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Dolfan Watches Every Wrestlemania On Lockdown

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I was sitting here going "didn't Josey join a Christian band like a decade after this?" and was very confused.

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He still did Saliva until last year, where he officially split off.

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DAY 55

WRESTLEMANIA XIX

So, the WWF and it's terrible, terrible legal staff lost a lawsuit to the World Wildlife Fund (which is a great organization btw) and changed their name to World Wrestling Entertainment.   You can roughly draw the line of the end of the Attitude Era here. The infamous "Ruthless Aggression" promo is supposed to be the start of a new era and four blue chippers have debuted (Orton, Cena, Lesnar, and Batista), and several guys all but actively looking for the door (Rock, Austin, ).  As a result, things seem generally listless.  X8 was seen as a huge disappointment, so the now WWE wanted to make sure this Mania was a huge success, not only in the gate, but in the match quality. So we go to Safeco Field, where the garlic fries rule.

Let's start out with the debuting Rey Mysterio who's cosplaying as Daredevil because the kids loved Ben Affleck superhero movies in 2003.  Rey is definitely in that group of WCW people who should have led the second wave of the invasion.  Oh well.  His opponent is the WWE Cruiserweight Champion Matt Hardy v.1 (?!).  I honestly did not remember Matty was CW champ. Anyway, I should point out the absolute brilliance of the Matt v.1 entrance with the Real Player 7 style video that's got fun facts and has a digital noise filter.  Whichever producer did that really needs a good pat on the back for that.  

The story is Matt's got Shannon Moore as his trainer to help him get down to the sub-225 weight limit (lol I'll pretend you said 205... ugh, I'm sorry).  Rey's fighting him because, well, Rey's amazing and healthy, and has not been given his giant killer push yet. 

So with all that said, the match is not so much a story as a spotfest... but it's done in a big vs little style, which I appreciate.  Rey is a house of fire for pretty much the entire match (all 6-7 minutes of it).  Matt is seeking refuge from the barrage of attacks and has clearly underestimated Rey.  Moore cheats for him just enough to save his bacon, and Rey all but has the match won, when Hardy sits down during a rollup attempt, using the ropes to win.   A very fun way to start, if just way, way too short. 

I wonder what year exactly Miller/Coors decided that going 100% all in on blatantly using sex to sell their product... and when they realized that was probably not a great idea.  JFC the #metoo stories that could come out of Corporate America.  I mention this because the "Miller Lite Cat Fight" girls are here and, of course, they're already ready to fight... 🙄

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Posted (edited)

Man, the garlic fries at Safeco are fantastic.

Garlic fries and a cold Pyramid Hefeweizen: The only two reasons to go to a fucking Seattle Mariners game. 

EDIT: I guess that I should note that this is the only WM that I've ever attended live.

Edited by Smelly McUgly

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We've reached the WWE gap for me where I don't know all the results on these shows and I get to be surprised!

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To be fair to WWE's legal staff circa 2002, Vince signed a settlement with the WWF to avoid a lawsuit (that it seems most analyst think give would've probably won) and then just willfully ignored the terms he agreed to. The best legal team of all-time probably would've lost that case.

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Tony Chimel introduced the "WWE's favorite band" Limp Bizkit. I'm guessing they're the favorite because Fred Durst gave Vince a nice new strain of coke.  And in 2003, if you heard Limp Bizkit, that means it's time for the Underbiker.  Now he's back to facedom where he'd stay for the rest of his career (I believe). The original plan was for this to be a tag team with new boy Nathan Jones, which would eventually lead to a program between them... But someone (can't remember if it was Vince, an agent, or Taker himself) figured out Nathan Jones was dangerously terrible and they made this a handicap match instead.  

Now, as I said about Big Boss Man and Big John Studd before him,  The Big Show (and Albert) are both here to make Millennial gay bears and cubs understand... oh yeah, that's what I'm into. Maybe it's something about guys given "Big" in their stage name. Anyway, Show is very much in his "a suitable opponent" phase of his career and Albert is just doing his thing.  

