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PostSubject: 2003 Discussion   Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:40 pm

Discuss 2003 in Smackdown
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:57 am

Kurt Angle vs Undertaker - WWE Championship - Smackdown 04.09.2003
Another great example of the amazing chemistry that these two have with each other. Loved the start of the match with Taker trying to play Angle's style and Kurt mixing his game up a little with some bridge pins. They set the ankle lock up nicely from the get go with Taker saying he wont tap even if Kurt breaks his ankle which obviously gives them a good reasoning for the lengthy ankle lock segments. The real shining trophy of their matches for me is the reversal sequences that they do and they really help to smoothen out the ankle lock segments of the match and makes the match incredible entertaining. Taker's selling of the ankle is really sublte but brilliant. Doesn't overdo it but enough to show the effects of it. The submission reversals from both men work better for the long finish than just throwing big bombs at each other and kicking out of them. The Lesnar interference at the end is a shame but it's free TV so what can expect. Not as good as their NWO 06 match but that's too be expected I guess. Need to watch their SD 06 match to see where that holds against this and NWO.

****
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:58 am

Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle - WWE Championship - IronMan Match - Smackdown 18.09.2003
One of the best solo performances in a match ever here from Lesnar for me. It's so refreshing to see a 60 minute match that doesn't try to be a technical masterpiece but realises they have so much time to tell so many stories in it and take full advantage of it. Lesnar's heel performance is a thing of beauty. If you wanted to convice somebody who was the greatest wrestler ever and you only had one match to show them I don't think many people could doubt your decision for Lesnar upon watching this match. It's a damn tragedy how short his WWE run given how great he was on in under 2 years. It's just a relief that they pushed him to the moon and back as quickly as they did.

The first fall of the match I'd marry if it wasn't so frowned upon. Lesnar beating Kurt down with a chair to gain the decisive advantage in the match is a thing of beauty. Lesnar's stalling prior to the DQ really gets the crowd on his back perfectly and is the ideal instigator to his heel masterpiece. Cole does a fantastic job also of getting Lesnar's heel showing over with viewers by pushing forward the prospect of this being a wrestling masterpiece and showing genuine annoyance and Brock's determination to stop it being that and cheating his way to the title. The DQ is really effective not only in setting the direction of the match up perfectly but Kurt never gets a real control segment in the match besides some short comebacks which compliments the first fall perfectly.

Lesnar's cocky swagger after his masterplan comes into play is great and even using Angle's finishers to gain another fall of him are great. Angle tapping out but kicking out of the angle slam was pretty smart given how he could have been seriously screwed if Brock was allowed to keep the ankle lock on longer but then kicks out of his other finisher so not to fall to far behind and back up the reasoning for tapping out.

At Summerslam they established that in a straight up wrestling match Angle could beat Lesnar and they use that match as the roots for Lesnar's tactics here really well. At the start of the match in particular before the first fall where Angle outwrestles Lesnar to a certain degree and Lesnar clearly shows his anger at Summerslam happening all over again. Angle busting out the F5 on the ring post that Lesnar had been using was a really cool touch to, especially doing it to Brock's leg which Angle could and did attack afterwards.

The F5 on the outside is a really great spot too. There was almost a really annoying flaw before it where Brock came back into the ring to break the count where he could have got a fall if he stayed in there. Brock being Brock though just goes back and drops Angle on his head before heading back to pick up the count out fall. I was so glad they let each guy get a pin after a top rope superplex/belly to bell suplex seeing as it's always a small gripe for me how wrestlers never seem to get a pinfall after such a big moves like a superplex. Angle busting out the Anglesault was great too and always looks incredible. His top rope dropkick with an insane amount of air was great too.

There's loads of other great stuff going on in the match like Cole telling the viewers about halfway in that UPN had given them extra time incase of a tie for overtime to set up the finish and make the viewers actually believe that it could go to overtime and Kurt may be able to pull it back to 5 all. The only minor problem I had was with 3 minutes left how Kurt just decided to waste about 60-90 seconds just suplexing Lesnar about the ring rather than locking in a submission or going for his angle slam. Speaking of suplexes Lesnar's belly to belly on Kurt where he doesn't even arch his back is phenomenal. Lesnar literally throwing the ref halfway across the ring by his belt to count his pinfall after he knocked him down himself was awesome too. The ref bump was unusually done fantastically well too. Angle being pushed into the ref first but holding back before Lesnar just charges for Angle but misses and just wipes the ref out rather than how Kurt held back just beforehand.

Lesnar's constant cheating is simply beautiful and such a fantastic solo performance which really makes the match a classic for me. My favourite Ironman match ever, period and will definitely be very high on my list I'd imagine. Lots of Shift 8's for this one.

