Date: 30th March, 2003
Venue: Safeco Field
City: Seattle, Washington
If there is one word I can use to describe this WrestleMania it would be: Personal. The build-up for some of these matches were just personal. No championships, No money, or contenderships. Just great stories, of how the match had been built up to that point, culminating at the showcase of the Immortals. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho. Personal. Mr. McMahon vs. Hulk Hogan. Personal. The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin. Personal. Also since this was the first WrestleMania I had ever watched live on TV, for me, it was personal! If I could use 2 words to describe this WrestleMania, the other word would be: Underrated.
Rey Mysterio would make his WrestleMania debut and challenge Matt Hardy for the Cruiserweight championship. Matt and Rey put on a great fast paced exhibition - something that rarely occurs in the WWE of today. Matt would eventually reverse a roll-up and use the ropes for leverage to pick up the win.
This is probably the only match in the Undertaker's legendary streak that wasn't a One-on-One match. A-Train and Big Show would injure 'the colossus of Boggo road' Nathan Jones by attacking him in what appeared to be the gents toilets of in the arena. Leaving the Dead Man to compete in a handicap match against A-Train & Big Show. Taker would be played to the ring my Limp Bizkit's performance of Rollin'. Wrestling needs more Rock Music involvement. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Not really diggin' the whole Flo Rida style fetish lately. Nothing against Flo's music, I like the stuff, but the power that a song like 'Crack Addict' has to tell the story of The rivalry between Stone Cold and The Rock still gives me goosebumps. But we'll get to that. Point being: We need Rock and Wrestling connection! Taker would ride down to the ring on his bike, and embrace Fred Durst in the ring. Taker would start landing the big moves early in the game, as A-Train was on the receiving end of a shattering chokeslam. The match would go on, after Taker was unable to get the quick win, and he would hold his own. Nathan Jones found his way out of the toilet, and was able to nail the Big Show with a spinning back kick on the outside, which would allow the Dead Man to take A-Train, up and drop him down with a Tombstone Piledriver. That was all she wrote, as the Undertaker extended his undefeated streak to 11-0.
The Women's Championship Triple Threat match was next as Victoria (c) would take on Jazz and Trish Stratus. Now this goes without being said. The 'Divas' of today wouldn't be able to touch these 3 women. Unless Eva Marie has some miraculous improvements, I couldn't ever see her defeating any of these 3 ladies in a million years. I could be wrong, but that's my opinion. Natalya and AJ Lee are the only two names that come to mind at the moment when it comes to thinking of Divas on the current roster that can GO. These 3 women put on a great exhibition, with the hometown sweetheart Trish Stratus coming away with the win, and becoming Women's champion! 100% Stratusfied.
The last time that the WWE had as many great tag teams as they do today (The Usos, The Real Americans, Prime Time Players, The Shield, The Wyatt Family, Goldust & Cody Rhodes, New Age Outlaws) was back in 2003. Three absolutely phenomenal teams would lock horns for the WWE Tag Team championship. Los Guerrero's vs. Chris Benoit & Rhyno vs. Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas). Haas & Benjamin would make their WrestleMania debut, defending the WWE Tag Team championships. Amazing 3-way tag team match, if you haven't already seen it, it's worth going back and watching it. Shelton Benjamin would take advantage of a Gore from Rhyno to Chavo Guerrero and cover for the pinfall. There's a reason these guys went on to become the self-proclaimed, 'World's Greatest Tag Team'.
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho. Personal. I believe this is one of those WrestleMania gems matches that doesn't get the reverence that it deserves. Two icons who compliment each other very well inside that ring, possibly because of their similar styles. If you were to take away everything from this match, entrances, video packages, these two would still steal the show by what they can create on that canvas. The video packages and entrances however, do add nicely to the already special combination of Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. The story behind this one was, Chris Jericho, idolizing and imitating the Heart Break Kid, throughout his early career was tired of trying to become the next Shawn Michaels. He decided it was time for him to become the first Chris Jericho. This match was a culmination of that, and the recent mind games that had Jericho had been playing with Michaels. The match itself was back and forth, and it was incredible! Was marking out inside my own mind when I saw the cross-body and roll through spot, vintage move. There were a lot of cool spots in this one, one being when Jericho would kip-up and do the Shawn Michaels pose, only to be followed by the original by Michaels. Jericho would tune up the band in the corner and hit HBK square with his own version of the Sweet Chin Music, and would soon in turn be hit by HBK with the original. Michaels would eventually pick up with a roll-up bridge, ending an epic encounter. Michaels would offer a handshake to Jericho, who was in tears. Jericho would embrace his hero, then kick him square in the nuts, right before shoving his face down into the mat. Classic Moment.
