From the Bowery: WrestleMania X-8
-Toronto, Ontario, Canada
-March 17, 2002
-The Invasion angle came and went in basically a blink of an eye. It was like a dream sequence where once it was over everything went back to the way it was, except the WWF had some new talent. The only people that benefited from the Invasion seemed to be Jericho, RVD, and Kurt Angle. Jericho went on to become the first Undisputed World Champion and once HHH made his return by winning the Rumble we had our WrestleMania Main Event. Funny thing happened on the way to Toronto though as Vince McMahon brought in the 3 original members of the n.W.o and immediately Rock vs. Hogan was the marquee match (as it should be) for Mania. Myself, I would have tried to get Hogan vs. Austin when you had the chance, but Rock was seen as the future at the time. As for Jericho vs. HHH it couldn’t stand on its own, so a McMahon (in this case Stephanie) was added to the match. That brings us to 4 consecutive WrestleMania Main Events with a McMahon involved.
Commentators: Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler
-Saliva plays one of the WrestleMania 18 songs to kick off the show. I know this song from a Tiger Woods game for my gamecube. I believe it is Superstar. In an awkward moment the lead singer tells Toronto to “get their ass off their shoulder’s baby.” Nice!
-Normal kick ass WrestleMania package follows. These things always give me goose bumps, and remind me why I’m a wrestling fan.
-RVD was the one true member of the alliance (not a WWE retread) that the fans bought into, and he was given a WWF Title match on PPV, but after the Invasion ended, he went down the card to IC Title level. Regal is opening up WrestleMania in an IC Title match for the second straight year. RVD gets off to a fast start with his unorthodox offense (tm JR). William counters a charge with a back elbow and looks for the brass knux in his tights. RVD kicks them out of his hand, and Regal begs off because his equalizer is gone. RVD heads up top, but the 5 star frog splash misses. Regal gets numerous 2 counts as he tries to get out of here early. RVD ducks a clothesline and gets his own near fall off a cross body. They do some reversals before Regal grounds RVD with a drop toe hold. He gets another near fall off a standing vertical suplex. RVD flips out of a backdrop attempt, but gets killed with a sweet neckbreaker. As seems normal for a Regal match, he gets a bloody mouth from a RVD boot. Rolling Thunder from RVD hits nothing but knees from Regal. It appears Regal was looking for a pedigree of all things, but RVD drives him back into the corner. Van Dam fires off some of his patented offensive moves, but he gets too cute, and Regal folds him in half with a half nelson belly to back suplex. That shit was nasty, and the crowd enjoyed it as well. Regal tosses RVD back into the ring, and grabs his brass knux while out there. The ref catches him though and tosses them back to the floor. That gives RVD the opening he needs as he hits a spin wheel kick and the 5 star frog splash finishes things at 6:20.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Rob Van Dam via pin at 6:20
-Decent opener to start, and RVD looked strong. These two seemed to mesh pretty well and I would have liked to see this go a little longer. **1/2
-Christian cuts a heel promo on DDP and his hometown crowd so that they will boo him.
-Christian was on a losing streak and throwing temper tantrums after each loss. He received guidance from motivational speaker DDP, and it helped him turn things around. Christian quickly dumped DDP when he got that elusive win, and thus we have a match. In a weird twist, DDP makes his in ring Mania debut 12 years after driving the Honky Tonk Man to the ring at WrestleMania VI (also in Toronto). Christian jumps DDP as he slides into the ring, and then celebrates with the title. DDP ducks a clothesline and fires away with some rights. He follows with a gutwrench bomb onto his knee, and they brawl on the floor. Back in the ring Christian tries to create distance, but he gets cornered. DDP starts firing away, but a well timed low blow by Christian drops DDP. They head back to the floor, but soon head right back into the ring. Okay then. Christian fires away to very little response, and mocks the Diamond Cutter symbol to get some reaction from the crowd. Christian gets posted crotch first into the post, but DDP gets yanked head first into the same post. Christian resorts to using an abdominal stretch, but gives up on the hold as the crowd is fading on them. A blind charge from DDP misses, and Christian heads up top. He gets caught however, and gets slammed to the canvas. That leaves both men down as the ref starts his ten count. The discus punch from Page gets him the advantage, and a powerbomb gets a near fall. Christian flips out of a suplex and looks for the unprettier, but DDP tries for the Cutter, but Christian is able to counter with a scorpion death drop. That only gets two though, and Christian calms himself from having a temper tantrum. It does him no good though as DDP is able snap off the Diamond Cutter for the win at 6:08. DDP gloats afterwards and it causes Christian to have a massive temper tantrum.
