15 YRS AGO – WWE in Trenton, N.J. (1-11-2003): Cena works opening match and gets booed, Brock Lesnar and Heyman, Team Angle vs. Edge & Benoit, Hardy

John Cena
John Cena (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)


The following report was published on PWTorch.com 15 years ago this weekend. Send results of any live event you attend in the format below to pwtorch@pwtorch.com and have it recorded online for all of history!

WWE Smackdown house show report
January 11, 2003
Sovereign Bank Arena, Trenton, N.J,
Report by Brian Kalmus, PWTorch.com reader and Torch newsletter subscriber

The show started right on time, and the house was barely 1/3 full. I think that might have been more bad timing than lack of interest. They must have lost a lot of last minute ticket buys since the Philadelphia Eagles had their first playoff game the same time as the show, and Philly is only 30 minutes away.

The show opened with Tony Chimel in the ring with some local DJs. They say hi and then bail quick. Smart.

(1) Rikishi defeated John Cena (w/ B2) in a Kiss My Ass match. Personally, I think house shows should be used to practice for big upcoming TV or PPV matches or to give new matchup combinations. Not for showing the same match we’ve seen the past few weeks on TV. Anyway, Cena came out first with another awful rap. The crowd booed a lot. If WWE wants someone with a rap gimmick, bring back K-Kwik. Rikishi came out and for some reason got a huge pop, probably just because Cena’s gimmick sucks. They had a decent match, but I got bored and went looking for food and beer. Fortunately, I also missed the post-match stink faces.

(2) Sho Funaki defeated Redd Dogg. Decent match. Redd Dogg was a pretty big guy, but didn’t have much of a gimmick. Funaki won with a rollup.

(3) Jamie Noble & Nunzio (w/ Nidia) defeated Nova & Titan. Originally, this was supposed to be Noble and Nunzio vs Crash and Spanky, and Nova was to fight B2 later. I don’t know who Titan was, but they claimed he was a local wrestler. I doubt it. The local ECHL hockey team that plays in the arena are called the Titans, so that’s where the name came from. Nova didn’t impress me that much, and showed that he could still use a little more time in OVW. Noble won with the Trailer Hitch on Nova.

(4) Matt Hardy, Version 1.0 (w/ Shannon Moore) beat Chuck “I’m not gay” Palumbo. Matt cut a promo before the match that elicited a good mix of cheers and boos. He even said, “I don’t get it. Do you guys want to cheer or boo me?” Good back and forth action till Shannon interfered and hit a top rope Missile Drop Kick on Palumbo, setting up the Twist of Fate and the win.

After the match, Chimel started to announce there would be an intermission. But was interrupted by Paul Heyman who came out and said he would decide when there would be an intermission. He cut a sweet promo, practically cursing out some guy with an ECW shirt on and saying he’s glad the company went out of business. He then introduced his favorite client, the Big Show. Heyman said some more stuff setting up the match at Royal Rumble. Brock came out and said their match tonight would be no-DQ.

(5) Brock Lesnar defeated Big Show (w/ Paul Heyman) in a no-DQ match. Short match. Minimal interference by Heyman. Brock won after Heyman’s interference backfired and Brock blasted Big Show with a chair shot. After the match, Brock was heavily booed while walking up the ramp for not giving Big Show an F5. So he returned and gave a big F5 to Paul. That made the fans happy and brought us to intermission.

(6) Bill DeMott crushed Shannon Moore. Matt Hardy ran down during the match and tried to interfere. It wasn’t enough for Moore to get the 3-count, and then Palumbo came out to drag Matt to the back. I think DeMott won with a powerbomb.

(7) Billy Kidman defeated Tajiri to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Sweet match. Nothing spectacular, but the same stuff we’ve seen from these two before and that’s pretty good. Win came when Kidman avoided the green mist that hit the ref, then rolled up Tajiri for the 3. No shooting star press.

After the match, Chimel introduced Smackdown’s #1 Announcer, Funaki. He said a few words, then called out Dawn Marie Wilson. Dawn said that since Thursday night, Al Wilson has been in a coma. She asked the arena for a moment of silent prayer for her “Alsie-wowsie”. The crowed booed, and she said she has never seen such grotesque disrespect (I agree with her). She said her and Al are a much cuter couple than Randy Savage and Elizabeth were, Matt Hardy and Lita, and those redneck trailerpark trash Jamie Noble and Nidia. Cue Nidia, who came out and threw some words back, then spit her gum in Dawn’s face. Dawn attacked and we had a girl fight, complete with them rolling over Funaki. Dawn pulled Nidia’s pants off, who ran up the ramp with the spotlights following her the whole way.

(8) Edge & Chris Benoit defeated Team Angle (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) w/ Kurt Angle. Team Angle came out first. Kurt isn’t on crutches anymore and seems to be moving around just fine again. He said some words, got the crowd riled up, and then the faces came out. Good 10-15 minute match with Benoit being isolated for most of the match. Edge finally got the hot tag and the faces cleaned house. Benoit had the crossface on Angle in the ring for a while before Benjamin broke it up. The win came when Edge nailed Haas with a spear.

Since my one friend just had knee surgery and the other was anxious to get home for the second half of the Eagles schelacking the Atlanta Falcons to host next weekend’s NFC Championship game, we left right after the match so I don’t know if there were post-match shenanagins.

Biggest Pops:
Rikishi (I still don’t know why)
Brock Lesnar

Most Heat:
Dawn Marie
Paul Heyman
Kurt Angle
John Cena

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS 15 YRS AGO FLASHBACK: 15 YRS AGO – WWE in Anaheim, Calif. (1-4-2013): Jericho vs. Booker T, The Rock makes surprise appearance, Triple H & Batista team in main event, RVD, Trish, Raven, Dreamer

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