Written by: Adam King
Thursday, May 24th, 2001
Taped (5/22) from the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, CA
List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Kane (5/20/2001)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho (5/21/2001)
● WWF European Champion: Matt Hardy (4/26/2001)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: The Big Show (5/21/2001)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Jerry Lynn (4/29/2001)
~ Smackdown comes on the air with clips of the epic Chris Benoit/Chris Jericho vs. Steve Austin/Triple H match on Raw. Michael Cole and Tazz then wlecome us to the show while buzzing about Jericho and Benoit’s crowning moment.
~ Things kick off with Vince McMahon making his way out to the stage looking to address the crowd as usual. Vince gets on the mic and starts off by guaranteeing everyone a historic night of WWF action tonight in Anaheim. Vince calls it a miracle how Benoit and Jericho beat Steve Austin and Triple H to become tag team champions but also mentions that Triple H unfortunatley suffered a severe leg injury due to the intensity of the tag team match. Vince says Triple H’s quadreceps just about sliced in two and as a result he’ll be out of action for four to six months and the crowd cheers the news of Triple H’s extended hiatus, with Vince asking how bloodthirsty must the fans be. Vince then says he’s not a vindictive man but suggests Benoit and Jericho’s tag title reign will be a little abbreviated because tonight there will be a tag team title match. However Vince says yhis one will involve tables, ladders and chairs, meaning we’re going to have a TLC tag team championship match for the first time ever on broadcast televsion! Vince also says that four teams will be involved: Benoit/Jericho, The Hardys, The Dudleys and Edge & Christian. Vince invites the fans to enjoy the match because he knows he will, just like Austin will and Triple H will, then suggests that Benoit and Jericho may be fresh out of miracles tonight and departs.
~ We then see Cole and Tazz getting excited about a TLC match on free TV, and it looks like we’re foregoing the commercial break as we go straight to the first match.
- Eddie Guerrero vs. X-Pac
X-Pac wants revenge for Eddie costing him the European Title last Monday on Raw and Cole mentions both men agreed to keep all their pals backstage and keep it one-on-one. Both men exchange words before Eddie shoves X-Pac then htis a knee to the chest and gets in the first shots. Eddie goes for a whip, X-Pac reverses it but lowers the head and Eddie rolls over X-Pac then ducks a spinkick and hits a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker that gets a near fall. Eddie hammers X-Pac with European uppercuts and goes for a whip, X-Pac reverses it but Eddie clubs his back and drills him with a DDT for a two count. Eddie whips X-Pac but X-Pac comes back with a spinkick then applies an armwringer but Eddie fights out of it. Eddie whips X-Pac but X-Pac lifts himself up and tosses Eddie out through the ropes with a head scissors. X-Pac then hops on the middle rope and springboards over the ropes, connecting with a plancha on the floor. X-Pac tosses Eddie in the ring and hits some chops in a corner then snapmares him and slaps on a chinlock. Eddie fights out of the hold and comes off the ropes but runs right into a spinning heelkick that gets a near fall. X-Pac slams Eddie then climbs to the top rope and goes for a somersault senton but Eddie is able to dodge it. Eddie fights back and whips X-Pac, hitting a dropkick then goes out to the apron and slings himself into a hilo. Eddie whips X-Pac into a corner and charges at him but X-Pac sidesteps it and hits a spinkick to the face. X-Pac goes for the Bronco Buster but Eddie dodges it and X-Pac ends up straddling himself on the turnbuckle. Eddie climbs to the top rope perhaps looking for the Frogsplash but X-Pac cuts him off with a ghetto blaster. X-Pac then pulls Eddie off the top rope into an over-the-back X-Factor and grabs the pin. (4:28) Should have known X-Pac wasn’t going to job twice in a row. Decent match but both men had trouble clicking in there. Plus X-Pac going over doesn’t help Eddie’s face run, not that it was going to matter the following week anyway. **
~ Back from break Commissioner William Regal in his office and is talking with Yoshihiro Tajiri, who making his debut in the WWF (or return if you count his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearences in 1997). Tajiri mumbles some Japanese and Regal tells him he doesn’t understand a word he’s saying but figures Tajiri must want to be a WWF wrestler and tells him he just can’t expect superstar status right away. Regal says he’s seen Tajiri compete but feels he needs to pay some dues and should be friends with the commisioner, that if he does some things for him then he can help him and his rise to stardom will be a lot quicker. Tajiri agrees and bows to Regal but Regal asks him not to do that, not wanting any racial stereotypes in the WWF. Regal asks Tajiri to fetch him some tea and crumpets and Tajiri heads out, but not before he does some more bowing.
