The 1/15/04 Swift Smackdown Report

This is the first week where I've remembered that it was Thursday in ages, let alone remembered to watch this show. If this week was any indication, I haven't missed a fucking thing.


-- Despite the fact that I'm sick of GMs and everything related, Paul Heyman is the best of a bad lot. John Cena comes out and even when he's Fed-Exing his rap in (this was so one of the Bottom 5 Cena raps ever), it's STILL entertaining. The "ssshhh" thing was particularly fun. Rhino beats him down, a related point of which is down south a bit.

-- The segment hyping the house shows was actually pretty effective, I think. However, I think Trish's idea was way better. The cynical part of me wonders how much the fact that the idea was posed by a woman had to do with it getting shot down so quickly.

-- Battle Royales are fine, when the situation calls for them. However, a 3-person battle royale is stupid enough, and the idiot factor hurtles upwards exponentially when it's a 3-person battle royale involving the members of the same stable. Yeah, Heyman's a jerk...WE FUCKING GET IT. However, Nunzio was all kinds of awesome as the sneaky heel here, so it scrapes up here by the hair on its chinny-chin-chin. Special commendation goes to Nunzio's goofy sell of that first punch from Palumbo, and his over-the-top celebration...magnifique. (Nunzio beat Chuck Palumbo and Johnny Stamboli: Palumbo eliminated Johnny the Bull, Jungle Kick, 2:20; Nunzio eliminated Palumbo, tossed him over the top, 2:21). The funny thing is that they used this segment on Smackdown for a guy that they're probably going to sacrifice in four seconds to a waste of oxygen like Goldberg anyway. Fantabulous.

-- Speaking of wonderfully over-the-top, Eddie's backstage promo after Chavo Sr. turned on him was neat.

-- So, the main event. They trade halfway-decent lariats, then Cena's miserable attempt at a dropkick entertains more than his rap did earlier in the evening. A weird-looking shoulderbock is next, and it occurs to me that Cena hasn't come anywhere close to the in-ring Leap that Randy Orton has recently made. Yikes. Rhino tries to get counted out, and considering the stipulations, that works. He works the ribs a bit (to set up the Gore, which is all good), then goes into a very neat kneeling version of the Goku-Raku-Gatame (ask if you don't know what that is). It doesn't make any sense towards his gameplan, but I much prefer that as a resthold than a chinlock, that's for sure. However, realizing that the Jinsei Shinzaki page of the ECW Alumnae Playbook isn't going to work, he opts for the Sandman one instead -- that is, beating the hell out of him with a singapore cane (sadly, no smokes, beers, or 27-minute long entrance accompanied by Metallica's "Enter Sandman". He gets some near-falls out of that, then brawls on the outside a bit...this is all fine so far. He gets a chair, but fails to either do a drop-toe hold onto it, or spingboard moonsault off it, thus killing the "Ex-ECW" theme...shit, he could have just cracked him in the head like Balls Mahoney.That said, he did hit him in the ribs, which I suppose I have to grudingly admit works in the framework of the match. The chair gets wedged into the corner, and Cena reverses a whip into it for the transition. He hits the Throwback (a standing version of the Buff Blockbuster, which is pretty fuckin' cool...hadn't seen that before), and a pretty nice downward elbowstrike off the second rope. So, I guess it isn't that he lacks interesting moves, it's just the getting there that's the problem for him (and good god, his finisher. If you're going to do a Death Valley Driver, do a Death Valley Driver. The F-U isn't much better than the World's Strongest Slam, truth be told). He goes for the F-U, but Heyman runs in for the low blow. With the stips involved, that's actually a pretty decent transisition back to Rhino's offense. Nice old-school belly-to-belly and some brawling outside, and then...HEYMAN, GET THE TABLES (which is funny, because I think several of his former workers are waiting and/or bussing them now). That takes us to commercial (grrrrrrrrr...), and after half of forever, we come back to Rhino slamming him onto the table. Small detail: It was unfolded and laying on the mat. He goes into the "Hey! I'm going to miss this highspot I'm about to do" slow climb up the buckles, and HEY! He did miss that diving headbutt after all! I'm a GENIUS! Rhino is back in control right after, though, and sets up the table in the corner. Then, he spinebusters Cena AWAY from it. If anyone out there follows that logic, please let me know. After a long double-KO spot, I'm sure you feel the same shock (AND AWE) that I do when Rhino Gores himself through the table. Cena takes out Heyman, and gets the F-U this time for the win. These guys' styles mesh pretty well, and Rhino having most of the offense is a nice way to cover up Cena's dearth of offensive capabilities, so to speak. Perfectly Acceptable main event, and compared to the rest of the show, this looked like Benoit-Angle at last year's Royal Rumble by comparison. (John Cena beat Rhino, F-U, 12:52 aired)


