WrestleMania 19

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Kevin Bowden

If WrestleMania 2000 was the PPV that didn’t measure up to my memory, WrestleMania 19 is the PPV that squashed my memory into a figment of my imagination. I watched this PPV live with a group of non-wrestling fans, so most of my memories include me trying not to overreact to the multiple high points. Not every match is memorable but, unlike WrestleMania 2000, I never felt cheated during a match.

WM 19 kicks off with the Cruiserweight Championship match featuring Matt Hardy (c) (with Shannon Moore) and Rey Mysterio. First of all, we need the Cruiserweight Championship back. The only real thing TNA offers that the WWE doesn’t is their X-Division. If WWE could create a new division of high-flyers to compete directly with TNA’s X-division, it could be the inevitable nail in the coffin for TNA. What would be a great way to start a new Cruiserweight division, you ask? Oh, I don’t know, maybe a certain free agent that goes by AJ Styles (the man who started TNA’s X-Division). I’ll just hand this soap box back now… So, Rey looked great in this match. I forget sometimes how over he was with everyone. Kids to the IWC found something to like about Rey. Good match with Matt Hardy, who escaped with a heel win by holding the ropes. I’m sad to say, despite being a huge mark for the Hardyz since I was 12, they just aren’t that great.

Michael Edwards

Wow, you went total smark with that paragraph. You brought back the Cruiserweight Championship, killed TNA, and got AJ Styles into WWE within a few sentences. Congratulations. But yeah, Rey Mysterio is awesome. People knock him now because his knee explodes every few weeks and the 619 is stupid. Also, I hate Matt and Jeff Hardy. The only time people liked Matt is when Lita left him for Edge, and even still, they were idiots, because Edge is a genius and Matt Hardy version 1 or 2 or whatever the hell he decides he is, well, sucks.

John Daigle

Though I will always appreciate Jeff Hardy for, above all else, taking some of the most ridiculous bumps in WWE history, I don’t have a problem with either of your seemingly misplaced disdain. However, you failed to mention the most important part of this match. At one point, Michael Cole literally stated, “And still to come tonight, everyone’s favorite band…Limp Bizkit!!” The attitude era was the best.

The Undertaker vs Big Show and A-Train was a squash for Taker. Also, I completely forgot Nathan Jones was a thing that happened. The highlight of the in-ring action was watching Limp Bizkit perform a choreographed dance with female back-up dancers. The early 2000’s were a strange and crazy time.

Originally, the match was supposed to have Jones teaming with Taker, but the “Big Train” (I’m a genius) took Jones out in the bathroom before the match, probably for the best. I got really into the Undertaker for the first time during his “American Badass” phase, so it was great seeing Taker how I see him in my head. Taker wins, of course, then Jones pops out at the end and looks like an awkward beast that has no idea what to do. He probably could have been the next Brock with some work.

Michael Edwards

Nathan Jones had a push behind him that would have taken him to the moon, but then he found out that you have to travel around to wrestle and that didn’t please him. You figure it would. I mean, he was in jail for ten years. Even a guy like me who never leaves his house would probably want to move around a bit. Either way, yeah, a total squash match despite it being a handicap bout between two of the biggest dudes in WWE and Taker.

The sleeper hit of the night was Trish Stratus vs. Victoria (c) (with Steven Richards) vs. Jazz. Early in the match, Trish hits a GIGANTIC Stratisfaction on Stevie that almost went the length of the ring. Nothing epic in this match…just a solid well-told story that fit perfectly into the PPV. Jazz comes off like the half-pint amazon I remember and Victoria looks strong and crazy throughout. Trish gets the underdog victory. I always love a good Trish match. I’m hoping the new Divas champ can get us back to this level of women’s wrestling.

Michael Edwards

I’m going to use this time to preach how great Victoria is. Victoria was an evil heel, and the sweetest face. She could wrestle on par with Trish and Lita. She was (and is) super attractive. She’s super awesome to her fans. Victoria got plenty of attention, but I felt she always deserved better than her rotation in the “who is going to feud with Trish now?” slot. Women wrestlers always seem to retire early, but with Victoria, I feel like it was even sooner than it should have been.

John Daigle

…because no Diva has ever left sooner than they should have.

As it pertains to the current state of women wrestling, have no fear. Michael would be the first to tell everyone that we’re in good hands. Essentially, Triple H and Co. glanced up and down the Divas roster, immediately noticed we were fucked, and called up nearly every woman from NXT. In case you’re missing the point, the NXT women have been lightyears ahead of WWE for a few years now.

Like I said, just trust in Paige and Queen Fox.

Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) (c) vs Los Guerreros (Eddie and Chavo Guerrero) vs Chris Benoit and Rhyno was my kind of match. Fast tags and a constant stream of signature moves. Team Angle is amazing. WWE never knew what to do with either of these guys and it’s a shame. Daniel Bryan was just starting his stint in ROH at this time. Now, Bryan is on top of the moon, while The Worlds Greatest Tag-Team can’t even get work on ROH PPVs. All of the guys in this match are hard workers that can get a good match out of a potato. Rhyno isn’t on the same level of athleticism as everyone else in this match, but he holds his own. The more Eddie I re-watch, the more I’m impressed how well his stuff holds up. He could have been a superstar anytime between 1972 and 2050. It looked like these guys had a great time during this match and it shows. WGTT goes over against two teams with future world champions.

Michael Edwards

I don’t think Team Angle was amazing, but Shelton Benjamin sure was. He really got a raw deal later on. It’s like they didn’t know what to do with him, but they didn’t need to do anything with him. He was a great technical wrestler like Benoit, but he had charisma, style, and personality. He could cut a promo and roll with guys like Triple H and Jericho on the mic, albeit a bit cheesy. I have no idea what Charlie Haas is doing (and I really don’t care) but at least Shelton has had a solid run in NJPW. Great comment about Eddie and his longevity. I watched his last match recently, and as much as people hate the term “sports entertainment,” he was that: an athlete and an entertainer.

The Cat Fight Girls was seriously a beer commercial that Vince decided to put on WrestleMania. Two women were paid to never wrestle, but tease the audience of possibly cat-fighting. The best part was Coach saying “The rules for this Cat Fight are very complicated…” Come back Coach, please.

Michael Edwards

This is similar to when Candice Michelle was featured in that Go Daddy commercial that got tremendous amounts of attention. They brought that up for months afterwards. They still do it today. Anything pop culture they can be a part of, they sign up without question. Any attention they create, they make sure that their audience knows that the world is watching.

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho was the best match of the night. Their chemistry is off the charts. There was an “ASS CLOWN” sign that made me happy. The confetti guns were dumb and didn’t work, so Shawn turned it into a funny bit with fans praying the next one would work. He’s a genius and the best in-ring improviser WWE will ever see. The HBK fireworks going off in the ring and then in the back of the stadium made Shawn look like the in-ring God he really is. The story of this match is how Jericho idolized Shawn and now wants to destroy him to overcome the shadow of always being the “next Shawn Michaels”. Jericho tells this story like the pro he is by mockingly doing Shawn’s moves, sometimes just as good. The trading near-falls they do near the end of this match is some of the best trading near-falls ever. Both of these guys are amazing as faces and heel. I wish they would have had more time to do a rematch where the roles were reversed. This match is better than I remember. Shawn Michaels gets the win with a role-up (which never happens) and it looks like the two are going to hug it out but Jericho, like the amazing heel he is, gets the last laugh with a low blow.

Michael Edwards

I remember seeing this the first time and thinking “man, if those confetti guns didn’t work during Shawn’s first run, he would have flipped out and left the arena.” These are two of the best ever going at full blast, and it’s fantastic.

John Daigle

Completely agree. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this match but remained on the edge of my seat throughout.

I just want to take a moment to point out that the theme song for this year was a Limp Bizkit song called “Crack Addict”. I’ll take Things that Would Never Happen in 2014 for $200, Alex…

The match I forgot ever happened was Triple H (c) (with Ric Flair) vs. Booker T. Good match, but nothing much to mention. Well, except Booker T doing an excellent front-flip leg drop. It almost made me like him… just a little…

Triple H wins, to no one’s surprise.

Michael Edwards

People still point to this in the whole “Triple H buries everyone” line of thought. Agree though, not much to say about this match.

Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. McMahon was surprisingly very entertaining. The pre-video for this match is fantastic and completely sets up the historic feel of what’s about to occur.

John Daigle

Let me stop you right there to help set this one up. Put it this way: we need more promos like this, WWE.

I’m not a big fan of brawls, but if you are going to do one, this was the way to do it. Vince looked like a roid-monster. A few great moments included Hogan destroying the Spanish announcer’s face with a head shot and Vince doing a leg drop off a ladder. ECW! ECW! Piper showing up was great. This is one of the few matches where I can say the blood only added to it. It was appropriate just because of the history these two men had and really added to the “epic-ness” of the match. I would even say it’s one of Hogan’s best matches. Fuck you, Hogan fans. Oh, and Shane-O-Mac pops out at the end, only to help his father after Hogan leaves him a bloody mess in the ring. Great image to end on.

Michael Edwards

Love the super depressing and slow “Real American” that plays during the promo. If there is anything I didn’t “get” about this match, it was the idea that this is some clash we’ve been waiting years to see. Back when Hogan had his first WWF run, Vince was only known as an announcer, and they didn’t really have any heat, so I don’t get that part. In terms of the match, it was really solid for a brawl. Strange to see Hogan in something like this still. Totally forgot about Piper showing up. His and Shane’s appearances were fantastic, but nothing stops Hogan.

