Fifteen years ago as this is being written (April 1st), what many consider the greatest WrestleMania of all-time, WrestleMania 17 took place in Houston. Why is it considered the greatest ever? It changed the entire landscape of the WWE and ended one of the most popular eras of all-time.
In a rather quick-seven minute show opener, Y2J Chris Jericho takes on then-WWF Commissioner, William Regal for the Intercontinental Championship, in which Jericho went to the bathroom in Regal's tea (almost as silly as the shampoo commercial build for Edge v Booker T at 18). Regal was able to ground Jericho for most of the match, however Jericho would hit the lionsault for the win, to retain the IC title.
The camera pans backstage to an APA promo where Bradshaw freaks out about the Astrodome, and Nolan Ryan's fastball. Accompanied by 2016 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Jacqueline, The Acolytes and Taz would take on the Right to Censor (which includes fellow 2016 Hall of Fame Inductee The Goodfather).
In a match that was a brawl from the get go, Farooq would kick it off with Bull Buchanan, before tagging in Taz, as Bull tags in former Intercontinental Champion Val Venis. Val and the Goodfather double team Taz before he tags in Bradshaw; who single-handedly wipes out the RTC, including a high spot where Bradshaw would backsuplex Val off of the top rope. Bradshaw would pick up the victory for his team after hitting the Clothesline from Hell on the Goodfather in nearly four minutes. This pans to a backstage segment with Linda McMahon being rolled around by Trish Stratus who meets Stephanie McMahon.
Raven enters the arena with a cart full of weapons set to defend his Hardcore Championship in a triple threat match. Kane and Raven start to brawl prior to the Big Show even getting to the ring. As they go after the Big Show, the match gets taken to the floor and through the crowd. They fight backstage and The Big Show locks Kane in a door, before Kane breaks out. They'd break through doors, walls and Kane would even throw Raven through a window. After fighting through concessions, locker rooms, etc, Raven and the Big Show would break through the stage set and Kane would leg drop himself in and pin The Big Show, winning his first Hardcore Championship.
After a promo by Kurt Angle and a cameo from Jimmy Snuka at WWF New York, we get a European Championship match featuring a young Latino Heat, Eddie Guerrero in his second WrestleMania as he challenged Test for the championship. Eddie was accompanied by Perry Saturn, who's hat alone makes this show worth the watch. Eddie's one of the greatest performers of all-time and there's a reason he's so dearly missed, and it showed in this match with Test. After a quick, good paced match, Eddie wins the championship after interference from Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko.
In a match that was made the Raw prior to 'Mania where Benoit made Angle tap outside of a match, Kurt Angle takes on Chris Benoit in a technical masterpiece. It started off like an amateur match, which it was for the most part, before a punch thrown by Angle (closed fist) turns it into a brawl. After it turned into a brawl, Jack Doan (WWF official) gets taken out and Angle taps to the crossface, before hitting his finisher, the Angle Slam, and Benoit kicked out! After countering the crossface into a roll up, Angle would grab the tights for the three count, winning the match.
When William Regal walks into his office, he sees WWE Legend Kamala (with Kim Chee) in a comedic segment. Benoit proceeds to attack Angle backstage. After Ivory broke Chyna's neck, Chyna's comeback match (officially) was at this specific 'Mania where she'd take the Women's Title off of Ivory in a little over 2 minutes.
After cheating on Linda McMahon and sending her into a nervous breakdown, a match between Vince and his son Shane...with Mick Foley as special guest referee was set up. Shane would then buy WCW, and defeat his father after a Coast to Coast and Linda kicking him in the balls, in a match where Trish would turn on Vince and the owner would take a beating.
In a triple threat Tables Ladders and Chairs match, a rematch from the Triangle Ladder Match at 'Mania 16, E and C win the match for the Tag Team Championships in one of the most infamous (or famous, however you decide to look at it) matches of all time, against the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boys, highlighted by WWE Hall of Famer, Edge spearing Jeff Hardy from twenty feet in the air.
Next up is the Gimmick Battle Royal, with legends from the past. Mean Gene Oukerlund and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan would take over Paul Heyman and Jim Ross' job at the commentary booth for that match and that match only. Iron Sheik won the Gimmick Battle Royal.
Next up is the best match in the Undertaker's legendary streak, in his first of three WrestleMania matches with Triple H (the other two taking place at WrestleMania 27 and WrestleMania 28). After H entered the arena to Motorhead (Rest in Peace, Lemmy), the Undertaker enters on his bike (between the 'Rollin' theme and 'My Way or the Highway', Limp Bizkit was highly represented on this show).
In a match that served as the second Main Event, the brawl started on the floor prior to entering the ring. As JR said, the match was nothing more than an unofficial street fight, and they'd fight through the crowd onto the set as the referee was knocked out cold, and Triple H would get chokeslammed from high on the set. After making it back in the ring and kicking out of a tombstone, the Undertaker ultimately hit the Last Ride for the win. This would also be the first mention of the Streak, as Jim Ross referred to him being 9-0. Can the Undertaker defeat Shane McMahon at this year's WrestleMania or will Triple H go out of power?
Note: Steve Austin's Disturbed Theme was his best theme in his career. In a wild brawl, Austin would defeat The Rock for the WWF Championship in a blood bath (literally). Steve Austin would win the belt in his home state, in a No Disqualification Match, defeating the Rock for the second time at WrestleMania....this time with a twist. Austin would side with Satin himself, Vince McMahon, his biggest rival, after he got handed a chair and shook hands with Vince. This would mark the official end of the Attitude Era to close WrestleMania 17 in one of the greatest shows of all-time.