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ekedolphin
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#2381 Posted on 23.3.11 1632.47
Reposted on: 23.3.18 1633.23
WrestleMania 2000

For the first time in WrestleMania history, the WWF Championship was defended in a Fatal Four Way match, as Triple H defended the title against The Rock, The Big Show and Mick Foley. Despite the fact that Foley had lost a retirement match to Triple H a month earlier at No Way Out in a Hell in a Cell match. (And I shouldn't have to mention that Foley's still wrestling today, sporadically).

Each man had a McMahon in their corner: Triple H had Stephanie, Rock had Vince, Big Show had Shane, and Foley had Linda. Ultimately it was Triple H who would prevail in this contest, when Vince turned heel and assaulted The Rock with a steel chair, as if no one saw that coming.

There were no traditional singles matches at this event.

In a triple-threat, two-falls match, Kurt Angle defended the Intercontinental and European Championships against Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho. All three men were making their WrestleMania debuts. For some reason the first fall was for the Intercontinental Championship, instead of the other way around. In any event: Benoit won the I-C Title first by pinning Jericho; Jericho then won the Euro Title by pinning Benoit. Angle was not pleased.

Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz competed in a triangle ladder match for the WWF Tag Team Title, with E&C prevailing and capturing the titles from The Dudleyz.

In a 15-minute Hardcore Championship Battle Royal, the title changed hands ten times. I'm amazed people didn't turn off their television sets halfway through.

The Undertaker did not appear at this event; originally a groin injury which had kept him out of action since September 1999. He'd been scheduled to return at the Royal Rumble but tore his pectoral muscle. He would return in May at the Judgment Day PPV during the Iron Man match between The Rock and Triple H, accidentally costing The Rock the WWF Title when he came to the champion's aid, taking out the McMahon-Helmsley Regime-- but also chokeslamming and Tombstoning Triple H, which gave Michaels no alternative but to award the final fall to Triple H via disqualification.

(edited by ekedolphin on 23.3.11 1739)
SchippeWreck
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#2382 Posted on 23.3.11 1638.32
Reposted on: 23.3.18 1639.06
    Originally posted by ekedolphin
      Originally posted by The Goon
      What happened to the Wrestlemania memories? Those were enjoyable.


    Sorry, I was out of town for a few days.

    OK, to catch up:

    WrestleMania XII:
    1996

    "THE BOYHOOD DREAM HAS COME TRUE FOR SHAWN MICHAELS!"

The only Wrestlemania to date that I've attended. It was...not that good, at least for those of us in the nosebleeds. The extended taped Piper/Golddust stuff meant extended periods of nothing happening in the arena. Also, the psychology of the Iron Man match didn't play well from our vantage point. It needed commentary, or something.

Shawn ziplining over my head was pretty damn cool, though.
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#2383 Posted on 24.3.11 0337.08
Reposted on: 24.3.18 0337.51
WrestleMania X-Seven
2001
Houston, TX

Oh, man. What can you say about this event other than it was the greatest wrestling event ever produced?

Since I have the DVD and still watch it every now and then, I'm going to divert from my usual pattern and go from the beginning of the event to the end.

Chris Jericho defended the Intercontinental Title successfully against William Regal in a match that featured a nice double underhook suplex from Regal, and a babyface comeback. Perfectly acceptable wrestling.

Tazz and The Acolyte Protection Agency thankfully cut off Steven Richards' speech, and then defeated Right to Censor members The Goodfather, Val Venis and Bull Buchanan after Bradshaw's Clothesline from Hell, giving the big Texan a victory in his home state to pop the crowd. Not particularly memorable, but it served its purpose.

Raven came down with a grocery cart full of bizarre weapons to valiantly defend his Hardcore Title against The Big Show and Kane. It spilled into the backstage area pretty quickly, and ended up involving a golf cart, Raven being thrown through a window, Kane and Big Show going through walls, and Big Show and Raven being kicked off the entrance ramp. Kane hit a flying leg drop off the stage and got the win, with the referee slapping a glass wall as he made the pin count.

Next we saw Eddie Guerrero lie, cheat and steal his way to a European Title victory over champion Test, with interference from Perry Saturn (wearing the world's goofiest hat) and Dean Malenko. The Belt Shot, which was practically its own finishing move in the Attitude Era, was the contributing factor here.

And then we kicked it up a notch.

First we had Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit put on a fantastic display of technical wrestling as the two of them met for the second WrestleMania in a row. Eventually Angle tired of the catch-as-catch-can and started a full-on brawl on the outside. Both men tried desperately to make the other man submit; they even used each other's finishing moves. But ultimately Angle decided to just try and win at any cost, which he did with a handful of tights and a small cradle.

After a brief curb-stomp-battle in which Chyna (rocking the Cher look) annihilated Women's Champion and Right to Censor member Ivory to win the Women's Title, up next was the street fight between WWF Chairman Vince McMahon and WCW Chairman Shane McMahon. (World Championship Wrestling had been bought by the WWF less than a week before the event).

And it had some of the most memorable storytelling I've EVER seen in a wrestling match.

