The WWF got into it with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature over the initials, “WWF”. The latter WWF for Nature, in the UK, sued the Federation for unfair use of the initials, “WWF”. English courts, essentially, said, “Right, cheery-o,” and ruled in favor of the pandas and sloths in the jungles of…where ever.
The Federation appealed the decision but it was no use.
So what did the WWF do? They changed their name to “WWE”, which stands for World Wrestling Entertainment and came up with one of the most BRILLIANT marketing campaigns: a logo without the “F” and the slogan: “WWE: Get the F out!”
|“If we still had an ‘F’ to give, it wouldn’t be for the pandas.”|
The brilliant marketing campaign exhibited a sense of pride and also served to give a middle finger to the World Wildlife Fund. The WWE didn’t seem to miss a beat. The WWF tried to take further action, actually suing for “damages”, which was a ridiculously silly lawsuit, but that one was laughed off.
The only downside to this is that every past piece of footage, every photo and every auditory reference to “WWF” had to be taken out. So, if you bought one of the Wrestlemania DVD sets after this lawsuit, you’re treated to a shitload of censor-blurring which, I won’t lie, gets really annoying through the first 18 events. The “WWF” logo is on EVERYTHING – on barriers, on the mat cloth outside the ring, on turnbuckles, above the entrance, on banners…it’s like a wrestling match after somebody has covered portions of the camera with Vaseline.
The WWE went through a few other changes:
- Due to a HUGE amount of talent they had after absorbing twenty-five new guys from WCW, the WWE busted their roster in half, doing a draft to determine who went where. Half would perform, primarily, on RAW; the other half, on Smackdown.
- The European Title was retired in the fall of 2002. If you’re like me, you’ll miss fretting over which American competitor was representing Europe.
- The Hardcore Title was unified with the Intercontinental Title. Ironic, since you’d think that the Euro Championship would have that honor but, no, it went down like this. I don’t know about you bu I know I’ll miss all those matches where the mat was covered with fucking random garbage you could use as a weapon and the title would change hands 87 times in 9 minutes.
- The Lightweight Title was gone, too…only to be replaced by the WCW’s former “Cruiserweight Title”, which was just plain ludicrous.
- The “Undisputed Championship” was broken up into two belts: The “World Heavyweight Championship” (AKA “The Big Gold Belt” from WCW) and the “WWE Championship” (the one that the WWE had BEFORE the WCW nonsense. RAW got the WHC and Smackdown got the WWE Championship.
- ANOTHER Tag Team Title was added because the WWE KNOWS you can’t get enough of teams like Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder vying to win it all at Backlash.
Then you had the storyline, which was all over the fucking place:
- After Wrestlemania, Hollywood Hulk Hogan won the Undisputed Title because he’s fucking Hulk Hogan and he had it written in his contract before he got there. He would drop it to the Undertaker who would drop it to the Rock…the title would eventually find its way into the hands of a young newcomer named, “Brock Lesnar” who was reminiscent of Goldberg. This took place on Smackdown. The two would play mind games with one another. Lesnar would dominate matches while Angle tried trick plays (using his twin brother in a match) and use handicap matches against him. Before this, Angle would win the WWE Championship with the help of Brock Lesnar. But Lesnar would win the Royal Rumble and declare that he wanted Angle’s championship. The match would take place at Wrestlemania 19 with an added stipulation by Stephanie McMahon: if Angle used anybody to cheat, he would not only lose the match, but the title, too.
- On the RAW side, The Rock would make a return just a month and a half before Wrestlemania (he was shooting a movie) with the complaint that he had never beat Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania. During this time, he’d try to get a number one contender’s spot for the World Heavyweight Championship, but fail. Austin would return a few weeks later and Rock would approach him and reissue the challenge. Austin wouldn’t give him the pleasure. The Rock would choose to take on The Hurricane on RAW but Austin would interfere, causing The Hurricane to get an easy roll-up pin on The Rock. This would finally make the match official.
