This episode of Smackdown was the final stop on the road to SummerSlam 2000. There was a very memorable scene near the end of this episode. If you forget it, but you were watching at the time, you can probably remember it based on the cover photo I used for this post. Check out the previous Raw episode right here in case you missed it.
Here’s the synopsis for this episode from WWE Network.
“Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley’s sordid love triangle involving Triple H and Kurt Angle becomes even more complicated after she is forced to choose which man will be her partner against Lita & WWE Champion The Rock in the main event. Road Dogg & X-Pac battle The Undertaker in a Handicap Match. Plus, Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boyz, and many more. 14+ (D,L,V)”
Check out our WWF TV in 2000 archives in case you missed anything (Raw, Smackdown and PPV reviews) from earlier in the year. Also, make sure to visit TJRWrestling.net daily for my reviews of the current WWE shows, plus historical columns and all the relevant current news in the wrestling business. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport and tweet me to talk about this show or anything else. Let’s get to it.
WWF Smackdown #53
August 24, 2000 (Taped August 22)
From New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana
The opening video package showed a lot of the highlights from Raw involving the storyline between Triple H, Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and The Rock. Angle accidentally hit Triple H during that match. Raw ended with Lita winning the WWF Women’s Title from Stephanie in the main event. The
It was the usual impressive pyro display to start the show, the loud crowd and signs were everywhere. The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show.
Let’s Hear from Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
Stephanie looked sad as she entered the ring without the Women’s Title. Stephanie claimed she was a fighter and then said everything she’s done, she has done on her own and she’s earned everything she has. Heels lie. Stephanie complained about how she was robbed of the Women’s Title on Raw. Stephanie said that Mick Foley was hired to be a fair and just Commissioner, but that’s a joke. The fans interrupted her with “slut” chants. Here’s a creative sign about Steph and shoutout to Evan too.
Stephanie complained about how Mick picked The Rock to be the referee of her title match, which led to cheers. Stephanie said if it wasn’t for Rock then she would still be the Women’s Champion. She talked about how long she was the champion for over four months and she carried the championship with dignity, honor and pride. She called Lita tattooed, lowlife, low-class bimbo. Stephanie didn’t want an apology or sympathy – she wanted a rematch here tonight and she’s not leaving until she gets it.
Kurt Angle made his entrance to join his “good friend” Stephanie in the ring with Kurt reminding us that he is an Olympic Gold Medallist that cherishes the medals around his neck as if they were his own children. Kurt said he knows Stephanie felt the same way about the Women’s Title. Kurt said “shame on you” to Mick Foley for what he did to Stephanie and he expected that from a “no class character” like The Rock. Kurt said Foley picking Rock to referee is ridiculous like a vile, disgusting, filthy city like New Orleans calling its football team the Saints. That drew HUGE boos from the crowd because they love the Saints, so they chanted “Asshole” at Kurt. Angle said that there is another person that deserves the blame – Triple H. Angle complained about Hunter being insecure and paranoid. Angle said if Hunter was a better husband…and here’s Hunter.
The fans popped big as Hunter ran down to the ring to go after Angle. Hunter shoved Angle out of the ring. The fans cheered for Hunter in this scenario. That led to Commissioner Mick Foley joining the promo party.
Foley told them to stop bickering them about themselves, it’s about Stephanie. That led to more complaints by Stephanie. Foley said that he realized maybe The Rock wasn’t a completely impartial referee. Foley was wearing a referee shirt saying that he wanted her respect and to like him.
Foley said he found some medals that he had around his neck and said he knows that Stephanie is attracted to men with medals around their neck. Good line! Foley joked that his medals for being best camper in eighth grade and the other one was for winning a pie-eating contest. Foley said he felt inclined to grant Stephanie a rematch, but he knows that Angle and Hunter wanted to go after The Rock. Foley said there would be a mixed tag team match with Rock and Lita vs. Stephanie and either Triple H or Angle. Foley said that Stephanie gets to decide who her partner is. Stephanie had a confused look on her face while Hunter and Angle argued about it with Foley telling them to “have a nice day” as usual.
