Unforgiven 2003

Unforgiven 2003
Date: September 21, 2003
Location: Giant Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 10,347
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s another Raw exclusive pay per view, based around the idea of finding the least interesting story possible. Is it Shane McMahon and his electric testicles vs. Kane or a barely mobile HHH managing to drag out his second World Title defense against Goldberg? You know, that guy known for his long matches. There’s also the option of the battling announcers, which is always a big winner. Let’s get to it.

The opening video talks about how no one is good or evil anymore. This comes after months of JR and King talking about how Kane is the embodiment of evil. We might be in for a very long night. This turns into a HHH vs. Goldberg video with HHH talking about all the nobodies that Goldberg beat. One of those nobodies was Kevin Nash, which is a major win that HHH constantly brags about. We’re ninety seconds in and the opening video has already contradicted the show twice.

Tag Team Titles: La Resistance/Rob Conway vs. Dudley Boyz

La Resistance is defending and this is a handicap tables match where every member has to go through to win. The title and handicap stipulations were both added on Heat, because why would we need to know important stuff like that? For some reason Lilian introduces the team as Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley instead of the collective name. As usual, tags are required in a tables match so it’s D-Von and Dupree slugging it out to start.

D-Von is taken into the corner where Conway stomps away, only to get taken down for a legdrop. Bubba comes in and ties Conway in the Tree of Woe for some hard chops to the chest. The announcers’ reaction: a discussion on the French loving Jerry Lewis. The double flapjack puts Conway on the floor but it’s too early for tables. Must be the pay per view time scale.

Conway gets in a cheap shot from the apron and the champs start taking over again. The USA chants begin as Conway grabs a sleeper to calm them right back down. Thankfully Bubba breaks things up with a belly to back suplex, allowing the tag off to D-Von. The reverse 3D plants Conway and NOW it’s table time. The champs are smart enough to let the table be set before jumping the Dudleys though and it’s D-Von being thrown through first.

Bubba reverses a suplex and puts Grenier through but gets jumped by Conway. D-Von is back up and the Dudleys throw Conway over the top through a table with his head smacking an edge ala Spike. That’s really not a spot you need to recreate. Dupree has the French flag broken over his head and the 3D gives the Dudleys the titles back.

Rating: C-. This was the logical way to go and hopefully the end of a really boring feud. It’s a good choice for an opener as well with the fans loving the table stuff and the good old Americans getting the titles back from the EVIL Frenchmen. Not the most interesting story in the world but the right way to end the feud.

We get a music video dedicated to Scott Steiner vs. Test. This story has gone on for the better part of ever with Stacy Keibler being traded back and forth between them several times. Basically Test wants Stacy to make him money and Steiner wants, well, Stacy. Tonight it’s another match to determine who gets Stacy’s “services”. Why this story has gone on since the spring isn’t clear but hopefully it ends here. I mean, it won’t, but it would be nice.

Test vs. Scott Steiner

If Test can beat Steiner, he gets Scott’s services as well. Stacy gets her own entrance, which certainly makes her seem free in the first place. I love that a good chunk of Test’s Titantron video is Stacy looking disgusted at him. I’m assuming he approved of the content and that’s the best he could get? Stacy gives Steiner a hug to start and Test gets in a few cheap shots to take over.

The clothesline and the pushup elbow send Test outside, where Stacy slaps him for good measure. Back in and Test grabs a full nelson slam for two, followed by some pushups of his own. We hit the sleeper on Steiner until he suplexes a diving Test for a breather. Steiner almost drops him on a tiger bomb attempt but a low blow cuts Scott off. Stacy shoves the boots off the ropes and snaps Test’s throat across the top for a close two.

With that not working, Stacy pops up on the apron and hikes up the skirt to distract Test. I mean, it might be more effective if she wasn’t showing it to the crowd but close enough. It doesn’t work anyway as Test kicks out of a rollup and boots Steiner in the face for two more. With that not working, Test pulls off a turnbuckle pad so he can grab a chair but Stacy takes it away. She hits Steiner by mistake though (well duh), setting up the big boot to give Test the pin.

Rating: D-. Really, what is the fascination with this story? The matches have been terrible and the story is just dumb but the thing is still going. I get that they probably have a lot of money tied up in Steiner but my goodness, is Test really their best option here? Bad match, worse ending, and unfortunately it looks like we’re STILL not done.

