This was the first episode of Smackdown following Backlash with the next PPV, Judgment Day, on the horizon in less than three weeks. The Rock was the WWF Champion that had to deal with the McMahon Family trying to stack the deck against him all the time. In this episode, that meant defending the WWF Title in a handicap match.
Here’s the synopsis from WWE Network: “Referee Earl Hebner is forced to team with The Rock as The Great One defends the WWE Title against DX in a Handicap Tag Team Match.”
WWF Smackdown #37
May 4, 2000 (Taped May 2)
From the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia
This show has a TV-PG rating and “V” for Violence on WWE Network.
Smackdown began with a video package showing The Rock’s successful WWF Title defense against Shane McMahon on Raw. Rock got some help from Earl Hebner to win the match. The Smackdown intro aired after that.
There was a shot of the live crowd in Richmond making a lot of noise as the pyro went off and there were signs all over the place. Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler were on commentary as usual on Smackdown.
Earl Hebner was introduced to the crowd as “Richmond’s own Earl Hebner” and he got a nice pop from the hometown crowd.
Intercontinental Championship: Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
Pre-match notes: Benoit was the heel champion and Jericho was the face challenger. It was a rematch from Backlash when Jericho used the title on Benoit to get disqualified.
Benoit started with a slap, which led to a brawl where they went fighting out of the ring and then back in. Jericho with a forearm to the face, they got into a chopfest and Jericho hit a double underhook into a slam. Jericho went for a Lionsault, Benoit got up and hit Jericho with three German Suplexes for a two count. That was a nice counter. Benoit with a gutbuster knee to the ribs. Benoit with a boot to the face, but Jericho with a spinning heel kick to the face. Benoit had blood coming out of his nose. Benoit worked over Jericho with more chops, Jericho with a back elbow and hit a missile dropkick. Lawler had a joke that Hebner was married three times and had the same in-laws. Jericho with a bulldog for a two count. Benoit got an inside cradle for two followed by a belly to back suplex Benoit up top, but Jericho hit the ropes to crotch him on the top. Benoit managed to knock Jericho down, Benoit with a sunset flip and Jericho wanted a Walls of Jericho, but Benoit got out of it and went for the Crippler Crossface. Benoit picked up Jericho over the top rope and tossed him out of the ring. Hebner argued with Benoit to get him to move away from the ropes. Benoit shoved Hebner out of the ring. Jericho grabbed the IC Title and he hit Benoit in the head with the IC Title. Jericho with a Lionsault. Hebner crawled back into the ring to count the pinfall to give Jericho the win and the IC Title at 6:31. Big pop from the crowd for that.
Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match as usual from these two guys that knew eachother well and wrestled often. I had forgotten about this title change, but I remembered these two wrestled often this year. If you want to be picky, the finish should have been a DQ when Benoit shoved Hebner out of the ring. Instead, it was a title change. The crowd loved it. It was a smart idea to start the show off with a title change like that.
Post match, Jericho celebrated with the IC Title. Lawler complained about how it wasn’t fair since Jericho hit Benoit with the title when Hebner was out of the ring.
The McMahon Helmsley-Regime were shown arriving in limos. Triple H still had his left arm in a sling to sell the separated shoulder injury.
Let’s Hear from the McMahon-Helmsley Regime
The McMahon-Helmsley Regime stood on the stage for a promo. That meant Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, Road Dogg, X-Pac, Tori, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco.
Vince said that it was nice to be there because Richmond is known as the capital of the Confederacy and the home of Jefferson Davis. Vince noted this is where Patrick Henry gave his famous speech and he said Richmond is the great state of Virginia. Fans chanted “Rocky” so Vince complained about them interrupting his speech. Vince mentioned the corrupt city council of Richmond and of late, it’s known as the home of referee Earl Hebner, which drew a big pop from the crowd. Vince ranted about Hebner raising the hand of The Rock as the new WWF Champion.
Vince said that it’s only right that Earl returns to that ring tonight in his hometown. Vince announced that in that very ring, Earl will have his very first wrestling match. Vince talked about how it wouldn’t be fair for Earl to wrestle in singles in his first match. The fans chanted “Asshole” at Vince. That led to Vince saying that Earl will team up with the WWF Champion, The Rock. Vince said they will face X-Pac, Road Dogg and their tag team partner, the next WWF Champion Triple H in a 2 vs. 3 in a Handicap Match. Vince also announced that this match will be for the WWF Championship with Cole wondering why he will do that in a tag match. Vince said that if Rock or Earl’s shoulders are pinned, then Rock will lose the WWF Championship. Vince claimed that we will crown a new WWF Champion and once again history will be made in Richmond, Virginia.
