This edition of Smackdown followed up on a great Raw that saw Triple H beat The Rock and Big Show in a triple threat match for the WWF Title. After that match was over, Linda McMahon announced that those three guys would be in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match for the WWF Title at WrestleMania 2000 along with another man…Mick Foley. The same Mick Foley that “retired” from the WWF at No Way Out one month earlier was back for one more shot at the WWF Title.

Check out our WWF in 2000 archives for my reviews of all the other shows from earlier in the year. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport if you’re not doing so already and let’s get started.

WWF Smackdown #31
March 23, 2000 (Taped March 21)
From Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This show gets a TV-14 rating and “V” for Violence on WWE Network.

There was a nearly four minute video package recapping the key things from Monday’s Raw. The Smackdown intro video aired after that.

There was a shot of the loud crowd in Milwaukee with signs all over and the pyro went off to kick off the show. The announcers were the usual Smackdown team of Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.

Let’s Hear from Triple H, Stephanie McMahon…and others

Triple H, the WWF Champion, walked out with wifey Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. Triple H was looking as angry as ever while Stephanie looked hot. This was a year before she got the breast implants (which WWE acknowledged on TV).

Triple H started his promo as the fans chanted “slut” at Stephanie. He said that Stephanie will not just rock the WWF, but knock it from its very foundation. Hunter said he’s got a question that he needs answered. He summarized what happened on Raw where he said that if they did the match on Raw, it would not happen again at WrestleMania and the promise was made from Vince McMahon. Hunter said he did what he always did by proving to the world that he’s that damn good because he beat Big Show and Rock. As he walked out of the ring with the WWF Championship still in his possession, he was met by another McMahon waiting to screw him by making the Fatal 4-Way at WrestleMania. It took Triple H about one minute to summarize all of it, but he got through it. The fans chanted “Foley” and cheered when Hunter said his name. Hunter asked who Linda McMahon thinks she is. Hunter called Linda to come out there right now. He even called her “mom” and yelled “get your ass out here” now.

Linda McMahon appeared on the stage for one of her monotone promos. She was the CEO of the WWF at the time. She noted that she had just as much stroke around here as much as anybody. She said since Mick Foley had a lifelong dream to be in the main event of WrestleMania, she made that Fatal 4-Way Elimination match. Linda noted that she’ll be in Foley’s corner at WrestleMania. She said that Foley is coming back for one night and one night only.

Triple H responded by saying that he doesn’t believe that Foley is back for one night. He wondered what happened if Foley could win that match and then what happens?

Linda responded said that she thinks Mick Foley will win the match at WrestleMania and he would go out on top by retiring as the WWF Champion. That would mean the title would be declared vacant and a tournament would be held all the way to Backlash where a new champion would be crowned.

Hunter said she was wasting her time. He talked about what he’s going to do by beating Rock first because he hates him the most, then Big Show and he’ll wait for Foley for the end for Linda because it’s her idea to bring Foley back. Hunter said when he beats Foley at WrestleMania where he can’t remember where he lives or who his kids are, it will be on Linda’s conscience. He told Linda she can push his wheelchair and feed him when he can’t talk. Triple H’s rambling promo led to him saying that it will dawn on Mick Foley that Linda is a cold-hearted bitch. Linda left. This segment ended after 19 minutes.

Analysis: It was fine for an opening promo segment with the usual Triple H rambling that took too much time. I like that they did a good job of explaining what would happen if Foley won the title at WrestleMania. Sometimes WWE does a good job with the “what if” stuff like they did here, but other times they completely ignore it as well. The big thing was Triple H calling his own mother-in-law a bitch. Big heat for that.

There was a shot of Ivory giving Crash Holly a massage on a table backstage. She called in referee Teddy Long and she broke a glass candy jar on his head leading to a two count. Crash was only wearing a towel, so he ran away with the Hardcore Title.

Analysis: A nice reminder of how creative they got with the Hardcore Title defenses.

(Commercial)

Kurt Angle entered with the Intercontinental and European Championships around his waist. Angle complained about having to put up both titles against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit at WrestleMania in a “two falls, triple threat match” for both titles. He ripped on the inbreds of Wisconsin by saying that it was a conspiracy. He said he’ll give Benoit a taste of what he can expect at WrestleMania.

Chris Benoit made his entrance. Chris Jericho also went down to ringside for the match to join the announcers.

Analysis: I love how the announcers act shocked that somebody sits down with them to watch a match when a chair is placed beside them at ringside. Can we not book announcers like idiots all the time? Thanks.

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

Pre-match notes: They were both heels. Neither of Angle’s titles was on the line in this match.

