December 19, 2009
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero
September 21, 2003
Buy Rate: .58
Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
Sunday Night Heat
Maven (Huffman) defeats Steven Richards (Mike Manna)
Pay Per View
1) The Dudley Boys defeat La Resistance in a handicap tables match to win World Tag Team Titles at 10:17
Fun Fact: On the 8/25 Raw, Rob Conway officially informed the fans that he was a disgruntled American that was fed up with the treatment of La Res by the ignorant fans. The three members of La Res would then defeat all three Dudleys after Bubba got hit with one of the belts. Two weeks later, all six men were involved in a ten man tag. At the end of the match, La Res tossed Spike out of the ring with a double chokeslam. Unfortunately for Spike, instead of going through the table that was set up, he clipped it with the back of his head and smashed hard on the floor. It was a crazy and reckless spot that could have caused some serious damage. Right after the match, Eric Bischoff came out and made a six man tag tables match for Unforgiven. The next week, Rob Conway quickly defeated Spike before powerbombing through a table. Due to the injuries suffered in these attacks, Spike was taken out of the PPV match, leaving the Dudleys in a handicap situation.
Scott: A boring opener that was pretty paint by numbers with the Dudleys and tables. I never really latched onto La Res as a team, mostly because I was never a big fan of Grenier and I thought their work was sloppy for heels that needed to dictate pace. Unfortunately the entire tag division on Raw was kind of a joke. All of the main teams except these two are two thrown together singles guys. The Dudleys win the titles yet again, but no one really cares. The crowd’s pretty flat, and for the most part would stay that way all night. Grade: 1.5
Justin: After stealing a win at Summerslam, La Res came into this show with a man advantage due to the injuries they inflicted on Spike Dudley prior to the show. The Dudleys were pretty over here as they competed in front of their hometown Pennsylvania ECW fans. They used their basic power offense early before the match transitioned into a standard heat segment. They mixed in some nice table spots as well to keep the crowd satiated. The Dudleys were put into a hole when D-Von was put through a table, but they rebounded to win back their tag titles. The reign of La Res was finally over after they had dominated the Raw tag scene for the summer. Conway had been brought in to help added some seasoning to the young team but you could tell they were still in over their heads a bit. As stale as they were, the Dudleys winning the belts seemed to be the right call here as they were working hard and the crowd was digging them. This was a solid enough opener that hooked in the crowd out of the gate. Grade: 2
2) Test (Andrew Martin) defeated Scott Steiner (Scott Rechsteiner) after Stacy Keibler accidentally hits Steiner with a chair at 6:56; As part of the pre-match stipulations Test retains control of Stacy and gains control of Steiner
Fun Fact: After Scott Steiner had fought to free Stacy Keibler; Test was able to petition for a rematch of sorts on the June 30 Raw. He and Chris Jericho were to team against Steiner and Stacy in a tag match. If Test’s team won, he would regain Stacy’s services. After Bischoff made the bout No Disqualification, Test and Jericho abused the referee and Steiner until Test finally pinned Stacy to end the massacre. It was official that Stacy was back under Test’s control. On the 9/8 Raw, it was announced that Scott Steiner and Test would face off once again. If Steiner won, Stacy would finally be released from her contract with Test. If Test won, Steiner would have to become Test’s servant.
Scott: A rematch of earlier in the year and pretty much the exact same storyline, so it’s pretty clear that Test is going to get this one after Steiner won the first encounter at Bad Blood. Again, except for Stacy shaking her ass and showing her legs, the crowd really didn’t care about this match either. Two big power guys who move slowly around the ring and posture. Ugh. As expected Test wins as Stacy accidentally chair shots Steiner, and now Test has two bitches. Once again the crowd was happy that it lasted only seven minutes. They’re mostly excited about the main event, and that’s it. The rest of this show is essentially fodder. Steiner takes a turn shortly from this match, and we pretty much all know what that is. Grade: 1
Justin: This epic feud continues here with another match between these two. Stacy was still in between them and just like earlier in the year, Steiner is wrestling for her freedom. They would deliver their usual match, mixing in power strikes and Test’s cheating. Stacy did her best to aid Steiner, and her interference led to a couple of close near falls. She would also almost cost Steiner the match when she collided with him by accident. Test would grab a chair, but Stacy stole it from him. She took a swing, but Test ducked and Steiner ate the steal to give Test the win. Now Test was in control of both Stacy and Steiner, ensuring this feud would rage on some more. These two just had little chemistry out there and there was no flow to the match at all. Despite the length of the feud, it would finally start to get interesting following the twist that went down here. Grade: 1
3) Randy Orton defeats Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) after using brass knuckles at 19:47
Fun Fact: Randy Orton was starting to establish himself as wrestling’s legend killer as 2003 wore on. In June, he assaulted Mick Foley and kicked him down a flight of stairs. On the 9/15 Raw, Orton assaulted 80-year-old Fabulous Moolah and dropped her with his newly renamed finisher: the RKO. That assault led to a confrontation with another legend, Shawn Michaels. Orton wanted to kill the legend of Michaels to add another notch to his belt, but Michaels reminded him that many men had made that claim before, but had never succeeded in doing it.
