PPV REVIEW: WWE Armageddon 2003

December 14, 2003
TD Waterhouse Centre, Orlando, Florida
It's no secret that WWE's annual December PPVs rarely feel like anything more than a stop-gap between Survivor Series and Royal Rumble. 

It's been that way for as long as I can remember, which kind of makes you wonder why they even bother in the first place. 

Still, Armageddon 2003 did at least have one thing going for it - A chance to solidify Evolution as the most dominant force in the company, if not all of pro wrestling. 

Tonight, we'd see all four members of one of wrestling's most memorable stables compete, but would that make for a good show, or would this be another forgettable outing?

Let's dive in and find out together, shall we? 

God Bless America

Unusually for a PPV that wasn’t one of the Big 4, our show began with Lillian Garcia belting out the Star Spangled Banner in tribute to the good ol’ USA.

WWE Armageddon 2002 - Lillian Garcia


Once her powerful rendition was over, Lilian joined the fans in a rousing chant of ‘USA! USA!’ before we cut to the usual opening video.

Triple H is Sick of Goldberg

The video focused exclusively on the triple threat main event between Kane, HHH, and World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg.

Mixing bible quotes with an ominous voice-over and sound bites from the three stars, the only thing that really stood out from this video was a line from The Game in which he said, “you’re Goldberg, and I’m sick of it!”

The cameras then panned the crowd as Jim Ross & Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler welcomed us to Armageddon 2003, and the show was officially underway.

Mark Henry (w/ Teddy Long) vs. Booker T

Mark Henry and Booker T had been feuding since the former eliminated the latter at Survivor Series ‘03.

Their match here tonight wasn’t the most exciting PPV opener ever, but Booker’s enormous popularity with the crowd helped make it marginally better than this writer imagined.

WWE Armageddon 2002 - Mark Henry vs. Booker T


Henry dominated for the most part, wearing the former Five Time, Five Time, Five Time Dubya C Dubya champion down with a surfboard and a bear hug before dumping him awkwardly in a botched powerbomb attempt.

Booker recovered and pulled out a big-time scissor kick to end this fairly average match.
Your Winner: Booker T

Backstage, Eric Bischoff spoke to Christian and Chris Jericho about their upcoming ‘Battle of the Sexes’ match against Lita and Trish Stratus.

WWE Armageddon 2002 - Eric Bischoff talks to Christian & Chris Jericho about their battle of the sexes match


Before Jericho could voice his displeasure at the match, Christian butted in to tell Bischoff how excited he was about the whole thing.

With a forlorn look on his face, Jericho tried to object a second time, only to be interrupted by the sound of Mick Foley’s music crashing to life in the arena.

Confused and frustrated, Bischoff turned to the tv in his office to see what was going on.

Foley Wants Stone Cold Back

What was going on was this: 

Foley was the new co-GM of Raw and had started a petition to reinstate Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Said petition had apparently surpassed 1 million signatures which, in the Hardcore Legend’s mind at least, was cause for celebration.

And how do you celebrate if you’re Mick Foley?

WWE Armageddon 2002 - Mick Foley and Stacey Keibler


Of course, you invite Stacy Keibler to come to the ring wearing a cheerleaders outfit and watch her do cartwheels to the delight of the audience.

Mick even tried one of his own but it looked more like a sack of potatoes falling off a shelf.

Eventually, the celebration was cut short by the arrival of Ric Flair and his protege, Randy Orton, the latter of whom was in the early stages of a feud with Mick.

Taking to the microphone, Orton bragged about being the man responsible for forcing Stone Cold out of WWE before reminding Foley that he had a job to do as special referee for The Legend Killer’s upcoming Intercontinental Championship match against RVD.

WWE Armageddon 2002 - Randy Orton confronts Mick Foley


At that point, Foley stripped out of his suit to reveal he was already wearing his handmade referee’s shirt and declared that the match would take place right there and then.

Personally, I liked how they used this segment to transition from the Bischoff/Y2J/Christian bit into the next match. The whole thing wasn’t the most entertaining segment in the world, but it was harmless and flowed naturally.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
WWE Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam vs. Randy Orton (w/ Ric Flair)

Special Guest Referee: Mick Foley

This one started strong, with RVD proving himself to be the quicker of the two and out-manoeuvring his opponent at every turn.

WWE Armageddon 2002 - Randy Orton puts a hurting on RVD while being admonished by referee Mick Foley


Once Orton seized the advantage, however, the match slowed considerably as the challenger clamped on a chinlock and ground both RVD’s momentum and this fan’s enjoyment to a halt.

Things eventually picked up again, with shenanigans from both Foley and Ric Flair contributing to an exciting climax in which Randy hit the RKO to capture his first title in WWE.
Your Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Randy Orton

Before the next match, we saw a recap of the story between Jericho, Christian, Trish Stratus, and Lita.

WWE Armageddon 2003 Review - Chris Jericho & Christian vs. Trish Stratus & Lita


The boys had duped Trish and Lita into falling for them, only for Trish to overhear them joking about having a bet over one Canadian dollar about who could nail their girl first. 

This led to an in-ring confrontation and Eric Bischoff booking the following match:

Battle of the Sexes
Chris Jericho & Christian vs. Trish Stratus & Lita

This turned out to be better than I’d imagined it would.

Despite originally making the bet, Jericho had clearly developed genuine feelings for Trish and was reluctant to fight her, doing his best to hold her off without actually hurting her (including bending her over his knee for a spanking and yelling at her to calm down) until Stratus got the better of him with a head scissor takedown.

WWE Armageddon 2003 Review - Chris Jericho stares down Trish Stratus


Lita and Christian then tagged in, with the latter showing none of his partner’s reluctance and going straight in for the attack.

