Reliving Wrestlemania: Wrestlemania X-Seven (aka ‘Wrestlemania 17’)

In the modern age, everything had to end with a fucking “Z” (e.g. Hardyz, Radicalz, Dudleyz) or start with a fucking “X” which, apparently, stood for “extreme”.

The WWF, having gotten over adding “2000” to last year’s event (as if they were so original, like nobody else thought of doing that in the year 2000) didn’t want back to Roman numerals, I guess and wanted something flashy. So, because the majority of their audience are complete dim bulbs who think this shit is real, they went with “X-7!!!” This way, it’s like adding 10+7 and also looks like XTREME!!!

Really, I’m honestly shocked and surprised it wasn’t “WREZTLEMANIA X-7Z” and makes me think about what stopped Vince from going all-out.

By this time, WCW was done with. Their last gasp involved attempting to “reboot” WCW entirely, which was one of the dumbest things they’ve ever done…but, then, it fit right in with their desperate tactics, so I guess it was “groundbreaking”. Eric Bischoff was invited back to WCW and was in charge of booking but not finances. The new story was that the older wrestlers – Hogan, Flair, Nash, etc. were holding the New Blood back and not letting them rise. This was pretty much true…except that fans weren’t buying it anymore. The whole thing was seen as a rip-off of WCW vs. nWo.

You think WCW was done? Fuck no.

They made a match where Vince fucking Russo won the WCW Championship.

Think that’s bad? Oh, I haven’t even started.

David Arquette, (Scream’s “Deputy Dewey”), in order to promote WCW’s terrible fucking movie, “Ready to Rumble”, started to appear at ringside for matches against Diamond Dallas Page and ACTUALLY WON THE WCW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. That’s right.

Let that sink RIGHT the fuck in.

You won’t let it? Fine. Lemme drill it in your head.

David Arquette. WCW Champion.

By 2000, Ted Turner was no longer running things. The WCW lost $62 million dollars and was diving, head-first, into to the ground. That amount was due to guaranteed contracts to their egotistical older wrestlers, plummeting ad earnings, dropping house show attendance and shit like KISS and Megadeath performing for no reason along with stupid stunts like Vince Russo and David Arquette winning the fucking belt.

In January of 2001, Eric Bischoff’s Fusient Media announced that they were going to purchase WCW with the condition that Nitro be kept on TNT and Thunder on TBS on Wednesday’s. It was a good deal that might have worked…except that Turner’s new CEO had ZERO interest in WCW and wanted them gone. He removed all programming from TNT and TBS.

Needless to say, Fusient dropped their offer. On March 23rd, 2001, Vince McMahon and the WWF purchased WCW, all their trademarks, their entire video library and twenty-five select wrestler contracts for a mere $3 MILLION DOLLARS.

Wrestlers like Hogan, Nash, Goldberg, Sting, and Flair, however, would not make the crossover being that they were being paid by Time Warner and NOT by WCW.

The surreal series finale of TNT Monday Nitro aired on March 26th, 2001. I remember it well. It felt “huge”. It was so strange to see Vince McMahon on TNT, walking the hallways at RAW, praising himself for what he had done. By the end of Nitro, I had switched to USA for RAW, which was showing the same stuff in a simulcast with TNT’s Nitro. Shane, in storyline, revealed that it wasn’t Vince who bought the company, but HIMSELF. That’s how Nitro ended.

WCW would, technically, live a bit longer with this storyline but the company was through.

ECW was also finished and owner Paul Heyman began announcing for the WWF as well.

The WWF was now the SOLE major wrestling promotion in the United States.

The issue with this, of course, is that your ideas have to continue to be new and fresh in order to keep the audience you just won.

For Wrestlemania X-7: Ecks vs. Sever, we had this storyline:

