Armageddon 2003 was the fourth Armageddon professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The event, presented by Square Enix's Final Fantasy X-2, took place on December 14, 2003 at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida and was a Raw brand-exclusive event. All four championships exclusive to the Raw brand were contested for; three were lost while one was retained.
The main event was a Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Kane, Triple H, and champion Goldberg. Triple H won the match and the World Heavyweight Championship after pinning Goldberg following a chokeslam from Kane. One of the predominant matches on the undercard was the defense of the WWE Intercontinental Championship by Rob Van Dam against Randy Orton. Orton won the match and became the Intercontinental Champion after pinning Van Dam following an RKO. Another primary match on the undercard was Batista versus Shawn Michaels, which Michaels won by pinfall after executing Sweet Chin Music.
The event grossed $450,000 with 9,000 ticket sales and received 200,000 pay-per-view buys. The event was claimed to be a "flop" by Canadian Online Explorer's professional wrestling event section. They rated the overall event a six out of ten. When the event was released on DVD, it reached a peak position of second on Billboard's DVD sales chart for recreational sports. It remained on the chart for four consecutive weeks.
The last chance to win a championship. The last chance for glory. The last big event of the year. The last piece of the puzzle.
The main feud heading into the event was between Goldberg, Kane, and Triple H over the World Heavyweight Championship. In November, at Survivor Series, Goldberg retained the World Heavyweight Championship against Triple H. The night after Survivor Series, Kane became involved in the feud between Goldberg and Triple H after attacking Goldberg following a Handicap match. The following week, on the November 24 episode of Raw, Kane interfered in a match between Triple H and Goldberg. After the match, General Manager Eric Bischoff announced that Goldberg would be defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Triple H and Kane in a Triple Threat match at Armageddon.
Another primary feud heading into the event was between Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam over the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Van Dam won the title on the September 29 episode of Raw by defeating then-champion Christian. On the November 17 episode of Raw, during a match between Ric Flair and Van Dam, Orton interfered and executed an RKO on Van Dam. Later that night, Orton was granted an Intercontinental Championship match against Van Dam at Armageddon. On the December 8 episode of Raw, Co-General Manager Mick Foley appointed himself as the special guest referee for the match.
One of the predominant matches on the card was Batista versus Shawn Michaels. Their feud first started when Batista attacked Michaels during his elimination match at Survivor Series, with Steve Austin's career on the line. On the November 24 episode of Raw, Eric Bischoff scheduled a match between the two for Armageddon. Later that night, Michaels and Chris Jericho defeated Batista and Ric Flair in a tag team match. Towards the end of the match, Jericho turned on Michaels and superkicked him. Michaels landed on Flair as a result and got the pinfall to win the match for himself and Jericho. After the match, however, Batista executed a powerbomb on Michaels.
Before the live broadcast of the event began, Rico defeated Heidenreich in a match that aired on Sunday Night Heat, a 30-minute pre-show for the event. The event began with Lilian Garcia singing the United States National Anthem.
The first match of the event was Booker T versus Mark Henry. Henry controlled most of the match, as he was able to execute a spinebuster and apply various submission holds on Booker. Booker, however, executed a scissors kick and pinned Henry afterwards to win the match.
The match that followed saw Rob Van Dam defend the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Randy Orton with Mick Foley as special guest referee. The match contained many notable spots, including the execution of an elevated spike DDT by Orton on Van Dam, and the execution of rolling thunder by Van Dam. Ric Flair, who accompanied Orton, attempted to interfere many times on Orton's behalf, but was stopped by Foley. Orton pinned Van Dam after an RKO to win the match and begin his first reign as Intercontinental Champion. The third match was an Intergender tag team match billed as the "Battle of the Sexes". It saw Chris Jericho and Christian face off against Trish Stratus and Lita. The match went back and forth, as each team was able to gain the advantage. In the end, Christian pinned Stratus with a roll-up to win the match for himself and Jericho.
The next match was Shawn Michaels versus Batista. Near the end of the match, Batista executed a series of spinebusters on Michaels and attempted to execute a powerbomb. Michaels escaped the powerbomb attempt and executed Sweet Chin Music. He pinned Batista afterward to win the bout. After the match, Maven and Matt Hardy came out for their scheduled match. The two, however, attacked one another outside the ring. Hardy then threw Maven into the ring, where Batista still was. Batista attacked Maven and executed a powerbomb, which forced the referee to declare that Maven could not compete and that his match against Hardy was canceled.
Main event matches
A Tag Team Turmoil match for the World Tag Team Championship followed. Two of the overall seven teams started the match, with another team entering the match once one was eliminated. Hurricane and Rosey started the match against La Résistance (Robért Conway and René Duprée). Hurricane eliminated La Résistance after pinning Conway following a Super Hero Splash. Seconds after the elimination, Mark Jindrak came into the ring and rolled up Hurricane to eliminate him and Rosey. Jindrak and Garrison Cade then faced off against the team of Val Venis and Lance Storm. While Venis was performing a vertical suplex attempt on Jindrak, Cade clipped Venis' legs, which in turn caused Jindrak to fall atop of Venis. The referee counted the pinfall and eliminated Venis and Storm. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) then eliminated Jindrak and Cade and the team of Test and Scott Steiner to supposedly win the match. General Manager Eric Bischoff, however, announced that Evolution|Ric Flair and Batista would be the seventh and final team to compete. Flair and Batista eliminated the Dudleys to win the match and begin their first reign as World Tag Team Champions. The sixth match saw WWE Women's Champion Molly Holly defend her title against Ivory. Holly pinned Ivory while holding onto her tights for extra leverage to win the match and retain the title.
