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WrestleMania XX was the twentieth WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on March 14, 2004 at Madison Square Gardenmarker in New Yorkmarker. It was a joint-promotion pay-per-view event, featuring performers from the Raw and SmackDown! brands. The event was the third WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden but the fourth to take place in the New Yorkmarker metropolitan area (following WrestleMania I, WrestleMania 2, and WrestleMania X). The celebrated return grossed more than $2.4 million in ticket sales, making the Pay-Per-View the highest grossing event ever for WWE at Madison Square Garden. A sold-out Madison Square Garden was filled with more than 20,000 people from 16 countries, 48 states. Fans from more than 90 countries watched the televised event.

The card for the event featured two main events. The main match for the Raw brand was a Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship between champion Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit. Benoit won the match, making Triple H submit via the Crippler Crossface. The main match for the SmackDown! brand featured Eddie Guerrero versus Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship which Guerrero won after a Small package. The event also featured the return of The Undertaker, who defeated Kane after a Tombstone Piledriver.

Background

The main rivalry heading into the pay-per-view was on the Raw brand, with Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit feuding over the World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H was the champion heading into the event with the origins of the rivalry beginning at the Royal Rumble event two months earlier; Triple H and Michaels faced each other in a last man standing match for the title, which resulted in a draw, and, as a result, Triple H retained the title, leaving question on who was the better of the two. Also at the pay-per-view, in the Royal Rumble match, SmackDown!'s Benoit won the contest. The following night, on the January 26 edition of Raw, Michaels and Triple H were involved in an in-ring confrontation when Raw's authority figure (referred to as the "Sheriff"), Steve Austin, made his way to the ring. He stated that, although Michaels should have a rematch, he had to "enforce the law". He stated that, in the rules it specifies that the winner of the Royal Rumble may face either the WWE Champion or World Heavyweight Champion. The winner of the Royal Rumble, Benoit, made his way to the ring, and stated that he would be challenging the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania XX.

The main feud on the SmackDown! brand was between Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship. In the beginning of 2004, Angle and Guerrero were allies, but after Guerrero defeated Brock Lesnar for the title at the prior show, No Way Out, Angle would turn on Guerrero, due to his win also at No Way Out over The Big Show (Paul Wight) and John Cena that made him the next challenger for the title.

This also marks the first WrestleMania to have a match billed as "interpromotional", which means that a party from Raw would wrestle a party from SmackDown!. WWE owner, Vince McMahon, named three matches to be interpromotional on the February 14 edition of Raw. The first was a match a tag team match featuring SmackDown!'s Torrie Wilson and Sable, who had recently been featured in a pictorial in Playboy magazine, against Raw's Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie, who had protested the decision made by Hugh Hefner to not feature them.

The next match was made at the request of Kane, who had been receiving threats from his storyline brother, The Undertaker, who he had attacked in the previous year at Survivor Series, burying The Undertaker alive in his match with McMahon himself.

Following that announcement, Goldberg came to the ring, and demanded a match himself against Brock Lesnar, with whom he had problems over the past two months: with Goldberg in the Royal Rumble match, Lesnar interjected himself into the match, causing Goldberg to be eliminated. Goldberg gained a measure of revenge at No Way Out a month later, assaulting Lesnar during his WWE title defense, which saw Lesnar lose. McMahon named Lesnar versus Goldberg for WrestleMania XX.

Event

Preliminary matches

The event began with the Boys Choir of Harlem singing "America the Beautiful". The first match that aired was a singles match between The Big Show and John Cena for the WWE United States Championship, the first time the title was ever defended at the event; the match started out with The Big Show beating down on the challenger, not giving him any room. Cena hit an early FU though only secured a 2 count. Cena grabbed his signature chain and tried to attack Big Show with it, however the referee saw Cena with the chain and confiscated it due to it being illegal in the match. With the referee securing the chain with his back turned to the match, Cena hit Big Show with hidden brass knuckles and hoisted The Big Show up onto his shoulders for his finishing move, FU. Cena then immediately pinned The Big Show to win the match and the United States Championship.

The next match was a Fatal Four-Way tag match between the teams of Rob Van Dam and Booker T, Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and La Résistance (René Duprée and Rob Conway) for the World Tag Team Championship, held by Van Dam and Booker T. The match saw quick action between all four teams, and ended when Conway was pinned by Van Dam after Booker T used his signature Scissor kick on him, which was then followed by Van Dam's signature dive from the top rope, the Five-Star Frog Splash, leading to the two retaining their title.

The third match was between Christian and Chris Jericho. The match centered around both men furiously attacking each other; Christian won the match after Jericho's love interest, Trish Stratus, hit Jericho in the face with her elbow thinking Jericho was Christian, allowing Christian to roll him up for the win. Following the match Stratus turned on Jericho, slapping him several times allowing Christian to hit him with his finishing move, the Unprettier. .