  • After Wrestlemania 2000, Steve Austin returned to help The Rock win the WWF Championship at Backlash. Then, it was just a matter of finding out who jumped Austin and ran him over in the parking lot before he left. After teaming with Austin on RAW, Triple H betrayed him and then revealed it was HIM that ran Austin over and that he did it so Austin would never, EVER, win the WWF Championship again. Triple H tried this again in November but his plot failed when Austin destroyed Triple H’s car with a forklift. Austin would try, once more, at Armageddon in a six-man Hell in a Cell match but was beaten, at the last minute, when Triple H interfered with him pinning a Stunned Rock. Kurt Angle got the pin, instead, and won the title. Austin wouldn’t get another chance until he won the Royal Rumble in 2001. He fought, once more, with Triple H at No Way Out and lost in a Three Stages of Hell match. With that rivalry out of the way, Austin was ready to take on The Rock at Wrestlemania X-7.
  • Triple H, as mentioned, beat Austin at No Way Out and began to lobby to be in the main event instead of Austin. His reasoning: he’s beat everyone in that there is to beat in the WWF. One man took exception with this – The Undertaker. The Undertaker told Triple H that he hadn’t beaten him yet and challenged him to a No Holds Barred Match. Triple H accepted.
  • Throughout the year, Triple H would make life a living hell for the Undertaker leading to multiple attacks during his matches. His brother Kane would get involved several times to stop the attacks until Triple H enlisted the help of The Big Show. Kane would get a match against Big Show at Wrestlemania X-7
  • From 2000 until present, Vince’s character REALLY got bad. He (kayfabe) divorced his wife, Linda, began having an affair with Trish Stratus and then made her into a submissive, subservient little lap dog. It was hard to watch. On RAW one night, a particularly misogynistic angle was run where Trish Stratus begged Vince for forgiveness. He made her bark like a dog, strip down to just her panties and crawl around – IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE AUDIENCE. That really made me sick to my stomach. It was the single most disgusting segment ever run on WWF Television. Enter Shane: I mentioned the whole WCW vs. WWF angle? Shane promised to beat his dad in a “Street Fight”…with Mick Foley as the Special Guest Referee.

Ready?

On with the show…

It opens with Blassie, again, narrating a spot that feels like it’s being filmed by Michael Bay complete with slow motion dolly-and-crane shots of people all over one of those worlds where the middle-class huddles together in barns, slums with fire barrels, and rooftops in the middle or major cities and watch shitty 50’s-style TV’s. They even show two Asian people watching Wrestlemania on a tiny little TV se in the middle of a Chinatown USA street with lanterns above them. Because, you know, they’re so poor, they can afford a $60 dollar PPV. And they look so inspired with their dew-eyed wonderment. The spot ends with what APPEARS to be people in Africa dancing around in slow-motion in front of a Sycamore Tree because Triple H won the title last year because who cares about drought, famine or the Ebola virus over there.

We are LIVE from the Houston Astrodome. It feels good to see Wrestlemania at a large venue again. It feels like I’ve been watching Wrestlemania at RAW the last few times.

Jim Ross is announcing tonight along with Paul Heyman. I’m already popping Excedrin.

So, why is Heyman on the mic for this one?

Remember The Kat and how she left and Lawler left because he didn’t agree with her getting fired?

That’s why. So, now, we have to listen to somebody who loves to shout and whine. I never liked Heyman. Like, EVER. I’m really, honestly, surprised Vince hired him as an announcer. But, then, Vince surpriseZ me.

MATCH #1: Chris Jericho (champion) vs. William Regal (challenger) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
This match came to be because Mick Foley was fired as Commissioner and William Regal stepped in to take the job. Jericho had issues with Regal and, as a result, Regal just punished the fuck out of him by putting him through unfair handicap matches and what-not. The match is actually a good one to open with. Jericho and Regal have so much talent. Jericho, at one point, tries to hit the Walls of Jericho which Regal turns into the Regal Stretch (STF). Jericho tries to get to the ropes with the fans cheering him on. He finally does, so Regal knees him and Jericho gives him Flair chops (which the fans finally shout “WOO” at) then Jericho hits the Lionsault and gets the pin.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Chris Jericho via Lionsault
GRADE: Decent match to start, nothing special. B-, I would say.

Backstage, Shane McMahon gets out of a limo.

Also, APA is smoking cigars with Jacqueline, who is ALSO smoking cigars. Bradshaw tells both Farooq and Jacqui that they have a match and that this is the Astrodome, a place where hearts break and where he used to go as a kid with his father. They leave, ready to fight.

MATCH #2: Tazz & The Acolytes (Bradshaw & Farooq) (w/ Jacqueline) vs. Right to Censor (The Goodfather, Val Venis, and Bull Buchanan) (w/ Stevie Richards)
The match is a six-man tag match. It’s way too quick for a six-man tag. Maybe that’s all for the better but Bradshaw and Farooq are badass wrestlers and so are Venis and Buchanan. The match ends with a giant free-for-all in the ring and Bradshaw hits a Super Back Suplex off the ropes before Farooq clears the ring. Goodfather runs at Bradshaw but Bradshaw hits the Clothesline from Hell to get the pin.
WINNERS: Tazz & Co. via CFH
GRADE: C+ at best.

    • Bull Buchanan would go on to feud with an incredibly green John Cena (who had joined the WWF around 2002) and, after this, would leave the WWE around January of 2003. Buchanan would wrestle in Japan as well as independently after this and made a one-time return to RAW in November of 2011.

