TJR Retro: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

TJR Retro: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

The WWE Judgment Day 2003 event came at a time when WWE was going through some changes from a creative standpoint. Brock Lesnar was firmly entrenched as the WWE Champion on the Smackdown brand. Meanwhile, Triple H was the heel World Champion on Raw. Bill Goldberg headlined the previous PPV, Backlash, but he wasn’t even on this show. Kurt Angle missed this show because he was out of action dealing with a neck injury. Angle would miss a few months after surgery, but he would be back strong by the summer. There also was a change because Hulk Hogan was fired in the storyline (or whatever bullshit excuse they came up with) and then he was “Mr. America” for a couple of months. The whole Mr. America thing was terrible, in my opinion.

was also the last PPV where it was Raw and Smackdown matches together on the same show on a non-big four PPV (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam & Survivor Series). Starting in June 2003, Bad Blood was a Raw-only PPV while Vengeance in July 2003 (an awesome show I reviewed here by the way) was Smackdown only. The brand-exclusive concept lasted until early 2007 when Vince McMahon decided to end it probably because he felt like he needed John Cena on every PPV. I say that jokingly, but Cena headlined seven straight PPVs in 2007 at one point, so yeah Vince wanted Cena on every show.

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 and Backlash 2003.

Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:

“Allies-turned-enemies Triple H and Kevin Nash square off in an all-out brawl for The Game’s World Heavyweight Championship, while Brock Lesnar challenges The Big Show in a Stretcher Match as revenge for the seven-foot behemoth’s attack on Rey Mysterio. Plus, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper attempts to rip the mask off of Mr. America and much more.” 14+ (D,L,S,V)

The DVD looks like this:

judgment day 2003 dvd

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

WWE Judgment Day
Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina

May 18, 2003

Long video package to start. The end of the video had some lady say: “Judgment Day is upon. God have mercy on their souls.” The question is whose soul? The wrestlers or the people that ordered the show?

They show a shot of the crowd in Charlotte and the building looks full. Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler from Raw are on first and then they throw it to Smackdown’s Michael Cole & Tazz at ringside. There are the Spanish announcers and their table. One of them said “bikini.”

The glass breaks and here comes Steve Austin wearing the black t-shirt, the blue jean shorts and the knee braces. Apparently, they’re starting the PPV with a promo. I like Austin as much as anybody, but why wear the knee braces if he can’t wrestle? By the way, Austin got a huge babyface pop. He says he sees a lot of loud, wild rednecks. He’s not going to cut a long promo because there are a lot of badass matches tonight. He welcomes everybody to Judgment Day. Austin says he’s going to sit up in “Redneck Heaven” above the highest seats in the arena in a nice skybox. He says he will be drinking beer. They throw him a beer, he gives one to Tazz and he walks through the crowd so that he could get up to “Redneck Heaven,” which means a skybox.

John Cena’s music strikes up, so it looks like the Smackdown six-man tag will start us off. Cena grabs the mic. He says he’s baptized and he’s got family ties with the FBIs. Cena says it will be like a mafia movie because we’ll be cheering the bad guys. He calls them Goodfellas! Yes, best movie ever. He throws out some raps about the mafia and Italian food. Really good rap. I liked it a lot. Here comes Palumbo & Stamboli along with Nunzio. Rhyno, Spanky & Benoit come out next.

wwe judgment day 2003 john cena

Chris Benoit, Brian Kendrick & Rhyno vs. The FBI (Chuck Palumbo & Johnny Stamboli) w/Nunzio & John Cena

Pre-match notes: Benoit, Kendrick & Rhyno were the faces while the FBI and Cena were the heels.

The match starts with Spanky (Kendrick) doing a leap over the top where he lands on all three heels. Cena & Spanky start. Spanky gets some punches and an enziguri. Palumbo & Stamboli come in and do a double slam on Spanky. Stamboli tagged in, works over Spanky in the corner and they distract the ref. Tag back in to Palumbo, who does one punch that knocks down Spanky. Stomps in the corner follow. Bearhug lasts for about five seconds before he throws him down. Cover gets two. Another bearhug. Spanky fights off, but Palumbo gets a clothesline on him. Headscissors by Spanky and a tag to Benoit. Suplex by Benoit on Cena, Rhyno takes out Stamboli. German suplexes to Cena & Palumbo. Flying headbutt on Palumbo. Nunzio in, Gore by Rhyno. Spanky goes for Sliced Bread #2 on Palumbo, but Nunzio distracts and Palumbo sets him off in a backbreaker position. Stamboli comes off the top with a legdrop that they call the “Kiss of Death.” Match is over at 3:58. Rhyno never tagged in.