We recap Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels. Orton is the legend killer and Shawn is a legend. You can piece the rest together for yourself.

Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels

Shawn wrestles him to the mat to start and slaps Orton’s head a bit. Some strutting and a WOO annoy Flair and we hit the headlock takeover/headscissor escape sequence. We hear about the various horrible things Orton has done to various legends and confirm that Moolah is NOT dead.

Shawn throws him over the top but Orton skins the cat to steal a trademark and scores with a dropkick for two. A clothesline gets Shawn out of trouble and it’s a Cactus Clothesline with Shawn skinning the cat back as well. Shawn hits a high crossbody to the floor as the pace stays fast enough to start. Back in and Shawn charges into a boot in the corner, allowing Orton to hammer away in the corner.

A hard charge sends Shawn shoulder first into the post and NOW we’ll get to the meat of the match, starting with Flair posting the bad arm. Another Flair distraction lets Orton post the shoulder again and the beating is on. Back in and Orton cranks on the arm as JR talks about Shawn’s matches against Vader. I’ll try to figure out the connection as Shawn fights up to his feet.

Orton puts his feet on Shawn’s face and pulls on the arm to keep him in trouble. A small package (with some horribly loud spot calling) gives Shawn two and the forearm into the nipup starts the comeback. Shawn sends him over the top though, followed by a whip into the barricade. Flair’s distraction fails and Shawn hits a top rope ax handle for two. Sweet Chin Music is countered into the RKO but the delayed cover is only good for two.

Orton’s high crossbody takes too long and only hits mat, meaning Flair (who is DRENCHED in sweat) has to fail at interfering again. Shawn drops the top rope elbow for two and now Sweet Chin Music connects, only to have Flair put the foot on the ropes. The referee waves off the pin and in the distraction, Flair slips Orton some brass knuckles. A knockout punch later and Orton gets the upset pin.

Rating: B-. It’s probably too early for Orton to get the clean win so this was the best option that they had. I’m not seeing the need for the false pin but Orton hung in there long enough to make himself look better. The arm and shoulder stuff stopped mattering about halfway through but to be fair, Shawn’s offense isn’t heavily arm based in the first place. Good match with the right result though.

Chris Jericho recruits La Resistance in his crusade against Steve Austin.

Gail Kim/Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus/Lita

Gail and Molly are jealous of Trish so they’ve beaten her up several times due to a variety of bad partners. Lita returned on Raw after over a year on the shelf and here we are. King during Trish’s entrance: “Her, me, whipped cream, handcuffs. Any questions?” Several, starting with can we please get passed this nonsense already?

The villains jump them to start but Trish and Lita fight them off and hit stereo baseball slides. Lita armdrags Gail as we settle down, followed by a suplex into a nip up. Trish’s top rope Thesz press lets her hammer away and Molly won’t tag out. Gail sends Trish outside though and Trish comes up holding her back.

Molly cranks on a modified dragon sleeper before Gail grabs one of her own. Something like a Sliced Bread #2 gets Trish out of the hold but Molly breaks up a hot tag attempt by pulling Lita off the apron. I love that spot. With the referee keeping Lita out, a camel clutch/Boston crab combination works over Trish’s back even more.

Lita has a busted lip so Lawler wants to go check on her, citing his oral surgery skills. My goodness he wouldn’t last five minutes today with stuff like this. Gail misses a middle rope legdrop and now it’s off to Lita to speed things up. A dropkick and monkey flip have Gail and Molly in trouble and there’s the first hurricanrana. Gail gets powerbombed and Trish hurricanranas Molly, setting up Lita’s moonsault for the pin.

Rating: C+. Good match here and a nice way to get Lita back into the swing of things. They stuck to the tag formula here and, as a result, the match was one of the better women’s matches in a long time. Just let them go out there and do the stuff they can do well, as I’m not sure these four are capable of putting together something much more complicated than this just yet. They did this well though and hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.

We recap Kane vs. Shane McMahon. Kane lost his mask and Steve Austin asked if the fire still burned. Kane went on a rampage and attacked various people, including Shane’s mother Linda. Since he’s a McMahon, the story became almost entirely about Shane, who is now able to hang in a fight with Kane when almost no one else can. Tonight it’s Last Man Standing so Shane can do more of his stunt show offense.

