by Christopher Robin Zimmerman WrestleLine/WrestleManiacs IT'S A SMALL 'NET: Several folks have suggested that last night's Thunder was strangely reminiscient of an old episode of RAW - and no less an authoritative source than the Torch provided a link to the report for that show by yours truly - a link I'll give to you here. Reading back over that old report, I am really struck by one uncanny theme running through the report...although I didn't know who was behind it at the time, I DEFINITELY didn't care much for Russo's work back THEN, either. All of you who are into my terrible, terrible bias might want to see how it worked against the WWF by giving that report a gander. Or, you may wish to keep living in your own little world. Either way, I still won't lose TOO much sleep...unless this damn apartment continues to stay above 80... Hey, it hit *109* in San Jose yesterday - they say it was the highest recorded temperature since they started recording. No wonder it sucked yesterday! It hit 104 in Sunnyvale. It's NEVER supposed to hit 104 in Sunnyvale. Fortunately, there's a bit of a breeze tonight...not that it'll affect my reporting ability--er...will it? UPN Thursday - tonight - now - NOW! TV-PG-DLV - One World Leader Attitude - WWF! LAST MONDAY: hey UPN, what show is this? Ah, thanks. Here's some "highlights" from RAW - talk, talk, talk. Go back and read the RAW report if you missed it, it's practically the weekend and I ain't got time for reruns. Hey, isn't the big selling point in the UPN ads for this show "NO RERUNS - EVER!" What the heck is all this then? Here's some wrestling, at least - Triple H retained, as did his wife - both matches advanced some slowly bubbling storylines - but only if you were paying attention. Oh, and there was a table match. Oh, and there was a Kane/Rock match. But I'm saying too much. You think we'll EVER learn who's behind GTV? And did they steal the Kidcam, too? Is it possible Goldust is STILL behind this - and that's why we haven't seen him return in WCW? Am I wasting time until the opening credits? ...maybe. Opening Credits - close captioned is the show See, I don't think UPN had to tell us AGAIN what show this was - once per segment is ALREADY too many. Anyway, blow the PYRO and show the crowd - it's 15.6.2K and we are on tape from the sold out (for the 13th straight time) Allstate Arena in Chi-town, IL (taped 13.6) and the arena, we are told, is JAKKED! But...but this is SMACKDOWN! KOR QUALIFYING MATCH: GRAND MASTER SEXAY (with Scotty Too Hotty) v. EDGE (mih wonk uoy kniht uoy, with Christian) - Tonight, the FINAL two slots will be filled in the (as yet unseen) brackets! And here's the first match, pitting some "old friends," for sure. Sexay says "EC who? I'm STILL gonna get the crowd to do the American Males clap" and finally they tie up - side headlock by Sexay, into the ropes, shoulderblock by Sexay, up and over off the ropes, Edge's clothesline ducked, Sexay slides under him and tries a backdrop suplex, but Edge flips back and lands on his feet. Edge off the ropes, Sexay jukes under a crossbody, head to the turnbuckle, on the second turnbuckle, busting a move, missile dropkick, 2 count. Arm wringer by Sexay, eyepoke by Edge. Right, elbow, into the ropes, head down, kick by Sexay, runnin' man, clothesline. Clothesline off the ropes takes Edge to the outside. Christian over to check - Sexay comes off with a dropkick to both men through the ropes. Sexay outside - he and Hotty trade some fly steps, but as Sexay advances on Edge, he flapjacks him onto the STEEL steps. Stomp, head to the steps, rolled back in the ring, and Edge follows. Double axehandle. Head to the top turnbuckle, five or six kicks, hard Irish whip into the corner and Sexay goes down. Edge flashes a winning smile - and draws boos. Scoop - and a slam. Big elbowdrop off the ropes, cover, but only 2. Edge setting him up for a big vertical suplex - blocked - Sexay crotches him on the top rope, and loses his dreads in the process. Sexay bouncing Edge's nads by pulling the top rope up and down - Edge flies off back into the ring, right, right, into the ropes, Edge catches one boot - and then catches the enzuigiri with the other. Scoop - and a slam - and now Sexay is going up top. But Edge has some gas left in the tank...over to meet Sexay with a punch, and climbing to the second rope himself. Sexay with four rights, super sunset flip (!) - cover - 2. Sexay with a quizzical look for referee "Blind" Jack Doan. Going off the ropes, but Christian grabs the ankle. Sexay turns around and grabs Christian by the hair...but before he can do anything with him, Edge is over to help - except Sexay must have eyes in the back of his head as he steps aside and the brothers collide! Schoolboy - ONLY 2! Sexay off the ropes, Edge's clothesline is ducked, Sexay with a neckbreaker. Now he's REALLY going up top - you know because his goggles are out. Christian ready to pull him off (in plain sight of the ref?) but Hotty is over to pull HIM off the apron to the floor. As they start brawling (and Doan can't help but watch that instead of the guys in the match he's officiating), Sexay DOES hit the Hip Hop Drop...but BIG SKIPPY is out with a chair - WHACK. Doan turns around to see Edge with an arm draped over Sexay - 1, 2, 