Now the main thing I'll say about this match is that at the time I remember thinking, this is terrible. But looking back, it's actually extremely competent.  Taker gets beat on very well, and Show and Albert hold up their end fine.  Again, this falls into the "This is a Raw match" not a Mania match.  The Mania match should have been Taker and Show one on one, since there's plenty of history there and Show presents a credible threat.  But whatever...

The end comes as a miraculously healed Nathan Jones comes down to the ring and Show comes out to stop him and gets beat down for it... in the sight of the ref.  Boy that really should have been a DQ.  Then Jones comes to the ring, and boots Albert -- in front of the referee!  Jesus... THAT should have been a DQ, absolutely.  The ref just shrugged and I'm just wide eyed.... Lawler (or any competent heel color commentary person) should have been screaming their head off, but he's too busy thinking about the catfight girls.   Tombstone ends it, 11-0.

Should be noted, Taker came out to the ring with a huge American flag on his bike and it's mentioned that his nephew has been sent to Iraq.  

JR and King are now on the screen to tell the soldiers watching who've just been deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan, "you're there to do the right thing", get the job done quickly, and come home. 

Hoooooooooooooo boy.... yeah, about that...

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A tale of two divisions.  

The Miller Lite Catfight Girls are now backstage and they meet Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler.  Torrie is reading her own Playboy, probably because Norman Mailer was writing about the decline of Swinger culture and the unsustainability of heteronormative monogamous relationships.  Stacy has been reading Al Reis and Jack Trout and wants to share marketing scenarios with the girls.   The implication here is that these 4 girls go off to fuck.  

Victoria has the Women's title, and deservedly so.  She's a fine worker who has gotten over with a insane tough-girl/pseudo-lesbian gimmick -- oh, and she's got Stevie Richards with her.  Possibly because the Blue Meanie was occupied.  She's facing Jazz and Trish Stratus for the women's title in a triple threat match.  There's not so much a story as these are the top three workers in our women's division and Lita is hurt (iirc).  

Jerry begins his race-baiting nonsense by the way, by saying Jazz looks like Mike Tyson...  more on THAT bullshit in a bit.

I am very sad WWE has apparently lost the rights to "All The Things She Said" by fake(?) Lesbian Russian group t.A.T.u.  (I add the ? by fake because there's a theory I've given a hair of credence to that these girls are in 2000's Russia which is not exactly the most tolerant place in the world, so they double-agented themselves, so they said they were fake lesbians, but actually were lesbians.) ATTSS is one of the best entrance songs for any wrestler in this era. 

Wiki says this was 7 minutes long, so they all clearly had their working boots on.  And again, like last year, this match was great.  It's basically non-stop action from the moment the bell rings and the ladies all hitting their spots and selling well. Changing alliances have Vicky teaming with and turning on each of her opponents, and both of them doing the same with each other.  The pacing was great also, as all three of them can go, and they all hit their stuff.  Hell, even Richards did his part terrific.  

End came as Trish hits Stratusfaction on the interfering Richards, is about to get a Widow's Peak from Victoria... but she reverses and nails a Chick Kick (unnamed then for some reason) for the win and her 4th Women's title to a huge pop. This match gets very outshined by what's to come, but it's a great little bit of story that Trish has learned from her mistake the year before and made sure the third person was out of commission before finishing off the champ.  

The fact that it took Vince and WWE another 10+ years before they finally believed in Women's wrestling is sad.  The shift to the Playboy girls and the 'Divas' instead of women did a disservice to the ladies who busted their asses and got over a VERY quick match.  

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4 minutes ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

I am very sad WWE has apparently lost the rights to "All The Things She Said" by fake(?) Lesbian Russian group t.A.T.u.  (I add the ? by fake because there's a theory I've given a hair of credence to that these girls are in 2000's Russia which is not exactly the most tolerant place in the world, so they double-agented themselves, so they said they were fake lesbians, but actually were lesbians.) ATTSS is one of the best entrance songs for any wrestler in this era. 

