June 4, 2011
This was the WrestleMania from Safco Field in Seattle Washington. This was a cool building because while it did have a full roof it was open to the outside at the one end of the arena. The place was huge and officially housed 54,097 people, the third largest crowd Iíd ever wrestled in front of. One and Two being 68, 237 (Mania 18, Skydome Toronto), 56,700 (Colonial Stadium, Melbourne Australia).
This was a great event and one of the few shows I brought my whole family to see. You spend the whole week before Mania in town promoting the event and with Seattle being so close I brought my wife and kids and made this trip a mini vacation. We did a ton of site seeing and had a really good time. As great as the trip was there was a big down side to this event, as my scheduled Tag Team Title match got changed weeks out (with William Regalís illness) and then later (only a day or two out) bumped off the official WrestleMania card and demoted to the live Sunday Night Heat Pre-Show match.
When Regal got ill he and I were stripped of the World Tag Team Titles, and Chief Morley and I were declared the new Champs. There was some debate on whether Morley and I would defend the Titles against Kane and RVD or whether The Dudley Boys would face Kane and RVD in our place. The decision was made to have the Dudleyís in our corner and Morley and I would defend the titles, and of course we then got bumped off the show.
The reason I was told we got bump was that the show was timing out long and one match would have to get bumped and since we werenít the originally advertised match anyway bumping the changed match made more sense that bumping a promoted one. The match listed in the official WrestleMania XIX program was William Regal and I defending the Tag Team Titles against Kane and RVD. Getting bumped off the show was a big deal, in addition to not being featured on the biggest event of the year, having your match on Heat rather than WrestleMania results in a huge reduction in your pay cheque. We still had to perform the match that night weíd just be doing it 30 minutes earlier and getting paid not nearly as much money for doing so.
Needless to say none of us were happy about getting bumped and our moods did not improve much when we realized the ďMiller Light Cat Fighter girlsĒ would still be having there scheduled Pillow/Cat Fight. Thatís right the World Tag Team Title match was getting bump off of WrestleMania so two girls from a beer commercial could do a pillow fight. As mad as I was that night I was even madder when I sat down to watch this event now because I didnít realize that in addition to their pillow fight, they had 3 backstage skits through out the night hyping their ďmatchĒ. In addition to the 3 skits and the bad ďmatchĒ Limp Bizkit performed twice, once for Takerís entrance and once just because, leaving me thinking there was easily 10 minutes that could have been trimmed off this show to allow us on the card. Okay sour grapes aside lets take a look at the event.
Storm & Morley vs. Kane & RVD (World Tag Titles, on Heat):
Match was not long (they kept cutting our time through out the day too) and part of it was during a commercial break. Kane and RVD each did a dive to the floor before the break and when we came back Morley and Rob where in the ring. Double tag to Kane and I and the action picks up and gets pretty good in my opinion. Great reaction for the Dudleyís turning on me and hitting me with a MONSTEROUS 3D. They then turn on Rob to and I pick up the pin fall on RVD. Solid match for the time given, and in an interesting note I got no offense in on camera what so ever. I escaped a choke slam by elbowing Kane in the head, only to be hit with a different move instead. Hey at least I got the pin.
Show opened with Ashanti singing America the Beautiful, and we had Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler calling RAW matches, and Tazz and Michael Cole calling the SmackDown matches. I guess this was the first Brand Split WrestleMania. JR was so freakin awesome on this show and the difference between the matches he called and the matches he did was like night and day. This business needs Jim Ross back at the desk.
Matt Hardy vs. Rey Mysterio (Cruiser Weight Title):
Shannon Moore was in Mattís corner and they made a big deal out of Matt having to cut weight to make the 220lbs weight limit. Match was solid enough but a little bit rushed (They likely had their time cut too). Rey really struggled to keep his Daredevil style mask on his face. Matt retains, nothing great but a solid opener.
The Undertaker vs. A Train & Big Show (Handi Cap Match):
This was originally supposed to be The Undertaker & Nathan Jones in a tag match but they did an angle where Jones got jumped back stage before the show and could not compete. The story I heard was that the 4 of them spent a week at Takerís place (where he had a ring) practicing this match and Nathan was so bad, even after a week of practice, that they didnít feel they could put him on the show. Taker got the Limp Bizkit live entrance which was one of the dullest in Taker Mania history. Taker was really moving in this match and worked very hard. Match was decent and the crowd popped huge when Nathan did a run in at the end. Nathan looked horrible even just doing a run in. Taker goes to 11-0.
