For Your Consideration…The Wrestlemania XXVI Judicial Review

For Your Consideration…The Wrestlemania XXVI Judicial Review

In honor of Wrestlemania, I’ve decided to do a full Judicial Review for the biggest show of the year. Now this was the first Wrestlemania that I haven’t watched live in 13 years, so I went on a complete media blackout; no Facebook, no Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/awheeler316), no AIM, no nothing. I was certain to avoid having this one ruined for me. So, without further ado…

“Welcome to Wrestlemania”

We open with the impressive sight of the packed stadium full of fans as the jets fly overhead. To paraphrase Sideshow Bob, what backwoods hillbilly gets excited over an air show?

The National Anthem is sung by television star Mr. Ed. No, wait, that’s Fantasia. Buzz, your girlfriend, woof. As she warbles, we get the standard WWE stock footage of patriotic images that would usually be used by a drug company to make us feel great about our country before telling us what’s wrong with us. Thankfully, Wrestlemania doesn’t cause erectile dysfunction…unless you’re looking directly at Fantasia.

Hey, at least it wasn’t Nickelback.

The massive audience cheers as I’m pretty sure they’re just jacked up about seeing Mania. We then fade into the opening package that usually is the package of the year. We see a faceless individual in a singlet climb into the ring as the booming announcer tells us that these stars may only get one chance at Wrestlemania glory. This then takes us through what sounds like a “Don’t try this at home” PSA. I love the shot of Shawn and Bret hugging. “Tonight, the conditions are ideal; place, opponent, universe…for a Wrestlemania moment.” This package is really well done Bravo WWE Production.

Slim Jim and the WWE present Wrestlemania as the pyro and ballyhoo seems to go off in every direction with those Southwestern colors. My heart immediately breaks as I hear the voice of Michael Cole welcoming us to Wrestlemania. I miss JR.

There are over 70,000 fans in the arena and we are opening with Justin Roberts (and his Rolex) introducing the Unified Tag Title match.

R-Truth and John Morrison v. The Biz

R-Truth is out first and he’s “rapping”, which sounds more like someone out of breath trying to sing along to a prerecorded track. The fans are thrilled because they get to chant along to something, and these people seemed prime to explode.

John Morrison gets his own entrance, because slow motion trumps team unity. Morrison and his pyro look good, too bad that’ll be the most explosive moment for him unless he turns heel. Jerry Lawler and Matt Stryker are decked out in tuxes as Michael Cole is dressed like Mr. Earnst from “Hey Dude”.

Awesome, it’s the tag champs. Show is wearing the tag belts like a tallis. Hugo and Carlos are ringside tonight, so get ready for someone to be driven through their table. Miz is decked out in a mini-Edge jacket that actually kinda makes him look like a badass. Kinda. Oh, also this is the first Wrestlemania being broadcast in Romania. Guess that makes this WrestleRomania. Classic.

Miz and Morrison start out before Morrison tags in Truth who hits a top rope leg drop for two. I really hope that Morrison turns heel on him. Probably not tonight, but sometime soon.

Miz tags in Big Show who eats some R-Punches before hitting a fallaway slam. Show then knocks Morrison off the top rope before going for the Vader Bomb. Morrison hits a spinning kick onto Show and Truth gets a two count. The audience seems pretty quiet, but that may be due to the fact that this is a giant stadium and sound escapes. Either that or they don’t care about R-Truth and Morrison.

Miz and Morrison wind up back in the ring and John gets some offense before going for Starship Pain. Miz gets yanked out of the ring by Show and Morrison hits the mat. Miz goes for a pin but only gets two. Morrison gets a surprise pin but that only gets two.

A very quiet “Miz is Awesome” chant starts as Miz tags in Big Show. Show kicks out John Morrison and that’ll be it. Well that was certainly quick.

Yep, Johnny’s turning heel.

The match itself was spirited, but it was WAY too short. I guess the thought was to minimize the amount of botched spots Truth would hit, but it just felt like a very small appetizer being given to a very hungry crowd. On the plus side, The Biz celebrate like madmen.

We get the announcers back on camera again as Lawler hypes the Wrestlemania art show, the golf tournament and Axxess.

We get a package showing us all the “exciting” Wrestlemania week stuff. Cena was on Jimmy Fallon, Miz was at the art show, people from all over the world waste their trip to the states by wandering around Axxxess, the wrestlers and the fucking midget golf, Kofi Kingston teaches the kids to read and not pretend to have a fake Jamaican accent, Chris Jericho is on Lopez Tonight to promote the PPV and his sudden loss of dignity and we close with Big Show carrying a small child. Thankfully we cut away moments before the kid was eaten.

Randy Orton v. Teddy DiBiase v. Cody Rhodes

Alright, let’s get this one over with. Teddy gets to walk out first as Cole hypes Teddy’s dad going into the Hall of Fame last night. Cody comes out second to his old theme song. Cody is wearing Texas A&M colors, but due to his orange tanned skin, it makes him look like he’s either naked or channeling Giant Gonzalez. Let’s hope those comparisons stop at the ring attire.

Phoenix hears voices and actually comes alive for Randy Orton. Randy isn’t looking as baby oiled up as normal, so I guess the less shiny you are, the more the fans will love you. Randy walks down the crazy long entrance way as Cody and Teddy chat in the ring. I shit you not, they were chatting. You know, because there’s no way at all that they are going to have a misunderstanding and wail on each other. Nope. No chance.

Randy finally makes it into the ring after a walk that took longer than the opening match as Cole talks about how all Legacy cares about is beating Orton. Jesus, there is a lot of Mystic Tan in that ring.

Randy takes out both Cody and Teddy before we have a long staredown. Randy bails out of the ring but sprints back in to take out Teddy. Most of you know that moves as the “How to win a handicap match in Smackdown v. Raw” move. Legacy finally get Orton down and they pick him apart. “Now this is going to be bad.” Thanks for the honesty Lawler.

