Unforgiven 2003 – I Was Wrong. 2002 Isn’t The Worst Year Ever For WWE

Unforgiven 2003
Date: September 21, 2003
Location: Giant Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 10,347
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This is a request so I almost had to do it. The main event here is Goldberg vs. HHH as we’re in the middle of the worst year in recent memory for the company. This was mainly on the Raw side as HHH just would not allow anyone not named Shawn Michaels to do a stupid thing. He had matches with Goldberg, Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash. Let that sink in a bit. Let’s get to this so we can get it over with.

The opening video is about revenge since people are unforgiven. Is that even a word outside of the WWE world? There’s also Shane vs. Kane in their never ending feud that few wanted to see. This is a Raw show in case you missed that.

Ross is WAY too excited to be here. He’s wearing a Sooners jersey for no apparent reason.

Raw Tag Titles: Dudley Boys vs. La Resistance

This is a handicap elimination tables match as La Resistance have Sylvan Grenier, Rob Conway and Rene Dupree. This was supposed to be a 6 man but the heels botched a table spot on Spike on Raw where the threw him over the top and missed the table entirely other than the back of Spike’s head smacking into the table in a SICK looking spot. And we have tags in a tables match. Sure why not?

You can tell this is a long time ago as they’re only 16 time tag champions here. Sweet goodness that’s ridiculous sounding. D-Von and Grenier, who is by far the worst of the three, start us off. And now it’s Conway. Thank you for wasting our time like that. He’s an American that is a French sympathizer. We get the eternal question of why do the French love Jerry Lewis movies. That’s a great question and I’ve yet to get an answer to it.

For a tables match there is a severe lack of tables in it so far. It’s just a handicap match with the Dudleys being way ahead. The double neckbreaker hits and so does What’s Up. Still no tables. There are no disqualifications in this, yet they have to tag. I’ll never get that. Ah here we go. D-Von gets sent through so it’s only Bubba left. They’re not eliminated though. Bubba is WAY over here which is odd to an extent. There are a ton of tables here.

Bubba, from his knees, slaps the heck out of Sylvan’s chest. That sounded GREAT. He goes through the table so it’s 2-1 I guess you could say. Wait…are they eliminated? Oh does it really matter? Well there’s D-Von and the referee is fine with it so I’m thinking no. Wait it’s No DQ so it doesn’t matter if they’re eliminated or not.

Conway goes through it and in nearly the same spot he hurt Spike in, he hits HIS head on the table. FREAKING OW! It’s Bubba vs. Dupree here more or less and since it’s both Dudleys vs. him, what do you expect? Actually Rene wins for the most part and gets to set up a table. He’s 19 here but walks into 3D to give the Dudleys the belts.

Rating: D+. Well this wasn’t that bad but it could have been on Raw. Well maybe not as it actually got over ten minutes. This wasn’t anything special but it made the Dudleys look strong here which is the right idea. It’s nothing special but it’s fine for what it was supposed to be so I can’t complain that much.

We get a MUSIC VIDEO about Scott Steiner vs. Test. The idea is Stacy Keibler was Test’s marketer or whatever and then she decided she “loved” Scott Steiner but Test turned heel and wouldn’t let her go. They had a match for possession of Stacy which Steiner won and then Test beat her up on Raw. Then Test won her back. You have to love the human trafficking going on here.

Scott Steiner vs. Test

Well at least we get a great outfit on Stacy. Dang and Steiner was fighting with HHH for the world title at the Rumble about 7 months before this. That should tell you everything you need to know about both that match and the rematch. Apparently people in Kuwait are pulling for Steiner here. If Steiner wins he gets Stacy and if Test wins Steiner becomes his property. Again: Human Trafficking complete with tights.

Stacy hugs Scott before the match and I really couldn’t care less (and yes I mean it that way) about this match. Test tries a leap frog or something and gets slammed/suplexed for his efforts. Something tells me this is going to be BAD. How stupid is Stacy? Steiner says he only cares about his freaks and his peaks, so SURELY he’s being sincere about wanting to be with her right? Test is dominating here and keeps talking trash to Stacy.

