Mike Reviews – ROH Retribution: Round Robin Challenge 2 (26th April 2003) – Part One

ROH Wednesday’s Continue!

Last week we concluded our review of The Epic Encounter (Check the archives if you haven’t read that one and are feeling generous to this humble scribe) and now we move on to the next show in the form of Round Robin Challenge 2.

The first Round Robin Challenge had one of the best matches in the early history of ROH with Bryan Danielson and Low Ki going at it. This time we’ve got Christopher Daniels, Paul London and The Amazing Red competing. They’ll all wrestle each other once, and the person with the best record overall will win the challenge.

We’ll split this one into two parts as per usual

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Mike Reviews – ROH Epic Encounter (12th April 2003) – Concluding Part

Hey there ya’ll!

ROH Wednesday’s continue, as we conclude The Epic Encounter show.

Last week we had CM Punk and BJ Whitmer having a cracking match, whilst Dan Maff joined Christopher Daniels’ “Prophecy” stable.

This week we’ve got ROH Champ Samoa Joe and Bryan Danielson taking on Paul London, so there should be plenty of good wrestling to come.

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Mike Reviews – ROH Epic Encounter (12th April 2003) – Part One

S’up

I thought I’d stick with some classic ROH in the Wednesday slot, and once again we’ll be splitting this show up into 2 or 3 parts depending on how long it is. The big draw for this one is that Dusty Rhodes has come in to back Homicide up in the Main Event. It’s also the first show since Samoa Joe became the ROH Champ, so I think we can expect him to do something as well.

If you’d like an update on the storylines then I suggest heading into my archives and reading the two parts of ROH Night of Champions, which was the show previous to this. Heck, I’ll appreciate the page views if nothing else!

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Mike Reviews – ROH Night of Champions (22nd March 2003) – Part One

Hey ya’ll!

These ROH reviews don’t tend to do very well, but I’ve had this one hand written for a VERY long time so I thought I might as well type it up so it didn’t end up being a wasted effort.

This was actually the first ROH show I ever bought, as I’d heard about the company but had never watched a full event before. I picked this tape up from Extreme Central UK, which was a store in Manchester that sold all kinds of wrestling and MMA stuff, including old copies of the Wrestling Observer and Pro-Wrestling Torch.

The VHS tape of this show really got me hooked on the ROH product and came around at a good time for me because I was starting to get disenchanted with WWE and having a different wrestling company to watch really helped rejuvenate my wrestling fandom.

This show is Main Evented by Samoa Joe, with the likes of Low Ki, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels on the under card, so there should be a healthy collection of fun matches.

We’ll split this up over 2-3 weeks, because the kids dig the episodic content I believe.

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Mike Reviews Shows Considered To Be Stinkers – WWE Insurrextion 2003

Hello You!

Back with another Stinker Review, and this month it’s a reader request courtesy of AJ Haemorrhoids (who has one of the more striking names on the Blog I think we can all agree). AJ apparently attended this show live and was so bored by it that they actually almost fell asleep whilst watching it, which is almost impressive in a twisted kind of way.

For those of you that haven’t read one of these before, a Stinker Review is when I look at a show that has a reputation for being bad for whatever reason and deciding on whether it truly is as bad as people say it is. It could be the show features terrible wrestling, torrid booking, miserable production or all of the above. In some cases a show might not be that notorious but a reader may have it on their personal ship list, at which point I then have to decide whether I agree with them or not.

I have personally seen this one before but that was quite a while ago and I honestly remember very little about it outside of the Tag Title and World Title matches. It’s notable for being the last ever UK Special Pay Per View, as WWE decided to bring the Raw and Smackdown tapings to the UK in 2004, which ended up being a better deal for the fans, as now stuff could actually happen on the shows as it was an actual TV taping and not just a televised House Show.

I was pretty down on WWE in 2003, mainly because they just kept tripping up over themselves and the harsh realisation that they weren’t going to be able to usher in another boom period anytime soon slapped me hard in the face like a bucket of iced water. Creatively both the Raw and Smackdown brands were kind of on their arse going into this one, with a bloated and injury carrying Triple H stanking the joint out on the Raw side with a series of uninspiring feuds for his Raw Title, with this show taking part during his “exciting” rivalry with Kevin Nash.

