Friday, January 22, 2021

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Royal Rumble 2003 Review - January 19th, 2003

WWE: Royal Rumble 2003
January 19th, 2003
Boston, MA

WWE Champion - Kurt Angle (since 12/15/02)
World Heavyweight Champion - Triple H (since 12/15/02)
World Tag Team Champions - William Regal & Lance Storm (since 1/6/03)
WWE Tag Team Champions - Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo Guerrero) (since 11/17/02)
WWE Cruserweight Champion - Billy Kidman (since 11/17/02)
WWE Women's Champion - Victoria (since 11/17/02)

Commentary - Michael Cole, Tazz, Jim Ross, & Jerry "The King" Lawler

1) The Big Show (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Brock Lesnar

Another fun one between these two and it actually got time to develop. The feats of strength by Brock aren't quite as pop-worthy as we've seen it a few times now, but it still rules and he looks like a complete maniac. Brock wins and gets his revenge on Show. 

Match rating - **1/2

Backstage interview with Chris Jericho. He's still talking about how he was screwed out of picking the #1 entry spot in the Rumble, but he's still gonna win the whole thing tonight. 

Nathan Jones hype video, he's coming soon. 

2) William Regal & Lance Storm (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) - World Tag Team Championship Match

2003 has seen a hot potato game played with the Raw tag titles and it continues here. Crowd is hot for Bubba & D-Von as always and the heat for Regal & Storm is there.. as always. Fun back and forth between these two teams, nothing crazy though. Morley interferes, Regal & Storm try to use their infamous brass knucks only for it to backfire when Bubba gets a hold of them and BAM, Morley is out. D-Von hits Storm with them behind the ref's back and 1..2..3.. wE HAVE NEW TAG CHAMPS. Now.. this is a feel good moment. Bubba & D-Von got humilated by Bischoff the other week, but uhh... let's not pretend Book & Goldust are the real feel good team here and should have never even lost these belts, to be fair.

Match rating - **1/4

3) Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie

This happens and doesn't completely shit the bed so yay! Torrie looks great and Dawn has a veil on and is being a great bitch as always. It doesn't overstay it's welcome and is fine enough. Torrie wins and gets her moment of revenge. But Tazz says Dawn is saying "this isn't over" as she's walking to the back... CMON MAN END THIS SHIT ALREADY. 

Match rating - *3/4

Eric Bischoff is talking to Randy Orton when Stephanie McMahon walks up. She introduces herself to Randy, but Eric sends him on his way. Steph says she came to tell Eric goodbye because it seems like Vince is gonna fire him in 30 days. Eric asks why she thinks that and asks how she thinks her job is so secure. Steph says blood is thicker than water and that she has a bombshell announcement this Thursday on Smackdown to match the fact that Eric has one tonight or tomorrow? Or something.. I musta missed that announcement of.. an announcement. Ok..

Sean O' Haire with some weird video hyping his debut where he questions if god is real or not. Of course, Jerry Lawler is offended when they cut back to the announce booth. Anyways, the WORLD TITLE MATCH IS NEXT. 

4) Triple H (c) vs. Scott Steiner - World Heavyweight Championship Match

This feud and match is unanimously shit on. I came into it with an open mind, though, and I've honestly seen way worse. If anything I've found the feud funny and entertaining for the most part. Is it great or awesome or anything overly positive? No. However, it also isn't utter dog shit, it's just kinda there. This match did drag a little early, but not any worse than how the H/HBK 2/3 Falls Match did. And thankfully, this wasn't as long, although it did go into too long territory despite the ending being the best part with H and Flair trying to get the match stopped due to blood loss so he could retain the title in true heel fashion. That shit ruled. But yeah other than that, this was just there and I can see how people would be disappointed with it considering it's such a hyped/big match. Hebner wouldn't disqualify or stop the match UNTIL, H hit Scott with the sledgehammer. Hebner calls for the bell and Steiner has an awesome beat down on H and Flair. Steiner puts a bloody Triple H in the Steiner recliner and refs come down to try and get him off. H looks choked out. Eric Bischoff comes down screaming/pleading for him to let go. Steiner poses over H's bloody body. H retains due to it being a DQ, as said before.

Match rating - *3/4

5) Kurt Angle (c) vs. Chris Benoit - WWE Championship Match

Another classic contest between these two here. Their last match at Unforgiven 2002 stole the show and they headed into a storyline as a makeshift tag team. They won the tag belts, lost them, and ended up fully back at odds when Angle screwed Benoit out of a #1 Contender's Match. That leads us here where these two put on another clinic. I remember watching this as a kid, but it's probably been 10 years since I've seen it and it all came across pretty fresh, even this many years later. Benoit hits a DDT on Angle on the apron early on which was nuts when you think about the fact that this took place in 2003 when apron bumps weren't nearly as prominent as today. This one's all about the second half where Angle & Benoit trade submissions, suplexes, and throws. It's the style of epic that they are known for having and for the time, this was the best thing happening in WWE. Just physical grappling with intensity that can't be matched by many besides these two. Awesome stuff, even if this match may be a little overhyped. I also have to mention the insane headbutt Benoit hit on Angle literally from one side of the ring to the other. Truly a sight to behold. Angle retains after a helluva contest. Team Angle joins him for a celebration post match.

