wrestling / Video Reviews

WrestleMania XIX Review

March 25, 2009 | Posted by Rob McNew

-3/30/2003 from Safeco Field in Seattle, WA

-Hosted by Jim Ross, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Michael Cole, & Tazz

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. Matt Hardy Version 1.0 (w. Shannon Moore) ©

Rey Mysterio comes out in Daredevil themed attire. Shannon Moore tries to distract Mysterio, but gets chased out and Hardy’s attempt to jump from behind is met with a backdrop sending him to the floor. Mysterio takes both men out with a corkscrew plancha and throws Hardy back inside for a two count. Hardy charges into the boot of Mysterio who hits a hurracanrana and a dropkick. Mysterio tries to sunset flip Hardy to the floor, but Moore breaks it up with a kick to the gut. Hardy drops Mysterio on the barricade, and throws him back inside for two. Pumphandle slam connects for Hardy getting another two count. Matt chokes out Mysterio on the second rope, and when the ref pulls him off Moore gets a few shots in. Hardy hits the ropes and tries to drop down on Mysterio, but comes up empty. Mysterio springboards off the second rope, but gets kicked. Hardy goes for a twist of fate, but Mysterio counters into a sunset flip for two. Hardy fires Mysterio into the buckle and hits a side effect getting another two count. Hardy connects with a snap mare, and then locks in a double wristlock. Mysterio tries to kick out, but Hardy fires back with a chop in the corner. Mysterio gets the boots up in the corner on a Hardy charge, and a second Hardy charge sees him run into the ringpost shoulder first. Rey springboards in with a seated senton, and then another springboard crossbody gets a two count. Mysterio hits a hurracanrana and a DDT for a two count. Rey sets up Hardy for the 619, but Moore trips him up for the floor. Hardy delivers the twist of fate, but Rey is out at two. Rey gets set up on the second rope, and Hardy goes for a splash mountain, but Rey counters with a hurracanrana. Rey covers but Moore puts Hardy’s leg on the bottom rope to break the count. Moore comes up to the apron, and Hardy tries to attack Rey from behind but ends up taking out Moore. Rey then is able to set up and deliver the 619. Rey goes for the west coast pop, but Hardy ducks it. Rey tries for a victory roll, but Matt sits back on it and grabs the bottom rope to pick up the win at 5:37. Criminally short, but while they were going this was fantastic.

Winner: STILL WWE Cruiserweight Champion-Matt Hardy Version 1.0 (Pinfall-Victory Roll Counter **1/2)

-The Miller Lite cat fight girls arrive and argue over what the real main event is.

-Before the show on Sunday Night Heat The Big Show and A-Train take out Nathan Jones sparing us from having to see him do what can only be loosely interpreted as wrestling tonight.

Handicap Match: The Undertaker vs. The Big Show & A-Train

Limp Bizkit performs Rollin’ live for Taker’s entrance. This was initially scheduled as a tag team match featuring Taker and Nathan Jones against Show and Train, but Jones was so bad they didn’t even want to put him on the show so they took him out in the aforementioned pre show angle. Show tries to attack from behind, but Taker pulls down the top rope and sends him to the floor. Train tries to sneak in, but gets met with a chokeslam. Show pulls Taker off during the count and brings him to the floor. Taker delivers a right hand and heads back inside, but Train also bails. Show heads in to start the match. Show fires Taker into the corner, but Taker fires out with a big boot and gets a series of blows to both men. Train tags in and hits the ropes delivering a shoulderblock. Train hits the ropes again, and this time after a leapfrog gets an armdrag. Taker delivers old school to Train, and knocks Show off the apron. Taker turns around and hits the derailer, but instead of covering he throws him to the floor. Show rams Taker into the ringpost, and then press slams him into the barricade. Show sends Taker back inside, and Train slingshots him into the second rope getting a two count. Show tags in and stomps at the knee of Taker. Taker fires back with a back elbow, but runs into a chokeslam attempt. Taker reverses that into a Fujiwara armbar. Train tries to break it up, but Taker locks him in a cross armbreaker. Show breaks that up with a legdrop and the heels put the boots to Taker. Show delivers a trio of headbutts, and locks in an abdominal stretch. Tag to Train who comes in putting the boots to Taker, and then locks in an abdominal stretch of his own. Taker delivers a right hand, and then reverses the abdominal stretch. Train breaks that, but Taker delivers a back suplex. Train comes back with a clothesline after Show delivers a cheapshot from the apron. Taker comes hammering back with a series of fists, and delivers a DDT off the ropes. Show breaks up the count at two, and Taker delivers a series of blows to him. Taker delivers a series of splashes to both men, and goes for a chokeslam on Show. He lets go and delivers a big boot to Train, and follows up with flying clothesline to Show. Taker turns around into a big boot from Train, and Show connects with a chokeslam. Nathan Jones runs out, and meets Show in the aisle with a spin kick. Train goes for the cover and gets two. Jones runs into the ring and delivers a big boot to Train somehow not drawing the DQ. Taker finishes from there with a tombstone at 9:45. Why Jones was allowed to run into the ring in full view of the referee and boot A-Train in the face is beyond me. Taker tried to carry the two slugs to a watchable match, but it just wasn’t there.

