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WWE WrestleMania XXVI Review

WWE WrestleMania XXVI

March 28th 2010

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

Announcers: Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole & Matt Striker

Attendance: 72,219

Buyrate: 885,000

 

The 28th edition of WrestleMania was centred on the Undertaker’s streak and the legendary career of Shawn Michaels. After coming so close to beating the Deadman at WrestleMania 25, Shawn Michaels challenged Taker to a rematch but was turned down every time. After failing to win the Royal Rumble (Undertaker was World Heavyweight Champion at the time), Shawn took matters into his own hands and cost Undertaker his title at Elimination Chamber. Undertaker finally accepted Shawn’s challenge on the condition that if he lost then he must retire. This was a bittersweet moment for me because Shawn Michaels is one of my favourite wrestlers ever. I was sad knowing that this was going to be his final match but happy knowing that he was going to retire with good health and was able to spend more time with his family.

 

Fantasia sings America the Beautiful.

 

The opening video package highlights past WrestleMania moments and the key events on this year’s card. The theme for this VP was all about the Superstars chasing after their WrestleMania moment. We get the usual WM pyro and are welcomed to the event by our 3MAT (3 Man Announce Team)

 

WWE Tag Team Championship

R-Truth & John Morrison vs. ShowMiz (The Big Show & The Miz) ©

This would be the 1st time the Tag Titles have been defended on the PPV broadcast of WrestleMania since WrestleMania 22. Coincidentally Big Show was ½ of the reigning tag champions at that time as well. The Miz comes into this match as the reigning United States Champion as well. That title has not been defended at WrestleMania since 23. Former Tag Champions explode as Miz and Morrison get things started. Morrison gets a quick near fall before a slam sets up a double team that ends with Truth coming off the top rope with a leg drop. Truth hits a leg kick, and Miz makes the tag to Show. Truth rightly shits his pants and has nothing for Show. A sweet fall away slam leaves Truth lying. Show knocks Morrison off the apron and looks for a Vader Bomb, but Morrison hits a kick that sends Show crashing off the middle turnbuckle. That gets a two count for Truth, and each man ends up making the tag. Morrison unloads on Miz and hits a flapjack. A corner charge ends with Miz trying to get a roll-up, but Morrison rolls through and hits a running knee. He looks for Starship Pain, but Show pulls Miz out of harm’s way. Truth tries to slingshot onto Show, but that proves stupid as he gets caught and rammed back first into the ring post. Miz looks for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Morrison counters to a roll-up for two. Show makes a blind tag and hits the KO Punch as Morrison tries to spring off the middle ropes. That’s enough to finish.

Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: ShowMiz via pinfall

Rating: *

It only lasted 3 minutes! That’s a damn shame because this match had the potential to be a solid tag team match but I can’t fault the work involved. I wished John Morrison had a bigger role here because he did tremendously well in 2009.

 

We get a recap of what went down at the Fan Axcess. I would love to go to something like this one day. You can see everyone is having the time of their lives here!

 

Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton

The man who helped close Mania the year before is involved in the second match of the card. Damn! The crazy thing is Orton is more over with the crowd this year than he was as the Main Event guy in Houston a year earlier. The rules have this being every man for himself, but it starts as a handicap match as Orton is at a disadvantage. Orton plays minds games to start and gets things is able to fend off both men before the numbers game finally catches up to him. Orton and Rhodes take turns stomping the piss out of Randy and follow that with heavy blows to the back. The crowd starts to get restless with the lack of offense from Orton and try to rally him, but doesn’t help. A double team suplex keeps Orton down and that gives Rhodes and Orton a chance to play to the crowd. Orton gets backed into the corner and the ass kicking continues there. Orton gets whipped into the opposite corner and starts to fight back, but DiBiase follows behind with a running clothesline. Rhodes chops Orton’s leg while Orton delivers to clothesline to continue the onslaught. DiBiase goes for the cover and that draws the ire of Rhodes. Things take a turn as they start to fight with each other, and Rhodes tosses DiBiase to the floor. A huge Alabama Slam gets a pin attempt for Rhodes, but DiBiase makes the save. DiBiase and Rhodes start to fight with each, but they stop once they seen Orton is back to his feet. They turn their attention back to Orton, and DiBiase ends up eating a backdrop to the floor. Each man ends up taking a powerslam, and the crowd starts chanting for the RKO. Orton sets, but DiBiase pulls him to the floor. Rhodes comes over the top with a slingshot crossbody, but Orton moves and DiBiase ends up taking the move. Orton preps DiBiase for the rope assisted DDT, but Rhodes gets involved. No problem there though as Orton drops them both with the rope assisted DDT. Orton stalks Rhodes and gets a huge ovation from the crowd as he readies for the punt kick, and it connects flush. DiBiase comes from behind and looks for Dream Street, but Orton counters to the RKO and that gets the pin on DiBiase.

