WrestleMania XX was the twentieth WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on March 14, 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
The event was a joint-promotion pay-per-view event, featuring performers from the Raw and SmackDown! brands. The card for the event featured two main events. The main match for the Raw brand was a Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship between champion Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit. Benoit won the match, making Triple H submit via the Crippler Crossface. The main match for the SmackDown! brand featured Eddie Guerrero versus Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship which Guerrero won after a Small package. The event featured the return of The Undertaker, who defeated Kane after a Chokeslam and a Tombstone piledriver. Also on the card was the final match in the company for both Goldberg and Brock Lesnar with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee. After Goldberg won the match following a Jackhammer, both men were given a Stone Cold Stunner by Austin on their way out.
WrestleMania XX was the third WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden but the fourth to take place in the New York metropolitan area (following WrestleMania I, WrestleMania 2, and WrestleMania X). The event grossed more than $2.4 million in ticket sales, making the Pay-Per-View the highest grossing event ever for WWE at Madison Square Garden. More than 20,000 people from 16 countries, 48 states attended the event, which was also televised in more than 90 countries. The event generated an estimated $13.5 million of economic activity for New York City and created an equivalent of 96 full-year jobs.
The main rivalry heading into the pay-per-view was on the Raw brand, with Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit feuding over the World Heavyweight Championship. This would mark the 3rd pay per view event that Triple H would defend a World Championship at Madison Square Garden. The first event was January 2000 at the Royal Rumble, where Triple H retained the then-known WWF Championship over Cactus Jack and then on the second event at the same arena was November 2002 at Survivor Series, Triple H defended his first World title in the first Six man Elimination Chamber match, which was won by Shawn Michaels. Triple H was the champion heading into the WrestleMania XX event with the origins of the rivalry beginning on the December 29, 2003 episode of Raw, when Michaels was scheduled to challenge Triple H for the World title in Michaels' hometown of San Antonio, Texas. As it looked like Michaels was going to win his 5th World title over Triple H, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff got to the ring at the last minute and made the pinfall count but stopped at a 2 count, thus screwing Michaels in the process. At the Royal Rumble event on January 25, Triple H and Michaels faced each other again in a Last Man Standing match for the title, which resulted in a draw, and, as a result, Triple H retained the title, leaving question on who was the better of the two. Also at the pay-per-view, in the Royal Rumble match, SmackDown!'s Benoit won the contest by last eliminating The Big Show. The following night, on the January 26 edition of Raw, Michaels and Triple H were involved in an in-ring confrontation when Raw's authority figure (referred to as the "Sheriff"), Steve Austin, made his way to the ring. He stated that, although Michaels should have a rematch, he had to "enforce the law". He stated that, in the rules it specifies that the winner of the Royal Rumble may face either the WWE Champion or World Heavyweight Champion. The winner of the Royal Rumble, Benoit, made his way to the ring, and stated that he would be challenging the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania XX. On the February 9, 2004 edition of Raw, a contract signing took place between World Champion, Triple H and Chris Benoit. As Triple H signed his name on the paper, Shawn Michaels came out to inform Benoit that the last thing he wanted to do is rain on his parade. He then stated that he more than anybody can respect Benoit's effort to win the Royal Rumble match and earning a World title shot but assumed that Benoit could've stayed on SmackDown! to take care of business due to Michaels, himself trying to finish his 10-year issue with Triple H on behalf of the Raw brand. He then said that he is this close to finishing his rivalry and plans to do so at WrestleMania XX for the World title. Chris Benoit said that it's just not going to happen and stated that he's the one who challenges Triple H for the World title, not Michaels. After Michaels superkicked Benoit, he then signed his own name on the paper as the challenger to Triple H's World Championship. On the following week's episode of Raw, Michaels defeated Benoit due to interference by Triple H. Afterwards, Steve Austin appeared and announced that Triple H would be defending his World Championship at WrestleMania against both Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit in a Triple threat match. On the March 1, 2004 edition of Raw, Michaels and Benoit lost to Randy Orton and Batista in a tag team match. Aftermath, World Champion, Triple H and the rest of Evolution attacked Michaels and Benoit, ending with Triple H nailing them with the Pedigree and rubbing his World title belt into their faces while they were laying motionless in the ring.
