November 14, 2003
Smackdown!: Cena, Benoit battle the beasts
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling

Welcome to the Smackdown! Report. I\'m Jon Waldman, subbing for Dale Plummer. Thanks to everyone who joined me for the chat last week.

A warning to all: those of you who are looking for a blow-by-blow recap will be disappointed by my review this time around, as time is dealing me a short-count on the minute hand. In fact, I\'ll have my trusty remote control with me, for the parts that get really boring.

Match 1: Kurt Angle vs. Nathan Jones (w/ Matt Morgan)

Morgan is immediately sent to the back. The match should be an indication of how far Jones has come...We start with some back and forth action to try to establish how even the two are, though Tazz and Michael Cole push how powerful Jones is. At one point, Jones makes the fatal big-man error, going for a Yakuza Kick, but gets his leg hung on the ropes. Angle, naturally takes advantage, showing his own power. More brawling outside results in Jones seemingly taking control. Jones, at one point, breaks up the 10-count. Not to go too far onto a tangent, but Don Callis, on a recent NHB episode, brought up the question of why one would break up a 10-count, not just take the victory. Something to think about...Back in the ring, and the two STILL go back and forth. Angle, at one point, gets a second-rope missile dropkick for two, showing his ever-increasing moveset. Jones is still relying on power, but Angle continually proves that he can play the power game. Jones is really looking one-dimensional, and still has problems selling. This is not looking good, and I get so bored that I consider fast-forwarding my tape. I swear if it wasn\'t Angle in the ring, I wouldn\'t have thought twice. Angle continues to work the leg and eventually gets the Rolling Germans. After one failed attempt, Angle gets the Olympic Slam and then the Ankle Lock. Morgan, however, returns for the DQ, thankfully.

Winner: Kurt Angle (by DQ)

Rating: 2 out of 10 - I never thought I\'d give an Angle match that low a rating, but Jones looked awful here. Not even Kurt could carry this broom.

Post-match fun sees Morgan continue the beating until Hardcore Holly comes out of the crowd with a steel chair and clears the ring. Man, I once had a laser pointer keychain confiscated at a WWE show, and Holly is allowed a chair? Where\'s the justice. Holly calls out Brock Lesnar, but no dice. Holly then heads out to the back. Back from the break, Holly runs into Paul Heyman, who threatens to suspend Hardcore if he goes after the champ. Heyman talks Holly into leaving the building.

Elsewhere, Vince McMahon and Sable look at the new WWE picture book, which leads into Vince talking about Undertaker. He says at one point that he\'s, \"protected by a higher power.\" Wait, I thought HE was the higher power! Now I\'m lost. Still, a decent promo by Vinnie Mac.

Segment three starts with Jamie Noble coming to the ring, calling out Tajiri. Tajiri comes out alone at first, but out come the Japanese mob. Jimmy Yang, by the way, has been re-name Aikio, while Ryan Sakoda has been dubbed Sakada. The mob beats on Noble, including getting a SWEET jumping Total Elmination variant. Tajiri gets some shots in as well, until Rey Mysterio Jr. comes in and, with Noble\'s help cleans house. This will set up our next match, and man am I looking forward to it...

Match 2: Japanese Mob vs. Jamie Noble/Rey Mysterio Jr.

We\'re joined-in-progess with Noble and Aikio going at it, and the big spots go immediately. Noble gets a leg-trip into a turnbuckle, follows up with some more offence and a legdrop for two. Aikio changes things around, getting a dropkick and a tag out to Sakada. Man these guys look like the Orient Expess - Tanaka and Aikio have the flash moves, with Sato and Sakada are the more power-minded.

Noble is absolutely vicious in the ring before tagging out to Mysterio who springboard bodysplashes his way into the ring. Sakada almost goofs on a Mexican roll-up, but saves it. Mysterio gets two off that. Another highspot comes when Sakada Irish whips Rey who gets a springboard dropkick in Aikio. Damn this is getting hot. Sakada gets a hotshot to reverse things, and tags in Aikio. Here we go. Aikio gets the Hangman\'s Triangle Hold, which was previously seen in Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth. He then continues to work over Rey with submissions until Rey powers out. Aikio gets a dropkick, and lands on his feet after. Damn he\'s quick. Sakada attacks Noble after he\'s tagged in, and double-teaming results. Sakada really works power moves, including the double-windmill chop. Aikio gets tagged back in and continues the beating, including a Full Nelson seated surfboard! Aikio keeps the innovation going, doing a Tiger Wall Flip! I don\'t think anyone\'s ever done that in WWE (oh I can hear the e-mails coming in now, saying someone has done it...). Rey, not wanting to be showed up, reverses a tilt-a-whirl into an inverted DDT! Rey gets the hot tag to Noble who is extremely hot, getting a seated facebuster for two. The offence continues as Sakada and Mysterio come in to get the pier-four going. 619 hits Aikio, but Sakada prevents the West Coast Pop. Back in, Noble gets the Tiger Bomb(!) and looks to have the match won, but Tajiri gets a cheap shot in, knocking out Noble, giving Aikio the pin.

