Reliving Wrestlemania: Wrestlemania XX

Twenty years later, Wrestlemania would return to Madison Square Garden in New York.

Had the storylines changed? Oh yeah…let’s review:

  • Triple H had remained World Heavyweight Champion for ten straight months. This is about the time I tuned out because he wouldn’t put anybody over and I got sick of seeing Triple H in a huge roll. Except for jobbing to Goldberg, he wouldn’t lose. Even when Goldberg beat him, Triple H got the title back three months later. Anyhow, Homicidal Child-Killer, Chris Benoit had won the Royal Rumble and, thus, secured a spot, taking on Triple H at Wrestlemania. Unfortunately, Shawn Michaels had ALSO been feuding with Triple H and was (kayfabe) screwed out of the title a couple times by Eric Bischoff. At a contract signing, Michaels would attack Benoit and sign his name on the contract as well, making it a Triple Threat match. It’s good to know that’s a legally-binding thing to do. I should attack a wealthy divorcee who’s set to get thousands of dollars, under contract, then sign my name there, too, so she has to share the wealth. Triple H would defend here against both Benoit and Michaels.
  • After Wrestlemania, Angle would get his title back in July, beating Brock Lesnar. However, Lesnar would win the title back on Smackdown in a 60-minute Iron Man Match that was less entertaining than it sounded. Lesnar would, successfully, defend his title until February, at No Way Out. Angle would then involve himself in an angle where he was the Special Guest Referee between Eddie and his brother, Chavo. Eddie and Angle were friends but Angle would turn on Eddie and start saying that Eddie was a former drug addict who doesn’t deserve to be Smackdown’s champion. Eddie would defend the WWE Title at Wrestlemania against Kurt Angle.
  • The Undertaker would lose at No Mercy to Brock Lesnar and also defend Stephanie McMahon. Kane didn’t like this and buried the Undertaker alive in a Buried Alive match. He gave a eulogy for his “dead (kayfabe) brother” but the Undertaker’s music would play. Kane would be tortured for weeks after this. At one point, he went out to the ring to find a casket with an urn in it. Kane laughed and said that it would take a lot more than this to be frightened. Then he said that he would end his brother’s streak AND his life…until the ENTIRE FUCKING RING RAISED UP AND TITLED SIDEWAYS…needless to say, The Undertaker would take on Kane.
  • Lesnar wouldn’t try to get his title back after losing it to Guerrero. Why? One word: Goldberg. The two would mix it up here with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the Special Guest Referee.

We ready for some football?

No? Why? Oh, yeah, sorry…

The Boys Choir of Harlem is ready to sing America the Beautiful. They do a beautiful job. Vince picked some winners here. Now we’ll see them in some sort of angle where Triple H says that they can’t represent New York and the WWF because they’re “those people”.

MSG looks a lot bigger than I last remember. Or maybe it’s the lighting.

We get the obligatory video package showing past Wrestlemania events and blah, blah, blah…we get slow-mo footage of all the wrestlers looking deep in thought over “THIS NIGHT”. The final shot is of Vince and Shane with Shane’s new child to try and convince us that they’re family and “normal, just like us.”

We’re LIVE from Madison Square Garden in New York City!

JR and Jerry Lawler are back again. Spanish announcers Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera are also back. If I were Cabrera, I would have a fucking football helmet on after the hit I took. Tazz and Michael Cole are also there for the Smackdown matches.

MATCH #1: John Cena (challenger) vs. Big Show (champion) for the WWE United States Championship
This is the first time we’d see the US Championship defended here. And, this is also the first time that John Cena would wrestle here. He does a lame fucking rap which includes the incomprehensibly awful lyric, “I’m pitching to beat him like a penis with an STD.” Who says the Attitude Era is gone? Big Show is out next. Either I’ve watched too much RAW/Smackdown or this feels like a match on those shows. Cena is too quick. Big Show is too slow. How do you deal with this? Have Big Show pound the shit out of Cena. There. That wasn’t hard. After a nice leg move and a two-count, Show just plays with his food. He lifts up Cena but Cena turns it into a Sleeper which Show gets out of by backing Cena into the turnbuckle. Then he hits a huge clothesline. Show hits a Cobra Clutch and Cena can’t escape. Then he hits Show in the gut but Show just throws him to the mat. Back in the Cobra Clutch, Cena punches out of it. Cena continues to punch Show. Show swings at him and misses and Cena beats on him. Show rushes at Cena in the corner but Cena kicks him. Cena goes for the AA (called the “FU”) and hits it! Wow…impressive, considering Show’s weight. He covers for a two-count. Cena looks like a confused dog. He goes for his chains. The ref tells him to stop but Cena doesn’t listen. Cena tosses them away. The ref goes to chase the chains. Cena grabs brass knucks instead, hits Show, hits the FU, and gets the pin and the title.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: John Cena via FU.
GRADE: C+ match, at best. Cena would have better ones to come.

