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PostSubject: 2002 Discussion   Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:39 pm

Discuss 2002 in Smackdown
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:43 am

Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle v John Cena, Rey Mysterio & Edge (Smackdown!, 8/8/02)
- Super fun 6 man! Angle's got it out for Cena and he's great at taking cheap shots, but they're not typical heel shortcut cheap shots; they're 'Angle's nuttier than squirrel shit and fully expects to take a few in return' cheap shots. Cena's a perfectly fine FIP in this. You can see the signs that he'd be a good seller in the future. His character - or lack there of - is pretty funny to look back on when you compare it to the character that became the biggest draw in wrestling. It's actually weird seeing people react with indifference. Rey and Eddie bust out a couple beautiful little spots, my favourite of which is the SWANK walk-the-ropes-and-flip-into-a-headscissor-takedown spot. Finish is nice too, because I never saw the 619 coming, which is a move that's almost always easy to spot. Angle doesn't try one ankle lock in this, thus he doesn't annoy me . Nah, seriously, everybody was good in this. I'm not an Angle fan, but no matter how much of a headcase he is/was, he's not afraid of doing the job and elevating someone under him (or at least he wasn't in WWE - don't know about TNA). Total respect to him for that. Angle throwing a bitch fit afterwards is always fun. Dude's head looks like it's seriously about to pop like a balloon. Not sure this'll make my final cut, but it's one of about 3 million matches I've got on the chopping block for lower spots. It's gonna be fun and a bitch at the same time trying to whittle down a bottom 30 come ballot time...
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:44 am

Eddie Guerrero & Chavo Guerrero v Edge & Rey Mysterio (Smackdown!, 8/15/02)
- Good match, but not one I'll vote for. I forgot how much I dug Eddie's character from around this time. He's not into "Lie, Cheat and Steal" mode yet, but he's got the whole Latino Heat thing going where he works as a guy that's just an infinitely pissed off pitbull. Cole and Tazz are always harping on the fact he's got that Latino temper, and then, sure enough, Edge pisses him off so he tears in about this long haired pretty boy like he stole something. This was around the same time Eddie and Edge were kicking off a feud, so they've got some nice interactions. Rey works well with everybody and he's good, too. Well worth your time.

Eddie Guerrero & Chris Benoit v The Rock & Edge (Smackdown!, 8/22/02)
- I thought this was pretty great. One thing I'm already glad this poll has forced me to do is go back and watch a bunch of Smackdown! from 2002. Somewhere I guess I went off the period that a lot of people love, but you really did get good-great matches almost weekly. If Rock had stayed after Summerslam, there's no telling how good it could've been. Hey, I might've got my Eddie/Rock feud. Eddie and Benoit v Rock and Mysterio is now a dream match for me, too. Anyway, this was the show before Summerslam and Rock comes in with busted ribs after a HHH attack on RAW and then an ambush by Guerrero and Benoit earlier in the night. They both then jump Edge a little later, and this is the match that's made as a result. I was watching this and trying to remember what bothered me about all this "Smackdown! 6" stuff, and the only reason I could come up with is that I must've so set in my "Southern tag fomula = number one and the best~" ways at the time that any variations of it just didn't draw me in as much. It's pretty stupid reasoning, so I'm glad I can go back and re-evaluate the 6-ish month stretch. The general rule of thumb with the tags around the Heyman-booked Smackdown! era was that they seemed to be a hybrid southern tag/WORKRATE~ style, where there wouldn't be a traditional "babyface shine" period with the babyfaces working spots and shtick before going into the face in peril segment and then heading to the finish shortly after making the hot. Instead they would usually have two face in peril segments - one short and one longer - with two shorter babyface shine periods to break each other apart - one at the beginning and one after the first hot tag. The finishing stretch also tends to be longer. Sometimes things are too workrate-y to the point where they don't have much time to sell effectively and almost borders on indy-spottiness, but when it's done right it's just about always good times. This is most definitely good times, as Edge takes a short stint as the FIP before Rock gets to show his stuff in the role. Benoit and Guerrero unsurprisingly do a great job of working over both guys, especially Rock as they go for the ribs. Rock sells great in return, too. Sadly, this is the last Smackdown! match Rock would have ever (I think... might have had one more in 2003), and I'm already saddened that there won't be any more Eddie/Rock interactions on this set. BOO. Good way to go out, though. It should be interesting to see how the Angle stuff holds up from this period when I get to it, because it was around this time he started doing the stuff that annoys me. I'm hotly anticipating seeing the No Mercy tag again to see if I like it any better than about 8 months ago.
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:45 am