Winner: Randy Orton via pinfall

Rating: ** ½

It was okay but it never picked up at times. The crowd was well into it when Orton made his comeback which was a good sign for his face turn as he was a new babyface at the time. Back in 2010, I thought Ted DiBiase would have received a bigger push then his former partner, Cody. The signs were there when he started parading with the Million Dollar Championship but it turned out that Cody was the better of the two. Nowadays, Cody is a solid act in the WWE whiles DiBiase resigned in 2013.

 

Backstage, Vickie Guerrero and the heel divas cut a promo that included Jillian Hall singing. Santino showed up, plugged Slim Jims and we got some guest appearances from Gene Okerlund, Mae Young and Melina. Melina got a decent pop as she was on the injury list at the time.

 

Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Kofi Kingston vs. MVP vs. Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Matt Hardy vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kane vs. Christian

This should prove fun to recap with 10 guys in this thing. Mass chaos to start as everyone starts hitting everyone else. Some bail to the floor and others wait for a ladder to be brought to them. Drew climbs first and gets pulled down by Hardy. He eats a twist of fate for his trouble and now everyone starts trying to race up the ladder with Bourne getting the closest. He gets stopped by Kane and choke slammed over the top onto Shelton. Swagger and Hardy fight on top of the ladder and Kofi knocks the ladder over sending them both crashing down. Christian enters the fray and monkey flips Kofi onto a ladder that was resting in the corner. Nice! Christian starts to climb, but Dolph brings him down with the Zig-Zag in a nice spot. That gives Dolph an opening, but MVP just yanks him off the ladder. That’s pretty effective. Shelton, Kofi, and MVP gang up on Kane and Kofi tries to run up a ladder to hit Kane, but screws up the spot. They cover ok though as it ends the way it was intended and that’s with Kofi getting powerbombed onto a ladder. MVP hits the Kawada Kick on Kane to send him to the floor and Shelton comes up from behind to take MVP out with Pay Dirt. Drew looks to enter, but MVP dropkicks a ladder into his face. That gives Shelton a chance to climb, but Swagger breaks things up by using another ladder as his weapon of choice. He takes MVP out as well, but Bourne comes flying off the top with a flying knee. Bourne works on Swagger as Hardy and Christian bring two other ladders into the ring. Swagger ends up getting sandwiched between two ladders and the other 3 men starts to climb. Swagger pulls a ladder out from Hardy and that sends him crashing. Christian looks to hit the Killswitch off the ladder, but Bourne sends him to the mat. That gives Bourne a chance to hit Airborne off a ladder that was bridged on the top rope. Holy shit! Evan heads up, but gets caught by Hardy and they battle before Hardy hip tosses him off the ladder in rather impressive fashion. Damn!

Hardy looks for the case, but Swagger flips him off the ladder and Hardy ends up landing on the bridged ladder in a nasty looking spot. MVP and Shelton call back to a spot the previous year when Shelton powerbombed MVP to the floor as this time MVP looks for the powerbomb, but Shelton hangs out and pulls both men to the floor. Kane uses a ladder to abuse everyone on the outside and heads back into the ring with Dolph. Ziggler climbs over Kane to get up the ladder, but can’t retrieve the case as he gets sent crashing onto the top rope. Kofi eats a boot and Kane continues his dominance by chokeslamming Dolph onto a ladder. Kane breaks a ladder while abusing Dolph, but can’t capitalise as Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise. Kofi shows awesome creativity as he uses the 2 pieces off the broken ladder as stilts and makes his way up to retrieve the case. Drew returns though to ruin the fun and the crowd is groaning over the prospects of him winning this match. Hardy makes the save and Drew ends up getting crotched on the top rope after getting knocked off the ladder. Hardy gets his hands on the case, but has to feign struggling so that Christian can use another ladder to get to him. That definitely looked a little silly. Christian and Hardy do battle on the ladders and it ends badly for Matt as Christian brings him down with a Scorpion Death Drop. Christian heads back up, but Swagger meets him up top and they start slugging it out. Swagger gets smart and uses the case to his advantage as he hits Christian in the face to send him flying below to the canvas. That gives Swagger the opportunity and he retrieves the case with little trouble. (On the live broadcast, it took an age for him to unhook the briefcase. This was cut out on the DVD.)

Winner: Jack Swagger

Rating: ****

A lot of people I know didn’t like this match but I loved it. Maybe I’ve overrated it a bit but it’s deserved. I loved Kofi using a broken Ladder as stilts. That was so original! I was shocked that Swagger won. He wasn’t booked well leading up to this but I was pleased they were giving him a chance (his title run was poor though). My thought was either Drew McIntyre or Christian winning it. Too unpredictable these matches!

 

They showed clips from the Hall of Fame. I still think it’s a joke that Stu Hart’s segment wasn’t even shown on TV. They showed Uecker’s clips because of his jokes (I will say that Uecker comes across as someone who has a deep respect for Wrestling). Also, props to Ted DiBiase for his speech. He’s a very gifted speaker. They showed the Hall of Fame class on the stage. You have to love the faces of Mad Dog Vachon. This is definitely the weakest Hall of Fame class since they brought it back. The full class was Ted DiBiase, Stu Hart, Antonio Inoki, Wendi Richter, Mad Dog Vachon, Bob Uecker and Gorgeous George.

