Perhaps no WrestleMania was better at encompassing several eras of WWE folklore in a single night. For one, it was the first 'Mania to be appended with a Hall of Fame ceremony, one of WWE's earliest attempts to overtly meld throwback thrills within their contemporary product. Adding to the charm, WrestleMania 20 took place in Madison Square Garden, WWE's hallowed home venue. With the exception of Hulk Hogan, every WWE Champion dating back to Bret Hart's 1997 exit, as well as a few prior to then, appeared at WrestleMania 20 in some capacity, lending an all-star quality that future WrestleManias made a point to try and duplicate.
It was a "greatest hits" show, with emphasis on great. You had Rock at his most electrifying, Foley at his most resolute, and Austin at his most defiant. Michaels helped steal the show, while Undertaker returned both from and to the "dark side". If those stars typified the past, then Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit locked down the present, sharing the stage as dual World Champions, celebrating their collective triumph in a manner that was feel-good in 2004.
The future was also represented well when Randy Orton, at age 23, RKOed Foley and pinned him in a high-profile handicap match. An hour earlier, Orton, the Intercontinental Champion, was paralleled by new United States Champion John Cena, both men staring down brighter days approaching quickly.