Kane vs. Shane McMahon

Shane chairs him in the back during the entrances and a jumping chair shot to the head puts Kane down for four. Another shot to the head gets six so Shane starts in on the knee. Some chair shots to said knee and a wrap around the post keep Kane down. Shane sends him head first into the steps and now it’s time for the jabs. Thankfully Kane throws him over the barricade rather than selling those lame punches.

Shane gets slammed off the barricade and smashed in the face with the steps as JR is already begging Shane to stay down. Back in and the chokeslam puts Shane down but he uses the referee to pull himself back up at seven. The referee gets kicked in the face, which shouldn’t make any difference in this match.

Kane loads up a Tombstone but changes his mind, instead opting for the steps again. The Tombstone onto the steps is reversed and Shane bulldogs Kane’s hands onto them instead. Another steps shot to the head sets up a very, very slow Van Terminator as the referee is STILL down. After a lot of laying around, Kane kicks the steps into Shane’s face and they stumble into the aisle. Shane wins a slugout but gets sent into the metal set for a seven. That works so well that Kane does it a few more times before stomping Shane down.

Kane sends him head first into the announcers’ table and then turns the table onto Shane for…no count as Shane moved. A shot to the head with a boom camera drops Kane but Shane pulls him back onto the stage. Shane low blows him and grabs a DDT, which the camera again shows doesn’t make any contact. Kane takes a monitor shot to the head and Shane climbs the set. The big elbow misses though and Kane wins without doing anything other than rolling to the side.

Rating: D. This was as exciting as laying around between step shots to the head was going to be. Shane looks like more of a monster than Kane, who comes off as someone who had to get lucky to beat a non-wrestler in nearly twenty minutes. Sure Shane’s dive looked cool, but we really wasted that much pay per view time to set it up? And all those weeks of Kane being evil and insane for this? As has been the case for weeks now, the focus is all over the place and completely misguided.

Shane gets taken out on the stretcher and gets a standing ovation.

Jericho blames Austin for what just happened. Austin tells him to take his best shot but Jericho says there’s more than one way to make him crack.

JR and King talk about how amazing that elbow was. As was the case at the end of the match: Kane is just a detail.

Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Christian

Christian is defending. Van Dam gets double teamed to start so he flips over their backs and hits a double dropkick. Both Canadians are sent to the floor and Rob moonsaults onto them. Back in and Rob monkey flips the champ for two, followed by the cartwheel moonsault onto Jericho.

Rolling Thunder is broken up and Christian mocks Van Dam’s pose. The Canadians double team some more with Christian holding Rob for Jericho’s right hands. Jericho misses a charge and gets kicked in the chest, along with another kick to Christian. Rob takes a bit too long on the champ though and gets enziguried down. A double DDT really gets Rob out of trouble though and there’s a flip dive to the floor to take Christian out again.

Back in and Jericho chokes Rob as JR sounds incredibly bored. We hit the chinlock so the announcers can talk about Shane being taken to a medical facility for fear of grave injury. The Walls of Jericho go on Rob with Jericho screaming about Austin as he cranks on the hold. Christian FINALLY runs in for the save and it’s time for Canadian brawling. They head outside with Christian being sent knees first into the steps, followed by a top rope back elbow to the jaw for two.

With Rob being shoved off the top, Jericho superplexes Christian for a double knockdown. Rob comes back in for a high crossbody on Jericho and Christian dives onto Jericho by mistake. Christian is put on top of his fellow villain for a Five Star to both in a good looking crash. They all head to the corner for the Tower of Doom and a BIG reaction as everyone is down again. Jericho gets sent outside again so Christian grabs the belt but gets kicked down. That’s not a problem though as he uses it to block the Five Star and retain.

Rating: C-. This was WAY longer than it needed to be and it felt like an extended version of most triple threat matches. There wasn’t much of a story to the match and while there were some nice near falls, it felt like something that could have been on any given episode of Raw. Then again, most of this pay per view would fit that same description so it’s not the biggest issue.

HHH compares Goldberg to a knight who slayed everyone in fantasy land but then came to the real world and got beaten up. He believes in himself and not in Goldberg. Somehow, this takes two minutes.

We recap the battle of the announcers. Coach turned heel because people didn’t respect him for filling in for JR, so of course we’re having a tag match for the Raw announcing job. As a fan, I have no idea why any of this would interest me, as it’s somehow built around the idea of Coach and Al Snow teaming on pay per view. Did anyone even know they were the Heat commentators?