Rey Mysterio v Kurt Angle - Smackdown!, 9/12/02
- Another really good match. A step below their Summerslam match, but the whole 'Tom and Jerry' dynamic these two have is always money. I know Benoit is widely considered Angle's best opponent, but I could honestly watch Rey and Angle wrestle ten minute matches every day. Angle's big moves were still treated like big moves at this point, so him sneaking "out the back door" on a lax pin by Mysterio and slapping on an Ankle Lock is bought as a legit nearfall right then and there and not a precursor to more big moves and five minutes of Ankle Locks. Finish is really good, although the idea of a Super Angle Slam actually finishing a match and not being just another highspot in an Angle finishing stretch probably appeals to me more than it would others. I get on Angle's case a lot, but the guy was consistently great until around 2003 when he went crazy with the superflous finishing stretches and blowing shit off. Even then I understand why people think he was still amazing, but it ain't my cup of tea and we've been over this countless times and that's another story for another time. Low end nomination, but if I can see myself voting for something I'm tossing it on the block. Even if you watch this and immediately toss it on the "no" pile, I can't imagine you not getting ten minutes of fun out of it. There's a hooker joke in there somewhere, but I'm too tired for that shit right now (that's what she said?).
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:53 am

Edge vs. Eddie Guerrero (No Disqualification Match) – Smackdown! 09/26/02
In the summer and fall of 2002, Edge and Eddie Guerrero had a series of battles whether it was tag team matches or singles on PPV, these two ‘clicked’ and produced quality work together. This match is on Eddie’s latest DVD Viva La Raza and on the set Edge says this is one of his favorite matches ever. He loved working with Eddie because both men are so passionate about stealing the show in ways they only know how to. Well in this No DQ match they did just that and they also earned a ton of respect after it.

This is “the conclusion” of their many battles and when watching it I could tell both Edge and Eddie wanted to lay it all on the line with the chairs and ladders in the mix. All throughout the match Eddie showed his machismo by slapping his chest, taunting Edge and the crowd as he performed some of the most amazing offense. Even though Eddie played his role as heel extremely well, sometimes when a wrestler is so damn talented the people can’t help but love and cheer for and Eddie got a lot of chants.

There are many sick ladder spots in this match as they just beat the hell out of each other. Some of my favorites are Eddie’s Helo (sp?) on a ladder sandwiched Edge, the sunset flip powerbomb off a ladder which is so dangerous especially for Edge who later had a serious neck injury, and the SICK backdrop into a ladder which Eddie lands on the top of his neck! Both men had the crowd at the palm of their hands in this action packed, classic and it wouldn’t end just yet. Both men probably in the moment felt the intensity of the match and Edge rammed Eddie’s head hard into the ladder busting him open. But nothing tops the Edge-a-Cution off the top of the ladder!!!

The standing ovation both men got especially Eddie was incredible. You don’t see stuff like that every day and this is special. Earlier in the match when Eddie beat his chest it was to spite the people but in this raw moment looking at him struggle to his feet the people HAD to react with insurmountable respect. I got chills when “Latino Heat” music played. Before the final replay of the finish you can see Eddie beating his chest with love to the fans. You can see why this thing we call wrestling or sports entertainment whatever is more than just a show. This is passion and love for the performance of the greatest athletes and entertainers in the world. Eddie bares his soul here as he left bloodied, defeated but respected.
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:53 am

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit vs. Rey Mysterio – Smackdown! 09/26/02
Angle totally bashes Mysterio, his hometown San Diego, illegal immigrants and Benoit before the match. This is a homecoming for Mysterio and Angle wants to spoil all of that while also trying to gain a measure of revenge against Benoit for defeating him at Unforgiven last Sunday.

This match is just about everything in it jammed packed in what seems like a short amount of time. I mean the match may be 15 minutes I didn’t time it but it felt like seven. Angle and Benoit from the start want to eliminate Rey Mysterio from the equation so they can finish their battle to prove who the best wrestler is so the biggest little man gets tossed out earlier. Both technicians start off with the counter exchanges wrestling on the mat and riding each other.

I like Mysterio’s role in this match because every time Benoit and Angle get too comfortable suplexing each other Rey jumps in with his amazing aerial assault. Like I said before there’s a lot of action in this one and no botches whatsoever. If people enjoyed the WrestleMania 22 triple threat match then you will love the hell out of this one because it’s even better.
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:54 am

Edge vs. Kurt Angle – Smackdown! 10/03/02
In a backstage segment before the match Kurt compared himself to a Mozart symphony or a Renoir painting. Kurt says he is as close to perfection as you can get and the gold medals prove it. Edge reminds him that he isn’t perfect and the bald head proves it! So Angle sucker punches Edge as they set out to have their match. This was maybe a two minute segment and so many things were accomplished in that short amount of time. Angle continues his feud with Benoit and Mysterio, he brings up the history between him and Edge before their match thus giving the match more heat and giving himself more heat with the fans. The people want to see Angle get his ass kicked more now and they will root for Edge to do it.

