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Rating The Champ WWE

WWE World Titles – 2003

Welcome to my blog. This is the start of a new series, where I’ll be looking back at the history of WWE World Titles (not counting ECW) and ranking all the World Title reigns since the “Modern Era”. The “Modern Era” goes all the way back to the birth of Hulkamania in 1984, and that’s where we’ll end. Today we look back at the year 2003, and we’ll continue to go back from here.

In front of my star ratings for the matches, you’ll either see “HR”, “R” or “RTA”. “HR” means the match is highly recommended ; “R” means the match is recommended ; “RTA” means recommendation to avoid. In case nothing appears, the match is watchable but nothing spectacular.

WWE CHAMPIONSHIP

Kurt Angle (December 15, 2002 – March 30, 2003)

  • Televised matches: 11
  • Record: 7-4

My match ratings:

  • Kurt Angle def. Big Show(c) – Armageddon 2002 (**1/4)
  • Kurt Angle(c) def. Chris Benoit – Royal Rumble 2003 (*****) *HR*
  • Kurt Angle def. Chris Benoit – SmackDown Feb. 6 2003 (****1/4) *HR*
  • Brock Lesnar & Chris Benoit def. Team Angle – No Way Out 2003 (****) *HR*
  • Brock Lesnar def. Kurt Angle(c) – WrestleMania XIX (****3/4) *HR*

In 2002, Kurt Angle was one of the highlights of the company, putting on classic after classic almost on a weekly basis, especially in the second half of the year as a member of the “SmackDown Six”. That earned him a spot as the antagonist for Brock Lesnar in the main-event of WrestleMania XIX, and considering both guys have incredible amateur wrestling backgrounds, it had everything to work. Angle first captured the WWE Championship from The Big Show at Armageddon 2002 thanks to Brock Lesnar, after promising he’d give Lesnar a title shot. However, it was then revealed Angle was working with Paul Heyman and Lesnar couldn’t challenge Angle for the belt. While Lesnar won the Royal Rumble Match in order to guarantee his title shot at WrestleMania, Kurt Angle was having absolutely beautiful matches with Chris Benoit. And then, to finish this reign, Angle finished the storyline with Lesnar at WrestleMania, put him over big time and turned babyface after the match. The storyline was really good, Angle was an absolute machine inside the ring, he was enjoyable to watch (when was he not?) and he also introduced Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin. This was almost perfect, and if Angle had not broken his neck during this title reign I would’ve given it my first ten.

Rating: 9/10

Brock Lesnar (March 30, 2003 – July 27, 2003)

  • Televised matches: 13
  • Record: 7-5 (1 draw)

My match ratings:

  • Brock Lesnar def. Kurt Angle(c) – WrestleMania XIX (****3/4) *HR*
  • Brock Lesnar(c) def. John Cena – Backlash 2003 (**3/4)
  • Brock Lesnar(c) def. Big Show in a Stretcher Match – Judgment Day 2003 (***1/2) *R*
  • Kurt Angle def. Brock Lesnar(c) and Big Show – Vengeance 2003 (****) *R*

From the moment Brock Lesnar showed up in WWE, it was quite clear this guy was going to be (no pun intended) the next big thing. After a first run top as a heel, WrestleMania XIX was supposed to be Brock Lesnar’s big babyface win. Despite almost killing himself at the end of that match, it was a fantastic match and a great start to his babyface run. However, once Angle left due to injury, Lesnar struggled for a while without any credible heel to work with. Brock was still a bit green, and John Cena (his first challenger) was SUPER green. Big Show, despite being huge, at the end of the day he’s Big Show and he already had years of awful booking to be taken seriously. Once Kurt Angle came back, though, his reign became much more interesting… and then it ended. Who can ever forget the backstage segments between these two on SmackDown!? The matches were solid, but babyface Lesnar was never as impressive as heel Lesnar. Apart from the Kurt Angle stuff, it was okayish. The Kurt Angle stuff was fantastic.

