October 3, 2004
Continental Airlines Arena
East Rutherford, NJ
Buy Rate: .475
Announcers: Michael Cole & Tazz
Sunday Night Heat
Mark Jindrak defeats Scotty 2 Hotty (Scott Garland) at 2:47
Pay Per View
1) Eddie Guerrero defeats Luther Reigns (Matt Wiese) with a frog splash at 13:21
Fun Fact: On 9/2, Eddie Guerrero faced Kurt Angle in a best of three falls match. With the bout tied at one apiece, Luther Reigns got involved and smashed Eddie in the leg with a chair, costing him the match. He would also assault him further after the bell. Luther would continue to take his shots at Eddie in the weeks leading up to the show.
Fun Fact II: Mark Jindrak returned on the 9/23 Smackdown, joining Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns in an assault on Big Show and Guerrero. Jindrak would remain aligned with Angle and Reigns.
Scott: I don’t know what to make of this. We roll back the clock to March, when Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit were on top of the world, both holding the company’s highest championships. We move ahead and last month at Unforgiven Chris Benoit opened the show. We go here and now Eddie is opening the show against Kurt Angle’s second. I know Eddie was extremely stressed out when he was WWE Champion, but curtain jerking? Come on there had to have been something better for Eddie than this. Reigns is an imposing presence but very green in the ring and Eddie pretty much carried this. The crowd in Jersey was very vocal in their “Eddie” chants, so obviously Eddie was still viable as a main eventer but sadly he’s far away from the title picture. Eddie did debut a sweet shirt near this show as he had a bright red shirt mimicking the “Tabasco” logo. The match is ok but probably a bit long. I do like the roles of both Reigns and Mark Jindrak as Angle’s muscle but sadly neither would get much of a push after this. Eddie pulled off a nice inverted DDT while in a reverse headlock by climbing up the ropes. After missing his first frog splash, Eddie pulls out a blackjack he had hidden in his boot, after swiping it from one of NJ’s finest, and cracks Reigns with it. Another Froggie try and Eddie gets the win. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Eddie Guerrero kicked off 2004 as red-hot as a star could be. He was being groomed to win the WWE Championship and positioned as the top face of Smackdown. Ten months later, his reign is over and he is opening a secondary PPV with Kurt Angle’s bodyguard. He was still very over with the fans, but his position on the card is drastically different. However, the good thing about a talent like Eddie was that he could be used effectively in many roles, and one of them would be working with younger talents to help them improve and get over with the fans, something he attempts to do here. The match had a good flow to it as Luther showed good power offense and Eddie fluidly blended styles with him. Tazz and Cole did a nice job here as they really put emphasis on Luther’s rough past and ensuing toughness. Luther would work the back and things slowed down a bit, but the hot Jersey crowd stays with them. Eddie would end up stealing the match in classic Eddie fashion as he steals a baton from a security guard, blasts Luther with it and plays dumb afterwards. Luther looked good in losing and this was a fun little opener. Eddie worked hard to help Luther improve and that role is important but Eddie was just too good at this point to be relegated to that task. Grade: 2
2) Spike Dudley (Matt Hyson) defeats Nunzio (James Maritato) to retain WWE Cruiserweight Title after interference from Bubba Ray Dudley at 8:49
Fun Fact: On 9/30, Nunzio defeated Spike Dudley in a non-title match to earn the title shot here.