Backstage, Jonathan Coachman walks and greets some old buddies. He goes to Bischoff’s office. Bischoff tells Coach to go find him.

Randy Orton is backstage with Botox Flair and Batista. He says that he kicked the shit out of Mick Foley and now Foley is a coward. “Evolution” had this thing where they all acted like they were in a Michael Mann film. They wore clean, earth-tone suits and usually spoke in hushed tones and appeared in these promos surrounded by cosmopolitan design and class. This promo, for instance, is shot in a neutral-colored stairway backstage because nothing says “classy” like the emergency exit of your local mall.

MATCH #2: RVD & Booker T (champions) vs. Garrison Cade & Mark Jindrak (challengers), The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) (challengers) and La Resistance (Rene Dupree & Rob Conway) (challengers) in a Fatal Four Way Match for the World Tag Team Championship
Ready for some overbooking hell?! You’ve come to the right place!!! Nobody cares about any of these guys. C’mon…YOU don’t care about them. The Dudleyz were past their popular prime, La Resistance, Cade and Jindrak are all flash in the pans and Booker and RVD had better days. And, by the way, what the fuck was purpose of splitting tag team titles?! Seriously. There were WAY too many championships floating around. Every single time you turned around, there was a title match or a champion. The WWE, at one point had like 16 different titles and there was just no surprise anymore. Anyhoe, the end comes when Booker hits a Spinebuster and then RVD takes on like 68 wrestlers and even hits Bubba Ray while D-Von just stands there, watching, like he’s waiting in line behind the customer scanning 179 coupons at the supermarket. The Dudleyz set up for 3D on Booker but Garrison Cane interferes. Booker is still up and Cade tries to subdue him but Booker hits the Scissor Kick. RVD hits the Five-Star Frog Splash. Titles retained.
WINNERS: RVD and Booker via Frog Splash.
GRADE: C+. Didn’t get exciting until the end. Ugly match.

    • Cade wrestled with the WWE for the next four years but had major problems with drugs. One instance was when Cade had seizures on a plane after over-using cocaine. He was released in 2008. He wrestled independently and in Japan for the next two years. On August 13th, 2010, Cade was found dead in his father’s home. His death (of heart failure) was ruled as “accidental” due to a mixture of illicit drugs. He was only 29 years old…shit.

 

    • Jindrak was released in 2005 along with a dozen other wrestlers. He wrestled in Japan for a year and currently wrestles in Mexico.

 

    • The Dudleyz were also released at the same time as Jindrak and currently split their time wrestling in Japan, independently, and with TNA.

 

    • Conway wrestled for three more years until 2007 when he left the WWE. He currently wrestles for Juggalo Championship Wrestling.

 

  • Dupree spent his time between the WWE and their developmental leagues. In 2007, he requested a release from the WWE and it was granted. He has wrestled in Japan and currently wrestles independently.

Backstage, Coach is still trying to find the Undertaker. I sense a running theme. Coach hears banging against a door and opens it to find Mean Gene, looking all beat up. Then Bobby Heenan shows up, too and he looks all messed up. He says they were playing poker in the room…then Moolah and Mae come out…why does the WWE CONTINUALLY play up this angle? Yuck. Coach…he just walks away.

Back out at the ring, Lawler actually EXPANDS on this and says, “I wonder if they were playing naked Twister!” Ross changes the subject. No, please…spare us NOTHING.

We get a lead-up promo for Chris Jericho vs. Christian. This angle was a fucking soap opera. Fuck.

MATCH #3: Christian vs. Chris Jericho
Christian out first and Jericho out next. Christian has finally cut the goddamn hair. The match is pretty even at first with Jericho trying the Walls which never works. Christian flips him out of the ring which is replayed for us 17 times which became an unfortunate thing in the WWE. I don’t need to see on-the-fly replays of wrestlers taking bumps as soon as they happened. The NFL doesn’t even have this many replays. Christian tries to choke out Jericho. This only lasts so long. Christian takes over the pacing of the match at this point. The crowd goes almost silent until Christian puts Jericho in a chinlock. Jericho, again, tries for the Walls but can’t get it. Christian kicks and slaps Jericho. The two collide in the corner. Christian rushes Jericho and Jericho trips him and hits an Enzuguri kick. Two-count. Jericho and Christian continue to counter each others moves and even trade roll-up pins. Jericho hits a German Suplex pin but gets two. Jericho hits a bulldog and goes for a Lionsault but, fuck that, Christian gets his knees up. Kill Switch by Christian doesn’t work and Christian hits a bulldog off the ropes instead. Two count. Jericho rushes Christian who hits a Sleeper Snapmare Backbreaker. Christian goes to the top turnbuckle but Jericho goes for a Superplex. Christian counters him and tosses him to the mat. Christian hits a cross-body block but Jericho lands on him instead. Two-count! Jericho all over Christian in the corner but Christian hits the Texas Cloverleaf! Jericho breaks out and hits The Walls of Jericho! But Christian is at the ropes and falls outside! He won’t break the hold and continues the Walls outside. Once the ref counts, however, Jericho lets go. He rams Christian’s head into the turnbuckle and hits a Superplex! Jericho covers and NEARLY gets a two-count. The crowd, like idiots, keeps yelling “TWO” each time there’s a two count, which is just so stupid. Trish runs out as the boys continue to fight. Christian hits a HUGE DDT…1…2…NO. Jericho kicks. Another cover and Jericho kicks out. Trish is up on the mat. Christian grabs her and throws her to the mat. Jericho clotheslines Christian outside and tends to Trish who accidentally elbows Jericho. Christian rolls him up for the pin.
WINNER: Christian via roll-up.
GRADE: Good match, lame finish. B- for me.