 

    • Sean Morely (AKA Val Venis) was with the WWE for 8 more years…but, strangely, never had another Wrestlemania appearance unless you wanna count Wrestlemania XIX…but it was a Dark Match not shown on TV…and I don’t really count those. He would leave the WWE in 2009 and wrestle with TNA in 2010. He would leave the same year and continues to wrestle independently.

 

    • Jacqueline had a decent career in Women’s Singles for a few years but never made another Wrestlemania appearance. She left the company in 2004 when they couldn’t figure out what to do with her. She made an appearance with TNA and had about four years with them. When her contract with TNA expired in 2011, she began taking acting classes and became a professional actress. 

 

  • Tazz would stop wrestling soon after this due to some legit injuries and ended up doing commentary for the WWE.

Backstage, a catatonic Linda is in a wheelchair. Steph talks to her, then tells Trish to order stuff for celebration. Like I said, one of the worst storylines ever.

MATCH #3: Kane (challenger) vs. Raven (champion) vs. Big Show (challenger) in a Triple Threat Match for the WWF Hardcore Championship
I’ve never seen Raven wrestle in the WWF. Kinda looking forward to this. Fire and out walks Kane. He is such a badass. Raven and Kane fight and Big Show’s music hits and out comes the big guy. The match moves OUT of the ring and all the way to the back. I mean all the way. It takes place in a fucking storage cage deep in the arena which, essentially, now means that the crowd has to look at the Jumbotron to watch it. What’s the point of having a live event if you’re not gonna be live in front of people? One of the best parts, however, is when Kane throws Raven through a window, then Big Show throws Kane through a door next to it. Big Show takes control before Kane slaps the big hand around his throat. He chokes Big Show through the “wall” which is obviously a constructed room seemingly made of hardened paper. Kane grabs a ref and puts him on a golf cart, then drives to Raven and Big Show because, you know, this is still a match. The match continues down the Dome’s hallways as they beat and throw stuff at each other. Kane throws Raven at the big match board, then the three men work their way back up to the entrance ramp. Kane beats Big Show as Raven is tossed to the side. Big Show picks Raven up in a Gorilla Press Slam but Kane kicks Big Show and the two fall into a giant box-like thing. Kane hits a flying leg drop on Show and covers. The ref hits the side of the box and counts the pin. Kane wins the title.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Kane
GRADE: I’d give it a C+.

  • Raven left the WWF in late 2003 and would go to TNA for the next five years. After leaving TNA in 2008 and wrestling independently, he would return to TNA in 2009 but was released in 2010. He attempted to sue the WWE in 2010 for “healthcare benefits” but a federal judge dismissed the case. He wrestles independently.

Backstage, Edge and Christian bug Kurt Angle who is still pushing some sort of “conspiracy” against him.

Out in the crowd, we find an Aussie fan…ok.

The Rock arrives backstage and hangs his belt up.

MATCH #4: Eddie Guerrero (challenger) (w/ Perry Saturn) vs. Test (champion) for the WWF European Championship
Test was coming to the end of his WWF career here. Nobody really seemed to care until Test hits a Tilt-a-Whirl Slam on Eddie. And a HUGE Tilt-a-Whirl Powerbomb. Test tries for a Full Nelson and Eddie distracts the ref. Saturn interferes and hits a move but Test kicks out of the pin. Guerrero hits a suplex and goes for his Frog Splash. He misses, Test counters with a boot and hits the Pump Handle Powerslam. 1…2…kick out. Saturn interferes for a third time but Test boots him, then Guerrero but Dean Malenko interferes. Test hits Dean and the ref tends to that. Meanwhile, Guerrero hits Test with the belt and gets the pin. Jesus…did you really have to overbook this?
WINNER(S) AND NEW CHAMPION(S): Eddie via cheating.
GRADE: C+ at best, thanks to all the interference. It was practically Test vs. three guys.

Post-match, the men celebrate.

    • Perry Saturn had a gimmick where he was fucking nuts. He would leave the WWF in April in 2002 and never return. He would wrestle independently until 2004…and then vanish for several years. He was found in 2009 living with a woman who he married and her two children. He would make a one-time appearance at Bragging Rights in 2010, mingling with his friends. In 2010, he gave an interview where he discussed the block of time where he was missing. In the interview, he said that he was shot and, subsequently, became addicted to drugs but was now sober and ready to work again. He would wrestle in 2011 for an independent venue.

 

    • Malenko had a lame James Bond gimmick called “Double Ho Seven”, because the WWF didn’t already have ENOUGH sexism in it. He actually lost a match to Lita, of all people before The Radicalz would break up in the latter portion of 2001. Malenko and Saturn would team up for a short time after that but would leave, the summer of the same year. He is, now, semi-retired and makes short appearances with the WWE every now and then.

