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Wrestlemania XX

Nothing really interesting happened over the past year (that I can think of anyway) so let's get on with the 20th Wrestlemania, the one "where it all begins again."  Doesn't that sound like the title of a James Bond movie?

Wrestlemania XX (March 14, 2004)

We're live once again at MSG in NYC, and we're also OTB on the DRC.  OMG! LOL!!  Anyway, of course the theme here is the 20th anniversary of Wrestlemania so we return to the Garden with a 5 HOUR blowout.  I'm gonna have to watch this damn thing in installment plans.  Our hosts are JR and the King from Raw, and Cole & Tazz from Smackdown.  We kick things off with "America the Beautiful" performed by the Harlem Boys Choir.  This was the greatest opening performance in WM history, besides Rockin' Robin's stirring rendition of course.  Great opening montage too, with all the guys talking about how much WM means to them, ending with a shot of Vince, Shane and his newborn kid.  How long before they make that kid kiss Vince's ass like Shane did?

Match 1: US Championship: Big Show vs John Cena

Cena is crazy over at this point, and was actually still doing freestyle raps before his matches!  Remember those?  Anyhoo, he leads the crowd with a hearty chant of "Big Show Sucks" before the big guy even gets to the ring, and he's pretty pissed about the whole deal when he does get in there.  Or maybe not, who the hell knows?  The crowd is into this, which is a good sign since they gotta LONG night ahead of them...anyway, Cena nails Show with his custom knucks and then delivers the FU for the win and his first championship, which he celebrates like he won the world title or something.  Jesus John, it's just the U.S. title.  Even Mr. Excitement CW Mayher has won the U.S. title.

Match 2: Tag Team Championship, Fatal 4-Way Match: Booker T & Rob Van Dam vs The Dudley Boyz vs La Resistance vs Mark Jindrak & Garrison Cade

Oh terrific, I get to watch Mark Jindrak.  Seriously, how can Matt Hardy be left off of this show but Jindrak, Cade and Rene Dupree got a Wrestlemania paycheck?  This is sudden death so the first team to get a pinfall wins.  I don't care.  Neither does the crowd.  RVD gets the 5-star frog splash on someone and he and Booker regain the belts (the Raw tag titles)

Match 3: Chris Jericho vs Christian

Quite a bit of back story to this one...Jericho and Trish Stratus started getting cozy with each other (while Jericho was a heel and Trish a face, which made it a really cool dynamic that they never tried before and haven't since for some stupid reason.)  Anyhoo, it was then revealed that Jericho made a bet with Christian that he could nail Trish before Christian could nail Lita for one nifty Canadian looney.  Trish found out, got pissed, and Jericho actually fell for her harder, but Trish was leary.  Christian, sensing he was losing his best friend Jericho to a woman, got pissed and took it out on Trish, making Jericho pissed.  So we have this match, which was great since these honorable Canadian heroes work well together.  Trish makes her way to ringside and the crowd can just sense the Savage/Elizabeth-type reunion that will surely happen...but not before Trish accidentally nails Jericho and Christian roles him up for the pin.  After the match Jericho goes to make sure Trish is okay and she POPS him!  Christian sneaks back into the ring, nails Jericho with the unprettier and leaves with a now evil-looking Trish.  This was SHOCKING.  Made no sense either, but whatever.  Trish pretty much sealed her reputation as the best female performer ever after this, as she proved she could be an awesome heel too.  Too bad she did that goddamn reality show.

Match 4: Mick Foley & The Rock vs Randy Orton, Ric Flair & Batista

Foley made his return to the ring after Orton taunted him for months, declaring himself the new hardcore icon after pummeling Foley on a Raw several months back.  Foley came back but always got his ass kicked by Evolution so he called his buddy The Rock for help.  And if you want to see a fun match, this is it.  Rock and Foley showed no ring rust and the young guys keep up great.  You can tell that the legends are having the time of their lives out there, espcially when Flair and Rock are facing each other.  Flair even attempts a people's elbow!  Orton ends up with the upset pin on Foley after an RKO out of nowhere.  Didn't matter though, Foley and Rock get a standing ovation after the match.  This ended up being Rock's last match.

Mean Gene Okerlund is out and he introduces the members of the 2004 Hall of Fame class.  And it was a huge class too, since this was the first year they started doing the Hall of Fame stuff again.  Our inductees are Bobby Heenan, Tito Santana, Big John Studd, Harley Race, Pete Rose, Junkyard Dog, Don Murraco, Greg Valentine, Billy Graham, Sgt. Slaughter and Jesse Ventura.  Yeah, they put Rose in the Hall of Fame but the guy deserved it after all he did the last several years.

Match 5: Evening Gown Match: Sable & Torrie Wilson vs Stacy Keibler & Miss Jackie

Damn I forgot about Sable's triumphant return.  This was to cash in on the Playboy spread Sable and Torrie did together, dispite being enemies the whole damn year.  But I guess when you pose naked together you develop a natural friendship.  If you combine Stacy and Jackie's ages they're still younger than Sable I think.  Torrie pins Jackie with something resembling a role-up.  Works for me.

