The Smackdown roster in 2004 was going through changes heading into WWE Judgment Day 2004. A few months earlier, Brock Lesnar was the main guy on the Smackdown brand. He quit at WrestleMania 20, so they had to change whatever plans they had for him so that they could elevate others. That meant that WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero needed a rivalry with somebody new and they went with Bradshaw, who was a long time tag team wrestler that became John Bradshaw Layfield. It also didn’t help that Kurt Angle was out of action with injuries. I thought Smackdown was better than Raw in 2002 post draft and most of 2003, but by this point they were hurting in part because of Lesnar’s departure, injuries and moving key talent o Raw.
It’s another show from 2004 that I reviewed live 13 years ago, so I’ll add to it with additional comments in orange font as well. The final thoughts are all new because I didn’t like what I put back then. Let’s roll.
WWE Judgment Day
Staples Center in Los Angeles, California
(On the WWE Network version of the broadcast, it begins with that message. You don’t see that very often, but it fits here. Why? Because of the excessive blood in the main event.)
The show starts with a video package highlighting the feuds going on, mostly Guerrero-Bradshaw, Booker-Undertaker and Dupree-Cena. As always, the video package ruled.
The pyro went off in the Staples Center with Michael Cole and Tazz as the announcers as usual. The set had a bunch of crosses by the entrance area. Cole announced the crowd at 18,722 noting it was a sellout. Do I ever believe WWE attendance figures?
Mysterio comes out first. Van Dam is next. They go to the Spanish announcers. I don’t understand it, but it was probably something about how those stupid wrestlers are always breaking their furniture. Dudleys come out next. Good choice for an opener, I think. It should have some decent action.
Rey Mysterio & Rob Van Dam vs. The Dudley Boyz
(Pre-match notes: Mysterio and RVD are the faces while the Dudleys were in heel mode. )
Bubba and RVD start us out. Bubba distracts the ref, D’Von comes in hits RVD from behind. D-Von tosses RVD into the turnbuckle. Tag to Bubba. Bubba chokes RVD over the middle rope. RVD comes back with a spin kick and a dropkick followed by a monkey flip. D-Von gets a back body drop, Bubba gets kicked. RVD jumps onto Bubba on the floor. Mysterio to the top, he jumps on D-Von. Hot start to the match. Back in, D-Von with a knee to the gut, RVD comes back with punches and another spin heel kick. He goes into the ropes, Bubba clubs him. Bubba holds him, D-Von’s fist hits Bubba. RVD into the ropes, Bubba pulls down the ropes and RVD to the floor. Bubba whips his head off of announcer table, then rolls him back in. Bubba tagged back in, tells the ref to look away and elbows RVD into the midsection. Into the top turnbuckle. Bubba stomps away, RVD blocks something, misses a spinkick, then hits a sweep kick. Tag to Mysterio. Seated senton on Bubba, decks D-Von. Mysterio hits a springboard crossbody for two. Bubba comes back with a fist. Into the ropes, Mysterio with a headscissors, then a dropkick. Into the ropes for the 619, D-Von grabs him. Mysterio kicks him off, springboard is caught by Bubba and he drops Rey throat first on the top rope. Tag to D-Von, he gets a slam, then hits a legdrop for two.
D-Von slows Rey down with a chinlock. Mysterio fights out, into the ropes, D’Von ducks something and hits a back elbow for two. Tag to Bubba, he trash talks Mysterio and slaps him around a bit. I like Bubba a lot more as a heel. Suplex by Bubba and a lot more talking follows. Phantom tag to D-Von, he pounds Rey down in the corner. Into the ropes, Rey springboards off into an awesome bulldog. They’re both down as ref Nick Patrick counts them. Bubba comes in just as Rey makes the tag, so the hot tag is stopped. RVD argues, Dudleys beat the hell out of Mysterio. Dudley slaps Rey hard on the ass. Yep, he just did. Why? I don’t know. Into the ropes, Bubba gets a spinebuster for two. Bubba sets up Rey on the turnbuckle upside down and chops him hard once. He goes for it again, Rey counters with something that sends Bubba down. It was like a neckbreaker. At one point Bubba had called him a piñata. Innovative, no? Mysterio hits a moonsault off the top for two. Tag to D-Von, tag to RVD. RVD hits a couple of spinkicks for two. Whip into the corner, RVD gets a back elbow and springboard kick. He decks Bubba with some kind of punch. Knocks D-Von down with a clothesline, hits the Rolling Thunder, but it’s broken up at two by Bubba. Mysterio charges at Bubba, but gets backdropped out to the floor. Bubba with a slam, Wassup Drop is blocked by Mysterio. RVD kicks Bubba in the face, which leads to Mysterio doing a broncobuster. D-Von set up on the top, Rey charges, RVD catapults him into the top rope hurricanrana for two as Bubba breaks it up. He tosses RVD out. They set up the 3D on Mysterio, but RVD enziguri kick on Bubba. D-Von gets knocked down by Rey. Mysterio gets a double 619 on the Dudleys. Van Dam to the top, Five Star Frog Splash to D-Von and that’s it at 15:19.