Vince McMahon vs. Shane McMahon, Street Fight

Mick Foley was the special referee, and he promised beforehand that in spite of his difficulties with Vince, he'd call the match right down the middle. In the early going, Shane dominated, hitting Vince with numerous shots from a kendo stick and TV monitors. Which is kinda what you'd expect, with Shane being younger and having participated in more matches than Vince.

All the while, Stephanie was screaming at ringside, pleading for Shane to stop what he was doing. Ignoring her, he set Vince up on the announce table and prepared to drop a top-rope flying elbow on him. But at the last moment, Stephanie pulled Vince out of the way, giving Vince a temporary reprieve.

At around this time (per her prematch instructions) Vince's lover Trish Stratus came out, pushing out a catatonic Linda McMahon in a wheelchair. When Vince got to his feet, Trish soothed him-- and then slapped him, sending him down to the floor. This caused Stephanie to get into it with Trish, and the two women fought back to the backstage area.

Getting up, Vince saw Linda sitting there in the wheelchair, not moving a muscle. "BITCH," he said to her, with all the venom that only a jilted lover can deliver. He prepared to move against her, but Foley immediately intervened. "Don't even THINK ABOUT IT, VINCE!" he said, and the elder McMahon backed off. Foley attempted to wheel Linda out of there, but Vince grabbed a steel chair and smashed him from behind. Now free to do whatever he wanted with Linda, his goal was to make Linda watch as he beat her son to a living pulp in the ring.

So, throwing numerous trash cans into the ring, and propping Linda up in the steel chair in one of the corners, Vince began beating the hell out of Shane with the trash cans. After Shane absorbed several shots with the trash cans, Vince turned his back to Linda to deliver another beating to Shane--

AND LINDA STOOD UP, and the crowd went apeshit.

Vince, hearing the crowd noise, reacted with confusion. Shane, on his knees, pointed behind Vince and the chairman turned around, stunned to see his wife (whom he'd thought to be catatonic) standing up to fight against him. Kicking him in the grapefruits, Linda got some well-deserved revenge against Vince. Then Mick Foley got in on the action, brutally assaulting Vince in retribution for his earlier attack. And Shane finished him off after a Coast-to-Coast with a trash can.

It wasn't the best technical wrestling match you'll ever see, but it was absolutely brilliant from a storytelling perspective.

---

And the night would only get better.

Next up was TLC II, as The Dudley Boyz defended the WWF Tag Team Title against Edge & Christian and The Hardy Boyz for the second straight year at WrestleMania. No doubt all nine participants in the match (including Lita, Spike Dudley and Rhyno) were sore for a week after this contest, which saw brilliant high spots such as Edge's oft-replayed spear from the ladder against Jeff Hardy (who was dangling from the title belts), Jeff's Swanton from the Super-Ladder in the ring through two tables with Spike and Rhyno on them outside the ring, or how about Bubba Ray Dudley and Matt Hardy, thanks to Rhyno, being sent flying from a ladder outside the ring through FOUR tables outside the ring?

Good God, my entire body's hurting just thinking of the carnage.

It ended when Rhyno gave a boost to Christian up the ladder, and E&C were once again tag-team champions.

And now for something a bit more relaxing, and just pure fun. The Gimmick Battle Royal! The hockey-playing Goon, brilliantly-played Repo Man and just plain ridiculous Gobbeldy Gooker, alongside former legitimate WWF competitors Nikolai Volkoff, Sgt. Slaughter and The Iron Sheik (the latter two of whom were former WWF Champions), and then we had Earthquake, Tugboat, Jim Cornette, Brother Love (complete with "IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!" exultation)... it was really a blast from the past, and it was accompanied by hilarious, cliché-storm commentary from Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Mean Gene Okerlund. (Okerlund, incidentally, became the first WCW talent to be utilized onscreen on a WWF program after the buyout. I didn't know this until just now, but Heenan in fact was released by WCW in late 2000).

My favorite line of the match was about Repo Man.

Heenan: Repo Man! Last week he repoed his own car! This man is nuts!
Okerlund: About five years ago, he got my mother-in-law's.
*beat*
Heenan: About four years ago, everyone got your mother-in-law.

The entrances lasted much longer than the match, but that was kinda the point. The Iron Sheik won, apparently because he wasn't physically able to go over the top rope without seriously injuring himself. Afterwards, Sgt. Slaughter gave him the Cobra Clutch to give the maggots something to cheer about.

The match between The Undertaker and Triple H was supposed to be a regular singles match, but after two referee bumps (the second of which knocked the ref out for, I swear, 12 minutes or so-- get that guy some goddamn medical attention already!), it turned into a de facto street fight. The two men beat the holy living hell out of each other. The Undertaker chokeslammed Triple H off a scaffold, and the ring crew almost succeeded in making it look like there hadn't been a mat there. (Almost, but not quite).

Remembering the sledgehammer shot he'd received from Triple H (and the stitches he'd needed to get) during the Road to WrestleMania, The Undertaker tried to use Hunter's own weapon against him, but he'd have none of it, and before long Undertaker was on the receiving end of a vicious sledgehammer shot to the head in the greatest reversal I've ever seen of a powerbomb.

