Before looking at tonight’s WrestleMania, perhaps I should share with you how I felt going into the show. I knew that this wasn’t going to be the best WrestleMania ever, or even a show better than the ones they’ve put up in recent years. However, I did not expect it to be that bad of a show either. Although there was loads of bad build-up for this PPV, if you really understand pro wrestling, then you should have known that three or four of the bouts were going to deliver no matter what. And they did. Like usual with WrestleMania in the past few years, there were lots of good moments, and there were a few really bad ones. On with the show…
The tag team titles bout that opened the big event was a solid match. I was surprised with the decision, but I’m glad that they’re giving Carlito a different storyline to work with, even if it’s a feud with Masters. How about those Carlito cheers at the beginning? Man, the audience really wants this guy to turn face! He’s a good example of how being consistent with a character can do wonders in this business. The action here was pretty decent, and more than I expected from these four. I found the fact that Big Show and Kane won, added to Ross and Lawler making it a point that there seems to be nobody who can beat them, quite interesting. It became even more interesting when both Triple H and Shawn Micheals started a DX wave later in the show. Looks like either a new hot tag team is going to beat the champions, or could we be looking at a huge DX return? Just a silly thought. There’s also the possibility that Kane and Big Show are scheduled to feud down the road…
Shawn Michaels’ promo in the back was really good, as it helped set up the mood and atmosphere for his match with McMahon later on. He said what needed to be said, nothing more and nothing less. Something Triple H could learn from.
Money in the Bank was an amazing match. It was obvious that this show is going to need a lot of juice and high-impact spots to leave an impact, and since the juice came flowing later on, this was the spot fest. Shelton Benjamin and Rob Van Dam stood out from the rest, but Bobby Lashley and Matt Hardy had a really good night too. Finlay really managed to tough it out and was a pleasant addition to the match. Him and Flair were booked very well here, although I still feel that better could have been used. Rob Van Dam’s win was very smart from a booking standpoint, as RAW’s undercard is at a horrible state. RVD deserved this, as well, considering how much he’s done, and what he’s been through to come back for the audience. If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on a RVD title match at ECW One Night Stand. Like I said, smart booking here that made all of them look good. Kudos to Shelton for the amazing Spiderman jump from one ladder to the other. The upcoming Benjamin/RVD feud should be tremendous stuff if they let them work and keep Mama away.
The Mean Gene/Randy Orton segment was fun. When Batista came in, it became serious stuff, and it was very well done. This was a good way to keep Batista alive and into the picture. It was also a nice swerve, making everyone think that Orton will win the title. Man, has Batista lost weight or what?
The Hall of Fame class introduction was a very touching moment, that Vickie Guerrero deserved to be a part of after last night’s emotional induction ceremony. WWE did the most respectful thing they could have done when it came to Bret’s absence. Fink’s line that he didn’t feel comfortable being there was simple, and to the point, leaving no room for over-analyzing the segment. To be honest, I feel that Bret should have been, but I do understand his reasons not to appear.
Wow. I don’t know who that guy was in the ring Chris Benoit, but whoever he was, he must’ve eaten JBL. Gee, I didn’t know what to say when JBL took his sweatshirt off, but the guy looked absolutely horrible. He had sagging boobs, a gut sticking over his trunks and falling down, and just looked incredibly chunky everywhere. I don’t know if he didn’t get any time to work out in the gym because of his hand, or the new drug policy is hitting home, but damn. They should have given this match a bit more time, which could have made it a lot better. The magic and emotions concerning Eddie Guerrero that the previous segment created was officially dead when JBL started doing what he was doing. I don’t know if it was his idea (and after remembering what he did in Germany, I won’t be surprised, though he claims to be a great friend of Guerrero’s), or he was told to do that, but either way, it was simply disgusting. By the end of the match, most people were booing not because the heel had won, but because they were disgusted and wanted nothing to do with this. Horrible stuff. This was definitely the biggest low of the night.
Edge and Mick Foley went out there, and stole the show. This was an important moment for many reasons. First, it added tons to the show as it was a good match, full of sick hardcore situations (although not everyone is a fan of those, so some could have been turned off), and second it did something very important – it actually managed to put Edge over as the newest hot thing out there, and cement him as a strong upcoming guy on the show. I said in my WrestleMania preview that going in this didn’t have the same heat that Foley’s match with Orton did. However, after the bout, I can definitely say they got a lot more out of this one than they did with Orton’s, and that’s saying something big. Edge’s facial expressions, his bearing of the insanity he went through, and his strong will definitely helped him earn the respect of the fans. He’s now thought of as something much more serious than he already was, and if he’s booked the right way, he should be the next big thing (no pun intended). These two went beyond any expectations tonight, and rightfully win the Match of the Night honor in my book. How about WWE letting Joey Styles call this one? What a smart move. Joey felt right at home calling a Foley hardcore match, and was very good at it. This is a good time to point out that Styles and Lawler make a great duo, and perhaps it isn’t Styles that is the problem in the three-men booth on RAW but someone else who was missing from commentary tonight. (Thank God.) Instead of having Ross teach Styles (which can never be harmful, either way, and can only help), perhaps they should get rid of Coach first.
