Sports – Films – Reviews – Life Stories – Video Games It's all here on The Rif Files.
WWE WrestleMania 22
April 1st 2007
Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler (RAW), Michael Cole & JBL (Smackdown) Joey Styles & Tazz (ECW)
WrestleMania 23 returned to Detroit “all grown up”. The last time WrestleMania was held in the Detroit metropolitan area was when WrestleMania 3 was in town, hence the “all grown up” tag line. It was held at a stadium called Ford Field and the stadium looked huge! The main event was Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena but the selling point of the show was the battle of the billionaires.
In previous years, the celebrity involvement at WrestleMania had decreased. It was about the wrestlers more than the celebrities. Then 2007 came around, Donald Trump had a hit TV show called The Apprentice and he had a good relationship with Vince McMahon dating back to WrestleManias 4 and 5 when Trump hosted those events in Atlantic City. The “Battle of the Billionaires” was arguably the biggest match at WrestleMania 23, which we’ll get to later in this review.
A video package started it off as it always does. Voiceover guy: “There is one event that defines sports entertainment.” We get the awesome video package highlighting some of the key moments from WrestleManias in the past. “Now twenty years later, WrestleMania returns to Detroit. All Grown Up.” I liked the “All Grown Up” tag line. It was their way of saying that they have evolved from the beginnings of WrestleMania.
A voiceover clip of Vince McMahon from WM3 threw it to Aretha Franklin who sang America the beautiful just like she did back at WM3.
There was another video package with the current wrestlers talking about how they dreamed about performing at WrestleMania. Back to the building, the pryo went off and we were introduced to the announce teams. The pyro was so fucking loud and very over the top, and I mean that in a good way. The opening contest was the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Money in the Bank Match
Jeff Hardy vs. King Booker vs. Finlay vs. CM Punk vs. Mr Kennedy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge
This year they increased the participants by two, and loaded the match with a lot of star power to go with the young guys. They kind of accidentally screwed things up with Edge here, but I’ll get to that later. Very tentative start as everyone just stares at each other. Eventually, everyone hits the floor to brawl, so Finlay comes off the top with a crossbody onto the pile. Edge takes this as a chance to sneak up a ladder, but Matt stops that. Now Finlay and Orton brawl on the ladder before it gets tipped. Jeff takes a go up the ladder and Kennedy stops that. Booker pulls out a step ladder in a funny moment. Edge decides to use that as a weapon and destroys Punk with a sick shot with that step ladder. That draws juice from Punk. A ladder gets bridged from the apron to the barrier and that won’t be good for someone. JR mentions that Edge is looking to go 6-0 at WrestleMania in this match. Booker clears the ring and gives us a spin-a-rooni to a huge pop. The Hardys return and take King Booker out of the match. The Hardys set up Edge for the see saw spot, but Finlay shoves Jeff off the tope rope to the floor. Matt ends up getting suplexed onto the see sawed ladders in a nasty spot. Kennedy tries a Kenton Bomb onto Matt, but he moves and Kennedy hits ladder. Jeff comes back and hits the Swanton onto the prone Kennedy. The Hardys head up the ladder and trade blows over the briefcase. Finlay tips over the ladder leaving both Hardys to crash and burn. Finlay tries to abuse everyone with the ladder, but Edge drops him with a spear. He goes spear crazy and lays out everyone except Punk, who gets out of the way with a leap frog. Punk, your ECW rep in the match, goes Terry Funk with the ladder and spins around to take out everyone else in the match. Edge introduces the super sized ladder as JR again mentions he has never lost at WrestleMania. Edge climbs, but his partner, Orton, tips the ladder over and Edge crashes to the floor. Damn! Jeff returns to take out Orton, and then the craziest spot of the match comes next. Jeff climbs the insanely large ladder and delivers a leg drop to Edge who was lying on the bridged ladder. That was ridiculous! It effectively ruled Edge out of the match!