Eventually, Triple H mounted 'Taker in the corner and started pounding him with his fists, but Undertaker hooked his legs and gave Triple H the Last Ride of his life, pinning him for the three-count and improving to 9-0 at WrestleMania.

Immediately before the WWF Championship match pitting champion The Rock against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (a rematch of WrestleMania XV), Howard Finkel announced that the match was now a no-disqualification contest. The two men took full advantage of that stipulation, and with even greater speed and intensity than the Triple H/Taker match and Vince/Shane match (though not the TLC 2 match-- that's almost impossible), they proceeded to annihilate one another.

Both men busted each other wide open, and The Rock put Austin in the Sharpshooter, reminiscent of WrestleMania 13 and that epic match against Bret Hart. Austin was able to reverse it this time, and put on a Sharpshooter of his own, and by the way-- would someone explain to me why rope breaks are enforced in no-DQ matches?

Austin broke out The Million Dollar Dream submission hold for the first time in years, but The Rock hit a Stunner on Austin. Around this time Vince McMahon came to the ring, seemingly just to observe, since he wasn't exactly on friendly terms with either of these men. But when he pulled Rock off Austin's fallen form after the People's Elbow, Rock was all "What the hell?!" and started going after Vince.

Austin, meanwhile, continued to doggedly pursue his quest to become WWF Champion, but when The Rock continued to kick out of everything, even the Stunner, he got frustrated and told Vince to hand him a steel chair. Smashing Rock with it, he pinned him and STILL couldn't keep him down.

So Austin hit Rock with about ten chair shots to the torso and finally, finally got the pin, becoming the new WWF Champion.

"AUSTIN HAS SOLD HIS SOUL TO SATAN HIMSELF!"

There has never been a wrestling event that's been better. And I'm not sure there ever will be.
dMp
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#2384 Posted on 24.3.11 0527.02
Reposted on: 24.3.18 0527.19
This is the first Wrestlemania I attended in person.
Haven't missed one since.
Since we had to get tickets the regular way for this one (as opposed to using WWE's package deals which didn't exist until x8) the seats weren't that great.

We were along the ramp, almost near the entrance itself which meant we almost scorched our eyebrows when Kane's pyro hit.

One of my most vivid memories is that after the TLC match, the refs were cleaning up while the wrestlers slowly walked back. Edge had such a vacant look in his eyes, I doubt if he even knew where he was at the time.

ekedolphin
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#2385 Posted on 24.3.11 1443.17
Reposted on: 24.3.18 1444.16
    Originally posted by dMp


    Edge had such a vacant look in his eyes, I doubt if he even knew where he was at the time.




I have absolutely no trouble believing that.

What did you think about the overall experience? What were your favorite matches of the night?
Big G
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#2386 Posted on 24.3.11 2315.19
Reposted on: 24.3.18 2315.25
I always thought this was the best match Test ever had.
JustinShapiro
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#2387 Posted on 25.3.11 0942.23
Reposted on: 25.3.18 0942.36
    Originally posted by ekedolphin
    Ultimately it was Triple H who would prevail in this contest, when Vince turned heel and assaulted The Rock with a steel chair, as if no one saw that coming.


No one saw that coming that night.
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#2388 Posted on 25.3.11 1000.17
Reposted on: 25.3.18 1001.01
Man, what a downer that was. One of the only times I was actively rooting for a Dusty finish.
ekedolphin
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#2389 Posted on 25.3.11 2352.44
Reposted on: 25.3.18 2359.01
WrestleMania X8
2002
Toronto, ON

In a match which was (in retrospect, falsely) billed as "Wrestling's Past vs. Wrestling's Future", we had a contest we thought we'd never see.

"Hollywood" Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock.

And it was an EPIC match. Even though Hogan (representing the nWo, which made their WWE debut the previous month at No Way Out) came into the match as the heel, the Toronto crowd decided almost immediately who they were really going to root for. And a man who'd crashed a semi truck into an ambulance containing The Rock got the cheers, while the victim of the attack got the boos.

And the brilliance of the match was, both men immediately adapted to the roles the crowd had given them, with Hogan playing to the crowd, and The Rock scowling like back in the Nation of Domination days.

The Rock got the win in what was easily the most memorable match of the night-- if not the year-- and afterwards they shook hands in a show of mutual respect. Hogan's nWo teammates, The Outsiders, came out to argue with Hogan after the contest, probably wondering what the hell was going on with him shaking hands with The Rock-- and then they assaulted him.

And The Rock, who was halfway up the stage already, came running to Hogan's defense and made the save.

It was a fantastic moment, though I think they dropped the ball somewhat in keeping The Rock as a face in the weeks immediately following WrestleMania. And then they tried to turn him heel about this time the following year, and it didn't work as well.

Another mistake I have to point out: This was not the last match of the night. Hell, it was immediately followed by a triple-threat match between Jazz, Trish Stratus and Lita for the Women's Championship. Many will argue that the World Title match should be on last in most cases, and that's true-- but this was one of those times when the exception should have been made.