Scott: Now, these two would have stellar matches later on down the line, but in 2003 Randy Orton should not have been in a twenty minute match with anybody. Sure Shawn Michaels is HBK, but still Randy Orton is not nearly ready to tackle a twenty minute match on the big stage. The match isn’t terrible, but it’s quite boring in parts and Shawn almost tried too hard to put Orton over as a future star. I applaud the fact that they wanted Orton to really test the waters and put over the Legend Killer gimmick, but was the card that off time-wise that they had to make this match twenty minutes? Terrible booking choice as Orton spent most of this match leaning on Michaels with boring restholds which he would spend the first couple years of his career doing. Eventually these two would find the chemistry but that was after Orton had about three years under his belt. Orton cheats with some brass knucks so at least Shawn put him over anyway, but the match isn’t that great even though it may have looked good on paper and in the bookers’ heads. Grade: 2
Justin: The Legend Killer walks into the Giant Center looking for a win in his biggest singles match to date. Orton had really started to get his character going since returning in June, and he had his heel swagger going here. He was also on his game as he delivered some crisp offense. I liked this match because of the extended back and forth segment to start. It helped the crowd stay invested, as Michaels would get quick comeback spurts before Orton took back over. Flair added to the match as well, running around on the floor and helping run interference on Michaels. JR said it best when he called the bout a classic old school battle. Orton worked the arm and used methodical offense to punish Michaels. Both men also sold very well, as expected. Orton picked up a nice near fall on an RKO, but ate a pin after Michaels nailed him with SCM. The win was quickly reversed when Flair put Orton’s foot on the rope. Orton would then use brass knucks to paste Michaels and steal the win. It was a nice victory for Orton but it could have been a lot stronger if Michaels didn’t basically beat him clean during the match. I can let it slide because Michaels was coming back full time now and Orton was young enough to get by it, but it could have been done better. The match itself was solid and Orton again showed he could hang with the big players and deliver. Evolution picks up its first win of the night, but they still had business to take care later. Grade: 3
4) Trish Stratus (Patricia Stratigias) & Lita (Amy Dumas) defeat Molly Holly (Nora Greenwald) & Gail Kim when Lita pinned Molly with the Moonsault at 6:46
Fun Fact: Gail Kim debuted on the June 30 Raw, winning the WWE Women’s Championship in a battle royal on her first night on TV. Kim worked the independent circuit for two years and during that time she had been introduced to Molly Holly in late 2001 and that led to her gained a contract with WWE. Beginning in October 2002, she began training in OVW until her call up in June. Gail held the title for a month until she dropped it to Molly on the 7/28 Raw. She then turned heel and aligned with Molly to battle Trish, setting up the tag match here.
Fun Fact II: After being sidelined for nearly a year, Lita returned to TV on the 9/15 Raw to save Trish Stratus from Molly Holly and Gail Kim. Lita had been commentating on Sunday Night Heat from October 2002 through April 21, 2003 when she was fired by Eric Bischoff for spurning his advances. Steve Austin explained Lita’s reappearance by telling Bischoff that he had rehired her.
