WWE Survivor Series 2003 Review
The 17th Survivor Series took place at a time when WWE was clearly setting things up for their future. The roster was pretty young with Brock Lesnar in his mid-20s holding the WWE Title although he was a few months away from leaving the company because he just didn’t like wrestling anymore.
This was John Cena’s Survivor Series debut. In the weeks leading up to this event, he turned face because he was so popular with the crowd as the cool heel that rapped about his rivals.
It was also Randy Orton’s Survivor Series debut. He was part of the Evolution group with Triple H, Batista and Ric Flair while being booked as a heel on the rise. Orton has a long history of doing well at the Survivor Series. It started at this show for him.
Goldberg walked into the show as the World Champion on the Raw brand. It was his only Survivor Series appearance…until his WWE return in 2016.
This is usually the part where I write “I’m using WWE Network to review the show” but that’s not true in this case. I’m using a review I wrote live on November 16, 2003. It was several years ago, many laptops ago, but I try to keep all my files just in case. What I’ll do is leave most of my original play-by-play and analysis while adding new analysis in blue font. The only match that I’m going to re-watch is the Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff match because I remember it being awesome. Since I already reviewed everything else, there’s no point in re-watching it all again.
WWE Survivor Series
American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas
November 16, 2003
Awesome video package to start with a guy doing a voice over asking if people will survive the night.
Here comes John Cena. Cena raps about the heel team. He says he’s going to put Morgan and Jones in an ambulance. It was a great rap where he talked trash about all the heels. In the entryway is the grave along with a big truck that will dump the dirt into the grave. Following Cena is Benoit, Bradshaw, Hardcore Holly and then Kurt Angle. The heel team order is Show, A-Train, Jones, Morgan and Brock Lesnar.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Hardcore Holly, Bradshaw and John Cena) vs. Team Lesnar (Brock Lesnar, Big Show, A-Train, Nathan Jones and Matt Morgan)
(Pre-match notes: This is a Smackdown match. Angle’s team were the faces. This was Cena’s Survivor Series debut. Lesnar’s teams were all big guys and they were the heels. Lesnar was the WWE Champion at the time and Big Show was the US Champion. )
Hardcore Holly attacks Lesnar on the floor. He sends him into the steel steps. Everybody else is brawling. Holly shoves the ref down. His team pulls him off. Brian Hebner DQ’d Holly for that. He’s out.
Hardcore Holly eliminated by disqualification
(Lesnar injured Holly with a broken neck for about a year. Holly ended up getting a WWE Title shot at Royal Rumble 2004, but did not win.)
A-Train and Bradshaw start in the ring. Boot to the face for Bradshaw. He ducks a kick, into the ropes and hits a clothesline from hell for the pin. Less than a minute, already two guys out.
A-Train eliminated by Bradshaw
Big Show comes in. Bradshaw into the ropes, knee to the back. Big Show pins him with a chokeslam. Bradshaw is out.
Bradshaw eliminated by Big Show
Cena comes in to take on Show. Show tags in Lesnar, boot to the face. Into the turnbuckle, shoulderblocks. Back elbow by Cena, shoulder blocks are blocked. Chop to the knees takes Lesnar down. He opens up on him in the corner with punches. Ducks a clothesline, schoolboy gets two. Another one gets two. Brock gets a clothesline. Morgan tagged in. Headbutt and punch take down Cena. Bodyslam by Morgan, legdrop misses. Sideslam by Morgan. Tag to Jones. He whips Cena into Morgan, who decks Cena with a punch. Bodyslam by Jones. Tag to Lesnar. Powerslam reversed by Cena into the Throwback neckbreaker. Tag to Benoit. He chops Lesnar hard in the corner. Whip across sends Brock down. Snap suplex. Brock hangs Benoit neck first over the ropes. Clothesline sends Benoit down. Tag to Big Show. Press slam by Show. While holding Benoit up he says, “Kiss my ass, Angle.” Now that’s talent! Chokeslam is reversed into a crossface. Lesnar saves him with a boot. Abdominal stretch for Show. Show gets a legdrop over the throat for two, thanks to Angle saving Benoit. Team Lesnar throws Benoit to the floor, stomping the hell out of him. Ref sees nothing of it. I love how refs are both blind and deaf. Headbutt by Show, then a tag to Morgan. Big boot is ducked, dropkick to the knees. Dropkick to the face. Tag to Angle. Rolling Germans on Morgan with the third one being a release one. Dropkick to Jones’ knee. F5 by Brock reversed to a German. All hell is breaking loose. Just Angle and Morgan now. He gets the Angle Slam for three to eliminate Morgan.
