written by Adam King
Thursday, February 24th, 2000
Taped (2/22) from the Nashville Arena in Nashville, TN
List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H (1/03/2000)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho (1/23/2000)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (11/08/1999)
WWF European Champion: Kurt Angle (2/10/2000)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Test (1/17/2000)
WWF Women’s Champion: Jacqueline (2/03/2000)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Essa Rios (2/13/2000)
~ Smackdown comes on the air with clips of the ongoing war against Triple H and DX on Raw. After the intro Michael Cole welcomes us to the show along with Jerry “The King” Lawler while reminding us we’re just 72 hours away from No Way Out.
~ Things kick off with Test coming out to the ring about to defend the Hardcore Title in our opening match. We then cut to the back and find Hardcore Holly confronting Crash about challenging Test for ‘his’ Hardcore title. Crash gets in Hardcore’s face promising to show that he’s just as Hardcore as him before shoving him on his rear and heading out.
WWF Hardcore Title: Test © vs. Crash Holly
Crash looks ready to go when Test tosses the title belt at him then nails him with a big boot to start. Test whips Crash and hits a backdrop then whips him again but Crash is able to bail out to the floor with Test going out after him. Test tosses Crash over the barricade into the crowd then places a trash container over him and whacks him with a chair. Test tosses Crash back over the barricade to ringside and Crash crawls away from Test but pulls a fire extinguisher out from under the ring and sprays CO2 into Test’s face. Crash whips Test into the ring post then climbs onto the apron and leaps off connecting with a huricanrana. Crash tosses Test back in the ring as we see Hardcore watching the action from the stage with a chair in hand. Crash covers Test for a two count then whacks him below the belt with a stick and Test rolls out to the floor. Crash then moves the steps into position then launches off them but Test clocks Crash in mid-air with a chair. Test throws Crash in the ring along with a pair of chairs then sets them up and goes to power bomb Crash through them but Crash flips out of it. Crash goes for a whip, Test reverses it and Crash hops over the chairs as he comes off the ropes but runs right into a big boot. Test goes for the pump-handle slam but Crash floats over and low blows Test before tossing him over the ropes. Crash then slings himself over the ropes and connects with a pescado but hurts himself as Hardcore moves in with the chair. Hardcore readies and chair and takes a swing but Crash ducks it and Test ends up taking the hit instead. Test is down as Crash quickly covers him and gets the 1..2..3 to win the title! (3:58) A legend is born as Crash wins his first Hardcore title. Hardcore then congratulates Crash acting as if he meant to help him but reminds Crash his win is thanks to him. A fun match and a historical one as well. **
~ Backstage we get a look at the new DX Express before seeing Triple H meeting with DX and the Radicalz inside. Triple H mentions the “back-scratching” thing they have going on is working so he sees no reason not to continue it. Triple H assigns Billy Gunn to take care of Bubba Ray Dudley while Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn get to be in a tag match. Triple H then asks Chris Benoit for a favor by taking care of Kane and Benoit agress to do it for him and for X-Pac. Finally Triple H decides to team with Road Dogg and X-Pac to take care of Too Cool and Rikishi in a six-man tag. Triple H finishes by telling everyone that Cactus Jack is off limits because he wants to take care of Cactus personally.
~ We then find The Rock talking on his cell phone and The Big Show walking somewhere as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break The Big Show makes his way to the ring and gets on the mic but is greeted with “Rocky” chants. Show says he lies awake at night asking why the fans constantly jeer him after supporting him just two months ago. Show says he supported The Rock only for Rock to turn and call him a jabronie and he didn’t want to stand for it so he wants to know why that makes him a bad guy just because the fans may find it funny that Rock insulted him. Show then mentions losing the WWF Championship to Triple H but never got a rematch despite being his errand boy. Show next brings up how a few incompetent referees screwed him out of winning the Royal Rumble which he did. Show says he’s not a bad guy, he’s just trying to prove he’s the rightful winner and even has footage to show us. Show shows the Rumble’s conclusion on the OvalTron and points out Rock’s feet did indeed touch the floor first then accuses the fans of not paying attention and rolls the footage a second time, pointing out Rock did lose. Show continues to plead his case by showing the video in slow motion and even zooms in on Rock touching the floor then asks the fans why they cheer for a loser while he’s the rightful winner. It’s weird that Show is completely in the right (he even has footage, for cryin’ out loud) yet the fans reject him in favor of The Rock.
