Pulse Wrestling’s SmarK Rant Countdown – Wrestlemania XVII

PPVs, Reviews

The SK Rant for WWF Wrestlemania X-7

– Quick note for those who read my “All-Time Wrestlemania” column earlier in the week, where I picked one match from each of the previous X-6 Wrestlemanias – yes, I used Taka twice, forgetting that he had recovered from his injury in time to compete in the Hardcore Battle Royale at Wrestlemania 2000. Thanks to the 100 or so people who e-mailed me to let me know of this.

– Live from Houston, TX, and OH MY GOD is that a big crowd.

– Your hosts are Jim Ross & Paul Heyman.

– Thanks to CRZ for match times, as I was ranting live on the show and couldn’t get them myself.

– Heat match: X-Pac & Justin Credible v. Too Cheese. Nice to see X-Pac’s reported tantrum to HHH got him on the show, even if it was only the pre-game. God knows it can’t be a Wrestlemania without X-Pac. X-Pac gets a quick broncobuster attempt, but Sexay takes him down. Albert nails him and Sexay plays face-in-peril for a bit. Hot tag Blackman, but X-Factor hits a double-superkick for the pin. Just a match. ¼*

– Opening match, Intercontinental title: Chris Jericho v. William Regal. Jericho gets a quick forearm and leg lariat, and Regal bails. He follows with a pescado. Back in, Jericho comes off the top with an elbow for two. Counter-wrestling sequence leads to Regal posting Jericho. He works the shoulder, but Jericho gets a quick Lionsault attempt, which misses. Regal cradles for two and a suplex gets two. He undoes a turnbuckle and rams Jericho’s shoulder into it, but takes a pair of enzuigiris. They head upstairs and Regal gets a butterfly superplex for two. Walls of Doink are reversed to the Regal Stretch, but he makes the ropes. Chris with the first CANADIAN VIOLENCE of the night, bulldog, and a surprisingly clean Lionsault victory at 7:08 to retain. I would have pegged Regal going over for sure here. Match was okay, but pretty disappointing overall. **1/2

– Meanwhile, Shane arrives in his WCW limo.

– The Right to Censor v. Tazz & The APA. Val and Tazz slug it out, but Tazz gets caught in the corner and double-teamed. Goodfather legdrop and backdrop suplex gets two. Hot tag Bradshaw, and he hits a blockbuster suplex on Goodfather. Double chokeslam for Bull. Double superplex for Val, but Bull & Goodfather powerbomb Bradshaw. Ho Train misses, and the Clothesline from Hell finishes. Not as horrible as some RTC matches I’ve seen. ½*

– Meanwhile, Trish & Steph plan the post-match celebration as Linda sits comatose.

– Hardcore title: Raven v. Big Show v. Kane. Raven attacks as Big Show lumbers out. Kane tosses Raven into Show, then hits both with a tope and out into the crowd. Kane puts Raven into a wall backstage, and he beats a retreat. Big Show locks them into a cage, and Kane rips off the door (as is his specialty). Back into the hall, Raven goes through a window. Kane & Show do a Shockmaster job on a wall, and Raven tries to flee on a golf cart. Show pursues, and Kane runs them over with another golf cart. The FOAM PEANUTS OF DEATH get involved. So Raven goes into a wall, through a glass window and gets run over by a golf cart, but Kane gets to take a vicious shot from PACKING PEANUTS? Back to the entranceway, where Show tries a press-slam on Raven, but Kane shoves both through a platform beside the ramp, and Kane dives onto Show for the pin and the title at 9:18. Raven’s bumping carried it well enough. **

– Meanwhile, Jimmy Snuka is at WWF New York.

– European title match: Test v. Eddy Guerrero. Nice hat, Perry. Slugfest to start, and Test get a quick powerbomb for two. Brawl outside. Into the ring, Test presses him into the corner for two. Eddy comes back and tries a top rope rana, but Test blocks. Then in an embarassing spot, Test gets caught in the top rope and they just can’t seem to figure out how to deal with it. Eddy stands on his crotch to improvise something as Saturn gets his shots in. Back in, he works on Test’s knee and goes to a sleeper. Test comes back with a tilt-a-whirl slam and rotation powerbomb for two. Uncle Slam is blocked and Saturn sneaks in with a brainbuster for two. Senton misses and Test hits a Meltdown for two. He takes out both Eddy & Perry with the Big Kick, but now Dean sneaks out to distract Test, and Eddy finishes with the BELTSHOT OF DOOM at 8:30 to win the title. Surprisingly good match. ***

– Meanwhile, Mick promises impartiality.

– Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit. Angle takes him down and they do into a mat sequence. Another amateur sequence gets a good response. Angle with another takedown and into a facelock. They fight for a cradle, more applause. Benoit works for the crossface, and Angle makes the ropes. Again, Angle escapes again. Again, and again Angle escapes. He then clobbers Benoit, having been frustrated on the mat, and tosses him. Brawl to the spanish table, and Benoit meets the steps. Back in, suplex gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Angle pounds him into the corner, but Benoit comes back with some CANADIAN VIOLENCE. Angle hits his own, and a belly-to-belly. Another one follows. Benoit comes back with a short-arm clothesline and more Canadian Violence. They slug it out, but Benoit kneelifts him and comes back. Snap suplex gets two. Superplex gets two. Rolling germans are reversed to the Anglelock, reversed again by Benoit to his own! Oh yeah. Crossface, Angle reverses to HIS own! This is SO awesome. Benoit makes the ropes, and the ref is bumped (groan). Crossface for real, no ref. Benoit revives the ref, Olympic Slam gets two. Moonsault hits knee. Benoit gets the headbutt for two. Angle goes low and rolls him up for the cheap pin at 14:03. ****1/4 Oh man, minus that dumb finish this was AWESOME.

– Meanwhile, Kamala trashes Regal’s office.

– Women’s title match: Ivory v. Chyna. Powerbomb and gorilla slam finish for Chyna at 2:39. That’s all this warrants. DUD

– Vince McMahon v. Shane McMahon. Vince clobbers him and chokes him down in the corner. Shane comes back with a spear and a pair of elbowdrops, but Stephanie comes in and runs interference. Shane baseball slides Vince and they brawl in the aisle as Shane goes nuts with a sign and chokes him out with a cable. He comes off the barricade with a clothesline, and finds a kendo stick. We take a trip to the woodshed as Mick laughs. Shane lays in the punches and preps the Spanish table as the crowd gets all giddy. Vince gets laid out on it, and Shane comes off the top with an elbow that misses, destroying the table. Trish wheels Linda out and slaps Vince. Trish and Steph brawl into the ring, and Mick pulls them apart (to heel heat) and chases them down the aisle. Vince goes after Linda, but Mick stops him. Vince destroys Mick with a chair (oh geez) and goes back to Linda, putting her into the ring, and in a chair in the corner. Ali-Frazier rears its ugly head again with Mick Foley involved. Vince tosses him garbage cans into the ring, and absolutely decimates Shane with them as the drama mounts in impressive fashion. He adds some verbal abuse for Linda, but when he turns around Linda rises. Nutshot for Vince, and Foley kicks some righteous ass to pop the crowd beyond all sanity. Shane puts a garbage can on Vince, heads to the top, and hits a VAN TERMINATOR for the pin at 14:12. Rob Who? Match was overbooked melodrama, but if you’re gonna do it, do it with style. Drama + Psychology + Crazy bumps = ***1/2

– WWF World tag titles, TLC2: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. Big brawl to start. Dudleyz dominate. Hardyz hit Poetry in Motion as Edge & Christian bring a ladder in and destroy everyone. They stomp on Matt’s nuts and drop Jeff on a chair. Matt climbs but gets speared off by Edge. Edge climbs and Jeff dropkicks him off, and they baseball slide the Dudleyz. Two ladders get set up and Hardyz hit Rolling Thunder off them. Dudleyz come on with the Wazzup Drop on Edge, they get the tables. Buh Buh powerbombs Jeff onto Edge, through the table. Dudleyz stack some stables outside and set up some ladders in the ring. All six guys climb, all six guys go flying off in all sorts of crazy bumps, including Christian clearing the top rope by six inches and splatting on the floor. Ye gods. Edge climbs, but Spike runs in and Acid Drops Christian out of the ring, through a table! Rhyno comes in and gores everything in sight, allowing Edge to climb again. Lita stops that, but Rhyno goes after her. Lita ranas him, and Rhyno knocks Edge off the ladder by mistake. Dudleyz give Rhyno the Dudley Device, then 3D for Lita. Edge chairs Buh Buh, but Jeff sets up a supersized ladder outside and puts Spike & Rhyno through a table. In the ring, Edge & Christian set up the big ladder and Christian races D-Von up, and both guys are left hanging. Both fall, and Jeff walks across the tops of four ladders, then falls off the last one and hangs in mid-air, only to get speared 15 feet in the air by Edge to the mat. OH MY GOD. Matt & Buh Buh fight on the ladder, but Rhyno shoves him out, over the top, through the double-stack of tables on the floor. OH MY HOLY GOD. Edge & Christian beat D-Von up to the top (with the help of a boost from Rhyno) and claim the titles for a record seventh time at 15:41. What else? *****

– Gimmick Battle Royale: Mean Gene and Bobby the Brain do commentary. We’ve got Bushwhackers, Duke the Dumpster, Iron Sheik, Earthquake, The Goon, Doink the Clown, Kamala, Repo Man, Jim Cornette, Nikolai Volkoff, Michael Hayes, One Man Gang, Gobbledygooker, Tugboat, Hillbilly Jim, Brother Love and Sgt. Slaughter. Everyone goes bang-bang-bang and 3:04 later, Iron Sheik (who is physically incapable of going over the top) wins it. Slaughter puts him out with the Cobra Clutch, to get his heat back I guess. I don’t rate battle royales.

– Undertaker v. HHH. Taker drops HHH on the backup Spanish table, taking that one out, too. Into the ring we go, where HHH USES THE KNEE. Taker gets a clothesline and backdrop. Lariat sets up the ropewalk, but HHH comes back with a neckbreaker for two. He argues with the ref. Taker punches away, but walks into a facebuster. HHH grabs his trusty sledgehammer, but the ref stops him. Ref gets bumped (oy vey) and a chokeslam gets two. Taker assaults the ref in frustration, putting him out for what would end up being nearly 10 minutes. They brawl outside, where HHH gets backdropped out. They fight to the technical area. HHH chairs him down and works over the knee. Taker then chokeslams him off the scaffolding, which looks pretty cool until they actually show the bump. Ross declares that he’s sent him “to hell or something”. I guess hell is made out of foam rubber, then. Taker follows him down with an elbowdrop as they bounce around like a trampoline. Back to the ring, Taker grabs the hammer, but gets hit in the nads. Slugfest and UT gets the tombstone, no ref. Last Ride, but HHH hits him in mid-air with the sledgehammer for two. Man, I would have put $100 on that as the finish. Hunter pounds away in the corner, but UT simply walks out and powerbombs him for the pin at 18:18. Nice to see HHH putting those young up-and-comers over. The match’s basic emptiness was nicely disguised by HHH’s brilliance, but I don’t know how much longer Undertaker can hide behind better workers. **1/4

– WWF title match: The Rock v. Stone Cold Steve Austin. The pop Austin gets is insane. Austin attacks to start, and they slug it out. Thesz Press and FU Elbow. Rock neckbreaker sets up Rock Bottom, which is blocked, Stunner is blocked, Rock’s Stunner is blocked and they head outside. Into the crowd and back to ringside, where Austin gets a short-arm clothesline. Into the ring, Austin hits the rope straddle for two. Superplex gets two. Rock fights back with a flying lariat and belly-to-belly for two. Brawl to ringside, where Austin nails him with the bell and Rocky drops his blade. Oh geez, very professional, guys. Rock finally does a wussy blade, and back in we go. Austin methodically pounds him. Neckbreaker and mudhole stomping follow. Rock blasts out with a lariat (Crowd: “Boooo!”), then rams him into the STEEL turnbuckle bolt. He nails him with the bell for good measure, as Austin shows him how a REAL man blades. Rock pounds him, and works on the neck. Back outside, Austin drops Rock on the barricade. Catapult drives Rock headfirst into the post. And I mean HEADFIRST. Awesome. Rock staggers back into a monitor to the head. Back in, it gets two. Stunner is reversed by Rock into the Sharpshooter. Austin makes the ropes after two tries. Back to it, Austin breaks and hooks his own version! Rock powers out and Austin works on the knee. Back to the Sharpshooter, Rock makes the ropes. Million Dollar Dream is tried next, and Rock is fading. He climbs the ropes ala Bret Hart 96, and gets two, but Austin now knows the counter and escapes. This match is just so great on so many levels. Rock’s Roody Poo Stunner gets two. Vince wanders out. Austin gets a spinebuster on Rock for two. Rock gets his own and follows with the Elbow for two but Vince saves, getting a huge face pop. Rock chases Vince, but walks into a Rock Bottom from Austin (The Bottom Line?) for two. Stunner is blocked, ref bump. Enough with that already! It’s a friggin’ NO-DQ match. Vince comes in and chairs Rock. It gets two. Rock blocks another chairshot with Rock Bottom and goes after Vince, but turns around and it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER for two. Austin chairs Rock for two. He gets sick of Rock altogether, beats him like the proverbial red-headed stepchild for about two minutes with that chair until Rock is a quivering mass of Jello, and pins him to win the WWF title at 28:07 to a THUNDEROUS babyface pop. Vince and Austin shake hands as JR declares that Austin has “sold his soul to the devil himself”. Wasn’t that exactly the sort of thing that the WWF was blasting The Media for saying about Vince and the XFL? And I guess all the rhetoric about listening to the fans goes out the window once you’re determined to turn your #1 babyface heel. Retarded ending aside, the match kicked 900 types of ass and still had a lineup around the corner of asses to be kicked at it’s leisure. ****3/4

The Bottom Line: As much as I love Great American Bash 89 (the best NWA/WCW PPV I’ve ever seen), the main event here was better, the gimmick match was better (TLC’s ***** to Wargames’ ****), the pure wrestling was totally on par, the average match rating was about *** and the matches themselves were longer.

And as much as I love Canadian Stampede (the best WWF PPV I’ve ever seen), this show had way more impact and historical significance.

I’m not gonna go completely out on a limb and call it the Best PPV Ever until I’ve had a few months to get some perspective on it, but damned if it isn’t a contender. Rob your mother’s piggy bank and buy the replay, NOW.

Thumbs way, way, way, WAY up.

And I’m off to bed