Rating: 6/10

Kurt Angle (July 27, 2003 – September 18, 2003)

  • Televised matches: 6
  • Record: 4-1 (1 draw)

My match ratings:

  • Kurt Angle def. Brock Lesnar(c) and Big Show – Vengeance 2003 (****) *R*
  • Kurt Angle(c) def. Brock Lesnar – SummerSlam 2003 (****1/2) *HR*
  • Kurt Angle(c) draw. The Undertaker – SmackDown Sept. 4 2003 (****1/4) *HR*
  • Brock Lesnar def. Kurt Angle(c) in an Iron Man Match – SmackDown Sept. 18 2003 (*****) *HR*

As soon as Kurt Angle made his return, he won back the WWE Championship in one of his first matches back at Vengeance. And why wouldn’t he? Angle could have a four star match with a knife at this point, and he was such a pro that he could get anyone over no matter the result. Shortly after the Vengeance match where Lesnar lost the title to his friend, Brock attacked him and turned heel to properly restart their feud, this time with the roles reversed. At SummerSlam, they had another spectacular match (I’m shocked too!) that saw Angle force Lesnar to submit to the Ankle Lock. A few weeks later, Angle defended the title in one hell of a match against The Undertaker, that ultimately ended in a no-contest caused by Brock Lesnar. In Angle’s final night as champion, him and Lesnar put on a clinic in their Iron Man Match (their best match together, in my opinion) that saw Lesnar win back the title. Oh, and by the way, Angle wrestled that match just a few days after his sister passed away. Imagine how he had to be feeling, and he still put on a classic. If you think “The Wrestling Machine” was just a gimmick, this proves you wrong. This title reign was also awesome.

Rating: 8/10

Brock Lesnar (September 18, 2003 – February 15, 2004)

  • Televised matches: 17
  • Record: 9-8

My match ratings:

  • Brock Lesnar def. Kurt Angle(c) in an Iron Man Match – SmackDown Sept. 18 2003 (*****) *HR*
  • Brock Lesnar(c) def. The Undertaker in a Biker Chain Match – No Mercy 2003 (**)
  • Team Angle def. Team Lesnar – Survivor Series 2003 (***)
  • Brock Lesnar(c) def. Chris Benoit – SmackDown Dec. 4 2003 (****1/4) *HR*
  • Brock Lesnar(c) def. Hardcore Holly – Royal Rumble 2004 (1/2*) *RTA*
  • Eddie Guerrero def. Brock Lesnar(c) – No Way Out 2004 (****1/2) *HR*

From the moment WWE signed Goldberg for a year in 2003, the plan had always been for Goldberg to finish his run putting Brock Lesnar over in less than a minute in his final date at WrestleMania XX. Therefore, Lesnar was never taking the WWE Championship to WrestleMania. Meanwhile, Eddie Guerrero was getting more and more over and he was eventually the man chosen for the top spot on SmackDown. While Lesnar was champion, though, he did a terrific job of putting Eddie over the entire freaking time. From his irritating and quite brilliant heel work in the Iron Man bout against Angle, to him killing all the undercarders and even Stephanie McMahon on TV, to him calling himself “the greatest WWE Champion ever” only to then struggle and have to cheat to beat tougher challengers such as Chris Benoit, it all made Eddie Guerrero’s moment that much bigger. Brock Lesnar was absolutely phenomenal during this title reign, and he put Eddie over big time at No Way Out before moving on to do business with Bill Goldberg. The only two negative things about this reign were his meh matches with Undertaker at No Mercy and Bob Holly at Royal Rumble. Apart from that, it was perfect.

Rating: 9/10

WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

Triple H (December 15, 2002 – September 21, 2003)

  • Televised matches: 29
  • Record: 18-10 (1 draw)

My match ratings:

  • Triple H def. Shawn Michaels(c) in a 3 Stages of Hell Match – Armageddon 2002 (**)
  • Scott Steiner def. Triple H(c) by DQ – Royal Rumble 2003 (DUD) *RTA*
  • Triple H(c) def. Scott Steiner – No Way Out 2003 (1/4*) *RTA*
  • Triple H(c) def. Booker T – WrestleMania XIX (**1/2)
  • Triple H, Chris Jericho & Ric Flair def. Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels & Booker T – Backlash 2003 (***)
  • Kevin Nash def. Triple H(c) by DQ – Judgment Day 2003 (DUD) *RTA*
  • Triple H(c) def. Ric Flair – RAW May 19 2003 (***1/2) *R*
  • Triple H(c) def. Kevin Nash in a HIAC Match – Bad Blood 2003 (***)
  • Triple H(c) def. Kane – RAW June 23 2003 (***1/4)
  • Triple H(c) def. Goldberg, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton and Kevin Nash in an Elimination Chamber Match – SummerSlam 2003 (***1/4)
  • Goldberg def. Triple H(c) – Unforgiven 2003 (**)

