RECAPS FROM JHAWK'S BEAK
The Lost Smackdown Files (Part 1 of 2)
Judging from the feedback I got from my initial From JHawk's Beak column last week (ie none), I thought I'd see what people think about my style of tape reviews.
Now, I realize that I never really introduced myself in that first column, I'll do it briefly here, although the majority of it is in the recap (I'll explain why in a few). But basically,I'm a fourth generation wrestling fan from Ohio, and those of you who do know me have probably seen my work for the Hulk Hogan Hater's Klub newsletter, which was run by Dave Whitaker, currently over at 1popupadsareanecessarypainintheass.com with "The Badstreet Perspective". I also dabbled with tape reviews for the old rant crew on another site most of you might be familiar with.
So anyway, back this summer when our own CRZ left the media conglomerate whore that was WrestleLine, they took openings for a Smackdown recapper. I applied, basically I was unaware they were having money problems and I figured I could write a recap once a week and therefore avoid getting a real summer job. Well, the first sample recap (which you're about to read) got me a finalist spot, but apparently I either blew the second one or I was too good to justify the low salary they'd have paid me.
Anyway, here it is, for the first time ever, the unabridged, unedited version of my first WrestleLine tryout rant. Feedback is encouraged
Original Rant Date 06/16/2001
WWF Smackdown! (6/14/2001)
A few things before we get started. As you can tell from the byline, my name is Jared Hawkins, and I'm a prospective recapper. I generally go by "JHawk" to most people, so you'll probably see my name shortened to that if I get this or some other position on a regular basis. Anyway, I'm hoping this little sample can either make me the full-time Smackdown guy, or at least get me the WCW job when it opens up.
Also, about my style. Apparently there are two schools of thought by wrestling fans on how they want their recaps done. Some want detailed play-by-play, interview transcripts, and match times a la CRZ (who?). Some prefer short summaries and star ratings a la Scott Keith. I've always tried to do both as much as possible. I've always been big on match times. Truth be told, I'm probably more generous with star ratings than Scott Keith may be, but I do use them. I try to give as detailed a play-by-play format as possible. I do not, however, do full interview transcripts. I still live in the 1980s to some extent and do not own a close-captioned TV, nor do I have any desire for one. So unless it's a very major interview segment (for example, Sting declaring himself a free agent during the inception of the nWo), you'll get a summary and maybe a handful of lines that I either a) find funny or b) stand out for some reason.
Yes, I am a bit of a cynic, as you'll no doubt see during this report.
Also, if given the opportunity to do retro rants, I generally will whenever I simply feel the urge to check a card out. However, most internet recappers tend to stick to PPVs or major supercards. While I do those, I also break out old Nitros and Raws, and will occasionally dabble in some other tapes in my collection that are harder to find. My specialty? You'll have to wait for my first retro recap to figure that out.
Now onto the show.
Let's take you back to last Monday, as the triple threat match for King of the Ring is signed and Steve Austin complains a lot. Because his name's "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Why didn't Benoit just pin Angle after the headbutt anyway?
Cue the opening, and then the pyro, as we come to you from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland (taped 6/12/2001). Your hosts are Michael Coleslaw and Tazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Tonight, The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle! Benoit and Jericho vs. Edge and...whoa, it's opening!
One fall for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Edge and Christian vs. Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho (champions)
No five second pose tonight. Shouldn't Jericho's ribs be taped if or head bandaged or something if he got beat up so badly by Austin at Raw? Just a thought. Cole mentions Austin is getting a petition of some sort going.
By the way, I do come up with allegedly funny nicknames for wrestlers, but I haven't thought of any yet.
