Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
Before we get into today's edition, I wanted to mention that I just have opened a major new image gallery here on the Solie's site. The Marc Friedland Collection consists of snapshots, autographs and publicity photos collected my Marc in 1962 and 1963 in and around his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut. It features never before seen photos of such stars as Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, the Fabulous Kangaroos, "Manic" Mark Lewin, Hans Mortier, Arnold Skaaland and a host of others as well as great action shots from the October, 1963 issue of Wrestling World magazine. The collection can be accessed by going to Solie's Classic Wrestling Image Gallery. Check it out!!
You can get more of the latest news and rumors by listening to this week's Solie's Wrestling Radio report.
I missed Wrestlemania, but I read the reviews. Sounds like it was a good show.
Hogan's a face, huh? Didn't take long, did it? Well, people like things that remind them of their youth....I guess the bulk of present-day wrestling fans were kids during his big run with the WWF, so, OK, I can see him being way over. Also, luckily for Hogan, the short-term memory of the average fan is shorter than a flea's nose.
But I guess that the 68-thousand people there were pretty pro-Hogan from the get-go. Canadian fans have never, in my estimation, accepted the Rock, have they? I always hear them boo the Rock. I haven't figured this out, but I would assume that they look at him as the representation of what is bad about the WWF, and pro wrestling......no technical skills, all punches, kicks, and throws, and bombastic mic work.
Isn't Hogan like that?
All that being said, is there room enough for Hogan, Austin, Rock, and HHH...all as faces? What about the now weakened nWo? What about them? Are they even going to be able to function? If the nWo is to stay in existence, they will need people in the fold. What about Undertaker? Test? Chris Jericho? HHH? X-Pac? HBK?
Mike, my wrestling savvy brother, whose birthday was on the 17th of March (go figure), still thinks HHH is going to turn heel, with or without Stephanie's help. He was saying this four weeks before WM18, and he'll tell you now that it is still going to happen.
My outlook is not as specific. I say that one of the top faces has to go over to the nWo, and I really couldn't tell you who. I think that we will see Vince go ape-crap over Hogan's defection on Raw, and we will see how that shakes out. Or, maybe this is a screw job. Maybe this is a New World Order special. Who knows? Maybe someone should call Bischoff and ask him...I bet he'll have the time to take your call.
Now, for the Miss Pamela part of our column......
Undertaker is 10-0. Perfect. The winningest person ever at a Wrestlemania. In his varied personas, he has been unstoppable, though I figure from the reviews that Flair made a good accounting of himself. I am beginning to think that Wrestlemania is a venue for the Undertaker to get rewarded for his service in the WWF....instead of all the laurels that HHH, Austin, and the Rock get, they just keep letting the Undertaker win at Wrestlemania. I bet he wins out there....15 and 0? Maybe.....
Austin beat Hall....huh.....I am so surprised, I may just sit and spin. Who didn't see this coming? I caught heck from my columnists at bodyslam.cc about saying that Hall had to behave, and the big Internet hullabaloo about Hall's non-selling of his kidnapping at the hands of Austin was the result of a cross Austin complaining that Hall didn't sell his fear and angst enough. The Austin win was easy to predict, since I think his ego is the bigger of the two, and Hall has to prove that he will give it up for the company. Even with Nash helping him, Austin got put over again by the New World Order. Isn't this guy popular enough?
I see that RVD won.....who didn't see that coming? I think as long as this guy can keep from breaking somebody's nose, or face, or anything, he'll sit on the top of the mid-card. And, Regal has basically allowed this young guy to move into the spotlight without question (at least, any that I have heard of). That is the sign of a true professional.
What about Kane? Oh, gee, he lost again. Is this guy becoming a joke, now? The "Jobber to the Stars" is back. Now, he needs to wrestle the Big Show, if only to break one of their losing streaks. This guy is a monster......why do we continually job this guy out? Not that I think Angle shouldn't get a push, but Kane is being wasted, plain and simple. As for Angle, he is in the middle of a de-pushing, as the main-event ranks have been cluttered by the arrival of Nash, Hall, and Hogan. Angle now resides firmly in the mid-card.
HHH is now the Undisputed Champion. OK. We saw that coming, didn't we? I knew there would be some sort of reward for his comeback, and the public relations boon that was created. Also, all accounts from the backstage say that he is intimately involved in the booking and storyline development, and is dating the bosses daughter. That means good things for ol' HHH. And, it was good to see a face win the championship.
Yeah, I like the good guys winning. So?!
