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Random Network Reviews: WrestleMania X-Seven

July 6, 2015 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Random Network Reviews: WrestleMania X-Seven  

WrestleMania X-Seven
April 1st, 2001 | Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas | Attendance: 67,925

The Attitude Era was nearing its end. ECW and WCW had just closed their doors. Paul Heyman was now on commentary for the WWF. The landscape of professional wrestling had changed and would never be the same again. Enter WrestleMania X-Seven, which is highly regarded as the best WrestleMania of all-time. In something that can probably never be duplicated again, two of the biggest stars in wrestling history, Steve Austin and The Rock were both arguably in their prime and peak popularity and would meet in the main event. This is a historic show and it’ll be good to look back at it.

As is the case with a lot of WrestleManias, the opening video package chronicles the history of the “Show of Shows.” I’m so happy that the WWE Network has kept “My Way” by Limp Bizkit intact because my old Anthology collection had it dubbed over. Jim Ross and Paul Heyman are on commentary.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Chris Jericho (c) vs. William Regal

At this time, William Regal was the Commissioner of the WWF. In the buildup to this, Jericho peed in Regal’s tea and dressed as Doink to attack him. Jericho starts red hot by taking Regal down and laying in some shots. Regal’s chest is already beat red from chops. He dives out onto Regal but nearly overshoots him. After a back elbow from the top, they exchange near falls. Regal wisely targets Jericho’s injured shoulder in a nice bit of psychology. Jericho does try the Lionsault but Regal has it scouted and gets the knees up. He tosses Jericho with a suplex though besides that, Regal has slowed this considerably, but it makes sense. Ever the heel, Regal removes the turnbuckle pad and sends Jericho’s shoulder into it. Things go up top as Regal hits a double underhook superplex that doesn’t get the impact that probably hoped for. Jericho lands on his feet on the next attempt and tries the Walls, but it is countered into the Regal Stretch! He reaches the ropes to a pop. As they get up, Jericho sends him into the exposed buckle, hits the bulldog and Lionsault to retain.

Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho in 7:08
Really fun opener. It could have been better if it got more time but was still damn good. Jericho sold the arm well, Regal looked like a genius heel by targeting it and there was some fun offense throughout. The crowd was red hot too. ***½

Shane McMahon arrives in a limo with a WCW1 license plate. He barely gets a pop because he’s the face but bought WCW, who was the enemy. The APA are in their “office” and Bradshaw is hyped because WrestleMania is in his home state. He pumps up Faarooq and Jacqueline, who are with him. It’s crazy to see that he became JBL.

The APA and Tazz w/ Jacqueline vs. Right to Censor w/ Steven Richards
Tazz and his entrance interrupt Steven Richard’s pre-match promo. Right to Censor don’t like that and work Tazz over from the get go. Either that or they chose him because he’s basically a midget. He hits the ropes awkwardly and gets slammed. Goodfather misses a Vader Bomb like move making me believe he’s had too many “fatties” before this to think that’s part of his arsenal. Bradshaw gets the hot tag and tosses around RTC. Val Venis eats a double spinebuster before RTC hit a double team on Bradshaw. Everyone is outside except the Goodfather and Bradshaw. Goodfather misses the former Ho Train, so Bradshaw bounces off the ropes and connects on the Clothesline from Hell for the 1-2-3.

Winners: The APA and Tazz in 3:53
Nothing special but kept short so it was inoffensive. Because it was short, it was never really slow and was exactly what it should have been. **

Trish Stratus wheels Linda McMahon around when Stephanie McMahon interrupts to be her annoying self.

