My memory tells me that this is one of the worst WWE pay-per-views of the modern era. Let's see if it holds up (or down; depending on your point of view).
-The show opens with Stone Cold Steve Austin coming out to the ring. This is undoubtedly to give the fans something to be happy about. Austin was the new co General Manager of Raw at this point, since his neck was too messed up to continue wrestling. Austin takes a microphone and sucks up to the audience. This is screaming "please don't be quiet through our shitty card tonight." Austin is going to watch the show in the skybox, and drink beer and raise hell in the process. This is the most alive I expect the crowd to be all night.
Chris Benoit, Rhyno, and Spanky vs. John Cena, Chuck
Palumbo, and Johnny Stamboli (with Nunzio)
Hey, this match could have been really awesome. However, I bet the entrances take more time than the actual match. The faces chase the FBI and Cena from the ring. Spanky flips over the ropes and lands on the evil doers. Spanky and Cena start the match off, and Cena aggressively grounds and pounds the smaller star. Spanky fights back with some punches and a nice enziguri. Cena rolls out to ringside, and the FBI double team Spanky. Palumbo is the legal man now, but quickly tags in Stamboli. Less than two minutes into the match and Spanky is the "face in peril." Palumbo puts Spanky in a bear hug, because we all know that this three minute match needed a rest hold. Palumbo goes for a cover, but Spanky courageously kicks out. And we are back to the bear hug. Spanky is feisty and fights out of the hold. Palumbo drops Spanky with a good looking clothesline, but Spanky hits a leg scissors and tags in Benoit. Benoit cleans house, and hits a couple of Germans on Cena and Palumbo. Benoit is on a roll and heads to the top rope. Benoit hits the head butt on Palumbo. Nunzio runs in and gets gored by Rhyno. Back to the legal men, Spanky makes a blind tag to hit Cena with a flying dropkick. Spanky goes for the Sliced Bread #2, but it is blocked. The FBI hit the "Kiss of Death" and Palumbo pins Spanky at 3:57. What the hell was that? Rhyno was never even tagged in. They were able to do a lot with the small amount of time they had, so ½*.
Winners: John Cena, Chuck Palumbo, and Johnny Stamboli
-Now its time for the reason why that match was so short. The first in a long series of "hilarious" Austin and Bischoff sky box segments begins. Bischoff insists on having a share of all of Austin's beer and food. Austin hands Bischoff the hot dog he was eating, and Bischoff doesn't trust it. How can anyone not trust Austin? The next couple of minutes are devoted to Austin pressuring Bischoff into drinking.
Scott Steiner and Test (with Stacy Kiebler) vs Sylvain
Grenier and Rene Dupree
I was dreading this one. Test starts off against Dupree. Dupree shows off the French Tickler in the early going, which only pisses Test off. Test corners Dupree and knocks the taste out of an interfering Grenier. Tag is made to Freakzilla. Steiner hits a pathetic kick and chops the French Phenom into the corner. Steiner proceeds in destroying both La Resistance members. Dupree reverses and Irish Whip and hangs Steiner up on the ropes. On the outside, Grenier backs Steiner into the apron and sends a helpless Freakzilla back into the ring for a hungry Rene Dupree. La Resistance gets a double suplex in on Steiner, which almost gets them the victory. Up next is the patented rest hold! This earns some "USA" chants. Steiner predictably fights out, but Grenier keeps control. Grenier hits a nice clothesline off the middle turnbuckle. Dupree is tagged in and jumps off the top rope toward Steiner. Steiner botches catching Dupree and turning it into a suplex. Test is tagged back in, and he cleans house on the French idiots. Test suffers a full nelson slam. Where was this moveset in later La Resistance matches? Dupree and Grenier double team Test, but it fails miserably. Steiner gets a suplex in one Dupree, allowing Test to go after Dupree. Test has a cover, but the referee was busy getting Steiner out of the ring. Dupree dropkicks Test into Stacy on the apron, who falls into the arms of Steiner. Needless to say, Test is pissed. He becomes an easy target for La Resistance. Steiner comes in for the save, but suffers a big boot (by accident) from Test. La Resistance hits the Black Jack on Steiner, and this earns them the victory at 6:18. This wasn't too bad, with La Resistance pulling out some good stuff, but the Test/Steiner/Stacy stuff was ugly, ½*.