This match takes place only a week after Edge’s No DQ classic with Eddie. Edge could have come into the match with rage looking to unleash it all on Angle in a fury but he doesn’t do that. Edge instead controls his anger by focusing on an attack to Angle’s shoulder. The reasoning could be Edge wanting to eliminate the Ankle Lock which is very smart. Or Edge maybe wants to injury Angle’s shoulder like Edge got his shoulder injured in their Cage Match earlier in the year. Edge continued to mobilize Angle with arm drag-arm bar take down-submissions.

One of my favorite wrestling exchanges in the entire match is when Edge has a key-lock on Angle’s arm and Angle sweeps Edge’s leg putting him on the mat straight into a pin cover with the leg hooked! Edge kicks out but he still has the key-lock in and attempts to pin Angle! I just thought that was cool.

Any time someone outwrestles Angle he’s going to be totally pissed off and he resorts to pulling hair and punching in the ropes. This is classic Angle storytelling of the Olympic Gold Medalist throwing his pure wrestling acumen out the window when someone gets the best of him at his own game.

Angle eventually takes control of the match after an Angle Slam to the floor outside of the ring. Then the assault on Edge’s mid-section begins. Edge is one of the top babyfaces I have ever rooted for and this match is one of those instances where he does an incredible job of selling an injury. Edge delivers a tremendous performance here with his eyes looking so dazed and he continues to sell all of Angle’s offense to perfection.

Continues to build and build leading up into a crazy ref bump and pin fall finish which leads to the match being restarted and ends with a decisive finish (sort of). This match is off the page and about the same level as their classic at Judgment Day.
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:54 am

Chris Benoit vs. Rey Mysterio – Smackdown! 10/03/02
“Rey Mysterio is simply breathtaking but will the Rabid Wolverine take his breath away tonight?”

We have learned that Benoit and Angle will be tag team partners in the WWE Tag Team Title Tournament and they must co-exist despite the fact that they hate each other and continue to attack each other. But they only have to co-exist while they are officially teaming up in the ring.

This is sort of a mini-dream match for me. Both men perfect their craft like no other. Benoit and Mysterio are without a doubt two of the Top 10 best workers I have ever seen. Tazz mentioned Benoit and Mysterio were in WCW for years but they never had a match together so this might be the only singles match between these two greats and they both are still in full competitive form!

Benoit immediately asserts his ruthless (or toothless) aggression on Rey-Rey by countering his tilt-a-whirl offense into back breakers, throwing him hard into the turnbuckle and chopping the shit out of the little guy! Benoit is so vicious with the knee strikes. He has no mercy for anyone. Benoit knows he must ground the high flyer and he does just that with more knees to the back.

I always found it remarkable how Mysterio can exude so much pain and desperation through his mask. Mysterio is a true underdog and you can’t help but to cheer for him to continue to fight. Mysterio uses his Lucha style to counter Benoit’s aggressive submission holds and suplexes. The fluidity of their counters and shifts in the match is simply marvelous to see. They may not have wrestled much together but with their amount of skill they create a beautiful match together. Mysterio will bump so well it looks almost too dangerous for him to be in there with Benoit.

If they’d had a match in WCW it would probably be this match which is saying a lot when you look at all the awesome stuff they did there but this is a new prime for them and the matches are only getting better.
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:55 am

Los Guerreros vs. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit (Tag Team Tournament Semi-Finals) – Smackdown! 10/17/02
Can Benoit and Angle co-exist? Can they trust each other or will Benoit destroy Angle?

The backstage segments again leading up to the big match are so entertaining and funny! Eddie is so hilarious with Benoit trying to convince him it was Angle who attacked him in a dark room. Angle and Benoit also have a funny segment where Angle says if he wanted to attack him he’d do it to his face.

Before the match even started Edge and Rey lay all four men out and when commercial break is over Eddie is in control of Benoit.

All four men work like machines in this one and even Chavo is awesome here. Los Guerreros team up against Benoit building heat for Angle for a portion of the match. Angle of course comes in on fire throwing everyone with suplexes. This tag team match is hot and as you would expect there isn’t a dull moment in site. The finish answers our questions and Benoit and Angle pick up the victory and will indeed co-exist!
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:58 am

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit - SD! 10/24/02 - Seriously, you can't go wrong with these two facing each or teaming together. This is a beautiful match. Four stars for sure.

Edge vs. Chris Benoit - SD! 10/31/02 - Edge shows his technical prowess against Benoit who is a machine during this period. Edge sells for him again like a champ.

Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle - SD! 11/14/02 - This match is a little weaker than the October match but it's probably more fun with Edge & Rey and the Guerreros at ringside. The brawl at the end is awesome.

Los Guerreros vs. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit - SD! 11/28/02 - Again, the re-match is more fun than the first encounter. The story here is Benoit and Angle trying to out-do each other again. If Angle threw a German suplex on Eddie, Benoit would have to do the same to Chavo, etc. It's a really great match.

For shits & giggles try to re-watch all of the backstage segments involving all the men. Especially the Halloween Party fight between Angle and Benoit.