That's a very interesting theory and I never though of that option before.  Considering they're Russian that would make perfect sense.  Kind of makes me wonder if true what would happen if they just went all-in on it Russian beliefs be damned.  But I do really love that song and it's hard to see Victoria's entrance without it.

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3 hours ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

The end comes as a miraculously healed Nathan Jones comes down to the ring and Show comes out to stop him and gets beat down for it... in the sight of the ref.  Boy that really should have been a DQ.  Then Jones comes to the ring, and boots Albert -- in front of the referee!  Jesus... THAT should have been a DQ, absolutely.  The ref just shrugged and I'm just wide eyed.... Lawler (or any competent heel color commentary person) should have been screaming their head off, but he's too busy thinking about the catfight girls.   Tombstone ends it, 11-0

i've always stuck to the theory that this was still a tag team match, hence why Nathan Jones can interfere without a DQ. 

i remember in the lead up to this match, the prevailing theory would be Jones getting pinned. That way Undertaker they could end the streak before it gets unwieldy but Taker could still be unbeaten in singles matches. 

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Posted (edited)

"All The Things She Said" combined with Victoria's Titantron of her having a mental freak-out is probably top-five in best song/tron combinations. 

Edited by Smelly McUgly
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Hollywood Rock is such an absolutely amazing character, it's a shame he couldn't stick around longer. Anyway, he cuts a promo guaranteeing a win.  And then in an incredible character moment, he looks like he's about to roll through the catchphrases.... but he kind of tails off... knowing, this could be his last shot at beating Austin at Mania.  Self-doubt... from the fucking Rock.  It's a human moment and it's fantastic.  

Alright, the tag team titles are up in another Triple-Threat match.  The current holders are Team Angle with Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin.  I know it's 100% not in the cards, but what I wouldn't give for Shelton to finally get a run on the top. Have him pull off the enormous upset on Braun and outwrestle everyone on the roster until someone just a hair better takes him down like Styles or Joe or something.  Anyway, the future World's Greatest Tag Team, are the champs after only having been on the main roster for 3 months.   They had been feuding with Chris Benoit and took the title off Eddie & Chavito Guerrero a month or so before, so this match comes out that multi-pronged feud.  

The crowd already loves Eddie, it's clear... he's on the glide path to splitting and moving up in the world.  Benoit is still in his undersized & underappreciated time, though big things are in store for him the next year.  Benoit's partner for this match is Rhyno for some reason (I'm sure it involves a Michigan-Alberta based indie that I've never heard of, but one of you has 70 vhs tapes of).   Rhyno is easily the worst of the 6 people in this match, so it's a good thing he's basically an afterthought in this match.  JR is getting over how Benoit was really upset and weeping about missing last year's Mania due to injury.  And I'm really cringing at that sentence.  Yikes.  

The match itself is a technical clinic.  All 6 guys have mat skills, and if I'm not mistaken, I don't believe a single closed fist punch happened at all during the match.  It's suplexes, reversals, bombs, and chops.... and holy shit the chops.  I'm pretty sure Eddie and Chris have a sidebet as to who breaks character first after getting waylaid by the other's chop.  (Benoit won that.) 

The end came after Benoit hit the rolling Germans which led to basically everyone (except Shelton) getting the living fuck gored out of them, Shelton blind tagging himself in, dumping Rhyno and retaining on Chavo's lifeless body.  

It was too short to be anything super special, but all of these guys were on their game.   

The catfight girls and Stacy and Torrie have apparently finished discussing marketing and get into a verbal argument.  Ugh, okay I'm done.  Next up is a very good and very bad day.  

End of Day 55. 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

Benoit's partner for this match is Rhyno for some reason (I'm sure it involves a Michigan-Alberta based indie that I've never heard of, but one of you has 70 vhs tapes of). 