The main feud on the SmackDown! brand was between Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship. In the beginning of 2004, Angle and Guerrero were allies while Guerrero feuded with his nephew Chavo Guerrero. On the January 29, 2004 edition of SmackDown!, Eddie Guerrero last eliminated Angle in a 15-man Royal Rumble style match to earn a shot at the WWE Championship. At the prior pay per view, No Way Out, Kurt Angle defeated The Big Show and John Cena in a Triple threat match to earn himself a title shot at WrestleMania on the same event where Guerrero defeated Brock Lesnar for the WWE title. On the February 19, 2004 edition of SmackDown!, Angle was the special guest referee in a match between WWE Champion, Eddie Guerrero and WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Chavo Guerrero. As Eddie was about to close in on the victory, Angle stopped the 3 count and would turn on Guerrero. On the following week's edition of SmackDown!, Guerrero was eager to get his revenge on Angle while looking for him but when he finally saw Angle, he shoved SmackDown General Manager, Paul Heyman and his assistant Dawn Marie out of his way only for Heyman to have Guerrero escorted out of the arena by security. Guerrero was scheduled to team with John Cena to take on Chavo Guerrero and the Big Show in a tag team match on that night but due to Guerrero being escorted out of the arena, he was replaced by Rey Mysterio for the tag match, which Mysterio and Cena won. Later that night, Kurt Angle appeared and stated that he attacked Guerrero for the SmackDown! fans and for the WWE. He then referred to Guerrero as a former drug addict and stated that a drug addict shouldn't represent SmackDown! as the WWE Champion. After he last stated that one day people will be thanking him for a champion that they could be proud of, Guerrero came back to the arena and assaulted Angle until he got arrested by orders of Paul Heyman. As Guerrero got taken out of the building in handcuffs, Angle made some more insulting comments to him until Guerrero rode off in the Police car. On the March 4, 2004 edition of SmackDown!, during Guerrero's match with Heyman (while Guerrero was handcuffed), Angle interfered and knocked him down a few times until Guerrero spat on him. When Guerrero begged Angle to nail him with the WWE Championship belt, Angle did just that and raised the belt over-head to show an example of what could happen at WrestleMania XX.
This also marks the first WrestleMania to have a match billed as "inter-promotional", which means that a party from Raw would wrestle a party from SmackDown!. WWE owner, Vince McMahon, named three matches to be inter-promotional on the February 16 edition of Raw. The first was a match a tag team match featuring SmackDown's Torrie Wilson and Sable, who had recently been featured in a pictorial in Playboy magazine, against Raw's Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie, who had protested the decision made by Hugh Hefner to not feature them.
The next match was made at the request of Kane, who had been receiving threats from his storyline brother, The Undertaker. This would mark the 2nd WrestleMania event that the Undertaker and Kane would go one-on-one with the first being WrestleMania XIV six years prior. In November 2003 at Survivor Series, Kane defeated Shane McMahon in an Ambulance match then during the latter event, he interfered and buried The Undertaker alive in the Undertaker's match with Vince McMahon. On the November 20, 2003 edition of SmackDown, Kane appeared to give the Eulogy for the Undertaker. Kane claimed that the man as the Undertaker the world knew, has been dead for a long time because they were monsters and lived to strike fear into the hearts of normal men until the Undertaker portrayed himself (in the American Bad Ass/Big Evil persona) and became one of the fans. Kane then stated that he watched Undertaker show compassion by defending Stephanie McMahon (during her feud with Vince McMahon) and show weakness in losing to Brock Lesnar during a WWE title match at No Mercy. He then stated that Undertaker was not his brother nor a monster cause' a monster shows no compassion nor has weaknesses. He then referred to Undertaker as an imposter and a fraud that he buried alive and ended the eulogy by saying R.I.P. Two months later, Kane participated in the Royal Rumble match where he heard the bell toll from the Undertaker's entrance music, distracting and distressing him and enabling Booker T to eliminate him from the ring. Over the following weeks, Kane repeatedly insisted that The Undertaker was "dead", only to be met with various paranormal incidents such as a rainstorm localized over the ramp on which he stood.
