WWE WrestleMania XX
by Scrooge McSuck
I really am half-assing these reviews now...
- My head is ready to explode at this point. So many matches, so many, many, many, many matches. KILL ME AND GET IT OVER WITH! AHAHAHAHA! AHAHAHAHAH! AHAHAHAHAHA! (passes out) Ahem... we're live from the site of the first and 10th WrestleMania, Madison Square Garden, but I won't be doing the hometown/weight bit, because I have too much of a headach to begin with without doing extra stuff like that. Same commentary teams as the year previous, and I'm too lazy to type them up again.
- WWE United States Championship Match:
Big Show © vs. John Cena:
Don't get me started on Big Show's title reign. He won it back at No Mercy in October of 2003, and this is his THIRD title defense. Just incase everyone failed math a lot, that's 6 months, and an average of 1 title defense every 2 months. Yup... I think it was a running joke trying to keep track of Show's "streak" of title defenseless weeks, which lasted until about 2 weeks after The Royal Rumble. John Cena tries sucking up the MSG crowd, sporting a Patrick Ewing jersey. BRING BACK PAT! BRING BACK PAT! Really shitty match, but since it's the opener of WrestleMania XX, the crowd is REALLY into this. John Cena, the clean-cut babyface he is, can't win with the F-U, so he bashes Show with a pair of his special knuckles before connecting with another F-U to win the United States Title at 9:13. Blech... Cena would, of course, bust out the shitty spinner belt a few months later, bastardizing the first of two titles. (3/4*)
- WWE (Raw) Tag Team Championship Match:
Rob Van Dam & Booker T © vs. La Resistance (Dupree & Conway) vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Mark Jindrak & Garrison Cade:
Thrown together tag team matches DON'T rule! RVD and Booker T upset the randomly paired together team of Ric Flair and Batista a few weeks ago on Raw for the titles. The Dudleys (or maybe it was Cade/Jindrak) qualified for the match by beating Lance Storm and Val Venis, a team about 50 times better in the workrate department and two guys who deserved it, compared to the uber-stale Dudleys or heatless vanilla connection. All the teams go through the motions with nothing much of note happening. Bonzo Gonzo happens, and Rob Van Dam pins Rob Conway following the 5-Star Frog Splash and Scissors Kick double team special at 7:55. RVD and Booker lost the titles back a week later to Batista and Flair, while La Resistance continued to do nothing, the Dudley Boys were shiipped to Smackdown, and Jindrak/Cade split up. Pfft... (1/2*)
- Chris Jericho vs. Christian:
Special referee for this match is Tim White. Okay, you're probably wondering why that's so special. Back at Judgment Day '02, White took an unnecessary bump in a Hell in a Cell Match featuring Jericho and Triple H, seriously injuring his shoulder, and pretty much ending his career as a WWF Referee. Jericho and Christian both requested White referee this match, and in a practice run a week before, White injured himself again. Oy... The usual good match between the two, but it seems a bit on the flat side, since Jericho was never much of a babyface worker, and Christian was never the most electrifying man in the world to carry a match. Shenanigans happen and Trish Stratus comes out, and gets beat up by mistake. "Face" miscommunication occurs, as Trish accidentally knocks Jericho into a Christian roll-up, giving Christian the shocking upset at 14:55. After the match, Trish turned heel by slapping the taste out of Jericho's mouth, and Christian added an unprettier to add insult to injury... or was it injury to insult? Oh well, whatever. This kicked off Trish's kick-ass evil bitch character that needs to return, NOW! (***)
- Hall of Fame Induction Segment, featuring appearences by Bobby Heenan, Superstar Billy Graham, Sgt. Slaughter, Tito Santana, Greg Valentine, Harley Race, The Magnificent Muraco, Jesse Ventura, PETE ROSE, the daughter of the late-Junkyard Dog, and the son of the late-Big John Studd. Enjoyable waste of 5 minutes, just to see how the predominantly smart crowd reacted to these stars of the past.
- The Rock N' Sock Connection vs. Evolution:
(Mick Foley & The Rock vs. Randy Orton, Batista, Ric Flair)
Randy Orton was the reigning Intercontinental Champion, kicking off a three year streak of the Intercontinental Title not being defended at WrestleMania (this is hopefully a lucky guess for WM 22, which doesn't happen for another month). The Rock is making his last in-ring appearence to date, and is sporting an unusual goatee. Batista won over the smart crowd here, debuting the Pimp Suit look which he still uses today. Glad to see nerds and dorks care about fashion so much. Very fun match that seems to get a bit too much love because of a few spots. The MVP of the match is being shared by the Rock and Ric Flair, since they have some of the most entertaining spots of the match, including Ric Flair's version of the People's Elbow. I honest to God was laughing my ass off for a good few minutes when watching this show live. The match goes on a bit too long for me though, and finally comes to an end, but out of nowhere, as Randy Orton finishes Mick Foley off with the RKO at 17:09. At least it was clean. Orton/Foley would continue feuding until Backlash, where Foley did his best to make Orton like he did Triple H, by bumping his ass off and basically losing at his own game of psycho hardcore matches. (***1/2)
- I'm not wasting my time with Torrie & Sable vs. Stacy & Jackie. Worthless filler that could've been given to the next match.
