This Sunday is WrestleMania 29 so I decided to review a WrestleMania match this week. There were a few matches I thought about reviewing. I wanted to review a WrestleMania match that I enjoyed a lot and isn’t considered one of the top ten greatest WrestleMania matches. The match I will review is Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. McMahon from WrestleMania XIX. That was an awesome WrestleMania match-up because McMahon created WrestleMania and Hogan was the biggest star of the first WrestleMania. I have no doubt that WrestleMania would not exist today without them.

The Facts:

  • WrestleMania XIX happened on March 30, 2003 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. The attendance was 54,097 and it was a new Safeco Field attendance record.
  • This match was a street fight.
  • When this match happened, Hulk Hogan was 49 years old and Vince McMahon was 57 years old.
  • After the match, Shane McMahon asked Vince, “Any regrets?” Vince replied, “Yeah. I want to go do it all over again right now. That’s my only regret.”
  • Hogan after the match: “I looked at [Vince] and realized this guy has got it in his blood just like I do. I realized that no matter what really happened here tonight, the people were going to win because there’s two guys out there that will do anything. Anything to keep this art form alive. Out of all the things that are different about Vince and myself, we’re so much alike it’s scary.”
  • Hogan talking about his match against Vince: “I was surprised. He was a great wrestler, a great worker. And he made the fans get into a frenzy. Every match would be a Vince McMahon match if I had my choice because it was like a piece of art getting in there with him. He’s such a character. He knows how to work the crowd so much. Everything you do with Vince means something. He’s so well hated.”
  • Michael Cole and Tazz were the announcers during this match.
  • The match that followed this match was The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler called that match. During The Rock’s entrance, Ross said, “My hat’s off to Mr. McMahon and to Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Unbelievable street fight.” Lawler said, “The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin got a tough act to follow.”
  • The time length of the match was 20:47.
  • This match can be seen online at Dailymotion: Part 1 Part 2

The Match:

Vince slaps Hogan and then Hogan tackles Vince. The bell rings and the match officially begins. Hogan attacks Vince on the mat and then lets Vince get to his feet. Hogan lands some punches to Vince’s face and then knocks Vince down with a clothesline. Vince tries to cover up while Hogan punches him on the mat. Vince is on his feet and Hogan punches him in the corner. Vince is seated in the corner and Hogan is kicking him. Vince finally gets some offense by hitting Hogan with his elbow and then he knocks Hogan down with a clothesline. Hogan gets to the corner and Vince drives his shoulder into Hogan’s gut. Vince continues to attack Hogan in the corner. Hogan gets out of the corner, but a blow to the back knocks Hogan down. Vince starts working on Hogan’s arm. Vince pulls Hogan to the corner and hits Hogan’s arm with the ring post. Vince is doing a good job keeping Vince grounded. Hogan gets to his feet, but Vince kicks Hogan in the gut and Hogan is down again. Hogan gets to his feet again and Vince kicks Hogan in the gut again. Vince throws Hogan out of the ring. Vince pushes Hogan’s shoulder into the ring post. Vince gets a steel chair and swings at Hogan. He misses and the chair hits the ring post. Hogan grabs Vince and throws him into the ring post. Hogan has the chair. HEADSHOT TO VINCE! Blood is coming out of Vince’s head. Hogan throws Vince into the ring. Hogan hits Vince with some punches and Vince falls out of the ring. Hogan grabs another chair. Chairshot to Vince’s back! Hogan swings the chair again and hits Vince’s back a second time. Vince crawls to the Spanish announce table. Is the Spanish announce table going to have another WrestleMania moment? Hogan swings the chair. Vince ducks and the chair hits Hugo the Spanish announcer on the head! Hogan drags Vince towards the ring and Vince hits Hogan with a low blow. Tazz, who is calling this match with Michael Cole, says Hugo is busted open, but the cameras haven’t shown Hugo since the headshot. Vince has a chair and hits Hogan with a headshot! Vince looks under the ring and he pulls out a ladder. This is turning into a TLC match! A one of the cameras gets a shot of Hugo and he is bleeding like Tazz said. Vince places the ladder in-between the two announce tables. Vince hits Hogan with a television monitor. Hogan is lying down on the Spanish announce table and Vince climbs the ladder. Vince sits on the ladder and his feet are on the second highest step. Vince stands up and jumps from the ladder. He hits Hogan with a legdrop! That spot gets a “holy shit” chant from the crowd. I just noticed Hogan is bleeding. Hugo is still bleeding too and he gets helped to the back. Vince throws Hogan into the ring. Vince covers Hogan and Hogan gets his shoulder up before three. Another pin attempt and Hogan kicks out again. Vince leaves the ring and gets a steel pipe from under the ring. His head slowly rises above the ring apron and a WWE cameraman captures one of the best McMahon images of all-time.

