Mike Reviews WWE Vengeance 2003
By Michael Fitzgerald on 22nd July 2023
Happy Saturday Everyone!
I’ve been going out of my way to review things I think I’ll like this month as I know what’s looming on the horizon in the monthly Stinker Review and I wanted to be happy first. Vengeance 2003 is a possible contender for being the best pay per view event WWE held in 2003, so I’m looking forward to seeing it again.
We’ve got John Cena Vs Undertaker, Haas and Benjamin Vs Kidman and Rey, and a triple threat match between Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle and The Big Show. How can a show with all of that on it not be good?
You can view the card by clicking below;
Let’s review Vengeance 2003!
The event is emanating from Denver, Colorado (home of the Bat Dad) on the 27th of July 2003
Calling the action are Michael Cole and Tazz
The opening video package focuses on the babyfaces talking about how hard they’ve worked to get to this point, leading to the Heels then talking about how villainous they’re going to be, with Vince McMahon handling that side of things. Vince was contriving to ruin Smackdown at the time, which had been the best weekly show in wrestling under the guidance of Paul Heyman until he got turfed for listening to Raw conference calls and the show sunk under the weight of the McMahon Melodrama.
Finals of the WWE United States Title Tournament
Latino Heat Eddy Guerrero Vs Crippler Chris Benoit
Heck of a way to start a pay per view! Stephanie McMahon had brought the US Title belt back in storyline and held a tournament to decide who would hold it, with Eddy and Benoit making it to the final. Eddy is the Heel here and had tried to blind Benoit on Smackdown during the build-up, and Eddy actually mocks Benoit for that at the opening bell. Benoit defeated Rhino and Matt Hardy to advance, whilst Eddy defeated The Ultimo Dragon and Billy Gunn.
Benoit is very intense in the early going due to being mad about the attempted blinding, so he takes the fight to Eddy and gets the better of things, leading to Eddy desperately trying to gain a foothold in the bout, and largely failing. The wrestling is really good and the crowd responds well to it as well, a testament to how over both of these wrestlers were at the time as the WWE Sports Entertainment crowd sees them as being important enough to care about this more mat based contest, which wouldn’t always be the case when folks in WWE tried to work this style in 2003.
Benoit tries to win it with the crossface, but Eddy bails to the floor, so Benoit follows with a dive and puts Eddy back into the ring so he can try and put Eddy away. Interestingly they don’t have Eddy cheat to get the heat, as he instead manages to counter a Benoit charge in the corner before following up with a big rana. Eddy did a good job making Benoit’s offence look good during the babyface shine, and now Benoit returns the compliment here in the Heel heat segment, leading to the crowd getting on Eddy’s back with some negative chants.
Benoit eventually manages to fight back enough to get a Super Back Suplex from the top rope, which gives us the double down and a two count for Benoit. Some of the fans seemed to buy that as a potential finish, which a testament to how good a seller Eddy Guerrero was. Benoit gets the crossface right in the middle following that, but Eddy manages to desperately get his foot on the ropes to break it after a good submission tease that the crowd once again totally bit on as a potential finish.
Both wrestlers start trading big moves as we enter the home stretch, with Eddy trying the Frog Splash at one stage, only for Benoit to move out of the way. Benoit didn’t quite get fully out of the way there and the result was that Eddy grazed him a bit with the move, although not enough that it made the move look ineffective when Benoit recovered first. The ref gets bumped soon after that, leading to Eddy getting a belt shot and a Frog Splash for two in a nicely done near fall. Eddy decides to hit the still groggy ref with the belt following that before handing the belt to a downed Benoit so that Benoit gets DQ’ed, but the ref won’t wake up in time for it to work.