Aside from Godruple H’s reign of terror, on the undercard Test had started an “enthralling” feud with Scott Steiner, whilst newbies La Resistance were going for Kane and RVD’s Tag Team Titles. Trish Stratus was feuding with Jazz over the Women’s belt and Christian had recently connived his way to winning the revived IC Title, screwing over Booker T in the process. Raw’s hierarchy had also had a bit of a shakeup, with Stone Cold Steve Austin being brought into be co-General Manager in an attempt to keep Heel Authority Figure Eric Bischoff in check.

So, has AJ been unduly scathing here or is Insurrextion 2003 really a full-on Stinker? Let’s watch on to find out!

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Mike Reviews Shows Considered To Be Stinkers – WWE Judgment Day 2003 (18/05/2003)

Hello You!

Back with another Stinker review, which will become a monthly feature going forwards, usually on the last Saturday of every month.

For those who haven’t read one of these before, the premise is that I review a show that has a reputation for being bad and then try to answer the question of whether it truly deserves its stinky reputation or not.

Recently we had a list of potential shows and I pulled a couple out of a hat to decide what I’ll be reviewing in January and March. This show (Requested by Bones) came out for January and Bash at the Beach 1999 (Requested by Sean Mooney) came out for March. All the other requested shows remain in the hat and I’ll be doing another draw in about a month or so, so if you want to request a stinky show for review then please stick it in the comments section. I’ve got one that I chose myself for February which you’ll hopefully enjoy.

Judgment Day 2003 came about during what was a pretty sucky period for WWE. Coming out of WrestleMania XIX, Kurt Angle was injured, Rock was off back to Hollywood and Stone Cold Steve Austin had been forced to retire, meaning we were stuck with Triple H on top of the Raw brand with a lack of credible challengers (Due to him killing Rob Van Dam, Kane and Booker T’s pushes since winning his vanity belt in the autumn of 2002). Thus they did what usually happens in wrestling when a top guy doesn’t really have anyone left to work with, which was bringing one of his mates for him to work with instead. This led to Kevin Nash coming in and getting an instant push to the top of the card, leading to some thrilling angles and bouts.

Meanwhile, over on Smackdown the much loved “Smackdown Six” Era of the show had ended in February when Paul Heyman was removed as head writer, leading to a pretty notable drop in quality for the show. Once built around great matches on top and interesting characters in the mid-card such as Matt Hardy Version 1.0 and Jamie “By God” Noble, Smackdown became a showcase for Vince McMahon and his never-ending feud with Hulk Hogan. Freshly turned babyface Champion Brock Lesnar was relegated to the background whilst Vince feuded with Hogan and his new best buddy Zach Gowen.

The product was really starting to feel like the lame-duck Kevin Sullivan booked era of WCW in early 2000, even down to the likes of Roddy Piper, Scott Steiner and Goldberg coming in long after they actually could have done any good during the Invasion storyline of 2001. The fact that Judgment Day was primarily promoted around a Bikini contest between Sable and Torrie Wilson showed just how little direction WWE had when it had to bank on pushing T&A to have any hope of popping a buy rate, even with an embarrassment of riches when it came to wrestling talent (Something we’ll see as the show progresses).

Just to give you an idea of the general online reaction to this show, Scott Keith decided to bust out the Hot Poker Up The Ass system for it, which is usually a good barometer that a show is pretty stinky.

However, let’s give the show a fair shake of the stick. Who knows, maybe time will have been kind to it?

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Mike Reviews – ROH First Anniversary Show (08/02/2003)

Hello You!

I’ve actually had this one hand written for yonks, but the classic ROH reviews seemingly got little to no interest and I never bothered typing it up. However, with want of anything better to review this week and the fact that this show features the sadly departed Xavier during his brief ROH Title run, I felt it would be appropriate to finally upload it.

I should point out that this version of the show was taped off the short lived Wrestling Channel over here in the UK. They used to have a special super card event every Sunday on the channel, which was usually a show from one of the main company’s they had on their books. They showed quite a bit of early ROH on the channel when it first started, with this show being amongst the events they aired.

One downside is that they’ve had to trim the show a bit in order to make it fit the three hour window (This includes advert breaks) which means some matches have been cut and others have been edited. It’s a shame, but ROH events were all kind of treated like big super cards with loads of matches, so needs had to must when it came to cramming in as much as possible for a set slot of TV time.

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Mike Reviews NWA-TNA PPV #61 – The Super X Tournament and Wednesday Bloody Wednesday (03/09/2003)

Hello You!

I decided to do a good TNA show this week, because believe it or not they did exist. I actually saw this show originally on The Wrestling Channel here in the UK, as they’d just started showing TNA (Even though they were a few months behind) and this show had FWA regular Jonny Storm on it, so they probably thought it was one of the better episodes to lead with when it came to showing the weekly TNA pay per views.

