Wrestlemania Count-Up – Wrestlemania XX (2017 Redo): The Definitive One

Wrestlemania XX
Date: March 14, 2004
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Attendance: 18,500
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This is an interesting choice but when I asked which show you wanted redone, I got a nine way tie at one vote apiece so I picked it myself. If there’s one thing WWE knows how to do, it’s some big old anniversary show. This is a major milestone for Wrestlemania and it should be a fun sit. Let’s get to it.

Runtime for this thing: four hours and thirty one minutes. Somehow, that’s short by today’s standards.

The Harlem Boys Choir sings America the Beautiful.

The opening video looks at the history of the show, which started as a dream twenty years ago. Most of the people on the show talk about how important this show is and how important it is to be in the Garden. This is the kind of video that makes it feel special, which can be so easy to get wrong at a show like this one. In a VERY cool ending, the video ends with a shot of Vince and zooms out to show Shane and his daughter as the voiceover talks about it all beginning again. That’s just awesome.

It’s still so weird to see King in a suit.

Since it’s MSG, there’s a video screen opposite the hard camera. It’s not the entrance but at least it looks cool.

US Title: John Cena vs. Big Show

Show is defending for the third or so time since winning the title FIVE MONTHS AGO. Cena gets the fans fired up and we get a LOUD Cena chant. How weird is it to not have “SUCKS” after that? We get some genital jokes, fat jokes and Cena gets a BIG SHOW SUCKS chant started before it’s finally ready to go. Of course it’s the trash talk to start until Show sends him to the ribs and gets in a knee lift.

Cole starts talking about Show’s history in Madison Square Garden and says “he retired Hulk Hogan here.” I have less than no idea what he’s talking about there so I’m going to assume it’s just an error. Show gets two off a powerslam and cuts off a Cena comeback with a clothesline. A good looking suplex gets two and a headbutt allows Cole to get in his “it’s like getting hit with a typewriter” line.

The same headbutt he gave to Hogan in the Garden right? Another comeback is stopped cold with a superkick and the Hog Roll (imagine a Fameasser if Cena is face up) gets two. The fans get behind Cena again but it’s off to a cobra clutch so Cole can get in a Sgt. Slaughter reference.

Cena FINALLY gets in some offense with right hands and we get the really weird description of Cena as a young kid. The FU gets two and Cena gives a meme worthy reaction. Cena puts his chain around his head but gets caught by the referee. John’s response? YOU CAN’T SEE ME. The referee takes them away so Cena hits him with the knuckles, followed by another FU for the pin and the title at 9:13.

Rating: D. This is a case where the fans wanted to see one thing and that’s all that mattered to them. The match was horrible of course because Big Show was one of the most worthless periods here but they got the ending right and the fans LOVED Cena here. I also like the FU better than the AA as it looks more impactful, but I can get why he switched it up. Show needs to move on to anything else.

Cena gets a big celebration for his first title.

Coach runs into the bizarre duo of Dr. Tom Prichard and Johnny Stamboli. After that completely bizarre cameo, he goes to see Raw GM Eric Bischoff who sends him to find the Undertaker. Coach asks why he’s supposed to go find a Smackdown wrestler but Eric sends him away anyway.

Evolution is in a stairwell (where Randy Orton attacked Mick Foley in June to really start their feud) and says it all begins again here. Orton laughs at Foley for walking away in December and now he’s run off to Hollywood to get his buddy the Rock to help him out. (that night when Rock was already there was the moment that made this story for me).

Anyway, Evolution beat Rock down too and they’re doing it again here. It’s Evolution’s time and tonight it all ends where it began last June. REALLY good stuff here as Orton continues to be way more effective as the young, brash hotshot than he would become as the Viper. I know I’m mostly alone in that stance but I was a big Orton fan at this point.

Raw Tag Team Titles: La Resistance vs. Garrison Cade/Mark Jindrak vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Booker T./Rob Van Dam

Booker and Van Dam are defending and this is one fall to a finish. And yes, they really thought calling someone Garrison Cade (just a generic guy who got better later on) was going to get him over. Jindrak is an athletic freak who became a bigger deal in Mexico and La Resistance are Rob Conway and Rene Dupree. Unfortunately this match means we have to hear the AWFUL Booker T./Rob Van Dam remixed theme. Seriously.

