Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Date: October 31, 2002
Location: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
It’s a special show as Smackdown is having a Halloween party. This show is memorable for one specific reason that we’ll get to later but above all else it isn’t likely to include necrophilia or a #1 contender losing to a low level talent. Did I mention I’m still a bit sick of Raw at the moment? Let’s get to it.
We open at the party with Ron Simmons as a pimp (yelling at the French maid waitresses), Eddie coming in as Zorro and Chavo in a sombrero. Stephanie (a witch) calls things to order (we need good, organized fun around here) and puts Rey Mysterio in the main event against Brock Lesnar.
Edge vs. Chris Benoit
Feeling out process to start with Edge working on the arm but getting reversed into a headlock. They chop it out until Benoit gets sent chest first into the buckle for two. They’re certainly taking their time here and that should only mean good things. Edge drapes him ribs first across the top but misses a baseball slide, allowing Benoit to start in on the shoulder.
A dropkick sends the shoulder into the steps, which Cole thinks might be a prelude to the Crossface. Benoit sends the arm into the post and gets two off a suplex. They head to the corner with Benoit loading up a belly to belly superplex, only to get countered into what looked like a super X Factor to send us to a break.
Back with Edge having to go to the ropes to escape the Crossface but getting caught in the rolling German suplexes. Edge is ok enough to hot shot him onto the buckle and grab an Edge-o-Matic for two. The spear is countered into the Crossface so Edge grabs the referee for a unique idea. Cue Angle to pull Benoit off though, allowing Edge to baseball slide Benoit into Kurt. Edge dives at Benoit but hits Angle instead, followed by the spear for the pin on Benoit.
Rating: B+. Good stuff here with Angle’s interference making sense and allowing Edge to still get what was close enough to a clean win. Edge is clearly on the fast track to the top of the card and wins like this are going to put him even higher up on the card. I mean, assuming he learns to sell the arm that was worked on when he hits the winning spear that is. That still bugs me.
We go back to the party where John Cena, dressed like Vanilla Ice, debuts his rapping skills, which allegedly saved his job (and so it begins). Elsewhere, Tajiri runs into Torrie Wilson as Xena Warrior Princess (as opposed to Xena, your local Hyundai dealer) but tells her he has a new girlfriend. This causes him to hit on Mae Young (Marilyn Monroe) when Dawn Marie (a cop) and Al Wilson (Fonzie) come in. Nothing of note is said but they did in fact come in.
Post break, Benoit storms into the party and wants Angle. No one has seen him so Benoit leaves, only to have Angle pull off a Scream mask and smirk.
Brock Lesnar, not in costume (thank goodness), runs into a production worker who asks who Lesnar is supposed to be. Brock: “I’m the WWE Champion.” Good answer. Lesnar goes in to see Heyman, who compares the Cell match to Ali vs. Frazier. As you try to get your head around that, Heyman says he doesn’t think Lesnar can beat Big Show. So Lesnar isn’t as good as Booker T., Rob Van Dam, Bubba Ray Dudley or BILLY GUNN, all of whom have beaten Big Show this year. Heyman also implies that Lesnar is too stupid to know he can’t beat Big Show. When they push Show, they REALLY push Show.
Big Show vs. Rikishi
Show is in street clothes, which certainly look less ridiculous than that one piece women’s swimsuit look he had been sporting. Rikishi hammers away to start but gets taken outside where the beating begins. A whip into the corner breaks the turnbuckle pad and a powerslam has Big Show winded. The chokeslam is good for the quick win.
Post match, Show says that was nothing compared to what Lesnar is getting at Survivor Series. He’s waiting for Lesnar and even stays in the ring through a break. Back with Show letting us see the Undertaker attack last week in case we had forgotten how big and awesome he is.
After more bragging (including Show saying Brock can’t beat Paul Wight), Brock FINALLY comes out, despite Heyman’s protests. Lesnar gets right in his face with the announcers talking about how big the size difference is. You mean like the one with Undertaker? Show is a monster and promises to beat Lesnar. This was WAY too long and featured way too much Big Show, who might as well just be a big dragon at this point.
Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson
They’re fighting in a big pool of chocolate and there’s a table of pastries next to them. Cole describes Torrie, as Xena Warrior Princess, as a dominatrix Heidi. Anyway, pastries are used, the chocolate is invaded, the referee is dragged in, Dawn’s clothes are ripped off and she eventually gets out, allowing Torrie to get the pin. I have no idea what else there is to say here.
Tony Chimmel is thrown into the chocolate.
Matt Hardy shows up at the party and of course he has his own portable theme music. He takes Tajiri away from Moolah and Mae Young (“Versions B.C.”) because they have a match.
Nidia and Jamie Noble (dressed as each other) bob for apples when Los Guerreros come in to ask Stephanie for a Tag Team Title shot. Cena raps to her to say Vince is in Stephanie’s office.
