Promotional poster featuring Sable
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||August 24, 2003|
|Venue||America West Arena|
SummerSlam (2003) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place August 24, 2003, at the America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. It was the 16th annual SummerSlam event and featured wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown! brands.
Nine professional wrestling matches were set on the event's supercard, a scheduling of multiple high-level matches. The first main event was an Elimination Chamber match, in which World Heavyweight Champion Triple H defeated Chris Jericho, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Randy Orton, and Shawn Michaels to retain his championship. In the other main event, defending WWE Champion Kurt Angle defeated Brock Lesnar in a standard wrestling match. The undercard included Kane defeating Rob Van Dam in a No Holds Barred match, and Eddie Guerrero defending his United States Championship against Chris Benoit, Rhyno and Tajiri.
The event marked the second time the Elimination Chamber format was used by WWE; the first was at Survivor Series 2002. SummerSlam (2003) grossed over $715,000 ticket sales from an attendance of 16,113 and received about 415,000 pay-per-view buys, more than the following year's event. This event helped WWE increase its pay-per-view revenue by $6.2 million from the previous year.
The professional wrestling matches at SummerSlam featured professional wrestlers performing as characters in scripted events pre-determined by the hosting promotion, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Storylines between the characters were produced on WWE's weekly television shows Raw and SmackDown! with the Raw and SmackDown! brands—storyline divisions in which WWE assigned its independent contractors to different programs.
In the first main event of SummerSlam wrestlers from the Raw brand competed in an Elimination Chamber match, in which the ring is surrounded by a steel structure of chain and girders. The match was contested for the World Heavyweight Championship, in which Triple H defended the title against Chris Jericho, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Randy Orton, and Shawn Michaels. The buildup to the match began on July 22, 2003, when during the SummerSlam press conference, the authority figure Eric Bischoff, announced that Triple H would defend the championship against Goldberg in a standard wrestling match at the event. On August 4, 2003 during a television episode of Raw, Bischoff changed the stipulations of the match to No disqualification regulations. Later during the episode, another authority figure, Steve Austin, altered Bischoff's announcement, stating that the championship would be contested in an Elimination Chamber match, with Triple H defending his title against Goldberg, Chris Jericho, Kevin Nash, Randy Orton, and Shawn Michaels. Six days before SummerSlam, during an episode of Raw on August 18, 2003, the rivalry among the six competitors intensified during a promotional interview segment, in which each participant in the Elimination Chamber discussed the match and taunted the other wrestlers. During the show's main event, in which Orton wrestled Goldberg, Nash interfered in the match and attacked Goldberg. Michaels then came down to the ring, but as he was about to hit Triple H with the World Heavyweight Championship belt, Jericho ran into the ring and hit Michaels with a chair.
The second main event resulted from events on SmackDown!, WWE's other main television program. In the match, Kurt Angle defended his WWE Championship against Brock Lesnar. The build-up to the match began on July 31, 2003 on an episode of SmackDown!. During an interview promotion in the ring, Lesnar challenged Angle to a rematch of their bout at Vengeance, WWE's previous pay-per-view event. The WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon, decided that Lesnar would have to earn his rematch by competing in a steel cage match against McMahon himself, and would take place on SmackDown! the following week, with Angle officiating as a special guest referee. The Steel Cage match resulted in neither wrestler winning the match, after McMahon and Lesnar attacked Angle. On August 14, 2003 during an episode of SmackDown!, McMahon announced that Angle would defend the championship against Lesnar at SummerSlam.
In a preliminary match involving wrestlers from the Raw brand, Rob Van Dam wrestled Kane under No disqualification regulations. The events leading up to this match began on the June 23, 2003 edition of Raw, when Kane took his mask off and exposed his face in front of RVD and the crowd after he lost to Triple H during a World Heavyweight Championship match. Then, on July 7, 2003, when Kane attacked Van Dam backstage during an episode of Raw. The following week on an episode of Raw, Eric Bischoff granted Van Dam a standard match against Kane, which took place the following week on Raw and ended in neither wrestler winning the match. On August 4, 2003, Shane McMahon, the son of Mr. McMahon, scheduled a No Disqualification match between the two wrestlers for SummerSlam.
In another preliminary match, wrestlers from the SmackDown! brand competed in a match between four wrestlers for the WWE United States Championship: Eddie Guerrero defended the title against Chris Benoit, Rhyno, and Tajiri. The buildup to the match began with two different rivalries, one between Guerrero and Tajiri, and the other between Benoit and Rhyno. On August 7, 2003 during an episode of SmackDown!, Guerrero and Benoit wrestled in a standard match. However, during the match, Rhyno and Tajiri interfered, resulting in neither wrestler winning the match. Sgt. Slaughter, a WWE official, scheduled a tag team match between the team of Guerrero and Benoit and the team of Rhyno and Tajiri, which Guerrero and Benoit won. The following week on an episode of SmackDown!, a SummerSlam advertisement announced that Guerrero would defend the WWE United States Championship against Benoit, Rhyno, and Tajiri.
