A2Z Analysiz: WWE Backlash 2003 (The Rock, Goldberg)

backlash 2003

The Centrum – Worcester, Massachusetts – April 27, 2003

Jonathan Coachman and Jerry “The King” Lawler are here to call the action for the RAW side, while Michael Cole and Tazz are doing the honors for SmackDown.

SUNDAY NIGHT HEAT MATCH: Scott Steiner vs. Rico

Steiner overpowers Rico right away, shoving him down and then slugging away in the corner. He hip tosses Rico out of the corner and then gorilla press slams him. 3-Minute Warning come running out to distract Steiner, giving Rico the chance to recover and hit a big kick to the head. Rico hits a jumping kick to the face in the corner, and another kick to the face for two. He tries a spin kick but Steiner ducks and catches him with a powerslam. Seiner then hits a belly-to-belly suplex and a clothesline. He follows up with the elbow drop and pushups. He hits the Steiner Death Drop to get the pin at 2:28. That’s about the right length for Scott Steiner matches at this time. At least Rico got a little offense in.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #1: WWE Tag Team Championship – Team Angle vs. Los Guerreros

Team Angle have been the champions since 2.6.03 and this is their second defense. The champions come out first, accompanied by a giant portrait of their leader Kurt Angle, who is at home recovering from the butt-kicking he received from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XIX. Charlie Haas and Eddie Guerrero start the match with some back and forth chain wrestling. Eddie tags Chavo Guerrero in, and Haas responds by tagging Shelton Benjamin. Chavo is able to take control and the challengers control Benjamin, working over his arm in their half of the ring. Team Angle tries to use chicanery to take the advantage, so the Guerreros show them how it’s done. The champions eventually do take control and are able to isolate Eddie in their corner. Eddie takes several minutes of heat before finally making the hot tag to Chavo, who is el casa en fuego. The action breaks down to a brawl and the referee loses control. Chavo is almost able to pin Haas, but Team Angle out-cheats the challengers when they pull the Ultimate Warrior versus Rick Rude from WrestleMania V finish to retain the titles at 15:04. Eddie backdrops Chavo over the ropes onto the champions, and then they steal the belts on their way to the back. They get in their Low Rider and drive off. That was a solid opener, but the heat seemed to go on forever. Eddie was really starting to look like a star at this point.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #2: Rikishi vs. Sean O’Haire

This was during that strange period when Roddy Piper was managing O’Haire. The fight starts on the floor, where Rikishi throws O’Haire into the steel steps and then the announce table. Back in the ring Rikishi dominates. Rikishi hits a Samoan Drop. Piper distracts him and O’Haire hits a superkick. Now O’Haire is dominating, so he locks on a chinlock. The crowd gets distracted by something besides the match, but Cole tries to deny it. Anybody know what the crowd is paying attention to besides this match? Actually they do perk up when Rikishi signals for the Stink Face. O’Haire blocks it and Piper sneaks in the ring with a coconut. The referee stops Piper, and Rikishi and O’Haire kick each other in the face simultaneously. Piper gets back in the ring again and Rikishi cracks the coconut on his head. That gives O’Haire the chance to hit the Widowmaker to get the pin at 4:56. Piper looked like he had no clue what was going on. The match was brutal and the storyline going in was super lame.
Rating: ¼*

