|Tagline(s)||Houston... We Have a Problem|
|"My Way" by Limp Bizkit|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||April 1, 2001|
WrestleMania X-Seven was the seventeenth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and presented by Snickers Cruncher. It took place on April 1, 2001 at the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas. The event was the first WrestleMania held in the state of Texas. A record-breaking attendance for the Reliant Astrodome of 67,925 grossed US$3.5 million.
The main event was a No Disqualification match between Steve Austin and The Rock for the WWF Championship. The main matches on the undercard featured Triple H versus The Undertaker, the second Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the WWF Tag Team Championship, and Vince McMahon versus Shane McMahon in a Street Fight. With WWE's acquisition of long-time competitor WCW and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin joining forces with storied rival Mr. McMahon, it is often cited as the conclusion of The Attitude Era.
The main feud leading into WrestleMania X-Seven consisted of Steve Austin challenging The Rock for the WWF Championship. This event marked the second time that the WrestleMania main event featured The Rock and Steve Austin for the WWF Championship, the first one being WrestleMania XV. In April 1999 at Backlash, The Rock and Steve Austin fought in a WrestleMania XV rematch with Steve Austin retaining the Championship. The Backlash event was originally the last time the two men would wrestle for the WWF Championship until this event. Steve Austin earned his opportunity to compete for the WWF Championship in the main event at WrestleMania by winning the 2001 Royal Rumble match when he last eliminated Kane, while The Rock became the first ever six-time WWF Champion when he defeated Kurt Angle at No Way Out. During their feud, Austin's wife Debra, who was trying to get back into managing, was ordered by WWF chairman, Vince McMahon, to be The Rock's manager against her wishes as well as both Rock and Austin's. As a result, Austin would hold The Rock and McMahon responsible if any harm came to her. On the March 12 episode of Raw is War, The Rock was placed in an overlong Ankle Lock hold during his rematch with Kurt Angle. When Debra went to check on The Rock, Angle also placed her into an Ankle Lock hold. Austin soon ran in to save her and knocked Angle out of the ring. Keeping to his word, he immediately gave The Rock a Stone Cold Stunner as punishment. The following week on Raw is War, during a handicap tag team match involving The Rock, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, and William Regal, Austin made his way down to the ring and ended up getting a Rock Bottom from The Rock as a result of the stunner the previous week. On the March 29 episode of SmackDown!, Debra was relieved from her managerial role by Mr. McMahon after failing to prevent a brawl between Rock and Austin.
The secondary feud leading into the event pitted the Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane) against Triple H and The Big Show. After defeating Steve Austin in a Three Stages of Hell match at No Way Out, Triple H felt that he deserved to be in the WrestleMania main event having defeated everyone in the WWF, including The Rock and Austin. The Undertaker took exception to that and told him that Triple H had never defeated him. Before WrestleMania X-Seven, the two had never faced each other in a one-on-one match on a pay-per-view event. During his entrance for a Hardcore Championship match against The Big Show, Triple H ambushed Undertaker. Kane ran in and saved the Undertaker from a further attack but was met with his own ambush by The Big Show. On the following episode of SmackDown!, Undertaker tried to break into the limousine of Triple H and his wife, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, on arrival but ended up being arrested by the police. As a result, Kane requested a match against Triple H later that night but lost when The Big Show interfered on behalf of Triple H. In retaliation, Kane interfered in The Big Show's Hardcore Championship match against Raven on Raw is War, helping Raven pin Big Show to become the new Hardcore Champion. Undertaker's arrest led to a restraining order from Stephanie. To circumvent this, the Brothers of Destruction interfered in Triple H's match against Test, with Kane ordered to run after Stephanie. With Stephanie held at ransom on a balcony in the arena, WWF commissioner William Regal gave Undertaker and Kane matches at WrestleMania against Triple H and The Big Show respectively. After being attacked during a Hardcore Championship title defense, Regal would later include Raven into Kane and Big Show's match, making it a Triple Threat Hardcore match for the Hardcore Championship.
