Though Safeco Field is home to MLB’s Seattle Mariners, it was the WWE slugging homeruns last night at WrestleMania XIX. Criticized for not making the most of the talent it has, the WWE had all the bases covered and proved that if the entire organization puts forth the effort, they can deliver a superior sports entertainment product. WrestleMania XIX was not only a outstanding show but it will surely go down as one of the best WrestleManias ever.
Veteran and rookie stars alike combined to put forth an intense four hour extravaganza. Many of the WWE’s seasoned talent like The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, who may have been written off by some as over the hill, proved that they can still hang with the best of them. Young guns like Team Angle, Brock Lesnar and Matt Hardy unmistakably showed that they are more than capable of carrying the company forth into what maybe an uncertain future for the pro wrestling business.
WrestleMania XIX was a case of saving the best for last as Brock Lesnar and an injured WWE Champion Kurt Angle merged their authentic amateur wrestling skills with sports entertainment maneuvers to produce a exemplary showdown. Performing with two herniated disks that require surgery, Kurt Angle held nothing back and neither did his opponent Lesnar. There was no change in either’s style as Angle did all the moves he is famous for while Lesnar did the same. Fans in the know about Angle’s health problems, appeared to appreciate his efforts. One fan held high a sign which thanked Angle for the match.
Angle though may not be the only one who left the match injured. In executing a Shooting Star Press off the top rope, Lesnar landed awkwardly, his head ramming into the mat. Lesnar seemed to be groggy at the conclusion of the match propping himself up in a corner while he and Angle hugged. Lesnar became the new WWE Champion after slamming Angle into the mat with two separate F5s.
In spite of growing concern amongst fans that he is using the influence he has with WWE management to sustain his lengthy term as WWE World Champion, Triple H defeated challenger Booker T. at WrestleMania putting to rest any notion of a Shawn Michaels like reign for the five time WCW Champion. Triple H’s manager, Ric Flair, signed Booker’s death warrant by slamming his knee into the ringsteps early on in the match. With Triple H slapping on an Indian Death Lock and other maneuvers to punish his “injured” knee, Booker never fully recovered. In an awkward and sloppy ending to an otherwise solid bout, Booker’s knee gave way while he ran into the ropes allowing Triple H to Pedigree him for the three count.
In their battle over pride and not championship gold, The Rock was the surprise victor in his tussle with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. It took three…count them…three successive Rock Bottoms for the former People’s Champ to put away The Texas Rattlesnake. Fans have witnessed these two collide on many occasions yet both grapplers still gave it their all in a knock down, drag out match which featured The Rock slipping on and wrestling in Austin’s trademark leather vest to further humiliate him.
A low point of show was the Street Fight between WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Hollywood Hulk Hogan. McMahon’s embarrassingly weak punches, stomps and clotheslines confirmed why he should never don wrestling tights again. McMahon’s shabby in-ring skills combined with Hogan’s broken down body made for really bad viewing. Though it wowed the crowd in attendance, McMahon’s leg drop off a ladder onto a prone Hogan stretched out on an announce table, did not play well on the televised broadcast where viewers could see the actual distance McMahon covered in his leap. The blood did flow freely though with McMahon and Hogan wearing crimson masks after working each other over with steel chairs and a lead pipe.
About the only big surprise was an appearance by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper who leapt into the ring as McMahon and Hogan lay weakened, spit on them both and then clobbered Hogan with the steel pipe. One assumes that the hidden sub-text is that Piper takes great offence at Hogan and McMahon claiming to have been the driving forces behind the eighties wrestling boom of which he was an crucial part. It is not clear whether Piper has returned to continue his on-going feud with Hogan or whether it was a one-time deal to bring some excitement to an otherwise sluggish bout.
Hogan managed to shrug off Piper’s attack, the “evil ref” who thwarted him at the last WWE pay-per-view, “Hulk up” and nail McMahon with two of his patented Hogan Leg Drops before he covered him. Vince’s son Shane then came down to the ring. Illustrating that his beef was only with Vince, Hogan held open the ropes for Shane so that he could check on his fallen father.
Rumours of Goldberg signing with the WWE were confirmed at WrestleMania XIX with a promo that aired before the title match between Booker T. and Triple H. The gist of it was that Goldberg would be a major part of next month’s pay-per-view.
The next WWE pay-per-view is BackLash on April 27th.
WrestleMania XIX Results
- During the singing of the national anthem, many photos were shown of the coalition forces fighting in Iraq.
Rey Mysterio Jr. (challenger) versus Matt Hardy (champion) (WWE Cruiserweight Title Match)
- Fantastic opening bout with Mysterio rocking the house with his Daredevil-like wrestling gear. Moore interfered to the point of stopping a 619 and putting Matt’s foot on the rope to foil a pin by Mysterio. Matt holds onto the strap by folding Mysterio into a Victory Roll while also holding onto the ropes. Wicked match but way too short.
- Winner: … and still WWE Cruiserweight Champion…Matt Hardy at 5 minutes and 37 seconds. .
- Match Rating: 7 / 10.
- A limo with the Catfight bimbos rolls up. They blither on about who created Hulk-A-Mania…McMahon or Hogan. Whatever. We see Nathan Jones punked out by Big Show and A-Train on Sunday Night Heat. Apparently, The Undertaker will have to go it alone tonight.
- Limp Bizkit plays Taker’s theme. They are announced as the WWE’s “favourite band in the whole world”. All of the naughty lyrics get bleeped out.
