The Way Too Long Review – Wrestlemania XXVI 3-Disc Collector’s Edition, Disc One

Sorry for the long delay.

March 28, 2010 from Glendale, Arizona, the current home of the chick that writes those Twilight books.  Thus, it is my belief that Glendale is officially Hell on Earth.

-A few jets fly over heard, and then Fantasia from American Idol is still alive to sing America the Beautiful.  I still say that America the Beautiful should be our national anthem, but the rednecks would get angry that there’s no explosions or people dying in it.  Hey fucktards, it’s our national anthem, not Die Hard.

-The set is pretty good.  It reminds me of Wrestlemania X-7 in many ways, and that’s a good thing.  There’s also a bell-shaped screen that lowers over the ring for special entrances and match finishes.   Interesting.

Match #1: Tag Team Championship
(c) Big Show & The Miz vs. R-Truth & John Morrison

These four guys were not in the Money in the Bank match… why?

Miz and Morrison start and Morrison fires off a dropkick for two.  Scoopslam and a tag to Truth, who drops a legdrop off the top after Morrison ‘hits’ a corkscrew something.  It gets two.  You can totally tell they’re only getting four minutes here.  Miz misses a clothesline and gets dropkicked again, but he falls into Big Show, who gets the tag.  Show catches Truth’s attempt at a crossbody and hits a fall-away slam.  He knocks Morrison off the apron and starts to climb, but Morrison recovers and kicks him off for two.  Tag to Morrison and Miz tags in as well.  A pair of clotheslines and a dropkick by John, followed by a flapjack.  Miz tries for a rollup but gets kicked in the face.  Morrison tries the starship pain but Show quickly yanks Miz out of the ring.  Morrison is already climbing the ropes though so he might as well go for it anyway and totally misses.  Timing was just a bit off on that one.  Truth tries for a crossbody on Show again, because that’s what plucky babyfaces do, and this time the results are even worse, as Show throws him into the post.  Meanwhile, Miz covers Morrison for two.  Miz goes for the SCF but Morrison wiggles free.  Whip is reversed but nothing comes of it other than Show making the blind tag.  He hits the knockout punch on Morrison and covers for the pin.  Ohhh kay.

3/4* They didn’t really get a lot to work with, but I’m not sure that matters much because Morrison’s timing was off.  Truth and Show actually carried here, go figure.

-We get highlights of all the highlights of Wrestlemania week.  There was an art show, Axxess, a golf tournament, fuck this, I’m moving on.

Match #2
Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase

I have to admit, the build to this was very well done.  Of course, guys like Glazer swore that the angle would make a babyface out of Ted DiBiase.  Instead, it’s put Randy Orton in a legitimate position to be the biggest breakout babyface since the Rock in 1999.  Meanwhile, DiBiase sucks so bad that they gave him the Million Dollar Championship and fucking Virgil.

To the match.  Rhodes and DiBiase are together and for the most part never work against each -other.  Orton bails, then rolls back in to catch a DiBiase boot with a clothesline.  He dumps Cody, then stomps Ted.  Dropkick to Rhodes, then a dropkick from Teddy to Randy, and the double stomping begins. The fans actually boo the shit out of the Legacy, the most heat of their careers by far.  Cody and Ted then work it too long and the fans go numb.  By time the they move past the stomping and onto a wind-up elbows the fans don’t care anymore.  DiBiase and Cody have no clue what they’re doing and take too long to fire off a double suplex.  Fans boo DiBiase when he mugs for it, but then they just kind of walk around.  Someone teach these kids pacing.

To the corner where DiBiase stomps, then Cody stomps.  They whip Randy to the corner, but he fights back.  DiBiase cuts it off with a clothesline.  High-low to Orton, which should have been Legacy’s finisher… only it looked weak the way they do it.  Cody climbs but Teddy wants the win and covers for two.  So Cody gets pissed and dumps Ted, then hits the Alabama Slam on Randy, perhaps as a tribute to his former tag partner Alvin of the Chipmunks.  DiBiase saves the count and clotheslines Cody down.  They both spill out of the ring and brawl outside, then back in where they trade mounted punches.  Then they notice Orton has recovered, but it’s too late.  Teddy charges and gets backdropped out of the ring.  Clotheslines for all and a powerslams for all.  Wrap-around backbreaker to Cody.  The fans want an RKO, but DiBiase yanks him out the ring.  Cody goes for a crossbody but misses Randy and takes out Teddy instead.  This leaves both members of Legacy out of the ring and the fans go mouse-fart quiet.  Orton snatches Teddy as he climbs back into the ring and loads up the rope DDT, then waits for Cody to accept one as well.  He hits both at the same time, then starts to bang the apron to set up the RKO.  Man, one of these days he’s going to break something doing that.  Randy decides that instead of an RKO, a punting is in order.  The fans are slow to pick up on this.  They’re from Arizona, so that’s a given.  Punt to Cody, but the fans just don’t dig that move.  DiBiase comes in the ring and goes for the Million Dollar Nightmare, but Orton flips him over and fires off the RKO for the pin.

