It’s time for the biggest WWF show of the year in 2000: WrestleMania. It was not the best show or even a top 5 PPV that year to be honest, but it was the biggest because of the name. The show did 824,000 PPV buys (I believe that US and Canada only), which was the highest of all time. The following year, which was a much better show, did an even better number.
I originally wrote this WrestleMania review in 2012 when I reviewed all the WrestleManias and if you are familiar with our site then you know we have a WrestleMania Review archive section. What I’m going to do is paste that review in below and then add some commentary in (blue font) just to add to what I already wrote.
The 16th WrestleMania wasn’t actually called WrestleMania XVI. Some genius at WWE decided that calling it WrestleMania 2000 would be a better idea. Why? I have no idea. Just because it was the year 2000 doesn’t mean the tradition should change. WrestleManias are named by the number, not the year. Is that so hard, marketing team? Since I’m a historian, I prefer the WM16 name for this one. Now that my little rant on the name is over, let’s flashback to the year 2000.
The big news going into WrestleMania was that there was no Steve Austin here. He was out with a neck injury that caused him to miss a year of action. No Undertaker either. He was out with injuries too. The top guys were unquestionably Triple H and The Rock going into WM16. The main event should have been a singles match between those two. Rock was fighting against Hunter and his storyline wife Stephanie for months. He kept getting screwed. By winning the Royal Rumble, he should have had the title shot here. Instead, they decided to add Big Show and also Mick Foley, who retired at the No Way Out PPV before this. It was because they wanted to add the McMahons to the match. Instead of the one on one title match with Hunter defending against The Rock it became a four way no DQ match with managers for each performer. Why so complicated?
The original plan for this WrestleMania was to have Chris Jericho in the 4-Way main event as Jericho covered in his book Undisputed, but that plan changed. If you go on WWE Network and look for this show, this is the image you see.
I’m not sure why they held this WrestleMania in Anaheim four years after WM12 was also in the same building. It did hold 18,000+ fans and it was near a big city like Los Angeles, but I’ve never understood the need to have it there within four years of the last time they were there. When they went back for WrestleMania 21, they did it in Los Angeles.
The other point worth noting is the names of talented individuals that made their WrestleMania in-ring debut here: Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian, Eddie Guerrero, the Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz just to name a few that would go on to become World Champions later in their career. Chris Benoit too, whoever he is. The point is that the roster was becoming stronger as we got into the 2000s. There was a better focus on in-ring action too.
Lastly, it’s interesting that there was only one singles match on this show. It wasn’t even a match. It was a cat fight. Who decided the lack of singles matches was a good idea? Boo to that. On with the show.
WWE WrestleMania XVI (WrestleMania 2000)
April 2, 2000
The event begins with Lilian Garcia singing the American National Anthem. Awesome as always. The video package focused on some WrestleMania history as well as the main event of the show. All about the McMahons. There was a clip of Hunter wondering what kind of family he married into. A rich one, fella. Very rich.
The announcers for the show were Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
The Godfather & D-Lo Brown vs. Bull Buchanan & Big Boss Man
Ice T did a rap on the way to the ring for Godfather and D-Lo, who also came out with ho’s. They were the faces. Buchanan was pretty new at this point, dressing in Boss Man like tough guy gear. Brown hit a nice back kick on Bull. Godfather and BBM tagged in with Godfather hitting a bunch of clotheslines. Back kick by Godfather got a two count. Brown whipped Buchanan in and then Bull jumped to the top rope and hit a back elbow. That was pretty sweet. The BBx2 team hit a double punch on Brown as they isolated him. Nice axe kick by Bull. You can definitely tell that Bull was a good athlete for somebody as big as he was. Crowd was pretty dead. Nice “Blame Canada” sign in the crowd. Good reference to South Park the movie. Oh no, JR just mentioned the XFL. Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen. The double team on Brown continued for a few minutes. D-Lo came back, Bull got crotched on the top and Brown hit a hurricanrana off the top. Hot tag to Godfather. Corner Ho Train charge on Boss Man. D-Lo went to the top, Bull knocked him off and D-Lo hit a dropkick on Boss Man. Sidewalk slam by Boss Man. Buchanan hit a leg drop off the top and he covered Brown for the win at 9:05.
Winners: Bull Buchanan & Big Boss Man
Analysis: *1/4 Boring match. Not sure why they chose this as an opener since it was a slow paced match with a heel win. The idea was to put Buchanan over since they probably figured he could be star down the road. That did not happen, of course. Word life.
(This really was a boring opening match. You need more exciting wrestlers in the first match and these guys did not fit that role well. Like I said, it was about showcasing Buchanan more than anything else.)
Backstage, Triple H was admiring his World Title while his wife Stephanie McMahon admired her Women’s Title. Yes they put that title on her because the division sucked so much back then. This was a few years before they were really married and probably around the time Hunter was cheating on Chyna with Stephanie…or however it happened. The announcers noted how confident they were and wondered if they had a plan. That’s a spoiler if you have a brain and can read into things.
There was a clip of referees explaining the rules to the guys in the Hardcore Title match.
