The year was 2001.  This future teacher was 2+ months away from graduating high school, and for some reason, he has no earthly recollection of any of the events from this Smackdown.  Should be a good time.

Opening Recap

Highlight:  Realizing I have no earthly recollection of this show.  I don’t remember the “Two Man Power Trip”, their feud with the Hardy’s, and I certainlyI don’t remember Linda demanding a divorce from Vince.  All of this is new to me.  Looking back, this is the time of my life when I had finally figured out how to talk to girls, so perhaps that’s why this time in wrestling is so hazy.

So What:  This is obviously back when top talents elevated younger talents on a regular basis.  Hint hint, WWE.

Opening Promo

Following Wrestlemania 17, where Austin turns heel, he and Triple H open the show.

Highlight:  Chuckling as Trips pokes fun at the Internet, even way back then.

Lowlight:  Attitude Era or not, promoting male on female violence is never OK in my book.

So What:  To paraphrase the Joker, “We’re going to do this dance forever, Triple H.”  10, 15, 20 years from now, he’ll still be poking fun at the Internet wrestling fan, and we’ll still be giggling along, even as we post our complaints on. . . well, whatever the Internet becomes in 10, 15 or 20 years.

Spike Dudley vs. Albert

Highlight:  Entertaining match all around, but at one point Albert lifts poor Spike up by his belt and just tosses him back down.  Looked like a Wedgie-Bomb.

Lowlight:  I’m sick to death of the double-foot stomp, even though Spike’s 125 pound frame justifies it as an offensive move.

So What:  We need the Dudley’s back in a WWE ring.  The crowd will still go nuts for tables, if not the “Whazzuppppp”

 So What #2 : I originally wrote this a week or two ago, but with all the Mighty Mouse talk, is Adrian Neville going to wind up as a more muscular, more talented Lil’ Spike?

Promos Promos Promos

Highlight:  Rhyno nearly killing Crash Holly by spearing him into the sliding metal doors.

Lowlight:  Oh, the acting. . .The terrible acting!

So What:  Vince McMahon, you bring the XFL back right this second!

Chyna (c) vs. Ivory for the Women’s Championship

Highlight:  Watching a time when you had an incredibly dominant women’s champion and a deep division of challengers.

Lowlight:  That Right to Censor music was just awful.

So What:  Charlotte might not be the ninth wonder of the world, but she’s going to be this kind of dominant champion when she makes it to WWE.  This I promise you.

Edge, Christian, Kurt Angle and William Regal vs. Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho

Highlight:  Just read the competitors names again.  That’s the highlight.

Lowlight:  Over far too quickly.

So What: I hope we’ll look back in 15 years and say  “That Rollins, Balor and Ziggler vs. Owens and Zayn match was pretty phenomenal” in the same way people today feel about the Ruthless Aggression era.

Hardcore Holly vs. Rhyno

Highlight:  Bob Holly, consummate professional, makes everything look good.

Lowlight / So What:  Cringing as I realize how accurate the Bull Dempsey (aka Goon McGoof) / Rhyno comparisons are.

Big Show and Kai En Tai vs. Brothers of Destruction

Highlight:  Storytelling at its best.  From Big Show trying to find partners all night to the hilarious freak out Taka and Funaki have when they realize who their opponents are to ‘Taker trying to teach his little brother how to do The Last Ride properly.   It wasn’t a great match and it didn’t have to be.

Lowlight:  Realizing I’m enjoying this Smackdown from 13 years ago far more than any RAW I’ve seen in 2014.

So What:  I might just live in WWE Network land now.

Test vs. Val Venis

Highlight:  Seeing Right to Censor beat each other up after the match.  Always good to see a faction disband (I assume they did).

Lowlight:  Honestly, not much.  This is how good these cards were – even the toss-in matches were decent or better.

So What:  Today’s WWE is too timid to respond to mainstream issues like they did with RTC.  If the 2001 Vince had today’s attitude, we’d see Godfather, Venis and Bull Buchanan as the “New Day”.

Triple H (c) vs. Jeff Hardy for the IC title

Highlight:  This is what you want from a wrestling TV show main event.  Trips is on the top of his game here and Hardy isn’t far behind.  Good match, surprise ending (should have seen it coming with all the “Matt Hardy is home resting” hints), title change.  What more can you ask for?

Lowlight:  Putting on my snarky logic hat, Trips should have been DQ’ed a couple times for abusing the referee.  Come on Tim White, you hung out with Andre, stand up for yourself!

So What:  When was the last time you had a main event guy hold the “mid-card” title?  Perhaps its hindsight talking, but Triple H seemed to be one of the BIG heels in the company and he made the IC title bigger for it.  This is why we need a Ziggler / Rollins program for the belt.

Match of the Night

:  A lot to choose from here.  I’d go with the big handicap match of wrestling excellence, but it was too short.  Honestly, my favorite was Big Show and Kai En Tai vs. Kane / Taker.  A bit comedic, but wholly entertaining.

Discussion Questions:

What were you doing in 2001?
When does the Attitude Era end and the Ruthless Aggression Era begin?
What do you think the name of our current era in WWE will be called?  The PG Era?  The Cena Era?

From the NAI Archive – December 28, 2014 – DC’s Network Diaries: Smackdown from April 12, 2001
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