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WrestleMania 2000: Millennium Flop or Underappreciated Classic?

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WrestleMania 16 The Rock Mick Foley Triple H

The first WrestleMania of the new Millennium is widely regarded as a flop. Why is that? Even though Stone Cold Steve Austin is out following neck surgery, the card looks really good or, at least, interesting. This WrestleMania saw the first Triangle Ladder Match for the WWF Tag Titles, that would eventually spawn off into their own PPV event. We have a Fatal Four Way for the WWF Title featuring four future legends and all four McMahons involved.

Does WrestleMania 2000 deserve to be considered a flop? Or is it an underappreciated classic that deserves more respect? Let’s find out!

Opener:

We are back in Anaheim, the home of WrestleMania XII. Lilian Garcia sings at WrestleMania for the first time.  We get a quick history montage of WrestleMania and a great promo for the Main Event. JR and Lawler sound so excited, it’s nice to hear.

The Godfather and D’Lo Brown (with Ice-T) vs Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan

Godfather, D’Lo, Ice-T, and Godfather’s ladies get a HUGE pop. The crowd is really into Ice-T’s rap. The ladies are hugely over with the crowd. After all that fun, Boss Man and Bull Buchanan are over like a pair of wet blankets.

This was a really good match. Bull Buchanan is rough as a cob, but the skill is there and the other three gentlemen in the match covered for him very well.

Winner: Boss Man and Bull Buchanan by pinfall. After the win, Boss Man and Bull chase Godfather’s ladies to the back.

Highlights: Ice-T.

Comments: This was a pretty good opener. Ice-T and the ladies got the crowd in a good mood. I enjoyed it.

We find Triple H and Stephanie in their dressing room, admiring their respective title belts (Stephanie had just won the Women’s Championship). Triple H comments that he wants to put diamonds on the WWF Championship. Steph replies that she’s already got a big diamond (her engagement ring), which Hunter admits was pretty expensive, much to her amusement. He then says that the fact that they are both champions at WrestleMania and that the McMahon-Helmsley era is putting on the biggest WrestleMania in history is pretty sweet, which Steph agrees with.

JR and King discuss Triple H’s calmness over the match and speculate that Hunter might have a plan in place to retain the WWF title.

We then go to a pre-recorded segment where we get the nominal rules for the Hardcore Battle Royal: The match will be 15 minutes long, not a second longer or shorter. There can be as many title changes as you can possibly squeeze into that time frame, or have none at all, if you listen to Crash Holly. When the fifteen minutes are up, so go the chances for a title win.

Hardcore Battle Royal

The thirteen participants come out to various amounts of pops, Crash getting the best pop due to his hilarious 24/7 title defenses, which I seriously recommend watching if you’re having a bad day.

This match is so chaotic, I won’t try to keep up with the title changes. This was just a fun match to watch.

Winner: There’s a little dispute over this. Officially, Hardcore Holly won, but Crash got his shoulder up at the last possible second, but the ref didn’t count the full three. Crash went to leave with the belt, thinking he’d held on, and was surprised to hear Hardcore declared the champion.

Highlights:

  1. Tazz instinctively going for pins when he didn’t have to.
  2. Pete Gas getting truly hardcore.
  3. Rodney having barely enough time to say ‘I won!’ before being pinned by Joey Abs.
  4. JR and Lawler’s commentary. J
  5. R’s reaction to realizing that Hardcore used his candy jar to hit Crash.

Comments: I have to be honest, this is my all-time favorite WrestleMania match, just because there was no story or drama, it was just pure chaos. The commentary was hysterical, and it was just a fun match to watch.

We get a recap of WrestleMania Axxess, I think this is the first one WWF put on. Among the cool things there, we got a possible SPOILER about Undertaker’s American Badass gimmick.

We go to one of the restrooms with Al Snow talking to someone, who seems to be complaining about the smell. Al tells him to shut up because he’s going to be part of the greatest WrestleMania of all time. Blackman comes in and wants to know what Al is up to. Al swears he’s not up to anything, but Blackman warns him not do something stupid. Al tries to play innocent, but whoever is in the stall flushes the toilet and now Blackman’s really suspicious and warns Al again.