****3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:59 am

Team Angle vs Los Guerreros - WWE Tag Team Championships - Smackdown 06.02.2003
Awesome tag match here and I was suprised just how good it was seeing as I hadn't really seen a lotta praise for it previously. I was obviously expecting it to be good given the teams involved but it surpassed my expectations for it quite easily. Both teams do their usual stuff which works well but the last 5 or so minutes are such a blast. They go to tornado rules and they manage to make it look like the finish could come at any moment for a good 3-4 minutes. The Guerreros top rope suplex/frog splash double team was a great addition to the match. Chavo looks like a maniac running all over the ring to take out one of Team Angle so Eddie can finish the other off interrupted but no matter how many times he does so there's always one of them there to break the pin. The finish is a great touch too for the title change with Eddie seemingly having the match won but pinning the illegal opponent only for Haas to come from nowhere and roll and unsuspecting Eddie up for the pin. Was a real nice treat of a match as I expected a good TV match but got something really great.

***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:00 am

Rey Mysterio v Brock Lesnar (Smackdown!, 12/11/03)
- Well this was pretty terrific. These two work the 'big v little' dynamic together about as well as any pair in history. Lesnar just manhandles Rey early on, throwing him across the ring when they tie up, mocking him because he's tiny, and at one point he picks Rey clean up off the ground by his ankle and chucks him across the ring. If you gave someone a real life Super Soldier Serum, you'd get another Brock Lesnar. They do a great Tom and Jerry bit where Lesnar chases Rey in and around the ring for about 30 seconds, and when Lesnar stops to catch his breath the crowd start up a massive "you tapped out" chant (he tapped to the Crossface in a match with Benoit the week before). Couple super nifty spots on the floor as well. First Rey goes for a seated senton off the apron, but Brock catches him and hoists him up for a powerbomb, so Rey rolls through and sort of sunset flips Lesnar back-first into the gueardrail. Then he does another seated senton and hurricanranas him into the ring post. Brock's also a guy that's about as fast and agile as he is freakishly strong, so when he runs at Rey and Rey dropkicks him in the knee to send him flying face-first into the middle turbuckle, you can buy him having built up enough momentum for something like that to actually happen. You don't get that same sense with a lot of the big guys Rey works with (shit, you don't get it with a lot of big guys in general). Eventually Lesnar manages to pluck Rey out the air and takes over by just kicking him in the balls. Everything Brock does looks as nasty and vicious as you'd think. He always had awesome looking offence, but Rey completely hurls himself around for all of it like most guys can't and it makes it stand out even more. Thought the 619 set up was pretty great here as well. First Rey sneaks in a revenge low blow by kicking the middle rope into Lesnar's groin, then he dropkicks him and Lesnar kind of trips and falls across the middle rope (still selling his nads). Rey is still on the apron, so he just runs along it and swings around the ring post to hit it. The string of nearfalls after that gets a TON of heat, then Lesnar catches him again and fucking PLANTS him with a sick powerbomb. The Brock Lock/stretch muffler at the end looked hideous. I mean, fuck, talk about breaking someone in half.
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:04 am

Tajiri vs. Rey Mysterio - SD 9/4/03
[Only admins are allowed to see this link] ... re=related

They both come in as babyfaces & work a pretty even sprint. It's great. It's their 4th best match together from what I've seen, so you don't need to go out of your way to check it out, but they match up really well & bust out bunches of swank stuff & still take the time to sell all of it. I'd put Tajiri in that Eddie/Punk/Jericho tier of Rey opponents: he can eat all of Rey's offense believably & work slick sequences, but he can also turn up the offense & deliver an effective beatdown. This felt comparable to Rey/Punk from Armageddon 08. Tajiri turns at the end of the match, which sets up...

NOMINATE:
Tajiri vs. Rey Mysterio - Smackdown 9/25/03
[Only admins are allowed to see this link] ... re=related

Again, the chemistry is evident, but here, they have the face/heel dynamic to work with. Tajiri targets Rey's ribs, & it's beautiful. Rey sells everything like a champ, & Tajiri never goes away from the ribs on his cutoffs. Makes the whole thing feel coherent, & I loved the simplicity of Tajiri's cutoffs. He kicked Rey in the ribs a lot. Perfect. All the kicks looked great. They also work some great shtick with a teased misting early. Tajiri distracts the ref to set it up, but Rey kicks his face. Tajiri's response is gold. Finish is awesome, too, as it plays off the 9/4 match.

Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin - Smackdown 5/22/03
Terrific tag match, one of the best WWE tags of the decade. Couldn't pick a favorite from this series when we did the WWF/E poll, but now I'm convinced this one is the best. Eddie's FIP spell is so terrific. All the timing, Eddie's selling, the focus of the work on Eddie's back/neck, Tajiri's saves: it's perfect. Opening stretch was a bunch of fun, & the finish was a blast. Eddie sold after he made the hot tag. Tajiri is a really fun hot tag, & Eddie's shtick is gold. Y'all know that.


Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri vs. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas - Smackdown 5/29/03 & Smackdown 7/3/03
Both of these are still great. The ladder match is really fun, too, but y'all don't need to see it. For a while, I was thinking the 5/29 match might be my favorite. The transition to Tajiri's FIP is great, & his FIP spell is great, too. But they cut it a bit short, & then there are some structural oddities. Eddie looks great off the hot tag but then fights 2-on-1 forever, & there's really no reason why the ref lets WGTT both stay in the whole time. And then Eddie tags Tajiri back in, so the injured partner is legal throughout the finishing stretch. But Tajiri turns in a remarkable performance, throwing nasty kicks with the good leg while selling the shit out of the bad one, so it's all good. Finish is fun again. The 7/3 match is a blast. Eddie's shine is great, & then Eddie kills it on the apron throughout the match, & then the post match is a riot, too. But the finish stretch, while fun, is more about setting up Eddie's turn than it is about the match, so yeah. Awesome series.
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:04 am

Billy Kidman vs. Eddie Guerrero – 01/02/03
I must say, I expected this to be better than it was. I’m a fan of both guys and things were definitely starting out well, but then a brawl erupts that kills any momentum the match had going for it. Both guys try to regain what they had going but nada, everything seems kind of half-way effective after that. Cena’s on commentary rapping his heart out and taking the piss out of Eddie’s haircut and it’s probably the most memorable thing about this match . Kidman even botches the powerbomb/faceplant counter, that’s his THING, he’s not allowed to botch that! I can’t remember much else other than feeling underwhelmed. Skippable. Sadly.

**1/2

Team Angle vs. Benoit & Edge – 01/16/03 NOMINATED
Now we’re back on track. This is special, there’s something indescribable in the air. Haas & Benjamin debuted the week before and I can’t recall any debutants looking THIS GOOD. It feels like they’re rookies getting their shot at the big time and they don’t want to give Vince any reason to fire them. Angle plays the chickenshit coach who has his guys do all the dirty work yet he capitalizes when the opponents are weak. By God, that suited Angle to a tee. I miss this Angle, he was the perfect mix of comedy and wrestling. Despite not normally being a huge fan of Edge, I found him to really effective here as the FIP. Benoit was the #1 contender here, and from this, you’d have sworn he was getting the title. Great stuff, it’s on my list for sure.

****1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:05 am

Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio – 01/23/03 RECOMMENDED
Sterling was asking about Angle/Rey matches and this is definitely one to check out. These two just complement each other to no end. This only goes around 7 minutes or so but it’s all balls to the wall action. It’s kind of weird seeing Rey be this athletic in a WWE-environment since I’m used to this more toned-down style these days. Rey’s just a pesky fly sprinting all over the ring and Angle’s trying his damn best to stop him. The finish is certainly one of the more unique ones that I’ve ever seen. (It's not an Ankle Lock!) It puts over Angle as a real champ. Excellent stuff, I’ll put it on my list for now but I don’t think it’ll last when I think ‘Have there been 100 better matches in the last decade?’. Even still, check it out.

***1/2

WGTT vs. Benoit & Edge – 01/30/03 RECOMMENDED
This was a #1 contender’s match for the Tag-Titles. If anything, this just nurtured my love for Team Angle. Angle starts out on commentary but turns into a manager. Kurt’s a great manager shouting ‘CRIPPLE HIM’ and ‘WORK THAT JOINT’. Benoit’s crazy in this, that suicide dive man. Edge works the FIP again but I don’t think it’s as good as last time. This started out excellent in the first few minutes, then levelled out and never really reached great heights again. It verged on it at times, but not to the point of me voting for it.

***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:05 am

WGTT vs. Los Guerreros – 02/06/03 RECOMMENDED
Ah, Los Guerreros, I do love you so. This is the match where WGTT win the titles like a month after their debut. Heyman’s at ringside for them too, and everybody knows how good he is. Eddie makes sure the let WGTT know that this isn’t the amateurs, but still shows that he can get down with the best of them when it comes to ground-based wrestling . It’s kind of like the seniors showing the rookies how it’s done WWE-style. My only real complaint about this would be Chavo. He’s just too annoying, there’d be something decent going on and he’d run in trying to break it up, but he looks shit doing it, so it feels counter-productive. Literally nobody cares for him, the crowd chant ‘boring’ while Chavo tries to get some support from his faithful. It’s kinda embarrassing. That doesn’t derail things too much though, Eddie’s doing most of the work anyway. There’s one of the cooler double-teams I’ve ever seen in a superplex/frog-splash sequence. The ending stretch is FUN too, where Los Guerreros are going all out only to make one slip of judgment and it costs them everything. Splendid, just splendid.

