It’s the biggest show of the year, it’s the Granddaddy of them all, it’s $65 on HD. (But worth it.) Will Ric Flair retire? Will The Undertaker’s streak end? Will Mayweather look good? Will anything surprising happen? Come join me for LIVE coverage of Wrestlemania as it happens.
We start with the Free for All at 6:30, which goes over the Show/Merryweather story, to the surprise of no one. Then, Edge/Undertaker get a very thorough and impressive run-through – good to see the WWE video guys are still at the top of their game. Rick Flair gets a career retrospective, set to a Fuel song. (Hey, at least it’s not Creed or Saliva.) They talk about the Money in the Bank match, and show us a clip of the Punk/Morrison match from Smackdown.
WWE.com live-streamed the ECW Battle Royal. Kane won in about 9 minutes. (Thanks, Paul!)
“America the Beautiful” is sung by “5 time Grammy winner” John Legend, followed by a long video reminding us that we’re watching Wrestlemania (in case we, uh, forgot, I guess).
First Match: Belfast Brawl: John “Bradshaw” Layfield vs. Finlay Video recap of the beating given by JBL to Hornswaggle in the steel cage. And, in a moment that I can’t decide is good or bad, Hornswaggle gets a crowd pop on his entrance. JBL goes right after Finlay, they brawl outside, and Finlay throws JBL back in. Showing a lack of foresight, Finlay fills the ring with weapons, then walks in – and gets a trash can on the noggin for his troubles. JBL tosses in the steel steps, sets up for a piledriver, but it’s countered to a back bodydrop. Weapon shots-a-go-go. JBL grabs the shaleligh, but gets distracted a singapore cane from Hornswaggle. Finlay with the stairs, JBL rolls out and slaps Hornswaggle, so Finlay bounces his face off the announce table a half dozen times. JBL back in and out the other side of the ring, Finlay out with a tope suicida (!!), but gets caught with a trash can lid to the head. HOrnswaggle also gets a trash can thrown at him on the outside. Finlay with a series of trash can lids, a toss throw a table — only a two-count. Finlay again with the stairs – JBL hits him in the shin with a cane, then gets the Clothesline from Hell – 1-2…3? Wow. Winner: JBL
Our “Guest Hostess” backstage, Kim Kardashian, gets interrupted by Mr. Kennedy. Kennedy!
Second Match: Money in the Bank ladder match: John Morrison vs. Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. CM Punk vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. MVP vs. Chris Jericho The bell rings, and everybody but MVP runs outside the ring to grab a ladder. His plan pays off, when he grabs Morrison’s ladder, and beats up everyone else with it – except Jericho, slips in with an extra-large ladder and knocks MVP outside the ring. Morrison grabs a ladder, climbs to the top.. and does a moonsault with the ladder to the floor onto four other guys. WOW – nice opening spot! Kennedy is the first to set up a ladder in the middle of the ring, but gets caught by Y2J before taking one step up. Y2J monkeyflips him – directly halfway up the ladder (nice). Y2J climbs up in chase, gets knocked off, Morrison rides another ladder from the corner to the center of the ring – he and Kennedy slug it out. Benjamin climbs up a second ladder in the middle, but gets knocked back down. Kennedy sets up Morrison for a suplex off the ladder – Shelton goes over his back, and powerbombs Kenned while Morrison gets superplexed in our first “Tower of Doom” reference. Shelton climbs back up, Carlito pushed the ladder over, so Benjamin just steps onto the top rope and throws the ladder back at Carlito. He tries to ride the ladder back to the center of the ring, but loses him momento and goes into the second rope in a scary-loking spot. Punk goes up, gets stopped by Kennedy, who gets clotheslined to the floor by Punk. Benjamin stops Punk