Post-match, Trish tends to Jericho. Christian gets in the ring and Jericho goes to attack. Trish holds him back…THEN FUCKING SLAPS THE SHIT OUT OF JERICHO! Christian hits the Kill Switch and Trish looks fucking EVIL. Christian pulls her hair and French Kisses her he’s James Deen in a scene from Brazzers

Backstage, Lillian Garcia is with Mick Foley. Rock interrupts and hogs the promo and says that Superfly and Don Muraco are here. He says to follow The Rock. The Rock shows Mick the arena. He says it’s THEIR night.

MATCH #4: Evolution (Batista, Ric Flair, and WWF Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton) vs. The Rock n’ Sock Connection (The Rock and Mick Foley) in a Handicap Match
Man, Foley is fucking ancient here and the Rock had no reason to give a shit. I don’t get why Flair is still doing this shit, either. I know this is WM 20, but come on…call it a career and move on already. The match is your usual RAW Main Event Bouquet. Quick tags from the heels while one face just gets beaten on until he makes the hot tag. For once, I’m happy it’s not some 8 or 10-man monstrosity but three of these men have had better days. Orton and Batista are used as goons while Flair, Foley and Rock hog the spotlight. Foley FINALLY hits a swinging neckbreaker on Batista and, instead of hitting a tag, clotheslines Batista at the same time. Flair takes over but Foley forearms him. Rock tagged in and he’s all over Flair and DDT’s Orton, then tosses Batista. Batista counters with a Spinebuster. Flair stands over Rock and goes for the Nature Boy’s Elbow, but Rock flips his way up and knocks Flair out. He DDT’s Batista and Spinebuster’s Flair. He goes for the People’s Elbow, struts like Flair and hits it. Pretty amusing. He NEARLY hits the pin but Flair gets a shoulder up. Flair hits a thumb to the eye. Orton goes for an RKO after being tagged in and Rock hits the Rock Bottom. He goes to cover but Flair pulls him off Orton. Batista clothelines Rock and hits the Batista Bomb. Orton covers and NEARLY gets a three-count. Foley, by the way, just STANDS THERE and lets this happen. Rock goes to Foley and tries for a tag. He does. Foley dings Orton, then Flair, then Batista. He hits the DDT on Orton and goes for Mr. Socko. He goes for the Mandible Claw but ORTON HITS AN RKO OUT OF NOWHERE!!! He gets the pin!
WINNERS: Evolution via RKO.
GRADE: Great finish! B+.

Post-match, Evolution celebrates and Foley looks depressed. Rock looks disappointed. Foley stands up. Rock looks at him. The crowd cheers and chants for Foley. Rock claps his hands and shakes hands with Foley and the two hug.

  • The Rock had a Hollywood career at this point and wasn’t doing much wrestling. He would do occasional appearances but nothing serious. He inducted his father and grandfather, Rocky and Peter Maivia respectively, into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008. He left the WWE and wouldn’t return until 2011.

We get a promo for the WWE Hall of Fame. This includes a legitimately moving moment when Bobby Heenan was inducted into the Hall of Fame and says he wishes Gorilla Monsoon was there.

Okerlund brings out the Hall of Fame Class of 2004: Bobby “The Brian” Heenan, Tito Santana, Big John Studd (his son represents him), King Harley Race, Pete Rose, “Magnificent” Don Muraco, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Sylvester Ritter (The Junkyard Dog – his daughter is representing him), “Superstar” Billy Graham, Sgt. Slaughter, and…Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

MATCH #5: Torrie Wilson & Sable vs. Stacy Keibler & Miss Jackie in a Playboy Evening Gown Match
Sable takes off her gown and reveals a teddy underneath. Soooo…no match then, or…? Jackie removes Stacy’s gown to reveal a bra and panties underneath. Torrie’s gown is off next. Miss Jackie leaves the ring. Sable throws her back in. They tear her dress off. And…we’re wrestling in underwear. Look…the women look fucking great but let’s not kid ourselves. This is shit. A bunch of pins are recorded with the women showing some ass. Yay. Internet porn is hotter. Jackie belts Torrie and Torrie reverses a roll-up. Fuck this. Torrie and Sable win.
WINNERS: Torrie & Sable.
GRADE:  F+.

