My dear friends, I hope you are having a wonderful day for it is truly a sad day for me as we have reached the final chapter of the series. Yes it is the final episode of Journey through The Attitude Era, I’ve laughed, cringed, complained and enjoyed every second of this series but all good things must come to an end. So welcome back to the only web series which gets beaten more times than Dolph Ziggler, yes we are looking at every pay per view from The Attitude Era from beginning to end while critiquing, analysing and evaluating all the action from the hottest period in wrestling history. The end is upon us as I dive into Wrestlemania 17. It is The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship, the two biggest stars that wrestling had possibly ever seen vying for the most prestigious title in the industry at the biggest show of them all. We also have TLC 2, Taker vs Triple H, Vince vs Shane and many more. So for the final time, let’s start up the nostalgia time machine and enjoy what is considered to be one of greatest pay per views of all time (I feel a tear coming already).
The opening promo is everything you could want from the WWF, scenes of classic Manias, people all around the world watching the greatest moments in wrestling with Freddie Blassie’s voice narrating the whole thing. Children, teenagers, adults and the elderly all watching wrestling and enjoying the madness. Welcome to Wrestlemania, welcome to the WWF where anything could happen. Fuck yes I love it, I love it and I love it! Glad to see the network has My Way from Limp Bizkit, that song with the promo for Austin vs Rock is pure magical. The hairs on my neck are standing just thinking of that promo but more on that later, Wrestlemania 17 is huge, the arena is packed with over 60,000 fans. Huge fireworks, huge stage and it is tremendous. Paul Heyman’s first pay per view with WWF as Lawler quit to stand with his wife The Kat who was fired by the WWF.
(WWF Intercontinental Championship Match) Chris Jericho © vs William Regal
Opening contest is for the Intercontinental Championship, Y2J will be battling the commissioner William Regal. Regal had been installed in the position after Mick Foley had been fired by Vince Mcmahon. Jericho interrupted Regal on his coronation so Regal would place Jericho in handicap matches. Jericho would gain revenge by peeing in Regal’s tea (Truly besmirching Regal’s pride). Regal is taken down with a clothesline to start, flying forearm by Jericho. Spinning heel kick by Y2J and Regal powders to the floor.
Plancha by Jericho who chops the chest of the commissioner. Reverse elbow by Jericho, Regal takes down Y2J but Jericho rolls in The Walls of Jericho. Regal counters and tosses Y2J shoulder first into the ringpost. Make it two by Regal, arm wringer by Regal who applies a wristlock on Y2J. The commentators play up that Regal had assaulted Jericho’s left arm on Smackdown. Lionsault attempt by Y2J is blocked by Regal who tries a roll up. Two count for Regal who drops Jericho with a back suplex.
Regal exposes a turnbuckle and continuously smashes Jericho into the post. Jericho breaks Regal’s momentum with two kicks to the head. Jericho drops Regal with a forearm and scores with a missile dropkick. Jericho misses a Stinger Splash, Regal drills Jericho with a double underhook suplex from the top. Cover and a two count for the challenger. Jericho blocks a back suplex, Regal counters The Walls and applies The Regal Stretch with the pressure on Jericho’s left injured shoulder. Knife edge chops by Jericho after escaping but Regal kicks the arm of Y2J.
Regal misses The Regal Cutter, Y2J rams his head into the turnbuckle with Jericho looking ready for a Lionsault. I am not too sure about the finish, Jericho looks at Regal as if to say “ I cannot Lionsault you for you are too close to the ropes” so Jericho lays him out with a snap suplex and then goes for The Lionsault. It was certainly not a momentum killer because I feel the match just never clicked, it was alright and had psychology but I don’t know. Regal has a certain style and it does not work for me here (Sorry Regal lovers).
Winner: Chris Jericho over William Regal via Lionsault!
Bradshaw cuts one of the best promos of his life as he fires up Jacqueline and Faarooq for their match by referencing important Texas moments and the importance of Wrestlemania.