Winners by pinfall: Rey Mysterio and Rob Van Dam
Analysis: *** Really good at times, but too slow early on. The Dudleys used every heel trick in the book. They used them about four times each too. The team of RVD & Mysterio is electrifying, which made for a good finish.
(The crowd really got into it by the end, so that’s good. I have no recollection of this feud lasting very long after this. I think it was just a case of wanting to put on an entertaining tag match with four very good wrestlers. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.)
Backstage, Josh Matthews interviewed Booker T., who basically said he’s got the power to get by the Undertaker. Booker held a little black bag saying it holds the power.
(I don’t remember this run of Booker as a heel that well. When he started the King gimmick in 2006 he took off more as a heel.)
Kurt Angle’s music came up next – he is the Smackdown GM. Luther Reigns, Angle’s bodyguard, pushed down this big box and stood at ringside. Angle appeared at the top of the box in his wheelchair. Luther’s looking back to the entrance way while Angle berates the crowd.
(The wheelchair thing was just a gimmick done to keep him out of the ring for a few months while he healed from injuries. He had the injury from Big Show tossing him off a staging area backstage.)
Angle calls the LA crowd “lazy, incompetent dreamers looking for their big break that will never come.” He sees “an overrated basketball team whose star player won’t be in the Olympics this summer because he’ll be on trial.” (Hey Kobe Bryant.) He continues, “Worst of all, you idiots, I see fans and supporters of Eddie Guerrero.” Loud “Eddie” chants. Angle says if Eddie didn’t cheat to beat him at WrestleMania 20, he’d be defending the WWE Title instead of sitting in that wheelchair never being able to wrestle again. “When JBL beats Eddie for the title, I expect you fans here in LA to do what you do best: riot. Which is why when this show is over, I’m getting the heck out of this town because when I’m gone I hope you people get the biggest earthquake in history.” I think he got about as much cheap heat as you could get in Los Angeles. In that sense, good job Kurt.
Angle says he’s not here to berate Eddie Guerrero. He’s here to talk to the person who is responsible for him being in a wheelchair: Torrie Wilson. He demands she comes out, so she does.
Torrie’s in her pink wrestling gear looking apprehensive. She goes to the ring. Angle says that since she’s responsible for his career being over, she’ll be responsible for her own career as well. He says that if Torrie loses to Dawn Marie, she’ll be fired.
Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie
(Pre-match notes: Torrie was the face while Dawn was a heel. They had a rivalry in late 2003 into early 2004 when Dawn married Torrie’s dad Al Wilson and he died on their honeymoon due to sex. We miss you Al.)
Lockup to start. Torrie shoves her back. Torrie does some offense like a neckbreaker, but Dawn counters with some kind of suplex and Torrie rolls her up for two. Couple of clotheslines for Torrie. Dawn whips her into the ropes, Torrie avoids something, gets to the top and misses a crossbody. Dawn stomps at her. Dawn chokes her over the apron giving the cameraman a shot to show Torrie’s cleavage. Dawn kicks on her on the mat outside the ring. Torrie slides in, Dawn dropkicks her back out to the floor. Legdrop on the floor. Back in, Dawn gets a two count. Cole tries to sell Torrie’s career, but I just laugh at it. Dawn’s weak chokehold is countered by a clothesline and a neckbreaker. Dawn charges, Torrie ducks and hits a sunset flip for two. Schoolgirl for Torrie, she pulls the tights and Dawn’s undies actually break a bit. Her ass creak is showing. Get me more shots of Dawn! Can’t even be repaired. Dawn gets a X-Factor for two. Torrie does a backslide pin and gets the win at 6:14.
