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WWE WrestleMania XXIV Review

WWE WrestleMania XXIV

March 30th 2008

The Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida

Attendance: 74,635

Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler (Raw) Michael Cole & Jonathan Coachman (Smackdown) Joey Styles & Tazz (ECW)

Buyrate: 1,041,000

 

WrestleMania 24 emanated from the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida making it the second WrestleMania to be held outdoors and it was also the first WrestleMania to be held in the state of Florida. With the show being held inside of a Football Stadium, there were a lot of questions about what would they do if it rains? Thankfully, the weather was fine.

Another thing I want to point out is that this was the year where WWE went from TV14 to a PG rating that still exists today. People criticise the PG rating but I don’t mind at all. If the stories are good then people will watch whether or not the wrestlers spilling blood. The talent and story is more important than the show’s rating.

2007 was a dark time for the company after the Benoit tragedy so they needed some much needed positive publicity. A number of things happened. First off, Floyd Mayweather was booked to face the Big Show in a match which got news outlets talking. 10 year earlier, Mike Tyson appeared at WrestleMania 14 which did good business for the WWE at that time. The other big news was Ric Flair’s retirement. He was doing an angle where if he lost a match then he would be forced to retire; his opponent for this match was Shawn Michaels. Let’s find out what WrestleMania 24 brought us.

 

We are treated to a very cool visual of Fighter Jets flying over the Stadium as Ring announcer; Lillian Garcia welcomes us all to WrestleMania. John Legend sings America the Beautiful. Awesome shot of the crowd here.

 

They aired a video package that featured several different wrestlers talking about how big it was to be on the WrestleMania stage. They aired clips of things that happened in the previous year like John Cena’s injury, Triple H’s return from injury, the returns of Chris Jericho & Big Show, Ric Flair putting his career on the line and Floyd Mayweather appearing on the show. Like always, the video production team did stellar work. I also want to mention that this is the first WrestleMania to be shot in HD so that’s pretty historic as well.

 

The first match was a Belfast Brawl between JBL & Finlay. It centred on Hornswoggle, who was revealed to be the son of Finlay even though they originally made it seem that he was Vince McMahon’s son. A year earlier JBL was announcing. He decided to return to the ring. JBL was the heel of course and he was out first. Finlay entered along with Hornswoggle.

 

Belfast Brawl Match

John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Finlay /w/ Hornswoggle

There’s a big brawl to start on the floor before we even get an opening bell. JBL gets sent crashing into the stairs and once thrown back into the ring we finally get an opening bell. Finlay immediately gets some plunder from under the ring, but that only gave JBL a weapon and he casually creams Finlay with a garbage can. A short arm clothesline leaves Finlay lying and now JBL hits decides to toss the steps into the ring. He sets for a piledriver on the steps, but Finlay breaks with a backdrop. Now he gets a chance to swing some weapons and he opts for a cookie shit. Apparently they love their chocolate chips in Belfast. JBL regroups and starts firing off right hands that leave Finlay down in the corner. Hornswoggle distracts JBL and that gives Finlay a chance to use the shillelagh. Things start to slow down a bit as they sell the abuse they’ve taken in the match. The crowd stays with them though as they start a Finlay chant. Finlay grabbed a table from under the ring. Huge ovation for that. They fought in the ring with Finlay knocking him down with a left handed clothesline. JBL went to the floor. He decked Hornswoggle with a shot to the head. Is it wrong that I cheered that? No. Finlay saved his “son” and rammed JBL’s head into the announce table. JBL went out on the other side of the ring. Finlay charged in, dove between the middle and top rope and JBL crushed him in the head with a trash can lid. Great spot. In the ring, Finlay kicked out at two. JBL threw a trash can at Hornswoggle. That was hilarious, Always funny watching midgets getting beat up. He nailed Finlay in the head with a trash can. Finlay threw a trash can into JBL’s face and then nailed him repeatedly with a trash can lid. Finlay whipped JBL through the table that was set up in the corner. JBL kicked out at two. Nice nearfall. JBL grabbed the kendo stick and hit Finlay in the knee with it. Clothesline from Hell by JBL. He covered for the win

Winner: JBL via pinfall

Rating: ***

They got enough time to avoid the match from becoming repetitive and the usage of weapons was good. They are two veteran wrestlers that worked hard and put on a good, physical brawl. Good opener.

 

The lovely Kim Kardashian was the guest hostess. I don’t know why she’s famous. I just know she has a ridiculously nice ass, so God bless her for that. She mentioned the Money in the Bank ladder match being up next. Ken Kennedy showed up to say he would win it for the second year in a row. He said “Kennedy” right in her face. She’s used to guys doing things in her face.

