This Week in ‘E – WWE WrestleMania 26 Rewind

It’s all WrestleMania fallout this week as once again the “showcase of the immortals” is in the books and WWE looks to start a new “season” tonight on RAW.

Opening Witty Banter
No surprise here as today’s column is all about WrestleMania XXVI and it’s fall out. As I sit down to write this it’s about one hour after the show ended so you’ll get my instant analysis of what I saw and went down. Therefore today’s column is brought to online episodes of Survivor and The Celebrity Apprentice.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
I’m not going to touch on any real news from WWE this past week as everything on the news front was leading up to WrestleMania and with the “big dance” now in the books a lot of it has become moot or irrelevant. Therefore you are going to get my instant thoughts on last night’s show.

Who had Yoshi Tatsu in the pool of opening show battle royal winner? And Zack Ryder as the runner up? Could’ve fooled me on both parts. I would have Mark Henry or The Great Khali for sure.

The Big Show & The Miz beat John Morrison and R-Truth to retain the WWE Unified Tag Team Championships (**)

This was a great way to open the show, as Truth is the perfect guy to open the show. I also didn’t expect the match to go very long either as with ten matches on the card some matches were bound to get shorted. The match was a decent two star free TV match but got some worthy guys (and championships) on the biggest show of the year.

Randy Orton beat Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase (***)

I actually liked this match more than I expected. But I came into it with low expectations so that helped. As a long shot I expected a Rhodes victory but the finish was great, right down to the Punt and the old Orton pose. It looks this face push won’t be screwed up like the first one. Plus I marked hard for Rhodes busting out his old partner’s Alabama Slam.

Jack Swagger won Money in the Bank (***1/2)

I must say I did not see that finish coming but I was pleasantly surprised. Although judging by Swagger’s swank new Angle-ish ring attire it should have been tip off. Swagger did botch the finish but so that knocks it down a little That being said ten men is way too many for this match and it literally degenerated into spot, rest, cycle in two new guys, spot, rest, etc. Now I’m anxious to see where the story Swagger goes from here.

I can’t wait to see the full Hall of Fame ceremony on DVD.

Triple H beat Sheamus (***)

I was kind of hoping that Triple H would squash Sheamus in like 30 seconds, but instead they turned out a decent mid-card match. The commentators did their best to put over Sheamus as a world-beater who’s inexperience only made one mistake, but really it was just a good RAW main event.

Rey Mysterio beat CM Punk (***)

I must admit I didn’t get the Avatar gimmick almost until Michael Cole mentioned it too. The match was fun and kept a nice breakneck piece due to their limited time. I would have been okay with either man winning as their feud has been money, but it’s nice to see the good guy win. Plus CM Punk’s GIJoe tights were boss as hell.

Bret Hart beat Mr. McMahon (**)

Everyone knew this match would end with the Sharpshooter and the crowd was anxiously awaiting it, but I must say I did not expect the body of the actual match. I didn’t see the entire Hart family shenanigans coming, but it was awesome seeing The Dynasty bust out the old Hart Attack. The match itself was much more disjointed and painful than I expected but it was good to see Bret Hart walk down that aisle and be announced as a participant one more time. Here’s hoping this leads to a bigger push for The Hart Dynasty.

Chris Jericho beat Edge to retain the World Title (***1/2)

I’m surprised that Jericho came out as Champion. It was a pretty good match, but the finish seemed very out of nowhere. It was a good match that played off Edge’s weak ankle, but it felt like it never got out of third gear and should’ve been kicked up one more notch.

Vickie Guerrero, Layla, Michelle McCool, Maryse & Alicia Fox beat Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, Mickie James & Eve Torres. (*)

Okay this match was fun, especially when I wasn’t expecting anything coming. Knowing that the entire match would be under five minutes it was fun watching the girls attack each other ninja style and hit each other with their signature moves. I was sure as everyone that the good girls would win but Vickie actually won me over with her antics at the end. Naturally the finish was screwed up but I really did laugh a little bit watching Vickie hit the bullfrog/hog/frog splash. Vickie has been doing such a good job as an evil heel that I think we often forget she is actually the widow of the beloved Eddie Guerrero. I would like to think that Eddie was looking down smiling and laughing watching his wife play the fool for the crowd while doing his patented shimmy.

