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WWF Smackdown 7.12.2001

WWF SMACKDOWN
Thursday, July 12th, 2001

Taped (7/10) from the BJCC Arena in Birmingham, AL

List of WWF& WCW Champions at the time:
●  WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
●  WWF Intercontinental Champion: Albert (6/28/2001)
●  WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Acolytes (7/09/2001)
●  WWF European Champion: Matt Hardy (4/26/2001)
●  WWF Hardcore Champion: Mike Awesome (6/25/2001)
●  WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: X-Pac (6/25/2001)
●  WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Booker T (3/26/2001)
●  WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion: Booker T (3/18/2001)
●  WCW World Tag Team Champions: Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire (1/14/2001)
●  WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman (7/05/2001)

~ Smackdown comes on the air with footage of a meeting Vince McMahon had with The Undertaker earlier today about him getting what he wanted. Vince tells Taker he has both Shane McMahon and Diamond Dallas Page in the ring tonight, and granted Kurt Angle may be his partner but Taker still got his match so in exchange he wants him on Team WWF. Vince then asks how Sara is doing but Taker doesn’t appreciate it and warns Vince never to mention her name again. Taker says a deal is a deal but if Vince screws with him, WCW is going to be the least of his problems.

~ We then go to the intro with Michael Cole welcoming us to the show, but instead of Tazz we have Jim Ross apparenlty taking his place at the announce table. That does not sound like a good combination.

~ Things kick off with Shane McMahon leading the WCW wrestlers to the ring and looks like we’re getting a promo. Shane gets on the mic and says how he and DDP will show WCW’s dominance against Undertaker and Kurt Angle then brags about shocking the world on Monday when a new entitiy was formed in order to take on the WWF. Shane mentions how WCW and ECW have merged into a new powerful force which will beat the WWF at InVasion but he can’t all the credit then brings out Paul Heyman and the new owner of ECW (sigh) Stephanie McMahon, along with the WWF and WCW guys that came together on Raw as ECW. Heyman takes the mic first and accuses the WWF of stealing ECW’s concepts, talent roster and even their TV network. Heyman says Vince McMahon took everything from his life so he got even by taking Vince’s future, his children. Heyman says Vince called him after running ECW out of business and offered him a job doing color commentary, but while he was sitting next to JR he was really the mole which was helping Shane out with his plan. Heyman says the info he gave Shane enabled him to buy WCW from under Vince’s nose but that wasn’t good enough. Heyman says he was also out to take the Rock of Gilbraltar of Vince’s existance and lured Stephanie to his cause by giving her the power to run her own company and make her own decisions. Heyman adds Stephanie is giving Vince the same warning he gave Vince Sr., to get out of the way or get squashed. Stephanie takes the mic and brags about she and Shane now having the power to run the WWF out of business and how they wanted their own companies because they couldn’t wait for Vince to get out of the way. Stephanie also goes into how children are always faster, smater and outlive thier partners thanks to simple evolution. Stephanie reiterates that she and Shane are out to put the WWF out of commission forever and thankfully that’s it.

So basically WCW suddenly went from a company trying to fight for television exposure to the McMahon’s kids minions in their war with their father. They never do specify how WCW/ECW is going to go about destroying the WWF, especially since nothing is on the line at InVasion, especially in the main event. I feel WCW should have had a stipulation where winning the Inagural Brawl would guarantee them TV time on the programs, then after they won said main event is where they reveal their plan to attack the WWF or whatever. That’s just my idea. Not to mention it’s a little sad to see Heyman reduced to being the McMahon kids’ lackey.

~ Backstage William Regal is expressing his outrage at the preceding promo, feeling if it wasn’t for Vince there wouldn’t be a WCW or ECW. Regal then praises Tajiri for making the right decision to stay with the WWF and asks if there’s anything he would like. Tajiri mumbles something in Japanese and Regal grants his request to do some commentary. Say what?