 

We get a video package to hype up the next match, Sheamus vs. Triple H. Behind the scenes, Hunter & Sheamus are very close friends hence why Sheamus was pushed so quickly in his early days.

 

Sheamus vs. Triple H

Lock-up to start and Sheamus powers HHH back into the corner and talks some trash. HHH does the same a few moments later and instead of talking shit, he just slaps some red in the face of Sheamus. A whip gets reversed and Sheamus sets too early on a backdrop. HHH looks for the Pedigree, but Sheamus escapes. HHH stays in control with a suplex, and gives a crotch chop before hitting the Harley Race knee. Sheamus bails to the floor and HHH gives chase. They head back into the ring and HHH hits a chop block. That sets up the figure four and Cole starts name dropping current TNA Star Ric Flair. Sheamus gets to the bottom rope to break, and HHH finally realizes just before the 5 count. Again Sheamus heads to the floor and HHH chases again. It proves to be a mistake this time as Sheamus sends him crashing into the ring steps. They brawl on the floor and now Sheamus gets the upper hand before things settle back in the ring. Sheamus hits a sweet looking backbreaker as the announce talk about how much it would do for his career to beat HHH at WrestleMania. I know that is the story coming into the match, but the man did just beat John Cena for the WWE Title. That alone should cement his career in the mind of most fans. Sheamus corners HHH and stomps away before the ref forces him to break. That gives HHH a chance to fight back, but an axe handle gets things back on the side of the Pale Warrior. Sheamus opts to just pound away on HHH and then look for a cover, but it only gets two. HHH fights to his feet and gets out of a chinlock, so Sheamus opts to deliver a powerslam. Things slow down a bit again as Sheamus works the neck and shoulder. He switches to a headlock, and that gives HHH a chance to hit a belly to back suplex to break. He floats over Sheamus and hits a DDT to change the momentum in the match. They start to exchange blows in the centre of the ring and the crowd responds with a Boo or Yeah depending on how is landing the blow. Sheamus gets sent into the ropes and HHH knocks him down with a high knee. Striker yells for us to tie our mothers down because here comes HHH. Thanks for the warning I guess? Someone shouts facebuster and sure enough Sheamus sets too early and eats the previously mentioned facebuster. HHH looks for the Pedigree again, and once again, Sheamus is out the back door. He doesn’t get far enough away though and ends up taking a neckbreaker. They fight in the corner and HHH looks for the superplex. Sheamus drops down though and looks for the Celtic Cross, but HHH slides off to escape. Sheamus looks to follow with the Pump Kick, but HHH ducks and sets for the Pedigree, but Sheamus backdrops out and hits the Pump Kick for a hot near fall. Sheamus goes right back to the Celtic Cross, but HHH escapes again and delivers a spinebuster for a near fall. Sheamus tries to bail to the floor, but HHH stops him on the apron. Sheamus gets in a shot and hits another Pump Kick, but HHH plays possum and hits the Pedigree to pick up the win.

Winner: Triple H via pinfall

Rating: *** ½

A solid match that didn’t completely bury Sheamus and overall he looked comfortable in there with someone like Hunter. They built it up where the first guy to hit their finisher was going to win and it ended up being HHH. The ovation for HHH was awesome, I have to say. I remember a lot of people online were mad that Hunter went over. I didn’t mind. I could sense the rematch coming and in that rematch Sheamus not only beat Hunter, but took him out for many months. This feud was pretty much the end of Hunter’s run as a full time performer.

 

Awesome video package for Punk/Mysterio. Punk’s out first with Gallows and Serena. Have to say Serena looks nice in a leather jacket (it has the SES logo on the back) and white pants. Punk cut a promo saying there are 70,000 people throwing their life away. So nobody’s Straight Edge there except him apparently? “I choose to be drug free. I choose to be better than each and every single one of you.” Nice “CM Drunk” sign in the crowd. Ended it with this line: “One Nation under Punk indivisible with integrity and sobriety for all.” Great promo. Punk is awesome as a heel. If you’re into ring gear, Mysterio’s wearing an Avatar like outfit. The story is if Rey loses he has to join the Straight Edge Society.

 