What do we have now? Will Hulkamania return tonight, or will a humble Hogan return to the ring? Will HHH stay face, or turn tonight on a traditionally flat Raw? Will one of Stephanie's..uh...female parts pop out? What about Raven? What about the roster split? And.....what about Flair? Is he going to be reinstated, or not? Ah, I know, the Split!
Huh...is that still there? Yeppers, my good friend. The Split will probably be tied in to the next PPV (should have been done months ago) and will bring back many of the feeder-fed bound wrestlers. I am looking forward to this, because it will bring a semblance of competition back to the wrestling world.
OK...I've had enough. I'm tired, sore, and I lost my voice. You all read last week that I was in a bagpipe band, so you can figure that I had a very busy weekend. It was, shall we say, full. So, now, the kilt gets dry-cleaned, the sweater gets some Woolite, and I get some sleep. Be safe, everyone, and come over to bodyslam.cc for all your wrestling needs.
See you next week, with another Connection.
by Earl Oliver
SmackDown was taped on Tuesday at the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio and opened with a replay of the "Lucy" incident with all of it's ramifications. So is Triple H out of WrestleMania?? Wait and see...
Kurt Angle made his entrance at the top of the program for a match against Rob Van Dam. Angle took an ugly bump early in the match. It looked like he missed his grip on the ropes as he went over the top and landed very hard on his hip. Moments later he hit a big belly-to-back and regained the advantage in the match. As van Dam was about to throw the frog splash on his opponent, Willy Regal ran up and distracted him. Angle jerked him off the top and then slapped on the ankle lock for the win.
Ric Flair confronted Vince McMahon in his office and was asked to leave. Before he did, however, he announced that Flair's match against the Undertaker will be no DQ. Gosh...doesn't that play right into the hands of the "dirtiest player in the game..?"
In anticipation of the four-way Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania, the next contest was a Fatal Four-Way featuring Billy, Jeff Hardey, Bradshaw and Bubba Ray Dudley. This match went for quite a while before anyone was even close to a pin. Jeff finally got the duke over Billy. A free-for-all erupted immediately following the pinfall. The tag champs slipped away and watched the carnage from the ramp with smirks on their faces.
After the break, Lita and Trish got into a huge fight backstage. Meanwhile, Vince had a surprise visitor - David Flair! Vince told David he would give him the opportunity of a lifetime - a match against the Undertaker. David tried to bow out - but Vince goaded him into it.
Al Snow had his first Hardcore Title defense against the Big Show. Right off the bat the battle began out on the floor where the big guy dropped the Champ onto a trash can, then squeezed his head against the steel steps. Snow came back with a kick to the knee and then started clobbering the challenger with a STOP sign. Back in the ring, Snow continued to hold the advantage, knocking the giant down in the corner then rolling a bowling ball into his crotch!!! The Show came back with a chokeslam - then as he was attempting the pin, Goldust ran in and attacked him from behind. Snow was knocked down then the giant attacked Goldust and threw him out to the floor. As TBS was looking down at Goldust, deciding what to do next, Maven slipped into the ring and drop kicked him over the top, then pinned the still unconscious Snow to take the title!
Hollywood Hogan made his entrance after the break to a chorus of mixed boos and cheers. He talked about beating the Rock in classic Hogan style on Monday - then showed the footage to prove it. He then went back to his typical harangue against the apostate Hulkamaniacs. He showed the footage twice more - the third time in slow motion. He ranted some more, then threatened to roll the tape again. This time he was stopped by the entrance of the Rock, who paced back and forth like a cat on the platform. When he finally started his rant he told Hogan that he didn't give two cents about killing Hulkamania because Hulkamania is a fantasy! Something that only lives in Hogan's mind. He threatened to beat Hogan at WrestleMania (well...duh...) Hogan came back with a concession that maybe the Rock was a cut above the rest...but "What cha gonna do..?" Maivia said, "I'll tell you what I'm gonna do..." then started walking to the ring. He paused on the apron for several seconds, then slipped between the ropes. He told Hogan that his plan is to put an end to his legend and go down in history as the best ever. "But until then, the Rock will take his vitamins...and if I was you I'd say my prayers...if you smell what the Rock is cookin'..." They went nose-to-nose...Rocky removed his shades - then Hogan stepped away and left the ring.
Booker T came to the ring after the break to join Test in a tag match against Tajiri (w/Torrie) and Edge. The match began with Booker trying to club Tajiri into the mat. Tajiri came back with a wicked boot to the face then treated the invading Test to the same treatment. After that it was all down hill as tajiri was isolated and brutalized. Test finally got back in and almost pinned Booker - but Test saved his butt. Moments later a little judicious double team allowed Booker to get the pin over Edge. Test held Edge captive and forced him to watch Booker do the Spinarooni.
