Wrestlemania 14 was the show that boomed the Attitude Era into full force and since then, the attitude era did not ever had a good Wrestlemania event till Wrestlemania 17. The problem with the previous two Wrestlemanias is the fact that they were more like an episode of Raw is War on steroids; shoving in way too much than they should. But despite how terrible WM 15 & 16 was, they were still beating WCW in the ratings and PPV buys. Before Wrestlemania 17, WWF has bought World Championship Wrestling out and forever ending the Monday Night Wars. This Wrestlemania was a celebration of the World Wrestling Federation’s victory as the biggest wrestling organization in the world. A lot of people consider this show was the finale of the Attitude Era, but I beg to differ because we still had Attitude-style atmosphere and wrestling still going on till the Brand Extension started in 2002. In the meantime, coming to Wrestlemania 17, this had be a good show. Not just because we can’t have three consecutive terrible Wrestlemanias, but for all of the support that the WWF fans gave to the WWF to beat WCW, we deserve a hell of a bang! Many people consider this as the “best Wrestlemania of all time” and that’s saying a lot considering how important this once-in-a-year show really is, so let’s see if that claim is truly deserved.
Chris Jericho (c) vs. William Regal – Intercontinental Championship – For a show considered as the best wrestlemania of all time had a pretty weak opening match. Not to say that either one of these wrestlers are bad, (quite the contrary) Jericho and Regal are some of the most talented stars in the WWF. It’s just that this match didn’t leave me in a good impression. I’ll have to admit that both of these two performers tried to make the match taken seriously because Regal really gave Jericho serious bumps and a couple of nasty submission holds and you can see blood coming out of Jericho’s mouth. Jericho did as much to Regal to give him one heck of a match with seeing him do all the agile moves and his signature combos/moves.
Match Score: 3/5
Tazz and The Acolytes Protection Agency (Bradshaw and Faarooq) (with Jacqueline) vs. Right to Censor (The Goodfather, Val Venis and Bull Buchanan) (with Steven Richards) – Uh-oh! We’re getting a Wrestlemania 15/16 flashback where there’s a huge tag team stipulation that’s overbooked in one match and have nothing to gain or loose despite who won. I really despise the Right to Censor faction where you took Val Venis (a porn star character) and Godfather (a pimp) and changed them into a family oriented organization who forbids violence, sex, and profanity. I has it’s place to be top heels in the Attitude Era, but I hated who joined this faction which feels so out of place. Nobody even remembers a single thing out of this match, even though Right to Censor deserved to lose.
Match Score: 2/5
Kane vs. Raven (c) vs. Big Show – Hardcore Match for Hardcore Championship – dAfter two unmemorable and insignificant matches, we finally got ourself a great hardcore match, and perhaps the last great Hardcore Championship match in the attitude area, and that’s saying a whole lot when it comes to how much of a mixed bag the Hardcore Championship title matches are. I certainly enjoyed this match where they were trying to make this match taken serious. All three men were brawling in the ring and took the fight backstage. The backstage fight was the most fun part of this match where they used gold karts if it wasn’t enough. This match was both iconic and hilarious because Raven almost ran over the cables (that was putting this whole show live on tv) while driving that golf kart. If Raven actually did ran over those cables then the whole show would have been over. But another hilarious part of the show was when Kane bumped his golf kart on Ravens leg. Another amazing part of the show was having Kane and Big Show crash through a wall that was really impressive for the time. I just couldn’t believe how much fun this match really was and it ended perfectly with Raven and Big Show tossed out of the Ramp into the glass box having Kane to win by pinfall. As stated, this was the last great hardcore championship match and it’s one thing to remember about Wrestlemania 17.
But there’s one more thing that this match needed to earn a 6 out of 5 match score…
WHERE’S PETE ROSE?! HE DESERVES TO GET TOMBSTONED BY KANE ONE MORE TIME IN WRESTLEMANIA! HOW DISAPPOINTING IT IS NOT TO HAVE PETE ROSE AND KANE AGAIN!
Match Score: 5/5
Eddie Guerrero (with Perry Saturn) vs. Test (c) – European Championship – And now we came back to the boring matches of the show where this was not Eddie Guerrero’s best days as his character drastically changed after he broke up with Chyna and he was just too serious and insecure. I really didn’t like this match and it’s probably the least interesting match on this card. The only thing about this match that was noteworthy is when Test about about to big Eddie a big boot and got his leg tied, and then a serious botch happened when Eddie slipped and fell out of the ring while Test was still tied up. It’s another match that was just… there and I really wish that the story behind this match could have been more well handled just so we can care more for what’s going on in this match.