**3/4 As with every other Legacy match, pacing issues really held this one back.  Randy Orton DOES work better as a babyface, but DiBiase and Cody are too limited in creativity to make effective heels and the match suffered for it.

-Meanwhile, Vickie Guerrero brags about her tag match.  Wait, Vickie is in a match?  Jesus.  Then Santino… he’s still employed?… starts to turn Jillian Hall into various other personalities through the magic of Slim Jims.  Jillian becomes Mae Young, then Mean Gene, and finally Melina.  So basically you watch poor Jillian grow more fragile.  That’s tragic.  Maybe the WWE’s next film project is the Curious Case of Jillian Button.

Match #3: Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Kofi Kingston vs. MVP vs. Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger vs. vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Matt Hardy vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kane vs. Christian

Wow, what a job squad.  On the professional wrestling games website Stablewars.com, 414 people entered their pay-per-view game known as Play Per View, which just so happened to be created by your’s truly.  Of those 414 players, only 11 correctly predicted Swagger to win.  Now, some would say that it goes to show that this was unpredictable.  I say… yea, you’re right, as in nobody in their right mind could have seen it coming.  Who would have thought that a guy who was basically on job duty right before this show would be given the money in the bank?  He really came across like a space-filler here.  More than that, who would have guessed he would get the belt two nights later?  I don’t know why they didn’t pull the trigger and do it on the pay-per-view.  Perhaps they were worried that it would eat up valuable time that would have to be taken from Vickie Guerrero’s match.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Side note: Is Drew McIntyre’s theme music the most god awful, boring theme music ever?  Well, at least it fits him.

Clusterfuck to start.  There’s no way I can fully recap this, so I’ll just roll with the big spots.  McIntyre clears the ring and somehow gets a ladder without actually bailing for one.  He preps it but gets pushed over by Matt, kneed by Evan, then Twisted of Fated by Matt Hardy.  Evan climbs but gets caught by three different guys and chokeslammed to the floor by Kane.  Matt and Swagger fight under the case but Kane knocks them over.  Christian tosses Swagger to the corner, then tosses Hardy into him.  He then puts a ladder on them and monkey-flips Kofi into that.  He preps a ladder and climbs, but Dolph catches him in the Zig Zag.  That is if the Zig Zag means yanking him by the hair off the ladder.  You know, Matt Striker is kind of shitty on commentary tonight.

Ziggles climbs but MVP yanks him off.  He tries for the case but Kane yanks him off and loads up a chokeslam, but he gets awkwardly sandwiched between a couple ladders.  Kofi trips trying to do a ladder run spot, but covers it with mounted punches.  Kane powerbombs him off the ropes and onto a ladder, with his neck nearly getting caught between the rungs.  Damn yo, that could have ended badly.  Lawler is cringing on commentary at that very close call.  Shelton comes in and hits the Pay Dirt on MVP, then clears the ring and preps a ladder.  He climbs but Swagger pokes him off with a different ladder.  He lightly flicks a couple guys off with the ladder.  That was pitiful looking.  Bourne comes off the ropes and seems to comb Swagger’s hair with his knees.  Christ, this is awful.  Swagger ends up under a ladder, where Matt Hardy and Christian start to spear at him with their ladders.  That spot was neat actually.  Then Matt and Christian climb for the case, with Bourne climbing up the side of the ladder.  Swagger pushes the ladder Matt is using away, causing Hardy to wipe out.  Christian goes for the Killswitch on the ladder, but Evan pushes him off and fires off a shooting star press.  He climbs but Matt cuts him off and hiptosses him off the top.  Swagger catches Matt climbing and pushes him off and onto the bridged ladder, which collapses and Matt slides down the rungs with an audible “thump-thump-thump-thump.”.  I’m sure he was still feeling that weeks later.

Shelton climbs but MVP catches him and tries to powerbomb him out of the ring, but Benjamin turns it into a rana and both guys fall to the floor.  Kane clotheslines them with a ladder and then gets in the ring to climb.  Dolph climbs over Kane and gets a hand on the case, but Kane pushes the ladder over.  He tries to throw it at Ziggles but misses.  We have an instant replay and thus we miss Dolph getting chokeslammed on the ladder.  That said, by popular request I’m dropping the whole Make a Wish fining farce because the joke wasn’t funny to begin with and it’s not doing anything to change this shit.  Anyway, so arguably one of the high spots of the match is missed by the replay monster, then Dolph gets sandwiched in the ladder, which breaks.  Tornado Kick by Kofi Kingston.  The ladder in the ring is broke, so Kofi uses it as stilts.  Of course, this is totally illogical, but it was at least fun to watch.  Then Drew McIntyre remembers he’s in the match and makes the save.  He preps the ladder and climbs and I thought for sure this was it.  So did the fans.  Then Matt shows up and makes the save, shoving McIntyre into the ropes, crotching him.  Matt climbs but takes too long trying to unhook it.  Christian makes the save, then Kane shows up as well.  Kane tries to chokeslam both, but they fight him off.  After trading punching on the top of the ladder, Christian hits a reverse DDT off the top, which is apparently called the “Twist of Fate” now if you go by Michael Cole.  Christian climbs but Jack Swagger comes in to save.  Christian climbs a different ladder but Swagger catches him again and slams the briefcase on him.  Everyone is out but Jack, and thus he pulls the case off.  Editing note: the DVD version of this show cuts out the two hours and sixteen minutes it took Swagger to unhook the case.