WWF Hardcore Championship
Raven (c) vs. Big Show vs. Kane

Poor Raven. Kane was hot off the heels of arguably the best Royal Rumble performance in history but Raven attacks him before Big Show even arrives. Not wise. Kane gorilla presses Raven into Show as he’s coming out. Show catches him and Kane flies from the top to take them both out. The fight moves to the backstage area, where Raven wisely runs away from his opponents. Show throws him into a gated off area and locks Kane out. Kane breaks it easily and they all brawl in there. Kane takes Raven out and tosses him through a GLASS WINDOW! Show then throws Kane through a door and they choke each other before falling through the wall. This building is falling apart. Raven gets in a golf cart as he tries to escape but Show gets on the back. Kane follows in his own cart, as the referee rides shotgun. Raven gets run down and seems to hurt his leg. These guys are just beating each other with everything in sight. The fight comes to the entrance where Show tries to press slam Raven off the stage. Kane big boots him, knocking both off and he dives off with an elbow to score the pinfall.

Winner and New WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane in 9:18
A unique match to say the least. I loved that it was different than everything else on the card and they didn’t treat it as a throwaway match. It was fun, never dull and one of my all-time favorite Hardcore Title matches. ***¼

Backstage, Kurt Angle is obsessively re-watching himself tapping out to Chris Benoit. Edge and Christian come in to chat but Angle is too focused. Because it wasn’t an official match, it’s not an official tap out in his mind.

WWF European Championship
Test (c) vs. Eddie Guerrero w/ Perry Saturn

I miss when all of the titles were defended at WrestleMania. Saturn is wearing an absurd hat. It’s so weird that both of these guys have since passed away. Test shows off his power early with some big shots. It’s an interesting clash of styles for sure. Eddie tries a top rope hurricanrana, but Test holds on and follows with a flying back elbow. Cool points for the athleticism, but he loses points because Jericho did it earlier. Test ends up hung up in the ropes and Saturn gets in some cheap shots. Eddie moves to a sleeper but Test rallies with a tilt-a-whirl slam. He likes tilt-a-whirls as his next move is a powerbomb version for two. Eddie gets in a low blow and distracts the referee while Saturn hits the MOSS COVERED THREE HANDLDED FAMILY CREDENZA! It only gets two though. Test connects on the big boot, but here’s Dean Malenko to pull Test out. He goes after Dean, so Eddie lays him out with the title and wins.

Winner and New WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero in 8:31
Much better than I remember it being. Both guys got to look good and Eddie goes old school as the heel needing a ton to beat the face. Solid wrestling mixed with good booking made this enjoyable. **¾

Mick Foley is interviewed about being the special referee in the McMahon Street Fight later. He gets in a cheap pop because he’s cool like that.

Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle
I appreciate that this was built as who was the better wrestler. They’ve both tapped to each other’s moves in the past few weeks, as this was probably the start of one of the best in-ring rivalries in history. They try and outwork each other on the mat, feeling each other out. The crowd appreciates the solid work on the ground, especially when Benoit gets close to the Crossface a few times. Frustrated, Angle hits Benoit with a hard right hand which is brilliant. Now Angle tosses Benoit into the announce table and steel steps. That turn to brawling has allowed Kurt to get in the driver’s seat as he now suplexes Benoit all over the place. We get ourselves a slugfest before Benoit hits a superplex. Angle takes a Hart Family buckle bump, falling out right into two German suplexes. Angle blocks the third and goes to the Ankle Lock, which Benoit sells masterfully as he scurries to the ropes. He then gets on his own Ankle Lock but Angle kicks off. He swings but gets caught in the Cripple Crossface, before countering into his own! This is beautiful. Referee is down, so Benoit applies the Crossface and Kurt taps! Benoit is all “COME ON REF! WHAT THE HELL’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?” Angle Slam only gets two so he goes high risk and it costs him as Benoit gets the knees up on Angle’s picture-perfect moonsault. Benoit hits the diving headbutt but only gets two. Benoit goes to a waist lock, but Angle low blows him and rolls him up with a handful of tights to steal it.

Winner: Kurt Angle in 14:02
Awesome stuff here. Also much better than I remember. They would go on to have better matches for sure, but the booking here is pitch perfect. Benoit looks like the best wrestler in the world and Angle still manages to win as the smarmy heel. ***¾

William Regal is freaked out backstage because Kamala has trashed his office. That’s it. It just hypes the Gimmick Battle Royal I guess. Then we get clips of the WWF doing stuff in Houston over the week. Kurt Angle gets interviewed backstage, so Benoit attacks and puts back on the Crossface.