 

Money in the Bank Ladder Match

John Morrison vs. Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. CM Punk vs. Mr Kennedy vs. MVP vs. Chris Jericho

This is a pretty good mix with a lot of young guys and Jericho/Benjamin there as the vets to keep things on track. This was Jericho’s WrestleMania return after missing the previous two WMs due to being on hiatus from the company. It was a weird dynamic with seven guys in the match. They all went to the floor early on except for MVP, who had a ladder in the middle of the ring and hit everybody in the face with it. Jericho hit MVP in the face with the ladder. All six announcers called the match, by the way. Morrison grabbed a ladder, climbed the top rope and did a moonsault backwards onto four of the guys. It didn’t connect that well, but it was very risky and impressive looking. Crowd popped big for it. Kennedy made a climb, Jericho stopped it and Morrison climbed up on the other side of the ladder to brawl with Kennedy. Benjamin climbed up on a ladder beside them. They did the tower of doom spot with Benjamin doing a sunset flip off the ladder on Kennedy who gave a suplex to Morrison off the other ladder. It was a powerbomb/suplex combo. Amazing. Benjamin shows off his Spiderman skills, but he gets a little too cocky on a springboard attempt and the ladder buckles under him. Punk starts to climb, but Shelton stops him, and starts to climb himself.

Punk pulls him down and takes him out with the GTS. MVP tries the Kawada kick, but it misses and Carlito uses a ladder to take out his other leg. Now Carlito looks to climb, but Shelton is there to keep him from grabbing the case. Now Shelton takes his chance to climb, and as he nears the top Carlito and Kennedy flip him off the ladder and he crashes to the floor through another ladder that was bridged from the ring to the barrier. Holy Shit! They really need to give Benjamin a win in this match some year just because of all the crazy shit he has done in this match over the years. Morrison gets caught in the Walls on top of the ladder in a great spot, but Jericho has to let go off the hold to stop Kennedy. As they fight on top, Punk and Carlito spring in and land on the ladder to knock each of them off the ladder. Jericho makes another go at it and eats a backstabber from Carlito off the ladder. That gets a “This is Awesome” chant from the crowd and I would agree. The only man still standing was MVP. He climbed up. Out of the crowd was Matt Hardy, who was in his ring gear. Hardy gave MVP a Twist of Fate off the top of the ladder. Crowd popped huge for it. Cole reminded us that MVP had taken out Hardy with a knee injury for the previous five months. That was a really cool moment. Hardy left through the crowd. Morrison did this spot where he climbed up the ladder on a bad angle and he got thrown off so he was crotched on the top rope. Crazy bump. Jericho climbed up, but Carlito went up the other side and spit an apple in Jericho’s face. Carlito climbed. Kennedy shoved him off. Punk nailed Kennedy off a ladder with a shot to the face. Jericho gave Punk the Codebreaker while Punk had a tiny ladder in his hands. Crazy action. Jericho climbed all alone. Punk recovered. They fought at the top of a ladder. Jericho had it. Punk tripped him up, so Jericho’s leg was stuck in between two rungs of the ladder. Punk climbed up and grabbed the briefcase for the win

Winner: CM Punk

Rating: ****

This seven men delivered as expected. While this was a little shorter than previous versions, there were more than enough crazy spots and bumps to make this a worthy match in the MITB series. Benjamin, Carlito and Morrison were amazing with their crazy spots. Punk winning was a great moment and one I didn’t expect to see. My initial prediction was for either MVP or Jericho to win but I wasn’t disappointed with the outcome here. A lot of fans were worried that Punk would never get a chance to shine in the WWE so this would come across as a pleasing result.

 

Backstage, we see the competitors in tonight’s triple threat match getting prepared. As always, huge heat for Cena.

 

There was a video about the Hall of Fame class of 2008, which led to clips of the ceremony from the night before. The class was: Gordon Solie, Eddie Graham, Jack & Gerry Brisco, Mae Young, Peter Maivia and Rocky Johnson. The Rock presented his dad Rocky Johnson and his grandpa Peter Maivia. He teased a match against John Cena but we’ll have to wait four years for that one. The last inductee was Ric Flair. They went to a live shot in the stadium in Orlando to introduce the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2008, who stood on the stage although in Flair’s case it was his family that stood there.

