Raw may have a monopoly on the Monday-only holidays like Memorial Day, MLK Day, and Columbus Day, but so long as Smackdown aired on Thursdays, it was the perennial home of Thanksgiving.
And besides, none of those Monday holidays are all that fun, aside from the occasional, totally off-base history lesson from Vince McMahon.
Thanksgiving, on the other hand, always served as an occasion for food fights, cat fights, wacky costumes, and, in the case of 2002’s Thanksgiving Smackdown, a frank lesson on the female reproductive system and the crazy things it makes women do.
(For a lesson on the male reproductive system and the crazy things it makes men do, see the Divas hiring practices of Mr. John Laurinaitis)
Let’s set the scene: Stephanie McMahon, after playing a hated heel for two and a half years, had for several months been playing the role of fan-friendly General Manager.
Unlike her current role as the condescending authority figure always acting with ambiguous motives, if 2002 Steph ever seemed insincere as a babyface, it was simply due to bad acting.
But in November of that year, Stephanie suddenly had to make some unpopular decisions, namely, threatening to suspend an out-of-control Brock Lesnar who had just been screwed out of his title by manager Paul Heyman.
And the fans in Columbia, South Carolina weren’t cutting her any slack the next week on Thanksgiving when she suspended Brock for real and had him escorted from the building by an army of security guards.
Leave it to Stephanie’s pseudo-ex-lover, Kurt Angle, to offer his support. Steph couldn’t understand why they booed her, and Kurt couldn’t understand why they chant, “You Suck!”
But their situations weren’t exactly alike, Steph explained, because her “Aunt Flo” had come to visit like she did every month. After Kurt failed to grasp the negatives to having a relative visit so often, Stephanie spelled it out for him.
See, the reason she got angry at Brock Lesnar the previous week was because she had PMS.
And this week, she was on her period. Her menstrual period, that is!
Such was the dialogue in the days before Stephanie McMahon spearheaded the Women’s Revolution. What sexist bonehead gave this angle the green light?
Stephanie, who was in a rage about being on the rag, vowed never to bring Smackdown to the “hellhole” of Columbia, SC ever again.
That would be a shame, too, as this was during Smackdown’s golden age, with workers like Angle, Chris Benoit, the Guerreros, Edge, and Rey Mysterio carrying the show week after week.
Speaking of Rey Rey, viewers were treated to some poorly-animated holiday-themed sequences, such as this one depicting Rey Mysterio’s entrance if the pyro exploded him into a thousand pieces and he were also a turkey…
…or this one, recreating Al Snow’s infamous hardcore match against himself, where he put himself through a table and put his beak clear through the ring, winding up covered in spaghetti. Thanksgiving spaghetti.
As the broadcast went on, Michael Cole did his best to put across how Stephanie was “off her game” while not mentioning her period.
Guest commentator Ernest “The Cat” Miller was not so tactful. At least he didn’t say, “Somebody call my Aunt Flo!”
Back in her office, Stephanie covered up her PMS-induced acne…
…and *very* eagerly awaited the arrival of Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner, who was as of yet unsigned by either Raw or Smackdown.
So imagine Stephanie’s disappointment when, instead of Steiner, in stepped none other than her Aunt Flo!
I mean, the Fabulous Moolah!
Stephanie took the opportunity to run down Moolah’s hometown, but the WWE Hall of Famer was having none of it.
Stephanie apologized and did Moolah’s request to promote her new book one better, offering her a match in her hometown. That was all well and good, unless Stephanie had some ulterior motive.
As if the night couldn’t get any worse for Stephanie, rumor had it that Brock Lesnar had bought a ticket from a scalper for tonight’s event and could be on his way back into the arena. An ambush interview with said scalper by Marc Loyd (you don’t remember him) proved fruitless, as the upstanding citizen wouldn’t dream of committing such an illegal act.
Ernest “The Cat” Miller, who was making his WWE debut, then hosted the traditional Thanksgiving bikini showcase, or “Pilgrim Fashion Show”, featuring Dawn Marie and her future daughter-in-law, Torrie Wilson.
Maybe Billy Kidman should have hosted. He had such a way with words.
Unlike Michael Cole. I don’t know about this “Pocahotness” character Kidman spoke of, but Pocahontas was 11-years-old, you pervert.
No Thanksgiving pageant could be complete without a bird…
…played by, you guessed it, Dawn Marie’s fiancé Al Wilson.
Dawn accidentally on purpose smashed Al inadvertently with a pie by accident (intentionally)…
…causing the whole segment to devolve into a food fight that wouldn’t fly in today’s WWE (because of the unprotected tray shot to the head).
I’d like to congratulate whomever set up this Thanksgiving cornucopia and had the foresight to paint an upside-down woman’s face on a pumpkin just in case it got tipped over onto a Diva’s head.
