Saturday, July 2, 2022

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Vengeance 2003 Review - July 27th, 2003

WWE Vengeance 2003
July 27th, 2003
Denver, Colorado 

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

This is the first Smackdown solo PPV of the brand split era. 

1) Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero - United States Tournament Finals 

My god. This was fucking great. They really let these two go out here and work an almost 20 minute barnburner to kick this show off. People talk about all time great openers and I’ve never heard this one brought up, but I’d say it should be in the conversation. The only flaw this has may just be personal preference, but in the final few minutes, things seemed to lose focus and shift toward a ton of false finishes and nearfalls and even some interference as Rhyno runs down. He seems to be trying to help Benoit as Eddie tries to cheat, but instead TURNS AND SPEARS BENOIT. And as a result, Eddie steals the win. I did not expect that. But yeah, this was fantastic, check it out if you haven’t seen it. One of the best WWE matches of the year. 

Match rating - ****1/4

Backstage, Vince has some flowers and pretends they’re for Steph, but they’re actually for Sable. 

2) Jamie Noble vs. Billy Gunn (w/ Torrie Wilson) 

They’re calling this the indecent proposal match. If Jamie wins, he gets to sleep with Torrie LIVE ON SMACKDOWN ON THURSDAY. Noble comes out with his “love case” that, in his own words, is filled with sex toys and oils. Gunn charges him at the ramp and this is a fun enough comedy match after that barnburner of an opener. Nidia ends up walking down to ringside. She & Torrie both get involved and Noble ends up catching Gunn in a roll up and getting the three count. Tazz says Noble just won the lottery. 

Match rating - **

Backstage, Bradshaw & Ron Simmons talk Funaki into attending the bar room brawl tonight. Apparently the Easter bunny will be involved also as he hops across the screen in front of them during the interview. 

“Tazz… Spanky is dancing on the bar.” -Michael Cole

The APA Bar Room Invitational thing happens here. They have a little bar set up down below the stage in the area the Raw commentary booth normally is. Mostly everyone is already out, but a couple people get their own entrances. Brother Love cuts a stupid promo to begin and prays for everyone which allows him to get the advantage in the match as he smashes a bar stool over someone while asking for forgiveness. This has some funny spots and Matt Hardy puts Doug Basham & Chris Kanyon through a table. It’s largely about Bradshaw & Simmons destroying everyone, though. 

3) Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (c) vs. Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman - WWE Tag Team Title Match 

This was great. Benjamin & Haas are just so awesome in the role they are in. They cut the ring off and dominate the cruserweights here. Mysterio & Kidman have an early flurry and things break down near the end which showcase them. The only negative here for me was thinking how much more awesome this would have been if it was someone besides Kidman teaming with Mysterio and being the face in peril. He did better than expected, but lord it could’ve been monumental if it was someone better at those things. None the less, the final few minutes are fucking nuts. Some great counters and nearfalls that had me biting. In the end, Haas & Benjamin retain. 

Match rating - ***3/4

4) Stephanie McMahon vs. Sable

This was cheeks. They meander through some brawling or whatever. Steph takes Sable’s top off.. or attempts to. So, Brian Hebner, the referee takes off his shirt (LOL) and tries to hand it to Sable. While he’s doing this, A-Train runs down and mows into Stephanie and doesn’t stop running and leaves through the crowd. That was pretty funny even though it wasn’t intended to be. This allows Sable to get the victory. 

Match rating - 1/2*

5) John Cena vs. The Undertaker 

Taker puts ON for Cena here. Taker has the upper hand early and beats Cena’s ass all over the ring and outside of the ring. Cena ends up taking over and throws bombs at Taker. Taker sells internal bleeding out of his mouth and just bumps around like a madman for John. This just rocked. The drama near the end was great. Cena gives Taker an FU and gives us a big nearfall that the commentary sold well. Taker rebounds with a last ride for the win. This one made Cena. 

Match rating - ***1/4

6) Mr. McMahon vs. Zach Gowen 

I surprisingly didn’t hate this. Vince is so good at being a complete piece of shit. And Zack is on one leg for christ sake. It does sort of drag, but the crowd is honestly invested and makes this work pretty well. The commentary duo does a good job selling Zack’s comeback also. Really good effort from the kid here. Vince tries to use a chair and it backfires as Zack kicks it into his head and splits McMahon open BADLY. Zack tries to capitalize on this by attempting a twisting moonsault while McMahon is pouring blood, but misses and Vince covers the three count. As said before, this is fine, but I am SO GLAD this feud is over now. 

Match rating - **1/4

7) Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Kurt Angle vs. The Big Show - WWE Championship Match 

Video package for this rules. It’s Triple Threat so there’s no disqualifications and really, this is just like your cookie cutter WWE triple threat. The more of these I watch back, the more bummed I am that they all follow the same basic formula. Yes, you get blood and some cool spots. A table bump or two. But it’s all so spaced out and just.. the same stuff you always see. I will say I loved the Angle countering a chokeslam into an Angle Slam on Show through a table spot. Everything else here was average though. Angle pins Show to regain the WWE Championship. Good match for what it is, but that’s it.

Match rating - ***

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