Thursday, 26 December 2019

PPV Review: WWF Wrestlemania 2000

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Event poster
April 2, 2000
Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, Anaheim, California.

One of the main reasons why WWE's current product lacks appeal is that very little seems to change from one year to the next.

For the past few years, you could pretty much bank on there being some form of universal title match featuring Brock Lesnar, on seeing Roman Reigns in a prominent position and on having an undercard full of guys who would enjoy zero career development from one year to the next.

Yet back in the 1990s and early 2000s, things were very different.

Consider the fact that, at Wrestlemania 14, Triple H was wrestling Owen Hart for the European title. At Wrestlemania 15, he was turning heel so that he could begin his ascent to the top of the mountain and here, at Wrestlemania 2000, he was heading into the show as our WWF Champion.

Meanwhile, Stone Cold Steve Austin had headlined the last two Wrestlemanias but was out of action due to an injury, and a whole bunch of wrestlers who weren't even with the World Wrestling Federation back at Wrestlemania 15 were now booked in high profile matches.






Yes, it's fair to say that things moved much, much quicker back in the day and, if you ask this long-time fan, they were much more exciting because of it.

On that note, let's head to California for Wrestlemania 16.

Lilian Sings the National Anthem

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Lillian Garcia sang the American national anthem
After a brief shot showed us the outside of the arena on a bright and sunny Californian evening, Howard Finkle introduced us to the WWF's own Lilian Garcia.

Microphone in hand, Lilian got the show underway by singing a stirring rendition of the American National Anthem.

For those of you still having nightmares of the time Rockin' Robin tried to sing it back at Wrestlemania V, let me assure you, this was nothing like that.

Garcia belted out a truly stunning rendition in what was easily the best singing performance ever seen on a pro wrestling show. The crowd, quite rightly, loved it.

Her performance was followed by the obligatory opening video which quickly looked back at the 15 preceding Wrestlemanias before telling us all about tonight's main event - a fatal-four-way elimination match in which Triple H would defend his WWF title against The Rock, The Big Show, andMick Foley  .

Pimpin' Ain't Easy, B*tches

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Ice T performed The Godfather's theme from WWF Aggression album
Next, Finkle introduced us to rapper Ice T.

Having performed a remixed version of the Godfather's theme on the recent WWF Aggression album, T accompanied Godfather and a pimped-up D'Lo Brown to the ring, all while performing that theme and taking any opportunity he could to yell "B*TCHES!" at the top of his lungs.

It was an interesting performance, and one that was finished off by Godfather taking to the mic to do his own 'Pimpin' Ain't Easy' speech without uttering The B-Word.

The Godfather & D'Lo Brown (w/ The Hos) vs. The Big Boss Man & Bull Buchanan

It was only a few weeks ago, at No Way Out 2000, that The Big Boss Man had been paired up with Prince Albert. Now, apparently, Albert was out of the picture and newcomer Bull Buchanan was in.

Buchanan (formerly Recon of The Truth Commission) looked impressive here as he and Boss Man isolated D'Lo from his partner and took control of what proved to be a decent yet unspectacular match.

Despite mounting a comeback in the dying moments, D'Lo and Godfather were bested by Boss Man and Buchanan in the first Wrestlemania match of the new millennium.
Your Winners: The Big Boss Man & Bull Buchanan

Post-match, Boss Man and Buchanan chased off The Godfather's hos.

The McMahon-Helmsley Era is in Charge

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Ice T performed The Godfather's theme from WWF Aggression album
Backstage, WWF Champion Triple H and his wife, WWF Women's Champion Stephanie McMahon were seen enjoying some cuddle time with their respective title belts.

Hunter boasted about how good it was that The McMahon-Helmsley Era were in control of Wrestlemania tonight, leading Jim Ross to question whether The Game should have really been so relaxed considering what was at stake.

The Rules of Hardcore

From there, Ross and Lawler took us back to that night's episode of Sunday Night Heat. On that show, we saw wrestlers such as Hardcore Holly, Bradshaw, Taka Michinoku and Tazz gathered together in a room with WWF Hardcore Champion Crash Holly and referees Tim White and Jimmy Korderas.

With Crash standing front and centre, White went over the rules of tonight's hardcore title battle royal. Essentially, this was a pre-cursor to the Championship Scramble matches. There would be a 15-minute time limit during which the title could change hands many times. The person left holding the title at the end wins the match.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship Battle Royal~
Featuring WWF Hardcore Champion Crash Holly, Tazz, Viscera, Pete Gas, Joey Abs, Rodney, Hardcore Holly, Taka Michinoku, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Farooq, Bradshaw

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Hardcore Holly won a Hardcore Battle Royal
For the first five minutes, this hardcore battle royal looked to be a total washout. All the competitors merely hung around ringside waffling each other with trashcan lids and giant baking trays. It was a cluttered mess that gave no opportunity for anything meaningful to happen.

Even when the title went from Crash to Tazz to Viscera, none of it was very interesting. Then, Big Vis decided to climb to the top rope and The Acolytes through him off in what was genuinely a cool spot. They took out the interim champion and dumped Kai En Tai on top of him. A three count later, and Sho Funaki was the man to beat.

He ran backstage with the championship with only a few men giving chase. From there, things picked up slightly with highlights including:
  • Pete Gas bleeding like a stuck pig
  • Thrasher blindsiding interim champion Joey Abs by slamming a cart into his ribs
  • And erm, OK, that's it.
Towards the finish, Tazz won the title again but forgot how the rules worked so kept trying to pin people even though doing so wouldn't benefit him in any way.

It was confusing, but not as confusing as the finish.

Tazz dropped the title to Crash Holly but then slapped him in the Tazmission as the clock ran down. In the final few seconds, Bob Holly hit the ring, blasted Tazz with something and pinned his cousin Crash. Clearly, the idea was that Holly would make the cover and the time would run out just before Tim White could count to three, but somebody's timing was slightly off.

White didn't count to three even though he had time to and Crash didn't kick out. Then the bell rang and despite Crash walking away with the belt, his cousin Bob was declared the winner.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Hardcore Champion: Hardcore Holly

Even Howard Finkle seemed confused and reluctant to declare Hardcore the winner.

Man, that was not a good match.

Head Cheese in the Bathroom

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Al Snow and Steve Blackman in the mens toilets
After a look back at the weekend's Axxess fan convention, we went to a bathroom where Al Snow was seen talking to some unknown person hidden in a toilet cubical.

At that point, Snow's tag team partner, Steve Blackman arrived on the scene and warned him not to try anything stupid because this was, after all, Wrestlemania.

From there, we cut to an extreme close-up of Trish Stratus' boobs as she led her men, Test and Albert, through the arena.

Those two teams would meet next.

Steve Blackman & Al Snow vs. T&A (Test & Albert w/ Trish Stratus)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Trish Stratus made her Wrestlemania debut managing T&A
Before the bell, Al Snow kept up his attempts to get him and Blackman over as a team by introducing their new mascot, Chester McCheese..or something like that. Basically, it was a little guy dressed up like an actual block of cheese.

If you think that was bad, you should have seen the actual match.

I kid you not, this was one of the dirt worst things you've ever seen. I don't just mean it was bad by Wrestlemania standards, I mean it was so bad that even WCW wouldn't have allowed it on their shows.

It just seemed like the two teams had no chemistry together nor any plan of what they were actually trying to do. At various points, guys just kind of stood around looking at each other as if to say "what the heck are we doing?"

I mean, it was so bad, Jim Ross spent most of the match talking about how terrible it was.

Eventually, T&A won and put us all out of our misery.
Your Winners: T&A

Post-match, Snow and Blackman took out their frustrations by beating up on the guy in the cheese costume.

The Kat is Naked

Out in the back, The Kat was shown getting ready for whatever it was she was doing tonight, all while talking to her buddy, Mae Young. The twist here was that she was completely naked, but strategically placed objects, camera angles and movements prevented us from seeing any bum, boobs, or erm, you know...

Thou Shalt Not F*** With The Dudleys

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Michael Cole interviewed The Dudleys
Meanwhile, Michael Cole was standing by for an interview with The Dudley Boys. Addressing their upcoming three-way ladder match with Edge, Christian, and The Hardys, D-Von Dudley claimed that he didn't like ladders. In fact, he was even scared of heights, but that wasn't going to stop he and his partner from making history in tonight's match.

D-Von then invited Bubba Ray to testify, and testify he did with gusto. Speaking with a certain sense of passion, Bubba vowed that tonight, the two would take violence to a whole new level because thou shalt not F- with The Dudley Boys.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship Three-Way Ladder Match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Bubba Ray Dudley with a ladder
There's no other way to say this:

This match was incredible.

It was creative, it was chaotic, it was brutal and it was brilliant.

All six men worked hard to deliver an absolute masterpiece, destroying each other -and a whole bunch of furniture- in the process.

The match was packed with big, jaw-dropping spots that had you convinced it would all soon be over, but then a wrestler or two would get pushed off the ladder or hit with another's finishing move and the drama would continue.

What made it all the more captivating was Jim Ross' announcing. Every call was full of passion and emotion and it made the match itself feel like an epic.

Finally, after the better part of half an hour, everybody died except for Edge and Christian, who scaled a makeshift platform comprised of a table set atop two ladders and grabbed their first of many tag team titles.
Your Winners an NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian

Backstage, Kevin Kelly stood by with Linda McMahon and Mick Foley. If you recall, Foley had lost a retirement match only a few weeks ago at No Way Out 2000, but Linda McMahon had brought him back so that he could face The Rock, Triple H and Big Show in a main event that was being sold more on the fact that it featured 'a McMahon in every corner' rather than on the action itself.

Anyway, Mrs Personality Linda McMahon insisted that she was happy for Mick, who responded with a decent promo in which he promised that fairytales would come true for him tonight.

This wasn't Foley's finest hour on the mic, but as one of the best ever, even his worst was still pretty good.

Cat Fight
Terri (w/ The Fabulous Moolah) vs. The Kat (w/ Mae Young)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - The Kat faced Terri in a cat fight
Special guest referee: Val Venis

Apparently, Moolah and Mae Young had fallen out and were now leading Teri and The Kat into battle against one another in a Cat Fight.

The rules here were simple:

You had to throw your opponent to the outside of the ring.

Anticipating just how bad it was going to be, Jim Ross warned us not to expect any actual wrestling and told us that if were planning to judge this "on a star system" then we shouldn't bother.

Ross was right. This 'match' had no redeeming qualities outside of The Kat wearing an outfit that showed off her bum. The two ladies both tried to get special referee Val Venis on their side by snogging him, then went after one another with basic hair drags and erm, you know, cat fighting.

Speaking of Val Venis, he wore a T-shirt which, on the front, just said: "I'm cocked."

On the back, it said "Locked and ready to unload." The whole thing was written in a font that was clearly meant to be a man's love milk. Please tell me nobody on earth actually bought that.

And if they did, please tell me nobody actually wore it in public.

Back to the match, Kat threw Terri to the outside twice but each time, Venis was distracted by Kat's own corner woman, Mae Young. The first time, Val had to stop her getting her puppies out, and the second time, she was eating his face in the corner of the ring.

Eventually, Terri got Kat out, Val turned around and this one was over.
Your Winner: Terri

Except it wasn't. Afterwards, Kat ripped Terri's pants off while Mae Young set up Fabulous Moolah in the corner for a bronco buster. Yuck.

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - The Radicalz backstage Latino Heat

Backstage, Eddie Guerrero was all excited by how much he thought Chyna wanted his 'Latino Heat.' His teammates Perry Saturn and Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko warned him to stay focused on the upcoming match.

Elsewhere in the arena, Chyna and Too Cool had just watched that segment. Chyna thought Eddie was disgusting, but Too Cool warned her not to worry, they'd take care of it in the ring next.

Six-Person Tag Team Match
The Radicalz (WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn) vs. Chyna and Too Cool (Scotty Too Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay)

Though this was a six-person match, it was clear from the outset that it was designed to make just one person -Eddie Guerrero- look like a star.

And if it wasn't designed that way, then it was a happy accident that Guerrero shone brighter than anyone else here and looked legitimately like a top player both in terms of his charismatic personality and his actual wrestling.

The whole story was Guerrero simultaneously flirting with Chyna and yet trying to avoid getting beaten up by her when she chased after him. So, it was a fitting end that -after a short yet very enjoyable contest- The Ninth Wonder of the World finally got her hands on Latino Heat and powerbombed him into oblivion.

So far, the radicals were 0-2 on WWF PPV.
Your Winners: Chyna and Too Cool

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Shane McMahon and The Big Show
Out in the back, Shane McMahon declared that The Big Show's size and strength were the reason he'd be taking home the WWF title tonight. Agreeing with Shane O' Mac, Show swore to unplug The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment, retire Mick Foley, and declare 'game over' for Triple H.

Sometimes, I wonder if Hunter didn't call himself The Game just so that all of his opponents could use the 'Game Over' line for years to come.

Next, we were shown a video of a contest winner who won a private jet to California and front row tickets to Wrestlemania. After that, we went to the back, where Eurocontinental Champion Kurt Angle was seen trying to persuade a security guard to give him extra security for his post-match celebrations in exchange for a few autographs.

We were also shown a segment from Heat in which Angle put Bob Backlund in a chicken wing as punishment for Backlund encouraging officials to make Angle defend both his titles tonight
.

Angle's match was next.

Triple Threat Two Falls Match for the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental and European Championships
WWF European and Intercontinental Champion Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Chris Jericho hurts Chris Benoit
The first fall decides the Intercontinental Championship, the second fall decides the European Championship

When you look back at how good Kurt Angle became in his career, you have to imagine that competing in matches like this really helped him develop that main event level talent.

Here, he went up against Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho in a match that was every bit as good as you thought it would be.

After a solid battle, Benoit pinned The Olympic Gold Medalist to capture his first championship in the WWF.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit

Yet the match was far from over. Instead, it went on and got better and better with each passing minute.

Towards the end, referee Tim White got knocked out. While White was taking a nap, Jericho tapped to Benoit's crossface but was able to get up and attack when The Crippler went over to demand the referee wake up. Y2J slapped on the Walls of Jericho but got a title belt to the face for his troubles courtesy of Kurt Angle.

That got Angle a two count before Benoit made the save. Shortly after, Jericho took out Benoit to strip Angle of his second title.

Man, that was a lot of fun.
Your Winner and NEW WWF European Champion: Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - Michael Cole interviews Vince McMahon
Out in the back,  Vince McMahon told Michael Cole that despite being in The Rock's corner tonight, The Great One was focussed on winning the WWF Championship with or without McMahon's help. Wrapping up his promo, McMahon did leave us with the ominous warning that he would 'put things right' by the end of the night.

Cutting to another part of the arena, we saw Triple H getting angry at McMahon's warning. No longer the cool, calm and collected champion he had been at the start of the show, The Game promised Stephanie that he would win tonight because he was that damn good then stormed off, leaving his wife all turned on.

D-Generation-X (X-Pac & Road Dogg w/ Torri) vs. Rikishi Phatu & Kane (w/ Paul Bearer)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - X-Pac
I think this may have been the one and only PPV where the former Headshrinker was billed as Rikishi Phatu, but that's mostly by the by.

Here, he teamed up with Kane to help The Big Red Machine settle his score with X-Pac and Torri once and for all. The Road Dogg was along for the ride too, and I'm assuming the lack of Billy Gunn meant that ol' Bad Ass was injured for some reason.

The match itself was exactly what it should have been: Short and fun and ending with Kane finally tombstoning 'Pac to put the whole rivalry to rest once and for all, though not before the predictable stink face to Torri.
Your Winners: Kane and Rikishi

Post-match, Too Cool ran out to dance with Rikishi. The two were followed by a man in a chicken suit who everyone, including Kane and Paul Bearer, believed to be Pete Rose.

The Big Red Machine stood by and allowed the chicken some time to dance with Rikishi and Too Cool, but then grabbed the chicken by the throat and pushed him into the corner.

As if you couldn't have seen this coming from a mile away, Pete Rose then ran out with a baseball bat, revealing that he wasn't in the chicken suit after all.

Not that the swerve did him any good. Kane got hold of him and, for the third Wrestlemania in a row, chokeslammed the baseball star straight to hell.

Rose then got a stinkface for good measure.

Finally, The Rock has Come Back to Wrestlemania

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - The Rock shuts up Kevin Kelly
One year after dropping the WWF Championship to Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 15, The Rock had come back to Wrestlemania and told Kevin Kelly that tonight, he was going to lay the smackdown on everybody and take back the championship. Most of all, he was going to do it for the millions...

...and millions of The Rock's fans.

Compelling stuff as always from The People's Champion

By the way, I'm not saying the main event is going to be a long match or anything, but by the time The Rock was done with his promo, there were still 50 minutes remaining on the WWE Network version of this event with only that match to go.

No Disqualification Fatal Four-Way Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. Mick Foley (w/ Linda McMahon) vs. The Big Show (w/ Shane McMahon) vs. The Rock (w/ Vince McMahon)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 2000 - The Rock, Triple H and Mick Foley
Some lengthy matches are so utterly captivating that they seem to fly by.

This wasn't one of them.

In a sense, it was like watching three-act play, and while all three acts were individually enjoyable, made for an exhausting experience when putting one after the other.

In the first act, Hunter, Rock, and Foley all ganged up on The Big Show for a while before HHH and Foley spilled to the outside for a brawl. Mick got the upper hand, grabbed a chair and waffled Big Show from behind with it. The show stumbled into a Rock Bottom and his time was over in the space of about five minutes.

In the second act, we got a long, weapon-filled three-way between Foley, HHH, and Rock which ended when The Game twice pedigreed Cactus onto a steel chair to send him into retirement for good.

Not wanting his career to end on a down note, Foley returned to the ring and drilled Triple H with a barbwire-covered 2x4 then left the ring for our final act; a one-on-one showdown between long-time rivals Triple H and The Rock.

The two battled around the ring, through the crowd and back again before taking each other out completely in the middle of the ring. While the two combatants took a nap, The McMahons took centre stage. Vince attacked Triple H, but Shane McMahon ran out and smashed his dad in the head with a TV monitor.

It was enough to bust Vince open, but not enough for him to stay down for too long as he got up and took the fight back to Shane O' Mac.

Seizing control, The Chairman hit the ring and turned on The Rock, hitting him twice with a chair. Seizing the advantage, Triple H got the pin to become not only the first heel to win in the Wrestlemania main event but also the first WWF Champion to successfully defend his championship in the Wrestlemania main event since Hulk Hogan beat Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania 3.

Overall, this was a good match, but it did go on for far too long and got really tiring to watch at times.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Triple H

Afterwards, Stephanie McMahon embraced her father. The way it played out, it wasn't as though the two had been in cahoots the whole time, but rather as though Stephanie was pleasantly surprised at her father's change of heart. Shane McMahon came into the ring, but before he and Vince could settle their issue, The Rock returned to the ring and hit all three of them with a Rock Bottom.

"The entire McMahon family has been Rock Bottomed!" yelled Jim Ross as The Great One threw off his elbow pad and drilled Stephanie with a crowd-pleasing People's Elbow.

Finally, The Rock had come back to Wrestlemania, and though he didn't win the title, he was the only man left standing as Wrestlemania 2000 went off the air.





You know, I've read a lot of great things about how the year 2000 was one of the World Wrestling Federation's best from a creative, in-ring standpoint. Yet if all you had to go off was Wrestlemania 2000, you certainly wouldn't believe that to be the case.

While the main event was pretty good and you had some fairly entertaining contests like Radicalz vs. Too Cool & Chyna and the Kishi/Kane vs. DX stuff, a lot of this card wasn't spectacular.

However, there were two matches that do deserve special praise.

Angle/Benoit/Jericho is definitely worth a watch and as for the triple-threat ladder match, that is genuinely one of the best things I've ever seen in all my years writing Retro Pro Wrestling reviews.

If you're a completist looking to watch all of the Wrestlemanias, then you can at least enjoy the knowledge that Wrestlemania 16 is better than many of the others that you'll be watching, but otherwise, I'd recommend you just watch the two matches mentioned above.




For other 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.