On the go-home Raw before Royal Rumble, the old guys made it one of the most entertaining Raws in a while. Continue reading
You only get to the 1,000th episode once right? Well, technically we only get to episode 238 once too, but still. WWE has been pulling out all the stops for this show, including bringing back greats like Shawn Michaels, The Rock, The Undertaker, and Steve Blackman.
We’ll do it time capsule style.
8:00: The show starts with a music video of Raw moments including some great ones (Mike Tyson and Stone Cold) and some not-so-great ones (Goldust stuttering while Triple H laughs his ass off). What these guys deem as entertaining is mind-boggling.
(If I see Shane McMahon’s balls electrocuted, well, okay, I’ll laugh.)
8:01: I just saw 1 1/2 seconds of the Miz girl!
8:02: Bret screwed Bret and Shawn Michaels losing his smile in back to back edits?
8:11: After three minutes of underwear jokes from HBK and HHH as DX, they introduce other members of the team, except the one with the largest member, Chyna. (See, I go DX when I need to.) Billy Gunn is still pretty jacked. The Road Dogg presented the New Age Outlawz as the 5-time tag team champions of the world. Triple H asked us if we are ready. And then he said the line that hasn’t ever made sense, “Let’s get ready to suck it.” Damien Sandow interrupted because you know, he and DX had quite the run in 1998. He was put out to pasture and Billy Gunn said that if we’re not down with that, he’s got two words for us. Poor X-Pac didn’t get to do anything except crotch chop Triple H when H said he was the only one with a full head of hair left. No bronco buster or anything. That’s what he gets for humping Chyna on camera.
8:34: It looks like rather than announce the main event, Jim Ross announces what might be the best match on the show. Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio, and Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho, Alberto Del Rio, and Dolph Ziggler. Didn’t Ziggler and Jericho have heat last week?
8:36: Jericho gave us his first, “Come on, baby!” cover in what seems like 10 years. A t-shirted Mysterio didn’t get to do much as it was all Sheamus. Ziggler sucker-punched Jericho and Hunter Hearst Sheamus hit Jericho with the Brogue Kick for the win.
8:43: Charlie Sheen via Skype was worse than the UFC’s satellite interviews.
8:46: Mae Young’s son, the hand, wished AJ best of luck in her marriage to Daniel Bryan. Not sure where his dad Mark Henry was.
8:52: Really, Brodus Clay’s act is really all about seeing Naomi’s junk in the trunk. Clay introduced his tag team partner, Dude Love who is in his corner against Jack Swagger. The Dudettes didn’t come out with the Dude. Swagger jobbed in about 15 seconds.
8:55: My heart just skipped a beat. I see Trish Stratus. She and Triple rekindled this skit from over 10 years ago:
And then X-Pac got creepyish and stalkerish with Trish. Well, he did have sex with Chyna on camera. Might be paying for that one all show long.
Wrestlemania was Vince McMahon’s baby. Technically Stephanie and Shane were his kids, but one could imagine that Vince took just as much care in his raising and handling of Wrestlemania as he did with his own children. And shame on those of you who just said that he might’ve shown more love and care for Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania was live in Madison Square Garden in 1985, and Wrestlemania 10 was also at the Garden in 1995. It didn’t take a genius to figure that Wrestlemania XX would call the Garden home. The line-up was stacked for Mania XX and Vince started promoting the event at Mania XIX. It had an entire year of promotion and it delivered.
There were a couple big ifs about this PPV. Or maybe a couple of big woulds. Would Vince McMahon give Chris Benoit the World Championship? Would Vince McMahon give Eddie Guerrero more than a one month reign as WWE Champion? Would Mick Foley be the Mick Foley of old? And would Hulk Hogan make a triumphant return at Wrestlemania XX?
Well, the answer to the first three questions was yes, but sadly, at least from this old Hulkamaniac’s point of view, the fourth was a big fat no. The PPV was set up with making Chris Benoit the superstar wrestling fans have always wanted him to be as well as establishing Eddy Guerrero as a fighting champion. And it did those things very well in my opinion.
The problem with having a PPV of this magnitude is that if it is a solid event, but doesn’t quite match the hype, it almost feels like a failure. And while that wasn’t the case here, if it wasn’t for the two championship bouts, it might’ve been looked at as a failure. The reason for that is because there were two huge matches that were advertised just as hard and maybe even harder than the two championship matches, and those failed miserably.
When you think of Wrestlemania X-8 in five years, you will remember one match, and only one match. You’ll be surprised to see that Edge had a match with Booker T which started because Edge swiped a commercial deal that Booker T thought he should’ve received. You’ll forget that there was Diamond Dallas Page’s one and only Wrestlemania match. You might even forget that Chris Jericho and Triple H were in the main event.
The match you will remember however is the one that pitted Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock. Hogan had just come back to the WWF with his NWO cronies Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. McMahon brought them in to come shake up the foundation of the WWF. He wanted them to “poison” his own creation as he was afraid that Ric Flair was ruining his promotion. That was the storyline. The real story was that McMahon, as always, wanted to bring in some surprises right before Wrestlemania, to make Mania the most talked about show of the year. However, what he should’ve known was that the NWO was so “five years ago” and that it wouldn’t work today unless it was brought back as a new idea. Hogan was accepted back by the fans, but Nash and Hall weren’t seen as anything more than just regular guys. Hogan is a great manipulator and he positioned himself with a match against The Rock, who already had a great buzz on him as he was finishing up The Scorpion King. The initial build-up was excellent. Rock challenged Hogan and the audience was split on who they were cheering for. What they did afterward was hogwash and unbelievable, but let’s just forget that ever happened.
I can start this off by stating that this is the single greatest WWE card from top to bottom that I have ever witnessed. Although there were a few rocky match-ups and it took a while for the Houston crowd to get into, this is the greatest of all the Wrestlemanias.
One thing that helps this show standout that might get overlooked is the announcing. Paul Heyman took Jerry Lawler’s place as Lawler had quit the company when his wife, Stacy Carter (The Kat) was fired. Carter soon left Lawler. Talk about being ungrateful. Anyway, Heyman is outstanding in building up feuds and making matches seem important, and not yelling “puppies” every 5 minutes. And Jim Ross is at his usual high standard.
The marquee match-up pitted the People’s Champ, The Rock against Stone Cold Steve Austin. It was a babyface vs. babyface match-up, however in Austin’s home state, Rock was going to be turned heel by the crowd. The show was held at the old Astrodome in Houston and Austin was over like nobody’s business.