The return of Kane was the big news from Raw on May 29. He saved The Rock and The Undertaker from a group attack from the McMahon-Helmsley Regime, so that meant that Kane, Rock and Undertaker all had their eyes on the WWF Title held by Triple H. The next PPV was King of the Ring on June 25.
Here’s the synopsis from WWE Network: “While The Rock and The Undertaker compete in matches for a shot at the WWE Title, Kane seizes his own golden opportunity. All this and more!”
Check out our WWF in 2000 archives for my reviews of all the other shows (Raw, Smackdown, PPVs) from earlier in the year. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport if you’re not doing so already and let’s get started.
WWF Smackdown #41
June 1, 2000 (Taped May 30)
From the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington
This show has a TV-14 rating and “S” for Sexual Content on WWE Network. Smackdown rarely got the dreaded “S” while Raw would get it occasionally.
There was a video showing highlights from Raw that featured Kane making the save for The Rock and The Undertaker from the heel McMahon-Helmsley Regime. Kane held up the WWF Title to end the show. The Smackdown intro video aired after that.
The pyro went off in the arena, there were signs everywhere and we were welcomed to the show by the regular SD announcers Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler. This sign stood out during crowd scanning to start the show.
All that effort to put undies on a sign and he spelled Steph wrong. Weak effort, creepy guy.
Too Cool made their entrance for their first Tag Team Title defense. They won the titles on Raw thanks to help from Joe C (from Kid Rock’s band) and Rikishi. Good pop for them. They were very popular. The Hardy Boyz were also well liked by the fans, so they got a big ovation as well. The tag team division was so great in 2000.
WWF Tag Team Championships: Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy)
Pre-match notes: They were both babyface tag teams.
Matt whipped Scotty into the corner. The Hardys whipped Sexay into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Jeff with a Poetry in Motion attack on Scotty against the turnbuckle. The lovely Lita was shown watching on a TV backstage as Scotty hit a powerslam on Jeff. Sexay with a missile dropkick off the middle ropes on Jeff. Matt saved Jeff by hitting a neckbreaker on Scotty followed by a leg drop off the middle ropes. Matt with a belly to back suplex on Scotty. Jeff hit a leg drop to Scotty’s head when he was against the ropes. Scotty with a boot to the face followed by a running clothesline on Matt. Sexay tagged in with a sitout Powerbomb on Matt for two with Jeff breaking up the pin. Jeff tossed Sexay out of the ring leading to Scotty hitting the bulldog leading to the W-O-R-M followed by the chop on Jeff. Matt back in with a punch to the ribs and a Twist of Fate on Scotty. Sexay charged and took out Matt over the top to the floor. The referee counted one, two…and the pyro went off for Kane. The referee stopped counting.
Kane went down to the ring with the WWF Title in his left hand as he walked down to the ring. Kane grabbed Jeff and gave him a one hand Chokeslam for the DQ. Kane gave Scotty a one hand Chokeslam as well. The match went 4:33.
Winners by disqualification: The Hardy Boyz (Too Cool are still the champions)
Analysis: **1/2 Good action until the surprising finish with a babyface Kane ending this match between two babyface teams. There was a four-team Tag Team Title match at King of the Ring, so that’s why the Hardys looked good here even without winning the titles.
Kane asked for a microphone, which was rare for him in this era. Kane: “Triple H. You want your WWF Championship belt back? Why don’t you come out and take it?”
Triple H’s music hit and it took about 20 seconds for Triple H to appear along with the WWF Women’s Champion Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. Hunter was the WWF Champion although Kane had the title. Fans chanted “slut” when they saw Stephanie. There were also “Asshole” chants when Hunter was about to speak.
Hunter said he could beat up Kane and take back what is his, but he knows Kane wants to do the right thing. Hunter said even with Kane’s “limited intelligence” he understands what is right and wrong. Hunter said that WWF Championship is Hunter’s property, which is true. Hunter said that to be the best and to be the WWF Champion, you have to beat Hunter. Hunter said since Kane hasn’t beat him and never will beat him, that is Hunter’s property. Hunter told Kane he wanted him to walk up the ramp and give it back to Hunter. Kane replied: “No!”
Stephanie whispered something to Hunter that we couldn’t hear. Hunter said his beautiful wife had an idea. Hunter said Kane can ask him what he wants and Hunter can give it to him, which can lead to Kane giving Hunter back the championship title. Kane replied with: “A championship match.”