Dupree takes Van Dam into the corner to start and gets monkey flipped for his efforts. Van Dam catapults him into a superkick from Booker as they’re trying to get as many people in as fast as they can. Bubba comes in for the first time and it’s a much, much lower level reaction than you would expect for a New Yorker coming in. You know, assuming there isn’t a Harlem Heat fan in the house.

Bubba loads up the Flip Flop and Fly but eats a side kick for his efforts in a smart move. Jindrak tags himself in and it’s time to double team Booker for a bit. It really is just a bit though as Dupree tags himself in as well, meaning La Resistance gets to work Booker over for a change.

It’s off to a double arm crank as the match is far slower than you would expect a match with eight people to be. Booker busts Conway’s spine though and the hot tag brings in Van Dam to clean house. Now everything breaks down as it’s supposed to until Booker and D-Von are left along to slug it out. Cade breaks up 3D and Booker adds some kicks, setting up the Five Star to retain the titles at 7:53.

Rating: D. Too many people in a match that should have been on Raw. Other than “because we feel like it” was there a reason for Cade and Jindrak to be on there? WWE has a real issue with adding people to a match when they don’t make things any better, which is what happened in this case. You really could have dropped La Resistance as well and just given us a regular tag but I get that this helps the guys a lot more financially and it’s not like this match meant anything.

Coach goes to investigate some noises in the bowels of the building and finds…..Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan in various stages of undress. The reaction is of course priceless (Heenan: “We were playing cards!”) but Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young pop out and drag Heenan and Okerlund back inside. Heenan: “I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK! I HAVEN’T BEEN WELL!” Coach looks terrified (rightfully so) and that’s it for the “go find the Undertaker” thing.

We recap Christian vs. Chris Jericho, which I’ve always liked quite a bit. Jericho and Christian had a bet over who could sleep with Trish Stratus and Lita respectfully. Lita was quickly forgotten but it turned out that Jericho started to fall for Trish. However, Christian wasn’t happy with his buddy becoming a new person.

Bischoff was annoyed one night and made Christian vs. Trish with Christian agreeing to lay down for her….if she would lay down for him. Trish said no so he put her in the Walls of Jericho. Chris, who seems to have gotten onto Trish’s good side, is fighting for revenge. It’s a complicated story but they both had logical paths and Jericho’s character grew a lot out of the whole thing.

Chris Jericho vs. Christian

Jericho starts fast and gets rather aggressive on the mat. A belly to back suplex drops Christian as Lawler is cheering for the evil Canadian. Christian gets backdropped to the floor in a big crash and you know the New York crowd is going to be behind Jericho here. Back in and the threat of the Walls send Christian into the ropes.

A nasty looking belly to back throw send Jericho outside and Christian takes over for the first time. It’s off to a neck crank (with their backs to the camera because they don’t know how to work or something) before they ram heads for a double knockdown. Lawler says that this split is a shame because they were both having more success than they had ever achieved before. I’m not even going to bother to make fun of that one.

Tim White tells them that they have “six minutes fellows” so Jericho gets two off a northern lights suplex. The Lionsault hits knees though and Christian gets two off his reverse tornado DDT. Christian starts in on the knee and slaps on a Texas Cloverleaf to mix it up a bit.

Jericho gets out though and hooks the Walls on the floor, which of course doesn’t mean anything or enhance the move at all. Instead it’s a butterfly superplex for a near fall and here comes Trish. Back up and Christian gets two off an implant DDT but stops to go after Trish. Jericho comes over for the save but gets slapped by mistake, allowing Christian to grab a rollup with tights for the pin at 14:43.

Rating: B-. The match wasn’t great but it’s certainly the best thing on the show tonight so far. I’m a big fan of this story and it’s certainly one of my favorites from this era. It told a logical story with different steps and gave both of them something to do for several months. The match itself is good too and gives Christian his biggest singles win ever.

Post match Trish slaps Jericho on purpose so Christian can lay him out. Trish and Christian leave together and kiss on the stage, giving us the eternally awesome evil Trish, who worked in a variety of ways.