Analysis: It was the usual show opening promo to set up the main event match. Stephanie’s promo was boring and very whiny, which is what her heel character was at this point. Angle was great in terms of getting heat from the crowd and Foley had some funny lines. The segment would also lead a lot of backstage segments, which was pretty common at this time.
Triple H and Stephanie were talking in the locker room. Hunter said it’s perfect with him facing Rock while Stephanie can take care of Lita. Stephanie said that they had to talk to Kurt Angle too. Stephanie suggested that if Kurt helps Hunter at SummerSlam then it would be easier to beat The Rock. Stephanie said that they could strategize together. Hunter agreed to talk to him.
Rikishi did a pre-match promo after the Right to Censor guys were in the ring. Rikishi asked if they think they can cover him up. Rikishi teased giving the Stinkface to RTC at SummerSlam and then the camera zoomed in on Rikishi’s ass. That drew laughs, but also made me want to vomit. Rikishi introduced two good friends leading to “Save The Ho’s” chants. That led to Victoria and Mandy entering to Godfather’s old theme song.
Rikishi (w/Victoria and Mandy) vs. The Goodfather (w/Bull Buchanan and Steven Richards)
Pre-match notes: Rikishi was the face while The Goodfather and Right to Censor were heels. Rikishi was hit in the head by multiple chair shots to the head from Kane. RTC was in a six-man tag against Rikishi and Too Cool at SummerSlam.
Rikishi worked over Goodfather with punches and whipped him into the steel steps. Rikishi with a clothesline, punches, a corner whip and Goodfather came back with a clothesline of his own. Richards and Buchanan walked towards Victoria and Mandy, so Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty Too Hotty stood in front of the ladies. Rikishi hit a Samoan Drop followed by a running hip attack against the turnbuckle. Rikishi with a Banzai Drop for the pinfall win at 1:27.
Winner by pinfall: Rikishi
Analysis: * A quick match to put over Rikishi clean after he got destroyed by a chair on Raw. Goodfather barely got any offense here.
Post match, Richards jumped on Rikishi’s back and Rikishi drove him into the turnbuckle, but then Buchanan saved Richards. Rikishi, Too Cool and the ladies danced in the ring.
Analysis: It was a clever way to tease a Stinkface possibly happening at SummerSlam.
Eddie Guerrero and Chyna were talking backstage with Eddie saying it was a dream for him to win a title, but if Chyna wins then that’s okay because it will bring a smile to his face. Chyna said she’s already done that and she wanted him to taste what it is like. Eddie said as long as they’re both happy, that’s what counts.
Analysis: This would be some foreshadowing for what would eventually happen between them.
A replay aired from Raw showing Shane McMahon winning the Hardcore Title in cheap fashion.
Test, Albert and Val Venis (w/Trish Stratus) vs. Steve Blackman, Eddie Guerrero and Chyna
Pre-match notes: Val and T&A were the heels. Val and Trish were going to defend the Intercontinental Title in a tag team match against Eddie Guerrero and Chyna at SummerSlam. The trio of Eddie, Chyna and Blackman were the faces. Blackman would get a Hardcore Title rematch against Shane McMahon at SummerSlam.
The heel trio attacked from behind as Shane was shown watching on a TV backstage. Venis with a knee to Chyna, but then Chyna came back with a clothesline. Guerrero tagged in with a double suplex with Chyna. Guerrero with a punch on Venis. Foley told Shane not to interfere in this match or any match or else he’d have to defend his title tonight. Guerrero ran the ropes leading to collision spot with Venis where they each hit a forearm to the head. Blackman tagged in with kicks on all three heels. Chyna with a clothesline on Venis to the floor. Trish tried to attack Eddie from behind, but Chyna stopped her. Venis shoved Guerrero into the ring post. Chyna worked over Albert with punches. Venis with nunchucks, Guerrero ducked and Venis hit Test by mistake. Blackman covered Test for the pinfall win at 3:24.
