To borrow a phrase from The Simpsons, WrestleMania 19 was truly "a flower that grew out of a pot of dirt." The year 2003 wasn't a particularly vaunted one for the struggling sports entertainment empire, crashing hard from the highs of its recent past.
While events like SummerSlam, Judgment Day, Unforgiven, and Armageddon from that year rank among the worst pay-per-views in the company's catalog, 2003 did manage to produce a couple that were truly special: SmackDown's first exclusive pay-per-view Vengeance, and WrestleMania 19 from Seattle.
The success of the show was rooted in the fact that from top to bottom, there were virtually great efforts from everyone. The WrestleMania stage (with the one night return of the classic side-aisleway!) always seems to inspire top-notch work from the deepest roster of talent a company could possibly offer.
For WrestleMania 19, however, it was far from easy. Some performers on the show were battling life-altering injuries. Others were contending with age and layoff. If you were Stone Cold Steve Austin, you dealt with each of those hindrances. Yet Austin, among others, managed to piece together brilliance on the biggest stage in spite of the obstacles. He, of course, knew the end had arrived.
10. Fabolous Was Pulled From Battle-Rap With John Cena After Being Arrested
Young Cena (making his debut on these lists) had found his voice spitting out angry, confrontational rhymes while donning throwback sports jerseys. Certainly, it was an edgy, unique character, and easily shined brightly amongst the staleness of the time. To showcase the gimmick to a large audience, Cena was set to take part in a battle-rap with "Can't Deny It" singer Fabolous.
The career rapper found himself in hot water after several arrests in early-2003 for alleged possession of an unlicensed handgun. The most recent arrest of the bunch took place within weeks of WrestleMania 19.
While ultimately nothing really materialized from the incidents, Fabolous' appearance at the event was cancelled. Instead of taking part in a freestyle volley, Cena mocked cardboard cutouts of both Fabolous and Jay-Z on the Sunday Night Heat pre-show.