on the second try, tosses him to the corner, goes up, gets stopped by Punk with a GTS. Punk takes a fireman’s carry roll to a prone ladder. MVP comes in, knocks off Carlito, kicks Kennedy out of the ring, but gets caught in the leg with a ladder by Carlito. Carlito climbs, brought down by Benjamin. Shelton climbs, Carlito and Kennedy toss him off, onto another ladder lying outside the ring (ouch). Y2J, Kennedy and Carlito climb – MVP knocks the ladder sideways – all 3 are outside the ring. MVP celebrates, and gets a ladder to the face from Morrison to pay for his hubris. Morrison up the ladder, gets caught in a Liontamer *on top of the ladder*. Kennedy up on a 2nd ladder, he and Y2J slug it out – Punk springboards to Kennedy’s ladder but eats a (whatever Kennedy calls The Stroke), Carlito springboards to Jericho’s but gets pushed off. Carlito climbs up the other side, and pulls off a Backstabber from the top of the ladder! MVP is the only one standing – and stupidly takes his time – which allows Matt Hardy to make the run in, and gets the Twist of Fate off the ladder. More chaos in the ring, Jericho misses a ladder shot, and two of the large ladders gets crossed up. Morrison takes advantage, but gets tossed outside the ring (whie CM Punk takes a ladder to the head). Y2J climbs, apple to the face, Carlito almost gets the case, tossed off by Kennedy (onto a ladder in the corner), Kennedy almost has it, takes a ladder to the face from Punk, Y2J with a Codebreaker onto Punk with the ladder. Y2J climbs again – everybody else is down! Punk crawls back in,m shakes the ladder, climbs up (while Jericho is yelling “Stay down!” while kicking him). Both are up top – Punk takes the briefcase to the face, but pulls down Jericho by the ankles – Jericho in the tree of woe on the ladder! Punk climbs, grabs the briefcase – he has it! Winner: CM Punk
Holy cow. Didn’t see that coming.
Hall of Fame recap. Flair is genuinely choked up. Nice shot of Edge with his video camera getting a picture of Flair.
The class of 2008 is announced in Orlando: Jack and Gerry Brisco, the family of Gordon Solie, Rocky Johnson, the family of High Chief Peter Maivia, Eddie Graham’s son Mike, Mae Young, and the family of Ric Flair (whoa, David put on a bit of weight.)
Backstage, Snoop in da hizzle, fo shizzle. Wit’ Festizzle. And Santizzle. And ringin’ da bellizzle. Shout out to Mick Fizzle. And Sockizzle. Word to ya mizzle.
Third Match: Smackdown vs. Raw: Batista vs. Umaga Slugging to start (I know, whoda thunk it?). Shoulderblock from Batista knocks Umaga to the floor. Umaga back in, back and forth, leg lariat (!) from Umaga, and a big kick to the face sends Batista to the floor. Splash to the back gets 2. Whips to the corner from Umaga, and some stomping on the lower back. And our first big-man rest hold – the nerve pinch (in what I have to assume is a shout-out to Iron Mike Sharpe). Umaga to the second rope, misses the diving headbutt. Batista with a scoop, but falls over – 2 count. Kick to the back, and another nerve pinch. Samoan drop from Umaga for 2. Batista with the comeback – to boos? Okay, Orlando has now decided to do the “yay/boo” thing for Umaga/Batista. Uh – sure. Umaga with a blind charge, eats the post, spinebuster from Batista. Batista with a powerbomb, 1-2-3. Winner: Batista And yes, the crowd cheers loudly – guess it was just the smart mark portion that was pulling off the “Yay!/Boo!” stuff.
Backstage with Floyd Mayweather, who is in quite good spirits with his posse. Tale of the Tape: weight 159 lbs vs. 441 lbs, height 5’8 vs 7’0, shoe size 9 vs. 18 EEEEEE. Wait – Big Show is a 5 time World Champion? Wow – that’s the most unbelievable stat on the page.
Recap of the ECW Battle Royal (streamed on WWE.com at 6:30): The final two were Kane and Mark Henry, with Kane walking out with the win.
