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WWE WrestleMania 22
April 2nd 2006
Allstate Arena, Rosemount, Illinois
Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler (Raw) & Michael Cole & Tazz (Smackdown)
WrestleMania 22 was the “Big Time” according to the Peter Gabriel song which was used as the main theme for the show. A lot of people I know felt it was overplayed but I enjoyed it. It had an old school feel to it and suited the show just fine. The main event was Triple H vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship. Around this time, Cena was starting to get booed and he would get absolutely roasted here. Elsewhere, the World Heavyweight Championship would be on the line in a triple threat match between the Champion, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton and the 2006 Royal Rumble winner, Rey Mysterio. Edge would face Mick Foley in a hardcore match whiles Undertaker would defend the streak against Mark Henry in a Casket match.
Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child gets the honours of singing America the Beautiful
We get our video package here and it’s a thing of beauty. “I Dare You” by Shinedown was the perfect song to go along with this video. They showed a ton of classic WrestleMania moments with a nice touch of showing Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Kurt and Vince throughout their WrestleMania careers. Sometimes we take the production team for granted. They are stars.
World Tag Team Championship
Carlito & Chris Masters vs. Kane & Big Show ©
Kane and Show won the Tag Titles at Taboo Tuesday from Cade and Murdoch. Carlito and Masters had been showing signs dissention since January at New Year’s Revolution. There, Carlito turned on Masters during the WWE Title Elimination Chamber match. They decided to give the team another chance here. Kane and Masters start out and Masters controls with a side headlock. He powers Kane down early, so Kane decides to use his aerial game. He actually breaks out a leap frog and nails a stunned Masters with a dropkick. Air Kane! Show gets the tag and he chops the flex out of Master’s chest. Masters gets a thumb to the eye in and makes the tag to Carlito. The crowd gives him a massive response and soon a “Carlito” chant starts. Unfortunately he gets mauled by Show and gets press slammed to the floor onto Masters. Kane follows down off the top rope to the floor on both men. Show brings Carlito back in by his afro. Carlito exposed the turnbuckle pad in his corner earlier in the match, and he hits a dropkick to the knees that sends Show head first into the exposed steel. Show gets flap jacked by both heels, but he is able to make the hot tag. Kane destroys Carlito and Masters. He heads back up top and it finally backfires as Masters catches him with the Masterlock on the way down. Big Show breaks that up to many boos from the crowd. Carlito hits Kane with the backstabber, but Show breaks the pin. A chop block from Masters sends Show to the floor. Kane sets up for a chokeslam and Masters tries to break, but he hits Carlito by mistake. He gets sent to the floor and Carlito is easy pickings for Kane as he hits the chokeslam to finish things. After the match, the heels argue in the ring. The crowd is behind Carlito who would turn face the following night on Raw.
Winners and STILL World Tag Team Champions: Kane & Big Show via pinfall.
Rating: * ½
It was slow and dull but it was idea for an opener as it got the crowd pumped for the rest of the show. Show & Kane would drop the titles to the Spirit Squad the following night on Raw followed up with another Kane heel turn.
Jonathan Coachman is interviewing Shawn Michaels. He doesn’t regret telling Vince to grow up back in December. If you were watching at the time you’ll recall that promo that led to the Michaels/McMahon match here. He said don’t expect a five star match like against Angle or Benoit/HHH. He says tonight Vince is going to endure his own personal hell.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Matt Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Finlay vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Ric Flair
The second ever MITB match but this time, the match was open to both brands unlike last year’s Raw exclusive match. Lashley clotheslines Finlay in the corner, then a press slam on Flair. Benjamin hits a huge kick on Lashley surprisingly. Hardy gets a ladder already. RVD baseball slides into the ladder crashing Hardy. Then a plancha onto Hardy as he’s holding the ladder. Benjamin beats on Finlay with the ladder a bit. He puts the ladder vertically on the top rope, climbs it like last year and hits a somersault plancha onto RVD, Lashley and Hardy. What a great move. Flair knocks down Finlay, then makes a climb. Hardy catches up to him and hits a superplex on Flair off the ladder. The refs check on Flair, then make the “X” sign meaning he’s hurt. Crowd starts a huge “Flair” chant as he holds his leg. Probably just a work and everybody seems to know it, I think. In ring, Benjamin takes a drop toe hold on the ladder by RVD. Then RVD’s rolling thunder misses as Benjamin moves meaning RVD crashes into the ladder. Lashley slowly climbs up, Benjamin catches up and they throw punches. Benjamin goes for a flipping powerbomb on him, but Lashley holds on, so Finlay and Hardy help powerbomb him down. Crowd with a huge RVD chant now. Finlay rams Benjamin face first into a ladder. Finlay counters a Hardy charge, but throwing a ladder in his face. Then he throws it at Lashley and knocks RVD down with a gut shot. Not surprisingly, here comes Flair limping back to the ring and Finlay meets him on the floor. They brawl there and Finlay gets tossed into the security wall.