~ Backstage we find Vince with a forlorn look on his face when Mr. & Mrs. Austin pay him a visit to his office. Steve gets a hug from Vince but senses something wrong with him and Vince laments about his own children turning against him. Austin tries to assure Vince he still has him on his side and he even has something which will solve all his problems. That brightens Vince up and Austin heads out while Vince tells Debra how he’s looking forward to this.

~ Back from break Tajiri is joining the announcers for commentary as JR questions his ability to speak English. Tajiri responds by managing to say “Beez-nees ess a-bout to peek up.”

  • Tazz vs. Hardcore Holly

What happened on Raw has basically forced the bookers to abandon most of the stuff they were building to prior to it. Case in point, just the previous week Tazz was demanding a piece of Steve Austin for what he did to Michael Cole two weeks ago, and now Cole says his kids are asking him why “Uncle Tazz” won’t return any of Daddy’s phone calls. Tazz is out first and stares out at the announce table, allowing Hardcore to jump him from behind to start us off. Hardcore stomps Tazz down and works him over with chops then whips him into a corner and hits a clothesline. Hardcore hits a suplex and unloads on him with rights as Tajiri tries to refer to the action as a rocketbuster. Hardcore drapes Tazz over the top rope and kicks him in the chest then tosses him out through the ropes. Hardcore goes out to the floor when Tazz starts to fight back but Hardcore regains the advantage with chops. Hardcore rolls Tazz back in the ring and slams him then follows up with a ledgrop which gets him a near fall. Tazz again starts to fight back and Hardcore quickly stops that rally then kicks away at him in a corner. Hardcore whips Tazz into the opposite corner and charges but eats a boot and Tazz slaps on the Tazzmission from out of nowhere to put Hardcore out in short order. (2:34) Pretty much the same match these two had some weeks prior. JR gives Tajiri props for a good job but Tazz heads out to the announce table and smacks Tajiri in the face then beats him down and renders him unconcious with the Tazzmission. Cole tries to ask Tazz what’s gotten into him but Tazz just walks off with giving his now-former friend an answer.

~ Backstage Vince is fretting about what Austin is going to do about the Invasion but Derba doesn’t know anything. Vince feels Austin may bring him Heyman’s head on a silver platter when Austin returns…but has a guitar with him. Is he channeling the spirit of Jeff Jarrett? Vince asks if Austin is going to hit someone with the guitar but Austin says they don’t need violence right now. Austin says when he was little and had problems his father would break out the guitar and sing some songs to him which helped him forget about his homework or the bully picking on him next door or whatever else. Austin wants to give Vince that same chicken soup for the soul and starts singing “Koombyah” as Debra plugs her ears while Vince can’t believe what he’s witnessing. Austin then changes the song to a modified version of “We Are the Champions” and Vince continues his fidgeting.

~ Back from break Lance Storm makes his way to the ring for the next match but first decides to get on the mic. Storm says WWF fans are used to their cartoon charaters with their bells and whistles but he’s nothing like that and intends to prove it. However Storm gets interupted by Chris Jericho who gets on the mic to offer a rebuttal, agreeing that Storm isn’t a cartoon character, he’s a movie character because his name is really Forrest Gump. Jericho then says it’s time to get even for the beatdown he suffered on Raw then rushes the ring and it’s on.

  • Lance Storm vs. Chris Jericho

The Thrillseekers collide! Jericho comes off the ropes with a forearm then follows up with an armdrag and unloads on Storm with rights. Jericho throws Storm shoulder-first into the post then whips him but Storm hops over the ropes to the apron. Storm catches Jericho with a forearm then springboards off the top rope and connects with a flying clothesline. Storm lays the boots to Jericho and rubs his face into the mat then whips him but Jericho kicks the face. Jericho goes for an enzuigi when Storm ducks it and goes right into the Maple Leaf but Jericho grabs the rope. Storm hits a suplex then climbs to the top rope but Jericho runs up and throws Storm to the mat with an armdrag. Both men get back to their feet and exchange shots when Jericho whips Storm and nails him with an elbow. Jericho hammers Storm with chips then whips him and hits a backdrop then comes off the ropes with the bulldog. Jericho goes for the Lionsault and Storm blocks it with the knees then hits a superkick but only gets a two count. Storm goes for a suplex when Jericho flips out of it and goes for a whip but Storm rolls him into the Maple Leaf. However Jericho trips Storm by the legs to counter it then goes into the Walls of Jericho and Storm gives it up, with referee Nick Patrick even recording the submission! (2:50) Good stuff but criminally too short; these two deserve a lot more that three minutes and could have really brought the house down based on the small tidbit we saw. **½