Matt Morgan eliminated by Kurt Angle
Jones in, he holds Angle. Show goes for a boot, Lesnar ducks and Show’s boot hits Angle. Ankle Lock onto Jones sends him out.
Nathan Jones eliminated by Kurt Angle
Lesnar in quickly after. F5 for Lesnar on Angle! Angle is out. We’re down to Benoit & Cena vs. Show & Lesnar. That was very fast paced.
Kurt Angle eliminated by Brock Lesnar
(They had such a great rivalry. I was surprised Angle didn’t last longer in the match, but it makes sense considering the other two guys left on his team.)
Benoit’s working the left arm of Lesnar with stomps and headbutts. Hard whip sends Lesnar down. Whip to the corner, Lesnar decks him with an elbow. F5 for Lesnar is reversed to a Crossface! Crowd is going nuts. Lesnar rolls through, getting a two count for himself. Lesnar shoves him off, so Benoit grabs another Crossface. The crowd is going nuts! Lesnar taps out!
Brock Lesnar eliminated by Chris Benoit
(That was such a big moment for Benoit, who was a veteran rising star making the WWE Champion tap out like that.)
It’s Cena & Benoit vs. Big Show. “You Tapped Out” chant for Lesnar. Dropkick to the knee of Show. Show back up. Benoit gets a shoulderblock for two. He goes for the Crossface. Show shoves Benoit into Cena. Tag is made. Ref tells Benoit to get out of the ring. Cena hits Show with the gold chain. FU onto Show! Damn! Cena covered Show to win. The winners are Benoit & Cena at 13:15. Post match, they shake hands. Huge pop for them.
Big Show eliminated by John Cena
Survivors: John Cena & Chris Benoit of Team Angle
Analysis: *** Very solid match. I enjoyed it just as I thought I would. Cena’s pinfall on Show sets up a feud for them while Benoit making Lesnar tap hopefully leads to a feud between the two. Angle didn’t play a major role in the match, obviously wanting to rest his neck. The huge amounts of energy made the match a good choice for an opener. Crowd loved Benoit and Cena the most.
(If you look ahead to WrestleMania 20 it was easy to see why they chose those winners. Cena ended up beating Show for the US Title as the opener and Benoit won the World Title from Triple H in the main event. Benoit didn’t get to have a real feud with Lesnar although they did have a couple of awesome matches together.)
Backstage, Vince McMahon tries to talk to Shane. He mentions that they’re wrestling against brothers, Undertaker and Kane. Vince asks Shane how he feels. Shane says he feels sorry for Vince. Vince walks out of the room and sees “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. They stare at eachother, then laugh. Then stare again. That’s it. No words. Just staring.
Women’s Title: Molly Holly vs. Lita
(Pre-match notes: Molly was the heel champion against Lita as the face challenger.)
I missed the first three minutes or so. Molly’s wearing a cleavage showing top that she usually don’t wear. Molly has Lita in a dragon sleeper-type move. Lita fights out, but Molly pounds on her again. Handspring elbow by Molly into the corner. She stomps away. Lita fights out of the corner with kicks, flips to the top and hits a crossbody for two. Big clothesline in the corner. She mounts Molly in the corner for the ten punches in the corner. Rollup for Lita gets two. Side slam by Molly gets two. Molly has her in the corner, mounts her and Lita fights back with a powerbomb. She must have been watching Undertaker matches before. Side Russian leg sweep by Lita. Moonsault, or Litasault, misses everything. Molly to the top for the Molly Go Round. Lita kicks out at two. Molly takes off the middle turnbuckle. Lita gets a rollup. She charges, Molly trips her and sends her face first into exposed middle turnbuckle leading to the pin. Molly wins it after about 8 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Molly Holly
Analysis: *3/4 Decent match. The ref, Charles Robinson, saw the spot where Molly took off the turnbuckle, yet he allows her to use it? I don’t get it. I know the refs are idiots, but he saw it AND yelled at her about it. I guess Lita wins the title next month.
(I don’t remember anything about it to be perfectly honest. It’s a cheap win for a heel champion and nothing more than that, really.)
On another note, Tajiri beat Jamie Noble on Heat. Shane vs. Kane is coming up next.
