Retro Smackdown Recap: Pilot Episode
April 27, 1999
Here’s a brief review of my thoughts on the pilot episode for Smackdown. To many this may be a forgotten show. Watching it back I remembered some things – but not all. A few things jumped out to me while watching this show. One was Jim Cornette on commentary with Michael Cole. I thought they had good chemistry throughout the show. Another thing that really hit me was that six people on this episode had passed away. Owen Hart, Test, Big Boss Man, Viscera, Nicole Bass, and Chyna. Some good talent right there. Never forgotten. The biggest takeaway from this show was the ongoing saga with The McMahon’s and the formation of the Corporate Ministry. This episode took place soon after Stephanie was rescued from being abducted by The Undertaker and the Ministry.
The show kicks off with Vince and Stephanie thanking Austin, Big Show and Ken Shamrock in helping her escape. Stephanie looks so sweet and innocent here. The transformation she has made as an on-screen character is truly amazing looking back. Shane comes out and pretty much chases Vince and Stephanie out of the ring, pushing his weight around to show he is the real one in charge here. He makes an epic main event. Stone Cold and The Rock will take on Triple H and The Undertaker. 4 of the biggest names at the time all in the same ring together. Doesn’t get much better then that.
As The Rock and Austin are later in the ring together discussing their match, Shane comes out with Triple H followed by Taker and we get the official formation of both factions; The Corporation and The Ministry, making one group ‘The Corporate Ministry’ led by Shane McMahon himself. He’s so good throughout all of this playing the role of the spoiled power hungry son. I loved every second of it.
We get our main event and it turns into an all out brawl. The New Corporate Ministry is out there with Taker, Viscera, The Acolytes, Chyna, Mean Street Posse, Triple H. Austin and Rock have Mankind, Big Show, Test and Ken Shamrock all fighting alongside them. Even Mr. McMahon returns and lays out this son with a right hand. Then he gets in the ring with Taker and takes one of the most vicious chair shots I’ve seen. The show closes out with Austin giving Taker and Shane Stunners and celebrating with beer. Classic Stone Cold for sure.
We get some other matches obviously thru out the night. Kane and X-Pac retain their tag titles against The New Age Outlaws, Big Show beats Test, Mankind beats Bossman with a little help from The Big Show. Ken Shamrock chokes out Bradshaw in a street fight. Blue Blazer (Owen Hart) gets the win over Val Venis with some help from Jeff Jarrett. D’lo and Droz have a match. The Brood give Michael PS Hayes a blood bath after he interviews them. All that stuff was cool but the main focus of this show for me was the continued storyline with The McMahon’s, The Corporate Ministry along with Austin and Rock. Sprinkled in with Mankind, Big Show, Ken Shamrock and Test who later in a future Raw I believe form The stable The Union.
All in all I enjoyed this show. This is definitely one to go back on the Network and watch to reflect on the good old days. And to refresh your memory as well. Like I mentioned this is an episode a lot of people may have forgotten all about. Seeing the early days of Smackdown as well as guys like Austin, Triple H, Taker, Rock, Big Show and many others in their prime is so cool to look back on and relive. Now what retro Smackdown should I recap next? Should I do some Raw’s at some point too? Please feel free to tweet me @MoneyMakerChris and let me know which ones I should do next. I look forward to hearing from you and doing more of these. This is just the beginning!