August 24, 2003
Well, after watching Smackdown! Episode with the amazing cage fighting angle, it was only a matter of time before I took and revisited this show. I've mentioned several times that I stopped watching WWE at that point, and the more shows I watch, the more I feel like I made the right choice.
Eric Bischoff. . . he finally gets a match with a McMahon five years after challenging Vince at Slamboree.
Brock Lesnar . . absolutely trains Kurt Angle to make a smart game.
Triple H . . he earns his PPV paycheck by taking a twenty-minute nap and wrestling for a full three minutes.
RENE DUPREE/SYLVAN GRENIER © contra BUBBA RAY DUDLEY/DEVON DUDLEY (Welt-Tag-Team-Titel)
All the way to Rob Conway's entrance, there's nothing that particularly stands out here, and there's nothing stopping RAW from doing so. This is your average formulaic tag match, with the hot opening, heel-dominated midsection and hot tag all the way. Aside from the cheap version of the Grenier and Dupree backstage suplex, all the halfway decent seats here belong to the Dudleys, and it's not like they did anything outstanding, they just did the usual. Of course, La Resistance only have a teaspoon of talent put together, so that's probably for the best, just look at the punches they throw that wouldn't crack an egg. It says a lot when the only things La Resistance does that elicit any reaction is their completion and Dupree removing the referee after 3D, allowing Conway to come in. A clean finish is always preferred on PPV, but the amount of heat more than justified the feud going on for another month.
THE CONFIRATOR vs. THE A TRAIN
As with the previous game, there's nothing going on here that separates it from what they do on TV. That's a lot of big men throwing punches and kicks mixed with the usual overbooking which isn't really necessary, it's just as easy to get from point A to B without them. The only nice detail is that Train works on UT's ribs, it was a given considering UT's ribs were poorly attached and it seemed like it was a constant problem (both Cena's matches did the same thing to Cena), and also leaves some doubts about the finish as Train's finisher targets the ribs and midsection. UT isn't digging up too many big guns here, but he doesn't have to, this is meant to be a grudge match, so in that context it's okay for UT to stick to fists. The real surprise here is that the referee has the best shot in the game when A-Train hits him with the clothesline. They play with a chair and UT kicks Train in the face and chokes him to win. In some ways, it's impressive that A-Train was able to deliver a simple and sometimes clever match, though it's hard to give it too much credit for hitting the bull's-eye multiple times. The bottom line, of course, is that the sole purpose of this match was to continue a feud between Stephanie McMahon and Sable, two non-wrestlers.
ERIC BISCHOFF contra SHANE McMAHON
I remember why I wasn't watching WWE at the time. Now we're zero on three with clean finishes and two on two with PPV time wasted for continuous angles with non-wrestlers. Shane's intensity is a welcome addition, and it's not Shane McMahon's performance without a double punch (in this case, the elbow from above through the Spanish announce table), and when that's out of the way, the rest of the party is on. nothing more than Bischoff kicking Shane, Coach, and Austin to cover up the fact that Bischoff and Shane really have nothing to do. Again, this could have been played on TV, the real feud is Kane/Shane anyway (since Kane took down Linda McMahon), there's no reason this match couldn't be played as some kind of warm-up on RAW for Shane. . The idea is that if Shane wants to get Kane in the ring, he has to go through Bischoff first. But instead, Bischoff throws kicks as Coach makes his own comment, Austin evens the odds, and Shane elbows for the win. It's probably a small blessing that the McMahon family's ego matches are removed early so as not to tarnish the important ones.
EDDIE GUERRERO© vs CHRIS BENOIT vs RHYNO vs TAJIRI (WWE United States Title)
You'd think a close to ten minute fight with Eddie, Benoit and Tajiri would be pretty good, but not tonight. The game isn't bad by any means, but the structure (actually, the lack of it) holds it back quite a bit. The match has some great original moments and locations, but they're hard to appreciate in these types of matches because everything is go-go-go. The early part of the match is littered with instances of pin attempts from even the most rudimentary move (power slam, vertical suplex, chop, clothesline) and breaking the pin, as Cole and Tazz insist on the one-fall rule and what means to keep an eye on everyone else. But that's as deep as the match goes almost to the end. The wrestlers seem to forego any kind of actual storytelling to launch these kinds of places and exchanges. There's a brief moment where Benoit runs ahead of Rhyno at full power and starts whining, which is a good reminder of Rhyno costing Benoit the title the month before, but it's over once he's there.
