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WWE Survivor Series 2003

by Scrooge McSuck

- It's Thanksgiving time, so that means one thing: It's time to recap at least one of the random Survivor Series PPV's that somehow has slipped through the cracks over the years. Slim pickings indeed, as I'm left having to sit through the 2003 edition. I'm not for complaining and using excuses, but I must ask for forgiveness in advance for my (additional) typing mistakes. A work-place accident has me left with one usable thumb and one pain-free hand, so nyah.

- Originally broadcasted on Pay-Per-View on November 16th, 2003, from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are calling the stuff from Raw, Michael Cole and Tazz are doing everything from Smackdown, and I'm so glad we no longer have to listen to two (or at times, THREE) different broadcast teams spouting out Vince McMahon's words. The "official" theme song is Limp Bizkit's "Build a Bridge" (a song I actually didn't hate), and Shane McMahon is our Poster Boy. Did anyone order Survivor Series to see Shane McMahon vs. Kane? ... Okay, that's not even funny to even suggest I would, but we'll get to that match later.

Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, John Cena, Bradshaw, Hardcore Holly vs. Brock Lesnar, Big Show, A-Train, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones:

Can we just call the heel team "Vince McMahon's Wet Dream Team"? Other than Brock Lesnar, it's Useless Hoss Nation, 2003 Edition. Do you think all of them were Paul Heyman guys? Cena was still working his midcard "White Boy Rapper" gimmick. Watching this, I cannot believe I'm saying this, but I prefer stupid, butt-kissing, like me or hate me John Cena. Big Show is the reigning US Champion, a title he defended a grand total of THREE TIMES over the span of 6-months. I remember the IWC actually keeping track of the tally, it was that big of a joke. It felt like there was hope of a Lesnar vs. Benoit program heading into 2004, but the real angle was Lesnar vs. HARDCORE FUCKING HOLLY. Wrap your minds around that. I don't care how they justified it, Sparky Plugg should never, ever, EVER, be fighting over the WWE Championship. Ever. Not even as a sick joke. Guess who gets the worst reaction on the babyface team? If your answer is "Chris Benoit", don't be an asshole. It's Holly. Bradshaw was a close-second, still sputtering around on APA fumes. Jones and Morgan somehow get even less of a reaction, which might be some kind of voodoo magic only Papa Shango could understand.

Holly attacks Lesnar before the bell, shoves the referee, and is Disqualified. Wow, we're at Negative Time into the match, and we already have a protected Elimination, and it's HARDCORE HOLLY! A-Train pounds on Bradshaw, but eats a Clothesline from Heck and is pinned at 0:30. He tries it on Big Show, but fails and takes a Chokeslam to earn his paycheck at 0:51. Wow, how ridiculous for all these eliminations to just be bunched together. Cena goes for an FU on Show and gets to play face-in-peril. Even the heat-segments are riding a Cocaine high and need to slow the fuck down. Morgan channels his inner-Kurrgan and connects with a side suplex. Jones tagging in automatically deducts a star from any match. I think that was a stipulation in that old EWR fantasy booking game. Cole dares compare Team Lesnar to the awesomeness of Team Andre from 1987. Benoit gets a hot tag and plays face-in-peril Part II. Did someone suddenly forget this is an Elimination Tag? Cole reminds us of all the participants who broke their necks... there's a topic you won't hear on WWE Television these days. Show with an ABDOMINAL STRETCH, IN A SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH. This rest hold has lasted longer than the participation of the first three men eliminated. Angle with the hot tag, suplex after suplex, and a brawl erupts. Heel miscommunication happens (as well as a botch in the process, guess who), and a Right Angle Slam finishes Morgan at 9:07. More miscommunication leads to Nathan Jones (allegedly) poorly tapping at 9:33. Lesnar plants Angle with the F5 for another elimination at 9:45. Benoit works the arm and eventually makes Lesnar tap at 11:53. SuperCena, Hero to Children, KO's Show with his chain and padlock, and finishes Big Show with the FU at 13:19, making Cena and Benoit your Survivors. ** The stuff between Cena/Lesnar and Benoit/Lesnar were rushed, watchable mini-matches. The rest was a hurried mess more fitting for an episode of Smackdown, not a (at the time) $35 PPV. This should've stolen the show, but just got us off on a terrible foot.

