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WWE WrestleMania XX Review

WWE WrestleMania XX

March 14th 2004

Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler (Raw) Michael Cole & Tazz (Smackdown)

Attendance: 18,000

BuyRate: 1,007,000

 

WrestleMania 20 returns ‘home’ to Madison Square Garden, the historic arena which hosted the 1st and 10th WrestleMania events. The slogan for the show was “where it all begins again” and in many ways, that was true. Times were changing. Stone Cold retired the year before and The Rock was fading away from the wrestling scene. It would turn out to be his final match for seven years until he returned at Survivor Series ’11. New talent were making their debuts on the show, guys like John Cena, Randy Orton and Batista. Goldberg also made his first (and only) WrestleMania appearance.

On the Smackdown side, Eddie Guerrero was the WWE Champion. He overcame the odds at No Way Out by defeating Brock Lesnar for the title. He was facing Kurt Angle on the show. On Raw, Triple H was the World Heavyweight Champion who had dominated the main event scene for most of 2003. He was involved in a triple threat match against his former DX buddy, Shawn Michaels and the Royal Rumble winner, Chris Benoit.

I remember there being a lot of buzz surrounding this match. Benoit was an Internet darling and a lot of people didn’t like Triple H so you can understand why there was a lot of anticipation for this one. Back in the day, I was a huge Benoit fan. I was so happy for him going into this one. Of course, what he did in 2007, my feelings aren’t the same. I know some people have difficulty watching Benoit matches, personally, I don’t but I would certainly not go out of my way to watch any of his matches. I’ll watch this show, review it but won’t have the same feelings I had back in 2004.

 

To open the show, The Boys Choir of Harlem sings America the Beautiful.

 

“Twenty years ago one man had a vision.” They showed Vince McMahon. They aired memorable WrestleMania clips over the years. They mixed it with comments from guys like Guerrero, Lesnar, Rock, Cena, Benoit, Angle, Foley, Show and plenty of clips as well. Voiceover guy: “Tonight men will hunt down their dreams. Tonight no one holds back. Tonight is where it all begins…again.” Then we get a clip of Vince McMahon standing beside son Shane along with his son, who was Vince’s first grandchild.

 

After a pyro display, we are welcomed to the show by our RAW and Smackdown announce teams. The Spanish announcers also welcome us to the show.

 

John Cena is out first for his WrestleMania debut. He received a huge reaction. Pretty weird seeing older people cheer for him. His gimmick was fucking great at the time. He did a rap and encouraged the crowd to chant “Big Show sucks!” The Big Show (who had hair at this time but was thinning) made his entrance.

 

United States Championship

John Cena vs. The Big Show ©

Cena gets powered into the corner off a lock up, but comes back with a series of rights. Show scores with a knee to the gut and throws Cena to the floor. Cena tries to shoulder his way back in, but gets met with another knee on the apron. Show tries ram Cena into the top buckle, but Cena blocks that and drops down to the floor clotheslining Show on the top rope. Cena goes to the top and tries a crossbody but gets caught, and powerslammed for a two count. Show hammers Cena down, and then chokes him on the second rope. Show delivers a chop, but Cena comes firing back. Cena hits the ropes, but runs into a clothesline. Huge “Lets Go Cena” chant from the MSG crowd, which is kind of ironic these days. Show delivers a bodyslam, and then chokes Cena some more with his boot. Show scores with a vertical suplex to get a two count, and delivers a big headbutt. Show connects with a chop using his “frying pan like right hand” to quote Michael Cole. Cena fires back again, but quickly runs into a boot off the ropes. Show sits down on the back of Cena, and then delivers a standing legdrop for two. Show picks up Cena for a powerslam, but Cena slides down the back into a sleeper. Show casually just rams Cena into the buckle to break that and hammers Cena down again with a clothesline. Show locks in the Cobra Clutch, and then just tosses Cena to the mat. Show locks the Cobra Clutch back in with Cena on the mat, but Cena punches free. Cena hammers away with a series of rights, but gets whipped into the corner. Show charges into the boots of Cena, and then gets hit with a dropkick to the knees sending him face first into the turnbuckle. Cena put Big Show on his shoulders and gave him the FU. Show kicked out at two. Everybody thought that was it. Cena grabbed his chain. Ref told him to put them down so Cena threw him across the ring causing ref Jimmy Kodera to get them. Cena picked up one of the knucks he had on his hand for the entrance and hit Show in the head with it. A heel move, but the idea was he did what he had to in order to win. That led to another FU. This one looked better. Cena gets the victory and wins his first singles title in his WWE career.

Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion: John Cena via pinfall

Rating: ** ½

It was a slow paced match but was okay for an opener though. Cena did well in his comeback and the crowd were well into it as well. This would be the last time Cena would appear this early on the WrestleMania card.

 

Backstage, Eric Bischoff (The RAW GM) wants Jonathan Coachman to look for the Undertaker.

 

Elsewhere in the arena, Evolution (Randy Orton, Batista & Ric Flair) talk about the pain they’ve caused to Mick Foley and what they are going to do to him and the Rock tonight.

 

World Tag Team Championship

La Resistance (Rob Conway & Rene Dupree) vs. Garrison Cade & Mark Jindrak vs. Dudley Boys (Bubba Ray & D-Von) vs. Rob Van Dam & Booker T ©

This would be sudden death rules, and the first team to catch a fall wins the match. Dupree starts with Van Dam, and gets hit with a monkey flip out of the corner. Booker tags in and RVD slingshots Dupree into a
superkick from Booker catching a two count. Booker hits a flying clothesline off the ropes, and Conway comes in to get an arm drag. Dupree tags in Bubba, and he delivers a knee to the gut of Booker. Bubba ducks a spin kick and hits a neckbreaker for two. Booker fires back with a chop, but charges into a back elbow from Bubba. Bubba goes flip flop and fly, but gets hit with a spin kick. Cade and Jindrak distract the ref allowing D-Von to come with a reverse suplex on Booker. Van Dam hits D-Von with a one leg dropkick off the top to send D-Von to the floor. Jindrak tags Bubba and goes for the cover, but Bubba makes the tag. Cade tags in, and he and Booker trade blows. Cade hits the ropes and delivers a kick to the face. Dupree tags in Cade and goes for the cover getting a two count. Dupree kicks Booker down in the corner, and tags in Conway. Snap mare takes Booker over and Conway locks a double wristlock submission. Booker hits the ropes and runs into an elbow getting a two count for Conway before he goes back to the submission. Booker turns out of the hold, and then delivers a spinebuster, which puts both guys down. RVD got the hot tag and nailed everybody with a barrage of kicks. Crowd went wild for him. His Frog Splash attempt was blocked by D-Von, who shoved him off the top all the way to the floor. The heels were cleared of the ring and the Dudeys went for the 3D on Booker, but Conway prevented it and hit D-Von wit ha DDT. Booker hit an axe kick on Conway. RVD recovered, went to the top and hit a Five Star Frog Splash for the win