The World Heavyweight championship would be contested for next as Triple H, with Ric Flair in his corner would defend against Booker T. The story of this match was a good one with Booker gaining the early advantage, up until Flair's involvement. Flair would toss Booker's knee into the ring steps and that would be the start of Triple H's onslaught on the legs of Booker T. A very rare Indian Deathlock was also applied, but Booker eventually was able to forge somewhat of a comeback and nail Triple H with a Harlem Hangover from the top rope, which took just as much out of him! This would allow the Game to regroup and drop Booker with a Pedigree and retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
In the months leading up to WrestleMania XIX, Hulk Hogan and Mr. McMahon engaged in a bitter rivalry over which man was most responsible for WWE's enormous success. Personal. In a battle for bragging rights, the two powerful personalities faced off in a Street Fight. Even though neither of these two men were regularly wrestling, or even regular wrestlers, what a Street Fight they had! Both men would be pouring color and Vince McMahon even put Hogan through the commentary by hitting him with a diving leg drop from atop a ladder! The most infamous moment of this match had to be the camera shot from inside the ring, of a bloody MrMcMahon, rising at the ring apron with a lead pipe, and a sadistic smile across his face. Piper also made a surprise run-in and for a moment or two, kicked McMahon in the ass right before cracking Hogan over the head with a lead pipe. McMahon would soon after go for a pin, and Hogan would kick out and it was all Hulkamania from then on! Hulking up, pointing to the adulation of Safeco Field - and nailing McMahon and then sending (Mr. McMahon's hand picked referee) Sylvain Grenier sailing out of the ring. Hogan then re-focused his attention on McMahon, and would plant him with not one, but three Legdrops! Game Over. Hulkamania prevails at WrestleMania again! This would be the last time Hogan would compete at a WrestleMania... For now.
In 2003, one of the greatest WrestleMania rivalries continued when The Rock squared off against Stone Cold Steve Austin for the third time. Personal. On the eve of this epic encounter, a combination of anxiety, nerves, and heart palpitations hospitalized the "Texas Rattlesnake." Despite waking up that morning in a hospital bed, Stone Cold battled the Rock in front of 54,097, but in the end, it was Austin falling to three Rock Bottoms. I remember at the end of the match, the Rock is shoving the referee away while he has a word with Austin - and I couldn't remember exactly what it was that the Rock had said to the fallen Austin, because I'd read about it in The Stone Cold Truth. I decided to dig it up again and these are a few passages from Ausin's book:
"After Rock pins me for the one-two-three, he leans over me real close and says, "I love you, man." I know he means it. And I tell him I love him too, and he knows I mean it. Then Rock says, "You'll never know how much this means to me. Thank you so very, very, very much. You don't know how much I appreciate this. I'll never forget it." I'm glad to have been able to do it for him. The main thing, though, is that the fans seem to like it...
...After the match is over, I come up the ramp for the last time and I look at the fans. It's a sight I'll never forget. I give 'em the Double Birds and the crowd explodes. I get a huge cheer as if I had won the match, and that's wonderful to hear. And my music is playing as I'm leaving, which is cool."
Kurt Angle would defend his WWE Championship in the main event against the 'Next Big Thing' Brock Lesnar. Lesnar had won the 2003 Royal Rumble match, eliminating the Undertaker last, and finding himself in the main event of WrestleMania. Probably two of the best mat grapplers in the company at the time. Not only was Lesnar a great athlete but I'm sure no one will ever forget the Shooting Star Press that eclipsed the entire WWE Universe. A truly amazing feat for someone the size of Lesnar, and the distance he covered was jaw-dropping. A concussed Lesnar would continue wrestling in the match, and would set Angle up for a F5 and follow up with the deciding pinfall. Lesnar would capture the WWE Championship for the second time, and would shake hands with Kurt Angle at the end of the match and the two would embrace in a sign of good sportsmanship and respect. This would be the beginning of an interesting friendship between the olympic gold medalist and the 'Next Big Thing'.
WrestleMania Moment: Bloody Mr. McMahon rising on the apron / Hogan Hulking Up and Finishing Off McMahon with 3 Legdrops
Move of the Night: Brock Lesnar's Shooting Star Press
Match of the Night: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
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There's plenty more to come! /-) #Hope2EntertainU
Mau (19/01/14) 23:35