Join me as Triple H defends his WWE Universal Title in the second ever Elimination Chamber Match, that features some of the biggest names to ever strap on a pair of boots. Also we see Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar go toe to toe for the WWE Championship. All this and so much more in this edition of Chairshot Classics.
This PPV has a tough act to follow, because SummerSlam 2002 may have been the strongest card SummerSlam has put out. (More on SummerSlam 02 here) That doesn’t mean the 16,113 fans in attendance and the other 415K watching at home on PPV aren’t eager to see them top it. This may be the SummerSlam with the lowest buyrate, but they still killed it in ticket sales alone, making $715,000 at the gate. Stacker 2 sponsors this SummerSlam that is held at The American West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. I find it odd that a “dietary pill” is the sponsor for this event, as the target market for the WWE is mostly made up of younger males. I guess the hope is mom watching at home finds a need for this dietary speed. The Theme Song for the evening will be “Saint Anger” by Metallica. I always was a fan of the WWE’s use of popular Metal bands at this time because that was the music that a young wrestling fan was drawn to. The WWE is seeing a decline in revenue for the first time in a while so lets jump right into SummerSlam 2003 and see if the product is growing stale.
We enter right into the arena and Howard Finkle introduces us to the U.S. Marine color guard. He then introduces Lillian Garcia, who is going to sing the National Anthem. She receives some pop at the high spots of the song and overall didn’t do a bad job. This is a new addition to the opening of the show. I wonder if Vince makes sure the guys aren’t kneeling in the back…
We get a cool package next that shows highlights from the first Elimination Chamber, at Survivor Series 02, and some clips of the other rivalries on the card. The narrator tells us to “Bear witness and grieve the end of civility because tonight wars will be waged on the most brutal of battlegrounds.” He continues to hype the Chamber match as it cuts back and forth between the last Chamber match and a funeral scene. The video ends with a Ten Bell Salute as it shows the bloodied faces of various SuperStars. This is a great open and is about the only thing the last SummerSlam card was missing. Maybe it is a sign that a good PPV is upon us.
Jim Ross welcomes us to the sixteenth annual SummerSlam and is sure to tell us that the event is sold out. He introduces his partner for the evening, Jerry “The King” Lawler for this “Red Hot Event” and gives us a quick rundown on the Elimination Chamber Match. This is done early and often and must be it was because it was such a new gimmick the WWE thought they really needed to drive the point home. It’s not long after that JR introduces the SmackDown announce team, Michael Cole and Tazz. The pair speak of the excitement for their brands WWE Championship Match between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle. Those two then introduce the Spanish announce team of Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera. It’s not long until we hear the bomb drop and The Dudley Boyz, D-Von and Bubba Ray, enter the arena. The Tag Team champions, La Resistance enter next and they are made up of Rene Dupree and Sylvan Grenier. When Dupree won the Tag gold he became the youngest ever to do so at 19 years old. This was, of course, beat by Nicholas (10 years old) when he would partner with Braun Stroman at WrestleMania 34 and become Tag Team Champ. The angry Frenchman gimmick was these two guys’ most famous moments.
The Dudleyz waste no time and are quick to attack the Frenchmen on the entrance ramp. The crowd chants “USA” as the Dudleyz guide them back to the ring. The bell sounds and D-Von and Dupree start the match. Not much worth talking about happens early on, as D-Von maintains the momentum. Grenier eventually tags in and D-Von continues to beat him with punches followed by a leg drop. He goes for the first cover, but Grenier is quick to kick out. Bubba tags in next and he continues to beat Grenier with a variety of slaps and punches. The crowd gives up the first pop of the night when Bubba puts Grenier in a tree-of-woe and stomps on his nuts. A back elbow is next and when Dupree comes in to help, Bubba is quick to whip them both into the same corner. Bubba of course splashes them both and the crowd is popping again. The Dudleyz clear the ring out and pump the crowd up. The fans reward their efforts with a “Get the Tables” chant. When Dupree returns to the ring he goes on the offensive after a cheap shot to the back of Bubba’s head, from Grenier who is on the apron. Grenier tags in not long after and La Resistance level Bubba with a double shoulder block. The “USA” chant come back but are again hushed by some more La Resistance double teaming. When Bubba is put into a waist lock is when he starts to rally for a hot tag. Bubba escapes the hold with some head-butts but is quickly sidewalk slammed by Grenier. He goes for the cover and It takes D-Von to stop it. Next Bubba reverses an Irish whip into his signature BubbaBomb. The crowd is electric as both men lay on the mat, because they know a hot tag is incoming. Both men tag out but D-Von comes in hot and tears La Resistance up. He hits clotheslines and some other cool moves on this tear, including a nice cutter. D-Von tosses Grenier from the ring before he scoop slams Dupree and tries to cover. But Dupree kicks out at two and the fight continues.