John Cena beat Batista to win the WWE Title (***1/2)

These two knew how to throw out the big power moves at random but I was worried they were going to seriously hurt each other with their sloppiness a couple of times. I love Cena just getting soundly booed after his Air Force entrance, and I’m a fan of Cena myself. Once again I felt the finish came out of nowhere but it was a decent match.

The Undertaker beat Shawn Michaels (****)

I really liked this match but hype just couldn’t live up to expectations. The match was still full of crazy kick outs and out of nowhere strong style moves, but some things just felt telegraphed, like the Moonsault onto the table. The driving Tombstone was awesome and I just love Michaels just firing off superkicks at will. Plus Undertaker’s subdued entrance may be one of his best ever. It was still an amazing match, but there was no way it could live up to the unexpected magic of last year, and virtually everyone knows this actually isn’t Michaels final match, unlike two years ago when I really believed it was Ric Flair’s last match and the emotion made the match even better. I think I need to watch it again online to see what I think on a second opinion but it definitely brought the show up a level.

Nothing was actively bad on the show, unless it was expected to be (the Divas match) and everything else fell into that decent to good to great range. It easily makes for a thumbs up and an enjoyable show, but nothing other than the main event really stands out at this point.

The one piece I wanted to highlight was the press release sent out right after the show, trumpeting their financial success from the show:

WrestleMania(R) XXVI Breaks Record

GLENDALE, Ariz., Mar 28, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — World Wrestling Entertainment(R) made history tonight at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, as WrestleMania XXVI grossed $5.8 million, becoming the highest grossing and attended entertainment event ever held at the stadium. The previous record was a U2 concert on October 20, 2009 that attracted 50,775 fans and grossed $4.9 million. 72,219 fans from all 50 states and 26 countries attended the sold out event, outdrawing Super Bowl XLII (71,101 attendance) in the same building.

WWE’s annual pop-culture extravaganza was broadcast around the world on pay-per-view in more than 100 countries and 20 languages.

“WrestleMania XXVI was a tremendous success, and we thank the public and private sectors of Glendale and Phoenix for rolling out the red carpet to WWE(R) and our fans during WrestleMania Week,” said John P. Saboor, Senior Vice President of Special Events, World Wrestling Entertainment. “WrestleMania is an important rite of passage for WWE fans each year, bringing with them a tremendous economic impact to the community.”

WrestleMania XXVII will take place on Sunday, April 3, 2011 from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. Ticket information will be announced later this year.

It really is incredible what an institution that WrestleMania has become. Cities will continue to beating down WWE’s door to bring WrestleMania to them if they can continue this type of success. I love that WrestleMania has become not just a one night pay per view but a nearly week-long institution that not only incorporates WWE but the major independent wrestling companies of the day. Call me a WWE homer (which I am) but there is nothing like WrestleMania in the pro wrestling industry.

Wrestler of the Week
Week of March 22 – 28: Undertaker/Shawn Michaels
For the second year in a row during the week of WrestleMania I’ve got to give love to both The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. For the second year in a row they blew things out of the water at WrestleMania, capping off another chapter in the two men’s storied rivalry. While I can’t honestly saw the sequel was better than the original it was still light years better than the rest of the card and it capped another amazing build up to the rivalry.

