The storylines were really heating up in April 2000 and the matches were starting to improve on television as well. On the previous edition of Raw, I rated the show 9 out of 10 thanks to Chris Jericho winning the WWF Title from Triple H and then the decision was reversed. They also announced Stone Cold Steve Austin’s return for Backlash 2000, so that was something to get excited about. Let’s find out how Smackdown would follow up.
Here’s the synopsis on WWE Network: “WWE Champion Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley abuse their power going into Backlash. Plus, The Rock, Chris Jericho, and many more.”
WWF Smackdown #35
April 20, 2000 (Taped April 18)
From the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This show has a TV-PG rating and “V” for Violence on WWE Network. PG? Yeah, Smackdown was tamer than Raw most of the time.
There was a video package highlighting the great episode of Raw from Monday that showed Chris Jericho’s WWF Title win, then Triple H got Earl Hebner to reverse the decision and Triple H fired Earl after that. Later on Raw, Linda McMahon announced that Steve Austin will be in The Rock’s corner at Backlash and Linda slapped her daughter, Stephanie. The Rock was happy about it.
Analysis: This opening video package took about five minutes, which made it one of the longest video packages I can ever remember. It was very good, but did it really need to go that long? No.
The Smackdown intro video aired. The pyro went off in the arena and it was a packed house in Philly with the fans making a lot of noise.
Road Dogg made his entrance for the first match. It was noted that Road Dogg and X-Pac will challenge Edge and Christian for the WWF Tag Team Titles at Backlash. Dogg did one of his babyface promos full of catchphrases even though he was a heel.
Edge vs. Road Dogg
Pre-match notes: Edge was one half of the WWF Tag Team Champions. He was a face while Road Dogg was a heel.
Edge with a running shoulder tackle that knocked Dogg out of the ring. Edge followed him out of the ring and sent Dogg into the barricade as well as the ring steps. Dogg with a dropkick that knocked down Edge on the floor. Edge hit a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Dogg came back with an eye poke. Dogg went for his punch combo, Edge with a rollup, Dogg sat on top and got the win after he pulled the tights to sit on top of Edge. It went 2:23.
Winner by pinfall: Road Dogg
Analysis: *1/4 A quick match with a weak finish. There wasn’t much to it. I always liked Road Dogg in tag team matches, but in singles, he was not that great.
Triple H, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Shane McMahon were shown walking backstage. Shane left while Hunter and Stephanie kept walking.
A “Stone Cold Strikes” video aired from January 1998 when Austin got into a shoving match with Mike Tyson. Great moment. One of the best segments in Raw and WWE history.
Let’s Hear from Triple H, Stephanie and Others
Triple H, the WWF Champion, made his entrance with his wife, the WWF Women’s Champion Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. The Smackdown format in these days was to do a long promo in the second segment of the show rather than the opening, which is where they had a match.
Triple H said that even though a lot of people thought Monday’s Raw was a bad day, it really wasn’t that bad for him. He said he never lost the WWF Championship to Chris Jericho – it never took place. He said that the record books will also show that there was never a quick count by an incompetent official. It will never show Earl Hebner trying to screw him. It will never show them firing that incompetent official. Hunter admitted that the one thing that did happen that could be considered bad…cue the “Rocky” chants. The bad thing was when Linda McMahon made her announcement. Hunter said that he and Stephanie talked about how they would have kids one day (they ended up with three daughters for what it’s worth) and Hunter said that he wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving their kids with her mom Linda – he said, “she’s a psycho.” Hunter wondered what kind of mom would slap their own daughter. Hunter said he won’t bring their kids near Linda because she’s sick and she needs help. Hunter admitted he wasn’t really going to give her the Pedigree. Hunter: “Deep down inside, I’m a Helluva guy. I’m a nice guy.” The fans booed that. Hunter noted that Steph’s hothead brother punched him in the face. He noted that Shane is a momma’s boy, but that’s okay because there’s nothing wrong with loving your mommy.
Hunter continued talking about the WWF Championship match at Backlash. He said it was a fair contest until Linda McMahon announced that Steve Austin would be in The Rock’s corner and the fans cheered that.
Hunter announced that tonight, in this very ring, it will be Chris Jericho vs. The Rock in a Lumberjack Match. Hunter said that those lumberjacks are being carefully hand-selected by Shane McMahon, which drew boos. Hunter said never fear because the McMahon-Helmsley regime is in complete control. Hunter said that there will be no more bad days.
