Saturday, January 1, 2022

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - April 24th, 2003

WWE: Smackdown 
April 24th, 2003
Nashville, TN

WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar (since 3/30/03)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (since 2/6/03)
WWE Cruserweight Champion: Matt Hardy (since 2/23/03)

Commentators - Michael Cole & Tazz

TONIGHT: Piper vs. Rikishi, Sable invitational, & more. 

The new #1 contender to the WWE Championship, John Cena opens up the show. He says he is here to give everyone cliff notes on the life & times of John Cena. He reminds everyone of who he’s beaten in the last few weeks and rants a bit about Lesnar not deserving to be champion before his opponent for the night hits the ring.

1) John Cena vs. Rhyno 

Rhyno comes in all fired up. Cena grounds him and has an awesome control segment where he beats him around ringside. All the focus is on the neck and they kept that throughout. Rhyno mounts a comeback, but Cena sneaks a three count and escapes still undefeated heading into his WWE Title match with Brock in a few days at Backlash.

Match rating - **3/4

Vignette for “Mr. America” airs.. ugh. Fuck. 

Earlier today we see Nunzio and the FBI talking to Chris Benoit in catering. They ask him for money because they’re “here to collect” after they had money stolen from them. Benoit says they can collect in the ring tonight. It’s Benoit against Nunzio later.

It’s Josh Matthews. Eh. He’s with SABLE. She asks if he agrees that all the men come to see her and the women want to be her. She then begins to seduce Joshua and unzips her too and yeah.. it’s all a tease. Sable tells him to stay tuned to see what the Sable Invitational is all about. 

2) Chris Benoit vs. Nunzio (w/ Chuck Palumbo & Johnny Stamboli) 

I really fucking enjoyed this. Benoit just beats the shit out of Nunzio and Nunzio is a great heel. Benoit really made Nunzio look awesome here. They packed so much into the time they had. Benoit forces Nunzio to tap and gets jumped after the match.

Match rating - **1/2

Backstage, Funaki and Tajiri are watching clips of Big Show falling from last week and making fun of it. Show storms in and SMASHES THE DAMN TV LOL.

3) Rey Mysterio vs. Crash Holly (w/ Matt Hardy & Shannon Moore)

I guess Crash is linked up with Matt & Shannon now? Idk. Hardy introduces him for this soooo. Crash goes after Mysterio hard and heavy early. This turns into quite a fun little match. Mysterio’s comeback fucking rules naturally and Hardy is not a fan of it on commentary. Mysterio gets the win as Hardy is seething. 

Match rating - **1/4

John Cena shows A Train a clip of Brock dropping him on his head. Cena yells at Train to try and get him fired up for his match with Brock later. He does just that as A Train grabs Cena by the shirt YELLS at him and says tonight Brock will feel his pain!! Let’s go!!!

4) Rikishi vs. Roddy Piper (w/ Sean O Haire) 

This was the shenanigan bullshit you’d expect. Rikishi gets going after some early flurries and goes to throw his ass in Piper’s face and Sean O’Haire interferes causing a disqualification. O’Haire hits a damn sick slam on Rikishi.. damn that was kinda cool atleast. It’s O’Haire vs. Rikishi at Backlash!

Match rating - 3/4*

5) Chavo Guerrero vs. Shelton Benjamin 

They lock up to start and it rules. Then it kinda falls into its formula and isn’t really that much to write home about. Although it’s definitely suffice and a fun watch just watching them grapple around. There’s just no story and objective outside of that. Haas helps Benjamin get Chavo in position for a cheap roll up for the victory.

Match rating - **1/2

Cena cuts a rap promo while A-Train paces behind him. 

6) The Big Show vs. Tajiri 

This was a blast until the finish. Show catches Tajiri with a big boot when he’s going for a springing handstand kick thing and it was sick. Lots of good shit like that here in this super short match. Rey comes down and causes a distraction that causes Show to get counted out, furthering their issues heading into Backlash. 
Match rating - **

The camera is ironically and eloquently placed behind Steph’s ass as she’s leaning on her desk. This turns into a Mr America announcement which is not at all where you’d anticipate this to go. But yeah. They’ve “signed” Mr America.. ok. 

7) Brock Lesnar vs. A-Train

“It’s like that, huh?” -John Cena

Cena is on commentary for this and it’s hilarious. The above quote comes when Brock’s pyro goes off when he jumps on the apron, just fucking good shit. As for the match, Lesnar and Albert beat the dog shit out of each other and it rules. Just big dudes smackin meat. You love to see it. After a nice brawl, Cena interferes which causes a DQ finish. This still rocked, though.

Match rating - **3/4

Cena attacks Lesnar and nails him with the title belt leaving him bloody and laying to close the show. Awesome to heat things up perfectly before Backlash.

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