Hardcore Battle Royal for the Hardcore Title: Crash Holly, Tazz, Viscera, Joey Abs, Pete Gas, Rodney, Hardcore Holly, Taka Michinoku, Funaki, Mosh, Thrasher, Bradshaw and Faarooq
There was a 15-minute time limit for this 13 man match. If you pinned somebody you were the champion for that moment. Whoever got the last pin at the end of the 15 minutes left the match as the champion. Crash was the smallest guy in the match, but he walked in as champion as a joke. Tazz pinned Crash early, then Viscera pinned Tazz after a pin on the floor. Logically, everybody should be going after the guy that was the champion. Instead, they just fought eachother all around the ring. Crash was busted open about two minutes into the match. Acolytes were going after Viscera for a bit until he decked them with cookie sheets. Thrasher attacked Hardcore Holly with a tennis racket. Jim Cornette must be furious for gimmick infringement. Bradshaw destroyed everybody with cookie shots to the head. JR: “Good lord – these shots to the head.” Exactly. There’s a shot to the head about every 20 seconds on average. Cookie sheets don’t hurt as much as chairs, but they still likely hurt a lot. Five minutes in, some of the guys went into the ring including Viscera, who decided to smash people in the head with cookie sheets. Bradshaw hit a massive powerbomb on Funaki. Viscera went to the top rope for some reason (because he’s an idiot) and the Acolytes slammed him off there. Faarooq broke a 2×4 on Viscera’s back and then Bradshaw gave him a top rope shoulder block. Instead of covering, they threw Kaientai on top and Funaki was the new champion. He ran away to the backstage area, so most of the other guys followed. Rodney from the Mean Street Posse covered him and then his fellow Posse member Joey Abs covered him after a gutwrench suplex. Joey was really a wrestler while Rodney and Pete Gas were legit friends of Shane. Thrasher ended up pinning Abs, so he was the champ. Thrasher stumbled out to the ringside area again. Pete Gas hit him with a fire extinguisher and covered Thrasher to win the title. Gas was bloody, so his lovely yellow sweater vest was stained with blood on it. Tazz hit a suplex so he was the champ with about four minutes left. The Holly cousins double teamed Tazz in the ring. Tazz debuted in a major way two months before this by beating Kurt Angle, but he didn’t get much of a push in his WWE career. Tazz covered Crash and the ref counted even though he was the champion, which meant he didn’t need to cover anybody. There were only three guys in the ring. Logically, why would you fight somebody other than the champion especially with time winding down? Because they’re idiots, I guess. Nice overhead belly to belly suplex by Tazz on Crash. Hardcore fought with Crash over attempted pinfalls. Hardcore hit him with a dropkick for two. Nice suplex by Tazz on Hardcore. Crash hit Tazz with a cookie sheet to the head. He got a pinfall with 35 seconds left. Tazz popped up with the Tazzmission submission move. Hardcore Holly smashed cousin Crash in the head with a bottle of some kind. He covered, it appeared as though Crash kicked out at two and the time ran out. The ref Tim White stopped counting while Crash failed to kick out. They announced Hardcore as the champion at 15:00. Somebody must have messed up there.
Winner: Hardcore Holly
After the match, Crash left with the title. Ref Tim White took it from him and gave it to Hardcore. What a mess.
Analysis: 1/2* That was awful. Again, the logic of the match would dictate that everybody would try to go after the current champion because that was the only way to win. Instead, most of the match had guys fighting eachother. The crowd cared a bit about Tazz’ offense and they popped for some hard weapon shots, but otherwise they didn’t care. I don’t blame them. There were way too many shots to the head for my liking. That’s one thing I don’t miss from the Attitude Era.
(That was a mess. I had forgotten how bad this match was, then I watched it again and I was bored by all of that. Whenever people say to me they want the Hardcore Title back, I would point to this match as a reminder of why they should not bring it back eve again.)
They showed clips of WWE Fan Axxess. They still call it Axxess. Why not Access to spell it like a sane individual? Because they like to trademark things.
There was another replay of the botched ending to the Hardcore Title match.
Backstage comedy with Al Snow and Steve Blackman. Al was trying to help Blackman have more of a personality for their team named Head Cheese. Their tag match was next.
Trish Stratus was shown walking down a hallway with a closeup on her breasts, which draws one of the loudest pops of the night. I loved the Attitude Era. Anyway, she told her team it’s time to show WrestleMania some T&A.
Prior to the match, Snow introduced Chester McCheeserton, who JR described as a human block of cheese. Lawler: “What a gimmick.” Brutal.
Al Snow & Steve Blackman vs. Test & Albert w/Trish Stratus
T&A was the heel team although Trish got a nice pop anytime she did anything because she was ridiculously hot. Her debut was shortly before this. She became my favorite diva instantaneously. Crowd was dead for this match. The heels double teamed Snow early as Test hit a big boot. Snow came back with a clothesline on Albert followed by a kick to the head for two. Blackman tagged in and tripped up Albert with a sweep kick. Snow dumped Test to the floor and then they double teamed Albert with a double clothesline. The crowd didn’t react to anything in the match. Suplex by Snow on Albert. Why are you showing the cheese guy when Trish Stratus is there? Fail. Blackman hit a headbutt off the middle rope. Teddy Long was such an awful ref, by the way. The faces worked over Albert. Why are the faces working over the heel? The crowd was already dead before they tried that idea. Snow tagged in Blackman and Albert tagged in Test. Test hit a sidewalk slam on Snow and the ref counted the fall even though Blackman was legal. Like I said Teddy wasn’t a very good ref. They hit a double chokeslam on Snow. Blackman saved the pin. JR said that their styles were conflicting and the match was bowling shoe ugly, which is his way of saying the match sucked. Snow hit a moonsault off the middle rope onto Albert on the floor. Crowd popped for that. Snow hit a leg drop off the top while Blackman had Test on his knee. Albert saved the pin. I don’t think he sold the moonsault for very long. They double teamed Blackman and Test got a splash for two. Blackman came back with a kick to Albert’s face while Test fought with Snow on the floor. Meanwhile, Chester the cheese dude was following Trish around. Blackman was distracted by it. Albert hit a Gorilla Press and then Test came off the top for a flying elbow for the pin at 7:05.