~ Cole and Tazz next mention how Kurt Angle’s Olympic reenactment from Raw got ruined as we get highlights of it, including Shane McMahon’s involvement. We then find Angle meeting Johnathan Coachman and asking if he’s seen Shane or if he’s due to be here. Coach tells him he hasn’t seen Shane, even as Angle warns him that lying to him is essentially lying to America. Angle orders Coach to find him if he sees Shane then heads out to continue his own search.
~ Elsewhere backstage Spike Dudley pleads with the other Dudleys to reconsier putting Molly Holly through a table, that Molly isn’t to blame for what happened to them on Monday. D’Von begs to differ, saying he saw Molly with the bell and then saw Hardcore with the bell, therefore she’s going through a table. D’Von says it’s going to happen sometime but they have more important things to worry about tonight, like TLC. Bubba starts to call Molly a backstabbing little something but Spike won’t stand for it because he cares about her. The Dudleys then shake their heads and head off to find some tables while Spike leaves to hang out with Molly.
~ Back from break Molly is sitting somewhere then Kurt Angle walks up asking if she’s seen Shane anywhere and Molly says she hasn’t. Angle warns her against lying, reminding her how he once broke her cousin’s arm and Molly mentions she’s waiting for someone. Angle then makes fun of her waiting for Spike Dudley like it’s the prom before telling her to look for Shane for him instead of waiting for a ugly inbred wrestler wannabe. Molly takes exception and Angle gets in her face when Spike runs up demanding that Angle leave his girlfriend alone. Molly seems surprised at Spike calling her his ‘girlfriend’ while Angle is wondering if this is Saved by the Bell. Angle challenges Spike to meet him for a match later tonight and Spike dares him to meet him in the ring right now. Angle scoffs at Spike challenging him but Spike insists that they get it on now and even offers the lead the way. So Spike runs off with Angle following him and we follow them past the stage and out through the crowd to the ring. Spike stands in the ring calling Angle a chicken and Angle seems amused by this but climbs in and it’s on.
- Kurt Angle vs. Spike Dudley
Spike slaps Angle then bails out to the floor and Angle chases him around the ring when Spike slides back in and hits a baseball slide. Spike leaps off the apron but Angle catches him into a belly-to-belly suplex on the floor. Angle tosses Spike back in the ring and hammers him with rights then stomps away at him and hits a back suplex. Angle stomps Spike in the head and hits another suplex and Spike rolls out to the floor to catch his breath. However Angle goes after Spike and rams him into the barricade then drops him on it and whips him into it. Angle rams Spike into the steps and into the post then hits the Olympic Slam off the steps onto the floor! Angle throws Spike in the ring and hits another Olympic Slam then slaps on the Anklelock and Spike taps. (3:55) Just a squash, though Spike made it entertaining with his bumping.
After the bell Angle refuses to release the hold when Molly runs out and gets the hold broken then gets in Angle’s face, ready to duke it out with Angle. However Crash and Hardcore Holly appear and pull Molly from the ring then drag her up the ramp while Angle tells Molly to watch as he puts Spike in the Anklelock again. Spike is slapping the mat like crazy while Molly gets carried off by Hardcore, unable to help her friend.
~ Back from break Lillian Garcia interviews Kurt Angle on if he’s proud with what he did to Spike moments ago. Angle says he is indeed proud of his actions, just like he’s proud to be an American and an Olympic champion. Angle then reminds us how Shane McMahon ruined his Olympic ceremony and cost him the Intercontinental Title. Ange says Vince McMahon gave him the green light so he’s going to be proud to snap Shane’s ankle in two.