Cody and Teddy bust out their repertoire of moves; stomp, stomp, kick, double stomp. Legacy then switch from kicks to punches, and if you’ve ever wondered what 70,000 silent people sound like, watch this segment.

After another minute of mauling, the crowd starts a “Randy” chant but it quickly dies. Legacy hit a double suplex on Orton. Teddy finally pauses to gloat, which gets a reaction from the crowd. Teddy and Cody follow Orton into the corner and they wail on him. “This is bad.” And thank you Michael Cole.

Legacy whips Orton into the other corner as he comes back for what you could call a hope spot before Teddy clotheslines him. This is kinda like the awful movie “Avatar”; you know in the end what’s going to happen but you have to sit through a lot of boring stuff to get there. “It’s at a very disturbing pace as well.” Thanks Stryker.

Legacy hit the high-low and as Cody goes for the moonsault, Teddy goes for a pin. Cody and Teddy finally go at it as Rhodes tosses DiBiase out of the ring. Cody busts out the Alabama Slam but Teddy breaks it up. Teddy now wails on Cody and they start a catfight. Legacy rolls to the outside as they finally show some zest. Randy, meanwhile, is just kinda chilling out.

Legacy charge Orton but Randy overpowers both of them. The one nice thing is that Randy actually looks smart in the way he’s avoiding the double-teams. Randy hits the inverted backbreaker on Cody as the crowd comes to life by chanting for an RKO. Randy drops to the ground to start humping the mat, but Teddy pulls him out. Cody leaps over the top rope but collides with Ted. So long story short, the tale of this match will be that Randy can outsmart the guys he’s supposed to have been tutoring. Way to teach them nothing.

Randy sets Legacy up for the double second rope DDT, which was a cutesy spot. It gets polite applause from the crowd who appreciate the novelty, but they seem to swell as Orton punches the mat poised for an RKO. Randy then relents as he stares at Cody with what can only be described as lustful eyes, and I’m creeped out. Ah, he’s setting up for the punt. Randy kicks Cody in the skull but Teddy sneaks up from behind as he goes for Dream Street. Orton turns that into the RKO and I am now 2-0 in the Roundtable. I know that won’t last long, but let me gloat while I can.

What did I say? I said that this was going to be a dull beatdown of Orton with minimal hope spots until Legacy turns on each other. A screen lowers into the ring as Orton poses in front of his logo. That was novel. On the plus side, this match was better than Hunter/Orton from last year. It wasn’t overly long, it was dullish but had a finish that seemed to perk up the crowd. I figured that these two matches were going to be lackluster, and they were. Is anyone going to remember either of them? Nope. Is anyone going to put them on the Worst of list? Nope.

Please, don’t try this at home. I hate competition.

Josh “Randy Orton 2.0” Orton is in the back with two fake plants as he brings out Team Heel divas. Vickie’s outfit is fantastic, complete with “Excuse Me” across her chest. This year’s Wrestlemania will always be known as Vickie Guerrero’s first Wrestlemania match. She then brings out Jillian Hall, who sings “Simply the Best.” This better be the “comedy” for the night. Sure enough, Santino shows up. He then pulls out a Slim Jim, and Jillian Hall turns into Mae Young. She makes out with Santino. He bites again and now it’s Mean Gene in Jillian Hall’s dress. He bites again and it’s Melina. Hey, I remember her. Santino then leaves with her. Alright, let’s hope they got that out of their systems.

Money in the Bank

Kofi Kingston is out first and his hair is insane. Savannah is doing the ring entrance, and I think we can all agree when I say, “Who?” Kofi does his claps as we transition from one black guy who’s push died to another, MVP. Porter gets no pyro and doesn’t even get a full entrance. Evan Bourne is out next, and I love the fact that Evan Bourne is on Wrestlemania. Jack Swagger is out next, and I had said since his debut that he would win this match, but in my picks I went with Drew. Jack Swagger has a great new patriotic robe that makes me think that Ivan Drago is going to kill him. Jack Swagger is out next and he is the only guy to have been in every MITB. That means he also lost every MITB. Matt Hardy is out next and he’s got new wristbands. Good for him. Dolph Ziggler is rocking black as Stryker calls him the most sinister mind. Well, he went to Kent State so that’s a shoot. Drew McIntyre is coming out wearing his Intercontinental Title for some reason. Yes, the IC Title that Savage and Steamboat fought over is now a prop for a guy in Money in the Bank. Kane is sporting a black eye, presumably from Pete Rose. Sadly, we don’t get the cool flaming ladders. The final entrant is Christian, who I wouldn’t mind see winning. Hell, I’d be happy if Christian or Swagger won. I know I picked Drew, but that was just because it seemed like the most WWE move. If this were TNA booking, I’d predict Hornswoggle.

The bell rings and suddenly I’m watching the middle of a Royal Rumble. It is impossible to call what’s going on for the most part. In the ring, Drew and Kane are wailing on each other and McIntyre is already propping up a ladder. “Perhaps Drew is going to go through the backdoor again.” Insert your own Pat Patterson joke here.

MVP takes out as everyone tries to climb the ladder all at ounce. Bourne touches the ladder but Kane launches him with a chokeslam to the outside. Kingston knocks Matt Hardy and Kurt Swanlge off the ladder. Christian is in now and uses the ladder as a battering ram. He then flips Kingston into the ladder. Christian climbs to the top rope and we have our first quasi-botched spot as Dolph goes for the Zig-Zag but it did not look clean. Dolph climbs to the top of the ladder until MVP shows up. Shelton and Kofi both grab ladders and they take out Kane. Then, MVP, Kofi and Shelton team up against Kane to form the new Nation of Domination. I kid, I kid. They teamed up to set up a Kofi spot that, of course, he botched. Thankfully, Kane is a professional and he doesn’t curse out Kingston live on television.