Match rating - ****1/4

Rob Van Dam is backstage stretching when Kane walks up. Kane comes up and says RVD is a great tag team partner, but he will be doing whatever it takes to win tonight. RVD understands and encourages him to do so because he will be doing the same.

6) Royal Rumble Match

Alright y'all. ITS TIME. My first time watching this Rumble. I am not gonna cover EVERY entry in a live result coverage format, but I will cover highlights and stuff that stands out to me. Shawn Michaels starts out as has been hyped for weeks now. Jericho comes out for #2.. except he doesn't? It's Christian dressed as Jericho. Jericho sneaks in from behind and nails HBK with a low blow followed by a chair shot. Okay I fuck with that as the start, definitely something different and classic Jericho heel shit. Chris Nowinski is next and jesus.. what a disappointing third entrant. WHERE's the Smackdown guys? HBK is bleeding now and Nowinski refuses to get in the ring and lets Jericho beat on Shawn. #4 is REY REY MYSTERIO LEGGGGGOOO.

Mysterio flies around with Jericho and it's lovely. Nowinski still isn't in the ring and I think Shawn rolled to the floor or some shit?

Jk, I missed Jericho eliminating Shawn and caught it when I went back to do gif's

They do a Kofi esque escape spot where it looked like Rey would slip off as he's holding onto the corner post, but he gets back in. Nowinski jumps him, though. JUST IN TIME for #5 EDGEEEEEE. His buddy <3 Edge spears Jericho and Nowinski and REY REY WITH THE HURRICANRANA WOOOOOOO. Edge & Rey have cleared the ring, no eliminations, though. Now they're face to face and have to get physical :( Edge goes for a spear only to miss and Rey goes for a 619, he misses and Edge brings him to the ropes and they both almost go OVER HOLY HELL. This sequence is awesome. WEST COAST POP.. NOO-- EDGE CATCHES REY WITH A POWERBOMB. #6 is Christian.. for real this time and he... hugs Edge. Edge don't give a god damn despite acting like he's down to partner up for a second and he spears Christian. Rey ends up on Edge's shoulders and Nowinski tries to shove them both and ITS SO CLOSE TO AN ELIMINATION AGAIN FOR BOTH OF EM. Chris thinks he actually got them out and EDGE AND REY TANDEM DROPKICKS FROM THE TOP TURNBUCKLE ON HIS ASS. Then they go into a double bronco buster on Nowinski and Christian. 
Okay.. I said I wasn't gonna cover every entrant, but fuck it. This is fun. #7 is Chavo who goes right for Rey Rey and it's more awesome wrestling. Praise these motherfuckers. 619 TO CHAVO. WEST COAST POP. 619 TO CHRISTIAN AND ANOTHER WEST COAST POP...NOPE. Christian ducks and Rey lands on Nowinski. Nowinski catches him and tries to eliminate him, but Rey slings him out with a leg scissors instead. Rey is still in BUT JERICHO CLOTHESLINES HIM OUT. BOOOOO. Great spot, though. #8 is Tajiri. Things slow down for a second here. #9 is big Bill Demott. That gross white fuck starts wailing on everyone. #10 is Tommy Dreamer. 

He has a trash can full of shit. ECW chants break out. Kendo sticks are in and he nails everyone with them. EDGE AND DREAMER DOUBLE TEAM BILL DEMOTT WITH THE STICKS AND HE FALLS OUT OF THE RING. I think that's an elimination? I hope. Dreamer gets thrown out by Jericho, though so that ECW fun is over. Tajiri with a damn springboard handstand kick thing to take out Edge and Chavo. Tajiri then locks Jericho in the tarantula, but gets eliminated when the hold is broken. #11 is B-2. B squared Bull Buchanan's last big hoorah here and he's thrown out just about as soon as he's in. Bye :/ MEANWHILE EDGE SPEARS CHAVO OFF THE APRON. Jericho almost gets tossed out, but HANGS ON AND TOSSES EDGE & CHRISTIAN OUT. #12 is Rob Van Dam. Jericho has a huge bloody knot on his head, presumably from Dreamer's kendo stick earlier. Van Dam lights shit up and goes after Y2J. #13 is Matt Hardy. Shannon Moore is with him. Matt's ass about fell down running to the ring but HE MAKES IT GOD DAMMIT. Jericho & Hardy team up representing for AEW 2021. #14 is Eddie Guerrero. Jerry Lawler misses since Eddie left Raw and says "he's still hot" -- Van Dam & Eddie have a fun exchange. Hardy spoils the party and tries to work with Eddie. Frog splash to RVD. Hardy catches Eddie with a Twist of Fate immediately after. #15 is JEFF HARDYYY. It's Hardy and Hardy, but JEFF DONT WANT IT. CROWD IS GOING NUTS, JEFF STARTS WHOOPING MATT'S ASS AND WE LOVE TO SEE IT. Shannon Moore puts his feet up and balances Matt causing him to not be eliminated when Jeff tries to throw him out. Moore than sacrifices himself and takes a Swanton from Jeff by laying on Matt to block it. #16 is ROSEY REIGNS. Everyone's favorite Rico is with him. #17 is Test. Stacy is with him. Test clears house, but doesn't eliminate anyone. #18 is JOHN CENA. 

