Vengeance 2003: A Triple Threat I Actually Like

Vengeance 2003
Date: July 27, 2003
Location: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 9,500
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

So we’re into the whole individual brand PPVs here and this is a Smackdown one. The main things here are another triple threat with Angle, Lesnar and Show and in what today would be a main event of Mania in Cena vs. Taker. Oh and the finals of the tournament for the US Title which was brought back due to people realizing how stupid the whole one brand one champion thing was. We also have Zach Gowen vs. Vince. I’m riveted too. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is about wanting to succeed from when you were a kid. People like Angle, Lesnar and Stephanie talk about this. It’s one of those shows isn’t it? Vince says tonight is about control. He’s backing Big Show apparently.

US Title: Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero

This is the final of a tournament so I’d bet on a great match. This is the first Smackdown exclusive PPV according to Cole, so it’s likely the 8th or 9th. Pretty sure Eddie is heel here but he’s popular anyway. They won’t shake hands either. Eddie sprayed wax in Benoit’s eyes or something like that on Smackdown. Benoit beat Matt Hardy and Rikishi. Eddie beat Ultimo Dragon and Billy Gunn.

Yeah the Smackdown show wasn’t much at the time but there was no way these two wouldn’t be the finalists so there you are. They’re going slow here which means they’ve got a lot of time to work with. We get a nice little pinfall reversal sequence which is old but always fun. Eddie wants to shine apparently. I don’t know if he can shine but if he lets certain vampires bite him he could sparkle.

Eddie goes for a tombstone but Benoit counters then shows why he’s brilliant by making it a shoulder breaker. Immediately after that he goes for the Crossface. And that is why Benoit is better than your favorite wrestler. His finishing move is a shoulder hold and he works on the shoulder. There would be no point in him working on the leg or whatever. It’s why Flair works the knee all the time: his finishing move works on the knee. How come so few wrestlers get that? It boggles my mind. Truly it does.

The announcers talk about technical difficulties but I didn’t notice anything wrong. Benoit’s tights saying Toothless Aggression always cracked me up. A top rope belly to back gets two for Benoit. Nice looking one too. It’s always weird hearing Sting mentioned on WWF TV. Crossface goes on but Eddie gets the ropes. Both go for their triple suplexes but the third is countered both times. Frog Splash mostly misses but Eddie’s arm hits Benoit so there’s some damage both ways.

Crossface is hooked again. I love that move. Naturally the referee goes down. Why does that always have to happen? It’s rather aggravating. Benoit gets popped in the head and takes a Frog Splash but it only gets two. That’s rather surprising. And now he hits the referee with the belt and puts it on Benoit before laying down. Ok, why not just hit Benoit like four times with it and wait on the referee to get up since now the ref is out cold. With no referee, Eddie taps to the Crossface.

Is there a reason why the referee is holding his neck when he got hit in the back? Eddie pulls the referee into the diving headbutt so he’s dead again. And here’s Rhyno who was teaming with Benoit around this time to turn heel and gore him. ANOTHER Frog Splash gives Eddie the US Title.

Rating: B+. This was better until we had all the overbooking. These two simply knew how to have great matches and this was no exception. Eddie winning is a nice surprise as he was a step behind Benoit at this point and likely needed it more than Benoit did. Still though, EXCELLENT opener and I liked it a lot. Giving these two over twenty minutes is just a good idea.

Vince and Stephanie have a weird moment. Stephanie simply cannot act and it’s just hilarious watching her try. This has to be the highlight of the show.

We recap Billy Gunn vs. Jamie Noble. Noble wants to sleep with Torrie so he offers to pay her for sex. Billy was with Torrie for his 847th push. If Noble beats Billy, Torrie will sleep with him on Smackdown. If Billy wins…nothing happens. Anyone else failing to see the point here?

Billy Gunn vs. Jamie Noble

Jamie brings a briefcase with his “stuff” in it. They actually open it which is creepy. Jamie’s girlfriend Nidia comes out and is mad at him over this clearly. See the criticisms of soap opera stuff that WWE gets? Noble works on his knee so his regular stuff can’t work. Gunn busts out a random Diamond Cutter for two. Didn’t see that one coming. Noble hooks a DDT from the second rope. I liked that.