Winners and STILL WWE World Tag Team Champions: Rob Van Dam & Booker T via pinfall

Rating: **

Just an excuse to give more guys a WrestleMania pay check. In a match where 8 guys are involved, the pacing should be better. There will be another 4 way match for the WWE Tag Titles later on in the show.

 

Backstage, Coach is still on the hunt for the Undertaker. He hears some banging behind a door. The door opens and out comes Mean Gene Okerlund and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, both of them are covered in lipstick and have their shirts undone. Then Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young appear and drag them back in. Oh the comedy!

 

Up next is Chris Jericho vs. Christian. We get a video package highlighting the love triangle. The feud started when Jericho and Christian made a bet on who could get laid first. Jericho with Trish or Christian with Lita. Problem is Jericho actually fell for Trish (who could blame him), and Christian moved in on Trish too. So we get this match to settle it.

 

Christian vs. Chris Jericho

Jericho takes down Christian at the outset pounding him with right hands. Christian hits the ropes and Jericho delivers a back elbow, and then a back suplex connects. Jericho fires away with a chop, and then hits the ropes delivering a clothesline. Christian fires Jericho over the top, but he lands on the apron. Christian charges, but gets backdropped over the top to the floor. Jericho springboards over the top to the floor splashing down onto Christian. Jericho fires Christian into the barricade, and then fires him back inside. Jericho sits down on a sunset flip attempt for two, and then goes for the Walls of Jericho. Chritian gets to the bottom rope to break that, and then after a thumb to the eye sends Jericho to the floor with a backdrop. Christian follows and rams Jericho into the ringsteps before firing him back inside. Christian chokes out Jericho on the second rope, and then pounds away at Jericho as he lies on the mat. Jericho fires back with a chop, but runs into a knee off the ropes getting a one count for Christian. Christian continues the choking of Jericho on the top rope, and then snap mares Jericho over into a chinlock. Jericho hits the ropes, and gets a double leg take down to go for the walls. Christian fights out of that and delivers a spinning heel kick. Jericho gets fired into the corner, and then they collide head to head putting both men down. They trade blows in the center, and Jericho hits the ropes delivering a flying forearm. Jericho delivers a jumping enzaguri kick for a two count, and then after a leapfrog out of the corner rolls up Christian. Christian rolls through at two and grabs the ropes, but Jericho kicks out anyway. Jericho hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two, as Christian bridges out. Jericho hits a bulldog, which sets up lionsault attempt that hits the knees of Christian. Christian goes for the unprettier, but Jericho fires him into the corner. Jericho charges into a back elbow and then Christian delivers a reverse DDT off the second rope for two. Christian hits the ropes, but runs into a lariat from Jericho. Jericho hits the ropes again, but runs into a modified backbreaker. Christian heads to the top rope, but Jericho meets him with a right hand and goes for a superplex. Christian fights him off and sends Jericho face first to the mat. Christian dives off the top with a crossbody, but Jericho rolls through for a two count. Christian locks in a Texas Cloverleaf, but Jericho counters into the Walls of Jericho. Christian is able to get to the bottom rope to break, but they end up on the floor where Jericho locks in the Walls again. Jericho lets it go to break the count and then brings Christian back in with a superplex for a two count. Trish runs to ringside, as Christian and Jericho trade blows. Christian hits the Edgeacution DDT, but it only gets a two count. Trish climbs up to the apron, and Christian brings her inside throwing her to the floor. Jericho clotheslines Christian to the floor and goes to check on Trish. Trish fires a back elbow to Jericho, and then Christian sneaks in and wins with a rollup. Post match, Trish was shocked that she helped Christian win. Jericho said it was okay. Christian jumped on the apron, she held Jericho back and then decked him with a series of punches. Christian ran back in to hit him with the Unprettier (Killswitch). Heel Trish. She walked away. With Christian. Then they kissed at the top of the ramp. Christian, you lucky creepy little bastard.

Winner: Christian via pinfall

Rating: ***

Very good match. The Trish heel turn was done really well. The match was very good with both guys getting their chance to shine. The feud continued to Backlash with Jericho getting his win. This was Christian’s biggest victory at this point in his career. Sure he was a former Intercontinental Champion but a victory over a former WWE Champion was a big deal for him at the time. A fun match with a great angle surrounding it.

 

Backstage, Lillian Garcia was interviewing Mick Foley who was competing in his first match since WrestleMania 16. The Rock showed up and the crowd went wild. Rock said finally Rock was back in New York and Foley was back home. He showed Hurricane & Rosey calling them the Hamburglar and Grimace. He showed us Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco. He said the people knew it was a big moment. Rock opened a door to the arena. The crowd went wild. If you smell what The Rock…and sock…is cooking. Fantastic two minute promo from Rock.

