Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania X8

You guys have made Scott’s Blog of Doom too big for business again! I’ll be moving the open threads to the LiveJournal page until further notice while Scott and the Scots figure out their next step.

Thanks for all the participation though. Can never have too much of a good thing.

And the Challenge moves to Wrestlemania X-8 with the main event and one of their earlier contests.

Wrestlemania X8: The One and Only
From The SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario on March 17, 2002
Hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler.

Undisputed WWF Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Triple H

Jericho is accompanied by Stephanie McMahon for reasons I don’t know (he was the champion and she tended to stick with the champion). I didn’t watch any wrestling during this period so I couldn’t tell you how Jericho got the title or who won the Royal Rumble in 2002 (I know now, Jericho beat Austin and HHH on the same night). Sad but true. I can say that HHH is selling a leg injury because Jim Ross mentions it every 30 seconds. HHH has Drowning Pool perform a version of his entrance live…because he gets that privilege.

Jericho goes after the leg right away but HHH gets the early upper hand with a back body drop. Jericho lays in some chops but HHH comes back with the Harley Race knee. Uh oh, the knee is in pain after that move so Jericho sends HHH over the top rope and climbs to the top. HHH catches him, however, and toss him over the ring barricade. HHH then suplexes Jericho from the crowd area to the ringside floor as Ross is really overselling this injury. It’s already to the point of annoyance. HHH sets up a table top but Jericho goes to the leg and gets HHH back in the ring. A clip and Jericho continues working on the leg in the corner. HHH rallies back with a spear and HHH goes after Jericho’s leg to even the score. Three elbows on the knee for HHH, Jericho goes to the eye but HHH executes a kneebreaker. Figure four on Jericho but Stephy rakes HHH’s eyes. HHH goes after Steph and sidesteps Jericho’s spear, forcing him to hit Steph instead. HHH tosses Steph in the ring and prepares for the pedigree but Jericho comes off the top with a missile dropkick. Jericho goes back to the leg with a couple of wraparounds on the post. Steph adds in a cheap shot for good measure. Back in the ring Jericho lands an elbow on the knee and adds a knee wrench. Jericho with a couple of knee smashers and a wraparound the post. Steph smacks HHH and Jericho puts in the ringpost figure four, not as good as the one Bret Hart does. HHH tries to fight back but Jericho gives HHH a drop-toe hold and an Indian deathlock. Spinning toehold by Jericho and he uses the ropes for an advantage. Did I mention the crowd is completely apathetic as HHH kicks out of the hold and sends Jericho into the post? Jericho misses a clothesline and HHH hits a reverse neckbreaker. Jericho back to the leg but HHH delivers a clothesline and gets a two count. Kneesmasher by HHH does as much damage to himself as he does to Jericho.

Main Event spinebuster gets a two count for HHH. Corner whip is reversed twice over and HHH is sent over the turnbuckle and to the floor. Jericho sets up HHH on the WWF Americana table and tries to get the Walls on him but HHH kicks away and tries for the pedigree but Jericho back drops him through the WWF Deportes table. Poor guys. Back in the ring the lionsault gets two. Jericho goes for the Walls against but HHH fights it off, he sends Jericho into the turnbuckle and goes for the pedigree. Jericho pounds on the leg as a defense and finally slaps on the Walls. HHH goes for the ropes but Jericho pulls him back. A second time, however, and HHH gets to the ropes. Jericho grabs a chair while Steph has Hebner distracted. Jericho charges but HHH makes him eat the chair. DDT on the chair gets a near fall. Stephanie grabs the chair and tries to get Jericho disqualified but Hebner grabs the chair, Steph shoves the ref but HHH gives her a pedigree. All the while Jericho is recovered and thwaps HHH in the head with the chair shot and gets a near fall. The crowd actually woke up for that. Jericho goes for a pedigree but HHH counters with a slingshot but Jericho springboards on the middle turnbuckle and jumps into a boot. Pedigree hits flush and gets a three count for HHH. Crowd popped big for the pin but they were quiet otherwise (still exhausted from Rock-Hogan).

(HHH def. Jericho, ***, nothing special, certainly nowhere near the intensity and execution of their first PPV encounter in 2000. Still both guys were good enough to give me a watchable match).

The Challenger

Fully Loaded 2000
From the Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas
Hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Last Man Standing: Triple H vs. Chris Jericho

