Unbeknownst to the world, April 1st 2001 would be more than just April fool’s day, but this would be the day when pay per view would broadcast a perfectly well done event. The event would go down in history being unanimously known as “the greatest WrestleMania of all time”. When mentioning those words together, you can only be talking about one show and that is WrestleMania 17.
WrestleMania 17, live from the Reliant Astrodome, was the golden measuring stick when it came to giving fans a flawless show. So what was it about WrestleMania 17 that was so well done? Well for starters, every match on that card had significant meaning behind it. Each match on the card felt like a main event for a small pay per view (like a No Mercy, Judgment Day, Unforgiven, etc.), so there was a tremendous amount of weight behind each story. The card for the show screamed greatness on paper, just look at some of the matches that took place:
Chris Jericho vs William Regal for the Intercontinental Championship
Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit
Edge and Christian vs The Dudley Boys vs The Hardy Boys
Triple H vs The Undertaker
To add to the excitement, this would be the first Mania back in a stadium since WrestleMania 8, so the electricity from the 67,000 + fans was unparalleled. If that wasn’t enough to add to the excitement, a week before WrestleMania 17 Vince McMahon officially finalized the war between the WWF and WCW, as he purchased World Championship Wrestling and overnight became the sole proprietor of the company. You can’t be on a bigger high than this.
The show closed with one of the most well booked and unpredictable main event matches in history. The fact that The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin would be a WrestleMania rematch didn’t bother fans at all. When you have two of the biggest names in the business going at it for the biggest prize on the planet, you cannot lose. But the ending of the match had to be the biggest risk taking decision from a company perspective. This would be the night when the WWF turned Stone Cold Steve Austin into a heel for the first time since 1997. A move that no one ever saw coming. A move that caused a great amount of conversation, but at the same time a move that was embraced and accepted by every fan on the planet. Well played World Wrestling Federation, well played.
Maurice D. Proffit is a Writer for Rant Sports