On March 31, 1985, Vince McMahon and his Wrestling organization start to what is to become the biggest wrestling event of all time. Twenty years later, the Wrestlemania name kept getting bigger and it draws wrestling fans everywhere and non-wrestling fans alike to see what is considered to be the grand daddy of them all. We’re back in the Madison Square Garden where it all started and you couldn’t place a show perfectly than in here. A lot has changed since Wrestlemania 20, but to have this once in a year show to draw a big crowd and keep so many of us entertained throughout all of these years should really tell you the star power of Wrestlemania. Coming into Wrestlemania 20, this really is a show that was twenty years in the making and when you go back to this show, it once was one of the most important shows of 2004, if not the most important show of all time, and now it’s looked as a tragedy. And if you know anything about this main event, you will know why.
John Cena vs. Big Show (c) – United States Championship – When you take a look at John Cena today and look at him in this match, you can really see how much of a badass superstar he once was when he used to freestyle on the mic and even talk smack at his opponents. It was a way to build Cena up to recognition before this match because he was a nobody around this period of time. Coming to this match Cena and Show just duked it out but it wasn’t as entertaining as I hoped. It was a dull opening match that went near the 10 minute mark and I thought to myself that Cena (at this point in time) didn’t deserve to have this much of screen time. I honestly don’t remember anything happening in this match other than Cena giving the F-U to a 7-footer, 500-pounder that was impressive. But the match was what is was but it didn’t keep me amused.
Match Score: 3/5
Booker T and Rob Van Dam (c) vs. Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) vs. La Résistance (René Duprée and Rob Conway) – World Tag Team Championships – dThe once thing about the brand extension at this point in time is that both Raw and Smackdown had equal Championships where each had 2 minor championships, a top championship to represent at the top star of the brand, and tag team championships. Now the World Tag Team Championships is not much to talk about because their Tag Team Division is almost meaningless. I’m still a little upset that the Dudley’s never won a Wrestlemania match and they clearly deserved it for all the sacrifices and representation of what tag team really is. The match overall is just there. There were no serious bumps, nothing memorable, and the match just left us with a underwhelming note. Sure Booker T and RVD won the championships, but it was overall a pointless booking that didn’t add anything of anyone’s careers or the show itself.
Match Score: 2/5
Christian vs. Chris Jericho – After two meh, matches we finally got ourselves a very well done match. Coming into this match Christian and Jericho were tied into a tell told storyline where they both got in a love affair with Trish Stratus and Lita. Because of one nasty talk behind Trish’s back by gambling which one was going to bang their girl for 1 Canadian dollar ruined the double date. Eventually, Christian assaulted both Trish and Jericho leading into WrestleMania XX, and a match between the former friends was booked for the show. Jericho and Christian, two of the best in-ring workers of the Raw brand, delivered a very good match that lasted just under 15 minutes. Jericho showed great fire and intensity early, as he unleashed his anger on the former Intercontinental champion. Captain Charisma slowed things down a bit and took control, but the former partners knew each other so well that they were able to escape by countering signature moves. Late in the match, Trish made her way to the ring and almost instantly became a target for Christian. He brought her into the ring by her hair, then shoved her down in the corner. When Jericho attempted to check on her, she caught him with what appeared to be an inadvertent elbow, allowing Christian to roll him up and score a cheap win. After the match, Trish slapped Jericho and revealed her relationship with Christian to the shock of the Madison Square Garden crowd. The match ended so dramatically in a soap opera-ish finish that left all of us in shock that such a heel turn has blew right in our faces! This is really an underrated Wrestlemania match and you can see Christian’s potential as you watch this match that still makes you wonder why wasn’t he as big as Jericho.