Winners: Test & Albert
Analysis: -* Yep, it’s a negative star for this match. Brutal in every way. If the camera was on Trish for 7 minutes it would have been five stars. Too bad they had a match. The crowd didn’t care for it. Neither did I. What a disaster.
(It’s rare for me to go into negative stars, but I was so bored by this match while JR was trashing it while it was going on, so you know it’s pretty bad. I think the rating is right. Trish looked incredible, though.)
After the match, Al apologized about Chester and he hit him with a microphone shot to the head. Blackman hit Chester with a pump kick. The crowd barely cheered. Then Al did his leg drop off the top. What a brutal waste of 12 minutes that whole thing was.
The Kat and Mae Young were backstage getting ready for Kat’s match later.
Tag title match was next, so Michael Cole talked to the Dudley Boyz, who were heel tag team champions around this time. They said they’d make it a violent ladder match. They were deep into their table loving gimmick, so you knew it would be a wild match.
Edge & Christian came out first. Their heel act would take off after this show. Matt & Jeff Hardy were next. This was about 13 arrests ago for them. Yeah, I had to make an arrest joke. Deal with it. Dudleys were last. This was a triangle ladder match. Not a TLC match, yet. All six guys could compete at once, ladders surrounded the ring and the belts hung from the ceiling.
(As I found out in the WWF in 2000 reviews, E&C really started their heel turn on the Raw before this, but the turn wasn’t complete yet.)
Triangle Ladder Match for the Tag Team Titles: Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian vs. Matt & Jeff Hardy
Lots of fighting on the floor early. Bubba was working on Jeff in the ring, but Jeff came back with a corkscrew moonsault. Bubba came back with a nice full nelson bomb. Matt was the first to climb, but Christian stopped him. There were about a dozen ladders around the ring, so there’d be a lot of them in play. Matt threw a ladder in Bubba’s face and Jeff attacked him. D-Von prevented an attack from Christian by throwing a ladder into him. Matt hit an elbow drop on D-Von and Jeff hit a DDT on Bubba. Jeff went for a 450, Bubba moved and Jeff went crashing onto the ladder. You know that hurt. Replay showed it was right on the knee. Bubba went to the top and hit a senton splash on the ladder that had Jeff under it. Edge dropped his weight onto a ladder to cause some pain to Matt. Most of the guys were out on the floor while Bubba was in the ring. He put the ladder on his shoulders and all of the other guys walked right into it like a bunch of idiots. Then Bubba celebrated, so E&C dropkicked the ladder, which sent Bubba down. E&C followed that up by chucking D-Von face first into a ladder. Christian set up a ladder by the ropes, climbed the top and hit a crossbody off the top of the ladder onto Bubba & Matt on the floor! Damn that was good. Crowd chanted “Holy Shit” for it. Jeff was in the ring climbing a ladder and Edge hit a Spear off the top. It’s interesting to re-watch this match knowing the matches that would happen later because there are similar spots, but not the same. Edge climbed the ladder. Matt caught him from behind and gave him a powerbomb. Matt went up, so D-Von slammed Matt off. Christian threw a ladder into D-Von’s back. If you’re keeping out, Jeff & Matt were really brothers, Edge & Christian were fake brothers and Bubba & D-Von were fake half brothers. Bubba set up a ladder beside Christian, who was climbing a ladder. Bubba hit a Bubba Cutter (RKO/Diamond Cutter) off the top of the ladder. That was pretty awesome. The Hardys came off the ladders with a legdrop/splash combo onto Bubba.
Edge recovered to throw Jeff out to the floor. E&C put up a ladder in the corner while D-Von was on the other side. They hit a double suplex off the top of the ladder. Another great spot. The crowd was chanting “Holy Shit” in tribute to all the great moves we were seeing. Two ladders were set up while four of the guys climbed up. Jeff took down Christian with a facebuster and Edge took down Matt with a neckbreaker. All four of them were down while Bubba was re-positioning the tag titles. The crowd was chanting for a table. Three ladders were set up, so all six guys climbed up. Jeff & Christian got shoved from their ladder all the way over the top to the floor where they went crashing down. That one was a huge fall without anything to break their fall. That’s one of those situations where a table would be better than hitting the crowd. Bubba got shoved off, then he bounced back so that Edge & Matt were crotched on the top rope while D-Von fell off to the side. All six guys were down. The crowd gave a standing ovation for the action they were witnessing. I don’t blame the crowd considering the crap matches that happened before this. The Dudleys sandwiched Christian between the ladders and then they hit the 3D on Edge. They went for tables. This was before the “D-Von get the tables” days. They both went to get them. The crowd was cheering for the Dudleys a lot, which is probably why they turned babyface soon after this. The Dudleys put two ladders together and then the put a ladder across the two of them so it was a platform on top of the ladders. The Hardys got back up and more tables were set up. Bubba threw Matt into the steps. Bubba cleared out the Spanish announce table. In the ring, D-Von gave Jeff a splash through a table (Jeff moved so D-Von went through it) and Bubba gave Matt a powerbomb through a table out on the floor. Out on the floor, Jeff ran the rail and jumped onto Bubba, but Bubba was ready for him because he threw a ladder into Jeff’s face. In the aisle, Bubba grabbed a huge ladder. It was taller than the other ones. Bubba put a table underneath the ladder. JR: “Bubba Ray has got more wood.” Too many wood analogies by JR in this era. Bubba tried to set up Jeff on the table. Christian attacked Bubba with a ring bell shot to the head. Jeff put Bubba on the table. Jeff climbed the ladder. Here we go. Jeff hit the Swanton Bomb off the giant ladder through Bubba on the table! WOW! JR: “Swanton Bomb off the top of the ladder through the table! Goodnight Bubba Ray Dudley!” JR called it the damndest high risk move any of us had ever seen. The replays only added to the greatness of it. What was great too was that they filmed it from the ground up so you got a realistic perspective of it. In the ring, Matt hit the Twist of Fate on D-Von. Christian climbed one side, Matt climbed the other and the platform was still there. Edge snuck up behind Matt while they reached the top of the ladder. Edge pushed Matt off the table and sent Matt crashing through the table underneath. Edge & Christian were on the table and they reached up to grab the tag titles at the 22:29 mark.