Damn, going from Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar to this makes me like it even less. And I thought that was impossible! Where do I start? Not only was this reign filled with controversy and backstage political bullshit, his matches were also repetitive and boring. The match with Shawn at Armageddon 2002 is without a doubt the most psychologically backwards wrestling match I’ve ever seen, the feud with Scott Steiner was what it was, the feud with Booker T… don’t even get me started… the feud with Kevin Nash was just there and did nothing from me, and then he dropped it to Goldberg. Sounds bad? Now add the fact that it lasted NINE MONTHS. This was awful, hurt a lot of guys in the process, and let’s just move on.

Rating: 2/10

Goldberg (September 21, 2003 – December 14, 2003)

  • Televised matches: 14
  • Record: 10-2 (2 draws)

My match ratings:

  • Goldberg def. Triple H(c) – Unforgiven 2003 (**)
  • Goldberg(c) def. Triple H – Survivor Series 2003 (**3/4)
  • Triple H def. Goldberg(c) and Kane – Armageddon 2003 (*1/2) *RTA*

One month after eating an unnecessary loss at SummerSlam, Goldberg captured the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H at Unforgiven in a career threatening match. Goldberg continued to feud with Hunter the entire time, and eventually he confronted SmackDown’s WWE Champion Brock Lesnar for the first time at Survivor Series. In that same show, Goldberg retained the gold in a solid match with Triple H before dropping the belt back to ‘The Game’ at Armageddon in a three way that also involved Kane. The SummerSlam loss really hurt his momentum, and it was felt during this title reign. If there’s one thing WCW always did better than WWE, that would be knowing how to book Bill Goldberg. This reign wasn’t good, but it also wasn’t bad. It was a thing that happened during a very meh time for RAW.