I may review the bigger matches like Angle/Rey SummerSlam, Benoit/Angle Unforgiven, No Mercy and two of three falls tags, the 12/5/02 Fatal Four way and Benoit/Eddie Armageddon.

Edit - I'm not nominating it but check out Edge vs. Eddie vs. Benoit from Super Tuesday 11/12/02. It's a nice little triple threat with the usual goodness.
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:59 am

Chris Benoit vs. The Rock (WWE Smackdown 8/15/02)
-Good TV match. Not a lot to it, really. **3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:59 am

Rey Mysterio v Chris Benoit v Kurt Angle - Smackdown!, 9/26/02
- Good triple threat match. Angle and Benoit would rather go mano a mano and beat the piss out of one another so Rey's in a position of "guy on the outside looking in", and it makes for some nifty little spots and sequences. It also seems Angle's growing on me again. It's really more likely that I can't be bothered thinking about what Angle-isms annoy me anymore and I'm learning to just drink my Corona and enjoy watching him run around like a maniac, but still, it's progress, right. Doubt I'm gonna proclaim him the best in the world or anything any time soon, and his post-2002 stuff still doesn't grab me all that much, but anything before that is fine by me. Anyways, mini-ramble aside, these guys have a multitude of spots they can run off with ease, and you get to see a few of them here. Benoit getting pissed at Rey for presumably keeping him from tearing Angle's head off and just tossing his ass over the top rope like a lawn dart is probably my favourite thing about this thing. Angle playing possum on the floor up until that point and jumping him as soon as Rey's out of the way is pretty great, too. I'm not nominating it because I won't vote for it, but matches like this do reaffirm the point that this stretch of TV is really, really strong and maybe the best in company history. ***1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:22 am

Smackdown 2002 - Edge vs Eddie Guerrero (No DQ)
Looks like I'm the biggest fan of this on here. This is one of Eddie's greatest performances as a heel ever, he's one of the best wrestlers ever and he was on offence for 90% of the match. How could this not be excellent? For whatever lack of hate Edge showed, Eddie had it in spades. His intensity was off the charts, his strikes were enormous and he showed facial expressions of pure disgust and animosity towards Edge. He was on a mission to mangle the "pretty boy" just like he said he would.

I can't fault a single thing about Eddie's performance, it was perfection. Every move was hit brilliantly, the difficulty of the moves he hit was insane, he still got all the simple things right (eg cutting the big man down to his size, wearing him down using submissions). They built the match nicely at the start, without resorting to weapons until the story was set up. Lack of hate at the beginning? Don't see that argument. Eddie came out wanting to kill Edge with vicious strikes. Edge is the cookie-cutter squeaky clean babyface and I liked it that way. It set up a nice contrast between the characters.

More hate shown from him would've made this even better and my rating even higher, but it's not like I'm cutting 1/2* off it because he didn't try to end Eddie's career. He was on defence and being annhilated most of the match, so you've got to remember - survival was his first priority. For him, it's all about proving he's the better man and winning the match. He did show a greater than usual intensity anyway. When he worked Eddie's arm he had his teeth clenched and looked like he wanted to rip it off. He tried to kill Eddie with a massive Ladder shot attempt. He repeatedly bashed Eddie's head onto the top of the Ladder and busted him open. He hit some swank power moves hit with more impact than usual, including an awesome powerbomb reversal. He hit a fucking Edgecution of the top of the Ladder!

I would've liked more revenge spots and big time strikes, but I can see the reasoning behind him not going there. It's not like Eddie killed his father or something anyway. He bashed his head in with a steel chair the week prior and that was it. Besides that, the whole theme of this feud was competition and proving who was the better wrestler. With Eddie's character, that thirst for competition drive him into a crazed state - since losing eats him up inside. With Edge's character, he knows beating the lunatic who can't accept being inferior is going to hurt Eddie way more than focusing on mangling Eddie but losing the match as a consequence. He sticks to what he's best at, tries to survive and gets his long awaited revenge at the end when he finally gets an opportunity to go on offence.

Edge knew Eddie didn't care about physical pain. Hell, Eddie goes to all lengths in this match anyway - sacrificing his own safety and battering his own body to destroy Edge and beat him. Don't get me wrong, when Edge does go on offence he has a crazed look on his face and hits everything with that extra impact and intensity - but he doesn't fall into the striking game because he knows he'll get sent straight on his ass by Latino heat. The scouting throughout is awesome, as is the action. The pace is magnificent. They throw in the usual callback spots and extra layering that a blowoff match to a lengthy series has. Plenty of depth, but an awesome workrate too. Edge is on defence most of the match, which is where he works best. Flawless selling on his behalf. When Eddie sells, it's terrific too. Both men showcase exhaustion, passion and determination. You get the feeling this means everything to them. They just busted their asses off with no dull spots or breaks in the action.

