Watching WrestleMania 2000 and the second match on the card was the Hardcore Battle Royal, instantly making reminiscent of the Hardcore Division, the 24/7 rule and all the craziness we enjoyed. Obviously we’re not going to be getting the Hardcore Division back anytime soon and honestly with how the WWE is now, I feel a new hardcore division would be even closer to The Three Stooges than Crash Holly’s many reigns were. Regardless this match at WrestleMania is a good indication of what the WWE was like at that time and the product they were trying to sell. And as with anything hindsight is twenty-twenty, everyone’s a critic, so I feel the booking of this match was ridiculous and damn well could have made Taz a serious player on a global stage. Yet the match was more a circus, bordering on comedy at times and not really making anyone look too impressive; or so than when they walked in.
The match started off with Crash Holly as the champion, the ring quickly cleared out and Tazz proceeded to win the Hardcore Championship. Tazz at this time was still dressed in his traditional ECW garb, complete with towel, and not the full body tracksuit he would be wearing by the next WrestleMania. This was a fantastic way to start the match, Tazz won the title with a suplex; sadly this would be one of the only suplexes Tazz throws the whole match. Not soon after winning the belt, Tazz lost it to Viscera who would proceed to whole the title for a good third of the match at least. The simple idea being that logically this 500 hundred pound man, “or close to” as J.R. said, would win the belt and it would be hard for anyone to beat him. My big problem with this is that Viscera had been given chances on WWE TV and even WrestleMania before, so it makes no sense to try and give him a push during this 15 minute battle royal.
Not just that, but Viscera’s gimmick has and always will be the fact that he is enormous; he is a massive human being, so why waste the precious minutes on this grand Pay-Per-View when a couple Monday Night Raw segments of Vis dominating some people would have the same effect. Tazz was still new to the scene, had Tazz won the title and then proceeded to suplex everyone in the 13 man melee; each one a different suplex, would have put him on a different level. The APA could have finally stopped Tazz, started fighting each other; allowing Funaki to steal the pin, so he could run away and the entire match could have flowed exactly as it did except for Viscera’s title reign. That alone would have made Tazz seem more legitimate, even though he was shorter than other’s in the match and more importantly would have made for a much more entertaining match.
Not to say that this match wasn’t good, I’m simply nitpicking; it was entertaining and filled it’s time well, but I feel it could have been used better to make the belt and athletes seem more credible. One thing you will notice if you watch this match is that there is a lot of blood, I believe 3 or 4 people are bleeding by the end of this match; including one member of the Mean Street Posse (I think Pete Gas) who was donning a thick crimson mask on this night. Obviously this is not something we would see on WWE TV anymore, but what I think is more important here is the fact that amount of blood in the match did not really matter, just another thing going on. If we see any blood now, that they allow to stay on TV it typically becomes one of the hottest talking points of the wrestling world. Perhaps the higher ups know what’s better for us.
Fun fact for the kids out there, The Headbangers were wearing fake breasts and ridiculous bra’s because they were playing heels at the time. When I think back on The Headbangers I never picture them as the bad guys, but I suppose time has a way of doing that. The match was goofy at times, it was pretty damn physical at times, but it worked; it furthered the feud between Crash Holly and Hardcore Holly. Although at the same time I’m not sure how far that feud ever really penetrated the main event scene. With matches like the triangle ladder match and the triple threat with Beniot, Jericho and Angle, the Hardcore Battle Royal really didn’t stand a chance to b the memorable moment of the night, but I still feel more reasoning could have been put in for a grander payoff.