Hello and welcome back to my retrospective where I talk about WrestleMania and reveal way too many personal details about myself. Last week we covered the first nine WrestleMania’s, most of which were in contention of being the worst ones until The Miz. In case you’re new to this trilogy and don’t like jumping into things midway through, you can read about those shows here. But if you're ready to move on, let’s get back to it.

WrestleMania X: March 20th, 1994

Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York

Main Event: Bret Hart defeated Yokozuna

Where was WWE?

WWE was in full change-of-the-guard mode, with Randy Savage being the last holdout before taking his Slim Jim deal and (rumored) flower from Stephanie McMahon’s secret garden to Atlanta. The other main event stars of yesteryear that were involved did so in non-wrestling roles, so the entire card was filled with guys that had little to no involvement in the previous WrestleMania’s. Former undercard stars were finally getting their main event and show stealing opportunities, and a new course for the WWF was set. Business was down, but hopes were high for the faithful.

How was WrestleMania?

WrestleMania X was dope as hell. It started with unquestionably the best opening match in WrestleMania history with Owen Hart defeating his brother Bret in an incredible one-on-one contest, had a silly but fun falls count anywhere match between Randy Savage and Crush, Bret Hart won the WWF title in the main event, and featured the show-stealing ladder match between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels that is still the bar for ladder matches in the WWE, with a bunch of silly cooler matches peppered in. It was a fun experience, and was basically the opposite of WrestleMania IX. All hands were on deck, and they freaking delivered.

Where was I?

In 1994 my mom started dating my future stepdad and my dad started dating my future stepmom, and within a year they would both be remarried. At the time it was a weird experience, but ultimately it was for the best; my mom and stepdad are still together and are perfect for each other, and their union gave me two stepsisters. My dad and stepmom are likewise still together, are also perfect for each other, and their union gave me a little sister. So just in case you guys that read last week’s article got sad about my parents splitting up, don’t worry because it had a happy ending for everyone.

It’s also the year I casually mentioned to my mom that I was nervous about going to a bigger school after summer was over (where I live you go from K-4th grade in elementary, 5th-8th in middle school, 9th-12th high school) so being the overprotective mother who wanted to make her sensitive and frankly kind of cowardly son feel better, enrolled him in Catholic school because it was smaller. This ended up being hilarious for two reasons:

1) I had to wear clip-on ties everyday to school, and nobody looks good in clip-on ties

2) I am not, nor have I ever been, Catholic

It was as odd experience because I remember sitting in my first Friday Mass (this was for-real in the curriculum) and seeing all these people in colorful robes waving a smoke-vomiting golden ball around and feeding people wafers. Not knowing what to do I just kind of faked it and followed everyone else’s lead. I took communion, I bowed and kneeled when prompted, and I mouthed “watermelon” during the singing/chanting.

It wasn’t until mid-way through the semester that a teacher who knew I wasn’t Catholic realized what I was doing, and took me aside to tell me (no lie) that I couldn’t do what they did because I was different and I had to sit in the back with all the other protestant kids and just watch. The other protestant kids by the way was one 8th grader that I witnessed eat glue straight off the stick during mass. It was then that I realized that Catholicism wasn’t really for me, but neither was whatever the hell that kid was doing.

My mom and I have had several discussions about how this escalated as far as it did, but at the end of the day we agreed that she was afraid the divorce was affecting me more than it probably was and overreacted to my fears of going to a new school with all my friends by sending me to a way stricter school with none of my friends. The following year I transferred to public middle school, but needless to say the 1994-1995 school year was a weird one for me.

WrestleMania XI: April 2nd, 1995

Venue: Hartford Civic Center, Hartford Connecticut

Main Event: Lawrence Taylor defeated Bam Bam Bigelow

Where was WWE?

