WWE: The Attitude Era Wrestlemania Collection (Cert 18) – PART 4
5 Discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 759 minutes approx.
Release Date: September 27th
Discs 4 & 5: Wrestlemania X-Seven
For the first time since WM 6, the biggest show of the year was held in a stadium, the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas on April 1st 2001. An apposite day to run this show considering most people were left asking “You’re joking?” after the big angle in the main event, in which hometown hero Stone Cold Steve Austin turned heel and aligned himself with his mortal nemesis Mr. McMahon.
Austin had reportedly wanted to freshen his act up and thought maybe a turn would do it, but surely only a complete and utter idiot would do it in front of 67,000 plus in his home state of Texas? Oh, did I mentioned that Chris Kreski, who was behind the WWF’s peak success the year before, was no longer head writer? He was replaced in October by Big Steph, whose credentials were that she came out of her father’s loin.
To say the booking went to hell under Steph is an understatement, the nadir being the aftermath of the Survivor Series match in which Triple H was in a car which was dropped 30 feet roof first from a forklift driven by Austin. Instead of being instantly killed as anyone would, Big Steph came out on TV the next night and said Triple H was banged up and bruised but would be fine in a few weeks. Oy vey!
It is to some surprise that this PPV ended up being a successful as it did with such genius driving the storylines, and is regarded as one of the best shows ever, but as usual the effort from the wrestlers was enough to counter the ludicrous set ups. Also, Paul Heyman replaced Jerry Lawler on commentary, who walked out on the WWF when his girlfriend Stacy “Kat” Carter was fired for turning down a controversial angle, in what you would call an upgrade.
The full card was:
WWF IC Title Match – Chris Jericho (c) def. William Regal A bit of a styles clash which may explain why it was kept short. The build up for this involved Jericho taking a leak in Regal’s tea. This wouldn’t be the last Mania match for Y2J where the build up featured bodily functions. And Regal wore the IC belt upside down.
The APA & Tazz def. Right To Censor A RAW match at best. Jacqueline was with the APA for reasons I don’t recall, unless it was to ensure Tazz wasn’t the shortest person in this match.
WWF Hardcore Title – Kane def. Raven (c) & Big Show Raven held the HC title something like 39 times in his career. At one point when Raven crashed a golf cart backstage, he ran into some cables and almost blew the power for entire stadium!
WWF European Title Match – Eddie Guerrero def. Test (c) The bit were Eddie fell through the ropes as Test was tied up has been cut from this release, sadly. Another TV match at best. Perry Saturn’s funky hat was more over than Test.
Kurt Angle def. Chris Benoit Once again, matches involving Benoit are hard to watch nowadays but this was a terrific encounter that was the start of one of the best in-ring feuds in the WWF that ran on and off for two years.
WWF Women’s Title Match – Chyna def. Ivory After four years of beating up men, Chyna was shunted over to the Women’s division where she had an unfair size and strength advantage. Today it would be a different story. A pure squash, it was exactly what it needed to be to end this feud.
Street Fight – Shane McMahon def. Vince McMahon Mick Foley was the special ref. Originally he was to be Vince’s opponent but Mick turned it down because he wanted to honour his retirement (famous last words!). Foley later said not working this match was a big regret of his. The build up to this began when Shane “bought” WCW from under Vince’s nose, whilst Vince was having an affair with Trish after drugging Linda in a stupor (at least I think she was in a stupor, it’s hard to tell).
WWF Tag Titles TLC II Match – Edge & Christian def. The Dudley Boyz (c) & The Hardy Boyz Third time around for these teams, with E&C winning the first ladder match at WM 2000, and the first TLC match at Summerslam 2000. On this occasion, The Hardyz had Lita in their corner, Dudleyz had Spike, and E&C had Rhyno. Usual madness you’d expect from this type of match before the gimmick was run into the ground.
Iron Sheik won a Gimmick Battle Royale – Iron Sheik only won because he was too old to take a bump over the top rope. Gillberg was due to enter but was pulled right at the very last second, as they feared the fans might have expected Goldberg instead. George Gray was to have entered as Akeem, but he had lost so much weight he didn’t fit the outfit and came out as One Man Gang instead.
The Undertaker def. Triple H Apparently a match between Triple H and Mike Tyson was discussed but never came to fruition so they went with Taker instead. In an ironic moment Triple H used a plastic sledgehammer for the first time and managed to bust Taker open with it! Plus Motorhead played Triple H’s theme live!
WWF Title No DQ Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin def. The Rock A rabid Texas crowd witnesses Austin turn heel on The Rock, becoming increasingly violent throughout the match due to the No DQ stip. But instead of booing, they cheered louder and louder. One day, Vince will learn to read the room. Epic main event though.
Does this show still hold up today? Yes. The stadium setting helped this become the template for all future Manias’ as the event got bigger and bigger. It works well as a one-two punch with WM 2000 since so many of the wrestlers featured on both show, the only notable differences being Austin and Undertaker, as both men missed 2000 from being out with injuries.
The soap opera aspect was more pronounced this year, again because of the McFamily presence but they still allowed the matches to be the main showcases. It was another transitional show, leading to one of the biggest can’t miss angles in the Invasion flopping because the McFamily made it all about themselves. At least this show was fun.
Pick A Fight
It’s been interesting revisiting these older shows, some I’ve not seen in their entirety in over twenty years. This was a time of change for the WWF and these shows actually document this quite well. The Attitude Era has long been regarded as the apex of WWF’s creativity and relevance to pro-wrestling’s mainstream acceptance, and whilst the lasting quality of the work from this period is debatable, looking back on these events also accurately shows why it can never be replicated.
Rating – ****
Man In Black