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Thread: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

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    Judgment Day WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Judgment Day
    May 18, 2003



    Chris Benoit, Rhyno, and Spanky vs John Cena and The FBI w/Nunzio
    WWE 2003 logic - give away a ten minute Benoit/Cena match for free on Smackdown just days before the PPV. When the actual PPV comes, run a random six man tag that lasts just four minutes. It’s not so much that this match was bad, but it just did not feel important at all. Maybe Cena wasn’t some huge star in May 2003, but running Cena vs Benoit could have been a nice boost to this show. I’d say the first three minutes of the match featured Spanky being worked over by Cena and the FBI. With a minute to go, Benoit comes in to kick some ass and to set-up action with everyone coming in for the chaotic finish. Spanky ends up being hit with the FBI’s Kiss of Death (Middle rope leg drop variation of Demolition Decapitator) to be pinned while Benoit had Cena in the Crippler Crossface. At no point was Rhyno ever legally in the match. ** ¼


    Test and Scott Steiner w/Stacy Keibler vs La Resistance
    This would mark La Resistance’s PPV debut. It’s also Steiner’s return to PPV after being kept off of Wrestlemania 19 and Backlash. There’s not much to this because the talent involved are so limited. Dupree and Grenier’s original ring gear looked really lame with the plain black pants with a yellow stripe running down the sides and wearing a French flag style belt. La Resistance controls for awhile until the angle can kick into gear with the internal drama between Steiner and Test. Test collided with Stacy on the apron causing her to...sorta fall off into the arms of Steiner. Steiner takes forever to put her down. After Steiner got into the ring and cleaned house, Test accidentally laid him out with a big boot after missing his original target. That allowed La Resistance to pin Steiner following the Bonsoir (Double spinebuster). Ultimately, not as terrible as I imagined, but neither team helped Raw improve its tag division in 2003. **

    Team Angle © vs Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri - Ladder Match - WWE Tag Titles
    This was set to be a rematch from Backlash with the addition of the ladder between Team Angle vs Los Guerreros, but Chavo ended up getting injured literally days earlier. Needing a replacement, Eddie ended up picking the surprise partner of...Tajiri. Although Tajiri had had some success in the WWE, I can remember being shocked that he was picked as the replacement. Tajiri hadn’t been doing much on Smackdown for months beforehand. Seeing as this was Tajiri’s chance to prove that he deserved more attention, he went out there and performed...okay. The two biggest botches involved Tajiri including a nasty pull off of the ladder that caused Tajiri to scrap his face on the ladder on the way down. As the match went on, Tajiri seemed to become more and more comfortable though. Guerrero was typically good throughout the match, doing his best to try and carry the match for the other three wrestlers. For Benjamin, you could almost see him realizing how natural he felt in a ladder match as the match progressed. That then just left Haas. Poor Charlie looked incredibly awkward out there from beginning to end. I suspect some of it was done to try and tell a story, but Haas also blew a couple of spots and in general didn’t look like someone you’d want to book in a ladder match again. The biggest complaint I’d have about the match is how slow everyone climbed up the ladder when it came to trying to retrieve the belts, which in contrast to when they were climbing to perform a spot, was very slow. There’s a good collection of spots to make up for the weaknesses though. Haas and Benjamin did a ladder based version of their AWA Special (See gif below), Guerrero as expected got in the sunset flip power bomb from the top, and I really dug the finale with Benjamin’s attempt to pull Eddie down from the ladder failing because Tajiri sprayed green mist in Shelton’s eyes through the rungs of the ladder. That allowed Eddie to pull down the tag titles and become the NEW WWE Tag Champions. The Backlash 2003 match was slightly better overall, but this one had the bigger moments and obviously the more rewarding finish. *** ½


    Just to give a bit more thoughts on the selection of Tajiri as Guerrero’s partner, although I appreciate it, I don’t think it was the most logical move. On one hand, it’s great that they instantly added value to Tajiri, overnight elevating him from being just filler to now being involved in something that mattered. At the same time, Chris Benoit was such an obvious replacement for Chavo. Not only was Benoit already involved with Team Angle, but it would have played into the next couple of months worth of booking perfectly. Eddie’s eventual turn on Benoit would have mattered a lot more since it was difficult caring about Guerrero turning on Tajiri since Tajiri only had value because of Eddie in the first place. This turn would have led directly into the short summer program between Eddie and Benoit as they battled over the US Title. In addition, putting Benoit and Eddie together as a team would have given Rhyno a better reason to be upset enough with Benoit to turn on him at Vengeance. After all, Rhyno went out of his way to make his return to have Benoit’s back, only for Benoit to ignore him in favor of joining up with an enemy in Guerrero, simply because it meant gold. For Rhyno, he would be justified in having the belief that Benoit left him high and dry, and Rhyno wouldn’t have been cool with Benoit returning to him after Eddie deserted him. I think it makes a lot of sense.