Winners and New Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian
Analysis: ****1/4 Outstanding match. It saved the show up to this point. They took a lot of risks, but they made it work. Like I wrote in the play by play, it’s interesting to see some of the moves like Edge’s top rope spear that would be more impressive in the future or that bump that Christian & Jeff took off the ladder without the table there to break their fall. It was probably a good thing that no chairs were used in this match because there weren’t that many painful shots to the head. The TLC match at Summerslam 2000 and WrestleMania 17 were better than this one, but if you’ve never seen this one you should give it a look too. I think you can make the claim that these are among the three best tag teams in the history of wrestling. This match proved how good all of them were.
(I don’t have much more to add here and I stand by that rating. I gave the SummerSlam 2000 match ****3/4 out of five and their TLC match at WrestleMania 17 earned the full five stars out of five rating because they topped themselves. There was also a Smackdown TLC match in May 2001 with Benoit/Jericho added to it that was outstanding as well. I think every time they did it, they managed to top themselves, so that’s why it’s important to remember how good this one was and not forget it when talking about the history of these three teams. The finish was very clever and showed how smart E&C were. It really set the stage for their entertaining heel run as a team over the next year.)
Promo time from Mick Foley along with Linda McMahon, who was supporting him. They mentioned that if he won it would be a fairy tale ending to his career. Keep in mind he retired a month earlier, but then was coaxed out of it when he was told he’d be part of the main event. Everybody has a price.
Cat Fight: The Kat (w/Mae Young) vs. Terri (w/Fabulous Moolah) – special referee was Val Venis
The rules were you that you won the match if you threw your opponent out of the ring. Kat was dating and later in the year married Jerry Lawler in real life. The girls each tried to kiss up to Val. Terri took her down, Val picked her up and she made out with him. Then Kat kissed him. Terri threw Kat down with hair tosses and Kat hit a spear. Mae wanted to take her top off, but Val stopped it. Kat threw Terri out. Val never saw it. Moolah put Kat back in and then Mae chased Moolah into the ring. Mae kissed Val. Kat threw Terri out again, but Val was distracted. Moolah pulled Kat out of the ring and then put Terri back in. This waste of time went 2:25 in length.
Post match, Mae attacked Terri & Moolah. Mae gave a Bronco buster to Moolah. I hate that I had to watch that again. The things I do for my readers. Kat took off Terri’s tights to expose her ass. That almost made the Bronco buster worth it.
Analysis: NR I’m not rating it. JR said before the match that it wasn’t about stars, meaning star ratings. He was right.
(Waste of time even though the women were attractive.)
Backstage, the trio of Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn were talking about their match. Eddie was obsessed with Chyna, so all he did was talk about her. Chyna saw it on the monitor. She didn’t want anything to do with Eddie.
Intros took place for the tag team match. The Radicalz were heels. They debuted a few months before this. Chyna’s awful “don’t treat me like a woman, don’t treat me like a man” song drew a pop. Too Cool’s entrance drew a bigger pop. Eddie was winking at Chyna.
The Radicalz (Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn) vs. Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay & Scotty 2 Hotty) & Chyna
Nice backbreaker early by Scotty and then he tagged in Chyna. Eddie tagged out. Malenko was the Light Heavyweight Champion. The announcers talked about how hot Chyna was. No. Double suplex by Chyna and Sexay. Sexay with a body slam on Malenko, who tagged in Eddie. Back suplex to Eddie, but the heels cheated and Saturn shoved Sexay off the top. The heels isolated Sexay, taking turns tagging in and cheating until Sexay made the tag to Scotty. Eddie gave Scotty the stun gun, draping him over the top rope. Eddie taunted and then he attacked Chyna, ramming her into the ring post. Sexay gave Eddie a suplex from inside the ring to the outside. Eddie crashed feet first on the floor. Scotty set up Malenko & Saturn for the Worm, which was very popular and he hit it on both guys. Eddie came back in to receive a punch. Heels on the floor recovered to attack Scotty on the floor. Chyna went after Eddie, but he left the ring to avoid it. Saturn dropped Scotty with a kick and then hit a nice elbow off the top. Eddie went to the top and Scotty crotched him. Scotty hit a superplex on Eddie. Tag to Chyna. Eddie was trying to avoid hitting her. She slammed Saturn and Malenko followed by the handspring elbow on each guy. Then she hit a double low blow while the ref wasn’t looking. Eddie decked her with a cheap shot to the head. She countered a powerbomb on Eddie and hit a sloppy powerbomb of her own. She whipped Eddie into the ropes and she grabbed Eddie in the balls. That’s not a DQ apparently. Powerslam by Chyna on Eddie. Drop Sleeper by Chyna on Eddie and she pinned him at 9:38.