Winners: Rene Dupree and Sylvain Grenier
-Backstage, Hulk Hogan is hanging out as Mr. America. Ace reporter, Gregory Helms, has questions for Mr. America. Sources say Mr. America is really Hulk Hogan, whats up wit dat? Mr. America's sources tell him that under Helm's suit is the body of a super hero, named The Hurricane. What's up with that? Fun segment.
-Meanwhile, Eddie Guerrero is standing by with Josh Matthews. Eddie's partner, Chavo, is injured, so tonight he will face Team Angle in a ladder match with his special partner, Tajiri!
Ladder match for the WWE Tag Team Championship:
Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas © vs Eddie Guerrero
This looks like our best shot at a good match tonight. Eddie and Tajiri are wearing Kurt Angle's medals, which they stole a few weeks earlier. Team Angle cuts the heroes off on the way in. Tajiri and Haas end up in the ring, with Tajiri in control. Benjamin whips Eddie into a ladder outside and runs in to help Haas. Team Angle double team Tajiri. Meanwhile, Eddie gets to his feet and returns to the ring. Benjamin takes the fight to Eddie, keeping him off his feet. Benjamin lifts Eddie up and drops him on the knee of Charlie Haas. Team Angle takes the opportunity to grab a ladder. Eddie tosses Tajiri over the ropes, but Tajiri doesn't clear it and barely connects on Team Angle. Eddie dives off the top turnbuckle, saving the flow of the match. Team Angle keeps control and sets up the ladder in the ring. They foolishly both climb up the ladder, Tajiri handsprings across the ring, knocking the ladder over. Tajiri and Eddie kick the ladder into Benjamin's face. They set the ladder up between Haas's legs, and drop kick it into the pride of Charlie Haas. Tajiri and Eddie go for another ladder under the ring. Eddie sets Haas up on the ladder and place the other on over him as a sandwich. Eddie flings over the ropes, landing back first on the ladder. That was brave of Eddie. Tajiri sets the ladder back up and climbs for the belts. Benjamin pulls Tajiri down. Benjamin goes up the ladder, but gets dropkicked off by Eddie. Benjamin hits the T-Bone on Eddie into a ladder on the corner turnbuckle. Benjamin sets the ladder up against the ropes and slams Tajiri into. Haas holds Tajiri still, while Benjamin climbs up the ladder and leapfrogs over Haas to hit Tajiri in the spot of the match! That earned a ½* right there alone. Haas climbs up the ladder, but Eddie pushes it over. Eddie and Benjamin go at it, and it results in Eddie's back being forced into a ladder propped up between the ropes. Tajiri kicks the ladder and it smacks Benjamin in the face. Tajiri has done a good job of using the ladders as extensions of his vicious kicks. Tajiri takes down Haas and Benjamin with the ladder. Tajiri locks Haas into the Tarantula, though it gets broken up by Benjamin and a ladder. Meanwhile, Eddie is back up, but gets overwhelmed by Team Angle. Haas looks lost holding a ladder, so he drops it to use his technical prowess on Guerrero. Eddie monkey flips Haas into the ladder that Benjamin was holding. Eddie suplexes Benjamin out of the ring, and follows it up by removing Haas. Eddie sets the ladder up and the crowd goes nuts. Haas and Benjamin rush back in, and Eddie fights his way up the ladder. Eddie hits the Frog Splash on Benjamin from the top of the ladder! Crap, I am enjoying this one a lot more than I remembered. Haas struggles to climb the ladder, and Eddie rushes up to join him. Both men get to the top and exchange shots. Eddie hits a sunset powerbomb from the top of the ladder on Haas! Eddie tries to climb up the ladder again, but Benjamin catches him. Tajiri climbs up the other side and spits the green mist into Benjamin's eyes! Eddie finally manages to get the titles down for the win at 14:16! A couple of botches aside, this match was pretty damn good, ***.
Winners and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri
-Back in the skybox, Austin gives praise to the ladder match. He continues to egg Bischoff on about drinking beer. Austin declares that Bischoff drinks beer like a sissy and that if Bischoff doesn't start drinking properly, he will launch him out of the skybox.
-Terri Runnels is standing by with Chris Jericho. Jericho thinks his chances of walking away with the Intercontinental Championship are excellent tonight. Roddy Piper interrupts and mocks Jericho. Jericho tells Piper that he took a wrong turn and that the senior citizens hall is down the road. Piper tells Jericho that he did a good job of ripping Piper's Pit off with the Highlight Reel. Jericho pokes fun at Piper's weight. Piper implies that Jericho is a bastard. This just fires both of them up, as Jericho is convinced he will win the IC title in the battle royal and Piper will beat Mr. America. This was another fun segment.