Shelton sets up a ladder. Hopefully, the suitcase also has promo skills. Jack Swagger takes him out with a ladder but Bourne goes for the high knees. He misses but Jack sells it anyway. Christian and Hardy are now using the ladders to pin Swagger under the ladder. Bourne then hits an impressive leap to climb up. Jack then uses Jenga rules to eliminate Matt Hardy by knocking of his ladder. Bourne is now alone at the top of the ladder but instead of going for the win, he proves to be a stupid face and hits a 450 Splash off the top of the ladder. Bourne and Hardy now climb to the top and now it’s the IWC darling being hip tossed off the top of the ladder by the IWC’s whipping boy.

Matt gets flipped off the top of the ladder by Jack Swagger and he lands on the other horizontal ladder. MVP and Shelton are at the top of the ladder, and not since Obama became president has there been this much hope. MVP and Shelton both wind up on the outside as Cole tries to sell us on the carnage.

Kane is now in the ring and this gets a nice token pop from the audience. Dolph Ziggler shows up from out of nowhere and climbs over Kane. Kane then shoves him off of the ladder, because Dolph never once thought that the guy standing next to him would do such a thing. Clearly he’s never bothered to watch one of these things before.

Kane chokeslams Dolph on the ladder. He then sticks Dolph in the middle of the ladder and breaks the ladder in half on Ziggler. Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise. Kingston turns the broken ladder into stilts, which is a unique spot. Contrived but unique. Kofi then climbs the broken ladders but Drew breaks up the entertaining moment. You know, pretty much his MO. Cole again makes a comment about Drew going through the backdoor. He climbs to the top but Matt Hardy makes the save. I do like that Drew appears to be rocking British Bulldog-like dreads.

Matt Hardy kills Drew but Kane shows up with a ladder of his own. Christian then steals Kane’s ladder as Matt Hardy has to pretend to not know how to get the briefcase off. Probably why Lita left him.

Kane grabs Christian and Matt Hardy as it looks like we were going to get a double chokeslam but they kick him off. Matt and Christian are now brawling on top of the ladder until Christian hits the Unprettier off the top of the ladder. Cole calls it a Twist of Fate, which shows why he deserves the RAW announce slot. Jack Swagger shows up now and he climbs the ladder after Christian. Well, two of the guys that could win it are brawling. Stryker has a funny moment as he tries to explain how to remove the suitcase. Jack cracks Christian in the face with the briefcase and Christian goes flying. Jack Swagger catches the swinging suitcase and after what seems like ten minutes, Kurt SwAngle gets the suitcase.

Look, I picked Drew McIntyre and said they might give it to Christian, but I’m thrilled they gave it to Jack Swagger. This guy has the good and I’m glad the WWE isn’t giving up on him. Unfortunately, at the moment they are calling him a success, we see the University of Phoenix logo. Not exactly synonymous with success.

We now get an Extreme Rules promo. I miss Backlash.

The three-headed announcer monster talk about the Hall of Fame from the night before. Lawler makes a joke about trying to fuck Gorgeous George’s wife as we throw to a highlight package of the Hall of Fame. I would have loved to see Antonio Inoki’s speech. Guess I’ll have to wait for the DVD. It’s also odd to see the Hart Family up there, especially after just finishing Bret’s book. Lastly, yes, I marked out again for Ted DiBiase’s laugh. It never gets old. That laugh is still real to me, damnit.

Howard Finkel is in the ring, which means it’s time to meet the Hall of Fame class. Wow, Wendy Richter looks like a house. Bob Uecker has sort of a Flair thing going for him. The Hart Family waves with distain and bitterness. Wendy Richter keeps yelling that girls just wanna have fun. Mad Dog Vachon still looks scary even from a wheelchair. Antonio Inoki looks like he could probably work a 20 minute match, by the way. Mrs. Gorgeous George gets a nice pop, but that’s because most of the crowd thinks that it’s Yoda. The Million Dollar Man gets the biggest pop, and deservedly so. This is always a nice moment for these people to get their moment in the sun.

Kevin Rudolf’s “I Made It” gets a shout out, which means this might be the last night I have to hear that song. We now get to see an exciting package for Hunter and Sheamus.

Triple H v. Sheamus

“As a yun fellah, I wuz ulways fastinated buy one mun, a guy who’d use a sludgehummer, named Da Game, Tri-pull Ache. It’s brought him countless wurld chumunchips. Look a’ me. Aye because double yah double yah eee champun.” We then get footage of Sheamus jumping Hunter over and over again, complete with spooky video effects. We then get footage of Hunter/Warrior. Yay. Sadly all we see is the bodypress. This leads to a montage of Hunter hitting the Pedigree on a bunch of people before we see Cena and Batista beat him. This package does also show us Hunter in his awful Conan outfit, so it’s got that going for it.

We get an overhead shot of the University of Phoenix Donut as Sheamus comes out first. Sheamus pounds his chest and proclaims that O’Doyle rules. Cole talks about how Sheamus ran roughshod over ECW and beat John Cena for the WWE Title, but this is his first Mania. Stryker compares him to Finlay and Regal, except that he never once had the honor of wrestling Disco Inferno on an episode of Thunder. There are a bunch of Irish flags in the front, which I’m sure is making Kevin Dunn’s head spin.

Hunter is out next, but sadly all he’s wearing is his standard Triple H gear. No furry capes, no nothing. He didn’t even bust out his purple or red variant trunks. This is such an odd Wrestlemania where we’ve seen Hunter, Big Show and Orton all wrestle within the first hour and a half of the show.

Cole points out that this is Hunter’s 14th Mania despite being a hip and with it degenerate. We then get a shot of the floating orb that has everyone’s logo. Hunter spits his water and now THAT gets pyro. Sorry everyone in the MITB match, you don’t get any fireworks. But Hunter spitting water? Oh you better believe that deserves a pyrotechnics show.

Hunter and Sheamus lock up and if you look quickly, compared to Sheamus, Hunter looks like The Rock. Sheamus hits Hunter and yells “Ahm tha future.” Great Scot!

