Welcome to This Week in Wrestling, where we look at some of the biggest most significant moments to take place in the world of professional wrestling.
This week we look at the week of March 25th– March 31st.
Last Ever WCW Nitro – March 26th, 2001
As I wrote in last week’s piece, I talked about how the WWF bought WCW, this was officially the end, the final episode of WCW Monday Night Nitro took place in Panama City, FL. While at the same time WWF Raw was simulcast in Cleveland, OH.
The Final Nitro was built as a “Night of Champions” as every WCW championship was on the line, which included Booker T winning the WCW Championship from Scott Steiner. The main event saw WCW legends clash one last time as Sting and Ric Flair faced off one last time.
You think that was all but oh no, Vince McMahon at the beginning of the show while at RAW had announced that he had bought his competition and was going to finalize the deal at Wrestlemania but that didn’t happen, in his feud with his son Shane, Shane appears on Nitro and announces the deal was already done and he was the owner of WCW.
Hogan Slams Andre – March 29th, 1987
If there is a moment that help shape wrestling going forward this would be it, Its Wrestlemania 3 in the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, MH with a record attendance of over 93,000 + saw Hulk Hogan slam Andre the Giant.
Hulk Hogan went into the show as the 3-year WWF Champion and Andre was unbeaten for 15 years, but the moment that set the match up was on an episode of “Piper’s Pit” where Andre turned heel and aligned himself with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and challenged Hogan to a match at Mania 3
The match is not very good, but the moment is spectacular, if you want to watch a match from this show then check out the Intercontinental Championship match between Macho Man Randy Savage and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.
Stone Cold!! Stone Cold!! Stone Cold!!- March 29th, 1998
“The Austin Era! Has begun” as JR quotes at the end of Wrestlemania 14 where Stone Cold Steve Austin rise to the top of the WWF was completed when he defeated Shawn Michaels to the win the WWF Championship.
It’s a well worked match considering how much pain Michaels was in, just two months earlier HBK broke his back during a casket match with The Undertaker.
HBK still worked the match despite the injury and Austin wasn’t in great shape either after suffering a broken neck in the Summer of 1997.
The other part of this main event was a certain “Baddest Man on the planet” Mike Tyson. Tyson was brought in to be the special enforcer for the main event but after an altercation with Austin, we would later learn he a part of DX.
However, Tyson counted the pin fall to help Austin win the title, and finished the night by punching HBK, knocking him out cold.
The Heist of the Century- March 29th, 2015
One of Michael Cole’s greatest ever calls concluded Wrestlemania 31 as Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract during the main event between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns and win the WWE Championship.
In a moment which will be played in highlight packages for years to come, while Roman and Brock are down in the ring, Seth’s music plays, and he sprints down the long ramp at Levi Stadium and cash in during the match.
This certainly needed to happen, because while the match between Roman and Brock was exciting and a good fight (this is where we witness Suplex City Bitch!!!) after Roman winning the Rumble earlier in the year and getting booed out of the building, the crowd would have shat on this match.
Another moment from this show was Sting’s WWE debut match against Triple H, which he lost.
“I’m Sorry I love You!”- March 30th, 2008
The words that Shawn Michaels mouths just before he hits his idol Ric Flair with Sweet Chin Music thus ending the career of Flair.
The story had begun in November 2007 when said to Flair, the next time you lose a match, your career is over.
So, Flair would go on and have career threatening matches with the likes of MVP, Mr Kennedy and even his good friend HHH.
But Flair would survive and challenge HBK to a match at Wrestlemania, at first Michaels refused but then accepted the challenge and compared Flair to “Old Yeller” which pissed Flair off and lit a fire in his Belly.
The match is one to search for because for how old both men were at the time of the match (Flair was 59 and HBK was 43)
Excellent well worked match by two of the all-time greats.
Michaels would retire two years later in 2010 at Wrestlemania 26 against another all time great, The Undertaker
Wrestlemania is Born! – March 31st, 1985
WWF presented Wrestlemania from Madison Square Garden in New York City. 19,121 fans were in attendance, with 398,000 homes watching on closed-circuit television. At the time, it was the most watched event in closed-circuit television history.
It was one of the biggest gambles in Vince McMahon early run as the owner of the WWF and boy did it pay off, as Wrestlemania is still strong to this day.
The show doesn’t age well but at the time it was a spectacle with a main event that involved Hulk Hogan teaming with Mr. T against Roddy Piper and Paul Orndoff with Muhammad Ali as special guest enforcer.
It may not be as great once you see it, but what would wrestling be today without Wrestlemania?