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WrestleMania X-Seven: Hell Freezes Over

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Steve Austin The Rock

WrestleMania X-Seven is the first one post-Monday Night Wars. WCW had just been bought out the previous Monday, simulcast live on RAW and Nitro. WWF had survived a war for ratings, and survival, that had seemed all but lost a few times. This WrestleMania is often touted as one of the greatest WrestleManias of all time with a great main event, that is also hated because of the swerve at the end, which we’ll get to later.

Looking at the card on Wikipedia, I have to say that there are some intriguing matches, not mention the second official TLC match that I’ve seen several times (not that that ever stops me), the first of three WrestleMania matches Triple H would have against the Undertaker, a hardcore match I remember liking quite a bit, and the second round of Rock vs Austin.

So, will WrestleMania X-Seven live up to the hype and my vague memories? Let’s find out!

Opener:

We get a great video about how WrestleMania brings people from all over the world together.

I forgot how much I loved the theme music for this WrestleMania. This year, it’s not JR and Lawler calling the action, it’s JR and Paul Heyman, the former owner of ECW (yes, he actually had an existence before Brock Lesnar). Heyman is excited because he’s never been to a WrestleMania before.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Chris Jericho vs William Regal

Jericho comes out to a great pop. Regal comes out to a loud round of boos, and while he’s coming out, we get a recap of this feud, which is an IC title version of Austin vs McMahon, only I don’t think Austin ever peed in McMahon’s coffee (Commenter: Ew. Even though I know that didn’t actually happen).

This was a really good match. The styles really worked well and the story was a lot of fun. Regal’s rough and tough style is an interesting contrast to the posh façade he has.

Winner: Jericho by pinfall

Highlights: Regal calling Jericho a ‘toe rag’ in a posh accent.

Comments: I really liked this match, though I do like NXT!Regal a little bit better than this version of him as an authority figure.

We see a limo with a ‘WCW 1’ license plate pull up and Shane McMahon climbing out (Shane ‘bought’ WCW out from under his dad the week before).

In an undisclosed area, the APA and Jacqueline are playing cards, but Bradshaw is too excited. Farooq and Jacqueline tell him to relax, but Bradshaw can’t, he’s in his home state at the Astrodome and tells them all about the things he used to come to the Astrodome to watch. Fired up by his excitement, Farooq and Jacqueline follow him out to the ring.

Six-Man Tag Team Match: Tazz and the APA (with Jacqueline) vs Right to Censor (with Steven Richards)

Unsurprisingly, Right to Censor is out first to a LOUD round of boos. Heyman doesn’t like JR calling RtC ‘extremists’, he prefers the term ‘hypocrites’. (Commenter: I’m with Heyman on that one). Richards starts to say something, but we’re saved by Tazz, who gets a great pop. APA gets a great pop and this match starts in chaos.

While this is a good match, there were some rough spots and it seemed that the RTC guys didn’t know how to work with Tazz because he was much shorter than the APA. I saw several spots where they seemed to be trying make contact with a taller person than Tazz.

Winner: Bradshaw gets the win for his team.

Highlights: Bradshaw’s legit excitement about performing in the Astrodome.

Comments: Seeing Right To Censor get beat up is always fun.

We get a promo for Snickers Cruncher.

Backstage, Trish is pushing Linda in her wheelchair when they run into Stephanie, who chides Trish for being late. She talks to her mother and says that at least Linda knows that one of her kids (presumably Stephanie) turned out okay. She then tells Trish, pausing to ask what Trish thinks of her jumpsuit with ‘Daddy’s Girl’ on the back, that they’re going to need champagne for Vince’s victory party, and generally treats Trish like a maid.

Triple Threat Match for the WWF Hardcore Championship: Raven vs Kane vs The Big Show

Raven is out first to an okay pop, and he’s brought some toys. JR says he doesn’t like Raven’s chances in this match, Heyman agrees that the only thing Raven can do is run like hell, which JR says he won’t do. Kane is out next to a great pop.

The match gets started before the Big Show comes out, so poor Show doesn’t get much of a reaction. The match officially starts when Kane throws Raven to Big Show, then hits the Big Red Missile on Big Show. While this was no Hardcore Battle Royal, this was a really good, fun match.

Winner: Kane gets the pin after a leg drop off the stage.

Highlights:

  1. Raven getting thrown through the glass.
  2. Heyman’s reaction to Raven going through the glass
  3. Big Show’s pitiful ‘ow’ after getting hit in the shoulder
  4. Use of the golf carts to get around in the back.
  5. Raven getting partially run over.
  6. JR and Heyman’s commentary.
  7. Jimmy Korderas just going with it.

Comments: I don’t think WWE’s going to get their deposit back after this match. Holy crap.

We find Angle backstage going over tapes for his match with Benoit. E&C come in. E&C try to distract Kurt from the video by planning what they’ll do after he beats Benoit and they win TLC, but Kurt isn’t listening. He’s obsessed with making Benoit tap, apparently. Sensing that Kurt is in a MOOD, E&C leave.