Winner: The Undertaker (Pins A-Train-Tombstone *)

-The Miller Lite Cat Fight Girls run into Torrie Wilson and Stacy Kiebler.

-Earlier on Heat Chief Morley and Lance Storm retained the World Tag Team Titles over Kane and Rob Van Dam with an assist from The Dudleys.

WWE Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match: Trish Stratus vs. Jazz vs. Victoria (w. Steven Richards) ©

Jazz attacks Victoria before the bell, and delivers a dropkick to Trish for a two count. Trish delivers a Lou Thesz press to Jazz, and delivers a boot in the corner. Victoria pulls Trish to the floor, and then fires Jazz to the floor as well. Trish delivers a few blows to Jazz, but Victoria attacks her from behind and throws her inside. Victoria flips in with a legdrop, but Jazz pulls her to the floor and delivers a legdrop to Trish for a two count. Victoria and Jazz deliver a double shoulderbreaker to Trish, and then Victoria delivers a powerslam to Jazz for two. Victoria buries some shoulderblocks to Jazz in the corner, but Trish sneaks up with a rollup, which gets two. Victoria comes back with a clothesline, and goes for a backdrop. Trish blocks that with a kick, but Jazz attacks her from behind and delivers a powerslam for two. Trish fights back delivering a double noggin knocker to the heels, but Victoria grabs her from behind for Jazz. Jazz goes for a spin kick, but Trish ducks and she takes out Victoria. Trish goes for the victory roll on Jazz, which gets two, and Victoria then breaks up a pin attempt after a chick kick. Trish charges into a knee from Victoria, but comes back with a hurracanrana. Trish fires Victoria to the floor, but Jazz takes her down and locks in the half crab. Jazz turns it into a STF, but the ref gets tied up with Victoria so Stevie runs in and breaks that up. Victoria fires Jazz to the floor and gets rolled up by Trish. Victoria rolls through while Trish grabs the trunks flashing Victoria’s coin slot to the crowd for another two count. Jazz comes back in with a clothesline to Victoria, and then locks in a double chicken wing on Trish. Victoria delivers a kick to the face of Jazz, and goes for a moonsault but comes up empty. Victoria backdrops Jazz to the floor, and with the referee distracted Stevie tries to come in again with a chair. He misses Trish and hits the ropes taking himself, and then Trish delivers the Stratusfaction to him. Victoria comes in then and tries to set up for the widow’s peak, but Trish counters out. Victoria hits the ropes, but runs into a chick kick, which gives Trish the win and the title at 7:17. Take out Lita and add Victoria, give them a better placement on the card and the ladies provide a much more entertaining match.

Winner: NEW WWE Women’s Champion-Trish Stratus (Pinfall-Chick Kick **1/4)

-Coach catches up with The Rock. Rock could care less about what the people think, he’s here to do the one thing he’s never done and that’s beat Steve Austin at Wrestlemania.