    Battle Royal - WWE IC Title
    Back in October 2002, the WWE had the bright idea to do away with the IC Title. Seven months later, they realized their mistake and set out to bring it back. To crown the first IC Champion of 2003, it was decided that an invitational battle royal would be created for any former IC Champion. Participants include RVD and Kane (Raw Tag Champions), Lance Storm, Christian, Chris Jericho, Test, Goldust, and the return of Chief Morley as Val Venis. The fact that such former IC Champions (Raw wrestlers only) like Triple H, Kevin Nash, or Shawn Michaels didn’t care about joining, doesn’t exactly make the title seem all that wanted. Then there’s the randomness of Booker T being added as well. Even though it was made abundantly clear that the battle royal was only for former champions, they never once explained why Booker T was able to be a part of it. Literally all they had to do was have Booker win a match on Raw and qualify for the battle royal, but they couldn’t have even bothered to do that. This match was just one giant misstep. The late addition of the return of Val Venis is such a minor thing, particularly when they went to the trouble of bringing Venis back, complete with a pre-match promo, only to toss him out after a minute without doing a single thing. What about some fun surprise entrants? Bring out a former IC Champion from Smackdown, hoping to win the belt and take it back to SD? How about an one night return of a former IC Champion? Fuck it, bring back The Honky Tonk Man for one night only! Then there’s the failure of using what they had. RVD and Kane, two of the bigger stars in the company, were barely even in the match. Since they were the reigning World Tag Champions, it’s not as if anyone believed they would win, but A) Why are they in the match then and B) Why are they doing so little? They could have defended the titles against some team on this night instead. Things slowed down once it got down to the final four of Jericho, Christian, Booker, and Goldust for an unofficial tag match until Goldust fails at trying to screw Booker over, causing Booker to toss him out and then Christian fucks Jericho over by pushing Y2J over the top rope during a Lionsault attempt. That brings us down to Christian vs the guy who shouldn’t have even been in the match. They can’t be bothered to do a simple finish, instead doing a ref bump (In a battle royal?) to allow Booker to seemingly win the match after tossing Christian out, only for Christian to sneak back in with the IC Title, knock Booker out, and toss him out in front of the recovered referee to win the battle royal and become the NEW WWE IC Champion. Why was there only one referee at ringside? Why didn’t any of the referees rush out to inform the original referee what happened? Throughout the night, we had been shown Raw GMs, Eric Bischoff and Steve Austin, watching from a luxury box, so why didn’t Stone Cold do something? They half assed the booking of the match and it shows. And for what? A match that should have been done on Raw instead since the sole purpose of it is to set up Booker vs Christian on PPV? There’s obviously been worse battle royals, but this is one that is very clear that it could have been so much more than it actually was. It’s a shame too since this title victory kicked off Christian’s singles push, prompting him to cut his hair and start wrestling shirtless to give him this fresh new look. Much like the Tajiri as Guerrero’s partner, Christian winning here was a big surprise when I felt Booker T or Jericho were the far more obvious picks. * ¾

    Mr. America vs Roddy Piper w/Sean O’Haire
    Remember all of the shit the WWE gave WCW for having to rely on stars from the 80s back in the Monday Night Wars? Now, seven years later, WWE has actually put Hogan vs Piper on PPV again. Now, you can make the argument that it’s not as bad since this isn’t the main event, but it’s still Hogan vs Piper. It would have seemed a little more purpose driven had it been Hogan vs O’Haire instead, which actually happened on the very next edition of Smackdown. Then you’d be using Hogan on PPV in 2003, but with the purpose of trying to elevate a new star. This match was sorta sad to watch. Piper looks awful, both physically and in the ring. For a program that once was a huge deal in wrestling to now go only four minutes and be a negative on the show is disappointing. O’Haire was there to interfere throughout the match with Hogan sometimes getting the best of him with the usage of his weight belt. Mr. McMahon would eventually come out to the ring to slip O’Haire a lead pipe and distract the referee. That allowed Piper to hold America while O’Haire ran in to try and hit Hogan with the pipe. Instead, America ducks, causing Piper to be laid out. America drops a quick leg drop and picks up the victory. This was basically as good as Piper vs Hogan in 2003 could be. The whole Mr. America act would end up being a bust as the Hogan/WWE relationship once again became strained with Hogan abruptly leaving by the end of June. * ½