-The Intercontinental Championship is given a touching video package. This, of course, means the following match will be a bunch of horse crap. Pat Patterson will be at ringside to crown the new Intercontinental Champion.
Battle Royal for the Intercontinental Championship:
Val Venis vs Chris Jericho vs Goldust vs Lance Storm vs Rob Van Dam vs Christian vs Test vs Kane vs Booker T
This was the return of the Intercontinental Championship after many months of absence. The participants are all former IC Champions, except Booker T, who was allowed in because he was really over at the time. The big reason why the Raw card of this pay-per-view was so depleted was because the entire mid to upper card was in this match. The match starts off slow, as Kane and RVD are the only two doing anything. This sparks all the participants going after Kane. They all try to eliminate Kane, but he throws them all off at once. Kane cleans house and eliminates Lance Storm in the process. RVD takes Kane down with a dropkick, so everyone tries to eliminate Kane again? and it works this time. Kane comes back in to beat them up for revenge. Kane chokeslams the life out of Test, Val Venis, and his tag partner RVD. Meanwhile, Booker T eliminates Test, and Goldust eliminates Val Venis. Christian tosses RVD over the ropes, but he hangs on. A dropkick from Jericho finishes off RVD. We're already down to the final four before the three minute mark. Goldust corners Jericho, and hits an off the turnbuckle clothesline on Christian. Jericho and Christian team up against Booker T and Goldust. Goldust hits a double bulldog on Jericho and Christian, and sets up Christian for the Golden Globes. Booker does the same to Jericho, so Goldust takes advantage and nails both Canadians between the legs. Booker T takes the time for the spinarooni! Hurray! Goldust tries to eliminate Booker, but its reversed and Booker sends Goldust flying. Jericho and Christian double team Booker T. Christian holds Booker still so Jericho can jab him. The evil Canadians try to eliminate Booker, who bravely holds on to the ropes. Booker fights back and sends Jericho over the ropes. Jericho skins the cat and blindsides Booker T. Jericho goes for the lionsault, but Christian shoves him over the ropes! Jericho is outraged! Now we are down to the final two: Christian and Booker T. They fight back and forth for a few minutes. Christian goes to dropkick Booker's face, but he moves out of the way and Christian's feet slide through the ropes and get the referee in the face! A ref bump in a battle royal? Whatever. Soon after, Booker T eliminates Christian and his music plays and everything! However, Christian grabs the IC title from Patterson by force. Christian nails Booker T with the belt! The referee wakes up just in time to see Christian tossing Booker T over the ropes. The crowd is chanting "Goldberg" which is funny since Goldberg wasn't booked for this show for some reason. Anyways, the referee gives Christian the win and the Intercontinental Championship at 11:46. The crowd is pissed. I don't blame them either. This had it's moments, but it was way too long, *3/4.
Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Christian
Next up is the Sable vs Torrie Wilson bikini challenge! I am going to go ahead and skip this. You know the drill, Torrie wins, Sable gets mad, and they have a cat fight.
-Back in the skybox, Austin is drenching Bischoff with beer. Oh the hilarity.
-Elsewhere, Sean O'Haire has to calm Piper down. Piper is mad at Jericho, but at least Jericho didn't win the IC title. Vince McMahon comes in and shakes hands. McMahon is proud he chose Piper to be the one to unmask Mr. America.
Mr. America (with Zach Gowen) vs Roddy Piper (with
Welcome back to WCW! Actually, if this were WCW 2000 it would have been Hogan against O'Haire, with Hogan probably no selling everything O'Haire did and making him job. I find it hilarious that this match was featured on pay-per-view as recently as 2003. Oh yeah, Mr. America is blatantly Hulk Hogan. Before the bell, Piper and O'Haire jump Hogan. Piper is in terrible ring shape here. O'Haire takes cheap shots at Hogan behind the referee's back. Piper tries to slam Hogan's head into the turnbuckles, but Hogan blocks and repeatedly slams Piper's stupid head into the padding. Hogan lifts his mask up and bites Piper. Hey, Vince didn't need Piper to unmask Mr. America, Mr. America did it himself! The referee plays with his hands while O'Haire pulls Hogan out and beats him up a bit. Piper drags Hogan back into the ring and takes the weight belt. Piper is whipping Hogan, and the referee is okay with this. Hogan takes his belt back and whips it across the back of Piper. This is sickly entertaining. Piper puts Hogan into a sleeper hold. The crowd chants "USA" to try and revive Mr. America. Hogan dramatically fights out of the hold after several seconds. Piper clubs the back of Hogan, and retains control. This doesn't last, as its time for Hogan to "hulk up." Hogan blocks Piper's punches and hits the big American boot! Vince McMahon comes out, distracting Hogan. Piper hits a low blow and goes for a full nelson! O'Haire runs in with a steel pipe, but Hogan ducks and O'Haire hits Piper on accident. Hogan hits the all American leg drop and gets the victory at 4:53. This match was hilariously awful, DUD. Meanwhile, Zach Gowen tackles Vince to keep him from attacking Hogan.