This is so fresh because the feud came out of thin air. It's all about competition. No titles. No extra incentives. One guy didn't sleep with the other guys girlfriend or burn the other guys house down. This is two superb athletes simply going back to wrestling's roots and trying to prove they are the better man. It has that personal feel, but not too over the top. It's a spectacle, covers all bases and fits the context perfectly. If there were some more payoffs and revenge spots it would be even better. For what they were given, they delivered it superbly. The only thing that holds it back is contextual details.

For example, if it contained a character who it did make sense for to go crazy and demolish the heel. If the feud was deeper and more personal. If the stakes were higher. If the stage was bigger. If the importance was higher. If it was about more than just winning. If it did have more depth surrounding it that they could work into a more complex story and a more psychology focused match. Hope that makes sense. Those are the things the all time great matches have going for them. With this feud, they didn't have those extra booking advantages or the right characters to work an Austin/Hart or a Foley/HBK. For two guys working with what they're given without straying from the context however, this is brilliant.

**** - ****1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:23 am

Eddy Guerrero vs. Edge (No DQ, WWE Smackdown 9/26/02)
-Still not a huge fan of this, but it's hard to deny that it's a hell of a match. First 5 minutes or so were alright, nothing too special. Bored me a little bit, honestly. Things picked up when Edge gets a ladder out and kills the referee. Cool spot. The prop seemed random at first, but I guess it makes sense with Edge's history. Eddy catches him from behind with the same chair that gave him a concussion the week before and continues to go to work on him. He eventually grabs a ladder of his own, sandwiches Edge between the two, and gives him his Hilo. Great spot. Then he hits the famous sunset slip powerbomb off the ladder. It was a nice escalation from the Unforgiven finish too. Has anyone else ever even hit the move correctly, let alone perfectly like he did here? I seem to recall Shelton Benjamin embarrassing himself a couple times in the past while attempting it. In a spot I totally forgot about, Eddy takes a crazy looking backdrop into a ladder that's placed in the corner. The way he landed looked BRUTAL. These guys really beat the hell out of each other. The finishing spot looked goofy, though it made sense. I thought the match bordered on being a spot fest, but the use of the ladder was excellent. I'm pretty down on prop heavy WWE matches at the moment, but I'll probably end up voting for this. A high ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:24 am

Eddie Guerrero v Edge (Smackdown!, 8/29/02)
- Solid match, but a step below their Summerslam match. Less focused in terms of body part work, and it seems a little MOVEZ-y at points, but there's generally enough good stuff from a good worker and an incredible worker for it not to go that route. Edge's offence continues to annoy me a little. Finish is almost a foreshadowing of Eddie's Lie Cheat and Steal gimmick, and it's actually done really well. ***
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:25 am

Eddie Guerrero v Edge (Smackdown!, 9/26/02)
- Liked this about as much as I did the last time I watched it, which isn't all that surprising. Still not a fan of the opening period leading up to Edge murdering the referee with the ladder and Eddie then whacking him with a chair as a call-back to the previous week. It's not as if I can fault the execution -- and that goes for the entire match, btw -- but I just didn't get the sense that this was the blow off to a feud. I was probably overstating it before when I said there was a lack of hate during that first segment, because watching their feud in its entirety you get to see that it's not really a "hate feud" as opposed to a rivalry that wound up being a little more personal than usual, but... I don't know... the first five or so minutes just don't do it for me. Still, once Edge brings out the ladder things start to pick up, although that's almost a contradiction since the whole idea of using a ladder in a non-ladder match to jump off of just smacks of wanting to do cool shit for the sake of doing cool shit. I really can't see the reasoning behind climbing a ladder and taking such risks when you absolutely don't need to. Ramming it into someone's face? Gravy. Climbing up it only to be caught up there and dropped on your neck? Not so smart. Eddie adding another one into the mix seemed a little much, too. Still, it wound up giving us some great spots, and one can always look at it from the perspective of "This'll hurt me, but it'll hurt you more", especially when it comes to sandwiching your opponent between two of them and flattening him with a Hilo. The back body drop Eddie takes into the ladder in the corner is another nasty looking spot. Eddie was never afraid to take those Jerry (Estrada) bumps that would land him right on his fuggin' head. The sunset flip bomb off the ladder is one of those contradictions I was talking about, because while doing shit off a ladder when you don't need to is dumb, that's really a terrific spot. Builds off the Unforgiven finish, looks brutal, and pops the crowd like a big ol' giant balloon. The finish is cool enough, but, again, it all seems a little unnecessary to be doing shit like that in the first place. I know it sounds like I'm shitting all over this, but I still do think it's a really, really good match. My cut-off right now is around ***1/2 (although there shall be a number of exceptions for one reason or another), so this does have a good shot at making my list, but it's something I'm not really all that fond of despite recognising its merits, and those matches are the kind that I'm thinking will suffer on my final ballot to make room for other stuff that, while perhaps not quite as "good", I'd rather see being represented. If we get, say, 15 ballots, I still think this'll be present on at least 10. Maybe my own included. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:25 am