After a few short minutes of entertaining action, Trish found herself back in the ring and at Christian’s mercy.

Y2J stepped in and helped her to her feet, only for Christian to roll her up for the three count.
Your Winners: Christian & Chris Jericho

Post-match, a clearly bothered Jericho was reluctant to join in with his partner’s victory celebration.

This was followed by a look at Batista costing Shawn Michaels a win at Survivor Series ‘03 and ultimately costing Stone Cold Steve Austin his career.

In the weeks that followed, Michaels had wrestled with his conscious but had bigger problems with Batista, leading to tonight’s match.

Shawn Michaels vs. Batista (w/ Ric Flair)

This wasn’t the best Shawn Michaels match you’ll ever see, but it was the best that the veteran could get out of his inexperienced opponent at this early stage in The Animal’s career.

WWE Armageddon 2003 Review - Batista puts Shawn Michaels in a back breaker

Michaels started off in control, getting one over on Batista without too much effort and looking overly confident in the process.

The Evolution member then turned the tide by decapitating HBK with a wicked clothesline.

The resulting back-and-forth was good but, as I say, not as good as it could have been had Batista been at a later stage in his career.

In the end, Michaels countered a Batista Bomb attempt to score the three count.
Your Winner: Shawn Michaels 

Afterwards, Batista paced up and down the ring in a flurry of anger. He was still in the ring when Maven made his way out for our next contest.

Maven vs. Matt Hardy

Naturally, Maven held back from getting in the ring while a pissed-off Batista was storming about in it.

Instead, he interrupted Matt Hardy’s entrance and the two began a heated brawl that ended with Hardy getting the upper hand and tossing Maven into the ring.

WWE Armageddon 2003 Review - Big Time Matt Hardy


There, Batista attacked and took out the Tough Enough winner with a couple of vicious Batista bombs.

Referees tended to a fallen Maven before Jack Doan informed Lillian Garcia that Maven was in no fit state to compete.

Annoyed by Lillian’s announcement that the match would no longer take place, Hardy threw the referees aside, splashed his opponent and counted his own pinfall before snatching the mic and declaring himself the winner.
No Contest

Out in the back, Ric Flair have a still enraged Batista pep talk and insisted that the two would be waking out with titles around their waists.

Tag Team Turmoil Match for the WWE World Tag Team Championship
La Resistance (Rob Conway & Rene Dupree) vs. The Hurricane & Rosey vs. Lance Storm & Val Venis vs. Garrison  Cade & Mark Jindrak vs. WWE World Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (D’Von & Bubba Ray Dudley) vs. Scott Steiner & Test vs. Batista & Ric Flair

Contested under ‘winner stays on’ rules, this one took a while to really heat up and wasn’t all that exciting until The Dudley Boyz turned up for a good exchange with Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak.

The champions soon disposed of their opponents and entered into an even more enjoyable battle with the next entrants, Test and Scott Steiner.

WWE Armageddon 2003 Review - Scott Steiner hurts Bubba Ray Dudley


After a short but decent exchange between the two, a battered and tired Dudley Boyz got the fall and assumed they’d won the match.

At that point, however, Raw co-GM Eric Bischoff came out to announce that he’d added another team to the mix.

That team was, you guessed it, Ric Flair and Batista.

The Evolution team mates made light work of their battle-weary opponents to give their stable its second title win of the night.
Your Winners and New WWE World Tag Team Champions: Batista & Ric Flair 

After clips from a press conference announcing the first WWE Tribute to the Troops show, it was onto our next match.

WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Molly Holly vs. Ivory 

In a tell-tale sign of WWE’s attitude towards women’s wrestling at the time, JR quickly put over Molly Holly as the best wrestler to hold the women’s title in years before immediately spending the rest of the match talking with Lawler about how Molly was sexually frustrated.

WWE Armageddon 2003 - Molly Holly puts Ivory in an armbar


In doing so, he and King ignored what was a decent but forgettable title defence for Holly against Ivory, who, despite being with the company the whole time, hadn't appeared on a Pay Per View since Survivor Series 2001

After a short outing, Holly reversed a roll-up attempt to retain her gold. Even after her victory, the only thing the announcers cared about was whether she was getting laid.
Your Winner and Still WWE Women’s Champion: Molly Holly

Finally, we got a look at the build up to Goldberg vs. Kane vs. Triple H and it was onto our main event. 

Triple Threat for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg vs. Kane vs. Triple H 

After a relatively average show, this final match looked pretty damn good, though it still dragged on longer than was necessary.

WWE Armageddon 2003 - Kane, HHH, and Goldberg prepare for war

Kane and Triple H began the bout working in unison to destroy Goldberg, but the champ battled back at every opportunity and took the fight to his opponents.

Predictably, The Game eventually turned on Kane, and the war waged on outside the ring, giving us the highlight of the match.

The match continued to entertain until Evolution ran in to give HHH the assist in pinning Kane for the three count.
Your Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H

As Armageddon 2003 came to a close, all the members of Evolution stood at the top of the ramp holding the gold aloft. It had been a successful night for WWE’s most dominant faction.

As I mentioned a moment ago, Armageddon 2003 was a fairly average show.

Nothing was outright bad, but very little stood out as being worth repeat viewing.

Orton/RVD and the main event stood out as the highlights, but given the quality of the rest of the show, that isn’t really saying much.

Other 2003 pro wrestling reviews: 

Other WWF Armageddon reviews: 

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  1. Didn't Goldberg for real freak out after the match and break a bunch of shit in the back and get suspended for a month?

  2. Never heard that before. Not saying it's not true, just news to me if it is!