*** Acceptable ladder match, but lacking in frills.  The DVD seems to have cleaned up a one or two botches from the live event, and I’m okay with that.  Some purists out there might disagree but I don’t see the problem as long as it doesn’t become too hardcore (we’ll see in a few weeks if the CM Punk thing from Over the Limit was an issue).  What was presented here was good enough to be entertaining but they had too many guys, many of which didn’t really belong in this.  Drew McIntyre for example.  He basically had one spot the entire match.  The four guys in the tag title match would have been better fits.  Horrible booking.

-Hall of Fame highlights.  Weakest class yet.  Time to give it up, I reckon.  Man, Sable has aged terri… oh wait, that’s Gorgeous George’s wife.  My bad.

Match #4
Sheamus vs. Triple H

Interesting build to this, and the WWE actually figured out how to use the 1996 Warrior/Triple H squash to their advantage in building this.  What do you know?  A straight build with no frills and suddenly there’s interest in the match, something that Sheamus didn’t have going for him during his original run as champion.

Lockup and Sheamus takes Trips to the corner, then bitch slaps him and jaws.  Lockup and Trips takes him to the corner and fires off a manlier bitch slap.  Brawl and Sheamus lowers his head into a pedigree, but bails to the corner before it’s fully applied.  Lockup and Sheamus brawls Trips down, then shoots him to the corner.  Trips explodes out with a clothesline and a vertical suplex.  Kneedrop gets one and Sheamus bails.  Trips follows him out and rams him into the guardrail.  Triple H rolls him back in the ring, then chopblocks him and throws on a figure-four.  Sheamus quickly makes the ropes and bails again.

On the outside, Sheamus takes control by whipping Trips into the steel stairs.  Sheamus rolls into the ring and shakes the pain out of his leg.  He returns to the floor to slam Trips into the guardrail, then elbow him on the apron.  Clutch-backbreaker by Sheamus cuts off a Trips comeback.  A second clutch-backbreaker and stomps by Sheamus.  To the corner for a mudhole stomping.  Sheamus mugs for the crowd, then punches away in the corner.  Triple H tries to fight back but instead eats an axehandle for two.  Punches by Sheamus gets two.  Knee to the back and a rear-chinlock.  He gets bored with this quickly and powerslams Trips for two.  Now to an armbar, changed to a chinlock.  Back-suplex by Trips to escape and we have a double-KO.

Sheamus charges into a boot a couple times, then fails to catch Trips charging and eats a DDT.  Slugoff in the center of the ring, then Trips lowers his head into a kick.  He shrugs it off and hits the flying knee as Sheamus charges.  Some douchebag in the audience yells “now the facebuster!”  Trips then hits the facebuster.  To whoever that douchebag was: congratulations, you have the same pattern-recognition abilities as a chimp.  Now on behalf of all wrestling fans: don’t ever say another word ever again.  I can’t imagine anything worse for wrestling than fans chanting which moves will happen long before they actually take place.  It would be an annoyance that would put the whole “What!” thing to shame.  Anyway, Trips goes for the pedigree, but Sheamus pushes out of it.  So Hunter throws a neckbreaker for two.   Ten punch by Trips but Sheamus wiggles frees and goes for the Celtic Cross.  Trips counters that with the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~!! but Sheamus backdrops out of it and hits the bicycle kick… for two.  .

Fans chant for Trips as Sheamus lifts him up for the Celtic Cross, but Trips wiggles free again and hits a spinebuster for two.  Sheamus wiggles out of the ring, but then punches Trips loose and hits another bicycle kick, but it leads to a lame double-KO.  Sheamus picks him up and tries to load up the Celtic Cross, but instead Trips hits the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~!! for the pin.  Really?  Weird.  Jerry Lawler declares that “Over 70,000 people just witnessed a classic!”  Perhaps Casablanca was playing on the monitors while this was going.

*1/2 Just not a good match.  I figured these guys would have a ton of chemistry but there was none to be seen.  Hopefully things turned out better at Extreme Rules without the always present Wrestlemania time-crunch.

Match #5
CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
Special Stipulation: If CM Punk wins, Rey Mysterio  must join the Straight Edge Society, presumably leading to him to shrink to nothing.