The freak show segment in the back with Booker and Sharmell was entertaining… and weird. It was a nice way to get more people on the show, at least.
The handicap match that these two had with Boogeyman, however, was simply horrible. The worst of the night perhaps. I feel really bad for Booker T, who never did have a good WrestleMania. Hopefully they have better things planned for him in the future.
What happened next during the Mickie James/Trish Stratus match was something that WWE management hopefully picked up on. It was a perfect example of how dull and monotonous the WWE has become when it comes to the voice of change in their characters. They presented something new in Mickie James’ insane psycho character, and the crowd hurried to catch up as they seemed to have liked it. They didn’t turn on Trish, they just really liked Mickie James. This was a good match, and it’s just unfortunate that they botched the finish. These two should have many more good bouts coming up. Hopefully they can keep things fresh in that storyline.
The McMahons praying in the back was hilarious stuff. I guess they just had to have all four of them on TV. I guess they’re all friends with each other now, if you’re keeping score.
Undertaker and Henry ended up being what everyone expected – a lackluster match that was on there to add to ‘Taker’s record. The big ‘Taker move was a nice bonus, but wasn’t enough to save this one. Henry tried, which is always respected and appreciated, it’s just that ‘Taker wasn’t able to carry him to a good match. It’s interesting to see what they do with the Dead Man next.
The Michaels/McMahon match was tremendous from a non-in-ring-action standpoint. HBK’s facial expressions, and his one-of-a-kind storytelling ability is what made this very good. It wasn’t a surprise that the fans got into this match the most, as the heat for it was off the hook. The Spirit Squad and Shane McMahon didn’t do any damage, and only helped in my opinion. The big spot was done well, but again, this was more about Michaels and his emotion and storytelling ability. Tremendous stuff there. The DX chop was a nice touch, as mentioned earlier. Hopefully this storyline is over with, because they could use HBK for better things.
When the three-way SmackDown! title match ended in 9 minutes, it was obvious whose ego this company needs to satisfy. When it wasn’t on last, it was even more obvious who runs things around here. This match should have been given twenty more minutes, and it should have been last on the card. Wow. It’s hard to believe that someone the size of Rey Mysterio is World Heavyweight Champion. That is a lot of history there, and something that should be looked at closely and paid a lot more attention to than just one paragraph, so I’ll save it for another time. Mysterio’s win is historic on way too many levels. This one was for Eddie. The truth of the matter is, Mysterio is the brand’s number one draw (perhaps due to influence created by Guerrero last year and their amazing feud), and is an amazing talent. I think Rey’s status in pro wrestling as of tonight is officially that of a legend. Sure, it doesn’t mean much that he’s winning a title nobody cares about, and sure it doesn’t mean anything that both Angle and Orton aren’t exactly looking like the best out there due to the booking as of late, but the bottom line is that Rey Mysterio won the World Heavyweight Champion. That’s historic, and amazing. More on that some other day! The match was laid out very well, and it was good. There’s no excuse for giving them almost no time. No excuse. The ego-maniacs behind this should feel ashamed.
Someone explain to me how the Torrie/Candice bout lasted as long as it did, considering they cut the previous match to 9 minutes. Good God!
Then came the main event. Wow. Talk about surprises. First off, Triple H’s drag queen outfit when he came out was hilarious. Nice touch, I guess? The John Cena entrance was a great highlight in my opinion. I think it’s always nice when they come up with stuff like that because it’s so unique and different. I’m not saying it always works, but the fact that they actually use their brains for once and TRY new stuff is admirable. The match itself was probably the best these two could have gotten out of each other. Man, how weird was that crowd dynamic throughout the bout? Boo Cena, cheer Triple H, boo Triple H, boo Cena, cheer Cena. It was weird, but that’s what made it so interesting. Then came the finish. As hell froze over, I think WWE accomplished what they planned with this match – leave you wondering what’s next, and pretty much want you to tune in to RAW tomorrow. The scary part is that they don’t know what’s next, themselves.
Overall, this show was better than most expected, and although there were great matches on it, they had to rely on heavy juice and spot fests to pull it together. What this show did not have and the last few WrestleManias always had was that one good WRESTLING match, with some true technical action. The hopes for that were the JBL/Benoit and Triple Threat matches. JBL/Benoit turned ugly after the ridiculous Guerrero stuff JBL pulled, and the Triple Threat wasn’t given enough time to be memorable. However, WWE can move on from this, saying they had a good show (for today’s standards), and hopefully the few seeds that they’ve planted will grow into bigger stuff beginning tomorrow with RAW.