I love the full nelson slam. It’s just an awesome looking move all around. Test does the push-ups to be a jerk which is kind of funny. Ross says Steiner has character. That’s rather amusing. Steiner makes a comeback but a low blow ends that. Given the amount of steroids he was on I’m surprised he felt it.

The Pumphandle Slam finally hits but Stacy distracts him. Test pulls the turnbuckle pad off so the referee has to fix it. He gets a chair, Stacy takes it and accidentally nails Scott with it. The big boot ends it. Steiner would turn heel the next night and team with Test and “share” Stacy, which is what Stacy wanted in the first place, making this entirely pointless.

Rating: D. Not much here at all. This just wasn’t interesting and could very easily have been done on Raw. That’s a common problem with the single brand shows as there simply wasn’t enough talent to go around to support a 3 hour PPV show with PPV quality matches. That’s a bad sign and you’ll see more of it later on.

Ad for a Trish DVD.

Ross, you look like an idiot in that jersey. You really do.

We recap Shawn vs. Orton. It’s Legend vs. Legend Killer. What more explanation do you need here? It’s weird seeing Orton being all cocky like this. To say he was awesome in this roll is an understatement. Shawn says he’s a millionaire in this package. How did he lose that in I believe 5 years to the point where he needed JBL’s money?

Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels

We’re in the Evolution Era here so Flair is with Orton. There’s no Batista though due to an injury but he would be back very soon. They do some decent mat stuff to start which isn’t something you see out of Orton that often. Shawn is being goofy here as he does the whole lounging on the top rope bit which is always funny for some reason. We hear a lot about Orton vs. Foley which I can’t wait to get to as that was a great feud that went on for a long time.

Orton skins the cat which has to be the best name for an over the top return to the ring spot not involving the feet hitting the floor or the top rope ever. I mean what else comes close to it? Shawn counters a double axe off the top into an atomic drop. Then he skins the cat just to be a jerk like only he can be. Now he dives off the top. In case you can’t tell, Shawn is dominating here. There’s a German, which I can’t remember Shawn using otherwise.

I love when guys throw out random moves because they’re perfect. Why do you have to use a signature move when something you don’t do a lot is far more convenient ‘and makes more sense? The only answer I can think of is because it’s how the WWE tells them to do. Guys like Shawn can get away with it because they’re guys like Shawn. Flair interferes like an annoying pest and sets up Orton to be able to work on the arm. Orton does a nice job of controlling the arm.

Pay no attention to that though as we literally are getting the life story of Shawn Michaels for the last 2 minutes or so. We hear about how great he was when he was champion and how many big guys he beat and all that jazz. The attention that he got back then was maddening. Seriously with all the heart that Shawn has he really should see a cardiologist. That big of a heart can’t be normal. He goes insane and beats up Orton on the floor as you can more or less feel Flair getting ready to run in.

Before I even finish that line he does but it doesn’t matter. RKO gets two and MICHAELS IS EPIC! Ross, the brilliant football mind that he is, calls then Florida coach RON Zook JOHN Zook. Oh look: it’s Flair again. The elbow hits and we hear more about HEART. Is he Ma-Ti from Captain Planet or something?

He nips up and the kick connects. He gets the pin but Flair puts his foot on the ropes because he’s EVIL. The referees back in the day were freaking IDIOTS. Orton pops Shawn with a foreign object and gets the pin. Sweet goodness the referees sucked at times.

Rating: B-. Solid match here, but I’m still in awe of the idiocy of the referee. That and having Flair interfering in this about a thousand times was just annoying. Flair became such a pest in this time and would never really stop. The match worked quite well though as Shawn was still great at this point having not broken down again. To be fair he didn’t do that at all so there we go. This was good though but idiocy and annoyance hurt it.

Jericho says he’ll stop Steve Austin’s tyranny. He’s a mentor to La Resistance for no apparent reason.