Long video package airs to set up Kane vs. Shane McMahon. The ambulance is shown. Kane is out first. Shane is wearing a white jersey obviously to showcase the blood he’s going to have coming.
Ambulance Match: Kane vs. Shane McMahon
(Pre-match notes: Kane was an unmasked, crazy heel at this point. He was angry that he didn’t have the mask anymore and took it out on everybody. Shane tried to stand up to him as a fighting face. They did a lot of stunts along the way in the feud.)
A Shane cross body over the top sends Kane out. Kane tosses him headfirst into the ring steps. He picks up the steps. Shane grabs a chair, smashing it into the steps. Kane is down under the steps. Shane drills Kane with a monitor from the Spanish Announce Table. He drills him twice with a monitor. Another shot to the face. Kane is draped over the table. Shane goes back in. Top rope elbow through the table. I know it’s a spot that has been done MANY times before, but it’s still damn impressive. Kane sits up soon after as Shane goes through the crowd. Kane follows him. Shane leads him over to an area in the back. They’re backstage now. Shane is running backstage with Kane following him. Didn’t they just go through a table? Kane takes a turn, Shane comes from behind with a kendo stick. He hits him with the stick six or seven times. Shane gets into a car. He backs the truck into Kane, who falls into a security booth. Shane goes on walky talky, then tells them to send it. Slowly, an ambulance comes. How exciting.
He drags Kane onto the stretcher. Kane gets up from it. Shane’s plan is unsuccessful as Kane tosses him around. No camera back there. Crowd boos. We’re back. Kane beats the hell out of him down the hallway. He throws him through the curtain. They’re out in the arena again. Kane tosses him off the front of the ambulance. Kane whips him into the ambulance again. Kane goes to spear him into the ambulance, but Shane reverses it and shoves him into the ambulance a few times. He opens the back door right into Kane’s head. One more time. Shane tries to shove him, but Kane fights out. Boot to the face for Kane. Kane tosses him in the ambulance, shuts one door, but can’t get the other one closed.
Shane gets a Tornado DDT on the floor. He reaches into some dumpster, grabbing a trashcan. He drills Kane with it. He puts a padded black base cover over Kane’s leg. He puts the trashcan on his face. He climbs the ambulance and hits a Van Terminator off the ambulance into Kane’s face. Good thing he had padding. Kane is out. Shane picks him up and shoves him in. He can’t get both doors closed. Kane drags him into the ambulance so that they’re both in. He kicks Shane out. Kane whips Shane into the side of the vehicle. While in Kane’s arms, Shane gets rammed back first into the vehicle. Headfirst javelin throw into the ambulance. Shades of Nash doing that Mysterio in the days of Nitro. Crowd chanting for Shane. Tombstone on the floor for Kane, just like he did to Linda. He tosses Shane into the ambulance, shuts the door and wins it after 13 minutes.
Analysis: **1/4 It’s tough to judge this compared to a regular match. They weren’t in the ring for more than thirty seconds. The spots were pretty good as expected. Shane’s athleticism impressed like usual, but there wasn’t enough stuff in between to make it anything special. They did a good job of putting Kane over strong so, in that sense, they accomplished their goal.
(The goal of the feud was to put over Kane as a psychotic heel, so in that sense it worked. They relied on stunts so much to try to make it seem different from a typical wrestling feud.)
After the match, the ambulance took off to the hospital.
Backstage, Josh Mathews asks Lesnar what it felt like to lose. Brock says he didn’t lose. Josh says with all due respect, he tapped out. Brock says he didn’t tap out and lose. He wasn’t out there alone. He says he can beat anybody single handedly. Backstage, Goldberg shows up. He shakes his hand, saying “nice to meet you.” Looks like this is the start of a possible WrestleMania match between the two.
(You were right, 2003 JC. It was the tease for their WrestleMania 20 match. At the time of this meeting, both guys were World Champions too.)
Jonathon Coachman comes out to the ring for a promo. He is wearing a neck brace. He says that he’s hurt from what the Dudley Boyz did to him last week with the 3D. He says that his doctor said that he’d be okay pretty soon. Before he leaves, he points out Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Coach goes to interview Cuban. He asks him what he’s looking forward to. Cuban says he’s looking forward to Stone Cold kicking Eric Bischoff’s ass. Coach says it won’t happen. He asks him if he prefers WWE referees or NBA referees. Eric Bischoff comes out saying he’ll handle it. He goes into the ring. He tells Cuban to go into the ring to say it to Bischoff’s face. Cuban goes in. Big pop for Cubes. He’s a fairly fit guy, probably bigger than Bischoff. Bischoff says that he rented the building, so that tonight he runs the building. He says he can get security to take Cuban out or he can do it himself. He shoves Cuban. Cuban shoves back. Randy Orton comes out to the ring from behind Cuban. RKO on Cuban to some big heat. Cuban sold it well. Fun segment. Crowd loved Cuban, as they should because he’s a great owner.
