WWE SmackDown House Show
By Seth "Not Quite Burgan" Berger
February 13th, 2005
ECW, raw is trivial velocitrivial
Greetings and salutations. I’m probably more known for my insipid trivia bits in such Peabody-Award-nominated gems as
”Raw is Trivial”; which has nothing to do with Raw anymore. I’m not saying the Torch doesn’t think too much of me, but they took our original idea for Trivial and turned it into a real game show, where newsletters and VIP passes are the prize. But, enough of the introduction.
I scanned the World Wrestling Entertainment live events just to see what was going on, when I saw a little blurb that mentioned that the SmackDown brand was coming back to Valparaiso. The card changed 5 times in the 2 weeks since tickets went on sale. I was in a quandary – IWA Mid-South on Saturday or SmackDown on Sunday. (Believe me, it was a tough one.) My wife couldn’t go to either one as she worked both days. She didn’t care if Undertaker wasn’t going to be a part of the show, so I checked my other option for going, my brother. He likes wrestling but wasn’t too keen on another IWA show, plus a motorcycle show was more important, so SmackDown was alright with him.
I offered to pay for both tickets, but he didn’t feel right about it. Then, he offers a deal; “You pay for wrestling and I’ll pay for the White Sox opening day tickets and parking. Needless to say, this was a steal of a deal.
So, off to the show we go.
Lovely day in Northwest Indiana, which was quite a contrast from Saturday's sunny and 55 degrees. A cold rain fell over much of the metropolitan area all day and into the evening as my brother and I walked into the Valparaiso Athletic-Recreation Center (ARC) to check out the SmackDown event. Everybody, sing along, you know the words: "Heavenly shades of night are falling, it's twilight time..." Bell time was 5pm CT. We arrive at 4.
After getting our seats (long, boring story about a short, boring phone call and my misplaced will call tickets), they played "My Sacrifice" and the Kid Rock anthology theme while we pointed our "mock celebs" in the crowd. ("That's either X-Pac or the lead singer for the Spin Doctors in the 1999 Triple H T-shirt.") Then, they played over the public address system somebody with a gravelly voice telling us not to use laser pens, video recorders, throw things into the ring, attack the wrestlers or affect the enjoyment of fans around you. Well, do you mind if I sit here and breathe, too? And tell the kid in front of me to put down the homemade spinning belt every once in awhile. That's affecting my fun, Cena fans.
The ring announcer came to the ring and had two people I wouldn't know from Adam & Eve joining him. He said they were from Indiana 105, the country station in the region. (Okay, I'll take your word for it.) The guy, who wore a cowboy hat just to remind us he was from a country station and not pretending he's "The Naked Cowboy", who plays the guitar on the street in his underwear, told us to have a good time and make some noise. As the guests left, the ring guy made the announcement that "due to injury, Kurt Angle will not be on the card. [Fans booed, especially ones who ordered their tickets a week ago when he was still listed as being in the main event.] However, in order to make up for it, we will start off the show with the WWE Divas and the Best Body contest!"
1) The WWE SmackDown Divas' "Best Body Contest" was a no-contest when Heidenreich stormed the ring. (Originally scheduled to be: Torrie Wilson, Dawn Marie & Jackie Gayda. I'll be telling you this before every rundown to show how much a card can change in 3 weeks time.) Miss Jackie, Michelle McCool & Torrie Wilson (with a teeny dog, and yes, it was real…insert your “puppies” comment here, but it was the dog we were more curious about, not Torrie’s funbags) made their way down and did their little thing. (I should bring up that for some reason unbeknownst to me, Michelle replaced Dawn Marie in the contest, which is like replacing Ginger Spice with Sporty Spice. Sheesh, first no Kurt and now, no Dawn? There's a brutal one-two combo that floored me.) Miss Jackie wore a purple "robe", which was removed to reveal a bikini with open sides on the bottom part to just stay within the state’s legal boundaries for indecent exposure. It left very little to the imagination, and she did her usual ring entrance, with the backward teeter over the top rope. (Other side of the ring, just our luck.) Michelle removed her robe to show off a florescent orange thong bikini and barely concealable top, then rubbed her butt on the middle rope in an effort to be sexy. Torrie Wilson handed her puffy rat-like dog to the announcer and she quickly disrobed to show off a pink bikini, no thong. (I guess she was already in the buff in Playboy, so whatever she wore didn’t matter.) Before we were asked our decision about who won, Heidenreich's theme played (and now my new favorite theme, sorry Rene Dupree) and Big Bad John storm-trooped to the ring. He made a beeline for Torrie as everyone else skittered away from the scene. Heidenreich grabbed Torrie by the hair and scared the living hell out of her, until "Can You Dig It, Sucka?" shouted over the PA. Booker T sprinted to the ring and saved Torrie from further harm, with a referee chasing behind him, prompting this
ECW-like beginning to the match.