 

Todd Grisham interviews Snoop Dog and he puts over Festus. Santino is here and he wants to speak to “Snoopy the Dog”. Awesome! Snoop rings a bell and Festus chases off Santino. Mick Foley interjects next and lets us know he gave Snoop the bell. Mick starts talking all fizzle and shows off Mr. Sockizzle. Bad comedy.

 

They showed Freddy Prinze Jr. in the crowd. He actually worked for WWE for a few years.

 

There was a Raw vs. Smackdown match next. It was Batista from Smackdown versus Umaga from Raw. Batista was in the World Title match the previous two years, so this was a step back for him. Fireworks went off in the sky for Batista’s entrance. He got a really good reaction. I forgot to mention that Teddy Long introduced Batista. William Regal introduced Umaga, which was probably done so we can hear him say “YOU-MAN-GA” instead of his actual name.

 

Smackdown vs. Raw Battle for Brand Supremacy

Batista (Smackdown)vs. Umaga (Raw)

A slugfest to start things and Cole and Lawler (handing commentary for each brand) talk about the pressure both men must be feeling. Lawler rightly points out that Umaga probably doesn’t care about representing the other RAW guys and only about destroying what’s in front of him. So, obviously he wouldn’t be feeling the pressure. Batista gets the worst of the slugfest and eats a splash from Umaga. Umaga hit in a splash to Batista’s back in the centre of the ring. Hard whip into the corner sent Batista crashing to the mat. Umaga continued the offense with a nice bodyslam. Umaga went to the middle rope and missed a headbutt as Batista rolled away. Batista couldn’t body slam him because his back was hurt. Umaga gave him a vice grip. Batista fought out, but Umaga gave him a Samoan Drop. Batista slowed him down with a boot to the face and he blocked the Samoan Spike. Umaga charged and hit skull first into the steel ring post. Batista gave him the spinebuster. He shook the ropes. Batista hit the Batista Bomb to win.

Winner: Batista via pinfall

Rating: * ½

Boring match with too many rest holds. Batista won for Smackdown which didn’t really mean a thing in the long run because he got drafted to Raw soon afterwards.

 

They announced that the Floyd Mayweather/Big Show match had become an “Anything Goes” match with no rules. This was done to hide Mayweather’s limitations.

 

The ECW title match was up next. Kane won the pre-show battle royal making him the number one contender for the title. The GM of ECW Armando Estrada did the intros for Chavo and Kane. Styles said this was the first time the ECW Title would be defended at WrestleMania. It was the last time too.

 

ECW Championship

Chavo Guerrero © vs. Kane

Kane made his entrance through the crowd as he was being introduced and sneaked up behind Chavo. The bell rang, Chavo turns around, chokeslam and the pin. New champion.

Winner and NEW ECW Champion: Kane via pinfall

Rating: Dud

Quickest match in WrestleMania history. Lasted 8 seconds. Nothing of huge importance, the ECW title/brand didn’t mean a thing.

 

They show the awesome WM commercial that feature Carlito on a date with Maria and then getting into a fight with a seagull. That was more entertaining than the last 2 matches.

 

Raven Symone hypes the Make a Wish Foundation and how 50 kids from 50 states had their wish of going to WrestleMania granted tonight. For all the hate the WWE takes, the McMahon family does do a lot of good deeds that aren’t talked about enough. Lawler: “I’m a huge Raven Symone fan!” That was creepy!

 

Up next, it’s the career threatening match between Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels. The video package is awesome and puts over the emotion of this match perfectly. It also serves as a great reminder of the awesomeness of Flair’s career set to the now familiar song “Leave the Memories Alone.” Michaels was apprehensive from the start about taking this match, but a fired up Flair finally talked him into it. Michaels even slipped into heel mode as he called Flair Old Yeller and promised to put him out of his misery.

 

Before the match, Mike Adamle interviews Ric Flair. He asked Flair for his game plan. Flair replied that his game plan is “to be the man. WHOOOOOO!”

 

