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WWE: SmackDown Report – 28/11/03

Paulie says he wants everyone to share in the great American tradition of opportunity for all, and to facilitate that, he’s arranged a 20-man Over The Top Rope Battle Royal. Awesome. I realize most wrestling critics (and by “critics” I mean: “fans with computers and too much time on their hands”) typically hate Battle Royals, but I love ‘em. Sure there’s never a lot of great wrestling, but they’re so much fun! The only thing wrong with a 20-man Battle Royal is that it’s not a 30-man Battle Royal. Anyhow, the GM adds that the winner will get to face none other than The Next Big Thing WWE Champion Brock Lesnar – TONIGHT! My God – this truly is the greatest Thanksgiving spectacle in the history of television.

The best part of all of this was playing “Spot The Buried Superstar!” as they stood around the ring. Hey look! Orlando Jordan! Over there – hey! Isn’t that Spanky with his hair tied back? Oh my God, check it out – Sean O’Haire’s on Smackdown! Krista is EXTREMELY excited that Mr. O’Haire will be in the Battle Royal. Not even my prediction that he’ll be the first one thrown out (and probably by Funaki) can damper her excitement. It’s kinda heartbreaking.

“Dudda-dud-ah – Da-da! Dudda-dud-ah – Da-da!” It’s Brock Lesnar’s music and sure enough the former NCAA Champion appears at the top of the ramp to a chorus of boos and earnest criticism from the fans. Brock says that he’s come out to give thanks that at the tender age of 26 he’s already on his way to being The Greatest World Champ Of All Time. I wish I’d had that kind of certainty of thought when I was 26, but that’s why he’s the World Champ and I’m sitting here hung-over in my pajamas.

The crowd gets on Brock’s back with a deafening chant of “YOU TAPPED OUT!” Lesnar roars back “I AM THE GREATEST CHAMPION” and it was even better than it reads. The Greatest Champion says he’s not afraid of anyone with speed and points to Rey Mysterio. Says he’s not afraid of a giant and points to The Big Show. He says he’s not afraid of a guy who’s never been champion and points to John Cena. Finally, he says he’s not afraid of a guy who will never be champion, and he points to the Canadian Crippler Chris Benoit. Benoit shows him up by miming Brock’s tap-out to the Crossface at Survivor Series. The Pain says he’s tapped twice in his life (the other time to Angle – duh) and he never will again.

Brock whispers some sweet nothings into Paulie’s ear and Hey Man announces he’s got a great idea. Two of the men around the ring will have to fight just to earn their spot in the Battle Royal. Those two men? Yep, Cena and Benoit. The rapper will face off against A-Train (“Can you see me now John?” – Paul with a classic) while Benoit will fight – NEXT!

Back from our first commercial interruption and Chris Benoit is in the ring ready to fight as his opponent, the rookie and Team Sasquatch member Matt Morgan walks down the ramp. This reminds me – one of my favorite moments of “The Stone Cold Truth” was the 2-seconds that showed Matt Morgan nervously introducing himself to Austin at the last PPV. I don’t know why but I just found his obvious reverence for The Texas Rattlesnake touching and kinda sweet. But I’m a sentimental kinda fella.

Benoit attacks Morgan outside of the ring before the bell and tosses him in under the ropes. Our first wrestling match of the evening is under way. Morgan gets in some good offence, but the Wild Pegasus is just too good at keeping the big man off his feet. Morgan slams Benoit into the corner several times and drops his leg across The Crippler’s neck as he’s stretched across the middle rope. Morgan hits a head butt, a suplex and another leg drop for a near-fall. An awesome Big Man spot comes next as the Tough Enough alum stands on Benoit’s throat, then lifts him with one hand by that same throat, before tossing him into the corner and laying him out with a Sidewalk Slam. Wish I could do that.

Finish comes as Morgan misses the same leg-drop on the ropes he did earlier and Benoit goes upstairs for the flying head butt. Though Morgan rolls out of the way of the attack, The Crippler manages to hook in the notorious Crippler Crossface and that’s all she wrote as the rookie taps out from the pain. The Rabid Wolverine is in the Battle Royal.

Backstage and Nidia is still blind, wearing a pair of blue-blockers, carrying a cane and wearing her big ass fake-fur coat. Suffice to say she looks ridiculous. Jamie Noble Boy is with her, trying to determine whether or not Nidia is faking her Japanese Buzzsaw-inflicted disability to get extra attention – a charge Nidia denies. Noble calls his girl a liability and says he needs to win so he can get a cruiserweight title shot. Nidia begs to come to ringside and promising to sit with Tazz and Soulpatch. Noble, reluctantly, agrees. Well you just know this ain’t gonna go well.

