Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mania Memories: Big Night for Little Guys

Celebration (WWE)
By Kevin Hunsperger

Wrestlemania 20 marked another new beginning for the WWE, at least briefly. Smaller superstars Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero walked out the World heavyweight and WWE champions respectively.

Eddie had actually won the title a month earlier by beating Brock Lesnar. He defended the championship against Kurt Angle in a classic contest. These two put on a great show and I loved how the match ended with Eddie faking out Kurt and getting the pin.

Chris Benoit won the Royal Rumble and earned a shot at Triple H. I don't remember how or why, but Shawn Michaels ended up in the match too. Another great matchup with Benoit winning the title on the grandest stage of all. I marked out like hell as I watched Triple H tap the mat and Benoit proudly hold the belt over his head. The classic snapshot of Chris and Eddie celebrating in the ring is one of my favorites. I had hoped both men would have lengthy reigns on top, but it was not meant to be for whatever reason.

Twenty also marked the final matches for Lesnar and Goldberg. Special guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin stunned both men before the night was over. The Rock returned for one night only to team with Mick Foley as the two put over Randy Orton, Batista, and Ric Flair. John Cena opened the show winning his first title in the WWE. He pinned the Big Show for the U.S. title.

Betrayal (WWE)
There were plenty of other great matches that night and the memory of Trisha Stratus betraying Chris Jericho and kissing Christian is burned in my brain, as is Kane's cool pyro intro that night. ( pun intended). Ultimo Dragon's slip left a bad first impression for many too.

Again, this was a great show and I enjoyed watching it with friends. It's the first mania I watched with fans as passionate about wrestling as me. Well almost.

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