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   Mon, February 9, 2004



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Smackdown! superstars rock Regina
By ROD DESNOMIE -- SLAM! Wrestling


REGINA -- After a nearly one-and-a-half-year absence, the WWE's Smackdown! superstars return to Regina. Over the past four years the WWE has held two shows in the provincial capital, and each time leaving the modest faithful begging for more. We'll see how well Saturday night's show stacks up against the previous two as the superstars take center stage at the Agridome.

On a side note, my 10-year-old nephew Brandon is watching the WWE live for the very first time. I'm very interested to see his reaction to the show.

Match One: Chuck Palumbo vs. Billy Kidman
This match has all you could expect from an curtain jerker. Palumbo gets the crowd going early as he serves up a cheeky half moon. Once the match begins, the FBI muscle takes control of Kidman with a host of power moves and punches. Kidman is able to withstand the onslaught and comes back with some high kicks of his own. However, all is for naught as Chuckie nabs Billy while delivering a mid-air assault and tosses the lighter man outside of the ring. Once action resumes inside, Palumbo continues the pounding with a huge back-body drop, which is followed up by some neat mat work. Kidman attempts a few more come backs, including a textbook drop kick, but Palumbo's strength is too much. The FBI member attempts to seal the deal with a powerbomb, but Kidman reverses the move and rolls a surprised Chuckie up for the duke.
Winner: Billy Kidman

Following the match, Dawn Marie comes out to inform the crowd that Paul Heyman has suspended John Cena for the night (i.e. he did not make the trip to Regina). However, in that outfit, Dawn Marie could have shouted "Your Riders suck!" and still received cheers. Too bad as I was hoping to hear what word the Master of Thuganomics was going to use to rhyme with Regina.

Match Two: Shannon Moore vs. Ultimo Dragon
Considering this match featured two lightweights known for their quickness and agility, this was a surprisingly slow bout. Ultimo gains the early advantage with some kicks and fists, but neither man is able to prolong any momentum for more than a minute. A blown spot comes when Moore nails the Dragon with a nice clothes line along with a kick to send him out of the ring. Only, Ultimo's timing is off as he misses taking the kick, only to follow up by getting tangled in the ropes. The fans voice their displeasure. Back in the ring, Shannon develops a love for mat wrestling as he slows the Dragon down with some submission holds. Following up a sleeper and body slam, Moore finds himself on the second rope attempting a high-risk maneuver, only to taste rubber as Ultimo's boot greets him in mid air. The Dragon blows another spot during a series of pins, which is quickly forgotten via a sweet neck breaker by Moore. All appears in the bag for Moore until Ultimo counters a sloppy hold with a reverse DDT for the win. Moore deserved a lot better than this as he clearly carried this match.
Winner: Ultimo Dragon

Match Three: Tajiri, Akio and Sokoda vs. Orlando Jordan, the Cat and his sidekick, although I did not catch his name. (Lamont?)
This match is mercifully quick with Tajiri delivering a majority of the highlights. The action, and I use that term loosely, is back and forth. One of the best (and only) spots in the match comes when Tajiri and Akio kick Miller in the head at the same time from different sides. Tajiri then administers some sound mat action while keeping Miller away from his corner. The team from Japan double and triple team the Godfather of Love, only to nab a series of two counts. Eventually, Miller is able to fight out of the opposing corner, giving Jordan the hot tag and Orlando cleans house. Both teams pair off with Orlando driving Akio into the match with a deadly power bomb for the 1-2-3. The winners dance while the crowd impatiently waits for them to leave. Note: Half way through this match, Brandon is so bored he wants to go and check out the shirt stand.
Winners: Orlando Jordan, the Cat and his unnamed comedic side kick.