Benoit and Christian start. They trade kicks to start. For like 30 seconds. Y2J chant even though he isn't in the ring. Benoit with a snap suplex for 2. Christian with a couple of shots, then tags out. Take a drink every time Cole says "7-time tag team champions." Jericho tagged in, and a tiger backbreaker on Edge gets 2. Edge with a sunset flip for 2, but Jericho rolls out and goes for the Walls of Jericho, which is stopped by Christian. Christian tagged in. The weapons of the night are punches and kicks, apparently. Nice dropkick by Christian is good for 2. Then heel tag team cheating, as Christian distracts Benoit for Edge to choke Jericho. Series of quick tags and double team moves. Jericho gets the advantage and tags Jericho, who goes into German suplex mode on both men. Crossface on Christian, and he taps, but Jericho distracts the ref and Edge breaks it with the title belt. Christian eventually covers for 2. Now into a front facelock for a break. Benoit starts to power to the corner, backdrops out of it, and tags, but Edge has Jack Doan distracted. Edge now in, and he gets a couple of near falls. Benoit ducks a clothesline into a high cross body for 2. Christian back in, and an inverted backbreaker gets 2 before Jericho makes the save. Crowd tries to rally Benoit during a chinlock. Edge tagged in, and the broadcasters actually mention how smart it is to cut the ring in half. Quick tags by the challengers as they keep Benoit grounded, but Christian walks into a belly-to-belly. Christian tags Edge, but the hot tag brings Jericho in. Jericho runs into Christian, which leads to Edge using a small package for 2. Jericho tries to go on top, but Christian knocks him off the ropes. Stack superplex comes from that, and Edge goes for the pin, but Benoit breaks it with the Swan Dive Headbutt. Nice spot. Jericho covers for 2. Christian goes for the spear, but Jericho moves and Christian hits Edge. A Lionsault ends it, and the champs retain in 10:39. That was one outstanding TV match there. ***1/2
After the match, Edge and Christian argue, which is probably leading to a split. That's probably not a good idea with the Hardy Boyz already wrestling singles, guys. Maybe it will only last as long as the tournament.
King of the Ring ad features the main event, and thus half the official card.
The RC Rewind shows Spike Dudley kissing Molly Holly on Raw.
Backstage, Spike and Molly are looking at Molly's spread in Raw Magazine, before Buh Buh Ray and D-Von tell him they're not going to back him up if he gets in trouble. Spike: "What kind of trouble could I possibly get into?"
One fall, King of the Ring Qualifying Match: The "I Lost 75 pounds and I'm Still Too" Big Show vs. Raven
I'd fast forward if I wasn't recapping it. Hard to give it an accurate rating when you don't watch it, right? Let's go to the play-by-play.
Show pounds away at Raven, Show hits the ringsteps in a very contrived spot, Raven pounds away at Show, Show with the choke slam to enter the tournament at 1:36. Nothing special here. 1/2* because the choke slam was awesome, but that was it. Show yells "I own you!" after the match, and I'm wondering if it's safe to drop the soap in the Big Show's shower.
Backstage, Austin and Sgt. Slaughter kiss each other's butts. They acknowledge their many battles when Slaughter was WWF Commissioner (See, bring Heyman onto the writing team and you start getting continuity), then Austin asks Sgt. Chin to sign it for him. Austin's petition is to change the main event at King of the Ring, and Slaughter, "champion to champion", signs it for him. Slaughter plugs his golf tournament and walks off, before Kevin Kelly asks what the petition's for. He just told us, stupid! And of course, Austin gets Kelly to sign it, then kisses up to him.
The Radicalz and Terri are out on the double date. Dean Malenko, the consumate family man, has been set up with a model and thinks he has a chance to score, but he is afraid Saturn's going to screw it up. I'd be more worried about your wife watching the show there, Deano. Anyway, our model in the red dress is named Sherri. Or Sherry. Maybe Shari. It rhymes with Perry and Terri, see. It's funny. Saturn tells her, "You smell like a Viking. You're welcome." Boy, I can smell the laughs already. Dean: "This is going to be some long night." For you and me both.
