The X-Factor: WrestleMania – The last golden age?

Some of us read the comments for a good laugh. The ones during WrestleMania season read like whiny rants. They say it’s gonna suck and they won’t watch, but they still do.

We watch for the moments WrestleMania has already given us, and the moments it’ll keep giving us. 

We see the past with rose-colored glasses for a reason. Some of us were teenagers during the Attitude Era and so we’re fond of that time. It was ridiculously entertaining, and I know it would kill some of you to admit it, Vince Russo was a key reason why. 

What else you can take from Russo’s time is that everyone felt like a star. The preshow Heats were worth tuning in to because they sometimes cast doubt on the PPVs. “Would this match still go on”? 

WrestleMania XV

Of all the ‘Mania opening vids, this one has to be my favorite, thanks to Freddie Blassie’s narration. Watch the opening vid to ‘Mania XIV. The difference is night and day.

It was billed as “The Ragin’ Climax”. It’s fitting. Mr. McMadman – something I borrowed from J.R. – had thrown everything at his worst enemy. It was all leading to this.

Steve Austin and The Rock had a very fun match, which played to the strengths of the Attitude Era and the amazing chemistry between its two biggest stars. Back then, kicking out of a finisher carried real weight. Give Russo credit, even he knew better than to mess with finishing moves. The match was sloppy at times.

Mankind won the right to referee the closing match, but as was often the case in ‘99, twists and turns happened. Vince inserted himself as the ref, but Shawn Michaels showed up, reversed his decision, and barred the rest of the Corporation from ringside. Very entertaining segment, but when is HBK not entertaining? 

However, he was still at his worst from a political viewpoint. Russo had successfully pitched to add Mankind in the main event as a challenger, not a ref. For some reason Michaels threw his two cents in and it didn’t happen. While Russo is often full of it, it’s not a leap HBK would play politics. 

If you wanna know why Vince puts so much faith in his son, check his match with X-Pac.

WrestleMania 2000

This was the year they could do no wrong. They got away with an objectively bad WrestleMania, but one that had its moments.

The Tag Team ladder match with Edge & Christian, The Hardys and The Dudleys tore the house down. E&C nabbed their first tag titles. Other than that, Kurt Angle losing his two singles titles to up-and-comers was a good call. Angle was never pinned, which served to protect him AND provide the comeuppance he deserved.

They did not know what they had with Chris Jericho. Imagine if they had gone through with him in the main event.

Steve Austin was missed, but he wasn’t really missed. He spent nearly two years outright dominating the WWF. The Rock’s star rose as high as his, if not higher. His star power was great enough they got away with a fairly lousy ending. We wanted The Rock raising the WWF Championship up high, not Vince McMahon screwing him out of it.

WrestleMania X-Seven

The greatest WrestleMania of all time? Yeah it was!!

It was the only ‘Mania to have Paul Heyman on commentary. Just sayin’. 

Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were the biggest alpha dogs around. Their main event practically wrote itself. Limp Bizkit’s “My Way” was the perfect theme song.

Austin said he needed to be the champion. That should’ve been a dead giveaway, but the idea of Austin “[selling] his soul to Satan himself” was unthinkable. The match kicked ass at any rate.

It followed a Street Fight between the McMahon’s, the greatest TLC match of all time, and a pseudo No Holds Barred brawl between The Undertaker and Triple H. How did the crowd have any energy left? 

You ever wonder why Trish Stratus retired with such grace? Look at the abject humiliation she suffered from Stephanie, but more so from Mr. McMahon: soaked in dirty mop water; stripping; acting and barking like a dog; and playing tonsil hockey with Mr. McMahon in front of his medicated wife. Shane McMahon, Mick Foley, Trish, and Linda made them pay for it big time. 

During this time, Stephanie got hers, a lot. She needed a good pasting during the Authority years.

I spend my weekends during WrestleMania season watching my favorite matches. I save X-Seven for last. Like I need to tell you why.

What came next? 

WCW was done. On the heels of the greatest PPV of all time, all those “What if’s” and dream matches were about to become a reality. 

Or not.

Don’t mess with the X.