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WWF Smackdown - February 21, 2002

by Scrooge McSuck


Taped on February 19th from the Metro Center in Rockford, IL, with Michael Cole and Jerry "The King" Lawler calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Taped for Sunday Night Heat: Tajiri finally picks up a victory, pinning fellow Cruiserweight, The Hurricane. Test pinned The Godfather, Booker T pinned Val Venis, and William Regal pinned Rikishi with the Power of the Punch. Also featured for the live audience only included two dark matches: Albert and Scotty 2 Hotty defeated Brock Lesnar and Ron Waterman, and Mr. Perfect and Leviathan defeated Randy Orton and Shelton Benjamin. To my surprise, this taping date has little in terms of details on my favorite source, so I'm going in cold as far as the non-matches are concerned.

Vince McMahon opens with a pre-recorded statement giving the false impression of denouncing the actions of the nWo and should be held responsible for their actions. He feels certain that everyone will be satisfied by the punishment they receive, and that punishment is to insist that the nWo publicly apologize to the Rock.

Kurt Angle comes out, dressed to compete and looking unhappy. He's not in the mood for the fans and their nonsense tonight. He was robbed off his title shot at WrestleMania, and since then he's been dying to take out his frustrations and promises to stand in the ring all night until someone is stupid enough to face him in a match. Who will his opponent be? Well, tonight, his opponent is...

Kane vs. Kurt Angle:

Should've seen that one coming. Angle jumps on Kane and the bell rings despite no referee being around. Kane fights to his feet and lays Angle out with a clothesline. Angle slips out of a slam and takes Kane down with a German suplex. Angle grabs a chair and lays into Kane with it, drawing a disqualification at 0:42. Kane pops right up and tackles Angle through the ropes. They trade blows on the floor until Kane whips Angle into the steps. Kane undresses the announce table and sets up for the Chokeslam, but Angle cuts him off with a low blow and an angled back suplex sends Kane crashing through the table! Angle isn't through and gives Kane another suplex onto the wreckage. The referee isn't even trying to restore order as Angle manhandles the timekeeper, giving him a release belly-to-belly on the floor! Angle grabs a chair and starts smashing the left ankle of Kane, bending the chair in the process. The Ankle Lock is applied and Kane starts tapping! The rest of the referees finally show up to get things under control, but Angle reapplies the hold before taking his leave. Obviously more angle than match, and this mean-streak of Kurt Angle is always a pleasant sight to see.

Ric Flair and Arn Anderson are watching, with Flair talking about needing to get control of things like what Angle and the New World Order have done. The Undertaker interrupts, looking for an answer from Ric Flair. He doesn't care about anything but an answer to his challenge. Flair's answer is "no", and Taker doesn't take it well, calling Flair a coward. "That's the last no answer I'm going to take. Come Monday night, something tells me your answer is going to be yes."

We recap the New World Order and the effects they've had on the careers of Steve Austin and The Rock at No Way Out and the following night on Raw, including a lengthy piece of the Rock/Hogan confrontation that set up their match for WrestleMania. This eats up more than 10-minutes of television, for those who keep track of that sort of thing.

The New World Order come out to face their punishment, all while Michael Cole is doing his over-the-top routine that goes from selling their dastardly behavior to making the viewer roll their eyes. They take turns reading a prepared statement with zero sincerity. The prepared statement even notes that the Rock assaulted Hogan first. HILARIOUS. They tuck away the paper and Hogan says he won't be sorry for what he does to the Rock at WrestleMania. Steve Austin's music hits and he pulls up to the ring in his truck, tire iron in hand. He lays into all three men and makes Hall the focus of his attack. He tries to back up over Hall, but Hogan and Nash pull him to safety. During the break, we see the nWo limo has flat tires and "What?" spray painted across it.