Scott: I’m starting to feel like Justin and I are not giving you our loyal readers your money’s worth with this review, but then again I don’t feel I got my money’s worth on this show. This is yet another boring, uninteresting Divas match that can be seen for free on Raw. This was Lita’s big return moment after the neck surgery and the crowd was pumped to see her get back into things. Otherwise this match is just another boring seven minute Diva tag match. It’s amazing how such a big roster could allow for two separate entities but in the end be such a colossal failure when trying to come up with separate PPVs. Now this is the best of the Women’s talent in the company, but unfortunately there’s hardly any sizzle here for the crowd to care much. Let’s move on. Grade: 2
Justin: Lita makes her return to the ring after a lengthy absence due to a severe neck injury. It was evident from the start that the time away didn’t hurt her heat as the crowd was digging her as much as before. This was a basic Diva tag for the most part but with four hard working ring vets in there, the match was crisp and flowed well. Gail and Molly worked nicely together and unleashed some nice heel teamwork. They would work Lita’s rehabbed neck until she recovered and dropped a moonsault on Molly for the win. It was a nice victory for Lita and you could tell that they were already positioning her for a run as a top face alongside Trish. Grade: 2
5) Kane (Glen Jacobs) defeats Shane McMahon in a Last Man Standing match after Shane misses a dive off the stage set at 19:54
Fun Fact: On the 8/25 Raw, the McMahon family gathered on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel to hash out some issues. Vince and Shane verbally jousted, with Vince siding with Bischoff and Shane defending Linda, and that ended with Vince making a match between Shawn and Jericho for later that night. During the match, Kane interfered and dropped Shane with a chokeslam. He quickly took off, but once Shane recovered, he followed him out to the parking lot looking for a fight. They would brawl on top of a dumpster until Kane gained the upper hand. Kane poured some gas into the dumpster and lit it on fire, but Shane was able to fight him off and shove him into it to close out the show. The next week, Vince baited Shane to the ring, which allowed Kane to jump him from behind. Kane pulled out a pair of handcuffs and hooked Shane to the ring post. He then pulled out jumped cables, hooked them to Shane’s testicles and zapped the manhood right out of him. Kane continued to torture Shane until RVD made the save. On the 9/8 Raw, Kane defeated RVD in a cage match and after the victory, Bischoff announced that Kane would battle Shane at the PPV. Later that night, he clarified that it would Last Man Standing. Finally, the next week saw Shane and Kane sign their contracts, but that ended with Shane putting Kane through an announce table with an elbow off the top rope.
Scott: I still now don’t really understand why they did such a major character change (take Kane’s mask off) and for his first real feud put him with, Shane McMahon? Not a wrestler who’s maybe involved with the main events or anything to give Kane a big storyline push. Now facing Shane in a match like this isn’t chopped liver. Shane is a big risk taker and Kane did Tombstone his mother on the stage. So I’m not saying it’s totally illogical. It’s just you would have thought they would put Kane in something a little meatier. Having said that, I actually like this match and thought it was the highlight of the show. Both guys really took it to each other and Shane really brought the psychology, rabidly wanting Kane to get his for what happened to his mom. Many think this match is boring, but I don’t think so. Sure there’s some slow spots as most Last Man Standing matches have, and this one included a non-wrestler but the crowd, which was pretty dormant so far, did get up for this one. Then of course there’s the ending, which is where the logic clearly went out the window. Shane DDT’s Kane on the stage then throws him off it to the electrical stuff. Then, instead of waiting for the referee to start the ten count, Shane has to crawl up to the top of the set and do his usual death-defying drop to…nothing. Kane moves out of the way and wins the match. So why would Shane try something to monumentally stupid rather than just beat Kane down as much as he could and let the referee count to ten. Now the other side of the coin states that Shane just wants to hurt Kane and doesn’t care about stipulations. That may be true but that still doesn’t account for why Shane would want to drop almost hundreds of feet down to the ground and risk himself for one move? So as much as I did enjoy the match, there were a lot of logic holes that take away from it. This feud does not end, but it probably should have. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Along with losing his mask came some insane sci-fi like storylines for Kane. As he was transformed from sympathetic face to a crazed psychotic monster, Kane began to torture Shane McMahon at the urging of his boss Eric Bischoff. Shane used a chair early as he came out firing on his archenemy. They would brawl around ringside and after Kane took over it was evident that he was only interested in torturing Shane some more and not simply pinning him. Shane recovered long enough to crush Kane with a cool Van Terminator into the ring steps but Kane would shake it off and continue to beat on McMahon. He dragged him up to the stage and really put a good beatdown on him as Shane took some stuff shots on the various steel objects. The match had its slow points but I actually enjoyed it as a fun weapons brawl. It was a bit too long and could have been more effective if it was shorter with a more hectic pace but I don’t think it was nearly as bad as its reputation states. Shane’s bump at the end was his typical craziness but, as opposed to Summerslam, I am OK with it here due to the hatred and depth of the feud. Kane pulls out the win but this feud was far from over. I am fully aware that I am overrating this one, but to hell with it…I enjoyed it. Grade: 3
6) Christian (Jay Reso) defeated Chris Jericho (Chris Irvine) & Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) to retain Intercontinental Championship when he pinned Van Dam with a belt shot at 19:03
Fun Fact: After losing to Christian on 9/1, Chris Jericho had Steve Austin on his Highlight Reel a week later. After some verbal jousting, Austin dropped Jericho with a Stunner. A week later, Christian and Jericho came out called for Austin to be fired. Austin showed up and granted Christian his wish: a PPV match. And his opponent would be decided that night when Jericho battled RVD. Eight minutes into the match, Christian interfered and took both men out. Christian would then be forced to take on both men at the PPV. Jericho got his title shot, but his issues with Austin were far from over.