WWE Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match: Los Guerreros vs. Chris Benoit & Rhyno vs. Team Angle ©

Here Benoit and Eddie compete in what was for the most part a throw away Tag Title match, and one year later they celebrate with both World Titles at the end of the show. Amazing to think about really. Big brawl to start, and after everything settles down Chavo and Haas start out. Chavo gets a backdrop and a back suplex. Chavo hits the ropes and counters a backdrop with a dropkick. Haas tags in Benoit who gets met with an armdrag. Eddie tags in, and follows a back suplex with a springboard senton. Benoit delivers a series of brutal chops to Eddie in the corner, and then they collide off the ropes. Rhyno tags in and Eddie hammers him down with a forearm and sends him into the turnbuckle. Rhyno delivers a powerslam, and Eddie tags in Shelton. Shelton whips Rhyno into the ropes and delivers a back elbow for a two count. Rhyno gets driven into the buckle and Haas tags in. Double dropkick gets a two count when Chavo breaks up the count. Benoit tags in and chops Haas in the corner, before delivering a snap suplex for two. Back suplex connects for another two count, and Benoit tags in Rhyno. Charlie locks in a front face lock, and tags in Shelton who comes in with a knee lift. Rhyno whips Shelton into the corner, and hits a shoulderblock. Snap mare gets a one count for Rhyno, and Eddie tags Shelton. Eddie comes in with a dropkick and stomps away at Rhyno. Eddie gets driven into the corner and Rhyno tags in Benoit. Eddie hits a back suplex, and heads to the top rope. Benoit comes up to meet him and delivers a superplex which gets two when Shelton makes the save. Eddie hits the ropes and Benoit flap jacks him into a crossface. Haas makes the save, and Eddie comes back with a brainbuster getting a two count when Haas again makes the save. Chavo tags in and delivers a clothesline to Haas and a hurracanrana to Shelton. Chavo turns around though and Benoit goes for the crossface. Chavo blocks that so Benoit delivers the rolling Germans instead. Chavo makes the tag to Shelton during the Germans and Shelton delivers a superkick. Eddie breaks up the count, and then he and Benoit collide head to head in the center. Shelton comes back in as he is still legal and delivers a bodyslam to Benoit. Legdrop connects for Shelton but Eddie breaks up the pin with a frog splash. Chavo tags Benoit, but gets met with a belly-to-belly from Haas. Rhyno comes in and delivers a gore to Haas and a gore to Shelton. Eddie pulls Rhyno to the floor, but Shelton sneaks in and pins Chavo to retain the titles at 8:47. I’d like to see more, but while they were going this was a phenomenal match. Great stuff.

Winners: STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: Team Angle (Shelton pins Chavo-Gore ***1/4)

-More fun with Stacy, Torrie, and the Catfight girls. Stacy and Torrie argue over who made Wrestlemania Hogan or McMahon. The Catfight Girls decide they need to settle this argument in bed.