Backstage, Evolution is hanging out with some ladies. Mr. Stephanie McMahon seems to be enjoying himself. Orton comes in to say that he just took out a legendary owner in Mark Cuban. Next up he’s going to take out the legendary Steve Austin. Hunter says he will take out Goldberg.
(I don’t remember calling Triple H “Mr. Stephanie McMahon” too often. I should do it more!)
WWE Tag Team Titles: Basham Brothers (w/Shaniqua) vs. Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo)
(Pre-match notes: The Bashams were not really brothers, but they were heel tag team champions. Eddie and Chavo were faces although Chavo was showing heel tendencies.)
Champs come out first. Challengers are next. Will Chavo be turning heel here? I think so. Guerreros come in first, taking out the champs fairly quickly. They go after Shaniqua, but the Bashams get them from behind. Chavo starts with Danny. Back elbow by Chavo brings in Eddy. Eddy dropkicks Danny in the corner, then stomps the hell out of him in the corner. Eddy gets the rolling vertical suplexes for two. Tag to Chavo. Seated dropkick gets two. Bodyslam, tag to Eddy, hilo splash gets two for him. Eddy nails the Bashams with his armdrag/head scissors combo move. They reverse a charge, sending Eddy to the ground. Shaniqua hits a clothesline and body slam on the floor. She has more moves than Nathan Jones already. Doug works over Eddy in the corner. Tag in to Danny, double team slingshot vertical suplex gets two. Chinlock for Danny. Eddy fights out with elbows. Tilt-a-whirl headscissors for Eddy. Tag in to Chavo. Back drop on Danny, dropkick to Doug and a tilt a whirl slam for two. They reverse a whip into the corner, double flapjack for the Bashams. Doug goes for a spinebuster on Chavo from the top. Eddy saves him, getting a hurricanrana. Chavo flips on Doug for two. Danny tosses Eddy over the top. It’s two on one against Chavo. Doug vaults Chavo into the air and he gets a dropkick on the waiting Danny into the face. Cool spot. They’re both down for the eight count. Shaniqua on the apron. Danny switches with Doug in the ring. He dropkicks Danny out. Shaniqua in, so Chavo clotheslines her. Eddy gets a frog splash on Shaniqua. Chavo spanks Shaniqua to the delight of Eddy. Chavo gets a swinging DDT, but his feet hit Eddy in the face. Danny comes out nowhere, gets a rollup with a pull of the tights for a three count at 7:31.
Winners by pinfall: The Basham Brothers
(I wasn’t using the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! phrase back then, but you know by now that it’s pretty deadly.)
Post match, the Guerreros don’t look too happy. Chavo says it’s not his fault.
Analysis: ** Solid match. One of the better matches that the Bashams have had since they’ve been in the company. Looks like Chavo’s heel turn is going to wait. Should be soon, I’m guessing. The last five minutes were really strong, making up for the slow pace at the start.
(The heel turn from Chavo was obvious because we could tell WWE was going to push Eddie as a face. I didn’t know it at the time, but three months after this is when Eddie won the WWE Title from Lesnar. He split with Chavo and won their feud before getting to Lesnar. I spelled it “Eddy” because that’s how he spelled it, but after a while I went with Eddie because that’s how WWE spelled it.)
A video package aired to set up Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff on the Raw brand. The video focused on some of Austin’s best moments.
(Austin retired at WrestleMania 19 earlier in 2003. He was so popular that WWE felt the need to bring him back as a co-GM of Raw along with the heel Bischoff.)
Bischoff’s music starts. His entire team comes out together. Glass breaks, here comes Team Austin coming out together. These guys got the biggest pop of the night thus far. The crowd busted out into several chants back to back. One for Austin, HBK, RVD, Tables and Booker T. as well. That was cool. Stacey Keibler, Long and Bischoff are in one corner while Austin is in the other.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Austin (Shawn Michaels, Booker T., Rob Van Dam, Dudley Boys) vs. Team Bischoff (Chris Jericho, Christian, Mark Henry, Scott Steiner, Randy Orton)
(Pre-match notes: It’s probably obvious to you, but Austin’s team were the faces and Bischoff’s team were the heels.)
