34 days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania XX hold up?

20 years of Wrestlemania, and typical of most WWE shows I’ve watched in my day: there were extreme highs and extreme lows. This is why we all love wrestling right?

It’s strange for me to think this was so long ago. This, for me, was the height of my love for wrestling. I desperately wanted Eddie Guerrero to keep his championship after shocking Brock Lesnar, and I had a vision that Chris Benoit would capture his first major championship, culminating in one hell of a storyline for his career. To think that both of these amazing performers are gone (and under very different circumstances obviously) is a sad realization. But in wrestling, you have to look at each Wrestlemania under a microscope of that time period. In 2004, we didn’t know what would become of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. We couldn’t have predicted what John Cena would become. And who would think Lesnar vs. Goldberg would be recreated twice in 2016-17. While not every match was a shining performance, Wrestlemania XX at Madison Square Garden had the perfect ending for young wrestling fans.

Favorite Match: Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels

  • One of the best triple threat matches I’ve ever seen. There was some great storytelling throughout, and the suspense of the whole thing was fantastic. HHH and HBK trying to settle their feud while Benoit looks to culminate an 18-year journey for the World Heavyweight Championship. What a way to wrap up a Wrestlemania. Triple H and HBK proved they could not only continue to reinvent themselves against one another but against another wrestler. Benoit proved he belonged in the main event of a Wrestlemania, and while we never saw him in that role again, he could have easily elevated himself to that point. I was tempted to put Angle vs. Guerrero here, but the story of Benoit from Royal Rumble to Wrestlemania is too good to ignore here. Seeing Guerrero and Benoit in the ring after the fact still makes me tear up. Crying. Sobbing. And back to reality.

Favorite Moments:

 

  • John Cena getting his first title win with two FU’s to Big Show
    • The young blue-chip rapper cemented himself in the mid-card here by securing the U.S. Title. It was quick, but exactly what needed to open up the show.
  • The Rock promo throughout the backstage area
    • Once again, classic Rock here. The guy oozes charisma, and taking a tour through the backstage was epic.
  • Rock and Foley bonding at the end of their match vs. Evolution
    • Downtrodden Foley having his hand raised by the Great One. Mrs. Foley would be super proud.
  • Victoria shaving Molly Holly’s head
    • Didn’t think it would actually happen! They shaved her head completely bald.
  • Undertaker’s return was amazing
    • The greatest entrance in wrestling ever? Probably. The match itself wasn’t the greatest but the aura of the Deadman cannot be understated.
  • Benoit and Eddie together at the end
    • Once again. Tears. Benoit’s family coming into the ring at the end was edited out because of what happened, but I still remember that. I remember Eddie and Benoit crying openly at the end. I remember the confetti flooding the arena. Chills. Still.

Worst Match: Playboy Evening Gown Match

  • This one truly feels like a slap in the face to women’s wrestling in 2018 and how far that division has come in 15 years. If there was an evening gown match in WWE today, I can only imagine the backlash the company would receive (and rightfully so). I understand that it was a different time back then, but what an absolute waste of time and space there.

Worst Moments:

  • Crowd was not pleased with Goldberg vs. Lesnar
    • And WWE has repeated this mistake again since this. When the fans know the outcome blatantly, or it doesn’t matter who wins because both are leaving the company, it’s a rough crowd.
  • Cruiserweight Open felt flat
    • The crowd went ballistic when Rey started getting victories. However, Chavo winning in a dastardly way really made the crowd flounder.

Final Thoughts: This is more your standard Wrestlemania. There was a solid mix of solid wrestling and subpar entertainment. Starting with John Cena getting the Big Show up, throwing in an Undertaker return, top-notch wrestling and psychology with Angle and Guerrero, and then culminating with the Triple Threat match, this year’s Wrestlemania was truly solid and is worth the re-watch for any wrestling fan.

Does this Hold Up?

Skip the Playboy Evening Gown Match. You’re welcome. Does it hold up in the sense of wrestling, story-telling, and overall excitement? Absolutely. Does it hold up based on what happened with Chris Benoit? Eh. That’s for every wrestling fan themselves to decide. It’s admittedly tough to watch any match with him considering what he did. However, I try to remember Wrestlemania 20 based on what I felt in 2004 as a 14 year old. And that time to me was priceless.

See below for a roundup of those already up: 

This is the twentieth piece in a Court of Nerds and Geekiverse collaboration that will present “34 Days of WrestleMania” as we look back on each Showcase of the Immortals as we lead you into WrestleMania 34. Keep an eye out for a couple of podcasts in the near future from Austin Brunner and Benjamin Raven as we break down each decade in podcast form.