Review for WWE SummerSlam 2003, August 24, 2003, Phoenix, Arizona
I can honestly say I haven't seen this since this PPV since it aired back in 2003, and the only thing I remember about it is the endings of the two world title matches. The post WrestleMania XIX period is about as bad it gets for me and was really where I started to lose my enthusiasm for wrestling (it would get revitalized when Benoit finally got his big push in 2004 and Raw suddenly became amazing for 6 months). The reign of terror over on Raw with Triple H was unbearable to watch, and SmackDown had gotten incredibly lame. So, being removed from the hatred of the period and watching with a fresh set of eyes, let's see how it holds up.
Hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for Raw, and Michael Cole and Tazz for SmackDown.
RAW TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: La Resistance vs The Dudley Boyz
Dudleys attack in the aisle, and we start with D'Von dominating Dupree and chokes him with the coat. He geta caught in the Frenchies corner but comes back with a shoulderblock and legdrop. Grenier catches him with a boot for 2. Bubba comes in slugs away in the corner. He fights off both champs and they clean house. Cheapshot finally turns the tide and Dupree gets a backdrop suplex and elbow for 2. They get a double shoulderblock. Dupree gets a bearhug but D'Von breaks it up. Bubbabomb on Grenier and hot tag to D'von. He cleans house, hitting a flying clothesline on Dupree. Champs catch up with High Times. Bubba returns and the Dudleys give Grenier a 3D, it's all over but Dupree pulls the referee an Rob Conway (who doens't have a name yet) sneaks in disguised a camera man and knocks out D'Von to give the champs the pinfall at 7:50.
This was like a Raw match with a lousy, screwjob finish. How did these guys get a PPV match and The World's Greatest Tag Team didn't? (*1/2)
Jonathan Coachman talks to the Dudleys and says what La Resistance did was clever. Dudleys will not rest until they get the belts back. Backstage Christian bitches to Eric Bischoff about not having a match on PPV, Bischoff blames Steve Austin and tells him he'll tell the whole World what happened with Linda McMahon in the bedroom later.
The Undertaker vs A-Train
Sable is with A-Train here at ringside. Lockup starts and Train grabs a headlock. He misses an elbow and goes back to the headlock. Taker comes back with a Russian legsweep for 2. He pounds away in the corner but gets elbowed and hammered. Taker gets a DDT for 2. He works over the arm and then hits a flying clothesline. Old school, and then he charges but misses and ends up on the floor. Train drives him into the post and gets 2. He stomps away at the ribs and chokes away. This match is slow and boring to say the least. Train gets a suplex for 2 and slugs away. Taker elbows back and gets a sleeper, but gets suplexed. Taker gets snake eyes but they both clothesline each other and lie around. They slug it out again and no one is buying A-Train has having any chance here, which he doesn't, and indeed Taker gets the best of it. Big boot and legdrop get 2. Guillotine on the apron and a pair of clothesline but the ref gets bumped, oh good the ref gets bumped in this match, even better. Chokebomb gets 2 and the ref gets bumped again. Train with a bicycle kick and he gets a chair. It gets kicked back in his face for 2. Train escapes the tombstone but can't escape the chokeslam and Taker gets the pin at 9:19. Sable hits on him after the match but he grabs her by the throat and Stephanie McMahon comes out for revenge before Train saves. I guess Stephanie has forgiven Taker for the kidnapping and dark wedding stuff a few years earlier then? Good to see she doesn't hold a grudge.
Boring and dull match, nobody bought A-Train has having any kind of a chance anyway. I dunno what the purpose of all that ref bumping was either. (3/4*)
Coach interviews fans so we don't forget he's at ringside.
Eric Bischoff vs Shane McMahon
Bischoff is a sleazy bastard and Shane is standing up for his family, but his problem is with Kane so I dunno why this happening. Bischoff does a pre-promo about how he bagged Linda. Shane beats him up to start and Bischoff tries to bail, but Shane doesn't let him. They brawl outside with Shane beating him up. Eventually Jonathan Coachman lays him out with a chair and makes his heel turn. Bischoff says he's making the match no DQ/Falls Count Anywhere. He dominates now, JR and Kings mics gets cut so Coach can do commentary, he's actually almost funny doing his JR impression. Shane fights back with a DDT but Coach goes low on him. Finally Steve Austin comes down to put a stop to this nonsense. Coach gloats about how Austin can't touch him without provocation, so Shane shoves him into Austin and he gets a beating. Shane uses Bischoffs hand to slap Austin so Austin can attack him, and Bischoff eats a stunner, pull up at 2. Shane sets him up on the Spanish table and drops the super elbow to finish at 10:30.