We start out with Christian against D’Von. Whip into the ropes for Christian, shoulder tackle. Slap to the face by Christian. D’Von takes him down quickly. Leaping clothesline by D’Von gets two. Tag to RVD. He gets a spinning kick for two. Christian gets a punch, then tags in Jericho. He opens up with chops, grabs the foot, RVD gets a spin kick. Shoulder tackles by RVD, then a northern lights suplex for two. Jericho leaps over a sweep kick, dropkicks for two. Tag to Steiner. Whip into the ropes, RVD goes down. After some posing, RVD gets a springboard crossbody for two. Another spinning kick gets two. He flips over, Steiner ducks a kick and gets an overhead belly to belly. So much for that move being moved. He gets another belly to belly, this one to the side for two. RVD to the top, he gets tripped up. Steiner hits an overhead belly to belly off the top for two. I guess it’s really not banned. RVD tags in Booker. Booker opens up on Steiner with punches, but Steiner cuts him off with a clothesline. Kissing the biceps elbow gets two. Into the ropes, forearm for Booker. Knee to the gut and a scissors kick for Booker. Spinaroonie time. Big spinebuster for Booker gets two. All ten guys are fighting on the floor with Booker & Steiner still in the ring. Steiner Recliner by Steiner near the ropes. Stacy gets up on the apron, cheering for Booker. Steiner grabs her. Dudleys get a reverse neckbreaker/3D variation. Booker comes in with the Bookend for three. Scott Steiner is out.
Scott Steiner eliminated by Booker T
Mark Henry comes in against Booker. Henry catches him and falls forward with him into his slam move. He gets the pinfall. Booker is out.
Booker T eliminated by Mark Henry
(That was the World’s Strongest Slam by Henry. I didn’t know a name for it at the time.)
Rob Van Dam faces off against Henry. He takes a clothesline. Forearm to the back. RVD gets Bubba in thanks to a blind tag. Whip into the ropes, Henry pancakes him with his stomach. Into the turnbuckle, Bubba takes his face first bump after the blow. Clothesline staggers Henry. He tags in D’Von. He powers out and clotheslines the back of their heads. Into the ropes, another clothesline. Okay, so we know Mark Henry can do a clothesline. Henry goes sternum first into the turnbuckle. He bounces out and the Dudleys 3D him. RVD comes off the top with a Five Star Frog Splash. All three guys cover Henry for the pin. Henry is out.
Mark Henry eliminated by Rob Van Dam
Jericho gets the advantage, but RVD fights out with a springboard moonsault for two. Jericho tags in Orton, who opens up on RVD. Into the turnbuckle, RVD leaps over Orton, but it doesn’t work because Orton decks him with a clothesline. Boot to the face by RVD. Springboard kick by RVD followed by a Rolling Thunder. To the top, Jericho shoves RVD off the ropes, sending him neck first on the top. Orton hits the RKO for the pinfall. Van Dam is out.
Rob Van Dam eliminated by Randy Orton
It’s 3 on 3 as D’Von enters. Sideslam by D’Von. To the top, a headbutt gets two for him. Blind tag brings in Jericho, who gets shoulder blocked down by D’Von. Boot to the face by Jericho followed by a missile dropkick. That gets two. Jericho misses a charge, D’Von gets a shoulderblock. Christian distracts D’Von, he turns around and Jericho gets a spinning sleeper/neckdrop for the three count. D’Von Dudley is out.
D’Von Dudley eliminated by Chris Jericho
(This is another nerd writing thing, but I usually wrote his name as D-Von instead of D’Von, so not sure what I was doing in these days.)
Bubba comes in. He gets a big sideslam for two. He tags in Shawn Michaels, who is in the match for the first time. Chops to Jericho in the corner. He does the ten count in the corner. Christian comes in, so Shawn leaps off the ropes with a double axe to his face. Jericho tags in Orton. They do a double shoulderblock to send HBK down. Orton goes for a dropkick, HBK hangs on to the ropes and Orton hits the back of his head. Tag to Christian and tag to Bubba. Bubba clears out Team Bischoff, dropping Christian’s face on the top rope. Back body drop gets two on Christian. Samoan Drop on Orton. Jericho gets a low blow on Bubba. Christian gets the Unprettier on Bubba for the pinfall.