 

Evolution (Ric Flair, Batista & Randy Orton) vs. Mick Foley & The Rock

This would be Foley’s return to the ring after a four year absence, and Rock’s return to the ring after an eleven month absence. Rock and Foley slide in and attack early sending Evolution to the floor. Batista comes back in and gets fired outside again by Rock. Flair starts the match with Rock, and the world nearly explodes with the high amount of concentrated awesome in the ring. Rock delivers a shoulderblock, and then mocks Flair with a strut. Flair delivers a chop in the corner, but Rock fires back with right hands and a backdrop. To the floor they go, and Flair meets Rock with a thumb to the eye. Rock delivers a backdrop to Flair on the floor, and Foley dives off the apron with an elbow. Flair tags in Orton, and Foley asks for the tag, which Rock obliges. Orton bails to the floor, and Foley follows him. Foley rams Orton into the announce table, and delivers a clothesline before firing Orton back inside. Foley drops an elbow on Orton to get a two count. Foley ties up Orton in the tree of woe, and tags in Orton. Foley delivers a double axe handle to Orton, and Rock delivers a right hand below the belt. Rock delivers a clothesline to Orton, and hits the ropes but catches a cheapshot from Flair. Rock fires back knocking both Flair and Batista off the apron, but Orton sends Rock into the ropes and Batista pulls the top rope down sending Rock to the floor. Batista slams Rock down on the barricade, and Orton goes outside delivering a series of stomps before firing Rock back inside. Batista tags in and delivers a series of knee lifts in the corner. Rock hits the ropes and runs into a back elbow from Batista for a two count. Flair tags in, and delivers a series of brutal chops in the corner. Rock comes firing out of the corner with a clothesline. Flair tries going to the top rope, but in a stunning turn of events gets slammed off. Flair tags out to Batista who shoulderblocks Rock several times in the corner. Rock gets whipped into the corner, but comes firing out with a clothesline. Foley tags in and sends Batista into the ropes. Foley connects with a knee lift, and goes for a double arm DDT. Batista stops that by firing Foley into the corner. Foley comes back with as series of right hands pounding Batista to the mat. Foley charges but gets a brutal clothesline. Batista throws Foley to the floor where Orton meets him. Foley comes right back with the mandible claw on the floor, but Flair attacks from behind with a knee. Orton whips Foley into the ringsteps, and then fires Foley back inside. Orton covers for two, and then stomps Foley down in the corner. Flair tags in and chops Foley. They trade blows in the middle, and Orton then tags in going immediately to the chinlock. Foley elbows out, but gets immediately slammed back down. Batista tags in and delivers a series of clotheslines. Batista mounts Foley with a series of fists, but Foley fights back with the mandible claw. Orton breaks it up, and Batista tags in Flair. Flair rakes the eyes, and whips Foley into the Evolution corner. Batista tags back in, but Foley hits the ropes and hits a swinging neckbreaker. Both men collide with a double clothesline, and Batista is able to tag Flair. Foley ducks an elbow from Flair, and delivers a right hand allowing him to make the hot tag to The Rock. Rock delivers a flying clothesline to Flair, and a DDT to Orton. Rock brings Batista in, and throws Orton to the floor. Rock turns around and gets hit with a spinebuster from Batista. Flair then goes for the greatest peoples elbow ever, but Rock nips up and meets Flair with a right hand. Batista comes in and gets a DDT from Rock. Rock connects with a spinebuster to Flair, and then connects with the peoples elbow. This time with added strut. Flair kicks out at two, and then thumbs Rock in the eye allowing him to tag Orton. Orton hits the ropes, and runs into a Rock Bottom. Flair makes the save pulling Rock to the floor. Rock clotheslines Flair on the floor, and heads back inside. Flair goes for a chair, which brings the referee outside. That distraction allows Batista to come in and deliver a Batista Bomb to the Rock. Orton makes the cover, but Rock gets the shoulder up at two. Rock tags in to Foley, who delivers right hands to all of team Evolution. Double arm DDT connects to Orton, which brings out Mr Socko. Foley goes for it, but Orton hits the RKO out of nowhere to pick up the win. Post match, the heels left. Rock & Foley regrouped in the ring. The crowd gave them a standing ovation. Cool moment.

Winners: Evolution via pinfall

Rating: ****

What a highly entertaining match that was. My favourite tag team match ever. It was solid action throughout without any pointless rest holds. It was a good mix of legends (Rock, Foley & Flair) with two young stars (Orton & Batista) on the rise. I think it’s more valuable to have the legends mix it up with younger guys because then the younger ones get the “rub” from it. A year later Batista was in the main event of WrestleMania and Orton went on to be World Champ five months after this match. The Foley/ Orton feud continued to Backlash in a match which I highly recommend whiles The Rock faded away and focused on his acting career. I honestly though he would never wrestle again, thankfully he did. If ya smell what the Rock is cookin’!

 

After being ignored for almost a decade, we get clips from last night’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It was pretty sad when Heenan talked about how he wished Monsoon was there. Their chemistry together was excellent. Back in the arena, all members of the class appear on the stage. The inductees were Billy Graham, Junkyard Dog, Big John Studd, Sgt Slaughter, Pete Rose, Harley Race, Don Muraco, Greg Valentine, Bobby Heenan and Jess Ventura. Family members represented those who had passes away (JYD & John Studd). Slaughter, Jesse & Brain got the loudest reactions.

 

Playboy Evening Gown Match

Sable & Torrie Wilson vs. Stacy Keibler & Miss Jackie

Sable & Torrie appeared on the cover of Playboy much to the chagrin of Jackie and Stacy which led to this match. This is pinfall or submission for the two people on the planet who care. Sable says her and Torrie want to start the match with their evening gowns off. All the ladies get undressed except Jackie who gets bout of modesty and doesn’t wish to demean herself. Keep in mind the premise of this match was that her and Stacy wanted to be in Playboy. Sable brings her back in the ring and rips her gown off anyway to get the match underway. Sable and Jackie start, and Sable kicks her in the corner. Sable connects with a snap mare, and tags in Torrie who comes off the top with a cross body for two. Jackie tags out Stacy who comes in with a cartwheel. Stacy sends Torrie into the corner, and chokes out Torrie in the corner. They trade a series of nearfalls, and Stacy connects with a spinning heel kick. Tag to Jackie who walks into a spear. Pull apart brawl gets the referee tied up with the ladies. Jackie goes for a rollup, but Torrie rolls through pulling the undies revealing Jackie’s ass to pick up the pin.

Winners: Sable & Torrie Wilson

Rating: DUD

I must admit, the roll up counters between Torrie & Stacy were impressive other than that, it was fucking terrible! At least they kept it short.