Scott: So we have our workrate-infused match of the night with three technicians battling for gold. Jericho is becoming more of the mouthpiece for the anti-Austin heels as evidenced by the skit that happened before this match. Christian had been languishing for the past couple of months as champion simply because they’re not getting him on PPV. He beat Booker T at Bad Blood, but then gets skipped at Summerslam and is back on the brand specific show against his partner and RVD. Van Dam has also pretty much been lost in the shuffle since he and Kane are no longer tag partners. 2003 on Raw was so bad, as the main events have been Triple H vs. some overblown crippled big guy and the rest of the show has been filler. Even with real good in-ring workers like Shawn Michaels, and all three of these guys it just feels like everything has revolved around either Evolution or Goldberg. The continuing time management problem comes into effect as nineteen minutes is way too long for a mid-card match like this. The whole problem is that Triple H is hurt, so the Title match can’t be that long or else it will be a disaster. So that time has to be spread out to the other matches and unfortunately the matchups don’t really support more time. I said that earlier about Orton/Michaels and I certainly say the same thing about this match. Twelve or thirteen minutes would be more than enough and it would also have been more fast-paced. As it was the pace had to be slowed down and it makes a match like this look lazy since you have three guys who can carry speed and create a good pace have to work at half gear to fill the time out. Christian wins cheap as RVD doesn’t clear the belt out of the ring, which gives Christian a chance to use it and save his title. This match could have been the shining star of the night, but it had to take up more time than it should have and thus really dragged it down. Grade: 2
Justin: After regaining his coveted IC Championship from Booker T in August, Christian faces some stiff competition in his first PPV defense. RVD gets a good pop but he would be outnumbered early as Jericho and Christian worked together to keep him grounded. They had made a pact on Heat before the show and did a good job adhering to it for a majority of the bout. The action was solid and RVD did a nice job selling the double teams but the crowd was pretty flat for most of the match. It was basically just a handicap match with some hope spots for RVD sprinkled in. The crowd picked up towards the end when RVD started to get back into it and Christian and Jericho finally started to fight each other. The spot of the match was when RVD dropped the Five Star onto both men at once. Christian would hang on, use the belt as a weapon and escape as Champion. This was another solid match that was technically sound but just too long and lacked heat. RVD and Christian would continue to battle over the title while Jericho moved onto to a big storyline. Grade: 2.5
7) Jonathan Coachman & Al Snow (Al Sarven) defeat Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler when Coachman pinned Ross after a Chris Jericho dropkick at 8:17
Fun Fact: On the 8/25 Raw, Eric Bischoff awarded Jonathan Coachman with an Employee of the Month award for his work at Summerslam. Christian joined the ceremony and he and coach demanded apologies from Steve Austin. Austin came out and ran down Coach, he started mocking Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. Austin then went ahead to give Lawler a shot at Christian’s IC title. Coach would distract Lawler, leading to a Christian win. Austin then booked Lawler against Coachman for the next week. The next week, Coach defeated Lawler with some help from his Sunday Night Heat broadcast partner, Al Snow. An angry Austin booked Coach vs. Jim Ross for Unforgiven. A week later, Bischoff made the match a tag team match between the broadcast partners, with the winning team earning the Raw commentary job. Later in the night, Coach and Snow came out and mocked JR until he finally charged the ring and took Coach out. Finally, a week later, Al Snow lost a match to Lawler, but Coach was able to take JR out at the commentary table to build the heat for this match.
Fun Fact II: On September 22, Steve Austin announced that JR would wrestle the Coach the next week for a shot at getting his job back. At the beginning of the 9/29 Raw, Eric Bischoff allowed Coach to pick the stipulation of their match and he chose a Country Whipping match. Jericho softened JR up a bit by locking him in the Walls before Austin made the save. JR would win the match and also get a shot in on Bischoff to win back the commentary job for he and the King. They returned to the booth a week later on October 5.