- Hulk Hogan, because he couldn’t have a title anymore and still wanted to hog the spotlight, had a nice, big feud with Vince McMahon. McMahon had issues with him because he was pissed that Hogan went sprinting to WCW back in the day. He said that the WWE had moved beyond Hulkamania and that it was dead. McMahon gave Hogan an offer: fight him at Wrestlemania and, if Hogan lost, he would retire, FOREVER, from professional wrestling. We could only be so lucky.
- Finally, Booker T won a battle royal to determine the Number One Contender for the World Championship. Triple H wasn’t impressed and told Booker that “people like him” (convicted felons, NOT black people) would never win a World Championship. This feud would go all the way to Wrestlemania.
And now…the event…
Another hackneyed video package where various wrestlers talk about what Wrestlemania means to them. And, yet, another year in a row where all the wrestlers talk about the old Wrestlemania events and how great they are. Hulk Hogan even pats himself on the back for slamming Andre. “All the other wrestlers were in awe”, he says. I bet.
We’re live from Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington!
JR and Jerry “The King” Lawler are your announcers, once again. So are Tazz and Michael Cole. I guess they will do the Smackdown commentary.
MATCH #1: Matt Hardy (champion) (w/ Shannon Moore) vs. Rey Mysterio (challenger) for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Matt Hardy had turned his back on the Hardy Boyz by now and went on his own in a heel gimmick where he ran his own website that posted his likes and dislikes including “facts”. This was before Facebook was big. Some groundbreaking shit here. Strangely, the “Z” in “Matt Zuckerberg” would work. Mysterio can’t do a move without Moore getting involved somehow. He tries to run off the ropes, he interferes. Mysterio, at one point, nearly goes for a 619 but Shannon Moore stops him. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate. Only gets two. Mysterio gets a Hurricarana but Shannon Moore interferes. Did Mysterio get into a handicap match that I was unaware of here? Eventually, Matt Hardy cheats to win the match by reversing a roll-up and holding onto the ropes.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Matt Hardy via cheating
GRADE: I wish these matches could be longer. B-. Hardy has much more talent than this. It’s not that I dislike heels, it’s that I dislike heels that a) never seem to lose and b) never win clean and have every match handed to them.
For the record, I will try to keep track of how many time Michael Cole says “The numbers game”. It’s his favorite phrase. So far, we’re at one.
Post-match, two Divas get out of a limo and yack about Hogan and The Rock, LIKEOMG!
We gets clips from “earlier tonight” from Heat. Nathan Jones was attacked and I guess that means that Undertaker will be facing A-Train and Big Show all by himself.
Back at Safeco, Limp Bizkit is in “da’ fuckin’ house” according to the pretentious douchebag, Fred Durst who gives the crowd the finger because he’s so “rebellious” and “extreme”. He must be. His band has a “Z” in its last name.
They do the Undertaker’s theme. Durst dances with a bunch of whorish groupee/rapper wannabe’s behind him. They’re all brunettes, wearing baggy cargo pants, black tanks, and have their hates on backwards.
MATCH #2: Big Show & The A-Train vs. The Undertaker in a Handicap Match
During the song, Undertaker drives out on his bike with a giant American flag on it. Undertaker flies off and big boots Fred Durst in the face! Oh, sorry…no, I meant that he walks into the ring and shakes hands with and hugs Fred Durst. Show and A-Train are out next. A-Train fucks with Undertaker’s bike, twisting a rear-view mirror and spitting on it. Show tries to jump Taker but he takes Big Show out and lines him out of the ring. A-Train gets chokeslammed and nearly pinned but Show makes a save. Undertaker goes for Old School and hits it. Show and Train do a great job of staying on Taker. Show tries to chokeslam Taker but Taker reverses it into an armbar. Train makes the save but Taker sees it coming and Taker hits a nice hold as a counter. The boys, however, do take over and really rail into the Undertaker. Train even pushes Taker around and tells him, “You ain’t so bad”. After a bit of this, Taker hits a series of corner clotheslines on Train and Show, then hits a shoulderblock on Show. Train hits a nice bicycle kick. Show then hits a Chokeslam but Nathan Jones shows up and Roadhouse-style, kicks Show to the floor outside. They gang up on Train. Taker goes for the Tombstone and see ya’ later.
