Wrestlemania’s 19 and 20

I was a little off my schedule the past week so I have just 2 Wrestlemania’s to discuss, 19 and 20. As always, there will be some spoilers.

Rarely is there a ‘bad’ Wrestlemania. There are some that were definitely less memorable than others, but usually the WWE puts everything they have into making it the best show of the year.

Wrestlemania 19 was a solid show, but despite the fact I have watched it more than once I never seem to remember the card much before I start watching the 19th installment of the longest running PPV. Overall, it is a good show, but the only match that really stands out in my memory is Stone Cold vs. The Rock. This was a top notch match where The Rock finally got a Wrestlemania victory after losing to Stone Cold in Wrestlemania main events the past two times they met. This was Stone Cold’s last Wrestlemania main event since his injuries forced him to retire from full time wrestling. It was a great way to go out and if you watch this match you can see that The Rock is truly appreciative of Austin doing the job for him and subtly thanks him after the final pinfall.

Another match of note is Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon in a street fight. Way better than it had any right to be and both men busted their asses to put on the best show possible. Several high spots, a lot of blood shed by both men, and classic Hogan moments make this an entertaining match with Hogan winning.

Chris Jericho going against Shawn Michaels was another major highlight. Seeing these two legendary and very athletically gifted performers going head to head was a match made in heaven. They have similar styles yet are very unique in their move sets. Both guys were clearly trying to be the match of the night and they did a great job doing so.

The final match of the night was Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesner. An incredible match that had a ton of buildup with a nice payoff of Lesnar winning the WWE title. With both men having legendary amateur wrestling careers seeing them go to head to head in the WWE was a dream match and it did not disappoint.

Wrestlemania 20 was an okay show. Not bad, but not great. The low light of the night was Goldberg’s final match in the WWE against Brock Lesnar. The fans in attendance had no interest in the match and both wrestlers did not gel at all. It was awkward and unfortunate for both men.

Highlights were Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle (both all time great performers), the Cuiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Title (featuring Rey Misterio, Billy Kidman, Tajiri, and others), and the tag match between The Rock and Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair/Batista/Randy Orton in a 3 on 2 handicapped match.

Overall, a good show, but definitely flawed in the fact that there was just too much going on. At this time the WWE had an over abundance of talent and did not always seem to know what to do with them.

Still, this was a historic Wrestlemania being the 20th installment and still worth a few hours of your time.

10 more to go before this year’s Wrestlemania!

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997

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The 1997 edition of Halloween Havoc was another good one. WCW did have some truly good years and deserved to have a short reign at the top of the pro wrestling ladder and this PPV was a good example of why.

The highlights:

Yuji Nagata over Ultimo Dragon – An exciting match between two very talented cruiserweights. Ultimo Dragon was a solid performer and had many memorable matches in WCW.

Chris Jericho beats Gedo – Nine times out of ten Jericho has a great match and this was no exception. This is the first time I have ever seen Gedo and he worked quite well with the future Y2J.

Rey Misterio, Jr. defeats Eddy Guerrero – Two of the most talented wrestlers of all time. They were both great athletes and rarely had bad matches. They had a terrific in-ring chemistry that left you wanting both to win.

Randy Savage defeated Diamond Dallas Page – Another fun match between two guys that worked well together. It ended with interference from a fake Sting which surprisingly did not take away from what was a good match with a good story.

The lowlights:

Lex Luger losing to Scott Hall – Could have been a decent match if not for all of the interference. We are starting to witness the major issue with the NWO angle, it made no sense. Okay I get it, they are pretending to be an invading group trying to destroy WCW and from time to time they should get the upper hand. The problem is they got the upper hand way too often and made the rest of the roster look weak which does not help to sell an angle.

Roddy Piper vs. Hollywood Hogan in a steel cage match – it was okay, but seemed to go too long (even though is was only a 16 minute match) with more interference from the NWO which made me roll my eyes.

Despite those two matches it was another solid Halloween Havoc.

The final 3 will all be reviewed in next week’s post. 1998-2000 had some memorable matches, for bad or worse. This is when the wheels were coming off and WCW was nearing the end of it’s existence.

It is always nice to have competition no matter what industry you are in, but WCW really deserved to be put out of their misery which can be seen in the last 3 Halloween Havocs.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1996

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Now things are getting interesting in WCW.

This is the year when the NWO angle started which helped WCW to have a 2 year or so run as the top wrestling promotion in the U.S. Even though it was a huge angle that lasted a few years too long, the true key to WCW’s success at this time was the new crop of wrestlers they had on their roster and this Halloween Havoc was a great example of this.

The PPV started off with Dean Malenko defeating Rey Misterio, Jr. to win the Cruiserweight Championship – This was a great example of the talent level WCW had at this time as these two got the show off to a fantastic start. Two top notch wrestlers who had differing styles that worked perfectly together.

Diamond Dallas Page over Eddy Guerrero – Eddy Guerrero was a great mix of high flyer and mat wrestler. DDP was a guy who got his start in the business at a later than normal age, yet kept himself in shape and worked hard to put on some classic matches that defied time. This was a terrific match that really showcased both performers.

Syxx over Chris Jericho – Never really liked Syxx/123 Kid/X-Pac/Dumbass (not an official name), but he could put a good match when he tried and with Chris Jericho at the top of his game this was another excellent match from an overall great show.

The Outsiders beat Harlem Heat for the Tag Team titles – Excellent match from four big guys who could put on a great show when they worked at it. Harlem Heat always seemed to work hard and put on good matches. The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) got lazy towards the end of their WCW run, but when they put out the effort, as they did in this match, they really showed everyone how talented they truly were.

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After all of these good matches you cannot help but be concerned about the main even featuring Hollywood Hogan and Randy Savage. Even though Savage was late in his career, he still put on some classic matches, but Hogan was definitely past his prime. Fortunately, this match was worked perfectly with a bit of comedy thrown in. Hogan came out wearing a hair piece that came into play during the match when Savage pulled it off and wore it himself. Overall, this was a good, solid main event despite Rowdy Roddy Piper coming out at the end and giving one of the most boring promos ever. I love Roddy Piper. He was a great wrestler and terrific promo guy. This was a poor example of it. It went so long the PPV just abruptly had to end which was great, since it got to the point of embarrassment.

Despite the ending promo, this was an excellent show that proved WCW could be a very good promotion when they tried.

1997 was pretty solid as well and will be the sole PPV featured next week.