Winner and Still European Champion: Diamond Dallas Page via pin at 6:08
-Perfectly acceptable wrestling match even if the crowd only popped for the power moves. **
-The Rock gives a fantastic interview as he tortures the coach and makes his say his prayers. The crowd actually gives the Rock a decent response before ambushing him later in the night. The Coach’s prayer is pretty awesome here. The Rock humiliating people always made for good TV.
-Goldust has just returned to the WWF at the Rumble, and Maven was the first male Tough Enough Winner. With his most memorable moment coming at that same Rumble when he eliminated the Undertaker to the shock of everyone. That reminds me that I need to get Tough Enough Season 1 on DVD. Say what you will, but I thought that show was damn entertaining. Maven gets blitzed before he can even get in the ring, and he takes a sweet bump into the security wall. The plunder gets used early and often with Goldust wearing out Maven with a cookie sheet. They badly blow some spots with a garbage can, but things settle down after Goldust hits a reverse neckbreaker. Goldust breaks out a golden shovel, and Maven gets caught in the throat with it. The slaughter continues as Maven gets whipped into a trashcan. Both men get leveled with dueling trashcan lid shots. Spike Dudley sprints to the ring and gets the pin on Maven at 3:20 to win the title via the 24/7 rule.
Winner and New Hardcore Champion: Spike Dudley via pin at 3:20
-The crowd could care less, and all this did was set up a reoccurring joke for the rest of the night. DUD
-Drowning Pool sings the other theme song for this show: “Tear Away.” The song is done with the video package for HHH/Jericho playing above on the Tron. It’s actually a pretty effective song and video package.
-Backstage Crash fights with Spike, and Al Snow tries to run them down with a golf cart. He crashes into a pile of boxes, and Spike looks to escape, but The Hurricane swings in out of nowhere to get the pin and Title.
Kurt Angle vs. Kane
-They needed something for Kurt and Kane to do, so why not put them in a match together. They actually had a damn fine match on SmackDown previous to this, so the potential for another good match was there. Since the match isn’t on American soil, Kurt is sporting his black, alternate road uniform. Kurt, ever the evil bastard, blasts Kane with the ring bell before we ever get the opening bell, and thus has the early advantage. The story coming in is that Kane is suffering from head trauma (caused by Angle) coming into this match. Kurt continues working the head by dumping Kane with a German suplex. Kane gets the pissed kicked out of him, but regains his composure enough to fire off shots to stagger Angle. A two handed choke leads to a slam, and a hard right hand leaves Angle on the canvas. Kane charges, but Angle ducks and snaps over a beautiful overhead belly to belly suplex. The two men exchange blows in the center of the ring before Angle gets the advantage with a belly to back suplex this time. Seeing Angle suplex the shit out of people is nothing new, but seeing him do it to Kane is pretty damn impressive. Kane powers out of a front facelock by casually tossing Angle halfway across the ring. Angle runs right into a sidewalk slam, but Kurt counters a suplex attempt into the Triple Germans. Kurt Angle was just sickeningly awesome at this point in his career. He heads up top and comes off with a sweet clothesline, and even the crowd is getting behind the awesomeness of Angle. Kurt’s a little full of himself and tries the same move, but Kane stops him on the way down. That leaves both men down for the count, and once they get to their feet the start exchanging blows again. The pace quickens and that actually favors Kane as he pounds away. He catches Kurt out of the corner with another sidewalk slam, but turns it into a powerslam instead. Nice! The chokeslam looks to finish, but Kurt’s able to grab the bottom rope to break the count. Angle counters the tombstone by ripping at the mask, and that leads to an Angle Slam for a two count. The straps come down and the ankle lock gets applied. Kane fights out and even breaks, but Kurt is relentless with the hold. Kane uses the ropes to gets back to vertical base, and breaks the ankle lock with an enziguiri. He heads to the top rope, but Kurt hits up the running pop-up suplex to send Kane flying across the ring. Another Angle Slam is countered to another chokeslam, but that gets countered to a roll-up and Angle uses the ropes for added leverage to get the win at 10:40.