My notes say that a short cartoon featuring Tazz and Michael Cole as turkeys aired next, but I’m pretty sure that was a hallucination. At least I hope it was. A promo reminds us that Ernest “The Cat” Miller will be making his Smackdown Debut later in the program. Somebody call my Tivo!

Back from the break and Jamie San brings Nidia down to sit with the turkeys. Noble stresses that Tazz needs to look after her. Because, you know, she’s blind. Nidia’s hair looks greasy tonight and not good at all.

Next out is Akio, accompanied by his main man Tajiri, who’s very name Nidia curses. Bell rings and Akio starts a-stompin’ on Noble in the corner. Jamie springs out of there, throws Akio from the ring and javelin’s himself between the middle ropes. Akio gets a superkick to Noble’s face and applies a sleeper hold. Is there a wrestling fan in the world that hasn’t tried to put someone in a sleeper hold? Classic manoeuvre.

A lightning-quick series of pins and reversals – about five in a row – fails to result in a winner and back on their feet, the men knock each other down simultaneously with a pair of clotheslines. A sign behind the ring reads: “Keep Steph Off TV.” You know security F’d that guy up as soon as he was outside the shot.

Chops are exchanged back and forth and Akio applies a Triangle Choke to the redneck as Tajiri harasses Nidia. Jamie hits a great superplex off the top, but the finish comes as Tajiri climbs up in front of Nidia while Tazz does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to protect the blind girl entrusted to his care. WTF? Anyhoo, Nidia bags Tajiri just in time for Noble to turn – see his girl in trouble – and get rolled up in a schoolboy for the 1-2-3. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Smackdown it’s that if you’re distracted, a schoolboy will get you every time.

Noble runs out to check on his girl and as a fan yells “Nice shot Nidia!” he leads her to the back. Because she’s, you know, blind.

Backstage and Paul is telling Shannon “Let’s Beat Him Up Some” Moore that he’s proud of him for getting his ass kicked last week by Matt “The Tapper” Morgan. He teases Moore that he may one day appear on the cover of Smackdown magazine (yeah, and Mysterio vs. Ultimo is gonna headline the next PPV) and that tonight he’ll be facing an even bigger opponent: Nathan Jones. Shannon moans and holds his taped up ribs. Never noticed before, but Moore has some “righteous ink” on his left arm. (That’s street talk for “cool tattoos”.)

Rey Mysterio Jr. gives us his Thanksgiving greetings and says he’s grateful for his fans and says something in Spanish which I think translated into “I hope we have a gravy bowl match tonight.” I could be wrong on that.

Back from the break and Shannon is in the ring, holding his ribs and looking miserable as he prepares for The Ritualistic Thanksgiving Sacrifice Of The Cruiserweight. Nathan Jones comes down looking bigger than God standing on a stool.

Bell rings and as a three-year-old would have predicted, Jones begins bouncing Moore around like a hippie with a hackysack. Moore is tossed out of the ring and then thrown back for more abuse. No doubt about it, that Nathan Jones is one strong man. Moore tries to battle but it’s like watching Josh Mathews try to be cool – you know he means well and he’s trying hard, but it’s just a hopeless cause.

Finish comes after Jones has hurled Moore in and out of the ring one more time, yanked him up from what would have been a final pin and then killed the little MF’er with a gutwrench suplex. Shannon Moore is dead.

Earlier in the evening as the Smackdown Superstars were sitting down to their Thanksgiving meal, John Cena interrupted to say grace. He proceeded to drop some Ja Rule-ish Thuganomics-light hitting on all the Diva’s and some nameless hot chick in a pilgrim gimmick (who I thought at first was the mysterious and elusive Rue). Spanky hops up and down in a turkey outfit and Cena calls him The Gobbeldy Gooker.

No John, see the difference between Spanky and The Gobbeldy Gooker is that The Gobbeldy Gooker appeared on pay-per-views.

Eddie vs. Charlie Haas is next and the graphic is accentuated with more animated turkeys. I’m starting to like the animated turkeys, but that could be the rum and Coke’s talkin’.

Out of the break and in the back, Chavo is on a crutch and Eddie tells him he shouldn’t be there. Chavito says he feels great and he’s going to watch Eddie’s back, but Eddie doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about the familial support.

