Joel: I really enjoy this WrestleMania, but I’ll admit I have a soft spot for this one because it’s the event that brought me back to watching wrestling on a consistent basis. Rewatching it though, I can easily see why others might not be so high on this show as I am. The Diva’s match is a big problem, and I think this may have been the weakest Money in the Bank match to date. I don’t think the World Heavyweight Championship match was terrible, but I think both Chris Jericho and Edge are capable of having a better match than the one they have here. And I know we have to address the Bret Hart issue. Let me say, hearing that Bret Hart was back in a WWE ring, that’s what got me to watch more than anything else. Seeing him face off with McMahon to address a story that started over a decade earlier, that’s what I was really looking forward to. And I’m glad it happened, and when it was live I think I enjoyed the fact that I was watching the match, more that actually enjoying the match itself. Let’s just say this: According to Wikipedia, this match lasted just over eleven minutes, and I can tell you that watching the match again this time around, that was a very LONG eleven minutes to have to sit through. Again, glad it happened at the time, not sure I have any reason to ever watch the actual match itself ever again.
But for the second year in a row, the big kudos have to go to Undertaker and Shawn Michaels for putting on the match of the night once again. We can argue for days about what HBK/Taker match was better between the two of them, and I think there are solid arguments for both matches, but I think this is without question the best retirement match I’ve ever seen. I knew that Shawn was going to lose the match. This is how retirements work in wrestling and I wasn’t a stranger to that idea. At the time, WWE was also advertising a career retrospective DVD about Shawn Michaels that they put out less than a month before WrestleMania, so they weren’t exactly being subtle about the whole thing. And he was going against The Streak. But there were still some times in this match, that I legitimately thought Shawn was going to pull it off and break The Streak. It should not have been possible to make me feel that way with this match and somehow, these two guys pulled it off.
Kue: Well, this one isn’t as rancid as the previous two. Yeah, they jammed all the women in one throwaway tag match, but Vickie’s frog splash honoring her late great hubby actually did resonate emotionally. Mysterio/Punk was a lot of fun. Trips/Sheamus was passable. Cena/Batista was actually pretty good, as both guys showed more work rate than we’re used to seeing (probably due to being in the shadow of the main event).
That said, MITB was abysmal this year, capped off with an unpleasantly surprising Swagger win. And whoever booked McMahon/Hart needs to be fired and/or shot. By far one of the worst matches in Mania history, this did more to tarnish Bret’s legacy than bring any type of nostalgia or closure to the “feud”.
What more can really be said about Taker/Michaels II that hasn’t already been said? I prefer their previous year’s encounter, but this one certainly wasn’t lacking in emotion. It was also surprising that WWE had enough sense to book this as the last match. Stellar match from two stellar workers.
Not a great show by any means. But certainly not terrible.
Sanders: I do like pointing out moments that have been edited on the Network because, in the grand scheme of things, who cares if they cut it out? It boggles my brain to watch WWE care so much about the tiniest of things. For instance, we all now know that Jack Swagger is a bit of an idiot so there’s no point in WWE cutting out all the time Swagger spent struggling to retrieve the MitB briefcase. Also, yes, Mysterio’s entrance malfunctioned and so it took him some time to race back to gorilla and make his entrance like everybody else. The awkward waiting was edited out but the true abomination remained intact and that was Rey Mysterio’s dumb Avatar gear. The Bret Hart/Vince thing was just weird. I know they needed to come up with a reason for the Hart family to be ringside but the weird talking segment to set it up will wrinkle your brain. What should’ve happened is that Vince sets it up like he was suppose to and then over the course of the match, the Hart Family sides with Bret and the angle is far less confusing. It’s the old “show me rather than tell me” concept. As for the match itself, It lasted way too long but there’s only so much I can criticize Bret for because the guy is a recovered stroke victim so it’s impressive he’s even in the ring. Shawn and Taker 2 was about as great as you’d expect. I do always prefer their first match but this one certainly is no slouch and I always have a great amount of respect for Michaels for going out while he was still on-top of his game when he could’ve easily milked his talent for a couple more years.
BD: Man, is it ever hard to find much to say about this latest string of horrible WrestleMania’s. This one was about horrible Randy Orton boringly beating his horrible boring partners in the horrible boring Legacy stable, awful Jack Swagger getting the briefcase which would give him a world title reign, a horribly concussed old man beating up his boss 10 years after it would have been relevant in one of the world matches ever, and Big Show and Miz’s rise as a tag-team. Seriously. That all happened.
At least there was a few bright spots compared to the last one. Punk and Rey was a great match that everyone loved, and Batista Cena was better than it had any right to be given that it involved 2 guys responsible for bringing down ring quality in the main event for this era. Sometimes you just get lucky.
And Undertaker Shawn once again blew it out of the water. I prefer their match from the year before but that added retirement stipulation here really added something and the storyline leading up to it should be the manual for how wrestlers retire, which is normally a foreign concept in wrestling.
Tags: Batista, Bret Hart, clashy ring attire, John Cena, Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, undertaker, VInce McMahon, WrestleMania, WWE