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WWE Smackdown - October 31, 2002

by Samoa Rowe

Halloween HavoK

The superstars are having a Halloween costume party! Pimp Daddy Ron Simmons is in the house, as are totally not-offensive Mexican caricature Chavo Guerrero and prancing Zorro, Eddie Guerrero. Los Guerreros are buzzing about their pending success. Disco King Tajiri hangs out with vampire Shannon Moore until slutty witch, Stephanie McMahon, calls for a speech. She announces Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio for later, and Rey nearly explodes from joy.

SMackdown Halloween

From Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The building is packed with a hot crowd, many fans are wearing Halloween masks. There is a muddy pool full of chocolate (or something) by the stage, so it's that kind of night. Our hosts are Michael Cole and Tazz.

Edge vs. WWE Tag Team Champion Chris Benoit

We're deep into the Smackdown 6 era, so Edge and Benoit are here to tear the house down just because they can. They exchange grappling holds until Benoit hits a shoulder block, and Edge answers with a knee lift. Benoit absorbs numerous blows before coming back with knife edge chops. Hard Irish whip by Edge gets 2. Edge smashes the chest of Benoit into the barricade and ropes. Benoit drives Edge's bad shoulder into the ring steps to gain control. Benoit picks apart the shoulder and hits a back suplex for 2. Benoit bloodies the nose with a drop toe hold and running dropkick. Edge desperately counters with a facebuster off the second rope! Back from a commercial, Benoit swats away a missile dropkick and locks on the crossface. Rolling Germans by Benoit and the swan dive issues. Edge-o-matic gets 2, as does a modified bulldog. Flajpack by Edge but Benoit dodges the spear and locks on the crossface. Edge might have tapped, but Kurt Angle arrives to distract his partner. Edge blindsides Benoit with a baseball slide dropkick that sends him into Angle. Benoit ducks a dive, causing Edge to hit Angle. The Spear finishes at 12:23! Very good match full of career (and life) shortening dangerous bumps, ***½.
Winner: Edge

Back to the Halloween Party, John Cena is dressed as Vanilla Ice and drops his first ever rap on WWE television. You see, previously to this, Cena was presented as kind of a generic babyface upstart, he usually looked good against more experienced opponents, but generally lost to anyone not named Chris Jericho. Depending on who you believe, there was a possibility that Cena would be getting axed from the company, as WWE was heading into an era where they would mass fire a dozen or more names from the talent roster a few times each year. Imagine that Cena does not get this totally random chance to play a rapper at a costume party, and we never got the Master of Thuganomics, and Cena never evolves into Hustle, Loyalty, Respect, and WWE doesn't have their undisputed top star of 2005 through 2015. I think about this a LOT now in 2020, because it feels very much like the way WWE is produced, it is impossible for anyone to break out again, or if they do, they face pushback from management. This random Halloween episode of Smackdown, full of lame Vince-directed jokes, ended up being so important in the grand scheme of WWE history, and that's fascinating, and a little scary to me.

John Cena Vanilla Ice

Anyhoo, a confused looking guest dressed as a witch doesn't know what to make of Cena's beats. The wrestlers boo him, but move on gawking at Torrie Wilson: Warrior Princess. Tajiri spots some hot stuff at the buffet, but Marilyn Monroe is actually Mae Young, who drags the poor guy in. Meanwhile, sexy cop Dawn Marie macks on Al Wilson. There's a lot going on.

Later at the party, Chris Benoit storms in looking for Kurt Angle. He grills the Ghost Face Killer from Scream and moves on, with the punchline that it was Kurt all along.

A caveman wants to know what Brock Lesnar's costume is, and the champ has no time for him. He marches into Paul Heyman's locker room for a heart to heart talk. Paul worries that Lesnar is damaged after Hell in a Cell and won't be able to beat Big Show at Survivor Series. Yes, the same Big Show who lost to EVERYBODY over the previous 2 years.

Big Show vs. Rikishi

Show was recently traded to Smackdown and is getting a rapid rebuild after about two solid years of jobbing and yucking it up in the midcard. Rikishi quickly thrust kicks Show through the ropes. Show throws Rikishi into the ring post and chops his chest. Show totally dominates and removes some buckle padding for a hard whip. Power slam by Big Show and a chokeslam finishes at 2:29. Great squash. If you'd woken up from a coma and tuned in, you'd think Show was the monster he needed to be.
Winner: Big Show

Show calls out "little man" Lesnar so he can show him what he's capable of. Heyman implores Lesnar not to take the bait. After a commercial, Big Show is threatening to hijack the show until he gets Lesnar. We're treated to footage of Show tossing Undertaker off the stage onto a hard looking equipment area. Show brags that he took out Undertaker after Lesnar could not, and he cannot be beaten. Brock Lesnar finally arrives and gets right into Show's face. Lesnar retorts that Lesnar is a giant piece of (bleep) and the crowd pops for the naughty word. Show backs up, stating he's been "advised" not to beat his @ss until Survivor Series. Whoa, that's some good foreshadowing there, as Paul would end up siding with him. It's funny, I hated this feud in live time (I was 18) but compared to what we normally see on WWE TV in 2020, this was solid build.

