Wrestlemania Count-Up – XX (2022 Redo): Cut That Stuff Out

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

It’s the second of three redos this year and it is a show that I have seen quite a few times over the years. WWE knows how to bust out the big anniversary shows and that is what we will be seeing here. The fact that the show is in Madison Square Garden makes it even better. The main event is HHH defending the Raw World Title against Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels in a match that I think might work. Let’s get to it.

The Harlem Boys Choir sing America the Beautiful with a VERY patriotic montage.

The opening video features Vince McMahon walking out of the shadows and talking about how he had a vision twenty years ago which shaped everything today. This gives us the always awesome montage of Wrestlemania clips, which really is their strong suit. They know how to make things feel special and that is what they did here. Speaking of special, the video ends with Shane McMahon now next to Vince and presenting his son, Vince’s first grandchild, as the narrator talks about where it all begins again. That has always stuck with me since I saw this show for the first time and it is great.

In a change from the usual MSG setup, the entrance is on the left instead of opposite the hard camera, though there is a large screen showing the current match.

We get the traditional welcome from the multiple commentary teams.

US Title: John Cena vs. Big Show

Cena is challenging and is on fire here, while Big Show has defended the title less than three times since winning it back in October. Cena’s rap mocks Show’s anatomy in various ways and promises that he’ll win the title tonight. Show shoves him away to start but Cena is back with the right hands. Cena’s shots are shrugged off though and he gets sent outside, setting up a powerslam for two back inside.

The fans think Show sucks as he slowly hammers Cena down, including a slam. We get the required standing on Cena’s chest/throat and a suplex drops Cena again. More standing, this time on Cena’s back, seems to wake him up a bit but Show kicks him in the face. Show’s standing legdrop gets two and the frustration starts setting in fast. Powered by the fans (his kind always is), Cena slips out of a slam and grabs a choke, which earns him a hard clotheslines.

Show is back with the cobra clutch but Cena powers out again and avoids a charge in the corner. The FU barely gets two though and now it’s Cena being stunned. With nothing else working, Cena grabs his chain, which is taken away by the competent referee. Instead it’s the brass knuckles off Show’s head, setting up the FU to give the filthy cheater the pin and the title at 9:20.

Rating: C. This was more of a coronation than anything else and it came at the end of a not very interesting match. The problem with someone like Show is there are only so many things that you can do with him. Cena has the power to make it work a little better, but this isn’t the best time in Show’s history and it was obvious here. That being said, this was ALL about Cena and as long as he left with the title, nothing else mattered.

Coach is walking through the back and after meeting various people like Tom Prichard and Teddy Long, he goes in to see Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff (with assistant Johnny Nitro), who wants to make sure that Undertaker is here. Bischoff sends Coach to find him but Coach isn’t exactly comfortable with that. He goes anyway, as Bischoff doesn’t really care.

Evolution, minus HHH, is in a stairwell, with Randy Orton talking about how it’s ironic that we are back here in MSG where he became the new Hardcore Legend. We see a clip of Orton kicking Mick Foley down these steps, which made Foley walk away back in December. Then Foley came back, when Orton spat in his face. Foley can’t accept that life has passed him by, just like evolution.

We see clips of Foley being beaten up over and over, including a segment where Foley told Orton to really hit him in the face. Evolution has gotten bored with it, just like Foley, so he called Hollywood to get the Rock. Then Evolution beat him down too and they’ll do it again tonight. It all started here in MSG, and tonight it all ends here as well. This one always stuck out for me too, just because of the different location.

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

Van Dam and Booker are defending (with their pretty terrible mashup theme) and this is one fall to a finish. Dupree and Van Dam start things off with a monkey flip sending Dupree flying. Booker beats up La Resistance but it’s off to Bubba for the hard lockup. A neckbreaker drops Booker for two and the snap jabs put him down again. D-Von comes in so Van Dam takes him down with a top rope kick to the face, showing that he too is a filthy cheater by coming in without a tag.