What ends up being probably the best moment of the match is the point that starts the final run when Eddie Tajiri ties up El Paso while Benoit crosses over with Rhyno. It's a commonplace for tag team fights, but the look of him here is pretty unique, and Eddie is excellent at it, considering whether or not to drop him so he can break the crosshead. One thing that this type of match requires is time and creativity, which they clearly don't lack, like when Tajiri tries his cartwheel elbow and ends up kicking Eddie off his apron, and then there's the moment where Benoit punches Tajiri. in a pain three and leaves him there so he can headbutt Rhyno. Rhyno's removal from the match is another good time, as he is quite unpredictable. Rhyno beats Eddie bloody while he is holding the title, knocking him out. The previous TV angle saw Eddie set all three up with belt punches, so it's not surprising that he included it in the match, but he probably planned to use it to split someone's hair and knock them out, and then left Rhyno and made it easier. for him. Since Rhyno isn't in the picture, Eddie just waits until Tajiri and Benoit are out of the way, then rushes in and hits the frog splash. This is fun enough for what it is, which is just a quick showcase, it's a shame they waited until the game was halfway through before they started coming up with good ideas.
KURT ANGLE © vs. BROCK LESNAR (WWE Heavyweight Title)
With the bar they set for themselves, not with their previous matches together, but with the angle of the cage match and with Brock destroying the undercard wrestlers, this can't help but disappoint. Both fighters are disappointing in their own way. Kurt in his usual way and Brock's big flaw is personality. Aside from the early moments where Kurt gets under your skin by fighting him, The Real Brock Lesnar isn't here at all, instead we end up with a competitive (and mostly clean) match. It's a real shame because the one time Brock cast it, it was excellent. Brock was clearly frustrated that Kurt was beating him, so he staged a strike and took the title, forcing Kurt to go after him and that started a match where Brock easily outpointed Kurt.
While Brock is underwhelming as a crazy heel, his in-ring performance is more than welcome, almost every good moment or clever touch owes some form of credit to Brock. On the surface, this looks like another angular matchup where the main goal is to throw suplexes at each other, and yes, Brock plays that game, but he's also smart enough not to fall completely for it. In addition to enjoying Kurt throwing him around the ring with suplexes, Brock makes it clear that he's not doing it alone and not just because it's an angle match and things go that way, but he has a game plan in mind. what it will take Kurt's midsection down, which by the way will also help smooth Kurt out for the F-5. In addition to the big suplexes, Brock also throws several points to demonstrate that, including a running knee to the stomach, scissoring his body, his backbreaker point, and the mandatory heel point where he misses the attack and goes to the post. him though he successfully hits Kurt's ribs several times before.
Kurt doesn't seem to be able to do anything as sensibly as Brock, even when Brock gives him good opportunities to steer the fight in that direction. Kurt would repay Brock for all the rib work by ripping into his shoulder and it would fit perfectly with his feud mentality, but it never happens. It looks like Kurt starts making shoulder tackles, but then hits three big Germans. Brock sells his shoulder all the time, but there's nothing from Kurt to suggest that's why he did it with the Germans, it's no different than what Kurt did with Edge or Benoit, it's a place Kurt likes and was looking forward to of doing. The same thing happens a bit later when he hurts Brock's leg. Rather than do anything to wear Brock down from the ankle lock, not to mention the best way to beat Brock is to take him down (and in the early sections Angle showed his best on the canvas anyway), Kurt decides Build an eventual ankle lock with what else, the ankle lock! Brock even bandages his ankle after the first one, but Kurt does nothing but keep getting into the cellar.
Kurt's handling of the ankle lock is something I've seen critically, and this is no different, and is another instance of Brock showing just how smart he is. Once again, the only thing Kurt does to develop the grip is the grip itself. The first time Brock crawls towards the ropes and Kurt pulls him back and Brock responds by rolling. The second time Vince uses a chair to break the hold and the third time Brock crawls up and grabs the ropes from all four sides and Kurt keeps pulling him back and finally Brock punches. That's five times Brock has legally broken the hold, and instead of changing it or doing anything else, Kurt just helps him to the ropes and then throws him back. Compare that to how the F-5 is treated. I tried four times. The first time Kurt shifts his weight and lands knees first on Brock's head (most likely missing a point), the second time Kurt counters a DDT, the third time Brock hits him but can't cover him because he's selling the effects of the ankle lock, and the fourth time Kurt lands on his feet to counter and then takes Brock down on the ankle lock and ends up winning. Brock keeps the move protected and nothing that happens could be construed as him doing anything to ignore or devalue the move.