Steve Austin was interviewed backstage after the break. He plans to beat Scott Hall at the PPV. The nWo music interrupted the interview so that Scott Hall could come out to the ring for a rant. He countered Austin's bluster with footage of him putting a Stunner on Stone Cold after the main event on Monday. He rather cleverly played off the "What?" chant from the crowd - using the word for emphasis. Austin's music played but no Austin. Then a referee walked out to the platform, which sprung the trap the nWo thought they had set. Kevin Nash ran out with a chair only to see he had been duped. meanwhile, in the ring, Austin snuck in from the crowd and hit Hall with a Stunner. Nash ran down to the ring but he was too late.
Who does the WWF think they are kidding? They show a commercial featuring older teenagers playing with WWF action figures...right...
Backstage, Stephanie was caressing Chris Jericho's...title belt... Jericho predicted that Triple H would back out of the World Title match on Sunday...right... They made plans to be somewhere nearby when HHH makes his heavily hyped and anticipated announcement later.
Next up, the Undertaker taking it to David Flair - just to sweeten the pot a little for this Sunday's event. David is looking pretty good these days. Bulked up and ready for action. The kid attacked as soon as UT turned his back to disrobe and got in a few good shots before UT turned the tables and went to work. Before he could get too physical, Ric Flair came running in and attacked! UT took him down then had to deal with David again. UT turned to protect himself and fell victim to a chair shot from Flair the elder. he decided to cut his losses and left the ring.
Triple H made his entrance after the break and limped to the ring with something on his mind. He had to use a little extra effort to mount the corner for his acknowledgment of the crowd. In his preamble he alluded to making an unfortunate announcement - then he clarified it by saying it would be unfortunate for Chris Jericho - because Jericho failed to take him out last week. He reaffirmed his plans to kick Jericho's butt at the PPV. Then Jericho's music played and the Millennium Bug made his appearance with Stephanie at his side. Jericho congratulated HHH on his "performance" but questioned Hunter's claim to be "100%". Stephanie took the mic and called HHH a liar - claiming that she talked to Hunter's doctor and has the dirt on his injury. She claims that his quad is severely injured and could go at any time, that the doctor says that HHH shouldn't try to compete for at least a month. Chris then chimed in and took credit for neither HHH or Lucy walking the same ever again. Hunter then admitted that Stephanie was right about his leg...but he said he doesn't - he's going to be there...and he's going to win. Jericho charged the ring but got the worst of it until Stephanie distracted her "soon-to-be ex-husband". Jericho tried to attack again but Hunter out flanked him. He then set Steph up for a Pedigree on the announce table, but Jericho ran back in and clipped him with his title belt. Then he set Hunter up on the table and applied the Walls of Jericho, in a replay of what happened last May. The program ended with Jericho exalting and holding his titles aloft.
Stand by folks - it's starting in two minutes...
Live from the Sky Dome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, WrestleMania gets under way with an appearance by the band, Spit...er...Saliva...sorry I couldn't resist.
After a video montage of various top-flight WWF stars talking about what the event means to them, we cut to the arena and Jim Ross and the King welcome the world wide television audience.
First up on the card, Rob Van Dam making his first WrestleMania appearance as the opening contest against the Intercontinental Champ, Willie Regal. This is Van Dam's chance to win the IC Title. Van Dam uses his educated feet to take the immediate advantage. Regal retreated to the corner and made a show of donning "the power of the punch". But then he turned around and RVD kicked the brass knuckles right off of his hand! Van Dam pushed on and set up an early frog splash ...and missed it. Regal took control momentarily, but the match then went into see saw mode. Now it settled down to more of a wrestling match. Van Dam retook control but Regal stopped Van Dam's rather sudden momentum with a full nelson suplex that sent his opponent rolling to the floor. Then Regal seemed to lose his concentration. Van Dam was roughed up and thrown back into the ring. Willie came in behind him and got flattened by a kick as he was trying to pull out a second set of brass knucks. RVD went for the frog splash again and hit it He got the pin...and the title.
Backstage, Christian vowed to retake his European Title from Diamond Dallas Page.
