We have been told that we are on the road to Wrestlemania. This is supposed to be the best time of the year for us wrestling fans as we get a deep dive into long running stories involving our favorite baby faces and most hated heels. Well, after a Fastlane PPV that felt a lot more like a rest stop we have instead an upcoming show of shows that so far could be called The McMahon family and friends. In the spirit of this soap opera ripped from the pages of yesteryear I give you a review the McMahoniest of all Wrestlemania’s (at least until April 3rd). So get ready for a main event featuring the Patriarch, the Princess, the Golden Boy and a bizarrely sentient coffee table, Wrestlemania 2000.
We open the show from Anaheim, CA and the voice of good old JR. Lillian Garcia sings an absolutely lovely version of the national anthem where she doesn’t even work in the word “Champioshiea”, bad form Lilly. We get a little video package that hypes the most important part of the main event and it is not the world title. It is crazy to see attitude era events where every damn body seems to be holding two signs.
The Godfather and Mini Godfather (D-Lo Brown) accompanied and rapped to the ring by Ice-T Vs Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan (or as I like to call them “Proto Shield”)
I think that this Ice-T song might be the reason that he now plays TV cops instead of rapping…I do not like this song is what I am saying. Godfather asked if there were any other pimps “up in the house” to which I believe every single person in the area cheered meaning that pimping must indeed not be easy with all that competition. It must be entrances and mic work like this that punched Godfathers ticket to the Hall of Fame, I mean, what took so long WWE Randy Savage before a wrestling pimp? I jest but there is no doubt that the man was over, the WWE would kill to have a midcarder get that kind of reaction today. The Godfather seems to be wrestling in one of his larger Hoe’s sparkly blouses. Father and Lo have the early advantage before Not the Shield take over. After a Godfather hot tag gets derailed by Bulls interference, a Sidewalk Slam and Top Rope Leg Drop put D-Lo away. Bull and D-Lo looked good in the match with the latter being a very underrated hand of this era.
Trips and Steph are backstage, Steph is apparently going to a rave after the show concludes given her outfit, she is young and it is 2000 so that makes sense. They talk about how they are both champions, World Heavyweight and Women’s and they are going to headline the greatest Wrestlemaina ever.
After that we go backstage again where Tim White and another ref who is not Tim White are explaining the rules to the participants of the Hardcore Title Battle Royal:
1) There is a strict 15 minute time limit.
2) There could be any number of title changes in that time frame.
3) When the time runs out whoever has the belt is the champion.
4) This will get as many wrestlers that do not have previous/important story lines on the show as possible.
5) This will most likely be a terrible match that will confuse the camera men, the fans as well as the participants.
I may have added a few of those rules myself.
Hardcore Title Battle Royal
Crash Holly (Champion)
I did not at all remember that the Headbangers had a second run.
The action is all over the place and Tazz gets a pin fall in 30 seconds. I will not mention any other pins until the finish for brevity. There is a lot of milling around and week looking shots with miscellaneous objects. I can’t help but think that I would like to see this guy Viscera in his prime vs. Mable in his prime, truly a dream match for the ages. Leave it to Bradshaw to start giving the legitimate stiff shots to everyone, bless you sir and look out Blue Meanie. Either Rodney or Pete Gas got color; I refuse to look up which one is which. This match could have been called the “Head Shot Battle Royal”. The match spills into the back stage and back. Tazz tries three times to cover someone while he was the champ, he must not have been listening to the rules back stage. The biggest pops in the match (only pops?) were for Tazz. The match, and I use that term loosely, ends with Bob Holly smashing a candy jar over Crash’s head while Crash was in the Tazzmission. Both Tazz and Crash collapse and Bob covers Crash for the 1…2…3…but no, Tim White stops the count and Jim Ross exclaims that Crash got a shoulder up when he didn’t even attempt a kick out. Hardcore is announced as Champion as Crash absconds with the belt. Everyone is very confused. Eventually Tim White grabs the title from Crash and gives to Holly. You know, I wonder why they never did another Mania match like this…go figure. My favorite part of this match was Viscera’s entrance where he flicks off a fan and King casually states “he’s number one”.
Al Snow and Steve Blackman are in a bathroom where Al is hiding someone or something from Blackman. Hilarity will surely ensue.
