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   Fri, April 18, 2003



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Cena wins right to face Lesnar
By DALE_PLUMMER - SLAM! Wrestling


Who will face Brock Lesnar at Backlash for the WWE Championship? One match will answer that question, tonight on Smackdown!, when John Cena and Chris Benoit face each other in the finals of the Number One Contenders tournament. Michael Cole and Tazz bring us all the action from Norfolk, Virginia, live. Well, on tape.

Match #1 Rey Misterio and Tajiri vs. Big Show and A-Train

The first match of the night is a true head scratcher. Who booked this match, and why did they do it? Misterio and Tajiri combined don\'t weigh as much as one of these stiffs. Does the WWE really expect us to believe that Misterio and Tajiri can win? Enough editorializing, let\'s get into the match. The cruiserweights actually hold their own early, by double-teaming A-Train. This teamwork provides an opportunity for Misterio to hit the 619, but a big boot from Big Show breaks it up. Show enters the ring and tosses Misterio around like a rag doll. Tajiri and Misterio do mount another comeback, after a springboard drop kick on A-Train. Big show breaks up the pin fall, though. Then, in an impressive show of strength, Big Show lifts Misterio over his head, with one hand. Misterio doesn\'t meet with a nice landing after that. A-Train nails Tajiri with a bicycle kick and pins him for the victory.

A-Train isn\'t content with the win, though. After the match he tries to attack Tajiri, only to get a face-full of the green mist. Big Show comforts A-Train outside the ring, that mist really burns, only to receive the 619 from Misterio, via the ring post. Big Show gets knocked on his rear, and I think his pride was hurt, too. He looks mad.

After the break, we join Big Show and A-Train backstage. Show is still fuming mad, and challenges Misterio to a match at Backlash.

Back in the ring, Michael Cole welcomes Brock Lesnar to ring. He congratulates Lesnar on his Wrestlemania win, despite the fact he landed the shooting-star press on his face. Lesnar takes the mike, giving Kurt Angle props for kicking out of two F-5s. That\'s why he had to attempt the shooting-star press. Lesnar went on to say how he respects Kurt Angle, until John Cena interrupted him. Cena is also looking for respect, despite the fact that he doesn\'t respect Lesnar or the title he carries. Cena also finds it hard to believe that Lesnar suffered a concussion, because you need a brain to suffer a concussion. Cena is rambling on about how he is bigger then Lesnar, the fans, WWE, the WWE title, when Benoit interrupts him. Benoit says no one is bigger than the title, and that you don\'t have to respect the man that holds it, either. You just have to respect the belt itself. Lesnar takes offense to that remark and next thing you know everyone is accusing everyone else of disrespect. This is worse than playground. Lesnar and Benoit resolve their differences quickly, and try to seal it with a handshake. Cena hits Benoit from behind and runs back up the ramp.

Mr. America is coming! I don\'t know who that is, but is he related to Miss America?

Match #2 Eddie Guerrero with Chavo vs. Jamie Noble w/ Nidia

Before this match starts Team Angle walks out on stage to address Los Guerreros. Team Angle respects Los Guerreros. Boy, there seems to be a respect epidemic on tonight\'s show. Anyway, they respect the Latinos because Grandma Guerrero is the best housekeeper money can buy. As Eddie ponders what was said, Noble jumps him from behind and starts the match. Noble is no match for Latino Heat and is quickly subdued. Nidia rears her head, by trying to break up the frogsplash. Eddie shakes her off and hits his finisher to put Noble away quickly. After the match, Los Guerreros fire back at Team Angle. Eddie respects them for all the time they spend practicing taking each other down. And they are the best at \"going down on each other.\" Chavo adds that Team Angle also gives a whole new mean to \"You suck!\" I have know idea what they are insinuating here.

After the break we find out that Rey Misterio has accepted Big Show\'s challenge. Hmm...Big Show vs. Rey Misterio at Backlash, I\'m sure that will spike the PPV buy rates.

Nathan Jones catches up with Nunzio, backstage. Jones nearly puts the smallest member of the FBI through a chain link fence for setting him up last week. The other members of the FBI try to save him, but Jones lays them out for their trouble.