Winners by pinfall: Steve Blackman, Eddie Guerrero and Chyna
Analysis: ** The match was okay with a lot of things happening towards the finish. It was tough to keep up with it and who the legal men were, but I guess it didn’t matter. Blackman got the win after heel miscommunication while Chyna wasn’t able to get her hands on Trish, so that made you want to check out SummerSlam. It’s similar to what we saw with Rikishi and Richards earlier too.
Angle and Stephanie were shown talking backstage on the couch. Angle said he should be her tag team partner because Triple H is a hothead that makes mistakes while Kurt won’t make mistakes. Angle said if they team up then that match won’t last more than three minutes. Angle told her that he will back her up if she picks him.
There was a video of Tazz in the parking lot where he spraypainted “Just Another Victim” and “Thug Life” onto a white car.
Tazz did a promo saying that maybe Jerry Lawler wanted to get a closer look. Lawler noted that it was his rental car. There was Jim Ross sitting in the passenger seat with JR locking himself in the seat. Tazz smashed the window with a steel pipe. Lawler went running to the back.
After a replay, they showed Lawler running to the back where Tony Garea was helping JR, who was selling as if he had a cut around his eye and he was bleeding. Tazz showed up behind Lawler and punched him repeatedly. Officials showed up to break it up.
Analysis: They kept using JR as a way to get heat in this feud. Lawler was a heel announcer, so most fans wouldn’t care about Tazz only targeting him. By using JR, it got Tazz more heel heat. I liked the build up to this SummerSlam match.
There were replays of what happened before the break with JR getting tended to by medical personnel.
Let’s Hear from Chris Jericho
It was promo time for Jericho, who was set to face Chris Benoit at SummerSlam. Jericho said that he had developed an intense hatred for Benoit. Jericho mocked Benoit with a bad impression. Jericho noted that ever since their SummerSlam match was announced, Benoit has interfered in all his matches.
Jericho said he would fight Chris Benoit in the ring, in the back, on a boat (they showed an image where Benoit’s face was edited on a boat) or with a goat and there was Benoit riding a goat. Jericho showed Benoit edited as a baseball player and even a blushing bride – the fans popped for that. Jericho said he’d fight Benoit while taking a quiz (with a dunce pack) or as the jackass that he is as they showed an image of Benoit as a donkey. Jericho said he’ll fight him any day because he is Y2J. It rhymes.
Chris Benoit walked onto the stage with some sarcastic applause. Benoit said that Jericho’s wit and humor aren’t going to do a damn thing for him at SummerSlam. Benoit said that when he heard Jericho was putting together this montage, he put together a picture himself that’s a classic. Benoit’s photo was him putting Jericho in the Crossface with Benoit laughing about it. Benoit said that at SummerSlam and in their six-man tag, he was the best damn technical wrestler in the WWF and nobody can do a thing about it. Benoit said “prove me wrong” to end it.
Jericho said that Benoit had a total lack of imagination because the picture wasn’t funny and it didn’t even rhyme. Jericho said he can’t wait for their match at SummerSlam or on Smackdown. Jericho said that the Walls of Jericho will cause him a lot of pain and when Jericho is through with him, you will never, ever be the same again. End promo.
Analysis: The build to their match was great. It was probably the third most anticipated match at SummerSlam after the WWF Title and TLC matches. Great promo work from Jericho, who was one of the best talkers. The “edited photo” humor is something WWE has loved doing for decades, so it did work for a few of the images. Benoit’s promo was okay, but he was never a great talker.
Road Dogg and X-Pac were shown talking backstage with X-Pac saying he knows that X-Pac didn’t mean to put him through a table. They agreed to put it behind them and focus on tonight as The Undertaker went driving by on a motorcycle.
Jerry Lawler was back on commentary making threats to Tazz about what Tazz did to Jim Ross. Lawler faces Tazz at SummerSlam.
A video package aired about Kane’s heel turn against The Undertaker two weeks ago. It was pretty random with Kane explaining it by saying he was a “monster” again.
The Undertaker made his entrance on his motorcycle. The Degeneration X duo of Road Dogg and X-Pac were the opponents.