RTC W/ Stevie Richards vs APA & Tazz W/ Jacqueline
Sadly, this match is not going to be saved, RTC try to nail APA & Tazz it does not goes well for RTC. Jackie drops Stevie with a DDT, Faarooq and Bull kick us off, Tazz is in with a t-bone suplex on Bull. Bull big boots Tazz and tags in Val Venis. Knees to the ribs and a Russian legsweep by Val, cover and a two count. Reverse elbow by Goodfather and Val, giant legdrop by Goodfather.
Back suplex and Tazz kicks out at two. Ho Train connects by Goodfather and now Goodfather looks for a splash form the second rope, Tazz avoids Goodfather and tags in Bradshaw. Fallaway Slam on Val, Faarooq battles Bull. Double spinebuster on Val, Bull pummels Faarooq while Bradshaw drops Val with a back superplex. Double team powerbomb on Bradshaw, Goodfather misses The Ho Train and Bradshaw picks up the win with a Clothesline From Hell. Short and sweet and we shall leave it at that.
Winners: APA/Tazz over RTC via Clothesline From Hell!
(WWF Hardcore Championship Match) Raven © vs Kane vs The Big Show
I like Raven and I am glad to see him get a Wrestlemania match. Raven brings a trolley of weapons to ringside. Raven tries beating on Kane before Show is even in the ring, Kane no sells Raven’s offence as Show makes his way to the ring. Kane decks Raven while Show is still walking to the ring, Show must be confident that Raven will survive. Kane military presses Raven to Show, Show catches Raven and looks for The Final Cut.
Kane dives on the two and now we have crowd brawling (Ah WWF you have not once not given me crowd brawling and I hate you for it!). Show slams Kane on some wooden pallets, Raven runs from Show. Show catches up and locks himself in with Raven. Kane breaks the padlock on the cage area and smashes Show with weapons. Raven’s attempt at choking Kane fails as Kane smashes Raven through a wall. Kane tosses Raven through a glass window while Show smashes Kane through a door, Kane gains revenge by putting Show through a wall.
Raven gets on a golf cart and crashes into a wall, Kane gives chase running over Raven’s leg. The three improvise as the golf cart segment was meant to last for a while. Show has Raven by the entrance stage in a military press, Kane big boots both men off the stage and drops a legdrop on Show.
Kane is your winner. That was a fun match, Kane had the potential to be a dominant Hardcore Champion but it did not last very long, some cool spots in this match and a fun fact about Kane: Kane had not been pinned on pay per view for over a year by Wrestlemania 17. Simply a Badass Monster.
Winner: Kane over Everyone Else via Elbow Drop!
Kurt Angle Promo
Angle is watching footage of Benoit lock in The Crossface and make Angle tap. His buddies Edge & Christian ask about celebrating tonight but Kurt is all business stating he never tapped out to Benoit. Serious Angle is coming out ladies and gentlemen, shit is about to get real!
(WWF European Championship Match) Test © vs Eddie Guerrero W/ Perry Saturn
Albert had betrayed Test in December so Test was a babyface that was getting a push during the time. Guerrero was the new head of The Radicalz as Benoit had left the group turning babyface. Eddie jumps Test but Test overpowers the shorter Eddie, flapjack and a gutwrench powerbomb by Test. Eddie kicks out and powders to the floor. Test hammers Eddie on the floor, Saturn distracts Test so Eddie presses his advantage.
Test outpowers Eddie and drills the challenger with a clothesline. Reverse elbow and a scoop slam by Test, Test goes to the top rope but Eddie greets Test. Eddie’s hurricanrana backfires as Test hangs on, elbow by Test and a two count for the champion. Eddie lowbridges Test, the referee has to free Test from the top rope. Guerrero goes after Test’s leg, smashing the leg into the floor. Eddie continues to kick the leg of Test, elbows to the inside leg by Latino Heat. Both men trade bombs before Eddie applies a sleeper. Test begins to fade before Eddie releases the hold, Irish whip into a tilt a whirl slam by Test.