Steve Blackman and Al Snow or Head Cheese Vs. Test and Albert or T&A (get it)
Al introduces Chester McCheesington, a little person dressed as a foam wedge of cheese and I die a little inside. It is wonderful that Trish went from just another opportunity for King to say puppies to a great in ring worker and champion. We get a rather back and forth affair that JR calls bowling shoe ugly…the man calls them like he sees them. “The match may go on all night unfortunately, if the ref can’t get a three count”…nooooooooo. T&A win with a Test flying top rope elbow to Blackman but the real winners are the fans as the match ends. JR was incredible pointing out that this match was not exactly a 5 Star display. Could you imagine Cole having the liberty to say such a thing today? After the match Blackman and Snow beat up a midget in a cheese costume. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to say anything else.
The Kat is backstage with Mae Young, she is naked and Mae is conveniently covering up her naughty bits with items in the room and I am officially watching an Attitude Era PPV.
Dudley Boy’s interview backstage with a fresh faced Michael Cole. I forgot that they both used to drift in and out of a southern accent.
Tag Team Title Ladder Match
The Dudley’s (Champions) Vs. Edge and Christian Vs. The Hardy Boyz
I love Edge’s original music as well and the Hardy’s. The crowd is not as hot for this as I would have anticipated. The Dudley’s seem to be the heels here with the Hardy’s as the faces and E&C somewhere in between. Nasty 450 splash spot by Jeff onto a ladder, he didn’t get all the way round and his feet caught the ladder on the way down. Edge’s spear of Jeff off the ladder was pretty but would be topped at Wrestlemania the following year. The spots start to grow bigger and more dangerous and the crowd starts to get hot. I have to give it to these guys for putting their bodies on the line to entertain us, the spots were often breath taking and led us to genuinely fear for their safety but this match has not aged well in my opinion. For too much of the match they were just setting up spots and destroying themselves. At one point the Dudley’s had obliterated their opponents and instead of climbing the ladders to grab the titles took about a minute and a half to set up a table on top of two ladders in the center of the ring. This match severed to receive “this is awesome” and “holy shit” chants, it is apparent that the Tag Titles were second to the performance and I’m not a fan of that. I must say in defense of this match though, that this match while not about the titles got all six of these men more over than they had been and made them legends in the minds of fans, so maybe I am wrong in my criticism. E&C take the titles by grabbing them at the same time while atop the table the Dudley’s set up on top of the ladders earlier.
Mick and a stack of PVC pipping that looks suspiciously like an older version of Stephanie McMahon are interviewed by Kevin Kelly.
The Kat w/Mae Young Vs Terri w/The Fabulous Moolah
With Val Venis as the special guest referee
I refused to watch this match (Editor’s Note: I don’t blame you)
Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko Vs Scotty Too Hotty, Grandmaster Sexay and Chyna
Chyna has what can only be described as a fireworks cannon that she shoots off during her entrance…I cannot remember if I thought that this was cool in 2000 but in 2016 it looks pretty foolish. Eddie and Chyna have a back story of Eddie being infatuated with her, I do not know how Too Cool got into this angle but my guess is that they had nothing else for them, Dean or Saturn to do. Eddie was marvelous to watch, his work, his body language, his facial expressions all incredible. The crowd loses their minds for The Worm, it is more over than all of these guys put together. It is a shame that they could never find a way to use Dean and Perry and that The Radicalz were never booked very well, I’d blame the Z at the end of their name but it seemed to work out for the Hardy Boyz. Chyna finally gets her hands on Eddie and after several blatant low blows, directly in front of the Referee, gets the pin on Eddie. Who needs rules? Good to see Chyna go over regardless, it fit the story and Chyna was believable as a threat at that point in her career.
Shane back stage hyping up Big Show who is wearing a shirt that says “Big Nasty Bastard”. Hey I used to own one of those!
Kurt Angle (European and Intercontinental Champion) Vs Chris Jericho Vs Chris Benoit
Two falls match where the IC title is up for grabs during the first fall and the European belt is on the line for the second.
The last time I watched this PPV on the network this match was cut out, I am glad to see that they have changed their tune regarding showing Chris Benoit matches. All three of these men are way over. Excellent action off the bat with all three men squaring off with believable offense for a three way match. Love seeing all three men working as opposed to most triple threats where they have to incapacitate one person at a time in order to have a traditional match. Benoit wins the Intercontinental title with a Diving Headbutt to Jericho after throwing Angle over the barricade into the crowd. Tim White takes a ref bump and misses Jericho tapping out to the Crossface by Benoit. Jericho wins the Euro belt after a Lionsault on Benoit leaving Angle down two titles without being pinned. This match was crisp and seamless but more impressively it was perfectly booked and laid out. Bravo.