We go to WWF New York, where Jimmy Snuka is holding court. Back in Houston, Coach is telling us that, for the first time, there are representatives from all fifty states and twenty countries at WrestleMania, and he’s talking to a representative from Australia. Our Aussie rep flew 36 hours from Brisbane, Australia to Houston, TX. She’s having a ton of fun, as are her fellow Aussies.

Rock enters the locker room and begins getting ready for his match.

WWF European Championship: Test vs Eddie Guerrero (with Perry Saturn)

Guerrero comes out first, Saturn is wearing a weird fuzzy hat, to little reaction and/or boos. Test gets a great reaction. This match is such a contrast in size and styles, but it seems to really work.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero by pin after Eddie hits Test with the belt, after a distraction by Dean Malenko .

Highlights: Saturn’s hat. Eddie Guerrero.

Comments: I always love an Eddie Guerrero match, even though Eddie wasn’t as crisp as he would be later, this was a good match.

Mick Foley is backstage with Michael Cole (Commenter: Oh, Lord, I forgot about the frosted tips) and asks if Mick can be impartial considering his numerous problems with Vince (not to mention the whole McMahon family). Mick says that he’s offended that Cole would suggest that he’d bear a grudge against Vince, then proceeds to list all the reasons why he’d have a grudge against Vince. Foley vows call things right down the line, and then does a cheap pop.

Austin arrives in his dressing room (that looks a lot like a bathroom).

Kurt Angle ws Chris Benoit

Angle is out to a quieter ‘You Suck’ chant, but that could be because the Astrodome is HUGE. Kurt cuts a promo about being an American hero and then trashes Texas and Texans. Benoit comes out to a great pop.

This was a fantastic match, which isn’t a surprise. Angle/Benoit is one of those that can just go forever.

Winner: Kurt Angle by pinfall using Benoit’s tights for leverage.

Highlights: The whole match.

Comments: I always like watching these two wrestle.

Michael Cole runs into Regal and asks him if he’s okay, Regal isn’t happy with the question, but we’re distracted by Kamala tearing apart Regal’s ‘office’ and rubbing a portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on his belly. Regal tells him to bugger off (still in the posh accent). We go back to JR and Heyman who don’t know what to think.

We see footage of the WWF Pep Rally at Ft. Hood.

Kevin Kelly is with Kurt Angle and says that Kurt has to respect Benoit after the war they just had. Angle says he doesn’t have to respect anyone because the better man won and he proved that he’s the best in the WWF. Benoit, still mad about Angle stealing the victory from him, attacks from behind and gets Angle in the Crippler Crossface.

We get a recap of the Ivory/Chyna feud, including Chyna’s ‘broken’ neck and the issue at Royal Rumble.

WWF Women’s Championship Match: Ivory vs Chyna

Ivory is out first to loud boos. She’s alone because Right to Censor is banned from ringside in exchange for Chyna signing a hold harmless clause in case she should get hurt.  Chyna comes out to a loud pop and her fireworks gun.

This was a quick one. Without RTC to help her fight Chyna, Ivory didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of beating Chyna, not that she didn’t try to get a quick and dirty win. Chyna had the match won pretty quickly but kept breaking the pin for the hell of it.

Winner: Chyna by pinfall.

Highlight: Chyna playing up the neck injury to lure Ivory in.

Comments: This would be Chyna’s last WrestleMania. She would leave the company, still Women’s Champion after refusing to drop the belt, in the autumn of 2001 and never return. She passed away in 2016. RIP, Chyna.

Backstage, Vince, Stephanie, Trish, and Linda are in Vince’s office. Vince asks Trish if she doubled Linda’s medication so she wouldn’t get over excited. Trish assures him that she did (Comment: A. Why don’t I believe her? B. Ew about how they talk about Linda, even though this is an angle.) They go over when Trish is to bring Linda to ringside. Vince and Stephanie are all ready to go, when Cole comes in to get Vince’s thoughts on Shane’s purchase of WCW.

Vince says shocking is what’s going to happen in the street fight.

We get a recap of why Vince and Shane are having a match: Vince demanding a divorce, Linda’s nervous breakdown, Vince’s affair with Trish, Shane’s rage over Vince’s actions, and Shane buying WCW out from under Vince.

Street Fight: Shane McMahon vs Vince McMahon (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Trish Stratus). Special Guest Referee: Mick Foley

Shane is out first to a nice pop. It’s weird to hear Shane come out to his ‘Here Comes the Money’.  Shane gives a shoutout to the former WCW stars in a section in the Astrodome, it’s a pitifully small number compared to the amount of talent WCW had at one time. Shane then introduces Mick Foley, who is the special ref for this. Foley gets a great pop. Vince and Stephanie get a minimal pop.

This was a pretty good match considering that the two people involved are not the most experienced wrestlers. This wasn’t pretty, but it was fun and seeing Vince and Stephanie get theirs is always a good time.

Winner: Shane by pinfall after hitting the Coast to Coast.