Analysis: It was the typical early show promo to set up a match for later. At least it was just Vince talking instead of four people going over the same points like they do most weeks. A Handicap match for the WWF Title was definitely unique and also a way to keep viewers tuned in because people were likely wondering what was going to happen.
A commercial aired for Judgment Day showing three little girls in white dresses and it said: “Judgment Day is Coming.” That was key based on what happened at Judgment Day.
Edge and Christian were shown backstage receiving facials after Rikishi and Big Show put their butts in their faces. Edge said he couldn’t believe they lost the cover of Tiger Beat because of this.
Analysis: Tiger Beat references rule! Google it, kids.
Eddie Guerrero and Chyna vs. Essa Rios and Lita
Pre-match notes: Eddie was the European Champion and he was a face by this point with Chyna by his side. Rios and Lita were heels. During their entrances, Lita was apprehensive about getting in the ring with Chyna.
Guerrero with a backbreaker on Rios followed by a belly to back suplex. Chyna tagged in for a double team suplex on Rios. Guerrero back in with a senton splash. Rios sent Guerrero into the corner and dropkicked Chyna off the apron. Lita kicked Chyna while she was on the ground. Rios with a powerslam on Eddie for two. Rios with an armdrag on Guerrero leading to a slap from Lita. Guerrero with a jumping back elbow. Chyna tagged in with an elbow smash to the chest of Rios. Chyna and Rios did a double clothesline to knock them both down. Lita tagged in because Chyna was down. Lita went up top, Chyna hit the ropes to knock her down and Chyna hit a Powerbomb on Lita. Guerrero whipped Rios into the barricade. Chyna with a Gorilla Press Slam. Chyna pinned Lita with a foot on the chest for the pinfall win at 4:01.
Winners by pinfall: Eddie Guerrero and Chyna
Analysis: *3/4 Easy win for Eddie and Chyna to put an end to this rivalry. It was booked okay with Lita getting in some cheap shots until Chyna was able to make the comeback for the win.
Eddie and Chyna celebrated the win with a hug.
Kurt Angle did a promo prior to his match. Angle said when he thinks about hardcore, he thinks about hardcore pornography, which drew piped in cheers. Angle wondered what was wrong with them, then he mentioned Virginia is for lovers and he realized that motto should be extended to say “Virginia is for lovers…provided the lovers are not from the same family.” It’s true, it’s true.
Analysis: These Angle promos were so cheesy, but they always made me laugh because his delivering was golden. It’s true, it’s damn true.
Hardcore Holly responded to the promo saying he didn’t care about Kurt’s philosophy and neither do these people. Hardcore added that Virginia is for lovers, but it sure as hell ain’t a place for a 30-year-old virgin who is about to get his ass kicked. Here’s a creative sign.
Kurt Angle vs. Hardcore Holly
Pre-match notes: Angle was a heel. Holly was a heel, but after that pre-match promo, he was a face.
Holly with a shoulder tackle followed by a Powerbomb for a two count. Holly with a corner clothesline. Angle tossed Holly out of the ring. Angle tried to whip Holly into the steel steps, but Holly countered and Angle was sent into the steel steps. Angle whipped Holly into the steel ring post. Back in the ring, Angle with a belly to belly suplex. Holly hit a suplex. Lawler wondered what Hebner would wear in the ring. Angle did a leapfrog and when he landed, he grabbed his right knee claiming he was hurt. Holly took advantage with some kicks, ref Chad Patton made Holly move back, Holly pushed the ref and the ref pushed back right into a bridging German Suplex from Angle for the pinfall win at 2:51.
Winner by pinfall: Kurt Angle
Analysis: *1/2 Angle sold the fake injury well. The result was a way to give Angle a win after he lost a short match to Big Show at Backlash earlier in the week. Winning with a German Suplex was rare for Angle, but I guess it’s fine when it was done as a surprise.
Post match, Holly hit Angle with a dropkick. Holly brought a chair into the ring and hit a Falcon Arrow slam onto it. Holly left looking proud of himself.
Rikishi was shown backstage because he was in a handicap match up next.
There was a commercial for a DVD about The Rock. I think I got my first DVD player at Christmas in 1999 and one of my first purchases was Royal Rumble 2000. I bought that Rock DVD too.
