Wrestlemania 18 Review

I still believe that following the WWF’s chronology from Wrestlemania 17 all the way to Wrestlemania 18 was a very disappointing time for wrestling. The WWF bought WCW & ECW and started an invasion angle, but they screwed the whole long awaited angle up by making the Alliance (WCW & ECW) faction to be a bunch of pushovers, WWF superstars started joining sides with the Alliance, many of the top WCW stars like Ric Flair, nWo, Sting, and the rest was not in the roster till the Invasion angle was over at Survivor Series, and the whole storyline was nothing more than another McMahon-family feud, like we haven’t had enough of those already! Wrestlemania 18 is like Wrestlemania 8, it’s a big show that had a big missed opportunity. You should have made the Invasion angle last till this Wrestlemania so we could have had nWo, Ric Flair, and all the other WCW included in this finale. Instead we just had nWo come in as another Invaders now challenging the WWF’s two top stars. The highlight for this show is having some of WCW’s top stars vs WWF’s top stars; Undertaker vs. Ric Flair, Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. nWo member Razor Ramon (I’ll never call him Scott Hall) and The Rock is challenging nWo leader Hollywood Hogan. But just like the Wrestlemania ten years ago, this show REALLY is poorly booked. Without the invasion angle or the Alliance faction still going on, many of the mid-card matches in this show was meaningless. I thought that the WWF learned their lesson from the consequences of making only a one-match-show. Instead, this whole show was really built up for Hollywood Hogan’s return to challenge The Rock. Never had there been Hulk Hogan match been as epic as Hogan and Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 6. Speaking of which, this is the second Wrestlemania where they’re taken place outside of the United States of America; they’re back in the Toranto’s Skydome just like Wrestlemania 6. So let’s take a look at what this card is in stored for us.

Rob Van Dam vs. William Regal (c) – Intercontinental Championship – dHere’s what I mean when the Invasion angle supported the mid-cards here. We could of had an Alliance babyface vs. WWF heel trying to hold the title from being on the hands of an Alliance member. Just like last year’s Wrestlemania, William Regal is part of the opening match and if he couldn’t defeat Chris Jericho last year, how in the blue blazes was he going to defeat Rob Van Dam? For a debut for RVD, it was a smooth ride for him. Because this match was so predictable and it had little to no storytelling involved in this match, all we’re getting the same RVD moves (rolling thunder, martial arts kicks, diving cross bodies, suplexes, etc.), have Regal take control by holding him down, then RVD ends the match with a Five-Star Frog Splash to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Deservedly so, but should have delivered it more
Match Score: 2/5

Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. Christian – European Championship – dYou know why I despise what the Invasion angle did? They’ve made many of the Alliance members look like fools and it’s a sin to me to have DDP, one of WCW’s most important wrestlers mind you, into a chicken-shit baffoon who stalks the Undertaker and made himself look like an idiot whenever he does promos. WWF’s version on Diamond Dallas Page was meaningless to me. Even though Christian tried to get some heat from his home country, Canada by saying that he’s now from Florida, this still was a very meaningless card. I still think that separating Edge & Christian into solo wrestlers could have done way better because they both struggled trying to get anywhere higher in this point in time. And this match shows the lack of credibility Christian has as a star going into this direction as a heel. All we just wanted was a Diamond Cutter and get this match over with. Sorry to sound rash because I am a fan of both of these wrestlers, but if WWF is not going to give a shit about this booking decision, why should I?
Match Score: 1/5