    • Rena Mero, AKA “Sable”, left the WWE after Wrestlemania to spend more time with her family. She married Brock Lesnar and the two are expecting a child.

 

    • Stacy Keibler left the WWE two years later in 2006 to pursue other endeavors. She is currently dating George Clooney and appeared with him at the Oscars in 2012.

 

  • Jackie Gayda was one of the many wrestlers released in the July 2005 Firings. She has, since, wrestled independently and with TNA and is in semi-retirement. She is married to former WWE wrestler, Charlie Haas and have three children.

Post-match, Jackie bails as Torrie and Sable celebrate. The crowd is dead and their music continues to play. It’s like a nightclub that opens at 6 PM when the sun is just going down.

A promo for some of the fans.

Backstage, Eddie Guerrero walks and greets wrestlers. He meets the Killer, Chris Benoit who doesn’t give a shit about him. Benoit is concentrating on his upcoming match. Guerrero uses the words, “vato”, “holmes” and “ese” like they’re gonna be restricted from television tomorrow.

MATCH #6: Chavo Guerrero (champion) (w/ Chavo Guerrero, Sr.) vs. Ultimo Dragon, Shannon Moore, Jamie Noble, Funaki, Nunzio, Billy Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Tajiri and Akio in a WWE Cruiserweight Championship Open
Here are the rules if you care: two superstars start in the ring…they can be eliminated by regular means…the order is determined by drawing…the last man standing will be Champion. Yeah, here’s your minor wrestler bouquet. I cannot BELIEVE we’re pretending that the WWE even cares about this title. It’s ridiculous. Of all the guys in this ring, TWO were still major players in the WWE – one was Chavo, of course and the other was Mysterio. Speaking of Rey, he comes out dressed like The Flash. Last year, it was Daredevil. I knew I liked this guy. The match is silly. Dragon and Moore start. It’s very quick. Dragon hits a nice Ultimo DDT and we’re on to Noble. Dragon deserved better than this. What a talent. He goes for a flip but misses and lands on his feet. Noble hits a neckbreaker and Dragon submits to something. Noble eliminates the next guy. I don’t know who it was and I could care less. Here comes Nunzio and the exchange moves and pin roll-ups. Nunzio NEARLY gets a pin after a nice flying kick but Noble has his feet on the ropes. Nunzio out of the ring. Noble hits Nunzio on the outside with a beautiful flip splash. Noble back in. Nunzio is counted out. Nunzio dings Noble outside and Kidman hits a GORGEOUS Shooting Star Press off the mat. Both men back in. Noble hits his submission but Kidman gets out of it and hits the Running Enzuguri. Kidman goes to the top rope but Kidman counters. Kidman hits the Kidman Bomb and gets the pin. In comes Mysterio and Kidman NEARLY eliminates him after a huge dropkick. Rey kicks Kidman and dropkicks him. Chavo on the ropes and one of the wrestlers interferes with Rey. Kidman hits a nice move and gets two. Rey gets a move off the top rope. Goodbye, Kidman. Tajiri in. Rey springboards off the ropes. Tajiri tries a submission on the ropes. I can’t keep up. Rey hits the 619 on Tajiri. He goes for his finisher and misses. Rey pins after Tajiri misses the green mist spray. Chavo is supposed to be in now and won’t go in. Rey is unconscious because of a cheap shot. Rey hits a Flying Hurricarana on Chavo, hits Chavo, Sr. and then nails Chavo Sr. again with a Senton Bomb outside. Rey goes back in. Rey nails Chavo. Chavo rolls up Rey and pins him with the help of his Dad.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Chavo Guerrero via cheating
GRADE: Why not just have a match between these guys? Ugh. C-.

    • Ultimo Dragon left the WWE after this. He currently wrestles in Mexico.

 

    • Shannon Moore was let go in the July 2005 Firings only to return the very next year. He wrestled minor matches and was let go in 2008. He wrestled in independent leagues before settling into TNA, where he currently resides.

 

    • Noble would wrestled for the company until 2009 when he retired. He is now a producer with the WWE.

 

    • Funaki wrestled with the WWE until 2010. He currently wrestles independently.

 

    • James Maritato, AKA “Nunzio”, would wrestle until 2008 and wrestle independently and with TNA. He made a return to the WWE as a referee but left after 10 months, in 2011. He now wrestles in, of all places, India.

 

    • Peter Gruner, AKA “Billy Kidman”, was released in 2005, after a dispute with management over travel arrangements. He wrestled independently for the next five years and returned to the WWE in 2010 in a behind-the-scenes role as a producer on RAW.

 

    • Tajiri left the WWE in 2005 to become a journalist and spend more time with his family. He currently wrestles in Japan.

 

  • James Yun, AKA “Akio”, was part of the July 2005 Firings. He would return in 2006 to a minor role but was trouble backstage and also had issues with the WWE’s Wellness Policy. He was released, four years later, in 2010. Since then, Yun has wrestled in Japan, independently, and is currently with TNA.

