WWE SummerSlam 2003 8/24/2003
August 24, 2003
Southwest Airlines Arena
Buy Rate: .88
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole and Tazz
Sunday Night Heat
Matt Hardy defeated Zach Gowen by forfeit
Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gutierrez) defeats Shannon Moore in 1:59
Pay Per View
1) La Resistance defeats the Dudley Boys to retain World Tag Team Titles when Rene Dupree pins D-Von Dudley (Devon Hughes) after Rob Conway hits D-Von with a camera at 7:49
Fun Fact: On the 7/28 Raw La Res successfully defended their titles against Garrison Cade & Mark Jindrak. They started abusing the American flag, which brought the Dudleys out and a brawl ensued. Bubba Ray defeated Rene Dupree on the 8/4 Raw, then the two teams had a non-title match on 8/11 that turns into a quick DQ win for the Dudleys. Then on 8/18, La Res came down to ringside and started harassing what appeared to be a US Serviceman at ringside. The Dudleys came down to defend this man of the military. Then in the ring, out of nowhere the “serviceman” beat the Dudleys down with the American Flag. This “French Sympathizer” is Rob Conway, who made his debut at Vengeance as a Conquistador in the Barroom Brawl.
Scott: Now the common opinion from people is that they should have put the World’s Greatest Tag Team in this spot since those tag matches are ten times better than the sloths on Raw. WWE needed to be fair here since the SD titles were just defended the previous month at Vengeance. Now TWGTT are a good young set of heels that use their talent to defeat opponents. Rene and Sylvan aren’t chopped liver, but they’re definitely not Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas. They use typical double team heel tactics and stalling to get through their matches, and taking on the stale Dudleys was no different. The match was pretty basic and nothing overly offensive. This match immediately shows that the streak of consecutive excellent Summerslams dating back to 1997 may end. Dudleys get the shaft from the turncoat Rob Conway and the Champs retain their titles. Grade: 2
Justin: We haven’t seen our tag champs on PPV since they stole the belts, but they had been rolling on Raw. They had recently assaulted the Dudleys thanks to the help of newcomer Rob Conway. Looking for revenge, the Dudleys came out hot and the crowd was right there with them as they beat the champs around the ring. I actually liked La Res’s heel teamwork and they gained some nice heat with it. They may have been pushed too hard and too soon, but they were solid enough out there. The match kept a nice pace and they kept the heat segments short which helped keep the match flowing well. The Dudleys got a big pop for the 3D but it only led to a great near fall. Conway would make his presence felt again as he hops into the ring, drills D-Von with a camera and gives the win to his buddies. As stale as I thought they were, the Dudleys should have won here because the loss killed the crowd a bit. La Res could afford a loss to the dominant Dudleys and could have gotten the belts back a month later. Sometimes the faces just need to win a match, especially considering what was still to come on this night. Grade: 2
2) Undertaker (Mark Callaway) defeats A-Train (Matt Bloom) with a chokeslam at 9:19
Fun Fact: Due to A-Train’s attack at Vengeance, Stephanie McMahon took a few weeks off to recover from the injuries. On the 8/7 Smackdown, Undertaker confronted Vince and let him know that he didn’t approve of Vince sending Train to attack his own daughter. Later that night, Train cost Taker a match with John Cena. A week later, Train cost Taker a match with Big Show when he hit him in the ribs with a board. Thanks to Vince, the main event that night was set to be A-Train and Stephanie. Train beat on Steph until Show and Taker got involved and the match broke down. Train was able to grab Steph, drop her with a pump slam and pick up the win. Steph was left lying on the mat while Vince and Sable made out. Finally, a week later, Train and Cena defeated Taker and Orlando Jordan when Train pasted Taker with Cena’s chain.
Scott: There was a nothing impressive here as two big men club each other for ten minutes. This is the first time you can see that maybe the Undertaker’s “Bad Ass” gimmick may have run its course, as he’s become a forgotten part of Smackdown’s roster. Sure he had that great match at Vengeance with John Cena, but really since the start of the year he’s been facing Big Show and A-Train on both TV and on PPV. With Angle & Lesnar the focus of the main events and the mid-card cranking with Benoit, Guerrero and the smaller guys, Taker believe it or not looks well…out of place. A-Train is a company guy who will go wherever you want him to, and even though the Attitude Era is history, he seems to have gotten a better push once it ended. Again, the match isn’t crap. It’s just a basic power match of two big guys. Sure the sultry Sable tries to entice Taker with her feminine wiles after the match, and instead Taker grabs her by the throat and saves her for the returning Stephanie McMahon, who hadn’t been on camera since A-Train beat her down on Smackdown. Not much more to say here, just another power match and another win for the Deadman. Grade: 2
Justin: Vince McMahon’s muscle continues running interference for the boss as he sets his sights on the Undertaker, who had been breathing down Vince’s neck regarding his treatment of Stephanie. Train had Sable with him here as he tried to carry out Vince’s plan. Taker had busted ribs thanks to a previous Train attack and Train focused on them throughout the match. The bout on a whole was a basic power match between two big hosses. This was a pretty big spot for Train. Even though it was early on the card, it was still a singles match with Taker on a major PPV. Things picked up towards the end and Train got a pretty good near fall with a stiff Derailer. I also like the brutal clothesline Taker caught the referee with. Train was pretty impressive here as he landed a nice big boot and then showed some guile by kicking out of a big chair shot. Taker would polish him off with a nice chokeslam to finish a pretty solid bout. I wasn’t expecting much from these two, but they did pretty well. Train eats the pin, but he would still play a solid role going forward. Taker rolls on with another win and he will continue to be a thorn in Vince’s side as the year goes on. Grade: 2.5
3) Shane McMahon defeats Eric Bischoff in a Falls Count Anywhere match with an elbow onto the Spanish Announcers Table at 10:35
Fun Fact: So after the 6/23 Raw from MSG when Kane lost a “title vs. mask” match to Triple H (more on that later in the review) Kane flipped out and began going crazy. On the 7/21 Raw he’s faced former tag partner Rob Van Dam (more on that later too) when he saw Linda McMahon come out to the stage. Kane suddenly grabbed Linda and Tombstoned her on the steel stage. The following week Vince came out to confront Kane about what he did to Linda but Shane came running down the ramp and started attacking Kane, eventually throwing him off the stage onto a table of equipment. On the 8/4 Raw Shane requested a match with Kane. Eric Bischoff came out and said a Kane/RVD bout is slated for Summerslam and Eric wanted Shane escorted from the building. Before that happened out came Steve Austin who told Shane about the “thing” Eric has for Linda and made Shane vs. Bischoff for later that night. Bischoff won when Kane came out and Tombstoned Shane on the steel steps. The following week Bischoff was in the ring but Jim Ross, who was lit on fire by Kane the week before, again more on that later, came out and said he would sue Bischoff for unsafe working conditions. Out came Austin, who negotiated a deal. JR would not sue, if Bischoff signed a contract to wrestle. Bischoff quickly signed it, but Austin cleared up that it’s Kane he’s facing tonight, not Shane. Later in the night Kane came out and was about to drop Bischoff with a chokeslam but instead he placed him down and left the ring. That caused a countout and Bischoff won the match. That put Eric in a great mood, but later in the night Austin gave him the bad news: More fine print in the contract stated the winner of that match faced Shane at Summerslam.
Scott: So in preparation for the big Shane McMahon/Kane storyline that’s developing, we have GM Eric Bischoff in another throwaway match against the Prince. The match was originally slated as a regular singles match, but after Jonathan Coachman turned heel and joined Bischoff the boss changes the match stipulation. It doesn’t matter as Shane wins the match with help from co-GM Steve Austin. I’m torn on what to make of this situation. If the storyline is supposed to be Kane and Shane McMahon over the Tombstoning of Linda on Raw, then what’s the point of this? Coach’s heel turn? Does that really constitute a full match? Nah, I say either have Christian defend the Intercontinental Title, which is funny to say considering Christian asked Bischoff in an earlier skit why he wasn’t in a match, or put TWGTT in a tag title match. There are plenty of other solid competitors that you could add to make this show better. Instead you put Shane and Bischoff in a match simply to turn Coach heel, and to get Austin out to provoke a cheap pop from the crowd. I didn’t mind this match when I watched it, but now thinking about it I’m a little annoyed that they had a chance to put something much better on the card than this. Another sign the hot Summerslam streak will likely come to an end. Grade: 1.5
Justin: Our next match is a blowoff to an extensive angle that saw Kane unmask, Eric Bischoff put the moves on Linda McMahon and Linda taking a Tombstone from Kane. Shane was looking for revenge on Bischoff for the way he had treated his mom. Shane got off to a hot start and dominated Bischoff as he got all his aggression out. Then, the unexpected happened when Jonathan Coachman grabbed a chair and pasted Shane with it. I actually thought this was shrewdly set up as Coach had been doing interviews in the aisle for the first few matches, so there was a reason for him to be at ringside. After the assault, Eric changes the match to a Falls Count Anywhere bout and the beatdown was on. Eric had JR and the King’s mics turned off so Coach could do commentary from the ring, and he was funny in mocking JR. This part dragged on a bit too much, though, and the crowd started to really fade. However, they would be woken up by Steve Austin’s arrival. Austin would aid Shane and wipe out Coach and Bischoff. This was a good us of Austin, as he gets to beat on guys that won’t lose any important heat by getting beaten around by the retired Austin. After Bischoff got dropped with a Stunner, Shane put Eric on the Spanish announce table, climbed the top rope and dropped a flying elbow through him. Shane would then cover the bloodied Eric for the win. As I have brought up in the past, there are certain times where crazy spots are just not needed. This was one of them. The table spot was just over the top, as was the blade job. The crowd popped big for the Austin Stunners and would have been happy to see the match end that way. It still would have been satisfying and wouldn’t have wasted a great spot on a meaningless undercard match. This was one of the few holdover mindsets from the Attitude Era that I want to see fade away as we move along through these shows. The match as a whole was OK, with a few hot moments, but as Scott said, it took a spot off the card for more useful matches and wrestlers that deserved the PPV pay day. Grade: 1
4) Eddie Guerrero wins a Fatal Four-Way match to retain United States Championship when he pins Rhyno (Terry Gerin) with the frog splash at 10:50. Also in the match were Chris Benoit and Tajiri (Yoshihiro Tajiri)
Fun Fact: These four men spent the last four weeks battling each other in singles and tag matches. Their wars spilled over to a US title four-way here.
Scott: We get back to some actual workrate with a great four way involving the US Champ and his main competitors. 2003 has been a breakthrough year for Eddie Guerrero. He started the year in the tag division but now has separated himself and become a pretty strong force as a singles competitor again. Similar to how he rolled with the Intercontinental & European titles in 2000. His charisma, heel or face can be hard to avoid and right now, with the company kind of in flux after the Attitude Era ended and many main event experiments such as Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash, clearly flopped, the time was right to look into the mid-card and see what or who can be elevated. Two of those guys are in this match. Obviously Chris Benoit was one of them as he showed back in January at the Royal Rumble that he can captivate a crowd simply with his abilities and workrate. Eddie Guerrero is also in that boat. Maybe he’s not at Benoit’s level in terms of being sound technically, but Eddie’s got plenty of charisma to counter that. This match is not as high level as the singles match at Vengeance, mostly because Rhyno’s in the match and he’s obviously not as quick in the ring as the other three guys are. Still the match was entertaining and Eddie’s shenanigans to keep the title were funny. A memorable spot in the match was the double submission situation when Eddie had Tajiri in the Lasso from El Paso and Benoit had Rhyno in the Crossface. Eddie steals the pin and retains his title, which continues to build his confidence and his crowd following. Grade: 3.5
Justin: Over the past month or so, Eddie Guerrero was gaining bigger face pops by the week and that trend continued here as he is the most popular guy in the match. The match was non-stop action and the offense was relentless. Rhyno was his usual manic self and he kept up with his smaller opponents. One of the best spots of the match was a great battle between Benoit’s crossface and Guerrero’s Lasso from El Paso. I also liked the super stiff spinebuster Rhyno used on Tajiri as well as Rhyno goring the title by accident. The flurry of moves at the end was solid and Eddie polished off Rhyno with a great Frog Splash. The match was a fun, fast paced battle and was a solid win for Eddie as he continued his ascent up the ladder. Grade: 3
5) Kurt Angle defeats Brock Lesnar to retain WWE Championship with the Ankle Lock at 21:19
Fun Fact: On the 7/31 Smackdown, Brock Lesnar challenged Vince McMahon to a match to prove that he was worthy of a rematch with Kurt Angle. At the end of the show, Vince told Brock that the match would happen the next week inside a steel cage and Angle would be the guest referee. The next week, halfway through the show, Brock Lesnar was found knocked out backstage. Brock recovered and still made it to the ring for the cage match. Brock was easily able to scoop Vince up for an F5, but Brock dropped him and collapsed to the mat. Vince tried to cover him, but Angle refused to count. As Angle and Vince squared off, Brock popped up, grabbed Angle and assaulted him, officially turning heel and joining forces with the Boss. On the 8/21 Smackdown, Lesnar regained his badass status when he destroyed Zach Gowen in front of his own mother, who was seated ringside. Brock decimated Zach, who did a nasty blade job, whipping him into the post with a pair of F5s. Zach was stretchered out, but Brock stalked after him and tossed him off it and to the ground. The show ended with Brock staring Angle down.
Scott: This is the first time since Summerslam was created in 1988 that the WWE Championship match of both Wrestlemania and Summerslam in a calendar year was the same match. These two were practically inseparable starting at the end of 2002 when Lesnar’s first title reign ended at Survivor Series. Angle won the title the next month at Armageddon and from then on it’s been Angle/Lesnar since. Even when Angle was out with the neck surgery Lesnar’s feuds, except the Backlash match with Cena, had veiled references to Angle. Now he’s back and after regaining his title at Vengeance he and his nemesis go at it again. This time the roles are reversed. At Wrestlemania Angle was his typical heel conniving self, looking to do anything to keep his championship. Lesnar became the forgiving victim who was screwed out of his title. Now Angle is the returning hero who came back from career-threatening neck surgery, and Lesnar became the selfish, brooding monster who will stop at nothing to get what he feels is his. He was almost even more menacing than his first run the year before. There he was busting up regular size guys like Hulk Hogan and Undertaker. But when he beat the crap out of Zach Gowen, there was another side to this monster. The match as expected was pretty good, although not quite at the level that their match in Seattle was. It wasn’t the two of them really; it was the fact that there was all this Vince interference and nonsense that ruined the flow. That flow was untouched at Wrestlemania, but here because the Lesnar/McMahon alliance was driving the storyline he had to get involved somehow. So the last few minutes were kind of choppy but what really bugged me was that after building Lesnar back up to the killer status he had in 2002, Angle gets him to tap out. Now if Vince were involved in all these shenanigans, the bookers should have had Vince screw something up like a chair shot or what not and have Angle win it that way so Lesnar doesn’t look like a schmuck by tapping out. I thought the match overall was pretty good but unfortunately the outside crap and the illogical ending take away from it that their first match at Wrestlemania, or the three way at Vengeance for that matter, didn’t have. In a nutshell, this was a great Smackdown match that was tainted by a little Raw. Grade: 3
Justin: All was finally right with the world as Brock Lesnar had finally turned heel and regained his nasty mean streak. He had spent all of 2003 smiling, laughing and being friendly, but that all ended on Smackdown and he was back to being an assassin. He bludgeoned Zach Gowen and rolled into Summerslam red hot and with the Boss on his side. They stayed on the mat early as the story focused on Brock’s frustration over not being able to wrest control of the match. He was finally able to overpower Kurt to take over on offense. As usual, Brock offense was high octane, stiff and innovative. After a couple of good near falls, including a Vince chair shot, Angle was able to wrap Brock in the Anklelock and pick up the win. After the match, Kurt assaulted Vince, dropping him through a chair with an Angle Slam. Brock was down, but he was not out as things would get very interesting in the coming weeks. This was another fun match for these two. Not quite up to their Wrestlemania standard, but still really good. Grade: 4
6) Kane (Glen Jacobs) defeats Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) with a Tombstone on the ring steps at 12:50
Fun Fact: After five years the Kane character took a turn many thought would never happen. On the 6/23 Raw from Madison Square Garden, Triple H offered Kane a World Heavyweight Title shot, but in return if Kane lost then he must unmask. Well thanks to Randy Orton’s Diamond Cutter-esque finisher, which would get a name in 2004, Triple H retained his title and even though RVD cleared the ring of Evolution, Kane did the right thing and unmasked. His head was ¾ shaved and he had black makeup all over his face, presumably from the healing from the scars of the “fire” way back when. Out of nowhere he chokeslammed RVD. The following week Eric Bischoff offered Kane a rematch for the title against Triple H but he refused so RVD got the shot instead. After Evolution chicanery and another Triple H win, Kane comes out and chokeslammed Bischoff off the stage. On the 7/7 Raw Austin laid into Kane for wanting to quit and told him the fans would accept him. At the end of the night Austin brought Kane to the ring, but instead he attacked Austin and chokeslammed him, cementing the heel turn. On the 7/14 Raw Austin and Bischoff set up an interview between Kane and Jim Ross. That went very badly as Kane snapped and doused JR with gasoline then set him on fire. The following week on Raw Kane was led into the ring in shackles but he was unshackled so he could wrestle his former tag partner Rob Van Dam. Eventually they headed to the top of the stage and after throwing Van Dam into the wall of lights, Kane turned around and looked at Linda McMahon, who was on Raw to possibly fire Austin for what happened to JR, but instead, Kane Tombstoned Linda on the stage. The following week Vince came on Raw to confront Kane about attacking his wife. Kane arrived to the arena in a van belted into a dolly. But instead of Vince coming out it was Shane who went after Kane to begin that feud. Kane got cracked with a chair and thrown off the stage. However Kane just stood up and laughed. The following week Shane wanted more of Kane but Bischoff said RVD would get the crack at Kane at Summerslam instead.
Scott: We see the new Kane make his PPV debut against his former tag partner and overall, it’s a pretty standard match. In fact their match on Raw was pretty much the same thing. The match pace was pretty slow as RVD had to cater to Kane’s offense and pace. Kane was red hot after unmasking, being treated like a crazy but calculating monster. Not unlike his debut in 1997 where he was a freak of nature and the fans weren’t sure what to make of him. Now with the visual of him shackled and belted down made him look more ominous than ever. RVD was still very over, but he seemed to be kind of floating aimlessly in the mid-card. He and Kane were pretty solid tag team champs but now he jobs to a hotter character and for the first time his matches are starting to get a little stale. Kane becomes a new hot heel on Raw, but as we’ll see the main event situation on the “Red” show is so screwed up that this becomes completely moot. Now some aspects of the match were kind of far-fetched, such as JR being set on fire, but I guess it is a pretty cool visual that helps push the sickness inside the Big Red Monster. This is a pretty standard match and the hotter character goes over. Grade: 2
Justin: Well, things certainly have come a long way since the last time we saw these two men on PPV. After losing the tag belts, Kane was goaded into putting his mask on the line in a match with Triple H and he lost. After revealing himself, he snapped and turned on his friend. After a few menacing weeks, these two meet here as RVD was looking for some revenge. After a lengthy face run, Kane really had a good monster aura going here. The crowd was a bit flat as Kane thwarted RVD’s offense and kept him grounded. The two would brawl around ringside but the match was just messy and disjointed on a whole. King and JR really pushed Kane hard on commentary and you could tell they had some big plans for him. Both men worked hard here but they just couldn’t get on the same page. The stipulation definitely helped as this could have been a lot worse without all the weapons shots and brawling on the floor. Some of the high spots were a Kane DDT on the floor, some stiff RVD chair shots and a nice Van Terminator attempt that barely missed taking Kane out. The finish was good too as the Tombstone on the steps was a nice visual. This started off shaky but they got into a bit of a groove as the match wore on, mainly thanks to the no hold barred stipulation. Kane continues to roll as he is now a menace with out a mask. Grade: 2
7) Triple H (Paul Levesque) wins an Elimination Chamber match to retain World Heavyweight Championship. Also in the match were Goldberg, Chris Jericho (Chris Irvine), Randy Orton, Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom)
Chris Jericho pins Kevin Nash after Michaels hit Sweet Chin Music at 8:16
Goldberg pins Randy Orton after a spear at 13:02
Goldberg pins Shawn Michaels after a Jackhammer at 15:22
Goldberg pins Chris Jericho after a Jackhammer at 16:06
Triple H pins Goldberg after a sledgehammer shot at 19:15
Fun Fact: On the 7/21 Raw Eric Bischoff announced that Triple H would defend the World Heavyweight Title against Goldberg. The following week he made the match a no-disqualification. However on the 8/4 Raw Austin came out and announced that instead of a one-on-one match between Triple H and Goldberg, that both men would be part of an Elimination Chamber match, then announced the other four men. In reality this was done because Triple H was suffering with a painful groin injury, which was the reason that he wrestled in longer bike shorts-type tights. Triple H didn’t believe he was healthy enough to deliver a quality singles match.
Fun Fact II: After having his famous long hair for years, Kevin Nash lost a “hair vs. hair” match to Chris Jericho on the 8/18 Raw. As part of that Goldberg accidentally speared Nash earlier in the show to continue the build of the Chamber match. In reality Nash was doing “The Punisher” and needed to cut his hair anyway. So he dyed his hair bleach blonde. Jericho actually cut Nash’s hair after the match and it was pretty lousy too.
Fun Fact III: Kevin Nash’s WWE career ends here, as he is not on TV after this match. His contract expired on January 3, 2004 and he was not retained. Nash’s final WWE PPV record is: 8-14-1. Unbelievably, even with that 94-95 run that he barely lost a PPV match he finishes six matches under .500.
Scott: Our main event lacked everything that made the first Chamber match so memorable. For one thing we had too many big guys in the match that really dragged down the pace of the match. Secondly, Triple H was injured, so he pretty much actually wrestled for maybe five minutes of the match, which also stunts the pacing of the match. After some pretty non-descript action in the beginning Goldberg, who was clearly the fans’ favorite in this match, comes out and takes out the entire ring’s competitors. That left him and the champion, Triple H. I don’t know if this was when he was finally weeding the juice off but he was clearly a little flabby here, and he always looked like that when he didn’t have facial hair. What’s worse is that with the groin injury he was slow as hell and barely did anything. Goldberg’s great visual of kicking through the Plexiglas to get to the Champion was awesome. Triple H is pulled out of the pod and is beaten down by Goldberg and the crowd was on the verge of exploding as Evolution’s reign of terror was coming to an end and Goldberg was going to be World Heavyweight Champion. Then in slides the sledgehammer courtesy of Ric Flair, wham on Goldberg’s head and Triple H retains the title. What the hell was that? It’s clear that Triple H couldn’t move at this moment, so what the hell was the point of having him keep the title against the hottest guy on the show when the crowd was percolating and percolating with energy waiting for Goldberg to win. The moment was perfect, and it doesn’t happen. Ok, now I’ve defended Triple H during this run because of the piss poor opponents that have been given to him, with the exception of Booker T at Wrestlemania, that he needed to keep winning. However here he’s facing a legit guy who’s a former champion and the crowd is fiercely behind. So they do a screwy ending and have Goldberg beat down by Evolution after the match. So for the first time I have to admit I was a little disappointed that Triple H didn’t do the right thing here. Waiting for a singles match was a stupid idea because Trips could have been legitimately pinned by someone like Shawn Michaels and left the match early, leaving Goldberg to clean everybody out and win the title, then start the feud. Instead you buzzkill the entire audience and wasted what would have been an unbelievable moment. This match is fitting to be at one of the most disappointing Summerslams in quite a while, and it totally sucks the life out of the crowd. Grade: 2
Justin: After the success of last year’s edition, we get our second Elimination Chamber in less than twelve months. All signs and rumors had Triple H facing Goldberg one on one here, but Hunter’s groin injury was hampering him and he argued that the title should only change hands in a one on one match, something that he was not able to compete in at this time. While I understand the spirit of his argument, it was clearly the wrong call as the crowd was into Goldberg big time here and he looked like a beast until the cheap finish. Goldberg’s entrance pop was quite strong as well, but Shawn Michaels was clearly the crowd favorite as the match started. The Michaels/Jericho rivalry was renewed to start things off and they delivered their usual solid segment. The Goldberg chants throughout the bout were hard to ignore and I wonder if the creative team was questioning their decision as the match wore on. This was also a good spot for Randy Orton, who was mixing it up with the big boys for the first time. The story surrounding him was also intriguing…would he help his mentor or screw him and take the title for himself? I think the shorter time intervals helped he flow here as the periods in the first Chamber seemed to make the match drag a bit. Orton was impressive, especially with his bumping for everyone. On the other hand, we have Kevin Nash, who was less than inspiring in his final WWE PPV match. It has been a long strange journey for Nash, but this would be his swan song. He loses quickly here but wipes everyone out before leaving. By the next year, he would be plying his trade in TNA, where he would wrestle on and off as the years wore on. As even more proof that Hunter wasn’t up to wrestling a full match, as his chamber opened, Michaels drops him with SCM and he is down and out for most of the match. It was then time for the destruction as the crowd exploded when Goldberg came busting into the ring. He was an absolute monster as he speared Jericho right through the Plexiglas chamber upon entering. The crowd was buzzing and begging for him to win and the build up was perfect as he just destroyed Orton, Michaels and Jericho. If Goldberg had just won the damn belt here he would have been mega over and looked like an unstoppable force. Instead they do the same old, same old as Hunter drills him with the sledge and picks up the deflating win. If they wanted to do the Evolution beatdown, that should have been on Raw to set up Goldberg’s destruction here. I understand Hunter felt he should drop the title in a singles match, but that extra month combined with this loss kind of killed Goldberg’s momentum. The crowd was ready to explode for him here but they wasted a golden opportunity to make a major star. Grade: 3
Scott: Scott: So the streak is broken. Starting with 1997 we had six straight years of solid top to bottom Summerslams, with great workrate, good characters and particularly good main events. This show had some of this, but not enough to continue the streak. The Raw matches were pretty boring and the Smackdown matches were ok but not good enough to really bail this show out. With over half the matches graded two or worse, this show was about what the matches were: Average. The four way US Title match was clearly the match of the night, but it didn’t have the same staying power that the Benoit/Guerrero singles match at Vengeance had. The Lesnar/Angle title match was good but didn’t have the flow or uniqueness that their first match at Wrestlemania did. There was also too much McMahon here. Instead of having Christian defend the Intercontinental Title or the World’s Greatest Tag Team defend the WWE Tag Team Titles we have Shane McMahon in a match that’s done to turn Coach heel and give Austin a rub. Give the co-GM a rub? Then there’s that clusterfuck Chamber match where the hottest most over guy in the match gets burned by “executive decision” which meant Triple H wouldn’t lose here, but rather lose in a singles match. What does that mean? It doesn’t even make sense and instead you have a disjointed mess of a match that ends with a nonsensical beatdown. It was absolute crap here but its par for the course on a show that was pretty uninteresting from beginning to end. Arizona, the third state in 2003 to have their first PPV, leaves with a very bad taste in its mouth. Final Grade: C-
Justin: This was an interesting Summerslam as the matches were all solid and the crowd was pretty good all night long. The card was pretty well put together outside of the Shane/Bischoff match, but we already covered that. I was hoping for more out of the Chamber, but simply booking the right finish could have saved the whole thing. Brock and Kurt delivered another great match as their feud continues to roll on. All the other matches ranged from solid to good, so there really isn’t much to complain about. After two months, it was nice to see the brands recombined to get a more flushed out card. We will get back to single brand shows over the next two months and it will be interesting to see if they can continue to flesh out a pattern and flow to them. This is a show that could have gone down as being quite historic, but instead it was just a solid, yet forgettable, outing. Final Grade: C+
MVP: Kurt Angle & Brock Lesnar
Runner Up: Goldberg
Non MVP: Triple H
Runner Up: Dudley Boys