Reviews

TJR Retro: WWE Bad Blood 2003 Review (Triple H vs. Nash Hell in a Cell, Flair vs. Michaels, Goldberg vs. Jericho)

The 2003 Bad Blood pay-per-view was the start of a new era in WWE. After the 2002 WWE brand extension (or roster split if you want to call it that), the Raw and Smackdown rosters were separated. All of the PPVs in 2002 featured both brands until Judgment Day in May 2003 one month prior to this. Bad Blood was the first ever Raw brand exclusive PPV.

There were three main matches on this show: Triple H vs. Kevin Nash in a Hell in a Cell match with Mick Foley as the referee, Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels and Bill Goldberg vs. Chris Jericho. They even had Foley get into a brawl with Triple H on Raw to try to make people care more about that main event match. In addition to that, this was shortly after recently retired Steve Austin was named co-GM of Raw with Eric Bischoff, so they were heavily featured on the show.

Bad Blood did 385,000 buys on pay-per-view, which meant it was the sixth best PPV that year. That was a solid number for this period.

This is a review that I wrote live in 2003. I remember writing most PPVs live that year because I used WWE.com’s streaming service that cost something like $14.95, which was about half price or more compared to ordering on TV. What I’ll do is include most of the play-by-play and analysis that I wrote at the time in 2003 while also adding some updated 2021 thoughts in blue font as well. I wrote a lot less “analysis” about the matches back then, so I will add more thoughts in that part especially. I’ll try to format it like most of my PPV reviews. It’s also worth pointing out that my writing style was a bit different back then. I used the present tense when writing so it was like “wrestler A tags in wrestler B” whereas now I always use the past tense so it would be “wrestler A tagged in wrestler B” so that’s a difference you might notice.

This show followed WrestleMania 19 as well as Backlash 2003 and Judgment Day 2003. The following PPV was Vengeance 2003, which was a Smackdown show.

Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:

“Triple H puts the World Heavyweight Championship on the line against Kevin Nash inside Hell in a Cell. Chris Jericho takes on Goldberg. Ric Flair battles Shawn Michaels. Christian defends the Intercontinental Championship against Booker T. Scott Steiner and Test battle for the managerial services of Stacy Keibler.” 14+ (D,L,S,V)

The VHS looks like this:

Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Let’s get to the show.

 

WWE Bad Blood
The Compaq Center in Houston, Texas
June 13, 2003

There was a video package highlighting all the main matches that we are going to get tonight. Well done as usual. The announce team is Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) vs. Rodney Mack & Chris Nowinski (w/Theodore Long)

Pre-match notes: The Dudleys were faces and Mack/Nowinski were heels.

They show a backstage skit where Nowinski tried to piss D’Von off. Nowinski asks D’Von why his white brother always makes him get the table.

Mack & D’Von start with D’Von in control. Mack throws him into the corner, D’Von moves and gets a couple clotheslines for one. Jawbreaker by Mack, tag to Nowinski. Drop toehold on Nowinski. He slaps Bubba in the face, who gets tagged in. Lock up, shoulder tackle by Bubba and he works him over in the corner. Long distracts him, Mack gets a clothesline while standing on the apron. Nowinski gets chopped in the corner by Bubba. Back elbow, followed by punches. Mack comes in illegally, Bubba cleans house and splashes both of them in the corner. They clear the heels out of the ring. Snapmare by Bubba brings Nowinski back in. D’Von tags in, clothesline on Nowinski, splash by Bubba for two. Into the corner, Nowinski misses and D’Von hits Mack. Mack trips up D’Von and pulls him groin first into the post. Tag into Mack with a chinlock. D’Von gets up, punches out, but Mack catches him in a spinebuster for two. Tag to Nowinski, he gets a splash for two. Not a good splash. The second rope elbow is missed. Hot tag brings in Bubba, clothesline on Nowinski and backdrop. He takes care of Mack, throws him out and gives Nowinski a side slam for two. Full Nelson slam is blocked, Nowinski runs into a boot and cross body for two. D’Von comes in to take care of Mack. Kick to the face, Nowinski takes off his mask, swings and misses. Mack in the ring, he gets the Blackout submission on Bubba, but he fights out. Wassup Drop by the Dudleys. Bubba tells him to get the tables, then Teddy Long asks him why he has to get the tables all the time. The crowd wants tables. D’Von goes after Long, he ducks. Mack clotheslines D’Von out. In the ring, Nowinski drills Bubba with the mask for the pinfall victory at 7:07.