Benoit hit Angle with a dropkick that sent Angle out of the ring. Jericho did a Mr. Roboto imitation of Benoit. Angle hit a belly to belly suplex to send Benoit across the ring. Angle hit a suplex on Benoit while Bob Backlund was shown watching the match backstage. Angle hit a clothesline leading to “Angle sucks” chants from the crowd. Benoit with three rolling German Suplex on Angle with Angle getting his foot on the middle ropes. Angle knocked down Benoit with a headbutt. Angle grabbed one of his titles, Jericho grabbed another title and Jericho hit Angle in the head with the title. Jericho hit Benoit with the title as well. It went 3:17.

Winner by disqualification: Kurt Angle

Analysis: *3/4 It was good while it lasted, but it was mostly done for the storyline of building to their triple threat match at WrestleMania. There would be many more great Angle vs. Benoit matches in the years to come.

Post match, Jericho slapped the Walls of Jericho on Angle. Referees went into the ring to try to get Jericho to stop. Jericho also put the Walls of Jericho on Benoit.

Analysis: It was payback for Jericho after Angle attacked Jericho and Benoit on Raw earlier in the week.

Vince McMahon was interviewed by Kevin Kelly with Vince saying that he thinks Stephanie is pregnant and in nine months she’ll deliver a baby anteater. Vince said he’s excited about being in Rock’s corner at WrestleMania. He said that at WrestleMania, there will be a WWF Tag Team Titles match there will be a triangle Ladder Match against the Hardys and Edge and Christian. Vince put Bubba Ray Dudley in a match against The Rock.

Analysis: That was an awkward promo at the start, but it was good when he announced the triangle ladder Ladder Match at WrestleMania, which was an outstanding match.

(Commercial)

There was a shot of Al Snow and Steve Blackman milking a cow because Snow wanted Blackman to get close to his cheese roots. When Steve went to milk the cow, the milk went on Steve’s face. Steve left, went back in and the idea was that he hit the cow with one of his baton sticks, which was not shown. Snow and Blackman left.

Analysis: Bad WWF comedy, but some of Snow’s lines were funny.

The Godfather vs. Bull Buchanan

Pre-match notes: Godfather was the face and Buchanan was the heel. Big Boss Man was not allowed at ringside.

Godfather with a boot to the face followed by a back body drop and a clothesline that sent Buchanan over the top to the floor. Godfather whipped Buchanan into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Buchanan jumped to the top rope and hit a clothesline. Buchanan hit a scissors kick for a two count. Godfather tried to send Buchanan out of the ring, but Bull held on, did the skin the cat spot and hit a belly to back suplex. Bull missed an elbow drop, Godfather hit two clotheslines and a running kick to the face. Godfather whipped Bull into the turnbuckle when the Big Boss Man showed up with a nightstick to the ribs of Godfather for the DQ. It went 2:44.

Winner by disqualification: The Godfather

Analysis: 1/2* It was a boring match with a predictable finish. They did do a good job of showcasing some of Bull’s athleticism. That made him stand out a bit, but he never seemed to put it all together as a complete wrestler.

Buchanan and Boss Man attacked Godfather with nightsticks. After about 30 seconds of that, they stopped. That was the end of it.

Crash Holly and Hardcore Holly were backstage talking prior to their match with Crash worried about his Hardcore Title. Hardcore assured him that everything would be okay.

(Commercial)

Al Snow and Steve Blackman vs. Hardcore Holly and Crash Holly

Pre-match notes: Snow and Blackman were the faces while the Hollys were heels, but Crash was cheered as the Hardcore Champion.

Snow held up a “Head Cheese” sign at the start of the match. Hardcore with a dropkick on Blackman. Snow hit a knee to the back of Crash and Blackman hit a kick to the head. Fans chanted “Let’s go Head Cheese” since they were in Wisconsin, a state known for its cheese. Snow missed a corner attack on Crash, so Hardcore tagged in and Snow accidentally knocked down referee Jimmy Korderas with a clothesline after Hardcore pulled the ref in front of him. Crash tagged in and Hardcore decked him with a kick. Another ref counted Hardcore trying to pin Crash, which got a two count. Hardcore chased Crash into the crowd. The bell rang for the countout win for Snow and Blackman at 2:20.

Winners by countout: Al Snow and Steve Blackman

Analysis: 1/2* Nothing match that was all about Hardcore going after Crash for the Hardcore Title. Some of the finishes in this first hour of the show have been bad.