Back in the ring, Orton hit a huge RKO on Hardy and then a RKO on Finlay. How about one for Kennedy? He gets a RKO too. Punk used a ladder to the back of Orton to knock him down. They each climbed up a ladder. Orton hit a RKO off the top of the ladder. Huge pop for that. It looked great. Booker went up. Orton met him at the top. Booker hit a Book End on Orton off the top of the ladder. That was a great spot too. Queen Sharmell went in, grabbed Matt’s leg and then he was about to give her a Twist of Fate, so Booker jumped back down to fight Matt. It would have been more heelish if he kept climbing instead of helping his wife. Hardy hit the Twist of Fate on Booker. JBL: “That’s what women will get ya!” Finlay knocked Hardy off the ladder. Finlay’s head was bleeding above his eye. Finlay hit the Celtic Cross onto Hardy onto a ladder. Finlay was selling injuries, so he couldn’t climb right away. Hornswoggle showed up from under the ring. He climbed up. He nearly made it to the top. Kennedy climbed up beside him. Hornswoggle slapped him in the face. Kennedy gave him the Green Bay Plunge off the ladder. That was fun. Beating up midgets is always entertaining. Finlay hit Kennedy in the face with the ladder. Punk hit a springboard dropkick to knock Finlay off the ladder. Punk went for the climb. He got close. Kennedy caught up to him at the top of the ladder and Punk ended up shoving him off. Kennedy grabbed another ladder and hit Punk in the face with it. Great spot. Kennedy climbed up and grabbed the briefcase to win the match
Winner: Mr Kennedy
A great opener! The most memorable part was when Jeff Hardy putting Edge through the ladder. It’s no surprise that Edge’s career was cut short after stunts like this. The finish was good too. Kennedy destroying Punk with the ladder to the face was a smart way to end it. It didn’t come off as lucky. It put Kennedy over by having him outsmart Punk in the end. I was a Kennedy fan at the time so I was buzzing, shame his opportunity never happened. Injuries killed his push.
They showed a clip of Steve Austin’s movie, The Condemned.
Backstage, Todd Grisham interviewed Ken Kennedy. He thanked himself for winning the briefcase. He said he was going to cash in the briefcase any time and any place.
There was an “All Grown Up” video about Batista.
The Great Khali vs. Kane
Word was that this could have been Hogan against the Great Khali and perhaps it would have involved the Trump/McMahon story, but it wasn’t to be. Kane was coming off his “See No Evil” role and was carrying around his metal hook from that movie. They actually start with a tie up and Kane gets overpowered. He tries a shoulder tackle, but Khali won’t budge. Khali tosses him to the floor and then poses to the crowd. Kane tries a right hand and again nothing doing. Kane gets dropped with one clothesline and gets slammed to the mat. Khali applied a vice grip and then a choke in the corner. Kane came back with punches in the corner followed by a clothesline. Khali was still up, so Kane climbed the top rope and hit the clothesline. Khali didn’t go down. Kane booted him. Khali tied up the ropes. It’s the Andre the Giant move where he gets tied up so the opponent can attack him. Kane went under the ring and grabbed a chain while the ref freed Khali. Khali won a punch fest with his big chop to the head. Crowd did a good job of reacting to him. Khali ripped the turnbuckle pad off. The ref was cleaning the turnbuckle padding, so Kane used the chain to hit Khali in the nuts. Kane gave Khali a body slam. Ross said shades of WrestleMania 3. Kane covered for two. Khali gave him the double choke Tree Slam and covered with his foot on Kane’s chest for the victory. After the match Khali chokes Kane with the chain. Guess he shouldn’t have brought it to the ring.
Winner: The Great Khali
At least it was short, right? Brutal in every way!
All Grown Up promo which focused on the WWE Divas.