2) Heidenreich defeated Booker T after a swinging Bossman side slam. (This match-up has never wavered; it was about as “Special Attraction” as a glorified squash match could be.) If you want to know the difference between hella over and hella not, this was your revelation in living color. The divas got a huge ovation, while these two were just having a match in an empty warehouse. Heidenreich got an early advantage worked him over with exceptionally long rest holds. Booker hit a nice "Bookend" slam to really start his huge babyface comeback, and the Spinaroonie, which had flashbulbs going off everywhere. Booker set Heidenreich up for the axe kick, to which he was shoved to the side. Another "Bookend" attempt got Booker an elbow to the side of his head for his trouble. Booker attempted a clothesline, to which Heidenreich did the swinging Big Bossman side slam for the pinfall, even though from our clear, unobstructed view, Booker's left shoulder was clearly up for the first two slaps of the mat. Decent start, but the official should be blamed for this awful ending.
3) Rey Mysterio Jr. beat Kenzo Suzuki (w/Hiroko) after a springboard body splash. (Originally scheduled: Rey & Rob Van Dam, as tag champs, defending the belts against Luther Reigns & Mark Jindrak.) I have never seen Rey in person, before, so I was rather intrigued. He jogged to the ring with two 6-1-9 inflatable hands and played to the crowd, then tossed them to a couple of kids at ringside, very nice. Kenzo was Godzilla to Rey's David, and he played his part well. Kenzo did the bit where he made fun of Rey's height and got onto his knees for a test of strength; Rey responded by dropkicking him in the face. Kenzo had an obvious power advantage, which kept him in control for the beginning of the match. Of course, I should mention that Kenzo used Hiroko's distraction of the referee as an excuse to drop a knee "where it counts" as my brother and I would say as kids. Mysterio sold a rib injury for the rest of the match after that, so "it didn't count" as much as we thought. At one point while Mysterio was down, Kenzo rebounded off the ropes and did what I would call a "Bushwhacker elbow drop", where he power-walked like Cousin Butch. Kenzo was actually a lot of fun and enjoyed his role as the big guy, which endeared him to my brother, who always likes the bad guys who think they're the best. Rey did a aerial comeback and after Hiroko blocked a 619 attempt, Rey chastised her for getting in the way. Kenzo tried sneaking up on Rey and got a few punches for his trouble. Hiroko revealed a Kendo stick ("Kenzo stick", perhaps?) and tried to hit Rey, but blasted Kenzo instead. Rey dropkicked Kenzo into Hiroko and fell into the ropes. A 619 (in the 219, our area code) and a springboard splash later, and Rey was a popular winner. Kenzo got up, grabbed the stick and chased Hiroko around the ring and back to the dressing room.
4) Orlando Jordan defeated Nunzio. (Originally scheduled: Orlando Jordan vs. Charlie Haas.) To be honest, I was probably one of 10 people in the entire arena who even cared who won this match, and I completely forgot how it ended. Jordan ripped on the fans by mentioning how the Valparaiso University men's basketball team lost to IUPUI last night. (And, it affects me, why?) Nunzio had one nice comeback with some sort of spinning Sicilian slice legdrop, but otherwise it was all Orlando. At one spot, they had a 5 minute bearhug where it appeared Nunzio wasn't even trying to break out. That's my big beef with wear down holds; at least make it appear you're really trying to get out of the hold, otherwise just take the three-count and go home. I like Nunzio, but he could have done a lot better. "OJ" spent a lot of time jawing with the fans, and it involved balls, but not great big inflatable orange ones, either.