Analysis: I like Hunter, but this was one of those promos where he rambled on for too long and just repeated things we already knew from Raw. We had a five-minute video to start Smackdown. Do we really need a 10-minute promo too? The only good thing was the end where he announced the main event match for the show.
The music of Tazz hit and he was the new ECW Champion after winning it the week prior from Mike Awesome, who left ECW to sign with WCW. Tazz did a promo from the stage. He got a nice pop because Philadelphia was ECW territory.
Tazz said that it’s good to see that Hunter was in a pleasant mood, but the mood is about to change. Tazz told Hunter he didn’t have to put that title on the line. Tazz said that he has to lace ‘em up real tight, get in that ring and find out why they call Tazz the Human Wrecking Machine. Hunter said you’ve got the match. He told Tazz to bring that belt around his waist, Hunter mentioned “ECW” and said when he steps in the ring with Triple H, this is the World Wrestling Federation. Hunter said that he’s going to prove to the world, to Tazz and he’ll prove to the idiots that ECW sucks. Tazz said from one champion to another champion, get prepared to be choked out. Tazz said Triple H calls himself The Game, but Tazz said that he doesn’t play games.
Analysis: It was a cool idea because it meant the WWF Champion Triple H would wrestle against ECW Champion Tazz. It may not seem a big deal right now, but at the time, it was huge.
Chyna and Lita were shown walking down a hallway. Chyna said Eddie passed his GED, so he’s in a good mood. Lita said she wanted to congratulate him. Chyna said you can do that, but don’t screw up again in their match against the Dudleys.
Kurt Angle was walking down a hallway when Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley walked up to him. She said that Angle had credibility, so she invited him to be a lumberjack. Angle said he accepted, they shook hands and went in opposite directions.
Analysis: That Kurt/Stephanie relationship/friendship would grow in the months ahead as well.
The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) vs. Eddie Guerrero (w/Chyna) and Essa Rios (w/Lita)
Pre-match notes: The Dudleys were heels that were turning into faces. Guerrero and Rios were both heels that lost on Raw because Lita hit a moonsault on Guerrero by accident. Guerrero and Chyna were turning into faces. Guerrero was the European Champion.
Rios with a spin kick on Bubba early on and Bubba came back with a full nelson slam. D-Von tagged in with a shoulderblock on Rios, who came back with a kick to the chest. Guerrero tagged in with a dropkick to the face. D-Von hit a neckbreaker off the ropes. Bubba back in with a sidewalk slam on Guerrero and a sitout Powerbomb on Rios. D-Von knocked Eddie out of the ring, but Eddie stopped a 3D attempt and Rios hit a DDT on D-Von. When D-Von went to the floor, Rios hit a top rope cross body block on him. Lita went up top and went for a cross body block on Bubba, but he moved and Lita took out Guerrero. Oops. Chyna wasn’t happy about that. Bubba went back in the ring and the Dudleys hit the 3D on Rios for the pinfall win at 3:04.
Winners by pinfall: The Dudley Boyz
Analysis: *3/4 It continued the story from Raw where Rios and Guerrero had problems working well together and so did their women. The Lita spot on Eddie on the floor was done well. Guerrero vs. Rios was a match at Backlash a few weeks after this.
After the match, Chyna grabbed Lita in the ring and threatened her. Bubba Ray and D-Von brought a table into the ring. Chyna had a staredown with the Dudleys, so she tossed Lita at their feet. The Dudleys grabbed Lita and Bubba gave her a Powerbomb off the turnbuckle and through a table. The fans cheered. Bubba had the crazed look in his eyes. As you can see in the image below, Brian Moss smells! Good to know.
Analysis: This was the first table spot with a woman where the Dudleys were cheered. In the past, they were heels and the announcers ripped on them for it. Since the spot got over so well, they were cheered for it.
The Radicals group of Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn were in a room when Shane McMahon showed up to talk to them. Shane asked them to be lumberjacks for Rock’s match vs. Jericho and they said they’ll do it.
Rikishi’s giant ass was shown walking backstage because he’s up next. They even showed Big Show walking in the hallway from behind too. Those were not nice visuals.
The rewind of the week showed Scotty 2 Hotty winning the Cruiserweight Title from Dean Malenko on Raw.
Big Show made his entrance for his match with Rikishi Phatu. Show did a pre-match promo saying in Philadelphia they call him the Big Funky. Show said he wanted a dance contest. Show danced first to the Rikishi theme song, which drew some cheers and laughs. Rikishi did his own dancing routine. As Rikishi danced, Show hit him in the back with a forearm.
