Tuesday, 7 June 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE Judgement Day 2003

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Event Poster

May 18, 2003
Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina

There was one glaring omission from the line-up card for WWE Judgement Day 2003:

Bill Goldberg. 

The former WCW star had been brought into the company to much fanfare and even been given a prominent position at the top of the card in a main event match with The Rock back at Backlash.

That match had bombed so badly, and the crowds had turned on Goldberg so quickly and so ruthlessly that tonight, WWE's latest big-money star wasn't even featured on the line-up. 

What we got instead were two big championship matches in Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar and Nash/HHH, and a whole bunch of Steve Austin & Eric Bischoff skits as WWE gave us the last non-big-four PPV to be co-branded for several years.







Let's get on and review this thing, shall we?


May God Have Mercy On Their Restless Souls

The Judgment Day theme always lent itself well to an awesome video package, and this year was no exception.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Tazz & Michael Cole



Our opening video mixed a spooky voice-over that spoke about the day of reckoning being upon us while we got even spookier shots of nooses and electric chairs.

All this was interwoven with clips highlighting our marquee matches for tonight’s show. This included Stephanie McMahon claiming that a stretcher match was the most barbaric match there is, a statement that is just factually incorrect.

After the eerie VO prayed for God to have mercy on their souls, pyro erupted as Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler welcomed us to Charlotte.

The Raw duo then sent us to Smackdown announcers Michael Cole and Tazz who, in turn, introduced us to the Spanish announce team as the familiar sound of glass shattering got Judgement Day 2003 officially underway.


Stone Cold in Red Neck Heaven

Kicking off the show, recently-appointed Raw General Manager Stone Cold Steve Austin came out to drink a little beer and raise a little hell.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Steve Austin kicks off the show



Austin insisted that he was ready to enjoy the show but wasn’t going to watch the show from backstage…

What?

In a locker room…

What?

In a chair…

What?

In a bathroom.

No, he was going to take his beer and watch all the matches from Red Neck Heaven, better known to you and me as a standard skybox.

Six-Man Tag
John Cena and The FBI (Johnny Stamboli & Chuck Palumbo w/ Nunzio) vs. Rhyno, Spanky, and Chris Benoit


WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - John Cena raps before his match



Prior to the bell, John Cena gave us a freestyle rap in which he put over his partners the FBI and wrapped up with an inevitable line about felatio.

Cena, Chuck Palumbo, and Johnny Stamboli then gave us a spirited opening contest as they duked it out with the seemingly random team of Rhyno, Brian “Spanky” Kendrick, and Chris Benoit.

The match was clearly designed to pop the crowd and get them pumped for tonight’s event without really meaning much of anything, and to that end, it certainly succeeded.

Fun and fast-paced, the whole thing was over in less than four minutes, but it was a reasonable match to kick off the show.

It ended with a win for the bad guys when The FBI double-teamed Spanky for the three count.
Your Winners: John Cena and The FBI

Out in the back, every day Man of the People Stone Cold Steve Austin had an assistant put sauce on his hotdog for him before the two were interrupted by Eric Bischoff.

Austin’s co-general manager reminded him that since they shared responsibility for running Raw, they also shared the skybox and all of its food and drink.

In a segment that was nowhere near as funny as it meant to be, Austin obliged and offered Sleazy E a hot dog and a beer, the joke being that Eric was apparently too big of a “sissy” to drink beer out of a can.

La Resistance (Sylvian Grenier & René Duprée) vs. Scott Steiner & Test (w/ Stacy Keibler)

Scott Steiner and Test had a problem with each other since Steiner came to the aid of the patter’s girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, back at Backlash 2003.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Test & Scott Steiner vs. La Resistance



Naturally, they were now doing the whole “partners who don’t get along” thing as they faced La Resistance in the French outfit’s PPV debut.

Sylvian Greenier and Rene Dupre hadn’t taken kindly to Steiner recently saying that hell and France were the same thing, leading to tonight’s match.

It was, in a word, a match.

I’ve seen much worse in my time, but I’ve also seen much, much better.

This one just kind of existed until Test accidentally knocked Stacy off the ring ropes into the waiting arms of Big Poppa Pump.

That set about the finish as Steiner got back in the ring but was accidentally booted in the face by his own partner and soon after succumbed to La Resistance.
Your Winners: La Resistance

Post-match, Keibler wanted to check on a fallen Freakzilla, but misogynist Test dragged her away.


Your Secret’s Safe With Me

Backstage, intrepid reporter Gregory Helms confronted Mr. America and suggested that his sources understood that America was actually Hulk Hogan’s secret identity.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Gregory Helms questions Mr. America about his true identity





Calling Helms’ Bluff, the masked man claimed that his own sources had actually told him that Helms was secretly The Hurricane.

Backtracking, the reporter mused that his sources may have been wrong while America gave in and admired that his sources might be mistaken too, brother.

The segment, which was way more fun than it sounds, ended with both men giving each other a “your secret’s safe with me,” nudge and a wink.

