REWIND: WWE Royal Rumble 2003 Review – The One Where an Old Man Was Humped to Death

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Two months before this match Paul Heyman, convinced that Brock Lesnar could not beat a 500-pound giant, turned on his client and cost him the WWE Championship. Heyman’s turn made very little sense given that Lesnar had literally just beaten the Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell and he was clearly the fastest rising star in professional wrestling, but if you think of it as a plot device to turn Brock into a babyface it got the job done. Kurt Angle would defeat Big Show for the title shortly thereafter with a little help from Lesnar, leading to this grudge match where only the winner would be allowed to compete in the Royal Rumble match.

Big Show & Brock Lesnar Implode the Ring // Credit:

Lesnar started out strong with a series of belly-to-belly suplexes but was quickly taken down by the size and superior strength of the Giant. Show chucked him over the top rope with ease as Taz, on commentary, referred to the match as a “rocket buster” – whatever the hell that means. After a few minutes of being tossed around like a rag doll Lesnar countered a chokeslam with an impressive armdrag and fired off with another series of belly-to-belly suplex. Paul Heyman got up on the apron and Brock of course went after him, opening him up to a massive chokeslam for the closest two-and-a-half count you ever did see. Show looked like he just passed a golfball-sized kidney stone in absolute shock, and Heyman had a fit like a pentecostal preacher on Sunday morning. Lesnar took advantage of everyone’s surprise and threw Big Show into Heyman, knocking him off the apron, and hit the F5 to win.

Short, sweet and to the point. Keeping the match under seven minutes was definitely the way to go. They hit all the right beats, however predictable, but in cases like this that’s not a bad thing. Show looked as dominant as you’d expect him to, and spent enough time throwing around Brock to make his inevitable comeback mean something. The match isn’t going to blow your socks off if you’ve never seen it, but it served its purpose to get the fans fired up and insert Lesnar into the Rumble match.

The crowd was pro-Lesnar from the minute he came out, more or less validating WWE’s decision to turn him into a babyface. That might be more telling of how good Paul Heyman is at drawing heat, because remember it was just a few months before this that Brock was the most hated villain in the company, damn near killing the Undertaker in a disturbingly bloody cell match.

Winner: Brock Lesnar via F5 in 6:29. 
Rating: 6/10

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