Winner: Mr. America
World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H © (with Ric
Flair) vs Kevin Nash (with Shawn Michaels)
Triple H and Nash are enemies because Nash didn't approve of Triple H bullying Shawn Michaels. I'm a little scared at how over Nash is with this live crowd. Michaels and Flair can't contain themselves and start brawling immediately. Ditto for Nash and Triple H. They start a brawl at ringside before the bell can even ring. Nash whips HHH into the steel steps. Nash tosses HHH into the ring and the match is finally underway. Nash corners HHH with some knee thrusts. Did I mention that 2003 was not Triple H's year? Nash hits a back body drop on HHH and chases him out of the ring. Triple H is wearing ugly purple tights. Damn, Triple H sucked in 2003. Nash tosses HHH back into the ring, and HHH quickly runs into a big boot from Big Lazy. Nash hits a scoop slam and an elbow drop. Amazingly, Nash has not torn any muscles in his legs yet. Nash hits another elbow drop, probably because he doesn't know how to do anything else. Triple H rakes Nash in the eyes and tosses the referee to the side. Nash clotheslines The Game. Triple H comes back with a swinging neckbreaker and starts selling as if the match has been underway for 40 minutes. Nope, it only feels like 40 minutes. Triple H hits some punches on Nash, that Triple H sure knows how to tell a story. Nash drops HHH back to the mat and mounts The Game. Nash shoves the referee out of the way. The ref pulls Nash by the hair to separate him from HHH. Both men have shoved the referee now, they must really hate each other, or something. HHH accidentally clotheslines the referee while aiming for Nash. Nash no sells a punch, so Triple H kicks Nash right in the jimmy! Triple H, being the devious bastard he is, removes the padding from the top turnbuckle. He tries to drive Nash into the bare steel, but Nash counters. Nash gets a sidewalk slam in on the Cerebral Assassin, and resumes his should thrusts and another big boot. Nash pushes the refere out of the way, but it only allows HHH to smash him into the turnbuckle. Triple H hits the pedigree. Nash kicks out of the cover attempt! Wowsers! Triple H goes for another pedigree, but Nash counters and removes The Game over the ropes. Triple H grabs his trusty sledgehammer. The referee tries to stop him, so Triple H nails him with it! This brings on the disqualification at 7:51! Nash and Triple H continue to brawl, but this match was bloody awful. -*. Nash eventually powerbombs Triple H through the announce table.
Winner by DQ: Kevin Nash
-Back in the skybox, Eric Bischoff is so sick from beer and food that he vomits through the window of the skybox, right on some fans. That is pretty symbolic to what WWE did to their paying customers with this show.
Women's Championship: Jazz © (with Theodore R. Long)
vs Jacqueline vs Victoria (with Steven Richards) vs
Hey, they didn't edit out Victoria's music for once! "All The Things She Said" is here in its entirety, so I mark out a bit. Chaos starts the match off, and it comes down to just Jacky and Trish. They tie up and Jacky arm drags Trish to the mat. This is some fine wrestling. Jazz pulls Trish out and attacks Jackie. Meanwhile, Victoria pushes Trish into the ring post. Victoria goes back to the ring, but gets caught by Jazz. Jazz is dominating the match. Jazz asks "who's the bitch?" Trish is pissed and jumps Jazz. Trish gets a nice clothesline in and a near fall. Jazz blocks the Chick Kick and puts Trish in an STF. Jacky puts Victoria in a half crab! The referee is a bit overwhelmed. Trish gets to the ropes, so Jazz breaks up Jacky's half crab. Jazz puts Victoria in the STF, but its broken up by Trish. Jazz hits a jawbreaker on Trish and some chops. Trish fires back, but cannot intimidate Jazz. Trish hits the Chick Kick, but Jazz kicks out of a cover. Meanwhile, Jacky was fighting off Victoria and Steven Richards. They return to the ring. Trish takes Victoria and Jazz down with head scissors. Victoria counters the Stratusfaction by tossing Trish to ringside. Jacky counters the Widow's Peak from Victoria, but Jazz breaks up the cover attempt. Jazz hits a big time DDT on Jacky and pins for at 4:48 to retain the title! This was a lot of fun, wish it had gone longer since all four women were on the top of their games, **.