Mick Foley is fired up to be here but doesn’t know if he can channel enough emotion and hatred to face Evolution tonight. The Rock cuts him off though (BIG pop for that) and says Foley has come back….home. After hitting on Lillian a big (with good reason), Rock steals the camera and finds Hurricane, Rosey, Jimmy Snuka, Don Muraco and of course, the people, as Rock sends the cameraman into the arena before coming back for the final catchphrase.

Evolution vs. The Rock/Mick Foley

3-2 here with Orton (Intercontinental Champion)/Batista/Ric Flair for the team. The question here is can MSG handle Rock and Flair trying to steal the show so hard in the same match. Foley is looking slim here and the amazing thing for me is that he’s only 39 here and having his first match in four years. He was done as a full time wrestler at 35 and I’m kind of amazed he lasted that long given how insane he was for so many years.

Evolution gets cleaned out to start until Flair and Rock get things going (oh boy). The early backdrop sends Flair to the floor but it’s a simple thumb to the eye to cut Rock off. Foley is right there though and drops the elbow off the apron as the FOLEY chants start up. It’s off to Orton but he immediately bails to avoid Foley. That goes as well as you would expect and something that might have been a low blow puts Randy down.

Rock gets in some shots as we’re still in the first section of the match. Batista low bridges Rock to the outside though and it’s time for the first heat segment. It’s off to Flair for one heck of a chop and some extra strength WOO’s. The pop for the strut is as loud as you would expect, as it is for the clothesline that Rock follows up with. Ric goes up, gets slammed down, and tags off to Batista.

Mick is in as well though and things speed up (not normally something you associate with Foley) until Batista drives him into the corner (which you do associate with Batista). A huge clothesline runs Foley over though and Orton whips him HARD into the steps. Back in and Orton grabs a camel clutch for a bit before the rest of the team gets in their shots. Foley does get a quickly broken up Claw on Batista for a hope spot, which is a great way to keep the crowd into things.

A swinging neckbreaker and a forearm to Flair’s head is enough for the tag, which doesn’t get the pop you would expect. Rock cleans house and the fans are into his offense until Batista gets in the spinebuster. Then, in the spot of the match, Flair loads up the People’s Elbow. Naturally Rock nips up, does the strut, and punches Flair in the jaw before showing him how it’s really done.

The fans buy into the near fall and do it again after a Rock Bottom to Orton. Batista’s big clothesline and the Batista Bomb get two on Rock but Orton gives up the hot tag to Foley and eats a double arm DDT. It’s Mr. Socko time but Foley walks into a quick RKO for the pin at 17:02. Notice that Foley was up a few seconds later and looked stunned, just like Orton. That makes Orton look like he won clean but also that he’s moving up a level because it worked on the biggest name yet.

Rating: B+. I had a great time with this as it was an exceptional performance, albeit not exactly a great match. This was all about everyone looking great with Rock and Flair clearly having the time of their lives out there. Foley vs. Orton was the real story here and things would get even better the next month when they were on their own. This was a big part of making Orton though, which is where Foley shined like few others over the years. Great stuff here and a fine example of what happens when you have some amazing performers wanting to do their best.

Foley gets up and looks dejected but Rock applauds him.

Clips from the Hall of Fame ceremony, which hadn’t been held since 1996. Heenan’s line of “I wish Monsoon was here” gets me every time.

Gene Okerlund presents the Hall of Fame Class of 2004:

Bobby Heenan (I can’t praise him enough)

Tito Santana (one of my all time favorites)

Big John Studd (represented by his son)

Harley Race (that man deserves his own Hall of fame)

Pete Rose (booed but said to be incredibly grateful for the honor)

Don Muraco (underrated)

Greg Valentine (big pop and looks the same as he did in 1983)

Junkyard Dog (represented by his daughter)

Billy Graham (probably the most copied wrestler of his era)

Sgt. Slaughter (the definition of a wrestling character)

Jesse Ventura (BIG pop and well deserved)

Sable/Torrie Wilson vs. Stacy Keibler/Miss Jackie

Playboy Evening Gown match (and Smackdown vs. Raw) after Sable and Torrie posed together. They want to have the match in lingerie but Jackie says no so this actually has to take place. Jackie is stripped anyway so all four are in their underwear. I think you know how this is going to go and they hit all of the comedy spots that you would expect. That includes high crossbodies, Stacy doing the leg choke in the corner, sunset flips and the referee getting crushed. Oh and genital jokes from Cole and Tazz. Torrie rolls Jackie up for the pin at 2:32. This was exactly what four non-wrestlers in lingerie was going to be.

