Growing up as a wrestling fan, I have very few memories of shows and events I’ve watched. I’ve been a wrestling fan basically since birth, seeing as people in my family watched and it carried over to me. Being born in 1998, I was a attitude era baby, meaning I didn’t really remember 1998/9 WWF. But, one thing I do remember is the 2000’s up. Specifically, 2001. On April 4th, 2001, the most vivid memory of mine occurred. If you’re a hardcore wrestling fan, you know that date. WrestleMania 17. Now, WrestleMania 17 wasn’t just any WrestleMania. It was THE BEST WrestleMania that has ever happened. Argue with me all you want, but I will defend this show until the world ends. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve probably seen it well over 200 times. Being a 3 year old wrestling fan, I didn’t really get much wrestling merchandise other than toys. But luckily, I was gifted the VCR tape of WrestleMania 17. I swear it was hypnotized by it because I couldn’t stop watching it. I would sit at my aunt and uncles house (R.I.P) and I would watch over and over and over until I had to go home. I remember every little thing about that show which amazes me greatly seeing as I don’t have the best of memories. It was magical. This show is something I just can’t describe. When I watch it or am reminded of it, it brings back so much childhood nostalgia and it gives me chills.
From the opening match of Chris Jericho vs. William Regal, to the main event of The Rock vs. Stone Cold, everything on this card meant something. Six championships were defended on the show, and 5 non-title matches. This WrestleMania moments that are still played to this day. From Raven being thrown through a glass window, to Edge spearing Jeff Hardy out of the sky, the crowd was on their feet nearly the entire time. That’s what gives us fans that watched on PPV a reason to watch over and over again. The WrestleMania moments.
We first saw Chris Jericho and William Regal battle it out for the Intercontinental Championship for a short time (07:08) , but it was fun. Both men went back and forth in a great WRESTLING match, which saw Chris Jericho pick up the win after a lion-sault.
Up next, we saw Shane McMahon arrive followed by a small APA backstage
segment leading into their match.
Right To Sensor vs. Tazz and APA was next, which was another short contest (3:52). Though it was very short, it gave 6 men a spot on the card and gave the native Texas boy; Bradshaw a win for his team after hitting a huge clothesline from hell.
We next saw another backstage segment with Stephanie McMahon, Linda McMahon and Trish Stratus hyping up a match that would take place later between Shane and Vince McMahon.
After this, we saw one of my favorite matches on the show. A 09:17 match between Kane, Big Show and Raven for the Hardcore Title. The reason why this is one of my favorites is because; as a child, I’ve never seen anything like this. The competitors were thrown through a window, ran over by a golf carts, smashed through walls, thrown off stages, and hit with nearly every weapon imaginable. My young mind was amazed at the risk these guys would take to beat the living shit out of each other. But, in the end Kane won after a leg drop off the stage.
Some classic Edge, Christian and Kurt Angle banter happened backstage which gave us a laugh.
We then saw Test defend the European championship against Eddie Guerrero. R.I.P. In a solid 8 minute, 30 second contest, these men gave the crowd another little hoot to get pumped up with and of course, in classic fashion; Eddie Guerrero cheated his way to a victory with some distractions and a championship across the head of Test.
A Mick Foley interview followed by a look at Stone Cold getting ready aired.
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (14:04) was next and man, it really delivered. This is a match I feel more people should’ve talked about, but it was sadly pushed to the side due to all of the “Mania Moments”. This was a damn fine wrestling match. If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to check it out because you will not be disappointed. After such an epic war, Kurt Angle picked up the win via roll up.
Promotional videos aired followed by Kurt Angle doing a backstage interview before he was attacked by Benoit.
Ivory vs. Chyna for the Women’s Title (2:39) was next. The feud was a very intense one after Ivory hurt Chyna’s neck weeks before. It’s a shame it was as short as it was because this deserved so much more for the build it had. But, they made the most out of it. Chyna (R.I.P) came out looking like a STAR. Shooting off a cannon for her entrance, dressed in special WrestleMania gear, this was Chyna’s moment. Ivory showed some great intensity at the beginning of the match, but once Chyna took control it was all down hill. Chyna won the Women’s Title at WrestleMania which was a great site to see.
The McMahon Family had an interview backstage hyping the next match.
Vince McMahon vs. Shane McMahon (14:12). This was a HUGE match going into the show that many fans were looking forward to. With the stipulation added that it would be a Street Fight and Mick Foley would be special guest referee, lots of things were exploding in the McMahon family. Vince started hooking up with Trish Stratus and made Linda McMahon watch, Shane McMahon bought WCW, and Vince disowned Shane. You’d imagine this match was going to be a crazy one, and that’s exactly what it was. Trish slapped Vince during this, causing a brawl between Stephanie and Trish, Shane and Vince beat the living hell out of each other, Mick Foley was involved and a wheel-chaired Lina McMahon finally stood up and low blowed Vince. Trash cans were smashed, tables were broken and chairs were folded. In the end, an amazing WrestleMania sized coast-to-coast helped Shane pick up the win against his dad. If you like drama in wrestling (which we all secretly do) this one is definitely for you.
WrestleMania promotion aired followed by a look at the Undertaker and Triple H.
