Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Stick or Twist: WWE Survivor Series 2003

WWE Survivor Series 2003
November 16th, American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 13,487

* Awesome opening video, one of my favourites, talking survival - "Defy destiny, cheat fate, side step certain damnation" and the featured matches, although there was a dodgy line about the "technical prowess" of Kurt Angle's team when it's got Cena, Bradshaw and Holly in it. This show also had one of my favourite commericals for it, where WWE supersatrs beat up a bunch of American Football players.

* A (sort of) freshly turned babyface John Cena comes out with a pretty funny rap saying the PPV is ass-backwards - the main event is on first! He calls his partners afterbirth, ponders if he could trade them for a one night stand with Sable, and outlines the fate of Team Lesnar.

Match 1: Traditional Survivor Series Match - Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, John Cena, Bradshaw, Hardcore Holly) vs Team Lesnar (WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, United States Champion Big Show, Matt Morgsn, Nathan Jones, A-Train)

Cena has replaced an injured Farooq. Cole calls Team Lesnar "the largest team ever assembled for Survivor Series" and I swear he calls Jones "the colossus of Bugger Road!"

Holly assaults Brock right away because he broke his neck last year, sending him to the steps and shoving the ref on his arse to get DQed HOLLY ELMINATED. The bell finally sounds with Bradshaw and A-Train starting. Bradshaw counters a Vader Bomb with a boot and dodges an avalanche to get the CLOTHESLINE FROM HELL for 3! A-TRAIN ELIMINATED. Show comes in and Bradshaw wants another clothesline but Jones knees him in the back. Chokeslam by Show gets 3. BRADSHAW ELIMINATED

Cena tries to FU Show and everyone's all "WTF". Tag to Brock. When shoulderblocking doesn't work Cena chopblocks Lesnar and gets near falls with schoolboys before he's clotheslined down. Tag to Morgan, who isolates Cena with generic big man stuff, aside from a nice jumping leg drop and sidewalk slam, and double teams him with Jones. Show: "Who's gonna beat you down ALL NIGHT LONG?" Cena escapes a Lesnar snake eyes and hits the throwback for 2. Tag to Benoit and he chops the fuck out of Brock. He escapes with an impressive stun gun and clothesline. Show tags in, hitting a HUUUGE Gorilla Press. "KISS MY ASS ANGLE!" Benoit counters the chokeslam with the crossface though, so Brock breaks it up.

World's largest abdominal stretch, with Jones holding his hand for extra leverage, then a really cool final cut legdrop that forces Angle to save the fall. The heels try beating up Benoit outside with the ref distracted but the faces schmoz with them. Benoit ducks a big boot from Morgan and tags Angle! German Suplexes and dropkicks for everyone! Jones accidentally boots Morgan! Angle Slam! 1, 2, 3! MORGAN ELIMINTED. Jones hold Angle for Show to clothesline him but Angle ducks and shitcans Show. THE STRAPS ARE DOWN! Anklelock on Jones... who taps out! JONES ELIMINATED. Lesnar immediately come in and F-5s Angle for 3. ANGLE ELIMINATED.

Benoit in and he works Brock's shoulder after a missed corner shoulder charge. F-5... countered to the crossface! Brock rolls through for a near fall but Benoit hooks him again in the centre of the ring! The crowd are begging for a tap out... and Lesnar obliges!!! LESNAR ELIMINATED.  Dallas: "YOU TAPPED OUT!" Show tries an avalanche but Benoit dropkicks his knee and his face hits the buckle. Flying headbutt to a standing Show! That gets 2. Show powers Benoit into the corner, which allows Cena to tag. Chokeslam to Benoit! Cena hits Show with the chain! Oh my God he hoists up Show... FU!!! 1... 2... 3!!!

Winners: John Cena and Chris Benoit
Verdict: 7/10. Entertaining bout. Lots of quick eliminations and Angle got some decent stuff out of the big lugs with his hot tag - it picked up when he came in after a fairly ordinary spell of the heels in control. The final two eliminations felt very important.