CM Punk /w/ Serena & Luke Gallows vs. Rey Mysterio

The SES distracts Rey and Punk takes advantage. Punk charges in the corner, but Rey hits a drop toehold and heads to the top rope. Punk is still a step ahead and leaves Punk in the Tree of Woe. He tries a baseball slide, but Rey lifts up and Punk goes ball first into the steel post. Rey tries to come off the apron, but gets caught and slammed face first into the ring steps. Nasty! Rey just beats the count and that only pisses off Punk as he unloads with right hands. He hooks in a chinlock, but Rey fights out and hits a seated senton. He tries the springboard crossbody, but Punk counters to a powerslam. Punk sets too early on a backdrop and eats a boot from Rey. They do a cool reversal sequence and it ends with Punk getting a roll-up for two. Punk looks for a powerbomb, but Rey counters by flipping out. Sadly for Rey, Punk takes his head off with a kick for two. Damn that sounded great! Punk gets frustrated and keeps trying for multiple pins, but Rey is out all four times. Rey battles to his feet, jumps up top and springs off to deliver a DDT. Damn, it may have looked a little sloppy, but that may be the only time I can remember Punk trying that since his Halloween Havoc match with Eddie. Rey kicks Punk into position for the 619, but it is countered to the GTS. Rey fights out of that though and hits a boot of his own. Rey springs off the middle rope, but Punk catches him in perfect position for the GTS. Again, Rey fights out and heads up top and looks to honour Eddie with the frog splash. Punk rolls out of the way and regains control. He follows Rey into the corner with the high knee, but Rey shoves off on the bulldog attempt. He gets Punk into position for the 619 again, but Sarita covers to save. Rey backs off and ends up face to face with Gallows. Punk sneaks from behind and tries the GTS again, but Rey gets a head scissors that sends Punk into Gallows and leaves him in perfect position for the 619. The move is finally hit and that is enough to get Rey the win.

Winner: Rey Mysterio via pinfall

Rating: ***

I enjoyed it but it was way too short. Could have been a show stealer had it been given more time. The chemistry was there so it paved the way for re-matches. I remember reading online that if Punk lost then he would have had his hair shaved. It happened later on but the head shave would have been more memorial had it happened at WrestleMania.

 

We get a video package for the Bret Hart/ Vince McMahon match. This is one of my favourite videos ever! The song they used (Human by Civil Twilight) is perfect and the clips telling the story of how this came about. On a personal note, I’m please Bret let go of the past and returned to the WWE. He found it deep in his heart to forgive Vince (and Shawn) and to return to the WWE. At the start of the video it says “Living in the past, there’s no future in it”, that is so fucking true.

 

Bret gets a huge ovation as the crowd is just happy to see him at WrestleMania one last time even if he is really in no condition to wrestle. Vince announces that this will be a lumberjack match and that he has paid of the Hart Dynasty and Bret’s brothers and sisters to be the lumberjacks. Bruce Hart steps in the ring and reveals a ref’s shirt to become the official of record for the match. Bret calls out his family and mentions they were probably even paid up front. The swerve comes though as all the Harts turn on Vince and he is royally screwed. Bruce calls for the bell and Vince looks like he’s shit in his shorts!

 

Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Mr McMahon

Bret starts the massacre as he gingerly kicks Vince’s ass all over the ring. Vince heads to the floor and the Hart Dynasty gets their shots including a hard slap from Natalya. Striker wishes her the best in her future endeavors. Heh! David Hart Smith preps Vince for the Hart Attack and Tyson comes off the top rope to the floor to complete the move. Well, this is one way to lengthen the match without Bret having to do too much. Vince tries to crawl under the ring, but is able to retrieve a crowbar. That backs off the Hart family and Vince heads back into the ring after Bret. He misses and Bret starts throwing some blows before dropping an elbow. The crowd is slowly dying as they realize this isn’t the match they were expecting. To his credit Bret tears into Vince with the crowbar, but this match really needs some more violence and blood to satisfy the masses. Bret uses the crowbar and hits Vince in the throat. Bret teases the sharpshooter to pop the crowd, but he’s not ready to finish things yet. People around me kept wondering if Bret could even pull off the sharpshooter. Again Bret teases the sharpshooter to a huge pop, but he only stomps on Vince’s grapefruits. Vince continues to beg off, but Bret just continues to stomp away. DH sends a chair into the ring and that gets the crowd back into the match. Bret actually sets up the chair and takes a timeout as he watches Vince flop around the ring. Some in the crowd actually start to boo and that’s the last thing I ever expected to hear during a match between these two. Bret has had enough now and delivers some pretty damn impressive chair shots. He makes like Austin at WrestleMania X-7 and pounds Vince repeatedly with the chair. He then concentrates on the knee with the chair, and finishes with several more whacks to the back and chest. Finally the sharpshooter is applied and that gets Bret his closure.

Winner: Bret Hart via submission

Rating: N.R

The story was about Bret getting his revenge on Vince after 13 years and he finally gave him the arse kicking he deserved.

 

It was announced that the attendance was 72,219. A new record too!

 

The video package aired for the Jericho/Edge match. They were partners the year before. Edge tore his Achilles Tendon. Jericho ripped on him in promos, calling him weak and injury prone. Edge surprisingly returned at the Royal Rumble, won the match and then Jericho reclaimed the World Title at Elimination Chamber to set up this match. Great video package.

