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By Staff on 2011-04-03 09:13:00

Wrestlemania XX

March 14, 2004

Location: New York City
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Announced Attendance: 19,000 +

by Tim Whitehead

The twentieth annual WrestleMania (3/14 from a sold-out Madison Square Garden) was one of the best hyped shows in WWE history, and fortunately it turned out to be a strong show. Lasting over four-and-a-half hours, it had its share of "filler" matches, but with four bouts in the very good to excellent range it was a clear thumbs' up show. Chris Jericho vs. Christian, the handicap tag match, and the two world singles title matches all delivered. Perhaps the most anticipated match, Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg with Steve Austin as referee, was a basically good match given their styles, though the crowd turned on both the wrestlers and the match. Other bouts were about what one would expect to see on RAW or Smackdown, namely regular action. The evening gown match was bad, but it was very short and delivered on its promise to show some scantily clad babes. Commentary from both teams was solid, except for Jerry Lawler's usual drooling during the women's bout. Crowd heat varied, as one would expect on such a long show. The top matches were heated but things got pretty cold during some of the lower tier bouts. The show opened with the Harlem Boys Choir singing "America the Beautiful". This was followed by a very emotional video putting WrestleMania over as a truly major event and pushing the theme that WM XX is where it will all begin again. Some would say the sight of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero standing as the two reigning world champs at the end of the show is itself a turning point many of us never dreamed we'd see.

JOHN CENA defeated BIG SHOW to capture the U.S. Title in 9:13. Cena did his pre-match rap. Show overpowered Cena, including hurling him over the top rope for a bump. Cena came off the top but Show caught him and slammed him for a two count. Show did the methodical big man offense, clubbing Cena with blows and tossing him all over the ring. Cena took a big boot to the face. Show hit a legdrop and hooked the cobra clutch. Cena managed to escape. Show missed a charge into the corner when Cena moved. Cena hit the FU out of nowhere, but Show kicked out at two to a good pop (even though fans were behind Cena they liked the kick-out). Cena grabbed his chain and threatened to use it. The ref took it from him. As the ref was disposing of the chain, Cena pulled out brass knux, walloped Show, and pinned him after a second FU. The crowd popped big for the title change. Kind of slow paced since Show was on offense most of the match, but the good crowd heat made it okay.

Jonathan Coachman was walking around backstage, greeting guys like Tom Prichard and Theodore Long, as if he was the company owner or something. He visited Eric Bischoff, who was talking with apprentice Johnny Spade. Bischoff ordered Coach to get an interview with Undertaker. Coach seemed afraid, and tried to get out of it by noting that UT is a Smackdown wrestler. But Bischoff wanted to get the scoop over Smackdown by being the first to put UT on live TV since his return from the "dead". So Coach headed off in search of UT.

Randy Orton did a long promo recapping his feud with Mick Foley. He noted that their first encounter was last year when he threw Foley down a flight of stairs right there in the Garden.

ROB VAN DAM & BOOKER T won a four-way match over THE DUDLEYS, LA RESISTANCE, and MARK JINDRAK & GARRISON CADE in 7:51 to retain the RAW World Tag Titles. RVD hit some kicks on Rene Dupree, bumping him from the ring. Bubba Ray pounded Booker and gave him a neckbreaker. Booker stopped Bubba's Dusty routine by kicking him. Cade laid Booker out but somehow Rob Conway ended up tagging in. He worked Booker over. RVD hot tagged and began throwing his kicks all over. He went to the top, but D-Von shoved him off and he took a bump. Everyone began brawling. Cade stopped the Dudleys from 3D'ing Booker. Most of the guys brawled out to the floor. In the ring, Booker hit the scissor kick on Conway and RVD, who had recovered, frog splashed him for the pin. Standard action. The crowd, anticipating bigger matches to come, stayed cool except for a pop at the finish.

Coach failed to find UT, but he did hear some noises coming from a room. It sounded like people were having sex inside. Gene Okerlund emerged, with his hair and clothes all messed up. Well, the clothes were, anyway, as he has no hair. Bobby Heenan then came out with his hair and clothes looking the same way. When they saw Coach they began making various excuses for what was going on in that room, denying there was anything sordid going on. But then Fabulous Moolah & Mae Young came out of the room and began kissing on Okerlund & Heenan. I guess Vince McMahon just had to put this on the show.

