Hello loyal readers and welcome back for yet another WrestleMania countdown article. Yes, spring is in the air, the snow has melted away, birds are singing, and the internet is full of articles counting down every kind of WrestleMania list imaginable. Best matches, worst matches, top moments, etc. Well, never being one to miss getting on the bandwagon, I have compiled my own list.
Every year there are those special matches that you just can’t wait to see at WrestleMania. Maybe it’s the culmination of a feud that has been simmering for months or maybe a long gone star has returned to the spotlight. Of maybe there is even a historic first ever clash between two icons of the sport. Whatever the situation, there is always immense hype surrounding the biggest event of the year. But sometimes the moment doesn’t quite live up to the hype. Sometimes the wrestlers can’t deliver on the expectations of the fans. Here are the top five worst WrestleMania moments that had a lot of potential, but for one reason or another missed the mark, in my opinion.
This was it. The moment wrestling fans had waited over ten years to see. Bret Hart back in a WWE ring. And not only in the ring, but taking on the man that had basically ruined his life. Bret would finally make Vince pay for the “Montreal Screw Job”. Any even though Bret did get the win, it somehow felt empty to me. It just didn’t feel like McMahon suffered enough for all the pain he caused Bret.
And there was also this little devil in my ear wondering if Vince would have the stones to screw Bret again. Even though everyone wanted to see Bret come out on top, a small part of me was hoping for some kind of double cross again. Now that would have been a moment.
I know what you’re thinking, “Who was looking forward to this match”. Well even though these two have fought about 100 times over the years now, this match actually had some decent build up to it. In the months leading up to the match, Orton had attacked both Vince and Shane McMahon, Triple H’s father-in-law and brother-in-law. While that alone wasn’t enough to generate enough heat, when he RKO’d Hunter’s wife Stephanie and then kissed her in the ring, which sent “The Game” over the edge. This was a personal feud along the lines of Savage & Flair at WM VIII. But the crowd had seen this match up too many times before. And following an epic battle between HBK vs. The Undertaker, this match never stood a chance. This just ended up being another routine match for these two, and a lost opportunity for us.
This had so many possibilities to it. The unstoppable champion Yokozuna against Lex Luger, with the winner to face the former champion Bret Hart. Back when there was only one World title, a double main event title match was huge. Throw in the match up of Bret having to face Owen also and this had the chance to be really special. The night started off great with a true classic between the Hart brothers. Then Luger finally gets another chance at the title, against the monster he body slammed ten months before. The set up was there for a stirring win and then a battle between the two men who eliminated each other together at the Royal Rumble. Instead we get a screw job finish by Mr. Perfect that was intended to start a feud that never happened. The match between Yokozuna and Hart was okay, the image of Bret celebrating and Owen fuming is classic. But since this was such a unique scenario, a DQ win for Yokozuna over Luger didn’t ring true for me.
Talk about wasted potential. One year after the epic WM III main event, the WWF needed to up the ante. What better than a tournament to crown a new champion where anything could happen. And it did, just not in a good way. Rick Rude and Jake Roberts boring the fans for 15 minutes and ending in a time limit draw. The long awaited rematch between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant ends in a double DQ. The One Man Gang gets a bye to the semi-finals. What kind of tournament is this? The 1995 King of the Ring bookers must have watched this tape the night before the show (Mabel vs. Savio Vega in the finals…UGH). The end result, with Macho Man winning against Ted Dibiase was a nice touch. But the ends couldn’t justify the means in this case.
1 – WrestleMania XX – Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
Talk about an all time stinker. Here was a matchup of two monsters that turned out to be a matchup of two kittens. Say what you will about Goldberg, but I found him damn entertaining in WCW. I loved that he would just come to the ring and steamroll people. And even though he looked like Stone Cold I never considered him a rip-off because there styles were so different. And Brock Lesnar could actually wrestle in addition to being a total beast. Unfortunately for both men, word leaked out that this was the last match for both in the WWE. The crowd was against them from the start.
Throw in the fact that neither was all that interested in getting hurt in their final match and this turned into a glorified pillow fight. The two could have done some epic damage to each other but instead wound up getting booed out of the arena. The only saving grace was the presence of Austin as the referee. But not even Stone Cold could save this all time turkey.
So there you have it. Do you have any WrestleMania moments that didn’t quite meet your expectations? Or maybe you feel I missed the mark on one of my selections? Leave me a comment; I would love to know what you think.
Vince DeHoratus lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two kids. He has been a life long wrestling fan and he has passed that love onto his son. Though not quite yet “middle aged and crazy”, he is fast approaching it.
One of the biggest differences between WWE and TNA is that when WWE utilizes older wrestlers, it’s to their maximum.
In the fall of 2009, TNA went ahead with a considerable end-run to bolster their roster, with the target of running a monster three-hour episode of Impact, live on Monday, January 4, up against Raw.
To sweeten the pot and lure in casual fans not familiar with TNA, the company brought in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to be major players, while negotiating with Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Ric Flair, and Jeff Hardy, as well as other familiar faces.
WWE, knowing that TNA was going to bring their best laid plans to that Monday night, countered with something that would shock fans all over the world.
On January 4, 2010, for the first time in over twelve years, Bret “The Hitman” Hart would return to Monday Night Raw.
WWE Fans didn’t know what to think. Bret Hart, really? The same man who, while he’d done a few side ventures with WWE in recent years, had a rocky relationship with the company that embarrassed him on PPV with the “screwjob”? The same Bret Hart that locked horns with the company when the two sides became embroiled over who was responsible for the death of Bret’s brother, Owen?
Indeed, Hart showed up on January 4 in Dayton, OH, where he’d won the 1993 King of the Ring tournament.
To add to the surreal nature of Hart even standing in a WWE ring, he called out longtime nemesis Shawn Michaels. Hart had Michaels removed from the 2006 Hall of Fame ceremony, not wanting him there to witness his speech.
On this night, Hart and Michaels shook hands, and then embraced with a hug, dropping the jaws of fans around the world.
Only in WWE.
Edge made a surprise comeback after a near six-month injury layoff, and won the 2010 Royal Rumble from the #29 spot. Edge waited to pick the champion he would face, and it paid off when he selected Chris Jericho, who won the World Heavyweight Championship three weeks later at Elimination Chamber.
