It’s time for another WWE retro review. I enjoy doing these types of reviews and now I have more of a plan. I’ve been writing at Rajah.com on and off for 17 years now. Yes, it’s been a long time. I started in 2000, wrote regularly until about 2005, life got busy and I didn’t write as much for the next few years. I missed it a lot, got back into the mix in early 2009 when I started the Raw Deal reviews and never looked back. Over at Rajah’s site there’s a section for old WWE PPVs (and WCW too) called WWE PPV Flashbacks. It was started by a guy named Pete, I did a few of the reviews for the 1997 years and it was later picked up by a guy named Matt. He stopped at Vengeance 2003 (a July PPV Smackdown show that’s awesome, by the way) and Rajah recently asked if I knew of anybody that might be interested in picking up the reviews. I told him I’d love to do it because writing about older shows is something I really enjoy doing, so here I am.
I will post the reviews here at TJRWrestling and also at Rajah.com with a plan to post at least one per week, usually on weekends. The good thing is I have a lot of reviews done from the rest of 2003 and into 2004 anyway. Even when I have to do new ones, I can certainly find the time for it because it’s fun to look back on the first brand split era that some people call the “Ruthless Aggression Era” of WWE.
For every match I’ll put in some “pre-match notes” just to try to explain who the heels and faces are as well as any storyline notes.
I wrote a live review of this show back in 2003. My writing style was a bit different back then, so I have tweaked some things along the way and the Analysis part is new.
I’m using WWE Network’s version of the show for the review.
America West Arena in Phoenix, AZ
August 24, 2003
The show began with Lillian Garcia singing the National Anthem.
The usual long video package set up the key feuds for the show. It was very good as usual.
The hosts for the show are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler for the Raw brand matches while Michael Cole & Tazz handle the Smackdown brand matches. The Spanish announce team is also at ringside.
World Tag Team Titles: La Resistance (Renee Dupree & Sylvan Grenier) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley)
Pre-match notes: This is a Raw brand match. The Dudleys were the faces while La Resistance were the heel champions.
The Dudleys attacked them in the aisle. D-Von started with Rene Dupree by pounding on him with punches and kicks. D-Von with a leaping clothesline and dropkick, clothesline on Grenier. Armdrag takeover on Dupree. Grenier in, but didn’t do much. There was a shoulderblock by D-Von, bodyslam and a legdrop. Tag in to Bubba, who gets some clubbering. He set Grenier up in the Tree of Woe spot in the corner, standing on his groin. Bubba nailed a hard chop to send him out. Dupree in, then Bubba splashes both in the corner. Clotheslines send both heels out of the ring. Back in, Bubba chopped Dupree some more. Into the ropes, Grenier kneed Bubba in the back. Back suplex by Dupree gets one. He choked Bubba on the ropes. Tag into Grenier, double shoulderblock on Bubba, then a lowblow when the ref was looking at D-Von for some reason. Dupree slapped on a bearhug. A bearhug by an average sized guy? Alrighty then. Bubba tried to fight out, but Dupree hit a spinebuster for two. Tag into Grenier, Bubba reversed into a Bubba Bomb (full nelson drop slam). Hot tag to D-Von against Dupree. D-Von hit the usual clotheslines, punches, backdrops, neck breakers and a powerslam on Dupree for two. Flying forearm by D-Von, rollup on Dupree. La Resistance hit their double flapjack move that needs a name. D-Von kicked out. Bubba in with a double clothesline, then some flip, flop and fly punches. D-Von hit the Wassup Drop as the ref looked at the guy that is out of the ring and not involved. D-Von was told to get tables, but Dupree charges, so they give him a 3D for two. Grenier pulled ref Nick Patrick out of the ring when he was counting. A cameraman went into the ring and drilled D-Von in the head with a camera. Dupree covered for the win at 7:49.
Winners by pinfall: La Resistance
Post match, the camera guy drilled Bubba in the head with a camera. Spike Dudley ran out to the ring. He was hit in the head with a camera as well. The camera guy took off his hat to reveal it was a wrestler. They call him “that guy” without a name. It was Rob Conway.
