WWF Smackdown 3/8/2001

Written by: Adam King

Thursday, March 8th, 2001

Taped (3/6) from the MCI Center in Washington, DC

List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: The Rock (2/25/2001)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho (1/21/2001)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Hardy Boyz (3/05/2001)
● WWF European Champion: Test (1/22/2001)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: The Big Show (2/25/2001)
● WWF Women’s Champion: Ivory (11/02/2000)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko (4/27/2000)

~ Smackdown comes on the air with clips of Debra being named The Rock’s manager on Raw. After the intro Michael Cole welcomes us to the show along with Tazz who’s taken over Jerry Lawler’s spot for the forseeable future. Cole announces tonight The Rock takes on Rikishi & Haku in a handicap match and Al Snow battles William Regal with the winner being named WWF Commissioner. Interesting.

WWF World Tag Team Titles: The Hardy Boyz © (w/Lita) vs. The Dudley Boyz
The Hardys stunned the Dudleys for the belts on Raw thanks to Christian’s interference so here’s the rematch. Both sides waste no time going at it to start before the Hardys and Dudleys spill out to the floor. Eventually Bubba throws Matt back in the ring and works him over in a corner when Jeff makes the save. The Hardys whip Bubba into a corner, Matt drops to the mat and Jeff connects with the Poetry in Motion. Matt follows up with a clotheslne for a two count then goes for the discus punch but Bubba suplexes him. D’Von tags in and nails Jeff coming in then whips Matt into a jumping elbow and throws Jeff out to the floor. D’Von plants Matt wiht a powerslam for a two count then goes for the ropes but Jeff trips him from the floor. Matt follows up with an elbowdrop then chokes D’Von on the middle rope and Jeff adds a guillotine legdrop. Jeff tags in and the Hardys whip D’Von and hit a double elbow followed by their combo move for a near fall. Jeff hops to the middle rope and leaps off but D’Von cuts him down with a clothesline. Matt tags back in and elbowdrops D’Von to cut off a tag then hits a gutwrench suplex followed by a fistdrop for a near fall. Matt goes for the Twist of Fate but D’Von counters with a suplex and both men tag their respective partners. Bubba hammers Jeff and tosses him over the ropes and Matt comes in but Bubba hot shots him on the ropes. Jeff comes off the ropes but Bubba backdrops him for a two count then plants Matt with a sidewalk slam. Bubba then sets Jeff on his shoulders while D’Von climbs to the top rope and hits the Dudleyville Device. Bubba covers Jeff but Matt climbs to the top and makes the save with a guillotine legdrop. Matt knocks D’von through the ropes and goes out after him while Jeff manages to drape an arm over Bubba but only gets a two count. Lita climbs to the top rope and hits Bubba with a huricanrana and Jeff follows up with a splash on him but that only gets two. D’Von comes back in and Jeff goes for a whip, D’Von reverses him into a corner and Jeff runs up the ropes going for the Whisper in the Wind but D’Von swats him away. The Dudleys plant him with the 3D. D’Von keeps Matt back as Bubba covers Jeff … but Christian appears and pulls the referee out of the ring. D’Von goes out and decks Christian but Matt comes in and lays Bubba out with a neckbreaker from behind. Matt then rolls Jeff on top of Bubba and the referee goes back in the count the pin. (4:57) Really, a neckbreaker was enough to keep Bubba down for a three? Another solid bout but these guys have fought so much their matches are beginning to blur together. **

Anyway The Hardys grab their belts and depart while Christian continues to work D’Von over on the floor. Bubba pulls Christian in the ring by the hair and slams him to the mat then sets him up while D’Von climbs to the top rope and connects with the “Wassup” headbutt. Bubba has D’Von fetch a table and set it up then hops to the middle rope and superbombs Christian through it.

