WWE Smackdown Review – 4-4-02

Mr. McMahon was looking to show off as the first SmackDown! after the brand extension emanated from Rochester, N.Y., on April 4!

As the show opened, Mr. McMahon said that Flair had erroneously named Undertaker the No. 1 Contender at Backlash. Vince said that Flair forgot that the board of directors had said that whoever won the coin toss for the draft would not only win the first pick in the draft, but also the right to pick the No. 1 contender at Backlash. Vince said that because he had won the coin toss, he would be name on SmackDown! the No. 1 contender to face Undisputed World Wrestling Champion Triple H.

Michael Cole and Tazz welcomed fans to the show as Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle headed to the ring. Angle was set to meet Edge in one-on-one action later in the show, but first, Angle had a few things to say about the No. 1 contender spot. Kurt publicly stated that he was willing to face Triple H for the Undisputed Title at Backlash. He said he could state all night why he deserved the shot, and since the people continued to dis him, he would do so.

Kurt said he owned Triple H, having defeated him more times than anyone else in the company. Kurt reminded everyone that he is an Olympic gold medalist. He also said that he was adored by children and senior citizens worldwide — especially the sick ones! He said he had 26 other reasons — but as he spoke, he was interrupted by Chris Jericho’s entrance!

Y2J headed to the ring, and stared Angle down. Jericho called Angle pompous, and said there was no way the Olympian deserved the title shot. Jericho said he was the only one who deserved the shot, since he was the first Undisputed Champion. Y2J said he hadn’t received a single one-on-one rematch since losing the title, and the one match he did have, he hadn’t even lost — Stephanie McMahon had. Jericho said now not only did he not have a rematch, but the crowd was calling him a has-been! Y2J said the fans might think he was a has-been, but he wasn’t!

The crowd chanted “has-been” at Jericho, and Y2J said he would prove he wasn’t a has-been by taking the title match against Triple H. He asked Angle how he liked it, and Angle said he didn’t like it one bit. Angle joked that Jericho’s quest for a title shot “has been” completed, and Jericho pointed out that the last he faced Angle each other, he had defeated Angle, so what does that make the Olympian?

Jericho said they could go back and forth all night, and they suggested a one-on-one match tonight, with the winner facing Triple H at Backlash.

Angle said he was fine with that, and told him to consider it done.

Suddenly, out came The Rock to the stage — and finally, The Rock had come back to Rochester! Rock asked if the two men actually thought they were the only two names to face Triple H at Backlash. Rock said that he had had more big matches with Triple H than Angle and Jericho put together, and said no one deserved the shot more — but then he stopped to think for a moment, and suggested that maybe, there was someone else. The crowd started chanting “Hogan” as Rock said he knew he would have his title shot one day, but until then, maybe the one man who deserved a title shot a little more than he did was a legend and an icon — and Angle thanked The Rock for being on his side! Rock told Angle to shut up, and said the title shot should go to Hulk Hogan!

Jericho said he thought that was ridiculous, but Rock said it didn’t matter what he thought! Angle then tried to chime in, and Rock said it didn’t matter what he thought, either! Rock said it didn’t even matter what The Rock thought. The People’s Champion said this was a new SmackDown!, and as of now, SmackDown! will now and forever be known as the People’s Show. Rock said Jericho and Angle were surrounded by the millions of Rock’s fans. Rock said the people would tell Jericho and Angle who they wanted to go to Backlash — and the crowd began chanting “Hogan!”

Rock said that if Vince McMahon was listening, the most electrifying fans had spoken, and as Vince would say, money talks — if ya smell what The Rock is cookin’!

Footage was shown from earlier in the day of Scotty 2 Hotty psyching up Albert for their Tag Team Championship match against Billy & Chuck.

That match was up next. The champs were accompanied to ringside by their stylist, Rico. Scotty seemed to have the pinfall and the win, but the ref was distracted by Albert and Chuck fighting on the outside. With the ref distracted, Rico hit a spinkick on Scotty, and Billy pinned him to retain the titles. After the bout, Scotty put Rico down, and was about to give him the Worm, until Albert turned on his partner, delivering a huge kick to Scotty’s face! Albert followed up with an avalanche, and punched and kicked the hell out of his now former partner! Albert finished Scotty off with a huge Baldobomb.