Winners: Rodney Mack & Chris Nowinski

Analysis: *1/2 It was just a typical TV match. Cheap win by the heels. It looks like the storyline of Long getting D’Von to join his side will continue in the future.

(I don’t really have any memory of that storyline. I don’t think it went anywhere. This felt like a bad choice for an opener because it wasn’t an exciting match and it was a win for the heels.)

At the announce table, Ross & Lawler talk about the Redneck Triathlon. They mention the “pie eating” contest and show the conversation they had where they determined they’d be eating poontang pie. Then they showed the spin from earlier tonight where it was determined that event two would be a “Burping Contest.” If they need a third event they’d do it during the PPV itself.

Backstage, Terri is in the GM locker room where they have the Burping Contest. Bischoff does one that lasts about three seconds, but isn’t very loud. Austin does one that’s about five or six seconds long. Clearly the better one.

Round Two: Bischoff does another one similar to the first one. Austin does one where he does three little burps that sounded a little wet. Austin even said that it “was a wet one.”

Round Three: Bischoff does another one that is a little better than the first one. Austin takes a drink again, then hypes the third and final effort. Deep breath and he unleashes a last one. It’s clearly fake. It lasted about ten seconds long, Austin made it look real, but there’s no way that was real.

Steve Austin is declared the winner. Bischoff tells Austin to see a doctor.

(Riveting action here! I’m kidding. Austin retired three months earlier, so they needed stuff for him to do as a co-GM, so that’s why we got comedy bits like this.)

Test comes out first to big heat. Steiner comes out next to a big pop. Stacy comes out last to a nice ovation.

Scott Steiner vs. Test – Winner gets Stacy Keibler’s Managerial Services

Pre-match notes: Steiner was the face and Test was the heel. Test was dating Stacy at the time.

Stacy does the bend into the ring, but Test pulls her out. Steiner attacks him on the floor. Clothesline by Steiner, elbow. Taunting pushups. Test goes outside to get some time. He pulls Stacy in front of him, shoves her into Steiner and punches him in the face. He throws Steiner shoulder first into the ring steps. Back in the ring, he flexes for her and pounds on Steiner. Loud “You Suck” chant for Test. Clothesline, body slam and Test does the Steiner pushups. He gives Stacy a wink. Into the ropes, he gets a sleeper. Two minutes in the match and they’re already going with a sleeper spot? Steiner breaks after about a minute, shoves Test into the corner and then when he runs in he eats a back elbow. On the top, Steiner catches him and gets a sick overhead belly to belly. KO spot already. Two clotheslines by Steiner, Test goes for a leapfrog, but it’s reversed into a powerslam. Steiner chops him in the corner a bunch of times. Steiner gets the ten punches in the corner. Test fights out, full nelson slam gets two. Big boot missed, reverse DDT for Steiner (called a “slam” by JR) gets two. Test fights back, Pumphandle Slam gets two. Stacy is clearly cheering for Steiner. She gets up on the apron, Test grabs her. Steiner charges, she stops him, he gets a big boot for two. Another cover gets two. He goes outside, picks up a chair. Stacy grabs the chair, and gets knocked down. In the ring, his chairshot misses. Steiner gets a Flatliner for the victory at 6:23.

Winner by pinfall: Scott Steiner

Analysis: ** Average match. It was smart to keep it under ten minutes. Test did a good job here. He played the role of the self-centered heel really well. Steiner was alright too, but he was much better as a heel instead of in this face role.

Post match, they do the spot where Steiner watches Stacy’s ass as she bends through the ropes. He wasn’t the only one watching that.

(The babyface got the win to make the fans happy. Simple as that. Test was always a guy that was on the brink of breaking through, but they never really pushed him to that main event level. Steiner benefited from being around Stacy at this point.)

Backstage, Austin & Bischoff go into a room where Bischoff says he’s ready for the pie-eating contest. They go back into a room where they meet four hot girls backstage who are sitting on a couch. Bischoff says he should go first because he’s the one that got the girls. Austin says they’re in his home state, so he should go first. Bischoff says Austin should be a gracious host. Austin agrees that Bischoff can be first. Then Austin says he gets to pick which “piece of pie” that he gets to eat.