-- Yeah, so Tajiri and Noble have a match. Tajiri kicks him a whole bunch (the awesomeness of which vaults it up here), there were about four and a half zillion run-ins, and Noble gets one move for the win. I love throwaway television matches...especially when they're # 1 Contenders' matches for a division that they've always struggled with in terms of getting it over. Gee, I wonder why. (Jamie Noble beat Tajiri, Tiger Driver, 3:21)

-- Dawn Marie is still alive! Woah! You know, it kills me...there is a distinct possibility that she makes more money doing the occasional spot duty for Smackdown than her man, Simon Diamond, makes for busting his ass on the independent scene. (Random: I was one of the biggest Simon/Swinger fans there was around the time of ECW dying...I think it even should have been them feuding with Tajiri/Whipwreck rather than the FBI....them, I'd have had feuding against each other.)

-- Many blessings on Team Angle (Goddamn, that other name is just so long and hideous) for trying, but the Basham Brothers have unique powers of amnesia -- you completely forget about their match the millisecond it's over. So yeah, the Bashams work over Shelton Benjamin a bit with absolutely nothing of interest. Even as I fast-forward (oh calm down, I actually watched the match as I was taping the show), I'm falling asleep. Then, it gets all sloppy with the backdrops segment (because fucking hell if it isn't a WWF match without about 39 back bodydrops), and all of a sudden, Shelton gets his superkick on one of the Bashams (the two faces of boredom look exactly alike, I have to say), into a nice flipping cradle from Haas for the win. The result is good, but man oh man was the journey dull. (Charlie Haas(win)/Shelton Benjamin beat Doug Basham(announcers say it was him who lost, so I'll take their word for it)/Danny Basham, superkick -> flipping cradle, 4:00

-- Everyone in the arena and at home (hell, children still with three or four months left until they're actually born) knew that Chavo Sr. was going to turn on Eddie. And, I dig the whole Cheating to Win thing enough to put it up in The Good, but FUCKING HELL, THIS DRAGGED. It was 6 minutes before the actual turn, but it felt like 666.

-- If they wanted to go the whole way in having Rhino as the defender of our moral fabric, the least they could have done was dug out one of those old Right to Censor suits.


-- The crowd. Maybe everyone had already gambled away their enthusiasm at the craps table beforehand, but this seemed more like a subdued pack of lobotomized chimps rather than a professional wrestling crowd. Who pays good money to go to a show only to sit on their hands and cheer perhaps three times all night (if that)? For those who may have been at the show, let me try and cause a little joy in your otherwise empty lives of quiet desperation: "What?", "What?", "Hell yeah", "BEER ME", "If ya smell what the Rock is cooking", "Yoooouu'rrree FAAAAHHHHRREEEDDD", "You suck!....You suck!", "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO YOU ARE". There. Feel better, primates?

-- Rhino spends months on Velocity, then all of a sudden is thrust into a main event. Gee, I wonder why crickets were chirping when he came out. If they wanted to have him in a main event, and had given him a mid-level win against someone like Chavo Guerrero prior to that, that'd be one thing. Instead, they just kinda toss him out there with no particular rhyme or reason, almost expecting him to fail.

