The X-Factor: WrestleMania – Ruthless Aggression
If only Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Goldberg, Ric Flair, and Sting took a buy-out. Diamond Dallas Page did just that to take part in the Invasion, and the Undertaker let him know how little he appreciated it.
Throw in the nWo relaunch, Stone Cold’s paranoid heel run, Chris Jericho’s Undisputed title reign, and the WWF after the Monday Night Wars didn’t seem so rosy.
The Ruthless Aggression era did have better wrestling, an improved women’s division, John Cena, Batista, Brock Lesnar, the Smackdown Six, and Money in the Bank.
There were some of the dream matches we wished we had in the Invasion too.
And yet, this period will also be known for the “Reign of Terror”.
It’s kinda funny. The description for the V2 Undisputed title replica is a tribute to Triple H who only had it for a month. Also, when they have sales, his Signature Series title is usually priced the lowest.
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 which also happened in Toronto. I watch the two back-to-back.
You wanna know why they use the phrase “WrestleMania moment”? Hogan and The Rock had the Toronto fans buzzing just by having a stare down.
Chris Jericho deserved better than to be made a third wheel in the one time he closed a WrestleMania. We can always count on Stephanie McMahon to make it all about her.
A marked improvement over X8 that only got 560,000 buys. That’s a 35% drop. I’d love to see that brought up to Triple H in an interview.
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 his only injustice that year.
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?
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.
Even as a heel, The Rock isn’t someone you can outright loathe. He’s the best promo man in the business. When he works heel, he’s pretty good at it.
Deep down, we 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.
A five-star main event that will be forever marred. It’s a damn shame.
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.
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.
Randy Orton had lost some of his mojo after his feud with Triple H. 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.
Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle was a classic. We don’t need Meltzer to tell us it’s 5 stars.
When he won the WWE title by beating JBL, it should’ve been John Cena’s crowning moment. It just didn’t feel that way. Ditching the rapper gimmick caused him to lose fans. Perhaps he wasn’t meant to be a main eventer.
If only we knew.
“You people, you know who I am, but you don’t know why I’m here.”
We had no idea how much was gonna change with those words. Whether he was Scott Hall or Razor Ramon, he was a true game changer.
From now on, whenever Kevin, Shawn, Hunter, and X-Pac do the “too sweet” gesture, there will always be a twinge of sadness behind it, knowing their brother isn’t around to do it with them.