The match burned out the crowd, and the following Women's Title match and even the Undisputed Title match between champion Chris Jericho and Triple H were not nearly as well-received as they ought to have been.

However:

Chris Jericho was thoroughly made to look like shit during his Undisputed Title reign. He even ended up picking up shit produced by Stephanie's dog. Triple H won, of course; I don't think Jericho's beaten Triple H in a singles match except for "The Match That Never Happened".

And after having Jericho's reign last from December to March, the Undisputed Title would go from Triple H to Hogan to Undertaker to Rock to Lesnar in rapid succession (Brock won it at SummerSlam) before it was split and the Big Gold Belt returned and was (naturally) immediately awarded to Triple H. Really, the HHHaterade was well-deserved in 2002.

Lesnar, by the way, would debut the day after WrestleMania X-8, by absolutely destroying all the competitors during a Hardcore Title 24/7 attempt-- and then walking away without attempting a pinfall. (I'll be the first to admit I was all "What the fuck didn't he cover anybody for?" back then, but) BADASS.

The Undertaker defeated Ric Flair in a no-DQ match in which I was certain Undertaker's streak was about to come to an end. (And I think it's also the most recent Undertaker WrestleMania match in which I was actively rooting against him. I mean, I love HBK as much as the next guy, but by that point 'Taker was 16-0 and you figured "the streak should never end.") Despite interference from Arn Anderson, who hit an awesome spinebuster on 'Taker that brought me back to the Four Horsemen days of yore, 'Taker put Flair away and improved to 10-0 at WrestleMania.

Maven's Hardcore Title defense against Goldust ended with a double knockout and then Spike Dudley came in and pinned Maven for the title under 24/7 rules. Crash Holly then came out to break up the celebration and set up the running gag for the evening. Backstage, The Hurricane swung on a rope and kicked Holly, pinning him for the three-count. Several matches (in the arena, not with the Hardcore Title) later, The Hurricane was interviewed by Jonathan Coachman, and his adorable sidekick, Mighty Molly, came out and said, "To the Hurri-Cycle!"

But the moment Hurricane turned his back on Molly, she hit him in the head with a frying pan and pinned him for the belt. Which was hilarious, but had the unfortunate side-effect of ending Molly's run of being so gosh-darn cute. (Which started when she was making googly eyes with Spike Dudley). This was Molly's first career WWE championship; she wouldn't win the Women's Title until later this year, and quite frankly it took them long enough. By the way, I think Disney owes Molly some royalties.

Molly ran away, and got slammed hard by the top half of a Dutch door shutting in her face, which was arguably the most impressive bump any of the Hardcore Title competitors this evening would take. It had been intentionally, of course: By Christian, who (having failed earlier in the evening to win the European Title from Diamond Dallas Page) pinned Molly for the title.

In the parking lot after the Women's Title triple-threat match, Christian was about to get into a taxi, but Maven pulled him out, quickly pinned him, and took off in the cab, leaving him as the final Hardcore Champion for the night. And Christian threw a tantrum, as he was wont to do in those days.

Let's see, what else... Booker T and Edge fought over a shampoo commercial. Rob Van Dam won his first Intercontinental Title, defeating William Regal. And Steve Austin beat the holy living hell out of Scott Hall.

(edited by ekedolphin on 26.3.11 0053)
dMp
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#2390 Posted on 26.3.11 0801.55
Reposted on: 26.3.18 0803.00
    Originally posted by ekedolphin
    WrestleMania X8
    2002
    Toronto, ON

    In a match which was (in retrospect, falsely) billed as "Wrestling's Past vs. Wrestling's Future", we had a contest we thought we'd never see.

    "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock.

    And it was an EPIC match.


First year of the WWE travel packages. Things were good.
We got a good hotel, good seats and even some gifts and a meet&greet. This was just for package buyers but still it was crowded. Doesn't matter, eventually we go to the Undisputed champion himself, Chris Jericho. Others there were Booker, RVD ("You're from the Netherlands! Woaaaah! I like that") the Dudleyz (one of my friends told Bubbah to break a leg in his match for goodluck and he took offense to that)

The show..I remember being somewhat annoyed by people cheering for Hogan at first. "Why are they doing this? Noooooo! We don't need his old ass!" But the way the match played out was awesome.
What I did love was that the crowd booed the Rock, until the 3-count. Then (in my memory) the crowd just erupted for having seen a great match.

Other memories: Trish looked great in those canadian shorts.
Oh and shampoo. The premise of that feud was so bad it's good. And Scott Hall launching himself on the stunner sells.

This WM was early in the year, on St. Patrick's day..
as a result, when we got back from the show to the Hooters right next to our hotel, they were all out of beer. WTF.
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#2391 Posted on 27.3.11 0008.29
Reposted on: 27.3.18 0010.09
WrestleMania XIX
2003
Seattle, WA

Brock Lesnar made his WrestleMania debut (he would compete in his last WWE match at this event the following year) by almost killing himself on a Shooting Star Press because he was an idiot and tried to hit it on Kurt Angle from waaaaay too far away.