-- These UPN shows are amusing in one respect...there has to be, what, a 3-white joke quota per show? It's kinda funny, because African-American comedians have open season on white guys, but, theoretically, the second a white comedian began a joke with: "Boy, you black people...", his career would be deader than Randy Savage's dreams of rap superstardom. Just saying, is all.

-- Regarding Nidia, one of the writers must have LOVED this gimmick when he saw it at his local armory and/or high school gymnasium.

-- "Oh mah gawd, paw! There's one of them silly Japs in that thar ring! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" And people wonder why I think euthanasia should be legal.

-- Michael Cole is sure starting to lapse into some of his more annoying older tendencies. Yep.

-- Dear everyone associated with the WWF: THERE IS NO SUCH FUCKING MOVE AS A TIGER BOMB. I know it's odd, as "-bomb" usually refers to powerbomb-style moves, and "-driver" is associated with Michinoku Driver-type moves. However, a double-underhook powebomb is a Tiger Driver, and always has been. Kthx.

-- There should be some kind of company-wide rule where they can't recap a segment that aired less than five segments before the current one. I smoke weed, and my memory STILL ain't that bad.

-- Speaking of something you'd expect to see in a scummy indy, a "Loser Gets His Mouth Washed Out With Soap" match? Are you SHITTING me? If you're going to do this, why not go through with the crap factor the whole way, and have it on a pole? OH THE HILARITY~!

-- And, speaking of hilarity, I would like to wish all the luck in the world to those who will actually see "You Got Served" at a theater near you...I hear third grade is tough these days. Oh, and for the women among that group, when the boy in your class pulls your hair, it means he likes you.

-- I will never, EEEEEVVEEEER deign to watch a single second of that model reality show UPN has, but I know if I were in charge of it, it'd be a lot cooler. For example, the loser of a given competition would have to do horrible things, like eat an entire Philly cheesesteak with all the fixings. You know, add an element of danger to the proceedings.

-- I have much less of a problem with the "split up the face team and make them wrestle each other" routine when it doesn't happen to the comedy curtain-jerker team. On top of that, in Vince-land, it makes perfect sense when the only offense the smaller guy gets against the 400lb. guy are horizontal cradles (I always thought "schoolboy" was a terrible name for it [and has connotations I don't even wanna think about], so I use the puroresu name for it. I'm a snob.). Makes perfect sense to me. Rikishi then squashes him in about as much time as you'd expect...however, I can't work up the indignation for it when the opponent uses the Worm as a finisher. Sorry. (Rikishi beat Scotty 2 Hotty, Banzai Drop, 1:59).

-- A heel authority figure changing a scheduled match is a perfectly fine angle for a wrestling show. However, after the first time, you see diminishing returns as far as effectiveness goes the more you do it in one night (or any angle, for that matter). When you start doing it every segment, it makes a cynic wonder if the writers are even trying. I know they need something for Dawn Marie to do (the letters O, V, and W come to mind for some strange reason), but COME ON NOW.

-- Not only does Shoichi Funaki not even get a FIRST NAME in the WWF, let alone an entrance or even minor wins of any kind, he gets to job to a PUNCH from the Big Slow. WOW, HE SURE IS FAT! (Big Slow beat Shoichi Funaki, The WWF Isn't Racist At All Punch, Fast-forwarded in about 0:04 or so).

-- The resurrection of the "Extreme" Rhino, eh? I'd rather not go back to the guy who no-sold everyone and only had four moves. We already have Goldberg for that...and Batista, and John Heidenrich, and Matt Morgan, and........

-- The # 1 Billy Gunn Moment Ever -- his future retirement.

-- Oh yes! Puddle of Mudd! I've always wanted a shitty, mid-tempo, nothing-doing band to do the theme music for the Pay-Per-Views!

-- Does anyone else get the feeling that "WWF Originals" somehow involves the Mother Of All Backstage Ribs? Perhaps Jim Johnston isn't immune after all.


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