Winner by pinfall: Torrie Wilson
Analysis: 1/2* It was nice to see Dawn’s cheeks. That’s for damn sure. That was by far the highlight of the match.
(Bad match because they weren’t good in the ring. My comment in 2004 about Dawn’s ass showing being the highlight is accurate.)
Backstage, Bradshaw is in a room and cuts his usual promo ripping on the LA crowd. He talked trash about Eddie. He likes English and said that people don’t have “eight or nine greasy kids” as he puts it. Tonight, Eddie’s reign will be over. He guarantees that he will be victorious.
(Cheap heat heel promo. Notice I was calling him Bradshaw because we still weren’t used to the JBL name.)
Mordecai vs. Scotty 2 Hotty
(Pre-match notes: Scotty was the face that didn’t win very often. Mordecai was making his debut as a heel.)
Scotty comes out first to signify squash time. Mordecai gets the lights off and some props for his entrance. It’s pretty cool, but the crowd doesn’t react much. He’s dressed in all white with a cross type symbol in his hands. He’s about 6’4” 270 pounds says Cole.
(He wasn’t really that tall, but announcers always lie about stuff like that.)
Mordecai drops Scotty on his face to the start. He rams him shoulder first into the turnbuckle, then chokes him a bit. He whips him shoulder first into the other post. He then chokes Scotty between the ropes. So far we know he can throw him into the ropes and choke. Boot to the face by Mordecai. Scotty tries to come back with fists, but he just eats a knee to the gut. Into the ropes, superkick for Scotty. Bulldog. Mordecai blocks the WORM attempt with by dropping Scotty on the middle ropes. Clothesline by Mordecai. He sets Scotty up in the powerbomb position, then hits the Razor’s Edge/Crucifix Bomb for the victory after three minutes. He celebrates by looking up. He appreciates the lighting!
Winner by pinfall: Mordecai
Analysis: 1/4* This was a WWF Superstars type squash. Scotty did two moves. Mordecai looked like he could do the basics. Better than Nathan Jones at least.
(Mordecai had a very short run on Smackdown that lasted less than two months. They had high hopes for him with plans for him to feud with The Undertaker, but the gimmick sucked and never got over. He returned to WWE TV in summer of 2006 on ECW as Kevin Thorn the vampire man.)
In the locker room, The Chavo Guerrero and Chavo Classic get interrupted by Jacqueline. She gives Chavo a gift. He opens it and the gift is women’s panties. That’s supposed to be funny. In the background, Chavo Classic measures how the women’s clothes would look on him. That was pretty funny actually.
(Rest in peace Chavo Classic. He died earlier this year.)
WWE Tag Team Titles: Rico & Charlie Haas (w/Miss Jackie) vs. Billy Gunn & Hardcore Holly
(Pre-match notes: Rico and Charlie were a unique face team with Jackie as the manager of Rico at this point. Haas ended up marrying Jackie and they have four kids together. Gunn and Holly were also faces.)
Haas & Rico come out first. Gunn and Holly come out next to absolutely zero heat. Neither guy wants to start against Rico. He gooses (grabs the ass) both of them.
Haas starts out with Holly. They take a while to grapple, feeling eachother out. Holly with a shoulderblock, into the ropes, arm drag for Haas. Rico tags in by hitting Haas in the pecs. Rico has some fun in the waist lock. Holly tags in Billy Gunn. More head games from Rico. Headlock by Gunn, Rico grabs him in the ass. I thought his name was Mr. Ass, shouldn’t he be okay with that? Rico trips him down, then rides on his back. Into the corner, Rico gets his series of kicks. Gunn comes out, his heard right near Rico’s crotch and Rico starts to dance in celebration of that position. Gunn comes back in, gets a hard punch on Haas. He then decks Rico. Holly comes in, clotheslines Haas on the back. I guess they are the heels. They have no heat. That’s why they’re the perfect team. They both suck. Holly with a suplex, tags in Gunn. Gunn kicks him down in the corner a bit. Tag to Holly, he gets a boot to the midsection, then grabs a headlock. Nice shot of Jackie hitting the apron to rally her team. That’s been the best part of the night so far. Back up, Haas elbows out of it. He goes into the ropes, Holly hits a pretty dropkick. They boo, sort of. Tag to Gunn, Haas fights back, charges in and Gunn boots him in the face. Tazz wonders how Haas has anything left. What have they done? A clothesline and dropkick? Holly drapes him over the ropes, and then kicks him in the abdomen for a two count. Haas fights back with punches, Holly kicks him in the gut, bodyslam, to the top and some kind of move eats boot as Haas gets his foot up. Double knockout spot. Holly tags in Gunn, Haas makes the lunging tag. Rico in, inverted atomic drop, clotheslines, whip into the rope, Haas makes a blind tag, Famasser on Rico, release German suplex for Haas on Gunn. Tag to Holly. He goes for the Alabama Slam, he turns to face Rico, Rico superkicks Holly in the face with a superkick leading to Haas rolling him up Holly with a sunset for the three count at 10:26.