Post match, Test and Albert attacked Snow and Blackman. Test decked Blackman with a boot to the face followed by an elbow drop to the chest of Blackman. Albert picked up Snow and hit a sitout Powerbomb. Trish Stratus showed up on the stage. Trish: “We give you what you want to see…T for Test and A for Albert…T and A.” They left.

Analysis: The WrestleMania match was Test and Albert vs. Snow and Blackman, so that random attack was done to set that up.

The Mean Street Posse trio were backstage when their buddy Shane McMahon walked up to them. Shane motivated them with a speech telling them they could be like Triple H, Mick Foley and The Rock, so Shane told them to come with him.

The Rock was shown walking backstage because he’s up next.

(Commercial)

The PhoneFree.com moment of the week was when the Dudleys gave The Rock the 3D through a table two weeks ago on Smackdown.

The Rock made his entrance to the Method Man version of his theme song, which was from the new Aggression CD. I don’t think they used this that often. Rock got a massive pop as usual.

The Rock vs. Bubba Ray Dudley (w/D-Von Dudley)

Pre-match notes: The Rock was the top face in the company. Bubba Ray was a heel Tag Team Champion with D-Von, who was at ringside for this match. Look at all those Rock signs.

Rock took control early with a punch and elbow to the face. D-Von got involved by pulling Rock out of the ring, but Rock decked him with a clothesline. Bubba capitalized with a clothesline on Rock on the floor. Bubba put a headset on to mock Rock, but Rock decked him with the ring bell to the head. The ref is either blind or didn’t see it. I don’t know. D-Von got back up, so Rock hit him with the ring bell too! Bubba got back into it by tossing Rock over the barricade to the floor. Rock hit a clothesline as he took control again. Rock sent Bubba face first into the announce table. If ref Earl Hebner was counting them out of the ring then it would have ended earlier, but Hebner was out of the ring with them. Rock tossed Bubba back into the ring with Bubba coming back with a sidewalk slam. Rock with punches followed by a clothesline. Bubba hit a suplex. Rock came back with a Samoan Drop for a two count. Rock with a DDT, D-Von on the apron to distract the ref and that prevented a count. Rock punched D-Von off the apron, so Bubba hit Rock with a belly to back suplex. D-Von set up a table on the floor. Rock hit Bubba with a low blow punch (with the ref right there) and Rock whipped Bubba into D-Von on the apron with D-Von bumping through the table. Rock hit a spinebuster on Bubba. Rock hit the People’s Elbow and covered for the pinfall win at 5:33.

Winner by pinfall: The Rock

Analysis: **3/4 Good match with Rock getting the obvious win because it would have been foolish to have him lose this match. They ignored the countout rules as I mentioned earlier plus the ref Earl Hebner didn’t care about a low blow either, but it’s not like it hurt the match. The pacing of the match was great.

The Rock celebrated the win by walking up the ramp looking proud of his work. Bubba had a bloody mouth.

(Commercial)

The Western Union Fastest Slam of the Week was Linda McMahon announcing Mick Foley as part of the WrestleMania main event.

Mick Foley Interview Conducted by Jim Ross

(Yes, that sign says “Slut” in the background. The Attitude Era was a wild time, my friends.)

Jim Ross was in the ring and he introduced Mick Foley, who walked out with a WWF Attitude shirt plus the usual flannel shirt. Foley got a nice ovation. Ross said it will be great to see Foley in the main event of WrestleMania for one match only.

Foley said that a few weeks ago, he said he would not be like those other people that say they’ll retire and then come back six weeks because he came back in four weeks. That was clever. Foley notes that it is one night only at WrestleMania and then he’ll “never” wrestle again. Oops.

Foley said that he got his first real haircut in 16 years and said that he did relatively little until Linda McMahon called him. He said that he was looking forward to seeing the fans at Axxess and signing his name at the Chef Boyardee booth, but then Linda said that she wanted him to be a part of the main event of WrestleMania. He said that as wrestlers, you don’t just walk out on WrestleMania. Foley said that he didn’t know how the fans would react to him in Chicago and the reaction literally blew him away. Foley said that he intends to make the most of the opportunity at WrestleMania.

Foley talked about how at WrestleMania you’ve got Big Show saying that he’s the strongest man this business has ever seen. Foley said it is not his night. Speaking of Big Show…

Cactus Cack? Sign fail. At least the other fan knows breaks are important.

Foley called The Rock the most electrifying man in sports entertainment and the best damn tag team partner he’s ever had. Foley said he’s got Mr. Rocko at home and he said he likes Rock, but it won’t be his night because destiny is smiling on Foley.