Another major feud that was built up in the lead to WrestleMania was the one involving Vince McMahon and his son Shane McMahon. The feud started with Vince's disapproval of Mick Foley's job as then-WWF commissioner as well as Foley's decision of holding a six-man Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon 2000, taking into consideration about the well-being of the wrestlers involved in the match. Despite his attempts Foley was given full support by Linda McMahon, Vince's wife and the WWF's CEO. Not pleased with this result, Vince immediately demanded a divorce from Linda. Shortly after Armageddon, secretly to Vince's delight, it was revealed Linda was rushed to hospital suffering with a nervous breakdown. With Linda hospitalized, the Board of Directors appointed Vince as the new CEO of the WWF, allowing him to fire Foley as commissioner. With Linda in a comatose-like state, Vince started to have a public affair with Trish Stratus. Vince's daughter, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, was at first far from pleased about the turn of events. At No Way Out, Stephanie and Trish squared off, with Stephanie scoring the victory after a run-in by William Regal. On the February 26 episode of Raw is War, however, during a match that placed Vince and Trish against Stephanie and William Regal, Stratus was turned on by the other participants in the match and had sewage dumped over her. In the following shows, Vince continued to demean Trish by having her do such actions as bark like a dog around the ring and stripping down to her lingerie. Despite this, Trish remained loyal to Vince and begged for his forgiveness. On the March 12 episode of Raw is War, Shane McMahon made his return to the WWF. Angry with his father's actions, Shane started to throw punches at Vince only to be stopped by William Regal. Shane explained his actions on the following episode of SmackDown! as a result of frustrations over the manipulation of his sister, his mother's state and Vince's treatment of Trish. On March 23, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. purchased their longtime rival promotion, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. With it, the purchase brought in an extra twist to the storyline. On the March 26 episode of Raw is War, Vince McMahon made a live speech that was also simulcast on the series finale of WCW Monday Nitro. In the speech, Vince announced that the signing was not final and that he wanted Ted Turner to come to WrestleMania to hand-deliver the contract for signing. He then promised that with the purchase he was going to bury his rival forever. However, Shane, who was at the venue for Nitro, interrupted the speech and made an announcement:
The deal is finalized...with WCW, and the name on the contract does say McMahon. However, the contract reads Shane McMahon. That's right! I now own WCW! And, Dad, just like WCW did in the past, how it kicked your ass in the past and it will again, that’s exactly what’s going to happen to you this Sunday at WrestleMania!
To make matters worse for Vince, Mick Foley appeared shortly afterwards that night and announced that prior to his firing, Linda had made multiple contracts for him to sign, one of them was for Foley to referee a match of his choice at WrestleMania. Foley then announced that Vince and Shane's match would be a street fight with himself as special guest referee.
(Gimmick battle royal)
(Gimmick battle royal)
|Carlos Cabrera (Spanish)|
|Hugo Savinovich (Spanish)|
|Ring announcer||Howard Finkel|
Before the event aired live on pay-per-view, a Sunday Night Heat match was aired with Steve Blackman and Grand Master Sexay squaring off against X-Factor members Justin Credible and X-Pac. Near the end of the match, fellow X-Factor member Albert distracted Blackman and Sexay from the apron. With Albert pulling Sexay out of the ring, Credible and X-Pac hit their X Marks the Spot finisher on Blackman enabling X-Pac to score the pinfall.
The first match of the event had Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho defending his title against the WWF commissioner William Regal. During the match, Regal exposed one of the top turnbuckles to throw Jericho into it. Shortly afterwards, Regal executed a double underhook superplex on Jericho. Jericho attempted a Walls of Jericho submission hold but was reversed into a Regal Stretch. After Jericho managed to grab a ring rope to break the hold, he retaliated with numerous chops and also threw Regal into the exposed turnbuckle. Jericho eventually pinned Regal after a successful Lionsault maneuver on Regal. With his victory, Jericho retained the Intercontinental Championship.
Tazz and The APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq) took on Right to Censor (The Goodfather, Val Venis and Bull Buchanan) next in a short match that ended with Bradshaw pinning the Goodfather after a Clothesline From Hell. The following match was a Triple Threat Hardcore match between The Big Show, Kane and Raven for Raven's Hardcore Championship. During the match, the three wrestlers fought their way out of the ring and into the backstage area through the crowd. Big Show tried to lock himself, Raven and the referee into a security cage but Kane broke the padlock and afterwards threw Raven through a glass window. Big Show and Kane continued to brawl ending with the two throwing each other through a wall. Raven tried to escape by driving off a golf cart, but Big Show stopped him. Kane shortly followed with another golf cart, accompanied by the referee, and ran over Raven. The fight headed back into the stadium with Big Show attempting to press slam Raven off the entrance stage but both were kicked off it by Kane. Kane followed this with a diving leg drop off the stage and pinned Big Show to become the new Hardcore Champion.
The fourth match was the European Championship match between the champion Test and Eddie Guerrero. In the middle of the match, Guerrero ducked an attack from Test, sending him over the top rope. But as Test went over, his foot was caught between the top two ropes, leaving with Guerrero and the referee having to pull Test out. With the help of his fellow Radicalz members Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko, Guerrero pinned Test to become the new champion after hitting him with the European title belt.