* Vince McMahon walks backstage to talk to his son Shane, drawing parallels between their fights with the Brothers of Destruction. He feels protected by a higher power but Shane just feels sorry for him. Vince walks away to find Stone Cold! They start laughing at each other, probably imagining each other's fates tonight, only for Austin to pull a straight face to spook him.

Match 2: WWE Women's Championship Match - Molly Holly(C) vs Lita

Sigh, JR and King speculate over Molly's virginity - I though that gimmick was done? Lita runs wild early with a hip toss, monkey flip, and nip up suplex but takes a nasty spill outside when Molly counters a headscissors. She viciously sends Lita to the barricade and focuses on the neck to Lita chants. After a hand spring elbow she grounds Lita further, but Lita skins the cat in the corner to go up top. King: "You can't keep a good Lita down can you?" Her crossbody gets a near fall. 

Corner 10 punch by Lita, then a roll up gets 2 only to walk into a sidewalk slam for 2. Molly tries the corner 10 punch - "I'll show you who's boss! You don't mess with me!" - but Lita powerbombs her for 2. JR and King credit Molly for keeping Lita grounded. Side Russian Legsweep by Lita, who goes for the moonsault... Molly moved! She goes up top... and hits the Molly-Go-Round! 1... 2... NO! Molly throws a tantrum and exposes the turnbuckle but gets rolled up for 2. Hot shot into the turnbuckle! That's all she wrote, giving Molly the 3.

Winner: Molly Holly (still champion)
Verdict: 5.5/10. It got a bit sloppy at times with some odd offense by Lita, but they got the crowd into it and produced a solid match.

* Video package for Kane vs Shane, starting with Kane Tombstoning Linda McMahon, then recapping the crazy shit they did to each other. Kane: "A burning dumpster didn't stop me. Crashing me into a tractor trailer didn't stop me. Don't you get it? There is NOTHING that can stop MEEE!" He also electrocuted Shane's balls. Good lord.

Match 3: The Final Encounter Ambulance Match - Kane vs Shane McMahon

You win by putting your opponent in the ambulance parked on the aisle and closing the doors. Kane's pyro goes off right next to the ambulance so King thinks it blew up!

Jesus, right at the start Kane nearly necks himself bumping for a Shane cross body over the top to the outiside!!! Scary. He gets the steps but Shane whacks a steel chair into them. He batters Kane with a monitor, sets him up on the Spanish table and goes up top... elbow drop through the table! KANE SITS UP!!! So Shane baits Kane to go backstage. But the fucking camera cuts out. JR absurdly postulates Kane knocked the cameraman down. The picture's back soon as we see Shane sprinting away from Kane. By the time Kane reaches the camera, Shane's running up behind him and batters him with a kendo stick! He finds a 4x4, and reverse it into Kane, who falls through a toll booth, nearly necking himself again!!

Shane radios in another ambulance. "I told you I'd put you out of your misery!" He gets a gurney to drag Kane in there but Kane puts the breaks on and throws Shane into the walls. "This will be the end of you!" He throws Shane into a wheelie bin and the camera cuts out again! BOOO. A fresh one initially without sound finds Kane clattering Shane into production crates. They reach the stage and ambulance, Kane throwing Shane on the bonnet, Shane's head cracking the windscreen. Shane counters a snake eyes and starts shoving Kane into the ambulance. He then hits Kane with a SICK shot opening the ambulance door into his face!!! I swear you could see Kane's head reverberate after the door hits him. He fights back and almost gets Shane in the ambulance, but Shane kicks the door in his face and hits a lovely Matrix/parkour escape from being thrown at the door, DDTing Kane on the floor.

Conveniently Shane finds a trash can inside a crate, sets up Kane next to the barricade with the can and a box, then climbs the ambulance roof and VAN TERMINATOR'S KANE FROM THE ROOF! King: "See this is what's crazy about Shane, he may just destroy himself in the process of trying to destroy Kane." Dallas: "Holy shit!" Shane tries dragging him into the ambulance but Kane blocks and ragdolls him into the ambulance with throws, powerslams and a snake eyes, drawing Shane O Mac chants. Kane: "This will be the end for you." Tombstone on the floor allows Kane to shove Shane in the meatwagon for the win.