CHRISTIAN defeated CHRIS JERICHO in 14:52. Jericho went after Christian with fists, an elbow, and a suplex. He backdropped Christian out to the floor and then dived out onto him. Jericho threw Christian back in and hooked the walls hold. Christian escaped to the ropes. Christian sent Jericho out for a major bump. He scored several twos on Jericho after a knee lift and some other basic moves. Jericho tried for the walls again, with Christian raking the eyes to escape. Both went down after a collision. Jericho revived first and called Christian a "creepy little bastard". Jericho hit an enzuigiri. They traded twos with a series of roll-ups. Jericho scored with a Northern Lights suplex. Jericho hit the bulldog but Christian got his knees up when Jericho went for the lionsault. Christian hit a swinging neckbreaker. Jericho rolled through when Christian did a bodypress off the top for a near pin. Christian hooked the Texas cloverleaf. In a great move, Jericho reversed it into the walls. Christian made the ropes. Jericho hooked the walls on the floor but had to break it fast to avoid a DQ. Both went to the top, and after nearly falling off, Jericho hit a superplex. Trish Stratus came out and began cheering for Jericho. Christian hit one of those scary straight down on the head DDT's on Jericho and then dragged Trish into the ring. He threw Trish down. Jericho went to her, wanting to get her out of the ring so she wouldn't get hurt, but she elbowed him in the face. Jericho staggered back and was rolled up and pinned by Christian. It was made to look like she elbowed Jericho because she thought he was Christian. She apologized to Jericho for causing him to lose, and though disappointed, he accepted it. Christian began taunting Jericho from the apron. Jericho started after him, but suddenly Trish lit into Jericho like a wildcat, slapping his face over and over. Christian then laid Jericho out with the unprettier and left arm in arm with Trish. They kissed passionately at the ramp top, with Trish coming off as a real vixen for betraying Jericho. The match was very good with solid heat, and the angle with Trish came off great because no one saw it coming and the crowd reacted huge to it.

Lilian Garcia interviewed Foley, who was about to have his first official match in four years (not counting the non-sanctioned one on RAW a few weeks ago). Foley said he hoped the hate and emotions he has toward Evolution wouldn't get the better of him. Rock arrived and told Foley to use his emotions to his advantage. Rock did a hot promo, saying everyone knows it's the Rock & Sock Connection's night. He pointed to Hurricane & Rosey, Jimmy Snuka & Don Muraco, and the live crowd as examples of people who know. He got in most of his catch phrases, and also told Lilian to stop staring at him since the buffet is closed. Rock ended by telling Foley to slap the lips off Evolution and then kick their asses.

RIC FLAIR & RANDY ORTON & BATISTA defeated ROCK & MICK FOLEY in a handicap match in 16:59. They all brawled at the bell, with all three Evolution guys bailing out. Order was restored and Flair started off against Rock. Rock did the Flair strut. Flair chopped Rock. Rock backdropped Flair in the ring and then backdropped him on the floor. Foley walloped Flair and did the bang-bang. Foley punched out Orton and hung him upside down, where he took blows from both Foley and Rock. Rock lariated Orton. Batista pulled down the ropes, causing Rock to bump out. Batista and Flair worked Rock over. Flair did his strut. Flair went to the top, but got tossed off as always. Rock tagged Foley in, who punched out all three foes. Batista lariated Foley, who bumped out. Orton rammed Foley into the stairs. Foley fought back and put the mandible claw on Batista. Orton broke it up. Rock hot tagged and destroyed everyone until Batista flattened him with a spinebuster. Flair wanted to do the people's elbow on the downed Rock, but he spent too much time strutting during the rebounds off the ropes. Rock revived and gave Flair a spinebuster. He then gave Flair the people's elbow. Rock gave Orton a Rock Bottom. Flair grabbed a chair and ran around threatening to use it. This was done to distract the ref so Orton and Batista could double on Rock. Batista gave Rock a sit-down powerbomb, but Rock kicked out at two. Foley tagged in and DDT'd Orton. He pulled out Mr. Socko, but as he went to apply it, Orton revived and, out of nowhere, hit the RKO on Foley to score the surprise clean pin. Great match with strong heat. Foley once again put a guy over in the best tradition of building toward the future. Afterward, Foley was despondent over being pinned but Rock hugged him and the crowd chanted "Foley" to revive his spirits.

Footage aired of the previous night's Hall of Fame ceremony. This year's inductees were then announced. They were Bobby Heenan, Tito Santana, the late John Studd, Harley Race, Pete Rose, Don Muraco, Greg Valentine, the late Junkyard Dog, Superstar Graham, Sgt. Slaughter, and Jesse Ventura. Studd was represented by his son John Minton, Jr. and JYD by his daughter Latoya Ritter. Everyone got a nice pop except Rose, who was booed, though I guess that fit his character. Heenan bit back tears, as he has been fighting throat cancer and was clearly moved by the crowd response to him. Ventura now looks like a Yukon lumberjack. This was a very nice ceremony, hosted by Gene Okerlund.

TORRIE WILSON & SABLE beat STACY KEIBLER & MISS JACKIE in a Playboy evening gown match in 2:33. Unlike normal evening gown matches, the goal wasn't to strip one's opponent of her gown. Instead, it was a regular match. Sable, Torrie, and Stacy stripped down to bra & panties before the bell. For unknown reasons, Jackie refused, so Sable & Torrie stripped her. So I guess it really wasn't an evening gown match. The match was pretty bad as far as wrestling goes, though Torrie did do a bodypress off the top onto Jackie. Mostly they rolled around and teased showing more skin. After a bunch of roll-ups and reversals, Torrie pinned Jackie. Jackie acted mad and stormed off. Stacy seemed mad at Jackie, too.

Eddie Guerrero visited Chris Benoit, who was pacing back and forth in his locker room, on pins and needles over his big upcoming match. Eddie said that win or lose, he'll be proud of Benoit for his effort. Benoit took that as less than a full vote of confidence and seemed upset. Eddie then said that no one really thinks Benoit can win the big one. Benoit exploded and was furious with Eddie, but Eddie then laughed and said he was just trying to get Benoit angry to psych him up. He hoped the anger would bring out the Benoit who fought all those legendary matches in Japan and who has the heart of a champion inside him. Eddie predicted both of them would leave 'Mania with a world title.

