WrestleMania XX was promoted with the slogan: “Where it all begins again.” After last night’s positively abominable pay-per-view broadcast, it is apparent what the ‘it’ actually means. It means more relentless frustration for wrestling fans as the thoroughly clueless WWE continues on their course of utter self-destruction.
One of the most awful and dullest WrestleManias in recent memory, the anniversary show was a celebration of everything that has led to the wrestling promotion’s tailspin in popularity. From the cookie-cutter matches to the lack of storyline continuity, WrestleMania XX did nothing to satisfy long-time fans or to bring new ones into the fold. In fact, it probably served to turn more people off their embarrassingly inferior product which shows no signs of improving in the near future as many of their top superstars are leaving or taking time off from the organization.
The WWE’s failure time and time again to deliver when they needed to the most and their total disconnection from their fan base was never more evident than at WrestleMania XX where disappointment reigned supreme. The mediocre bouts all merged into one big, tiresome, draining blur leaving the broadcast with few highlights except for John Cena giving the Big Show two FU’s, a tortured Molly Holly getting her haircut, Trish Stratus turning heel and Chris Benoit celebrating his WWE World Heavyweight Title win with Eddie Guerrero.
Though World Championship Wrestling acknowledged Chris Benoit’s phenomenal work rate and skill with a World Title victory in 2000 when he defeated Sid Vicious, the WWE played his WrestleMania victory as his first such win. Unfortunately, the messy Triple Threat match with champion Triple H and Shawn Michaels was not even close to the high caliber matches the Canadian Wolverine is used to participating or is known for. Instead of employing some creativity to propagate the one-on-one battles, the bookers were content to engage the knock ’em-out-of-the-ring-for-the-time-being strategy. That decision in itself made the resulting saves so predictable. The first big knock ’em-out-of-the-ring-for-the-time-being move came when in an act of unity, Triple H and HBK double-suplexed Benoit through the Spanish announce team’s table.
With Benoit out cold, a posted and bloody HBK taunted HHH in the middle of the ring. Minutes later, HHH would be posted and come up bleeding as well. Out of nowhere, Benoit saved HBK from a HHH Pedigree. HBK would return the favour by giving Benoit Sweet Chin Music as he wrapped up HHH in a Sharpshooter. Benoit would backdrop HBK over the top rope as he went for another superkick. With HBK out of the equation, HHH attempted a Pedigree on Benoit. Benoit reversed it into a Crippler Crossface. After almost fading away entirely, HHH escaped the Crossface only to have it applied again. Triple H tapped out handing Benoit the win.
The heavily pushed Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg bout was an unmitigated catastrophe which sparked ‘Boooring!’ cat-calls throughout Madison Square Garden as fans berated the muscle-bound grapplers for engaging in a five minute staredown. Aware of Lesnar’s rumoured intention to quit the WWE after the match, fans chanted ‘You sold out!’ and sarcastically sang him goodbye. In a rare moment, commentator Jim Ross even acknowledged the Internet gossip on air and termed Lesnar’s recent conduct as ‘disappointing’. Goldberg and Lesnar locked up in a test of strength several times and traded shoulder block after shoulder block. That monotonous series of maneuvers just enraged fans even more. Goldberg’s Spear and Lesnar’s F5 gained them two counts. Both argued the counts with special guest referee – ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. While Lesnar was distracted with Austin, Goldberg landed a Spear and a Jackhammer to put Lesnar away. A frustrated Lesnar flipped off the crowd and was summarily Stunned by Austin. ‘Stone Cold’ then did the same to Goldberg.
The highly-anticipated return of The Undertaker was in the end just a cruel joke. Fans who had waited months to see Mark Calloway reprise the ‘Dead Man’ persona that made him famous, were treated to him doing nothing more then Paul Bearer being at ringside and Calloway wearing a black cowboy hat and trench-coat over his ‘Biker Taker’ attire. All that ludicrous wardrobe did was make him look like a slightly younger and taller version of Terry Funk without the branding iron or lasso. To add insult to injury, the fraud of a ‘resurrection’ was followed by a recycled, humdrum match against his ‘brother’ Kane.
The next WWE pay-per-view is BackLash on April 18th
‘WWE WrestleMania XX’ Results
- The Harlem Boys Choir sang ‘America The Beautiful’ as images of American troops played over the video screens. At the end of a ‘Mania promo, Vince stood with Shane and his new baby. Hmmm. Didn’t take long for that McMahon to make it on a WWE broadcast.
Big Show (champion) versus John Cena (challenger) (WWE United States Title Match)
- A very good opener with Show and Lesnar playing the ‘David versus Goliath’ angle. Big Show steals a page out of Sgt. Slaughter’s book and gives Cena a Cobra Clutch. In an awesome display, John Cena scoops up Show twice, holds him on his back hefting the weight and delivers two FU’s. The second one wins Cena the match but comes after he went for his chain and was admonished by the ref. When the official was busy putting the chain back in the corner, Cena clocked Show with his brass knuckles and then the FU.