Jindrak tags himself in to stomp away on Booker and it’s Dupree coming back in to drive Booker into the corner. Conway cranks on both arms with a knee in Booker’s back for far too long until a spinebuster breaks things up. The hot tag brings in Van Dam to clean house but D-Von shoves him off the top to break up the Five Star. Everything breaks down and Cade saves Booker from the 3D. Booker kicks Conway down and the Five Star retains the titles at 7:54.

Rating: C-. This is one of the most “yeah whatever” matches I can remember in a long time. There were too many people involved and it was only so good because of all of the people running around. Also, why are you using a minute of an eight minute match on a rest hold? You have eight people involved but we spent that long on Conway pulling Booker’s arms? Really?

Coach goes to find Undertaker and is told there are some “freakish noises” coming from a door. He heads to the door, which is being knocked back and forth. Gene Okerlund, pulling his clothes come back on, comes out, followed by Bobby Heenan, whose shirt is undone. Coach wonders what is going on, but Heenan says they were playing poker. Heenan: “He was dealing.” Coach wants to know what was going on in there, so here are Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young, who grab Gene and Heenan and drag them back in. Heenan: “No I don’t want to go back! I haven’t been well!” This still gets me every time.

We recap Christian vs. Chris Jericho. They used to be best friends and made a bet about who could be more, ahem, successful with Lita and Trish Stratus respectively. Lita kind of went away, but Jericho started to fall for Trish. She found out about the bet and yelled at Jericho, who then tried to win her back. Christian turned on Jericho to get him to be the old Jericho again, setting up the match. This was a really detailed story and I’ve always liked it for telling a coherent story throughout. You don’t get that often and it was one of the best of the era.

Chris Jericho vs. Christian

They fight over a lockup to start and go into the corner, with Christian shoving him instead of giving a clean break. Jericho punches him in the face and starts throwing knees to take over, setting up the running elbow. A kick to the face and a backdrop to the floor keep Christian in trouble and Jericho hits a bit dive to take him down again. Back in and Christian manages to belly to back suplex him to the floor to take over for the first time.

The neck crank goes on back inside, followed by a chinlock with a knee in Jericho’s back. A spinwheel kick gives Christian two and it’s time to slap Jericho in the face a few times. That earns him a head to head collision though and they’re both down. The slugout goes to Jericho and he hits the running crotch attack to the back in the ropes. The step up enziguri gives Jericho two but Christian reverses a rollup into one of his own, with a grab of the rope getting two.

Jericho’s bulldog sets up the Lionsault to Christian’s raised knees and a reverse tornado DDT gives Christian two of his own. Jericho is right back up with his swinging sleeper drop but he gets tossed off the top, banging up his knee in the process. Christian’s high crossbody is rolled through so he kicks Jericho in the knee. The Texas Cloverleaf goes on for a bit until Jericho reverses into the Walls.

Christian is in the ropes almost immediately and he rolls outside….with Jericho holding on and keeping the Walls on outside. Back in and a butterfly superplex gives Jericho two and here is Trish Stratus to slap the apron. An implant DDT gives Christian two, which draws Trish up to the apron. Christian shoves her down so Jericho sends him outside. Trish elbows Jericho in the face (it’s unclear if she could see who it was) and Christian’s rollup with tights is enough for the pin at 14:44.

Rating: B. This got going once it became a regular match and these two have more than enough talent to make a longer match work. Christian certainly needed the win more than Jericho here, as it was a big boost in probably his biggest singles win ever. Jericho winning here ends the feud so having Christian move up is the right way to go. Good match too, and that really shouldn’t be surprising.

Post match Trish is upset and apologizes to Jericho. Christian comes back but Trish turns on Jericho and slaps him on the face, setting up the Unprettier. Evil Trish leaves with Christian and we get the semi-famous kiss on the stage in the next big step for both of them.

