Another Wrestlemania is upon us. The WWE's biggest show of the year, for 19 years now, is hopefully going to succeed expectations and give fans proof of why it's a great tradition every year. It usually doesn't let the fans down, but then again, this year's Wrestlemania just seems to lack the hype. I mean, a 3.5 cable rating for RAW and a 3.2 network rating for Smackdown. To quote Jimmy from South Park: "I mean, come ON!".
Ah, that South Park was rather outrageous this past Wednesday. I did like Jimmy's point about how people who are crippled by accident are praised more than those crippled at birth. It seems everybody is making fun of Christopher Reeve lately, for whatever reason. Speaking of Reeve, check out Superman 2 whenever you get a chance, as that's one of my favorite movies of all time.
Oh man, I'm getting off course! This IS the Wrestlemania hype column. You see how my attentional span seems to be off this year. Several matches on the card are just thrown together, with weak build up and poor explanations on how to get everyone in on the Wrestlemania payday. Then, you have feuds that are frustrating. I just can't seriously stand Triple H anymore, and knowing Booker T has NO CHANCE IN HELL to win tonight disgusts me. Even if Booker T wins, you know his legs will get cut under him to make him look weak, just like what happened to Jericho in early 2002.
I AM looking foward to 4 hours of wrestling, commercial free. Well, not really, as the WWE shoves ads down our throats. Buy this, buy that. Funny how early the relationship with Girls Gone Wild ended. But anyway, there are several matches I am very much looking foward to several matches on the card, and I can see how this Wrestlemania could be an overall good show. I see several matches that can be eyesores, but I feel the positives for this show will outweigh the negatives, at least I hope so.
Whenever you get the chance, check out the returning Wrestling's FACT or FICTION to LoP, the professional wrestling take on ESPN's Sportscenter segment. This week, it's co-written with LoP Forum's Da Ref, and we covered extra topics in honor of Wrestlemania. CLICK HERE to read it!
Ok, as tradition goes for my Wrestlemania columns, I will now rank ALL of the previous Wrestlemanias:
#17 Wrestlemania 12 - Again, I believe the Iron Man match is totally overrated from this show. They should have done several pinfalls, as seen in the Summer of 2000 Rock vs. Triple H match. Tons of weardown moves, and this match just took too much of the show to begin with. It's funny to note, though, who Triple H jobs to on this event and who no-sells the Pedigree (the Ultimate Warrior, baby!).
#16 Wrestlemania 7 - The WWE performed Desert Storm in their own ring! Thank God the WWE isn't introducing Iraqi characters here in 2003. People praise Macho vs. Warrior. It's not bad, but why is the Warrior looking at his hand?!? Warrior kicking out of 5 Macho Man elbows was totally ridiculous, too.
#15 Wrestlemania 4 - Fast foward to the finish, and it's rewarding. Watch the whole show, you'll be bored! It's a shame Ricky Steamboat was wasted in this tournament, but he'd get his revenge on the WWF later by joining WCW in 1989 and setting that promotion on fire!
#14 Wrestlemania 1 - The first one... I like the chaos of the main event, but the WWF lacked talent back then to really make this an all around awesome show like it would become years later. Still, this was the show to put the WWF on the map, which almost put Vince out of business for the money he put up for it (same thing occurred for Wrestlemania 3).
#13 Wrestlemania 6 - Impressive match between Hogan and the Warrior, which they rehearsed months in advance. Funny, Vince and Hogan are rehearsing their match for Wrestlemania 19. Sadly, Hogan and Warrior did NOT rehearse their match for Halloween Havoc 1998. D'oh! The rest of the show was just there...
#12 Wrestlemania 11 - It's a good show for the overall crap the promotion had in 1995. Michaels did a good carrying job of Diesel. LT did an okay job of wrestling, too.
#11 Wrestlemania 16 - The 3 Way Ladder Match is impressive. I didn't care for the excessive McMahon involvement part of the main event, which should have only been Triple H vs. Rock in the end. Too many tag matches.
#10 Wrestlemania 18 - Hogan vs. Rock was just a fun match. The rest was good to decent.
#9 Wrestlemania 2 - I dislike the city to city stuff, but I like the show as a whole. Hogan vs. Bundy in a cage isn't all too bad.
#8 Wrestlemania 13 - I rewatched this one recently and really enjoyed it for whatever reason. Austin vs. Bret was a CLASSIC!
#7 Wrestlemania 15 - I, to this day, really like how they set up the Triple H heel turn. VERY nice. Austin vs. Rock was one of the best Wrestlemania main events, easily.
#6 Wrestlemania 5 - The WWE's overall peak of the 1980's and great stuff with the Megapowers colliding.
#5 Wrestlemania 17 - An all around solid show. The production of it is fantastic, and it's probably the WWE's last big moment of the Attitude dynasty.
#4 Wrestlemania 14 - I love this show. It's the kickstart of the WWE's official charge to the top. Amazing how HBK and Austin put on a good match, despite both being very limited on what to do because of injuries.
#3 Wrestlemania 3 - Steamboat vs. Savage, of course, and the big main event of Hogan vs. Giant. Impressive crowd.
#2 Wrestlemania 8 - Piper vs. Bret... I really like the Macho vs. Flair match. Poor main event, though.
#1 Wrestlemania 10 - Owen vs. Bret, HBK vs. Razor... need I say more? I love Owen vs. Bret, to no end.
Sunday Night Heat Match: RVD/Kane vs. Lance Storm/Chief Morley for the RAW Tag Titles
Why in the hell would the WWE do a tag team title change on Mtv Heat of all places? Makes no sense to me, as RVD and Kane will somehow win the rematch on an episode of RAW and then immediately feud with the heel Dudley Boyz down the road.