That match is up next. In his home town - Christian had himself announced as residing in Tampa, Florida... The challenger attacked the champ as soon as he entered the ring, but DDP is a pretty fair hand at fisticuffs, so he soon turned the tables. So Christian turned to chicanery to retake control. The match went into a pattern - Page would make a come back with his fists, then Christian would use a cheap shot to stop his momentum. After some struggles, DDP hit a powerbomb and got a two count. Then he went for a Diamond Cutter, but Christian twisted away from it. Christian looked like he might pull it off, but moments later he let his guard down and Page slipped the Diamond Cutter in and took the pin. After the match, DDP congratulated the challenger on keeping his temper, somehow managing to turn it into a taunt. Christian threw a tantrum as Page left the ring.
Backstage, the Coach tried to interview the Rock - but the latter took control of the mic and made his own statement. He then turned his attention back to the hapless Coachman and demanded that he get down on his knees and say his prayers. Coachman started his prayer, "Whut up G?" Mavia then shoved him out of the shot and continued his rant against Hulk Hogan, posing the rhetorical question, "What cha gonna do when the Rock gets wild on you?!!"
Goldust was back to challenge 2 time Hardcore Champ, Maven. He had his own gold trash cans under the ring, and attacked the Champ before he could get through the ropes. He set the kid up on the security railing then hit an elbow drop off the apron. Back in the ring, Goldust tried to use one of his trash cans, but had it kicked in his face. Goldust was barely slowed down - and came right back, hauling a golden shovel from underneath the ring and using it brutally. Maven was almost pinned. Moments later the two of them hit each other simultaneously and were both out of it when Spike Dudley ran in and pinned Maven! He then fled the ring as Crash Holly showed up then took off in pursuit...and we went to a commercial!!! What!! This is a $50 event!!
Oh great! Now we have to listen to another thrash band - this time Drowning Pool assaults our ears. This is a paean to Stephanie McMahon - the lead singer screams out, "I don't care about anyone else but me..." Man this is boring...
Meanwhile, backstage, Spike and Maven are slugging it out - then Crash gets involved as Al Snow drives in and misses them all, smashing into a stack of boxes! Finally, the Hurricane flies in and steals a pinfall on Spike to become the new champ.
Next up - Kurt Angle enters the arena to a "You Suck!" chant. He is here to face Kane. He took a moment before the match to chide the Canadian crowd about the way their figure skaters won the gold this year. This rant is interrupted by the arrival of Kane. As the Big Red Machine was acknowledging the crowd, Angle attacked him with the ring bell! Angle went right on the offensive and controlled things for a minute or so - then Kane caught him in a chokeslam. Angle came right back, however, and soon had Kane on the defensive again. He had his opponent in a front face lock until Kane threw him across the ring to escape the hold. Kurt came right back and hit a series of three German suplexes then went for the pin but failed. Taking a page from his opponent's book, Angle hit a flying clothesline off the top. But then, instead of going for the pin, he went "back to the well"...and fell in when Kane caught him with a clothesline of his own in mid air. Angle then took a cheap shot, going for the mask of his opponent, then switching gears and hitting the Angle slam before grabbing his ankle lock. Kane threw him of the first time - but Kurt went back to it. Kane escaped by getting to the ropes. Moments later, Kane knocked Angle down and and went to the top - but Angle rushed over and slammed him off the top. Angle rolled Kane up and pinned him using the ropes for leverage.
Backstage, the Hurricane was looking for a place to hide out and picked the ladies' locker room. The Godfather's "Escorts" started disrobing, then discovered him lurking behind a screen. The Godfather ran in and chased him out.
Next up - a lengthy promo leading up to the Flair/UT match. Then the match itself. The Undertaker arrived first on his bike. Flair came to the ring looking grim. UT looked over-confident to me. They immediately got into a fist fight, then rolled out to the floor, where Flair ran his opponent onto the announce table. Back in the ring, Flair continued his assault. UT looks a little wobbly on his feet. But he lured Flair back out the floor and ran his back into the ring post - then slammed him headfirst into the steps. Back in the ring, the two combatants traded shots in the corner. UT whipped him to the opposite corner and right into the Flair flip. Flair made it to the apron but was then booted off to the floor. UT followed him out and took control of the action. As UT pounded on him, Flair's forehead erupted in blood. By the time they returned to the ring, Flair was reeling and bleeding profusely. Yet he came fighting back and bulled UT into the corner with his chops. UT reasserted himself with a knee to the gut. He took Flair clear to the top rope and hit a superplex on him! Shades of Barry Windham!! And 'still Flair came back with chops. UT laid his opponent on the apron and dropped a leg on him. Back in the ring he went for the pin - but then pulled him up on 2. Probably a mistake. He continued to pound on the almost helpless Flair. Then he went for "Old School" - but Flair jerked him off the top rope! UT turned right around and clotheslined him then went to the top again, only to be knocked off and straddle the top rope. Flair knocked him to the floor, then found his lead pipe and bashed him with it several times until UT backed him into the apron. Flair switched to a chair and used it to good effect. Back in the ring he roughed up his now helpless opponent. But he went for a bounce off the rope and ran into a choke hold - so he kicked him in the nads!!! He slapped on a figure four until UT grabbed him by the throat again - and chokeslammed him this time. When Flair refused to be pinned, a frustrated Undertaker took it out on the referee. he went after Flair again but then Arn Anderson ran in and hit a spine buster on him!! UT came back and got his hands on AA - but Flair reappeared and struck back with a chair again. UT came back once more with a boot to the face and then got the Tombstone on Flair and pinned him. The referee tried to raise UT's hand - so he clotheslined him.
