5. Stone Cold meets Mike Tyson
After years of being pummeled by the WCW/NWO and being on the verge of being put out of business by their competition. Vince knew that in order for his company to rise to the top, He had to do something drastic to start off 1998. He already caught tons of heat for the Bret Hart situation so McMahon knew he had to capitalize off the attention and he did so by dropping a bomb by signing Mike Tyson to participate in Wrestlemania.
It was like seeing two different worlds collide but when their superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin went out to confront Mike and challenge him for a fight, It was all the attention Vince wanted and he did a great job of shifting the tide back because this incident caught MAJOR headlines all over the world. It was a start of the WWf getting more momentum and eventually winning the Monday Night
This was possibly the most barbaric match I’ve ever seen as a wrestling fan. I will never forget the reaction of Mankind being thrown off the Cell. This not only showed that Mankind is one of the craziest/toughest cats in Wrestling but it also certified Undertaker’s claim as a straight bad ass. Foley suffered some serious injuries in this matchup even as far to having his tooth knocked into his nose.
When Vince bought out WCW in 2001, Many fans were eager to see how this would play out. Many started creating dream matchups involving the WCW and WWF stars that they knew they would never see. Hogan vs Austin, Rock Vs Goldberg, The Steiners vs The Hardyz, Sting vs Undertaker.. The feuds and possible were endless.
But we should have all known it was too good to be true as McMahon’s ego would come in the way instead of him doing whats good for the fans, He made it his due to make WCW(and ECW) look weak in any shape possible. Instead of being made as a threat, WCECW were made as pawns in another tired McMahon family feud and the storyline vanished within 6 months.
But in 2002 there were some hope. McMahon brought in the NWO in hopes that they can bring back interest and the fans ate it up. They were so excited to see Hogan, Hall and Nash despite them leaving the WWF in bad terms, It showed in the crowd reactions that night of their debut, Even getting bigger pops than Stone Cold Steve Austin.
But what made the NWO such a lethal force was the gang mentality that they brought into the wrestling genre. Fans almost lost it when they see the NWO interact with The Rock and Stone Cold for the first time. It was a possible fantasy matchup coming true.
After costing Stone Cold the title, The NWO got down to business and did what they did best, That was kick ass and spray paint victims. The Rock after challenging Hogan to their future classic matchup was the first victim of the NWO mobbing and took a VERY vicious beating:
This was the most exciting moment the fans have witnessed in years. They loved the Rock but they loved the NWO and they didn’t know who to root for. You can tell the crowd was eating up every bit of this. Even though the NWO due to McMahon’s ego was put on the shelf and made to look like a watered down joke in the months to come. This nevertheless was one of the greatest moments in wrestling history!
2.The Montreal Screwjob
To this day, This match would go down as the most controversal of all time because this was the biggest double cross ever. Why this was so big? Let me break it down. Bret Hart was the WWF champion, He and Shawn Michaels were engaged in a very ugly heated rivalry which led to the two of them taking shots at each other over the past year since their Wrestlemania 12 matchup thus building a REAL rivalry.
Bret Hart has displayed resentment and hatred for Shawn publicly and Shawn did everything he could with his backstage power to piss off Bret Hart every chance he got. If it wasn’t faking injuries, using his power backstage to get out of jobbing(meaning losing matches when needed) or even going as far as to claiming that Bret was having affairs with WWF diva Sunny. The feud was getting ugly to the point where neither would budge and would want to take the loss.
The agreement was that the matchup was to take place in Montreal(Bret Hart’s hometown). Vince signed Bret to a 20 year deal but being that the WWF at the time was experiencing financial turmoil, Vince folded on the deal and wanted Bret to take the option to go to WCW. Bret refused at first but then decided to go with it.
The problem was the fact that the match didn’t have a finish and Bret didn’t want to drop the belt in Canada. Shawn refused to take the L so Bret used his stroke as champion to do the same. This put Vince in a very bad spot because he feared that Bret was gonna go on Television with his championship belt and trash the title on WCW nitro like Medusa did the WWF woman’s belt on a live Nitro the previous year.
WCW welcoming Bret Hart as the WWF champion would be a nightmare for Vince and would spell doom for his company so he had to find a way to get the belt off of Bret while making him comfortable. During the last moment before the match, Bret and Vince agreed to a finish. The finish was supposed to be Shawn putting Bret in the sharpshooter, a big may lay between the Hart Foundation and Degeneration X were supposed to happen thus leading to a DQ and allowing Bret to forfeit the title the following night on Monday Night Raw.
