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WrestleMania XXV: Miz Gets Bumped? Not Awesome!

April 01, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

-And so, I come to the end of this journey. Twenty four in the bag, and the most recent example sits before me, waiting for either my venom or my coddling. I think back to one year ago when I watched this show with my usual crew of my brother Josh, our childhood friend Dave, and my schoolyard chum Rob, so this rant will try and conjure up some memories from last year’s party. After all, since we all disliked this show so much a year ago, maybe one year will give us more time to be appreciative?

-Probably not.

-Anywho, let’s go back a year to April 5, 2009, as WrestleMania XXV takes us to Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX. This year, the show reverts to a simple three man team of Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Jerry Lawler covering the event. If there’s something in this world that isn’t “reliant”, it’s the idea of Michael Cole working an entire four hour show.

-Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls sings America the Beautiful. I think the remaining members of the Dolls, as well as the Black Eyed Peas and Destiny’s Child members not named Fergie and Beyonce should form a support group. I think they’re all headed that way.

-On the pre-show, Carlito and Primo defeated The Dirt Sheet Duo of John Morrison and The Miz to unify both sets of Tag Team Titles. I like all four men, and I was primed to see it happen on the actual card since, after all, it was booked for it. However, because of time constraints, this got bumped, and none of us figured it out until we saw the promo for the main event. Well, if we couldn’t get a tag team match featuring four wrestlers I like, and I’m footing a serious chunk of the cable bill, let’s see what was deemed more worthy of PPV time, shall we?

-We open with Money in the Bank, as we’ve returned to eight men this year, since nobody pissed purple into the cup. We have Christian, Kane, CM Punk, Finlay, Shelton Benjamin, MVP, Kofi Kingston, and Mark Henry as the crew this time around. I won’t lie, when I try to recall each participant in this match off the top of my head, I remember that there were four white guys and four black guys and that makes it easier. Does that make me a bad person? I hope not.

-After Henry and Kane take everyone down due to their hossiness, Christian and Benjamin use a ladder to clothesline them down, and Kingston high jumps over it, and then dropkicks the ladder into both men. Could be a coming out party for Kofi.

-The little guys climb and Kane and Henry knock the ladders over. This is called “establishing the pecking order”.

-Onto the traditional ‘dive parade’, where even Mark Henry teases one, but Finlay stops him. Oh come on, Finlay just didn’t want Henry to overshadow everyone with his Shooting Star Press. I’ve seen it, it’s epic, really. Shelton tops them all with a senton flip off of a painter’s ladder in the aisle. Crazy stuff.

-Oh look, Hornswoggle’s here to fill my veins with coursing rage. He dives onto the pile and knocks everyone over, despite weighing maybe 120 lbs tops. Again, if you ever laugh at midget antics, I will eviscerate you on sight.

-Kofi’s mission: steal the show. First he uses a ladder for a jungle gym kick on Finlay, and later he climbs a ladder that Henry holds while closed. If ever somebody was obviously doing everything in their power to become a main eventer, it was Kofi Kingston. I’m pulling for em too.

-Punk and Christian both get involved again, and Christian takes Punk off of the ladder with the Unprettier, although they mess the landing up. When two of your four or five favorite wrestlers blow a spot at the biggest event of the year, prepare for the worst.

-Then Benjamin climbs a ton of interlocked ladders and tries to sunset powerbomb MVP off, and they blow that as well. Not a good sign.

-Finally, Kane chokeslams Christian off, and Punk kicks Kane off to claim his second briefcase in a row, although the crowd is less than enthused. I love that they boo an ending because they all assumed somebody else would win (Christian?), but then over the next year, Punk reinvents himself as a hell of a heel, and is more entertaining as a result. Of course, the catalyst to all that was winning this match. Eat it, know-it-alls. Match was good, but probably the worst MITB to date.

-At this point, my DVD edits out Kid Rock’s concert, which was around ten minutes long and, well, sucked. Much like the instance of Mickie James playing grab-the-trout with Trish Stratus being edited off of WM22’s DVD, I was going to go to Josh’s and demand the original tape so I could watch it and provide an accurate look back but….ummm…no.