Road Dog and X-Pac w/Tori Vs Kane and Rikishi
Looking at Road Dog in his hammer pants and over sized football jersey I wonder if any of the people who say that Kevin Owens doesn’t look like a wrestler said the same thing about him. The match gets out of hand before it really starts with Stinkfaces, Kane chocking a woman and DX trying to bale on the whole thing. This is the culmination of the Kane and X-Pac odd couple story line or as it is otherwise know, “the last time anyone wanted to see X-Pac”. I have to give it to the writing staff for getting Kane over as the sympathetic baby face in a feud with X-Pac. It doesn’t take long for a Stinkface on Tori and a tombstone for Pac. This was not much of a match but it serves a good end to a story, it is not always about great matches.
After the match Too Cool show up along with the San Diego Chicken who we all assume is Pete Rose, the lights go out and they all dance as Kane looks on. Kane then attacks the chicken while Pete Rose sneaks up with a baseball bat to attack Kane only to be thwarted by Rikishi, chokeslamed and have a giant ass rubbed in his face…the year 2000 was a strange time in many, many ways.
The Rock delivers a typically great promo, it runs out all the hits and every damn fan in the building hangs on every word, so few people in this business have ever been that over.
World Championship Elimination Match
Mick Foley w/Linda McMahon (A.K.A. a five foot strip of plain white wall paper) Vs The Big Show w/Shane McMahon Vs The Rock w/Vince McMahon Vs Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon (World Champion)
The crowd is hot and it doesn’t take long before everyone gangs up on Show. Rock eliminates Big Show with a Rock Bottom leaving the Rock & Sock Connection vs. HHH. The match is doing a good job of what the triple threat from earlier did in keeping all three men in on the action. The crowd is hanging on every false finish. Hunter at one point breaks up a pin on the Rock which isn’t the best strategy. Foley and Hunter team up in an unpopular turn. Just as the match hits its flow with all loyalties thrown out the window we get a shot of Steph and Linda arguing. H puts Rock on the announce table for Foley to deliver an elbow from the middle rope. Unfortunately he comes up short and Trips is forced to take several attempts to put Rocky through the table. Back in the ring Foley kicks out of a Pedigree but can’t kick out of a second one on a steel chair. We’re down HHH and Rock. The match goes outside, up the ramp. The Rock kicks out after a Piledriver on the steps. I must point out the good selling by both Trips and Rock, we would be more invested in the product if the current roster would sell like this. Once again, as I get really into this match we get Vince interference and Shane attacking Vince who no sells a TV monitor to the skull…is the match still going on because we don’t see Hunter or Rocky for several minutes? Eventually Vince and Shane spill into the ring so that we all know who the important people in this story are. Vince hits the Rock with a chair and does it again after Rock kicks out the first time, HHH pins Rock and all of a sudden both wrestlers are out of the ring so Vince and Steph can hug, once again, the title isn’t important, the McMahons are. The Rock comes back to Rock Bottom the whole family but I have already checked out.
The McMahon family saga was really a detriment to this match. As much as I and everyone else love Mick Foley, he should not have been there. As much as I appreciate them trying to give Show the rub of a Mania Main Event, he should not have been there. Rock and HHH were the story, they had feuded for years, there combined ascent to the main event title picture is where the money was. Having Foley and Show serving as gate keepers to their final showdown for the biggest prize, on the biggest night would have been fine and served them both well. Instead of seeing video packages about the Boss and his family we could have gotten footage of DX v Nation and that great IC Title Ladder Match at Summer Slam. We could have had talk of these two young guys going from Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Rocky Maivia to two of the biggest stars in the industry. It was not to be and while this was a good match between the ropes, the rest of it fell flat for me.
Over all this Wrestlemania certainly does not stack up with the classics. We had one great match in the Triple Threat, one entertaining but flawed car crash in the ladder match and a main event that could have been epic had they done away with over half of the people involved. It is great to see a bunch of mid-carders in the Godfather, Kane, Rikishi and Chyna as over as they were. They presented a lot of material at the expense of good matches but the matches all had story implications that people seemed to care about and invest in and that is nothing to sneeze at.
Fun Fact #1: Teddy Long was the ref in the T&A v Head Cheese match. The terribleness of this match and his involvement in it would fuel him to try to seek out tag match greatness later in his career…sadly, no matter how many meaningless tag matches he would go on to make, this one would always haunt him.
Fun Fact #2: The Hardcore Title changed hands 9 times during that terribly awful match that I just watched voluntarily.
Fun Fact #3: After the Headbangers first run in the WWE they apparently had a second run as opposed to not having a second run which would have been a better decision.
Last Fun Fact: I find that Linda McMahon comes off a little bland on TV…just wanted to make that clear.