Hunter then smacks Sheamus in the face, but sadly doesn’t yell that he’s the past. Hunter then hammers away on Sheamus before going for a quick Pedigree. Hunter shows us again why he’s such a legend; unlike Legacy and Orton who were only orange, Hunter has now turned the corner and he’s Thanksgiving turkey brown. Hunter hits a suplex before connecting with the DX Chop Knee. Sheamus then bails.

Hunter sneaks up behind him and rams Sheamus into the railing. Hunter tosses him back into the ring before hitting the Figure Four. Cole surprises me by actually mentioning Ric Flair, who I assumed was unmentionable now that he’s in TNAwful.

Sheamus whips Hunter into the steps on the outside as Stryker gives Hunter ANOTHER nickname by calling him the Ace of Spades. I guess he’s just going to keep using Motorhead songs. Good thing he didn’t pick Weezer, because there’s no way I’m calling him Jonas.

Sheamus hits a backbreaker on Hunter and there is an AMAZING sign in the crowd that says “Hunter Fears Divorce.” Sign of the night. Sheamus slowly unloads punches and kicks and the crowd is quickly fading. Sheamus then stomps a bog into Hunter before pulling out the O’Doyle Rules yelp.

Hunter starts firing back and the crowd chants for Hunter. Just wanted to point out that Heel Hunter is a main event talent but Face Hunter is in the #4 slot. Sheamus punches Hunter in the head and then goes for a pin. Seriously? Sheamus then locks in a resthold before going for a two count. It’s hard to wrestle a “deliberate” pace at Wrestlemania because the audience can get very restless very quickly. Hunter finally breaks free with a belly-to-back suplex.

Hunter and Sheamus get to their feet and Hunter connects with two boots and then a DDT. Hunter then hits a Facebuster as you can hear morons in the audience calling spots for Triple H. Yeah, I’m sure he loves that. Hunter gets a neckbreaker for two before propping Sheamus up on the top rope. Sheamus slips out and hammers again on Hunter’s back. Sheamus turns it into a Razor’s Edge but Hunter wiggles out. Sheamus goes for the Bicycle Kick but he misses and Hunter goes for the Pedigree. Sheamus breaks free and connects with the A-Train Bicycle Kick but it only gets two. The crowd starts a “Triple H” chant as Sheamus looks angry as the blood flows from his face, which makes him translucent.

Hunter hits the Spinebuster for two. So for those of you keeping score, both guys have hit their secondary finishers. Sheamus hits a Bicycle Kick again from off the apron, but he’s too tired to get the cover. Should have worked on more cardio. Didn’t he ever see “Zombieland”?

Sheamus peels Hunter off the mat but Hunter was playing possum and he hits the Pedigree and that should be it. Roundtable: 3-1

Well, that was one hell of a RAW match. Look, I get the point of this match; it made Sheamus look like he could compete with Triple H, it got Hunter an easy face pop and it kept Triple H away from the main event. Stryker calls this the triumph of spirit, which is so close to Triumph of the Will that I got nervous. Hunter poses in the ring and seethes, possibly soaking up the face pop for the last time.

We get a wide shot of the ring, which thanks to the canopy looks like a teepee. Well, we are in Arizona.

We now cut to a…Slim Jim commercial? People really paid good money to watch a commercial? Fantastic.

CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio

We now get to re-live CM Punk scaring the bejesus out of Rey’s daughter. His son, who is really Eddie Guerrero’s son, watches on. The Production folks do a great job inserting footage of Rey costing Punk his MITB slot. Nice effect. Wow, Dominic is getting old. Now I feel old. At the end of the promo, Mildred and Patty Hill get their royalty check as we get to hear Punk singing “Happy birthday” one more time.

CM Punk is out first, and thank goodness he has a microphone. He also has a new t-shirt, which is a shame. Oh, by the way, it’s clobberin’ time. Punk says that over 70,000 weak minded individuals are hopped up on drugs and that’s why they think Rey Mysterio is a superhero. CM Punk says that he isn’t a monster, but rather a savior. He promises to lead them all to a better place, to a place that doesn’t read 118 degrees outside. “One nation under Punk, indivisible, with integrity and sobriety for all.” That’s pretty brilliant.

Punk is rocking ridiculously cool G.I. Joe trunks. Rey Mysterio is out next and…and…wow, this is taking a while. Wonder if he got stuck in his trap door. Wait, he just popped up out of nowhere. Well, something got fucked up. Rey is dressed like the bastard son of an Avatar and Max Moon. Sorry, the GI Joe trunks trump that get-up. I miss the ill-timed Joker get-up.

Rey and Punk lock up and I was pretty sure this was a street fight. Luke and Serena distract Mysterio and Punk jumps him. Punk actually has heel heat with the crowd, making him the first person to possess that all night.

Rey is trapped in the Tree of Woe as Punk stomps on him. Punk goes for a baseball slide but Rey moves and Punk’s junk collides with the ring post. Rey slides to the outside but CM Punk rams him face first into the steel steps. The referee is now administering a ten count, even though this was supposed to be a street fight. Can’t tell you the number of street fights that have ended in a count-out.

Punk wails away on Rey before locking in a resthold. Cole reminds us that Punk believes that he is a messiah. Really Cole? Really? Even people who haven’t seen this show EVER could have deduced that without your help. I have just had it with him stating the obvious. Rey springboards off Punk once and then goes for it again but Punk catches him for a slam for two. Rey goes for a Hurricarana but Punk connects with a loud kick to the skull for two. CM Punk’s beard is out of control, folks. Thankfully he’s Straight Edge, or you’d swear he was on meth. Again, we are in Arizona.

Punk and Rey lock arms and we get Cirque d’ WWE until Rey DDTs Punk from the top rope. That was pretty impressive. Rey then sets up for the 619 but Punk catches him and goes for the GTS that gets blocked. Rey springboards off the top rope right into another GTS attempt but he blocks it! That was a great little spot.