This show has a Super X Tournament, featuring 8 X Division guys from different parts of the world going at it for a trophy. There’s also a War Games match to close things out featuring the Main Event crew.

This was back when TNA was running a weekly pay per view on Wednesdays and was holding all their events in “The Asylum” in Nashville. It’s a pretty pokey building, but they managed to get a passionate bunch of regulars who were prepared to turn up and get into the action, which at least meant these shows normally had some decent atmosphere.

I was actually quite into TNA at the time due to them doing an ECW Invasion earlier in 2003, and because I was ECW starved at the time I thought it was really cool that guys like Saturn, New Jack, Sandman etc were still doing their thing. That got my foot in the door and allowed me to see that America’s Most Wanted were tearing up the tag scene and the X Division guys were having hot matches, which led to me being into the product pretty much until the whole Hogan and Bischoff thing drove me off never to return.

If memory serves, there’s some really good matches on this one, so let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!

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Mike Reviews Every WWE Judgment Day Main Event Part One (1998 to 2003)

Hello You!

Judgment Day was an event that the WWF/E usually held in May, although the first one was in October 1998. This is just speculation on my part, but I think it ended up as a May event due to the horrible situation that took place at Over The Edge 1999, where Owen Hart tragically fell to his death. Seeing as that name would likely remind people of Owen’s passing, the WWF probably thought they would be best served to retire the name and, seeing as No Mercy was now the regular October event, they decided to reuse Judgment Day seeing as that one was currently available.

I’m going to break this one into a couple of parts I think, just because there have been too many Judgment Day events to squeeze them all into one review. So we’ll do five this week and the final six the week after.

Let’s watch some chuffing wrestling.

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Mike Reviews Every WWE Backlash Main Event – Part One (1999 to 2003)

Hello You!

First things first, my condolences to the friends and family of Howard Finkel (I am writing this on the day of his sad passing). I think it’s fair to say that Howard was the greatest ring announcer in wrestling history and he will be sorely missed. If everyone in wrestling was as passionate about their job as Howard was then we’d have a much better industry that’s for sure.

Last time out we looked at the Main Events from WCW Spring Stampede over the years, so today we’re going to take a look at a WWF event that usually happened around the same time in the form of Backlash.

Backlash was usually the post-WrestleMania pay per view offering from the WWF, which often led to Mania re-matches most of the time. There have been a total of 14 Backlash events over the years, so I’ll be splitting this into three separate parts, otherwise it’ll be far too much to chew in one sitting.

There’s been some great Backlash Main Events and some that…weren’t, and there’s no better example than the offerings we have for you this time. Some of these matches are truly excellent, whilst others are a bit of slog.

Still though, I’m sure we’ll have fun regardless. Let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!

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New Book: KB’s Complete Smackdown 2003 Reviews

 

You have to grow up sometime. Back in 2002, WWE had the greatest influx of talent the company has ever seen. New stars of the future debuted and were mixed together with some of the already established talents, meaning it was time for things to start picking up. You can’t go from rookie to main eventer overnight though, meaning there had to be a time when the new stars grew up. That’s what happened in 2003 and it was a very exciting time.

In this book, I’ll be looking at all fifty two episodes of Smackdown from 2003 as I try to find out what worked and didn’t over the course of the entire year. Each one will be broken down match by match and segment by segment. Included will be analysis and ratings for the shows to see why the year is remembered so poorly.

The book runs about 320 pages and is available on Amazon both in a physical paperback for $9.99 or an e-book format for $2.99. In case you don’t have a Kindle, there are plenty of FREE apps you can get from Amazon for pretty much any electronic device, all of which are available at this link.

You can pick up the book from Amazon here in paperback and here as an e-book.

And from the UK Amazon here in paperback and here as an e-book.

Or if you’re in another country with its own Amazon page, just search “KB Smackdown 2003” and it should be the first thing to come up.

Also you can still get any of my previous books on the Intercontinental Championship, Monday Night Raw from 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003 and the first half of 2014, Monday Nitro from 1995-1999, In Your House, Summerslam, Starrcade, ECW Pay Per Views, Royal Rumble, Saturday Night’s Main Event, the WWF and WCW pay per views from 1998, Wrestlemania, WWE Grab Bag and Clash of the Champions, NXT Volumes I, II and III at my author’s page here.

I hope you like it and shoot me any questions you might have.

