The X-Factor: WrestleMania - The Reign of Terror
Submitted by Victor Mariscal on 03/20/2019 at 07:55 PM

I’m sure I’m not alone here, but these years were not my favorites. Yes they had some stellar moments, but why don’t I think highly of them?

The Monday Night Wars concluded. With that came the ultimate “What if” in pro wrestling about to come to life. As Paul Heyman said, we only got “a watered down version of a bad episode of Thunder”. The golden years were over.

That wasn’t all.

Triple H paid for the Curtain Call, but he made us all pay for it ever since. There are several reasons why, but it all boils down to one. He was a main-eventer, but never THE main-eventer.

If only he laid off the ‘roids.

WrestleMania X8
Thanks to the stupid cable company, I couldn’t start watching until just before Austin vs. Hall. Good thing they have encores.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock is the spiritual sequel to one of the greatest 'Mania matches ever: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan. I watch the two back-to-back. 

How telling is it that two larger than life stars could get such a big pop just by standing in the ring?

Stephanie McMahon made the WWF Champion the third most important man in his match. Then there’s Triple H insisting they go on last. That’s his insecurity for ya, thinking he could follow Rock vs. Hogan.

Is Stephanie that mad over her time in the Attitude Era? She gave a tongue lashing or a slap, she would pay for it. Y2J and The Rock’s putdowns were legendary. She pushed too far, and wound up laying in the ring. Steph was a damsel-in-distress before her heel turn, needing Stone Cold or Test to fight for her. We’ve been paying for her bruised ego ever since.

Chris Jericho deserved better. At Fully Loaded 2000, The Game had done right by Y2J. Triple H won their match, but he had lots of trouble walking to the back. This was all Stephanie’s fault.

WrestleMania XIX
A marked improvement over X8.

The racist comments from Ric Flair and Triple H all but guaranteed that Booker T would shut him the f*** up and take the World Heavyweight title, but Triple H hits the damn Pedigree, took 23 seconds to cover Booker T and won the damn match.

It wasn’t the only injustice he did that year. I’ll get to that later.

XIX also marked Shawn Michaels’ return to WrestleMania, giving Chris Jericho perhaps his greatest match at the event and helping him wipe away the stink of X8. Y2J lost, but low-blowed Michaels and left Seattle with a ton of heat.

Stone Cold Steve Austin infamously walked out nine months before XIX. As unprofessional as that was, his reasons were fairly valid. If you were a star on Stone Cold’s level, would you hot-shot a loss on Raw?

There was more. His body could only handle so much, but he decided on “One More Round” – hence the ‘OMR’ on his vest – and he wanted it against his greatest opponent.

I never really wanted to hate The Rock. He’s the best promo man in the business. When he works heel though, he’s pretty good at it.

Deep down, I knew Austin was finished due to how Jim Ross spoke of him after the match ended. I learned a few years later that Rock told him he loved him after it was over.

X-Seven had 1,040,000 buys. XIX had a buyrate of 560,000. It isn’t an indictment on the show itself. They lost their aura of invincibility two years ago. Lucky for them, the buyrate never dropped that low again, not for another 11 years.

WrestleMania XX
All those complaining that a Triple Threat shouldn’t close this year either didn’t see this one or aren’t caring. If you can stomach Chris Benoit, give it a shot.

I can’t get past 2007. I just can’t.

You may have noticed, but in every tenth ‘Mania the one who wins the main event is someone who’s an internet darling. In Bret Hart’s case, he would be considered as such.

Given the “Reign of Terror”, I was damn happy to see Triple H tap out. Yet Benoit was never gonna be treated as top tier as long as The Game was around.

It can be said that this is where John Cena’s rise began when he defeated the Big Show for the US Championship. Trish Stratus turned heel and cost Chris Jericho his match against Christian. It was part of an angle where the two made a bet about sleeping with Trish and Lita. They only bet one Canadian dollar. Hmm. Saw it coming.

My personal favorite match was The Rock and Mick Foley against Randy Orton, Batista, and Ric Flair. A decent battle with an abrupt RKO on Mick to end it. Evolution got the torch. Mick Foley was no loser in MSG.

Except for Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle, the rest of the card doesn’t really hold up. You’ve probably guessed which contest was the worst.

Lesnar was drinking and popping meds to cope with the heavy schedule. Had an injured Triple H done the right thing at SummerSlam ’03 then Goldberg might’ve stayed. If the crowd hadn’t gotten wind of the double departure they wouldn’t have turned on those two so hard. The blame falls on the fans.

The Undertaker’s return as the Dead Man was a huge selling point. The buildup was just so damn good. Too bad his match with Kane sucked.

WrestleMania 21
Randy Orton had lost some of his mojo after his feud with Triple H. Big shock. In a way, it was the best thing to happen to WrestleMania. This was the year the Undertaker’s Streak became a focal point of the show. Orton even dropped Stacy Keibler with an RKO to ensure he would have heat.

Orton parlayed a Chokeslam into an RKO. He was doing the #OuttaNowhere thing well before it caught on.

Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle was a classic. Dave Meltzer, you’re an idiot for waiting 14 years between 5-star ratings.

The “Reign of Terror” ended here. Another reign was beginning, and it came with a new phenomenon.

Don’t mess with the X.

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