Winner: Kurt Angle via pin at 10:40
-I enjoyed watch Angle suplex Kane over and over again. The story about Kane suffering from head trauma disappeared early, but Kurt was so on at this point it was scary. Kane seemed a little more motivated here, and the results were a pretty sold midcard match (crappy finish aside). Thankfully, they would realize how awesome Kurt was and he would be in higher profile matches at Mania following this match. **3/4
No DQ: Ric Flair vs. The Undertaker
-Taker bated Flair into this match by beating up Arn Anderson and David Flair. The crazy thing about the story of this match is that it led to the brand extension. The Undertaker was a paltry 9-0 at WrestleMania heading into this match. Flair sprints to the ring and a big ass brawl starts. They head to the floor and brawl over the announce table. Flair gains the early advantage and just fires off punch after punch in front of the Toronto Raptors sitting in the front row. The action heads back to the ring, and it’s still nothing but Flair punching away. Taker bails to the floor and Flair jumps after him, but gets caught and rammed back first into the ring post. He gets tossed into the steps as some fan lets us know “damn that’s to hurt.” Thanks for that sir. Back in the ring Flair fires off a chop, but gets caught with a right hand in mid Woo. Taker fires Flair into the corner for the Flair flip, but he can’t get over the top, and they have to repeat the spot. This time Flair gets over to run the apron, but he runs flush into a boot. Taker lets us know it’s time to go to school as they brawl again on the floor. The boot and some subsequent right hands bust Flair open. JR lets everyone know that Flair isn’t in the prime of his career, and that he is north of 50. Crazy thing is it took 6 more years for him to retire. The blood is really starting to flow now and that seems to fire Flair up as he rips off some chops. They only stun Taker though and a stiff clothesline sends Flair back to the mat. In a awesome visual the one camera actually has some of Flair’s blood on the lens. Flair gets set up on the top rope, and a superplex brings both men crashing down to the mat. That gets a two count only because Taker pulls Flair up to continue the ass kicking. Lawler has been great on commentary here as he still had some heel tendencies at this point. Things have kind of slowed as Taker continues to just beat the holy hell out of Flair and pull him up at every count of two. Taker has a pretty nice gash on the side of his face as well, but nothing near the level of blood flow from Flair. Lawler point blank asks JR what a booger red is, but we don’t get an answer. It’s time to go to school, old school style, but Flair yanks Taker down, and starts fight back with chops. It doesn’t last long though as Taker drops him with a sidewalk slam. This time Flair kicks out, and Taker is getting frustrated. Guess you should have taken the win when you had the chance. The brawl heads back to the floor and Flair grabs a lead pipe off Taker’s motorcycle. Taker takes some abuse from the pipe and that’s get the blood pouring from his skull. In today’s PG WWE, it’s nice to see some double juice. Flair struts right into a goozle, but the dirtiest player in the game hits a kick to the balls to stop that. The figure four follows (a kick to the balls is as good as anyway to set up the hold I guess), but Taker uses his long reach to the break the hold with a chokeslam. That only gets a two count, and Taker is pissed. He punches away, but still can only get a count of two. Taker has had enough and takes out the ref. He grabs the pipe, but Flair sends him into the ropes, and Arn Anderson comes out of nowhere to kill Taker with a picture perfect spinebuster. That was tremendous and the crowd was quite pleased to see AA. The spinebuster only gets two, and Arn pays for it as he gets locked in the Dragon Sleeper. Flair breaks that by wearing Taker out with a chair. A running boot gets the chair out of Flair’s hands. Taker looks for the last ride, but Flair it gets botched, so Taker just opts for the tombstone and that’s enough for 10-0 at 18:45.
