It’s time for another retro WWE review with a look back at the September 2003 event known as Unforgiven. It’s a Raw brand pay-per-view event that followed SummerSlam one month earlier, which I reviewed here. The reason I’m doing these is because I like doing retro reviews and because I’m continuing the series that is on Rajah.com as well.
As I did with the SummerSlam review, I’ll add in pre-match notes to let you know anything relating to the story that you need to know and then a breakdown of everything that happened.
I wrote a review of this show when it happened in 2003, but I am re-watching it on WWE Network. Let’s get to it.
Giant Center in Hershey, PA
There was a video package featuring the main feuds for the show and more of a focus on Triple H vs. Goldberg with Hunter talking about how Goldberg won’t be in WWE after this event.
The pyro went off by the stage and it looked like a full house. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were at the commentary position by the entrance area. JR was wearing an Oklahoma Sooners jersey since he is teaming with Lawler later in the show.
Handicap World Tag Team Championships Tables Match: La Resistance & Rob Conway vs. Bubba & D--Von Dudley
Pre-match notes: It’s an elimination table match where everybody on a team has to go through a table in order to lose. It was going to be 3 on 3, but Spike Dudley was out with an injury. La Resistance were the tag champs and they were heels. The Dudleys were faces.
D-Von ducks a clothesline, gets a body slam and leg drop on Conway. Dudleys hit a double clothesline. Bubba tagged in and splashed all three heels in the corner. Double team flapjack by the Dudleys on Conway. Why is this under regular tag match rules if it’s a tables match? Seems weird to me. I have no answer for that. They did a spot where Conway hit Bubba in the back to give the heels control. There was a sleeper spot on Bubba that he reversed to a backdrop. D-Von cleaned house on all three heels with a variety of stuff. Leaping clothesline on Dupree. Bubba tagged in and there was a reverse 3D by the Dudleys. Slam on Dupree, Whassup Drop by D-Von. That spot was about three years old at this point. After about seven minutes of action, tables were introduced into the match. Seven minutes in, we finally see tables. Crowd loved it since they chanted “tables” all match. Dudleys set a table up, but the heels stopped them. Dupree stacked a table in the corner. Conway and Grenier whipped D-Von into the corner and D-Von went crashing through the table, so he’s the first man that was put through a table.
D-Von Dudley put through table
Bubba fought off all three heels. Even though D-Von was put through the table, he’s still a part of the match. Bubba worked with Grenier in the ring with Bubba hitting a couple of chops. Bubba avoided a suplex attempt and hit a suplex on Grenier to put him through a table.
Sylvan Grenier put through a table
When Dupree and Conway went to do a back body drop to Bubba through a table, D-Von was there to move the table out of the way. Bubba fought off a double team and hit a Bubba Bomb on Dupree. The Dudleys picked up Conway and gave him a Double Chokeslam over the top rope through a table that was set up at ringside. Ouch. That was a nasty landing.
Rob Conway put through a table
That meant that either Bubba or Dupree needed to go through a table. Grenier missed an attack with the French flag and D-Von hit Grenier in the head with the flag. Dupree hit the Dudleys with a double clothesline. Dupree set up a table, D-Von avoided an attack, sent Dupree into the ropes and Bubba was waiting for the 3D from the Dudleys put Dupree through the table at the 10:17 mark.
Renee Dupree put through a table
Winners and New World Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz
Analysis: *1/2 It was just a decent match with an ending that made the crowd happy because they wanted the boring tag title reign of La Resistance to end. The rules of the match were weird because it was a tables match where anything goes, yet they were tagging eachother in during the first half. The table bump by Conway on the floor looked nasty, but I believe he was okay after the match. In the storyline, this was not a title match until Stone Cold, one of the co-GM’s, made it so when the other GM Eric Bischoff said it would be a handicap match. In other words, the Dudleys were the faces that were at a disadvantage and left with the titles.
A video package aired about the Test feud with Scott Steiner co-starring Stacy Keibler. Test was a jerk boyfriend to her and Steiner had the rep of a ladies man, so she liked him.