One fall for the WWF European Championship: Matt Hardy (champion--w/Lita) vs. K-Kwik
K-Kwik is still on the roster? Isn't there someone in OVW they could bring up instead? Tazz: "Why is K-Kwik wearing a raincoat into the ring?" They try some wrestling to start. Jeff Hardy defends the Light Heavyweight Title on Heat. Probably against Billy Gunn because they never actually mention a weight limit. Also, we're told that Austin is looking for J.R. K-Kwik counters a hiptoss into a Victory roll, which gets 2 even though only Hardy's head is actually on the mat. And they wonder why people call this stuff fake. Small package by Hardy gets 2. K-Kwik is playing the heel, as he uses the ropes to try to get the fall. Lita hops on the apron, Hardy just misses hitting her, but K-Kwik jumps him from behind. Nice leg lariat, or a spinning heel kick if you're Cole. He needs to spin first, Michael! And a headlock because you can't wrestle four minutes without blowing up. Matt Hardy takes K-Kwik down with a wheelbarrow suplex. Flying lariat for 2. Bodyslam, take off the shirt, ladies squeal, flying legdrop for 2. As an aside, I have a body like Matt Hardy's and the only screams I hear from women are of terror. Figure that one out. Twist of Fate is countered by pushing him into the corner, then a back suplex. K-Kwik climbs to the top turnbuckle, but wastes time and gets kicked on the way down. A Twist of Fate ends it at 4:18. Better than it should have been. *1/2 The best part of the match was Lita jumping up and down after the win.
Austin finds J.R. and asks for a signature, which he does "under duress". You know that idiot everybody knows who doesn't know how to shut his mouth? Austin plays him very well. Mine is in the extended family, and he's just like Austin's character, it's amazing.
JVC Kaboom of the Week shows Austin kicking Tajiri's butt. Great use of Tajiri there. Yes, I'm being sarcastic.
Let's recap the Sara Undertaker bit from Monday. Next week: The Stalker reveals "I still know what you did in the summer of '91." And why are we calling her Sara Undertaker? Mr. and Mrs. Undertaker had nine months to come up with "The"? Remember when Vince McMahon told us "We don't want to insult your intelligence?" Does he think our intelligence stops at knowing "The Undertaker" isn't a real name? Or did he change it a la "The Warrior"? My head hurts.
Backstage, Angle makes a deal with the X-Factor. If they help him against The Undertaker, he'll help Albert win the I-C title from Kane. Then Angle finally gets the point of Justin Credible's name. Oh, ha ha. X-Pac had to keep from laughing, anyway.
Back at the restaurant, Saturn's being goofy, but Sherri (or Shari...let's call her Blondie) thinks it's funny. That makes one of us.
Backstage again, Regal gives Tajiri a spot in the King of the Ring tournament because he stood up to Austin. Surprisingly good pop for that announcement. Tajiri's giddy as a school girl, then backs off when Austin enters. Regal signs, then Tajiri does as well. Because he's afraid of Austin, you see. Actually an entertaining segment, but Tajiri's NOT A FREAKING COWARD! Sorry, had to vent.
Watch The Assignment tomorrow night at 8. Sorry, I'll be busy killing myself.
One fall: The Undertaker vs. King Kurt Angle
This stems from Angle saying he can't be the stalker because he doesn't even find Sara attractive and the subsequent punk out on Monday night. Angle says some stuff about King of the Ring and calls out Shane, challenging him to a street fight at KOR. Lou Thesz just lost all respect for Kurt. Then he says he'll beat an apology out of Taker...yeah.
Match starts off all Taker. Wow, he actually went for a pin. Angle's comeback consists of 5 or 6 punches. Angle tries brawling with him...not smart. Taker with the BAAAAAAAAAACK Bodydrop sends Angle over the top, then he rolls Angle in, brings in the steel steps, and...Ouch! That's a DQ (2:35). X-Pac and Justin Credible run in for the save, but Taker takes both of them out as Angle runs for his life. Match was there. DUD Although any time X-Pac gets beat up, that's fine by me.
Backstage, Austin gets John D'Amico, who I think works for WWF.com, to sign the petition. Subtle disgust by Austin, as he wipes his hand on his shirt after shaking John's hand.