Analysis: *3/4 Basic tag match with a cheap ending to keep the titles on the heel team. Grenier and Dupree were young guys in the early part of their careers, so having them retain against the Dudleys was big for them. Pulling the ref out during a pin should have been a DQ finish, but they went with the cheap camera shot finish.
After the match, Jonathon Coachman caught up to the Dudleys and said that what La Resistance did was clever. Bubba stated that he thinks anybody that doesn’t like America sucks. He gave them credit because they did whatever it took to keep the belts. Bubba claimed that they will not rest until they get their titles back.
Backstage, Eric Bischoff was warming up for his match with Shane McMahon when the IC Champ Christian approached him. He bitched about how he isn’t on the show. Bischoff blames Steve Austin for that. Christian said Austin is jealous of his “connection with the peeps.” Christian rules. He asked about Bischoff’s strategy for his match. Then he asked about what happened with Eric and Linda. Bischoff said he’ll walk to the ring and tell everybody just what happened.
Analysis: The IC Title had a lot of hot and cold moments during this period. Too bad Christian wasn’t on the show.
There was a highlight of A-Train running over Stephanie McMahon during her match with Sable at Vengeance and Sable got the win. A-Train started a feud with Undertaker after that.
The Undertaker vs. A-Train (w/Sable)
Analysis: This is a Smackdown match. Undertaker was a face that was in his biker mode look at this point. A-Train was a heel that they were trying to push. Sable was his valet because Vince McMahon was the heel boss that rewarded him for attacking Undertaker.
There was a feeling out process early on. Sable was showing a lot of cleavage in her dress at ringside, which is certainly not a bad thing. Undertaker drilled him with a running DDT for two. Leaping clothesline by Undertaker followed by the Old School punch to the shoulder. A-Train fights back with a kick to the ribs and he sent Undertaker over the top to the floor. He worked on the ribs some more. Back in the ring, Train got a two count. Headbutt by Train on Taker, followed by a punch. Undertaker gets a sleeper. Back suplex by A-Train. Punch to Undertaker’s ribs, but Taker fights back with punches. Taker connects with Snake Eyes (dropping opponent’s head on top turnbuckle), boot is ducked and double clothesline kept both guys down. Undertaker with a big boot, leg drop gets two. Taker doesn’t have the power of Hulkamania. Legdrop by Taker across the back of the head while his head is leaning over the apron. Undertaker with a couple of running clotheslines and kick to the gut. Taker set up for Last Ride, but A-Train shoved Taker into the ref Brian Hebner. A-Train gets the Derailer (Baldo Bomb) for two. Undertaker went for a clothesline, A-Train ducked and hit the ref. Bicycle kick by A-Train and he goes a chair. Taker turns around, he kicks the chair into Train’s face for a long two count as the ref was slow to count. Taker picks him up for a Tombstone, A-Train slides out, so Undertaker hits a Chokeslam for the victory at 9:19.
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
Analysis: *3/4 It was a slow, plodding match. There was only one moment where it looked like A-Train might win, but it wasn’t that close. No surprise that The Undertaker got the win since he was the bigger name in this match.
After the match, Undertaker wanted to give A-Train the Last Ride. Sable into the ring and rubs Undertaker’s chest so that he could stop it. Since he’s such a gentleman, he grabs her by the throat! What a ladies man! Stephanie’s music hit. Michael Cole reacts like it’s Jesus Christ walking down the aisle. With Undertaker still choking Sable, Stephanie tackled Sable, then pounded on her with punches. A-Train pulled Sable out as the crowd boos. The heels left to end the segment.
Analysis: It was an angle to bring back Stephanie, who was out for a few weeks. Stephanie was a face GM on Smackdown with her heel father Vince McMahon making life difficult for her.
Backstage, Chris Jericho warmed up for Elimination Chamber.
Coach talked to fans about who they think will win. A male and a female each say Goldberg will win the Elimination Chamber match.
A video package aired to set up Eric Bischoff vs. Shane McMahon. Kane was also involved in the feud as a rival of Shane. Bischoff made the feud personal when he forced a kiss on Shane’s mom Linda.