****

Matt Hardy vs. Billy Kidman – 03/06/03
This was neat, very neat. Especially for 5 minutes. Matt was in full-on Version 1.0 mode which is where I like him best. As per usual, Shannon’s a great stooge. Kidman‘s in the mood to get his title back and doesn’t botch anything this time. YES. Despite landing hard on his ass early on, he makes a great attempt at coming back, but alas, Mattitude reigns supreme. Really bossy sprint, but it won’t be anywhere near my list.

***1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:06 am

WGTT vs. Kidman & Mysterio – 03/13/03 RECOMMENDED
Haas & Benjamin continue their hot streak. Seemingly, these guys just can’t have a bad match. Kidman & Mysterio are one of my favourite cruisers pairings ever, so naturally I was gonna like this. I couldn’t really ask for much more in a sub-10 minute match. I actually thought this was just as good if not better than their Vengeance ’03 bout. Rey’s as fun as ever to watch, my GOD at that headscissors, he kept on spinning and spinning, it looked like a helicopter was about the take flight. Kidman has his left arm worked over like HELL and it was especially nice to see it’s not ignored but still Kidman carries on like a soldier, being careful to avoid doing anything with the arm but anytime he does, he winces in pain. WGTT bust out a new double-team to win. These guys just keep on improving and it’s refreshing to see.

***1/2

Benoit & Rhyno vs. Los Gurreros – 03/13/03 NOMINATED
This was another discovery from the pot of gold that is Smackdown ’03. The Smackdown-Six had finished up long ago but their tag-division was still on FIRE. Winner here goes to Wrestlemania so stakes are high, which is why Eddie is especially careful to not get disqualified. He has several opportunities to cheat, but he doesn’t want to risk it. He’s still great in the ring, so it’s like seeing a heel Eddie wrestle cleanly. Benoit plays a much better FIP that Edge ever did. He brings it here and it FEELS like a high-stakes match because of that. Rhyno can be great when you put him in the right situation and use him in appropriate doses, and this is one of those situations. He’s just begging for the tag, and doesn’t give Los Guerreros a chance, throwing them back in the ring whilst roaring ‘GET BACK IN THE RING BITCH!’. Towards the end, Eddie is just barely clinging on, and it’s scenes like that which raise the urgency. Unfortunately, WGTT ruin the party but it doesn’t ruin the prior 20 minutes which are all quality.

****
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:42 am

Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Misterio Jr. (WWE Smackdown 12/11/03)
-Totally forgotten great match. I think people will really like it. Rey gets a title shot in California with his family looking on. Brock is really awesome as the freakishly strong, but over confident bully. He kills Rey with a ton of brutal looking stuff, but still bump's big for him when the time comes. They do some sequences that I don't think either man could of done with any other opponent. Sick finish. ***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:01 am

Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Tajiri (WWE Smackdown 9/4/03)
-Holy shit is this great, surprised that I've never seen it talked about before. For an 8 minute WWE juniors match, it doesn't get much better. Tajiri looked like a killer here. I've never seen his kicks look (and sound) more devastating, and he just had the aura of a man that could legit end your life at any moment if he pleased. Rey is Rey(that phrase is getting old), and he sells the beating and makes comebacks like only he can. He hits a suicide dive about half way through that was just insane. Awesome post match too, makes me wanna watch every match these two ever had right now. Not sure if this will make my list, but it's certainly worth everyone's time. ***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:06 am

Brock Lesnar vs. Chris Benoit (WWE Smackdown 12/4/03)
-Not quite as good as remembered, but still fantastic and one of the better WWE matches of the year. The point of this was to get Benoit over as a bad ass, and the toughest man in wrestling. It worked. Benoit beat John Cena earlier in the show in a fairly long match to get this opportunity. In an awesome segment before the match started, A-Train, one of Benoit's biggest rivals at the time, met with the FBI backstage and bet 10 grand on Chris to win. Great. Very focused match, with Brock just beating the hell out of him. A lot of Brock's offense was brutal looking moves like a delayed finisherman's suplex, an insane deadlift German, gorilla press slams, and maybe the best F-5 ever. It all accentuated Brock's power, and Benoit's ability to tough it out and comeback. Benoit's comebacks were excellent too. At one point as a payback spot, he whipped Brock into one of the best looking steel steps bumps I've ever seen. The finish here is semi-famous and even a little hard to watch, but it was perfect for what they were going for. This had great crowd heat by the end, and it felt like the people genuinely cared about Benoit. I think this match played as big a part in the company deciding to have him main event WM 20 as any. Should be somewhere in the middle of my list. ****
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:12 am

2003 Smackdown - Kurt Angle vs Undertaker
This definitely stands out as one of the best Undertaker gimmickless matches ever. Certainly a top contender for his best ever TV match too. He put in a fabulous performance, along with Angle. This did feel like one of the most important and epic TV matches in company history. It was a special match that was far more memorable than most of the PPV stuff you see nowadays.

