of the Hulk Hogan saga that played out across WrestleMania and the night after on Monday Night Raw. Tonight, The Rock takes on Kevin Nash in the Main Event!

Edge vs. Booker T:

Kurt Angle joins commentary for the match. We're reminded of Edge pinning Angle on Raw, but Angle of course has an excuse tucked up his sleeve claiming it was Kane's fault he lost the match, but then brags about his victory over Kane, despite needing to use the ropes. I'm going to wager that Angle does something to cost Edge the match, because that's how things always seemed to play out. Now let's see if I'm correct (and as usual in this game, I don't look up the results, nor have prior knowledge of the finishes): Lockup and Booker with a knee to the midsection. He lays into Edge with chops in the corner. Whip is reversed, Edge slides to the floor, picks the ankle, and hits Booker with a flying clothesline for two. Edge with a back breaker as Angle gloats about being the #1 draft pick. Whip and Edge with a clothesline for two. Booker cuts Edge off with a clothesline of his own and puts the boots to him. Edge fights out of a chin-lock and plants Booker face-first with a flapjack. Edge with an inverted atomic drop and diving forearm. Edge climbs the ropes, but Angle hops on the apron for a distraction. Edge boots him down and hits a body press to the outside. Back in the ring, Edge avoids the Scissors Kick and yanks Booker backwards with a sit-out drop. Booker whacks Teddy Long with a heel kick, knocking him goofy. Edge with the Spear, but no count. Angle comes in, hits Edge with the Angle Slam, and Booker finishes with the Scissors Kick at 4:30. YES! I just won an imaginary bet with myself on a match from 22 years ago! Booker celebrates with a spin-a-rooni. Perfectly fine action, and a finish that clearly establishes a rivalry between Angle and Edge.

Vince McMahon and "Hollywood” Hulk Hogan run into each other backstage. Vince wants to remind everyone that he invented Sports Entertainment and he made Hulk Hogan. Every time Hogan goes into business for himself, he falls flat on his red and yellow bleep. Turning his back on the nWo isn't cool, "brother”, but he wants to know if Hulk Hogan wants to be the #1 draft pick. Vince offers to let him have the night off, but Hogan insists on hanging around.

The APA are enjoying a game of card and about 12 beers. William Regal walks in, and does the same gimmick he did on Monday Night Raw, planting the seeds that they could end up on separate brands after Monday Night's draft. Cute moment where they say they've already been drafted: Faarooq by the Cleveland Browns, and Bradshaw by the LA Raiders. Regal wanders into the path of DDP, who doesn't understand why he keeps bringing up the negatives about the draft, and blames it on Regal losing the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania. Regal suggests DDP put his European Championship on the line tonight.

Scott Hall and Kevin Nash are backstage, strategizing for tonight's match with The Rock. Nash says he'll do what Hogan couldn't do at WrestleMania and kick his bleep. I guess we'll ignore Hogan pinned the Rock two weeks ago on Monday Night Raw.

Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Jazz & Ivory:

I'm glad to see Trish and Lita went from wanting to rip each other apart to teaming again for the sake of squashing Ivory's randomly renewed push (yes, it's probably giving her something to do as she served time as a trainer on Tough Enough, but by 2002, she feels really out of place on the roster). Trish and Ivory start. Lockup and Ivory grabs a side headlock. Trish counters a hammer-lock with an elbow to the chin, but Ivory remains in control with clubbing blows. Whip to the ropes, Trish counters a back body-drop attempt and rolls Ivory up for a two-count. Ivory with the quick recovery, laying out Trish with a clothesline. She dishes out the punishment in the corner but is caught by surprise with a flying body press. Jazz tags in and connects with a jumping leg drop for a two-count. She unloads with rights and takes a shot at Lita napping on the apron. Double Boston Crab from Ivory and Jazz while the referee tries to keep Lita from getting in the ring. Jazz misses a huge dive into the corner, allowing Lita to get the hot tag. She runs wild with clotheslines and takes Ivory down with a spinning head-scissors. Jazz with the cut-off, but she misses the tag from Trish and gets hit with a flying body press for a near-fall. Trish avoids a double clothesline, Lita pulls Ivory to the floor, and the combination Chick Kick and Stratusfaction bulldog puts Jazz away at 4:17. Much better than I expected (based on the match between Trish and Lita on Raw).

Lillian Garcia is backstage with Rob Van Dam, asking the hard questions about the brand split. His answer is "whatever”, because no matter where he goes, he'll still be Rob Van Dam. I guess they didn't want him using that other catchphrase from ECW.