WWE Women's Championship Match:
Molly Holly vs. Lita:

Second match in, and we're ONCE AGAIN reminded of someone having a broken neck (that would be Lita, botching a hurricanrana on a TV show that's not even WWE related!), bringing our total to four (and still more to come). I don't know why this match is taking place, and I don't care. I definitely remember pulling for Molly, just because she could actually wrestle. Molly looks especially yummy here, which is probably the most positive thing I'm going to say. Here's a secret I'm sure everyone is unaware of: When Jim Ross says someone is "unorthodox", that means they suck. Take a guess who he's alluding to in this match. Lita blows a nip-up and gets dumped to the floor for taking 10-seconds to set up a head scissors spot. Molly controls with chinlocks, while offering the camera a nice, steady shot at her cleavage. Sorry, I'll try and keep my mind out of the gutter. Molly with the Muta handspring elbow (with an actual REFERENCE to the Great Muta!). Lita pulls herself to the top rope, but any coolness is lost with a SHITTY cross body press. Lita with the worst punches this side of Rob Van Dam, and a school boy for two. Molly with a side suplex for two. Lita with a Powerbomb. Molly wins a slugfest, but gets taken down with a Leg Sweep. Lita to the top rope, and the Moonsault misses. Molly to the top rope, and the Molly-Go-Round connects, but only gets two?! Lita eats an exposed buckle, and Molly covers for three at 6:48. *1/2 Molly was her typical self, and Lita's incompetence was balanced with some nice athletic moves. Too bad "pulling yourself to the top rope" never translated to a -star performance.

Ambulance Match: Shane McMahon vs. Kane:

Have I not wasted enough of my time explaining how illogical this program was, and how useless everything became that was done to build up Kane as an unstoppable monster? Since you bastards enjoy my suffering, here's the short-short-short version: Kane gave Linda McMahon the Tombstone Piledriver, Shane vowed revenge. Testicles were electrocuted, cars crashed, and homage was paid to My Dinner with Andre, which brings us to this final encounter. Let's get it the fuck over with. It's matches like this that makes me question whether I'd ever want to see Shane back working with WWE. Shane takes Kane to the floor with a body press in what is probably the high-spot of the match. Shane traps Kane under the ring steps, Wyatt style, and takes apart the SAT. Shane with the elbow from the top rope, so at least we have a nice replication of the promotional poster. They play a sad game of cat-and-mouse, bringing us backstage (to the crowd's disapproval, as the feed cuts out). Shane uses a Kendo Stick to take advantage, concluding the attack with attempted vehicular homicide. No, Vince Russo was working in TNA, if you're wondering. Kane fights off being put in the Ambulance and they brawl back down the entrance aisle. Shane busts out the Rock's old "laying the Smackdown" DDT, because every backyard wrestler thought it was such a cool move to do. He ends up taking an obvious high spot through protective pads, and it's practically over. Kane slams Shane into the Ambulance, plants him with a Tombstone on the concrete, and that's enough for the win at 13:32. Yeah, the entire match either took place on an announcers table, within 3-feet of the ambulance, or backstage during what was probably a previously recorded brawl. 1/2* Lazy, shitty brawl, peppered with the same, tired high spots we've grown to expect out of Shane McMahon matches. Obvious WWE creative direction: Pushing Kane into the World Title scene now that he's lost all of his coolness by having to win hard-fought battles against a McMahon over the span of three months.