Nidia puts his foot on the ropes though since she doesn’t want Torrie sleeping with Noble. That makes sense at least. Both girls beat him up. Billy gets rammed into Torrie and gets rolled up for the pin. Torrie says Holy crap and it’s rather amusing. Cole shouting NOBLE GETS TO SLEEP WITH TORRIE cracked me up. He wants to watch. Oh dear.

Rating: D. Bad match on top of a bad angle doesn’t help. Naturally it didn’t happen and Noble and Gunn started teaming together because it’s professional wrestling and of course it doesn’t make sense. Torrie looked hot though so I can’t complain much there. Still though, stupid angle and a stupid match.

Funaki is with the APA. We go back to Thursday to see the Brooklyn Brawler beating up the APA. It’s to set up the bar room brawl here in a second. The Easter Bunny hops by. I’m not making that up and I’m totally sober.

Bar Room Brawl

Shannon Moore, Doink the Clown, Faarooq, Bradshaw, Brother Love, Nunzio, Matt Hardy, Chris Kanyon, Danny Basham, Doug Basham, The Easter Bunny, Sean O’Haire, John Hennigan, Orlando Jordan, Funaki, Los Conquistadores, The Brooklyn Brawler, Johnny Stamboli, Chuck Palumbo, Matt Cappotelli, and Spanky.

There’s a bar set up in the arena and we’re just going to fight in there. Los Conquistadores are Rob Conway and Johnny Jeter in case you’re wondering. Aaron Stevens is the Easter Bunny. He was on Smackdown for a cup of coffee as Idol Stevens in like 05 or 06. McCool managed him. John Hennigan is more commonly known as John Morrison, and this Doink is played by Nick “Eugene” Dinsmore.

In essence, this is a big OVW party as a ton of these guys were in OVW at the time. Most of the jobbers don’t get intros. Spanky is up on the bar dancing. Bradshaw says the rules are that the last man drinking wins as we’re testing the toughness and their livers. Ok that’s creative. Brother Love wants to pray before we start. Naturally it’s just a massive fight with no rhyme or reason to it. The Easter Bunny is drinking bears and getting punched. This is wrong.

O’Haire beats the APA up with pool cues. This is idiotic. Brother Love beats up Shannon Moore. I’d think that sums up why no one buys him. The Easter Bunny goes through a window. A bunny watching this would be traumatized for life. Hardy can’t break a table which is kind of funny.

There’s nothing of any kind of logic going on here at all. Funaki passes out from beer. Bradshaw beats up Brother Love and I guess that gives him the win. He’s the last man standing even though Farroorq is standing next to him.

Rating: N/A. This was a waste of about 5 minutes. Moving on.

Jamie Noble is looking at Torrie’s Playboy and brags about getting to sleep with her. This is creepy.

Smackdown Tag Titles: Rey Mysterio/Billy Kidman vs. World’s Greatest Tag Team

Rey is Cruiserweight Champion here too. The heels’ name is just great. The fans chant USA for four Americans. Ok then. Haas keeps beating Rey. This is kind of strange to see. Rey was still just the king of the cruiserweights at this point and not yet the A-list guy that he would become better known as. Kidman gets the hot tag and not much happens because of it. The 619 is blocked and my intelligence is spared for a little bit.

Kidman busts out a Shooting Star Press to the floor to take out the champions. Rey gets the other hot tag but the referee is distracted. The crowd boos the heck out of that. Wow I’m surprised they’re so into this one. Hardly a bad thing but very surprising. Rey comes in and cleans house. What kind of an expression is that anyway? Rey isn’t dusting and vacuuming but it makes perfect sense to call it that.

What sense does that make? Haas takes the 619 and the seated senton. Benjamin kicks Rey in the head for two. Solid match here. In a sweet spot, Haas is on top and Kidman launches Rey up to the top for a hurricanrana. AWESOME looking and the crowd loses it when he kicks out.

Dragon Whip, which is an awesome name, puts Kidman down. With Kidman on the floor, Benjamin gets a tag that Rey doesn’t see while Rey is on Haas’ shoulders. Benjamin hits a springboard clothesline to combine with the powerbomb for the pin. Sweet ending.

Rating: B+. Very fun and flat out surprising win here. This is what happens when you let guys have time and show off: It flat out works. They were all over the place and got the fans into it. Great match and fun.

Cole uses the term Cole Miners here. It’s older than I thought.