Jericho and Edge had won the Unified Tag Team Titles in the summer, and then Edge bowed out with the mentioned injury. Jericho chose Big Show as his replacement, and then would off-handedly slag Edge for his shortcomings. Edge would taunt Jericho with threats of spearing him, getting the fans to yell, in Pavlovian fashion, “SPEEEEEEEEEAR”. Jericho’s improbable title win on February 21 meant he might have to eat his words at WrestleMania.
On the opposite brand, John Cena won the Raw Elimination Chamber match, winning Sheamus’ WWE Championship. Immediately after the grueling contest, Vince McMahon, who was on bad terms with Cena after he’d stood beside Bret Hart (explanation forthcoming), sent Batista to the ring for an immediate title match. Batista mauled Cena to win the belt within seconds.
Cena had a chance for a WrestleMania rematch if he could beat Batista in a non-title rematch the next night on Raw. Batista got himself disqualified intentionally, due to his hatred of Cena, his success, and what he stood for. In fact, Batista made it clear that when the two men had their skyrocketing career paths parallel each other just several years earlier, Cena got more love and Batista admitted that he was jealous.
Batista also made it clear that Cena had never, ever beaten him, and promised that WrestleMania, in front of the world, would be no different.
But back to Hart, Vince McMahon had assaulted him at the end of the January 4 Raw, continuing the bad blood that had existed since 1997. McMahon would spend over two months ripping Hart for hanging onto the past, claiming that he’d made “The Hitman”. Bret, however, would get a chance at revenge as he’d challenged Vince to a street fight.
McMahon accepted, but after Bret attacked him, Vince would renege. After Hart was then injured in a car accident backstage, McMahon would accept, thinking Bret was too hurt. However, after Vince signed the contract, Hart proved that his injuries were merely a ruse to get Vince to agree, and that the accident was all a set-up. Hart would have his chance to get 12 years worth of revenge after all.
Speaking of revenge, Shawn Michaels had some in mind as well.
Michaels lamented not ending The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak one year earlier, and became obsessed with doing so.
Shawn Michaels had cost The Undertaker the World Heavyweight Title at Elimination Chamber, doing whatever he could to get a rematch at WrestleMania, so that he could end the streak. After weeks of hounding “The Dead Man”, Michaels finally got Undertaker’s attention. However, Undertaker would only accept the match if Michaels agreed to put his career on the line.
Michaels implied acceptance, saying “If I can’t beat you….I have no career.”
Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker called the action from ringside. Fantasia Barrino performed “America the Beautiful”. Entering the WWE Hall of Fame were Ted Dibiase, Antonio Inoki, Wendi Richter, Mad Dog Vachon, Gorgeous George, Stu Hart, and Bob Uecker.
Unified Tag Team Championship: The Miz/Big Show def. John Morrison/R-Truth in 3:24
(Miz and Morrison get a “make up call” from one year earlier, and get to be on the actual show. Of course, it gets 1/3 of the time as their dark match from last year. Life’s just not fair)
Triple Threat Match: Randy Orton def. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase in 9:01
(This was decent, and did what it was supposed to do in elevate Orton, but Rhodes and DiBiase’s slap fest was so horribly goofy that it became hard to take either man seriously. Some Mania debut for both)
Money in the Bank: Jack Swagger def. Kane, MVP, Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, and Evan Bourne in 13:44
(Swagger was an interesting choice for a winner. And by “interesting”, I mean “odd”. He’d become World Heavyweight Champion two nights later in one of the most forgettable reigns in recent memory)
Triple H def. Sheamus in 12:09
(Ever feel like Orton and Hunter were punished for their crappy main event from last year by being stuck in the first half of the show? Match was pretty good, actually. Sheamus deserves more love)
Rey Mysterio def. CM Punk in 6:30
(Damn good match, but way short. Mysterio had to go “straight edge” if he lost, as if that were a heelish thing to have to do. “How dare that villain infringe on Rey’s right to take HGH! That cad!”)
Lumberjack Match: Bret Hart def. Vince McMahon in 11:09
(All of the Hart siblings, as well as the Hart Dynasty, surrounded the ring for a match in which Bret slowly and meticulously stomped Vince and beat him with a chair for eleven minutes. Well, it’s fine by me. By the way, look at the match’s time. What date was Montreal again? 11/09! CREEPY!)
World Heavyweight Championship: Chris Jericho def. Edge in 15:48
(Like Jericho’s previous WrestleMania World Title match, this had no heat, seemed a bit awkward, and is not often remembered. It’s a shame, because it was a pretty good match, but Edge’s entire face schtick centered around him bellowing “SPEEEEEEEAR!!!” which does nothing for anyone)
Michelle McCool/Layla/Vickie Guerrero/Maryse/Alicia Fox def. Mickie James/Beth Phoenix/Kelly Kelly/Gail Kim/Eve Torres in 3:26
(The last major WWE appearance of Mickie “Lesbian Stalker” James. I’ll always have the memories)
WWE Heavyweight Championship: John Cena def. Batista in 13:31
(A bit abbreviated, but still a damn good outing. Cena and Batista have pretty good chemistry when they’re not bogged down by pointless stipulations, as they were in subsequent rematches. Batista’s face when Cena kicked out of the Batista Bomb is a sight to behold)
Career vs. Streak: The Undertaker def. Shawn Michaels in 23:59
(Not quite as “epic” as last year’s match, but epic nonetheless. Gah, I’m splitting hairs here. This was a great match, and a great way for Shawn Michaels to go out. I hope, unlike Flair, he stays retired and lets his tremendous legacy tell the story of how amazing a performer he was. I hope when Undertaker retires one day, he has the sense to do the same. Great ending to the show)
ITS PLACE IN HISTORY
I never would have guessed, in 2010, that we’d see Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels wrestle on the same show ever again. Hart and Michaels were, at one point, both retired simultaneously, until Michaels found the itch to wrestle again in 2002.
Hart’s match wasn’t really a match as it was a slow beating. Michaels’ match was an enthralling epic, considered the best match of 2010.