Eddie Guerrero & Chavo Guerrero v Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit (Smackdown!, 10/17/02)
- Part of the WWE tag title tourney, and a Hell of a match. I think this goes around 17 minutes, but it really flies by. Crowd are red hot for Angle and they pop for just about everything he does. Benoit plays FIP well enough and Eddie and Chavo are equally good at working him over. Can't really say much more since I watched this a couple nights ago and forgot that I did, but it's worth your time. Not on my list, however. ***1/2

Eddie Guerrero & Chavo Guerrero v Edge & Rey Mysterio (Smackdown!, 10/24/02)
- More "fun" than anything, but I'm beginning to realise that you can't go wrong with any of this stuff. This also features one of the most awesomest (that's right, awesomest) transitions of the Smackdown! six stuff I've watched so far, as Rey hits a plancha to the floor on Eddie and Chavo where the Guerreros catch him, thus giving Edge the chance to hit a baseball slide into Rey's back so he can take both Guerreros out, only Eddie and Chavo lift him up and over Edge who slides out of the ring, and they then clothesline him by using Rey's body to do it. Finish is pretty cool, too. Not something I'll vote for, but if there's something from this era that looks like it could be vote-worthy on paper, you should probably watch it because there's always the chance it will be. If it's not top 100 material, it doesn't matter because it's pretty much guaranteed to still be good anyway. ***
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:27 am

Steve Austin Vs Kurt Angle - Smackdown 10th January 2002
I couldn't resist looking through a few of the SD 02 shows that have already finished downloading lol, and I cam across this match. Both guys had come off a fantastic 2001, and they were still keeping it up here. A wonderful blend of catch as catch can style and brawling, just a shame the match didn't have a real end (though the brawl between all the major RR entrants was awesome). ATM I would probably say its their third best match together, behind SummerSlam and Unforgiven. ****

Big Show vs Undertaker - Jan 3rd 2002
This was for the Hardcore Title. Very, very fun big man match between the two, and the hardcore rules made it even more fun. 'Taker was just so fucking entertaining to me in his Big Evil heel days, and it was no different in this match. 'Taker making Show tap out was pretty huge too. Not something that would make my top 200 list, never mind top 100, but its extremely fun and I liked it a lot still. **3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:29 am

Eddie Guerrero v Kurt Angle (Smackdown!, 10/31/02)
- Was there anybody in the world better than Eddie Guerrero in 2002? Mysterio's pretty close, Liger was HUGE in the NOAH/NJ feud, Angle and Benoit were always at least solid... but Eddie was just terrific all the way through, whether he was working tags against a number of teams (Angle/Benoit, Rey/Edge, Edge/Rock, Edge/Kidman, Benoit/Kidman in WWE, the SAT in ROH) with different partners (Benoit and Chavo in WWE, Super Crazy in ROH); working straight singles matches with a number of opponents (Edge, Angle, Van Dam, Mysterio, Benoit, Rock in WWE, Low-Ki and CM Punk in IWA, Super Crazy in ROH); working feuds and gimmick matches with different guys (Van Dam and Edge, and to a much lesser extent Rock); or working multi-man matches with a handful of different partners and opponents in New Japan (Liger, Samurai, Kanemoto, Naruse, Jado, Gedo, etc), he was great in just about any environment. I'd probably put his 2002 up there with his 2004, and just behind his 1997. This is one of the better single matches on TV from '02, and Eddie gets around 10 minutes on offence, guiding Angle to a great match. I don't mean that as a slight on Angle, and it shouldn't be taken as such, but Eddie just comes across as a total pro and ring general through all of this, controlling around ten minutes of the fourteen in total. It starts off nice enough with Angle using his wrestling throws and takedowns to impose his will. Any time Eddie gets close, Angle seems to be able to pick him up and drop him like a bad habit. Then the first big spot of the match acts as the transition into Eddie's control segment as he suckers Angle into the corner, hitting a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle before folding him up with a nasty looking back suplex. I think it might have actually shook Kurt up a little, because he seems to be groggy for much of the match afterwards. Either that or he's selling it really well. Some great hope spots and subsequent cut-offs, the best of which is Angle beginning to mount a comeback, only for Eddie to spike him with a swank springboard tornado DDT out of the corner. Eddie's tornado DDT is generally a thing of beauty, but this one looked extra sweet. Most of Eddie's offence was actually built around working the head and neck of Angle, going back to some nice headlock and headscissor variations, so the DDT plays nicely into the rest of the match. Angle finally manages to hit his big comeback move by flipping Eddie over with the release German. That was always my favourite suplex that Angle would throw, because at least that one always seemed to stay relatively well protected. Some nice exchanges down the stretch, and the finish does a good job building towards the big Survivor Series tag in just over two weeks, playing off the dissention beteen Kurt and Benoit. I spoke earlier about how it's gotten to the stage now where the Smackdown! matches from this period will have to do something to make them stand out from the pack if I'm going to vote for them (because there's so many that are good), and this one manages to do that. Great stuff. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:29 am

