The Best and Worst Moment of WrestleMania 19
WrestleMania 19 was Brock Lesnar’s first. Though he’d rushed to his first world title reigns months before the big show, it nonetheless felt like something of a coronation for the young star, as he won his first WrestleMania main event opposite no lesser performer than Kurt Angle.
It was also the first WrestleMania back for Shawn Michaels since his first retirement five years earlier, returning for an intergenerational dream match with Chris Jericho. Add in the intrigue of Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. McMahon and WWE was well on its way to a stacked card. This article takes a look back at the best and worst moments of WrestleMania 19.
Best Moment: Mr. McMahon flips the bird
Most critics consider WrestleMania 17 to be the end of the Attitude Era, with the Ruthless Aggression Era coming up on its heels and serving as a bridge between Attitude and PG programming. WrestleMania 19 largely fits this in-between space. For example, yes Shawn Michaels was working a great feel-good comeback, but his instant classic with Chris Jericho was punctuated with a crowed-enraging low blow.
Similarly, the return of the red and yellow Hulk Hogan felt like both a throwback and a signal of leaving the New World Order era in the past. However, at WrestleMania 19 Hogan was positioned against Mr. McMahon, the Attitude Era’s definitive villain, and in a Street Fight. These two weren’t equipped to deliver a traditionally great match, but with lots of fun sports entertainment theatrics and run-ins, the match very much worked for what it was. The cherry on top? A badly bloodied McMahon getting wheeled out on a stretcher but defiantly raising his middle finger to Hogan in one last assertion of his heelish defiance.
Worst Moment: Brock Lesnar crashes and burns
Brock Lesnar’s main event match with Kurt Angle was quite good—maybe not an all-time great ‘Mania match, but it held its own as a top ten WrestleMania main event match for that time in history. The match might have gone up to the next level with a spectacular finish. Say, a three hundred pound monster successfully executing a Shooting Star Press from three-quarters of the way across the ring?
Lesnar (purportedly at Angle’s urging) went for just that spot and came up short for an ugly, scary landing. It’s a testament to Lesnar’s athleticism that he almost pulled it off, and a testament to his toughness that he got up had the wherewithal to give Angle an F5 afterward to finish the match. Just the same, the spot represented an unnecessary risk and jeopardized the guy who had been positioned as the top star in the company.