Wrestlemania 2000: A McMahon in Every Corner
April 2, 2000
Triple H: The reigning champion. The Rock: The top star in the industry. Mick Foley: A legend competing in his final match. Big Show: A giant just beginning to fulfill his enormous potential. Those four men would battle in the first ever Fatal Four Way match in the main event of Wrestlemania. And they would each have the backing of a member of the most powerful family in wrestling history. A McMahon would stand in every corner.
In Triple H’s corner: Stephanie McMahon. The billion dollar princess who spurned her father by marrying his archrival, Triple H. Triple H beat Vince senseless in their match at Armageddon 1999, then added insult to injury when he revealed Stephanie had been on his side all along.
In Big Show’s corner: Shane McMahon. The prodigal son had found his man, throwing himself behind the 7’0, 500 pound giant. Shane returned from months of absence at No Way Out, when he interfered to help Big Show defeat Rock to win a spot in the main event of Wrestlemania.
In Rock’s corner: Vince McMahon. Vince returned on the Raw after No Way Out to assist Rock, as he fought Big Show and Triple H in a handicap match. If Rock won the match, he would go to Wrestlemania in the main event. If he lost, he would be fired. Vince helped Rock win the match and counted the pin, setting up a Triple Threat Match.
In Mick Foley’s corner: Linda McMahon. The most mild-mannered of the McMahons appeared a few weeks before Wrestlemania to announce that instead of a Triple Threat, Wrestlemania would feature a four man match. The fourth competitor would be Mick Foley, who had been defeated by Triple H in a classic Hell in a Cell Match at No Way Out, where Foley was forced to retire due to being defeated.
Four great wrestlers. A family feud. Only one man could be champion. Let’s get it on…
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are our hosts tonight.
Godfather and D’Lo Brown vs. Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan
Ice T was out in full pimp gear along with D’Lo and Godfather. This was a pretty good opening match featuring some solid brawling. Boss Man and Buchanan worked over D’Lo for a good chunk the match, leading to a hot tag to Godfather. D’Lo hit the Low Down on Boss Man, but Bull broke up the pin. Boss Man hit D’Lo with the Boss Man Slam and then tagged in Buchanan, who hit a beautiful Leg Drop from the top rope for the pin.
Rating: **. Solid opening tag match.
Hardcore Battle Royal
Participants: Crash Holly (the champion), Hardcore Holly, Viscera, Tazz, Bradshaw, Faarooq, Funaki, Taka, Rodney, Pete Gas, Joey Abs, Mos, and Thrasher
Not a ton to say about this one. Lots of guys got hit in the head with stuff. It looked like they might put Tazz over early when he pinned Crash a minute in…but then he got pinned by Viscera 30 seconds later. The finish was horribly confusing, as Tazz has Crash in the Tazzmission, followed by Hardcore Holly smashing a candy jar on Crash. Holly covers Crash, the bell rings, and Holly is announced the winner. But the referee says he didn’t complete the count. But Hardcore walks away with the title. I’m sure he lost it the next night anyway.
Rating: *. Just not a fan of that kind of wrestling. There were a few fun things in this match, but it was mostly just meaningless weapon shots.
Head Cheese vs. T&A
Head Cheese was the odd couple duo of Steve Blackman and Al Snow, T&A was Test and Albert managed by Trish Stratus. Here Snow and Blackman are accompanied by their mascot, a dude in a cheese costume named “Chester McCheezington.” This match is so bad JR acknowledges that it sucks, saying these two teams “never quite got on track.” Nobody ever seems on the same page before Test hits the Flying Elbow on Blackman for the win.
Rating: ½*. Crappy match.
Blackman and Snow beat up Chester after the match. Babyfaces being dicks was the cornerstone of the Attitude Era.
Ladder Match for World Tag Team Championship: The Dudley Boyz (c) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz
The beginning of their legendary three way rivalry. You’ve surely seen this match or one of the other ones, so you know this involved insane spots and not a ton of flow between them. Something crazy happens, they take a few minutes to set up the next spot, repeat. There are all sorts of great spots here: Edge Spearing Jeff Hardy off a ladder, Buh Buh with a Powerbomb on Jeff off the announce table through a table at ringside, and most notably Jeff Hardy’s insane Swanton Bomb off a 15 foot ladder in the aisle.
Edge and Christian survived and won their first tag team titles.
Rating: ****. Sure, there’s not a ton of psychology here. But the spots were insane and the crowd was nuts for it. This match put these three teams into another stratosphere.