Man this stinks! Here's another commercial!
Mike Cole interviewed Booker T backstage, who pretended to know something about Einstein's theory "on relatives". He has Edge in a match next. This was pretty straight ahead with Booker dominating the early going. Then both guys fell off the top rope and were both out of it for a moment. Recovering first, Booker went for his scissors kick but missed. Then Edge went for his spear - and missed...Booker went into the Spineroonie then hit a super kick. Edge then managed to knock Booker down and did a Spineroonie of his won, followed by his big finisher - putting Booker down for the count.
Backstage, the Hurricane was being interviewed when Mighty Molly distracted him - then hit him with a frying pan! She pinned him and took the Hardcore Title!!
Next up a long promo for the Scott Hall. Stone Cold match. Followed by the match itself. Austin came to the ring first, then Hall showed up...with Kevin Nash. Austin wasted no time in tearing into Hall as soon as he entered the ring. Hall took his first opportunity to bail out and regroup. But Austin followed right behind him and and got in a shot on Nash before renewing his attack on Hall. Back in the ring, Hall kept the referee distracted while Nash pulled the pads off the turnbuckle in the opposite corner, then Hall flung Austin onto the exposed buckle. Now it was all Hall for several minutes. Nash continued to lurk at ringside, sneaking in shots whenever he could. Suddenly Austin hit a stunner on Hall and went for the pin, but Nash broke up the count then assaulted the referee. During a double team attempt at a chair shot, Austin escaped with two low blows and then hit stunners on both of his attackers. Nash and Hall came back pretty fast - but a phalanx of officials showed up and ordered Nash away from the ring. Back in the ring, Austin went for another stunner, but Hall reversed the move and got it on Austin. The latter kicked out. Then he came back with a big time stunner and got the pin. Steve then had a beer moment or two...
Now we get a video on WWF AXXess. Good guys and bad guys alike are shown interacting with fans and having a good time.
Now it is tie for the Four Corners Tag Team Title match featuring the Dudleys, who stopped on their way to the ring to dance with Saliva (gosh - that sounds funny...), the Hardys, the APA and the Tag Champs, Up-Chuck and Billy - who were attacked by APA as soon as they entered the ring. It eventually settled into a wild and wholly battle. About 4 minutes in APA were eliminated. Chuck and Billy were both out of it in their corner as the Dudleys and the Hardys battled it out. Stacy got on the apron and got kissed then spanked my Jeff Hardy. The two remaining non champion teams cvontinued to battle it out while the Tag Champs rested on the sidelines. Jeff was isolated for a long time, then finally Matt was tagged in to face Bubba - the champs still rested in their corner. The Dudleys had set up a table early on - Chuck's first action in quite some time was to throw D-Von through it! Back in the ring, the Hardys hit a twist-of-fate on Bubba and the Dudleys were eliminated. The fight went on - now with the Hardys battling it out for the titles. But not for long - Billy and Chuck used chicanery to retain their titles. Jeff was knocked out with a title belt then Matt was pinned by Billy.
Backstage, Hall and Nash were forming up plans to take their ire out on the Rock, but Hogan asked them to stay out of it. He wants to prove he is better than the Rock. Hmmmm...now that Hall has lost his match - doesn't that mean Hogan has to win his for the nWo to remain credible..?
Meanwhile, Molly was looking for a place to hide out when she ran into the top portion of a Dutch door - held by Christian - who pinned her and took her title.