Fourth Match: ECW Championship: Chavo Guerrero vs. Kane Joey Styles points out that this is the first time the ECW title has been defended at Wrestlemania. (And really – when you think “ECW”, don’t you immediately think “Kane”?) Kane slips in the back of the ring, chokeslam, 1-2-3. Winner and new ECW Champ: Kane No, I’m not kidding – it was that fast. I think SD Jones has been removed from the Wrestlemania record books.
In the ring: Raven Symone. “WHAT IT IS, ORLAN-DOO!!??!” Ooookay. Thankfully, it’s a Make-A-Wish cross-promo: 50 kids from 50 states are here at WM XXIV. Well, ok – no snark possible on that. That’s actually a really great thing WWE did.
Recap of the HBK/Flair storyline, and backstage with Ric. “My gameplan? To *be* the Man. Woo!”
Fifth Match: Career Threatening Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair Okay, all the respect in the world to Flair, of course – but he looks like he’s getting ready to march down Broad St. in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day. And this is from someone that’s loved his robes over the years. In a nice touch, Lil’ Naitch is the referee. Lockup, headlock, shoulderblock from HBK. Lockup, hammerlock from Flair, reversed, reversed again, reversed once more, drop-toe hold from Flair, rolled through to another hammerlock, reversed again. Off the ropes, Flair with a hiptoss and a couple of “Woo!”‘s.Lockup in the corner, some pushing, Flair: “Old Yeller, huh? Old Yeller?”, smack in the face from HBK. Flair bleeding at the lip. Chops in the corner, reversed, chops: crowd starts up a small “Yay!/Boo!” cheer. HBK to the top rope – and Flair biels *him* off. Okay, that was funny. Flair up top, HBK goess to toss him off, Flair counters – and HITS the top-rope splash! For two. Flair with a leg-breaker, and an early figure-four attempt, but gets kicked out of the ring. HBK sets up for the Asai moonsault – misses, but lands DIRECTLY with his ribs on the announce table. HOLY HELL that looked painful – who is retiring after this match again? HBK back in – thrown into the corner. Back suplex from Flair, rib shot, standing vertical suplex – only a two count. Chops back and forth, HBK with a neckbreaker. Flair with a charge, backdropped to the floor. HBK to the top – hits the moonsault to the floor (well, for storyline purposes at least). Both men crawl back in at 9. Flair with a stomp – more chops. HBK off the ropes with a flying forearm. Kip up (grabs the ribs). Atomic drop, punch. Again. Body slam, holds the ribs. To the top – hits the elbowdrop. Holds the ribs, grunting, looks at the crowd – gets some boos. Warming up the band – very, VERY mixed reaction from the crowd. Lines up for the Sweet.. Chin… no. HBK pauses, looks at Flair – Flair takes him down immediately into the figure four in the middle of the ring. HBK rolls it over – Flair breaks. More chops, Flair with a headlock, HBK headscissors, Flair rolls over into a pin. 1-2 — they can’t quite kip up. HBK with a sunset flip for 2. HBK with chops in the corner, Irish whip is reversed, Flair with a chop block. Figure four – rollup for 2. Enziguiri misses – Flair with another figure four! 2 count. Flair moves him back to the center of the ring, Michaels keeps shifting – makes the ropes. Flair goes after the knees while HBK is still in the ropes. Flair struts, and walks straight into a KILLER Sweet Chin Music (Flair sold it like he had been shot). HBK draps the arm – 1-2-NO! Michaels warms up the band again – giving the “GET UP!” motions. Warms again – Flair still isn’t up. HBK walks over, lifts him up – Flair with the mule kick to the groin. Only a two-count. HBK takes him down, into his inverted figure four. Flair slides to the corner – makes the ropes. Flair pulls off a turnbuckle cushion, ref is distracted – thumb to the eye. Roll-up for 2 from Flair. Chops while on the knees. Up to the feet – more chops from Flair. BOOM – Sweet Chin Music again from Michaels. HBK motions again to warm up the band – stops, looks down, pain on his face. Flair staggers to his feet, with the “Bring it” motions. HBK mouths “I’m sorry. I love you” Sweet Chin Music. One. Two. Three. Winner: Shawn Michaels
Michaels walks up the ramp with no celebrations or motions to the crowd at all. Flair soaks up the crowd reaction – his family is pretty much all in tears. Reid seems especially upset. I honestly do hope this is his final match – it’s nearly the perfect way to go out. (And in case I haven’t mentioned it, it seems really dusty here in my living room.)