WINNER: The Undertaker via Tombstone
GRADE: C+. This was surprisingly plain. The Undertaker went 11-0 at Wrestlemania at this point.
- Matt Bloom (AKA A-Train) would leave the WWE in 2004. For the next seven years, he would wrestle independently, as well as in the Japanese wrestling leagues. Bloom signed a new contract with the WWE in 2012 and returned as “Tensai” but couldn’t find a decent angle. He now works as a commentator on WWE’s NXT.
- Nathan Jones left the WWE the same year due to heavy traveling rigors and would continue wrestling in Australia.
Post-match, he celebrates with Jones and waves the American flag.
Michael Cole’s “numbers game” counter total: 2
Backstage, The Miller Light Catfight Girls talk to Stacy Keibler and Tori Wilson.
JR Ross and Jerry Lawler salute the troops and JR says “You’re doin’ the right thing…get it over with early, kick their asses and come home!” Wouldn’t be a Wrestlemania without Jingoistic bullshit. Sad that we’re still bullshitting in Iraq all these years later and nearly blew our economy because of it.
MATCH #3: Trish Stratus (challenger) vs. Victoria (champion) (w/ Steven Richards) vs. Jazz (challenger) in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Women’s Championship
The match is filler to say the least but ends frantically and turns into a great match.. I miss Jazz. She’s just a great wrestler. She’s strong and can actually wrestler, unlike a bunch of these other bimbos. During the match, King comes off as a total perv. I think we’ve had enough of that, King. You already were taken in by an idiot once. Isn’t that enough? (I am far from hating women but there are some things that really irk me — including people being assholes.) Trish gets a series of nice two-counts on Jazz, then hits the Chick Kick but Victoria makes a save. Victoria goes to a top rope but Trish Hurricarana’s her down from there. She hits Flair chops and takes on Jazz until Jazz hits the Half Boston Crab. Trish tries for the ropes but Jazz hits an STF. The ref’s back is turned and Steven Richards interferes. Trish and Victoria switch roll-ups and get two counts. Jazz hits a Front Slam but Victoria hits a Superkick…then misses the Moonsault. Sheesh. Victoria body drops Jazz out. Richards goes to attack Trish with the ref’s back turned and pops himself in the head with his own chair. Trish hits Stratusfaction. Victoria tries to take advantage of this but Trish hits a nice kick and gets the pin.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Trish Stratus via kick
GRADE: Nice match. A-. Well worked.
- Richards would wrestle for WWE under the ECW banner after 2004. He would leave the WWE, for good, in 2009. He would go on to wrestle independently and then for TNA until 2011, when he would retire.
- Jazz would leave the WWE in 2004, only to return and wrestle under the ECW banner. She left in 2006, wrestles with an Independent women’s faction and also owns her own gym that keeps youths off the streets.
Backstage, Coach is with The Rock. The Rock was a heel at this point. He says that he could care less about the People. He says he’s there to fulfill his destiny. That’s to beat Austin at Wrestlemania.
MATCH #4: Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) (champions) vs. Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo Guerrero) (challengers) vs. Chris Benoit & Rhyno (challengers) in a Triple Threat tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
The ring announcer pronounces “Rhyno” as “RENO”. He has one job to do…Team Homici–er, I mean Benoit’s team is out second after the Guerreros. The match is just more overbooking. I miss the days of straight tag team matches. Now you can’t have one that doesn’t involve six or seven guys and a bunch of ladders and tables and weapons. (Don’t get me wrong – the TLC matches are great for the most part but I’m glad that they have all but stopped. They take their toll.) The talent in the ring, at the very least, is pretty good. The match ends with Rhyno hitting a spear on Chavo but getting pulled out of the ring by Eddie. Shelton Benjamin covers to get the win and Team Angle retains.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: Team Angle
GRADE: The match, from what I saw, is a B- and short for what it was supposed to be.