 

Backstage, WWE Champ Eddie Guerrero was walking with his title belt on his shoulder. He shook hands with people backstage who wished him luck for tonight. Eddie walked into the locker room where Chris Benoit was pacing around looking focused. Eddie said they were like brothers and that no matter what happens he’s proud of him. Benoit said he wasn’t going to lose and Eddie said nobody expected Benoit to him. Benoit said: “I believe in me!” Benoit told him it was night. Eddie was happy because he wanted to see this side of Benoit. Benoit said they’d be walking out of the Garden as champions. Eddie: “I believe, Chris.” A good way to preview their title matches later in the show. In 2004 I absolutely loved that segment. Watching it today makes me quite sad.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Cruiserweight Open Match

Chavo Guerrero ©, Ultimo Dragon, Shannon Moore, Jamie Noble, Funaki, Nunzio, Billy Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Tajiri & Akio

Ten guys in the match. Two guys start. If you lose a fall you are out and the next guy enters. They said that they would enter via random drawing based on selections made earlier. Chavo was the heel champ that entered along with his dad Chavo Sr. or “Chavo Classic” as he’d later be known by. Mysterio got the biggest pop of all of them. Dragon started with Moore. Moore hit a back suplex. Moore missed a moonsault and Dragon pinned him with an Asai DDT to eliminate him. Noble was the next one in. Dragon hit a backbreaker and he missed a moonsault. Noble hit a great neckbreaker and then a Dragon Sleeper forced Dragon to top, which eliminated to him. Funaki was next. He hit a crossbody on Noble, but Jamie rolled through and covered for the win at about 8 seconds. The announcers mentioned the Bundy/Jones squash at WM1 going 9 seconds even though it was really over 20 seconds and I’ve done my part to complain about that plenty haha. Nunzio faced off with Noble next, scoring a pinfall attempt for two. Missile dropkick by Nunzio, but Noble got to the ropes. Noble sent Nunzio to the floor and hit a somersault dive off the top rope. That was a good spot. Nunzio tried to go back in, but Noble pulled him off the apron and Nunzio got counted out. He was eliminated. Kidman was in next and backdrops Noble to the apron. Nunzio pulls him to the floor, so Kidman gives Nunzio a baseball slide. Kidman goes to the top and delivers the shooting star press taking out both guys on the floor. Kidman fires Noble back inside and gets a two count. Kidman goes for a powerbomb, but Noble counters into the guillotine. Kidman rams Noble into the corner to break, and delivers a running enzaguri. Kidman sets up Noble for the SSP, but Noble meets him on the top. Kidman delivers a top rope powerbomb, which eliminates Noble. Mysterio is the next man in the match and comes in with a springboard seated senton to Kidman. Kidman comes right back with a dropkick getting a two count. Rey comes back with a dropkick of his own sending Kidman to the floor. Akio interferes dropping Rey on the top rope, and Kidman slides back in delivering a powerbomb to Rey, which gets two. Kidman sets Rey on the top rope, and goes for a gutwrench, but Rey fights him off. Rey delivers a sunset flip off the top which picks up the pin. Tajiri comes in, and sends Rey to the ropes. Rey tries a springboard moonsault, which misses. Tajiri locks in the tarantuala, and then springboards off the second rope into a dropkick from Rey. A second dropkick sets up Tajiri for the 619, which connects. Rey goes for the West Coast Pop, but misses. Akio jumps on the apron again, and holds Rey for Tajiri. Tajiri goes for the green mist, but Rey ducks and Akio gets it instead. Rey rolls him up and gets the fall. I guess Akio either got disqualified or was removed due to the mist because Chavo is the next man in. Tajiri gives Rey a kick on his way out, and Chavo comes in and covers for a two count. Rey gives Chavo a drop toehold to the second buckle then springboards into a hurracanrana. Rey delivers a baseball slide to Chavo Classic, and then delivers a senton to the floor. Rey comes back inside with a shoulderblock, and goes for a sunset flip. Chavo sits down on it, and Chavo Sr holds on for extra leverage allowing Chavo to retain the title.

Winner and STILL WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Chavo Guerrero via pinfall

Rating: **

If it was up to me, I would have had this match as a 10 pac challenge rather than having 9 falls in 10 minutes. Once again, it was another way of getting more people a WrestleMania pay packet.

 

The Brock Lesnar & Goldberg match was up next. It started at the Royal Rumble where Lesnar snuck in and gave Goldberg a F5 allowing Kurt Angle to eliminate him. At No Way Out, Steve Austin gave Goldberg a ticket to No Way Out and he attacked Lesnar, who ended up losing the WWE Title to Eddie Guerrero. Lesnar wanted the match with Goldberg. Austin ended up volunteering to be the referee. Lesnar gave Austin a F5. They had a brawl on Smackdown after Lesnar stole Austin’s ATV. The big news going into this match was that both guys were leaving the company after the show. Goldberg refused to renew his contract and Brock wanted to leave to pursue a career in the NFL. They didn’t announce it on TV but it was leaked online and everyone in the arena knew it!

 

Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg

Guest Referee: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Steve Austin is the guest referee for this one, and is the only guy in the building the crowd doesn’t shit all over. Crowd turns on the match in near record time with “You Sold Out” chants directed at Lesnar. That turns to “Na, na, na, hey, hey, goodbye” chants, which forces Ross to acknowledge the rumours that Lesnar is leaving. Meanwhile the two men are competing in the longest pre-match stare down in history, so the crowd decides to cheer for the referee with Austin changes. The lockup eventually. They fight over the lockup FOREVER and finally separate with neither man gaining an advantage after 45 seconds of intense lockup action. They lockup again, and the crowd starts to boo them out of the building as we’re nearly at the five minute mark with absolutely nothing but two lockups. The crowd then decides to chant “this match sucks” as Lesnar finally grabs an offensive manoeuvre, a headlock, at five minutes in. They trade shoulderblocks with neither guy moving as the crowd switches to back to the you sold out chant. Both men hit the ropes and collide for a double knockout. Lesnar delivers a series of kicks, but gets whipped to the corner. Goldberg delivers a military press into a powerslam, which finally wakes the crowd up. Goldberg goes for the spear, but Lesnar sidesteps it and Goldberg heads to the floor. Lesnar goes out after him, and sends him into the post. Lesnar fires Goldberg back inside, and goes for a suplex, which is blocked. Lesnar hammers Goldberg with a series of forearms and then delivers the suplex for a two count. Lesnar gets another suplex, and grabs a headlock with the arm inside. Goldberg hiplocks out of it, so Lesnar hits the ropes and delivers a shoulderblock. Lesnar goes back to the headlock, and again Goldberg hiplocks out. Lesnar connects with a clothesline to get a two count. Crowd goes to the “this match sucks” chant thus proving who the real stars are here. Lesnar gets hit with a series of clotheslines, and delivers a modified neckbreaker. Lesnar connects with a spear, which gets a two count. Brock goes for the F5, and connects with that getting a two count of his own. Lesnar sets up for the spear, which misses. Goldberg then connects with the spear of his own, and finishes with a Jackhammer. Afterward the crowd chants goodbye to Lesnar, so he flips them and Austin off which earns him a stunner. Goldberg comes in to the ring, and takes a beer from Austin. He of course eats the stunner too. So the referee goes over in the end, and that’s actually the right call.