Video on international fans coming in for Wrestlemania.

Eddie Guerrero goes in to see Chris Benoit and says he’s proud of Benoit no matter what. Benoit doesn’t want to hear it but Eddie keeps going until Chris gets in his face and shouts that he believes in himself. That’s exactly what Eddie wanted to hear. That’s the Benoit he fought in Japan every night and we get that Eddie smile. Tonight, they’re leaving here with both World Titles.

Cruiserweight Title: Cruiserweight Open

Chavo Guerrero Jr. is defending and this is basically Tag Team Turmoil but with one person at a time. Guerrero is automatically tenth due to being champion and the rest are all randomly chosen. In an interesting move, all ten come out first with Ultimo Dragon tripping on the way in for a funny moment.

Ultimo Dragon (who slips on the stage and on the ropes, both of which are edited off the Network version) and Shannon Moore get things going with an exchange of near falls. Shannon hits a moonsault press off the top for two but gets caught in the Asai DDT (starts in a snapmare but Dragon backflips into a reverse DDT) for the pin at 1:19. Jamie Noble is in next for a forearm to Dragon’s back and a neckbreaker for no cover. A guillotine choke gets rid of Dragon at 2:15 total. Funaki comes in with a high crossbody but gets small packaged for the elimination at 2:21.

It’s Nunzio (stereotypical Italian) in fifth so Noble sends him outside for a top rope flip dive. That’s actually good for a countout at 4:15 and Kidman is in next. Nunzio isn’t done though and pulls Noble to the floor for a springboard shooting star press in the spot of the night so far. Back in and Nunzio grabs another guillotine choke on Kidman, only to get reversed with a backdrop and an enziguri. Noble crotches him on top and tries a superplex but gets caught in a super BK Bomb (Sky High) to get rid of Noble at 6:06.

Rey Mysterio (as the Flash in a great costume) is in next but walks into a quick dropkick. Mysterio gets in one of his own, only to have Akio (Jimmy Wang Yang as Tajiri’s goon) deck him from behind. The BK Bomb gets two so Kidman takes him to the corner but gets caught in a sunset bomb for the pin at 7:26. It’s Tajiri’s turn now and Rey jumps over his head, only to get caught in the Tarantula. The handspring elbow is blocked with a dropkick and there’s the 619. Akio offers a distraction but takes the Mist by mistake, allowing Rey to grab a rollup for the pin at 8:36.

Akio can’t go because of the Mist so Chavo goes in for the title match against Mysterio. Rey starts springboarding around but Chavo Sr. offers a distraction and gets knocked to the floor for his efforts. The referee can’t block a dive but Chavo Jr. grabs a rollup and his dad’s hands for the pin to retain at 10:30.

Rating: D. WAY too much going on here and I have almost no idea what happened for most of the match. They were flying all over the place and going in and out so fast that it didn’t register at all. My biggest problem with this kind of match is always the same: if someone can get a pin like this in a minute and a half, why does that never happen on a weekly basis?

We recap Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. They got into it at the Royal Rumble with Lesnar interfering and throwing Goldberg out. Goldberg then cost Lesnar the Smackdown World Title at No Way Out and a match was made. Steve Austin was added as guest referee to make sure this wasn’t a complete disaster and had a mini-feud with Lesnar as well.

However, there was one more detail: prior to the show, it leaked out that both guys were leaving after this show, meaning there was almost no point to the whole thing. As you might have guessed, the New York crowd has figured out what’s going on and I have a feeling they might have something to say about it.

Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar

No contact for the first twenty five seconds so we hit the YOU SOLD OUT chants. Austin tells them to get it on as we hit a minute with no contact. Now it’s the Goodbye Song as JR talks about Lesnar going to the NFL because you just can’t ignore the chants any longer. Two minutes in and nothing but circling and trash talk so far. Austin has a knowing look on his face as the fans chant BS, which JR says is an Austin chant (they do sound a lot alike).