- Terry Gerin (AKA, “Rhyno”) would continue to wrestle until early 2005 when he was fired, along with Matt Hardy, for an incident following Wrestlemania 21. He would wrestle, for the next five years, with TNA. After 2010, he would wrestle for independent leagues, as well as for Ring of Honor.
Backstage, Tori and Stacy argue over who made Wrestlemania what it was. Stacy likes Mr. McMahon and Tori likes Hulk Hogan. The Miller Light Catfight Girls argue about the same thing.
We get a promo with Jericho vs. HBK.
MATCH #5: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho out first. Michaels out next and uses some incredibly pointless confetti cannons on the crowd. That’s what you want in a manly wrestler: a guy who shakes his hips while wearing rhinestone leather chaps and firing confetti into the crowd. The match starts with shoving. Then Michaels rests on the top turnbuckle. From there, the match is back and forth. Jericho has always reminded me of Shawn Michaels. He’s that same type of wrestler. Michaels, at one point, gets caught in a nice suplex by Jericho but Michaels, in mid-air, counters it and turns it into a DDT. The two trade punches and then Jericho hits a Flying Forearm off the ropes. Jericho does that same flip-up that Michaels does, then Michaels does it and hits a forearm. He does some moves off the ropes, then punches Jericho. Michaels hits a Moonsault Splash and gets a close three-count. Michaels hits a nice roll-up but Jericho turns it over. The two trade two-counts. Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho but Michaels powers out of it. Michaels tries a piledriver but Jericho reverses and hits a pin. Michaels gets out of that. Man…what a match. Jericho hits a bulldog off the ropes then the Lionsault. He covers for two. He does another cover but gets the same. He hits a Flair Chop but Michaels counters with a kick, then goes for a Hurricarana but Jericho counters into the Walls of Jericho! Michaels reaches for the ropes and gets to them. Jericho tries it again but Michaels counters with a small package cradle for a two count. Jericho kicks Michaels and hits a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker. Jericho to the top rope…Michaels gets up and Jericho leaps, hitting a reverse elbow. Then Jericho tries for Sweet Chin Music and HITS IT!!! Jericho kicks out! Michaels up and Jericho punches him. Jericho tosses Michaels into the corner but Michaels leaps on the turnbuckles and flies back at Jericho, tackling and punching him. Michaels tries for the Walls of Jericho but then just flips Jericho into the turnbuckle, rolling him up for two! Michaels up and misses a punch and Jericho jacks up his back. Jericho props him up on the top turnbuckle, then gets behind him. Michaels counters and hits a cross body block! Michaels covers but only gets a one-count. Michaels goes to the top turnbuckle. Jericho kicks the ref into the ropes, knocking Michaels off the ropes. Jericho climbs the ropes and tries for a Superplex but Michaels shoves him off, to the mat! Michaels leaps and hits the elbow! Michaels charges for Sweet Chin Music! Jericho up…and Michaels…MISSES! Jericho flips Michaels and hits The Walls of Jericho again!!! Michaels reaches for the ropes but Jericho drags him back…Michaels finally gets to the ropes and Jericho is beside himself. Jericho confronts the ref and tells the ref that Michaels tapped out. He rushes at Michaels in frustration and RUNS INTO SWEET CHIN MUSIC OUT OF NOWHERE AND NEARLY GETS THE PIN! Jericho kicks out!!! Jericho is up and so is Michaels. Michaels punches Jericho and then tosses him into the corner but Jericho reverses…Michaels flips up, Jericho charges but Michaels moves and rolls up Jericho FOR THE THREE COUNT!!! WHAT A MATCH!!!
WINNER: Shawn Michaels via roll up.