 

  • Test would continue to wrestle for the WWF/WWE for the next few years, even calling his fans “Testicles” which was just more bullshit reaching on Vince McMahon’s part to be “extreme”. At least it wasn’t “TesticleZ”. He would leave the WWE in 2004 and had surgery on his spine. He wrestled, independently, for one year before returning to the WWE in mid-2006 but left at the beginning of 2007 after he “requested his release”. He wrestled for TNA for the rest of the year, before finally announcing his retirement. Test stated that he didn’t want to be a wrestler who kept talking about retiring but kept returning instead. In March of 2009, Test (AKA Andrew Martin) was found dead in his home in Tampa, Florida. Toxicology only showed an accidental overdose of Oxycodone. A forensic pathologist found that Martin was suffering from an early form of brain damage brought on by years of taking falls and hits to the head. He was only 33 years old.

Backstage, Michael Cole is interviewing Mick Foley. He wants to know if Foley can call a fair match. Foley says he will…RIGHT HERE IN HOUSTON, TEXAS!!! That gets a big pop and legitimately cracks up Michael Cole.

Backstage, Austin has arrived.

MATCH #5: Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
Kurt Angle gets on the mic and says that it’s no secret that he’s not a fan of the state of Texas. He says the flag is missing about 49 other stars. He’s glad he’s having his match tonight because it illustrates a point: these 65,000 Texas fans will know that he will never tap out to Benoit. He says that all the Texans need to lose the cowboy hats. Strangely, I agree with just about everything he says here. Ruh Roh. Here comes Chris “The Murderous Roided Jackass” Benoit. (Don’t worry. I try to call it down-the-middle.) For what it’s worth, this match is excellent. These two guys are so well-matched, it’s ridiculous. The two trade moves and holds and it almost comes across like a real wrestling match. Benoit tries the Crossface twice and puts it on the second time but Kurt is too close to the ropes. It becomes a fight after this. Angle hits a side suplex and gets two. Benoit takes over with Flair chops but Angle counters with a belly-to-belly throw and then a B2B Suplex. Benoit overtakes Angle after a bit and hits a huge Superplex then goes his trademark Waistlock Suplex series but Angle counters with an Ankle Lock. Benoit counters with his Ankle Lock but Angle kicks out of it. Angle punches but Benoit counters into a Crippler Crossface. Angle counters into one…damn. Benoit gets his foot on the ropes and the hold is broken. Angle tries for an Ankle Lock but Benoit shoves him into the ref. Benoit hits the Crippler Crossface again and Angle taps but the ref is not awake. Benoit goes to the ref but hits the Olympic Slam! CLOSE fall. Angle climbs the top rope and tries the Reverse Moonsault but Benoit gets his knees up. Benoit hits the Flying Headbutt and gets a CLOSE two-count! Angle hits a quick low blow and rolls up Benoit with a handful of tights, getting the pin!
WINNER: Angle via cheat pin.
GRADE: A- match all the way. A very quick and cheap ending. It should have ended cleanly. I don’t care if Angle is a heel.

Backstage, Kamala is wrecking William Regal’s desk or something. I had no idea he was still around.

The Gimmick Battle Royal is later. I’m actually looking forward to this.

We see a WWF promo for the USO.

Backstage, Kurt Angle brags about beating Chris Benoit, who attacks Angle when he isn’t looking (That’s fitting.) and hits the Crippler Crossface JR calls him a Pit Bull. I couldn’t agree more.

We get a promo for Ivory and Chyna.

MATCH #6: Chyna (challenger) vs. Ivory (champion) for the WWF Women’s Championship — Ivory’s RTC is banned from ringside
Ivory is out first, then Chyna. In this angle, Chyna’s “neck was broken” by Ivory and she had to get “surgery”. I guess her boobs were also “broken” because she got obvious “surgery” on them, too. She makes her way out next. Ivory cries and sobs and hugs her belt, then beats on Chyna. Then she celebrates. Chyna gets up and cradles her neck but catches Ivory’s leg. Chyna tosses Ivory to the side like a rag doll. Then Chyna beats the tar out of her in the corner. She hits a weak hip toss and a clothesline and another. JR makes his first stupid remark of the evening: “Maybe we could call it a Chyna-Line…or maybe not.” Holy shit, he’s self-aware. Chyna hits the Chyna Bomb, slowly covers, then just picks Ivory up by the hair. She press slams Ivory after this and drops her. Then she lays back on Ivory, relaxing. Three count. Chyna wins the title.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Chyna via Press Slam.
GRADE: This was a solid D.

