Well, yesterday was the big one, WrestleMania 25, so I thought I’d check in to offer my two cents.
Now, I think I made it clear that I felt the buildup to the majority of the matches was totally lacklustre. It seemed like things were being changed right up to the last minute (which apparently was the case), leading to a lot of dropped balls along the way.
Buildup aside, there was no way this event was going to suck. Not with the talent involved. While almost none of the matches were fresh or new, they were all going to be good. There were three matches that weren’t exactly good, but for different reasons. More on that soon.
I was disappointed that the tag team title unification match was bumped off the PPV with little or no notice. They will be including it on the DVD release. I doubt that match sold any tickets, but it was bound to be good (although not as good as it would have been without the lumberjack stipulation). WWE should have either streamed it on WWE.com, or posted it after the fact to make good to the fans expecting to see it live.
The Money in the Bank match was full of daring spots. These matches were starting to get a little repetitive and too video game-y, which is dangerous for all involved. I’m kinda glad they’re starting to make some of the key spots about athleticism (ie: Kofi Kingston high-jumping a running ladder). Not sure what happened to Mark Henry though. He took a dive and was never seen again.
Divas Battle Royale was ridiculous. Nobody was introduced, meaning bringing in Victoria, Molly Holly, Sunny, Torrie Wilson, etc, was pointless. They could have just had a bunch of girls from developmental in those spots and nobody would have noticed. They didn’t even put a graphic up onscreen with all the names. They were paying the one-timers likely $5,000-10,000 for those appearances. I don’t exactly like women’s wrestling though, so I tend to be a little harsh, but this wasn’t good.
Rey Doinksterio beat JBL in 21 seconds to win the IC title. Bradshaw is now retired. I guess Misterio was really The Joker/Dark Knight/Heath Ledger not Doink, but it was still funny.
The Legends (Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat) vs. Chris Jericho. This match has long made me angry. I am a huge Jericho supporter, and really enjoy his work. He has been excellent in all the buildup to this angle, even though it seems with the Rourke stuff falling through and other plans they may or may not have had in place at different times, he probably didn’t know what it was leading to. This was originally announced as a handicap match, then a gauntlet, and later became something of the combination of the two with Jericho having to eliminate his opponents.
In a way, this match for me was like when I watched Dynamite Kid’s final match in Michinoku Pro Wrestling in 1996. He most certainly was NOT the Dynamite Kid anymore. You wanted to see the match because he was in it, but afterward wished you never did because it made you sad. I have said before, the five wrestlers who shaped my childhood and most influenced me were Piper, Snuka, Flair, Steamboat, and the British Bulldogs (I count them as one). This match saw four of them in one match (Flair was in the corner), and one of my favorite modern-era wrestlers (Jericho). Piper did more than I would have thought he would have been able to. Snuka was sad. Then I felt REALLY bad for Steamboat, because it was now all up to him to save the match.
You see, Snuka still wrestles occasionally. He has never retired. Piper has retired several times, and has had cancer and artificial hips, but gets physically involved a few times a year still. Besides maybe a couple of chops in ROH, Steamboat has done absolutely NOTHING physical (at least not in public) since he returned from injury in the mid 1990’s.
Well, he was grey. He was bald. He was much slower. He had the guts to wear his old tights and no t-shirt (Piper and Snuka were both covered up). If I look that good at his age, I’ll be quite happy. He hit all his signature spots, the chop off the top, the cross body, and even hit a scary dive.
So did the match end up great? No, not by any means, but Steamboat really put on a show and without him it would have truly been an embarrasment. After the match, Flair and Mickey Rourke got involved, and Rourke punched out Jericho. The knockout puch looked weird to me, and even though it’s not natural for a boxer to do, he should have hit it more out in the open to give everyone a real good look at it for the highlight reels.
Still would have been a million times better with involvement from that Stone Cold fellow.
The OmegaPowers Explode! Matt vs. Jeff Hardy:
This was close to what I would thought it would be. It was certainly miles better than the last singles PPV match they tried to have years ago. Matt has wisely embraced the advice that if you want to be a real heel, you eliminate the things about you that make you likeable. In this case, it means bye bye to his pants. He’s now in long tights. It’s the same reason Jericho is now in trunks. Fun match which for some reason I don’t remember as much of as the other matches. They were in a tough spot following the MITB ladder match, but doggone it, they’re the HARDYZ. The “I burned your house down” stuff is a bit much though.
Finish was nasty with a doctors note, visit to the dentist, and a script for percoset all rolled into one with a Twist of Fate on Jeff, who’s head was trapped inside a folding chair. Ouch!
I would have though Jeff would have gotten his revenge here, but perhaps they felt Matt needed the win more to propell his heel role.
Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker has been doing some of the goofy mystical stuff for the buildup. That’s actually not so bad, considering the Undertaker is supposed to be into that stuff. Mostly, the match was based around a guy that steals the show every WrestleMania vs. a guy the has never lost at WrestleMania. Oh my goodness, a simple yet effective storyline! These two have legit not wrestled a singles match since before HBK’s 4 year sabbatical from wrestling. They actually put on a pretty incredible match. It almost teetered into “overbooked” territory, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it so much that who cares, they were into it. I thought Undertaker died on that huge dive over top ropes to the floor onto the cameraman. Then I realized that the Undertaker is already dead, so there’s no real need to worry.
Great finish with a moonsault block turned into a Tombstone piledriver. These guys really wanted to have a WrestleMania match, and they that’s exactly what they did. I can’t understand how anyone could not be happy with this.
As soon as I saw a million John Cena’s enter the entrance way, I thought Kid Rock had brought Eminem with him from Detroit to ask the real John Cena to “please stand up, please stand up.” This match with Cena-Edge-Big Show was not bad, but not fantastic. it was fine, and John Cena is one mighty strong individual. It was what it was and Cena won the belt and a few people went “hooray”. Not too much you can fault here, it was just about what anyone smart would have expected it would be.
Randy Orton vs. Triple H. This feud frustrated me so much. Traditionally, the heel does something despicable, and the babyface has to get revenge. Simple enough, right? The heel is cold and callous, and often immoral. The babyface is strong, virtuous, and stands up for what is right. Well, along the way, they really messed that up a few times. They had a goldmine sitting in their laps after Orton punted Vince McMahon and RKO’d Stephanie McMahon, but let it fall flat soon thereafter. Don;t even get me started on all the continuity errors, like how this was all a five year plan, even though Orton has been facing Triple H for years in the ring. Then they kinda redid the angle all over again by DDT’ing Stephanie.
The killer was the united McMahon men (Shane, Vince, Hunter) running down the ramp and brawling with Orton and The Legacy last week on RAW. Why, why, why? Why would you have these two make contact on free TV less than a week away from their big match that you want people to PAY $50 to see?
Orton should have beaten Triple H into a pulp for the whole match, using every nefarious heel trick in the book. Hunter should have tried to fight back valliantly throughout, but Orton is just too sadistic. Finally, Trips should have gotten the big comeback, and just as the place comes unglued, he should have gotten screwed right over by Orton and Legacy to drive this thing into the next chapter.
Instead we got a slow, plodding, boring match and Hunter wins. Insert apathetic “yay” here.
In all, the wrestling was quite solid. You can’t complain about that. The lack of long-term planning was really obvious though.