Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation presents Smackdown
From: Cleveland, OH
Opening Contest: Kurt Angle vs. Rob Van Dam: RVD works over Angle with a dropkick and a springboard cross body for a near fall. RVD puts Angle across the guard railing and hits a spinning leg drop. Angle hits a release German suplex back in the ring for a two count. RVD fights back with a spinning heel kick and shoulder rams in the corner. RVD nails Angle with a superkick and the rolling thunder but can’t keep Angle down for a three. Angle avoids the step over heel kick and locks in the ankle lock but RVD kicks Angle away and nearly wins with an inside cradle. Angle clotheslines RVD and signals for the Angle Slam. RVD counters and hits a standing spin kick. RVD goes to the top but here comes William Regal to distract RVD. Angle hits a top rope overhead belly to belly and locks in the ankle lock. RVD is forced to tap out. After the match, Regal enters the ring and attacks RVD. Here comes Kane to brawl with Angle. Regal takes a shot at Kane and is met with a choke slam. Angle runs away. (**1/2. A good way to kick off Smackdown. I always enjoy these two in the ring together.)
Backstage, Vince McMahon is with Ric Flair. McMahon wanted Flair to see who runs the promotion and tells Flair that Ric will wrestle Undertaker in a no disqualification match at Mania. Vince gives Flair the night off so that Flair will be in one piece for the Undertaker. Flair agreed to leave, but made sure to call McMahon a piece of shit.
Second Contest: Bradshaw vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Bubba Dudley vs. WWF World Tag Team Champion Billy: Billy and Bubba kick off the contest. Bubba works over Billy with several strikes until Billy tags in Jeff, who is worked over by Bubba briefly as well. Jeff with a few dropkicks and right hands. Bubba drops Hardy with a neck breaker. Jeff hits the Whisper in the Wind and Bradshaw is tagged in to go after Jeff. Bubba hits a back suplex on Bradshaw before leaving the ring. Bradshaw hits a fall away slam on Hardy. Hardy delivers a jaw breaker to Bradshaw and Billy tags in. Billy is slammed by Bradshaw, who holds Billy so Hardy can hit the What’s Up! Bubba nearly pins Bradshaw after a clothesline. Bradshaw follows up with a superplex on Bubba. Billy tags in and goes after Bubba until Bubba hits the Bubba Bomb. Jeff tags in and clotheslines Billy and delivers a leg drop. Jeff plants Billy with a tornado DDT for a near fall. Bradshaw hits the clothesline from hell on Bubba. Billy with the Fameasser on Bradshaw. Billy and Jeff are on the top and eventually Jeff misses the Swanton Bomb! Billy hits the cobra clutch slam on Jeff and gets the win with his feet on the ropes. After the match, Lita hits a hurricanrana on Billy. Stacy enters and brawls with Lita to the floor. Everyone is brawling to end the segment. (**1/2. Another good match that saw a lot of action and plenty of near falls. Everyone looked good and the fans were into it. Billy and Chuck are getting some great heel heat.)
Backstage, Lilian Garcia interviewed Christian about turning on DDP on RAW. Christian believes he won the match on RAW by himself. He also believes that DDP figured Christian would forget that DDP beat him for the WWF European Championship. DDP comes over and tells Christian that he should have just asked for a rematch. They agree to a match at WrestleMania X8!
In the locker room, Trish Stratus apologizes for kicking Lita on RAW. Lita accepted the apology and said there wouldn’t be accidents when she wins the WWF Women’s Championship at Mania. This led to a disagreement and a brief brawl!
Backstage, David Flair enters Vince McMahon’s office. McMahon decides to give David a chance of a lifetime. Tonight, David would wrestle the Undertaker! David asks McMahon if he is nuts, because he isn’t going to fight the Undertaker. McMahon tells David he has no choice and to be the man he has to beat the man. David leaves and we see the Undertaker enter the room happy about the match being made.
Third Contest: WWF Hardcore Champion Al Snow vs. Big Show: Snow breaks a broom over Show’s back early on but is met with several punches. Show sends Snow into the ring steps. Show tries to sandwich Snow’s head between the ring steps but Al gets out of the way. Snow whacks Show with a stop sign a few times for a near fall. Show rams Snow back first into the ring post. Snow low blows Show after avoiding a kick in the corner. Snow gets a bowling ball and rolls it into Show’s groin! Now continues with a DDT but can’t get a three on a cover. Show absorbs a few trash can shots and choke slams Snow. Goldust appears and tries to pin Snow after a few trash can lid shots but can’t. Maven dropkicks Show to the floor and pins Snow to win the title! (*1/2. A decent hardcore brawl between these two. The crowd is behind Maven and wanted to see him as the champion. It’s a shame to see Big Show is regulated to the hardcore division.)