Christian comes out first as the Intercontinental Champion to boos from the crowd. Booker comes out next to a big pop. JR said if Christian wins it will be a “miracle” to put over the story that Christian was a cheap heel champion.

Intercontinental Championship: Christian vs. Booker T

Pre-match notes: Christian was the heel Intercontinental Champion and Booker was a face.

Armdrag takedown by Christian. Shoulderblock by Booker, armdrag and bodyslam by Booker. He grabs a side headlock, then takes it to the mat for a two count. Christian gets control in the corner with some shoulder tackles. Booker fights back, huge back body drop gets a two count. Into the ropes, Christian holds on. He charges, big spinebuster by Book. Thumb to the eye by Christian followed by draping Booker’s neck over the top. He throws Book headfirst into the ring steps. He rolls him back in for two. Back in the ring, Christian hits a chinlock. The crowd starts a huge “Booker T’ chant, which helps him up. He fights back, but Christian gets him with a back elbow. On the second rope, Christian leaps, but is caught into a flapjack by Booker. KO spot after only four minutes. Back up, they exchange punches, Booker misses a clothesline and gets a flying forearm. Sidewalk slam gets two. Chops by Booker, reverse sidekick gets another two. Booker drops Christian’s neck onto the top, pulls him back and gets a drop sleeper for two. Into the corner, Booker goes for a rollup, but Christian reverses and gets two using the ropes. Back in the middle of the ring, Christian hits a Rock Bottom! JR called it a “Christian Style Bookend.” Booker gets a quick rollup for two. Booker gets a clothesline, Christian gets his head draped over the middle rope, and Book gets a scissors kick. Missile dropkick by Booker gets two. Into the ropes, Book gets a jumping sidekick. Spinarooni time for Booker to a huge pop. Kick to the gut, but Christian just slides out of the ring, grabs his belt and starts running up the ramp. The referee, Jack Doan, says that if Christian doesn’t get back to the ring before the ten count he will lose the match and the title. The crowd counts to nine until Christian gets back in and slides out of the ring. Booker chases him, Christian picks up the belt and drills Booker in the face with the title right in front of the referee. The match is called a disqualification at 7:53.

Winner: Booker T. by Disqualification, but Christian retains the title

Analysis: **1/4 Tons of heat for the match because it was in Booker’s hometown. He was really on his game, as was Christian, but it needed to be longer. I smell a rematch in the future.

(They were two of my favorite guys at the time, especially Christian. It’s tough to have a DQ finish in a PPV match, but it fit Christian’s character as a cheap champion and made people want to see Booker beat him. A few weeks later on the July 7 edition of Raw, Booker beat Christian to win the IC Title.)

Backstage, Kevin Nash is shown taping up his wrists.

Redneck Triathlon Part Two: Steve Austin vs. Eric Bischoff

This is the pie-eating contest. Jerry Lawler is in the ring as the MC. Bischoff comes out first to huge heat while Austin comes out next to the biggest pop of the night thus far.

Austin says that he gets to pick which flavor of pie that Bischoff gets to eat. I’m guessing it’s Mae Young. Austin asks Bischoff if he remembers the discussion they had where Bischoff said he was into mature women. Austin asks what makes him think he can pleasure a woman? Bischoff says he was born with it. Austin says from what he’s seen they should call him Eric Jerkoff. They show the four hot girls. Austin asks the crowd if the women are hot they should give him a HELL YEAH! They do twice. Austin says the four gorgeous women are not going to have their pie eaten by Bischoff. Austin says he’s going to introduce Eric to the pie he will be eating. The music hits. Uh oh, it’s Mae Young and Moolah coming out to a big pop. What a shock, eh? King says they wanted pie, not cheesecake. That’s a good line. Austin says Mae looks wonderful. Mae starts sticking her tongue out at Eric. Eric says he won’t do it. Austin asks him if he refuses and he says yes. Mae grabs his ass. Austin says that this means Austin is the winner of the Redneck Triathlon. King starts to announce it, but Bischoff cuts him off and says that he’ll do it. Bischoff kisses Mae for about ten seconds. Bischoff tells Austin to top that.

Austin tells him that it’s not a kissing contest, it’s a pie-eating contest. Austin tells Mae to go get him. Mae kicks Bischoff in the nuts, he collapses in the corner and she yanks off the bottom of her pants to reveal a thong. She gives him a bronco buster in the corner for about five seconds. Bischoff says he did it, so now it’s Austin’s turn. Instead of “eating Mae” (I never thought I’d type that), Austin gives her a Stunner to very little reaction. I guess the crowd loves Mae. Austin forfeits the contest, making the triathlon 1-1 with one more event left.