CHAVO GUERRERO JR. won a nine man gauntlet match to retain the Cruiserweight Title at 10:29. The rules were that each man entered via a number chosen in a random drawing, except for Chavo who was awarded the last entry position for being the reigning champ. The first two in were ULTIMO DRAGON and SHANNON MOORE. Lots of fast paced spots. Moore missed a corkscrew moonsault when Dragon rolled clear. Dragon won at 1:18 with his unique DDT maneuver. JAMIE NOBLE went in. Dragon hit some kicks and a neckbreaker but Noble forced him to tap at 2:16 to a legscissors submission. FUNAKI was in next. He immediately went for a bodypress off the top, but Noble rolled through on it and pinned him at 2:24. NUNZIO went in. He traded spots with Noble until taking a bump out. Noble then somersault splashed him on the floor. Nunzio ended up counted out at 4:17. Though eliminated, Nunzio dragged Noble out and fought with him on the floor. The next entrant, BILLY KIDMAN, nailed both with a shooting star press which saw Kidman almost land on his head. Back in the ring, Kidman hit an enzuigiri on Noble. He then pinned Noble at 6:08 with a powerbomb off the top. REY MYSTERIO JR. was next. Kidman hit him with a killer dropkick. Akio, who was at ringside, tripped Mysterio. But Mysterio came back and pinned Kidman at 7:28 with a sunset flip off the top. TAJIRI came in. He hooked the tarantula. Mysterio hit the 619 but Tajiri evaded the West Coast Pop. Akio tried to interfere but it backfired. Tajiri ended up misting Akio. Mysterio cradled Tajiri for the pin at 8:36. Chavo came in as the final entrant. Tajiri had sucker punched Mysterio on the way out, so Chavo lit into him. Mysterio rebounded with a springboard huracanrana. He kicked Chavo Guerrero Sr., who was threatening to interfere. Mysterio vaulted over the ref's back onto Sr. on the floor. Mysterio went for a sunset flip back into the ring, but Chavo dropped on him and, with some illegal leverage from Sr., pinned Mysterio at 10:29. The match was all good action, but the pinfalls came ridiculously fast. Seven guys got pinned or submitted, plus one counted out, in amazingly short order. They'd have been better off with one regular Cruiserweight match, but since this was 'Mania they wanted more guys to get show time so they went with this format.

BILL GOLDBERG beat BROCK LESNAR in 13:42. Steve Austin was the special ref. He called it right down the middle. The crowd tore into Lesnar as soon as he hit the ring with "you sold out" and "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye" chants. JR mentioned the "rumor" that Lesnar is leaving WWE for the NFL. Both wrestlers stalled forever, which was done for psychology but the crowd, already predisposed to be pissed at Lesnar, and also not sure of Goldberg's WWE future, turned against both guys and the match. They finally tied up at 2:45 but neither could overpower the other. They traded shoulderblocks. The crowd started a "boring" chant. Goldberg press slammed Lesnar, but Lesnar sidestepped when Goldberg went for the spear. Goldberg hit the post. I'm not sure of the practicality of a finisher that backfires as often as Goldberg's spear. Lesnar put the boots to Goldberg and suplexed him. There was a "Goldberg sucks" chant, but anti-Lesnat heat soon drowned it out. Lesnar hooked a chinlock, a rest hold which drew more negative heat. Lesnar threw some shoulderblocks. Goldberg came back with a lariat, a neckbreaker, and the spear. Lesnar kicked out at two, to Goldberg's dismay. Lesnar then hit the F5, with Goldberg kicking out at two, so each got to survive the other's finisher once. Lesnar thought he got a three count, but as he argued with Austin he got hit with another Goldberg spear, this time followed by a jackhammer for the three count. The crowd sang "Na Na Hey Hey" yet again to Lesnar, who flipped the crowd off. He looked legit a little pissed over the crowd reactions. Austin got a huge pop for giving Lesnar a stunner. Goldberg celebrated his win by drinking beer with Austin, but Austin gave him a stunner, too. The match is kind of hard to rate. It was okay for a bout with two musclemen with conflicting styles. There was a lot of heat, but much of it was crowd anger rather than positive heat. The one thing clear was that the guy most expected to really get put over was Austin, and he was.

Vince McMahon thanked the fans for supporting twenty years of WrestleManias. Los Angeles was announced as the site for WM XXI.

RIKISHI & SCOTTY 2 HOTTY won a four-way match over THE A.P.A., THE BASHAMS, and CHARLIE HAAS & SHELTON BENJAMIN to retain the Smackdown World Tag Titles in 6:00. Bradshaw started off by pounding Benjamin. Haas gave Danny Basham a backbreaker. Scotty suplexed Haas and did a moonwalk. Haas & Benjamin doubled on Scotty. The Bashams then worked Scotty over. Rikishi came in and flattened everybody. Rikishi sent Benjamin flying with an ass bump, which was pretty funny. Rikishi also backed his ass up on Haas. Haas & Benjamin both ended up on the floor. Bradshaw tossed Doug Basham out onto them. He then gave Danny the lariat from hell. Rikishi Samoan dropped Bradshaw and gave Danny the Banzai ass drop for the pin. No heat all all. Haas & Benjamin deserve better matches.

