McMahon - Hogan get 3rd Degree
JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling
It was all talk and no action on last night's WrestleMania XIX - Third
Degree Live broadcast on TNN. Essentially a WWE informercial, the hour-long
show hosted by Tazz and Michael Cole chatted with WWE superstars Steve
Austin, Triple H and Hollywood Hulk Hogan about their upcoming matches at
WrestleMania though their voices were largely drowned out by the live crowd.
Although the WWE site advertised the event as -- "Questions fans have been
dying to ask for two decades will be answered!" -- fans were not permitted
to pose queries at any time and no real insight was given into the
relationship between Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon beyond what the
average fan already knows.
As Vince McMahon once again makes himself the top star in his own company,
everything discussed and everyone interviewed took a backseat to his match
against Hollywood Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania XIX. Each guest was asked
about their feelings on the feud and so too were former stars like Jesse
Ventura, Bobby Heenan and Roddy Piper before each commercial break. Ventura
said the one thing that would make him come out of retirement would be a
match against McMahon. Piper claimed that McMahon had bet "all of his
money" on the first WrestleMania and if it would've flopped, McMahon
would've been bankrupt. McMahon himself was not at the broadcast but cut a
promo on Hogan during a video segment.
In an effort to bring some legitimacy to the showdown, sportscaster Bob
Costas weighed in comparing the McMahon and Hogan match to golfers Arnold
Palmer and Tom Watson squaring off on the Senior's Tour. The most poignant
comment of the night though came from Steve Austin who said about the
match-up: "I don't give a rat's ass who wins."
Austin was the first to take the stage and before he ripped into The Rock,
he saluted the U.S. troops fighting the war against Iraq.
"I'd like to thank the U.S. Armed Forces for doing what they are doing. We
stand behind them all the way. As far as I am concerned, it is Austin 3:16
all the way. Open a can of whoop ass, after can of whoop ass, after can of
whoop ass. That's all I have to say about that," said Austin.
WWE World Champion, Triple H, chewed up whatever time wasn't dedicated to
discussing the McMahon and Hogan battle. The longest interview of the
night, Triple H continued to mirror the suave, well-dressed, arrogant
persona Ric Flair made famous. The WWE used the chat with Triple H to once
again address criticism that the angle with challenger Booker T. has racist
undertones to it.
"Why would anyone think I am racist? Did I ever mention that word 'black'
in Booker T's promo? Did I ever say anything derogatory to Booker T's
race?," asked Triple H. "This has nothing to do with race. Booker T doesn't
think it is about race."
While Triple H appeared live, Booker T.'s side of things were examined in a
video promo as was the WWE Championship match between Brock Lesnar and Kurt
The show ended with Hollywood Hulk Hogan tearing into Vince McMahon and
engaging in his usual pose down routine.