(This was really bad, but sadly this is the kind of comedy they always went with in this era with the Mae/Moolah spot. We were used to it. Some of it popped the crowd because they loved Austin and hated Bischoff, but it really wasn’t that good.)

They show a Kurt Angle video hyping up WWE Vengeance next month. That PPV was great.

They show a video about the tag team title situation. Backstage, Coach interviews La Resistance. Sylvan Grenier says that they hate Texas because they gave the world George W. Bush. Renee Dupree says they will dedicate their match to France and the greatest president in the world, Jacques Chirac.

The challengers come out first to some big heat. Next up is RVD on his own. Will Kane show up? Yep, there he is. The pyro goes off. RVD & Kane are already arguing.

World Tag Team Championships: Rob Van Dam & Kane vs. La Resistance (Renee Dupree & Sylvan Grenier)

Pre-match notes: RVD and Kane were babyface champions. La Resistance were cheap heels.

RVD starts out first with Rene Dupree. Dupree shoves him off, and then does his happy skippy dance to taunt him. Lock up, cradle gets two for RVD who proceeds to celebrate. Another lockup, but RVD fights off with a step over heel kick. Springboard crossbody gets two. He turns to look at Kane, who just stares back at him. Back on offense, he gets a couple of punches and then a rollup for two. Turnbuckle handspring by RVD blocked by Grenier, who drops him over the top rope. DDT by Dupree for two because Kane broke it up. Grenier comes in illegally to pound on RVD a bit. Tags in Dupree, who is welcomed with a USA chant. Snapmare by Dupree followed by a chinlock and a hair pull. He grabs RVD by the leg, who then gets an enziguri. Hot tag to Kane. Kane comes in, clears the heels with the usual kicks and heels. He throws Grenier into the corner, pounds on him a bit. Dupree goes to the top, Kane turns around and catches him. Double choke on Dupree. Slam on Grenier gets two. To the top, the patented Kane clothesline gets a two on Grenier because Dupree broke it up. Yeah, because that clothesline is deadly. Double team by La Resistance doesn’t keep Kane down as he gets a double clothesline. Kane brings in RVD, who does a kick off the top onto Dupree. RVD takes care of Grenier on the outside. RVD goes for a running flip over the top (a tope, I believe), but instead of hitting the heels, RVD hits Kane. La Resistance pulls RVD back in, get the double team flapjack and pin RVD at 5:47.

Winners AND NEW World Tag Team Champions: La Resistance

Analysis: *1/4 Another bad match. It’s likely going to lead to the breakup of the Kane & RVD at some point in the near future. It’s obvious to me that the last couple of matches are going to get a lot of time because these early matches are ending so quickly.

(It’s pretty sad when you book a title match that can’t even go six minutes. This would lead to that Kane/RVD split because Kane became a madman that lost his mask and took it out on everybody, including RVD. La Resistance were okay in terms of getting heel heat. I don’t think they were that memorable as a team. As for the time comment, the first four matches were all eight minutes or less. Some of them could have used more time.)

We get a long video package highlighting the Chris Jericho/Bill Goldberg feud. Jericho comes out first to boos. Here comes Goldberg to a nice pop.

Chris Jericho vs. Bill Goldberg

Pre-match notes: Chris Jericho was the heel while Goldberg was the face. This was Goldberg’s second WWE PPV match after beating The Rock at Backlash two months earlier.