Winners by pinfall: The FBI (Chuck Palumbo & Johnny Stamboli) & John Cena

Analysis: *1/2 It was too short to be anything good. They rushed the match. It was just spot, spot, spot and finish. That’s it.

(It was a weird choice for an opener since they got under four minutes. I’m not sure why it was so short when it’s a six-man tag team match.)

Steve Austin is shown in the skybox getting beer. The waitress brings him a hot dog. Eric Bischoff comes in to say they are supposed to share everything. Bischoff finally eats the hot dog. They do a bit that’s supposed to be funny where Bischoff didn’t want his beer in a can. He wanted it in a cup. They smash beers and Bischoff’s spills everywhere.

They announce the French guys from Paris even though they are both Canadian-born. They come out first to huge heel heat, obviously. There were “USA” chants. Sylvan Grenier asks why the crowd hates them. Rene Dupree says the government tells them to hate the French because they promote hatred. They say the Americans are nothing but barbarians. Grenier tries to say marvel, but it comes out as marvall. Test & Steiner come out together with Stacy.

wwe judgment day 2003 test steiner la resistance

La Resistance (Sylvan Grenier & Rene Dupree) vs. Test & Scott Steiner (w/Stacy Keibler)

Pre-match notes: La Resistance were the heels while Test and Steiner were faces.

Test & Dupree start out with Dupree getting a slap to the face, which Test retaliates with a hard one of his own. He works over Dupree in the corner with some kicks and gets a clothesline on Grenier. Backdrop and here comes Steiner. Into the turnbuckles, he clubs and chops for a bit. Steiner just yelled “f**k off” at somebody clearly on camera. The kiss elbow, pin, but he comes off with the pushups. Knee to the back is blocked and Steiner is thrown to the floor by Dupree. Grenier works over Steiner on the floor. Two count for Dupree. Tag, double suplex, cover gets two for Grenier. He hits the chinlock, as Stacy overacts on the outside. Steiner elbows out, into the corner and he eats a boot. Don’t steal Nash and Hogan’s moves! You’ll never make it anywhere, kid. Clothesline for two. Tag to Dupree, to the top, he yells “Viva La France,” jumps off into the arms of Steiner and receives an overhead belly to belly. Test comes in to clean house. Full nelson slam on Grenier for two, but Dupree breaks it up. Steiner into the security wall, Test goes after Dupree with a clothesline. Grenier goes for a pin with feet on the ropes. Steiner back in, overhead throw on Grenier. Pumphandle slam by Test while the ref is detaining Steiner. He yells at the ref. Steiner is on the floor, Test is pushed into Stacy and Steiner catches her. Back in the ring, Steiner tags himself in and does a DDT-type move. Test goes for the boot, but Grenier ducks and he hits Steiner with it. They throw Test shoulder first into the ring post. Double team flapjack on Steiner gets the win for La Resistance at 6:20.

Winners by pinfall: La Resistance (Sylvan Grenier & Rene Dupree)

Analysis: *1/2 The match was pretty basic and not that exciting at all. It was just like you’d see on a regular edition of Raw. Since La Resistance was the regular team while Steiner/Test would have a breakup, it made sense for La Resistance to get the win.

Post match, Stacy is checking on Steiner in the ring. Test grabs her away, but she won’t leave. Then he grabs her again and this time she goes.

(This was not a good time for tag team wrestling in WWE. La Resistance was decent as a heel tag team. I thought the Steiner/Test team and then breakup was boring too.)

Backstage, Gregory Helms talks to Mr. America about his identity.

(Oh brother, Mr. America. More of him later.)

Backstage, Josh Matthews talks to Eddy Guerrero. They tell him that Team Angle says he can only forfeit the match or go solo. Eddy says he had a right to find a tag team partner. He said he found a crazy partner and brought him in. It’s Tajiri. Eddy gave Tajiri a medal to mock Team Angle. Tajiri says he will “lie, cheat and steal, ese.” I laughed. I like the choice of partner. Eddie said this one is for Chavo.

(Chavo Guerrero was going to be Eddy’s partner, but he was dealing with a torn biceps injury and missed several months after having surgery. Eddy Guerrero was how his name was really spelled, but WWE spelled it as Eddie. Back in these days, I was going with Eddy.)

wwe judgment day 2003 tag team titles

Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. Eddy Guerrero & Tajiri

Pre-match notes: Team Angle were the heels while Guerrero/Tajiri were the faces.

