Promotional poster featuring the Space Needle among various WWE wrestlers
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||March 30, 2003|
|Tagline(s)||Dare to Dream|
WrestleMania XIX was the 19th annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on March 30, 2003, at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. The event was the first WrestleMania held in the state of Washington. A record-breaking 54,097 fans from all fifty states and numerous countries from around the world at Safeco Field resulted in a gate attendance grossing $2.76 million.
WrestleMania XIX was the first WrestleMania to be promoted under the WWE name and the first to have taken place after the WWE brand extension. It was a joint-promotion pay-per-view event, featuring performers from the Raw and SmackDown! brands. The tagline for WrestleMania XIX was "Dare to Dream". The official theme song for the event was "Crack Addict" by Limp Bizkit. Limp Bizkit performed the theme song live, as well as "Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)" during The Undertaker's entrance.
The main match from the SmackDown! brand was Kurt Angle versus Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship, which Lesnar won by pinfall after executing an F5. The main match from the Raw brand was the third WrestleMania meeting between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, in which The Rock won via pinfall after performing three Rock Bottoms on Austin; this marked Austin's final official match before his retirement from in-ring performance due to injuries sustained in previous years. The other predominant match from the Raw brand was the World Heavyweight Championship bout between Triple H and Booker T, which Triple H won by pinfall after performing a Pedigree. Other matches on the undercard included Shawn Michaels versus Chris Jericho, and Hulk Hogan versus Mr. McMahon in a Street Fight.
A documentary entitled The Mania of WrestleMania was filmed live during the event and released the following year. It was the first sole production from WWE Films.
The main feud heading into WrestleMania on the SmackDown! brand was between Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, with the two feuding over the WWE Championship. Angle won the title three months prior at Armageddon by defeating then-champion Big Show with Lesnar's help. At the Royal Rumble, Angle defeated Chris Benoit to retain the WWE Championship, and Lesnar won the Royal Rumble match to become number one contender to the WWE Championship at WrestleMania when he last eliminated The Undertaker. The following month at No Way Out, Lesnar and Benoit defeated Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin, and Charlie Haas) in a handicap match. During that pay-per-view, Edge was supposed to team up with Lesnar & Benoit to wrestle Team Angle in the scheduled Six Man Tag team match but Edge was attacked backstage and it was announced he could not participate in the match. On the March 6 episode of SmackDown!, Lesnar defeated Paul Heyman in a steel cage match to earn a championship match against Angle. On the March 13 episode of SmackDown!, Angle defeated Lesnar to retain the WWE Championship. Before the match began, Kurt, who was "praying" in the corner, switched with his brother Eric. Lesnar then came out and the match began. Shortly after the match began, Benjamin and Haas came to the ring and distracted Lesnar, which gave Eric time to switch back with Kurt. As Lesnar regained his focus, Kurt was able to pin him with a small package for the win. The following week on the March 20 episode of SmackDown!, SmackDown General Manager Stephanie McMahon told Angle that if he tried to get himself disqualified, counted out or if his brother, Benjamin, or Haas try to interfere in their match on Angle's behalf, he would lose the title.
The main feud on the Raw brand was between The Rock and Steve Austin. On the February 20 episode of SmackDown!, The Rock returned to WWE after a six-month hiatus from wrestling (since SummerSlam). On that evening, he was in a confrontation with Hulk Hogan before their WrestleMania X8 rematch at No Way Out. At No Way Out, The Rock defeated Hogan with the help of Mr. McMahon. On the February 24 episode of Raw, The Rock moved to the Raw brand and competed in a 20-man Battle royal that would determine the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. The Rock however, lost after he was eliminated by Booker T; after the match, The Rock criticized Austin for being chosen as the Superstar of the Decade by the WWE fans in January, beginning the feud between Rock and Austin. On the March 3 episode of Raw, Austin, who was on a long hiatus before returning at No Way Out, made his WWE television return, as he cut a promo about the WWE fans, before he was interrupted by The Rock, who challenged him to a match at WrestleMania because The Rock was obsessed of not beating Austin at a WrestleMania event as by the time they fought at WrestleMania XV and X-Seven during a four-year span. As soon as the challenge was made, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff announced that the following week on Raw, The Rock would face Booker T in a match, and if he won, he would have the choice to face either Austin or Triple H at WrestleMania. On the March 10 episode of Raw, Rock, with Bischoff's approval, announced that he would pick his own opponent for later that night, which turned out to be The Hurricane, in hopes for The Rock to gain an easy victory. However, Austin made his way down the entrance ramp, which distracted The Rock and allowed The Hurricane to roll up The Rock into a successful pinfall, which made the Austin-Rock match at WrestleMania official. On the March 24 episode of Raw, Austin was banned from entering the arena. He managed to enter the arena and attack The Rock, however, before The Rock fled the ring.