Benoit gets the crossface on Eddy following that, with Eddy actually tapping out, but the ref is still down and misses it. There’s been a LOT of chicanery since the ref bump, but that was very much Eddy’s thing at the time and the crowd responds to it, even if it does get pretty silly with all the bumps Mike Chioda has to take. Rhino ends up running down, as he was a storyline friend of Benoit at the time, but he’s still mad about Benoit eliminating him from the tournament and lays out Benoit with the GORE so that Eddy can get another Frog Splash for the win from the recovered ref.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: EDDY GUERRERO
Thoughts: This was a mixture of Pure Wrestling and WWE Sports Entertainment, and it ended up working for me, although I know others think the stuff with the ref and the Rhino run-in hurts the match, which is a view point I can sympathise with even though I don’t especially agree. The crowd responded well to the hi-jinx and it did a good job of getting Eddy’s cheating Heel character over whilst protecting Benoit in defeat and setting up a new feud for him going forward. The wrestling was pretty much great throughout as well.
Stephanie and Vince McMahon have a powwow backstage, as Linda McMahon had been attacked by Kane on Raw. Vince says that he’s going to Raw to confront Kane and then gives Stephanie some lame flowers whilst making it clear that he’s given his mistress Sable some much nicer ones.
Staind have done the pay per view theme, and it’s every wrestling pay per view song from 2003 that you’ve heard. I guess Creed/Trust Company/Trapt/Cold weren’t able to provide one for this event?
If Jamie Noble wins then he gets a night with Torrie Wilson
Jamie Bah Gud Noble w/ Nidia Vs Billy Gunn w/ Torrie Wilson
Gunn and Wilson were an onscreen couple at the time, as were Noble and Nidia, but Noble had become obsessed with Wilson after constantly looking at her edition of Playboy (well, he’s only human) so he’s fighting for a night with her tonight. Noble has a briefcase with him here, which is full of Sex Toys, because Vince McMahon has the same sense of humour as a 12 year old in an Adam Sandler movie. I wonder if IRS’s briefcase had similar inside it?
Noble is outrageously out-sized by Gunn here, due to Gunn being deceptively huge, but they get around that by having Noble work over Gunn’s leg after Gunn accidentally hurts himself. I totally buy that Billy Gunn would be clumsy enough to injure himself, so that checks out. Gunn sells that fine and Noble’s offence looks solid enough, although the crowd isn’t really that into the match.
Gunn ends up making the comeback, hitting a series of nice looking high impact moves, including something verging awfully close to an RKO at one stage. Was Orton doing the move yet at this stage actually? Nidia tries to help Gunn win at one stage, because she obviously doesn’t want her boyfriend sleeping with another woman. Noble replies by yelling at Nidia and then laying a forced smooch on Wilson, leading to both women slapping him in a funny spot. Noble and Wilson continue to squabble, leading to Gunn accidentally colliding with Wilson so that Noble can get the pin, although the “collision” between the two babyfaces looked more like a hug because Wilson didn’t want to actually take a bump.
WINNER: JAMIE NOBLE
Thoughts: A pretty heatless match in all honesty, although the actual wrestling wasn’t terrible. It felt more like a TV match to be honest, and they probably should have just had it on Smackdown
Torrie Wilson is shocked following that, whilst Noble celebrates and Nidia storms off. I believe the payoff to all of this was that the four people involved in the match basically had an orgy on Smackdown and it led to Noble and Gunn becoming a tag team. Because WCW. Oh wait sorry, force of habit. There’s a reason some of us were referring to WWE as World Championship Entertainment around this time though.
Sho Funaki gets invited by The APA to the upcoming match. Funaki’s gimmick at the time was that he was an interviewer who couldn’t speak English, because that was apparently the height of humour in the writers room at the time.
