Arena Reports 10/14 WWE in London, Ont.: Gunn suffers an injury, Benoit-Hardy
Oct 15, 2002 - 12:08:00 AM
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WWE Smackdown house show report
October 14, 2002
Report by John C., PWTorch.com correspondent
This was the first WWE show in London, Ontario since 1993. I remember going to that show nine years ago and seeing probably less than 1,000 people there. No wonder they didn't come back for nine years. The main reason they did return is because of a new, 9,000 seat arena called the John Labbatt Centre (Raw's in the Molson Centre so they got the breweries tonight) that opened this past Friday. The good news is that about 90 percent of the building was full. The only parts that were empty were scattered seats around the upper bowl but not much else. I don't know if it's a good sign for WWE or if people just wanted to see the new arena. The crowd was hot for the entire three hours and there were no fights to report, at least none that I saw anyway. Billy Gunn was injured and it looked pretty serious.
Here are the results and minor details from what I can remember. I didn't take notes, but I was sober so I should remember most of the key stuff.
(1) Tajiri beat Crash Holly. Tajiri came out first and got a pretty good pop since he was the first guy we saw emerge through the curtain. Crash was the babyface and got a lot of laughs. He did some comedy bits like a test of strength and the sumo stomping before they really started the match. They went back and forth with both guys hitting their usual move. Tajiri was playing the heel but he was getting cheered a fair bit, especially for the Tarantula. The match ended with Tajiri landing a strong kick in the face at about seven minutes.
(2) Shelton Benjamin & Bull Buchanan beat John Cena & Shannon Moore. Nobody really got much of a response upon entrance here. Cena & Moore did slap hands with the kids so obviously they're the babyfaces. I've seen Benjamin a few times on heat and he impressed. He did so once again here. This was your basic tag match with the heels beating on Cena. Benjamin's offense looks really good and he bumps very well. I imagine he'll get called up very soon, hopefully before the end of the year. When Moore tagged, he nailed a flying head-scissors and a beautiful corkscrew moonsault for the close fall. Benjamin eventually got back in and won it with a move that I can only describe as a suplex that turns into a spinebuster. It went about nine minutes. If he did it on Heat when I saw him I don't recall the name. Benjamin & Moore were impressive while Cena & Buchanan were just kinda there.
(3) Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) beat Rey Mysterio to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Title. As soon as the ring announcer said Cruiserweight title everybody was going nuts. Noble came out to some solid heat while Rey got a major pop. As expected, there was really good wrestling by these two. The crowd chanted "519" for most of the match instead of "619" since that is the area code here. When Rey set it up, Nidia was there to break it up and got everybody pissed off. Shortly after, Noble rolled Mysterio up with his feet on the ropes for the win. After the match, Rey took care of Noble & Nidia by giving them a double 619 and making everybody happy. Rey was favoring his left hand after the match although he did make an appearance later so everything looks to be okay. Solid match, around ten minutes or so.
(4) Eddie & Chavo Guerrero beat Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo. This is where the injury happened. First, Eddie Guerrero had a huge bandage above his right eye covering what looks to be a huge bump. I guess it yesterday afternoon in Calgary. Second, it should be noted that Eddie Guerrero is absolutely awesome at getting heel heat. I know it's easy to see on TV, but you have to witness it live. The guy can look at a crowd and get a bunch of people chanting "Eddie Sucks" just like that. Billy & Chuck got a good face pop even though they came out to the gay music. Basically, Eddie & Chavo cheated the entire time and although I loved it, the crowd booed the hell out of them. Most of the match, Billy tried to show his ass and people cheered that. The best thing was when Eddy told him to do it and Billy starts to and Eddy punches him in the mouth. Great stuff.