Another solid build for this one, mostly carried by CM Punk’s delightfully evil laugh and tone of voice.  Seriously, I’m at a loss to think of a wrestler who has had a more “fuck it, I am what I am, and that is pure evil” pitch to their voice than Punk.  Jake Roberts was always cold and scary, while guys like Ted DiBiase were pompous and arrogant.  Few wrestling heels actually have a voice where you’re like “wow, even Satan would wet his panties if he heard that.”  Punk does though, and that’s why he works so well in this role.  Chris Jericho comes close at times, but it’s hard to take him seriously as a wrestler now that he’s hosting one of the most god awful game shows in existence.

To the match, where Mysterio is dressed like one of those things from Avatar.  They circle.  Mysterio’s attention is drawn away by Luke Gallows and thus Punk brawls him down and stomps away.  I’m fairly sure that was supposed to be Mysterio getting a drop-toehold but he was out of place.  Shoot across the ring where Punk gets hit with the drop-toehold.  He catches Mysterio climbing and hangs him up in the tree of woe.  Serena (goddamn she’s fine) chokes Mysterio, then Punk goes for a baseball slide to the face.  It misses and he crotches himself.  He rolls to the outside, then catches Mysterio sliding and slams him face first onto the stairs.

Mysterio barely beats the count into the ring, so Punk pounces and beats away on him.  Cover gets two, then he moves into a chinlock.  Mysterio elbows free and fires off some kicks.  Shoot across the ring, then Mysterio avoids some offense from Punk and hits the seated senton.  Springboard-crossbody is caught in a powerslam by Punk for two.  CM lowers his head into a kick, then Mysterio rolls through a sunset flip and goes for a buzzsaw kick, but it whiffs and Punk gets a school boy for two.  Kick to the head gets two, two, and two.  Punk double-knucklelocks Mysterio for a few more pin attempts.  This leads to a couple of reversals ending with Mysterio nearly breaking Punk’s neck with a DDT for two.  Christ, that was close.

Mysterio dropkicks Punk into the ropes to set up the 619.  Punk catches it and goes for the GTS, but Mysterio counters out of it.  Moonsault is caught by Punk to set up the GTS, but Mysterio wiggles out and climbs for the frog splash.  It misses and Punk covers for two.  He’s pissed now.  Running knee in the corner, but Mysterio pushes out of the bulldog and hits an armdrag to set up the 619.  Serena blocks Punk, and Gallows distracts Mysterio to set up the GTS.  Mysterio ranas out of it, knocking Gallows off the apron.  619, big splash, and Mysterio wins.  And HOLY SHIT, from his side, Mysterio actually is starting to look older.

**3/4 Another rush job like the triple threat match that simply didn’t have enough time to build to anything meaningful.  I don’t get how they can have a four-hour long show and then have all the matches be in such a damn time crunch.  The setting for Wrestlemania is often epic but the undercard matches feel like they’re dumbed down for non-fans.

Match #6: No Holds Barred
Rip Thomas vs. Zeus

Isn’t one of those guys in jail in Gotham City?  And the other looks just like that old guy who’s fucking up TNA.  Hey wait a second…

Match #6 No Holds Barred
Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon

Build to this was quite frankly horrible.  Once the initial “holy shit, Bret Hart!” moment was over, this was basically the same feud Vince McMahon did with Donald Trump at Wrestlemania 23, which was basically the same feud Vince McMahon did with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 22, which was basically the same feud Vince McMahon did with Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 19, which was basically the same feud Vince McMahon did with Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania 17 and you get the point now I hope.  Plus it was obvious right from the moment he stepped out on Raw that he would not be capable of having an actual match.

I’m one of those people that thinks Bret is one of the top three professional wrestlers of my lifetime, and although my feelings on his life outside of professional wrestling are less thaen rosy, I sure as hell wasn’t looking forward to him being feeble here.  If I’m booking this, he chairs Vince McMahon once and then slaps on the sharpshooter for the victory.  Satisfying and complete.  Instead…

Bret enters first and gets a decent response from the crowd.  I think he deserved better, and maybe he even got it, but you can’t tell.  That’s a problem with stadium shows: stadiums are designed to lose noise so as to avoid what happens when cheering fans get so loud that it breaks the pain barrier.  Not all domes are designed in this manner (I actually talk about this in my upcoming Shawn Michaels: My Journey review that I started months ago and still haven’t gotten around to finishing) but the majority of the ones the WWE has attended are.  The Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota is the only known stadium in the United States that has twice had fans yelling so loud that it broke the threshold of pain (both during separate World Series games) and if there’s one thing the WWE could really use it’s fans yelling so loud that the event has to be sponsored by the new Tampex for Ears to clean up the blood that will leak from them.

