OSR: WWE WrestleMania 20 Review (2004)

wrestlemania 20 review

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OSR: WWE WrestleMania 20 Review

“20 Years in the Making”

Back in 2004, the WWE marked the 20th Anniversary of WrestleMania as they returned to Madison Square Garden in New York City. With 18,500 in attendance, Eddie Guerrero faced over with Kurt Angle over the WWE Championship. Chris Benoit looked set to capture his first World Championship as he clashed with Shawn Michaels and Triple H. With a Rock ‘N’ Sock Connection reunion and the rebirth of a Deadman, relive the events of March 14 2004 in the WWE WrestleMania 20 Review…

We went straight inside The Garden, with “The Boys Choir of Harlem” opening the show with a stunning rendition of “America Beautiful”. This generated a tremendous reaction from those in MSG. We then went to the opening package, which focused on the beginning of WrestleMania and how it grew over the years as various iconic moments from WrestleMania through the ages were shown.

Various superstars then talked about the importance of WrestleMania. We then returned inside MSG for the opening fireworks display. The commentary team for the event was Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for RAW with Michael Cole and Tazz for SmackDown as the show then got underway.

1. [SmackDown]: WWE United States Championship: The Big Show (c) vs. John Cena

Cena made his way to the ring first, and cut a promo which got the fans hyped but also one that wouldn’t get passed in a PG era. The Big Show’s then hit the arena and made his way to the ring. There wasn’t a history package or reference to past events for this match, which makes it difficult to invest.

Show was dominant over Cena in the early moments of the match. Cena eventually battled back, and nailed The Big Show with some knuckles followed by an FU to pick up the win and capture the title. Thoroughly enjoyable opening match, great performances by Show and Cena.

Winner: John Cena, to capture the WWE United States Championship

Match Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

2. [RAW]: World Tag Team Championship – Fatal-4-Way Match: Booker T and Rob Van Dam (c) vs. La Resistance (Sylvain Grenier and Rene Dupree) vs. Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von)

Each of the teams made their way to the ring, with each of the teams receiving particularly average reactions. Whilst it was nice to see four teams having an opportunity, a normal tag team match would have being more effective.

Anyhow, RVD started the match off with Rene Dupree and along with Booker was able to dominate him. The match was seemingly contested between La Resistance and Booker/RVD which was quite frustrating because it didn’t allow Cade/Jindrak or The Dudley’s an opportunity to become relevant.

Eventually, RVD and Booker were able to retain the titles following a Five Star Frog Splash to Rob Conway. Cade/Jindrak and The Dudley’s didn’t even get tagged in, really disappointing.

Winner: Booker T and Rob Van Dam, to retain the World Tag Team Championship

Match Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

3. [RAW]: Chris Jericho vs. Christian

The history package was shown for the match, which was built over a significant period which allowed it time to develop. Both men made their way to the ring, where Christian displayed a great cocky heel character.

Jericho was very intense and brutal with Christian initially, but Christian was soon able to gain the offensive advantage against Jericho. Jericho was able to regain some momentum, but both men were eventually taken out by one another. This caused Trish to make an appearance at ringside.

As Christian nailed Jericho with an impressive DDT to get a near finish. Trish attempted to get involved, and was shoved down by Christian. Jericho went to help her, and was inadvertently elbowed in the eye which allowed Christian to pick up the win.

Trish then turned heel by ferociously slapping Jericho, which allowed Christian to nail him the Unprettier. After they made their way up the entrance way, Christian and Trish literally sucked each others faces off. Really great and enjoyable match, which maybe needed slightly longer to be even better.

Winner: Christian

Match Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

4. [RAW]: Handicap Match: Evolution (Randy Orton, Batista and Ric Flair) vs. The Rock ‘N’ Sock Connection (Mick Foley and The Rock)

Evolution made their way to the ring first, and were soon joined by The Rock and Mick Foley who quickly took the action to Evolution. The action got underway, with Foley and Rock being in control. Eventually, some double teaming allowed Evolution to gain the upper hand.

This turned into Evolution having the upper hand over Foley. The Rock was soon tagged back in and took it to Evolution, before he took part in an amusing mockery moment with Ric Flair. This allowed for a near finish for The Rock, but surprisingly Flair kicked out of The People’s Elbow.