- WWE Cruiserweight Title; Gauntlet Match:
(Participants: Chavo Guerrero Jr. (Champion), Rey Misterio Jr., Billy Kidman, Ultimo Dragon, Funaki, Nunzio, Jamie Noble, Tajiri, Akio, Shannon Moore)
More time for me to bitch about shit! Everyone was hoping for a 5-Star Classic of 20+ minutes of non-stop action between every Cruiserweight in the company (except Paul London, for some reason). Instead... well, you'll find out. Ultimo Dragon and Shannon Moore start. Ultimo wins with the Asai DDT at 1:18. Jamie Noble then makes Dragon submit to a reverse Dragon Sleeper a minute later. Funaki comes off the top rope with a cross body, but Noble reverses and pins Funaki a few seconds later. Nunzio is in next and gets counted out a minute later at 4:15. Kidman is in next and he eliminates Noble at 6:08. Kidman and Mysterio go at it for a minute until Mysterio pins his former tag partner at 7:36. Tajiri is in next and is pinned a minute later. Akio never participates, and Chavo Guerrero retains by pinning Mysterio (dressed as the Flash) at 10:30. TOTAL CLUSTERFUCK. Who the fuck booked this crap?! And I should point out Ultimo Dragon's unfortunate appearence. Making his WrestleMania Debut (one of the conditions of signing to the WWE), Ultimo comes out of the locker room.. and slips on the entrance set. Then he nearly falls off the middle rope posing. Oy... Ultimo sadly left the company a month later, no doubt sick of the way he was being treated, as a Jobber on Velocity. (*1/2)
- Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar:
Special referee for the match is Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was doing a Co-General Manager gimmick or something. It's only two years ago and I can't even remember the shit WWE was doing. For those who don't remember, Goldberg's contract expired the next day, so this is his final match, and Brock Lesnar, company man of the year, gave his notice about a week before the biggest show of the year, despite knowing that the only other top heels on Smackdown, Kurt Angle and the Big Show, needed time off badly to get surgery done on various injuries. Thankfully, the crowd is in Super Smark Mode, and they voice their opinions throughout the whole match. Before anything can happen, the crowd has turned on this match faster than Chyna's 60 turns at WrestleMania XV. Chants of "You Sold Out", "This Match Sucks", "Boring", "We Want Bret", "Hogan", the Goodbye Song, and various other stuff that isn't very nice. The camera man wisely shoots a close-up of Austin, who appears to be stifling a laugh during some of the chanting. Both men obviously phone it in to the point the crowd just chants for whatever, which explains the Bret and Hogan parts. After 20 years of death, Goldberg pins Lesnar with the Jackhammer at 13:48. I'm guessing that finish was changed at the last minute. The crowd sings Brock farewell, and then Austin adds icing to the cake by stunnering him out of the company. Add a stunner to Goldberg too, and Austin reigns supreme. Good, fuck them. Thankfully, Lesnar has yet to come back to WWE, and to me, isn't welcome back any time soon. Follow a football career my ass... my GENEROUS rating is on the enjoyment of the crowd expressing my feelings to both men. (**1/2)
- WWE (Smackdown!) Tag Team Championship Match:
Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty © vs. The APA vs. The Worlds Greatest Tag Team vs. The Basham Brothers (w/ Shaniqua):
Worthless time filler, much like the first tag title match. Rikishi pins a Basham with the Banzai Drop to retain the tittles at 6:05. Next, Please. (1/4*)
- WWE Womens Championship Match:
Victoria © vs. Molly Holly:
Stipulation du Jour of the match: If Molly Holly loses, she has to shave her head. I guess we all know the finish now. Decent womens match that ends out of nowhere, with Victoria pinning Molly with a back slide at 4:56. After the match, Molly tries to give Victoria the haircut instead, but Victoria no-sells, straps Molly down, and shaves her head. My permanent boner for Molly went away after that, since I just can't get into bald women. It's a shallow part of me. (*)
- WWE World Championship Match:
Eddie Guerrero © vs. Kurt Angle:
Finally something to work with after all of this boring nonsense! Guerrero won the title back at No Way Out from the Next Big Flop, which was the only reason that I ordered the PPV (which featured a whole lot of crap on the undercard). Angle turned heel (again) a week or so later, showing more intensity than being Mr. Nice Guy who likes to act gay with Brock Lesnar and dedicates everything to the U.S. Troops. Not really much in build up of course, but what are you going to expect from the WWE in 2004? Great match, with both men going balls out with some nice wrestling sequences and building up heat around their big spots. Much better than their match at SummerSlam later that year, which had Angle pretty much dismantle everything Eddie did, and basically being a glorified squash. But this is WrestleMania, baby! Angle tries to finish off Guerrero with the anklelock, but Guerrero manages to escape the hold. Suffering from the hold, Guerrero undoes his boot to allow the swelling to expand. Angle tries to go for the Anklelock again, but Guerrero kicks off the boot, causing Angle to stumble into the ropes, and Guerrero surprised Angle with an inside cradle for the shocking three count at 21:30. That was pretty cool, and came out of nowhere. I don't think I've seen that spot before, either. I had money on Angle winning too, so color me surprised. (****)
- The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Kane:
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. For the past three monts, the Undertaker had been squashing Kane with mind-games. If anyone thought Kane had a hope in hellfire and brimstone of winning this match, you need to get smacked in the face by the Undertaker's cro--- I mean symbol. Paul Bearer returns as Undertaker's manager, then breaks the common rule in wrestling: Mentioning something older than 3 weeks, but saying "you're no son of mine." NAturally, no one even MENTIONS the Kane/Paul Bearer father/son relationship. After a spectacular entrance by the Undertaker, he reveals himself as the BikerTaker with a small Taker symbol on his pants a new cowboy hat. The crowd went from super hot to fucking dead within a 5 second period, and no, I'm not joking. MOST DISAPPOINTING RETURN EVER! Basically an extended Undertaker squash. Kane gets one decent length run on offense, but 'Taker no-sells of course, and finishes Kane off with the Tombstone Piledriver at 6:56. Damn, this was one tough time to be a Kane fan. Not only was he jobbed out to Shane McMahon, the Undertaker, and Edge, but he was obviously half-assing it like never before. Or maybe he got really old really quick, since he still looked like he gave a damn in the Summer of 2003. (1/4*)
- WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Triple H © vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels:
I'm sure some people are still pissed off at Shawn Michaels shoe-horning his way into the match, especially since he was the one pushing for the Rock being excluded from the WrestleMania XV Title match, which apparently was originally to be a Triple Threat bween Rock, Mankind, and Austin. Benoit won the 2004 Rumble, breaking the then-record of 1 hour, 1 minute, and 14 seconds set by Bob Backlund in 1993. On the workrate scale, this match isn't the 5-star's I originally gave it, which I admit being blinded by the finish. However, it is one of the best Triple Threat matches of all time, since they're a bitch to book, since it kind of allows the lack of psychology to occur more often, and usually consists of 1 person lying around a lot while the other two guys kick each others as.s And that's what it is. I should point out the smart crowd is totally pro-Benoit here, but Michaels gets a decent pop, since MSG hates his guts. Triple H also has some goofy white boots on for this match.
Everyone knows what happens, and everyone knows the high spots. Shawn Michaels busts out a moonsault to the outside early on, the KLIQ Crew suplex Benoit through a table, and Benoit german suplexes Michaels over the top rope to leave him alone with Trips for the finish. Triple H goes for the crossface, but Benoit manages to counter it in mid-move into the crossface, probably one of the best and out-of-nowhere counters to the move. Triple H tries going for the ropes, but both men roll back into the middle of the ring. I should point out at this point I was screaming at the television "TAP!", and when Triple H finally tapped out at 24:07, I screamed out loud in mark fashion for the first time in a long while. Benoit celebrates with the belt, and out comes Eddie Guerrero. They embrace in the center of the ring, both World Champions, after being buried in WCW for being "vanilla" or "midgets" (or in Benoit's case, both). A fine way to end WrestleMania, and a great way to kiss the ass of all us smart fans who wanted Benoit to get what he had coming to him. (****1/4)
Final Thoughts: Blech, whoever booked this to go five hours needed to get his head examined. There's some very good and great matches, but damn, did this feel like a chore to sit through live. Just way too much fucking filler. Depsite the filler though, you have the Triple Threat, Guerrero/Angle, and Rock N' Sock/Evolution kicking ass. Brock/Goldberg is great for those who love a crowd that's shitting all over everyone just because they can, and Jericho/Christian is decent enough to get a nod. Everything else can go to hell with Vince McMahon's soul.