|Other on-screen talent|
|Commentator||Jerry Lawler (Raw)|
|Jim Ross (Raw)|
|Michael Cole (SmackDown!)|
|Referee||Mike Chioda (SmackDown!)|
|Jack Doan (Raw)|
|Brian Hebner (SmackDown!)|
|Earl Hebner (Raw)|
|Nick Patrick (Raw)|
|Chad Patton (Raw)|
|Charles Robinson (Raw)|
|Mike Sparks (SmackDown!)|
|Ring announcer||Howard Finkel (Raw)|
|Tony Chimel (SmackDown!)|
Sunday Night Heat
Before the event aired live on pay-per-view, Matt Hardy faced Zach Gowen on Sunday Night Heat, one of WWE's secondary TV programs. Gowen, however, was unable to compete due to legit injuries he sustained on the August 21, 2003 episode of SmackDown!. In result, Hardy was declared the winner via forfeit.
After Sunday Night Heat, the pay-per-view event began with a tag team match for the World Tag Team Championship. The champions, La Résistance (René Duprée and Sylvain Grenier), defended their titles against The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley). Throughout the match, both teams performed many offensive maneuvers, though The Dudley Boyz were able to gain the upper hand when they executed a 3D on Duprée. As D-Von covered Duprée, Rob Conway, who was disguised as a cameraman, hit D-Von with a camera while the referee was distracted. Duprée then covered D-Von for a successful pinfall to retain the championship.
The following match pitted The Undertaker against A-Train in a standard match. In the early stages both competitors wrestled inconclusively before The Undertaker gained the advantage. He attempted to lift A-Train for a Tombstone piledriver. A-Train countered it, in the process knocking the referee down. He attempted to take advantage of the situation by trying to hit The Undertaker with a steel chair. The Undertaker, however, countered the attack with his boot, causing the chair to hit A-Train in the face. The Undertaker then chokeslammed A-Train and, since the referee had recuperated, covered his opponent for the pinfall. After the match, Sable tried to seduce Undertaker, but was grabbed by the throat and then was attacked by a returning Stephanie McMahon.
The third contest had Shane McMahon against Eric Bischoff in a standard match. McMahon and Bischoff began by brawling on the arena ramp, as Jonathan Coachman appeared from the backstage area and hit McMahon with a steel chair. Bischoff grabbed a microphone and announced that the match would be contested under no disqualification, falls count anywhere regulations; as a result, Bischoff could not be disqualified for Coachman's interference. Coachman and Bischoff performed double-team attacks on McMahon until Steve Austin interfered by performing a Stone Cold Stunners on Coachman and Bischoff. After Austin's interference, McMahon positioned Bischoff on the television commentators' table, performed a Leap of Faith onto Bischoff's chest, thereby breaking the table and covered Bischoff for the pinfall.
The next match involved four wrestlers from the Smackdown! brand in a match for the WWE United States Championship; Eddie Guerrero defended the title against Chris Benoit, Rhyno, and Tajiri. The match began with Guerrero wrestling with Tajiri, while Benoit wrestled with Rhyno. During the encounter Guerrero applied a Lasso From El Passo on Tajiri, while Benoit employed a Crippler Crossface on Rhyno. Afterwards, Tajiri applied a Tarantula on Benoit. The hold distracted the referee, which allowed Guerrero to hit Rhyno with the United States Championship belt. Tajiri then attempted to hit Benoit with a Buzzsaw Kick, but Benoit countered the maneuver by lifting and sitting Tajiri onto his shoulders. Tajiri, however, countered by tossing both himself and Benoit over the top rope onto the arena floor. Capitalizing on the situation, Guerrero then performed a Frog splash on Rhyno, after which he scored the pinfall, thus retaining the WWE United States Championship.
Main event matches
The fifth match was the main event from the SmackDown brand, a standard match for the WWE Championship, in which Kurt Angle defended the title against Brock Lesnar. At the beginning of the match, Lesnar tried to walk away from the ring, but Angle brought him back. There, Angle performed many offensive maneuvers, including DDT and Angle Slam. He then applied an ankle lock on Lesnar. During this tussle, Lesnar countered the hold but knocked down the referee. Angle applied a guillotine choke on Lesnar, which brought Lesnar down onto his knees and allowed Angle to perform another ankle lock. Mr. McMahon interfered,came into the ring and hit Angle's back with a steel chair to break the submission hold. Because the referee was incapacitated, Lesnar was not disqualified for the interference. Afterwards, Lesnar twice attempted to lift Angle onto his F-5. During the second attempt, however, Angle countered the throw into another ankle lock, which forced Lesnar to tap out. As a result, Angle retained the WWE Championship.