    Triple H © w/Ric Flair vs Kevin Nash w/Shawn Michaels - World Heavyweight Title
    Are you a fan of wasting your time? If so, this match is for you! First up, all four men, including Flair and HBK receive their own entrance. So naturally, that must mean Michaels and Flair will play a big role in the match, right? Nope! When Nash attacks Hunter during Trips’ entrance, the prompts Flair and Michaels to get into a brawl, fighting to the back, never to be seen again. So glad we wasted time with Flair and Michaels’ entrances for that! Once the actual match begins, it’s nearly all Nash. I’m talking maybe 90/10 in favor of Nash. Most of the match feels like a gigantic waste because it doesn’t take long before the referee starts getting shoved by both men. They’re not being subtle at all about what sort of finish this match is going to have, so with each additional minute that passes, it feels like a waste since you know there won’t be a proper finish. After multiple assaults to the referee, the finish revolves around Triple H grabbing the sledgehammer and giving into temptation and just hitting referee, Earl Hebner, with it. That causes Triple H to be DQ’d and the biggest waste of all - the fact that this was just a set-up for the PPV match that really matters, HIAC match at Bad Blood, is revealed. Much like the IC Title battle royal, it’s not so much that it’s a bad match as much as it’s just woefully poorly booked. If this was all they had in mind for the first Nash/Hunter match, they should have just ran Nash/Michaels vs Triple H/Flair here instead. Sure, it would have felt a bit cheap since they just ran the six man tag (With Booker T and Chris Jericho) the previous month at Backlash, but at least you’re getting a proper match as the WWE builds up to the HIAC match. The WHT on PPV in 2003, thus far, has been utter shit. * ¾


    After the match, Nash attacks Hunter, laying him out with a Jackknife in the ring. The action continued up the entrance way where Nash delivers another Jackknife, this time through the commentator’s table. We spend a lot of time on Hunter with the commentators doing their best to sell it as a HUGE moment. Again, it instead felt like a giant waste of time because it’s set up to be a big injury angle, yet Hunter is wrestling the very next night on Raw. If you’re going to play a table spot up as a big deal, follow through with it otherwise, it loses all meaning.

    Jazz © w/Teddy Long vs Trish Stratus vs Victoria w/Stevie Richards vs Jacqueline - WWE Women’s Title
    If Jacqueline’s in a match on PPV, you know it’s pure filler. That sounds pretty mean, but with how the WWE booked her, there’s zero reason to ever believe a Jacqueline PPV match in 2003 meant anything. These four women, including Jacqueline, have dominated the PPV Women’s Title matches as of late to such an extent that you have to go all the way back to Unforgiven 2002 to find a Women’s Title match that included someone besides these four (Molly). It’s pretty silly, but I love the fact that everyone involved in this match is wearing a different color. There’s bronze (Jazz), green (Jacqueline), blue (Trish), black (Victoria), pink (Stevie), and red (Teddy Long). This was okay, but clearly just a piss break in between the two World Title matches. It’s only four minutes long, so there was never a chance for the match to drag. It’s mostly just non-stop action with Richards getting involved a bit. Finish saw Trish’s attempt at a Stratusfaction send her over the top rope to the outside, Jacqueline dropping Victoria with a Northern Lights Suplex, but Jazz breaking up the cover and destroying Jackie with a DDT for the victory to retain her title. Following this PPV, Jazz would enter a program with Ivory in which Ivory pinned Jazz multiple times in tag matches, but before they could finish the program, Jazz got hurt, causing them to miss out on having a match together at Bad Blood (Ivory wrestled Molly on HEAT) and Jazz came back to work a Women’s Title battle royal on Raw at the end of June to drop the title to the debuting Gail Kim before being out of action/off of TV for the rest of the year. By time she’d return to TV at the start of 2004, she’d be used sparingly until her release in November 2004. This was an inoffensive match that belonged on Raw. **