5) Doug & Danny Basham retained the WWE Tag Team Titles as they beat Charlie Haas & Hardcore Holly after a Basham switch and a legdrop lariat on Charlie Haas for the pin. (Originally scheduled: The Bashams vs. Hardcore Holly & Scotty II Hotty.) The fans greeted the champs with a very warm and loving "You suck" chant. Charlie Haas got a nice reaction and Bob Holly got an unbelievably huge ovation, especially when he asked for the microphone. "You know Doug, I've noticed these fans are saying that 'You Suck' and I'm alright with that. But Danny, I don't want you to feel left out. So, I'll just add that not only does Doug suck, but you swallow!" The fans went ballistic as the Bashams tried to get at Holly from outside the ring. Hardcore gave them the finger and oh, it was on, now. (Besides Holly's comments, I got the security police laughing when I concluded Bob's words with "Holla, if ya hear me!") Haas started off the match and looked really polished. (Why don't they give him that singles push and see what he can do? He's a terrific athlete who just needs "it", and I don't mean Jackie.) The Bashams pulled their little switch a few times until Bob Poppa Pump was tagged in, then Holly just beat the crap out of everybody, including a nice tribute to Steve Austin by mudhole stomping Danny and giving him the double finger. Hardcore & Danny fought to ringside as Charlie locked the "Haas of Pain" on Doug. (I'll just say Doug to make it easier on myself.) Danny slammed Holly into the ring post and climbed to the top rope, breaking up Charlie's submission move in front of the referee! Every Velocity show I’ve watched and this move results in a DQ, yet the referee had no clue who was legal. I'm not going to name names but this was the second f'd up ending this ref was a part of, and either they should have a storyline behind it or he should be fired. No excuse.
6) Funaki won a four-way, elimination-style Cruiserweight title match against Chavo Guerrero Jr., Spike Dudley and Scotty II Hotty. (Originally scheduled: a three-way match without Scotty.) Funaki had a fun entrance where he ran around the ring slapping hands, then made it up the stairs and gestured that he was already blown-up, beating his chest. Funny. Scotty was placed in three different matches at one time or another over the past 2 weeks. So, simple to say that Scotty was the first victim after Chavo broke up with T.U.R.D., I mean the W.O.R.M. on Spike, with a superkick and pinned him. Spike was next after Chavo and Funaki spent a lot of time double-teaming him. Down to Funaki & Chavo, they did some nice moves and reversals until Chavo came up lame after hitting a kick. Chavo hobbled around a moment before he fell down. The referee told Funaki to back off as more personnel came from the back to check on Chavo's knee. It appeared that the match would be stopped at this point...until Chavo used his "injured leg" to kick Funaki downstairs and put a mudhole stomping on him. Funaki did the Thursday night roll-up finisher and beat Chavo to retain his belt. Chavo got a lot of heel heat after his shenanigans and was booed out of the ring. Funaki's music started up and he kind of celebrated with the fans, although he was selling the attack.
7) John Cena pinned Rene Dupree after an FU to retain his US Title. (Originally scheduled: "USA vs. Japan" - John Cena vs. Kenzo.) I'm another member of the "John Cena is not as cool as he thinks" club, but wow did these fans go ape over his every move. He reached Jeff Hardy levels in screams, especially in doffing his "Ruck Fules" T-shirt, which is like the "Austin 3:16" of these days, as 1 out of every 5 people had one. (Half were under the "assumed age" of 16.) John came out with a kid from the Make-A-Wish Foundation who got to spin his belt, so we clapped politely, even though I screamed for an "Amber Alert". (It's not a smart move with 10 security guys hovering over you.) Mind you, when Rene Dupree came out, I NOT the only person cheering for the Parisian, as three guys on the bottom rung of the bleachers chanted "We love France!" (One of them in an Expos jersey, how about that?) Tried explaining to an 8-year old sitting below me why I like Rene Dupree by saying I like his music; smart guy sassed back, "Well, Rene Dupree sucks and John Cena rules!" (I can get that kind of logic from a normal adult.) Dupree didn't much like the fans trying to steal his French flag, he didn't like the fans chanting for Cena and he despised the "U-S-A!!!" Cena grabbed the mic and explained that Rene hated the USA, and since we're in the "Heartland", he hated us too. ("Word life, since when are we unaware of where we live? Cena, stick to free-styling.") Cena ended his point by flipping Rene the bird. In a very funny moment, Rene went up to senior official Nick Patrick, flipped him the finger and asked him what it meant. Nick gave it back to him in duplicate and made it quite clear what it meant as the fans chanted "U-S-A!!!" Nice long match with a lot of near-falls and reversals. At one point, Cena broke a headlock by rolling Rene right out of the ring. Dupree, unprotected mind you, hit the chairs where the timekeeper and the announcer sat really hard and the mic made a loud popping sound. Next thing we saw was Rene and a trainer rinsing Dupree's eye out with bottled water. Not long after that, we saw Dupree back in control and the "French Tickler" fistdrop from which Cena escaped. Pump up the shoes, five knuckle shuffle time and an FU later, our US champion retains his belt. Cena didn't go into the crowd afterwards, but hugged a girl with a huge Valentine for our hero, "Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, John Cena I [heart] You!" How sweet. And she was actually over the age of 18, from my vantage point.