- Winner: …and new WWE United States Champion…John Cena at 9 minutes and 14 seconds.
- Match Rating: 4 / 10.
- Coachman has a meeting with Eric Bischoff. Bischoff tells Coachman that he has heard The Undertaker is in the arena. Wonderful news flash, Easy E. Bischoff claims there has been some weird noises and wants Coachman to find ‘Taker. Coachman ain’t down with that. Bischoff insists. Reluctantly, Coachman goes off on his quest.
- Orton, Flair and Batista cut a promo in the same stairwell Orton kicked Mick Foley down as a video package airs of the feud. Orton: ‘Your time has passed Mick Foley. It is just Evolution,’ says Orton.
La Resistance (challengers) versus Booker T., Rob Van Dam (champions) versus Garrison Cade, Mark Jindrak versus The Dudley Boys (WWE World Tag Team Title Match)
- The WWE finally explains the rules. It is a four corners match. First team to score a pinfall or submission wins the belts. Pretty unexciting stuff…unless RVD is in the picture. Conway messes up some pretty simple moves on Booker. Garrison Cade stops The Dudley 3-D. Conway fights Booker T. He gets scissor kicked. RVD lands the Five Star Frog Splash for the victory.
- Winners: …and still WWE World Tag Team Champions…Booker T and RVD at 7 minutes and 51 seconds.
- Match Rating: 2 / 10.
- Coachman is still looking for the Dead Man. He hears some noises behind a sliding door. Mean Gene steps out with lipstick all over him. He fumbles for an explanation. Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan is out next. His shirt is untucked. He claims they were playing poker. Mae Young and Moolah open the door, ravish Heenan and Mean Gene…then…pull them back into the room for more. Yikes!
Christian versus Chris Jericho
- Jericho doesn’t enter the ring with a mad on for Christian. Instead, the two wrestled. Strange that, considering what Christian did to Trish. You would’ve thought Jericho would enter fists-a-flyin’. No dice. Though Jericho and Christian didn’t bust out like luchadores, they do offer up some strong offence with Christian employing a Texas Clover Leaf and a swinging top rope DDT on Jericho. There is also some wonderful work on series of near falls. Trish arrives at ringside at 13:37. Christian spike DDTs Jericho and yanks Trish into the ring. Jericho clotheslines him out. As Jericho attended to Trish in a corner, she back-elbows him thinking he was Christian. Christian re-enters the ring and rolls up a stunned Jericho for the pinfall. Trish tries to explain things to a confused Jericho. Suddenly, she slaps and punches Jericho in the face. Christian spikes Jericho into the mat. Christian and Trish stand over Jericho smiling. Jericho awakes from DreamLand to see Christian and Trish kissing at the entrance way and mocking him. Jericho seethes.
- Winner: Christian at 15 minutes and 3 seconds .
- Match Rating: 7 / 10.
- Foley and The Rock cut a promo backstage. The Rock keeps telling Foley that this is his night. Seeing The Hurricane and Rosey, Rock calls them Hamburger and Grimace. They also greet Snuka and Don Muraco.
The Rock and Sock Connection versus Evolution
- Way better than fans thought it would be with the best match-ups coming between The Rock and Ric Flair. The Rock does most of the work here with Foley performing some familiar Cactus Jack moves such as the flying elbow off the ring apron. A funny bit had Ric Flair going for his version of The People’s Elbow…complete with a ‘Nature Boy’ strut. He missed though while The Rock landed his mocking the strut. Foley was hot-tagged in. As he prepared to Socco Orton, Orton caught him in a RKO from out of nowhere and score the pin. Foley looked devastated. The Rock disappointed until he began applauding Foley and hugged him.
- Winners: Evolution at 17 minutes.
- Match Rating: 6 / 10.
- Mean Gene introduces the ‘class of 2004’, Hall Of Fame Inductees. John Studd is represented by his son and JYD, his daughter. When Race was introduced, Mean Gene made reference to his NWA title wins. Nice to see that acknowledged.
Sable, Torrie versus Stacy, Jackie (Playboy Evening Gown Match)
- Sable feels ‘restricted’ by her gown and strips down to her bra and panties to wrestle. Everyone else follows suit. While battling, Torrie and Jackie rolled onto the ref. Taz called the official a lucky SOB. Torrie rolled up Jackie and adjusted her panties.
- Winners: Torrie and Sable at 2 minutes and 41 seconds.
- Match Rating: 0/ 10.
- Eddie enters Benoit’s dressing room to give him a pep talk. Benoit shouted that he believed in himself and that’s all that mattered. Satisfied that his plan to inspire some passion in Benoit was achieved, Eddie says that he knows Benoit will emerge as the champion.
