WM PPV Countdown: #14 – WrestleMania XXV

With less than a year’s perspective behind WrestleMania XXV it is kind of hard to truly rank it amongst the pantheon of WrestleMania events but it is safe to say it doesn’t really rank as one of the all time best despite the hype surrounding the event. The show was billed as the “25th Anniversary of WrestleMania” despite this year’s installment actually being the 25 anniversary of the event. On paper the nine match card looked like a can’t miss event, but execution of many events left WrestleMania XXV lacking.

First off the historic unification match between WWE Tag Team Champions Carlito & Primo Colon and World Tag Team Champions John Morrison & The Miz, which was made into a Lumberjack Match just days the event, was pulled from the main card just hours before the show was about to go live and was relegated to a “DVD extra.” The move was done to make more room for a mini-concert from Kid Rock. While I’m a bigger Kid Rock fan than most, giving him 20 minutes of valuable pay per view time on the biggest wrestling show of the year was a huge mistake. His concert, which happened far too early in the show anyways, led into the truly abysmal 25 Divas battle royal that was won by a man in drag no less. The selling point of the battle royal was to feature Divas of years gone by yet due to their poor entrance while Rock sang “So Hott” the returnees never even got a proper spotlight to be featured. On the DVD release the Kid Rock concert completely erased anyways, showing that WWE realized the mistake as well.

The rest of the card featured solid matches, like an always entertaining Money in the Bank Ladder match, a wild brother versus brother Extreme Rules match between Matt and Jeff Hardy and a fun handicap match that saw Chris Jericho work with wrestling legends Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper and a very game Ricky Steamboat. Steamboat, who hadn’t been in the ring competitively since 1994, looked much better than anyone had imagined and experienced a brief career revival due to his appearance.

The show was built on the backs of three main events. First was a convoluted triple threat match for the World Championship match between long-time rivals Big Show, John Cena and Edge that was built around a ridiculous love triangle between Edge and Big Show that was fun brawl, but definitely not a five star affair. The final match of the evening was a true blood feud between Triple H and Randy Orton based on the WWE Championship, hatred going back to 2004 and recent struggles between the two men’s families, that outed Triple H as a member of the McMahon family within WWE canon.

While Triple H-Orton closed the show, their match did not deliver as expected and the true main event in most fans’ eyes was the grudge match between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. It was a match between two legendary performers with long-standing built-in back-stories and a rivalry between the two dating back to 1997. It featured two former World Champions and certifiable first ballot, Hall of Famers in a one-on-one match with nothing more than pride and bragging rights on the line. For The Undertaker, it was a chance to keep his undefeated WrestleMania winning streak alive at 17-0. For Michaels, it was his chance once again to become “Mr. WrestleMania” and have the pay per view’s best match of the night; a feat he had done many times throughout the years.

As a lifelong wrestling fan by pure unbridled enjoyment and excitement of the match comes through in my live play-by-play of the contest as it happened. I have not been that on edge in professional wrestling match in years and it is the testament of these two legends that they hooked a jaded wrestling fan like myself into their story as well as they did. From this point on, this match is the thing I show non-wrestling fans, casual fans or past fans of pro wrestling in attempt to either woo them back or remind them of what they are missing. It’s not often that a pro wrestling masterpiece of this caliber comes along.

Michaels-Undertaker lifted WrestleMania from a middling show to a good show. The show featured plenty of disappointments and some solid in-ring action and fun entertainment, but it was that Michaels-Undertaker that lifted it to the level it’s ranked at here.

Match Results:
– WWE Tag Team Champions Carlito & Primo Colon beat World Tag Team Champions John Morrison & The Miz to unify both sets of Tag Team Championships in a Lumberjack Match. Lumberjacks included Evan Bourne, Paul Burchill, Tommy Dreamer, Goldust, The Great Khali, Charlie Haas, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Hurricane Helms, Cryme Tyme (JTG & Shad Gaspard), The Brian Kendrick, Ezekiel Jackson, Mike Knox, Vladimir Kozlov, Jamie Noble, R-Truth, William Regal, Jack Swagger, Jimmy Wang Yang and Dolph Ziggler.
CM Punk won the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Other participants included Kane, Christian, Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston, Shelton Benjamin and MVP.
Santina Marella won a 25 Diva battle royal. Other participants included Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Brie & Nikki Bella, Katie Lea Burchill, Tiffany, Gail Kim, Jillian Hall, Eve Torres, Melina, Rosa Mendes, Kelly Kelly, Natalya Neidhart, Michelle McCool, Layla, Alicia Fox, Maryse, Maria, Joy Giavanni, Torrie Wilson, Victoria, Jackie Gayda, Molly Holly & Sunny.

Chris Jericho beat Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper & Ricky Steamboat in a handicap elimination match.
Matt Hardy pinned Jeff Hardy in an Extreme Rules match.
Rey Mysterio pinned John Bradshaw Layfield (c) to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
The Undertaker pinned Shawn Michaels.
John Cena beat Edge (c) and The Big Show in a triple threat match to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
Triple H (c) beat Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,