Foley told Triple H that it’s going to come down to the two of them. Foley was mad about Triple H verbally attacking Linda McMahon by calling her a “bitch” earlier in the night. Foley said he fully understands how to truly hurt Hunter and that is by taking “your belt” and the next morning when Triple H wakes up there will not be a damn thing you can do about it because Foley will be retired while Hunter will be a former WWF Champion. Foley said that Hunter is going to know that his last act as an active wrestler was kicking Hunter’s ass. Foley talked about how as great a match as No Way Out was, it will not end the same way with a sad smile on his face. He said WrestleMania will end with blood on his face, a tear in his eye and Hunter’s WWF Championship in his hands. Foley posed for the crowd to end the interview.

Analysis: Good promo by Foley as usual. I think with the Linda promo and this Foley promo, the WWF did well in terms of pushing the idea that Foley would retire if he won the WWF Title. That made it possible that he might win the title. Did I think he would win the title? Absolutely not, but I’m sure some fans did. I thought The Rock would win at WrestleMania. Oops.

There was a GTV segment with Terri and The Kat in the locker room where Kat thanked Terri for letting her borrow a shirt. When Terri opened the skirt, it had stains on it.

Analysis: This was the storyline for the only singles match at WrestleMania. Riveting television, huh? Not exactly.

(Commercial)

Women’s Championship: Jacqueline vs. Lita

Pre-match notes: They were both faces although Lita could have been a heel since her character was not established. This was Lita’s first match on Raw or Smackdown since she debuted with Essa Rios.

Lita with a suplex followed by a monkey flip to send Jackie across the ring. Jackie with a hip toss and a hair toss. Jackie with two arm drags leading to Lita bailing to the floor. They did a roll around spot in the ring along with referee Chad Patton, which was done for laughs. Lita hit a headscissors followed by a dropkick. Jackie went for a sunset flip, Lita was on top briefly, Jackie flipped her over and got the pinfall win at 2:18.

Winner by pinfall: Jacqueline

Analysis: * That was bad and sloppy at times, but at least it was a clean finish. They really didn’t know during some of the match where it seemed like Lita was lost.

Post match, Lita hit Jackie with a weak kick to the ribs and a suplex. Lita went up top for a moonsault and she connected with it onto the legs of Jackie. Lita left standing tall.

Analysis: Cheap attack by Lita after the match, so I guess she was still a heel even though she was cheered for doing the moonsault.

The Run DMC Degeneration X “The Kings” music video aired just like it was shown on Raw.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Shane McMahon

Shane McMahon made his entrance with Rodney dressed as The Rock, Pete Gas dressed as Triple H and Pete Gas dressed as Mick Foley. Shane introduced them.

Here is Pete Gas as Triple H.

Here is Joey Abs as Mick Foley…with cushion on his ass to promote the big ass.

Ronda was up last as The Rock complete with a painted on eyebrow.

Shane also introduced us to the future WWF Champion…according to him…it’s the Big Show. No parody of him because it’s actually Big Show.

Shane told Show to preview that match, so Show tossed Gas out of the ring.

Big Show vs. Rodney, Pete Gas and Joey Abs

Show hit Rodney and Abs with clotheslines. Show with a forearm smash on Abs and a powerslam on Rodney. Shane went on commentary with Cole reminding him that these are his best friends that he grew up with. Show hit a sidewalk slam on Gas. Show picked up Abs and gave him a press slam. Show told Rodney Rock to give him the People’s Elbow, but when Rodney ran the ropes, Show got up and dropped him with a Chokeslam at the same time as he gave a Chokeslam to Abs. Gas got back up, so Show gave him a Chokeslam too. Show pinned all three guys at the same time. It went 2:14.

Winner by pinfall: Big Show

Analysis: 1/2* It was an angle more than a match. It was an ass kicking to give some momentum going into WrestleMania.

There was a shot of Rikishi’s ass because he’s in tag team action next.

(Commercial)

Rikishi Phatu, Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko

Pre-match notes: Rikishi and Too Cool were the faces. The Radicals were heels and this was Eddie Guerrero’s return to action after the left elbow injury.

Sexay hit a powerslam on Malenko followed by a clothesline. Scotty tagged in with a double team elbow drop on Malenko and a suplex. Saturn decked Scotty with a clothesline and entered the match even without a tag. Saturn slammed Scotty stomach first against the turnbuckle. Saturn hit a superplex from the middle rope. Guerrero tagged in with a running kick. Scotty hit a stun gun that sent Guerrero into the top rope. Rikishi got the hot tag, I think Saturn tagged in and Rikishi beat up all three Radicals including a double clothesline on Eddie and Malenko. Scotty and Sexay hit splashes on Guerrero against the corner with Rikishi hitting the Stinkface, which was not called that yet. Scotty hit the WORM chop on Eddie. Saturn back in with a punch to Eddie’s back. Rikishi grabbed Saturn and hit a Rikishi Driver for the pinfall win at 3:54.