~ Backstage Vince McMahon is on the phone talking to someone about humiliating Trish Stratus on Monday and tells that person he has a surprise tonight that will be better because this one is personal. Debra then comes into the room and confronts Vince about the way he treated Trish and Vince claims to understand. Vince claims to have to upmost respect for women but Trish is trash and not like other women such as Debra. Vince admits he did get carried away even though Trish could have said no at anytime and does offer an apology. Debra then talks about being tricked into managing The Rock knowing her husband is facing him at Wrestlemania. Vince tells Debra after she resigned he wanted to reward her loyalty by having her manage the WWF Champion but now sees the conflict of interest Debra sees. Vince says he’ll understand if Debra just wants to be a housewife but he always saw her a goal-oriented career woman willing to accept any and all challenges. Debra stops Vince’s rambling and says she’s willing to manage Rock but didn’t like the way Vince went about it. Vince gives Debra’s props for being a professional and accepting this challenge as we go to commercial.

WWF Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho © vs. Val Venis (w/The Right To Censor)
Ivory joins the announcers for commentary and Cole mentions rumors of Chyna possibly making a comeback. Just in case your cared. Val gets in a kick to start but Jericho quickly comes back with chops and whips him hard into a corner then comes off the ropes with a spinning heel kick for a two count then chops him. Jericho goes for a whip, Val reverses it but lowers the head and Jericho kicks the face. Jericho goes for the ropes when Richards grabs his leg and Jericho glares at him but turns right into an elbow. Val follows up with an elbowdrop and a kneedrop then fires away on Jericho and hits a Blue Thunderbomb for a two count. Val hits a neckbreaker for a near fallthen whips Jericho into a corner and goes for a suplex but Jericho flips out of it and connects with a enzuigiri. Jericho starts fighting back goes for a whip, Val reverses it but Jericho comes back with a flying forearm. Jericho then goes for the ropes again but tumbles out to the floor after Bull Buchanan pulls down the top rope. Goodfather and Buchanan work Jericho over then toss him into the ringsteps and Goodfather clotheslines him. The RTC’ers throw Jericho back in the ring when the Acolytes make their way out and go at it with them. While the referee is distracted by the brawl outside Richards goes in and nails Jericho with the Stevenkick. Richards heads back out to the floor and Val covers Jericho as the referee turns around … but only gets two! Val goes for a whip but Jericho reverses him into a corner then comes off the ropes and hits the bulldog. Jericho pops Richards off the apron then nails Val with the Lionsault and gets the three to retain. (3:17) Jericho then looks out to the departing Acolytes and signals that he owes them a beer later. Match was just there. *½

~ Cole and Tazz talk about Kurt Angle’s mean streak as they show him breaking Scotty 2 Hotty’s ankle on Raw. Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews Angle asking if he has any remose on putting Scotty on the shelf with the Anklelock. Angle says he’s upset over how long it took him to break the ankle when it would only take half the time back in ’96. We suddenly hear a disruption off screen and find Grandmaster Sexay being held back by a number of wrestlers. Sexay yells at Angle who dares the pile to let him go feeling he wouldn’t even last five minutes in the ring with him. Test then walks up to Angle telling him he has a big mouth before challenging him to a match, calling him “little man”. Test walks off as Angle says he’s not scared of him and accepts the challenge promising to break his ankle as well.

~ Backstage Vince McMahon is on the phone talking to Trish Stratus about bringing his wife Linda to the arena tonight. Yes, folks, another “dysfunctional McMahons” segment coming up.

~ Elsewhere we find Chris Benoit going into the Radicalz’ lockerroom where he finds his comrades conversing. Benoit asks them if he’s interputing something and tells Eddie Guerrero to go ahead and let his actions do the talking. Benoit asks Eddie if he wants a shot at him and dcides to give him one, turning his back and stretching out his arms. Eddie decides to lunge at Benoit but Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn keep holding him back as Benoit taunts him. The Radicals say they’ll pick their spot and Benoit instead suggests they can settle their issues one at a time in the ring. Benoit dares his pals to prove him wrong and departs with the others following after him.