- We waste valuable PPV time, where Eric Bischoff gets punked out by Dallas MAVERICKS owner Marc Cuban, and Cuban ends up taking an RKO from Randy Orton. Cuban actually took the bump better than most trained performers. Can I get back the $3 that this segment cost me as a paying customer in 2003? Note: I put Mavericks in all caps because I originally typed Cowboys, because I'm obviously high on something and thus need to get a punt to the back of the head to clear my mind.

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles Match:
The Basham Brothers (w/ Shaniqua) vs. Los Guerreros:

(Dough & Danny Basham vs. Eddie & Chavo Guerrero)
So, how much of a big "F*ck You" to Jim Cornette was it for WWE to call up Doug Basham and Damaja from OVW, who were feuding with each other for months and at the time of their call-up still feuding, only to stick them together as a meaningless "Brother" Tag Team? Shaniqua is completely void of any wrestling talent Linda Miles, a.k.a Co-Winner from Tough Enough 2. With JACKIE GAYDA. Yikes. Chavo was on "obvious heel turn coming" watch, so don't expect a Title change. The Guerrero's quickly cleans house, but fail at trying to further up the attack on the arena floor. Eddie works in the Three Amigos, but it only gets two. Eddie with a somersault senton on Danny B. for two. Eddie's luck runs out quickly, as he takes a Hot Shot, then a shitty slingshot to the floor, where he actually has to sell for a shitty clothesline from Shaniqua. I'm amazed Cole and Tazz don't reference all of Eddie's previous issues with drug and alcohol abuse. We've already covered how many broken necks there have been. So was there a running joke that Shaniqua was really a cross-dressing Shelton Benjamin, or am I making that up? Yes, the match is so worthless, I'm imagining internet jokes from a decade ago. Chavo cleans house, but Shaniqua constantly screaming "COME ON!" kicks out for the Basham's at two. Eddie with a top rope head scissors, and Chavo a senton for two. Chavo and Eddie work over Shaniqua, and a Basham rolls up Chavo (but not before face miscommunication) for three at 7:33. *1/2 Another match that would barely pass as decent filler on Smackdown. Little substance, shitty finish, and mostly chaotic brawling. Chavo KO'ing Eddie during a slam attempt quickly reminds me of when Jannetty and Michaels did it at another edition of the Survivor Series.

Shawn Michaels, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Bubba Ray and D'Von Dudley (w/ Steve Austin) vs. Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Christian, Mark Henry, and Scott Steiner (w/ Eric Bischoff, Theodore Long, and Stacy Keibler):

Finally, something good to get me through. The set-up was pretty lame, with Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff butting heads as the "Co-General Managers of Raw". Austin has to step-down if his team loses, and if his team wins, he can physically assault everyone whenever he wants... weird option. Austin's team is the one with the good guys, and you know the rest of the sentence. I'm sure a lot of these participants had storylines going, but fuck if I can remember ANYTHING from 2003, so please forgive me. It's weird to think Randy Orton was still the "future of WWE" at this point, having established himself as a reliable, but very boring, worker. I guess that's where the term "Randy Boreton" came from. The Dudleys have the Tag Titles, RVD has the Intercontinental Title. I don't remember who they beat or who they lost to (check that, Dudleys lost to Batista and Flair at Armageddon the following month), since most of the title changes were pointless time wasting reigns. Add Austin to the list of broken necks, and Michaels to the "broken body" list.

