This was the last WrestleMania with the company still legally called the WWF and over 68,000 Canadians showed up to watch the professional wrestling. Unfortunately, by the time the main event started, a match for the now defunct “Undisputed” title, the crowd had already severely blown their load earlier on the Hogan versus Rock bout. I hadn’t watched this show since 2002, and of all the many matches on the card, I remembered this one the least – I attribute that to being sternly burnt out on Triple H at the time. But this time around, I vowed to watch this match extremely closely with no bias involved whatsoever.
Right off the bat as Jericho emerges from the back for his entrance, Stephanie McMahon slivers up to his side and I’m unhappily reminded of her stint as his “business associate.” The overlying story of this match is Triple H is nursing an injured left leg that’s heavily wrapped after returning recently from a legit surgery. Jericho pretty much focuses on it without fail, and therein is our story. For the most part, Jericho’s work on the leg is done well and largely believable, some of the submissions he uses aren’t too hot, including one akin to the “Brock Lock,” but the stomps, elbows, and other strikes to the leg help his efforts. Psychology wise, something I liked a lot, was the one time Triple H actually got comfortably in control offensively, his game plan was to go after Jericho’s left leg in an attempt to even the odds. While that only lasted a few seconds, Jericho’s initial selling of it was top-notch.
The thing that hurt this match a whole hell of a lot was Stephanie McMahon. She got involved numerous times to the detriment of the match, including taking a shitty bump off the apron, and even getting into the ring itself at least twice. She was wearing this heinous blue vinyl dress with her pale, saggy tits literally hanging out. Jericho looked pretty stupid, too; with his hair in a ponytail that was partially dyed cherry red. You could also hear Stephanie throughout the bout, yelling shit at ringside and being a general nuisance.
Back to the match, which was otherwise pretty damn good, and Jericho continued working the leg throughout. They went to the floor a couple times, including near the end where they did a somewhat contrived table spot. Jericho was attempting to lock Triple H in the “Walls of Jericho” on one announcing table, but HHH fought it off, got to his feet, and was about to hit Jericho with his patented “Pedigree” but Chris reversed it by backdropping Hunter onto a second nearby announcing table. This was a decent visual and fit in moderately well, but could have been not done at all without sacrificing much.
Jericho brought a chair into the ring and they did a few sequences involving it, including HHH taking a shot to the head, as well as Jericho eating a DDT onto it. But, not long after Hunter hit his vile wife Stephanie with a “Pedigree,” Jericho met the same fate, ending his reign as champion. In the long run, it wouldn’t mean too much, as Hunter would drop the belt a month later to Hogan at a blasé Backlash show.
Overall, I liked the match… it was one of a few on this show that actually felt like a legitimate WrestleMania bout. It wasn’t the atypical WWE main event match of the era, that is, meaningless punching and hackneyed finishing move sequences; instead, it was a well-told story, as Triple H persevered enduring hell. The crowd was pretty moot, not sure what to do as the heel Jericho was a hometown boy, and only really reacted when the finish came out of nowhere, cheering the title change. This wasn’t a “great” WrestleMania main event, largely due to all of the bullshit with Stephanie, but certainly worth revisiting every once in awhile.