Across the way, Eddie Guerrero revealed that Tajiri would replace his injured partner Chavo Guerrero in a match against Team Angle tonight.

That was also a hugely enjoyable segment.

Ladder Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri


The term “spot fest” is often used negatively, but this wildly enjoyable tag team ladder match was proof that there can be such a thing as a good spot fest.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin head into battle



It was basically four guys wandering from one stunt to the next, but it was absolutely gripping from start to finish.

At this point I should mention the awesome Judgment Day entrance set which featured an enormous scaffold structure.

It looked mighty impressive and, honestly, if we don’t see somebody climb up it for a Shane McMahon style stunt tonight, I’m going to be disappointed.

Anyway, back to the match, this excellent contest saw Eddie and Tajiri get the better of Team Angle and scale the ladder to retrieve the gold.
Your Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions; Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri

Up in red neck heaven, Steve Austin made fun of Eric Bischoff for drinking like a sissy.

Meanwhile, Terri Runnels’ cleavage made it difficult to concentrate on Chris Jericho’s arrogant promo as he promised to become the next Intercontinental Champion.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Roddy Piper and Chris Jericho have a heated confrontation



Jericho was soon interrupted by another former champion, Roddy Piper.

The two didn’t like each other for some undisclosed reason and took plenty of shots at each other in an entertaining segment that ended with the two refusing to admit that they had a few things in common.

This was followed by a video package highlighting the history of the Intercontinental championship.

The title had been dormant since it was swallowed up by the World Heavyweight Championship in 2002 but Steve Austin had decided to reinstate it and tonight we would have a battle royal to determine the new champion.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal
Featuring: Val Venis, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Goldust, Lance Storm, Kane, Christian, Booker T

Prior to the match, the first-ever Intercontinental Champion, Pat Patterson brought out the new title belt, ready to present it to the winner of our battle royal.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Christian won the Intercontinental Championship



Val Venis then came out to the surprise of everybody, especially our announce team.

Val had previously been working as Chief Morley and had been fired by Eric Bischoff. Apparently, Steve Austin had hired Morely back as Val Venis just to screw with Bisch.

The rest of the competitors came out and gave us a better-than-average battle royal.

Everybody piled on Kane in the early going, but The Big Red Machine battled back and quickly eliminated Lance Storm before the numbers game proved too much and he was dumped on the outside.

The next few minutes then saw Rob Van Dam and Val Venis eliminated quickly and forgettable, leaving us with Booker T and Goldust facing Chris Jericho and Christian in what was tantamount to a tornado style tag match.

A brief rematch, of sorts, from their outing at No Mercy 2002, this one saw Goldust try to eliminate his buddy Booker, only for Mr. 5-Time to get a quick reversal and dump Dusty’s lad on the outside.

Christian then double-crossed Jericho, but was eliminated by Booker.

The problem was that the referee had been knocked out on the outside and never saw the elimination, so Christian stole the title belt from Patterson, knocked out Booker with it, and then eliminated him just in time for the official to see it and award him the match.

This was a good bout that I enjoyed a lot.
Your Winner and New WWE Intercontinental Champion: Christian

Out in the back, Sable talked smack to Torrie Wilson about their upcoming bikini contest then proceeded to oil herself down.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Torrie and Sable have words backstage



Torrie seemed strangely into it.

Bikini Contest
Torrie Wilson vs. Sable


Torrie made her way out first, dancing behind a screen with Lillian Garcia who was singing her theme tune before strutting to the ring.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Torrie Wilson & Lillian Garcia



With Tazz presiding over things, the two Playboy cover stars then took turns to disrobe and shake about a bit, with the crowds equally enthralled by both beauties.

Just as Tazz was about to declare the whole thing a draw, Torrie continued and stripped down to a thong and a revealing bikini top, earning her the win.

Before she left the ring, however, Wilson pressed herself up against Brock’s missus and gave her a slow, lingering peck on the mouth.

Sable was into it.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Torrie Wilson



As I’ve said in the past, I normally find these kinds of segments more embarrassing than erotic, but both ladies looked damn fine here and I can’t deny I enjoyed it.
Your Winner: Torrie Wilson

Out in the back, Eric Bischoff was struggling to keep up with all the food and drink Austin was plying him with, so Austin tricked the former WCW boss into eating super hot peppers and then drinking the juice from the jar.

That was pretty funny.

Across the way, Vince McMahon interrupted Roddy Piper’s conversation with his protégé, Sean O’ Haire, to give Piper a pep talk before his match with Mr: America.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review -  Vince McMahon speaks to Roddy Piper & Sean O' Haire



Vince reminded him that without Piper being on the opposite side of the ring to Hulk Hogan at events like Wrestlemania 1 and The Wrestling Classic, Hogan wouldn’t be what he was today.

This was followed by a clip from Smackdown where Mr. America handed a US flag to a “kid” at ringside before interrupting a Piper’s Pit segment and getting his ass beaten down by Hot Rod and O’Haire.

The “kid” had then raced to America’s aid but got his ass handed to him too and his artificial leg ripped off, much to Piper’s horror.