Goldberg charges, Jericho sidesteps and celebrates. Strong headlock, they go through the middle ropes. Goldberg takes control, Jericho slides back in. Into the ropes, Goldberg clotheslines miss and he gets a face first slam. He tosses Jericho into the ropes, then does a high hiptoss. Knee to the gut, into the ropes and Jericho holds on. Into the corner, Jericho moves and starts working on Goldberg a bit. He no sells everything, then tosses him out. Big press slam by Goldberg plants Jericho onto the top ropes, groin first. Another press slam, this time onto the ring barrier on the outside. The crowd isn’t really cheering Goldberg that loud. Jericho’s standing in front of the security wall, Goldberg charges and Jericho slides out of the way. Goldberg is in the crowd selling the shoulder. The ref tells Jericho to get back in the ring. Chris is smiling now. He comes to the floor to attack Goldberg and tosses him right shoulder first into the ringpost. Goldberg’s head is bleeding as well. What’s he bleeding from? A padded security wall? Jericho gets a missile dropkick for two. He works on the shoulder by draping it over the bottom rope and yanking on it. Jericho gets a single arm DDT on Goldberg followed by an armbar. Too bad he didn’t bust out the crossface. Goldberg tosses him into the corner with one hand. Jericho springs off, but Goldberg kicks him in the gut. Into the ropes, Goldberg gets a left-handed shoulder block. Atomic drop by Goldberg and a standing sidekick. Goldberg goes for an armdrag, Jericho gets a leaping DDT/armbar takedown for two. Back up, Jericho gets an elbow to the face. Goldberg does a big hiptoss and they’re both down. Jericho ducks a punch, standing dropkick. Facebuster by Jericho. Lionsault. One…two…no. The crowd is not responding to Goldberg that much. Another facebuster by Jericho. Lionsault onto a standing Goldberg is blocked. He picks him up with one hand and gets a take down with his left hand. Goldberg is up for the spear. He does the spear with the right shoulder. He sells it. The crowd starts a “Goldberg Sucks” chant. The announcers don’t even mention it. “Y2J” chant starts up. Jackhammer blocked, ref gets hit and Jericho gets a low blow that Charles Robinson never sees. Walls of Jericho! Goldberg fights it off after about 30 seconds. Back up, Goldberg gets a spear with his left shoulder. I’d say 60% of the crowd is booing. Jackhammer by Goldberg gets the pinfall victory at 10:53.

Winner by pinfall: Goldberg

Analysis: *** I’ll give props to Goldberg for doing a good job of selling the right arm injury quite well. Jericho did an awesome job of controlling the match, selling everything beautifully and making it all look nice. This is one of the best Goldberg matches I’ve ever seen although that’s not saying much compared to what he’s done.

(This was about as good as you can expect for a Goldberg match. It showed how good Jericho was and they did work well together. I remember the crowd turning against Goldberg with the announcers completely ignoring it because WWE was paying Goldberg a lot of money to be a top babyface, so they didn’t want to talk about the crowd booking Goldberg. Anyway, the result here was very obvious.)

Backstage, the wheel is spun for the next part of the Redneck Triathlon. The result is a “Sing Off.” Bischoff is happy about it because he feels that Austin is a crappy singer. Austin asks Terri if that’s true and she says yes. It’s coming up later.

There was a long video package to set up Ric Flair’s match with Shawn Michaels with Flair saying that Shawn was just a Ric Flair wannabe. I’m marking out at the video package. This is gonna rule. Flair comes out first in a gold robe. JR says that Flair dominated the ‘80s while HBK dominated the ‘90s. I don’t think that comment is too far off. Here comes HBK to a huge Texas-sized pop. Shawn is wearing the red tights while Flair is wearing the black.

(I was excited about it because they really hadn’t wrestled much before this unless you go back a decade earlier when Flair was first in WWE. Michaels came back in the summer of 2002, had his feuds with Triple H and Chris Jericho and then it was on to this. Flair was still talented in the ring in 2003. Obviously, they had a more famous match five years later when Michaels retired Flair at WrestleMania 24, but at this point in 2003 this was a big deal.)

Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels

Pre-match notes: Shawn Michaels was the face and Ric Flair was the heel that was part of the Evolution group. Flair was 54 years old while Michaels was 37 and a month away from being 38 years old. Big age gap.

Lockup to start, Flair shoves him off and gets the big WOO. HBK wins the next shove, then walks on his back, slaps him in the face and gets a WOO of his own. Waistlock by HBK, they roll on the ground a bit until Flair gets the ropes. Another slap by HBK. Drop toehold, front facelock. Flair shoves him off, HBK gets another punch to the face. Clothesline over the tope rope, HBK gets a crossbody over the top onto the floor. Flair backs off into the corner and gets a kick to the gut. Chops, HBK fights off and shoulder tackle. Into the ropes again, Flair goes down and Shawn grabs a headlock on the mat. Into the corner, Flair gets control with a couple of chops. HBK gets three of his own followed by three punches in the corner. Atomic drop blocked by a Michaels right. Earl Hebner pulls HBK off, Flair springs out of the corner and gets a shoulder tackle to the back of the knee. Flair gets the running knee drop on the left knee of HBK. Flair gets some kicks to the knee. He runs his knee into the back of the quad. He drapes the knee over the bottom rope and splashes his butt across the knee. Figure Four by Flair after only five minutes. Huge “HBK” chant starts up. Shawn’s shoulders get pinned down, but he gets up at two. Another two count. After about sixty seconds he gets to the ropes. Earl Hebner shoves Flair.