-As Kid Rock finishes “So Hott”, the divas for the 25-diva battle royal make their collective entrance. They don’t even get formal introductions, which I think is a little sexist and insulting, and are just herded out there. Well, ladies, here’s your moment of recognition: Beth Phoenix, Melina, Maryse, Michelle McCool, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox, The Bella Twins, Eve, Gail Kim, Jillian Hall, Katie Lea Burchill, Layla, Maria, Natalya, Rosa Mendes, Tiffany, as well as past divas Jackie Gayda, Molly Holly, Sunny, Victoria, Torrie Wilson, and Joy Giovanni, not to mention one other participant that I’ll reveal. Soon. In this next paragraph.

-A weirdo in drag dumps out Beth and Melina to become the winner, which is….Santina Marella, the “sister” of Santino. From the fall of 2007 until this moment, Santino Marella became the funniest, and most original, performer in the entire business, making me laugh at least once a week when he’d appear. But now, being shoehorned into this lame attempt at comedy, this was the end of Santino as far as an unbreakable entity was concerned. Unfunny, lame, and contrived. A dark cloud was definitely hanging over this show.

-At this point, the viewing party and I agreed: at least there’s still the Tag Team Title match to look forward to. Oy.

-Jericho-Legends recap is next, with spliced footage of “The Wrestler”, starring Mickey Rourke. I’m shocked that WWE Films didn’t create their own version called “The Sports Entertainer”, where the performer never gets hurt, lives a clean life, and lives happily ever after. You know it’s not beneath Vince, right?

-Mickey Rourke is spotted at ringside with fighters Frank Shamrock and Josh Barnett. Shame Barnett never transitioned into wrestling, because he has the look. Sadly, history showed that the look may conflict with a wellness test.

-So Chris Jericho is in a three on one handicap match against Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat, and Jimmy Snuka, and he has to pin all three of them to win. The legends are backed by Ric Flair, which would be an impressive array of talent if this were 1986.

-Piper insists on starting, and swears so loudly and brazenly that the censors are really earning their pay here. Has anyone in wrestling history ever been so insanely, car-wreck-esquely entertaining as Roddy Piper? Methinks not.

-Jericho gets tired of having to work with Snuka and Piper, who are just awful. He makes Snuka tap out with the Walls, which Snuka sells by tapping his hand as if he were patting a child on the head. Piper goes about a minute later after Jericho’s running enzuigiri. But that wasn’t before Piper threw one of the worst dropkicks in recent memory. Even Droz can do a better one these days.

-Steamboat gets in there and, at age 55, he’s so incredibly fluid. Steamboat lands a crossbody, his trademark lightning fast chops, a skin-the-cat, and even a pescado to the floor. The horridness that took place when Piper and Snuka were in there has been washed away.

-Steamboat counters the Walls, but Jericho lands the Codebreaker for the win. Bad first half, fun second half. After Jericho beats up Flair in a post-match skirmish, he gets punched out by Mickey Rourke to give the world its Entertainment Tonight/Access Hollywood video byte. Hooray for that, I guess.

-Hardyz video recap to hype their feud, which was basically “Hey Jeff, I burned down your house and killed your dog, so there’s no way we’ll ever like each other again, unless business lags and there’s still a market for Hardyz merchandise a few months from now, in which case we can forget all of this ever happened”. So yeah.

-Matt Hardy makes his entrance first, with Tommy Dreamer’s body and Edge’s tights. Wow, did Matt ever put on the pounds or what? Well, I guess when you have a lot of hate mail from past co-workers to respond to and post blogs about, there’s a lot of downtime and a lot of Taco Bell to eat. Anyway, this match is under “Extreme Rules”, which reader Hanzo helped explain the intricacies of. Thank you, Hanzo.

-Jeff gets an early stair assisted dive on the floor, but tries a similar version in the ring to no avail. He then tries Whisper in the Wind, but Matt nails with a chair on the descent. NICE. I mean, ouch.

-Matt pulls a Shop Vac out from under the ring, which I’m sure Jeff could find a creative use for. Alas, it makes a handy weapon. Matt also stretches Jeff against the post, because Matt is a repressed 35 year old emo with love handles. All he needs are the teardrops painted on his cheek.