Anyway Kurt Angle then comes out to the ring and gets on the mic telling Show he’s heard his argument and wants to shake his hands with Show appreciating it. Angle chastises the fans for booing someone with integrity and says that there are people who care about the rules. Angle starts to tell a story when he gets interrupted by Chris Jericho and Chyna who make their way out to the stage. Jericho gets on the mic and greets the fans before saying they have a no-neck Olympic hero and a giant with no parts. Jericho gives Angle props for making Show seem entertaining with his brutal performance then asks him to shut up before promising to give Angle a Y2J beating this Sunday at No Way Out. Angle takes offense to that and suggests he and Jericho have their match tonight but changes his mind and challenges him to a tag match instead. Angle asks Show to be his partner and feels Jericho will never find a partner brave enough to face the two of them. Almost on cue The Rock comes out to the stage and Show acts disgusted and blocks out the cheers for him. Rock gets on the mic for his usual intro then offers to be Jericho’s partner even though tag teaming isn’t in his repertoire. Rock says he could care less about Angle and he’s teaming with Jericho just for the chance to get a piece of Show. Rock admits Show is right about his feet touching the floor first, him calling Show a jabronie and his fans booing him. Rock says he wants to answer Show’s question on why the fans boo him by saying he has some footage of his own then turns toward the OvalTron as a clip of him making fun of Show plays and Show is not happy about that. Rock then decides to show the clip from a different angle and Show is quivering as the fans constantly chant “Rocky”. Rock says the fans boo Show because he constantly whines and complains before telling him to shut his mouth. Rock says Show is the biggest threat to his career but tells him not to worry about the crowds at No Way Out but worry about how to stop Rock from beating him, “If ya smell…” and the rest.
~ Back from break we get a look at the Nashville skyline as we see the Tennessee Titans in the crowd tonight.
~ Cole and Lawler then talk about the Hell in a Cell this Sunday by showing a video package of previous cell matches. Interesting that all the clips are from the first two matches (involving the Undertaker) while the two cells involving the Big Bossman are ignored.
Kane (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Chris Benoit (w/The Radicalz)
Benoit climbs in the ring when the other three Radicalz pull Kane out to the floor and work him over. Kane tries to fight all three of them off when Benoit dives through the ropes with a plancha on Kane’s back. The referee decides to eject the other Radicalz from ringside while Benoit continues laying the boots to Kane. Benoit heads back in the ring and attacks Kane on the apron then tries to suplex him in but Kane blocks it and slams Benoit to the mat. Kane climbs in and whips Benoit but Benoit rolls under a big boot and dropkicks Kane in the back of the knee. Benoit follows up with an enzuigiri then climbs to the top rope and connects with the diving head butt but hurts himself while Kane sits up. Kane grabs Benoit by the throat for the choke slam but Benoit kicks at Kane’s knee to break it. Benoit comes off the ropes but runs into an ugly tilt-o-whirl backbreaker. Kane whips Benoit into a corner and clotheslines him before hitting a chop. Kane whips Benoit into a big boot then climbs to the top rope and connects with the flying clothesline. Kane clotheslines Benoit over the ropes then goes out to the floor as Tori makes her way out to ringside. Tori slaps Bearer who grabs her by the hair as the referee calls for the bell after making the 10 count. (2:16) Not much going on here. Benoit nails Bearer from behind but Kane dispatches Benoit in turn then starts stalking Tori up the ramp. The two make their way to the stage when X-Pac appears and blasts Kane in the face with a flamethrower! Just like Triple H did the previous year before Wrestlemania. Kane is writhing in pain as the EMTs come out to cover his face with towels as we go to commercial. *½
~ Back from break we get a replay of X-Pac shooting Kane with the flamethrower.
