How are we? Thanks for dropping by. As you’ll know by now I’m currently covering WWF shows throughout the year 2000. I kicked off this feature with the first Raw of 2000, which you can track down from my author page, and now we move on to Smackdown. In this era, Smackdown was every bit as important as a Raw broadcast, which in all fairenss you just can’t say about the show today. All the top headliners would appear and put in just as much effort as they would’ve done on a Monday night. Rather than Friday’s like today, Smackdown originally aired on a Thursday, a much better timeslot with better ratings.
Quick storyline recap: Triple H took the WWF title from Big Show on the previous Raw, The Rock secured his job after winning a 3-on-1 handicap match against the rest of DX, Kurt Angle is still undefeated, Chris Jericho and Chyna are now Co-Intercontinental champions after Stephanie’s ruling on Raw and Mick Foley is causing a stir amongst DX despite technically being fired.
WWF Smackdown! 06/01/2000
Taped from Orlando, Florida.
Stephanie McMahon books Mr.Ass against both Acolytes in handicap match, X-Pac against the Big Show and Road Dogg against Kane. HHH assures his teammates that he’ll fight tonight too, with a random lottery determining his challenger for the WWF title.
X-Pac defeated Big Show by DQ after Show went completely insane, refusing to break the choke in the corner and attacking the referee.
Hardcore & Crash Holly beat Chris Jericho & Chyna w/The Kat. Chyna wouldn’t tag in Jericho, Jericho got mad at her on the outside, Chyna clotheslined him and tossed back in where Hardcore nailed the Falcon Arrow for the win.
Mr. Ass’ handicap match with the Acolytes went to a no-contest when Road Dogg came out to even the odds.
Kane then beat Road Dogg with a Tombstone, despite X-Pac’s interference. Road Dogg had accidentally walked in on Tori earlier in the night, hence Kane’s anger and why Steph had somewhat suspiciously made the match.
Kurt Angle beat The Rock via DQ. Steve Blackman tried to interfere, but Rock took his kendo stick and beat them both down with it, hence the DQ. They also both earned a Rock Bottom for their troubles. Kurt technically remains undefeated.
Edge, Christian & Jeff Hardy (w/Terri & Matt Hardy) beat Al Snow (w/Head) & The Dudley Boyz after Edge nailed the Downward Spiral on D’Von.
Test defeated Big Boss Man after Albert accidentally accosted Boss Man.
Kai En Tai defeated all three members of the Mean Street Posse.
The Fake Mankind from the DX skits on Raw is roaming around Orlando, but the real Mankind returns to beat him to a pulp.
Triple H drew Rikishi in the random lottery, then Rikishi beat him by DQ after HHH nailed him with the title belt in full view of the referee. HHH retains the title. Post-Match he attacks with the chair, but Rikishi won’t stay down. To close the show, he dances with Too Cool.
Degenerates in Despair- Tension in the DX lockeroom
I like wrestling shows with a strong running theme through them. I’ve always been partial to episodes of Raw or Smackdown where they have Beat the Clock challenges, Royal Rumble qualifiers or something as simple as a tournament based narrative like King of the Ring. It’s a simple yet effective way to keep the interest of the viewers throughout the whole proceedings and something I’d like to see done far more often in the modern day.
On the first Smackdown of 2000 we have a strong running theme throughout, with the tension mounting in the DX camp. Ironically the tension isn’t between the respective DX members, but rather X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws’ attitudes towards their leaders’ blushing bride Stephanie, with HHH trying to play something of a peacekeeper.
X-Pac was up first to take his beating, and boy did he do it in style. His selling was a thing of pure beauty, flying around the ring for Show like he was a human tennis ball. Big Show would naturally be devastated to lose his WWF title and they couldn’t have done a better job of showcasing this unless he’d quite literally ripped X-Pac’s heart out of his chest in a Mortal Kombat esque fatality killing, though his double leg choke in the corner where he actually stood on X-Pac’s throat with all of his 500 pound mass wasn’t far off (Ouch!).
Later it was Billy’s turn to take on the Acolytes. What I Immediately liked about this was that Billy actually darted straight into the ring and started fighting with them. It showed that DX were actually competitive and weren’t just your traditional crybaby heels as such.
Road Dogg also showed his fortitude against Kane. The handicap match was solid, Road Dogg vs Kane wasn’t bad. There was also a nod to the continuing X-Pac/Tori speculation with X-Pac interfering in the second match. Overall, these two DX matches served their purpose fine and dandily.