The Undertaker vs. Road Dogg and X-Pac
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the babyface that was facing Kane at SummerSlam. Road Dogg and X-Pac were heels that were facing eachother at SummerSlam.
X-Pac spit on Undertaker’s motorcycle, so Taker beat up both guys with punches. Taker with a double clothesline, then he tossed X-Pac out of the ring and hit a big boot on Dogg. Taker with a running clothesline on Dogg followed by a sidewalk slam as X-Pac broke up the pin. Taker worked over X-Pac with punches, then Taker hit a running clothesline on Dogg, but X-Pac came back with a spinning heel kick for two. After some DX punches, Taker came back with clotheslines and punches. Taker sent Dogg over the top to the floor. Dogg left the match while Taker gave X-Pac a Chokeslam. Taker hit the Last Ride powerbomb on X-Pac for the pinfall win at 3:28.
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
Analysis: *3/4 It was an easy win for Undertaker. This didn’t make me want to see Dogg vs. X-Pac at SummerSlam since they lost so easily to one guy.
Triple H and Stephanie were back in their dressing room talking about things on the couch. Stephanie said that Kurt spoke about how hotheaded Hunter is while adding that Kurt made some valid points. Stephanie said she was considering teaming with Kurt, Hunter wasn’t happy about it and left.
Perry Saturn entered with manager Terri.
European Championship: Perry Saturn (w/Terri) vs. Al Snow
Pre-match notes: Saturn was the heel European Champion while Snow was a face. Terri’s “match” at SummerSlam was a Stinkface Match with The Kat.
Snow with arm drags and he actually put on the European Title briefly as Saturn whipped Snow down by the hair and took the title back. Snow with two vertical suplexes in a row followed by Snow tossing Saturn over the top to the floor. Snow left the ring going after Terri, so Saturn jumped off the top with a cross body block on Snow on the floor. Saturn with a suplex, then a corner charge, Snow with a boot to the face and Snow sent Saturn face first into the turnbuckle. Snow went up top and hit a moonsault with no attempt to cover. Terri went into the ring with the mannequin Head, Snow avoided it and Snow tossed Terri out of the ring. Saturn slapped on the Rings of Saturn submission for the win at 2:52.
Winner by submission: Perry Saturn
Analysis: *1/2 It was just a match that didn’t mean much due to the lack of storyline for either guy at this point. At least they tried to utilize Terri a bit because if she’s going to be at ringside, she might as well do something to try to interfere in the match.
Edge and Christian entered as the Tag Team Champions going into the TLC match at SummerSlam. Christian ripped on New Orleans for being “silly people” that eat weird things. Christian said there will be no pose until after SummerSlam. Edge said unlike Ricky Williams (Saints RB at the time), they won’t drop the ball, which drew boos. Edge said in the TLC match they will regain their Tag Team Titles and unveil a 37-second pose. Chris Benoit entered as their partner to complete the trio of Canadians.
The Hardy Boyz made their entrance to a big pop. Nice ovation for Chris Jericho as well for his second appearance of the night.
Edge, Christian and Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho and The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy)
Pre-match notes: Edge and Christian were the heel Tag Team Champions with Benoit also as a heel. Jericho and the Hardys were the faces. Jericho was going to face Benoit at SummerSlam while Edge & Christian and the Hardys were in the TLC Match with the Dudley Boyz at SummerSlam.
Jeff with a dropkick on Christian, Matt tagged in and the Hardys hit a double team leg drop for two. Matt with a running clothesline on Christian. There was a reverse neckbreaker from Christian and some punches to the head. Benoit tagged in with a forearm to Matt. Edge tagged in with Matt hitting him with a DDT. Jericho went after Benoit on the apron, Edge ran into Christian by accident and Jericho got a rollup on Edge for two. There was a lot of chaos in the ring with the referee Mike Chioda losing control. Edge tried to use a chair, but he got it knocked out of his hands by Jeff Hardy. Jericho capitalized with a Lionsault on Edge for the pinfall win at 2:40.