Stacy Keibler made her entrance first. Short skirt like usual for her. Test comes out next. Steiner is last.
Scott Steiner vs. Test
Pre-match notes: Test was the heel and Steiner was the face. The stipulation for the match is that if Test wins then Steiner works for him doing who knows what. If Steiner wins, Stacy is his manager again. I believe Test was dating Stacy around this time.
Steiner got a hug from Keibler before the match and Test did a cheap attack to knock Steiner down. Steiner with a powerslam for two and a clothesline leading to his push up taunt. Test went to the floor, Stacy slapped him and Steiner punched him in the head. Test hit him in the back and whipped him into the stairs at ringside. Back in the ring, Test hit a Full Nelson Slam for two. Corner clothesline by Test followed by some push-ups like Stiner. Sleeper by Test as Keibler tried to get Steiner going. Back elbow by Test. He went up top, jumped off, Steiner caught him and hit a belly to belly release suplex. Two clotheslines by Steiner and a belly to belly suplex. Test hid behind ref Nick Patrick and got a thumb to the eye. Steiner came back with double underhook slam for two. They did a spot against the ropes with Test using his foot to hit a low blow. Test went for a cheap cover using the ropes, but Stacy took his foot off the ropes. Test grabbed Stacy, she drove him neck first on the top rope and a reverse DDT by Steiner gets two. Test hit a Pumphandle Slam. Stacy went on the apron and showed her ass to the crowd to upset Test. Steiner rollup earned a two count. Test came back with a clothesline. Test chased Stacy around the ring, she went into the ring and ran into Steiner leading to an awful, cheesy bump. Test hit a boot to the face of Steiner for a two count. Good nearfall at least after that terrible spot. Test took the turnbuckle pad off, the ref took it away and Test left the ring to get a chair. Stacy took the chair, she swung it at Test, he moved and the chair hit Steiner in the head. Test hit a boot to the face of Steiner and pinned him to win the match at 6:56.
Winner by pinfall: Test
Post match, Test forced a kiss on Stacy and she shoved him away.
Analysis: *1/4 Poor match that kept a boring feud going. They had one or two decent nearfall spots, but the rest of it was largely forgettable action at a slow pace. Stacy played a part in the finish since her “services” were up for grabs. The story continued after this with Steiner becoming a heel ally of Test. I thought Steiner was used poorly by WWE from when they brought him in at Survivor Series 2002. He should have been a heel right away. The face run was boring. Test passed away in 2009 at age 33 due to an accidental drug overdose.
There was a video package to set up Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels. Orton was known as the “Legend Killer” that was just 23 years old and he was trying to make a mark for himself. He targeted Michaels, so that set up this match.
Orton entered to the Evolution theme song with Ric Flair at his side. Very good ovation for Shawn Michaels for his entrance.
Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton (w/Ric Flair)
Pre-match notes: Michaels was the face and Orton was the heel with Flair as his manager for the match.
There was some chain wrestling with Michaels in control. Michaels with a shoulderblock and Orton came back with a dropkick followed by a clothesline for two. JR said that Orton is 21 years old. He was really 23 years old. Why lie? I’m not sure because it’s not like saying 23 would have been a bad thing because he was very young. Orton went up top and Michaels hit an atomic drop to counter it. Michaels clotheslines Orton out of the ring and HBK skins the cat back in to a nice pop. Baseball slide dropkick by HBK. To the top, HBK hit a cross body block on Orton on the floor. Back in the ring, Michaels hit a German suplex bridge for two. Into the corner, HBK eats a boot to the face. Orton gets some chops, HBK gets some punches. They exchange blows in the corner. Hebner pulls HBK off as Orton punches him. Shawn goes left shoulder first into the ring post sending him down. Orton distracted the ref, so Flair sent HBK shoulder first into the post. Low blow by Flair. Orton picked up Michaels on his shoulder, then drove him shoulder first into the post. That was the right shoulder. It was not the same as the original one that got hit. Shoulder tackles by Orton into the left shoulder. Knee drop into the shoulder by Orton. Reverse armbar by Orton on the mat. Orton kept working on the arm for about two minutes, which is probably more than what was needed. Michaels got a cradle for two. Michaels with a Thesz Press, flying forearam and a kip up to fire up the crowd. Flair tried to interfere, but Michaels decked him. They went to the floor with Michaels sending Orton into the barricade.
