34 Days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania X-Seven, the perceived GOAT, hold up?

WrestleMania X-Seven from April 1, 2001, at the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas in front of 67,925 fans

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In what is widely regarded as the best WrestleMania of all time, WrestleMania X-Seven comes on the heels of the WWF's purchase of its main competition in WCW and three days before ECW went defunct. So, this show truly comes at one of the fascinating times in the history of the industry as the WWF bought its main competition after the Monday Night Wars of the 1990s.

WCW was always known for having the stronger mid card while the WWF always had the better, more attractive main events. While WrestleMania X-Seven's mid card is anything but weak, its main event of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock in a no disqualification match for the WWF Championship in front of 67,925 fans in 2001, mind you, is impossible to beat. Stone Cold was back after missing WrestleMania 2000, and The Rock was firmly cemented as the man after a strong, strong run from WrestleMania 15 to this show. The build to this match was simple, but the intensity and the need to beat the other man was all that this feud needed.

The crowd was into the main event from this show from start to finish, which is impressive considering they had been fully into it since the start of the show.

Stone Cold won the Royal Rumble for the third time to earn his spot in this main event, and The Rock beat Kurt Angle for the championship at No Way Out to set up the dream match and rematch of the WrestleMania 15 main event. Two years after their first meeting, The Rock is well past the designation of "blue chipper" and is a bonafide main event superstar. Stone Cold was still Stone Cold. In a category all on his own.  Thinking about the fact that Austin would wrestle his last match just two years later is heartbreaking because Austin could absolutely still go and tell one hell of a story in the squared circle.

Other matches on the WrestleMania X-Seven card include (seriously look at this roster before the infusion of WCW talent): Dudley Boyz vs Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian for the Tag Team Championship in TLC II, HHH vs. Undertaker, Mr. McMahon vs. Shane Mccard Mahon with Mick Foley as special guest referee in a street fight, Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero vs. Test for the European Championship, Kane vs. Raven vs. Big Show for the hardcore title, Chyna vs. Ivory for the Women's Championship, Tazz and the APA vs. Right to Censor, Jericho vs Regal for the Intercontinental Championship. 

There is just so much all-around fun on this card that it serves as the perfect encapsulation of why I love wrestling. If someone asks me what hooked me on WWF wrestling (I split time as a youngster between WCW and WWF), I point to SummerSlam 2000 and 2001, and WrestleMania X-Seven and just pretty much that 1999-2001 timespan as when I made the full-time switch to the WWF/E. Those aren't my favorite shows of all-time, but they are the ones that capture so much of what I love about this industry and form of entertainment.

WrestleMania X-Seven might not just be the best WrestleMania of all time, but the greatest WWF/E pay-per-view of all time. Enough lubing it up already, let's get to it.

Favorite moments and matches

Outside of one slippery spinning neck breaker early on, tell me something bad, wrong or sloppy about the Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock main event. I'll wait, because not only was this an all-out fun, bloody brawl all over the arena that used every move in the book and covered every inch of the ring, but it also represented one of the best heel turns and examples of enthralling wrestling psychology in a WWE match since WrestleMania 13.

Both went for their finisher early, both hit the other man's finish on each other, both got color (early and a fair amount of it) and both told the beautiful story of two men trying to win a championship at any cost necessary. Stone Cold and The Rock both wreaked of desperation in this one, and Jim Ross and Paul Heyman on commentary sold how big of a deal this match was as a "can't lose for either man" scenario. I didn't appreciate this until recently, but it always used to bother me that Stone Cold beat The Rock with a million chair shots instead of the Stone Cold Stunner. Then It dawned on me, "oh my god, that's part of the heel turn." The heel turn isn't just Stone Cold aligning with Vince McMahon to set up the WWF vs. WCW/ECW invasion storyline and corresponding swerves, but it's Austin winning at any cost necessary and not worrying about what the fans want. That story started here at WrestleMania X-Seven.

If you call yourself a wrestling fan and haven't seen the main event from WrestleMania X-Seven, make sure to go out of your way and watch this match. Two men at their best telling one hell of a story in the main event of WrestleMania for the second time in three years (they would meet again at WM19).

