Since we’ve been mentioning the 25th edition of the WWE’s biggest show of the year, both here on the blog and on the radio show, it makes sense that I breakdown Sunday’s big dance. Like any good wrestling reviewer, I’ll look at why a match may or may not have been good and then assign it a rating out of 10.
The show opened with a montage of wrestlers talking about their favourite Wrestlemania moments followed by a quick run through of the card in the same montage. Nicole Scherzinger performed America the Beautiful in front of a packed house at Reliant Stadium. Just watching it gave me chills. I have to be at a Wrestlemania at least once in my lifetime.
Money In The Bank Ladder Match – CM Punk defeats Kane, Mark Henry, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, Kofi Kingston, Christian and Finlay
I was a little concerned going into this because I wouldn’t consider Kane, Henry or Finlay ladder match guys. They were all involved in some really neat spots to liven up the crowd early. The man that stole the show in this was Kingston. There were four or five spots that he was directly involved in that were unlike anything I’ve seen before. He just made himself a star in this match. Meanwhile, CM Punk won the match. I don’t really remember him being involved in much. I don’t think the crowd was really happy with the win. After he actually grabbed the briefcase, it sounded like the crowd died down just a bit. All in all, this was a good first match. It set a good tempo for the show and had some spots to get the crowd into the show early.
Match Rating: 7/10
25 Diva Battle Royal – “Santina Marella” defeats 24 WWE Divas
The divas came out while Kid Rock performed “So Hott” so we didn’t really know which past divas had returned for this match though I did catch a quick glimpse of Torrie Wilson and Sunny. This was a mess. I wasn’t expecting much else, though. I was hoping for more face time for some returning divas but I’m sure Vince put the kibosh on that. Anyway, “Santino Marella’s twin sister” won the match. Kudos to Santino for wrestling and dancing in drag and thumbs down to Vince for making the announce team act like they didn’t know who it was. The least that the WWE could have done was save the bathroom break for later in the show.
Match Rating: 2/10
Handicap Elimination Match – Chris Jericho defeats Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, and Ricky Steamboat
Mickey Rourke was at ringside for this match. When Piper and Snuka were in the ring, it wasn’t very pretty. Their moves were slow and sloppy but at their ages, the fact that they can still go is saying something. Steamboat was simply brilliant. He and Jericho put on a fantastic match. Steamboat wasn’t as crisp as he was in the glory days but that was fun for me to watch. Afterwards, Jericho called out Mickey Rourke who came in and KO’ed Jericho with a left hook.
Match Rating: 6/10
Extreme Rules – Matt Hardy defeats Jeff Hardy
We knew going in that it would be a spot fest. I thought it was a little unfulfilling despite the appropriate finish to the match. Kudos to both men for putting their bodies on the line for this one. Still, it was a spot fest and nothing more. Despite the lack of psychology, it was reasonably entertaining. Just nothing to write home about.
Match Rating: 5/10
Intercontinental Title Match – Rey Mysterio defeats JBL
Scratch what I said earlier. We got two bathroom breaks in the show. The bell rang and 21 seconds later, Mysterio was the Intercontinental champion. After the match, JBL got on the mic and quit (retired). Vince gave one hell of a send off for one of his best employees. And they buried the Intercontinental Title in this match.
Match Rating: 1/10
Undertaker defeats Shawn Michaels
I’m not really sure where to start with this one. We all knew who would end the night with his hand raised and we were pretty sure that it would be a good match. I don’t think anybody would have thought this would be a half-hour war that was a throwback to the great wrestling matches of old. Tons of false finishes, it told a story, great ring psychology, and it was brilliantly paced. I’m glad the WWE didn’t chop any time off this because this is about as great a match we will see in this day and age.
Match Rating: 10/10
World Heavyweight Title Triple Threat Match – John Cena defeats Edge and The Big Show
These guys had a tough act to follow. This won’t go down as the greatest Triple Threat in Wrestlemania history but it wasn’t bad for a title match at any rate. There wasn’t much spectacularly new in this match but it was solid execution that made this a good little match. Cena getting both Edge and Show on his shoulders at the same time was impressive though (Michael Cole said it was 735 pounds). He put in the effort to try and win over naysayers. Solid effort all around by all three to keep everyone engaged in this match after the epic that went before them.
Match Rating: 7/10
WWE Title Match – Triple H defeats Randy Orton
Our main event of the evening came after the Hall of Fame introductions. This match started slowly with a stare down but would have been better served if H had jumped Orton before the bell like JBL and Jeff Hardy did earlier in the night. For a match where H could have lost his title via count-out or disqualification, the ref didn’t bother to enforce any rules for most of the match. The 10-counts started late and were slow while the 5-count disqualification warnings were never used. That really took away from the drama of a close call for H on a count out. There just was no drama the whole way along. It all felt setup for H to win and everyone to go home happy when the good guy wins the last match.
Match Rating: 4/10
In the end, this wasn’t a horrible event. Some matches were letdowns (JBL/Mysterio and H/Orton) while some were better than even the biggest optimist would expect (Undertaker/Michaels and Jericho/Legends). The Divas Battle Royal was poor but that was to be expected. Assigning a final rating to this event is difficult simply because it had some really high points and some low points over the course of the night. On the whole, it was entertaining but the main event was such a letdown that you can’t give this event a good grade.
Event Rating: 6/10
So ends my foray into writing about professional wrestling. I might see you again for Wrestlemania 26 in Phoenix.