Winners: Chyna & Too Cool
Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent tag team match. It was mainly about Eddie and Chyna. They would end up being a team shortly after this. I liked the work of the guys in the match. Chyna’s parts were okay, but I was never a fan of hers and her push as a singles wrestler competing against the men.
(The fans were into the Chyna and Eddie bits, so I think it was successful in furthering that story. They were an entertaining pair in the weeks and months after this.)
Backstage, we heard from Shane & Big Show talking about the main event.
(Big Show had a “Big Nasty Bastard” shirt on. That nickname didn’t last that long.)
Next match was a triple threat with two falls. They showed a clip of Angle attacking Bob Backlund on Heat, which was pretty funny. The story was that Angle had the idea of making Angle defend both titles.
Chris Jericho welcomed us to WrestleMania is Jericho saying he’s been waiting his whole life for this moment. He talked trash about his two opponents. Chris Benoit was out next. Kurt Angle was out last with his two titles around his waist. Jericho was a face, Benoit was a heel and Angle was a heel. All three men were making their WrestleMania debut here. Since it’s a two falls match, I’ll review it as one match, but I will make sure to separate the two.
Intercontinental Title: Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
The first fall would be the Intercontinental Title and the second fall would be for the European Title. Both titles were held by Kurt Angle.
Nice springboard dropkick by Jericho put both down on the floor. Baseball slide dropkick to Benoit and then Angle dropped Jericho onto the steel steps. Angle hit a belly to belly suplex on Jericho for two. Benoit clothesline on Angle. Jericho with a backbreaker on Angle. Jericho went to the top and Benoit knocked him off the top so that Jericho went crashing face first into the Spanish announce table. Benoit hit some suplexes on Angle. The crowd wasn’t into the match much except when Jericho was on offense. Jericho hit a dropkick off the middle rope on Angle for two. Backbreaker by Benoit to Jericho for two. Angle with a suplex for two on Benoit. Jericho hit a bulldog on Angle for two. Lots of nearfalls in the match. Angle hit a back suplex on Benoit, which Jericho broke up with an elbow off the middle rope. Jericho with a Camel Clutch on Benoit and he was saying “Ask him!” That’s awesome. He’s been doing the “Ask him!” thing for a long time. Jericho hit a delayed suplex on Angle that led to a Benoit cover for two. Angle hit a nice overhead suplex on Jericho for two. Benoit cover on Jericho got two and then Kurt came back with a dropkick to the back of the head. I’m shocked by how silent the crowd was. Angle put Jericho into the Crossface Chickenwing, which is the move that Backlund taught him. Benoit broke it up with a dropkick to the head of Angle. Benoit tossed Angle into the crowd. Benoit went to the top rope and hit a headbutt all the way across the ring. He covered Jericho for the pinfall win at 7:54.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit
The second fall began right away. Angle was furious that he lost his title without being in the ring.
European Title: Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
Angle hit a suplex on Benoit. Angle went to the top rope, but Jericho stopped him. Jericho went up and Benoit stopped him. Benoit gave him a back suplex off the top. Angle recovered and went for a moonsault. He missed both guys. All three guys were down. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho on Angle. Benoit broke it up with a clothesline followed by a knee to the gut of Jericho. Jericho came back with a spinning heel kick on Benoit and then the double powerbomb on Kurt. He used to do that move in his early WWE days. Benoit hit the rolling German suplexes on Jericho. Angle broke up the pin. Benoit hit a Dragon Suplex for two. That’s a full nelson into a suplex. Dangerous move right there. Jericho charged Benoit, who ducked and Jericho decked the ref with a forearm to the head. Benoit put the Crippler Crossface on Jericho. Jericho tapped, but the referee wasn’t there to see it. Jericho put Benoit in the Walls of Jericho, which caused Benoit to tap. Ref didn’t see that. Angle grabbed a title and decked Jericho in the head with it. Ref woke up to count, but Benoit broke that up. Back suplex by Benoit on Angle. Benoit up top and he missed the headbutt on Angle. Jericho hit the Lionsault on Benoit to win the fall at 5:41 for a total match time of 13:35.
Winner and New European Champion: Chris Jericho
Post match, Angle was pissed off that he didn’t get pinned, yet he lost both titles.
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match, but I would have expected a better match from three guys that were this good. They didn’t work as well together as they would in later singles matches in different pairings. In Jericho’s second autobiography Undisputed he called it a disappointing match. I hadn’t watched it in many years and I would agree with that assessment. They kept throwing suplexes, but they didn’t do a good job with nearfalls or spots where the third guy was on the floor for a long time. I guess you could say the triple threat matches got better over the years. It was also disappointing in the sense that the crowd wasn’t emotionally invested in the match very much. Perhaps it was because their characters weren’t established enough yet. I’m not sure the reason. It was still better than most matches on this show and an above average match.
(I found it odd that they had the IC Title go first when it was clearly the more prestigious of the two midcard titles. By having the IC Title up first, it led to the fans caring less about the second fall because the Euro Title was not seen as a big deal. The match just seemed off from a technical standpoint. As the years went on, WWE superstars were better at putting together triple threat matches, so if this were to happen a few years later they would have had a better match. An example of that is at Vengeance 2002, The Rock, Kurt Angle and The Undertaker had a triple threat that many people consider to be the best 3-way in WWE history even all these years later.)
Backstage, Michael Cole talked to Vince McMahon. Vince was in The Rock’s corner for the main event. Vince said that even though his family was dysfunctional, he guaranteed that he would do everything he could to make things right.