Another Irish whip into a spinning powerbomb, two count for Test. Full Nelson by Test, Eddie distracts the referee and Saturn nails The Moss Covered Three Family Credenza (Easily my favourite move name). Eddie nails a brainbuster, Eddie misses The Frog Splash, Eddie dodges The Big Boot but Test nails a Pumphandle Slam. Big Boot to Saturn and Eddie, Dean Malenko pulls out Test so Eddie stays alive. Test nails Dean but Eddie has the belt and whacks Test in the face. Eddie cheats to win. That was a fine match, Eddie was not on top form towards the end of his WWF run but Eddie could still go when he needed to and Test looked good taking on so many people at once.
Winner: Eddie over Test via Shenanigans!
Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle
Angle believes himself to be the greatest technical wrestler in the WWF, Benoit believes otherwise so these two battle it out tonight to see who is the better technical wrestler? Simple story with two of the very best wrestlers in the world. Benoit is face for the first time in his WWF career since he originally joined the company as one of Cactus Jack’s friends. The two shoot for takedowns and wrap themselves one another (Oh behave you dirty little man). More intense takedowns, crowd is digging the action. Benoit clean breaks Kurt in the corner, stare off and Kurt takes down Benoit.
Both me roll to the ropes ending in a stalemate. Benoit has Angle almost in The Crossface, Angle reaches the ropes, second Crossface attempt ends with Kurt taking a breather on the outside. Benoit is outwrestling Angle and Angle does not like it one bit, third Crossface attempt but Angle decks Benoit with a clothesline. Angle slams Benoit into the barricade and announce table. Angle hurls Benoit into the ring and stomps The Rabid Wolverine. Snap suplex with a floatover gives Angle a two count.
Back suplex and another two count for Angle. Right hands by Angle in the corner, elbows to the mouth by The Olympic Hero. Benoit chops back with Angle, belly to belly suplex by Angle who taunts and celebrates. Angle takes too much time as Benoit clotheslines Angle out of his boots. Benoit cannot capitalize as Angle comes back strong, the two are trading shots in the corner but Benoit knees Angle in the ribs. Reverse elbow and a pin by Benoit, two count. Snap suplex, the result is the same with Angle kicking out. Top rope superplex by Benoit and Angle kicks out again. German suplex, two Germans, Benoit shoots for the third but Angle rolls through for The Ankle Lock, Benoit rolls through into his own Ankle Lock. Angle fights out but Benoit applies The Crossface, Angle counters with his own Crossface.
Love it these two just tearing it up with the counters, referee takes a bump and Benoit applies The Crossface. Referee does not see as Angle taps, Benoit checks on the referee and Angle nails The Angle Slam. Benoit kicks out at two! Scoop slam by Angle and Angle misses the moonsault as Benoit drives his knees into Angle. Benoit calls for the diving headbutt, Benoit scores and a cover. 1..2.. Kickout by Angle, Angle low blows Benoit, Angle grabs the tights of Benoit and rolls The Crippler up for the win.
That was different and refreshing in a lot of ways, the feud was built around being the better wrestler, Angle and Benoit started the match out by wrestling on the mat. They went hold for hold, counter for counter and submission for submission. Angle could not outwrestle Benoit so he had to cheat to get the win and Benoit is protected by having the visual tap victory over Angle, perfect setup for a rematch and I am looking forward to it.
Winner: Kurt Angle over Chris Benoit via roll-up!
(WWF’s Women Championship Match) Chyna vs Ivory ©
Before the match, we are treated to the WWF superstars visiting the troops. Kevin Kelly does not respect Benoit so Benoit applies The Crossface and Angle taps out once more. Next up is Chyna vs Ivory and it is the death of a division ladies and gentlemen. Chyna wanted to wrestle men but it was not the case anymore, Chyna was in the women’s division and looked unstoppable. Chyna had her neck kayfabe broke by RTC. Chyna wants to fight despite being told to retire so she is going to kill Ivory like she planned at The Royal Rumble. Now there are burials and then there is this match, this match screwed over all the hard work Ivory had put in to the title.
