Going into Wrestlemania X7, I thought I knew who was going to win many of the matches, and didn’t expect anything amazing.
Boy was I wrong.
I can honestly say that Wrestlemania was a great show, and there was very little to nit pick about it.
Even as Steve Austin got a massive reaction from his home state crowd, and the Rock was showered with more boos than he’s seen in years, the match progressed to a stunning climax, with Austin actually aligning himself with McMahon. The Texas crowd was in stunned disbelief when they saw Austin shake hands with McMahon, but as the reality of the situation sinks in, Austin’s sell out will make him one of the hated men in wrestling.
This leaves so many questions for Raw, but still with such a sense of closure. Austin’s return from an injury was completed, as he finally climbed the mountain and regained the title. But at what cost? Why did he sell his soul to the devil? Where does this leave the Rock? What about HHH, Austin’s lead rival, are they allies?
The HHH vs. Undertaker match was very good as well, and gave us the ending we needed. HHH was booked all month to get one better on the Undertaker, and the Dead Man needed a win to get his heat back. A loss would probably have killed him as a main event contender, but now he is poised to be in the main event for the title against a freshly turned Austin. HHH is basically unaffected, and is still a top name.
The McMahon family saga came to a temporary conclusion with a nice swerve, which although predictable was still satisfying to say the least. It restores some balance in the power structure at the top of the WWF, but leaves enough with Vince to make sure it stays interesting. Everyone played his or her role to perfection, and the lackluster match was overshadowed by the well-crafted storyline.
As an aside to that match, did anyone else find it funny that WCW was so far away in that luxury box? I think it’s great that the WWF didn’t succumb to pressure to make WCW a big part of Wrestlemania. The event was loaded and fun on its own, and there is plenty of time now to develop the WCW stuff before they return in mid-May.
I was as shocked as anyone in the room that Edge & Christian once again won the tag titles in Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2. They have won all the other major matches with these teams, and always seem to take the fewest bumps of these three teams. Still, they need the titles to stay over, and have more charisma than both of the other teams combined. And the non stop amazing spots made this match another event to remember.
The rest of the card was well done as well.
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit gave us a great mat wrestling match with solid brawling and an old school, semi-clean ending. It probably would have been better to have Benoit go over, but Angle is a super talent and deserved a win at the big dance.
The gimmick battle royal was great to old time fans, but much of the live audience seemed lost. Hearing Bobby The Brian Heenan again on the air was sweet, and I hope he can find a place in the new WCW.
The IC, European and Hardcore Title matches all featured interesting winners, but were all well done and entertaining. Jericho and Regal put on a good match with a refreshingly clean ending. The Radicals got some good heel heat against Test, who almost was able to single handedly defeat three men. And the Hardcore Title match, while showing how dead that division is, had a cool ending and a well deserved singles title for Kane.
The woman’s title match, probably what everyone was looking forward to least, was short and decisive, not swerving and giving Chyna fans what they wanted.
Even the most jaded wrestling fan had to find something to enjoy at Wrestlemania X7. It had great wrestling, well done and compelling storylines, nostalgia, a huge crowd and impressive set which made the event feel special and so much more.
Kudos to Vince McMahon and his staff, I have more confidence in them than ever that they can make the WWF and WCW both must-see TV for wrestling fans.