APA Invitational Bar Room Brawl
Bradshaw Vs Faarooq Vs Matt Hardy Version 1.0 Vs Conquistador Uno Vs Conquistador Dos Vs Chuck Palumbo Vs Sean O’Haire Vs Sho Funaki Vs Spanky Vs Doink The Clown Vs Chris Kanyon Vs Orlando Boredom Vs Danny Basham Vs Nunzio Vs Doug Basham Vs Johnny Stamboli Vs The Brooklyn Brawler Vs Matt Cappotelli Vs Shannon Moore Vs Johnny Vengeance Vs Brother “Smithers” Love Vs The Easter Bunny
This is the “squeeze as many guys onto the show as possible” match, where everyone fights in a bar and the last one standing wins. Cappotelli and Hennigan were making a guest appearance from OVW I believe, although they aren’t named and are just two random dudes in jeans. Doink is being played by Nick “Eugene” Dinsmore here I believe. Aaron “Damien Sandow” Stevens is The Easter Bunny. Johnny Jeter and Rob Conway are Los Conquistadors. Sean O’Haire actually used to get in bar fights in real life at the time, which probably played a part in him getting released.
Smithers does a long boring promo before the match starts, so basically just like every other Brother Love segment, and then hits two unnamed guys with a stool. This is basically just guys hitting each other with stuff, although Spanky gets a funny bit in by dancing drunkenly on the bar before getting thrown off through a table. Sean O’Haire actually looks to be having fun in this one, as he gets to walk around drinking bear and hitting people with weapons, including some pool cues.
Shannon Moore actually does a big dive off the stage at one point, as some of these guys are taking some pretty big bumps in this throwaway comedy filler match. Matt Hardy puts Kanyon through a table with a leg drop off the bar at one stage, which gets a nice reaction from the crowd, although it takes him two attempts at it as the table doesn’t break at first. Someone please notify Maffew, although I’m sure that one has been on Botchamania already (which is a show you should all watch on the YouTube). If not I’d be very happy to see it feature in an episode with music from Goof Troop on the SNES playing over it. Eventually Bradshaw is the last man standing at the bar and he wins.
Thoughts: This was…something. If guys having a contrived brawl in a fake bar is your thing, then you’ll probably enjoy this. I didn’t think it was especially offensive or anything, and some of the guys in the match were actually working hard, but it didn’t really land as a concept
Jamie Noble brags to a stagehand that he’s going to bang Torrie Wilson on Smackdown, and he thinks that Nidia will get over it. I bet those “Boyfriend of the Year” votes are just flooding in for Jamie Noble.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles
Champs: The World’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) Vs The Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr)
Kidman and Rey were seemingly heading for a feud, but then they had some great tag matches and WWE decided to keep them together and feud them with TWGTT. This match is just fantastic, as all four of these wrestlers work well together and the action is top notch from the opening bell, as the challengers use their speed and agility to shine on the Champs until Haas is able to send Rey hard into the turnbuckle for the cut off. Rey of course sells everything in the heat excellently and the offence of the Champs looks great, including Benjamin getting some serious air on a flapjack attempt at one stage.
Kidman eventually gets the hot tag and that leads to some big moves, including both of the challengers getting dives out to the floor, with Kidman getting a “Holy Poop” chant for an amazing springboard Shooting Star Press out to the floor at one stage. Yup, that spot certainly deserved that chant, I can’t deny it. They actually pay homage somewhat to the Midnight Express Vs Rock ‘N’ Roll Express matches of the past, by working a second heat segment on the other babyface, with a Benjamin cheap shot leading to Kidman getting cut off and worked over.
Kidman sells that well and the Champs continue to look good on offence. The crowd continues to be into the action and story being told, with them getting actually angry at some of the false tag spots, especially when the ref misses a tag from Kidman to Rey due to Benjamin distracting him. Benjamin eventually makes the cardinal mistake of trying to Powerbomb Billy Kidman, which leads to Kidman countering (because it’s a day of the week that ends in a “y”) and Rey getting our second hot tag. Rey runs wild and looks good doing so, as this match continues to rule.