    • Joanie Laurer, AKA Chyna, would leave the WWF later in the year, by request. She would wrestle, independently, until 2004 and make a one-time appearance, in TNA, in 2011. Chyna would actually make a sex tape with Sean Waltman at one point. Laurer did, legally, change her name to Chyna for public appearances. Chyna is known to be a very depressed person and has issues with drinking and drugs, nearly ending up dead on two separate occasions when she attempted to slice her arms and when she OD’ed on sleep meds. In 2011, she shot a porn flick for Vivid Video, called “Backdoor to Chyna”. Frankly, I’d rather see her doing porn, knowing she’s alive and well, then seeing her dead.

 

  • Lisa Moretti, AKA Ivory, would wrestle with the WWF/WWE for four more years until 2005. She would wrestle one more year, independently, after this and then retire to work charities as well as run a landscaping business.

Backstage, Vince tells Trish to bring Linda to ringside when Shane is totally immobile. He tells Michael Cole that he’s gonna see something “shocking” tonight.

We get the backstory between Vince and Shane.

MATCH #7: Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon (w/ Stephanie McMahon) in a Street Fight with Mick Foley as a Special Guest Referee.
Shane out first. Shane introduces Mick Foley. JR, again, oversells this as “DysfunctionalMania”. A whole team of writers and that’s it, huh? Vince has an early advantage. Shane takes over until Stephanie McMahon gets involved and slaps Shane…then runs like hell the other way. Shane has a KEEP OFF sign and beats his Dad with it. Shane goes off a barrier and clotheslines his Dad while Stephanie shouts at her Dad to get up. Then Shane beats Vince with a Kendo stick. Then he bounces up and down and starts punching his Dad, knocking him down. He just continues to pound his Dad like veal. Then he sets Vince up on the Spanish Announce Table and goes on the top rope…holy shit, he jumps…and misses, crushing the table. As discussed, Trish wheels Linda McMahon out to the ring. I love how Trish’s boobs are oiled down nicely. Trish helps Vince up…THEN SLAPS VINCE AND SCREAMS AT HIM!!! Stephanie slaps her and Trish absolutely kicks the holy shit out of Trish. Now, THIS, I can get behind. She puts her in the ring and just slaps the shit out of Steph. Foley just looks on, confused as all hell, then picks Steph up…and she slaps him. Foley warns her and Steph runs like hell. Trish runs after her and chases her to the back but it’s hard to run in giant clog boots, so she walk-runs. Vince gets up and glares at Linda in the wheelchair. He goes to do something and Foley backs him off. Vince uses a chair to knock out Foley…then goes to his catatonic wife. He wheels her over to the ring, undoes her feet, then picks her up and places her in the ring. Vince picks up a chair and unfolds it in the corner. He puts her in the chair in the corner. Then he goes outside and kicks Shane. He picks Shane up and puts him in the ring. Then gets weapons from underneath the ring. Four giant garbage cans. are in the ring and Vince dings Shane in the head. Vince tells his wife to watch as he beats the shit out of Shane. Suddenly, Linda gets up, much to Vince’s surprise. Linda points at Vince…THEN KICKS HIM IN THE FUCKING BALLS. Love it. Foley then wails on Vince in the corner. Then Foley, with full steam, hits a running knee on Vince while Linda cheers it on. Shane takes a trash can and makes his Dad hold it in the corner. Shane goes to the top rope and hits a HUGE flying dropkick into the trash can. He covers and gets the pin on his Dad.
WINNER: Shane McMahon.
GRADE: B+. Love the storytelling.

Post-match, WCW’s wrestlers are celebrating in their skybox. Shane goes outside and hugs his Mom. That is, easily, one of the best matches of the event, so far.

We get a look at WWF Axxess. Matt Hardy talks about the upcoming TLC 2 match at this Wrestlemania.

Backstage, Triple H is gearing for his match against the great Undertaker.

So is the Undertaker, punching air.

We get a tease for TLC 2 for the WWF Tag Team belts. The WWF crew is busy setting things up for it.

