Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Ramblemania Rewind 19 - WWE Wrestlemania XIX (2003)

Date: March 30th, 2003
Venue: Safeco Field, Seattle, WA
Attendance: 54,097

(Note: This was the first Ramblemania post that I wrote after word broke of the McMahon lawsuit in January 2024. All the rest would follow afterwards.)

Wrestlemania XIX returns to America and baseball stadiums... which would've been the perfect time to bring back the Macho Man... or at least, have Sid show up and make an appearance or something... but yeah, this is a show that I don't hear people talk about all that much outside of maybe one or two things; it would be the show where Steve Austin would have his last match (until 2022, of course) and also the botched BORK LAZOR shooting star spot... and yeah, this is not as top-tier stuff as Wrestlemania X-Seven... I don't think anything came close to that, quite frankly. But XIX has its moments. And we're going touch on these fast, fast.

Matt Hardy defeated WWE Cruiserweight champion Rey Mysterio in his Daredevil-inspired outfit to win the title. The match was fast-paced and fun while it lasted, but ran way too short. I seemingly recalled Matt Hardy trying to cut weight to get this title shot on TV... not sure if that actually happened, but that's the only thing that popped in mind. The match was fine, but it was short, and even after the match was over, we cut TO THE BACK so we can catch the Miller Catfight girls show up to the arena. For those who need context, the Miller Catfight girls are girls who did commercials for Miller Beer where they had catfights. Welcome to 2003.

Undertaker defeated A-Train (Albert) and... wait for it... FUCKING BIG SHOW in a handicap match to continue his Wrestlemania streak. This was supposed to be a regular tag-match where Undertaker was supposed to team up with Nathan Jones - an Australian bloke who I know mostly from his time in the old WWA promotion in Australia - but apparently the decision was made to pull him out and thus make it a handicap. Jones does eventually show up to help Taker out, but honestly, this match wasn't anything special in the first place and Jones

Trish Stratus defeated WWE Women's Champion Victoria and Jazz in a triple threat match to win the title. I'm amazed that Jazz was still around at that point, but nice to see her get another Wrestlemania payday before they eventually let her go. I'm going to be generous and say that this was a thing that happened, but honestly, this match was a struggle to sit through.

Smackdown Tag Champions Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) defeated Rhyno/Chris Benoit and Los Guerreros (Eddie and Chavo) to retain the titles. Fine tag-team wrestling match if there ever was one.

Shawn Michaels defeated Chris Jericho... so context here; Shawn retired in 1998 due to a bad back, but eventually came back in 2002 and had a couple matches. This is Shawn's first Wrestlemania match since he dropped the title to Steve Austin in 1998 and I'd go so far to say that this was Shawn's first real match since that match, because up until this point, he was in a street fight, an Elimination Chamber match.

World Heavyweight Champion MCSON-IN-LAW (a.k.a. Triple H) defeated Booker T to retain the title. This was the match that saw MCSON-IN-LAW give Booker the pedigree, both guys laid on the floor for what seemed like ten hours and then McSon-In-Law slowly crawled over to Booker's limp body, laid a hand over it, and the ref counted three to give MCSON-IN-LAW the win. Considering that this was a story of Booker going from rags to riches and Trips play the "Your Kind Of People" card that could or could not have racial connotations, the fact that Booker not only failed, but failed UTTERLY MISERABLY... yeah, if this isn't a textbook example of character examination, then I don't know what is. And on top of that, this match suffers the same issues that every McSon-In-Law from this period suffers from; it went on for way too fucking long and was really, really, REALLY fucking boring.

Hulk Hogan defeated Vince McMahon in a street fight, with a special cameo appearance by Rowdy Roddy Piper, who'd stick around in WWE for a couple months before being let go due to being on ESPN's expose of drugs and shit... coincidentally, McMahon was also on that piece and he stuck around... yeah, I'm not going farther than that. This match was sad to watch before - looking like two old codgers limping along, fighting weakly over the last bottle of Geritol on Earth - but given recent events... Yeah, let's just say that whatever shine was left on this thing was wiped out with all that's happened. And even if you could separate the art from the people involved, this was not a good match. Again, it was slow, it was plodding, it was an exercise in falling asleep... terrible. Next.

The Rock defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin in what would turn out to be Austin's last match until 2022. This was Hollywood Rock being all cocky and goofy, but getting his Mania win over Austin as the old cowboy is put out to pasture for good... before they bring him back for a co-GM stint or RAW or something. This isn't on par with their X-Seven classic, but it's still a fine match and given the state that Austin was in around this time - he had been hospitalized the night before the show - it's almost amazing that the match turned out as good as it did. If I had to have a final match, this was as good a note to end a career on... until some fat fuck Quebecker starts badmouthing Texas two whole fucking decades later... then shit's goin' down, son.

And yeah, we'll get to that one soon enough.

Brock Lesnar defeated WWE Champion Kurt Angle to win the title. This was the match where Brock tried for a shooting star press and almost broke his neck in the process... and by the way, Kurt was also dealing with some neck issues at the time and this was supposed to write him out of storylines. Not a good look for Brock to almost kill himself on the night he was supposed to win the title. Other than that, the match was more than fine. Probably not as great of a match as I was expecting between these two, but still fine.

I liked Wrestlemania XIX. I thought it was a good show. Sure, there was some definite stinkers here and there, but there were also some quality outings to be found here. Not one of the better Manias, but sitting comfortably in the upper-mid-tier bracket... if that makes any sense.

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