Cryme Tyme cheers up a dejected Eugene backstage with Extreme Expose. Eugene is more interested in Moolah and Mae however. A party breaks out and we get cameos from Slick, Dusty, Slaughter, Jimmy Hart, IRS, and then Ricky Steamboat (that was a funny spot when he appeared). Enter Ron Simmons: “DAMN.” Good times here.
United States Championship
MVP vs. Chris Benoit ©
MVP debuted the previous fall and got put in a program with Kane and Taker before being given this opportunity with Benoit. MVP gets a extra special entrance with some cheerleaders. Benoit controls early with basic mat wrestling, but MVP hangs with him. He floats over into a headlock, but Benoit fights back to his feet. He looks for a German suplex, but MVP countered a German Suplex by throwing Benoit out to the floor. The action picked up in the ring with Benoit going for a superplex, but MVP fought out of it and draped Benoit’s left arm on the top rope. He focused his assault on Benoit’s arm and shoulder. JBL said Benoit deserved to be in the Hall of Fame one day. That will never happen. Benoit came back with three German Suplexes. He went for the headbutt, but MVP countered it and MVP gave him a superplex off the top rope. MVP threw Benoit’s left shoulder into the turnbuckle. He gave Benoit an armbar. The crowd was rallying behind Benoit. Benoit broke free, but MVP decked him with a big boot to the face for the count of two. Benoit went for the Crossface, but MVP punched his left arm to break it up. MVP gave him a body slam. MVP followed it up with the Ballin’ Elbow for two. MVP missed a running boot in the corner. Benoit gave him two German Suplexes. MVP fought out of it, but Benoit hit three more German Suplexes. That’s a total of seven in the match. Benoit went to the top rope and hit the Flying Headbutt. He covered. That was enough for the win
Winner and STILL United States Champion: Chris Benoit via pinfall
Rating: ** ½
Good match. If they added another 5 minutes they could have done a lot more. JBL did an awesome job of putting over the idea that MVP could hang with Benoit, which was a good reason to have the match in the first place. I was surprised that Benoit won with the headbutt. He didn’t get the win with that move very often. They would have rematches in the future that were better than this.
Backstage, Donald Trump is on the phone sitting beside the former Miss USA that was with him. He was complaining that Vince didn’t make things nice for him. Suddenly, the Boogeyman showed up behind the couch. Trump wasn’t scared. He just wanted a sandwich. Poor segment.
The 2007 Hall of Fame class is introduced to the crowd. This year’s class included; Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, The Wild Samoans, The Sheik (represented by his wife), Nick Bockwinkel, Mr Fuji, “Mr Perfect” Curt Hennig (represented by his Father & Wife) and Dusty Rhodes.
Up next, it’s Undertaker vs. Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship. The Undertaker became the first person to win the Rumble as the final entrant, and he picked Batista as his opponent. The story here is that Batista is not intimidated by The Undertaker and is prepared to go toe to toe with the Phenom. The Undertaker is 14-0 at Mania heading into this match. There were a ton of rumours going around that Batista would win this match and end the streak. It sounded possible but would they actually do it?
World Heavyweight Championship
Batista © vs. The Undertaker
The opening bell sounds and Batista immediately hits a spear. Sweet! That only pisses Taker off though and he starts unloading in the corner. Taker chases the ref away, so Batista comes back and throws Taker into the crowd to hit some rights of his own. They brawl to the floor and Batista gets the upper hand while the crowd boos. Taker gets fired into the steps and he takes the bump like Foley as he bounces over them. Nice! Taker heads back in the ring and Batista comes off the top with a shoulder block for two. Wow, Batista channeling his inner AJ here. Well, not really, but still. Taker hits a boot, but Batista just shrugs that off and kills Taker with a clothesline. Big Dave looks for another boot, but Taker catches and starts firing off rights. They begin exchanging blows and that gives the crowd the chance to cheer and boo with each blow (much like HHH/Cena from the previous year). The Undertaker takes control and gets a two count off a big boot, leg drop. Guess he’s not Hogan. Old School follows, but Batista fights out of the chokeslam. Taker ducks a clothesline and hits a sloppy version of his leaping clothesline. It looked more like a Thesz press actually. They fought outside the ring. Batista won the fight, which resulted in Undertaker getting thrown into the security wall. Batista rolled into the ring to break the count. Batista cleared off two of the announce tables. They were outside the ring for about a minute, but I guess the ref didn’t feel like counting. Batista put Undertaker on his shoulder, jumped off one table and gave him a running powerslam through another announce table. Batista rolled back in. Then the ref counted. Batista rolled him back in before the ten count because he wanted to beat him in the ring. He covered for two. Batista went for the Batista Bomb, but Undertaker countered by driving him to the corner and hit a series of back elbows to the head. Batista hit a belly to belly suplex for two. Awesome counter.
