WWF Smackdown 4/5/2001
Written by: Adam King
Thursday, April 5th, 2001
Taped (4/4) from the Marriot Convention Center in Oklahoma City, OK
List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho (1/21/2001)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
● WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
● WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)
~ Smackdown comes on the air and goes right to the intro with Michael Cole and Tazz welcoming us to the show. Tonight Jim Ross has a special interview with Steve Austin and maybe we’ll finally gets some answers for his actions. Also tonight Triple H challenges Chris Jericho for the Intercontinential Championship, which I have a bad feeling about.
- The Undertaker & Kane vs. Steven Richards, Bull Buchanan & The Goofather – 3-on-2 Handicap Match
This resulted from Kane retaining his Hardcore Title against fellow RTC’er Val Venis on Raw and Taker saving him from a mugging. Richards gets on the mic and rants on how the RTC can’t allow the media to desensitize our youth to violence just like they can’t allow the fans to make heroes out of villians and promises to put an end to them. Buchanan and Goodfather rush the ring but Taker and Kane get the advantage and toss them over the ropes. Taker then goes out after Richards on the floor and throws him in the ring where Kane grabs him by the throat. Buchanan breaks up the chokeslam and pounds Kane then goes for a whip but Kane counters with a clothesline. Kane pummels Buchanan then whips him into the a corner and clotheslines him beofre hitting a sidewalk slam. Kane climbs to the top rope and connects with the flying clothesline then covers him but Goodfather saves it. Taker tags in to take over and goes for a whip, Buchanan reverses it but Taker comes back with a clothesline. Taker grabs Buchanan’s arm and walks the top rope then clubs him in the back and hits a Russian legsweep. Goodfather comes in again and Taker hammers away at him but the RTC’ers double-team Taker in their corner. Richards tags in just as Taker fights out of the corner and Richards backs away but eats a pair of hard rights. Taker whips Richards into a corner and plants him with a powerslam then covers but Goodfather saves it again. Everyone is in now as Kane and Buchanan go at it in a corner while Goodfather gets in his offense on Taker. Taker grabs Goodfather by the throat as Kane does the same to Buchanan and they hit simultaneous chokeslams. Richards nails Kane with the Stevenkick … but Kane no-sells it and nails Richards with a big boot. Taker then takes Richards out with the Last Ride for good measure and scores the pin. (4:18) The RTC pretty much got dismantled there, which would makr the beginning of the end of that stable. *
~ Backstage Vince McMahon gives Undertaker and Kane props while Triple H and Steve Austin seem unimpressed. Triple H admits Chris Jericho has some good qualities but he’s going to beat him up and take his title out of prinicple. Vince next asks Austin about being interviewed by his best friend Jim Ross in the ring in front of JR’s hometown and Austin says he hasn’t had a good heart-to-heart talk with JR in some time so he’s really looking forward to it. Vince then says he has to go out and address an arena of Oklahomans (oh joy!) and departs as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break Vince struts his way to the ring because he just has to get in his long-winded promo as usual. Vince gets on the mic and starts off saying he’s been to all fifty states but being in Oklahoma is like being in Zimbabwe because he’s seen the vacant stares of Oklahomans and it’s the same look from Zimbabwe natives. Vince also figures the founders named both the city and the state the same due to the people’s limited mental facilities. Vince next mentions Richard Nixon is no longer the U.S. President just as The Rock is no longer the WWF Champion. Vince mentions what a moment it was seeing Steve Austin beat Rock into oblivion at Wrestlemania and taking his title and that Rock was flat on his back after being pinned 1-2-3 when he saw himself and Austin shaking hands. Vince also says he was prouder the next night when Austin granted Rock his rematch in a cage when he didn’t have to. Vince says Rock was broken by Austin again and this time he saw himself, Austin and Triple H all standing together. Vince says people have wondered why and may just get their answers as Oklahoma’s own JR interviwes Austin later. Vince then reviews the closing moments of the match and how Rock seemed to have no hope as Austin brutalized him. Vince also shows Triple H coming out and how everyone though he was going to help Rock only to show otherwise. Vince then asks fans if expect Rock to come out and get some retribution before saying he won’t even be here tonight, because if Rock showed up Austin and Triple H would destroy him again and do it again night after night. Vince announces that to prevent that in an act of benevolence he has suspend Rock from WWF action indefinitely! Vince claims he did that in the interest of fairness then wraps things up and heads out after 10 minutes.