- Raven vs. Dean Malenko (w/Perry Saturn & Terri Runnels)
Both men lockup to start and Malenko gets a hammerlock, Raven reverses it but Malenko elbows him away. Malenko comes off the ropes but runs into a drop toehold then Raven hits a armdrag followed by a right hand. Malenko jabs Raven’s eyes to regain control and goes for a whip but Raven reverses it and hits a hiptoss. Raven whips Malenko and hits a backdrop then goes for the Evenflow already but Malenko shoves him away and hits a dropkick. Malenko applies some sort of submission hold but Raven grabs the ropes for the break. Malenko kicks at Raven’s knee then hits a chopblock to the knee and follows it up with a kneedrop on the knee. Malenko pulls on Raven’s foot as Raven tries to fight out then Malenko whips him but Raven hits a clothesline. Raven follows that up with a kneelift then decks Saturn on the apron after Saturn slides a chair in the ring. Malenko goes for a whip but Raven reverses him into a corner and hits a clothesline followed by the bulldog. Raven sets up for the Raven Effect but Terri hops on the apron and distracts the referee while Saturn goes in and hits Raven with a neckbreaker before Malenko flips over into a bridge for the pin. (2:32) Not bad but nothing great. *½
Saturn stomps away at Raven after the bell and chases the referee away when Raven starts to fight back. Raven tries to fight Malenko off but Saturn nails him while Malenko grabs the chair that was never used. Saturn then readies to superkick Raven but misses him and superkicks the chair right into Malenko’s face. Raven then drills Saturn with the Evenflow into the chair and departs leaving Saturn out cold in the ring.
~ Backstage Steve Blackman is working out with his kendo stick when he gets a visit from Trish Stratus. Trish mentions they’re partners tonight so she figured she’d hang with Blackman so they can get ready together. Blackman points out they’re in the guy’s dressing room but Trish mentions that’s why she had the screen set up. Trish slips behind the screen but a bright light projects her silhouette and Blackman becomes intrigued by it.
~ We then get a shot of the Hardys and Lita talking, perhaps discussing strategy for the TLC match later tonight. We also finally get our first look at Steve Austin as he’s making his way somewhere as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break Trish is still changing behind a screen and asks Blackman to come and help her out with a button. Blackman and Trish then have an interesting conversation behind the screen while Grandmaster Sexay overhears them. You can probably get the joke here so let’s just move along.
~ Out in the arena Steve Austin, now on his own with Triple H injured, makes his way to the ring to share a few words with the fans on the mic. Austin first demands the fans shut up becuase he has some problems in his life to talk about and has a sore throat. Austin first gripes about getting pinned by Chris Jericho in a freak accident on Raw and losing the tag team titles but then demands that the fans stop calling him a certain word, threatening to turn and leave the ring if they don’t. Naturally the fans don’t stop chanting that word so Austin grabs his title belt and actually starts leaving the ring! However Austin then stops and tells the fans that he changed his mind before climbing back in. Awesome. Austin then continues and mentions how he’s no longer a Tag Team Champion because of one man, that being Triple H. Austin mentions how Triple H claimed he never makes mistakes but they lost because Triple H was selfish. Austin claims that he was about to escape from Jericho’s Liontamer and hit the Stunner when Triple H interfered. Austin also claims that he was about to kick out of Jericho’s pinfall cover when Triple H hit him with the sledgehammer. Austin says Triple H was selfish on both those occasions and therefore deserved to suffer that leg injury because of it. Austin adds that he doesn’t care about Triple H because he’s Stone Cold Steve Austin and he’s the WWF Champion. Austin then mentions how he has an issue with security after the Undertaker barged into his dressing room on Monday. Austin says he beat Taker at Judgment Day only for Taker to threaten him by saying it ain’t over until he says it is but Austin says it is over. Austin calls himself a man’s man and a fighting champion and is willing defend his belt against anyone in the back, but he just won’t do it tonight because this town doesn’t deserve to see him in action then departs. With Triple H out of the picture Austin got his chance to be #1 heel and would try his darndest to make it work. You’d figure this would set up a blowoff between Austin and Triple H down the road but it never happened, and I bet you can guess why.