(That’s some nice foreshadowing right there, pal.)
Triple H did a promo with Stephanie in his office where he said he’ll prove that he’s that damn good.
Road Dogg & X-Pac w/Tori vs. Kane w/Paul Bearer & Rikishi
Dogg did his intro even though they were heels. JR talked about Rikishi’s ass. Awkward. This was his first WrestleMania as Rikishi. Kane was a babyface going for revenge on X-Pac.
Rikishi fought with Dogg in the ring. Rikishi hit the stinkface early. Tori ran from Kane, so she bumped into Rikishi. Then she backed into the turnbuckle. X-Pac saved her before a stinkface. DX tired to run away, but Rikishi & Kane brought them back in. X-Pac worked over Rikishi as loud X-Pac started, so he hit Rikishi with a Bronco Buster in the corner. Dogg hit his punch combo plus a forearm to knock Rikishi down. X-Pac tagged in, Rikishi no sold his offense and dropped him head first. He tagged in Kane, who destroyed Dogg with a boot to the face and X-Pac with a back body drop. Clothesline sent Dogg to the floor. Kane hit a clothesline in the corner. He told Rikishi to give X-Pac a stinkface. Tori saved X-Pac. Rikishi decked Dogg with a kick. Bearer threw Tori into the ring and Kane threw her into the turnbuckle. Stinkface by Rikishi on Tori to a huge pop. Kane gave X-Pac a Tombstone piledriver for the pinfall win at 4:16.
Winner: Rikishi & Kane
Analysis: * A fun babyface win to make the fans happy. Kane got his revenge on X-Pac and Tori. I’m fine with it only getting about five minutes of time. The power team getting the decisive win was the right thing to do.
(The point about the time of the match is important because they did everything they needed to do. A long match would have been bad.)
After the match, Too Cool ran down to the ring to celebrate with their buddy Rikishi. The San Diego Chicken also ran out there. It was a flashback to the year before when Kane attacked the Chicken, who was actually Pete Rose. Too Cool danced with Rikishi along with the Chicken. The announcers assumed it was Pete Rose. Kane stared at the Chicken. When the dance was over, Kane went after the Chicken. It wasn’t Pete. Instead, Pete tried to attack Kane from behind with a baseball bat. Rikishi grabbed the bat. Kane gave Pete a chokeslam. Paul Bearer did the DX chop over a fallen Pete Rose! Holy crap that was hilarious. Rikishi gave Pete the Stinkface against the turnbuckle. I wonder how much they paid Pete to take that move.
(The Kane storyline with Pete Rose at three straight WrestleManias was funny. Bearer doing the DX chops over Pete really was amazing.)
Backstage, The Rock cut a promo about how he was ready for the match after fighting through everything in the last year. He said it’s not about the McMahon family drama, it’s about the WWF Championship. Are you sure about that? He says he’s going to layeth the smacketh down on their candy asses. He went through the other catchphrases while saying tonight is the night if you smell what The Rock is cooking. Great intensity in the promo.
(It was a great promo from Rock. The last time he held the WWF Title was one year before at WrestleMania 15 when Steve Austin beat him for it, so talking about a year long journey to get the title back. This time, Rock is a face.)
There were some celebrities shown at ringside including actor Michael Clarke Duncan (he has since passed away), Martin Short, Dustin Diamond (Screech!) behind him and French Stewart. They said Torry Holt of my St. Louis (now LA) Rams was there, but they didn’t show him. Lawler kept saying “Terry Holt” while getting the name wrong.
We got the intros for the WWF Title match. Mick Foley entered first with Linda McMahon. Foley was a face of course. Big Show was next with Shane McMahon. They were heels. The Rock entered with Vince McMahon next. Vince had been a heel for the previous two years and he was showing babyface tendencies around this time. The heel champion Triple H walked out last with Stephanie McMahon.
(I didn’t mention this in the original review, but it’s so weird that they didn’t have a video package to set this match up. It was such a long and compelling story, yet there was no video to remind us of their road to WrestleMania.)
Four Way Elimination Match for the WWF Title in a No DQ Match: Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon vs. Mick Foley w/Linda McMahon vs. Big Show w/Shane McMahon vs. The Rock w/Vince McMahon
All four guys were in the ring wrestling at once. If you got pinned or submitted you were gone. No disqualification rules too. Their supporters were at ringside.
(I watched this show with about 12 people. I’m pretty sure everybody thought The Rock was leaving with the WWE Title. We were all wrong about that.)
Foley hit a running knee on Hunter in the corner while Show worked on Rock. Show hit a clothesline on Hunter and Foley. Show used power moves to knock the other three guys down. Foley jumped on his back, but Show countered that by falling back to crush him. Show hit a side slam on Rock. He went for a chokeslam on Hunter, but Foley gave him a low blow to try to slow Show down. All three guys were teeing off on Show with punches to the face and all three hit clotheslines with Rock’s clothesline knocking him down. Foley hit a clothesline on Hunter, sending them both to the floor. Show hit a boot to the face of Rock. Foley hit Hunter in the ribs with a chair. Shane grabbed Rock’s foot. Rock knocked Shane down with a punch. Foley used a chair to the back of Show and then Rock hit a Rock Bottom on Show to eliminate him at 4:50. That was fast huh?
Big Show eliminated by The Rock
(They spent several months building up Big Show as a main event guy only to take him out of the match in under five minutes. It’s understandable since he was the big guy in the match, but it didn’t make Show look good.)