Match Four: Rhyno and Matt Morgan vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team
The match begins with some hilarious mic work by TWGTT. Shelton Benjamin lays into Morgan for not winning Tough Enough, while Charlie Haas tailors a few Queen lyrics and serenades his worthy foes. After hearing enough off-key singing, Morgan and Rhyno serve up some loud-mouth soup, gaining a quick upper hand in the match. Both teams use some nice power moves and team action as the advantage shifts frequently. Quick tags allow the action to stay fast and crisp, though blown spots seem to be an epidemic on this night. Haas attempts a flying cross body from the second rope and misses Morgan. Morgan sells it like he'd been hit by a cannon. Queue the boos. Rhyno jumps in to save the match by applying a huge superplex on Haas. In a funny moment, Rhyno starts chanting "USA, USA!" The big lug is so over in Regina that the crowd actually cheers! Both teams exchange some more power moves, including a painful belly-to-belly suplex by Rhyno on Haas. With the advantage apparently in tact, Rhyno goes for a gore, only to miss and taste the steel post. Reeling in the corner, Rhyno is force fed Shelton's boot for the TKO.
Winners: Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas

Match Five: Kurt Angle vs. Hardcore Holly
Both men receive huge pops from the fans. Hardcore quickly gains the advantage over Angle with some sick sounding punches and kicks. Angle counters with a series of hip tosses, and, like another famous bald WWE grappler, gives Holly a one-finger salute. Enraged, Holly brutalizes Angle with more chops and kicks. Angle again counters with more hip tosses and another salute. Hardcore then caves Angle's chest in with some knife-edge chops, and sends in some kicks to the mid section for good measure. Angle fires back with some slugs of his own and goes for an early German suplex. Holly blocks the attempt and mule kicks Angle in the *ahem* groin section. Holly then works over Angle with a nice back breaker, and then focuses his efforts on the Olympian's surgically-repaired neck. Holly wows the masses with a high drop kick to Angle's mug. Best drop kick in the business that Holly. The two men exchange moves, with Angle finding himself on the receiving end of a Holly full nelson. Angle counters with some mat holds and a German, only to get his neck stretched via another nelson. Angle counters the hold with a tooth-wrecking jaw breaker. Holly follows up with a power slam and another full nelson. Angle escapes the hold (you'd think Bob would have seen this coming after the first two didn't work) and plants Holly with an Angle Slam. Good night, sweet prince. 1-2-3 and Angle gets the win.
Winner: Kurt Angle

Match Six: Cruiser Weight Championship - Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Noble and Chavo immediately attack their smaller foe with knuckles and feet, and an all-party clothesline sends the champ reeling. Noble then attempts a powerslam which Rey escapes, and then proceeds to clean the ring himself. With Chavo on the outside, Rey performs a sweet head scissors on Noble. Temporarily in command, Rey begins to pound Noble until a sneaky Chavo hits the ring and Rey with wicked forearm. With the champ wobbly, Chavo assumes control of the match. This momentum is short lived, however, as Rey fights back, sending Chavo into the ropes for a 619 attempt. Noble makes the save as the two villains hang Rey in the corner and shine their boots with Mysterio's lips. Chavo then lures Jamie into another attack on Rey, only to deliver a clothesline which nearly separates Noble's head from his body. Mr. Trailer park comes back with a swinging neck breaker, the two villains dummy each other, and Rey takes advantage by pancaking both men on the mat with a leap from the top rope. Chavo regains his wits in time to intro Mysterio's face to the mat with an innovative back drop. However, Rey fights back with some kicks, sending Chavo to the ropes and in line for a 619. The fans erupt as Mysterio nails it, followed up by a West Coast pop and pin for the win.
Winner: And still Cruiserweight champ - Rey Mysterio Jr.