Jericho has his ribs tapes to sell a sledgehammer attack HHH gave him during an episode of RAW. HHH tries to jump Jericho but Lionheart is quick to the draw and clotheslines HHH twice before dropkicking him over the top. HHH gets on the ring apron but Jericho hits the springboard dropkick to send him back to the floor. They brawl on the floor with Jericho holding the upper hand. Jericho hits a back elbow off the top and goes for some ground and pound. Irish whip but Jericho sets too early and HHH hits the knee smasher on the injured ribs instead of the face. HHH clotheslines Jericho over the top and follows him out. Jericho sends HHH into the steps but charges and gets stun gunned on the ring barricade with a focus on the ribs. HHH slams Jericho on the steps and sends him back in the ring. HHH rips off some of the protective bandage and starts going ape s--- on the injury. HHH corners Jericho and lays in the shoulders not once, not twice but fourteen times (!!). It’s cool when such a basic move can have such an impact with the psychology of selling. Irish whip and HHH gives Jericho the kitchen sink knee. He rips off the rest of his bandage and chokes him out with in. HHH with the CLASSIC~! Knee drop right on the ribs and an elbow drop. HHH dumps Jericho on the floor again and follows him out. He holds Jericho for Stephanie to slap him a few times (Jericho had been saying very mean things about her). HHH with a suplex on the floor. The ref starts a count but HHH cuts it off and brings him back to the ring. Short Jericho rally is cut off with an abdominal stretch and HHH adds punches to the ribs for extra effect (when HHH was good, he was damn good, he focused on every little intricate detail of a match).

After about a minute Jericho somehow counters with a hip toss and HHH shoves the ref out of frustration so the referee shoves back! And that really wakes up the crowd. The distraction helps Jericho attempt another rally as he hits a leg lariat but the lionsault hits double knees. HHH follows up with a DDT and lets the official count. He gets up to 8 but HHH jumps back on him and gets a sleeper with a body scissors (see what I mean about focusing on the little details). Referee starts counting again as HHH and Stephanie celebrate with a peck (don’t think they were officially dating yet). Jericho gets back up at nine and tells HHH to bring it. So HHH knocks him down. Jericho stands up again…and gets knocked down again. Jericho gets up again and tells HHH to suck it. HHH doesn’t like that one so he gives him a super pedigree. Jericho gets up at 9 so HHH grabs a chair and gives Jericho two wicked chair shots. He places the chair so he can give Jericho a second pedigree on the chair. The referee tries to stop HHH but the cerebral assassin shoves him out of the way. The distraction is long enough for Jericho to land a great low blow and grabs the chair. Jericho with a big-time chair shot right on the head and HHH taps a serious artery. Good blading job as he had his hand place on the head right as the chair came. Jericho rallies with his fists and a flying shoulder as the crowd senses a big comeback. Jericho gets cornered but catches a charging HHH and drops him with a missile dropkick from the center rope. Jericho does a little chair placement and gives HHH a springboard bulldog on the chair. The referee starts counting but Jericho wants none of it as he sends HHH over the top and to the floor.

Jericho follows HHH to the floor but gets sent into the ring steps. HHH going for a pedigree on the steps but Jericho counters with a back drop on the ring floor. Both men are groggy but grab TV monitors and hit each other at the same time. The referee does a double count but both men get up at 9. HHH goes for another pedigree but Jericho with a double leg and counters with the Walls of Jericho! HHH taps like a little bitch but there’s no pinfall or submission. HHH grabs the ropes but Jericho keeps the hold on and then pulls him back to the center of the ring (thank you!). Stephanie comes in to break the hold by going to Jericho’s eyes so he puts the Walls on her (massive crowd pop). The distraction lets HHH recover to clothesline Jericho in the back of the head and send him to the floor. Out on the floor HHH finds the sledgehammer but he misses the kill shot and Jericho double legs him and catapults him into the post. Jericho grabs the sledgehammer and goes right to the ribs. Jericho climbs on the time keepers table but HHH goes low and gives him a belly to back suplex off the timekeeper’s table through the announce table! Both men are out and the referee does the double count. HHH rises at nine just long enough before collapsing again to win the match.

(HHH def. Jericho, 10 count, ****3/4, not to the level of the HHH-Foley brawl at the Royal Rumble but REALLY damn close. Great stuff by both men as Jericho showed he had the goods like we all expected.)

The Decision

Match: Both men admit they were disappointed by the Wrestlemania match and said it was tough to follow up Rock-Hogan. Understood. The Fully Loaded match was one of the top 5 matches of 2000 in my opinion. HUGE EDGE: Fully Loaded

Storylines: The little I remember about the lead in to the Wrestlemania storyline was that Stephanie turned on HHH and there was a bulldog involved. Am I right? The lead in to the Fully Loaded match was Jericho fighting against the McMahon-Helmsley regime and constantly calling Stephanie a ‘bottom-feeding, trash-bag ho’. HHH was fighting for her honor and obviously he did a good job since 12 years later they are married with three kids. EDGE: Fully Loaded.

Intangibles: Most of us saw Jericho really find his groove in about February of 2000 forward as he had great matches with Kurt Angle and especially Chris Benoit. But we wanted to see Jericho against the established WWF guys that he had less familiarity with. Also while we knew HHH was going to go over, we were interested to see he could keep his hot streak of matches going (he did). If you remember this card was billed as a triple main event with three established guys vs. three of the newer stars (Angle-Undertaker, Rock-Benoit, HHH-Jericho). Rock and HHH really made Jericho and Benoit look like serious top-card threats while Undertaker inexplicably squashed Angle. So technically the Wrestlemania doesn’t happen without the Fully Loaded match. HUGE EDGE: Fully Loaded.

Verdict: Fully Loaded wins in a blowout baby!