wrestling / Video Reviews

Kevin’s RetrospectiveMania Series: WrestleMania X-Seven

September 23, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
WrestleMania X-Seven
WWF WrestleMania X-Seven
April 1st, 2001 | Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas | Attendance: 67,925


The holy grail. Considered by many to be the best of all time, WrestleMania X-Seven has a lot to live up to. It’ll be interesting to see where it lands on this watch. The WWF was riding high, coming off of some hugely profitable years and seeing their competition fold. They had won the war but they still seemed to come out with something to prove as they prepared for this massive show. The card is stacked, the roster is loaded, and expectations for this entry into the series are higher than ever.

• Match quality – Self-explanatory. Will always be the longest section.
• Memorability – How memorable is the show?
• Historical significance – The impact the show had on wrestling
• Booking decisions – Did the event have logical booking decisions for the stories they told
• Presentation – Things like stage setup, video packages, commentary, etc.
• Pacing/Flow – How well is the show laid out? Does it drag or move along smoothly?
• Entertainment – The non-wrestling elements like promos, celebrity interaction, concerts, etc.

Match Quality



WWF Intercontinental Championship: Chris Jericho [c] vs. William Regal ~ On paper this is a great way to start a show. Knowing they weren’t getting a ton of time, these two packed a fair amount of action into this. There wasn’t the segment of mat wrestling that usually starts matches. Jericho lit Regal up with chops that made his chest bright red. That set the tone for something harder hitting than expected. Regal targeted Jericho’s shoulder due to using the Regal Stretch on Smackdown. I liked how he slammed Jericho’s shoulder into the exposed turnbuckle. I feel like we don’t get that spot often enough anymore. Jericho sold the shoulder well, as it prevented him from applying the Walls of Jericho. He managed to send Regal into the exposed buckle and hit the Lionsault to retain in 7:08. My kind of opener. I liked the selling of the arm and how smart it was to change his finisher plan because of it. Regal looked really good and his arm work ruled. A few spots seemed a bit awkward. [***¼]

The APA and Tazz vs. Right to Censor ~ Talk about matches that don’t need to be on the card. People complain about Mania cards in the current era (I don’t get why) but even this “GOAT” Mania had this nonsense. At least it was kept short, as this worked to kind of mark the end of RTC. Tazz got beat up a bit but the APA turned the tide. Bradshaw beat the Goodfather with the Clothesline from Hell in his hometown in 3:53. It didn’t need to be on the show, but it was about what it needed to be. [*]


WWF Hardcore Championship: Raven [c] vs. Big Show vs. Kane ~ 2001 Kane was an absolute monster. Raven jumped Kane before the bell. Once Big Show joined the fray, the fight went through the crowd and to the backstage area. They came up with some fun spots while back there. Big Show broke through a wall, Kane went through a door, and Raven got tossed through a window. Raven also drove a golf cart and nearly cut off power to the whole arena. At least that what I like to think he nearly did. These guys just wailed on each other with whatever object they could find backstage. The fight moved back to the stage where Show tried to press slam Raven off. Kane hit Show with a big boot and both men fell off. Kane landed an elbow off the stage to win the title in 9:18. Another favorite Hardcore Title match of mine. It was goofy and I loved it. They were creative with the spots and had a fun contest. [***¼]

WWF European Championship: Test [c] vs. Eddie Guerrero ~ Like the six man tag, this feels a little out of place on the card. But I do like the European Title being defended. Test was one of those big men who impressed when working superior small dudes. The story here was Test overpowering Guerrero until the challenger went after the leg. A simple formula but an effective one. When Test started to rally, Guerrero distracted the ref as Saturn snuck in to hit the MOSS COVERED THREE HANDED FAMILY CREDENZA! One of Jericho’s 1,004 holds! It was only enough for a near fall though. Dean Malenko also got involved by pulling Test off of a pin. That was enough for Eddie to get up, hit Test with the title, and win it in 8:31 A solid match. Both men looked good and played to their strengths. I do think the finish was a bit too overbooked though. [**¾]


Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle ~ Their Unforgiven 2002 match is an all-time favorite of mine. But this was their first big one on one match. I love that the build for this was just about who was better. Wrestling doesn’t need to be overly complex. Their early mat wrestling exchanges were excellent. Angle, having tapped to the Crippler Crossface on a previous show, scurried to escape being put in the hold twice. He was frustrated that he couldn’t outwrestle Benoit, so he opted to deck him and make this a brawl outside for a short while. Brilliant stuff. That gave Angle the upper hand and he started throwing suplexes in the ring. The counter series they went into down the stretch was the best part. Both guys are incredibly smooth. Angle tapped to the Crossface but it came after a ref bump. When his moonsault failed, Angle got desperate. He used a low blow and a rollup with a handful of tights to steal this in 14:02. Awesome pro wrestling. They told a great story and did so with some crisp wrestling. It felt different from everything else on the show and from most of what we were getting in wrestling at the time. Outstanding. [****¼]