The backstory was good, with Taker declaring Angle was the very best wrestler in the world and attempting to sit back on his throne, while Angle was putting the emphasis on doing the unthinkable - make the Deadman tap. Things like the satredowns and facial expressions conveyed the storytelling very well. There was a great little metaphorical power struggle and feeling out stage in the beginning. There was meaningful mat work with both guys trying to establish their dominance with some gritty back and forth stuff.

They emphasised that Taker was the powerhouse and owned the brawling game, while Angle was the superior pure wrestler. However, both guys adapted to step it up to the other - with Taker getting down on the mat with Kurt and Kurt standing toe to toe with Taker in the power game. Both guys explored some elements they usually don't, so we got two very complete performances and an intriguing story as a consequence. This was a very unique style of match by Undertaker's standards. There was actually a lot of logic and strategy in his performance.

Awesome turning point with Taker being outwrestled, so drops Angle with a huge punch - the first strike of the whole match up until this point - to effectively say "We've played your game, now let's play mine". He then proceeds to beat the shit out of Angle and makes the match go through on his terms. I'm sure Andy will like this match, as there weren't many suplexes thrwon out of nowhere. The only ones that were meant something from a storytelling persepective. Angle focused on take down based offence, which was generally awesome. This, along with his countless ways of transitioning into the Ankle Lock - formulated a smart game plan from his side of things by trying to cut the big man down to his size and damaging his leg.

The go home sequence lasted almost 10 minutes, so the clmiax was both lengthy and epic. Drama, storytelling, excitement - this had it all for the latter half of the match. The constant focus on the Ankle Lock was great because it created a mini match in itself and fit in with the story - that Angle was desperate to make Taker tap and to do this to such a force he would have to lock it in much more than he had to on any other wrestler before to get the results. Plenty of finisher overkill, but I found myself enjoying it rather than shaking my head. It just seemed to fit without feeling tacky. Superb contest.

****1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:31 am

Smackdown 2003 - Brock Lesnar vs Rey Mysterio
Awesome character shown in this match. Brock straight out laughs at Mysterio and mocks him in the beginning. Then there's the always awesome rag dolling sequences, which are as good as any powerhouse vs Rey match there has ever been. The cat and mouse section that follows is greatness. Rey baits Lesnar in and gets him more and more frustrated as the match goes on. Rey's on fire the whole match and Lesnar plays that arrogant, hateable heel better here than most of his other performances. Just wish it was a bit longer.

***1/2 - ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:37 am

Rey Vs Hardy - SD June 5th 2003
Mysterio had been cheated out of the win at WM when Hardy used the ropes, and despite a groin injury, was determined to win the CW title for the first time in WWE. Rey tries his best to end it early, hitting Matt hard and fast with his unique offence, but Matt keeps coming back for more, and eventually the groin injury becomes something Matt can exploit, and a low blow puts Matt firmly in control. The heat Matt got from the low blow was great too, as all the fans knew Rey had the injury, and for someone to kick a man in the balls with a groin injury is just pure evil lol. Since Matt can't go to work on the balls of Mysterio without being DQ'd, he targets the area around there, attacking the upper leg of Rey. It works on 2 levels; keeping Rey grounded, and still causing a shit load of pain to his groin. Nice.

Rey's selling is truly awesome in this match, I especially loved the 619 attempt. Rey positions Hardy for the 619, then limps slow as hell to the other side of the ring to bounce off the ropes. He is so slow, that before he can even make it to the other side, Hardy has recovered and chop blocks the fuck out of Rey.

Hardy is just as determined to beat Rey as Rey is to beat him, which is evident when Hardy throws out huge bombs like the Side Effect from the second rope, and a HUGE second rope leg drop, only for Rey to kick out and keep going. Rey's signature moves are failing him too, but only in the sense that he can't execute them because of his injury and the leg work by Matt, so he does the one move that Matt hasn't even tried yet; the Twist of Fate! Matt barely kicks out, and the match continues a little longer, before Matt finally goes for his main finisher... only for Rey to roll him up and get the 3!