WWF Women’s Championship
Ivory (c) vs. Chyna

With the help of the men in Right to Censor, Ivory “broke” Chyna’s neck. This is what led Chyna to actually compete for the Women’s Title. Ivory hits Chyna with the belt before the bell but it only gives her time to punch her a few times. Chyna quickly recovers and gets on the offensive. She hits a clothesline, prompting JR to say we should call it a “Chyna line” before saying, “yea let’s not.” Chyna powerbombs Ivory but stops the pin so she can press slam her. That is satisfying enough for her.

Winner and New WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna in 2:39
Like the six man tag earlier, this was exactly what it was supposed to be. Chyna was to crush the annoying RTC woman. ½*

Street Fight
Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon w/ Stephanie McMahon

Mick Foley is your special guest referee for this one. Shane points out the WCW guys he gave skybox seats to but they barely respond to him. Vince opens with a slap and fires away before Shane busts out with a clothesline and spear. Stephanie jumps in and slaps Shane, who shrugs it off and goes back to his dad. Since neither guy is an actual wrestler, the brawling is key. Shane just beats on him with a sign and kendo stick. He now exposes the Spanish announce table, hitting his dad with the outdated monitors. For further proof that Shane is nuts, he goes for a big flying elbow, but Stephanie pulls Vince out of the way and Shane crashes and burns hard. Major spot there. Trish wheels Linda out now and this is when all hell really breaks loose on this show. Trish slaps Vince, turning face before brawling with Stephanie. They had a fun encounter at the previous month’s No Way Out. The crowd is MOLTEN for all of this. Steph slaps Foley and is chased away by Trish up the super long ramp. Vince gets to his knees, looks at Linda and mouths “BITCH”. Perfect character work. Vince goes after her but Foley stops him, only to get laid out with a chair. He rolls Linda in the ring and seats her in the chair in the corner so she can witness this first hand. Her acting is top notch. Vince beats on Shane with garbage cans, trash talking Linda in between shots. Linda gets to her feet, for a MASSIVE pop and low blows Vince. Now Foley gets revenge by unloading on Vince in the corner. With him seated, Shane sets up the trash can in front of him and climbs to the top across the ring. He leaps off for the coast to coast dropkick, which is unthinkable for a non-athlete to do. He covers and ends this.

Winner: Shane McMahon in 14:12
Miles better than it had any right to be. This was expertly booked with perfect storytelling. Vince, the ultimate devil, gets his due on the big stage. From Trish’s face turn to Linda standing up to Foley getting involved to the sick ending and everything in between, this is how matches with non-wrestlers should be booked. ***¼

We get footage from Axxess where resident hermaphrodite Kevin Kelly interviews the Hardy Boyz. They hype TLC and say it’s going to be their last battle.

WWF Tag Team Championship Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match
The Dudley Boyz (c) vs. Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz

These three teams had a Triangle Ladder match the year before at WrestleMania and the first TLC at SummerSlam. Fast start as everyone just beats on each other. It’s hard to keep track of everything. Matt attempts to climb only to have Edge jump from a chair and clothesline him down. Jeff then dropkicks Edge off. Hardys call back to previous matches with their stereo dives from the ladders onto Christian. Dudleys clean house and do the WASSUP headbutt, even though Edge seemed WAYYYY too far away. GET THE TABLES! Bubba powerbombs Jeff through a table with Edge laying on it. Four tables are set up on the outside, two stacked on top of two. Inside, all six guys climb three ladders simultaneously. Everyone is knocked off, with Christian taking the worst of it as he misses the ropes and goes straight to the outside. Edge is up first and Spike Dudley runs in, hitting him with a Dudley Dog, before doing one on Christian that puts him through a table. Rhyno joins in to help Edge & Christian, delivering Gores galore, including one to Matt through a table. Edge climbs, but here comes Lita! JR delivers his classic “JERKING EDGE OFF…the ladder” line. She hits the flying head scissors on Rhyno before Spike hits him with a chair and the Dudleys do the Dudleyville Device. Lita damn near kills Spike with a chair shot before turning around into 3D! The action has literally not stopped. Outside, Jeff climbs a huge ladder and Swanton Bombs Rhyno and Spike through a table! TABLES AND LADDERS AND BROKEN BODIES! Christian and D-Von end up hanging from the belts, with D-Von taking an ugly spill. Jeff is somehow up and tries to walk across the tops of ladders but falls. He still gets to the belts and ends up hanging from them. Now, we get the greatest bump in TLC and possibly WrestleMania history as Edge leaps from a ladder and SPEARS JEFF FROM THE BELTS! Amazing. Matt and Bubba are fighting atop a ladder, so Rhyno shoves them off and they go through the four tables outside! Rhyno culminates his pivotal role by putting Christian on his shoulders and climbing, allowing Christian to retrieve the belts.

