Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Survivor Series 2003
Date: November 16, 2003
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Tazz
This is another big one and it’s also a one sided show. The Smackdown offerings are about as uninteresting as they could be while the Raw side looks at at least marginally better. This isn’t a great show on paper and I have a bad feeling that it’s going to be even worse as it actually takes place. Let’s get to it.
The opening video talks about surviving things such as the game, evolution, and the battles in between. That’s all this needed to be, especially with Austin vs. Bischoff being the real main event.
Team Angle vs. Team Lesnar
Kurt Angle, Hardcore Holly, Chris Benoit, John Cena, Bradshaw
Brock Lesnar, Big Show, A-Train, Nathan Jones, Matt Morgan
Cena is out first and raps about burying everyone, meaning Lesnar and Show need a bigger graves. He’s still new at this team thing because he wonders if he can trade his partners in for a one night stand with Sable. Holly wastes no time and attacks Lesnar before the bell, sending him into the steps and trying a full nelson to break his neck. He also shoves a referee, and gets disqualified before the match even starts.
The bell rings and a Clothesline from Bradshaw ends A-Train in less than thirty seconds to tie it up. The chokeslam gets rid of Bradshaw as we’re not even a minute in yet. Good idea actually, as it’s not like Bradshaw and Holly were anything more than warm bodies anyway. Cena comes in but can’t FU Big Show and gets thrown into the corner as the four remaining members start working him over. A Throwback to Lesnar gets two but more importantly it allows the hot tag off to Benoit.
The chokeslam is countered into a Crossface (always looks cool) with Lesnar making a save. It’s off to an abdominal stretch as things slow down again. The standing legdrop gets two on Benoit and it’s time for some double teaming on the floor. Angle and Cena have finally had enough and go over to make a save but Benoit is beaten down even more. Morgan comes in for some lumbering offense but a suplex allows the hot tag to Angle. That means a series of suplexes as everything breaks down. The Angle Slam eliminates Morgan to tie us up at three.
Show clotheslines Jones by mistake though and an ankle lock gets rid of Nathan less than thirty seconds later. An F5 gets rid of Angle with the first count coming as Jones’ elimination is still being announced. We’re down to Benoit/Cena vs. Lesnar/Show and Brock goes shoulder first into the post.
A Crossface has Lesnar in trouble but he reverses into a cradle for two. Benoit won’t be denied though and slaps it on again, this time with Lesnar’s feet reaching the ropes. The third attempt makes Lesnar tap and we’re down to two on one. Benoit drops Show with a top rope shoulder for two so Cena adds a chain shot and the FU for the pin.
Rating: C-. This was too fast for the most part but the real problem comes from the fact that so many people were involved in the first place. This really could have been a six man elimination tag (A-Train as the third villain) and it would have been better, but that’s not how these things traditionally work. Cena and Benoit winning in the end is the right way to go as Cena’s rocket push is being assembled, but at the same time there’s a lot of work left to do. Benoit vs. Cena, which could still happen, would be a benefit for both guys and that’s a good sign for the future. Unfortunately it wasn’t the best present, but at least it wasn’t long.
Vince McMahon comes in to see Shane and talks about how tonight, father and son are facing two brothers. He thinks it’s almost spiritual and asks Shane how he feels about that. Shane only feels sorry for Vince. The boss leaves and runs into Austin, who starts laughing. Then he stops and gets serious before walking away. These two have great chemistry even if it doesn’t make the most sense.
JR explains the exchange.
Women’s Title: Lita vs. Molly Holly
Lita is challenging after winning a #1 contenders match a few weeks back. Feeling out process to start as JR explains that these two have some contrasting styles. Lita gets knocked to the floor so Molly starts in on the back with some ax handles. We hit a dragon sleeper with Jerry liking her intensity. The handspring elbow in the corner keeps Lita in trouble and Molly stomps away.
A running corner clothesline rocks Molly and Lita rains down some right hands for her first real offense. Molly cuts her off with a side slam but Lawler would rather talk about Lita’s thong. A powerbomb out of the corner gives Lita a breather but the moonsault misses. The Molly Go Round gets two so Molly rips off a turnbuckle pad and sends Lita face first to retain.
Rating: D+. This was mainly Molly doing everything while Lita did a thing or two here and there. That’s not the most thrilling style in the world but Molly can be made into a good champion for a big name to take the title from later. Let her be built up for awhile instead of giving Lita the title immediately. It’s ok to wait now and then.
