Judgment Day 2003: This Year Still Gives Me Headaches

Judgment Day 2003
Date: May 18, 2003
Location: Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina
Attendance: 13,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Tazz


We continue this series with another show that wasn’t all that good. 2003 was like the year of death for Raw as everything was completely dull with HHH gobbling up everything in sight and having terrible feud after terrible feud. Tonight he has Kevin Nash and would face him again in the Cell the next month. Also tonight it’s Mr. America vs. Roddy Piper and Brock vs. Show for the title. Let’s get to it.


The opening video is about being hung and facing your judgment day which is very similar to the one from last year. There’s an electric chair in this one though so it’s very different.


Little note: this is the final joint branded show before the lower level shows went to individual brands.


Here’s Austin, the co-GM of Raw, to open the show. He says there are a lot of good fans here so he’s going to sit in the stands with the fans….in a skybox. He goes through the crowd to get there at least so that helps somewhat.


John Cena/FBI vs. Chris Benoit/Spanky/Rhyno


Cena is a heel rapper here and he does a rap about mafia movies. The FBI here is Palumbo/Stambolli. Who put that face team together too? Benoit had a mini feud with the FBI for no apparent reason and they interfered in Benoit vs. Cena on Smackdown. Spanky and Rhyno are Benoit’s friends apparently. Works well enough I suppose. Spanky is Brian Kendrick if you’ve never heard that name.


The faces clear the ring so Benoit and Rhyno make a launching pad so that Spanky can take them all out on the floor. Cena vs. Spanky to start us off. Enziguri puts Cena down and everything breaks down quickly. Cole calls himself a shoe lace for some reason. Apparently the FBI has a hit list and they’ve taken out various big names. Palumbo comes in as Spanky is getting destroyed here so far.


Bear hug goes on by Chucky who apparently has stopped deciding to be effeminate and is all tough and Italian now. He lets the hold go just because and gets two anyway. And now he puts it right back on again. Sure why not. Spanky hammers his way out of it and it’s off to Benoit vs. Cena.


Everything breaks down and it’s Germans for the Italians from the Canadian. Swan Dive to Palumbo and it’s a blind tag from Spanky. He tries Sliced Bread #2 on Palumbo but Nunzio interferes and the Kiss of Death (Demolition Decapitator but with a leg drop instead of an elbow) ends this. Benoit had Cena in the Crossface at the same time.


Rating: D. Dude, a four minute opener in a six man tag? Rhyno was never even in the match legally. This wasn’t much at all and really had no point being on this show. That was a telling sign of what was to come with the whole brand split show as there simply weren’t going to be enough matches to fill out a card. This was something that would hint at that.


Austin buys a hot dog and the cute girl offers some ketchup. Austin inquires about a burger but here comes Bischoff to solid heat. They’re co-GMs so Eric says half of this is his, including the food. There are crates of beer against the wall. Austin offers him the hot dog he was about to eat and Bischoff skeptically eats it. I’m sure the fans are riveted by this. Bischoff wants Scotch but gets a beer instead. He wants it in a cup which Austin doesn’t like. Naturally, Austin crushes the cup with his can. This SO needed to be on PPV.


We recap the debut of La Resistance who started a feud with Scott Steiner over the whole Iraq War and the lack of support from French troops, which is what created Freedom Fries which was so stupid I can’t fathom it. Stacy was dating Test at the time and got him and Steiner together as a bad team to fight them, which led to an awful feud.


Test/Scott Steiner vs. La Resistance


And you get to pay to see it! Test is a heel here while Steiner is all about AMERICA! La Resistance looks rather stupid but whatever. The French guys say they’re innocent in all this and that the American government promotes hatred. I’ll spare you all a long political rant here. Stacy likes Steiner but Test is insanely jealous. This of course would turn into Steiner “winning” her and turning heel.


Test and Dupree start us off and they slap it out while Rene dances. Resistance is Rene Dupree and Sylvan Grenier if the names are confusing you. Off to Steiner and it’s incredibly telling to see how far he’s fallen since having the world title match at the Rumble. Steiner uses the power of AMERICA to take over. Grenier is sent to the floor but Steiner walks into a hot shot to shift the momentum.