Eddie Guerrero v Rey Mysterio (Smackdown!, 11/14/02)
- Another really good match, although given the participants it's hardly surprising. One thing I've noticed about the Smackdown! 6 stuff, or more precisely the booking of it, is that Heyman liked to tease a run to the finish mid-way through a lot of matches. It happened a lot with the tags, because you've got a hot tag and a "finishing stretch" in the middle before they go into another FIP segment that then leads to the *actual* finishing stretch. Sometimes he'd tease a run-in and a screwjob finish, but soon enough things would calm down and the match would "reset" and continue. Here you've got the opening minutes, which are really good in their own right, before Eddie drags the ref' in front of a 619 which catches him in the ribs in one of the better ref' bumps I've seen recently, and that prompts a Chavo run-in. Edge then evens things up before help arrives and the ringside area gets cleared. I was half expecting the match to be thrown out, but instead they go for another 10 minutes or so, and the end result is a great little match. These two had so many spots and sequences they could run off (Hell, all six of the Smackdown! 6 had a metric ton of shit they could do at any moment), so much so that you'd probably see something different every time they wrestled. There were a few ever so slightly choppy moments with Eddie Irish whipping Rey while calling spots that broke up the pace a little, but that's really a very minor complaint. Finish sees a nice counter to the West Coast Pop into the Lasso from El Paso, and Eddie, being the dickhead he is, uses the ropes to make sure he scores the win. This is good enough to vote for, but there's so many Eddie/Rey matches worth voting for that I'll probably leave a few off for the sake of keeping spaces for something else. Their matches together are definitely going to be well represented, anyway. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:30 am

Regal Vs RVD - SD Jan 17th 2002
Just gave this a watch, and while its only around 8 minutes long, I would say its better than their WM 18 match a few months later. RVD's kicks and Regal's stiff shots really gel together, and everything looked like it hurt. Finish involved the brass knucks that Regal was just starting to use, and it was done so well that you could see Regal reaching in his tights and doing something, but even with the camera looking at his hands and going in slow motion (on the replay), it was really difficult to tell if he had anything there or not. Worked well with the commentary too, with Cole absolutely certain that Regal used the knucks, and Lawler claiming otherwise, and of course the camera shot didn't make it obvious either way. Yeah, I'm rambling here . Good match, better than their WM18 shizzle. Not nominating it, but its a solid ***
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:33 am

Los Guerreros Vs Edge & Rey Mysterio - Smackdown October 24th 2002
Pretty sure someone talked about this not too long ago, since I remember them writing about the spot where the Guerrero's catch Rey coming off a cross body, then lift him up to avoid Edge's baseball slide, and then use Rey to knock down Edge... but dammed if I can find it again. Don't remember this match from when it aired, so I can't say if I enjoyed it more or less this time around. All I know is that I didn't think it was as great as I was expecting it to be. Still, a good TV tag match, and not spotty at all considering Rey was in it, and its a SD 6 match . Couple of sloppy moments, nothing terrible though. Usual tag match style (or Southern Style... right?) with babyfaces starting strong before moving into the FIP part of the match, ending with lots of awesomeness . Nice finish, with Eddie illegally getting involved in the match (wasn't the legal man) and putting Chavo over Edge to try and win. He looks smug on the outside, while inside Rey hits a springboard legdrop and puts Chavo on top of Edge for the win! I would also like to point out that Edge delivered a spear to Chavo that looked pretty brutal, which has to be a first for him .

Rating: *** Not something that will make my list, but its a fun match to watch, and just more good stuff from the SD 6 Era.

Kurt Angle Vs Chris Benoit - Same Show
Seems more like a PPV than a TV show with 2 big matches like this on it. Gotta love 2002 SD. This match only gets about 8 minutes, which is a shame, but we got a PPV match from them a month ago, and would get another in 2 months . Its your usual Angle/Benoit match; exchange holds on the mat, chops, suplexes, fast pace and exciting action. Always love the German Suplex where one guy (usually Angle) does a full back flip. Looks sick as fuck. Overkill finishing sequence, but I don't care, its fucking awesome anyway. Los Guerrero's screw Angle out of the win, so Angle destroys the trophy than Benoit won for winning the match. Not on the level as some of their other matches, but for TV with less than 10 minutes, this is pretty great. Another match that won't be on my list, but is still very fun to watch.