Ventura came out and interviewed Donald Trump, who was on the front row. Trump promised to finance a future Ventura presidential candidacy, with Jesse hinting at a 2008 run.

VICTORIA defeated MOLLY HOLLY to retain the women's title in 4:52. Molly bailed out quickly, so Victoria lariated her on the floor. Molly hit a suplex and some kicks when the action returned to the ring. She scored some twos, but again there was no heat. Lawler dwelled on panties. Victoria hit a powerslam. Molly did a sunset flip off the top and almost lost it. Victoria then scored a quick pin with a backslide. A typical women's match like we might see weekly on RAW, though the main focus here was the hair stipulation. Molly had signed to be shaved bald if she lost, so after the match she fled. Victoria chased her. Molly ambushed her backstage and dragged her to the barber chair. Molly was about to start cutting Victoria's hair, but Victoria recovered, laid Molly out, and strapped her into the barber chair. Victoria shaved Molly bald, and I mean totally bald, as Molly threw a tantrum. I'm glad they followed through on the stip. After this, any guy who loses a hair match and fails to get shaved bald will really look like a wimp.

EDDIE GUERRERO defeated KURT ANGLE to retain the WWE World Title in 21:32. They traded mat spots, as most fans chanted for Eddie, though a decent sized minority were for Angle. They each did shoulderblocks, with Eddie getting the best of the deal as Angle bailed. Back to the ring, they did some great mat stuff. The crowd was a little slow to get into it, but they eventually did. Eddie blocked a suplex and hit some arm drags. They traded suplexes. Angle tried to suplex Eddie off the apron but Eddie blocked it and Angle bumped to the floor. Eddie came off the top. Angle moved and Eddie crashed onto the ring barrier. Eddie sold a rib injury from this. Angle went to work on the rib area, hitting a bunch of suplexes as well. Both went to the top. Angle took a bump off to the mat. Eddie went for the frog splash, with Angle rolling clear and Eddie crashing hard to the canvas. Angle pounded Eddie with fists. Eddie hit lariats and a suplex. Angle did a German suplex. Eddie countered an Angle slam attempt into an arm drag. Eddie hit a spinning headscissors and several suplexes. Angle hooked the ankle lock, with Eddie managing to escape. Angle hit a superplex and another German suplex. Eddie hit an excellent DDT and nailed the frog splash, but Angle kicked out at two to a huge pop. Eddie coutered anoher ankle lock attempt. Angle bumped out. Eddie loosened his bootlaces, acting as if he was sore from the earlier ankle lock. Angle came back in and hooked the ankle lock yet again, but the loosened boot came off, causing Angle to lose the hold. Eddie then rolled the surprised Angle up for the pin. Excellent match with a huge pop for the finish.

UNDERTAKER beat KANE in 7:46 Paul Bearer led Undertaker out, past an army of Druids with torches. Kane freaked out at the sight of UT. UT attacked Kane at the bell. They brawled out to the floor. UT legdropped Kane on the apron. Kane tried to hotshot UT on the ropes but he was too far away and it looked pretty bad. Kane fought back with his slow offense. UT hit a boot to the face. Each tried to chokeslam the other, with Kane scoring. But UT sat back up. UT then won with a chokeslam and a tombstone piledriver. It wasn't a good match, but the crowd was into seeing UT back with his dead man character so they popped for it.

CHRIS BENOIT beat TRIPLE H and SHAWN MICHAELS in a three-way match to capture the RAW World Title in 24:46. Benoit and the Heartbreak Kid chopped each other as HHH watched. HBK threw HHH out, and he stayed out there a while just to watch Benoit and HBK beat on each other. HBK twice blocked Benoit from hooking the crossface. The crowd was totally behind Benoit here, to the point that many of them booed HBK. HHH blindsided HBK and threw him over the top. HBK skinned the cat and dumped Benoit out to the floor. HBK backdropped HHH. HHH hit a high knee on HBK. HHH went out after Benoit on the floor, with HBK moonsaulting on them from the top. Back in the ring, HHH set HBK up for a pedigree but Benoit stopped it by lariating HHH. Benoit sent HBK crashing shoulder-first into the post. Benoit suplexed HHH. Throughout all this, there were occasional pin attempts, all ending with only a two count. HBK hit a flying forearm on HHH. HBK kipped up afterward and was immediately lariated by Benoit. Benoit did the multiple German suplexes on HHH. HHH superplexed Benoit. Benoit put the crossface on HHH. HBK broke it up. Benoit gave HBK the multiple Germans and a diving headbutt for a near fall. An HBK flying forearm sent Benoit crashing to the floor. HBK lariated and slammed HHH. He hit the sweet chin music on HHH, but Benoit broke the pin up. Benoit sent HBK into the post and he juiced a major gusher. Benoit hooked the crossface on HBK. In a neat spot, HBK lifted his arm to tap out, but HHH stopped the arm from hitting the mat and then broke up the crossface. HHH and Benoit fought out to the floor, where HHH sent Benoit into the stairs. All three ended up fighting on the Spanish broadcast desk. HHH & HBK joined forces to double suplex Benoit from the Spanish table through the French table. HHH and HBK ended up fighting back to the ring. HHH took a bump back out and landed on a cameraman. HBK posted HHH and he juiced big. HHH fought back and pedigreed HBK. HHH almost scored the pin, with Benoit barely reviving in time to make the save. Benoit put the sharpshooter on HHH to great heat. HBK nailed Benoit with the chin music, saving HHH. HBK went for the pin on Benoit, who kicked out at two to a huge pop. Benoit ducked a second chin music attempt and dumped HBK out to the floor. Benoit blocked a pedigree from the revived HHH, and hooked the crossface. With HBK still out on the floor, HHH, after a struggle, tapped out to the crossface for the title change. There was a massive pop, as this was a great match and this was the perfect ending the fans wanted to see. Benoit nearly had tears in his eyes as he was presented with the belt. Eddie Guerrero came in and they hugged, with Eddie literally crying. What a great ending! There was once a time when two wrestlers like Benoit and Guerrero, no matter how great, could never dream of holding a WWE World Title because of their size. To see them both leave 'Mania as world champs is literally amazing. Where it all begins again, indeed!

