SummerSlam 2003 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on August 24, 2003 at the America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. It was the 16th annual SummerSlam event and starred wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown! brands.
Nine professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the event's card, which featured a supercard, a scheduling of more than one main event. The first was an Elimination Chamber match featuring wrestlers from the Raw brand fighting in a ring surrounded by a steel structure of chain and girders. World Heavyweight Champion Triple H defeated Chris Jericho, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Randy Orton, and Shawn Michaels to retain his championship. The other main event featured wrestlers from the SmackDown! brand, in which defending WWE Champion Kurt Angle defeated challenger Brock Lesnar in a standard wrestling match, also known as a singles match. Two featured bouts were scheduled on the undercard. In a No Disqualification match between wrestlers from the Raw brand, Kane defeated Rob Van Dam. The other was a standard match involving four wrestlers from the SmackDown! brand; WWE United States Champion Eddie Guerrero defeated Chris Benoit, Rhyno, and Tajiri.
The event featured nine professional wrestling matches with outcomes predetermined by WWE script writers. The matches featured wrestlers portraying their characters in planned storylines that took place before, during and after the event. All wrestlers were from either one of the WWE's brands – SmackDown or Raw – the two storyline divisions in which WWE assigned its employees.
Wrestlers from the Raw brand were featured in the main event at SummerSlam: 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 during the SummerSlam press conference, where the authority figure Eric Bischoff, a portrayed match maker and rules enforcer, announced that Triple H would defend the championship against Goldberg in a standard wrestling match, known as a singles match, at the event. On August 4, 2003 during a television episode of Raw, Bischoff announced that the World Heavyweight Championship match would be contested in a standard match under 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 staged rivalry among the six competitors intensified, as Jericho held a promotional interview segment in the ring, which he called the Highlight Reel. During this segment, each participant in the Elimination Chamber discussed the match and taunted the other wrestlers. As a part of the storyline, later on the show during the main event of Orton versus 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 steel chair.
The other predominant match at SummerSlam featured wrestlers from the SmackDown! brand fighting in a standard match for the WWE Championship, in which Kurt Angle defended the title against Brock Lesnar. The hype to the match began on July 31, 2003 on an episode of SmackDown!, the other main television program for WWE. 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, announced from the ring that Lesnar would have to earn his rematch by competing in a match in which a steel cage would enclose the ring. The match would be 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.
Rob Van Dam versus Kane, wrestling under No disqualification regulations, was the main preliminary match that featured wrestlers from the Raw brand. 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, in accordance with the scripted events, Kane attacked Van Dam backstage during an episode of Raw. The following week on an episode of Raw, Bischoff granted Van Dam a standard match against Kane. On August 4, 2003, Shane McMahon, the son of Mr. McMahon, announced that Kane and Van Dam would wrestle in a No Disqualification match at SummerSlam.
A standard match between four wrestlers for the WWE United States Championship was the other main preliminary match. The match featured wrestlers from the SmackDown! brand, where Eddie Guerrero defended the title against Chris Benoit, Rhyno, and Tajiri. The buildup to the match began with two different staged 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 were scripted to wrestle in a standard match. However, during the match, Rhyno and Tajiri interfered as part of the storyline, which ended in neither wrestler winning the match. Sgt. Slaughter, a WWE official, promoted 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!, it was announced via a SummerSlam advertisement that Guerrero would defend the WWE United States Championship against Benoit, Rhyno, and Tajiri.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sunday Night Heat: Matt Hardy defeated Zach Gowen via forfeit (0:00)
- Sunday Night Heat: Rey Mysterio (c) defeated Shannon Moore to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship (2:03)
- La Résistance (René Duprée and Sylvain Grenier) (c) defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) (w/ Spike Dudley) to retain the World Tag Team Championship (7:49)
- The Undertaker defeated A-Train (with Sable) (9:19)
- Shane McMahon defeated Eric Bischoff in a Falls Count Anywhere match (10:36)
- Eddie Guerrero (c) defeated Chris Benoit, Rhyno and Tajiri in a Fatal Four-Way Match to retain the WWE United States Championship (10:50)
- Kurt Angle (c) defeated Brock Lesnar to retain the WWE Championship (21:17)
- Kane defeated Rob Van Dam in a No Disqualification match (12:49)
- Triple H (c) defeated Goldberg, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton and Kevin Nash in a Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship (19:12)
Elimination Chamber eliminations
|Elimination #||Wrestler||Entered||Eliminated by||Method of elimination||Time|
|1||Kevin Nash||4||Chris Jericho||Sweet Chin Music by Michaels, followed by a roll-up||08:05|
|3||Shawn Michaels||2||Goldberg||Spear then a Jackhammer||15:19|
|4||Chris Jericho||1||Goldberg||Spear then a Jackhammer||16:03|
|5||Goldberg||6||Triple H||Sledgehammer shot to the back of the head||19:12|
Other on-screen talent
- SummerSlam 2003 Offical Website
- SummerSlam 2003 at CAGEMATCH.net
- SummerSlam 2003 at Online World of Wrestling
- SummerSlam 2003 on WWE Network
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