We had bad champions like Sable, The Kat and Stephanie Mcmahon but this was a death nail for the division long before you young whippersnappers were criticising Kelly Kelly or The Bellas. Chyna is nailed with the championship belt in the neck and stomps Chyna. Ivory beats on Chyna’s neck but seconds later, Chyna decides to kill Ivory. A toss by Chyna, some forearms and kicks and a hiptoss. Some hard clotheslines by Chyna, big back bodydrop and a Jacknife Powerbomb.
Chyna pins Ivory but pulls her up at two so Chyna punishes Ivory with a military press slam and causally sits back pinning Ivory with absolutely no effort, I mean this is the most nonchalant cover in history. And it is over, it was awful but that was it for the Women’s Division. Chyna would defend once against Lita before the title was deactivated until Survivor Series 2001.
Winner: Chyna over Ivory via Total Annihiliation!
(Street Fight) Shane Mcmahon vs Vince Mcmahon W/ Stephanie Mcmahon
Oh boy, Linda Mcmahon is in a comatose state while Vince fondled the assets of one Trish Stratus. Trish was turned on by Vince for trying to be more important than Stephanie. Trish was forced to strip but ultimately, Trish would remain at Vince’s side as a servant to Stephanie. Shane returned to WWF, challenged Vince and bought WCW from Vince Mcmahon.
The wrestling world exploded could we be seeing WCW vs WWF? Well it would not be tonight due to Shawn Stasiak spilling the plans for the group to the dirtsheets so instead we see the WCW “stars” and I use that term loosely sitting in a skybox watching this match. Mick Foley is the special guest referee so things are not looking too good for Vince. However, Vince always has a plan. Vince slaps Shane at least 6 times as Shane covers up in the corner, Vince talks trash to his son, the product of his seed. Vince pummels Shane and chokes him in the corner. Shane battles back from the ground, huge clothesline and a spear by Shane. Shane pummels Vince as Stephanie is shocked.
Multiple elbows on Vince, Stephanie slaps Shane and bails. Baseball slide by Shane, Shane hurls Vince into the steel steps. Shane looks for a weapon and finds a kendo stick. Wham across the back of Vince, make it three shots to the back and one to the ribs. Shane nails Vince with left shots to the head, Shane clears the announce table and lays poor Vince across the table. Shane perches himself on the top rope to drop an elbow through Vince and the table but Stephanie saves her father. Trish brings sedated Linda to ringside, Trish looks to check on Vince but no it is not to be as Trish has had enough.
Trish slaps the shit out of Vince and goes after Stephanie. Mick Foley is slapped by Stephanie and the women are chased off by the great Mick Foley. Vince eyes up sedated Linda, mouthing the word “Bitch”. Vince looks at Shane and edges toward Linda. Foley protects Linda as Vince grabs a chair and nails Foley twice with the chair. Vince has a chair for Linda to watch Vince beat up Shane with weapons. Vince has trash cans, four to be exact.
One shot to Shane, two shots to Shane and now Vince winds up for the third shot and the place explodes as Linda sits up. Nut shot to Vince and Mcmahon is broken, Foley is up and Foley hammers Vince in the corner. Right hands and a trademark knee by Foley. Shane has Vince in the corner, trash can planted in Shane’s face. Shane goes to the opposite corner. Van Terminator by Shane and it is all over, Shane pins Vince.
As a wrestling match, there was hardly any but as a match that grabs your attention and targets your emotions, it was great. Vince is on the best heels in the business bar none, Vince is the ultimate pantomime bad guy in this match and for all his disgusting acts, he pays for every single one. Trish was wronged and got her revenge, Foley was attacked and got his revenge and Linda, Linda destroyed Vince for what he done as Shane defeated the evil Vince and all was right with the world.
Winner: Shane Mcmahon over Vince via Van Terminator!
(WWF Tag Team Championship Match) The Dudley Boyz © vs Edge & Christian vs The Hardy Boyz (TLC 2)
The Dudleys had won the championships from Edge & Christian while The Hardys were not even on the last pay per view. I am sure they explained somehow that The Hardys earned their opportunity but we all know they are in there because everyone loved the first TLC so much so why not do it again. Edge & Christian have the advantage going in being undefeated in the previous encounters between these teams involving ladders. Edge & Christian beat down The Dudleys and Hardys with a ladder, Edge grabs a chair before stomping on Matt’s groin with his brother in the corner.