Molly Holly/Gail Kim vs. Trish Stratus/Lita

This feud is more or less about Molly and Gail being jealous of Lita and Trish being insanely popular. Standard stuff to put it mildly. Molly is Women’s Champion here and is actually looking good. Lita was out for almost a year because of a broken neck and now wears khaki shorts. Yep she’s gorgeous. The non-famous girls jump them early and that doesn’t work at all.

This is Lita’s return match. Oh seriously who do you expect to win this? You have two girls that are about as middle of the road as possible and the first two women to main event Raw. Lita and Gail are the actual starters and Lita nips up as we hear about King having a vasectomy. Molly hooks a Dragon Sleeper on Trish which works about as well as you would expect it to. Gail is gorgeous. That’s all there is to it.

Now Gail does a Dragon Sleeper. Trish walks up the turnbuckles and backflips into a reverse DDT. FREAKING SWEET. Molly looks good as a brunette and in blue. Trish manages to beat up both girls on her own since Lita is bleeding from the mouth. Lita gets the mostly warm but partly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers tag. Trish knocks Gail to the floor and Lita hits the moonsault to get the win which was about as predictable as you could expect.

Rating: D+. This was exactly what you would expect here. Lita was indeed a huge deal as she and Trish were just flat out awesome around this point but the injury took her out for over a year. This was nothing more than a welcome home match and it did exactly what it was supposed to do: announce that Lita is still awesome.

We recap Shane vs. Kane which started because Austin went off on Kane and soon afterwards had his masked ripped off. He then went nuts and lit JR on fire and tombstoned Linda on the stage (any bets on how much her Senate opponent would love that clip?). Shane of course got the first feud with the newly psycho Kane because no one draws face pops like Shane.

Pay no attention to the fact that the crowd got bored out of their mind with this because they had like 3 PPV matches in a row. The problem was that Shane could never hurt Kane but he kept trying anyway. He even threw him into a pit of fire. So then Shane got handcuffed to the post and had his legs pinned down by the stairs.

Kane of course had jumper cables stashed by the ring along with a battery. He electrocuted Shane’s balls. That was the signature moment of this feud and it made a lot of people’s heads hurt. It’s a Last Man Standing match too.

Kane vs. Shane McMahon

Shane jumps Kane in the aisle with a chair and it’s on. That’s about 9 shots with it including a jumping one to the head. Shane wisely goes for the knee. That’s smart if nothing else so there we go. This is all Shane so far so I can’t imagine that it’ll last much longer. The beating I mean, as I can’t imagine this is going to be short. Kane’s back is bleeding but he catches Shane in a powerslam from a jump off the barrier that looked pretty bad. Hey I was right as it’s all Kane now.

Shane gets up at 9 from the chokeslam and then Kane kicks the referee in the face by mistake. Kane talks about Shane’s mom, which today would get him on a cable news show. He tries a tombstone on the steps but it gets blocked. Shane sets up the steps on Kane in the corner. Pay no attention to the fact that we already saw that they are hollow as he kicks the bottom of them into Kane’s face with the Coast to Coast. No ref though. Look at my big sad face.

Actually it is sad because it means this goes on. This is NOTHING compared to Shane vs. Angle from the 02 KOTR, but then again not much is. Both guys are down so we get a double count which I don’t think makes sense but whatever. We’re in the aisle now which sounds like a really bad song name for some reason. Shane goes into the set and it sounds loud. That’s about the extent of its good quality. So hey let’s do it again. Then three more of them.

We get it: Shane has heart. What is the deal with the big hearts in this company? I think the Wellness Policy needs a new amendment. This was during the time where the announcers set up by the entrance, so Kane puts Shane beneath the platform they sit on and dumps their table onto Shane. Sure why not. And then he laughs.

See the sentence two before this one. Shane is of course fine and up within about a second, blasting Kane in the head. He uses a boom camera to blast Kane which of course doesn’t work either. Shane chokes him with a cord and knocks him out in front of the set which has a ladder attached. He jumps. He misses. The match ends.