Nevertheless, he defeated Kurt Angle (who himself was wrestling with a seriously injured neck) to win his second WWE Championship.

The match of the night probably has to go to Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels, an epic confrontation that ten years later would go on both men's DVD career retrospectives ("My Journey" and "Breaking the Code"). Michaels won, and afterwards the two men embraced-- only for Jericho to kick Michaels in the nuts, in a hilariously dickish inversion of the ending of the previous year's Rock/Hogan match.

For the second straight year, the Women's Title was defended at WrestleMania in a triple-threat match; this time Trish Stratus would capture the title from Victoria. Jazz was the other competitor.

Triple H, after telling Booker T that "people like you" shouldn't be competing for the World Heavyweight Title (and later claiming he was referring to Booker T's criminal record, not his race) nevertheless retained the World Title against the former five-time WCW Champion.

The Cruiserweight Title was defended at WrestleMania for the first time, as Matt Hardy successfully defended against Rey Mysterio (who was making his WrestleMania debut).

Hulk Hogan defeated Vince McMahon, winning at WrestleMania for the first time in ten years. (I believe Vinnie Mac has never won at the Grandest Stage of Them All).

The Undertaker was supposed to team with Nathan Jones against the team of The Big Show and A-Train, but ended up facing them in a handicap match instead. Late in the match, Jones entered the match and attacked The Big Show, giving 'Taker the opening he needed to hit the Tombstone on A-Train. Undertaker's record at WrestleMania improved to 11-0-- but actually, he's beaten 12 people at the event.

Kane and Rob Van Dam infamously got bumped to Sunday Night Heat, and were defeated by Chief Morley (Val Venis) and Lance Storm, who retained their World Tag Team Title. Heaven forbid we take time away from a pillow fight between Stacey, Torrie and the Miller Light Girls!
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#2392 Posted on 27.3.11 0544.32
Reposted on: 27.3.18 0544.53
    Originally posted by ekedolphin
    WrestleMania XIX
    2003
    Seattle, WA




Seattle itself was fun but nothing special happened.
I liked the atmosphere of the town.
Well..except for the thought "this is where the Ring takes place"

WM 19. The year of Kellemania. That sign was visible the entire night I think. On camera and where we sat.

I recall jumping up and down like a little kid when Piper showed up in the Hogan/Vince match.

If there was ever one time I acted like an annoying HHH-hating internet smark it was when he pedigreed Booker, took ten seconds to crawl over and pinned him.
My friends still make fun of me to this day because I was so angry and was ready to riot.

Brock..we went nuts when he went up top and then the sudden 'omg he must be dead' feeling.

While Jericho-HBK was an amazing match, Brock-Angle had this crazy vibe in the arena. Everyone knew Kurt's neck was fucked. But we didn't want to accept it and that sort of turned him into a face at times. HUGE 'tap' chants when he had Brock in the ankle lock.


(edited by dMp on 27.3.11 1246)
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#2393 Posted on 27.3.11 0800.44
Reposted on: 27.3.18 0804.23
Wrestlemania X8 was the only one I've attended, and the crowd was just insane for that Rock-Hogan match. But like ekedolphin said, unbelievably there were two matches after that, and it was impossible to get back into those.

There was still a bit of heat for the women's match, given that hometown girl Trish Stratus was participating, but not putting her over was a bad idea.

HHH - Jericho was a foregone conclusion, and we were hoping for something more to happen in the match (run in, etc), but no.

On the plus side, it was St. Patrick's Day and I coloured my hair green for the day.
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#2394 Posted on 27.3.11 1301.39
Reposted on: 27.3.18 1303.44
WrestleMania XX
2004
New York City, NY

"FINALLY! FINALLY! BY GOD FINALLY! CHRIS BENOIT IS THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THIS WORLD!"

The moment I'd been waiting for since I started following Chris Benoit back during his feud with Kevin Sullivan in WCW occurred: He won the World Heavyweight Title. (And got to keep it this time, unlike his disputed one-day WCW Title reign in January 2000, or his two phantom WWF Title wins over The Rock).

This was the second WrestleMania I bought (X-8 was the first); though I've only personally bought one WrestleMania since, this began my streak of never missing a WrestleMania, which still stands.

I was emotionally invested in the match really since the moment Chris Benoit won the Royal Rumble (and became the first person to use the so-called "Royal Rumble loophole" which has since become a standard storyline-- which champion will the Rumble winner choose to face?), but the match between him, World Heavyweight Champion Triple H and Shawn Michaels was epic, and had me from the very beginning.

After Triple H and Michaels (who'd been feuding with each other for months, and had been antagonists against each other since Michaels' in-ring return at SummerSlam '02) did a double-team suplex to put Benoit through an announce table, it looked like The Crippler was out of it. But when Triple H hit the Pedigree on Michaels and went for the three-count, Benoit came flying out of nowhere-- though the Garden crowd was erupting in response to his recovery-- to make the save. The camera crew did a brilliant job of not spoiling it until it happened.

Benoit then countered Sweet Chin Music (tossing Michaels out of the ring in the process) and the Pedigree in short order, turning the latter into the Crippler Crossface. Triple H was far too close to the ropes, however, and rolled Benoit over-- only to get rolled back over himself, into the center of the ring.