Winner: The Undertaker via pin at 18:45
-A few blown spots aside, this was a pretty brutal brawl. A little slow at times, but never enough to kill the crowd or my enjoyment of the match. The addition of Arn made for a great moment, and just seeing two men beat the piss out of each other is rather satisfying at times. ***1/4
Booker T vs. Edge
-Instead of saying these two guys just wanted to fight like they did with Angle/Benoit last year, they decided to have these two fight over a Japanese shampoo commercial. Seriously! Edge gets a big pop from his hometown crowd. A sign in the front row lets us know they are fighting over a shampoo commercial and even JR seems amazed at how this started. Lawler is running with the story though. Booker hits a stun gun to gain the advantage and a sidekick gets a two count. A clothesline sends Edge to the floor, and Booker follows with a axe handle from the ring apron. A sweet missile dropkick gets another two count for Booker. To complete the surreal nature of this match, Teddy Long is your referee. A flapjack gets another count of two as this match has been all Booker. He heads back up, but Edge shakes the ropes to send Booker crashing down onto his little booker’s. Edge actually breaks out a top rope hurricanrana and that nets him a near fall. The scissors kick is missed by Booker, and Edge gets another near fall off a spinning heel kick of the top rope. They down a reversal sequence and it ends with Booker getting catapulted into the corner. The spear comes next, but Booker leaps over and Edge crashes into the corner. The spin-a-rooni gets a massive pop, but the axe kick only gets a two count. Edge finally gets a spear, but it only gets him a two count. Edge breaks out the Edge-a-rooni, and the Edgecution finishes things at 6:32.
Winner: Edge via pin at 6:32
-This was criminally short, and I would have liked to see what these two could do with some more time. Instead they tried to cram as much as they could in six minutes and while entertaining it never got time to develop. **1/2
-Hurricane tries to sneak out of the building with the Hardcore title, but the Coach stops him for an interview. Mighty Molly turns on him and becomes your new Hardcore Champion.
-A video package recaps the Austin/Hall feud, and really it felt underwhelming considering the main n.W.o feud was Rock/Hogan.
”Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall (w/ Kevin Nash)
-A year earlier Austin is in the Main Event at the biggest show in years, and here he is firmly in the middle of the card following a match that was fought over a shampoo commercial. For those watching the original DVD release you should be getting the classic n.W.o porno music. I believe they changed the music on the WrestleMania box set that came out a few years later. Austin wastes no time and starts stomping a mud hole as the crowd chants “What” with each boot. That really did get old fast, and thankfully, it has almost been wiped out of the minds of today’s fans. Hall continues to get his ass kicked, and he has to bail. Austin gives chase and lands the first blow on Nash, which Lawler helpfully points out. Nash loosens the pad in one of the corners to expose the buckle. Hall and Austin brawl in the opposite corner, and it’s Austin who gets sent back first into the exposed steel. Nash finally gives Austin a receipt for the earlier shot, and Lawler tries to explain that to JR. That doesn’t go well for Lawler as JR gets a little cranky. Hall controls back in the ring with a fall-away slam to a good pop. A stiff clothesline sends Austin back to the mat, but he is able to kick out at two. The ref gets distracted once again, and Nash buries another forearm into Austin’s head. The crowd starts a Razor chant, and Nash gives Austin another shot. Hall makes the mistake of charging into a spinebuster, and that’s gives Austin a chance to catch his breath. Some beautiful right hands from Hall keep Austin down, but he ends up walking right into a Stunner. Nash saves by pulling out the ref and blasting him. Now Nash gets in the ring and Austin gets hammered with some elbows. Hall grabs a chair, but Austin is able to fight off both members of the n.W.o and lay both out with stunners. Austin gets a second visual pin on Hall, but the actual pin doesn’t occur thanks to Nash. Hall goes for the Razor’s Edge, but he eats a backdrop to the floor instead. A gang of refs toss Nash from the ringside area and the crowd is none too pleased with that decision. Austin and Hall continue their brawl in the ring and Hall gets a stunner of Austin, but the ref is slow about getting to position and it only gets a hot two count. Irony comes back to bite Hall in the ass as he eats the exposed steel and two stunners later finish Hall at 9:52.