We get a lead-up promo for Lesnar and Goldberg.

MATCH #7: Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as a Special Guest Referee)
This match is infamous. Lesnar and Goldberg announced that they were both leaving AFTER this match. The fans knew and they were NOT happy. If both wrestlers were fired, what the hell did it matter that they even fought here? Austin is out first on an ATV. Lesnar out next. Goldberg is out next and I cannot believe he’s still doing the “coming-all-the-way-from-the-dressing-room-in-the-back-to-the-ring” thing. The crowd begins chanting “YOU SOLD OUT” to both competitors. Stone Cold actually has to says, “Go!” The two men just fucking circle each other. The fans begin chanting the “Hey Hey Goodbye” song and J.R. talks about Lesnar wanting to hit the NFL. This is fucking ridiculous. Somebody fucking FIGHT. The crowd then chants for Austin. Goldberg smirks at him. Austin lowers his head and tells the two men to go. Vince must have been pissed in the back. Wow…it took almost THREE WHOLE MINUTES for them to lock up. They let go, taunt each other…then stand there. OMG…there’s like eight more minutes of this crap. Then they let go and don’t do anything. The fans are PISSED. They start chanting “THIS MATCH SUCKS”. I agree. Then the two men shoulderblock each other and neither moves. Then they shout. Then Goldberg shoulderblocks Lesnar and Lesnar stands there. Then they stand, nose to nose, talking. Finally, Lesnar hits a kneelift but both men go down. THEN THEY JUST KNEEL ACROSS THE RING AND LOOK AT EACH OTHER. Fuck me…come on…Ross and Lawler are doing a great job selling this thing. Goldberg hits a press slam and then powerslams Lesnar. Fucking finally. Goldberg tries the spear but misses when Lesnar side-steps. Lesnar attacks outsides and now the crowd chants, what I think is, “GOLDBERG SUCKS”. The two fight in-ring with Lesnar putting on a submission move. Now, the crowd starts chanting for “Hogan”…the fans were right on until this point. Goldberg gets out of the move and then Lesnar puts him right back in it. Goldberg gets out of it but the crowd is apathetic. They run into each other, crowd boos. Two-count. Booing. More “THIS MATCH SUCKS” chants. Lesnar is hitting shoulders in the corner. Goldberg finally starts to charge. Snap swinging neckbreaker by Goldberg and then he hits the spear and gets a two-count. Then Goldberg gets in Austin’s nose. Lesnar hits the F5. Crowd could care less. Two-count. Lesnar is pissed at Austin. He says it was two. Lesnar waits and tries a spear which misses. Goldberg hits another spear but the crowd boos. Goldberg hits the Jackhammer and Goldberg wins.
WINNER: Goldberg via Jackhammer.
GRADE: D-. At least they got through it.

Post-match, Goldberg celebrates. The crowd is silent. In the ring, Austin and Lesnar glare at one another. The fans sing goodbye. Lesnar flips the bird to the fans and Austin hits a Stunner, then flips off Lesnar. Goldberg in the ring now as Austin drinks beers. Austin gives Goldberg some beers. Goldberg swills beers but the fans boo him. Goldberg looks like he just fucked his mother. Austin hits a Stunner on Goldberg,

Yeah…let’s never do this again.

    • After Goldberg was gone, he provided color commentary for MMA events and was seen in Adam Sandler’s remake of “The Longest Yard” as well as in the Ninth Season of “Celebrity Apprentice”.

 

  • Lesnar tried out for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League and made the team but was cut prior to the start of the 2004-2005 Regular Season. The WWE sued him for breaching his “no-competing” contract when he wrestled independently in Japan following his stint with the NFL. The two sides came to an agreement and Brock Lesnar would end up becoming a successful MMA fighter for the UFC before retiring in 2012, due to a recurring pain in his abdomen from Diverticulitis. He would return to the WWE in 2012.

Outside of Madison Square Garden, fireworks go off. I wonder how many people in New York City had a major heart attack after all they’ve been through.

We get a teaser for next year’s Wrestlemania at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Vince McMahon comes out to address the crowd. He is out here to thank the WWE Universe for coming out and making the WWE what it is today. He gets some nice applause.

Tazz and Cole talk about Wrestlemania 21 and we’re ready for our next match.

MATCH #8: Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty & Rikishi) (champions) vs. The World’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) (challengers), The Basham Brothers (Danny & Doug) (challengers), and the APA (Bradshaw & Farooq) (challengers) in a Fatal Four Way Elimination Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
More overbooking and the other set of tag titles on the least memorable tag stables of all-time. So much fun. This crowd, if it’s possible is quieter for this than Lesnar and Goldberg. It ends with Rikishi taking out Bradshaw and hitting his Samoan drop on one of the Bashams. Yaaaaay.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: Too Cool via Samoan Drop
GRADE: F match. Ugh. Bradshaw, by the way, was three seconds away from becoming JBL here.