-Jeff soon after makes his comeback, placing a trash can over Matt’s head, and then smashing it with a crutch. I thought Matt WAS his crutch?

-Swanton misses, and Matt lands the Twist of Fate for two. Matt goes up top, but Jeff suplexes him off. In terms of their WWE history, this is by far the best match these two have had with each other. Really, it was either this or that pungent crap at Vengeance 2001.

-On the outside, Jeff lays Matt out on a table, places another table over top of him, and then dives off the top rope, sandwiching his brother between the two tables. I wonder if there were any repressed childhood memories fueling the rage of each man, like Matt flushing Jeff’s body paint down the toilet, or Jeff calling Matt pretending to be Lita and asking him if he was free Saturday night. You know, stuff like that.

-Jeff brings in his typical gi-normous ladder to do a crazy dive onto Matt instead of, you know, just going for the pin. Of course, Jeff wipes out and misses the leg drop. Then Matt gets ingenious and wedges Jeff’s head through a chair to hit the Twist of Fate for the win. Sick ending, and a damn good brawl. I liked it better than MITB personally.

-JR on the ending: “Matt has ruined another moment at WrestleMania for his brother!”. I dunno, Jim, when Jeff eschews the pin so that he can do a crazy dive in order to wow the fans, I think he ruined his own moment. That whacky Jeff, always living for the moment.

-Meanwhile, Randy Orton is backstage engaging in mental preparation, while Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase stand there to earn their paychecks. “And…..cut! Good work, checks are in the room”.

-Next up, the first Intercontinental Title match at WrestleMania in seven years, as JBL defends against Rey Mysterio. Mysterio comes out dressed as The Joker, which prompts Jim Ross to make the inexplicable line “I think Rey’s career is alive and well” in regards to Heath Ledger. Ross would apologize later, but MAN was that quote weird.

-For those of you excited to see the IC Title return to the big dance, you had 21 seconds to enjoy it as Rey lands the 619 and diving splash in about 20 seconds to win the title. Why so short?

-JBL retires after the match, and has so far kept his word. I have to admit, I miss the big lug. He was a perfect heel, and I respect a lot of his politics as well. But, then again, he’s too smart to have to spend another day in the industry, so good on him.

-So let’s recap: worst MITB to date, bad Kid Rock concert, worse divas battle royal, ancients looking ancient, and a short IC Title match. So tell me why Carlito, Primo, Miz, and Morrison were relegated to being there before the curtain was jerked?

-Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker highlight package. With my crew getting a little restless, we knew that this match was to be counted out to save the show. We just didn’t understand the far reaching circumstances that it would create.

-For their special entrances, Shawn Michaels descends from Heaven with angelic music blaring. Once grounded, “Sexy Boy” kicks up and Michaels makes his way to the ring. If you’re watching a Shawn match, and you keep telling yourself that it’s the greatest match you’ve ever seen, then, nine times out of ten, he’s losing. Shawn has to steal the show in a losing effort always, in order to justify his next push. And you know what? I have no problem with that.

-Undertaker makes his entrance by rising from the depths of Hell, which is carny for “under the ramp”. I wonder if he found one of Gangrel’s discarded chalices under there.

-Shawn’s attempt to beat the streak begins as you’d expect with him playing David to Taker’s Goliath, getting in his shots and then moving quickly. Taker soon powers him into the corner and begins to maul, even as Shawn tries to feign a leg injury to bide some time. Taker plants him with a gorilla press to shut him up, however.

-I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you know you’re in for an epic match when they get all of their classic spots out of the way early. For instance, Taker just drilled Michaels with Old School. Not messing around tonight, I see.

-Taker misses a corner charge, and tweaks the knee, so Shawn goes to work on it, getting his figure four. Taker manages to break free, however. I’d probably laugh if Taker tapped out not five minute into the match to end the streak. What the IWC do? Probably catch fire.