Winner: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin via pin at 9:52
-This could have been a lot better, and it really didn’t do the n.W.o any favors as Austin basically withstood both men beating on him for the majority of the match. The match itself was perfectly acceptable and the crowd was with them throughout just due to the star power involved. **1/4
-This is an elimination match, which means we might actually break 10 minutes for this thing. To kill some more time, Saliva plays the Dudley Boys down to the ring. The benefit is we get some dancing from Stacey Keibler, and that’s a damn good thing. Almost like her Miss Hancock days in WCW. The APA decides to jump Chuck before the match and so those teams start this thing. It settles down to Bradshaw and Chuck, and Bradshaw overpowers both tag champs. A nasty belly to back suplex leaves Chuck on his back, and the tag is made to Faarooq. A blind charge from Faarooq meets a stiff clothesline from Chuck. He makes the tag to Billy and JR informs us that these guys love to double team. They even gets a rise out of Lawler. Please read that last line without the innuendo though. Billy starts taking a beating and opts to tag D-Von. The Dudleys brawl with Team 3D and Billy and Chuck try to pick the bones. The clothesline from Hell kills Billy, but Bradshaw walks right into a 3D to eliminate the APA at 3:35. Love how the APA just got the Big Show treatment. The Hardys get involved to the shrieks of the females in the crowd. On the floor the Dudley boys get some tables ready. Billy and Chuck are an after thought as we get Dudleys vs. Hardys for the thousandth time. Jeff hits the Whisper in the Wind, but Stacey shakes her ass on the apron to distract him. She even pulls up the shorts to show off her ass. Always a plus! Lawler offers to put salve on her ass. The champs are more than content standing on the apron watching these 2 rival teams beat the hell out of each other. Good strategy there. D-Von gets the tag and mows down Jeff with a clothesline. Jeff is your pasty Carolinian in peril as the crowd seems a little distracted. D-Von hits a jumping back elbow and asks the crowd who the man is, and it’s a little sad when only three people in the front row say “you are.” Jeff finally makes the lukewarm tag to Matt, and he hits everyone including the tag champs standing on the apron. D-Von misses the backsplash from the middle rope, but rebounds to set Jeff up for the “what’s up” drop. Billy shoves D-Von off the top rope and he crashes through the tables that were set up earlier. That leaves Bubba distracted and he eats a Twist of Fate/Swanton combo to eliminate the Dudleys at around 11:30. The Hardys get the early advantage and run through their standard offense. The Swanton looks to finish, but Billy hits a fame-asser to get Chuck a close two. Billy comes back with in the ring with the tag belt and blasts Jeff in the head. That’s enough for Chuck to get the pin at 13:51.
Winners and Still WWF Tag Champions: Billy and Chuck via pin at 13:51
-This was mostly Hardys vs. Dudleys with a few moments of the other two teams sprinkled in for fun. Not saying that’s a bad thing though because those two teams could probably sleepwalk through a decent tag match. The table spot was nice, and the tag champs went over 3 established teams, so it worked on that level. **1/2
-Hall and Nash bitch about the match with Austin and vow it won’t happen to Hogan in his match with the Rock. Hogan asks both men to hang in the back and let him handle things on his own, but Hall and Nash have other ideas.
