BY RAJ NATION
If you’re familiar at all with Poor Scholars then you’re aware that we have some wrestling fans on the staff. In this week’s edition of the Poor Scholars WWE Retro Vid of the Week, Poor Scholars’ Raj Nation breaks down a classic match between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin from Wrestlemania X-Seven.
With Wrestlemania XXIX just days away, and The Rock in the main event, this week’s edition of WWE Retro Video of The Week goes back 12 years to Wrestlemania X-Seven when he headlined against Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Of the 15+ Wrestlemanias I have watched, this pay-per-view as a whole stands out to me as arguably the best ever. Inside of the Astrodome, Chris Jericho and William Regal opened the show with a bang, and Stone Cold and The Rock closed it with a sheer dominating performance.
I also think the promo video WWE put together for this match, set to Limp Bizkit’s “My Way”, is their best production work to date. Austin and Rock have put together a storied legacy of battles at Wrestlemania. This was one of the instances where both men wrestled as face characters.
The buildup to the match was WWE at its finest. From The Rock proclaiming, “Stone Cold Steve Austin—your bald-headed double-stunning candy ass belongs to The Rock!” to a heated exchange of beer-can toasts that ended in an all-out brawl, two of the best from the Attitude Era brought their A-game.
Howard Finkel announced at the start that the match would be contested under no disqualification rules. To which JR exclaimed, “Hey wait a minute! Whose idea was that?” It would prove as a premonition for what was to come later in the night. Rock and Austin slugged it out for a solid 30 minutes, Rock did his ridiculous bounce off the mat after being Stunned, and then Vince McMahon appeared. Much to everyone’s surprise, McMahon came to the aid of Austin, hitting Rock with a steel chair and helping Stone Cold win the WWF Championship.
After holding the reins as one of the most popular superstars ever, Austin made his first heel turn since early 1997. He later said in an interview that, if he knew then what would happen afterwards (Triple H being sidelined for months with an injury, and The Rock taking time off to film a movie) he would have called an audible, flipped off McMahon, and given him the Stunner.
YouTube does not appear to have a full version of this match, so we’ll have to make do with highlights.