Flair tries to climb, but Benjamin and Hardy stop him. Flair fights them off with chops and is able to get his hands on the briefcase, but Finlay returns. He hammers Flair with the shillelagh and that sends him crashing to the mat. Lashley returns and he flattens Benjamin with a dominator. Again he looks too damn uncomfortable on the ladder (which is kind of nice to see in a sense) and before he can get to the briefcase RVD hits the Van Daminator off the top rope. Hardy comes off another ladder to drop a leg on Lashley. Now Matt climbs and looks to have a clear path, but Finlay stops him. They fight on the ladder and Matt snaps off a Side Effect to a nice pop. RVD climbs a ladder in the corner and hits a splash on Finlay. Not a five star frog splash because Finlay was too close to him, but still effective. “ECW” chant starts up. Crowd definitely likes Flair and RVD best. RVD’s close and Benjamin springboards off the ropes onto the ladder face to face with RVD. They slug away, Hardy climbs another one and now Benjamin slugs with him. RVD shoves them both off and Hardy and Benjamin go all the way to the floor. That leaves RVD on top to grab the briefcase! He wins! Cool.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
Rating: *** ½
Not as good as last years but it was still damn entertaining. Lashley seemed out of place here compared to everyone else. Benjamin stole the show again with everyone else contributing in their own way. Pretty scary watching Flair taking those bumps off the ladder considering that he’s broke his back in the past. Van Dam ended up winning the title at One Night Stand but quickly lost the tile after being in the possession of Marijuana. He did well here, though.
Backstage, Josh Matthews talks with Gene Okerlund. Randy Orton interrupts, and then insults Okerlund saying he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame for just being an announcer. Behind him, Batista taps him on the shoulder. Shaved head. Says it doesn’t matter who wins the title because he’s going to win it when he comes back. By WrestleMania 23, he’ll be the World Champion again. Batista was injured, so he couldn’t wrestle at this WM. He was right about walking into WM23 as the champ, though.
Up next, the 2006 Hall of Fame class are introduced to the fans. Howard Finkel informs us that Bret Hart was not comfortable appearing here. Bret wouldn’t step foot in a WWE ring until January 2010. The HOF class include; Mean Gene Okerlund, Sherri Martel, Tony Atlas, Verne Gagne, William Perry, The Blackjacks and Eddie Guerrero (Represented by Vickie & Chavo Guerrero). Big reaction for Eddie as expected.
United States Championship
John Bradshaw Layfield /w/ Jillian Hall vs. Chris Benoit ©
This should be quite the stiff match between these two. Nick Patrick is the ref in this match which is a nice little touch considering the title on the line. Benoit immediately goes to the crossface, but JBL doesn’t give Benoit a chance to lock the hold in completely. They battle on the ground with heavy blows and headbutts. Benoit seems pissed at not being able to get the crossface and starts throwing rights to the back of JBL’s head. Benoit fires off some chops, but a blind charge eats a boot from JBL. Now he makes the mistake of charging and gets caught with an arm drag. That gives Benoit an opening and he opts for the sharpshooter, but JBL breaks before the hold is applied. They fight to the floor and JBL uses Jillian as a shield. That gives him the chance to thumb Benoit in the eye. Back in the ring JBL hits a sick boot to the face. He misses a blind charge of his own, and Benoit hits the Triple Germans. He signals for the end and looks to fly, but JBL shakes the top rope and that causes Benoit to crotch himself. JBL goes for the cheap heat by mocking Eddie and brings Benoit down with a superplex. He mocks Eddie some more and looks for the Three Amigos, but Benoit counters on suplex #3. JBL stays in control though and goes to work on the arm/shoulder of Benoit with a nerve hold. He adds to the hold by applying a chinlock. Benoit is able to get to his feet and breaks the hold with a belly to back suplex. Patrick gets to a 7 count, but both men get to their feet where they exchange blows. Benoit gains the advantage and hits his version of the Three Amigos. He heads up top and flies ¾ of the way across the ring with the headbutt. Nice! Somehow JBL is able to get out at the count of two however. Benoit misses a charge and JBL tries for the clothesline from hell, but Benoit ducks. He looks for another German, but JBL counters and looks for the clothesline from hell again. This time Benoit catches him with the crossface to a nice pop from the crowd. JBL fights as long as he can, and then cheats to win by rolling over and using the ropes for added leverage to get the pin and title.
Winner and NEW United States Champion: John Bradshaw Layfield via pinfall
Rating: ** ½
It was a good match despite the clash of styles. There were some nice, stiff shots as you would expect from these guys but they never really seemed to kick it up into a higher gear. Given more time and matches together, these guys could have developed some decent chemistry together but it just wasn’t there.