We recap Kane vs. Shane McMahon. Kane went nuts after losing his mask and after struggling to defeat Rob Van Dam, started tormenting Linda McMahon. Shane became the big star out of this because of course he did, including beating himself in a Last Man Standing match. Various attempted murders later set up this ambulance match, which is possibly the second most pushed match on the show.
Shane McMahon vs. Kane
Ambulance match with Shane charging straight at him for a crossbody to the floor. Shane knocks him onto the announcers’ table and hits him in the head with a monitor, setting up the big elbow to drive Kane through. That’s enough at ringside though so they head to the back, including the camera cutting out. That means we hit the pretape and come back with Shane pounding him down with a kendo stick.
Shane puts him in a security shack and jumps into an SUV to run Kane over again. Finding a well placed walkie-talkie, Shane tells someone to SEND IT, which means it’s time for an ambulance backstage. But is that the designated ambulance? That makes a difference you know. Instead of backing the ambulance up to the shack where Kane is down, Shane grabs a stretcher and wheels it twenty feet over, allowing Kane to grab him by the throat and slam Shane into a wall.
The camera goes out again and we pick it up with Kane knocking him back into the arena. Shane gets knocked into the front of the ambulance but manages to hit Kane in the face with the back door. What a sick sounding thud too. Kane is back up and sends Shane into the ambulance but another ram with the door gets Shane out of trouble. A tornado DDT on the floor plants Kane as they’re now near the grave for the Buried Alive match.
Shane puts a trashcan (good thing one was nearby) and a crashpad (same as before) and hits the Coast to Coast off the top of the ambulance to smash Kane’s face. That’s still not enough to wrap things up as Kane pulls Shane into the ambulance with him for more brawling. It’s Kane throwing Shane out though and then ramming him back first into the side. He javelins Shane’s head into the other side (you have to match you see) and a Tombstone on the floor is enough for the win.
Rating: D. This wasn’t as long as I was expecting but again, this doesn’t really do what they were likely shooting for with Kane. It makes two straight matches where Kane has had trouble beating up Shane McMahon. He can destroy Rob Van Dam but Shane gives him trouble? It didn’t work last time and it doesn’t work here. Now that he’s lost all of his heat though, you can pencil him in for a World Title match.
Brock Lesnar says he didn’t lose that match because his team lost it instead. Goldberg comes in for a staredown but Lesnar won’t wish him luck tonight. And so it begins.
Here’s the Coach, in a neck brace, for a chat. He assures his fans that he’s fine after the 3D from the Dudleys on Monday and he’ll be good to go soon. That seems to be it but hang on a second as Coach sees Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in the front row. Cuban is ready to see Austin’s team win and insults referees of all kinds (he’s known for heavy criticisms of NBA referees). This brings out Eric Bischoff to invite Cuban into the ring, where a fight breaks out. Bischoff gets shoved down but here’s Randy Orton for an RKO to complete this waste of time.
Evolution is having a party with HHH in the middle of a good looking bunch of women. Ric Flair comes in to say they can have the champ later, which annoys HHH. Orton comes in, hits on the women, and brags about what he just did. Uh, congratulations?
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Los Guerreros vs. Basham Brothers
The Brothers are defending after Eddie won a handicap match to earn the shot. Eddie and Chavo waste no time in slugging away until Shaniqua offers a distraction to slow things down. That doesn’t seem to matter much to the cousins as Eddie works over Danny to start things off. A dropkick gives Chavo two and there’s a headscissors/armdrag combination from Eddie to put both champs down.
Some double teaming (described by Cole as “classic Bashams”) takes over though and Shaniqua gets in a slam on Eddie for good measure. Back in and Eddie gets stomped in the corner, followed by a double vertical suplex for two. Eddie gets free with a headscissors and hands it back to Chavo, who is double flapjacked in short order. Chavo fights up but Twin Magic takes him down again. Everything breaks down and Chavo slams Shaniqua, followed by a quick spanking. That’s NOT cool with the champs so Doug grabs a rollup with Chavo’s tights to retain.
Rating: D+. Another TV level match here with Los Guerreros coming up short again as we get closer to their inevitable split. The Bashams aren’t a great team (though they have apparently have a classic period) but they’re serviceable for something like this. Get rid of the dominatrix stuff though as it’s not working, isn’t funny and makes Shaniqua look like the important part of the team, which misses the point entirely.
Replays show Chavo kicking Eddie down by mistake, meaning this is far from over.
JR doesn’t think Austin can handle this trusting people stuff and has never seen Austin this angry.