Jeff Hardy is smashed into a chair by Edge & Christian. Dudleys drag out Christian while Edge and Matt battle in the ring. Edge climbs the ladder before Jeff dropkicks Edge. Matt & Jeff baseball slide a ladder into The Dudley Boyz’s faces. Matt & Jeff nail The Omega Splash on Christian off two ladders. Nice spot there from The Hardys. The Dudleys nail The What’s Up headbutt on Edge. Table time for The Dudleys , Bubba and D-Von have two tables in the ring, one is propped in the corner.
Edge is laid out on a table and Bubba counters a hurricanrana by Jeff and Bubba powerbombs Jeff onto Edge and through the table. The Dudleys stack 4 tables all together while Matt takes out both Dudleys. Christian and Matt set up ladders side by side, Christian is thrown to the floor by Matt. Three ladders are now erected side by side, all 6 men climb the ladders. Jeff and D-Von fall to the right while Matt and Christian fall to the left side of the ring. Edge and Bubba trade blows before falling to the mat. Edge and Bubba recover, little Spike Dudley thwarts Edge’s attempt to win with a Dudley Dog before dropping Christian through a table with a Dudley Dog.
Rhyno interferes, using a ladder to wipe out D-Von and Jeff before goring Matt and Bubba, Matt was gored through a table. Edge begins climbing the ladder but here comes Lita, Lita stops Edge and Spike saves Lita from Rhyno. Lita nails a hurricanrana on Rhyno, Spike nails Rhyno with a chair shot that knocks Edge off the ladder. Dudley Death Device on Rhyno, chair shot by Lita on Spike but The Dudleys nail Lita with a 3D. Double chair shot by Edge & Christian on the Dudleys. Christian has a twenty foot ladder but Jeff nails Christian, stealing the ladder in the process. Jeff sacrifices himself with a Swanton through Rhyno and Spike Dudley through two tables.
Unbelievable by Jeff, Christian and D-Von have a ladder in the ring, Matt removes the ladder and Christian and D-Von are hanging in the air holding the titles. Christian and D-Von fall to the mat, Jeff climbs for the belt and is hanging by the titles. Edge is on the twenty foot ladder and spears Jeff Hardy from the ladder to the canvas.
Ridiculous spot which would be featured in omg moments for years in the WWE. Matt and Bubba are on a twenty foot ladder, Rhyno shoves them through the 4 stacked tables. I did not even recover form the last spot, this is insane. With Rhyno’s help, Edge and Christian pull down the belts for the win. That was nuts and these six men should get at least a month to recover from that match. There were so many big spots, so many bumps which must have hurt like hell but those men created an unbelievable match that is fondly remembered to this day.
Winners: Edge & Christian by Retrieval of the Belt!
(Gimmick Battle Royale Match)
Most of the horrible gimmicks from the 80s and 90s are here for this battle royal. In a nice touch, Mean Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan are at ringside for commentary which makes the event feel very authentic. So here will be my attempt at reciting all the participants. Great to see Bobby Heenan and sad to think what has happened to him in recent years. Our first participants are the Bushwhackers, two men who love walking bad and licking other men’s heads. Duke The Dumpster Droese, well he hails from the era of wrestlers who were based on jobs the garbage man.
Next is The Iron Sheik, a former WWF champion who can be credited with legitimizing Hulk Hogan. Next up is Earthquake who was also Golga in The Attitude Era. Next up is The Goon, a wrestler who’s gimmick was he was a disgruntled hockey player. Doink is out next, everyone knows Doink. Kamala with Harvey Whipplemen and Kim Chee and we also have Repo Man who is formerly one of the members of Demoltion. Jim Cornette is here who is one of the greatest managers of all time but he is now more known for his Youtube shoots. Nikolai Volkoff is next up, followed by Freebird Michael Hayes.
