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WWF Smackdown 3.01.2001

WWF SMACKDOWN
Thursday, March 1st, 2001

Taped (2/27) from the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, AZ

List of WWF Champions at the time:
●  WWF World Heavyweight Champion: The Rock (2/25/2001)
●  WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho (1/21/2001)
●  WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz (1/21/2001)
●  WWF European Champion: Test (1/22/2001)
●  WWF Hardcore Champion: The Big Show (2/25/2001)
●  WWF Women’s Champion: Ivory (11/02/2000)
●  WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko (4/27/2000)

~ Smackdown comes on the air and goes right to the intro with Michael Cole welcoming us to the show. But instead of Jerry “The King” Lawler, we have Jim Ross taking the seat next to him since Lawler is long gone from the WWF.

~ Things kick off with Kurt Angle making his way to the ring and getting on the mic for our opening segment. Angle starts by mentioning the various titles he’s held, feeling there’s not a goal in his life he hasn’t accomplished. However Angle says he’s upset for not accomplishing one goal on Raw last Monday in breaking The Rock’s ankle and even plays a clip from Monday on the OvalTron to show just how close he was to crippling him. After the crowd responds Angle asks them if they prefer the Rock as champion and the fans cheer in response so he decides to show Rock in all his glory by showing the footage from Raw again, this time in slow motion. Angle claims a few seconds later and Rock’s ankle would have been shattered if not for Steve Austin’s interference. Angle tells Austin he may have thought he was saving The Rock, but he did something far worse; he made him angry. Angle also points out what Rock did after Austin came to his aid, showing him setting up to give Austin the Rock Bottom. Angle tells both Austin and Rock they can tear each other apart at Wrestlemania, but tonight he gets that job himself and challenges either man to face him while saying the first man to walk out will get carried out on a stretcher. It doesn’t take long for Steve Austin to be that first man as he comes out to the ring and gets on the mic. Austin tells Angle he was hearing him talking about his title and awards in the back but isn’t impressed one bit. Austin talks about what Angle said about beating either him or the Rock while saying he and Rock aren’t pals but he does have a vested interest in the WWF Champion’s health while he could care less about Angle’s health. Austin asks the fans if they want him to beat Angle up and they respond in the affirmitive.

However The Rock now decides to come out to join the discussion in the ring. Rock starts off by accusing Angle of trying to stir things up between he and Austin but that’s fine with him because they have something Angle doesn’t have: a date with destiny at Wrestlemania. Rock then turns to Austin and tells him that despite his vested interest in him, he doesn’t want nor need his help. Angle tries to interject with what he sees but Rock shuts him down before promising to be the one that whips him. Rock and Austin stare at each other just before Vince McMahon comes out to the ring along with William Regal. Vince takes the mic and says he’s impressed with Angle for having the gaul to challenge either Austin and Rock and decides to answer the question by booking Rock in a WWF Title defense against William Regal tonight. Vince says as a result Austin gets Angle but Austin decides not to wait and starts hammering away on Angle while Rock also starts working over Regal and clears him from the ring. Austin does the same to Angle and Angle and Regal retreat while Austin and Rock stand tall in the ring as we go to commercial. Once again we needed 15 minutes to set up the two main matches for tonight.

~ Back from break JR and Cole talk about Matt Hardy and Lita supposedly getting together two weeks ago and even shows a clip. After that Lillian Garcia interviews Jeff Hardy backstage about Matt and Lita’s developing relationship. Jeff says he’s always considered Lita the sister he and Matt never had but apparently Matt felt differently. Jeff says Matt’s emotions took over and that there was some romantic camoflague that Matt took off them. Jeff says he may not get to see them as much as he used to but if Matt’s happy then he’s happy.