The World’s Greatest Tag Team comes down to the ring as we’re reminded of Shelton Benjamin’s demo job on Chavo’s ankle last week. The Guerreros arrive in low-rider style and Eddie helps wounded Chavo out of the truck before getting in the ring and hitting a tilt-a-whirl into a backbreaker on Haas to get things off to a hot start.

Eddie backs Charlie into the corner and gets busy with the stomps. Chavo gets into it as his uncle distracts the ref, but Haas rebounds and hits Eddie with some forearms and a shot to the kidneys. Decent Eddie chant from the very handsome Boise crowd. Eddie breaks out of Charlie’s arm-bar and manages a sweet hurricanranna that he carries into a trio of those beautiful suplexes strung together by that swing in his hips which is just so mint. Finish comes as Eddie grabs Chavito’s crutch (knocking him down in the process) and cracking Haas across the back while the ref’s confused and disoriented (as ref’s often are.) Post-match and Chavo is pissed at Eddie. But the Team Formerly Known As Team Angle attacks and begins F’ing up the guy’s already-busted ankle. The Latino Heat takes his sweet-ass time before clearing the ring and making the save. Chavo is one unhappy hombre.

Back from the break and we’re just in time for the entrance of everyone’s favourite pierced, hairy fat man – Prince Albert: Lord of Trains. A recap is shown of his match last week against Bradshaw and I start to drift off. I’m suddenly awoken however, by the stirring sounds of those spiralling violins that mark the entrance of The Future of Smackdown – John Cena. The White Boy’s all set to drop another verse of Thuganomics when A-Train attacks. You never saw that in 8-Mile.

The Prototype recovers quickly and goes for a big FU right off the back, but Train ain’t havin’ it and rolls out right quick escaping to the outside for a breather. He crawls back in and the wise Boise crowd yells at him to shave his back. Albert dominates with a boot to the face and “those clubbing blows” before slamming Cena into the corner, hitting an elbow drop to the kidneys and nailing a power slam for the big 2. Train applies an abdominal stretch which Cena twists out of, but he can’t quite scoop up the big man and Albert lands on top of him for a near-fall.

The action moves outside the ring and Cena begins to rally back by nailing Prince Albert with a low blow, then gets a 2-count off a slam. Train hits a big backbreaker. Cena tries again for the FU but is denied and instead dealt a De-Railer. Cena manages to grab the ropes as A-Train goes apesh*t, leaves the ring and starts tossing chairs. While the ref’s busy trying to get rid of the furniture Cena pops Albert in the midsection before finally getting him up for the big FU which earns him the victory. Parappa The Rappa is heading to the Battle Royal.

A taped promo shows The Cat and Lamont in a limo – The Cat is up next!

But first, a very special message from Hardcore Bob Holly. Suspended last week for attacking Brock Lesnar, Holly is at his home in Mobile (which looks surprisingly like a studio) and says he’s appealed the suspension. To who? Linda? Vince? The Board of Directors? Just what is the hierarchy for this sort of thing at HQ? Anyhoo, Spark Plugg shoots himself in the foot by promising that as soon as the suspension’s lifted he’s gonna try and break Lesnar’s neck. Which is, of course, precisely what got him suspended in the first place. Idiot.

Back from the break and Bruce The… I’m sorry, Lamont, is in the ring with his great big afro. He intro’s The Cat who comes out to only a slightly better pop than I would get. The Cat is wearing a weird-ass black leather jumpsuit. Interesting choice. He asks for his music (which of course features the line “Somebody call my momma” over and over and over and over and over again) and dances in the ring while intermittently pleading with the crowd to watch his feet and his smooth moves. Oh God please tell me this is building to something.

Lamont puts a cape on The Cat like he’s The Godfather of Soul. Miller says he needs someone to dance with and points to some people in the crowd including a white dude with dreadlocks and an orange jumpsuit. I’m pretty sure the guy’s either there on a day pass or he’s the former lead singer of The Spin Doctors. One or the other.

Anyhoo, out comes Boise’s own Torrie Wilson (who’s pop took The Cat’s pop, pummelled it into submission and made it it’s b*tch.) Torrie acted embarrassed, danced with The Cat, sucked on a lollipop and stuck it in Ernest’s mouth driving him crazier than a twelve year-old seeing his first set of boobies. This all took about four hours, though it did pick up when Torrie arrived. Let’s not do this again, shall we?

