Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard – WrestleMania XX
Release date: 3/15/19
Recap by: Jeff Rush
-Bruce is doing the show on the road, complete with weird phone voice.
-Vince was still nostalgic about MSG in 2004, not so much in 2013 or 2019. Now, it has to be a stadium.
-The company was adjusting to life without Austin and the Rock at this time.
-They knew going in they only had Goldberg for a year. They touched base regarding an extension about half way through but it was apparent Goldberg was over the travel.
-More about Lesnar’s private plane. Unspecified sources hated it and him, Bruce says it wasn’t much of an issue.
-Eddie was received as champion by the other wrestlers exactly opposite of Lesnar. Bruce points to his family legacy.
-Regarding Billy Kidman and Torrie. Bruce disputes that her Playboy shoots went to her head, says she was always professional and willing to do what was asked if her. Says their relationship was never an issue.
-Shawn Michaels reportedly wrestled through the Mania main event with a torn ACL. Bruce says there was no fall back option for the match.
-This was the Mania following Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Halftime wardrobe malfunction. Bruce says the police were out (regarding the FCC) and says they were looking at WWE thinking they’d look to capitalize on it. As such, WWE intentionally went the other way.
-Conrad reads through a lengthy New York Times report about WWE recruiting collegiate talent like Lesnar and Kurt Angle. Bruce says Vince wanted athletes but not all of them translated.
-Regarding the Rocks return for Mania, Bruce says it was more of a coordination than a negotiation, as Rock really wanted to do it, he was just busy.
-Bringing Bret Hart in was briefly discussed, but never came close to happening.
-Vince felt the title would take Eddie to the next level and that he was ready for it. Bruce notes that once he got it, he no longer really needed it.
The opening included Shane and his newborn son, which is the first time we saw Vince as a grandfather.
Cena vs. Big Show
Conrad feels this match made Cena. Bruce says it was a step in his journey. Conrad notes that MSG was squarely behind Cena.
La Resistance vs. RVD/Booker T vs. Dudley’s vs. Garrison Cade & Mark Jindrac.
Bruce says this is an example of trying to get everyone on the card and discusses the lack of logic behind a four-corners match.
(This was one of the last Mania’s held in an arena as opposed to a stadium and a lot is made of that in hindsight. I think even crazier is the fact that Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak even had a Mania match. This is literally why we have pre-show matches now.)
-Mean Gene and Bobby Heenan skit with Mae Young and Moolah.
Christian vs. Jericho
This was the match with Trish’s heel turn. Bruce says this was the culmination of a storyline even THEY weren’t sure they would get to.
Evolution vs. Rock & Sock
Conrad notes that both Foley and Steve Austin didn’t like this match. Bruce says it was entertaining and delivered on what it needed to.
HOF Class Of 2004:
Bobby Heenan, Big John Studd, Don Muraco (the Original Rock, as Russo likes to point out), Greg Valentine, Harley Race, Jesse Ventura, JYD, Sgt. Slaughter, Superstar Billy Graham, Tito Santana, and Pete Rose. Did they think they were never going to do another one?
-Bruce says this was a collection of guys who were instrumental with the launch of the WWF’s explosion into the mainstream 20 years earlier and then also guys who work major players for Vince Sr. In the 70’s.
Torrie/Sable vs. Jackie Gayda/Stacy
Conrad says lots of crotch rubbing and gratuitous T&A. Hall of Famer class of 2019: Torrie Wilson.
Cruiserweight Championship Elimination Match, which sounds like a Gauntlet Match. There were ten guys in it and it lasted 10 minutes.
Goldberg vs. Lesnar with Austin
Conrad runs down the backstory here with both guys leaving and the terrible reception it got from the audience and Bruce basically says everyone knew they were leaving and hated them and wanted Austin to come out on top since he wasn’t going anywhere and was their guy.
(What’s crazy to me is that these guys were able to do another WM match so many years later and it was actually really good. Probably one of my favorite Mania matches of the past several years.)
Rikishi/Scotty 2 Hottie vs. APA vs. Bashams vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
Another get everyone on the card match.
Jesse Ventura interviews Donald Trump. Bruce speaks favorably of Trump and we can just leave this one alone.
Victoria vs. Molly Holly
This is where Molly got her head shaved. Bruce Says Molly pitches it to them as a way for her to stand out on the roster. Conrad clearly wasn’t expecting that, as he then proceeded to request an impression of Vince asking her to shave her head.
Eddie vs. Kurt Angle
Bruce calls it a masterpiece – one of the best Mania matches he’s ever seen.
Undertaker vs. Kane
This was the return of the deadman. Both guys agree this wasn’t a great match with Bruce pointing out the true payoff was Undertakers entrance along with Paul Bearer after years of doing the biker gimmick.
Benoit vs. Triple H vs. HBK
Conrad says the finishing sequence was great and adds that the call was one of JR’s finer moments. He also notes that he prefers JR’s WCW work.
Bruce mentions that Triple H and Shawn actually argued over who would do the job, saying they both wanted to. That doesn’t sound right to me and certainly didn’t feel that way at the time.
Bruce says it was better than Savage-Steamboat. Conrad says it was the best three way ever.
In the moment, Bruce says Vince would’ve felt this was the 4th best Mania ever behind 1, 3, 17.
Conrad points out that this was the first Mania main event to end in a submission.
Upcoming shows: WMX, WM17, King Kong Bundy, Michael Hayes
Conrad apologizes for Bruce’s audio quality to which I say we are seriously spoiled by technology.
Review: Triple H and Shawn supposedly arguing over who would do the job to Benoit feels like vintage Bruce to me. I also enjoyed revisiting Goldberg-Brock. The biggest disappointment for me was the lack of time or detail spent on the Jericho-Christian-Trish triangle. That was one of my favorite story lines from this era and I was hoping to get more than a few sentences on that. All in all, at just over an hour and a half, I say go check it out. The short laundry list of topics run down that we’ve got on the horizon continues to have me believing that at least Conrad and Bruce feel this show might be nearing it’s end, so catch every new episode while you can. And if it turns out there’s still a few years left in the tank, eh, I got no regrets. Rating: 7/10
Jeff has never been threatened with a squeegee or attacked with a pair of scissors in a hotel room. He’s walked out a few times over money, didn’t realize he was headlining WrestleMania VIII, mistaking it for a house show, is probably not the most over performer in the history of Madison Square Garden, but may have invented the fist bump.