Rating: 3/10

ALL-TIME CHAMPIONS RANKING

  1. Kurt Angle (WWE Championship, 15/12/2002 – 30/03/2003) 9
  2. Brock Lesnar (WWE Championship, 18/09/2003 – 15/02/2004) 9
  3. John Cena (WWE Championship, 17/09/2006 – 02/10/2007) 9
  4. CM Punk (WWE Championship, 20/11/2011 – 27/01/2013) 9
  5. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship, 13/11/2018 – 07/04/2019) 9
  6. AJ Styles (WWE Championship, 11/09/2016 – 29/01/2017) 9
  7. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 16/12/2007 – 30/03/2008) 8
  8. Kurt Angle (WWE Championship, 27/07/2003 – 18/09/2003) 8
  9. Edge (WWE Championship, 08/01/2006 – 29/01/2006) 8
  10. Chris Benoit (World Heavyweight Championship, 14/03/2004 – 15/08/2004) 8
  11. Randy Orton (World Heavyweight Championship, 06/05/2011 – 17/07/2011) 8
  12. Batista (WWE Championship, 21/02/2010 – 28/03/2010) 8
  13. Brock Lesnar (WWE Championship, 17/08/2014 – 29/03/2015) 7
  14. Edge (WWE Championship, 03/07/2006- 17/09/2006) 7
  15. Batista (World Heavyweight Championship, 26/11/2006 – 01/04/2007) 7
  16. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 07/10/2007 – 27/04/2008) 7
  17. John Cena (WWE Championship, 07/04/2013 – 18/08/2013) 7
  18. Chris Jericho (World Heavyweight Championship, 07/09/2008 – 26/10/2008) 7
  19. Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship, 14/12/2003 – 14/03/2004) 7
  20. Kurt Angle (World Heavyweight Championship, 13/01/2006 – 02/04/2006) 7
  21. Batista (World Heavyweight Championship, 03/04/2005 – 13/01/2006) 7
  22. John Cena (WWE Championship, 03/04/2005 – 08/01/2006) 7
  23. The Undertaker (World Heavyweight Championship, 01/04/2007 – 11/05/2007) 7
  24. AJ Styles (WWE Championship, 07/11/2017 – 13/11/2018) 7
  25. CM Punk (World Heavyweight Championship, 07/06/2009 – 26/07/2009) 6
  26. Batista (World Heavyweight Championship, 16/09/2007 – 16/12/2007) 6
  27. Brock Lesnar (WWE Championship, 30/03/2003 – 27/07/2003) 6
  28. Eddie Guerrero (WWE Championship, 15/02/2004 – 27/06/2004) 6
  29. John Cena (WWE Championship, 29/01/2006 – 11/06/2006) 6
  30. Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship, 09/01/2005 – 03/04/2005) 6
  31. John Cena (WWE Championship, 28/03/2010 – 20/06/2010) 6
  32. John Cena (WWE Championship, 01/05/2011 – 17/07/2011) 6
  33. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 18/08/2013 – 15/09/2013) 6
  34. Kevin Owens (WWE Universal Championship, 29/08/2016- 05/03/2017) 6
  35. Chris Jericho (World Heavyweight Championship, 21/02/2010 – 02/04/2010) 6
  36. Alberto Del Rio (World Heavyweight Championship, 16/06/2013 – 27/10/2013) 6
  37. Seth Rollins (WWE Championship, 29/03/2015 – 04/11/2015) 6
  38. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship, 03/04/2016 – 19/06/2016) 6
  39. King Booker (World Heavyweight Championshp, 23/07/2006 – 26/11/2006) 6
  40. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 26/04/2009 – 07/06/2009) 5
  41. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 19/12/2010 – 18/02/2011) 5
  42. Jeff Hardy (World Heavyweight Championship, 26/0/2009 – 23/08/2009) 5
  43. The Rock (WWE Championship, 27/01/2013 – 07/04/2013) 5
  44. CM Punk (WWE Championship, 17/07/2011 – 14/08/2011) 5
  45. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/02/2011 – 15/04/2011) 5
  46. Brock Lesnar (Universal Championship, 02/11/2018 – 07/04/2019) 5
  47. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 27/10/2013 – 06/04/2014) 5
  48. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship, 06/04/2014 – 09/06/2014) 5
  49. Christian (World Heavyweight Championship, 17/07/2011 – 14/08/2011) 5
  50. Randy Orton (World Heavyweight Championship, 14/08/2011 – 18/09/2011) 5
  51. CM Punk (World Heavyweight Championship, 23/08/2009 – 04/10/2009) 5
  52. The Undertaker (World Heavyweight Championship, 04/10/2009 – 21/02/2010) 5
  53. JBL (WWE Championship, 27/06/2004 – 03/04/2005) 5
  54. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 11/05/2007 – 20/07/2007) 5
  55. Seth Rollins (Universal Championship, 11/08/2019 – 31/10/2019) 5
  56. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 15/06/2009 – 13/09/2009) 5
  57. Triple H (WWE Championship, 27/04/2008 – 23/11/2008) 5
  58. John Cena (WWE Championship, 29/01/2017 – 12/02/2017) 5
  59. Sheamus (World Heavyweight Championship, 01/04/2012 – 28/10/2012) 4
  60. Mark Henry (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/09/2011 – 18/12/2011) 4
  61. John Cena (WWE Championship, 29/06/2014 – 17/08/2014) 4
  62. Dean Ambrose (WWE Championship, 19/06/2016 – 11/09/2016) 4
  63. Alberto Del Rio (WWE Championship, 02/10/2011 – 20/11/2011) 4
  64. Kofi Kingston (WWE Championship, 07/04/2019 – 04/10/2019) 4