The Undertaker versus A-Train, Big Show
- You just know you are locked into a kicking show when even this match turns out okay. Taker rides down with an American flag on his bike. We are told that a nephew of his is in the forces and fighting in Iraq. Taker is dedicating this match to him. Undertaker but his doubters to rest by bopping between A-Train and Big Show at a breakneck pace. I haven’t seen Taker this lively and mobile in years. Nathan Jones appears at 9:03. Big Show leaves the ring to cut him off. Jones gives Big Show a spin-kick in the chops knocking his reportedly 500 pound ass to the ground. This gives Taker the opportunity to Tombstone Piledrive A-Train.
- Winner: The Undertaker at 9 minutes and 42 seconds.
- Match Rating: 6 / 10.
- The Catfight bimbos bump into Torrie and Stacey. Another vapid discussion occurs over the originator of Hulk-A-Mania. Stacey blathers something about a new marketing campaign. Footage from Sunday Night Heat airs of The Dudleys interfering in the Tag Title match between Kane, RVD and Storm, Morley. The Dudleys brain Storm and RVD before laying Storm on RVD for the pinfall.
Trish Stratus (challenger) versus Jazz (challenger) versus Victoria (champion) (WWE Women’s World Heavyweight Title Match)
- Congrats to the ladies. This is probably one of the best women’s matches in WWE history. Stratus takes her lumps as Jazz and Victoria double-team her throughout the match. Viewers get an eyeful when Trish pulls down Victoria’s pants as she rolls her up. Trish takes out Steven Richards with Stratusfaction when he tries to interfere at 6:55. Trish goes on to take home the strap.
- Winner: … and new WWE Women’s World Heavyweight Champion…Trish Stratus at 7 minutes and 17 seconds .
- Match Rating: 7 / 10.
- The Rock yacks with Coachman. During his time in Hollywood, The Rock has learned that Acts One and Two don’t matter. It is Act Three that counts. He will beat the “bald-headed bastard” tonight and then he will have finally done it all in the WWE.
Los Guerreros (challengers) versus Chris Benoit, Rhyno (challengers) versus Team Angle (champions) (WWE Tag Team Titles Match)
- How did these guys do it? Full-tilt, non-stop action from the get-go. Absolutely amazing. Every team member had their chance to shine. In the end, Rhyno Gores Chavo. Eddie pulls Rhyno out of the ring. This permits Shelton to pick Chavo’s bones and cover him for the 1…2…3.
- Winners: …and still WWE World Tag Team Champions…Team Angle at 8 minutes and 48 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7.5 / 10.
- More moronic monotony from the Catfight bimbos and Stacey, Torrie. They decide it is best to settle their differences in bed. Okay. Fine by me. Smirk.
Shawn Michaels versus Chris JerichoJericho puts some pain on HBK.
- Pretty good but could’ve been better as it lacked some intensity and ruthlessness considering Jericho promised to end HBK’s career at WrestleMania. HBK has an elaborate entrance which infuriates Jericho. Match begins with counter after counter. HBK skins the cat on Jericho pulling him over the top rope and to the floor. Jericho telegraphs a HBK drop kick and wraps him into the Walls on the floor then posts Michaels back. Jericho works on HBK’s back with a hanging suplex, a backbreaker and another posting for good measure. Jericho lands Sweet Chin Music on HBK. HBK pops out. HBK puts The Walls on Jericho. Jericho powers out sending HBK into the post. In an amazing feat, HBK turns a Super-plex off the top rope by Jericho into a flying crossbody. HBK lands a flying elbow smash but misses Sweet Chin Music as Jericho puts him into The Walls. HBK makes it to the ropes to break the hold. HBK outsmarts Jericho with a quick roll-up to get the win. Jericho feigns humility by offering to shake Michaels’ hand. As HBK reaches out, Jericho kicks him squarely in the “family jewels”. Looks like this feud ain’t over yet. Perhaps a cage match at BackLash?
- Winner: HBK at 22 minutes and 34 seconds .
- Match Rating: 7.5 / 10.
- McMahon is shown talking to the official who screwed Hogan at the last pay-per-view. Goldberg promo airs saying he has been in “exile”. The attendance is announced as 54,097. It is a little short of the 55,000 figure the WWE has been stating leading up to the show. The Catfight bimbos, Torrie and Stacey roll around and hit each other with pillows on a big bed as Coachman calls the action. Eventually, they turn on Coachman and strip off his pants. The least said about that, the better. Booker T. (challenger) versus Triple H (champion) (WWE World Heavyweight Title Match)
- Winner: …and still WWE World Heavyweight Champion…Triple H at 18 minutes and 45 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7.5 / 10.
- It is announced that WrestleMania 20 will be held at MSG in New York.Vince McMahon versus Hollywood Hulk Hogan
- Winner: Hollywood Hulk Hogan at 20 minutes and 47 seconds .
- Match Rating: 4 / 10.
The Rock versus “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
- Winner: The Rock at 17 minutes and 55 seconds.
- Match Rating: 8 / 10.
Brock Lesnar (challenger) versus Kurt Angle (champion) (WWE Championship Match)
- Winner: … and new WWE Champion…Brock Lesnar at 21 minutes and 07 seconds .
- Match Rating: 9 / 10.
- Total Event Time: Three hours and 55 minutes.
- Overall Event Rating: 10 / 10.