Welcome back to Retro Wrestling, now on its new home, Tuesdays here on TJR. This week we will take a look back at WWE Unforgiven 2003. I’m looking forward to this one because this is the first Shawn Michaels match I’m doing here on Retro Wrestling. The main event doesn’t particularly excite me but maybe I’ll be surprised. I have this show on DVD but I’ve never actually seen it. So maybe I’ll really enjoy this PPV or maybe this DVD will end up in the trash. Only one way to find out, so let’s get started.
Tag Team Championship Handicap Tables Match- The Dudley Boyz beat La Resistance and Rob Conway to become the NEW Tag Team Champions (**3/4)
The opening match of a PPV doesn’t need to be a five-star classic. It just needs to be a fun bout that gets the crowd into the show and that’s what this match was. Rob Conway would go onto to be a full-fledged member of La Resistance but at this point he was just a French sympathizer. The first six minutes of this match was a regular tag team match. Then after that, the wood came out. You had to put all members of the other team through a table to win. Devon went through first leaving Bubba in a big hole but he was able to suplex Sylvain through a table and then he and Devon hit Conway with, in what can only be described as a double spinebuster over the top rope through a table. That was a sick bump. The finish came moments later after Rene Dupree got a 3D through a table and new Tag Team Champions were crowned after 10 minutes.
Test defeated Scott Steiner (**)
These two used to be tag team partners and then had a falling out over the managerial services of Stacy Keibler. The winner of the match would get Stacy’s managerial services. Test played the heel here and did so well, using all the classic heel tactics. This match was much better than it had any right to be. They built some really nice near falls. The end came at the six minute mark when Stacy accidently hit Steiner with a steel chair and Test nailed him with a big boot to pick up the win.
Randy Orton pinned Shawn Michaels (***1/4)
This was a good match, but I thought it would turn out better than it did. It was a little slow at times with Orton working over HBK’s shoulder. Orton was so young here. This was towards the beginning of his run with Evolution when he was the Legend Killer. You could see though that he had it. It was just up to him how far he would go. Ric Flair was at ringside for this match and he played a major role in the bout. HBK had just pinned Orton with the Sweet Chin Music but Flair put Orton’s foot on the rope and the referee declared a restart in the match. Flair slipped Orton a pair of brass knuckles that he used to knock out Shawn and pick up the win after 19 minutes.
Lita and Trish Stratus defeated Molly Holly and Gail Kim (*3/4)
This was Lita’s first match back after a year off with a neck injury. This was a typical women’s tag team match. Notice how I didn’t say Divas tag team match. A women’s match in 2003 could at least keep your attention throughout. We all know that’s not the case now. Molly Holly was the reigning Women’s Champion and Lita pinned her after a Moonsault at the seven minute mark.
Last Man Standing Match- Kane beat Shane McMahon (***1/2)
This wasn’t on the level of some of Shane’s other matches but this was still a fun brawl. The match came about because Kane had gone super psycho after having to remove his mask so he did dastardly things like set Jim Ross on fire and Tombstone Linda McMahon. The latter made Shane come to the honor of his mother. The build to this match saw Kane infamously hook Shane’s sack up to a car battery with a pair of jumper cables. Ouch indeed. The match started when Shane jumped Kane on his way to the ring. The match was much more exciting and had a better flow when Shane was on offense. One of the highlights of the match was when Shane went coast to coast and dropkicked the steel steps into Kane’s face. The match was drawing to its conclusion when they fought towards the entrance ramp. Shane was in control and looking to finish off Kane. So, he climbed to the top of the Unforgiven set and jumped. Unfortunately for him, Kane rolled out of the way. Shane went through the stage and the referee counted to ten awarding Kane the win. I can’t begin to describe how dangerous that leap was. One inch off and it could have been all over for Shane. I don’t know why he took those risks. He certainly didn’t need to.
Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was Co-RAW GM at the time with Eric Bischoff, is in the back watching the PPV when Chris Jericho barges in. Chris blames Austin for what happened to Shane because Stone Cold told Kane he wanted to see a monster. Austin tells Jericho if he has a problem then take his best shot. Jericho tells Steve that he won’t crack his physically. He’s going to get inside his brain and crack him mentally.
Intercontinental Championship Match- Christian defeated Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho to retain the Championship (***1/4)
I can’t help but to be disappointed in this match. These three very talented wrestlers got 20 minutes on a PPV and needed a strong finish to make it a good match. The crowd was dead for most of it too, which didn’t help. Christian and Jericho formed an alliance but like all heel alliances in a Triple Threat, it didn’t last long. It looked liked RVD had the match won at one point. He hit a drop toe hold on Christian who landed on Jericho in the 69 position, RVD hit the Five Star Frog Splash on both of them but he couldn’t make the cover on time. That was shortly followed by an amazing move. RVD looked like he was going to give Jericho the Electric Chair from the top rope but Christian snuck in there and hit a double power bomb. The end came when RVD was going for another Five Star but Christian got his knees up and but the Intercontinental Championship belt on his knees and RVD came crashing down on it. Christian rolled him up for the win to retain his title.
Some random jackass who no longer works for WWE is interviewing Triple H in the back. He wants to know what The Game’s thoughts are on his match with Goldberg. He basically said that Goldberg is a fairy tale and he doesn’t believe in fairy tales. (Author’s note: I took the time to look up the jackass’s name. It’s Marc Lloyd. You’re welcome.)
The Coach and Al Snow beat Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler (DUD)
Why WWE loves having their announcers wrestle is beyond me. The winners of this match would become the RAW announce team. There was no commentary during this match which made it more awful. JR is the greatest announcer of all time but Dear Lord the man should not be in the ring. Chris Jericho interfered on Snow and Coach’s behalf which allowed Coach to pin JR after eight minutes of atrocity. After the match, random jackass asked Jericho why he coast JR and King the match. He said there was more than one way to crack Stone Cold and he just cost his best friend his job. Thankfully, Coach and Al Snow didn’t last long as the RAW announce team.
World Heavyweight Championship Match- Goldberg pins Triple H to become the NEW World Heavyweight Champion (**)
I think we all knew at the time that Goldberg was going to win this match since his career was on the line in the match. Goldberg was fun to watch when he’d hit the five or six power moves he knew but other than that his matches were an insomniacs dream. There’s not really much to say about the match. It was very by the book and the outcome was never in question. With the referee down, HHH hit Goldberg with the Sledgehammer, but he completely no-sold it. Spear, Jackhammer, new World Champion after 15 minutes.
The PPV ends with Goldberg holding his newly won title.
This PPV had the potential to be great but it fell short. It’s a watchable show with three matches that went above three stars and a fun opener but the end of the show is forgettable. The announcers had a complete dud and the Main Event lacked any real excitement. The announcers played it up like it was some historic feat that Goldberg beat the legendary champion. It wasn’t. It happened at a B-level PPV and Goldberg’s run in WWE was pretty forgettable. It’s a solid PPV but if you missed it you didn’t miss much. Unforgiven 2003 gets a 6/10.
Star of the Night
No one really stood out but I’ll award this to Lita. She returned to WWE on this night after having major neck surgery and it looked like she never missed a step. Lita is sorely missed in today’s WWE.
Must See Match
The highest rated match was the Shane McMahon vs. Kane Last Man Standing Match so that’s what I’ll go with. I wouldn’t say you have to go out of your way to see it but you might want to check out some of the sick bumps Shane took.
Next up on Retro Wrestling: WWE Bad Blood 2004. Shawn Michaels and Triple H have an epic war inside Hell in a Cell. I can’t wait to watch that again.
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