Hunter wanted to work with the other two at different times. Rock said sure and then decked him with a punch. They dumped Hunter to the floor. Their teamwork didn’t work. Rock had a ring bell, Hunter held Foley, Hunter moved and Rock’s bell shot hit Foley right in the head. Then Hunter threw Rock into the steps, so both babyfaces were down. In the ring, Foley had his barbed wire 2×4 wood. Hunter got it from him and hit Foley in the ribs with it. Rock went back into the ring, but Hunter countered it and threw him over the top to the floor. Foley hit the double arm DDT on Hunter. Mr. Socko time for Foley and he applied the Mandible Claw to Hunter. Rock grabbed the WWF Title. He hit Hunter in the head with it. Foley stopped the People’s Elbow by doing the Mandible Claw to Rock. Hunter recovered to hit a double low blow to both guys. Rock fought with Hunter while Vince put a chair into the ring. Rock hit a clothesline on Hunter and then Foley hit a clothesline on Rock or two. The crowd was very hot for this match, by the way. Foley hit the double arm DDT on Rock for two. Great nearfall there. Foley charged in with the chair, Rock got his foot up and then he hit a DDT on Foley for two. JR theorized that Hunter broke up the pin because he wanted to be the one to retire Foley one more time. Foley told Hunter that they should work on Rock together. Running knee lift for Foley on Rock. They hit a double suplex on Rock. The action spilled out to the floor where Rock threw Foley into the steps and Mick took the bump right on the knees. Rock went after Hunter. Mick came back to hit Rock in the head with the steel steps. Meanwhile, Stephanie argued with her mother Linda. Hunter worked on Rock on the Spanish announce table. Mick went to the middle rope and jumped off. Mick didn’t make the table. That was a bad miss. Foley must have hurt himself there. Hunter tried to break the table with the elbow. It didn’t break. Hunter went on the railing and drove Rock through the table. Back in the ring, Hunter gave Foley a Pedigree. JR was yelling about it, saying that it was Mick’s last chance in his last match. It’s not really his last match, but that’s what we thought. Mick kicked out surprisingly. Hunter hit Foley with a vicious chair shot to the head. Linda was cheering on Mick. Pedigree on the chair by Hunter ended Mick’s night via pinfall at 19:40. JR: “Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!” Foley waved goodbye to the crowd.
Mick Foley eliminated by Triple H
(I thought Mick’s effort in the match was very good. The table dive was a nice idea, but it didn’t work out so great in its execution.)
After being eliminated, Foley ran back into the ring, grabbed the barb wire 2×4 and hit HHH in the head with it. Rock crawled back into the ring and covered Hunter for two. JR was in full yelling mode, selling the action as only he can. Rock gave Hunter a clothesline to send him to the floor. They fought up the aisle. Rock gave Hunter a suplex on the concrete. He threw Hunter into the metal part of the set. Back to the ringside area, Rock gave Hunter a back drop over the railing, which sent Hunter crashing to the floor. Rock went after him with the steel steps, but Hunter countered it by using a chair to hit the steps that Rock had in his arms. Hunter hit a piledriver on the steel steps. Ross was asking for them to stop the match. Hunter covered in the ring and Rock kicked out at two. Rock fought back and went for a Rock Bottom, but Hunter stopped it. Rock countered a Pedigree by giving Hunter a back drop over the top to the floor. They fought into the crowd again. When they got back to ringside, Rock hit a spinebuster on the floor. Rock hit a suplex on the English announce table, which broke. Hunter gave Rock a drop toe hold onto the ring steps. Vince punched Hunter and then threw him into the ring post. Meanwhile, Shane returned and he attacked Vince. He rammed Vince’s head into the television monitor. Vince got up and Shane hit him with the monitor again. Stephanie had this over the top “did you just see that?” look on her face. In the ring, the guys were on the mat. Vince got up and hit Shane with some punches to the head. None of them were even close to connecting. Vince didn’t throw very good punches. Shane hit a low blow on Vince and then a hard chair shot to the head of Vince. Wow. Vince was crazy to take a shot like that. How many CEO’s would ever do that? Crazy man. Vince was bleeding. Patterson and Brisco took Vince to the back. Is the match still going on? The guys in the ring were doing nothing for three minutes apparently.
Back to the action, Rock hit a DDT for two. Rock hit a powerslam for two. Hunter came back with the facebuster and then a barb wire shot to the head. Shane snuck into the ring with a chair. Rock gave Hunter a slingshot into the corner where Hunter hit Shane. Rock hit a Rock Bottom. Vince came running down the aisle like the fastest man on the planet. He hit Shane in the head with punches and Shane took a bump over the top to the floor. Vince picked up a chair. It looked like he was going to hit Hunter, but then he turned to the other side and hit Rock in the head with the chair. Stephanie had a shocked look on her face. JR: “That was blatant! What the hell did he do that for? Why did Vince McMahon hit the Rock in the head with a chair?!?!” Vince’s face was bloody. Hunter covered Rock. Rock kicked out. Vince hit Rock in the head one more time, Rock had his hand up to block the blow, but it was still a stiff shot. Hunter covered for the win at 36:28.