Winners by pinfall: Charlie Haas & Rico
Analysis: *1/4 Below average match. The whole point was to show that Haas & Rico can work together despite being so different. There was very little heat in the match, except for Rico’s spots.
(I don’t have a lot of memories of this tag team. It was a short term tag team that didn’t draw much of a reaction and that’s why WWE moved on from it soon after. I looked it up to see that the Dudleys won the titles from Charlie and Rico about a month after this show.)
Backstage, The Undertaker and Paul Bearer are shown. Paul tells Booker that he’s not the best on Smackdown. He says other stuff that I missed. Undertaker ended it with the “Rest in Peace” line that is the same he’s used forever. Big pop for that.
Cruiserweight Title: Jacqueline vs. Chavo Guerrero (w/Chavo Classic)
(Pre-match notes: Jacqueline was the face and Chavo was the heel.)
They show a couple clips highlighting this “feud” between them. Chavo comes out first. He gets his left arm tied behind his back by Charles Robinson. Jacqueline is next. I don’t hear any cheering. I’m not cheering either. I think you could say I’m cringing.
Chavo whips Jackie into the turnbuckle, and then hits some shoulderblocks. He does some backbreakers over his knee. He stomps her on the back. Jackie gets a leg scissors, then the momentum takes Chavo right shoulder first into the turnbuckle. He misses a clothesline, she goes for a sleeper, he drives her back first to the corner. Still no heat. Kicks to the gut by Jackie send him down and that gets her two. Chavo Classic on the apron, she knocks him down with a kick. She turns around, Chavo decks him with a clothesline. Ref goes to Classic and Jackie hits a low blow for two. That almost had heat. On the floor, Chavo Classic unhooks him. He slides back in, pretending like his arm is still tied. Jackie goes to hit him, he blocks her with his right arm, Classic to the ropes, big clothesline by Chavo to Jackie. More interference, so Chavo drops her throat first on the top rope. Chavo Classic grabs a chair and the ref yells at him. Gory Bomb by Chavo followed by the pinfall. That gets a three count at 4:47.
Winner by pinfall and New Cruiserweight Champion: Chavo Guerrero
Analysis: 1/2* I hope this angle is over now. Send Jacqueline away again. Nobody in the crowd cared one bit about it. I can’t say I blame them. I don’t know who in WWE thinks that this would be better than a contested cruiser match between Chavo and a guy like Shannon Moore or Paul London.
(That was pretty awful as I remembered it and the crowd didn’t care about it much at all. This was a low point for WWE’s Cruiserweight division although the heel antics of Chavo and Chavo Sr. were funny. The next PPV had a great Chavo vs. Rey match, so they got back on the right foot.)
After the match, Chavo gets on the mic, says that nobody can laugh at him again because he’s once again the cruiserweight champion. Chavo Classic kicked Jackie in the gut.
Video package to set up John Cena vs. Renee Dupree for the US Title. Dupree did promos about how French culture was better and Cena stood up for America.
Cena is out first, sporting the James Worthy Lakers jersey. He asks for some crowd noise, so they give it to him. They sounded asleep for a couple matches earlier. Not their fault. They were hot. “Dupree beat me? There ain’t no chance. I’m going to beat that bitch and send him back to France.” Good line as he cracked a joke about how Rene will be walking with his head down like a “San Antonio Spur.” That drew a massive pop. Cena’s rap gets cut off by Dupree’s music. He comes out with the French flag, but no Fifi the dog. I guess Fifi demands a bigger salary to appear on PPVs. Can’t say I blame Fifi.