Rey goes to the top rope for the Dead Guy Heat Frogsplash but he misses and gets covered for two. Punk is keeping up his intensity in the ring, which is cool because not every heel can keep in character while wrestling a high flying arsenal.

Rey goes for the 619 but Serena blocks him. Rey then uses Punk to take out Luke Gallows and hits the 619. He connects with the splash off the top rope for the pin. In my Roundtable I said that it wouldn’t make sense for Rey to lose considering how badly his family was humiliated, and as much as I would have wanted to see Punk win, I can’t argue with the result. Roundtable: 4-1.

The match itself was very spirited and I enjoyed the hell out of it, but again it could have been much longer. I predicted that this could have been a MOTY, and while it was too short to be that, it was still an entertaining little contest.

Jerry, Mikey and Matty hype our next match…

Bret Hart v. Vince McMahon

This might be the last time I have to hear the Spanish guitar. Wait, they open the package with soulful piano music instead. Come on! We paid for overwrought Spanish guitars!

The video package opens with shots of Bret’s career before we get to see Montreal again. We then get shots of Bret and Vince shaking hands before Bret gets kicked in the nuts. After that, we get to see the same footage we’ve seen a billion times already.

Bret Hart’s out first and I can’t really believe I’m about to watch a Bret “The Hitman” Hart match in 2010 at Wrestlemania. Bret’s rocking jean shorts and a leather jacket. I’m a little disappointed that he isn’t wearing his pink and black tights or his old sunglasses, but it’s still Bret and he’s still in a wrestling ring. I’m glad his last match isn’t going to be nonsense that happened in WCW. Bret even gets old school pyro above the ring. I was half expecting a full-sized photo of Sunny to drop.

Bret Hart hasn’t wrestled at Wrestlemania since he fought Austin at Mania 13 for those of you curious. Vince is out next and he has a microphone. Now I will point out that I picked Bret Hart to lose here, but that’s just because I know he’s sticking around. Vince points out the obvious that Bret is in the ring at Vince’s greatest creation ever. Vince promises to screw Bret Hart, so he went out and bought a bunch of lumberjacks. “Bret screwed Bret. Vince screwed Bret. Now Vince and your entire family screwed Bret.”

The lumberjacks are the Hart Dynasty and the Hart Family. Is it wrong that Diana still looks kinda hot? So basically the storyline is now that Vince bought off Bret’s family (for those of you who read Bret’s book, this is the second time they did that after the Owen settlement).

Well, I guess I was wrong about this match. The Harts are going to turn on Vince. Danmnit.

Bruce Hart is in the ring and he’s the referee. He then hugs Vince. Bret has the microphone and he’s shocked that his family that always turned on him turned on him again. Bret says that since the Harts are Harts, they must have all cashed their checks. Bret then says that the Hart Family is stronger than ever and apparently Bret was in on it the whole time. Ah, it’s like a dull “Twilight Zone”. Vince looks all shocked and apparently it’s a swerve worthy of Tony Schiavone.

Bret delivers a weak punch to start off and I would be shocked if he didn’t get at least one potato in there. Bret then chokes Vince in the corner. Vince runs to the outside and the Hart Dynasty take some shots. Natalya slaps Vince as Stryker wishes her best of luck in her future endeavors. Awesome line. Well, this was one way to minimize what Bret needed to do in terms of physicality. Unfortunately, when it’s a bunch of faces wailing on one heel, it gets kinda dull.

DH Smith sets up Vince for a Hart Attack and Tyson comes off the top rope to drop Vince on his skull on the outside. Jesus Christ Vince, you don’t need to keep taking bumps like that. Bret has Vince in the ring and he’s going after Vince’s leg. We get the “vintage” wail of pain.

Vince rolls under the ring but he gets dragged out. He has a tire iron and now I feel like I’m watching “Clue”. Communism, like an entertaining match, was just a red herring.

Bret wails away on Vince as the ref throws out the tire iron. Bret now gets it from Kidd and he cracks Vince in the skull. He continues to hit McMahon with it, and the audience is struggling to continue to cheer. If this were TV-14, he’d be bleeding like a stuck pig.

Bret then jams the tire iron into Vince’s throat. Please end this soon. It’s like a slow-moving train wreck. Bret then sets Vince up for a Sharpshooter. I can’t tell if he’s going in slow motion because he wants to sell the moment or because that’s as fast as he can work. Bret then stops going for it so that he can hit Vince again with the tire iron. Now, finally, he’s going for it again. No, wait, he’s just going to kick him in the balls. And again. And again. “This may go on all night.” No kidding Jerry.

DH Smith slides in a chair. Bret decides to sit down in the chair as Vince slowly tries to crawl to his feet. Bret finally gets up and cracks Vince with the chair in the back. When you consider this is the man that ruined your career and probably led to the death of your brother, how the hell do you honestly pull the chair shots? More importantly, when you’re Vince, how do you let him do it?

The chair shots sound like they’re killing Vince, and if even one of those connects, that’s going to hurt a lot. I was just as psyched as anyone to see this (though I said it was going to be an ugly match) but that has veered so far into dull that it’s almost becoming uncomfortable. Bret now finally looks like he’s going to set up for the Sharpshooter, and that wakes up the audience. Bret locks it in and Vince taps. 4-2. That was awful. It served it’s purpose to allow Bret to get his “vengeance”, but it was so slow and dull that any joy you could take from it vanished around the time of the second tire iron beating.

The announcers are now on camera to try and transition from the Passion of the McMahon to hyping Wrestlemania 27. Next year it’ll be in Atlanta and I am going to try and be there live.

Our official attendance record is 72,219 people. That is a lot of people. Apparently that warrants pyro. Sure, let’s blow more shit up.

Edge v. Chris Jericho

We get the full Edge/Jericho story, going all the way back to July, complete with footage of Edge’s surgery. Well that didn’t seem necessary. Edge promised to prove them wrong, kids. We then get an endless stream of Edge saying “Spear”. The package looked and sounded amazing, but there’s only so many times you can say “Spear”.