Winner: Kane
Verdict: 7/10. I'm a big mark for Kane & Shane's teen slasher Halloween schtick. The tech problems backstage hurt things but the spots around the ambulance at the end were neat.

* Josh Matthews interviews Brock Lesnar who ludicrously claims he didn't lose or tap out. "Line up anybody in this entire frickin' world and I will beat them single handedly." ...enter World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg! He introduces himself, then seems bemused Brock didn't wish him luck for his match before moving on. Brock looks pissed.

* Coach is out in a neckbrace. He was 3Ded by the Dudleys last week. He acts like he's talking about the Ambulance Match but is talking about his own recovery, thanking fans for their get wells. King: "He probably received get well cards from the nurses." JR: "We stopped out show for this?" He spots Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in the front row and interviews him. Things turn sour when Cuban says Austin will win, prompting Eric Bischoff to arrive. King: "What is happening here JR?" JR: "I don't know. What happened to the Survivor Series?" Eric invites Cuban into the ring, saying HE rented this building tonight and threatens to personally eject Cuban. Cuban laughs it off, so a shoving match ensues and naturally Eric gets shoved on his arse. RKO OUTTA NOWHERE!!! The Legend Killer strikes again. Sign guy is in the crowd with a sign of Randy Orton's head saying "Total Idiot" haha. Um anyway, why did that take so long?

* Evolution are backstage with ladies. Flair wants the girls to take it easy on Hunter and they toast him as the next World Champion. Orton sprints back and one of the girls plays with his nipple. Flair: "WOOOO! We're havin' a party Randall!" Orton's all "you see what I did dad?" and says he'll do the same to Austin tonight. HHH gets them to toast again.

Match 4: WWE Tag Team Championship Match - The Bashams(C) (w/ Shaniqua) vs Los Guerreros (Eddie and Chavo)

Shaniqua has a whip and the champs are in BDSM gear. Cole needles Tazz for knowing all about it.
Los Guerreros bum rush the ring and clear out the Bashams. Eddie (who the crowd love) goes for Shaniqua but the Bashams save her. He hits the Three Amigos for 2. Chavo comes in with a basement dropkick, then a heelo by Eddie gets 2. He tries the ropewalk Frankensteiner, but the other Basham comes in so he makes it a simultaneous arm drag and headscissors. Nice! The Bashams regain control with a double stun gun, then Shaniqua clotheslines and slams Eddie outside with the ref distracted! Double slingshot suplex gets 2.

Eddie comes back with a headscissors and tags Chavo to no (Latino) heat. He cleans house, getting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. The champs come back with a double flapjack. Doug tries a superbomb on Chavo but Eddie saves him and Frankensteiners Doug off the top! Heelo by Chavo gets 2. Eddie gets backdropped outside. The heels try double teaming Chavo but he counters a body press from one Basham into a dropkick on the other. Nice! Stereo clotheslines and er'body down. Shaniqua comes in but Chavo clotheslines her down to his first real pop all night! Eddie hits the Froggy Splash on Shaniqua! Chavo takes her to the woodshed but the Bashams return. Chavo hits a tornado DDT but accidentally kicks Eddie while doing it. A Basham schoolboys Chavo with the tights to get 3!

Winners: The Bashams (still champions)

Eddie's mad but Chavo convinces him his fight isn't with him. DISSENSION.

Verdict: 6.5/10. Not bad at all but NO ONE cared about Chavo! It's weird to think Eddie would be champion come Wrestlemania season watching this, given he was selling for The Basham's manager so much (and she didn't return the favour when he hit his finisher!)

* The video package for Team Austin vs Team Bischoff shows Austin getting fired, re-hired as co-General Manager, whuppin' too much ass and only being able to touch people if they hit him first. This leads to much trolling from Raw superstars disrespecting his authoriTAH including great footage of Batista saying he's lost his nerve, calling him a "God damn coward".

Austin: "Stone Cold stands for two things. 1. Don't trust anybody. And 2. Whup as much ass and raise as much hell as humanly possible." He's tired of being unable to do 2, so Bischoff has a proposal... but it involves going back on 1: pick teams for a Survivor Series match. If Austin wins he can do what he wants but if Bischoff wins Austin is gone.

