Friday, April 8, 2022

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Monday Night Raw Review - June 23rd, 2003

June 23rd, 2003
New York City 

World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H (since 12/15/02)
Intercontinental Champion: Christian (since 5/18/03)
World Tag Team Champions: La Resistance (since 6/15/03)
WWE Women's Champion: Jazz (since 4/27/03)

Commentators - Jim Ross & Jerry "The King" Lawler

TONIGHT: Triple H defends the World Heavyweight Title against Kane, but if Kane loses.. HE MUST UNMASK ~~~

1) Test & Christian vs. Scott Steiner & Booker T (w/ Stacy Keibler)

This was actually passable unlike the majority of this feud, but it ends fairly abruptly so what does it really matter? Test & Steiner bring what Book & Christian started to a screeching hault so yeah fuck it. 

Match rating - * 

2) Maven vs. Christopher Nowinski (w/ Teddy Long) 

Maven wins with a roll up in less than 30 seconds. 

Chris Jericho is out next for the highlight reel. He brings out Lance Storm. Jericho is appalled at the disrespect that Stone Cold showed Storm last week. Storm comes out with a speech to rebuttal his side of the argument and supposedly prove that he has charisma. It isn’t long before Austin shows up on screen and has people move the Highlight Reel set out of the ring because there’s a match.. RIGHT NOW.

3) Chris Jericho & Lance Storm vs. The Dudley Boyz 

Ok this was pretty much a blast. Storm and Jericho work over Bubba after the early flurry of brawling. Great control segment then D-Von gets in. Things break down, some hot near falls, and stuff. The Dudleyz win a fun contest with the 3D. 

Match rating - **1/2

They replay more stuff highlighting Kane’s career and what led to the huge match later tonight. 

Backstage, Kane is staring into a mirror looking stressed about tonight’s match. 

Meanwhile, Randy Orton reads Ric Flair a passage from Mick Foley. Flair says Foley has never felt a woman’s breast. Alright then. Flair gets Orton fired up for their tag match later and says they also have to make sure Kane goes down and H leaves MSG as champion. 

4) La Resistance (Sylvan Grenier & Rene Dupree) vs. The Hurricane & Sgt Slaughter

Grenier & Dupree sing before the match. This lasts through a commercial and when we return.. STAND BACK! THERES A HURRICANE COMIN THRU. La Resistance are mad and tell him to find an American partner to face them. Hurricane says he already has and it’s.. SGT SLAUGHTER. How weird. USA chants start because as my good friend KC always says, WWE 2003 LOVES America for whatever reason. This doesn’t go very long. La Resistance wins off a cheap shot.

Match rating - *

Stone Cold Steve Austin is out next. He announces WrestleMania XX will be here in Madison Square Garden next year then brings out Mick Foley for a ceremony of sorts. Austin thanks him for being the referee in the cell last night. Bunch of ECW guys come out as well as Mr McMahon. They present him with the hardcore title in a case and stuff, plus he has a sick video package to boot. This was pretty awesome, honestly. I was waiting for some sort of punchline with Foley getting attacked, but it never happened thankfully. Just a nice moment to put Foley over and cap off his career. 

5) Shawn Michaels & Kevin Nash vs. Randy Orton & Ric Flair 

This is a simple formula and it’s good aside from expected flaws. Orton & Flair work Shawn over and it’s good. Nash gets the hot tag and stumbles through it well enough. The best stuff here was from Flair & Orton with Shawn just being Shawn. He comes back during the hot tag and wins with the superkick. 

Match rating - **1/2

During the break, Flair & Orton pass by Mick Foley talking to Vince McMahon in the hallway. He tells them nice match and that Orton proved himself. This pisses them off. They attack Foley and Orton punt kickS HIS WORTHLESS ASS DOWN THE STAIRS. Vince calls for help.. from a janitor. This disgusts JR on commentary. 

6) Goldberg vs. Rodney Mack (w/ Theodore Long) 


Backstage, Kane is looking in a mirror. RVD wishes him luck. Kane smashes the mirror and heads toward the ring. 

7) Triple H (c) vs. Kane - Title vs. Mask Match 

This should have been awesome, but I unfortunately knew how this would go. An iconic moment follows it, but the match itself is vintage H reign of terror stuff. Just extra as fuck for no reason and not in any sort of exhilarating way. H wins after Flair interference and two pedigrees. The story is fun, but the execution isn’t. 

Match rating - ** 

After the match, Van Dam comes down for the save for Kane. Kane unmasks and chokeslams Van Dam. I’ve seen this moment a bunch of times. Jerry yells “WHAT RHE HELL IS THAT?!” It’s crazy how big of a moment this was at the time as no one had ever seen Kane unmasked. Wild shit and the end of an era in some regard. 

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