We got a long video package to set up the Edge/Mick Foley feud. Edge was the WWE Champ earlier in the year. Edge lost the WWE Title back to Cena with Foley as the ref in the match. The feud escalated from there and the result was this match with Hardcore rules. JR welcomes Joey Styles to the booth to call this match due to his experience in hardcore matches. No countouts, no DQs and falls count anywhere. Edge is out first with Lita and her cleavage. Foley’s out in the darker flannel shirt and a Cactus Jack shirt underneath.
Edge /w/ Lita vs. Mick Foley
Edge attacks with the bat. Foley counters, hits a bulldog and hits the Tree of Woe elbow to the head of Edge. Edge gets a forearm on Foley as Lita hands him a cookie sheet. He kills Foley with it twice. Now another larger cookie sheet to the head of Foley. Baseball slide dropkick into a side crashing into Foley’s face. Edge goes for the spear and he hits it only two minutes into the match. Edge starts yelling like he hurt his arm, which proves to be a work as Foley takes off the dark flannel to reveal the red flannel and shirt. Then we learn why Edge is hurt because Foley’s got the barb wire wrapped around his stomach. Edge’s arm is bleeding as Mick attacks him with the wire. Edge gets tied up in the ropes while Mick goes under the ring steps to find Barbie the barbed wire baseball bat. Lita jumps on his back and he charges at Edge with Lita on his back while hitting the Cactus clothesline sending all three to the floor. What a crazy bump by Lita there. Foley looks for the running knee, but Edge counters with a hiptoss that sends Foley into the steps. Damn! That’s not enough though as Foley gets fired into the steps in his always impressive manner. I always appreciated the way Foley took that bump. He just runs through the steps and crashes over them instead of falling into them gingerly with his shoulder. Edge places Foley on a table and looks for splash from the top rope, but Mick just rolls off the table. Edge follows and slams the back of Foley’s head off the steel ramp. Nasty! Things get creative now as Edge doses Foley with lighter fluid. That only serves to piss Foley off and he hits a sweet piledriver. He looks to destroy Edge with the conchairto, but again, Lita proves her worth by distracting Foley. Edge regains the advantage and uses Barbie on Mick. A nice shot to the face draws some blood from Foley and things open up more as he rubs the wire across his forehead. That only musters a 2 count though. Edge is clearly frustrated and he heads out to the floor to grab a bag of tacks. It comes back to bite him in the ass though as Foley sends Edge into the tacks with a belly to back suplex. Awesome! Nice shot shows the tacks in Edge’s bare back with blood trickling.
Foley breaks out Socko and to make things hardcore he wraps him with barbed wire. Both Edge and Lita get a taste of Socko and it draws blood from Lita’s mouth. Nice, though I’m sure she’s had worse things in her mouth. Speaking of Edge, he gets abused with the barbed wire ball bat and starts bleeding from the head. Foley remembers there is a table on the floor and grabs the bottle of lighter fluid. He soaks the table as the crowd starts to come alive. Lita returns and destroys Foley’s balls with the barbed wire bat. She saturates the table more and sets the table on fire. Edge charges and hits a spear that sends both men flying off the apron and through the flaming table on the floor. Holy Fuck! Naturally that’s enough for the pin. The look on Edge’s face after the match is tremendous. We get three replays of the table spot and Edge is a crazy bastard for diving face first into a flaming table. Foley gets a standing ovation from the crowd as he leaves with a smile on his face.
Winner: Edge via pinfall
Rating: **** ½
My match of the year for 2006. Hellacious action with a ton of sick spots thrown in. In my opinion, this was the match that cemented Edge as a main event star and that’s all thanks to Foley for making him look like a star.
Backstage, Sharmell wants to get out of the Boogeyman match. Paul Burchill shows up out of nowhere. All the freaks are back there with Burchill, Eugene, Mae, Moolah, Snitsky and then Goldust tells Booker some advice in his ear that we never hear. Ted Dibiase does his laugh too. I thought this was hilarious but watching Snitsky suck Mae Young’s toes was pretty sick though.
Booker T & Sharmell vs. The Boogeyman
Nice touch as Booker and Sharmell are freaked out by their pyro as they make their way to the ring. You kind of feel bad for Booker being put in this spot, but the man’s a pro and he would be rewarded shortly after this fiasco. The Boogeyman was an interesting character at first and they could have done something better with him, but they went in a kid friendly direction. Booker makes Sharmell start the match and that’s actually pretty funny. She quickly tags out though after Booker gets in a cheap shot. Boogeyman grabs him, Sharmell distracts the ref, Booker with a lowblow and a sidekick gets two for Booker. Booker chokes him on the ropes, then with forearms that Boogeyman no-sells Ultimate Warrior style. He stares Booker down, goes for something; Booker catches him with the Book End for two. Crowd is pretty quiet at this point. They exchange blows, Boogeyman with double chops send him down. Booker goes for the scissors kick and Boogeyman hits some sort of forearm. Then he whips him into the pole. It wasn’t that good of a whip. Boogeyman puts worms in his mouth that he got from his pocket. Sharmell goes to hit him, so he kisses her with a mouth full of worms. Booker charges, double choke by Boogeyman and he does a double choke into a power slam.