For Hart, it was about giving the fans “one more match”, the one he’d wished for at his Hall of Fame speech in 2006. Sure, it wasn’t anything great, but it was one more Sharpshooter in front of millions of fans, as a way of putting some of his bitterness into his past.
For Shawn Michaels, it was one last great performance. The most talented wrestler the world has known stole the show once more, from peers young and old. He could now rest his battered body forever.
A photo surfaced one day after WrestleMania with both Hart and Michaels smiling, congratulating each other after the show had ended.
If you can think of a more appropriate portrait for this show, I’d like to see it.
Blogs, and articles galore have been written about CM Punk as WWE Money in the Bank was scheduled to be his last official day with the WWE or so it seemed.
I admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of his, but over the past couple of years, I started to appreciate his work, both in the ring, and on the mic. He definitely will be missed, and I look forward to his return. However, what I will be talking about in this blog is a little tribute and an update on the man who won the very first Money in the Bank Ladder Match, EDGE.
As most wrestling fans are aware, Chris Jericho in 2005 (storyline) came up with the idea of this Money In The Bank Ladder Bank Ladder match for WrestleMania 21, where the participants would have a ladder match, and whomever climbed up that ladder and grabbed the briefcase was the winner. The winner would have one year to “cash the briefcase” in and invoke their title shot for whatever title on whichever brand. This match became a staple at every WrestleMania thereafter up until WrestleMania 26 which was the last Mania to feature it as later that year, in 2010, there would be a PPV of the same name.
In the Los Angeles Staples Center, at WrestleMania 21, the Money In The Bank Ladder Match kicked off the show. I was in attendance at this PPV, and little did I realize, I was about to witness the birth of a top star, and the birth of an all time great. The participants of this match were Christian, Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Benoit, Kane, and Edge, It was an awesome match, with the highlight spot being provided by Shelton Benjamin going up that ladder.
Of course, the end comes with Edge hitting Benoit’s arm, knocking Benoit off the ladder, and Edge climbing up and grabbing the brief case and the win. Edge eventually goes on to cash the briefcase in on a bloodied and battered John Cena on January 8, 2006 to win his first WWE Title, and the rest is history.
Of course, most wrestling fans know that on April 11, 2011, on Monday Night Raw, Edge sadly announced that due to spinal stenosis (stemming from neck surgery in 2003), he was forced to retire from the ring. There have been a million tributes, but I just want to say that when I was sitting in the Staples Center, I admit I wasn’t sure WWE picked the right guy at first.
However, it was the infamous “love triangle” that really convinced me that “Hey. They got something in Edge here that I didn’t realize.” From then on it, I was hooked. I liked Edge since he started in 1998, don’t get me wrong, but I guess it took awhile for the light to go on I guess.
I found Edge to be an awesome heel. I think he was one of the very best. I thought he was pretty good as a face. I felt badly about the retirement, because he was just starting to really take off as a face. I was really looking forward to a program with Christian. I read Edge’s book, and the more I found out about him, the more I really admired him. I have met him three times, and he is a great person as he was a wrestler putting on great matches with wrestlers such as the Undertaker, Jericho, HHH, Cena, Flair, etc.
The update is that according to an interview with WWE.com, he is spending lots of time enjoying the great outdoors. He spending time working on his house. He is doing stuff for himself like hiking, and playing with his dogs. He is delving into acting. He did a role for the SYFY series “Sanctuary,” and he is currently involved in a guest starring role for SYFY’s “Haven.” that just started Season 2 last Friday. The pain from his injury has subsided. When he travels though, “the pain returns,” Edge says.
Edge said that the Money in the Bank match validated his career, and he said that he liked Cody Rhodes for the Smackdown MITB win. He was asked if he still supported Christian and he said that he “totally supports him.” Edge also said that the Money in the Bank match is more difficult with eight people. He also said he may write another book.
Well, that is my update and tribute. Edge has been a great inspiration for me. I admired his determination to come back from devastating injuries. I admire his ability to carry on and go after new opportunities now that his in ring career is over.
-We are LIVE from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ on March 28, 2010 for WrestleMania XXVI. Well, not me. I’m inside a one story house with a decently-furnished living room in South Jersey that belongs to my brother Josh, and we’re joined by friends Dave and Rob for this historic evening. Funny that our childhood heroes are all wrestling: Undertaker for Rob, Bret Hart for Dave, Shawn Michaels for me, and Vince McMahon for Josh (don’t ask).
-It should be noted that my feelings on this show may change in six months, as I’m writing this while coming off of the fumes of adrenaline from having just watched the show live. It’s like on IMDb when the users go see a hit movie, and then all run home to vote “10″ on it immediately. So tune in this September when I re-review the show and go back on everything I said.
-Fantasia Barrino does America the Beautiful, although she’s merely billed as “Fantasia” on her title card. Good to see the rules of one-name WWE divas also apply to guest singers. You could apply this logic to any diva from American Idol: Fantasia, Kelly, Katherine, Carrie, Clay….
-Missed the opening video, because our food just arrived. Mmm, buffalo chicken wrap….
-I should note the ominous Aztec-ish tower that makes up the entrance way. Very chilling, in a sense. One year, they should have a giant wicker man at the entrance way. Then they can invite Nicholas Cage and attack him with bees. That’d just be epic.
- Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker helm the desk this year. Presumably, Striker’s there to explain to Lawler what the storylines on Smackdown are. Hey look, the Spanish Announce Table’s back! You know what THIS means.
-The show kicks off with ShowMiz defending the Unified Tag Team Titles against John Morrison and R-Truth. I would assume that if Truth wanted a surefire tag team partner, he would have just gone with Pacman Jones, since Jones was undefeated in TNA. Besides, WWE can overplay the kiddie element and dress Big Show as one of the ghosts from the Pacman game and….alright, I’m rambling.
-They’re really rushing through this, which is the perils of a 10 match show with lots of downtime being squeezed into four hours. On an up note, at least The Miz made it onto the actual show this year. I’d think after a year of stabbing a Kid Rock voodoo doll with pins, he’s earned this showcase.
-After hearing the story that John Morrison went into some online chat and called John Cena a boring champion, I was ready to lay some odds on who was getting pinned. Will Justin be right?
