Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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From the Vault: Royal Rumble 2003

Each Monday in From the Vault, a member of the staff will choose something from the WWE Network lineup and recap it, bringing attention to forgotten matches, memorable segments, and unforgettable moments that helped pave the way for what we see on television today.

Oh 2003, How I heart you. 2003 was a year of post attitudinal goodness. The WWE may have had the greatest roster combination ever at their disposal. Certainly, the Divas Divison was no exception. The previous year, the brand extension was enacted and the face of the females SmackDown quickly became the one & only, Torrie Wilson. No good blonde babyface is good without a fierce heel rival and Torrie Wilson found that rival in the form of Dawn Marie.

Dawn took her feud with Torrie to an insanely personal level when she started approaching Torrie’s father, Al Wilson. I’m not sure who the actor who portrayed Torrie’s father was, but without a doubt it was the biggest Emmy snub in history that Al wasn’t honored for his performance in this iconic storyline! Wait… that was Torrie’s ACTUAL father? Even better! Monday Night Raw may have had the better in-ring action of the two shows at the time, but what the Divas on Smackdown lacked in in-ring ability they made up with compelling drama. Never was that more true than with this angle. I mean it took up a huge portion of Smackdown for SEVERAL months and every week you never knew what was going to come next.

From the indecent proposals from Dawn to both Al and Torrie (Who could ever forget the infamous hotel room angle?) to Dawn and Al’s wedding in their underwear (I cannot believe I just wrote that.) to Al’s sudden passing after a night of… physically exhausting activities…. it all led up to the first ever (and probably last) Stepmother vs Stepdaughter Match at Royal Rumble 2003. So let’s jump into the match right now!

As I start playing 27 minutes into Royal Rumble 2003, I notice a true rarity for the Divas – a build up package! For me personally, this video package makes the entire match. It shows all the highlights of the torrid webs that this storyline weaved over the previous six months. Also, It showed the infamous funeral scene from that week’s SmackDown… You mean to tell me smashing lamps over your step daughters head at your widows wake isn’t tradition!?

It’s time for the action and Dawn Marie ( announced as Dawn Marie-Wilson, which is epic) is out wearing a Vail as Tony Chimmel lets us know that this is the first ever Stepmother vs Stepdaughter match. Torrie is out next to her iconic “Need a Little Time” theme and as the referee is acting Torrie if she wants to go through with this match, She’s attacked from behind by her own Stepmother! Oh, the agony and heartache of it all!

“You want something to cry about!?!?” says Dawn as she slaps and stomps at Torrie. Torrie then takes her down in a emotional outburst. Torrie goes on the offensive but is soon counted by Dawn Marie who locks in a really awesome armbar! I need to take this time to say that I ALWAYS found Dawn Marie to be awesome and she never got enough credit for her characters in both ECW and the WWE. Back to the match and Dawn continues her assault on Torrie with a one woman flapjack. Torrie and Dawn knock heads and Torrie soon takes control, getting a near fall via a backslide.

Dawn hits a springboard clothesline and screams “THAT WAS FOR YOUR FATHER!” Torrie is able to regain control after a kick and hits a swinging neckbreaker for the three!
Torrie is a emotional mess after the match as Dawn Marie yells “THIS IS NOT OVER!”.

When I picked this match to write about I was planning on talking more about the storyline itself than the match as I didn’t remember it being a mat classic. However, when I watched the match back I was really impressed with how Dawn Marie carried herself in the ring. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if she had the opportunity to complete on Raw against some of the more experienced Divas.

With that being said, this feud made Torrie and Dawn shining stars on Smackdown. Some may consider the storyline itself incredibly cheesy and low class, and they would be absolutely right. But, it’s wrestling! People come back from car crashes and falls off of 20 foot ladders, so why couldn’t Dawn Marie marry Al Wilson in their underwear and then he dies on their honeymoon?

Regardless of your feelings on the story, The fact of the matter is that the storyline put these two girls in the spotlight CONSTANTLY for six months. There’s no denying that they made a huge impact and put on one of the most infamous storylines of all time.

What did you think of the Torrie/Dawn feud?

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