Rating: D+. This was just boring. The bumps are decent at best and Shane is almost always fun to watch, but dang man. There was just NO drama here. When Shane fought Angle, there was a real feeling that Shane could beat him. I know it was unlikely, but there was this feeling that he could pull it off and he got very close a few times. This just didn’t have it and 19 minutes is FAR too long. Not very good, but it’s not a nightmare by any sense of the word. This would go on until Survivor Series.

Shane takes forever to get taken out on a stretcher.

Jericho and Austin talk. Jericho was trying to get in Austin’s head for a long time but of course it never worked. Austin says if Jericho has a problem to take his best shot.

Intercontinental Title: Christian vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho

Christian has the belt here. He beat up both guys when they were having a triple threat match so Austin made it a triple threat. The Canadians made a pact before the match to take out RVD. I’d bet against that working. This is a smark dream match today. Ross says RVD is the best to never be the world champion. How did Heyman never put the belt on him? I can understand being shaky in WWF, but come on. In ECW? SERIOUSLY?

The double teaming actually works to start us off. And so much for that as RVD fights them off. And we’re into math world now. We get RVD vs. Jericho for a bit until Christian gets back up. He wasn’t very good at all yet and was just this young guy that got on people’s nerves. Think of Heath Slater but with short hair and a higher coolness to him. The partnership actually works fairly well here. Ross even calls it a modified handicap match.

That kind of makes sense but whatever. Wow it’s weird seeing Nick Patrick working for the WWE. The crowd isn’t exactly enthralled here. Ross points out that you can’t get counted out in a triple threat. Unless you’re trying to become #1 contender in TNA. We’re told that Shane is going to the hospital. Naturally he’d be on Raw the next night. Jericho took the tape off to choke Van Dan with and he looks weird with a bare arm.

Christian has been gone forever now. After RVD is in the Walls forever, Christian makes his untriumphant return and beats on Jericho, ending the partnership that never was. They would have a solid feud next year though so maybe this is foreshadowing. I love that jumping back elbow for some reason. Christian gets crotched on the top which sounds REALLY bad. The referee counts again and Ross questions why. I bet TNA paid him off.

In a cool spot, RVD hits a drop toehold on Christian to have him on Jericho and then hits a Five Star on both of them, but he doesn’t get a cover for no apparent reason. In an AMAZING looking visual, Jericho is on the top rope and Van Dam hooks an electric chair and Christian comes underneath to add a powerbomb.

The thing is that given how the other two guys were positioned, it looked like an actual powerbomb which looked incredible. Christian gets the belt and holds it in place to have RVD land on it in another Five Star, which is enough to pin Van Dam.

Rating: D+. This got TWENTY MINUTES. Now today it’s a classic. At this point though it’s just a bad idea. Christian was a glorified jobber at this point as he wasn’t ready to hold the title yet. Jericho was in a really weird funk and RVD was his usual hit or miss self. If you cut this in half it goes through the roof, but there were far too many dead spots in this.

HHH talks about fairy tales. He was just horrible at this point.

We recap Coach/Snow vs. Ross/Lawler. Yes, that’s the next match. They’re feuding because the former two want to host Raw so they’re trying to take over. They host Heat if that makes sense. Yep, this is a match.

Jim Ross/Jerry Lawler vs. Al Snow/Jonathan Coachman

The winner to do the announcing for Raw. Yes, they asked people to pay $34.95 for this. There’s no commentary for this. I think I can get by without the extra jokes somehow. The wrestlers start and Lawler kind of botches a rollup. Ok then. The lack of commentary is weird here but then again I’m watching Ross and Coach on PPV. You can hear them shouting at each other a lot better which is weird to hear.

That might be Ross’ big mouth though so there we are. Snow “hits” a clothesline and I say that in the weakest sense of the word hit. Snow, being younger and better at this point, dominates as we’re just waiting on the other guys to come in and make it a comedy match. Coach is the team captain apparently. Oh dear. There’s the piledriver on Snow and JR does commentary from the apron. The foot gets to the ropes but Snow sold that like he had an anvil fall on his head so I can’t complain there.