Trying out the war-torn method of throwing shit against a wall and seeing what sticks. 1995 was a time where they were desperately trying to reclaim the glory they once had by shoving as much celebrity involvement they could into their annual extravaganza, because that’s why people like to watch wrestling: B-list celebrities trying to figure out what a “WrestleMania” is.

Also the WWF was trying their hand at a new face of the company; Diesel, aka Kevin Nash, was in the middle of a run with the WWF title, but he wasn’t exactly hitting it out of the park. Desperate to try and make their new top guy into the franchise that Hogan was, they put together a match for WrestleMania against a guy that could make him look like a star.

How was WrestleMania?

Not really that good honestly. The best match of the night was designed to get Diesel over, but in the end it turned his opponent Shawn Michaels into the star that fans wanted to see on top. Which was weird, because Michaels was the bad guy. Other than that the rest of the card was a drag. Bret Hart had an okay match with Bob Backlund, but the show was more about the WWF trying to say “Look how relevant to pop culture we are! We’ve got Pamela Anderson, who somehow looks terrified and bored simultaneously! Also, Randy Taylor from ‘Home Improvement’ he’s hip with the young kids! Oh, and look at that retired football player and his friends beating up our wrestlers in the main event, that’s something everyone wants to see right? PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO US WE HAVE SALT-N-PEPA, THEY MAKE THE RAP SONGS, THEY ARE COOL.”

So yeah, it was not great.

Where was I?

Grounded, mostly. 5th grade was the beginning of the stretch of time my brother likes to call “Andrew’s Grounded Years” because my grades were not what one would call acceptable. I wasn’t failing, but I wasn’t really flourishing either and it showed. My parents tried everything (tutoring, direct involvement with my teachers, locking me in a room with nothing but my school work) but nothing really seemed to help. I wasn’t an asshole, I genuinely couldn’t help it. The only subjects I was good at were Reading, and History. At the time I didn’t realize it, but I had an undiagnosed condition that kept me from focusing and paying attention to things, and would often forget assignments or just plain fail tests. It was rough.

It’s something I hate because in the early 2000’s there was an ADD diagnosis boom and suddenly every kid that didn’t want to do his homework had ADD and was given magic pills to keep their parents from taking responsibility. It sucked because there was suddenly a stigma that laziness could be cured with medication, but I really had an issue. It wasn’t until college that I got properly diagnosed and treated. After that, I became an average to above-average student. My mom drove herself insane trying to help me, but at the end of the day it wasn’t her fault. I struggled forever. If you can’t motivate an 11-year-old to do his homework with the reward of new video games and wrestling, than the problem is probably beyond your level of assistance.

But yeah, middle school was a blur of being grounded and ungrounded for me. Basically if it was summer, I was playing baseball and having fun. If it was Sept-May, I was likely grounded, and would have to sneak around to watch TV or read comics. Like WrestleMania XI, it was not great.

WrestleMania XII: March 31st, 1996

Venue: Arrowehead Pond, Anaheim California

Main Event: Shawn Michaels defeated Bret Hart

Where was WWE?

WWF was in an odd state. Creatively, leading into WrestleMania XII they were very strong. They had built up some strong stories that were set to culminate on the biggest show of the year. On the business side though they were struggling, which became clear after Mania when two of their biggest stars jumped ship to WCW and started that whole nWo thing with Hulk Hogan, revolutionizing the wrestling business in the process. The WWF was struggling to stay relevant not only in the world of pop-culture, but within the world of wrestling itself, and it was only going to be an uphill battle from here.

How was WrestleMania?

For my money I thought it was good. I was really invested in the feuds between Shawn and Bret, Taker and Diesel, and was jacked as hell to see the return of the Ultimate Warrior, and it didn’t disappoint. Diesel and Taker had a mostly decent match, the six-man tag was a blast, Bret and Shawn had a 60-minute match that doesn’t really live up to it’s legend but was mostly enjoyable, and the Warrior had my favorite Triple H match of all time. The Hollywood Backlot Brawl was a little stupid and homophobic for my tastes, but all in all I think WrestleMania XII was more good than bad.