~ Back from break Tajiri is delivering William Regal a tray full of crumpets and Regal is pleased with his service but preaches patience to his protigee. Suddenly Rhyno barges in demanding a rematch for the Hardcore title tonight but Regal tells him that’s not going to happen tonight. Rhyno then suggests he get a shot at Austin’s WWF Championship but Regal reminds us that Austin was willing the defend the title anywhere but won’t do it here, so no dice. Rhyno then requests a match against Kane for the Intercontinental Title instead and Regal asks if he’s entirely sane. Rhyno says he’s willing to fight Kane tonight so Regal grants him his title match and Rhyno walks off satisifed. After Rhyno leaves Regal mentions how Rhyno’s head is so enormous it’s like an orange on a toothpick.
- Steve Blackman, Grandmaster Sexay & Trish Status vs. Bull Buchanan, Goodfather & Ivory
The Right To Censor were on their last legs at this point and this match would pretty much be their swan song. Sexay leads his crew out first as Cole mentions Sexay and Blackman will be this week’s guest hosts on Heat. Buchanan starts against Blackman and gets in the first shots then whips him but Blackman ducks a clothesline. Blackman trips him with a legsweep then comes off the ropes but Buchanan catches him with an Atomic Drop. Buchanan hits a clothesline and scoops Blackman up but Blackman slips out and shoves him into a corner. Blackman dropkicks Buchanan from behind when Ivory tags herself in prompting Blackman to tag Trish in. Trish shoves Ivory into her corner and shoulderblocks her then hits a hiptoss and Ivory bails out to the floor.Trish chases her back in the ring but Ivory pounces on her as she slides in and caps it off with a snapmare. Ivory goes for a whip, Trish reverses it but Goodfather makes a blind tag and Trish finds herself facing him. Ivory nails Trish from behind and Goodfather moves in but Trish crawls under him and makes the tag to Sexay. Sexay wails on Goodfather and goes for a whip, Goodfather sends him into a corner and charges but eats a boot. Sexay hops to the middle rope and busts a move then leaps over Goodfather’s charge and hits an enzuigiri. Sexay comes off the ropes but Goodfather clotheslines him then pounds him and tags Buchanan to take over. Buchanan gets in his shots and whips Sexay but Sexay slides under him and hits a DDT then tags in Blackman. Blackman nails Buchanan with a thrust kick then comes off the ropes and connects with a jumping elbow. Goodfather is in but eats a clothesline and Blackman tries to fight both men but they eventually double-team him. The RTC’ers whip Blackman but Blackman hits a double dropkick then Sexay is in and goes after Goodfather. Goodfather tosses Sexay through the ropes and goes after him while Blackman hits Buchanan with a spinebuster. Blackman bridges over into a pin but Ivory breaks it up so Trish comes in and starts catfighting with Ivory. The referee tries to pull Ivory and Trish apart while Buchanan nails Blackman with an axe kick and covers him but the referee is still busy with the catfight to count the pin. Sexay climbs to the top rope and nails Buchanan with the Hip Hop Drop then rolls Blackman on top of him and there’s the three count. (3:55) Match was just there but wasn’t too bad. After the bell Sexay and Blackman are ready to dance and they even convinces Trish to slip on the sunglasses. The music cues up and all three proceed with the post-match dance with Trish even doing the Worm. Of course neither Blackman and Trish would know they were dancing with Sexay for the last time in the WWF. **
~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews Dean Malenko and Terri Runnels about Perry Saturn’s condition and Terri mentions all the blows Saturn has suffered to the head this week and apparently it doesn’t look good while Malenko says all they can do is wait. Saturn emerges from the trainer’s room so Malenko asks him if he’s okay and Saturn responds with … something about bunnies eating radishes to have babies (?!) followed by “Your welcome!” Yes, it begins.
~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the building as well as B-Real from Cypress Hill in the crowd tonight.
