By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Edge def. WWE Tag Team Champion Chris Benoit
This was during the height of the "SmackDown Six" and shortly after the amazing Edge and Rey Mysterio vs. Benoit and Kurt Angle tag team title match at No Mercy. Edge was a star on the rise and Benoit was contesting excellent matches every week as he had done for years, so it was no surprise they had a hell of an opener here. Edge looked like he was on Benoit's level throughout while Benoit put forth an incredible performance. Edge scored a big win in beating Benoit, but I liked how it was tied into Benoit's lingering issues with partner/rival Angle, who got involved toward the end and cost him the match.
Big Show def. Rikishi; WWE Champion Brock Lesnar Confronted Show
I have never been, am currently not and will likely never be a Big Show fan, but I'd argue that this was when he was doing the best work of his career. He had quality opponents while on SmackDown, people cared about him, and he was a legitimate threat to the WWE Championship. His quick squash against Rikishi was impressive and I enjoyed his post-match face-to-face confrontation with Lesnar. Although Lesnar was still technically a heel at that point, the seeds were planted for a split between Lesnar and Paul Heyman after Heyman made it clear he didn't believe he could beat Big Show.
Torrie Wilson def. Dawn Marie in a Trick or Treat Match
The feud between Wilson and Marie in the latter half of 2002 led to awful matches and embarrasing segments, but hey, they were hot, so who cares! In all seriousness, this was a very silly match, but on the bright side, it was kept short and sweet and at least they had a story. Neither of them were great workers and this pudding-style match allowed them to have a significantly better match than the one they had at No Mercy, so there was that.
Matt Hardy def. Tajiri
I loved the Matt Hardy "Version 1" character. It was such a riot and it was fun to see him in action against Tajiri here. The match wasn't much of note, but it was decent for the time it was given and it gave Hardy a decisive victory. What was more memorable than the match itself with Tajiri wearing a disco wig backstage during the Halloween party and "flirting" with Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah. Priceless.
Eddie Guerrero def. WWE Tag Team Champion Kurt Angle
Personally, I enjoyed the Edge vs. Benoit match more, but this was still a very good match. They just didn't seem to click as well as they usually did, but perhaps I was expecting more after recently watching their series of matches from 2004. For a television match, however, it was solid and they teased more tension with Benoit returning the favor and costing Angle his match.
Rey Mysterio def. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar by Disqualification (Non-title)
Talk about a mismatch! Mysterio was obviously no threat to Lesnar and he was never intended to be, but I liked a few different things about this match. Firstly, Mysterio was higher up on the card than most enhancement talent since he was a part of the "SmackDown Six." Secondly, watching him bump around for Lesnar and play the David to his Goliath was awesome. I would have preferred to see it go a bit longer, but it was enjoyable for what it was. Big Show launching Mysterio into the crowd made my jaw drop and the subsequent brawl between Show and Lesnar hyped their Survivor Series match nicely, so it was an effective way of closing the show.
After running through all my Halloween movies over the course of October, I figured I'd watch some Halloween-themed wrestling shows and this one came to mind. I thoroughly enjoyed it not only because I love the year of 2002 in wrestling but because it was a fun two hours that got me in the Halloween spirit and flew by quickly. The wrestling was also excellent on the whole, so if you have time to kill next Halloween (or basically any day), check this episode out. SmackDown was on fire at the time and I hope to watch more editions now that they're available on the WWE Network.
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