Edge and Christian made their entrance. Christian noted that there’s nothing to be alarmed about because their “faces are now absolutely 100% ass free.” Lawler: “Good!” Indeed. Edge said that Rikishi will rue the day where he tried to ruin the faces that these people love.
Rikishi Phatu vs. Edge and Christian
Pre-match notes: Rikishi was a face while Edge and Christian were the heel Tag Team Champions.
Rikishi took down both guys with a double clothesline. Rikishi hit a running back splash on E&C against the turnbuckle. Rikishi hit the Stinkface on Edge against the turnbuckle. Christian jumped on Rikishi’s back and Edge hit a Spear. Edge hit a dropkick that sent Rikishi out of the ring. Christian hit a springboard cross body block on the floor. Edge tried an attack on the floor, Rikishi moved and Edge hit the ring post. Rikishi knocked down Christian with a punch as the ref counted them out and Rikishi rolled back in the ring to win by countout at 2:04
Winner by countout: Rikishi Phatu
Analysis: 3/4* That was pretty lame with a weak ending. It was a quick handicap match to further this storyline of E&C hating Rikishi for doing the Stinkface.
Post match, E&C attacked Rikishi with Edge hitting a Spear. Edge brought the ring bell into the ring, but Too Cool ran out for the save. Grandmaster Sexay kicked Edge to knock the ring bell out of his hands. Scotty with the bulldog on Christian followed by the W-O-R-M to a huge pop and a chop. Too Cool and Rikishi danced to end it.
Analysis: Good angle after the match. That was much better than the match. This would eventually lead to a six-man tag team match that opened Judgment Day with Edge and Christian team up with Kurt Angle (Team ECK!) against Rikishi and Too Cool.
Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Tori were backstage by a vending machine. She said she is thirsty, so Tori pulled out a wad of bills from her cleavage. The Dudleys walked up to them saying excuse us. Stephanie told them it’s pathetic when two men pick on women to make them feel strong and powerful. Tori said it was pathetic. Stephanie said they were poor excuses for men and left. Bubba teased going after Stephanie, but D-Von said he’s out of his mind and said there were repercussions for putting that girl through a table. Bubba just smiled.
The Lugz Boot of the Week showed Bubba putting Trish through the table at Backlash.
The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy) vs. Test & Albert
Pre-match notes: The Hardys were faces while T&A were heels. No Trish with T&A because she was selling the table bump. I missed her.
Albert with a shoulder tackle on Matt early in the match. Jeff got the tag, the Hardys hit the Poetry in Motion on Albert against the turnbuckle and Jeff got a two count. Jeff with a low dropkick to Albert’s face. Jeff tried to fight out of a slam from Albert, but Albert managed to hit a Powerbomb for a two count with Matt breaking up the pin. T&A hit a double team spinning slam on Jeff followed by Test hitting a Full Nelson Slam on Jeff. Albert whipped Jeff into the turnbuckle and Jeff hit the Whisper in the Wind attack. Matt got the hot tag against Test with Matt connecting with a neckbreaker and Matt hit a DDT on Albert. Matt hit the Twist of Fate on Test for two as Albert broke up the pin. Albert knocked Jeff off the apron, the referee was distracted by Albert and Jeff hit a Swanton Bomb on Test, so Matt covered Test for the pinfall win at 5:10.
Winners by pinfall: The Hardy Boyz
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match with the T&A guys in control and the Hardys made the comeback to win. The finish was done well.
Post match, Albert picked up Matt and gave him a spinning slam off the shoulders. Test followed up with an elbow drop off the top.
Analysis: There was a lot of depth in the tag team division, so this was a way to set up a new rivalry between teams that were not in the title picture.
Earl Hebner was interviewed backstage by Jonathon Coachman. Earl said he’s not a “wrassler” and they are forcing him to do this. Earl complained about being forced to do this. Coach wished him good luck.
The fastest Slam of the Week sponsored by Western Union showed The Rock beating Shane McMahon in a steel cage match on Raw. Lawler mocked Hebner for “wrassler” instead of wrestler.
Big Show was introduced as a new character with Tony Chimel announcing him this way: “From parts unknown, weight unknown, bet you haven’t heard that in a while…Shonan The Barbarian.”
Show said that he will show no mercy for he is Shonan the Barbarian.
Bull Buchanan went down to ringside as the opponent and worked over Show with a nightstick. The bell never rang to start the match.
