March 30th, 2003
WWE Champion: Kurt Angle (since 12/15/02)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (since 2/6/03)
WWE Cruserweight Champion: Matt Hardy (since 2/23/03)
World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H (since 12/15/02)
World Tag Team Champions: William Regal & Lance Storm (since 1/20/03)
WWE Women's Champion: Victoria (since 11/17/02)
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, & Tazz
Ok y'all first off, I apologize for this not having any gif's. I normally go nuts with gif's and extra stuff for these PPV reviews, but god damn either the gifcam app i'm using isn't working or Peacock doesn't allow you to record gif's on their site because I can't get it to work for the life of me, but this needs to go up so I'm skipping over it. I definitely am gonna try to get that sorted soon though and try a new app.
Awesome video package to start the show with The Rock, Stone Cold, Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Triple H, & Booker T talking about the importance of WrestleMania. Man I sure do miss when Mania felt this important…
Jim Ross & Jerry “The King” Lawler welcome us to the grandest stage of them all then send things over to the Smackdown commentary team of Michael Cole & Tazz.
1) Matt Hardy (c) vs. Rey Mysterio - Cruserweight Championship Match
This is one of the few matches on this show that I’ve seen prior to watching this event in full right now. Rey’s gear is so sick here. They start this hot with Shannon Moore trying to mess with Rey, only to pay for it and Rey hits in an insane tornado crossbody thing to the floor on Hardy. Things settle in and Hardy starts grounding the high flying Mysterio. Simple story, but it works. Mysterio escapes and fires back up with a west coast pop and a springboard crossbody for a two count. Mysterio is rolling and starts to go for the 619, but Moore pulls his legs which allows Hardy to hit the twist of fate BUT ONLY FOR A TWO COUNT. Hardy then takes things to a new level and attempts a splash mountain from the top rope BUT NO. REY COUNTERS WITH A HURRICANRANA!!! Moore tries to get involved, but Rey shoves Hardy into him and 619!!! Hardy is reeling, but counters the West Coast Pop and uses the ropes to get the three count. Damn. That was fun while it lasted, I wish it would’ve gotten more time though.
Match rating - **1/2
Limo is in the back. It’s the Miller Lite Cat Fight girls and they are arguing over which match they are more excited for - Austin/Rock or Hogan/McMahon. Ok..
“He dragged Nathan Jones into the shower.” -Michael Cole
Earlier tonight on Heat.. Nunzio coerced Nathan Jones to follow him into the showers and A-Train & Big Show jumped him whilst in there. So his status for the tag match with Undertaker is in question.
Limp Bizkit is introduced as “WWE’s favorite band in the whole world..” as they perform ROLLIN for The Undertaker’s entrance. It’s kinda badass tbh.
2) The Undertaker & Nathan Jones vs. The Big Show & A-Train
Taker is out by himself at first. A-Train acts like he’s gonna mess with Taker’s bike which allows Big Show to attack from behind, but Taker is ready and clears them both out and yells clearly and loudly
“COME ON U MOTHERFUCKERS”
Now things settle in. Train is on the apron and Show slings Taker into the corner, BUT TAKER FIGHTS OUT CAUSE HE DONT GIVE A FUCK. Fiery Taker rocks fuck u. Train & Show just can’t get the momentum despite the numbers advantage. OLD SCHOOL TO A TRAIN. Big Show is in and gets taken out which allows A Train to slam Taker and toss him to the floor. And finallly the big boys are able to gain control for a few minutes and dominate the Deadman. Albert fucks up and starts slapping and talking shit to Taker which wakes him up and fuels a comeback. Train shuts the flurry down with a big boot, but NATHAN JONES shows up. Spinning kick to Show on the ramp. Jones hits the ring and next thing you know, Taker pops a tombstone on A-Train and that’s all she wrote. Yanno I never anticipated to enjoy this little feud with Taker & Show, and it’s not something I’m loving, but these matches are far from BAD.
Match rating - **1/2
The catfight girls run into Torrie Wilson & Stacy Keibler backstage looking at Torrie’s playboy mag. They say Stacy is a great marketer and that they LOOOOVE testicles. Stacy has a new campaign she wants to tell them about and off they go..
JR & King replay Regal & Storm retaining the Raw tag titles on Heat and HERE COMES TRISH STRATUS!
3) Victoria (c) (w/ Steven Richards) vs. Jazz vs. Trish Stratus - Women’s Championship Match
During their entrance, JR says Victoria & Stevie are poster children for psychiatric care. Early, this is essentially just Jazz & Victoria fighting over who is gonna beat on Trish, the only face in the match. However, Vic and Jazz end up getting into it and Trish goes for a bridging pin on Vic only to get a two count before getting worn down again. Jazz hits a huge move on Trish for a two count and then she & Victoria get into a shoving match.
“Lemme tell ya folks… that dog will hunt.” -JR on Trish
Trish mounts an awesome comeback and JR says.. that. Alright. Some decent nearfalls here before Trish gets caught in an STF by Jazz. Victoria causes a distraction and Steven Richards gets involved. It costs her though and Trish goes for a roll up, Victoria reverses, two counts only. They trade big stuff, Victoria misses a moonsault. Richards tried to use a chair, but brains himself and gets hit with a stratusfaction. Widows Peak attempt from Victoria, Trish escapes, CHICK KICK. Trish wins! This was ok. There were some rocky spots, but nothing overly terrible and they kept it exciting and at a good pace so aye! Congrats to Trish!
Match rating - **1/4
4) Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (c) vs. Chris Benoit & Rhyno vs. Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo Guerrero) - Smackdown Tag Team Title Match
Oh man fuck yes. All of these guys were on fire around this time delivering high quality wrestling every week on Smackdown. Haas & Benjamin may be the most impressive of the bunch. They’ve only been on the main roster 6 months? And are just killing it every time out. It’s phenomenal how well they fit and how they can not only hang, but fucking GO. This match doesn’t get much time to develop into anything, but while it’s there it rocks. Literally this thing ends with a Rhyno gore and Benjamin stealing the pin as I’m typing and gathering my thoughts. Well, I hoped for more from these guys on the biggest stage of em all but it is what it is! Team Angle/Worlds Greatest Tag Team retains.
Match rating - **3/4
The cat fight girls and Torrie & Stacy are taking pictures backstage then start arguing over the Hogan/Vince and Austin/Rock thing again.. THEN they argue over whether to settle their issues in the ring or.. in bed.
Back to the arena and Jerry Lawler loved that segment, of course. Fuckin pervert.
5) Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
“What do ya want em to do? Show puppies?” -Jim Ross
This has a big fight feel and Shawn’s entrance is just amazing in itself. First match on the show that feels HUGE. They start out working headlocks, armdrags, and takeovers. Michaels poses on the turnbuckle after coming out on top of one of those exchanges, taunting Jericho, the man who thinks he is worlds better than HBK, vowing to end his former idol’s career.
Things get a little fast paced for a second. HBK hits a cross body and Jericho rolls through for a two count and begins throwing chops and using heel tactics to try to slow down Michaels. Soon, each man’s game plan is brought into full view. Jericho is going after the back of Shawn and Shawn is going after the legs of Jericho. Shawn starts fighting back and hits a slingshot crossbody to Jericho on the floor. It costs him, though, as the vivacious heel Jericho uses the outside of the ring to his advantage locking Shawn in the Walls of Jericho on the floor and then slamming him back first into the ring post.
Down the stretch, this loses me. Shawn forgets and/or ignores all the back work from early on, and things shift largely into the theatrics that just take me out of things completely. There are good moments in this match. So many cool moments. All the Jericho staring and his mocking of Shawn's pose and even hitting a sweet chin music of his own, phenomenal stuff. The layout of this match... was awesome, but ultimately nothing unique or compelling to grab me. This stuff is all in the eye of the beholder so opinions will differ, but this is where I'm at. Michaels gets the win when all is said and done and Jericho hits him with a low blow post-match.
Match rating - ***1/2
6) Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. McMahon - Street Fight
This was your typical Vince big match messy brawl. It reminds me a lot of the match he'd have with HBK a few years later, a match that I LOVED at the time as a kid. This is my first time seeing this match, though, oddly enough. It really is a blast though, if you're up for some fun. Just so much absurd shit packed into one match. Both men get bloody, the poor Spanish announcer gets nailed with a chairshot, McMahon hits a CRAZY leg drop off a ladder which planted Hogan through a table. It's just all the insanity one would expect from a match like this. We even get a Roddy Piper run-in. Hogan wins in the end and everyone is happy.
Match rating - ***1/4
7) The Rock vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
One last time. The greatest rivalry, arguably ever, in WWE/WrestleMania history sees it's final chapter as The Rock tries to do the one thing he could never do - beat Austin at WrestleMania. Make no mistake about it, though, this is no real redemption story. Rock is knee deep into his run as a heel and has dug deep into that role. This is definitely a step or two after both men's prime, but the magic is still there and this fucking rules. No one is better at big match wrestling than these two. The crowd hangs on literally every move and punch. The way they lay this out is just phenomenal, as always. When you have two stars of this caliber, all the little nitpicky stuff goes out the window. Rock and Austin are larger than life personalities and almost any time they are on the screen, they reach out and grab you and force you to pay attention. They command attention. They are superstars. And my god, this finishing run is bonkers. Trading finishers, doing each other's finishers. It's everything you could want and then some from an epic match such as this. The Rock wins and gives the perfect conclusion to this story and despite his role as a heel, you can't help, but get emotional when you see the infamous moment after the pin where Rock starts talking to Austin and thanking him. Awesome match and the best one of the night.
Match rating - ****1/2
8) Kurt Angle (c) vs. Brock Lesnar - WWE Championship Match
This is a match I've watched a bunch of times. When I first got into wrestling in 2005-06, this was a match I heard a lot of people talk about, including my dad, so I seeked it out as soon as I got the chance. For that reason, it holds a spot in my heart. Also, for that reason, I enjoyed it MUCH more as a kid than I did here. It probably doesn’t help that I've seen it so many times. It’s a still a great match and one that I think everyone needs to see. It’s the crowning moment of Brock Lesnar’s career and the final moments alone are so breathtaking that I’d say this is a must watch. As a kid, I was so enamored with the aurora these two brought and the build and rightfully so, this felt huge. But with 25 year old eyes, things are viewed in a much different light so what would have been a ****1/4 5-10 years ago is now a ***3/4. These two are two of the greatest athletes in the history of the sport and they delivered a fantastic feud and a more than suffice main event with a moment at the end you’ll never forget. Is this one of my favorite matches of all time like I thought as a kid? No. But it’s still damn good. Brock retains after the infamous botched shooting star press and a third F5.
Match rating - ***3/4