May 18th, 2003
Charlotte, North Carolina
World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H (since 12/15/02)
World Tag Team Champions: Rob Van Dam & Kane (3/31/03)
WWE Women's Champion: Jazz (since 4/27/03)
WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar (since 3/30/03)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (since 2/6/03)
WWE Cruserweight Champion: Matt Hardy (since 2/23/03)
Before we get going, just want to plug the Up & Over Podcast episode that covers this show! If you prefer audio or just want a more in depth conversation with a couple of others on this event, you can check that out here on our YouTube page and there you can also find links to the episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc! NOW, let’s dive into this event….
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin hits the ring to start the show. He’s our new co general manager and god almighty that glass shattering never gets old. You can never go starting the show this way. Austin says he isn’t here to talk a lot, but he wanted to let everyone know he has his own personal skybox that he calls “redneck heaven” and he will be up there watching the show just like everyone else in Charlotte. Austin walks up from ringside through the crowd after roasting a drink with Tazz at the commentary table.
1) John Cena, Chuck Palumbo, & Johnny Stamboli vs. Chris Benoit, Brian “Spanky” Kendrick, & Rhyno
Cena’s music hitting as Austin is still on camera going to his skybox gave me fantasy ideas of what a Cena/Austin feud woulda been like.. dear lord. But yeah Basic THUGANOMICS hits and Cena does a rap to open the show. It’s the LIKE A MAFIA MOVE I HAVE U CHEERIN DA BAD GUYS. Yea you know what I’m talking about it’s on his DVD and shit. FBI is out next, who he’s teaming with them all the babyfaces make their individual entrances, but all wait together on the stage. They charge the ring and all the heels retreat. LOVE IT!! Bell rings and shit begins.
The crowd is pretty hot from Spanky which sort of surprised me, but he fuckin deserves it. I think the fact that he’s in this match alone is so fuckin cool. Unfortunately he’s isolated for a minute or two early. Benoit gets the hot tag, though and shit breaks down for real. Everybody hits stuff and it comes back around to Spanky being legal. He hits Cena with a flying dropkick from behind only to get eaten up by the numbers game as FBI double teams him and gets a busted, bloody eye in the process oof. Kendrick eats the pin and damn that was so short, I NEEDED MORE. It was fun, though.
Match rating - **1/4
Stone Cold is in the skybox getting hot dogs and beer from the waitress lady or whatever. Eric Bischoff enters and Austin doesn’t like it. He asks why he’s in here and Bischoff insists that everything they do as co-general managers is split 50/50 and that includes tonight. He offers Bischoff a hot dog and a beer. Bischoff wants his beer in a glass. Austin calls him a sissy and they do cheers and Austin belts it so half of Eric’s glass smashes into the mirror onto himself LMAO.
Cameras pan to some members of the Carolina Panthers at ringside.
2) La Resistance (Sylvan Grenier & Rene Dupree) vs. Test & Scott Steiner (w/ Stacy Keibler)
2 or 3 weeks ago, La Resistance made their debut on Raw confronting Steiner on some of his comments towards France. They attacked him and shit. Stacy Keibler talked Test & Steiner into becoming sort of a team after they had their bit of personal beef so Test made the save to help him and that leads us here. Grenier already sort of made his name by being the ref who helped Vince screw Hogan back at No Way Out although they haven’t really mentioned it much recently so I guess this is being seen as a fresh start. Test & Steiner show up with Stacy. Test still is annoyed with Stacy showing off her legs, that’s been ongoing for a month or two.
“41 and a half inches long I’ve heard.” -Jim Ross
Rene Dupree and Test start things off. Test slaps the dog shit out of him and lays in boots in the corner. Steiner gets in and lays shit in also. Story of this match really becomes Dupree & Grenier having an advantage because they’re an actual team and Test & Steiner continuing to show issues and their inability to work together. Which is fine I guess, and they displayed that well. It’s just nothing compelling in the slightest. La Resistance pin Steiner with a .. flapjack.
Match rating - 41 AND A HALF STARZ (*1/4)
Stacy hops in the ring to caress and check on Steiner. Test don’t like it and drags her away.
Josh Matthews is with Eddie Guerrero. Chavo is injured so he needs a replacement for the tag title match with Benjamin & Haas and he’s found one.. TAJIRI-SAN!!!! Tajiri says we LIE WE CHEAY WE STEAL. LEFS GOOOOO. The Ladder Match is next.
3) Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (c) vs. Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri - Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles
Oh yeah baby. This is one I’ve seen a few times before and I’m very excited to be revisiting it. I also hate that Chavo is injured, but it’s sick that Tajiri is getting the chance to get in a match of this stature. Benjamin & Haas meet Eddie & Tajiri in the entrance way at the bell and the brawl begins. No tags here, obviously. Shelton tosses the shit out of Eddie into a ladder. Insane wipeout spot. Benjamin & Haas point all their offense toward Tajiri as Eddie tries to recover and eventually hobbles back into the ring.
The first big set of spots sorta fall short as Haas & Benjamin are grabbing a ladder. Guerrero goes to send Tajiri over onto them and I’m not sure what happened or what was supposed to happen, but Tajiri had to hit the brakes because the ladder was there and fell awkwardly. Things soon get back on pace as WGTT try to climb the ladder and Tajiri HITS A BACK HANDSPRING INTO THE LADDER TO SEND THEM CRASHING TO THE MAT. Some great spots follow including a sliding dropkick from ladder to the crotch of Charlie Haas and a power slam from Benjamin to Eddie onto a ladder in the corner.
They continue a great pace here with WGTT hitting the fucking leapfrog spot on Tajiri on a ladder from a ladder.. fucking insane. The story, though, of Haas & Benjamin not knowing what to do with the ladders and being uneasy about them is front and center in this match. It shows when they hesitate and get caught in spots like Guerrero monkey flipping Shelton into Haas while Haas is trying to maneuver a ladder. Eddie follows this up with A FROG SPLASH ON BENJAMIN FROM NEAR THE TOP OF THE LADDER. Haas & Eddie end up at the top of the ladder aaaannnddd
SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB
Eddie begins the climb all over again, but Benjamin is stirring now. TAJIRI SPRAYS GREEN MIST INTO SHELTONS EYES AND EDDIE AND TAJIRI GRAN THE BELTS!!! NEWW CHAMPS! This was a great match with an easy to follow story. They didn’t go bonkers with pacing or spots, but they didn’t need to and they did just enough of the car crash shit, but not too much. Very good and focused match. Plus, the outcome is huge because Haas & Benjamin had been champs for A WHILE.
Match rating - ***1/2
Bischoff & Austin are arguing in the skybox about who should reach out and try to sign Eddie & Tajiri. They agree it’s a badass match and Austin has Bischoff a but ever. Funniest line of it all.. “how much more do I have to eat?!” Austin opens the skybox window to cut a promo. He says first off, shout out to the last match because it was badass. He wants everyone to coax Bischoff into sipping beer out of the can instead of the cup. He barely does it and Austin gets pissed and shows Eric how to properly drink a beer. Austin says he will launch Bischoff’s SORRY ASS RIGHT OUTTA THE SKYBOX if he doesn’t start DRANKIN.
Backstage, Terri is with Chris Jericho. He says his chances tonight are through the roof because he’s the highlight of the night. Roddy Piper shows up and yikes. If you watch this you’ll know what I’m referencing. But Jericho’s shit is pretty funny here telling Piper the retirement home is down the street. Piper says Jericho ripped off Piper’s Pit with the highlight reel gimmick. They go back and forth some more. They both end up more fired up for their matches than before and shit and yeah.
JR & King rehash the backstory to this Intercontinental Title Battle Royal and they show a video package for the history of the IC Title.
4) Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal
So, this title has been vacant since October of last year and now it’s time to crown a new champion. Pat Patterson is brought to the ring to present the title to whomever wins. PAT WE LOVE AND MISS YOU.
Val .. Venis .. is the first entrant. Yup. No more Chief Sean Morley thank the fuckin lord. He’s arrived here with the towel and all, HELLO LADIES. Too bad this motherfucker is still a dumb piece of dog shit in real life so fuck him. Up in the skybox, Bischoff is yellin ‘what is this?!’ LMAO.
JERICHO is out next after the camera pans to every horny lady they could find in the crowd during Val’s promo. Goldust, Lance Storm, Rob Van Dam well damn.. this new RVD entrance sucks ass. Sounds like they just took all the distortion off the guitar and turned the damn bass tone up loud as fuck lol. Christian is involved as well hell yeah. Test is back for his second match of the night and the final entrant is KANE BAH GAWD. Ooo kidding, Booker T is in as well! Jerry starts his bullshit immediately saying he doesn’t think Booker should be in the match.. man fuck off forever, please.
There’s a lot of eliminations early. Kane gets thrown out, but decides to hop back in and chokeslam literally everyone including his partner Rob Van Dam whom he is tag team champions with.. LMAO. That shit was so fucking funny to me for some reason.
“Why’s he in there?”