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Triple H later said that Vince looked like the devil. Cole asks when you look into Vince’s eyes, are you looking at the eyes of Satan. Vince is in the ring with the pipe and Hogan hits Vince with a low blow! Both men are down. Blood is dripping from Vince’s head and staining the ring mat. He is bleeding a lot in this match, but he would bleed more later that year at Survivor Series against Undertaker. Some guy dressed in black enters the ring. Someone get this fan out of the ring! Wait, that’s not a fan. IT’S ROWDY RODDY PIPER! He removes his long black coat and reveals his white t-shirt and red kilt. He picks up the pipe, hits Hogan with it and leaves the ring. Heel turn by Piper! Vince crawls to Hogan and covers him. Hogan kicks out! Vince goes for the pipe, but the referee Brian Hebner steps on the pipe so Vince can’t pick it up. Vince tries to throw Hebner out of the ring, but Hebner botches and doesn’t go through the ropes. Vince tries to throw him out of the ring again and this time Hebner goes through the ropes. Vince picks up the pipe and hits Hogan with it! Vince hits Hogan with the Hogan leg drop! A new referee is in the ring to count the pin attempt and Hogan kicks out! Hogan is hulking up! Hogan knocks Vince down. Then Hogan throws the referee out of the ring. The announcers say Hogan is getting revenge because that guy screwed Hogan in Montreal. I didn’t see that so I don’t know what they are talking about. Vince gets up and attacks Hogan from behind after Hogan is done getting his revenge, but Hogan sells it like Vince was tapping him on the shoulder. Hogan throws Vince into the ropes and hits Vince with the big boot. Hogan hits Vince with three leg drops! A referee is in the ring and I think it is Hebner. Hogan pins Vince and wins the match.

Winner: Hulk Hogan

Rating: ****

I read reviews of this match from major wrestling sites and none of them went higher than three stars. Four stars feels a little bit high, but I can’t think of a good reason to give it less than four stars. I don’t agree with the reviewers who gave this great match only three stars or less. I think they did it because of who was in the ring, Hogan and McMahon. It seems like people were expecting this match to be bad. Two actual quotes I read from two of the reviewers were “The match was better than it had any right to be” and “Better [than] anyone would have predicted”. So I’m thinking that if they were expecting a one star match at the start of the match, the most they were willing to bump up their rating was two stars. I think some people refuse to give a high rating to guys who are too old or aren’t really wrestlers. I don’t really care about stuff like that. If they have a good match, I’m going to give them a rating I think they deserve and I think Hogan vs. McMahon was a four star match. It’s okay to look at a match-up and expect a bad match. I do that too, but I give the two wrestlers the credit they deserve if they exceed my expectations. I think too many reviewers underrate or overrate a match because of who is in the match.

There were a lot of things I liked about this match. I liked Piper’s surprise appearance, the use of blood that showed how much these guys hated each other, McMahon’s leg drop off the ladder (arguably the greatest high-risk spot by a 50+ year old in WrestleMania history) and McMahon’s facial expression as he peered over the ring apron, one of the best images ever caught by WWE cameras. There wasn’t a lot of technical wrestling in this match, but I thought it was highly entertaining and I would have loved to see this match during the live Pay-Per-View broadcast or at Safeco Field. I have always enjoyed the entertainment of pro wrestling more than the sport of pro wrestling and this was a great match to have at the greatest sports-entertainment event of the year. This match was one of four great matches at WrestleMania 19. The others were Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho, The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle. I watched the Lesnar vs. Angle main event match after I reviewed the Hogan vs. McMahon match. Every review I read said Lesnar vs. Angle was a better match than Hogan vs. McMahon, but there were a lot of times when the crowd was dead during the main event. The crowd seemed a lot more alive during the Hogan-McMahon match which tells me Hogan vs. McMahon was more entertaining.

I think it’s an insult to give three stars or less to this match. That is a rating a good Smackdown match gets. Hogan and McMahon worked harder than most men over 49 years old should. I have images of what they looked like after the match.

Vince McMahon:

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Hulk Hogan:

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I appreciate the effort McMahon and Hogan gave during their match because their combined age was 106! The combined age of John Cena and The Rock is 75. I don’t think every match at WrestleMania should look like Hogan vs. McMahon, but I think having a match like that would help make any WrestleMania better.

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