MATCH #3: World Tag Team Championship – Rob Van Dam & Kane vs. The Dudley Boyz

Rob Van Dam & Kane have been the champions since 3.31.03 and this is their second defense. The champions cut a hilarious promo backstage. I love this team. Chief Morley is the special guest referee. Bubba Ray attacks RVD before the bell and here we go. RVD uses his quickness to make a comeback and they wrestle to a standoff. He gloats too much so Bubba hits him with a clothesline. The Dudleys take control of RVD and work him over in their half of the ring. RVD comes back with a spin kick and a spinning leg drop for two before making the tag to Kane. The Big Red Machine goes to work on D-Von’s arm. He nails D-Von with a big boot to the face for two. D-Von comes back with a flying clothesline for two. Bubba gets tagged back in, and the Dudleys have to use some double-team maneuvers to gain control. Kane comes back with a spinebuster for two. RVD gets tagged back in and he goes to work on Bubba. He hits a series of kicks and a split-legged moonsault for two. Bubba comes back with a side slam on RVD and then knocks Kane off the apron. When Kane tries to jump in the ring Morley stops him, and the Dudleys use that opportunity to hit the What’s Up. They work RVD over in their half of the ring for several minutes. RVD comes back with a spin kick and both men are down. Tags are made on both sides, and Kane is in his natural state. Kane manhandles both Dudleys and makes the tag back to RVD, who hits a missile dropkick on D-Von and a kick on Bubba. RVD follows up with Rolling Thunder on Bubba, but then he gets hit with a super neckbreaker by D-Von. Kane comes off the top rope with a clothesline on D-Von, but no cover is made. Bubba comes in and Kane goes for the Chokeslam but Morley hits a low blow and Bubba hits a clothesline for two. Morley sends Kane to the floor, and then accidentally nails Bubba with a clothesline. D-Von is pissed and he takes Morley down and hammers away at him. Lance Storm pops up out of nowhere to hit D-Von with a clothesline off the top rope, and then Bubba hits him with the Bubba Bomb. Bubba nails RVD with a clothesline, and then Morley goes after him. The Dudleys hit the 3D on the referee, sending Morley to the floor. Meanwhile, Kane recovers and nails Bubba with a Chokeslam and sends D-Von to the floor. RVD goes up top and lands the Five-Star Frog Splash on Bubba and a new referee comes into the ring to make the count and the champs retain at 13:01. That was decent enough, but it definitely made the Dudleys versus Eric Bischoff and Morley feud more important than the World Tag Team Titles and I never like that.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #4: Women’s Championship – Trish Stratus vs. Jazz

Stratus has been the champion since 3.30.03 and this is her third defense. Jazz is accompanied by her manager Theodore Long. This is a rematch from last year’s Backlash, but the roles are reversed. Stratus is entering the match with injured ribs after she was attacked by the Dudley Boyz, and t hen dropped chest first onto a table by Jazz last week. They lock up and Jazz goes right for the injured ribs. Trish gets a quick cradle for two and then an armdrag. Jazz goes back to working the injured areas, hitting a backbreaker. Trish comes back with a clothesline for two. Jazz fires back and hits the Glam Slam. Trish escapes a backbreaker and hits a gut wrench suplex for two. Jazz comes back and attacks Trish’s ribs and then exposes the middle turnbuckle. While the referee goes to reattach the padding, Trish gets a backslide but the count is late so she only gets two. Jazz gets a schoolgirl rollup for two. Trish comes back and charges at Jazz but gets booted in the face. Jazz goes up to the second rope and then Trish tries the Stratusphere but Jazz catches her with a KneeDT and then locks on a Boston Crab. Trish reverses it and they do a fish out of water spot. That ends with Trish locking on a Boston Crab of her own. She rolls that into an STF, and Jazz reaches the bottom rope with Long’s help. Trish hits the Chick Kick but Jazz kicks out at two. Jazz comes back with a chinbreaker and a dropkick for two. Trish escapes a suplex and hits the Stratusfaction, but Long breaks up the pin by throwing his shoe at Trish, and then he blames it on a fan. This angers the women’s champion, giving Jazz the time to recover and hook an inside cradle for two. Trish goes for a sunset flip but Jazz kneels down and grabs the middle rope for leverage and gets the pin at 5:50. These two had good chemistry, and this was another solid match.
Rating: **