~ Still elsewhere Steve Austin is talking with Debra who says she spoke with Vince about getting her career back. Austin tells Debra he’s all for her managing again but he knows from experience that Vince tricked her plain and simple. Austin asks Debra to understand the position he’s in, that she’s managing his opponent for the WWF Championship. Austin tells Debra he hopes everything works out for the best but just shakes his head afterwards.

~ The Rock is shown arriving at the building only a half-hour late this time as we go to commercial.

Chris Benoit vs. The Radicalz – Gauntlet Match
Usual gauntlet rules with Benoit taking each of the Radicalz on in succession. Perry Saturn is up first and exchanges shots with Benoit then gets the advantage and pounds him down. Saturn whips him, Benoit slides under him and Saturn takes him down by the legs but Benoit slings him off. Benoit chops Saturn in a corner and stomps him down then whips him into the opposite corner and charges but Saturn blocks a clothesline. Saturn hits a belly-to-belly suplex followed by a clothesline and a suplex for a two count. Saturn hits a modifed Rocker Dropper for a near fall then headbutts Benoit and grabs at the face. Saturn sets Benoit on the top rope then goes up and hits a superplex. Saturn climbs to the top again and goes for the flying elbowdrop but misses it and Benoit fights back before hitting a Dragon legwhip. Benoit follows up with a snap suplex and a back suplex then climbs to the top and hits the diving beadbutt but that only gest a two count. Saturn goes for the Death Valley Driver but Benoit slips out of it and comes off the ropes with a clothesline. Benoit goes for the ropes a second time but Terri grabs his ankle so Benoit pulls her onto the apron. Saturn charges at him but Benoit sidesteps and Saturn knocks Terri off. Benoit then slaps on the Crossface and Saturn is forced to tap out to end the first stage. (3:48)

Dean Malenko comes in next and gets in the first shots then goes for a whip. Benoit reverses it but lowers the head and Malenko kicks the face then goes into a armwringer. Benoit counters it and goes for an enzuigiri but Malenko ducks it then elbowdrops him and stomps him down in a corner. Benoit reverses positions when Saturn distracts the referee allowing Malenko to kick him below the belt. Malenko goes for a whip but Benoit reverses him into a corner and plants him with a German suplex. Benoit holds on for a second German supelx but Malenko fights out of a third German. Malenko whips Benoit into a corner and clotheslines him then scoops him up but Benoit floats over him and hits an inverted suplex. Benoit whips Malenko but Malenko rolls him up into his own Crossface as Benoit lifts him up on his back. Malenko slips down into a Sunset Flip but Benoit sits on his shoulders and holds him down for the pin. (5:27)

That leaves Eddie Guerrero but he makes his way down the ramp slowly as Benoit dares him to fight. Before Eddie can climb in the ring Malenko and Saturn both come back in and attack Benoit from behind. Malenko holds Benoit across his knee as Saturn climbs to the top rope and hits a flying kneedrop on him. Eddie eventually asks Malenko and Saturn to clear out of the ring and heads in to finish off Benoit himself. Eddie stomps Benoit and hits a brainbuster then climbs to the top rope and hits the Frogsplash for the three. (6:35) Eddie celebrates with Malenko and Saturn and it looks like Benoit is now officially out of the Radicalz. Good solid action, though there was a bit of sloppiness in the second fall. You’d think this would lead to a big Benoit/Eddie blowoff at Wrestlemania but it didn’t quite happen that way. **½