Career Threatening Match

Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair

The ref of the match was Charles Robinson, who a lot of people referred to as Lil Nature Boy (or Lil Naitch) over the years. They traded some basic holds early. Flair won an exchange with an arm drag. Lots of “Woo” chants in the crowd. Shawn looks a little embarrassed by that actually and he slaps Flair in the face. Awesome! I love pissed off and cocky Shawn. The slap actually drew blood from Flair’s lip which I always found cool for some reason. They take turns teeing off on each other with chops, and Shawn ends up eating a back elbow. He drops his patented knee to Shawn’s head, but a blind charge eats an elbow. Shawn heads up top and in a reversal of fortunes he gets caught by Ric and slammed to the mat. Flair heads up and they tease Flair getting caught, but he fights Michaels off and hits the crossbody. That would have been an even cooler moment had he not hit the move several other times in previous years. They head to the floor and Michaels tries an Asai moonsault, but Flair moves and Shawn lands on the announce table in sickening fashion. Damn! That table did not budge and Shawn took the full force on his ribs. Well, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know what Flair will be targeting now. He hits a few suplexes to continue the damage to the back and ribs. A beautiful standing vertical suplex gets a loud pop as Flair shows off some power. Lawler makes sure to mention that Old Yeller wasn’t put down because he was too old. He was put down because he had rabies. Flair makes the mistake of charging and Shawn sends him over the top to the floor with a backdrop. Shawn hits the moonsault from the top rope to the floor, and while a piece of Shawn clipped Flair, most of him hit the ground and hit the ground hard.

Back inside the ring they start trading chops again before Flair hits the flying forearm. He kips up and starts quickening the pace more to his tempo. He drops Flair with an inverted atomic drop, and heads up top. The flying elbow hits and it’s time to tune up the bad. Michaels “warmed up the band” to set up for the superkick. He stopped at the last second. Flair took advantage of the hesitation to give Michaels the Figure Four Leg Lock to a huge ovation! The crowd was going wild as Michaels tried to fight the move off. It was a sustained loud pop. Michaels turned it around, so Flair got out of it. They did a pinning sequence. They tried to do the spot where Michaels was on the floor and he would bridge up, but Flair couldn’t move his body up. You could tell it was a tough move for him to do. Michaels broke it up with a shot to the ribs. Michaels got another nearfall for two off a sunset flip. Flair was really starting to tire at around this point of the match. Flair whipped him in the corner and Michaels took the bump by flipping upside down. Flair gave him a chop block to the back of the knee. Big pop for that vintage Flair spot. Flair went for the Figure Four, Michaels countered with a cradle for two. Great nearfall. Michaels went for an enziguiri, Flair avoided it and put him in the Figure Four Leg Lock one more time. Michaels was in a lot of pain. After about 45 seconds, Michaels got to the ropes. With Michaels in the ropes, Flair stomped away at him. The ref told him to break it up. Flair did his strut. When he turned around…Sweet Chin Music. Wow. That was a perfect one. Both guys were down. Michaels covered. Flair got his shoulder up. Huge reaction for that. Fantastic nearfall right there. Michaels sold the knee injury and he got back to his feet while Flair was still down. Michaels yelled at him to get up. Flair got back to his feet while HBK warmed up the band. Flair hit a low blow without the ref seeing. Big pop for that. Woo! Dirtiest player in the game. Flair covered for a count of two. I love that these two were so good that they could make a low blow into a nearfall. Michaels put Flair into his inverted Figure Four Leg Lock. Flair pulled off a turnbuckle pad. Ref took it away from him. Flair did a thumb to the eye to break the hold. A rollup got two for Flair. They did another chop-fest on their knees. Flair hit him with three chops in a row and then Michaels hit a superkick out of nowhere. Michaels pulled himself to his feet. Flair struggled to get back to his feet. Michaels said the infamous words: “I’m sorry…I love you.” Sweet Chin Music to the head of Flair. One…two…three. Michaels wins. Post match, Michaels said something to Flair while he was on the mat. He kissed Flair on the forehead. Then he walked away. Moments later, Flair got to his feet. The 70,000+ fans gave him a standing ovation. He was crying. His family at ringside was crying. Flair hugged his family at ringside. He was in tears. The fans continued the standing ovation for several minutes. Flair gave one final wave at the top of the ramp. The crowd were fantastic here. They showed Flair a ton of respect before he exit the stage.

Winner: Shawn Michaels via pinfall

Rating: **** ½

Considering Flair was 59 years old, he needs to be commended for wrestling such a good match against somebody like Michaels, who was considered the very best in the business. How many 59 year old men could wrestle a four start match for 20 minutes? Probably only Ric Flair and maybe Shawn Michaels if he wants to have a match like this in 15 years. I thoroughly enjoyed the match, even after 6 years it’s still an emotional match. Naturally, some of that has been lost with Flair coming out of retirement again but it doesn’t take away what I thought about this match. It was entertaining and told one heck of a story.

 

Backstage, Todd Grisham talked with the World Heavyweight Champion Edge, who was the heel champion. Edge mentioned watching his hero Hulk Hogan losing at WrestleMania 6 and said that was the day that his innocence was lost. He said people rely on Undertaker to win at WrestleMania. Edge said he was going to crush a kid’s spirit that was rooting for Undertaker because he would beat the Deadman. Nice intensity in the promo by Edge and one of my favourite Edge promos from his Heel days.