Match Seven: Tag-team Championship Match - Danny and Doug Basham (w/ Shaniqua) vs. Scotty Too Hotty and Rikishi
Before the match begins, the ring announcer informs the fans that Rikishi's luggage was lost by the airliner, hence he'd not be in his regular garb, though I suspect it had more to do with the cold weather (gotta keep the buns warm). This bout takes a while to start as Scotty entertains the fans at the Bashams' expense, including a full moon directed at Shaniqua. Having seen enough, the Bashams begin the bout with some nice tag work, beating on Scotty for a majority of the match. Shaniqua makes her presence felt with some classic bad guy Y er Y bad girl shenanigans, using her club to choke their smaller opponent. Hotty eventually makes the tag to Rikishi, who proceeds to clean house, ending the match with a back Samoan drop to a now flatter Danny. In total, Rikishi spent maybe 30 seconds participating in the entire match. Following the match, Shaniqua make the unfortunate mistake of getting in Rikishi's face. One bulldog by Hotty leaves the Bashams' princess in the path of a worm. Why is he still using this move?
Winners: And still tag champs - Scotty Too Hotty and Rikishi

Match Eight: US Title - The Big Show vs. Bradshaw
As expected, both men open the bout with some power moves. In a funny spot, Bradshaw grabs a beer from a ringside fan, does his best impersonation of Popeye by guzzling it, and proceeds to overpower the Show while locking up at center ring. From there the Big Show dominates the match for much of the first half with Bradshaw unable to mount any kind of offense. It only takes a few minutes of slow action to completely wind the Show, who slows the bout to a manageable pace with an long and drawn out bear hug. After what seems like hours, Bradshaw elbows and punches his way out of the hold, awakening the crowd while forcing the Show to do as little as humanly possible. The big Texan caps off the attack with a nice flying shoulder block from the second rope. With the Show groggy, Bradshaw goes for the Clothesline from Hell, which is stopped abruptly with the Show's big mitt around his throat. Queue the choke slam for the win.
Winner: And still US Champ - The Big Show

Main Event: Heavy Title Match -- Brock Lesner vs. Eddie Guerrero
Eddie enters the arena without the use of his trademark low-rider. Regina being the car-theft capital of Canada, I can only shudder to think why.

Both wrestlers bring the crowd to their feet, though I'm sure Spike Dudley could have done the same following a match involving the Big Show. This match takes a good five minutes before it actually begins as both Brock and Eddie play up big to the crowd. Both men are quite funny as they try to upstage one another with various antics. Once the match gets underway, Brock takes the action to Eddie early and often, highlighted by a painful looking back-body drop. A flurry of blows keeps Latino Heat on the mat, at least until Brock chucks him out to the floor. Distracted by taunting fans, Brock finds himself the victim of a surprise roll up by Guerrero. The champ kicks out at two. Eddie then turns his attention to Lesnar's back with a suplex. Lesnar turns the tables with a few kicks to Eddie's gut, but Latino Heat regains the momentum with a spinning kick to the champ's melon. Guerrero then develops a keen interest in Lesnar's left leg, kicking it repeatedly and wrapping it around the ring post twice. A third attempt is countered as Brock intro's Eddies lips into said post. Lesnar then brings Eddie back into the ring, tries to throw him through the mat, and then delivers some beautiful suplexes. Some good back-and-forth action ensues, including Eddie's signature back-to-back-to-back suplexes. With Brock down and out, Eddie unloads his trademark frog splash and quickly covers the champ for another two count. Suddenly, the unpredictable happens as Brock accidentally clotheslines the ref. The boys in Smackdown blue must be made of cotton as this move nearly kills the ref. With the rules now seemingly out the window, Brock mule kicks Eddie just below the equator, grabs the championship belt and proceeds to dummy Eddie with one good whack. The ref suddenly regains consciousness as Lesnar falls on Eddie. 1-2-3 and it's over.
Winner: And still Heavyweight champ - Brock Lesnar

The event was good, but not as great as the previous two shows. This is the result of two things: 1) the numerous blown spots by veteran performers; and 2) no Canadians on the card. With Benoit now on RAW and Edge on the DL, there was no Canadian content, other than the national anthem at the start. The bottom line: Brandon enjoyed the show for what it was, so I guess the night was not a total loss.


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