A legend in the Texas area of wrestling. One Man Gang who looks like he is in great shape and we have The Gobbly Gooker. The Gobbly Gooker debut at the same pay per view as Undertaker, I love this fact. Tugboat is here, also known as The Shockmaster. We have Hillybilly Jim who looks the exact same as he did in his heyday, some people really take care of themselves.
Bruce Prichard enters as Brother Love who was a parody of the popular Evangelists of the time. Finally we have Sgt. Slaughter who stands for America. It is interesting to go back and watch this as the first time I saw this in 2001, I could name you only four people in this match. The match ends with Iron Sheik dumping out all the other jabronis who do not deserve to stand in the ring with the man. Sgt. Slaughter Cobra Clutches Sheik to death so America celebrates.
Winner: Iron Sheik!
(Triple H vs The Undertaker)
Triple H claimed to do it all in the WWF, there was nobody else but Triple H seemed to have forgotten The Undertaker. Triple H assaulted Taker multiple times so Undertaker was arrested by Triple H before Undertaker could have revenge. Kane threatened Stephanie so Taker manipulated Regal into giving Taker a match against Triple H at Wrestlemania. Motorhead play Triple H to the ring in one of the coolest ring entrances in Mania history.
What sours the occasion is knowing Lemmy’s gone and the fact that Triple H had this entrance while nobody else had anything special so you know damn well someone is pulling the political strings and flexing those powers for this to happen. Taker jumps to the floor and proceeds to slaughter The Game. Triple H nails Taker with a knee in the ring but Taker gets right back up, sidewalk slam and a big back body drop by Taker.
Running powerslam by The American Badass, Taker misses an elbow and Triple H is back to his feet, Taker clotheslines Triple H. Taker prepares for Old School but Triple H drags The Deadman down form the top rope. Neckbreaker by The Game, cover and a two count. Triple H uses closed fists on The Deadman, elbow to the back of the head. Swinging neckbreaker by The Game, repeated covers by Helmsley do not keep Undertaker down. Triple H and the referee argue before Taker hammers back on The Game, rights and lefts to the body of The Game. Facebuster by Triple H, cutting off Taker’s offence.
Triple H has a sledgehammer, referee takes away with the hammer. Triple H looks for The Pedigree, Taker counters and catapults Triple H into the referee. Chokeslam by Taker and Taker cannot believe it as Triple H kicks out at two. Taker destroys the referee for not making the three count. Undertaker battles with The Game on the floor. Triple and Taker battle to a tech area, Triple H beats Taker with a steel chair until Undertaker Chokeslams Triple H off the tech area to the floor below.
Taker drops an elbow to Triple H from the tech area, Taker battles off the EMTs who are tending to The Game. More crowd brawling until we are back by the ring. Taker has Triple H beat and Taker looks at the sledgehammer, Triple H had opened up Undertaker with a sledgehammer and Taker feels it is time for revenge. Triple H begs for mercy, Triple H low blows The American Badass, Triple H has the hammer but Taker blocks with the big boot.
Taker wins the war of trading bombs, Triple H attempts The Tombstone but Taker counters into his own Tombstone. Still no referee as Taker has the match won, Taker sets up for The Last Ride but Triple H has the sledgehammer, Triple H cracks Taker in the head with the sledgehammer but Undertaker kicks out after the sledgehammer shot. The first signs of Taker being unbeatable at Mania ladies and gentlemen so as Jericho would say, drink it in man! Triple H was punching Taker in the corner but Taker countered with The Last Ride and Triple H has been conquered.
This match does not get a lot of love compared to other Taker Mania matches and I can see why, as heated as the build should have been, I don’t feel the match matched the expectations set by the story of Triple H going through everyone except The Undertaker. As we also know, Taker got better with age and many would consider 2000 and 2001 as low years in Taker’s illustrious career. This match just felt long and the heat was not there for it so I’ll say this, it was good but it could have been a whole lot better.
Winner: Undertaker over Triple H via Last Ride!
(WWF Championship Match) The Rock © vs Stone Cold Steve Austin
For months, the WWF had teased Stone Cold vs The Rock and tonight, we finally have the match that everyone wants to see, these two, the very best going at it in the centre of the ring. Now let us forget that Debra was interjected into this feud for no reason except as filler. Now to the awesome parts, the promo package is still considered as the best of all time.
