Next up on our WrestleMania REIMAGINGED, we look back at events that took place on April 2. Two matches that are on the opposite end of the wrestling spectrum. First, we have a technically brilliant triple threat match from WrestleMania 2000, followed by a beastly showdown between to powerhouse wrestlers at WrestleMania 33
Two Falls Triple Threat Match Intercontinental and European Championships
Kurt Angle (c) vs Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho
Kurt Angle made his WWE debut at the 1999 Survivor Series event. Less than three months later the Olympic Hero was wearing championship gold. He defeated Val Venis for the European Championship on the February 10, 2000 episode of Smackdown. Just 17 days later, Angle defeated Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship, shortly after dubbing himself the Eurocontinental Champion.
With both championships around his waist Angle entered WrestleMania brimming with confidence.
One of the coolest things about this match is that it was the WrestleMania debut for all three men and each wanted to leave their mark.
These three put on a master class of what a triple threat match should be. There are no lulls in the action, no slow moments, it’s constantly moving. When one man thinks he has the advantage, the third man interjects. The first fall in this match is for the Intercontinental Championship and the second the European Championship.
Jericho enters first and lets the audience know that even though he can’t guarantee victory he guarantees he will walk out the Ayatollah of Rock N Rolla. Then in typical Jericho fashion, he calls Kurt, Kurk Angel, and Benoit, Mr. Roboto.
Out next is Benoit and as always he is all business. Never cracking a smile, he gets right in Jericho’s face. Angle comes out next and the rookie has an aura to him that hints to the greatness his career will bring.
Before Angle can remove his championships from his waist he is attacked by Benoit. Jericho is quick to get involved when they enter the ring, each man trying to gain the early advantage. The first pin attempt comes from Angle after a belly to belly suplex to Jericho. His attempt is stopped by Jericho at two.
Besides various suplexes, the three technicians trade submission moves like the Camel Clutch, Walls of Jericho and Cross-Face Chicken Wing. The first fall comes when Benoit tosses Angle into the front row before nailing Jericho with a diving head butt from the top turnbuckle.
It’s Benoit’s first WWE championship, but he isn’t satisfied with just winning the Intercontinental Title, as he goes for an immediate pin on Jericho. Angle returns to the ring in time to break up the pin. With only one fall left the intensity picks up. Benoit suplexes Jericho from the top turnbuckle before Angle misses a moonsault.
Jericho impressively double powerbombs Angle while Benoit hits three rolling German suplexes to Jericho. After Jericho inadvertently takes out the referee with a flying forearm he finds himself trapped in Benoit’s Crippler Crossface.
With nowhere to go Jericho taps out, but the referee isn’t there to make the call. Angle then brings one of his championship belts into the ring and strikes Jericho with it. But Benoit breaks up the three count.
Benoit attempts a second diving head butt from the top turnbuckle but Angle is able to avoid the move. This brief opportunity allows Jericho to connect on his Lionsault to Benoit earning the three count, crowning him the new European Champion.
After the match, a distraught Kurt Angle is left in the ring pondering how he lost both of his championships without suffering a pinfall or submission.
Universal Championship Match
Goldberg (c) vs Brock Lesnar
The story that is Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg got off to an inauspicious start during their first encounter at WrestleMania XX. Both men had one foot out the door, as neither man decided to continue their pro wrestling careers after WrestleMania. And boy did the fans in Madison Square Garden know.
The fans that night rained down boos, boring and you sold out chants at the two former champions. It truly was a black eye on both of their legacies. But flash forward to Survivor Series 2016 and Goldberg returns to the squared circle. That night he defeated The Beast in less than two minutes, much to the shock of Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman and the entire WWE Universe.
Their rivalry intensified at the 2017 Royal Rumble when Goldberg eliminated Lesnar in the 30-man Battle Royal, once again proving he had Lesnar’s number. The following night on Raw, Lesnar, and Heyman laid out a challenge to Goldberg for a match at WrestleMania.
“We are at a point in history where we have to face the most disturbing truth that every all-time great has that one opponent that has his number. That every legend has that one asterisk, that every argument that can be made, oh that this is the best ever, has that one argument that says, yeah but..”
Not one to back down from a fight, Goldberg quickly accepted the challenge.
The stakes of their match went up another level after Goldberg defeated Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship at FastLane. And with a chance at redemption, both of these iconic powder kegs were set to meet once again on the “Grandest Stage of Them All”….WrestleMania.
While the Angle, Benoit, Jericho triple threat match was a master class in technical precision, this battle was a lesson in pure unadulterated power and brute force. After Heyman’s brilliant fairytale promo hyping up the match is shown, Lesnar makes his entrance.
Goldberg follows and the two stare each other down in the middle of the ring.
The anticipation hits a fever pitch as this truly feels like two larger than life characters are about to engage in war. Perfectly summing up the moment is Corey Graves on commentary.
“This feels like two titans clashing in front of our eyes.”
After the bell rings, Lesnar hits Goldberg with three explosive German suplexes. But before he can celebrate he is quickly taken down by Goldberg.
Goldberg hits his first spear of the match, but Lesnar rolls out of the ring to find some relief. That relief doesn’t come as Goldberg spears him through the ringside barricade.
Once they return to the ring, Goldberg attempts the Jackhammer, but Lesnar reverses it into an F5 attempt, which is reversed again, and followed up with the third Goldberg spear.
Sensing victory at hand, Goldberg performs the Jackhammer, but Lesnar shockingly kicks out at two. Goldberg and everyone in attendance is in shock, but ‘Da Man’ poises himself for a fourth spear. With his advocate screaming at the top of his lungs that Goldberg is getting ready to spear him again, Lesnar amazingly leapfrogs Goldbergs next spear attempt.
This incredible athletic feat sends Goldberg into the ring post. Quick to take advantage Lesnar performs seven German suplexes in a row, much to the delight of the live audience who counted along with each suplex.
One F5 later and Brock Lesnar seemingly erased the demons of his past, finally defeating the many many felt had his number.