MATCH #8: Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for the WWF Tag Team Championship
The Hardyz are out first, then Edge and Christian. The Dudleyz are out next. The last match of this nature was freakin’ awesome. I expect the same here. I can’t even try to call this so I’m just go through highlights: D-Von and Bubba hit the flying headbutt on Edge’s balls. That was neat. Then, the Dudleyz sit tables on top of one another. Ladders are everywhere as well. All three teams climb the ladder. Christian and Matt go down first, then D-Von and Jeff…then Edge and Bubba. Edge gets up first and starts climbing but little Spike Dudley comes in and attacks Edge, then bulldogs Christian through a table on the outside. Then Rhyno comes and interferes and starts taking out the Dudleyz. Rhyno sets up a ladder and puts Edge on it, so he can climb. Then Lita comes out to attack! She grabs Edge and attacks him. But, then Rhyno comes in and picks her up but Spike saves her. Lita hits a Hurricarana. Spike attacks Rhyno who tips the ladder over, which knocks Edge off. It’s like fucking Mousetrap all of the sudden. The Dudleyz hit the Dudley device on Rhyno. Lita attacks Spike, then the Dudleyz hit the 3D on Lita. Edge and Christian attack the Dudleyz with chairs…holy fuck…Jeff Hardy, off a 20-foot ladder, hits a Swanton on a pile of people on a table. Meanwhile, Edge sets up the giant ladder which D-Von and Christian climb. Matt takes the ladder away and D-Von and Christian hang there from the belts and both fall. Then Jeff Hardy climbs across all the standing ladders…and nearly falls forward off the third one, but Jeff’s feet hit the mat and he catches himself. He resets the ladder and climbs, grasping the belts but Bubba Ray sees it and takes the ladder out from under Jeff who hangs there. Edge climbs the 20-footer AND FUCKING SPEARS JEFF HARDY OUT OF THE AIR!!! Meanwhile, Bubba and Matt set up the 20-footer and fight over the belt at the top but RHYNO HITS THE LADDER!!! THE 20-FOOTER FALLS OVER AND BUBBA AND MATT FLY OUT OF THE RING INTO THE STACK OF TABLES!!! Holy shit…then D-Von climbs up with Edge and Christian in hot pursuit. Christian is on Rhyno’s shoulders and gets to the belts first! They come down with the belts and they’re the new champions…holy shit.
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: Edge & Christian
GRADE: A+, despite being overbooked about mid-match.

More promos for WWE Axxess. They actually interview Kane who is doing his best to be “normal” with his mask on.

Howard Finkel tells us that Wrestlemania X-7 has set an attendance record of 67,925 people.

Out comes Mean Gene Okerlund to help announce the Gimmick Battle Royal. Then, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan! 😀 I love it…he gets a nice round of applause.

MATCH #9: The Iron Sheik, The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch), Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, Earthquake, The Goon, Doink the Clown, Kamala (w/ Harvey Whippleman & Kimchee), Repo Man, Jim Cornette, Nikolai Volkoff, “Freebird” Michael Hayes, One Man Gang, The Gobbly Gooker, Tugboat, Brother Love, Sgt. Slaughter and Hillbilly Jim in a Gimmick Battle Royal
It’s GREAT to hear the voice of Bobby Heenan and to see some of these guys again. I cannot believe that Brother Love is wrestling…I’m not looking forward to writing the epilogues of these guys. Tugboat and Gobbly are gone early. Earthquake out…in any case, The Iron Sheik wins, mainly because, due to health reasons, he couldn’t be put over the top rope without seriously injuring himself.
WINNER: The Iron Sheik
GRADE: Cute match even if it’s filler – C+

Post-match, Slaughter goes in and puts the Cobra Clutch on Iron Sheik.

Gene and Heenan go to shake hands but Heenan keeps taking his away.

All right…here we go…

    • Heenan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame a few years later. He would appear, next, at Wrestlemania XX.

 

    • Okerlund was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame a couple of years after Heenan. He would appear next at Wrestlemania XXVII.

 

    • In 2005, The Iron Sheik was inducted into the Hall of Fame, ironically, by Sgt. Slaughter. He continues to make sporadic appearances on WWE Television.

 

    • Luke of the Bushwhackers is now booking matches for independent promotions and also hosts a show for Ring of Honor.

 

    • Butch of the Bushwhackers has wrestled independently and moved back to New Zealand where he is the current commissioner of Kiwi Pro Wrestling.

 

    • Droese has wrestled independently and is, currently, the strength and conditioning coach for the Warren County High School football program.

 

    • The character of “Doink the Clown” has been portrayed by several wrestlers over the years and continues to be portrayed independently.

 

    • In February of 2005, Nikolai Volkoff was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He continues to make sporadic appearances in WWE as well as independent promotions.

 

    • Fred Ottman, AKA Tugboat, retired after this match after years of wrestling independently. He now lives in Florida and works as a Safety Manager for Gaffin Industrial Services, a cleanup service.

 

    • The Goon had one more appearance with the WWE for the RAW 15th Anniversary Special.

 

    • John Tenta, AKA “Earthquake”, retired from wrestling in 2004 when he revealed that he had bladder cancer. In 2005, he reported that the chemo he was on didn’t work and that the tumor had spread to his lungs. In June of 2006, Tenta passed away. He was survived by his wife and three children. Tenta was only 42 years old.

 

    • Strangely, Eddie Guerrero’s real life brother, Hector, played The Gobbly Gooker. Hector had wrestled for NWA and AWA before taking on the character. His character is fondly remembered as one of the worst gimmicks EVER created in pro-wrestling. Guerrero currently does Spanish color commentary for TNA.