    Brock Lesnar © vs The Big Show - Stretcher Match - WWE World Title
    The third PPV match between Brock and Show with both men holding a victory. This was a stretcher match due to Show’s recent gimmick of enjoying stretching guys, most notably Rey Mysterio at Backlash 2003. The commentators nicely hyped the fact that this was the first stretcher match in WWE history since Andre the Giant vs Killer Khan way back in 1981. Had you owned the original Judgment Day 2003 DVD, besides the usual worthless HEAT match, you also got that Andre/Khan Stretcher match. Pretty good match actually. Back when I watched it, I had rated it ***. Speaking of the commentators hyping something historic, multiple times in the match, they brought up the fact that this week was the 40th anniversary of the crowning of the first ever WWE Champion! Except...it wasn’t. What was the 40th anniversary the day before was Bruno’s first WWE Title victory. However, that’s ignoring the fact that Buddy Rogers was the first champion, which gets tricky in terms of when exactly did he become champion since do you count when the WWE credits him or do you more logically count when he first became NWA Champion? Regardless of the answer, it most certainly wasn’t mid May 1963. Regardless, I’d go as far as calling this easily Big Show’s best match, thus far in his career. I’ve seen this a few times and it seems with each viewing, it becomes more entertaining. Part of the appeal is that their Survivor Series match sucked and their Royal Rumble rematch was a little better. Here, it’s even better. Thanks to the gimmick, allowing both men to use stretchers, they were able to keep the pace quick, hitting some big spots to keep things interesting. It definitely feels like an Attitude Era main event with the big match feel increasing after the surprise return of Rey Mysterio to try and get some revenge. Mysterio’s attempt...is less than 100% successful, but it does provide Show a slight distraction while Lesnar is off getting a forklift in his efforts to transport Show over the match ending line. It’s a memorable sight as Show is transported with the forklift (While technically lying on a stretcher) as Lesnar wins only to then lift Show up even higher until Show is at least ten feet up in the air. Poor guy. *** ¾


    Overall
    Judgment Day 2003 reminded me a lot of the first couple of PPVs of the brand extension era. Raw bringing absolutely nothing to the table. The WHT match was a gigantic waste of time and just a means of hyping a future PPV match. The IC Title battle royal could have been done on Raw as a way to set-up the future PPV match that mattered. The La Resistance PPV debut wasn’t good. Ultimately, the best Raw match on the show is probably the women’s match and that was just a filler match. For SD’s offerings, it’s very similar to this time last year as a couple of the matches are able to be great and shows off how massively better SD is compared to Raw, but booking also prevents every SD match from being able to deliver. The six man tag was a gigantic waste of Benoit, a guy who already missed the previous PPV of Backlash. Seeing Piper vs Hogan on PPV in 2003 is really difficult to see as anything other than a mistake. Surprise surprise, both men would be gone in under six weeks, making their appearance here a waste of valuable PPV time. Even though Sean O’Haire would end up being a dud, giving him a Hogan PPV match could have potentially hyped build him up more. Lesnar/Show and the ladder matches are well worth watching, but the PPV in general is quite bad. It’s no wonder I was enjoying spending money on buying $10 TNA PPVs during this time period when this was what WWE was offering on PPV.

  2. #2
    Chikara Trainee

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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    I wanna check out the tag ladder match, stretcher match and Women's match. Didn't STWW cover this PPV?


  3. #3

    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by LibSuperstar View Post
    I wanna check out the tag ladder match, stretcher match and Women's match. Didn't STWW cover this PPV?
    Uhh, to answer this question, I'd have to know what STWW even is.

  4. #4
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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Didn't fancy the Torrie/Sable segment, eh Jim?

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

  5. #5

    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Postman Dave View Post
    Didn't fancy the Torrie/Sable segment, eh Jim?
    ...I may have skipped over the pointless Sable/Torrie and Austin/Bischoff segments.

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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim
    Uhh, to answer this question, I'd have to know what STWW even is.
    Something To Wrestle With


  7. #7

    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by LibSuperstar View Post
    Something To Wrestle With
    Oh. I don't bother listening to that shit. Actually, at the moment, I suppose I haven't been listening to any wrestling podcasts lately.

  8. #8
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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim
    Oh. I don't bother listening to that shit. Actually, at the moment, I suppose I haven't been listening to any wrestling podcasts lately.
    Ah! Wrestling podcasts make up a good % of my audio consumption these days.