Flair then had a nutty old man moment with a chair, but this allowsed Batista to take down The Rock again. As Foley went for the Mandible Claw on Orton, he was surprised with an RKO which allowed Evolution to pick up the win.

It was surprising that Foley and The Rock lost…it certainly gave shock value but that was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining match. To think, this would be The Rock’s last match until 2011. Another point from this match, Flair did look slightly blown up at times.

Winner: Evolution

Match Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

We are then shown a highlight montage of the 2004 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Mene Gene Okerlund then made his way out and introduced the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2004. The inductees were: Bobby Heenan, Tito Santana, Big John Studd (represented by his son, John Minton Jr), Harley Race, Pete Rose, Don Muraco, Greg Valentine, Junkyard Dog (represented by his daughter, Latoya Ritter), Billy Graham, Sgt Slaughter and Jesse Ventura.

5. [Inter-promotional] Playboy Evening Gown Match: [SmackDown]: Torrie Wilson and Sable (SmackDown) vs. [RAW]: Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie (RAW)

Each of the Diva’s were introduced, with Sable and Torrie coming out first and were soon followed by Jackie and Stacy. They all came out to almost no reaction, bar Stacy who got a nice pop. There wasn’t any background for this match, which made it even more pointless than it already was.

Sable took to the microphone, and says that she and Torrie would begin with their gowns off. Stacy is hot, Torrie is hot, Sable is incredible…she truly got better with age. The match, was quite frankly terrible. Sable and Torrie eventually picked up the win after Jackie is pinned.

Winner: Torrie Wilson and Sable

Match Rating: 0.5 out of 5.0 Stars

6. [SmackDown]: WWE Cruiserweight Champion – Open Challenge: Chavo Guerrero (c) (w/ Chavo Classic) vs. Ultimo Dragon vs. Shannon Moore vs. Jamie Noble vs. Funaki vs. Nunzio vs. Billy Kidman vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Tajiri vs. Akio

Each of the competitors made their way to the ring as Tony Chimel went over the rules for the match. Each entrance felt very rushed, in order to get everyone to the ring quickly. The pace of the match was really good, and different to the previous matches. The elimination order for the match was;

  1. Shannon Moore
  2. Ultimo Dragon
  3. Funaki
  4. Nunzio
  5. Jamie Noble
  6. Billy Kidman
  7. Tajiri
  8. Rey Mysterio

Kidman nailed an impressive Shooting Star Press to Nunzio and Noble midway through the match. Eventually, it came down to Rey and Chavo in an impressive but constrained showing. Eventually, Chavo picked up the win in a match which had far to many competitors and too little time.

Winner: Chavo Guerrero, to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Match Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

7. [Inter-promotional]: [SmackDownBrock Lesnar vs. [RAW] Goldberg with Special Guest Referee: Stone Cold Steve Austin

The history package between the pair was shown, which was built up over a period of time from their initial confrontation at Survivor Series 2003. Their feud got really intense, which was aided by the inclusion of Austin. This was likely done to give it some credibility as both were leaving.

Austin made his way to the ring first, and received a pretty good reaction. Lesnar made his way out next, to a nothing reaction. Goldberg made his way out next, to a particularly average reaction. Even before the match began, fans were tearing into Lesnar and Goldberg for leaving.

This left JR in no other position but to acknowledge their departure as the fans went insane for Stone Cold. The style of the match really didn’t suit either man, and exploited their weaknesses massively.

After a really dull match, which was only intensified by the crowds reaction, Goldberg was able to pick up the win. After the match, both Goldberg and Brock were treated to stunners from Austin.

Winner: Goldberg

Match Rating: 0.5 out of 5.0 Stars

8. [SmackDown] WWE Tag Team Championship – Fatal-4-Way: Too Cool (Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty) (c) vs. The World’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) vs. The Basham Brothers (Doug and Danny Basham) vs. The APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq)

Each of the teams made their way to the ring, and received pretty much no reaction bar The APA who got something noticeable. The match got underway with TWGTT dominating Scotty 2 Hotty, but even in the early moments the fans certainly didn’t have an interest in this match.

They were virtually silent. This match was dull, and quite boring to be honest. From WDD, we express our gratitude for it being over that quickly. Complete waste of time in all honesty, the time could have being used much better elsewhere.