Scott: Oh…my…god. We’ve truly reached rock bottom. We have a terrible ten minute match to decide who will announce Raw. Why they put so much time into this match is beyond me. Well because they were running short and knew the main event couldn’t be too terribly long or else Triple Fatty Pants might pop his bike shorts if he exerts himself too much. Coach is somewhat entertaining, but no one cares about Al Snow anymore, Jerry can still hold his own a little but JR has no business being in the ring. To top it off they lose and we’re stuck with Coach and Al on Raw. One of the times we hope co-GM Austin just forgets any of this stuff exists and JR’s back the next night. Regardless, this was another stupid idea to fill time with, but then again we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel to put this PPV together anyway. Grade: 0
Justin: After a month long struggle between the GMs, these four men battle to see who would be the official voices of Raw. Coach and Snow had been plying their trade on Heat and at the time, and there was a group of fans that was pulling for fresh voices on Raw. The problem was that Coach wasn’t really a great PBP guy and Snow was a bit bland on color. Still, JR and King were feeling played out so a change felt good at the time. Coach actually had a pretty good heel look and I think with a substantial push, he could have been a pretty good wrestler. The match had no commentary, which made for a strange visual and one that I didn’t enjoy. They should have put Austin and Bischoff in the booth to add some excitement to the match. Snow and King wrestled for most of the match early but the crowd was pretty flat for it. JR and King were big favorites, but Coach and Snow were just sort of bland at this point and I think they were hoping to siphon heat from Bischoff, but it didn’t really work. It was basically a handicap match until JR was finally tagged in, which woke up the crowd a bit. Just when it looked like JR may pull it out, Chris Jericho interfered and helped Coach and Snow pick up the win to become the voices of Raw. The whole thing was very blah and went on way too long, which did the crowd no favors. It was a nice to have a change on Raw, but it would be very short lived. Grade: .5
*** JR and Lawler give a farewell speech and promise to deliver a strong performance in calling their final match for Raw. ***
8) Goldberg defeats Triple H (Paul Levesque) to win World Heavyweight Championship with a Jackhammer at 14:57
Fun Fact: So obviously this begins at Summerslam, when Triple H held onto his World Heavyweight Championship in the Elimination Chamber via his trusty sledgehammer to Goldberg's head. After the pin Evolution beat Goldberg down like a dog and busted him wide open. The night after on Raw Goldberg came out and demanded a title match. Of course Triple H postured and avoided the answer until Goldberg said he would stalk Triple H until he got what he wanted. Eventually Triple H caved and gave Goldberg the shot for this show, but in return Goldberg would have to put his career on the line. If he loses, he retires. On the 9/1 Raw Goldberg pinned Randy Orton in a six-man tag match between Evolution and a team of Goldberg, Shawn Michaels and Maven. On the 9/8 Raw Steve Austin announced that if Triple H gets disqualified, he would lose his title. Later in the show Goldberg was beaten down by Evolution before a tag match. On 9/15 Triple H came out to talk about the end of Goldberg's career, and it ended with Goldberg powerslamming Triple H in the ring.
Scott: Well we’ve reached the moment everyone on Raw has been waiting for, the highly anticipated one-on-one match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Once Austin put in place that Triple H couldn’t get disqualified, I think the writing was on the wall that Goldberg was finally going to get the brass ring. No right thinking wrestling fan wouldn’t have thought that one of Goldberg’s demands in arriving in WWE was that he gets a run with the strap. Now most of us thought he was going to get it at Summerslam when he mowed through everybody and the cocky Triple H would finally get his. Alas that didn’t happen, so one month later with some but not all of the bloom off the rose, Goldberg captures the title for the first time since the big win five years earlier at the Georgia Dome against Hollywood Hogan. The match unfortunately was not that great. Triple H isn’t 100% and still wearing the chunky bike shorts. In fact Triple H looks pretty bad in general. Even his perfectly quaffed hair looks pretty disheveled. The match is a lot of kicking, punching and posturing and isn’t really booked very well. Goldberg needs to be booked one way: A monster who plows through people to achieve his goal. His goal is to take Triple H’s World Title, and that’s what he should have done. Instead the match is booked “WWE style” where Triple H beats on Goldberg, Goldberg makes his comeback and wins the match. That’s probably not the way this one should have gone. However the last time someone was booked like that Diesel beat Bob Backlund in under a minute and the “Big Daddy Cruel” era commenced. Undertaker was never even booked in matches like that, and he’s got thirteen years in the company at this point. Why should this guy who’s an “outsider” to everybody get to beat Triple H down in mere minutes to take the title? Well frankly, because it’s the right thing to do. The crowd wanted it and they’re paying for it, so give it to them. In this instance they don’t want to see a back and forth battle between two titans. They wanted to see Triple H get squashed and Goldberg leave triumphantly. So as much as winning the title was the smart thing to do anyway, booking the match this way was wrong because A) The fans didn’t want it, and It gave a sluggish boring match. So the crowd does pop when Goldberg holds the belt up triumphantly, but in reality the reign and the feud would have had more legs if he looked stronger getting there than he did. Grade: 2