~ Backstage Austin is still singing to Vince, this time “Camptown Ladies” while Vince is trying not to lose his mind. Kurt Angle then barges in the room but Austin tells him he has no business there while he’s trying to cheer Vince up. Austin also accuses Angle of being jealous of his special relationship with Vince and of the fact that he can sing but Angle mentions how he was in the glee club for two years. Austin then asks Angle if he can play the guitar and Angle says he can play the ukelele which has only two less strings and the two go back and forth about his abilities. Eventually Austin gives Angle a chance to show off his guitar skills and Angle plays “Jimmy Crack Corn” for Vince. Vince finally has enough and walks off and Austin accuses Angle for running Vince off with his horrible signing.

~ Back from break Trish Stratus is apologizing to Jeff Hardy for kissing him on Raw, claiming she was just caught up in the momen, but Jeff assures her he’s not mad and Trish perks right up. Matt Hardy and Lita then appear with Lita telling Trish how she wants to first settle their issues in the ring tonight before going into their tag team team match at InVasion and Trish has no problem with that.

~ Elsewhere Mike Awesome is meeting with the seamstress and demands that she make some new pants for him with both sides saying AWESOME so people can see that he’s awesome from any direction.

~ Again elsewhere Edge and Christian watch a monitor and scoff at Mike Awesome calling himself awesome, agreeing they’re the ones who reek of awesomeness and feel Awesome’s pants should really say ‘Dorkzilla’. Incdentally they’re also eating candy out of Edge’s King of the Ring trophy and don’t seem to have any issues. Looks like another possible storyline just got forgotten.

~ Yet again elsewhere Vince has gathered Austin, Angle, Jericho Undertaker and Kane together for a pep talk. Vince tries to impress upon Team WWF the serious threat lying ahead of them while Austin repeats what he says. Vince also says who they have to stick together and support each other or else they’ll get picked off one by one. Vince finally asks for a commitment from all five guys and each one of them pledge thier support for Team WWF. Looks like one-half of the Inagural Brawl is set.

~ Back from break Vince is now making his way to the ring. Are we going to get any more matches on this show, or at least segments that don’t involve him? Vince gets on the mic and brings Austin out to the ring, proclaiming him as the man to lead Team WWF at InVasion. Vince tells Austin how people feel he’s become selfish, uncaring and a proficient brown noser ever since Wrestlemania. Austin goes for a hug but Vince stops him, saying that another change is needed to face the biggest threat to the WWF. Vince tells Austin that the man he really needs to lead Team WWF isn’t someone who gives him hugs and sings songs to him, what he needs is the old Stone Cold and JR is all excited for it. Have some dignity, Ross. Vince emphasizes the leadership he needs is from the beer-swilling, foul-mouthed, havoc-raising Stone Cold that would beat him down for anything and feels Austin wants to knock him down right now, even getting the crowd to give their approval. Vince waits for it and Austin …just stands there and shakes his head ‘no’. Austin then turns and leaves the ring with his head lowered as Vince begs him to come back and lead Team WWF. Vince even cries for Austin to give him a Stunner but Austin doesn’t turn around as he heads up the ramp to the back. I don’t know what to say about that segment.

~ Back from break we get footage of Austin and Debra leaving the building during the break. Cole feels Austin has turned his back on the WWF, and just before the biggest fight of their lives. Oh, brother.

