WWE Wrestlemania 19

The first official WWE Wrestlemania, and the first WM of the brand split era.

Rey Mysterio vs Matt Hardy WWE Cruiserweight Championship

BROTHER DAREDEVIL, I KNEW YOU'D COME! Rey hits a dope twisting dive about 6 seconds into the match. His costume sucks, though. He's supposed to be Daredevil, but his shit is so maroon it's basically purple. Daredevil ain't purple, bitch. Meanwhile, Matt is wearing a Persian rug made into pants. That little MFer Shannon Moore gets involved CONSTANTLY. This ref is dogshit. How can you miss him interfering so many times? What a fuck head. Matt holds the ropes after reversing a victory roll, stealing the win. Title retained. Very short match. Probably around 5 minutes. I recall them having a long, very good TV match not long after this.

TO THE BACK. A limo arrives. It's the MILLER LITE CAT FIGHT GIRLS! BUT WHO WAS LIMO?!?!?!?!? They get into a spat over which match is bigger: Hogan/Vince or Rock/Austin.

Undertaker vs Big Show/A-Train

Originally, Taker was to team with former shoot fighter Nathan Jones in this match, but Show and Albert laid him out on Heat because someone finally realized he was fucking terrible in the ring and putting Taker in a tag match at WM was stupid. Luckily, Taker got a live intro from "WWE's favorite band in the whole world", Limp Bizkit. KEEP ROLLIN' ROLLIN' ROLLIN' ROLLIN' CHYEAH! You would have thought WWE had learned about horrific live performances at WM 18, but I guess not. Oh my god, Fred Durst actually gets to go all the way to the ring. And then a LITTLE KID replaces him on stage. A true American bad ass would not be bobbing his head to Limp fucking Bizkit. What horrible fucking timeline have we entered where Undertaker is giving Fred Durst daps in the ring at WM? If only WCW was still alive, this never would have happened. 

Lmao, Albert spat on Taker's bike. But fake spat. Pantomimed spitting on the bike. A worked spit, if you will. 41 year old Taker doing a dropdown > leapfrog spot on Albert was pretty impressive, I have to say, especially since he couldn't even get that right a decade earlier against Samu. I feel like this probably could have just been a singles match, and preferably Taker/Albert even though that wouldn't be as "big" of a match as Taker/Show. As it is, it's basically worked like Taker working two singles matches while dealing with interfering managers more than an actual handicap match. Taker just throwing out arm bar variations like they ain't shit. Shout out to the sign dead center on hard cam: YOU ARE BUTT. No, you. Albert works the majority of the match, and then Nathan Jones runs out. Big Show sees him and runs out ot meet him about half way down the absurdly long aisle. He spin kicks Show, then hits the ring to give Albert a big boot in front of the ref. That's a DQ. Nathan Jones isn't a member of this match anymore. THE STREAK....is over. 

TO THE BACK. The Cat Fight Girls run into Stacy and Torrie. Stacy has a new marketing campaign to discuss with them.

Trish Stratus vs Jazz vs Victoria WWE Women's Championship

How weird to directly follow the Cat Fight Girls with this. #DualitiesofWomen. I guess Trish and Jazz should be happy they're this low on the card and not having to follow something like Hogan/Rock this year. King wonders if a triple threat can turn into a  "love triangle". I'm stunned he had the restraint to not call it a threesome. Or a sleepover party. Of course, Trish gets double teamed a bunch (cue King squeal), and then the two bad bitches beat each other up. Stevie repeatedly makes an ass of himself, and Trish wins by kicking Victoria right in the tits. New champion. 

TO THE COACH. The PEOPLE's Coach. How excited is The Rock? The People hurt the People's Champ. Fuck those People, champ. 