The champions come out first followed by Eddy & Tajiri to the Guerrero music. This is gonna be hard to recap, but I’ll do my best. There’s a ladder in the aisle. Tajiri & Charlie go in the ring while Eddy & Shelton take to the floor where Eddy goes headfirst into the ladder. Tajiri gets a spinkick on Haas, but Shelton comes in to double-team him. They work him over in the ring. Double elbow by the champs as Eddy comes back in. Press slam by Shelton onto the knee of Charlie. They look under the ring where they bring out one of the black and silver ladders. Tajiri goes for a plancha but doesn’t get high enough, so he crashes on top of Charlie. Eddy goes for one as well, but Shelton slides out of the way. The champs set up the ladder, but Tajiri stops them from climbing with a handspring elbow into the ladder. They double dropkick the ladder into the face of Shelton. In the corner, Shelton is laying there while Eddy works him over. Chavo slides the ladder so that the top of it is on his groin and they double dropkick him there. Nice spot. Challengers bring in another ladder. They sandwich Charlie as Eddy gets a slingshot hilo on Charlie. Tajiri sets up one of the ladders, but Shelton comes back in and pulls him down. Shelton climbs, but Eddy dropkicks him off. Eddy sets up the ladder in the corner as he works over Shelton a bit. He whips Shelton, but it gets reversed and Shelton powerslams him onto the vertical ladder. Damn, that’s gotta hurt. Eddy looks like he landed on the back of his neck. They set up the ladder again on the ropes. Charlie holds it up, Shelton climbs one of the ladder and splashes Tajiri’s back off the ladder! Damn! That’s the spot they always do, but at a higher, more painful level. Charlie goes to climb up the ladder, but Eddy comes back in to shove him off and he takes the tumble all the way to the floor. Everybody down except Eddy, who sets up the ladder wedged in between the top and middle rope. Another whip in, but Shelton reverses again and Eddy goes back first into the ladders. Shelton goes in to get Eddy, but Tajiri dropkicks that ladder. Awesome move again. Sidekick on Charlie and one for Shelton as well. Ladder to the gut of each member of Team Angle. They’re up, and Tajiri charges at them in a clothesline fashion. Shelton rolls out to the floor. Tajiri gets the Tarantula on Tajiri, but here comes Shelton with a ladder shot to the head while he’s putting on that move. Another good spot.

Eddy’s in the ring now getting worked over by Team Angle. “Eddy” chant starts up. The crowd has been into most of the match. They continue to work him over in the ring playing up to the fact that they don’t know how to use the ladder. Charlie goes to get one of the ladders, but Eddy monkey flips Shelton into the ladder headfirst and he gets thrown out. Eddy tosses Charlie out and sets up the ladder for the climb. Team Angle back in are thwarted with punches, but they both manage to slow him down. Elbows down Shelton. Frog splash off the top of the ladder! Holy shit! Man, he nailed it perfectly too. Eddy rules. Charlie goes to make a climb while another “Eddy” chant starts up. They exchange punches on the ladder and Eddy does the patented sunset powerbomb from the top of the ladder. Another signature awesome spot from my man Eddy. Another “Eddy” chant stars up as he goes for another climb. Shelton chases him up, but Tajiri goes up the other side and spits the GREEN MIST~! into the eyes of Benjamin. They make the climb and Eddy grabs the belts at 14:11.

Winners AND NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: Eddy Guerrero & Tajiri

Analysis: ***3/4 Really good match. It lived up to the hype that I had for it. Eddy showed he’s truly one of the best wrestlers alive with his performance here. He was the undisputed star of the match. I thought Team Angle did a really solid job too considering they haven’t had much experience in this kind of match. Props to Tajiri for making it fun as well. He was a good choice for a partner.

(I agree with the rating that I originally gave this match. Lots of action. The crowd was really hot towards the end of it and I think it was a smart decision to do a title change. Fun match that is forgotten by a lot of fans most likely.)

Austin and Bischoff are shown talking about how they should sign Eddy Guerrero. Austin makes him eat a hamburger even though he doesn’t want to. He gives Bischoff a beer. Austin opens up the window of the skybox to show the crowd how Bischoff sips the beer like a wuss. Austin says he’s trying hard to keep his composure. Austin shows him how to drink the beer. Austin: “If you think Eric Bischoff drinks his beer like a sissy gimme a hell yeah.” And they do. Then he drinks like a man, but he still looks like a sissy.

Backstage, Terri interviews the great Chris Jericho. It doesn’t go anywhere because Roddy Piper interrupted. Jericho is hilarious as he yells loudly to tell him that the senior citizen’s home is down the street, grandpa. Piper says Jericho’s show sucks using the word “rip off.” Jericho says if you’re talking about rip off then why’d you rip off the kid’s leg. He asks Piper if he ate the prosthetic leg. Ha, that’s great! Piper makes a joke about how Jericho’s parents never wore a condom. They each talk about what they’re going to do later on and almost say they have something in common. Then they say they don’t.