-Taker mounts a comeback, dropping Michaels with snake eyes and a charging boot. A chokeslam, however, is countered into a Crossface by Michaels. If Shawn represents Heaven and Taker represents Hell, which one do you think Benoit sides with? Sorry, sorry, I should know better. Sidewalk slam finally breaks it.

-Shawn goes into his routine, hitting his flying forearm, kip up, and Manhattan drop. Shawn tries for the big elbow, but Taker sits up and catches the throat. VERY nice. Shawn breaks free and tries for the SCM, but Taker drops down to avoid. So Shawn goes for another figure four, but Taker pulls him down into Hell’s Gate. Well played, zombie man. Shawn makes the ropes, however.

-To the outside where the cat and mouse game continues, and Taker ends up eating the guardrail off of a baseball slide. Shawn’s attempt at a moonsault to the floor misses as Taker side steps. Then comes one of the most infamous moments in a famous match in wrestling history.

-Taker goes back inside and tries for the super zombie dive, but Shawn pulls a cameraman (actually Sim Snuka aka Deuce in disguise) into the path of Taker. However, they miss the mark and whereas Deuce was supposed to break Taker’s fall, the Dead Man ends up head-planting like a javelin. All of us in Josh’s living room went deathly quiet, because I’m sure we all thought Taker broke his neck, at the very least. Scary, scary moment. Deuce would never appear on TV again, and was actually future endeavored in June, but I really don’t see how that spot was his fault.

-Shawn implores the ref to begin counting Taker out, which is a good heel move, but Taker rolls in on 9. The match continues.

-Taker avoids the SCM and gets a chokeslam for 2. Shawn avoids another chokeslam, but then gets the intended Sweet Chin Music for 2. Shawn then counters one Last Ride, but not a second one, as Taker just SPIKES him. However, Shawn gets out of it on 2. I’m in amazement, even a year later.

-Taker misses a diving elbow, but manages to chuck Shawn over the top. Michaels skins the cat, but Taker clasps onto his body and gets the Tombstone, but Shawn gets the shoulder up on 2! The place comes unglued, and Taker’s look of abject shock is an iconic moment, almost on the level of Austin’s bloodied face from WM13. I’ll go that far, yes.

-Shawn counters another Tombstone into a DDT. Shawn lands the big elbow and then a Sweet Chin Music, but Taker kicks out now. Shawn can’t believe it and begins exchanging the soup bones with Taker. Taker knocks him into the corner, but Shawn counters the charge. Shawn tries a desperation moonsault, but Taker catches him and drops him with one last Tombstone for the win, and to extend his record to 17-0. Just an incredible match from start to finish, and one that won’t be soon forgotten, thanks to the efforts of both men. Having seen this again, I hope they learn their lesson for this year and put the two men on last. It’s only appropriate, given the hype and the implications.

-What do you mean the show’s not over?

-Hey look, Evander Holyfield’s in the crowd. Anyone think the day would come where Mike Tyson would be more coherent than him?

-World Title match hype, with Edge defending against John Cena and Big Show. The crux of the angle is that Vickie Guerrero was two timing famed two timer Edge in favor of Big Show, and thus the alliance to bring down Cena was looking weak. In other words, this was the ‘Shampoo Commercial’ of World Title match builds.

-Cena’s special entrance: hundreds of Cena clones come out to “Basic Thuganomics” and line the aisle in a nod to Eminem’s performance at the MTV Awards in 2000. Hey, Vince is up to 2000 in terms of comprehending pop culture! I look forward to this year’s show when Cena does something involving Confessions by Usher, just to show that 2004 isn’t TOO far out of Vince’s grasp.

-Standard triple threat stuff ensues, but it’s hard to get into when the angle is so bad. I mean, after Show gets tied in the ropes, Cena and Edge should just do the rest of the match themselves. Without an atrocious angle, it’s a license to make the fans content, right?

-Edge spears Vickie by mistake. Ugh.

-Show knocks Cena out with the Skillet Hand, and then tries to chokeslam Edge through the announce table, but Edge DDTs him on the floor. Finally, something of substance. Then Edge leaps off the steps and spears Show through the retaining barrier. NOW we’re talking.

