OSR: WWE WrestleMania 19 Review (2003)
Back on March 20 2003, the 19th edition of WrestleMania took place from Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. With an audience of 54,097 watching, this marked the first ever dual-brand WrestleMania event. Featuring 4 matches from RAW and 5 from SmackDown, the event was marked by a match 20 years in the making as Hulk Hogan collided with Vince McMahon in a Street Fight. It also marked the end of an era as Stone Cold Steve Austin took his final bow in the ring whereas Brock Lesnar looked to crown off his rookie year as WWE Championship once again. Relive the events of 2003 in the WWE WrestleMania 19 Review…
The 19th Edition of WrestleMania opened with a montage of various WWE superstars looking at the importance of WrestleMania. It then showed various moments from the previous 18 edition of WrestleMania. The montage was shared equally between the stars of RAW and SmackDown at the time.
The location for WrestleMania XIX was Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington where a record crowd of 54,097 was in attendance. The commentary team for the event was JR and The King for RAW, Michael Cole and Tazz for SmackDown. After the introductions, the show was then quickly underway.
1. [SmackDown] Matt Hardy (c) (w/ Shannon Moore) vs. Rey Mysterio
Both men made their way to the ring, where the Matt Hardy Version 1.0 gimmick at its height here. The match quickly got underway with Mysterio in control, despite the efforts of Matt and Shannon.
Matt was able to eventually regain the control, and gotten himself a couple of near finishes over Rey. Eventually, he used the ropes as leverage to get the pinfall. The match itself was very underwhelming, with nothing from the match standing in memory.
Winner: Matt Hardy, to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Match Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0 Stars
2. [SmackDown] Handicap Match: The Undertaker vs. The Big Show and A-Train
There was no history shown for the match, just a video clip which showed Taker’s partner Nathan Jones being taken out which ultimately bought it to a handicap match. All of the participants then made their way to the ring, with Taker receiving a very average reaction.
Taker was initially dominant in the outset, getting some near finishes in the early minutes. However, the combination of Show and A-Train were able to slow him down and regain control of the match.
Taker was able to show resilience, having executed his signature moves. Nathan Jones then made an appearance, taking out Big Show. This allowed Taker to nail A-Train with a Tombstone for the win in a dreadful match. That was not interesting in the slightest.
Winner: The Undertaker
Match Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0 Stars
3. [RAW] WWE Women’s Championship: Victoria (c) (w/ Steven Richards) vs. Jazz vs. Trish Stratus
After the ladies made their way to the ring, it quickly got underway as Jazz attacked them both. Eventually, Jazz and Victoria double teamed Trish but that didn’t last long. Jazz was fairly dominant throughout the match, whereas Trish was seemingly the punchbag.
Eventually, Trish gained the momentum by having both Jazz and Steven Richards taken out. This allowed her to nail Victoria with a swift kick for the win, and became the new champion. Very uninteresting match, which had an incredibly weak finish.
Winner: Trish Stratus, to capture the WWE Women’s Championship
Match Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0 Stars
4. [SmackDown] WWE Tag Team Championship: Team Angle (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) (c) vs. Los Guerrero’s (Eddie and Chavo Guerrero) vs. Chris Benoit and Rhyno
Each of the teams made their way to the ring, with the match starting off with The Guerrero’s dominating the action. The match was very varied with the teams in the ring at any time, but it was generally Benoit and one of the Guerrero’s.
The pace of the match was very quick and dynamic. The conclusion of the match saw Rhyno take out Chavo with a gore. After Eddie attacked Rhyno, this allowed Shelton Benjamin to pick up the win. That was a very enjoyable match, as it certainly picked the pace of the show up.
Winners: Team Angle, to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship
Match Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars
5. [RAW] Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
The history package shown highlighted the similarities between Y2J and HBK, but also the bad blood which had being built between the pair stemming from Royal Rumble 2003. Both men then made their way to the ring, with HBK receiving the extravagant pyro overkill entrance.
The match began with an old school style, wrestling match which is very effective at warming up the crowd. They continued like this for several minutes, until Y2J was able to regain the control of the match. This saw him lock in the Walls of Jericho on the outside of the ring.
This continued for several minutes, until HBK was able to fight back against Y2J. In the later minutes, it became very back and forth between the pair as they traded a series of near finishes.
HBK eventually won the match, with a rollup. But both men in this match showed great ring presence, and were able to tell the story required in order to captivate the audience. Had there been another 10 minutes, this match would have being simply stunning.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
Match Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars
6. [RAW] World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H (c) (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Booker T
The history package shown, was unfortunately very one sided and did not paint Booker T in a good light. Rather than focusing on his professional achievements, it looked at the mistakes from his youth. This made it preemptive what would happen from the outset.