Scott: As I said at our last outing, I truly was digging the new Spike Dudley personality, and now he has the equally evil goatee going. I’m glad they’ve been switching the Cruiserweight situation up and have different guys going after it every PPV. Nunzio was kind of floating around and other than the storyline between FBI and Undertaker in 2003 he really has been a forgotten guy. However he gets his chance here against “The Boss” and the Cruiserweight Title. The match could have been better if it wasn’t for all the crap around the ring involving the other Dudleys and Johnny Stamboli. It’s one thing to have a little interference, it’s another thing to have it concentrate the entire match. After being on a great roll for almost a year and a half, Michael Cole and Tazz were a bit off on this night. Tazz was one boring cliché after another, and Cole seemed to whine about Tazz more than the action, and it was definitely a major problem during this match. You can tell that slowly the Dudleys were being fazed out of anything major, as they’ve been booked mostly as Spike’s muscle for the past few months. The constant interference leads to Spike retaining his title when Bubba Ray crotches Nunzio on the post. Grade: 2
Justin: After being an afterthought for quite a while, Spike Dudley is enjoying the biggest push of his WWE career. His turn as the diminutive bully backed up by his boorish brothers was really well done. Nunzio gets the title shot here after beating Spike on Smackdown. Nunzio got off to a hot start and the pace was quick. For a small guy, Spike had a great heel presence out there and really made himself feel like a big deal. Spike’s brothers would help him throughout the match and that helped build some good heat on Nunzio. Despite the distractions, Nunzio was able to battle back and hit the spot of the match when he powerbombed Spike off the middle rope. After some good near falls by Nunzio, Spike would sneak out the win with the aid of Bubba. The match was a good length and was well worked. I liked the heel finish here because that is how a guy like Spike should retain his belt. He was really garnering good heat and pulling off the role perfectly. This was a fun match to keep the show moving along. Grade: 2.5
3) Billy Kidman (Peter Gruner) defeats Paul London with a shooting star press at 10:34
Fun Fact: On 8/19, Chavo Guerrero and Jamie Noble defeated London and Kidman in a non-title match. A week later, Kidman faced off with Chavo in a singles match. At the end, Kidman dropped an SSP on Chavo but nearly caved his face in when he landed wrong on the rotation. The next week, the announcers told everyone about Chavo’s serious injury and Jamie Noble confronted Kidman and told him that he could justify things however he wished, but he still possibly ended a man’s career. Later in the show, Kidman began to ponder Noble’s comments and paused on the top rope, frozen from dropping the SSP. That hesitation cost the champs a non-title match with the FBI. On 9/9, Kidman hesitated again and then left the ring, and this time it cost his team their gold as Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree defeated them for the belts. A week later, Kidman claimed that he was misunderstood and that he didn’t want to unleash the SSP and injure anyone else. He claimed the fans were bloodthirsty for wanting to see it. London came out and slapped his friend, looking for a fight, but Kidman shook it off and walked away. The next week, Teddy Long told Kidman that he would be fighting London and that he would not able to walk out on the match. Finally, on 9/30, London was wrestling Booker T., when Kidman came down and got involved. The segment ended with Kidman blasting London with a chair.
Scott: This was an interesting feud that had some good interaction between former tag team partners. Kidman comes out with a new heel ring jacket and really puts a stiff beating on London, who perfects his role as a great face-in-peril. The crowd’s pretty lively for it as they respect two guys who are giving their all here and bring some credibility to Smackdown’s mid-card. In the climax, Kidman was about to walk out on the match instead of hitting his SSP on London. He gets back in the ring but London takes control with a kick. London then goes for the SSP and Kidman raises the knees. Kidman finally hits his SST and Kidman, who actually gets face pops when he hits it, gets the win. Even with a post-match heel promo the crowd loves it as London’s spitting up blood. To then really put the heel character over, Kidman SSPs London while strapped to a gurney. Grade: 2
Justin: It was really nice to see some fresh faces and feuds getting PPV time. These two had a great story heading in here, even though it was born out of a dangerous situation. Kidman had caved Chavo’s face in with an errant SSP and it evolved into a heel turn and bitter feud between these two friends. Kidman was exuding some good heel confidence here and I must say this angle felt quite real, probably because the impetus for it was quite real. London had some crazy offense and he unleashed a great deal of it here. The announcers would harp on calling Kidman a quitter due to his recent actions on Smackdown. Both men let out some wicked kicks on each other and just had crazy chemistry throughout. Kidman would take control and begin to work the ribs. London’s stiff bumping as superb and he was out to deliver a great show in his first singles PPV match. The drama built as Kidman ascended to the top and debated dropping the SSP. After almost leaving, Kidman got his head straight and went for it…but London got his knees up and drilled Kidman the gut in a great spot. Kidman was able to shake it off, head back up and drop a vicious SSP that really looked like it crushed London. Kidman got the win, but things would get uglier. After London was loaded on to a stretcher, Kidman attacked and hit another stiff SSP. London’s bloody sell of the move was tremendous and really left an enduring image for this match. These two worked hard and worked well and the match felt full of hate and also made Kidman look like a killer. Grade: 3
4) Kenzo Suzuki & Rene Dupree (Rene Goguen) defeat Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) and Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gutierrez) to retain WWE Tag Team Championship when Suzuki pinned Mysterio with a roll up at 9:04
Fun Fact: Suzuki and Dupree defeated Kidman and London for the tag team titles on the 9/9 Smackdown.