Bischoff did his entrance. He said that he did it “over and over again” with Linda. Shane’s music played to cut him off.
Eric Bischoff vs. Shane McMahon
Pre-match notes: This is a Raw match. Bischoff was the heel GM of Raw while Shane was in face mode fighting for his family.
Shane started out with elbows and fists in the corner. Bischoff was thrown outside, then walks back up the aisle. Shane clotheslined him in the back, then kicked him in the gut. Shane worked him over on the floor a bit, tossing him back first into the guardrail. After more brawling on the floor, Shane threw him into the Smackdown announce table. From behind, Jonathon Coachman drilled Shane with a steel chair twice! Out of nowhere! Coach turns heel! Bischoff said the match is now falls count anywhere and no disqualification. He told Coach to beat him up by throwing him into the steel steps. In the ring, Coach checked on Shane. Bischoff told Coach to hold him up and he kicked Shane a few times. Meanwhile, JR & King’s headsets were turned off because Bischoff told them to. During this beating, Coach was providing commentary by imitating JR. Eventually, Shane fought out of the grasp of Coach and his a DDT on Eric Bischoff. Coach nailed Shane with a low blow.
The glass breaks and here comes “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to a huge pop. Coach cut him off saying he only works for Bischoff, not Austin. He said Austin can’t touch him unless he is physically provoked, so Shane shoves Coach into him and Austin punches him. Huge pop for all this. Shane and Austin join together in beating the crap out of Coach. They threw Coach out of the ring.
Austin grabbed the mic and had the microphones turned on for Ross and Lawler. Shane picked up Bischoff, then took his hand and provoked Austin with a fist to the face. Shane went to pin, but picked him up at two. Shane looked at the announce table. The crowd was going wild as Shane cleared off the table. He put Bischoff up across the Spanish announce table. Shane climbed to the top rope. Elbow through the table! Falls count anywhere, so here’s the academic pinfall after 10:36 of action.
Winner by pinfall: Shane McMahon
Analysis: 1/2* It was an angle more than a match. Shane’s bump was great and the crowd loved Austin getting involved, so the fans liked it. The heel turn from Coach was a bit of a surprise and it came off well. Better than I would have thought. Shane feuded with Kane after this, so it made sense for him to win.
Post match, Austin and McMahon celebrated with some beers.
Backstage, they showed the blond bomber Kevin Nash taping his fists in preparation.
Analysis: This was edited out of the WWE Network version for some reason.
Backstage, Ric Flair told Randy Orton to make sure Triple H wins the match to keep the World Title. Orton asks “what if,” but Triple H comes in to tell him there’s no “what if” in this care. Triple H said he walks in with the belt and walks out with it too.
United States Championship: Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Chris Benoit vs. Rhyno vs. Tajiri
Pre-match notes: Benoit was a face, Eddie was more of a tweener, Rhyno was a heel after turning on Benoit a month earlier. Tajiri didn’t get much of a reaction. This is a Smackdown match.
Fast pace action right away. Tajiri drilled Rhyno with a hard kick. Tajiri with a knee on Benoit’s face for two after Eddie broke it up. Eddie slid out to avoid them. Clothesline by Rhyno on Tajiri. Eddie with another save, but this time Benoit got a bodyslam, Rhyno got a punch, Tajiri got a spinning heel kick for two. Rhyno into the corner stomps a mudhole on Benoit. Eddie comes in and tosses Rhyno into the top turnbuckle. Rhyno reverses, shoulder tackle and powerslam gets two after Benoit saves. Benoit chops down Tajiri, then a back suplex for two when Eddie breaks it. Benoit and Rhyno go out. Eddie gets his own chant. He deserves it. Tajiri with a monkey flip, then a tilt a whirl backbreaker for two when Rhyno breaks it up. To the top, Rhyno gets a superplex on Eddie for two as Tajiri breaks it up. Kick to Rhyno’s ribs twice get two. Tajiri misses a kick, into the ropes, handspring elbow on Benoit for two. Rhyno gets a back suplex on Eddie for two. This is very fast. Eddie with a leg scissors on Rhyno, sending him to the floor. Eddie with a beautiful hurricanrana on Benoit for two as Rhyno saves. He takes out Eddie. Benoit takes a clothesline from Rhyno. Eddie sends Rhyno out. In the ring, Eddie reverses a kick into the Lasso from El Paso. On the other side of the ring, Benoit puts Rhyno in the Crossface. Double submission. Whoever taps first loses! Tajiri gets to the ropes. Eddie kicks Benoit in the face. Crossface on Guerrero in the center by Benoit. Rhyno broke it up. Powerbomb on Tajiri blocked, into the ropes and a Rhyno spinebuster for two. Dropkick on Rhyno by Benoit.
