The biggest day of the year for wrestling fans has come and gone. It has, as always, left memories in the mind of the viewer. Whether it is that one special match, or the spectacular move that you may never see again. Wrestlemania is truly what it states, it is the showcase of the immortals. It only comes once a year and it is always worth the wait.
Wrestlemania 19 on March 30, 2003 at Safeco Field in Seattle is no exception. From top to bottom this is one of the greatest shows I have ever had the pleasure of watching. The event also set an attendance record at Safeco with 54,097 fans in attendance.
Every ‘Mania’ is kicked off with the singing of America the Beautiful. Such stars as Little Richard, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin and so many more have kicked off the show. This year the honor was given to Ashanti, and she didn’t disappoint. Her beautiful voice along with such a powerful and heartfelt song is enough to bring a tear to the toughest person’s eye.
The show was a rocket buster right out of the gate with Rey Mysterio challenging Matt Hardy for the Cruiserweight championship. This match had all the highflying action that is expected out of this division. Both guys hit their pet moves, but in the end it was Hardy that came out on top, with a little help from the ropes. This match was the perfect way to start the action.
Following this match Limp Bizkit performed their song ‘Rollin.’ This song, coincidently, is the old entrance music for the Undertaker. Half way through the song ‘Taker came rolling out onto the ramp on his motor cycle flying the American flag on the back, in support of his nephew who is fighting over in Iraq.
This leads us into the second match of the evening, ‘Taker taking on the Big Show and A-Train in a handicap match. Nathan Jones was supposed to be ‘Takers partner, but in classic wrestling style, was jumped in the back before the show. This match is exactly what you would expect with three super heavyweights, slow and plodding. But overall, this match wasn’t too bad. It ended with ‘Taker breaking out the old school tombstone pile driver for the win.
The next contest was a triangle match for the Women’s championship and featured Trish Stratus, Jazz, and defending champion Victoria. This was one of the better women’s matches I have seen. These three ladies have certainly improved the quality of women’s wrestling in the U.S. This match concluded when Stratus pinned Victoria for the title following a sweet looking chic kick.
The next match was also a triangle match for the Smackdown tag team titles featuring Chavo and Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit and Rhyno taking on the champions Team Angle, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin. This match was also awesome. All three teams hit their high spots, and treated the audience to some excellent wrestling. The match concluded when Rhyno hit Chavo with his gore and was pulled out of the ring and Benjamin snuck in for the pin.
This match next contest pitted Shawn Michaels against Chris Jericho. This match was the ‘Mania’ return for Michaels who last appeared at the show in 1998, and had back surgery afterwards. This match was great from bell to bell. It began with technical wrestling and then broke out into a fight. Both wrestlers hit their finishers, but it was a simple roll up that got the duke for HBK.
This match was followed up by another Limp Bizkit performance. They did a song from their upcoming album. The song was titled Crack Addict, and it was off the hook. Looks to me like LB is almost back to form; I’m looking foreword to when their album drops in the summer.
This was followed up by a little t and a action, featuring the Miller Lite Cat Fight Girls, Tonya Ballinger and Kitana Baker. The WWE, of course, had to throw in a few of their own divas, Stacey Kiebler and Tori Wilson, the cover girl for newest issue of Playboy magazine. (Might have to check that one out, he he) This was your basic catfight, stripping down to bras and rolling around a bit.
The next match was for the Raw championship and featured Booker T taking on the champion Triple H. This was an awesome match as well. It had fast moving action, and some great wrestling, including the old school Indian death lock. The match ended when HHH hit his pet finisher, the pedigree, for the win.
The next contest was 20 years in the making, featuring Vince McMahon taking on Hulk Hogan in a street fight. You know, there is something to this Hulkamania thing. No matter how old he gets people still cheer Hogan. This was your basic Hogan match, except for a little more blood, and Vince jumping off a ladder and driving Hogan through a table. This match also had a surprise appearance by Rowdy Roddy Piper, now that’s getting old school.
The next contest featured the two biggest stars in wrestling over the last ten years, The Rock against Stone Cold Steve Austin. This match was another classic between these two stars. The match was back and forth, with the Rock coming out on top after hitting three Rock Bottoms.
The next contest was the main event of the show, and it was for the Smackdown championship. The match featured two of the most decorated athletes in the WWE, two time national wrestling champion Brock Lesnar challenging six time national wrestling champion and Olympic gold medallist Kurt Angle. This contest was a mat classic, just as I thought it would be. It had tons of chain wrestling, a little fighting and all out intensity. The high spot of the match was when Lesnar did the shooting star press, which is forward facing back flip splash. It is amazing because Lesnar is 280 pounds. Although he landed on his head, he was okay and finished the match. He vanquished Angle with the F5 and became the Smackdown champion.
As I said before, Wrestlemania was awesome from top to bottom. Too bad it only comes once a year. I can’t wait for next years ‘Mania, 362 days to go. Oh, and before I forget, as the show was going off there was a promo for next months pay per view event, Backlash. What makes this so special is that ‘Da Man’ is back, Goldberg has officially signed with the WWE, and I can’t wait to see what impact this will have.