Back in the ring, double axe by Michaels gets two. Michaels goes for Sweet Chin Music, Orton avoided it and hit the RKO for just two. Good nearfall. Flair was going crazy at ringside. Orton went for a cross body block off the top, Michaels ducked out of the way, knocked Flair down again and hit a top rope elbow for two. Michaels did a good job of selling the left arm after he hit the flying elbow with the right arm. That earned a two count. Michaels did a kip up to fire up the crowd again. Michaels connected with Sweet Chin Music, he covered, the ref counted one, two and three, but Flair put Orton’s foot on the bottom rope just as the ref was counting. The ref Earl Hebner saw it after the count. The match continued. Flair into ring and Michaels nailed him with a superkick. Orton went for a punch, Michaels moved, Michaels picked him up and Orton punched Michaels in the head a couple of times. Orton had something on his head. Orton covered for the pinfall win at 18:47.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
The replay showed that Flair gave Orton brass knuckles, the ref never saw it and that’s what Orton used to knock out Michaels for the win.
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match with a lot of old school wrestling psychology with HBK selling his left arm injury the whole way through. The goal of the match was to put over the younger heel Orton. Michaels certainly had many matches better than this one and normally if he gets about 20 minutes during a PPV match it’s going to hit the four star level. This one just didn’t excite me that much. It never got going to that next level. The shady finish fit the character of Orton as a young guy learning from Ric Flair.
Backstage, Jericho talked to La Resistance in the trainer’s room. He said Steve Austin is the reason that they lost the belts because he made it a title match at the last second. Jericho said somebody will stand up to Austin sooner or later.
Analysis: That led to the story where Austin put his GM job on the line against Eric Bischoff in a match at Survivor Series.
Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Molly Holly & Gail Kim
Pre-match notes: Molly was the Women’s Champion. She was a heel with Kim, who was competing in her first PPV match. Trish and Lita are the faces with Lita coming back after missing a year after neck surgery. JR noted Lita was in no matches for over one year.
The heels attacked to start. Lita and Trish did Poetry In Motion in the corner. Double baseball slide dropkicks. JR said it was a first for Trish and Lita teaming, but they did at Invasion 2001. Lita worked on Gail and hit a suplex. Running clothesline by Trish on Kim for a two count. Trish did a Matrix move to duck a clothesline and a Chick Kick gets two. Gail sent Trish into the ropes, Molly opens the ropes, which sent Trish out the floor and that gave the heels control. Molly & Gail drove Trish back first into the apron. The heels worked over Stratus for a couple of minutes. There was a spot where Molly knocked Lita down on the apron and Lita hit the steps. Lita had a busted lip. Molly gets a backbreaker for two. Stratus came back a bit as she did a snapmare on Gail and headscissors Molly down at the same time. Gail went for the legdrop, Trish moved and hot tag to Lita.
Lita with a dropkick on Gail, monkey flip on Molly into punches. Lita gets a headscissors takeover. Powerbomb by Lita on Gail called a Lita Bomb by JR. Anybody can have their own powerbomb apparently. Just put your name in front of the word “bomb” and you can have it. Molly went up top. Stratus into the ring with a the double leg headscissors takedown. Lita hit a reverse Twist of Fate neckbreaker on Molly. Trish knocked out Gail out of the ring. Lita up top, she hit a moonsault and pinned Molly for the win at 6:46.
Winners by pinfall: Lita & Trish Stratus
Analysis: **1/4 It was good for the time given. In this era, seven minutes was what the women typically got in PPV matches. It followed the usual tag team formula with the heels predictably working over Trish and building to the hot tag to Lita. Since Lita was just coming back from injury, it made sense to put her over in a big way to show she was back at full health.