~ Backstage Lillian Garcia interviews Edge & Christian, asking if they’re nervous about facing four teams in TLC and Christian says that he and Edge have been in enough of these matches to know the consequences. Christian says how people have habits, like Lillian asking stupid questions and SoCal fans being braindead idiots, or like them winning big matches. Christian even mentions how they won TLC 1, TLC 2 or even the triangle ladder match at last year’s Wrestlemania in this very building. Edge feels Vince McMahon came to them because they’re the best team to get the belts off Benoit and Jericho then promises total “victorification” for himself and Christian and they leave Lillian shaking her head.
- WWF INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: Kane © vs. Rhyno
Rhyno lost the Hardcore Title on Raw so he’s hoping to rebound with some other gold tonight. Rhyno dares Kane to come at him and gets in the first shots then grabs Kane’s waist but Kane fights him off. Kane pounds on Rhyno in a corner and whips him into the other corner and plants him with a sidewalk slam. Kane climbs to the top rope and hits the flying clothesline for a two count but Rhyno yanks on Kane’s hurt arm. Rhyno whips Kane and hits a clothesline for a near fall then whips him into a corner and hits a shoulderblock. Rhyno then slaps on a chinlock but Kane gets to his feet with Rhyno on his shoulders and hits an electric chair. Kane whips Rhyno and nails him with a big boot then follows it up with a powerslam but only gets a two count. Kane then goes for a whip but Rhyno counters it into a suplex then nails him with a running boot to the head. Rhyno goes for the Gore but Kane sidesteps it then grabs him and hits the chokeslam to retain the title. (4:14) Decent, hard-hitting match, but still could have used a few more minutes. **
~ Backstage we find Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho pumping each other up, just like they did on Monday. Benoit mentions how no one gave then a chance, that they’d leave with their heads down, but they left champions. Benoit says some are calling it a fluke or a miracle, but the odds were stacked against them and they overcame them. Benoit says tonight they’re facing the WWF’s three best tag teams in their match and they’ll be coming after them. Jericho says the odds are against them again but they’re going show the world who their champions really are.
~ Back from break we see the tag team title belts hanging from the ceiling signaling the TLC match is next. Tables and ladders are also set up at ringside as the four teams file out when we go to another commercial.
- WWF WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES: Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho © vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian – Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match
The action starts with the three other teams triple-teaming Benoit and Jericho in the corners before E&C leave the Hardys and Dudleys to continue the assault while they slide a pair of ladders in the ring. E&C quickly climb up but Bubba and Matt spot them and pull them down before the two can grab the belts. The Hardys and Dudley then duke it out and Bubba works Jeff over while D’von whips Matt and hits an elbow. Bubba hops to the middle rope looking for a senton on Jeff but misses while Matt comes back against D’Von. Matt throws a ladder at Bubba then whips D’Von into a corner and drops down while Jeff hits Poetry in Motion. Matt drops down as Jeff goes for Poetry in Motion on Bubba but Bunna throws the ladder at him to block it. Benoit comes in the ring and chops Matt while Jericho brings another ladder it and rams it into Matt’s face. Benoit suplexes Bubba onto a ladder then he and Jericho whip D’Von into the other ladder set in a corner. Ege and Christian then come in and stomp Benoit and Jericho down before clotheslining Benoit with a ladder. E&C set a ladder on the bottom rope then whip Jericho and trip him into the ladder with a drop toehold. E&C set the ladder up and start climbing up but Matt makes it in and pulls Christian off with a powerbomb. Edge continues climbing up and almost reaches the belts but Matt climbs up the other side and cuts him off. Edge and Matt exchange punches when Benoit shoves the ladder over dumping both guys onto the top rope. Bubba nails Benoit from behind and chops him down in a corner then pulls him out and rams him into the steps. Nearby Jericho pounds on Matt and rolls him onto a table but Jeff comes up and throws Jericho into the post. Benoit climbs to the top rope going for a splash on Matt but Matt moves and Benoit crashes through the table! Benoit is out on the floor while Jericho and Jeff have each set up a ladder. The Dudleys climb up them with Jericho and Jeff going up the other side and those four exhcnage punches before Jeff knocks D’Von off the ladder. Bubba knocks Jeff off the ladder but Jericho turns and bulldogs him off the ladder to the mat. Meanwhile Benoit still hasn’t moved on the floor so Tazz goes over to check on him and starts calling for help. A number of EMTs come out and load Benoit on a stretcher as Tazz tells them that his ribs might be hurt. Benoit is wheeled up the ramp and it looks like Jericho is on his own now as we go to commercial.