Benoit with one German Suplex and here’s two. Eddie tries to get in, but they flip him over. Tajiri reverses into a bridging German for two. Good two count. Crowd bought it. This match is ruling. Into the corner, Tajiri gets the Tarantula on Benoit. Eddie’s on the other side with the belt in his hand. Rhyno gets a gore, but he hit the belt! Rhyno is down. Eddie climbs up, but Tajiri kicks him off the top. Benoit knocks Tajiri down, putting him in the Tree of Woe upside down position. Benoit climbs over Tajiri, top rope headbutt by Benoit on Rhyno gets two. Benoit goes for a powerbomb, but Tajiri gets a hurricanrana that sends them both out. Eddie up top and he hits a Frog Splash onto Rhyno’s back. Eddie rolls him over for the three count for the victory at the 10:50 mark.
Winner by pinfall: Eddie Guerrero
Analysis: ***1/2 Good match with a fast pace. It would have been nice if it went a bit longer, but that’s okay. It was booked well. Eddie was on fire and made to look like a star by being very intelligent during the whole match. Strong showing by everybody involved.
Backstage, Shawn Michaels is shown taping his hands up for Elimination Chamber still to come.
There were highlights from Smackdown that showed Brock breaking Zach Gowen’s leg in two places according to Cole.
A clip aired from Heat where Matt Hardy was in the ring saying Zach wasn’t a real wrestler because a real wrestler would have made the match. Matt won his match against Gowen by forfeit.
Video package aired for the WWE Championship match with champion Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar. Angle won the WWE Title one month earlier at Vengeance. He and Lesnar were faces at the time. Lesnar had a cage match against top heel Vince McMahon with Angle as the referee. Lesnar attacked heel leading to his heel turn, so that set up this WrestleMania rematch except their roles were reversed.
Analysis: I always liked Lesnar more as a heel, so I was glad when they had him turn.
Angle was greeted by the “you suck” chant during his entrance even though he was a top face. It was a respect thing.
WWE Championship: Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar
Pre-match notes: This is a Smackdown Title match. Angle was the face and Lesnar was the heel.
They did some mat wrestling early with Angle using his speed to get the advantage. Angle ducked a clothesline, then hit three arm drags on Lesnar. Brock went to the floor where he broke TV monitor, then kicked the ring steps and tossed them. He was pissed off. He picked up the WWE Title and walked away. Angle chased him up the aisle with a clothesline and right hands. Back in the ring, Kurt with an overhead belly to belly for two. Beautiful. Brock reversed a whip into a gorilla press where he tossed Angle to the floor. Kick to the ribs by Brock. Brock throws him face first into the steel steps. He stepped on Kurt’s throat. In the ring, backdrop by Lesnar. Backbreaker by Lesnar for two. Brock gets a rear naked choke where he choked Angle’s head and wrapped up his waist with a leg scissors. He rolled Kurt up for two. Back to the leg scissors. Big “Angle” chant starts up. Lesnar gets a knee to the gut to kill the momentum. Backbreaker by Lesnar. Angle fought back with right hands, then gets a rollup for a two count. Back up, Lesnar clotheslines him down. Brock picked him up over his head in a Fisherman Suplex position, held him up over his head in a cradle position and dropped back in a Samoan Drop. Lesnar with a clothesline and he drove Angle back first into the corner. Lesnar worked him over in the corner with shoulderblocks. Whip to the other side, the tackle misses and Lesnar’s shoulder hits the post. He is selling the left arm. Angle charges into him with a shoulderblock to the left arm twice and a dropkick to the knee. Cool move that you don’t often see from Kurt. Angle with a flying forearm to knock Lesnar down. Angle hit a few German Suplex ending with a two count.