Cat Fight: Terri vs. The Kat
Who the fuck cares? Also, note that this is the only singles match on this show.
Six Person Tag: Chyna and II Cool vs. The Radicalz
This was a solid match. A combination of good wrestling and some fun comedy spots. Chyna and Eddie shined here, with the primary story being Eddie convinced that Chyna had the hots for him. Eddie gets his comeuppance when Chyna grabs him by the nuts and then drills him with a Sleeper Drop for the win.
Rating: **¾. Enjoyed that. Malenko, Guerrero, and Saturn were great wrestlers and Chyna, Scotty, and Christopher were at their peak.
Two Fall Triple Threat Match for Intercontinental and European Championship: Kurt Angle (c) vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit
Angle was both European and Intercontinental Champion, having won the European Title from Val Venis in December and the IC Title from Jericho at No Way Out. His mentor Bob Backlund unilaterally placed him in this match. The first fall is the for IC Championship, second is for the European Championship.
This was a very good match, which shouldn’t be a surprise based on the competitors. Jericho takes a sick bump early, getting knocked off the top rope and hitting the announce table on the floor. A few minutes later Angle locks Jericho in the Crossface Chickenwing. Benoit breaks that up, throws Angle out of the ring, then hits a Diving Headbutt on Jericho to win the first fall and the Intercontinental Championship.
The second fall includes a ref bump, during which Benoit locks Jericho in the Crippler Crossface and forces him to submit. Benoit misses a Diving Headbutt, allowing Jericho to score the Lionsault and get the pin to become European Champion.
Rating: ***½. Strong match. I liked the booking of not having Angle be pinned at all and having Jericho and Benoit pin each other to set up a rivalry coming out of this show.
Jericho would lose the European Title to Eddie Guerrero on Raw the next night when Chyna betrayed him and aligned herself with Guerrero.
Kane and Rikishi vs. X-Pac and Road Dogg
I believe this is the final chapter in Kane and X-Pac’s never-ending feud that had been going since the fall. Not much of note happens here other than Tori getting a Stinkface from Rikishi. Kane got the win for his team with a Tombstone on X-Pac.
Rating: ¾*. Pure filler.
II Cool come down to dance with Rikishi and Kane after the match. The San Diego Chicken attacks Kane, being revealed as his old nemesis Pete Rose. He ends up getting a Stinkface from Rikishi.
WWF Championship: Triple H (c) vs. Rock vs. Big Show vs. Mick Foley
This is elimination rules, as well as no disqualifications or count outs. Big Show dominates early and hits some Chokeslams, but ends up getting ganged up on. Triple H and Foley brawl on the floor and Foley hits Big Show in the back with a chair, causing him to stumble into a Rock Bottom and be the first man eliminated about five minutes in.
Foley breaks out his signature barbed wire 2×4 but ends up getting beaten with it by Triple H. Triple H and Foley team up to beat down Rock on the floor, ending with Foley attempting a second rope Elbow Drop that ends with him slamming his ribs into the side of the announce table. That must have been unbelievably painful. Triple H Pedigrees Rock through the announce table, then sends Foley back into the ring and finishes him off with a Pedigree.
So we’re down to Rock and HHH. They brawl through the crowd and up to the set, then back down to ringside. Shane and Vince get into a fight that ends with Shane knocking Vince out with a TV monitor. Back in the ring, Rock scores with a Rock Bottom and has victory in his sight, only that Vince turns on him and hits him right between the eyes with a steel chair. Rock kicks out of the initial pin, but succumbs to a second chair shot and Triple H retains after nearly 40 minutes of action.
Rating: ***½. Underrated match. Vince turning on Rock has always struck me as a bit nonsensical (that he would forgive Triple H so soon). I think Rock vs. Triple H here would have been a classic and don’t feel like Big Show or Foley added a whole lot (Foley was massively out of shape, Big Show was still developing as a wrestler). Good match nonetheless.
Rock cleans house and destroys the McMahons and Triple H post-match. Show ends with him celebrating. He’d win the championship from Triple H a few weeks later at Backlash with an assist from Steve Austin.
Overall: Probably a better show than remembered historically. I think the antipathy from this show comes from the lack of singles matches and the fact that it paled in quality to Backlash a month later. Backlash 2000 was one of the great pay-per-views ever in history, so it’s no shame for this show to be worse than that. Main event was good, tag match was outstanding, the triple threat was good. Most of the other matches were inoffensive filler. Not the best Wrestlemania, not the worst.