Post-match, Scotty does the Worm, then they do a dance concert.

    • Rikishi was released after this because of his weight. He had a short stint with TNA but wrestles independently.

 

    • Scott Garland, AKA “Scotty 2 Hotty”, left in 2007. He now wrestles independently.

 

    • Charlie Haas would wrestle in the WWE for six more years before leaving in 2010 and wrestling independently. He also wrestles for Ring of Honor.

 

    • The great Ron Simmons was let go from the WWE in 2004 due to reports of “inappropriate conduct” at Wrestlemania XX. He would return to the WWE in small recurring rolls in 2006 and is set to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at Wrestlemania 28.

 

  • The Bashams quit the WWE in 2007 and wrestled for TNA the same year. Whereas Danny would stop in 2008, Doug would continue to wrestle for Ohio Wrestling until 2009.

We get a teaser for Edge, who is coming back.

Then Jesse “The Body” Ventura makes his way down to the ring. He asks what the WWE would be without The Body doing an interview with somebody. He looks for someone to interview. He says that it’s Donald Trump. Trump gets a nice round of boos. He says the hair looks great. He asks what Wrestlemania means to him. Trump says he’s with his son tonight and they’re having a great time. He asks if he got back into politics, would he have Trump’s backing. Trump says “100 percent”. He’s such a good liar. Then he leaves. Ok, then…that was interesting…

MATCH #9: Victoria (champion) vs. Molly Holly (challenger) in a Title vs. Hair match for the WWE Women’s Championship
If Molly wins, she will be the Champ. If she loses, she gets her head shaved. JR steals my line and says that Finkel already lost his match. Molly out first, Vic out second. Another dead spot during this match. You already know that Molly’s gonna lose. I mean, the barber chair and set isn’t there for no reason. During the match, Lawler tries to interrogate Ross on what kind of panties he likes. This is really, really uncomfortable. Ross then admits to liking “white cotton ones” and actually sounds aroused. I nearly lose my lunch here. By the way, Victoria wins with a backslide, if you care.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Victoria via backslide.
GRADE: D for effort. Nothing else.

Post-match, Molly runs her ass to the back and tries to escape. Then she comes back out and beats the shit out of Victoria and tries to shave her head. Vic escapes the chair and knocks out Holly. She straps Molly into the Barber Chair. Let me say that again – straps her into the BARBER’S CHAIR. The chair had leather wrist straps. Even Lawler asks why it has straps. Vic shaves her hair off. This is fucking boring. So fucking boring, we cut to Tazz and Cole.

  • Nora Greenwald, AKA “Molly Holly”, was disenchanted with the direction of her character as well as the Diva’s league being focused on looks rather than ability and would leave the WWE after this in order to spend more time with her family. She would return in 2005.

We get the lead-up promo for Angle/Guerrero.

The haircut continues and Angle looks like he tries not to smirk as he comes out for his match.

MATCH #10: Eddie Guerrero (champion) vs. Kurt Angle (challenger) for the WWE Championship
Angle is out first, Eddie out second. Further perpetuating the “Cholo” stereotype, Eddie arrives in a lowrider pick-up truck with hydraulics. The match is slow to start until Angle starts hitting his Suplex Series. Then it speeds up. Both of these men were in their prime here and gave a great show. Eddie hits the top rope at one point and misses a move to the outside. Angle gets a two-count here. He puts Eddie into a submission move and Guerrero counters with a chin drop. Angle goes for a cover after Eddie goes flying at Angle, missing and hitting the ropes. Two count. Belly to belly suplex by Angle and another one. Two-count. Another belly to belly by Angle after putting Guerrero into a bear hug. Angle places Eddie on the turnbuckles and starts punching him. Angle tries for a belly to belly on the turnbuckles but Eddie counters and tries for a Frog Splash and misses it. Has Eddie hit a single move yet? Angle tells Eddie to get up after he stomps him in the corner. Then he knocks him down. Angle tells Eddie to get up again. Then he punches him again. He tells Eddie to get up and does it again. Eddie just tells Angle to hit him. He does. He repeats this and Eddie FINALLY starts punching. Eddie hits an elbow. Angle charges Eddie in the corner and Eddie counters with a back suplex. Two-count. Eddie tries a suplex but Angle counters with another series of German Suplexes. Eddie counters by rolling up Angle for two and then Angle clotheslines Eddie. Angle waits for Eddie to get up and tries to Angle Slam him but Eddie counters it and hits a Head Scissors. Guerrero hits a suplex. Another one…but Eddie counters and tries for the Ankle Lock and has it. Eddie counters and kicks out of it. Angle charges Eddie but Eddie dropkicks him. Eddie goes back to the top rope again…but Angle gets up and counters with a Superplex! Angle covers! 1…2…two-count. Angle looks ready to finish things and locks Eddie into the Ankle Lock again but Eddie counters with a roll-up for two. He swings at Angle but Angle hits another German Suplex. Angle goes for the Angle Slam but Eddie counters with a Swinging DDT! Eddie to the top ropes and hits the Frog Splash! 1…2…KICK OUT!!! WOW!!! Angle kicks out! Eddie picks up Angle but Angle hits the Ankle Lock again! Eddie reaches for the ropes but shifts his body weight and tosses Angle from the ring, outside. Eddie’s ankle is in pain…he unties his boot, looks at Angle, who looks pissed. Eddie actually says, “OH SHIT…” Angle comes in and hits the Ankle Lock on Eddie!!! But Eddie loosens his foot from his untied boot!!! He gets out and rolls Ankle up in a cradle!!! 1…2…3!!! EDDIE WINS!!! What a match!!!
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Eddie Guerrero
GRADE: A+ all the way. Great stuff. This one was satisfying.

