WWE's WrestleMania week has arrived once again, meaning it's time to look back at famous WrestleManias of the past. Two years ago we took a closer look at WrestleMania X-Seven and confirmed that it still holds up as the annual event's gold standard two decades later. However, the same can't be said for WrestleMania XIX as it turns 20 years old later this week. Many have labeled it as an underrated WrestleMania, stuck in a strange time period where the Attitude Era was in the rearview, The Invasion had been finished for well over a year and the Ruthless Aggression Era was still trying to find its footing.
However, upon a rewatch this weekend, it's clear that time hasn't been particularly kind to this event. Some of that isn't the show's fault, but even when watched in a vacuum certain aspects have aged like milk.
The best thing that can be said about WrestleMania XIX (other than its unique look, Safeco Field was an outstanding venue) is that's a useful research tool. Do you want to see what Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy both looked like before their surgeries? Check out the opener. Have you wanted to see how Brock Lesnar worked before he became so reliant on "Suplex City?" Watch the main event. And if you're a completionist wanting to see every aspect of the "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. The Rock rivalry, the final match of their WrestleMania trilogy is a lot of fun. There's even a solid "Hollywood" Rock promo thrown in there.
But with full access to the WWE Network library via Peacock, it's not hard to find better versions of most of these matches. Angle & Lesnar's Iron Man Match from SmackDown in September 2003 towers over what they did at WrestleMania (and doesn't have Angle physically in shambles or Lesnar nearly paralyzing himself with a failed Shooting Star Press). Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho's 2008 program is so well-known that many forget their 2003 feud that included a WrestleMania match. Triple H's "Reign of Terror" led to much more satisfying WrestleMania matches in the two years that followed, Rock vs. Austin III doesn't come close to what the pair managed to pull off two years prior and it's easy to name 10 better installments in The Undertaker's Undefeated WrestleMania Streak than his handicap match with Big Show and A-Train.
And that's without mentioning the "Product of Their Time" segments. Limp Bizkit had a loyal following in the early 2000s and their place in WWE is undeniable thanks to the "My Way" hype video, but their two live performances during the show have abysmal audio production. It's made all the worse by the crowd not being mic'd as the band performs, making it sound like 54,000 people are listening to Fred Durst screech in utter silence.
Then there's the "Miller Lite Catfight Girls." If you aren't familiar with 2003 beer advertisements, you probably have no idea who these two are. This is a problem because they get four segments throughout the show, culminating in a laughably bad attempt at titillation alongside Torrie Wilson, Stacy Keibler and Jonathan Coachman. If not for the card having a Women's Championship match between three legit workers — Trish Stratus, Jazz & Victoria — this show would be a prime example of how poorly the Women's Division was treated in the 2000s.
Finally, there's the event's most infamous match in Triple H vs. Booker T. Yes, the racism angle was awful given that Triple H still wound up winning. And yes, Jerry Lawler's repeated references on commentary to Booker's criminal record are as insufferable now as they were then. Booker has repeatedly said in interviews that he doesn't hold a grudge over what happened and he'd manage to get that sixth world championship reign three years later. But even when you set all that aside, there's really no defending how that finish is mapped out.
If you have fond memories of WrestleMania XIX, I don't blame you. Up until this rewatch, I frequently had it in my top 10 WrestleManias of all time. But the show is simply overshadowed by better work from many of the wrestlers involved. It doesn't belong on the bad WrestleMania list with the likes of IX, XXVII and 32, but there are better shows to check out. Here's hoping WrestleMania 39 will be one of them.
WWE WrestleMania 39 Card
- Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes (Night Two)
- WWE United States Championship: Austin Theory vs. John Cena (Night One)
- Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul (Night One)
- Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: The Usos vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
- SmackDown Women's Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley
- Raw Women's Championship: Bianca Belair vs. Asuka
- WWE Intercontinental Championship: Gunther vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus
- Brock Lesnar vs. Omos
- Edge vs. Finn Balor (Hell in a Cell Match)
- Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio
- Becky Lynch, Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky)
- Braun Strowman & Ricochet vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis) vs. The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
- Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya & Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler vs. TBA
WWE's WrestleMania 39 takes place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood (Los Angeles), California on April 1-2. Stay tuned for live, full coverage of the event this weekend!