Winner: Goldberg

Rating: -*

Awful match. The crowd just shat all over it. Both Goldberg and Lesnar looked as if they didn’t want to be there. It was if they wanted to take it easy, collect a pay check and leave. The effort just wasn’t there. My understanding is that if Brock wasn’t leaving then he would have picked up the win here. It took 8 years but Brock eventually returned to the WWE and has had some amazing matches with John Cena, Triple H and CM Punk. Will Goldberg return? Nah, I honestly don’t think we’ll ever see him wrestle again.

 

A promo plays hyping up WrestleMania 21. It will take place in the Staple’s Centre in Los Angeles.

 

Vince McMahon comes out and thanks the fans for making WrestleMania what it is today. It was a classy move from Vince who did this out of character. We love you too you crazy bastard!

 

WWE Tag Team Championship

World’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Hass & Shelton Benjamin) vs. APA (Faarooq & Bradshaw) vs. The Basham Brothers (Doug & Danny) vs. Rikishi & Scotty Too Hotty ©

Same rules as the first four way. First team to get a pinfall or submission wins the match. The Bashams and Haas/Benjamin were the heels while the other teams were the faces. I’m not sure how many WrestleManias Rikishi appeared in, but he appeared in them with a number of different gimmicks. The crowd weren’t that into this match.  Shelton starts out with Bradshaw. Shelton runs into a big boot from Bradshaw, and then a shoulderblock. Elbow drop connects for a two count for Bradshaw. Doug Basham tags Bradshaw and delivers an inverted atomic drop to Shelton. Danny tags in and hits a back suplex for a two count. Danny hits the ropes, but gets a knee from Haas who then tags in. Shelton delivers a slam into a backbreaker which gets a two count. Danny comes back with a jawbreaker. Scotty tags in off Danny and grabs a headlock, which he follows with a shoulderblock on Haas. Back suplex from Scotty, and a cheap shot knocks Shelton off the apron. Haas throws Scotty over the top, but he skins the cat and goes for a hurracanrana. Haas holds on, and Shelton comes in leapfrogging Haas and dropping down on Scotty to get a two count. Haas grabs a bearhug on Scotty, which he punches out of. Scott goes for a rollup, but Haas tags Doug. Doug delivers an elbow drop, and tags in Danny for a double team suplex. Danny goes for a cover which is broke up by Shelton. Danny tags in Doug, and Scotty gets an enzaguri. Doug tags back in, but Scotty makes the tag to Rikishi. Rikishi takes out everyone, delivering a DDT to Danny. Faarooq breaks up the count, and then Shelton tries for a German on Rikishi. The power of the ass sends Shelton to the floor, and a squash to Haas in the corner sets up a stink face. Bradshaw hits a clothesline to Rikishi, and delivers the last call to Doug sending him over the top and taking out Haas and Benjamin. Danny misses a charge in the corner, and Bradshaw delivers the clothesline from hell. Bradshaw runs into a Samoan drop from Rikishi, who then delivers a butt splash to Danny to retain the titles. Post match, Scotty did the Worm. Barely a reaction. Then they danced. The reaction they got here was significantly less than what they got at Royal Rumble 2000 in the same building four years earlier. That’s an example of a gimmick being stale.

Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: Rikishi & Scotty Too Hotty via pinfall

Rating: *

Nothing special, at least Rikishi was used until the finish. The most significant thing about this match is that Bradshaw would be repackaged as JBL and end up with a lengthy WWE Championship run. It’s insane thinking about it.

 

There was a video for Edge coming back. He was out for a year with a neck injury.

 

They had Jesse Ventura talk to Donald Trump. Nothing of interest here.

 

WWE Women’s Championship

Molly Holly vs. Victoria ©

This would be Molly’s hair vs. Victoria’s title. Victoria won the belt at a Raw I actually attended a few weeks earlier in Omaha. Oddly enough Victoria had her farewell match five years later in the same building. Molly gets a knee to the gut to gain control, and then splashes Victoria in the corner. Victoria counters wristlock takedown for Molly into a rollup. Molly is out at one, and bails to the floor. Victoria slides to the floor, but gets met with a clothesline. Molly breaks the count, and then throws Victoria back inside covering for a one count. Suplex for Molly gets a two count. Molly connects with a snap mare, and then delivers a dropkick to the face of a seated Victoria for two. Molly grabs a neck vice, and then takes her down. Victoria goes for a jackknife rollup, which gets two, but Molly responds with a kick to the gut. Victoria comes back with a powerslam for two. Molly goes to the top rope, but Victoria meets her and goes for a superplex. Molly fights it off, and sunset flips into a powerbomb for a two count. Molly goes for a widows peak, but Victoria counters into a backslide which finishes. After the match, Molly tried to run away. Her “oh shit” face when she realised she’d lost was funny. Victoria chased her. They fought by the entrance where the barber’s chair was seated. Victoria rammed her head first into the table that had the equipment on and then locked her into the chair. Molly was “knocked out” so Victoria cut her hair with the clippers. At least that drew a bit of a reaction. She cut most of her hair even though Molly tried to fight out of it. She ended up shaving it all off. Took a while to get to that point, but they did it.

Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Victoria via pinfall

Rating: *

They kept it short for the head shave segment and allocate more time to other matches but this was an enjoyable match nonetheless.

 

Up next is the WWE Championship match between Eddie Guerrero & Kurt Angle. Eddie won the title from Brock Lesnar at No Way Out, and Angle turned heel on him claiming that a drug addict wasn’t fit to represent the WWE as Champion. The most memorable occurrence in this feud came on Smackdown before WrestleMania when Eddie proclaimed he could beat then GM Paul Heyman with both hands tied behind his back. On the same show, Angle appeared “via satellite” to cut a promo. During the match, Heyman ducked out of the ring, ran up the aisle and fled while Kurt Angle shockingly came out. He took Eddie in the ring, beat the holy hell out of him while he was in handcuffs and gave us a memorable moment to head into this match with. Loud reaction for Kurt during his entrance, mostly boos, but the NYC crowd do have a ton of respect for Angle as they should. Eddie also got a decent reception. He made his entrance in a low rider.

 

WWE Championship

Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero ©

Angle grabs a front facelock, but Eddie counters into a single leg takedown. Angle counters into a headlock takeover, and Eddie counters that into a headscissor. Crowd gives a nice ovation to the chain wrestling sequence, and the go back to it trading waste locks. Angle hits a judo throw, and grabs a side headlock. Angle takes Eddie over, and Eddie counters with a headscissor. Dueling chants of “Lets go Angle” and “Angle sucks” from the crowd as MSG. Angle hits the ropes and delivers a shoulderblock. Eddie comes back with a side headlock, and hits the ropes delivering a shoulderblock. Two more shoulderblocks sends Angle to the floor. Back inside, and Eddie grabs a fireman’s carry into an armbar. Angle counters out into a front facelock. Angle turns him with an underhook, which was called a cowcatcher as I remember from my amateur wrestling days, getting a pair of two counts. Eddie counters with a backdrop and a pair of armdrags leading to an armbar. Angle gets out of it, and sends Eddie to the ropes delivering a knee to the gut. Angle locks in the abdominal stretch, which Eddie counters into a suplex. Eddie goes for the three amigos, but Angle reverses into a German. Eddie ends up on the apron, and Angle goes for a German off the apron to the floor. Eddie elbows off, and kicks Angle away before heading back inside. Eddie dropkicks Angle off the apron back to the floor, and then goes to the top rope. Eddie dives off but Angle moves and Eddie flies into the barricade. Angle fires Eddie back inside and covers for a two count. Backbreaker connects by Angle for a two count. Angle buries a few shoulderblocks in the corner, and then a snap mare sets up a bodyscissor. Angle grabs a headlock, as Eddie comes free of the body scissor. Eddie breaks the headlock with a chinbuster, but then runs into a flap jack from Angle dropping him on the top rope. Angle covers for a two count, and then delivers a pair of belly-to-belly suplexes for another two. Angle goes to a reverse bearhug with Eddie on the mat. Eddie turns and thumbs Angle to break the hold. Angle comes right back with a bell-to-belly for a two count. Angle sets Eddie on the top rope, and goes for a suplex, but Eddie shoves him off. Eddie goes for the frog splash, but it misses. Angle pounds away at Eddie in the corner, and Eddie tells him to keep it coming. Eddie comes firing back hitting a back elbow off the ropes and three clotheslines. Eddie gets whipped into the corner, but moves from a charge and hits a back suplex for two. Angle reverses a suplex attempt into the rolling Germans. Eddie rolls through the second German and the rollup gets two. Angle fires right back with a clothesline, and goes for the Angle slam. Eddie counters with an armdrag and a clothesline. Eddie hits a tilt-a-whirl hurracanrana, and goes for the three amigos. Angle counters the third suplex into the ankle lock. Eddie rolls through and kicks Angle away. Eddie hits a dropkick, and heads to the top rope. Angle jumps to his feet, and throws Eddie off getting a two count. Angle locks in the ankle lock, but Eddie counters into a rollup for a two count. Angle ducks a right hand and delivers a German suplex. Eddie reverses an Angle slam into a DDT, and heads to the top rope for the frog splash. It connects, but Angle gets the shoulder up at two. Eddie picks up Angle, but Kurt picks the ankle and grabs an ankle lock. Thirty seconds later, Eddie kicked him to the floor. The crowd thought that was it. Eddie started to untie the boot while Angle was on the floor. The beauty of it was that Angle was on the floor, so he never saw Eddie untying the boot. Angle was pissed, Eddie gave an “oh shit” expression on his face and Kurt attacked with an Ankle Lock. This time Eddie kicked at Angle’s arm until he yanked off the boot. Eddie got a tight inside cradle for the win, allowing him to retain the title Eddie celebrates up the ramp whiles Kurt looks annoyed.

Winner and STILL WWE Champion: Eddie Guerrero via pinfall

Rating: ****

Loved the finish. It suited Eddie’s character beautifully. The finish was fun and creative. Angle was relentless in going for the Ankle Lock, Eddie sensed that so he ended up using that to his advantage by outsmarting Angle at the end leading to the boot trick and cradle for the win. Still this was a tremendous match, and what more would you expect from these guys.

 

The Undertaker vs. Kane is up next. Kane buried Undertaker at Survivor Series, which led to this the return of the dead man gimmick for Taker. I remember me and my mates wondering what his attire would look like.