3. (5:09) What, no tag team title defense at King of the Ring? Backstage, Vince tells the troops that phase one is complete, thanks to Shane...now it's time to have some fun. I have a feeling that "have some fun" will roughly translate to "after four minutes of ads, we'll come out and talk for fifteen or twenty more." SHAFT! TOMORROW! Am I there? You DAMN right. Moments!Ago, Shane swung a mighty chair. Commentators are unsure of his motives. What, you mean we have to SPELL it out for you? Even old cynical Cole notes that we can't get through a night without a visit from APPROXIMATELY 78% OF THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES. We take a gander at STONE PHILLIPS sitting in the front row - whoa, I was SURE that was that one guy from "Mad TV." They must have been separated at birth! Sometimes, the simplest signs are the best: "Triple H has a big nose." Does Shane just sweat a lot or were they just throwing liquid at him earlier? This *is* Chicago, you know. Oh, look, Vince will speak first...right after this "Ass Hole" chant which has been strangely altered so as to not sound as obvious - because THIS is a TV-PG show! YOU tell ME they're not getting spooked by the PTC-led advertiser boycott...eh? Eh? Whoops, Shane usurps THE STICK: "This just in...for whatever reason, Edge & Christian have challenged the very tag team that my father, Vinnie Mac and I defeated In This Very Ring last Monday night! So tonight, In This Very Ring, Edge & Christian will be taking on none other than the Dudley Boyz! And by the way, Edge & Christian have been gracious enough, prior to their match get your cameras ready for a special photo opportunity of Edge & Christian!" Damn, Shane sweats more than Ric Flair. And now...Vince. "You know, last Monday night...last Monday night, my charming, darling, CEO, meddlesome wife Linda comes down to the ring and my charming, darling wife (Linda) decides - 'well, I'm gonna make a match.' Linda, much to your applause, makes a matchup with Stephanie defending her WWF women's championship. Well, you weren't applauding after the match was over, were you, because Stephanie is STILL WWF women's champion - and indeed, you cheered when my darling wife, my CEO wife made a match with Vince & Shane against the Dudleyz in a table match. You cheered, yeah - but you weren't cheering as a result of the McMahons in victory...were you? And you really thought the CEO had accomplished something when she made the match with Triple H having to defend the WWF title against an opponent he doesn't even know! That wasn't fair...yet, you weren't too happy with the result because...unless - unless I don't believe what I'm seeing I think Triple H is still The Game and the World Wrestling Federation championship! And indeed, you thought it was a good idea when my charming, darling wife, the CEO prevented Kane and the Undertaker and Rock from ripping each other limb from limb - indeed, you applauded when you suggested that they unify - yeah. That those three individuals unify, and at the King of the Ring...at the King of the Ring, Kane, Undertaker and Rock will compete against the threesome of Shane McMahon, Vince McMahon and Triple H. And I know that there are some of you out there who say 'you know what? This could win Match of the Year honours,' and you're right, it could, because the vast majority of you are thinking - on balance, there's no telling who's gonna win this match. Both teams have equal ability. There may be a few of you who think, ah the Rock's team probably has the edge, and then there may be an even smaller number of you who think that Triple H's team doesn't stand a chance. I think Triple H has an opinion on the subject. Triple H." "Oh, I've got an opinion all right...my opinion is that I have never been more confident in a team to be successful than I am this team right here. With Vince McMahon, the Giant Killer and the Game on one team, we are virtually unstoppable! And I'm so sure of that...that...it's almost not even fair, Vince, you know this match. Linda has made, and I have to admit it is a great match, but it's almost unfair. But I'll tell ya what we're gonna do, we're gonna take that match that Linda made, as great as that is...and we're gonna make it even better. You know because there seems to be some confusion about who the #1 Contender is for my World Wrestling Federation championship. Is it...Kane? Is it the Undertaker? Is it the Rock? The problem is...just...you really don't know. So at King of the Ring, we're gonna solve all that. You see, in one match we're gonna get it all done. We're gonna put the #1 Contendership on the line. Ya see, IN the unlikely event that Linda's 'team' can beat us, the person that gets that victory will then be deemed the #1 Contender, and I will defend my World Wrestling Federation championship against that person in July. Now that seems like a pretty good deal, but let's say for example you're the Undertaker. Can you really trust that Kane won't stab you in the back for a shot at this? Can you really trust that lyin' piece o' crap the Rock, that he won't stab you in the back? It seems to me that on Linda's 'team,' nobody can trust anyone. And I've always heard it said that there is no 'I' in team. Well as of today, I have for the first time