 

 

World Heavyweight Championship

Chris Jericho © vs. Edge

The announcers immediately play up Edge’s injured heel and put over that Jericho was trained by Stu Hart and will know how to exploit the injury. A lock-up to start that ends with Jericho getting a side headlock. ASK HIM! They criss-cross the ropes and Edge hits a flying shoulder tackle. He starts pounding Jericho in the corner, but the ref causes enough separation to give Jericho a chance to get in a shot. Now he starts pounding on Edge in the corner, but a whip gets reversed and Jericho takes a backdrop as he bounces out of the corner. Edge sets up in the corner for the spear, but Jericho bails to the floor. Edge gives chase and shoves Jericho back in the ring, but that leaves him vulnerable as the second man in, and Jericho is able to sneak in a stiff boot. A baseball slide sends Edge crashing to the floor from the apron. Jericho goes to work on the throat instead of the heel as he slingshots Edge into the bottom rope. A belly to back suplex gets a two count and Jericho follows that by hooking in a modified chinlock. Edge fights to his feet, but is pulled down by his hair to kill his momentum. Jericho finally makes a mistake as a blind charge misses Edge and hits the ring post. Edge lands a spinning heel kick, but is still in no position to capitalize as Jericho drops him with a front suplex on the top rope. Edge slides out of the way of the middle rope drop kick, and charges at Jericho sending him flying from the apron to the announce table. The crowd is very quiet for this match so far and it’s pretty disheartening for someone who was there live. Edge runs the apron and dives onto the floor to land a clothesline. They head back in the ring and do battle on the top rope. Things end badly for Jericho as he eats a top rope X-Factor that gets a count of two. Edge heads back up once again and hits a cross body, but Jericho rolls through and gets a two count of his own. Jericho looks for the Walls, but Edge powers out. He comes off the middle rope with a sunset flip for two, but Jericho floats through to get a two count of his own. Edge reverses that, but Jericho is still one step ahead and delivers a stiff kick to the face. Jericho looks for the Code Breaker, but Edge counters, and sets for the Spear. Jericho counters with a roll-up and that turns that into the Walls of Jericho. Awesome! The crowd now starts to finally show some life as a good portion is solidly behind Jericho. Edge fights into a position where he is able to get a small package for two. He charges into a back elbow though and Jericho looks for the Lionsault. Edge rolls out though and catches Jericho with Edgeucution for two.

The Impaler DDT gets another near fall for Edge. A blind charge catches a boot and Jericho comes off the middle ropes with a blow to the back of Edge’s head. Jericho gets a cocky smile across his face and has the bright idea to go for a spear of his own. Sadly Edge is prepared and delivers one of the stiffest kicks to the face I’ve ever seen. Damn that looked spectacular. Edge, with a limp now, loses his mind as he prepares for the Spear, but again, Jericho is still a step ahead as he hits the Code Breaker for two. Finally Jericho starts targeting the injured Achilles tendon and stomps away in vicious fashion. Edge tries to fight out, but he is a one legged man in an ass kicking contest (yeah, I know) and gets caught easily with the Walls. Jericho is in an extra douche bag mood today as he opts for a single leg crab on the injured wheel. Awesome! Edge somehow drags himself to the bottom rope to break the hold. Jericho pulls Edge back to the centre of the ring to apply the hold again, but Edge reverses to a pinning position for two. A clothesline sends both men to the floor and Jericho grabs his Championship Belt. The ref gets bumped and Jericho uses the belt to blast Edge, but it only gets two. The Code Breaker comes next and that’s enough for the anti-climactic pin. After winning fair and square, Jericho gets speared off the announce table and through the barricade. Nice Spot! Would have been better had they worked that into the match.

Winner and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Chris Jericho via pinfall

Rating: *** ½

Surprised that Jericho won but looking back, it was obvious that he would win. They used counters, nearfalls and submissions to tease the finish. They did a great job of starting slow, picking up the pace and then finishing with a bang. I loved that Edge sold the leg injury while getting up to receive the Code breaker. Very pleased with this one and I can’t wait for more. My prediction at the time was that Jericho wins here with Edge likely scoring the win in the rematch at Extreme Rules. That’s what happened although Swagger cashed in the briefcase on Jericho, so Edge didn’t win the title from Jericho. He cost him the title, though, because the post-match attack is what led to him softening up Jericho for Swagger. Good booking, I thought.

 

Lay-Cool (Layla & Michelle McCool)/ Alicia Fox/ Maryse & Vickie Guerrero vs. Mickie James/ Gail Kim/ Kelly Kelly/ Eve & Beth Phoenix

The heels come out to Michelle’s music. The faces come out to Eve’s music for some reason. I love how Vickie’s outfit says “Excuse Me” on it and she starts the match. The face divas all took turns beating on Vickie in the corner. Kelly’s outfit is great, I have to say. Of course I liked Mickie’s outfit too. It’s great to see her back after her injury. It’s finishing sequence time about a minute into the match. There were literally eight finishers in a row. Mickie’s DDT on Michelle was nice and Beth ended the sequence by hitting Alicia with her Glam Slam. The crowd is dead for all this. McCool makes the save with a big boot and the heels decide to help Vickie to the top rope so she can honor Eddie with a Bullfrog Splash (Striker’s words) on Kelly Kelly. The pin is botched though as the ref can’t count three because Vicki leans so far back it lifts Kelly’s shoulders off the mat. I actually appreciate the attention to detail by the ref there actually. Finally the pin is counted.

Winners: Lay-Cool, Alicia Fox, Maryse & Vickie Guerrero via pinfall

Rating: ½ *

Filler and nothing else. It was cool seeing Vickie paying tribute to Eddie and some of the crowd picked up on it too.