-Big Show pins Morrison with the KO punch. Hey, Justin was right! Match was rushed, not even four minutes long. I think that was the fastest opener in WM history to be honest. Eh well, at least Miz got a chance to shine. He came to play, you know. Good to Show win a match at WrestleMania, since that happens about as often as TNA making through a show without production gaffes.
-AXXESS footage. Seeing Bret Hart at the annual WWE fan fest just seems….wrong.
-Next is the triple threat between the members of Legacy, they being Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted Dibiase. You know you’re the jobber of the group when you’re demoted from your normal theme song to a stock theme that you haven’t used in two years. Poor Cody Rhodes. His creamsicle go-go dancer look just isn’t going to cut it.
-This reads like a handicap match, as Rhodes and Dibiase are united against Orton, who, despite playing a borderline psychotic for about two years, gets the big face pop. Then again, the fans pop whenever a female heel gets beaten up, regardless of the who the attacker is. WWE: making antisocial behavior acceptable since 1958.
-Orton does his best to fend off both men, and the crowd’s getting kinda lukewarm to this. I think it’s partially because no one’s ever taken Rhodes and Dibiase seriously as heels, despite their great matches with DX last year.
-Legacy has a miscue on a high-low on Orton. Is it just me, or could Dibiase’s father have afforded to buy him some coordination and timing training? Dibiase’s about as awkward as a Fritz Von Erich Father’s Day card.
-Dibiase and Rhodes have the inevitable rift and have a fight outside the ring that vaguely resembles the slap fight that Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch had in the movie Dick. They were playing Woodward and Bernstein, which means that Orton better make like Ben Bradlee and interject himself before this thing falls apart.
-Orton spikes both of his former flunkies with the double rope hang DDT, which Cole has never seen before. Damn it, Cole, what were you doing at WrestleMania 24 during the Raw matches? Have a VINTAGE FLASHBACK and let me know.
-Punt for Cody, and an RKO for Dibiase ends it for Orton. Decent match, but it was hard to take Rhodes and Dibiase seriously as threats. Orton’s got the face momentum now, so it’ll be interesting to see where they go with it.
-We get a backstage segment involving Santino Marella where Mean Gene Okerlund winds up in a dress. I knew Mean Gene’s Burgers was a money pit, but how low WILL Okerlund stoop to recoup his lost funds? Call the hotline to find out!
-Next up, the sixth annual Money in the Bank ladder match, with ten, count em, ten participants: Christian, Kane, Matt Hardy (back to regular pants due to his waistline expansion), Evan Bourne, Kofi Kingston (who did…..something…..with his hair), MVP, Shelton Benjamin, Drew McIntyre (thankfully without overdone entrance), Jack Swagger (only missing “Living in America” for his song), and Dolph Ziggler.
-Is there a kayfabe reason for Kane’s black eye? Or did he get accused of breaking up Randy Savage’s marriage to Miss Elizabeth?
-Match begins with a mad scramble up the ladders, looking like a TNA X Division match. Except in the X Division rendition of such a match, you’d have to hang the briefcase, pin 3 people, and then recite the alphabet backwards to win. Oh, TNA, you wacky innovators.
-Swagger, it occurs to me, looks like Charlie Haas if Haas was Corky on Life Goes On. I apologize to all mentally challenged people. I didn’t mean to compare you guys to Jack Swagger.
-Dolph messes up a Zig Zag off the ladder, and shortly after Kane powerbombs Kofi onto a leaning ladder. This is a rather ambitious MITB match, as we’re hoping to set a new standard for collective amount of nerve damage.
-In a swank spot, Swagger gets impaled under a ladder by Christian and Hardy wielding ladders, and Christian, Hardy, and Bourne try to climb, but Swagger manages to bring the tower down. Well, innovative, if nothing else.
-Kofi Kingston decides to top everyone by using a ladder that was broken in half, and tries to use it as a pair of stilts to walk toward the briefcase, but sadly it was not meant to be. Man, how high do you have to be to come up with THAT spot? Well, it IS Kofi….
-Kane and Hardy fight on the ladder, as I wonder if the hand of Lita is once again at stake between these two brooding Romeos. Christian helps Hardy take Kane out, and then Matt goes by the wayside, and Christian goes for the goods, but Swagger belts him with the briefcase, before taking forever to unhinge it and….gets the win? If you had Swagger in your pre-show prediction list, congratulations you LIAR. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. My guess is he’s going to try to get his ECW Title back from Ezekiel Jackson in a match that would kick off just about any decent edition of Smackdown. Great spots, but lacking connection. Still, I loved it.
-I’d like to thank Drew McIntyre for his 48 seconds of participation. No wonder the office has faith in him.
-The Hall of Famers get their due: Stu Hart, Wendy Richter, Mad Dog Vachon, Antonio Inoki, Bob Uecker, Gorgeous George, and Ted Dibiase. The viewing party is convinced that Stu’s actually still alive, and just made sure that Smith Hart went to the ceremony just to get him out of the house so he can change the locks. It’s a good theory as any.
-By the way, Howard Finkel…..#26! Go Howard!
-Triple H and Sheamus is next, and Hunter’s entrance is longer than the opening match. Take that Morrison, you entrenched midcarder, you. Lawler mentions that losing at WrestleMania to Triple H has the power to change your life for the worse. Finally, Lawler and Booker T can agree on something.
-Triple H manages to slap on a figure four, and Michael Cole even talks about how Hunter learned that from Ric Flair. He can say Flair’s name?!? I think Vince is too busy warming up, so Jim Ross is on headset feeding these things to Cole and is trying to get him fired.
-Sign in the crowd: “HHH FEARS DIVORCE”. Why, wouldn’t he want custody of Lucy, the chronically crapping dog?
-Just before Triple H hits Sheamus with a face-to-knee buster, a fan screams “FACE BUSTER!”. It’s like that TV show Early Edition, except people under 35 are actually watching this match. Crowd’s really divided too, which is a bit shocking, since they haven’t booked Sheamus right. Maybe it’s all just sympathy cheers? Maybe.
