Raw 6/3/00 & Smackdown 9/3/00By Nick Sellers| May 12, 2012 WWF Through the years (2000) Quick Recap- The Rock had been all but shut-out of the Wrestlemania main event after Triple H, Shane McMahon and Big Show’s efforts last week. Crash Holly had just debuted the 24/7 rule for the Hardcore title. Quick results Raw 6/3/00 Kane and Big Show had a decent contest, which ended when The Rock attacked and got revenge on Show from last week with a Rock Bottom. Show also took Kane’s chokeslam post-match. Mark Henry pinned D’Von Dudley, but he was attacked by both Dudleyz after the match. Bubba then put Mae Young through a table in one of their most impressive career visuals. DX (Road Dogg and X-Pac) had a good match with Too Cool before the heels resorted to cheating. Kane then came out gunning for X-Pac. Chris Jericho beat Kurt Angle via DQ, but he doesn’t win the Intercontinental championship thanks to Bob Backlund’s interference. Rikishi beat Triple H via DQ after he got nailed with a chair. The Rock again ran down after the match and this time it was HHH’s turn to take the Rock Bottom. Steve Blackman pinned Matt Hardy with an impressive martial arts kick from the top rope and from Snow’s interference. Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko bested Edge & Christian thanks to Terri causing a distraction Edge. Tensions flared again between the Canadians afterwards. Crash Holly, who already escaped the Posse trying to take his title from his hotel room, somehow beat Viscera to keep the title. They both bundled into the APA’s office, so both took a beatdown as a result. That’ll teach them for interrupting their card game! The Rock closed the show beating Chris Benoit in a cage match, despite HHH and Big Show trying to keep him at bay from the outside. Smackdown 9/3/00 The Rock got by Perry Saturn and Chris Benoit, but was attacked by all four Radicalz after the bell. Essa Rios retained his Lightheavyweight title after Edge drew the DQ by Spearing Lita, who moments before had nailed Christian with a Moonsault. More tension flared between the Canadians a a result. Tazz beat Kurt Angle, but only by DQ after Bob Backlund interfered. Chris Jericho evened the odds and helped send the heels packing. Angle retains the Intercontinental title again. DX (Road Dogg and X-Pac) defeated Kane. The ref was out for a period, and Kane went after Tori. X-Pac intercepted with a chair, before hitting the X-Factor with Kane’s face bouncing off the chair. Road Dogg revived the ref for the pin. Steve Blackman pinned Jeff Hardy in the same manner in which he beat Matt Hardy on Raw, the top rope kick after Snow ran interference. The Dudleyz defeated an already battered Rock in a handicap tables match, via the 3D. Jacqueline retained her Women’s title against Ivory. Crash Holly, who once again had to fend off the Posse earlier in the day, escaped with his Hardcore title in a match against Albert. The Posse attacked mid-match, so Albert attacked all three of them while Holly escaped out of the arena! Triple H and Big Show pinned Rikishi. The Rock tried to help out at the close of the show, but both men were given a serious battering by the heels. To Rock, or not to Rock?- No Wrestlemania matches set, so what’s going on? We’re two weeks removed now from WWF’s last PPV event and two weeks further down the road to Wrestlemania for this year. Whilst Triple H vs Big Show is being dubbed as the main event for the PPV, anyone with a clue could see this wasn’t going to be the case, or at least it wouldn’t solely involve the two of them. The Rock is clearly the missing piece of the puzzle. Now, most of you know how the main event for ‘Mania eventually ends up. But so far it seems strange to me, looking back, that they didn’t push the envelope further. To not have your main event for Wrestlemania nailed down with less than a month to go seems astounding to me. Last week I felt the TV shows weren’t as strong as usual, mainly because nothing was set in stone for ‘Mania and no storylines progressed much. This week, they achieved a much better week of television quality, produced some really entertaining shows and at least hinted at what might be about to come for the grandaddy of ’em all, but still nothing was actually booked. We had a few things implied, but nothing made official. Admittedly, Wrestlemania almost immediately sells itself every year. But in 2000, WWF didn’t have to rely on it as such. Most of their PPV’s were doing good business and they had red-hot angles throughout the course of the whole year. In 2000, it seemed like Wrestlemania wasn’t the biggest show of the year, but more just like another PPV. Again, the PPV’s were great, but I think this Wrestlemania sorely lacked in terms of build-up. I haven’t seen the actual PPV for years so I’ll reserve judgement on the event itself until the time comes in this chronology. But to not have something booked, or at least announced on TV yet two weeks into the run-up to it strikes me as something of a missed opportunity for them to build up more interest. What makes it more surprising is that they had such a deep talent pool to pick from and so many scenarios they could go with. Never mind the likes of The Rock, who the fans were absolutely gunning for to be in the main event, but the likes of Rikishi and Chris Benoit seemed to have nothing in the pipeline. X-Pac and Kane were still gunning for each other, as were Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle, but again no official matches had been made. It’s not like the WWF was in trouble or anything, and it’s not that I feel Wrestlemania 2000 wasn’t going to do well, far from it. But it could’ve and maybe should’ve been even better in the build-up. Rant over! The numbers game- Handicap matches galore keeps DX on point. One of Triple H’s tactics in recent months has been the “Divide and conquer” approach. Usually he’ll take a foe, like The Rock for instance, and pit him against completely unfair odds. This week, mainly on Smackdown, this was put to the test again. After weeks of trying to cut Rocky down to size, this week he finally got another one over on him, pitting him in not one, but TWO handicap bouts and even a mass beatdown to close out