One fall for the WWF Hardcore Championship: Test vs. The Man Beast Rhyno (champion)
Terri and Perry will host Heat. Fun will be had by all. It takes an entire 30 seconds to get this one out to the floor, and Rhyno goes under the ring for some weapons. Will somebody tell me the point of putting the weapons under the ring beforehand? Rhyno with a nice shot to the ribs with a fire extinguisher. Anyway, really, what possible reason is there to have a road sign inside the arena? Rhyno up to the top, but Test throws a garbage can into his face. Ouch. Test superplexes Rhyno onto a trash can. Rhyno ducks the Big Boot, but gets caught with the pumphandle slam for two. Test is pretending to sell the ribs, but if they were actually hurt the pumphandle slam would probably be impossible in that situation. Test goes for a table, but a trash can lid shot keeps him stopped. Rhyno goes for the Gore, but Test with a clothesline to stop him. Test sets up the table, but Rhyno catches him and goes for a power bomb, but it's countered with a backdrop. Test places Rhyno on the table now, and goes up top for the Elbow. Taking bets...wow, he hit it! Both men down, and "Here comes Da Money," and he brings out Stacy Kiebler to a huge pop! My God, those are long legs! If that's Kiebler, I want to be an elf. Rhyno's distracted, then turns around to catch a garbage can and a Big Boot for the pin and a new Hardcore Champion in 6:35. Match wasn't bad, and we'll add half a star for Stacy's legs. **
Backstage, Austin gets Howard Finkel to sign the petition. Finkel was the first employee hired by the WWF...in 1979. So much for "For over 50 years, the revolutionary symbol of excellence in sports entertainment."
Chyna might be filming a movie, but she still has time to shill Stacker 2. Notice how that's the only title that wasn't defended at this taping? Just a thought.
During the break, Stacy and Shane get into a limo. Shane: "WCW is definitely...heating up." I'll say. I know it's been asked before, but how in the hell did David Flair get that?
One fall, King of the Ring Qualifying Match: Crash vs. Tajiri (w/Commissioner Regal)
Let's see if Tajiri is actually allowed to kick ass or if he's forced to tone it down. Tajiri has apparently gained 19 pounds since ECW went under. Some chain to wrestling to start as the loudest ECW chant in six months rings out. Hard back kick knocks Crash off the apron and pops the crowd. Back in the ring, they trade chops in the corner. (WHOO!) Crash is placed in the tree of woe, and the baseball slide snaps Crash's head back. Another ECW chant. Victory roll by Crash gets 2, but Tajiri with a another back kick. Crash finally gets some offense in, and hits a missile dropkick for 2. Whip into the corner, Crash charges, but he gets caught with a tarantula and another ECW chant. Sets him up...OH MY GOD what a kick to the face. Crash is out after that one. (3:08) Too short to rate any higher, but give it **. Heyman must be kicking himself for not booking Baltimore more often though.
Austin is in the locker room looking for The Big Show, who's in the crapper and he's going to be there for a while. Austin tosses the petition under the stall for Show to sign. And of course he kisses up to him when he signs it. What's with the extended shot of Show's boots?
Subway Slam of the Week is Albert's Baldo Bomb to Kane on Monday that put Christian into the King of the Ring tournament.
Back to the restaurant. These are painful skits. Malenko tries to get noticed by saying "Pigeons wear lipstick to avoid getting parking tickets." Blondie: "I don't get it." And sadly, it made more sense than anything else Saturn's said since "D-Von, get the muffins."
Kevin Kelly asks Test about his victory, but they're interrupted by Ole Ander--er, Vince McMa--uh, Barry Wind--uh, The Black Scor--oh, screw it. Thankfully the stalker says it's time to come forward. Thank God, we can end this stupid angle.
Spike flirts with Molly backstage, but they're interrupted by Austin and his quest for signatures. Austin calls Molly a bimbo, which pisses Spike off to the point where he rips up the petition. HUGE pop for that.
Moments ago, Spike rips up the petition.
Back in Regal's office, Regal says Tajiri continues into the tournament Monday night, and before I can complain about only having two rounds on PPV, Austin enters and demands to defend the title against Spike Dudley. Another huge pop as if Spike actually has a snowball's chance in hell.
One fall for the WWF Intercontinental Championship: Kane (champion) vs. Albert (w/o X-Factor)
I like Uncle Kracker, but this song sucks. Earlier tonight, X-Pac and Aldo Credible got punked out by The Undertaker.