“Go ask him”
The final four are Book, Goldust, Christian and Jericho. We get a nostalgia kick as Booker & Goldust team up for a little bit only for Goldust to try and eliminate Booker, but Booker reverses and clotheslines him out of the ring. Jericho & Christian double team Booker for a while until Christian tosses Jericho out. After some struggle, Booker eliminates Christian to become the new Intercontinental Champion! Thank god. Booker deserved something for how much he’s been killing it lately.. well.. never mind. The ref didn’t see it supposedly and the match is restarted. Christian hits Book with the belt and throws him out to win. Really… fucking really? Booker has been the wrestler of the year on Raw all god damn year, made chicken salad out of chicken shit, and he can’t even have one moment. Maybe I’m so sour because Jerry started his shit talk as soon as we thought Booker had won. Or maybe I’m being worked.. idk but fuck this. Match was good, but I hate that finish.
Match rating - **3/4
There’s a bikini contest at this point in the show which I did not watch. Sorry fellas.
Back in the skybox, Eric Bischoff PUKES everywhere. Nice.
Backstage, Vince talks to Piper & Sean O’Haire about the plan for his match with Mr America Hulk Hogan or whatever tonight. Vince thanks him in advance for what he’s doing for him tonight.
5) Mr. America vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
How do I even review this and do I even review it? Like. This sucked. Zach Gowen is out with Hogan. Piper and Hogan do stuff for a few minutes. Vince walks down with Sean O Haire and distracts the ref while Sean is supposed to be hitting America with the pipe. Well, Mr. America ducks and O’Haire smashes Piper. Vince’s plan is FOILED. Mr. America covers Piper and Vince tries to slide in, BUT ZACH GOWEN GRABS THE BOSS AND STOPS HIM. That was pretty cool I guess! Match sucked though or maybe I just don’t give a fuck. Glad it’s over.
Match rating - *1/2
Backstage, TRIPLE H N HIS EX WIFE STEPHANIE MCMAHON COME FACE TO FACE ! Ahhhh!! Steph says two words to H.. be careful. He faces Kevin Nash with his World Heavyweight Championship on the line.. next.
6) Triple H (c) vs. Kevin Nash - World Heavyweight Championship Match
This story, not Nash/H specifically, but the H story recently involving HBK, Flair, & others has provided some great matches. That’s probably mostly thanks to Booker T, but that’s another conversation. With that in mind, though, I’m much more interested in this than I anticipated. Although, I fear it will into the tropes of matches from this Reign of Terror that left a lot to be desired.. like the Steiner matches.
Nash storms H during his entrance. The fuckin pyro is still going off and everything. HBK and Flair get involved and start brawling themselves. That was fun. We head back to the ring and Nash bum rushes H and starts working his ass over. Slow and brooding. And yeah.. this trails off into GAAAARBAGE ~~~ at least it started hot.
They hit some big moves on one another and no one cares until H breaks out the hammer and hits Earl Hebner with it and then the DQ is called and the boos deign down. Nash pulls his straps down and goes after H as officials try to lead him away from the ring.
Match rating - *3/4
So yeah, Nash brings H to the stage and puts him through the announce table. Awesome visual and even better call from JR. This angle ruled.
“They don’t have jalapeño peppers where you from?”
In the skybox, Bischoff has eaten too much and starts throwing up out the window. Austin makes fun of him and POURS BEER ON HIS WORTHLESS ASS. UH HUH.
7) Jazz (w/ Theodore Long) (c) vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline vs. Victoria (w/ Steven Richards) - Women’s Championship Match
“Come here you psycho bitch.” -Jazz to Victoria
Jazz yelling that phrase was just… amazing.. as she lifted Victoria up. So yeah this is fatal four way rules, one pinfall wins it, every woman for herself. Even if Jazz doesn’t get pinned she can lose the title so odds are against the champion. They do a cool double submission spot in the opening few minutes.
Match rating - **
8) Brock Lesnar (c) vs. The Big Show - Stretcher Match for the WWE Championship
I am an unapologetic enjoyer of the Brock Lesnar/Big Show feud in 02-03 so naturally I enjoyed this. However, I think everyone will be able to appreciate it, honestly. If for nothing else, for the simple humor of two guys of this size trying to place one another on a stretcher and wheel it 40 or 50 feet across a finish line. The story is there and subsequently, the believability is also. The stip may sound dumb, but it works and these two honestly kill it. It’s nothing I’d ever say to go out of your way to see, but it’s a dang good little main event and we have gotten many, many much worse matches from Big Show soooo yeah. It does drag a little here or there, but Lesnar firing up at the end makes it all worth it. Lesnar retains via the use of a fucking forklift to haul Show’s carcass across the finish line.
Main event - ***1/4