Where was I?

I remember Adam and me watching WrestleMania XII on our kitchen TV on a scrambled channel. We couldn’t really make out what was happening, but the audio was clear, and we used our imaginations and momentary glimpses of the action to figure out what was going on. Adam’s favorite wrestler of all time has always been Bret Hart, so watching/listening to the broadcast with him was kind of a rollercoaster. He looked like he was on the verge of full blown panic for every near fall. He was relieved when the match came to a draw, livid when Gorilla Monsoon restarted the match, and when Vince McMahon announced Shawn Michaels as the new WWF Champion my brother THREW A FIT. Seriously, watching Adam react to the Iron Man Match was honestly more entertaining than actually watching the Iron Man Match.

At the age of 12 my mom had finally given up on the idea that wrestling was going to be a passing fad for us and just sort of embraced it as part of her life. She and my stepdad took us to our first Raw taping, which ended up being four taped episodes in one night. It was a surreal experience, because for the first time in my life the curtain had been pulled back a bit, and I saw that not everything that happens at the events makes television. I don’t know how many of you remember Crush calling Goldust a “f**king faggot” as they crossed paths in the aisle, but I can assure you that you didn’t watch it on TV.

WrestleMania XIII: March 23rd, 1997

Venue: Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois

Main Event: The Undertaker defeated Sycho Sid

Where was WWE?

Not doing super well, business wise. The WWF was getting their destroyed in the ratings weekly by WCW, and were struggling to remain relevant. Hindsight tells us that this is the year that sparked the eventual emergence of the Attitude Era and the WWF’s dominance of everything prograps, but at this point a lot of people wondered if they would be in business for there to be another WrestleMania. Still, they were on to something, and like I said hindsight is 20/20 and everything worked out, but for a company that was getting crushed weekly for almost 2 years things were looking grim.

How was WrestleMania?

Mostly forgettable, but it did have arguably the most important match of the decade anchoring the midcard. Bret Hart and Steve Austin had an insane “I Quit” match that famously turned Steve Austin into a balls-of-steel hero and Bret into a jealous, self-righteous villain. Steve Austin, bloody, beaten, screaming in pain yet still refusing to quit, is probably the most iconic image of the Attitude Era. It was f**king nuts, and it happened at this show.

Other than that you have a mostly forgettable card that saw the WrestleMania debut of The Rock, a “so dumb its fun” Chicago Street Fight between the L.O.D. and Ahmed Johnson against The Nation of Domination, and a main event where Sid was rumored to have shit himself. But, that “I Quit” match. Hooboy.

Where was I?

I was always into musical theater as a kid, but at 13 I really started to get into it in an obnoxious way. I started going out for plays like other kids would go out for sports. And I was good at them; many don’t know this, but I sing like a goddamn angel. I really enjoyed musical theater up until college when I realized theater people are the absolute worst. Like everything a small group can’t speak for the whole, but in my experience the stereotypes are mostly true. They are vain, deluded, pompous drama nerds and I hate them more than anything in the world, because for a while I was one of them.

Some people are ashamed of that time in their youth where they were really homophobic or racist because they didn’t know any better. Well, my shame takes the form of comedy and tragedy masks. Oh, and they spell it “Theatre” which is so f**king smug it makes my lungs fill up with mucus. And all that really started at 13, when I suddenly decided that sports were dumb and memorizing ostentatious dialogue was a better use of my time than getting exercise.

WrestleMania XIV: March 29th, 1998

Venue: FleetCenter, Boston Massachusetts

Main Event: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michaels

Where was WWE?

