Arena Reports 10/23 WWE Smackdown in Ottawa: Second detailed report incluidng Carlito vs. Hardcore
Oct 24, 2004 - 6:29:00 PM
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WWE Smackdown house show
October 23, 2004
Green Bay, Wisc.
Report by Joel Long of Ottawa, Ontario, PWTorch.com correspondent
Although, I've been a fan many years this was my first live event. I learned several things:
- Live shows are exciting, but not necessarily better than TV.
- Dawn Marie is even more attractive in person. Yowsa.
- Always take extra batteries for your digital camera.
- A lot of kids attended. That surprised me.
In the recent past the WWE changed venues from the Corel Centre (18,500 seats) to the Ottawa Civic Centre (10,000 seats). The floor and lower bowl were filled with a smattering of people in the upper deck so maybe 4,000-5,000 people in total. The crowd was into the action with appropriate reactions with the exception of heel fans behind me (funny at first but annoying as the night went on) and a screaming group of pre-pubescent girls who were, oddly enough, big Rico fans.
Show opened up with Tony Chimmel welcoming everyone and introducing Teddy Long. Teddy danced, holla hollered for a few minutes, and earned his paycheck by introducing the first match.
(1) Rene Dupree & Kenzo Suzuki (w/Hiroko) defeated Rey Mysterio & Rob Van Dam and the Dudleys (w/Dawn Marie) and the Basham Brothers in a four way elimination match for the Tag Team Titles. RVD and Rey came out first to good pops naturally. They encouraged the crowd to chant "619" and "RVD". The heel teams got equal heat with Bubba doing his usual jaw-jacking to the crowd and ripping up a fan poster. The match took an annoyingly long time to start as one the Bashams (the one growing his hair out) begged to be tagged in against Rey. He got his wish and shortly thereafter the Bashams were eliminated with a 619. The heels worked over Rey for a long time before the hot tag to RVD. Somewhere in there the Dudley's got eliminated but I was too busy taking pictures of Dawn Marie to notice. So sue me. Rey and RVD eventually lost after Rene did his sit out power move on Rey. Clean win, somewhat surprising. During the match Rene shouted out "Vive le Quebec!" which got a mix of cheers and boos since probably 30-40% of the audience was Francophone since Ottawa is located across the river from Quebec. Kenzo looks worse in person than on TV. He's not imposing, muscular, charismatic, or talented so why does he have a job? Hiroko was amusing with her mannerisms. No Fifi. After the match, RVD and Rey got the crowd to chant more. RVD looked like didn't want to leave and went around the ring slapping hands.
(2) Johnny Stamboli defeated Luther Reigns (w/Mark Jindrak). I think I remember that result correctly but maybe it was a bad dream. Pretty standard big guy match. Nothing too exciting and although there were a few chants for Johnny most people seemed more into Luther since he's been on TV a lot. Jindrak interfered a couple of times. Stamboli went for a gorilla press but couldn't get it because of an injured shoulder. I assume it wasn't a real injury but I missed the part where Luther worked over his arm. Stamboli eventually got a clean pin and then suffered the worst post-match beatdown in the history of post-match beatdowns. Jindrak came in the ring, popped him once in the jaw and Stamboli went down like a sack of potatoes. Just awful.
(3) Spike Dudley defeated Funaki and Shannon "The Road Warrior" Moore to retain the Cruiserweight Title. Damn Spike is small. Funny bit at the beginning as the ref displayed the title belt each wrestler grabbed it and stood on the ropes to either cheers (Funaki, Moore) or jeers (Spike). Spike tried to leave ringside with the belt but Funaki and Moore dragged him back and spent several minutes working him over until Moore turned on Funaki with a brutal clothesline. Rest of the match was standard 1 vs. 1 while the 3rd man rested. Another funny moment late in the match had Funaki do a plancha on Moore. Spike followed a minute later only both Moore and Funaki moved out of the way and Spike crashed to the floor. Why don't more people do that? The end came with Spike pinning Funaki while holding the ropes. Spike got decent heat and Moore got a smattering of applause for being the most athletic wrestler in the match.
Afterwards, Tony Chimmel argued with Brian Hebner pointing out that Spike used the ropes. I thought they might restart the match but nothing came of it and so we moved on to...
(4) Carlito Caribbean Cool defeated Hardcore Holly to retain the U.S. Championship. Carlito got a lot of heat but it was mostly "you-screwed-Cena" heat. He threatened to spit apple on Chimmel but didn't. Holly got a surprisingly good response. Even throughout the match there were many "Let's go Holly!" chants. He might suck on TV but in person he carries himself with such confidence that he's believable as a star. I thought this match would be a trainwreck but it was decent enough although I'm not sure who carried whom. Nothing outstanding or fancy but a solid match that Carlito won with his feet on the ropes. Lots of "Get a haircut" chants.