-Recap of the events leading to Michaels and Jericho

Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels

This is the return to the Grandaddy of ‘em all for Mr. Wrestlemania. Shawn channels the spirit of Johnny B. Badd during his entrance shooting confetti into the crowd out of guns that were placed in the aisle. Half of them don’t work. Shawn grabs a headlock takedown, and Jericho counters out with the headscissor. Jericho hits an armdrag, but Shawn counters out with a headscissor of his own. Shawn grabs a headlock and goes into a hammerlock. Jericho counters into a hammerlock of his own, but Shawn counters out and hits an armdrag. Shawn gets a headlock takeover again, and they trade near falls with Shawn holding the headlock. Jericho elbows off and delivers a shoulderblock. Jericho hits the ropes, and stops short of a leapfrog delivering a smack. Shawn answers with a right hand and fires Jericho to the floor. Shawn hits a baseball slide, and then fires Jericho back inside. Shawn goes to the top rope delivering a crossbody, but Jericho rolls through for two. Shawn hits the ropes and runs into a spinning heel kick from Jericho. Jericho rams Shawn into the buckle, and then after a pair of chops whips Shawn to the other side. Jericho goes for a bulldog, but Shawn throws him off and he lands crotch first into the second rope. Shawn locks in the figure four, but Jericho rolls it over and Shawn breaks the hold. Shawn goes back to work on the leg with a kneebreaker, and goes back to the figure four but gets kicked into the ringpost. Shawn hits the ropes and ducks a clothesline. Jericho fires Shawn over the top, but Shawn skins the cats and headscissors Jericho to the floor. Shawn delivers a plancha taking out Jericho on the floor. Shawn pounds him down the floor, but Jericho catches the legs and locks in the Walls of Jericho on the floor. Jericho runs to the ring to break the count, and heads back out for Shawn. Jericho rams Shawn’s back into the ringpost, and heads back inside. Shawn gets up to the apron, but Jericho springboards into a dropkick sending Shawn back to the floor. Jericho fires him back inside and delivers a back suplex. Jericho delivers a suplex, which picks up a two count. Jericho scores with the backbreaker, and attempts a pin with the boot in the chest getting a two count. Jericho grabs a chinlock, and Shawn punches out of it. Jericho regains control by going to the eyes and delivers a spinebuster. Shawn comes back up with a series of rights, but Jericho hits the ropes delivering a flying forearm. Jericho nips up ala Shawn and does Shawn’s pose, but Shawn nips up himself and delivers a flying forearm. Shawn nips up again and hits an inverted atomic drop. Clothesline connects for Shawn, and he follows that up with a backdrop. Shawn gets whipped into the corner, but delivers a boot to a charging Jericho. Moonsault connects for Shawn picking up a two count. Shawn hits the ropes and gets a sunset flip. They trade near falls, and Jericho goes for the walls. Shawn powers out, and they do a reversal sequence seeing Jericho hit a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Jericho scores with a clothesline, and delivers a bulldog. Lionsault connects for a two count, and Shawn comes back with a kick to the face on a backdrop attempt. Shawn goes for a hurracanrana, but Jericho counters into the Walls of Jericho. Shawn pulls himself to the ropes to break, and Jericho goes back to the Walls. Shawn stops it with a small package for a two count. Jericho hits a double underhook backbreaker and heads to the top rope delivering a reverse elbow. Jericho tunes up the band in the corner and scores with Sweet Chin Music getting a two count. Jericho delivers a shoulderblock in the corner, and whips Shawn to the other side. Shawn jumps to the second rope and delivers a crossbody. Shawn slingshots Jericho into the ringpost, and rolls him up for a two count. Jericho ducks a punch and delivers a shot to the lower back. Shawn gets set up on the second rope, and Jericho goes for back suplex off the top. Shawn counters in mid flight into a crossbody and gets a two count. Shawn heads to the top rope, but Jericho kicks the referee into the ropes crotching Shawn. Jericho goes up top and goes for a suplex, but Shawn counters sending him face first to the mat. Shawn connects with the top rope elbow, and calls for Sweet Chin Music. Jericho ducks, and locks Shawn into the Walls of Jericho. Shawn gets to the bottom rope to break the hold, and Jericho argues with the ref. Jericho charges at Shawn, but runs into Sweet Chin Music. Shawn is slow to cover though and only gets a two count. Shawn gets whipped into the corner, and Jericho delivers a shot to the lower back. Jericho goes for a back suplex, but Shawn counters into a rollup, which finishes at 22:31. Afterward Jericho teases the face turn, but kicks Shawn in the nuts instead. The match kind of started off slow, but really picked up near the end. A lot of people complained that Jericho should have went over here, but the way things turned out with Jericho leaving for three years and Shawn staying active and near the main event for the majority of the decade it turns out Shawn probably needed it more.

Winner: Shawn Michaels (Pinfall-Rollup ****)

-Evil French Referee Sylvain Grenier goes into Vince’s locker room

-Tony Chimel announces the new Safeco Field attendance record of 54,097

-Limp Bizkit performs the Wrestlemania theme “Crack Addict” I always liked this song. Must have been a guilty pleasure.

-The Coach brings out Tanya Bollinger and Kitana Baker, better known as The Miller Lite Catfight Girls for a pillow fight. Stacy Kiebler and Torrie Wilson come out to jump into the action. Tops come off, asses are spanked, Millions of 12 year old boys all over the world’s voice deepen. Good times are had by all. Then Coach gets depantsed answering the question no one wanted the answer to. Briefs.