Mick Foley is fired up to be back in Madison Square Garden and needs to get in that mindset to put all of this anger and emotion on Evolution. The Rock interrupts and is VERY fired up, saying he has finally come back…..home. After telling Lilian Garcia not to look at the People’s package (which she does), Rock steals the cameraman to come with him and sees Hurricane and Rosey, Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco and then goes all the way into the arena for a shot of the crowd. They’re ready for Evolution and it’s weird seeing Rock and Foley as these two big serious guys going up against evil.

Evolution vs. The Rock/Mick Foley

No recap video here, but it’s basically Foley fighting Randy Orton and the two of them both have major backup. Rock and Foley clear the ring to start before Rock and Flair settle things down, giving the New York fans a crazy dream match. A shoulder puts Flair down and Rock busts out a strut, with Flair coming back up for a WOO. The chops don’t do Flair any good and Rock hits a backdrop to send him rolling outside.

Foley follows him out and drops Flair with a clothesline before coming in himself. That sends Orton bailing to the floor so Foley is right there to send him into the announcers’ table. Back in and Rock takes over on Orton (there’s a dream match we never got), but has to punch Flair and Batista off the apron. The distraction is enough for Batista to come in and take over, allowing Flair to hit some more effective chops. We get the big strut and Flair goes up top and….oh you know the deal.

Batista comes back in before Rock can bring in Foley but the tag brings in Foley a few seconds later anyway. Foley fights out of the corner and hammers Batista down but that huge Batista clothesline cuts his down. Some double teaming on the floor has Foley in more trouble and there’s the big whip to send him knees first into the steps (taking that bump so many times explains so much about why Foley walks that way).

Back in and Foley and Flair slug it out until Orton can come in and pull at Foley’s hair for a reverse chinlock. Batista adds some clotheslines but Foley slips in a quick Mandible Claw. In a smarter move than you would expect from a musclehead like this version of Batista, he waves Orton in for the save instead of getting in more trouble. Flair comes back in and gets forearmed in the face, allowing the really easy tag back to Rock. House is cleaned but Batista cuts him off with a spinebuster.

That lets Flair….load up the People’s Elbow (complete with throwing an invisible elbow pad), but again he takes too long, allowing Rock to nip up and really clean house. The spinebuster plants Flair, setting up a People’s Elbow, complete with strut, for a delayed two. There’s the Rock Bottom to Orton with Flair making the save.

Flair grabs a chair but the distraction lets the Batista Bomb hit Rock to give Orton two (in the same way Batista helped Orton beat Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series 2003). The real hot tag brings in Foley to clean house but the Mandible Claw takes too long (theme of the match) and Orton grabs an RKO for the pin at 17:55.

Rating: B+. The more I see this match, the more I like it, as you have Rock and Flair doing everything they could to steal the show and Foley going after Orton every chance he could. Batista was in there with the muscle and it made for a great showcase. It was every bit the big moment that they were shooting for and it made me want to see a bunch of these combinations again. That wouldn’t happen for the most part, but dang they made this one work really well, as the match itself was a backdrop to just doing entertaining stuff, leaving the crowd completely in their hands.

Hall of Fame video recap, featuring Heenan’s “I wish Monsoon was here”, which will get me every single time.

The Hall of Fame class is introduced by Gene Okerlund:

Bobby Heenan (still playing to the crowd as only he can)
Tito Santana (about as perfect of a midcarder as you could have)
Big John Studd (represented by his son)
Harley Race (yep, though billing him as The King is a bit odd)
Pete Rose (booed, but apparently very grateful for the honor so points for that)
Don Muraco (I could go for more of him, as you don’t see him brought up very often)
Greg Valentine (who looks like he is ready for Wrestlemania IV)
Junkyard Dog (represented by his daughter)
Billy Graham (there’s an influential one)
Sgt. Slaughter (with the salutes)
Jesse Ventura (I could listen to that voice talk about anything, as long as he jabs McMahon)

This was the first class in almost ten years and it is a heck of a group, though no one really stands out as a headliner.