NOTES: Prior to Wrestlemania XX going on the air, fans in the 400 level section of Madison Square Garden hung a huge sign across several sections on sheets which read "Thank you Ric Flair - Whoooooooooooo." MSG's staff removed the sign before the PPV went live on the air. The building booed the removal of the sign....The crowd seemed to enjoy having a good time at the expense of the Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar match. They were chanting "We want Bret" during the bout. A Hulk Hogan lookalike got a huge reaction posing and ripping off his shirt and the crowd was so not into the match that they started chanting "Hogan."....Shane McMahon sat ringside for the PPV. During the latter part of the event, he was joined by Linda McMahon. Both gave Triple H a standing ovation during his entrance and gave likewise to Chris Benoit after his WWE World championship win....As Buck Woodward noted, after Wrestlemania went off the air, Benoit's wife Nancy (who worked as Woman in ECW and WCW) came to the ring with his two sons and his father. They all embraced as Eddie celebrated with them. 90% of the Garden remained for the celebration. WWE actually held up playing the highlight reel video that closed the PPV live in the Garden by several minutes in order for Benoit and his family to have their moment in the sun.....The Wrestlemania XX program sold out in rapid fashion live at the show to the point fans were attempting to get others to scalp them on the way out. WWE also sold a framed set of 20 Wrestlemania pins with all the logos from the show for $75, which were moving fast as well....Chuck Zito of Oz fame was wandering around the production area of the PPV before it went on the air....Chris Kanyon and The Maximos were visiting backstage....WWE set up a ring inside the Hilton in New York, where all of the workers were staying, for guys to work out and prepare for their Mania matches....WWE rented out the Paramount Theatre (which is a small building at Madison Square Garden) and showed Mania there on closed circuit. That is where the comps and workers watched the show.....Eddie Guerrero did an autograph signing at Modell's Sporting Goods Store in Herald Square, drawing over a thousand people.....Brian "Christopher" Lawler was at the WWE's hotel in New York during Wrestlemania weekend. He would return to the company soon after, but was almost immediately gone again....The then-injured Gail Kim and Chris Nowinski (who still has yet to return to the ring) were brought in for the weekend's festivities....Chaotic Wrestling's Kenn Phoenix, Brian Black, Arch Kincaid, John Walters, Vince Vicallo, and Chad Wicks would all worked as Druids for the Undertaker's entrance. A year later, Black would sign a developmental deal.

WWE HALL OF FAME NOTES: The WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place on Saturday 3/13 at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan. They had rows of seating set up like a theatre for fans and workers to sit before the staging area. Dawn Marie, Scotty 2 Hotty, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Molly Holly, Randy Orton, Batista, and Chris Benoit all signed autographs for fans. I was told the induction ceremonies were really classy. The inductees and those who inducted them were:

*Junkyard Dog (his daughter accepted); inducted by Ernie Ladd
*Big John Studd (his son accepted); inducted by The Big Show
*Greg Valentine; inducted by Jimmy Hart
*Superstar Graham; inducted by Triple H
*Tito Santana; inducted by Shawn Michaels
*Bobby Heenan; inducted by Blackjack Lanza
*Don Muraco; inducted by Mick Foley
*Pete Rose; inducted by Kane
*Harley Race; inducted by Ric Flair
*Sgt. Slaughter; inducted by Pat Patterson
*Jesse Ventura; inducted by Tyrell Ventura

Vince McMahon to Live Crowd at Wrestlemania XX: "The theme of this year's WrestleMania is where it all begins again. But, quite frankly, without each and every one of you, WrestleMania may very well have never began. I've come before you tonight to simply say thank you. On behalf of the WWE Superstars both past and present we thank you. On behalf of the entire WWE organization, we say thank you. On behalf of the McMahon family, thank you. Thank you for making WrestleMania what it has become today. Thank you for making the WWE what it is. And thank you for making this WrestleMania where it all begins again. Thank you very much!"

