Joel: At this point, WWE has pretty consistently delivered good WrestleManias since WrestleMania 17, maybe before that depending on how you feel about the earlier Attitude Era WrestleManias. So it’s kind of strange that their first real misstep in almost a decade is WrestleMania 25, on they should have been pulling out all the stops for. But apparently somebody back there thought that “all the stops” meant Kid Rock.
This whole show feels messy, which isn’t a way that I would have described any of the last ten or so WrestleManias. But this one felt a lot more haphazard, and sloppy. I know that there had to be buildup to these matches because I saw video packages, but the entire first half of the show felt like after each match the just grabbed whoever was closest to the entrance and sent them out there to take up some time. Seriously, I can’t think of anything worth watching that went on before the Undertaker match. But then we get Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. This match goes on half an hour and could have easily been twice as long without bothering me. Everything about this match screams WrestleMania event. The buildup is fantastic, and I’m not even talking about the buildup in the weeks before WrestleMania. Just the ring entrances of both guys let you know that the match you were about to see was going to be a big deal. The desire to be the one to break the streak plays perfectly into the storytelling of this match. There are more than a few points here where it really looks possible that HBK might be the one. I can’t say enough good things about this match. It may be the best example of what a WrestleMania match should feel like to date.
After the Shawn and Taker match, we get a few more matches that are fine. I don’t really have anything bad to say about these except if kind of felt strange to watch them when we had very clearly already seen the main event of the evening. I’m glad that after this they were smart enough to put the rematch at the end of the show the next year.
Kue: Wow, there’s almost nothing redeeming about this 25th anniversary at all. Kid Rock was putrid enough, but the middle finger to the women by booking Santino over them solidified the company’s approach to the division as a joke. Everything else was lackluster as hell, sans the obvious standout match.
I personally prefer this particular year’s Taker/Michaels over their 26 encounter. It had psychology, several memorable spots, and their undeniable chemistry just sparked a little extra.
Jesus, we’ve had a couple of garbage quality Manias in a row. And it seems like that trend might continue on to the next year…
Sanders: Aside from the opening Money in the Bank match and Michaels/Taker I, this show kinda hot garbage. It’s not the worst Wrestlemania by far but it’s a lot worse than I remembered it. Typically if WWE is going to have some sort of music act, they’ll keep it towards the middle of the card but here they have a Kid Rock concert after the first match and if that’s not enough to make you want to cut the show off, it’s followed by the 25 Diva Battle Royal. I always thought the idea that Divas’ battle royals have eliminations that occur if they just exit the ring and not over the top rope. To add even more insults to females, Satina wins the match and what’s interesting here is that the music that originally played is the terrible song that Kid Rock ended with but it’s edited out in the WWE Network. So they got the green-light to show Rock’s performance of the show but couldn’t (or wouldn’t pay) use the song minutes later after the end of the match. Not saying they should’ve forked the money over for it because WWE doesn’t need to encourage the success of more terrible music acts than they already have. Following that is the Jericho vs Hall of Famers which was exactly what you’d expect minus Steamboat coming out still putting on an exciting match or at least his portion of it. We don’t need to talk about the Mickey Rourke business.
The Hardy match was probably a few years too late at least for Matt Hardy. Jeff was about as over as the top guys at this point but he was on his way out and Matt was already getting pudgey by this point. Had this match happened earlier in the 2000s, maybe it would’ve mattered a little more. WWE gave the IC belt the same treatment they had given to the ECW championship the year before and people wonder it’s been such an uphill battle to convince the fans the IC means something now. Shawn and Undertaker I was the best out of the 4 year story that this match started for a variety of reasons. One of which is believability, it’s something Joel and I bring up every year and it’s whether or not we think an opponent has a chance to beat the streak. In the next year, Michaels’ retirement wasn’t exactly a foregone conclusion or anything but he was at point where he had seen and done everything so we knew it was on the horizon. But the promos, the video packages, the ring work, everything was crisp and exciting and came together to create one of the best Wrestlemania matches ever. And who cares about the remaining card.
BD: This is yet another horrible WrestleMania saved by only the efforts of Shawn Michaels and this time (not last time) The Undertaker. They had what is one of my favourite matches of all time, and my favourite of their 2-part WM series
What else to say… Punk won his 2nd MITB in what was definitely a better MITB match, it was cool to see Ricky Steamboat again even if the match was no good, Matt and Jeff Hardy was sorely disappointing (even if it was during Jeff’s most over period of his career) particularly given that Matt burned Jeff’s dog alive to set up the match. It was JBL’s last WrestleMania as an active performer which is a definite positive, but the match itself was 21 seconds (thus making it JBL’s least boring match ever), Cena’s match was horrible as usual, and HHH and Orton put on a severe snoozefest
HHH and Orton was widely considered one of the worst main events, particularly having to follow HBK Undertaker, even though HHH Orton was for the belt in a blowoff to Orton trying to rape Stephanie McMahon. In typical WWE fashion, they claimed it was because HBK Undertaker was so awesome, and it was, but the hard reality is that HHH and Orton just don’t have very good matches, and why this match was never done again.
Tags: clashy ring attire, CM Punk, Shawn Michaels, undertaker, WrestleMania, WWE