WWF Wrestlemania X-7
Wrestlemania X-7 was the pinnacle of the Attitude Era in the WWF/E. Nothing needs to be said to hype Wrestlemania. Although I should note I will be using WWF, censors be damned! Date is April 1st, 2001.
To start the show, there is a pretty neat video hyping up Wrestlemania and past Wrestlemanias. Great stuff as the WWE have always had a fantastic production team.
Opening Bit: JR is welcoming us to Wrestlemania and everything. Interesting to note that "My Way" by Limp Bizkit has been replaced with that old Adrenaline Rush song that closed out TNA shows. Good stuff hyping it up.
First Match: William Regal vs. Chris Jericho (c) for the Intercontinental Championship
Backstory: Much like most WWF Pay Per Views, they handle the backstory. I don't have to explain anything! Yes!
Outcome: Chris Jericho via pinfall following a Lionsault.
Analysis: Best choice for an opener as far as a huge performer goes. Jericho gets reaction so why not place him in the opening slot of the show. But this whole match is based upon the bad shoulder of Chris Jericho that had been injured by Regal by using the Regal Stretch a few times or by using an object in order to make it bum. So that outta tell you the whole focus of this match. Other then a few miscues, this is a good opener. Jericho has to use the high impact style as JR would call it in order to keep Regal at bay while Regal is looking to injury that shoulder. While the shoulder work by Regal is good and it plays into the end of the match, it's very basic. He basically just throws Jericho into the ring post a few times and a couple of arm ringers, it's just stomping on it and arm locks. Being raised in the carny system in England, you'd think Regal would have been able to us a lot more painful looking submission moves instead of just being kinda boring on it. But they can't just use that kind of style on a global stage I imagine so they had to keep it basic and thus it does work out for most. For me though, he should have said to hell with the normal style and done the painful looking holds.
To his credit though, Jericho sells the shoulder/arm like a true champion. Everything he does is designed to keep Regal off the shoulder. Even when he tries for the Walls, he can't lock it in because Regal had been working at that arm for quite a while. Even after the Lionsault, Jericho stops to sell the arm. I mean, he even SWITCHES the arm when he hooks the leg because that arm is just dead weight. You don't see that too often. So taking all of that in, along with a near total miss plancha, this is probably as good as an opening match that gets about seven minutes could do. I would have love to seen these two get double the time but they did the most with what they had and I loved it. ***
Backstage Segment: Shane McMahon comes in to the arena in a limo.
Backstage Segment: The APA are in their office. Bradshaw hypes the troops by talking about the history of the Alamodome.
Second Match: The Right to Censor (Goodfather/Bull Buchanan/Val Venis) vs. Tazz/APA
Backstory: I guess RTC had gave Tazz some guff over something. They need filler so that's how we got here.
Outcome: Bradshaw via pinfall on Goodfather after a huge Burning Lariat.
Analysis: This is one of those blink and you miss it kind of matches. The action is non stop as they hardly had anytime to work with. Didn't set the world on fire because it didn't have to. This got the crowd even more pumped up because the action is just fast and furious the whole four minutes or so they get. Nothing is wrong with it as they all got time in the ring. Tazz played the face in peril before Bradshaw gets the hot tag. Like I said, this is so fast and fun, there isn't anything I can really say about it other then it was best they got a short amount of time to keep the action going as if this would have gotten ten minutes, it would have gotten real boring. So that said, don't skip over this at all. *3/4
Backstage Segment: Trish Stratus is wheeling Linda McMahon around until Steph McMahon stops them and acts like a total you know what.
Third Match: Big Show vs. Kane vs. Raven (c) for the WWF Hardcore Championship
Backstory: A match. I guess. Nothing to go along with it.
Outcome: Kane via pinfall on Big Show after a divey thingy.
Analysis: JR sums this match up before it begins, "It ain't gonna be pretty." But by gawd was it fun! This is probably one of the best hardcore matches the WWF did in this era. It had a few stories to it but the main one was pretty much said by Paul Heyman about Raven, get a shot in and run like hell basically. In doing so, these three men go all over the arena and just look like they're having a grand ole time. Tons of fun spots too. A couple were a bit strange but had me laughing such as the whole golf cart chase. Another instance is when they wipe out a Snapple table while JR and Heyman make smart ass comments about it. But this match is just a brawl and plunder spots. It didn't mean much in the long run or anything but jeez was this match tons of fun. **1/2
Backstage Segment: Kurt Angle is watching a video of he who shant be named making him tap out. Edge and Christian come in all happy and fun going while Kurt is like "I never officially tapped out." Established that Angle is serious while E&C just wanted to have good times.