-Recap of the events leading to Triple H & Booker T

World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H (w. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair) © vs. Booker T

This was a highly controversial storyline that saw Trips make thinly veiled racist comments dismissing Booker T as a credible challenger. HHH wears the alternate lavender trunks, an unfortunate fashion choice that he made much of 2003. Booker blocks a right hand in the corner, and delivers a chop. They trade chops and HHH gets whipped into the buckle. Booker scores with a backdrop, but a second charge hits a reverse elbow. HHH goes to the top rope, but gets slammed off by Booker going to the floor. Booker goes out after him firing HHH into the ringpost and then back inside. HHH catches Booker with a boot on the way in, and delivers a shoulder block. Booker blocks an armdrag, and delivers a clothesline for two. Booker delivers a pair of kicks, but HHH ducks a spin kick and backdrops him to the apron. HHH rams Booker into the ringpost, which sends him to the floor. HHH goes outside and fires Booker into the ringsteps before heading back inside. Booker rolls inside and gets met with a series of stomps. HHH slides to the floor and delivers an elbow to the throat with Booker on the apron. Back inside HHH scores with a neckbreaker for a two count. Booker comes back firing HHH into the buckle, but runs into a spinebuster for two. Booker gets whipped to the corner, and HHH follows him in with a clothesline for two. HHH chokes out Booker, but Booker comes firing back with a series of chops. HHH comes right back with a knee to the gut, but Booker counters a suplex into a DDT. They trade blows in the center with Booker getting the better of it. HHH hits the ropes and gets a spinning heel kick. Booker delivers a sidewalk slam, and follows up with a forearm to HHH off the ropes for two. Booker delivers a knee to the gut, and goes for scissor kick. HHH counters into a sleeper, but Booker quickly counters sending HHH into the buckle. Booker hits the ropes but runs into the high knee, which gets two. HHH hits the ropes and hits a facebuster, but runs into a spinebuster from Booker for two. Booker charges into the corner, but runs into the boot of HHH. HHH comes off the second rope, but runs into a superkick from Booker, which picks up a two count. Kick to the gut sets up a scissor kick from Booker. HHH ducks that, and pulls the ropes down on a heel kick attempt sending Booker to the floor. HHH distracts the ref allowing Flair to drop the knee of Booker on the ringsteps. Booker rolls back inside, and HHH locks in an Indian Deathlock. Booker is able to pull himself to the ropes, but they sell the move as if its death and Booker now can’t walk. HHH drops his knee down onto the now injured knee of Booker. HHH tries to whip Booker to the corner, but Booker can’t even put weight on his knee and collapses in the middle. Booker counters a kneebreaker into a sunset flip to get two. HHH goes right to the pedigree, but Booker counters and gets shoved into the ref. The ref doesn’t get knocked out and HHH stops short of delivering a clothesline to the official allowing Booker to roll him up for two. HHH comes off the ropes and runs into a back elbow from Booker. Booker hits the ropes and delivers a scissor kick, but still can’t put weight on the leg and is slow to cover and HHH kicks out at two. Booker heads to the top rope, and Flair provides a quick distraction, which allows HHH to meet him at the top. HHH goes for the superplex, but Booker fights him off. Flair tries to stop Booker, but gets shoved off by Booker. Booker then goes old school and busts out the Harlem Hangover, and that should be the finish, but Booker is slow to cover and Flair puts HHH’s foot on the rope to break the count. Booker tries to hit the ropes for the scissor kick, but he can’t put weight on the leg and collapses. HHH hits the pedigree, and both men are down. HHH lays there while I go to the bathroom, take a piss, make myself a drink, grab a bite to eat, go smoke a cigarette, and when I’m finished doing all of that finally HHH crawls over and pins Booker at 18:47. Okay so here’s my thoughts on this one, because this is one of the most controversial matches in WWE history. I certainly understand the booking of HHH as a strong heel champion. I read where WWE’s thought during HHH’s reign of terror was to get the belt over, and not certain wrestlers. So they kept the title on HHH, a guy who the fans bought as a big time guy, to put over the belt. That part I get, and quite frankly despite what most people will tell you Booker was NOT anywhere near over enough to be the top babyface carrying the promotion in 2003. All that being said, once the heel introduces any shred of racism into the storyline, the babyface HAS to win that match. You don’t even have a choice then. Because once HHH wins you’re solidifying what he was saying all along. Booker’s “kind of people” really aren’t in his league. Now I would have just booked a standard feud with HHH going over, considering that this wasn’t even the Raw main event, but once the racism part of the angle came into play I think Booker should have pinned him after the Hangover, and then dropped it back to him at Backlash thanks to massive interference. Anyway as for the match itself, it told a nice story, and the action was fine. It wasn’t a blow away classic, but judged in a vacuum it’s a perfectly acceptable World Title match. Remember all these HHH wins in 2002 and 2003 made all those jobs he’s done since Wrestlemania XX mean something big.