Match Score: 2/5
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit – As stated in my last Wrestlemania review, everyone was the same hardcore wrestler character with the same style of hardcore wrestling-style till Kurt Angle brought back the technical athleticism back into wrestling. There was only one other wrestler that was his equal in this style of wrestling, and that’s Benoit. I like it when a show gives us a different variation of wrestling matches and this match here sticks out as the most different because it was all amateur wrestling. There was very little strikes and brawls and it was all about grappling and trying to keep a man either pinned or submit. This is something that no other wrestler in this business could ever do and I was simply impressed with how these two competed. Admittedly, they both tried to use their submission and their opponent’s submission holds just to put one man out. You can really say that this match was more art than entertainment and that’s something special about this show. It was a very well executed match that shows the skeptics that there are real talent in the business because this match was all about just who was the better man in this wrestling style. This is what a mid-card needs and it comes out as surprise to see how much they really care to put one man over the other. The only disappointment with this match was when Kurt pulled Benoits tights to get a cheap victory. I know that this was part of heel Kurt Angle’s character and I certainly love it, but part of wrestlemania is to be a climax to a rivalry or start of an era and this match was a middle of the road for both of these men. The end of their feud didn’t have a climax till Backlash ’01 when both men did a Ultimate Submission Match (an Iron Man match with submissions only) which was a WAY better match than this one. But for what this match was, it was art that’s left for some critiques towards the end!
Match Score: 5/5
Chyna vs. Ivory (c) – Women’s Championship – This match is really a disappointment for us Chyna fans. All we wanted is a one-on-one match with a man for Chyna to beat just to establish that she’s a worthy competitor and push her to the top. It’s a huge down grade to push her down to the women’s division which really is an unfair fight for someone who’s just as strong as many of the male wrestlers in the business. Chyna is too good for the women’s division and Ivory is not even a challenge. All Chyna did was give Ivory a power bomb and a guerrilla press slam to not only establish her dominance, but also show’s the lack of effort that she needs to win the Women’s Championship. Chyna deserved more and that opportunity is forever destroyed because what Triple H and Stephanie McMahon did to her that kicked her out of the company months later.
Match Score: 1/5
Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon – A lot of people say that the McMahon family feud is overrated, but I have to say that they are the most entertaining dysfunctional family since The Simpsons. Sure it’s inconsistent to see them on-and-off family members fighting each other (just like last year’s wrestlemania main event) but the fight between Vince and Shane was one hell of a fight between father and son. Vince made himself the most despised father of all time where he said he wants a divorce with Linda and cheated on her with Trish Stratus. Shane chose to fight for his mother and bought WCW from Vince for revenge. This hardcore match was really brutal. There was so much going on in this match that really shows how far can family feuds can go without actually killing each other. Linda was drugged and she’s stunned in a wheel chair and was forced to see her son Shane beaten to a bloody pulp. Mick Foley was the special guest referee and there was a cat fight between Trish and Stephanie when Trish slapped Vince across the face. But the highlight of the show was when Linda was sitting on the corner still stunned from the drugs. The moment where she got up on her feet and walked towards to Vince, the whole audience got up on their feet in a huge surprise! This is the power of storytelling in wrestling! That kick on the balls to Vince was some of the most epic low blows I’ve ever seen in wrestling and it was one hell of an epic moment! Shane won the match by top rope drop kicking Vince with a garbage can and won the match. Out of all the matches that had the McMahon family feud, this one is no doubt the best! The high risk moves that Shane took that could almost kill his own father was a risk to take, but for doing it for the love of this company, it certainly shows!