  • Matt Hardy & Lita vs. Crash Holly & Molly HollyIntergender Match

Wow, it took us almost 25 minutes to finally get to the first match. Anyway this resulted from Matt and Crash coming to blows during Lita’s win over Molly on Raw. Matt and Crash lockup to start and Crash grabs a waistlock but Matt slams him to the mat for a two count. Matt slams Crash again but misses an elbowdrop and Crash goes for a dropkick but Matt swats it away. Matt applies an armwringer, Crash reverses it and goes into a hammerlock but Matt slips out and shoves him. Crash rams Matt into a turnbuckle but Matt fights back as we get a shot of Jeff watching from the back. Matt whips Crash not seeing Molly tag herself in and Crash floats over Matt before both Hollys trip him and follow up with a double suplex for a two count. Matt yells at Molly before tagging Lita in and both ladies lockup and Molly hits an armdrag into an armbar then wrenches the arm while hitting it on the mat. Molly goes for a suplex but Lita counters into a rollup for a two count. Lita goes for the Twist of Fate but Molly counters with a Northern Lights suplex for a two count. Molly chops Lita and whips her but Lita comes back with the flying headscissors. Molly hits a back suplex and both lades tag in their partners. Matt hammers away at Crash capping off with a discus punch then hits a clothesline for a two count. Matt whips Crash into a corner then drops to the mat and Lita launches off him for a flying clothesline. Molly comes in and throws Lita across the ring by the hair and both ladies head out to the floor to fight. Crash whips Matt into a powerslam for a two count then goes for a whip but Matt reverses him into a corner. Matt charges at Crash and eats a boot but Lita trips Crash from teh floor and pulls him into the ringpost. Molly climbs to the top rope and hits a somersaultsenton on Matt but Lita dopkicks Molly for the save. Crash throws Lita through the ropes and Matt exchanges punches with him then goes for a backdrop. Crash flips out of it but Matt ducks while Lita climbs to the top rope and hits a huricanrana on Crash. Lita pops Molly off the arpon while Matt hits the Twist of Fate on Crash for the pin. (4:09) Solid enough match with some nice spots. Matt and Lita then celebrate their win with another display of affetcion. **

~ Backstage Kurt Angle is preparing for his match when Christian comes in saying he saw what happened and that Steve Austin’s attack on him reeked. Angle promises to take out “that cheapshot artist” while Chrstian mentions the Dudleys injuring Edge’s back at No Way Out promising to get revenge once he recovers. Angle reminds Chrisitan he lost the WWF Championship but instead of sitting around and crying he almost put Rock in a wheelchair. Angle urges Christian to take the initiatve without waiting for Edge and tells Chrsitian to make a statement just like he’s going to do tonight when he breaks Austin’s ankle. Christian thanks Angle for the advice and heads out as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the building and see the Arizona Diamondbacks in the crowd tonight.

~ Backstage Eddie Guerrero is meeting with Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn who ask if he spoke to Chris Benoit. Eddie isn’t sure what his comrades mean as clips of Benoit and Eddie’s miscue during their match on Raw cut in. Malenko and Saturn tell Eddie all four of them need to get on the same page when Benoit comes into the room. Eddie tells Benoit he may have thought he wasn’t there for him on Monday but promises to be in his corner tonight. Benoit responds by telling Eddie that he doesn’t trust him right now and demands he stay out of his business. Benoit warns Eddie not to come out to the ring or even watch on a monitor or the two of them will have it out. Eddie takes offense to Benoit’s tone reminding him he’s bled for him and been there for him every step of the way. Saturn and Malenko try to smooth things over telling them to get through tonight and sort this out tomorrow. Benoit then dares Eddie to prove him wrong with his Latino Heat and Eddie angrily storms off.

~ We then get footage of Bubba Ray Dudley getting attacked by Christian during the preceding segment. Bubba was talking to someone on a pay phone when Christian comes up and beats him down with a chair. Christian then says he’ll tell Edge “Wassup” and leaves Bubba laying on the floor as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we find Ivory, The Goodfather and Bull Buchanan standing outside a door for some reason. Ivory mentions that Steven Richards is interrogating Val Venis and Goodfather asks if the rumors are true. Ivory says Richards will find out the true and Buchanan says he better for everything that’s right and just.

~ Out in the arena JR and Cole announce that Vince McMahon has just signed a six-man tag match for later tonight with D’Von Dudley teaming up with The Undertaker and Kane against Christian and his two partners Rikishi and Haku.

