The Twentieth Showcase of the Immortals took place on March 14th, 2004, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. It grossed $2.4 million in ticket sales, making it the highest grossing event ever for the WWE at MSG.
On top of that, WrestleMania 20 generated an estimated $13.5 million in economic activity for New York City, and created the equivalent of 96 full-year jobs.
The show kicked off with John Cena vs Big Show for the United States Championship. It’s so weird watching this match now. It’s the beginning of the last ten years of our lives, if you think about it. The MSG crowd loved him, and it was his first WrestleMania.
They have a saying in the wrestling business, and it goes:
“If you can get over in New York, you can get over anywhere.”
Now add WrestleMania to the mix. Not only was John Cena over in New York, but he was over as one half of the opening act of the “Showcase of the Immortals.” That’s a big deal. The fans who point their fingers and chant “John Cena sucks,” need to remember that they were probably a part of him getting to where he is.
Moving on, before I get heated and rant about how good Cena is – after the opener, four teams went at it in the first of two Fatal Four-Ways for Tag Team Championship gold. This is back when SmackDown and Raw each had their own Tag Team titles. It’s Booker T and Rob Van Dam vs Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak vs The Dudley Boyz vs La Resistance.
When the bell sounded, and the match came to an end – Booker and RVD had their arms raised, effectively retaining their World Tag Team Championships.
Next up, it was Christian vs Chris Jericho. The story for this wasn’t my favorite, but the actual match was solid. These are two highly-trained, and talented men we’re talking about.
Christian won it, thanks to the interference of the woman who practically lived in my dreams when I was a teenager – Trish Stratus.
After that, it came time for Evolution (Ric Flair, Batista, and Randy Orton) versus The Rock ‘N’ Sock Connection (The Rock and Mick Foley). By Mick Foley’s own admission, this match wasn’t all that it could have been. It was only like, the 12th time he was wrestling, “one more match.”
So instead of dwelling on this one, let’s focus on the buildup. It started when Randy Orton and Evolution began to beat down Mick Foley, week after week. Mick being Mick, he couldn’t back down, so he just kept taking more and more beatings.
Until, finally, he called on his old buddy Dwayne.
The next bout wasn’t a match. I know that the word match is in a, “Bra and Panties Match,” but come on now. Let’s be realistic. They’re not exhibitions in athleticism. They’re excuses to give every male in the crowd, a massive erection.
Sex sells, baby, sex sells!
Sorry, that was the best Youtube video I could find for this. Having said that – how funny does chipmunk Michael Cole sound? I usually hate the altered audio, but sometimes, it can provide for some real hilarity.
Next up – the Cruiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Chavo Guerrero was the Champion, defending against men like Ultimo Dragon, Shannon Moore, Jamie Noble, Billy Kidman, Nunzio, and Rey Mysterio, among a few others.
At the end of it all, the Champion, Chavo, managed to retain. Good for him. Not everybody gets to walk into WrestleMania with a Championship, and then walk out, without losing it.
Once the Cruiserweights cleared out of the ring, it was time for one of the worst matches in the history of WrestleMania: Brock Lesnar vs Bill Goldberg. I know what you’re thinking –
“How could this possibly be a bad match? That seems like a dream!”
It’s because both men were at the end of their contracts. This particular event was actually the last appearance for both of them. They were ready to move on, and neither wanted to sustain any injuries.
Unfortunately for us, that meant a match filled with two monsters circling each other, and testing their strength. It’s so damn boring. The worst part is Jim Ross, who keeps hyping the match up. It’s not his fault, it was his job. The problem is that he’s too good at it.
JR makes the match sound like it’s going to be a straight classic, and it’s a big, steamy pile of crap. The best part came after it finished, when Stone Cold Steve Austin (the special guest referee) hit each of them with a Stunner.
Once the Brock and Bill calamity came to an end, we were treated to the second Fatal Four-Way for Tag Team Championship gold. This time, it was the WWE Tag Team Championship. That’s the difference. The Raw titles were known as, “the World Tag Team Championships,” while the SmackDown ones were branded, “the WWE Tag Team Championships.”
Anyway, Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty walked into this match as the champs, and they walked out as the champs. Good for Too Cool. After that, Molly Holly lost a Hair vs. Title match, and had her head shaved in front of millions of people watching, whether at home, or in attendance.
That leaves us with three more matches. First, Eddie Guerrero put his WWE Championship on the line against Kurt Angle, in a bonafide classic. This was Eddie’s time to shine, and he delivered.
He even got to retain his Championship, fending off the advances of the very credible Olympic hero.
Before the main event, Kane and Undertaker went out for less than ten minutes, and did what they could, with the time that they had. It has nothing on their WrestleMania 14 match, but it’s not terrible. Those two are simply too good to put on a truly bad match.
Finally, we’ve come to it – Chris Benoit vs Triple H vs Shawn Michaels, in what many wrestling websites, and publications have called the best wrestling match of all time. That’s a tough call, but it’s definitely a top five candidate for best WrestleMania main event.
It’s a little less than twenty-five minutes long, and it’s packed.