  65. Alberto Del Rio (World Heavyweight Championship, 11/01/2013 – 08/04/2013) 4
  66. Seth Rollins (Universal Championship, 07/04/2019 – 14/07/2019) 4
  67. John Cena (World Heavyweight Championship, 05/04/2009 – 26/04/2009) 3
  68. Jeff Hardy (WWE Championship, 14/12/2008 – 25/01/2009) 3
  69. John Cena (WWE Championship, 25/10/2009 – 13/12/2009) 3
  70. Brock Lesnar (Universal Championship, 14/07/2019 – 11/08/2019) 3
  71. Brock Lesnar (Universal Championship, 02/04/2017 – 19/08/2018) 3
  72. Triple H (WWE Championship, 24/01/2016 – 03/04/2016) 3
  73. Christian (World Heavyweight Championship, 01/05/2011 – 06/05/2011) 3
  74. Alberto Del Rio (WWE Championship, 14/08/2011 – 18/09/2011) 3
  75. Kane (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/07/2010 – 19/12/2010) 3
  76. Chris Jericho (World Heavyweight Championship, 03/11/2008 – 23/11/2008) 3
  77. Rob Van Dam (WWE Championship, 11/06/2006 – 03/07/2006) 3
  78. Rey Mysterio (World Heavyweight Championship, 20/06/2010 – 18/07/2010) 3
  79. John Cena (World Heavyweight Championship, 27/10/2013 – 15/12/2013) 3
  80. Triple H (WWE Championship, 15/02/2009 – 26/04/2009) 3
  81. Big Show (World Heavyweight Championship, 28/10/2012 – 11/01/2013) 3
  82. Edge (WWE Championship, 25/01/2009 – 15/02/2009) 3
  83. John Cena (WWE Championship, 25/07/2011 – 14/08/2011) 3
  84. Goldberg (World Heavyweight Championship, 21/09/2003 – 14/12/2003) 3
  85. John Cena (World Heavyweight Championship, 23/11/2008 – 15/02/2009) 3
  86. The Miz (WWE Championship, 22/11/2010 – 01/05/2011) 3
  87. Randy Orton (World Heavyweight Championship, 15/08/2004 – 12/09/2004) 3
  88. Roman Reigns (Universal Championship, 19/08/2018 – 22/10/2018) 3
  89. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship, 21/05/2017 – 07/11/2017) 3
  90. Bray Wyatt (WWE Championship, 12/02/2017 – 02/04/2017) 3
  91. Edge (WWE Championship, 23/11/2008 – 14/12/2008) 2
  92. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 15/02/2009 – 05/04/2009) 2
  93. John Cena (WWE Championship, 18/09/2011 – 02/10/2011) 2
  94. Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship, 12/09/2004 – 06/12/2004) 2
  95. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 01/06/2008 – 30/06/2008) 2
  96. John Cena (WWE Championship, 13/09/2009 – 04/10/2009) 2
  97. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship, 14/12/2015 – 24/01/2016) 2
  98. Goldberg (Universal Championship, 05/03/2017 – 02/04/2017) 2
  99. The Undertaker (World Heavyweight Championship, 30/03/2008 – 02/05/2008) 2
  100. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 04/10/2009 – 25/10/2009) 2
  101. Dolph Ziggler (World Heavyweight Championship, 08/04/2013 – 16/06/2013) 2
  102. Rey Mysterio (World Heavyweight Championship, 02/04/2006 – 23/07/2006) 2
  103. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 26/04/2009 – 07/06/2009) 2
  104. Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship, 15/12/2002 – 21/09/2003) 2
  105. Daniel Bryan (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/12/2011 – 01/04/2012) 2
  106. CM Punk (World Heavyweight Championship, 30/06/2008 – 07/09/2008) 2
  107. Sheamus (WWE Championship, 22/11/2015 – 14/12/2015) 2
  108. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 19/09/2010 – 22/11/2010) 2
  109. Sheamus (WWE Championship, 20/06/2010 – 19/09/2010) 2
  110. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 02/04/2017 – 21/05/2017) 1
  111. Batista (World Heavyweight Championship, 26/10/2008 – 03/11/2008) 1
  112. Sheamus (WWE Championship, 13/12/2009 – 21/02/2010) 1
  113. Jack Swagger (World Heavyweight Championship, 02/04/2010 – 20/06/2010) 1
  114. The Great Khali (World Heavyweight Championship, 20/07/2007 – 16/09/2007) 1
  115. Jeff Hardy (World Heavyweight Championship, 07/06/2009) 
  116. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship, 18/08/2013) 
  117. Seth Rollins (WWE Championship, 19/06/2016) 
  118. John Cena (WWE Championship, 21/02/2010) 
  119. Rey Mysterio (WWE Championship, 25/07/2011) 
  120. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship, 22/11/2015) 
  121. Randy Orton (World Heavyweight Championship, 15/12/2013) 
  122. Finn Bálor (WWE Universal Championship, 21/08/2016 – 22/08/2016) 
  123. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship, 15/09/2013 – 16/09/2013) 
  124. Triple H (WWE Championship, 07/10/2007) 
  125. Dolph Ziggler (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/02/2011) 
  126. Big Show (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/12/2011) 
  127. Batista (WWE Championship, 07/06/2009 – 09/06/2009) 
  128. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 07/10/2007)