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Wrestlemania XIX

Here we go with the first Wrestlemania since the WWF's big "brand extension" that took the wrestling world by storm...

And by "storm" I mean the single worst year of Monday Night Raw I've ever watched.  Unless you enjoy stuff like Bradshaw and Bubba Ray Dudley fighting every week, Kevin Nash tearing his quad after getting into the ring, Triple H being handed a fake title and then pretending to fuck a dead corpse, and Tommy Dreamer eating his own vomit.

But luckily Smackdown and head writer Paul Heyman gave birth to the "Smackdown 6" (Benoit, Angle, Eddie, Chavo, Rey and Edge) that fought each other every week but actually produced great matches.

This was also the year that the WWF finally lost some sort of convuluted lawsuit with the World Wildlife Fund and they could no longer call themselves the "WWF."  So they became World Wrestling Entertainment, while the World Wildlife Fund is the only organization that can legally sell copies of King of the Ring 1994.

Wrestlemania XIX (March 30, 2003)

We're live from Safeco Field in lovely Seattle, WA.  Now this was an awesome visual, as they crammed 55,000 people into a baseball stadium with a half-open roof in the late afternoon.  Our hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for the Raw matches, and Michael Cole and Tazz for the Smackdown ones.  R&B diva Ashanti kicks things off with "America the Beautiful."  I'd make some smart ass comment here but she actually has a great voice.  The patriotism is kicked into high gear for this show,as a few weeks before we sent our boys over to the gulf.  JR makes a comment about getting the soldiers back home early after their complete liberation of Iraq.  Yeah, good luck with all that. 

The location for the viewing of this show (for those who were left in MQT) was the legendary Sicotte house on Bluff St., shared at the time with Mr. Excitement CW Mayher.  I can't remember, were we drunk for this one? 

Match 1: Cruiserweight Championship: Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) vs Rey Mysterio

Yes it's one of the artifacts left over from WCW, the Cruiserweight title.  Actually now that I think about it, the only WCW-related people/things currently with the WWE are Mysterio, Booker T, the Cruiserweight title, Torrie Wilson and the Big Gold Belt (World Heavyweight Championship)  That's kinda sad.  Anyhoo, this was during Matt Hardy's awesome "Version 1" period where he turned into a self-obsessed obnoxious jerk who preached about the teachings of something called "mattitude."  The only wrestler who bought it was Shannon Moore, so he became the little mf'er (mattitude follower.)  Hardy's entrance was made to look like it was from his website, complete with random "matt facts."  For this match:  "Matt often wonders how they did Wrestlemania without him."  Well, you can't argue with that.  This could be the last really creative thing the WWE ever came up with.  Rey's dressed up like Daredevil for some reason.  And the match is alright...short, but alright.  Matt wins with a roll-up and his hand on the ropes. 

Match 2: The Undertaker vs Big Show & A-Train

This was supposed to be a tag match with 'Taker teaming up with human sloth Nathan Jones, but Jones was "injured" before the match and 'Taker had to go it alone.  I mean, seriously.  If the guy was that shitty of a wrestler that they didn't even trust him to be out there in a tag match where Undertaker could do most of the work, WHY WOULD THEY SIGN THE ASSHOLE?  Undertaker is played to the ring by Limp Bizkit.  Was it before or after this that they were booed off the stage at Ozzfest?  I'm really glad they're gone, by the way.  Undertaker wins the match by himself with a tombstone on the hairy guy.

Match 3: Women's Championship, 3-Threat Match: Victoria vs Trish Stratus vs Jazz

Hey, remember when Victoria was crazy and had Stevie Richards with her?  It's basically 2 on 1 here for the first bit, as Trish takes a poundin' until Jazz decides to beat the hell out of Victoria as well.  Jazz ends up outside the ring, Trish beats up Stevie and then pins Victoria with the chick kick to win the title.  I'd talk about how hot Trish was here, but that would be like me talking about how much my life sucks.  Y'all know it, just move on.

Match 4: Tag Team Championship, 3-Threat Match: Team Angle vs Los Guerreros vs Chris Benoit & Rhyno

Well, since we now have tag champs on both shows and I can never remember which is which, we'll say this is the Smackdown tag titles they're fighting over.  Haas & Benjamin were rookies but they put them with Angle so they were awesome by association already.  These guys get like 8 minutes to do what they were doing in classic 20-25 minute matches on Smackdown, so this is the condensed version.  And it's alright, as Team Angle wins after Rhyno goars Chavo but Shelton sneaks in the ring and pins him before Rhyno can.

