Last night, I had the privilege of attending WWF Smackdown from the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. Thanks to the Jim Ross Report, I found out that there were still plenty of good seats available, so I made some phone calls, and eventually bought some tickets. I got to the
Mellon Civic Arena around 7:30 exactly, to which the show was about to start. Usually, I get to the show hours beforehand, but my co-conspirator who was attending the show with me, was just getting off work around 6 or so.
As for the place that should still be called the Civic Arena... It was approximately 75 - 85% full in terms of attendance. The Arena was blocked off for Sections E and F, which are the hideous nosebleeds, but in earlier years, the WWF sold every ticket in the house. Also, parts of section D behind the cameras were blocked off, too, from poor ticket sales. Finally, there was part of the section D, opposite of the ring, that had weak attendance, to which the WWF dimmed the lights for that area.
My seats were in the section C, opposite of the Ovaltron. I was along the entrance, and I had an excellent view of everything. I saw the entrances in full, all of the action in the ring, and anything that went on with the announcer's booth. Next time the WWF comes to the Mellon Arena, I'll try to get those seats again! Screw ringside!
In the Arena, I had plans to buy one of those orange Tazz shirts, but D'oh, they didn't have any. I had my eye on the Kurt Angle: I'll make you tap shirt, but the $28.00 pricetag made me think twice. Let's go over what happened for the whole event....
Chuck Palumbo vs. Test
Both guys had good pops for their entrances. I guess having a scrub match, before yours, will help out a lot. Match was decent, with kickouts on the finishers for some strange reason. The crowd was totally dead for this one, for Test's charisma just couldn't keep them pumped! Sean O'Haire came out of no where to help Palumbo win via Tag Belt to the head for Test. By the way, the Palumbo/O'Haire music sounds F'N awesome live.
Winner: Chuck Palumbo
K-Kwik vs. Jerry Lynn
K-Kwik had no crowd response to his lousy singing, and he was soon generating boos from the crowd. Lynn just had no response. The match was a decent spotfest, but nothing to get that excited about. Lynn won after doing some weird pinning combination.
Winner: Jerry Lynn
NOTE FROM TITO: I believe this was the last dark match before Heat, for Lynn vs. K-Kwik had no Heat logo on the mini-Ovaltron. I think at least. :)
WCW referee Billy Silverman walked out to an incredible amount of heat. Wow.
Albert vs. Hugh Morrus
Albert came out to a lot of heat, whether it's negative, cause fans thinks it's X-Pac, or his heat... I don't know. Morrus got no crowd reaction at all. The fans ran to the restroom or concession stand for this one, trust me on that one. This match was God-awful, and I recommend you to NOT watch Heat just to avoid the pain of this match. Albert won via the Baldo-bomb, to which everyone cheered that the pain was over. Billy Silverman called the match down the line.
Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
I think Earl Hebner's son was the referee for this one. Either way, WCW now has a 4th member to their referee staff, and he has blond, short hair. Scotty 2 Hotty came out to an incredible amount of cheers, and he had the crowd going for the whole match. Now I see why Too Cool was getting the push at times. Chavo got some boos, and he carried the match to be very fast paced. Don't blink, or you'll miss Scotty 2 Hotty winning with the worm. I did shout W-O-R-M for fun.
Winner: Scotty 2 Hotty
Raven/Justin Credible vs. Kaientai
Ok, watch Heat for this match. Taka and Funaki's odd voices were hilarious this week! Taka yelled "hey Justin Credible... you should change your name to Just About to Get Your Ass Kicked". HAHAHA!! Then, Taka was imitating the Raven entrance theme with sound effects. Oh my God, it was soooo funny! The whole crowd was laughing hard at that, and you should too when it comes on this Sunday Night. Match wasn't bad, with Kaientai being very entertaining the whole time during the match. At the end, Kaientai got cocky and started saluting the crowd, to which Raven Evenflowed the distracted Funaki for the win.
Winners: Raven/Justin Credible
The WWF referees and ring crew ran down to change the black ropes to the blue ropes. Quite amusing to watch. Lilian Garcia then came out to sing the National Anthem. Damn, she truly has that down to a science. Awesome singing tonight. Then, Michael Cole came out to "My Way or the Highway" to a decent pop, and Jim Ross came out to the Oklahoma fight song to a great pop. Jim Ross hopped into the ring, with mic in hand and said that it was good to be in Pittsburgh. Then, JR said that ever since Wrestlemania 17 and Invasion, he's asked "Why Stone Cold, Why", in terms of his turning his back on his fans. Jim Ross has the answer: "he's a first class asshole!"
