Joel: I gotta say, these WrestleManias were not meant to be watched back to back to back like this. I mean we’re currently in the longest streak of quality WrestleManias that there is, and I’m enjoying all of the shows, but I really don’t care to see another montage clip show of how great the institution of WrestleMania is. Once a year, I get it, but two or more in a week and they start to get really repetitive.
Anyway on to the specific show of WrestleMania 23, we finally get Money in the Bank as the show opener, really a great place for that match as it crams a lot of exciting moments into the first match and sets the tone of WrestleMania as a “big deal.” Of course the very next match was Kane vs. The Great Khali, but I think the fact that I was still excited about the rest of the show after that says a lot about how vital an exciting kickoff match can be to a good show.
While WrestleMania XXII was a show with a lackluster main event after several stellar mid card matches, this WrestleMania is almost the exact opposite of that with more than a few forgettable matches, but two fantastic title matches, one between Undertaker and Batista and the other between John Cena and Shawn Michaels. Cena and Shawn Michaels easily take match of the night with some fantastic work here, even if it does finish with tapping out to the STFU.
But we do have to talk about the billionaire elephant on the show. The Hair vs. Hair Battle of the Billionaires match was a huge deal for this WrestleMania, so much so that it takes up half the space on the WrestleMania 23 poster leaving the two title matches having to share the remaining space. However, current events that have happened since WrestleMania took place have made the whole thing awkward. The match itself isn’t too long and isn’t necessarily a bad match, but everything surrounding the match that is Trump related is just a solid cringe fest now, and puts a damper on the WrestleMania as a whole.
Kue: The fact that Trump is the headliner already brings this Mania down a good few notches. But for the sake of objectivity, I’ll try to ignore the contemporary associations. That said, the Battle of the Billionaires was the marquee of this event, and boy, was it a shit show. Let alone the entirely distasteful presentation of two old white rich dudes using two minorities to fight their battles for them, the match itself was horrendous. Trump and McMahon barely did anything to each other. The inclusion of Austin brought little to the table.
The rest of the card was subpar at best, save three matches. Money in the Bank delivered on the spot scale, as expected. Cena/Michaels was a good show, starting that lovely trend of Cena being booked against fantastic workers who carry him through matches, giving some smarks those rose-colored glasses that gives them the perspective that Cena isn’t that bad (cough, cough, Chris and Joel, cough). The surprise of the night came of Batistia/Taker, whose unpredictable chemistry brought out an unpredictably great match, and certainly one of the most standout matches from Taker’s streak.
In closing, kudos to WWE for making a Saliva song actually worth something via the ending video package.
Sanders: I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m a bit biased when it comes to this particular Wrestlemania because this was the show that brought me back into wrestling. I’m not saying the stellar card enticed me or anything but I had been a fan in my younger years until I thought I was too cool for it (I wasn’t) by the time I got to high school. I heard that Shawn Michaels was in the main event and it took me by surprise because he was my favorite and I had gotten a bit bored since my favorite was basically retired for so long. I checked out the show and I’ve been back on board ever since. Just think, had HHH never gotten hurt and WWE was forced to put Shawn Michaels in the match in his place, I possibly never would’ve gotten back into wrestling. Thanks, Trips! The match itself was probably John Cena’s best when it comes to his Wrestlemania matches (I’m definitely willing to credit Michaels for this) and this year was probably the Cena entrance that I hated the least…so good job on that. This Mania also marked the proper first WM appearance for CM Punk and the undercard was pretty fun. I know we don’t typically talk about these things but the opening pyro was particularly incredible. Again, this might be my own personal bias but something simply works with this show except for…
Donald Trump. I get Vince’s obsession with the cheap celebrity ploys to get the world wide media attention on his biggest show but wow this was a huge mess. And the shame of it all is that Lashley and Umaga had a pretty decent match but that all got lost in the shuffle. Trump wouldn’t react appropriately to they Boogeyman, Vince’s hair has never been the same since and he’s the one person that takes a Stone Cold Stunner worse than Vince…he’s already failed at making America great again.
BD: … and we’re back to mostly-poor WrestleMania quality. At least we had a good 5-ish good ones before this!
This WrestleMania really cemented being in the “Cena Wins LOL” era before that even became a thing, and Cena fought Shawn Michaels. Believe it or not, they were actually going to go with Cena HHH again before the infamous HHH quadricep did the crowd that huge favor – well, a medium favor, anyway. Cena HBK was lame, but better than another Cena HHH would have been. This HBK match is ridiculously overrated, probably because it was Cena’s best match to date, but it wouldn’t make it onto the Top 50 Shawn Michaels matches for me..Batista Undertaker was better than it had any right to be – once in a while they just get lucky. I’d actually recommend this, believe it or not. Easily Batista’s best WrestleMania match until a few years from then when he had the Cena match – also a shocker quality-wise given who was involved.
Literally everything else was a total waste of time. Kane Khali. Yeah. They seriously did that. Hopes were high for MVP Benoit but I don’t think many people got much out of that. Ken Anderson Kennedy won MITB before everyone realized he sucked and they stripped it off him, so that tells you something.
And then there was the future Lord Ruler Of Earth Donald Trump shaving Vince McMahon’s head because a current TNA main eventer beat a Samoan guy who died several years later. Much like Brock Goldberg at 20, WWE kind of got the iggy that something wasn’t going to work out like they thought, so they made Austin the guest referee. I’m kind of surprised Trump hasn’t brought that into the debates yet. “A wrestler in the other corner from my guy, he died a horrible death. That’s all I’ll say.”
Tags: Batista, clashy ring attire, CM Punk, Donald Trump, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, undertaker, VInce McMahon, WrestleMania, WWE