Double suplex gets two on Steiner and we hit the chinlock. Middle rope clothesline gets two for Grenier and it’s off to Dupree. He comes off the top and jumps into a T-Bone suplex and both guys are down. Off to Test again and some rooms are cleaned. Pumphandle doesn’t work but the full nelson slam gets two. Steiner gets sent into the barrier and Test steals a beret.


Grenier gets two with feet on the ropes and it’s a double team. Steiner is back in now and here comes the pumphandle from Test. The slam hits and there’s no referee. Grenier gets a dropkick which knocks Test into Stacy who is caught by Steiner. Rollup gets two for Grenier and Steiner makes a blind tag. Downward spiral gets no cover as Test accidentally kicks Scott’s head off. A double spinebuster beats Steiner.


Rating: D. Why in the world is this, ANOTHER TV match on PPV? This is one of those matches that went nowhere as the people didn’t care in the slightest and everyone knew it. The French guys were the tag team of note for a few years and then they just went away and no one really cared. Weak match, as expected.


Stacy wants to check on Scott but Test drags her away. This story went on for months.


Mr. America is walking around and runs into Gregory Helms, ace reporter. The joke is that everyone and their mother knows it’s Hogan but he keeps saying I’m not Hogan. Helms accuses him of being Hogan and Mr. America accuses him of being the Hurricane. Both say they’re wrong. We do get Hogan to say whatsupwitdat?


Team Angle has given Eddie an offer of have a handicap match or forfeit the match since Chavo is injured. Eddie says a lot to Josh Matthews (in glasses) in Spanish and says he’s found a partner. It’s Tajiri and they have the gold medals for some reason. Tajiri says he lies, he cheats and he steals. This one is for Chavo.


Smackdown Tag Titles: Team Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero/Tajiri


Team Angle (Haas and Benjamin) are champions here. The brawl starts in the aisle as this should be rather good. Benjamin throws Eddie into a ladder and Tajiri takes his medal off. Team Angle beats Tajiri down with Eddie having been slammed into the ladder earlier. Ah there’s Eddie. And so much for that as he gets dropped on Haas’ knee to take care of that. Apparently Team Angle not knowing where a ladder is makes them inexperienced.


Tajiri and Eddie botch the heck out of something as they drop Tajiri onto the floor instead of a ladder. That looked awful. A handspring elbow by Tajiri to the ladder takes it and the champions down. Ladder goes into Charlie’s balls and the look on his face is priceless. Another ladder comes into the ring and Haas gets sandwiched between them as Eddie hits the hilo onto the ladder onto Charlie onto the ladder.


Shelton pulls Tajiri off the ladder and Tajiri’s face hits the rung on the way down. FREAKING OW MAN!!! Shelton powerslams Eddie into the ladder and the challengers are in trouble. This is one of those matches where there are just spots happening with very little going on in between. Not bad but kind of tiring. Team Angle does that jump on the back thing but from a ladder onto the ladder with Tajiri in between. That was awesome looking.


Haas almost gets up there but Eddie pops up to send Haas flying to the floor. The ladder gets wedged between the top and middle rope and Eddie is sent flying into it. Time for the Tajiri kicks and a ladder shot. Tarantula goes onto Haas which gets a big pop. Shelton saves his partner by driving the ladder into the head of the Japanese man. The champions take over again with Eddie in trouble.


The idea here is supposed to be that Team Angle doesn’t know how to win a ladder match due to inexperience. The problem with that is simple: you climb the stupid thing. That’s how you win. See the belts? Go get them! How hard is that? Eddie goes up but Charlie keeps slowing him down.


Shelton goes after him too but Eddie knocks him down and drops a Frog Splash on him in a cool spot. Eddie vs. Charlie on top of the ladder and Charlie takes a sunset bomb to the mat. Always loved that move. Tajiri is finally back and his Mists Shelton to let Eddie grab the belts as we have new champions.


Rating: B-. This was good but the problem is that we’ve seen all this before. The MITB match coming up would make everything else done not called TLC seem weak. This was a good match and belonged on the PPV but it feels pretty worthless all things considered now. Good match, nothing we haven’t seen before though.