Winners by pinfall: Chris Jericho and The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy)
Analysis: ** This could have been an awesome match if they got more time, but it was rushed and then they did a post match angle to further add heat to their SummerSlam stories. It’s to be expected. I did like the finish with the Hardys stopping Edge from cheating and Jericho picking up the win after that.
The action continued post match as Benoit worked over Benoit while Matt brought in a ladder. Christian hit Matt, who was holding a ladder, with a chair. The Dudleys ran out to the ring with Bubba hitting a body slam on Christian and D-Von went up top for the Whassup Drop on Christian. The fans were popping huge as Bubba told D-Von to get the tables.
The Dudleys brought a table in the ring, but Edge and Christian threw the Dudleys out of the ring. Jeff jumped off the top onto Christian and D-Von. Matt went up on a ladder and jumped onto Edge and Bubba on the floor.
Jericho was still fighting with Benoit as Jericho sent Benoit into the ring post. They were both standing on the top rope and then they each jumped through the table together. That looked too fake for me because there wasn’t a move – it was more like they jumped through the table. Both guys sold it in a big way.
Analysis: All of that was really good in terms of some final build to SummerSlam for those matches. I think Jericho and Benoit could have come up with a more creative way for the table bump, though.
Triple H went up to Angle in the dressing room saying he was Stephanie’s partner in the match and for life. Angle said he wanted to do what’s best for the match. Hunter said if Angle keeps pushing this issue then he won’t make it to SummerSlam. Stephanie walked in saying she gets to make the decision. Stephanie seemed undecided about it, so she’s going to flip a coin to decide who her partner is. Kurt: “She’s kidding, right?” Nope.
There was a video about the XFL announcing their eight teams for the inaugural season. Big money loser.
The Rock did a backstage promo with Kevin Kelly with the WWF Title on Rock’s shoulder. Huge pop for Rock as usual as he began with the “finally” line about how he was back in New Orleans. Rock made the obvious “Big Easy” jokes because that’s exactly what Stephanie is. Rock said that he’s been boiling his crawfish, pinching on the tail and above all else, sucking on da head. That’s some seafood commentary. Rock said that regardless of who Stephanie picks, The Rock is going to whip his monkey ass all over this arena. Rock told Hunter to pinch Stephanie’s tail and suck on their own heads. Rock called Kevin an ugly hermaphrodite and said he was sure he’s going to walk in to SummerSlam as the WWF Champion and walk out of SummerSlam as the WWF Champion.
Analysis: Promo greatness every time. It’s always a great mix of being serious and adding some humor along the way.
Stephanie was backstage with Hunter and Kurt for the coin flip. Angle suggested flipping one of his medals instead of a coin, so Hunter got mad about it. Stephanie said the coin flip was tails, so Angle won. Great reaction from Kurt. Hunter left angrily.
Analysis: This story was so great and things like Kurt’s facial expression right there only adds to it.
The Lugz Boot of the Week showed Raw’s main event with Lita beating Stephanie McMahon to become WWF Women’s Champion.
Lita entered as the WWF Women’s Champion and she got to main event her second show in a week. The announcers noted that Raw was at 11pmET. That was because US Open tennis on USA Network. They were leaving for TNN soon after this. The Rock entered as the WWF Champion to a big pop as usual.
Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley entered in her SMH t-shirt as husband Triple H was shown walking on a TV monitor backstage. The great King of the Ring Kurt Angle entered as Stephanie’s partner.
The Rock and Lita vs. Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
Pre-match notes: Rock and Lita were faces while Angle and Stephanie were the heels. Rock vs. Angle vs. Triple H for the WWF Title was the SummerSlam main event.
Rock went after Angle while Lita sent Stephanie into the ring apron. Stephanie kicked Lita down, but then Lita came back with a headscissors. Angle grabbed Lita, but Rock hit Kurt with a clothesline and a back elbow. Rock hit a Samoan Drop for a two count. Rock with a leg whip takedown into a Sharpshooter, but there was Stephanie to slap Rock to break that hold.