I don't even know what to make of this. It's not really a match, and it's not an entertaining angle. Coach was kind of funny I guess, and Shane's super elbow is always cool. (1/4*)
US TITLE MATCH: Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit vs Rhyno vs Tajiri
Rhyno and Benoit were tag partners, but Rhyno was jealous and turned on him. Eddie and Tajiri were tag team partners but Eddie turned on him for messing up his lowrider. Benoit tosses Tajiri to start but Rhyno lays him out. Clothesline and Benoit chops back and takes him down with a crossface. Eddie saves and retreats again. Tajiri comes in a drops a knee on Benoit for 2. Eddie gets a few more shots in a retreats again. Rhyno clothesline Tajiri for 2. Chops by Benoit and Tajiri gets 2. Rhyno chokes Benoit in the corner and then gores Eddie in the other corner. Powerslam gets 2. Benoit with a snap suplex for 2, and then backdrop suplexes Tajiri. Eddie dumps Benoit and Rhyno and chops Tajiri but gets monkey flipped. Backbreaker gets 2. Rhyno tosses Tajiri and goes after Eddie, but Benoit goes after Rhyno. Rhyno charges and Eddie gets 2. Rhyno superplexes Eddie for 2. Tajiri kicks the shit out of him and gets 2. He tries the same with Benoit but changes to a handspring elbow for 2. Rhyno hits Eddie with a backdrop suplex for 2. Eddie comes back with a tilt a whirl headscissors and hits Benoit with a ropewalk headscissor. Benoit and Rhyno brawl. Eddie gets a lasso from El Paso on Tajiri. Rhyno saves but gets crossfaced by Benoit. Tajiri makes the ropes so Eddie breaks up the crossface. Benoit takes him down with the crossface until that's broken up. Rhyno hits a spinebuster on Tajiri for 2. Benoit kicks Rhyno out of the ring and Tajiri knocks him down with a handspring, but Benoit gets the rolling germans on him. Eddie interferes and Tajiri hits a bridged German for 2. Tarantula and while the ref is busy Eddie uses the belt to block the gore. Tajiri gets rid of him but Benoit hangs him in a tree of woe and does the diving headbutt on Rhyno for 2. Tajiri misses a kick and they go out and Eddie sneaks in for the pin at 10:53.
Well that was a disappointment given the talent involved. Just a standard fatal four way, with the usual problems these matches have, which is that they are usually just a bunch of moves with no real story going on. Eddie was the definitely the star of this, though and it was pretty fun to watch him doing his opportunist thing. (***)
SMACKDOWN WORLD TITLE MATCH: Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar
Mind games to start as Brock gives him in a clean break. Kurt takes him down with a facelock. They reverse each other and Kurt takes him down again with a headlock, and Brock takes a breather. Back to the headlock and Angle hangs on, but Brock kips up. Brock overpowers him in a lockup, but Angle shoves him into the corner. Angle takes him down with a pair of armdrags and Brock gets frustrated. He takes a walk and Angle goes out and they fight in the aisle and at ringside. Back in Brock misses a charge and Angle gets an overhead suplex for 2. Brock military presses him out of the ring. Angle meets the stairs outside. Back in Brock stomps away and gets an overhead suplex for 2. Another press but Angle rolls him up for 2. Brock follows that with a backbreaker for 2. Chinlock but Kurt makes the comeback only to get knee'd. Brock with a backbreaker and stomps away in the corner and chokes him out. Angle catches a rollup for 2 but gets knocked down again. Delayed fisherman suplex gets 2. He works Angle over in the corner, Angle tries to fight back but Brock wins. Brock charges into the ribs, but misses the second try. Angle shoulder blocks him and then clips him. Rolling germans gets 2. Overheard suplex but Angle Slam gets blocked and Brock comes back with a spinebuster for 2. F5 is countered, but it's botched and Angle drops an elbow for 2, then they break the first rule of wrestling by repeating the spot, Angle does it properly this time and hits a DDT. Straps come down and the Angle Slam gets 2. Ankle lock but Brock counters and the ref goes down. Anklelock but the ref is still out, Vince McMahon breaks that up with a chair shot. F5 gets 2, Vince calls for another one but Angle gets another ankle lock. Brock makes the ropes but gets pulled away, as we're willfully ignoring the rules at this point, and Brock taps at 20:48. After the match Kurt gives Vince an angle slam through the chair for a birthday present.
They were throwing each other around out there and loving it. Great match ruined a bit by overbooking. I didn't have a problem with Brock tapping out but you'd think if you were going to turn Brock Lesnar into a psycho killer that he wouldn't be tapping out in his first match. I was loving this match, but the McMahon involvment an definitely drags things down a little. (****1/4)
NO HOLDS BARRED MATCH: Kane vs Rob Van Dam
Kane was unmasked by Triple H (who else?) to set this up. But he had no scars from the fire so it made the entire story about the fire silly. They salvaged it with a really good explanation about how they were emotional scars and he was really just a messed up dude, credit for that. They brawl outside and Rob moonsaults him on the railing. Kane sends him into the post and grabs a ladder (why would Kane need a ladder?). He takes forever to bring it in the ring too, which allows Rob to kick it in face. Missile dropkick and they brawl out again. Rob gets tossed around.Back in Rob kicks him in the corner and some more flips and a legdrop for 1. Kane tosses him and Rob takes a bump into the railing. Kane rams the ladder into him and sets up a spot, very slowly. Back in and he gets 2. Kane stomps away and does some choking. Charge misses and Rob with more flips but gets tossed out and bumps into the railing again. Kane misses a flying clothesline but slips on the first try, second try goes better but he misses and Rob comes back with the ladder. DDT on the floor for Kane and he charges with the stairs but Rob trips him. Dropkick sends Kane into the crowd. Guillotine and he grabs a chair. Back in with a spinkick and rolling thunger on the chair, but Kane no sells and sits up. Dropkick with the chair, Van Terminator attempt misses and Kane tombstones him on the stairs to finish at 12:50.