Hunter said Kane was a hell of a lot smarter than he gave him credit for. Hunter said Kane didn’t deserve it, but he’ll give him a chance in that very ring. Hunter told Kane he’ll face him although it is not for the WWF Title. The deal is that if Kane can beat Hunter then Kane will be the number one contender for the WWF Title and Hunter will defend the title at King of the Ring. Hunter yelled at him to give back his belt.
Kane handed the WWF Title to referee Jack Doan, who ran up the ramp and gave the title to its rightful owner, Triple H. That led to Triple H shouting his catchphrases about being The Game, that damn good and so on.
Kane: “Enjoy your championship belt while you can. You might be that damn good, but I am that damn bad.” Kane’s pyro went off and they had a staredown.
Analysis: It was an effective way to set up the main event with Hunter wanting the title back, then coming to an agreement and we get a big match with Hunter facing Kane. These two did wrestle many times in previous years, but it was a fresh matchup at this point in their careers.
There was a shot of a limo with Vince McMahon and friends arriving in a limousine. The Undertaker drove up to the limo to intimidate them. The Undertaker threatened them.
Vince asked Taker what he wanted and Taker said he wanted his WWF Title shot. Vince told Taker he’ll get a WWF Title shot at King of the Ring if he can beat Road Dogg and X-Pac in a handicap match. Taker agreed to the deal. It was 22 minutes into the show when they went to the first commercial.
Analysis: There’s another big match for later. By doing it this way, the story is that Vince didn’t know that Hunter already had a deal with Kane about a future WWF Title shot. It was surprising to see them take over 20 minutes to go into a commercial. That’s longer than normal.
Triple H and Stephanie were in the McMahon office when Vince, Tori, X-Pac, Road Dogg, Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson showed up. Hunter watched what Vince did on a TV backstage. Hunter asked what Vince was thinking and he told Vince he should have asked. Hunter said that earlier tonight, he faces Kane and if Kane wins, then he’s the #1 contender for the WWF Title. Vince asked why Hunter did that? They continued to bicker about it.
Shane McMahon was shown arriving in a car along with Edge and Christian. Shane yelled at the driver of the car because he wanted a limo. Shane told Edge and Christian will face The Rock in a handicap match and when they win, they will get a WWF Tag Team Title shot. Shane said that The Rock can get a WWF Title shot if he wins or at least that’s what he insinuated.
Back to the office with Vince and Hunter, they watched what Shane did. They weren’t happy about it.
Analysis: That meant that Kane, Undertaker and Rock could all become number one contender to the WWF Title in the same night in three separate matches all because the McMahon-Helmsley group did not communicate better.
Kurt Angle talked about how he was in a slump because he failed to win Intercontinental and European Titles. Angle said that the fans are used to it, but for him it’s different. Angle said that tonight, he vows to become King of the Ring. He said he was so sure he will win that he didn’t bother seeing who the opponent was. Angle said he didn’t care who the opponent was because he will suffer an Olympic lesson he’ll never forget. It’s Bradshaw.
Analysis: That was a good vow by Angle. Going into King of the Ring, I think it was a safe prediction to think Angle might win the tournament. He was clearly a star on the rise.
King of the Ring Qualifying Match: Kurt Angle vs. Bradshaw
Pre-match notes: Angle was a heel and Bradshaw was a face.
Bradshaw dumped Angle out of the ring and whipped him into the steel steps. Bradshaw hit Angle with a forearm to the head. Back in the ring, Angle blocked Powerbomb attempts and hit a back body drop. Angle with a drop toe hold leading to a front face lock. Angle ran the ropes leading to Bradshaw kicking him in the face. Angle with a belly to back suplex. Angle hit a belly to belly overhead suplex. Bradshaw came back with a forearm to the back of Angle. Bradshaw ran the ropes and hit a Clothesline from Hell, but Angle got his left foot on the bottom rope. When they got back up, Angle avoided a Powerbomb again and hit an Olympic Slam for the pinfall win at 2:46.
Winner by pinfall: Kurt Angle
Analysis: *3/4 A solid match to put Angle over clean. The right guy went over in this match with Angle doing some nice counters to avoid the Powerbomb from Bradshaw and I liked the two count spot after the Clothesline from Hell as well.
Post match, Bradshaw kicked Angle in the back. Bradshaw hit a Powerbomb and left Angle laying. Bradshaw left.
Analysis: That was not very babyface-like by Bradshaw, but the APA guys liked to deliver ass kicking.
Shane McMahon was shown in the McMahon family office talking to his allies, who were not happy with him and he asked what did he do? They gave Shane the silent treatment without saying anything.
