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wrestling / TV Reports

The SmarK Rant For WWE Vengeance 2003

July 28, 2003 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK Rant for WWE Vengeance 2003

– Just before we start, I want to plug one of the funniest websites I’ve ever seen – Mil Millington’s ”Things My Girlfriend And I Fight About webpage. Words cannot describe this one.

– Live from Denver, CO

– Your hosts are Cole & Tazz.

– Opening match, US title tournament final: Chris Benoit v. Eddie Guerrero. As openers go, you can’t complain here. They lockup to start and Eddie hides in the ropes to break. Crowd seems torn on whether to cheer for Eddie tonight. Guerrero takes Benoit down with a hammerlock, but gets overpowered and bails. Back in, they exchange wristlocks and take it to the mat, but Eddie overpowers him. They go for the knucklelock and Benoit wins with power, so Eddie kicks at the leg and takes him down with a wristlock. Eddie surprisingly opens the chop war, and gets a rana that turns into a pinfall reversal sequence, and they trade armdrags. Benoit bails this time. Good sequence. Back in, Eddie grabs a headlock and overpowers Benoit, and back to the headlock. Chris flips him off the move, but Eddie grabs the headlock again and takes him down. They trade tombstone reversals, but Benoit settles for the shoulderbreaker and tries for the crossface. Eddie quickly makes the ropes. He bails, so Benoit follows with a tope suicida. Back in, Benoit sends him into the corner to work the corner, and slams him a couple of times to set up a half-nelson submission on the mat. Benoit gets a rollup off a whip to the corner, and then charges and hits elbow, allowing Eddie to put him on top and bring him down with a rana. That gets two. What is with Cole and “legscissors”? Eddie gets a backdrop driver for two. He hammers on the shoulder for a bit and grabs an armbar, and they exchange chops. Eddie goes to the eyes to win that battle, but Benoit backdrops him and elbows him down to set up more chops. They fight for a suplex and end up on the top, as Benoit brings him down with a backdrop superplex. That gets two. Benoit starts throwing the germans as Cole names former US champions and notes that the winner will join that list. Um, they’re both former champions, MC. Eddie blocks the germans, so Benoit takes him down with a crossface, and Eddie makes the ropes. Benoit with a backbreaker for two. Eddie comes back with the rolling verticals, and the third one ends up on the top as a superplex. Both guys are out. Eddie recovers first, but misses the frog splash, although they mistimed it and Benoit got hit on the way down. He snaps off a powerbomb for two, however. Benoit needs to powerbomb people more. Back to the crossface, but Eddie makes the ropes again. The ref gets bumped and Guerrero grabs the belt and nails Benoit with a weak shot and a frog splash, but it only gets two. Eddie grabs the belt again, and this time tries the sneaky route by knocking the ref out and playing dead, but he does too good a job and can’t revive the ref. This allows Benoit to sneak up from behind with another crossface that taps Guerrero, but the ref is still out. Benoit releases to tend to the ref, and then nails Eddie with another german suplex to prevent use of the belt. To the top, but the diving headbutt hits the ref. This is getting silly. And finally, Rhyno runs in, turns on Benoit with GOAR GOAR GOAR and Eddie finishes with the frog splash (after an “Oh well” shrug of the shoulders) at 22:14 to win the title. This was headed towards MOTYC territory until the first ref bump, at which point it got silly and undermined the whole “wrestling title” idea. Still, a stellar opener. ****

– Billy Gunn v. Torrie Wilson. Billy has a new Mr. Perfect hairweave. I guess he’s the Perfect Ass, then. Noble has a briefcase full of sex toys (which Billy opens to verify that is indeed full of dildos), but Billy knocks it out of his hands on the way to the ring. Into the ring, Gunn gets a tilt-a-whirl and misses his corner splash. Noble dropkicks him out and follows with a pescado, and then dropkicks his head into the stairs. He goes to work on the knee and kicks him down, but Gunn dodges a kick and gets the cobra clutch slam. It’s pretty sad when his moves retain vestiges of his former gimmicks (“The One and Only”). Gunn comes back with the hiptoss-neckbreaker for two. Dumbasser misses, so he goes with a Diamond Cutter for two. He goes up, but Noble brings him down with a top rope DDT for two. Nidia puts Gunn’s foot on the ropes, which I guess would be a face turn if anyone cared about Gunn. The chicks beat on Noble outside, and back in he dropkicks the knee again. Torrie trips him up, so he goes to give her a little Kentucky discipline, and rolls up Billy for the clean pin at 4:59, drawing a rather noticeable face pop. That’s twice now that Billy Gunn’s opponent has turned face on him. Match was short enough not to be offensive. *1/2