Match 5: Shawn Micheals vs Chris Jericho

This was several months after HBK's miracle comeback of 2002.  I still wonder how the guy has been wrestling a full-time schedule for the last 4 years after destroying his back and taking 4 years off.  The power of prayer, I guess.  This one's pretty much the classic it was hyped up to be, with the crowd shockingly behind Jericho for the most part.  HBK wins after a roll-up.  After the match, Jericho (in an awesomely dickish move) hugs Shawn, then kicks him in the junk, then HUGS HIM AGAIN as he falls over in pain!  The crowd boos Jericho out of the building for that, but we all at the Sicotte house loved it.

Just because I want to finish this before midnight I'm gonna skip over another shitty Limp Cupcake song and whatever it was the Miller Lite Catfight Girls did. 

Match 6: Big Gold Belt Match:  Triple H vs Booker T

I won't acknowlege the World Heavyweight Championship as a real title until Benoit wins it the next year.  Sorry, I'm biased, what can you do?  So this was when most fans' hatred of Triple H was at an all-time high, as he ran over every guy on the Raw roster; burying RVD, screwing Kane's dead girlfriend's corpse, getting into push-up contests with Scott Steiner and...whatever this match was supposed to be.  Okay, see if you can follow this...Booker T won a battle royal to get a shot at HHH's title at Wrestlemania.  So HHH comes out and instead of engaging in a simple back and forth feud like we usually get, HHH goes off on a racist rant about how "someone like" Booker T would never be considered a champion, and that the only thing Booker's good for is when he "dances."  So I guess they were going for the sympathy pop for Booker for this match, but then Triple H ended up winning with the pedigree anyway!  So...what was the point here?  This is why we all hated Triple H until HBK and Benoit reminded him how to work a good wrestling angle a year later.

Match 7: Street Fight: Hulk Hogan vs Vince McMahon

The match 20 years in the making!  Alright, I won't make fun of this too much, because these two put on a decent little brawl here.  You can say what you what about Vince, but for these big matches he pretty much delivers, as he bleeds buckets and drops a Hogan-esque leg drop from the top of a ladder; driving Hogan through a table.  Roddy Piper even puts in a suprise appearance, taking Hogan out; which led to the awesome Mr. America & Zach Gowan vs Piper & Sean O-Haire feud that for some reason got everyone fired EXCEPT Zach Gowan.  Anyway, Hogan drops three leg drops on McMahon and wins.

Match 8: Steve Austin vs The Rock

Oh yeah, it's the ultra-Hollywood dick opening for Rock, as this was during his awesome heel return to the ring that single-handedly made me want to keep watching Raw for the 2-3 months he stuck around.  Austin also recently returned at this point, as he quit the company for half the year because he thought it sucked.  But then he came back and they stuck him with Rock for the third time at a Wrestlemania.  These two of course have their solid good match here, not as good as the one two years ago but good enough considering Austin's health at the time.  Rock wins with three rock bottoms.  This would turn out to be Austin's last match.

Main Event: WWE Championship: Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar

This was one of the most anticipated title matches ever, as these two were the big amatuer champions, Kurt an Olympic gold medalist and Brock an NCAA champion.  Yes, they were WRESTLERS.  So everyone figured these guys would go out there and have one of the greatest pure wrestling matches ever.  Until Angle fucked up his neck before the show and it was feared that he wouldn't be able to even be in the show.  People like Benoit were discussed to take his place, but Angle shocked everyone and said he was going to go through with the match (and then get neck surgery right after.)  So instead of going into this match thinking "this will be one of the great matches ever" we went into it thinking "I hope Kurt doesn't kill himself."  And suprisingly this match still kicked ass!  They didn't take it down a notch or anything, they just went all-out, Kurt's neck problems be damned.  But of course, the match will be remembered for Brock's attempt at his legendary shooting-star press (that he often did during his OVW days) Brock had Angle placed way too far away for the move to work, and he accidently landed on his head and pretty much knocked himself out!  He still managed to F-5 Angle and win the title.  When Kurt Angle wrestles an intense match for 20 minutes with close to a broken neck, and the refs have to help BROCK after the match, you know it was bad.  Great match though, even with the screwed up ending.

Match of the night: Brock/Angle

Mark-out moment of the night: Piper's return and the botched shooting-star press

Summary:  One of my favorite Wrestlemanias.  There might not be the ground-breaking match or moment like other WM's, but it was at a huge stadium and it was a great entertaining 3.5 hours. 

****

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 


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