D'Von Dudley starts with Christian (or as he was known at the time, a CLB: Creepy Little Bastard). The highlight so far is Shawn's over-the-top facial expressions from the apron. RVD and Jericho have the next (and much better) exchange, with several near falls. Scott Steiner tags in to remind us he was still employed and do what he does best... I was going to say walk, but the condition of his ankles weren't the greatest. He does dominate with a series of suplexes, to the surprise of nobody. Booker T tags in to recreate the last OFFICIAL WCW World Championship Match, connects with the Scissors Kick, and gives us a Spin-a-Rooni. Heck breaks loose, leading to Stacy distracting Steiner (whom she also "manages"), and allowing the Dudleys to plant him with a modified 3D. Booker with the Book-End, and Steiner is gone at 7:28. Mark Henry polishes Booker off with the World's Strongest Slam at 7:51. I really hate those rapid-fire eliminations. The Dudleys try to double-team Henry, but HE'S TOO STRONG, and lays them both out with clotheslines. He misses a charge, then eats a 3D and 5-Star Frog Splash for our next elimination at 10:03. I guess "dog-pile covers" are allowed thanks to the 1993 effort from the MOM and Bushwhackers. Orton comes in for the first time and has his way with RVD, drilling him with a clothesline for a near-fall. RVD responds with Rolling Thunder. Frog Splash attempt is interrupted, and an RKO sends RVD to the locker room at 12:06. D'Von gets some decent offense in on Orton before Jericho gets the blind tag. Christian creates a distraction, and a modified neck breaker from Jericho finishes D'Von at 13:49. Shawn makes his first appearance in the ring at around the 15-minute mark and quickly gets to play face-in-peril. Michaels avoids an Orton dropkick and tags in Bubba, who's hot tag results in his Elimination, at the hands of Christian, at 16:51.

That leaves Shawn Michaels down, 3-on-1, against Orton, Jericho, and Christian. He does his best fighting off all three, until Jericho pulls the ropes down on him, and a beat-down follows. Michaels offers a comeback against Christian, but again gets pulled to the floor, and a slingshot to the post results in a disgustingly awesome blade job. I'll always love how Michaels does it mid-move. Christian brings him back in with a suplex, but it only gets two. Christian goes for the Unprettier, but Michaels blocks and catches him coming with Sweet Chin Music, then falls on top for the three count at 20:31. Jericho quickly pounces to keep the pressure on Michaels. Whip to the corner, followed by a diving clothesline for a two count. Michaels grabs a Sleeper on Orton, but is quickly brought down with a back suplex. Jericho jumps into a boot and gets taken down with a DDT. Michaels with the slow cover, but only gets two. Michaels dumps Orton, but Jericho brings him down with a bulldog. Michaels blocks the Lionsault, but can't hit Sweet Chin music. Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho, but Michaels cradles him for three at 23:55. Jericho comes back in with a chair shot, because that wouldn't Disqualify the only remaining member of Bischoff's team? Logic in Wrestling. Orton goes for the sneaky-weasel cover, but Michaels gets the shoulder up at two. Orton to the top rope, but his body press misses the target and KO's the referee, instead. Michaels pulls himself to his feet and starts tuning up the band. Bischoff comes in and kicks Michaels, triggering Austin to whoop his ass, then KO Orton with the Stunner! Austin continues pummeling Bischoff, meanwhile, Batista runs in from the crowd, plants Michaels with a Powerbomb, and Orton steals the victory and "Austin's job" with the deciding pinfall at 27:28.

Post-match, Austin sulks around a bit, but in a surprisingly gentleman act, helps Michaels to his feet and doesn't lay him out with a Stunner. Austin comes back out to give his "farewell", as his forced retirement lasted all of, I don't know, two months, tops. **** The first 10-15 minutes were entertaining, but middle of the road "house show" efforts with everyone hitting their big spots, but adding little substance. Once it came down to Michaels against the Odds, it became a show stealer, with some solid action, well-done eliminations (fluke, or not), and a finish that kind of gets you angry in a good way. It was honestly this match that started to turn my opinion about Shawn Michaels. Up until that point, I was still mildly anti-Michaels, due to his reputation and antics from the late 90's. Sure, there were the circle-jerk matches with Triple H, but from this point on, I looked at Michaels a little differently, and as more time passed, he quietly became one of my favorite wrestlers (possibly more than the man he was most famously feuding with, in and out of the ring, Bret Hart).