~ Backstage Vince meets with Trish Stratus who has a present for him: the comatose Linda McMahon in a wheelchair. Vince happily asks Trish to wheel Linda out to the arena so the entire world can get a good, long look at his wife. Vince tells Linda that she’s going to be humilaited and they all head out as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Vince McMahon comes out to the stage for his big segment. Vince gets on the mic saying he has a treat of everyone because he’ll soon bring Linda out to the stage to meet everyone. Vince warns Linda is fragile and under medication because the last time she was in the ring was on Smackdown when he demanded a divorce from her. Vince says Linda couldn’t handle the emotional trauma and broke down so he stopped the divorce proceedings. Vince says he wouldn’t divorce his wife after her breakdown, plus she would get 50% of everything he owned. On that note Trish wheels Linda out to the stage and Linda just stares blanky ahead. Vince says he spared no expense for Linda’s comfort and gave her the best 24-hour nursing care money can buy. Vince also says he instructed the nurses to allow Linda to watch him run the WWF every Monday and Thursday. Vince then wonders what was going through Linda’s mind when she saw Trish deragding herself for him on Raw and feels Trish proved that she was loyal and would do anything for him, something Linda never seemed to do. Vince feels Linda needs to see more and asks her to hold his mic and his jacket by laying them across her lap. Vince and Linda then proceed to make out right in front of Linda who continues to sit there with no reaction at all. Vince then sarcastically waves at Linda before having Trish wheel her the back to finally end this segment. Even knowing the outcome of this angle doesn’t make these segments any less uncomfortable to watch.

~ Back from break we get a replay of the Vince/Linda/Trish segment. With a TV-PG box even. I’d point out the irony but let’s just move on.

Kurt Angle vs. Test © – Non-Title Match
Both men exchange shots to start and Test gets the advantage then whips Angle into a corner and clotheslines him. Test kicks away at him and throws him over the ropes then goes out and rams Angle into the barricade. Test talks trash while continuing to assault Angle then whips him into the ringpost and charges but Angle ducks and Test runs himself right into the post. Angle throws Test back in and lays the boots to him then pounds him in a corner and caps it off with a suplex. Test gets back to his feet so Angle hits another suplex then suplexes him a third time and gets a two count. Angle forearms Test in the back then chokes Test on the middle rope and whips him into a corner. Angle charges at Test and eats an elbow and Test comes out of the corner but runs into a drop toehold. Angle goes for the Anklelock but Test kicks Angle away into a corner and rolls him up but only gets two. Test comes back and plants Angle with the Full Nelson slam for a two count then goes for the big boot. Angle ducks it and goes for the Olympic Slam but Test slips out of it and clotheslines him over the ropes. Test then goes out to the floor and chases down Angle near the announce table then continues his assault. The referee pulls Test off Angle but Angle grabs Test’s European Title belt and waffles Test in the head with it. Angle rolls Test back in the ring then climbs to the top rope and hits the moonsault …. but only gets two?! Test comes back and goes for the pump-handle slam but Angle floats over and shoves him into the referee. Angle then nails Test below the belt and follows it up with the Olympic Slam to put this one away. (5:38) That was actually a decent match. **

Grandmaster Sexay runs out looking to get a piece of Angle but Angle trips him and gets the Anklelock. However Test breaks it up then nails Angle with the big boot that sends him rolling under the ropes.

~ Backstage Al Snow is talking to Mick Foley on a pay phone about his chance to be commissioner tonight, admiting he’s still beat up from the hardcore match on Monday but feels he can still handle William Regal. Snow also says once he becomes commissioner they’ll finally get even with Vince McMahon before hanging up. Snow then looks over and sees his midgets on a short phone talking on an adult line and cuts off their call as well. The midgets complain but Snow tells them they have a job to do and to keep their hands out of their pockets.

~ They show that great Steve Austin/Rock Wrestlemania promo again as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we find Steve Austin pacing around the back worked up about something.

