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Wrestlemania X7

Well, after drinking enough green brew dogs on Saturday that I'll end up pissing it for a week, let's get back into the swing of things with the 17th version of Wrestlemania.

The only thing of note that happened over the past year wasn't that big of a deal...WCW went out of business after Nitro got cancelled by TNT, and the WWF bought the company.  Alright, maybe that was SUPPOSED to be a big deal, but what followed wasn't.  For over 20 years fans wondered what would happen if the big two companies finally met in the ring head to head.  It was a dream for sure to think that the two companies would ever put aside their differences and make that happen, but since one of the companies now OWNED the other company, it looked like it would finally happen...the biggest angle in the history of professional wrestling.  Or the biggest disappointment.  But since all this happened like a week before WM17, I'll skip over bitching about it now, since the meat of the story took place over the next year.  Instead, let's concentrate on this show; which was quite possibly the second greatest show the WWF ever put on...

Wrestlemania X7 (April 1, 2001)

We're live from the Astrodome in Houston, TX and hoo-boy are there a lot of people there.  Around 67,000 actually.  As I've said before, I love these huge stadium shows.  Our hosts are Jim Ross and Paul Heyman, who took over announcing duties while Jerry Lawler sat out a year after quitting the company when they fired his wife, the Kat.  They got divorced soon after this so that's where chivalry apparently gets you. 

So the big hangout spot for this WM was our friend Todd's apartment in the MQT; by this time they wouldn't let us get PPV's in the dorms anymore so we had to go to Todd's place for every show.  The only thing I remember was ordering Togo's everytime we went over there.  Mmmm...Togo's...

Match 1: IC Championship: Chris Jericho vs William Regal

Regal made a great comeback at this point, overcoming drug problems to become the WWF's "goodwill ambassador."  He used to come out to the ring and teach people how to properly use silverware and stuff until a babyface would run down to the ring and kick the bejesus out of him.  Good stuff.  Anyway, Jericho ends up winning a decent match with the lionsault.

Match 2: Tazz & The Acolytes vs The Right to Censor

Remember the RTC?  Yeah, I don't blame you if you don't.  Tazz & the A.P.A. (the wrestlers, not Gordon and Kryst's place) take care of the RTC after Bradshaw nails the Goodfather with the clothesline from hell.  Next...

Alright I got a confession to make...yeah, I actually liked the RTC.  It was a good midcard gimmick and it made sense.  Stevie Richards suddenly snapped and started badmouthing the WWF for their racy material, saying the bad language and half-nekkid women were destroying family values in the country.  He got some backup in Bull Buchanan and then got in the head of the Godfather, making him change his ways and join their cause, becoming the "Goodfather."  They then set their sights on the porn star (Val Venis) and got him to convert too (along with Ivory, the funniest one of the whole bunch because she would now wear these long skirts and look like a librarian.)  Yeah it was kind of annoying anytime they did something racy the RTC would come out and ruin it, but that was the whole point.  As long as the group didn't last a long time it was prefectly fine.  And that's what happened...sort of. 

It can be argued that the state of the WWF's wrestling shows started gradually going downhill soon after this show.  The writing started getting lazy and confusing, leading to a bunch of dumb storylines, multiple title changes for no reason, horrible storyline buildups and nonsensical heel-face turns.  It's my theory that it can be traced back to when they decided to pull the plug on the RTC.  See, that angle was BEGGING for a logical conclusion...anything.  Maybe they finally had enough and turned against Richards?  Venis and the Godfather would go back to normal?  Buchanan would snap and take them all out and become a monster?  They would catch Richards doing something immoral and he would be a huge hypocrite?  Nope.  What we got was...The Undertaker beat them all up and they disappeared.  That was it.  No explanation at all.  Richards showed back up with some WCW guys half a year later, and Venis and the Godfather went back to normal like a year later with NO EXPLANATION by the announcers about where they were or why they were back to their old characters.  God I hate shit like that, if you can tell.

Anyway, the match sucked.

Match 3: Hardcore Championship, 3-Threat Match: Raven vs Kane vs The Big Show

Wow I really went off on a tangent there, sorry.  I'll breeze through these next few matches to make up for it.  Raven was brought in from ECW and was given an entertaining run with the Hardcore title.  Kane and Show didn't have anything else to do for the show so they through them in there with Raven.  They all battle back to the backstage area, where Raven gets thrown through various objects.  He also almost gets run over by a golf cart driven by Kane.  It's funnier if I don't say how or why, isn't it?  Anyway, they all end up back out on the entrance ramp.  Show pressed Raven over his head, but Kane kicks him off the stage (taking Raven down with him) Kane follows with a cool elbow off the stage onto the Big Show and gets with win and the title.  I can't remember how long he had it or how he lost it, but it's the hardcore title so who gives a crap?

