Wednesday 17 May 2017

WWE Armageddon 2003 Review

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Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews! It is time for WWE’s Armageddon 2003, the final pay per view of the year for WWE. The main event for tonight’s pay per view is a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship featuring Goldberg defending against Triple H and Kane. Also, Randy Orton challenges Rob Van Dam for The Intercontinental Championship and Shawn Michaels faces off with Batista in his quest for revenge following last month’s Survivor Series. Will WWE end it the year on a high note or will WWE disappoint? Let’s rock!

Opening Promo

Basic stuff, a variation of the promo which they play everywhere. The Doors music is here, the over the top explosions and destruction. All focus is on the main event, it is alright but nothing spectacular.

Booker T vs Mark Henry W/ Theodore Long

Mark Henry had got the better of Booker T on many occasions leading up to this match, Booker looks for retribution tonight. Booker pummels away on Henry, Henry swats down Booker like a fly. Booker is choked and Irish whipped into the steel steps, Henry rolls Booker into the ring which leads to Booker baseball sliding the monster and taking down Henry with a plancha. Missile dropkick by Booker for two, Theodore Long distracts Booker to prevent The Scissors Kick. Backbreaker by Henry for two, bow & arrow hold from Henry. Booker rakes the eyes to escape the hold, Henry clubs down Booker. Knee across the back while using the rope, Henry drops all his weight on the back of Booker.

Two for Henry, reverse chinlock by Henry. Booker fires up, bearhug from Henry. Booker escapes the hold but eats a massive clothesline. Henry misses a leg drop, Henry whips Booker into the corner. Booker leaps over Henry and drills Henry with two thrust kicks. Flying forearm staggers Henry, Scissors Kick by Booker. 1..2….Henry kicks out at two and a half. Spinebuster from Henry, Booker kicks out at two. Corner splash by Henry, clothesline by Henry. Leg drop by Henry for two, Henry calls for a powerbomb, huge powerbomb for two. Henry misses a corner splash, second Scissors Kick and Booker picks up the win.

Glad to see Booker T is still popular with the fans despite the way that the company was using him at the time. Good to see Henry in the ring, Survivor Series was one of Henry’s first pay per view appearances in quite some time. Match was a little choppy with a few spots not working out the way they wanted, think of the bearhug and the powerbomb. The finish was flat, feels like the powerbomb was meant to be countered into the scissors kick. So, they improvised and Henry looked foolish but hey, it is just the opening match.

Winner: Booker T over Mark Henry via Scissors Kick!

Bischoff & The Two Canadians

Bischoff is not happy with Booker T beating Mark Henry, Bischoff is interrupted by Jericho and Christian who will do battle with Lita & Trish. Jericho is reluctant to step in the ring with the two women. Christian is all too happy to fight the two women though which leads to questionable looks from Jericho.

Mick Foley/Stacy Keibler Segment

New Raw Co-GM Mick Foley announces that the petition to bring back Stone Cold Steve Austin has reached a million signatures, Foley celebrates with a cheerleader Stacy Keibler before being interrupted by Ric Flair & The Legend Killer.

(WWE Intercontinental Championship Match) Randy Orton W/ Ric Flair vs Rob Van Dam © (Mick Foley = Special Guest Referee)

RVD sweeps the legs of Orton and pounds on Orton’s face before Orton powders, lock-up with side headlock from Orton. Hammerlock counter by RVD, snapmare and headscissors by RVD. Both men trade counters with the crowd applauding their efforts, knee to the ribs by Orton. Spinning heel kick by RVD, low dropkick by RVD. Diving crossbody for two, uppercut by Orton but RVD sidesteps Orton who lands on the apron. Huge spinning wheel kick leaves Orton on the floor, tope con hilo from RVD. Slingshot leg drop for two, Orton misses a corner clothesline but RVD takes too long for a dive as Orton shoves RVD to the floor.

Dropkick on the floor by Orton, right hands to the head by Orton for two. Knee across the back using the ropes by Orton, Orton & Foley have words after Orton refuses to break a hold. Orton stomps on RVD, hard Irish whip by The Legend Killer. RVD mounts a comeback, crossbody for two. Orton wallops RVD with a clothesline, uppercut by Orton. Orton begins to bounce RVD’s head off the turnbuckles, reverse chinlock from Orton. RVD is smashed by a huge lariat before eating a low dropkick to the face for two. Third reverse chinlock, roll-up from RVD after a comeback. Scoop slam followed by a split-legged moonsault for two, Orton lifts up RVD for a huge neckbreaker for two.

