Centennial Garden Arena – Bakersfield, California | TV Rating: 3.6
The Good: The show-long segments that build it up are interminable (see below) and having seen the choice highlights of it innumerable times over the years the full thing isn’t exactly the fast-paced riot of memory but the Supermarket Showdown between Booker T and Steve Austin is still a very entertaining segment and sort-of iconic at this point. I mean, the Supermarket Showdown is shown in clips more
It is far from a classic but the fact that Chris Jericho & The Undertaker against Rob Van Dam & The Rock is at least a return to your standard TV main event stuff means that I can just about sneak it into here. Rob Van Dam pinning Jericho to end it is a mild surprise as I can’t remember the two actually feuding from hereon in, but taken on its own merits and within the context of NOT knowing what is coming next it’s fine.
The Bad: What is the point in sending Kurt Angle, William Regal, Edge & Rikishi out there to open the show with a tag team match that lasts a few seconds under two minutes? There’s no blame to be laid at the feet of the wrestlers but they also seem to have been told that they have to fit about 10 minutes worth of storyline into that two minutes so it’s no surprise that this is a total mess. The Lance Storm stuff that was merely indifferent on Raw gets played out almost verbatim again here, except this time it is Kane who squashes him in a “Storm must win to get a job” match.
Again, hard to be too harsh on the wrestlers themselves but what is the point of Bradshaw squashing Matt Hardy. I’m unsure of the exact timelines but is it punishment before the Hardy’s disappear off our screens? Even so that makes it counter-productive as well as baffling booking.
The Indifferent: Again there’s a lot of Vince/Booker/Flair/Austin segments dotted throughout the show that seems overkill to lead up to what they do. Still we have to have these kind of things so that of the SEVEN official matches we have tonight six can all go under five minutes (of which three don’t even go half of that). The one where there is a fire (from the cooking of food) in their Skybox and Austin turns out to be one of the firefighters is amusing in itself but essentially we’re re-hashing an issue (Vince and Austin) that can never remotely match what it was in 1998/99.
Tajiri and Crash Holly is your usual short Cruiserweight Title match that is only really noticeable because the word “Cruiserweight” seems to be the only thing from WCW that survived the InVasion. Jeff Hardy against Test is set up after the latter hits on Lita. They get three minutes and then Test is DQ’d for booting Earl Hebner. Remember three days ago when Test was attacking The Rock?
The Dudley Boyz & Christian against Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert & Tazz gets nearly five minutes and appears to be a lead-in to the “Zoo Crew” (yes, that is apparently what we are calling Scotty & Albert now) getting some tag team title shots against the Dudley’s. Which makes the ending where Tazz chokes out Christian for the win just perfect…
Overall: Another largely dull show thought at least attempts are being made to bring us “new” things. Even on a show which seems hellbent on re-hashing Vince Vs Stone Cold. Still the Supermarket Showdown segment is a legendary one so it’s not totally without merit.