Analysis: Good segment there between two awesome promo guys.

(That was entertaining. It was a heel from the past like Piper interacting with a current heel like Jericho with both of them acting like jerks, which shows how similar they were in some ways.)

They show a really good video package showing some of the people that have been the Intercontinental champion in the past. The question is why wouldn’t they show this video on Raw as a way to hype the match? This video ruled like all WWE videos do. In the ring, Howard Finkel explains the rules and introduces the very first IC champ of all time, Pat Patterson. They introduce him as a WWE Hall of Famer. They still have a Hall of Fame? JR says that Honky Tonk Man was the greatest IC champion because he held it for 14 months straight. King says he’s drunk.

(My point about the Hall of Fame was relevant in 2003 because it was ignored for so long. They brought back the Hall of Fame ceremony in 2004.)

The first person out is Sean “Chief” Morley as Val Venis. He’s got the music and the towel. He grabs the microphone. Helloooooooo ladies. “Tonight is the return of the greatest XXX super stud ever, me, the Big Valbowski.” They show Austin and Bischoff arguing, but Austin says he got hired. He says he’ll be fulfilling the fantasies of all the ladies. Next up is Chris Jericho, a former 5-time IC champ. Goldust is next, a former 3-time IC champ. Lance Storm is next, a one-time champion. Rob Van Dam is next to a huge pop because he’s a 3-time IC champ. Christian! Christian! At last, he’s going to win! He comes out to some very solid heat. He’s a one-time champion. Test is next without Stacy. Next up is two-time champion, Kane. Booker T is up even though he never actually held the title. And this is it.

wwe judgment day 2003 battle royal

Intercontinental Title Battle Royal

Kane starts out working on RVD as everybody watches. Then they all, except RVD, try to throw Kane out. He fights them off and eliminates Storm. Thanks for coming. They all try to throw Kane out again and they do it. He comes back in and cleans house on all of them. God forbid somebody gets over on the big red machine. He chokeslams Test, Venis and RVD before leaving. Booker eliminates Test, Val Venis is thrown out by Goldust. Four men left are Christian, Booker, Goldust and Jericho. The faces get the ten punches on the heels in the corner. Jericho dropkicks Goldust off the middle ropes. Back suplex on Goldie as Christian works over Booker. I like all of these guys, so I’m happy with the choice for IC champion. Booker comes over, but Jericho clotheslines him. Drop sleeper on Book and back onto a double team on Goldust. Double whip reversed into a punch to each man’s face followed by a double bulldog. They set both guys up for Shattered Dreams. He gets Jericho first and then Christian. A jumping sidekick on Booker is followed by a Spinneroonie. Goldust goes to throw Booker out, but Booker reverses it and tosses him. Three men are left and I really like all of them. Christian saves Jericho from an attack as the heels work over Booker together. Double suplex. Christian holds him up and Jericho does his two-step boxing followed by a clothesline. They agree to toss Booker out together, but he fights them off. He fights out with chops and punches. They overpower him again with chops of their own. He moves out of a clothesline, tosses Jericho, but he skins the cat back in. Bodyslam by Christian, forearm by Jericho. Drop neckbreaker by Christian. Jericho goes for the Lionsault, but Christian follows and throws him over the top while he’s plunging off the ropes. Yes! Christian rules. Jericho is all pissed off now. Booker up with some chops, whip in, forearm and another one gets him a spinning heel kick. One man flapjack, kick misses as Christian yanks him down by the hair. Christian goes to give Booker a low dropkick, but Book moves and the kick knocks out referee Chad Patton. Booker throws Christian out, but he hangs on. He can’t fight it for long, though, as Booker decks him with a sidekick and Christian hits the floor. Booker’s music plays as Patterson goes to give the title to him. Christian attacks him with a punch. He steals the belt and drills Booker with it. He picks Booker up as the ref is starting to come up, drags him to his feet and throws him over the top rope. The ref rings the bell at 11:54. Christian wins the IC title!

Winner AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: Christian

Analysis: **1/2 I found it to be very entertaining, but not necessarily a great match. I think the spot with Christian throwing Jericho out was definitely a highlight. I’m very happy with a Christian win because it looks like it will lead to a feud with Booker.

(Cheap win fitting for Christian’s character at the time. I was so happy for Christian because he was a favorite of mine and it showed that WWE was at least going to push him at a decent level.)

They hype up the Raw only PPV, Bad Blood, on June 15th in Houston.

Backstage, Sable tells Torrie she’s never lost a bikini contest before. Now that’s trash talk!