Sable/Torrie Wilson vs. Miss Jackie/Stacy Keibler

Playboy Evening Gown match, as Jackie and Stacy are jealous of the other two for being in the magazine. Hold on though as Sable wants to start minus the evening gowns. That’s exactly what we do, with commentary reacting exactly as you would expect them to. Jackie won’t drop her gown so it gets ripped off of her to start fast. Sable kicks at Jackie’s ribs in the corner and Torrie comes in with a high crossbody.

Stacy comes in (taking her time to come over the ropes) and throws in a cartwheel. The Kevin Nash choke in the corner doesn’t do Stacy much good so they go to the pinfall reversal sequence for various camera shots. Stacy’s kick to the face gets two on Torrie before it’s back to Jackie. The referee gets rolled over and it’s Torrie reversing a rollup for the pin on Jackie at 2:32. This is exactly what you would have expected it to be.

Fans have come from various states and countries for the show.

WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero says he has Chris Benoit’s back win or lose, but Benoit doesn’t like the word lose. Eddie says no one believes in him but Benoit says he believes in himself and tonight is his night. That’s what Eddie wanted to hear.

Cruiserweight Title: Cruiserweight Open

Chavo Guerrero Jr. (with his dad) is defending and will enter last in the ten person gauntlet. Everyone gets their entrance (with Ultimo Dragon’s two slips edited out, thankfully) and it’s Shannon Moore in at #1 and Ultimo Dragon in at #2. Dragon works on the arm to start but Moore shoulders him down for….well not much really. Back up and Moore misses a Whisper in the Wind, allowing Dragon to hit his standing Sliced Bread for the elimination at 1:19.

Jamie Noble is in at #3 to jump Dragon from behind with a clothesline for two. Dragon is right back with his alternating kicks for two but he has to bail out of a moonsault. A neckbreaker drops Dragon and a guillotine choke finishes him off at 2:17 (total). Funaki is in at #4 and hits a high crossbody but Noble rolls through for the pin at 2:27.

Nunzio is in at #5 as commentary brings up SD Jones getting pinned in nine seconds at Wrestlemania. Some quick rollups give Nunzio two but Noble sends him outside for the HUGE flip dive off the top. They take turns pulling each other off the apron until Noble gets the countout elimination at 4:20.

Billy Kidman is in at #6 to jump Noble from behind (again with the filthy cheaters) and Nunzio pulls Noble to the floor. Instead of standing around, Kidman hits a crazy top rope shooting star onto the two of them for the almost terrifying landing. Thankfully Kidman is able to throw Noble back inside for two but has to fight out of the guillotine. An enziguri sets up the shooting star press, but Kidman has to fight Noble off. That’s fine enough, as the super BK Bomb gets rid of Noble at 6:12.

Rey Mysterio (as the Flash) is in at #7 and the top rope seated senton connects, only to have Kidman blast him with a dropkick. Mysterio hits his own dropkick to send Kidman outside but Akio snaps Rey’s throat across the top. Kidman’s spinebuster gets two so he puts Rey on top, only to get pulled down with a sunset bomb for the elimination at 7:30.

It’s Tajiri in at #8 to kick away at Mysterio and the Tarantula makes it worse. That doesn’t last long (just shy of five seconds oddly enough) and it’s the 619 to rock Tajiri. The springboard….something misses though and Tajiri loads up the mist, which hits an interfering Akio by mistake.

Rey grabs a rollup to get rid of Tajiri at 8:39 and apparently the mist means Akio can’t go, so Chavo is in at #10 to complete the field. Tajiri cheap shots Rey so Chavo gets two but Rey fights up and takes Chavo Sr. down. The running flip dive takes out Sr. again (well that seemed excessive) so Jr. grabs a rollup, with Sr. grabbing his hands to retain the title at 10:31.

Rating: C. This was the next match in the “well, here are a bunch of people” series of matches on the show. I’ve never gotten the logic of these matches as you have people getting falls in a minute when usual matches take five times as long as one elimination here. At the same time, Chavo just keeps the title, making this quite the uninteresting showcase, save for Kidman’s big spots.