We get a VERY close shot of Trish Stratus’…chest. She turns and tells Test and Albert that it’s time to show WrestleMania some T&A (think you’re doing that already, Trish).

T&A (with Trish Stratus) vs Al Snow and Steve Blackman (with Chester McCheeserton)

Blackman and Al Snow, aka ‘Head Cheese’ (I kid you not!), are out first. Al Snow is his usual silly self, but Blackman has the personality of a mop. Al tells Blackman that he’s got a surprise and we’re introduce to Chester McCheeserton, who is a guy wearing a foam cheese costume. Blackman looks ready to either die or laugh. The crowd likes it though. Thankfully, T&A and Trish are out next to a nice pop.

We have some technical issues with JR’s, so Lawler tries to pick up the slack (oh, dear). This was a good match, distracting managers and human cheese wedges aside. Both sides were worked well as teams and opponents. It’s not a hidden gem, but it was very good.

Winner: T&A by pinfall. Afterwards, Al and Blackman are irritated with each other for the loss and take it out on poor Chester.

Highlights:

  1. Chester McChesserton.
  2. Lawler trying to cover for JR’s audio issues,
  3. T&A showing some great moves for big guys.

Comments: I always like seeing future stars when they first start in the business and seeing Trish at her first WrestleMania, knowing how big she was going to become, was fun.

We go backstage where Mae Young is talking with Kat, who seems to be wearing nothing but a towel on her head and a smile. This whole segment is basically to titillate the audience to try and see if Kat is actually naked.

Up next is the legendary Triangle Ladder Match. We go to Michael Cole, who is interviewing the Dudleys, who are the current Champs. D-Von says that WWF keeps trying to put the Dudleys down, especially by putting them in a ladder but that the Dudley Boys will emerge victorious. Bubba agrees and says that tonight, the Dudley Boys take WrestleMania, and the ladder match, to a whole new level of violence. (Commenter: They’re doing this interview in atrocious Southern accents. C’mon guys, we know you’re actually from NYC, act like it.)

Triangle Ladder Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Edge and Christian vs The Hardy Boys vs The Dudley Boys.

Edge and Christian come out through the crowd first to a nice pop. Hardys get a nice pop, and Jeff makes a point of going under two ladders. The Dudleys are out last to a nice pop too.

his match was so crazy, I can’t take notes. This match was amazing. All six guys tore the house down.

Winner: Officially: Edge and Christian leave with the belts. Unofficially: All six men, and WWF/E fans

Highlights: Too many to name.

Comments: I love ladder matches, so this was big thumbs up for me.

We go backstage where Linda McMahon and Mick Foley are talking to Kevin Kelly. We’re reminded that this was (at the time) probably Mick Foley’s last match. Linda tells Mick that she’s just happy he gets the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of main-eventing at WrestleMania. Mick says that the ladder match proves that no one is holding anything back and that this is the biggest year in WWF history and that it’s the biggest main event in WWF history and in his career. He thanks Linda for bringing him back and says that this is his chance to make a last impression. He believes that this is a fairy tale for him and that he believes fairy tales can come true and that he’ll become WWF Champion tonight.

Lawler and JR are still in awe of what happened in that ladder match. Lawler says that people will be talking about that ladder match for years to come.

Cat Fight: Terri Runnels (with Fabulous Moolah) vs The Kat (with Mae Young) – Special Guest Referee: Val Venis

We get the rules first: The first person to throw their opponent out of the ring, to the floor is the winner.

Val Venis, our referee, is out first to a good pop. JR makes an comment that sounds like a disclaimer warning: Neither Terri nor the Kat are experienced wrestlers. (Commenter: Oh dear). Venis his usual borderline pornographic promo, and it’s time for the ladies.

Terri and Moolah are out first. Terri wants to shake her rear for the crowd, but Moolah won’t allow that. We get another disclaimer that this is not going to be a classic wrestling match.

Kat and Mae are out next. Kat’s bleached her hair and is wearing what looks like a catsuit from an adult store.

