411’s Top 30 WrestleMania Matches of All Time: #14 - The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian (WM 2000)
Posted by Larry Csonka on 03.23.2014
411 continues its Countdown to WrestleMania 30 by looking at the match that would kick off the TLC phenomenon! The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian from WrestleMania 2000 is next on our list…
Welcome back to 411Mania, and welcome to 411's official countdown to WrestleMania 30! Every year, the 411 staff comes together in some way to bring you, the fine readers of our site, a special countdown to WrestleMania. In past years we have done special countdown columns, ranking the shows, rating them overall, discussing special aspects of the big event, and even columns that have served as odes to the matches and moments that are etched into our minds.
To some fans, WrestleMania is the biggest show of the year, and the way that WWE has transformed the event into a near weeklong party, it may as well be a holiday to the fans that love our special brand of entertainment. Call it sport or call it a specially designed male soap opera, we love it and we love to talk about what makes things special. WrestleMania is an institution, and this year, as the WWE gets prepared to put on their 30th WrestleMania event, we decided to go big. Starting on March 7th, and running all the way to April 5th, 411 will present the top 30 matches in WrestleMania history.
Each writer on the 411 staff was given the opportunity to nominate 30 matches of their choosing. #1 on their list received 30 points, #2 received 29 points, and so on and so forth. Writers were asked to base their lists on both match quality and historical significance to create their nominations. The final list was created, and there was a ton of competition for the top spot. In fact, the voting was so tight that the top FOUR matches were separated by a mere 16-points.
Each day we will present a match from the list, which will include a full recap of the match from the 411 archives (from Scott Slimmer, JD Dunn, and Robert Leighty Jr.) as well as thoughts from the writers. Thank you for reading, and we hope that you enjoy our presentation…
All six of these men are making their in ring WrestleMania debuts. As I mentioned earlier these six along with Jericho, Angle, and the Radicalz gave the WWF a solid upper mid card that could actually go in the ring, and that punted a lot of the Russo crash TV upper/midcarders out of their spots. The action in this one will be frenetic and I'll try my best to keep up with the chaos. Edge and Christian jump the Hardys before the bell while the Dudleys pose on the ladders. The six men pair off and brawl on the outside of the ring. Bubba Ray and Jeff have a go in the ring, and Bubba eats the Whisper in the Wind. He gets the advantage back with a Bubba-bomb as the crowd starts chanting for tables. The ladders finally get brought into the ring, but don't get used yet. All six men brawl in the ring and the Dudleys each eat a shot from a ladder. Christian tries a splash in the corner, but D-Von tosses the ladder at him. Yeah, that's pretty damn effective. Matt drops an elbow onto D-Von who was lying on the ladder. Jeff lays Bubba on a ladder and goes for a 450 splash, but Bubba moves and Jeff kills himself. That was pretty damn insane, and really, what would possess him to take that bump? Edge rides a ladder down onto Matt Hardy alas Shawn Michaels at WM X. Bubba goes Terry Funk and wears the ladder around his neck to take everyone out as he spins. He gets too cute though, so Edge and Christian drop kick the ladder back in his face. Next they kill D-Von with a flapjack into a ladder leaning against the ropes. Christian climbs the ladder and flies off the top to the floor and takes out Bubba and Matt with a crossbody. That would be your first Holy Shit chant. Jeff starts to climb, so Edge comes off the top rope with a spear to pop the crowd. That would be a spot that repeated and countered in ladder matches to come. Edge climbs now, but he gets powerbombed for his troubles. Now Matt starts to head up, and D-Von slams him off the ladder. Next is D-Von to climb and Christian stops him by simply throwing a ladder at him. Tremendous! Now we have 3 ladders set up, and Christian starts to climb. Bubba catches him though and takes him down with a Bubba-cutter. Damn! That would be your second Holy shit chant for this match. Matt and Jeff each climb a ladder and hit the splash/leg drop combo onto Bubba. D-Von tries to climb in the corner, but he gets double suplexed by Edge and Christian. That would be Holy shit chant #3 from the crowd. The Hardys and E/C all climb, and all crash and burn. The Dudleys are the only ones left and the crowd chants again from tables. Now all 6 men start to climb, and yeah, this should be epic. Christian and Jeff are the first to go flying as they both completely clear the top rope to the floor in an insane spot. Matt and Edge (they always seemed linked) go next as they take the safer (I guess) bump of straddling the top rope. The Dudleys sandwich Christian between two ladders, and then drop Edge with 3-D. Bubba tells D-Von to get the tables, and the crowd loses their mind. Things slow down a bit here though as the Dudleys grab the tables and set up the ladders in ways for future spots. Case in point they set a table across the top of two ladders to make a platform. The Hardys keep them from climbing however. Bubba sets up another table before getting tossed to the floor by Matt. D-Von lays Jeff across a table and goes for a splash off the ladder, but only hits table as Jeff moved. A few second ladder Bubba absolutely murder Matt with a powerbomb off the Spanish announce table through a table. JR is great here as he screams, "God, all mighty, have mercy on this kid's soul." Jeff is steal breathing and runs the rail, but Bubba sees him coming and tosses a ladder. Good Lord! Bubba breaks out the super sized ladder in the aisle, and that really can't be good. Bubba sets up a table in front of that ladder, and yeah, it's really not going to be healthy for someone. Christian blasts Bubba with the ring bell, and that leaves him out cold on the ladder. Then we get one of the most famous images in WrestleMania history as Jeff Hardy hits a Swanton off the ladder through Bubba and the table. Naturally, that leads to your 4th Holy shit chant in this match. Jeff actually over shot a bit and landed squarely on his tailbone after glancing off Bubba. He would learn in future matches as he had 2 tables set up below the ladder. Back inside the ring Matt takes out D-Von with the Twist of Fate, and he starts climbing one side of the platform and Christian heads up the other. They fight on top, and Edge comes from behind to shove Matt off the platform to crash through a table below. Edge and Christian grab the titles to become your New Tag Champs at 22:29.