Edge backstage, talking about being in the crowd at WM 6, as “the biggest Hulkamania in Canada”.
Sixth Match: Bunnymania Lumperjack Match: Ashley and Maria vs. Beth Phoenix and Melina. An elaborate entrance lets me make up from the last match, thankfully. Snoops is our special MC, and announces the lumberjacks, then the contestants. Wow – that is, by far, the worst I’ve ever seen Maria looked. Heckuva time she picked for it too. Santino, of course, tries to steal the spotlight from the heels entrance – Melina looks less than thrilled. “The Glamazon” (which I am assuming is their attempt to re-create the heydey of GLOW) overpowers Ashley to start, Maria has some luck with kicks, Melina gets tagged in and thrown to the lumber… jills. The Pussycat Dolls beat her up a bit.. oh, wait, no – those are actual Divas. Eh – same thing. Maria witha splash in the corner, and a Bronco-buster. Ashely tagged in, gets a flying headscissors. Ashely tosses outside, and the evil Divas pound her a bit. Ashley monkey-flipped into a bear hug from Phoenix. Melina climbs on Beth’s shoulders, and does a backflip into a moonsault – missing a broken neck by inches (Victoria’s reaction is about the same as mine). Phoenix back in, Maria with more kicks… and then the lights go out. No, really – THE LIGHTS WENT OUT. To their credit, the girls keep going, until someone gets a couple of spotlights on the ring. Anyway – Maria with a cross-body off the second rope to Phoenix for two. Phoenix with a series of moves, countered to a bulldog – 2 count stopped by Melina. Ashley splashes the heels outside, Maria with a top-rope bulldog on Phoenix, 2 count stopped by Santino. The King has had enough, and punches him out with a right hand. Phoenix with a Fisherman’s Suplex on Maria inside the ring, 1-2-3. Winner: The Glamazon and Melina
Back inside the ring, Santino is talking trash to Maria… when da mutha-fuckin’ SNOOP makes his presence felt by clothelining that Italian mysoginist straight to hell. Then, he gets the mack on with Maria in the middle of the ring. DAMN, Dog.
Video recap of the WWE title triple threat. Then, a marching band from a local black college appears. Oh, that’s for John Cena’s appearance. Wait – what?
Seventh Match: WWE Title: John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Randy Orton Right off the bell: Cena and HHH argue, Orton takes out HHH with the belt. Cena with an offensive flurry. HHH tosses Cena, and goes after Orton, tossing him out too. Orton gets smacked off the ECW announce table. Back in the ring, HHH gets a sleeper. Cena comes in, tries to FU both of them – HHH gets out, and nails Cena in the groin. Orton then nails his inverted back-breaker. Cena stomps on both opponents. Kneedrop on Cena for 2. Kneedrop on HHH for 2. Orton to the top, Cena pops up and meets him there. HHH picks up Cena on his shoulders – Orton with a Doomsday cross-body for 2. Cena pops up – puts Orton up for the FU (groin shot to HHH first), Orton gets a sunset flip for 2. Trip clothelines on Cena, Orton clothesline on HHH. Orton with a double DDT – Cena for 2, HHH for 2. Orton crawling for the RKO – Cena up first, Orton tries, Cena throws him onto Trip. Cena up top – legdrop to Orton. Tries for teh STFU – Orton gets out of the ring. Cena chases, Orton runs… Orton grabs Cena and throws him face-first into the ring post, proving that Cena is possibly the dumbest wrestler alive. Orton back in, caught by HHH, kneedrop to Orton’s left knee. Cena in – clothesline from HHH. Orton up – RKO on HHH! Cena with the drop-toe hold – STFU! Cena in the center of the ring – pounds the mat, tries for the ropes… crawls… HH reaches in, pulls Orton’s hand to the bottom ring! HHH pulls Cena out, throws him into the steps. Back into the ring, HHH throws on “a version of the Indian Death Lock” (thanks, JR), but Cena breaks. HHH tossed the corner, over to the outside. Cena into the STFU again on Cena, broken up by HHH. Okay, not quite – HHH pulls up one arm, and then slips into.. the Crossface? Wow, I thought that was verbotim now. (On a side note, HHH looks absolutely ORANGE when he’s next to Cena.) HH and Cena slug it out (with the requisite “Yay!/Boo!” cheer that started it all – Chicago still owns your ass, bitches). Cena with the lay-out suplex, “You can’t see me!”, five-knuckle shuffle. Up for the FU, HHH out – set up for Pedigree, Cena over for the STFU – HH kick out. HH with a kneedrop, clothesline, spinebuster. Lion roar. (Where’s Orton?) (Oh – HHH gives him a chop block.) Cena up for the FU – HHH reverses to a Pedigree! One – two – Orton breaks! Orton covers Cena – 1-2-3! Winner: Randy Orton
The Big Show IS WALKING! (I’ve always wanted to type that.)