WWF European Championship Match:
Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. William Regal:

Nice to see Regal getting title opportunities immediately after losing a title. I'm positive that most fans forget the European Title was still around in 2002 (not for much longer, at least). Lockup and Regal with a side headlock. Whip to the ropes and Regal with a shoulder block, followed by a series of pin attempts. DDP reverses a whip to the corner and takes Regal over with a ba-a-a-a-a-ack body drop. Short-clothesline from DDP as Cole and Lawler speculate how the draft will unfold. Regal blocks a Diamond Cutter and comes off the ropes with a knee to the side of the head. DDP battles back but Regal traps the ankle to snuff it out. Regal with his signature neck breaker for a near-fall. Regal wastes time playing to the crowd, opening the door for another comeback attempt. DDP with a big clothesline and Liger-Bomb for a two-count. Knee to the chest and a DDT but here's Christian to pull DDP off Regal. POWER OF THE PUNCH CONNECTS and Regal locks in the Regal Stretch to win the European Championship for a third time at 3:55. Christian celebrates like he won the match himself. Clunky match and a lame finish to do a title change for the sake of doing a title change.

Chris Jericho comes to the ring, still accompanied by Stephanie McMahon. It was announced on Raw that Triple H will defend the Undisputed Title against Jericho AND Stephanie in a Handicap Match, with Stephanie's WWF career on the line (I know, I'm laughing too). Jericho tells everyone to enjoy seeing him without the title, because it won't last. Triple H may have robbed him of his Championship, but the people will not rob him of his dignity. Remember, he's the man who beat The Rock and Steve Austin IN THE SAME NIGHT. Triple H knows he can't beat him (Jericho) twice, that's why he inserted Stephanie into their match. The crowd poorly attempts to sing the goodbye song at Stephanie. They're interrupted by Triple H, who doesn't seem too impressed by Jericho's threats. "Liberace called and said he wants his pajamas back.” Triple H shows off a video package cleverly titled "Stephanie's Most Embarrassing Moments”, including Austin dumping a beer on her head, Jericho making fun of her breast augmentation surgery, and Triple H tainting her lotion, causing her to break out in disgusting hives (among many others). You know, I forgot how often Stephanie was given her comeuppance, because the entire run of the Authority wiped it all from my memory. Stephanie makes a slight change to the match. It will no longer be a handicap match, but a TRIPLE THREAT. Jericho seems surprised by the announcement. She says it will be Hunter's ultimate humiliation to lose the title to her. She vows to leave Raw as the first-ever FEMALE World Wrestling Federation Champion. That announcement landed as well as a WTC joke after 9/11.

Lillian Garcia catches up with Chris Jericho, who seems happy that he can take advantage of the stipulation and win the title simply by pinning Stephanie.

Tajiri (w/ Torrie Wilson) vs. Test:

Tajiri is STILL the reigning Cruiserweight Champion. Please tell me the last time he defended the title on primetime TV. Also, WHY IS HE FIGHTING A GUY SO FAR OUT OF THE CRUISERWEIGHT WEIGHT LIMITS?! Test opens with a knee to the midsection. Whip to the ropes, Tajiri ducks a clothesline and connects with a spinning heel kick. He climbs the ropes, but Test straddles him across the top turnbuckle and puts the boots to the back of his head. Whip to the corner and Test charges in with a clothesline. One more time for fun, followed by a short clothesline for a two-count. Test plants Tajiri with a slam but misses an elbow drop. Tajiri lays Test out with a standing heel kick. He avoids snake eyes and plants Test with a tornado DDT for a two-count. Whip is reversed, Test misses the charge and is briefly caught in the Tarantula. Test blocks a sunset flip but is caught with a kick to the back of the head. Buzzsaw Kick misses and Test connects with the Full Nelson Slam for two. Torrie hops on the apron and gets shoved to the floor. Tajiri takes advantage of the distraction and hits a roundhouse kick for two. Whip is blocked and Test finishes with his signature big boot at 3:54. Crowd got into it as it went along, and overall the action was fine, but damn if Tajiri isn't a geek, and his girlfriend being manhandled along the way was extra topping on the bottom-feeder sundae.

Vince McMahon has a pep talk for Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Vince has arranged it that the nWo can only be drafted as a unit, and is convinced Ric Flair doesn't want anything to do with more nWo poison.

The Hurricane vs. Mighty Molly:

I guess this is the fallout from their little tiff during WrestleMania X-8 when Molly whacked Hurricane with a frying pan to win the Hardcore Championship. I 100% forgot Molly had her own version of the Hurricane theme music. Lawler calls this Batman fighting Robin or Aquaman fighting Wonder Woman. Molly explains herself and offers a handshake, only to surprise Hurricane with a big boot. He teases a Chokeslam, but walks away, only for Molly to jump him from behind. Whip to the corner and Molly with the handspring elbow, followed by a dropkick. Hurricane dumps Molly to the outside but resists diving off the top. Suddenly, Brock Lesnar shows up and hits Hurricane with the F-5. Call this a No Contest at 1:00. Molly climbs into the ring and gets her head taken off with a clothesline. Having Brock lay waste to the underneath guys and gals is a great way to introduce him.