Initially, Booker was in control of the match where he really hammered it down to Triple H. Throughout the match, Triple H continually worked on the legs of Booker T. This slowed Booker T down dramatically in his offence.
Despite a comeback attempt seen by Booker T, the weakened leg sees him fall victim to the pedigree. This allowed Triple H to successfully retain the championship. Unfortunately, the match does not fair any better 14 years later – it is still as boring as ever.
Winner: Triple H, to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
Match Rating: 0.5 out of 5.0 Stars
7. [SmackDown] Street Fight: Hulk Hogan vs. Mr McMahon
The history package looked at the long, and somewhat controversial history between the pair which dated back to before WrestleMania 1. It looked at the personal and professional boundaries they had cross in order to reach Seattle.
Hogan quickly pummeled McMahon from the outset, and continued to do this for several minutes. McMahon was eventually able to take down Hogan with a series of moves, as they made effective use of the street fight ruling.
A pretty cool spot which occurred in the match saw the return of Roddy Piper, who once again took down Hogan with a lead pipe. After Hogan nailed three leg drops to McMahon, he was able to walk out victorious. Really entertaining and enjoyable match which masked their limitations.
Winner: Hulk Hogan
Match Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars
8. [RAW] Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock
The history package looked back at the previous two encounters between the duo at WrestleMania XV and WrestleMania X-Seven. The match then came together with The Rock challenging Austin one last time. Both men then made their way to the ring, with Austin receiving a great reaction.
The match quickly got underway, with Austin initially taken it right to The Rock. However, the great heel character of The Rock allowed him to fire back and bring down Stone Cold.
Stone Cold was able to have some momentary offence, but The Rock was exceptionally dominant throughout the duration of the match. The Rock eventually won with a thunderous Rock Bottom, in possible the least favorable match of their series. Nonetheless, it was still enjoyable.
Winner: The Rock
Match Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars
9. [SmackDown] WWE Championship: Kurt Angle (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
The history package shown looked at the rise of Brock Lesnar in his rookie year, but also the reign which Kurt Angle had experienced as WWE Champion. The feud then took an interesting turn with the antics of Kurt Angle and his proteges, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas.
Both men made their way to the ring, where it quickly became a battle of amateur wrestlers. For several minutes, it was counter after counter where you could not predict what was going to happen. Eventually, Kurt gained the control of the match and wrestled Brock down with endurance moves.
Eventually, Brock was able to recover enough to take down Kurt himself. At one point, he did nearly kill himself with the botched Shooting Star Press. Whilst he was clearly dazed, he is able to nail Kurt with an F5 for the win in what was a superb amateur wrestling match.
Winner: Brock Lesnar, to capture the WWE Championship
Match Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars
WWE WrestleMania 19 Conclusions
After all this time, what lessons can still be learnt from WrestleMania 19? There is a theory that every wrestling show should have a beginning, middle and an end. In some ways, WrestleMania 19 highlighted this to be the case.
The beginning of the show was outweighed by the bad. Out of the first three matches, the only match which would have some credibility to it was the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. However, the match in itself was exceptionally underwhelming because whilst the Matt Hardy Version 1.0 gimmick was great the match was very forgettable. The other two matches at the beginning of the show were just dire.
The middle of the show featured two very solid matches. The triple threat tag team match were very enjoyable, and showed a combination of great tag team wrestling but also charisma from some of the characters. The match between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho was simply stunning. Had this match received just 10 more minutes then it would have being breathtaking. Unfortunately, this was followed by Booker T and Triple H which was abysmal.
However, the final portion of the show was brilliant. The match between Hogan and McMahon, should have being in theory a little but rubbish. But the presence of the Street Fight ruling, and creative booking including the appearance of Roddy Piper put across a really entertaining match. The match between Stone Cold and The Rock, whilst it was probably their least enjoyable match at WrestleMania was still very good on many levels. The main aspect to take away from that match was the incredible characterization of The Rock. He played the role of that heel brilliantly, and provided many levels of amusement.
The final match of the show was a superb example of great amateur and chain wrestling. The real highlight of this match, was unfortunately Brock nearly killing himself with the Shooting Star Press. It should have being the championship. Unfortunately the final image of WrestleMania 19 was Brock completely out of it. The WWE WrestleMania 19 Review was thoroughly enjoyable to undertake, and is definitely worth watching.