Well, it’s a big recap of the entire storyline involving The Big Show and Floyd Mayweather.
(Oh, and I don’t know how I didn’t mention it yet, but Lillian Garcia’s outfit tonight? Hubba hubba.)
Eighth Match: The Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather Floyd gets cash falling from the ceiling, along with an announcement that he’s “five foot nine, 159 lbs”, during his entrance. And the start of this match should come as no surprise to anyone: several times in a row, TBS tries to corner Mayweather, who ducks out at the last second. Starting on the third try, he also throws in a couple of body blows – which basically do nothing. Then… Floyd goats TBS into trying some fisticuffs, but Mayweather is too fast. A couple of go-rounds, then Mayweather takes a sip from a big ole’ Pimp Goblet (JR: “A chalice?”), while he gets toweled down. Big Show charges, and takes out the towel dude – then pulls him back into the ring and rips off his “Mayweather Promotions” t-shirt. Mayweather throws a punch – Big Show catches him, plants the wrist on the canvas, stomps — and misses. TBS gives the “that close” motion, while Floyd dances. Back into the corner – another feint, Big Show catches Mayweather by the throat. Up to the top rope, Floyd starts throwing haymakers – TBS turns around, Mayweather jumps on his back, and grabs a chokehold. Big Show walks around the ring a bit, almost threatening to throw him over the top rope once, trying to shake him off.Big SHow down to one knee, with his head totally red – I mean, legitimatelly red, like he really was choking. Big Show works out, grabs Mayweathers arms, lays out the left arm – and STOMPS on it. The posse, the crowd, and Mayweather react as if he has been stabbed in the heart with a hunting knife. TBS grabs Mayweather, drags him into the corner, and does the “SHH!” chest slap. Big Show stands on Mayweather’s back, using the ropes for support. Twice. Mayweather tries to fight back, even trying to kick TBS – but gets caught in a side slam. Legdrop onto Floyd’s left arm. Big Show walks over him – as in – right foot on the chest, left foot on the thigh. I don’t care who you are – DAMN, that would hurt. Big Show pulls up Mayweather – Floyd with some body shots, TBS with a big head butt. Elbow drop. Big Show motions to the crowd – “One more?” Pop. To another section: “One more?” Bigger pop. Wow – the crowd does NOT like “Money”. TBS off the ropes, the posse pulls Mayweather out of the ring, his “manager” screaming “WE OUT!” Big Show chases up the aisle, and takes out everyone in his way. He drags Mayweather back to the ring (uhh – slowly). Back into the ring, set up for the chokeslame – a member of the posse runs in, but is slapped away. Up for the chokeslame – chair across the back from another posse member – Big Show shrugs it off and chokeslams him. Mayweather has a chair – shot to the gut, shot to the back, caught by Big Show! Set up for the chokeslame – Mayweather with a kick to the groin! Chairshot to the head. A second one. Three! Mayweather strips off his MMA gloves, and wraps his fist with a gold chain from one of his posse. Straight shot to The Big Show’s jaw – the ref starts… counting? OK. At 6, TBS starts getting up… 8.. 9.. 10. Winner: Floyd Mayweather
There are a whole lot of people in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, in case you were wondering.