Maven (c) vs Goldust – Hardcore Championship – Now this is something unique. Maven is some of the most forgotten mid-carders since Virgil and I’m certainly surprised to see that this match went on throughout the entire night. The match opened with Maven and Goldust whacking each other with so many weapons and objects that they could find, only to have Spike Dudley come in and pin Maven to take his Championship away. This was around the time when the Hardcore Championship had a 24/7 rules where as long as there’s a camera and a referee to count the pin, there’s a opportunity for a title to change hands. With that set in mind, this went throughout the night between segments after this match backstage. So whenever there’s a match over in this card, we’re sent backstage to see a sudden title change. Since I’m reviewing this show match-by-match, I’m just going to tell you what went down with the Hardcore Championship till it’s finally over. Spike Dudley tries to find his way out but got jumped by Hurricane Helms to make him next Hardcore Champion. I would have said that this is pointless, but the best thing ever was when Mighty Molly (Molly Holly, the most underrated female wrestler) betrayed Hurricane and this was the time she finally went solo in her career, which is something that she needed. Suddenly Molly Holly tries to find her way out, but then had a doorslammed into her face, knocking her out cold. Guess who! It’s Christian! He pins her and became the new Hardcore Champion. Before Christian escaped the Skydome, Maven catches up with Christian and pinned him and drove away out of the stadium. I have to say that this was the most interesting and unique change for this Wrestlemania but ultimately this is pointless. The only thing I can say that made any significance was that it made Mighty Molly into Molly Holly again, because after this show she went in her solo career and deservedly so!
Match Score: 2/5

Kurt Angle vs. Kane – This is where the WWF just doesn’t care anymore about their talent at the time. Because you have two of the biggest and most important wrestlers in the WWF and what you did with both of them is not to have a story and not to deliver anything memorable. Sure it was entertaining to see Kurt Angle getting his ass handed to the Big Red Machine, but this is seriously the middle of the road for both of these men’s careers. We’re talking about Kane, the man who won the best Hardcore Championship match in last year’s Wrestlemania and had the most elimination in Royal Rumble 2001, and Kurt Angle who won the WWF Championship many times and is an Olympic Gold Medalist, and this is what you give us? We’ve seen these two face off many times before on Raw and Smackdown, and this match is just felt like nothing. All Kurt did was call for a challenge and Kane pops in and started this match. Kane tried to go for a Chokeslam but Angle reversed it into a roll-up and with the ropes as leverage, Angle won the match. For two Wrestlemanias in a row, Kurt Angle won by a cheap victory. This match is not that much different from their previous encounters, but it’s biggest crime is that it’s in Wrestlemania we’re talking about!
Match Score: 2/5

The Undertaker vs. Ric Flair – No Holds Bared Match – After having to deal with four bad matches, we finally got ourselves a Wrestlemania quality match in this card. Taker wants revenge on Ric Flair for loosing from his WWF Title shot, and Taker made it personal by beating up Flair’s son and a member of the four horsemen Arn Anderson. This was a very personal match between the two wanted a brutal fight and that’s what we got here! Ric Flair didn’t have a Wrestlemania appearance since Wrestlemania 8 with Randy Savage, this match with Undertaker was just a good (still can’t decide which is better).  Flair and Undertaker captivated throughout their hard-hitting battle. Both performers seemed to give everything of themselves. They tapped into their barbaric sides, tearing at each other’s faces, cutting each other open. A supremely aggressive Flair bashed Undertaker with a steel pipe from The Deadman’s motorcycle. His head bloodied, Flair remained defiant and fearless.  At certain moments, it seemed like the veteran would use his wile and cheap tactics to get the upset victory. Even with the help of an Arn Anderson spinebuster, though, Flair couldn’t finish the job. This match almost ended in a disastrous finish when Flair refused to position himself for the Powerbomb (I’m still not calling it the Last Ride) then Undertaker decides to use his old Tombstone Piledriver for the win (much better finish). This was a fantastic comeback for Flair and Undertaker brought him to his limits only to show that he’s so much superior. It sure shows that age doesn’t matter doing a very well hardcore-style match.
Match Score: 5/5