Match Score: 5/5
Edge and Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz –
TLC 2 for the Tag Team Championship –
Before I say anything about this match, yes this match is technically a rematch of last year’s wrestlemania, but last year’s ladder match between three of these teams was actually called a “Triangle Ladder Match” that turned out have Tables and Chairs involved. So if that’s not the “first TLC (Tables, Ladders, & Chairs) match” what was? Well all three of the same teams did the exact same match in Summerslam 2000. Even though that this is called “TLC 2” this technically is TLC 3 because the first Triangle Ladder Match was a TLC match. But what ever you want to call it, this match between Edge and Christian, Dudleys, and Hardies is not only better than their last year’s Wrestlemania match, but perhaps one of the best ladder matches that the WWF has ever delivered. It’s crazy to see all six men risking everything [again] in the same style of match-up, but do it much more radically! Before we even had Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, this was the best rematch a Wrestlemania has ever had! Everything seen from last year’s Wrestlemania triangle ladder match is doubled here in this match. You want to see Jeff Hardy take a top ladder leap, you have twice of those! You want Buh-buh Ray power bomb through tables, you got twice of the amount! You even want a better spear by Edge done in this match, you certainly got yourself the best spear in wrestling. You get the picture. This match saw many different risks that were take and when Edge hit Jeff Hardy, who was hanging mid-air from the belts, with a spear, it became one of the most jaw-dropping moments ever in the WWF. Just when you thought it wasn’t enough Spike (Dudley’s side), Rhyno (Edge & Christian side), and Lita (Hardy’s side) came done for interference to save the team they’re routing for, only to as well get involved with the collision everyone’s taking in this match. Because this match was filled with so many risk-taking things, it is obviously seen as one of the most hardcore/extreme matches the WWF has ever put on. It’s a crash corse that was thrilling to watch. If Wrestlemania 17 really was the end of the Attitude Era (which certainly isn’t) they certainly left us one hell of an impression of everything appealing and exciting about this era of wrestling into one singular wrestling match. Now there are people who argues that this match wasn’t as good as the Triangle Ladder match in last year’s Wrestlemania, and it’s really hard to argue with that because I don’t believe Edge and Christian had to win this match for the third time and the finish felt a bit soulless and emotional compared to the finish in the last year’s Triangle Ladder match. But regardless, it’s still debatable as one of the best ladder matches of all time and as well debatable if this is the best match on the card because it earned that reputation. This match embodies why it takes everything you got to win a singular ladder match and it’s still worth watching time and time again!
Match Score: 6/5
20-man Gimmick battle royal – Just like Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit, this card provided a great variety of different kinds of matches. While the Attitude Era looked like it only focused on the time that it was in, I’m sure happy to see that the old classic wrestlers are not forgotten. We had Mean Gene Okerlund and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan to come down as commentary and we had 20 old school wrestlers from the 80s coming back to represent their era. This type of match is very welcomed in the biggest wrestling show in the world. Our contestants in this match are Bushwhacker Luke, Bushwhacker Butch, Duke Droese, Doink the Clown, Nikolai Volkoff, Tugboat, The Goon, Earthquake, The Gobbledygooker, Hillbilly Jim, Brother Love, Michael Hayes, Kim Chee, One Man Gang, Kamala, Jim Cornette, Repo Man, Iron Sheik, and Sgt. Slaughter. Admittedly, these old farts really couldn’t move properly and they were a bit too afraid to have an accident falling off from the top rope, but I believe the right man won this match. Iron Sheik won supreme when he defeated Sgt. Slaughter, but instead of having Sheik just celebrating, Slaughter had to come in and just attack the heel and steal his spotlight. This is the type of results/aftermaths that we kept getting in the very early Wrestlemanias so I don’t know what to think about doing this in a different era of wrestling where it’s no longer welcomed.
Match Score: 3/5
The Undertaker vs. Triple H – One of the most wonderful things about this Wrestlemania is that many of the wrestlers that were absent from last year’s Wrestlemania make their return for this one. This is the one match where everyone started focusing on the Undertaker’s streak when Jim Ross and Paul Heyman said it loud and clear that ‘Taker never lost a Wrestlemania. What’s also interesting is that the WWE today really pretends that this match never happened because they wanted the Triple H vs. ‘Taker rematch to just be about Shawn Michaels and everyone still regrets having that biker “American badass” Undertaker that was so out of his character. I still don’t like this Undertaker because having him as the deadman is so much appealing and suspenseful. Here we have Triple H trying to proof that he is the better man and just watching this match alone, they did everything they could to make this match entertaining as can be. There are plenty of flaws here however, that referee knockout ten over 10 minutes and I can’t believe that a single elbow drop could take a person down for that long and what was supposed to be a chokeslam from the studio ramp to a mysterious fall, the replay showed that Triple H fell on a mat for safety. Other than those huge flaws, this was a lot more fast paced than all of Undertaker’s previous matches. With this new look on Taker, we were able to see him more eager to win than just to use his iconic moves to establish his dominance with the deadman. Triple H was able to keep up with the same pace where he was able brawl and give the hardcore matches that he’s most known for in his pay-per-view match ups. Of course the right man won, but it was so out of place to hear “Rollin” by Limp Biscuit as soon as Undertaker powerbombed (I’m not calling it the Last Ride) Triple H. This shows how really unappealing this Undertaker really was.
Match Score: 4/5
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (c) – No Disqualification Match for WWF Championship – Even despite the fact that the home state hero has came back from his absence from last year’s Wrestlemania, I really don’t think that this match was better than their first Wrestlemania match together because there was something missing in this match in comparison to Wrestlemania XV. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that this match was incredibly well worked where both of these men gave everything that they’ve learned from each other throughout the Attitude era. The problem for me however is that both Austin and Rock just feels too invincible that there was no way that either one of the men can put each other over. No matter how many stunners, rock bottoms, People’s elbow, chairshots, weapon shots, table crashes, and even the kitchen sink, none of the men wants to lay down for defeat. My favorite part of the match however was when Stone Cold was in the sharp shooter and had blood pour on his face just giving us that nostalgic moment of when he was in the same position with Bret Hart in Wrestlemania 13. This match really did show the endurance to show that they have what it takes to be the top. It was so intense to see which of the two had to loose, until Vince McMahon had to come down the ring and interfere. This time, he wasn’t coming to save the Rock, but instead to save Stone Cold Steve Austin, his arch nemesis. Now this heel turn just doesn’t make any sense to me because Austin represented the people below the employers whom pleasures to make their employees a miserable hell and it was his duty to rebel against the system and those who controls everything. Just having a Vince and Austin teaming together was just so bizarre to me. For shock value, this is ingenious stuff, but for the fact that they’ve made one of the most important stars of the attitude era to suddenly turn heel and made this hardcore match into as piñata out of the Rock. For shock value this was probably genius, but for a storytelling, work-rate, and entertainment standpoint, it just shows why Rock vs. Austin in Wrestlemania XV is way superior. It seemed as though he wouldn’t stop until the fans turned on him. Finally he got a few boos and went for the cover. As soon as the ref hit three, the crowd erupted again. The fans just didn’t care about the heel turn. They were going to cheer Austin anyway. I always felt that hurt the end of the show a bit, but admittedly this was to build up to the epic disappointment called the Invasion angle that was going to happen after Wrestlemania. I fully agree with Stone Cold Steve Austin that he should have gave Vince the stunner so save himself from that heel turn. Honestly, the heel turn for Austin really lost a lot of popularity and credibility for him. And if you disagree with that statement, who’s making Hollywood blockbusters today? (Hint: The Rock) Exactly!
Match Score: 4/5
Since a lot of people considers this as the Wrestlemania of all time, I can certainly say that it’s probably an overrated show. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly love this show, it’s in there in my top 3, but I can’t ignore that there were four matches out of nine cards that were a bit of a drag. I’m still not too happy with the finish of this show because it was set up for the ever so disappointing storyline called the Invasion Angle. It’s really sad to see WCW and ECW all bought by the WWF in 2001 and this show just represent the dominance of the competition between those three organizations and then set them up for a messy angle that the company was heading for. I still am not a fan of the invasion angle (except for the Survivor Series match later that year) because they didn’t make it into a long awaited WCW vs. WWF show that should feature NWO, Sting, Ric Flair, Diamond Dallas Page, and the rest of the most important figures of the WCW. Instead, the Invasion Angle was just another McMahon family-feud using the entire roster that they could sign a contact was put in for a stupid storyline. Plus I’m getting really sick and tired of people calling this the end of the Attitude Era because we still had the hardcore wrestling title, attitude storytelling-style, the roster is almost the same, and the atmosphere was all the same. This still was attitude till Eric Bishof came in Monday Night Raw and started the brand extension. Despite all of the aftermath that still has a bad taste out of my mouth, for what Wrestlemania X7 was, it was a solid show and still can go down as some of (not “the”) best Wrestlemanias of all time. Despite the first half of the show being really boring, the TLC 2, and the three no DQ matches, and the epic amateur wrestling (Angle vs. Benoit) was certainly entertaining. Each card had something for everyone weather you’re an fan for old school 80’s wrestling (20-men battle royal), hardcore wrestling, amateur wrestling, showmanship, and more each match has something for you. Still to this day, wrestling fans everywhere still debate which of the matches in this card was the best match, but I still debate that TLC 2 was the best of all of them. Though I don’t agree that this is the best Wrestlemania show, let alone the best WWE show, it’s still worth coming back to when ignoring that the Invasion angle has ever existed. I still stand by in saying that Wrestlemania 14 remains the best Wrestlemania in the Attitude Era, but for Wrestlemania 17 to come to a clear second place for me, that should say a lot! Even if you dislike Wrestlemania 17, you have to admit, that at least this show was miles better than the previous two horrible Wrestlemanias & that’s what we needed.