They showed a video package before they came out. We need a video to replay this ‘feud.’ Why? Torrie comes out first as Lillian Garcia sings her theme song. She sings the whole song. Here comes Sable. Tazz is in the ring hosting the festivities while Torrie is wearing a pink robe and Sable is wearing a black one.

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Bikini Contest: Torrie Wilson vs. Sable

Pre-match notes: Torrie was the face and Sable was the heel. Sable returned to WWE right after WrestleMania and immediately had a rivalry with Wilson.

Tazz explains the rules. They get 15 seconds to disrobe, to show their booty and the crowd picks the winner. Tazz makes Sable go first.

Sable takes off the robe to reveal a very tiny brown bikini and follows that up with a stripper dance. She looks pretty good, I have to say. They show the King at the Raw table with a smile on his face. Torrie takes hers off next to reveal a black bikini, which has Playboy bunnies in the three spots you’d expect. Sable does the heel thing by turning her back to her. Tazz tells somebody to find Jerry Lawler’s eyeballs because they might have fallen out. What do you think of Sable? Good pop. What do you think of Torrie? Good pop. Tazz says it’s about a tie. Sable? Another good pop. Torrie says she wasn’t quite finished yet. She takes off her very tight bikini to reveal a very thin piece of silver material over her boobs and “bottoms.” Tazz says Torrie wins. Torrie says she doesn’t want Sable to have hard feelings, so she walks up to her and kisses her on the lips for a second there. That drew a big pop, of course.

Analysis: You can’t beat Torrie in bikini contests. You can only hope to contain her. They both looked nice, so congrats to both of them. I don’t think this storyline is over yet.

(The storyline was not over. The crowd reactions weren’t that strong during the first reveal of the bikinis, but when Torrie revealed a second bikini that was much smaller and more revealing, the fans loved that. No surprise. The kiss was also a pretty big deal even though it was just a quickie. Two hot women doing that in a ring? Yeah, it’s an easy way to pop a crowd.)

Up in the skybox, Austin & Bischoff are all excited about what they just saw. Bischoff is eating pizza now even though he doesn’t seem to like it. Bischoff can’t eat or drink any more. Austin gives him some pickles, but they seem to be really hot. All of a sudden, Bischoff wants beers to wash out the hotness in his mouth. Austin ends up giving him some jalapeno juice that makes it even hotter. There’s some amateur comedy at its best.

Backstage, Roddy Piper & Sean O’Haire are talking about how Jericho upstaged him, but they get interrupted by Vince McMahon. Vince says tonight means a lot to him. Vince says without Piper there would have been no Hogan and says Piper is the epitome of Ruthless Aggression. He’s still using that lame catchphrase? Vince says Piper is going to beat him up and then McMahon will reveal that Mr. America is really Hulk Hogan. Vince says Piper is the kind of cold-hearted bastard that can do it and he is thanking him in advance.

Piper comes out first. Mr. America is announced from Washington, DC. How cute. He comes out with a steel chair. He does all the Hogan poses as the crowd eats it up. Mr. America gets a microphone. Piper took his shirt off. Look at the flab! America introduces Hogan’s new little buddy, Zach Gowen, a one-legged wrestler who has wrestled in other places as Tenacious Z. He sits in Mr. America’s corner.

wwe judgment day 2003 america piper

Mr. America (w/Zach Gowen) vs. Roddy Piper (w/Sean O’Haire)

Pre-match notes: Mr. America was the face while Piper was the heel.

Piper and O’Haire stomp on America to start it out. The ref throws O’Haire out, but then he punches him in on the apron. Piper gets thrown headfirst into the buckle eight times. Guess Mr. America can’t count. America does the ten punches in the corner, lifts up his mask a bit and bites Piper. Punches, into the ropes, but O’Haire pulls him out. O’Haire goes headfirst into the table, gets choked by the weightlifting belt and Piper leaps on him from the apron. Piper whips him with the belt. Smell the workrate! America is up, takes the belt and whips him a few times with it. O’Haire was back up and he drapes America’s neck over the top rope. Sleeper by Piper. Cole rationalizes this as a strategic move because then it would allow Mr. McMahon to rip off his mask after he’s asleep. How old do they think the fans are? Twelve? Triple H does, but that’s another story. Hey look, he doesn’t drop the arm three times. Double axe to the back by Piper. Punches to the head as Mr. America is “Amercaning” up doing the usual. Right hand and again, he knocks down O’Haire. Big boot to the head barely connects. Here comes Vince down the aisle. Low blow by Piper behind the ref’s back. He hands O’Haire a pipe. Piper holds up America, he moves and of course, O’Haire hits Piper in the head with the pipe. Vince tries to get in the ring, but Gowen holds his leg to prevent it. America drops the leg for the win at 4:50.