Edge vs. Booker T – It must have been a long life dream for Edge, who came to see Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior in Wrestlemania 6 as a kid, to finally be in the same Wrestlemania show in the same arena. I appreciate how inspiring it is, however I just can’t help but to see this match to be a insignificant as the first four matches on this card. So why is Edge and Booker T feuding? Well, “Because.” If Edge was really going to be a big name star which he did later on in his career, he needed to fight for a title shot to establish himself just like when he won the Tag Team Championships with Christian in Wrestlemania 2000. I found this match more like a gimmick than anything else because not only Booker T was doing the Spinner-Roonie, but so did Edge. I always felt that without a well-written story or a title match, win or loose, neither one of these competitors was going to amount to anything till later on in their WWF career.
Match Score: 2/5

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall (with Kevin Nash) – Now this is a tough decision to make because everyone knows that Stone Cold and the Rock are two the biggest stars in the WWF, and let’s be honest here. Either one of those men could either challenge Hulk Hogan, but the other had to face Razor Ramon and Diesel (I’m a New Generation fan so I’m calling them that). I know every Stone Cold fan always wished for Hogan vs. Austin at a Wrestlemania event and I do agree that it’s something to be desired. But for all of you marks that think that this match was unnecessary, you guys have to get your heads out of your asses and remember Razor Ramon! He’s was the biggest star of the WWF in one point in time and before he move to WCW, he could have been WWF Champion. Ramon, Hogan, and Nash were hot shit in WCW forming the fucking nWo; a faction that kicked the WWF’s ratings for over 2 years! How is Razor Ramon not credible to take on Stone Cold? He beat Shawn Michaels in the Ladder match in Wrestlemania X and he was more than able to take on anyone at that age. I always wanted to see what it was like to have Stone Cold brawl with nWo and we had that many times on Raw (before and after this show) and here in Wrestlemania, it was actually fucking epic! This is something that Stone Cold needed in his Wrestlemania moment where he brawl Razor and Diesel for a match that was supposed to be one-on-one, it was a hell of a brawl! You know what? I can argue that this is some of the best brawls that I’ve ever seen in a Wrestlemania that didn’t involve blood, weapons, or ultra violence to show how serious this match is. Kevin Nash was so into this fight that he not only interfered multiple times in this match, but he also took out many referees and beat down Austin like a dog, while Austin fights back the both of them. Did all of you guys forgot how huge all three of these men in this match were before and during this Wrestlemania? In case if you forgot, this is the match where Stone Cold Steve Austin has given the best Stunner of all time!!

If you weren’t impress with that, then you’re actually difficult to impress anyway. Look, I’m like the next guy who hungers for Hogan vs. Austin, but you have to remember that Stone Cold lost A LOT of popularity from turning heel at the end of Wrestlemania 17 and joining forces with the Alliance faction in the Invasion angle. It doesn’t even help that Austin had ditched the company when he was fighting with backstage politics and creative control later in 2002, so he shot his career in the foot. You have to know why Austin is not as big as he was back in 1998 when he used to be a top star, but since he couldn’t keep up with the guys who where in the same league as he was, it was him that ruined the opportunity for a Wrestlmeania event with him vs. Hogan! You need to accept the fact that Austin put himself from the inevitable and kept all of us wishing for more. Yes, I still would say that Hogan vs. Austin at Wrestlemania 19 should had happened, but face it, this is what it is. And you have to look at this brawl for what it was, I still think that it fits Austin’s résumé and this is the closest that we’re going to have for a real WCW vs. WWF stipulation!
Match Score: 5/5

Billy and Chuck (c) vs. The APA vs. The Dudley Boyz (with Stacy Keibler) vs. The Hardy Boyz – Four Corners Elimination Match for Tag Team Championship- Now here’s something that is actually disappointing! Two Wrestlemanias in a row, we had a Triangle Ladder Match and a TLC 2, and then coming to see what the tag team division had to deliver in the third Wrestlemania, it’s a four corners elimination match? You know, this is another one of these matches where it’s just as insignificant as the first four matches of the show and there was no build up or anticipation for this match. I was really, really bored in this match except the fact that Stacy Keibler showed her ass to Jeff Hardy and slapped those cheeks. That was hot. However this should have been a great opportunity to have either Dudley Boyz or Hardy Boyz to be tag team champions for all the sacrifices they’ve made in the previous Wrestlemania matches (since Edge and Christian are no longer a tag team) but no instead they got eliminated and have Billy & Chuck to win this match. They seriously do not deserve to retain those Championships. They were a really pointless tag team and it’s no wonder why nobody remembers this homophobic team up at all!
Match Score: 1/5