We see Stephanie ripping Sable’s top off on Smackdown.

Stephanie McMahon vs. Sable

Vince was having an affair with Sable and all of Smackdown had become about them. Yeah I’m shocked too. For some reason this is no count out. That’s just an odd stipulation. This is a catfight, whatever that means. Sable is freaking gorgeous. Stephanie was at a weird stage here and it didn’t work that well for her. We’re in the crowd already. Stephanie actually gets a half decent rollup. I’m surprised.

She goes off on Sable as well as she can and Sable tries to run. That obviously doesn’t work either. Stephanie actually busts out the Mr. Perfect neck snap. WOW. She goes off on Sable in the corner and winds up ripping part of her top off. The referee rips his shirt off for her to put on. And here’s A-Train of all people to flatten Stephanie so Sable can win. Ok then.

Rating: D. This was WAY better than it had any right to be. That being said, it still sucked. They just weren’t going to have a good match no matter what they did, although Stephanie was certainly trying so I can’t fault her for that at all. Not any good at all but they tried so I can give them points there.

We recap Cena vs. Taker. In short, Cena says he’s awesome. Taker says not so fast. It’s about respect apparently. Cena issued an open challenge and Orlando Jordan took him up on it. Cena had to cheat to win. Oh dear. Taker respected Jordan. Oh dear. Seeing Cena this young talking to Taker is rather interesting.

Oh and Taker cost Cena a match in the US Title Tournament. I remember some of these promos. Cena had that spark in him even back then. He was going to be a star and would start doing so soon enough. He’d be a face by November.

The Undertaker vs. John Cena

Amazing to see this as a midcard match on a relatively meaningless PPV. This is still biker Taker obviously. I still love that theme music he had back then though. Cole says for eleven plus years Taker has dominated. It’s so plus that it’s over twelve and approaching thirteen at this point. Cena is less muscular than he would become, but to be fair seven years have almost passed since this match happened.

I’d think he’s been to a gym since then. Cena slaps Taker. What do you think happens next? Taker LAUNCHES Cena into the corner and it’s just weird to see Cena get dominated like this. Cena gets some water and spits it into Taker’s eyes to take over. That lasts less than four seconds. Cena haters would LOVE this match. They completely rip apart one of the barriers. That’s a bit odd looking. I think Cena’s leg is bleeding. That’s an odd injury to have.

Taker uses some MMA stuff as Taz points out. This is pure domination. Cena has hit a total of like 3 punches, none of which have done anything. HUGE chokeslam hits but Taker picks up his limp body. Last Ride is countered and Cena hits a DDT to survive. This is just an odd style of match. It’s not exactly bad but at the same time it’s just strange. In a HILARIOUS moment, Cena is counted for choking but yells at the ref that he has until five. TAKE THAT DANIELSON.

Cena gets a pad down and Taker hits it to get us close to even. Cena has always been good at absorbing offense. Crowd is all over him. Taker starts coughing up blood. Taz thinks tasting your own blood isn’t good. THANKS TAZ. I never would have guessed that bleeding is a bad thing without you. Taker hooks a Dragon Sleeper which he was using for awhile around this time. Taker comes back and hits the WORST jumping clothesline ever. It was more like a hopping clothesline.

They get sloppy with the punches and the choking stuff. My guess would be they’re calling spots but it KILLS the crowd and looks terrible. Cena pops Taker’s bad ribs with the biker chain. This is a LONG match. Well, long for these two at this point in their career that is. The FU hits and Taker kicks out. Cena then shows his idiocy and does the ten punches in the corner and pauses to yell at the crowd. You know what comes next as Taker gets the pin off the Last Ride.

Rating: C+. I liked it, but I could see a lot of people not liking it. The booking was odd. Like really odd. Cena was treated like a jobber for the first 5 minutes or so but hit all of his big stuff and got…nothing. Come to think of it this wasn’t that good. I get the whole take Taker to the limit, but Cena got soundly beaten here which I don’t think is what should have happened. He looked good, but he needed the big win here and didn’t get it. Could have been better but it wasn’t bad.

Cole has a really stupid mustache at this time. Yeah I really can’t stand him.

We recap Gowen vs. Vince. In short, Gowen has one leg and is wrestling. Vince, being evil, tortured him. No one had an issue with this being the storyline on Smackdown that was getting the most airtime after Vince and Sable. Not a lot of people liked this era at all. Oh and they put Gowen over Show on Smackdown. Ok to be fair Angle and Lesnar helped but still.