Justin: In our main event, Goldberg finally gets his one on one match for the World Heavyweight Championship. There were a couple of stipulations here, as Goldberg’s career was one the line. Also, if Hunter lost by DQ or count out, he would lose the belt. That pretty much ensured that Evolution would stay out of the way to allow for a clean contest for the gold. Hunter was still banged up here as he is noticeably slower and still wearing the bike shorts. Goldberg gets a nice pop and it was clear that Hunter’s long title reign was on its last legs. This is the moment that we suffered through 2003 for. Hunter had survived a steady stream of top challengers so he could put over Goldberg as the next big face champion on Raw. Goldberg overpowered him early but it would quickly turn into the usual plodding Triple H match. It was slow and methodical as Hunter worked the leg and killed the crowd with each passing minute. Hunter just looked awful out there as he was sloppy and worn out. You could tell he needed a break and was just broken down. This is another reason I think they missed the boat with Goldberg at Summerslam. Hunter still looked fairly strong at that point and the win for Goldberg could have been so much stronger. Hunter would do a desperation blade job but that match was dead in the water at that point. Goldberg looked weak, despite the win. He had no momentum and had struggled to defeat a worn down, limping champion. If there ever was a time for a big squash, this was it. After all the crap Hunter had gotten away with since December, Goldberg punishing him with a quick, decisive win could have made up for the Summerslam fiasco. Hunter was strong enough to overcome something like that and it would have been a much better moment. JR tries to push the win as a big moment, but it just wasn’t happening. It was too little and too late. The win got a good pop, but not the pop this thing deserved. Goldberg deserved a bigger win and moment and Hunter’s epic title reign deserved a hotter climax. The match was boring on a whole and I think I have said just about everything I could say at this point. Goldberg’s reign is off to a shaky start and Hunter takes a step back to regroup. Grade: 1.5
Scott: Wow, could this have been a more boring show? Bad Blood wasn’t the best, but it was much better than this mess. Due to a shorter than normal main event, the rest of the matches had to be a little longer than they probably should have been. Thus we get a ten minute match with two retired wrestlers and two non-wrestlers and two twenty minute matches that included a triple threat at half speed and Shawn Michaels having to carry a guy who hasn’t wrestled many ten minute matches, much less twenty minute matches. We had another crapfest between Scott Steiner and Test as well as Shane McMahon defying logic, and common sense, in a match with Kane. At least we didn’t have a lot of Bischoff/Austin posturing to stall time in between matches. Although maybe that would have shortened some matches and made them more watchable. It’s tough; I really don’t know what could have been done to save this show. It was dreadfully boring and the crowd sensed that. Maybe that’s why WWE booked this show for such a small place like Hershey, almost like when they booked the first few In Your Houses in places like Rochester, Winnipeg and Saginaw. They knew they couldn’t put the best show on, so they might as well tighten the crowd. Goldberg finally winning the title spikes the grade a little, although the match was pretty flat. Raw needs to do something or else this brand-only concept may sink them. Smackdown’s turn next month, and they put on a fantastic first effort their first try. Final Grade: D+
Justin: Raw continues to limp along as it delivers its second weak single brand PPV outing. Every match got a good chunk of time, but they just couldn’t bring it in the ring. The angles were sort of blah and the matches were getting a bit repetitive, especially the Steiner/Test feud that wouldn’t end. The crowd was actually pretty hot to start, but the boring bland matches just slowly killed them off. Only two matches hit a grade of three and one of those I know I overrated, so that tells you about the quality of the show on a whole. Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton worked hard and produced a nice old school match, but other than that, everything else was just same old, same old. Goldberg is now the flag bearer of the brand, but instead of being a dominant force, he looks like someone that had to struggle to finally win the gold. As up and down this year has been, this may be the worst outing of 2003. But there is still three more shows left to threaten that title. Final Grade: D
MVP: Randy Orton & Shawn Michaels
Runner Up: Dudley Boys
Non MVP: The Booking
Runner Up: Triple H & Goldberg