Scott: After boring the hell out of the crowd with a pretty hideous promo and Suzuki attempting to sing Springsteen, we have our tag title match. I can’t believe Dupree’s tights actually say “French Tickler”. Hilarious. A lot of posturing and crowd participation early on, with the “Rob Van Dam” chants. Unfortunately the crowd seems to be the only ones with any energy as the action in the ring is kind of mundane and dull. Suzuki has this Japanese gimmick going on, but he doesn’t wrestle like a Japanese wrestler does. He uses a lot of power moves and strikes. The Champs retain when Kenzo rolls up Rey with help from the ropes. RVD seems to be going through the motions here and when his energy level is low, the rest of the match is stuck in mud as well. Grade: 1.5
Justin: Since the last time we saw him on PPV, Kenzo Suzuki had gone under some interesting changes. He began proclaiming his love for America, dressing up like Uncle Sam and singing and dancing merrily. Here, he does an…interesting job of signing Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen before the bout. He and Dupree made for an odd team, but their styles meshed just fine and they would end up being decent champions. Rey and RVD showed some really good teamwork out there and I think they could have been a successful full time team if the desire was there from creative. They had good energy and the fans were really into them, especially RVD who was really over here. The match dragged a bit but the finish was furious and bumped the grade a bit. The finish was really cheap and anticlimactic and I feel like this could have built into a much better match if the structure was a bit different and they were given some more time with a better finish. As it is, it was a solid tag title defense as the unlikely champions hang onto their gold and leave Jersey with the belts. Grade: 2.5
5) Big Show (Paul Wight) defeats Kurt Angle with a chokeslam off the top rope at 15:05
Fun Fact: On 9/9, Big Show made his return since being driven from Smackdown in April. During a lumberjack match between Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero, Show came out and destroyed everybody in his path, making an impactful statement. The next week, Teddy told Show he had two contracts for matches at No Mercy for Show to choose from: one for a match with Angle and one for a match with Guerrero. After both competitors plead their cases, Show chose to face Guerrero. As soon as he did, Angle and Luther Reigns beat Eddie down and gloated about it. This ticked off Show, who snapped the contract he had signed in half and instead put his signature on the other, now choosing to face Angle at the PPV. On 9/23, Show and Eddie teamed up to take on Angle and Luther. After the match, Angle, along with Luther and the returning Mark Jindrak, pulled out a tranquilizer gun and shot Show with a dart, leaving him unconscious. Angle then grabbed some hair clippers and shaved Show’s head. The segment was very well done and the freeze frame of a crazed Angle holding up Show’s limp bald head became an iconic one. The next week, Teddy told Kurt that he would face Show at No Mercy and that if anyone interfered, they would be fired.