-Molly tries to leave with her newly won Hardcore Title, but someone slams in a door in her face, leaving her out cold. “Stand back there’s a new champion coming through,” says Christian as he covers her to become the new WWF Hardcore Champion. One of my favorite moments from this show actually.
-The video package for Hogan/Rock is show, and it’s still quite epic. The stuff with the big rig and the ambulance seemed a little out there, and the WWF kind of realized that as they took the focus off that later. Always nice when you can brush attempted vehicular homicide off that easy.
The Rock vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan
-Hogan comes out first and gets a huge reaction from the crowd and JR immediately does all he can to down play the fact that Hogan is the face in that match. He attributes everything to nostalgia (which is possible) and calls it a mixed reaction. This really should have closed the show because nothing was going to follow it without dying the death of a 1000 deaths. I still think Austin vs. Hogan should have been done here, but this is still pretty fucking awesome. The opening moments with both men staring at each other and then at the crowd is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in wrestling. The bell sounds and the crowd erupts. Seriously, how often do you see that happen? Hogan powers Rock down and poses to a MONSTER reaction. Hogan seems to be having the time of his life, though he said he was scared to death by the crowd’s reaction in his book. Hogan grabs a headlock as the Rocky Sucks chants begin. The Rock gets steamrolled and Hogan poses some more to a huge reaction. Hogan hits a knee and starts pounding away as he talks some trash. A nice running clothesline sends the Rock flying as he sells everything to the highest degree. The Rock finally gets some offense and the crowd is pissed. He tells Hogan to bring it, and he responds with a shove. Rock answers with some fists and sends Hogan to the floor. They head back inside, and the Rock drops Hogan with a hard clothesline. He prepares for the Rock Bottom, but Hogan elbows out and delivers a right hand. The axe-bomber sends the Rock to the mat, and Hogan follows with several elbows. Rock gets tossed into the corner, and Hogan follows with the running clothesline. JR notes Hogan lost his lone WrestleMania match in the SkyDome. Rock gets some offense to some boos, but Hogan gets a suplex to a huge pop. Lawler is all but gushing over Hogan, while JR struggles to give any praise. Hogan rakes the back, and Rock’s oversell is truly amazing. Rock fires back and the crowd is irate with that. This is almost like HHH vs. Cena with the fans booing and cheering depending on who is on the offensive. Hogan uses his wrist tape to choke Rock, and somewhere Jesse Ventura is probably crying. Rock tries to lay the smack down, but gets tossed to the floor. Hogan rams him into the steps and drops him throat first on the security rail. He preps the announce table, but nothing comes from that. Rock says hell with the table and grabs a chair, but the ref stops him. That gives Hogan the chance to hit another clothesline. The ref gets creamed when Hogan tosses the Rock across the ring. Rock gets a spinebuster to leave both men down. He applies his crappy version of the sharpshooter which doesn’t go over very well for the Rock with the Canadian crowd. Hogan makes the ropes, but there is no ref, so the Rock drags him back to the middle of the ring. Hogan taps, but the ref is nowhere to be found. Loud Rocky sucks chant as he starts to go heel mid-match. Hogan gets a ball shot and hits his version of the ROCK BOTTOM to a ridiculous reaction from the crowd. That gets a hot near fall. The fans were buying that one. The weight belt gets used by Hogan, but a timely DDT gives the Rock a chance to use the belt. Some fans start to cheer the Rock now that he is heel. Crazy! A Rock Bottom gets a 2 count, and we get the Hulk-up to one of the loudest reactions you will ever hear. Any true wrestling fan has to see the reaction Hogan gets as everything from here on out is just insanely over with the crowd. The legdrop gets a 2 count, and the crowd is ready to riot. This is just a fantastically fun match to watch. I’m even marking out at this point some 7 years later. A second legdrop misses, and Hogan eats a second Rock Bottom. He doesn’t cover and opts to give Hogan a 3rd Rock Bottom. The People’s Elbow follows and that is enough to get the pin @ 16:24. They shake hands after the match and that pisses off Hall and Nash. They beat on Hogan, and the Rock makes the save. This should have lead to a huge money tag match at the next PPV, but for some reason it wasn’t to be. Hogan poses while the Rock watches with a huge smile on his face. A favorite moment for me is when they walk up the ramp, and Hogan raises the arm of the Rock. You can see the look in the Rock’s eyes as he shakes his head in disbelief. It was a small moment where it looked like he was Duane Johnson and was overwhelmed with the moment.