 

Cena vs. Batista is next. Long video package to start of course. After Cena won an Elimination Chamber match, Vince McMahon gave Batista (who was a heel after a long babyface run) a title shot when Cena was recovering from injuries. Batista won the WWE Title. The promos centred on how they were the top guys for many years, but Batista was mad that Cena got more publicity than him. I enjoyed heel Batista. His promos leading up to the match were a lot of fun. Batista gets the pyro and then the spotlight entrance. Cena gets his patented elaborate entrance this time with the US Air Force helping him out. That was pretty cool. Cena had the fastest entrance time on the night for sure since he sprinted down there. Hope he’s not winded.

 

WWE Championship

Batista © vs. John Cena

The crowd is jacked for this match and it comes off just as well on camera as it did being there. The story here is that Batista has dominated Cena like nobody else and it is causing Cena to doubt himself. Cole blows my mind my bringing up the fact that the WWE Title has not changed hands since WrestleMania 21. Both men are cautious to start and battle over a collar and elbow. Batista gets the slight advantage with a side headlock, and mows Cena down with a shoulder. Cena changes his game and takes Batista with basic mat wrestling. Batista just shrugs that off and backs Cena into a corner and sends him into the opposite corner sternum first. As Cena staggers back out Batista drops him with a heavy blow to the back on the head. Cena gets worked over in the corner and Batista hits a running boot. The ass kicking continues on the ring apron as Batista continues to rain heavy blows to Cena’s head and neck. A suplex is blocked and Cena ends up hitting one of his own. This gets things moving for Cena and he sends Batista crashing face first into the canvas for a two count. He looks for the Attitude Adjustment, but Batista counters to a sick looking DDT for two. That looked kind of nasty, but Batista shows no sympathy as he continues to work the neck.

Things slow down a little as Batista locks in a body scissors/sleeper combo. Cena fights to his feet with Batista on his back and is able to break the grip. They start exchanging blows in the centre of the ring and that gives those in attendance to chance to boo or cheer for whoever is landing a blow. Batista gets the last shot in and follows with a neckbreaker for two. You got to love the sound strategy of Batista so far in this match as he has been focused on the neck that he broke 19 months earlier. Batista goes back to the neck with a front facelock, but Cena breaks with a backdrop. This gets things going for Cena as he starts to run though his patented offense. He tells Batista you can’t see me, but Dave says fuck that and drills Cena with a spinebuster. Tremendous! Batista starts to Warrior up and gives us the thumbs down, but Cena counters the Batista Bomb to the STF. The hold doesn’t get applied for long though as Batista is able to pull himself to the bottom rope. Cena takes too long to capitalize though and ends up eating a spear. Apparently his spear doesn’t have the awesome Canadian Powers that Edge’s does though as Cena is out a two. They battle on the top rope and actually battle over a test of strength. Batista gets shoved off and that gives Cena a chance to hit a top tope 5 Knuckle Shuffle. Batista grabs the top rope to block the Attitude Adjustment and regains his footing to deliver a Batista Bomb for two. Hot near fall there and the crowd is rocking now. Dave is quite pissed and looks for another Batista Bomb, but we get multiple counters and it finally ends with Cena hitting the Attitude Adjustment for a two count of his own. Wow, the crowd was buying that one. Cena heads back to the top rope and as a call back to SummerSlam, Batista catches him with coming down with spinebuster. Batista looks to finish with the Batista Bomb, but Cena rolls through and hooks the STF. Dave fights for as long as possible but taps. Cena celebrates with the Cena Haters in the front row with a big smile on his face and it had me laughing then and still has me laughing about it now.

Winner and NEW WWE Champion: John Cena via submission

Rating: *** ½

One of Cena’s (& Batista’s) best matches. A whole lot better than I expected. Never really been a Batista fan but he done well in this match. These two have crazy chemistry together and they delivered on the big stage. This still seemed a little short to me, but the story was solid with Batista targeting the neck. This was a very solid power match and the crowd was with them from the start. These two may not define work rate, but they brought the big match feel and delivered. Oh yeah “Batista Loves Fishsticks”! Hilarious!

 

Up next, it’s the main event. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker. Career vs. Streak! We get a video package for this match and it’s an awesome video. The story was that Michaels was obsessed with beating Undertaker at WrestleMania. He wanted one more shot. Undertaker didn’t want to give it to him, but Michaels cost Undertaker the World Title at Elimination Chamber and that led to Undertaker giving him one more try. There was a stipulation, though. If Michaels lost he had to retire.