The closing stretch is really well done, with the challengers almost having it won on more than one occasion, with the crowd biting each time and getting increasingly angrier that the belts won’t change hands. Eventually Kidman eats a Dragon Whip from Benjamin to send him out of the way and The Champs follow up with a Powerbomb/Clothesline combo on Rey for the three count, although it’s the illegal man in Benjamin making the cover, thus leaving the door open for some rematches.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: THE WORLD’S GREATEST TAG TEAM
Thoughts: I personally think this was a legitimate contender for Match of the Year in 2003, and there were some great matches that year, especially in NOAH and ROH. The wrestling was great, they worked the tag formula superbly and the crowd loved it. What more could you possibly want? Get this one watched if you’ve never seen it before!
We get clips from Smackdown, where Sable and Stephanie McMahon had a brawl and Sable had to flee in a limo to avoid having her clothes ripped off.
No Count Out Cat Fight
Sable Vs Stephanie McMahon
Sable was having an affair with Vince McMahon and being a jerk about it, so Stephanie wants a match to settle things. In some ways it was the Trish Stratus storyline from 2001 again (with the two of them even having a similar kind of match to the one Trish and Stephanie had at No Way Out that year), although Stephanie is the clear babyface in this feud whilst Trish and Stephanie were both kind of tweeners when they feuded.
This is actually a decent brawl for the most part, with some good intensity shown by the two competitors and the crowd getting into it. Stephanie gets the better of it in the early going, but Sable manages to run away from Stephanie and then cut Stephanie off with a Baseball Slide when Stephanie gives chase, leading to Sable working some heat and showing some good snide Heel charisma in all fairness to her.
I always got the impression that Sable was taking herself and this whole wrestling thing less seriously during this second run and was just focusing on enjoying it, which sometimes leads to an improvement in performance. She just seems way more relaxed here than during 98/99 and doesn’t seem as apprehensive about taking bumps and selling. Stephanie eventually fights back and shows some good fire, even going for a chair at one stage until the referee stops her.
Stephanie does get tired as the match progresses and that leads to some of her kicks and punches losing some of their oomph, but she gets the crowd back onside by trying to rip off Sable’s top. The ref tries to help Sable cover up following that, which leads to The A-Train running in and taking out Stephanie with a running tackle so that Sable can steal the pin.
Thoughts: I thought that was good for what it was actually, as both combatants were working hard and the match ended up being better than I was expecting it might be.
Stephanie does the big sell job for the attack from A-Train, and actually gets some cheers when she’s helped to the back. I believe Stephanie would get her revenge at SummerSlam by costing Train a match against The Undertaker.
We get an advert for the Rey Mysterio “619” DVD, which I actually own and quite enjoyed, even though it came out before WWE had managed to secure the ECW video library, meaning none of Rey’s ECW matches were on there.
New School Vs Old School
The Doctor of Thuganomics John Cena Vs Bikertaker
Cena had been getting a decent push for most of 2003 and they put him into a feud with Undertaker with hopes of him getting a rub from working with a more experienced opponent, which mostly happened. Cena cut some of his better early promos during this feud, with them taking his rapper gimmick down a more serious route and having him perform raps in graveyards and whatnot. The actual story for the match came from Undertaker preventing Cena from laying out Orlando Jordan, which led to Cena being all disrespectful to Taker in response, setting up a “respect” feud.
Taker leaves his bike at the top of the ramp for this one, which is either a stylistic choice on his part to get across how intense he is, or him covering for the bike breaking down. If it’s the latter, then he does a reasonable job covering for it and the crowd pop isn’t especially diminished. Cena makes the mistake of slapping Taker at the bell, leading to Taker putting a big beat down on the youngster, focusing mostly on punches, which Cena bumps and sells for well. Cena tries blinding Taker by spitting some water in his face, but that merely makes Taker angrier and the beating continues.
This is a really good match, although there is one notable area where you can critique it, as Taker hits Cena with a Choke Slam at the end of the shine and actually pulls Cena up at two, which gives the impression that Taker could have essentially squashed Cena if he’d wanted to, which doesn’t make Cena look too good. However, Cena does immediately counter the Last Ride by slipping out and getting a DDT, so there is at least a suggestion that Cena might have kicked out from the Choke Slam had Taker not pulled him up, although they don’t really do much to press that point.