  • Chris Benoit vs. X-Pac (w/Justin Credible)

X-Pac got that upset pin over Benoit on Raw so here’s his chance for revenge. After both men enter the ring Eddie Guerrero makes his way out and joins the announcers for commentary and Benoit is not happy with this. X-Pac tries to get in a sneak attack but Benoit catches him with a chop and stomps X-Pac down in a corner then hits a backbreaker for a two count. Saturn, Malenko and Terri then make their way out to ringside while Benoit kicks X-Pac down in a corner then goes out to the floor to confront Eddie but Malenko holds him back while Eddie claims to be on his side. Benoit climbs back in the ring when X-Pac hammers him with chops and kicks but Benoit starts to fight back. Benoit goes for a whip but X-Pac reverses and leaps on his back with a sleeperhold and Benoit begins to fade. Outside JR asks Eddie if he’s better than Benoit and Eddie quietly says they maybe should find out about it. Ooh. Back in the ring Benoit manages to fight out of the hold and comes off the ropes but runs right into a spinkick for a two count. X-Pac whips Benoit into another sleeper but Benoit counters into a back suplex then climbs to the top rope. Benoit connects with the diving headbutt but can’t make the immediate cover and both men are down. Benoit is to his feet first and hits a clothesline then whips X-Pac and connects with another clothesline. Benoit whips X-Pac into a corner and hits a German suplex then holds on and hits the second German suplex. Benoit looks for a third German when Credible gets his attention allowing X-Pac to kick him below the belt. Eddie runs in and knocks X-Pac right into a Crossface from Benoit and X-Pac taps out. (3:39) Well it took too much interference but hey, it’s still X-Pac doing a job. Okay match but the outside stuff distracted from it. **

Credible goes in the ring to help X-Pac out but Malenko and Saturn also go in and stomp Credible down. Malenko comes off the ropes with a forearm that knocks Credible into a Northern Lights Suplex from Saturn. However Benoit glares at Eddie for getting involved in his match despite his warning and Eddie just walks off.

~ The Rock and William Regal are both shown heading to the ring for their match as we go to commercial.

~ This week’s Wrestlemania moment is several clips from Wrestlemania III in 1987.

~ Back from break the Right To Censor is still waiting outside a door when Steven Richards comes out of the room tells his comrades that the worst may have happened and they should be patient and ready to take action. Richards heads back into the room and we can hear him screaming at Val Venis for some reason.

  • WWF WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: The Rock © vs. William Regal

Regal comes out and gets on the mic asking if people think he got this title shot from his association with Vince. Regal says he earned this title shot through his superior wrestling ability and once he becomes WWF Champion tonight he will move on to defend the title at Wrestlemania. Regal attacks Rock as he slides in the ring and lays the boots to him. Rock starts to fight back and goes for a whip when Regal reveses it but Rock hits a flying clothesline. Rock goes for a whip but Regal countes into a Russian legsweep for a two count then hits the kneelifts. Regal goes out to the floor and drapes Rock on the apron then clubs him in the chest before climbing back in. Rock again fights back and hits a DDT for a near fall as we see Steve Austin wating the action from the back. Regal hits a back suplex for his own two count then knocks Rock down and chokes him with his own forearms. Regal turns it into a chinlock and Rock manages to fight out of it and goes for a whip but Regal counters it. Regal goes for his own whip but Rock reverses into a belly-to-belly throw and fires away on him with rights. Rock goes for the Smackdown, Regal ducks it and goes for the inverted neckbreaker but Rock slips out of it. Rock hits the spinebuster. Rock puts Regal in the Sharpshooter when Kurt Angle tries to run in the ring but Rock goes over and decks him. However Angle makes it into the ring and attacks Rock resulting in a DQ. (3:16) Could have been a decent match but was crammed into three minutes and hada dumb finish as well.

Angle then tries to put Rock in the Anklelock again but Rock manages to roll out to the floor to avoid it. Rock then brings a chair back in the ring and Angle bails out to the floor but Regal gets nailed with it.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Rock narrowly avoding the Anklelock in his match with William Regal. We then find Regal speaking with Vince asking if he’s disappointed that he failed to beat Rock for the title. Vince tells Regal he’s a winner in his book and says that this is part of a much bigger plan he has.