Batista gave Undertaker the punches in the corner, Undertaker powered out and gave him the Last Ride Powerbomb. Batista kicked out at two. I was so happy about that because they did that spot in Undertaker matches far too often and I’m glad it was only good for a nearfall. Batista whipped Undertaker in and he gave him a spinebuster. He powered up. Crowd was chanting “Taker.” Undertaker came back with a chokeslam for two. Another great nearfall. Batista came back with a Spear. Batista Bomb connects. One…two…no! That was the best nearfall so far. Loud “Taker” chants. The crowd was really loud as Undertaker gave Batista a back body drop to get out of the Batista Bomb. Batista put him on his shoulders, Undertaker shoved him off, Batista went into turnbuckle and he bounced back into Undertaker’s arms. Tombstone. One…two…three. The Undertaker is 15-0 at WrestleMania.
Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker via pinfall
Amazing match which had me on the edge of my seat throughout. I didn’t want the streak to end but the rumours were too strong to ignore. The finishing sequence was terrific with a lot of believable nearfalls, which was a formula we’ve come to know in Undertaker matches over the years. The announce team of Cole & JBL did a terrific job of putting over all of the power moves too. They had a number of great matches after this with stipulations involved. The more they worked, the better their chemistry became. The Last Man Standing match at Backlash 2007 was slightly better than this one. There’s nothing more you can ask of wrestlers than to give it their all and see them deliver. From this moment forward Undertaker went on a great run of having awesome WrestleMania matches.
All Grown Up promo: Bobby Lashley.
Cut backstage to the locker room where Vince McMahon was admiring himself in a mirror. Stephanie McMahon showed up with her daughter in a pram. Vince was talking to the baby. He was telling the baby that he would bash Trump’s head in. We got a camera shot from inside the pram. Vince told Steph that it smelled as if his granddaughter took a Trump. Crap comedy (no pun intended).
ECW Originals (Rob Van Dam/ Tommy Dreamer/ The Sandman/ Sabu) vs. The New Breed (Matt Striker/ Elijah Burke/ Marcus Cor Von/ Kevin Thorn) /w/ Ariel
Joey Styles & Tazz take their place as commentators for ECW’s first appearance at WrestleMania. Sabu started off with Striker. Sandman hit a leg drop on the back of the head on Striker. Burke tagged in and so did Dreamer as the heel team cheated to work over Tommy. Cor Von hit a double underhook suplex on Dreamer and then he hit a double team back body drop with Burke. Burke hit the double knees to the back of Dreamer. Thorn hit a nice sitout slam on Dreamer. Cor Von gets the tag as Tommy is your innovator in peril. Cor Von dominates with his power game, but he gets caught with a slop drop. Burke tries to break and he gets caught with a neckbreaker at the same time. Cool! Dreamer got the hot tag to RVD and he destroyed Striker with a series of kicks. Jumping side kick on Thorn. Monkey flip by RVD on Striker. Crowd was really hot for RVD as he hit the Rolling Thunder on Striker. Cor Von pulled RVD out of the ring. Sabu hit a dive over the top onto Cor Von. Dreamer DDT on Striker. Pope knocked him out. Sandman hit a clothesline to take Burke out. RVD went to the top and hit a perfect Five Star Frog Splash on Striker for the win
Winners: The ECW Originals via pinfall
Personally, I thought this match should have been an Extreme Rules match to showcase what ECW was about. Instead, we got a regular 8 man tag which was largely forgettable.