William Regal vs. Al Snow (w/midgets) – Match for the WWF Commissionership
And you though only WCW had matches for presidencies and commissionerships. Regal comes out first and gets on the mic saying he can’t tell a lie just like George Washington. Regal promises that once he becomes Commissioner he will listen to each and every one of the fans. Snow comes out bandaged up from Monday as Cole mentions he’s hosting Sunday Night Heat this week. Regal attacks Snow as he climbs in the ring and whips him into a backdrop then Regal kicks him around the ring and follows up with a suplex for a two count. Snow tries to fight back but Regal stops that with the kneelifts to the face. Regal sets Snow on the top rope then goes for a superplex but the midgets hold Snow down. Snow fights Regal off to the mat then leaps off the top for a flying crossbody but that only gets a two count. Snow hits a DDT for a two count then whips Regal into a corner but Regal stops himself and both men collide. One of the midgets hops onto the apron to fire up the crowd but Regal knees him off the apron to the floor. Snow goes to check on him but Regal nails him from behind and hits the inverted neckbreaker for the win. (3:08) And there’s your new WWF Commissioner. Not much of a match to get behind and a somewhat disappointing end to Snow’s last significant storyline. *

The other midget comes in the tend to Snow but Regal attacks him and suplexes him because beating up midgets is always funny.

~ Backstage Triple H and Stephanie are shown arriving at the building when Trish and Linda McMahon come up so the Helmsleys take a moment to make fun of Linda’s condition then head off somewhere as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Vince McMahon congraduates William Regal (sporting a shiner) at winning the Commissionership. Vince tells Regal every other Commissioner before him was appointed but says he went out there and earned it. Regal promises to Vince to be the WWF’s most dignified Commissioner ever and to always do what the fans what. Of course he’s going to follow the WWF rulebook which states every authority figure has to be a heel supporter.

~ Out in the arena The Helmselys make thier way to the ring so Triple H can get on the mic for some promo time. Triple H says in the seven years he’s been in the WWF he’s scratched and clawed over everyone else to the top. Triple H says he’s married a powerful woman and is also physically and mentally superior to every other wrestler. Triple H also says he’s climbed to the top of the moutain and has earned everyone’s respect and demands fear. Triple H adds he’s beaten both The Rock and Steve Austin yet those two are in the main event at Wrestlemania so he wants know why he’s not in the WWF Championship match when he’s beaten everyone else to beat. Suddenly The Undertaker interupts Triple H for some reason and rides his motorcycle down the ramp to the ring. Taker climbs in and grabs a mic then starts off by telling Triple H that he’s trespassing on private property, that he doesn’t want to be in his yard because bad things have been happening there for a decade. Taker says while Triple H was climbing the mountain he was burying people underneath to make the mountain bigger. Taker admits Triple H has come a long way in seven years and may someday run the yard but that day isn’t here. Taker mentions what Triple H said about beating everyone else in the WWF but points out he never defeated him. Well, Triple H did beat Taker on Smackdown the previous year but let’s not allow that fact get in the way. Taker tells Triple H he doesn’t like him, fear him or respect him but promises to break him and make him famous. Triple H backs away and tries to punk Taker out but Taker hammers him and tosses him over the ropes. Stephanie tries to hold the furious Triple H back as Taker stands tall in the ring and glares out at him. Looks like we got another big time feud that just started.

~ Kevin Kelly is shown standing outside The Rock’s door waiting to be humilaited by him once again.

~ Elsehwere Rikishi is talking with Haku asking if he knows what their orders are and Haku responds in Tongan. Rikishi mentions they’re going to take the Rock down and once that’s done with he’s going to give Debra a stinkface. Rikishi says Debra will definitely smell what he’s cooking and Haku agrees with him as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Rikishi and Haku’s plot against The Rock and Debra.

~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews Rock on Debra being appointed his manager, even though Debra isn’t around. Rock says the road to Wrestlemania was clear with himself and Steve Austin on a collision course with destiny but now it’s foggy and bumpy with a roadblock named Debra. Rock tells Debra he has no problem with her personally and respects her but doesn’t need her as a manager. Rock adds he’s never needed nor wanted a manager throughout his career but now has Austin’s wife in his corner. Rock tells Debra they may have no choice but to accept it since Vince McMahon appointed her to that position. However Rock asks Debra if she can accept him beating up her husband on April 1 and that she can’t stop him from doing so, “If ya smell” and the rest.