Match 5: Traditional Survivor Series Match: Team Bischoff (Mark Henry, Chris Jericho, Christian, Scott Steiner, Randy Orton w/ Stacy Kiebler and Theodore Long) vs Team Austin (Booker T, Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam, World Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz, Shawn Michaels)

Everyone comes out to Bischoff & Austin's themes. The crowd fucking love Austin and Shawn. Jericho tells Austin bye-bye but Austin says he'll see him tomorrow.

D-Von and Christian start with nice arm wringer exchanges before Christian slaps the taste out of D-Von! That gets him taken down. Dallas: "We want tables!" Steiner: "SHUT UP," Tag to RVD, who escapes the corner and gets a great kick for 2. Jericho in with chops. RVD does his shoulder routine and they trade near falls with a Northern Lights Suplex and an enzughiri. Steiner in now with whips, chops and poses. "Shut up Booker T!!" RVD gets near falls with a crossbody and windmill kick, but Steiner avoids further flips and kicks to nearly fucking drop Van Dam on his head with a belly to belly! Push ups! There's a pretty good Foley cosplayer in the crowd. A much safer belly to belly and another from the top rope gets near falls. 

Somehow RVD tags Booker, who lights up Steiner with chops and strikes, but gets Steinerlined and elbowdropped. Book fights back and gets the scissors kick! Spin-a-roon-i! Spinebuster gets 2 and it's breaking down! Everyone's brawling and Steiner low blows Book with the ref distracted. Steiner Recliner. Stacy gets on the apron to cheer for Booker which pisses off Steiner. The Dudleys sneak in with a reverse 3D! Book end! 1,2,3! STEINER ELIMINATED. Henry squares off with Book, who stupidly tries a crossbody only to be caught in the World's Strongest Slam for 3. BOOKER T ELIMINATED.

None of RVD's kicks can get Henry down while one Henry clothesline is enough to level Rob. He sneaks a tag to Bubba who's all "fuck this" laying in rights but runs into a brick wall trying to splash Henry down! Long: "You're the World's Strongest Man!" Bubba tags D-Von, but when they try to double whip Henry he just stays put and whips them into each other - cool spot. D-Von ducks an avalanche and you can see the sweat fly from Henry hitting the buckle. Holy shit 3D to Henry!!! FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH BY VAN DAM! Everyone piles on for the cover to get 3! Great elimination. HENRY ELIMINATED.

Jericho in only to be faked out by Van Dam with a split legged moonsault for 2. Orton tags in for the first time and gets an excellent clothesline. RVD fights back with educated feet and the Rolling Thunder, then goes up for the Five Star again, but Y2J pushes him off and Orton gets the RKO for 3! RVD ELIMINATED. D-Von in with a backdrop Orton only flips for right at the last second. He gets near falls with a legdrop and top rope headbutt. Blind tag to Y2J who gets hits a dropkick for 2. Christian distracts the ref when D-Von gets the advantage and gets battered, only for D-Von to walk right into a sleeping neckbreaker by Y2J for 3. D-VON ELIMINATED.

Bubba scores a big sidewalk slam on Jericho for 2. HBK comes in for the first time! Corner 10 punch on Jericho, and then he jumps off to give one to Christian. He gets double teamed by Y2J and Orton though. JR: "Jericho was a big fan growing up of Shawn Michaels. Randy Orton was a big fan of his mirror growing up." HBK just about hangs on to the ropes to counter a dropkick and tags Bubba, who cleans house on a freshly tagged Christian. Samoan drop to Orton. He goes to Bubba Bomb Jericho but gets low blowed when the ref was distracted. Unprettier! 1,2,3! HBK's all alone. BUBBA ELIMINATED.