Torrie Wilson is in her locker room warming up for her match. She is limber; I\'ll give her that. Sable stops by to talk. She tells Torrie that she is very good in Playboy, but even better in person after seeing her in the shower last week. Torrie looks a little put off by this. Sable asks for some help with her zipper, that\'s on the FRONT of her outfit. Sable undoes the zipper and Torrie gets a free show.

It looks like Piper\'s Pit is going to be a weekly segment. Honestly, I don\'t think this is really a bad idea, until Piper pretty much called all wrestling writers on the internet cowards. I\'ll let that slide, because I\'m the bigger man. Piper is making friends, though. Sean O\'Haire to be exact. He\'s the wrestler for the new millennium. O\'Haire tells Piper he\'s not here to kiss his butt. It sure sounded like butt kissing, though. Piper and O\'Haire\'s love fest is short lived as Jimmy Snuka makes his way to the ring! Piper looks like he nearly soiled his kilt. Piper sends O\'Haire out of the ring, saying he can handle this himself. He offers to bury the coconut, oops, hatchet with Snuka. Piper offers a handshake, and Snuka accepts. Of course this is a set up, but Snuka blocks the cheap shot, only to get jumped by O\'Haire. Rikishi storms the ring to make the save, and have an impromptu family reunion. The Big \'Kish gets on the mike and tells O\'Haire that he will own him at Backlash.

A video runs of Torrie Wilson\'s autograph session in New York. She even autographed a copy of Playboy for all of us that couldn\'t make the event. I\'ll be expecting my copy in the mail, soon, then.

Match # 3 Torrie Wilson vs. Nidia w/ Jamie Noble and Sable as special referee

This was a typical women\'s match until the end. After a botched backdrop, Torrie hits a DDT off the top rope. As she is going for the pin, Sable drop kicks Noble off the apron, and then counts 1-2-3. Torrie picks up the victory as Sable raises her hand high.

Match #4 Matt Hardy (v 1.0) w/ Shannon Moore vs. Brian Kendrick, Cruiserweight Title Match

Kendrick has the quickest ring entrance ever. He just sprints down the ramp, ala Sammy Sosa sprinting to right field. I guess the kid is just happy to have a job. Shannon Moore interferes early in this match, but Kendrick dispatches him easily. Hardy is able to slap a half nelson on Kendrick, who promptly counters it into a modified DDT. With Hardy down on the mat, Kendrick pays homage to his trainer Shawn Michaels with a flying elbow off the top rope. Kendrick tries to finish of Hardy with \"sliced bread #2\", yes that\'s the name of his finisher, but Hardy reverses it into a Twist of Fate. Hardy pins the young upstart and retains his title.

Backstage we discover that the FBI has Nunzio\'s back. No, really!?

Match #5 Nathan Jones vs. Nunzio

Nunzio tries to attack Jones when he enters the ring. Jones responds by knocking down the Italian in one punch. Jones dominated the match until the rest of the FBI get involved. The match ends in a DQ for Nunzio, but the action goes on. Jones is hit with a crowbar outside the ring, and then has his ankle crushed between the steel steps. Jones may have notched another win in his young career, and the fans can notch a win if Jones\' injury puts him on the shelf for a while. I don\'t see that happening though.

Match # 6 John Cena vs. Chris Benoit #1 Contender tournament final

Cena raps his way to ring, in shore telling Benoit that he can \"bite me.\" Benoit tries to use his technical style to his advantage early, while Cena counters with submission moves. Benoit is able to slap the cross face crippler on Cena early, but Cena is able to get to the ropes and break the hold. WWE then cuts to a commercial. We return to find Benoit going for a pin. I hate it when they do that! Why go to commercial in mid-match, it\'s so frustrating. Benoit corners Cena, but eats turnbuckle after a drop-toe hold. Cena dodges a flying head butt from Benoit, only to feel the effects of the cross face crippler, again. Cena is able to make his way to ropes, yet again, to break the hold. Cena sets up Benoit for the Death Valley Driver, Benoit counters with a sunset flip, but can\'t get it over. Cena drops his knees on Benoit\'s shoulders and gets the 1-2-3 for the win and a shot at Brock Lesnar at Backlash.

Come back next week when \"Rowdy\" Roddy Piper will make his in-ring debut on Smackdown!

Dale Plummer is a rookie on the SLAM! Wrestling staff. Dale only started watching wrestling in 1992, so he could care less if any other stars from the \'80s try to make a comeback.