Al Snow/Jonathan Coachman vs. Jerry Lawler/Jim Ross

So there’s no commentary for this one, which might be a perk in a less dumb match. Lawler tries for some quick falls on Snow, including a shoulder block for two. For some reason Snow decides to turn it into a slugout and you know Lawler is just fine with that. Snow kicks him down and grabs an Oklahoma roll (I’m not sure if I should give them a point for that one or not) for two.

We hit a seated abdominal stretch and the boring chants begin. How dare this crowd not want to see Snow vs. Lawler on pay per view? JR shouts at Snow for being stupid and not following up on a backdrop so Snow tries it again, only to be reversed into a piledriver for two. Coach tags himself in and Snow panics, realizing he now has to watch this too. The offense lasts all of a few seconds before Coach misses a charge in the corner.

Lawler beats him up for a few moments as the fans want JR. Snow makes a save after the fist drop and it’s off to JR, despite the referee looking completely the other way. JR knocks them both down and really awkwardly mounts Coach (“NOT IN THE FACE!”) until Jericho runs back in and breaks it up with a dropkick. Coach gets the cheap pin.

Rating: F. And that’s about all you could have expected from this. It’s not like anyone buys that JR and King are going to be off commentary for more than a few weeks anyway so this isn’t exactly thrilling stuff. Boring match of course but at least it was mainly done by a pair of wrestlers instead of Coach and JR.

Jericho says he can crack Austin a different way.

We recap Goldberg vs. HHH. Goldberg dominated the Elimination Chamber at Summerslam but HHH used a sledgehammer to retain, meaning we needed to stretch this out for another month before HHH dropped the title. There’s not much of a secret to how this ends, but that didn’t stop WWE for dragging it out.

JR and King do their big sad farewell….which will kick in tomorrow night as they’re still doing the main event. JR: “It ain’t about old JR and it ain’t about the King.” Really? Because we just sat through you guys having a featured pay per view match so it certainly seemed like part of the show was in fact about you.

Raw World Title: HHH vs. Goldberg

HHH, alone here, is defending and loses the title if he’s disqualified or counted out. If Goldberg loses, he’s gone from WWE. Like I said, it’s not exactly a secret. They do the big lockup with HHH punching him into the corner but getting gorilla pressed for his efforts. An exchange of wristlocks (in a Goldberg match) goes nowhere so Goldberg goes with his swinging neckbreaker instead.

HHH throws him outside but gets caught with a quick clothesline. The spear is cut off with a knee though and Goldberg is sent to the floor again, this time for a posting. As HHH beats on Goldberg, JR manages to get two statements wrong in one line as he talks about HHH defeating names like Rock, Austin and Angle for this title. Just like last month at Summerslam, this is a different title lineage and this time, HHH never beat Austin or Angle for a World Title. Come on I know you just jobbed to the coach and lost your dream position but get your facts straight.

Goldberg’s leg is wrapped around the post and it’s off to the Figure Four. That’s turned over and Goldberg kicks him in the chest, followed by a powerslam for two. They head outside with HHH going into the steps to draw some blood. The referee gets bumped and we’re probably just waiting for Evolution here. Goldberg is getting a little too much offense though so HHH cuts him off with a DDT. The Pedigree is countered with a backdrop to the floor but HHH comes back with the sledgehammer to the face. The spear hits twenty two seconds later and the Jackhammer gives Goldberg the title.

Rating: D. So Goldberg doesn’t even get to kick out of the Pedigree? I’m glad they didn’t go with a bunch of false finishes as it’s not like the ending was in doubt, but this was a match where Goldberg should have won in much shorter order. It didn’t need to be a spear and Jackhammer for the win in thirty seconds, but this should have been closer to eight minutes rather than fifteen. Let HHH hit him with his best, Goldberg comes up growling, and the Jackhammer ends it. But no, because HHH likes his matches to feel epic, since even when he’s injured and putting someone over, he has to get his stuff in.

Overall Rating: D-. This was the worst kind of show you can have: it felt lifeless. Nothing on this card felt important or big or came off like it had any energy to it. The women’s match was pretty good and Orton vs. Shawn did its job (mostly) but the top matches are all so dull and uninteresting that they sucked the life out of this show. The TV leading up to this was a black hole of charisma and this was the pay per view version of that. Really lame show here, but due to being dull and lifeless instead of bad.

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