By this time I was on the floor smacking my hand against the carpet, yelling, "TAP, YOU SON OF A BITCH!"

And then he did.

The glass ceiling was broken! Chris Benoit won the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XX in Madison Square Garden, and he did it by making Triple H submit!

And then Benoit's long-time friend, WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero, came out to congratulate him, and they embraced amidst the confetti.

I don't think I've ever marked out quite so hard before or since.

By the way, Michaels continued his quest here to break a 1.0 on the Muta scale. During this time in Michaels' career I was calling him Shawn "The Passion" Michaels.

Eddie Guerrero's WWE Championship match against Kurt Angle was excellent, as well, ending in a classic Eddie trick. Feigning serious injury to his ankle due to repeated Ankle Lock submission holds, Eddie unlaced his boot while Angle was out of the ring, in an attempt to relieve the pressure and swelling. When Angle got up, Eddie actually said, "Oh, shit!" and started trying to get away from him. An enraged Angle put the Ankle Lock on Eddie again, but Eddie angled himself upwards, kicking off his unlaced boot with his other foot.

Suddenly pried off of Eddie and holding his boot, Kurt was easy prey for a roll-up and three-count, and Eddie retained the WWE Title in a brilliant "Lie, Cheat and Steal" moment from Latino Heat.

The Undertaker, who'd been buried alive by Kane during his match with Mr. McMahon at Survivor Series, made his return here-- accompanied by the dirge music, druids and Paul Bearer-- much to Kane's dismay. In an interesting blend of his Dead Man and American Badass personas, The Undertaker pretty thoroughly kicked Kane's ass; the outcome was almost never in question.

Glen Jacobs did an amazing job of selling his character's terror and incredulity during The Undertaker's entrance and the early parts of the match. Closing and re-opening his eyes as if to check that he's not dreaming; screaming "I KILLED YOU! I BURIED YOU ALIVE! YOU... ARE NOT... REAL!", and even closing his eyes and reaching out tentatively to touch The Undertaker's chest to open the contest-- right before the Dead Man started unloading on him.

Later, as the reality set in and Kane briefly gained the advantage, he said, "You should not have come back... you son of a bitch." Really, overall the ring psychology in several matches was top-notch at WrestleMania XX.

The Undertaker won, of course, improving to 12-0 at WrestleMania; and he had a far easier time with Kane than he did in their encounter at WrestleMania XIV.

Kane became the first wrestler to compete against The Undertaker at WrestleMania more than once. Since then, Undertaker's competed against Shawn Michaels twice (in consecutive years, at WrestleManias 25 and XXVI), and with his scheduled match against Triple H this year at WrestleMania XXVII, he'll have competed against "The Game" twice, as well.

The much-anticipated match between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar turned into perhaps one of the most farcical matches of all-time. The Madison Square Garden crowd knew both men were leaving, and they viciously chanted for both men (but probably most especially Lesnar) to "nah nah nah nah, HEY HEY, GOODBYE!"

Goldberg won the match; after the contest referee "Stone Cold" Steve Austin gave the Stunner to both men. (And ironically he had no storyline reason for doing it to Goldberg, other than "I'm Steve Austin and I'm kind of a jerk like that.")

This has been, to date, Goldberg's last professional wrestling match, and it was Lesnar's last match in WWE. Lesnar has since gone on to success in Japan, including an IGPW World Heavyweight Title reign, and also with UFC, where he became the World Heavyweight Champion there, as well. But before that, he had a failed tryout with the Minnsota Vikings of the NFL.

This was Goldberg's first and only WrestleMania appearance, and only the second time Lesnar wrestled at the Grandest Stage of Them All. Ironic-- for someone who achieved so much success, Lesnar didn't have a lot of staying power in WWE.

This was the WrestleMania in which three future superstars made their WrestleMania debuts: John Cena, Randy Orton and Batista. Cena opened the event by defeating The Big Show (with the help of The Power of the Punch from his custom knucks) to win the United States Championship, his first WWE gold.

Batista and Orton, meanwhile, teamed with Ric Flair to defeat The Rock 'n Sock Connection in a three-on-two handicap match. To date this is the last professional wrestling match The Rock has competed in. This was really the penultimate PPV match in the ongoing saga of the feud between Mick Foley and Randy Orton; the following month at Backlash, Orton would really pay his dues in a hardcore match against Foley's alter-ego Cactus Jack. The word "bruality" doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of that contest. Foley basically turned Orton into the world's largest pincushion.

If Evolution was the Four Horsemen equivalent, Batista was definitely in the role of "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson, only much bigger and with far inferior mike skills. Who would have thought that a year later, Batista would be pinning his former leader, Triple H, to win the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania 21?

Christian defeated Chris Jericho when Jericho's girlfriend Trish Stratus shockingly betrayed him. Molly Holly failed to capture the Women's Title from Victoria and then got her head shaved, which pissed me off something fierce.