We recap Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. They talked trash to each other at the Royal Rumble and then Lesnar interfered in said Rumble to help eliminate Goldberg. Then Goldberg cost Lesnar the WWE Title so we have this match, with Steve Austin as guest referee. As a result, the feud wound up being Lesnar vs. Austin, as Austin gave Goldberg the idea to help cost Lesnar the title. Then Lesnar stole Austin’s ATV and Goldberg was just kind of there too. Oh and both Goldberg and Lesnar are leaving after the show and everyone knows about it.

Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar

Steve Austin is guest referee. Lesnar and Goldberg do their big entrances and we immediately hit the YOU SOLD OUT chants (pick your target). They stare at each other for almost a minute and Austin tells them to go at it. Now it’s the Goodbye Song as I try to get my mind around the idea of Lesnar having a tiny goatee coming in. They stare at each other some more as commentary talks about Lesnar going to the NFL.

There’s no contact for the first two minutes so Austin stares at both of them as he figures out that this is going to be a long night. They finally lock up after about 2:50 and that stays on for nearly 40 seconds with both of them letting go. They fight over another lockup, and by fight I mean they’re standing there with their arms around each other’s heads. Fans: “THIS MATCH SUCKS!”

Lesnar grabs a headlock for the first offensive move about five minutes in. They trade shoulders with neither going anywhere so they go nose to nose to yell at each other. The double shoulder puts them both down and then stare at each other a bit. Goldberg FINALLY picks him up in a gorilla press for a spinebuster but the spear only hits buckle. After a GOLDBERG SUCKS chant, Lesnar throws him back inside for some suplexes and a standing choke as Lawler desperately tries to turn this into a Raw vs. Smackdown thing.

That goes on for a long time as well until Goldberg fights out and they collide again, earning some straight booing. Goldberg fights up again and hits some clotheslines into a swinging neckbreaker. The spear gets two so Goldberg yells at Austin, allowing Lesnar to come back with the F5 for two. Now it’s Lesnar yelling at Austin, meaning he misses a spear of his own. Goldberg hits the spear and the Jackhammer gets rid of Lesnar for about eight years.

Rating: D-. Of course the match is terrible and a form of torture in 14 states, but there is some kind of perverse entertainment out of the whole thing. This wasn’t designed to be an entertaining match but rather two guys just messing around until they did a few things and called it a match. It’s an all time mess, but it’s a bit different than a match being a wreck just because it isn’t any good. This one is so bad that it’s fun in a way, which is a very different thing.

Post match we get beer and Stunners as the fans are pleased with Austin for knocking out those two after that match.

Wrestlemania XXI is in Los Angeles.

In a very nice moment, Vince McMahon comes out to thank the fans for being there for twenty years of Wrestlemania. This is the kind of genuine feeling moment that you do not get in modern WWE and it was kind of sweet.

Smackdown Tag Team Titles: World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. Basham Brothers vs. APA vs. Too Cool

Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty/Rikishi) are defending and again it’s one fall to a finish. Benjamin jumps Bradshaw to start and gets kicked in the face for his efforts. Doug Basham tags himself in and suplexes Benjamin down for two, with Haas having to make the save. Back up and Benjamin slams Doug onto Haas’ knee and it’s off to Scotty to run Haas over.

That lets Scotty stop to dance but he gets thrown over the top. Scotty is fine enough to skin the cat but Haas catches him on his shoulders, allowing Benjamin to hit the running jump onto his back. The Bashams come in and hit a double suplex on Scotty to take over as the heat segment in the second four way Tag Team Title match on a four and a half hour show continues.

Scotty finally flips out of a belly to back suplex and the hot tag brings in Rikishi to clean house. Haas takes the Stinkface and Bradshaw fall away slams Doug over the top and onto a pile on the floor. The Clothesline From Bradshaw hits Danny but Rikishi takes Bradshaw out and sits on Danny to retain at 6:03.

Rating: D+. It was about the same as the first four way, but this would probably be the first match that needed to be cut to trim some of the time off this very long show. Rikishi and Scotty are another on the long list of forgotten teams to hold the titles and it isn’t like this was anything memorable either.