Flair gets a chop to knock down Michaels, then gets a kick to the knee. He grabs Michaels by one leg, but he gets an enziguri out of it. Into the corner, Flair gets chops, but HBK comes out with some punches. Big back body drop by HBK. Cross corner whip, Flair catches Michaels coming in with a back elbow. Flair goes up, the announcers even call it saying it never works and of course HBK throws him off the top. Sweet chin music is caught by Flair, inside cradle by Michaels. Figure four by HBK! Flair gets the thumb to the eye to break it. Flair goes for a back suplex, Michaels reverses. Hebner gets bumped for a sec, HBK gets a rollup, but Flair counters that by grabbing the tights for a long two. Flair takes the Flair Flop bump in the corner, then runs to the top in the other corner. He comes off with a chop, but HBK clotheslines him on the way down. To the top, HBK gets a superplex. Shawn rolls to the outside, gets under the ring and sets up a table on the floor. He tries to get back in, but Michaels blocks it. Flair tries to suplex him through the table. Shawn blocks it, they go to the floor and he puts Flair head first into the ring post. He plants Flair onto the table. Randy Orton comes out of nowhere in his street clothes and eats a superkick from Michaels. Shawn climbs the top ropes, comes off the top, turns in mid air and gets a splash through the table. That was great. What a leap. Flair’s back is bleeding. Back in the ring, Shawn drapes an arm over Flair for the two count. Into the turnbuckle, Flair is stomach first against the turnbuckle. He does a backwards mule kick low blow that takes out HBK and Hebner. Flair did a strut to celebrate. Shawn gets a chop, into the ropes, back body drop and flying forearm. Kip up by HBK and a slam on Flair. To the top, HBK hits the patented elbow drop onto the chest of Flair. He warms up the band…and hits the Sweet Chin Music Superkick! Here comes Randy Orton with a steel chair and he drills HBK in the head with it. The ref never saw it. Orton rolls Flair onto HBK, here’s the one…two…three for the victory after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ric Flair

Analysis: ***3/4 I saw that coming when I saw Orton there. In the preview that I took part in on Friday I said that if Flair wins it would probably be thanks to interference by Randy Orton. That’s exactly what happened. This could lead to Orton getting in there with HBK, which would be a huge rub for Orton. Plus, it also means a Flair/HBK rematch is likely going to happen. The match was damn good. The psychology throughout the match was great, the table spot was great and the finish was well done as well. Simply put, a very good match between two of the very best wrestlers ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5bCtJhwH7s

(This was a really good match. I had forgotten about it, but I liked it a lot while re-watching it again. I’m not sure why they felt the need to do a table spot and how it was legal during a regular match. It was just done to pop the crowd and it worked. Also, Orton played a key role here because it did set him up to be a rival of Michaels and other babyfaces on Raw.)

Redneck Triathlon: Part Three

Eric Bischoff comes out to start the last part of the triathlon. He says he’s going to sing his theme song. He’s just lip-synching though. Austin interrupts, calls him Milli Vanilli and makes him start again.

Bischoff starts again without the words. It’s horrible. The crowd boos, Austin says he sucks and he should shut up. Austin says they should spin the wheel again. He spins it about two spaces, lands on Pig Pen and they have to do the third part of the contest where the winner of the triathlon is the man that tosses the other guy into the pig pen that they had near the ramp in the arena. Bischoff tried to run away, but an obvious fan plant (Mattress Mack, a guy from a furniture store in Houston) throws him back.

Austin comes out, punches Bischoff in the face. Austin throws him into the ring, stomps a mudhole on him in the corner. Austin picks Bischoff up, Eric s standing there stunned, kick to the gut and a Stunner by Austin. Austin takes Bischoff to the top of the ramp where the pigpen is located. It’s on the other side of the ramp, not near Jim Ross.