Torrie left her dad and future mother-in-law reeling while treating the audience to this grotesque visual.
Boy, that costume party sure was fun!
Less fun was the appearance of free agent Scott Steiner, who lived up to his nickname of “The Big Bad Booty-Grabber” by ever-so-discreetly copping a feel off Nidia…
…then beating up Jamie Noble when he took offense.
And where did Nidia think she was going without her mandatory groping? Stephanie McMahon watched this segment and apparently thought, You know, I really want Scott Steiner on my show.
Backstage, Big Show’s manager Paul Heyman got on Stephanie’s bad side by making a bad-faith offer for Big Show-Lesnar rematch, knowing full well that Brock was suspended. Heyman’s punishment?
Big Show would have to defend his title tonight against a championship-caliber opponent.
Before going to our last commercial break, we were treated to a look at these sexy gams…
…which, of course, belonged to the Fabulous Moolah, who was preparing for her match against an unnamed opponent.
Also preparing for a match against an unnamed opponent was The Big Show, who…
…hey, wait a minute! But that means… but they can’t… Whaaaa?!
Yes, the menstruating GM looked to have the last laugh on Moolah by booking the 79-year-old against the 7-foot WWE Champion.
Big Show cornered Moolah while Paul Heyman reassured the near-octogenarian that they meant her no harm…
…until he changed his mind and had Big Show try to choke her to death.
It was a disturbing scene between the behemoth and his clearly overmatched opponent. She was retired! She was almost 80 years old! She might have been on her period, we couldn’t know for sure!
Fortunately, Brock Lesnar made the save before Big Show could complete the “slam” portion of the “chokeslam”, F5-ing Show through the announcers table to send the fans home happy.
Except for those fans who were looking forward to Big Show vs. Moolah, in which case, this turn of events was a major let-down.
But what ever became of Stephanie McMahon, the menstrual case? Some say she was vanquished by Vince McMahon and a bottle of Midol…
…but that was part of a different backstage segment about PMS the following year.
In fact, Stephanie continued playing the heel for a few more weeks until getting her comeuppance. It’s a strange concept in today’s WWE, but let me try to explain.
If this episode had aired this year, Ernest Miller would be insisting it was just a case of accidental double-booking by Stephanie McMahon, and that Cole should go cry to the conspiracy nuts on the internet (and call his mama). Then, the next week, Stephanie would say that she simply ran out of time on the show and didn’t get around to introducing Big Show’s and Moolah’s respective opponents. And nothing would ever be resolved, and people would stop caring.
But in 2002, heel authority figures sometimes got knocked down a peg to benefit the wrestlers, whom the fans, you know, pay to see.
Big Poppa Pump, despite being the real-life inspiration to the FOX made-for-TV sequel, Scott S: Portrait of An Ass-Grabber, was the hottest “free agent” at the time and a heavy fan-favorite (he hadn’t wrestled yet).
Stephanie appeared to have pulled off a real coup in her bidding war with Raw’s Eric Bischoff. See, Eric could open his checkbook, but all Stephanie had to do was open her…
Yes, she opened her mind to the possibility of having sex with Scott Steiner so he would sign with her.
The following week on Smackdown, Stephanie claimed that Scott Steiner’s deal was all set except his signature on the dotted line, which would simply be a formality.
Instead, Freakzilla dropped a bombshell, revealing to the world that Stephanie didn’t deliver the goods. She didn’t scream Boom-Shaka-Laka, nor did she howl at the moon.
As Stephanie tried to explain herself, Steiner tried putting one of his famous “finishing moves” on Steph. Recliner? He hardly knew ‘er!
Steiner’s terms of negotiation were this: have sex with me right now in front of thousands of people, and I’ll sign a contract. Stephanie balked.
This maddened the fans, who wanted to see sexual favors honored. Dawn Marie had already reneged on her sex deal with Torrie Wilson and remained engaged to Al, and now Stephanie McMahon was trying to sign Scott Steiner without, I remind you, so much as screaming Boom-Shaka-Laka or even howling at the moon.
Big Poppa Pump decided that any boss unwilling to have sex with him in public must be running a shady operation, so he signed with the more legitimate Eric Bischoff of Raw.
Who knows what his “signing bonus” was.
Stephanie tore up all the furniture in the ring (as is required of every in-ring contract signing) and, with the fans finally satisfied that justice had been served (kind of), reverted back to a good guy the following week.
This whole fiasco proved just how hard it is to be a woman. If you sleep with a bunch of guys, you’re a slut. If you won’t sleep with one guy, suddenly you’re a tease. If you try to get a seven-foot giant to beat up an elderly woman, suddenly you’re a bad person for a few weeks.