~ Back in the arena JR and Cole try their hand at making us care about the XFL by talking about Jessie Ventura’s issues with New York Hitmen coach Rusty Tillman. Cole and JR then mention this Saturday on NBC the Hitmen are back in action against the Los Angeles Xtreme. Could there be another confrontation? More importantly, do we even still care?

~ Backstage The Right to Censor are still waiting when Steven Richards and Val Venis finally emerge from the room. Richards says Val has confessed his transgression and tells his comrades they know what to do as he stands aside. The Goodfather and Bull Buchanan then beat Val down while yelling at him for being weak and Ivory gets in a slap. Richards tells Val this is for his own good and instructs his men to drag him somewhere as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a look at WWF New York, this site for Sunday Night Heat live every week.

~ We then get a replay of Val Venis pay the price for something he did at the hands of his RTC comrades. Out in the arena the RTC drag Val to the ring and Richards gets on the mic to hopefully explain this to all of us. Richards starts by saying the temptations of the world can sometimes be too much for even the strongest to avoid. Richards says the RTC aren’t perfect but they understand the evils of the world and strive for morality and decency. Richards hands the mic over to Val who says once he could look at himself in the mirror but now he disgusts himself. Val says he fell of the straight and narrow path by giving into lust because he wasn’t strong enough to turn away. Val drops to his knee sobbing as he tells his comrades he’s sorry for letting them down and doesn’t deserve their pity. Val adds he can’t change the past but promises to cleanse himself of the immorality in his heart with their help. Richards then asks everyone to forgive Val just like the RTC has and helps Val up before all five of them embrace. Thankfully the Acolytes interupt this scene by making their way out to the ring and clearing the ring of the RTC’ers. Richards is left behind and Bradshaw hits the Clothesline from Hades and Faarooq follows it up with a powerbomb. I read that The Kat was supposed to cause Val’s transgression and stir up the RTC but her firing scrubbed those plans.

~ The Undertaker and Kane are shown heading to the ring for the six-man tag as we go to commercial.

  • The Undertaker, Kane & D’Von Dudley vs. Christian, Rikishi & Haku

Christian took Bubba Ray Dudley out earlier plus Taker and Kane still have their issues with Rikishi and Haku so here we are. Taker and Rikishi start off by exchanging shots and Taker gets the advantage and hits a right hand. Taker whips Rikishi into a corner and clotheslines him them comes off the ropes but runs into a Samoan Drop. Rikishi follows up with a massive legdrop then whips him but Taker comes back with a flying clothesline. Taker grabs Rikishi’s arm then walks the top rope and clubs him in the back then gets on shots on his partners. Kane tags in and hammers Rikishi but Rikishi comes back with a chop then whips him but lowers the head. Kane kicks the face and follows up with a clothesline then climbs to the top rope and hits the flying clothesline. D’Von tags in and goes for a Sunset Flip but can’t get Rikishi over while Rikishi misses the sitdown splash. D’Von hits a neckbreaker then goes for a whip but Rikishi reverses him into a corner and splashes him. Rikishi clotheslines D’Von down then tags Christian in and Christian hits a backbreaker and tees off on him. Christian chokes D’Von on the mat for a two count then tags Haku in but D’Von rams him into a turnbuckle. However it doesn’t work and D’Von goes for a whip but Haku reverses him into a corner and headbutts him. Haku follows up with an elbowdrop and lays the boots to D’Von then goes for a headbutt splash but misses it. Both men start crawling to their corners and Haku tags in Christian while D’Von makes the tag to Kane. Christian ducks a clothesline and comes off the ropes but runs into a boot and Kane press slams him to the mat. Haku comes in but eats a clothesline and Kane plants Christian with a tilt-o-whirl slam as Taker nails Rikishi. Kane grabs Haku and chokeslams him while D’Von climbs to the top rope and Kane looks on with curiousity then sets Haku up and gives D’Von his own “Wassup” as D’Von hits the headbutt to the groin. Taker just rolls his eyes at this as D’Von does his dance but Rikishi comes back with a superkick on D’Von. Taker tags in and hammers away on Christian while everyone else spills out to the floor and goes at it. In the ring Taker whips Chrisian but lowers the head and Christian kicks the face but Taker no-sells it and chokeslams him. Taker follows up with the Last Ride and this one’s over. (5:48) Taker then chukcles at Kane’s actions as they both head up the ramp with their salute. Okay match but a few of the participants brought it down. Plus why did Taker have the get the deciding pin when D’Von should have won the match for his team?