Winners: Japanese Mob

Rating: 6.5 out of 10 - The cheap win was the only way this one could end. A hot match top to bottom.

Backstage we go, and the Guererros get a visit form a police officer, who tells Eddy that his wife\'s sister has been in an accident. Eddy goes with the office, with Chavo saying he\'ll talk to Heyman. Back from the break, Chavo is talking to Heyman, and the match is postponed until Sunday. However, the match tonight is still going on, after protest by the Bashams, but now it\'s a handicap. Back ringside, Tazz and Cole are talking about the picture book. Please, please, buy the book (from the SLAM! store, naturally), just so they\'ll stop wasting air-time talking about it. We then cut to Undertaker doing a video from a graveyard. He teases a return of the Phenom. Interspersed are highlights of past confrontations between the two and shots of the various people Vince has made suffer (including Bret Hart). The segment is pretty powerful and was well put together.

Match 3: The Bashams (with Shaniqua) vs. Chavo Guererro Jr.

Chavo and Doug start with a reversal sequence which Chavo wins. He sends Doug out, then Danny who attacks. Shaniqua offers \"encouragement\" outside, and the two respond at first, until Chavo again gets the better of them. Chavo gets a Boston Crab, but Danny breaks it up and Doug sends him out. Danny takes Chavo out on the outside, then rolls him in for two. The domination continues, including some choking with the tag rope. Chavo, however, refuses to stay down. Double teaming can\'t keep Chavo down and out, and the crowd starts to get behind Chavito. Chavo eventually fights his way out, but the random top-rope move meets boot, and Chavo takes control. Eventually landing the Tornado DDT for two, until Danny interrupts the count. Chavo continues his control, knocking Doug out, who, while Shaniqua distracts the ref, plays switcheroo with Danny. Danny, in the end, gets a roll-up on Chavo for the three-count.

Winners: The Bashams

Rating - 4 out of 10 - Match was pretty good, but just didn\'t have a great feel overall.

Post-match, Shaniqua and the Bashams attack Guererro, including a Helicopter back suplex and a double Uranage (Rock Bottom). Doug then finishes Chavo off with a second-rope spinebuster.

Outside the Angle dressing room, Josh Matthews can\'t get any comments from anyone on Team Angle (not even Charlie Haas or Shelton Benjamin) on who the fifth man is.

Back from break, we get highlights from house show events. A good way to promote the live events, but they need to do more. Meanwhile, backstage, Chavo gets some medical attention, while the Bashams and Shaniqua look on. We then see the that the police officer was an actor, hired by the Bashams.

Match 4: Bradshaw vs. A-Train

I\'m feeling trigger-happy for some reason as the entrants come out for the match. A-Train gets a chant. Noooo. They\'ll think you like him The fists fly as A-Train takes an early adv., until Bradshaw comes back with punches and a Yakuza Kick. More strikes from A-Train gets him back in control. And I\'m rapidly becoming bored. Outside action keeps the match lingering. A flying tackle from Bradshaw is followed up by a skyward signal. Methinks he was paying tribute to Hawk. A-Train reverses a suplex into one of his own, and continues with the strike-laden offence. Where\'s my clicker...Aah there it is.

Forward through more punches and the link and A-Train has a sleeper on Bradshaw, and Bradhsaw gets the same, until A-Train gets a NASTY looking back suplex, and not in a good way. FFWD to Bradshaw hitting a few clotheslines until Albert reverses fortunes, ending with a Vader Bomb for two. FFWD a bit and Bradshaw misses the Lariat, and walks into a Chokebomb for two? Why not end it there? In the end, Bradshaw gets the Lariat for the three.

