Wednesday, May 2, 2018

WWE Bad Blood 2003

Although the brand split started shortly after Wrestlemania X-8 in 2002, the idea of brand-specific PPVs didn't become a thing until a year afterwards. So in lieu of another King of the Ring PPV, we got the first RAW-branded PPV in Bad Blood. The last time there was a WWE PPV called Bad Blood, it was in 1997 and there was one more "d" in Bad. Also, that show had the first-ever Hell In A Cell match... so guess what we're having with this show? And not only that, but it's going to be for the RAW World title! Oh, boy! This is going to be exciting!

Just one problem; it's 2003, the World champion is McSon-In-Law and the challenger is Kevin Nash, fresh off a year recovering from the quad tear that turned into a meme... and with Mick Foley as the referee for some reason. This didn't instill me with much enthusiasm back in the day and it's no better this time around.

For interested parties, I did a predictions post on my old blog back in 2003. It is subsequently one of the few WWE PPVs where I got every single prediction right. That post was subsequently reposted a couple years ago with some added thoughts, but since I've been able to watch the shows again, I've decided to go back and give these "proper" write-ups or something. For the sake of posteriry, I provide a link to the repost of the original post.

Before we get to the matches, let's get the running gag out of the way so I don't have to touch on this ever again. Throughout the show, we have Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff competing in a "Redneck Triathlon" where they'd partake in three events determined by spinning a wheel and whoever wins the most events wins... something. I don't know. I don't know the point of this stupid thing other than to waste time. But for those who really want to know the results of this fascinating contest, here's the quick notes version;

First event is a burping contest, which involves Austin and Easy Z pretending to burp while over-exaggerated burps are blaring through the loudspeakers. This is shit they used to do to pad out PPVs. I want to say that I'm glad we're not doing this sort of thing anymore, but when the other thing being used to pad out PPVs these days is anything involving Stephanie McMahon, I'd much rather have the pointless burping contests. At least, those have a pay-off.

Second event is a "pie-eating" contest where... oh, fuck it. The joke that everyone sees coming is that they have to kiss Mae Young; nowadays a celebrated Hall of Famer and a revered figure in womens' wrestling, but back in the day, was a horny old lady that liked to give Bronco Busters. Bischoff ate a Bronco, Austin gives Mae a stunner, Uncle Eric wins.... god, this is so fucking stupid.

Final contest of the night is a singing contest, much to the dismay of Austin since he's a bad singer. However, Uncle Eric isn't that much of a singer, either, as his failed lyp-synching attempts would show. Austin decides another spin of the wheel and rigs it to land on hog-pen match... do you honestly need me to tell you what happens afterwards? I didn't think so.

Now that we got this shitfest out of the way... on with the matches.

Christopher Nowinski and Rodney Mack defeated the Dudley Boyz in a match that was perhaps best suited for RAW than filling a spot on PPV. If there was one negative to be had with brand-specific PPVs, it's that there would be lots of matches placed on the card for the sake of filling up time and not because it was worth spending your hard-earned money on. PPVs used to go for 30 to 40 bucks; they weren't cheap. Anyway, the story here is that Nowinski (the Havard fellow) asks D'Von why he's always the one getting tables and that gets D'Von thinking because... I don't know. So when it comes to get the tables, D'Von doesn't get the tables, thus allowing Nowinski to hit Bubba with his plastic mask and score the pinfall... I'm not quite sure if this went anywhere, but I doubt it.

Scott Steiner defeated Test in a Stacy Kiebler (On A Pole) match... okay, not really, but the winner got the services of Stacy Kiebler and now we know how she ended up in George Clooney's bedroom... Okay, I'm just kidding... I hope. Unfortunately, this sad digression is the only thing keeping me awake during this match.

Just to let it out of the bag - and I had to look this up for a bit - Test was being abusive towards Stacy and Steiner was supposed to be defending her honor or something... which is the funniest thing ever considering how much of an abusive hothead Steiner happens to be (both onscreen and off.) And what happens when Steiner got Stacy in his stead? She cost him a match against Test that forced him to provide Test his services. And then they both start treating her like shit. Because WWE.

