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Superstar Sleeze

[2003-07-27-WWE-Vengeance] Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas vs Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman

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WWE Tag Team Champions World's Greatest Tag Team vs Rey Mysterio/Billy Kidman - WWE Vengeance 2003

 

Heralded match at the time and for some reason I don't remember watching this PPV live. I think this was the only post-Mania XIX PPV I didn't watch that year. Very fun little tag match. You really start to see the post-modern style creeping into this match. There are almost zero babyface/heel dynamics, it is more about spots and the nearfalls are huge in this. What keeps this above water is that the crowd is still old school and Rey Mysterio is on fucking fire in this match.

 

There is an awesome nearfall where Rey snaps Haas off the top rope with a rana and everyone in the building bites that the titles are going to change hands, but it is a kick out at 2 and a half. Instead of "This Is awesome" chants, they start BOOING and even chanting bullshit!!! I loved the nearfall and the crowd reaction just made it that much better. They wanted to see a title change and wanted to see the good guys win. That was more important! I miss those days. Rey looked so damn crisp on offense. Everything was hitting and everything looked cool. I loved the springboard somersault dropkick! Never seen that before, really cool. Just everything else was so clean. Hell even Kidman looked damn good with his HOLY SHIT Highspot of the match a Springboard Shooting Star Press to the outside. He was a good face in peril. My big criticism is at the World's Greatest Tag Team. What makes you heels? This is right at the beginning of this whole "lets have a good match" movement that abandons traditional babyface/heel dynamics. There was a nice ref distraction preventing the hot tag and guess what that got the biggest reaction besides the three big spots of the match! This was an invested crowd. Benjamin/Haas are technically good, but they were missing the character work. The work on the back was solid. That's how they felt everything is solid from them, but they never kicked into the next level. Rey and Kidman looked great as a babyface team. The actual finish with WGTT hitting a Springboard Doomsday Device was pretty sick.

 

The three big spots were all awesome and boost what was a good match and make it entertaining and memorable. ***1/2

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Hidden gem of a match.

 

I had to look up where this show took place because, based on the crowd reactions for Rey, it sounded like San Diego. The fans are invested in this match from the get-go and the participants deliver a match full of complicated sequences and big spots and though basic in its layout, a bout that definitely builds up the suspense and tension the right way.

 

The original poster mentioned that Haas and Benjamin don't do a lot of character work but I thought their heelishness came across in the cut-offs and 2-on-1s the way it does for The Revival today. In fact, I found Haas specifically great. If you were to watch him in this match alone, you'd be convinced he was headed to a decent midcard singles run down the line. His clubbering on Kidman early looks vicious, as does a pretty nifty kickout inverted spinebuster thingamajig he does to Rey. Facial expressions are nasty too. His haircut screams 2003 but everything about the production of this show and many of its characters scream 2003 so its not that bad in comparison (for example, the match before this is an APA Invitation Brawl featuring Sean O'Haire and before that there's a match where the prize is nonconsensual sex).

 

The star of the match, though, is Rey. Everything he does is so crisp and well-timed and crowd-pleasing even when its not necessarily the craziest move you've ever seen (the West Coast Pop, for example). The crowd was hot and the match was layed out well, but unless you can keep them in the palm of your hand the way Rey does, you're not going to get reactions like the ones that this match earns by its conclusion. Extra half-point at least for the commentary as well - all four men are put over strong, their personal histories (including a Filthy Animals mention) are all brought up to help give context and credibility, and Cole and Tazz are clearly having fun trying to keep up with the action without tripping over themselves.

 

Easy 4 stars to me as I tend to reserve that score for matches worth seeking out. This match is worth seeking out.

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