By Big Red Machine
From January 19, 2003
WWE Royal Rumble 2003 (1/19/2003)- Boston, MA
ROYAL RUMBLE QUALIFYING MATCH: Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show (w/Paul Heyman)- 4.25/10
The crowd was hot for it, but it would have been nice to get a match with a decent length and for Show to get more offense in than just the one chokeslam.
TERRI INTERVIEWS CHRIS JERICHO- eh.
She asks him why he chose to enter the Rumble at #2. She sounded horribly whiny while asking the question. Jericho says that he chose #2 so that he can beat HBK and go all the way.
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Lance Storm & William Regal(c) vs. The Dudley Boyz- 5/10
Standard tag team stuff. Devon is the babyface in peril. He makes a hot tag to Bubba. Dudleys make their comeback. The overbooking at the end with Morley and the knucks worked well with the angle.
TORRIE WILSON vs. DAWN MARIE- 3/10
Yeah, this is the infamous “Step-mother vs. Step-daughter” match, and just watching the video package makes me wonder how the hell they thought anyone would care about this angle. You could actually put it right in the middle of a soap opera and no one would be able to tell that it was a pro wrestling angle.
The match itself really wasn’t all that horrible, considering what I was expecting. Dawn was a good heel and worked over Torrie’s arm, and the crowd was into Torrie’s offense.
OBLIGATORY SEGMENT WITH STEPH & BISCHOFF MAKING FUN OF EACH OTHER- they each apparently have big announcements for their respective shows this week.
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Triple H(c) (w/Ric Flair) vs. Scott Steiner- -2/10 (yes, negative)
Big pop for Big Poppa Pump. Before the match started, all three guys were in the ring with Hebner between them, holding the belt, and Hebner flat out told them “I know how you guys are, and I’m not putting up with any crap from you, you, or you” (with the last one emphatically directed at Flair), and for some reason that is completely beyond me, I marked out.
Ridiculously fake punches from Steiner on the outside RIGHT in front of the fans, and soon after that, a “Steiner sucks” chant started, and the crowd completely died. Steiner then f*cked up taking Hunter’s face-smash into the knee, and just got up and no-sold it and the crowd started to boo some more. They actually popped when Hunter cut him off. The crowd eventually got back into things a bit, but then, right after he started his comeback, Steiner fell down while trying a double underhook suplex and the crowd just died.
Hunter tried to get counted out but Hebner wouldn’t count. He tried to get DQed, but Hebner wouldn’t DQ him. Then Hunter hit Steiner with a sledgehammer and Hebner decided that that was too far, so he DQed him. A terrible match, and Steiner deserves almost all of the blame.
After the match, Hunter went to hit Steiner with the sledgehammer again, but Hebner stopped him. Hunter shoved Hebner and went for it again, but this time Steiner saved himself. He hit Hunter and Flair with the sledgehammer and then locked Hunter in the Steiner Recliner until Hunter passed out.
WWE TITLE MATCH: Kurt Angle(c) vs. Chris Benoit- 9.5/10
RVD & KANE BACKSTAGE- they might be tag team partners, but it will be every man for himself in the Royal Rumble. This did a good job of setting up the theme for the...
2003 ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH- 8.5/10
A super-fun and awesome Royal Rumble. The stuff with Shannon Moore was fun, the HBK-Jericho stuff was great, each of the big men had a chance to look dominant, and I loved the overarching "don't trust anyone" story that they told.
At this time I would like to acknowledge one particular fans who has a big sign saying “Thuganomics 4 Life.” You, sir, are ahead of the curve.
A very up and down show, but considering that the awesome stuff was the about two thirds of the show, I can’t not recommend it. If you can find the DVD cheap, the last two matches are certainly worth owning.
OVER THE TOP ROPE CHALLENGE: Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Kane vs. Batista (from the 1/13/2003 Raw)- 4.5/10
This was only about five minutes. Just seeing Jericho’s facial reaction when his attempt to betray Batista failed is worth watching this for. We also got a post-match segment with HBK and Jericho brawling.
In addition to this, there were a whole bunch of promos, some clips from Confidential, and a behind the scenes thing for the Royal Rumble commercial.