September 10, 2009
Eddie Guerrero vs. Edge vs. Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle
Ringside Announcer: Tony Chimmel (not really featured)
Commentators: Michael Cole & Tazz
Champions (FOR SMACKDOWN ONLY):
WWE Champion: Big Show (11/17/02)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Los Guerreros (11/17/02)
WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman (11/17/02)
(Thereís no secondary champion in this point of time. The United States Championship would not be instated until July of 2003 at the Vengeance pay-per-view.)
Introduction: The source material for this match is the 2002 Armageddon DVD itself. Why I state this off the bat is because there was a time where WWE put a lot of effort into the event discs, and released quality extras unlike the mostly-barebones products of today. This is the main event from a SMACKDOWN from early December 2002, where the #1 contender-ship for the WWE Championship at stake. Let us all take a look who could potentially have a run at the Big Show at the then-upcoming PPV event:
1. Eddie Guerrero: Guerrero is a tag team champion who has not had any shots at the WWE Championship I believe up to this point in his tenure. With Latino Heat and his well-established wrestling background, Eddie is as much a threat as anyone else in this match.
2. Chris Benoit: The Rabid Wolverine is a MACHINE. He sleeps, breathes, dreams, and talks wrestling like no one else. A title shot would boost the spirit of a man who lost the tag titles (with Kurt Angle) a month earlier on SMACKDOWN, but also it would mean that Chris has come full-circle since his return to WWE last May following big-time neck surgery.
3. Kurt Angle: The only former WWE Champion in this match, he would love nothing more than to make someone tap out and become the guy for the title shot. He has had success, failure, and battle with Chris Benoit in recent months, but tonight, he has a chance for an all-new beginning, although there are three big-time roadblocks up ahead.
4. Edge: A multiple-time tag team champion who is riding a big stream of momentum in this phase in his WWE career. The fans are solidly behind him, and it doesnít hurt that he can literally have a good match with just about everyone on the roster. Earlier on this night, Edge got attacked by A-Train while trying to defend the honor of his good buddy Rey Mysterio, and in the process, received a knee injury.
Thereís also one more thing to consider here: all four men are part of the SMACKDOWN 6, so this match has to be good, just like Smuckers. Letís get to the action now:
Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match to determine the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship: Eddie Guerrero (one-half of the WWE Tag Team Champions) vs. Edge vs. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
The match starts with three out of the four men in the ring, with Kurt Angle being the latest to come on down. As Angle, Benoit, and Guerrero stand off ready to battle, here comes Edge, with a noticeable limp from the attack earlier in the night. As Edge enters the ring, the other three smell blood, and all of them take a corner as the match heads into commercial.
When we come back, Eddie is in control as Benoit and Angle are on the ground while Edge is in the turnbuckles. Guerrero takes shots at Benoit then Angle, and then at Edge as Michael Cole explains that Edge was targeted by BenAngle as the match began. Edge gets a backdrop on Guerrero and a flapjack on Benoit. Edge then follows up with a backdrop on Angle, but Guerrero gets up and dropkicks the injured right leg of Edge for a 2-count. Benoit tackles Guerrero to the corner, and Benoit and Angle continue an assault on Edgeís leg on the bottom rope. The ex-team of Angoit looks mighty good at this point in time, but Eddie gets a near-fall out of nowhere on Angle! Angle mounts an offense on Guerrero back to the corner while Benoit has his attention focused squarely on Edge and that injured leg of his. Angle and Guerrero get clotheslined separately over the top rope by Benoit, as Benoit then chest-chops Edge down to the mat for even more punishment to the leg, but know its more pronounced at the knee. Edge reverses Benoit at a reversal, and almost gets a nearfall on him with a flapjack! Eddie comes on in and takes Edge over the top rope, and then does the same to Benoit! Angle and Guerrero are now the lone men in the ring, and Angle mounts an offense on Guerrero. The Olympian hit a vertical suplex on Eddie for a 2-count. Angle attacks on Eddie more in the corner but Eddie gets out of it with a rake to the eyes. Eddie is then able to hit a vertical suplex of his own for a 2. Eddie comes off the ropes straight into a belly-to-belly throw by bald eagle Angle. Angle attempts a Angle-Slam but Eddie counters it into a arm-drag. Eddie hitís a gut-wrench suplex on Angle, and hitís the Frog Splash for the closest nearfall this side of the Rio Grande, and I donít mean no Mahatma Gandhi! Meanwhile, Benoit comes back on in and greets Latino Heat with a German Suplex, and a diving headbutt, complete with nearfall to match! Edge gallantly gets back in, and hits an impaler-DDT of sorts for a nearfall! Angle charges at Edge only to be sidestepped and thrown over the top, but Eddie attacks Edge from behind which sends Edge through the middle ropes. Benoit hits two Germans on Eddie, but on the third, Benoit sets Eddie down for the SPEAR BY EDGE! Benoit takes out Edge through the middle, puts Eddie in the Crippler Crossface, and Eddie taps out at around 7:00. This match started during a commercial break, so all times are estimates.