 

    • Bruce Prichard, AKA “Brother Love”, caught a slight second wind in his WWE career, finally putting his old show back up during Smackdown. But, in 2008, Stephanie and Vince McMahon finally decided to let him go, with the reason being that, after 22 years, it was time for Prichard to move on. TNA hired him right away and he is now the Senior Vice President of Programming and Talent Relations. It was reported that, in March of this year, Prichard survived two heart attacks. I wish him well.

 

    • Michael Hayes is currently the head writer of Smackdown. 

 

    • George Gray, AKA “One Man Gang”, wrestled independently and currenty works as a prison guard for Louisiana State Penitentiary. Ironic, huh? He occasionally wrestles independently.

 

    • James Harris, AKA “Kamala”, sporadically wrestled in the WWF until 2006 before wrestling independently. In 2011, he had his leg amputated due to complications with high blood pressure and diabetes, forcing him to retire. He now works as a singer.

 

    • Steve Lombardi, AKA “Kim Chee”, used to be the Brooklyn Brawler and continues to work with the WWE.

 

    • James Cornette was very outspoken and was reprimanded for a couple incidents in the WWE. He was fired in 2005. In 2006, he worked for TNA where he promised to take down Vince McMahon. He would work as head booker until 2009. He said, in an interview, that he does not support the creative team of Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara. Cornette would then work with Ring of Honor and Ohio Valley Wrestling for a short time, until 2011. 

 

    • Barry Darsow, AKA “Repo Man”, used to be Axe of Demolition. He currently wrestles independently.

 

    • Jim Morris, AKA “Hillbilly Jim”, has done it all – radio, commercials, personal appearances…he’s an all-around guy! He has, on occasion, worked with the WWE on behind-the-scenes stuff.

 

  • Robert Remus, AKA “Sgt. Slaughter” has also done it all and currently works as WWE’s goodwill ambassador running USO tours as well as WWE Axxess shows.

Whew…

Let’s move on…

We get a tease for The Undertaker vs. Triple H. Then the lead-up promo.

MATCH #10: The Undertaker vs. Triple H in a No Holds Barred Match
Motorhead plays Triple H’s theme live from the Astrodome. Triple H comes out first and then goes to the edge of the entrance ramp and salutes the guys. Then he hits the ring and does his water bottle thing. I will say this right now – I HATED the Undertaker’s stupid biker gimmick. It was an attempt, by Mark Callaway, to humanize the Undertaker and make him into a redneck biker/rocker guy. Not impressed. I don’t know if it was because Callaway wanted to wash the Gothic Satanic Evil facade out of his mouth and he needed something a lot lighter or what…but this was such a cheesy wannabe gimmick to me. (The “Outlaw” gimmick he had last year is a lot more fitting.) Still doesn’t take away from how great he is. Anyhow…Undertaker is out next. I AM impressed with the Undertaker being a brawler type now. He’s just that person, naturally. This match is just a lot of fun for the raw talent of both guys. It turns into a street fight real quick. Triple H gets sledgehammer, ref takes it away, Triple H tries a pedigree and Undertaker counters, tossing HHH into the ref. Undertaker hits the Chokeslam from Hell and gets a two-count. The two fight outside and get to the sound station in the Astrodome. Triple H climbs into a higher area and the Undertaker follows, brawling all the way. HHH climbs the sound tower after stopping to hail the Texas fans. Triple H clobbers him with a chair, then hits him in the head. HHH then chairs his legs and his body. Undertaker gets up and Triple H goes to whack him again. Undertaker grabs his throat and lifts him up, chokeslamming him OFF the tower. Holy shit. The crowd agrees and chants that with me. An EMT tends to Triple H but the Undertaker hits a flying elbow, revealing that the ground below is nice and bouncy like a trampoline and then goes to punch him. Undertaker tosses HHH back into the outside-of-the-ring area. He puts him back in the ring and Undertaker follows. Undertaker just stands over HHH and looks at him, then grabs the sledgehammer. Triple H begs off. The Undertaker raises the hammer…but HHH kicks him in the nuts and ‘Taker drops the hammer. Triple H grabs it but Undertaker counters with a big boot to the face. The two just trade punches. Both are wobbly. Undertaker goes for a choke, but HHH kicks. Then HHH goes for a Tombstone! Undertaker counters and hits it instead. No ref as he’s still out. Undertaker goes and wakes up the ref. Undertaker sets up for The Last Ride but HHH picks up the sledgehammer and clubs Undertaker with it as he lifts HHH up! HHH pins AND NEARLY GETS THE WIN. HHH is furious. He hammers Undertaker, ‘Taker’s face now busted open…but Undertaker picks up HHH and hits the Last Ride and gets the win.
WINNER: The Undertaker via Last Ride
GRADE: B+ for practically near-squashing Triple H.