Much better than I remembered it, and much better than when I watched it a few days ago as well. Pretty incredible CW match for TV, and it also had that big match feel to it that I do so love. ***3/4 for it atm, and it might very well make it on my list somewhere on the lower end!
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:23 am

Los Guerreros v Charlie Hass & Shelton Benjamin (Smackdown!, 2/6/03)
- Great stuff. Eddie turns in yet another performance that average wrestlers would struggle to achieve once in their lifetimes, yet still something he could do on an off day. There's some brief choppy parts, but you can see the Guerreros are good enough to brings things back again and keep it going nicely. Finishing stretch is pretty choice, and I wasn't expecting the finish, which was good in its own right. I know Mike loves this series, and I'm looking forward to finally digging into it myself for the first time in years. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:26 am

Los Guerreros v Matt Hardy & Shannon Moore (Smackdown!, 5/1/03)
- Superb 5 minute sprint, and one of the better matches that last this long you'll see. I really have no idea why, but as soon as I watched this I thought Cal would dig it. Who knows?
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:27 am

Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri v Charlie Hass & Shelton Benjamin (Smackdown!, 5/22/03)
- Jiminy fucking Christmas this was great. MUCH better than the ladder match, due in no small part to Hass and Benjamin not being shit scared this time. Eddie rocks the house AGAIN here, and I'm sure you're all fed up with me going on and on about how good he is, but really, he's so fucking great in his role in this. Mike will know since I'm pretty sure he loves this match (I know he loves the series in general). One spot in particular really blew me away, where he does this Lucha sequence with Hass and ends up reversing a leg sweep into a hurricanrana. A fuckin' LEG SWEEP. It was ALLLLLL that. Post-hot tag is naturally hot as Hell and Eddie does what not enough people do and that's sell the previous beating DURING the babyfaces coming back. I had no idea who won this and there were a couple moments I was buying the heels winning because Eddie was selling the ass whipping and surprised me when he showed up to break the pin attempt. One of the main things I dislike about the haled No Mercy tag is that everything's so go-go-go that there isn't a whole lot of time to sell effectively. Eddie works this by showing that you don't need to do a million things a minute to have a fucking awesome match. Finish is perfect Eddie and one of the best of its kind I've seen. This is pretty much a lock for the bottom half of my list somewhere. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:31 am

Smackdown May 22, 2003
WWE Tag Team titles: Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri © vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin (Team Angle)

This match takes place 4 days after Eddie and Tajiri beat Team Angle in a ladder match at Judgment Day. Team Angle’s main goal is to get the Tag Titles back before Kurt Angle returns from neck surgery 2 weeks after this.

Team Angle gets frustrated pretty early at the start of the match. They have a mountain of pressure on their shoulders since Kurt is returning so soon and they don’t want to disappoint him. Eddie and Tajiri keep the young tag team off their game early by using frequent tags so Team Angle can’t get comfortable. The roles are switched from the usual tag formula as Eddie and Tajiri dominate the heels early before a smooth blind tag turns the tide in favor of the rookies. Eddie then plays face in peril and he does it beautifully. In a moment of hope, he has an opportunity at the Frog Splash, but Haas gets his knees up and Eddie’s midsection becomes the target for the former champions. Haas of Pain, but Shelton makes a big rookie mistake by following Tajiri instead of guarding the submission attempt and Eddie gets saved. I have to keep harping on Eddie’s selling here. Team Angle’s offense is also fabulous and makes tons of sense considering the ladder match 4 days prior and Eddie’s weakened back. They’re building the hot tag so well here as you can just tell that one side wants to stop it from happeneing, and the other NEEDS it to happen.

Eddie finally makes the HAWT TAG~! (even though the camera was focused on the replay of Eddie’s last offense). Tajiri’s offense is unique enough to get the crowd behind him. The match finishes quickly after with one of the first instances of Eddie doing something illegal and then framing the opponent. Crowd pops huge for that and it’s a DQ against Team Angle.

Great match. Total old school vibes and there’s a reason why that always works. Crowd wasn’t as hot as you would think they would have been considering this opened the show, but minor gripes. The finish didn’t bother me because it was so fresh to see at the time (and even got a smile out of me almost 6 years later) . Eddie looked like a star and Team Angle had more ammunition for their complaints of being the champions. The clock is ticking for Haas and Benjamin.

***3/4

Smackdown May 29, 2003
WWE Tag Team titles: Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri © vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin (Team Angle)

Angle returns next week. Team Angle jumps the champions before they can realize it. They’re very desperate and they know this is their last chance to get the gold back before Kurt returns. No more fucking around. They single out Eddie as per their raping of him last week. Eddie gets beatdown, but he’s had time to heal and gets a quick tag to Tajiri before anymore damage can be done. Tajiri does his always enjoyable routine before he gets his legged kicked out from under him in a nasty looking spot. Tajiri’s biggest weapon is then dissected apart by Team Angle. Crowd is better this week, really getting on Team Angle’s case. They shrug the crowd off and concentrate on the goal at hand: Win the Tag Titles tonight, no later. Eddie is pacing on the apron desperate to get in there. In fact he gets so amped up he just runs in the ring to save Tajiri from his beating. Eventually he gets in and the place pops like crazy. Eddie proceeds to OWN Haas and Benjamin like they’ve never been OWNED before. That doesn’t last long as Eddie fought with his heart against 2 guys in their twenties, so they take him out and force him to tag back in Tajiri. Great little touch as Haas reverses a Tornado DDT into a Northern Lights Suplex and Haas hooks Tajiri’s injured leg. Another cool moment as Tajiri misses a kick and Haas just runs through the injured leg and gets the Haas of Pain. All but over but Eddie rings the bell to get Haas to let go. Brilliant actually. Then we see another Eddie moment as he gets Team Angle DQed again. Fantastic.