We recap Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff. They’re running the show together but Austin isn’t allowed to attack people at will anymore. On top of that, a lot of people are accusing him of ruining the show through his various antics. That doesn’t sit well with Austin, so it’s time for a winner take all match with the winner getting to run Raw on their own. The idea is Austin has to trust people, which goes against everything he believes in.
Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff
Austin: Shawn Michaels, Dudley Boyz, Booker T., Rob Van Dam
Bischoff: Scott Steiner, Mark Henry, Christian, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton
Coach, Stacy Keibler and the two team captains are at ringside. The fans want tables to start but have to settle with D-Von and Christian instead. D-Von shoulders him down to start but gets slapped in the face, triggering a bunch of right hands to the head. That’s not a nice response. Van Dam comes in for some forearms to the face and a kick to the jaw gets the same. It’s off to Jericho for some more luck, followed by Steiner whipping Van Dam hard into the corner to set up some posing.
Van Dam’s comeback is cut off by a belly to belly superplex but he’s able to get over to Booker for the hot tag. Things speed way up in a hurry and the scissors kick into the Spinarooni makes Bischoff face palm. Everything breaks down in a hurry and Steiner hits Booker low. The Recliner goes on but Stacy offers a distraction, setting up a reverse 3D. A Bookend is enough to get rid of Steiner and make it 5-4.
The World’s Strongest Slam gets rid of Booker a few seconds later to tie it right back up. Bubba comes in to try his luck and is sent hard into the corner. D-Von’s help doesn’t make things much better as the Dudleys are rammed together. Mark misses a charge though and it’s a 3D into the Five Star for the elimination. It’s off to Orton for a hard clothesline on Van Dam but Rob scores with a kick. Another Five Star is loaded up but Jericho makes a save, setting up the RKO to tie things up at three each. Jericho comes in and missile dropkicks D-Von down as JR and King wonder how things will go tomorrow night.
D-Von shoulders Jericho down for no count as Christian has the referee, setting up the sleeper drop for another elimination. This match is already better paced than the opener and here’s Shawn to pick things up all over again. Shawn pounds on Jericho in the corner and catches an invading Christian without much effort. Orton gets in a dropkick but stays down anyway as I guess he didn’t hit all of it. A double tag brings in Christian and Bubba with a backdrop getting two on the Canadian.
Jericho runs Christian over by mistake but a low blow sets up the Unprettier to get rid of Bubba. We’re down to Shawn vs. Christian/Jericho/Orton and Austin is starting to see how much trouble he’s in. Shawn punches away at Christian to start but some good old fashioned double teaming has Shawn in trouble again. Like there’s any other way this should go. Shawn is taken outside and catapulted into the post (you can see him blade on the wide shot) to bust open a GUSHER.
That and a suplex are only good for two back inside and Christian even steals his pose. Jerry: “That was a creepy little pose right there.” The Unprettier is broken up and a quick Sweet Chin Music gets rid of Christian. A frustrated Jericho comes in and gets two off a clothesline before handing it back to Orton. Shawn gets in a belly to back suplex but Jericho comes back in to take over again. As usual, JR is perfect at calling this kind of a story and Shawn getting two off a DDT has Jerry trying as hard as he can to believe in Shawn.
The Lionsault hits knees and Shawn pulls himself up but gets pulled into a Walls attempt. That’s reversed into a quick small package to get rid of Jericho and make it one on one (Lawler: “I BELIEVE I BELIEVE!”). Jericho isn’t gone yet though and caves Shawn’s head in with a chair shot. Why that isn’t a DQ on Orton isn’t clear but Shawn is done as Orton comes back in.
That’s only good for two and you can see the sigh of relief from Austin. Orton’s high crossbody hits the referee and here’s Bischoff to break up Sweet Chin Music. That’s too much for Austin so it’s a Stunner to Orton but he makes the mistake of beating on Bischoff a bit too much. They go up the aisle and here’s Batista to powerbomb Shawn, giving Orton the final pin.
Rating: B+. I love this match and always have. It doesn’t really pick up until Shawn is on his own but that’s what he’s done best throughout his entire career. He knows how to play the underdog better than anyone I’ve ever seen and you really can get behind the Lawler mindset of trying to believe here. As usual, Shawn is great in this role and it’s never too far to believe that he could pull this off (quick superkick, small package for two eliminations). Great stuff, but you might want to skip the first few minutes.
Austin is stunned at the loss because he placed his career in someone else’s hands and was let down. The bloody Shawn can barely stand and Austin congratulates him for giving it everything he had. Austin grabs the mic and talks about starting here in Dallas and going out here as well. Coach comes out to laugh and gets beaten up one more time with security getting the same treatment. Beer is consumed as a final goodbye. You know, assuming you believe that he’s gone for good this time.