-Sheamus manages to land the pump kick, but it’s not enough, as Hunter rallies with the Pedigree to win. Decent match, even if the Great Satan did win. Maybe Hunter should put his career on the line against Taker’s streak next year. Wait, no, then Taker won’t have a streak left! Think, Justin, think. Don’t make rash suggestions like that!
-I truly think Sheamus’ next step is to form a tag team with Rikishi called Potato Salad. The kids will love it!
-Slim Jim ad, which features the two kids turning into ninjas. Were they the same ninjas who kidnapped Samoa Joe on camera? Tune into Impact and find out!
-CM Punk and Rey Mysterio is next, and Punk preaches on the way to the ring. Always a good listen. Rey’s costume du jour: Avatar. But if he was truly Avatar, wouldn’t he be engaged to Tiffany and display no sense of human emotion whatsoever? I know, I’m mean.
-Rey gets caught in a tree of woe, but Punk slides in and winds up splattering his crotch against the ring post. Punk would regain the upper hand, however, and cover Rey for what should have been a three count, if not for a timing miscue. Crowd’s starting to die off a bit, which is a growing trend for these stadium events. If you’re not a real fan and you’re not into the characters, then maybe you just shouldn’t go. Hey, if I plunk down hundreds of dollars on a ticket, I’m gonna be screaming during Zack Ryder vs. Santino Marella, ok?
-Where was I? Ah yes, Punk nails Rey with a sick roundhouse kick. Always good to hear the sound of boot on vinyl mask.
-Rey manages to springboard off the ropes and land a DDT on Punk, although it was botched as Punk’s head got flattened too much. They show it on replay twice, and Lawler comments on how “beautiful” it was. Hey, if the man thinks that botches are beautiful, then certainly I’m not one to argue.
-Despite the best efforts of the Straight Edge Society, Rey gets the 619 and falling headbutt to finish Punk off. Match was abbreviated, but still really good. At least Rey doesn’t have to pledge to a straight edge lifestyle now. BRING ON THE QUAALUDES!
-Next up, Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon in a no holds barred match. I always loved that the fans who love Bret the most bring signs for him, and then spell his name “BRETT”. Way to show your devotion and appreciation, you miscreants.
-Vince brings out the Hart siblings and the Hart Dynasty as lumberjacks, since he’s paid them all off to help screw Bret over. Legendary loser Bruce even gets to be the referee. Great, expect about 15 low blows in this one. At least Bruce finally found work in WWE after, what 20 years of campaigning?
-In a twist, Bret reveals that the Harts are all on HIS side, and that Vince has been conned. Let the beatdown begin!
-So Bret proceeds to beat the crap out of Vince, and the current generation gets their shots in on the floor. David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd land a modified doomsday device on the outside, and Kid BOUNCES Vince’s head off of the floor. Tyson Kidd, we wish you well in your future endeavors. I look forward to seeing him in TNA with his new name Holyfield Mann.
-The match is slow, but who cares? It’s Bret beating up Vince. The only way to make this more entertaining would be if the Harts pulled a Blue Blazer costume onto Vince and then threw him out of the rafters. Wait, is that wrong? Screw it, I’m enjoying myself. Perhaps too much.
-Bret gives Vince about 58 low blows and then slaps on the Sharpshooter for the win. If the match isn’t going to be any good, then it better cater to my base instincts. In this case: Bret beating Vince up. Five stars, Justin’s happy, onward we go.
-Justin “Softspeak” Roberts announces the crowd at 72,219. Nothing’s going to top the drawing power of WrestleMania III, let’s face it. Hercules and Billy Jack Haynes is just too strong from a historical standpoint, anyway.
-Edge-Jericho highlights. We even get footage of renowned sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews as he works on Edge. Do you think Dr. Andrews watches TLC and Money in the Bank and Hell in a Cell matches with glee, knowing that he’s one botched move away from some wrestler going to Birmingham and financing his next house? I’ll bet he subscribes to Botchamania on Youtube. What a sadist.
-It’s just a weird premise for this feud, basing it around Edge saying “spear” to Jericho to try and get into his head, and then getting the fans to play along. Chanting “spear” would be good right about now, since the crowd’s more reserved than my room in Hell.
-The fight spills outside and Edge slams Jericho into the table. I think our Spanish co-horts are in for a shortened evening, like always.
-Back inside, Jericho manages to apply the Walls to try and weaken Edge’s bad leg. The last time Jericho defended a World Title at WrestleMania against a muscled up blonde babyface with a bad leg with a dead crowd….well, it didn’t end well for Chris.
-After Edge won’t give in, Jericho tries a lionsault, but lands on his feet, only to eat an Edge-o-Matic for 2. Good spot.
-Jericho’s spear fails, and then Edge tries one, but flies right into a Codebreaker. Jericho goes back to the Walls, and applies a single leg version on Edge’s bad wheel. Crowd’s finally coming to life through sheer will of the performers.
-Both men fall to the outside off of an Edge clothesline and, after Edge accidentally hits the ref while on the apron, Jericho waffles him with the belt for 2. A Codebreaker, however, ends it and Jericho shockingly retains. Afterward, an irate Edge sets up Jericho on the American announce table, and then runs off the Spanish one to spear him into the timekeeper’s pit. What a sore loser. Match was really good, best of the night so far.
-You know you’re insane as a fan when you think Jack Swagger’s gonna run in right now and win the belt from Jericho. Sadly, the moment is lost.
-Highlights are shown of the pre show battle royal, which was won by…..Yoshi Tatsu? Man, Linda McMahon’s really aching for that Asian-American vote, isn’t she? The last time a Japanese born wrestler won ANYTHING at WrestleMania, Funaki had a 2 minute reign as Hardcore Champion. Sad, really.
-Time wasting ten diva tag is next, with Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, and Eve facing Michelle McCool, Layla, Alicia Fox, Maryse, and Vickie Guerrero. About time, we’d waited all night for this.
-After a sequence of nothing but finishers (some of which almost hit properly), Vickie lands a frog splash onto Kelly Kelly, who can’t even take a pin properly. Thankfully, Vickie does get the pin and becomes the third Guerrero to win at WrestleMania. Junk match, but who cares? In a moment of blind hysteria, Josh, Dave, and I ran around celebrating Vickie’s big moment. Because that’s what WrestleMania does to us civil, working-class folk.