in history, successfully put the 'I' in team because this match will be about 'I' - it will be who wants it more...Undertaker, Kane or the Rock. And, in the likely event that we are victorious...then, out of those three, NOBODY gets a shot at me - I will give the #1 Contender spot to the winner of the King of the Ring, and I will defend the World Wrestling Federation championship against that person." "Give it up for a magnamanous champion - Triple H! And by the way, as far as tonight is concerned, Shane McMahon already has a nice little surprise for the Dudley Boyz, and In This Very Ring, Chris Jericho - Y2J - you're gonna have a nice - well, maybe not so little surprise for yourself...when the Undertaker arrives here tonight. Undertaker will be greeted with a very special surprise. And then Kane - yes, Kane will see action right here tonight. And Kane will square off against - well, wait a minute - if I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise, would it? No. Okay. All right, but nonetheless, the Rock - the Rock will see WWF action In This Very Ring tonight! And the Rock goes one on one with--" H: "You know what, Vince? That information should be on a need-to-know basis...and basically, these pieces of crap don't need to know!" "All I can say is that we certainly hope you enjoy the surprises as much as we're going to enjoy them tonight...thank you very much!" We cut to a taxi in Times Square (huh?) where Patterson, Brisco and referee Chioda sit in the back seat. Another taxi pulls up behind them, and Crash Holly exits. He's still carrying that piece of paper. "I've gotta find this guy - I need protection!" They exit the cab...apparently having completely missed Holly right behind them. Brisco wants a hot dog. Patterson IS a hot dog. They send Chioda to pay for the cab - that's pretty funny. Let's sit through four minutes of ads! ...including the infamous ONLY bumper that UPN has ever produced (apparently) And now, the WWF Rewind, brouguht to you by the Lorillard Whacko Tobacco company - from RAW last Monday, Bull Buchanan made off with Undertaker's ride...and Undertaker commandeered a car to go after him T & A (with Trish Stratus - the fitness model - and SmackDown! is brought to you by Stacker 2, Western Union Money Transfer, and fanchecks.com) v. HARDY BOYZ - both Hardyz wear black just to see if we'll get confused and start referring to each brother incorrectly. Jeff starts with Test. Lockup, no, Jeff goes behind into a waistlock, ducks the back elbow, kick, kick, kick, whip into the opposite corner is reversed, Jeff up and landing on Test's shoulder, but managing to break free and shove Test into the corner, gutshot, vertical suplex is blocked, no, repeated kidney punches, tag to Matt - double suplex DOES succeed! Matt with a right, right, right, right for Albert, kick for Test, into the ropes but Test reverses and holds on - Uncle Slam! Test mounts him and wails away. Head to Albert's boot - tag. Into the ropes, double tilt-a-whirl - Albert covers but Jeff breaks it at 2. Albert with the punches and kicks and Matt is left laying. Albert with a BIG beal. Commentators have missed all this talking about Linda and Vince. Matt tries a gutshot, but Albert doesn't stop punching. Into the opposite corner hard, but Matt elbows the followup charge. Big boot to the face - tornado DDT (I thought DDT's were illegal!) and Matt makes the HOT tag - so does Albert. Kick, kick, kick, dropkick. Albert runs at Jeff, who sidesteps it and lets Test take the brunt. Four punches, AND NOW THE SHIRT'S OFF! Albert tries to bring him up for the double choke, but Hardy dropkicks him on the way up. Tag to Matt, Jeff ready to drop his legs between Test's as Matt comes off the ropes with HIS legdrop to the neck. Matt punching Albert, then getting on all fours to assist Jeff in a side kick. Double clothesline takes Albert outside. Turning to Test, Matt ducks a clothesline, gutshot, Twist of Fate! Matt decides to go beat up Albert some more and as referee "Blind" Tim White turns to watch, Stratus pulls on Jeff's ankle, dropping him facefirst onto the STEEL steps. Matt is back over to his corner and wondering what just happened...a bit too long, as Albert has made his way back in, asking what his favourite vegetable is. SQUASH. After the big splash to the big, Matt staggers out into Test's big boot. 1, 2, 3. (3:29) Hey, guess what. Both men were legal. YOU GOTTA LOVE TAG TEAM WRESTLING. Post-match, T&A continue to administer punishment, violence, and even Trish gets in on the act with a big slap to Jeff's mush - here comes LITA to take down Trish and work on the hair until T&A figure out what's up, and manhandle HER - yowch. Hardys manage to recover enough to attack from behind and take both men to the outside, then it's a pescado from Jeff on Albert and an apron clothesline to the floor by Matt on Test. Lita also recovers, and takes Trish down with a sidewalk...drop. Lita on the second rope - did she just do the "guns to my mouth" pose? Second rope alleged legdrop on Trish. Play the Hardyz music - 'cause they lost! Hey, is it just me or does Trish look even hotter covered up a bit? And not just because her tattoo isn't visible... We cut backstage to see the Undertaker arriving on his Beautiful Titan Bike. He is met