~ We then get a shot of JR watching this on a monitor and shaking his head as we go to commercial.
~ Back form break Cole and Tazz talk about five new champions being crowned at Wrestlemania as we get stills. Cole and Tazz especially touch on Chyna returning from her neck injury and destroying Ivory for the Women’s Title. Just in case we cared.
~ Speaking of which Johnathan Coachman interviews the new Women’s Champion about her crowning acheivement. Chyna talks on the inspiring example she set for women as well as for men, that you have to be your own person. Chyna says she fought for who she is and for what she belives in and that she is proud to be Women’s Champion.
~ We next get footage of William Regal meeting with the Hardys and puts over their performance at Wrestlemania. Regal then mentions them meeting Shane on Smackdown, warning then against associating with a rival organization. As a result Regal decides to have Jeff compete in singles action tonight … against The Big Show.
~ Backstage Lillian Garcia interviews Jim Ross about what he’s going to ask Steve Austin in the big interview later. JR says the fans deserve some answers after what happened Sunday so he’s going to be asking some tough questions.
~ Back from break William Regal meets with Kurt Angle about their handicap match with Chris Benoit tonight. Angle thanks Regal for the match tonight before asking that he finish Benoit off by putting him in the Anklelock. Regal feels his Regal Stretch could get the job done as well and Angle chuckles, until he realizes Regal was serious.
- Rhyno vs. K-Kwik
That sure was a lot of non-wrestling segments just to get to this bout. Rhyno pounds K-Kwik to start then whips him into a corner and shoulderblocks him and hits a running boot. Rhyno continues his assault on K-Kwik then whips him when K-Kwik comes back with a Memphis Sidekick. K-Kwik gets in his offense goes for a whip, Rhyno reverses but K-Kwik hits him with a flying headscissors thenkips back up and does a spilt. K-Kwik goes for a whip when Rhyno reverses him into a corner. K-Kwik lifts himself over Rhyno and does some backflips but Rhyno stops that with the Gore and it’s over. (1:26) The age-old method of getting someone over: have him destroy jobbers quickly. NR
Rhyno celebrates as he heads up the ramp when Crash punks Rhyno out from behind and rolls him in the ring. Crash goes for a whip but Rhyno reverses and takes Crash out with the Gore for the second time this week.
~ Kurt Angle and William Regal are shown making their way to the ring as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Crash trying to get a piece of Rhyno with the results not ending in his favor. We then get ‘during the break’ footage of Edge and Christian congradulating Rhyno for the destruction job he did. Christian suggests Rhyno shower so they can grab a bite but Rhyno is ready to head out now and offers to drive.
- Chris Benoit vs. William Regal & Kurt Angle – Handicap Match
Angle and Regal battled Chris Jericho in a handicap match on Raw with Benoit getting involved, so it’s Benoit’s turn tonight. Benoit goes right after Angle to start but Regal pounces on him then whips him and connects with an elbow. Angle grabs Benoit with a waistlock but Benoit kicks him below the belt then goes for the Crossface on Regal. Angle breaks it up and goes for a whip but Benoit German suplexes him then hits Regal with a German as well. Benoit plants Angle with another German suplex then does the same to Regal and gets both men a third time. The crowd actually cheers for Benoit as he fights off Regal then throws Angle shoulder-first into the ringpost. Benoit then goes to whip Regal who counters it but Benoit counters back and plants him with a Dragon suplex. Benoit slaps the Crossface on Regal but breaks it when Angle flies in to save it and puts him in the Crossface! Regal makes the save and hits a European uppercut that knocks Benoit right into a German suplex from Angle. Regal hits a butterfly suplex and Angle follows it up with a suplex then helps Regal lay the boots to Benoit. Angle and Regal whip Benoit but Benoit ducks a doubel clothesline and nails Regal with another German suplex. Angle comes back with a belly-to-belly suplex then celebrates allowing Regal to put Benoit in the Regal Stretch. Agle adds in the Anklelock and Benoit is forced to tap out to both submission holds. (2:59) Pretty good stuff for a three-minute bout and it got the ball rolling on Benoit’s face turn. **
Regal releases his hold but Angle won’t let go of the Anklelock and Regal is in no hurry to break it up. A bunch of referees come in but can’t get Angle to let go of Benoit and again Regal just shurgs his shoulders. But as expected Chris Jericho runs in and stomps Angle out to the floor then shares another glance with Benoit.