Time for the first main event. Hollywood Hulk Hogan entered first complete with black and white feathered boa. The crowd went wild, both cheering and booing... Then the Rock made his entrance and their was no ambiguity to his greeting. The crowd became very vocal as they stared each other down. Hogan more or less dwarfs his opponent, and shows his superior power by throwing the Rock off during their first lock up. The crowd erupts!! The second encounter - and again the Rock is knocked down. Hogan poses and the crowd goes wild. Hogan starts punching the Rock and talking trash. Finally, Maivia comes back with an assault of his own and Hogan goes down. They get into a shoving match, Hogan goes for a hay maker but is blocked and downed again. he rolls out of the ring. Mavia followed him out and forced him back in. Maivia goes for the Rock Bottom - but Hogan blocked it with an elbow smash - then delivers a big boot to the face. The Rock was knocked down, but soon regained his feet and went back on the attack. Hogan surprised everyone at that point with a perfectly executed belly-to-back suplex. Hogan is in charge again for the next several exchanges. The Maivia makes a come back. Hogan exploded out of the corner and retook the advantage. The crowd seems to be chanting "Rocky!" and "Hogan!" in equal measure. Maivia is knocked to the floor and then brutalized by the Hulkster. Hogan starts to clear off the announce table, but the referee distracts him and Maivia comes back. Back in the ring, Hogan sidestepped a charge and ran the Rock into the referee. With no official, the contest continues. Mavia slapped on a sharpshooter - but Hogan refused to tap and made his way to the ropes. Maivia dragged him back to the center and Hogan started to tap out...but there was still no referee. The crowd started a "Rocky Sucks!" chant!! Maivia released the hold - then Hogan came back with a Rock Bottom! The referee recovered and started to count - but Mavia kicked out. Hogan took off his weight belt and whipped his opponent. Maivia came back with Rock Bottom but Hulk kicked out...then started to Hulk up!!! He caught the Rock with the big boot then hit the leg drop - the Rock kicked out. He went for the leg drop again and missed... Maivia hit the Rock Bottom again - then hit a second one before dropping the People's Elbow and taking the pin. What a great match!!!
Afterward, Hogan got to his feet and offered his hand - Rocky took it and they shook hands. I was expecting some kind of double-cross - but Hogan acknowledged the Rock.
Hall and Nash showed up after the Rock left and started beating up on Hogan until the Rock came back and helped Hogan drive them away. Hogan was holding his ribs, and started to leave - but Maivia called him back and insisted that he pose for the crowd - who went wild once again. The two men embraced in the ring them left together. Who would have expected this???
By the way, the reports are that Hogan hurt his ribs last weekend in a house show.
The Fink announced that WrestleMania has set a Sky Dome attendance record of 68,237.
Next up, the Triple Threat match for the WWF Womens' Title. Jazz defending her title against Lita and Trish Stratus. Jazz entered first, followed by Lita then Trish. Trish was knocked out to the floor almost immediately and was out of the early going, but soon came back in her usual scrappy fashion. The match then became mostly between Lita and Trish as they cooperated to keep Jazz out on her feet. Jazz eventually recovered - then was sent directly over the top to the floor. She was back in a flash, however, and managed to take the pin and retain her title over Trish.
Christian was trying to make his escape from the arena in a cab when Maven dragged him into a roll up and took back the Hardcore Title. he then stole Christian's cab!
Finally - THE main event. Triple H taking on Chris Jericho for the Undisputed WWF Heavyweight Title. Triple H made his entrance to another performance by the Spit band - doing the new version of his theme music. His left leg is heavily bandaged above the knee. Jericho made his entrance accompanied by Stephanie. There is a rumor floating around that this is all going to turn out to be a set-up by Stephanie and the Game against Jericho. I have to say that would be perfect...though unlikely considering what she allowed to happen to him last week. Of course - this IS the WWF... Jericho went after the leg immediately, of course. HHH clubbed him on the back then skittered away to protect himself. Almost immediately, Hunter went for his high knee and hurt himself. Jericho went to the top rope to gloat to the crowd - only to be caught there and tossed to the floor. Immediately, HHH started dismantling the announce table. Jericho sopped that action by attacking the leg again. Is that blood I see staining the bandage? HHH sucked it up and turned the tables - then he started working on Jericho's legs. He put a figure four on Jericho - but Stephanie attacked his eyes to free her partner. HHH was grabbing her on the apron when Jericho came charging over - and ran right into her. HHH dragged her back in and started to put a Pedigree on her but Jericho broke that up then went back to work on HHH's leg. It begins to look not good for Hunter... Jericho grabbed HHH's legs again and applied Bret Hart's rather bizarre figure four around the ring post. Back in the ring, Jericho applied a leg grapevine and started pouring on the pressure. He was going for another figure four when HHH kicked him off and shoulder first into the corner. Jericho came right back from that and the match went into see saw mode. The fight went to the floor, where HHH was downed again. jericho started dismantling the announce table and then tried to get the Walls of Jericho on the table. Hunter escaped and went for the Pedigree - but Jericho back dropped him and destroyed the Spanish Announce table directly behind them. Back in the ring, Jericho hit the Lionsault, but couldn't get the pin. Hunter caught Jericho and went for the Pedigree but Jericho turned him over and into the Walls of Jericho. HHH struggled to escape by reaching the ropes. It looked for a moment that HHH had passed out, but then he rallied and made it to the ropes. The referee signaled for Jericho to release the hold. Jericho went for a chair while Stephanie occupied the referee. HHH then got hold of the chair and DDT'd Jericho on it. Stephanie went for the chair but the referee prevented her from using it. Hunter grabbed her and put the Pedigree on her!! Jericho attacked again with the chair and went for the pin but failed. Jericho then went for the Pedigree - but HHH reversed it to a monkey flip - then came back and got the Pedigree for the pin and the title.