Buchanan attacked Show with the nightstick with repeated shots to the upper body. Show got back up, no sold the attack and hit a clothesline. Show kicked Buchanan and tossed him over the top to the floor. Show sent Buchanan face first into the barricade. Back in the ring, Show connected with a Chokeslam. Show picked up Buchanan and hit another Chokeslam. Cole made the point that Show just wants to have fun, but you don’t want to make him mad.
Analysis: No match. Just an angle to put over Show’s viciousness even though he can be a comedic face at times as well. It’s probably a good thing they didn’t have a match because if they did it would have sucked.
Vince McMahon was shown in his office and he talked to Earl Hebner. Vince said that he did what he had to do. Vince wished Earl good luck in his match.
Crash Holly, the Hardcore Champion, was shown walking backstage where a kids basketball game happened to be there and there was also a trampoline funhouse. Dean Malenko attacked, a referee showed up to count a pin, Crash kicked out and hit a jawbreaker. Crash managed to get away from Malenko by running into the arena. Malenko caught up to Crash, they went to the ringside area and Malenko whipped Crash into the steel steps.
Hardcore Championship: Crash Holly vs. Dean Malenko
Pre-match notes: Crash was the face Hardcore Champion while Malenko was the heel challenger that was also the Light Heavyweight Champion.
Malenko set up a trash can in the ring, Crash avoided being sent into it and Crash kicked the trash can away. Malenko hit a superplex on Crash for a two count because Perry Saturn showed up to pull Malenko out of the ring. Saturn hit a Brainbuster on Malenko. Saturn and Malenko argued about it because they are buddies. Crash hit Malenko in the back with a trash can, Dean pumped into Saturn and Crash covered to win. It went about 2:45 from when they started at ringside.
Winner by pinfall: Crash Holly
Analysis: *1/2 It’s hard to rate these matches because it’s usually comedy stuff, but I enjoyed it. I liked the Crash 24/7 champion gimmick.
After Crash left, Saturn and Malenko exchanged punches. Referees ran out to break it up.
Big Show was shown in the McMahon office asking Shane what he thought about his latest antics. Shane just walked away.
When they came back, they showed what happened during the break and Shane told Show that he let Shane down at WrestleMania. Shane said he wanted him to become the WWF Champion. Shane mentioned that Show embarrassed him because he was the first man eliminated. Shane said Show has made a fool of himself and he’s not entertaining. Shane called Show pathetic, a pea brain, a waste of good oxygen and an unmotivated slob. Shane said none of those people will care about him because he doesn’t deserve it. Show looked like he was about to cry as Shane left.
Analysis: There was a Judgment Day match between Show and Shane, so this was a way to set that up.
The Rock and Earl Hebner (in a Rock shirt) were interviewed backstage by Kevin Kelly in the interview area. The Rock said that the deck is stacked again tonight while mentioning if he or Earl gets pinned tonight then he loses the WWF Title. Rock said that he isn’t going to lose the WWF Title. Rock fired up saying Vince can shove the DX guys up his candy ass, which drew cheers of course. Rock’s “if ya smell” line ended it. Just a quick promo.
The McMahon-Helmsley Regime faction was shown walking down the hallway for the main event.
The Smack of the Night presented by Got Milk? showed Vince’s promo from earlier setting up the main event.
The McMahon-Helmsley Regime (nine people) made their entrance to the Run DMC DX song.
The Rock entered with Earl Hebner by his side. Huge pop for them. This episode was actually taped on The Rock’s 28th birthday and there were “Happy Birthday Rock” signs in the arena.
WWF Championship Handicap Match: The Rock and Earl Hebner vs. Triple H, X-Pac and Road Dogg (w/Tori, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco)
Pre-match notes: Rock and Hebner were the faces. The DX guys were the heels.
If Rock or Hebner are pinned or submitted in this match, then The Rock will lose the WWF Championship.
Rock decked Dogg with a clothesline. Dogg and X-Pac managed to isolate Rock in the corner. Triple H wrestled with the sling on. It was just selling. Cole mentioned it was Rock’s birthday, so there’s the first mention of it. Rock hit a tilt-a-whirl slam on X-Pac. Triple H went back in the ring and hit a clothesline on Rock. Hunter was in the match and Rock worked him over with punches. Rock held Hunter, Earl slapped Hunter and the crowd went wild! Huge pop for that!
