March to Mania · Pro Wrestling

MARCH TO ‘MANIA: The last of a good run

Wrestlemania really hit a strong run here from Wrestlemania 17 to Wrestlemania 19. The card saw the final match between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock, capping a trilogy of matches that will go down as one of the greatest in recent memory

So where does it fit in? Read below to find out.

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Wrestlemania XIX (Results)

Date: March 30, 2003

Arena: Safeco Field (Seattle, Wash.)

Attendance: 54,097

SUMMARY: Brock Lesnar was the biggest thing to hit World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002 and quickly became the youngest WWE champion by beating The Rock at Summerslam. He lost the belt later that year to the Big Show at Survivor Series, beginning his quest for redemption that culminated in Lesnar winning the 2003 Royal Rumble. Kurt Angle took the title from the Big Show in December 2002, leading to a collision course between two of the most decorated amateur wrestlers in the WWE’s history. Meanwhile, on Raw, The Rock, now a heel, returned from his hiatus and said that he had done it all in the WWE except for one thing: beat his arch-rival “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at Wrestlemania.

MY ENJOYMENT RATING: A

FAVORITE MATCH: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock. It’s almost fitting that their three matches were my favorites on all of their respective cards. Personally, I like their third match the best. It was worked at a slower pace than their Wrestlemania 17 bout, but the consistent action made it more entertaining. The Rock’s desperation was evident. His facial reactions when he hit the Rock Bottom, the People’s Elbow and the Stone Cold Stunner only to have Austin kick out were priceless. The thing I probably enjoyed most about this edition was that it wasn’t overbooked in any way. Their first two meetings were, but it didn’t do anything to take away from the match itself. By having a less overbooked bout, it really made the match feel special. Even better was The Rock and Austin’s post-match exchange with The Rock sitting down talking to Austin was priceless. You got the feeling this was truly the end of an era, and by having Austin walk out on his own power to his entrance music was a fitting final moment for one of the linchpins of the Attitude Era.

THINGS THAT MADE ME NOD IN APPROVAL: Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar was my second favorite match. There was this portion in the middle where the match slowed down, mainly to allow Lesnar a breather for the move he was going to attempt for the big finale. I know the shooting star press was botched and the finish wasn’t what was expected, but there are a few things that need to be noted. The first is that Lesnar opted to go with the element of surprise rather than reposition Angle himself, giving away what he was going to do. The second is Angle did a tremendous job at rolling out of the way to sell that he dodged the move, and then going for a pinfall to check if Lesnar was OK was another smart move. The third is Lesnar’s ability to finish the match. That was a hellacious bump, and the fact he got through the final sequence was miraculous. The Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho was good, but it felt like it could hit another gear that it just never go to. It was still better than a lot of the matches in Wrestlemania’s history. I also enjoyed the triple threat tag team title match, which featured plenty of action, but I just wish it had a few more minutes to really create a crazy finish that should be mandatory booking for all multi-team matches.

THINGS THAT MADE ME LOWER HEAD IN SHAME: It’s sad that the Undertaker didn’t have a bigger role on this card. Guess it was one of those years. The commentary in the Booker T vs. Triple H match was terrible. I understand having a heel commentator to balance things out, but Jerry Lawler was intolerable – more so than usual – and was flat out inappropriate to the point I wanted to put the match on mute to get away from the racial undertones he was projecting. It was just one of those things where it would have be fine in small doses but never-ending talk about it dragged the match down as a whole. Then there was the Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon match. There was no reason why that match went 21 minutes. It was sloppy. It was unorganized. It was overbooked. It was just bad.

RANDOM THOUGHT: “The WWF’s favorite band? This isn’t Saliva. That’s quite insulting to a band that showed up last year and offered up their songs to be used over and over again for theme music.”

MY ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA CARD RANKING: The back end of this card was great. Take away the God-awful slog that was the Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon match, you have yourself a great finish of the card. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho was good, but you get the vibe that the two had another gear that it never got into. The Triple H vs. Booker T match was a solid, but felt to be stuck in a no-man’s land in terms of its match placement – sandwiched in between the HBK vs. Jericho match and the Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon blood feud. I loved The Rock vs. Austin match, and since I liked this match more than their Wrestlemania 17 bout, that’s already enough reason to put this one ahead of the perceived greatest Wrestlemania, but add it an excellent title match between Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle move this Wrestlemania into the top spot with 10 events to go.

  1. Wrestlemania XIX
  2. Wrestlemania X-7 (Review)
  3. Wrestlemania 10 (Review)
  4. Wrestlemania X-8 (Review)
  5. Wrestlemania 7 (Review)
  6. Wrestlemania 5 (Review)
  7. Wrestlemania 15 (Review)
  8. Wrestlemania 6 (Review)
  9. Wrestlemania 14 (Review)
  10. Wrestlemania 3 (Review)
  11. Wrestlemania 2000 (Review)
  12. Wrestlemania 13 (Review)
  13. Wrestlemania 2 (Review)
  14. Wrestlemania 4 (Review)
  15. Wrestlemania 12 (Review)
  16. Wrestlemania 8 (Review)
  17. Wrestlemania 11 (Review)
  18. Wrestlemania 1 (Review)
  19. Wrestlemania 9 (McMahon vs. Hogan should have happened here)
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