Decent, but sloppy match here. These guys didn't have any chemistry at all but did their best. More questionable booking, though, they took Kanes mask off to revitalize the character and shoot him up the card, but instead of killing the midcarder here they had a competitive match. Not that it really mattered anyway as Kane was locked into the silly Shane McMahon feud for the next 3 months to cool him off completely anyway. (**1/4)
ELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH FOR THE RAW WORLD TITLE: Triple H vs Randy Orton vs Chris Jericho vs Goldberg vs Kevin Nash vs Shawn Michaels
I totally forgot about Nash getting his hair cut on Raw. Jericho and Shawn start. Hammerlock to start and Jericho rolls through a crossbody for 2. The crowd are chanting for Goldberg already. They work off a headlock into a pinfall reversal sequence. They slug it out and Shawn backdrops him, but Jericho goes for the Walls. Shawn reverses for 2. Jericho bulldogs him but Lionsault misses, but he recovers with a clothesline. Randy Orton is next in and he dropkicks Shawn out. Jericho chops him down. Orton hits a neckbreaker for 2. Jericho with an enzuigiri on Shawn for 2. Orton dropkicks him and stomps away. RKO but he gets backdropped out and Jericho stomps away. Kevin Nash is next in and he slugs everyone down. Jericho meets the steel and gets busted. Sideslam on Orton gets 2. Short arm clothesline gets 2 as the crowd want Goldberg. Jacknife attempt but he heats a Superkick by Shawn and Jericho covers him to send Nash home. Triple H is next, well sort of, he eats a superkick immediately, and it's so powerful that it knocks him out and Triple H lies there for quite a long time. Nash hadn't left yet and throws a tantrum and and jacknifes everyone before leaving. Shawn bleeds and we just fill in some time before Goldberg comes in. Finally he does, and he kills everyone, and the crowd goes nuts for him. Spinebuster for Orton, Jericho and Shawn try a double team but it's no good. Spear for Orton and Goldberg sends him home. Jericho with a missile dropkick for 2, but Golberg presses him into the cage. Shawn tries to attack but gets whipped and Goldberg goes out to deal with Jericho, and he does a wicked spear through the mini chamber. Shawn tries to comeback, dropping an elbow and warming up the band, but a spear and jackhammer send him home. Jericho is dead and it's academic for him, he takes a spear and jackhammer and we're down to Triple H and Goldberg. he hides in his chamber so Goldberg kicks in the plexiglass. Goldberg pounds on him for a bit but falls prey to the sledgehammer (which was handed to him by Flair) and Triple H pins him at 19:15 to win. Evolution beat up Goldberg after the match.
Fuck that finish. This was the reign of terror at it's best, as Triple H was injured and could barely move and still retained the title. That sucked all the life out of the hot crowd. Say what you want about Goldbergs 2003 run, but the people were into him here, they wanted to see him kill everyone and win the title. WWE for some reason, felt the money was in the chase (which was never the case with Goldberg). Triple H would do the job the next month at Unforgiven but the moment had passed by then and Goldbergs heat had diminished. The match was going along nicely, and picked up a lot when Goldberg came in and ran through everyone, and then ended on a pretty sour note. (***1/4)
The Lesnar/Angle match and the chamber match was fine, but I didn't really enjoy anything else on this show. I don't understand why the McMahons had to be all over this while guys like Rey Mysterio, Matt Hardy, John Cena, The Worlds Greatest Tag Team and Christian couldn't get a match to liven up the undercard a bit. Angle/Lesnar is the easy match of the night but it's the lesser of their 3 big matches. I gotta go thumbs down here.
Since we're here, and I'm probably never going to review it. Quick thoughts on the Iron Man Match between Lesnar vs Angle match from Smackdown on the September 18, 2003 edition. The commercial breaks really were annoying and I wish it had been on PPV instead, I don't understand why they didn't just do this at No Mercy, instead they went with Undertaker challenging Brock in that silly biker chain match that no one cared about and did the Iron Man Match on TV. The first half of this was pretty slow and not so great with Brock stalling outside the ring a lot. It took a long time to get going. The second half however, is unbelievably good, match of the year quality work. Overall, it's a great match and I give them all the credit in the world for pulling off a broadway in an era where the fans didn't have the attention span for it, but it's not the 5 star classic people make it out to be. (****1/2)