WWF Women’s Championship: Ivory [c] vs. Chyna ~ Chyna entered this match with neck problems. Ivory attacked the neck early but was never a true threat. Chyna dominated, winning after a powerbomb and press slam in 2:39. No need to really discuss this further. It was what it needed to be. None of what they did looked good, but it was short and to the point. [¼*]


Street Fight: Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon ~ Mick Foley was your special referee. This was some good old fashioned sports entertainment. You’re not going to get a good wrestling match from the McMahons. But they could have a dumb brawl with all sorts of shenanigans. That meant Stephanie McMahon got involved. That meant weapons were used. That meant Trish Stratus wheeled out a catatonic Linda McMahon before slapping Vince and brawling with Stephanie to a huge ovation. To have it all lead to Linda standing up and kicking Vince in the nuts was some tremendous storytelling. Vince was getting what he deserved. Shane debuted his Coast to Coast dropkick, which I had only seen done by Rob Van Dam to this point, to win in 14:12. That was better than it had any right to be. They used all the proper smoke and mirrors. The early brawling was okay, but once Trish showed up, this became memorable. [***¼]

WWF Tag Team Championship TLC Match: The Dudley Boyz [c] vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz ~ These six men stole the show at last year’s WrestleMania and then bested that with the first TLC Match at SummerSlam a few months later. This is TLC II. They got off to another fast start, packing this match from start to finish with action. There was the added benefit of each team being even more over than they were a year ago. The reaction the Dudleys got for “GET THE TABLES” was insane. As things progressed, the spots got bigger. Christian took a sick bump straight to the floor off of a ladder. I loved the addition each team had of a third person helping them. Spike Dudley ran in with some Dudley Dogs, Rhyno helped out E&C, and Lita came to the aide of the Hardys with a steel chair. Of course, you can’t talk about this match without mentioning Edge’s legendary Spear on Jeff Hardy as he dangled from the titles high above the ring. Matt and Bubba both took the spill through four tables, upping the ante again from the SummerSlam match. From there, Rhyno helped E&C pull down the titles to win in 15:53. An incredible match that is one of my favorites ever. It was exactly what I wanted. Pure insanity. I loved every second of this. Our third perfect score in Mania history. [*****]


Gimmick Battle Royal ~ The perfect cooldown after those last two matches and ahead of the final two. Mean Gene and Bobby Heenan joined commentary for this one. Heenan was on fire immediately. Participants included the Bushwhackers, Duke Drose, Iron Sheik, Earthquake, the Goon, Doink the Clown, Kamala, Kim Chee, Repo Man, Jim Cornette, Nikolai Volkoff, Michael Hayes, One Man Gang, Hillbilly Jim, the Gobbly Gooker, Tugboat, Brother Love, and Sgt. Slaughter. The match itself is a lot of nothing. These guys werne’t meant to be competing. But they kept it short and it was all about nostalgia. Sheik won at 3:05 purely because he couldn’t take the bump to the outside. Slaughter chocked him out afterward. [*]

Triple H vs. The Undertaker ~ Setting the tone for what kind of match this would be, Undertaker and Triple H brawled before the bell. The fight continued in the ring and was moving at an intense pace. I was digging a lot of what they were doing. The referee got hit and it led to a near fall for the Undertaker. He responded by dropping an elbow on the referee and effectively eliminating him for about 15 minutes. It’s the world’s longest ref bump. That set up a brawl through the crowd and over to an area for technical equipment. They climbed it about 20 feet high, where Undertaker Chokeslammed HHH off of it. The camera shot for it was pretty good even if we didn’t see him land. They made it all the way back to the ring, wrestled more, Undertaker hit a Tombstone, and the referee was STILL down. Undertaker survived a sledgehammer shot that busted him open and hit the Last Ride at 18:17 to move to 9-0. A very good match that isn’t quite great. The ref bump is absurd. It took me out of the match and Taker technically should have been DQed. Still, this had some great brawling elements. [***¾]


WWF Championship No Disqualifications Match: The Rock [c] vs. Steve Austin ~ The two biggest stars in all of wrestling in the main event of WrestleMania. It’s really all you can ask for. The pop for Austin was out of this world. This got off to an incredible start. Austin and Rock traded blows as soon as Rock got done posing with the title. That set the tone for a war. Right from that opening bell, this had a big fight feel. The No DQ stipulation allowed them to really hold nothing back. Rock got busted open after ten or so minutes and a ring bell shot. Rock returned the favor and Austin was bleeding. Each Rock rally was met with boos because the crowd was all about Austin. From chairs to tables to their regular offense, they had a lengthy match that never slowed down. That’s impressive. I loved the callbacks like Rock using a WrestleMania 13-esque Sharpshooter or Austin having to bust out the Million Dollar Dream. You really felt that desperation from Austin. As they seemingly neared the conclusion, Vince McMahon made his way to the ring. Rock hit the People’s Elbow and Vince pulled him off the cover, confusing the crowd. Things really got weird when Austin began instructing Vince to use the chair. They were working together. It took several chair shots and Stone Cold Stunners before Austin had done enough to win the title in 28:06. Outstanding match. They put on arguably the best WrestleMania main event in history. [****¾]

We all know this is a WrestleMania card loaded with great matches. The only two things that weren’t good were the six man tag and the Women’s Title, but both were kept short and to the point. Two all-time classics, a great Angle/Benoit match, HHH/Undertaker was very good, and you get a nice mix of match types throughout the show. Easily the highest ranking WrestleMania in this category so far.