Intercontinental Championship: Chris Benoit vs. D-Lo Brown
Pre-match notes: They were both heels.
Benoit worked over Benoit with hard chops. Brown hit a jumping sidekick to knock Benoit down followed by a sidewalk slam. Brown hit an impressive moonsault off the middle ropes for two. Brown dumped Benoit out of the ring. Benoit whipped Brown right shoulder first into the steel ring post. Back in the ring, Benoit hit a suplex for two followed by a clothesline. Benoit with another back elbow, clothesline and a belly to back suplex. Benoit went up top and jumped off with the headbutt, but Brown moved. Brown with a shoulder tackle. Benoit got a small package for two. Brown went for the Sky High, Benoit countered and slapped on the Crippler Crossface submission for the tapout victory at 4:23.
Winner by submission: Chris Benoit
Analysis: **1/2 It was a competitive match to give Benoit a clean win because he had some recent IC Title matches with cheap finishes. Brown rarely won matches on Raw and Smackdown this year, so he was there to put people over. Brown did look impressive in this match.
Vince McMahon was shown talking to Road Dogg, X-Pac and Tori about their match with The Undertaker. Vince told them to get dressed because they are up soon.
Terri and The Kat were shown in separate locker rooms getting ready for their arm-wrestling competition.
Jerry Lawler was in the ring as the referee for the women’s Arm Wrestling Match. There was an arm wrestling table in the ring. The Kat made her entrance in a blue outfit and a blue wig. She had a red wig on Raw. Lawler was married to her. The marriage did not last that long. Terri Runnels was out next with a bottle of water and a towel with her. Lawler said they can’t get along, so it will be settled with an arm-wrestling match.
Terri complained there was something on her hands and Lawler checked Kat’s legs too. Lawler joked that this match could cause swelling…for him. Terri pulled away and drank some water. Terri did some more heel tactics and the fans cheered when she bent over. Kat broke the hands being locked up and did some exercises with bending over her own. The fans loved that.
Arm Wrestling Match: The Kat vs. Terri
The match finally began. Terri was leading, then Kat fought back, Terri spit water in Kat’s face and Terri slammed Kat’s hand down for the cheap win.
Analysis: Match of the year! No. It was a thing. It killed time. They didn’t wear a lot of clothes. That’s about it.
Kat grabbed Terri by the hair and tossed her gently into the turnbuckle. Kat “attacked” with a bronco buster on Terri by the ropes. This looked so bad because Kat didn’t even close to touching Terri and was just doing the move with her legs bouncing off the ropes. WWE aired it from the far side because if it was shown up close it would look even worse. Anyway, Lawler went to the turnbuckle and told Kat to do the move to her. The fans cheered, but Kat didn’t do that. Cole on Lawler: “What a pervert!” Yep.
Analysis: I enjoy seeing beautiful women on the show, but this was not a good performance by either woman. Kat trying to do wrestling moves was never a good thing. Lawler had a few decent lines, so that made it mildly fun at least.
The Undertaker was shown walking backstage for his match.
The DX team of Road Dogg, X-Pac, Tori and Vince McMahon made their entrance for the first of three matches to determine the number one contender to the WWF Title. Road Dogg did the usual pre-match promo that he loved to do. Vince McMahon joined the commentary team. Interesting X-Pac sign there.
The Undertaker made his entrance by walking to the ring, so he didn’t use the motorcycle for this match.
The Undertaker vs. Road Dogg and X-Pac (w/Tori and Vince McMahon)
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the face and DX were the heels.
Taker with a boot to the face of Dogg and he tossed X-Pac over the top with X-Pac taking a back bump over the top to the floor. Taker worked over Dogg with elbows and then he blocked an X-Pac kick with a slam. Taker with a clothesline that sent X-Pac over the top to the floor. Taker grabbed both DX guys and tossed them over the top to the floor. Taker still had his leather jacket on. Vince got up from the announce table. The DX guys tried to leave, but the Dudleys stopped them from getting away. Taker slammed Dogg and X-Pac back into the ring. Dogg was punched out of the ring. Taker grabbed X-Pac and spiked him with a Chokeslam. Taker covered for the pinfall win 2:25.
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
Analysis: *1/4 It was a dominant ass kicking by The Undertaker, who didn’t have to take a bump during the match and he didn’t even take his jacket off. Easy win even in a handicap match. It made Dogg and X-Pac look like losers, but I guess it didn’t matter because this was about putting over Taker strong.