Highlights:

  1. Shane, Linda, Trish, and Mick getting their respective revenges on Vince and/or Stephanie.
  2. Shane hitting the Coast to Coast.
  3. Shane and Vince trying to not hurt each other too badly
  4. The pop when Linda got out of her seat and nailed Vince below the belt.

Comments: I enjoyed this, even though Shane and Vince where either whiffing or stiffing each other, it was a lot of fun to watch.

We get a video recap of Axxess with the Hardys. Kevin Kelly comes up and talks to Matt about TLC. Matt says while he and Jeff want to  win the Tag Titles, the match is more about getting back at Edge, Christian, and Rhyno for harming Lita, among other things.

We find Hunter backstage, getting his game face on. In the bowels of the building, Undertaker is warming up.

We get a video recap about the feud between E&C, the Dudleys, and the Hardys.

TLC II for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Edge and Christian (with Rhyno) vs The Dudley Boyz (with Spike Dudley) vs the Hardy Boyz (with Lita)

Hardys are out first to a nice pop, Lita isn’t with them due to being gored by Rhyno. E&C are next, to an okay pop, Rhyno isn’t with them due to being injured, but we’re not told why. Dudleys are out last to a great pop, Spike isn’t with them due to also being gored by Rhyno.

This match is so crazy, there’s no keeping up with it. This is a really great match and a great sequel to TLC and the Triangle Ladder Match. The inclusion of the managers could’ve been a disaster, but the story allowed it to not seem intrusive.

Winner: Edge and Christian with an assist from Rhyno

Highlights:

  1. Bubba Ray saving Jeff Hardy’s career by getting the ladder out from under Jeff before Edge hit the Spear.
  2. Lita hitting the Litacanrana.
  3. Spike saving Lita from Rhyno
  4. Edge’s spear to Jeff off the ladder.

Comments: I love this match. So many great moments.

We get a full video at Axxess and the fun everyone seems to be having.

Finkel announces that WrestleMania X-7 has broken the all-time attendance record for any event at the Astrodome: 67,925.

Gimmick Battle Royal

Mean Gene Okerlund comes out to a nice pop. Bobby Heenan also gets a great pop.

All the gimmicks came out to various level of pops Doink, Michael P.S. Hayes, Sgt. Slaughter, and Hillbilly Jim get the best pops.

Winner: Iron Sheik. Sgt. Slaughter doesn’t like that, sneaks back in the ring, and hits the Cobra Clutch, to the joy of the crowd.

Highlights:

  1. Okerlund and Heenan back in WWF
  2. All the gimmicks
  3. Bobby Heenan on color.

Comments: This was just a lot of fun to watch and remembering all these guys.

We get a recap of the feud between Triple H and the Undertaker, including Trips and Taker wrecking each other’s rides, Stephanie taking out a restraining order on Taker, and Taker and Kane’s…ingenious way of getting Taker his match at WrestleMania: Having Kane (who didn’t have a restraining order against him) kidnap Stephanie and threatening to have him throw her off the top of a parking garage.

The Streak: Undertaker vs Triple H

Motorhead are there and sing Triple H to the ring and Trips gets to summon his courage as the bell begins to toll. The Deadman Cometh. Even though he’s in the middle of his American Badass gimmick, Taker still includes the gong in his entrance, but comes out on a motorcycle to a great hometown pop.

If you’ve ever seen the two WrestleMania matches these two would have almost a decade later, you probably already know how this went: Very physical, very brutal. JR mentions Taker win/loss record up to 2001: 8-0, and while he calls it unprecedented, it’s not treated as a huge deal by him and Paul Heyman doesn’t elaborate further.

Winner: Undertaker by pin. The Streak stands at 9-0

Comments: I liked this match a lot.

Backstage, we find Rock on his way to the ring. Austin is in the bathroom, staring at his reflection. What is he thinking?

We get a recap of the road to WrestleMania for these two, including having Debra, Austin’s legit wife, manage the Rock.

No Disqualification Match for the WWF Championship: The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

Finkel announces the No DQ stipulation, to JR’s surprise. Austin is out first to a thunderous pop. Rock is out to an equally thunderous pop.

Rock and Austin pretty much pick up from where they left off back in 1999. This was a really great match and told a great story.

Winner: Austin by pinfall after Vince McMahon helps him take out the Rock. Afterwards, Austin and Vince face off and then, to everyone’s shock, shake hands. Austin sold out to Vince in exchange for becoming champion.

Highlights: JR and the crowd’s reaction to Austin and McMahon becoming partners.

Comments: While I get that Vince and Austin probably thought that the Austin/McMahon thing had really run its course, especially with Austin losing a year of his career, I’m still not sure what Austin selling out to McMahon was supposed to accomplish. We would get the Two Man Power trip in the months between WrestleMania and the start of the Invasion angle, but for the present time, I’m not sure what the point was: Austin was still hot, the crowds still popped for him, why try to make him a heel?

Overall Comments:

So, does WrestleMania X-Seven live up to the hype? Yeah, it does. This was a really good show, wonky ending aside.

Match of the Night: I really can’t decide because there were a lot of really great matches.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this show and it seemed to move very quickly.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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