by several cops...and Vince. "Well, well, well, well, what do we have here? It's an American badass, that's what it is! Say, Bull, you'd recognise that, wouldn't ya? Welcome to Chicago, Mr. Badass! And let me just remind you of something. You know the gentlemen whom you nailed and you stole his car - took him right out, oh no you don't remember that on Monday, do you. Uh huh, well then let me just say that same man whose car you stole went down to the precinct and swore out a warrant for your arrest. So therefore, I would like to inform you that you ARE under arrest for felony assault AND carjacking. Welcome to Chicago. Arrest that SOB." As Vince barks out, the cops Mirandize Undertaker and cuff him. "...you're not such a badass after all, are ya...huh?" Undertaker stops...and turns back. "Let me see if I get this straight. HE steals MY bike in St. Louis like some punk, and I get arrested in Chicago." The cops say Undertaker can swear out a complaint of his own, but for now he's gotta go downtown. Buchanan makes the "gimme a poke on the chin" face - Undertaker spits some chaw on his chest. Buchanan gets a right hand on Undertaker before the cops restrain HIM. "Have a good evening!" Vince smiles...and Bull even breaks into a laugh. Vince: "I love bein' me! Ahhh ha ha ha ha.." The only UPN bumper Moments!Ago, we just saw it. That's a pretty good spit...I guess. Don't know if we needed to see it twice... Shane tells Vince he can handle it from here...Vince gets in his limo and drives off...following the police car (carrying Undertaker?) - damn, somebody get Shane a dry shirt already! KOR QUALIFYING MATCH: D'LO BROWN (with Subway presents King of the Ring - ten days away!) v. SCOTTY TOO HOTTY - Would Brown job in his hometown? Big surprise heel kick to start. Right, right, into the ropes, head down, kick by Hotty, off the ropes, and Brown takes him over the top rope - but he lands on the apron - kick, up and back in over the back, off the ropes, sliding under, right hand, off the ropes, Brown tries a tilt-a-whirl but Hotty lands on his feet - clothesline ducked, superkick hits for 2. Hotty takes him off the ropes, dropkick. Breakdance! Elbowdrop. Hotty nips up and moonwalks. I missed a Subway Double Feature in here. Off the ropes, Brown drops his throat on the top rope. Right, right, right. Standing flourished legdrop. 1, 2, kickout by Scotty. Brown with a right, right, off the ropes, duck, Brown takes Scotty up, but he dropkicks at the apex and Brown goes down. Chyna on Leno tomorrow night! No, not literally. Hotty with "Iblockyourpunchyoudon'tblockmine," again, right, right, into the ropes, jumping back elbow by Hotty, into the ropes again, back body drop, into the corner is reversed, followup charge misses, Hotty off the ropes with the bulldog, making the face and doing the "I gotta take a shit" dance, W - O - R - M - worm - worm - worm - hoo - hoo - hoo - hiya - on the second rope and jumping off with...well, who knows - Brown counters with a GIANT flapjack. "What's my name, punk?" Brown moves him into position and climbs to the top - but the 'Lo Down MISSES! Scotty to the second rope - THIS time the second storey Slop Drop hits and that's enough to get three out of referee "Blind" Mike Sparks. (3:39) We've got sixteen in. Back to New York, where Brisco is souvenir hunting. Crash happens to walk by - Chioda does a triple-take and tries to tell the Stooges that he just saw him walk by - of course, the Stooges tell him to shut up. Kane is pacing around! That's close to WALKING! Big Show may be injured, but he can still eat ravioli...but not if he's gonna lose the weight that Jim Ross wants him to lose! Oh, look, UPN wants me to know that WWF SmackDown! will be back soon - with that SAME sad, tired bumper they use EVERY time. If I keep bitching, will they PLEASE do something about that? No? Well, when has THAT ever stopped me... Commentators shill "7 Days" THROUGH HELL FIRE AND BRIMSTONE IT'S KANE (with TV-PG-DLV ratings box) v. ? - scary camera angle of Kane's wall of flame - same one we saw for the pyro earlier tonight. Somebody in the audience is practicing his bird calls - how annoying! The Undertaker, assuming he makes bail, will be at the America West Arena Friday for the SmackDown! onsale. Well, the opponent is CHRIS BENOIT. So is this a title match? No? Benoit will win so we'll never know? This should be an...interesting...matchup. Kane kicks to start - putting him in the corner, but Benoit kicks his way out - then continues to kick. Chop. Chop. Kane with a double choke - and putting Benoit back in the corner. Kane unloading HIS right hands. This must be one o' them wear down matches. Big hiptoss by Kane. Clothesline puts Benoit down. Scoops him up...got him on his shoulder - Benoit slides down his back, shoves him into the ropes, head down, Kane with an uppercut to take him down. Into the ropes, Benoit slides under the big boot the first time, but not the second. Cole considers calling it a "big right hand" but demurs just in time. Kane's elbowdrop off the ropes misses, and both men are up slowly. Kick by Benoit, whip into the ropes is reversed, clothesline ducked, Benoit with a drop toehold, dropkick to the head, 1, 2, big kickout. Benoit puts Kane in the corner, waistlock as he backs out, elbow