Back from break we find Edge climbing one of the ladders set up as Jericho tries to make it back in for the save.Jericho climbs up and stops Edge just in time before putting him in the Walls of Jericho on top of the ladders! Christian goes up and shoves Jericho off the ladders and Jericho hits the turnbuckles on the way down. E&C almost reach the belts but the Hardys and Dudleys tip the ladders over dropping them onto the ropes. The Hardys and Dudleys then set the ladders back up and climb up themselves and exchange punches at the top. D’Von hiptosses Matt off one ladder while Bubba suplexes Jeff off the other ladder and all seven men are down. We then look over and see Chris Benoit making his way back out to the arena while trying to gut out the pain. Benoit moves a single ladder into position and climbs up for the belts but E&C are back in and pull Benoit down. Benoit tries to fight both men with chops and exhcnages punches wiht Edge but Chrisitian nails him from behind. E&C double-team Benoit then Christian stomps on the hurt ribs while Edge slides a pair of chairs in the ring. E&C ready for a ConChairto and Benoit covers his head up but E&C instead nail him right in his injured ribs! Benoit is writhing in pain and rolls out to the apron when the Dudleys come in and toss Christian over the ropes. Bubba slams Edge and sets him up while D’Von climbs to the top and connects with the “Wassup” headbutt. D’Von slides a table in the ring and set it up but Jericho comes in and takes out both Dudleys with a chair. Christian then comes back in with his own chair and cracks Jericho in the head sending him rolling out to the floor. Christian rolls Bubba onto the table then sets up another ladder in a corner and climbs up for something. D’Von goes up to meet Christian then pulls him off the ladder and Bubba turns it into a 3D through the table! The referees check on Christian as Bubba celebrates but the Hardys pull him out and work him over on the floor. Bubba shoves Matt away and pounds on Jeff but Matt grabs a montior off the table and bashes Bubba with it. Matt clears off the announce table and rolls Bubba onto it while Jeff sets up a tall ladder right next to it. Jeff climbs up antother ladder then leapfrogs the tall ladder and legdrops Bubba through the announce table!
Jeff and Bubba are both out while Matt and D’Von both set up a ladder in the ring and try to rereive the belts. Both guy reach for the belts but Matt pounds on D’Von then takes him out with a Twist of Fate off the ladders! Matt is back up as he climbs up the ladder and touches the belts when Jericho comes in with a chair in hand. Matt kicks the chair into Jericho’s face but Jericho bounces off the ropes and ends up knocking the ladder over. Matt falls onto the ropes and now he’s down on the floor while Jericho sets the ladder up away from the belts. Jericho climbs up the ladder but Edge climbs up another ladder and cuts Jericho down with a spear in mid-air. Everyone is pretty much out of commission as Benoit comes back in and gingerly moves a ladder under the belts. Benoit then slowly climbs up while trying to block out the pain as the crowd grows louder with every step. Benoit eventually reaches the top of the ladder and pulls down the belts and the Chrises retain the gold! (19:02) Benoit and Jericho pass their first test as tag team champs and pose on a ladder each with a belt in hand to celebrate as Smackdown goes off the air. Not quite up to the standards of the previous TLC matches on pay-per-view and the ending was a bit anticlimatic but still a great match from all four teams. Plus it let a new audience experience TLC who may not have caught the supercards. ****
Conclusion: At the time this was a pretty good edition of Smackdown with a really rocking main event that let Benoit and Jericho take the spotlight. However this was pretty much a one-match show; take out the free TLC match and you’re left with an undercard which ranged from average to unmemorable, though nothing was actively horrible here, and not much was built up for King of the Ring. The TLC III match is the only real reason to tune in, and even then its inclusion on the first Ladder Match DVD set has left no real reason to seek this episode out.
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.