Winner: STILL World Heavyweight Champion-Triple H (Pinfall-Pedigree ***)

-Recap of the events leading us to Hogan and McMahon.

Street Fight: Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon

This is the match that was essentially promoted as the main event of this card. Hogan’s career was on the line in this one. Essentially the question was setting the score of who created Wrestlemania. Vince slaps Hogan during a staredown, and Hulk answers with a spear. Vince hits the ropes and gets met with a clothesline. Hogan mounts and pounds away at Vince, and then goes to the blatant choke. Hogan stomps Vince down in the corner, and continues with a choke. Vince blocks an attempt to ram him into the top turnbuckle and delivers a back elbow. Clothesline connects for Vince, who follows up with a series of shoulderblocks in the corner. Vince fires away with knees and elbows in the corner. Vince drops his knee into Hogan’s shoulder, and then grabs a hammerlock. Vince takes Hulk to the floor wrapping his shoulder around the ringpost. Back inside Vince grabs a knucklelock, and then takes the control position in a test of strength. Hogan fights to his feet, but Vince fires away with a kick to regain the control. Vince finally fires Hogan to the floor, and follows him outside. Vince rams Hogan into the barricade, and then fires him shoulder first into the ringpost. Vince grabs a steel chair from ringside, and takes a swing at Hogan but misses. Hogan fires back sending Vince into the ringpost, and then bashes him in the head with the chair. Vince gets busted open on that, and Hogan hammers away at the wound. Back inside they go, and Hulk pounds Vince sending him again to the floor. Hogan grabs another chair and slams it across the back of McMahon. Hulk takes another swing at Vince, but he ducks and Hogan connects with Spanish announcer Hugo Savinovich. Vince fires back with a blow, and then slams Hogan in the face with the chair. Vince grabs a ladder from underneath the ring and sets it up at ringside. Vince slams Hogan into the Smackdown announce table, and then into the barricade. Vince positions the ladder in between the two announce tables and then clears off the Spanish table while bashing Hulk in the face with a monitor. Hogan is laid out on the Spanish table, and Vince climbs to the top of the ladder. Vince drops a leg off the ladder through the table, as Hulk has now been busted open. Vince throws Hogan inside the ring, and covers for a two count. Vince goes outside, and finds a lead pipe under the ring. In one of the all time great visuals a bloody Vince peers over apron at Hogan with a psychotic look before heading inside. Vince goes for a shot with the pipe, but Hogan fires back with a low blow. Suddenly Roddy Piper appears out of nowhere, and spits on both guys while they are down. Roddy, who appears to be expecting twins any day now, picks up the pipe. He teases a shot to Vince, but instead bashes Hogan. Piper blows his nose on Hulk and leaves. Vince crawls to Hogan, and covers for a two count. Vince goes for the pipe, but referee Brian Hebner tries to stop him. That gets him thrown to the floor by an angry Vince. Vince grabs the pipe and motions for Sylvain Grenier to come down. Referee Mike Sparks tries to come down as well, but gets blasted by Grenier on the floor. Vince blasts Hogan with the pipe, and drops a leg on him but only gets a two count. Hogan Hulks up, delivers three punches to Grenier and tosses him to the floor. Vince tries to attack with a double axe handle, but Hogan no-sells it. Three punches, big boot, and three legdrops finish off Vince at 20:48. I marked out like crazy for this match watching it live, but on this viewing it just seemed to be there. I normally love these kind of overbooked messes, and this one had some very entertaining moments, but there are much better examples of this style match. Shane comes down to check on dad as Hulk poses, but nothing happens. Vince would send Hogan home to collect his paycheck on Smackdown, which would lead to the hilariously bad Mr. America angle.

Winner: Hulk Hogan (Pinfall-Legdrop **1/2)

-Recap of Austin-Rock III. This is a great recap using the Limp Bizkit theme for the event. Every time I hear “heeeeeeeeeere we go again” and they start trading blows I get goosebumps. Just perfect lyrics for this feud.