Bubba Ray Dudley eliminated by Christian
It’s Orton, Jericho & Christian vs. Michaels. Christian works on HBK. HBK gets the flying forearm and kip up. He takes out the heel team. They end up pulling HBK out to the floor, triple teaming him. Christian brings in Orton. He quickly tags Christian back in. Michaels fights him off, but Jericho pulls him to the ground. Orton distracts the ref. Christian slingshots HBK head first into the ring apron. HBK comes up bleeding HUGE! Suplex back in gets two for Christian. He does an HBK like muscle pose. HBK is bleeding a lot. Unprettier is blocked. He shoves Christian into the corner. He charges at Shawn, but eats a superkick. HBK falls on top for the pin. Christian is out.
Christian eliminated by Shawn Michaels
Jericho faces off with Michaels. Big whip into the corner, HBK does his customary feet up in the air flop and turns around to eat a Jericho clothesline. Tag in to Orton, who blatantly chokes HBK. Sleeper by HBK. Reversed into a side suplex by Orton. He tags in Jericho. He covers for two. Whip into the corner. Jericho jumps off the middle ropes, gets nothing. HBK gets a DDT. One…two…no, Orton saves! Big nearfall there. He sends Orton out over the top. Jericho gets a bulldog. Lionsault is blocked by the knees from HBK. Long eight count. Crowd is really hot. Superkick is ducked. Walls of Jericho reversed into a rollup by HBK! One…two…three! Jericho is out. Jericho comes back in to the ring with a steel chair and smashes HBK in the face with it. Huge heat for that.
Chris Jericho eliminated by Shawn Michaels
(I loved Jericho’s feud with Michaels in 2003. Their 2008 feud was even better, but that 2003 rivalry was great because it really elevated Jericho and made people take him more serious as a legit threat as a heel.)
Orton comes back in, drapes his arm across the chest and he gets only two! Another good nearfall. Orton to the top. He goes for a crossbody, Michaels ducks and Orton hits the referee. HBK’s face is all red. This is a MASSIVE blade job. I can’t say it enough. It’s like his bloody face at Hell in a Cell #1. Bischoff comes in, kicks HBK in the ribs. Austin comes into the ring, throws Bischoff out and gives a Stunner to Orton. Ref sees none of it. Crowd is going NUTS. Austin takes Bischoff to the back, brawling with him. Batista comes in through the crowd and hits a huge sitout powerbomb on HBK. Orton crawls over for the cover. Ref wakes up, one…two…three! Team Bischoff wins at 27:27. Austin shows up in the aisle looking at what happened. He never saw Batista.
Shawn Michaels eliminated by Randy Orton
Survivor: Randy Orton of Team Bischoff
Analysis: ****1/4 This match was very exciting, especially at the end. The last fifteen minutes of it was filled with the kind of drama that you’d expect from a match involving this many talented people. Shawn Michaels put on an outstanding performance. The finish was something that was predictable, yet it worked really well. The effort of Jericho, Orton and Christian shouldn’t go unnoticed either. They did a terrific job in telling the story of the match. Very good match. The best of the night so far, easily.
(That was a wild few minutes of action, especially at the end. Michaels was incredible trying to fight back against three guys and nearly pulling it off. I like how the win was really cheap for the heels because they needed Bischoff and Batista to help Orton get the win. I don’t think it hurt Orton that much because he was seen as a star on the rise. This was a huge win for him. I’m just really impressed with how well booked it was because it helps to accentuate the great work in the ring.)
After the match, JR talks about how Austin’s 14-year career is over now. Does anybody really believe that? Austin comes back into the ring, looking over Michaels. Shawn stumbles to his feet, shakes Austin’s and they walk out together. I can’t say it enough about Michaels’ blood. When he was walking out of the ring, you could see the blood all over his body, not just his face.
Austin’s music strikes up again. He walks out to the ring. He looks very somber. He says that he started his career back in 1989 right there in Dallas. He says that he didn’t want it to end this way, but he feels justified because it started in Dallas and he appreciates everything that the fans have done for him. He thinks it’s fitting that it has ended in Dallas. He says there’s been good times, bad times and he’ll go on the record as saying that “I loved the shit out of you guys.”