Chris Jericho comes out first, which just doesn’t seem fair. He’s the World Champion, he deserves to get the second entrance. Uncool, WWE, uncool. Edge is out next and he gets a MASSIVE pop. Well that’s a good sign. I made no secret of the fact that I prefer Edge as a heel because he just doesn’t seem to get over as a face, but maybe this’ll be the time it works. Edge poses in the ring and the magic screen turns into a spaceship and flies up to the top of the arena.

Stryker finally points out that Jericho was trained by now Hall of Famer Stu Hart. Thankfully, when Tony Chimmel does the introductions in the ring, he announces Jericho last. It’s all about respect, folks.

Man, how the hell are these two going to top that last match?

Edge and Jericho lock up in the center of the ring and we’re getting actual wrestling to start. Edge hits a shoulder tackle before hammering away on Jericho in the corner. Jericho gets a boot up and now he’s in control. He rams Edge’s head into the turnbuckle before unloading forearms. I really hope these two steal the show, because it’s ripe for stealing.

Edge goes for a Spear but Jericho rolls out of the ring. Jericho slides in first and knocks Edge back to the outside. So far this Wrestlemania has been surprisingly forgettable considering how strong the card was, but this should be the match to turn things around.

Jericho hits a belly-to-back suplex as Matt Stryker references Sexton Hardcastle. That was a nice little moment. Jericho locks in a resthold as he screams for the ref to “ask him”. Love that. Jericho rams Edge into the corner as he unloads on the challenger. Edge fires back and I’m distracted by the moron production guy who is sitting between the commentary teams texting. Someone please fire that jackass.
Edge and Jericho wind up on the outside and Edge comes off the ring apron with a clothesline. The crowd is again very silent. Maybe I spoke too soon about the audience buying Edge as a champion. Edge and Jericho are on the second rope and Edge hits a faceplant off the second turnbuckle for two. Jericho goes for the Walls but Edge reverses. Jericho gets a crossbody for two and then goes for the Walls again. Edge counters with his “injured” leg before we get trading pinfall attempts that ends with a Jericho boot to the skull.

Chris Jericho stalks Edge and goes for the Codebreaker but Edge just holds him and launches him into the turnbuckle. Edge is now looking for the Spear and the audience starts to rumble. Edge charges full steam but Jericho leaps and turns the Spear into the Walls of Jericho. Well that perked up the audience.

Edge rolls out of it and turns it into a small package for two. Jericho takes Edge down and goes for the Lionsault but Edge moves and drops Chris for two. Chris takes over but eats an Impaler DDT for two. Remember folks, no one has more almost finishers than Edge. No one.

Jericho climbs to the top rope and just punches Edge in the back of the head. A small “Let’s go Jericho” chant starts but that gets swallowed up by the rest of the audience. Jericho sets up for a Spear of his own but he runs right into a boot. Edge now sets up for another Spear attempt and he runs right into a Codebreaker. Wow, the air went out of that arena pretty fast. That was a great counter. The crowd was certain that was the finish. Jericho gets two off the Codebreaker.

So we’ve seen the Walls, we’ve seen the Codebreaker and we’ve seen eleven of Edge’s finishers. Jericho now clips Edge’s leg and now we go to school. Edge tries to wail away on Jericho put Chris gets him into the Walls of Jericho again. Edge is screaming in pain as he almost gets to the ropes but Jericho drags him to the center of the ring and turns it into a single-leg crab. Edge climbs again and he finally gets to the ropes. There are now audible boos peeking out from the fans. Edge goes for a small package for two before both guys go tumbling over the top rope. Jericho grabs the title belt and there’s a ref bump. Jericho lays out Edge with the title as there’s a Y2J chant. Edge kicks out and Chris busts out a great shocked look.

Jericho hits another Codebreaker and that’s it. Chris Jericho retains. I picked Edge in the Roundtable because I thought for sure that the WWE was going to build up that “feel good” Mania moment, but I personally felt like Jericho deserved a longer reign. This finish makes sense because Jericho cheated just enough to justify a rematch but not so much that it is a completely tainted victory. Roundtable: 4-3. The match was good but not great. It was entertaining, but not enough to become a MOTY like we thought they could have been.

After the match, Jericho tries to attack Edge but Edge lays Jericho out on the Spanish announce table. Edge starts with the crazy eyes as he climbs onto the English announce table. He then runs across both tables to hit a spear on Jericho through the barricades. Okay, see THAT was the memorable moment the fans needed. This draws boos from the fans, showing the WWE that Edge is really a heel.

The announcers are now standing as they throw us to the battle royal dark match. The winner of the battle royal was Yoshi Tatsu, who eliminated Zach Ryder to be king of the nobodies.

Ten Diva Match

“I didn’t think Wrestlemania could get any better, but it’s about to.” Come on Jerry, you’re killing me. Layla and Michelle McCool, with their hoods up, look like condoms. That sound you hear is 72,000 people running for the bathroom. For the face team, we get to hear Eve Torres’s music.

The faces charge the ring and the heels all bolt except for Vickie Guerrero, who looks a lot like D-Lo Brown in that outfit. Vickie and Gail Kim start off and Vickie chest-bumps Gail. Gail tags in Beth Phoenix who lifts her up and drags her to the face corner. Eve Torres comes in to bounce of Vickie. Mickie James comes in to hit Vickie before Kelly Kelly chokes her. Vickie starts to yell before Kelly kicks her and hits a leg drop. Michelle McCool hits the Styles Clash but Mickie hits the jumping DDT and shows that she can hit a move at Wrestlemania without botching it. Now each Diva runs in to do their finisher. In the end, Beth Phoenix flattens Alicia Fox until all that’s left is Vickie Guerrero. Michelle McCool jumps Beth as this devolves even further into a comedy match. Vickie climbs to the tope rope, signals to Eddie and hits the ugliest looking Frog Splash ever before finally getting the botched pin on Kelly Kelly. 4-4.