They FINALLY lock up at 2:46 as we hear about Goldberg being an MMA aficionado. The lockup lasts 45 seconds before they shove each other away and have another staredown. We’re four minutes in and the only contact has been a single lockup. Another lockup goes on and the booing is strong with this one. This one doesn’t last nearly as long but still goes nowhere.

The fans think this match sucks as Lesnar FINALLY grabs a headlock five minutes in. They collide off a shoulder and stare each other down AGAIN, earning a “WE WANT FLAIR” chant. A double shoulder puts both guys down again and the fans are still livid. Goldberg finally grabs him by the throat into a gorilla press into a spinebuster, drawing an actual pop from the crowd.

The spear misses though and Goldberg crashes out to the floor so the fans think he sucks. Back in and Lesnar gets two off a suplex before grabbing a standing choke to keep things slow. Something happens in the crowd and they start chanting for Hogan (probably a look-a-like). Brock gets in another suplex and puts on another choke as the fans have just given up on even trying.

Another double collision puts both guys down again as this is somehow eleven minutes already. Goldberg makes his comeback with clotheslines and a neckbreaker followed by the spear for two. The F5 gets the same and Lesnar stops to jaw with Austin, setting up the spear and Jackhammer to end Brock at 13:43.

Rating: S. For sequel, which this would somehow warrant. This was the epitome of disrespectful to the fans as they didn’t want to do anything for the people here because they knew they were getting paid no matter what. There’s no point in trying to analyze the match because neither was interested in doing anything.

It got watchable near the end but they had already given up and taken the crowd completely out of it by that point. I was embarrassed here and that should never happen. Austin was completely innocent here by the way and was stuck in a hard place. Oh and one more thing: WWE IS GOING TO LET THEM DO IT AGAIN THIRTEEN YEARS LATER! FOR THE TITLE!

Fireworks go off outside.

Vince McMahon himself comes out to say that tonight, it all begins again. We actually get what sounds like a very heartfelt thank you from the boss, who thanks us on behalf of himself, his company and his family. No storyline or sarcasm here and that’s a really cool thing to see.

Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Rikishi/Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Basham Brothers vs. APA vs. World’s Greatest Tag Team

Rikishi and Scotty are defending and it’s one fall to a finish again. The Bashams were talented guys who looked alike but never had the chance to go anywhere. Bradshaw (ready to break into his singles run) and Shelton get things going before the Bashams pull Benjamin into the corner. That’s fine with Shelton though as he takes over on Doug and slams him onto Charlie’s knee. It’s off to Scotty for a suplex on Haas but let’s stop to dance for a bit.

Haas and Benjamin get in some double teaming to work on Scotty’s back before it’s off to the Bashams for the same. Scotty finally flips out of a suplex and brings in Rikishi as the crowd just does not care. Shelton makes the mistake of trying a German suplex on Rikshi, who responds by superkicking Haas into the corner for the Stinkface. Bradshaw gets to clean house but Rikishi grabs him in a Samoan drop. A sitdown splash ends Danny to retain the titles at 6:02.

Rating: D-. No one gets to shine, the teams are almost all nothing and the crowd just did not react. It’s a horrible idea for a match but again, I get why they do it this way. The APA would split almost immediately after this and the Bashams would join JBL’s Cabinet later in the year. Nothing match though as this show is just going on way too long.

The champs dance post match.

Edge is coming back after over a year on the shelf.

Jesse Ventura comes out to interview…..dang it he’s interviewing Donald Trump. Short version: Trump and Vince are friends and Trump would support Jesse going after the Presidency. Lawler thinks they would make a good ticket. Moving on to ANYTHING else.

Women’s Title: Molly Holly vs. Victoria

Victoria is defending and this is title vs. hair with both women looking great here. Molly starts in on the arm but gets rolled up for an early two, freaking her her out at the thought of being bald. A quick trip to the floor seems to get Molly back into the swing of things as she drops some elbows to the back for two. We hit a cravate for a bit and it’s time to discuss underwear because JR and King are on commentary. Victoria fights up and grabs a powerslam but gets caught in a sunset powerbomb out of the corner. For some reason Molly tries Victoria’s Widow’s Peak but gets reversed into a backslide for the pin at 4:55.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t bad while it lasted and a rare bright spot for a dark time in the women’s division. They did what they could in five minutes and there was definitely a fire here as both of them wanted to show that they wanted to be here. According to Holly, the hair stipulation was the only way they could get on the show and they immediately jumped at the offer. I’ve always admired that and they gave it all they had.