-Still, thank you, WWE, for Mickie James in jeans. I won’t complain as much this coming year, I promise.
-Cena/Batista video. All it was missing was Batista’s immortal “HUGGING FAT GIRLS” line. Cena should have hugged Vickie Guerrero, just to drive the point home.
-Cena’s super special entrance: an Air Force crew performs an honor guard routine. The fans boo, and I think it’s funny that fans in Arizona boo military personnel in a city where Pat Tillman is such a hero. If you’re going to boo Cena, wait till he comes out. Show some class, please?
-Signs in the crowd: “NORWAY HATES CENA”. Things I know about Norway: it had the Olympics once, and it’s way the hell far away from my house. So there you go.
-Slow start to a match I was really looking forward to. Cena tries to Adjust Batista’s Attitude, but Batista spikes him with a sick DDT for 2.
-We get the boo-yay-boo-yay spot, and of course Cena’s on the losing end of it. Hey, it’s not Cena’s fault that Santino Holmes got both feet in the end zone last year. Deal with it.
-Batista spinebuster = one of the most underrated moves there is, especially when he does his sudden stand up after hitting it. Good stuff.
-Cena lands a Five Knuckle Shuffle off the top, which could be a tribute to Shawn Michaels and his flying fistdrop as a Rocker. I’d like to think so.
-Batista lands the Batista Bomb for 2, and makes the greatest face in the history of faces. Cena then lands the Attitude Adjustment for another 2 count. Another Batista Bomb fails, and Cena hooks the STF to make Big Dave tap and to give Cena his ninth World Title. Really good match, up to the standard of the Summerslam match. Cena cheeses next to a fan in the front row who’s wearing an anti-Cena shirt. Say what you will, but John Cena knows how to roll with the punches. It’s why I like him.
-Shawn-Taker video is next. I’ll bet the crowd’s fully awake now.
-Shawn makes his standard HBK entrance, and the fans are behind him almost 100% The question is, can they have enough guts to have Shawn end the streak? Either way, it’s going to be talked about for a very long time afterward, I can assure you.
-Undertaker rises up through the stage, wearing a hood like some giant, gothic version of AJ Styles. All Undertaker needs is Ric Flair to show him how to cut whacked out promos.
-Taker and Shawn have a staredown. If Taker’s going to win, he’d BETTER say “I’m sorry….I love you” before the final Tombstone. I repeat: he’d BETTER say it.
-Taker manages to land Old School early on, which plays into the usual theory of “get everything out of the way that’s minor, so that the slate is clear for the REALLY heavy stuff”. Brace yourself, folks, history’s about to be made.
-Shawn attempts a Crossface on Taker. I’d make a tasteless joke, but I’ll just say that it’s already been proven effective in the real world, so you know it’s just as deadly in the kayfabe planet as well.
-Taker gets a legdrop on the apron, prompting what I believe is Cole’s first “VINTAGE” of the night. Shawn does get a Figure Four though, paying homage to the man whose retirement apparently isn’t sacred. Just saying.
-Shawn lands the forearm and the kip up, but Taker drops him with a chokeslam for an early near fall. Shawn begins to work Taker’s leg, and even manages to snare him into an ankle lock. What, is Shawn going to do the finishers of everyone in TNA? If Shawn hits the Gringo Killer on The Dead Man, I’m a fan for life.
-Taker kicks off the ankle lock with two boots. The first kick straightened Shawn’s eyes, and the second one distorted them again. Shawn’s eyes are like a demented snow globe.
-To the outside, where Taker manages to spike Shawn with a Tombstone on the concrete. First one since I believe Jake Roberts ate one at WrestleMania 8. Trainers try to tend to Shawn, but Taker’s having none of it. He brings Shawn in for 2. Taker tries the Last Ride, but Shawn counters into an X-Factor for 2. It’s TNA Appreciation Night! Someone come up with some kooky stipulations!
-Taker applies the Hell’s Gate, and Shawn counters it into a pinning predicament for 2. Once up to their feet, Shawn pastes him with Sweet Chin Music for 2. Shawn tries for another one, but Taker turns it into a Last Ride for 2. I’m starting to sweat, and I’m not the only one in the room.
-To the outside for what could be Shawn’s last deadly spot ever. He lays Taker out on the table with Sweet Chin Music and then goes up top, coming off with a moonsault to put Taker through. SICKNESS. If Shawn’s going out, he’s doing it the only way he knows how: stealing the show.
-Back inside, Shawn gets another Sweet Chin Music, and can only get 2. Shawn tries for yet another superkick, but Taker clasps the throat and sends Shawn to Hell with a chokeslam. No pinfall attempt, as Taker scrapes HBK up and drops him with a Tombstone for 2, just like last year. Taker’s livid and frustrated and this place is unglued.
-Taker drops his straps, but stops, as he’s now hesitant to finish Shawn off, due to the respect involved. Taker implores Shawn to stay down, but Shawn mocks him with the throat cut gesture, and then hauls off and smacks Taker across the face. Taker goes into beast mode, lifting Shawn and hitting a deadly leaping Tombstone for the win and the end of Shawn’s career. After a slow getting-up period, Taker embraces Michaels and the crowd, of course, eats up this moment.
-Taker leaves so that Shawn can have his curtain call, and he does so mostly with a smile, as, unlike most, he has no baggage left. He’s the best at what he does (or did), and has a family at home waiting for him, with plenty of money in his savings. If this is the end of Shawn Michaels as an active wrestler, then it’ll be a long time before any single performer comes along that can top him in this line of work. When that happens, my grandkids may be in a nursing home.
-CYNIC SAYS: Again, I’m completing this review just hours after the show ended, so there’s nothing to look back on with stern 20/20 hindsight and definitive judgment. From a live perspective, a good time was had by my friends and I, which is positive. The two World Title matches featured great story telling, Shawn and Taker may have hit ‘five stars’ (ask me again in six months), Money in the Bank was exciting, Rey/Punk and Hunter/Sheamus were both good matches, and Bret beat the crap out of Vince. For the most part, as of the morning after, I feel like I’d gotten my money’s worth.