The secondary feud on the SmackDown! brand was between Hulk Hogan and Mr. McMahon. One month prior at No Way Out, during a match between Hogan and The Rock, McMahon came down to the ring, only to distract Hogan, which allowed the referee, Sylvan Grenier to give The Rock a chair, which Rock used to hit Hogan and pin him for the win. After No Way Out, McMahon proclaimed that Hulkamania was dead and proclaiming a new 'mania; McMahonamania. On the March 6 episode of SmackDown!, Hogan informed McMahon that Hulkamania was not dead and that McMahon had nothing to do with creating it. McMahon informed Hogan that he did not hate Hulkamaniacs or Hulkamania, but he hated Hogan. He then told Hogan that he hated him for leaving WWE (then known as the WWF) for Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and for testifying against him in the steroid trial in the 1990s. McMahon proceeded by challenging Hogan to a match at WrestleMania where if Hogan lost, he would have to retire from professional wrestling. Hogan accepted his challenge later that night. Two weeks later on the March 20 episode of SmackDown!, McMahon and Hogan had a contract signing for their match at WrestleMania. As Hogan was preparing to sign the contract, McMahon attacked with a steel chair from behind. Shortly afterward, McMahon hit Hogan several times with the chair in the head, causing him to bleed. McMahon then signed the contract and forced Hogan to sign with his blood.
Another feud on the Raw brand was between Triple H and Booker T, with the two feuding over the World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H won the title three months prior at Armageddon by defeating then-champion Shawn Michaels in a 3 Stages of Hell match. Since that event, Triple H had wrestled Scott Steiner during the following two pay-per-view events for the World Heavyweight Championship. First was at the Royal Rumble, where Triple H got himself disqualified when he nailed Steiner with the sledgehammer but retained the title. Then at No Way Out, he defeated Steiner by pinfall to retain the title. On the February 24 episode of Raw, Booker T won a 20-man battle royal by last eliminating The Rock to become the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. On the March 3 episode of Raw, World Heavyweight Champion Triple H cut a controversial promo on Booker T. Triple H downplayed Booker T's WCW success, pointing out that the WCW World Heavyweight Championship had been held by non-wrestlers like Vince Russo and actor David Arquette calling WCW and its title "a joke". He implied that Booker T, as a convicted criminal, would never win a world championship in WWE. In the WrestleMania XIX press conference Michael Cole questioned Triple H as to whether he had cut a racist promo, Triple H confirmed this was not the case and was indeed referring to Booker's criminal past. On the March 10 episode of Raw, Booker T got revenge by attacking Triple H in the bathroom, laying him out. On the March 24 episode of Raw, Booker T and Goldust defeated Triple H and Ric Flair in a tag team match.
Another feud from the Raw brand was the squabble over the Women's Championship; the champion Victoria had captured the title from Trish Stratus at Survivor Series. Then at Armageddon, Victoria defeated Stratus and Jacqueline in a triple threat match to retain the Women's Championship. Stratus and the returning Jazz had a match on Raw to determine who would challenge Victoria for the title at WrestleMania. During the match, Victoria entered the ring and hit both women with the title belt, earning a double disqualification. It was then announced that Victoria would defend the title against both Stratus and Jazz in a triple threat match at the event.
A smaller feud, also from the Raw brand was between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels. After Shawn Michaels lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Triple H at Armageddon, he appeared in an in-ring segment with Chris Jericho, during which Jericho stated Michaels was washed up. After mocking Michaels and threatening to attack him, Jericho turned around into a superkick. When Michaels was a guest on Jericho's in-ring show The Highlight Reel the following month, Jericho claimed he had idolized Michaels from a young age and that he had been his inspiration to become a wrestler. At the Royal Rumble, Jericho eliminated Michaels from the Royal Rumble match. Michaels returned later in the match and attacked Jericho, helping to lead to his elimination. The two agreed to meet at WrestleMania XIX in a match.
|English commentators||Michael Cole (SmackDown!)|
|Jerry Lawler (Raw)|
|Jim Ross (Raw)|
|Spanish commentators||Carlos Cabrera|
|Ring announcers||Howard Finkel (Raw)|
|Tony Chimel (SmackDown!)|
|Referees||Charles Robinson (Raw)|
|Nick Patrick (Raw)|
|Jack Doan (Raw)|
|Earl Hebner (Raw)|
|Chad Patton (Raw)|
|Mike Chioda (SmackDown!)|
|Jim Korderas (SmackDown!)|
|Brian Hebner (SmackDown!)|
|Mike Sparks (SmackDown!)|
Sunday Night Heat
Before the event aired live on pay-per-view, Kane and Rob Van Dam faced Chief Morley and Lance Storm (with The Dudley Boyz, (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley)) for the World Tag Team Championship on Sunday Night Heat. At the end, while the referee was distracted, the Dudleyz performed the 3D (Dudley Death Drop) on Storm. After that, Bubba dropped an elbow on RVD, allowing Storm to pin RVD, thus Storm and Morley retained the titles.