Rock took the sling off Hunter’s left arm and he stomped on thearm. X-Pac got in a cheap shot kick on Rock leading to Hunter hitting a neckbreaker on Rock. Hebner went in the ring to try to help Rock, but that led to DX double teaming Rock with the referee Mike Chioda not looking. Vince also got in some cheap shots on Rock. Dogg with a body slam on Rock, then the shake, rattle and roll knee drop for a two count. X-Pac with a spinning heel kick followed by a clothesline that sent Rock out of the ring to the floor. Hunter whipped Rock into the steel ring post. Hunter went after Hebner on the floor and threw Earl into the ring. Rock came back with a clothesline on Hunter. Rock battled back in the ring with punches for DX and a DDT on Dogg. Rock hit a spinebuster on Shane, Rock with punches for Patterson and Brisco. Chris Jericho showed up from the back and he punched Triple H repeatedly. Vince went over to Jericho to attack him. The referee tried to get Jericho to back off. Back in the ring, Hebner hit a low blow to X-Pac and Rock hit a Rock Bottom on X-Pac. Rock pinned X-Pac and he got the pinfall to retain the WWF Title at 7:32.
Winners by pinfall: The Rock and Earl Hebner
Analysis: **1/4 It was okay. I was entertained by it and it was booked well with nearly everybody at ringside getting involved in some way. I think it’s tough to do a match where you have a non-wrestler like Hebner involved, but they manage to get through it with Rock carrying the match for his team. If you want to get picky about the match result, it should have been a DQ when Jericho attacked Hunter.
The Rock and Earl Hebner celebrated with the WWF Title. There were still about seven minutes left in the show, so there was a lot more to do.
Hunter knocked down Rock with a punch to the back. Vince grabbed Hebner at ringside. Hunter hit Rock in the head with the WWF Title. Pedigree by Triple H on The Rock. Vince and Shane tossed Hebner into the ring with the DX guys. Hunter punched Hebner in the face two times to knock him down. Hebner was bleeding from the mouth, so Hunter punched him more. Hunter grabbed Hebner and gave him a Pedigree on a steel chair. Hunter with a knee drop to The Rock’s groin.
Rikishi went down to ringside to try to save Rock and Hebner, but he was beaten up. Big Show was up next for the save and he managed to clear the ring a bit with some punches and headbutts. Shane choked Show by jumping on his back and that led to Dogg and X-Pac stomping away on Show. When Rock got back into it, Hunter hit a low blow to Rock and Hunter hit a low blow to Show. Hunter hit a DDT on Show.
The Dudley Boyz were next up to try to save the faces as they entered the ring with a table. Bubba punched Hunter out of the ring. The Dudleys stood in the ring with Big Show, Rikishi, Jericho, Rock and Hebner.
Rikishi grabbed Patterson and Brisco and tossed them in the ring. Rock worked over Brisco with punches. Rikishi gave Patterson the Stinkface. D-Von set up a table in the ring. Rock gave Brisco to Bubba and the Dudleys gave Brisco a Powerbomb off the turnbuckle through the table. Bubba had the crazed look in his eyes. The fans loved that.
There were EMTs that went down to ringside and they put Earl Hebner on a stretcher. Replays aired of Hunter giving Hebner the Pedigree on the chair. The Rock helped the EMTs wheel the stretcher up the ramp. That was it for Smackdown.
Analysis: A happy ending to the show considering how often the heels were standing tall was nice to see. The fans really got behind Hebner, so beating him up and taking him out got the heels some great heat. I think having those faces making the save for Rock/Hebner was a smart move because it built up other wrestlers having potential issues with the McMahons as well.
The Rock missed the following week’s edition of Raw and Smackdown due to filming “The Mummy Returns” movie. It was his first movie role.
This episode of Smackdown had a run time of 1:27:02 on WWE Network. That was nearly three minutes shorter than usual for Smackdown, so they possibly edited some stuff out.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Rock
- Chris Jericho
- Triple H
Earl Hebner did well in his role too. If you’re wondering, I don’t put Benoit in the Three Stars of the Shows ever. I can watch his matches, but I don’t think we should celebrate him.
This episode gets a 5.5 out of 10.
It was a bit of a step back from what they were doing going into Backlash. It would have been nice if they set up more matches for Judgment Day. The match quality was disappointing too.
There was nothing on here that I would say was “must see” for anybody wanting to re-watch this episode. Jericho’s title win wasn’t that big of a deal considering it was a very short reign.
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.