Edge, Christian & The Hardy Boyz vs. Al Snow, Steve Blackman, Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn
The Hardys and E&C are again teaming despite being opponents for a future tag title shot this Sunday. Blackman works over Christian to start and applies a headlock and Christian shoves him off into the ropes but Blackman hits a shoulder block. Blackman comes off the ropes and slides under Christian but misses a roundhouse kick and Christian comes back with a Russian leg sweep for a quick count. Christian goes for a whip but Blackman reverses and Snow pulls Christian by the hair. Christian decks Snow but turns right into a thrust kick from Blackman who tags in Snow as the crowd starts chanting “Head Cheese”. Blackman snaps Christian’s neck on the top rope and Snow follows up with a modified suplex for a two count then gets in some shots before tagging Malenko in. Malenko whips Christian into a knee to the chest and follows up with a vertical suplex but gets a two count. Saturn tags in and hammers Christian with knee lifts then whips him into a clothesline. Saturn goes for a suplex but Christian flips out of it and gets an O’Connor roll for a two count then both men end up clotheslining each other. Christian manages to tag in Jeff who hops to the top rope and connects with a somersault senton on Saturn. Saturn’s partners come in but Jeff is able to fight them off and soon all eight men pour in and go at it. Malenko and Saturn whip Jeff but lower their heads and Jeff kicks their faces and dumps Saturn over the ropes. Malenko comes off the ropes but Jeff tosses him over his head then slings himself into a plancha on Saturn. In the ring Matt elbows Snow and climbs to the top rope but Snow shoves him off right onto Edge on the floor. Snow and Blackman work over Matt and Edge on the floor while Jeff manages to get a Full Nelson on Malenko. However Saturn breaks it up and Malenko hits a leg lariat that knocks Jeff into a bridge suplex from Saturn for the pin. (3:10) Solid match but way too short for an eight-man tag, especially with these guys. After the victors depart The Hardys and E&C bicker about the loss with Christian getting in Jeff’s face. Eventually Matt slaps Edge in the face so Edge drops him with a right and the two teams starts duking it out. The referees come out to the ring to try and separate the two teams as we go to commercial. **
~ Back from break we get a replay of the Hardys and E&C doing the hard-sell for their confrontation on Sunday.
Triple H, Road Dogg & X-Pac (w/Stephanie & Tori) vs. Rikishi Phatu & Too Cool
As Rikishi and friends make their way to the ring their crutch war against the Radicalz from Raw is shown. As a side note Rikishi’s ankle is still taped up showing he’s still healing from that injury. Road Dogg hammers Grandmaster Sexay to start then whips him but Sexay slides under him and hits a move not unlike The Stroke. Sexay hops to the middle rope and hits a dropkick for a two count but misses an elbow drop and Triple H tags in as we see the Radicalz watching this match from backstage. Triple H pummels Sexay in a corner then whips him into the opposite corner and charges at him but eats a boot. Sexay hops to the middle rope again and connects with a flying clothesline then makes the tag to Scotty 2 Hotty. Scotty decides to go for the Worm already on the prone Triple H but X-Pac cuts Scotty off with the spin kick. Road Dogg tags in and goes for a whip, Scotty reverses it and Road Dogg hits the juke ‘n’ jive punches but misses the big right and Scotty comes off the ropes with an elbow. Rikishi tags in and hits the running butt splash on Road Dogg in a corner then clotheslines Triple H and super kicks X-Pac. Scotty then pops Triple H through the ropes while Sexay works Road Dogg over in a corner. Rikishi scoops X-Pac up for the sit-down piled river but Triple H comes in and chop blocks Rikishi’s bad ankle. Triple H wrenches Rikishi’s bad ankle and X-Pac goes out to the floor and wraps the ankle around the ring post. Triple H elbow drops the ankle before tagging Road Dogg who hits the shake, rattle ‘n knee drop on the ankle. X-Pac tags in and kicks away on Rikishi but Rikishi no-sells the shots and hits his version of a Diamond Cutter. Rikishi manages to crawl over to the corner and make the hot tag to Sexay who takes it to all three DX’ers. Sexay dropkicks Triple H then whips X-Pac into a corner and power slams him before tagging Scotty back in. Scotty whips X-Pac into a corner and hits the bulldog then goes for the Worm again and this time is able to hit it. Road Dogg makes the save so Too Cool works Road Dogg over while Rikishi hits a belly-to-belly suplex on X-Pac. Rikishi climbs up the ropes looking