Booker T defeated Intercontinental champion Christian via DQ when Christian hit Booker with the title. Just shortly before this, Christian opted for a countout, but was told by the ref that if he took the countout loss, he'd also forfeit the title. Okay, fine. That's a nice way of keeping the finish somewhat definite... and then Christian hits Booker with the belt to get himself intentionally disqualified and the ref just does DQ's him anyway. Methinks the ref in charge is not a smart fellow. Anyway, it's a nothing match, but at least it felt like a match that deserved to be on a PPV show.

Then after that stupid pie-eating horse manure, we get a vignette letting us know that Gail Kim is coming. Boy, the Matrix was a big thing back in the day because that ended up being her whole schtick and not much else. Fortunately, Gail Kim would go on to be a big deal in women's wrestling... only not in WWE.

La Resistance (comprising Sylvain Grenier and Rene Dupree) defeated RAW Tag-Team champions Rob Van Dam and Kane to win the titles. La Resistance (Sylvain Grenier & Rene Dupree) defeated RAW Tag-Team Champions Kane & Rob Van Dam to win the titles. Funny how this tag-team began as Evil Frenchmen before they swapped out Grenier with Rob Conway and changed their gimmick from Evil Frenchmen to Evil Quebecois... but hey, what can you do?

Fun fact: Rene Dupree was only 19 years old when he won the tag titles, making him the youngest wrestler to hold a championship in WWE. La Resistance are Frenchmen at this point before they'd eventually transition to be Quebecois. In either case, this was a young team getting the rub from a slightly older team and I guess it works. Again, perfectly fine for an episode of RAW, but hard to get excited over this unless they were posing as Quebecois.

Bill Goldberg defeated Chris Jericho in perhaps the show's first genuinely good match. Quite frankly, I'm amazed this turned out to be a rather civil affair, given the backstage shenanigans between the two. This was a much better Goldberg match than what we got with the Rock at Backlash and there was almost an attempt to try and replicate the story being told in that one Goldberg/DDP match from Halloween Havoc. On that note, it almost (but not quite) reaches that level of greatness. It's a great match and perhaps would've been a better introduction for Goldberg rather than the other match, but I honestly would've preferred a quick match putting Goldberg over strong rather than a competitive contest... eh, whatever.

Ric Flair beats Shawn Michaels with assistance from Randy Orton in a match between two legends that started off so well and then went off the rails when they brought in a table. The whole point was to give Orton a reason to get involved and involved he did get... oh well, at least there's Wrestlemania 24 if you want a good match between these two.

World Heavyweight Champion McSon-In-Law defeated Kevin Nash in a Hell In A Cell match to retain the title, with Mick Foley serving as special referee for some reason. Those who were expecting a "big stunt" where somebody falls off the cell would be severely disappointed because both Hunter and Nash make the wise decision to keep the action in the Cell. Now, believe it or not, I actually applaud this move... because the whole point of the Cell (or really, ANY cage match) is to keep the participants INSIDE and everyone else OUTSIDE. The first couple times the action happened outside were special cases, but really the action should be inside the cell. And when done well, you could have some really good matches inside the Cell without the risky stunts. Case in point; Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker at No Mercy 2002 was a superb Cell match that was bloody and brutal.

This Cell match between Hunter and Nash wasn't necessarily a "bad" match in that it was hard to watch. When it comes to Cell matches, this wouldn't necessarily be the worst of the bunch. The problem with this match boils down to lack on interest. I wasn't keen on this match-up back when it was a thing in 2003 and watching this fifteen years later, I was practically bored and on the verge of falling asleep. And it's that general sense of apathy and the lack of an effort on the match's part to try and break that funk that makes this a bad match. They could've easily taken fifty falls off the Cell or through it and I still wouldn't have cared because I didn't care about either guy at any point. Sadly, nothing would change when they went at it again in 2011.

On the bright side, both McSon-In-Law and Kevin Nash made it through the match without tearing a quad. Thank heaven for small favors.

This was a bad show. Worst ever? Probably not, but it felt such a huge colossal waste of time that I wondered why I even bothered watching this in the first place, much less fifteen years later.  Only one good match on a show of utter mediocrity and it wasn't good enough to completely wipe out the stench this show left. Completely and utterly worthless.

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