WrestleMania Recall, Match #18: The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian, WrestleMania 17
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.
How foolish of me to forget that this match was even a part of my extensive list. While writing the installment on the Triangle Tag Team Ladder match last week, I neglected to mention that you would be seeing the WrestleMania 17 rematch, better known as TLC II, later on in the series given that I enjoyed it slightly more than the original. If you thought that was an incredible match, you are in for quite the treat when you tune into this iconic contest from WrestleMania 17.
I noted in that aforementioned article that the crowd didn't seem to be ready for what they were about to witness that night in Anaheim, for the chaos that was set to ensue. But before the bell rang in Houston, the Astrodome was rocking. I'm sure part of their enthusiasm can be contributed to the amazing spectacle that was WrestleMania 17, but it was mostly due to fan anticipation being so high. How were The Dudley Boyz, The Hardy Boyz, and Edge and Christian ever going to be able to top themselves from WrestleMania 2000 and SummerSlam?
Well, they managed to do just that. For the second straight year, The Dudley Boyz entered WrestleMania as the WWE Tag Team Champions. Meanwhile, Edge and Christian already won the previous two Ladder/TLC tag team matches and were looking to make it a third. As for The Hardy Boyz, they simply wanted to reek havoc and take risks as only they could, regardless of whether they left Houston with the titles in tow. But the one thing all three teams had in common was that they were ready to make history.
Unlike at WrestleMania, TLC II was properly placed toward the top of the card, and they were given the time to produce the fantastic match fans and officials alike knew they were capable of. But the biggest difference between this bout and previous battles was that there were extra elements. Spike Dudley made his presence known halfway through the match, planting both Edge and Christian with Dudley Dogs (the latter being through a table!).
However, he didn't come alone. Rhyno, a close friend of Edge and Christian, soon followed suit and wasted no time in creating carnage. He delivered a Gore to Bubba Ray Dudley before spearing Matt through a table in the turnbuckle corner. To complete the trifecta, Lita (who had been injured ahead of the event) made her shocking return and didn't look the least bit out of place with a chair in her hand, swinging it like a madman (or madwoman?) until she received a 3D for her troubles. Those damn Dudleyz!
Of course, I'd be remiss to not mention Edge's scintillating spear to Jeff as he hung from the tag team title belts that dangled above the ring. Jeff's feet got caught up in the ladder, and once Bubba removed the ladder from beneath him, Edge capitalized and speared him to the mat. Thus, he had momentum on his side, making the blow to Jeff that much more devastating. I've seen that spot no less than two dozen times and I still cringe every time I see it. It never gets any easier to watch.
Despite getting put through a table by Jeff early on via a Swanton Bomb, Rhyno recovered in time to push Bubba and Matt off a ladder and through a table at ringside, incapacitating them for the remainder of the contest. D-Von slowly ascended the ladder, but to no avail. With some assistance from Rhyno, Edge and Christian claimed the straps and became tag champs for the seventh time (yes, only one year removed from when they won their first!). It was non-stop anarchy from bell to bell and was a total train wreck, but in the greatest way possible.
SEE ALSO: "WrestleMania Recall, Match #19: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair, WrestleMania 24"