– I’m not even gonna bother with the bar-room brawl because there’s nothing to recap. Really long and really bad, as they randomly hit each other with bottles and brawl aimlessly in a bar set. Bradshaw is the winner, what a shock. I will note, however, that with Bradshaw and a bunch of guys drinking without their shirts on, it seemed far too close to a gay bar for comfort.

– Smackdown tag titles: Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin v. Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman. Benjamin rides Rey down to start, but he slugs back and boots him off the ropes. Flying headscissors (after a botched try) and Kidman comes in with a dropkick to the head for two. Kidman with a spinning version of the headscissors, but Benjamin takes him down and Haas comes in with a quick rollup for two. Haas goes to the headlock and overpowers Kidman, but Kidman gets a cross body for two. Haas chokes him out, but misses a charge and Rey tags in with a guillotine for two. Rey’s Rube Goldberg Bulldog is blocked with a slam by Haas, and he sends Rey into the corner WITH AUTHORITY. Another trip to the corner sets up a sideslam for two. Benjamin comes in with a faceplant for two. He takes Rey down with a chinlock and gets the hooks in, but misses a charge. Rey reverses a powerbomb to a rana, but Benjamin rolls through and Rey counters with a dropkick to the face and makes the lukewarm tag to Kidman. High backdrop for Haas and a Rydien bomb for two. The champs catch him with the leapfrog choke, but Rey trips up Benjamin to break it up and sets up for the 619. Benjamin returns the trip to break that up, so Rey hits him with the plancha and Kidman dumps Haas and follows with the Shooting Star Press to the floor. Crazy. Back in, Kidman gets two. Haas dumps him, but Kidman slugs back until getting tossed into the post by Benjamin. Back in, Haas gets two as Kidman is YOUR face in peril. Double-team backbreaker gets two. Benjamin goes a bridged bow-and-arrow, which Tazz calls a Redhook Ringer, and then goes into the standard bow-and-arrow. Good stuff. Kidman crawls for the tag, but Benjamin cuts him off and Haas stomps on the back. Haas then puts him in the corner and surfboards the arm around the top rope in a great move. Kidman leverages him out of the ring and crawls for the tag, but Benjamin distracts the ref and he doesn’t see the tag. Back to the heel corner goes Kidman, and they hit him with a double-suplex for two. Benjamin snaps off a powerbomb, so I guess sometimes you CAN powerbomb him. That gets two. Another try is reversed, so YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN…um, twice. Hot tag Rey, who springboards in and misses Benjamin by a foot. Oh well. Enzuigiri and he baits Haas into charging and landing on the floor. He gets two on Benjamin and a DDT for two. Haas tags back in and gets cheapshotted by Kidman, allowing the 619. West Coast Pop (well not really, but that was the idea) gets nothing because the ref is distracted. Benjamin kicks Rey in the head and Haas gets two. Rey hits him with a jawbreaker and Kidman puts him on top, setting up the alley-oop rana for a close two-count. The crowd actually chants “bullshit” at that one, which is always a good sign. Benjamin spinkicks Kidman out of the ring, and Rey tries a rana on Haas, but Benjamin springs in with a Doomsday Device for the pin to retain at 14:52. TWGTT looked totally comfortable and worked the formula, and the result was a terrific tag team match. ****1/4