John Cena v. Batista

Well, Shawn/Taker is your main event.

We get an overly dramatic Batista/Cena video package, complete with chanting and pathos. Hey, it did a nice job telling the story.

Batista comes out first, continuing the trend of champions entering before the challengers. Dave gets pyro before the lights drop and he gets his lone spotlight. Unfortunately, Cole started talking about the lone spotlight before it actually turned on. Way to go, you goof. Dave mouths off to the fans before climbing into the ring. I don’t see the floating graphic cone, which is odd.

The WWE Title hasn’t changed hands in five years, apparently. Wow, it’s been that long. Dave flings up the title before mouthing “What the hell are you looking at?” Heel Batista is great.

John Cena gets a dramatic entrance with an honor guard spinning their riffles. That looks ridiculously impressive. John Cena’s music hits and the place erupts with cheers and boos. Cena sprints to the ring as there’s a sign in the crowd that says “Norway Hates Cena.” Yeah, well after being scarred for life as a small child on the Norway Epcot ride, I hate Norway. Now that Cena’s there, the swirling vortex of graphics returns.

Cena and Batista lock up in the center of the ring after some stalling and it immediately becomes a slow power match. Batista locks in a headlock. Cena gets shoulderblocked down before going for an armbar. Cena takes Batista down with a headlock but Batista backs him into the corner. Cena then starts throwing punches but Batista whips him into the other corner and hits a clothesline. Batista wails away on John Cena in the corner and it’s becoming rapidly apparent that all the hopes for a memorable match on this show will rest on the shoulders of Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker.

Batista goes for a suplex but Cena reverses and connects with a suplex of his own. Cena whips him into the corner before hitting the bulldog for two. Cena goes for the FU but Batista DDTs him for two. Batista kicks Cena in the head for two before locking in a resthold. Stryker calls it a modified sleeper hold with a body scissor. I call it Dave getting tired early.

Cena stands up with all the weight of Batista on him, which is pretty damn impressive when you think about it. Cena breaks free as we clearly hear Cena call for a knee to the back. That’s uncharacteristic to hear such a blatant spot call.

Batista and Cena trade boo-yay punches until Batista drops Cena. Batista locks in another resthold and even the camera crew gets bored as they cut to a wide shot of the stadium. Cena breaks free and hits a shoulderblock. He then transitions into the Five Moves of Mediocrity. He waves for You Can’t See Me but as he runs for the Five Knuckle Shuffle he eats a Spinebuster. Dave goes for the Batista Bomb but Cena locks in the STFU. Batista grabs the bottom rope (moments after Cena calls for that spot…seriously, what’s going on?) and then hits a Spear on Cena.

Dave drives his shoulder into Cena’s ribs in the corner before dumping him on the top rope. Batista goes for a superplex but Cena powers out of it and there’s a top rope test of strength, which is now recorded proof that not every move is cooler on the top turnbuckle. Cena knocks Batista off the top before going for a top rope Five Knuckle Shuffle. Okay, that looked kina cool.

Cena goes for the FU but Cena grabs the rope. Batista reverses it and he hits the Batista Bomb for two. Dave acts all shocked and this sparks a Cena chant. Side note, there is a guy in a Cavs jersey in the front row who is WAY too into this match. Cena and Batista trade moves before Cena hits the FU for two. I wonder if Cena is going to bust out the Top Rope Super Duper FU.

Cena goes to the top rope again and leaps at Dave but Batista drops him. Batista goes for another Batista Bomb but Cena rolls through and locks in the STFU. Cena AGAIN is audibly calling spots. Batista taps and John Cena is the WWE Champion again. Well, it wasn’t a five star classic, but it sure as hell picked up the pace in the second half of the match and built up to an exciting finish. 5-4.

Cole tries to over-enunciate every moment of that: “John…Ce..Na…is…vic…tor..i…ous..at…Wres…le…ma…ni…a…twen…ty…six.” They clearly aren’t running long.

John poses next to the We Hate Cena people, which is pretty damn funny. Cena then takes off his wristbands and gives them to a little kid in the front dressed like him. That’s a pretty classy move. Cena poses with the title in front of the set as we fade to ANOTHER Extreme Rules promo.

Cole, Lawler and Stryker are at their newly repaired table as they hype Taker v. Michaels.

The Taker/Michaels promo opens with highlights from last year over a bed of pan flute music. We then relive their two month war of promos. In the end, we get a great series of clips showing Shawn and Taker’s best moments and that should pump up a crowd that has got to be fatigued.

One last stray observation, Justin Roberts has done a hell of a job tonight.

Shawn Michaels v. The Undertaker

Shawn comes out without much fanfare unlike last year. Shawn is gyrating and preening as he comes to the ring before dropping to his knees to pray. I guess he’s leaving the dramatic entrance shtick for Taker. There is no way this is the last match ever for Shawn Michaels and there is no way that The Undertaker’s streak is ending. Taker still has at least one more Wrestlemania money match with John Cena, not to mention one with Chris Jericho. This is why I feel like this can’t end cleanly. I said all along that I thought Hunter was going to interfere and cost Michaels the match, and I hope I’m right.

The gong hits and the lights go out as fire shoots out from the entranceway. A laser light show that appears to be from the movie Tron come on as Taker pops up from a trap door on the floor. He’s decked out in what looks like a kimono with a hood. If you look very quickly, he looks like Shredder. Maybe this is all a big rib on Kevin Nash.

No druids this year, sadly, as Undertaker is apparently showing hat he can out-hood AJ Styles. Undertaker takes his time to get down to the ring, and every time they cut to Shawn in the purple light, his lips look white like an old tan woman trying to wear lipstick.

Taker finally makes it to the ring, and if this were a WCW PPV, this is where the screen would go black. Undertaker flips up the hood and rolls his eyes. Yeah, he needs the hat to make that look cool.