for a Banzai Drop on X-Pac but Triple H whacks Rikishi with a chair then pulls X-Pac out of the ring to safety while Too Cool whip Road Dogg into a double elbow. Rikishi also rolls out to the floor but Triple H places his ankle on the ring steps and whacks it with the chair. Scotty goes out after Triple H on the floor while Sexay climbs to the top rope and goes for the Hip Hop Drop but X-Pac pulls Road Dogg out of the way and hits the X Factor to grab the pin for DX. (6:01) Good match for the most part. Triple H tosses Scotty back in the ring and Road Dogg plants him with the pump handle slam for good measure. Triple H then gets one more whack on Rikishi with the chair and the DX’ers celebrate their win and depart. The Radicals also applaud backstage and smile, feeling their six-man tag at No Way Out just got a little easier. **½
~ Back from break we get a replay of the six-man tag and Triple H assaulting Rikishi’s ankle with the chair. We then see Scotty and Sexay helping Rikishi limp into the trainer’s room as he complains about his ankle.
The Godfather & D’Lo Brown (w/the ladies) vs. The Big Bossman & Prince Albert
As Bossman and Albert come out they show Albert attacking Tazz in Bossman’s match on Monday. Bossman pounds away on D’Lo to start then whips him into a corner and charges at him but eats a boot. D’Lo hops to the middle rope and hits a nice dropkick then comes off the ropes but runs into a spine buster. Albert tags in and comes off the ropes with a shoulder block then catapults D’Lo up into the middle rope. Albert presses D’Lo up for a slam but D’Lo slips out of it and hammers away on Albert then goes for a whip. Albert reverses D’Lo into a corner, and D’Lo lands on the middle rope and goes for a moonsault but misses. D’Lo comes back and hits a DDT then crawls to his corner and tags in Godfather who hits a pair of clotheslines. Godfather whips Albert into a boot then catches Bossman with a series of shots. Godfather whips Bossman right into Albert then whips him into a corner and follows up with a clothesline. Godfather goes for the Ho Train and Albert sidesteps but D’Lo comes off the top with a clothesline on Bossman. D’Lo knocks Bossman through the ropes with a heel kick while Albert works Godfather over nearby in a corner. Suddenly Tazz makes his way out to ringside and pulls Bossman off the apron then rams him into the ring steps. Albert the reaches for Tazz through the ropes but Tazz digs at Albert’s eyes and decks him with a right. The blinded Albert then stumbles into the Death Valley Driver from Godfather and that’s it for this one. (2:44) Nothing to really see here, folks. *
~ Cactus Jack is shown backstage, perhaps with a lot on his mind as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break Jim Ross is in the ring as he brings Cactus Jack out for what could be his “final” interview. JR asks Cactus if his lifelong dream will come true this Sunday and Cactus mentions everything he’s accomplished: three WWF Championships, eight Tag Team Titles, being the first Hardcore Champion, and becoming a #1 best-selling author. Cactus says Mick Foley has accomplished everything he set his sights on but then mentions having what he calls one of the toughest meetings with Vince McMahon five months ago. Cactus says he told Vince it may be time to finish up his career, feeling a little embarrassed by his recent performances. Cactus says he was making people laugh and mentions the Rock and Sock Connection which was all good and fine but when he thought about what he really wanted, he realized he really wanted to be Cactus Jack. Cactus then says what really influenced his decision and his entire career was a 25-year old fight he once watched, the infamous Joe Frazier/Muhammad Ali “Thrilla in Manilla”. Cactus says he once got to watch a tape of the contest and saw both men giving it their all but it ended with Frazier on a stool unable to compete in the last round. Cactus says he saw himself after 15 years and he doesn’t want his career to end like that with him unable to go on. Cactus admits at the Royal Rumble in Madison Square Garden he lost the greatest match of his life to a better man then says he figured he’d get his revenge against Triple H with Hell in a Cell seeing as he’s the king of the Cells. However Cactus brings up his match against The Undertaker and says he got destroyed, scaring JR out of the ring. Cactus says he got knocked out cold for the first time ever and goes on to list the numerous injuries he suffered, calling it the worst yet greatest day of his career because he got up and finished the match on his feet. Cactus talks on the last few retirement matches he saw and brings up guys prostituting their names for