In 1998 the WWF was about to explode and reclaim their title as the biggest professional wrestling organization on the planet. The success of Steve Austin coupled with the rise of D-X and the general new business model of “WWF Attitude” brought in new fans and old ones that suddenly had a renewed interest in that silly show where steroid monsters destroyed each other with punch-kicks. WrestleMania XIV was a re-launch of the WWF in a way, and they had a lot riding on it. To help create some additional media buzz Vince McMahon brought in boxing great/ear-biter/convicted rapist Mike Tyson as the face of the event. Things were about to get really interesting, and the WWF would irrevocably change forever.

How was WrestleMania?

Pretty good, if not forgettable. A lot of the matches that occurred felt like extended Raw matches (Triple H vs. Owen Hart, Marc Mero and Sable vs. Goldust and Luna) but the big matches really hit. The Dumpster Match between The New Age Outlaws and Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie was as fun as it was sloppy, Undertaker and Kane had a nice back-and-forth blow off match, and Shawn Michaels limped his way through a good match with Steve Austin, even though his back muscles were mostly beef jerky at this point. Tyson played his part well, even if his involvement was convoluted and unnecessary. It was totally fine, even if the undercard could’ve been a little more attention grabbing.

Where was I?

Finishing up middle school, doing plays, trying to get out of summer basketball leagues (what a dumb sport) and general growing pains. Girls were my universe at this point, because I was 14 and I had enough hormones for eight of me. I became a master of hiding erections (ladies) and had my first real kiss. Not a peck like I had gotten in the past, but a 5-second Frencher that turned into a make out session. I don’t remember a ton about it except she used way too much tongue, then asked me if I wanted to have sex. Being 14 and terrified, I declined, which thank god because holy shit who needs that kind of pressure? I was still trying to figure out how to get on top of the castle in Mario 64, I didn’t need to try and figure out female genitalia at the same time.

It was also the year I learned to shave that dumb pre-pubescent mustache that makes you look like a pedophile in training, and started to learn how to play guitar. This was an interesting outlet for me, but I was still relatively shy when I wasn’t on stage so I didn’t play in front of people much. Aside from that 1998 Andrew wasn’t exactly all that interesting.

WrestleMania XV: March 28th, 1999

Venue: First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Main Event: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeated The Rock

Where was WWE?

In 1999 the WWF was right in the middle of the Attitude Era and was starting to get back on track. With the emergence of new stars (The Rock and Triple H), the continued popularity of the statesmen (Austin, Mankind, Undertaker), and added bonus of the WCW transplants (Big Show and later in the year, Chris Jericho) the WWF was rolling high. Throughout 98’ Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon created an epic rivalry that was spilling into WrestleMania XV’s main event, with McMahon’s handpicked Corporate Champion going up against his archrival. WWF was can’t miss TV at this point.

How was WrestleMania?

I remember liking it a lot when I watched it live, but after watching it for the purposes of this article, I found myself kind of underwhelmed. The main event was dope as hell, X-Pac and Shane McMahon had an engaging match filled with big moments (Triple H’s turn on D-X and alignment with the Corporation) but the rest of the card was pretty terrible. The Hardcore Match was all sizzle no steak, the IC title match was a convoluted mess, and Undertaker murdering Big Boss Man via noose and faux vampires was THE WORST. Still though, it’s the first Mania I ever watched live on PPV that wasn’t a garbled streaming mess, so it has kind of soft spot in my heart.

Everything except that hanging sequence. Yeesh.

Where was I?

I was an awkward high school freshman with acne that liked comic books and wrestling amongst peers that developed a hierarchy based on who was the cutest/most athletic. You do the math.

Hint: It was terrible.

Additional Hint: It was SUPER terrible.

Fun story; in freshman math I got my contact lens stuck behind my eyeball and my stepdad had to come pick me up and take me to the optometrist to get it removed. I missed the majority of the day and when it was over my stepdad took me home, rented me action movies, and let me order a pizza. It was the best day of my freshman year in a walk.

WrestleMania 2000: April 2nd, 2000

Venue: Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California

Main Event: Triple H defeated The Rock, Mick Foley, and The Big Show in a Fatal Four Way for the WWF Championship

Where was WWE?