by Kane, Kane turns around but Benoit maintains the grip, countering a suplex attempt. Kane hammering him in the back...picking him up and dropping him in a front suplex! Kane with a sidewalk slam. Kane grabs Benoit's hair and picks him up...sending him into the ropes, but Benoit tumbles under a big boot and tries to grab the arm and drop down for his crossface...Kane's got something left, though, and grabs him in a choke. As he tries to pick him up for the chokeslam, Benoit grabs the arm AGAIN and tries for the crossface. Again, Kane isn't worn down enough to fall into it...Benoit kicks him a bit, tries to send him into the ropes, but Kane holds on and hits a short clothesline! Benoit rolls outside to catch his breath - and grab his title belt. Kane is outside as well - chop! Rolled in the ring, Benoit still clutching his title belt. Kane climbing the corner - to the top...and it looks like he's headed right for a big ol' belt to the head. Referee "Blind" Jack Doan calls for the bell (DQ 3:23) and we see Benoit smile...until Kane performs the Zombie Situp! Benoit with a SECOND belt shot. Zombie situp! Benoit showing some fear in his eyes - and he decides to take off. Benoit makes sure to keep an eye over his shoulder as he walks back up the ramp. Cut to Christian, who brandishes a hockey stick - and mutters about midgets. Edge enters the scene. "Hey! Hey! I just talked to Mom - she's TOTALLY happy that I advanced in the King of the Ring." "Yeah? She didn't call me after MY match on Monday." "I know, she told me. [a beat] Anyways, that's not what matters. Tonight, if we beat the Dudley Boyz for Shane, we are TOTALLY in the good graces of the Faction." "Yeah, and maybe we can get a tag team title shot...but I thought they were called the Regime." "No, the Faction." "No, the Regime." "Faction." "Regime." "Well, let's compromise. Let's call 'em - the Fac-gime." "Yeah! We are SO working for the Fac-gime!" Let Us Take You Back to Earlier This Week, where Vince McMahon led an XFL press conference to announce a Chicago team. The tagline is "Where's my football?" apparently. Hey, how much snow do YOU want to sit in to watch a Chicago team play? Here's KEN VALDISERRI in the front row - he's the XFL's Chicago GM. Yee-ha! EDGE & CHRISTIAN v. THOSE DAMN DUDLEYZ - "Now before we SO beat up the Dudley Boyz, I just wanna say greetings to all our fans in the Windy City! Now I guess they call it the Windy City because, let's face it, this town (beep - blows)! Ha ha ha! And like so many other cities in this nation, Chicago, you have serious case of the uglies." "I mean, think of all the ugly things this city is known for...Roger Ebert, Oprah, the Cubs' record...which is why, for the benefit of those with flash photography...we graciously offer an extra two seconds (in addition to our usual five) for a grand total of...you got it, Chi-Town - SEVEN seconds of Edge & Christian!" Very special camera cuts STILL fail to miss several foreign objects hitting the ring, thrown from the crowd. We go to that OvalCam to see the Dudleyz' pyro. Let Us Take You Back to Monday where Shane tasted 3D (Dudley Death Drop) - but it was the Dudleyz going through the tables...with a little DX help. Christian and D-Von start. Christian with the early advantage - whip is reversed, Christian ducks the punch, waistlock, D-Von elbows out, off the ropes with a kick, and a clothesline. Hairpull, tag to Buh-Buh Ray - into the ropes, tilt-a-whirl slam by Buh-Buh Ray, splash by D-Von off the ropes, Buh-Buh Ray covers for 2. "We want a table!" chant. Right, right, right by Dudley, Irish whip into the opposite corner, boots up by Christian, tag to Edge. Edge runs into a Samoan Drop. Open-handed slap by Buh-Buh Ray. Another slap. Into the opposite corner, Christian tries a sneaky run-in but Buh-Buh Ray clotheslines him down - then turns into a missile dropkick from Edge. Edge tells referee "Blind" Chad Patton that D-Von's trying to come in - then when he turns his back, Edge & Christian doubleteam Buh-Buh Ray. Into the corner, Edge on all fours for an assist to the crossbody. Right by Edge, right, LOUD chant, kick, right, tag, both men put him into the ropes, VERY odd camera angle of Dudley ducking a double clothesline (did somebody get nekkid in the wide shot or something?), knocking down Christian, gutshot and DDT for Edge (I thought they were illegal?), clothesline for Christian, tag to D-Von, HOUSE ON FIRE for D-Von, knocking down everybody and hitting his jumping neckbreaker on Edge - but Christian breaks the count at 2. Buh-Buh Ray tosses Christian through the ropes, and now all four men are up the aisle. I have a sneaky suspicion Patton's gonna get to ten...all the way up the ramp (DCOR 3:16 - hmm) - Buh-Buh Ray with a suplex on the top of the stage to Edge...and he just spied some tables on the floor. He gets D-Von's attention and cries "TABLES!" D-Von puts Christian in the powerbomb position on Buh-Buh Ray...but D & X and TORI come in from behind with a chop block for Buh-Buh Ray and a chair for both men. A dumpster is produced...hmm. D-Von dumped into the dumpster - Buh-Buh Ray joins him. Road Dogg, X-Pac, Edge and Christian close the doors on the dumpster - but before they can tie it, they pop back up and punch away. NOW they slam the doors on