New announcer Marc Loyd interviewed Vince McMahon, and the World Wrestling co-owner announced that it would be Hulk Hogan facing Triple H for the Undisputed Championship at Backlash.

In his locker room, Chris Jericho watched Mr. McMahon’s announcement and was irate. He left his locker room and ran into The Rock. He called Rock stupid, and asked why Rock had to suggest Hogan. Y2J asked what Hogan had ever done in this business. As Y2J continued to speak, Rock held up his hand, and suggested that they fight tonight on SmackDown!

Jericho said he would be happy to beat the People’s Champion on the People’s Show. Rock told Y2J to get ready!

In singles action, Christian took on DDP in a rematch from WrestleMania X8. After one near fall, Christian threw a temper tantrum. DDP laughed at it, but as DDP went over to Christian afterwards, Christian raked DDP’s eyes and hit the Unprettier for the win!

Backstage, Kurt Angle was very upset, and didn’t understand what Mr. McMahon was thinking. He asked if they should just elect Hillbilly Jim for president while they were at it. Kurt was then approached by Edge. Edge said he felt bad about their match tonight, since they used to be friends. He said he had found some pictures of the two of them together. Edge had four pictures — each of which had something written on the back for the fans’ enjoyment — stuff like “I suck,” “And I’m a dork,.” Kurt said Edge wasn’t such a bad guy — until he saw what was written on the back of the pictures, and walked away, angry!

Undisputed Champion Triple H headed to the ring to a huge ovation to talk about Backlash. The Game said that Monday night, Flair had made a title match for Backlash with him against the Undertaker. He said Vince had then made a match at Backlash with Hulk Hogan. Triple H said that Vince McMahon may be able to make the match for Backlash, but he could care less either way. He said that since it looked like he would be facing Hogan, he sent a message to the Dead Man that his title was going nowhere, and that Taker had lost nothing. He said when he got done with Hogan, he would be waiting for the Dead Man.

The Game said as far as Hogan goes — and then suddenly, Hogan’s music sounded, and out came the Hulkster, clad in yellow and red! The Hulkster received a huge ovation from the crowd. Hogan said as far as he went, he was just as surprised as Triple H was when Vince made the match. Hogan said he thought it couldn’t get any bigger than WrestleMania I, when he and Mr. T defeated Orndorff and Piper. Then he thought it couldn’t get any bigger than WrestleMania III, when he slammed Andre the Giant. Then he thought it couldn’t get any bigger than WrestleMania X8, when the fans brought Hulkamania back. The Hulkster said it didn’t get any bigger than the Undisputed Title, so if the fans believe in him and believe he deserves a shot, then he was going to take it!

The Game said Hogan was right — it doesn’t get any bigger than the Undisputed Championship. And Triple H said it would be an honor for him to be in the ring with Hogan. But Triple H said there was a little part of him that was sad, because he would have to hurt someone he’d looked up to his whole life — and hurt him badly. He told Hogan to make no mistake — he would not hesitate, not for one second.

Triple H said when Hogan stepped in the ring with him for the Undisputed Title and looked in The Game’s eyes, Hogan wouldn’t be immortal or an icon — he would be just like everybody else, nothing more than an obstacle which he would run down. Triple H said that wasn’t a threat or a warning — it was just a fact. The Game said nothing would come between he and his title, not even “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan, because, brother, he is The Game and he is that damn good!

Hogan said Hunter may be right — but even when the experts say Hulkamania is dead and gone, it always rises up again. Hogan said that at Backlash, when Hulkamania rises up again, he had just one question — “Whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on you?” Hogan then tore off his T-shirt and stared down the Undisputed Champion!

Next up, Edge went one-on-one with Kurt Angle. Angle soon brought a chair into the ring, and as Edge went for a spear, Angle held up the chair, knocking Edge out and busting him wide open! The ref called for the bell, disqualifying Angle for using the steel chair. After the bout, Angle went to use the chair again, but Edge battled back and chased Angle away!