Reverse chinlock from Orton, RVD begins duking it out with Orton. Enzuigiri by RVD, right hands by the champion. Ten punches in the corner, monkey flip by RVD. Shoulder thrusts and diving thrust kick into huge clotheslines and a northern lights suplex for two. RVD suplexes Orton onto the apron, RVD scores big with a spinning heel kick onto Orton who was draped across the barricade. RVD rolls Orton into the ring and Orton recovers to DDT RVD using the middle rope. Two count for Orton, Orton misses a knee drop. RVD uses his legs to roll-up Orton for two, another spinning heel kick. Low dropkick by the champion into a Rolling Thunder, RVD kicks Flair in the face for being too close.

Step-through spinning heel kick by RVD, RVD pulls himself up to the top rope. Flair has brass knuckles, Foley wipes out Flair but Orton dropkicks RVD, crotching the champion. RKO by Orton, Orton covers and Randy Orton is the new Intercontinental Champion much to the dismay of Mick Foley.

Randy “Resthold” Orton, sweet jesus this match should not have been such a slog to get through but I was praying for the end. It exposed a weakness of Orton at this point, the fact that he could not do the long main event matches just yet. RVD was not a lot better with every second move being a spinning heel kick. Overall, the pacing was the big problem with this match, it could have been much better without the restholds and cutting a few minutes. Big moment for Orton though, the plans had been set in motion months earlier for a big push but now, Orton was gathering a lot of steam.

Winner: Randy Orton over RVD via RKO!

(Battles of The Sexes ) Christian & Chris Jericho vs Lita & Trish Stratus

The match made over a bet, Jericho & Christian made a bet to see who could score with their respective woman. Christian and Jericho bet one Canadian dollar over Lita & Trish. Anyways, Jericho & Christian were total dicks who did not care about their respective partners. For whatever reason, they decided it would be a good idea to pit the two men against the two women. Interestingly, Jericho is showing signs of regret over the match and his treatment of Trish.

Jericho & Trish start the match, Trish slaps the shit out of Jericho. Jericho catches Trish off a crossbody and spanks Trish. Trish kicks and pulls the hair of Jericho. Headscissors by Trish, Jericho bumps into Christian. Christian shoves down Trish and asks for Lita, Christian eats a headbutt from Lita. Lita clubs Christian, knee to the ribs by Christian. Christian misses a corner clothesline, headscissors takedown for two. Jericho cheap shots Lita from the apron, scoop slam by Christian. Tag to Jericho, scoop slam by Y2J. Jericho pulls Lita’s hair, Lita carries a powerbomb for two. Back elbow by Jericho, Christian is the legal man.

Christian pulls off Lita’s top, Lita low blows Christian behind the referee’s back. Trish gets the hot-tag, right hands to Christian. Chick Kick, Christian avoids Stratusfaction but falls to the floor after Trish sidesteps Christian. Jericho is on the top rope, Lita crotches Jericho. Trish looks for a headcissors but Jericho pushes off Trish. Christian runs into Jericho by mistake, roll-up by Trish for two. Christian clotheslines Trish, Lita destroys Christian with a diving hurricanrana. Jericho pulls Lita out of the ring and throws her into the barricade, Jericho looks at Trish with concern in his eyes and Christian rolls-up Trish for the win.

It is weird, Jericho is concerned about Trish in the beginning but has no problem assaulting her and Lita during the match. However, Jericho is all sensitive and caring at the end of the match, if Jericho is so nice why cheap shot Lita and attack the women? I understand the story you are trying to tell but the execution is a little sloppy. The action was fine, standard tag match with Christian playing his part to perfection, Christian was seemingly so unlikeable, it was perfect.

Winners: Jericho & Christian over Trish & Lita via Roll-Up!

Shawn Michaels vs Batista W/ Ric Flair

At last month’s Survivor Series, Shawn Michaels was robbed of winning his Survivor Series match due to the interference of Batista. Michaels had defied the odds and there was nobody to save Orton after a Stone Cold Stunner. Batista appeared through the crowd and powerbombed Michaels into the canvas while placing Orton on top so that his stablemate could attain victory. Michaels is out for revenge tonight against the man who cost Michaels the match and Stone Cold’s career.