Winner: Boogeyman via pinfall
So we’ve gone from match of the year to worst match of the year. Absolutely brutal in every way! The only good thing about it was watching Booker acting like a coward. Thankfully, Booker was given a huge push after this and went on to become the World Heavyweight Champion.
Trish vs. Mickie is up next. It had six months of build too. Mickie debut as a huge fan of Trish Stratus but became more crazier the closer she got to her. I still remember the Halloween episode when she dressed up as Trish. I loved Mickie’s character here. She played the role of an obsessed/ crazy fan so convincingly well. She made One Direction fans look tame.
WWE Women’s Championship
Mickie James vs. Trish Status ©
The crowd (mainly consisting of 18-39 year old males) is solidly behind Mickie and that baffles Jim Ross for some reason. Stiff tie up to start and Trish hits a Thesz press much like Austin with right hands included. Trish works her over with chops, then a hard kick and then a dropkick type move using the ropes to send Mickie out to the floor. Trish goes for a left footed chick kick on the floor that misses, so her left leg/foot hits steel. Of course it does because it’s easier to sell the left leg. Mickie rams her leg first into the post. They slug it out and Mickie hits a low dropkick to the left knee, then some more moves on the knee. “Let’s Go Mickie” chant emerges from the crowd. JR calls it a defiant crowd. Well, that’s a word for it. Mickie breaks out a single leg Boston crab to continue the work on the knee. She even uses the hair to add some leverage to the hold. Nice! Mickie continues to destroy the knee in impressive fashion and that only gets her more over with the crowd. Trish fights out of a knee bar and gets a head scissors to stop James. Trish starts to fire off some rights, hits two clotheslines, and gets a spinebuster for two. She looks for the head scissors off the top rope, but Mickie counters by dropping her injured knee over the top rope. Nasty! Mickie jumps in to get the X-rated cover for two. The crowd loved that. James looks for a head scissors of her own, but Trish hits a running powerbomb for two. Trish looks for Stratusfaction, but Mickie counters by fondling Trish in her neither regions. Sadly, the WWE cut out Mickie licking her fingers on the DVD. They also cut out the botched Stratusfaction, and cut right to Mickie ending things with the chic kick to a huge ovation.
Winner and NEW WWE Women’s Champion: Mickie James via pinfall
You could tell that they HATED the crowd reactions with a passion. I admit, I was surprised by it too but I think they just appreciated the good job Mickie did in building up the feud. The match was really solid because they told a story in the 10 minutes they were given with Trish doing a good job of selling the bad leg while Mickie was relentless in her assault. I would learn in later years from Mickie herself that she came up with the story, pitched it to Vince and they ran with it. That’s pretty amazing. On the DVD version of the PPV, the lick and the botched Stratusfaction attempt are edited out. Years later, Mickie mentioned getting in trouble with Vince for the licking motion, but she did get a good push after she won and was the centrepiece of the divas division for the majority of the next five years.
Backstage, Vince was in his muscle shirt with Shane, Linda and a very pregnant Stephanie as he calls for a family prayer. “God, let’s face it, I don’t like you, you don’t like me. I’ve defied every law you’ve ever had and been tremendously successful.” I can’t go word for word, but he calls HBK God’s favourite wrestler. He says he’s going to send Shawn to the fiery depths of hell. “Amen. Hallelujah.” I don’t know what colour Vince was here. It was weird looking at him. It’s not normal. The prayer was hilarious.
The Undertaker is up next defending the streak against Mark Henry in a Casket match. They show a video of Mark Henry putting Undertaker through a table. This was the time where the streak was being heavily pushed.