extra bucks, losing their careers only to come back after what was a six-week vacation. Cactus says he gave his word on national television that if he failed to beat Triple H then his wrestling days are over and when steps into the Cell at No Way Out he is fully prepared for that to be the final match of his career. Cactus says this could be the last time he speaks to the WWF fans so he thanks everyone who ever believed in him, who stood for his first WWF Championship win and who bought his book which he wrote himself. Cactus says he won’t guarantee a win this Sunday but he will end his career swinging and not sitting on a stool. Cactus also tells Triple H whether he wins or loses he will climb to the top of the cage and fly off on top of him. Cactus finishes by thanking the Mankind fans with “Have a Nice Day” and the Cactus Jack fans with a “Bang! Bang!” Very good promo that would sadly lose much of its impact and meaning in the long run.
Oh, but we’re not done. Cactus starts to head out of the ring when Stephanie McMahon appears on the stage to apparently ruin this moment. Stephanie gets on the mic and calls Cactus a passionate man but she has dreams that became nightmares on Raw after he caused $5000 worth of damage to her luxury tour bus. Stephanie says Triple H will make him pay Sunday but feels Cactus should start paying tonight and claims to have a warrant for Cactus’ arrest. A group of cops come down the ramp to put Cactus in the handcuffs and Cactus offers himself without incident. As the cops lead Cactus away Triple H joins Stephanie on the stage but Cactus flashes him a look on his way out.
~ Back from break the cops reluctantly ask Cactus Jack to wait in a holding cell as they try to work things out. Cactus doesn’t like it but goes along with it and the cops lock him in there and depart.
~ We then get a replay of X-Pac shooting Kane in the face with a flamethrower earlier tonight. Jonathan Coachman then reports that Kane suffered second-degree burns to his neck and has vision problems but ironically Kane’s mask which covers his scars may have saved him from more serious damage.
~ Elsewhere the Helmsleys meet with the cops while taunting Cactus Jack in the cage who invites them to join him. Triple H asks for the keys to take over watch over Cactus and the cops hand them over and depart the scene as Triple H thanks them and tells them to enjoy what’s in their envelopes as we go to commercial. Oh, so apparently Triple H just paid off some guys to act like cops to trap Cactus in a cage. Ooookay.
~ Back from break we find the Helmselys taunting Cactus Jack with some pizza and the keys to the cage. For some reason the announcers still seem to believe that those were real cops who arrested Cactus.
Bubba Ray Dudley (w/D’Von Dudley) vs. Billy Gunn
D’Von distracts Billy from the floor allowing Bubba to get the early advantage with a clothesline. Bubba chops Billy in a corner then elbows him and goes for a whip but Billy reverses it into a hip toss. Billy slams Bubba to the mat then clotheslines him and D’Von comes in the ring but also eats a clothesline. Billy whips Bubba into a corner then whips D’Von into Bubba causing him to head butt D’Von below the belt. Billy hits a neck breaker for a two and goes for the Rocker Dropper but Bubba catches him into a power bomb. Bubba hops to the middle rope but misses the senton and Billy tees off on him and whips him into a corner then connects with a Stinger Splash. Billy pops D’Von off the apron and drills Bubba with the Jackhammer. Billy tries the Rocker Dropper again but falls out to the floor after D’Von pulls down the top rope for a DQ. (2:06) Just there to sell the tag title match at the pay-per-view. D’Von throws Billy into the ring steps then slides a table in the ring before tossing Billy back in as well. Bubba sets the table up and stands on it for some reason while D’Von hits Billy with the Curtain Call. Road Dogg then runs into the ring and low blows Bubba then tosses D’Von through the ropes. With Bubba still reeling Billy manages to hit a jumping Rocker Dropper driving him through the table but would end up messing his shoulder up as a result. The Outlaws then celebrate to a huge pop from the crowd and depart while D’Von tends to Bubba in the ring. DUD
~ Chris Jericho, Chyna and The Rock are all shown heading to the ring for the main event as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we find the Helmsleys still provoking Cactus Jack who’s still locked in the cage backstage. Triple H makes fun of Cactus’s promo then reveals the walls around the cage are fake by knocking them down, showing the cage is chained to the DX Express while promising to drag Cactus all the way to Hartford.
