WrestleMania XIX is the first WrestleMania of the first brand split. The WWE superstars have been split up between RAW and SmackDown, the brands competing for ratings and fans. This WrestleMania would see us saying goodbye to a couple of our mainstays and hello to new superstars who would thrill us for years to come.
Our card boasts at least one dream match (depending on your tastes) and a fight twenty years in the making. So how does the first brand split WrestleMania do? Let’s find out!
We start with another montage about WrestleMania and what it means to the business and WWE Superstars. It’s basically a recut of the previous montage with new pictures and a few new comments.
JR and Lawler welcome us. They’re both excited, JR even broke out the John Wayne cufflinks. JR notes that this is his tenth WrestleMania and he’s just as excited now as he was in 1993. We’re sent to Michael Cole and Tazz, who are also extremely excited about calling the SmackDown portion of WrestleMania.
WWF Cruiserweight Championship: Matt Hardy (with Shannon Moore) vs Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio is out first to a huge pop. I THINK his costume is superhero inspired, but I don’t know who he’s supposed to be. Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore are out next to a minimal pop, or that’s what it sounds like.
This is a really great match. Hardy and Mysterio worked really well together.
Winner: Matt Hardy by pinfall, using the ropes for leverage. Mysterio and the crowd are livid
Highlights: Rey Mysterio
Comments: This was a great first WrestleMania match for Rey Mysterio.
The handicap match was supposed to be a tag match, but Taker’s partner, Nathan Jones, was ambushed by Big Show and A-Train, so Taker’s on his own tonight.
The Streak: Undertaker vs Big Show and A-Train – Handicap Match
Taker is rapped to the ring by Limp Bizkit to a great pop, with an American flag on the back of his motorcycle (the second Iraq war had just started). Big Show and A-Train are out to almost no pop. Cole mentions Taker’s undefeated streak. A-Train spits on Taker’s ride. Taker sense a rat in A-Trains actions and stops an attack by Big Show.
This is not a pretty or technical match, this is a 2-1 fistfight, but it was a really good match.
Winner: Undertaker by pinfall. Streak stands 11-0. Taker gets the flag off his motorcycle and waves it in the ring.
- Taker holding his own against A-Train and Big Show.
- The ref getting in Big Show’s face.
- Nathan Jones coming to Taker’s aid
- The Streak ending being seen as possible.
Comments: This was a fun match.
Triple Threat Match For the WWE Women’s Championship: Victoria vs Trish Stratus vs Jazz
Trish is out first to a great pop, unsurprisingly. Jazz gets almost no reaction. Victoria is out last and gets little reaction too. Jazz seems less interested in winning the belt, than getting her some of Trish, since Jazz was injured by Trish and missed 9mos with an ACL tear.
This is a really great match and shows how much Trish had improved in the three years since her WrestleMania debut as a manager.
Winner: Trish by pinfall. Afterwards, Trish celebrates with the crowd.
Highlights: Trish nearly pantsing Victoria by accident.
Comments: I loved this match.
We get a promo by Rock about his feud with Austin and why we’re getting round three of Rock vs Austin.
Triple Threat Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Team Angle vs Chris Benoit & Rhyno vs Los Guerreros
Los Guerreros are out first to a pretty good pop. Benoit and Rhyno get a pretty good pop, or Benoit does. Team Angle get a decent pop. This was a really good match, all three teams meshed really well. We got to see Benoit vs Eddie, which is always good.
Winner: Shelton gets the pin on Chavo for the win
- Eddie vs Benoit
- Eddie hitting a Frog Splash on Benjamin and Benoit to break up a pin
- Chavo selling the Gore
- Eddie flailing a little to try and pull Rhyno out
Comments: I enjoyed this match, all three teams did a great job.
We get a recap of the HBK/Jericho feud, which was such a dream match.
Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho
Jericho is out first to a quiet pop or boos, it’s hard for me to tell. Despite having been gone for four years, HBK still gets a great pop. He looks super excited by this. He tries to use one of the confetti guns, but it doesn’t work. Also, he still can’t dance.
Unsurprisingly, these two are a great match. Their similar styles work well together. This was a really good match that lived up to its potential and kept the door open to continue the feud.