Bischoff and Austin argue about who should try to sign Eddie. Bischoff doesn’t want a burger or another beer. Austin doesn’t like the way Eric sips his beer so he opens the skybox and makes fun of the way Eric drinks his beer. He says the match was awesome too which is pretty true. The fans make fun of Eric too and this is pretty stupid.


Jericho says he’s going to be IC Champion again and Roddy Piper pops up. Jericho says he’s old, Piper makes fun of the Highlight Reel. Chris says Piper is fat and Piper makes unfunny jokes. Yep this is pointless.


We recap the history of the IC Title which is coming back tonight. The title had been unified with the world title because someone thought we needed one champion per show for no apparent reason so they dropped the midcard titles. It comes back tonight and the US Title would be back in June. Tonight we’re going to have a battle royal of only former champions plus Booker T who was rather confusing. This is an awesome video which shows some great moments in the title’s history which really does have a long history.


Intercontinental Title: Battle Royal


Val Venis (returning here after being Chief Morely for awhile), Chris Jericho, Goldust, Lance Storm, Rob Van Dam, Christian, Test (pulling a double tonight), Kane, Booker T (not a former champion yet in this anyway)


Pat Patterson handles the introductions. Only 9 people in this which is a rather odd number. Standard over the top rules here. Kane and RVD, the Raw tag champions, go at it immediately. Everyone gangs up on Kane and he’s like boys please and tosses Storm. RVD takes the knee out and it’s another pile on Kane. This time they get him out so we’re down to seven.


Kane comes back in to beat them up for fun. Booker puts Test out and Goldust throws out Val. Jericho gets his springboard dropkick to put Van Dam out so it’s down to Goldust, Jericho, Booker and Christian. Goldie cleans house for a bit but the Canadians come back to take over. Goldust comes back and bulldogs both Canadians. This is getting boring in a hurry.


With the help of Booker, both Canadians gets Shattered Dreams. There’s the Spinarooni but Goldust lunges at him, only to get tossed as well. It’s down to Booker vs. Christian vs. Jericho. The fans are all behind Booker here. This isn’t his year though as he was beaten by a racist heel at Mania (People “like Booker” don’t win world titles. What do you think that was implying?) and gets double teamed here.


Booker fights them off for a bit and Jericho skins the cat. Down goes Booker again as the words GET ON WITH THIS play over and over in my head. Jericho is bleeding from the nose. Jericho sets for the Lionsault and Christian shoves him out! I love double crosses. Booker beats on him for awhile and a referee somehow is knocked down. Christian hit a baseball slide into him if you’re curious.


Yes, it’s going to be a Dusty Finish in a battle royal. Scissors kick misses and Christian goes to the apron. Booker sends him into the buckle and wins this. The music plays and Christian steals the belt from Patterson. A belt shot to the head and a toss out later and it’s Christian that officially wins the title. Booker would get it back about two months later. Everyone hates this mind you. Yes, a Dusty Finish in a battle royal. I told you this era was weak.


Rating: D+. Another boring match tonight which is a theme here. Was there a point to this being a battle royal other than not wanting to have two tournaments going at once? For some reason they were afraid to give Booker anything even though he was on a roll and was over at this point. That’s Vince for you though. Weak match with a bad ending.


Sable tells Torrie not to be nervous. They have a bikini contest next. They were doing this weird lesbian angle here and it didn’t go anywhere really. Sable oils her legs to try to make Torrie want her and it goes nowhere.


We recap this….whatever which is set to porn music. There was a body contest where Torrie more or less gave her a lapdance. Hot, but pointless for the most part.


They do that silhouette dance behind the curtain thing while Lillian does the theme music of Torrie. It’s live for once and it’s her gyrating with Torrie so I can’t complain. I’m not sure what to say here. They’re both hot, Sable looks better, the fans cheer for her, but before she’s declared the winner Torrie takes her bikini off to reveal a much smaller one, making her the winner. Torrie kisses her post contest. This was a waste of 10 minutes. They’ve both been in Playboy so I kind of fail to see the point of something like this. Lawler’s reaction is hilarious.


Bischoff says he has a condom in his wallet. He’s half drunk and half sick from the food. Austin offers him a pizza and Bischoff can barely move. Instead he gives him some “pickles”, more commonly known as peppers and Eric is in agony.