Next up was a Handicap match featuring Evolution (Randy Orton, Batista and Ric Flair) against The Rock 'n' Sock Connection (The Rock and Mick Foley). Evolution won the match when Orton pinned Foley after successfully executing an RKO.

"Mean" Gene Okerlund then introduced the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2004. This was followed by the interpromotional Playboy Evening Gown match between Torrie Wilson and Sable against Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie, which had both teams wrestle in lingerie. SmackDown!'s team of Wilson and Sable would get the victory after Wilson caught Jackie with a roll up cover for a pinfall victory .

The next match was a gauntlet style match called the Cruiserweight Open for the Cruiserweight Championship, which saw cruiserweight competitors around the outside of the ring, while two competitors wrestled in the ring. As one wrestler lost, another one entered. Último Dragón and Shannon Moore started the match with Dragón getting a pinfall victory after the Dragon-DDT, but was then forced to submit by Jamie Noble with the Dragon Sleeper, who next eliminated Funaki in 8 seconds, a WrestleMania record. Nunzio was then in the match, but was eliminated after being counted out of the match when he was unable to return to the ring by the referee's count of ten. Billy Kidman then entered the match, pinning and eliminating Noble following a top rope BK-Bomb. Kidman was then pinned and eliminated by Rey Mysterio with a Modified Powerbomb from the top rope. Tajiri was the next entrant, but was also pinned by Mysterio following a standing West Coast Pop. Akio was the next scheduled entrant but was unable to compete due too being inadvertently attacked by Tajiri with his signature green mist he spat out of his mouth when Mysterio ducked. The Cruiserweight Champion, Chavo Guerrero, was the final entrant and pinned Mysterio with a reversal of Mysterio's Sunset Flip to win with the assistance of his father Chavo Guerrero, Sr., thus retaining the title.

The seventh match featured Brock Lesnar and Goldberg with special guest referee, Steve Austin. The beginning of the match began with both men staring each other down, jawing back and forth, with no physical action for several minutes, causing an exasperated Austin at one point to coax them into locking up. The fact that they both were leaving the WWE immediately after the match, as well as the lack of effort brought forth by both Goldberg and Lesnar drew large heat from the fans throughout the match. Goldberg then successfully took Lesnar down with a Spear, that would only draw a two count after a pin attempt. Lesnar then executed the F-5 maneuver on Goldberg, but also resulted in a two-count pin attempt. Afterwards, Lesnar missed an attempt to knock Goldberg down, allowing Goldberg to execute another spear and a successful Jackhammer powerslam that led to a three count for Goldberg, thus winning the match. After the match, Steve Austin executed a Stone Cold Stunner on both competitors to the crowd's delight and celebrated with beer in the ring.

The next match was another four-way tag team match, but was for the WWE Tag Team Championship between the champions, Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty, versus the APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq), the Basham Brothers (Doug and Danny), and the World's Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas), which saw the champions retain after Rikishi pinned Doug with a Bonzai Drop.

Victoria, the WWE Women's Champion entering the event.
The eight match was the encounter of Victoria and Molly Holly for the WWE Women's Championship, where Holly would have to be shaved bald if she lost. Victoria would counter a Widow's peak maneuver attempt by Holly into a Backslide pin, drawing a three count, thus winning the match and retaining the WWE Women's Championship. Holly tried running towards the backstage area to escape the match's stipulation, but was eventually stopped by Victoria who would knock her out and place her onto the barber's chair, shaving her bald.

Main event matches

Chris Benoit, one of the challengers in the main event.
The next match featured Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle over the WWE Championship. The match was centered around both men maneuvering around on the match. Guerrero used a DDT and Frog Splash maneuver on Angle that would result in a pin attempt; Angle then recovered and secured Guerrero with an ankle lock hold. However, Guerrero escaped the hold by rolling through it and throwing Angle out of the ring. As Angle was outside, Guerrero loosened his ring boot to relieve the pain. As Angle returned to the ring, he applied another ankle lock on Guerrero that would end up being unsuccessful with Guerrero escaping the hold by pushing Angle off with his other foot leaving Angle holding the Guerrero's loosened ring boot. With Angle confused, Guerrero executed a Roll-up pin maneuver leading to a successful pinfall, thus winning the match and retaining the WWE Championship.

The tenth match of the event was the encounter of The Undertaker and Kane, which would be Undertaker's first match since he was buried alive at Survivor Series 2003. The Undertaker made his return under his "Deadman" gimmick, as he was accompanied to the ring by Paul Bearer. The two wrestlers brawled in the beginning of the match, until Kane used a Chokeslam maneuver on Undertaker, which caused no effect as Undertaker sat up immediately afterward. The Undertaker then retaliated by Chokeslamming Kane and executing a Tombstone piledriver into a successful pinfall, thus winning the match and remaining undefeated at WrestleMania with a 12-0 record.