(Cena had a funny line about how Dupree’s hair looked like his dog Fifi peed in his hair.)
United States Title: John Cena vs. Rene Dupree
(Pre-match notes: Cena was the face champion that won the title at WrestleMania two months earlier. Dupree was a heel that was only 20 years old at the time. The “French Tickler” dance by Dupree was awesome.)
They lock up, Dupree to the floor, Cena chases him in and Dupree tackles him. Into the corner, Dupree boots him in the face. Cena reverses, driving the knees to the gut. Into the corner, back body drop and clothesline over the top is screwed up. Dupree rolls out. Cena clubs him on the head, then hits a headbutt. Dupree grabs his arm, then pulls him into the post, hitting Cena’s head into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Dupree chokes him over the bottom rope. Headfirst into the turnbuckle, Cena fights out with kicks, Dupree takes the Flair flop over the corner buckle. Cena charges in, Dupree ducks and Cena goes straight to the floor. Haven’t seen Cena take too many bumps like that. Nice to see that kind of effort. Dupree with a big chop, then he tosses Cena back in.
Dupree with some punches to the back of the head and a backbreaker gets two. Bearhug by Dupree. It lasts about a minute. Dupree shoulder tackles him into the corner, then grabs another bearhug. After another minute, Cena punches out, hits a jawbreaker, more punches and a big clothesline. Back elbow, flying shoulderblock, sidewalk slam. Cena signals for the five knuckle shuffle and misses it. Dupree with a spinebuster. French Hop! French Hop! Elbow misses. Cena off the middle rope, blocked by Dupree, who gets a DDT. He waits for Cena to get up. Cena counters, rollup misses, kick to the gut, FU is countered into a neckbreaker by Dupree for two. Dupree sets him up for a powerbomb, but Cena counters with a back body drop, he covers for two. Backslide gets two. Dupree kick to the gut, into the corner, he tries to leap over Cena. Cena catches him on his shoulders, hits the FU and wins it. Match went 9:54.
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
Post match, Cena goes into the crowd hands the Worthy jersey to a fan that had a sign supporting him. The fans went crazy for him. He celebrated with the crowd.
Analysis: **1/2 It was decent. I wish they got more time. I don’t know why they didn’t because I liked the effort of both guys. I don’t think this feud is over. I guess we’ll find out soon.
(I think going ten minutes was fine in hindsight since Dupree was only 20 years old at the time. It was probably too much to ask of him to go much longer than that at this point in his career. Dupree was always a guy that I thought had a lot of potential, but he never lived up to it. He was released in 2007. As for Cena, he was as popular as ever at this point and was clearly a star on the rise.)
A promo video aired for Kenzo Suzuki.
(I thought he was pretty boring. Not looking forward to reviewing his future PPV matches.)
We get the video package to start to set up Undertaker vs. Booker T. Booker came to Smackdown from Raw to say he was better than Eddie Guerrero and even better than The Undertaker. That led to Undertaker confronting him to start their rivalry.
Booker comes out first with his little brown bag that has some of recipe in it. Yeah, it’s called crap. Undertaker is next along with Paul Bearer. Cole goes on and on about how it’s a privilege to see this guy. I agree. Paul Bearer has a wonderful voice. Oh, he meant Undertaker. Same thing. Booker stands in the corner holding the little brown bag in front of him. Undertaker taking off his hat got the biggest pop of the night so far. Undertaker’s look is the same as it was at WrestleMania. Great sign in the front row that says: “Booker Shango.”
(The Undertaker dressed in his traditional look. He felt new again since he was the American Badass from 2000 to 2003. He returned to the classic Undertaker look at WrestleMania 20 two months earlier.)
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Booker T.
(Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the face and Booker was the heel.)