The Cruiserweight Title was defended by Chavo Guerrero in a Cruiserweight Open match in which ten men competed, two at a time, and after each elimination, a new man would enter. Ultimo Dragon, finally making the Madison Square Garden debut that he'd so anticipated (correct me if I'm wrong on this), infamously and kinda hilariously slipped on his way out to the ring. WWE was kind enough to switch to a wide-angle shot of Ultimo's entrance for the home video release.

Chavo got lucky in that he was the final entrant into the match. Unless that was his plan all along; I think the Cruiserweight Open may have actually been his idea. After some interference from Chavo Classic, the younger Guerrero retained the Cruiserweight Title, pinning Rey Mysterio.

Torrie Wilson and Sable defeated Stacey Kiebler and Miss Jackie (Jackie Gayda, not Jacqueline) in a Playboy evening gown match that was there more for T&A and advertising-revenue purposes than anything else.

And for some reason (read: they wanted as many people on the card as possible) they had two Fatal Four Way matches for the two tag-team championships, and both times, the champions retained. RVD and Booker T retained the World Tag Team Title, while Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty held on to the WWE Tag Team Title. And if you asked me to remember a single highlight of either match, I couldn't do it.
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#2395 Posted on 28.3.11 0152.08
Reposted on: 28.3.18 0152.11
WrestleMania 21
2005
Los Angeles, CA

Though last year's WrestleMania was billed as the one where "It All Begins... Again", it was in fact WrestleMania 21 that would ultimately prove to be more of a turning point for the future of World Wrestling Entertainment.

John Cena and Batista won the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship, respectively, for the first time. It marked the first time that two world heavyweight championship belts changed hands at the same WrestleMania.

John Cena had been built up to this for quite some time, ever since he first started the rapper gimmick, and definitely kicking up a notch when he won the U.S. Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XX. During the 2004-05 WWE "season", Cena feuded with Kurt Angle, Booker T and Carlito, mostly over the U.S. Heavyweight Title. After defeating Angle in February '05 to earn a shot at the WWE Championship, Cena's feud with WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield and his Cabinet took off in earnest.

Cabinet Chief of Staff Orlando Jones won Cena's customized U.S. Championship and the Cabinet proceeded to throw it in the trash can and blow it up. Why they haven't done that for the now six-year-old WWE Championship design, I don't know.

Anyway. Cena defeated JBL at this event to become the new WWE Champion, and a new era was born in which Cena, for better or worse, essentially became this generation's Hulk Hogan with better wrestling ability and less charisma.

It should also be noted that Cena debuted his current and most familiar theme music, "My Time is Now", at this event. "Your time is up, my time is now"-- fitting, given that he was just about to win his first WWE Championship.

And the words "JOHN CENA" on his TitanTron are in the same font style as the "Hollywood" in the WrestleMania 21 official logo.

Batista's rise to the World Heavyweight Championship was far less expected. He was essentially a glorified bodyguard until November 2004, his successful pursuit of the bounty on Goldberg in October 2003 notwithstanding. During this period of time, Randy Orton was kicked out of Evolution for daring to win the World Heavyweight Title. But in the weeks and months following Survivor Series, Batista began expressing growing disgust with Evolution's villainous tactics, while he became a fantastic deadpan snarker and grew into a very genre-savvy, very intelligent individual.

Triple H started realizing that the big man could be a serious threat to his World Heavyweight Title and asked him not to enter the Royal Rumble, but Batista did it anyway and won. Then Trips and Flair tried to frame JBL for attacks on Batista, but Batista actually heard them discussing it on camera-- and after a Batista Bomb on Triple H, the big guy signed a contract to face The Cerebral Assassin at WrestleMania.

Batista won the match, winning the World Heavyweight Title in one of the most improbable, arguably grass-roots runs to a world title in recent history. He proceeded to retain against Triple H at Backlash and Vengeance before jumping to SmackDown as a result of the Draft Lottery. (Cena would jump to RAW, and he hasn't switched shows since.)

The Money in the Bank ladder match made its debut in this contest. Six RAW competitors (Edge, Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Benoit, Christian and Kane) competed to earn a briefcase containing a guaranteed shot at RAW's world heavyweight championship (which, at the time, was the Big Gold Belt, but after the Draft Lottery would be the Spinny Monstrosity) at any time up to and including next year's WrestleMania 22.

Shelton Benjamin made damn sure that everyone remembered his contributions, most notably running up a diagonally-positioned ladder all the way to the top of a vertical ladder and clotheslining Chris Jericho from the top to the ring.

But in the end, Edge became the first Money in the Bank briefcase holder. He held on to that bad boy all the way until New Year's Revolution in January '06, when he ran in and speared John Cena twice after he'd successfully defended his WWE Title in a brutal Elimination Chamber match. (And Edge got a MASSIVE pop for doing so).

Kurt Angle defeated Shawn Michaels in the longest match of the night, and arguably the best match (which, if the point is conceded, would make three consecutive years that HBK was involved in the best match of a WrestleMania); he made Michaels tap after a good 90 seconds or so in what I like to call the Ankle Lock, Special "Fuck You" Variation. (Grapevining the legs).