A video package aired for the Last Man Standing match between Shane McMahon and Kane. It focused on Kane going crazy after he lost his mask, beating people up, lighting Jim Ross on fire and hitting Linda McMahon with a Tombstone on the stage. That’s what brought Linda’s son Shane into the storyline. It led to a lot of violent attacks including the memorable moment where Kane electrocuted Shane’s testicles at ringside. They were put into a Last Man Standing match by Eric Bischoff.
Kane made his entrance first. Shane McMahon showed up with a chair to the back as the match began.
Last Man Standing Match: Kane vs. Shane McMahon
Pre-match notes: Kane is the crazy heel and Shane is the face. To win the match you have to keep your opponent down for a ten count.
Shane hit Kane in the head with a chair and a leaping chair attack to the head knocked Kane down. Shane nailed him in the head with the chair again with Kane getting his hand up. Kane got his hands up to block a shot to the face, so Shane hit Kane in the knee to knock him down. With Kane out of the ring, Shane hit a chop block to the back of the left knee two times and rammed the back of Kane’s head into the steps a few times. Kane got back up, Shane jumped at him and Kane nailed a sloppy looking powerslam on the floor. Kane was bleeding on his back left shoulder. Kane whipped Shane into the steps at ringside. Kane picked up the top half of he ring steps and hit Shane in the head with it. Back in the ring, Kane picked him up and hit a Chokeslam. Shane got up at seven. Kane went for a boot to the face, Shane moved and Kane’s foot hit the ref Charles Robinson. Kane brought the bottom half of the ring steps into the ring. Shane came back with a bulldog that sent Kane’s face into the steps. Shane rammed the steps into Kane against the ropes by the turnbuckle. The crowd cheered because they knew what was coming. Shane went to the top rope and hit the Coast to Coast dropkick across the ring that led to the stairs hitting Kane in the face. Fans chant “holy shit” for it. There was no ref to count because Robinson was still out on the floor. Kane was down for nearly one minute without moving while Lawler wondered if they could get another referee. Kane recovered enough to shove the steps onto Shane. Both guys were down. Robinson went back in the ring to start the count and both guys got up before ten. Kane dumped Shane over the top to the floor.
They brawled up the aisle with Kane hitting uppercut punches. Shane came back with punches to the ribs followed by a running punch that knocked Kane down. They were by the entrance area with JR calling Kane a nasty, vile human being. Kane whipped Shane into the Unforgiven sign. Kane sent Shane back first into the Unforgiven sign three more times and Shane got up at six. Kane shoved him into some apparatus. Kane sent Shane face first into the side of the Spanish announce table, which was by the entrance. Shane cleared off the announce table and shoved the table over thinking Shane was there, but Shane moved. He wasn’t there. Shane came back by using some metal sheet to hit Kane in the head three times and he grabbed the boom camera, which he drove into Kane’s head. They went onto the staging area where the Spanish announce table was. Kane wanted a Chokeslam, but Shane kicked him in the groin and hit a DDT. Shane hit Kane in the head with a television monitor to knock him down. Shane climbed up a steel apparatus by the staging area where there was an Unforgiven logo. It was like a video wall. Shane jumped off, Kane moved and Shane went crashing through the staging area back first. If I had to guess it was a 20 foot fall. Ouch. The ref counted him down, while Kane got up and Kane got the win since he was the last man standing at 19:42.
Analysis: *** Good effort by both guys by having a physical match with Kane as the powerhouse and Shane showing no fear the whole match. Obviously, it was a gimmicked stage at the end. It was similar to Mick Foley’s Hell in a Cell bump at No Way Out 2000 in terms of the landing. It was very impressive that Shane was willing to do a spot like that. I don’t think that dive is remembered as well as some of his other high spots, but it looked nasty. The match was booked really well with lots of cool spots that had the crowd into most of it.
