Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - July 18th, 2002

WWE Smackdown
July 18th, 2002
Wilkes Barre, PA

TONIGHT: The Rock vs. Kurt Angle

1) Chris Jericho vs. John Cena

Cena pinned Jericho in the tag last week so Y2J is infuriated. Rematch here from Cena's second match last month where he came up short. So, this was good yet again with all the added history that's happened since. Jericho feels overwhelmed and goes for a low blow to get disqualified. After the bell, Jericho attacks Cena and goes wild on him with a steel chair. John Laurinits, Fit Finlay, and the gang have to separate him from Cena.

Match rating - **1/2

Backstage, they think the new GM has arrived but it's Eric Bischoff here to try and steal some talent. Eric goes up to Hogan first and it's an awkward conversation.

2) The Hurricane vs. Chavo Guerrero 

Tight lil match here. Chavo is vicious on the knee work. Hurricane is crisp in his offense and selling. After about 5 minutes, Chavo gets the win. This set the stage well for Chavo facing Rey Mysterio in his debut next week as he detailed in his post match promo. REY REY NEXT WEEK!!!

Match rating - **3/4

Vince is backstage and runs into Bischoff who tells him he's here to scout his competition.

3) Billy & Chuck (w/ Rico) vs. Hardcore Holly & Val Venis (or BIG VALBOWSKI)

This was somehow... fun? Crowd was into it and they hit everything on point and actually got me interested. Nice short to the point sprint. Holly & Val win after a bama slam and a god damn splash from Val off the top turnbuckle on Billy.

Match rating - **3/4

4) Hulk Hogan, Edge, & Rikishi vs. Christian, Test, & Lance Storm

Another short banger here. They got a little more time than the traditional tag though so the finishing sequence was pretty hot. Team Canada isolated Edge for the Hogan hot tag. Then it broke down to hell. Lots of counters. Edge speared Christian during all this which I marked for. Then pinned Lance to get the win for his team.

Match rating - ***

Vince comes out to introduce the new Smackdown GM and it's STEPH. God. Young me used to swoon over her. But she comes out and straight up says she is kicking Eric Bischoff out of the god damn building!!!! Hell.

5) Billy Kidman vs. Tajiri

Premise here is Tajiri trying to soften Kidman up for Jamie Noble at Vengenace. This is fine. Kidman wins with the shooting star press. Noble and Nidia run down post match. Tajiri sprays the green mist into Kidman's face. They taunt him and Nidia slaps him. Noble, Nidia, and Tajiri pose in the ring.

Backstage, Jericho goes to visit Stephanie but gets more than he bargains before. She makes his match vs Edge happen next week since it can't at Vengeance. Jericho acts like he doesn't mind, but yells "B*TCH" when he leaves the room.

6) Kurt Angle vs. The Rock

The Rock makes a b line for the ring following Angle's pre-match promo and ITS ON. Taker was at ringside to add drama for Sunday. Crowd was super into Rock's first match back and rightfully so. I hate to quote Michael Cole, but this was vintage Rock and vintage Angle. Fun TV main event. Rock took a nasty angle slam. Kicked out and nipped up for a huge pop a few moments later. Next thing you know they are fighting outside near the announce table and Taker. You know what's next... Taker gets clotheslined over the barricade by accident. He recovers and ends up flattening The Rock. Angle cleans house and stands tall to close the show.

Orrrrrr not.

Outside the arena, Triple H is approached by Stephanie. Stephanie says "Can I sit you down alone?" with no funny business. I died laughing at that for some reason. Trips says he will hear all she has to say at Vengenace then acts like he's gonna compliment her and instead says "are you gaining weight? The limo that Trips gets in rolls down the window and he's with ERIC BISCHOFF. He says Steph looks great and laughs as the limo drives off. Steph yells "YOU BASTARD!" Best ending to a 2002 Smackdown yet dear lord that was hilarious.

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