Post match, D-Von Dudley went into the ring doing a celebratory dance. He bumped into Undertaker, so Taker hit a Chokeslam on D-Von. The idea was that Taker was only out for himself.
There was a replay of The Undertaker’s win.
Vince and DX were back in their office with Vince complaining about the Dudleys. Hunter said all he is hearing is a bunch of excuses.
Hardcore Holly made his entrance to not much of a reaction.
Chris Jericho got a big pop as Holly’s opponent. Jericho called him “Baldcore Holly” again. Jericho insulted Holly’s baldness by saying he’ll get him some Rogaine and called him a goofy jackass.
Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Jericho
Pre-match notes: Holly was a heel and Jericho was a face.
Holly whipped Jericho into the ropes with Jericho getting caught in the ropes a bit, but he was fine. Jericho with a spinning heel kick. Holly came back with a dropkick. Jericho came back with a kick to the face followed by a dropkick off the middle ropes. Jericho with chops, a running forearm and a bulldog for a two count. Holly came back with a Powerbomb for a two count. Holly jumped off the top with nothing leading to a Jericho dropkick. Chris Benoit made his way down to the ring with a steel chair in hand. Jericho dropkicked Holly into Benoit holding the chair. Jericho followed up with a Lionsault for the pinfall win at 3:04.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Jericho
Analysis: ** Solid effort by both guys for this short match. They hit some cool moves and the finish was set up well. The referee was looking right at Holly going into the chair, so that could have been a DQ, but it counted as a pinfall.
Shane McMahon was in the locker room giving Edge and Christian a pep talk about beating The Rock.
The Rock was standing by for an interview after the break.
The Rock was interviewed by Kevin Kelly with Rock saying it doesn’t matter if The Undertaker is the number one contender. Rock said that he was promised that if he beats Edge and Christian then he’s the number one contender, so he’ll go to King of the Ring, beat Triple H and walk out as the WWF Champion. Rock said for the benefit of those with flash photography, Rock is going to beat their candy asses all over Tacoma. Loud “Rocky” chants from the crowd and he ended it with “if ya smell what The Rock is cooking” as usual.
Analysis: My favorite talker in wrestling history. Always great.
Edge and Christian were joined by Shane McMahon at ringside. No pre-match photo from E&C this time. The Rock was up next and he got a thunderous ovation as usual.
The Rock vs. Edge and Christian (w/Shane McMahon)
Pre-match notes: The Rock was the face obviously while Edge and Christian were heels. If The Rock is victorious then he becomes the #1 contender to the WWF Title.
Rock worked over Christian with punches. Edge tagged in, Rock hit him with a clothesline and Rock sent Christian over the top. Edge hit a clothesline to send Rock over the top to the floor. Rock sent Edge into the announce table and Christian into the steel steps. Rock with a clothesline on Edge, but Christian hit a cross body block on Rock. Edge and Christian sent Rock face first into the announce table. Back in the ring, Edge hit a Russian legsweep on Rock followed by a missile dropkick for two. Edge with a spinning heel kick and Christian went into the ring for a double team neckbreaker into a slam. Rock hit a belly to belly side slam on Christian. Rock with punches on Edge, a tilt a whirl slam on Christian, Edge charged at Rock, who moved and Edge hit a Spear on referee Tim White. Rock with a Samoan Drop on Edge. Shane tossed Edge the ring bell and Edge accidentally hit Christian with it. Rock punched Edge out of the ring. Shane went into the ring with a leaping chair attack to Rock’s head. Christian covered Rock thanks to Shane and Rock kicked out of the slow count by the referee right before the three count. Edge tagged in, Rock hit a Spinebuster and the People’s Elbow. Rock covered Edge for the pinfall win at 5:57.
Winner by pinfall: The Rock
Analysis: *** That was a very entertaining handicap match. The crowd was into it as the heels controlled most of it and Rock made the big comeback for the win. The last two minutes were outstanding with the fans cheering loudly for it. The negative thing about it is that it made Edge and Christian look inferior because they lost a handicap match, but just like with The Undertaker’s win, this was about putting over Rock.
The Rock celebrated the win. The fans went crazy. It happened every week, but man, it’s so impressive to see it every time.
It was back to the McMahon locker room with Shane McMahon complaining to the others about the lousy officiating. Vince said all we hear are a bunch of excuses.
King of the Ring Qualifying Match: Crash Holly vs. Albert (w/Trish Stratus)
Pre-match notes: Crash was the face and Albert was the heel.