I’m not sure what this was, but I’m pretty sure it was a hit with the guys…and some of the ladies. The wrestling was crap, but it had its funny moments.

Winner: Kat should’ve won, as she threw Terri outside twice, but Mae kept distracting Val. Kat is furious that Terri won. Mae, who is mostly to blame for what happened gives Moolah a Bronco, and Kat rips up Terri’s outfit (which came apart quite easily, TBH).

Highlights: Terri laying one on Val, only to be dumped, literally, when Kat saw it. Val getting kissed by Mae.

Comments: I didn’t hate this match nearly as much as the Women’s Championship Match the year before because there was no pretense that these women had any actual wrestling skill beyond takedowns and spears.

We find the Radicalz backstage and Eddie is more concerned with fixing his mullet and looking nice for Chyna than he is the actual match.

In one of the locker rooms, Chyna and Too Cool are watching footage of the Radicalz comments and Chyna is disgusted by Eddie’s comments. Grand Master tells her not to worry about it.

Six Person Intergender Match: Chyna and Too Cool vs The Radicalz

The Radicalz are out first to almost no reaction, which is shocking, but they’d only debuted in WWF/E a month before. We get our first mention of ‘Latino Heat’. Chyna is out first to a big pop and she has a firework gun thing. Too Cool are out next to a nice pop too. Eddie keeps making eyes at Chyna, who looks ready to deck him.

As far as match quality goes, this was an okay, it wasn’t the best, but it didn’t suck.

Winner: Chyna and Too Cool

Highlights:

  1. Eddie being attracted to Chyna, but not wanting to fight her.
  2. Saturn taking Grand Master Sexay’s doorag for himself.
  3. Eddie Guerrero.
  4. Chyna competing with the one seam of her pants ripped to the point that her pants were partially falling down.

Comments: Seeing Eddie at the beginning of his WrestleMania career, knowing where he’d be in four years, was nice.

We get a video about a family from Pennsylvania that won tickets to WrestleMania. The winner is the middle of having a smoke when the team show up.

We go into one of the backstage areas with Big Show and Shane. Shane predicts that Big Show will be the next WWF Champion. Somewhere in this, control of WWF was made part of the match, or that’s what it sounds like from Shane’s comments.

We get a recap of Kurt finding out that his manager, Bob Backlund, had put BOTH his Intercontinental and European titles on the line against Benoit and Jericho. Needless to say, Kurt wasn’t happy and chokes Backlund out with the Crossface Chickenwing. We find Kurt talking down to a big security guard, and getting on the guy’s nerves.

Two Fall Triple Threat Match for the WWF Intercontinental and European Championships: Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho

This is essentially two Triple Threat Matches in succession. The first fall will be for the Intercontinental Championship, the second fall will be the European Championship.

Jericho comes out first to a fantastic pop. JR notes that all three men in this match are making their WrestleMania debuts. Jericho cuts a promo about being at his first WrestleMania and that while he can’t promise leaving with a title, but he will prove himself as the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla and that he’s going to kick the butts of ‘Kirk Angel’ and ‘Mr. Roboto’. Benoit is out next to little reaction. Kurt comes out to the usual ‘You suck!’ chants.

Benoit jumps Angle from the back and the match quickly turns chaotic. Unsurprisingly, given the three people involved, this match is fantastic.

Winner: Benoit wins the IC title by pinning Jericho, Jericho wins the European Title by pinning Benoit.

Highlights: Kurt Angle losing both titles without being pinned and being livid about it.

Comments: This is a match of the night contender.

Michael Cole is with Vince and asks him about the Fatal Four Way and if he’ll be a factor in who wins.  Vince says he’d like to think that he would be, but the Rock is very confident and that has nothing to do with him, Vince. Cole asks about the other McMahons, Vince says that while he doesn’t view his family as dysfunctional, he guarantees to make things right.

In the McMahon-Helmsley dressing room, Triple H says he doesn’t care about making things right, this about who is the best and the best is him. He won’t allow himself to be beaten.