The song, the clips, the build everything was simply perfection. What I want to draw attention to in this buildup is Rock laying at Austin and symbolically placing a beer can beside the laid out Stone Cold and Austin saying he needs to beat The Rock and he will do everything possible to become champion. These two little details will be very important in the grand scheme of things. Howard Finkel announces that this match will be a No Disqualification match and JR questions why this is the case?
Another subtle hint at things to come perhaps? Anyways, this is Austin’s return to the top of the mountain, being hit by a car had cost The Rattlesnake a year of his career but Austin can rest easy if he returns to the top of the mountain tonight. Austin starts by jumping Rock after Rock poses on the top turnbuckle, Rock and Austin trade blows, Lou Thesz Press and an elbow by Austin.
Swinging neckbreaker by The Rock, Rock Bottom attempt is blocked, Stunner is blocked while The Rock attempts The Stunner, it’s blocked and Austin hurls Rock to the floor. Right hand by Austin, we have crowd brawling (Damn you, you could not have a final episode without crowd brawling in the main event). Clothesline by Austin cuts off Rock’s momentum, stomps to the back of the head by The Rattlesnake. Austin is more aggressive in the early stages of the match to the point where he seems sadistic and heel-like.
Austin props Rock on the top turnbuckle, superplex by Austin and a cover. Two count for the challenger, Austin unhooks the turnbuckle, another heel tactic by Austin yet no mention from the announcers. Rock battles back, leaping clothesline and a belly to belly by The Rock. Clothesline to the floor by the champion, Rock rams Austin into the announce table and the timekeeper’s area. Austin nails The Rock with a ringbell, Austin roughs up the timekeeper. The Rock has been opened up by The Rattlesnake, Austin rams Rock into the announce table.
Austin measures Rock, right hand staggers Rock and more rights by the challenger. Closed fists to the face by Austin who is wearing out The Rock. Rock blocks Austin’s attempts at ramming his head into the turnbuckle. Swinging neckbreaker by Austin thwarts The Rock. Austin nails Rock with more closed fists to the face. Austin stomps The Rock repeatedly and chokes The Rock using the ropes. Austin is really taking advantage of the no disqualification rule and Rock explodes out of the corner with a clothesline, another clothesline. Rock smashes Austin into the exposed turnbuckle and uses the title belt to smash the challenger.
Austin kicks out but Austin is a bloody mess. Right hands by The Rock which rattle Stone Cold on each and every occasion. Austin and Rock brawl on the floor, Rock is dropped on the barricade, catapult into the ringpost by The Rattlesnake. Austin wipes out Rock with a monitor, two count after the monitor shot. Austin measures Rock for a Stunner, Rock blocks and applies a sharpshooter. Rock drags Austin to the centre of the ring, Austin crawls and makes it to the bottom rope. Austin counters Rock with a rake to the eyes and applies a sharpshooter of his own. Rock kicks off Austin using his leg strength, Austin stomps Rock in the sternum.
Second sharpshooter attempt by Austin, Rock reaches the ropes to survive. Austin does not relinquish the hold right away, the heelish tactics are adding up in this match. Austin applies the million dollar clutch from his Ringmaster days, Rock channels his inner Bret Hart and reverses the hold into a pin, Austin kicks out at two where he had been beaten in the past.
Right hand by Austin, make it three but The Rock Stunners Austin. Rock hooks one leg but Austin kicks out of The Stunner. Vince Mcmahon strolls down to ringside and everyone’s BS meter goes into overdrive. Rock and Austin brawl before Austin delivers the spinebuster for a close two count. Spinebuster by The Rock and a People’s Elbow. Mcmahon saves Austin by breaking up the pin, Rock stares a hole through Vince giving chase and Austin plants Rock with a Rock Bottom. Cover and a two count for Austin!