Molly tries to run and even gets Victoria in the barber’s chair, only to take hairspray to the face and get strapped in for the big shave.

We recap Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero. Eddie won the title at No Way Out but was attacked by Angle, who didn’t think that a former drug addict should have been representing WWE. Guerrero eventually got himself into a match with Paul Heyman where his hands were tied behind his back and I’m sure you know what happened. Angle beat the heck out of him and the match was set up over the culture clash and Angle telling the people that it was for their own good. Either way this should be outstanding and there’s almost no way it could be anything else.

The haircut is STILL going after that package and Molly really is bald.

Smackdown World Title: Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero

Eddie is defending and comes out in a Cadillac truck. Feeling out process to start and the first technical battle gives us a standoff and earns both guys a round of applause. They hit the mat again and it’s a LET’S GO ANGLE/ANGLE SUCKS chant. Eddie scores with some shoulders and Angle needs a breather on the floor.

Back in and Angle easily takes him down to the mat and grabs a front facelock to keeps things slow. It’s off to an abdominal stretch as the technical display continues. Angle gets tired of the slow pace though and rolls some German suplexes before trying the big one off the apron. Naturally that doesn’t work as it could cause a bad case of death so Eddie sends him outside, only to miss a top rope dive into the barricade.

That bangs the ribs up even worse and we’ve got a story. Back in and we hit a bodyscissors because Angle is smart enough to know what he’s doing. If that’s not your cup of tea, Angle snaps off two belly to belly suplexes before going to a waistlock (notice that it’s a different move to avoid being repetitive. Eddie goes to the eyes to escape but it’s another belly to belly for two.

Angle puts him on top and tries to run the corner, only to get shoved down in a crash. It’s too early for the Frog Splash though and Eddie hits the ribs again. Some right hands have Eddie rocked but he wants some more. That just earns him more German suplexes but he reverses the second into a rollup for two.

The Angle Slam is countered and Eddie rolls out of the ankle lock for good measure. A dropkick looks to set up the Frog Splash again but this time the running belly to belly superplex connects for a near fall. There go the straps and it’s back to the ankle lock in the middle of the ring. Eddie rolls out again so Angle German suplexes him again to teach him a lesson.

Another Angle Slam attempt is countered into a good looking DDT and NOW the Frog Splash connects for two, stunning the crowd who bought the false finish. Angle goes for the ankle again but Eddie sends him outside and starts untying his own boot. Kurt comes back in and gets the ankle lock again, only to pull Eddie’s boot off. The livid Angle charges right into a small package to retain the title at 21:34.

Rating: A. I loved this match and you could see a great story going all the way throughout the whole thing. Eddie was in over his head against the incredibly talented Angle but he hung in there long enough to frustrate Angle into making a big mistake at the end. This was Eddie at his best as he was just so easy to support with the athleticism to back things up. Angle was getting into his Wrestling Machine mode here and that’s something that almost no one else could ever do. Just a great match here, which is exactly what this show needed.

We recap Kane vs. the Undertaker. Kane had buried his brother alive (again) but Undertaker’s gong sounded at the Royal Rumble and it was clear that he was coming for revenge. This is a way to get rid of Biker Taker and bring back the Deadman, meaning Kane is little more than a sacrificial lamb and everyone knows it.

Undertaker vs. Kane

Kane’s entrance is really cool as the city set entrance appears to be on fire. Then the lights go out and Paul Bear says OH YES. That means druids and the tunnel of fire before Undertaker makes his first appearance since Survivor Series. Undertaker debuts the cowboy hat here and has the weird just slightly longer hair for a look that really doesn’t work. Kane looks terrified and keeps shouting that Undertaker isn’t real.

