|The Rock (from WWE)|
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While Kevin is doing a Mania’s Memories series, I thought I’d supplement it with looking at the Wrestlemania careers of the wrestlers competing in high profile matches.
|Rocky Miavia vs. The Sultan|
After a transformative summer that saw Rocky join the Nation of Domination and become The Rock, Wrestlemania 14 saw The Rock defending the IC title again. This time his opponent was Ken Shamrock. If memory serves right, the Rock/Shamrock feud was like the Kofi Kingston/Dolph Ziggler feud in that it seemed to last for almost a year. Shamrock won the match making Rock tap out to an ankle lock, but then Shamrock wouldn’t release the hold so the referee reversed the decision. Pretty disappointing finish for a Wrestlemania match especially since it meant their feud would continue.
|Austin vs. Rock (WWE)|
With Steve Austin on the shelf due to injury, Wrestlemania 2000 saw each member of the McMahon family pick a wrestler to back in a Fatal 4-Way match for the WWF Title. Stephanie McMahon was with WWF Champion Triple H. Linda McMahon brought Mick Foley out of retirement so he could try to have his Wrestlemania moment. Shane McMahon was certain The Big Show would be victorious in the match. Vince McMahon sided with The Rock hoping to get a measure of revenge against Triple H for beating Vince at Armageddon the previous December. During the match Vince turned on The Rock hitting Rock with a steel chair leading to Triple H retaining his title.
Wrestlemania 17 is highly regarded as one of the, if not the, best Wrestlemania ever. The show happened a week after WCW was bought by Shane McMahon and, in my opinion, signaled the end of the Attitude Era. If this was the end of an era then it made sense to see Steve Austin and The Rock battle it out for the WWF title once again. The outcome was the same as their previous Wrestlemania battle when Steve Austin turned heel in one of the most nonsensical heel turns not booked by Vince Russo.
|Rock vs. Hogan (WWE)|
If you want to debate the idea of Wrestlemania 17 being the end of the Attitude Era, it would be hard to say Wrestlemania 19 didn’t nail one of the last nails in the Attitude coffin. Due to injuries, Steve Austin was facing an early retirement from the ring. At the same time Dwayne Johnson’s budding acting career was taking off so the writing was on the wall that The Rock’s wrestling days were coming to an end as well. There was no title on the line this time. The Rock and “Stone Cold” went out there, did their thing to the delight of the crowd. Third time was the charm as The Rock finally got the victory over his nemesis.
|Gearing up for 28 (WWE)|
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