Post-match, Eddie celebrates and Cole is beside himself, saying that Eddie cheated. Yep. That was something out of Ric Flair’s playbook. 🙂

Back to JR and Lawler.

We get the lead-up promo for Kane vs. Undertaker. Thank god that the Undertaker ditched his bullshit redneck biker gimmick.

MATCH #11: The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Kane
Kane is out first. This was a different Kane then when we last saw him. He ditched the mask, long hair and mesh suit. He’s now a big, bald monster. The lights go out in the arena and we hear Paul Bearer’s “OOOOOH YESSSS…” before Bearer comes out with the monks following him. The ramp fills up with smoke and fog. Bearer stands at ringside…he kisses the urn…Requiem Bell…Lightning…here comes the Dead Man…THIS was my favorite gimmick. A legendary cowboy outlaw. He still has one of the best entrances there ever was. He stops in front of Bearer and Bearer tells him to go forth, to the ring. He raises the lights and just looks like a badass again. Kane shouts at him and says “I BURIED YOU!!!” Undertaker just glares at him. Kane says that the Undertaker isn’t real. Kane shakes his head in denial. Undertaker glares. Kane says he isn’t real. He goes to touch the Undertaker and the Undertaker snaps and starts kicking Kane’s ass. The ref goes to stop him but The Undertaker snaps his head at the ref and the ref runs for his life and even goes outside. LOL…the match moves outside and ‘Taker demolishes him out there. Elbow on Kane. ‘Taker goes to the mat and hits a Guillotine Legdrop. ‘Taker tosses Kane to the corner and charges, hitting a HUGE clothesline. He charges again and hits another one. ‘Taker kicks Kane and sets up for the Last Ride but Kane counters and body drops Undertaker. Then he hits a Big Boot. Kane says “I told you not to come back, you son of a bitch!” Undertaker turns him over and starts punching. The crowd is silent. Kane hits a Sidewalk Slam. Kane to the top turnbuckle and hits a flying clothesline. Two-count. Undertaker hits Kane and the two trade punches. Kane hits an uppercut and tosses Taker into the corner. Taker counters with a big boot and a leg drop. Taker gets up and sets up for Old School. He leaps and Kane catches him in a Choke…Taker retaliates with a choke and nearly hits a Chokeslam but he gets out. Kane hits the Chokeslam. Taker is out. He says “I told you not to come back, ‘Taker!” Then he tells Bearer to look at the Undertaker. Taker does his “sit up” and glares at Kane. He punches and goes for a body-drop but Taker no sells. He hits the Flying Clothesline on Kane. Chokeslam time. Taker hits that one. He looks at Kane like a psychotic summa bitch and calls for the Tombstone. He hits it. Forget it. We’re done.
WINNER: The Undertaker via Tombstone.
GRADE: C+ match, overall. Nothing fancy but this reestablishes the Undertaker, I guess. The Undertaker goes 12-0 at Wrestlemania at this point.

  • William Moody, AKA “Paul Bearer”, was written out of the WWE later in the year. He was “buried alive” in cement by the Undertaker after beating the Dudley Boyz. He would work behind the scenes until 2005 when he was released by the WWE. He would work in independent leagues for the next five years before making small appearances from 2010 to 2012. Moody lost 240 pounds since leaving the WWE but passed away of issues relating to a blood clot in his arteries in 2013. He was 58 years old. He will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.

We get the lead-up promo for the Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship.