~ Backstage Vince heads toward his limo when Kurt Angle catches up and asks why he’s not staying for his match. Vince says he’s going to find Austin and talk some sense into him so he can be the leader of Team WWF at InVasion. Angle tells Vince how he can lead the team himself but Vince is insistent that the Old Stone Cold will lead Team WWF. Vince’s limo then drives off and I don’t think I like where they’re going with this.

  • Kane vs. Rhyno

Looks like they finally remembered this was a wrestling show and gave us another match after 20 minutes. BTW, is Rhyno still going to get his Hardcore Title shot at InVasion or are we going to forget about that as well? Kane gets in the first shots and hits an elbow and a knee to the chest then comes off the ropes with a clothesline. Kane whips Rhyno into a corner and hits an Avalanche then grabs Rhyno’s arm while kicking him in the chest. Kane whips Rhyno into another corner but eats an elbow then Rhyno comes out but he runs into a powerslam. Kane climbs to the top rope but Rhyno is back up and crotches Kane on the top rope and Kane falls to the floor. Rhyno goes out and throws Kane into the barrier then rolls him back in the ring and finally gets in some offense. Rhyno pounds Kane down and hits a running kknee to the head for a two count but Kane start fighting back. Kane whips Rhyno and hits an elbow and a clothesline then throws him into a corner and kicks him down. Kane whips Rhyno and hits a sidewalk slam then climbs to the top rope again and hits the flying clothesline. Kane grabs Rhyno by the throat and throws him into a corner but the referee is there and gets nailed by him. Kane goes for an Avalanche but Rhyno manages to dodge it while the referee takes the shot and is knocked out. Rhyno rolls Kane up and grabs the tights when referee Nick Patrick runs in and counts a quick three. (3:33) This actually wasn’t too bad, other than the ending. Patrick then helps Rhyno up the ramp while Kane stands in the ring not happy with what just went down. Seems weird that Patrick would help Rhyno get a cheap win but not Lance Storm earlier. Then again Rhyno ‘was’ a WWF guys while Storm is a WCW guy, so that’s something to think about.**

~ Back from break William Regal consoles Tajiri about Tazz attacking him and ruining his commentary voice then offers to get him a match with Tazz at InVasion and Tajiri lays his head on Regal’s shoulder in a show of appreciation. Earl Hebner then barges in the office to answer a summons, interrupting this tender moment, and Regal yells at him for allowing Nick Patrick to cost Kane a match when he’s the senior referee for the WWF. Regal tells Hebner to stand up for himself and even suggests that he challenge Patrick to a match at InVasion. Say what? Hebner takes that idea to heart and heads out to do just that and Regal suggests he take some referee friends with him. Seriously, a match between referees on the pay-per-view?

  • Lita vs. Trish Stratus

Looks like at least one storyline is going to get tied up prior to the pay-per-view. As mentioned Lita and Trish want to settle their issues before concentrating on taking on Stacy Kiebler and Torrie Wilson at the pay-per-view. Both ladies exchange words when Lita shoves Trish but Trish slaps her back so Lita decks her with a right. Lita whips Trish and connects with a clothesline as we get a shot of the Hardys watching the action backstage. Lita throws Trish across the ring by the hair and Trish bails out to the floor for a breather as Lita awaits her. Trish snaps Lita’s neck on the ropes then heads back in the ring and hits a snap suplex that gets a two count. Trish stomps Lita down in a corner then climbs to the top rope and grabs Lita with a hanging chokehold. Trish then comes off the top rope with a bulldog but that only gets a two count and Lita starts fighting back. Trish rakes the face to stop that and whips Lita but comes back with a shouldertackle then unloads on her. Lita drills Trish with the Twist of Fate then climbs to the top rope and hits the moonsault for the clean pin. (2:18) This wasn’t terrible and Trish was starting to show some real in-ring ability, though both ladies would have better matches much later down the road. Lita celebrates and the Hardys applaud her win when they’re greeted by Stacy who introduce themselves. While Lita and Trish watch this happening on the OvalTron Torrie kisses Jeff while Stacy kisses Matt then the two ladies walk off while Jeff seemed to enjoy it. We then get reactions from Lita and Trish and neither of them seem particulary happy with this. **