John Cena makes his forth appearance of the night before the Battle Royal and sends mad Thanksgiving props to all his crackaz.

Back from the break and it’s time for – oh yes it is – The Smackdown Battle Royal. Half the ring is already filled as Mysterio makes his arrival. The Bashams show up and Doug is now wearing a gimp mask while Danny has a ball gag in his mouth – which I swear to God I thought would be a great idea just this past weekend! And you know I’m not lying, because why else would I admit to being such a loser that I walk around on weekend’s trying to think of ways to improve The Basham Brothers gimmick?

First, the participants: Cena, Benoit, A-Train, Palumbo, Stamboli, Orlando, Ultimo, Eddie, Bradshaw, Haas, Benjamin, Mysterio, Doug and Danny, Rhyno, Scotty and Rikishi, Big Show, Jones and Morgan. Is that 20? Yep. Krista is devastated – No Sean O’Haire for you! Bu hey, just think of all the guys you got to see twice tonight. Like A-Train!

Bell rings and the mayhem and madness begins. Show tosses Stamboli in like, 2 seconds. Total chaos, but as always – very cool as everyone just finds someone to thump and starts wailing. Show quickly gets rid of Ultimo Dragon and Orlando Jordan and the message is loud and clear: Velocity sucks.

A great bit comes as EVERYONE in the ring teams up on Big Slow. They push and push and push, but can’t get him over the rope. Infuriated, the Giant roars and tosses them off of him. But right away the other 16 folks in the ring gang up again and like the fish in Finding Nemo, work together to achieve the impossible sending Show crashing to the outside, where he gets all pissy and kicks the announce table before suckerpunching Orlando. As we go to commercial, Rey is tossed but manages to grab the ropes and flip back in.

We’re back and informed that during the break Justin Bradshaw eliminated Nathan Jones and Rikishi eliminated Bradshaw. Mysterio tries to get Eddie out with the head scissors, but Eddie rolls onto the ring apron. Rhyno is eliminated. Mysterio hits a 619 on Shelton “All About The” Benjamin. A huge pile-up on one side allows Cena and Benoit the opportunity to work together to eliminate Rikishi, Palumbo, Morgan and Haas. Mysterio attempts an awesome springboard off the top rope but he’s caught in mid-air by Cena and Benoit and tossed over onto the heels that went before him.

And then there were four: Cena, Benoit, Guerrero and Benjamin. Wow – long report today, eh kids? I’ll try to wrap this up. Each man takes a corner before Benjamin locks up with Cena and Chris tackles Eddie. Snap, German and vertical suplexes abound as the mat masters flip each other around like fish on the dock. Eddie gets the frogsplash on Benjamin before getting FU’ed by Cena. Benjamin kicks The Rabid Wolverine in the face and tosses him, but Benoit “skins the cat” as they say, and tosses Shelton with the leg scissors. Nice! Eddie is eliminated by Cena and now we’re down to two. This is why I love Battle Royals – it always comes down to two.

Benoit and Cena war and Cena taps to the Crossface, but there’s no tapping in Battle Royals! So Benoit lets him out. They exchange punches and Cena goes for the FU on the ring apron, but both men lose their footing and fall to the floor. Christmas comes a little early as we’re visited by The Ghost of Royal Rumble’s Past when it’s revealed both Cena and Benoit landed at the EXACT SAME TIME! The ref’s argue about who the true winner is as Lesnar makes his entrance for his match against the winner. Brock hops up on the apron and the pyro explodes as we got to our final commercial.

Back and Paul E. Dangerously is in the ring with Brock trying to get to the bottom of this mess. The replays show that both men landed simultaneously. As the crowd chants “triple threat” Paulie explains that that wouldn’t be in the best interest of the WWE title. Instead, he says, Benoit will now fight Cena with the winner facing Lesnar next week. Hmmm…

Anyways, it’s all for naught as Brock attacks Cena from behind and Nathan Jones, Matt Morgan and Big Show join in the fun. Looks like the A-Train is definitely on the outs with Team Sasquatch. The crowd chants “bullsh*t” as Lesnar F5’s both good guys. Brock holds up the belt and yells “I’m the champ! I’m the champ!” He wishes both Benoit and Cena a Happy Thanksgiving and the heel behemoths celebrate in the middle of the ring as Lesnar does his Evil Psycho Laugh and this week’s Smackdown draws to a close.