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WrestleMania XX: Celebrating The Past and Embracing the Future

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WrestleMania XX was a celebration of Vince McMahon’s biggest gamble. As expected for such a celebration, the card was stacked with great sounding matches. Several future big names are on this card, as well the tried-and-true favorites. Can this card and the superstars on it possibly meet the expectations such hype creates? Let’s find out!

Opener:

We start off the Boys Choir of Harlem singing ‘America, the Beautiful’. The kids sound fantastic and they start off with my favorite verse of ‘America, the Beautiful’ the song ends with a beautiful shot of New York City.

We get a great montage about Vince McMahon’s vision. Having watched all the WrestleMania’s so far, it’s incredible how far things have come from MSG in 1985 when no one knew if WWF would still be in business after WrestleMania.

Next is another great montage about what WrestleMania and Madison Square Garden means to WWE and the Superstars, ending with Vince, Shane, and Shane’s oldest son, who was a newborn at the time.

Everyone is so excited, you can feel it through the television.

WWE United States Championship Match: The Big Show vs John Cena

Cena comes out to a really great pop. He was still in his ‘Thuganomics’ gimmick, but he at least came out in a Patrick Ewing jersey. Cena raps a promo to the crowd about Big Show. Big Show comes out and he’s not in a good mood, for some strange reason.

This was a really good match. Cena’s still a little rough around the edges but Show really shows the potential in Cena.

Winner: John Cena by pinfall after clocking Big Show with his brass knuckles.

Highlights:

  1. Cena’s rap
  2. Show superkicking Cena right in the face
  3. Cena not giving up
  4. 500lb FU
  5. Cena diverting the ref’s attention with the chain and KOing Big Show with the brass knuckles

Comment: Seeing future stars in their first WrestleMania is always something I enjoy, and I remember being so excited for Cena when he won.

We get an Evolution promo about their match with Rock-n-Sock Connection and Randy’s promo skills leave a lot to be desired.

Fatal 4-Way Match for the World Tag Team Championship: Booker T & Rob van Dam vs Dudley Boys vs Garrison Cade & Mark Jindrak vs La Resistance

La Resistance is out to little reaction. Cade/Jindrak get a slight reaction, but not a lot. Dudleys get a great reaction. Booker T/RVD also get a good reaction.

This was a really good match. All four teams did a great job, but this match was slow until the last couple of minutes.

Winner: Booker T and RVD by pinfall

Comment: I liked this match.

We get a video recap of the Jericho/Christian creepy feud over Trish Stratus.

Christian vs Chris Jericho

Christian comes out to boos. Jericho gets a pretty good pop. Creepy, godawful story aside, this was a really great match. These two meshed seamlessly and put on a showstopper, in my opinion.

 Winner: Christian by pinfall after Trish ‘accidentally’ attacks Jericho. After the match, Trish slaps Jericho, and joins forces with Christian, thus turning heel for the first time since early 2001.

Comment: I hated this storyline but I love watching these two wrestle.

We get a great promo by Rock-n-Sock, who both look fired up about their match against Evolution, and the fact that it’s Foley’s first match in four years. Rock shows the excitement in the Garden, including the only WrestleMania appearance of the late Matthew ‘Rosey’ Anoa’i.

Evolution vs Rock ‘n Sock Connection – Handicap Tag Team Match

Well, after that fiery promo, Evolution’s reception is a little flat. Flair gets the best pop of the Evolution members. Foley gets a really great pop, being the hometown boy. Rock gets a great pop.

While I enjoyed this match, this was not one of Foley’s better matches. Unlike HBK, who came back after four years and didn’t seem to have missed a step, Foley’s time away from competition showed here. This is when Flair’s decline was also starting to show a bit. Still, this was a good match.

Winner: Evolution by pinfall. Mick is visibly upset, as is the Rock. The crowd is applauding both men and Rock joins them. Rock-n-Sock shake hands and hug.

Highlights:

  1. Rock’s promo.
  2. Rock vs Ric Flair
  3. Foley hitting a crossbody on Ric Flair
  4. Rock vs Batista
  5. Rock vs Orton

Comment: This would be the Rock’s last WrestleMania for seven years. He would return as the Host of WrestleMania XXVII in 2011 and embark on a multi-WrestleMania feud with John Cena, culminating at WrestleMania XXIX.

We get a recap of the Hall of Fame ceremony, first time that the whole thing was shown to fans. Our inductees were: Superstar Billy Graham, Sgt. Slaughter, Tito Santana, Harley Race, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, Big John Studd, Pete Rose, Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine, Don Muraco, Junkyard Dog,  and  Bobby Heenan. Mean Gene does the first Hall of Fame reveal. The crowd does the ‘Weasel’ chant and Heenan reacts accordingly.

Playboy Evening Gown Match: Torrie Wilson & Sable vs Miss Jackie & Stacy Kiebler

Sable gets little reaction, Torrie gets a good reaction. Miss Jackie gets no reaction. Stacy gets the best reaction. The best that can be said about this match is that it was short and the ladies didn’t wrestle in heels, or evening dresses for that matter.

Winner: Torrie and Sable by pinfall

Comment: What did I just watch and why was it on a WrestleMania card?

We get a video of Axxess, which looks so fun, like always.

Backstage we get a moment between Benoit and Eddie. Eddie recounts their history, being like familia and being Eddie’s vato, and that no matter what happens in the Triple Threat Match, he’s proud of him. Benoit is touched but tells Eddie not to talk to him like that. Eddie points out who Benoit is up against: Triple H AND HBK and that no one really expects Benoit to win. Benoit is pissed and blows his stack a little, saying that he believes in himself and that that’s all that matters and this is his night.