their heads - Edge & Christian lie on top as Dogg & X-Pac secure the ropes. Time for the big shove - off the stage and through the tables! The dumpster ends up on it's side - on the floor. Crotch chops all around! A truckload of referees and officials are out...and some EMT's...but the damage is done. This show SAVED this network - and they can only afford to give them ONE bumper? Hell, they'd be better off with NOTHING to break up the giant commercial breaks! Moments!Ago, four men get the better of two - then five send the two on a magic dumpster ride. During the Break, the EMT's gurneyed up the Dudleyz... STEPHANIE ONO is out to "My Time." The director is now officially in love with the view afforded by the OvalCam. We take a gander at the pair of kings comprising our commentary team - MICHAEL KING COLE & JERRY LAWLER. Apparently, Stephanie will take third headset and provide us with some awful commentary. Oh...as the Y2J countdown starts up, and with Stephanie out, I bet I just figured out the "surprise" opponent... CHRIS THURSDAY JERICHO v. ? - Shockingly enough, we see Jericho's pyro from the vantage of the OvalCam. "You know...week after week, a lot of you Jerichoholics refer to Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley as a (beep) - but she is not! She *is* a filthy, dirty, disgusting, brutal, skanky, bottom-feeding--" and the music stops him. Holy cow, it's *not* Kurt Angle...it's BULL BUCHANAN. Lockup, Buchanan shoves him down. Big right. Into the ropes, Jericho ducks, chops, chop, chop, into the ropes is reversed, head down, kick by Jericho, off the ropes with a bulldog, cover, 2, kickout. Jericho with a boot up as Buchanan charges in the corner, and I have a feeling we just experienced an edit, as almost the entire crowd is interested in something else going on behind them. Second rope dropkick by Jericho. Buchanan rolls out to the apron, Jericho with a top-rope springboard dropkick! Baseball slide to the outside, but he finds nothing but a Buchanan uppercut. Jericho manages a drop toehold to the STEEL steps. Jericho over to the commentary table, borrowing Cole's water, taking a sip - and then spitting on Stephanie! Stephanie removes her headset and gets up as Buchanan clotheslines Jericho on the outside. Back in the ring, off the ropes, back elbow by Jericho, clothesline, ready to come off the ropes for the Lionsault...too bad he's picking the ropes near Stephanie. Sure enough, she throws an entire PITCHER of water onto Jericho - that oughta cool him off...somehow referee "Blind" Tim White misses all this, AND doesn't stop to figure out how a bunch of water ended up in the ring. Gutshot by Buchanan, off the ropes with the scissor kick - cover - 1, 2, 3!! (1:53) THE NEW MAN comes out and stomps away on Jericho for an encore. Shot to White as well - then back to stomping. The rest of the REFS come out and Triple H gives a good shove to Doan as well. Jericho eats a Pedigree. Before you write me and complain, why not pretend I said something along the lines of "I am OUTRAGED that Bull Buchanan got a pinfall over Chris Jericho!" even though I personally don't really believe that. Replay shows the Jericho actually starts MELTING when Stephanie douses him with the water, so it should come as no surprise that he actually loses. Of course, we eschew the replay of Buchanan getting the pinfall in favour of Triple H's Pedigree. Interesting choice, no? Back in New York, Patterson tells Brisco (eating a hot dog) that they're close and he needs to just keep his head out of his ass. Chioda again tries to tell them that he saw Crash back there, and they could have had him. Patterson again tells him to shut up and do his job. "Hey, Pat, can we go to one of those clubs you told me about a little bit later on? ... This is the best damn hot dog I ever had." Meanwhile, Crash is still holding his piece of paper. He enters WWF New York...and we take a break. Too bad Patterson didn't think to have HIS cameraman try to get in touch with CRASH'S cameraman, eh? Trash Talkin' Stage ad Hey, look, a plane! Flying over the Allstate Arena! Let Us Take You Back To Last Week where Val Venis and Rikishi had a short match and a much longer post-match fracas. When we come back BALD VENIS is already in the ring. "You know something, last Thursday on SmackDown!, I left Rikishi battered, beaten and bloody in the middle of the ring, screaming for mercy. And then it happened. Rikishi decided he was gonna kick me ten feet off the SmackDown! stage all the way to the concrete floor! Take his four hundred and some odd pounds of cottage cheese, leap into the air and literally squash me like a pancake, trying to end my career. A few hours later, when I came to, only one thought entered my mind: payback. So Rikishi, bring your fat, cellulite-infested stinkin' carcass down to this ring so that I can beat you, literally, within an inch of your damn life!" Wow, he said "literally" twice. He's literary! BALD VENIS (already in the ring - by his damn self) v. RIKASHMONEY - Venis decides to meet him on the aisle and here come the punches. Rikishi blocks and it's all him. Into the STEEL steps. Oh, this ISN'T a match - no ref. Rikishi takes the top half of the STEEL steps and hefts them into the ring. Back in the ring, clothesline. Two