On the last edition of Raw before WrestleMania, Kane appeared to the ring and saw an empty Casket standing in the ring but as he opened it, he saw an urn inside of it. He then grabbed the microphone and asked if that's what he's been looking forward too? He also stated it's going to take more than an empty casket with an urn to intimidate him and beat him. He then stated that the Undertaker's legacy, his 11-0 WrestleMania steak and his life is coming to an end as he said "it's back to the grave for you for good". After he claimed that It's over and that he's not afraid of the Undertaker. The lights turned out but this time, the 10,000 pound wrestling ring lifted off the ground with Kane standing in it and tilted side ways, which would be the final message sent from the Undertaker before their match at WrestleMania XX.
On the January 26, episode of Raw, Goldberg came to the ring, and demanded a match himself against Brock Lesnar, with whom he had problems over the past two months: with Goldberg in the Royal Rumble match, Lesnar interjected himself into the match, causing Goldberg to be eliminated by Kurt Angle. The following week on an episode of Raw, as a result of the rivalry extending between the two programs, General Manager Steve Austin gave Goldberg the option of attending No Way Out by giving him a front-row ticket. At the No Way Out event, Goldberg was seen arriving at the arena and being escorted to his front seat by security. Then SmackDown General Manager, Paul Heyman gave a promotional in-ring segment on how SmackDown! was the better program over Raw. Lesnar would come down to the ring to promote his match and to insult Goldberg. Goldberg immediately jumped over the barricade into the ring, where Lesnar performed a running shoulder block to Goldberg's stomach; however he recuperated and lifted Lesnar vertically in the air before slamming him down to perform the Jackhammer. Goldberg was then escorted out of the arena by security. During Lesnar's WWE title defense against Eddie Guerrero later that night, Goldberg returned to the arena and interfered by executing a spear, which saw Lesnar lose the title after Guerrero nailed him with a Frog splash. On the February 22, 2004 episode of Raw, Vince McMahon named the Inter-promotional singles match pitting Lesnar versus Goldberg for WrestleMania XX with Steve Austin as the special guest referee. During the match between McMahon and Eric Bischoff, Lesnar appeared on Raw and nailed Steve Austin with an F-5 then stole Austin's four-wheeler. A few days later on SmackDown!, Lesnar stated that he appeared on Raw just to get back at Austin for giving Goldberg the front-row seat ticket and suggesting that Goldberg would attack Lesnar at No Way Out. Behind the scenes, it was widely known that the match would be Goldberg's last in WWE. Only a week before WrestleMania, however, rumors surfaced that Lesnar, too, was leaving in order to pursue a career in the National Football League. On the last edition of SmackDown!, Steve Austin appeared to get his fourwheeler back from Lesnar only for the entire roster until they moved aside and let him by to confront Lesnar in the ring. As Austin got to the ring, he and Lesnar traded punches with Austin attempting to nail Lesnar with the Stone Cold stunner only for Lesnar to escape, leaving Austin to finally get back his four wheeler and closing in on the show with his trademark beer bash.
At Backlash, the original main event match was between Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship. Though, on the March 29 edition of Raw, after being traded to SmackDown! and brought back to Raw, Triple H demanded that the intended match at Backlash be changed to Benoit and Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff liked the idea of the match, but concluded with adding that he made a promise to Michaels for granting him a World title match at Backlash; instead Bischoff booked a Triple Threat match between Benoit, Michaels and Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. At Backlash, Benoit retained the World title, after he forced Michaels to submit to the Sharpshooter.