Dominating the ratings and reestablishing themselves in pop culture. In the summer of 1999 Steve Austin went down with a neck injury that would keep him on the shelf for a year, so WWF was forced to focus on the other stars they were building up at the time. Also, Mick Foley retired for the first time the month prior to this show, but was brought back for the main event because of reasons. It was also a change in the guard for the WWF, as many of their underutilized talent was starting to get noticed, and along with the WCW and ECW transplants, the WWF in 2000 was starting to look like a completely different organization.

How was WrestleMania?

WrestleMania 2000 was the first WrestleMania my brother and I hosted at our house. We had decorated the place with wrestling rings and action figures and magazines, and since the pre-show was basically on all day, we watch a TON of WWF related material. We had a packed house too, full of friends and well-wishers. Basically we were Bart and Lisa Simpson, and WrestleMania 2000 was our above ground pool The Tinkler. Also, I was Bart because Adam isn’t writing this article, so he’s whoever I damn well say he is.

As for the show I remember it having a fantastic undercard with a disappointing main event. The Fatal Four Way was more about the McMahon’s than it was the Superstars involved, which basically ruined it for me. Also, Triple H won, which set a precedent of Triple H winning everything all the time and giving me a permanent bulging vein in my forehead.

The triple threat for the European and Intercontinental championships was top shelf, as was the triple threat ladder match which gave me an all new understanding of what panic feels like. I seriously thought those guys were going to be dead by the end of the show, which was a feeling I didn’t experience again until they did it two more times and gave me a low-level fear induced stroke.

Where was I?

16 (or 2000, if we’re keeping with the theme) was the age when I finally started coming out of my awkward shell. I learned to drive, my acne cleared up, and girls started showing interest in me. I think I can narrow down the events that helped me get over my social anxieties:

1) I stopped being afraid of playing guitar in front of people, which lead to a stunning amount of female attention. Seriously, if I decided that I was going to play “Iris” in public, go ahead and forget about your girlfriend because she was mine at that point. The Goo Goo Dolls and their nauseating late 90’s pop got me SO much action.

2) I got into a fight with a kid in my grade and I won. I’ve never been “tough” but I’m a big guy, so people generally didn’t physically mess with me. This kid though was even bigger than I was, and he was given some false information about me trash talking him by a third party just to start a fight because he was bored. It escalated to the point where we (god help me) scheduled a fight after school at the park right before Christmas break. I went home and told my parents about it, they agreed that I HAD to fight if I didn’t want my life to be ruined, but they conveniently parked near the entrance to the park to make sure I didn’t require an ambulance.

The fight was basically just two inexperienced chubby kids punching each other, but I came out on top, and then set a personal best for jumping when I cleared the stone wall when another older kid wanted to throw fists too and chased me. My brother bought me some time by standing between us and yelling "ANDREW RUN" which is basically a call to arms of cowardice. Still tough, it I spent that whole Christmas break feeling terrible that I might have really hurt him and fearing that a senior with the mental capacity of a wet sock would find out where I lived. When we got back to school I asked my opponent if we were cool, and he said we were, and that was it. We got along fine after that. But, having conquered a fear of sorts, I had new confidence in myself, and I stopped worrying what other people thought as much.

2000 was also the year my friends and I started a backyard wrestling organization that we called DFCW, but more on that later.

WrestleMania X-Seven: April 1st, 2001

Venue: Reliant Astrodome, Houston, Texas

Main Event: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeated The Rock

Where was WWE?

In 2001 the WWF became king of the mountain. After crushing their competitor WCW (and to a lesser extent, ECW) the WWF was the sole “big league” wrestling organization in the United States. The destruction of WCW signaled the end of an era, specifically the Attitude Era, as the WWF was getting ready to move on to the next phase of its life. Still, though, if the Attitude Era was going to go out with a bang, it couldn’t pick a better place to do it at: WrestleMania X-Seven.