Again, time will tell on WrestleMania XXVI. But for right now, let’s call it a thumbs up show with a smile.
Most speculated going into WrestleMania XXVI that it would end with an Undertaker victory. News about the retirement plans of Shawn Michaels has been buzzing in pro wrestling since the end of WrestleMania 25. Yet, there was some buzz over the weekend that the Heartbreak Kid may actually end the streak and stick around. In the end, the result most expected is the result we got and one has to wonder whether this is truly the end of Shawn Michaels.
I liked Shawn Michaels’ and the Undertaker’s match a lot from WrestleMania 25, but I didn’t love it like some people did. I think Michaels and Undertaker topped themselves this year with a WrestleMania classic. Where it ranks among the WrestleMania classics all comes down to personal taste, but the match definitely deserves high consideration. For me, it is still Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart from WrestleMania X3 but again, that is just one man’s opinion.
I can easily see some people picking the Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker WrestleMania 26 match apart. Like last year, there were a lot of false finishes. At one point the Undertaker gave Shawn Michaels a Tombstone piledriver on the floor, while Shawn Michaels struck up the band several time during the match. If you like that kind of drama, you will love this match. Some of the more old-school fans may not enjoy it as much because there wasn’t a whole lot of psychology when it came to several of the false finishes and kick outs.
The finishing sequence came when Shawn Michaels attempted Sweet Chin Music but was caught by the Undertaker and chokeslammed the Heartbreak Kid. The Undertaker then picked up Shawn Michaels, nailed a Tombstone, went for a cover, and Shawn Michaels kicked out. Michaels crawled up a standing Undertaker and then slapped the Dead Man. The Undertaker returned the favor by grabbing Michaels and giving him a jumping Tombstone piledriver (think Owen Hart Stampede days) and finally got the 1-2-3.
All in all it was a very fast paced match that saw the Undertaker dominate the majority of the match. To me, it came off as a match with a guy that just couldn’t hang with the other. The ““WrestleMania Moment,” will likely be a moonsault from the top rope to a prone Undertaker on a table outside of the ring. Michaels couldn’t have timed the move any better.
It is hard to believe that this will be the last we see of Shawn Michaels inside of a wrestling ring. I would not be shocked to see Michaels come back in a few months to Guest Host and start some kind of an angle. Michaels is just too young and too talented to walk away completely. The situation with Ric Flair is an entirely different so I can’t see Michaels coming back to the ring strictly for the money. At the same time, I have been told by several people over the years close to Shawn that he is really hurting and needs a lot of time off and away from the ring. Those close to Shawn have told me that other than a one-night return, they couldn’t envision Shawn Michaels ever coming back on a full or part-time basis.
Shawn Michaels has his critics, but I am not one of them. Over the last three decades, Michaels has probably been my favorite wrestler to watch. I just don’t remember many, if any bad Shawn Michaels’ matches. They may not always be great ones, but I can’t recall any stinkers from Shawn Michaels in the ring. On top of that, there is nobody that comes close to his string of great WrestleMania matches. Taking into account all of the pressures of being Shawn Michaels on WrestleMania and continually having great matches, that alone makes him one of the greatest of all time.
Whether this is truly the end or the beginning of a long layoff, I think we have seen the last of the great Shawn Michaels. Sure, he may be able to come back every once in awhile but it won’t be the same. As exciting as his style of wrestling has always been, it is one that doesn’t lend itself to a long career. Unless he is Superman, it is fair to say that his body has absorbed more punishment over the last 25 years than just about anyone else in pro wrestling.
I know that people like to call Ric Flair the greatest of all-time, but I disagree. I will always say that Shawn Michaels is the greatest of all-time. Michaels not only had more great matches, but probably influenced more top WWE superstars over the last several years than anyone has in decades. It was Michaels that helped break barriers and usher in a different kind of pro wrestling in the main-events. If it were not for guys like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, pro wrestling may still be in the muscle monster era robbing us of some of the greatest matches of the last twenty years. Shawn Michaels will definitely be missed, he will never be replaced, and pro wrestling won’t be the same without him.
In other WrestleMania 26 results…
Yoshi Tatsu won by last eliminating Zack Ryder 26-man battle royal
ShoMiz (The Big Show and The Miz) (c) defeated John Morrison and R-Truth
Randy Orton defeated Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase
Jack Swagger defeated Dolph Ziggler, Shelton Benjamin, Drew McIntyre, Christian, Montel Vontavious Porter, Matt Hardy, Evan Bourne, Kofi Kingston and Kane in the Money in the Bank ladder match
Triple H defeated Sheamus
Rey Mysterio defeated CM Punk
Bret Hart defeated Vince McMahon in a No Holds Barred Lumberjack Matc
Chris Jericho (c) defeated Edge
Michelle McCool, Layla, Maryse, Alicia Fox and Vickie Guerrero defeated Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Gail Kim and Beth Phoenix
John Cena defeated Batista for the WWE Championship
The Shawn Michaels announcement was expected but a bit of a letdown if you were expecting a big surprise. One of the big draws to the WWE Hall of Fame is seeing a wrestler you may not have seen in awhile. In the case of Michaels, it hasn’t even been a year since we saw Michaels in the ring and he was on television twice in December appearing on the Slammys and Tribute to the Troops less than a month ago. On the other hand, this should be no surprise as the WWE recently named Shawn Michaels the top WWE superstar of all time on their all-time top 50 list.
The bigger news may have been how it all went down on Monday Night RAW. The first inductee is usually the biggest name of that year’s class. The wrestler is held off television until the ceremony to build up anticipation. Not this year. Shawn Michaels actually appeared live after the video introduction and came to the ring. Michaels looked great and the crowd went nuts for the surprise. The next few minutes are what have everyone talking.
Michaels came to the ring and soaked in the crowd reaction for what seemed like to be 10 minutes. Michaels grabbed the microphone and just as he was beginning to talk, he was interrupted by Alberto Del Rio. Alberto Del Rio cut a promo and played a tremendous heel in the segment interrupting Michaels. Del Rio hit the ring, got in HBK’s face, turned around, and bam…Sweet Chin Music!