The Undertaker defeated Randy Orton-- definitely a legitimate contender to end the streak-- to improve to 13-0 at WrestleMania.

Hulk Hogan made his WWE return in a segment in which he saved Eugene from an attack by Muhammad Hassan and Daivari. Later this year, he'd have a highly-anticipated match at SummerSlam against Shawn Michaels whose road began with the Superkick Heard 'Round the World.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin made an appearance on Roddy Piper's "Piper's Pit", in a segment that ended with Carlito getting the Stunner.

And co-WWE Tag Team Champions Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio competed in a friendly contest to "bring the house down at WrestleMania". Unfortunately Mysterio's victory visibly frustrated Eddie, and in the months to come, we'd get the WrestleCrap-worthy "Who's your papi?!" storyline.

I also almost forgot to mention the movie parody commercials! They were hilarious! My personal favorites were Basic Instinct with Benoit, Christian, Jericho and Keibler, and A Few Good Men with Cena, JBL and The Coach.

(edited by ekedolphin on 28.3.11 0257)

(edited by ekedolphin on 28.3.11 1652)
dMp
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#2396 Posted on 28.3.11 0223.50
Reposted on: 28.3.18 0226.51
    Originally posted by ekedolphin
    WrestleMania XX
    2004
    New York City, NY

    "FINALLY! FINALLY! BY GOD FINALLY! CHRIS BENOIT IS THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THIS WORLD!"




This must have been my favorite wrestling moment of all time. It feels different now but at the time..yeah, goosebumps.
And then Eddie came out and they hugged. What a brilliant idea that was. What a way to end WM.

The Undertaker's return was good, the pop for Paul Bearer was maybe bigger than Taker's. After that it went downhill.
It felt like a squash (though Kane's fear was as you described indeed awesome)

Angle-Eddie at that time felt rushed to me, tho the ending was sweet.

Goldberg-Lesnar. I had no clue Brock was leaving too so I was really confused when the crowd chanted 'you sold out'. Some guy explained and my jaw dropped. Wow. The match sucked but the crowd's hostility made it awesome.

Fun moment of the trip: my friend just chitchatting with Tommy Dreamer about the NY Rangers. During that Rhyno threatened to hurt me if he didn't get to sign my forehead.

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#2397 Posted on 28.3.11 0233.41
Reposted on: 28.3.18 0235.03
    Originally posted by ekedolphin
    WrestleMania 21
    2005
    Los Angeles, CA




Bah how I hated the way the two big title matches played out.
I was okay with Cena winning but this was one of the worst (and maybe first) times for his Superman act.
JBL was getting some great heat on him by just keeping Cena down who then demolishes JBL in a minute or two.

The story going into WM with Batista en HHH was great.
And then the match felt...mediocre.

Orton-Undertaker was an excellent match. The streak felt in jeopardy here. HBK-Angle was at the same level.

A few days before WM, WWE set up a ring at an intersection and had guys cut promos/have some matches there. We had a great spot but unfortunately I forgot to bring a hat...
Stood in the sun for a few hours and burned my head pretty badly.

But in general L.A. was nice, we hung out at Universal studios a lot and got some great cd & dvd shopping done at Amoebe records.
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#2398 Posted on 28.3.11 0304.51
Reposted on: 28.3.18 0305.04
    Originally posted by dMp
      Originally posted by ekedolphin
      WrestleMania 21
      2005
      Los Angeles, CA




    Bah how I hated the way the two big title matches played out.
    I was okay with Cena winning but this was one of the worst (and maybe first) times for his Superman act.
    JBL was getting some great heat on him by just keeping Cena down who then demolishes JBL in a minute or two.

    The story going into WM with Batista en HHH was great.
    And then the match felt...mediocre.

    Orton-Undertaker was an excellent match. The streak felt in jeopardy here. HBK-Angle was at the same level.

    A few days before WM, WWE set up a ring at an intersection and had guys cut promos/have some matches there. We had a great spot but unfortunately I forgot to bring a hat...
    Stood in the sun for a few hours and burned my head pretty badly.

    But in general L.A. was nice, we hung out at Universal studios a lot and got some great cd & dvd shopping done at Amoebe records.



What were your thoughts at the time re: the Money in the Bank ladder match?
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#2399 Posted on 28.3.11 0501.48
Reposted on: 28.3.18 0504.33
    Originally posted by ekedolphin

    What were your thoughts at the time re: the Money in the Bank ladder match?


To be honest, I don't remember much of the MitB.
Obviously, like you wrote, Shelton stole the show.
I do recall that when the match introductions were made, there was a little buzz like "OMG this might be sick" and the crowd was into it, just because it was so new. And there were lots of popular guys in there.

Oh, one of the top moments of 21 is the opening video with Austin doing Gladiator. That one has to be my favorite video of all of the hollywood spoofs.


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#2400 Posted on 28.3.11 1003.17
Reposted on: 28.3.18 1009.56

    Molly Holly failed to capture the Women's Title from Victoria and then got her head shaved, which pissed me off something fierce.


It's okay. It was all her idea. Molly pitched getting her head shaved to get on the show.
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