GRADE: I give it an A-…just because I wished that it had ended with some finality as far as finishers are concerned.
Post-match, Michaels celebrates and Jericho looks on. Michaels extends his hand. Jericho hugs Michaels, then hits a low blow and shoves Michaels down. Then he flips off the crowd and leaves. The ref helps Michaels to the back.
A Smackdown ref enters Mr. McMahon’s dressing room.
The ring announcer says that Safeco’s Wrestlemania event has attracted 54,097 people, which is a new attendance record at the venue.
The WWE’s “favorite band” plays “Crack Addict” which is a great choice considering the fact that the WWE was an absolute breeding ground for addicts. Nobody cheers or cares, prompting Fred Durst to ask, “Are you awake yet?” The band may have a “Z” in their name but also causes fans to catch “Z’s”, too. This goes on forEVER…that was pointless as living fuck.
Coach is in a Mariners uniform to draw a cheap pop. He asks if the crowd is ready for a Wrestlemania Catfight. He introduces Tanya Ballinger first. The crowd is just not sure. Kitana Baker comes out next and gets more of a pop than Tanya. The catfight is gonna be on a bed with pillows. Coach says that all 54,000 want to see the ladies get it on. But, then, Stacy Keibler interrupts and makes her way out to the bed. She says “This is Wrestlemania”. Congrats, Stacy. Here’s your doggy treat. Good Diva. Torrie Wilson out next. She says that she’s joining the fight with Stacy and the other girls. Torrie spanks Stacy’s ass. The other two girls are fighting on the bed, if you call “fighting”, bouncing on a bed and swinging pillows at each other. The “match” ends with Coach getting his pants pulled off and then he gets hit with pillows. And everything was going soooo well.
Next is the World Heavyweight Championship Match. We get a lead-up promo.
MATCH #6: Triple H (champion) (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Booker T (challenger) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Booker…he REALLY should have won this match. Triple H was slowly becoming like Hulk Hogan. He always had to have the title. The entire match is comprised of Booker kicking at Triple H or Triple H waiting for Booker to stop slap-punching him while Jerry Lawler mouths off about how Booker T was born the wrong way (on a pool table) and isn’t fit to have the title. JR, at one point, says that King has made mistakes in his life. King is incredulous and there’s an uncomfortable amount of silence. King finally says, “You’re so mean-spirited…this is Wrestlemania!” Triple H hits a NICE Spinebuster and a running clothesline in the corner and Booker goes down for two. He chokes at Booker, then the two trade punches. HHH with a suplex but Booker counters and hits a DDT. Booker goes into a trance or something and King says, “I think he’s flashing back to his days behind bars.” JR quickly says, “You’ve ridden that into the ground, ok?” Meanwhile, Booker hits a forearm after a flying kick and nearly gets a three-count. Booker hits a Flair chop, then a knee to the gut. He goes for a Scissors Kick but HHH gets him in the Sleeper. Booker counters but HHH hits him with a knee-lift. He hits a Flair Chop on Booker, then another Facebreaker Knee Lift. He runs at Booker who hits a counter Spinebuster. Booker hits him in the corner and tosses him into the other corner but HHH hits a foot in his face. Booker counters with a NICE dropkick as HHH flies off the ropes at him. Book goes for the Scissors Kick and, surprise, he misses it and gets bounced outside where Flair picks him up and drops him on the steel steps. Booker gets back into the ring and HHH grabs his leg and hits an Indian Deathlock. Booker tries to fight back, to no avail. HHH just keeps it locked in. Booker gets to the ropes. HHH goes to the ref and argues that Booker tapped. HHH goes after his injured knee now. This match went from intense to slow-as-fuck in a matter of minutes. Booker NEARLY gets a pin when he reverses a move with a Sunset Flip. HHH goes for a Pedigree but Booker counters. HHH counters and kicks him away, into the ref. Booker gets a close two-count and then hits a reverse elbow…THEN HITS THE SCISSORS KICK! Booker has pain in his leg and covers but Triple H gets a shoulder up. He gets up and HHH distracts the ref. Booker is up on the top rope and Flair goes after him. Booker nails him and Flair falls. HHH goes for a Superplex but Booker fights HHH off. He falls and Booker tries to leap again but Flair is up AGAIN. Booker fights him off and hits a flip, hitting HHH’s head. He covers but Flair puts HHH’s foot on the ropes. Booker gets up. HHH gets to his feet and Booker falls. His knee is out. HHH is wobbly and hits the Pedigree! HHH covers…1…2…3. Done.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Triple H via Pedigree
GRADE: Wow…Booker hits him with everything he’s got, HHH hits one Pedigree and it’s over? A bit lop-sided. B- match, overall.