Austin misses The Stunner as Rock pushes Austin into the referee. Low blow by Austin (That is like the fifth thing Austin has done as a heel). Austin asks Mcmahon for the chair and uses Mcmahon to hit The Rock with a chair. Cover by Austin, Vince wakes up the referee and Austin still cannot get the job done. Austin has the chair, Rock nails The Rock Bottom on Austin and Vince distracts the referee. Rock has had enough as Rock nails Vince.
Austin nails The Stunner on The Rock and Rock kicks out again! The crowd is going nuts by this stage, it is a frenzy but Austin has the chair who annihilates The Rock with the chair, shot after shot over and over again, The Rock is whacked, smashed and cracked with the chair. Austin pins Rock after the insane number of chair shots and is your WWF Champion.
The crowd cheer but they cannot believe what they have saw as their hero has shaken hands with the devil himself, Stone Cold Steve Austin has aligned himself with Vince Mcmahon. Now before we take on the ending and why it was bad, let’s look at the match. Austin heeled it up throughout the match, weapon shots, exposed turnbuckles, not breaking holds and low blows, Austin give us every reason to boo him out of the building.
The chair and using Vince were the icing on the cake but where it fell flat was this was Texas, Stone Cold territory due to his homestate status. As the match continued, you could see Austin’s desperation and the phrase “I will do anything to beat you The Rock” was hammered home as Austin could not figure out how to beat The Rock. Rock looked like an absolute beast in this match due to not giving up despite Austin’s Herculean efforts to end The Rock’s career.
Now let’s look at the ending, Austin could not defeat The Rock so he joined forces with Mcmahon, the same person he had waged wars with for the entirety of his run on top of the company, the same man who had wished anyone else as champion rather than Austin. Austin turned heel because he felt he had run his course as a babyface, it was a bad decision and Austin regrets it entirely but I guess the question was could this be salvageable?
Austin tried and tried as he might but he could not generate the boos, it did not work and I don’t think the odds of it working were very good. Mcmahon and Austin side by side was simply not right and Austin would turn face after Survivor Series. What I will say is the execution was very good, from Austin’s promo stating he would do anything to working heel the majority of the match to hammering home the turn with the chair shots.
If it was in a different stadium, it could have been a more sympathetic reaction towards Rock but ultimately, the fans did not want a heel Austin and WWF business suffered as a result. However, this ending did not take away from the match in my opinion, it had a great narrative with facials playing a key role, the action was great and it was excitement from beginning to end. A worthy main event for one of the greatest Wrestlemanias.
Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin over The Rock via Chair Rape!
I feel very sentimental writing this as this is truly the end of a series I have thoroughly enjoyed writing and reviewing. Wrestlemania 17 was ine of the best Manias of all time, the women’s match and the RTC match are the only blemishes for this pay per view and to be fair, both were short so they did not detract from the overall presentation that much. You had a bit of everything on the show with the huge bumps in the TLC, pure wrestling with Benoit and Angle, drama with the likes of Rock and Stone Cold and showmanship between the likes of Triple H, Shane, Undertaker and Vince.
Honestly, I cannot see myself changing that much from this pay per view and it really is a fitting end to The Attitude Era, it was the finest pay per view of the era and I am glad I was able to witness it live and relive it now to remind me why I fell in love with wrestling and why it is still a part of my life. So the journey is over, I have covered over 40 pay per views from beginning to end, I have had boring matches, sloppy matches, mediocre matches, good matches and some great matches.
Do I think we overhyped this era of wrestling? To an extent, yes some of these pay per views had matches and moments that were simply forgettable and embarrassing in a lot of ways to look back on but by that same token, The Attitude Era defined generation of fans, it had so much mainstream appeal and there are so many legends form that era, so many wrestlers from that time that gave me and you so many memories.
Sure, there were some bad times but nothing is perfect so my final conclusion on The Attitude Era was it could be bad but mostly, it was kickass and fun and that’s why people want a return to this era. However, I hope it never happens as I feel it will never live up to what came before it which was simply the best time to be a wrestling fan. If you read this review or stumbled across any of my reviews, thank you for taking the time to read and critique my opinions. Thanks for the good times and I hope to see you all again!