 

Kane vs. Undertaker /w /Paul Bearer

Kane entered first. No more mask for him. For Undertaker’s entrance, it was Paul Bearer that led him out along with a bunch of druids. Bearer looked huge! His weight had ballooned since the last time he’d appeared on TV. It was a very long entrance for Undertaker, who walked under the fire that the druids had in their hands. He was back in his classic Undertaker attire, which is what he’s appeared in ever since this day. The crowd popped huge for Undertaker. Kane’s facial expressions are absolutely tremendous as he looks in disbelief. Taker fires away with a series of fists, and sends Kane to the ropes. Kane bails to the floor, and Taker follows him. Kane meets him with a right hand on the floor, but gets whipped into the ring apron. Taker sets Kane on the apron, and delivers an elbow to the throat. Taker delivers a legdrop off the apron, and then heads back inside. Irish whip sends Kane to the corner, and Taker follows in with a splash. Taker connects with a clothesline, and then goes for the last ride. Kane reverses with a backdrop, and then a big boot. Kane mounts Taker and pounds away, but Taker turns him over and delivers some shots of his own. Taker walks into a sidewalk slam from Kane, who then heads to the top rope delivering a flying clothesline for two. They trade blows in the center with Taker getting the better of it, until Kane fires back with an uppercut. Kane misses a charge in the corner, and Taker connects with a big boot and legdrop. Taker delivers old school, but jumps into a choke from Kane. Taker grabs the throat of Kane, and breaks his grip. Kane fights loose, and then Taker hits the ropes running into a chokeslam from Kane. Taker sits up, and sends Kane to the ropes. Kane tries a boot to the face, but Taker no-sells it. Taker hits the ropes and delivers a flying clothesline. Taker connects with a chokeslam, and then finishes him off with a tombstone.

Winner: The Undertaker via pinfall

Rating: * ½

It wasn’t  a good match. The story was Undertaker was back to full strength and got his revenge on Kane. Having Paul Bearer back was a nice surprise. You could tell by the crowd’s reaction that they didn’t expect him to return either. Kane sold Taker’s return perfectly. It looked as if he saw a ghost. The amount of time was fine too. Had it went on any longer it would have been too much!

 

Up next is the main event. A triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship; Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. the 2004 Royal Rumble winner, Chris Benoit. Benoit won the Royal Rumble, and decided to go to Raw to challenge for the World Title rather than staying on Smackdown. Meanwhile HHH and Shawn were in the midst of their feud when Shawn defeated HHH in a forgotten classic on Raw in December of 2003 that was negated due to a Dusty finish as both shoulders were down. The last man standing rematch at Royal Rumble ended in a draw also seemingly locking Shawn out of the match. Shawn interrupted the contract signing though superkicking Benoit and signing it himself. Somehow that was made legal, so Raw sheriff Steve Austin made this a triple threat. Ross gets a great line before the match stating that Benoit wants it, Shawn Michaels needs it, but no one wants or needs it more than the reigning champion.  Proof right there why JR is the greatest announcer ever.

 

World Heavyweight Championship

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit vs. Triple H ©

Loud “Let’s Go Benoit” chants before the match. They brawled at the start. Benoit went for a Crossface on Michaels, but couldn’t get it. He threw Shawn into Triple H, which sent Hunter to the floor. Benoit hit a nice Northern Lights suplex for two. Michaels hit Benoit with a clothesline and then Hunter hit one on Michaels. Benoit got dumped to the floor and then Hunter got his running high knee to the face of Michaels. Hunter kneed Benoit out to the floor. Michaels gave Hunter a baseball slide. Michaels went to the top rope and hit a moonsault onto both guys to a nice reaction. Back in the ring, Hunter wanted a Pedigree on Michaels, but Benoit destroyed Hunter with a clothesline and then he rammed Michaels shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Hunter turned Benoit upside down into the corner and then whipped Michaels into the body of Benoit. Nice spot got a two count. Michaels threw Hunter into upside down Benoit, who hit Hunter with a boot to the face. Flying forearm by Michaels to Hunter, then a kip up and then Benoit drilled him with a clothesline that sent Michaels to the floor. Benoit hit the three German Suplexes on Hunter. Michaels blocks a headbutt attempt by crotching Benoit. HHH hits a DDT on Michaels and HBK rolls to the floor. Hunter hit a superplex on Benoit for two. After a struggle, Crossface on HHH by Benoit, but that gets broken up by HBK and he goes for rolling Germans.

Benoit counters the second one and delivers the rolling Germans to Shawn. Benoit heads to the top rope and connects with the diving headbutt, which gets a two count. Shawn hits the ropes and delivers a flying forearm, which sends Benoit to the floor. Shawn nips up, and delivers an inverted atomic drop to Triple H. Shawn hits a couple clotheslines and a scoop slam. He goes to the top rope, and delivers the elbow drop. Shawn tunes up the band and delivers sweet chin music, but Benoit makes the save pulling Helmsley to the floor. Shawn goes outside, and fires Benoit inside. Shawn delivers a brutal series of chops in the corner, but Benoit reverses an Irish whip sending Shawn to the corner. Benoit goes for the Sharpshooter, but Shawn blocks it. Benoit then delivers a slingshot sending Shawn to the ringpost busting him open. Benoit goes for the crossface and locks it in on Shawn. Shawn tries to tap, but Hunter stops his hand from hitting the mat. Helmsley breaks up the hold, and pulls Benoit to the floor. Benoit blocks an attempt to send him to the steps and instead rams HHH into them. Benoit chops Hunter, but an Irish whip is reversed sending Benoit into the ringsteps. Helmsley clears off the Smackdown announce table, but Benoit fights him off. Benoit puts Hunter up on the Spanish table and goes for a German Suplex. Hunter fights that off, and sets up Benoit for the pedigree. Benoit fights him off, but Shawn comes back. Shawn and Triple H look at each other, and then deliver a double suplex sending Benoit through the Smackdown table. Shawn rolls inside, and points at Hunter saying “it’s you and me”. Shawn delivers a series of chops in the corner, and then whips Triple H over the top buckle to the floor. Shawn goes outside after him, and rams Hunter into the ringpost. That busts Triple H open, and Shawn fires him back inside. Shawn fires away with right hands, but Hunter hits the pedigree out of nowhere. Hunter is slow to cover, and Benoit comes out of nowhere to make the save. Benoit fires away at Hunter with a series of chops, but Hunter goes for the pedigree. Benoit counters that into a sharpshooter. Helmsley almost makes the ropes, but Benoit pulls him back to the centre. Shawn comes out of nowhere delivering sweet chin music to Benoit to break the hold. Shawn covers Benoit, but the shoulder gets up at two. Shawn tunes up the band, but Benoit ducks it and throws Shawn over the top to the floor. Benoit turns around into a pedigree attempt, but he counters into the crossface. Triple H almost makes the ropes, but then starts to fade. Hunter gets a second wind, and rolls over in the hold. Benoit holds on to the move and now stuck in the middle Hunter is forced to tap. The crowd go wild as Benoit wins the World Heavyweight Championship.

Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Chris Benoit via submission

Rating: **** ½

There’s so many things to like. They did a tremendous job of getting in believable nearfalls as well as near submissions. The fans were really into Benoit here, booing Michaels a lot of the time and of course booing HHH as well. My favorite spots were the Crossface on Michaels where HHH stopped the tap literally with his own hand. Then the other spot was that double suplex through the table because it was such a hard, emphatic bump for Benoit to take. Of course the ending was very memorable as well with HHH tapping clean to the Crossface. I think going into the match a lot of us had the feeling that Benoit was going to win, but for it to be in a clean match with no ref bumps and HHH tapping clean made it work all that much more. If this ended on a roll up or cradle or something like that then maybe it’s not as good of a match. However, since it was a decisive ending, I think it’s worthy of all the praise it receives.

 

To end the show, Eddie Guerrero walked out with the WWE Title. Confetti fell from the roof. He applauded his friend. They hugged in the ring. The crowd loved it. Ross called it the greatest WrestleMania of all time.

 

As always, the video package showed the highlights of the show.

 

*Random Thoughts*

 

  • The longest WrestleMania in history. It went on for 4.5 hours. I understand why it was son long since it was the 20th WrestleMania and therefore a big deal but 4 hours was too damn long.
  • The match that surprised me the most was the 3 on 2 handicap match. Everyone was on top form here and deserves a lot of praise. It was well put together with Rock & Foley taking turns being the face in peril. The win was huge for Orton. 5 months later he would end up as the World Heavyweight Champion.
  • The crowd was top class as always. When it comes to best crowds ever, New York fans always get a mention and rightful so. I always believe that every 10th WrestleMania should be held at Madison Square Garden. WrestleMania 30 will be held in New Orleans instead though, I guess they’ll get more revenue from a stadium appose to MSG. Will MSG host WrestleMania again? Of course but not 100% sure when though.
  • Overall, there were 51 people involved in matches on this card (53 if you want to include Trish Stratus & Paul Bearer), that’s a lot! I guess that was done so more people could receive a WrestleMania pay check. From all of those matches, the two 4 way tag matches and the 10 man cruiserweight match could have been better.
  • Man, what can I say about the crowd during Goldberg v Brock? The chants you heard were “you sold out”, “this match sucks”, “Lesnar sucks”, “Goldberg sucks”, “Boring”, “Austin” and “hey hey goodbye”. If both guys weren’t leaving, then the crowd reaction would be a bit tamer. They’ll most likely chant “this match sucks” & “Boring” because it was boring and it did suck!
  • Cena, Orton and Batista impressed me. All three of them received huge pushes over the next year. Its been10 years since this event and Cena & Orton are still on top of the WWE today. As for Batista, he left in 2010 and returned this year to very little fanfare.
  • It was hard to watch the Guerrero/Benoit embrace at the end. My initial reaction in 2004 was pure joy. I actually had tears in my eyes seeing two of my favourite performers finally reach the top of the mountain. Nowadays, it’s just too sad. Eddie died a hero after recovering from the demons of addiction whiles Benoit’s life ended in the biggest tragedy in the history of the business.

 

Best match: Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle –A highly entertaining match. Loved the finish with Eddie outsmarting Kurt.

Worst match: Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar – Dull, boring match. Both guys didn’t care; they left the company after this show.

WrestleMania Moment: The Guerrero/ Benoit embrace at the end – It’s hard to watch nowadays but it was a very touching moment.

 

Top 5 Superstars

1. Chris Benoit – Great performance. You could tell it meant a big deal to him when he won.

2. Eddie Guerrero – Loved the trick he pulled at the end. Excellent performance by Eddie.

3. Triple H – Put Benoit over clean in the middle of the ring.

4. Shawn Michaels- Played his role well.

5. Kurt Angle – Played the role of the over aggressive heel which cost him the match. Clever booking.

 

Updated rankings chart:

Hulk Hogan – 30pts

Macho Man Randy Savage/ Shawn Michaels – 29pts

Bret Hart – 25pts

Stone Cold – 24pts

The Rock – 17pts

Ricky Steamboat– 10pts

Triple H – 9pts

Owen Hart/ Kurt Angle – 8pts

Ultimate Warrior/ Roddy Piper– 7pts

Mick Foley/ Jeff Hardy/ Undertaker– 6pts

Dynamite Kid/Rick Rude/ Ted Dibiase/ Chris Benoit – 5pts

Terry Funk/ Bam Bam Bigelow/ Diesel/ Eddie Guerrero- 4pts

Tito Santana/Andre the Giant/ Ric Flair/ Mr Perfect/ Lawrence Taylor/ X-Pac- 3pts

Greg Valentine/ Scott Steiner/ Razor Ramon/Shane McMahon/ Christian/Edge/ Brock Lesnar-2pts

Sgt Slaughter/ Gorilla Monsoon/ Bobby Heenan/ Jim Ross/ Bubba Ray Dudley/ Chris Jericho– 1pt

 

Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 8.5

With an excellent main event, a great Eddie/Angle match, the Evolution v Rock & Sock handicap match and the exciting Jericho/ Christian match made this an above average WrestleMania. There were a handful of average matches too which made the show too long. However, the good outweighs the bad and this is a WrestleMania worth watching.

 

WrestleMania Rankings so far:

WrestleMania 17 – 10

WrestleMania 19 – 9.5

WrestleMania 14 – 8.5

WrestleMania 20 – 8.5

WrestleMania 10 – 8

WrestleMania 8 – 7

WrestleMania 3 – 7

WrestleMania 18 – 6.5

WrestleMania 7 – 6.5

WrestleMania 6 – 6

WrestleMania16 – 5.5

WrestleMania 12 – 5.5

WrestleMania 15 – 5

WrestleMania 1 – 4.5

WrestleMania 13 – 4

WrestleMania 5 – 4

WrestleMania 11 – 4

WrestleMania 4 – 3.5

WrestleMania 2 – 3

WrestleMania 9 – 0.5

 

Up Next: John Cena and Batista cement their places at the top of the food chain at WrestleMania 21

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