This match was good, but the crowd wasn’t overly excited about it or anything. Brock gets a sick overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Kurt fights back and an Angle Slam is reversed into a spinebuster by Lesnar for a good nearfall. A F5 by Brock is countered by Angle. I think it was supposed to be a DDT, but he didn’t hit it so Brock just collapsed with Kurt on top of him. Brock up again, F5 is reversed into a Tornado DDT by Angle. I think that’s what Angle was going for. Angle undoes the straps as the crowd goes nuts. Angle Slam and the slow cover for the two as Lesnar got his arm up. Angle put the straps up, and then takes them down again. Ankle lock by Angle. Brock did a forward roll to get out of it, Angle knocked Mike Chioda down by accident. Angle goes for a flip over Lesnar, then hangs on to his waist. His legs are wrapped around Brock’s head. It’s a submission move. That’s awesome. Ankle lock by Angle. Brock makes it to the ropes, but Kurt won’t break since the ref was down. Lesnar makes ropes again, but Lesnar still holding on. Brock is tapping. Still no ref. Vince McMahon comes in to the ring to drill Angle in the back with a steel chair. Brock back to his feet, kick to the gut, his left leg was not on the ground because he’s selling it. How cool! Lesnar hit the F5 on one leg! Two count! Angle kicks out. Damn, I thought that was it. Very good nearfall there. Closeup on Vince, who said “Do it again” to Brock. Here’s another F5, but it was countered by Angle. Another ankle lock on the left leg. Brock gets ropes, but Kurt rips him off. Brock breaks it three times in the ropes, but Kurt won’t let go. Lesnar taps out! Angle wins it at 20:48.
Winner by submission: Kurt Angle
Post match, Vince comes in with the chair. Angle stops it. He sets up the chair so that it’s seated. Angle Slam through the seated chair. Happy Birthday for Vince, says Cole. Crowd celebrated Angle’s win and successful post match attack.
Analysis: ****1/4 Great match. I love when these guys wrestle because they have amazing chemistry together. The last ten minutes of this match were absolutely fantastic. I thought the ref bump was unnecessary, but it was pretty cool how they didn’t do the obvious by having Lesnar win with the F5 after the interference. I loved the clean ending. That’s always good to see. Angle was put over huge here and Lesnar did a fantastic job of selling the ankle injury. It was a surprise to see Lesnar tap out like that, but it was the right finish. Since this was their last PPV singles match, I’ll take the opportunity to say my fave match of theirs was the Ironman Match on SD in September 2003.
Backstage, Goldberg is warming up. Two more matches left.
There was a shot of some Arizona Diamondbacks players at ringside.
They show the winner of the Diva Search contest, Jaime Koeppe. I may have spelled it wrong. She’s damn hot.
Analysis: A year later, the Diva Search became a much bigger deal.
There was a long video package showing Kane’s craziness after he removed his mask. That craziness included lighting Jim Ross on fire and hitting a Tombstone on Linda McMahon on the ramp. It led to a feud with his former tag team partner Rob Van Dam as well.
No Holds Barred: Rob Van Dam vs. Kane
Pre-match notes: Kane was a crazy heel and RVD was the face. This is a Raw match.