Undertaker shoves Booker off, Book grabs the bag in his corner, then rolls to the floor. Booker with some punches to the face. Taker reverses, kick is no-sold, clothesline by Taker. Cole says he has an innate ability to block pain. In other words, the guy doesn’t sell stuff during the match. Just tell it like it is, Cole. Taker whips him into the turnbuckle, Booker bounces out and eats a sidewalk slam. Legdrop gets two. I guess he doesn’t have the power of Hulkamania. Clothesline to the floor. Booker drops his neck onto the top rope. Missile dropkick gets two. Nobody believed that was it. Booker pounds on him in the corner. More pounding in the corner. He goes back to his bag, just to hold it. They exchange blows in the center, knee by Book, whip in, sidekick is ducked and a flying clothesline by Undertaker. Old school top rope clothesline. Undertaker gets a flatliner. Kanyon is fired, so might as well use it. He gets some kind of arm/head submission, but Booker gets ropes. He signals for the Last Ride, Booker countered by getting over his head, knocking the ref down.
Booker goes to the bag, then tosses the dust (Fuji Dust!) into the eye. Undertaker isn’t affected by it. Clothesline in the corner. He charges him, running boot misses, draping Undertaker’s leg over the top. He wraps Undertaker’s left knee around the post. He whips the leg into the steel steps. Forearm off the apron to the floor. Elbow to the face by Undertaker. Back in, Booker gets a jumping sidekick for two. Again, nobody really believed that was it except Cole and Tazz. Booker slows it down with a headlock. Undertaker fights out, Booker with an axe kick for two. Undertaker sits up. Boot to the face by Taker and a Chokeslam. Throat slash gesture. Tombstone by Undertaker leads to the one, two, three at 11:25.
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
Analysis: *3/4 The Undertaker win was predictable and least it wasn’t a big-time squash. Undertaker did sell for a few minutes. Cole tried to put over Booker’s performance, but really, nobody thought the guy would win. The crowd was into all the usual Undertaker spots, which isn’t surprising at all. If you’ve seen the spots before it’s nothing new.
(Boring match that was done to show that Undertaker was back. I had no memory of this match and the “Booker carries the bag” story was lame. The Undertaker no sold it, so why even do it? If you listen to the crowd, they were firmly behind Taker because as I said earlier it was a while since we saw Undertaker in this gimmick, so it felt new again.)
A long video package aired to set up WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. John Bradshaw Layfield. Bradshaw got a new gimmick and a huge push leading to a WWE Title match. They did an angle where Eddie’s mom had a heart attack as well to make it feel like a more personal feud.
(I heard on a recent Bruce Prichard Podcast that she actually had a mild heart attack due to the stress of that angle. She was fine, though.)
Bradshaw comes out first to some mild heat, but not a big reaction.
(No limo entrance for him. That would come soon after.)
Bradshaw says he’s talking in English, so if you don’t know English, find an English speaking person near you to translate. He tells them that after tonight they can take Eddie Guerrero back on the boat with them to the third world they call Mexico. Bradshaw said when he wins the match, Eddie’s mom can be his maid that can live to his home in New York. Congrats to the crowd on being able to see it. He guarantees us that he’s going to victorious in this very ring. He’s got blue tights and black boots on. Eddie comes out next in the lowrider. Huge ovation for the WWE Champion.
(Plenty of cheap heat by JBL with that promo. It worked and he was comfortable doing it. Eddie was ridiculously over with the crowd. He was popular before the title, but he came across as an even bigger star at this event.)
WWE Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield
(Pre-match notes: Eddie is the face and JBL is the heel.)
Very long staredown to start. Eddie charges, they exchange blows with Eddie knocking him down. He tosses him into the barrier. Whip knee first into the steps. Bradshaw walks away, Eddie tosses him into the post. Headfirst into the Spanish announce table, which Cole says is appropriate due to JBL’s comments. He chokes him with a cable. Back in the ring, Eddie pounds him enough that JBL rolls out to the floor. Bradshaw goes up the aisle. Eddie clubs him in the back. He brings him back to the ring. Punch to the face by Eddie. He steps on JBL’s face a bit. Tosses him through the ropes again. Whip in, Bradshaw reverses and Eddie goes shoulder first into the steps. Bradshaw throws him headfirst into the Spanish table. He pounds Eddie in the face. He rolls into the ring, breaking the count. Yeah, because the count is relevant. Eddie fights back with fists, JBL gets a big boot to the face. Elbow gets two. Bradshaw chops him in the corner, and then clubs him on the back. Hard whip, Eddie bounces out of the corner. Bradshaw grabs a headlock, Eddie gets up, into the ropes and Bradshaw hits a shoulder tackle, then another side headlock. Crowd is chanting for Eddie quite a bit. Eddie gets up, into the ropes, arm drags by Eddie sends Bradshaw to the floor. Over the top, Eddie with a crossbody is caught. JBL with the Fallaway slam on the floor. That’s about the biggest spot you could have in a Bradshaw match. Eddie wins a chop fest on the floor. Eddie charges, JBL backdrops him onto the Spanish announce table. Table doesn’t break. Eddie goes back in the ring quicker than he should have because of the ref’s count. Swinging neckbreaker gets two for Bradshaw. They exchange blows, which Bradshaw wins thanks to a knee. Eddie charges, backdrop by JBL. Eddie tried to flip out of it, but fell. Slightly botched spot there.