Winners by pinfall: Rikishi Phatu, Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty

Analysis: ** Easy win for the faces after Rikishi got the hot tag. The match felt rushed a bit with the heels not being booked strong enough where it looked like they might get the win. It seemed like this was all about getting Rikishi over even though he already is over.

Post match, Rikishi and friends did their dancing routine much to the delight of the crowd.

As the dancing was going on, Road Dogg and X-Pac showed up to attack Rikishi. Kane made the save for his WrestleMania partner Rikishi. Kane beat up the Radicals guys with Chokeslams. Dogg clipped the knee of Kane and X-Pac decked Kane with a chair. Dogg hit Rikishi with a chair too.

Analysis: Solid post match angle to get heel on the heels since it’s X-Pac and Road Dogg vs. Kane and Rikishi at WrestleMania. X-Pac wearing Tommy Hilfiger overalls looking like a Godwinn brother did not look intimidating.

Stephanie McMahon was shown walking down a hallway alone for some big announcement.

(Commercial)

Stephanie McMahon Announcement

Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley walked out to the ring alone. There are about seven minutes left in this show for this main event segment. Stephanie said that she had an announcement to make, so she invited her mother Linda McMahon to feel the impact of what Stephanie has to say first hand.

Linda entered to the “whoa whoa WrestleMania” theme song. It sounded like fake crowd noise for her too. Stephanie had a sly grin on her face as her mother walked down to the ring. Linda asked Stephanie what she wanted to say to her.

Stephanie said that she wishes she could say she was surprised to see her, but she knew that it was a matter of time before Linda mettled in her business. Stephanie claimed that Linda was jealous and threatened by her daughter. Stephanie said that after she was born, she took away the affection that daddy showed Linda. As a result, instead of showing Stephanie love and affection, Stephanie claimed that Linda tried to control her. Stephanie complained about Linda making her own bed instead of having the maid do it. Stephanie complained about Linda only letting her get $100 allowance per week and Stephanie had to drive a regular car instead of a turbo. Stephanie said that when she went to college, Linda only gave her money for one bedroom apartment, so she had to convince the CFO to give her a little extra. Stephanie said even at 19, she knew how to user he assets. Here’s the screencap of the Stephanie “assets” shot.

Stephanie claimed that was a trick that Linda taught her – the power of persuasion especially as it pertains to the opposite sex. Stephanie said that control equals power and she told that the one dominant female in the McMahon family is her (Stephanie). Stephanie recapped what Linda did to change the WrestleMania main event and Linda said it was the right thing to do. Stephanie said Triple H is right: “You’re simply a conniving bitch!” The “bitch” got bleeped when she said it. Stephanie slapped Linda in the face and Lind went down to the mat! Stephanie left as Linda was down on the mat.

A replay aired of Stephanie’s harsh words and the stiff slap to the face. Stephanie left up the ramp. Linda was in tears in the ring over what her daughter did while Triple H congratulated Stephanie for it. That was the end of Smackdown.

Analysis: It was a solid promo from Stephanie, but not great. She got better over the years because there were parts of this where it was just rambling and boring. By the end of it, with the “bitch” line followed by the slap it was pretty intense, so I’ll give them both credit for that. Linda was a poor actress as we know, but in this era, the company was all about shocking the audience and it doesn’t get much more shocking than a daughter slapping a mother like that.

This episode had a run time of 1:33:23 on WWE Network.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. The Rock
  2. Mick Foley
  3. Stephanie McMahon

 

The Scoreboard

This episode gets a 4.5 out of 10.

It was a below average show. Some of the finishes were awful, but I did like some of the storyline progression. I just think it was lacking in the ring and if you attended this one live, I doubt you had that much fun. Some of the comedy was bad too, especially the Snow/Blackman bit. Teasing cow abuse for comedy? Weak effort.

The main event segment did not feel like as big of a segment as the creative team likely felt it was, but that’s Vince wanting to put over his wife and daughter.

Raw was a lot better this week, that’s for sure.

Shoutout to the fan that put “Cactus Cack” on a sign. I hope your spelling improved since then.

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Please let me know what you think of these reviews and feel free to offer any suggestions too. Check out our WWF in 2000 archives for my reviews of all the other shows from earlier in the year. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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