Winner: HBK by pinfall. Afterwards, Jericho and HBK hug, and then Jericho lowblows HBK. This isn’t over.
Highlights: Too many to count.
Comments: Welcome back, HBK. I have no shame in admitting that I still got very excited by this match, despite having seen it several times. This is a match of the night contender
Tony Chimel announces a new Safeco Field attendance record: 54,097 fans!
After a musical performance by Limp Bizkit and the WrestleMania Catfight, we get a video recap of the Triple H/Booker T feud.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Triple H (with Ric Flair) vs Booker T
Triple H and Flair are out first to a mixed reaction. Booker T gets a much better reaction. This was a good match, but something just didn’t click for me.
Winner: Triple H by pinfall by being just aware enough to cover Booker T with a hand.
Comments: The recap of this feud, digging up Booker T’s criminal past, made me very uncomfortable.
We get a promo for the WWE Shop Zone.
We get a recap for the McMahon/Hogan feud.
Street Fight: Hulk Hogan vs Mr. McMahon
To no great surprise, Hogan gets a great pop. Vince gets a loud round of boos. This is a great match if you remember that neither of these guys are known for technical, or wrestling in Vince’s case, skills. If you’re looking for that in a street fight, skip ahead.
This was a really good match and gave some closure to the McMahon/Hogan story that started when Hogan left WWF in 1993 and everything that came from that and the steroid case.
Winner: Hogan by pinfall. Afterwards, Shane McMahon makes his way to the ring and assures Hogan he just wants to check on his dad, who is laying in a bloody heap in the middle of the ring. Hogan, having no issue with Shane, opens the ropes to let him in, and leaves the area.
- Hogan and Vince working out their issues with fists and blood.
- Piper’s return
- McMahon’s leg drop off the ladder.
- Hogan allowing Shane to come check on his dad.
Comments: I wish this match was held off until WrestleMania XX, but I enjoyed this match. This would be the last WrestleMania appearance by Hulk Hogan as an in-ring competitor. He would make one or two off appearances over years, including at WrestleMania XXX.
We have an issue getting JR and Lawler’s audio back, so Cole does the intro to the Austin/Rock feud video.
The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin
We get Rock’s new entrance video, which I still hate as much now, as I did in 2003, but Rock still gets a great pop. Austin comes out to his thunderous pop.
This was the last match between Rock and Austin at WrestleMania and it was a great one. A great story was told, and we got Rock/Austin one more at WrestleMania.
Winner: The Rock by pinfall. Afterwards, Rock says something to Austin and shoving Hebner away, so the conversation stays private. Rock leaves the ring and sees his family before leaving. Austin and Hebner leave together to a nice pop.
Highlights: Rock and Austin using each other’s moves against each other.
Comments: This would be the last appearance by Stone Cold Steve Austin as an in-ring competitor, though he continues to be part of the WWE Universe.
We get a video recap of the Angle/Lesnar feud
WWE Championship Match: Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar.
If Angle gets disqualified or counted out, he loses the championship
Angle is out first to a pretty good pop. Lesnar gets an okay pop.
This was a very technical match, as would be expected from two star amateur wrestlers. Under normal circumstances, this would be great, but after three twenty-minute matches, this was very boring.
Winner: Brock Lesnar by pinfall.
Highlights: Angle picking up the pieces after Lesnar’s botched shooting star press.
Comments: I do not like Lesnar and I thought the shooting star press spot was stupid, so I did not enjoy this match.
So, did WrestleMania XIX live up to its potential? Overall, yes, it did. This was a really good card and the matches lived up to it. My biggest gripe is that they put the four big matches, the shortest of which was 17:55 (Rock/Austin) back to back. That was probably due to the fact that there were no mid card titles to put between them, but even without those, the back to back twenty-minute matches made the show drag at the end.
Match of the Night: HBK/Jericho
Ongoing Nonsense: Throughout the show, the Miller Lite Catfight girls did segments with Stacy and Torrie, culminating in a pillow fight that Stacy and Torrie won.
Final Thoughts: This was a really good show, the five long matches made it drag a little, but it didn’t suck.