MATCH #12: Chris Benoit (challenger) vs. Shawn Michaels (challenger) vs. Triple H (champion) in a Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
The Wife Executioner is out first, then Michaels and Triple H. Benoit and Michaels fight over who is gonna beat up Triple H. Benoit tries a crossface, but Michaels escapes and two exchange Flair Chops. Triple H is outside the ring and just watches Michaels and Benoit battle. Really? Finally, HHH hits the ring and clotheslines Michaels, then goes after Benoit. Benoit leaves the ring and Michaels and HHH battle now. The more that one of the guys leave the ring, the more I think this match would have been perfect as a one on one. It becomes HHH vs. Benoit on the outside until Michaels baseball slides into both guys. Michaels hits a HUGE Moonsault off the top rope and hits both guys! Wow! Near fall on Triple H. Michaels and HHH battling now. Kneelift by HHH and a near Pedigree. Benoit interferes and enters the fight. He rams Michaels’ shoulder into the ringpost. Suplex and chops by Benoit. Benoit into the corner and HHH places Benoit backwards on the top turnbuckle. He hangs him upside down and kicks him. Then he tends to Michaels and sends him flying into Benoit! Two-count! Benoit goes for his German Suplex and hits it. Then he hits another after HHH tries to get out. Then he hits a third. Benoit calls for his Headbutt. He goes to the top but Michaels trips him up. Michaels tells HHH to get up and misses SCM. HHH hits a DDT to counter. Then he goes after Benoit, hammering him in the corner. He hits a Superplex off the turnbuckle while JR actually wonders, aloud, “Does a Superplex equal three German Suplexes?” Sometimes, I swear Ross likes to hear himself speak. A series of two-counts and the two exchange punches. HHH goes for a Pedigree but Benoit counters into the Crossface! HHH fights it but Benoit locks it in…Michaels comes running in and interrupts. Michaels hits a German Suplex and Benoit counters with his own series of German Suplexes. Benoit calls for the Flying Headbutt. HE HITS IT! Benoit covers…1…2…NO! Kick-out! Another two-count. Again, Ross says that Benoit was “inspired by the Dynamite Kid”. This figures. He was an asshole, too, and is lucky that drugs and booze didn’t kill him. HHH gets into it after Benoit is tossed. Michaels slams HHH and goes to the top rope. He hits the Flying Elbow and then goes to the corner for Sweet Chin Music…he hits it! Michaels goes to cover…1…2…Benoit PULLS HHH OUT. Wow. Michaels goes outside and puts Benoit in. Michaels hits Flair chops on the corner and then whips Benoit to the corner. Reversal and Benoit goes for a Sharpshooter but ends up catapulting Michaels into the turnbuckle. Michaels is bleeding profusely from his head. Fuck, that’s bad-looking. Benoit locks in the Crossface or tries to. He gets it and Michaels reaches for the ropes. He was going to tap but HHH stops Michaels from hitting the mat. He punches Benoit who lets go. Benoit, outside, runs HHH’s head into the steps. They brawl and HHH sends Benoit into the steel steps. HHH goes to one of the announce tables and strips it. Benoit responds and runs HHH’s head into the Spanish Announce Table. Benoit goes for a German Suplex on the table but HHH fights out of it. Now HHH puts Benoit into a Pedigree but Benoit fights out. Michaels climbs the table now. Oh man…Michaels and HHH double suplex Benoit into the far announce table. The crowd chants “HOLY SHIT”. Michaels’ face is covered in blood. Fuck…he tells HHH to get in there. HHH gets in, looking pissed. The two trade punches and Michaels tosses HHH out and on top of the camera man. Ross says that they need an EMT out here for their camera man and Benoit. Michaels tosses HHH into the steel steps. Michaels looks like shit. There is blood flowing from his face down his chest like a waterfall. Michaels and HHH are in the ring. HHH hits a Pedigree! HHH covers…1…2…BENOIT OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE!!! He breaks the count!!! Lawler: “What?! Did the EMT’s throw him in the ring??? How’d he get up?!” LOL…Triple H bladed somewhere after getting hit against the ringpost. No offense but the blood is ridiculous. I get big matches but a big gaping wound from being tossed into a ring post? You’d have a bruise, not a cut. All three men are moving slow on the mat. Triple H is up first…at least, on his knees. Then he’s on his feet, wobbly. He picks up Benoit. Michaels rolls out of the ring. Benoit hits Flair chops but HHH goes for a Pedigree! Benoit reverses and hits the Sharpshooter! HHH screams and reaches for the ropes. He gets there but Benoit pulls him away…MICHAELS, OUT OF FUCKING NOWERE, HITS SWEET CHIN MUSIC!!! Michaels goes to Benoit and covers…1…2…NO! Benoit gets a shoulder up! Michaels up in the corner. The crowd chants for Benoit. Michaels queues Sweet Chin Music. HE MISSES and Benoit tosses Michaels out. HHH is up! Pedigree! NO!!! BENOIT COUNTERS INTO THE CRIPPLER CROSSFACE!!! HHH tries to get to the ropes! He reaches…reaches…reaches…can’t do it…reaches…HHH is still awake after the ref tests the arm. HHH tries to counter but Benoit keeps it on!!! HHH TAPS!!! Benoit is the winner and new champion!!!
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Chris Benoit via Crossface.
GRADE: A- match. It started out like an overbooked piece of shit and redeemed itself.

Post-match, Benoit celebrates. Guerrero hits the ring and hugs Benoit, congratulating him. Confetti falls.

That’s it. I would give this one a B-, maybe C+. There was a LOT of bullshit and maybe three or four memorable matches. Last year’s was light years better.
(I will be more kind and say this was a B-.)

‘Til next time!

— Matt

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