In the first match that aired, Rey Mysterio faced Matt Hardy for the Cruiserweight Championship. The match began with back and forth action between the two, until Hardy performed a Twist of Fate for a near-fall. Mysterio retaliated by delivering a 619 on Hardy, but as Mysterio delivered a West Coast Pop, Hardy ducked into a roll-up that saw Hardy use the ring ropes for leverage and successfully pinned Mysterio, thus Hardy retained the Cruiserweight Championship.
In the next match, The Undertaker and Nathan Jones faced The Big Show and A-Train in a tag team match. It was then announced that The Undertaker would have to face both Show and Train in a handicap match. Both Show and Train had the advantage of The Undertaker at the start of the match; however, late into the match, Jones entered the match and attacked Show, allowing The Undertaker to deliver a Tombstone Piledriver on A-Train for a successful pinfall, thus The Undertaker won the match and remained undefeated at WrestleMania.
In the third match, Victoria, Jazz and Trish Stratus fought in a triple threat match for the WWE Women's Championship. Throughout the match, Jazz and Victoria would double-team Stratus and Steven Richards, who was at ringside in Victoria's corner, would intervene in the match. As Jazz was thrown over the top rope onto ringside, however, Richards came in the ring with a steel chair and tried to hit Stratus with it but missed and hit it off the ropes, allowing Stratus to perform the Stratus Faction on him. Victoria went for the Widow's Peak on Stratus, who countered with a chick kick to Victoria to win the match and the women's title, tying The Fabulous Moolah's record of four title reigns.
The next match was a triple threat WWE Tag Team Championship match between the team of Rhyno and Chris Benoit, against the team of Los Guerreros (Chavo and Eddie Guerrero), and the champions, Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas). Rhyno delivered a Gore on Chavo but Benjamin tagged himself into the match and pinned Chavo, to win the match and retain the Tag Team Championship.
In the fifth match, Chris Jericho faced Shawn Michaels. Jericho had the advantage over Michaels at the start of the match, as he early on applied the Walls of Jericho onto Michaels. Later in the match, Jericho hit Michaels with a Sweet Chin Music for a near fall and Michaels attempted Sweet Chin Music on Jericho, who countered into the Walls of Jericho. After Michaels escaped the hold, He hit Jericho with a Sweet Chin Music for a near fall. Later, Jericho attempted a suplex that Michaels countered into a roll-up that gave Michaels the successful pinfall victory. After the match, Jericho offered to shake Michaels's hand and they hugged before Jericho attacked Michaels with a low blow.
Before the next match begun, a fatal four-way pillow fight (hosted by Jonathan Coachman) took place between Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, Tanya Ballinger, and Kitana Baker. The match went to a no contest when all four women teamed up, pulling down Coachman's pants and pinning him.
Main event matches
The next match was a World Heavyweight Championship match between Booker T and Triple H. The match began with Booker in control of the match over Triple H, however, Ric Flair, who was at ringside in Triple H's corner, threw Booker's knee into the steel steps. The attack allowed Triple H to work over Booker's leg, as he applied various submission holds onto Booker's leg including the Indian deathlock. Booker T retaliated and took control of the match; after he delivered a Harlem Hangover leg drop, Booker grasped his knee in pain, which allowed Triple H to recover and perform a Pedigree for a pinfall, thus Triple H won the match and retained the World Heavyweight Championship.
The seventh match was a Street fight between Hulk Hogan and the WWE Chairman, Mr. McMahon. Both Hogan and McMahon tested each other's strength in the beginning of the match, until McMahon threw Hogan at ringside. Hogan then countered a chairshot by McMahon into several of his own, that caused McMahon to bleed from the head. Late into the match, Roddy Piper interfered in the match as he hit Hogan with a pipe. Hogan however, later retaliated by delivering a big boot and three running leg drops to McMahon and successfully pinned McMahon, thus Hogan won the match.