Anyway, here's what happened with Billy Gunn's injury. It happened when he gave Chavo Guerrero the One and Only (Cobra Slam) and upon landing, he jammed his left arm into the mat. Within seconds the ref made the "X" signal with his arms for help to come from the back. On the other side of the ring, Eddie made Chuck tap out to the El Paso Lasso, probably earlier than planned. At first it looked like his wrist was the part that was hurt. Then, when he got up they made sure to keep his entire left arm straight. My guess is a broken bone somewhere in his left arm, probably his wrist. (Editor's Note: As reported earlier in Torch Today, Raw wrestlers were being told that Gunn suffered a shoulder injury).
(5) Brock Lesnar beat Edge to retain the WWE Title. Brock comes out first to some pretty solid heel heat. Then again, a lot of people were cheering I think because of his size. Edge came out to the biggest pop of the night probably. He grew up about two hours from here so obviously the crowd liked him. He's come a long way from the guy I saw five years ago wrestling in front of 400 people in a high school gymnasium as Sexton Hardcastle. My buddy brought a sign saying "I Think I Know You Sexton" but I don't know if he saw it. I thought it was clever sign myself. The match was very solid. All of the signature moves were done here. For the first part of the match, Brock worked over Edge's arm. Sadly though, they totally forget about it later on. It's too bad because they were building a nice story there even though Brock doesn't have a submission finisher yet. The end of the match sees Edge go to the top for the flying crossbody but Brock moves and nails referee Mike Chioda. Edge nails the Edgecution for the false victory. Lesnar gets advantage again and hits the spinebuster for the false three. Edge takes over once again following a spear but as he gets set to finish the champ off, Eddy Guerrero came in to take him down. Lesnar was able to use that distraction as lead in to the F5 for the win. It went about 12-15 minutes and was really solid, aside from the psychology mix-up early on. I'd give it about ***1/2 thanks to the many nearfalls and a really hot crowd. I'm thinking we'll see this match on PPV pretty soon. Following the match, Edge took a Canadian flag from a fan and spit on it! No, just kidding. He waved it around and we cheered like the beer drinking, "eh" saying, and igloo living Canadians that we are. Really impressive showing by both guys.
INTERMISSION: It was too packed so I figured I'd wait until later to get some food and drink.
(6) Torrie Wilson beat Dawn Marie in a Bra & Panties Match. Ah, one of the nights highlights. As soon as Bra & Panties was announced, everybody ran up as close to the ring as possible. Funaki was the special referee. Before the match, he said he was "Smackadown Numba One Announca" and that tonight he'd be the "Numba One Special Guest Referee." He generated a few laughs. Dawn Marie came out first wearing a red & black top and bottom. Torrie had on a black t-shirt and white pants. The wrestling wasn't very good but I'm not complaining. Torrie takes off Dawn's top to a good pop. Dawn takes Torrie's top off to a bigger, and I mean BIGGER, pop. They do the usual spot where they roll around over the ref. After that, Funaki poses as the crowd applauds his work. We love that guy. Torrie won after rolling up Dawn Marie and yanking off her pants. Afterwards, Torrie walked around the ring in her bra as pictures were being taken at every possible second. That was probably the biggest pop for a non-Canadian.
This is when I went for my drink and popcorn. As I was going back to my seat, I saw referee Tim White walking around. He wasn't in uniform obviously since he's still rehabbing his separated shoulder. I asked him how his shoulder was doing and he seemed surprised at the question but he said it's slowly getting better. I also asked if he thought they'd bring TV to London and he said, "there's a good chance." That made me happy. Anyway, I wished him well and that was it. At least I saw somebody. Better than nothing right?
(7) D-Von & Ron Simmons beat Big Valbowski & Billy Kidman. Getting back to my seat, I saw D-Von in the ring bashing everything Canadian basically. He took a shot at the CFL, that I completely agree with, saying the players in the league aren't that good. He's right, especially considering the CFL leader in rushing is an NFL reject, John Avery. Anyway, Val comes out to defend his home country and says that the Maple Leafs play close to here (about two hours away). Crowd loved that as anything Maple Leafs related would get a deafening pop here. Most of the match is spent chanting "Canada" or "D-Von" sucks. In the end, D-Von pinned Kidman with the reverse brainbuster that Goldust used to call The Curtain Call. I know D-Von has a name for it but he hasn't won match in so long with it that I forget now.