The Rock & Chris Jericho (w/Chyna) vs. The Big Show & Kurt Angle
Everybody makes their separate entrances but Angle attacks Jericho during Rock’s posing to start us off. Angle whips Jericho but Jericho ducks a clothesline and hits his own clothesline then whips him into a chop. Jericho whips Angle again and hits a double under hook backbreaker for a two count before tagging Rock in. Rock hammers away on Angle in a corner but misses the Smackdown and Angle hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Show asks to tag in and Angle obliges but Rock manages to hit a spine buster before teeing off on him with rights. Angle comes in but Rock clotheslines him then punches Show below the belt before Jericho tags in to take over. Jericho comes of the ropes but Show presses him up high and drops him to the mat before drawing Rock in to distract Earl Hebner for a double-team. Angle takes over without a tag and whips Jericho into a clothesline then applies a front face lock but Jericho is able to fight out of it. Jericho comes off the ropes with a flying forearm for a two count then goes for a whip but Angle reverses it and Show nails Jericho from behind. Angle sets Jericho up for a power bomb but Rock interrupts with a vicious clothesline. Angle works over Jericho in a corner then whips him into the other corner and charges but Jericho sidesteps him and follows up with the bulldog. Jericho manages to crawl over and tag in Rock who hammers Angle with rights and pops Show off the apron then hits the spine buster on Angle. Rock readies himself for the People’s Elbow but Show barrels Rock over and kicks him out to the floor while Jericho climbs to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick on Show. Jericho gets in some shots but Show grabs him and hits the choke slam while Rock and Angle go at it on the floor. Chyna brings a chair into the ring and whacks Show with it and that’s the match. (4:11) However it has no effect and Show grabs Chyna for a choke slam but Rock comes back in to make the save. Rock hammers Show and goes for a whip, Show tries to counter but Rock counters that into a Rock Bottom. Rock pops Angle off the apron to the floor while Jericho manages to put Show into the Walls of Jericho. Angle tries to come back in but Chyna pulls him back off while a number of referees try to restore order. After Angle and Show are announced as the winners Jericho charges back into the ring and gets more of Angle. Rock and Show duke it out on the ramp while Chyna DDT’s Angle and Jericho puts him in the Walls of Jericho. Fun but still a four-minute main event. **½
We then cut backstage and find Rock and Show still going at it with Show punching out a whiteboard. Rock goes for a whip but Show reverses him into closed garage door then tosses him through a plate glass window!! But rather than close on that we see the Helmsleys applauding this from the other side of the window as they start to climb into the DX Express. The bus then starts off dragging the cage containing Cactus Jack behind it as Smackdown fades to black.
Conclusion: Pretty uneven episode but still what you’d expect from the go-home show for the pay-per-view. Almost everything served its purpose in putting the final touches on the card and Mick Foley’s “final” promo was pretty well done but like I said would become meaningless not too long after. But then we got those segments with Cactus in the cage that seemed to overshadow the remainder of the program and just came off goofy. Heck, we saw The Rock thrown through a window but even that was quickly forgotten with another silly segment with the cage. So not the worst PPV hype show but the Raw episode prior to this would have been a better way to segue into No Way Out.