WWE SmackDown #228 – Tribute to the Troops 2003

Camp Victory – Baghdad, Iraq – December 25, 2003

MATCH #1: The APA vs. The World’s Greatest Tag Team

Faarooq and Shelton Benjamin start it off. Benjamin backs Faarooq into the corner and tees off on him. He whips him into the other corner but runs into a back elbow. Faarooq follows up with a shoulderblock off the second rope for two. Bradshaw tags in and throws Benjamin around. Benjamin goes to the eyes and makes the tag. Charlie Haas doesn’t fare much better and gets immediately taken down. Bradshaw handles both Haas and the illegally interfering Benjamin, hitting Haas with a powerslam for two. Faarooq then tags back in and goes for the Dominator but Haas slips out and Benjamin takes a cheap shot from the apron. Now the WGTT take control. Faarooq comes back with a big back body drop. Bradshaw gets the hot tag and he’s on fire. He drills Haas with a DDT for two. The APA knocks Benjamin to the floor. Haas goes up top and Bradshaw joins him up there to hit a super Last Call. Back in the ring Benjamin blasts Bradshaw with a superkick. Faarooq knocks Benjamin to the floor, and then Haas knocks Faarooq to the floor. Moments later Bradshaw delivers the Clothesline from Hell to get the pin at 4:40. That was pretty typical for an APA match, but this was certainly the right venue to do just that.
Rating: **

MATCH #2: Rikishi vs. Rhyno

They talk some trash and Rikishi wins a shoving battle. Rhyno goes for a headlock but gets pushed off and clotheslined down. He goes for a sunset flip but Rikishi blocks it and tries to drop down but luckily for Rhyno he’s able to get out of the way. Rhyno works over Rikishi in the corner, and then runs right into a superkick. Rikishi then drags Rhyno over to the corner and goes for the Banzai Drop, but Rhyno distracts the referee and gets his knees up into Rikishi’s groin. Rhyno goes for the Gore but misses, and Rikishi finishes him off with a Samoan Drop at 2:28. That seemed longer than it actually was.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #3: Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit

The troops like both of these guys and show their support early on. Benoit scores the first knockdown with a big shoulder tackle. Eddie comes back with a headlock takeover, and then turns his focus to the arm. He hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Benoit comes back and lands a monkey flip and then a couple of chops, sending Eddie cowering to the floor. Eddie puts on a flak jacket, which the referee doesn’t approve of. Of course Eddie finds a way to cheat, throwing the jacket at Benoit and then taking him down with a dropkick. Eddie goes for a back suplex but Benoit reverses it and they both take a tumble to the floor as we take a commercial break.

Back from the break Benoit has Eddie in a vulnerable position, working on his arms. Eddie escapes by using momentum to send Benoit chest-first into the turnbuckles. He goes up top and Benoit joins him, and they blow the sunset bomb spot and Eddie gets two. Eddie follows up with the Three Amigos, but after dos Benoit counters with the Crossface, but Eddie wisely gets to the ropes. Benoit takes control now, surviving a poke to the eyes and throwing Guerrero into the air, causing him to land chest first. He hits two rolling German Suplexes and then a shoulderbreaker. He goes up top but misses the diving headbutt. Eddie goes up for the Frog Splash but this time Benoit moves out of the way. They get up and trade reversals, ending with Eddie scoring a rollup and putting his feet on the ropes to get the pin at 8:35 (shown). Obviously this wasn’t the best from both of these guys but it was still solid.
Rating: **½

MATCH #4: John Cena vs. Big Show

Cena charges the ring and takes it right to the United States Champion. Show weathers that storm and delivers a Chokeslam. Luckily for Cena he’s near the ropes and he’s able to roll to the floor. Cena comes back by snapping Show’s neck off the top rope, but then back in the ring he runs right into a clothesline. Show dominates now, throwing Cena around the ring and nailing him with a couple of headbutts. He locks on an abdominal stretch and Cena breaks it by going to the eyes. Cena tries to fight back, but Show headbutts him again. Show then goes for a big boot but Cena ducks and the referee takes the boot! With the referee knocked out, Show hits a side suplex and then grabs Cena’s chain. He goes for a knockout punch but misses and Cena hits a low blow! Cena then punches Show with the chain and wakes the referee up, but can only get a two-count. Show goes for the Chokeslam but Cena reverses it and hits the F-U to get the pin at 4:12. That was really short but had good energy.
Rating: *¾

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About Jake Ziegler

I've been in love with the movies for almost 20 years. I follow the Oscars obsessively, and try to see as many movies a year as I can. I'll watch anything good bad or otherwise, and my life long dream job has always been to be a bona fide film critic. View all posts by Jake Ziegler

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