Michaels ducks a right hand from Batista and begins jabbing Batista before quickly stepping away. More jabs from Michaels, huge boot from Batista. One right floors Michaels, more knees from The Animal. Michaels blocks a boot, chops by Michaels. Michaels slides through the legs of Batista to the floor, right hand to Flair as Batista gives chase. Flair calms down Batista and talks strategy, Batista corners Michaels and drills HBK with huge knees. Foot across the throat from Batista, Michaels slides out of a powerslam but runs right into a clothesline. Two for Batista, suplex by Batista for two. Batista drives his shoulders into the spine of HBK, hard Irish whip by Batista.

Huge choke from Batista, Michaels fights back with chops. Huge knee from Batista, foot in the face from Michaels. Batista ducks a right hand and places Michaels on the top rope. Michaels knocks off Batista, moonsault by Michaels for two. Flying forearm by Michaels, Michaels kips-up but Batista is right back for a clothesline. Michaels does his flip in the corner, Michaels is hurled to the floor. Backbreaker by Batista, two count. Batista holds onto the backbreaker submission, Michaels mounts a comeback to be swatted down like a fly. Right hand by Michaels, slugfest by the two competitors.

Flying forearm and kip-up by Michaels, inverted atomic drop. Batista stops Michaels for a throat toss that Michaels counters for a DDT. Elbow Drop by Michaels, Michaels calls for Sweet Chin Music. Batista counters for a spinebuster, Batista has Michaels for another spinebuster. Batista scoops up Michaels for The Batista Bomb, Michaels flips out and drills Batista with Sweet Chin Music, Michaels walks away with the win.

Batista was a work in progress as you can see by his performance in this match. Michaels does a great job selling the attacks of Batista and making Batista look every bit the monster that Vince wanted him to be, I do not think you could have a better hand in there with Batista. Much better than Batista’s match with Kane, Batista looked credible in the ring with Michaels. For me, this was all Michaels and a good carry job!

Winner: Shawn Michaels over Batista via Sweet Chin Music!

Maven vs Matt Hardy

Not sure why Matt was moved to The Raw brand. Anyways, this match starts in the aisle way as Batista refuses to leave the ring. Maven and Matt brawl until Matt throws Maven into the ring. The irate Batista mauls Maven with Matt sneaking in the ring for the win. The officials argue that Maven could not compete but Matt counted his own pin because Mattitude Bitches!

Poor Maven, have not seen him since Backlash of 2002. First performance on pay per view since then and it’s almost two years later. Also, even if the match has not begun, surely that should be a disqualification if Batista brutalized Maven. It is not like the referee did not see what happened so Maven should have been given the win in my eyes.

No Contest!

(WWE World Tag Team Championship Match) Rosey & The Hurricane vs La Resistance vs The Dudley Boyz vs Batista & Ric Flair vs Mark Jindark & Garrison Cade vs William Regal & Lance Storm vs Scott Steiner & Test (Tag Team Turmoil Match)

Two teams begin with another team entering once a team has been eliminated until they are no teams remaining. Conway gets the heat on Hurricane after a botched dive to start the match, tag to Dupree. Hurricane fights back but Dupree knees Hurricane and delivers a powerslam. Hurricane battles back before Dupree rakes the eyes, X-Factor by Hurricane. Tag to Rosey, shoulder blocks and back body drops by The Superhero in Training. Huge sidewalk slam on Conway for two, Dupree is slammed to the floor. Samoan Drop on Conway, tag to Hurricane. Hurricane dives off of Rosey’s shoulders for the elimination. Jindrak & Cade jump Rosey and Hurricane from behind, rolling-up Hurricane for the elimination.

La Resistance/Hurricane & Rosey have been eliminated!

Venis & Jindrak trade holds, slap by Jindrak. Venis fires up with right hands and a back elbow, tag to Storm. Side headlock takedown by Cade, arm drag by Storm. Cade works the arm, Storm has some fun before Jindrak nails Storm with a left from the apron. Tag to Jindrak, submission hold by Jindrak. Storm tags Venis who runs wild, match breaks down with Storm clotheslining himself and Cade to the floor. Blue Thunder Bomb by Venis on Jindrak for two, Jindrak rolls to the apron, Cade trips Venis who tries for a suplex. Cade holds down Venis’ leg and Jindrak scores the elimination.