Eddie starts laughing, much to Benoit’s confusion, and says that what he was trying to do was fire Benoit up. Funny, he seemed to just be making him mad. Benoit says that tonight, Eddie will walk out of MSG as WWE Champion and he will walk out World Heavyweight Champion.

Cruiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Chavo Guerrero, Jr (with Chavo Classic) vs Akio vs Billy Kidman vs Funaki vs Jamie Noble vs Nunzio vs Rey Mysterio vs Shannon Moore vs Tajiri vs Ultimo Dragon

This is a Gauntlet match for all intents and purposes. A lot of the Cruiserweights get minimal reactions, Mysterio gets a pretty good pop and is dressed like The Flash. Chavo and Chavo Classic come out first to boos, but because he’s Champion, Chavo gets to enter last. This was a great match, very fast paced, but very good.

Winner: Chavo Jr with an assist by Chavo Classic

Highlights: The whole match. Mysterio taking out Chavo Classic.

Comment: I enjoyed this match, stupid finish aside.

Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg. Special Guest Referee: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Austin gets a great pop. Lesnar comes out to boos, Goldberg gets a mixed reaction. I was not impressed with this match, and apparently the crowd wasn’t either, judging by the chants and reactions to Goldberg and Lesnar.

Winner: Goldberg by pinfall.

Highlights: Austin stunning Goldberg and Lesnar.

Comment: This would be the last WrestleMania for Lesnar and Goldberg for several years. Both left the company after this match and wouldn’t return until 2012 and 2016.

Vince comes out and thanks the crowd for their support over the years. It’s always nice to see Vince outside his Mr. McMahon persona.

Fatal 4-Way Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty vs APA vs The Basham Brothers vs The World’s Greatest Tag Team

WGTT get a good reaction, so do the APA. Basham Brothers get no reaction. Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty get a good reaction. Like the RAW match, this was quick, but pretty good. WGTT was amazing to watch.

Winner: Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty retain by pinning one of the Bashams afterwards, they celebrate by dancing in the ring, to the joy of the crowd.

Highlight: Rikishi and Scotty dancing.

Comment: I enjoyed that match.

We get a promo about Edge’s return from neck surgery.

WWE Women’s Championship Match – Title vs Hair: Victoria vs Molly Holly

Molly comes out to little reaction. Victoria gets a great pop. This was a really good match. Molly and Victoria work really well together and it was an honest back and forth match.

Winner: Victoria by pinfall. Per the stipulation, Molly has to get her head shaved. Understandably, Molly isn’t eager to get her head shaved and so tries to bail out, Victoria chases her and they fight on the ramp, and Molly gets the upper hand decides to shave Victoria’s head. She manages to get off a few locks when the clippers jam and Victoria comes to. Molly gets knocked out and given the GI Jane treatment.

Highlights: Molly getting her head shaved.

Comment: This was a really great match, stipulation aside.

We get a video recap of the Eddie/Angle feud. I hated Angle SO much during this feud.

After the video, Victoria is nearly done with Molly, who looks ready to die.

WWE Championship Match: Eddie Guerrero vs Kurt Angle

Angle is out first to the usual ‘You suck’ chants. Eddie comes out in a Cadillac low rider to a nice pop. To no big surprise, this match is amazing. These two worked extremely well together and were well-matched.

 Winner: Eddie Guerrero by pinfall after tricking Angle into thinking his ankle was hurt and wrapping his legs around the ropes. Angle, who has been left holding Eddie’s boot, is livid.

Highlights: Eddie lying, cheating, and stealing a win.

Comment: This is a match of the night contender.

We get a recap of the Undertaker/Kane feud.

The Streak: Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) vs Kane

Kane gets little reaction and is trash talking towards the backstage entrance when the lights go out. The Deadman Cometh. In an entrance comparable to his WrestleMania XIV entrance, Taker is first preceded by Paul Bearer (who gets a great pop) and the druids, who line the ramp. Undertaker comes out his Deadman gimmick, which is a mixture of his various gimmicks over the years. Needless to say, the pop for Undertaker is tremendous.

This is not a technical masterpiece or a hidden gem. This was a fistfight, but a very good one.

Winner: Undertaker by pinfall. The Streak is 12-0

Highlights: Taker’s entrance.

Comment: While this match wasn’t a technical masterpiece, it told a good story and was fun to watch.

We get a video recap of the Benoit/HBK/Triple H feud. I really hated HBK for trying to rob Benoit of his earned title shot.

Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H vs Shawn Michaels vs Chris Benoit

HBK is out first and the pop is good, but not what I expected. Benoit is out next to a good pop. Triple H gets the loudest of the pops.

Winner: Chris Benoit by submission. Afterwards, as Benoit celebrates, Eddie Guerrero comes into the ring and applauds, proud of what his friend has finally accomplished. Together, the two friends celebrate the night that saw them both walk out as champions.

Comment: This was my favorite WrestleMania moment for a long time and it still brings back fond memories of checking WWE.com and jumping up and down when I saw that Eddie and Benoit had both won.  Even knowing how the story would end for both guys hasn’t changed that, I welled up watching this match for the first time in several years because they were both so happy that night and I was happy for them.

Overall Comments

So, did WrestleMania XX live up to its great looking card? Overall, I’d say it lived up to it quite well. This was a really good show, if a little long. I will say that either the audience was making the wrestlers work very hard for pops or there was something up with the background audio on WWE Network, because the pops were quiet or almost non-existent for almost everyone but the very top stars.

 Stinkers: Playboy Evening Gown Match

Match of the Night: 

  • RAW: Triple Threat Match, Women’s match
  • SmackDown: WWE Championship Match

 Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this show. A lot of great stories were told, and we had several great moments.


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