Austin throws Bischoff off the ramp into the pigpen. He gets all muddy. None of the pigs go near him. Austin is declared the winner of the Redneck Triathlon. He celebrates with some beers.

Winner: Steve Austin

Analysis: I’d call it a big waste of time. I like both characters, I really do, but none of this stuff was really funny to me. It’s the kind of campy WWE humor that they always do. Here’s hoping they try something new one of these days.

(I really did like both guys and Austin is among my favorite wrestlers ever, but all of this was more of a Raw angle to fill some time in a PPV. Austin beating up Bischoff repeatedly did pop the crowd at least.)

There was a video package to set up the main event. The Judgment Day 2003 match between Triple H and Nash ended in a DQ when Hunter intentionally hit referee Earl Hebner with a sledgehammer for the DQ. The match only went seven minutes and it sucked. Nash gave Triple H a Powerbomb through the announce table to get revenge. The feud continued with Austin announcing a Hell in a Cell match, the referees were reluctant to be the referee and Austin announced Mick Foley as the special guest referee. Triple H warned Mick Foley not to be the referee and they got into a brawl on Raw with Hunter giving Foley a Pedigree on a chair. Kevin Nash gave Hunter a Powerbomb and Foley counted the pin on Raw as a tease of what could happen.

Kevin Nash gets introduced first. His pop is not that loud considering he’s the number one contender. Triple H comes out next in blue tights and boots. JR is trying to sell the rivalry, but it’s just not that interesting. They hyped this feud up so poorly. Nash never got to talk, and never won a match to warrant this position. Lastly, Mick Foley comes out to the biggest reaction of the three. They lower the cell.

World Heavyweight Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Triple H vs. Kevin Nash – Mick Foley is the special referee

Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel World Heavyweight Champion while Kevin Nash was the babyface. Mick Foley was retired and also a babyface.

(I really didn’t like the Hunter/Nash feud and Nash bored me as a babyface. They didn’t have Nash wrestle that much, nor did he really earn a title match. It was just presented as a World Title feud.)

Hunter gets a kick to the gut. Into the ropes, Nash gets a big boot. There’s one of his four moves. On the floor, they fight a bit. Back in the ring, Nash gets a couple of “big forearms” according to JR. Triple H does a drop neckbreaker on the top rope. Nash shoves him off, he goes into Foley, who gets up quick. Nash works him over in the corners, then does his three elbows. Another elbow. Clothesline over the top. HHH gets a knee to the gut, Nash fights it off and pushes him back first into the ring post. Nash throws him back first into the cage. Another whip into the cage. Nash gets a punch, then another whip into the cage followed by a back body drop onto the concrete floor. Back in the ring, Nash gets some more forearms and elbows. Into the corner, HHH bounces back and Nash gets a sideslam. Two elbows get two. The crowd is not reacting at all. Nash slides out of the ring and grabs a chair. Nash with a chair to gut followed by a strong shot to the back. On the floor, Nash picks him up and rams him back first into the cage about five times. He throws HHH headfirst into the steps. The crowd barely reacts. Nash picks up the ring steps, tosses them at HHH, but he slides out and it misses him. HHH gets up, throws a punch and puts Nash headfirst onto the ring steps. Nash gets control again, he tries to do a powerbomb, but Hunter fights it off and beats him down with punches. He reaches under the ring, gets a toolbox. Hunter pulls out a hammer, then drills Nash in the knee with it. Hunter follows that up with a shot to the head. Foley takes the hammer away. HHH shoves him, Foley shoves back. After ten minutes, that shove is by far the biggest pop of the match. Nash tries to come back, but Hunter knocks him back down. Nash is bleeding. Hunter rakes Nash’s head across the cage. Hunter throws him headfirst into the cage a bit more.