Winner by pinfall: Mr. America

Post match, Vince was all pissed off at Gowen.

Analysis: DUD That was the longest five minutes of my life. There weren’t any bumps that an 80-year-old woman couldn’t take and the offense was straight out of 1984. Really bad the whole way and clearly the feuds were going to continue.

(This sucked. A “DUD” means it’s right at the point where it’s not a negative star match, but it’s not worth even 1/4* so it’s in between that level. It’s a dud. I don’t know if my rating was too nice, but after watching it again I thought maybe it was a negative star match. It was tough to watch. Piper had no business being in the ring in the shape that he was in while Mr. America was a lame gimmick too.)

Backstage, Triple H is shown walking. Stephanie McMahon walks up to him, says “be careful” and then walks away.

They show a long video package detailing one of the worst World Title feuds of all time. Nash is not a good babyface. Why should anybody like him? He hasn’t done a damn thing to make people root for him yet. Nash hasn’t won a match and the feud is just weak on all levels.

Shawn Michaels comes out first as the man that will be in Nash’s corner. Here comes Nash. His pop is not as big as HBK’s. What a shock. Ric Flair comes out to his own music wearing a suit and he gets a huge pop from the hometown crowd. It was definitely one of the biggest pops of the night. Time to play the Game starts and here comes Triple H along with his usual entrance. He’s wearing his purple tights.

World Heavyweight Championship Triple H (w/Ric Flair) vs. Kevin Nash (w/Shawn Michaels)

Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel World Champion while Nash was the face challenger.

Nash attacks him in the aisle before he can do the water spit. Flair tries to attack Nash, but Michaels takes care of him. They continue to brawl until Earl Hebner throws them backstage. So that’s it for them? The two guys I want to see are gone? That sucks. Meanwhile, Nash beats up Triple H on the outside for a little bit. In the ring, he gets a forearm and some knees in the corner. I wonder if he’s tired yet. High back body drop by Nash. Hunter slides out. Nash chases him, hits one of his punches and throws him headfirst into the ringpost. Back in, Triple H runs into the big boot. There goes another one of his moves. There’s only like two or three left. Bodyslam. Elbow drop. Another elbow. No reaction. Another elbow. Rake to the eyes by Hunter, he shoves Hebner and takes a clothesline from Nash. Into the ropes, HHH gets whipped into the ropes but gives the *cough* young *cough* challenger a neckbreaker. Whip into the turnbuckle and Nash gets a clothesline. Nash mounts him and he gets some punches. He throws Hebner off. So far they’ve both hit the ref. I’m guessing a DQ finish judging by this. Hunter rolls out and back in the ring. He charges at Nash, he ducks and Hunter’s clothesline decks Earl Hebner. A ref bump after five minutes? Hunter gets a low blow. I feel like this match has given me a low blow. Triple H exposes a top turnbuckle, which means he’ll go into it and blade like he does almost every PPV. Sideslam by Nash. Big boot for Nash. Some people boo while others cheer. Nash goes for the snake eyes, but the ref gets bumped again and Hunter puts him headfirst into the exposed buckle. Pedigree. Earl wakes up for the one…two…no. The crowd actually liked that one. Hunter and his purple boots go for a Pedigree again near the ropes, but of course, it gets reversed into a backdrop onto the floor. Triple H gets the sledgehammer. He goes to use it on Nash, but Hebner blocks it. Hunter drills Hebner in the face with the hammer. The bell rings for the DQ at 7:23.

Winner by disqualification: Kevin Nash (Triple H retains the World Heavyweight Title)

Analysis: 3/4* The match itself was pretty weak. It showed the limitations that both guys have because Nash barely took a bump and he used the same moves several times. That’s fine in a 30-minute match, but this was nine minutes. Nine minutes for a world title match? That’s pretty sad. You know what this means, though? Rematch. Boo.

(I really didn’t like this feud, story or match. I think Triple H at this point was boring as a stale heel World Heavyweight Champion and Kevin Nash was a boring face that didn’t really earn his spot. They just put Nash there because Hunter wanted to work with his buddy. The feud was forced and they had a disappointing match.)

Post match, Nash doesn’t stop his assault. Another big boot from Nash. That’s three. Snake eyes on the exposed turnbuckle. Jackknife powerbomb by Nash. He goes for the turnbuckle, but just as he’s going for Hunter a horde of refs come over to get him out of there. Nash chases Hunter down the aisle. They go up onto the stage where the Raw announcers are. Flair comes out to attack Nash, but he decks him. Michaels comes out to talk to Nash, but Nash shoves him down. Nash stands on the stage, picks up Hunter and gives him a Powerbomb onto the Raw announce table. Hunter took a nasty bump here that looked to have his neck hit the table first. Eventually, he gets helped up and that ends the segment.