Post-match, HHH falls to his face like he just took a beating from the Undertaker and Flair helps him up and away from the ring.
We get a commercial for WWE.com.
Lead-up promo for Vince vs. Hogan.
MATCH #7: Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon in a Street Fight
Hogan is out first. The crowd goes nuts. McMahon is out next. McMahon slaps Hogan but Hogan just dives at McMahon and gives him punches and headbutts into the mat, then the FOOTEYERAKE OF DOOM. Then he hits the PSEUDOCLOTHESHANDFOREARMLINE OF DOOM. He hits Vince with the SERIES OF PUNCHES OF DOOM. Then KICKS IN THE CORNER OF DOOM. Then the CHOKE OF DOOM. Vince blocks his crappy headbutt and clotheslines him. Then kicks Hogan in the gut. Then he shoulders Hogan in the gut. He elbows Hogan in the head. Then more elbows, then some punches. He continues to beat on Hogan, giving him an armbar and driving his knee into Hogan’s elbow. Then he runs Hogan’s arm into the ringpost from the outside twice. Vince gets back in the ring and locks up Hogan with a Test of Strength. The fans cheer and Hogan works his way back up but Vince kicks him in the gut. Good god…children have fistfights better than this. Hogan works his way back up again and rams his body into Vince’s before McMahon just kicks Hogan again…I need more wine. This is taking too fucking long. Ok, back. Let’s recap the action…oh, wait, nothing happened. Let’s move on. Vince tosses Hogan outside the ring. Then he rams Hogan into the ringpost. Gee…I really, really, REALLY hope Hogan can come back in this match! Vince grabs a chair and tries to whack Hogan but misses and Hogan counters, throwing Vince’s head into the post. Hogan has the chair and whacks Vince in the head with it. He picks it up again, then drops it and beats on Vince’s head. Vince is busted open. He tosses Vince back into the ring. He sets up his signature, trademark move: THE PUNCH. And then he does. He does it again. Vince to the outside. Then he uses the chair to whack Vince some more. Vince is trying to get up and Hogan swings the chair and hits one of the Spanish Announcers…oh, man…for a second there, I REALLY thought he hit Michael Cole. He can’t even do THAT right. Vince low blows Hogan, then smacks him with a chair because, fuck fighting with any moves. They paid for the chairs, they’re gonna use ’em. Vince sets up a ladder and places Hogan on the announce table, then rams him into the barriers outside. Then Vince chokes him. Then he uses a monitor to clock Hogan. Vince climbs the ladder, then does Hogan’s “let’s hear you” pose. Vince leaps and hits a legdrop, crushing the announce table. The crowd chants, “HOLY SHIT” over and over. Cole and Tazz both say they agree. Vince tosses Hogan into the ring and covers but it’s only a two-count. Another two-count. Vince looks fucked up. His face is bloody as hell. Vince goes under the ring and gets a lead pipe. Then he slowly rises above the mat, grinning like Jack Nicholson in THE SHINING. He’s about take Hogan out but Hogan low-blows Vince. Suddenly, out of fucking nowhere, Rowdy Roddy Piper shows the hell up. He takes off a trenchcoat and looks really heavy. Then he kicks Vince in the ass. He picks up the lead pipe. He looks at both men and asks Vince to rise up to his feet. Hogan gets to his feet as well but Piper clubs Hogan and tells him to kiss his ass. Then he leaves. Mm-kay. Vince crawls over to Hogan and goes for a cover. 1…2…Hogan gets a shoulder up. Vince tries to get to his feet and sees the pipe still sitting there. He goes to pick it up but the ref won’t let him take it. Vince takes the ref and tosses him out of the ring. Vince picks up the pipe and tells Hogan to get up. Vince waits and wobbles like he’s in a circular movement pattern in a video game. His paid ref gets in the ring and Vince hits Hogan with a pipe. He gets two and Hogan goes through his Hulkout mode. Point, punch at Vince. Punching the ref and tossing him out. Vince gets up and hits Hogan. Once again, point, punch, punch, punch, big boot, legdrop x3. We’re done here — with a match that was twice as long as better matches before it.