The highest recorded decibel level ever for a sporting event was actually at a game I attended: the Oregon Ducks vs. the USC Trojans at Autzen Stadium in 2007.  It was so loud that it was as if everyone in the stadium was standing next to their own personal jet engine.  My head hurt for a week afterwards.  The record was 127.2 decibels.  Compare that to the highest ever recorded at a WWE event: 124.3 for Wrestlemania 3 in Detroit.  Of course, having 93,000 fans (wink) helps, but the stadium wasn’t actually designed to be loud and it was the sheer amount of fans that helped set the record.  Only 60,000 fans, give or take, were at the Ducks game I attended, so size really doesn’t matter.  I’ve been to a dozen or so TV tapings and a few pay-per-views including a Wrestlemania, and yet the loudest reaction I’ve ever experienced was during the Undertaker’s entrance at a house show here in Kennewick, Washington where I live.  It was at our version of the Toyota Center, with a sold out crowd of around 7,000 or so.  But the stadium was so damn small that when the fans all collectively shit their breeches when the gong sounded for the Undertaker, the place screamed so loud that it immediately shut everyone up because it was so loud that it hurt.  I’m not kidding.  Truly people yelling so loud that they’re immediately silenced in agony is something that needs to be experienced on television.  Oh, and enough open-ended stadiums for the shows, WWE.  Unless it’s Safeco field again.  Come on, it was dollar-for-dollar the most profitable Wrestlemania of the decade, and you know you want more of our coffee-filled dosh.

And to those pissy LSU fans that say their team had 129.8 decibels a couple weeks before the Oregon/USC game, I say this: does the Guinness Book of World Records credit you for that?  No?  Then fuck off.  Go back to polishing all your national championship trophies you smug gumbo slurpers.

Oh yea, match.  Well, Vince is all happy and gloaty as he announces that this is now a lumberjack match, where all the Harts that hate Bret (that would be… all of them, above ground at least) come out.  Vince thinks he’s very clever.  Bruce Hart is the guest referee, wearing sunglasses like he’s Joe Cool or something.  Bruce always reminded me of a 12 year old trying to look like the biggest bad-ass on the planet.  I bet he sneaks a cigarette and stays up past his bedtime and everything.  Bret asks the family if they got paid in advance like every Hart demands.  Bret asks Vince if he thinks he’s clever.  Vince does.  Turns out, he’s not, because blood is thicker thaen water, and possibly more thick then Bret’s brain, and the family was together all along, and now richer.  Not as rich, happy, or successful as Bret, but hey, who is?  Besides Shawn Michaels I mean.

A fan is holding up an “OWEN HOF 2011” sign.  Martha Hart subsequently sued that person for a trillion dollars for having the unmitigated gall to be a fan of his.  Maybe she thought HOF meant “Haha, Owen Fell!”

Yep, I’m going to hell.

We start with Bret punching Vince, and it’s tough to watch in a way because of Bret’s immobile left arm.  Bret gently kicks Vince to the floor to give himself a breather after all this action, and to let the Dynasty get shots in.  Crowd is dead except those right next to the action on the floor.  A small buzz pops up when the Dynasty set up a Hart Attack off the top rope and on to the floor.  Not sure how it was more devastating from Kid jumping off the top rope, but it was a nice bump from Vince.  Then back into the ring for Bret to start working the leg.  He actually drops his elbows like it’s 1997 all over again, and I always loved Bret’s elbowdrop so that was nice to see.  Bret needs another breather so Vince hits the floor and crawls under the ring.  He grabs a crowbar, which is a much more TV-PG method of violence.  I’m not sure if being bludgeoned to death is better then being strangled.  I imagine it depends on who’s doing the bludgeoning and how accurate they are.  In theory you won’t feel anything after the first blow.  Either way, Vince ain’t going to get future endeavored for this, so let this be a lesson to Bryan Danielson: next time you try to strangle someone with a tie, make sure you’re the chairman of the company first.

Vince charges into the ring and straight at Bret with the crowbar, but Bret catches him and stops him, then brawls him down and drops another elbow.  He grabs the crowbar and beats on Vince with it.  Crowd is reaching Terri Schiavo levels of response here.  There appears to be signs of life even though none are scientifically obvious.  Sadly, nobody takes this as a cue that it’s time to wrap up.  The crowd comes to life when they think Bret is about to slap on the sharpshooter, but Bret takes this as a sign that the match should go longer.  So he grabs the crowbar and beats on Vince some more, and the crowd returns to it’s coma.  He grabs both legs for the sharpshooter again, and again the fans pop, so again Bret opts to do something other than finish the match, this time stomping Vince in the balls to no response.  I’m sure Bret’s rational for going long here is “yeah, well fans in Canada were loving it!”