The Rock eliminated by Triple H
Winner: Triple H
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match, but not great. It might have run a little long for what they were trying to accomplish. The finishing sequence with Rock and Hunter went nearly 20 minutes so it was almost its own match. Some of the brawling on the floor was excessive to the point where it didn’t really help the match. They would break a table and then pop up as if it was nothing. Also, there were way too many McMahons out there. That sequence where Vince was fighting Shane for a few minutes was ridiculous because the guys in the ring were doing nothing during it. Why would they just stop? Also, Vince attacked Hunter at one point, throwing him into the post. Then he helped him win. It was as if the McMahon story was more important than the match, so the match seemed secondary in a lot of ways. I thought Rock and Hunter did a tremendous job of telling the story of the match the right way, but the overbooking hurt the match. I can remember thinking that Rock was going to win because he was the babyface and WrestleMania usually ended with the babyface winning in the end. The only other time the heel won was when Yokozuna beat Bret at WM9, but then they had Hogan come out to get the title back for the good guys. This time it was Hunter with the win to end the show. It was different, that’s for sure.
(This is one of those matches that has polarizing opinions of fans especially when it happened. Some people thought it was one of the worst WrestleMania main events ever, but it was not a bad match at all. I think what happened was people were so shocked and surprised by Triple H winning that it pissed them off. It’s still a pretty good match in terms of its execution and the story. I checked out the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for this show with some fans voting this as the worst match of the show. There’s no way you can say this was the worst match considering some of the other matches on this card, but that just shows how much people were mad about this ending.)
Post match, Vince kicked Rock out of the ring. Stephanie had a shocked look on her face and she hugged daddy Vince. Fans were throwing drinks and throwing trash into the ring. They were upset by it. Shane stumbled into the ring. Vince pointed at the blood on his face. Meanwhile, Rock had recovered enough to run back into the ring for an attack. Rock Bottom on Shane. Rock Bottom on Vince. Rock Bottom on Stephanie. Huge pop there. Hunter tried to help her, but Rock knocked him down. People’s Elbow to Stephanie. Man on woman violence to end WrestleMania. That’s a first. JR was yelling at the top of his lungs, wondering if Rock would get another shot at the title. Of course he would. Rock walked to the back to end the show while Hunter and the McMahons were down all around the ring.
Analysis: That ending drew huge reactions from the crowd. It ended the PPV on a happy note for the fans, so at least that ending held true to the idea of a babyface ending WrestleMania on a high note.
(That was a way to send the fans home happy with Rock getting revenge on the McMahons for costing him the WWF Title. The fans loved it even though they hated the finish to the match.)
A video package aired showing WrestleMania 2000 highlights to end the broadcast.
This event had a run time of 3:21:23 on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– Whose idea was it to have no true singles matches on the card? What an odd concept to have so many multi-man matches. It was weird. Singles matches are the best way to tell a story in a match. By omitting them you’re hurting the quality of the show.
– They saved The Rock’s title win for the next PPV, Backlash. The match was Hunter vs. Rock with Stone Cold Steve Austin returning with a bit of a beer gut because he was unable after having neck surgery. When Austin returned to take out all the people interfering for Hunter it was one of the loudest pops I’ve ever heard. That probably should have been the match here, but I don’t think Austin was cleared to even a swing a chair by this point. It would have been better to have that moment at an event like WrestleMania. Instead, they did the swerve finish. The Hunter/Rock Backlash match was outstanding and I liked the Judgment Day Ironman Match where Hunter won the title back even more. Hunter and Rock improved a lot as in ring performers in 2000. When Stone Cold came back strong in late 2000 it only helped WWE continue their high quality of main event level matches. Can you tell I loved this time period or what? It was fun even though WrestleMania was a disappointment.
– As I wrote above, the triangle ladder match is forgotten by a lot of people. The two TLC matches that followed were better, but that doesn’t take away from this one. I loved how they used the ladders as weapons, used the tables to create some big bumps and had a creative finish by using the tables as a platform for the champs to get their titles. I liked the creativity a lot. It wasn’t an easy match to put together, so their efforts need to be commended.
– The man on woman violence happened twice not including Chyna holding her own against the men. Kane shoved Tori hard into the turnbuckle at one point and then Rock hit the Rock Bottom on Stephanie. Both moments were babyfaces getting revenge on the women for things they had done in the past. Still, I’ve never been a fan of man on woman violence in wrestling. It’s just not necessary. If that makes me soft, then so be it.
– This show was very average. The weird thing about that is the year 2000 was arguably the best year in WWE history in terms of quality PPVs. I can remember events like the Royal Rumble, Backlash and others being among the best PPVs ever. Most of the others were very good too. There were great matches all over the place. Aside from the Triangle Ladder Match, there wasn’t a truly memorable match.
Best Match: Triangle Ladder Match for the Tag Team Titles: Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian vs. Matt & Jeff Hardy – They put on a show and woke up the crowd after the first part of the show was pretty boring.
Worst Match: Al Snow & Steve Blackman vs. Test & Albert – Between this, the Hardcore Battle Royal and the divas “match” there was a lot to pick from. This was a very poor example of tag team wrestling.
Most Memorable Moment: Jeff Hardy’s Swanton Bomb off the ladder through the table – An iconic moment that would be replayed for many years.
1. The Rock – Did an incredible job of being the focus of the main event.
2. Triple H – Same as above.
3. Jeff Hardy – Swanton off the ladder was legendary.
4. Christian – Both he and Edge put on a great performance. Christian’s spots were more memorable.
5. Bubba Ray Dudley – You could tell he played a big role in putting the ladder match together. There were a lot of fun moments from him.
I feel bad not rewarding all six guys in the ladder match, but I’m only picking five here.
Show rating (out of 10): 5.5
It was a disappointing show. It was such a strong year for WWE, yet when it came to WrestleMania they dropped the ball in terms of giving us the great event that a lot of us were expecting.
Check out our WWF in 2000 archives for my reviews of all the other shows from earlier in the year. Thanks for reading.