That “kid” was, of course, Zach Gowan.

Rowdy Roddy Piper (w/ Sean O’Haire) vs: Mr. America (w/ Zach Gowan)


WWE Judgement Day 2003 - Mr. America and Zach Gowan



Prior to the match, America introduced Gowan as his special guest then proceeded to lock up with Piper in their first PPV singles contest since WCW Halloween Havoc '97.

What followed was not a great match by any stretch.

Piper looked to be in horrible shape and couldn’t really do much of anything. Despite this, he played to what strengths he had at this point in his career to at least pop the crowd.

Towards the end, Sean O’Haire tried to hit Hogan with a pipe but accidentally hit his own manager instead.

Vince McMahon then tried to stop Hogan from getting the fall but was prevented from doing so by Gowan.

The whole thing lasted less than five minutes and was a far, far cry from the kind of battles these two would have in their prime.
Your Winner: Mr. America

Post-match, the masked man put Gowan in the corner while he busted out that famous post-match Hogan posedown routine.

Out in the back, Smackdown General Manager Stephanie McMahon advised her ex-husband Triple H to be careful in his upcoming title defense against former buddy, Kevin Nash.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 - Stephanie McMahon warns Triple H to be careful against Kevin Nash


This was followed by a video package recapping their rivalry.

To sum up, Nash had returned to the company wanting to spend time with his buddies and had tried to resolve the animosity between Shawn Michaels and Triple H.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 - Triple H vs. Kevin Nash



The Game, however, had promised that he would pretty much hate HBK forever and then turned on Big Sexy, leading to tonight’s match.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Kevin Nash (w/ Shawn Michaels)






Given their superstar status, both Shawn Michaels and Charlotte native Ric Flair got separate entrances to the men they were representing tonight, but a brawl immediately broke out and the two battled to the back before the match even began.

What followed was a slog of a match that was nowhere near as bad as some people will tell you but was hardly either man’s finest hour.

After a slow-paced match that didn’t really go anywhere, Triple H got himself disqualified by smashing referee Earl Hebner in the face with a sledgehammer.

I know this wasn’t great, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Nash as a character if not necessarily as an in-ring competitor, so I had no problems seeing him out there doing his thing.
Your Winner via DQ: Kevin Nash (HHH retains)

Post-match, Big Kev got his revenge by beating the hell out of Hunter and powerbombing him through the Raw announce table.

The aftermath, in which an enraged Nash looked like a legitimately vicious monster, was way better than the actual match.

Bischoff Hurls

Up in Redneck Heaven, Eric Bischoff proved that hanging out with Stone Cold was too much for him as he barfed all over the cute blonde assistant and the live audience.

The segment was pretty funny, but I’m distracted by crushing on the blonde girl.

Give me her over any of the WWE divas any day.

Speaking of divas…

WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Jazz (w/ Theodore Long) vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline vs. Victoria (w/ Steven Richards)

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Jazz puts a hurting on Trish Stratus


This was a decent match in which all four women worked hard to deliver.

Unfortunately, your reviewer was so burned out by the lacklustre offerings of the last two matches that it was hard to concentrate or even care about what was going on.

That’s a shame, because it looked like this could have been good. Unfortunately, it was just another thing that simply kind of happened on a very underwhelming show.

In the end, Jazz pinned Jacqueline to retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still WWE Women’s Champion: Jazz

Up next, we got a look back at the rivalry between Big Show and Brock Lesnar and how it all started with Show bullying Rey Mysterio.

The Big Show and Lesnar would compete in a stretcher match next.

WWE Championship Stretcher Match
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show




After a disappointing show, this main event stretcher match was a fantastic way to end things.

A rematch from their previous title match at Survivor Series 2002, this was probably (if not definitely) the best match you’ll ever see with The Big Show involved.

Both champ and challenger absolutely destroyed each other in a brutally brilliant contest that captivated from start to finish.

Speaking of finish, that came about as Lesnar struggled to properly carry Show’s enormous frame on a stretcher that was just too small for him.

Thinking outside the box, the champion disappeared backstage which gave us a moment for the predictable Rey Mysterio cameo.

Rey Rey was ineffective against Show, but did distract long enough for Brock to come storming out on a forklift.

In the move of the night, he then dove off the top of the forklift into the ring, taking out his opponent with an awesome flying crossbody.

After beating down his rival some more, Lesnar put a stretcher board on the forklift, rolled Big Show onto it and drove him over the line to keep his title reign intact.
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar 


That was fantastic.








You really have to wonder what went wrong for WWE in the first half of 2003.

Wrestlemania 19 had been a phenomenal show, but the two PPVs that had followed it had gotten increasingly worse.

While there was nothing truly terrible here (even Nash/HHH was passable if you don’t expect too much), nothing stood out as being anything special until that amazing stretcher match.

Sure, I enjoyed the tag team ladder match and the Intercontinental battle royal a great deal, and I’d watch those two matches and Show/Lesnar again, but otherwise, this was an underwhelming event that isn’t worth watching.

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