Saturday, 13 March 2004

WWE Wrestlemania XX - TV Review

By now the rest of the Internet has probably commented in some way about the events at Madison Square Garden this past Sunday, as the WWE presented their annual spectacular, Wrestlemania XX.
Some have said that this was by far the worst Wrestlemania ever. Obviously these people have never seen Wrestlemania VII or Wrestlemania 2000. Personally, I thought it was a great show, and would definitely give it 8/10. It would have been more but for a certain match.

Having viewed Brock Lesnar v Goldberg a couple of times now, it's obvious that Lesnar wasn't prepared for the reaction he got from the WWE faithful. I guess it just goes to show how powerful the Internet really is in the world of professional wrestling today. Lesnar's response was to put on possibly the worst match of his short wrestling career, and it makes you wonder if he'd ever return if his stint as an American footballer goes wrong.

Both tag-team title matches were entertaining enough, but as with many multi-man contests, things seemed a little rushed, a little awkward at times. The same could be said of the Cruiserweight Open. In a way this kind of reminded me of the few Ring of Honor matches I've seen. Watching this though made you feel sorry for Ultimo Dragon. Having entered the WWE with a massive amount of hype, this was his first real chance to shine on the big stage, and the poor guy slipped over twice. Hardly a good way to make an impression. Still would have liked to have seen Paul London in this match though. I guess his time will come soon.

The return of the Undertaker was played out brilliantly, even though we didn't get the original Deadman, as many people thought. What we did get was a kind of hybrid of the Deadman and the Bad Ass. Walking down the aisle made me think of those old Sergio Leone movies.

This was also possibly the best Big Show match I've seen in ages. He seemed to turn it up a notch while putting John Cena over for the U.S. title. The big guy has his fair share of critics, and I must admit I've never really been a big fan of him, but his WMXX opener proved he could do the business.

As I said in my preview, Chris Jericho v Christian proved to be something of a sleeper. This was one hell of a match, with Trish Stratus' heel turn played to perfection. Trish had become kind of bland in the past few months. Going over to the dark side may be the perfect way to reinvent herself as the bitch queen of the WWE. I'm looking forward to seeing how this little love triangle will play out over the next few weeks.

I was extremely surprised to see an actual hair stipulation gone through with. I couldn't believe it when Molly Holly, having lost her title match to Victoria, was actually shaved bald. The last time such a stipulation was adhered to, Kevin Nash just exchanged his long locks for a flat top. This was indeed a refreshing change.

Match of the night had to go to Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle. The finishing was just awesome, and fitted in perfectly with Eddie's character. The look on Angle's face after the bout was priceless. It's a shame that his old injury problems have resurfaced though, as I would love to see these two go at it again. I really hope that Angle will return soon, because things just won't seem the same without him.

And finally, the age of Benoit has begun. After over four years in the WWE, including one year on the shelf following neck surgery, my main man from Canada has finally done it. It's no secret that I'm a massive Benoit fan. I have been since I saw him wrestle as the Pegasus Kid on a New Japan show about ten years ago. I've followed his career closely, always knowing that one day he would be a World Champion. Of course, he won the big one in WCW, but does that really count, considering what happened the following day?

Many people were surprised that Triple H put Benoit over cleanly. Many people expected Shawn Michaels to take the fall. But in truth, all three men put on a great match in what was probably the most entertaining triple threat match you'll see in a while. Whether Benoit will be given an extended run with the title remains to be seen. I, for one, hope he does.

Special mention must go to the old guys, aka The Hall of Famers. It was great to see the likes of Jesse Ventura, Bobby Heenan, Tito Santana and Billy Graham again. The Brain's speech at the Hall of Fame banquet certain tugged on the heart strings of this old wrestling fan.

And kudos to the chairman of the board, Vince McMahon. Putting aside the evil Mr. McMahon character for the evening, it was great to see old Vinny Mac come out and thank the fans for making the WWE what it is today.