From the Carlito and Holly match onward, Fit Finlay sat at ringside with Chimmel. Or at least that's when I first noticed him.
(5) Big Show defeated Kurt Angle (w/Luther Reigns). Probably the best match of the night. Kurt Angle got a loud reaction and plenty of "you suck" chants. Big Show got the loudest pop of the night. He's awesome in person but looks so much like King Kong Bundy it's creepy. The first half of the match was pure comedy with Big Show putting ref Brian Hebner on the top turnbuckle and forcing him to stay there. He dominated Kurt Angle with head butts, open hand slaps, and his patented butt bump to escape the German suplex attempt. After he slapped Kurt with his open hand a couple of times, the crowd chanted "One more time!" so Big Show obliged after taking the time to hulk up. The second half of the match was more serious with Show surviving a couple of ankle locks, interference by Luther, and an Angle slam. He finally won with a choke slam. I didn't see the point of making Kurt Angle look so weak when just 12-18 months ago he was beating Big Show on a regular basis. Kurt didn't talk on the mic which was another disappointment. Overall, a good match with Big Show being more energetic than I ever seen him.
Before intermission, Torrie Wilson came out and fulfilled her contractual obligation by firing t-shirts into the crowd. What a job. Crowd liked it though.
(6) Heidenreich defeated Rico (w/ Miss Jackie). Heidenreich came to the ring in a strait jacket. No Paul Heyman. Again, I missed Smackdown so I'm guessing this was storyline related. The padded gloves look sillier in person. Rico did his usual schtick. Some people liked it, some didn't. I didn't pay too much attention to the match. A few "We want Charlie" chants started up. Surprisingly, Rico dominated most of the match until Heidenreich caught him out of the blue with a swinging-sidewalk-slam-thingy (like Abyss' Black Hole). Heidenreich didn't embarrass himself in the match but the booking made him look weak compared to Rico. I thought he was supposed to be an unstoppable monster?
(7) Chavo Guerrero defeated Billy Kidman. This was the match I'd been waiting for and man was I disappointed. It started off well enough with Kidman swaggering to the ring, smacking Chimmel with his ring coat, and jaw-jacking with the fans. At one point he was arguing almost face-to-face with a fan. Classic heel mannerisms. He hasn't been this interesting in years. Chavo, though, didn't get much of a reception. People didn't accept him as a face. The match itself was subpar with a few too many chinlocks and restholds. I can't believe two great cruiserweights put on such a lackluster match. The end saw Kidman go up for a Shooting Star Press on a prone Chavo only to have Chavo jump up and knock him onto the turnbuckle. Chavo tried to lift Kidman up for the Gory Bomb but stumbled and dropped him to the mat. They recovered nicely and Chavo hit the Gory Bomb for the win.
(8) John Bradshaw Layfield (w/ Orlando Jordan) defeated Booker T to retain the WWE Championship. JBL got the most heel heat of the night with his anti-Canadian comments. Cheap heat but effective. After Booker T hit the ring with a chair, JBL bailed to ringside and asked Hebner if he got counted out would he still retain the belt? Hebner said yes so JBL and Orlando left ringside and walked towards the exit. Hebner started a loooooong 10 count, giving Booker T enough time to catch up to the retreating heels and beat them back to the ring. The bell never rang after they returned but I assume it was an official match. They messed a spot where Orlando was supposed to grab Booker's foot as he set up for a scissors kick. Orlando wasn't in the right spot so Booker hit the move and JBL kicked out. Booker motioned for one more time and this time Orlando grabbed the foot. Rest of the match was unremarkable and for the life of me I can't remember the finish; I believe the title belt was involved. A post match beat down brought RVD and Rey Mysterio to the ring, followed by the Dudleys, Funaki and Chavo, Jindrak (I think), and finally the Big Show. The heels were defeated, and JBL got a chokeslam and a big Hogan legdrop courtesy of the Big Show. We got to see a world class Spinaroonie (the face turn is complete!) plus Booker waving the Canadian flag for a cheap pop. JBL lay in the middle of the ring after everyone left. He called for an American doctor to help him because the Canadian health care system sucks. Booo.
Overall, a fun and entertaining way to spend an evening but nothing amazing or unforgettable
(1) Big Show. Twice.
(2) Booker T
(3) RVD/Rey Mysterio
(2) Kurt Angle
(3) Carlito Caribean Cool
Best Match: Big Show vs. Kurt Angle
Biggest Surprise: Carlito Caribbean Cool vs. Hardcore Holly didn't suck
Biggest Disappointment: Chavo Guerrero vs. Billy Kidman really sucked
Most Disturbing Moment: The kid in front of me had an official John Cena teddy bear. Oh yeah, Doctor of Thugonomics. Word Life.
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