Buried Alive Match: The Undertaker vs. Vince McMahon:

Yes, we're getting not one, but TWO matches featuring McMahon's on this PPV, and it's an even worse gimmick than the Ambulance Match. The "hype" video that preceded the match shines zero light on what the hell was their issues to begin with, so let's just say Vince McMahon screwed him out of the WWE Championship, and move on from there. Have I mentioned how unwatchable and unlikeable "This is my yard" Undertaker was? Vince breaks the wrestling record, blading after ONE PUNCH, seconds after the opening bell. Undertaker... very... slowly... works McMahon over with his usual shitty brawling. Cole with another classy line: The Undertaker will make sure Mr. McMahon isn't breathing after tonight. Then he reminds us about McMahon threatening Undertaker's wife with RAPE. Yeah, I'm sorry I'm relearning some of these disgusting plot devices used. Undertaker with a shot to the head with a "steel" shovel, as the bloody mess named McMahon gets a bit more gruesome. Undertaker carries McMahon to the "Grave site", hopefully to end this turd soon. 'Taker gets a handful of dirt to the eyes, the first offense from McMahon. He adds a low blow and a shovel shot, knocking Undertaker into the grave. They appear to have a conversation, which leads to the appearance of KANE'S PYRO, followed by Kane, knocking Undertaker into the grave. He pulls McMahon out, because it makes sense, and a fork-lift loaded with dirt kills the Undertaker for the 13th time at 12:01. DUD I would rate it lower, but how do you judge a shitty, one-sided "brawl" with a terrible, contrived finish, to an angle where kidnapping and rape had been threatened? This kept Undertaker off television until WrestleMania, when Malibu Stacy came back with a new hat.

World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Goldberg vs. Triple H (w/ Ric Flair):

There's less than 20-minutes left of PPV time, so hurray for this almost being over. Triple H rips off a Harley Race promo, putting a bounty (complete with briefcase filled with cash) on the head of Goldberg. After failed attempts, it's Evolution running-mate Batista that Pillmanizes the ankle to collect the cash. So the storyline going into the match is that Goldberg's ankle is seriously injured? Some weak ass story telling coming into the match, although it does borrow and delivers a decent homage to the Race/Flair scenario. Goldberg wins a slugfest and connects with the Spear before the bell rings! Hunter takes the Harley Race bump to the floor, and he's almost as bloated as Race, too. I'm sure He was nursing some kind of injury, but don't care to remember. Goldberg ignores the ankle until a goofy attempt at balancing Hunter in a press slam one-handed goes wrong. Serves him right for being a stupid show-off. Helmsley uses a chair to further injure the ankle, but the referee is too deaf to hear the chair smacking the steps and look over to see what happens. With all the rehashes, rip-offs, and attempts at living out old storylines, I'm amazed Triple H never did the "Evil Referee" thing with a new pair of twins. Most Triple H matches from this era were pretty boring, but this flat-out sucks. It's literally been all punching and kicking. Flair has broken more of a sweat than either man actually expected to wrestle. They manage to even fuck up a simple single-leg crab spot. Even poorly trained "Diva's" can do that semi-competently. Stuff happens, Goldberg makes the comeback, beats up Flair, then whacks Batista and Orton with a sledgehammer. He counters the Pedigree, hits the Spear, and the Jackhammer gives Goldberg as clean a victory as he can get at 11:44. So naturally, Goldberg drops the belt back to Hunter at the next PPV. *1/2 Match was fairly underwhelming until the hot finishing sequence.

Final Thoughts: If not for Shawn Michaels' Superman attempts during the top billed Elimination Match, this could've been the worst Survivor Series of all time (rivaled by other lukewarm years like 1997, 1999, and 2000). The main event would barely qualify as a Raw Main Event, there were TWO overly gimmicked matches featuring the McMahon's, a crappy Women's Title defense, a pointless Tag Title Match, and the opening Elimination Match was a rushed mess. Outside of 15-minutes from the 3-hours this PPV ran (and even then, it's Shawn Michaels, so it's not something that was rarely done), I would strongly recommend pretending this event never took place. The phrase "nothing to see here" almost seems like a perfect tagline.

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