The middle portion was better in their match the week prior, but the finishing sequence and the hot crowd almost make up for it. Just under their last match overall.

***1/2

Smackdown July 3, 2003
WWE Tag Team titles: Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri © vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin (World’s Greatest Tag Team)

Team Angle is no more. Haas and Benjamin are now going by The World’s Greatest Tag Team. They have no angry mentor looking over their shoulder to criticize their wrong doings. It’s all on them now. Nothing to lose this time. They wrestle with more confidence here and show they’re a better team determined to win the titles. In keeping with the series so far, the WGTT pick an opponent (Tajiri) and work a body part (back). HEEL TACTICS~! Work over Tajiri as Eddie paces like he did in their last match. His temper is building (as you would see after the match). More work on the back and Tajiri is getting ravaged. The crowd is boiling for Eddie to get in there. Tajiri gets one last brutal kick to the head and it’s Eddie babay! BONZO GONZO breaks out and it’s fucking greatness. Toward the end of said GONZO, Tajiri gets superkicked onto the hood of Eddie’s low rider, which distracts Eddie long enough for the WGTT to pick up the win on him. Also it turns out Eddie is awesome and he didn’t care about Tajiri, just the finish on his car. It’s pretty much shot so might as well suplex him through the windshield. R.I.P. Eddie.

What a shock, another great match between the two teams. Tajiri took a nice beating in the match and the finishing stretch was great. Better than their second match but just a hair behind the first imo due to Eddie’s great sell job in that one. Still an awesome TV match. I really could watch these teams go all day.

***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:33 am

Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri v Charlie Hass & Shelton Benjamin (Smackdown!, 7/3/03)
- Not sure whether I prefer this or their first Smackdown! match (from 5/22), but both are great regardless. Crowd is completely nuts for Eddie here, giving him a huge ovation when he takes both Hass and Benjamin out in a flurry at the start. He's so animated on the apron so people are popping like crazy for him running in to break up a pin attempt before sprinting back to the corner, grabbing the tag rope and holding it in the air for everybody to see. At one point he does something to make the tag rope extend all the way into the middle of the apron and Cole's reaction to it is great; like that pesky Guerrero is up to something again. Crowd eat it up big time. Everything post-hot tag is great, but the finish seemed a little off, probably because of a miscue. Tajiri's bump from the apron onto the hood of the car was sweet, though. Post-match is awesome, especially Eddie's antics. I love the way he walks up to Tajiri as if he's afraid to touch him to see if he's okay for fear of breaking his bones with mere contact. Then he rolls off the hood like a lifeless sack and Eddie shits himself when he sees the state of his car, which is the point where everybody realises it's the car he's concerned for, not Tajiri. Some people's reaction to it is priceless. Hindsight being a beautiful thing, you see this and think there's a lot of mileage in an Eddie heel run at this point, but given his character, there was no way people were going to boo him for too long. I don't think I'll end up voting for both this and the 5/22 match, but I'll likely vote for one of them. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:41 am

Kurt Angle v The Undertaker (Smackdown!, 9/4/03)
- Great match. Finishing stretch is Angle reversal mania, but he at least continually went for the ankle lock, which almost meant the lack of built to it in the rest of the match didn't matter since each time he put it on it was "weakening the ankle" even more for the next attempt. Undertaker was always able to reign him in outside of the finishing run anyway, and here he does it again, working some smart sequences and transitions. The first big transition which leads into his stretch on offence is great as they've pretty much stuck to working the mat for the opening minutes, but then 'Taker gets fed up with that nonsene and pastes Kurt in the chin with a big right hand. He works him over about as well as you'd think. Kurt's got some smart hope spots as well, especially the sleeper hold. And his triple Germans come at the right time and don't feel superflous. Finish is what it is, but Lesnar killing both of them with a chair was fuggin' awesome. I'm not as high on this as Callum, but fans of these guys should love it and I'm voting for it myself. ****
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:02 am

Smackdown 2003 (4th of December) – Chris Benoit vs Brock Lesnar
They have a bunch of storytelling elements to incorporate into this one. Benoit’s the grizzled veteran on a hot streak, with a massive desire to win the big one for the first time ever. He also has Lesnar’s number and has made him tap out previously. Brock is pissed off big time because of this and promises that Benoit will tap out tonight. Then there’s the underdog babyface vs super strong monster that you could never go wrong with when it involved Lesnar and a guy who was willing to ragdoll for him. Benoit does just that, with typically excellent selling. He screams in pain during submissions, doubles over and gasps as his abdomen is continually battered by knees and throws himself around when he’s on the receiving end of Brock’s collosal offence. Lesnar was awesome as an angry wrecking ball and Benoit was always terrific at putting over his opponents offence – so this was never any less than great.