Kane worked him over with punches. He tossesd Rob back first into the railing. RVD gets a moonsault off the barricade. Kane tossed RVD head first into the ring post. Kane grabbed a ladder from under the ring. With Kane in the ring, RVD hit the one end of the ladder so that it went up into Kane’s chin. Rolling Thunder by RVD blocked into a choke and RVD kicks out of that. They went to the floor after RVD took him out with a cross body block. Kane tossed RVD into the ring steps. Kane set up the bottom steps up, then rolls RVD into the ring. Rob with a spin kick to the face. Shoulder tackles in the corner, ducks a clothesline and a spinning heel kick by RVD hits Kane on the chin for two. Back up, RVD into the corner with a back elbow. To the top, Kane shoves him off and RVD’s chin hits the top of the ring steps he set up outside. Good spot. Kane picked up the ladder, then charged at RVD and speared him in the head with the ladder. Back in the ring, Kane got a two count. He followed up with punches to the head. More choking from Kane. RVD with a comeback as he hit a back kick to the face, but Kane punched him to the floor again. Kane climbed the top the rope, tried to do a clothesline and falls off! He fell to his feet. People laughed and chanted the moronic “you f**ked up” chant. He did the clotheslines again, but RVD moved out of the way. Ladder to the ribs by RVD. Kane with a DDT on the floor, which RVD sells like death. Kane picked up the steps over his head, drop toe hold by RVD sends Kane face first into the steps. That’s like the Flair move off the top. It NEVER works.
A dropkick by RVD sends Kane over the barricade into the front row. RVD hit him with punches, but Kane shoved him off. RVD with a kick and Kane was leaning over the barricade railing. Climb to the apron and a spinning legdrop by RVD. That spot is always cool. RVD grabbed a chair as Kane is in the ring. Running spinning heel kick by RVD. He placed the chair on Kane’s stomach followed by a Rolling Thunder on the chair. Kane sat up after about five seconds. RVD dropkicked the chair into Kane’s face. JR called it a Van Terminator even though it’s more like a Van Daminator. Kane was out in the corner. RVD goes up top with the chair and misses the Van Terminator (dropkick with the chair) because Kane moved out of the way. RVD tried to leap on him on the floor, but Kane caught him. Kane with a Tombstone on the ring steps like he did to Shane McMahon. That looked great. Kane rolled RVD into the ring and covers for the win at 12:49.
Winner by pinfall: Kane
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match. They did better than I thought they would. RVD got to show off a lot of his athleticism, but when it came to the finish it was Kane that outsmarted him by catching him for the Tombstone on the steps for the decisive finish. They built up that spot well on Raw and used it as a finish. That’s smart booking. It could have been a dominant win for Kane in a shorter match, but it was competitive. I knew Kane would win, and I’m sure others did too, but it was a pretty good match.
Backstage, Terri was trying to interview Eric Bischoff while he was getting looked at by doctors. Bischoff had ice on his face. Linda McMahon walked into the room as the medical assistants left the area. She didn’t say a word. She slapped him in the face.
Analysis: That was a “receipt” for Bischoff forcing a kiss on her.
Triple H was shown backstage staring at the title. Ric Flair told him he’s not saying goodbye to the belt.
The Elimination Chamber lowered onto the ring. It was the second Elimination Chamber match in WWE history. The first one was at Survivor Series 2002 won by Shawn Michaels.
A video package aired about the Elimination Chamber and this match. It also noted that Triple H went to the hospital after the first EC match with a throat injury.
Elimination Chamber Rules as explained by announcer Howard Finkel: Four participants enter and are confined in the four chambers. Two participants start the match. A new person will join the match EVERY THREE MINUTES at random, as opposed to every five minutes like it was at Survivor Series. If you get pinned or submit, you are out of the match.
Here’s the order of entrance: Randy Orton as a heel that walked out to the Evolution theme song. JR said Orton was 21 years old even though he was 23 years old at this time. Kevin Nash was a face with a short blonde haircut. Jericho cut his hair in a match where it was supposed to be where the loser was shaved bald, but Nash still had a short haircut. Triple H looked as jacked as ever as the heel World Champion with Ric Flair with him. He had on these modified tights because he was dealing with a groin injury. JR noted that Triple H hasn’t won at SummerSlam since 1998.
Bill Goldberg made his entrance to a big ovation. Lawler pushed the idea that Goldberg was the big favorite, which tells us that he’s not going to win. From my 2003 review: “He fell over while doing his kicks in the entryway. Ha, I laughed.” They were not shown on the WWE Network version. They went to crowd shot. When the camera was back on Goldberg, he was laughing about it. Chris Jericho was out to boos since he was a heel. Big ovation for Shawn Michaels, who won the first Elimination Chamber.