Matt Hardy vs. Tajiri
Matt always got more Halloween candy than his brother and he’s seen all of the Friday the 13th movies. I guess he’s not a Michael Myers fan. The announcers immediately start talking about Vince, who MUST be here to talk about the Scott Steiner signing. They slowly fight over a top wristlock to start with Tajiri bridging out and armdragging Matt down. A baseball slide puts Matt on the floor for a moonsault.
Back in and the Side Effect gets two on Tajiri as everything on the floor is quickly forgotten. The Ricochet gets the same and it’s off to a cravate to keep Tajiri in trouble. Matt spends too much time screaming before trying the middle rope legdrop and Tajiri gets in one heck of a superkick for two. The Tarantula is countered into a wheelbarrow suplex though, followed by the Twist of Fate to give Matt the pin.
Rating: C. This was fine enough but really nothing all that special. Matt is doing as well as he can but with this as his biggest win under the new gimmick, there’s only so much he’s going to be able to do. I mean, he’s a week removed from losing clean to Rikishi. Tajiri is entertaining but just kind of there for the most part. Not much here, but that’s part of the problem with this section of Smackdown.
Stephanie goes into her office and it’s someone in a Vince mask. The person brags about Steiner going to Raw and of course it’s Bischoff…..who kisses Stephanie. She certainly doesn’t seem to mind it because THIS STORY IS THE BIGGEST THING EVER (except for Big Show) and you’ll care!
Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero
Angle takes him to the mat to start and Eddie dives for the ropes for an early break. Something like a backdrop throw sends Eddie flying and it’s time to go outside for a breather. There’s something very intimidating about Angle crouched down and waiting on you to get back inside.
Back in and Eddie uses the referee as a distraction to hammer away at Kurt, which earns him a hard running clothesline. Eddie grabs a Saito suplex and it’s off to a front facelock. The fans are behind Angle because they don’t appreciated a good Zorro, even if he was wearing lime green tights. A chinlock slows things down for a good while until it’s off to a figure four necklock to keep Angle on the mat.
Angle reverses into an ankle lock but Eddie is right back out of it and hammering away in the corner. For some reason Eddie tries a German suplex and I’m sure you can tell what that means. Since one isn’t enough it’s time to roll some German suplexes on Guerrero. The Angle Slam is reversed into a cradle for two, followed by a tornado DDT for the same.
Eddie can’t keep the El Paso Lasso on for very long as Angle reverses into the ankle lock. That doesn’t work either as Eddie gets in a low blow, followed by the brainbuster. Eddie takes too long going up though, allowing Angle to shove the referee into the corner to crotch him down. Cue Chavo for a failed interference but Benoit comes in with a belt to Angle’s head, allowing the frog splash to give Eddie the pin.
Rating: B. The long chinlocks brought things down a bit but sweet goodness these two are talented guys. It’s no wonder why they would be in a World Title match at Wrestlemania in a year and a half, which is the kind of spot that these two deserve. The interference made sense here too, which doesn’t happen often but if it’s properly done, it can really enhance a match.
Benoit hits Eddie with the belt as well.
Angle storms into the party and accuses the guy in the Scream mask of being Benoit. It turns out that it’s Brother Love, which is amusing enough. Benoit comes in and they trade holds until the Angle Slam puts Benoit through a table but Benoit hits him with a bottle on the way down, leaving both guys out.
Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio
Non-title. Rey starts a chase early on and drops a leg across Brock’s back as he gets inside. A rollup is easily blocked and Rey heads outside again, this time faking Brock out by hiding behind the steps. Rey gets in a dropkick but gets thrown into the post to put Brock in control for the first time. Back in and we hit an over the shoulder backbreaker, followed by a release overhead belly to belly. Lesnar misses a charge into the post and takes a 619 to the ribs…but here’s Big Show to throw Rey into the crowd for the DQ.
Rating: C. The match was getting my attention and then never mind because it’s BIG SHOW TIME! Above all else, this match made me realize one thing: Lesnar rarely fights anything but power guys. The guy was the NCAA Heavyweight Champion and can probably out-wrestle anyone not named Kurt but for some reason all he gets are power guys. He and Mysterio were having an entertaining match because it was something Lesnar doesn’t get to do very often but instead, let’s go with another power opponent.
Lesnar gets beaten up and put through the announcers’ table to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. Let the wrestling roll. This show is the opposite of Raw where it’s a bunch of stupid stuff with one good match in the middle to keep things watchable. Instead, Smackdown is a show with a bunch of wrestling (two matches breaking thirteen minutes) and a little nonsense thrown in. The Bischoff vs. Stephanie stuff is stupid but the witch costume made up for a good chunk of it. Couple that with the great three way tag team feud and this show is consistently putting out some of the most entertaining week to week stuff I can remember in a long time.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!