Match Score: 4/5
Evolution (Randy Orton, Batista and Ric Flair) vs. Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection (The Rock and Mick Foley) – When Evolution first started as a faction, I thought it was Triple H’s attempt to create a modern D-Generation-X but used as henchmen for Hunter’s burying. Eventually, it was there to creat new stars with the members of Batista and Orton, but I think that they were a bit too pushed to early because I still don’t think that they’re qualified enough to face the likes of Rock n’ Sock Connection, one of my favorite Tag Team of all Time! We’re talking about Rock n’ Sock Connection! One of the most important figures of the Tag Team division in the Attitude Era that represented an unusual pairing that really worked together like opposites attract. It was fantastic to see the Rock and Mick Foley come back to the ring one more time that brings out the warm nostalgic feeling out of me. Looking back at it now, it was really well placed for a great wrestlemania match and it was so fun to watch. Mainly it’s because Rock, Foley, and Flair that took control of the show while Batistia and Orton still had no personality was just there. What makes this match so fun to watch is to see Rock, Flair, and Foley do their iconic moves seen in many of their matches once again like People’s Elbow, Mr. Socko, Figure Four, Turning on the turn buckle, Rock Bottom, and more. My favorite part of this match was when Ric was doing his version of the People’s Elbow that was funny was hell and then The Rock got back on his feet and did one on Flair. It was so much fun seeing these guys again in action. However just left us in a sour note when Foley brought out Mr. Socko just to get RKO’d by Randy Orton for the win. After that, it just made me say to myself “That was it?” I still feel that this match could have done so much more for us Rock and Foley fans, but for what we got, I couldn’t image it being held anywhere else but in this show.
Match Score: 4/5
Torrie Wilson and Sable vs. Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie – Playboy Evening Gown Match – This is one of those matches where it was a Raw vs. Smackdown matchup but this time both brands use their sexiest women in their brands to go in a tag team match. This match was to promote Torrie and Sable’s duo Playboy Magazine. We haven’t seen Sable since Wrestlemania 15 and to see year 5 years later and still have the look, wooh. This match had a lot of promise and it surely did deliver to us heterosexual men. All four of these women never looked better as they wore their gowns for us and applied very “flexible” moves. My favorite part of the match was when Torrie Wilson did a roll up to Miss Jackie while sitting with her two butt cheek on top of both of Jackie’s breasts. That was so hot when Torrie was pulling up her panties to show her crack. I admit that there’s very little effort in this match, but never was there a sexier Wrestlemania match than this one!
Match Score: 3/5
Chavo Guerrero (c) vs. Último Dragón vs. Shannon Moore vs. Jamie Noble vs. Funaki vs. Nunzio vs. Billy Kidman vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Tajiri vs. Akio – Cruiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship – The Cruiserweight Open is a bit of a unique but an awkward match when you think about it. All of these men drew a number and must go one on one. If any of the wrestlers wins by pinfall or submission then the next wrestler with the next number until the last man standing. The Champion, Chavo Guerrero comes out and gets #10. He also has Chavo Sr. in his corner. Chavo Sr. actually worked on the first WWF super card, the August 9, 1980 Shea Stadium show headlined by Bruno vs. Zbyszko. He worked with Tatsumi Fujinami underneath. All the guys come out and stay around the ring, rather than come from the back for the surprise factor. Shannon Moore and Ultimo Dragon start. Dragon came to the WWE specifically so he could fulfill the goal of working in MSG. Dragon pins Moore with the DDT and Jamie Noble is in. Noble takes out Dragon and then Funaki in short order. Little Guido is in next. Nunzio is counted out and Kidman is in. Kidman pins Noble and Rey is in. He’s also wearing Flash inspired ring attire and I do mean the superhero and not the OVW guy. They should have teamed him up with Hurricane. Rey takes out Kidman and Tajiri comes in. Tajiri goes to use the mist, misses and hits Akio and then gets rolled up. A pissed off Tajiri sucker kicks Rey. Jimmy Wang Akio is deemed unable to perform and Chavo is in. Chavo Sr. takes a bump off the apron. Chavo rolls him up and Sr. grabs his hands for the pin. Way too rushed and as a result was nowhere as good as it should have been.
Match Score: 3/5
Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar – Now I’ve been reviewing a lot of Wrestlemanias up to this point and I’ve seen a lot of horrible matches. This one here, is perhaps THE most disappointing Wrestlemania match I’ve ever seen in my life. Here we are having two of the biggest and strongest wrestlers in the WWE that they need to have Stone Cold Steve Austin to be special guest referee to control this match. We’ve expected a monstrous match between two physique wrestlers. But we never got that. We were betrayed because Brock Lesnar was leaving after this Wrestlemania where he wants to join the NFL Vikings and Goldberg despised what WWE booking did to his credentials. It’s no wonder why Sting never came to WWE because what they’ve done to WCW’s top stars like Goldberg having Triple H burying him for no apparent reason than to make himself look better than anyone else. Goldberg vs. Lesnar is sickens me each time I go back to this match. This was some of the most unprofessional matches I’ve ever seen where the majority of the match, these two idiots just stood there, grappled each other then stood there some more. The whole crowd hijacked the match chanting “Goldberg sucks!” “Lesnar Sucks!” “You Sold Out!” and “Boring!!” throughout this match. Here we are having Stone Cold Steve Austin standing there just waiting for them to finally go at it. Then grapple some more, then the brawl was taken out at ringside, slowly. Then they comeback in the ring to finally do their finishers. At this point I really want this to be over. Lesnar gives Goldberg an F-5, but (fuck!) he kicked out. Then Goldberg gave Lesnar a Spear and Jackhammer for the win. But that didn’t end there, Lesnar had to get back up on his feet and flip off at the fans then at Stone Cold. Then later Stone Cold gave him a stunner and it’s a miracle that Brock sold it otherwise he would of made this match much worse than it already is. Then Goldberg celebrated with Austin with a beer. It was cool to see what was WCW’s top star drinking with Stone Cold who both look similar and were the toughest players of their sport even though we’ll never see them wrestle each other. The crowd booed at Goldberg’s victory, so Austin had to stunner Bill and take the spotlight away from both of them… man this was a disastrous match! It went beyond disappointment but turned out to be a soulless, passionless, and most dried out match that I’ve ever seen. The match as a whole just could not be saved due to the intense hate the crowd was spewing all throughout it. The slow start was embarrassing and they didn’t seem to have chemistry in the ring. But what’s worse is the attitude between both men that made this one of the worst matches that I’ve ever seen in my life. Sure Brock Lesnar became a bigger name in the MMA world years later, but it’s because of this very match is why I’m not much of a fan of Brock and Goldberg as I used to be. I really looked forward to this match back in 2004 and this match becomes more shitty as the years go by. It ultimately became an embarrassment for all three of those men, the whole company, and even the wrestling fans who supported WWE throughout all of these years! It was supposed to be the best physique match since Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan, but it was just to have Bill Goldberg winning the match, let Lesnar go, just to have Stone Cold give the stunner on the both of them. This is the biggest abortion that has ever happened to wrestling. At least all the bad wrestlemania matches, you can see some patin for the wrestlers to give a good show, but these two did not even gave a shit!
Match Score: -1/5 (lowest score that I can give to any match)
Too Cool (Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty) (c) vs. The World’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) vs. The Basham Brothers vs. The APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq) – WWE Tag Team Championships – We’ve already had Raw doing their four-way tag team match for their Tag Team Championship, so what made this made any different. It’s not; it’s nearly identical. I know that I should feel appreciative that Rikishi is making his last Wrestlemania appearance before he had to leave the company, but this really is a weak stipulation with no story and nothing really memorable happening in this match. I really don’t understand why the booking decision feel the need that we should have two identical tag team championship matches with the same results of the champions retaining their championships. What a forgettable match. Yes, this match gets a lower score than the first tag team match because a repeat of a similar match seen earlier is a crime to me.
Match Score: 1/5
Victoria (c) vs. Molly Holly – Hair vs. Hair match for the Women’s Championship – Here’s a match that really pisses me off. I’m a wrestling fan that really cares for the women’s wrestling match and we have two of the best wrestlers in the women’s division having a joke match. They had their opportunity to have a pure wrestling match between two women and make a better match than the women’s match last year. But instead the WWF had to humiliate Molly Holly because she’s a heel that’s despised for protesting against the sex appeal of women’s wrestling. Whether or not if it’s a kayfabe or real feeling from Molly Holly, she’s right! The women’s division has suffered quality because of their focus on appealing to the heterosexuals by making them sex symbols instead of delivering qualitative matches that they are more than capable of. If you really want to know how I feel about Molly Holly, I still consider her as one of the most underrated wrestlers (not just women wrestlers) of all time and booking ruined her wrestling career. Of course she had to loose and had her head shaved bald. I don’t find this once funny, instead I just look at it as the death of Molly’s career and there’s no recovery from here. You had an opportunity to actually give us a great story, show what these two women are capable of in the ring, and establish what women’s wrestling is all about. But instead you just had to humiliate the least attractive woman in the roster and the women’s division in the WWE still suffers because stunts like this one!
Match Score: 0/5
Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Kurt Angle – WWE Championship – I remember that around 2004, this was finally Eddie’s big break after wrestling as a talented mid-card who wrestled for ECW, WCW, and the WWE. As soon as he defeated Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship, it was his time to shine. But could he kept the spotlight the likes of Kurt Angle? We’re talking about Smackdown’s top star who brought in-ring athleticism in the Attitude Era and then made it a standard in the Brand Extension. He truly was the master of the ring, so how was Eddie going to win this one? The master mat-wrestler Angle was in control for much of the beginning. He wore down Guerrero with headlocks, grinding his arm around Guerrero’s neck. The slow pace built the foundation that the climax would later be placed upon. Both men seemed patient, cautious, both respectful and somewhat fearful of each other. Guerrero injured his ribs when he missed a dive, colliding with the barricade outside the ring. Angle then attacked that injured torso with vigor. He delivered a backbreaker and a leg scissors and hung Guerrero on the top rope. This made Angle look like the strategist and Guerrero the survivor. The gutsiness Guerrero showed as Angle punched him to the ground again and again is a way to highlight Del Rio’s resilience. Swagger’s aggression would be best focused on an injured body part, helping him dominate the match. Angle and Guerrero’s patient approach to their in-ring story made the ending far more satisfying. After a grueling match, after failed frog splash attempts and several wrenches of Guerrero’s ankle, their story came to a close. In pain from several ankle locks, Guerrero writhed in the center of the ring. He loosened his boot and soon Angle came charging at him. Angle once again tried to clamp on his ankle lock, but Guerrero’s boot came loose. In the resulting confusion, Guerrero rolled up his foe, grabbed the ropes for extra leverage and remained champion. It was a unique ending to a good technical match. I still consider Kurt Angle’s match with Brock Lesnar last year as his best, but Eddie deserved to win this match for a special moment at the end of the show.
Match Score: 4/5
The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) vs. Kane – I’m going to straight out and tell you that I am not at all a fan of the biker-American badass Undertaker. I thought it was the most incompetent change that I’ve ever seen from a single wrestler. I still consider that gimmick to be the worst aspect in Wrestlemania 19 when he had to have Limp Biscuit to sing in his intro. Really, nobody cared for the Undertaker biker character anymore. That’s why it was the perfect time for Kane bury Undertaker alive in Survivor Series 2003 because this was the return of something that we all truly missed. We were getting back the deadman Undertaker; the best wrestling gimmick that scared all of us (even his opponents) and delivered great sportsmanship. Nothing was more exciting to me than to see “The Deadman” character to comeback and reign supreme. As soon as the toll bell rung and he walked across the ramp to the ring, it was pure nostalgia and atmosphere that we all know and loved. This is the first time ever that Undertaker had a Wrestlemania rematch with an opponent and it’s his brother Kane. Things just couldn’t be perfectly booked. However, Kane has lost so much mystique since he became less of a monster since he no longer wore the mask and shave his head bald. That lost all appeal and love for the Kane character and this match really suffered because of it. Undertaker vs. Kane was my favorite match of Wrestlemania 14 because it was ‘Taker’s first Wrestlemania opponent that made ‘Taker vulnerable, it drove ‘Taker psychologically, and it brought him to his limits. This match on the other hand didn’t even had balls. Instead, Kane for the second time had to be the most vulnerable opponent that ‘Taker had to face and it as certainly a one match show. I know that back in 2004 there was no other way than to make Undertaker supreme by having do all his classic moves before he changed to the biker character, but this match was so one sided that it was a complete bore. Undertaker had so many better matches before and after this match. The only thing that this match accomplished was to bring back that old Undertaker character, but everything else was extremely predictable. If anything, watch the Kane vs. Undertaker match at Wrestlemania 14 because it told a much better story, the stipulations were much more higher, and the rivalry really meant something back then.
Match Score: 1/5
Triple H (c) vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit – World Heavyweight Championship – There were just so many horrible matches in this Wrestlemania card that we really needed this main event to be good. And thankfully, all the build up for Chris Benoit to have his break and show why he’s the most talented individual in the business meant something. He had to deal with being the mid-carder for ECW and WCW and WWE was his opportunity to make his recognized. He had to face the best of the best throughout 2003 and had to win the Royal Rumble 2004 Match to have this shot. He had to get involved in the rivalry between Triple H and Shawn Michaels feud (that started back in Summer 2002) because all three men wanted the World Heavyweight Championship. And they showed. It was the first triple threat main event in a Wrestlemania and I’m normally am not a fan of Triple Threat matches, but this very main event is the best triple threat match that I’ve ever seen in my life. That’s because this one didn’t end up like all Triple Threats that wind up with segments of one-on-one action while the third wheel is off-screen recovering from a beating. The trick is making that segue as unforced as possible. Here, each one is smooth and, at times, spectacular. It was in-ring work that was passionate and eruptive where all three men were so desperate to win this very match. Each of them gave all they got by delivering so many grappling technical moves and less brawls than we normally expected when it comes to anything with Triple H involved. Chris Benoit fought so hard against the two best Raw stars that both of them ended up bleeding like a stuffed pig. One of the most memorable moments of the match was when HHH and Michaels’ suplex Benoit from one announce table through another. It really looked like it was going to put Benoit for good, but for some reason he pushed himself back to the fight to take HBK out of the ring and put HHH in the cross face. This was the perfect finish to one of the best Wrestlemania main events of all time and I didn’t not want it any other way than to have Benoit to make “God” tap out. At first, when he made a rope break, it was going to turn out to be bad like having Evolution interfering, but Benoit rolled over to the middle of the ring while still holding on The Game with the cross face. Nothing to me felt so relieving than to finally see HHH (with all the burying he did to his opponents and shoving himself down on our throats from 2002-2003) tapped out and put Benoit over to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. If you’re a wrestling fan, seeing Benoit win the championship after a lifetime in the business, after the critics called him too small, too one dimensional, this is a moment that still brings chills. And to put icing on the cake, Eddie came back to the ring just to have these two celebrate their victories together. It that very moment that I’ve cried because of the triumph that they both accomplished together from ECW, WCW, and now the WWE. Now looking at that moment in time right now, it’s now a tragedy because both of these two gifted athletes are no longer with us…
Match Score: 6/5
Sigh, Wrestlemania 20 is the very definition of a show that’s a real mixed bag. This was supposed to be 20 years in the making but this show is filled with so many pointless matches and and extremely disappointing match up that we were all anticipating for. This show should have one of the best Wrestlemania of all time, but because of the tiresome tag team matches, horrid Lesnar-Goldberg match, a mediocre Kane-Undertaker match, the humiliating of my one of my favorite female wrestlers Molly Holly, and a dull mid-card that took forever to get good at the end. The only thing that saved itself from making this match a complete disaster was the main event. It’s funny because the Goldberg-Lesnar match is the worst Wrestlemania match of all time, while on the same night, the HHH-HBK-Benoit match was the best main event I’ve ever seen in my life. But just like any bad Wrestlemania, one match can’t really save an entire show. Now, this show is really hard to look back at because what was supposed to be the best and most magical finish towards the end, which was the only saving grace of the show, now is a tragedy. The image of having Benoit and Eddie holding their WWE and World Heavyweight belts together used to represent triumph but now is turned into a tragedy because both of these men are no longer with us. I will not defend or justify what these two did that caused their deaths (Eddie died of heart failure from drugs/steroids and Benoit caused a double murder suicide on his family) it really breaks my heart that it has to be this way. I still will appreciate everything that they’ve done in the wrestling world, but I still can’t overlook what ruined the business’s reputation. Because I can’t see the show the same as I used to all those many years ago and it gets worse and worse as the years go by, I really think it holds the ranks of being some of the most disastrous Wrestlemanias of all time. Almost everything about this show was good on paper, but it barely deliver on anything that they hyped up to. This show went on way too long, the crowd just barely made it to the main event, and even though the props, the design, and the atmosphere, and even the main event was all magic, the magic is now lost because what has happened since then. It was certainly 20 years in the making, but sadly, it did could not even hold up ten years after this very show…