Post-match, Undertaker gets on his bike and rides off, raising his arm in victory.

Backstage, The Rock is heading to the ring and so is Stone Cold.

We get the lead-up promo.

MATCH #11: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (challenger) vs. The Rock (champion) in a No-DQ Match for the WWF Championship
Glass shatters, crowd goes ape-shit. Stone Cold is on his way out. The Rock is out next. According to Wikipedia, this match is 33 freakin’ minutes long. This had better be worth it. The match starts out with Stone Cold beating on The Rock, something fierce. The Rock gets his hand in things and retaliates…then it becomes a battle of the weary warriors. Here’s one thing I’ve noticed – the match is No-DQ…yet the ref continues to warn wrestlers to stop doing stuff outside the ring like using weapons or smacking a wrestler’s head against a table. The crowd is on the side of Austin here, being that he’s from Texas. They boo the Rock when he gains an advantage and cheer when Austin destroys The Rock. This match isn’t great. I wish it was. It doesn’t help that both wrestlers are faces and are missing that intensity and suspense from their earlier match-up at Wrestlemania XV. After a lengthy battle, The Rock uses the ring bell and dings Austin in the head with it. Two-count. Doesn’t work. The Rock continues to wail on Austin, who finally falls backwards and down in a corner. The two fight outside now and Austin hits Rock in the head with a monitor. Plus, they knock down the announcer’s table. Wouldn’t be Wrestlemania without that. Austin goes for a pin but only gets two. He’s busted open like the Rock. The two get up and Austin, weakly, gives The Rock the finger. Rock, pissed, hits a Sharpshooter. Austin screams in pain. Austin reaches for the ropes but Rock drags him away. Austin FINALLY gets to the ropes. Rock goes for another Sharpshooter but Austin rakes his eyes. Austin then goes for his OWN Sharpshooter and sits down on it! Rock reaches for the ropes and is soooo close to them. Rock kicks out of it. Austin rams his knee into the mat. He stomps Rock in the sternum. Then, he goes for another Sharpshooter and turns it. Rock is in pain and gets to the ropes. The ref tells him to break the hold but Austin refuses and gives the ref the finger. Finally, he does it. Then Austin hits The Million Dollar Dream! Heh…Rock is down and fading…but he gets out…and rolls Austin into a pin! 1…2…kick out. Austin starts to hammer Rock but Rock hits a Stunner out of NOWHERE! Rock turns and pins Austin! 1…2…NO! Austin kicks out! Suddenly, Vince McMahon walks out to the ring, still in his wrestling garb. Rock continues to pound Austin but Austin counters with a Spinebuster and NEARLY gets a pin. Rock retaliates with the same. He wobbles around and then calls for the People’s Elbow…one rope…two ropes and he hits it. 1…2…but Vince pulls Rock off of Austin. Rock looks confused and stares at Vince, who looks exhausted. Rock runs after Austin who books it. He chases Vince into the ring…and Stone Cold HITS THE ROCK BOTTOM ON THE ROCK!!! 1…2…NO!!! Rock kicks out!!! Austin picks Rock up and goes for the Stunner, but Rock counters and knocks Austin into the ref. Austin hits a low blow. Austin tells Vince to get in the ring with a chair. Austin tells Vince to whack The Rock. Stone Cold picks up the Rock and Vince hits a chair shot. Austin covers but there’s no pin. Vince quickly gets the ref in there who counts…but The Rock kicks out!!! Austin looks pissed. He picks up the chair again and gives Rock the finger. But Rock hits the Rock Bottom!!! Vince, however, goes after the ref. Rock gets to his feet and tosses Vince into the ring, punching him. Austin, however, hits the STUNNER!!! And gets the…NO!!! ROCK KICKS OUT!!! WOW!!! Vince has the chair. He hands it to Austin. Rock gets to his feet and Austin whacks him with it. He covers…1…2…NO!!! Rock is kicking out!!! The ref points at Vince. Vince glares at Austin and Stone Cold gives the ref the finger. Austin uses the chair to beat Rock mercilessly. The cover…and this time, Austin gets the pin.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Austin via chair shots
GRADE: B+ for me, thanks to the last-second over-booking and the 1,823 chair shots needed to finish The Rock.

Post-match, Austin shakes Vince’s hand. He celebrates. He gets beers and celebrates with Vince, which is surreal.

Overall, I give the event a B. Good show.
(Yep. Still agree.)

Onto WM 18…

— Matt

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