Shawn and Taker go face to face…well, face to chin as the crowd begins to buzz. Shawn slashes his throat and Taker charges him. Shawn ducks it and chops Taker. He then moves to another corner and chops him again. Taker flips Shawn into the corner and he does the flop before eating a boot. Taker charges Michaels and these two are not fucking around. After so many matches with a deliberate pace, it’s almost like everything else on the show was held back to make this seem more impressive.

Taker hits the Old School but looks like he tweeked his knee. Undertaker goes for a Chokeslam but Shawn counters and goes for the knee. Taker goes for a Tombstone early but Shawn goes for the arm. Taker goes for another Chokeslam and then again Shawn kicks him in the knee. Taker goes for a clothesline, Shawn ducks and he goes for a Superkick. Seriously, where was this sense of urgency in every other match tonight?

Michaels goes after the knee again as he’s going to try and build a Ric Flair match in which the undersized guy tries to work the leg. Taker throws Shawn into the corner and wails on him but Michaels keeps taking out the knee. Undertaker clotheslines Shawn over the top rope and he is going for the flying suicide dive again but Shawn slides into the ring and takes out the knee one more time. Nice use of history there.

Shawn goes for the Figure Four but Taker launches Shawn to the outside. Taker rams Shawn into the steel post on the outside and they both sit on the mat to catch their breaths. Taker sets Shawn up on the ring apron and hits the leg drop. Cole calls it vicious and vintage, which makes me vomit a little all over myself.

Shawn takes down Taker and goes for the Figure Four, this time locking it in. Is it too much to hope that this is where Vince reveals that TNA was all a work, that he owns it, and that Ric Flair is there to make the save?

Taker tries to muscle out of the hold, even going for the sit-up into a chokeslam spot that he did against Flair. Taker then reverses the figure four until Shawn breaks the hold. We get another wigwam shot as Shawn and Taker trade chops and punches. Michaels hits the flying forearm and kips up right into a chokeslam. It only gets two and these two are already showing why they are considered in a different league.

Shawn Michaels busts out an Angle Lock on Taker. Undertaker is in immense pain, but not enough pain to not take a moment to brush away his hair. Shawn then locks it in further as Taker continues to screech in pain. Taker kicks Shawn in the head a few times, and I’d say Shawn has a far away look, but those sunken eyes were there before this match began.

Michaels clotheslines Taker over the top rope before he springboards off the top rope onto Taker on the outside. Undertaker caught him and then hits the Tombstone on the outside of the ring. We then cut awkwardly to the entrance ramp. Is that shot set up for a run-in later? Hmm…

Undertaker is breathing heavy on the steps as a trainer checks on Shawn. The Undertaker tosses the trainer before throwing Shawn into the ring. Yeah, legally not the best move. Taker rolls onto Shawn but only gets two.

Taker sets Shawn up for the Last Ride but apparently Michaels countered it into what looked like either an X-Factor or Taker’s knee gave out. I think it was a little of both. Shawn now climbs to the top rope for his elbow drop, but Taker counters it with his injured leg. Oh that makes sense, use your injured appendage to block a move. Brilliant.

Taker locks in Hell’s Gate out of nowhere as Cole yells “Hell’s Gate” a few hundred times in thirty seconds. Shawn counters it into a pinfall attempt for two. Shawn then hits Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere for two. Look, as impressive as it is, we saw these two kick out of each other’s finishers last year.

Shawn tunes up the band again but Taker blocks it. He then goes for another Last Ride and connects for two. The Slim Jim replay shows Shawn’s neck mimics the terrible meat product by snapping off the mat.

Taker throws Shawn to the outside before going after the American Announce Table again. You Socialist. Taker goes for another Last Ride but Shawn slides out and hits another Superkick. Taker is out cold on the table. Shawn climbs to the top rope and hits a moonsault through the table. Well that was mighty impressive. We get a replay and that doesn’t look safe at all.

Shawn rolls Taker out of the rubble and into the ring. Undertaker is all punchdrunk as the crowd is going insane. Shawn goes for his third Superkick and it connects for two. Well he hit that one clean in the center of the ring after driving Taker through a table and it was only good for two. Remember, at Wrestlemania you get extra lives. Shawn goes for Superkick number four but Taker turns it into a Chokeslam. Taker muscles his way up to his feet because according to Lawler his leg is completely broken.

Taker goes for the Tombstone and he connects for two. Well each guy has hit everything they have, so the finish is either going to be a replay of last year or maybe I was right all along and we’re going to get a run-in.

Undertaker gets to his feet and he takes down the straps. Well that’s not gonna be good for anybody. Taker goes to slash his throat but he stops. Zuh? Shawn Michaels climbs up as Taker begs him to stay down. Michaels scales Taker’s body and slashes his own throat again. He then smacks Taker in the face. Taker scoops him up and hits a jumping Tombstone for the pinfall. Wow. I can’t believe he actually did it cleanly. 6-4.

Shawn and Taker are both lying on the floor as we replay the finish. Is it too much to hope for that Undertaker busts out the bodybag? Taker poses as the 18-0 screen gets pyro. Jesus, that’s a lot of pyro. Undertaker hobbles out of the ring but then rolls back in to stand over Shawn.

Undertaker helps Michaels back up to his feet and they shake hands. Shawn and Taker then embrace one another as The Undertaker rolls out of the ring. Shawn is left standing alone in the center of the ring as the crowd cheers for him. If I for a minute believed that this was it then this would be a special moment. Lawler calls this the ultimate Wrestlemania moment and that’s the problem I have with this match. This isn’t Shawn’s last match ever. When he beat Flair, we believed it was over because it felt like it was over. This doesn’t feel like that because Shawn still has some good matches left in him.

Shawn slaps the fans’ hands and takes the long walk back up the ramp. “I’m gonna drive my kids nuts in three weeks.” Cute. Well, if this actually by some odd twist of fate does become his last match, at least he got a proper goodbye unlike Wrestlmenia XIV. Shawn drops to his knees one more time as the show closes.

This has been for your consideration.

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