~ Backstage Vince meets with JR about how meeting with Steve Austin will be biggest interview he’ll ever have. Vince tells JR not to be nervous and just be himself, all while daring him to ask Austin “the tough questions”.
~ Back from break Kevin Kelly interviews Debra on Steve Austin destroying Rock and asks if she has any sympathy for Rock, since she is Rock’s former manager. Debra says what happened was unfair and uncalled for and Kevin feels that means Debra must disapprove of her husband’s actions but Debra refuses to discuss her personal life. Kevin then asks Debra how she views Austin profesonally but Debra refuses to answer that as well and walks off.
- The Big Show vs. Jeff Hardy (w/Matt Hardy & Lita)
Jeff slides under Show in the ring and comes off the ropes but Show presses him up before dropping him. Show whips Jeff hard into a corner and headbutts him then hits some elbows and caps it off with a chokebomb. Show hits another headbutt then whips Jeff but Jeff hits a dropkick that staggers Show but he doesn’t go down. Jeff comes off the ropes again but Show plants him with a belly-to-belly suplex then decks Matt off the apron. Show goes out and press slams Matt on the barricaide then turns toward Lita and chases her in the ring. Lita slips out to the floor as the referee warns Show to worry about his opponent but Show shoves him aside. Lita climbs to the top rope and leaps off but Show catches her in a choke and looks ready to chokeslam her. Jeff nails Show to save Lita but Show slams Jeff then climbs to the top rope and goes for a senton but misses. Lita comes to the top rope and hits a moonsault while Matt also climbs to the top and hits a guillotine legdrop. Jeff goes to the top and hits the Swanton Bomb and all three pile on Show as the referee quick counts the pin! (3:08) The Hardys, Lita and the referee then flee up the ramp while Show chases after them to the back. Definitely a weird match, one I can’t rate. NR
~ Back from break we get a replay of Jeff Hardy getting an upset win over Big Show with Matt and Lita helping out. We then find Show roaming the backstage area searching for the Hardys when he comes across a room and barges in. However Show finds The Undertaker and Kane instead as they work him over before telling him to knock next time.
- X-Factor vs. Grandmaster Sexay, Steve Blackman & Billy Gunn
X-Pac stole a win over Billy on Raw with the help of his pals so here’s Billy’s chance at payback. Don’t know why he recruited thses guys, though. Billy and his partners go at it with X-Factor to start off and quickly clear Credible and X-Pac from the ring. Billy and Blackman suplex Albert up while Sexay cilmbs to the top rope and adds in a flying crossbody. Albert rolls out to the floor as well and X-Pac’s crew try to regroup when Sexay brings X-Pac in the hard way. Sexay goes for a whip when X-Pac reverses it, Sexay slides under him and hits an enzuigiri but misses a fistdrop. Credible tags in but Sexay greets him with a neckbreaker then tags in Blackman who whips him and drops him. Blackman whips Credible and hits a shouldertackle then does a one-arm pushup and gets in a shot on X-Pac. Blackman goes to kick Albert but Albert catches it allowing X-Pac to nail him with a spinning heelkick. X-Pac draws Billy in to distract the referee but Sexay comes in and knocks Albert and X-Pac’s heads together. Sexay goes out to the apron and dives at Albert but Albert catches him and rams him back-first into the post. Back in the ring X-Pac hammers away on Blackman and hits a legdrop then tags Credible in to take over on him. Albert tags in and whips Blackman looking for a hiptoss but Blackman lands on his feet and kicks away at him. Albert comes back with a bodyblock then whips Blackman into a corner and connects with the Avalanche. Albert slingshots Blackman into the middle rope then tags X-Pac in and X-Pac gets in some quick shots. Credible tags in and helps X-Pac whips Blackman but Blackman ducks a clothesline and dropkicks both men. Billy gets the tag and takes to all three opponents then whips X-Pac and plants him with a tilt-o-whirl slam. Credible nails Billy from behind and goes for a whip but Billy reverses and nails him with The One And Only. Albert comes in and Billy clotheslines him over the ropes but X-Pac clotheslines Billy over the ropes in return. Blackman pulls X-Pac out to the floor while Sexay climbs to the top and nails Credible with the Hip Hop Drop. Billy comes back in the ring and covers Credible since he’s the legal man but Albert makes it back in to save it. Blackman fights off Albert but X-Pac drills Billy with the X-Factor then drapes Credible on top for the pin. (4:51) About what you’d expect from the guys involved. *
~ Backstage Chris Jericho is limbering up for his title defense when Stephanie comes in and wishes him luck. Stephanie tells Jericho she’s not petty enough to want revenge for him ruining her whipping match with Trish on Raw. Stephanie says Triple H will get her payback for her by beating Jericho to within an inch of his life and taking his title. Jericho then warns Stephanie not to interefere in his match or he’ll make her scream louder that her husband ever has.