The fifth match featured Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. The match started with mat wrestling between the two but soon after, Angle got tired of it and punched Benoit and threw him out of the ring. Outside, Angle threw Benoit onto the announcers' table and then onto the steel steps. Back in the ring, the wrestlers tried to make each other submit with Benoit trying an Ankle Lock, Angle's signature hold, on Angle followed by Angle using Benoit's signature hold, the Crippler Crossface, on Benoit. Benoit eventually succeeded in forcing Angle to tap out to the Crippler Crossface but with the referee knocked out, Benoit was unable to attain victory. Near the end of the match, Benoit tried to pin Angle after a Diving Headbutt but was met with a two-count. Angle rolled-up Benoit with the help of his opponent's tights for leverage to win the match. The following match saw Chyna quickly defeat Ivory for the Women's Championship after a Gorilla Press Drop.
The Street Fight between Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon was next. Shane dominated his father during the start of the match with attacks involving a Kendo stick and monitors from the Spanish announcers' table. Lying Vince on the table, Shane climbed back into the ring and attempted to perform a diving elbow drop off the top rope. His sister Stephanie moved Vince off the table, however, leaving Shane to crash into it. Trish Stratus came towards the ring, pushing Linda McMahon out on a wheelchair. Vince tried to embrace Trish, but she slapped him. In retaliation, Stephanie got into a fight with Trish that led them out of the stadium. With Linda alone, Vince approached her to the detestment of guest referee Mick Foley but the owner replied with a few chair shots. Dragging Linda into the ring and placing her on a chair, Vince forced her to watch him beat his son down a couple of times with a trash can. As he went for a third shot with the can, however, Linda stood up and kicked Vince in the testicles. With Vince in the corner, Shane placed a garbage can in front of Vince's face and hit a Coast-to-Coast dropkick through it, before pinning his father to win the match.
The eighth match, dubbed "TLC II", was a Tag Team Championship match pitting the champions, the Dudley Boyz, against Edge and Christian and the Hardy Boyz in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. The match contained many dangerous spots involving the weapons involved. Respective associates of each tag team, Spike Dudley on behalf of the Dudley Boyz, Rhyno on behalf of Edge and Christian and Lita on behalf of the Hardy Boyz, interfered during the match. With Spike and Rhyno both laying on two tables outside the ring, Jeff Hardy set up a huge ladder beside them and performed a Swanton Bomb onto them through the tables. Jeff tried to go for the belts but has his ladder pulled off his feet by Bubba Ray Dudley, leaving Jeff hanging onto the belts in the air. After climbing onto a bigger ladder, Edge jumped off it and spears Jeff onto the ground. Bubba Ray and Matt Hardy started to climb the same ladder but were met by Rhyno who pushed them off the ladder and through some more tables outside the ring. With a boost from Rhyno, Christian managed to unhook the belts, making him and Edge the new Tag Team Champions.
The ninth match was a gimmick battle royal, featuring nineteen WWF alumni famous for their outlandish gimmicks. To further increase the nostalgia, former announcers "Mean" Gene Okerlund and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan took over the commentary booth for the match. The match was a short one with the Iron Sheik throwing Hillbilly Jim out of the ring to win the match. In revenge for being eliminated, Sgt. Slaughter locked the cobra clutch hold on the Sheik.
The penultimate match was between The Undertaker and Triple H. For his entrance, Triple H had British heavy metal band Motörhead perform his theme song, "The Game", live. The match started with the two fighting outside of the ring with Triple H ending being put through the replacement Spanish announcers' table. Later on, the referee Mike Chioda ended up being attacked with first by accident through Undertaker's Catapult and later on by The Undertaker's dissatisfaction over a two-count. With Chioda knocked out, the two brawled outside the ring without any risk of a countout and into the technical area. Over there, Triple H gave Undertaker several shots in the head with a steel chair but was eventually reversed into a Chokeslam off the scaffolding followed by an diving elbow drop. Back in the ring as Chioda regained consciousness, Triple H tried to pin The Undertaker after preventing Undertaker's Last Ride maneuver with a sledgehammer shot in the head but only gained a two-count. Continuing the match, Triple H sent The Undertaker's towards the corner with shots to the head but Undertaker reversed them with the Last Ride, allowing him to pin Triple H and increase his WrestleMania winning streak to 9–0.
The final match of the night was the WWF Championship match between The Rock and Steve Austin. Before the ring entrances for the main event, it was announced that the match would be a No Disqualification match. During the match, the two took the fight outside of the ring and into the crowd. When the wrestlers returned to the ring, blood was shed from both Austin and The Rock after both had hit each other with the ring bell. The Rock attempted to place Austin into a Sharpshooter hold, but Austin reversed it and placed The Rock into his own Sharpshooter. After releasing the hold following the referee's request he held The Rock by use of the Million Dollar Dream, a submission hold best known from his former gimmick, The Ringmaster. Shortly after, The Rock used Austin's own finishing maneuver on Austin by executing a Stunner. Vince McMahon then came to ringside to observe the match. When The Rock tried to pin Austin after the People's Elbow, McMahon pulled The Rock away. After chasing McMahon around the ring, Austin responded by using The Rock's signature move, the Rock Bottom. Later, after The Rock improbably kicked out of the Stunner after a two count, which he received after attacking McMahon in the ring, McMahon then handed Austin a steel chair to hit The Rock with at Austin's request, revealing that Austin had sided with McMahon, a man he once considered his nemesis. With this, Austin turned heel. Austin tried to end the match with the Stone Cold Stunner again, but after The Rock kicked out a furious Austin decided he'd had enough. The challenger then pummeled the champion with sixteen consecutive chair shots, enabling Austin to pin The Rock and become the new WWF Champion. The show ended with the chairman and the new champion shaking hands and sharing beers.