Mark Henry vs. The Undertaker
Taker is 13-0 heading into this match for those keeping track at home. The main story here is that Henry is showing no fear, and he immediately attacks Taker before the opening bell. He mauls Taker to start and corners him. Taker is able to get a boot up though to stop a corner charge. He tries to take Henry off his feet with multiple clotheslines, but it does no good. Henry is able to hit him own clothesline and they take the fight to the floor. Taker blocks a trip into the steps, but Henry is determined and a second try sends Taker head first into said steps. They head back in the ring and Taker hits some punches before attempting old school. Henry’s not down with that and breaks by simply punching Taker in the stomach. Well that’s pretty damn effective. The casket lid gets opened and Henry tries to roll Taker in, but he’s still got life. Taker starts to fire back and works the shoulder. That sets up old school for a second time, and this time it works. Henry still hasn’t been knocked off his feet however, and he quickly regains the advantage. They brawl in the casket with neither man really getting an advantage, so they fight back into the ring. Okay then. Taker looks for the leaping clothesline, but Henry catches him with the World’s Strongest Slam. He goes for the cover, but soon realises that’s not going to work in this match. Oh Mark! Henry mounts Taker in the corner much like others have done against Taker, and sure enough he ends up eating a last ride just like every other Taker opponent. Henry ends up on the floor, so Taker hits Air Dead Man as he clears not only the top rope, but also the casket. Sweet! Once back in the ring a tombstone follows and Henry gets rolled into the casket. Taker closes the lid to finish things and stretches the streak to 14-0.
Winner: The Undertaker
Rating: * ½
Poor choice of opponent but Henry would improve from here and eventually getting his main event push in 2011. No rest holds was a plus and Taker hit his signature spots to keep the crowd happy.
We get a very long video package to set up the Vince McMahon/Shawn Michaels match. Vince was being a jerk to everybody. Shawn stood up to him. Shane was helping Vince through it all. This led to the No Holds Barred match here.
No Holds Barred
Shawn Michaels vs. Mr McMahon
McMahon knows his limitations, and thankfully he always makes sure his matches at WrestleMania are either Street Fights or No Holds Barred. Jim Ross is absolutely gold on commentary during this match because of his hatred for McMahon. And that all stems from the Dr Hynie skit and the McMahon family firing of Ross on RAW the previous fall. Vince comes to the ring looking more orange than normal as he obviously slept in a tanning bed for about a month straight it seems. And people call Hogan the Orange Goblin. Vince poses on the floor next to a portrait of his Muscle and Fitness magazine cover. Shawn doesn’t wait for a bell, attacks McMahon on the floor, and sends him onto the RAW announce table. The crowd starts a massive “We want Bret” chant, but sadly, Bret really was gone. Once back in the ring, Shawn frames Vince with the Muscle and Fitness portrait. The Spirit Squad hit the ring and they destroy Shawn with their 5 man cheerleader toss. Kenny misses the jackknife top rope leg drop, and that gives Shawn an opening. He blasts every member of the SS with a megaphone, and sends Kenny flying over the top rope onto every other member. The Spirit Squad did their job though as Vince comes back with a clothesline. He works Shawn over in the corner as the crowd starts a “Steroids” chant. Heh! McMahon removes his belt and rips into the back of Shawn in rather impressive fashion. Vince chokes Shawn with the belt, but Michaels is able to battle back to his feet. He immediately gets grounded again as McMahon uses the belt to assist with a clothesline. In a funny moment Vince mocks Bret Hart before tuning up the band. That’s so wrong on many different levels. Shawn catches the boot though and gets his hands on the belt. JR is Michael’s #1 cheerleader as Shawn lays into Vince with some vicious belt shots. The flying elbow follows and now Shawn tunes up the band. No dice though as Shane comes out of nowhere to light up Shawn’s world with a kendo stick. Damn! Shane has a set of handcuffs, but Vince wants to induct Shawn back into the Kiss my Ass Club. That doesn’t work out so well as Shane ends up getting “his face buried in his daddy’s crack” (to quote JR). Shawn punches Vince in the balls and then handcuffs Shane to the middle rope. He mocks Shane’s dance and then wears him out with the kendo stick. He grabs a chair from under the ring and gives Vince one of the scariest chair shots you will ever see. Just an absolutely sickening sound and Vince is showing the results as he is bleeding from the top of his head. Shawn tunes up the band, but he stops because Vince hasn’t had enough yet. Shawn grabs a ladder from under the ring, and Vince takes it like a champ flush on his forehead. Sick! The band gets tuned again, but again, Shawn still doesn’t want to finish. He heads back to the floor and grabs a table and some garbage cans. Vince turns around, trash can to the head by Shawn. Michaels sets up the table and puts Vince on top of it. He sets the ladder up, climbs it and then he comes back down. He goes back out to the floor, punching Shane in the head. He gets another ladder out. This one’s huge. Lawler says its 30 feet long, which is an exaggeration. Ladder is like 12 feet I’m guessing. Michaels sets up the ladder, punches Vince a bunch of times and puts the trash can on his head. Crowd is going nuts as Michaels climbs up to the top. Shane, as well as the ref, holds onto it for balance I guess. Michaels comes off the top and hits the elbow through Vince! Wow! He did the DX crotch chop when he was on the top of the ladder. Awesome spot. Doctors come out to tend to Vince, but Shawn tells the doctors to get out of there. Shane tells Shawn he’s sorry, Shawn does the DX chop to him. He picks Vince up, tells him he’s going to knock his teeth down his throat and he hits the Superkick to get the victory. Post-match, when Vince is being carted out on the ambulance he gives the middle finger. Crowd laughs. That’s funny. Also post-match, HBK kisses his wife in her seat in the aisle way.