Albert tossed Crash across the ring. Albert with a slingshot that sent Crash throat first into the middle rope. Albert did the airplane spin on Crash. Albert charged to the turnbuckle and Crash came back with a Tornado DDT. Albert with a clothesline to the back of the head. Crash countered a Powerbomb into a sunset flip for the pinfall win at 1:26.
Winner by pinfall: Crash Holly
Analysis: 1/2* A quick match to give Crash a fluke win. He barely got in any offense, but he got the big win.
Post match, Trish shoved Crash into the steel ring post. Albert went back in the ring and hit a neckbreaker off his shoulders. Cole called Trish a witch for her actions.
The McMahon office was shown again with Triple H telling Vince he can do what he wants and he did what he thought was right. Hunter complained about Vince making a match with Undertaker and Shane screwed up with his idea about The Rock. Hunter complained about how they had two #1 contenders, but there’s no way there will be three tonight because he will beat Kane. Hunter told them to stay back there. Hunter left with Stephanie.
The announcers summarized the situation. Cole had bad hair.
There were highlights of the King of the Ring qualifying matches so far with the announcers mentioning that 31 men and 1 woman (Chyna) were in the tournament.
Kane was shown walking backstage because he was up next in the main event.
Kane was up first for the main event. It sounded like they used the fake crowd noise machine to make it seem like the fans were really interested.
Triple H, the WWF Champion, was up next with wifey Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley by his side and she was the WWF Women’s Champion that never defended the title.
Kane grabbed the microphone. He told referee Tim White to leave, so White left. Kane said there’s been a change. This match now has a special guest referee…Earl Hebner. I guess the idea was that Linda McMahon appointed Hebner to the match.
There was a nice ovation from the crowd for Earl Hebner, who was back in action after Triple H beat him up several weeks earlier. Hunter freaked out about Hebner making his way down to the ring as the referee.
Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) vs. Kane
Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel WWF Champion while Kane was a face.
This match was not for the WWF Championship.
Kane started out with a choke followed by a punch. When Hunter punched Kane, it was no sold and Kane worked over Hunter with punches. Kane with a corner clothesline. Triple H with a knee to the face, but Kane no sold that too and hit a clothesline that sent Hunter over the top to the floor. They left the ring with Kane slamming Hunter face first into the top of the barricade. Lawler was calling Vince and Shane to come out there. Kane was on the apron, so Hunter hit a running knee that sent Kane into the announce table. Hunter whipped Kane into the steel ring post and then Hunter sent Kane into the steel steps at ringside. Back in the ring, Hunter stomped away on Kane and then he intimidated Hebner. Whip into the corner, Hunter with an elbow to the face and Kane wanted a Chokeslam, but Hunter punched his way free. Kane came back with two huge clotheslines. Kane with a boot to the face followed by a sidewalk slam. Kane went up top, but Hunter hit the top rope to crotch Kane on the top. Hunter brought a chair into the ring. Hebner pulled the chair away, Hunter shoved him down and Kane grabbed Hunter by the throat. Kane with a Chokeslam on Hunter for the pinfall win at 5:16.
Winner by pinfall: Kane
Analysis: **1/4 It was an okay match. These guys never really had any great matches, but this was booked well with Kane looking like a viable contender thanks to the clean win. A champion losing non-title happens all the time in today’s WWE, but it wasn’t a common thing back in 2000. I think they do it way too often today.
Kane was announced as the winner. Kane held the WWF Title and posed over a fallen Triple H while Kane’s pyro went off. Kane left up the ramp while Hunter was down in the ring with the WWF Title on him. That was the end of Smackdown.
Analysis: It was a good way to end Smackdown with some questions about what would happen next because The Rock, The Undertaker and Kane all won #1 Contender matches for the WWF Title. If you wanted to see what happened next, tune in on Raw. That’s how you build up a storyline in an effective way.
This episode of Smackdown had a run time of 1:29:04 on WWE Network.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Rock
- Edge and Christian
- Triple H
This episode gets a 7 out of 10.
The great thing about this show is they used hour one to really build up hour two well. In that first hour, they set up those matches for Rock, Kane and Undertaker and then the three men had their matches in the second hour. That shows it was an organized, well-booked show. It’s something lacking in today’s WWE.
My favorite match was Rock vs. Edge and Christian. That was one of the more entertaining handicap matches you’ll ever see.
Fun show. They were building up the storylines really well going into King of the Ring. That doesn’t mean King of the Ring was a great show, but I thought things were progressing well.
Check out our WWF in 2000 archives for my reviews of all the other shows (Raw, Smackdown, PPVs) from earlier in the year. Thanks for reading.