A short intermission hosted by Teddy Long. ("I said I wanna hear you holla holla holla!" and a bunch of other unintelligible crap I’m too white to understand.) He explained why Kurt Angle wasn't there (in other words, making us even madder...but where's Dawn Marie, 'Peanut Head'?) but pushed the PPV and told us that the main event would be a 2-on-1 handicap match as a "Big Show warm-up" for the barbed-wire PPV match against JBL. Ladies and gentlemen, Luther Reigns & Mark Jindrak.
8) The Big Show defeated Mark Jindrak & Luther Reigns in a 2-on-1 handicap cage match after a double chokeslam pinfall. (Originally scheduled: Big Show vs. Kurt Angle.) In even more goofy moments to pass the time, my brother and I quoted "Rocky III" when Big Show meandered to the ring. ("Why are they carrying him?" "He's walkin'!") Big Show is really over with these people, and he actually looks like King Kong Bundy with a mustache. Luther & Mark split up (okay, Luther pushed him to the other side, so Mark was steamed he was the one who had to climb the cage, while Luther entered through the door) to "surround" the Big Show. Luther was met with a big boot, and Show spun around and popped a diving Jindrak ("...off the top of that 15-foot high steel cage!!!") with a meathook to the mush. Big Show did the infamous "Andre Big Toe", where both guys would be in the vicinity of Show's "knee-high big boots", but they came nowhere close to hitting, yet they flew across the ring like they were shot out of a cannon. The heels did get a couple of double-team moves in but Show dominated this one. One part had Big Show climbing the cage, but Luther clipped his knee, resulting in a Big Show rack on the top rope. Then, Jindrak & Reigns would take turns whipping each other into the "big boiler" of the Big Show. Show fought back and had both heels in the corner, to which he followed up with an Andre butt splash. Orlando Jordan ran to the ring to prevent Big Show from escaping over the top of the cage. (Like that was going to happen.) OJ was popped and tumbled to the floor in a "wicked hahd" bump to the floor. Show grabbed both Jindrak & Reigns around the throat and viciously chokeslammed them to the mat. 1-2-3...all hail the Big Show! Show gestured to Jordan before celebrating with the fans.
All in all, it wasn't a bad show. They closed off the extended bleachers on the second floor but almost every other seat was filled with fans cheering the SmackDown superstars (except Orlando Jordan vs. Nunzio, which was a cricket chirping fan's delight). I won't speculate on attendance but it was pretty full. Chavo's injury swerve was expected, but with everyone bolting from the back, it could have just as easily been legit. Rene took a scary, unprotected fall that required some assistance, but he turned out alright.
1) John Cena (no contest)
2) The Big Show
3) Hardcore Holly (for some odd reason, people went crazy for him)
1) Orlando Jordan
2) Announcement that Kurt Angle would not be there (no mention of Dawn’s absence)
3) Heidenreich, for pissing on the Divas' parade/Kenzo (tie)
Discovering, on the way out, that the merchandise table was selling “RKO” T-shirts. Hey, when did Orton jump brands? Reminds me of when WCW had the nWo angle and both had their own table, yet the nWo booth still sold WCW T-shirts! I’m not the reddest apple on the tree, but that reeks of ridiculousness and not following up with your “us against them” angle if you’re going to sell the other guys’ “merch”. No JBL shirts but Orton’s. Retards.
Copyright © 2005 Derek Burgan. All rights reserved.