Val Venis & Lance Storm have been eliminated!

Dudleys enter next, Bubba places Cade in the tree of woe for chest slaps. Double shoulder block for two, D-Von is poked in the eye. Jindrak tags into the match, leaping clothesline by Jindrak. Cade cheap shots D-Von while the referee is with Bubba, tag to Cade. Cade stomps D-Von, snapmare into a reverse chinlock. Cade cuts off D-Von’s comeback but misses a diving elbow. Tag to Bubba, clotheslines and back body drop for Jindrak. Corner splash by Bubba, tag to D-Von. D-Von and Jindrak are legal, Cade whips Bubba into the steel steps. Jindrak rolls-up D-Von for two, Cade is thrown to the floor after interfering. Jindrak misses a dropkick which leads to a 3D!

Garrison Cade & Mark Jindrak have been eliminated!

Bubba is selling the shoulder as Steiner & Test run to ringside. Bubba clotheslines Test but Steiner t-bone suplexes Bubba. Steiner is thrown to the floor, Test works the shoulder of Bubba. Clothesline and elbow drop by Steiner for two, push-ups from Steiner. Steiner chokes Bubba with his knee, Test chokes Bubba behind the referee’s back. Fujiwara armbar from Steiner, tag to Test. Test stomps Bubba, choke from Test. Test props Bubba on the top rope, Bubba knocks Test and splashes Test with a senton. Tag to D-Von, D-Von clotheslines Test, flying shoulder block on Test. Neckbreaker for Steiner, neckbreaker for Test.

T-bone suplex from Steiner, sidewalk slam by Test for two. Steiner tells Test to hit The Big Boot. Test decks Steiner with The Big Boot by mistake, roll-up by D-Von for two. Full-nelson slam by Test with feet on the ropes for two, Test grabs a chair and a championship. Test whacks D-Von in the back with a chair, Bubba makes the save. Test clotheslines Bubba on the floor. Bubba Bomb on Test, D-Von drapes over the arm and The Dudley Boyz retain their championships.

Test & Scott Steiner have been eliminated!

However, there is a twist as Bischoff strolls down to ringside and introduces a special extra team in Batista & Ric Flair. Batista is recovered and Flair is fresh while Bubba & D-Von are near exhaustion. Evolution beat down The Dudleys, Figure Four by Flair on Bubba while Batista powerbombs D-Von into the canvas. We have new tag team champions as Batista & Ric Flair have conquered The Dudley Boyz.

A fun match which smells of “Let’s try to get everyone on the card”. The action in between falls were fine despite not a lot of story-telling was present in this match. At least you had The Dudleys protected by going through two teams and you get more heat on Evolution for the way they won the tag team championships. Apart from those two things, the match was just there passing the time.

Winners: Batista & Ric Flair over The Dudley Boyz via Batista Bomb!

(WWE Women’s Championship Match) Ivory vs Molly Holly ©

This must be the night of odd returns as not only have we had the likes of Val Venis or Maven but also Ivory is back in a WWE ring on pay per view. Ivory starts quick by rolling-up the champion on multiple occasions for two. Crossbody by Ivory for two, catapult to the floor by Ivory. Apron senton by Ivory, Ivory stands on the apron and Molly takes control with a dropkick that makes Ivory smack her face off the apron. Northern lights suplex by Molly for two, submission hold from Molly. Ivory mounts a comeback but Molly throws Ivory into the bottom rope.

Snap suplex by Molly for two, Molly rakes the eyes of Ivory. Irish whip into the corner, Molly nails a handspring elbow for two. Molly stomps all over Ivory, ramming the challenger’s head into the canvas. Molly exposes the top turnbuckle, Ivory slams Molly into the turnbuckle and applies a schoolgirl but Molly reverses the hold and uses the tights to win the match.

This is the type of match that you should show a new WWE fan when you talk about the lack of interest and time given to women’s matches. The announcers spent their time talking about Molly being sexually frustrated, I am not kidding. Unfortunately, they never give the match any sort of mention, the two do their best but all you hear is crickets and whistles from the crowd. I feel bad for the two of them, they did not deserve that kind of treatment.

Winner: Molly Holly over Ivory via A Handful of Tights!

(WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match) Triple H vs Goldberg © vs Kane

So, after stinking up the main event scene in singles matches, Kane has been added to the mix to somehow make Triple H vs Goldberg fresh. Kane’s unmasking had been interesting despite a rather silly feud with Shane. Triple H is no longer wearing biker shorts as his injury has healed, let’s hope it makes the match a bit more passable. Goldberg and Kane stare one another down before Triple H jumps the champion. The heels double team the champion with a lot of success. Clothesline by Kane, chops by The Game. Goldberg fires up to take out Triple H, the two big men do battle in the ring with Kane gaining control with corner clotheslines.

 Sidewalk slam by Kane on Goldberg, Kane climbs to the top and Goldberg yanks down Kane. Military press into a powerslam by Goldberg, Goldberg measures Kane for The Spear. Big Boot by Kane to block The Spear, Kane chokes Goldberg. More double teaming, double suplex on Goldberg. Triple H watches Kane decimate Goldberg, powerslam by Kane and Triple H tries stealing the pin. Goldberg tries a comeback but Kane clubs down Goldberg.

Kane clotheslines The Game by accident, Kane stunguns Goldberg, calling for The Chokeslam. Triple H has a chair, massive shot to Kane. Goldberg boots Triple H, powerslam and Goldberg has the chair. Goldberg looks to break the ankle of Triple H like Batista did to Goldberg. Kane saves Triple H with an uppercut, Goldberg is thrown to the floor. Kane readies the announce table for a Chokeslam, Goldberg fights back. Triple H nails Goldberg with a chair in the ribs, Kane Chokeslams Goldberg on the announce table. Triple H climbs onto the barricade to break the table with an elbow through Goldberg.

Kane remembers that Triple H hit him with the chair, Triple H attacks Kane with Kane’s back turned before Kane back drops Triple H on the floor. Big boot by Kane, Kane pummels Triple H. Corner clothesline and sidewalk slam, diving clothesline by Kane. Triple H eye pokes Kane to avoid a Chokeslam, DDT by The Game. Kane sits up, neckbreaker by Triple H. Kane sits up again, Kane decks Triple H. Clothesline to the floor, Kane uppercuts Triple H to the ramp. Kane looks for a Tombstone on the floor, Triple H blocks The Tombstone but not The Chokeslam. Kane drags Triple H to the ring, Goldberg Spears Kane out of his boots.

Goldberg crawls onto Kane for the cover, Triple H makes the save. Three-way bomb throwing festival with Goldberg battering Kane & Triple H. Eye poke by Triple H, double clothesline by Goldberg. Kane sits up for another Spear, Goldberg measures Triple H, The Spear connects. Evolution are here, Goldberg knocks down everyone. Another Spear on Triple H, Kane makes the save. Goldberg chokes Kane, Kane chokes back for a stalemate. Triple H low blows Goldberg, Chokeslam by Kane. Batista pulls back Kane and this allows Triple H to steal the victory.

That was hit and miss for me, I liked the time-tested formula of the two heels ganging up on the babyface and eventually, turning on one another. Kane did well with his facials and body language while Triple H is a natural heel so being cowardly and smug is in his blood. The two bounced off another well, Goldberg was allowed to do what he does best, power moves in short burst which make him look impressive. Yet, it comes off as boring, perhaps it is that I have seen Triple H and Goldberg mix it up for three pay per views now or maybe the magic has worn off on Goldberg in WWE.

Winner: Triple H over Goldberg & Kane via Chokeslam!

That was WWE’s Armageddon of 2003, a show to end the year and believe me, it was not in style. Shawn Michaels gave a great performance to make his match entertaining and make Batista look like a big deal. The tag team turmoil was a bit of harmless fun with an ending that put heat on the top heel faction so no complaints there. Everything else was meh, in some cases it was too long or too short, in others it was just not a pleasure to watch. 2003 was a year where the B-level pay per views came off as such and the shows worth watching were the likes of Wrestlemania XIX. To be honest, even the big four of the year were not great, they were more two match shows as opposed to all-round extravaganzas.

In terms of the brands, Smackdown came off as the better with fresh stars like Cena, Benoit and Eddie Guerrero rising to the top of the card. Angle, Lesnar and Undertaker leading the way. Raw had a great crop of talent, being the flagship show but the likes of Jericho, Christian, Booker T and RVD were not being used while it was all about The Game. Anyways, that is the end of my reviews for 2003, time to move on to 2004. I will see you there and remember: There’s always another night!

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