Post match, replays aired of the bump Shane did. It was probably 15 to 20 feet high. Shane was taken out on a stretcher and the crowd cheered him for his effort.
Analysis: Their feud continued leading to an Ambulance Match at Survivor Series 2003.
Austin was in his office with a beer. Chris Jericho showed up to tell Austin that he created a monster in Kane. Jericho mentioned La Resistance were screwed out of the tag titles because of Austin. Austin got in his face and told Jericho to take his best shot. Jericho said he’s not going to make it that easy for him. Jericho told Austin he’s going to make thing difficult for him like he’s making things difficult for everybody else. Jericho told Austin to watch his IC Title match and reminded him that there’s more than one way to make him crack.
Analysis: Good segment. The Jericho/Austin rivalry was really good during this period and as I said earlier, led to a big elimination match at Survivor Series.
The announcers informed us that Shane was going to the hospital.
Intercontinental Championship: Christian vs. Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam
Pre-match notes: Christian was the heel IC Champion. Jericho was also a heel. RVD was a face. Christian and Jericho were allies for most of 2003 as well.
Jericho & Christian worked together and RVD came back with a dropkick. RVD suplexed Jericho from inside the ring all the way outside to the floor. RVD hit a moonsault onto both guys. Back in the ring, leg drop by RVD on Christian for two. Jericho with a crossbody onto RVD for two. Chops on RVD, cross body misses and Van Dam hit a standing moonsault for two. RVD with a side kick off the top. Christian pulled RVD out and threw him into the steps. Jericho brought RVD into the ring and covered for two. Christian and Jericho shoved eachother a bit. Double team again. Jericho did his dancing punch combo. RVD kicked Jericho in the face, Jericho whipped him into the ropes and RVD hit a somersault plancha over the top to take out Christian on the floor. The crowd was not that interested in this match. Springboard dropkick by Jericho on RVD. Chinlock by Jericho while Christian was still on the floor. RVD back up, he went for a hurricanrana, but Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho submission. When RVD got close to the ropes, Jericho pulled him to the middle. Christian knocked down Jericho and they started brawling. Christian and Jericho went to the floor, Jericho whipped him into the steps and Christian was sent knee first into the steps.
Back in the ring, Jericho hit a top rope flying back elbow for two on Christian. Bulldog by Jericho was blocked and reverse DDT hit for Christian. RVD up on the apron, Jericho knocked him off and that also knocked Christian down groin first and onto the top rope. Superplex by Jericho on Christian. The crowd is still not that interested. RVD back in for a two count on Christian. RVD with a cross body out of the corner on Jericho for two. Jericho with a bulldog on RVD. Lionsault by Jericho avoided by RVD, who hit a spinning heel kick. Christian up top, he jumped off with an elbow drop that hit Jericho because RVD moved. RVD with a drop toe hold on Christian, which sent him onto Jericho in the 69 position. Yeah, I wrote it. RVD went up top and hit a Five Star Frog Splash on both guys. Cover by RVD got two on Jericho as Christian broke it up. RVD sent Christian over the top to the floor. RVD set up Jericho on the turnbuckle. RVD had Jericho on his shoulder, Christian went over and did a Powerbomb into the Electric Chair drop for the Tower of Doom spot out of the corner, which is customary for triple threat matches. The crowd woke up for that spot at least. Christian got two counts on both guys. RVD with a spinning back kick on Christian and a clothesline that sent Jericho over the top to the floor. Christian went back in the ring with the title, but RVD tripped him up and sent Christian into Jericho with a slingshot move leading to RVD getting a two count on Christian. RVD went up, Jericho on the apron with a chair, so RVD kicked him to knock him down. RVD jumped off the top with the Frog Splash, Christian got his knees up with the title in his hands and RVD’s splash hit the knees with the title on them. Christian covered RVD to win at 19:03.
