This Smark Wrestlemania Rant by Scott Keith is part of a series of reposts counting down to this year’s Wrestlemania. They are re-published “as is” with relative commentary from when they were written. Enjoy!
The SmarK Retro Rant for Wrestlemania 2000 (XVI)
– Okay, so we’re back again with a fresh re-rant after a week of reposts. Unless of you’re reading this for the big repost fest on IP in the year 2024 for the Wrestlemania XL festivities. In which case, I can’t help you.
– Live from Anaheim, CA.
– Your hosts are JR & King.
– This is one reason why the WWF was always better at certain things than WCW was – for instance, I don’t remember most of 1999-2000, so their constant video packages actually make it easy to remember the reasons for the midcard matches.
– Opening match: Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan. I barely remember any of this period, with Godfather and D-Lo as twin pimps and Bossman training Bull as a prison guard or something. Ice T raps the black dudes down to the ring, to almost no reaction. Or record sales, judging by how badly “Aggression” bombed. D-Lo starts with Bull and slugs away, but Bull blocks a rollup and D-Lo dropkicks him. Back elbow and Godfather comes in with a slam and a double-team splash/legdrop from the pimps. He misses an elbow and Bossman comes in and pounds Godfather in the corner, getting a clothesline out of the corner, and a back kick for two. Bull comes in and goes with D-Lo, as Brown slugs away in the corner, but Bull hits him with the rebound clothesline that he would go on to screw up 150,000 times before getting fired in 2003. Bossman gets a cheapshot to turn the tide, and the prison guards get a double-sliding punch for two. Bossman gets a big boot and Bull follows with an axe kick for two. They switch off on D-Lo and work him over, and a double elbow gets two for Bossman. King starts talking about the “electric atmosphere” while the crowd sits on their hands for this crap. Bull goes to the bearhug, but D-Lo slugs out, so Bull & Bossman pound him down again. They slug it out and D-Lo goes for a crossbody, but Bossman gets a backbreaker for two. JR makes a reference to an “XFL fair catch”, and BOY you don’t hear those references anymore. Bull comes off the top with a double axehandle and keeps punching, but goes up and crotches himself with help from Godfather. D-Lo follows with a rana, which Bull seems unable to sell properly, and it’s hot tag Godfather. Backdrop and the heels collide, as Bossman misses a charge and Godfather hits him with the Ho Train. D-Lo goes up and gets shoved off by Bull, but he lands on his feet. Dropkick on Bossman, but he walks into the Bossman slam and Bull finishes with a legdrop for the pin at 9:04. INSANELY long and boring. *
– Meanwhile, HHH and Stephanie admire their belts. Ah, for the days when Stephanie was Women’s champion and everyone else in the division was so bad that it was a blessing not to have someone who wrestled as champion.
– Hardcore Battle Royale: This is a 15-minute match, and whoever is the Hardcore champion when it’s over is, uh, the Hardcore champion. OK, that sounds stupid, but whatever. So we’ve got Tazz (he used to be a wrestler, you know), Viscera, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Hardcore Holly, Taka, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Faarooq, Bradshaw and of course Crash Holly (RIP). As expected, it’s a big brawl to start, and Tazz hits Crash with a capture suplex for the pin at 0:25 to win the title. So Tazz is now the champion. Viscera rams him into the post and slams him for the title at 1:00. Now see, the psychology is all off here, as everyone should just gang up on the champion in a sane world. Viscera fights with the Mean Street Posse using the Japanese flag as a weapon, but they fight back as people start to catch on. The APA (back when Bradshaw had heterosexual hair) try beating on him, but he fires back with the deadly COOKIE SHEET OF PAIN. Dull segment as everyone stands around outside and hits each