WINNER: Hulk Hogan via Legdrop
GRADE: D+. I’m sick of Hogan. Sick to fucking death. Go away, you big orange annoying piece of shit.
Post-match, Hogan poses for 18 years. Haven’t seen this before. Suddenly, Shane McMahon comes out, dressed in a beautiful suit. Shane looks at Vince then back at Hogan. He puts his hands up and Hogan invites him into the ring. Hogan gets out of the ring and Shane tends to his father. Vince gives Hogan a middle finger and Hogan just smiles at him.
- Hogan had a lame gimmick where he played a masked avenger called “Mr. America”. He denied being Hulk Hogan…then he quit the WWE in 2003. He would return in 2005.
- Piper left just as soon as he arrived, leaving a few months later. He would sign with TNA and remain there until 2005, getting into a legit spat with writer, Vince Russo. He would return to the WWE the same year.
A lead-up promo for Rock vs. Austin.
MATCH #8: The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
The Rock’s new entrance video is fucking incredible and his new theme, while different, is still pretty cool. He’s out first. The crowd loves him. Glass shatters…out comes Austin. A brawl. That’s what this starts out as. Austin rules the first three minutes. Then it’s the Rock’s turn. Eventually, Rock hits the Sharpshooter on Austin. Austin tries for the ropes but Rock drags him away. Then Austin tries it again and gets there. Rock beats on Austin from the outside and belts Austin in the face. Then he runs Austin’s knee into the ringpost. Rock puts Austin’s vest on. The initials on the vest read “OMR” which Austin said stood for “ONE MORE ROUND”. Clever. Austin and Rock each hit a clothesline and both go down. Rock is to his feet first and so it Austin. Austin starts getting the upper hand and tackle-punches Rock on the ground. Austin keeps punching, then flips the ref a double bird, then does his Bird Flipping Elbow Drop on the Rock. Close three count. Each time Austin hits a boot in the corner, the crowd yells “WHAT”. Please stop this. Rock hits a flying clothesline and then flips up, a’la Shawn Michaels BUT AUSTIN HITS THE ROCK BOTTOM!!! Cover…1…2…kick out. Austin tells Rock to get up. Rock does and Austin waits. He kicks Rock, Rock catches it, flips off Austin AND HITS THE STUNNER!!! Rock goes over to cover Austin…1…2…kick out. Rock hits a series of punches while still wearing the vest. He kicks Austin but Austin catches it, flips off Rock AND HITS THE STUNNER!!! 1….2…kick out!!! Rock kicks out! Austin is on his feet and Austin tosses the ref aside. Rock hits a low blow, then congratulates himself. Rock stands over Austin…then calls for the People’s Elbow…one rope, two ropes…HE MISSES. Austin misses the Stunner and Rock hits a Spinebuster! People’s Elbow…one rope…two ropes…he gets it. 1…2…NO!! Austin kicks out. Rock can’t believe it and gets up. Rock waits for Austin to turn around and Rock hits the ROCK BOTTOM! 1…2…NO!!! Austin kicks out! Rock can’t believe it. Rock waits for Austin to get up again. Austin is struggling. He goes and Austin powers out of the Rock Bottom. He moves away but Rock hits the Rock Bottom AGAIN!!! 1…2…KICK OUT!!! WOW!!! Rock looks incredulous and gets up. He waits again…waiting for Austin to get up. Austin is rolling around, trying to get to his feet. He does. Rock delays…THEN HITS THE ROCK BOTTOM. Forget it. This one is over.