Edge vs. Christian:

Christian's pyro unfortunately craps out, playing along with his poor luck in recent weeks. 6 months earlier, this was brother betraying brother and fighting over the Intercontinental Title, and now Christian is a geek who can't win (or be taken seriously at times). Christian rushes the ring to get the match started immediately. Whip to the ropes and Christian with a modified back breaker. He stops to pose to make up for his lost pyro, allowing Edge time to recover. Edge works him over in the corner and lays him out with a clothesline. Christian gets sent over the top rope and they take the action to the floor. Christian straddles Edge on the middle rope to take control and sends him off the apron with a running shoulder block. Back inside, Christian leaves Edge out to dry. Cole is still in hyperbole mode, acting like Christian wasn't a title holder just a few weeks ago. Edge fights out of the corner and hits a spinning heel kick, followed by a face-buster for a two-count. Whip and Edge with a BAAACK body-drop. Christian blocks the Edgecution and hits a reverse DDT. Edge counters the Unprettier, hits the Spear, and forces Christian to tap to the reverse Scorpion Death Lock at 3:31. Poor Christian. Edge's win is drowned out with Cole and Lawler talking down about Christian. I swear, the commentary this week is insufferable. Post-match, Christian gets on the microphone and says he's not going to cry, he quits.

Meanwhile, the nWo are still running from Steve Austin. Wait... where's Scott Hall? Hogan and Nash are selling this like they are teenagers running from Jason Voorhees. We catch up to Steve Austin, and he's got Hall tied up inside a cooler filled with alcohol and Pepsi. Austin can have all the beer, but I won't mind having a lifetime supply of Pepsi. Again, with the knowledge of Hall's personal demons, WHY ARE YOU PUTTING HIM SITUATIONS LIKE THIS?

Rob Van Dam & The Hardy Boyz (w/ Lita) vs. Lance Storm & The Dudley Boyz (w/ Stacy Keibler):

Storm feels out of place in this match considering he's mostly worked as a tag team with Christian lately, but he seems like the obvious choice to take a fall so we can protect the other five. Jeff and D'Von start. D'Von gets the early advantage, but Jeff cuts him off with a shotgun dropkick and diving forearm. The Hardys with a double suplex for a two-count. Matt unloads with right hands but a Twist of Fate is interrupted by Storm. Matt fights back with rights but gets nailed with a dropkick to the face. D'Von back in, hitting his signature spinning elbow. Bubba in for the first time, punishing Matt with clubbing blows. He plants Matt with a slam and drops a series of elbows for two. Matt fights Bubba off the top rope and connects with a moonsault for a near-fall. D'Von takes a swipe at Jeff on the apron but gets taken down with a reverse DDT. RVD with the hot tag, running wild on Storm with his educated feet. Whip is reversed and RVD with a springboard missile dropkick. Stacy jumps in the ring to prevent the Frog Splash, bringing Lita into the ring. Heck continues to break loose, as Matt gets hit with a 3-D, Jeff hits D'Von with a Swanton Bomb, Lita hits Storm with a flying hurricanrana, and RVD finishes with the 5-Star Frog Splash at 5:19. I feel like we've seen this match a few weeks ago, right down to the same chaotic sequence of big spots.

Ric Flair is on the phone when he's interrupted by Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. I don't know what is worse, Stephanie's screaming over-acting or Michael Cole's screaming over-selling. She threatens to slap the smile off Flair's face but ends up face-to-face with her estranged husband. Hunter says it's like they always say, "life's a b!tch, then you marry one."

Meanwhile, Steve Austin wheels Scott Hall around the backstage area. I'd call him out for kidnapping, but Hogan got away with attempted murder, so what do I know about legal ramifications. Did I mention Hogan's searching for Hall while armed with a snow shovel? THIS is the best you can do with Hogan after that killer segment with the Rock on Monday?

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Tazz & Spike Dudley (c) vs. Billy & Chuck:

