So I checked out WM at the Galaxy Cinemas instead of home, because $30 beats $60 and it’s a more fun atmosphere, and it was pretty good overall, I guess. The stadium setting was certainly something to behold, a far cry from the days of relative bingo halls like Trump Plaza, that’s for sure. I didn’t take notes, so this is from memory.
– JBL d. Finlay in a standard garbage brawl in the opener with the Clothesline From New York. Weird that they played up the emotional nature of the match and then put the heel over, but JBL is the bigger star and they want to push him, so that’s what you get. Honestly, I don’t mind the cheap looking weapons any more because I’ve seen enough chairshots for one lifetime. Match was kind of short and wasn’t a good choice to open, but it was fine for what it was. Needed blood or stiffness or some kind of emotional payoff. **1/2
– CM Punk wins Money in the Bank, which is a bit of a shock and I think a total waste if they’re gonna use it on the ECW title. I don’t see him getting either of the big belts because they just don’t see him as That Guy, so he’ll probably end up dropping the “title” ala Kennedy to move it to someone else who CAN cash it in and have a good shot. That match of course was a trainwreck, most of which I already have forgotten, so call it ***1/2. Big reaction from the theater for Matt Hardy’s return, but this would have been the perfect place to elevate him and instead he gets stuck with MVP again.
– Batista d. Umaga with the demon bomb in a dull mess of a match. Umaga is like the anti-Shawn at Wrestlemania, taking things down a notch for the big one last year and this year. Too much resting, no real story told. *1/2
– Kane d. Chavo Guerrero in about 5 seconds to win the ECW title in a “who cares” moment for me. DUD
– Shawn Michaels d. Ric Flair with two superkicks in a long match that wasn’t quite what I was looking for both in the execution of the match and the post-match ceremony, but it was certainly the best Flair match I’ve seen in a long time. They did a lot of tribute to Flair’s past, but I was waiting for the crazy Flair counters like going low to block the superkick or having Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard run in and save the pin one last time. I liked the story of Shawn being reluctant to put away his hero, but the finish needed more drama and it was more sad than dramatic, especially after the effort that Flair was putting into his last match. Flair trying the pinfall reversal sequence one last time and not being able to bridge was pretty telling in itself. Not a classic, not a disappointment, basically just what I expected. ***1/4
– The chick match saw Beth Phoenix pinning Maria to win. Ashley looked HORRIBLE and it was an embarrassment with her in there, but it was watchable with everyone else in there. *1/2
– Randy Orton d. John Cena & HHH by stealing the pin. One nice thing about having three World titles is that you can screw the fans on one of them and still have another shot for the happy ending. Felt short to me, but it probably wasn’t, which means it was a pretty good match but not off the charts or anything. John Cena continues to steal the focus of any match he’s in, as fans chant for him and against him and ignore everything else, which once again makes Orton look like a chump and that’s why Cena should be champion again. I appreciate what they’re trying to do with Orton, but I’m not buying it and not many others are, either. ***1/2
– Floyd Mayweather d. Big Show with a three-ring circus, chairshots and a pair of brass knuckles. Meltzer was a lot kinder to this than I’d be, as I didn’t get the psychology at all, with Show switching from heel to face mid-match and Mayweather not really doing anything from a standpoint of working a match. I don’t get why it was booked, I don’t get what the motivation was supposed to be, and I don’t get what was proved by it.
– Undertaker d. Edge with the triangle choke to win the World title and go 16-0. Hey, finally he gets someone to tap to that damn thing. I was bored to start, but they went nearly 30 minutes and it got more and more dramatic as it went along, doing the kickouts of the big finishes and the tease that MAYBE Edge would screw him out of the title and end the streak with the ref bump and the run-in. My only complaints would be that Edge just doesn’t have the main event big move to really put doubt into people, and that Cole and Coachman blow as a commentary team and would have been better served by JR in there to hold their hand through it. Other than that, fabulous stuff after the initial slow start and a good finish to the show. ****
Overall, I’d call it worth the $30 but fairly far down the ladder as far as recent Wrestlemanias go. Flair’s retirement should have had a bigger moment than just waving goodbye after an ovation and the outdoor stadium gave it a weird atmosphere at times, but I left satisfied with what I’d seen and I’d call it a thumbs up.