Raw came to us live from the Molson Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and opened with Hulk Hogan coming to the ring amid the cheers of the fans. The camera zoomed in on a sign that read, "Hogan is God!" The front row in the camera shot was bowing to him. The cheers went on and on as Hogan kept putting the mic to his mouth then taking it back down. When he did finally start to talk, he told the crowd that he loved them. He then talked about his expectations for WrestleMania - most of which didn't come off as he thought they would - he talked about his astonishment when the crowd got behind him and he thanked them for that. Then he thanked the Rock - and a good portion of the crowd booed! Despite this unexpected reaction he persisted, talking about Maivia's courage and abiltity to come back and win the match last night. The same portion of the crowd took up a "Rocky Sucks!" chant. Hogan concluded by saying that he and the Rock would lock up again someday - which brought the Rock to the ring. He went to the corner to acknowledge the crowd...and the reaction was mixed and somewhat subdued... As the Rock waited for the noise to die down, Hogan looked around with a somewhat confused look on his face. Maivia put the mic to his mouth and the crowd started up another faint Hogan chant. Maivia said, "Finally..." then paused and said it again, "Finally..." he paused and said it again (to a chorus of boo's) then finished it, "...the Rock has come back to Montreal." Then he added to it, "...and finally, Hulk Hogan has come back to the Hulkamaniacs!" The crowd erupted at that. Maivia went on to talk about the passion that Hogan and the fans brought to the match last night, then said that it would be his honor to face Hogan, "...anytime, anyplace." Then he challenged Hogan to get rid of his nWo colors. Hogan tore off the shirt - then the nWo showed up. I smell a tag team match... Hall and Nash look disbelieving, and Nash accused Hogan of turning on them first. He recounted the plan when they were brought in - to take out one guy - Austin. But that plan didn't work because the Rock decided to challenge Hogan, and he accepted. Nash is upset because Hogan didn't help them do in Austin. The Rock then interjected in his usual hectoring style, calling Nash "Big Daddy B*tch" and accusing them of whining. A match was proposed and made...(duh)
Next up, Rob Van Dam in his first IC Title defense against Christian. Van Dam is a changed man! He has always exhibited an excess of confidence - but tonight he seems more genuine about it, somehow. Less braggadocios, more of a winner. I have to say that his first WrestleMania appears to have been a life changing experience. Christian tried to walk off with the championship belt early on in the match - but Diamond Dallas Page intercepted him and threw him back into the ring to get pinned.
Backstage, Chris Jericho had a run in with a wrestler masquerading as a stagehand. The guy taunted him about losing the World Title last night, and paid got his butt kicked for his trouble. Apparently Jericho left the arena immediately after that.
Lita came out to a new theme song to face Trish Stratus, who went on the attack before her opponent even had a chance to finish acknowledging the crowd. Trish has really come a long way in the last year, developing a very physical style that matches well against Lita's greater experience - it wasn't enough tonight. Lita won the match handily - and then was attacked from behind by Jazz. Trish recovered and came to Lita's aid - but then Ivory showed up and turned the odds around again. It looks like we have a second tag team rivalry forming.
After the break, Linda McMahon made a statement about the action the board has decided to take concerning the future of the company. This is the long rumored roster split, folks! She says the board has decided to create a brand extension, a second roster of talent which will be exclusive to RAW - where Rick Flair will have 100% control. Vince will get SmackDown! for his provence. She announced that next week there will be a draft, during which the two promoters will choose their rosters. The only exception to this will be the Men's' and Womens' champs, who will continue to compete in both organizations.