Dancing ensues post match.

Edge is coming back after over a year away with a neck injury.

Here is Jesse Ventura to interview someone so he picks…..Donald Trump, who happens to be in the front row. Jesse plugs the Apprentice and suggests that he is going to run for President, even asking for Trump’s financial and moral support. Sure, and we’ll move on as fast as we can.

Women’s Title: Victoria vs. Molly Holly

Victoria is defending and this is title vs. hair, which was the only way they could get this match on the show so the two of them immediately agreed. Molly forearms her down to start and hits a running hip attack in the corner. Back up and Victoria spins out of a wristlock and Molly needs an early breather. She gets back in and grabs a snap suplex for two on Victoria, setting up a basement dropkick for two more.

The neck crank is on as Lawler goes into a discussion of Molly’s underwear. JR: “What does that have to do with this wrestling match?” Victoria fights up and hits a powerslam for two as JR wants some hot tea. Molly is sat on top and comes back with a sunset bomb for two of her own. For some reason Molly tries the Widow’s Peak (Victoria’s finisher) but Victoria reverses into a rollup to retain at 4:54.

Rating: C. They were victims of the time problems again here as there is only so much you can do in less than five minutes. The good thing is that the two of them are talented enough to make something out of nothing so the match was certainly watchable, even if it was more about setting up the post match stuff. It’s literally a case of this being the best WWE could give them though and that is better than just cutting the match.

Post match Molly tries to run away but gets sleepered out and tied in the chair for the big hair cut.

We recap Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Title. Angle attacked Eddie because he didn’t want a former drug addict as the WWE Champion (the future would not be kind to this story for Angle). Therefore, it is time for a real hero to take the title but Eddie isn’t standing for this. Smackdown General Manager Paul Heyman has gotten in on Angle’s side and has helped him destroy Eddie more than once, including once when Eddie’s hands were handcuffed behind his back. Now it’s time for revenge.

Smackdown World Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle

Eddie is defending and the haircut is continuing as Angle makes his entrance. They start slowly with Eddie actually taking him down but making the mistake of trying to go amateur with him. Angle’s headlock takeover works rather well but Eddie as we get the LET’S GO ANGLE/ANGLE SUCKS chants. Eddie gets a fireman’s carry takeover but Angle flips over into a front facelock without much trouble.

A backdrop gets Eddie out of trouble and he armdrags Angle over into an armbar, setting in the frustration. Angle fights up and gets an abdominal stretch to stretch Eddie’s abdominals before hitting a German suplex. The second is escaped and Eddie winds up on the apron, where he has to block the German suplex to the floor. A dropkick puts Angle down but Eddie’s big dive only hits the barricade to bang up his ribs even more.

Some shoulders to the ribs set up a bodyscissors but Eddie jawbreaks his way to freedom. That lasts for all of two seconds as Angle drops the ribs across the top rope and snaps off an overhead belly to belly. Now it’s a waistlock to stay on the ribs and another belly to belly gives Angle another two. Eddie manages a quick knockdown though and goes up for the frog splash, which only hits mat.

The frustrated Angle starts throwing right hands, which just fire Eddie up enough to start his comeback. The rolling German suplexes cut that off in a hurry but the Angle Slam is countered into an armdrag. Two Amigos connect until Angle picks the ankle but Eddie kicks him off immediately. Eddie goes up but Angle is right there with the run up the ropes belly to belly superplex for the big crash back down.

Angle runs him over again though and the straps come down, setting up the Angle Slam. Eddie breaks that up as well and it’s a DDT to set up the frog splash for a rather close two. The ankle lock goes on again so Eddie rolls him outside and starts untying his boot to loosen the pressure. Back in and the angry Angle grabs the ankle lock, only to have Eddie kick him away and lose his boot. Angle is so stunned that he gets small packaged to retain Eddie’s title at 21:33.

