Inside Pulse 12

A2Z Analysiz: WWE WrestleMania XIX (Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar)

WrestleMania 19

Safeco Field – Seattle, WA – Sunday, March 30, 2003

MATCH #1: Cruiserweight Championship Match – Matt Hardy vs. Rey Mysterio

Hardy has been the Champion since 2.23.03, and this is his second defense. Shannon Moore tries to attack before the bell but Mysterio runs him off. Mysterio backdrops Hardy to the floor and wipes out both Hardy and Moore with a corkscrew plancha. Back in the ring Mysterio covers for two. Mysterio continues the aerial assault. He tries a Sunset Bomb to the floor but Moore kicks him in the gut, allowing Hardy to take control. Hardy slams Mysterio chest-first on the barricade and rolls Mysterio back in for a a two-count. The Champ keeps Mysterio grounded and Moore interferes every chance he gets. Hardy tries a Twist of Fate but Mysterio counters with a prawn hold for a two-count. Mysterio tries to follow up but Hardy catches him in the Side Effect for a near-fall. Hardy slugs away but misses a charge in the corner and his shoulder hits the ring post. Mysterio starts flying around the ring and hits a Tornado DDT for two. He sets up for the 619 but Moore trips him. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate and Mysterio kicks out! The Champ goes for Splash Mountain but Mysterio counters with a rana! Moore interferes again and puts Hardy’s foot on the bottom rope. Mysterio hits the 619 but misses the West Coast Pop. He goes for a Victory Roll instead but Hardy drops down and grabs the bottom rope for leverage to get the pin and retain the title at 5:38. That was crazy short but they packed a ton of action and energy into it the entire time. It would have been nice to see Mysterio go over here but they pulled the finish off well.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: Undertaker & Nathan Jones vs. Big Show & A-Train

Jones was taken out by Show and A-Train in the showers earlier tonight on Heat, It’s probably for the better that he’s not in this match actually. Undertaker immediately sends Show to the floor and hits A-Train with a Chokeslam for a near-fall. That would have been great if it was the finish. Undertaker continues fighting off the two behemoths in the early going. He hits A-Train with Old School. Show distracts Undertaker from the apron, allowing A-Train to hit the Derailer. A-Train throws Undertaker to the floor and Show rams him into the ring post. Show and A-Train work Undertaker over briefly before Undertaker fights back and puts Show in a Fujiwara Armbar. A-Train breaks that up. Undertaker then puts A-Train in a Cross Armbreaker and Show has to break that up. Show and A-Train try to wear Undertaker down again, but it doesn’t last long before Undertaker hits A-Train with a back suplex. A-Train cuts him off with a clothesline. Undertaker comes back with a DDT. Undertaker dominates the two big men until A-Train blasts him with a Bicycle Kick. Show hits a Chokeslam and then Nathan Jones comes running down the aisle. When Show goes to meet him Jones takes him out with a spin kick. Jones then gets in the ring and hits A-Train with a big boot to the face. Undertaker hits A-Train with the Tombstone Piledriver to get the pin at 9:45. This makes Undertaker 11-0 at WrestleMania. This was a pretty lousy match and Undertaker never appeared to be in any actual danger. Also, why was Nathan Jones allowed to interfere if it had been officially announced as a handicap match? Eh, who cares.
Rating: *