Mr. McMahon took to the ring after the break and didn't look to happy about what just happened. He told the crowd that he had come out to say good bye and that he is sure that they are going to miss him...but he isn't going to miss any of them. He ran down Roc Flair as a businessman - no killer instinct, no marketing strategy, etc. Meanwhile the crowd took up the "Good bye..." chant. That silenced him for a moment. Then he predicted that Ric Flair will be a miserable failure. This brought Flair out in a $1000 suit looking every inch the Nature Boy (jet ridin', limousine ridin', etc., etc.) Vince lit right into him while Ric stood their and stared at him. He finally spoke when Vince was finished, declaring that Vince created RAW and then used it for his own self aggrandizement - and said that the RAW brand would go on without missing a beat. Vince started to leave as the crowd started up again - then he turned back and proposed a coin toss for first choice in the draft next week. Vince won the toss (it was probably a two headed coin) and then gloated about it, before turning away - then reversing himelf suddenly and landing a sucker punch. Vince turned and started strutting, only to turn back around and run right into the Nature Boy's fist Flair put the figure four on Vince before releasing him and allowing him to leave the ring.
Booker T was next up tagging with Kurt Angle against Edge and Kane. The bad guys abandoned the ring so that Kane could make his entrance - but then Kane reached over the ropes and dragged Booker in by the hair to get the match started. This was a pretty good match - a lot better than that four way sleeper last night. It ended when Edge pinned Angle after an Edge-ecution.
Maven defended his Hardcore Title, for what, the third time in three reigns? He came down and immediately started throwing "plunder" into the ring - as the American Dream would say. His opponent was his mentor, Al Snow. Snow got the match going as soon as he arrived, dragging Maven out to the floor to beat on him. Interestingly, Snow eschewed the weapons, seemingly preferring to wrestle until they got back into the ring. Then he started using a trash can lid. He knocked Maven down repeatedly, each time telling him to "Stay down!" I got the feeling that Snow is trying to get his mentor out of the Hardcore picture so he can build a career before getting destroyed by some over enthusiastic challenger. Suddenly Spike Dudley ran in and attacked - then indie wrestler Brock Lesner, accompanied by Paul Heyman showed up and attacked Spike. Lesner destroyed everyone in the ring, but it wasn't clear whether or not he won the Title, since he didn't bother to pin anyone. I don't think he did...
After the break we got a replay of what just happened, then a recap of the Hogan/Rock appearance earlier tonight. Backstage, Matt Hardy and Lita were in the middle of a lip lock when Willy Regal strolled and started taunting them with the idea that the hardys might be split up by the draft next week. And worse - maybe Lita and Matt will end up on different shows (horrors!)
The Dudleys got a Tag Team Title shot on the program next. Stacy tried to entice Billy at one point but he wasn't buying it. She got pissed and grabbed a title belt to hit him with - thus getting her team disqualified. The Dudleys were incensed but she was uncaring - so they put her through a table!
Triple H made his first appearance as the World Champ after the break. Hunter grinned as he started to speak. He started out tooting his own horn and saying that he is a happy man tonight - he wanted to spread the joy around - so he showed the footage of him putting the Pedigree on Stephanie. This brought Stephanie out to have her say, wearing a neck brace. She stated that Jericho wants to have his rematch next week on RAW. Rather then demure, Hunter decide to up the ante - proposing a three way match for the title instead. She readily agreed - then he revealed that the third participant would be...Stephanie! And he added a stipulation - that Stephanie would leave the WWF if she lost. She tried to refuse, saying that the crowds want her around. He conducted a poll - which she lost handily. They were chanting the "Good Bye" chant to her now. HHH came back telling her she has no choice - because if she doesn't agree, then he will just put Jericho off until after the roster split. She then agreed to the match.
The main event was the afore mentioned Rock/Hogan vs. Hall/Nash tag team match. Hogan entered to "Third Stone from the Sun" then the Rock arrived and all hell broke loose. Hogan started the match against Hall and dominated him. The Rock went for the People's Elbow early but Nash was ready for it and tripped him up from the outside. He then tagged in and dominated the Rock. The Outsiders isolated Maivia, and I have to say that both Hall and Nash looked great in this match. I have heard some talk that Hall is out of shape - but I sure didn't see it tonight. The Rock finally slipped in the Rock Bottom and then struggled over to tag in his partner. Hogan came in against Hall again, and again dominated him. Hogan dropped the leg on Hall - but Nash dragged him out of the ring, and then they retreated to the ramp while the referee counted them out.
Disappointing ending for sure, but overall, not a bad show.
At least that's the way I see it...
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