As he goes to pose, Jonathon Coachman comes out on the mic with a bunch of security guards with him. He asks Austin how does it feel to know that he’s finished with the WWE. Austin punches him, gives a Stunner to a security guy and kicks all their asses. He clears the ring of everybody but Coachman. He stomps Coach down in the corner. Kick to the gut, middle finger and a Stunner. He drinks some beer to end it.
(Cool moment honoring Austin in Texas and then having Coach get beat up as well. Austin ended up returning as an authority figure in a role as the “Sheriff” of Raw.)
Video package sets up crazy Vince McMahon of the Smackdown brand and his problems with The Undertaker. Tazz has his keys to victory. He highlights Undertaker’s submissions and home-field advantage. For Vince he says, “avoid the hole.” Good tip. Undertaker comes out first. Vince is next with his hands together as if he is praying. He kneels down in the corner, praying for himself and looking up. Rules are simple: Put the guy into the hole that is by the entryway, fill him up in dirt by using the dump truck and go from there.
Buried Alive Match: Vince McMahon vs. The Undertaker
(Pre-match notes: Vince was the crazy heel that had several matches that year to help boost Smackdown and Undertaker was the face.)
Undertaker starts out with a big right hand. Vince is already bleeding. After one punch? He follows with many more punches in the corner. As usual, the blood is flowing a lot from his head.
(It may be one of the fastest blade jobs ever. Vince is crazy.)
After two minutes, Undertaker has thrown about forty punches. He rams Vince groin first into the ring post. Vince’s entire face is full of blood. You can’t see any part of his face. It’s just all blood. A HUGE crimson mask. Undertaker rams him groin first into the other ringpost. He pulls his knee around the ringpost. Vince’s head gets slammed face first into the Smackdown announce table. Undertaker chokes him out with a video camera cord. Elbow to the head. Undertaker clears the announce table, picks up a TV monitor and drills Vince with it. Six minutes in, Undertaker has just walked around on offense the entire time. No offense for Vince yet. Undertaker walks back to the gravesite while Vince is laying in the ring. Undertaker grabs a shovel, and then walks back to the ring.
Vince turns around as Undertaker swings and drills him in the head with the shovel. Undertaker places Vince’s ankle onto the ring steps. He grabs the other ring steps, then slams them onto the left ankle of McMahon. Undertaker picks up Vince on his shoulders. He carries him on his shoulders down the aisle to the gravesite that is near the entrance. He dumps Vince onto some dirt. Vince tosses some dirt into the eyes. What is he, Mr. Fuji? Vince gets a low blow. Undertaker is about an inch away from being in the grave. Vince grabs a shovel. He hits Undertaker in the chest with it. Undertaker falls in. He gets back up. The grave is up to his waist. He tosses Vince in. Undertaker goes to the dump truck, but an explosion happens. Kane comes out. He shoves Undertaker back into the grave. Vince goes into the loader, Kane lifts up his arm to signal and Vince dumps all the dirt that was in the truck back into the grave. Vince McMahon wins after about 12 minutes.
Winner: Vince McMahon
Analysis: * Very boring match. Some may call it methodical, but I’d call it bad. Obviously, this set up a Kane/Undertaker match at WrestleMania XX. It’ll be interesting to see how they build to that.
(This was the last match for The Undertaker as the biker dude “Big Evil” because when he returned for WrestleMania 20 against Kane he was back to the “Deadman” look. In other words, they buried this character and resurrected the other one. It was a pretty good three years for Biker Taker, but I think most people wanted him to be the traditional Undertaker again.)
A long video package sets up Goldberg vs. Triple H for the World Title. Hunter is wearing his groin supporting shorts. Flair is with him. The video package and entrances alone took about six minutes. The match is probably going to be less than that. Goldberg comes in last.
World Heavyweight Title: Goldberg vs. Triple H w/Ric Flair
Goldberg jumps HHH at the start. He gets a spear right away. Goldberg takes out Flair. Goldberg clotheslines HHH over the top. He rams him shoulder first into the steps. Press slam drops HHH’s head on the guard railing. Kick to the gut by HHH, into the ropes and Goldberg meets him with a powerslam. Press slam by Goldberg, but his right leg gave way on him. He drops HHH. Hunter chop blocks the back of the right leg. Hunter tosses him to the floor. Head first into the steps. Hunter drapes the right leg on the steps. He picks up a chair and slams it onto the ankle. So he’s repeating spots from the match that happened just before this one?