In Crowd Segment: Coach is with a fan who said how far they came to see Wrestlemania.
Backstage Segment: Rock arriving and is getting boo'ed.
Fourth Match: Test (c) vs. Eddie Guerrero w/Perry Saturn and a pimp hat for the WWF European Championship
Backstory: They give it to you.
Outcome: Eddie Guerrero via pinfall after cheat to winage.
Analysis: First of all, quite a reaction Test got from the crowd. It had to have been edited in. Anyways, this is another fun match. We all know about Test and his power advantage but Eddie really shines through here dispite being messed up during this time period. Probably his last good match before he got released towards the end of the year. But this match has a good structure to it. Eddie needs to chop down the tree of Test in order to have any chance in this match as Test would kill him in a fist throwing contest. So Eddie goes after the leg most of the match and does it in usual fashion, nothing outrageous. Test actually manages to do a good sell job for once on his end. Quite surprising as he usually just holds the body part and doesn't make a sound. Once Test makes his comeback though, Eddie had to change his gameplan again and this time, he cheated in order to try to win the title. Saturn ran in from ring side, Dean Malenko pulled the ref out, all of it contributed to Eddie's cheating cause. And in the end, it was all just too much for poor ole Test to handle.
Eddie got a good match out of Test here. It's nothing mind blowing that'd you want to see on a daily basis but it was good enough as an undercard match at Wrestlemania when you're supposed to bring the "A" game and both men pretty much did. **3/4
Backstage Segment: Michael Cole is backstage with Mick Foley, LIVE IN HOUSTON TEXAS! He gives the run down about the match he is reffing tonight.
Backstage Segment: Austin arrives as the crowd POPS LIKE NONE OTHER!
Fifth Match: Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
Backstory: I really can't remember but it started their great rivalry/feud that went on for years.
Outcome: Kurt Angle via pinfall after cheating, holding the ropes.
Analysis: Just because the WWE wants him to be erased from history doesn't mean I want him to be. This match was the start of probably one of the greatest wrestling feuds in WWF/E history, PERIOD! Think about the awesome these two managed to bring out in each other. This was their first match against each other on a huge stage and they put on a freaking clinic. The story is great. Angle wants to take Benoit to the mat to out wrestle him. In the process, Benoit manages to out wrestle Angle. Of course this doesn't sit well with Angle because of being a world class amateur wrestler. So Angle then says to hell with wrestling and then starts bring out the fighting skills needed to succeed in pro wrestling.
This is where Angle starts to get the better of Benoit. He cheap shots Benoit a few times in order to get the advantage and take control of the match. Then everything settles down into as normal as match these two could manage to have. Both men have a signature submission hold that they keep going back to because they both know it would get them the win and in Benoit's case, Angle did tap out but the ref was bumped before hand and it never counted. But both wrestlers also went for their high flying move. Angle with his moonsault that missed and Benoit with his headbutt that connected and nearly got him the pinfall win.
Most people hate the finish but for once, I like the cheap victory. Angle wanted to win, no doubt about it so he took any chance he could in order to get the best of Benoit. It was smartly worked. Cheap pins do work if they play into the context of the character and the match. And going back to that first cheap shot that turned the tide for Angle, it showed he would do anything to beat Benoit and he ultimately went back to it in order to win the match. But just fast forward to Unforgiven 2002 for a second. How did Benoit win that match? He beat Angle using the ropes, showing that during this feud, both men would do anything to get the win over each other.
Now the one problem I had with this match was the ref bump but in a certain way of thinking, it was perfect in order to have Angle tap out and give Benoit the claim that he made him tap out again. So Angle knew that he had to take any road now in order to get the heck out of this match as the winner. This is probably one of the best Wrestlemania undercard matches not involving a certain opener where both wrestlers had the last name of Hart. I love this match. It started the best wrestling series in WWF/E history and made me a fan of the kind of wrestling where they do take it to the mat instead of the punch kick suplex stuff. If not for the main event, this would have been match of the night. ****1/2
Backstage Segment: Cole is with Regal, trying to interview. Regal goes to his office to see Kamala on his desk. Haha, fun stuff.