Winner: Shawn Michaels via pinfall
This was a fun match and it shows what lengths Vince will go to make sure he doesn’t stink up the joint at WrestleMania. He knows his limitations as I’ve pointed out earlier. That elbow spot by Shawn was impressive. I mean, did you expect anything less? It’s Shawn Fucking Michaels for crying out loud!
An announcement was made that WrestleMania 23 will take place in Detroit.
It’s now time for Smackdown’s World Heavyweight title match. There were a ton of things going on leading up to this match. In January, Batista, who had carried the title from WrestleMania 21, was injured and had to forfeit the title. A Battle Royal took place on Smackdown and was won by Kurt Angle who had made the surprise move from Raw. Rey won the Royal Rumble in honour of Eddie Guerrero. He was now the #1 contender, but lost that status in a match with Orton. Teddy Long added Rey back into the mix and thus we have a Triple Threat Match. We start it with the band POD singing Rey’s “Booyaka 619” theme song. Rey pops up on the ramp, then goes over to the band and comes out wearing this weird feathery headgear. Orton is out next. He gets a nice heel reaction for his entrance. Angle is out last to a HUGE pop since he was a babyface again. The smart Chicago crowd appreciated him for being the best.
World Heavyweight Championship
Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton vs. Kurt Angle ©
In a great spot Orton grabs the belt and blasts Angle before the bell rings to take him out of the match. Orton toys with Mysterio for a bit, but Kurt returns to suplex the piss out of him. In an awesome moment Kurt delivers a German suplex to both men and that only gets him more over with the crowd. I miss having Kurt at WrestleMania. Orton gets set on the top rope and Rey sends Angle head first into his crotch. Rey charges, and Kurt alley-oops him up to Orton where he takes him down with a rana. Sweet! Orton now gets sent to the floor so Kurt and Rey can have a go. Rey gets a two count off a round kick to the temple. A “6-1-9” chant starts from some and the rest of the crowd boos. Heh! Rey ties the 6-1-9, but Rey counters to the ankle lock, and Rey taps. Sadly, Orton had the ref distracted, so no decision. Angle gets good and pissed and starts destroying both men with suplexes including sending Rey to the floor with an Angle Slam. Orton gets put in the ankle lock, and he taps, but this time Rey had the ref. Mysterio drops the dime from the top rope onto Angle (still having the ankle lock on Orton), and gets a two count. Orton sells the piss out of the ankle, and Rey gets sent shoulder first into the post. Kurt pulls down the straps, but Orton counters an angle slam into a RKO for a hot near fall. Orton, with the bad ankle, goes up top. Angle pops up with the overhead belly to belly suplex off the top. Mysterio charges on the apron, slips on the 619 and misses. He kicks Angle as the crowd stupidly chants “You Fucked Up” at him. Springboard plancha for Rey gets two. Orton is up, kicks Angle out of the ring and hits that beautiful reverse neckbreaker from his shoulder on Mysterio. That gets two. I’m very perplexed as to why the crowd is booing Mysterio. Some of the other ones I understand, but not Rey. Orton wants to RKO Rey, but Angle comes in and hits an Angle Slam out of nowhere for one…two…no, shoulder up. Rey’s up, Angle slam countered into an armdrag. Dropkick to Orton, 619, West Coast Pop! One…two…three! Mysterio wins! Woo! The crowd is mostly cheering now because of the moment. Vickie & Chavo Guerrero join in with the celebrations.
Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Rey Mysterio via pinfall
Rating: *** ½
Awesome match but my biggest complaint would be that it was way too short! Felt like a throwaway television match. I was genuinely happy for Rey when he won. I’ve always been a huge fan of his ever since I saw him wrestle in WCW back in 1998. Meanwhile, this was Kurt Angle’s last WrestleMania. He would join TNA in what was a huge shock at the time. Nobody saw it coming. Will he ever return to the WWE to end his career? I’m not sure but I hope he does.
Backstage, they show Triple H and John Cena warming up for their main event clash. VERY loud boos for Cena. JR tries to cover it up by referring to Cena as the “controversial champion” and the fans were traditional wrestling fans.