Los Guerreros vs Chris Benoit/Rhyno vs Team Angle WWE Tag Team Championships

Curiously, the Raw tag match was relegated to Heat. Kane and RVD couldn't even make it to the main card. Eddie and Benoit have a nice symbolic interaction where they've gained the mass and speed of raging semis on a pickup body only to crash and burn too early in the match. IT'S A METAPHOR. Read a book, ya dummies. Rhyno/Benoit is a weird pairing, since their team pretty much came about because they both had returned from neck surgeries. Call me crazy, but I think I'd want at least one person on the team who hadn't had major neck surgery in the prior year. Maybe I'm being cervicalphobic right now. I don't trust brehs with neck injuries is what I'm getting at. Tazz is saying the dumbest shit right now. Christ. I wish he'd shut the fuck up. Dude sounds like such a moron. Like imagine if someone was actually reading my commentary out loud during a match and that'd be close to as retarded as Tazz. Just a thought, but if you had neck surgery and had to take a year off to heal, why would you come back and continue to take back drops and do superplexes? Not even considering the diving headbutt and all the German suplexes. Much of the match is WGTT focusing on the necks of Rhyno and Benoit, and the Guerreros just kind of being there. Rhyno gored Chavo, only for Shelty B to make the pin. Titles retained.

TO THE BACK. The Cat Fight Girls and Torrie/Stacy start arguing with each other over the Hogan/Vince Rock/Austin debate. Now everyone is pissed. 

Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho

HBK's triumphant return to WM after 5 years. He now faces a man who grew up idolizing him, Chris Jericho. Now, Jericho tries to break free and surpass his idol. It's not quite a Bruno/Larry situation, but kind of the sameish idea. LOOOOOOOOL, HBK has BADD BLASTERS. And one of them doesn't even work. Just what you want to think of at WM: an impotent Johnny B. Badd. Omg, another one doesn't work. Lmao. King shits on the concept of these two starting the match with arm drags, headlocks, and hammerlocks. HBK seems to mock the idea himself. Things kind of stay in that "traditional" wrestling mold until Jericho slaps HBK, and things pick up from there. After the stalemates and showing off, the focus centers around HBK's back, as you'd expect. The crowd is actually weirdly mixed at times. How are you gonna boo HBK at WM? Jericho doing the forearm and kip up spot gets HBK HEATED. He continues to do all of HBK's big spots, and literally none of them look as good as HBK's. HBK won with a fucking roll up OUTTA NOWHERE. This gets touted as an all time WM classic, and it's good, but HBK still didn't fully have his sea legs back as a big match performer, and Jericho looked nervous and tenattive the whole match. Post match, they hug only for Jericho to kick HBK in the dick. 

TO THE BACK. Smackdown official Sylvain Grenier enters Vince McMahon's locker room. 

Oh my god. Limp Bizkit is back. FUCK. This is officially the worst Wrestlemania of all time. This is followed by the Miller Lite Cat Fight Girls getting into a pillow fight with Stacy and Torrie. And then Coach gets pinned. In his tighty whities.

Booker T vs Triple H World Heavyweight Championship

Imagine if you transported a Harley Race/Ric Flair vs black territory star angle into the early 2000s. That's basically what this angle is about. HHH and Flair being about as racist as you can without actually dropping n-bombs on TV. So obviously, Booker has to win otherwise the moral of the story really is "you people" aren't allowed to win the title.  On top of this, King and JR BOTH bury WCW as being a joke, agreeing with HHH's assessment and why Booker's title reigns don't mean anything. King struggles MIGHTILY to come up with "HHH is so rich X" jokes. God. I've never heard him be at such a loss for words during that sequence. The early portion of the match is Booker dominating HHH with stiff as hell strikes and speed. The tides turn when HHH uses the ring post and ringside to his advantage. "You know, Booker T, the guy whose family portrait is a court room sketch." The announcing in this is infuriating. It's basically just King making Booker is poor/criminal jokes and JR talking about how much respect he has for Book. Over and over and over and over. While sprinkling in WCW insults from time to time. This is on top of HHH physically dominating Booker for large chunks of time. It's curious that neither King nor JR bring up that Booker was fighting for shampoo last year at WM. What a success story: From shampoo to World Championship. Book takes a nasty fall after missing a side kick, which leads into the 3rd act: Leg work. A mother fucking INDIAN DEATH LOCK. Lmao. Harlem Hangover. OUTTA NOWHERE! Of course, Booker's bad leg means he can't cover for quite a while, so HHH kicks out when he finally makes it over. However, HHH then hits a pedigree and waits a full 23 seconds before making the pin and....wins. You know what else won? Racism. Title retained.