Rikishi Phatu vs. Big Show
Pre-match notes: They were both faces although Show was still a bit of a mix. Show was a heel, but he turned face post-WrestleMania. There were times when he acted like a heel too.
Rikishi connected with punches followed by a kick that sent Show into the turnbuckle. Show left the ring, then they went back in the ring and Rikishi hit a DDT. Rikishi hit a leg drop for two. Show came back with a clothesline with Rikishi selling it with a flip bump. Show did his own sloppy version of The Worm followed by a chop to the chest, which the crowd loved. That drew a lot of laughs. Rikishi avoided a corner charge, arm drag and a sloppy Samoan Drop connected. Rikishi hit a running back splash against the turnbuckle followed by a clothesline that sent Show over the top to the floor. The referee counted them out of the ring, when they got up, Rikishi whipped Show into the steps and it was a double countout finish at 2:51. The fans booed that finish.
Match Result: Double Countout
Analysis: * Quick match with a poor finish. The crowd was into it even though it was a slow, plodding kind of match. The double countout finish was not that common in this era. I think it’s a case of WWE not wanting to book either guy to lose.
Post match, Rikishi did a promo saying that the fans want Show to “back that butt up” and finish what they started. Rikishi put the sunglasses on Big Show, then Show put the sunglasses on Rikishi and they did a dance routine, much to the delight of the crowd. Kurt Angle was shown watching backstage and he was disgusted by it. After the dance, Rikishi hit a superkick to knock Show down and Rikishi left. That was payback from Show attacking Rikishi before the bell.
Analysis: It was a way to further the storyline of Big Show as a fun giant. Show vs. Angle was a match at Backlash.
Kurt Angle talked to Kevin Kelly about the movie Gladiator saying that it was phenomenal. Angle said that he was personally invited by Steven Spielberg to go to the red carpet, but he thought he should have been the star of the movie. Angle talked about how Big Show used to be the WWF Champion, but now he stands for nothing. Angle said when he wins the Intercontinental Title tonight, this world will be a much better place.
Tazz made his entrance for his match against Triple H and he got a pretty good pop. Triple H was up next with Stephanie.
Tazz vs. Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley)
Pre-match notes: Tazz was the face ECW Champion and Triple H was the heel WWF Champion. Neither title was on the line in this match.
Tazz was in control early with two clotheslines. Tazz wanted a suplex, Hunter blocked it and hit a clothesline of his own. Tazz nailed Hunter with a clothesline over the top rope to the floor. Tazz sent Hunter into the announce table followed by a body slam. Hunter came back with a whip into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Hunter continued the offense with a suplex and a knee drop for two. Tazz came back with a belly to back suplex. Tazz hit a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count with Triple H getting his right shoulder up at the last moment. Hunter with the facebuster to the knee and Tazz slapped on the Tazzmission to a huge pop. Stephanie went on the apron to distract the ref, so Hunter got in the low blow kick and Hunter hit a Pedigree. Tommy Dreamer from ECW jumped on the apron, so Hunter punched him to knock him down. Lawler called him “that idiot Tommy Dreamer” and the referee took a bump while Hunter knocked Dreamer down. Dreamer grabbed a chair from ringside, he swung it, but Hunter moved and Dreamer hit Tazz by accident. Hunter covered Tazz, groggy referee Mike Chioda made the count and Hunter got the pinfall win at 5:53.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
Analysis: *** That was pretty good as Hunter continues his hot streak of fun TV matches with Taka Michinoku, Chris Jericho and now Tazz over the course of two weeks. I had forgotten about the Dreamer spot. To the shock of no one, Hunter outsmarted the ECW guys to get the win. This was probably Tazz’s biggest match in his WWF career up to this point other than his debut at the Royal Rumble. The crowd was into the match.
After the match, Hunter and Stephanie posed with their titles in the air.
Trish Stratus gave a pep talk to her T&A team of Test and Albert. She spoke about distractions while showing some cleavage and said let’s focus on the match, not on the cleavage.
The Godfather, D-Lo Brown and the ladies made their entrance. It’s Smackdown, so the announcers avoided saying “ho’s” for the ladies, which was something that was in effect sometimes and then ignored at other times. Godfather was about to say “ho train,” but the opponent’s music hit. Anyway, Trish led her T&A team to ringside.
The Godfather and D-Lo Brown vs. Test and Albert (w/Trish Stratus)
Pre-match notes: Godfather and Brown were the face team that barely won. T&A were heels that were feuding with the Dudleys.
