Ankle lock on Brock Lesnar – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment
Thanks a lot for checking out this edition of The Classic Pay-Per-View Review. The object of this feature is to take an in-depth look at a show from the past. They will usually be WWE shows, but can be from other promotions. They may be very old, or they may only be a few years old. I tend to find random shows that I don’t remember and watch them when I go to bed. If they really entertain me, I’ll write about them on here. They won’t all be considered classics, and they won’t all be that old school, but they all have some value in my eyes. This time I’m going to talk about WWE Summerslam 2003. I hope you enjoy the review.
I was actually looking for Summerslam 2005 for the Hogan and Michaels oversell match. I’ll be doing a review of that show pretty soon. But for now, let’s take a look at this show. The opening vignette showed all of the crazy stuff that was going on during that period. Utter freakin’ chaos, in the words of Brock Lesnar. To say I was excited to watch this show is an understatement. I’m not actually sure I was watching during this period, but either way, almost ten years is enough time to make something fresh again. So, let’s get into the first match of the night.
La Resistance(c) v Dudley Boyz (for the World Tag Team Championship) This was a good opening match. Not incredible, but good. The 3D wasn’t enough for the face Dudleys to get the win because the referee was pulled outside. This wasn’t the last time a referee was interfered with on this show, not by a long shot. The French duo got the cheap win, which Bubba was big enough to applaud them for in a post match interview. He commended them for doing “whatever it took” to get the win.
A-Train v The Undertaker For the kids out there, A-Train was the moniker of Lord Tensai ten years ago. Very different character, but similar ring style. I don’t know if this was a low point for Taker, or a high point for Albert, but it’s a strange second match for Summerslam. These guys did a great job of playing on Taker’s supposed ongoing rib injury, as did the commentators. After a lot of good work, I thought Taker had the win with the Hogan esque big boot and leg drop, but that wasn’t to be. Train got a slow two count off of the sitdown powerbomb.
There were a couple of ref bumps in this match, continuing the trend. Taker hit a big chair shot and got the win with the chokeslam. Sable tried to get in the ring and seduce Taker, only for him to grab her by the throat. Rather than slam her on the mat, he held her for Stephanie McMahon who quickly came to the ring to begin the cat fight. Sadly for us viewers, Train spoiled the fun by saving Sable. What is it with hot women always being in Albert’s corner? Trish Stratus, Sable and now the Funkadactyls? He has a fat hairy back for Christ sake!
Shane McMahon v Eric Bischoff The preluding vignette for this match was absolutely epic. You knew from the get go that this brawl wasn’t going to be pretty. Early on, Coach blind sided Shane with a chair shot outside the ring, when he was in control of Bischoff. The ref called for the bell to be rung, but Bischoff grabbed the mic and ordered that the match be changed to NO DQ and Falls Count Anywhere rules. Oh, and it’s basically a handicap match at this point.
Coach held Shane’s arms behind his back while Karate Kid Bischoff hit him with fists and feet. I was marking out so much at this point, pleading for Shane to duck, which he eventually did after suffering several blows. He managed to escape and hit Eric with a DDT, only for Coach to low blow him from behind. Stone Cold came down and helped Shane stomp a mudhole in the little stooge, which was an amazing moment. He then delivered a stunner to Bischoff, allowing Shane to get the pin.
However, Shane picked Eric’s lifeless head up at two, and decided that wasn’t enough. He took him outside to the announce table with intentions of inflicting more damage on the power crazy GM. Shane delivered his trademark spinning elbow drop off the top rope sending Bischoff crashing through the announce table. For a non-wrestler, he can high fly with the best of them. Eric and Coach’s plan clearly backfired. Austin and McMahon drank together in the ring, as you never thought possible. Great match. Great story.
Eddie Guerrero(c) v Rhyno v Tajiri v Chris Benoit (Fatal 4 Way Match for the United States Championship) This is the kind of match you used to get for the US title at a PPV, not a pre-show. Crazy how things change! Am I the only person who would pop like crazy if Tajiri came back? Probably. The guy is actually one of my favourite wrestlers of all time. I was very happy to see him in such a great match, that featured terrifically chaotic work from all four wrestlers. Eddie exhibited great psychology as always, by ducking outside of the ring and carefully choosing his moments in the early going.
It’s hard to pick a favourite guy in this match. Once it warmed up, I was particularly impressed by the exchanges with Eddie and my boy Tajiri. Towards the end of the match, Benoit had Rhyno in the crossface, and Eddie had the Cloverleaf locked on Tajiri. It was a battle of who could make their opponent tap out first. Great spot! It didn’t work out like that though and before you knew it, Rhyno was demolishing Tajiri with the Arn Anderson spinebuster for a long two count. Tajiri’s bump taking continued when he faced three german suplexes from Benoit.
However, the Japanese Buzzsaw came within a split second of winning after he hit his own impressive german suplex on Benoit with the bridge. He then locked the famous Tarantula on the Canadian Crippler. There was so much other stuff going on in this match, but I just can’t describe it all. You have to see it. YouTube it! Guerrero retained the title with his classic frog splash. This was at least in the top three matches of the show, probably top two. Really entertaining contest!
Kurt Angle(c) v Brock Lesnar (for the WWE Championship) The pre-match vignette for this one built up a freight train of hype, and a volcano of heat for Lesnar. It showed him taking out the young one legged wrestler Zach Gowen. He broke his only working leg and left him a bloody mess in front of his mother. That’s how you get heat. To make matters worse, he turned on his friend Angle for Vinnie Mac. Before the bell even rang, I was amped up for this one. Tazz: “Well, here comes the pain!” – I miss Tazz!
The early exchanges were dominated by mat wrestling as you would expect. Brock hit multiple intense backbreakers and a body scissors playing on some sort of abdominal injury that Angle was bringing into the match. The highlight of a good contest was Lesnar delivering an F-5 on one freakin’ leg! His leg had previously been attacked by the ankle lock. Angle eventually tapped out Lesnar with the ankle lock after several attempts. The interfering Mr. McMahon had previously tried to impact on the match after yet another ref bump, but after all was said and done, he felt the Angle Slam onto a steel chair. Ouch!
Kane v Rob Van Dam This was possibly Kane’s hottest period, or certainly the time when he was most relevant to crucial storylines that didn’t involve a championship. The pre-match vignette showed some of the mental stuff he got up to: setting Jim Ross on fire, piledriving Linda and Shane McMahon on the stage and steel steps respectively, and running through his former tag team partner RVD like a wrecking machine at any given opportunity. This match did not bode well for Van Dam.
There was some flurried offense from Rob, but the bout was mostly dominated by Kane. The highlights of the match for me were the coast to coast Vandaminator, and the Tombstone Piledriver on the steel steps. It was consistently solid work from two reliable performers, which ended with Kane throwing RVD’s lifeless carcass back into the ring after the steel steps spot for the cover and the victory.
Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H(c) v Kevin Nash v Shawn Michaels v Randy Orton v Goldberg v Chris Jericho
This reminded me of the days when the World Heavyweight Championship was firmly positioned as the A Title. Boy how things do change! Nonetheless, what an incredible lineup of wrestling Kings, minus Nash. He is more of a Marquis than a King. Anyway, I’m not going to do a straight up play-by-play for the whole of this match because we would be here all year. I’ll be as brief as I can with such a great match. The St. Anger vignette beforehand really gave this thing a new energy. I was thoroughly excited for it to get started.
Goldberg, Nash and Michaels were to play the faces in this one, with Jericho and Evolution members Triple H and Orton the heels. At this point in time, Orton was living proof of what happens when you push a young stud straight to the top from the get go. He reminded me of the modern day Cody Rhodes in this match, only taken a lot more seriously and put in high profile matches. Nash looked awful with his short blonde hair – may not seem relevant but I had to say it. JR hyped things up even more: “That title means more to Triple H than life itself” – That’s how you blur the moral lines between face and heel. After all of the entrances, the four guys were chambered up and the match was set to begin with the two best athletes in the match: Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. Lets do this!
It was a typically solid, fast paced opener between these two. Lots of rope running and strikes. Orton was first out of his chamber and made an immediate impact with the crossbody from the top rope. Nash was out next to break up the Walls of Jericho, much to the relief of Michaels. Nash unleashed a no nonsense beatdown on everyone in sight. Before you knew it, Jericho was bleeding. Michaels hit Nash with the superkick and Jericho pinned his ass. He made a big impact but was eliminated surprisingly early.
That left three men in the ring, and Triple H about to enter. He was taunting on his way out of the pod but got hit with a Superkick from HBK. Kevin Nash then delivered the jackknife powerbomb to Orton and Jericho, and split. What a legend! Michaels was bleeding too at this point, and everyone was down wounded. All three guys eventually made it to their feet and started a slugfest, coincidentally just in time for Goldberg to come out of his chamber. He came in and just destroyed everyone in sight: Orton with a military press into a spinebuster (amazing), Jericho and Michaels with a double clothesline, and Orton again with a spear. He pinned Orton and made it a fatal 4 way.
Goldberg was simply dominant with power moves. He speared Jericho through the glass which was simply epic. What a crazy match! Triple H was still hiding inside his chamber, despite having been released like ten minutes before. Goldberg speared Michaels, delivered the jackhammer and pinned his ass. Three guys remaining. He then did the exact same combo to Jericho, and got the same result. Down to two. Hunter continued to hide in his pod and provoke Goldberg, with Flair holding the door shut from the outside. Goldberg found a novel solution: he kicked the glass through.
The look on Triple H’s face was priceless. He is a king of storytelling. Simple but so effective. Goldberg climbed inside and started beating on him. Then he dragged him out and started whipping him against the steel. When Hunter started to fight back and land some blows, the crowd booed like crazy. That should tell you all you need to know about why what came next was such a huge mistake. Goldberg went for the spear and was hit in the head by The Game’s trusty burial sledgehammer. He got the win and retained the title. The last two full length PPVs I watched have seen around ten title matches end with zero title changes. What the heck!? Despite the disappointing ending, this was probably the best chamber match I’ve seen, and a great way to top off a very good show.
Overall I’d say this was a very good Summerslam. There were two or three great matches and one incredible match, that being the Elimination Chamber. No titles changed hands, which was very weird. My only real qualm with the PPV is that they didn’t put the strap on Goldberg.
Thanks for checking out another edition of The Classic Pay-Per-View Review. I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to show your love or hate by leaving a comment. Lets have a conversation about wrestling. We upload a post every day, and also have weekly video content, so be sure to Follow the page and stay locked!