3/11/2016 0 Comments
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Here on WrestleMania Recall, I will be ranking my top 31 favorite matches in WWE WrestleMania history. A new installment will be posted every day in the month of March, culminating with my No. 1 favorite match on Thursday, March 31st, mere days before WrestleMania 32. Each article will offer an in-depth look at each match and an analysis of why it is among my favorites.
As I mentioned in my article highlighting Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels earlier in the week, watching WrestleMania 20 in its entirety on the WWE Network was a draining experience. At five hours long, you'll find yourself constantly zoning in and out. The fact the undercard wasn't overly exciting didn't help matters, with the exception of this matchup pitting Randy Orton, Batista and Ric Flair against Mick Foley and The Rock in a 3-on-2 Handicap match.
While browsing the wide selection of WrestleMania matches available on onDemand three years ago, I came across this contest for the low price of $1.99, and after having already seen everything else they had to offer, I decided to give it a purchase. And I'm glad I did, because as you can tell from its placement on its list, it has become a WrestleMania guilty pleasure of mine. Not for its amazing in-ring action, but rather for its incredible entertainment value.
Almost one year ahead of WrestleMania 20, Orton disrespected Foley by spitting in his face and punting him in the skull down a flight of stairs. Orton issued an Intercontinental Championship opportunity to Foley shortly thereafter which Foley no-showed and The Legend Killer taunted him on Raw for weeks. That culminated in Foley's in-ring return in the 2004 Royal Rumble match where he tossed out Orton and rekindled their rivalry heading into WrestleMania 20.
But at last check, Foley was outnumbered four-to-one. Orton had his Evolution stablemates backing him up, and even while Triple H was busy with Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels, Batista and Flair were there to ensure Orton always had the upper-hand over Foley. That was, however, until The Rock returned to Raw in mid-March and leveled the playing field, immediately laying waste to Evolution and setting the stage for one last Rock 'n' Sock Connection reunion on the grand stage.
On a show riddled with undercard fodder, this match tends to get lost in the shuffle, but it's more than worthy of a watch. Foley has gone on the record in the past in saying that it wasn't one of his finer performances (which is why he felt the need to redeem himself with that Hardcore match the following month at Backlash), but in my opinion, he didn't look nearly as deplorable as he did four years earlier at WrestleMania 2000. Meanwhile, Rock held his own and didn't look out of place despite not wrestling since Backlash 2003.
Rock and Ric Flair seldom crossed paths in WWE, but whenever they did, it was pure gold. That was evident in this matchup with both men mocking the other's signature gestures and putting their own little twist on it. Flair attempting to do the People's Elbow was especially entertaining. They found just the right groove to make this more than a standard Handicap tag team match; it was fun from start to finish that succeeded in what it set out to do: putting Orton over.
All of Evolution benefited from the victory, but Orton was the star WWE was looking to strap the rocket to at that time as Intercontinental Champion. In hitting the RKO on Mrs. Foley's baby boy out of nowhere and scoring the three count, it was evident that he was on the verge of super stardom as a singles star, and that was further solidified with his aforementioned Hardcore match with Foley at Backlash. What more could you ask for from a hidden gem at WrestleMania?
SEE ALSO: "WrestleMania Recall, Match #22: The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. vs. Edge and Christian, WrestleMania 2000"
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