Hollywood Hogan comes down and talks about everyone who has tried to kill off Hulkamania but failed to do so. Hulk says the only time Hulkamania was close to dying was when the fans left him, but Hogan realized he didn’t need the fans. Hogan shows his pin fall on Rock three times on RAW. Rock makes his way down and says he couldn’t care less about Hulkamania. Rocky believes Hogan lives in a fantasy world. Rock says there is no way Hogan will win at Mania. Hogan tells Rock that talk is cheap. Hulk does give Rock credit for being the best of the bunch and that they will have the biggest match in WrestleMania history. They do their catchphrases and have a stare down to end the segment.
Fourth Contest: Edge & WWF Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri vs. Booker T & Test:Tajiri and Booker kick off the match. Booker hammers away on Tajiri in the corner. Tajiri fights back with several kicks and kicks Test as well. Booker drops Tajiri with a side slam to regain control. Edge gets tagged in and cleans house with clotheslines and a spinning heel kick. Edge drives Test down face first but Booker delivers a kick to his face. Tajiri goes for the tarantula but Test counters with a wheelbarrow suplex and hits the big boot. Edge clotheslines Test over the top to the floor and spears Booker for a near fall. Edge ducks the big boot to hit the Edgecution on Test! Booker pins Edge after a leaping side kick. (*1/2. A rather quick match and a good win for Booker heading into Mania.) After the match, Test big boots Tajiri off the apron. Test forces Edge to watch the spinarooni and Booker delivers a scissors kick.
Backstage, Coach conducted an interview with Steve Austin regarding WrestleMania. Austin said he isn’t nervous because this isn’t his first Mania. He is going to go to Toronto and open a can of whoop ass. Scott Hall made his way to the stage and said Austin didn’t have to hide in the back. Hall suggested he show the world what he did to Austin on RAW, and we see the footage. Hall calls Austin out to the ring. It was an attempt at a set up but Austin out smarted Nash and Hall by attacking Hall from behind. Austin hit the Stunner on Hall and Nash chased after Austin with the chair.
Backstage, Stephanie and Chris Jericho ponder what Triple H’s announcement could be. Jericho figures it will be a retirement announcement. They brag about the attack on RAW and they want to be there up and close and personal for the retirement announcement.
Main Event: the Undertaker vs. David Flair: Taker holds the ropes to let David into the ring. David attacks Taker from behind and hammers away on Taker until Taker gets control with strikes and stomps in the corner. Taker clotheslines Flair in the corner and hits a side slam for a two count. Ric Flair runs down to the ring and attacks Taker but is met with a big boot. The referee calls for the bell. Ric gets a chair as Taker attempts to hit the Last Ride on David, but Ric whacks Taker over the back with the chair. Taker leaves the ring and Ric stands tall in the ring with David.
Triple H makes his way down to the ring with a limp to reveal his announcement. The announcement is unfortunate for Chris Jericho. Jericho didn’t get the job done! He failed ten months ago and he failed on RAW! HHH says he is 100% and that the pain is only temporary but the Game is forever. Jericho and Stephanie make their way out and mocked HHH. Jericho asked if HHH was sure he was ready to wrestle a living legend in the main event at Mania. Stephanie says that HHH was never a good liar. She revealed talking to Dr. Andrews who said HHH’s quad was barely holding together after the attack on RAW. Apparently, the doctor suggested HHH not wrestle for a month. Jericho cracked a joke saying that both Lucy (HHH’s dog from RAW) and HHH had bum legs. HHH admits he isn’t 100% but he will be at Mania and no matter what he will be champion again. Jericho and HHH brawl and they are by the announce table. HHH is about to Pedigree Stephanie through the table, but Jericho hits HHH on his bad leg with the championship. Jericho puts HHH in the Walls of Jericho! HHH tapped out while in the hold. Jericho stood over HHH to close the show!
An enjoyable show leading into WrestleMania. The first hour saw some good TV matches and the talk segments promoting the Rock/Hogan and HHH/Jericho matches were done effectively. They put attention on the feuds that needed attention and that’s all you can ask for. A good Smackdown this week.
Thanks for reading.
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.