Match 4: European Championship: Test vs Eddie Guerrero

Hey, it's one of the 50 times they tried to give Test a push.  Eddie brings Perry Saturn and his goofy looking hat with him, and Dean Malenko also makes an appearance as the Radicalz CHEAT TO WIN and Eddie gets the title off of Test.  Thank God.

Match 5: Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle

Oh frick yeah!  These two would go on to have some of the greatest series of matches since Flair/Steamboat, but this was the first one.  They do some seriously awesome mat wrestling for the first half of the match; just some cool takedowns, reverses, submission attempts, etc.  And the crowd applauds EVERYTHING.  Hear that WWF?  The crowd was telling you they WANTED that style of wrestling!  Why do you think they gave Benoit a standing ovation after LOSING to Angle a few years later?  That's what they wanted to see goddamnit.  They didn't want to see roided up losers like Test anymore!  Sorry, got off on another tangent again.  Anyway, after a classic back and forth match where each guy uses their finishers (and their opponent's too) Angle ends up rolling up Benoit and hooking the tights for the win.  See, Angle was the whiny jerk and he had to cheat to win.  Made perfect sense while keeping Benoit strong. 

Match 6: Women's Championship: Ivory vs Chyna

Hey, it's the RTC again!  It makes me sad to admit that Chyna looked pretty good here for some reason.  I know, I'm as ashamed as you are worried about my fragile psyche.  Whoops, in the time it took to write that dumb comment Chyna won with a press slam.  She would go on to do what several other women's champions have done...quit the company while champion and cause the title to disappear for months.

Match 7: Street Fight: Shane McMahon vs Vince McMahon

Mick Foley's the special referee, after spending the last year as the commissioner (which he was awesome at) before getting fired by Vince for no reason.  Shane just bought WCW from under Vince's nose so Vince is naturally pissed.  Also if this couldn't be more overblown (and I mean that in a good way) Linda McMahon is wheeled to ringside by Trish Stratus and is "heavily sedated" by Vince because he didn't want her to see his having an affair with Trish.  Stephanie is also at ringside.  Everything clear now?  Alright, these two have a suprisingly great brawl with lots of outside the ring drama thrown in.  Trish turns on Vince and brawls with Steph to the back, Vince takes out Foley with a chair and then places Linda in the ring on her chair.  Linda then suddenly rises up, nails Vince in the junk, Foley returns and punches Vince out and Shane takes him out with a freaking VAN TERMINATOR for the win.  The crowd was insane for this.

Match 8: TLC2: Dudley Boyz vs Hardy Boys vs Edge & Christian

A year later and we have ourselves another ladder match with these guys, the second of the "TLC" matches that raised the ladder matches to another level, pun intended.  There are so many cool insane moves in this match I can't even do it justice.  Jeff does another swanton off the top of the BIG ladder, Edge spears poor Jeff while he was hanging in mid-air trying to grab the titles, and Bubba and Matt go flying off the ladder inside the ring through a double-stack of tables outside the ring!  Wow.  E&C win the match with the help of Rhyno.

Match 9: Gimmick Battle Royal

Well, they needed to take a break after those last two matches so here this is...they had some old timers and dumb gimmicks for a little battle royal just for the hell of it.  And since they owned WCW, they could have Mean Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan return to call the action.  The Iron Shiek wins...because his knees were so shot he couldn't actually get thrown out of the ring properly. 

Match 10: The Undertaker vs Triple H

No real backstory for this one; Triple H went off saying he's beaten everyone in the company, until the Undertaker entered the picture and said "Uh, hey partner...guess what?  You never beat me, punk."  So it was on.  And these two have yet another great match.  Undertaker ends up winning with the Last Ride.  Oh yeah, Triple H was played to the ring by Motorhead.  I wish they would've played "Ace of Spades" instead of his theme song.

Main Event: WWF Championship:  The Rock vs Steve Austin

Both guys were fan favorites at this point, and Austin was returning from neck surgery.  The crowd noise for this one was incredible, and so is the match.  Another even back and forth one (like Benoit/Angle) with both guys exchanging finishers and stuff.  Of course, this is the match that ends on a downer, as Austin joins forces with Vince McMahon at the end and DESTROYS the Rock with about 20 chair shots!  Austin wins the title, shakes Vince's hand and still gets cheered from the crowd.  I always thought they could've done the exact same finish without even involving McMahon and it would've been ten times cooler (Austin gets fed up that he can't beat Rock so he just snaps and nails him with the chair a bunch of times until he wins the title.)  Then if they were so hell bent on turning Austin heel they could've done it on Raw the next night or something.  But the match was a classic, even with the dumb ending.

Match of the night: I'm going for a 3-way tie (Austin/Rock, TLC2, Angle/Benoit)

Mark-out moment of the night: Shane's Van Terminator and Austin joining McMahon (even though we heard that was possibly going to happen)

Summary:  Not only the 2nd greatest WM of all time (next to WM3) but it might be the 2nd greatest show of all time period.  There's so much good stuff on here it's scary. 

*****

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

    

 

   

 

 


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