Playboy Pillow Fight
Candice Michelle vs. Torrie Wilson
Both ladies are wrestling while wearing evening gowns with a bed and pillows in the ring. Torrie hits a suplex and backdrops Candice onto the bed. She turns the bed over onto Candice and stands on it. Torrie uses her dog, Chloe, to give Candice a stinkface. Wow! Torrie rips the gown off Candice, but JR reiterates this is pin fall or submission only. Candice gains her first advantage and does the go daddy dance on the floor. Nice! The ref put the bed back in place, and Torrie gets placed on it. Candice thinks outside the box and uses some scissors to cut off Torrie’s dress. Crowd chanted “boring” a couple of times. Announcers did not mention that at all. JR: “Think these girls will have a smoke after this is over?” That was funny. Candice takes out her Playboy and puts it in Torrie’s face. Um…okay. Torrie then hits a rollup for the pin since she was the babyface. JR even rips the match saying put out the bowling shoes because this match is over after four minutes. That means it was ugly.
Winner: Torrie Wilson
FILER FILER FILER!!
Now it’s time for the main event. Triple H won a tournament on Raw in order to become the #1 contender. The story here is that HHH thinks of Cena as nothing but a joke and thinks this will be the easiest match of his career. They went Rocky IV with the build to this match as HHH was shown having all the best training (like Drago) and Cena was the tough up start from the streets (like Rocky). Funny thing happened though as everyone started believing what HHH was saying and Cena was suddenly the most hated man in Chicago. The WWE tried to cover this by saying the crowd was more traditional and thus HHH is the fan favourite. HHH gets an awesome Conan The Barbarian entrance as he rises to the stage on a big ass throne. Sure, it looks goofy, but it’s so over the top it comes back to being awesome. Cena tries to one up him by having Al Capone style gangster’s drive to the ring (one being CM Punk who plays the role for everything he’s got) before he makes his entrance brandishing a machinegun. Now we see why the World Title match only got 9 minutes. Lillian Garcia announces HHH first to a huge pop while Cena is next to huge boos. Keep in mind that Cena was the top babyface that held the WWE Title for the majority of the previous year while Hunter was a heel although he was showing babyface tendencies. They show a kid at ringside with the Cena replica belt looking totally confused.
Triple H vs. John Cena ©
Slow start as HHH treats Cena like a jobber. The crowd loves HHH, and even JR has to acknowledge what’s happening. He should have used the same strategy with Hogan/Rock 4 years earlier instead of calling it a split crowd all night long. HHH out wrestles Cena to start as one would expect and continues to treat him like a jobber. You almost feel bad for Cena here. “Fuck You Cena,” chant from the crowd. Classy! Cena immediately tries for the FU, but HHH slides out and lands a hard right hand. HHH buries a knee and sends Cena to the outside. He plays to the crowd and Cena jumps him from behind with some right hands. A back body drop gets a two count, and Cena gets another one off a fisherman’s suplex. Chicago let’s Cena know he can’t wrestle. Now some Cena fans speak up as they chant “Let’s Go Cena.” The haters make sure to answer back with “Fuck You Cena.” God Bless this crowd. HHH gets sent over the top rope to the floor and the two men brawl on the ramp. HHH looks for a pedigree, but he ends up eating a backdrop on the steel ramp. Back inside the ring Cena gets a rough cover for one. He ducks a clothesline but runs flush into a high knee. Now HHH has had enough of this wrestling shit and starts to punch and choke away on Cena. They head back to the floor and Cena gets tossed shoulder first into the steps. HHH plays to the crowd back inside the ring as he seems to be enjoying his new found fan support. HHH controls in the ring with his patented offense and gets a two count off a knee drop. Cena is able to get in few shots, but he sets to early on a backdrop attempt and eats another knee. HHH then rips his head off with a nasty clothesline for two. Damn! He continues the work on the neck with a nice neck breaker. That also only gets two however. Cena goes back to the right hands, and once again sets too early on a backdrop attempt. That’s the fourth time he has tried that move. Perhaps he can’t wrestle after all. HHH gets a swinging neckbreaker for another near fall. He continues the pressure on the neck with a neck vice and then opts to use a sleeper. Cena starts to fade as the crowd entertains themselves with another duelling chant over whether he sucks or not. Cena powers himself back to his feet and pushes HHH into the corner where he uses some shoulder blocks to break. HHH bounces off the ropes and runs flush into a stiff clothesline from Cena. The ref starts his count, but HHH gets to his feet first.
