WrestleMania review: XIX to 24

Sports Mole continues its look back at the history of WrestleMania by remembering the moments that made the 19th to the 24th editions of the WWE's flagship event.

This year will see the 30th staging of Wrestlemania, which is being held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on April 6.

Sports Mole is celebrating the Mania milestone by each week looking back at previous events and the moments that helped shape what is now a global phenomenon.

We have so far cast our nostalgic minds back over the first 18 shows, and now it is time to focus on the editions that produced memorable matches and made stars throughout the middle of the 2000s.

WrestleMania XIX

The Rock finally did it. After two failed attempts, 'The Great One' beat his fiercest rival Stone Cold Steve Austin on The Grandest Stage of Them All, in what was 'The Texas Rattlesnake's' final Mania match.

A storyline which backdated even Austin and Rock's feud and involved the two men most responsible for the birth of WrestleMania, Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan, also concluded in Seattle.

McMahon claimed that he had created Hulkmania and vowed to end it at Safeco Field, by forcing the 12-time world champion into retirement, but Hogan won the street fight to prove that he truly is immortal.

The title matches took a back seat in the eyes of the fans, although the main event between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship was a physical match full of great mat wrestling.

Lesnar would prevail, while Triple H retained his World Heavyweight Championship by pinning Booker T. Elsewhere, Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels fought a classic won by Mr WrestleMania.

WrestleMania XX

Many wrestling followers will remember the final scenes of WrestleMania XX with great fondness.

In the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, long-time friends and well-travelled grapplers Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero embraced in the ring with the two major titles on their shoulders.

After winning the Royal Rumble from the number-one spot, Benoit was the victor in a triple threat bout against Triple H and Michaels in one of the greatest pay-per-view headline matches ever.

With Guerrero having beaten Angle to retain the WWE Championship earlier in the evening, he joined newly-crowned World Heavyweight champion and former Radicalz comrade Benoit for an emotional celebration.

The Undertaker returned as The Demon of Death Valley to gain retribution on his brother Kane in their second Mania meeting, having been buried alive by his twisted younger sibling at Survivor Series 2002.

We would see the last of The Rock for some time as he and Mick Foley lost a handicap match to Evolution, while Lesnar versus Goldberg was the major disappointment of an otherwise stellar show.

WrestleMania 21

WrestleMania went Hollywood in 2005 where the company established its two new leading men.

Having both made their debuts at The Showcase of the Immortals the year prior, John Cena and Batista climbed to the top of the business, where they would stay for the next five years, and beyond in Cena's case.

Batista would best former Evolution mentor Triple H to win his first world title, before Cena closed the show at the Staples Center by dethroning long-reigning WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield.

Undertaker's streak was put under as great a threat as it had ever been by 'The Legend Killer' Randy Orton, but 'The Deadman' survived a huge RKO to go undefeated in 13 at WrestleMania.

Elsewhere, the inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match was won by Edge, Rey Mysterio beat Guerrero in the last Mania match before Eddie's death, and Angle made Michaels tap out in a highly anticipated bout.

WrestleMania 22

Royal Rumble 2006 winner Mysterio, weighing in at only 165lbs, defied the odds again to become the lightest world champion of all time, beating Angle and Orton in a triple threat match.

John Cena overcame the test of 'The King of Kings' Triple H, and an anti-Cena crowd, to retain the WWE Championship in the main event, while Undertaker made Mark Henry his latest victim in a casket match.

Mr McMahon's past again came back to haunt him on The Grandest Stage of Them All, when he took a WrestleMania-size beating from Michaels, and a flying elbow through a table off a 15-foot ladder.

Rob Van Dam became the second man to collect, and later cash in, the Money in the Bank briefcase, while Edge speared Foley through a burning table on his way to winning a brutal hardcore fight.

WrestleMania 23

The John Cena WrestleMania era was in full swing as he added 'The Show Stopper' Shawn Michaels to an impressive list of conquests at the annual spectacle, holding on to his WWE Championship in the process.

While the Boston-born brawler was now unbeaten in four matches at The Showcase of the Immortals, his record paled in comparison to The Undertaker, who extended his undefeated streak to 15.

Remarkably, his victory over Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship was the first time in a decade, since beating Sid Vicious, that 'The Phenom' had won a title at Mania.

In 'The Battle of the Billionaires', Donald Trump's representative Bobby Lashley beat Mr McMahon's pick of Umaga, meaning that the company's owner was forced to have his head shaved bald.

WrestleMania 24

Arguably the greatest of them all, Ric Flair, was superkicked into 'retirement' by Michaels at the Citrus Bowl in Florida, a venue which the WWE production team completely redesigned to host the event.

The Undertaker took revenge on Edge for months of torment by taking the Rated-R Superstar's precious World Heavyweight title from him in a main event which is one of the more underrated Mania matches.

Cena lost for the first time at the April phenomenon when he was pinned by reigning WWE Champion Randy Orton in a triple threat match which also included Triple H.

CM Punk has walked out on this year's WrestleMania, but he already has a few Mania moments on his resume, one of which was the first of consecutive Money in the Bank match wins in 2008.

The WWE continued to recruit big mainstream names to boost the event's viewership, and boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jnr stepped into the ring to knockout the Big Show in a no disqualification fight.

Sports Mole logo
Read Next:
Wrestlemania review: XIII to X8
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in with Facebook to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account