A bunch of right hands have Kane in trouble and the head outside with Undertaker beating on him even more. Back in and the Last Ride is countered into a backdrop but Kane is WAY too far from the ropes so Undertaker has to awkwardly grab them and fall instead of going over to the floor. Undertaker hammers away on the mat but Kane avoids a charge and gets two off the top rope clothesline. Old School doesn’t work and Kane plants him with the chokeslam for no cover. He takes too long shouting at Bearer though and there’s the sit-up. Undertaker comes back with the usual and grabs the Tombstone for the pin at 7:46.

Rating: D. Nothing to see here after the entrance but it’s nice to have the old Undertaker back for a change. The Biker Taker stuff had LONG since run its course here so having him basically squash Kane was as good of a way as any to reestablish himself. There was no drama here though but that would have missed the point entirely.

We recap the main event. HHH and Shawn Michaels went to a draw in a last man standing match at the Royal Rumble so HHH retained the Raw World Title. Chris Benoit won the Royal Rumble later in the night and jumped to Raw to challenge HHH. Michaels wasn’t cool with that and attacked Benoit during his contract signing and signed his own name. You know, because the world was waiting for HHH vs. Shawn at Wrestlemania and contracts just happen to work that way.

Michaels was a total jerk here and I don’t think many people saw him as having a point but you know HHH isn’t laying down clean in the middle of the ring for someone Benoit’s size so this is as good as we’re going to get. The match gets the music video treatment as the main event of Wrestlemania should.

Raw World Title: HHH vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit

HHH is defending and has the rare white boots. JR says this is Shawn’s sixth Wrestlemania main event. By my count it’s third and he would only wind up with five in his career. Assuming they’re doing that nonsense where there are multiple main events, but even then you have the title match at XI, the actual main events at XII, XIV and this one. Unless they’re counting the ladder match (it’s the most famous match but not the main event) or the Jericho match last year (give me a break), JR is just babbling again.

HHH is knocked to the floor to start, leaving the challengers to chop it out and hit the mat for some technical stuff. The champ comes back in and knees Shawn in the head for two before knocking Benoit back to the floor. That’s fine with Michaels who moonsaults onto both of them and all three are down on the outside. You can tell the fans are smart enough to realize that they’ve got a lot to go through to get to the end here and they’re not going to freak out over something this early. Or they’re spent after a four hour show.

Back in and Benoit breaks up a Pedigree attempt on Shawn (in case you thought it was on the referee) before sending Shawn shoulder first into the post. HHH gets back up and puts Benoit in the Tree of Woe so he can whip Shawn into him. Shawn comes right back with his forearm on HHH but Benoit knocks him to the floor. It’s time to roll some German suplexes on HHH as they’re doing a great job of keeping the pace up so far.

HHH ducks Sweet Chin Music and DDTs Shawn out to the floor. The champ isn’t done yet and superplexes Benoit down for two. Make that eight actually, though you would think the first near fall would teach him his lesson and make the other three unnecessary. Shawn dives back in to break up a quick Crossface attempt and gets LOUDLY booed for trying a German suplex on Benoit.

Chris’ version works a bit better and the Swan Dive gets two. Benoit is sent outside again so it’s Shawn vs. HHH, which was probably lobbied for at some point. Shawn drops the top rope elbow for two and Sweet Chin Music gets the same with Benoit making a save. We get our first blood as Benoit catapults Shawn into the post before slapping on the Crossface. Shawn raises his hand to tap but HHH grabs his hand to keep it from hitting the mat in a smart idea.

They’re fifteen minutes into this and they’ve been knocking it out of the park so far. They just have not stopped and it’s been great stuff. Benoit is sent into the steps as Shawn is barely moving in the ring. The first table isn’t enough though as Benoit fights up and tries a German suplex on the Spanish announcers’ table. Shawn comes back though and a double suplex/slam sends Benoit through the table for the big spot of the match.

That leaves the bloody Shawn to call HHH back inside for the showdown. In a bit of a confusing moment (could be the blood loss), Shawn sends HHH right back to the floor where the champ lands on a cameraman for a cool visual. Now HHH is busted as well but he’s still able to grab a Pedigree and put both guys down. A very delayed cover is broken up by a diving Benoit, who follows it up with a Sharpshooter on the champ.

You don’t leave your head that wide open in a Shawn match though and a superkick takes Benoit’s head off. That’s only good for two though and the crowd is losing it on each of these near falls. You can hear JR’s voice going too and it’s making things even better. The superkick misses and Benoit backdrops Shawn to the floor, followed by countering the Pedigree into the Crossface. HHH rolls away but winds up back in the middle of the ring and the tap makes Benoit champion at 24:47.