The Rock vs. Hollywood Hogan – Let’s be honest here, it was either Austin or Rock that was actually going to face Hogan at Wrestlemania, but because of the infamous heel turn at the end of Wrestlemania 17 and joining the Alliance during the Invasion angle, it cost Austin a whole lot of popularity. The Rock somehow took Austin’s place as the biggest star of the company and it’s a good reason why he’s facing Hulk Hogan in this Wrestlemania. Face it, Hogan and the Rock were really made for each other, and this is some of the best showmanship wrestling that I’ve ever seen. We all know both of these guy’s moves and all we ever want is to see them finally put in the grandest stage of them all. And that’s exactly what we got! As much as I like to bash Hogan for all the mistakes that he has made, there is no arguing the star power that he has that all the other wrestlers wishes. We never imagined that Hulk Hogan would ever make another Wrestlemania headline but after bringing in the nWo and have him and The Rock in an epic confrontation, it was just the best build up ever for a Wrestlemania!  Hogan came in this ring as the biggest heel while The Rock came in as a babyface, but because this video package was by every definition very true and dramatically epic, it made all of us to have a mixed reaction. Hogan knew how to control the audience and because throughout the match, when he does what he does best, the people suddenly started to chant for Hogan and boo The Rock. And you know what? I started to chant for Hulk Hogan! That’s something that no other wrestler could possibly do! This match is almost everything that you expect, both of these men use the same iconic moves to get the fans cheering, but you can’t have it any other way! How long has it been since we seen Hogan actually do those Fury punches, big boot, and leg drops in a Wrestlemania? This was as basic as ever, but because the whole entire audience was SERIOUSLY into this match, it was the star power and the crowd that made this match as huge as it is to day! It’s a clash between 80’s Wrestling and Attitude and ultimately, nostalgia conquered all. Even though the Rock won with the People’s Elbow, the people still cheered for Hogan and before Rock got booed off of stage, he had to shake Hogan’s hand (deservedly so). And to even make even more significance, nWo came down to try to betray Hogan but Rock save him. This was actually the last big moment for nWo before the whole faction went downhill after this show. If nWo interfered in this match, it would have lost credibility, it needed to be purely one-on-one like any Wrestlemania classic. Afterwords, we were all rewarded with those Hogan poses that we all missed so much all here in the Skydome. Speaking of which, This match is every bit familiar to the Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior match in Wrestlemania 6 where they had a mixed crowd, they were in the exact same arena (Skydome) the match up was epic throughout, and even though Hogan lost, he shook the winner’s hand like a real sport. Even though I still say Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior is a better match than tis one, this is The Rock’s best Wrestlemania match and he needed a great victory after three consecutive loses at a Wrestlemania. I still say Austin vs. Hogan should have happened in Wrestlemania 19, but for what we got in Wrestlemania 18, I doubt anything could gotten bigger than this classic and throughout 2002, wrestling got better (can’t you believe it?)! For every ounce of enjoyment that this match has given us, it was a defining moment of what a “Wrestlemania moment” should be. But there’s only one problem… why the hell was this match not the main event? Seriously what other matches deserved to be in the higher spot than this match?
Match Score: 5/5

Jazz (c) vs. Trish Stratus vs. Lita – Women’s Championship – Okay, I’m not being sexist here because I really do care about women’s wrestling, but this match does not deserve to go right after Hogan vs. The Rock! There’s no star power, no storytelling, and not stipulation than just having three of these women fight for the Women’s title. You could have though Trish Stratus would have won the Women’s Championship because she came back to her home country and wore an outfit that had canadian flag design, but booking once again seriously screwed up this show and had Jazz (forgettably) retained her championship. If only Trish won the championship, this match would have meant something.
Match Score: 2/5