Rating: ***1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:39 am

Smackdown 2002 - Kurt Angle vs Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit vs Edge
Simple rule: if you love the Smackdown 6 era, you'll love this. If you don't, then it's probably the sort of match that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Personally, I really enjoy it. Even if it is a movesfest of sorts with only one key story - Edge's injured leg and his resillience throughout. The story pretty much carried the entire match and was the central theme though, so they didn't need to go any more complex than that. The pre match beatdown on Edge added so much to this. Edge is just the vanilla, courageous babyface with the odds stacked against him - but he just continues to fight through the pain. Contrast that with the 3 killing machines who were just made for ripping people in half and you've got a really good collection of wrestlers in there. This combination was just made for each other. Everything is so silky smooth, fluent and flat out in this. The psychology is centred around Edge's leg being attacked by all three other men, with each man showing what they're willing to put themselves through to get a shot at the title. This match alone makes the title seem more important than most of the actual title matches themselves. The theme as usual from this era was pure competition, athleticism, one-ups-man-ship and fast as lightning sequences. Never a dull moment, never a move hit wrong, never overly basic or simple stuff and nothing ever feels out of place. The match just seems to evolve and go from strength to strength as it goes on - which is why the climax is so successful. These four are masters at working the crowd and making them eat everything up. I mean, the pacing is incredible. You can tell each man is busting their ass and hitting everything with that extra bit of intensity and crispness to put on an epic display. It's such a rollercoaster ride. Benoit is the killing machine who tries to stiff the living shit out anyone he sees with those nasty chops and strikes. Angle looks at Edge's ankle like a crazed wolf licking its lips as it sees a helpless lamb caught in a fence. He's throwing suplexes left and right - which totally suits the style and type of match this is (the whole fourway concept). Eddie's just Eddie - at the peak of his powers - so everything he does is electric. Then Edge is that fighting babyface with the crowd behind him - forcing the other men to take him seriously and keen to defy the odds. He sells the leg after literally everything he does and never forgets about it. But then, when he does diving moves and such with it - it's more like him sacrificing his body in order to win rather than forgetting about the leg. Because he screams in pain whenever he hits a big move like that and lands on his leg. This pretty much epitamises everything Smackdown in 2002 was all about. It was like a "best of" collection, a celebration of the greatness they captured together. This doesn't feel tacky or glossy or cheap. It's four top athletes out to prove they're the best and because the year has just kept on building and building up until this point it feels meaningful. It's not just out of nowhere or done for the hell of it. It fits the themes they're going for, maintains some structure and psychology and gives us an awesome clash of characters and wrestling styles to make it stand out. Not the deepest match, but most importantly it's fun. As a match where you chuck four guys out of nowhere in a ring together and they create something that memorable and special, they deserve kudos. It's just that the lack of overall importance, deep story or epicness makes it fall in comparison to a Flair/Steamboat, Austin/Rock or Jumbo/Misawa. In the big picture of things, it's ultimately just a fantastic multiman match that's super fun and executed perfectly but doesn't have the right ingredients to climb the mountain of other fantastic matches that have more to them. Not a classic, but four fantastic performances and the result is a fantastic match. ****
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:41 am

Smackdown 2002 - Kurt Angle vs Steve Austin
This is the one Cal pimped at ****. Rabid crowd throughout this one, so it's always entertaining. Like Cal said, there's a perfect mixture of brawling and catch as catch can wrestling. Austin uses mindgames at the beginning, giving the intense Angle the double fingured salute twice as he tries to lock up with him. Then he frustrates Kurt on the mat, so Angle snaps and tries to throw himself at Austin numerous times in the next 5 minutes. Each time, his anger costs him and he ends up on his ass. Nice little story going on. There's plenty of stiff chops and big time strikes. They give off that big match vibe nicely and create something fairly investing - like this is a match you don't want to miss. Austin works the freshly injured shoulder using everything at his disposal - steps, ring post - you name it. It gets forgotten about way too quickly though. This is up there with Austin's 2001 performances. Angle's got a fire in his eyes as well. Unfortunately the psychology sort of goes out the window for the last 5 or more minutes. There's not enough to it and not enough of it is expanded on completely enough to make it a fantastic match. Post match stuff's good too and builds for the Rumble nicely. Great little match. There needed to be more to it though. It didn't feel complete enough.

***1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2002 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:42 am

Watched the Smackdown! 4-way from December 2002 that people love, and while I think it's really good, I doubt I'll vote for it. It's one of the better Edge performances I've seen from that year, though. It would've been ever better if Angle didn't decide to start working the wrong leg. Full credit to Edge before that stupidity - the guy sold really, really well. Thought the match as a whole went downhill when Benoit and Eddie were eliminated within a few minutes of each other. Plenty of nearfalls down the stretch, but none of them really engaged me. Like I've said a million times, I totally understand why people would love this kind of thing, but it's just not my "cup a tea" anymore. At least the leg injury gave Angle an excuse to sporadically go back to the ankle lock, so it didn't require any sort of build to it since it already had it going in. I just wish he went for the injured one. Finish is good, but that's probably because I like seeing the super Angle Slam actually finish the match for a change.
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