The Undertaker is WALKING. Michael Cole calls him "The Red Devil.” I guess Cole didn't like "Booger Red” as much as Jim Ross. He bursts into Ric Flair's office and wants Flair to know that he wants to be drafted to Monday Night Raw so every day of his (Flair) life can be a WrestleMania moment (because Taker whooped his butt in a WrestleMania Moment).

Billy and Chuck strategize and introduce the world to their new stylist, Rico. He makes fun of their head bands being crooked and their choice of color scheme (black and red). Rico (formerly Rico Costantino) was a decent OVW prospect, but pushing 40 years old in an era where Vince was somewhat interested in a youth movement, it was a surprise he was called up at all. It's a requirement to remind everyone he was an American Gladiators Champion as well as a career in law enforcement.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Billy & Chuck (c) (w/ Rico) vs. The Hardy Boyz:

Lawler asks why Jeff was wearing a jock strap on his face. I'm sorry, did I miss an Aldo Montoya appearance?! Rico comes to the ring without an introduction. What a weird way to introduce someone to the live audience. Chuck and Matt start. Matt grabs a waist-lock and transitions to a side headlock. Chuck misses a charge to the corner and gets rolled up for a two-count. Chuck with a big clothesline, but Matt quickly cuts him off with a swinging neck breaker. Billy tags in and is immediately caught on the wrong side of town. Whip is reversed and Jeff with a body press for two. Chuck with a handful of hair from the apron, allowing Billy to recover and hit Jeff with a tilt-o-whirl slam. Jeff fights to his feet but Chuck cuts him off with an elbow. Jeff ducks a double clothesline and hits the Champions with a double dropkick. Matt with a lukewarm reception for the hot tag. The Hardy's run wild together with the referee making no effort in getting someone out of the ring. Poetry in Motion misses but Matt hits Billy with a DDT. Chuck shoves Jeff off the top rope to interrupt the Swanton Bomb. Flying leg drop from Matt, but Rico throws Jeff into the ring, interrupting the cover. Rico hangs Matt across the top rope and Billy finishes with the Famouser at 3:38. All these matches are getting the same amount of time and are all perfectly fine, though unremarkable.

The Rock vs. Kevin Nash (w/ Scott Hall):

Quite the Main Event, at least in a "dream match” sort of way. Imagine booking shows around dream matches and no other reason to care about them. Wait… you mean Rock and the nWo have pre-existing animosity? OK, my bad, I'll think twice about making that joke again. Speaking of jokes, was it really necessary for all the nWo gear to have "nWo” and their names in the nWo font all over it? Nash has "nWo” on his chest, both back pockets of his pants, AND with his name on the right pants leg. Jesus. Slugfest to start, with Nash cutting Rock off with a short clothesline. Nash pounds away and rolls snake eyes. Hall holds Rock in place across the rope as Nash comes down across the back with a seated splash. Hall with another cheap shot while the referee is distracted. Nash delivers his blows with a slow, methodical rhythm to them. Nash asks "who's your b*tch” now as he continues to dish out the punishment. Rock battles back with rights but is cut off and dumped over the top rope. Rock avoids snake eyes, sending Nash into the post. Hall interferes again, letting Nash regain control. Back inside, Nash with the side slam for a two-count. We get a LONG bearhug spot, setting up another hope spot from the Rock. He hits Nash with a diving clothesline and DDT. Hall hops in the ring and is sent packing. Spinebuster to Nash, followed by the People's Elbow but Hall breaks the count for the cheap Disqualification at 7:10.

Rock fights off a Razor's Edge attempt and undresses the ringside table, but the numbers quickly catch up to him and Nash puts him through the table with a Jackknife. Hulk Hogan finally shows up (with knee brace on) to fight for the Rock's honor. He gives both Hall and Nash the big boot and leg drop treatment, but here's X-Pac, returning from a six month hiatus, to join the nWo and leave Hogan a bloody mess with a chair shot. Hogan had one of the most obvious gig routines I've ever seen. They continue to batter Hogan with the chair and tag him to add insult to injury. X-Pac screaming he's waited four years for this is a nice touch to his return promo the night after WrestleMania XIV. The match was mostly nothing, but the post-match (somewhat) made up for it. Oh, and X-Pac has no less than FOUR nWo logos on his gear (he's ditched the singlet and long tights for shorts).

Final Thoughts: An easy episode to get through this week, though the HHH/Jericho/Steph segment ran a little longer than I would've hoped for. We're tying up some loose ends as the draft approaches, introducing new talent (Brock Lesnar and Rico) to the audience, and bringing X-Pac back from hiatus to add another body to the nWo following Hogan's defection. My only serious complaint is taking the European Title off DDP, but the belt is knocking on death's door and DDP's in-ring career (at least for the WWF) wasn't long for the world, so hardly the worst offenses. Next up is the Draft Day episode of Raw as we finally reach the period I've been looking forward to all along: the roster splits, meaning I don't have to worry about watching the same handful of people endlessly fighting each other across both shows.

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