– Sable v. Stephanie. Steph’s boobs are really quite scary without the industrial support that she uses normally. Steph attacks her outside to start and tosses her in, but Sable bails. Cole notes that both can fight because they’re former Women’s champions. Make your own jokes here. They brawl outside and Steph clotheslines her and brings her back in, but Sable catches her with a baseball slide for two. Sable hammers away in the corner and brings her out for two. Steph fights back, but gets kicked down and taunted. She’s hip! She’s cool! She’s 45! Steph gets a schoolgirl for two, but Sable kicks her down again and beats on her in the corner. Sable runs into an elbow, however, and Steph spears her and returns fire in the corner. Hairtoss gets two. Sable bails and Steph follows for more brawling, but the ref won’t let her use a chair. She uses her Popeye forearms to knock Sable down again, and back in the SLAP OF DEATH puts Sable down for two. Steph necksnaps her and kicks away. She rips Sable’s top as the ref keeps Steph away, and A-Train runs in and lays out Steph to give Sable the pin at 6:23. Oh, yay, more A-Train. They just won’t take the hint with that guy. This was certainly, uh, energetic, I guess. *

– Undertaker v. John Cena. There’s only one finish that gives this match any meaning whatsoever. Cena gives him a bitchslap out of the corner to start, but that just annoys Taker and he pounds him. Taker boots him out of the ring and pounds him on the floor, but Cena loads up the EVIAN SPEW OF DOOM, only to get sent into the railing. Geez, if you can’t beat a guy with a mouthful of water, what more can you do? Taker sends him into the post and pounds away, and guillotines him on the apron. Back in, he gets two. He keylocks the wrist and knees away to the ribs, and tosses Cena. Back in, the ROPEWALK OF DOOM sets up the chokeslam, but he picks up Cena at two. So basically UT squashed Cena in 5:30 but elected to continue the match. Keep that in mind later. Last Ride is escaped and Cena DDTs him and undoes a turnbuckle. Cena chokes away, but Taker slugs back and gets a corner clothesline. He misses another charge and hits the steel, however, and ends up on the floor. Cena knees him into the railing off the apron, and they head back in, where Cena works on the ribs and Undertaker contracts Ken Shamrock Disease. Taker fights back, but Cena hits the ribs again and works them in the corner. Taker misses the big boot, but clotheslines him for two. Cena goes back to the ribs, but Taker gets the dragon sleeper. Cena makes the ropes quickly, and hits Taker with a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER for two. John keeps kneeing at the ribs for two. They slug it out and Taker gets another clothesline for two. Cena powers out of the tombstone, but gets booted down and legdropped by Hulk Taker, for two. Taker slugs away in the corner and chokes him out, but Cena grabs the chain and goes to the ribs again. The F-U gets two. So he hit a guy with broken ribs with a chain and gave him his finisher, and he STILL kicks out? Way to put over the new guys. Cena brings him into the corner and pounds away, but of course Taker brings him out with the Poochiebomb and gets the clean pin after overcoming all the odds at 16:01. I’m sure lots of people will say that this sets up a rematch where Cena goes over, but a babyface going over clean ENDS a feud, it doesn’t continue it. There was absolutely no reason for Taker to win this match – if you’re gonna use the rematch argument, then why not put Cena over twice and REALLY make sure he gets over as a big star? Really good brawl from Taker, however. ***1/2

– Vince McMahon v. Zach Gowen. According to the pre-show, this is Zach’s first ever match, excepting of course all the other ones he’s wrestled for the company. Vince brings him into the corner to start, but breaks clean. He takes him down and hiptosses him, and gets a slam, but Zach tries a rollup, only to get clotheslined. Vince works him over in the corner and pounds him down, but Zach elbows back and dumps him. He follows with a quebrada. Back in, a springboard legdrop gets two. Vince takes him down by the leg and works it over. See, now this is the major problem with Gowen, because he can’t properly sell the leg unless he’s lying on the mat. And of course no one thought of hitting him in the leg until Super Genius Vince McMahon did. Vince works the knee and kicks the leg out from under his leg a couple of times, but sadly medical science is not evolved enough for him to put Zach in a figure-four. Vince posts him and goes to a half-crab (which actually hurts the back, not the leg), but Zach makes the ropes. Zach kicks away from the mat and immediately forgets the leg injury, dropkicking Vince and pounding away. All of Zach’s weight is on the remaining leg – you simply wouldn’t be able to get the lift needed on a bad leg. Zach posts him a couple of times and comes back in with something resembling a bulldog that misses. Missile dropkick sets up a moonsault for two. Vince rolls out and grabs a chair, and tosses the reb. Zach dropkicks it into his face, drawing a gory bladejob from Vince, and pounds him with the chair. Another moonsault misses and Vince gets the anticlimactic pin at 14:01. Bad finish. This was as good as a senior citizen opposing a cripple was going be, but the nonbelievability of Gowen’s freakshow act took me out of the match too much. **1/2 They try the “standing ovation” deal for Gown afterwards, but about half the crowd boos him. A pity ovation isn’t gonna be worth anything.