The following night on Raw is War, Austin and The Rock faced each other in a rematch held inside steel cage which Triple H entered the cage and teased a fight with Austin before turning on The Rock. For several minutes Austin, Triple H, and Vince McMahon triple teamed the outnumbered Rock forging an alliance with Triple H and Austin called The Two-Man Power Trip. The Rock was written out of the WWF's storylines with McMahon giving him a suspension. This allowed The Rock time off to begin filming The Scorpion King. The Rock returned on the July 30 edition of Raw is War and chose to fight for Team WWF over Team WCW/ECW. Three weeks later at SummerSlam, Rock won his first WCW Championship by defeating Booker T. Rock and Austin would face each other again at WrestleMania XIX in a rematch that would also be known as Austin's last match to date.
Following The Rock's suspension, Triple H's feud with the Brothers of Destruction continued with Austin now on his side. On the April 5, 2001 edition of SmackDown!, Triple H challenged Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho for his title and after interference from Commissioner William Regal and his wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley defeated Jericho to win his third Intercontinental Championship. The feud with Undertaker and Kane was temporarily put on hold after Triple H and Austin entered a brief rivalry with the Hardy Boyz, which resulted in Jeff Hardy beating Triple H for the Intercontinental Championship the following week and Triple H promptly regaining the title the next Monday on Raw.
Meanwhile, the Brothers of Destruction defeated Edge and Christian to become the new WWF Tag Team Champions on the April 19, 2001 edition of SmackDown in a no-disqualification match. Austin and Triple H decided to challenge Undertaker and Kane for their newly won titles, but due to some wrangling by Linda McMahon the match between the teams signed for Backlash forced the two to put up their singles titles against the tag team titles in a "winner-take-all" match. Triple H scored the pin after attacking Kane with his sledgehammer and the Power Trip became the first team in WWF history to hold both major singles titles and the tag team titles at the same time. The feud came to a climax at Judgment Day when Austin defeated Undertaker to retain the WWF Championship while Kane defeated Triple H for the Intercontinental Championship. The next night Austin and Triple H lost the tag team titles to Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit; during the course of the match Triple H tore his quadriceps tendon and would miss the remainder of the year, leaving Austin to feud with the tag team champions alone. The feud culminated in a Triple Threat Match at King of the Ring, where Austin pinned Benoit to retain the WWF Championship. Undertaker and Triple H would once again renew their rivalry, ten years later in 2011 and would go on to face each other in a rematch at WrestleMania XXVII with The Undertaker defeating HHH via submission, to set his WrestleMania winning streak to 19–0. They faced each other a third time a year later at WrestleMania XXVIII in a Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. The Undertaker once again won the match to extend his WrestleMania winning streak to 20–0.
Due to the acquisition of WCW, Vince's feud with Shane would later spiral into The Invasion storyline that dominated the WWF in the latter half of the year. It consisted of WCW wrestlers "invading" the WWF's televised shows in an attempt to "take over" the WWF. The Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) promotion would also be involved with Stephanie as its new owner, merging WCW and ECW into The Alliance. Despite giving her own demands for a divorce shortly after WrestleMania, Linda would eventually reconcile with Vince in the wake of the Alliance's threat to the WWF.
The event received praise from fans and critics alike. John Powell of Canadian Online Explorer's professional wrestling section rated the event a perfect 10 out of 10 stars, with the main event between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in a No disqualification match for the WWF Championship rated 9 out of 10 stars. The Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the WWF Tag Team Championship between The Hardy Boys, Edge and Christian and The Dudley Boyz also received a perfect 10 out of 10 stars, the Street Fight between Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon rated 5 out of 10 stars, the match between Triple H and The Undertaker rated 4 out of 10 stars and the match between Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit rated 8 out of 10 stars. This pay-per-view was also awarded Best Major Show for 2001 by Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the WWF Tag Team Championship between The Hardy Boys, Edge and Christian and The Dudley Boyz was also place #5 on IGN's list of Top 20 Matches in Wrestlemania History and noted that the match included "some of the most memorable bumps wrestling fans have ever witnessed."
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