Trick or Treat Match:
Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson

This is evil sexy cop vs. warrior princess, and they're fighting by the pool of guck where there's also a table of party food. They throw some pies and Torrie tackles Dawn into the pool. Wilson actually hits a vertical suplex before pulling Dawn's jacket off for some choking. The referee gets pulled into the pool as they roll around, and I'm praying that no one in my household catches e watching this. Torrie gets a quick roll-up on the concrete at like 2:00. Torrie throws Tony Chimel into the pool for reasons. This was sleazy and uncomfortable to watch, but it was short.
Winner: Torrie Wilson

Back at the party, Mae Young and Moolah won't let go of Tajiri. Suddenly, the lights go out and Matt Hardy Version 1.0 appears with a boombox. He wants to inject the party with a dose of Mattitude! He chews Tajiri out for flirting with the old women instead of preparing for their match and rips off his afro wig. Mae Young stands up for her "boyfriend" and lays a kiss on the lucky guy.

Later at the party, Jamie Noble gets overexcited about some bobbing for apples and accidentally bumps Stephanie, who is a shockingly good sport about it. She's chatting with Los Guerreros, who are lobbying for a tag title shot. She'll think about it, but gets interrupted by Vanilla Ice Cena. She doesn't like his rap too much, so he grumpily tells her that Mr. McMahon asked to see her in his office.

Matt Hardy Version 1.0 vs. Tajiri

Hardy hits a quick armdrag and showboats for the crowd. Tajiri flips out of a wristlock and mocks Hardy's celebrating. Matt talks some trash and Tajiri hits a buzzsaw kick to the head, followed by an Asai moonsault to ringside. Matt recovers with a Side Effect for 2. Matt drives an elbow into Tajiri in a slam and applies a cravat. Tajiri breaks out, but Matt cuts him off, but misses a flying leg drop. They trade punches on their knees until Tajiri explodes into a dropkick to the face and back handspring elbow. Tajiri's buzzsaw kick gets a good nearfall. Matt blocks the Tarantula and hits a German suplex for 2! Tajiri tries again and applies the Tarantula. Matt blocks a kick and needs a low blow in order to hit the Twist of Fate to win at 7:38! Perfectly solid TV match, I wanted the good guy to win and felt sad when he didn't, **¾.
Winner: Matt Hardy

Stephanie goes into her father's office, only to find a figure in a Mr. McMahon mask. "Vince" claims that free agent will be joining Raw, not Smackdown, and reveals himself to be Eric Bischoff! Eric blocks a slap and forces a kiss on Steph, and she seems to resist but then give in to it. Eric leaves Steph to ponder what just happened. This should have been a huge angle and massive development in the Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry, but nope, this went absolutely nowhere. I can't recall this ever being brought up again in any meaningful fashion. This was just a shocking scene for the sake of shock value.

Stephanie McMahon witch

WWE Tag Team Champion Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero

We get our second Smackdown 6 match of the night! They trade holds while the crowd gets behind Angle with "Eddie sucks" chants. Angle hits a wild throws that sends Eddie to ringside for a tantrum. Match restarts with Eddie shoving the ref aside so he can pummel Kurt into the corner. Angle pops up for a clothesline. Eddie cuts Kurt off with a hard back suplex. Angle breaks a chinlock and nails a power slam. Eddie immediately answers with a takedown and dropkick to the face. Eddie ruthlessly chokes with his legs in the ropes and hits a suplex for 2. Hard to believe this murderous looking Guerrero is the same guy who was goofing around as Zorro earlier. Angle fights out of another chinlock but Eddie shakes away the ankle lock. Eddie gets cocky and suffers a release German suplex! Angle wins a slugfest and builds steam with a back body drop. Belly to belly suplex by Angle gets a rope break. Rolling Germans by Angle only get 2. Eddie blocks the Angle Slam and nails a tornado DDT! Eddie applies the Lasso from El Paso but Angle reverses into an ankle lock! Eddie gets the ropes and hits a blind low blow. Brainbuster by Guerrero, but Angle shoves the ref into him to block a Frog Splash. Angle knocks an interfering Chavo Guerrero off the apron, but Chris Benoit sneaks in to sabotage his own partner, and Eddie hits the Frog Splash to win at 13:22! Yeah, they just went out there had a **** match because they could. Incredible match, they were just jamming out there.
Winner: Eddie Guerrero

Benoit clocks Los Guerreros with his tag title and seems really pleased with himself.

The Halloween party rages on. Kurt Angle sours the mood to complain about his bad night. He throws Shannon Moore into a table, because that's what you get for being Shannon Moore. He demands Benoit and thinks he's a new Ghost Face Killer. He's revealed to be Brother Love, and the real Benoit jumps Kurt from behind and puts him in a crossface. Angle reverses into an ankle lock, and then Angle Slams him through a table while Benoit simultaneously smashes a bottle over his head. Both guys are down and this was seriously excellent. I don't know why I didn't like this more than I was 18.

Rey Mysterio vs. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)

Rey slides through Brock's legs to set up a quick guillotine leg drop. Lesnar misses a shoulder thrust and hits the ring post. Lesnar chases Rey around ringside and tries to bury him under ring steps, only for Rey to have snuck around for a seated senton. Lesnar blocks a rana and swings Rey into the ring post! Brock stretches Rey over his back before hitting a power slam. Overhead release suplex by Brock, but he misses a head of steam, and Rey lights him up with rapid dropkicks. 619 is interrupted by Big Show, who throws Rey into the crowd! The match is called off at 4:05 and was a hell of a David vs. Goliath sprint.
Winner via DQ: Rey Mysterio

Big Show turns his attention to Brock and slams him through the announce table!

Final Thoughts: Take away that Wilson/Marie fiasco, this was an excellent, Dynamite-like episode of Smackdown! The Halloween Party segments gradually morphed from throw-away yucks to compelling character development segments, the in-ring action was good to great, and the booking got everyone over! Of course, Paul Heyman would get demoted by January or so, ending this hot run for the blue brand. I heavily recommend that you check out this surprisingly great piece of Halloween HavoK.

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