SCORE: 9.0

 


 

Memorability

 


I’ll get the obvious out of the way. This is widely considered to be the best WrestleMania of all-time. When you’re remembered that fondly, you’re going to score highly in this category. There are the big moments that stand out. Edge hitting Jeff Hardy with the biggest spear in history. Steve Austin turning heel. The “My Way” video package. Linda standing up from her comatose state and hitting Vince with a low blow. The fun novelty of the Gimmick Battle Royal. Shane busting out the Coast to Coast dropkick. The only negative here is that most of the matches before the McMahon Street Fight isn’t nearly as memorable.

SCORE: 9.5

 


 

Historical Significance

 


Not as many WrestleMania debuts this time around. There’s William Regal, the first in-ring appearance of Vince McMahon, and the first time we see the “American Badass” version of The Undertaker on this stage. I also feel like this show marks the end of the Attitude Era. After this, there’s a few months that are kind of undefined and then we get the Invasion, which is followed by the Ruthless Aggression Era. That’s an important tidbit about this show. You also have the notable things like Austin surpassing Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage for the most WWF Title wins at WrestleMania. There’s also Chyna’s only Women’s Title and the final Tag Team Title victory for Edge and Christian. All seven of their reigns came within a year. Great stuff here.

SCORE: 9.0

 


 

Booking Decisions

 


Most of this show was booked well. There aren’t really any matches where the wrong person won. Chyna squashed Ivory like she needed to, Undertaker remained undefeated, Kurt Angle won in cheap fashion, Chris Jericho retained, and Kane got to win a title. These are all good things. I do think that Austin’s heel turn was a bad move. Especially when you consider the reaction he got. I believe they should’ve called an audible. Have Vince and Austin maybe partner up the next night or something. A bigger issue was the over reliance on hardcore stuff. There was the Hardcore Title match, the Street Fight, TLC, a No DQ main event, and HHH/Undertaker orchestrated a dumb ref bump to brawl.

SCORE: 8.5

 


 

Presentation

 


This is such a good looking show. The stage manages to be both extravagant and not over the top. The Astrodome looks incredible and makes for one of my favorite looking WrestleManias. It feels like a major event. The video packages throughout the show are very well done, especially that final “My Way” one. Lastly, I want to praise the commentary team. I’ve gone on record that I don’t love Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler together, so getting a Mania from this era where Lawler is replaced by Paul Heyman is fantastic. Such a great change of pace and he played so well off of JR.

SCORE: 9.5

 


 

Pacing/Flow

 


Here’s a show that clocks in at nearly four hours and yet it is paced out very well. I think they did a great job at mixing things up for the most part. You get a good opener, then a weak match. Fun hardcore brawl, then a decent European Title match. Wrestling clinic followed by a squash. And it all builds towards a furious closing stretch of great matches, with a fun Gimmick Battle Royal thrown in the middle. My only issue with the flow would be that too many matches had similar elements down the stretch. Four of the final five matches featured chairs and had a No DQ style stipulation. The only one that didn’t was the three minute battle royal. Still, another great score.

SCORE: 8.5

 


 

Entertainment

 


Honestly, there wasn’t a ton to this section. We’re not looking at a WrestleMania riddled with celebrities or non-wrestling segments. They threw in some backstage segments but most were kept short and just featured people preparing for matches. We did get Motorhead performing live to play Triple H to the ring, which was pretty cool. I did love the nostalgia from all of the old wacky gimmicks returning for the battle royal.

SCORE: 7.0

 


 

Overall

 


You know this is an all-timer. WrestleMania should feel special and this is one that screamed epic for nearly the entire four hour runtime. Stellar matches, historic moments, strong booking moves, and an atmosphere that is almost unmatched throughout history. Not just the best WrestleMania so far, but one of the best wrestling shows in history.

TOTAL: 61/70

 

WrestleMania Rankings
1. WrestleMania X-Seven – 61/70
2. WrestleMania III – 55/70
3. WrestleMania X – 52/70
4. WrestleMania VIII – 50.5/70
5. WrestleMania I – 50/70
6. WrestleMania XII – 48.5/70
7. WrestleMania VII – 46/70
8. WrestleMania XIV – 46/70
9. WrestleMania VI – 44/70
10. WrestleMania 2000 – 39.5/70
11. WrestleMania V – 39/70
12. WrestleMania 13 – 37/70
13. WrestleMania XV – 35/70
14. WrestleMania IV – 32/70
15. WrestleMania XI – 31.5/70
16. WrestleMania IX – 31.5/70
17. WrestleMania II – 29/70

article topics :

Wrestlemania 17, Kevin Pantoja