Hardys with Lita vs. Kidman and HURRICANE Helms
Gregory just didn't sound right... Hardys had an incredible pop from all of the fans, while the fans didn't know Helms or Kidman. Kidman needs to get his wifebeater back on, because that's his gimmick. Good opener, with the Hardys winning via Twist of Fate and Swanton combo. You should have seen the flashbulbs going off for when the Swanton hit.
Winners: The Hardy Boyz
Billy Gunn and the Big Show are seen backstage, and Big Show presents a new name: ShowGunns. They rip on each other, again, which was pretty comical on the Pittsburgh crowd as I guess they remembered the terrible gimmicks.
Stephanie McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Paul Heyman all came out for an interview, and they had ridiculous amounts of heat coming from the crowd. I guess I see why they do these interviews, EVERY WEEK. Stephanie, to HUGE "slut" chants, said she wanted to introduce the champions of the Alliance. Note that the "Alliance" name was used throughout the night. This whole introduction was very fun to watch, especially when you're by the entrance. First, Palumbo/O'Haire were introduced, and they were pumped up to be there. Then, Billy Kidman. Next, it was Rob Van Dam and out to a big face pop. Next, it was Lance Storm, then Booker T, and then Kanyon?!? Why, he's no champion. Oh but wait, Booker T gave him the US title. Ahhhh, I see. Finally, Steve Austin came out to an incredible amount of heat and pops, mixed.
Austin's new theme sounds awesome in the Mellon Arena. I was laughing at all of the Alliance clapping for Austin. Then, Kurt Angle's music hit, and the Pittsburgh crowd exploded! Angle said that nobody in the Alliance will be an Olympic Gold medalist. Angle put over the city of Pittsburgh, to an enormous pop from the crowd. Angle then challenged Austin, to which an "Austin Sucks" chant started. Austin then questioned the challenge, saying that Angle is very selfish of Austin's Gold. A HUGE "Faggot" chant errupts against Austin, to which Stone Cold quickly started talking to kill it off by ripping on the Steelworkers for cheap heat. Austin said he'll whip Angle's ass, but not tonight, to tremendous boos. He said that Angle doesn't deserve a shot, but he could fight Booker T, instead, for the WCW World Title. Booker T looks pissed, to which Austin reminds everyone that Angle said that "he could beat that sucka anytime", in reference to Booker T. Angle repeated that he could still "beat that sucka anytime".
That pisses Booker T off, to which he accepts the title shot and says "your ass belongs to me". Angle replys, to a big pop, "my ass belongs to no one. After I beat Booker T, you're next Austin." Angle threatened that he'd take all of the gold of the Alliance. Very good interview segment, to which I wonder if it's always better live than in person?
Regal and Tajiri were backstage, talking, when Kanyon runs in to ask for a rematch against Chris Jericho. Regal wants the US title on the line, but Kanyon disagrees. Regal will grant him his wish if he says SHE SELLS SEA SHELLS BY THE SEA SHORE 10 times. Kanyon couldn't do it, so a tag match was booked instead. Funny segment. The WWF had the Pittsburgh crowd rolling all night long on these segments.
Dudleys vs. Showgunns
Not much reaction for the Dudleys throughout the match, and that frightens me. Gunn and Show worked decent as a team, but not overly great like the WWF is probably hoping. They had decent pops in and out of the ring, so we'll see what happens with those two. Big Show accidentally nailed Gunn, to which a 3D was in order. It was nice seeing that move live.
Rock and Vince McMahon were shown on the Ovaltron for some reason. Don't know why.. Gunn was questioning why Big Show hit him after the match while they walked up the ramp.
Rock return on RAW shown on the Ovaltron, to which the fans popped loudly and began chanting ROCKY ROCKY ROCKY. Clips of Vince's interview, which lifted the suspension of the Rock, were then shown. Clips of various Rock antics were shown too. Backstage, Booker T is throwing a tantrum about the Rock's return. Oh boy, I can't wait for them to fight. Austin calms him down, and he suggests to Booker T that the Rock might not be joining the WWF when he returns. This will be a big tease on RAW, definitely.