Piper talks to O’Haire and Vince comes in. Vince gives Piper a pep talk and wants him to destroy Mr. America so that Vince can rip the mask off.


We get a clip of Smackdown where Mr. America gave a “fan” (Zach Gowen) an American flag and the kid jumped the barrier to stop them from unmasking Hogan, only to discover that he has one leg.


Mr. America vs. Roddy Piper


Get this over with. FAST. Sean O’Haire is with Piper here and Gowen is with Hogan. The joke is an old one here but still kind of funny. Piper, in regular trunks, jumps Hogan along with O’Haire to take over early. O’Haire, in wrestling gear for no apparent reason, hammers away on Hogan a bit too. Here comes Mr. America with the “24 inch Patriots” and the beating is on.


Out to the floor and Hogan chokes O’Haire with the weight belt. Hogan whips Piper with it a bit as we haven’t had a single wrestling move other than a punch or whip in this whole thing. Sleeper goes on and it’s AWFUL. Piper is almost poking him in the eyes. Hogan fights that off and gets taken down by an axe handle to the back. American hammers away again and it’s Vince to the rescue! Low blow by Piper but a pipe shot from O’Haire hits Piper and the leg drop ends it. Gowen kept Vince from saving it.


Rating: F+. Why in the world is Roddy Piper in trunks in a featured match on PPV in 2003? Hogan….eh I guess you can stretch to let that be here, but put him against O’Haire and let HIM get the rub. He was a cool character and he gets fed to Hogan instead of growing a bit. That’s the criticism you get for Hogan and at times it makes sense. Granted this one isn’t Hogan’s fault, but it’s the stereotype of him. This one is on the company though.


Stephanie tells HHH to be careful. That’s all there is to this meeting.


We recap HHH vs. Nash. Nash was back for the 10th time and naturally he’s #1 contender just because. He wants to be with his friends apparently but he got caught in the middle of HHH vs. Shawn and he doesn’t like it. HHH says this is how it is now and he’s never going to be friends with Shawn. Let alone reform DX 5 times and win the tag titles. Flair got after Shawn to save the title and it was a big mess. In short, Flair/HHH vs. Shawn/Nash. The feud had zero heat and no one thought Nash had a chance and they were right. Jericho was involved here also but it didn’t really matter.


Raw World Title: Kevin Nash vs. HHH


Shawn, Flair, Nash and HHH all get entrances. Remember that Shawn and Flair were listed in the ad for the match. Naturally Flair gets the biggest pop of them all since we’re in Charlotte. Nash jumps him in the aisle and we pair off. Is there a reason why this isn’t a tag match? Flair and Michaels fight to the back and they’re gone without even a bell.


There’s the bell and it’s all Nash so far. By the way, we won’t be seeing Flair or HBK for the rest of the match. So glad that they got a PPV payday here. Nash gets a backdrop and HHH tries to run and hide. Back in the ring and down goes the Game. Side slam and an elbow drop by Nash. There’s another elbow and HHH shoves down the referee. Somehow that’s not a DQ but whatever.


HHH finally gets a neckbreaker to take Nash down. HHH is in purple here. Back off to Nash who hammers away and then shoves the referee too. Hebner is underappreciated for doing stuff like this. After a brief chase HHH accidentally clotheslines the referee and low blows Nash. There goes the turnbuckle and HHH goes…into another corner.


Sidewalk slam sends HHH down and Nash goes through some of his favorites like the elbows and a big boot. Snake Eyes is attempted into the exposed buckle and Nash shoves the referee down AGAIN. HHH reverses it and rams Nash in so that the Pedigree can get two.


Another attempt is reversed into a backdrop over the ropes and HHH finds the sledgehammer. HHH hits Hebner in the chest with it and finally it’s a DQ after less than 8 minutes. The fans are not thrilled and boo heavily then die. This set up Hell in a Cell in two months in one of the weakest major gimmick matches ever. HHH takes a Jackknife post match.


Rating: F. This was there to set up Bad Blood and that’s all there is to it. The match sucked beyond belief and no one cared at all about this. Nash was here because he was one of HHH’s friends and no one bought that the title was changing. 2003 was the worst year in the history of Raw and this is one of the major reasons why.