Angle worked over Rock with punches, but then the key spot in the match happened as Rock whipped Angle into Stephanie, who was on the apron and Stephanie took a great bump onto the steel steps. She hit the steps with her hand and then sold it like she was knocked out. Hunter looked on from backstage and he ran out there to check on his wife. Angle hit a belly to back suplex on Rock while the referee was checking on Stephanie. Hunter ran out to ringside to check on Stephanie. Hunter: “Call a paramedic.” Hunter picked her up and carried her to the back while the match was still going on.
Rock came back on Angle with punches, but then Kurt hit an elbow. Angle with a suplex for a two count. Hunter was shown checking on Stephanie after he laid her on a couch. Stephanie said she’ll be okay as some EMTs went into the room to check on her. Hunter said he was going out to the ring and told Stephanie to stay there while telling the EMTs to take care of her. Stephanie: “Be careful.” Back in the ring, Rock hit a DDT on Angle for two. Rock hit a belly to belly suplex for another two count. Rock and Angle went up the ramp where Triple H showed up to attack Rock. Hunter and Angle went into the ring with Rock. Hunter also decked referee Earl Hebner with a punch, so the bell rang. Let’s call it a DQ at around 5:59.
Winners by pinfall: The Rock and Lita
Analysis: **3/4 It was an entertaining match in terms of Rock and Angle working well together as usual and all of the drama surrounding the match. The non-finish was just done because they were all about building up the story at the conclusion of the show.
Hunter and Angle whipped Rock into the ropes with Rock coming back with a double clothesline. Hunter hit a facebuster into the knee on Rock and Angle clotheslined Rock over the top to the floor. Hunter and Angle brought Lita into the ring, which led to the Hardy Boyz running out for the save. The Hardys battled with Hunter and Kurt in the corners. Rock went back in the ring with a spit punch on Angle to knock him out of the ring. Rock hit a DDT on Hunter. The Hardys each rocked Hunter with punches while Rock hit a clothesline. Lita joined in on the attack on Hunter. Angle was on the floor looking like he would save, but then he left just like Hunter left him on Rock. Rock told Angle to just bring it, so Kurt left because that’s what Hunter did to him on Raw.
Angle backed away up the ramp. Rock hit a Rock Bottom on Hunter as the Hardys left with Lita. Rock made the fans really happy as he hit the People’s Elbow on Hunter. That drew a huge ovation with Rock talking trash to Hunter.
That led to the final, memorable scene of this episode. Angle yelled at the EMT guys to get out of there. Angle told Stephanie, who was on the couch, that he didn’t mean to do what happened to her. She said she knew. Angle said he really cared about her, she didn’t realize how much, he’s so sorry and Angle hugged her. Angle also leaned in for a kiss on the lips, which Stephanie looked like she was fighting at first and then she was into it. Angle leaned back with a big grin on his face, looking happy that he finally kissed her on the lips. End show.
Analysis: What a dramatic way to end the show. There was no time left, so there was no time to get the reaction from Triple H to see how angry he was. If you wanted to see, you had to get SummerSlam on the following Sunday to see how Hunter was going to react to this. This was really well done by Kurt from a performance standpoint and even Stephanie did a nice job too. I think in terms of who the fans supported, they hated Kurt for being a guy that was trying to ruin a marriage even though the married couple were heels. It led to a lot of crowd support for Triple H more than anything. This storyline was really working well.
This episode of Smackdown had a run time of 1:31:17 on WWE Network.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kurt Angle
- Chris Jericho
- Triple H/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
This episode gets a 7 out of 10.
A good show as usual. The story advancement in the Triple H/Angle/Stephanie love triangle angle was really well done. They ended this show with fans realizing there was no way that Triple H and Angle would get along at SummerSlam. As I said above, people were going to be interested to see how Triple H would react to what Kurt did.
Everything else was well done in terms of building up to SummerSlam. I’m not going to keep mentioning the short match times because that’s just how they did it in this era. I’m looking forward to checking out SummerSlam again.
Check out our WWF in 2000 archives for my reviews of all the other shows (Raw, Smackdown, PPVs) from earlier in the year. Thanks for reading.