MATCH #5: Rey Mysterio vs. Big Show

The idiot referee rings the bell even though Mysterio is outside the ring. Mysterio baits Show to the floor and then quickly slides back into the ring. Back in the ring Mysterio hits a springboard dropkick and otherwise brings the fight to his much larger opponent. Show catches Mysterio and hurls him into the turnbuckle. He tries to whip Mysterio into the corner by the slides to the floor. Show tries to bring Mysterio back in the ring by his head but it gets blocked. Mysterio tries to springboard in, but Show catches him and hits a backbreaker. Show is fully in control, just wearing Mysterio down. He military presses Mysterio but he lands on his feet. Show responds with a chop to the back that sends Mysterio to the floor. Mysterio finds a steel chair, and when Show accidentally diverts the referee’s gaze Mysterio blasts him with it. He gets back in the ring with a seated splash off the top rope for two. He hits a couple of 619 variations and then tries the West Coast Pop but Show catches him with the Chokeslam and gets the pin at 3:48. That was quite short but certainly fun while it lasted. The referee calls for a stretcher and they strap Mysterio in. Unfortunately for Mysterio, Big Show comes back and grabs Mysterio, while still attached to the gurney, and swings it at the ring post like a baseball bat. Mysterio takes a nasty bump on his face from that.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #6: WWE Championship – Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena

Lesnar has been the champion since 3.30.03 and this is his first defense. Cena attacks the champion before the bell, but Lesnar absorbs his attack and hits two consecutive backbreakers and a fallaway slam. Lesnar hits two hard vertical suplexes for a two-count. The Champion is absolutely dominant in the early going. Lesnar gorilla presses Cena and then clotheslines him to the floor. He follows Cena out and whips him into the announce table, and then rubs the title belt in his face. Back in the ring Cena avoids a clothesline and takes a powder. Lesnar doesn’t like that so he goes out and continues his assault on the floor. Cena reverses a whip and sends Lesnar crashing into the steel steps. Lesnar’s head, which was wounded from an early altercation, has been split open again. Back in the ring Cena unleashes some offense and gets a couple of near falls but can’t put the champion away. He hits a back elbow for a two-count. Lesnar fights back but Cena cuts him off and knocks him to the apron. Cena goes to the second rope and hits the Cena Slice. Lesnar rolls to the floor and Cena follows him out so he can throw the champ into the ring post. Back in the ring Cena gets a two-count and then locks on a chinlock. Lesnar escapes but Cena stays on him, hitting a DDT for two. Cena charges and Lesnar picks him up with a spinebuster. Lesnar tries to subdue Cena, but the challenger hits a jawbreaker and a clothesline for two. Once again Cena locks on a chinlock and includes a body scissors this time. Cena keeps the chinlock on for a while. Eventually Lesnar powers his way to his feet and rams Cena into the turnbuckles three times to break the hold. Lesnar is all fired up now, hitting a powerslam for two. He drives his shoulder into Cena’s gut multiple times, and then hits another powerslam for two. A series of reversals ends with Cena hitting a low blow behind the referee’s back, and then he rolls Cena up with a schoolboy for two. Cena hits the Throwback but Lesnar kicks out at two. Lesnar gets up and drives Cena into the turnbuckles, and both men are down. Cena grabs his chain and goes to hit Lesnar with it, but the referee takes it away. Lesnar then nails Cena with the F-5 to get the pin at 15:05. Cena was over at this time but wasn’t really ready to be in the WWE Title picture yet. He was very green and that chinlock sequence just went on forever. It’s too bad that Lesnar was gone before the two could have had a rematch after Cena got good.
Rating: **

MATCH #7: Six-Man Tag Team Match – Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels & Booker T vs. Triple H, Chris Jericho & Ric Flair