(That was better than the match. For sure. Nash showed a lot of aggression here and it came off well.)

In the skybox, Bischoff isn’t feeling good. He ends up “puking” on the waitress and the crowd in the seats below. They show a replay of it from a side angle. It clearly shows that it was just water. There was a second replay for it.

(Another “hilarious” segment by the writing crew.)

Trish Stratus out first in a very nice green suit. I love Trish. Jackie is next to zero heat followed by Victoria with Steven Richards and the Women’s Champion Jazz with manager Theodore Long.

wwe judgment day 2003 womens title submissions

Women’s Championship: Jazz (w/Theodore Long) vs. Victoria (w/Steven Richards) vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline

Pre-match notes: Jazz was the heel Women’s Champion, Victoria was a heel, Trish was a face and Jacqueline got no reaction.

Steven grabs Trish’s leg. The heel ladies work over the faces, but the faces counter with clotheslines and dropkicks. Headlock by Trish, armdrag by Jackie, kip-up by Trish. Victoria pulls Trish out and tosses her headfirst into the ringpost. Snap hiplock by Jackie on Jazz is broken up by Victoria. Victoria gets something that I didn’t really see for two and Jazz gets her chicken wing move on both ladies. Trish is back with forearms, whip and she gets a clothesline for two. Into the ropes, chick kick is reversed into an STF. Victoria gets put into a half crab by Jackie as there are two submission moves on at once. Trish gets to the ropes to break it as Jackie gets a kick from Jazz to break her move. Trish saves Victoria from an STF. Jawbreaker by Jazz and they exchange punches. Clothesline by Jazz is countered by that Matrix-like duck that Trish does. Chick kick for two. She sets Jazz up for the headscissors off the top and gets it. Then she gets Victoria in the other corner. Stratusfaction is reversed into a throw outside by Victoria. Jackie gets a suplex, Jazz saves Victoria and gets a DDT on Jackie for the victory at 4:47. Trish’s mouth was bleeding afterward.

Winner by pinfall: Jazz

Analysis: *1/2 It was what I expected. Jazz got the pin without having to pin Trish to keep that rivalry going. Solid work by the ladies, but nothing we haven’t seen many times before.

(Women’s matches going under five minutes on PPV was something that happened far too often in this era. It was the norm. Working with strong heels like Jazz and Victoria helped Trish a lot in terms of showing how tough Trish could be as a likable babyface. Over a decade later, things changed for the better.)

They air a long video package detailing the feud between Brock Lesnar and Big Show leading to the Stretcher Match.

Tony Chimel says the rules are no countouts or DQ. You have to put your opponent on the stretcher and wheel him past the yellow line near the entranceway. Big Show comes out first with the orange stretcher that reaches up to his shoulder. Lesnar comes out next to a pretty good reaction from the crowd.

wwe judgment day 2003 big show brock lesnar

Stretcher Match for the WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show

Pre-match notes: Lesnar was the babyface WWE Champion while Big Show was a heel.

Show tries to attack with the stretcher, but Brock gets it from him. He attacks him with the stretcher a few times before knocking him out to the floor with it. Show fights him off with a headbutt and a punch to the head. He grabs the stretcher, sets it up against the ringpost and Brock throws him into the stretcher. Why would a plastic stretcher hurt more than a ringpost? Brock gets the wheeled stretcher and rams it into the ribs of Show. Show drops him stomach first onto the stretcher that has the wheels. Show drills him in the back with the orange stretcher. Shoulders by Brock, Irish whip is blocked by Show and he gets the chokeslam in the center of the ring. He slides in his orange stretcher in the middle of the ring, places Brock on it and legdrops him. Then he drags Brock out to the apron and places him onto another stretcher. He is wheeling him up the aisle. He stupidly goes to his feet and Brock kicks him. Brock up, clothesline sends Brock rolling up the aisle. Orange board to the back. In the aisle, Lesnar battles back by using the orange board and hitting Show in the back four times in a row. He grabs a cable, wraps it around Show’s neck and chokes him for close to a minute. Show is on his stomach while Brock pulls back hard on it. Another board attack. Brock lowers the stretcher, picks Show up by the cable and places him onto the stretcher. He pulls back and falls on his ass because the camera cable is attached to something on the ground. Brock reaches up for the metal bar at the entryway, hangs off it and kicks him. Lesnar gets a great spear that sends Show on his ass. He slams him down. He gets the stretcher and wheels it into Show’s ribs. Show fights back though and wheels the stretcher into Brock’s ribs repeatedly while Brock’s back gets banged off the ring apron. Show picks him up and throws him back first into the ring post. Under the ring, Show gets a stretcher board and smacks Brock in the back two times with it. He rolls back into the ring. On the apron, Brock knocks Show back first onto the stretcher and he bounces off it onto the floor. Brock walks up the aisle, goes backstage and all of a sudden Rey Mysterio is in the ring. Rey hits a 619 to the ribs of Big Show. Show decks him with a clothesline. Brock comes back out to ringside driving a forklift. Rey climbs the back of Show. Rey gets slammed off, Show turns around and Brock hits a cross body block off the forklift that takes down Show. Shoulder tackles and a vertical suplex. The crowd is going nuts. There was an F5 by Lesnar that looked more like a death valley driver. Brock places the orange stretcher board onto the forklift, drags Show toward the apron and puts Show stomach first onto the board. Lesnar lifts Big Show up high on the forklift, hits reverse on the forklift and the stretcher (with Big Show on it) crosses the line backward to get the victory at 15:27.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Analysis: *** This was a solid main event match. It’s a tough match to do because it’s so different from a regular match. The crowd was pretty quiet throughout most of it, but they loved the finish. I thought it was a very unique finish that worked well. Lesnar winning was the obvious result.