REFS are out to try to keep them apart but no dice. Rikishi laying in the punches - Venis put into the other set of STEEL steps, actually pushing the top half off the bottom with the impact. Rikishi over to the commentary table, and clearing it off. With the table set, Rikishi is ready to backdrop Venis onto the table. Scoop - and a slam - with collapses the table. Rikishi ready to use a monitor on him, but a ref manages to prevent THAT, at least. Rikshi back to punching - some more refs are out...superkick by Rikishi! Venis FINALLY gets in some offense when HE uses the monitor - and again. SLAUGHTER & GAREA are out - Venis with a THIRD monitor shot - now he's got a chair. The refs and officials attempt to hold him back, but Venis gets a good WHACK in. Venis tries to get to him again...but he's stopped. Moments!Ago, we take a few replays of what we'd just seen. It seems that this feud...has become personal. We take a gander at the blood on the announce table. Crash Holly, at WWF New York, meets up with...JOHN SHAFT. Holly asks him for some help. "You tried the APA?" "Yeah, but I got heat with them." Shaft's woman gives him an okay. Shaft tells Holly it's now his duty to protect his booty. The commentators riff on the Shaft theme, but Cole, being extremely white, forgets to tell Lawler that he can dig it. Kevin Kelly looks adoringly at the Rock. They'll have that interview type thing pretty soon. To the very latest KOR results. Monday, X-Pac continued to prove that he never jobs in singles matches as he defeated the Light Heavyweight champion to advance. Jeff Hardy managed to sneak a win from Christian as well. Round of 16 matches begin Sunday on Heat! Earlier tonight, you and I saw Edge and Scotty Too Hotty win THEIR matches. Hey, wanna see the brackets? Well, here you go, Pookie!
Angle Rikishi Buh Buh _______ _______ 2 Hotty _______ _______ Jericho _______ _______ Benoit Edge X-Pac _______ _______ Crash Venis Hardcore _______ _______ J. Hardy _______ _______ Bull _______ _______ Guerrero Saturn ChynaNow, there's some VERY interesting matchups in that first round, no? The Holly's collide, Rikishi takes on Scotty Too Hotty, and Eddie and Chyna - all in the first round. It's almost as if they didn't want to give away the second round by staggering all these matchups to rig them to happen then! I guess the REAL question is...are they going to save some of these for the PPV, or give them away for free next week to spur on your interest? KEVIN "NAILZ" KELLY stands with the Rock and dares to suggest that it must be tough going in against an unknown opponent. I have a feeling Rock will tell us that it doesn't matter who his opponent is..."Finally, the Rock has come back to Chicago! And all night long, they've been talking about the Rock's opponent - an opponent of the Faction's choosing. A surprise opponent. A mystery opponent. And for all the Rock knows it could be anybody...it could even be you, Kevin Kelly. Please. For the Rock's own benefit - for the Rock's piece of mind. Are you the Rock's mystery opponent? It doesn't MATTER if you're the Rock's mystery opponent! Because the only thing that matters - the Faction - it just doesn't matter who you throw at the Rock - mystery this - mystery that. Well the Rock says call Sherlock Holmes, call Magnum PI, call Scooby Doo himself. As a matter of fact, reach into the cupboard, grab a big box of Scooby Snacks, stick 'em sideways, and stick 'em straight up ALLLLL your candy(beep)! ..["Rock E!"].. Just bring it, jabrones...there's no other way. If ya smellllllllllllalalalalalowwww what the Rock is cookin'." Patterson & Brisco happen upon John Shaft at WWF New York as Chioda ducks out to get a drink. "Have you seen a little short guy walking around here?" "Looks like Elroy Jetson?" "Yeah, that's the one." "Had a big ugly belt with him?" "Hey, that's my belt!" "He didn't mention anything to me about that being your belt. You let a little guy like that take your belt, huh?" "You must be Shaft..." One right takes out Patterson and the ensuing breeze ALSO takes out Brisco! "Yer damn right." We go to an extended promo for "Shaft." You know, he's a complicated man - no one understands him but his woman. I'm just amazed that John Shaft's nephew is ALSO named John. Lawler tells us Shaft is in theatres tomorrow. Ahhh! Hey, how about one more ad for Shaft? I can dig it! And now, Big Show eats another can of ravioli! And here's the only bumper UPN could afford to produce LA ROCA v. ? - well, this would be our LAST chance to see Kurt Angle tonight, so I might as well guess him one more time. That and I REALLY don't want to see Big Boss Man in another main event. We look back to see Stephanie & Triple H watching a monitor from their comfy couch - hey, it's GOTTA be Angle, right? After a respectful pause and "Rock E" chant - yeah! It's KURT ANGLE - AMERICAN HERO. And he's got THE STICK! "Well, well, well. Look who the McMahon-Helmsley Faction has hand-picked to be the Rock's mystery opponent tonight - none other than yours truly, Your Olympic Hero - the TRUE People's Champion. Oh, it's true, it's true. And Rock, unlike you, I don't raise an eyebrow - oh no - I raise a standard of excellence that you and the people here tonight can only dream of achieving...which reminds me of a