Scott: These two haven’t met in the ring since Armageddon 2002 when Angle won the WWE Title from Show. The characters have changed and now Show is the way over babyface here against the sniveling heel Angle, who resorted to tranquilizer darts to get his message across. Kurt goes for the countout, gets it, then its reversed by GM Teddy Long. Teddy tells Kurt to get in the ring or he’s fired. Show was dominating this match until Angle reversed a chokeslam into the Anklelock, and for the next few minutes Angle beats down Show’s left ankle. This was a good spot for both guys while the title picture is occupied. Angle tries the tranquilizer gun again and this time Show snaps it in half. Show hits a big time chokeslam off the top rope, which looked and sounded good on camera, to win the match. The match was choppy with the long promo-restart, and just like every match so far, it was average. Grade: 2
Justin: Big Show was back and he had reverted back to his fired up monster face role that always worked very well in short spurts. This was another angle that was done quite well and they did a good job of building heat on Angle for shaving Show’s head, leaving him with his now well-known bald look. Angle took a patient approach early in the bout, trying to frustrate the big man, but Show waited him out and eventually using his size to wear Angle down. Angle would have enough and intentionally get himself counted out. Before he could gloat about his smarts too much, Teddy came out to restart the match, threatening to fire Kurt if he did not comply. Angle returned and Show continued to dominate him, looking like a monster in the process. Before he could end things though, Show got hooked and locked into a desperation Anklelock by Kurt. Show would hang on, but the ref would get wiped out and Kurt would grab a chair and use it to punish Show’s ankle. Unable to put Show away, Kurt grabbed his tranquilizer gun again but this time Show was able to block it and snap the gun in half. Moments later, Show would polish Kurt off with an impressive chokeslam off the top rope. The match was fun and well booked but dragged a bit in the middle, lowering the grade. I had fun watching it though and Show got a big pop for the win. I think his face turn was well overdue and that his return was well done. The feud with Kurt is not over just yet, but Show gets some revenge for Angle’s haircut. Grade: 2.5
6) John Cena defeats Booker T. (Booker Huffman) to win WWE United States Title with an FU at 10:19 in Match Five in a Best of Five Series
Fun Fact: On 8/26, Booker defeated Cena to even their series at 1-1. Booker would take the series lead at an Australian house show, but Cena would tie things back up on the 9/16 Smackdown. The final match was set for the PPV.
Scott: Our tie-breaking match is upon us to decide an Undisputed US Champ. Cena’s popularity was growing with every match and he vanquishes the cheating Booker T to win back the US Title he never really lost. For a short time this series made house shows important again, at least for a short time, as Booker won Match Three in Australia. I think this has been the match of the night as both men went back and forth and never let the pace slow down. For me this is when the “Cena Guarantee” started to kick in. Any big match Cena was in, title or not, he won. Just like Hogan in the 80s when each big match he almost always won. My favorite match on this show, and it will get the highest grade too. Grade: 3
Justin: With the series tied at two, Cena and Booker finally square off to determine the official US Champion. Cole and Tazz did a nice hype job here and the bout had a big match feel to it. Unfortunately, the two couldn’t match the atmosphere once the bell sounded. Booked controlled most of the match with his basic offense. The crowd was pretty quiet throughout this one and I can’t blame them, as it was a pretty blah match on a whole. The work was solid and fine but it was just boring and bland. You would think these two would have better chemistry at this point, but they just couldn’t get it going. The finisher battle at the end was good and Cena would pick up the clean win with an FU to finally take back his US title. The match was boring and I am glad to see this series finally come to a close. Grade: 2
7) Charlie Haas, Rico (Rico Constantino) & Jackie Gayda defeat The Dudley Boys and Dawn Marie when Rico pins D-Von Dudley (Devon Hughes) with a moonsault at 8:47
Fun Fact: On 9/30, the Dudleys were facing off with Rico and Haas when Dawn Marie joined Cole and Tazz on commentary. She announced to the world that Haas and Jackie Gayda were engaged, but she then also claimed that she and Charlie were having an affair. Dawn and Jackie would get into a brawl at ringside, distracting Haas and allowing the Dudleys to win the bout.
Fun Fact II: This is Rico’s final PPV match. His final PPV record was 3-2. He was released from WWE on November 7 and hook up with All-Japan Pro Wrestling until July 2005, when he announced his retirement and returned to a career in law enforcement.
