The X-Factor: My WrestleMania stories - Part 3
Submitted by Victor Mariscal on 03/26/2018 at 07:43 PM

WrestleMania 23
It achieved the highest buyrate in ‘Mania history and the reason why is sitting in the White House right now.

Given that it was the 20th anniversary of WrestleMania III, Vince wanted Hulk Hogan – who would’ve been Trump’s boy – to recreate his famous bodyslam but with The Big Show. Big shocker, money was an issue and it didn’t happen. Instead we got Kane slamming Khali.

I was in the arena in Phoenix when the announcement of Steve Austin as the guest referee happened. Big pop!

The rest of the card was ok. It’s sad that, for the 2nd year in a row the Money in the Bank winner – Mr. Kennedy - was wasted. It was still an amazing match with some unique spots. Undertaker vs. Batista was a surprise hit. Not many great big-man matches but this one was.

You ever wonder when he became “Big match John”? This was the year. It was at the Royal Rumble when he barely defeated Umaga in a match that would become his trademark. While Umaga lost, it still elevated him. It would become part of his greatest - and longest - title reign.

The WWE title match had one of the best vignettes I’ve seen. Both Shawn Michaels and John Cena were impressive. Also, the both of them were tag champs heading into Detroit so it made for an interesting buildup.

A piledriver? I didn’t think Cena would’ve kicked out after that, but he did.

The things you learn online. HBK was supposed to shake Cena's hand after the match. They didn't. Shawn wasn't happy with how Cena worked, and while he didn't go SummerSlam 2005 on him, he wasn't happy about doing the job. He shared his best friend Triple H's opinion about his wrestling skill. 22 days later in London, those two would do battle on Raw and surpass their effort in Detroit. Cena returned the favor.

I’m not one to wish injury on people, but Triple H blowing out his right quad did Cena a favor. Triple H was gonna get his win back from ‘Mania 22.

There is a difference between losing to someone and putting them over, especially when The Game is involved. Triple H mocked him for his “pumping up his Reeboks” bit. So what? He’s not the only one with a match ritual. Furthermore he outright said he thought Cena sucked as a wrestler. You think he might’ve been projecting there? How many times has JC made Match of the Year lists? More than you Paul Levesque.

WrestleMania XXIV
“I’m sorry. I love you.”

Some of the marks were hoping it wouldn’t be the end. The rest of us knew better.

HBK raised his leg, but he didn’t stomp it. I knew it was the end. Ric Flair had stood up, telling Shawn to do it. That’s when he said the words.

There’s no shortage of emotional moments at WrestleMania: Savage and Elizabeth’s reunion; Hogan and Warrior’s hug; Rey’s World title win; Shawn’s boyhood dream coming true; and Flair’s loss. He went down fighting, living up to his rep as a dirty player to the end.

Another great MITB ladder match, and this time it was CM Punk taking the briefcase. The triple threat with John Cena, Triple H and Randy Orton was also good. Floyd Mayweather’s match with Big Show went a little better than I thought it would.

It marked the Undertaker’s 16th straight ‘Mania win and Edge’s first time headlining WrestleMania.

WrestleMania 25
“I just had an out of body experience!!!”

In 2005, the Streak became a focal point for the Showcase of the Immortals, but did anyone ever expect this!? It became an event onto itself.

I don’t think there was a more spectacular match between two legends. If I ever meet Shawn Michaels or Undertaker, I will shake their hands and thank them for this epic.

When The Undertaker did his signature dive, I thought he broke his neck. Thankfully he had the presence of mind to tuck and roll, kind of.

Then came the second part: the chokeslam, then Sweet Chin Music, the Last Ride, and then the Tombstone. Michaels kicked out. Priceless look on ‘Taker’s face. Another superkick, and Taker kicks out!! Then comes the moonsault. Taker catches him perfectly, then a Tombstone, and it’s 17-0!!

What about the other talking points?

We nearly got a match between Mickey Rourke and Chris Jericho. What we got in its place was more satisfying.

I couldn’t believe Ricky Steamboat still had it.

You know Triple H, you would think that after X8, you would know better. Also, his rivalry with Randy Orton was so intensely personal but the payoff wasn’t anywhere near a representation of it. Orton attacks the McMahons, Triple H breaks into Orton’s home ready to kill him, and that didn’t call for a No Holds Barred stip? Instead, Triple H could lose the WWE title by DQ.

Yeah, he’s so good at politicking but didn’t have the presence of mind to call bullshit on his match.

WrestleMania XXVI
In 2009, Shawn had made a decision. He could still go, but knew that he would’ve been missing out on seeing his son grow up if he did.

The Undertaker refused Michaels’ challenge for a rematch at XXVI. HBK was obsessed with handing the Dead Man his first-ever loss at a WrestleMania.

‘Taker was the World Heavyweight Champion. Shawn tried to win the Royal Rumble. Failed. He wanted to qualify for the Elimination Chamber. Failed. Michaels snuck into the Chamber and cost him the World title. That worked.

Undertaker wouldn’t accept the match unless Michaels’ career was at risk too.

Proceeded by probably the best pre-match video they’ve ever done, HBK and ‘Taker gave us another classic.

This one was built more on emotion, as Shawn’s obsession meant that ‘Taker would have to dig deeper to keep his Streak alive. By the end, HBK was unwilling to stay down, even slapping him in the face. The Dead Man had to add some extra force to his Tombstone, and that was all she wrote.

It was likely the most heartbreaking moment at WrestleMania.

How the hell did those two matches not get 5 stars?

Don’t mess with the X.

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