The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Here it is. The final chapter in the greatest rivalry ever. Austin suffered a severe health scare the night before and spent the previous night in the hospital, but knowing this was his final match was able to gut this one out. Austin fires away with a series of rights at the outset, and goes for the stunner. Rock bails to the floor, and Austin goes out after him meeting him in the aisle with a clothesline. Austin fires Rock into the guardrail, and then to the ringsteps. A pair of chops connect, and Austin follows up dropping Rock on the security wall. A clothesline from Austin sends Rock into the Smackdown table, and Austin again drops Rock on the security wall. Austin whips Rock into the ringsteps, and then fires him back into the ring. Austin puts the boots to Rock, and then chokes him out. Austin scores with a back suplex that gets a two count. Irish whip sends Rock from corner to corner. Austin delivers a clothesline, and then chokes Rock out on the second rope. Austin gets an admonishment from referee Earl Hebner, and that allows Rock to deliver a chop block. Austin bails to the floor, and Rock sneaks out with another chop block. Rock sends Austin into the Smackdown announce table, and then fires Austin’s knee into the table. Back inside they go, and Rock puts the boots to Austin’s knee. Rock slides to the floor again and bashes the knee into the ring apron, and then wraps the knee around the ring post. Rock goes back inside, and Austin fights back with right hands. Rock hits the ropes, but stops a backdrop attempt with a kick to the face. Rock locks in a sharpshooter, but Austin reaches the ropes to break the hold. Rock slides to the floor again, and wraps Austin’s knee around the post again. Rock finds Austin’s vest and puts it on before heading back inside. Austin ducks a clothesline off the ropes, and then both men score with clothesline putting them both out. Both guys get to their feet, and Austin scores with a Lou Thesz press. FU elbow connects for Austin and gets a two count. Austin stomps a mudhole in Rock in the corner, and sends Rock into the ropes. Rock ducks a back elbow and a clothesline before scoring with a flying clothesline of his own. Rock nips up and poses to the crowd a bit. That delay allows Austin to score with a Rock Bottom, which picks up a two count. Rock gets to his feet, and Austin goes for a stunner. Rock blocks it, and delivers a stunner of his own. Austin kicks out at two, and Rock connects with a series of rights. Austin ducks a shot from Rock and scores with the stunner but Rock kicks out at two. Austin throws the referee out of the way, and Rock delivers a low blow to regain control. Rock goes for the peoples elbow, but that misses. Austin goes for the stunner, but Rock blocks it and delivers a spinebuster. Rock finally takes off Austin’s vest, and delivers the peoples elbow, which gets a two count. Rock delivers a Rock Bottom, but Austin again kicks out at two. Rock gets in position, and goes for another Rock Bottom. Austin initially elbows out of it, but Rock is able to deliver it. Again Austin is out at two, so Rock gets in position to deliver the move again. Rock delivers a third Rock Bottom, and that finishes at 17:54. Rock leans over to Austin and tells him he loves him before celebrating. What an absolutely beautiful final chapter to this rivalry. This match was effectively the end of both men’s careers as active competitors. Rock would go on to wrestle Goldberg at Backlash, and came back for one more match the following year. Austin has yet to wrestle, and since it now appears he wont this year one would think he never will. This was the perfect way for both men to go out. It wasn’t the best of the trilogy, but it was probably the most emotional all things consider. Austin leaves giving a salute to the fans for a final time from the stage.

Winner: The Rock (Pinfall-Rock Bottom ****1/4)