On Cagematch they've got Benoit and Edge teaming up three times on TV in early 2003. Edge was also scheduled to team with Brock and Benoit against Team Angle at No Way Out before he got injured. I'm assuming Edge would have been in this match, and after his injury Vince probably just shrugged and decided to plug in the other guy they had whose finish is a running tackle. 

Edited by Andy in Kansas

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DAY 56

The rumor was Shawn Michaels was supposed to face HHH at X7, but HBK showed up drunk or stoned off his gourd to the Raw where things were being set up, and was sent home.  So, he's finally making a comeback two years later.  He basically wanted to prove (kayfabe & real life) that he was still one of the best wrestlers in the world.  The WWE Championship was busy putting over some new kid, HHH was busy putting himself over, so Chris Jericho gets the nod as Shawn's opponent.  And yes, that will do nicely.

Chris Jericho has solidified himself as upper carder who always loses title shots. The story going in is Chris has idolized Shawn for years, but he was very into hardcore punk at the time, so it's time to Kill Your Idols.  (I think maybe 2 of you might get that joke.)   The buildup is great and the video package was extremely well done. 

Shawn Michaels is as confident as he ever was and Jericho's clearly got the chip on his shoulder....  Oooh, and Shawn busts out the "TRANQUILO!" pose on Jericho.  That's not going to help out his mood much.   So yeah, Jericho, for all his reinventions and resets and turns, is at his absolute peak when he's busting his ass in the ring and shittalking his opponents. I swear he must have told HBK "I'm better than you!" at least a dozen times.  The fun thing was, with distance, now I can see he is literally wrestling a Shawn Michaels tribute to Shawn Michaels.  He even busts out a nip up, a sweet chin music, and a terrible flying elbow drop. (Oh, and somewhere in here, Jericho actually makes the Wrestlemania debut of the ARROGANT COVER~)

The crowd started out buzzing because they know this is going to probably be great... by the end, they are buying everything these guys are doing.  False finishes get humongous reactions and cheating gets loudly booed.  Speaking of.... the finish.  God damn.

Jericho thinks he's got Michaels beat.... he's got the Walls of Jericho on deep (HBK was even game enough to start it as a true Liontamer). Shawn basically uses all of his strength to just barely drag himself to a rope. He's apoplectic because he has no idea how Michaels didn't tap out and doesn't realize Michaels got up and he EATS a Sweet Chin Music.  The crowd absolutely bought that as the finish, but Jericho kicks out at 2 to a huge reaction of shock. Entire crowd is on its feed now. Both guys are all but dead on their feet.  Jericho reverses a corner whip, HBK reverses that, Jericho reverses THAT into a german suplex attempt.... and HBK pulls out his final trap card... a victory roll in the middle of the ring for three.  The crowd pops hard. 

HBK is back. 

Once both guys are back on their feet, HBK clearly says "You are awesome." He offers him a handshake, Jericho declines, and hugs him instead...  waits a beat...and THEN VICIOUSLY KICKS HIM IN THE NUTS.  Because "Fuck you", that's why.  

An absolute epic and a career defining match for both guys.   Yeah, that was absolutely great on the rewatch.  

Fortunately that match would build a big beautiful wall around my heart. . .   what comes next tears it down. 

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Actually never listened to Kill Your Idols until right now. Not bad. Any band that did a split with Voorhees is cool by me. 

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I'm skipping over the catfight, because, no. 

Growing up as a gay man and a wrestling fan, I've tended to develop a thick skin about some things. (Others, nope!)  There's a disquieting level of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia, (among many other things... WEAR A MASK) that you sort of learn to tune out if you want any enjoyment of the product. So, Booker T being told "world champions don't look like you" raises a few red flags. 

HHH was in his "I'm like Harley Race" phase of his career, and WWE was still in the dying throes of the Attitude Era.  So the dog whistles of the build up of this feud would blow out your dog's eardrums. They're basically replaying the Simmons/Vader feud from 1991 (WHICH WAS PROBLEMATIC THEN!), but at least Simmons won the match.  Sigh.   Alright, let's get through this. (The story I'd heard was that Booker was cool with all of this because he was supposed to win, but Vince changed his mind at the last second.)