I love how Billy and Chuck get a title shot the same week they lost a tag team turmoil match that guarantees the winning team a title shot. Sure, that shot is a spot on the card for WrestleMania, but the concept of a turmoil match is rendered pointless if a losing team gets a title match THE SAME WEEK. Michael Cole notes that Mark Henry will compete in an Arnold Schwarzenegger "Strongest Man" competition this weekend. Mark who? We haven't seen him on TV in about two years at this point. The APA are watching backstage, likely to scout for their match at WrestleMania. Tazz starts, laying into Chuck with a series of right hands. Snap mare and Spike comes off the top with a double stomp. Billy whacks Tazz from the apron, allowing Chuck to take control. Billy tags in and pounds Tazz like ground meat. Lawler calls Billy and Chuck "two Malibu Ken dolls." Whip to the corner, Tazz avoids a Super Kick and takes Chuck over with a Northern Lights Suplex for a two-count. Spike with the tag, running wild on Billy with rights and a Tornado DDT for two. Billy cuts him off with a boot but a Powerbomb is countered with head-scissors to the floor. Tazz with the Tazzmission on Chuck, even though neither man is legal. Billy counters the Dudley Dog, and the Super Kick and Famouser combo finishes at 3:15, giving us NEW Tag Team Champions. This is Chuck's first WWF gold and Billy's NINTH reign with the Tag Titles (3 times with "brother" Bart and 5 times with Road Dogg). Just a match, and just like that, the Cinderella story is over.

Steve Austin is still running around the arena with Scott Hall taped to a chair. He's treating him as a piece of cheese for the rats to come looking for. When they get here, they'll say hello to Austin's little friend (the tire iron from earlier).

Lillian Garcia is with Billy and Chuck, putting each other over as the greatest. Faarooq and Bradshaw interrupt, telling them to "get their freak on" and take photos with the belts because at WrestleMania, they can kiss each other's a$$ and their belts goodbye.

Nash and Hogan find Hall and fall for the trap. Austin leaves them locked behind the gate and takes Hall for another trip.

Stephanie McMahon (no longer Helmsley) comes to the ring, still using Hunter's "My Time" theme music for her entrance. I know this isn't a hot take, but the commentary feels so over-produced, no doubt because Vince and friends had 2 days with the show in the can to get everything they wanted. Stephanie has an announcement to make. Triple H might be going to WrestleMania, but he'll win the belt over her dead body. She's quickly interrupted by Chris Jericho, who Cole has noted countless times in the last 5 minutes how much Stephanie and Jericho hate each other. He used to call her "filthy", "dirty", and a "trash bag", but he never meant any of those things. He only did it to get a rise out of the people and make them like him, and all that got him was nothing. Now that he's a LIVING LEGEND and Undisputed WWF Champion, he sees her for what she is; a brilliant, calculating, conniving genius. It's because of that genius that Triple H is nothing without her. She continues to double-down on her claims to all her husband's success. She has a great idea, and that's to offer her services to Jericho to get him prepared for his title defense against Triple H.

Speaking of Triple H, he comes out for his scheduled match with the Undertaker, but first, he makes a stop at the announcer table to greet Jericho and Stephanie, leading to a brawl to give us a quick tease for our WrestleMania "Main Event." The Undertaker eventually makes his way to the ring, but just as quickly as he arrives, he departs, throwing shade at Ric Flair for thinking he can put him in any matches that he doesn't feel like competing in.

Steve Austin finally releases Scott Hall from the chair, only to throw him in the bed of his truck. Technically Hall can just hop out, right? No matter, as Austin decides to drive to the ring instead of taking him for a joy-ride around Rockford. Austin sends Hall into the ring and smacks him over the head with a beer can. You know my opinion at this point. Austin grabs the microphone and mocks Hall with a "Hey Yo." He plays to the crowd with the "What" nonsense as he takes a page from the book of Goodfellas about being amusing. Austin offers to kick Hall every time the crowd says "What", then stops after so long because he doesn't want to wear out a good shoe. He pulls Hall to his feet, taunts him more about drinking, and decks him with his "drinking hand." Austin offers a beer and hits a Stunner. He gives Hall a taste of the spray paint treatment to wrap up this segment that felt like it went 6-minutes too long with the material they had.

Final Thoughts: This was a rough episode of Smackdown to get through. It was light on in-ring action and felt like it was thrown together at the last minutes, with a recap of Raw that ate up nearly an entire quarter-hour, countless segments of Steve Austin tormenting Scott Hall (not to mention the main event segment in the ring that couldn't bother to make a match official between them for the future), and then we get the honor of more Stephanie McMahon cutting terrible promos. I did enjoy the stuff with Kurt Angle brutalizing Kane, and we got a title change, and those are always fun to cover. I'm counting down the weeks until WrestleMania so I know I won't have to cover much more of heel Stephanie (for the time being).

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