An announcement was made that WrestleMania 24 will take place in Orlando, Florida.
Up next, it’s the battle of the billionaires. This got a ton of media coverage because of the involvement of Donald Trump and the stipulation put in place. Stone Cold Steve Austin was appointed the guest referee to help give the match the star power it needed to make it an even bigger match.
Battle of the Billionaires Hair vs. Hair match
Special Guest Referee: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Umaga /w/ Mr McMahon & Armando Alejandro Estrada vs. Bobby Lashley /w/ Donald Trump
Lashley is the reigning ECW Champion and Umaga is the Intercontinental Champion, but neither title is on the line here. Whatever man loses this match, their billionaire gets their head shaved. Steve Austin is also the special referee. Everyone including the barber’s chair get their own introduction. Seriously! Hundred dollar bills fall from the sky as Trump makes his entrance. Obviously, this match has become a little more depressing due to the passing of Umaga. His Last Man Standing Match with Cena at the Rumble was his best, but this was the highest profile match of his career. This match gives Lawler the chance to run through all his jokes about being rich. These entrances have eaten up a shit load of time. McMahon tries to get Umaga fired up on the floor before he enters the ring. Lashley attacked Umaga in the corner. Austin pulled him off because Umaga was in the ropes. Lashley hit a shoulderblock off the middle ropes. Of the two guys, I liked Umaga more than Lashley. I thought Umaga did a great job of being a monster heel. Estrada tried to interfere, so Lashley pulled him in the ring and Lashley gave him a powerslam. Umaga charged in, Lashley ducked, pulled the rope down and Umaga went crashing to the floor. In a funny moment Umaga shows concern for Estrada and McMahon basically tells him to forget about him.
Lashley charges, but now Umaga sidesteps and Lashley ends up getting tossed through the ropes to the floor. Umaga controls with a choke and he won’t break the hold, so Austin breaks. Again, the crowd wants a stunner. This time Austin pulls Umaga’s hair to get him to break the choke hold. That gives Lashley a chance to regroup, but a sick clothesline ends that rally. Umaga uses his girth to squash Lashley, and that puts a big smile on Vince’s lovely face. Lashley fires back, but again his momentum gets stopped, and this time with a Samoan Drop. Lashley tries a slam, but he suffers the same fate Hogan did anytime he tried to slam someone big. McMahon gets the apron, but Lashley knocks him off when he bounces off the ropes. Umaga channels Ric Flair and heads up top, but much like Flair it backfires and he gets slammed to the mat. A clothesline from Lashley gives Umaga the chance to do a 360 sell off the move. Austin starts the 10 count, but stops at 9. He announces there will be no count-outs in the match. Shane heads down to check on Vince while Umaga pounds away on Lashley in the corner. He won’t break however, so Austin gets physically involved. Shane distracts Austin and that gives Umaga a chance to drop Austin with the Samoan Spike. Shane fires some rights at Lashley, and Umaga hits the corner butt splash. That was always a visually sick move.