~ Back from break Vince tells Austin how JR is shaking in his boots which means he’s either excited or intimidated. Vince asks Austin to make JR’s homecoming special and Austin calls JR a special person so he’ll get special answers. Austin then heads out when Stephanie comes in claiming to have just received a videotape from Linda McMahon but feels Vince shouldn’t watch it with the good night he’s having. Vince insists that she play the tape for him and once it starts Linda appears on the screen showing that’s she’s no longer medicated, just like at Wrestlemania. Linda says she’s regained her full mental faulties and as a result is back into her normal position as CEO of the WWF. Linda says she’s still using the name McMahon but after everything Vince has done to her, she’s considering a change. Linda also puts Shane over for standing up for what he believes in and facing Vince, as difficult as it may have been. Linda talks about how good it felt at Wrestlemania when she rose from the chair and kicked Vince right in the junk but knows how to kick Vince where it really hurt and will appear on Raw to reveal where that place just is. Linda then has one more message for Vince as Mick Foley appears and hands her a plate with a pair of grapefruits. Linda says Vince always lets his actions speak louder than words then grabs a knife and slices the grapefruits in half. Linda finishes by telling Vince she’ll see him on Monday and Vince isn’t happy with this news.
~ Jim Ross is shown making his way to the ring which means the big interview is coming up as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break JR hits the ring as Cole mentions how depressed JR has been abotu this whole Austin situation. JR gets on the mic and talks about being back in is hometown then mentions his oppertunity to speak with Austin. JR feels there’s a not of questions that need answering by Ausitn then proceeds to bring out the new champion himself. Austin does his usualy posing on the turnbkles while glaring at JR and does get some boos as well as “Rocky” chants. JR starts off by asking Austin why he would align himself with the man he despises more than anyone in the world. Austin says Wrestlemania was right in his backyard of Houston and he didn’t want to take a chance at being a loser so Vince was an insurance policy which helped him make the biggest comeback in the history of thier business. JR then asks about turning his back on the fans that supported him and Austin mentions the reception he’s getting now. Austin says he feels no remores because he never really said that he cared about the fans and wanted to be their hero. Austin then brings up JR constantly cheering for him at the annouce desk before mentioning how he always says DTA. JR next asks Austin how he could stand with Triple H after he orchestrated the conspiracy to run him over with a car. Austin responds by first accusing JR of talking trash about Triple H because he’s not out there to defend himself. Austin then says if Triple H was sick enough to try and put him out of the business, wouldn’t he want him on his side? Austin decides that he’s done answering questions and if anyone wants more answers they’ll have to beat it out of him. Austin then makes fun of JR looking like he just lost his best friend and JR says that in a way, maybe he has.
JR goes into how he was there when Austin underwent spinal surgery last year and supported him through his recovery. JR also mentions how he and his wife were the only two people from the WWF invited to Austin’s wedding with Debra. Austin then accuses JR of not wanting to be his friend anymore just because he turned up the voltage and JR denies it. Austin knocks JR’s cowboy hat off and takes off his glasses then rips his shirt while daring JR to take a swing at him. JR declines to hit Austin then feels this interview was a mistake and starts to leave when Austin jump him from behind. Austin pounds away on JR when Vince comes out on the stage asking why Austin is taking it easy on his best friend. Vince tells Austin to open JR up and Austin brutalizes his former friend who’s soon bleeding from the forehead. Austin pulls off his belt and chokes JR as some referees come out but are to afriad to go in the ring and stop Austin. Austin stomps JR below the belt as the fans chant “Rocky” but The Rock isn’t coming out to the save the day tonight. Austin rubs his title belt in JR’s face then heads up the ramp with a smile on his face as we go to commercial.