-Recap of the events leading to Angle and Lesnar

WWE Championship: Kurt Angle © vs. Brock Lesnar

This match is rather famous for a number of reasons. First of all, no one knew what quite to expect. Angle found that he needed neck fusion with about 3 weeks to go until Wrestlemania, and was expected to miss the show. They even announced an Angle-Lesnar title match on Smackdown with most expecting Angle to go ahead and drop the title in a joke match and then defend against someone else. They swerved us though with the Eric Angle storyline, and Angle got the go ahead to work the match. Still heading into this one people worried that this might be a short match, as it was feared Angle couldn’t take bumps. The match was highly anticipated due to both mens amateur careers though, so we hoped we’d get a classic. Lesnar has injured ribs that are taped up going in. Angle grabs a hammerlock, and switches to a frontface lock. Lesnar firemans carries out, and grabs an armbar. Angle reverses with a firemans carry of his own into an armbar. Lesnar hits a headlock takeover, and Angle counters with a headscissor. They trade go behinds, and Angle grabs a headlock takeover. Angle hits the ropes and runs into a shoulderblock. Angle takes him down with a single leg, and Lesnar hits a quick reversal. Angle elbows out, but gets hit with an armdrag into an armbar. Angle gets to the corner to break, and delivers a knee to the ribs. Angle hits the ropes, and runs into a back elbow. Lesnar follows up with a series of shoulderblocks in the corner. Lesnar hits a powerslam and gets a two count. Angle ducks a clothesline and delivers a German suplex. Lesnar pops right up and delivers a clothesline. Angle hits the ropes and bails to the floor. Lesnar chases Angle back to the ring, and gets met with a boot on the way in. Brock stops an Irish whip and delivers a press slam to Angle. Irish whip sends Angle to the corner, but Lesnar charges into a boot. Angle delivers a sick German suplex into the top turnbuckle, and Lesnar rolls to the floor. Angle goes outside after him and drives Lesnar into the barricade before firing him back inside. Angle connects with a back suplex for a two count. Angle fires away in the corner with a series of boots and a suplex gets two. Kurt grabs a bow and arrow submission, and Lesnar stands up with it driving Angle back first into the turnbuckle. Brock stomps Angle down in the corner, but Angle reverses an Irish whip sending him into the corner. Angle hits a belly-to-belly suplex, and delivers a pair of knees to the ribs sending Lesnar to the floor. Angle fires him back inside, but runs into a spinebuster. Both men struggle to their feet, and Lesnar this a forearm off the ropes. Brock delivers a clothesline, and then several shoulder blocks in the corner. Brock connects with a pair of belly-to-belly suplexes picking up a two count. Angle reverses a go behind from Brock and delivers four rolling Germans. Angle goes for the Angle slam, but Brock counters into an F5 attempt. Angle counters with an inside trip and locks in the ankle lock. Lesnar rolls through so Angle switches to a half crab. Lesnar reaches the ropes to break the hold, and Angle delivers another running knee to the ribs. Kurt charges again, but Lesnar delivers a backdrop sending Angle over the top to the floor. Angle rolls back in charging at Lesnar in the corner, but comes up empty and gets hit with a series of shoulderblocks. Angle comes back with a phenomenal release German suplex that picks up a two count. Angle slam connects for another two count. Kurt sets up for another Angle slam, but Lesnar counters into a spladle for a two count. Lesnar connects with the F5, but is slow to cover and Angle gets out at two. Lesnar picks up Angle, but Angle grabs the leg and locks in the ankle lock. Kurt grapevines the legs, but Lesnar is still able to drag him to the ropes. Angle tries to go back to the ankle lock, but gets kicked off. Lesnar goes for another F5, but Kurt counters into a small package for two. Angle goes for the Angle slam, but Brock counters into the F5. Brock probably wishes he would have just covered him there, but instead he decides to go to the top rope. He goes for the shooting star press, but lands on his head damn near breaking his neck. Kurt covers, but Lesnar gets out at two. The SSP was supposed to be the finish, so they have to improv the finish from here. Lesnar is able to deliver another F5 and that finishes things at 21:08 giving Brock his second World Title. Lesnar remembers none of this, and to Angle’s credit he walked him through the finish while he was totally loopy. The look in Lesnar’s eyes after the match tells the whole story as its just an empty blank stare. Kurt has to effectively turn face when the match ends with a handshake and embrace to Lesnar. Given Kurt’s condition, and how badly things could have been after the SSP botch, this match was tremendous. It stops short of being an all-time classic due to the famous botch, and a little bit of a slow start. Once they got going though this was tremendous stuff.

Winner: NEW WWE Champion-Brock Lesnar (Pinfall-F5 ****1/4)

The 411: This was an absolutely tremendous card. They lined up the matches perfectly as they just got bigger as the show went along. This is probably just below X-Seven in terms of match quality, and obviously can’t match the historical signifigance of III, but I’d probably rank this one right with Wrestlemania X. Three four star matches, Austin’s final match, a hidden classic between HBK and Jericho, one of the most famous botches in history in the main event. The big stain on the show is the ending to the World Heavyweight Title match, but its more than offset by all the good here. For the first show of the Brand Extension era this one delivered big time.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  9.0   [  Amazing ]  legend

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Rob McNew

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