Kim Kardashian again blesses us with her “I wouldn’t be famous if I hadn’t made a sex tape” ass, which I am oh-so-grateful for.
Ninth Match: World Heavyweight Title: The Undertaker vs. Edge Pushes, then Edge unloads in the corner. Out of the corner, UT with a big clothesline, then a clothesline over the top rope to the floor. Back in Ut beats Edge in the corner. UT off the ropes with a clothesline. Arm twist, into the OLD SCHOOL – Edge pulls his off, UT counters into an arm drag. UT with a high knee into the corner, takes himself outside the ring. UT on the outside of the ring, Edge with a spear to knock UT into the barrier. Again. UT up on the apron, Edge pulls a twisting neckbreaker onto the top rope. UT into the ring, Edge pulls him into the corner, and spears him in the back. UT back with a straight fist and head butt, but buckles on the scoop slam. 2 count. Edge back with a standing side kick. Edge to the top, knocked off to the floor by UT. UT takes the tope to the floor. Edge rolled part-way in – UT rolls in to break the count, rolls back out – kicks UT in the head on the apron. Leg drop on the apron. Set up for the Last Ride – no, countered to a Spear. 2 count. Outside the ring, smashing on the Spanish announce table. Back in – Edge goes for a single-leg Boston Crab. UT rolls through for 2 – Edge back to the legs. Break in the ropes. Up to their feet – slugging it out. They go through a series of strike movies – punches, knees, etc. THe crowd has a lot of fun with the “Yay!/Boo!” dichotemy. Edge into the corner – UT with the clothesline. Twice. Snake-Eyes. Off the ropes – but Edge hits a drop-kick for two. Edge off the 2nd rope – caught with the choke… up.. down… Edge gets a DDT. One-Two-..No! Edge sets up for the Spear – countered with a knee to the head. Chokeslam! One.. two.. no! Arm-drag to the corner.. Old School? No – again countered. Edge up – Superplex for two. UT into the corner – Edge climbs for a series of punches, and pose. UT lifts him up for The Last Ride – Edge counters, hits a neckbreaker instead. Two count.Both men up – Ut kick, and The Last Ride. One-Two-No?? UT with the neck-slash, up for the Tombstone… Edge counter again. Two count. Off the ropes – UT with a big kick. Grabs the arm AGAIN – Old School? YES. Off the ropes – UT takes out the ref with a big boot. Oops. Edge grabs the UT – reverse DDT. Edge stands over UT and taunts him – which, of course, every WWE fan of the last 20 years knows is the worst thing you can do. And yes – UT grabs him by the throat. But – no ref, so Edge kicks him in the nuts. Very effective, in case you were wondering. Outside the ring, Edge grabs an WWE camera – and smacks UT in the head with it. Edge reaches for the ref, but insteads pushed him out of the ring (oops), then gets pissed when UT sits up. He goes for a Tombstone – but of course, that’s reversed into UT’s own Tombstone Piledriver. Lil Naitch comes sprinting down the aisle, just in time to get – ONE… TWO.. NO! THe “Edge Boys” run down to the ring, so they can get their ass kicked very quickly. UT turns around.. Edge with a spear! One.. two.. NO! Edge backs up, tries again.. spear! UT falls.. and locks in the triangle choke! Edge reaches for the ropes, with his hands and feet.. he taps out! Winner and NEW World champion: The Undertaker
Overall good show. Honestly, I don’t ask much more from pro wrestling than the emotion I got from the Flair/HBK match. That alone made it worth the price of admission – so long as you picked up on the little things. But in any case – good night, and good luck.
Tags: ECW, Raw, Smackdown, WWE