- By Robert Leighty Jr.
Scott Rutherford: While ladder matches had been around the WWE landscape for nearly a decade at that point, 6 men went out and thrilled an unsuspecting crowd with a range of moves and bumps that had been only ever dreamed of before.
The tag team scene in the WWF in mid-1999 was pretty dire. Vince had recently reformed the popular New Age Outlaws because he really didn't have many other options to carry the division. Thanks to Vince Russo booking, we had a series of champions that were mismatched and dragging down the scene because they were mainly main eventers (Rock & Mankind, Mankind & Al Snow, Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart, Big Bossman &Ken Shamrock, X-Pac & Kane, The Big Show & The Undertaker) that screamed "placeholder" and "no better idea".
With the bar already set so high by the tag-team gimmick matches at No Mercy '99 and the Royal Rumble 2000, everyone was intrigued what all three teams together would bring. Up until that point WM2000 was a bit of a bore and truth be told, even the fans took a while to get into this match but by the end they had witnessed history.
By having six men in the ring it created the unique opportunity to be able to continually build and pull off new and inventive spots with literally no breaks in between the action. While 2-4 guys did the business in the ring, two could lay on the outside and regain their wind after some seriously outrageous highspots. They also combined all the best aspects of the ladder match and the tables matches previously done and created the first, albeit unofficial, TLC match using both items (and chairs!) to create some of the most innovative action ever seen.
While history will judge them better than the matches the created, these three teams and this match here was a large reason why people tuned in during the most popular boom in wrestling history. You never knew what was going to happen and the aura they created around themselves was impressive. In the end, they couldn't top the expectations people had and the uniqueness of what they created was lost in over saturation making it hard even today to have a great gimmick blow-off match that doesn't borrow heavily form this classic. Though, to be fair…it's still fucking great to watch!
Jack Bramma: The time between WrestleMania XV and WrestleManis 2000 was an interesting year for the WWE as the company was in a state of flux. The Corporation had run its course. The Ministry of Darkness had crucified someone on live television and even Vince McMahon couldn't continue to sell that. The Corporate Ministry, with Vince revealed as the higher power, was a flop and over before it really began. DX 2.0 was on its last legs. Stone Cold was hurt and finally went under the knife for neck surgery that was 2 years overdue from Summerslam 1997. Big Show had jumped ship, debuted, turned face and heel a few times in a few months, and was rendered moot.
But at the same time, a new swath of talent was getting their sea legs in the deep waters of the WWE main event. A brief heel turn in 98 had only delayed the inevitable super Rock push and status as the guy by the end of 99. Triple H had emerged as The Game and heir apparent to being top heel. Chris Jericho came in opposite The Rock and in the following months, The Radicals and Kurt Angle would appear on WWE television for the first times as well.
Another key component in the WWE renaissance and continuing to rule the Monday Night Wars was the emerging new tag division during the same year. LOD was past its expiration date. A herd of novelty teams – The Headbangers, The Oddities, DOA, etc. -- had peaked and faded like many cultural fads. And makeshift tag teams were the glut of the Fed's tag offerings and a particular favorite and staple of Vince Russo – any combination of Undertaker, Stone Cold, Kane, Mankind, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, etc. But times, they were a-changin'.
Most would locate the sea change to the TLC match at WM X7 but that was a crowning achievement rather than a spark or a catalyst. A more common answer is the Hardyz/Edge and Christian ladder match for $20,000 and Terri Runnels managerial services at No Mercy 1999, but even that match, while awesome, was only a step in the direction of changing the hearts and minds of the WWE brass. After stealing the show, E&C and The Hardyz lost the next two months in gimmick matches to The Hollys, Too Cool, and The Acolytes while the NAO defended the tag belts overcoming Mankind and Al Snow and The Rock ‘n' Sock Connection.
There was still work left to be done and it would come out at the Royal Rumble. The tables match between The Dudleyz and The Hardyz at RR 2000 was the second step in the process toward setting up a triangle that would carry the division for years to come. Still, though, it took until February at No Way Out for the Dudleyz to take the straps off NAO.
A month later, the business was forever changed with the Triangle Ladder Match between The Dudleyz, The Hardyz, and E&C. While ECW popularized hardcore in the US and Mankind's dive immortalized it for an entire generation of wrestling fans, it was these three tag teams that did it week after week, month after month, and year after year for the entirety of all of their lengthy careers thereafter. All three teams would pay the price with their bodies over the years for raising the entertainment bar and the spotfest bar. Though ultimately the bar was too high, and as a result, the wrestling landscape spun itself into a destructive tailspin with chairshots and concussions galore, WEWANTTABLES chants through entire shows, and garbage wrestling becoming its own worst enemy.
Still, even to this table, TLC matches are routinely one of the highlights of the wrestling year and can always be counted on to deliver more bang for your buck. Without TLC, there is no TLC PPV. Without TLC at WM XV, there are no other TLC matches. Without the Triangle Ladder Match at WM 2000, there are no TLC matches. Without E&C, the Hardyz, and The Dudleys replacing the thinning tag herd of the late 90s, there is no Triangle Ladder Match and the WWE tag division never reaches the highest highs of the early 2000s.