 

Playboy Lumberjill Match

Maria & Ashley vs. Beth Phoenix & Melina

Snoop Dog is the master of ceremonies for this match and he drives a pimped out golf cart to the ring with the other Divas following behind. Beth shoves down Ashley to start as she has no real business being in the ring with her. She mauls her to start, but Maria comes to her aid. They try to double team her and it works to a degree. Melina gets the tag and gets sent to the floor. The other Divas toss her back into the ring, and Maria gives her the bronco buster much to the delight of Snoop. Ha! Ashley gets the tag and these poor ladies a dying out there as the crowd is still coming down after Flair. The women always get stuck in the death spot on the card. Which is not a bad thing really? Beth keeps things interesting as she uses her power. She flips Melina off her shoulders and onto a prone Ashley in a nice spot. We get our second dark match of the evening as the lights go out in the stadium. Obviously something was blown (besides Snoop after this match) and they have to use the spot lights to show the ring. Ashley hit a dive on the floor onto the heel girls, so then the babyface girls ran over to fight with them. Of course they were all dressed up, which meant none of them wanted them to fight too much. Maria hit a sloppy bulldog off the top. She covered. Santino pulled Maria’s foot. The lights were still out as Jerry Lawler walked over to Santino. Finally the crowd makes some noise for Lawler punching Santino in the face. Beth finished off Maria with a Fisherman’s Suplex for the win. Post match, Santino taunted Maria. Snoop knocked him down with a clothesline, which drew a good pop. Then Snoop kissed Maria on the lips after it was over. I guess he was happy to wake up from his nap.

Winners: Beth Phoenix & Melina via pinfall

Rating: ½ *

Very basic match where the experienced girls (mainly, Beth Phoenix) had to carry the entire match due to their opponent’s lack of abilities. Don’t get me wrong, Maria had improved during this time but Ashley was still too green.

 

A video package is played hyping up the WWE Championship match. Hunter missed most of 2007 with his second torn quad injury. In late 2007, John Cena tore his right pectoral muscle. Hunter earned his title shot by winning a #1 Contender’s Elimination Chamber match. Cena surprisingly returned at the Royal Rumble and won the match to become the number one contender. He used the title shot at No Way Out instead of WrestleMania, which led to a match he won by DQ meaning he got another title shot. It was a stupid idea but it planted the seeds for the triple threat match. Going into it I thought Cena would win for sure. He was undefeated at WrestleMania prior to this. I thought they’d build him up with a streak of his own.

 

WWE Championship

John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Randy Orton ©

Cena gets his yearly, super special, ring entrance. This time he gets played to the ring by a high school marching band. The heel champion actually comes out last which is great to see. The results of the text poll showed that only 8% gave Orton a chance here. The rules for the match were that you couldn’t get disqualified or counted out. First pinfall or submission inside the ring wins. Orton hit Hunter in the head with the title right before the bell rang. Cena takes over on Orton and pounds away in the corner, but HHH comes back to send him to the floor. Now HHH gets his hands on Orton and sends him the floor. He abuses Randy on the announce table and unleashes his fury with a sleeper hold. Wow, such anger. It doesn’t last long though as Cena lifts both men on his shoulders for the FU (impressive, but Cena did better a year later), but both men slip off his shoulders. The crowd amuse themselves with dueling chants about whether or not Cena sucks. Orton regains control and hits the Garvin Stomp on both men before heading up top. Cena meets him up there, but HHH pulls him off on his shoulders. That gives Orton a chance to come off the top rope with a crossbody for a two count. Cena rolls through and lifts Orton up for the FU, but Orton escapes. He then dishes out clotheslines to both men. He preps Cena for the rope assisted DDT, but HHH gets involved. Orton decides to give them both the DDT and as he hits the move the lights come back on in the stadium. Cool! Orton coils for the RKO and waits for one man to get to his feet. Cena is the winner, but shoves Orton off onto a prone HHH. Now Cena is gaining steam as he hits the throwback and the top rope leg drop. Orton starts to run away and suckers Cena into chasing him in the floor. With Cena chasing Orton side steps and sends him head first into the ring post. Nice! Orton heads back into the ring, but HHH is waiting and he hits a chop block. He attacks the legs like…well, like Ric Flair, and that’s pretty cool actually. Cena comes back and HHH sends him down, but he walks right into a RKO. That sends HHH to the floor and Orton gets caught in the STFU. Part of the crowd is screaming for Orton while the other half may riot if he does tap. Love or hate Cena that man gets a reaction. HHH helps Orton get to the ropes to keep him from tapping and then sends Cena into the steps.