Flying forearm by Shawn! Nip up! Reverse piledrive! Y2J low bridges him out and double teams him with Orton. Christian catapults him to the post and Shawn's busted open. He beats on the wound and takes the piss out of Shawn's pose. Unprettier... countered... Sweet Chin Music! For the 3! CHRISTIAN ELIMINATED. Jericho in, flipping Shawn in the corner and clotheslining him for 2. Orton in with chokes. "Bleed you sunovabitch." Sleeper by HBK! Orton desperately escapes with a back suplex and tags Jericho to HBK chants. DDT by Shawn. He sends Orton over the top from a head of steam but gets bulldogged by Y2J. Lionsault... Shawn got the knees up! He's stirring... Superkick ducked... Walls of Jericho... no, Shawn rolls him up. 1, 2...3! He's evened the odds!!! Y2J ELIMINATED.

Jericho is pissed and whacks HBK with a chair, flipping off Austin. Why doesn't the ref just DQ Orton? HBK is flat out as Orton slithers in. 1... 2... NO! Orton goes up top, but Shawn just collapses and the crossbody hits the ref! Jesus! Big Austin chants. Shawn wants to tune up the band, but Bischoff cheap shots him. AUSTIN NAILS BISCHOFF! STUNNER TO ORTON sold that like a champ! Austin takes Bischoff up the aisle... to beat him up. Batista's here! BATISTA BOMB TO HBK! JR: "For the love of God no!" Orton covers. 1... 2... 3!

Steve's shirt says it all

Winner: Randy Orton (sole survivor)
Verdict: 9/10. One of the all time classic Survivor Series matches. I was impressed with the booking of Henry and pretty much everyone brought the goods here, especially Y2J, RVD and Christian keeping the early going smooth, Bubba with the hot tag and HBK with one of the greatest face in peril performances ever. Top class stuff.

* Post match Austin checks on Shawn and walks him to the back. Nice little call back to their "oil and water" tag team. He comes back out, and we see the ring is still covered in Shawn's blood. He takes a while but eventually recounts starting in Dallas, and if it's going to end at least it ended in Dallas too. "It's been a hell of a ride... I love the shit out of you guys". Before he can leave out comes Coach with security, singing "Na Na Na Na Goodbye", asking for an interview. Apparently Austin said Coach was the first person he wanted to see post match. Coach has just one question: how does it feel to be finished? Steve's had enough and batters Coach and the security. He tears Coach's neckbrace off, stomping a mudhole in him! JR: "Watch him walk it dry!" STUNNER! He asks for some Ste-wisers and toasts the fans in each corner, then leaves a pair of beers in the middle of the ring ala amateur wrestlers leaving their boots in the ring to signal retirement.

* Tazz and Cole get serious talking about Austin, Tazz even taking his glasses off. They tease Austin's greatest rival, Mr. McMahon, could be finished tonight too and cut to a video package for the Buried Alive match. Vince screwed Taker out of the title and said "as long as I'm breathing in and breathing out you'll never be WWE Champion." Taker: "Well I guess it's time he stops breathing in and out."

Match 6: Buried Alive Match - Mr. McMahon vs The Undertaker

You win by putting your opponent in the grave next to the entrance and filling it with dirt - there's a pay loader full of the stuff. I forgot they tried calling Taker's fans the Pain Sin-dicate. He comes out sans bike to a somewhat muted response - people are still gutted Austin is gone. You could tell he was growing his hair out for a return as dead Taker. Vince walks out with his hands clasped in prayer and even prays in the corner.

As if trying to top Shawn's blade job earlier, Vince blades after ONE PUNCH!!! And it's a gusher. Taker's staying more mute early, no doubt again prepping for a return to the undead gimmick. He just batters Vince with blood pouring from his head. He pulls Vince's balls into opposite corner posts! Cole: "So much for the grapefruits!" Taker: "This is for my wife." Cole says Vince threatened to have her raped! Jesus Christ!!! Taker chokes Vince with production cables and whacks him with a monitor as blood covers the floor and Smackdown announce table. Taker: "We're just getting started."