Typical power match to start. Mostly kicks and forearms with the occasional slam thrown in. First major move comes when Albert Hotshots Kane off of an Irish whip. Kane quickly comes back and they trade punches. Gorilla press by Albert, and man he held him up there for a long time. That was at least 6 or 7 seconds. Albert with a suplex and a count of two. Kane back up. Right. Right. Reverse neckbreaker. Cole sells Kane's "injured"arm as Albert regains the advantage. Avalanche into the corner. Attempt at another, but Kane counters with an elbow and a Big Boot. Up top...flying clothesline. No cover though, but a running powerslam gets 2. Kane with the choke slam, but Albert counters with a DDT! Wow! Albert slow to cover, but he gets 2. Bicycle kick gets 2. Albert waits for Kane to get up and goes for the Baldo Bomb, but Kane breaks it with a dropkick! Holy crap! Goes for the chokeslam again, and this time it works. Kane gets the pin in 5:21 to retain the title. ** Big man matches usually suck, but Albert was impressive, and I've always liked Kane.
Back to the restaurant, Saturn gets his order of a bowl of mustard and a side of crayons. Dean: "Kill me. Just kill me." Terri tries to level Blondie with a plastic serving tray, but misses and hits Perry. Dean: "Sherri, I'll call you!" I think you'll have better luck with Lita, Dean.
The disadvantage of living near a Six Flags is they advertise it about 12 times an hour. Only saying.
One fall for the WWF Championship: Spike Dudley vs. Stunning Ringmaster Steve Austin (champion)
Austin attacks Spike before the bell. I note the time of 9:52 pm, which means this can't last very long. Molly quickly makes her way to ringside, which even Tazz says is a bad idea. Austin breaks every rule in the book and gets away with it because Earl Hebner can't count to five. Austin throws Spike's head into the turnbuckle. Outside the ring, and Spike gets thrown face-first into the ringsteps. He tries to throw Spike into the broadcast table, but Spike reverses and starts pounding away at Austin with punches, stomps, and facebites. It lasts until Austin is able to whip Spike into the steps. Remember when you only had 10 seconds to return to the ring? It was only three years ago. I swear to God, that used to be a rule. Champions would leave the ring to keep the title. It's true, it's true. Anyway, back in the ring, Austin uses a Crippler Crossface and the Walls of Jericho to show up Benoit and Jericho, then goes back to the punishment. Spike gets a low blow for the advantage, but charges and runs straight into a spinebuster. Stone Cold Stunner, good night, little Spike (4:33). Basically a glorified squash, but good as far as squashes go. * Replay of the spinebuster and Stunner.
In the ring, Molly is checking on Spike, but Austin grabs Tony Chimmel's chair and enters the ring. Molly runs, so Austin starts beating Spike with the chair. And the other Dudleys aren't making the save, remember. Well, Cole and Tazz don't, I'd better mention it. Molly covers Spike up, and Austin gives the Ol' Evil Eye, but before he can react, Benoit and Jericho run out with chairs and make the save. Jericho caught him with a pretty good shot to the back there. Austin leaves the ring, falls down the aisle on top of what's left of his petition, and we're out.
Final Analysis: I'll change the name of that if I can find something to call it that doesn't sound too much like I'm ripping off Scott Keith. Anyway, very good effort this week. Only Show-Raven and Taker-Angle sucked from a wrestling standpoint, and most of the in-between segments actually had some sort of purpose instead of just being thrown out there.
A few general purpose things here though. The main thing being the King of the Ring tournament. Somebody please explain to me the WWF's reasoning behind having the quarterfinals on Raw and Smackdown. You lose the iron man aspect of winning the tournament that way. Plus, say Angle does go over for the second straight year. He wrestled three times in one night last year. He'd wrestle three times in one night this year (and he doesn't even have to beat Shane, don't forget). It's just not the same accomplishment.
Also, notice that we stand less than 10 days from the PPV, and what's the lineup?
Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
Hey, guys, how about some long term planning here? Anyway, good show this week. Let's see if they can keep it going now. Typically the week right before a PPV sucks, and since we still need to add like four matches to this card right now I don't expect that to change.