Nash goes all psycho post match and Jackknifes HHH through the announce table.


We waste some time with HHH being taken out.


Austin gives Bischoff some jalapenos and Bischoff vomits. AND WE GET REPLAYS!!! This clearly needed a total of ten minutes on PPV while the opening match got 4 minutes and had Benoit and Cena in it.


Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline vs. Jazz vs. Victoria


This should be mostly painless. At least Victoria and Trish look hot. Stevie Richards is here for Victoria. Jackie is a face here…I think. She and Trish clear the ring and square off. This is one fall to a finish. Crowd is more or less dead here. We’re totally in the formula here: two girls fight, a third saves and then she fights the other girl. Teddy Long manages Jazz.

Jazz cleans the ring until Trish comes back and pops her with some forearms. STF goes on from Jazz to Trish and Jackie puts the half crab on Victoria to give us a weird race thing. Trish makes the ropes so Jazz drills Jackie. STF to Victoria as I want this to end badly. Matrix and Chick Kick get two on Jazz. Ranas for both heels but Trish gets dumped to the floor by Victoria. Jazz DDTs Jackie to retain. Yeah Jazz was champion coming into this if I didn’t mention that.


Rating: F+. Jazz sucked. That’s what this boiled down to at the end of the day. Jazz sucked and yet they wouldn’t let her push with the title die. The division existed for hot women with big boobs and Jazz was neither of those. This was boring and everyone knew it sucked. Terribly weak match.


We recap Lesnar vs. Show. Show injured Rey in a fairly psycho attack at Backlash. Rey wasn’t sure whether he could wrestle again out of fear. Show came at him and Lesnar stood up for the locker room and made it a stretcher match because that’s what Rey was on when Show hurt him.


Smackdown World Title: Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show


You win by putting a guy on a stretcher and pushing him past the line. Brock looked awesome as a face for some reason. He’s like a soldier or something ready for war. The idea is the stretcher is too big to put Show on. Show brings a back board but Lesnar gets it and beats Show up with it. It’s fun watching Brock fire away for some reason. Basically this is both guys hammering away with the stretcher parts at various times.


Big old chokeslam and Show puts him on a stretcher before dropping a leg for some reason. He almost gets Brock across but instead clotheslines him to the floor. Back at ringside and Brock beats on Show with a stretcher and chokes him out with a cord. There isn’t anything to say here. It’s a pretty good brawl but at the same time the stretcher thing is pretty stupid.


Cole asks if you can imagine Lesnar as a linebacker. I think he was a defensive lineman but yeah I can imagine it. He slams Show onto the stretcher but Show falls off. They fight with the stretcher and try to ram it into the other’s ribs. Lesnar goes into the post back/back of the head first to take him down. There’s another back board under the ring for some reason. Shouldn’t the first aid people have that?


Lesnar knocks Show off the apron and onto a stretcher which he drops off of. Lesnar leaves the arena and here’s Rey with a 619 to the balls but he can’t do anything else. Here comes the chokeslam but here’s Lesnar with a forklift. He dives off said forklift onto Show and goes off on him with a suplex and FU. Yes I said FU as that wasn’t an F5. Way better than any Cena ever gave him either. Stretcher onto the forklift, Show onto the stretcher, match and show over.


Rating: B-. Hard one to grade here as it was entertaining but at the same time the thing was so back and forth that it’s hard to say if it was good or not. On this show though I need something to have that’s decent so I’ll give this the benefit of the doubt. Show was so big at this point that it just didn’t work anymore.


Overall Rating: F. This was just weak. There are two ok matches and that’s about it. The show was just dead from an idea standpoint and the HHH match is proof of that. Hogan and Piper would feud for a few months before Hogan left/got fired/whatever and no one cared. This was a terrible show and definitely not worth seeing. Even the good matches are pretty bad. That’s not a good thing at all.

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  1. Wayne says:

    Man, 2003 was not kind to WWE on PPV or RAW, and Smackdown was largely hit or miss the entire year also. The best PPV that year was Wrestlemania XIX, followed by Vengeance.

  2. chris says:

    So you don’t like Jazz because you don’t think she’s as attractive as the other female wrestlers?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    That and because she wasn’t entertaining.