  9. #9
    Underdog
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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Lesnar/Show and the ladder matches are well worth watching, but the PPV in general is quite bad.
    I'd argue even this is generous. I distinctly remember watching this PPV at the time and questioning if wrestling was actually for me any more.

    The ladder match is decent, but in an era where it felt like they were having them every other month out of sheer desperation. I couldn't tell you a single spot from that match, but I do remember Benjamin and especially Haas just looking completely out of their depth and quite nervous. It's not a bad match by any means, but not one I would ever want to go back and try again. I like your alternative booking for Eddie/Benoit/Rhyno, though.

    The stretcher match we have DRASTICALLY different views on. I respect that you saw an Attitude era brawl with a big match feel, but I found it pretty dull with a cute ending. It's okay, but I wouldn't go anywhere near ***3/4 personally. But hey, that's just my opinion.

    To be totally fair, it may be that I have such a low opinion of this period that I'm irredeemably biased on this show. It was such a directionless mess, with throwing ex-WCW guys out there in title matches a couple of years after they helped WCW go out of business, and after years of WWF insisting WCW was inferior. There's talent in there, but it was the end of the year before they really got a handle on what to do with them, and instead we had to sit through matches with Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash etc, while Benoit, Spanky, RVD, Rey and Cena do very little and Michaels doesn't even wrestle. This was such a dark period.

    So, yeah, if you factor in the Ladder match is just "fine" by my standards, and the stretcher match is pretty dull, during a period where everything seemed to bomb even though they had the talent to do something half-decent, then for me this is an all time dog of a show.





  10. #10
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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    ...I may have skipped over the pointless Sable/Torrie and Austin/Bischoff segments.
    Shame, as a teenager at the time that was the one part of this show I had no trouble recalling

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

  11. #11

    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by keefmoon View Post
    I'd argue even this is generous. I distinctly remember watching this PPV at the time and questioning if wrestling was actually for me any more.

    The ladder match is decent, but in an era where it felt like they were having them every other month out of sheer desperation. I couldn't tell you a single spot from that match, but I do remember Benjamin and especially Haas just looking completely out of their depth and quite nervous. It's not a bad match by any means, but not one I would ever want to go back and try again. I like your alternative booking for Eddie/Benoit/Rhyno, though.

    The stretcher match we have DRASTICALLY different views on. I respect that you saw an Attitude era brawl with a big match feel, but I found it pretty dull with a cute ending. It's okay, but I wouldn't go anywhere near ***3/4 personally. But hey, that's just my opinion.

    To be totally fair, it may be that I have such a low opinion of this period that I'm irredeemably biased on this show. It was such a directionless mess, with throwing ex-WCW guys out there in title matches a couple of years after they helped WCW go out of business, and after years of WWF insisting WCW was inferior. There's talent in there, but it was the end of the year before they really got a handle on what to do with them, and instead we had to sit through matches with Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash etc, while Benoit, Spanky, RVD, Rey and Cena do very little and Michaels doesn't even wrestle. This was such a dark period.

    So, yeah, if you factor in the Ladder match is just "fine" by my standards, and the stretcher match is pretty dull, during a period where everything seemed to bomb even though they had the talent to do something half-decent, then for me this is an all time dog of a show.
    You're fine. This is the most I've enjoyed both Lesnar/Show and the ladder match. At the time, I definitely felt frustration with the 2003 product with it becoming more and more of a chore to watch. Raw was the drizzling shits and while SD was vastly better, you still had to sit through far too much McMahon action and as the year went on, the depush of the likes of TWGTT in favor of crap like The Bashams and Nathan Jones. Since so much time has passed, I find the awfulness of 2003 to no longer be offensive and is now just regular bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Postman Dave View Post
    Shame, as a teenager at the time that was the one part of this show I had no trouble recalling
    At the time, I feel like they were doing bathing suit contests on a biweekly basis, so doing the exact same thing, but making you pay $35 to see it? Meh. Tits or GTFO.

  12. #12
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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2003 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    At the time, I feel like they were doing bathing suit contests on a biweekly basis, so doing the exact same thing, but making you pay $35 to see it? Meh. Tits or GTFO.
    You pretty much nearly had them in this particular contest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dakstang
    You can't have a reasonable discussion about serious topics with people like Marketh around.

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