In the ring, Hunter put Orton into an Indian Deathlock submission. The crowd didn’t react to it much because Hunter barely used the move. Cena returned to the ring where he hit Hunter to break the hold. Cena threw Hunter into the corner and Hunter took his corner bump where he went flying over the top rope to the floor. Cena put Orton into the STFU again. The crowd was popping louder for Cena’s offense than they were for Hunter’s offense. While Cena was still applying the hold, Hunter pulled Cena off and put him in the Crossface. Cena made it to the ropes. The ref told him to break it up. Why? I thought it was no DQ? There are no repercussions for keeping the hold on. Hunter and Cena exchanged punches with the crowd popping for every punch thrown. That’s fun. Cena came back with the spinning suplex he always does. Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. The FU didn’t work. Pedigree didn’t work for Hunter. STFU didn’t work for Cena. Hunter hit the facebuster to the knee and then a spinebuster. Orton was on the apron, so Hunter chopped the back of the leg. Cena went for the FU. Hunter fought out of it and hit the Pedigree. Huge pop for that. He covered, but Orton came out of nowhere to punt Hunter in the head. Orton covered Cena for the one…two…three.

Winner and STILL WWE Champion: Randy Orton via pinfall

Rating: ***

Good, but not great. It just lacked that little something which makes most major title matches special. However, I can’t take away from the performances of the guys, the effort was there as you would expect of guys of this calibre.

 

Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather is up next. Much like Mike Tyson’s involvement 10 years before, this had a lot of mainstream media attached to it. The WWE were banking on the hype hence the amount of attention it received. Mayweather was undefeated in his boxing career and he vowed to knock out the Big Show! Interestingly enough, a lot of people were rooting for Big Show, I guess this was because Mayweather just came across as arrogant rather than acting like the underdog.

 

No Disqualification Match

Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather

There was a lot of talk if this would be a boxing match, a wrestling match, or a MMA. They went with a basic wrestling match with the added stipulation being you could win by pin, submission, or knockout. Floyd comes to the ring with a massive posse and is a super dick heel which is totally awesome. He gets on the good side of the crowd during his entrance though as money falls from the sky. Show outweighs Mayweather by close to 300 lbs which is insane. Floyd is sporting some MMA fighting gloves along with his traditional boxing attire. The hidden star of this match is the mouthpiece of Floyd’s posse. Obviously Floyd uses his quickness to avoid Show in the early going. Floyd lands some body shots in the corner, but still looks a little apprehensive. He does land a right cross and the posse is happy. He starts to taunt Show and throws a few more blows. Floyd feels great and takes a moment to sip a drink for a diamond studded chalice. Fucking Genius! Show is pissed at the lack of respect and starts beating on Floyd’s posse. Now Floyd looks a little more worried and for good cause as he gets caught by Show. He looks to stomp on Floyd’s fists, but he rolls out of the way. Good strategy from Show there.

Mayweather gets set on the top rope, but a right hand staggers Show. Floyd climbs on his back and gets a choke hold that Show fights off for as long as he can before dropping to a knee. The crowd is very displeased with the lack of offense from Show. He does get back to his feet and tosses Floyd to the mat where he steps on the golden fists. This is where the man in the white suit starts to shine as he screams at the ref. Floyd eats a sick chop in the corner, and his manager is pissed. The crowd chants one more time as they are starting to get into this match. Show walks on the back of Floyd and stands on him. His manager tells him that this is for his kids. Awesome! Show continues to walk all over Mayweather as Lawler wonders if the money is worth this. I’d say yes. Show drops an elbow and asks the crowd if they want another one. They sure do, but the posses pull Mayweather from the ring and they head for the hills. Show gives chase and takes out more of the posses before dragging Mayweather back to the ring. They went back in the ring. One of Floyd’s guys ran into the ring, so Show knocked him down with a punch. Show went to chokeslam Floyd. A bodyguard of Floyd ended up hitting Show in the back with a steel chair to prevent that. Show gave him a chokeslam. Floyd got the chair. He hit Show in the stomach and then in the back. Show choked him. Crowd cheered. Mayweather countered a chokeslam with a low blow. Chair to the head by Floyd. Then two more chair shots to the head. Floyd took off his glove. He grabbed the gold chain of one of his bodyguards, putting it around his fist. Show was groggy. He was on his knees. Floyd punched him right in the face with the chain wrapped around his right hand. Ref Scott Armstrong counted Big Show down. He couldn’t get up before the count of 10 so Floyd won.