~ Back from break we get a sampling of the Rock’s single “Pie” from “WWF: The Music Volume 5”. We then get clips of the McMahon family saga including Vince turning on Trish Stratus last Monday, just to make sure Vince’s storyline gets touched on.

~ Kurt Angle and Steve Austin are both shown heading to the ring for the main event as we go to commercial.

  • Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle

The past two matches between these two have ended inconcluseively so will one get a definite win over the other tonight? Before either man comes out The Rock makes his way out to join the announcers for some guest commentary. Angle goes to meet Austin on the ramp but Austin gets the early advantage and throws him back in the ring. Austin clotheslines Angle over the ropes then rams him into the announce table and has some words for Rock. Austin tosses Angle in the ring and lays the boots to him then applies a STF but Angle reaches the ropes. Austin continues stomping on Angle then applies an Abdominal Stretch and even uses the ropes for leverage. Earl Henber sees it and forces a break and Austin whips Angle but lowers the head and Angle kicks the face. Angle goes for a whip, Austin reverses it and Angle goes for a Sunset Flip but Austin just sits down on him. Austin fires away on Angle and whips him then tosses him over the ropes and goes after him on the floor. Austin rams Angle into the table before throwing him back in the ring and hitting a suplex for a two count. Austin get a pair of two counts then whips Angle looking for a Stunner but Angle blocks it into the Anklelock. Austin tries to hold on but manages to inch over and grab the rope then Angle stomps him out to the floor. Angle goes out and rams Austin into the apron but Austin fights back again but Angle rams him into the table. Angle throws Austin back in the ring and hits a pair of belly-to-belly suplexes but that only gets a two count. Angle covers Austin twice more but doesn’t get the three then lays the boots to him before applying a chinlock. Austin fights out of it and hits a back suplex but Angle comes back with a knee the chest and applies a facelock. Austin tries to inch over to the ropes for a break but that allows Angle to put his feet on the ropes for leverage. Austin manages to fight out of the hold and hits his own suplex then both men start exchnaging shots. Austin goes for a whip, Angle reverses it but Austin hits the Thesz Press and fires away at him with the rights. Austin hits the elbowdrop and drapes Angle over the middle rope then hits the straddle and stomps him down. Austin whips Angle looking for the Stunner but again Angle blocks it and hits another belly-to-belly suplex. William Regal suddenly makes his way out but Rock goes over to intercept him then tosses him in the ring. Austin starts stomping on Regal when Angle nails him and he and Regal double-team Austin for a DQ. (9:19) Another good match between Austin and Angle but not quite at the same level as their other meetings. The lame overbooked ending didn’t help, either. ***

Angle and Regal continue working over Austin while Rock sits back in no hurry to help Austin out. Austin comes back and knocks Angle and Regal’s heads together then takes Regal out with the Stunner. Austin turns toward Angle and hammers him when Rock slips into the ring and readies for a Rock Bottom. Austin eventually turns and flinches once he sees Rock and we see an interesting look on Austin’s face. Rock basically tells Austin that he could have done it and we have an uneasy staredown as we fade to black.

Conclusion: An okay episode of Smackdown but not a very memorable one as the bookers were still trying to decide how to approach Wrestlemania. There were too many talking and sports-entertainment segments with not much to show in the way of in-ring action. Also the build toward Austin/Rock was continued nicely but it would take an unusual (and polarizing) turn the following show. So I can’t call this a bad episode of Smackdown because it isn’t, there’s just not much to see here except for the main event which was good but there are much better Austin/Angle matches out there. So we’ll go thumbs in the middle here.

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