Angle immediately attacks Benoit, and puts him through his German trifecta, but as the third one is hit, Edge goes to the top rope and hitís a missile dropkick on Angle! Another close count happens, and the crowd is in amazement here. My sentiments exactly. As Edge gets a vertical base, Benoit does a rolling chopblock to bring Edge own. As Angle gets ready for the Angle-Slam, Edge reverses it into a reverse-DDT of sorts. Benoit immediately slaps the Crippler on deep for Edge, but Angle interferes in the maneuver, which is stupid strategy given the elimination element. Angle puts Benoit in the Angle Lock, but Benoit gets out of it, knocking down Angle and the referee! Eddie Guerrero makes a return with the championship belt of his, hits Benoit in the back of the head with it, but receives a SPEAR by Edge for the actions. Without missing a beat, Edge repeats to Benoit. Benoit is eliminated at around 9:00 by the spear.
Sensing a quick kill, Angle goes right into a Angle Lock on Edge. Edge fights the pain as he goes to the bottom rope, but Angle quickly goes away back to the center of the ring, and goes on one knee, applying even more pain to the bad-way right leg of Edge. As Angle gets back to two feet, Edge miraculously reverses the hold and Angle goes through the middle ropes. Edge gets on his feet, but gets the base dragged from under him by Angle, and then eats some steel step to the outside. Another commercial seems to take place here as Cole wonders who will make it to Armageddon.
Edge is bleeding (barely) and Angle has a solid offense as we are back from break, and Angle gets a nearfall from just straight right-hands! Angle hitís a vertical on Edge to get another 2. As Angle drops a knee on Edgeís neck for a 4 in the ropes, there are two BIG targets on Edge now: the gash, which is now bleeding more, and the leg, which is just ready to give out at any time. As the crowd chants ďEDGEĒ, Edge gets up and right-hands Angle back to the corner. Edge tries to get some momentum rolling, but a belly-to-belly throw stops him cold. Angleís got a chinlock on Edge now, trying to wear him down even more. Edge gets the arm-up on three, and catches Angle off the ropes for a belly-to-belly! Both men need a 8-count to get up, but when they do, Edge wins a slugfest, hitís a backdrop, a inverted-DDT, and a nearfall! Angle switches to Germans, which Tazz notes that will hurt Edge more because of the earlier chinlock, so in appearance, an even more sound strategy. Edge rolls out of a third German for a nearfall, and then HITíS THE SPEAR! Edge gets a nearfalls as both Cole and Tazz really put over Angle and Edge for their performances, that really represent SMACKDOWN as a wrestling brand. Edges tries the Edgucution, but Angle switches to his Angle-Slam, but then Edge switches back and gets his Edgucution! How in the hell did Angle kick out? Edge goes to the ropes to attempt something, but Angle tries to intervene and fails. Edge tries again and hits his second missile dropkick for a 2! The nearfalls in this match are just the type of ones where the viewer wants to scream bloody murder! Edge tries the spear, but gets a Angle-Slam for his troubles. Is this the end? NO! Edge got the shoulder up! Angle gets up and immediately goes for the Lock. Edge rolls for the counter and a NEARFALL! Edge gets up, but gets hit back into the Angle Lock. Edge tries to roll through, but to no avail. Edge though guts it out to the ropes! Angle shoves around the ref, but this allows Edge to get a base and give Angle an enziguri to the back of the head! Edge hits an Angle Slam of his own to Angle, but this fails to get the desired result. Tazz is even noticing the quantity of nearfalls now. Edge gets to the top rope, but Angle does that Superman-leap, gives Edge ONE HELL OF A ANGLE-SLAM FOR THE THREE AT AROUND 20 MINUTES! **** Immediately, Big Show enters the ring, talks trash to Angle, and chokeslams him back to the mat as Paul Heyman watches with Showís WWE Championship belt around his shoulder. Heyman gives Show the belt and Show stands tall to end the extra on the DVD, and that particular episode of SMACKDOWN.
Conclusion: To quote something from the Attitude Era, this match reeked of awesomeness. The intangible of Edge getting injured earlier in the night, lasting this long, and almost winning the #1 contender shot for Armageddon. I mean, he was thisclose. The match was hot, the crowd was hot, but more importantly, this match set up a #1 contender better than most RAWs or SMACKDOWNs. Hell, this match should have been on the PPV itself! SMACKDOWN in 2002 was a crapshoot in terms of what awesome match should you see this week. This match is a match that isnít talked about much, but I believe helped Edge become a big-time star in the WWE. Highly recommended to anyone who has a dream and believes in the dream, even if the result is less than desired.