John Daigle

I didn’t quite need a setup, but that promo was fantastic. The Piper moment was a bit confusing, but all in all, I was extremely satisfied. I’m not one that typically becomes giddy when Hogan goes God mode, but man, that point at Vince…

The Rock vs. Steve Austin was a great match for Austin to end on. I can’t call the match amazing, and considering Austin’s reported health going into this match, it’s incredible the show they put on. I would buy The Rock selling a stunner for $500. This match also made me realize the Rock has been doing the “Hollywood” gimmick for a long time. Damn, The Rock is good at being a heel.

John Daigle

Sorry to interrupt, but if you watch anything I ever link on this site again, make sure it’s the few minutes below.

Look, when a great Stone Cold vs The Rock match isn’t the fight of the night, you know it’s a good show. These two have had better matches, but the emotion is what makes this one memorable just because everyone seems to have known Austin was at his end.

Michael Edwards

To think that Austin was in a hospital less than 24 hours before this match is crazy. Can’t disagree – love heel Rock and love Rock selling a stunner. I think it was appropriate that there really wasn’t much of a “this is it for Austin” feeling. In fact, the only real acknowledgement of it was the next night on Raw. I’d love to see Austin get back in the ring someday, but his standards are so high (as they should be) that we probably won’t see it.

John Daigle

A bit sluggish, but when it comes to these two, it doesn’t matter. Their theme songs alone are enough to make any wrestling fan sit down and stay tuned for the next 45 minutes of their lives. And the most significant part isn’t even the match. It’s the aftermath, in which the Rock deliberately sits up, pushes Earl Hebner out of the way, and speaks monetarily, but with obvious passion, directly towards Austin. I’m not sure what was said, but it was clearly the end of the road for Stone Cold, and the Rock, being who he is, assuredly let his feelings and gratitude be known.

The main event of the night was Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (c).

John Daigle

For the record, I didn’t have a fucking clue there was another match.

This was an incredible match with two of the greatest wrestlers of the amateur-style putting on the match of their lives. This is my favorite Brock. He was more of a wrestler and less of a brawler and I think it made his matches more exciting. Seeing a monster be so quick and powerful is something to watch, where when he just brawls it feels normal and a little boring. Brock is a good seller and Kurt pushed him to the limit. This match made me feel like Brock can still have epic matches if you put him with someone that can bring it out of him. Much like another wrestler… cough cough… Cena… cough. The shooting-star press at the end was everything I remember. Frightening and mind-blowing. Brock wins the match of his life suffering multiple concussions against a man with a hamstring injury and a broken freakin neck! (Well, not broken, but strained.)

John Daigle

Wait…that same shooting-star press in which Brock nearly murdered himself?

BrockBotch

Michael Edwards

People forget that at one point, Brock Lesnar was a damn good wrestler. Damn good at selling, as well. To think, one year later Brock and Goldberg had probably the dullest Mania match ever. This is certainly a highlight of both his and Angle’s career.

If only he landed that shooting-star press…

John Daigle

BrockBotch

I would have to say this PPV is at the high point of my fandom. I will never be more into wrestling than I was at that time. This PPV also sticks out in my mind as being the end of the attitude era, but before the Cena/PG era started picking up speed. It admittedly came at a weird time. The attitude era was winding down and WWE really didn’t know exactly where they were going. A lot of wrestlers took sabbaticals or left shortly after this show. It kind of makes me understand why WWE was so desperate to build another superstar.

Cena really is a reaction to the attitude era in and of himself. The attitude era featured blood and sex, while WWE’s reaction to that over a period of time were kids and superheroes. So, with that in mind, Cena makes complete sense…that doesn’t mean I have to like it, though.

Overall, this is a very underrated PPV and one that doesn’t get mentioned enough. For me, this is the second best WrestleMania behind WrestleMania 30.

Michael Edwards

This was certainly a solid Mania, one of the best for sure. I have to agree that this really fits between the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression eras.

John Daigle

When debating the best Mania’s overall, a common theme comes to mind. The usual suspects (XVII, XVIV, XIX, XXX) are generally focused more towards the hardcore fans as opposed to the casual once-a-year PPV purchasers. WM XIX was a clear take of the former, bringing together everything from up-and-comers to franchise-faces. There will be a time when we can rightfully place WM XXX among the pantheon of WM’s, but for now, WrestleMania 19 is a good place to start.

And that was before I even discovered there was another match…

Kevin Bowden’s Grade: A

John Daigle’s Grade: A+

Michael Edwards’ Grade: A

Average Grade: A

Next Time: Money in the Bank ’11

 

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