WINNER: The Rock via Rock Bottom
GRADE: B+ match just because Austin petered out near the end and it became about two guys hitting their finishers over and over.
Post-match, Rock celebrates. The fans still love him. He even salutes Austin as he walks off. Austin stays outside the ring, then walks off toward the backstage area. He salutes the fans near the entrance ramp with his two-bird salute.
At ringside, Cole and Tazz cannot believe what they’ve seen.
The next match is the WWE Championship Match and we get the lead-up promo.
MATCH #9: Brock Lesnar (challenger) vs. Kurt Angle (champion) for the WWE Championship (If Angle is counted out or DQ’ed, he loses the belt)
Angle is out first. The WWE Title has, again, changed. It’s no longer big and round, it’s now a rectangular-looking title. Out comes Brock. Holy fuck, this guy was big. I wonder steroids how he steroids got that steroids way? Cole keeps selling Angle and Lesnar as “two of the most decorate athletes of all-time”. Hardly, Cole. They’re the ONLY two decorated athletes in the ring. Christ. That’s more accurate. Angle, for his size, hits some choice moves on Lesnar. A freakin’ Olympic-sized suplex that looks like it hurt Angle more than Lesnar. The upper body strength on Angle is incredible. Other than that, the match is glacial until about halfway through, when guys start running at each other and Brock starts to hit some power movies. His belly to belly suplexes are fucking awesome to watch. Angle hits a German Suplex and another…and…another…and…another…damn. Angle tries a move but Lesnar counters and goes for the F5! But Angle counters into the Ankle Lock! Lesnar escapes but Angle hits a half Boston Crab. Lesnar makes it to the ropes. He punches Lesnar, then hits a running knee into his back. He runs at Lesnar again but Lesnar tosses him over the top rope and outside. Angle runs at Lesnar, but Lesnar gets out of the way, tries a clothesline, misses and Angle hits a German Suplex! Two-count by Angle. Angle hits the Angle Slam…1…2…kick-out. Angle is pissed and tells Lesnar to get up. Lesnar gets up and tries for a torture rack! Lesnar counters into a cradle! Two count! F5!!! Lesnar covers!!! 1…2…kick out!!! Lesnar lifts up Angle but Angle IMMEDIATELY counters into an Ankle Lock! THEN, so Lesnar can’t move, he locks up Lesnar’s leg with his entire body. Lesnar starts DRAGGING Angle to the ropes and makes it! Angle goes for it again but Lesnar kicks him off. Lesnar goes for an F5 but Angle hits a small package and gets two. Lesnar goes for it again…LESNAR HITS THE F5!!! Angle is motionless. Lesnar is in the corner. Instead, he sits in the corner and smiles…then he goes outside. He goes to the top rope…what the holy hell? Lesnar leaps and tries for a Shooting Star Press and MISSES!!! HOLY SHIT!!! 1…2…kick out!!! Lesnar is still ouching it. Angle lifts him up but then hits the F5 OUT OF NOWHERE!!! Lesnar covers…1…2…3! Lesnar is the new champ!
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Brock Lesnar via F5.
GRADE: B+ match.
Post-match, Lesnar is in obvious pain. Angle is blown away. Lesnar does NOT look well. Angle walks over to Lesnar and the two shake hands and then hug. Well-played.
Overall, this was a B+ event. Had they not had some quick filler and executed that stupid Hogan match, it would have been higher. (A LOT HIGHER.)
‘Til next time!