Jericho and Michaels officially start the match for their respective teams. They start quickly with some back and forth chain wrestling, culminating in a fish out of water spot. Michaels gets the advantage and tags Nash, who immediately throws Jericho to the floor. Nash then knocks Flair off the apron and challenges the World Heavyweight Champion Triple H. Jericho gets back in the ring and Nash levels him with a big boot. Booker T gets tagged in and hits a hard Alabama Slam on Jericho for two. Jericho comes back and drives Booker into their corner and makes the tag to Triple H. Booker fights hard but H takes control with a spinebuster. Flair gets tagged in, and Booker responds by tagging Michaels. The Heart Break Kid controls all three of his opponents, and hits the flying forearm on Flair. He hits the Sweet Chin Music, but before he can go for the cover H sneaks in and hits Michaels with the Pedigree. Flair is closer to his corner and is able to tag Jericho, who goes right to work on the injured Michaels. Jericho, H, and Flair take turns working Michaels over and keeping him from tagging one of his partners. They target his leg, softening it up for Flair’s Figure-Four Leglock. Michaels comes back with an enziguiri on Flair, and then knocks him down with a shoulderblock for a couple of near-falls. Flair tags Triple H and Michaels makes the tag to Nash, which is the alleged money match at this point. Nash slams everything in sight, with particular focus on the World Heavyweight Champion. The match breaks down to a brawl, with bodies flying all over the place. Booker and Jericho fight on the floor, H and Nash fight in the aisle, and Michaels and Flair fight in the ring. Michaels once again sets up for Sweet Chin Music on Flair but Jericho breaks it up. Flair locks Michaels in the Figure-Four Leglock, and Jericho adds a Lionsault for good measure. Jericho locks on the Walls of Jericho and Nash breaks it up. The referee accidentally takes a bump and Nash hits Jericho with the Jackknife. Triple H hits Nash with the sledgehammer and the referee recovers in time to make the three-count at 17:51. They were really trying to push Triple H versus Kevin Nash but the crowds just weren’t buying it and everything came off flat. The match was serviceable but nothing they couldn’t have done on Raw.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #8: The Rock vs. Goldberg

The Rock cuts his usually awesome promo backstage before the match, and the crowd is already on his side. His entrance video during this run was awesome. They lock up and Goldberg shoves Rock back to the canvas. Rock gets back to his feet and they lock up again, and this time Goldberg shoves Rock all the way to the floor. Back in the ring Rock slaps Goldberg in the face, and then takes a shoulderblock and gets clotheslined to the floor. Rock stalls for a while on the floor before heading back towards the ring. He snaps Goldberg’s neck off the top rope, and then this a clothesline. The crowd is definitely behind Rock. Goldberg comes back with a Rock Bottom and sets up for the Spear, but Rock moves out of the way and Goldberg crashes shoulder-first into the ring post and falls hard to the floor. Back in the ring Rock locks on the Sharpshooter and hangs on for quite a while before Goldberg reaches the ropes. Rock gets the referee out of the way and punches Goldberg squarely in the balls. He appears to be going for the Rock Bottom, but Goldberg his him with a Spear out of nowhere! Both men are down and when they get up Goldberg takes advantage, hitting a hard powerslam for two. Rock avoids a charge in the corner and tries to take Goldberg down with clotheslines, and then uses a spinebuster to accomplish it. He hits the Rock Bottom but Goldberg kicks out at two! Rock slugs away at Goldberg, but gets hit with a clothesline. He comes right back with another Spinebuster and hits the People’s Elbow, but Goldberg once again kicks out at two. They get back up again and Goldberg hits a Spear, eliciting boos from the crowd. Rock takes forever to get back to his feet and Goldberg blasts him with another Spear to more boos. Goldberg then picks Rock up and delivers the Jackhammer to get the win at 13:04. That was the wrong match to have there. It should have started with Goldberg getting a little offense, Rock cheats to cut him off and works him over for a few minutes, Goldberg kicks out of Rock’s finishers and hits one Spear and a Jackhammer to get the pin, in six to eight minutes tops. Instead they exposed Goldberg on his first night in the ring and I don’t think he ever really recovered.
Rating: *¼

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