Sunday, February 6, 2022

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - May 22nd, 2003

WWE Smackdown 
May 22nd, 2003
Greensboro, NC

WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar (since 3/30/03)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri (since 5/18/03)
WWE Cruserweight Champion: Matt Hardy (since 2/23/03)

Michael Cole & Tazz

Vince comes out and cuts a promo about Zach Gowen and god damn dude, I’m sick of seeing his ass in this show. Smackdown was so good and he’s been dragging it down in recent weeks. Here, he says he’s taking over Smackdown and I can’t think of anything worse.. 

1) Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri (c) vs. Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) - Smackdown Tag Team Title Match 

Team Angle lost their titles in a Ladder Match on Sunday to the impromptu duo of Eddie & Tajiri. They’re invoking their rematch clause immediately here. Well, after Vince brought me down immediately to begin the show, I guess they knew they needed to put something actually decent after.. and man.. it’s not just decent, it’s fucking awesome and possibly my favorite tag on Smackdown this year and that’s saying something. Awesome control segment from Team Angle, just gritty, focused and Eddie sells the desperation so well. Tajiri gets a hot tag and it’s the hottest tag of the god damn year. One can only imagine how many amazing matches he could’ve had if they let him loose like this more often.

Match rating - ***3/4

Backstage, Stephanie runs into Mr. McMahon and Vince says he’s gonna leave the building smiling tonight or something.. well at least one of us will come out of tonight smiling because after the commercial, McMahon hits the ring for the second time in 30 minutes.

Greaaaaat. Vince calls out Roddy Piper. He wants Piper to give him an apology. Piper has Sean O’Haire with him and he comes out and immediately apologizes. They end up getting into it anyway. Piper says if Vince touches him, he will rip his throat out. Vince starts taking his shirt off and they tease a fight. Sean O’ Haire calms things down. He talks and it sucks. He takes the blame for what happened at Judgement Day and wants a match with Mr. America to redeem himself. Piper talks him up and Vince says he’s down for it. The catch is that if O’Haire doesn’t win, Piper is FIIIRED. 

2) John Cena vs. Spanky

After their iconic rap battle last week, these two go at it again here following a promo Cena where he really ragged on Spanky. Spanky’s music hits and he charges the ring. Really good prolonged squash. Spanky rules so all Cena really has to do is play his role and be a good base. But it helps that Cena has also began to find himself and is a bit more than just a solid base for Spanky. Cena wins, obviously after a fun little thang. 

Match rating - **1/2

They show replays of the Big Show / Brock Lesnar stretcher match from Judgement Day. 

Backstage, Nunzio and the rest of FBI are talking about Nunzio’s match with Brock Lesnar later tonight. 

3) Matt Hardy (w/ Shannon Moore & Crash) vs. Chris Benoit

The #1 contender to the cruserweight title, Rey Mysterio, is on commentary for this which is a blast. And this match is also a blast. Hardy is the great chicken shit heel. Benoit is aggressive and sound. He works the arm of Hardy whereas Hardy works the neck of Benoit. This is just really good TV wrestling. They trade finisher attempts. Rey stops Moore from interfering and it allows Benoit to cleanly get the win.

Match rating - ***

After the match, Matt Hardy asks Rey if he thinks him losing is funny. Hardy says Rey can get a shot at his title only if he beats both Moore & Crash.. right now. 

4) Rey Mysterio vs. Shannon Moore & Crash Holly 

This is a handicap match, but it’s made awesome by Rey.. being awesome. He’s the perfect guy in a spot like this and it’s even better that he’s working two guys with a style sort of similar to his. So, this was just a blast for a few minutes before Rey overcomes and gets the pin.

Match rating - **1/2 

Stephanie McMahon sit down interview with Zach Gowan. Steph acting like she’s the host of Good Morning America or some shit. Asking about his family, his legs, and WHATS NEXT FOR ZACH GOWAN ?? Gowan says he wants to be a wrestler and has been training. With Mr. America’s help, he hopes to be in the ring someday. 

Vince McMahon is seen watching the interview. He approaches Mr. America. McMahon says if he loses to O’Haire later, he has to submit to a lie detector test and if he doesn’t, Vince will make sure his friend Zach Gowen never gets to have a chance to be a wrestler. 

5) Brock Lesnar vs. Johnny Stamboli (w/ Nunzio & Chuck Palumbo)

“This feeding frenzy has begun..” -Michael Cole

Well, I thought this was supposed to be against Nunzio, but maybe I’m trippin. Either way it’s still a Full Blooded Italians thing. This is pretty much ass cheeks. Lesnar basically has to fight off all of the FBI the whole match until it ends in DQ. They attack him after the bell. UNDERTAKER makes the save in his return to Smackdown. Lesnar and Taker clean house which rules and lights the crowd on fire. 

After commercial, Sable comes out. She promotes the new issue of Raw magazine which she is on the cover of. She says she has one other thing to talk about tonight, and approaches Taz at the commentary table. She stands on the table above him. She has issue with his decision for Torrie to win the bikini contest on Sunday. Sable squats down and pours water on herself, trying to get Tazz to tell her she’s hot. He doesn’t and so she makes a joke about the word pre-mature, saying it comes naturally to him and then pours water on him. Tazz gets mad as hell as Sable dances to her music. 

Backstage, Vince is with Piper and O’Haire. They’re smitten thinking about Hogan on the lie detector next week. Vince says he believes in O’Haire to pull it off tonight, but even if he doesn’t, he’ll have a happy night one way or the other (referencing firing Piper.) 

6) Mr. America (w/ Zach Gowan) vs. Sean O’Haire (w/ Roddy Piper

Vince definitely left his finger prints on this show. This being the main event makes me want to puke. These two do stuff and I couldn’t give less of a fuck. Vince comes out before Hogan can finish off O’Haire. He calls police out to arrest Zach Gowen for trespassing and assault. This distracts Hogan enough to get counted out. O’Haire wins via countout so Mr. America has to take a lie detector test next week. Hogan follows McMahon up the ramp after the bell and Piper nails him with a chair. 

Well, y’all. This show had a good bit of a dreadful feeling on it for me because of how much Vince was on, but there were still some great matches like Smackdown had been known for around this time. Not even his overbooked garbage can take that way. But man, this show was way more fun as a whole without him & Hogan’s bullshit. 

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