Thomas Hall

 

New Book: KB’s Complete 2003 Monday Night Raw Reviews

Oh it’s a dark time. WWE loves to talk about the history of Monday Night Raw. With over 1,300 episodes, it’s hard not to brag about it just a bit. There are some times you don’t hear about though, and that includes 2003. It’s considered one of the lowest points ever of the show’s history so of course I felt the need to watch every single episode. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

In this book, I’ll be looking at all fifty two episodes of Monday Night Raw from 2003 as I try to find out what worked and didn’t over the course of the entire year. Each one will be broken down match by match and segment by segment. Included will be analysis and ratings for the shows to see why the year is remembered so poorly.

The book runs about 340 pages and is available on Amazon both in a physical paperback for $9.99 or an e-book format for $2.99. In case you don’t have a Kindle, there are plenty of FREE apps you can get from Amazon for pretty much any electronic device, all of which are available at this link.

You can pick up the book from Amazon here in paperback and here as an e-book.

And from the UK Amazon here in paperback and here as an e-book.

Or if you’re in another country with its own Amazon page, just search “KB Raw 2003” and it should be the first thing to come up.

Also you can still get any of my previous books on the Intercontinental Championship, Monday Night Raw from 1997, 1998, 2001 and the first half of 2014, Monday Nitro from 1995-1999, In Your House, Summerslam, Starrcade, ECW Pay Per Views, Royal Rumble, Saturday Night’s Main Event, the WWF and WCW pay per views from 1998, Wrestlemania, WWE Grab Bag and Clash of the Champions, NXT Volumes I, II and III at my author’s page here.

I hope you like it and shoot me any questions you might have.

Thomas Hall

 

Monday Night Raw – December 29, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 29, 2003
Location: SBC Arena, San Antonio, Texas
Attendance: 12,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re FINALLY done with this terrible year with one last show and, of course, it’s focused on HHH, who is defending the World Title against Shawn Michaels in Shawn’s hometown. This will set some stuff up for the Royal Rumble, which is in about four weeks and has barely been discussed yet. Such is life in WWE, which is rarely up for capitalizing on the extra time that they have. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – December 25, 2003

Smackdown
Date: December 25, 2003
Location: Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

This is a very special show as it’s Christmas in Iraq for the first of a series later called Tribute to the Troops. Back in the day they actually went overseas for the shows, giving this a very special feeling indeed. The focus isn’t going to be on the wrestling tonight but rather the atmosphere as a whole, which is how things should be going for something like this. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – December 22, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 22, 2003
Hosts: Jonathan Coachman, Jerry Lawler

It’s the end of the year and thankfully that means we’re having a week off. This week it’s a Best Of 2003 special, which could be a rather short show. Unfortunately this is just a Best Of Raw show, meaning you’re going to be hearing a lot from HHH and a lot about the Eric Bischoff Era, which is still running strong. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – December 18, 2003

Smackdown
Date: December 18, 2003
Location: Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

This is the last regular show of the year as next week’s is from Iraq for the first Tribute to the Troops. Since last week’s show was a stand alone episode, odds are that’s going to be the case this week as well as I can’t imagine them setting up much and then just dropping it for a week for the special. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – December 15, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 15, 2003
Location: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re closing in on the end of the year and to the shock of no one, it’s all about HHH again. This time though he’s nice enough to allow the rest of Evolution to join in as they swept the titles last night at Armageddon. That means we’re on the way to the Royal Rumble, where I’m sure HHH will give a rub to some young whippersnapper. Let’s get to it.

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Armageddon 2003

Armageddon 2003
Date: December 14, 2003
Location: TD Waterhouse Centre, Orlando, Florida
Attendance: 12,672
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’ll wrap up the pay per view schedule for the year here with another show that is hardly inspiring. The main event here is a triple threat match between Raw World Champion Goldberg, HHH and Kane, because why have one challenger who can’t bring out the best in Goldberg when you can have two? I’m almost scared of how lame this could be so let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – December 11, 2003

Smackdown
Date: December 11, 2003
Location: San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re now on the way to the Royal Rumble and that means….well it probably means that the show takes a few weeks off. Last week saw Chris Benoit fall just short of winning the Smackdown World Title from Brock Lesnar, who now gets to move on to Hardcore Holly. A main event in probably no arena in the country. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – December 8, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 8, 2003
Location: Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home show for Armageddon, which has really snuck up on me this year. The big story coming out of last week was Mick Foley being named the new co-General Manager of Raw and balancing out Eric Bischoff’s power mad rampage. I’m sure this will be a new and innovative story that has never been done before in WWE. Let’s get to it.

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