(8) Chris Benoit beat Matt Hardy. More Canadian goodness. This time it's the Crippler. Matt Hardy comes out first to some pretty good heel although a lot of people weren't familiar with the new character. Benoit was the face here and he was over pretty well considering he didn't grab a microphone to say Canada rules. Matt got on microphone before the match to tell Benoit that he would give him a Mattitude adjustment and reminded us that he was Matt Hardy Version 1. He's great. The match was very good. Hardy had the advantage for most of it as he played the basic heel role where he cheated at every turn and the crowd booed him loudly for it. After about six minutes, Benoit got the advantage with the three German suplexes. He followed that up with the throat slash, which of course leads to the diving headbutt. Matt kicked out of that, to the shock of the crowd, and went for Twist of Fate. Benoit reversed it beautifully and won with the best finisher in the business, the Crippler Crossface. Benoit got a huge pop and you could tell he was having fun because he smiled a fair bit.
(9) Rikishi d. Kurt Angle in a Kiss My Ass Match. Main event time. The man, the myth, the growing legend - Kurt Angle came out to awesome heel heat. Everybody is standing chanting "You Suck" and it's just an awesome feeling. Rikishi came out and was over from the start. Before the match, Angle was his usual hilarious self. He said he's kissed Rikishi's ass a lot of times before and he hates it. That's why he promises to make Rikishi kiss his Olympic ass. Everything he said was countered with "WHAT?" by the way. When he mentioned London, Ontario we popped and he had a great line: "There's not much to be proud of." Oh it's true, it's damn true. Rikishi countered by saying that not only would Angle kiss his ass but all of London, Ontario. That's a lot of ass.
The match was pretty good. They've wrestled on TV a lot so many of the spots were stuff we've seen before. It was funny early on when Angle kept running into Rikishi's ass trying different moves. Plenty of laughs for that. About seven minutes in, Angle slaps on the ankle lock but Rikishi gets to the ropes. Rikishi gets offense for a bit and misses the banzai drop in the corner thanks to a Kurt Angle knee in the nuts. Angle hits the Angle Slam for two. Then, he pulls down the straps and puts on the Ankle Lock. Rikishi manages to wrangle free of that leading to the victory via the Rikishi Driver. Haven't seen that in a while.
After the match, Angle refuses to kiss ass. I wonder, could you type that sentence about Triple H? He urges Rikishi to shake his hand and even goes so far as to hug him. Then, Angle leaves to loud boos as referee Mike Chioda tells him he has ten seconds to get back in the ring and kiss the ass or else he's suspended. Angle comes back about twelve seconds later (there goes another forgotten stipulation) and gets the advantage on Rikishi. He manages to set Rikishi up for the Stinkface in the corner but Rikishi blocks it with a punch to balls. Eventually, Rikishi nails him with the Stinkface to a thunderous pop. Following that, Bull Buchanan came back out in street clothes and got beat up. Rey Mysterio joined in on the fun by giving Bull a Stinkface of his own. Yep, it was double Stinkface night. Why Bull Buchanan and not an over heel? I don't know. It probably doesn't matter. After Angle & Bull retreat, Nidia comes down and gets the Stinkface treatment too. After they were all gone, Rikishi and Rey danced for a couple of minutes to send everybody home happy.
All in all, a great show. The crowd was lively for everything. Like I said, about 90 percent of the building was full. The good news for us is that the ring announcer said WWE would be back in the future and I also got a similar response from Tim White. Next time it could be a TV taping since the crowd was so good and there weren't as many empty seats as there are in most other buildings. Overall, a solid show from start to finish.
3. Chris Benoit
4. Rey Mysterio
5. Torrie Wilson
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