Quick Recap- The Radicals have arrived and are giving DX a hard time, and a big clash between The Rock and Big Show is imminent!
Triple H set the stage for the show by booking all four Radicals in matches against DX members. If they won two out of their three bouts, they’d earn contracts.
Chris Jericho retained the Intercontinental title against Gangrel.
X-Pac defeated Dean Malenko, but only via a cheeky low blow while the ref was distracted with Tori.
Big Show managed to get proof that Rock’s feet hit the ground first at the end of the Royal Rumble match. As a result, HHH booked him against The Rock at No Way Out, with the winner going on to face him for the WWF title at Wrestlemania.
Jacqueline defeated Harvey Whippleman to win the Womens title. From a man. Yep.
Kurt Angle won a triple threat match against Tazz and The Rock. Big Show came out and took out The Rock, who’d looked to have had the match won. Angle weakly covered Tazz to get the duke.
The New Age Outlaws just about got by Perry Saturn and Eddie Guerrero. Eddie dislocated his elbow during the Frog Splash.
Head Cheese defeated the Holly cousins.
Rikishi beat Big Show via DQ after Show had to resort to nailing him with a chair. Too Cool also got taken out afterwards, but The Rock returned the favour from earlier with a Rock Bottom!
Triple H defeated Chris Benoit with another low blow being used in order to aid the victory.
WWF Smackdown! 03/02/2000
The tryout- The Radicals make their in-ring debuts.
Triple H had thrown down something of a gauntlet to the Radicals on tonight’s show, with all four of them taking on DX counterparts.
Dean Malenko was up first against X-Pac. I’ve really enjoyed X-Pac’s matches so far from this year, he’s delivered virtually every time he’s stepped through the ropes. In many respects, he was the absolute best choice to welcome Malenko into the WWF fold, and the man of 1000 holds sure didn’t disappoint.
There were some good matches on the show tonight as you’ll see through this entry, but this for me was your match of the night. These two just clicked seamlessly. It was an absolutely terrific bout with some gorgeous technique applied, some crisply delivered moves and a bit of snap in their execution to boot. This was an absolute match made in heaven, a perfect wrestling marriage, so to speak. Full marks for this, pure wrestling at it’s best.
Because Malenko lost, albeit via cheating, it meant that Guerrero and Saturn needed to defeat the New Age Outlaws to technically stand any chance of earning jobs. Another good match here and for Saturn and Guerrero to walk into the company and put on a strong showing with two of the WWF’s established stars proved that they had quality and talent in abundance. Sadly, Guerrero wound up injured through it and they notched up another cross in the loss column, but to the fans it didn’t matter; they’d lost through cheating and an injury. It wasn’t fair on the given night, but they’d taken DX to the limit.
Still, Chris Benoit had a chance to shine against Triple H. Not long prior to this, Benoit had actually won the WCW title, but it was rescinded a day later, which I think was the last straw in his time with them. So we had something of a dream match here, the man who never lost the WCW World title and arguably the best worker in the rival organisation crossing paths with the WWF’s kingpin.
Again, we had a smashing match here and a superb main event. They’d go on to have more classic bouts than this, but tonight was certainly a worthy start and a terrific showing from Benoit in his WWF bow. More cheating would lead to another DX victory, earning them a clean sweep, but all four Radicals had proven to the WWF fan base that they were worth a spot on the roster.
They’d proven not just to them, but to their previous employers, that they were worthy of getting such prominent coverage. The crowd responded to all of them in an extremely positive way, no doubt impressed by their work ethic. They may not have been victorious, but there were perfectly reasonable explanations for all the losses and this in turn draws sympathy and respect from the crowd who will hope they haven’t seen the last of them.
The Rock Show- Rocky’s 500 pound mountain to climb.
Another night, another city, another stupendous performance in every department from a young Dwayne Johnson.
Flawless on the microphone in building up to his No Way Out confrontation with Big Show (Now confirmed, after Big Show finally attained proof that Rock’s feet hit the ground first in the closing moments of the Rumble match), great between the ropes in his triple threat showdown with Tazz and Kurt Angle and generally just being his usual fantastic self. Angle and Tazz weren’t taking a backseat by any stretch, bringing it just as strongly as their mega-over peer, but you wouldn’t have thought it judging by the crowd reaction.
Rock was just inches away from cementing himself as a legend that year. Look back on any show in the run up to his eventual WWF title win at Backlash and the crowds just go completely, utterly insane when his music hits or when he appears on the tron. There are Rocky signs in virtually every other seat in the arenas. It’s staggering really.
The rivalry with Big Show has been brewing very nicely, and although they obviously clashed at the Rumble they’ve done a good job of keeping them apart in singles competition up to the February PPV spectacular.
Jericho and Gangrel wasn’t bad, but in all fairness you could see the result coming a mile away. Nothing against Gangrel, but he wasn’t exactly IC title material at this point. He’d only just lost a Hardcore title match, so how was he suddenly in line for an IC title shot tonight when there were at least a dozen more credible challengers, least of all X-Pac who’d actually pinned him on Raw previously?! Still, not a bad match. Jericho can have a good match with anyone, but Gangrel is no slouch himself.
Jaqueline squashes Harvey Whippleman to bring the Women’s title to womanhood. I can only imagine Harvey winning the title was some sort of rib, found humorous only by the crew in the lockeroom. The only plus side: This was short. Wretched!!
Head Cheese v The Holly Cousins was excellent before it even began, thanks to Blackman donning a foam cheese hat! Snow is also sporting some spiffy new attire of his own. This was a solid tag match between four men who you’d normally associate with the hardcore division, though this was a bit later in the year. Still, this was solid all over. Another win for Blackman and Snow who keep rolling on.
Rikishi’s push continued tonight, kicking out of Big Show’s usually unstoppable chokeslam. This was a cracking big-man bout, with the key being some well timed spots. Big Show bumped brilliantly for Rikishi to emphasise his strength, while the Somoan in turn put in a mighty effort that the crowd was fully behind. Make no mistake, at present these were the two best big man workers in the profession. The segment finished strongly with Too Cool and The Rock trying to get them some of the 500 pounder. Cracking segment.
The Radicals win the day for three great matches, but Rock’s triple threat was also a belter, while the Hollys/Head Cheese tag match and the Rikishi/Big Show bout were also good. Another really strong WWF broadcast.
Worth a watch for-
The match of the night was X-Pac vs Malenko for me, a dream match if you’re a fan of cruiserweights in particular. Also The Rock’s involvement throughout the whole show. And do track down Steve Blackman donning the cheese head if you can!
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