David Hart-Smith passes Bret a chair.  Does he use it on Vince?  Nope, he needs a breather and takes a seat.  Bret seems to be having another stroke in the chair, but then when Vince stands up, Bret absolutely PLASTERS him with it.  This doesn’t really pop the crowd either.  Bret asks the fans if they want another.  They say “no!”  Bret takes this to mean “I guess they don’t just want one, they want a dozen!  No wait, make that a couple dozen.  I’m a Canadian hero after all.”  So he does his best Austin-on-Rocky impression and slowly beats McMahon with the chair.  Meanwhile, the fans in Arizona deserve some kind of trophy for not hate-hooing this.  They might just top San Antonio as the most polite crowd in wrestling history.  Finally, Bret decides to apply the sharpshooter in the center of the ring, and Vince surrenders.  Bret doesn’t let go for a bit.  Fans give him a polite “thanks for giving my larynx a rest for ten minutes” reaction.

NO RATING for this, the biggest squash since Jesus took on the Romans.  But it was way too long and fucking boring as hell for the most part, with a crowd that sure as hell didn’t seem to give a shit.  As much as I hate Bret Hart (I just read his autobiography again and it was a much needed reminder that he is the biggest selfish, self-righteous prick the business has ever seen) I feel so terrible for him that his big, thirteen-years-in-the-making moment was about as well received with the live crowd as a suicide bomber stationed every five seats would have been.  To make it even worse, this happened to him on the night that his mortal enemy Shawn Michaels was undoubtedly (we’ll see) going to tear the house down to end his career on a high note, on his terms, something Bret was denied.  Oh sure, they patched things up.  Uh huh.  Because when life-long enemies bury the hatchet, all those horrible things they’ve spent decades thinking about and praying for are instantly removed forever from one’s brain.

Nah, for his contributions to the industry, Bret deserved better.  He deserved the crowd to be on fire.  He deserved to be able to actually wrestle a high-impact physical match like he could in his prime.  He deserved use of his left arm.  Christ, now I actually feel bad for Bret.  I need something to hate him for again.  Any random page from his autobiography will do.

Let’s see, page 341.  Ah yes, the subject is Wrestlemania X.

“Not surprisingly, the ladder match between Shawn and Razor stole the show, and why wouldn’t it?  Even though I’d asked Shawn not to use my original finish, where the heel falls off the ladder and crotches himself on the top rope, he went ahead and crotched himself and tied his foot up in the ropes, while Razor climbed up and took the Intercontinental belt.  I watched it on the monitor in the back thinking, You thieving bastard.”

Ah, that’s the stuff.  Bret Hart: the most selfish, self-righteous prick there is, was, or ever will be, and don’t forget it.

-Meanwhile, Wrestlemania 27 will be in Atlanta.  I wonder if they ever found out what the decibels were for Goldberg/Hogan from that stadium?  Anyway, I endorse this location for the event.  At least it might be a lively crowd, which would be a nice change up from the previous couple of crappy Wrestlemanias.

Match #7: World Heavyweight Championship
(c) Chris Jericho vs. Edge

I’m not sure why this had to be for the World Championship.  The title was just fine where it was at, around the Undertaker’s waist.  Edge was coming off one of the worst possible injuries an athlete can sustain and was clearly not going to be anywhere near 100% in time for this match.  The Jericho/Edge feud was good enough on it’s own merits to justify placement high on the Wrestlemania card and didn’t require the title to be on the line to make it special.  Moreover, if the plan had been for Jack Swagger to win the belt the two nights later anyway, it would have been much better if he had won it off the Undertaker, fresh off defeating Shawn Michaels.  Better for Swagger’s career at least, but building new champions in a credible fashion is rarely high on the WWE’s priority list.

Side note: whatever goodwill Matt Striker had built up with me over the last several months is gone following this show.  I get that he might be excited at doing commentary for Wrestlemania, but man, he sure was in awful form here tonight.  I just loved how everyone in the IWC pissed and moaned that Bill Simmons of ESPN shit on Striker during his recap/review/article thingy on this show.  Everything Simmons said was 100% accurate, but it was an ESPN guy who’s into that silly “real sports” bullshit and thus he has no right to say anything about professional wrestling, even though almost everything else in his article was spot on.

Lockup leads to Jericho grabbing a headlock.  Shoot off by Edge leads to him getting shoulderblocked.  Jericho mugs and then bounces off the ropes, leading to Edge slowly hitting a flying shoulderblock.  Horrible kicks in the corner by Edge, which Jericho is too embarrassed to sell, so he takes control with some punches.  Shoot to the corner by Jericho is reversed and Edge hits a flapjack to set up the spear.  Jericho bails, but Edge is out of the ring almost as fast as he is.  Edge rams Jericho’s face into the announce table, then into the apron.  Back in the ring, Chris kicks Edge in the face as he climbs back in, then baseball slides him off the apron and onto the floor in a decent bump by Edge.  The referee starts to count while Jericho jaws with Edge.  Back in, Jericho catapults Edge’s throat into the bottom rope, then hits a back suplex for two.  And now to a chinlock.  Despite a pretty bad start by Edge, the match is okay now.