Winner: Too Cool, to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship

Match Rating: 0.5 out of 5.0 Stars

9. [RAW] WWE Women’s Championship: Hair vs. Title Match – Victoria (c) vs. Molly Holly

Howard Finkel briefly went over the rules for the match, before Molly made her way to the ring to literally no reaction. Victoria then came out to a slightly better reaction. The match got underway, and was a pretty solid Diva’s match.

Sadly, the audience weren’t invested or interested in the match sadly. Eventually, Victoria picked up the win following a backslide to retain the championship. Molly then had her head shaved in an amusing skit.

Winner: Victoria, to retain the WWE Women’s Championship

Match Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

10. [SmackDown] WWE Championship: Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Kurt Angle

The history package for the match, which involved Angle playing on Eddie’s history and personal problems. It was really an intense promo built up over a short time, with a different perspective to Angle being seen after a long time with the company.

Kurt made his way to the ring first, whilst Victoria continued to shave Molly’s hair on the stage. Eddie then made his way to the ring, in a sweet pickup truck. The match got underway, with both men taking a scientific approach and not rushing straight into things.

Both men had their initial moments in control of the other, but the upper hand went to Kurt following a missed aerial move from Eddie. Kurt remained in control for the majority of the match which was really fantastic and enjoyable.

Eddie eventually picked up the win by using his “Lying, Cheating, Stealing” catchphrase when he feigned an ankle injury to trick Kurt. This allowed him to disorientate Kurt and pinned him for the win. Brilliant and entertaining match.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero, to retain the WWE Championship

Match Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

11. [Inter-promotional]: [SmackDownThe Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. [RAWKane

The history package went back to Survivor Series 2003 where Kane buried The Undertaker alive. Since the Royal Rumble, The Undertaker had being haunting Kane. Credit to Kane, he built their feud into WrestleMania single handed.

We then returned to the arena, with Kane making his way to the ring. At this point, Paul Bearer made his long awaited return and walked down to the ring holding The Undertaker’s urn. At this point, The Undertaker made his return, in an updated version of his original “Deadman” gimmick.

This seemed to really affect Kane, who was noticeably concerned about this. The match got underway, and Taker took it intensively to Kane. This wasn’t a wrestling match really but more of a brawl. In this setting, their styles really didn’t work well with one another.

The match came across as very awkward in places and a little bit dull. The Undertaker eventually won following a Tombstone. Another match, thank goodness it concluded. If anyone can name a good Taker versus Kane match, let WDD know!

Winner: The Undertaker

Match Rating: 1.5 out of 5.0 Stars

12. [RAWWorld Heavyweight Championship – Triple Threat Match: Triple H (c) vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit

The history package was shown for this match, which was surrounded in controversy following HBK signing the WrestleMania contract instead of Benoit. This lead to the triple threat ruling, which was much more preferable than a one-on-one match.

Each of the competitors made their way to the ring and the match quickly got underway, with each of the competitors being given an opportunity to shine throughout the match. There were times when it border lined on a singles competition.

After a really hard fought battle which could have gone anyway, Benoit was able to pick up the win after Triple H tapped out to the crossface. Excellent match, which could have gone slightly longer to be that little bit better.

Winner: Chris Benoit, to capture the World Heavyweight Championship

Match Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

WWE WrestleMania 20 Review

This was an enjoyable WrestleMania and easy to watch, albeit if annoyance did keep setting in as the dog sat continually on the controller and skipping through the show. Anyhow, there were some really good points to this show with some of the matches being very good, from both a wrestling and entertainment perspective. Some of them were a bit of a washout to be honest, Goldberg versus Lesnar was horrific but WWE let their egos get the better of them here. For a show that lasted nearly 5 hours, some of it felt massively rushed.

There were easily three matches which could have being cut as they were pointless or had no credibility. These being the two tag title matches and divas tag team. Jericho and Christian was really good, but should have being given the chance to go 30 minutes and the same can be said for Eddie and Kurt. The main event was really good and enjoyable, it served it’s role purposely. This is certainly an event that I’d recommend watching, it does genuinely feel like a new chapter for the WWE. You can of course do this as part of your 9.99 Subscription fee to the WWE Network.

Image Credit: WWE.com & WrestlingForum.com

About Dave Harper 849 Articles
Dave Harper is a writer for Wrestling's Dirty Deeds. Born a Brummie, and proud of it...passionate about wrestling, family, friends, good cider and the railway (no I'm not a train spotter)

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