Scott: So earlier in the night I said that the Dudleys were being shunted down the card pretty quickly, being second fiddle to Spike’s Cruiserweight Title reign. Here they work with Dawn Marie in another one of those silly diva cheating sex storylines. Here she’s trying to break up Jackie and Charlie’s future wedding nuptials with rumors of infidelity and other assorted nonsense. I miss Jackie, though. She was hot, always smiled and had smoking tights. Sure she was a workrate train wreck but when did Vince or the writers ever care how the women looked in the ring anyway? Comedy gags with Rico aside, the match isn’t bad and the good guys, and girl, win. It was a good choice by the bookers to put this match in front of the main event. Grade: 2.5
Justin: My, oh my, Dawn Marie was quite hot here on this night. Playing up her insinuation of an affair with Charlie Haas, she would flirt with him as the match began. That would lead to a big catfight between her and Jackie. After things got straightened out, the heels threatened to take over when Bubba started messing with Jackie. That was short lived as Rico tagged in and planted a kiss on Bubba, who had his eyes close and was expecting a smooch from Jackie. Things basically degenerated into a comedy match from there as Bubba left the ring, disgusted from the kiss. Rico showed some good offense, but Bubba quickly returned and swung momentum. The heat segment on Rico wasn’t bad, but it was short-lived. In a funny spot, the Dudleys had Rico setup for the What’s Up diving headbutt, but got spooked when Rico was begging for D-Von’s head to come crashing into his crotch. Things would break down and Rico and Haas would pick up the win. They were a good little team and I liked how they used head games to win matches. Plus, Haas looked strong whenever he was in the ring and he played off Rico’s comedy spots well. The match was OK and Rico goes out a winner. It is too bad he was released because I though the team had legs as a mid-card face team act. The Dudleys continue to freefall and their days are now numbered. Grade: 1.5
8) John Bradshaw Layfield defeats Undertaker (Mark Callaway) in a Last Ride match to retain WWE Heavyweight Title when Layfield puts Undertaker in the hearse at 21:08
Fun Fact: Jon Heidenreich originally debuted on Raw back in 2003, but he didn’t much other than bug other wrestlers and talk about “Little Johnny”. What “Little Johnny” was referring to was never clarified and Heidenreich was quickly sent back down to OVW to gain some more seasoning. On 8/24, Heidenreich return to TV, showing up on Smackdown with Paul Heyman in his corner. Heyman claimed that Heidenreich was his loyal guard dog and that he would gain revenge on Undertaker as well as the rest of Heyman’s enemies. The now deranged Heidenreich would interfere in random matches and also read some bizarre poems, with the most disturbing coming on the 9/16 Smackdown when he had Michael Cole pinned against a wall. He pressed up against him from behind and whispered a poem into his ear. It would become a legendary segment for all the wrong reasons.
Fun Fact II: The week after Summerslam, JBL showed up on Smackdown in a giant neck halo. He said that Undertaker refused to pass him the torch at Summerslam and that he would not receive a title rematch. Taker emerged and JBL and Orlando Jordan scurried as Taker grabbed the title and held it in the ring. The next week, Teddy Long wanted JBL to face Undertaker but JBL claimed Orlando would take his place because he was unfit to compete. Teddy agreed but told JBL that if Orlando lost, Undertaker would win the WWE Championship. Taker would win the match, but not the title, as JBL got involved and caused a DQ. A week later, Teddy told JBL that he would face Taker in a Last Ride match at the PPV, with the winner being the first to stuff his opponent in a hearse. On 9/16, Taker showed up and assaulted JBL, but Orlando Jordan led the returning Gangrel and Viscera out to help beat down the Deadman. Undertaker would battle his former Ministry charges in a handicap match on 9/23, easily polishing them off with a Tombstone on Gangrel. On 9/30, JBL couldn’t find Orlando and ended up losing to Hardcore Holly by disqualification. After the match, Taker emerged on the Titantron and told JBL it was down to just them as he had eliminated Gangrel, Viscera and Orlando, who was then revealed to be hanging from Taker’s symbol.