Let’s look at this for a second. Austin did make a good point in saying he never asked to be the fans hero, they just started cheering him, even long before the famous match at Wrestlemania 13. However his explanation for suddenly being buddies with Triple H still doesn’t hold water, not after their blood feud just a few months prior. And Austin giving JR a Stunner would have been sufficient but they had to have JR get totally destroyed, which was a litle uncomfortable and showed how desparate the WWF was to get people to stop cheering Austin. Thing is they would top that on Monday but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Steve Austin severing his friendship with JR with a savage beatdown. We then get a shot of the EMTs working on the bloodied JR in the back.
- WWF Intercontinential Title: Chris Jericho © vs. Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon)
Suppsoedly Triple H is doing this because Jericho ruined Stephanie’s whipping match with Trish on Raw. Yea, let’s make everything about Stephanie, shall we? Triple H heads out to the ring first then knocks Jericho off the apron, sending him face-first into the barricade. Triple H goes out and throws Jericho into the steps then drops him onto the barrier and tosses him in the ring. Triple H stomps Jericho down then whips him into the other corner but Jericho comes back with a clothesline. Jericho gets in his offense with some chops then whips Triple H but lowers the head and Triple H kicks the face. Jericho backdrops Triple H over the ropes then knocks him back off the apron with the springboard dropkick. Jericho climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying crossbody before whipping Triple H into the steps. Jericho decks Triple H onto the announce table and works him over until Triple H shoves him off the table. Jericho throws Triple H back in the ring then climbs to the top rope again looking for a missile dropkick. This time Triple H swats Jericho away and Jericho clutches his knee when Triple H chokes him in the ropes. Triple H distracts the referee while Stpehanie gets in a slap then drills Jericho with a DDT and gets a two count. Triple H hammers Jericho with the count-along punches in a corner then whips him and slaps on a sleeperhold. Jeircho begins to fade but fights out of it and starts to rally until Triple stops that with a knee to the chest. Triple H whips Jericho but Jericho comes back with a flying forearm then tries to fight back again with chops. Jericho whips Triple H but lowers the head and Triple H hits the facebuster. Triple H sets Jericho up for the Pedigree but Jericho counters it and catapults Triple H into the turnbuckles then hits the bulldog and the Lionsault. Jericho covers Triple H but Stephanie hops on the apron and distracts the referee from making the count.
Jericho goes over and grabs Stephanie by the hair then rears back as if to punch her but Triple H pulls him away. Jericho takes Triple H down into the Walls of Jericho and Triple H taps but again Stephanie distracts the referee. Now William Regal runs in with a chair in hand but Jericho cuts him off then grabs the chair and blasts Regal. Stephanie comes in but Jericho blocks a slap then pulls Stephanie down and puts her in the Walls of Jericho. Stephanie is tapping out to no avail but Triple H is able to grab the chair and whacks Jericho in the face with it. The referee gets Regal out of the ring then turns around as Triple H covers Jericho … but only gets a two count. Triple H is surprised that Jericho kicked out of the chairshot and crowd is cheering for Jericho to come back. However Triple H squashes that brief ray of hope with the Pedigree and sadly gets the 1..2..3 for the win. (7:30) The Helmsleys celebrate while we see Austin watching a monitor in the back looking pleased with this turnout. The match was good with an overbooked ending but there was NO REASON for Triple H to get the IC Title here. This could have been a chance to establish Jericho as the next major challenger Austin needed to help his heel run but they wanted to keep him feuding with Regal instead. Not to mention the ending slighty buried Jericho, with him kicking out of the chairshot only to lose to the Pedigree mere seconds later. **
Conclusion:Somewhat weak episode of Smackdown which continued the WWF’s post-Wrestlemania X7 slide that it never recovered from. The wrestling wasn’t very much to look at other than the handicap match and there were long stretches of backstage segments and promos. The last half-hour was especially a downer, with JR’s graphic beatdown and Triple H taking a title he had no business of winning at that point. And we’re still left without a major babyface to challenge Austin since Rock is “indefinitely suspended” (i.e. off in Hollywood) and whle Jericho seemed ready fit the bill, the bookers just wouldn’t pull the trigger. It was obvious the Austin heel turn was poorly planned from the start and wouldn’t get any better. There’s really nothing to recommend here so thumbs down.