Test started with a lefty clothesline on Brown and Brown came back with a back body drop. Bubba Ray Dudley showed up on the ramp as Test hit a Full Nelson Slam on Brown. Albert and Godfather were in there as D-Von tried to calm Bubba down. Godfather with a body slam followed by a leg drop as D-Von helped Bubba to the back. Brown and Godfather whipped Test and Albert into eachother. Godfather teased a corner splash, Albert grabbed his foot and Albert was whipped into Test. Godfather hit “The Train” on both heels, which was normally called the Ho Train, but not on Smackdown. Brown accidentally hit Godfather in the face when Albert moved, Albert picked up Godfather with the two-handed sitout Chokeslam (later known as the Baldo Bomb) for the pinfall win at 2:20.
Winners by pinfall: Test and Albert
Analysis: *1/2 A quick match to give T&A a win since they’re facing the Dudleys at Backlash while Brown/Godfather had nothing going on.
After the match, D-Lo Brown teased saying sorry to Godfather and then he hit his Sky High finisher. Brown yelled “you suck, screw you” at Godfather. Brown left.
Analysis: That’s the end of that team. They didn’t have much success together anyway.
The Castrol GTX Slam of the Week showed Earl Hebner getting fired by Triple H on Raw.
X-Pac (w/Tori) vs. Christian
Pre-match notes: X-Pac was a heel while Christian was a face and was one half of the WWF Tag Team Champions. Cristian and Edge did a brief heel turn before WrestleMania, it stopped and then it came back after Backlash. As mentioned earlier, it was Edge and Christian vs. X-Pac and Road Dogg for the WWF Tag Team Titles at Backlash.
Christian sent X-Pac out of the ring followed by a baseball slide dropkick. Tori grabbed Christian, so he shoved her down and X-Pac hit a spin kick to the face to take control. Christian went up top, X-Pac kicked him down and X-Pac connected with the Bronco Buster attack against the turnbuckle. Running clothesline connected for X-Pac for two. X-Pac went for a splash off the top, Christian moved and Christian hit a dropkick. Reverse DDT by Christian got a two count. Gutbuster by Christian. Road Dogg went on the apron to distract, Tori was on the apron, Edge went after Dogg and X-Pac was able to hit the X-Factor on Christian for the pinfall win at 3:32.
Winner by pinfall: X-Pac
Analysis: ** It was a fast-paced match by two athletic guys. The finish was a typical distraction ending that they did all the time. X-Pac got the win just like Road Dogg earlier in the show, so the DX guys had the upper hand on E&C going into Backlash. .
Post match, Edge and Christian did some double team moves on the heels with Edge hitting a splash on Dogg and a clothesline sent X-Pac out of the ring. The heels retreated.
Backstage, Shane went up to the Dudleys and he wanted them to be lumberjacks in the main event. They said they were in.
There was a “Stone Cold Strikes” video showing the McMahon Beer Bath segment from March 1999. That’s one of the most memorable moments in WWE history.
Intercontinental Championship: Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle
Pre-match notes: Both guys were heels. Benoit was also the Intercontinental Champion.
Angle with a belly to belly overhead suplex, Benoit came back with a vertical suplex and a back elbow. Benoit with a clothesline. Angle hooked the arms leading to a belly to belly suplex. Benoit got an inside cradle for two. Angle with a fireman’s carry. Benoit whipped Angle into the turnbuckle leading to three German Suplexes. Big Show ran down to the ring and shoved Benoit off the top leading to the disqualification at 3:07.
Winner by disqualification Chris Benoit
Analysis: ** It was awesome work while it lasted, but then it ended rather abruptly. It’s another match where you can tell that they didn’t want either guy to do the job, which is why they did the DQ finish.
Post match, Show chased Angle to the back. Benoit wasn’t happy about getting tossed to the floor.
There was a shot of Bull Buchanan and Big Boss Man in the locker room. Triple H said he wanted them to be lumberjacks and they said they would do it.
The McMahons and DX group were in their office. They were excited about having Rock and Jericho where they want them. Triple H said that the key is to have fun.
There was an earlier today segment with Hardcore Champion Crash Holly visiting the circus. There was a guy in a clown costume that attacked and it was Pete Gas with Teddy Long nearby. There was also Rodney and Joe Abs dressed as clowns as they attacked Crash to try to get the Hardcore Title. Crash got away while the three Mean Street Posse guys wondered how he got away.
Analysis: Bad comedy segment. At least they tried.