Edge tries to elbow out, so Jericho yanks him down by the hair.  Ram into the turnbuckle and some shoulderblocks, then Chris shoots Edge to the opposite corner.  He goes for a running shoulderblock but misses and posts himself.  Spinkick by Edge, but then he lowers his head and gets hot-shotted into the ropes.  Jericho goes for his springboard dropkick but Edge dives under the bottom rope and shoulderblocks him off the apron and into the table.  Crowd is dead, dead, dead.  I feel bad for all those involved.  Flying clothesline off the apron by Edge, then back in the ring he climbs.  Jericho catches him and tries to load up a superplex, but Edge fights him off and hits a pancake suplex off the ropes for two.  Goddamn, the fans are just not loving anything tonight.  It kind of shoots down my theory that the last few Wrestlemanias have bad crowds because of the length, because we’re only two hours in.  This is fucking ridiculous.

Double-KO leads to Jericho going for the Walls.  Edge fights out of it, then avoids getting booted in the face on a charge by sliding out of the ring.  Edge climbs for a crossbody off the top, but Jericho rolls through it for two.  Jericho goes for the Walls but Edge kicks out of it and climbs for a diving sunset flip for two.  Jericho counters for two, then rolls through another pin attempt and boots Edge in the face.  Jericho goes for the Code Breaker but gets thrown in the corner instead.  Edge preps for the spear, and the fans almost sound excited.  Jericho pulls a visually awesome counter out, turning it into a magistral cradle and then into the Walls.  That was nifty.  Edge then counters that with a small package for two.    Edge gets elbowed down and Jericho goes for the Lionsault, but Edge moves out of the way.  Jericho sticks the landing and thinks he’s safe, but Edge immediately hits the Edge-o-Matic for two.  Another awesome spot and this match is way better than the fans in attendance deserve to witness.

Edge catches Jericho running the ropes and hits the implant DDT for two.  Edge has nothing left and misses a charge, leading to Jericho hitting a flying forearm off the ropes.  Jericho has a bout of temporary insanity and decides to try a spear of his own, but Edge totally levels him with a boot to the face.  Jericho sure took that shot with gusto.  That finally wakes the crowd up a little bit, and even though he’s limping Edge decides to prep for the spear.  He charges straight into the Code Breaker.  Jericho is too beat up to cover right away and only gets two.  Edge tries to get to his feet but Jericho kicks his injured leg, then starts to stomp the injured leg.  Edge tries to fight back but gets caught in the Walls.  Edge struggles for the ropes but gets yanked back to the center of the ring.  Jericho then decides to up the dickery by turning it into a single-leg crab.  Edge struggles and still makes the ropes, then immediately hooks in a roll-up for two.  He then decides that selling is too girly and runs at Jericho with a Cactus -clothesline, sending both guys to the floor.

This wipes out Edge more than Jericho, so Chris grabs the title belt.  Edge remembers that he’s too cool to sell and runs to stop Jericho, punching him on the apron.  Jericho hangs up Edge, causing him to bump into the referee.  Jericho hits the title belt on Edge and covers for two.  Jericho gets all slack jawed at this, as if to say “fuck this, no-selling shit.  I wonder if there’s a shitty game show looking for a host?”  Jericho follows this with the Code Breaker, and the announcers are so used to this match being one clichéd counter after another that they say Edge blocked the move even after he’s tits-up, lights-out on the canvas.  Of course, it doesn’t help that Edge wasn’t in position to take the move and it looked like poop as a result.  Regardless, that’s the finish of the match.

***1/2 The match was slow to start and goofy at the finish, but everything in the middle was fairly solid.  And yet it still had that Wrestlemania mid-card taint where it felt rushed and unfulfilled.  That’s one of the problems with the modern era.  The minute a pay-per-view’s opening promo starts to run, everything they’ve been working for over the last couple weeks ends and the build to the next show starts.  This is Wrestlemania, the quote-unquote “biggest show of the year” and yet with the exception of Bret/Vince and presumably Michaels/Undertaker, everything here ends without a trace of closure.  In fact, five out of the ten matches tonight were redone at the very next pay-per-view, this time with more attractive stipulations added.  It’s enough to make a person wonder why this is the show that costs an arm and a leg and not Extreme Rules.