Winner and STILL Women's Champion: Jazz
Stretcher match for the WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar
© vs Big Show
This was a rather goofy idea for a main event. The goal of this match is to put your opponent on a stretcher and push him over a line by the entrance stage. Right away, Big Show swings a stretcher at Lesnar. Lesnar ducks and takes the stretcher himself. He knocks Big Show over the head with it, sending Big Show to ringside. Lesnar continues to use the stretcher as a weapon in awesome fashion. Big Show fights back using his overwhelming strength. Big Show tries to drive Brock's head into the stretcher, but Lesnar counters and Big Show gets the full blow. Brock takes the real stretcher (the one on wheels) and pushes it into Big Show's head. Big Show lifts Lesnar up over his head and drops him on the real stretcher. Lesnar is in big trouble! The action spills back into the ring, and Lesnar corners Big Show with his shoulder thrusts. Big Show catches Lesnar with a big Chokeslam from hell! Three minutes in and this match is freaking sweet. Big Show sets Lesnar up on the fake stretcher and drops a leg on him. Lesnar sells it like death. Big Show fetches a real stretcher and sets it up at ringside, to try and wheel the champion out. With Lesnar on the stretcher, Big Show starts wheeling him out. Lesnar kicks Big Show in the face while on the stretcher, so Big Show clotheslines him onto the floor! Big Show nails Brock with the stretcher over the head. Lesnar tries to fight back, but Big Show's size makes it hard. Lesnar whips the stretcher into Big Show's back several times! Brock takes some cables and chokes Big Show with them! Brock tries to put a stretcher back together. He lowers it so he won't have to lift Big Show higher than he has to. The stretcher is too small for Big Show, but he gets him on it. Brock tries to pull Big Show back, but the cable is stuck on Big Show's leg. Brock pulls so hard that the stretcher flings from under Big Show in dramatic fashion. Big Show chases after Lesnar, who pulls himself up on the stage display and tackles Big Show. Lesnar lifts up Big Show and scoop slams him onto the stretcher. Big Show gets up, and Lesnar pushes the big stretcher back into Show. Show reverses the momentum and backs Lesnar into the apron, driving the stretcher into his ribs. Big Show drives Lesnar's spine into the ring post and pulls out another stretcher from under the ring. Show cracks the stretcher over Lesnar's back. Lesnar soon tackles Big Show off the apron and onto a stretcher! Big Show bounces off of the stretcher and hits the ground hard. I must say, this match has been seriously underrated in history. Brock has a change of game plan and heads out of the arena. Big Show is confused and climbs back into the ring. Suddenly, Rey Mysterio's music hits (Big Show injured Rey a month earlier at Backlash). Rey is in the ring and hits the 619 on Big Show! Soon enough, Big Show drops Rey with a closed fist. Before anything else can happen, Brock drives back out in a forklift! He parks it at ringside and climbs to the top of it. Brock dives off the forklift, over the ropes, and takes down Big Show! Lesnar is fired up and aggressively destroys Big Show with a vertical suplex! Brock hits a huge F-5 on Show, establishing that Big Show is dead. Brock sets a small stretcher up on a pallet on the forklift. Lesnar drags Big Show onto the forklift. Lesnar drives the forklift over the line, with Big Show raised up high into the air in an unforgettable visual. Lesnar has retained the title at 15:38! This match was a surprisingly great brawl with a unique and surreal finish, ***3/4!
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar
The show ends with Lesnar posing with the championship, to a huge pop from the audience.
Final thoughts: This show isn't quite as despicable as I remember it, with the saving grace coming from Smackdown's ladder match and stretcher match. The rest of this show is pretty pathetic, which was really sad considering the talent pool WWE had at the time. Even though there are two good matches, I cannot recommend this show in good conscience.