– Smackdown World title: Brock Lesnar v. Kurt Angle v. Big Show. Lesnar & Angle attack Show to start, but he clotheslines them down and tosses Angle. Brock goes for Show alone, but gets chokeslammed and Show gets two. Show charges at Angle and runs into an elbow, but clotheslines him down. Show headbutts Angle down, but gets anklelocked. Show kicks off it and slugs it out with Angle, knocking him down with a boot and a legdrop. What is this, Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night? That gets two. Angle gets tossed and now Brock tries against Show, elbowing him out of the corner and hitting him with a flying forearm. Show blocks an F5 and gets the Final Cut for two. Angle brings garbage can lids in and pounds Show with them, and Lesnar joins in to knock Show down. Double suplex is blocked by Show, and he suplexes them. Double-chokeslam is blocked and they return fire with a double-chokeslam on Show. Lesnar gets two off that, but Angle breaks it up. Brock hammers away on him and gets the F5, but Angle flies to the ropes on the rebound and bails. Show wanders over and walks into another F5, and Brock gets two. Angle pulls out the ref to stop the count, so Brock hammers him on the floor and sends him into the stairs. And the post. Show grabs at Brock, but Lesnar necksnaps him and hammers him with clotheslines before walking into one. Show legdrops him for two. He stomps on him in the corner and they go up (!) , but Brock powerbombs him out of the corner (!!!). Brock’s not human, he’s an alien sent from Jupiter to conquer the world, that’s the only explanation. Angle beats on him with chairshots to get rid of him, and gets two on Show. Show bails, so Angle charges with the chair and gets it kicked back in his face. Show preps the Spanish table and goes for the chokeslam, but Angle reverses to an Angle Slam through the table. And this guy had a BROKEN NECK? Back in the ring, Angle & Lesnar stare each other down and then slug it out, as Angle goes NUTS on him. Brock knees him to come back (as the crowd clearly goes to Angle’s side) and tries the F5, but Angle grabs the ropes and gets tossed as a result. Angle sends him into the stairs, however. Back in, Angle unloads the germans, including the 270 flip variation. That gets two. Angle sets up for the Angle Slam, but Brock counters with a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER for two. Brock takes him to the mat with a bearhug, but Show finally recovers and breaks it up. Show covers both for two. What if one couldn’t kick out? I shudder to think. Double chokeslam and he covers Brock for two, and then Angle for two. Well, logic would dictate that if covering Brock wouldn’t finish, neither would covering Angle. Angle fights back on Lesnar, and dodges a charge to allow an anklelock out of the corner. KICK WHAM ANGLE SLAM on Show, and another one on Lesnar, and that gets the pin and the title at 17:29. Another great, super-intense match between Angle & Lesnar, and Show wasn’t in it enough to bring it down. And there’s no better champion than Angle. ****

The Bottom Line:

Well, in comparing the brands, this not only blew Bad Blood out of the water completely, but was probably the best PPV of the year, boasting 3 different **** matches and one at ***1/2, which also puts it on the short list of the best PPVs that the WWE has ever done. There were a lot of downsides, like the barroom brawl and Steph-Sable, and a lot of the finishes were really weak so it’s not gonna be considered an all-time classic or anything, but as far as the pure wrestling end of things goes, this was a terrific show and well worth seeking out the replay.

Thumbs WAY up.

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