How was WrestleMania?

WrestleMania X-Seven is generally considered the best WrestleMania of all time, if not its best pay-per-view in general. It’s hard to question that statement, because the show was fantastic from start to finish. Even the cooler matches were enjoyable, and it all built to the best main event in WrestleMania history when Steve Austin beat the The Rock to death with a chair and pinned him to become the new WWF Champion, and align himself with his hated nemesis Mr. McMahon.

Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about WrestleMania X-Seven. TLC II was heart stopping. Angle vs. Benoit was mesmerizing. The triple threat Hardcore Championship match was exciting. Triple H vs. The Undertaker was powerful.The Gimmick Battle Royal was such a wonderfully stupid concept that I didn't think it would happen (the show being on April Fool's Day and all) but not only did it actually happen, it f**king ruled. Even Shane McMahon and Vince McMahon put on a hard hitting fight that received the biggest pop of the night when a presumably comatose Linda McMahon stood from her chair. It just clicked. The stars aligned and created the ultimate WrestleMania card, something that hasn’t happened since. It was the Attitude Era’s Swan Song, and holy hell did it deliver.

Where was I?

The aforementioned DFCW was formed in 2000 but it didn’t really take off until this year. My friends and I decided that bouncing around on a trampoline and having wrestling matches was a creative way to kill ourselves, so every weekend for the next few years we would tape our shows and show them to our friends. Our school was soon in the know of DFCW and we became kind of popular amongst our classmates. We even put on our own annual WrestleMania type show that we called Glory Days (because Springsteen, ya’ll) and charged people to come. Well, specifically, my brother Adam charged people $1 to come because he’s kind of a forward thinker, but we used the money to buy a ladder to further concuss our brains and destroy our spines. It was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever been part of, but it was fun as hell and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Also, this was the age I entered what I consider my first real relationship. My first love, if you will. The less said about it (and her) the better because I’m an adult now who’s happily married and getting wax poetic about a high school relationship is dumb, but here’s a synopsis: I fell in love hard, and it didn’t end well. More on THAT later.

WrestleMania X8: March 17th, 2002

Venue: SkyDome, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Main Event: Triple H defeated Chris Jericho

Where was WWE?

On top of the world, and not really knowing what to do with themselves. It was a transitional time, since the Monday Night Wars were over and WWF didn’t really have a challenge anymore. Also, they had a ton of new talent that they were trying to find something to do with, which would lead to the Brand Era and ten years of darkness. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but if you think the brand extension was great go back and try and watch one of their brand exclusive PPV’s. Most of them are garbage, and the rest are hot garbage.

Also, 2002 saw the return of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall to the WWF fold. The WWF was trying out some of WCW’s clothes and wanted to see if the nWo leather jacket fit, so they brought the original three back to see if it would stick. Spoilers; it was terrible. But, it did give us one of the greatest WrestleMania moments of all time when Hogan took on The Rock, creating a great opportunity for fans of overextended staredowns.

How was WrestleMania?

Much like the WWF at the time, too much was going on. The card was filled with matches that didn’t really need to happen at WrestleMania, taking up time that could’ve been better spent on things that mattered. Also after Rock/Hogan the show was downhill, and the main event was basically an afterthought. Poor Chris Jericho. He was even an afterthought in his own match. An afterthought of an afterthought. So meta, so wow.

Where was I?

Graduating from high school and likewise, trying to figure out what the hell to do with myself. I started getting frustrated that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life while everyone else seemed to have a plan. I know that is super generic teen movie behavior, but it’s the truth; every person I talked to had some sort of plan for their lives, while I had jack shit.

This was also the age where I had my first drink of beer and then had several more beers, which was a big deal to me because I was generally a good kid with a cop for a stepdad, so fear of breaking the rules was part of my life. At 18 though I started to say “f**k it” more and just go for it, within reason of course, because I was lost and didn’t know it and life is weird and stupid when you’re 18.

