In the build-up to WrestleMania 32, the Flickering Myth writers look back at previous installments of the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’.
IC Title Match: Chris Jericho vs. William Regal
Tazz & The A.P.A vs. Right To Censor
WWF Hardcore Title Match: Raven vs. Kane vs. The Big Show (Hardcore Triple Threat Match)
European Title Match: Test vs. Eddie Guerrero
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
WWF Women’s Title Match: Ivory vs. Chyna
Vince McMahon vs. Shane McMahon (Street Fight)
WWF Tag Titles Match: The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (TLC Triple Threat Tag Match)
The Gimmick Battle Royal won by The Iron Sheik
The Undertaker vs. Triple H
WWF Title Match: The Rock vs. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin
I’m just going to come right out and say this up front: WrestleMania X-Seven is the greatest edition of WrestleMania since the event began. That may not be an overly shocking statement (in fact its widely considered to be the consensus among wrestling fans), but it is true nonetheless.
With that being said, it is near-impossible to find any flaws in the show.
If, gun to my head, I absolutely had to pick out a low-point, it would probably be the 6-Man tag match between Tazz, The Acolytes Protection Agency & Right to Censor. However, that would still be a great disservice to the competitors in that match, as it was still thoroughly enjoyable and far better than the majority of ‘Mania bouts.
While it is difficult to locate and faults in the seventeenth WrestleMania, highlights are frequent and plentiful. In fact, narrowing the show down to just a couple of highlights proves to be an equally difficult task. So in order to give the appropriate amount of credit where it is due, here are some honourable mentions that deserve to be noted.
Kane vs. Raven vs. Big Show: a classic hardcore battle around the entire arena.
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit: an incredible display of technicality and skill; submissions and suplexes galore.
Vince McMahon vs. Shane McMahon: arguably the second best feud going into the event. The brilliant story-telling on show more than made up for their lack of in-ring ability.
TLC II: against all odds, they somehow managed to out-do themselves again, with an array of seamlessly strung-together carnage. Edge Spearing Jeff Hardy from 20ft up remains an unforgettable moment.
Triple H vs. Undertaker: a main event-worthy match in the semi-main slot. From the moment Mötorhead played Hunter out to the ring, this was awesome entertainment.
Finally, it is impossible to discuss the high-points of WrestleMania X-Seven without mentioning the show’s main event. Two years after they headlined ‘Mania XV, The Rock and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin once again proved why they were the defining faces of an entire era of wrestling.
Perhaps the greatest testament to Rock and Austin’s abilities is that, even after the best undercard a WrestleMania crowd has ever seen, they still managed to blow the roof off the Houston Astrodome. Everything that made their first clash great was back, and this time magnified. There were callbacks to their previous matches, as well as shocking developments that would propel their feud going forward.
The heel-turn finish may not have been to everyone’s tastes, but it was a truly unbelievable twist at the time (something that is incredibly rare in the pre-ordained world of pro wrestling). It also allowed Austin to add another brilliantly nuanced layer to his character, whilst simultaneous helping put The Rock even further over; Austin was desperate to be defeat his nemesis, so much so that he would sell his soul to do so.
As has already been stated, it is my opinion that WrestleMania X-Seven is the absolute pinnacle of the event. From start to finish, the card is crammed full of great matches and memorable moments, thanks in large to the incredible roster the company had at its disposal at the time.
The show had everything that a professional wrestling fan could ask for: great tag team action, Gimmick Matches, a masterclass in technical wrestling, a ‘human demolition derby’, a family-grudge match and an iconic main event.
It remains the benchmark that all future WrestleManias should try to measure up to.