The next highlight comes when D-Von comes off the rope and catches some serious air to deliver a flying forearm. Grenier is now on the apron and holding D-Von’s arms. When Dupree attempts to clothesline, D-Von he ducks and Dupree sends his partner flying off the ring apron. D-Von goes for a quick school boy but Grenier is quick to return to the ring and break the cover up. The partners double chokeslam D-Von and go for the pin. They are astonished when he kicks out, and this is when Bubba returns to the ring and levels them with a double clothesline. Bubba hits one of them with his version of “Shake, Rattle and Roll” and the other member of La Resistance gets a “WUZ UP” from the Dudleyz. If you aren’t familiar with this move it is a diving head-butt from D-Von that lands in a low blow as Bubba holds the opponents legs up. A 3D follows but D-Von’s cover is broken up by Dupree when he pulls the ref from the ring. Bubba joins him on the outside to brawl and this is when we see a camera man enter the ring and lay D-Von out with his camera. The camera man puts Grenier on top of D-Von and the ref comes sliding in to make the three count. And La Resistance retains the Tag Team Titles. The camera man re-enters the ring and this time lays Bubba out with his camera. But as the three are stomping away at The Dudleyz , little Spike Dudley enters to try and help. But he, too, is quickly laid out with the camera. The Camera man removes his wig and it is the La Resistance henchman, Rob Conway. This was a decent match but I don’t think it did the opening card slot justice. This one could definitely be fast forwarded through. Match Time:7:49
Jonathon Coachman stops The Dudley Boyz on the ramp as they are exiting and begins to question them about their loss. Bubba rants on about how they will get the Titles from La Resistance and even calls Coach an “Un-American sympathizer”. D-Von says his usual “Testify” before the segment ends.
Next we see Eric Bischoff, in a black Gi, and he is shadow boxing in the back to prepare for his fight with Shane McMahon later in the evening. For those that aren’t aware, Bischoff has a legit black belt in Tae-kwon-do and used to compete on the amateur level when he was younger. The Intercontinental Champion, Christian, joins him and is pissed that he doesn’t have a match on the card. Bischoff is quick to pass the blame onto the acting commissioner, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Christian won the Title from Booker T at a house show in Des Moise, Iowa but that was originally scheduled to happen at SummerSlam. The plans were changed because Booker T was dealing with a nagging back injury and they took their opportunity then to have the Strap change hands. The segment ends with Christian offering assistance in Bischoff match tonight. To which Bischoff replies “I’ve already got a back-up plan in position.”
Team SmackDown, Michael Cole and Tazz, introduces us to our next match between The Undertaker and A-Train. A-Train is the former Prince Albert but his real name is Matt Bloom and is currently one of the heads of development at NXT. The American Bad Ass enters first and is on a yellow Harley. We don’t get the real theme song on the Network and it must be due to some kind of rights battle. I notice this often on the WWE Network and have really never looked into why. Big Evil circles the ring on the bike a few times before he parks it on the ramp. The A-Train enters next and is joined by the lovely Sable. Pairing A-Train with her must of been an attempt to help get A-Train over with the fans. The match starts with the collar and elbow and A-Train transitions it into a side headlock. He then whips Taker into the ropes and levels him with a shoulder block. They run through another sequence of the same moves and we are off to a pretty slow start. The first little pop comes when The Undertaker hits a Russian leg sweep and goes for the cover. A-Train kicks out, and the slow paced fight continues. They two go back and forth, and the next spot worth mentioning is a running DDT by The Undertaker.
They continue the back and forth until Taker comes off the ropes and goes sky-high to hit a flying lariat. Taker goes to the corner next, and hits his signature, Old School. Albert isn’t much fazed by this and soon catches The Undertaker with a big boot. Taker charges again but A-Train hits the deck and grabs the top rope. This in turn causes Big Evil to go over the rope and crash to the floor outside. Train is quick to join him out there and ram him into the ring post. He returns Taker to the ring and goes for a cover but The American Bad Ass kicks out. A-Train continues to use Undertaker’s ribs as his target and stomps away at them. A-Train hits a big vertical suplex next and again goes for a cover. But Taker is not done yet and is still kicking out. The Undertaker finally goes on the offensive after he lands some back elbow. This leads to some punches from Taker, and he soon has A-Train in a standing sleeper hold. The hold doesn’t last long, though, and The A-Train breaks free by landing a jawbreaker that leaves both men stunned for a moment. They both return to their feet but Big Evil keeps the edge with some big left hands. A-Train receives some snake-eyes next and the crowd is back into this match. Taker attempts the big boot, but A-Train ducks it and both men are back on the mat after a double clothesline. A-Train is first to his feet and Taker is soon kneeling and unloading punches to A-Train’s midsection. Taker is soon on his feet and the two men are going punch for punch. Taker nails the big boot and follows it with a leg drop. He goes for the cover but A-Train hasn’t left station yet and gets the shoulder up. Taker drops the leg again this time on the apron. Taker tries the Last Ride but A-Train shoves him into the ref to stop the finish. A-Train hits the two handed chokeslam, but the ref is still groggy and it takes a moment for him to start the count, which Taker kicks out of. The Undertaker is quick to his feet, but when Train ducks under a clothesline it hits the ref instead. A bicycle kick to Taker’s face is next from A-Train and with the ref down he leaves the ring to get a chair. But The Undertaker sends it back into his face with a big boot. He goes for another cover but the official is still dazed and A-Train kicks-out of the slow count. The Undertaker goes for the Tombstone but A-Train escapes with a backslide but he soon is chokeslamed. He makes the cover and this time he gets the three. After the match Taker is about to give Train the Last Ride but Sable comes in the ring to make the stop. Her seduction almost works, but Taker isn’t deceived and is soon about to chokeslam her. This is when Stephanie McMahon runs in and spears Sable. Steph is unloading some punches on Sable until A-Train grabs her foot and pulls her from the ring. The Crowd gives him some serious heat for this as he and Sable make their way to the back. The match ends with Stephanie applauding Big Evil for his work. For two large men, the match wasn’t bad, but I have definitely seen better work from the Deadman. This one is another you could skip over. Match Time:9:19