Booker T has been fighting as an upper-mid carder since his arrival as part of the WCW InVasion.  And though he was WCW Champion, he was widely treated as a paper champion and then later as a dumb joke. So, when he won the chance to fight HHH for the title, people were, well, trepidacious.  Nothing in the WWE's history indicated they were going to be able to go through this program with anything but the bull in a china shop style of storytelling they were so famous for. But, Booker agreed to this, so... hey, lets see how they do it.  

I don't know why, but I always had the idea that this video package was done to Puddle of Mudd's "Blurry". Since it's not, I must have been thinking of another match.... maybe HBK's comeback?  Oh well.  

Time to play the game, means time to sprint.  I keep up a good pace of about 19-20 mph (well good for me) for the whole 90 seconds or so it takes him to get to the ring.  I reward myself by taking a swig of water as Hunter spits out his.  Now, Book comes out to a good pop, but this is firmly in "HHH wins lol" time, so you can even sense the hesitance of the crowd here.  Jerry Lawler is already playing a symphony concerto on a dog whistle, because he's talking about Booker being a thug, an orphan, etc. And here's where my focus fell.  

The match itself is fine.  Booker works a knee and HHH is trying to make Booker submit(!). But Lawler's commentary is SO over the top in being a HAIR short of 'FUCKING RACIST', that JR seems to break character a couple of times.  And not in a good way. Lawler's making jokes you would not make in any kind of mixed company, and JR about 15 minutes in starts screaming at him. Knowing what I know about the way announcing works, I'd imagine Vince was feeding Lawler one liners, but fuck, Lawler is just relishing every second he can wallow in the muck. I actually thought to myself, "he's going to say it... he's going to say that word."  Thankfully he didn't.  

End came as Booker made a comeback, busted out the EXTREMELY rare Harlem Hangover (flipping top rope leg drop), Flair saved HHH by putting his leg on the ropes to break the count. Book collapses from exhaustion, eats a pedigree...

We wait....

We wait....

Both guys are down.

We wait...  

I look down at my watch...  13, 14, 15... 

20 seconds later, HHH dragged himself over to retain the World Championship.   

There are few times I'm ashamed to be a wrestling fan.  This was one of them.  

End of Day 56. 

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It's doubly crazy because Booker was just insanely over at the start of the Invasion.  The Booker/Angle match from one of the early Invasion Raw's had an incredibly hot crowd and they just pissed it away because Vince is Vince (and also racism.  Probably mostly the racism).

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If there's one finish you change through the entire run of Manias, this is number one with a GD bullet. Like nothing else is even remotely close.

 

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Did the ref even count the two of them down through that whole 20 seconds?

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6 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Did the ref even count the two of them down through that whole 20 seconds?

Yes, Nick Patrick got to about 5... probably to cue Hunter that he's taking forever. 

FF to 8:50.  Yes, it's as bad as you remember.  

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I guess it could've been worse. It's Nick Patrick after all, he could have draped H over him and fast-counted.

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20 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

I guess it could've been worse. It's Nick Patrick after all, he could have draped H over him and fast-counted.

No, that would have been an improvement.

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What bothers me the most is that it was a damn good match until the finish. You have Booker kick out and get the win aminute later...

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Hell, even if HHH >MUST< go over, have Booker Kick out and require something more emphatic at least.  Coz oofaaa.

 

Anyway Booker should of won.  Then you have HHH whine and get a rematch at Raw or somethin

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I remember JR seemingly getting legit pissed at Lawler "YES ITS WRESTLEMAINIA YOU'VE SAID THAT THREE TIMES!!!". Love HHH busting out the indian death lock and Book busting out the Harlem Hangover.I felt the the whole point of the angle was to push the racism just far enough that they could still denie it.

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