Cena removes a turnbuckle pad soon after that and Taker ends up going into the metal buckle, leading to Cena being able to work some heat, which Taker sells well. Taker even starts bleeding from the mouth during the heat, with the suggestion being that Cena has messed up Taker’s internal organs. Cena targets the mid-section of Taker in quite vicious fashion, with some straight up kicks to a downed Taker at one stage, which is one of the first times that Cena has actually looked like a genuine thug when it comes to his offence.
Taker eventually fights back and goes for the Tombstone, but his ribs hurt too much and that allows Cena to slip out of another of Taker’s big moves. A lot of thought has clearly gone into this and it’s been sound from an in-ring psychology perspective. Taker manages to fight off an F-U attempt from Cena and starts pounding away in the corner, but an argument between Taker and Mike Chioda because of that leads to Cena being able to hit Taker with his trademark chain without being seen, leading into the F-U for two in an excellent near fall.
The crowd totally bought that Cena was going to defeat Taker there, which shows that they’ve done a good job of making Cena look like a threat to Taker throughout the bout, even taking into account the Choke Slam issue earlier on. Cena ends up making the same mistake a lot of Undertaker opponents have made over the years though, as he delivers some punches in the corner and stops to taunt, which allows Taker to snap off a desperation Last Ride for the three count, although Taker was barely able to make the pin.
WINNER: THE UNDERTAKER
Thoughts: The big issue with this one is Taker pulling Cena up on that Choke Slam, as it made Cena look weak whilst also making Taker look dumb. If you’re willing to overlook that though, this is actually a really good match that did a solid job of making Cena look like a threat, as he got to work Taker over for a considerable amount of time and did some real damage during that period, with Taker only just managing to eke out a win at the end. The finish played into the idea that Taker was the wily veteran whilst Cena was still learning his trade too, as Cena looked like he might win but then fell into a trap that others have in the past, and it giving Taker the vital opening he needed in order to pick up the last gasp victory
Vince McMahon Jr Vs Zach Gowen
Vince had been tormenting Zach for months over him only having one leg, so tonight Zach has a chance to gain some Vengeance (Hey, that’s the name of the show we’re watching!). Vince has a comically ludicrous physique here, looking like he’s a character from one of those Legends of WrestleMania video games. I’m sure he got that physique by doing lots of sit ups and drinking plenty of juice…
Vince throws Zach around to start, as I’ve always thought this feud was odd in that they presented it like Vince would always have the advantage and that Zach was a gutsy underdog due to only having one leg. The fact is though that Zach is a trained professional wrestler, whilst Vince is the horrifically swollen owner of the company, so even though Vince has bigger muscles and an extra leg, he should still be the underdog whilst in there against Zach. It wouldn’t shock me if Zach was actually even more mobile than Vince at this stage in The Mac’s career in all honesty.
Zach eventually gets allowed some offence, as he sends Vince to the floor and follows up with a very impressive looking Asai Moonsault, before following with a leg drop from the second rope back inside the ring for two. Vince eventually gets the cut off by targeting Zach’s leg and working it over, with some pretty horrendous looking offence in all honesty. Vince McMahon Jr might honestly be one of the worst wrestlers when it comes to the basics and simple mechanics that you’ll ever see in a major league setting. It probably doesn’t help that he can barely move at this stage in his in-ring “career” due to carrying roughly 50 pounds of extra muscle on a frame that was never designed to carry it.
Zach does an excellent job at selling during the heat, and Vince’s Heel mannerisms are on point, so the heat segment is at least watchable from a spectacle perspective, even though there isn’t much competent wrestling going on from one of the participants. The crowd claps for Zach to make a comeback, and he eventually does, including a one legged dropkick at one stage, as the commentators continue to push the idea of how miraculous it is that this trained wrestler is getting the better of a 50+ businessman in a fight.