Shane put the trash can on Lashley’s face to set him up for the Coast to Coast. He had a jacket on while he did it too. He hit the Coast to Coast dropkick, smashing the trash can in Lashley’s face. Shane took off his jacket and shirt to reveal a referee shirt. They told Umaga to go to the top rope. Umaga hit a top rope splash. Shane counted. Austin got back to his feet. He pulled Shane out and threw him into the steps. Crowd was going wild for Austin’s comeback. Umaga decked Austin with a punch to the throat. Vince was happy, so Trump attacked him on the floor with a tackle and then the worst punches in the history of the business. He’s not used to throwing punches obviously, so I won’t make fun of them that much. Crowd loved it. Umaga went after Austin with the Samoan Spike, but Steve avoided it and hit the Stone Cold Stunner to a huge pop. Lashley gave Umaga a Spear. He covered for the win. After the match Shane takes a Stunner from Austin as Vince tries to sneak up the ramp. Lashley runs him down though and brings him back to the ring where he eats a Stunner. Lashley and Trump take clippers to Vince and as promised he gets his head shaved bald. It was one of the most entertaining head shaving incidents you’ll ever see because of how well Vince sold it. To cap it off, Lashley put a mirror in front of Vince’s face and Vince fell out of the chair because he was so humiliated by what he saw. To cap it off, Austin, Lashley & Trump celebrated with a beer bash. Then Austin gave Trump a Stone Cold Stunner. Poor Donald didn’t know how to sell it right. They should have done a better job of teaching him. Austin left to a good reaction. JR: “I bet Trump’s ex-wives are doing cartwheels.” Good line.
Winner: Bobby Lashley via pinfall
Rating: * ½
More of an angle then a match but it was a fun angle though. It was obvious Vince would lose but I always get the impression that the press (and most fans too) thought that Donald would end up with a slap head. Vince was the star of the show here. The way he sold the head shaving was excellent even if it was a little bit too camp. The Lashley/McMahon feud continued as Vince became the ECW Champion. Not the greatest storyline it must be said.
It’s All Grown Up time with John Cena being the focus.
They recapped the dark match, Chavo Guerrero & Gregory Helms vs. Carlito & Ric Flair. I remember a lot of people being pissed off about Flair being on the pre-show rather than the main show. I was pissed off too. I wish they found a better role for Flair here.
WWE Women’s Championship
Ashley vs. Melina ©
Ashley was the Diva Search Champion the previous year and posed for Playboy heading into WrestleMania. This match is a Lumber Jill match with all the rest of the Divas surrounding the ring. They take turns choking each other with a boot in the corner. Melina swings Ashley, but it only gets two. Melina buried her feet into Ashley’s back. Ashley came back with a headscissors. Ashley gave her the slowest monkey flip ever. The only people cheering are the Divas surrounding the ring, that was pretty sad. Ashley missed an elbow off the middle rope. Melina covered for two. They did a pinning sequence. Melina won with a bridging pin Post-match, The other Divas finally get involved after the match and that gets a pop from the crowd.
Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Melina via pinfall
Awful match. At least it was short. Ashley was very limited as to what she could do here; she had no business being in the ring here and even struggled to perform the basics. It’s a shame when you see talented girls like Victoria & Mickie being used as lumberjills rather than performing in the ring.
The video package started up for the main event. Ross pointed out that Cena had been the WWE Champion for 20 of the previous 24 months while Michaels was looking to win the title one more time. There was a triple threat match between Michaels, Randy Orton and Edge. Michaels won. He had finished second in the Rumble, yet here he was in the main event of WrestleMania. They were also the tag team champions going into this match because the tag titles didn’t matter a whole lot in 2007.
Michaels entered to a big pop. For John Cena’s entrance, they filmed a Ford Mustang driving along an empty road and it parked right in front of Ford Field. It drove into the arena. It drove through some glass that had the WrestleMania 23 logo. It parked. Then John Cena emerged from the car with the WWE Title. He entered to a good ovation. It was a bit cheesy, but in the Motor City it made sense especially because Cena is a car buff.
Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena ©
This was supposed to HHH/Cena II, but a torn quad back in January killed that plan. So, HHH’s tag partner gets the shot instead after beating Orton and Edge in a Triple Threat match. Cena and Michaels won the Tag Titles from Rated RKO and being Shawn has turned on every partner he’s ever had that was the story heading to Mania. Eventually he did drop Cena with the superkick and the crowd loved every second of it. Shawn and Cena are still the Tag Champs heading into this match. Shawn’s skin tone got an orange vibe going as he must have spent the last 2 days in Detroit in a tanning bed. Speaking of Hogan, Shawn seemingly took a shot at Hulk on his DVD that has always irritated me. He said to the camera “I drew 80,000 fans to Detroit, brother. Have you ever done that?” I really hope that wasn’t a shot at Hogan, because if it was, Shawn must have been on some good shit when Hogan drew 90,000 (yeah, yeah, I know it’s debated) at WrestleMania III. Ok, rant over, as Cena gets his super special WrestleMania entrance. This year he “drives” into the arena in a Ford Mustang, Fast and the Furious style. Cena has dominated the title picture as he’s held the WWE title for 20 of the last 24 months (with Edge and RVD holding the title between them the other 4 months). JR puts over Michael’s big match abilities. Michaels opens things up by slapping Cena and then avoiding the right hands. He drops Cena with some rights and gives him a DX crotch chop for good measure. Michaels goes with the game plan HHH had a previous year (geez that worked so well for him) and outwrestles Cena to start. Shawn looks great early on as he beats Cena to the punch at every turn. He talks some shit and Cena looks rattled. Shawn lets him know that his chest is a little red following the knife edge chops. Heh! More basic wrestling from Shawn as he takes Cena down with a side headlock. Cena fights to his feet, and after missing twice, finally hits a clothesline to send Michaels to the mat. The crowd didn’t like that one bit. Michaels hits a Thesz press and fires away with rights. He avoids getting sent to the floor though and fights off Cena from the apron. Cena ends up getting hip tossed over the top to the floor. On the floor Shawn fires off some chops and hits an enziguiri. Shawn hits the Asai moonsault, but it looked like Shawn took the worst of the move as his knees smacked off the announce table. Sweet! Back inside the ring, Shawn continues to dish out the chops, and they sound awesome. Cena tries to get a boot up to stop a charging Shawn, but Michaels catches the leg and targets that now. He isolates the leg and bounces it off the ring post. A few chop blocks continue the damage to the left leg. This gives something to Shawn to work with for the next few minutes as he systematically destroys the left knee. Lawler puts over the fact that so far Michaels has made Cena look bad in the match. The crowd starts the Boo/Yeah thing as Shawn fires off chops and Cena uses his right hand. Shawn goes right back to the knee once he starts losing the exchange. Michaels charges, but Cena moves out of the way and Shawn hits his head on the ring post. That draws blood and now Cena has an opening. The crowd roasts Cena as he goes to work on the cut. He runs through his patented offense and tells Shawn he can’t see him. The five knuckle shuffle follows and Cena readies for the FU. Shawn slides off though, but gets sent into the corner where he takes his trademark bump. Cena looks for the FU on the rebound, but again Shawn is out the back door. Shawn looks for the super kick, but Cena ducks and the ref eats the kick.
Cena went for the FU. Michaels countered it into a DDT. JR called it a brilliant counter. That was right. Both guys were down. Michaels felt the blood on his head, so he went outside the ring and took off the top half of the steel steps. He dragged Cena out to the floor. Michaels gave Cena a piledriver on the steel steps. People weren’t doing piledrivers anymore, so the move meant that much more. Michaels rolled Cena back in. Ref Jack Doan came sprinting down the aisle. Michaels covered for the one…two…no. Very good nearfall. Michaels hit a flying forearm to the face as JR busted out a “vintage Shawn Michaels” for the move. Michaels kipped up. Michaels went to the top rope and hit the Flying Elbow to the chest of Cena. Michaels went for the superkick. Cena was able to hit a clothesline out of nowhere. Great selling job by Michaels on that one. They did another slugfest. Cena went for a FU, but Michaels was able to counter with a rollup for two. Great nearfall there too. I forgot to mention that Cena was bleeding on the top of the head. They ran the ropes, Michaels went for a leap frog, Cena caught him and gave him the FU right in the middle of the ring. Cena was too hurt to cover right away. He crawled over and covered for a count of two. Crowd cheered. Cena put Michaels on the top rope and he wanted to give Michaels the FU off the top rope. Michaels knocked him off. Michaels hit a cross body, Cena caught him and went for the FU again. Michaels landed on his feet, went for superkick, Cena ducked, grabbed his foot for the STFU and Michaels kicked away multiple times. He turned it into a rollup for two. That was a really good sequence there. Back to their feet, Michaels missed with an enzuigiri, which led to Cena putting him in the STFU. Michaels made it to the ropes. The crowd cheered. They weren’t really anti-Cena, but they liked Michaels too. The ref told Cena to break the hold when he reaches the ropes. That allowed Michaels to get to his feet and he connected with the Sweet Chin Music. Michaels was slow in covering. He made it over for the one…two…no! Cena got his shoulder up. Each man kicked out of the finishing move of the other guy. Both guys struggled to get to their feet. Cena went for the FU. Michaels countered. Cena tripped him up and put him in the STFU. Michaels was in the hold for about 30 seconds. He was right in the middle of the ring. Michaels tapped out and the title remains with JC.