other with no rhyme or reason. Bradshaw goes CRAZY with the cookie sheet. Hopefully no one gives him a spatula. Holly gets two on Viscera after a street sign, and so does Mosh. JR notes that “all these young pups taking these head shots will never forget their first Wrestlemania”. Actually, Jim, they probably did, which is kind of the problem. More heads hit with more signs. Into the ring, Viscera lays everyone out with the cookie sheet, which seems to the weapon of choice, but he goes up and gets slammed off by the APA. Faarooq uses a 2×4 to set up a Bradshaw shoulderblock and Kaientai covers to make Funaki the champ at 7:13. Taka turns on him and chases him outside, and they head back to the dressing room, where Rodney pins him at 8:10 to win the title. Joey Abs turns on him and gets a gutwrench at 8:23 for the title. Thrasher sends him into the door for the title at 8:43. Viscera pounds on him with the cookie sheet, and Thrasher stumbles back to the ring, but gets hit by Pete Gas with a fire extinguisher for the title at 9:28. Tazz attacks him and sends him into the post, as he does a gory bladejob, and Tazz suplexes him on the floor to win the title at 10:15 for the second time in the same match. Hardcore Holly sends him into the stairs for two. They slug it out and it’s back to more weapons. Mosh gets two off a cookie sheet. In the ring, the Hollies double-team Tazz, but Crash turns on Hardcore, and Tazz lays him out with the cookie sheet. That gets two. Why even make a cover? JR & King ask the same question. The Hollies keep fighting over who gets to pin Tazz, but Tazz gets another suplex on Crash. Hardcore powerslams Tazz for one, and Crash gets two. Hardcore tosses Crash and gets the DROPKICK OF DEATH on Tazz for two. Tazz hits him with a northern lights suplex and Hardcore bails, and Crash gets another cookie sheet shot on Tazz for the pin at 14:19 to win the title. Tazz comes back with the Tazzmission to a huge pop, but Hardcore breaks it up with a jar of candy and gets two on Crash, but Fink announces Hardcore as the champion. In the grand scheme of things, no one gave a f*ck. The time was supposed to have run out, but it didn’t, and Tim White had to pretend Crash kicked out at two, even though he didn’t. I must have been hitting the firewater to give this pile of horseshit *** upon first viewing, as 90% of it was meaningless fighting outside. Â½*
– Steve Blackman & Al Snow v. Test & Albert. Okay, quick word of explanation here. Blackman and Snow were Head Cheese, as Snow engaged in a quest to find a personality for Blackman. Test & Albert were Trish Stratus’ first stint in the WWF, which just shows how incredibly far she’s come as a character and a worker since her debut in 2000. For one thing, she’s no longer overly muscled and freakishly tanned. Nor does she wear 6 inch lifts in her boots. Test starts with Blackman, but gets superkicked. Snow comes in for a quick double-team and Snow slugs away, but Test clotheslines him and brings in Albert. Test gets the big boot. Snow comes in with an enzuigiri on Albert, but they beat on him in the corner. Albert gets double-teamed in the Head Cheese corner and they get a double-clothesline for two. Snow suplexes him for two. Blackman kicks him down for two as things get REALLY ugly and the match just falls apart. Snow & Blackman work Albert over, but he comes back with a butterfly suplex and makes what appears to be a hot tag for the heels, as Test comes in and cleans house on Head Cheese and gets a sideslam on Snow for two. I don’t get this at all. Double powerbomb on Snow, so devastating that Snow pulls up his tights in mid-sell, gets two. JR apologizes about 18 times for the match as Snow hits Albert with a quebrada outside, and Blackman pounds on Test to set up a Decapitation double-team on Test for two. Albert baldobombs Snow and dumps him, and presses Test onto Blackman for two. JR keeps burying the match as Blackman superkicks Albert, but Albert basically no-sells and Test finishes Blackman with a flying elbow at 6:59 to end the suffering. If this wasn’t in the running for Worst Match of the Year, it should have been. -**
– WWF tag title ladder match: The Dudley Boyz v. Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. This used to be a FRESH matchup, for those who don’t remember those days. This was also the days when the Dudleyz were the hottest act in tag team wrestling and Bubba still had a southern accent. Edge & Christian were ZERO-time tag team champions at this point. Big brawl outside to start, and Matt starts in the ring with Christian, but gets dropkicked. Next up, D-Von and Edge, as Edge gets a leg lariat and they head out again. Finally, Bubba & Jeff, as Bubba chops him in the corner but gets hit with a corkscrew out of the corner. Bubba backdrops him and gets the Bubba Bomb, and they brawl out again. Back into the ring, as everyone fights it out in various combinations, and Matt tosses a ladder at Bubba, allowing Jeff to slam into it, and it’s the same situation on the other side of the ring with E&C v. D-Von. Matt slams D-Von onto the ladder and hits him with a yodeling elbow. Jeff DDTs Bubba and puts him on the ladder, but misses a 450 splash and splats on it. Wonder why Jeff stopped using that? Bubba retaliates with his senton off the middle ropes (one of the few times it actually hits), and then Edge rides a ladder down from the top, onto another one that’s on Matt. Everyone is out, so D-Von legdrops Edge beneath another ladder. Bubba does the Terry Funk spot with the ladder on his shoulders, but E&C double-dropkick it back at him. They flapjack D-Von into another ladder in the corner, and Christian climbs up a ladder by the apron, hitting Bubba & Matt with a dive to the floor. Jeff makes the first climb for the belts, but Edge spears Matt off the ladder. He climbs next, but Matt brings him down with a Fire Thunder Bomb and climbs himself. D-Von slams him off to break that up and climbs, but Christian tosses a ladder at him to stop it. Now Christian climbs, but Bubba sets up two more ladders and climbs one to chase, bringing him down with a Bubba Cutter off the ladder. The Hardyz swoop in and toss Christian, and then climb up two ladders and hit a splash/legdrop combo on Bubba from the top of them. Edge tosses Jeff, however, and E&C double-suplex D-Von off a pair of ladders. Everyone is out again. Now The Hardyz duel with E&C on the top of two ladders, and they bring each other down. So now the Dudleyz join the fray, and all six guys climb three ladders and fight it out, but Christian & Jeff get dumped over the top, while Edge & Matt get crotched on the top rope, leaving the Dudleyz all alone in the ring. Christian staggers in, so the Dudleyz sandwich him between two ladders and hit Edge with 3D. It’s time for D-Von to get the tables, but that catchphrase didn’t exist yet. So they set up two ladders and put a table on top of them as a makeshift scaffolding, but the Hardy Boyz bring them down again. They all brawl outside and Bubba powerbombs Matt through a table outside, as D-Von misses a splash and puts himself through a table in the ring. Jeff tries a railrunner on Bubba, but walks into a ladder. Bubba then finds an insanely high ladder and sets up a table next to it, but Christian hits him with the bell to put him on the table, and Jeff climbs the ladder and puts Bubba through the table with a swanton bomb to take both guys out of play. In the ring, D-Von suplexes Christian and climbs the structure, but Matt returns to pull him down and hits the Twist of Fate. Matt then climbs, along with Christian, and they slug it out up there until Edge follows them up and gets rid of Matt, and they grab the titles at 22:28, their first reign of seven. Time and perspective have shown that although the match was insanely influential, the rematch at Summerslam 2000 (Tables Ladders & Chairs) was the superior match, and this one had a slower pace and featured too much contrived setting up of the crazy spots. ****
– Terri v. The Kat. I don’t even remember the backstory with this, but Terri has Moolah and Kat has Mae Young. Terri is wearing a bodystocking in lieu of tights, as is Kat. Well, at least they’re being honest about it. They fight it out on the mat to start, and special referee Val Venis breaks it up with a kiss. This incites jealousy and the dreaded hairtosses and they roll around a lot. Kat tosses Terri, but Mae Young was busy distracting Val and it continues. Unfortunately. Mae & Moolah get involved, and Terri gets tossed again, but Val is still distracted. Terri gets back in and Kat is out, so Val declares Terri the winner at 2:25. JR told us not to use the star rating system before it started, but I’ve never been good at following orders. -****
– Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn v. Chyna & Too Cool. This was the start of Eddie’s “Latino Heat”, as he spent weeks hitting on Chyna, with no results until the night after Wrestlemania. Eddie starts with Scotty and grabs a headlock, but gets monkey-flipped. Scotty with a backbreaker and some moonwalking, and Chyna comes in, but Eddie hides behind Malenko. Dean comes in and gets clotheslined and Chyna slugs away, before Scotty gets a cheapshot from outside. Grandmaster Sexay comes in with a double-suplex with Chyna, and they get down, which is a truly scary sight. Sexay slams Dean, and Eddie comes back in, but walks into a backdrop suplex. Sexay goes up, but Saturn shoves him off. Saturn then stomps him down and the Radicalz work him over. Eddie gets a suplex, but puts his head down and Scotty 2 Hotty comes back in. He walks right into a hotshot, however, and Eddie keeps making eyes at Chyna. Backdrop suplex and slingshot senton, but he stops to knock Chyna off the apron and gets suplexed by Sexay to the floor as a result. It’s BONZO GONZO in the ring and Scotty puts Saturn in Worm position, and it’s a Double Worm on Saturn & Malenko, back when it was REALLY over. The Radicalz drag him out, however, and send him into the railing, while Chyna pounds on Eddie in the ring. This match is a mess. So back in the ring, it seems like they’ve finally got their shit together and Scotty is the face-in-peril, so Saturn superkicks him and goes up with a flying elbow. Eddie goes up and Scotty crotches him and brings him down with a superplex. Hot tag Chyna, and the Radicalz all have to bump like pinballs for her, as she hits Saturn & Dean with handspring elbows and stereo ballshots. Eddie lays her out, however, but she counters a powerbomb and gets one of her own. The dreaded IRON TESTICULAR CLAW sets up a press slam, and a drop sleeper finishes at 9:39. The stuff with Chyna was ridiculous, especially with a 150-pound woman supposedly able to dead-lift a 220 pound guy, and the match was almost totally lacking in flow. **
– Eurocontinental title match: Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. The first fall is for the IC title, and the second fall is for the European title. Angle has both titles at this point. The DVD has commentary from all three guys (at the expense of the bitrate), so I’ll listen to Jericho’s commentary for the first fall and Benoit’s for the second fall. I still don’t get why they don’t do more wrestler commentaries for big shows. Benoit shoves Angle into Jericho, but gets clotheslined by Jericho. They all slug it out in the corner, and Jericho elbows Angle down, but Benoit unleashes the chops and Jericho dropkicks him into the corner and out. Jericho dropkicks Angle, but Benoit trips him up on the springboard dropkick and goes after Angle on the apron, but Jericho recovers and dropkicks both of them. Good spot. Jericho is really easy-going and funny on commentary, by the way, riffing on Benoit the whole time and talking about the spots. Angle hotshots Jericho on the stairs and gets two off it back in. Benoit saves and clotheslines Angle for two. Jericho saves and chops Benoit again, as they slug it out in the corner, and then he goes after Angle with a backbreaker, but goes up and gets shoved off into the table by Benoit. Benoit suplexes Angle for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho comes back in with a dropkick to Benoit and goes up, getting a missile dropkick on Angle for two, but Benoit saves. Jericho talks a bit about how much he likes working with Benoit and how they came up together. Angle suplexes Benoit for two while Jericho talks about working WWF style and working stuff from Japan. Jericho bulldogs Angle for two and gets into another chopfest with Benoit, but Angle suplexes Benoit for two. Jericho saves. Angle takes a powder and Jericho puts Benoit in the camel clutch, then releases to suplex Angle, but Benoit steals a near-fall. Angle slugs away on Jericho, but charges and hits boot, then recovers with a double underhook suplex for two. Benoit gets whipped into Jericho, but Jericho goes for a sunset flip, which Benoit blocks for two. Jericho tries another powerbomb, but Angle reverses to the crossface chickenwing, which he used briefly before discovering the anklelock. Benoit saves. He tosses Angle into the crowd and goes up with the diving headbutt to win the IC title at 7:55. Benoit then tries an immediate cover on Jericho again and gets two, as the European title match begins. Angle suplexes Benoit for two. I switch to Benoit’s commentary now. Angle goes up and gets crotched and Jericho follows, but Benoit crotches HIM and it’s a backdrop superplex, but both are out and Angle follows with a moonsault, which misses. Benoit is talking about the match more in kayfabe than the more-open Jericho. Hey, let’s try Angle. They all get a two-count as Angle admits that he knocked his own wind out of himself on the missed moonsault. Jericho tries the Walls on Angle, but Benoit saves, so Angle slugs away on him and slams him, then goes back to Jericho. Angle’s self-centered commentary is hilarious. Jericho comes back with a leg lariat, hitting Benoit, and then powerbombing Angle for one. Benoit saves with the rolling germans on Jericho for two. Dragon Suplex on Angle gets two. Angle complains that his shoulders weren’t even down. The ref is bumped and Benoit takes Jericho down with the crossface, but releases and gets caught in the Walls. Angle breaks the Walls down with a beltshot and pins Jericho, but only gets two. Benoit & Angle slug it out and Benoit gets a backdrop suplex, but misses the diving headbutt, allowing Jericho to Lionsault him for the pin and the Euro title at 13:46. This match was WAAAAAY ahead of its time, and it’s still a really cool technical exhibition, although Angle’s offense was much weaker in 2000 and the ex-WCW guys were shackled by the then-current WWF style. ***1/2
– Road Dogg & X-Pac v. Rikishi & Kane. D-X double-team Rikishi to start, but X-Pac goes after Kane outside and they brawl, and Rikishi gets a quick Stinkface on Road Dogg. Tori (not Torrie) tries to hide from Kane in the ring, but gets caught by Rikishi, and D-X save her from potential ass-eating action. D-X takes a walk, but Kane grabs X-Pac and they all head back to the ring. X-Pac kicks Rikishi down in the corner to set up a broncobuster and Road Dogg comes in to slug away, but Rikishi no-sells the punches. Kneedrop gets two. X-Pac comes in and pounds him with kicks, which Rikishi no-sells, and it’s a Bubba Cutter to set up the tag to Kane. Was that the hot tag? He destroys both D-X guys and backdrops X-Pac, then Paul Bearer brings Tori into the ring for a Stinkface from Rikishi. Tombstone kills X-Pac dead at 4:14. Basically a squash to give Kane revenge for being dumped by Tori. Â¾* This all sets up Too Cool and the San Diego chicken coming in for dancing, but Kane doesn’t trust the Chicken. However, the real Pete Rose tries to attack from behind, and gets chokeslammed for his troubles. And then Stinkfaced. I think he earned his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame with this appearance.
– WWF title match: Stephanie McMahon v. Vince McMahon v. Shane McMahon v. Linda McMahon. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s just what the ads made it seem like.
– WWF title match: HHH v. The Rock v. Big Show v. Mick Foley. This was Mick’s second retirement match, although to his credit he managed to stay retired for another four years after this one. HHH starts with Foley and Show starts with Rock, and they all slug it out, and HHH loses his battle with Mick. Knee in the corner from Foley, but Show clotheslines both of them and knocks Rock down with a forearm. He hiptosses HHH and presses Rock, then hits HHH with more of the same. Notice HHH bumping all over for people. SELLING. Show chokes Rock out in the corner, but Foley jumps on his back, so Show falls back on him. Sideslam for Rock and chokeslam for HHH, but Foley breaks it up with a kick in the shin. So all three guys go after Show and knock him down with clotheslines, then team up to bootf*ck him. That alliance doesn’t last, as Mick turns on HHH and hits him with a Cactus clothesline, leaving Rock to slug away on Show in the ring. Show comes back with a big boot as Foley chairs HHH. Mick chairs Show and Rock gets the Rock Bottom to eliminate him at 4:48. So it’s a three-way now, as the Rock N Sock Connection decide to go after HHH while HHH tries to convince each one to turn on the other. It doesn’t work, and it’s beatdown time. They pinball HHH with punches and Foley tosses him, and the beating continues on the floor. Foley whips HHH into a Rock clothesline and Mick grabs the bell, but Rock hits Mick with it by accident. HHH whips Rock into the post to take over and drops him on the railing, but Foley finds his trusty barbed-wire 2×4, so HHH goes low to counter. He beats on Foley with it, but Rock saves. This whole segment is actually really bad. HHH tosses Rock but gets DDT’d by Mick, and it’s Mr. Socko time. Rock lays HHH out with the belt for good measure to set up the People’s Elbow, but Mick opts to go for the Mandible Sock on Rock. HHH breaks that up with a low blow and everyone is out. Vince leaves a chair for Rock, who hits HHH with a clothesline, but Mick clotheslines Rock in turn and gets two. Mick slugs away in the corner and DDTs Rock for two. Rock gets his own for two. Pace is too slow, with too much laying around in between spots. Mick calls for an alliance with HHH to get rid of Rock, and they work him over, as Mick gets a kneelift for two. Double suplex into a HHH kneedrop gets two. Rock gets dumped by Foley, but comes back to whip Mick into the stairs. Mick grabs the stairs and hits Rock with them, visibly winded. HHH & Rock set up on the Spanish announce table and Mick goes up, but misses by a foot and knocks himself out on the table. That was just sad to see. HHH tries to cover by dropping elbows on Rock until the table breaks, but it just looked silly. One poor idiot in the crowd tries to start a “Holy shit” chant. Yeah. In the ring, 2 does of KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finish Foley at 19:40. Mick was totally gassed and obviously done at that point anyway. So we’re down to HHH v. Rock, which is what they should have booked in the FIRST PLACE. As Mick said later, this was a really sad way for Mick to exit the WWF as a wrestler. He does, however, stop to lay HHH out with the barbed wire before leaving. Rock gets two off that. They slug it out, won by Rock, and HHH gets dumped with a clothesline. Brawl outside and Rock suplexes him on the floor. They head back to ringside, as Rock backdrops him into the ringside area, but HHH uses a chair to counter Rock’s stairs. HHH follows with a piledriver on the stairs and they head back in, where HHH gets two. Rock fights back and backdrops HHH over the top to block a Pedigree, and they fight into the crowd to waste some time. Rock comes back with a spinebuster on the floor, and both guys are out. They head over to the tables and HHH gets suplexed on the surviving one, but comes back to send Rock into the stairs. Vince attacks HHH, however, ramming him into the post and sending him into the ring, but that draws Shane out to attack his father in turn. The match is just dying at this point. Vince no-sells a shot with a monitor like he’s the Undertaker or something, and chases Shane back to the aisle, but falls victim to a chairshot. Meanwhile, there’s a wrestling match going on (in case you forgot) as Rock makes the comeback and DDTs HHH for two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. HHH comes back with a facecrusher and hits Rock with a weak barbed wire shot, but Rock catapults HHH into Shane. Rock Bottom, but Vince makes a miraculous return as this gets more and more overbooked, but then turns on Rock with a chairshot, and HHH gets two. Another chairshot finishes for HHH at 36:25. Bad match, WAY wrong finish (especially for Wrestlemania), bad finish to begin with, major boredom throughout, and an end to the show that only succeeded in pissing off the crowd. **1/2
The Bottom Line:
This was a MAJOR LEAGUE misfire during a very hot period for the WWF, as this was a two-match show and the main event was a huge disappointment. It was also the first time a heel walked out of Wrestlemania with the title, but not the last, as they did the exact same thing the next year and nearly drove themselves into the ground as a result.
I can’t recommend it for the show, but the two good matches are good enough, and the bonus disc of the DVD set is excellent, covering about 3 hours of the “Wrestlemania All Day” special that preceded the PPV broadcast (minus the fluff with Ivory) with interviews and history of Wrestlemania, plus memorable matches from the first 15 of them.
The show is a recommendation to avoid, the DVD is mildly recommended.