Winner by pinfall: Christian
Analysis: **3/4 It was good, but I expected it to be better. The crowd seemed disinterested early, but the crowd just saw a guy fall from about 20 feet up in the air so I guess it’s understandable. The last five minutes were really strong with a lot of nearfalls that brought the crowd back into the match. It was a crafty finish. I don’t know if it’s right to call it cheap because over the years WWE made triple threat matches as No DQ matches, so I’m not sure if it’s right to say that Christian really cheated.
Triple H, the World Heavyweight Champion, was interviewed by Marc Lloyd backstage. Triple H said that Goldberg is like a fairy tale that’s going to have a bad ending. Hunter talked about how he’s going to end Goldberg’s storybook career. Hunter told Goldberg that it’s time to play the game.
The video package aired to set up Ross & Lawler vs. Coach & Al Snow. I’m cringing at the thought of watching this atrocity again. The winners of this match will become the broadcast team on Raw.
Coach & Snow walked out first. Snow was in wrestling tights while Coach was wearing a black jumpsuit and shirt. JR & King commented about how they didn’t know who would call this match. Lawler had on his wrestling gear while Ross wrestled in an Oklahoma Sooners jersey and black jeans.
Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler vs. Jonathon Coachman & Al Snow
Pre-match notes: Ross & Lawler are the faces. Coach & Snow are the heels. There were no announcers for the match.
Snow and Lawler started with each man getting some nearfalls. Crowd is dead for this as Snow hit a punch in the corner. Lawler came back with a punch off the middle ropes. Snow took control with a clothesline leading to a two count. This is so weird without announcers. Another clothesline for a two count by Snow. Back body drop by Snow on Lawler. When Snow went for it again, Lawler countered into a piledriver. He covered, but Snow got his foot on the ropes before three. Coach tagged himself in for the heel team and he whipped Lawler into the turnbuckle. Coach went for a bronco buster, but Lawler moved and Coach took a dramatic bump in the corner where he crotched himself. Lawler nailed Coach with punches. The crowd chanted “We Want JR” as Lawler hit a body slam. Lawler hit a fist drop of the middle rope for two as Snow made the save. Ross tagged in and he kicked Snow in the balls followed by a clothesline that sent Snow over the top to the floor. Ross hit a clothesline to the back of Coach. The ref checked on Snow and Lawler on the floor even though Coach was legal. Ross threw some bad looking punches on Coach. Chris Jericho went into the ring and hit a dropkick to the back of JR’s head. Jericho put Coach on top. The ref went back into the ring that was enough for the victory at 8:16.
Winners by pinfall: Snow & Coachman
Analysis: -* That was painfully bad to watch. One of the worst matches I’ve watched in a long time. Who thought this was a good idea? I hated how WWE was always trying to humiliate Ross. Having the match without announcers didn’t help either. The win meant Snow and Coach were the announcers on Raw, but that didn’t last that long.
Post match, Marc Lloyd interviewed Jericho. Jericho said he didn’t win the IC title, but he screwed Austin by costing his buddy JR his job.
A video package aired to set up Triple H defending the World Title vs. Goldberg. It focused on Triple H retaining the title during the Elimination Chamber match at SummerSlam one month earlier, which I covered here. It led to this Title vs. Career match.
The announce team of Ross and Lawler were back on commentary for the last match since they called the rest of the show. Ross said Lawler was like a brother to him. JR said that this is it for them, but they will give us something to remember them forever. JR wiped a tear away while Lawler said they’ll get through it together.
Analysis: Nobody believed it was the end of Ross and Lawler on commentary.
Triple H entered first noting that he was alone because if his Evolution allies were there he could be counted out or disqualified, which would cost him the title per the stipulations of the match. Hunter is wearing those longer tights to help protect his groin since he was dealing with an injury. Big ovation for Goldberg, who looked as big as ever.
World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H vs. Bill Goldberg (If Goldberg Loses He Must Retire)
Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel champion and Goldberg was the face.