Flair attacks Goldberg outside, slamming his right leg into the ringpost. Another chop block by HHH. He stomps on the right leg. Hunter drops the elbow across the right leg. Flair chokes Goldberg while Hunter distracts the ref. Hunter works over the ankle with some knees and stomps. He chokes him over the ropes. They exchange punches in the corner that Hunter wins thanks to kicks to the ankle. He sends Goldberg to the floor. Flair aims at him and drills him with a knee to the ankle. Flair rules. More stomping by Hunter. Running knee onto the ankle. Half crab by HHH. Goldberg is in the ropes, but the ref doesn’t stop it. Nice job, Earl Hebner. Hunter tries to ram Goldberg’s leg into the post. Goldberg pushes him back into the barricade. Back in, Goldberg fights off a hold with some punches. He fights out with punches. Charging clothesline by Goldberg. They’re both down. Hunter charges at him, Goldberg goes to powerslam him, but Hunter sneaks out. Chop block to the knee. Figure four is reversed by Goldberg’s foot. Hunter runs into Hebner. Flair tosses some brass knux to Hunter. Hebner rolls over to count. Two count. Hunter dropped an elbow to the back of Hebner. He goes to the floor and grabs a sledgehammer. Goldberg boots him with his right foot. Flair to the top gets thrown off by Goldberg. Clothesline to Hunter, then to Flair. Goldberg uses the sledgehammer to hit Flair in the gut. Batista comes in to take a sledgehammer to the gut. Orton comes in, takes a gut shot. Pedigree reversed into a backdrop. Goldberg tosses the sledgehammer out of the ring. Spear by Goldberg. So much for selling the ankle injury. Jackhammer by Goldberg. Hebner wakes up from his nap, makes the count for the one…two…three at 11:45. Crowd wasn’t into the match as much as they were for some of the others.
Winner by pinfall: Goldberg
Analysis: *1/2 The psychology of Hunter working on Goldberg’s ankle was a nice touch. However, it all becomes meaningless when Goldberg does his two major moves that require his ankle a great deal. They did accomplish their goal of putting Goldberg over strong. I give them credit for doing that the right way.
Goldberg celebrated with the World Title to end the show.
(I remember it as a boring match and just reading it back now shows me that’s exactly what it was. I think Triple H is a very good performer, but he wasn’t able to carry Goldberg to an entertaining match, which is part of the reason Goldberg only spent one year in WWE. When a top guy with a lot of power doesn’t think much of you, that’s bad for your future in WWE. Goldberg was critical for years after he left WWE too, so there was definitely some animosity. Obviously, they patched up those differences because time heals all wounds.)
The show had a run time of 2 hours and 49 minutes.
– The crowd wasn’t into the nearfalls of the main event very much. There wasn’t a whole lot of heat during the match. The most reactions seemed to happen whenever Flair interfered and the crowd would react to that by yelling “WOO” at him. I don’t blame them. Hunter and Goldberg’s second major match was nothing out of the ordinary. Considering it was main eventing a major PPV like Survivor Series, the subpar main events were disappointing. Once again that’s why it led to Goldberg leaving the company because I don’t think management was that impressed by him.
– I really liked the elimination matches. The opening Smackdown match was an energetic, well-booked match that saw the right people go over. In a tag setting, heel champions like Lesnar and Show can afford losses. That’s what happened.
– The Raw elimination tag match was outstanding. Smart booking with terrific nearfalls, several memorable spots and a finish that left fans wanting to see what’s next. Most of us didn’t expect Austin to be done after that, but we had no idea how they would bring him back.
– It’s notable that they teased two WrestleMania matches at this event. The first one came when Goldberg went up to Lesnar in the back with both of them holding the major titles. The other one came when Kane helped Vince beat The Undertaker. It’s good to tease stuff that far in advance because it builds up the excitement even more.
– Kane beating Shane the way he did was the right booking for him. The unmasking of Kane was like a resetting of his character and they couldn’t afford to book him like a loser against a non-wrestler like Shane. The feud was cheesy with all the stunts and props they used.
Show rating (out of 10): 5.5
The two elimination matches were the highlight of the show. Most of the rest of the card was below average stuff.
Best Match: Team Bischoff vs. Team Austin
Worst Match: Vince McMahon vs. The Undertaker
Most Memorable Moment: Batista causing Shawn Michaels to lose the match for his team as Orton got the pinfall.
1. Shawn Michaels – One of the best performances of his incredible career and that says a lot.
2. Randy Orton
3. John Cena
4. Chris Benoit
5. Chris Jericho
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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