The feud between Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero continued. On the March 25 edition of SmackDown!, Angle was made the on-screen General Manager of SmackDown!, as part to the storyline of Angle's legitimate neck problems. This angle would also play on the April 15 edition of SmackDown!, when he attributed injuries suffered after The Big Show chokeslammed Angle off a ledge. In reality, Angle announced that he would be having neck surgery in May and would be out of action until August. At The Great American Bash, Angle cost Guerrero the WWE title in a Texas Bull Rope match against John "Bradshaw" Layfield, after Angle reversed the outcome of the match when Guerrero appeared to have retained the title. In the same month, Angle's position as General Manager of SmackDown! came to an end when he was fired by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, after McMahon had exposed that Angle was not really injured. At SummerSlam, Angle and Guerrero were booked in a match, in which Angle defeated Guerrero after he forced Guerrero to submit to the Ankle lock.
After turning heel at WrestleMania XX, Trish Stratus went on to team with Christian in a losing effort to Chris Jericho in a handicap match at Backlash. Also, Victoria retained her WWE Women's Championship against Lita at the same event.
The alliance between Torrie Wilson and Sable ended when Sable became a heel again and engaged in a short feud with Wilson. Sable went on to defeat Wilson at The Great American Bash.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- John Cena defeated The Big Show (c) to win the WWE United States Championship. (9:14)
- Rob Van Dam and Booker T (c) defeated Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) and La Résistance (René Duprée and Rob Conway) in a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match to retain the World Tag Team Championship. (7:51)
- Christian defeated Chris Jericho. (14:52)
- Evolution (Randy Orton, Batista and Ric Flair) defeated Rock 'n' Sock Connection (The Rock and Mick Foley) in a 3-on-2 Handicap match. (17:03)
- Torrie Wilson and Sable defeated Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie in a Playboy Evening Gown Match. (2:33)
- Chavo Guerrero (c) last eliminated Rey Mysterio in a Cruiserweight Open to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. (10:28)
- Último Dragón pinned Shannon Moore. (1:18)
- Jamie Noble defeated Dragon by submission. (2:14)
- Noble pinned Funaki. (2:23)
- Noble defeated Nunzio by count out. (4:21)
- Billy Kidman pinned Noble. (6:06)
- Rey Mysterio pinned Kidman. (7:22)
- Mysterio pinned Tajiri. (8:37)
- Mysterio defeated Akio by forfeit. (8:37)
- Chavo Guerrero pinned Mysterio with interference from Chavo Guerrero, Sr.. (10:28)
- Goldberg defeated Brock Lesnar with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as the Special Guest Referee. (13:42)
- Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty (c) defeated The World's Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin), The Basham Brothers (Danny and Doug Basham) and The APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq) in a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship. (6:01)
- Victoria (c) defeated Molly Holly in a Hair vs. Title match to retain the WWE Women's Championship. (4:53)
- Eddie Guerrero (c) defeated Kurt Angle to retain the WWE Championship. (21:32)
- The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) defeated Kane (7:45)
- Chris Benoit defeated Triple H (c) and Shawn Michaels in a Triple Threat match to win the World Heavyweight Championship (24:47).
Other on-screen talent
- The Boys Choir of Harlem sang a rendition of "America the Beautiful" before the show.
- WrestleMania XX was the first to feature matches with RAW and SmackDown! competitors facing against each other since the WWE Brand Extension.
- This WrestleMania, along with the following two, would all take place from the three areas that hosted WrestleMania 2, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles (This one from New York, WrestleMania 21 from Los Angeles, and WrestleMania 22 from Chicago).
- The Road to WrestleMania season leading up to this event was the first to use the large WrestleMania logo hanging from the back of the arena during each event.
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|2004 World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views|
|Royal Rumble • No Way Out • WrestleMania • Backlash • Judgment Day • Bad Blood • The Great American Bash • Vengeance • SummerSlam • Unforgiven • No Mercy • Taboo Tuesday • Survivor Series • Armageddon|