Hulk Hogan vs Vince McMahon

Street Fight

The fuckery that is about to unfold. Can't wait. Man, if Zeus doesn't make an appearance, I'll be hot. Vince is actually more jacked than Hulk. Ax bomba! Oh shit, lariat from Vince! Oh wow, Vince is actually doing limb work. Vince got more psychology than half his roster. Vince's traps are NEXT LEVEL. Oh my god, Hogan/Warrior spots. Vince gets busted open with a chair shot, and we are off to the races. "Right on, brothers!" I never saw Ted Turner bleeding for his company. LMAO Hugo Savinovich out here catching strays. Hogan also gets busted open by a chair shot. And then, it happens: Vince McMahon drops a guillotine leg drop through a table from a ladder. The high spot gods are smiling upon us, friends. Oh, but don't worry, the hits keep on coming. RODDY PIPER hits the ring and hits Hogan with a pipe. Of course, that's not enough to put Hulk down. Referee Brian Hebner tries to prevent Vince from using the pipe, so Vince beats his ass. Crooked official Sylvain Grenier comes out to replace him, and Vince hits the leg drop. HULK IS HULKING UP! Vince should have known better to hit a finisher on Hogan. He only booked him to kick out of every finisher for a decade. Hulk ejects Sylvain, hits TWO leg drops, and Hulkamania continues to run wild, brother Two years in a row old ass Hogan stole the show. After the match, Shane comes out to help his dad, who flips the bird while a bloody mess on the mat. Defiant to the end.  

Steve Austin vs The Rock

The hits keep on coming. Check, check, check, check out my melody. For the 3rd time 4 years, Rock and Austin meet at the show of shows. After taking his ball and going home (TM), Austin would return to the company in February essentially just to have this match. Rock's inability to beat Austin at WM has been eating him alive, and this is likely his last chance. Now, Austin had too much "coffee" and was in the hospital just hours before this. I'm saying he was doing coke, dawgs. Coffee. Please. Austin was living on coke and whiskey during this period. You think I don't know what "going through a rough time back then" means? I'd say it's safe to assume Austin was on some Mexican supplements at the same time. Austin just absolutely beats Rock's ass for the first few minutes. It's clear that the Austin of 2003 was not the Austin of 2001, though. Rock hits a chop block and NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL. Rock works the leg for a while, and then puts on Austin's vest. Lol. LOU THESZ LOU THESZ RIGHT HAND RIGHT HAND. Rock Bottom to Rock! One of the worst stunners of all time to Austin! IT'S WRESTLEMANIA! The thing about this match is that Austin seems like he's in agony with every bump. Look at this shit, you remember when HHH took 25 secs to pin Book after the pedigree and won? Austin took 10 seconds to cover after a stunner and Rock kicked out and people were like OH SHIT. Fucking dying that Rock has been wearing Austin's vest for like half the match. People's elbow! Austin kicked out! Rock Bottom! AUSTIN KICKS OUT! This is actually kind of restrained in comparison to WM17. Another Rock Bottom....AUSTIN KICKS OUT! In this case, it wasn't a OH FINISHER KICK OUT THIS IS AWESOME. That second kick out was Austin's absolute last stand, his last kick out, taking everything he possibly had left. By the time he drags himself to his feet, Rock is able to hold him at will in the set up, and in a way seems to feel bad that he has to hit one more to put Austin out of his misery. From the point of the first Rock Bottom on, you've never seen Stone Cold so vulnerable in a WWE ring. Rock finally defeats Austin at Wrestlemania. After the match, Rock shoves Earl Hebner out of the way so he and Rock can share a personal moment on the mat, later revealed to be Rock saying he loved and appreciated everything Austin had done for him. This was Austin's last match, and he went out on his back. Givin' back to da biz.

Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar WWE Championship

God damn, these four matches in a row might be the most stacked second half of a WM ever. No breathers, just "fuck it, load this shit up". Now, coming into this, Angle knows this is going to be his last match for a while, as he's going to have a neck surgery that he's been putting off for years after this event. If you know anything about Kurt Angle, you have to assume he's going to do something extra stupid because midas well. As you'd imagine, a lot of mat work to start the match. Weirdly, not amateur style grappling, but more like 70s NWA grappling. The same type of stuff that was made fun of for starting HBK/Jericho. They do go into more amateur style stuff after, and Tazz's commentary actually works here, since he can explain what they're doing and why it works. Brock has injured ribs coming into this, which Kurt goes after when he can't get an advantage on the mat.  Lol, a BUCKLE GERMAN SUPLEX! Eventually, the ribs become the sole focus of the match. It's so weird, because Brock is this fucking monster, yet he's fighting from underneath for most of the match against a much smaller guy. It's not like Hogan against a random monster. It's Kurt just throwing Brock all around the ring and Brock relying on his selling to get people into the match. Obviously, there are a million suplexes from both. Holy shit, Brock almost won in the main event of WM with a SPLADLE. That's awesome. Kurt becomes the first man to kick out of the F5. Brock becomes the 700th to break the ankle lock.  Brock hits another F5, then smiles. He climbs up top and tries a shooting star press. OH MY GOD HE LANDED ON HIS FUCKING HEAD. He broke his fucking neck. This mother fucker landed FACE FIRST. He pops up to hit another F5 to win, but he clearly was completely out of it. I'm surprised he didn't throw up in the ring. Title retained.

Having those last 4 matches in a row with no breather matches or even backstage stuff was bold. That's about as stacked as WM gets at that point. Really 5 unless you count the cat fight thing as an actual match. On the other hand, multiple Limp Bizkit performances makes this the worst WM by default. Vince/Hogan was the show stealer for me. I do love high level fuckery, and this was a match with Vince jumping off ladders, Roddy Piper sauntering into the ring like a pervert, and an ANNOUNCER doing a blade job from a chair shot. HBK/Jericho is not the WM classic it is portrayed as, but it was pretty good for the most part. Brock/Angle was disappointing to me now just like it was at the time, but it was pretty good. It's just...I expected them to basically do a shoot style match heavy on the amateur style shit, and they never really got into that in any of their matches.   

Austin/Rock was a big step down from WM 17, but also way ahead of WM 15, and the context of it being Austin's last match and giving his all for that last finisher kick out only to be completely dead after that and be putty in Rock's hands, and Rock both relishing and regretting hitting another Rock Bottom to put him out of his misery really was something. There's definitely a subtext to it that goes a lot deeper than the story of the match itself. 

Over all, a damn fine WM. But god damn that HHH/Booker finish. What the fuck. Even if the whole build wasn't about HHH/Flair shitting on WCW (which Booker, King, and JR all agreed with his assessment of WCW being a joke) and Booker being black, the 23 second delay between pedigree and pin was terrible under any circumstances. It's extra bad when it validates everything racist HHH and Flair said for the prior weeks and months. But then you take the racism aspect out of it and just look at it from the WCW perspective, you have 4 former WCW talents (2 of which are multiple times WCW champs) agree that WCW was a joke. Then HHH beats former WCW joke in a terrible finish, further confirming the jokey nature of WCW. THEN you have Goldberg debut the next night, beat Rock a month later, THEN try to sell a WCW DVD a few months later. You can't have shit both ways, and that's without taking into consideration the HIDEOUS racial implications of it all.