Classic Pay Per View : WrestleMania XIX (Part 2)
by, 09-17-2011 at 02:57 PM (2557 Views)
Shawn Michaels v Chris Jericho
The build up to this match - Immense, full of anticipation. The match itself - Even better than immense. Jericho and Michaels had a match for the ages, one that should be high on several lists of greatest WrestleMania matches ever. Apparently this was the match that convinced Shawn Michaels to go full time again,as Mr WrestleMania put in a show stealing performance, with his equally talented foe. Call me a mark, but this was the first time that Michaels looked "vintage". Thankfully this was a Raw match and we avoided the word vintage being overplayed, and got to listen to the classic JR/Lawler duo. Full of near falls, technical excellence, signature moves, stealing of signature moves, drama and an unexpected "old school" finish heralded the return of HBK and one of the greatest matches ever, you could show it to a non fan and I'm sure they'd be hooked. The post match was great, instead of the over played emotional hug, Jericho saved himself from a potential face turn and kicked Michaels in the nuts. great match. The crowd cheered for both men, and conspiracy theorists were aside themselves that Michaels won.
WWE sold the shit outta Backlash with their first promo for Goldberg (Yay!), announcing the attendance record for Safeco field and getting Bizkit to perform the theme song as if to announce "Are you Ready". I hate Bizkit, but I have to admit their song fit for Mania.
Triple H v Booker T (World Title)
The booking of this Mania was top notch, the 5 matches at the end of the show ran after each other to create a fever pitch and did not burn out the crowd and had the right main event to boot. Out of the 5 big matches, this was the least anticipated, so it made sense following up HBK-Jericho with their least show stealing match. However, it was not a dull match or build up. Booker was a favourite of the crowd, and it had that classic Mania feel of the babyface challenger trying to reach the plateau. Helmsley was a massive heel, completely hated, and backed by manager Ric Flair. To some it may have seemed dull, the crowd needing a breather after the preceeding match (even though they got that with Stacy, Torrie and two other babes ripping each others clothes off) but in my mind it was a psychological bout that had to be studied. Some excellent selling and moves in here, Booker's twirling legdrop off the top rope was spectacular. And I think a lot of the crowd saw that too. I enjoyed it anyway, bought into the intrigue of will Booker do it? A pedigree later, Trips retained. Again, conspiracy theorists were aside themselves that Triple H won.
Hulk Hogan v Mr McMahon
Surprisingly, a very very entertaining match. The build up was great, billed as 20 years in the Making, the turning point Hogan getting screwed a month prior at No Way Out by the maniacal chairman. Memorable in the build up was the return of Mean Gene Okerlund for a hype interview, McMahon bloodying Hogan and making him sign a contract in his own blood, and a hilarious mega botch promo by Hogan on Smackdown. The promo for the match was brilliant too, very emotional video.
A good old streetfight that would hide any shortcomings you would see on a normal one on one, this included a McMahon legdrop off a ladder through the Spanish announce table (Yep), a HUGE pop for an unexpected appearance by Hot Rod Roddy Piper until a sudden heel turn, and a genuine rewindable hilarious McMahon moment (If you watch this again, look out for the bit were he slowly lifts his head from the apron outside the ring and check out how happy he is to have found a lead pipe XD). Hogan won in what was highly entertaining though no wrestling classic.
The Rock v Stone Cold III
The final match of this legendary rivalry, and the final match of Stone Cold Steve Austin. It is now knowledge that Stone Cold had a horrible night before this and had to make a decision on his career. For the third time headlining Mania (yes, this was not the main event, but the build up would suggest otherwise) this was a worthy finale to this trilogy. Stone Cold had taken a much publicised break from wrestling and was a welcome return to programming, and Rock made a welcome return to programming just a month before as well, and was arguably his most entertaining in WWE history, with a refreshing heel run. There was no title on the line, Rock needed to do just one more thing: Beat Stone Cold at Mania. Being Stone Cold, he could never turn down a fight. The great thing about their matches at Mania is they were all different. At one point the ultra arrogant Rock snatched Stone Cold's vest and started doing hilarious impressions as he liked to do. To end the story right, Rock got the win and finally got the monkey off his back. As main eventer's together, it was perplexing at the time why they didn't headline other PPV's often, such as SummerSlam the previous year, but in hindsight it's comes off as a great bit of booking. There is a legacy there, a trilogy that is synonimous with WrestleMania and one we are unlikely to ever see again. I'm giving this four stars.
Kurt Angle v Brock Lesnar (WWE Title)
The fact that this DID main event was no surprise. The anticipation for this match was off the charts. Since I first heard that this was the plan on websites such as this, I was bought in. Angle in only a few years had established himself as maybe the greatest wrestler of his generation. Lesnar had been built up as a monster who rose to the top quickly only to lose his undefeated streak courtesy of his former agent Paul Heyman. Putting Heyman with Angle planted the seeds for this clash, and the greatest main event ever was on the horizon. And to add fuel to the anticipation, the main event was in serious jeopardy. It had become known that Angle was in serious trouble neckwise. He had incurred a major injury while on tour in South Africa and not only was in danger of missing his maiden WrestleMania headline slot, but in danger of not only a career ending situation but a possibility of death if he continued with the match. There was much wonder, waht would happen at Mania, will the match be cancelled? They even scheduled a title match on Smackdown were Angle used his brother Eric to do a body switch and fool Lesnar. In that match it was highly expected that Lesnar would defeat Angle and then Benoit, being the most credible contender around that time, would ambush Lesnar and challenge him at Mania. Very hectic planning and not ideal with respect to WWE's original vision.
How unexpected then, that the man who looked like he may have killed himself at the end of the match was actually Lesnar. An absolutely superb encounter was brought to a halt by Brock's move of murder, the F-5. Instead of going for the pin, he looked to one of the turnbuckles. An extra level of anticipation added to this was over the fact that the huge motherfucker Lesnar could do a SHOOTING STAR PRESS!!! That monster doing a shooting star press, I had heard but he had never done it on television, he was going to save it for a huge occasion. If he had hit it cleanly, that move would have made him the undoubted icon of wrestling. However, he had a moment of stupidity (He mentions in a DVD about the match that he was overcome with nerves, which is fair) and tried the thing from too far out and BAM! He nearly breaks his neck, and officially suffers a concussion. The match went on however, and he hit another F-5 for the 1-2-3. An emotional ending after the match involving a hug that you could see was complete reality.
This PPV just got better and better and better. Solid from the bottom, and never lulling once it got to the second half of the show (the main event cailbre part of the card), this is one of my favourite PPV's of all time. I was happy to see it when it was the focal point of wrestling back in 2003, and wholly recommend anyone else to check it out