Rating: A-. This was more about the psychology as Angle was hyper focused and Eddie eventually suckered him in with the boot. It made for a great finish, but it also came after an awesome match with Angle taking Eddie apart as only he could and Eddie having to survive. The ending was a very Eddie way to retain the title and that grin is hard to turn down. Absolutely a Wrestlemania match and an instant classic that doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

We recap Undertaker vs. Kane in the return of the Dead Man. Kane had turned on Undertaker and buried him alive (again) because he thought Undertaker was going soft. Then the gong went off at the Royal Rumble and Kane realized he was in trouble. Now Undertaker is back and it’s time for some revenge.

Kane vs. Undertaker

It’s the first time the Dead Man has been back since 1999 and Paul Bearer is right there with him. We also have torch bearing druids, because you always need torch bearing druids. Kane is already panicked and shouts that Undertaker isn’t real, because somehow Kane still doesn’t get how Undertaker works. Undertaker finally starts punching away against the ropes and they head to the floor for a slugout. That goes to Undertaker, who hits the apron legdrop to stun Kane again.

Back in and Kane kicks him in the face and it turns into a slugout on the mat for a change. The side slam plants Undertaker again, setting up the top rope clothesline for two. Undertaker fights right back with more right hands and tries Old School, which is pulled out of the air by the throat. The chokeslam plants Undertaker but Kane poses instead of covering. Undertaker sits up and stares at Kane mid pose, meaning it’s time for the real beating. Right hands, the chokeslam and the Tombstone finish Kane to make it 12-0 at 6:55.

Rating: D+. This wasn’t about the match but rather Undertaker being back, so there was no reason to believe that Kane was any serious threat. What mattered here was having Undertaker get back in the ring and destroy Kane because he is back in a big way. Kane was the designated victim here, which has been the case for him so many times now that he should be used to it.

We recap HHH defending the Raw World Title against Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit. Michaels and HHH went to a draw at the Royal Rumble so HHH retained the title. Then Benoit jumped to Raw and said he wanted the Raw World Title. The contract signing was set but Shawn ran in to interrupt, saying he needed that one more shot. He took out Benoit and signed the contract, because WWE continues to not get how contracts work. Steve Austin then made the match a triple threat, with Shawn being the most wedged in challenger of all time.

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

HHH is defending in his weird white boots look. We go old school with the weapons check before Benoit sends HHH outside to start. That leaves Benoit to miss a backslide and Crossface on Shawn, who grabs a rollup for two. A northern lights suplex gives Benoit two but HHH is back in. Shawn has to skin the cat to get back inside, where he tosses Benoit out instead.

HHH is set outside as well, where he and Benoit are taken down by a baseball slide. Shawn’s big moonsault to the floor puts everyone down for a change until Benoit is left alone on the outside. The Pedigree is broken up by a returning Benoit, who fires off knees to Shawn’s ribs and sends him into the post. Shawn is fine enough to come back and tie Benoit in the Tree of Woe but HHH cuts Shawn off again.

The flying forearms drops HHH and Shawn nips up, only to have Benoit toss him outside. Benoit loads up the Swan Dive but gets crotched by Shawn, who misses Sweet Chin Music to HHH. A DDT sends Shawn outside and a superplex gets six (which is somehow not three) on Benoit. The Crossface goes on out of nowhere so Shawn has to dive in for the save. That earns Shawn some rolling German suplexes into a Swan Dive for a rather close two as HHH is still down.

Now it’s Shawn making the comeback and hammering on Benoit, who gets sent outside. HHH gets superkicked for two with Benoit making the save so everyone goes outside. Shawn gets posted and busted open so Benoit puts on the Crossface, with HHH having to grab the hand to block the tap. HHH sends Benoit into the steps and loads up the announcers’ table (it wouldn’t be Wrestlemania without it), with Shawn helping on a double suplex to put Benoit through said table.

NOW we get the big HHH vs. Shawn slugout, because that’s what the two of them probably wanted this to be the whole time. Shawn whips HHH over the corner for the crash to the floor, with HHH coming up bleeding. Back in and Shawn slowly gets the better of things but a quick Pedigree takes him down.