Honestly, Angle's appearance here makes him seem like some sort of Ric Flair clone, he really seemed to be trying to do nothing more than play the same kind of match he always does. Lacking the insane, brutal heel character, Brock was definitely a disappointment, but at least he was trying to play a smart matchup given the difference in experience, not just in the wrestling period but in terms of major matches like this. that just can't happen. I can only hope that Brock was able to solve his problems for his Iron Man fight the following month. ***
ROB VAN DAM vs. KANE
Why is it higher on the map than the WWE title match? Aside from the sadistic beatings RVD takes, there's nothing special about him. RVD is his regular self, which is nice for selling and toasting, but that also means he's his regular overly flashy, crowd-played self, which shouldn't be the case in a Grudge match. Rob should try to chop off Kane's head and not do his pose before executing a spin kick off the apron. Aside from falling off the corner trying to jump on RVD, there's nothing about Kane that stands out, the only major hit he takes is the seesaw ladder spot which is mandatory in matches like this, and he doesn't even seem to take it right. . He's good at bringing pain, but selling and hitting his RVD makes it work so well, nothing Kane has done. It's kind of refreshing to see a great game without finisher hype. A Kane headstone is all you need. Of course, he was on the steps, so he should be better able to do the job.
TRIPLE H© vs. SHAWN MICHAELS vs. KEVIN NASH vs. CHRIS JERICHO vs. RANDY ORTON vs. GOLDBERG (Título Mundial Peso Pesado – Elimination Chamber Match)
Say what you will, how Goldberg was secretive for most of his WWE tenure, but this was one of the few times WWE got it right. The mallet bite ends things on a sour note, but there really wasn't much more they could have done. If Goldberg were eliminated otherwise, he would look worse, and there really wasn't much (if anything) going on about the Goldberg vs. HHH feud, so it was too early to give him the title. Instead, Goldberg runs through everyone else (except Nash, who was already knocked out before Goldberg came in), leading to the showdown between HHH and Goldberg, with Goldberg spending a good three minutes pummeling HHH before getting hit with the mallet, while chasing the spear. he gives HHH the cheap prize. Goldberg's eliminations speak for themselves. Orton was no longer HHH's errand boy here, but he had made a name for himself. Jericho was an old rival of HHH and a former champion, and Shawn had been a thorn in HHH's side for over a year. And Goldberg just went through them in no time.
As far as real wrestling goes, this is not the type of match where you're looking for a lot of real wrestling, the fun is in the drama and programming. Thankfully, while Michaels and Jericho are treating fans to some good action in the early stages, they aren't stepping in on the deep end like they did at WrestleMania. But as far as storytelling goes, that's on the reservation and not wrestling. There's a remarkably clever touch to the match, the way Shawn's superkick is handled and protected. Goldberg isn't the only big guy in the game though, there's also Kevin Nash. When Nash comes in he quickly starts taking the guys down he tries to finish Jericho off with the Jackknife powerbomb and Shawn hits the superkick and Jericho gets a Jackknife cradle and takes him out. Also, when it's time for HHH to come in, he is hit almost immediately with a Superkick and falls back into his chamber, where he remains until he and Goldberg are up to him. Goldberg is the only guy smart enough to avoid the superkick and he takes out Shawn as a result. Of course, there is also some goosebumps. After hitting Nash with the Superkick, Shawn collapses and goes down for a good five minutes (which conveniently saves Shawn from Nash's tantrum for losing so quickly and leaves only Jericho and Orton to take the abuse). What did Shawn take that he was so devastating? The last thing that happened before the superkick was Shawn getting hit in the forehead by one of Nash's punches.
HHH is easy to call to book here and he certainly is nice to him. He is allowed to nap in the chamber and then wrestle for a full three minutes, giving Goldberg his first loss. But credit where it's due, the push from HHH and the sale of Goldberg is very good, and is another illustration that this match was one of the few times Goldberg was properly and effectively booked. The combat and ending probably aren't ideal for what fans wanted to see (which was the end of HHH's reign of terror), but given the circumstances, it was the right choice.
dies 411:Seven games and zero clean scores, not exactly the scores a PPV should have, let alone the second biggest show of the year. It's clearly an improvement over previous efforts like Badd Blood, with fun stuff like the Chamber and the WWE title match, but it's hard to recommend the show as a whole with so much crap.
|Final grade: 6.5[Average]Legend|
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