(What I wrote there is what I feel today too. Lesnar winning was the obvious result since he just won the title at WrestleMania. Big Show was to put Brock over and that’s what happened. It wasn’t easy to come up with a finish to this match, but they were able to do something creative to put over Lesnar in a big way.)

Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show: Judgment Day 2003

Brock Lesnar celebrated with the WWE Title on the forklift. That was the end of the show.

This event had a runtime of 2:43:37 on WWE Network.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show rating (out of 10): 5.25 – There was one very good match, several other solid ones and nothing that was too bad.

This show was an improvement over Backlash (I rated that 4.5), but not by much. I enjoyed the ladder match a lot because it gave an awesome worker like Eddy Guerrero the opportunity to put on a long match on PPV. Was it the best ladder match ever? Certainly not. However, it was good enough that I’d suggest checking it out at some point if you missed it.

My favorite moment of the show was definitely Christian’s victory. I thought that reversal of the Lionsault was the spot of the night. It also showed that he’s a very selfish bastard that doesn’t even care about somebody that’s supposed to be his friend. That’s exactly the heel that I like.

(I was very high on wanting WWE to push Christian as a singles heel at this point, so I was really happy that he got the IC Title, even in a cheap manner.)

The other undercard matches were nothing out of the ordinary. I thought it was pathetic that they only gave the opening tag match five minutes simply because six men need more time to have a good match. It would have been better with less backstage stuff and some of the tired jokes that went on with Austin & Bischoff. I’m a fan of both guys, but a lot of the things they did were very lame.

I liked the end of the bikini contest. Nice. Very nice.

Judgment Day was a very average show. The two title matches were definitely a letdown compared to what we’ve seen from this company in the last few years. Kevin Nash didn’t really get cheered until he powerbombed Triple H through that announce table. I don’t think anybody actually believed that Big Show would win against Lesnar, but I was satisfied with that finish. It was innovative, fun and it gave the fans something to be happy about at the end of the night. Lesnar was made to look like a huge star both in the way that he came out with the forklift and the power he showed when he was on offense.

(I don’t have much more to add. I think the Ladder Match was really good, so that’s worth checking out if you’ve never seen it. The rest is mostly skippable although if you really like Torrie Wilson and Sable then you’ll probably like their “performance” too.)

 

FIVE STARS OF THE SHOW

1. Eddy Guerrero – As I said above, he was really on his game tonight. He proved that he is one of the best wrestlers in the company once again. He carried that ladder match and was made to look like a huge star by the end. Maybe his babyface character isn’t so bad after all. I still like him better as a heel, though.

2. Christian – He did a great job in the IC title battle royal. I think he proved that he’s ready to be a big time player with the company. I hope that this is the time that they push him strongly up the card. His run as IC champ should be a fun one. I have a feeling that it will be. The peeps rule!

3. Brock Lesnar – He keeps getting better in all facets. I think his work in the main event was very good considering who his opponent was. That’s not even a knock on Show because he worked very hard. It’s just that it’s hard to have good matches with a guy that size. Brock made it watchable and that’s all I could ask for. The last five minutes was very memorable as well.

4. Tajiri

5. Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas

 

OPINIONS

Best Match: Eddy Guerrero & Tajiri vs. Team Angle’s Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (***3/4 out of 5)

Worst Match: Mr. America vs. Roddy Piper (DUD)

Most Memorable Moment: Brock Lesnar lifting up Big Show on a forklift while Big Show was on a stretcher.

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

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