Torrie Wilson was getting ready backstage when she was approached by Billy Kidman. Billy said he had a Cruiserweight Title match against Tajiri tonight, and said he knew they had their past together, but he was going to take Tajiri’s title. He wished them both the best of luck, and Torrie gave him a hug.
As they hugged, Tajiri came over and started screaming in Japanese! Tajiri asked Torrie for a kiss for luck, which Torrie gave to him. Tajiri and Torrie then walked away.

That match was up next, as Tajiri — accompanied by Torrie — defended the Cruiserweight Championship against Kidman. Kidman tried to put Tajiri away with the Shooting Star Press, but the champion moved out of the way. Tajiri then kicked Kidman in the face, but Kidman kicked out at two! Tajiri tried to lock Kidman in the Tarantula, but Kidman threw him to the outside. Tajiri put the Cruiserweight Title on the ring apron and then got back into the ring, finally locking Kidman in the Tarantula! Afraid Kidman might use the title, Torrie moved it. But Tajiri went to look for it, and it wasn’t there — and then Kidman rolled Tajiri up to become the new Cruiserweight Champion! After the bout, Tajiri grabbed the microphone and yelled at Torrie in Japanese, and then walked out on her!

Backstage, Mr. McMahon said he was OK with Kidman as Cruiserweight Champion, but the one title change he couldn’t get out of his head was that no-good Maven losing the Hardcore Title before he could bring it to SmackDown! Vince told Hardcore Holly to teach Maven a lesson tonight, and Holly said that if he had been the trainer for Tough Enough 1, Maven wouldn’t have lasted a single day. Stacy Keibler then entered Mr. McMahon’s locker room, much to his delight.

Moments later, Vince McMahon was sitting in his office when he was approached by D-Von Dudley. D-Von told Vince to forget about Stacy, and asked Vince who the hell he thought he was to split up the Dudley Boyz. D-Von told Vince to testify about what the hell was going on. Vince said he would be happy to — he said he wanted to draft both Dudleys for SmackDown!, and Flair had found that out and split the team up. Vince said Flair had chosen Bubba Ray, and he had no alternative but to take what he thought was the best brother — D-Von. Vince said maybe he was wrong. He said he thought D-Von was maybe ready to step up and climb the ladder of success. Vince then told D-Von to get the hell out of his office and stay there until D-Von figured out who the hell he was, because he has high hopes for D-Von Dudley. He told D-Von not to come back until he was ready to be a superstar.

Al Snow and Maven were talking, and Al told Maven that a year ago, Maven was a school teacher, and now he was a three-time Hardcore Champion. Al added that a year ago, Maven would have had to go to the worst part of town to get beat up as bad as Hardcore Holly would beat him up tonight on SmackDown!

That match was up next. Maven put up a heck of a fight, but Holly battled back and dominated the youngster, finally putting him away with the Alabama Slam for the pinfall.

The main event on SmackDown! pitted The Rock against Chris Jericho. The two men didn’t even wait to get in the ring — the fight started on the entranceway as Rock was heading to the ring! The brutal battle saw Jericho attempt a flying forearm, only to miss The Rock and accidentally hit referee Tim White!

Rock downed Jericho, and locked Y2J in the sharpshooter! Kurt Angle soon ran down, and Rock broke the hold to chase Angle from the ring. Jericho bodyslammed Rock, and then went for the People’s Elbow — only to be met by a spinebuster! The Rock then went for a People’s Elbow of his own, only to be hit by Angle, who also nailed Rock with an Angle Slam! Rock kicked out of the pinfall attempt at two, however. Angle stuck around outside the ring a bit too long, and was blindsided by Edge, who chased him through the crowd.

Rock went for the Rock Bottom, but Jericho battled out, and hit a modified bulldog. Jericho then went for the Lionsault but missed, and Rock nailed the Rock Bottom to pick up the win! Rock celebrated his win as SmackDown! went off the air!

Nicole Thomas

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