-Cena manages to get Edge into the STF, but Show helps Edge make the ropes. Cena manages a Throwback on Edge, and then goes up top, but Show shoves him off into the path of Edge’s spear. Edge is singlehandedly making this match watchable.

-Edge tries a sleeper on Show for some inexplicable reason, and this allows Cena to get all 700 pounds onto his shoulders. Edge falls off and Cena drops Show with the Attitude Adjustment. Then Edge gets one onto the prone Show, and Cena covers Show for the win and the title. It just felt so anticlimactic after Shawn and Taker’s match, which is the danger of having such a great match go on early like that. However, it was more than solid, and Edge held it together well enough. Call it ‘decent’.

-Hall of Famers get their spotlight, with the Funk Brothers, Bill Watts, Koko B Ware, Howard Finkel (#25!), the Von Erichs, Ricky Steamboat, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin then rides his four wheeler to the ring and toasts JR to basically signal the end of his days in wrestling, as he has it in him to go into action movies. I love Austin, so more power to him.

-Crowd is announced at 72,744. Ever seen 72,744 people silent before? Get ready.

-Hype for HHH-Orton. I’m going to get very annoyed reviewing this, so I figure I’ll just warn you in advance. Such a brilliant storyline that got Orton over as a slimy punk who assaulted everyone in Hunter’s extended family, including his father-in-law (with the best Punt EVER), his brother-in-law, and his wife and mother of his children. You’d think a match like this would be overbooked to the gills to include the two months of drama that took place, but hey, we all make dumb assumptions, right?

-HHH had a solemn moment with Vince and Shane backstage before the match, and then makes his entrance by throwing his sledgehammer through a mirror. Oh, Hunter, you bad ass, you.

-Early on, the ref tries to prevent Hunter from going too far, and Orton lands an RKO. He doesn’t cover, however, because he wants to look cool and nail him with the Punt. The number of wrestlers badly influenced by Jeff Hardy is staggering.

-Hunter hits a Pedigree and both men are out. Well, there goes the exciting portion of the match. It’s been real, yo.

-Hunter aggressively takes over and the fans just die off. It’s like they’re waiting for something drastic and tense to happen, given the nature of the angle, but for now, Hunter and Orton are just going through the motions of a normal wrestling match. Weird strategy.

-Orton takes over, but not from a heightened, dramatic moment. He just methodically takes control and the crowd continues to die off. What am I watching here?

-Orton hits a powerslam to give the match some life. Then he applies a chinlock. In math equations, 2 + 2 = 4, but 4 – 157 = a freaking negative. Good one, Randy.

-The two exchange counters and try for their finishers, which is fine, except it’s not enough to revive the fans. The only thing the crowd seemed to like was Orton hitting HHH with a dropkick as he came off the top.

-On the floor, Orton counters a Pedigree by backdropping Triple H onto a table. At the very least, I had Orton winning to look forward to. I was hoping, anyway.

-The ref is bumped inside and Orton hits the RKO but, hey, no ref. Orton gets Hunter’s Sledge and tries to bring it in, but Hunter manages to hit his own Punt. After cracking Orton with the weapon and discarding it, Hunter pounds Orton into oblivion and then lands the Pedigree for the win. Wow, really? The most anticlimactic 20 minute match that I’ve ever seen at a WrestleMania, and not a sense of any soap opera fun with the McMahons or Legacy possibly wreaking havoc. The crowd doesn’t even care that Triple H won, either, and he’s supposed to be the big babyface star. What a mess.

-AC/DC, get us the hell outta here.

-CYNIC SAYS: So the tour of twenty five ends not with a bang, but a whimper. There was quite a bang NEAR the end, with Undertaker and Shawn Michaels stealing the show, and there were some redeeming qualities in the early going with Money in the Bank and the Hardy Party, but for the most part, WrestleMania 25 felt like an exercise in Murphy’s Law.

The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania was actually the 24th anniversary, so the show’s miscues and errors begin with the promotion of the name. There was enough to salvage it as a memorable event, but not enough to make it live up to it’s usual standard of excellence. Still, it’s an enjoyable event.

Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.

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Justin Henry

Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.

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