The main event was a Triple threat match over the World Heavyweight Championship between Triple H, Chris Benoit, and Shawn Michaels. This match marked the seventh title defense of the night, the most in WrestleMania history. The match started with Benoit and Michaels wanting to face the champion, but would wrestle each other, trying to gain an advantage before Triple H's intervention leading to the match going back-and-forth between all three men, hitting their signature holds and maneuvers throughout with the action going to the outside with Michaels ascending to the top rope and performing a backflip onto Benoit and Triple H called the moonsault. Benoit would soon gain control over Michaels when he applied his signature hold the Crippler Crossface. As Michaels was about to submit, Triple H would save the match, beating both men, and executing his own finisher, the Pedigree, on Benoit before Michaels halted his attempt to win the match. Triple H and Michaels would subsequently team up to suplex Benoit through the announcer's table, trying to eliminate Benoit from the match. The two continued to wrestle until Benoit made his return to action to have Michaels then attempt to hit Benoit with a his signature kick, the Sweet Chin Music, but Benoit countered it, throwing Michaels out of the ring. As this occurred, Triple H attempted to execute the Pedigree again on Benoit, but was countered and was locked into the Crippler Crossface Triple H to submit. As a result, Benoit won the match and the World Heavyweight Championship. After the match, Eddie Guerrero came to the ring and the two embraced while confetti dropped for the emotional ending of WrestleMania XX.

Aftermath

Despite the effort from WWE to promote the Brock Lesnar versus Goldberg contest, some critics expressed disappointment with the match, with many in Madison Square Garden booing both competitors and only cheering for Steve Austin because of the fact that both participants were set to leave the WWE after the event.

At Backlash, the original main event match was between Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship. Though, on the March 29 edition of Raw, after being traded to SmackDown! and brought back to Raw, Triple H demanded that the intended match at Backlash be changed to Benoit and Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff liked the idea of the match, but concluded with adding that he made a promise to Michaels for granting him a World title match at Backlash; instead Bischoff booked a Triple Threat match between Benoit, Michaels and Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. At Backlash, Benoit retained the World title, after he forced Michaels to submit to the Sharpshooter.

The feud between Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero continued. On the March 25 edition of SmackDown!, Angle was made the on-screen General Manager of SmackDown!, as part to the storyline of Angle's legitimate neck problems. This angle would also play on the April 15 edition of SmackDown!, when he attributed injuries suffered after The Big Show chokeslammed Angle off a ledge. In reality Angle announced that he would be having neck surgery in May and would be out of action until August. At The Great American Bash, Angle cost Guerrero the WWE title in a Texas Bull Rope match against John "Bradshaw" Layfield, after Angle reversed the outcome of the match when Guerrero appeared to have retained the title. In the same month, Angle's position as General Manager of SmackDown! came to an end when he was fired by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, after McMahon had exposed that Angle was not really injured. At SummerSlam, Angle and Guerrero were booked in a match, in which Angle defeated Guerrero after he forced Guerrero to submit to the Ankle lock.

Results

# Results Stipulations Times
1 John Cena defeated The Big Show (c) Singles match for the WWE United States Championship. 09:14
2 Rob Van Dam and Booker T (c) defeated Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and La Résistance (René Duprée and Rob Conway) Fatal Four-Way match for the World Tag Team Championship 07:51
3 Christian defeated Chris Jericho Singles match 14:52
4 Evolution (Randy Orton, Batista and Ric Flair) defeated The Rock 'n' Sock Connection (The Rock and Mick Foley) Handicap match 17:03
5 Torrie Wilson and Sable defeated Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie Playboy Evening Gown match 02:33
6 Chavo Guerrero (c) (with Chavo Guerrero Sr.) defeated Último Dragón, Shannon Moore, Jamie Noble, Funaki, Nunzio, Billy Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Tajiri, and Akio Cruiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship 10:28
7 Goldberg defeated Brock Lesnar Interpromotional singles match with special guest referee Steve Austin 13:42
8 Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty (c) defeated The World's Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin), The Basham Brothers (Danny and Doug) and The APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq) Fatal Four-Way match for the WWE Tag Team Championship 06:01
9 Victoria (c) defeated Molly Holly Hair vs. Title match for the WWE Women's Championship 04:53
10 Eddie Guerrero (c) defeated Kurt Angle Singles match for the WWE Championship. 21:36
11 The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated Kane Singles match 07:45
12 Chris Benoit defeated Triple H (c) and Shawn Michaels Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship 25:10


References

  1. February 17, 2004 edition of SmackDown!
  2. February 14, 2004 edition of Raw


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