MATCH #3: Women’s Championship Match – Victoria vs. Jazz vs. Trish Stratus

Victoria has been the Champion since 11.17.02, and this is her seventh defense. She is accompanied by Steven Richards, in perhaps his biggest WrestleMania role ever. Jazz attacks both women right away and covers Stratus right away for two. She puts Stratus in the Last Chancery briefly. Jazz kicks Victoria off the apron again, which gives Stratus time to recover and hit a Thesz Press. The battle spills to the floor and Victoria is back in it. Victoria and Jazz double-team Stratus briefly, but Jazz quickly dissolves that partnership. The Champion is able to catch Jazz with a nice powerslam for two. Stratus catches Victoria in a prawn hold for two. Victoria cuts Stratus off with a clothesline. Jazz gets back in the mix as the pace continues to be fast and all three women try to stake their claim to the title. Stratus is on fire, nailing Jazz with the Chick Kick for a two-count. Victoria goes to the second rope and Stratus takes her down with the Stratusphere. Jazz grabs Stratus in a half crab and then turns it into the STF. The referee gets distracted by Victoria so Richards sneaks in the ring and throws Jazz to the floor. The biggest pop in the match comes when Stratus gets Victoria in an O’Connor Roll and a tiny peek of Victoria’s butt crack shows. Wrestling fans are neanderthals. Jazz gets Stratus in a chicken wing and slams her down. Victoria drills Jazz with a boot to the face but misses a moonsault. Jazz charges and Victoria backdrops her to the floor. Richards tries to interfere with a chair but ends up hitting himself in the face. Stratus hits him with the Stratusfaction. Victoria goes for the Widow’s Peak but Stratus slips out and clobbers Victoria with the Chick Kick to get the pin and win the Women’s Title for a fourth time at 7:17. That was non-stop action and great work from all three wrestlers. I dare Kaitlyn, Layla, and Tamina Snuka to do that well this year.
Rating: ***

MATCH #4: WWE Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match – Team Angle vs. Chris Benoit & Rhyno vs. Los Guerreros

Interesting to note that three of these guys are in ROH, one is in TNA, and two are dead. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin have been the Champions since 2.6.03, and this is their first defense. The champs charge into the ring and we’re off and running. I didn’t hate Charlie Haas at this time, like I do now. We settle with Haas and Chavo in the ring. Chavo gets the advantage so Haas tags Benoit. Eddie tags in and Los Guerreros are looking good early on. Benoit and Eddie go back and forth a bit and then Rhyno tags in. The pace in this one is fast, just like two of the previous three matches. Rhyno hits Eddie with a nice powerslam for a two-count. Benjamin tags in and goes to work on Rhyno. Momentum continues to shift as all three teams try to establish dominance. Benoit hits Guerrero with a superplex featuring a nasty landing for a near-fall. He follows up with the Crippler Crossface and Haas breaks it up. Guerrero comes back with a brainbuster for two. Chavo tags in and Benoit hits him with the rolling German Suplexes. Benjamin tagged in while the suplexes were happening and he tags Benoit with a superkick for two. The referee loses control and the finisher parade begins. Rhyno throws out Gores to Haas and Chavo, but Eddie pulls him to the floor. Benjamin picks up the scraps and pins Chavo for the win at 8:46. That was non-stop action and a fun little sprint of a match.
Rating: ***

MATCH #5: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho

This is Michaels’ first WrestleMania match since dropping the WWE Championship to Stone Cold Steve Austin five years ago at WrestleMania XIV. They start off slowly with some chain wrestling. This has potential to be a show-stealer. Jericho strikes with the first insult with a slap to the face and Michaels responds with a hard right hand. Michaels then tosses Jericho to the floor. He teases a dive and Jericho avoids it, but then he’s able to hit the baseball slide. Back in the ring Michaels hits a high cross body off the top rope and Jericho rolls through for a near-fall. Jericho lands a leg lariat and takes control. He goes for the bulldog but Michaels shoves him off. Michaels goes to work on the leg, but when he tries a Figure-Four Leglock for the second time, Jericho kicks him shoulder-first into the ring post. Jericho tries to throw Michaels out but just guess how that turns out? Michaels is awesome. He follows Jericho out with a dive. They fight in the aisle and Michaels tries a dropkick but Jericho catches it and puts on the Walls of Jericho. Obviously he releases it. Back in the ring Jericho hits the springboard dropkick. Jericho keeps Michaels on the mat and wears him down for several minutes. Michaels fights back but Jericho cuts him off with the flying forearm. Jericho nips up and does the HBK pose. That fires Michaels up and he nips up and starts building momentum with a flurry of offense. Michaels goes up top and hits the moonsault for two. They do the fish out of water spot and Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho but Michaels kicks out of it. Jericho hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. He tries to hold Michaels down but Michaels bridges up and tries a backslide. Jericho blocks it and takes Michaels down with a clothesline. He hits the bulldog and lands the Lionsault! Michaels kicks out, twice. Jericho is starting to look frustrated. Michaels goes for a hurricanrana but Jericho catches him and locks on the Walls of Jericho! Luckily Michaels reaches the ropes. Jericho tries it again and Michaels catches an inside cradle for a near-fall. Some call it a small package. Jericho hits a double underhook backbreaker and goes up top to hit a flying back elbow. He then tunes up the band and drills Michaels with Sweet Chin Music! Somehow Michaels kicks out! Michaels comes back with a turn around cross body block off the second rope and he adds some right hands. He then catapults Jericho into the ring post and rolls him up for two. Jericho puts Michaels up top for a belly-to-back superplex but Michaels counters to a cross body block in mid-air. Michaels covers for two. He goes up top and Jericho kicks the referee into the ropes to knock Michaels down. Jericho tries a superplex but Michaels drops him down on his face. Michaels hits the Savage Elbow and then he tunes up the band! He misses Sweet Chin Music and Jericho traps him in the Walls of Jericho! Michaels reaches the ropes. A frustrated Jericho then walks right into Sweet Chin Music! Michaels is able to crawl over for the cover but only gets two. He goes for an Irish Whip but Jericho reverses it and Michaels takes the big bump to the turnbuckles. Jericho tries a back suplex but Michaels slips out and grabs Jericho in the prawn hold to get the flash pin at 22:30! That was a tremendous match between two of the greatest of all-time. Michaels wasn’t quite back to top form yet, making this performance all the more impressive. Both guys played off each other and the storyline perfectly.
Rating: ****¼

After the match, a teary-eyed Jericho and Michaels share a hug while JR and King applaud them. Then Jericho kicks Michaels in the nuts and storms off! That was awesome.

MATCH #6: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Triple H vs. Booker T

Triple H has been the Champion since 12.15.02, and this is his third defense. He’s accompanied by “The Natura Boy” Ric Flair. They start off tentatively, which seems wrong given the things HHH said about Booker in the buildup to this match. Booker takes the first advantage. HHH catches Booker with a back elbow and foolishly goes to the top rope. Booker armdrags him down. They go to the floor and Booker slams HHH face-first into the ring post. Back in the ring Booker keeps up the advantage. HHH comes back and sends Booker to the apron, and then runs him into the ring post. Back in the ring HHH stays in control and hits a spinebuster for two. Booker comes back with a DDT. Both men rise and trade strikes. Booker wins that battle and hits a leg lariat and a side suplex. He follows up with a flying forearm for two. HHH grabs a sleeper hold out of desperation but Booker escapes it. Booker then runs his face right into HHH’s high knee. HHH covers for two. He hits the facebreaker but then runs right into a spinebuster. Booker covers for two. HHH comes back and goes to the second rope and jumps right into a superkick! Booker goes for the Scissors Kick but misses, and then goes for another one but HHH ducks again and Booker tumbles to the floor. Flair takes the opportunity to drop Booker’s knee on the steel steps. Back in the ring HHH goes to work on the knee and puts on an Indian Deathlock. As if this match needed any more racist overtones. Booker eventually reaches the ropes. HHH is looking dominant here. Booker grabs a sunset flip from out of nowhere and almost steals a pin. HHH goes for the Pedigree but Booker sweeps the legs and HHH kicks him back into referee Nick Patrick. it wasn’t a debilitating blow though. HHH then almost clotheslines Patrick but he ducks (you don’t see that every day) and Booker grabs a schoolboy rollup for two. Booker hits a flying back elbow and then nails the Scissors Kick. He crawls over to make the cover but only gets two. Booker goes up top and knocks Flair off the apron on his way up. HHH joins him up there but gets knocked back to the mat. Booker knocks Flair off the apron again and then hits HHH with the Harlem Hangover! He eventually makes the cover and Flair puts HHH’s leg on the bottom rope. That would have been a great finish. Back on their feet it appears that Booker’s knee is in bad shape. HHH hits a thunderous Pedigree and lays there for what seems like forever before crawling over to make the cover and get the pin at 18:47. That was a surprisingly good match right up until the last two minutes or so. The buildup to the match was HHH literally saying “people like you can’t be Champion” and then Booker proving him right. The Harlem Hangover would have been a great finish, but the bigger bummer is how long HHH waited after the Pedigree to make the cover.
Rating: ***

MATCH #7: Street Fight – Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. McMahon

This is Hogan’s twelfth and final WrestleMania match. McMahon slaps Hogan in the face before the bell. Hogan spears McMahon down and the bell rings so it is on. The Hulkster dominates the early going and McMahon tries to cover up. McMahon fights back with his awkward strikes. He then goes to work on Hogan’s arm, which is smart to try and neutralize Hogan’s power. McMahon uses a Greco-Roman Knuckle Lock to keep Hogan on his knees. Hogan powers up but McMahon sends him to the floor. McMahon looks confident and tries to use a chair but Hogan ducks it and McMahon hits nothing but post. Hogan throws McMahon into the post and then clobbers him with the chair. He sure doesn’t have to, but damn McMahon takes his chair shots like a man. McMahon is busted open. Back in the ring Hogan continues the abuse. They go back outside and Hogan wears out his former boss with a steel chair. Hogan tries to hit McMahon but accidentally hits Spanish Announcer Hugo Savinovich! McMahon fights back with a low blow and clobbers Hogan with the chair. Hogan took it like a man too. McMahon slams Hogan into the Spanish table and blasts him with one of the monitors. He then climbs up a ladder and leaps off with a leg drop! That’s a man bump right there. Back in the ring McMahon covers but only gets two! McMahon goes out under the ring and grabs a lead pipe, and the shot of his bloody face peering over the apron is amazing. Hogan gives McMahon a receipt via a low blow. Both men are down. Then from out of nowhere a guy in a cloak steps into the ring and he takes his hood off to reveal Rowdy Roddy Piper! The crowd is going banana. Piper picks up the pipe and appears ready to hit McMahon with it but he hits Hogan instead! McMahon covers but Hogan kicks out again! A frustrated McMahon tosses referee Brain Hebner to the floor and calls out his personal referee Sylvain Grenier. McMahon hits Hogan with the pipe again, and then hits a Leg Drop! The insult! McMahon should know better though, as this just makes Hogan Hulk Up! Hogan knocks McMahon down and then pitches Grenier to the floor.. He hits the Big Boot and three Leg Drops to get the pin at 20:47. That was ridiculously entertaining and both guys played their roles to perfection. McMahon is truly one of the greatest heels in the history of the business.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #8: The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

Rock’s entrance video during this run was awesome. They naturally brawl to start, and they fight out to the floor early on. Austin has the advantage and throws Rock into the railing and the steel steps. Back in the ring Austin stays in control, choking Rock on the middle rope. Austin jaws with the referee, giving Rock the chance to take Austin’s knee out. They go back to the floor and Rock continues attacking the knee. In the ring the assault continues, but Austin won’t stay down for very long. Rock is so brilliant as a heel it’s disgusting. He puts on the Sharpshooter, which Austin has certainly felt before. Austin reaches the ropes. Rock then wraps Austin’s leg around the ring post and slams it a few times. Rock puts Austin’s vest on just to be a jerk, but Austin fires up and they clothesline each other. Both men are down. They get up and start firing, and Austin lands a Thesz Press. Austin hits the F-U elbow to score a near fall. Austin brings Rock to the corner and stomps a mud hole in him. Rock fights back with a clothesline and nips up. He can’t help taunting the crowd, which gives Austin the chance to nail a Rock Bottom for two. Austin goes for the Stunner but Rock counters to one of his own for two. Both are up and Rock hits a series of right bands but Austin ducks one and hits the Stunner. Rock kicks out! The referee tries to reprimand Austin for something, so he shoves him out of the way and Rock takes the opportunity to hit a low blow. Rock sets up for the People’s Elbow, but Austin moves and goes for another Stunner. Rock blocks it and hits the spinebuster, throws Austin’s vest off, and this time hits the People’s Elbow. That only gets two. Austin turns around into a Rock Bottom but he kicks out! Austin gets up and Rock hits another Rock Bottom. Austin looks to be in legitimate pain at this point, but he kicks out again! Rock is pissed. He hits a third Rock Bottom and that is finally enough to get the pin at 17:53 and Rock has now done it all. I liked the match more than I remember liking it before, since it was so different than their other two matches. Also, it doesn’t matter that they each hit so many finishers because between the two of them they would wrestle two more matches in WWE (both of them Rock), so it’s not like they needed protection anymore. I think this match gets overshadowed because of Michaels versus Jericho and Angle versus Lesnar from this show, but it’s really quite good.
Rating: ****

MATCH #9: WWE Championship Match – Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar

Angle has been the Champion since 12.15.02, and this is his third defense. Lesnar has his ribs taped up. They take it right down to the mat and I expect them to spend a lot of time there. Lesnar asserts his power advantage because they are so evenly matched as mat technicians. Angle goes after the ribs, which is definitely good strategy. Lesnar scores the first near-fall with a nice powerslam. Angle comes back with a release German Suplex but Lesnar pops right up and hammers away on the Champion. Lesnar tries to follow up but Angle rolls to the floor, and then catches him with kicks coming back in the ring. Angle can’t keep the advantage though and Lesnar press slams him for fun. The momentum continues to shift between these two highly skilled athletes. Angle German Suplexes Lesnar into the buckles and takes control. He focuses on the ribs, trying to take Lesnar’s air away. Angle uses various suplexes and submission holds to wear Lesnar down. Lesnar tries to come back but Angle cuts him off and hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle knocks Lesnar to the floor but quickly brings him back inside. He charges right into a spinebuster and both men are down. Back on their feet Lesnar unleashes a flurry of offense. Lesnar hits a nice overhead belly-to-belly suplex and then another one for a two-count. He tries a third but Angle reverses to rolling German Suplexes. Angle goes for the Angle Slam but Lesnar reverses to an F-5, and Angle counters that into the Ankle Lock. Lesnar tries to escape so Angle turns it into a half crab and Lesnar makes it to the ropes. Angle charges in and Lesnar backdrops him to the floor! Back in the ring Angle ducks a clothesline and hits a huge release German Suplex for a near-fall. The straps come down and Angle hits an Angle Slam for two! Angle goes for another one but Lesnar counters with an inside cradle for two. Lesnar then connects on the F-5! Lesnar covers and Angle kicks out! Angle grabs the Ankle Lock and Lesnar once again reaches the ropes. Lesnar tries an F-5 but Angle gets a cradle for two. Angle tries the Angle Slam but Lesnar counters with another F-5! Lesnar goes up top and actually tries the Shooting Star Press and it looks great, but Angle was too far away and Lesnar spiked himself on the way down. A normal sized neck would have probably been broken by that. Angle covers for two. He tries to follow up but Lesnar picks him up for another F-5 and that’s enough to get the pin and win the title at 21:07. That was a different style than WrestleMania main events are accustomed to and I appreciated the difference. They did a lot of mat wrestling and both guys were believable in their attacks and their selling. If the Shooting Star Press had connected and been the finish this would be an all-time classic. Lesnar looks legitimately out of it, and he’s lucky that’s all that happened to him. They shake hands and embrace after the match, which actually makes sense in this context.
Rating: ****¼

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