In 2003, WWE had an extremely stacked roster, with wrestlers trying to make a name for themselves and veterans proving they still had what it takes to be competing. When it came to PPVs, there were a lot of shows with different matches that branched out from each other.
There were 13 PPVs across 2003. In terms of PPVs, 2003 hasn’t really aged well among fans today, but there are a lot of matches and moments that still hold up really well.
13 Judgment Day
Judgment Day 2003 was a poor show, as most of the matches were really disappointing. The main event featured Brock Lesnar defending the WWE Championship against Big Show in a stretcher match, in what was one of the only few highlights on the show.
Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri vs. Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas was a good ladder match, but it wasn’t anything legendary. Triple H and Kevin Nash had a stinker of a World Championship match, which didn’t help this show in getting any positive reviews.
Most of WWE’s UK exclusive PPVs were glorified house shows, in which there was nothing awful on the show but also nothing you’d remember for years.
There were some solid matches on the undercard, including Jazz vs. Trish Stratus and Booker T vs. Christian. Triple H and Kevin Nash had a decent street fight in the main event, but it was nothing special.
11 No Way Out
No Way Out 2003 featured Rock vs Hulk Hogan in the main event, but their rematch failed to live up to their iconic WrestleMania 18 encounter. Triple H and Scott Steiner had another stinker for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Some of the bigger matches were awful, but there were also good matches on this show, including Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy and Team Angle vs. Brock Lesnar and Chris Benoit in a 3 on 2 handicap match.
Unforgiven 2003 was an average show, mainly due to the abysmal main event between Goldberg and Triple H. Randy Orton had his first singles PPV match against Shawn Michaels, and while both men still delivered a good bout, they would have better matches in the future.
Shane McMahon and Kane’s Last Man Standing match wasn’t bad, but it failed to set the world on fire. Chris Jericho, RVD and Christian had a decent triple threat match for the Intercontinental Championship but knowing the talents involved, it could’ve been so much better.
Backlash 2003 featured some alright matches but it’s still a show that isn’t worth seeking out. The match of the night was Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin against Los Guerreros.
John Cena had his first PPV WWE Championship match against Brock Lesnar in a decent match that proved Cena could hang with the big boys. Goldberg made his PPV debut in a match that while not great, still served its purpose in putting over Goldberg as a dominant force in WWE.
This PPV was all about Evolution and their dominance upon the rest of the WWE roster. There wasn’t a horrible encounter on this show, but most of the matches were just above average.
The best matches on the show were Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam and Shawn Michaels vs. Batista. The main event between Goldberg, Kane and Triple H was the usual below average World Heavyweight Championship match at the time.
7 Bad Blood
The last 3 matches of Bad Blood 2003 saved this show from being the worst of the year. There was nothing significant during the first half of the show, except for a Booker T vs. Christian that ended in a disqualification.
Goldberg vs. Chris Jericho was one of Goldberg’s longest matches in his WWE career and Jericho did a good job in carrying Goldberg to a good match. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair wasn’t as good as their WrestleMania 24 match, but it still deserves its recognition. Triple H vs. Kevin Nash might be one of the weakest Hell in a Cell matches of all time, but knowing Nash’s limitations at the time, both men did the best they could.
6 No Mercy
There were a lot of flaws about No Mercy 2003, but it was still a decent show with some good matches. Some of the highlights include Rey Mysterio vs. Tajiri and John Cena vs. Kurt Angle.
One of the most controversial matches of all time took place on this night. Vince McMahon took on his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, in an I Quit match. It’s an extremely uncomfortable match to sit through and it was just unnecessary. The main event match between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker wasn’t bad, but it was way too long.
5 Royal Rumble
Royal Rumble 2003 was a weird show, as the two World Championship matches were completely different tales. Scott Steiner and Triple H had one of the worst matches of all time while Kurt Angle defended the WWE championship in a match of the year candidate.
The Royal Rumble match was forgettable, but it isn’t one of the worst of all time. Brock Lesnar was the obvious winner and he would go on to have a memorable rivalry with Kurt Angle.
SummerSlam 2003 was one of the strongest shows of the year. Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar had a WrestleMania 19 rematch and they delivered the goods once again, with Kurt Angle making Brock Lesnar submit in a rare moment.
The Elimination Chamber match was one of the worst of all time, but it was still good. Watching Goldberg run riot and eliminate everyone was fun, but the finish of Triple H walking out victorious over Goldberg is still controversial to this day.
3 Survivor Series
Survivor Series 2003 was a great show that featured incredible variety. With great Survivor Series elimination matches and hardcore brawls, there’s not a reason to skip this show. The match of the night was the Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff elimination match, a thrilling encounter that told a great story of Shawn giving it his all to win it for Team Austin before Batista’s interference.
While Taker vs Vince doesn’t rank very highly when it comes to the star ratings system, it was still an insane beatdown from Taker to Vince and this match is quite significant as it marked the end of The Undertaker’s “American Badass” gimmick. Kane and Shane McMahon also had a wild ambulance match. The only downer from this show was Triple H vs. Goldberg, which was obviously dull.
Vengeance 2003 was the first Smackdown exclusive PPV and what a show it was. It featured multiple great matches and it’s an easy show to sit through. The main event saw Kurt Angle vanquish Brock Lesnar and Big Show, in what was a chaotic triple threat match.
John Cena vs. The Undertaker was a great match that really helped elevate Cena. The psychology was great, with The Undertaker suffering internal injuries and selling them really well. Another great match was Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman vs. Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, which is one of the hidden gems of the era.
1 WrestleMania 19
It’s really hard to beat WrestleMania 19, as it was not only the best PPV of 2003, but one of the best shows of all time. It featured multiple matches that are iconic due to its quality, and some that are extremely controversial due to the circumstances that surround it.
Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho were matches that helped raise this show to an elite status. Vince vs. Hogan is also a fun street fight that featured the usual shenanigans of a Vince McMahon match. Triple H vs. Booker T is extremely controversial, but it’s still a good match. The whole show is worth anyone’s time.