We recap Undertaker vs. Vince McMahon. Undertaker wants the title one more time but Vince screwed him over at No Mercy. Therefore Undertaker wanted a Buried Alive match here, because that’s where you go from here. Vince then went into this weird spiritual thing, which really didn’t work or accomplish much.
Tazz’s key for Vince’s victory: AVOID THE HOLE! Good advice.
Vince McMahon vs. Undertaker
Buried Alive and Vince drops to a knee in prayer before the match. Undertaker punches him down to start and the beating is on in a hurry. Vince is already bleeding less than thirty seconds in as this is going to be one sided for a long time. The beating continues until Undertaker crotches him on the post to switch things up a bit. More low blows keep Vince in trouble and it’s time to go to the floor with Undertaker choking with a cord. Completely one sided so far, as you probably guessed.
Cole and Tazz try to explain the idea of Vince being punished for his sins, which I’m guessing are mainly about Stephanie. I mean, almost everything else is. Vince is thrown over the announcers’ table and it’s time to go to the grave. Well just Undertaker at this point and he comes back with a shovel. One heck of a shot to the head rocks Vince again and Cole declares it over. So much for Undertaker’s hot streak.
Vince’s ankle gets crushed by the steps and NOW it’s time to head to the grave. Vince finally throws some dirt in the eyes (his first “offense”) and a low blow keeps Undertaker in trouble. A shovel to the head puts Undertaker in the grave….for a few seconds. He pulls Vince in and goes to the front loader to drop the dirt but gets cut off by lightning. Cue Kane to beat up Undertaker and bury him (again) to give Vince the win.
Rating: D-. So yeah LOLVINCEWINS because of course he does. There was nothing to see here unless you like Undertaker destroying people and then having a surprise ending. The announcers treated this like Undertaker’s last match, because if there’s one thing Undertaker is known for, it’s going away for good. It’s more of a match than an angle, and there’s no way that’s how Undertaker is going out. Bad match but moderately entertaining beatdown.
Cole and Tazz are SHOCKED.
We recap the Raw World Title match. Goldberg won the title last month so HHH put a $100,000 bounty on his head. Batista returned and collected by breaking Goldberg’s ankle so tonight it’s about revenge and the title. There’s not much of a reason for this to main event but would you expect much else? Well save for Vince maybe?
Raw World Title: HHH vs. Goldberg
Goldberg is defending and is coming in with a bad ankle. HHH is looking as out of shape as I’ve seen him in years, probably due to his bad groin injury. Hang on a second though as Goldberg has to quickly dispatch Flair to make it a little more fair. They head outside in short order with Goldberg hammering away but the ankle gives out on a gorilla press attempt.
A chop block takes Goldberg down and we hit the meat of the match. Flair is back up as HHH sends Goldberg outside, meaning a distraction sets up a chair to Goldberg’s ankle. There’s another chop block back inside and the slow leg work continues with Flair getting in a few shots of his own. A knee drop keeps the ankle in trouble and we hit a half crab. At least he knows his low level submissions.
Goldberg grabs the rope and fires off some right hands to little avail. A limping clothesline works a bit better as Flair is beside himself. HHH takes him down again and calls for a Figure Four, only to be kicked into the referee. That means brass knuckles for a very near fall and HHH beats up the referee again. The sledgehammer is brought down but Goldberg kicks him down with the bad ankle.
Flair’s latest attempt at interfering gets him slammed off the top (JR: “It hasn’t worked in thirty years.”) and Goldberg grabs the hammer. A shot to the ribs drops Flair and an invading Batista and Orton are quickly dispatched as well. The Pedigree is blocked and Goldberg picks up the hammer again but throws it down. Instead it’s a spear and Jackhammer to retain the title like a real man.
Rating: D+. Well if you’re a fan of HHH working the ankle, have fun. Goldberg looks strong, but there have been so many other big matches tonight that this isn’t the strongest way to end things. I’ll give them points for giving Goldberg a push, but you’re crazy if you think HHH isn’t getting the title back within the next month. Just a messy brawl, but it could have been much worse. At least HHH didn’t need fifteen minutes of working the leg.
Overall Rating: C-. There’s some good and bad stuff on this show but the bad wins out in the end. Between the weak main event, not great opener and pretty terrible Vince vs. Undertaker match, there’s not enough to put with Shawn’s amazing performance. This was better than I was expecting though and that’s a nice relief. Both shows need something fresh on top and it actually seems to be happening on Smackdown. I’ll take one out of two, especially at this point in time.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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