Tito's Pick: Morley and Storm
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
A perfect hot opener, in my opinion. If not this, Rey vs. Hardy will start the show. The 3 Way Smackdown match is too good to have as an opener, and could be a show stealer. However, I feel Michaels vs. Jericho could very much steal the show, as both guys have a lot to gain in personal provide and career advancement by putting on a barn burner of a match. I see this match as a final Wrestlemania tribute to Shawn Michaels, as it won't be the only final WM tribute of the night... I see a rematch occurring for Jericho, in which Jericho gets revenge, but at Wrestlemania, Michaels goes out on top.
Tito's Pick: Shawn Michaels
Rey Mysterio vs. Matt Hardy for the Cruiserweight Title
Another potential match of the night. Matt Hardy hasn't had a good outlet to shine as a singles wrestler, and this just may be his chance. He has a great opponent in Mysterio, and if given 15 minutes or more, it could become something special. Rey is a big star, and he could do wonders with that Cruiserweight title. It badly needs stronger credibility, and Hardy just looks too big for the division. But this should be good.
Tito's Pick: Rey Mysterio
Women's 3 Way: Jazz vs. Victoria vs. Trish Stratus for the WWE Women's Title
This is your classic "pizza just arrived" match or your first bathroom break of the night match after seeing 30+ minutes of good wrestling. Victoria needs knee surgery, so she's losing. Jazz is being pushed hard as a dominant badass in the Women's division, and Trish is usually pushed as the chaser, not the champion. Jazz wins in what should be a decent looking match, but it will lack heat.
Tito's Pick: Jazz
Triple H vs. Booker T for the RAW Title
This isn't the obvious RAW headliner, so hence it's position on the card. I don't see much of an interesting match here, given how terrible and dominating of a worker Triple H has become since murdering Jeff Hardy in 2001, the turning point in Triple H's greatness as a wrestler. Given its lower spot on the card, Triple H will be rewarded with a win. Plus, Brock Lesnar is going over as the Smackdown champion, so another face to win a World Title will negate Lesnar's big victory.
Tito's Pick: Triple H
Team Angle vs. Guerreros vs. Rhyno/Benoit for the Smackdown Tag Titles
The match that ignites the crowd after Triple H boredom. I actually see Team Angle retaining the titles here. The Guerreros already had a healthy run as champs, and Benoit and Rhyno are better off in the singles ranks. Just be wary of a possible Benoit turn on Rhyno, maybe to form "Team Benoit"? I've heard several columnists and actual rumor suggest that idea. Let's hope. Some are saying this match will be the best on the show. I disagree. A 3 way tag match should get like 30 minutes or more to develop, but it will be just like the Guerreros vs. Angle/Benoit vs. Rey/Edge match of another Pay Per View, as it will barely be 20 minutes long.
Tito's Pick: Team Angle
Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle for the Undisputed Title
It's a big shame that Angle isn't 100% for this, or we'd be seeing the Match of the Year, guaranteed. I think this match will be pushed down just in case Angle hurts himself even more, that way, a quick finish can occur and it wouldn't allow Wrestlemania to end early. I still think Angle has something left in the tank, especially since he's well rested and should have some good medication to get through it. Brock is your obvious winner.
Tito's Pick: Brock Lesnar
The Rock vs. Steve Austin
4 RAW matches, 5 Smackdown matches. Kinda hard to shuffle the order around. Anyway, this match should be solid, but it will probably be the worst out of the 3 Wrestlemania matches between these two. At least there are defined roles heading into this match, with Rock as a heel and Austin as a face. However, Seattle fans might cheer for the Rock... D'oh! It's kind of hard to cheer for a guy who walked out on his own workplace and who still does the same material (what?) as before he left. Rock evolved, which is why he rules. I'm calling the WWE bluff in that Bill Goldberg will debut and spear the Rock to help Austin beat the Rock for the 3rd time at Wrestlemania. Maybe Bill and Steve would shake hands afterward, and it would nicely set up Rock vs. Goldberg at Backlash. Praise to the Rock for helping get Goldberg into the WWE, so let's start it off with a bang!
Tito's Pick: Steve Austin
Nathan Jones/Undertaker vs. A-Train/Big Show
HOSSES EVERYWHERE! You need an obvious bathroom break before the main event, or a reason to get the car started at Seattle. Har har. Given how seriously terrible Nathan Jones is as a wrestler, this match could very well be the worst Wrestlemania match ever. I saw him at a Smackdown taping, and he couldn't even make his punches or kicks look good. Potential my ass! Who is going to sell each other's moves? No little guys to bounce off the big guys to make it watchable. If this match stinks up the arena, which is definitely will, I'm hoping that these 4 are finally held accountable for being bad performers and that Vince gets slapped in the face for his serious hard-on for larger and taller wrestlers. Undertaker doesn't lose at Wrestlemania, so....
Tito's Pick: Undertaker and Nathan Jones
Funny how a newcomer in Nathan Jones can get an instant Wrestlemania victory over Albert and Big Show, whereas many others who have busted their asses for years in the WWE aren't allowed to score a victory over those guys. Complete bullshit, I say.
Main Event: Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon
They should have done this last year when the Hulkamania iron was hot. That's why this feud isn't setting the world on fire. Maybe this could be the worst Wrestlemania match ever? Nah... I think it will be entertaining, albeit not very good in terms of workrate. Kinda like Shane vs. Vince from Wrestlemania 17. Hulk Hogan wins in what could be his very last WWE match ever. He's apparently working without a contract, meaning he's on a nightly agreement and Hogan doesn't come cheap. It's a fitting ending to a great career for Hogan.
Tito's Pick: Hulk Hogan
Heels: 3 victories
Faces: 6 victories
Enjoy the show! Expect a review of it sometime in the Monday afternoon.
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