Victoria vs. Jazz vs. Trish Stratus (Womenís Title):
Victoria was the champ going in and had Stevie Richards in her corner. This match was very good and by the standards of womenís wrestling in WWE today, out of this freakin world. Everyone remembers Trish as being a great worker but let me tell you watching this match Victoria and Jazz looked even better than she did. Jazz was incredible not only in what she did but her over all presence as well. Great match and Trish wins the title and the crowd popped huge. All three girls were great.
Hass & Benjamin vs. Eddie & Chavo vs. Benoit & Rhyno (WWE Tag Titles):
I think time was a factor here because this just felt like chaos to me with way too much stuff happening too fast. The match picked up a bit at the end but never really grabbed me at all. Hass steals the pin on Chavo to retain the titles.
HBK vs. Y2J:
Donít know what I can say about this match apart from it being just fantastic. Just an awesome match, took the show to the next level. HBK won for those who donít remember.
HHH vs. Booker T (World Title):
They had a great video package building up this match and people booking today need to watch it. This felt like 2 men in a fight that mattered, and then they went out and had a fight that looked and felt like it mattered. JR was off the charts in this match as well getting everything over and making this match feel monumental. Booker damn near killed HHH with the Harlem Hangover, but apart from that this was a great great match. Should note Flair was in Hunterís corner. Nick Patrick was the ref and he was great in this match too.
Vince McMahon vs. Hulk Hogan (Hoganís career on the line):
In the pre match video they showed Hogan coming out of court wearing dress pants, a collared dress shirt, jacket, and FANNY PACK; I popped. Vince was Huge, in some ways more muscular than Hogan. This was not a wrestling clinic but damn was it great. For a guy who doesnítí have many matches Vinceís timing, facial expressions, and over all performance is absolutely phenomenal. This was a great story, an emotional battle and just pure entertainment. They were both busted open and the shot of the night was of a bloody Vince rising above the ring apron with a pipe in his hand and a demonic look on his face. Piper did a run-in which got a good reaction but did not help this match at all. Vince hit a leg drop through the announce table on Hogan which was awesome, and well executed. Once Hogan ďHulked UpĒ and got the win the place came unglued. As much as the previous 2 matches were great wresting matches this was just an epic battle. Awesome!
Rock vs. Austin:
I donít know what can be said here other than these guys are awesome. I know thatís not a news flash but my God they were great. Steve was hospitalized the night before this match, had a completely screwed up neck and went out here and put on the performance of a life time. His selling at the end was some of the best you will EVER see. Rock was a great Heel, Austin was just great, and JR put this match over the top. JRís passion and emotion in this match made a perfect 10 a freakin 12. Every person who has ever had Jim Ross call one of their matches, owes this man a thank you, for making them better and more over than they would have been with out him. Iím not just saying that either, I actually sent him an email a couple months ago to do just that. Rock picks up the win with 3 Rock Bottoms. After the match Rock shoves the ref out of the way and says something to Austin. Iíd love to know what he said. The emotion and energy these two guys put into this battle was fantastic.
Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE Title):
This match was quite good but not great and to be honest did not succeed in following the battles that came before it. They did way more wrestling and moves than the match previous but they did not draw the emotion or reach the same level as Rock and Austin. They started out mat wrestling which was a much needed buffer from the previous fights and made sense considering their background. What an amazing athlete Brock was, and man did he take some awesome bumps. You could tell he was a bit green here and there were a few bobbles but Kurt covered well and this was a very good match. I couldnít watch the missed Shooting Star Press, I had to look away. I donít like watching guys get hurt. It sure would have been a better ending had he hit it, but we should just be glad he didnít kill himself. Brock ended up hitting a third F5 to win the title. A very good match but I though the previous 4 matches were better.
On the whole this was a fantastic WrestleMania. Four matches were beyond great, 2 were really good to almost great, and nothing on the show was bad, provided you donít count the Miller Light Girls as a match, which I donít. This was a GREAT Event.
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