~ Austin is show still pacing around the back in deep thought as we go to commercial.

~ The Wrestlemania countdown shows we’re only 24 days away from the big event.

The Rock © (w/Debra) vs. Rikishi & Haku – Non-Title Handicap Match
Rock and Haku start off but Rikishi gets Rock’s attention from the apron allowing Haku to get in the first shots. Haku hammers Rock in a corner and whips him but lowers the head and Rock rams him face-first into the mat. However Haku pops right up so Rock clotheslines him but Haku comes back with a right. Rikishi tags in and stomps Rock down in a corner and Rock starts fighting back but eats an elbow. Rikishi misses a legdrop and Rock goes for a whip but Rikishi reverses it and Haku nails Rock from behind while Rikishi follows up with a clothesline. Haku tags in and Rock again fights back until Haku hits a thrust chop. Haku goes for a whip but Rock reverses it and rams Haku into Rikishi knocking him off the apron. Rikishi brings a chair in but Rock cuts him off then grabs the chair himself and whacks Haku in the head with it but it has no effect, Rock is shocked as Haku headbutts him and follows up with a headbutt splash. Haku tags Rikishi in and whips Rock into a drop toehold then holds him down as Rikishi adds in the legdrop. Rock tries to rally back and and comes off the ropes but runs right into a Samoan Drop and Haku tags back in. Haku works Rock over in a corner and Rock again fights back and comes off the ropes but runs into a boot. Haku hits another headbutt splash before Rikishi tags in and stomps Rock down then whips him into a corner. Rikishi then goes for the running butt splash but Rock cuts him off with a clothelsine and both men are down. Haku tags back in but Rock fights back and goes for a whip, Haku reverses but Rock hits a flying forearm. Rikishi comes in and Rock tries to whip him, Rikishi goes to reverse it but Rock counters that into a DDT. Rock hammers Haku in a corner and goes for the Smackdown but Rikishi stops that and Haku stomps on him. Haku whips Rock in a corner then whips Rikishi into him but Rock dodges Rikishi and clotheslines Haku down. Rock plants Rikishi with a spinebuster then hits the Rock Bottom on Haku and that gets the three. (6:57) Because not even the super team like Rikishi and Haku is no match for Rock by himself. And you though John Cena was always overcoming the odds. **

Rock starts celebrating when Rikishi superkicks him down then climbs up the ropes and hits the Banzai Drop. Like it matters now. Rikishi then turns toward Debra and backs her into a corner where Haku holds her down and in position. Rikishi starts backing up slowly for the Stinkface but Steve Ausitn runs out to make the save and hammers away on Rikishi. Austin clotheslines Haku over the ropes then lays Rikishi out with the the Stunner. And that would be it for Rikishi and Haku’s run as a team since Rikishi would disappear for a few months while Haku would be relegated to the weekend shows, making you wonder why they even bothered bringing him in.

Anyway Austin heads out of the ring but Debra doesn’t depart with her husband and instead stays behind and tends to Rock. Austin heads up the ramp but sees the two of them on the OvalTron then looks back in disbelief at his wife helping his Wrestelmania opponent as we fade to black.

Conclusion: Okay show but it showed that even the greatest Wrestlemanias can have not-so-great builds behind them. The matches were again sub-par and again there was way too many non-wrestling segments. And other than the Triple H/Taker confrontation there wasn’t much advancement toward the big card, expecially with Angle who seemed in limbo after being in the title match at the last supercard. And Debra just seemed like an awkward addition to the Rock/Austin build, as if they were trying to recreate the Hulk Hogan/Elizabeth/Randy Savage triangle from 12 years prior, without much success. So it’s not a bad show but just not a great one. We’ll go thumbs in the middle leaning slightly down.

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