Chris Benoit on Winning the Wrestlemania XX Main Event: "It was the answer to all the negative questions I've ever been asked. It was the answer to all the people that doubted me and told me I wasn't good enough, big enough or talented enough, that I didn't know enough people or wasn't enough of a politician. But I never doubted myself or my ability - I wouldn't be here if I did. I don't think size is important, you don't have to be big to be good. It's about the drive, desire and passion that's in your heart. Rey Mysterio is one of the most entertaining wrestlers I know and I've seen monsters - some of who have recently been with the company - who absolutely sucked." (London Sun Interview, January 2005)

Ric Flair on Wrestlemania XX: "It was tremendous, me and The Rock had a lot of fun and that main event was as good as anything I've ever been in well maybe not quite as good! Hunter, Shawn and Chris stole the show, and they stole it at the end of a night where they were match number 12 and that's a lot. If the crowd were exhausted you wouldn't have known it, as they were thundering. The match was flawless." (London Sun Interview, April 2004)

Batista on His Wrestlemania Debut: "It was incredible, I can't even describe the feeling I had at WrestleMania XX. It really was a special once-in-a-lifetime moment. But that match was about Randy Orton and Mick Foley, rather than me, The Rock or Ric Flair." (London Sun Interview, January 2005)

Kurt Angle's Favorite Wrestlemania Memory: "What is Angle's favorite WrestleMania moment? He says his favorite moment has nothing to do with him. He says the people in wrestling always portray wrestling as the His favorite moment was last year, seeing two guys like him, both under 5'10, being world champions. It showed to him that you could put guys against the Undertakers, the Triple Hs, the Stone Colds, Kurt Angles and they could win the world or WWE title. Even though he was jealous about it since he lost, to see Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero in the ring, having worked their butts off after having been told that they were able to make it. That was his greatest WM moment...Besides his matches obviously." (Byte This appearance, March 2005, transcribed by Steven Fernandes)