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: John Cena via submission
Rating: **** ½
The opening minutes of the match dragged but it picked up after Shawn began to target John’s knee, which he didn’t sell for long. Typical SuperCena! It was a different kind of long match for Cena because it was more about technical wrestling. Cena was more of a brawler. When the pace picked up they really delivered a main event worthy performance with a lot of back and forth drama ensuing. I liked the way they built to the finishers with Michaels hitting the superkick only for Cena to kick out because Shawn was too slow on the cover. This came after Shawn kicked out of the FU, so it was all square. It’s worth noting that Cena has beat both D-X members at back to back WrestleManias with the STFU, which really established the hold as a deadly finisher.
After the match, Cena had a look of satisfaction on his face after getting the job done. He also got emotional when he dedicated the match to his father, John Cena Sr. After celebrating in the ring, Cena went up to Michaels in the aisle. Cena wanted a handshake. Michaels refused it. Cena continued to celebrate as we end the show with the video highlights.
Best match: John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels: One of the better matches in Cena’s career to this point.
Worst match: Kane vs. Great Khali – Not a fan of Khali matches.
WrestleMania Moment: Jeff Hardy putting Edge through a Ladder – Such a crazy spot.
Top 5 Superstars
1. Undertaker – Put on one hell of a show with a bigger opponent. Undertaker is arguably the best big man worker ever!
2. Shawn Michaels – Amazing job in the main event. You could tell he was frustrated with Cena for not selling the knee.
3. John Cena – It’s not easy to keep up with Michaels. He did a good job. Could have been better, but it’s not easy to pull off a four star main event at WrestleMania. Give him credit.
4. Batista – One of the better matches of his career.
5. Jeff Hardy – Crazy ass spot in the opening match.
Updated rankings chart:
Shawn Michaels – 37pts
Hulk Hogan – 30pts
Macho Man Randy Savage – 29pts
Bret Hart – 25pts
Stone Cold – 24pts
The Rock – 17pts
Kurt Angle – 14pts
Triple H – 12pts
Undertaker – 11pts
Ricky Steamboat/ Edge/ Mick Foley– 10pts
Owen Hart – 8pts
Ultimate Warrior/ Roddy Piper/ Jeff Hardy– 7pts
Chris Benoit– 6pts
Dynamite Kid/Rick Rude/ Ted Dibiase/ John Cena– 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/ Batista-2pts
Sgt Slaughter/ Gorilla Monsoon/ Bobby Heenan/ Jim Ross/ Bubba Ray Dudley/ Chris Jericho– 1pt
Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 8
The MITB & WWE title matches delivered as expected. Once you include the level of performance shown in Undertaker/Batista and Vince getting his head shaved, you have a pretty damn good WrestleMania.
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 23 – 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
Up Next: A new era begins and a legendary career “ends” at WrestleMania 24