story of the Olympic Games, back--" but Rock raises an arm to silence him. Rock turns his hand over and makes the "come hither" hand motion. "You want me to bring it? YOU want me to bring it? Oh, I can bring it. I've been bringing it since 1982, Mister - oh, that's...you got me mad..." he hits the ring and promptly goes down to a right, right, clothesline, off the ropes, back elbow, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, head to the buckle, right, into the ropes is reversed, knee by Angle. Let's backtrack to the inset oval of Stephanie and Hunter - she asks him to go out and help Angle, and he says no. "It's the least you could do! He helped me with my match!" Stephanie says she's going out there, and he says go ahead. "You want Rocky to win? I'm going!" Hunter makes a face...and then follows...as the Oval disappears. Back to the ring. Angle stomps, stomp, right, right, right, head to the buckle, right, right, right, referee "Blind" Earl Hebner asking him to open up that fist and Angle ignoring him. Right, right, right, into the opposite corner is reversed, back elbow by Angle, running at Rock...into a powerslam for 2. Stomp by Rock. THE NEW MAN & STEPHANIE ONO are out. Angle takes advantage of a distracted Rock with a right, right, right, right, into the ropes is reversed, kick by Angle, but he runs into a Rock clothesline. Rock whips Angle, but he reverses it into the ropes, Stephanie grabs Rock's angle, Rock turns and swipes at Stephanie, then turns back into a belly-to-belly overhead suplex by Angle - but for only 2! Right by Angle - choke on the second rope. Triple H with a shot as Hebner lectures Angle - another shot by H from the outside - and yet, Rock STILL manages to get in the right, right, right on Angle. Angle ducks the next one, though, and hits a backdrop suplex. Cover - 1, 2, shoulder up. Elbow to the back of the head by Angle, right, jawing with the crowd, stomp, stomp, standing on the neck for 4. Rock pulls himself up, Angle with a right, right, Rock with a right, right, right, Angle kicks, right, right, off the ropes and Rock puts him over the top rope to the floor - yikes! Angle caught his boot on the top rope and landed back-first on the apron on his way down. Rock out as well - the Helmsleys over to join the fun - Hebner stops and jaws with Stephanie as Hunter sneaks by - Rock blocks a right and throws one of his own, taking Triple H down. While Hunter complains to Hebner, Stephanie is over to deliver the WEAKEST belt shot in the world. Rock, appropriately, no-sells it and pops right up. We take reaction shots of Stephanie, then back to the Rock, but before anything comes of this Angle is on him from behind again. Back in the ring we go. Angle ready to try for a - well, who knows. Rock hits Rock Bottom instead. Both men are down and Hebner puts on a count. Angle up at 5, Rock up right after. Angle with a right, but it's blocked. Right from the Rock. Another "Iblockyourpunchyoudon'tblockmine," right, right, right, NOW KISS THAT RIGHT! but Angle ducks it - although he fails to block the followup right, going down anyway. Rock with a big bodyslam - for 2. H up on the apron - Rock takes Angle into H, sending him sprawling out to the barricade. Gutshot, DDT (hey, I thought those were illegal) by the Rock. BIG SKIPPY is out - one right puts HIM down. BULL BUCHANAN goes down to a right as well. Spinebuster for Angle. Must be time for that electrifying move in something-or-other - the People's Elbow. 1, 2, Triple H breaks up the count. Hebner goes right to the bell. (DQ 6:01) Buchanan, Helmsley, Shane and Angle work a four-way on the Rock until the OvalCam once again catches the wall of fire as KANE comes out and demolishes all four men, who are foolish enough to attack black ninja style. CHRIS BENOIT comes out and chops down Kane from behind - but still ends up in a choke from Kane's knees - up on his feet, chokeslam! The Rock starts his comeback and he and Kane go to work - but now D & X (and Tori) are out - Dogg and X-Pac brandishing billy clubs. The seven take out the two - Pedigree for the Rock. Crowd chanting for Undertaker. Pedigree for Kane. No Undertaker tonight..."My Time" plays, Triple H raises his championship belt high - credits are up - and we're out. AFTER THE FACT: Javor writes in: hey crz, some observations from the smackdown tapings in chicago: it's been a LONG time since i've been to a live wwf event, and the level of crowd unruliness had me thinking that we were in philly. i asked my friend if it was the same at RAW a few months ago, and he said it wasn't. i counted at least 4 flashers being escorted from the arena, 1 guy jumping the ringside barrier and getting tackled by security, 2 fights (one which nearly spilled over the balcony railing), and a constant barrage of trash being thrown into the ring. by the end of the night, there were rent-a-cops lining much of the ramp area. and yes, there was a bit of wrestling action as well. i wonder if part of the problem were the extended periods of inactivity for commerical breaks, etc. there was just nothing going on for 5 minute stretches, which i'm sure made an already restless and aggressive crowd more so. that's probably why the RAW taping came off so well last time. some of the more interesting happenings: