WWE: The Attitude Era Wrestlemania Collection (Cert 18) – PART 3

5 Discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 759 minutes approx.

Release Date: September 27th

This is the third of four reviews of the 5-Discs box set featuring classic Wrestlemanias from the Attitude era. Part 1 can be found HERE, Part 2 can be found HERE, and Part 4 can be found HERE.

 

 

Disc 3: Wrestlemania 2000

Sequentially, this was Wrestlemania 16 but because it took place in the first year of the new millennium they went or the snazzier title, which may cause some confusion if the company is still around in 1,963 years time…

It took place at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim in Anaheim, California on April 2nd 2000 and was sold around the gimmick of “A McMahon In Every Corner” referring to each of the participants in the Fatal Four Way Main Event being represented at ringside by a member of the McFamily. This was the start of the notion the McFamily were just as big (or bigger) stars than the wrestlers, something that hasn’t abated over time, much to the detriment of the product and progress of newer wrestlers.

Elsewhere, Mick Foley, who was forced into retirement after losing to Triple H at No Way Out in February that year, had to “un-retire” in order to compete in this match. The truth was Foley always wanted a Mania main event but never got one, so this was his chance by way of a reward for nearly dying for the company, even if it meant reneging on a stipulation, which of course is not the done thing in wrestling.

A not so well remembered fact is this is the only Mania to feature just ONE singles match – the entire card is either tags, or multi-person bouts. It was also the first Mania to exceed three hours since Wrestlemania 7 in 1991. Something for trivia fans there.

The creative at this point was headed by Chris Kreski who, unlike Russo, was good at balancing soap storylines with the in-ring product and wrestling logic without needing to turn people heel or swerve the fans every twenty minutes, whilst the actual wrestling improved with the addition of Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, and The Radicalz to the roster. This lead to the highest ever peak of financial and TV success for the company.

 

The full card was:

Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan def. The Godfather & D’Lo Brown The entrance for the faces has been cut from this release, presumably due to the music rights or the fact rapper Ice T performed the track. It’s an abrupt and awkward cut too, jumping from the announcers hyping the show to The Godfather doing his “ho train” spiel. Nothing match really.

Crash Holly on the 15 Man Hardcore Battle Royale This match got the home video release of this show banned in Ireland, with the censors objecting to its “gladiatorial bloodlust” and use of “realistic” weapons, egged on by a bloodthirsty crowd. They also rejected the idea of it being part of a staged event, prompting the IFCO to decry the WWF – and soap operas in general – for resorting to violence and explicit content to draw audiences. Yup.

It is also famous for the botched ending – Crash Holly was supposed to retain the title by surviving the time limit countdown but ref Tim White started the count early when Hardcore Holly covered Crash. He was supposed to be interrupted by the bell ringing but White stopped counting when he got to two then the bell rang. Crash left the ring with the belt thinking he was the winner per the booking, but Hardcore Holly was announced as the winner instead. The belt changed hands 10 times over the 15 minutes by the way.

T&A def. Steve Blackman & Al Snow (T)est and (A)lbert were managed by the sexy Trish Straus – geddit? A flaccid buffer match, built around a midget dressed as a piece of cheese.

WWF Tag Title Triple Threat Ladder Match – Edge & Christian def. The Dudley Boyz (C) & The Hardy Boyz This match shouldn’t need any introduction as it was the set up for the match now known as TLC (which followed at Summerslam later in the year). Still a spectacle today.

Catfight – Terri Runnels def. The Kat Val Venis was the special ref. Mae Young was with Kat and Moolah with Terri, and the less said about their involvement the better. This was as far away from Sasha vs. Bayley as you could get.

Six Person Tag Match – Chyna & Too Cool def. The Radicalz This was built round Eddie Guerrero trying to woo Chyna and constantly being rejected yet she caved in the next night on RAW when she turned heel (again) on Jericho to side with Eddie. Honestly, I swear, Russo was gone by this time.

WWF IC & European Title Two Fall triple Threat Match – Chris Jericho & Chris Benoit def. Kurt Angle Here’s a novel concept – put three of your best workers in the ring together and let them go at it. The gimmick here was Angle was a double champion so the first fall was for the IC title and the second one for the Euro title. Hard to watch again in hindsight though because of Benoit, but objectively a cracking match.

Kane & Rikshi def. X-Pac & Road Dogg Pete Rose dies for our sins again.

WWF Title Fatal Four Way Match – Triple H (c) def. The Rock, Mick Foley, & The Big Show Triple H became the first heel ever to leave Mania with the WWF title here. He was flanked by Big Steph, Foley by Linda, Big Show by Shane, and The Rock by Vince, not that it made the match any better. Foley nearly broke his ribs trying to do an elbow drop onto the table and came up short, but ultimately, this was all about the McFamily.

 

Does this show still hold up today? Pretty much, yes. The wrestling is much better as is the booking, helped by the fact most of the roster were over with the fans, the gap in the hierarchy between the top tier and the undercard was not as drastic as it had been before or is today. With WCW no longer a concern, you can see where the extreme randomness of the Russo era had been refined – though the sexist portrayal of the women would continue for another decade – to make way for a more coherent product and it shows, whilst the staples of today were innovations here.

 

Extras:

Pick A Fight

 

Rating – ****

Man In Black

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