At the time, WWE was still doing a pay-per-view event featuring both Raw and Smackdown. It was common sense to have both shows represented, but the brand extension in 2002 was changing things.
By the time 2003 rolled around, the two shows were unique. You can definitely tell which side was the Red Brand and which side was the Blue Brand. Judgment Day 2003 in May was the final regular event (until 2007) to have both shows compete.
Starting in June 2003, Raw had exclusive pay-per-views, as did Smackdown. Only "big four" events would feature both brands. It was definitely a change of pace for the next few years, but it ended at Backlash 2007. As you see today, everything went back to normal.
How did this show perform? Let's find out!
Scott Steiner and Test battled La Resistance in a tag team match. There was a small feud going on, but most of the attention was outside the ring.
Stacy Kiebler had been with Test for awhile now, but that was soon changing. Steiner always seemed to be helping her out, while Test quickly became jealous.
This would last all year. The two eventually feuded over her, and none of this ended well. On this night, La Resistance won.
Mr. America wrestled Rowdy Roddy Piper in 2003. Sean O'Haire was ringside with Hot Rod.
For those that don't know, Hulk Hogan was Mr. America. It was a ridiculous storyline going on that never even had a proper finish. Smackdown definitely was changing in 2003.
Anyways, this was a short match that saw Mr. America win.
With Piper and Hogan going at it, I am sure some enjoyed the feud. In 2003, this just was not pretty to see. Introducing Zach Gowen did not help matters.
Vince McMahon tried to cost Hogan the match, but it didn't work. The faces celebrated, and this five-minute mess was over with.
A month or so later, Hogan and Piper were gone. Sean O'Haire and Zach Gowen were rarely seen again past 2003.
Sable had returned to the company a few weeks earlier.
Her and Torrie Wilson began a feud on Smackdown that would last years. At Judgment Day, they would compete in a Bikini Challenge.
This wasn't that bad. It was two beautiful women trying to impress the live audience.
Torrie may have "won" thanks to fan voting, but everybody really won!
Jazz defended her Women's Championship against Jacqueline, Victoria and Trish Stratus.
This was a great fatal four-way match. It is well-known for a few reasons.
First, Steven Richards was still with Victoria. They made a great pairing.
Seconds, Teddy Long was with Jazz. He had a little bit of a stable on the Red Brand, and it was fun.
Finally, Trish took a nasty fall towards the end of this match. She seemed just fine, but it looked really bad. In the end, Jazz retained.
Stone Cold and Eric Bischoff ran Raw in 2003 together. On this night, they had some fun in a luxury suite. Of course, it was Steve Austin getting the best of Bischoff all night. Funny segments!
Also, Chris Jericho and Roddy Piper had a memorable backstage promo. They were very rarely on screen together, but this was one of those rare moments.
The month prior, John Cena was in a main event against Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. At Judgment Day 2003, he was thrown in the opener. I can't comment on the match, but it really does make you think.
All in all, these were little touches that made the show very good.
Team Angle defended their WWE Tag Team Titles against Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri.
Eddie needed to replace Chavo, and he picked a great partner. The two ended up winning the belts in a big upset.
With a ladder match stipulation, you knew Shelton Benjamin would do great. Charlie Haas did just fine, as did Eddie and Tajiri.
The ending sequence was amazing.
Judgment Day was held in Flair Country!
Not only did he get his own entrance even though he had no match, the man was heavily focused the next night on Raw. I believe that was a nice thing to do for Ric Flair.
He brawled with Shawn Michaels for the live crowd, and it set up the next few weeks nicely.
There was a battle royal held for the vacant Intercontinental Championship. The title had been gone for a few months.
Only former champions (and Booker T) could compete in this match. Also, there was an instance of "double duty" on this night.
Either way, Christian won the battle royal. Shortly after this, his entire career got a boost.
He got new music, new intro, new hair, new attitude and a new title around his waist. The captain was on a roll, and he did great for the next two years.
Kevin Nash was challenging Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship.
There was no way that The Game was losing his title, but he had to get through this match. He did so by causing a disqualification.
That would be fine, except Nash was not done just yet. He destroyed Triple H after the match and put him through the announcer's table.
The power bomb looked extremely brutal. I legitimately feared for Triple H's health after this move...
Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show in a Stretcher Match for the WWE Championship was the main event.
I had no idea what to expect from this scenario, but I trusted Brock and Show. The two had some great battles in the past, and they knew what they were doing.
Add in a different type of stipulation. Add in a loud crowd. Add in a huge title match, and you had a very good closing match to Judgment Day.
Lesnar ended up retaining the gold thanks to some help. First, a Superstar helped him out. Second, he used a very unique strategy to defeat Big Show.
Watch for yourself!
While this event was very good, it doesn't have too many spectacular moments. If I had to grade this show, I would give WWE a solid C.
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