Triple H vs. Chris Jericho (c) (with Stephanie McMahon) – Undisputed WWF Chamionship –  This is where I argue with the WWF’s booking decision where they seriously fucked up the main even. I don’t care if this match is for both the WCW and WWF Championship (which is why it’s called the Undisputed WWF Championship) but with those Championships on the line, it’s not as important to me as Hogan vs. The Rock. Sure Jericho has beaten both the Rock and Austin for the both of those Championships and Triple H won the Royal Rumble 2002, but both of those men had nothing that Rock and Hogan had. You can see how mundane this match really was because the story was poorly told (who cares about Hunter and Steph’s divorce angle), there have already been 3 Canadian wrestlers that didn’t have the Canadian care for them as much (Christian, Edge, & Trish) and there were now surprises throughout the match that made it a REALLY forgettable main event. Never have I seen a main event as insignificant as the first four matches and nobody really cared about what was going on compared to the crowd’s reaction to Hogan & the Rock. I did like Triple H in the past, but this was the time where the WWF really wanted to hammer him down to our throats and begin this propaganda that he’s at all “the best” which he clearly isn’t. I can go up to anybody and ask what is the one thing that they remember from Wrestlemania 18 and they’ll all say Hogan and Rock and not even remember this match. Throughout the match we just kept seeing Jericho work on Hunter’s leg and it was tedious to see him to keep doing that tactic/strategy. The finish had Triple H to fight back by to Pedigree Stephanie and Chris Jericho. Afterwords, he won the match and who gave a shit? This match went way too long and nothing memorable or significant has happened. This really isn’t the worst main event (believe me there are way worse) but at least those bad main events were more memorable than this match, and that’s really sad. WWF tried to hammer us Triple H down our throats, but because Hogan was so much of a star, it’s no wonder why he beat Hunter for the Championship later that year. What else do you expect from a Wrestlemania that only focused on telling a good story and delivering great performance from the WCW wrestlers booked in this Wrestlemania?
Match Score: 2/5

Let’s face it, if a match in this card didn’t involve a star that came from WCW, it’s not worth mentioning. It’s only the nWo and Ric Flair matches that actually did tell us a great story and delivered great performances while the writers and bookers forgot to give a shit about the rest of the mid-card. And speaking of which, how the fuck was Hogan vs. The Rock not the main event? The Triple H vs. Jericho main event was one of, if not, the most forgettable Wrestlemania main event of all time! They’ve tried to hammer down Triple H down our throats in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is the same mistake since Wrestlemania 8’s poor booking decision and because of it, it wasn’t the best WWF show of 2002, in my humble opinion. We haven’t seen a Wrestlemania since Wrestlemania 6 where it was clearly built up for just one match and because they didn’t give a shit about anything that didn’t involve Ric Flair, Razor Ramon, or Hogan. Without them, this entire card was a mess. Honestly, the Invasion angle should have ended here in Wrestlemania 18 instead of Survivor Series so that most of (if not all) the mid-card’s stipulation would had more meaning coming into this match than the shit that we got here. We’ve waited so long for a good match and once that’s over with, why did it need to hammer us down with more tediousness? Speaking of which, I did not like the theme for this show where their lead band Saliva had to be the lead singer of the show. Not since Wrestlemania 14’s Chris Warren was there a horrible band singing for a Wrestlemania. I despited the nu metal/emo rock music going on in this show and because it was so generic, it made this wrestlemania unappealing. The only matches worth mentioning is Hogan vs. Rock, Undertaker vs. Ric Flair, and Austin vs. Razor Ramon (I’m still not calling him by his real name) that deserved a 5 out of 5 match score while the rest suffered from a 1 or 2 score. That’s not good for “the grandest stage of them all.” Before of those three matches that save the show, this could have been in the worst Wrestlemania category, but instead it’s just a mixed bag.

The Top Lister’s score for Wrestlemania 18:

             3/5

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