The Rock by pin via People’s Elbow @ 16:24
-Sure the match wasn’t technically great, and you can find guys in 100 seat gyms pulling out 15 different variations of a suplex, and adding twits to the simplest of moves. This didn’t need all that. This was the biggest star in the history of this sport returning home to face the future of the business (we assumed) in front of the hottest crowd you will ever see. This was all spectacle and nobody does that better than the WWE. I am a Hogan and Rock mark and this entertained the hell out of me. I’m biased when it comes to this match. Deal with it. *****
-The Big Show is at WWF New York watching the show with the fans. Poor guy went from Main Event to Hardcore Title Match to WWF New York duty in the span of 3 WrestleManias.
-These poor women have to follow Rock/Hogan. Even Trish all decked out in the Maple Leaf can barely get a pop from the crowd. Lita and Jazz start brawling as Trish makes her way to the ring. The two faces work over the champ, but that doesn’t last long as Jazz puts Trish in a half crab. Lita gets put in the double arm chicken wing as Jazz just overpowers both women. As usual Lawler makes vague sexual references about the positions in which the women are placed. Classy! The arena is dead, and all you can really hear are a few whistles directed at the women. Trish hits a stiff kick on Lita, but Jazz breaks the count. Jazz gets a fisherman’s suplex, but Lita breaks that pin attempt. A scorpion death drop gets a two count for Trish as Lita breaks that count. Lita and Trish square off as the crowd starts to show some life. They both a backdrop, and a sloppy twist of fate follow. Lita tries to hit a moonsault on both women, but Trish brings up the knees to block. Trish fires off some Flair chops and the crowd chants for puppies. Jazz gets elevated over the top by Lita, and Trish gets sent crotch first into the turnbuckle in a rather painful spot. Jazz capitalizes by killing Lita with a top rope fisherman’s suplex for the win at 6:16. That’s an emphatic ending there.
Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Jazz via pin on Lita at 6:16
-They went out and had a decent match to little crowd heat because of what they had to follow. Jazz kind of anchored things with her power wrestling, and it worked ok at times. The ending was pretty strong though, and Trish would only get better from here. *3/4
-Christian celebrates as he makes his was out of the area with the title to a waiting car. Sadly, Maven sneaks up from behind and gets a roll-up to regain the Hardcore Title. Asshole even steals Christian’s cab.