The two men exchange rights and we get the now famous “Boo”, “Yay” exchange from the crowd depending on who is landing the right hand. Cena gets the advantage and tells HHH he can’t see him, but apparently he can as he catches John with a spinebuster for two. Cena’s up, shoulderblocks and this time he counters Cena’s sleeper to a back suplex again. Now he hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle as most fans boo. Pump up the shoes, drop toe hold, STFU for Cena. HHH fights out of it after like a minute until he finally makes it to the ropes as the majority cheer that. FU attempt on HHH. HHH counters, shoves Cena into the ref and gives both Cena as well as the ref a low blow. He does the “You Can’t See Me” thing to Cena as well as a DX chop. That’s two DX references tonight. Sledgehammer time. Cena beats him to the punch, but then he bounces off the ropes and HHH smacks him in the face with the hammer shot. The ref, Mike Chioda, holds his nuts as he comes over for the one…two…no. And another. No. Both were VERY close. Pedigree countered into a backdrop by Cena. FU to HHH. Kick out at 2! Nobody kicks out of that. Now Cena goes up top, which makes no sense since he never goes high. Crossbody misses, HHH goes for the Pedigree. Cena steps through into the STFU again. He’s grabbing HHH’s right arm so he can’t crawl. The ref raises HHH’s left arm once, twice and HHH fights it off. He holds the move on some more and HHH taps! Holy shit! Wow. I didn’t see that finish coming. The crowd isn’t too thrilled with it, but the music playing drowns them out.
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: John Cena
It was slow to start off with but it eventually picked up. I think watching it again it makes you appreciate how awesome this crowd was. They were into EVERY single hold in the match. Every punch. It was so refreshing to see, to be honest. They were the biggest story of the match because they went nuts for all of it. In terms of chemistry, I liked what we saw out of Cena and HHH. This was at a time when they hadn’t wrestled that much before, so it was very fresh. Seeing HHH kick out of the FU was pretty momentous back then. They don’t have many people kick out of that move. I was surprised that HHH tapped out clean because that was pretty rare for him although he did it two years earlier against Benoit. I would have thought that the finish would be a second FU. It did help get the credibility of the STFU over, though, so it definitely was the right call in hindsight. This was such a solid match.
The camera pans the crowd and the reactions on some faces are priceless. The crowd is actually pretty damn quiet as they are in shock at what just happened. We don’t even get much celebration time from Cena as they immediately cut to the recap package ending the show.
Best match: Mick Foley vs. Edge – Awesome brawl, just ahead of Cena/HHH for match of the night.
Worst match: Booker T & Sharmell vs. Boogeyman – WTF was this shit? The pillow fight was bad but at least the girls were nice to look at.
WrestleMania moment: Edge spearing Foley through a flaming table – Awesome visual. Props to both guys for that amazing spot.
Top 5 Superstars
1. Edge – Put his body on the line at WrestleMania as usual.
2. Mick Foley – He wanted to put on a classic at WrestleMania. He did just that.
3. Triple H – Putting Cena over clean was a good thing for Cena’s dominance as Champion.
4. John Cena – You could tell he was starting to become a better worker in big match situations. Not great, but better than last year.
5. Kurt Angle – It was his final WM appearance to date. I’ve always been a huge fan of his. I hope he returns someday.
Updated rankings chart:
Shawn Michaels – 33pts
Hulk Hogan – 30pts
Macho Man Randy Savage – 29pts
Bret Hart – 25pts
Stone Cold – 24pts
The Rock – 17pts
Kurt Angle – 14pts
Triple H – 12pts
Ricky Steamboat/ Edge/ Mick Foley– 10pts
Owen Hart – 8pts
Ultimate Warrior/ Roddy Piper– 7pts
Jeff Hardy/ Undertaker/ Chris Benoit– 6pts
Dynamite Kid/Rick Rude/ Ted Dibiase– 5pts
Terry Funk/ Bam Bam Bigelow/ Diesel/ Eddie Guerrero- 4pts
Tito Santana/Andre the Giant/ Ric Flair/ Mr Perfect/ Lawrence Taylor/ X-Pac- 3pts
Greg Valentine/ Scott Steiner/ Razor Ramon/Shane McMahon/ Christian/Brock Lesnar/Shelton Benjamin/ John Cena-2pts
Sgt Slaughter/ Gorilla Monsoon/ Bobby Heenan/ Jim Ross/ Bubba Ray Dudley/ Chris Jericho– 1pt
Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 8
It was an above average show. I think shows like 19, 20 and 21 were all a notch above this, but this was still one of the better WrestleManias. If you haven’t seen the hardcore match or Cena/ HHH, I suggest you give them a viewing. Very enjoyable show!
WrestleMania Rankings so far:
WrestleMania 17 – 10
WrestleMania 19 – 9.5
WrestleMania 21 – 9
WrestleMania 14 – 8.5
WrestleMania 20 – 8.5
WrestleMania 10 – 8
WrestleMania 22 – 8
WrestleMania 8 – 7
WrestleMania 3 – 7
WrestleMania 18 – 6.5
WrestleMania 7 – 6.5
WrestleMania 6 – 6
WrestleMania16 – 5.5
WrestleMania 12 – 5.5
WrestleMania 15 – 5
WrestleMania 1 – 4.5
WrestleMania 13 – 4
WrestleMania 5 – 4
WrestleMania 11 – 4
WrestleMania 4 – 3.5
WrestleMania 2 – 3
WrestleMania 9 – 0.5