~ Back from break JR and Cole recap what happened between The Undertaker, Shane, DDP and Sara last Monday. After clips are shown Shane, DDP and Stephanie are watching a monitor and offering their thoughts on the footage. Shane feels they need to be careful since DDP is in Undertaker’s head but DDP says that’s where he wants to be.

~ Elsewhere Nick Patrick is conversing with the other two WCW referees when Earl Hebner and his crew barge in chasting Patrick for costing Kane his match against Rhyno earlier. Hebner challenges Patrick to a match at InVasion and Patrick accepts then decides to give Hebner a preview right now and the two of them starts duking it out. The other referees join the fray and everyone is fighting when the camera feed cuts out and we go to commercial. Just as well since they fight pretty badly, which makes the thought of them in a pay-per-view match shudder.

~ Back from break we get a shot of WWF New York which takes us into clips from last week’s Tough Enough.

  • WWF HARDCORE TITLE: Mike Awesome © vs. Jeff Hardy

I have a feeling this is going to solve that issue of Rhyno’s Hardcore title shot that I mentioned earlier. Sure now seems weird how Awesome, an ECW guy, worked so hard to steal the title from another ECW guy if this whole thing was “planned out” as they claim. Awesome pummels Jeff in a corner to start this off then whips him into the opposite corner and hits a splash. Awesome whips Jeff again and lowers the head, Jeff kicks the face but Awesome responds with a clothesline. Awesome goes out and throws some plunder in the ring when Jeff dropkicks a trash can into Awesome’s chest. Jeff goes out and runs along the barricade then leaps but Awesome whacks him with a trash lid in mid-air. Awesome covers Jeff on the floor for a two then whacks him with another lid and throws him into the steps. Awesome tosses Jeff back in the ring and slams him then climbs to the top rope but Jeff goes up himself and hits a hurcanarana followed by the double legdrop to the chest. Jeff brings a ladder in the ring and whacks Awesome with it then grabs a broom and climbs to the top rope before riding it down. Jeff sets the ladder up and climbs to the top but stops to pose for some reason, allowing Awesome to tip the ladder over, hot shotting Jeff on the top rope for a near fall. Awesome climbs to the top rope then goes for a Frogsplash and misses it but comes back with a German suplex. Awesome props the ladder in a corner then starts setting Jeff up for a running Awesomebomb into the ladder. However Edge& Christian run out brandishing chairs and Edge jabs Awesome to get him to release Jeff before E&C hit the ConChairto. Jeff doesn’t ask questions as he climbs to the top and hits the Swanton Bomb for the pin! (5:08) In just the span of five months Jeff has been Tag Team, Interconinental, Light Heavyweight and now Hardcore Champ. Jeff celebrates winning yet another belt while E&C head back up the ramp satisfied at their handiwork. Too bad Awesome’s title reign had to end here, it would have been cool to see him terrorize opponents in the hardcore division, especially if he was allowed to be the monster he was in ECW. **

~ Backstage Undertaker is talking with Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Kane about how he’s going to beat DDP up while Angle if he can keep his head in the game. However Angle feels that he should be the leader with Vince and Austin gone but Jericho disagrees in his own way. Angle then tries to give Jericho and Kane orders but sees the brothers staring at him and decides to yield to Taker’s leadership. Angle then heads out while Taker asks Jericho and Kane to watch their backs as we go to commercial.