Dave Scherer: (Written March 15, 2005): By the end of the evening last night, I was a happy and satisfied wrestling consumer. To me, WrestleMania was a really strong show and I enjoyed it thoroughly. While there were a few matches that I didn't care for, the big bouts delivered and delivered big, making WrestleMania XX one of the stronger Mania in WWE history. If you didn't see it, I would recommend you get the replay or get your hands on a tape of the show. It was worth seeing!....Though the show went 4:40 minutes, I never found myself bored or looking at the clock. They had a great mix of booking, wrestling and entertaining bits and by the time the show ended, I was happy I spent the 50 bucks! Onto my thoughts of the show..... I really liked the final touch of the opening segment where they showed Vince, Shane and the new baby McMahon. It tied in very well with the theme of "WrestleMania through the ages" and was a very humanizing look at the WWE boss. The words of the wrestlers were great as well. I love those kinds of pieces. I also like that they redid it at the end, with footage from Mania. ... It was also great to have the announcers selling how special the evening was. ... Wow, did I really see Jerry Lawler dressed to the nines? They should do that more often! A suit definitely wears better than his king outfit. He's a little old for leotards.....John Cena vs. Big Show was a fun, if non-descript, opener. It was not a four star (or even three star) classic by any means, but it was well booked and the crowd was really into it, which made for an enjoyable match. The people wanted Cena to win the US Title. The booking said that he should. And he did. That works. ... It was obvious in the opener that the crowd was live. They were very into Cena to open the show. But I do have to ask, why would Cena, as he said in his opening his rap, want to "beat Big Show like a penis with an STD"? I mean, isn't that the kind of thing you would want to stay away from?....I thought it was lame that they did the bit where Bischoff "heard Undertaker was in the arena". Duh, he only had an announced match tonight! It would make sense that he would be there wouldn't it?.....The Raw tag match was fun and the better of the thrown together as get as many guys as we can on Mania tag title matches. The guys worked hard and had a good, solid match. I wondered where they would go with RVD and Booker here and by giving them the win, it appears that they will continue to get a push as a team.....It was great to see Mean Gene and Bobby Heenan getting a little time on PPV. It was nice to see them getting a pop from the crowd as well. After all they have done for the company they deserved it. Heenan saying, "I haven't been well" to Mae Young as she pulled him back into the den of iniquity cracked me up....Christian and Chris Jericho had a really, really good match. I expected Trish to come down to ringside and I just hoped that they wouldn't turn her heel just yet, since it would make no sense for her to do so after getting pasted with the Christian clothesline a few weeks ago. So of course, they did. I know they will say it all started a few weeks ago when she left with Christian but unless the storyline is that Trish likes to get beat up by men, this explanation will be hard to fathom on Raw tonight. Maybe it's just another page from Brian Gewirtz's personal “How I pick up the ladies manual. ... I was pretty impressed that Trish could move around ringside on those heels. That couldn't have been easy. ... I cracked up when Jerry Lawler said that Christian and Jericho teaming was the most success they ever had. Wasn't Jericho the Undisputed Champion for God's sake? It was great to see Tim White back and reffing the match. Given how bad his shoulder is, I am glad he could make it through the bout....Rock's promo before the his match was awesome, as usual.....I completely and totally enjoyed Evolution vs. Rock and Sock. What a great, fun and even historical match. Everyone was on it and it was great to see three legends in there tearing it up, acting like kids. It was everything that I like about wrestling, strong work, strong booking, funny spots and a great crowd to appreciate it. ... Damn, should a guy with a neck problem, like Flair, take those kind of bumps on the floor? Hell, should a guy that doesn't have one take them? ... Flair imitating the Rock on the People's Elbow, then Rock doing the strut, was a classic wrestling moment. I loved it. ... Man, Rock's tattoo is out of control. That thing seems to grow like a weed every time I see it.....I totally popped for the Hall of Fame segment. It was great to see the New York crowd give the legends the respect that they deserved. Mean Gene did a great job on the mic for the segment as well and it was great to see some true legends of the business on stage again....Well, what can you say about the Evening Gown match? It was there for T and A and well, that is exactly what it was. At least it gave the horn dogs in the crowd something to get into. And, it didn't last too long....I liked the Cruiserweight Open for what it was, but it was WAY too short. They should have had 8 to 10 more minutes. I expected the work to be good, and it was, but I liked the booking more because it means the title program will continue. I am enjoying Rey's feud with Chavo and I want to see more of it. I also liked that Chavo didn't lose his title under screwy circumstances, which they could have done given the set up of the match. ... Kidman was lucky to not kill himself on the shooting star off of the ropes. Man, that was scary looking. It was this year's Lesnar Shooting Star Press ... Rey's The Flash outfit was pretty cool. A flyer should have wings on his mask!...Boy, I felt bad for Goldberg and Lesnar. They didn't have a chance out there, what with the crowd being on Lesnar from the second he walked out of the curtain. It also seemed like a lot of them were on Goldberg as well. The New York crowd is a smart one, for sure, and they knew the scoop with both guys. While it wasn't a great match, or even a decent one, the crowd's disdain for Lesnar just seemed to put the two behind the eight ball from the start. They would have had to deliver an all-time classic to win the crowd back, and given who was involved that wasn't likely to happen. With that said, both men really seemed to dog it, like they let the crowd affect them and they knew it was their last day on the job. It was not a good match at all and all the negative vibes around it made it worse. ... I don't get the fans chanting that Brock "sold out". Maybe, "he's insane" would have been more fitting. He's walking away from guaranteed money to try out for the NFL. It's not like he is leaving for more money. He's leaving to try out for the NFL! ... The crowd obviously knew that both men were leaving WWE after this match and they were stiff to the guys. The "this match sucks" and "boring" chants a few minutes in were brutal, but deserved. Jim Ross acknowledging it on the broadcast was pretty surreal. ... Steve Austin's lack of involvement during the match really surprised me. I thought they would do more with him but my guess is they just wanted to get this match over with and move on. Two weeks ago, Lesnar wouldn't have lost. But on this night, he was fodder for Goldberg and Austin. Of course, the leaving Goldberg was also fodder for Austin as well. ... You can bet that Lesnar flipping off the fans with the double birds was a shoot. From what I heard, as you would have probably guessed if you saw the match, Brock Lesnar was said to be really ticked off by the reception that he got from the Garden crowd last night....The Smackdown tag match was OK, but I don't know why Scotty and Rikishi retained. I just think their whole shtick is pretty tired at this point. This was definitely an “eight guys get a Mania bonus match....I liked the promo that they did for Edge. It's nice that they reminded us that he is coming back....Boy, Jess Ventura sure has eaten well lately hasn't he? Jesse seems tired nowadays as well. Too much exposure for too long has made him boring....Molly and Victoria was fine for what it was but I have to say, the commentary really hurt the match. Jerry Lawler was at his annoying worst by talking about panties for most of the match and ignoring the action. JR tried to make him stop, but Lawler just wouldn't do it. It was so embarrassing. That stuff is fine during the Playboy type of bouts, but not during actual matches. It didn't seem like the crowd cared much either, which makes me wonder if it's because of commentary like Lawler's, or worse, if that is why he does the silly stuff he does. ... Molly is a real trooper to take a haircut like that. She had a whole Demi Moore in GI Jane thing going on.... Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle was exactly what I thought it would be, a great match. They did a masterful job of starting slowly and building to a great finish by telling a fabulous story. These guys worked their butts off and put on a clinic. It was just a super match and both guys deserve incredible praise. I could watch matches like that all night long....I think they did a really inequitable job in dividing up the announcing for the inter-promotional matches. The Raw team got the Undertaker-Kane and Lesnar-Goldberg bouts while the Smackdown guys got to call the bubblegum Playboy silliness. That was just wrong. Since Lawler lives for stuff like the Playboy match, they should have gotten that one and one of the others should have been given to Cole and Tazz. ... ... Overall, I thought the announcing was really good last night. With the exception of Lawler's silliness in parts, the four did a great job. JR, Cole and Tazz all had good nights....Taker vs. Kane was about what I expected from it, on all fronts. The whole story of the match was to have Taker come back, and do some of his old bits, and it worked. It wasn't Angle vs. Guerrero, but it wasn't supposed to be. What it was supposed to be is exactly what it was, and that worked very well. ... My goodness, were the people ever hot to see the Undertaker come back in his old gimmick. I am not sure how I feel about the hybrid way he came back yet. He was definitely a mix between his gimmicks. I guess I will see how it plays out over time....The main event was a great, great match that ended the show on a high note, the way that a Mania should. All three guys busted it in the ring and you can say what you want about HHH, and most of us have, but he put Chris Benoit over like a million bucks, tapping out clean to him in the middle of the ring. H did a great piece of business last night and should be commended for it. I thought it was great that finally Chris Benoit gets his title and thanks to it being a co-branded PPV, he got to celebrate with one of his best friends in the world. Him hugging Eddie Guerrero was a great end to the show. It was a fine end to a great night!