Bearhug by Bradshaw. Eddie breaks with thumb to the eyes, hard whips into the corner and a clothesline. Eddie feels the heat of the crowd with a big yell. Into the ropes, Bradshaw pushes him off, Eddie hits a dropkick. Love that spot. Eddie hits two rolling suplexes about as slow as you could imagine. Bradshaw breaks with a kick, Clothesline from Hell is reversed by Eddie. He sets up a powerbomb, Eddie fights out. Eddie charges into the ropes, but runs right into Brian Hebner, knocking him out. Eddie backdrops Bradshaw to the floor. Eddie whips Bradshaw over the English announce table. Eddie walks over, Bradshaw gets a chair and absolutely CRUSHES Eddie with a chair to head. Damn, that was nasty. Eddie turns around and blood is everywhere! It’s all over his face and down his chest. My God! Huge gusher. This is nasty. “Holy Shit” chants from the crowd.
(One of the nastiest chair shots you’ll ever see and Eddie’s blood loss became an even bigger story. The match really turned here.)
Eddie staggers around on the floor, Bradshaw drills him in the face with the steel steps. Back in, Bradshaw celebrates. The crowd boos him like he wishes he could always be booed. Straight punch to the face. Wow, Eddie’s cut is massive. The blood is all over. He picks Guerrero up, charges into the ropes and hits the big Clothesline from Hell. Bradshaw waits for a ref, it’s Charles Robinson. He counts and it gets two. There was about a 45 second wait after the clothesline. There’s a huge puddle of blood in the ring where Eddie was lying. Eddie up, Bradshaw charges, hits the ref. Powerbomb by Bradshaw. Brian Hebner up. One…two…no! That was close. Another cover, another two count. Into the ropes, JBL grabs a sleeper. Wow, look at Eddie’s face. You can’t see anything by blood. It’s all over his arms and chest too. My God. Blood is all over the ring like I’ve rarely seen before. Eddie with a back suplex.
Bradshaw starts pounding on him a bit, Eddie gets an adrenaline rush, dancing around. He’s hulking up! He pounds him down. Into the ropes, Bradshaw catches him in the Fallaway slam position, Eddie counters into a tornado DDT. Awesome counter there. Eddie rules. He struggles to the top. Bradshaw isn’t too far away. Frog splash misses as Bradshaw rolls out of the way. Another huge pile of blood where Eddie landed. Bradshaw to the floor, he grabs the WWE title and a chair. JBL’s got the title behind his back. JBL tosses the chair in, ref takes it out and goes for a belt shot to the head. Eddie with a low blow kick and the ref didn’t see it. Eddie drills JBL in the head with the title with Hebner bright there, so the referee disqualifies him at 23:15.
Winner: Bradshaw by DQ, Eddie retains the title
Analysis: ***1/4 Bradshaw guaranteed victory and he won…sort of. It was about what I expected although I hated the finish and the fans did too. I assume the DQ finish will lead to a rematch at the Great American Bash in June. Bradshaw was decent, but nothing more than I expected. His limited offense was exposed and since the crowd hasn’t seen much of him in the ring, he didn’t get booed as much as you’d like from a top heel. I liked everything after Eddie got busted open. As I said, it was a massive cut. All over his body. The intensity from there picked up. The DQ finish killed what would have been a strong finish had Eddie won clean. Good match that the crowd was into after the blood helped pick up the story.
(This match is remembered for the blood loss of Guerrero. Anybody that’s seen it will immediately think about how much blood there was on Eddie’s body and how it stained the ring. It was insane. Looking back at it today, it would have been okay with me if they ended the match soon after they saw how much blood Eddie was losing and just go home. Instead, they went through the finish of the match followed by the post match angle. The blade job was done because they knew they needed something extra to get the fans interested in the match. What I paid attention to while watching this match was the crowd response. They were so behind Eddie the entire time and it picked up after the blood loss.)