-Sadly, the main issue leading into this seemed to be HHH vs. Stephanie with Jericho just being there. They had not introduced the new undisputed belt yet, so Jericho is still carrying around the WWF and World Heavyweight (WCW) Title at this point. I actually liked the visual of the champion carrying around two titles. Drowning Pool plays their version of HHH’s theme as he makes his way to the ring. HHH has the repaired quad heavily taped thanks to an attack by Jericho six days earlier. JR starts harping on the injury already and that pretty much sums up what we’re going to see as far as the story of this match goes. They should have either let Rock/Hogan end this show, or they needed more than just the women’s title match as a bumper. We’re told that Dr Andrews confirmed the repaired quad is hanging by a wire. Jericho gets a decent response from the Canadian crowd as one would expect. Jericho immediately goes for the leg, and HHH backs away. HHH sidesteps a take down attempt and starts firing off right hands. A clothesline is ducked, but a high knee drops Jericho to the mat. The move backfires on HHH though as he starts feeling pain in the knee. He charges, but gets sent over the top to the floor. Jericho heads up top, but HHH meets him there and tosses him to the barrier on the floor. HHH preps the announce table, but it’s doesn’t get used as Jericho starts kicking at the quad. They head back in the ring, and HHH starts working on the quad of Jericho. A knee breaker continues the damage on the knee, and HHH’s locks in the figure four. Steph rakes the eyes of HHH to break that. She celebrates, but HHH pulls her up to the apron by the hair. Jericho tries to spear HHH, but he moves and Steph takes the spear. HHH goes for the Pedigree on Steph, but Jericho saves her with a missile dropkick. The quad takes some abuse on the ring post, and Steph makes sure to get in a cheap shot. Jericho grounds HHH and takes great pleasure in twisting the leg in as many directions as possible. Steph slaps the taste out of HHH’s mouth and Jericho locks in the ring post assisted figure four. That’s a sure fire way to get on the good side of a Canadian crowd. Speaking of that crowd, they seemed a little burnt out, and even start a Hogan chant. I bet while rehabbing for those 8 months HHH never thought his big shot at the title would be upstaged by a match featuring Hulk Hogan. To HHH’s credit he is selling the hell out of that leg, and he makes sure to sell the leg even when he hits an offensive move. He snaps off a spinebuster, but can’t really capitalize and ends up flying over the turnbuckle to the floor. A small “Y2J” chant starts, but it doesn’t last long. Jericho preps the other announce table and looks to apply the Walls of Jericho. HHH kicks off, and looks for the Pedigree on the table. Jericho counters with a backdrop and HHH gets sent from one announce table through the other. Nice! Back in the ring a lionsault gets a two count as JR bemoans this may very well be the last match we ever see from HHH. The Walls get locked in to the loudest pop of the match so far. HHH crawls for the ropes, but gets pulled back to the center of the ring to another sizeable pop. Things go old school as Hebnar checks on HHH’s arm, but it only drops two times. Jericho thinks the match is over and realizes the hold to celebrate. He gets a little pissed and heads to the floor to grab a chair. He heads for HHH, but the chair gets kicked back in his face, and a DDT on the chair gets a two count. Steph tries to hit HHH with the chair, but Hebnar pulls the chair out of her heads. HHH finally sticks her with the Pedigree, and that wakes up the comatose crowd. Jericho hits a sick chair shot, but it only gets a long two count. Jericho gets cocky and tries to hit the pedigree, but HHH counters to a slingshot. Jericho casually lands on the middle rope, but he gets caught with a boot coming back and the Pedigree finishes things at 18:40. JR puts HHH over as the manliest man to ever walk the planet, and it leaves me wondering if Austin got jealous due to the verbal blowjob JR is giving HHH right now. HHH doesn’t get too much time to celebrate though as we head to the WrestleMania recap package. Too funny!
Winner and New Undisputed WWF Champion: HHH via pin at 18:40
-Technically this was a fine Main Event, but it should have been more. This seriously was HHH/Orton at WrestleMania XXV. What should have been a blood feud being your standard wrestling match with a few big spots. I know they felt the WWF Title Match should end the show at WrestleMania, but damn did that leave a weak ending to the show. Again, the match itself was fine technically, but the dead crowd hurt things. ***
Top 5 WrestleMania Matches (To this Point):
1) IC Title: Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat *****
2) Submission Match: Bret Hart vs Steve Austin *****
3) WWF Title: The Rock vs Steve Austin II *****
4) The Rock vs Hulk Hogan *****
5) Career vs Career: Randy Savage vs The Ultimate Warrior *****
The 411: This show is remembered for one match, and one match alone, but damn if it wasn't an Epic match. The Main Event and a good showing from Taker/Flair add to the depth of the show, but everything else was hurt by a lack of time. This felt like the early marathon Manias where you had to sit through a lot of filler to get to the high points.