Mike Johnson: I loved this show live, as the nostalgia of the anniversary worked and it came off as a classy event. When it comes to Wrestlemania, I have yet to see anyone who touches the WWE's production. There were some many great little touches to the show, like Kane's entrance turning the NYC city skyline on the stage into a raging inferno. There was some excellent wrestling as well especially in the main event Three-Way with Triple H, Chris Benoit, and Shawn Michaels. The ending of the show with Benoit and Guerrero embracing in the center of the ring was one of the coolest closings to a WWE event ever, especially for those of us who followed their career journeys. It seemed like a new dawn had arrived for WWE, but of course, that wouldn't be the case. Still, it was a great moment. I remember thinking Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle would have been a strong bout, but as it turned out Angle was again hurting from neck issues. Jericho vs. Christian was good as well, but the highlight of that segment was the heel turn of Trish Stratus. A year later, she is the highest profile performer of the trio. Poor Ultimo Dragon, who got to achieve his dream of working Wrestlemania, only to slip during the ring entrance and promptly lose to Jamie Knoble. The show may end up being remembered as the last time The Rock stepped into a WWE ring as a wrestler, which as irony would have it, was the first time Foley had wrestled for WWE in several years. That too, was a really fun match. Except for the four way tags, which were placed to cool the crowd down during the long show, this is a show I'd probably go back and watch again and enjoy.

Buck Woodward: This was a show that lived up to the hype of being a Wrestlemania, with most of the show delivering in a big way. ... The opening video, showing Vince with his grandchild, was pretty cool. ... Good opener, and the fans popped big for Cena winning the U.S. strap. ... The tag title bouts were just desperate attempts to get more talent on the show. The matches weren't memorable, but it allowed some guys the chance to be on the card. ... I popped huge for Bobby Heenan saying "I haven't been well" as he was dragged back into the closet by Moolah and Mae. ... Jericho-Christian was probably the second best match of the night, just fantastic work by both men. ... Rock and Foley did a great promo, and the match was a lot of fun. Just seeing Flair in there with Rock was a cool moment. ... The introductions of the Hall Of Fame candidates was nice, especially the ovation given for the departed JYD. ... The women's match was stupid, but was anyone really expecting more out of it? ... I remember being so ticked off about the Cruiserweight match being so short, given the amount of talent in it. ... Goldberg-Lesnar, as a match, was weak, but I loved every minute of it. The crowd turning on both men and cheering Austin was fantastic. The fact that this website, open only a few months, broke that story and literally changed the crowd's reaction to Brock is just wild. The power of the Internet in full effect. ... Molly vs. Victoria was short, but a great ending to their rivalry. ... Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle was very good, and the sudden finish was unexpected and popped the crowd. ... Undertaker vs. Kane was predictible, but it gave the fans what they wanted. ... The main event was fantastic. Benoit winning the World Title was vindication for people like me who had said for years that Benoit could be World Champion, despite so many saying it would never happen. No matter what happens in the future, it can never be erased that at Wrestlemania XX, Chris Benoit was on top of the World. Him and Guerrero embracing at the end was a great moment for all true WRESTLING fans. Too bad it didn't last.

Jess McGrath: This would probably rank as an above average Mania. And what's most impressive about that is that WWE hyped the show endlessly for months going into it. It's fairly rare that a show can live up to that amount of hype. But it's hard to knock any show that presents a main event like this one did. There were also several good matches underneath. The 2-on-3 match was a particular favorite of mine, as was Lesnar vs. Goldberg (the latter of course for the car crash, perverse entertainment of it all). The Undertaker return was also great fun. I still like the entrance and the gimmick, even if the matches themselves are barely tolerable. I remember not liking Jericho-Christian all that much, and of course the cruisers was a waste of time, like most of their stuff (which is not a knock on them but rather the way it's booked and presented). Like Mike said, poor Ultimo Dragon!


STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 14, 2004-- WrestleMania XX tonight grossed more than $2.4 million in ticket sales, making the Pay-Per-View the highest grossing event ever for WWE(TM) at fabled Madison Square Garden in New York City.

A sold-out Madison Square Garden was filled tonight with more than 20,000 people from 16 countries, 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who came to enjoy WrestleMania XX. Fans from more than 90 countries watched the televised event.

"WrestleMania XX has been a fabulous event, and we want to thank our fans here in New York City and from around the world for making WrestleMania weekend so memorable," said Linda McMahon, WWE CEO. "This will go down in history as one of the great WrestleManias, and it wouldn't be so without the passionate support of our fans and our tremendously talented roster of Superstars."

This event almost doubled the previous top grossing event for WWE at the Garden, which was the Survivor Series(r) live event on November 17, 2002, with a ticket gross of $1.25 million.

An additional 2,900 people attended the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday Night, and Bacon, Bagels & Biceps Brunch on Sunday morning. Both events, held in the NY Hilton Hotel's Grand Ballroom, generated an additional $365,000 in ticket sales revenue.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE - News) is an integrated media and entertainment company headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, and London. Additional information on the company can be found at and

Trademarks: The names of all World Wrestling Entertainment televised and live programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans and wrestling moves and all World Wrestling Entertainment logos are trademarks, which are the exclusive property of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

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