He heads to the grave just to get a shovel, whacking the boom camera pole with it on the way back, then swings it right at Vince's head!!! That was sickening. He now lays Vince's leg on the base of the steps, and uses the other bit to crush Vince's ankle! Vince gives it the hard sell. Taker fireman carries him to the grave, but when they get there Vince throws dirt in his eyes, gets a low blow, and finds a shovel to whack Taker into the grave! The fall dislocated Taker's shoulder, but he pulls McMahon back in and heads to the dump truck to pour dirt on, but some pyro goes off in his face! THAT'S GOTTA BE KANE!!! He sends Taker to the grave, pulls Vince out and grabs Taker's bandanna, laughing maniacally while Vince works the truck. It dumps A SHIT TONNE of dirt on Taker from 15 feet in the air and Vince wins!!!

Winner: Mr. McMahon 
Verdict: 2/10. The worst match I've seen doing these reviews. This was like a parody of the Vince vs real wrestler formula that peaked with his match with Hogan in my opinion - Vince gets battered, has a disgusting blade job, then hits literally a couple of moves to cheat to win. Urgh.

* They must be running really late because they TNA the shit out of the fact Taker is buried alive - no replays, a shot of Cole and Tazz acting shocked so we can see Vince's blood on their table, then it's straight to a video package for the World Title match! It highlights Goldberg's title win at Unforgiven and the bounty Hunter put on his head. Stevie Richards(!), La Resistance and Henry all try, but it's a returning Batista who cashes in, Pillmanising Goldberg's ankle. It's still injured going into this match.

Main Event: World Heavyweight Championship Match - Goldberg(C) vs Triple H (w/ Ric Flair)

H is STILL in his post-groin surgery bicycle half shorts. JR points out he's NEVER won at this event! Yikes. Vince's blood still covers the ring. Sign guy has a "HHH, THE HONEYMOON IS OVER" sign in reference to his recent wedding to Stephanie. Goldberg's ankle is heavily taped.

Naturally Bill gets the better of a brawl to start, but Flair won't leave the ring. SPEAR super early! Flair chops him (the bell to start hasn't rung so there's no DQ) but it's no sold and he gets backdropped and shitcanned. NOW the bell sounds. Goldberg presses Hunter on the barricade. H begs off in ring but gets front powerslammed. Bill tries a gorilla press but his leg gives way. HHH chopblocks him and Flair distracts the ref, so Hunter drapes the leg over the base of the steps and whacks it with a chair! DAMMIT D'LO!!! H and Naitch take turns distracting the ref while the other works over the leg or chokes Bill. King: "Goldberg doesn't have a leg to stand on in this match."

Shit half crab by HHH. He tries crotching Bill around the post but eats the post himself. Clothesline back inside and both men are down. Powerslam countered to more chopblocks, but a figure four attempt is countered and Hunter clatters into the ref. He's got brass knucks. The power of the punch! 1... 2... NO! H is furious and batters the ref with an elbow. Hunter's got THE DAMN HAMMER! But Bill kicks him away. Flair goes up top but gets pressed off. JR: "It hasn't worked in 30 years!" Clotheslines for all. Bill's got the hammer, hitting Flair in the gut, then an interfering Orton and Batista. Hunter counters the Spear and tries a Pedigree, but Bill backdrops out. He grabs the hammer again but thinks better of it. SPEAR. JACKHAMMER! 1,2,3! JR: "Good God almighty who's your daddy tonight!? ...[Goldberg] literally destroyed Evolution with their own weapon."

Winner: Goldberg (still champion)
Verdict: 3/10. Guh. I HATED it when WWE would needlessly extend Goldberg's matches just so he could "learn to work" and do things their way. I might not have minded if Triple H had brought the goods but he was in no shape to carry Bill at this time, sticking to punch kick stuff focused on the ankle. Bollocks.

Final Thoughts: On the whole I thought this was a pretty middling show really. The two Survivor Series matches delivered (Smackdown with a good opener and Raw with an all out classic) and the ambulance match was great fun, but then there were a couple of unremarkable matches, the final two matches were DIRE and there was lots of time wasting too with Cuban and Austin. I had fun watching this show back in the day but going back now the bad really lets it down. Definitely track down Team Austin vs Team Bischoff but other than that there's nothing to go out of your way for. 
So in a first, this show is one I've decided to sell! I got £4 for it from CEX which I was quite pleased with. Part of me will miss it but the highlights of this show are really easy to track down so no loss.

Final Verdict: Twist.