The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz in a triple threat tag team TLC match for the Tag Team Championships (15:47). After a fantastic Street Fight, what better way to keep the crowd pumped than a triangle TLC match? Another match that just blew my little mind and still blows my mind to this day. Six men just throwing caution out if the window and absolutely destroying their bodies for the sake of WrestleMania. Jeff Hardy specifically has to be one of the craziest guys I’ve ever seen step in a WWE ring. He took so many inane bumps in this match that would kill a normal man, but some how he walked away. And everyone else in this match is crazy for letting him do what he did. Weather it was letting him jump on you off of a ladder and crash through tables, or having Edge spear him while Jeff was hanging off of the championships high in the sky. These men really put on something special. Jeff wasn’t the only one though, because Matt Hardy and Bubba Dudley went crashing through four tables after falling out of the ring off of a ladder. Christian and D-Von also fell out of the sky hard onto their backs, Rhyno was involved, as well as Lita and Spike Dudley. Edge and Christian picked up the win after one of the most hellacious matches have ever witnessed and a match that is my go to when I think of TLC matches. Spectacular. Absolutely spectacular.
Fan Axxess highlights aired.
Up next was a match described as the 19-Man Gimmick Battle Royal (3:07). 19 of the most outrageous or famous gimmicks thrown into one battle royal, such as; Hillbilly Jim, Micheal Hayse, Iron Shiek, Sgt. Slaughter, Gobbly Gooker, Brother Love, Kamala, RepoMan, The Goon, One Man Gang, Doink The Clown and more. This was a fun little match to see all of your favorite legends compete in and get a cheap pop from. In the end, Iron Sheik won but was choked out by Slaughter after the match. USA! USA! USA!
Hype for the next match aired.
Triple H vs. The Undertaker (18:57). WE ARE MOTÖRHEAD! AND WE’RE GONNA KICK YOUR ASS!. After one of the single best WrestleMania entrances by Triple H, these two absolutely destroyed each other. This is definitely my favorite match between the two and one of if not my favorite Undertaker WrestleMania matche(s). Fighting all around ringside and out through the crowd, Triple H being chokeslammed off of a high camera stand, Undertaker being busted opened by a sledgehammer, so many near falls and great moments; this match was one for the ages. When I say this was a WAR, I mean it. I’m surprised these two could walk out of the arena after this but it was amazing. As you probably could’ve guessed, Undertaker won the match becoming 9-0! (Damn, I feel old). Undertaker just kept ROLLIN’ ROLLIN’ ROLLIN’ ROLLIN’!
It’s My Way Or The Highway. The single greatest video package aired hyping up the most epic match ever.
The Rock vs. Stone Cold – WWE Chanpionship No DQ Match (28:07).
The No DQ stipulation was literally added at the last second before Stone Cold made his illustrious hometown entrance. The crowd was wild, the blood was pumping, the adrenaline was at an all time high and the match we were waiting for was here. After The Rock made his entrance to a mixed reaction, the match started before the bell. No time was being wasted and what a perfect match it was. The Rock coming in playing the heel role against arguably the biggest face in the company for the past few years, people were dying to see Stone Cold get the WWF Championship in the WrestleMania main event. After a absolutely carnage filled match, with blood pouring all over both men, so many close finishes, both men putting so much on the line, and Vince McMahon made his way down to the ring. Arguably the most HATED man in the company came down and watched the match at ringside. Then, as The Rock hit the people’s elbow and looked to have the match won; Vince pulled The Rock’s leg…. WHAT?!.. The shock came over the crowd as confusion ran rapidly. As the match went on, neither man could out each other away. Then, Stone Cold told Vince to grab a chair and get in the ring. He then told Vince to hit The Rock with the chair while Stone Cold held him. Suddenly, you could feel the crowd start to turn on Austin slowly as the Ref counted 1….2… And The Rock kicked out to a big pop. Rock almost had the win again but Vince got involved, causing Stone Cold to take control again; hitting the stunner on Rock and pinning him. But, when Rock kicked out… The pop grew louder. Another chair shot followed the stunner, but The Rock kicked out AGAIN! The crowd was going insane while utter shock was on the faces of Stone Cold and Vince McMahon. Stone Cold then beat the shit out of The Rock with the chair and won. The crowd popped for Stone Cold winning, but after the match they realized Stone Cold was actually aligning with Vince by shaking his hand and drinking a beer with him. The crowd then just turned completely as Austin actually started giving the crowd the middle finger. Stone Cold sold out for the WWF Championship. This is possibly one of the biggest and most important WrestleMania moments ever. The biggest face star aligning with the biggest heel in his home state. Amazing. The energy and reactions were just breathtaking. The whole show was just breathtaking. “Stone Cold has sold his soul to Satan himself to win the WWF title!!”
Everything about this show makes it a classic. The pure enjoyment of everyone and the energy of every match makes it so fun and easy to watch. I could still sit and watch it all day just like I could as a kid. With one of the most beautiful cards followed by the single most amazing WrestleMania main event ever makes me fall in love every time I watch this show. I encourage everyone to watch this if you haven’t and if you have, watch it again. Being blown away as a child by thing and growing up and still being blown away is at estimate to how good this really is because no other show ever has had this effect on me. I hold this at the top as the bat to every show, especially WrestleMania I watch and no other show has ever surpassed this. Call me insane; but this is the greatest WWF/E show ever. Thanks for reading.