Vince McMahon vs. Zach Gowen

For the life of me I have never gotten the point of this angle at all. At least Gowen had a good Seether song for his theme music. Vince dominates early on to the shock of no one. Gowen busted out an Asai Moonsault. His character and angle was annoying but to say it’s impressive is an understatement. One of the interesting things here is that Zach is like 150lbs so it’s like wrestling a woman as far as the weight goes.

Vince beats the heck out of him for a long time including a Boston Crab. Again, I don’t get the point to this but it’s Vince in the ring so what do you expect? Gowen makes his comeback and very few people care. Zach goes up top and hits a bulldog. When I say hit I mean miss and when I say bulldog I mean his arm almost touches the back of Vince’s head.

This just isn’t as impressive, but we get it: he can wrestle on one leg. He doesn’t need 15 minutes to prove it. We get a chair and Vince gets beaten with it and bleeds. Oh dang he’s bleeding a lot. Gowen misses a moonsault and Vince pins him. Yeah seriously that’s the ending. Gowen stands in the ring and gets cheered. Mostly at least but there’s a good deal of booing in there.

Rating: C-. The problem here became evident very quickly: yes, we know he can wrestle on one leg, but after that the appeal goes away and it gets stupid. It’s cool to see, but it gets old fast. If this is cut in half time wise, it’s FAR better and one of the coolest matches ever. It’s still cool and impressive, but this went on too long. Decent match though but the ending sucked.

Josh Matthews, looking stupider than he does now, talks to Eddie and says what happened to Benoit is Benoit’s fault.

We recap Brock vs. Angle vs. Show. Brock and Angle respect each other and Show is really big and strong and gets beaten up a lot by both of them. Brock came and visited him in the hospital apparently.

Smackdown World Title: Big Show vs. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar

Ok so if Show is knocked out for most of this it should be good. This was around the time where Brock was completely awesome and could do no wrong. This is no DQ also. When has a triple threat not been no DQ? Show is in the singlet and shorts now which are perfectly acceptable. Angle and Lesnar work together but Lesnar takes a chokeslam a minute in. Angle was at the point here where he could get a good match out of anyone and he’s showing why here.

Angle busts out some garbage can lids and they beat the tar out of Big Show with them. All three of these guys are just SCARY strong. They manage a double chokeslam. Ok, that was cool. And there’s an F5 to Angle. And there’s one for Show. That never ceases to amaze me, and that doesn’t happen often. Angle gets beaten down on the floor and we get Brock vs. Show. Brock looks more awesome with the elbow pads. Brock gets a running powerbomb out of the corner. WOW.

Angle comes back in and pops the heck out of Brock with a chair. Angle is getting into that zone. Oh and he’s bleeding. It’s table time and Taz makes me laugh by saying about the Spanish announcers “You would think they’d be used to it by now.” That was good. Angle Slam through the table. The announcers point out that it might have been stupid to knock him out on the floor though which is very true. Brock is bleeding now and we have him vs. Angle. This works.

Other than Benoit, Lesnar brings out the best in Angle and that’s saying a lot. After a little bit of them beating the tar out of each other, Brock locks in a body scissors and a chokeout similar to a Tazmission actually. Even Taz points that out. Show comes in for a double chokeslam and actually gets Lesnar with the left arm higher than Angle with the right arm. Since that doesn’t work, Angle comes back with Angle Slams for both and gets the pin on Brock. Very good match to close the show.

Rating: A-. I’m not big on triple threats but this was great. Brock and Angle are just freaking fun to see beat the tar out of each other since Brock could keep up with Angle on the mat and Angle could match Brock’s strength for the most part. Big Show was solid here too which made this just a great match all around. Very fun match and well worth seeing.

Overall Rating: A-. This was a GREAT show. There’s one boring match on the whole show and it has Torrie at ringside and is five minutes long. Other than that you get a great opener, a great tag match and a great main event. Seriously, what more could you ask for from a show?

Even the bar room thing had some comedy value to it. This worked on a lot of levels and is well worth finding. You could see the entertainment on Raw vs. the wrestling on Smackdown which is still around today being born here and it worked great. Well worth watching.

 

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