It was 10 years ago yesterday that WWE presented Wrestle Mania XVIII in Toronto. The card was arguably filled with more future WWE Hall-of-Fame wrestlers than any other event. It was that huge!
While the night did not end on an extremely high note, the show was very memorable. What made this event so great?
Let's find out the 10 reasons why.
Jazz was defending her Women's title against Lita and Trish Stratus. Three of the best female talents to ever grace a ring were all in one match.
The other interesting aspect was its placement on the show.
This was the second-to-last match. It is yet another reminder that there really is not a true "order" to matches in WWE. Whatever works best for the live crowd is what will happen.
In the end, Jazz retained the gold in a nice match.
Edge defeated Booker T in six minutes. The feud was over a shampoo commercial and really showed how each man needed a fresh start.
In "Edge Country," you would have expected him to have a bigger role.
Kurt Angle beat Kane in about 10 minutes.
Angle had an excellent 2001, and this was just a "filler" feud. Again, both men needed a fresh start, and it would come after this show.
It reminds me of Randy Orton and Kane in 2012. The Mania match will be fine, but I can't help but wonder when the feud will end.
Honestly, I could have put this into the "filler" portion as well. I decided to give this match its own platform because gold was on the line.
Billy and Chuck defeated the APA, Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz. The masters of the tables did have a nice musical entrance with Stacy Kiebler, though.
Other than that, nothing happened. Teams were eliminated, and we all moved on...
Maven was set to defend his Hardcore title against Goldust.
That was a nice match to make. Sure enough, it was a mess within minutes.
I don't like the term "botch," but these two did not work well together. Sorry!
Before long, Spike Dudley ran in to win the gold. Remember, the title is defended 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Backstage, The Hurricane pinned Spike for the gold. Moments later, his partner in crime (Mighty Molly Holly) attacked him for the title.
That wouldn't last long, as Christian beat her for the gold later on. As he was about to leave the arena with the Hardcore title, Maven rolled him up from behind to gain a pin fall.
Yes, the title began and ended with Maven. Thus, the entire night was just ridiculous segments to fill time with a ton of talent doing nothing.
Thankfully, this "division" was gone a few months later. I wish to never see it return, and nights like WrestleMania XVIII are why.
William Regal was the Intercontinental Champion. Rob Van Dam was the challenger.
Being a very popular face, it was only logical to give RVD a big win here.
WWE did just that. In just over six minutes, we had a new champion.
Stone fought Scott Hall here. In the corner of Razor Ramon was Kevin Nash. Of course, he was formerly known as Diesel.
This was during the big revival of nWo with Hulk Hogan, Hall and Nash. Yes, Stone Cold feuding with nWo would seem like a great fit.
Only it wasn't...
I am not just going by the popular opinion many fans do today on this feud. I remember living through it in 2002. My interest was just never there to see this match.
Steve Austin beat Hall, and both men were gone a few months later.
DDP defended his European Championship against Christian.
These two were friends, yet that was never going to last. It was a perfectly acceptable feud for the mid card at the biggest event of the year.
As I have stated many times, this was likely the highlight of DDP's in-ring WWE career. His feud with Undertaker in 2001 had more memorable moments.
However, his wrestling skills were shown off here big time. He beat Christian in a very underrated match and left Captain Charisma alone to perform yet another temper tantrum.
Trust me! That isn't a bad thing...
That's a good thing.
Undertaker wanted a match against Ric Flair. He needed it!
Of course, the Nature Boy denied him many times. He wouldn't do it. He was part owner of WWE and wouldn't let it get in the way.
Well, Taker decided to do everything it took to get his match. From attacking Flair's son to Arn Anderson, it was on!
Eventually, the two agreed to a battle. It did not disappoint one bit. These two destroyed each other and left the audience speechless.
Flair still had "it," and the Deadman went to 10-0 at WrestleMania.
Honestly, this wasn't a bad match. Some will have you believe that, but it is just the usual revisionist history many use. It falls in line with the typical "fantasy booking" many do.
Chris Jericho was the Undisputed Champion. He had Stephanie McMahon at his side, and there was only one thing in his way to having a great night in Toronto.
He was hot off his big return in January. The Game had won the Royal Rumble many weeks earlier, and despite losing his title shot for a brief time, his focus was on WrestleMania's main event.
His feud with Jericho was completely bland. The two never really did set their sights on what really matter, and that was the biggest prize in the industry.
Instead, it was about Steph, or a dog. Yes, a dog.
Finally, WWE got the feud on track with only three days to go. They zoomed in on Triple H's injury and how Jericho "caused" it many months earlier.
Despite an amazing entrance from The Game, it was too little, too late. Triple H beat Jericho for the gold in the closing moments of WrestleMania XVIII, and the huge moment just wasn't there.
This was why the main event fell flat.
Deny it all you want, but this was the same case in 2009. The main event wasn't bad, but a match an hour earlier just stole the show and never gave it back.
The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan was about as big as you are going to get in this business. WWE knew it, and fans knew it. That type of match was only available at one place: WrestleMania.
With the tag line being "Past vs. Future," you had to expect The Rock to win. Despite many rooting for Hulk Hogan in the live audience, a People's Elbow finished the match.
There really isn't much to say here. It was incredible. The atmosphere was off the charts. The chants were loud. The announcing was gold. Even the aftermath was well done.
It was another reminder that "wrestling" means very little in this business. The two stared each other down for five minutes, did very few offense moves and hit their finishers, and it was one of the greatest things I'd ever seen.
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