Fort Hood Segment: Kinda nice to see the WWF wrestlers at the US Army base in order to raise moral and everything. Good fun and all.
Backstage Segment: Angle is backstage with KEVIN KELLY. What a blast from the past. Benoit attacks and puts him in the crossface and Angle again taps out!
Sixth Match: Chyna vs. Ivory (c) for the WWF Women's Championship. Backstory: Hype video.
Outcome: Chyna via pinfall after a Press Drop.
Analysis: Uh, Chyna kills Ivory? Yeah, that about does it. DUD.
Backstage Segment: Vince McMahon is backstage with Linda, Steph and Trish. Plans are being made and everything. Cole comes in and tries to get an interview. McMahonamania is running wild!!!!
Seventh Match: Vince McMahon vs. Shane McMahon in a Street Fight with Mick Foley as the ref for it.
Backstory: Hype video.
Outcome: Shane McMahon via pinfall after a Van Terminator!!!
Analysis: One word sums this whole "match" up and that is overbooked. And in this case, being overbooked is a fantastic thing. There is maybe a total of four minutes of wrestling like action and the rest is just good fun. Think about it, if this was a straight up match, it would have sucked. But since it had a no dq stip, a ref willing to bump and one of the wildest angles in WWF history, you got tons of fun. There are so many underlying stories that get taken care of here. Trish finally getting revenge on Vince for humiliating her. Steph getting hers from Trish. Linda standing up from the chair and kicking Vince in the grapefruits. Sure the wrestling is pretty much not there but all of those factors make for one wild ride that words can't describe at all. This is a must see on entertainment value alone. ***1/4 for everything involved with it.
Backstage Segment: Triple H is looking ready and so is the Undertaker as they are getting ready to face off here tonight.
Eighth Match: Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz (c) in TLC II for the WWF Tag Team Titles
Backstory: Do you really want to know?
Outcome: Christian grabbing the belts with help from Rhyno.
Analysis: Spotfest and make no bones about it. This match was designed to get the crowd to pop as many times as they could before the six would end up killing each other in order to entertain those fans as much as possible. There is more then enough going on in this match at some points while at others, all six and then later, nine are down due to the carnage that was taking place. It's hard to analyize a match like this because well, it's a collection of spots that are more then enough to entertain anyone to some point. Unless you're a true pure wrestling fan and you'll find yourself skipping this whole match in the first place. But unlike the first TLC match, this second one has run ins. Spike for the Dudleyz, Lita for the Hardyz, Rhyno for E&C. It added another level for TLC at this point because it all changed the way the match was going at the point where each of them ran in. Rhyno would end up making the most difference as you could imagine while Spike and Lita were handled with ease. There are a few repeat spots from their earlier matches such as Jeff's Swanton off the biggest ladder.
Time hasn't been kind to this match though as the ladder match has just become a shell of what it once was with the advent of Ultimate X and ladder matches in other promotions where they really could probably kill each other. At the time, this was the ladder match and for some, it still might be. When I first saw this, I was blown away but now, it just seems like another TLC match with the repeated spots from the Triangle Ladder match at Wrestlemania 2000 and TLC I. Still, it's another one of those fun matches. ***1/2
Video Segment: Clips are shown of WWF Axxcess or whatever in the heck it was called. Just filler for cleaning up the ring after TLC II.
Ninth Match: Gimmick Battle Royal
Backstory: This is fun.
Outcome: Iron Sheik wins it and he didn't make anyone humble either.
Analysis: Do I have to? Just sit back and watch this. NR.
Tenth Match: Triple H vs. Undertaker
Backstory: Hype video.
Outcome: Undertaker via pinfall after the Last Ride.
Analysis: This was better then I'd thought it'd be. It had a basic set up to make the match which you'd see on the hype video. But this is a brawl, pure and simple. It takes the main event style that was used during this era and used pretty darn well. Both men got their control time and a wild brawl out in the crowd. Triple H wanted to use his trusty sledgehammer to get the job done most of the time. Undertaker had many moves to finish this one with. The best part of this occurs during the ref bump when they get wild and go into the crowd and just start throwing fists at each other and nothing more. The Chokeslam bump wasn't all that impressive once they switched camera views but hey, for the WWF, that's hardcore. But this match was just a basic set up of the heel vs. the face. It was a good match. I just don't know what to say about it. Maybe this would help. ***
Backstage Segment: Rock walks with the title.