Benoit’s sound at his fighting babyface role, as he continually tries to find a chink in his opponents armour but gets cut off whenever he starts to turn the tables. The timing for the comeback teases, cut offs and momentum shifts is all done well. Brock focuses literally all of his offence on Benoit’s abdomen to set up for the Brock Lock, and he delivers that strategy flawlessly. He must kick Benoit’s stomach to get out of trouble at least 15 times throughout the match, so the continuity was spot on. Chris was always at his best when he had to play the guy with the odds stacked against him, so the fact that he had already wrestled that night made it even more dramatic. I loved Benoit having his body smashed into the steel steps, then after a while staggering to the apron, pulling Lesnar to the outside by his ankle and slamming him into those same steps. Awesome payback spot and it sums up his character perfectly. Outside of maybe 3 chops, Benoit doesn’t hit a single signature spot until there’s less than 5 minutes to go. It’s definitely a standout Benoit performance in that regard.

They sell the fact that Lesnar is perhaps the hardest man in the world to lock the Crossface on, with some great struggles down the stretch. As he fights for it at one point he can only get as far as an armbar before Lesnar slams him down, but Benoit holds on and locks in the move finally. That was a neat sequence. We then get a ref bump and a phantom tap out, none of which were all that necessary. Lesnar realises he’s in huge trouble and F5’s a distracted Benoit, going for the pin afterwards. I thought because of the backstory that made for some strong psychology development, with Lesnar getting desperate and trying to survive the man he had previously underestimated. He has to resort to cheating and then finally Benoit passes out after showcasing tremendous resillience. This is one of the most memorable matches in Smackdown history, a great match to remember Brock by and a gutsy Benoit performance that shows what he could do best. If this happened at Wrestlemania and had a feel good title win people would undoubtetly hold it in the same regard as the WM XX triple threat. I find that a little disheartening because this match outclassed that in many regards. Overall they’re about even if you take into account everything but this was a smarter, more focused match with less faults and less holdbacks.


****1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:14 am

Chris Benoit v Brock Lesnar (Smackdown!, 12/4/03)
This is something I wouldn't hesitate to call really, really good, and I'm pretty sure I'll have it on my list by the end, but it's a match I've always liked less than the majority seems to.

Lesnar was on a real hot streak at this point, and you could tell they were gearing Benoit up for a run with the belt, which the finish pretty much reinforces. Story is set from the outset with the hometown boy looking to take the title from this athletic monster, and his banged up ribs (which I'm assuming came about in the match with Cena earlier in the night?) come into play before the match even officially starts. Lesnar's got the perfect kind of moveset to make a beatdown look great, btw. He's so strong too, so he can pretty much do anything provided the oppnent is willing to let him. Benoit's a terrific seller, and they both play off each other really well.

I watched this last night as the first match in a fairly long marathon of random matches, so I'm drawing a blank on a lot of the specifics, but the general overview is that Lesnar works the ribs, Benoit, through guts and determination, fights his way back into it, and comes within an inch of winning the belt only to be undone by a ref' bump and a chair shot/NASTY submission combination at the end. Him passing out as opposed to tapping out is about as good a finish as one could hope for, really. I'm not sure where people are expecting this to wind up, but I'll probably have it somewhere in my bottom 30. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:28 am

Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio - Smackdown 12/11/2003
Some folks refer to matches like Styles/Angle or the Benoit/Angle Cage Match as "popcorn fun," and I can get that. I generally enjoy those kinda matches, with big spots and cool counters and WURKRATE and zero logic.

But, you know, this Lesnar/Mysterio match is every bit as fun as those matches, but it also makes sense, which is kinda nice. They set up the big man/little man dynamic well, with Lesnar overpowering Mysterio early. And Brock heels it up well, sounding like a total douche when he looks at Rey and says, "You're just a little guy!" But you can tell Rey's brain is churning, trying to find a way to hurt a guy who's fucking twice his size. So he runs all around the ring, making Lesnar chase him, wearing him down and frustrating him. I probably wouldn't call Brock Lesnar a big dumb ogre to his face, but he plays the big dumb ogre role really well here.

And it doesn't really get too complicated. Everything makes sense and looks good. Rey hits some crazy spots that look like they might actually be able to topple the big guy, and whenever Brock gets a hold of Rey, he fucking punishes him. Just a really fun dynamic. Plus, the match happened in California, which means the crowd is red hot and totally behind Rey.

Not sure about a rating (I'll probably re-watch it at some point and do a more in-depth write-up), but I'd probably put it around ****.
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