 

Career vs. Streak

No Disqualifications

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker

Ever the cocky bastard Shawn mocks Taker with the throat slash jester and that only pisses the off the Dead Man. That seems to have gotten him off his game though as Shawn sticks and moves with chops. He gets too close though and gets whipped into the buckle where he flips out and gets dropped with Snake Eyes. As Shawn staggers Taker destroys him with a running boot and then follows with a splash in the corner. Damn, Taker is in a grumpy mood tonight. Taker hits Old School early, but jams his knee on the landing. That becomes important as Taker can’t get Shawn up for the chokeslam. That gives Shawn a target as he starts throwing kicks at the knee. Taker tries for the Tombstone, but again, Shawn goes right back to the knee. Taker is undaunted and gets another goozle, but again, Shawn goes right back to the knee. Taker misses a clothesline and Shawn looks to snap off Sweet Chin Music, but Taker backs off just in time to avoid. Shawn backs Taker into the corner and continues to pinpoint the knee in impressive fashion. Finally Taker gets pissed off enough that he just tosses Shawn into the corner and then takes him to the floor with a clothesline. That gives him a chance to hit Air Dead Man to the floor, but Shawn’s seen that before and he rushes back into the ring and delivers a shoulder block to the injured knee. Cool! They head back to the floor and that’s not where Shawn wants to be as he gets rammed back first into the ring post. Shawn gets prepped on the apron and Taker hits the leaping leg drop. That not only takes something out of Shawn, but it takes something out of Taker’s leg and he can’t follow up fast enough. That slight delay gives Shawn a chance to sucker Taker into a figure four.

Again though Taker gets good and pissed off and reverses the pressure of the hold and that forces Shawn to break. They exchange center ring and Shawn’s chops can’t match Taker’s right hands, so Shawn makes sure to get in some shots to the injured leg. That coupled with the chops finally gets the advantage for Shawn and he ends up hitting flying forearm. Shawn kips up, but Taker is waiting and hits a nice chokeslam for two. Taker looks to finish with the Tombstone, but Shawn slides off and hooks the Ankle Lock. Taker struggles before Shawn drops him into the heel hook. Lawler doesn’t see any way Taker would tap to end the streak, and sure enough a well placed boot breaks the hold. Shawn sends Taker to the floor with a clothesline and hangs on to the apron. He springs off the middle ropes, but Taker catches him and hits a Tombstone on the floor. Damn! Cole reminds everyone that this match can’t end on a count-out. Somehow Shawn is still quivering as the trainer checks on him. Since he is still breathing Taker has no sympathy and fires Shawn back in the ring for a two count. Taker looks to hit the Last Ride, but Shawn grabs some hair on the way down causing Taker to eat canvas. It seems Taker took the worst of that as Shawn gets a near fall. Shawn heads up top for the flying elbow, but Taker raises his knees to block. That wasn’t the smartest thing for Taker’s bad knee and Shawn crawls over to finish, but he crawls right into Hell’s Gate. Shawn is able to counter rather quickly to a pinning combination for two. Both men fight to their feet and Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music for two out of nowhere. This time Shawn starts to tune up the band and that lets Taker know what’s coming and sure enough he blocks. He kills Shawn dead with a Last Ride, but apparently there is still life left as Shawn kicks out at two.

Taker seems to be getting more pissed as the match goes on and he tosses Shawn’s corpse over the top and to the floor. Taker starts tearing apart the English Announce Table (Spanish guys are thanking God) and looks for another Last Ride. Shawn flips off and hits Sweet Chin Music that leaves Taker out on the announce table. Since this is WrestleMania and since this is Shawn Fucking Michaels he heads up top and crashes through Taker and the announce table with a moonsault. In what may be coincidence or just how awesome Shawn is, the move actually hit Taker flush on the bad knee. Shawn gets a rush of adrenaline before he collapses to the floor. Both men finally pull themselves from the wreckage and head back into the ring. Back in the ring, Michaels kicks him hard in the head with another Sweet Chin Music. That looked so perfect. Undertaker kicks out at two. That was one of the best superkicks I’ve ever seen. Another Sweet Chin Music is countered to a chokeslam. Tombstone by Undertaker hits. Covers him with the hands on the chest. One, two…no. That spot was similar to last year although it worked once again. Crowd is chanting “This is Awesome” and they are absolutely right. The Undertaker was about to do the cutthroat signal, However he can’t finish the throat slashing gesture as he actually shows mercy towards Shawn and tells him to stay down. This is Shawn Michaels we are talking about though and he uses Taker to pull himself to his knees and then taunts him with the throat slash gesture. To drive the point home Shawn actually has the balls to slap Taker in the face. You know that gesture of mercy Taker showed few seconds ago? Yeah, that bitch just left the building after that slap. Taker goes crazy bastard evil as he hits a jumping tombstone to kill Shawn and his career dead.

Winner: The Undertaker via pinfall

Rating: *****

What a send-off for Shawn Michaels. I prefer last year’s match but this is still a five star quality match! They really pulled out all the stops and told a great story. These are two of the best ever on the biggest stage delivering the goods like only they know how. I loved it. Their chemistry is phenomenal and they built to the finish perfectly. I think the match at WM25 told a different story in that it was a more balanced match. This one was even through a lot of it, but the inevitability of the loss was there too. That pop for Michaels kicking out that Tombstone was enormous and Undertaker did a great job of selling it too, wishing that Shawn would just stop. The idea this time around was that Michaels wanted Undertaker to really beat him to earn the win and that’s what happened after Michaels told him to end it. They had the undisputed match of the year (in my opinion) two years in a row. At least they were smart enough to put it on last this time.