the show. First, Rock was forced to go toe to toe with Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn. Rock had already contested a darned fine cage match with Benoit on Raw, but put in a gallant effort against The Radicalz. After a good bout, all four Radicalz had a chance to get themselves over by laying waste to him. Then, Stephanie booked Rock against the tag team champions in a table match. The Dudleyz proved their worth again this week as the hottest tag team in the business. On Raw, they claimed another female victim after putting Mae Young through a table. But on Smackdown they hit the jackpot, putting The Rock through a table and coming up trumps in one of several handicap matches on the show. Already the tag champions, you genuinely got a sense that Bubba and D’Von would stop at nothing to cause absolute mayhem. Granted, on Smackdown Rock was already beaten down prior to the handicap match, but it’s still a significant moment for them. It was also proof that underneath all the tables and bullish bravado, they could actually work a decent match. The greatest ECW tag team of all time were not only currently top of the WWF tag division, but were two of the main characters that everyone seemed to be talking about. Fewer times in their careers would they ever look as strong as they did this week. Kane and X-Pac look set to be headed on yet another PPV collision course. After facing both X-Pac and Road Dogg on Smackdown, the seeds were sewed to allow them to go one more round in a showdown that was all but confirmed for Wrestlemania. Kane also got involved on Raw, after a blistering bout between DX and Too Cool, which would later tie in with the match that was eventually made for the PPV. In the last entry, I was surprised to see they hadn’t moved Kane and X-Pac onto feuds higher up the card, but the crowd were still really into the rivalry and with neither man having much else to do, it made sense to keep them as a pair. Adding Road Dogg in, as well as Kane’s ongoing issues with Tori, keep things interesting. Rock and Kane weren’t the only two stars who DX and co were causing havoc for. Poor Rikishi was also involved in the handicap proceedings, with the somewhat daunting task of taking on both HHH and the Big Show in the Smackdown main event. As has been the case with all of the handicap bouts, this was another entertaining contest which the crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy. Rikishi was hugely over at this point and it looked as though the company wanted to capitalize. The two heels on one babyface booking scenario is simple, yet very effective. It allows the heels to get plenty of offence in, but also gives the babyface plenty of crowd support right from the get go because he’s already fighting against unfair and unjust odds. If the babyface loses, he loses no momentum and draws even more sympathy. If he wins, he’s overcome the odds and becomes a real hero. Some would say they overdid the stipulation, especially on Smackdown where the whole show seemed to be built off of it, but it worked really well here. Midcard- other bits The Kurt Angle/Chris Jericho rivalry took on a new shape this week in the form of Bob Backlund. Yes, Bob Backlund. Strangely, Backlund attacked Jericho on Raw and then tried attacking Tazz on Smackdown during Kurt Angle’s title defences. I’ve no problem with a legend like Backlund getting a payday, but a rivalry like Angle/Jericho doesn’t need all the other nonsense. It doesn’t need Chyna, it most definitely doesn’t need Backlund. It just needs two good wrestlers to go out there and wrestle their socks off. I realize that, even then, WWF was trying to keep the entertainment factor high, but what’s more entertaining, a Backlund or Chyna run-in, or a hard hitting match with some decent spots? On the pus side for Tazz, he didn’t have to deal with Bossman and Albert this week and finally had a chance to mix it up with Kurt again. If you’re going to involve others in the angle, Tazz and the Radicalz are exactly the type who should be involved. Steve Blackman bested both of the Hardyz this week in singles competition, thanks to some interference from Al Snow. It wasn’t a good week for Matt and Jeff, but they had better things to come. It was a great week for Blackman however, who’s popularity was definitely growing. Al Snow deserves real credit, because he’s the mastermind in terms of getting the angle over with the fans. Blackman’s performances in the ring were getting better too, and he was finding good ways to implement his unorthodox style with the other WWF talents. Crash endured a tough week as Hardcore Champion. In hilarious fashion, the Posse twice tried to take advantage of the 24/7 ruling. On Raw they went for Crash in his hotel room, and on Smackdown they attacked him in the laundrette! He also had to defend against both Albert and Viscera during the week in regular hardcore matches, but still escaped with the strap. Crash continues to bring the funny, and the 24/7 era starts off as a success. The air of unpredictability over the belt would only increase as time went on! Edge & Christian endured another poor week with women still serving as a distraction for Edge. First, Terri distracted him on Raw, then he had his first on-screen interaction with Lita. Considering how their relationship would eventually end up, they didn’t get off to the best of starts. After Lita moonsaulted Christian, Edge then speared her. The ref caught it and that ended Christian’s title match with Essa Rios. Ultimately nothing came of these squabbles, and it seems a mystery to me why they even went down this route with the duo, seeing as they wound up as tag team champions in the near future. Overall- A much stronger week of TV this week. Smackdown was the stronger of the shows for me with the handicap theme, but both of them delivered. My only peeve was that nothing was set for Wrestlemania, but the actual broadcasts themselves were top efforts by all concerned this week. Worth a watch for- Once again, The Rock is the star of all the goings on, having a terrific cage match with Benoit and two decent handicap matches on Smackdown. Also, check out more of Crash’s Hardcore title fun and games.