Nash gets in the ring, HHH picks up the screwdriver out of the toolbox. Nash blocks an attack, but Hunter used the screwdriver to the head of Nash. The fans barely reacted to it. Yeah, sure he did. JR apologizes for the graphic nature of the move. Triple H slowly goes outside, grabs some barbed wire 2×4 from under the ring. He gets a gut shot with it. Nash blocks his second attempt with some punches. Nash gets the barbed wire and drills HHH in the face (well, into the hands) with it. As expected, HHH is bleeding. Nash gets another shot with the wire. Nash secures the barbwire in one of the top turnbuckles. Nash works over Triple H with some right hands into the corner. Whip, clothesline. Repeat. He picks HHH up on his shoulder and does the snake eyes onto the barbwire. That gets a two count. Triple H is bleeding big time again. Nash rolls to the floor, grabs the ring steps and tosses them into the ring. HHH slides out, Nash comes after him and Hunter drills him in the face with a wooden box that breaks in half upon contact. Hunter gets the sledgehammer. Foley grabs it from him, so Hunter punches him in the face. Hunter runs at Nash with the ring steps, but Nash does a drop toehold that leads to HHH taking a face bump into the steps. Foley recovers to count the two. Man, Hunter’s blade job is epic. I give him props for that. Triple H gets a kick to the knee. Hunter grabs the chair and drills Nash in the head with it. Then Hunter drills Foley with it! What a cheap shot! Foley is busted open now too.

Foley pulls out Mr. Socko to a huge pop! Foley puts the Mandible Socko Claw on HHH. After about twenty seconds, HHH counters it with a groin kick. Nash picks up the steel steps, charges and hits HHH & Foley at the same time. Nash goes for the cover, but Foley is down. On the apron, Foley’s back is facing the cage. Nash tries to help him, but HHH shoves Nash in the back and that sends Foley back first into the cage. Nash gets a slingshot that puts Hunter headfirst into the barbwire. Gut shot and Jackknife Powerbomb by Nash. Here comes Foley to count one, two…no. Good nearfall. The first good one of the match. They’re all bloody and they’re all on the ground. Nash goes after Hunter, but he eats a sledgehammer shot to the head. Pedigree by Triple H. Hunter hesitates a bit, rolls Nash over and coves for the one, two, three. Triple H retains the title at 21:01.

Winner by pinfall: Triple H

Analysis: ***1/2 There were no big bumps, but they made good use of all the weapons that they could to make for the lack of bumping. Nash didn’t do a whole lot of bumping aside from the headshots that were obviously blocked. The best bumper in the match was Foley while Triple H also did a good job of making Nash look credible. That was probably the best match you were going to get out of Kevin Nash at this stage in his career. He was clearly a step slow, and it was obvious that the fans aren’t as receptive to him as WWE management would like, but I think Nash worked hard in this match.

(This was a bloody match considering three guys bled to try to put over the violence. Triple H winning the match was the obvious result because we all knew the guy that would eventually beat him was Goldberg and nobody else was really a threat. The last five minutes were really good. I think the first half was boring and made me want to fast forward. The fans just didn’t care about Nash that much, but at least that one nearfall near the end drew a good reaction. Foley was great in his referee role too.)

Post match, Ric Flair & Randy Orton come down to celebrate with Triple H. Flair and Orton picked up Hunter along wit the World Heavyweight Title. Hunter’s music played. The show ended there.

This event had a runtime of 2:30:59 on WWE Network.

 

Final Thoughts

Show rating (out of 10): 5.5

It was just an average PPV. Most of this card had a good build, but several of the matches were disappointing. I thought the three main event matches delivered in terms of providing good matches. There really wasn’t a standout match or something that was considered that memorable.

The best match was Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels with a cheap finish with Randy Orton getting involved to help Flair as part of the Evolution storyline. The fans booing Goldberg while WWE tried to push him as a face was very telling. Chris Jericho carried Goldberg as best he could. The Triple H/Nash Hell in a Cell match was pretty good by the end, but Nash wasn’t that believable as a challenger. The presence of Mick Foley as referee certainly helped the match. The match quality was poor in the first half of the show, though. Too many short matches. As for the “Redneck Triathlon” with Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff, it was mostly forgettable with some decent one-liners thrown in. It felt like they were filling time more than anything.

I wish the Booker/Christian match got more time. Considering that the show ended about 15 minutes early, I find it hard to believe that they couldn’t have given them five more minutes to tell a better story in their match. They also could have added a women’s match to the card since they weren’t on the show at all.

 

FIVE STARS OF THE SHOW

  1. Shawn Michaels – He lost his match, but he was the star of the match.
  2. Ric Flair
  3. Triple H
  4. Chris Jericho
  5. Kevin Nash/Mick Foley

OPINIONS

Best Match: Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels (***3/4 out of 5)

Worst Match: La Resistance vs. Rob Van Dam & Kane (*1/4)

Most Memorable Moment: Triple H hitting Nash with a sledgehammer and a Pedigree to win the main event.

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

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John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport