WWE Vengeance 2003 7/27/2003

July 27, 2003
Pepsi Center
Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 9,500
Buy Rate: .69
Announcers: Michael Cole and Tazz

Sunday Night Heat

Ultimo Dragon (Yoshihiro Asai) defeats Kanyon (Chris Klucsarits)

Pay Per View

1) Eddie Guerrero defeats Chris Benoit to win WWE United States Championship Tournament with a Frog Splash at 22:14

Fun Fact: With the Intercontinental Title on Raw, there needed to be a secondary title on Smackdown. So GM Stephanie McMahon brought back the US Title, which had vanished at Survivor Series 2001 when it was merged with the IC Title when Edge defeated Test.

Fun Fact II:
Here’s the US Title Tournament results: First Round: Chris Benoit defeats Rhyno (Terry Gerin); Matt Hardy defeats Rikishi (Solofa Fatu); Billy Gunn defeats John Cena; Eddie Guerrero defeats Ultimo Dragon (Yoshihiro Asai); Semifinals: Chris Benoit defeats Matt Hardy, Eddie Guerrero defeats Billy Gunn.

Scott:
So really, can you think of a better opener to fire this show up? Already we have the first example of how Smackdown has the better show in terms of in-ring work. Come on, the opener of Bad Blood was the Dudleys against Rodney Mack & Chris Nowinski! That alone should tell the tale. I can’t remember of the last PPV opener to pass the twenty minute mark. Obviously there’s Owen & Bret from Wrestlemania X, but if you think hard I don’t think there’s another since. As usual these two always bring the goods. I think this match is even better than their last PPV outing back in December at Armageddon. The pace is crisp, and even with all of Eddie’s antics, it adds to the match and makes him even smarmier. Rhyno’s heel turn at the end was out of the blue, but I guess it bails the writers out of having to job Benoit clean. No problem, doesn’t take away from a great match and an awesome start to the night. Grade: 4

Justin: Our opener features two of the best going at it for the newly minted United States Championship. Without a secondary belt, Smackdown’s midcard felt directionless. Stephanie announced the return of the US title and setup a tournament to determine the new champion. Benoit and Guerrero fought their way through and reached the finals to renew their rivalry. Benoit gets a big pop for his entrance but Guerrero got some cheers from the crowd too. The crowd would remain split as the two wrestled to an early stalemate with a lot of back and forth action. Benoit would work Eddie’s shoulder but would make a big impact with a nasty back superplex. Another great spot was a vicious series of reversals during a Benoit crossface attempt. The crowd was really hooked in by the time Eddie was able to hit Benoit with the belt and drop a frog splash on him. Unfortunately for Eddie, the referee was down and out. He would recover and start to count but it would turn out to be just a great near fall. The referee was still woozy when Benoit avoided more Guerrero cheating to finally hook the crossface. Benoit’s buddy Rhyno would come down to the ring, but he turned on his friend and dropped him with a gore, allowing Eddie to win the match and take the title. The match was flat out awesome, but the ending was weak and unnecessary. The match should have had a clean ending and they could have saved the Rhyno turn for TV. Either way, it was still a great match and a fantastic opener to what will end up being a tremendous show. Great: 4.5

2) Jamie Noble (James Gibson) defeats Billy Gunn (Monte Sop) in an Indecent Proposal match with a roll-up at 5:00; Due to pre-match stipulations, Torrie Wilson must sleep with Noble

Fun Fact: Torrie had been feuding on and off with Nidia and Jamie Noble but by early June, she had finally found a new partner, and boyfriend, to help her in the battle: Billy Gunn. On the 6/19 Smackdown, Gunn defeated Noble in a singles match. A week later, Noble and Nidia were told that Noble’s late Aunt had left them an inheritance of $827,000.00. On the 7/10 Smackdown, Gunn and Torrie defeated Noble and Nidia in a tag team match. After the bout, Noble offered Torrie $10,000 to sleep with him. An offended Gunn attacked Noble and left him taken out. A week later, Noble upped the ante to $25,000.00 but ended up losing a match to Ultimo Dragon when Torrie and Gunn distracted him. Later that night, Noble helped Eddie Guerrero beat Gunn in a US Title Tournament semifinal match. Finally, the next week Gunn defeated Noble once again in a singles match. After the bout, Noble asked for a rematch with a special stipulation: if he won, he got to spend the night with Torrie. Billy was offended but Torrie accepted, assuming there was no way Noble could beat Gunn.

Scott:
Now from our opener, we have…this. First off, when did Billy Gunn suddenly start dating Torrie Wilson on camera? It randomly started out of nowhere to keep Gunn busy. Anyway Noble wants a piece of the Playboy playmate, and ends up winning a night with her here. Billy Gunn sadly looks out of date here. The “Ass Man” theme is so 1999 that it seems quite dated and out of place. His hair has pretty awful plugs too. The match isn’t overly offensive, but it pales in comparison to the opener. Grade: 2

Justin: After an interesting build, Noble and Gunn clash here over a chance to sleep with Torrie Wilson. Noble even brought his briefcase full of sex toys with him to the ring to taunt Torrie with. Gunn just felt lame and played out at this point as he was clinging to his dated “Ass Man” gimmick. The idea that Torrie was dating him made the whole angle even less believable. Noble looked good here as he mainly worked Gunn’s leg to keep him grounded. Noble’s girlfriend Nidia showed up and actually tried to help Gunn win as she was angry with Jamie’s pursuit of Torrie. After a basic match, Noble would steal the win and a shocked Torrie was now forced to spend a night with him. Torrie’s shocked face was actually pretty funny, as was Noble’s celebration. The match was messy and a bit bland, but it was a good win and fun little story for Noble, who needed one after a rough run of things on Smackdown so far this year. Grade: 1

3) Bradshaw (John Layfield) won the APA Invitational Barroom Brawl by being the last man standing at 4:29

Participants: Danny Basham (Dan Hollie), Doug Basham, Brooklyn Brawler (Steve Lombardi), Brother Love (Bruce Pritchard), Matt Cappotelli, Conquistadores (Rob Conway & Johnny Jeter), Doink the Clown (Nick Dinsmore), Easter Bunny (Aaron Stevens), Funaki (Shoichi Funaki), Matt Hardy, John Hennigan, Orlando Jordan, Kanyon, Shannon Moore, Nunzio (James Maritato), Sean O’Haire, Chuck Palumbo, Ron Simmons, Spanky (Brian Kendrick), and Johnny Stamboli (John Hugger)

Fun Fact:
There are some debuts in this brawl. The Basham Brothers have only one actual Basham. Danny’s real name is Dan Hollie, and he was in OVW since 1998 as the Damaja. Doug Basham actually was a big fan favorite in OVW and won its championship on several occasions. They debuted as a team on the 5/23 Smackdown. Matt Cappotelli co-won Tough Enough III with John Hennigan and the two were looking to be the most promising TE grads to date. Rob Conway & Johnny Jeter, two more OVW students, portrayed the legendary Conquistadors here. Orlando Jordan was another new face that had debuted on the 5/21 Velocity, defeating Jamie Noble.

Fun Fact II:
After their brief single runs, Bradshaw and Faarooq reunited in Ohio Valley Wrestling, winning the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship on April 10. They vacated the Tag Team Championship when they returned to WWE television on the June 19 edition of Smackdown, where they assisted the Undertaker in an ambush from the F.B.I. During their return, they revived their former gimmick of beer drinking and card playing segments in backstage areas. They decided to hold a barroom brawl on PPV and handed out invitations to an eclectic band of wrestlers and misfits.

Scott:
I can’t even explain what the hell this was. It was pretty much a glorified battle royal in a staged area. Where the Easter Bunny fits into all this I still don’t understand. Anyway it was an easy way to get a cheap pop for the out-of-date APA. Bradshaw cut his hair as he was now doing financial updates on CNBC so he needed to look a little more refined. By 2004 the makeover would be complete. Grade: N/A

Justin: Our comedy relief portion of the night is an entertaining little hardcore brawl featuring a random mix of talent. The APA had recently gotten back together and decided to hold an open brawl in their barroom. Brother Love kicked things off with a prayer which got a laugh out of me. As Scott mentioned, this was just a basic fun hardcore battle royal. Funaki was funny here too as he just sat at the bar drinking until he finally got wiped out towards the end. I liked seeing the return of the Conquistadors as well as the PPV debuts of the most promising Tough Enough III winners, John Hennigan and Matt Cappotelli. Out of everyone, I thought Sean O’Haire looked like the true star of the match. He just had such a great look and he stood tall on the bar, drilling guys with pool cues. It is a shame that this was it for him. In the end, Bradshaw gets the win, which is no surprise. This was a good time killer and didn’t overstay its welcome. Grade: N/A

4) The World’s Greatest Tag Team defeats Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gutierrez) & Billy Kidman (Peter Gruner) to retain WWE Tag Team Titles when Shelton Benjamin pinned Mysterio after a super-clothesline at 14:53

Fun Fact: On the June 12 Smackdown, the recently returned Kurt Angle confronted his protégés about their recent string of losses. After some arguing between the three, Angle officially fired them on the spot. Shortly after being eschewed from Team Angle, Benjamin and Haas began calling themselves the Self Proclaimed World’s Greatest Tag Team.

Fun Fact II:
On the 5/22 Smackdown, Rey Mysterio defeated Shannon Moore and Crash Holly to earn a Cruiserweight Title match against their Sensei, Matt Hardy. On the 6/5 Smackdown, Mysterio wrestled Hardy and defeated him for the title in his home state of California.

Fun Fact III:
Haas and Benjamin would recapture the WWE Tag Team titles from Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri on the 7/3 Smackdown. Kidman and Mysterio began teaming on the 7/17 Smackdown, picking up a win on the Conquistadores. They would follow with a win over Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore a week later to build momentum for their title opportunity.

Scott:
We get back into the groove with a super tag team match. Since debuting earlier in the year, Benjamin and Haas have been outstanding. Definitely guys who have the wrestling chops, they really meshed well together and with Kurt Angle in their corner were given the heel heat they needed to get over. 2003 was the year of the “singles guys are a tag team”. First it was Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri, now Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman get in the mix. Kidman was kind of lost in the shuffle for a bit after losing his Cruiserweight Title to Matt Hardy, but here he helps put on a pretty good match. Chicanery leads to the TWGTT retaining their titles, but that’s irrelevant to the fact that once again four guys way down in the WWE pecking order put on a better match than half the roster. I wonder if the creative team was watching this going “Wow Bad Blood was a piece of crap compared to this”, but probably not because at the time they were obviously not thinking clearly. Grade: 4.5

Justin: After a stinging loss at Judgment Day, Haas and Benjamin were booted from Team Angle but stepped up and won their belts back earlier this month. They were now officially on their own and were proving that they were mature beyond their years as they continue to carry matches and hang with veterans with a mix crisp, efficient heel teamwork and charisma. After he toiled in the Cruiserweight division for most the year, Billy Kidman hooked up with his old pal from WCW to earn a shot at the tag belts. The match had some great back and forth action early and the crowd was feeling it from the opening bell. All four men were so fluid in their teamwork and offense that the match just had a great flow to it. One of highlights was Kidman’s insane Shooting Star Press to the floor. TWGTT would recover and unleash their innovative and effective heel teamwork to control the match. I thought of all four men, Kidman actually ended up looking the best out there as he was booked to look like a warrior, absorbing some tough punishment and kicking out each time. The closing portion of the match was just tremendous with a great flurry of near falls and reversals. The finish was equally as good as TWGTT picked up another big PPV win. The tag division was really rocking here and all four men just busted their asses to deliver a gem. Grade: 4.5

5) Sable (Rena Lesnar) defeats Stephanie McMahon after an A-Train (Matt Bloom) clothesline at 6:29

Fun Fact: This is Sable’s first PPV match since defeating Tori to retain the Women’s Title at Wrestlemania XV.

Fun Fact II:
Since her debut, Sable had befriended Vince McMahon and began aiding him in his quest to take over Smackdown. Vince even appointed Sable as Stephanie’s assistant, but the two would bicker and argue each week. On the 6/19 Smackdown, Vince used Sable to taunt Zach Gowen as pretended to come on to him, only to end up mocking him alongside Vince. Later in the show, Steph ripped into Vince for using her all her life, even accusing Vince of whoring her out to associates in her late teens. On the 7/10 Smackdown, Sable assault Steph in the ring and beat her down. The two ladies would brawl over the next two weeks, leading to their showdown here.

Scott:
This match was pretty much punishment by Stephanie’s father Vince for backing Zach Gowen’s quest for a WWE contract. Obviously Sable wasn’t in the same kind of wrestling shape she was in back in her 1998-99 heyday, but the match isn’t unwatchable. Stephanie has learned to handle a simple enough match without looking too bad. She’s in pretty good shape and takes a pretty vicious clothesline from A-Train. These Vince-driven storylines would have fit better on Raw since their workrate was levels below Smackdown’s, but fortunately all the McMahonness didn’t take away from this show and this match isn’t offensive either. Grade: 2

Justin: Vince McMahon’s plan for domination on this night began here as his mistress Sable took on his daughter. Sable was smoking hot at this point; in fact I think she was even hotter here than she was back in the late nineties. Both ladies worked hard here and showed some nice energy as they tried to get the hatred of the story over. The match was a basic cat fight as they just whipped each other around the ring and clawed away. The biggest pop of the match came when Steph tore off Sable’s top, naturally. As the match wore down, Vince’s muscle, A-Train came charging out and crushed Steph with a stiff clothesline to give Sable the win. This was surprisingly frisky and well worked and it was kept short enough to keep it interesting. Part one of Vince’s plan was complete, as was prophesized in the pre-show video package when he proclaimed that Smackdown would be run by the triumvirate of “A-Train, Sable and ME!” Grade: 2

5) Undertaker (Mark Callaway) defeats John Cena with the Last Ride at 16:00

Fun Fact: On the 6/26 Smackdown, John Cena defeated young newcomer Orlando Jordan. After the match, Undertaker came down and offered Jordan his respect, similar to what he did to Cena a year earlier. A week later, after giving some tips to Jordan backstage, Taker cost Cena his US tournament match with Billy Gunn by distracting him. Following that, the match was added for the PPV as Cena looked for revenge. On the 7/24 Smackdown, Cena cut a great rap promo against Taker while standing in a burning pentagram.

Scott:
Here was your clear sign that Creative had future plans for John Cena. To be with the company for just about a year, and get a prime slot on a PPV card with the American Bad Ass himself is a sign that you’ve arrived. The simple premise that Cena didn’t respect Undertaker was enough to pump the buildup. Now Cena actually went back in time, as in 2002 when Cena was just a complete nobody Undertaker did show him respect, then Cena said Taker kicked him to the curb. So Cena gets in Taker’s face and on one Smackdown beat Taker with his chain. So the match was on and actually, it wasn’t too bad. Cena went right along with Taker’s pace and let the big guy dictate. I’m sure almost all the fans in Denver on this night didn’t expect this match to go sixteen minutes, but indeed it did. Cena had a couple of moments where maybe, just maybe the upset could happen. Alas, Cena is set right up for the Last Ride and three seconds later respect has been laid out. A great match that shows Undertaker was slowly getting into the best shape of his career and putting on better and better matches. As for Cena, that match may have punched his ticket to bigger and better things down the line, but a little vig was paid here to get there. No bother, both guys went out and did what they had to do and it was the surprise match of the night. Grade: 3.5

Justin: The push of John Cena continues as he steps into Undertaker’s yard for another big PPV match. Cena had really been gaining steam and was getting some quality pops from the crowd due to his biting raps and overall hip feeling. Taker hadn’t really been doing much other than mentoring Orlando Jordan, so he was used here to help elevate Cena. Taker would pound on Cena early, controlling and dominating the match with his usual methodical offense. He pretty much just destroyed Cena in five minutes and he had him pinned with a chokeslam but Taker picked him up to allow the match to continue. That annoyed me, but we will get into it further in a moment. Once Cena recovered and took over, he was very aggressive and wrestled a smart match. As it wore on, the match evolved into a slugfest and that is when it really started to pick up. After some good back and forth, Cena got a great near fall after using his chain and then drilling Taker with an FU. Taker would battle back and sneak in a mammoth Last Ride out of the corner to pick up the win. After the stupid squash part of the match, Cena looked really good as he hung with Taker throughout a stiff war. I didn’t like how they basically had Taker win the match twice, especially with relative ease the first time. If they wanted to do the squash portion early, Cena should have won in the end. Cena was good enough here to gain from the outing, but Taker didn’t need the win, and really didn’t need two wins within 16:00. Despite that, this was still a really good brawl and the crowd stayed hot, just as they have all night long. Grade: 3.5

6) Mr. McMahon defeats Zach Gowen after Gowen missed a moonsault at 14:00

Fun Fact: On the June 26 edition of Smackdown, McMahon told Gowen that if he would join his “Kiss My Ass Club”, he would be awarded a WWE contract. Instead Gowen hit McMahon with a low blow. As a result on July 3, to win his WWE contract, Gowen, along with supporter Stephanie McMahon, faced off against the Big Show in what Mr. McMahon, mocking Zach’s amputated leg, billed as the first “real” handicap match. With help from Kurt Angle and then Brock Lesnar, the team of Gowen and McMahon were able to defeat the Big Show and thus won Gowen a WWE contract. McMahon was furious, and said Gowen’s first official WWE match would be against him at this show.

Scott:
Now you see this match on paper and you go “Oh my god what the hell is this”, and rightfully so. You have a one-legged wrestler against a non-wrestler. Sure Vince has been in his share of matches but usually it’s with another wrestler who can help him along, whether it’s Austin or Hogan. ere he’s facing a kid with one leg and it would seem to be a recipe for disaster, right? Well, honestly it had a charm to it and a pretty good pace. Here’s Vince, the jacked-up bully, facing the kid who just wants to be part of something. Vince beats on the kid for a while, but Zach gets his shots in to keep the match going and the suspense building. Would Vince put this kid over? Is he a future WWE superstar? Well the answer is no and no. But that doesn’t take away from the decent effort these two put on in this match. The most remembered moment of the match is when Vince brings a chair into the ring but Gowen dropkicks it in his face. It cuts him pretty deep in the forehead and blood is just gushing from it. I’m sure they weren’t planning on bleeding in this match but the chair hit Vince in just the right spot to bust him open. It adds some unexpected intrigue to the match and maybe gives it the look that maybe Zach’s going to steal this one. However as soon as he misses the one-legged moonsault, it was over as Vince simply hooks the one leg and gets the three count. Not a workrate gem or anything but a fun little match that has its chances to be a big upset. Even though it wasn’t it was still pretty good. Grade: 2.5

Justin: With Sable picking up a victory earlier tonight, Mr. McMahon was looking to complete his domination with a match against the young upstart Zach Gowen. The build for this match was actually pretty good and I have always been a mark for the match where Zach earned his contract. Vince was just jacked to the gills here as he struts out to the ring. Tazz and Cole really put Zach’s heart and impressive ability over big time on commentary. Vince would toy with Zach early and Zach’s selling was actually quite good, gaining some good sympathy and heat for Vince. Zach would come back with a nice Asai moonsault, but Vince would regain control and really gain some great heat with his pompous dickhead heel offense. Zach wouldn’t stay down though, and during his comeback he was able to dropkick a chair into Vince’s face. Unfortunately for Vince, the chair caught him wrong and he started bleeding an absolutely sickening gusher. There is still some debate over whether it was a blade job or not, but the way Vince started pouring blood immediately, I tend to think it was unintentional. I guess it is also possible that the chair hit him as he was blading and caused it to be worse than intended. Either way, it was gory and ugly and just poured out of his head live a sieve. Zach would blast him with another chair shot but Vince dodged a moonsault and barely picked up the win. Zach really should have won here as the finish really killed the crowd after a pretty hot match. Not sure what Vince gained by winning or why Zach needed to lose here but what can you do. It was still a fun match that was well worked, a common theme for tonight’s show. Grade: 2.5

7) Kurt Angle defeats Brock Lesnar & Big Show (Paul Wight) in a triple threat match to win WWE Championship when he pins Lesnar with the Olympic Slam at 17:31

Fun Fact: Kurt Angle made his return to TV on the 6/5 Smackdown. Upon the original diagnosis of his injury, it was rumored that Angle would be out of action for up to a year, or possibly even forced to retire, as he would need spinal fusion surgery. Angle instead opted for a different, more aggressive surgery that would shorten his rehab time. Angle came through the surgery fine, worked his ass off training and amazingly enough was ready for a return just under three months later. Upon his return, Kurt got an enormous pop from the fans and it was evident that he was returning as a face. Big Show interrupted Angle’s speech, but after some playful jabs from Kurt, the WWE Champion showed up on the scene as well. Brock offered Angle a title match and Kurt accepted the offer. Kurt also put over their Wrestlemania match and also thanked Brock for his support and friendship during Kurt’s recovery time. A week later, Brock put his title on the line against the Big Show. Eight minutes into the match, Brock superplexed Show and, in an iconic Smackdown moment, the ring collapsed, leading to a no contest. A week later, Show got his rematch, but the bout ended in a DQ when Haas and Benjamin ran into to attack Lesnar. Angle made the save and cleaned house, but he was wiped out by a Show chokeslam. Two weeks later, Angle and Lesnar helped Zach Gowen earn a contract when they interfered in his match and took out Big Show. The next week, Angle had a funny battle rap segment with John Cena that ended with Show attacking him. Angle confronted Lesnar later that night, angry that Brock didn’t help him while Show was beating him down. Later that night, Lesnar was pinned by Big Show in a handicap match after Show put Brock through a table with a chokeslam. Show would also pick up a win over Angle two weeks later when some miscommunication with Brock led to the pinfall in a six man tag. While the build up for this match was basic, many people didn’t care for the bizarre mutual admiration relationship between Lesnar and Angle. They thought it made Brock look weak instead of the dominant monster he was seemingly bred to portray.

Scott:
One year after a great triple threat match at last year’s Vengeance we have another great triple threat match to close out the show. Brock Lesnar has been on fire since winning the title at Wrestlemania, having one solid match after another. Angle is coming off major neck surgery, but instead of being out until mid-2004, he had experimental surgery and was back in June. This is his first match since losing to Lesnar in Seattle, and here he takes his title back in a great Triple Threat. I know that Big Show was just thrown in there so Lesnar/Angle wouldn’t be a singles match, but Show actually brings the goods here. He’s always good in these matches because he can hit his big power moves and then take a breather while the other two guys beat on each other. This match was interesting because each guy hit their finisher like two minutes into the match, and all the pin attempts were broken up. Overall the match has a pretty good pace and Angle looks to be in great shape. The crowd was actually pretty stoked all night and they had plenty of energy for this one too. I thought Show was there to eat the pin, but actually Lesnar takes the pin clean from an Angle Slam and the Olympic Hero regains his WWE Title. This was a great match and a great finish to a great show. Grade: 4

Justin: As you would expect, Angle gets the biggest pop of the night as he made his way out. Brock was still over, but this recent storyline had taken some luster off his monster image. Angle was the returning hero and was amazing as ever in the ring. Plus his goofy face attitude was back, adding to the fans’ delight. Big Show would dominate this early and I will give him credit because he worked hard to keep up with the two tireless wrestling machines. Angle and Lesnar would end up teaming up and taking Show out, which really was the best direction this match could go in. Lesnar would start the assault on Show with a sick powerbomb in another impressive spot by those two guys. Angle and Brock would follow up with a series of weapons shots and then polish him off with a big Angle Slam through a table. Brock and Kurt would then square off and I must say it felt like a big showdown as it was their first encounter since Wrestlemania. Angle would win this round with an Angle Slam to reclaim his Championship. The finish was very strong and this was a nice win for Kurt. It was also a good title change to cap off a great show. Show would finally take a step back to the upper midcard while Angle and Brock would continue to feud, although there will be some interesting changes as the weeks go on. Grade: 4

Final Analysis:

Scott: Well now this was an interesting little evening of wrestling. Every match had a back story, and almost half of them reached 3.5 status. They definitely split the two shows into styles. The Raw brand was where the action was acceptable, if average and featured all the big names. Smackdown however was mainly where the career mid carders were pushed and although they may not have the sizzle like the names on Raw, they certainly put on the better matches by an exponential margin. I think that’s why Vince put himself on Smackdown, so that the show had a little bit of sizzle to it. However, Smackdown did have a pretty good group of personalities including Undertaker and Kurt Angle. So really when you think about it, was Smackdown just the better show? Obviously when you look at both brands’ first PPV you would think so. The Bad Blood opener was Rodney Mack/Chris Nowinski vs. the Dudleys, and this opener was Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero. Which brand would you watch? Now, Smackdown would take a bit of a dip with their next PPV in October, but we’ll let you figure that out. Overall this show may be the best PPV of the year, and certainly the best of the brand-specific shows. Solid booking and compatible matchups lead to one of the bests overall shows in history, completely out of nowhere. Final Grade: A-

Justin: Well, there really isn’t much to talk about here as this was just a flat out great show. After the disaster that was Bad Blood, there were many skeptics of the single brand PPV idea. This show eased those fears a bit, at least as far as Smackdown was concerned that is. Raw was yet to prove that they had the horses to deliver a great show on their own. Smackdown was loaded with great in ring talent and this show proved it. While the three title matches clearly carried the show, even the matches you wouldn’t have expected to deliver stepped up and entertaining due to smart booking and hard work. There were a few questionable results, namely the Undertaker and McMahon victories, but those matches delivered until the final three seconds. Smackdown is starting to turn up the heat after a shaky few months and all three champions have the ability to deliver golden performances in and out of the ring. This was just a flat out great show and is highly recommended. Final Grade: A

MVP: Eddie Guerrero & Chris Benoit
Runner Up: Billy Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
Non MVP: Billy Gunn
Runner Up: Mr. McMahon

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