Analysis: I thought Goldberg would win since it was a major show. It was really between him and Triple H with none of the other guys having much of a chance to win.
Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Triple H (c) (w/Ric Flair) vs. Goldberg vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Kevin Nash vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho
Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel World Champion. Orton and Jericho were also heels. Goldberg, Michaels and Nash were the faces.
Was it a surprise that Jericho and Michaels started? No. Clearly the best workers in this match. Early on there was a springboard crossbody by Michaels and Jericho rolled over for two. Backslide by HBK gets two. A sunset flip attempt by Michaels is blocked for two. Michaels rolled through for two of his own. They exchanged slaps to the face. Back body drop by Jericho. Jericho went for the Walls, but Michaels countered with an inside cradle for two. Jericho with a Facecrusher bulldog for two. A Lionsault by Jericho was avoided and Jericho gets a clothesline.
The #3 man in the match is Randy Orton. He gets a high cross body block on HBK for two. Dropkick by Orton, clothesline over the top that sends Michaels over the top and onto the steel grating. Chops by Jericho, Orton with a modified backbreaker for two. Jericho with an enziguri on Michaels and Orton with a dropkick on Jericho. All three are up, Orton goes after Jericho, but he ducks and hits a back body drop on Orton that sent him over the top with Orton landing back first on the steel grating on the outside. Bodyslam by Jericho on Orton on the steel. In the ring, Michaels goes for a dropkick, but it’s blocked by Jericho and turned Walls of Jericho. Lights go out for next entrant.
Kevin Nash is #4 man in the match. Nash sent Orton into the cage and he went after Jericho. Nash put Jericho on his shoulder and drove him headfirst into the black outside cage outside the ring. Jericho was bleeding while Orton went after Michaels. Nash hit a sidewalk slam on Orton for two. Nash picked up HBK out of the corner like he’s a friend and Nash clotheslined him. Nash with a big boot to Jericho. Fans were chanting for “Goldberg” while that was going on. Michaels nailed Nash wit ha surprising superkick and Jericho pinned Nash to eliminate him.
Kevin Nash eliminated by Chris Jericho
Analysis: Nash was only in the match for about two minutes. Thanks for showing up.
The #5 entrant is Triple H. As soon as the door opened, Michaels nailed Hunter with a Superkick. Nash nailed a Jackknife Powerbomb on Jericho. Nash tossed Orton into Michaels to knock them both down. Nash hit a Jackknife Powerbomb on Orton as well. Nash left to cheers while the four guys in the match were all down around the ring. Goldberg was still in a pod. Michaels was bleeding. Michaels covered Orton, but Orton got his foot on the bottom rope. Michaels covered Jericho and he got his foot on the rope. Orton, Michaels and Jericho were all punching eachother and staggering to sell the pain. The clock ticked down for the last name.
Goldberg is the #6 man punches all three guys down. Gorilla press into a spinebuster on Orton. Wow that was impressive. Goldberg with a double clothesline on HBK & Jericho. Goldberg with a spear on Orton and he pinned him.
Randy Orton eliminated by Goldberg
Jericho nailed a missile dropkick off the top on Goldberg for a two count. Gorilla Press Slam by Goldberg on Jericho that sent him into the cage. Goldberg whipped Michaels into the turnbuckle to knock him upside down. Goldberg nailed Jericho with a Spear into one of the pods. That looked painful and was really loud too. Michaels nailed Goldberg with a forearm and went up top with a flying elbow drop that connected. Michaels went for a Superkick, Goldberg ducked it and Goldberg nailed Michaels with a Spear. Goldberg pointed at Triple H to say he’s next. Goldberg picked up Michaels and hit a Jackhammer leading to a pin.
Shawn Michaels eliminated by Goldberg
Jericho was back in the ring, Goldberg charged in and hit a Spear. Goldberg with a Jackhammer on Jericho to eliminate him.