Winner: Floyd Mayweather via knockout

Rating: **

It was okay for a celebrity match I guess. The problem is a lot of people hated Floyd because he came off as such a cocky guy and didn’t do a good job of being a traditional babyface, which he should have been. Show was a great bully in the build-up to the match. The easiest story to tell in wrestling is the big guy versus the little guy. They told that story well. Could have done it better, though. I wonder if Floyd was difficult to work with or if he just didn’t understand the best role for him would be that of a traditional babyface. Looking back at it today, I understand why they brought Floyd to WrestleMania in the first place, but the execution of the angle could have been handled a lot better.

 

It was announced that WrestleMania 25 will take place in Houston.

 

The WrestleMania guest hostess, Kim Kardashian announced the attendance as 74,635. Her fake enthusiasm shined throughout.

 

We get a video recap of the Edge/Undertaker feud so far. The previous year Edge cashed in his newly won money in the bank (defeated Kennedy for the contract) on SmackDown to take the World Title from Taker after he had wrestling Batista in a cage. Taker dropped the strap because he was taking time off due to an injury. Ironically Edge got injured not long after and was stripped of the title. Taker came back first and faced Batista for the title at Survivor Series in a Hell in the Cell match. Edge made his return and cost Taker his chance to win the title. A month later Edge won the title at Armageddon. Finally Taker gets his one on one match, and if not for throwing Edge in Money in the Bank last year this could have been streak vs. streak.

 

World Heavyweight Championship

The Undertaker vs. Edge ©

Taker gets his normal epic entrance complete with Druids carrying torches. Wow, another heel champion gets to enter last again. This is truly historic. Edge doesn’t come to ring alone though as the he has Teddy Long wheel Vickie Guerrero out so he can give her a good luck kiss. Ah, how sweet. Then Teddy promptly wheels her back. Ok then. They don’t get the super special introductions like the WWE title match did however. Well that’s kind of weird. This would be the first time since WrestleMania XIX that SmackDown got to close the show. Edge starts slow as Taker hits the leaping clothesline for a two count. He works the arm and shoulder before heading up top for Old School. Edge counters, but Taker holds on and rolls through with an arm drag. Cool! Edge gets backed into the corner and Taker hits him with a flying knee. Taker took a nasty bump from that actually as he flew out of the ring and to the floor.

The focus on the back continued by Edge. He applied a single leg Boston Crab variation with his knee buried into the back of Undertaker. Undertaker fought out of the hold as well as another leg submission hold. They did the “yay – boo” punch exchange in the middle of the ring as the crowd came alive. Undertaker won the slugfest. He hit two corner splashes, then the Snake Eyes and Edge countered the big boot with a dropkick to the face. That was sweet. The match kicked into another gear at this point. The crowd became louder too. Undertaker went for a chokeslam. Edge countered with the leaping Edgecution DDT for two. Another sweet counter gets two. Undertaker hit a chokeslam for two. Edge prevented the Old School Clothesline again, crotching Undertaker on the top rope. Edge hit a superplex for two. Edge gave Undertaker punches in the corner, then posed in the corner and Edge countered the Last Ride into a neckbreaker for two. The announcers did a good job of pointing out how Edge was doing a fantastic job of countering Undertaker’s moves. Undertaker came back with the Last Ride powerbomb for one…two…no. Terrific nearfall right there. Undertaker went for the Tombstone. Edge slipped out of it and hit the Edge-o-matic neckbreaker for two. Undertaker came back. He finally hit the Old School Clothesline. Big boot was avoided by Edge, so Undertaker gave the boot to referee Jimmy Korderas. Reverse DDT for Edge. Undertaker gave him a choke, so Edge kicked him in the nuts. No ref to see the disqualification there. Edge stole a camera. That was a nod to Survivor Series when he hit Undertaker in the head with a camera. He hit Undertaker in the head here. Ref was still out. Undertaker sat up. Edge went for the Tombstone. Undertaker countered it. He hit the Tombstone. Ref Charles Robinson SPRINTED DOWN TO THE RING! RUN FORREST RUN! I MEAN RUN CHARLES RUN! That was an amazing sprint by Little Naitch. He was by far the fastest person to get down to the ring at this event. He counted to two. Edge kicked out. That nearfall was also excellent. Suddenly, Hawkins & Ryder ran out. Undertaker gave Ryder a chokeslam onto Hawkins on the floor. Edge used that attack to hit Undertaker with an unsuspecting Spear for two. Vintage awesome nearfall in a long WrestleMania match. I added that one. Edge hit another Spear. Undertaker put him into the submission move that we would come to know as Hell’s Gate over the years. Edge tapped out at 23:50. The Undertaker is 16-0 at WrestleMania.

Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker via submission

Rating: **** ½

Great match. Edge played the role of the smart guy well whiles Undertaker brought his A-game as always. Things like that give a wrestler a lot of credibility that is otherwise difficult to attain. I think their Hell in a Cell match at Summerslam 2008 that ended this feud was the better match, but this was better as a match without a gimmick involved. It was mostly a match that took place in the ring and it told a very good story while getting the right amount of time. I think the first half of the match was a bit slow although they did it that way to build up the story of Undertaker fighting through the back injury. The chemistry between both guys is unbelievable and that’s one of the main reasons why I enjoyed their feud so much! As was always the case in an Undertaker match, the finishing sequence was phenomenal as each guy hit their big moves and the crowd loved every second of it.

 

The show ends with Undertaker posing with the World Heavyweight Championship as the show ended with a recap of the show.

 

*Random Thoughts*

 

  • The booking for Michaels/ Flair was excellent. Flair rolled back the years in this match. How many guys in their late 50’s could wrestle for 20 minutes? I’m always disappointed about Flair coming out of retirement again. This was the perfect send off. I just wish that Flair was more wise with his money but even Hall of Famers have to pay the bills. But that doesn’t take away what I thought about this match. It was perfectly done and the booking was top class.
  • For as much as Jim Ross tried to make the Orton/Cena/Triple H match into an epic they really didn’t give us that. It wasn’t that bad. It’s just that a lot of people expected more going into it.
  • Speaking about John Cena, there’s this guy in the front row wearing a “We Hate Cena” t-shirt. Re-wind to WrestleMania 21, this same guy sitting in the front row watched on with a smile on his face and proudly wearing a John Cena shirt after watching his hero win the WWE Championship. That just summed up how unpopular Cena was amongst the older fans.
  • The Floyd Mayweather experiment didn’t live up to the expectations as it should. It would have been nice if he embraced the underdog role a bit more but I guess his ego didn’t allow him to do that. Instead, it just came across as Big Show vs. a cocky arsehole.
  • I loved the atmosphere of the stadium. I’ve spoken to people who attended the show and they’ve always spoke highly of it. Sometimes, it’s always a risk having a show outdoors but here, it paid off perfectly.
  • Go on youtube and look for “Charles Robinson Chariots of Fire”. You’ll thank me later.

     

    Best match: Undertaker vs. Edge – I think Michaels/ Flair is more memorable because of what was on the line but this was better.

    Worst match: Batista vs. Umaga – The Lumberjill is up there too but this was so f’n boring!

    WrestleMania Moment: Flair’s retirement – It sucks that he’s out of retirement but it was memorable while it lasted.

     

    Top 5 Superstars

    1. Ric Flair – His last match in the WWE…..for now.

    2. Edge – Outstanding work in his first WrestleMania main event.

    3. Shawn Michaels – They don’t call him Mr WrestleMania for nothing you know!

    4. Undertaker – Another great WrestleMania match from the Deadman.

    5. CM Punk – Surprised he won actually. I thought for sure that Jericho would get the nod.

     

    Updated rankings chart:

    Shawn Michaels – 40pts

    Hulk Hogan – 30pts

    Macho Man Randy Savage – 29pts

    Bret Hart – 25pts

    Stone Cold – 24pts

    The Rock – 17pts

    Kurt Angle/ Edge – 14pts

    Undertaker – 13pts

    Triple H – 12pts

    Ricky Steamboat/ Mick Foley– 10pts

    Owen Hart/ Ric Flair – 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/ 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/ CM Punk– 1pt

     

    Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 8

    An excellent show. The highlights were two four star matches between Undertaker/Edge and Michaels/Flair, plus a very good Money in the Bank match, a solid WWE Title match and Mayweather’s match was okay for what it was. Still, for a four hour show they booked it very well.

     

    WrestleMania Rankings so far:

    WrestleMania 17 – 10

    WrestleMania 19 – 9.5

    WrestleMania 21 – 9

    WrestleMania 14 – 8.5

    WrestleMania 20 – 8.5

    WrestleMania 24 – 8

    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: Not only is it the 25th instalment but the greatest match in history takes place at WrestleMania 25

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