Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - July 17th, 2003

WWE Smackdown 
July 17th, 2003 
Columbus, Ohio 

WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar (since 3/30/03)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (since 7/7/03)
WWE Cruserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio (since 6/5/03)

Commentators: Michael Cole & Tazz

Replays of Brock Lesnar in the 3 on 1 Handicap Match from last week. 

TONIGHT: …another Handicap Match.. Kurt Angle against The Big Show, Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas

Mr. McMahon hits the ring to start the show. He says last week, Brock Lesnar was taught a lesson and this week, Kurt Angle will be taught one. Before Vince can get too far, Brock comes out to confront him. Vince immediately tells Brock not to cross the boss.. Brock says he doesn’t want to cross the boss, he wants to beat the boss. Brock challenges Vince to a match tonight. Vince accepts BUT NOT TONIGHT. He also tells Brock to leave the arena because if he interferes in Kurt’s match tonight, he will be stripped of the title and fired. Brock says he understands and he also understands can’t F5 him tonight, but he can say one thing “FU.” 

1) Chris Benoit vs. Matt Hardy - United States Title Tournament Match 

This was so much more than I anticipated. Sure, it’s 8 minutes, but it’s a jam packed, intense match. Hardy gets his nose busted and it really adds an extra sense of fire to it considering it’s against Benoit who always lays it in. Benoit locks the cross face across Hardy’s presumably bloody & broken nose and he taps. 

Match rating - ***1/2 

Backstage, Vince has a box of medicine for menstrual pain for Stephanie which is apparently a gift from Sable. Steph slaps it out of his hand. 

Meanwhile, Kurt Angle catches Brock Lesnar as he’s leaving the arena. They slightly argue a bit, but settle in Brock wishes Kurt good luck tonight and tells him not to get hurt because he doesn’t want any excuses when Vengeance rolls around. 

Back from commercial, Jamie Noble & Nidia are here. Noble apologizes for offering Torrie Wilson $10,000 for a night with them… and says he should OFFSR HER MORE. Nidia is confused as leaves while Jamie yells about how he has a match and asks where she’s going. 

2) Ultimo Dragon vs. Jamie Noble 

ULTIMOOOO. This gonna rule. Well.. it sort of does. Dragon runs through some offense including the moonsault. Billy Gunn & Torrie Wilson walk out as a distraction and it allows Ultimo to get the win.

Match rating - **

Oh wow.. John CENA IS IN A GRAVEYARD RAPPING ON THE UNDERTAKER LETS FUCKING GO THIS RULES. Cena pisses on a grave to close the segment. Seek this out if you haven’t seen it. 

Backstage, Bradshaw & Ron Simmons are handing out invites to the APA Bar Room Fight invitational thing at Vengeance. They hand one to Spanky and Simmons goes “wait.. no.. THIS IS A KID.” Spanky says he wants in because “chicks dig scars” wow.. so much to unpack here. Then they run up on Chris Kanyon. Kanyon says he has to get his cable hooked up that day and can’t make it. Bradshaw & Simmons tell him he doesn’t have an option and to get that rescheduled. 

3) Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman vs. Los Conquistadores 

“Why is he screaming right now?” -Tazz 

Haas & Benjamin are watching this backstage. This is fine. Rey & Kidman pretty much run through stuff for a minute or two and Kidman hits that rough looking SSP for the win. 

Match rating - *3/4

Vince McMahon is out next. He points out Stephanie’s “assistant” Sable up in the skybox. Vince says Sable is up there for Steph’s safety because Sable IS A HELL CAT. My fucking god. Because Sable stalks her prey then MOUNTS HER PREY AND GOES ON AND ON FOR HOURS. I’m screaming. This mktherfucker is insane. Vince goes on about Zach Gowen for a few minutes then WORD LIFE

JOHN CENA HAS ARRIVED BABY. Cena says “I ain’t here to hate, dawg” “OKAY OKAY”

Cena says everyone already knows what’s gonna happen to Taker when they face at Vengeance. So, he’s here to tell everyone what Vince is gonna do to Zach Gowan. Cena raps on it and throws out a shit ton of insults. Vince says Cena appreciates him coming out and that he reminds him of himself because he comes out and says what he wants and DONT CARE WHAY NOBODY THINKS!! WORD LIFE!! But nope.. no more good times. UNDERTAKERS MISIC HITS AND HE RIDES HIS ASS DOWN. Cena starts fucking with the steel steps and tries to toss them at Taker while he’s on the bike. Vince dips the fuck out and Cena & Taker go at it in the ring. Cena gets floored by Taker and runs off. 

4) Rhyno vs. Sean O’Haire 

Damn.. this Sean O’Haire dude hasn’t went away yet? Piper got released around a month ago and Sean is still trying to do something. He storms Rhyno and starts choking him with a cable. APA comes out and hands both men invites to the APA Bar Room Brawl Invitational. Match never starts. O’Haire leaves the ringside area excited. 

Up in the skybox, Sable returns her drink to a waitress because it’s “supposed to be chilled.” 

5) Eddie Guerrero vs. Billy Gunn (w/ Torrie Wilson) - United States Title Tournament Match 

Everyone here during the entrances just seemed like they were having so much fun. Even Eddie for a split second, despite being the heel and fresh off a turn. The match is solid as Eddie keeps things on track. Jamie Noble runs down and nails Gunn with a chair behind the ref’s back and Eddie steals the victory. This means we get Eddie/Benoit in the finals at Vengeance. Fuck yea. 

Match rating - **1/4

Up in the skybox again, Steph pours a glass over Sable and they start BRAWLINF. Sable throws her into cake and food and this shit just gets messy.. the two will lock horns at Vengeance. Man.. they’ve done a real good job building this PPV tonight. 

6) Kurt Angle vs. The Big Show, Shelton Benjamin, & Charlie Haas - Falls Count Anywhere Handicap Match 

How does his fucking rule so much? Idk, but it does. Everyone’s punches and bumping is great. They brawl out in the crowd and it’s awesome. Benjamin is tossed through a railing. Angle has Haas in the ankle lock in the crowd. Back in the ring, Zach Gowen runs down. Show goes to chokeslam him, but Angle recovers and stops him. ANGLEMSLAM TO BIG SHOW GOD SAMN. ANGLE SLAM TO BENJAMIN. Crowd is so hot for all of this. Haas runs in and ANKLE LOCK ON HIM AGAIN. Show breaks it up. Angle shows such fucking awesome baby face fire and the crowd is invested. Angle nails Show with steps and sends him over the barricade. The fight ends up back in the ring, Haas & Benjamin try to double team Kurt, but to no avail. Kurt locks Benjamin in the ankle lock and HE TAPS. Cole screams about how Angle pulled off the impossible. Fucking great shit. Best handicap match ever?!

Match rating - ***1/4

Show closes with Angle celebrating with Zach Gowen and Cole asking what Vince is gonna do to them next week. This show really rocked, guys. Still a whole nother week until the Smackdown exclusive Vengeance PPV and this felt like the go home show. Just sooo strong.  

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