- Though all the competitors are at ringside, only two wrestlers will battle at a time. Once one wins, another grappler enters. Quick paced action throughout but since the matches are incredibly short and really flushes any kind of realism, the whole concept seems quite stupid and leaves the crowd begging for more. Ultimo Dragon (who slipped and fell down during his entrance) beats Shannon Moore. Noble beats Dragon rather quickly. Noble pins Funaki in no time flat. Taz thinks it might be a new WrestleMania record. Nunzio is counted out when Noble hits him with a dive through the ropes. Kidman beats Noble with the BK Bomb. Mysterio (dressed as ‘The Flash’) beats Kidman. Mysterio ducks the ‘green mist’ and Tajiri hits Akiro. Mysterio rolls up Tajiri and Akiro is blinded and can’t participate in the bout. Mysterio battle Chavo. Mysterio dove into Chavo Sr. at ringside. Chavo Sr. holds onto Chavo’s arm to assist him in gaining leverage from outside the ring so that Mysterio can be pinned.
- Winner: ….and still Cruiserweight Champion…Chavo Guerrero Jr. at 11 minutes and 31 seconds.
- Match Rating: 1 / 10. (Good effort by the talent, ridiculous booking).
Bill Goldberg versus Brock Lesnar
- Winner: Goldberg at 13 minutes and 43 seconds.
- Match Rating: 0 / 10.
- It is announced that WrestleMania 21 will be at the Staples Center in L.A.
- Vince addresses the crowd and thanks them for making the WWE and WrestleMania a success over the years. I thought he was supposed to be a heel’ Stupid me.
WGTT (challengers) versus Scotty 2 Hotty, Rikishi (champions) versus The APA (challengers) versus The Basham Brothers (challengers) (World Tag Team Title Match)
- Complete waste of time. Looked like it was thrown together 3 minutes before the bell rang. Rikishi sits on one of the Bashams to retain the titles. Scotty does The Work after the match is over. He and Rikishi dance. Someone tell me why the WWE keeps pushing these two goofy personas who have overstayed their welcome with fans years ago’
- Winners: …and still WWE World Tag Team Champions…Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi at 6 minutes and 88 seconds.
- Match Rating: 2 / 10.
- A darker and more sinister Edge promo airs. You know, like when he first entered into the WWE and they were trying to make him into the next Sting. Edge is coming. Jesse Ventura wastes more satellite time by interviewing Donald Trump. Trump agrees to back any Ventura campaign. ‘I think we need a wrestler in the White House in 2008,’ says Ventura.
Molly Holly (Challenger) versus Victoria (champion) (WWE Women’s Heavyweight Title Match)
- Some hard-hitting action but way too short to build anything. Out of nowhere, Victoria rolls up Molly for the pinfall in an odd ending. Molly and Victoria fight back to a barbers chair sitting at the entrance way. At first, Molly puts Victoria in the chair after bouncing her head off the rampway but Molly can’t get the electric razor to work. Victoria creams Molly’s head into a table, straps her to the chair and starts cutting. Molly looks like Ripley from the ‘Alien’ series when all is said and done. Lawler and Ross spent most of the match talking about panties…which was pretty insulting. It seemed as if they could care less about the match itself.
- Winner: …and still WWE Women’s Champion…Victoria at 5 minutes and 4 seconds.
- Match Rating: 2 / 10.
Eddie Guerrero (champion) versus Kurt Angle (challenger) (WWE Championship Title Match)
- For some reason, Eddie and Angle were kinda lethargic at the start. It took some time before things went into full-throttle mode. Most of what you would expect from these two technicians with not many surprises. While in the Ankle Lock, Eddie sends Angle to the floor. He loosens his wrestling boot and plays possum. When Angle comes in to lock it on again, Eddie kicks Angle and the boot off. Angle is left holding the boot, Eddie rolls him up and gets the 1-2-3 even though both men were wrapped up in the ropes.
- Winner: …and still WWE Champion…Eddie Guerrero at 21 minutes and 36 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7 / 10.
The Undertaker versus Kane
- Paul Bearer, with urn in hand, leads some Druids to the ring who hold up their torches so Taker can walk under them. Punches, kicks and clotheslines…with the occasional Chokeslam. You’ve seen it all before. Taker plunks Kane with the Tombstone Piledriver.
- Winner: The Undertaker at 6 minutes and 36 seconds.
- Match Rating: 2 / 10.
Shawn Michaels (challenger) versus Chris Benoit (challenger) versus Triple H (champion) (WWE World Heavyweight Title Match)
- Winner: …and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion…Chris Benoit…at 24 minutes and 51 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7.5 / 10.
- Total Event Time: Four hours and 45 minutes.
- Overall Event Rating: 4 / 10.