Chris Jericho eliminated by Goldberg
Goldberg and Triple H were the last two men left. Flair held onto the door to try to keep Hunter in the pod. Hunter gave Goldberg a middle finger salute. Goldberg kicked through the glass to break it. Goldberg pounded on Triple H with punches. Goldberg sent Triple H into the cage and of course Triple H was busted open. He bled a lot in PPV matches. Goldberg rammed Triple H’s head against chain cage. Triple H fought back by sending Goldberg’s head into the cage, but Goldberg bounced back quickly with a clothesline. As the broadcast was showing a replay, Flair slid a sledgehammer to Triple H. Goldberg set up for a Spear, but Triple H had the sledgehammer ready and he hit Goldberg in the head with it. Triple H covered for the win at the 19:12 mark.
Goldberg eliminated by Triple H
Winner: Triple H
Analysis: **3/4 It was a good match with some interesting moments, but not as good as the first EC match. It was much shorter than that match due to the shorter intervals. Those were done because the show was running a bit late, but mainly because of Triple H’s groin injury. He really didn’t do much in the match and only one with one move – the sledgehammer to the head. Goldberg was booked really strong in the match since he beat three guys rather easily and looked like a force in doing so. When he hit the Spear it looked amazing. Better than anybody in wrestling history, in my opinion. Michaels and Jericho bumped their asses off for the others and made them look good, but it was obvious neither of them was going to win. The finish was done that way to keep the feud going.
After the match, Randy Orton and Ric Flair went into the ring. Triple H hit Goldberg in the head with the sledgehammer two times in a row. Goldberg was busted open. The heels handcuffed Goldberg’s hands to the outer chain link cage. Hunter nailed him with another sledgehammer shot to the face. Hunter taunted Goldberg, held the World Title in his hands and told him he’ll never see the World Title again. JR ranted about how this was repulsive and hideous.
Analysis: That was a vicious post match attack to set up their next match at Unforgiven 2003 one month later. Triple H was really hurting due to the groin injury, so he couldn’t do much in this match. I’m not sure if they would have had Goldberg win here if Hunter was the champion or if this was always the plan.
Replays aired of the key spots in the match as well as the post match attack.
The show went off the air with Triple H, Randy Orton and Ric Flair leaving the chamber together while Goldberg was a bloody mess in the chamber.
The show has a run time of 2 hours, 44 minutes on WWE Network.
Five Stars Of The Show
During TV shows I go with three stars, but with PPV I like to pick five stars. Here they are.
1. Kurt Angle – He was the best wrestler in WWE at the time and proved it once again. Strong showing from Angle.
2. Brock Lesnar – It was rare to see him lose clean via submission. Angle may have been the best opponent in his career.
3. Chris Jericho – He took a beating in the Chamber. That spear through the Pod was nasty.
4. Bill Goldberg – He didn’t win, but he was really made to look like a badass superstar.
5. Eddie Guerrero – The character was really starting to take off around this point and it was getting harder to boo him.
Overall Rating (out of 10): 5.5
I thought it was an average show for the most part with only Angle vs. Lesnar standing out. As good as their match was, I thought their WrestleMania 19 match earlier in 2003 and their Ironman match on Smackdown in September 2003 were better matches. It was still cool to watch this match again because I haven’t seen it in a long time.
The Elimination Chamber match was very average. Once again, I think Triple H’s groin injury played a major factor in that. He obviously couldn’t sit out the match because he was the champion in the main event, but his lack of participation seriously hurt it. He took a superkick from Michaels, then sat in the pod for several minutes and only did a sledgehammer attack to win. Cheap ending to get out of doing a more complete match. Goldberg also wasn’t that good in the ring, so they were able to hide his limitations by only having him in the match for about ten minutes.
The undercard was okay. There was a lot of good talent missing, though. Guys like Rey Mysterio, Billy Kidman, Matt Hardy, John Cena, Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas and Christian not being on the card definitely hurt the match quality. They should have found something for some of those guys because some of the undercard matches were poor.
Next Up: Unforgiven 2003 featuring the Raw brand.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – [email protected]