Other highlights:

- DFCW’s Glory Days II happened

- The first flower was taken from my precious and magical garden

- My girlfriend’s mom told me she didn’t want me to marry her daughter one day because I was a loser, which was nice to hear

- My friends Jake and Duda and I went to the beach for our senior trip which would’ve been more awesome at 18 if I didn’t have a girlfriend

- I got my cartilage pierced, because I was the absolute worst

Best part; I don’t get cooler for like 6 years. Strap yourselves in, because things are about to sound like a Further Seems Forever album.

WrestleMania XIX: March 30th, 2003

Venue: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington

Main Event: Brock Lesnar defeated Kurt Angle

Where was WWE?

After losing a battle to a bunch of Pandas over copyright infringement, the WWF became the WWE and everyone started making “GET THE F OUT” jokes, because apparently we were 12. The Brand Era was in full swing, and WrestleMania XIX was the first Mania to be presented by Raw and Smackdown as individual entities under the WWE banner. Also, WWE was starting to pick up the contracts of former WCW stars that were actually good and not Shawn Stasiak, so 2002-2003 saw the debuts of Scott Steiner, Rey Mysterio, and Goldberg.

How was WrestleMania?

For a long time I considered this Mania as the firm #2 WrestleMania right behind X-Seven. The undercard was mostly solid, the big four matches all delivered, and Shawn Michaels returned to WrestleMania after a four year absence.

Two big beefs with the show though:

1) There is no excuse for after months of build and making Booker T as a credible and sympathetic main event challenger for WWE to pull the rug out from under us and keep the belt on Triple H. None. It was bullshit at best, and if WrestleMania 2000 hadn’t turned me on Triple H than this sure as hell did. To his credit Hunter tried to make Booker look like a star, but it was so deflating and gross that I’ve never been able to get over it.

2) All do respect to Angle/Brock (which was awesome) but Austin/Rock III should’ve been the main event. Even before I knew it was Austin’s last match I felt like they got burned. Mania should end with the biggest bang it can, and Austin/Rock had that on all the other matches by a mile, even before the first bell rang. If Austin/Rock II at X-Seven was the end of the Attitude Era, than this was the epilogue. It was a tough act the follow. Luckily Brock Lesnar broke his face on a botched shooting star press and we had a new thing to talk about at the end of the night.

Still, it was a good show.

Where was I?

In my first year of college, majoring in journalism because I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and it seemed like a popular choice. I played in a slew of bands in college, some that had legit gigs, most that didn’t, and I started getting into bands like Taking Back Sunday and Brand New, so I started wearing a lot of tight black t-shirts with nautical stars and crows on them.

This year also had a few other highlights:

- Glory Days III, the final DFCW show, occurred, and we ended with a goddamn bang

- I joined a fraternity, which is the worst sentence I’ve ever written about myself

- My girlfriend dumped me at the end of the school year. I came to find out that she was cheating on me with her old boyfriend for a few months prior, and I was devastated. The day she dumped me my brother took me to see The Matrix Reloaded to make me feel better (it didn’t, because Jesus) when her and the unnamed gentleman walked in. I avoided them, but Adam decided to berate her until she cried and dropped the mic with “I hope everyone you ever love dies in your arms.” It was simultaneously heart-wrenching and hilarious.

I spent the entire summer in a deep depression which bled over into my sophomore year, and it took me a long time to get over the hit the ego takes after you’re rejected by someone you love, even if she was a terrible person. It was a hard, hard year for me, but I’m a better person for it. I genuinely think that me being the worst at 19 made me a better person at 29, and in a weird way I’m thankful for the experience of hating life so passionately I called “Screaming Infidelities” by Dashboard Confessional my anthem.

Like I said, I was the f**king worst.

Come back next week for WrestleMania's XX-XXIX

Twitter: @TheAEJohnson

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