The TLC II match between the Dudleyz, Hardys and Edge and Christian is a highlight reel of carnage and features some of the most insanely iconic shots in company history. Edge spearing Jeff Hardy from the top of the giant ladder as Jeff hung from the championship belts, D-Von and Matt Hardy falling off the ladder inside of the ring through four tables on the outside, Jeff hitting the Swanton Bomb from the top of the ladder on the outside to Spike Dudley and Rhyno who are placed on a table … and so on and so forth. Another must watch match if you haven't seen it as this is one of the most heart in your throat matches of all time. Edge, Jeff and Christian would win WWE world championships in the future (Matt if you count the WWECW title, but he did win the TNA title), and Bubba would win the TNA title as Bully Ray.

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I don't want to spend too much time on Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit because the latter murdered his family, but these two guys are two of the best in-ring workers in the history of the industry and they worked a little slice of magic here. Exceeded expectations, and that's impressive considering it was a Benoit-Angle Match. I also loved the story told here, Kurt trying to convince himself that he never tapped out to Benoit because it wasn't a match.

Shane McMahon and Mr. McMahon's street fight is so god damn ridiculous and over the top, but it fits in with the theme and period of the show. Shane hits his best-ever coast-to-coast for the win after Linda telegraphs her foot into her husband's nutsack. What  a wacky match this was with the drugged up Linda story, Trish's involvement, Mick Foley, swerves and trash cans. A weird fun little side show.

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Raven vs. Big Show vs. Kane is also so much damn fun as they essentially just walk around the entire arena through the backstage area using anything and everything as a weapon. It's the insane Raven (who comes to the ring with a shopping cart full of foreign objects … and an office tree) vs. the RIPPED, IN SHAPE STUDLY monsters in the prime Kane and Big Show. It's a funny spot fest that survives a failed golf cart spot, missed elbow drop and a paper-thin wall that two monsters fell through. Fun, sloppy fun for all.

Jericho and Regal for the Intercontinental Championship was a great opening match as the two technicians beat the ever-loving shit out of each other. Regal homing in on Jericho's shoulder in any way possible just screamed why these two are beloved by so many (obviously one more than the other), and I found myself enjoying this match here in 2018. Just an underappreciated show opener here with two very unique styles meshing perfectly with each other. Regal also deserves a shout out for his match with RVD at WM18.

Least favorite moments and matches

I enjoyed the intensity and the idea behind HHH and Undertaker at WrestleMania X-Seven, but the fact that this turned into a street fight via homicide on the referee was just too many shenanigans. I always forget that this match wasn't an actual no DQ or street fight because there is blood, there are weapons and HHH-Undertaker go off the grid for like 10 minutes! While this sounds fun, it's a 50-50 yay-boo fest as Undertaker chokeslams HHH onto a fluffy bed (boo) but then delivers an awesome elbow drop off a pretty high up structure (yay). Either way, it's not bad, just some of the nonsensical illogical stuff messed with me when I was 14 and it messes with me now at redacted.

Chyna vs. Ivory was a boring squash as the former would soon be on her way out of the company. Eddie and Test was fun, but Saturn's hat ruined it for me. Just kidding, it was the one too many shenanigans that ruined it for me although props are due to Dean Malenko who almost fucked up his spot but saved himself at the last moment and didn't hop in the ring. Nice save, Dean.

The Gimmick Battle Royal … (Iron Sheik won, but it was awesome to see Bobby "The Brain" Heenan looking and sounding good.) It, yeah, I don't want to hate on this too hard but I never found this entertaining at any age.

How does it hold up?

Oh, hell yeah it does.

The only aspect of WrestleMania X-Seven is the nasty chair shots to the head and the amount of blood. Damn, we might only be 17 years removed from this show but it feels like a century away. Stone Cold's face is just covered and nearly everyone on the card takes a nasty shot to the head at some point.

I never thought I would be this way, but there were moments where it made me slightly uncomfortable and just rubbed me the wrong way. Nasty chair spots, terrifying spots, blood everywhere. It just seems like so long ago, and like such a different product. Outside of that, this show is one of the best pay-per-views of all-time, probably the best WrestleMania and comes at such an important period of time in professional wrestling. This show is a must watch, and I enjoyed the hell out of firing it up from start to finish.