Match 6: Cruiserweight Open Match

Damn, they even paid all the Smackdown cruiserweight guys but they couldn't find a damn spot for Matt Hardy?  Anyway, Chavo Guerrero was the champ and everyone had to fight in a gauntlet-type deal and the last guy to win is the champ...Ultimo Dragon (remember him?) pinned Shannon Moore, Jamie Noble pinned Dragon, Noble then pinned Funaki, Nunzio got counted out, Billy Kidman pinned Noble, Rey Mysterio pinned Kidman, then pinned Tajiri, and then Chavo pinned Mysterio to keep his title.  The whole thing lasted in less time than the Jericho/Christian match.

Match 7: Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar

Oh no, I don't want to watch this again...but then again the crowd makes it fun anyway.  Steve Austin is the special ref for this one.  It was reported before the show that Brock was quitting the company after this show, to persue his dreams of playing in the NFL.  Ah well, dreams are for losers anyway.  And Goldberg only signed a one year deal exactly one year before this show, so it was assumed he wasn't coming back either.  And the fans knew this because as soon as it starts they SHIT ALL OVER IT, refusing to cheer for ANYTHING.  They chant everything from "you sold out," to "this match sucks," and sing the "na na na na hey hey goodbye" song.  And it didn't help that these two went out there a dogged it because of the crowd.  Goldberg wins with the spear and jackhammer, and the crowd boos anyway.  Austin then stuns Brock (after a pissed off Brock flipped off the crowd) and then invited Goldberg in the ring for a beer celebration, but then stuns him too!  Well, it made sense since Austin was the only star of the match I guess.

Match 8: Tag Team Championship, Fatal 4-Way Match: Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty vs APA vs Basham Brothers vs Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas

And now we have the Smackdown tag titles defended in the same type of match as the Raw one.  And this one sucks too!  Riskishi & Scotty win after...something.  Who cares?  Rikishi and Scotty dance after the match, and the crowd is so silent I can actually hear my life escaping me.

Match 9: Women's Championship: Victoria vs Molly Holly

Molly has to shave her head bald if she doesn't win the title.  Victoria is good now, but still insane (this was before she became "dancin' Victoria" which was even more embarassing than my "dancin' Haas" phase.)  Victoria wins with a backslide and then straps Molly to a chair (oh baby!) and shaves her head.  Well at least Molly got the spotlight at a Wrestlemania once.

Match 10: WWE Championship: Eddie Guerrero vs Kurt Angle

This was after heel turn #38 for Angle, as he became pissed as soon as Eddie won the title that the company would be represented by a "drug addict" who lied, cheated and stealed.  Hey, I guess you can't blame him, I wouldn't want my local Burger King represented by that kind of person either but apparently it does.  And you can probably guess these two have a great match with all kinds of cool moves and reversals and whatnots.  Angle gets the anklelock, Eddie kicks him out of the ring, loosens his boot, Angle runs back in and applies the ankle lock again, but pulls Eddie's boot off, then runs into an inside cradle (while Eddie hooked the ropes) and gets pinned.  Kurt is pissed; Eddie cheated to keep the title!  That's it, I'm never letting my three kids watch this crap again.

Match 11:  The Undertaker vs Kane

By this point Kane was unmasked and The Undertaker was dead again.  For someone who's died as much as Undertaker has I hope the WWE gives him good health benefits at least.  These two have their typical slow almost-decent match with Undertaker winning after a tombstone.  Hey no fair, it took him THREE when he beat him at WM14!  Alright, if I wasn't a complete loser for doing these blogs every day, I am now for remembering THAT.

Main Event: World Heavyweight Championship: 3-Threat Match: Triple H vs Shawn Micheals vs Chris Benoit

I'll admit it, I didn't think they'd actually have Benoit win this thing.  I'm really glad they did though, because any other outcome would've made the fans riot I think.  They hated Triple H and for some reason the MSG crowds always booed HBK too.  This match was a classic too, with Triple H finally pulling out a good match.  HBK bleeds a gusher, too.  The finish was really nerve-wrecking too, as Benoit got HHH in the sharpshooter (with the crowd going nuts) only to be superkicked by a bloody HBK out of nowhere!  HBK then gets up, tries to superkick Benoit again but gets backdropped out of the ring, only to have Triple H waiting for him (the crowd is starting to get restless because they think this is it...) Triple H goes for the pedigree, but Benoit reverses into the crossface!  Triple H hangs on as long as he can but Benoit rolls with him into the middle of the ring and HHH eventually taps out!  Benoit is the champ!  And if that wasn't surreal enough, Eddie Guerrero joins him in the ring and the two champs hug and cry in the middle of the ring.  Now I know wrestling's "fake" and all but that shit was REAL.  Benoit gets his moment in the sun here.

Match of the night:  Lots to pick from, but it's gotta be the Main Event

Mark-out moment of the night:  Are you kidding me?  Benoit winning the title

Summary:  The 3rd best Wrestlemania of all time, even though the damn show was 5 freaking hours long!  That was way too long and if they just got rid of those stupid tag matches it would've been easier to watch.  But you can't argue with anything else here.  And the fact that they ended the 20th anniversary of Wrestlemania in Madison Square Garden with Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero standing in the ring together as world champions still boggles my mind to this day.  But in a good way, of course.

****1/2

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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