In a preliminary match from the Raw brand, Kane faced Rob Van Dam in a No Holds Barred match. Both wrestlers used a ladder to their advantage early in the match. After Kane used the ladder on Van Dam, he attempted to hit Van Dam with a flying clothesline. However, Van Dam moved out of the way and Kane landed on the arena barricade. Van Dam performed a variation of a rolling thunder on Kane using a folding chair. Following this, Van Dam attempted to hit Kane with a Van Daminator with a chair, but Kane rolled out of the ring to avoid the attack. Van Dam then attempted an aerial technique from inside the ring towards Kane, but Kane caught Van Dam in mid-air and executed a Tombstone Piledriver, after which he covered Van Dam for the pinfall.
The main event from the Raw brand was the Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship, in which Triple H defended the title against Chris Jericho, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Randy Orton, and Shawn Michaels. The match began with Jericho and Michaels in the ring, while Goldberg, Nash, Orton, and Triple H were locked in the chambers. Michaels and Jericho wrestled, with neither of them gaining the advantage over the other. Orton and Nash were the third and fourth entrants into the match, respectively. Nash was the first wrestler eliminated from the match after Michaels executed a superkick and Chris Jericho covered him for a pinfall. Triple H and Goldberg were the fifth and sixth entrants. Michaels performed another superkick on Triple H as soon as he exited his chamber, and as a result, Triple H was knocked back into his chamber. As soon as Goldberg entered the match, he performed a spear for a pinfall to eliminate Orton. Next, Goldberg performed a Jackhammer on Michaels and Jericho, eliminating both via pinfall. This left Goldberg alone with and Triple H, who at the time had remained inside the chamber. Goldberg performed a spear on him through the glass of the chamber, in the process pushing him out of the chamber. Ric Flair, who was managing both Triple H and Orton, then handed Triple H a sledgehammer. Goldberg attempted another spear on Triple H, who countered the maneuver by hitting Goldberg with the sledgehammer and covered him for the pinfall, thus retaining the World Heavyweight Championship. After the match, Triple H, Orton and Flair viciously attacked Goldberg, ending with Triple H busting Goldberg open by repeatedly hitting him in the head with his sledgehammer.
During an episode of Raw after SummerSlam, Goldberg challenged Triple H to another match for the World Heavyweight Championship. This match took place at the Unforgiven pay-per-view on September 21, 2003 with a stipulation that, should he lose, Goldberg would retire from WWE. Goldberg defeated Triple H to become the new champion. After SummerSlam, Kurt Angle focused his attention on The Undertaker, whom he wrestled in a match for the WWE Championship during an episode of SmackDown! on September 4, 2003. During the match, Lesnar attacked both wrestlers with a folding chair, leading to an Iron Man match between Angle and Lesnar. Lesnar won five falls during the match, while Angle won four, and as a result Lesnar won the title.
The rivalry between Kane and Rob Van Dam stopped, as Kane engaged in a feud against Shane McMahon. In a scenario on the August 25, 2003 episode of Raw, Kane attempted to throw McMahon into a dumpster that was set on fire, but McMahon avoided it and threw Kane into the dumpster. On September 8, 2003 during an episode of Raw, Eric Bischoff scheduled a Last Man Standing match between Kane and McMahon for Unforgiven. In that match, Kane defeated McMahon after McMahon was unable to respond to a ten count. After SummerSlam, Eddie Guerrero began a rivalry with John Cena over the WWE United States Championship. Guerrero retained the championship in two title defenses that took place on SmackDown!. Guerrero then engaged in a feud with Big Show. At No Mercy, Big Show defeated Guerrero via pinfall to win the WWE United States Championship.
The America West Arena has a maximum capacity of 19,000, but that was reduced for SummerSlam 2003. The event grossed over US$715,000 in ticket sales from an attendance of 16,113, the maximum allowed. This was later confirmed by Linda McMahon, WWE CEO, in a press release on August 26, 2003. The event resulted in 415,000 pay-per-view buys (a 0.88 pay-per-view buyrate). The promotion's pay-per-view revenue was $24.7 million.
Canadian Online Explorer's professional wrestling section rated the entire event a 7 out of 10 stars. The rating was higher than the SummerSlam event in 2004, which was rated a 5 out of 10 stars. The Elimination Chamber main event match from the Raw brand was rated an 8.5 out of 10 stars, with an additional rating of 1 out of 10 stars for the process in which the match ended. The SmackDown! brand's main event, a standard match for the WWE Championship, was rated a 9 out of 10 stars, a better reception than the Raw brand's main event. Wade Keller reviewed the event for the Pro Wrestling Torch. He rated the Angle-Lesnar match 4-and-a-half out of 5 stars, declaring it an "excellent match". The Elimination Chamber match received a rating of 3 stars. The event was released on DVD on September 23, 2003 by Sony Music Entertainment.
Elimination Chamber entrances and eliminations
|Elimination number||Wrestler||Entered||Eliminated by||Method of elimination||Time|
|1||Kevin Nash||4||Chris Jericho||Roll-up||08:05|
|5||Goldberg||6||Triple H||Sledgehammer shot to the back of the head||19:12|
|Winner||Triple H (c)||5||Winner||Winner||19:12|
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