With WrestleMania 29 coming to East Rutherford, N.J. on April 7, WrestleNewz will be counting down and ranking all the WrestleManias of yore. Remember when Mr. T had a boxing match with Rowdy Roddy Piper? Remember when Hulk Hogan took on Randy “Macho Man” Savage while Elizabeth looked on? We do. So it’s time for a stroll down memory lane.
Event: WrestleMania XIX
Location: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
Date: March 30, 2003
- Cruiserweight Title: Champ Matt Hardy beat Rey Mysterio
- The Undertaker beat The Big Show & A-Train
- Women’s Title: Trish Stratus beat champ Victoria & Jazz to win the title
- WWE Tag Team Title: Champions Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas beat The Guerreros, and Chris Benoit & Rhyno
- Shawn Michaels beat Chris Jericho
- World Heavyweight Title: Champ Triple H beat Booker T
- Hulk Hogan beat Vince McMahon in a Street Fight
- The Rock beat Steve Austin
- WWE Title: Brock Lesnar beat champion Kurt Angle to win the title
Summary: On March 30, 2003, the WWE held its first WrestleMania under the WWE name as well as the first WrestleMania in the state of Washington. The event was a co-promotion pay-per-view between the Raw brand and the Smackdown! brand. The main event of the Smackdown! brand featured Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, two former NCAA wrestling champions. The Raw main event featured the third match between The Rock and Steve Austin.
Highlights: Steve Austin and The Rock went at it for the third time at WrestleMania XIX. This time, The Rock was the villain. He had to work for his victory and Austin showed an incredible display of toughness throughout the match, as he was battling a serious neck injury at the time.
The Rock began landing repeated People’s Elbows and Rock Bottoms near the end of the bout and it became clear that The Rock would be victorious. Austin refused to go down and it took three consecutive Rock Bottoms to finally break Stone Cold. After the third Rock Bottom, the Rock dropped for a pin and successfully completed the three count. The Rock finally got a victory over Austin at WrestleMania. It really was an epic moment that cemented this card into history.
The match between Lesnar and Angle involved a Shooting Star Press by a 280-pound man. How is that not a highlight? Even more surprisingly, Lesnar botched it and landed on his head. He was all but knocked out, and had to figure out another way to finish the match. Depending on how you look at it, it is either a great moment or a terrible botch. Either way, the match was very entertaining considering Lesnar was probably in tremendous pain through the final minutes. The Shooting Star Press was supposed to be the finish, so the improvised ending wasn’t the greatest, but you had to respect Lesnar’s guts.
The opening match of the bout also really began the feud between Matt Hardy and Rey Mysterio, which eventually culminated in Mysterio winning the cruiserweight title.
Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels also put together a fantastic match. It started slowly but really picked up, and I fondly remember the last few minutes. Michaels went for a Sweet Chin Music which was countered into Walls of Jericho. Michaels was able to break the hold, but Jericho was angry and started yelling at the ref. He took his anger out on Michaels but was hit with a Sweet Chin Music for his troubles. The pin only got a two count, however. After whipping Michaels into the corner, Jericho went for a supplex but Michaels rolled him up for the finish. It looked as if Jericho might turn face, but instead he kicked Michaels in the groin and walked away.
Lowlights: The handicap match that featured Undertaker against The Big Show and A-Train was a snoozer. Undertaker tried to carry Big Show and A-Train and make the match something worth watching but it was all for naught. The fight was just terrible, and Big Show and A-Train were slow and boring. Don’t watch this one.
Greatest Moment: After finally defeating Austin at WrestleMania, The Rock leaned over to Austin and told him he loved him. The Rock knew Austin was battling through some tough injuries, and the show of respect was a great WWE moment.
What Was Accomplished: This would be Austin’s last match before retirement. Dealing with a serious neck injury, he would go on to be “fired” from the WWE, only to be re-hired as the CEO of Raw. Austin wouldn’t seriously wrestle again, as injuries had taken their toll on his body.
Ranking: 2nd. The event couldn’t quite keep up with X-7 but it’s definitely up there in terms of memorable WrestleManias.
Do you remember WrestleMania 19? What did you think of it?
Bonus question: How badass was Steve Austin?