Next was the main event, which saw Goldberg defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Kane and Triple H in a Triple Threat match. The match was evenly controlled between the three, as every man was able to gain the advantage. Towards the end of the match, Goldberg performed a spear on Triple H and attempted to get the pinfall. Kane, however, broke up the pin and executed a chokeslam on Goldberg. Evolution member Batista came down and pulled Kane out of the ring, which allowed Triple H to gain the pinfall on Goldberg. Triple H won the match to begin his eighth overall reign as World Heavyweight Champion in WWE.
Randy Orton defeated Rob Van Dam at the event to begin his first reign as WWE Intercontinental Champion, which would last seven months, the longest reign in over seven years at the time. Orton began feuding with Mick Foley following the event. At the Royal Rumble, Foley eliminated Orton from the Royal Rumble match. After being eliminated, Orton hit Foley with a steel chair and attacked Foley up the entrance stage. Orton pinned Foley in a Handicap match at WrestleMania XX, and defeated him in a Hardcore match to retain the title at Backlash 2004. Orton finally dropped the title to Edge in July 2004.
Triple H ended his storyline with Goldberg and Kane, and started to feud with Shawn Michaels. At the Royal Rumble, Triple H and Michaels fought to a no-contest in a Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship. The two would face off again, as part of a Triple Threat match, at WrestleMania XX. Chris Benoit, the other participant in the match, forced Triple H to submit to the Crippler Crossface to win the title. Benoit ended the storyline between the three at Backlash, when he defeated Michaels and Triple H in another Triple Threat match.
Batista and Ric Flair's first World Tag Team Championship reign would last three months, as they would lose the titles to Rob Van Dam and Booker T in February. Christian defeated Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XX. After the match, Trish Stratus, Jericho's on-screen girlfriend at the time, turned on Jericho and joined Christian. Jericho, however, would go on to defeat the two in a Handicap match at Backlash to conclude their storyline.
The event grossed $450,000 with 9,000 ticket sales, and received 200,000 buys, which was less than the 300,000 buys the previous year's event received. The buys from Armageddon helped the promotion's pay-per-view revenue of $13.2 million, which was significantly lower than the prior year's revenue of $21.2 million. Canadian Online Explorers professional wrestling section claimed that the event was a "flop", rating the overall event a six out of ten. The Triple Threat main event match was rated a six and a half out of ten, while the match between Batista and Shawn Michaels received the highest match rating—an eight and a half out of ten.
The event was released on DVD on January 20, 2004. The DVD reached a peak position of second on Billboard's DVD sales chart for recreational sports on February 12, 2004. It remained on the chart for four consecutive weeks, until on March 6, 2004, when it ranked twentieth. The DVD was also reviewed by customers; the average customer rating from Amazon.com was three out of five stars.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sunday Night Heat: Rico (w/ Miss Jackie) defeated Heidenreich (01:28)
- Booker T defeated Mark Henry (w/ Theodore Long) (09:19)
- Randy Orton (w/ Ric Flair) defeated Rob Van Dam (c) to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship (with Mick Foley as special guest referee) (17:59)
- Chris Jericho and Christian defeated Trish Stratus and Lita in an Intergender tag team match (06:37)
- Shawn Michaels defeated Batista (w/ Ric Flair) (12:28)
- Evolution (Ric Flair and Batista) last eliminated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) (c) to win a Tag Team Turmoil match for the World Tag Team Championship (20:48)
- Molly Holly (c) defeated Ivory for the WWE Women's Championship (04:23)
- Triple H defeated Goldberg (c) and Kane in a Triple Threat match to win the World Heavyweight Championship (19:28)
Tag Team Turmoil match
|Elimination #||Team||Entrance #||Eliminated by||Elimination move||Time|
|1||La Résistance (Robért Conway and René Duprée)||2||The Hurricane and Rosey||The Hurricane pinned Conway after a Superhero Splash||3:16|
|2||The Hurricane and Rosey||1||Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade||Jindrak pinned The Hurricane with a roll-up||3:34|
|3||Val Venis and Lance Storm||4||Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade||Jindrak pinned Venis after Cade clipped Venis' legs during a suplex attempt||7:17|
|4||Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade||3||The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von)||Bubba Ray pinned Jindrak after a Dudley Death Drop||11:29|
|5||Test and Scott Steiner||6||The Dudley Boyz||D-Von pinned Test after a Bubba Bomb from Bubba Ray||16:38|
|6||The Dudley Boyz||5||Evolution (Ric Flair and Batista)||Batista pinned D-Von after a Batista Bomb||20:48|
Other on-screen talent
- Armageddon 2003 Official site
- Armageddon 2003 at CAGEMATCH.net
- Armageddon 2003 at Online World of Wrestling
- Armageddon 2003 on WWE Network
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