Cena raps almost the entire minute until the next entrant and it's pretty hilarious. Van Dam throws him in as he's had enough. #19 is Charlie Haas. Ring is getting pretty full, now. #20 is Rikishi. Rikishi lights up Cena, Jericho, and a few others with superkicks. RIKISHI AND ROSEY FACE OFF. Little bit of team work from the family before Rikishi gets nailed by Rosey. On another note, I just noticed Cena is in jeans which is weird. #21 is Jamal. Rico runs with him to the ring. I guess that motherfucker is all over the place tonight. 

"B to B there... Backside to belly!" -Jim Ross

#22 is KANE. Ring is hella packed, right now. Assuming Kane's about to throw some people out... but not before he chokeslams Rico from the apron into the ring. ROSEY IS OUT. Kane then grabs Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore for a double chokeslam. They tease another Jericho elimination, but he hangs on. #23 is Shelton Benjamin. #24 is Booker T. Kane almost ruins his time immediately, but Booker fights out and nails a scissors kick. We get a Royal Rumble spinaroonie and a Chavo Guerrero elimination off a backdrop. #25 is A-Train. 

Jim Ross: "Boy here's a big horse let me tell ya!"

Okay so a bloody Shawn Michaels runs down to go after Jericho. Apparently Shawn was eliminated earlier and I missed it. FORGIVE ME. This leads to Test eliminating Jericho and an AWESOME brawl between Jericho and HBK. Refs carry Shawn out as #26 Maven runs down. #27 is Goldust. #28 is Batista. Lets go! Sorry for the slow down on coverage, took a break to listen to Ginseng Strip 2002 by Yung Lean <3 

Test tries to throw out Batista, but eats shit himself HAHA. I love Dave. He eliminates Rikishi next. #29 is BROCK FUCKIN LESNAR OOOOOOO MYYY.. WE ARE NOW LIVE, LADIES. I'd be content with Brock eliminating everyone right now. Benjamin & Haas try to eliminate Brock, but he throws them out instead. THEN A F5 to MATT HARDY ONTO TEAM ANGLE. FUCK. JR FREAKED OUT FOR THIS TOO LMAO. #30 is next and I gottttaaa feeeeeelin. #30 is.......


"And he is whippin some ass like a ... government mule!"-J.R.

American Badass music hits and he has the damn motorcycle and all. I thought we were getting old school Taker due to the first few vignettes... BUT AIGHT. Taker throws Maven out. Big A-Train is waiting though and sit out powerbombs Taker. Kane and RVD eliminate A-Train soon after, though. Kane then turns on RVD and throws him out. Kane and Batista collide next. We are now left with Taker, Brock, Batista, and Kane. I FUCK WITH THIS. Taker/Brock staredown!!!! First time since Hell in A Cell. Batista & Kane interrupt this moment. Taker and Batista go at it, foreshadowing 2007. Batista hits him with a spinebuster and he & Kane turn to Brock. Brock fights out and BELLY TO BELLY ON BATISTA. Brock catches Kane with a damn F5, but TAKER IS UP. WE BACK AGAIN BABY. STAREDOWN AGAIN. Brock boots Taker and they slug it out! Taker wins this exchange with a boot to the face. TOMBSTONE TO BROCK. 


Taker eliminates Batista and Taker & Kane SHAKE HANDS. But TAKER TURNS ON HIS BROTHER MOMENTS AFTER AND KANE IS ELIMINATED. Batista is back in and it's enough of a distraction for Brock to throw Taker out!!! BROCK WINS THE RUMBLE AND IS GOING TO WRESTLEMANIA. This is perfect because we know where this ends.. Brock finally gets his hands on Kurt Angle!

So, this was a good Royal Rumble! Obviously considering I live reviewed the whole damn thing. I've only reviewed a few Rumble's and if they're good this tends to be how I do it, because a good Rumble leaves you with so much to talk about and constant excitement and although this one had a few dull moments, it was pretty much hype from beginning to end. There weren't any HUGE moments or remarkable memories and the finish wasn't as hype as some may have wanted, but it was really good and it all made sense so yeah. I had fun. Four stars!

Match rating - ****

Post-match confrontation between Brock and Taker sees Taker mouth "that's two times you've got me now" and then motions as if Brock is gonna win the belt and offers him a hand tap of respect. ITS BROCKS TIME BABY.

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