RAW’s On Tonight!
The cast of the new motion picture Hot Tub Time Machine will guest host RAW tonight from Phoenix, Arizona, the night after WrestleMania XXVI. It would seem logical that the guest-hosting gimmick, which has been running since this past summer, would end after WrestleMania but it seems as if the plan will continue well into the spring and possibly into the summer. WrestleMania is traditionally the end of the “WWE season” and would be a perfect time to make a clean break. The exact cast members who will be on hand haven’t been announced but Rob Corddry and Clark Duke were mentioned on wwe.com so expect at least the two of them to be on hand for the appearance. The show will be chalked full of WrestleMania fall out. I’m sure John Cena will be there to celebrate his WWE Championship reign. Randy Orton outlasted his former Legacy cohorts and now was momentum and fans behind him for a chance. Plus Jack Swagger won Money in the Bank and just elevated his career tenfold. Oh yeah, and a guy named Shawn Michaels “ended” his career last night and I’m sure that will be addressed. All of that and more will help shape the “season premiere” of Monday Night RAW.

On Last Week’s Episode…
Eison brings WrestleMania week to a close with SmackDown.

Ivan and Logan cover The Daniel Bryan show…I mean NXT…

Arguably the biggest RAW of the year was hosted by everyone’s favorite blackballed baseball player Pete Rose and Marshall, Innarelli and Wheeler covered all the basics.

How They Rated
SmackDown! (3.12.10) –

Superstars (3.18.10) – .89

A.M. RAW (3.21.10) – .71

RAW (3.22.10) – 3.24
Impact (3.22.10) – .86

NXT (3.23.10) – .9

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Raffi looks back at his trip to WrestleMania XXV.

Ditch continues to be awesome with his puro coverage.

Biscuiti gives his instant feedback on last night’s WrestleMania main event.

In Case You Didn’t Spend the $55
PK brings the great Pulse coverage for WrestleMania XXVI while SK gives his thoughts in his trademark rant.

Here’s the quick ‘n’ dirty results:
Yoshi Tatsu won the 26-man battle royal that aired live before WrestleMania went live on the air. He eliminated Zack Ryder to win the bout. The other participants included Primo, Chris Masters, Mark Henry, Santino Marella, Chavo Guerrero, Carlito, Vladimir Kozlov, William Regal, Finlay, Goldust, Jimmy Wang Yang, Slam Master J, Funaki, The Great Khali, Cryme Tyme (Shad Gaspard and JTG), Caylen Croft, Trent Baretta, DH Smith, Tyson Kidd, Mike Knox, Ezekiel Jackson, Vance Archer and Tyler Reks.

Big Show & The Miz beat John Morrison & R-Truh to retain the WWE Unified Tag Team Championships.

Randy Orton beat Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes in a triple threat match.

Jack Swagger won the Money in the Bank ladder match.

Triple H beat Sheamus.

Rey Mysterio beat CM Punk.

Bret Hart beat Mr. McMahon in a No Holds Barred match.

Chris Jericho beat Edge to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.

Vickie Guerrero, Layla, Michelle McCool, Maryse & Alicia Fox beat Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, Mickie James & Eve Torres.

John Cena beat Batista to win the WWE Championship.

The Undertaker beat Shawn Michaels.

IP Staff Roundtable Results for WWE WrestleMania XXVI
The staff put together an awesome roundtable for WrestleMania XXV. Here’s how we fared. No one did real well as no one picked the heels winning the Divas tag and no other match had a unanimous majority, even the main event or Hart-McMahon.

The co-Champions:
Mark Allen: 6-4 (189-114)
Iain Burnside: 6-4 (145-96)
Steven Gepp: 6-4 (40-50)
Raffi Shamir: 6-4 (133-114)
Andrew Wheeler: 6-4 (179-107)

The rest:
Paul Marshall: 5-5 (145-103)
Widro: 5-5 (75-67)
Chris Biscuiti: 3-7 (11-28)
Kurtis Osterlund: 3-7 (3-7)

Check out issue seven of The Wrestling Press, featuring yours truly, among many other talented scribes…

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For more relevant, interesting and exciting wrestling information from your truly, check out my gig as the Pro Wrestling Examiner over at Examiner.com.

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