Vengeance 2003 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and presented by Eidos Interactive's Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, which took place on July 27, 2003 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. It was the third annual Vengeance event and starred wrestlers from the SmackDown brand.
Eight professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the event's card. The main event was a No Disqualification Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship, in which Kurt Angle defeated WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and The Big Show to win the championship. Two featured bouts were scheduled on the undercard. In a standard match, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon defeated Zach Gowen. The other was a standard match in which The Undertaker defeated John Cena.
Vengeance had an attendance of approximately 9,500 and received about 322,000 pay-per-view buys. This event helped WWE increase its pay-per-view revenue by $6.2 million from the previous year.
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 the SmackDown brand - a storyline division in which WWE assigned its employees.
The main event at Vengeance featured WWE Champion Brock Lesnar defending the title against The Big Show and Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat match. The buildup to the match began four months prior at Wrestlemania, where Lesnar defeated Angle and won the WWE title, as Angle went through a neck surgery. Two months later at Judgment Day, Lesnar defeated Big Show in a streatcher match. At May 29 on an episode of Smackdown, Big Show teamed up with Chuck Palumbo and Johnny Stamboli and defeated The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. On the June 5, 2003 episode of Smackdown, Angle returned and Big Show attacked him, but Lesnar came to save him and challenge Big Show to a title match the next week. However, during the match, the ring collapsed. The following week during Smackdown, the two had a rematch but Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) attacked Lesnar, making Angle and Mr. America (Hulk Hogan) to run for the save, only for Big Show to chokeslam all of them. The next week, the six men fought in a tag match where Show won by pinning Mr. America. However, the week after that, Lesnar and Angle cost Show a match against Zach Gowan. On July 10, 2003 during an episode of Smackdown, Show chokeslammed Angle and teamed up with Team Angle to defeat Lesnar. The next week, Angle defeated Team Angle and Big Show by help from Zach Gowen. At the July 24, 2003 Smackdown, Gowan teamed with both Lesnar and Angle against Show and Team Angle, and Show won by chokeslamming both.
One of the featured preliminary matches was Zach Gowen versus Vince McMahon in a singles match. The hype to this match began on May 22, 2003 during an episode of Smackdown, where Gowen, who's left leg was amputated when he was eight years old, said that he wanted to wrestle for the WWE. Vince McMahon, however, ordered police to arrest him. Two weeks later, McMahon challenged Gowen to get a WWE contract by beating him in an Arm Wrestling contest. The week after that, McMahon kicked Gowen's leg in order to win the contest. Two weeks later, on the June 26, 2003 episode of Smackdown, McMahon agreed to give Gowen a contract in the WWE, but only if Gowen will join McMahon's "Kiss My Ass" club. Gowen low blowed McMahon. Later during the program, McMahon attacked Gowen and booked him and Stephanie McMahon against the Big Show the next week, with Gowen getting a WWE contract if he will win. Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle helped Gowen to win the match and earn his contract. During the next week's show, while Gowen signed his contract, McMahon made the match for the event. At the July 24, 2003 episode of Smackdown, McMahon attacked Gowen during his match with Lesnar and Angle against Show and Team Angle.
The other featured preliminary match was The Undertaker versus John Cena in a singles match. The buildup to the match began on June 26, 2003 during an episode of Smackdown, where Cena celebrated a year in the WWE. He fought Orlando Jordan and defeated him, but attacked him after the match, making the Undertaker run down for the save. The next week, Undertaker cost Cena his match against Billy Gunn in the US Title tournament. Two weeks later on Smackdown, Cena and Undertaker brawled in the ring. On the July 24, 2003 episode of Smackdown, Cena taunted the Undertaker, rapping about him in a cemetery.
The Divas match featured was Smackdown General Manager Stephanie McMahon versus Sable. The feud started on the June 5th episode of Smackdown, when Stephanie's father Vince McMahon appointed Sable as Stephanie's personal assistant against her will. The following week, Sable helped McMahon win his Arm Wrestling match against Mr America by flashing her breasts at him causing him to lose against McMahon. Two weeks later, Sable seduced Zach Gowen while in Stephanie's office but revealed it as a ruse and berated him. McMahon burst into the office and chased off Gowen and it was revealed that it was a set up by McMahon and Sable. The following week, before Stephanie's handicap match with Gowen against The Big Show, Sable informed Stephanie that if she is injured she can take her place as Smackdown General Manager. Stephanie later won the match. On the July 10th episode of Smackdown, during Zach Gowen's contract signing, McMahon and Sable interrupted and Sable took the clipboard with the contract on it and attacked Stephanie with it. Stephanie attacked Sable backstage and her father ordered the road agents to pull her out of the room. As she was pulled out, McMahon set up a match between Stephanie and Sable at Vengeance. The following two weeks would see the two getting into catfights before their match at the event. One involving a food fight, the other a parking lot brawl which saw Stephanie ripping Sable's top off exposing her breasts.
Another featured preliminary match on the card featured Billy Gunn versus Jamie Noble in a singles match. Gunn made his return to WWE Television on the June 12th episode of Smackdown, by defeating A-Train. Torrie Wilson who was the special guest ring announcer for the match began an onscreen relationship with Gunn and became his manager. The two began feuding with Noble and his manager Nidia. Gunn and Torrie distracted Noble during his match with Ultimo Dragon which he lost. After Gunn defeated Noble on the July 24th episode of Smackdown, with his Swinging Rock Bottom finisher, Noble demanded a rematch at Vengeance. Torrie accepted on behalf of Gunn and told Noble that if he won she would sleep with him the following week on Smackdown which Noble agreed.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sunday Night Heat: Ultimo Dragon defeated Chris Canyon (4:04)
- Eddie Guerrero defeated Chris Benoit to win for the vacant United States Championship. (22:13)
- Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia) deated Billy Gunn (w/ Torrie Wilson) (5:00)
- Bradshaw defeated Shannon Moore, Doink the Clown, Faarooq, Brother Love, Nunzio, Matt Hardy, Chris Canyon, Danny Bashum, Doug Bashum, The Easter Bunny, Sean O'Haire, John Hennigan, Orlando Jordan, Funaki, Los Conqistadors (Rob Conway and Johnny Jeter), The Brooklyn Brawler, Johnny Stamboli, Chuck Palumbo, Matt Cappotelli and Spanky in an APA Invaitational Bar Room Brawl. (4:33)
- Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin (c) defeated Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman to retain the Tag Team championships. (14:53)
- Sable defeated Stephanie McMahon on a No-Count out match. (6:25)
- The Undertaker defeated John Cena (16:01)
- Vince McMahon (w/ Sable) defeated Zach Gowen (14:02)
- Kurt Angle defeated The Big Show and Brock Lesnar (c) in a No Disqualification triple threat match to win the WWE Championship. (17:29)
Other on-screen talent
- Vengeance 2003 Official site
- Vengeance 2003 at CAGEMATCH.net
- Vengeance 2003 at Online World of Wrestling
- Vengeance 2003 on WWE Network
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