Thursday, May 11, 2023

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE SummerSlam 2003 Review - August 24th, 2003

WWE SummerSlam 2003
August 24th, 2003
Phoenix, Arizona

World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H (since 12/15/02)
Intercontinental Champion: Christian (since 8/10/03)
World Tag Team Champions: La Resistance (since 6/15/03)
WWE Women's Champion: Molly Holly (since 7/28/03)
WWE Champion: Kurt Angle (since 7/27/03)
WWE United States Champion: Eddie Guerrero (since 7/27/03)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (since 7/3/03)
WWE Cruserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio (since 6/5/03)

Commentators - Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, & Tazz

The show opens with Lillian Garcia singing the national anthem. She kills it.

Opening video package is amazing. Maybe my favorite of the year? Although.. it sort of doesn’t fit the Summerslam vibe, it was very dark. But so so so good so I can’t complain. 

Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler welcome us. The 2nd ever Elimination Chamber match is tonight. Cole & Tazz speak for a minute then they send it to the Spanish announce team. 

1) La Resistance (Sylvan Grenier & Rene Dupree) (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) - World Tag Team Championship Match

This was better than expected even though it’s largely still not great. It’s saying something that a La Resistance match is getting into to two star territory though. The Dudleyz are all about America tonight so they show fire early. La Resistance isolates Bubba. Things break down and Rob Conway shows up again disguised as a camera man and helps La Resistance retain the titles. The crowd was really into this during the second half. Really just your basic Dudleyz match with La Resistance penciled in. 

Match rating - *3/4

Backstage, Christian asks Eric Bischoff what happened between him & Linda then 

2) The Undertaker vs. A-Train (w/ Sable) 

I was kinda stoked for this. They’ve had good matches in the past, but this was just.. sluggish. No real bombs, just plodding stuff with camera shots of Sable watching on. It’s especially disappointing considering both men were in great runs this year match quality wise, this really should’ve been a banger, but instead it’s just ok. Nothing insulting just.. there! Taker wins and Sable tries to rub on him after the match. Taker grabs her by the throat and…

Match rating - **1/4

Steph’s music hits and STEPHANIE MOUNTS AND LAYS INTO SABLE. A-Train saves Sable from like.. dying. Hell yea. That was pretty good. Taker celebrates as Steph claps for him. 

Jonathan Coachman is interviewing fans at ringside on who they think will win. Two people in the front row say Goldberg.. oh, of course. Fuckin dorks. 

3) Shane McMahon vs. Eric Bischoff 

“Bischoff has gone up and down more than an Otis elevator.” -Jim Ross 

This video package and “match” made me want to never watch WWE again. But that’s happened a lot over the years so I most definitely will continue. The best part of this for me was seeing the formation of the Bischoff/Coachman partnership that would be a big part of Raw during my childhood in 2004-2006. I had no idea it started here. Other funny part is Stone Cold’s reaction when Shane hits the flying elbow on Bischoff through the announce table. 

Match rating - 1/2* 

Backstage, Ric Flair is trying to drill the plan for Chamber tonight into Randy Orton’s head - keep the title on Triple H. Orton keeps worrying about the “what if” of him winning and Triple H walks up and puts him in his place. Ah man this got me so hyped. 

4) Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Chris Benoit vs. Rhyno vs. Tajiri - United States Championship Match

Thanks to these guys for giving us something worth a fuck. A first on this show. Guerrero is fresh off a heel turn so there’s some fire there and I mean.. Eddie, Benoit, and Tajiri? That’s bound to fuck. Those three do more than enough to cover up any rough patches Rhyno has because all he has to worry about is hitting his shit. So yeah.. this was a hoot. They busted ass and delivered a great four way. Guerrero retains off a frog splash. 

Match rating - ***1/4

5) Kurt Angle (c) vs. Brock Lesnar - WWE Championship Match

This sure happens. It’s a great Brock assault for the first half. He just dominates and looks awesome. Kurt begins mounting a comeback and Vince comes down with a chair while Angle has Brock in the ankle lock. The ref had just gotten knocked down so Vince cracks Kurt with the chair. Angle is still able to overcome though and forces Brock to tap to retain the title much to the shagrin of Mr. McMahon at ringside. After the match, Angle hits the Angle Slam on Vince through the same chair he hit him with. 

Match rating - ***1/4 

They show the winner of the latest Diva Search contest in the crowd. I don’t even remember her, but now I’m curious what she’s up to now because her WWE tenure obviously didn’t last. 

6) Rob Van Dam vs. Kane

“He’s acting like the by product of an inbred mongrel dog.” -Jim Ross

First off, what the FUCK is Jim Ross talking about. We get all the replays of Kane’s recent hell raising including setting JR on fire and tombstoning Linda. Van Dam charges Kane immediately at the bell, but gets swatted down. Weapons get involved. JR yells so much belligerent shit. They brawl around ringside and stuff and it’s fine! Kane tombstones RVD on the steel steps and some dorks start chanting ECW.. what? Anyways. That ends things. Good match, to be honest. 

Match rating - ***

7) Triple H (c) vs. Goldberg vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton vs. Kevin Nash - Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Title 

This is my second time talking about/watching this in the last 8 months. With that in mind, it’s interesting seeing how well this holds up. Two viewings in a relatively short time and I was just as entertained and invested in the stories they told here. The tiny Orton nugget where everyone wondered if he would stay loyal to H was a nice little touch outside of the main course of Goldberg killing everyone and finally get his hands on Hunter. Jericho & Nash and Jericho & Michaels have also been having their issues so there’s a thread between everyone here. All those minor things are touched on early before the tide turns as Kevin Nash gets eliminated and Triple H’s pod opens. Shawn Michaels super kicks him immediately and Nash destroys everyone before leaving the chamber. This leads to the final pod being open and that pod belongs to none other than Goldberg. Despite my own personal opinions on Goldberg, it can’t be denied that this rocked. Goldberg spends the next 6-7 minutes killing everyone. He spears Jericho through the plexi glass pod. He hits a jack knife on a bloody Shawn Michaels to eliminate him. Before we know it, Goldberg has eliminated everyone and the crowd is going ballistic. He turns his attention to Triple H who has been hiding in his pod the entire time. Flair tries to hold the door shut from the outside so Goldberg puNCHES THROUGH THE PLEXI AND STARTS THROWING RIGHT HANDS AT THE GAME. Goldberg starts ripping H apart and throwing him into the chamber. H starts bleeding and it looks like we might be getting a new champion, BUT NOPE. The Game always finds a way. Flair slides the sledgehammer in through the chamber, H nails Goldberg with it and gets the pin to retain. DAMN. It really felt like it was Goldberg’s time and even on rewatch, I couldn’t remember who won and I was on the edge of my seat waiting on a title change. The finish could be seen as flat, but truthfully it’s made up for by how great the rest of the match was and the post match assault that H & Evolution lay on Goldberg. They bloody him and JR sells the hell out of it and says THERE WILL BE HELL TO PAY FOR TRIPLE H BY GOD. So, yeah, this was a great match even if it seems obnoxious watching some of this back and seeing how overly hard they were pushing H at the time and how many shitty finishes they pulled. It worked here, though. 

Match rating - ***3/4 

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