Winners and New WWF Tag Team Champions: Edge and Christian in 15:53
After doing incredible things the first two times they went out, I didn’t know if these six men could top themselves. That’s exactly what they did though. Insane bump after insane bump gave us non-stop action. Lita, Rhyno and Spike added something to this and made it even more special. The best TLC match in history. *****

Gimmick Battle Royal
Bobby Heenan and Mean Gene are back for guest commentary. When Repo Man comes out we get their classic line. Mean Gene says, “About five years ago he got my mother-in-law” to which Heenan responds, “About four years ago, everybody got your mother-in-law.” Along with Repo Man this features the Bushwackers, Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, the Iron Sheik (Heenan: by the time he makes the ring, it’ll be WrestleMania 38), Earthquake, the Goon, Doink, Kamala, Kim Chee, Jim Cornette, Nikolai Volkoff, Michael Hayes, One Man Gang, the Gobbly Gooker, Tugboat, Hillbilly Jim, Brother Love and Sgt. Slaughter. This is just guys punching and kicking each other before tossing them out. Doink getting dumped gets the most boos from the fans. Sheiky Baby wins purely because he couldn’t take the bump over the top. Or at least that’s how the story goes.

Winner: The Iron Sheik in 3:05
As a pure match, this was a standard short battle royal. However, it was nostalgia packed and a ton of fun throughout. *

So the fans aren’t upset with the heel winner, Sgt. Slaughter enters the ring and slaps the cobra clutch on the Sheik.

The Undertaker vs. Triple H
Triple H gets the live Motorhead performance for his entrance. The fight breaks out outside of the ring and they just hammer away on each other. The story of Trips having beaten everyone in the business but Undertaker was damn good. Undertaker and his SOUPBONES are too much for HHH. Despite being 8-0 at this point at Mania, I can’t think of a bigger threat he had faced up to this point. Old School is well scouted by the Game, who pulls him to the mat. Trips starts to work over Taker, stopping his rally attempt with a classic knee. Hunter goes for the sledgehammer but Mike Chioda stops him, allowing Taker to hit a Chokeslam. HHH kicks out, so Undertaker takes out the referee. With the referee down, the brawl goes outside and through the crowd. They go up to a tower section and climb it, while Taker delivers more SOUPBONES! It’s wise to fight here because it’s in the crowd technically, but since they’re high up, most people can still see. Triple H gets an equalizer in a steel chair, wailing away on the Deadman. Taker finally ducks one and Chokeslams HHH from the tower straight to hell! Taker follows with an elbow, busting out some flying. They make it back to the ring and Mike Chioda is somehow STILL DOWN! Undertaker goes for the sledgehammer but HHH desperately uses a low blow. HHH goes for a Tombstone, but Taker counters into his own. However, Chioda is DEAD! When he starts stirring, Taker goes for the Last Ride, but strikes Undertaker in the skull. It makes a SICKENING sound. Trips is only able to get a near fall though and the crowd pops. Taker is busted open and gets punched in the corner, which he counters into the Last Ride as the streak lives.