Post match, Eddie beats him up some more. Refs come in, he pushes them off. He beats him with the title a couple of times. Bradshaw is bleeding now too. Eddie grabs the steel chair. He drills Bradshaw STIFF in the head with the chair. Damn. That was payback. Back in the ring, Eddie drills him with ANOTHER stiff chair shot to the head. Eddie to the top and a Frog Splash. Crowd is going wild for this. With good reason. Referees helped Bradshaw out of the ring. Eddie chases him in the aisle, pounding on him. They get broken up, Eddie goes back in the ring and poses with the title as the show comes to an end.
(Great post match angle to send the crowd home happy while also building up to their next match. You could tell that Eddie was really affected by the blood loss. The refs were checking on him the entire time to see how he was doing, but just from watching his movements it was clear it was tough for him to get around. Those chairshots he hit JBL with were vicious. I don’t want to say he was mad about the one that JBL hit him with, but if he was then he gave him two huge receipts as they say in the wrestling business. As I noted above, the crowd loved all of this because it was Eddie fighting back and that’s why we loved him.)
The show has a run time of 2 hours, 38 minutes on WWE Network.
In 2011, JBL wrote about this match on his old website Layfield Report and the blood loss of Eddie.
“We had a lot of heat and it was a huge Hispanic crowd which helped. Eddie and I both wanted to do something meaningful. Eddie made a ‘business’ blade. Our inside term for going to the bone. It looked like a sword. Eddie had juiced earlier in the month and it didn’t go well, he had a lot of scar tissue from juicing. Guys got that as they got older and had to move where they bladed.
The chair shot was very stiff. It’s how Eddie and I played-believe me, I took one at the next PPV that was just as good. We both loved it that way. Eddie went deep. Very deep. I had no idea until I watched that tape back how much blood there was, I have seen some bloodbaths and in Japan, Europe, Mexico and Texas I had been in several – I have never seen anything like that.
Eddie was out of it, he didn’t remember the last 15 minutes of match. They took him to hospital to get blood right after match was over. I can’t believe he made it through. He wasn’t right for a couple of weeks. We didn’t know if he could do the bullrope match, but he not only did, but put in a heck of a performance. We both looked back and smiled at that night. We needed something dramatic and we got it. And, Eddie as he always did -delivered with the lights on bright.”
Here’s the image of Eddie right after he did the blade job and how much blood was gushing out of his head.
1. Eddie Guerrero
3. Rey Mysterio
4. Rob Van Dam
5. Dudley Boyz
Best Match: Eddie Guerrero vs. John Bradshaw Layfield (***1/4 out of five)
Worst Match: Mordecai vs. Scotty Too Hotty (1/4*)
Show Rating (out of 10): 3.5
(In my 2004 writeup I gave it a 2 out of 10. That was pretty harsh, so I bumped it up a bit.)
Judgment Day was one of the worst PPVs ever. As I said in the opening, it was a tough time for the blue brand with Lesnar leaving and needed to fill that slot. I really wasn’t sold on JBL as a top guy at the time. His promos were great and he did a lot of tricks to get heat, but the match quality was usually below average. In this case, Eddie Guerrero tried his best to carry that match. He certainly made it watchable. He made JBL look better than anybody could. Eddie was the reason the crowd was hot. He was over huge.
I liked the main event more this time around than I did the first time. I think the first time I watched it I was pretty negative about the idea of JBL in the main event slot. After watching it again today, I think they told a good enough story by having JBL win in a cheap manner to set up a rematch. They were smart to make it bloody to add to the story, but obviously there was too much blood because Eddie must have done it too badly.
The opening tag match was the only other thing on the show that I enjoyed. It was just an average tag match that really didn’t build to anything significant. I think they just put it on the card because they knew the lineup was bad and needed a good match on there.
This was a very forgettable show. If you’ve never seen it, I think Guerrero/JBL is worth a watch at least once just to see how much blood there was. Other than that, you can skip it and save yourself some time.
Next up: Bad Blood 2004 presented by the Raw brand. I didn’t write about that show in 2004, so it will be a new review.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – [email protected]