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[2000-05-04-WWF-Smackdown] The Rock & Earl Hebner vs Road Dogg & X-Pac & HHH (Handicap)

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A really weird Vince promo to start bringing up the Confederacy and Jefferson Davis. The end result is a handicapped match with Hebner and Rock vs Road Dogg/X-Pac/HHH. A fan has a sign showing their support for Hepner. The match itself is really fun with HHH in a sling and Earl being good in his role getting fired up with the referee and what not. The Rock was also a strong babyface at this point with great timing on his comebacks. Him cleaning house of the whole regime at the end got a huge pop. Ditto Jericho coming out and attacking HHH. They didn’t deemphasize Jericho at all after the world title tease. Hebner low blows X-Pac and Rock hits the Rock Bottom for the win as Earl goes nuts. Afterwards, DX does a huge beatdown on both Rock and Hebner and Earl gets bloodied up. Rikishi and Big Show come out to help Rock and Co. and this really cements Show’s face turn. That still isn’t enough so here comes the Dudley’s in a big spot for them. That finally gives the face contingent enough numbers to have DX scatter. Patterson gets a stinkface. Briscoe goes through a table. Really strong job showing that the roster is strong even without Austin. ***

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Lawler fawning over how smart Vince is for knowing Richmond is the capital of Virginia is hilarious. The match itself is nothing you haven't seen before as far as Attitude Era stuff, but the booking is fantastic in making so many guys major players and in using Hebner's hometown status to put heat on the heels. As a match, this isn't much, but this is a booking masterpiece, managing to get Rock over as the Walking Tall babyface, put more heat on HHH and his crew, keep the Jericho push going, reintroduce Rikishi to the top mix and finalize the babyface turns of Big Show and the Dudleys. ***, every bit of it for the booking.

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The McMahon-Helmsley regime arrive at the arena and they’re here in force tonight, as not only is there D-X, but also Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco as well as the women. ‘The Regime’ heads out in front of the crowd and Vince starts talking about the town they’re in, Richmond, VA. As it’s the hometown of Earl Hebner, the man reinstated by his wife Linda, the man who counted Triple H’s shoulders to the mat when he lost the WWF title, he thinks it’s only right that he returns to the ring tonight. He’ll not be returning as a referee though. Tonight he’ll be having his very first match, and if he disobeys his orders that means he will have breached his contract and he’ll be fired again, only this time he will stay fired. It won’t be fair for Earl to have to face singles competition in his very first match, tonight he will have a tag team partner, The Rock, and they will face X-Pac & Road Dogg & Triple H in a handicap match. He goes on to announce that this match will be for the WWF World title, and if either Rock or Earl get pinned, The Rock will lose the belt. Mr McMahon is supremely confident with those stipulations, and even goes on to say that history will be created in Richmond, VA and a new World Wrestling Federation champion will be crowned!

 

Backstage interview, and Kevin Kelly doesn’t know how The Rock is going to be able to get out of this one with the way the McMahon-Helmsley era are putting the screws on him. The Rock doesn’t say much (although when you’re dripping in charisma you don’t need to), but does close by talking about rolling X-Pac, Road Dogg and Triple H up into a ball and shoving them up their candy asses!

 

Triple H has his arm in a sling, and the odds are stacked even more against The Rock/Hebner duo as there is a grand total of six people in the corner of the D-X team. Rock hammers away at the Road Dogg. Whip to the corner, Dogg stuns him with a back elbow, but Rock then levels him with a clothesline. Thumb to the eyes and he pulls Rock into their corner so they can double team him. Rock fires back on X-Pac and a tilt-a-whirl slam. He makes the cover, Road Dogg is in to break it up, but Rock moves out the way and he drops an elbow on his own partner. Triple H with a lariat and a right hand to ‘the Great One’. Rock reverses things and unloads with some strikes of his own, before dragging ‘the Game’ over so Earl can slap him (to a huge pop!). He tears off his sling and concentrates his attack on that injured arm. Triple H ducks under a swinging blow and a neckbreaker stops Rock in his tracks. As X-Pac goes to town on him, Earl is in to try and help his partner. Referee Mike Chioda sees him coming though and as he tries to get him back on the apron, it just allows D-X to double team him some more behind the his back. A bodyslam by the Road Dogg followed by a ‘shake, rattle and roll’ kneedrop for two. X-Pac with a spinning heel kick and a clothesline sending Rock over the top rope and to the outside. With ‘The Regime’ doing their best to distract Chioda, HHH attacks ‘the Great One’ on the floor and rams his head into the ring post. Pac and Dogg goad Hebner to get in the there with them, but he wants no part of the two-on-one odds. He drops down off the apron, however backs right into Triple H who tosses him into the ring. Before they’re able to do anything to him though, The Rock is back and clears the ring with X-Pac taking a wild bump over the top rope to the arena floor. DDT on the Dogg and as the Regime try to get involved, a spinebuster to Shane. Patterson and Brisco are up on the apron but they both get felled (Patterson especially making the most of his moment!). As ‘the Game’ is about to involve himself again in the action, out comes Chris Jericho who pulls him to the floor and starts pummelling him. Vinnie Mac is around to help his son-in-law and Chioda has completely lost control as he’s trying to separate them and maintain order. Inside, and X-Pac is about to crack Rock over the back with a chair when Earl low blows him. ‘Rock bottom’ on Pac and Rock retains his World title. D-X jump the Rock and Triple H lays him out with a pedigree while the McMahons hold Earl back (Y2J is apparently out of it at ringside at this point although we don’t see what happened). The McMahons then throw Hebner into the ring and after a couple of big rights from ‘the Game’ he’s bleeding from the mouth. The assault doesn’t stop there as Triple H pedigrees him onto a steel chair. Big Show and Rikishi try to make the save, but despite a bit of success, the numbers are too much. It’s only when the table carrying Dudleys arrive do the ‘DX Regime’ retreat out of there. Patterson and Brisco are too slow mind and Rock grabs the pair of them from ringside and launches them both into the ring. Stinkface on Patterson, superbomb through a table on Brisco and the EMTs are out to wheel Earl out of there on a stretcher.

 

Fun match and much better than I expected. Smartly booked to keep Earl out of there until the finish, so it was ultimately a ‘three on one’ bout. X-Pac is someone who I’ve really been enjoying in the rewatch and that was no different here. Rock defies the odds to retain his World title, and we have a lengthy and intense post-match beatdown with Earl busted up and bleeding from the mouth to put the heat back on DX. Pretty big moment for the Dudleys here in the mix with the top players and ultimately being the ones who put an end to the attack.

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