Wrestling fans and media are buzzing today wondering whether this was the start of an angle to get Shawn Michaels back in the ring at WrestleMania 27. This wouldn’t be the first time a wrestler was inducted and wrestled the next night on WrestleMania. Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair both did it. My hunch is that as much as Vince McMahon would love to get another WrestleMania show stealer from Michaels, it just isn’t going to happen. Regardless, Alberto Del Rios walked away with a ton of heat and looks like a sure bet to win the 2011 Royal Rumble or finish in the final four.
For me, Shawn Michaels was the greatest in ring performer I have ever watched and the most inconsistent. The debate always comes down to Michaels and Ric Flair but for me, Flair was to routine and I love watching Ric Flair. Shawn Michaels had great matches through four decades and was just as consistent at the end of his career as he was at his peak. I think both men were huge innovators but it was Michaels who really beat the odds due to his size and with Bret Hart broke more barriers for future pro wrestlers than Ric Flair ever did. That isn’t a slight on Ric Flair but it is a fact.
There are two other big names expected to be announced for the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame. Michaels on his own is great, but he isn’t enough to carry the event. Three years from now he definitely would have been able to, but not this soon and with recent television exposure. There are reports indicating that there are ongoing negotiations between the WWE and Sting. The former WCW and TNA champion Sting would and could be one of those top names. The move makes sense as Sting is reportedly a free agent at the moment. Whether it is Sting or not, I would highly suspect that there would be a big former WCW superstar on the docket since the ceremony will be in Atlanta which was WCW’s backyard.
Shawn Michaels was a three-time WWF champion, a one-time WWE world heavyweight champion, two-time Royal Rumble winner, and a former WWF European champion. Michaels is universally regarded as “Mr. WrestleMania” for having most of the greatest WrestleMania matches that took place on the grand stage. Michaels lost a Streak vs. Retirement Match at WrestleMania 26 in 2010 and has not wrestled since.
The breakout of Sheamus last year in the WWE was so impressive. Sheamus was on his way to becoming an elite main event wrestler. Over the last few months the WWE has done a great job of slowing down his momentum which begs the question, why in the world are they dropping the ball with Sheamus?
I will admit that I really didn’t get Sheamus at first. Yet after a few months he grew on me. Sheamus came out of ECW obscurity immediately in the main-event picture with a strong showing at Survivor Series 2009. Sheamus continued to ascend by being shot into a feud with WWE poster boy John Cena and shocked the world by winning the WWE championship at TLC 2009. Closing out 2009 the sky was the limit for the Celtic Warrior.
Sheamus put any thoughts of being a fluke WWE champion to rest with a succession of successful title defenses. Not only was Sheamus going over the elite WWE superstars, he was bulldozing his way through them with credible wins. On top of that, his character was fresh and the WWE universe bought into him faster than anyone else in the last few years that was pushed to the top of the cards. Sheamus was money and everyone could see it…well everyone except the WWE apparently.
Sheamus dropped the WWE championship back to John Cena at the Elimination Chamber show. While most big pushes (CM Punk, Jack Swagger) usually end once the wrestler drops the title, Sheamus actually got stronger. Sheamus was thrust into a feud with Triple H. The two would wrestle in a highly anticipated WrestleMania match. The obvious result here was Sheamus going over to continue his stronghold at the top. A win would have turned him into the most successful push of a young WWE superstar since Randy Orton. Of course that win wouldn’t come and ladies and gentleman, that was the night the party ended for Sheamus.
Sheamus did get his wins over Triple H but it wasn’t the WrestleMania win that would have done him wonders. Sheamus not only got his win, but ran Triple H out of the WWE due to injury. It looked like Sheamus was back on track to reclaim his spot. Even with the WrestleMania damage done, Sheamus reclaimed the WWE championship and had a real strong summer feuding with John Cena and other WWE superstars. It looked like a solid bet that Sheamus wasn’t just your average WWE superstar anymore, he was one of the elite or as they like to say in wrestling a “top guy.” (Obvious joke here of course)
Sheamus finally dropped the WWE championship, this time to Randy Orton at the WWE Night of Champions show in the Six Pack Challenge. No problem, the next step for Sheamus would be some rematches and a new feud with a top guy either on RAW or SmackDown right? Nope. Sheamus started a slow, subtle, drop back down to the mid card level of WWE superstars. The WWE superstar who was positioned for a long run at the top at the beginning of the year was now doing jobs for Santino Marella on RAW.
There is nothing wrong with doing a job for Santino Marella but Sheamus he never even got his heat back. Sheamus suddenly found himself in a feud with perennial mid carder John Morrison. Sheamus and Morrison had a hell of a match at TLC 2010 but Sheamus lost. One year ago Sheamus was the breakout star delivering a fresh presence at the top of the cards where today he sits far removed from the main event picture and his wins over Triple H and title reign are all but forgotten.
I know he won King of the Ring but what does it matter if he loses a big match a week or so later? Going into 2010 the top of the WWE RAW cards feature John Cena, Wade Barrett, The Miz, and Randy Orton which just isn’t going to cut it. What made Sheamus so special was that not only was his character different, but in the ring he wrestled like a main-event pro wrestler which is more than I can say for Barrett and Miz. Sheamus was the WWE’s best bet at a new breakout superstar and now he lingers in a world of parody.
In my opinion Sheamus’ lost momentum was the biggest disappointment of 2010 and a complete failure by the WWE. It just doesn’t make sense. Of all the attempts to push younger WWE stars to the elite level in the last few years, Sheamus was by far the most successful. I don’t know if there is an underlying story here outside of the ring or it is the standard WWE booking method of parody but somewhere between WrestleMania 26 and the WWE Night of Champions Sheamus fell out of favor with the top brass and Vinnie Mac.
WWE Survivor Series came in with its lowest Survivor Series domestic buyrate ever. The reason the numbers are down across the board is the same repetitious main-events on both RAW and SmackDown. It is one thing to elevate someone and then bring them back to the pack if they don’t get over. But to elevate Sheamus, see him get over, set him up for a future on top, and then pull the rug out from under him just makes zero sense. If Sheamus can’t get a fair shake at the top than who can?