And it’s Coach time, which has even Snow wondering what the heck he’s doing. As usual, Lawler’s offense is shall we say limited? The middle rope punch hits but Snow makes the save. Ross gets a blind tag and the referee is fine with it I guess. He beats up Coach for awhile and I see why he stayed in the booth for his career.

Coach keeps shouting not in the face which is funny. And here’s Jericho to kick Ross in the head and let Coach and Snow become the Raw announcers tomorrow. Ross would beat Coach in 8 days to get the sanity back. Jericho says this is to get back at Austin for no apparent reason.

Rating: F. Seriously, do I need to explain why this going on for 8 minutes was a bad idea? It was mainly Al Snow vs. Jerry Lawler and someone thought this was a good idea. Here’s the thing: no one really cares about announcers in a national company. Wait scratch that. They do care about them, but only the way they sound. We don’t want to see them in the ring other than a once a year match from Lawler in Memphis. That’s it. Now stop doing this nonsense.

We recap Goldberg vs. HHH which is more or less that Goldberg knows he can beat HHH and HHH knows he can’t beat Goldberg so he keeps hiding. He used the sledgehammer at Summerslam to keep it in the Elimination Chamber. It’s title vs. career here. Let’s get this over with.

Raw World Title: Goldberg vs. HHH

Also if HHH loses by countout or disqualification he loses the belt. Ross and Lawler are back for commentary here. Ross of course can’t remember when the stakes were ever higher. I love hyperbole in wrestling. This is nut cutting time apparently. Ok then. Ross says he has to mat wrestle Goldberg to keep the title. I thought he had to win the match to retain. Then again I’m no professional.

Goldberg in the shorts never worked. Also they remixed his music for no apparent reason at all. HHH still had a groin injury here so he’s wearing long shorts which look weird. We even get referee instructions. Lawler says it doesn’t get any bigger than this. Again, yeah it does. It’s a power match to start, which despite his huge muscles, HHH has never been portrayed as one other than the spinebuster. The Pedigree certainly isn’t a power move.

Goldberg of course wins it as we’re told that HHH is 4-0 at Unforgiven. Ross and Lawler are rather chipper for guys that just lost their jobs. This match is of course awkward as their styles just clash completely. WWE just had no idea how to use Goldberg. He was a monster but they had him lose far too much and be hurt far too much. They just didn’t get it and it never really worked. The spear eats knee and HHH takes over.

So despite everything that Goldberg has taken over the years, a knee to the head stops him. Sure why not. There’s a Figure Four. I get that Flair is great, but does he have to get so many freaking tributes to him? In a cool power spot, Goldberg catches the knee of HHH on a kneedrop. He just puts his hands up and blocks the knee of a 270+ pound guy, not even factoring in force, the jump that HHH did to get there, the velocity and momentum and the height he got.

That’s so ridiculously over the top that it’s AWESOME. HHH is busted open after going into the steps. And what would a main event be without a ref bump? HHH gets a sledgehammer shot to the jaw which likely should kill Goldberg but he’s up in like 3 seconds and hits the spear. The Jackhammer gives him the title clean.

Rating: D+. This was just generic. It could have been the main event of any big Raw minus the title change. Also, I know Goldberg was a big star but he just doesn’t fit in here at all. They try to make this a huge thing but it just isn’t. More than anything else they just wanted to get the belt off of HHH who had held it since like January. This just had nothing at all going for it though and just wasn’t interesting at all. Not bad from a technical standpoint, but just not a good match at all.

Overall Rating: D. There’s just nothing very good here. The thing isn’t that it’s a bad show. It’s not horrible or one of the worst shows ever or anything, but it’s just really weak. There’s nothing worth paying anything to see as all of these matches have either been done better at other shows or aren’t all that interesting to begin with.

Orton continuing his rise to greatness is about all that’s worth anything here. Again, the matches aren’t horrible, but there’s just no reason to want to watch them. Definitely not recommended.


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1 comment

  1. Wayne says:

    This was a very good review of a BAD show, like most of WWE 2003.