 

Post-match, after Undertaker posed in his purple light he picked Michaels up. They shook hands. They hugged each other while trying to stay on their feet. The final shot of the night was Michaels in the ring getting the standing ovation he deserves for being one of the best ever. I enjoyed that moment of seeing the crowd paying tribute to this man who spent his life entertaining us like few others could and I admit, I got a bit teary eyed at this point. You could read Shawn’s lips saying: “Thank you for a wonderful life.” No Shawn. Thank you. The show ended with Michaels walking up the ramp, applauding and waving goodbye.

 

*Random Thoughts*

 

  • What can you say about Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels? I like the WM25 match more, but this one did live up to the incredible hype. I thought they would do more wrestling outside of the ring because of the no DQ stip. All they really did was that insane moonsault off the top rope spot where Shawn went crashing through Undertaker on the table. The finishing sequence matched last year’s. It might have even topped it with all the kickouts they did. Simply put, these guys are two of the best ever on the big stage and their chemistry with one another is tremendous. I doubt any wrestler could have a better match for their retirement than what HBK did here.
  • I had high hopes for this show. Looking at the card, it was pretty solid. It was hit and miss in terms of the timing for the matches. Rey/Punk & the Tag title match were too short. Felt more like TV matches then WrestleMania matches. I don’t know what it is but Rey Mysterio always has short matches at Mania.
  • I loved this crowd. They were well into it and contributed well. I was speaking to a friend who attended the show and he echoed the same opinion. He also said that grown men were crying and hugging each other after the HBK/Taker match!
  • I’m still surprised that Jack Swagger won the MITB match. His build up leading to the show was poor as was his title run. I still wonder how things would have turned out had Drew McIntyre won this match. I was convinced that he would win.
  • The Bret/Vince was what it was supposed to be. It wasn’t going to be a Bret Hart match of yesteryear and neither was I expecting it to be but what I wasn’t expecting the whole Hart family to get involved too. I was originally pissed off about them all turning against Bret but the swerve was excellent. Shame Bruce Hart was the guest referee. The guy is such a mark for himself!
  • The Batista/Cena match was a strong second match from the top. Nothing that will blow you away, but it was a passable match between two guys who don’t necessarily have great matches all the time.
  • Seeing Sheamus wrestle at WrestleMania made me smile. I saw him wrestle an Indy show in Newcastle a few years ago (he was clean shaved and had a crew cut) in front of about 30 people and all of a sudden, he’s wrestling in front of 70,000 people. That’s just awesome. You should always follow indy wrestling, you might never know when you’ll see the next WWE Superstar!

     

    Best match: Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker – Two years in a row. Awesome match

    Worst match: 10 Diva Tag match – Awful but Vickie paying tribute to Eddie was a nice touch.

    Wrestlemania Moment: Farewell Shawn – best send-off ever. I hope he doesn’t do a Ric Flair and come out of retirement. Will he? Nah, I believe him when he says he’s retired for good.

     

    Top 5 Superstars

    1. Shawn Michaels – HBK has left the building.

    2. Undertaker – His reaction when HBK slapped him was priceless.

    3. John Cena – Not a massive Cena fan but he does work hard and you can’t deny him that.

    4. Batista – Loved his heel run. Wished he turned heel years ago.

    5. Edge – Showed fire and passion in his match with Jericho.

     

    Updated rankings chart:

    Shawn Michaels – 50pts

    Hulk Hogan – 30pts

    Macho Man Randy Savage – 29pts

    Bret Hart – 25pts

    Stone Cold – 24pts

    Undertaker – 21pts

    The Rock – 17pts

    Edge – 15pts

    Kurt Angle– 14pts

    Triple H – 12pts

    Ricky Steamboat – 11pts

    Mick Foley/ Jeff Hardy– 10pts

    Owen Hart/ Ric Flair/ John Cena– 8pts

    Ultimate Warrior/ Roddy Piper– 7pts

    Chris Benoit– 6pts

    Dynamite Kid/Rick Rude/ Ted Dibiase– 5pts

    Terry Funk/ Bam Bam Bigelow/ Diesel/ Eddie Guerrero/ Batista- 4pts

    Tito Santana/Andre the Giant/ Mr Perfect/ Lawrence Taylor/ X-Pac/ CM Punk- 3pts

    Greg Valentine/ Scott Steiner/ Razor Ramon/Shane McMahon/ Christian/Brock Lesnar/Shelton Benjamin-2pts

    Sgt Slaughter/ Gorilla Monsoon/ Bobby Heenan/ Jim Ross/ Bubba Ray Dudley/ Chris Jericho– 1pt

     

    Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 7.5

    I liked this show more than the previous year. The right match went on last with another five star performance from Undertaker and Michaels while the major title matches were better than what we got the year before. The rest of the card featured good babyface wins from Orton, Hunter and Mysterio, which is what WrestleMania is usually about.

     

    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 26 – 7.5

    Wrestlemania 25 – 7

    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: The great one returns at WrestleMania 27

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