  • The Undertaker & Kurt Angle vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Shane McMahon

Angle and Taker are out first followed by Shane and DDP who plot a strategy and decide to rush the ring. The two of them then go for it but when they reach the apron DDP holds up while Shane slides in by himself. Shane realizes what just happened then tries to go it alone anyway but Taker and Angle double-team him. Taker pummels Shane in a corner and hits an elbow then throws him into a belly-to-belly suplex from Angle. Angle covers Shane but Taker interputs the pin saying he’s not done with Shane then demands a tag and gets it. Taker then drags Shane to the WCW corner and demands DDP tag in but DDP backs off the apron instead. So Taker continues punishing Shane then whips him into a corner and clotheslines him as DDP looks on. Angle tags in to take over then whips Shane and hits an elbow followed by a drop toehold. Angle slaps on the Anklelock but DDP pulls Angle out to the floor and throws him into the steps. DDP then hops over the barricade and into the crowd as Taker goes out after him, since the bookers won’t give him the guts to stand his ground against him. Taker helps Angle back in the ring but Shane nails Angle with a spear. DDP finally tags into the and lays the boots to Angle then hits a short-arm clothesline and a spinning powerbomb for a two count. DDP slaps on a Camel Clutch and sits down on Angle then tags in Shane who whips Angle and hits an elbow. DDP tags back in and climbs to the top rope then connects with a flying clothesline but that only gets two. And wouldn’t yo know it, JR is still crying about how the WWF needs the old Stone Cold. Give it a rest, JR. Angle catches a kick and spins DDP around then ducks under a discus punch and makes the hot tag to Taker. Taker pounds away at DDP then whips him into a corner and hits a clothesline followed by a sidewalk slam. Taker catches Shane coming in with a clothesline then drills DDP with a DDT and follows up with the chokeslam! Taker covers DDP when Shane breaks it up but Taker doesn’t appreciate it and just shrugs off Shane’s blows. Taker decks Shane then plants him with the Last Ride while Angle comes in and puts DDP in the Anklelock. DDP looks ready to tap out when Taker shoves Angle aside and decides that he’s not done with DDP just yet. Taker pummels DDP when a bunch of WCW/ECW guys run in the ring from the crowd and this match is over. (6:15) Yep, the old nWo finish we’ve seen on so many editions of Nitro. It really is a WCW Invasion after all. **

Anyway the intruders attack Angle and Taker but the WWF guys are able to fight them off and even clear the ring. More WCW/ECW guys come in from the crowd and Angle goes out to head them off while Taker pummels DDP. Hugh Morrus makes it in the ring and pounds away on Taker then whips him but Taker comes back with a clothesline. The WCW forces swarm all over Angle on the floor when Taker dives over the ropes and takes out the whole pile. Angle and Taker start attacking everyone they see but eventually get overwhelmed as the 10-to-2 numbers take over. We then see Chris Jericho and Kane charging down the ramp… and yet nobody else is coming out with them? So the other WWF guys like the Acolytes, Billy Gunn and Big Show wouldn’t want to get a piece of WCW or something? Jericho and Kane manage to turn the tide but even more WCW/ECW guys come out and regain control of this battle while JR continues to lament that things might be different if only the old Stone Cold was here. Please stop, JR. The WCW/ECW guys throw the WWF guys back in the ring and the Dudleys take Angle out with the 3D, Lance Storm superkicks Jericho and Rhyno nails Kane with the Gore. The WCW/ECW guys hold Taker up while DDP smacks him around when Taker suddenly grabs him by the throat. However Taker is quickly subdued DDP caps off with the Diamond Cutter for good measure. Stephanie makes her way out and poses with Shane and Heyman while no one else from the WWF makes the save. And could somebody please tell JR to SHUT UP about needing the Old Stone Cold already!!

CONCLUSION: This actually wasn’t a bad episode, other than all the logic gaps in the overall build toward the pay-per-view. The in-ring action was decent for the most part and the WCW/ECW crew was finally allowed to look like a real threat to the WWF for once. But again the glaring issues seem the rear their ugly heads due to the compacted build, plus the Austin stuff was a little annoying, and it seemed to copy the Sting/WCW angle from the original nWo storyline a little too much. We’ll just go with thumbs in the middle for this one

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