Match #8
Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Eve, Gail Kim, & Beth Phoenix vs. Michelle McCool, Maryse, Layla, Alicia Fox, & Vickie Guerrero

Kill me.  It’s the TV-PG era but Jerry Lawler is still allowed to cut all his dirty-old-man jokes.  Just as long as he doesn’t choke Striker by his tie, I guess he’s safe.  On second thought, choking Striker with his tie would be a welcome addition to this show.  The babyfaces rush the ring and the heels all bail except Vickie Guerrero, presumably because that would require some form of athleticism.  But the referee saves her from joining Eddie in Heaven (ha, as if) and things settle down.  Vickie actually starts the match with Gail, and Vickie decides to chest-bump her.  She turns around and does an over-the-top muscle pose, then turns back around to see that Beth has tagged in.  She hoists up Vickie and runs her to the babyface corner, but stops short of ramming her into the turnbuckle.  That looked awful.  Shoulderblock from Beth, then a tag to Eve who fires off a pair of her own.  Tag to Gail Kim who fires off a couple of shitty shoulderblocks before blowing up.  Tag to Mickie who gets a couple of lame shots in.  Tag to Kelly who does the high foot-choke.  Vickie forgets to sell the injuries from all these devastating blows and instead screams in Kelly’s face.  Kelly kicks her, causing her to hilariously collapse down.  Truth be told, the fans seem more receptive to this than Bret Hart’s match and again I’m feeling pity on him.  Remind me to read a page from his book when this review is finished.

It’s time to cue the “it’s a multi-person Diva’s match so everyone hit your finishers now” sequence.  Kelly does her launching legdrop for two as McCool saves.  She hits the Faith Breaker, then comes Mickie in to hit the big DDT on her.  Layla comes in to nearly kill Mickie with a neckbreaker, otherwise known as a backbreaker if you’re recovering from a lobotomy and/or are Michael Cole.  Perhaps calling anything with a neckbreaker is frowned upon by Mattel, fearing that people will associate those moves with Chris Benoit or something.  Anyway, Gail Kim comes in and ‘hits’ her Eat Defeat finisher on Layla, but Layla only has a vague concept of anything related to professional wrestling and completely fucks up the move.  Naturally she would win the women’s championship less then two months later.

Maryse comes in and hits her finisher, which is also a DDT.  Then Eve comes in with a flipping senton.  Alicia Fox then hits the scissors kick on her, followed by Fox eating the Implant Popper from Beth.  Well, at least the skinny bitch ate something for once, but I’m guessing she spent the next hour in the bathroom making herself throw up.  Now it’s all down to Beth and Vickie, but McCool makes the save before anything happens and boots Beth in the face.  Kelly is laid out in perfect position to eat a frog splash from Vickie, which is anything but perfect of course.  Even the announcers laugh at how bad it was.  To top off this farce, the referee botches his one and only job: to count to three.  He stops at two, and everyone is like “what the fuck?”  So he counts her down again, this time managing to hit three, and then Vickie shakes her tits.

DUD Excluding the opening sequence where Vickie was getting her ass gingerly kicked, there were ten total moves done in this match, and roughly 30% of them were botched, excluding the referee who needed a reminder of what number comes after two.  What’s really criminal here is that this match lasted exactly as long as the opening tag affair.  Well, maybe not criminal.  I mean, it’s not as if THAT match was shaping up to be anything worthwhile either, but this whole thing was just dumb.  And although I used to be a staunch supporter of Vickie Guerrero, her heat is significantly less than it used to be and thus there’s no real point in keeping her around, especially as a wrestler or a GM.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost five full years since Eddie Guerrero died.  And the sad truth of the matter is that a lot of Vickie Guerrero’s heat came from her trading off her husband’s name.  But five years is a long time in wrestling and with the demographic shifts the WWE is going through, a lot of the fans today simply never got to see Eddie in his prime and perhaps don’t get what the big deal is with his widow pouring dirt on his legacy.  Between 2007 and 2008, her heat was off the charts, the likes of which a female has never had in the business.  In my opinion, the WWE really missed an opportunity when they paired her with Edge.  It was just so lame because Edge never really crossed paths with Eddie in a significant way.  They traded the IC title back and forth in 2002, but otherwise their history was insubstantial.  Besides, what benefit was she to Edge?  Edge was already one of the most hated villains in the company.

On the other hand, if they had used her as a launching pad to turn Batista heel in 2007 or 2008, it would have been huge because Vickie’s heat was at it’s root caused by a sense of betrayal.  Wrestling fans are clingy to the legacies of their favorite stars.  If Vickie Guerrero had been the widow of Yokozuna and displayed the same obnoxious personality and over the top ranting, she wouldn’t have had the same level of heat.  Now you take that sense of betrayal and instead incorporate a beloved babyface with it and the heat would have been the wrestling equivalent of having the shows being filmed on the surface of the fucking sun.  Batista proved over the last year that he could make a very effective heel.  Imagine what he could have accomplished with Vickie Guerrero in tow.  Dare I say the same situation would have worked as well, maybe better, with Rey Mysterio.  Putting her with Edge, or having her as the General Manager of Smackdown were both huge wastes of potential and anyone with half a brain would have figured that out long ago.  But there’s nobody booking wrestling with half a brain in any major league in North America.  Perhaps Vickie should head to Japan or something.

So that is it for Disc #1.  Tune in to Inside Pulse Tomorrow for the final part of this review, with Batista/Cena and Michaels/Undertaker, plus the six bonus matches that are included with the Three Disc Collector’s Edition.

Thanks to Chris and Red for editing.

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