The next and final match on the undercard, was the encounter of The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. The match began with Austin and The Rock brawling in the ring, which ended up at ringside. Throughout the match, The Rock worked over Austin's leg, which included applying a Sharpshooter on Austin. The Rock then began to taunt Austin, as he put on his vest and imitated his taunts, which led both to use their finishers with unsuccessful pins. Austin performed the Stone Cold Stunner on The Rock for a near-fall, much to Austin's dismay. After he failed to win with the People's Elbow, The Rock then performed two Rock Bottoms on Austin for two near-falls. The Rock performed a third Rock Bottom on Austin, winning the match.
In the main event, Brock Lesnar faced Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship, where if Kurt Angle was disqualified or counted out, he would lose the title. The match began with Lesnar and Angle wrestling back and forth, until Angle countered a shoulder block into a German suplex. Lesnar would then attempt an F-5 on Angle but Angle countered it into an Ankle Lock, that Lesnar was able to escape out of. As Lesnar escaped, Angle would hit an Angle Slam for a near fall. He later attempted another Angle Slam, however, Lesnar countered into an F-5 for a near-fall. Lesnar performed another F-5, and instead of covering Angle, Lesnar climbed to the top rope and botched a Shooting Star Press on Angle, which Angle covered for by pinning Lesnar for a near-fall. After Lesnar kicked out, Angle picked up Lesnar only to be hit with a third F-5, Lesnar then successfully pinned Angle, winning the match and the WWE Title. After the match, Angle and Lesnar shook hands and embraced closing the show.
On the SmackDown! after WrestleMania, SmackDown General Manager Stephanie McMahon announced Kurt Angle suffered a pulled hamstring and a neck injury, while Lesnar suffered multiple concussions. She later announced that a tournament would take place to determine the number one contender to Lesnar's WWE Championship. On the April 17 episode of Smackdown!, John Cena would become the number one contender after he defeated Chris Benoit in the tournament's final match. At Backlash, Lesnar defeated Cena to retain the WWE Championship. Lesnar would then feud with Big Show, as he defeated him at Judgment Day to retain the WWE Championship in a stretcher match. Lesnar would however lose the WWE Championship to Angle at Vengeance in a triple threat match that also involved Big Show. Lesnar then regained the WWE Championship from Angle on the September 18 episode of SmackDown!, in an Iron Man match winning 5-4.
On the April 3 episode of SmackDown!, Mr. McMahon forced Hulk Hogan to leave WWE forever as a part of their storyline. On the May 1 episode of SmackDown!, "Mr. America" (who was in reality Hogan under a mask), made his debut on Piper's Pit, where McMahon promised to prove America was in reality Hogan. Also involved in the feud was Zach Gowen, a one legged wrestler who was brought into the feud by Mr. America. After multiple failed attempts to prove Mr. America was Hogan, however, McMahon succeeded on the July 3 episode of SmackDown!, after he aired footage of Mr. America unmasking and revealing himself to be Hogan. He then announced that Hogan was fired from WWE.
On the Raw episode after WrestleMania, Stone Cold Steve Austin was fired from the WWE in storyline by then-Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff due to medical reasons. Austin was then re-hired by WWE CEO, Linda McMahon, however, as Co-Raw General Manager on April 28. Later that night, The Rock taunted Austin for his firing; which proceeded to Rock challenging another superstar in a match. Goldberg would answer the Rock's challenge by stating that "you're [The Rock is] next", which led to Goldberg spearing The Rock. On the April 14 episode of Raw, The Rock would accept a challenge made by Goldberg, which he rejected a week earlier, in which the two would wrestle each other at Backlash. At Backlash, Goldberg successfully pinned Rock. After the match, The Rock gave a farewell speech in which he stated that he was to take a sabbatical from professional wrestling.
The event received highly positive reviews from various websites and wrestling publications. Most of the critics rated Jericho vs Michaels match as the match of the night. John Powell of Canadian Online Explorer's professional wrestling section rated the event a perfect score of 10 out of 10 stars, which was a higher rating than the previous year's event. The main event between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship was rated the highest with a score of 9 out of 10 stars, the match between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin was rated 8 out of 10 stars, the match between Booker T and Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship was rated 7.5 out of 10 stars, the match between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho was also rated 7.5 out of 10 stars and the Street Fight between Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan receiving the lowest rating of 4 out of 10 stars. He also noted that "it was the WWE slugging homeruns last night at WrestleMania XIX. Criticized for not making the most of the talent it has, the WWE had all the bases covered and proved that if the entire organization puts forth the effort, they can deliver a superior sports entertainment product" and further claimed that "WrestleMania XIX was not only a outstanding show but it will surely go down as one of the best WrestleManias ever".
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