Benoit has to come back in for the save before sending Shawn outside. The Sharpshooter has HHH in trouble so Shawn breaks it up with the superkick for a delayed two. Benoit sends him outside and reverses the Pedigree into the Crossface. HHH can’t get the rope and Benoit rolls into the middle of the ring for the tap and the title at 24:08.

Rating: A+. Yes it’s still a masterpiece with nothing close to a misstep or weak part and that is not something you get to see very often. All three worked hard and at the end of the day, Benoit won clean over HHH via submission in the middle of the ring. This felt like the main event of a milestone show and it was an incredible match which has not gotten old every time I have seen it. That is hard to do and it certainly deserves the honor.

Benoit gets the HUGE celebration with the confetti falling. Eddie Guerrero comes in for the shot that is now iconic for all the wrong reasons and JR’s voice gives out with the shouting to end the show.

Well almost, as we get the highlight reel to really wrap it up.

Overall Rating: B. In case it wasn’t clear throughout, there are more than a few matches on this show that feel like they are there for the sake of getting people on the card. If you get rid of those matches, this is an all time classic, as well as having the show be under four hours. The rest of the show is pretty much an all timer (Goldberg vs. Lesnar aside) with the matches either feeling important or being great. Just trim it down and stop cramming things in and it’s that much better. It’s absolutely worth a look if you have seen it before or not, but have the fast forward button ready.

Ratings Comparison

John Cena vs. Big Show

Original: C-
2013 Redo: C
2015 Redo: C-
2018 Redo: D+
2022 Redo: C

Booker T/Rob Van Dam vs. Garrison Cade/Mark Jindrak vs. Dudley Boys vs. La Resistance

Original: D
2013 Redo: D
2015 Redo: D
2018 Redo: D
2022 Redo: C-

Christian vs. Chris Jericho

Original: B
2013 Redo: B
2015 Redo: B-
2018 Redo: B
2022 Redo: B

Evolution vs. The Rock/Mick Foley

Original: A
2013 Redo: B
2015 Redo: B
2018 Redo: B+
2022 Redo: B+

Torrie Wilson/Sable vs. Stacy Keibler/Miss Jackie

Original: F
2013 Redo: N/A
2015 Redo: N/A
2018 Redo: N/A
2022 Redo: N/A

Cruiserweight Open

Original: D+
2013 Redo: D
2015 Redo: D
2018 Redo: D
2022 Redo: C

Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar

Original: F
2013 Redo: E
2015 Redo: F
2018 Redo: F
2022 Redo: D-

Too Cool vs. World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. Basham Brothers vs. APA

Original: D
2013 Redo: D
2015 Redo: D
2018 Redo: D-
2022 Redo: D+

Victoria vs. Molly Holly

Original: D+
2013 Redo: D+
2015 Redo: C-
2018 Redo: D+
2022 Redo: C

Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle

Original: A
2013 Redo: A
2015 Redo: A
2018 Redo: A
2022 Redo: A-

Undertaker vs. Kane

Original: D
2013 Redo: D+
2015 Redo: D+
2018 Redo: D
2022 Redo: D+

Chris Benoit vs. HHH vs. Shawn Michaels

Original: A+
2013 Redo: A+
2015 Redo: A+
2018 Redo: A+
2022 Redo: A+

Overall Rating

Original: B
2013 Redo: B
2015 Redo: A-
2018 Redo: B+
2022 Redo: B

I think we’ve found about the definitive ratings for this one, or at least as close as you’re going to get after five looks at it.



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1 Response

  1. Stormy says:

    Every time I read your review of the Main Event I want to go back and watch the match because it was so damn good… Then I remember who was in it and I can’t. Being there in person made it even harder as after the cameras stopped rolling his family celebrated with him in the ring. Including Nancy and David. I haven’t watched the show in years, and when I do I turn it off after Taker/Kane.

    It really sucks missing out on all the awesome wrestling.

    On a lighter note, they could have easily removed the Tag Title matches and the Cruiserweight match and made a Battle Royale and had 2 better matches than the 3 multi-man nonsenses.

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