Backstage Segment: Austin walks out of his locker room, determined.
Eleventh Match: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. The Rock (c) for the WWF World Championship
Backstory: This is the best video package in WWF/E history. More so when it has "My Way" by Limp Bizkit with it. It sums it up all nicely when Austin says "I need to beat you Rock, I need it more then anything you can imagine."
Outcome: Steve Austin via pinfall after a gazillion chair shots.
Analysis: Paul Heyman sums this up. "This is the match both men need to win and neither man can afford to lose." But this is probably the single greatest match in the Attitude Era. And I'm not joking when I say that. It plays off of years and years of Austin's history and it builds to his heel turn. Think about this. Austin attacks before the bell. He uses his knee brace. He gets the ring bell in order to inflict more pain on Rock. Everything in this match pointed to his heel turn. He even tried to use the belt in the beginning stages of the match in order to give Stone Cold any kind of opening to beat The Rock in this match. Was it the wrong arena and place to do it in, you bet you ass it was. Just listen to the mega pop for Austin during his entrance. I can only imagine what that was like live. But this was just made for Austin's turn.
Now, the history that these two used worked out great. Austin busting out the Cobra Clutch. Rock using the turnbuckles like Bret Hart did a few times when Austin had it locked in on him. This time Austin knew well enough to let the hold go to not get pinned like Hart did to him. Then you have the homage to Wrestlemania 13 when Rock gets Austin in the Sharpshooter and the blood is pouring down Austin's face. Keep in mind that Rock had never beaten Austin up to his point on a stage like Wrestlemania. So why not use that Sharpshooter in order to get a win because it was the move that forced Austin to pass out at Wrestlemania 13.
Austin tries anything to keep the Rock down. The Rock Bottom, Cobra Clutch, the chair shot from Vince and even the Stunner itself couldn't put the Rock away because the Rock wanted to retain the title that much. When Rock tries to win after the People's Elbow, Vince comes out and pulls Rock right off of Austin, shocking the ever living hell out of the crowd. They didn't know why but once Austin told Vince to get the chair, it all became too apparent why Vince was down at ringside. Austin sold himself out in order to become the WWF Champion again. Austin always wanted to be the top dog and to see Rock taking control of the WWF while Austin was out just made him want it that much more, to show he was the best ever. To show that he was better then Rock despite Rock never beating him at a Wrestlemania in a title match.
This match had so much going for it. The super hot crowd. The psychology of the years Austin had spent wrestling Bret Hart in order for Rock to try to use that game plan in order to beat his hated rival. But everything in this match built towards the moment when Austin knew the Stunner couldn't get it done and decided to turn Rock into mush after hitting with the chair again and again and again until Rock was able to stay down for the three count and Austin was finally champion of the federation he brought back from the depths of hell thanks to WCW. This was the swan song for the Attitude Era in my opinion and this was the only conceivable way to end it.
But like I said, was it the best idea to have Austin's turn take place in Texas? Of course it wasn't. But I guess in the long run, they wanted to prove the point that Austin wanted to turn in front of people from Texas. The people who cheered for him through everything that had gone on during this match. Even when Stone Cold was shaking Vince's hand, they were still cheering as JR was exclaiming that Austin had sold his soul to the devil himself. But the title was on the line and that was good enough for Austin to sell out everything he believed in order to become the WWF Champion once again. And you better believe this was the pinnacle of both of their careers in my humble opinion because it cemented their legacies as the two greatest performers during the Attitude Era. *****
Final Thoughts: This is probably the greatest pay per view this century. You can make the claim that Ring of Honor Driven was better pure wrestling wise. But that's catered towards a general area of fans. This show had something for everyone. It had the main event style, it had the wrestling, it had the spot fest, it had the old timers in the Gimmick Battle Royal and it had Austin doing anything in order to become the WWF Champion again. I can not praise this pay per view enough. So do yourself a favor, watch this again. Watch it for the first time if you haven't seen it. You owe it to yourself as a wrestling fan to see what is probably even the greatest WWF/E pay per view of all time. Thumbs way up for this one folks.