Kane and Rikishi (with Paul Bearer) vs Degeneration X (with Tori)

DX and Tori are out to boos, which is shocking. Road Dogg cuts a promo, but it doesn’t seem to get the kind of reaction the DX promos used to get.

Rikishi comes out to a nice pop.  Kane and Paul Bearer come out to a good pop too. Lawler and JR are worried about Pete Rose, who was on Sunday Night Heat. Tori and Paul get into it, Tori slaps Paul but Paul barely reacts.

This match was a mess and seems to have been there only to fill the time.

Winner: Kane and Rikishi. Too Cool comes out to dance in celebration, along with the San Diego Chicken. Kane is suspicious of the feathery intruder, while Rikishi doesn’t seem to want to dance. Kane attacks the poor Chicken, thinking it’s Pete Rose, but it’s a trick. Pete comes in with a baseball bat but is stopped by Rikishi. Pete eats a tombstone and a stinkface for his troubles.

Highlights:

  1. Pete Rose not knowing when to quit. Thankfully, this will be the last time Charlie Hustle tries to mess with Kane.
  2. 400lb Rikishi being able to bust a move.
  3. Paul Bearer doing the DX sign
  4. Pete Rose getting stinkfaced.

Comments: Meh.

 Kevin Kelly is with the Rock. Rock says it’s been 12mos of backstabbing, interviews, and run-ins, and Rock says he regrets nothing because it brought the Rock back to WrestleMania. He doesn’t care about anything but WWF Championship and he will do whatever it takes to win the title.

Fatal Four Way Elimination Match For the WWF Championship: Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) vs The Rock (with Vince McMahon) vs Big Show (with Shane McMahon) vs Mick Foley (with Linda McMahon)

Mick Foley and Linda are out first to a great pop. Big Show and Shane are out next to a not audible reaction. The Rock gets his expected thunderous reaction. Triple H and Stephanie get a pretty good reaction.

This was a really good match. All four guys worked really worked well together and a great story was told, with a nice twist at the end.

Winner: Triple H after Vince hits The Rock with a chair. Stephanie is stunned but realizes that Vince did it to bring the family back together, behind Triple H. Vince and Stephanie embrace while the crowd throws trash at them. When Rock realizes what just happened, he charges the ring and takes out Vince and Shane. Stephanie is visibly upset and checks on her family while Rock stares at her. She and Rock exchange words and Steph slaps Rock and eats a Rock Bottom. Triple H tries to come to his wife’s aid and gets punched for his troubles. Rock hits Stephanie with a People’s Elbow.

Highlights:

  1. Rock, Trips, and Foley taking out Big Show.
  2. Rock and Mick teaming up on Triple H.
  3. Mick turning on Rock for the chance to retire WWF Champion.
  4. Mick going hardcore for his final (at the time) match.
  5. The standing ovation Mick received from the fans.
  6. Shane and Vince fighting while obviously trying to not hurt each other, Stephanie’s selling of the fight.
  7. Vince screwing the Rock out of the belt.
  8. Stephanie taking a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow.
  9. Rock protecting Stephanie by not taking his elbow pad off for the People’s Elbow.

Comments: I enjoyed this match. I think it ran a little long and felt a little thrown together, despite the build. It feels like with Austin and Undertaker out, two of the men involved were put in to have them on the card, but I’m not sure which two that was supposed to be.

Overall Comments

So, does WrestleMania 2000 deserve to be labeled a flop? In my opinion, no. This wasn’t the most compelling card in the world, but this wasn’t a bad event, in my opinion. I don’t think it quite live up to its potential, but it wasn’t awful.

Stinkers: Kane/Rikishi vs DX. That was a mess and the Pete Rose . The Cat fight gets a pass because they didn’t try to pretend that Terri and the Kat were going to wrestle, and the match wasn’t awful.

Match of the Night: While the Hardcore Battle Royal is my personal favorite, I have to give Match of the Night to the Triangle Ladder Match. That match never stops being amazing.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed this show. Considering that Undertaker and Austin were out because of injuries at that point, this show did a pretty good job.


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