Too Cool for HHH? Rikishi wins the lottery
After Howard Finkel accidentally knocks over the tumbler (“Goddammit Howard your balls fell out all over the place!”), Rikishi got the nod to face him in the main event. ‘Twas a cracking main event too and I’d actually go as far to say that it was better than HHH’s match with Big Show on Raw where he took the title, if a little less historically significant. Rikishi had the Orlando crowd really believing he could pull off the upset thanks both to his really convincing offence and HHH’s usual fantastic selling.
There were some lovely twists and turns here, with HHH kicking out of the big man’s huge Banzai Drop in the corner and the big Somoan even reversed a Pedigree, something that was actually quite a rarity at the time. HHH ultimately has to get himself DQ’ed to save his skin, but Rikishi wouldn’t stay down, further displaying his supreme toughness in an effective way. An absolutely smashing TV main event here which made Rikishi look like a big time player.
Not bad for a rookie- Kurt Angle vs The Rock. On the stick and in the ring!
The Rock and Kurt Angle have had some decent interactions over the years, but at this point Kurt was still only a couple of months into his WWF tenure, far from being the finished article. By contrast The Rock was super popular, consistently turning in top performances in the ring and some absolute gold on the microphone.
His pre-match promo here was another typically effortless display from, lets face it, one of the best there’s ever been in the industry. With a nod to the Roody Poo Crew (Still loving it, still hoping it trends one day) and the Orlando faithful, Rock had already whipped them up into a frenzy before the Olympian even got to have his entrance music played.
But when Kurt did arrive on the scene he put in a great shift of his own behind the mic, once again getting under the skin of the crowd and proclaiming that HE should be the people’s Champion instead of the “Smart Alec” stood before him (Smart Alec!! Brilliant).
Once the dust had settled in this battle of duelling microphones, these two contested a rip-roaring bout in which Kurt really stepped it up a gear and looked totally comfortable competing against a firmly established headliner.
Kurt’s wrestling credentials were never in question, but being able to carry that talent into the pro-game and keep a global audience interested is a whole new ball game. He really excelled here, and Rock was selfless in taking some punishment in the form of some crisp suplexes and some hard knocks. As you’ll see from the quick results, Kurt’s undefeated record remains intact, but not at the cost of Rock’s continuing momentum towards the WWF title. Thumbs way up for this.
Foley vs Foley- Mick attacks fake Mankind
“Have a nice day, you son of a bitch!!” Sums up this segment perfectly. The one good thing to come out of those skits was the character motivation it served to Mick, which in turn builds towards a future title match between he and Triple H which I don’t think anyone will forget. Mick just laid waste to the poor chap here. Brilliant to watch!
Tag team tomfoolery- The rest of the show
Elsewhere on the show we had three instances where a tag team just couldn’t get along. You’d think that the theme of partners and stable mates not getting along by now would have worn somewhat thin, but there were still some fun moments.
The Chyna/Y2J Co-Champ storyline continued apace with some simple and effective progression. Also Bob Holly proves to be a nice foil in their collective side by stating another case for the IC gold by getting the pin.
We had another match between Test and Boss Man which admittedly wasn’t so entertaining, though Albert’s messed up interference helped Test pick up some momentum with the win whilst now pitting Albert and Boss Man at odds with each other. As with Raw, Test competing with a broken nose certainly doesn’t do any harm for his toughness which the crowd genuinely seems to appreciate.
We also had our first interaction of the year between the holy trinity of tag teams which would soon revolutionize the industry. The 6-man tag was short but sweet enough, each team playing their parts to perfection. Al Snow taking out the Dudleys with Head afterwards was just hilarious. This was good, but believe me when I tell you we aren’t even close to seeing the workers involved here at their best form in 2000.
Finally, the Mean Street Posse just can’t buy a victory for love nor money, this time coming up short against Kai En Tai. Usually you’d find matches like these on a Heat broadcast, but actually it was a fun, short match which I quite enjoyed. The MSP members finally showed signs of a little diversity too, with Pete Gas in particular causing the biggest stir with a nicely hit “Gas Mask” (A variation on D’Lo Brown’s “Sky High”). Fun to watch.
Smackdown saunters into the new millennium with a great little show. Tension and storyline advancement was in evidence throughout the entire broadcast and the DX theme really added some nice spice to it. In addition to that we had some good stuff from the midcard and fine bout from Rock and Angle. Much more entertaining than Raw a few days earlier.
Worth a watch for…
HHH vs Rikishi, Rock vs Angle, Big Show absolutely slaughtering X-Pac and Pete Gas nailing the Gas Mask.
Next up, keep your eyes peeled to the blog pages for an entry about a character bio for one of the WWF stars’ from this era. The next 2000 show review features more DX tension as they get pitted against each other in matches and The Rock stages the mother of all protests to kick off the show. Until then, take care.
Follow me on twitter: @Nick_Sellers