Winner: The Undertaker in 18:17
My favorite of their three WrestleMania matches, though it seems to be the forgotten one. My only gripe is that the punches in the corner for the finish seemed very convenient for the Last Ride and the referee was down for unrealistically long. Other than that, this is a fantastic brawl. ****¼

After shots of the Rock and Steve Austin separately walking to the arena, the incredible “My Way” video highlighting their feud is shown. I still get goosebumps.

WWF Championship No Disqualification Match
The Rock (c) vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

The match is made No DQ just seconds before the entrances. Steve Austin gets one of the biggest pops in history during his entrance. Austin starts hot with a Lou Thez Press and just wails away on the champion while the crowd goes nuts. Rock’s first move is a swinging neckbreaker that draws boos. They both go for their finishers, with Rock even trying a Stunner, but is tossed out. The fight moves to the crowd for a bit but back inside, Austin is in control with a second rope suplex. Paul Heyman does a PHENOMENAL job of pointing out how desperate Austin is to win the belt, as he exposes a turnbuckle. Rock comes back and they brawl outside, where Earl Hebner trips over the stairs. Austin busts Rock open already with the ring bell. After the announce table breaks, basically on its own, Austin fires away on Rock with PISTON LIKE RIGHT HANDS inside. Rock tries to rally, but gets booed, making his “babyface comeback” seem odd. Austin stops it only to argue with the official, and Rock comes back, despite being a bloody mess. In a bit of payback, Rock uses the ring bell on Austin, and now Austin is bloody. His blade job is MUCH better than Rock’s. He seems out on his feet while taking tons of punches form the champ. Again, they go outside where Rock is catapulted into the ring post. There is literally no time to catch your breath as the action has been non-stop. Inside, Austin flips the double bird, for Rock to lock him in the Sharpshooter. Shades of the outstanding Austin/Hart match from WrestleMania 13. The blood on both faces gives this a stunning visual. Austin makes the ropes and then puts the Sharpshooter on the Rock but Rock gets free. To once again show his desperation and NEED to be champion, Austin pulls out the Million Dollar Dream from his Ringmaster days. PERFECT. Rock counters into a pin similar to how Bret Hart beat Austin at Survivor Series 96, but Austin gets the shoulder up. Rock now scores with a Stunner but only gets two. The atmosphere is off the charts. Things get strange as Vince McMahon walks out while the gladiators are trading shots. Austin gets two on a spinebuster before Rock responds with one of his own. Rock follows with the People’s Elbow but Vince pulls him off the pin to a big pop. Rock gives chase but runs into a Rock Bottom by Austin! It’s still not enough! He tries the Stunner but Rock shoves him off and we get a ref bump. YOU DON’T NEED THAT! IT’S NO DQ! Now things get real weird as Austin signals for Vince to get a chair. They’re teaming up! Vince whacks Rock with the chair but it is STILL NOT ENOUGH! Rock hits a Rock Bottom form out of nowhere and then attacks Vince. Austin now hits the Stunner and Rock still somehow kicks out. IT’S UNBELIEVEABLE. Austin nearly beheads Rock with a sick chair shot but only gets two again. Pissed off, Austin just beats the fuck out of Rock with a chair nonstop to finally score the win.

Winner and New WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin in 28:06
An absolutely blistering match. It is non-stop action and the two biggest stars in the company just go to war. There is an epic atmosphere and both guys showed how incredible they are. The heel turn at the end soured this for me, especially going back and knowing that it was a bad decision. Still though, this is the GREATEST main event in WrestleMania history. ****¾

Steve Austin shakes hands with Vince McMahon, or “Satan himself” as Jim Ross historically calls.

The final score: review Virtually Perfect
The 411
Just the second WrestleMania that I’ve ever given a perfect score, along with XIX. While that one may have had slightly better matches, this one just had an unmatched epic atmosphere. This is one of the best shows the WWE has ever produced. You get nostalgia in the battle royal, great wrestling in Benoit/Angle, the best TLC match in history, classic storytelling in the McMahon bout, a great brawl in HHH/Undertaker, an epic main event in Rock/Austin, and everything in between was a blast.