Winner: Bradshaw

Rating - .5 out of 10 - Too long for my liking. Three hits on the fast button is not a good thing, no matter how much DDP would try to tell you otherwise.

Backstage we go, and Benoit and Angle have their usual hot dialogue, introducing Cena as the new member of Team Angle. Back from break, Sable\'s bask with Vince, and she\'s brought a priest with her to counsel Vince. This can\'t be good; fast-forward, here we go. And from what little I see, it looks like my decision was a good one, as Vince basically fills more time uselessly. Three segments for one match that involves too wrestlers is a couple segments too many.

Before the next match, we get a rundown of the Survivor Series. I, in all likelihood, will be watching the Grey Cup, even though it\'s a repeat of last year. Man, I guess whoever books the CFL must have thought that WWE\'s strategy of doing Lesnar/Undertaker two years in a row at No Mercy was a good idea.

Before we get our main event, we get a promo spot for Ernest Miller. This could be good, but my doubts are there.

Match 5: John Cena/Chris Benoit vs. Big Show/Brock Lesnar

You know, it occurs to me that Triple H probably had a hand in ensuring we wouldn\'t see Brock defend the WWE Championship, just so his title bout wouldn\'t be showed up. Think about it for a second before you dismiss my theory as being another shot against Triple H\'s power-hungry attitude. Cena cuts another sweet freestyle promo.

Match starts with Lesnar and Cena, and the OVW grads collide, with Lesnar getting the early advantage. Cena, however, gives as much as he takes. Benoit tags in to a pop, and goes to town on the champ. Damn I want to see these two go fo rthe belt. Cena tags in and the strategy is working well, until Lesnar hits the ahem...banned...B2B overhead suplex.

Lesnar tags Show in, and I check where my remote is. I kid. Show actually has been impressing me lately. The fans chant \"Subway\" at Show, and I can almost see the hamster wheel spinning in Vince\'s head. Show gets a chokeslam on Cena, but Benoit pulls out his partner before Show can go for the pin. That\'s some Rock N\' Roll Express-type psychology there. Me likey. Back from break, Show has Cena in an abdominal stretch, and tags in Lesnar following a couple power moves. Lesnar cheapshots Benoit, throws a B-E-A-utiful German Suplex, and then looks over to Benoit as if to taunt him. Stop teasing me like this; give me the title bout! Brock gets a PerfectPlex at one point for two. Cena, however, turns the tide with a DDT.

Cena gets the hot tag, and Benoit\'s a proverbial hous of fire, and gets an even MORE vicious German on Lesnar. Falling Swandive gets two before Show interferes. Benoit knocks Show out, allowing Lesnar to regain control. Lesnar then tags in Show, who takes over on Benoit with the usual. Subway chant continues as Show gets a few buttdrops on Benoit. Eventually, Show gets a leg variation of the Final Cut, in an impressive move, leading to a pin that Cena breaks up. Show tags in Lesnar, who works some power stuff and gets a rear-naked choke (I really don\'t want to know the origin of that move name, by the way), but Benoit gets out and takes over with chops and eventually a German to put both men down.

Cena gets the second hot tag, but the referee didn\'t see the tag. Brock, in the meantime, gets a DDT to get to a second KO spot. This time, Benoit Enzeguiri\'s Lesnar and both Show and Cena are tagged in. Cena works both men, Cena knocks down Show, allowing Benoit to get a flying Swandive. That gets Cena two until Lesnar breaks up the pin. Lesnar and Benoit duke it out until Benoit gets the Crossface, and Cena hits Show with the chain to get the duke.

Winners: John Cena and Chris Benoit

Rating: 7 out of 10 - Very hot match, leaving me want to see more of these men mixing it up, including Show.

Overall, this was a half-decent show. Had it not been for the wasted time of the McMahon/priest segment and the horrid Bradshaw/A-Train match, this would\'ve been a better show. As is, I\'m satisfied with two good matches.

One other quick note, starting tomorrow and for the remainder of this weekend, I will be at the Toronto Sportcard and Memorabilia Fall Expo, working at the Canadian Sports Collector booth. The show, for those who don\'t know, is at the Toronto International Centre. The hours for Saturday and Sunday are 10-6, and Friday, I believe, is from 12-9. Be sure to come in, and drop by the CSC booth in the corporate section to chat.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! Wrestling since 2000. A some-time re-capper, Jon\'s main work on SLAM! is in DVDs and stats.


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