So the match pursued and it was an all out brawl between the two. It wasn’t technical by any means but the fans were enjoying it and wanted to see Bret kick HBK’s ass all over Canada.
The match was going accordingly as plan until Shawn put Bret into the Sharpshooter. Shawn locked Bret in the move and This is where the Hart Foundation/DX run in was supposed to happen after the referee gets knocked down. But unexpected Vince McMahon all of sudden got up and demanded the time-keeper to “RING THE FUCKING BELL!”.
The “unconscious” Referee Earl Hebner who sweared on his kids to call the match down the middle called for the bell and ran for the hills ending the match. A furious Bret Hart got up from the move and spat right in Vince McMahon’s face. And just like that Shawn Michaels was the new WWF champion and Bret Hart was double crossed and as many times he would claim “screwed”.
The fans were angry. Bret was shocked, angry and felt betrayed that after 14 years that McMahon would not only go behind his back and have the belt snatched from him to give to his hated rival . An infuriated Bret would go outside the ring, trashing everything in sight and even as far as to punching out McMahon when he seen him in the back.
This will go down as the most controversal match to date.
This is my personal favorite moment based off the fact that after all of the politics and bullshit that these two had to put up with over the past 10 years of their careers that in 2004, They were paid for their hard work. Benoit and Guerrero carried WCW on their back, They were held back from really achieving higher plateaus because of their size, their lack of backstage stroke, or in Benoit’s case mic skills.
When Chris Benoit won the Royal Rumble in 2004, This was a shocker to me. The Rumble at that time was loaded with mega stars such as Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Big Show, Kane, Booker T, Randy Orton, Mick Foley, Bill Goldberg and many others. I had my money on Bill Goldberg because I knew Vince had a fitting for big muscle men and I knew he would have loved to have banked on a Goldberg/Lesnar title match.
But unexpectedly and shockingly Chris Benoit from number 1 WINS the Royal Rumble and gets a shot at the title at Wrestlemania 20. I for one didn’t expect Benoit to win. I felt that the company were booking Benoit wrong in a lot of ways and I felt it was mainly because of his size and lack of mic skills. But when he won the rumble match, I still had my doubts of him winning the title.
What was also crazy around that time period was that Eddie Guerrerro, Another underdog and Benoit’s best friend had a title match against the WWF’s favorite monster Brock Lesnar. I didn’t think Eddie had a chance but he was gonna give the big man a classic matchup.
After a Goldberg interference, Eddie hits the frogsplash on Lesnar and WINS the title. I was so happy for Eddie and if there wasn’t a person on the roster that didn’t deserve it, it was him. After dealing with politics, a life threatening car accident, drug and alcohol problems which sent his career in a downward spiral. Guerrero cleaned up his act, became one of the biggest draws in the company and soon Champion. It was a tremendous moment to witness.
Benoit’s date with destiny came on Wrestlemania 20 when he faced Shawn Michaels and Triple H in a triple threat match. I had my doubts about this match because you had two powerful backstage politicians along with Triple H being champion. I also had my doubts because I remember Booker T was supposed to win at the previous Wrestlemania but Triple H killed his momentum and it took him a long time to recover.
So going into this match, It was fast paced, back and forth action involving all 3 men. A lot of bloodshed and crazy bumps were takened place as well. But the magic moment was when Benoit snapped on the Crossface to Triple H and Triple H surprisingly taps out. After 20 years of hard work and fighting a career threatening neck injury, Chris Benoit stood in the ring as WWE Heavyweight champion of the world and it was a proud moment seeing a gifted wrestler such as him finally acheive his moment.
What made this moment even more special was when Eddie Guerrero joined his friend and embraced him in the middle of the ring to rejoice their victories after a long painful journey. Sadly it would be the last time these two would ever hold their titles respectfully as they both in the later years would eventually pass away with Guerrero dying from Heart failure in 2005 and Chris Benoit 2 years later supposedly killing himself along with his wife and kids thus tarnishing his name in the faces of many that once adored him.
R.I.P. to both of these guys(as performers). The contributions and entertainment that they provided us fans with even though they sacrificed their bodies for numerous of years should be made known for. Wrestling died when these two left the game IMO.
Eddie Guerrerro Tribute
Chris Benoit Tribute(before it got yanked)