The Rock was interviewed backstage by Kevin Kelly with the fans chanting “Rocky” for him. Rock said that he had no problem being in a match, but what’s really happening is Triple H delaying the inevitable. Rock told him to have a picnic title, fly a kite with the title, suck some monkey nipple with the title (yes he said that!) and said that the countdown is on to Backlash ten days away. Rock said that he’s got Stone Cold Steve Austin in his corner at Backlash. Rock said no matter what Triple H does in the next ten days doesn’t matter.
Analysis: Awesome intense promo from Rock as usual. The monkey nipple bit was funny too.
The Lugz Boot of the Week showed Linda McMahon slapping Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley on Monday’s Raw.
The heel lumberjacks made their entrance: Triple H, Road Dogg, X-Pac, Shane McMahon, Tori, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, the Dudley Boyz, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Saturn, Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan.
Analysis: It was weird that the Dudleys were still positioned as heels here because they were feuding with T&A, who were also heels. The fans were cheering the Dudleys by this point.
Chris Jericho made his entrance and got a huge pop. Cole called him a former WWF Champion from earlier in the week while Lawler said that it never happened.
The Rock entered and got an even bigger pop. This guy was ridiculously popular in every arena. It felt like the pops got louder every week. I know sometimes on Smackdown they edit in cheers, but it really wasn’t needed in this era.
Lumberjack Match: Chris Jericho vs. The Rock
Pre-match notes: The Rock was the top babyface in the company. Jericho was probably the second biggest face at this point.
Rock started with punches, Jericho with a flying forearm and chops. Back elbow by Rock knocked Jericho down. Rock tossed Jericho over the top leading to the heels stomping on Jericho and tossing him back into the ring. Rock got a suplex for two. There were loud Rocky chants from the crowd as Jericho hit a spin kick to the face. Jericho wit ha dropkick leading to Rock getting attacked by the heels. Triple H got in a cheap shot punch as well. Jericho with a clothesline that got a two count. Jericho tossed Rock out of the ring, so the heels attacked Rock again and tossed him back in the ring. Jericho hit a Lionsault that barely connected for a two count. Rock came back with a spinning powerslam for a two count. Rock left the ring and started brawling with the lumberjacks. Jericho also left the ring and was attacked by lumberjacks. Rock was tossed back in the ring. Jericho was whipped into the steps and tossed back in the ring. Both guys were down in the ring. Triple H went to the apron to distract, so Benoit went up top and hit a headbutt on Jericho for a two count. Triple H distracted again, so X-Pac hit an X-Factor on Rock that got a two count. Jericho charged in and Rock hit a spinebuster. Rock brought Triple H in the ring and punched him out of the ring. Shane went into the ring, he hit Rock in the back, then Rock stared at him and Shane ran away. Jericho tried to capitalize on that, but Rock hit a Rock Bottom on him. Triple H pulled Rock out of the ring during a cover attempt. Rock back in and he hit another Rock Bottom. Shane was on the apron to distract the referee. Triple H brought the WWF Title in the ring and he hit Rock in the head with it. Hunter put Jericho’s arm on top of Rock’s chest, Shane went off the apron, the ref turned back around and it was a pinfall win for Jericho at 7:13.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Jericho
Analysis: **3/4 Good stuff here. They booked it in a way that no matter who got the loss, it was going to be cheap, so I don’t think Rock was hurt in any way by doing the job in this match. Rock and Jericho always worked well together as we would see in the years that followed.
After the match was over, Triple H’s music hit even though he wasn’t in the match. Jericho had his hand raised a the winner of the match while Triple H laughed about it. The heels celebrated their triumph and that was the end of the show.
Analysis: It’s another week where the heels were in control. That happened a lot because it was all about establishing Triple H as a great heel champion.
This episode of Smackdown had a run time of 1:28:55 on WWE Network.
Three Stars of the Show
- Triple H – He was all over this show. I don’t know how much screen time he had exactly, but between the promo, the Tazz match, the main event and backstage segment, it was a heavy Triple H night.
- The Rock
- Chris Jericho
This episode gets a 6.5 out of 10.
It was a fun show, but there was nothing that I would consider great. Nice storyline progression throughout the night and the matches were good for the most part with Triple H/Tazz and Rock/Jericho standing out as the best of the night. The main event was entertaining as a match, as well as a successful way of advancing the main Triple H/Rock storyline.
Please let me know what you think of these reviews. Check out our WWF in 2000 archives for my reviews of all the other shows from earlier in the year. Thanks for reading.