Nick Patrick walked down to a lot of Heat. The Lugz Boot of the Week was the Undertaker vs. Rhyno match and all of the stuff, afterward, from RAW is WAR.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Kane
DDP had good heat, while Kane had a great pop, actually. Pretty decent match, overall, with a cheap DQ finish in favor of DDP when Kane hit DDP with the chair that Page actually brought in himself. DDP would then cheapshot Kane after the match with the chair, and he runs away afterward. Poor Nick Patrick was still there, and taking a chokeslam. After that, WCW referees helped Patrick to the back.
Winner: Diamond Dallas Page
Backstage, we were treated to Lance Storm questioning Perry Saturn on why his first title offense is against him. Subway Slame of the Week was Angle attacking Austin from RAW. In another hilarious segment, Edge/Christian come into Tazz's locker room and make fun of "Thuglife". You'll just have to watch Smackdown for that, for I couldn't jot down what they said actually. E & C were looking for Angle, actually.
Chris Jericho/Tajiri vs. Rob Van Dam/Kanyon
Pretty good match, with RVD and Tajiri's stock continuing to rise. RVD got a ton of face pops again, even against Jericho. You have to see some of the kicks that RVD sells. OUCH! The whole Pittsburgh crowd marked out for the Tarantula. RVD and Kanyon won after Kanyon nailed Tajiri with the Hardcore title during the Tarantula, and RVD hit a 5 star splash, which has tons of impact!
After the match, however, Tajiri was walking back and he looked like he was really hurt. I really hope he was just selling the 5 Star splash.
You'll see a corny Saturn-Terri segment, and one of the many Tough Enough promos. It doesn't seem like many on television, but it seemed to be shoved down our throats at the Mellon Arena. Cornuts Hardcore Slam of the Night was Lance Storm winning the IC title... which set up:
Lance Storm vs. Perry Saturn
Crowd wasn't into this one at all, for they barely popped for Storm and didn't pop for Saturn to start. The match wasn't that interesting to watch, either, even when the stupid mop gets involved. Very lame DQ finish with the Mop at the end. Change the channel for this one.
Winner: Lance Storm
Next, we get lots of video evidence by Shane McMahon on the many, many evil things that Vince has done to the Rock over the years. They were really pushing the idea that Rock might join ECWCW overall, and Vince wasn't at Smackdown because he was reportely in Florida, negotiating with the Rock to come back to the WWF. Backstage, Austin is pumping Booker T up to fight Angle. Funny how Austin was attacked by Booker T, just weeks ago, and now he's chums with him?
Edge/Christian vs. Tazz/Rhyno
Decent match here, with a very good finish. Tazz had the Tazzmission on Christian, and Rhyno accidentally Gored them while going for Edge. Then, Edge gave a nice Spear to Rhyno to enable Christian to get the pin cause he fell over Tazz.
Lots of Tough Enough stuff. Good pop for Senior Referee Earl Hebner when he came to the ring.
Booker T vs. Kurt Angle
Very solid match, and it was a rush to be a part of the Pittsburgh crowd when Angle won the belt. Everyone was jumping up and down, celebrating as if the Penguins just won the Stanley Cup! It was a thrill to be a part of! I was shaking my head with all of the run ins, and then Austin's run in, but Angle kept kicking out. It built drama for a much louder pop when Angle finally won the match. Kudos to Booker T for giving up the title he fought for years to eventually achieve. Booker T has an awesome entrance, live and in person. Angle celebrated in the ring for a long extended period of time, to bask in the glory with the Pittsburgh fans. Great stuff.
Winner: Kurt Angle and NEW WCW World Champion!
-After the show, while walking around the Mellon Arena, I saw none other than Crash Holly and Albert walking to their car(s) down below in the parking lot. That was pretty cool, as I really wanted to give Crash a big hug because he wasn't booked on anything for Smackdown.
LAST WORD: Pretty good show here, at least it was live. The stuff with Kurt Angle sooo put him over as the new face in the WWF, and I really question what will happen when the Rock arrives. A lot of matches, however, weren't generating heat, as listed above. I now understand who gets the pops and who doesn't, and why some people wrestle more or have more television time than others from the response they receive. I hope to come to the next Mellon Arena WWF show, which is Judgment Day on September 23rd. This show was much better than the Chunder I attended in the summer of 2000, and the RAW I was at before Wrestlemania 14 in 1998. I'll give this live show a B because it was really a set up show for things to come, like the Rock's return, although it had the great ending with Kurt becoming the WCW champ. I wouldn't doubt that it could get reversed since a WWF referee was the official for a WCW sactioned match.