WWE News 3/23 WWE in Grand Rapids, Mich.: Detailed Smackdown/Velocity results
Mar 24, 2004 - 3:04:00 AM
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WWE Raw HOLT report
March 23, 2004
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Report by Mike Witkowski & Greg Malaric, PWTorch.com correspondents
We just got back from the Smackdown tapings in Grand Rapids, Mich. It was a surprising show, and not in the way we all hoped. I hope somebody from WWE reads this because there are a few pointers in the end. After sitting row four, lower bowl, dead center last night, we enjoyed second row dead center tonight... and if it wasn't for the quality of our seats, the show would have gotten even less praise.
First off, the arena is end-stage as it is, but probably 75 percent of the upper bowl was blocked off, as well as the entire section containing the main cameras; a really small crowd compared to last night in Detroit, and that was in Grand Rapids last August for Raw.
(1) Rico (w/Jackie) defeats Jamie Noble. This wasn't much of a match, but it was one of the better ones of the night, unfortunate for the competitors that it was a dark match... although it may be later added to Velocity.
(1) Hardcore Holly & Billy Gunn over Akio & Sakoda. There were signs of life from the crowd, with random "USA" chants, but overall, not a great opening match for TV tapings. Holly got the pin via the Alabama Slam.
(2) Mark Jindrak over Tyson Ducs. Ducs is a local, who went by the name "Textbook" back in August. Ducs prances around the ring for a bit, but Jindrak simply overpowers the small guy (resembling of a two-legged Gowan). Following the pin, Ducs stays on the mat for a while; they even brought the stretcher out, but he got up and limped away with help.
(3) Rikishi & Scotty defeat The FBI (Nunzio & Johnny Stamboli). Crowd got a little into this one, mainly behind Rikishi, no pun intended. Match lasted longer than it should have, with Rikishi hitting the Samoan drop for the pin. No stinkface, and no victory dance... sending them to the lockerroom with a chorus of boos.
Tazz's Music hits; he and Michael Cole come to ringside
We open with a clip from the draft, highlighting the new additions to Smackdown, and Paul Heyman's resignation; opening pyro.
"It's time to play the game... " Triple H's music hits, but he does not appear. Eventually Kurt Angle, in suit, comes to the ring, and he's got something to say. "The new GM is going to take SD to new heights... business over their personal life... somebody with respect and class... and that new general manager is me, Kurt Angle." Angle then announces the trades that he made for Triple H, The Dudleys... who will fight later, and Booker T, who comes to the ring.
Booker looks disappointed and yes, yes, you do smell a heel turn here. Booker proceeds to downtalk SD, saying it is "the minor leagues, and I'm better than everyone in the locker room, and the Raw fans respected me." Kurt, being the thinking man he is, agrees with Booker, tells him that he is going to higher places than he ever was on Raw, and both leave the ring.
(1) RVD over Charlie Haas. This was a quality match, and RVD was over quite nicely as the homer (Battle Creek is all of a 20min drive). The two go back and forth for a while, each hitting their respective spots. Haas exposes a turnbuckle, but for no reason as RVD rolls him up for the 1-2-3; no five-star frogsplash.
(2) Renee Dupree over Billy Kidman. This was a short match, and thankfully was intended to put Dupree over, and not to promote Kidman. Following the match, Tuganomics hits and sporting the MSU Magic Johnson, John Cena confronts Dupree. Welcome to SD, there's a few things you should know... "That's Tazz, he's a thug, and Michael Cole, he's gay... keep you're wallet/watch safe, cuz Guerrero will steal them, he still owes me 50 and he's got my ID... stay out of the bathroom after Big Show or Rikishi..." Then he tears on Dupree, as the crowd gives him some heat, closes up with "suck on these nuts," tossing a bag of nuts at him.
Backstage Eddie goes around the locker room, welcoming the new guys. RVD and Spike most specifically, though Rey and Funaki are there too (?). Then he gets to the Booker man, who is unresponsive to Eddie's words. Booker then insults Eddie and his belt, spits on the floor, and continues his degradation of Smackdown. Eddie turns away only to spear Booker into a door. The others in the locker room quickly split up the two.
(3) The Dudleys defeat The Bashams. Bashams wearing some new, velvet looking pants, a big change from the black ones. Typical tag match here. The Bashams pull a switch near the end, Devon hits the "wassup" move (whatever they call it) and a 3-D for the victory.
Backstage again, Booker and Angle are talking. Booker says how Eddie disrespected him. Well, Kurt comes back saying that maybe by the end of the night Eddie will respect a new World Champion in Booker T. A match is set for later in the night
(4) Chavo Guerrero Jr. defeats Spike Dudley. This match was actually decent, even though Bubba and D-Von., who stayed at ringside, really could have gone to the back; they seemed to take away from the match at hand as far as the crowd went. Following the match all three Dudleys were in the ring and got a respectful applause.
We are shown clips of Faarooq being fired, and Bradshaw unwilling to leave.
New music/video hits, and it's the "new" Bradsaw, coming out in a suit and white cowboy hat. He talks about how great he is, better than the general public, great stock portfolio, resume, etc. Kind of boring, but hey, it's character development. Many expected Taker to come out and beat down Bradshaw, but he ended his speech and left alone.
(5) Eddie Guerrero over Booker T. During this match the crowd was absolutely dead, and people in the floor center section stood up the whole time despite the lack of activity. This was a boring match, although understandable as Eddie has been quite active as of late (Angle pointed this out earlier in the show), fighting many consecutive nights. Lots of headlocks, wear-down moves, and mat takedowns, not the type of match we are used to from Booker, or Eddie for that matter. Finally Eddie picks it up, hits the triple suplex and a Frog Splash. During the pin, Bradshaw comes down and attacks Eddie. Why? Not really sure where the taping stops, but Bradshaw hits the Clothesline from Hell (though it may have a Wall Street name now), and celebrates on the top turnbuckle. When he goes to set up Eddie for a powerbomb(?), he gets flipped, hit with the triple suplex, and a Frog Splash of his own. Eddie drives back and celebrates at the entrance way on the top of his truck to a well deserved standing ovation (not for tonight's performance, but for recent accomplishments).
Biggest Pops (no order)
-Rico (mostly Jackie)
Most Heel Heat
-Bradshaw and Booker by default
-NOBODY ELSE - see below
Now there was a reason there were no other people receiving mentionable heat. The crowd was terrible. We already mentioned that the arena was maybe 50 percent full, but the fans there had little enthusiasm or knowledge of how to get things going. We tried to boo Booker, but people simply did not pick up on it; same with Bradshaw. Unlike Raw in Detroit, where the crowd was HOT, do not be surprised at all if there is some crowd noise added to this show.
This was my fifth Smackdown over the past few years, and was by far the worst, mostly due to a lackluster crowd, but content as well. No Taker, no Big Show, no Torrie/Sable (though Sable is out?). Granted, it was mostly a set up show, as SD does not have a PPV until May. But still. After going to WrestleMania XX, Raw last night, and finally Smackdown tonight, this show cannot even be compared to the other two, as they rank near the top of our all time list. One solution for the WWE concerning Grand Rapids and the poor attendance... the show in August was packed, tonight was poor attendance, thus to get better attendance in Grand Rapids, it should probably be a show in the summer as fewer people (mostly college students) are willing to make the drive from wherever.
We give the show a 1 out of 5 score, compared to Raw's 5 of 5.
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