Zach attacks Vince’s leg as revenge for Vince attacking his, and then comes off the top with a bulldog, although he really only grazed Vince at best and Vince took the bump for it like he was a Great Oak slowly tumbling in the forest. Zach manages to come off the top with a Moonsault onto Vince, which was the move Zach used to defeat WWE Title contender The Big Show in the build to this one, but Vince gets his foot on the ropes to break the count, because Big Show is merely a 500 pound near unstoppable giant, whilst Vince is Vince McMahon.
Vince tries bringing a chair into the ring, but the ref doesn’t like that and gets shoved down as a result. Zach manages to kick the chair into Vince’s face though, leading to Vince doing an all-time gory blade job. Honestly, I have no idea where all of that plasma came from. Vince must have eaten two bottles of Aspirin before the match or something. Anyway, Zach tries coming off the rope with a twisting flippy-do of some kind, but Vince moves and then makes the cover for the win. Really, that’s the finish? Vince couldn’t have hit Zach with the chair or something before making the cover?
WINNER: VINCE MCMAHON
Thoughts: Zach was working for 17 men in an effort to get this one over, and the crowd did respond to it for the most part. That being said, the entire structure of the match really didn’t make much sense, as a trained wrestler with one leg should still be more than capable of besting an older almost immobile muscled businessman in a fight. If Vince were an actual wrestler like Sean O’Haire or something and you tried to tell this story then it would work, as O’Haire is not only bigger than Zach, but he is also a trained wrestler who has an extra leg, so of course Zach would be a big underdog. However, that doesn’t work as well when it’s Vince because Vince has no credibility as an in-ring performer when matched up against any of the wrestlers unless he cheats first, so him getting the heat on Zach and bullying him around didn’t make Zach look like a gutsy underdog, it just made Zach look weak, so the entire premise of the match just didn’t work, entertaining though parts of it might have been. The finish didn’t work either, as it didn’t make sense that just missing a move off the top would be enough for Zach to lose the match. Honestly, the finish in the Sable/Stephanie match would have made more sense here, with A-Train running in to trample poor Zach so that Vince could pick up the tainted win
Zach attempts to soak in some cheers from the crowd following that before heading to the back, although it sounds like some of the fans are actually booing him. That being said, enough of them are positive towards Zach that it mostly works.
Josh Matthews tries to get some words with Eddy Guerrero, who says that a victory is a victory no matter what and he doesn’t care about how the US Title match ended earlier.
Smackdown World Title
Champ: The Next Big Thing Brock Lesnar Vs The Big Show Vs The American Hero Kurt Angle
The story here was that Lesnar defeated Angle back at WrestleMania XIX and they just want to have a fair rematch together but Big Show won’t butt out of their issue, meaning we’re going to have a triple threat match instead. This was a weird period for Angle, in that he was a babyface but fans were still chanting “You Suck” when he entered to the ring because it was fun to do it in time with his music. I think that ended up always being the case whenever he went Face in WWE following on from this, except for when he was ECW Kurt Angle for a bit.
Big Show was back to wearing just a singlet at this stage, after he’d spent the final months of 2002 and the early months of 2003 wrestling in jeans, which wasn’t a very good look for him, and he looks much better in actual wrestling gear. Big Show is actually moving quite well in this one considering the fact that he was struggling with weight and injury issues at the time, and it means the match has a good energy to it, with Lesnar and Angle both trying to get the better of Big Show in the early going and him shrugging it off because he’s a ruddy big GIANT.
Eventually Angle introduces some metal bin lids and that leads to the babyfaces teeing off on Big Show to momentarily put him down for a bit, only for him to fight back with a double suplex. Lesnar and Angle reply to that with a Double Choke Slam, as Tazz correctly points out on commentary that the suplexers got suplexed whilst the Choke Slammer got Choke Slammed. Both Angle and Big Show take F5’s following that, with Big Show taking his second, leading to Angle pulling out the ref at the count of two in order to save the match.