Scott: What’s upsetting is that their Summerslam match was dreadfully boring, and when that ended in a DQ, you knew a rematch was coming. The crowd still isn’t getting JBL as champ, and the writers were hoping a protracted feud with Taker would give him credibility. Well the Summerslam match was overshadowed by Randy Orton’s shocking win over Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Title. Now JBL and the Deadman can get their own main event stage. The stipulation here is that you have to get your opponent into the casket and drive him out of the arena. That’s a terrible stip because, like a stretcher match, you have to spend so much time walking and dragging and putting opponents into vehicles. These two needed something like a street fight or something with weapons that both men could have used to amp up the violence and make it more interesting. The crowd is dead during the match, which is shocking considering that it’s the always-popular Undertaker that’s in the match. The match works along until Taker was about to seal the match when all of a sudden out comes…Heidenreich? I completely didn’t get this, as Heidenreich is just some crazy, low-workrate muscle guy. He helps a completely busted up JBL get Taker into the hearse and win the Last Ride match. Once again Taker loses a title match under nefarious means. Then to really put an exclamation point on it, Heidenreich smashes into the hearse with a truck, fake explosion and all. Still doesn’t help the fact that we had a boring, listless power match again. That really was the general tone of this whole show: Boring and Listless. Taker is blown up…I guess…and JBL once again escapes with his title. Grade: 2
Justin: After a tepid build to their Summerslam match, these two had a lot more going on heading into the rematch here. Taker got off to a fast start and the match turned into a basic brawl. JBL showed some aggressive offense but Taker was able to hook a triangle choke to take control. He assaulted JBL in a methodical way, but things picked up as the two kept trading offensive control. I liked that flow instead of one lengthy heat segment as it added to the wild brawl feel of the match. Taker kicked things up a notch with a cool Tombstone on the steps, busting JBL open. I liked JBL’s desperation offense as it was one of his strengths. Just when he looked like he was about to lose, he was always able to hit one move to stay alive and take control. Taker would come back once again and drop JBL through a table with a solid chokeslam. Heidenreich would then show up and help JBL stuff Taker in a limo, ending the match. Heidenreich was working for Paul Heyman, who was still out for revenge on Taker from earlier in the year. The finish was a bit weak, but fitting for JBL’s reign as he always barely sneaked out wins. The hot finish carried things a bit, but on a whole the match was kind of disjointed and messy. The post match was just awful, as Heidenreich scampered backstage and crashed a truck into the hearse, presumably crushing Taker. Heyman and his guard dog would quickly scamper and the show faded out on a terrible note. JBL is still the champ, living to see another day and surviving another war. Grade: 2
Scott: A show that wasn’t really bad…or really good either. It pretty much sums up the entire year on Smackdown. Even with great talent like Eddie Guerrero, Rob Van Dam, Rey Mysterio and Kurt Angle on the show, it just couldn’t be elevated above average on the scale. JBL is still getting crap from the fans about being a lousy champion, and even two matches against Undertaker couldn’t really help that. The undercard was just kind of there…there’s really nothing more to say about it. The matches, except Cena/Booker, weren’t bad, but they weren’t necessarily good either. Rob Van Dam is coasting, not putting 100% into his matches. I did like the Kidman/London match especially the cool end when Kidman hits London with a second SSP even while London is strapped to a backboard. The New Jersey crowd did the best it could to amp the energy level and at times they would help a couple of the matches. Frankly the electric undercard that carried Smackdown throughout 2003 just hasn’t been there this year and again a lot of it was the elevating of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero and those guys not being replaced by equal midcard talent. Other than Booker/Cena, this show is quite forgettable. Final Grade: C
Justin: I am really not sure what to say about this show. I enjoyed watching it, but my grades don’t reflect it at all. Everyone worked hard and the angles heading into the matches were well done, but the in ring action just couldn’t deliver. The matches were all just sort of there and the grades topped out at three. It was nice to see some different matchups on the card, but Smackdown was starting to really feel like the B show at this point. Kurt Angle’s return helped bolster things back in August and Big Show’s comeback brought another big name into the mix as well. Things were solid for the show, but I can’t say it was overly exciting on any level. JBL is becoming an effective champion, but he is seemingly running out of challengers. We will see how that is rectified over the coming weeks. There really isn’t much else to talk about, so we will just chalk up another mediocre show from the Blue Brand. Final Grade: C-
MVP: Billy Kidman & Paul London
Runner Up: John Cena
Non MVP: Undertaker
Runner Up: Eddie Guerrero
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.