There were loud “Goldberg” chants to start the match. Goldberg did a Gorilla Press Slam leading to Hunter bailing to the floor to take a break. Goldberg powered out of a front facelock with a slam. Goldberg with a back body drop. Hunter was overselling everything as he bailed to the floor again. Hunter used the top rope to slow Goldberg down and he tossed him out of the ring, but Goldberg went back in with clotheslines to knock him down. Double underhook suplex by Goldberg. Goldberg set up for a Spear, he charged in and Hunter knocked him down with a running high knee to the face. Clothesline by Hunter sent Goldberg over the top to the floor and Hunter sent Goldberg face first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Hunter hit an elbow smash to the back for a two count. Hunter continued on offense as he rammed Goldberg’s left knee into the ring post. Goldberg kicked Hunter away to send Hunter into the turnbuckle, but Hunter came back with a chop block to the back of the knee. Hunter applied a Figure Four Leglock and he grabbed the ropes while the ref was checking on Goldberg. After about one minute, Goldberg turned it over and that broke the hold. The slow paced offense continued as Hunter hit a knee drop, but Goldberg blocked another attempt. Goldberg kicked Hunter in the ribs. Goldberg hit two clotheslines followed by a tilt-a-whirl powerslam for a two count.
Goldberg whipped Triple H into the ropes leading to Hunter doing his usual bump over the top to the floor. Goldberg followed him out of the ring, rammed Hunter’s head into the steps and whipped Hunter shoulder first into the steel steps. Hunter came up bleeding from the forehead because he did that often in PPV matches. Goldberg brought Hunter back in the ring with a hip toss. Hunter shoved Goldberg into referee Earl Hebner, which sent Hebner out of the ring. Hunter with a low blow followed by a DDT. Goldberg countered a Pedigree with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Hunter grabbed his favorite weapon, the sledgehammer, from under the ring. Goldberg leaned over and Hunter hut him in the face. Goldberg recovered quickly and hit a Spear that took down Hunter. That was weird. He only sold the sledgehammer shot for about three seconds and then he was back on his feet. The crowd cheered the Spear a lot. Goldberg set up for the Jackhammer, he picked him up and connected with it. The ref was back in the ring, Goldberg covered and got the pinfall win at 14:57.
Winner by pinfall and New World Heavyweight Champion: Goldberg
Analysis: ** It was below average. I give Hunter credit for working pretty hard with an injured groin muscle. Goldberg was just an average worker and his limitations showed in a longer match like this. They played up the big spots well and the crowd popped for them like they should. There wasn’t a whole lot in between those big spots to make the match stand out that much. It was a boring 15-minute match with a few cool spots. The finish felt flat too. Goldberg no selling that sledgehammer shot looked bad too because normally guys sell that in a big way. At least Hunter didn’t kick out of the Jackhammer because that would have been dumb.
Goldberg celebrated with the World Heavyweight Title as JR did his best to try to sell this as some huge moment. The crowd reaction was good, but it was nothing special. They aired replays of the key spots in the match. Goldberg celebrated some more as the show ended.
Analysis: The win ended the 10+ month title reign of Triple H. He had it for 11 of the previous 12 months. A lot of fans were sick of the title run of Triple H, so when this happened people were happy although we all knew Hunter would get it back soon. Goldberg’s reign didn’t last that long, which I’ll get to after a few more PPVs.
The show had a run time of 2 hours, 45 minutes on WWE Network.
Five Stars Of The Show
1. Shawn Michaels
2. Randy Orton
3. Shane McMahon
Best Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton ***1/4 (out of five)
Worst Match: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler vs. Coach & Al Snow (-*)
Overall Rating (out of 10): 4.5
This was a below average show that was lacking in terms of memorable matches. At least there were some cool moments. Goldberg winning the title was a big deal at the time, but it was not a good match. Orton going over Michaels served a purpose although it wasn’t a clean win. Shane McMahon did one of his crazy bumps. It’s not celebrated like some of the other big spots he did, but it’s still impressive to see. Everything else was largely forgettable.
On a final note, whoever thought the announcers tag match was a good idea should issue us all an apology. It was horrible.
Next Up: No Mercy 2003 featuring the Smackdown brand.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – [email protected]