Lesnar and Angle have had no problem tearing into one another here, even though they’d been milk drinking friends on the television that built to this. Lesnar even busts Angle open by throwing him into the ring post at one stage, teasing Lesnar’s eventual Heel turn later in the year. The match settles into the usual Triple Threat formula following that, with one person selling on the floor whilst the other two go at it in the ring. The wrestling continues to be entertaining though, so the formula works for the most part and the crowd enjoys it, especially when Lesnar manages to counter a Big Show Superplex attempt into a powerbomb at one stage, which leads to Angle destroying Lesnar with a chair as revenge for the ring post attack.
Angle just SMASHED Lesnar with that chair, as unprotected chair shots to the head were still a thing you’d see in WWE in 2003. Angle continues to be a wrecking machine in this one by giving Big Show an Olympic Slam through the commentary table, earning him a positive chant from the crowd as a result. This match has been wild from the opening bell onwards and it’s been GREAT! We finally get Lesnar and Angle going at it 1 Vs 1, although both of them are bloody and broken by this stage. Still though, they’re just normal men, they’re just innocent men.
Lesnar and Angle’s battle doesn’t disappoint, with the crowd giving Lesnar the Lex Luger treatment by vocally siding with the other babyface over him, as blood is just all over the place now following those last two matches. WWE in 2003 feels like a completely different universe (pun intended) than it does today when you watch stuff like this, with guys hitting one another in the head with weapons and bleeding all over the place. I’m not necessarily saying it’s better, just different. Angle almost sends Lesnar into orbit with a release German Suplex at one stage, which is a testament to Lesnar’s freaky athletic ability that he was able to take a bump like that.
Of course Big Show has to end up being the living embodiment of the Quit Having Fun MEME, squishing both opponents for a two count when Lesnar almost has it won with the REDRUM on Angle. Double Choke Slam follows, but Lesnar kicks out and then saves Angle from getting pinned straight after. Lesnar ends up kicking Paul right in his Great Wight’s, which takes Big Show out of the equation for a bit, allowing Angle to get the Ankle Lock on Lesnar and then an Olympic Slam onto Big Show. Another one follows for Lesnar and that’s enough to give Angle the win.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: KURT ANGLE
Thoughts: This was an exhilarating match, as the action never stopped, with the Triple Threat format allowing Big Show liberal chances to rest whilst Lesnar and Angle carried the majority of the match. That being said, Big Show actually did a good job whenever he was in there and he was moving pretty spry on his feet in the early going considering the monstrous hunk of human he is. Lesnar and Angle’s bits together gave you what you wanted to see from them going at it whilst leaving some more on the table for future matches. The match was an unequivocal success and I enjoyed it mightily. I think it’s a bit of an under rated gem actually.
Kurt Angle celebrates with his new belt and we are drastically out of time fans. This would eventually lead to Brock Lesnar going Heel on Angle and facing him for the belt at SummerSlam 2003 in yet another fun battle between the two.
The Bar Room Brawl, Vince Vs Zach and Noble Vs Gunn were the only matches that weren’t that good here, with Sable Vs Stephanie being enjoyable for what it was and the rest of the card ranging from great to awesome, thus making this show a very easy thumbs up. I remember liking this show back in the day but I liked it even more on this viewing, with Cena Vs Undertaker and the Main Event both being way better than I remembered them being, and I remembered them being pretty darn good to begin with.
WWE had a pretty mixed bag of pay per view events in 2003, but this was one of the better shows they held all year. WrestleMania XIX has the stadium setting and some arguably bigger matches when it comes to star power, but Vengeance certainly runs it close when it comes to the quality of wrestling and it certainly has the better quality Cat Fight, so I’m giving it the edge here, although your own personal preference may vary.