Rating: A+. Oh of course it’s perfect. This was one of the best triple threats of all time as they did not stop for twenty five minutes with all three having some very close falls. That superkick to break up the Sharpshooter was incredible and I actually bought it for a split second despite having seen this match so many times. Benoit making HHH tap in the middle of the ring was the only way to end this and it was a great way to end an outstanding match. If you somehow haven’t seen this, go out of your way to see it because it’s still one of the most exciting three ways ever.

In the real moment of the show, Eddie Guerrero comes out to celebrate with Benoit in the big emotional ending as the confetti falls. This is really, really hard to watch now and makes the show that much more emotional.

A four minute highlight package takes us out.

Overall Rating: B. This is a VERY, VERY hard one to grade as the top stuff is staggeringly amazing but the rest of the show is full of horrible matches with an almost unforgiveable five at a D or worse. What really helps them though is that only one of them is over ten minutes long, meaning there’s way more good than bad and you can throw in the Jericho vs. Christian match as another very solid effort.

This is the kind of show that was DYING for a pre-show to burn off two or three of the matches that no one cared about (Tag Team Title matches and the Cruiserweight Open would be great candidates) and let the rest of the show not feel so long. The show itself needed to be about three to three and a half hours long max instead of the four hours and thirty one minutes it clocks in at instead.

That being said though, good night the top matches on here are amazing. What does it say when the fourth best match on the show is a really strong Jericho vs. Christian match? The two World Title matches are classics and the handicap match is really good stuff as well. Cut this show down by an hour and it’s one of the best of all time. As it is, it’s a long show that drags in spots but blows the doors off at other times.

Ratings Comparison

John Cena vs. Big Show

Original: C-

2013 Redo: C

2017 Redo: D

Booker T./Rob Van Dam vs. La Resistance vs. Garrison Cade/Mark Jidrak vs. Dudley Boyz

Original: D

2013 Redo: D

2017 Redo: D

Christian vs. Chris Jericho

Original: B

2013 Redo: B

2017 Redo: B-

Evolution vs. The Rock/Mick Foley

Original: A

2013 Redo: B

2017 Redo: B+

Torrie Wilson/Sable vs. Miss Jackie/Stacy Keibler

Original: F

2013 Redo: N/A

2017 Redo: N/A

Cruiserweight Open

Original: D+

2013 Redo: D

2017 Redo: D

Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg

Original: F

2013 Redo: E

2017 Redo: S (for SEQUEL)

Rikishi/Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Basham Brothers vs. APA vs. World’s Greatest Tag Team

Original: D

2013 Redo: D

2017 Redo: D-

Molly Holly vs. Victoria

Original: D+

2013 Redo: D+

2017 Redo: C-

Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle

Original: A

2013 Redo: A

2017 Redo: A

Kane vs. Undertaker

Original: D

2013 Redo: D+

2017 Redo: D

Shawn Michaels vs. HHH vs. Chris Benoit

Original: A+

2013 Redo: A+

2017 Redo: A+

Overall Rating

Original: B

2013 Redo: B

2017 Redo: B

Oh I think we have the definitive rating here.

Here’s the original review if you’re interested:

http://kbwrestlingreviews.com/2011/03/27/history-of-wrestlemania-with-kb-wrestlemania-20-where-it-all-begins-again-with-two-dead-guys/

And the 2013 Redo:

http://kbwrestlingreviews.com/2013/03/29/wrestlemania-count-up-wrestlemania-xx-nearly-a-masterpiece/

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the History of the WWE’s Big Four Pay Per Views, now in PAPERBACK. Check out the information here:

http://kbwrestlingreviews.com/2017/01/27/kbs-reviews-now-available-in-paperback/


And check out my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:


http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

3 comments

  1. Mike M. says:

    At least the Goldberg/Lesnar match will only be about 5 minutes this year.

  2. M.R. says:

    Might be Triple H’s best match.

  3. Steve says:

    Big Show retired Mr. America (Hogan) at MSG back in 03, which was his last appearance until next year for his feud with HBK.