The Way Too Long Review – WrestleMania XXVI 3-Disc Collector’s Edition, Disc Two

And we’re back with what will be the final disc I’ll review of this set.  I’m not recapping the Hall of Fame ceremony but my thoughts on it can be summed up by using the letter “Z” about thirty times in a row.

Match #9: WWE Championship
(c) Batista vs. John Cena

Shockingly the WWE Championship had not changed hands at a Wrestlemania since #21 at this point.  Build to this one was iffy for me.  On one hand, this is the culmination of Batista’s excellent heel turn.  On the other, more jaded hand, they hot-shotted the belt off of Sheamus and onto John Cena and from there on to Batista in the span of five minutes in the preceding pay-per-view, and they didn’t even have a solid, logical storyline reason to do so.  It’s not like there was a Money in the Bank cash-in.  Nope, they simply had Vince McMahon come out and declare Batista the champion, more or less.  It kind of takes the sting out of the importance of the belt.  But given their effort together at Summerslam 2008 where they went outside of any conventional match structure and still managed to be ****1/4 on sheer chemistry alone, I’m not too worried about match quality here.  And without the face vs. face bullshit that caused the weirdness at Summerslam, this could actually be cool.

Oh, and it’s Wrestlemania so John Cena gets the over-bloated entry to end all entries.  In this case, a bunch of Air Force guys come out and do a bunch twirls and stuff with guns.  It’s neat looking.  Then another Air Force dude walks between them as they twirl the guns, sort of like walking a gauntlet.  Then they stop that and John Cena’s music hits and he just walks out.  Okie dokie.  To Michael Cole’s credit (or Vince McMahon shouting in his ears’ credit) he lays out their entire history in the company in such a way to make this seem more important than it is.

Lockup is avoided.  A second lockup and Batista grabs a headlock, while the fans continue their silence.  Shoulderblock by Batista is turned into a headlock-takeover by Cena.  To their feet where they break in the corner.  Batista swings and misses, allowing Cena to throw some punches and give the fans a chance to hate-hoo him.  Mind you, they’re not cheering for Batista either.  So it’s not like this has the heat of the Triple H/John Cena match from Wrestlemania 22.  It’s just fucking silence and scattered assholes… which actually would be a great name for a song.

Batista reverses a whip to the corner and clotheslines Cena in the back of the head.  Ram into the corner and brawling by Batista, including a straight kick to the face.  Batista starts to elbow and kick at John on the apron.  Back in the ring, he loads up a suplex but Cena reverses it for one of his own.  Shoot to the corner then a facebuster by Cena for two.  He goes for the FU, but Batista turns it into a nasty, almost Jake Roberts-esq DDT for two.  Running knee to the face gets two, and then he slaps on a rear-naked choke with body scissors.  Note to WWE: choose loud stadiums for Wrestlemania from now on.

Cena stands up on the hold and muscles out, leading to one of the most pathetically mild “yea, boo” punching sequences ever.  Batista ends with a neckbreaker for two.  Now a front-chancery by Batista.  Cena stands up and backdrops out of it, then catches Batista charging.  Another charge misses and leads to Cena wiggering-up.  Shoulderblocks and the protoplex, but Batista gets a spinebuster on him.  Fans have totally turned on Cena now, and at least it’s noisy.  STFU by Cena, but Batista makes the ropes and hits a spear for two.  Didn’t we just have this exact same match, more or less, with Edge and Chris Jericho?  This whole “nobody gets to hit more then a couple moves in a row” stuff is the type of shit I expect from TNA.

To the corner where Batista loads up a superplex, but Cena slowly muscles out, then pushes Batista off and drops the five–knuckle -shuffle from the top ropes.  Well, there wasn’t much shuffle, so it was basically just the knuckle.  He loads up for the FU, but Batista grabs the ropes to prevent it, and poor John gets caught in the loaded powerbomb… for two.  Batista’s silly slack-job selling of the shock of this is fucking hilarious.  Batista slowly gets over it and then goes for another powerbomb, but a neat reversal sequence leads to the previous move becoming the WORST MOVE EVER~!! with Cena hitting a ‘huge’ FU that looked about as visually stunning as a back-bodydrop.  It gets two and now it’s John’s turn to act all shocked and saddened.  And now only did the FU look like crap, but it also is the WORST MOVE EVER~!! Because Cena dives off the top rope but gets caught coming down in a powerbomb.  In theory that should be the finish, but the TNA tribute continues as that move is now the WORST MOVE EVER~!! and Batista loads up another powerbomb instead of going for the cover and Cena turns it into the STFU for the tappy tappy.

* I can’t believe some of the high scores thrown at this match.  This was the wrestling equivalent of a turn based RPG.  The longest string of moves began when Batista clotheslined Cena into the corner and ended about six or seven punches, kicks, and elbows later.  After that it was one move for Cena, one move for Batista.  That, my dear readers, is not psychology.  I guess the rationalization is that the fans would boo Cena either way and thus there was no point in giving Batista a heat sequence to build the match around.  That’s a fucking cop-out.  If the WWE feels you can’t heat up Cena for a big comeback, then turn him heel already.  If you’re going to keep him a babyface, then let the heels wrestle like heels and build a match up.

If TNA has proved nothing else, it’s that turn-based wrestling matches are fucking boring.  They’re all the same.  Maybe give-and-take basketball games or football games are exciting to watch, but staged professional wrestling matches are rarely that way.  When you have three instances of WORST MOVE EVER~!! taking place in under two minutes, you need to hang your head in collective shame at how creatively bankrupt you were going into the match.  “Oh, but it’s more dramatic this way!”  How so?  When the first guy’s finisher proves ineffective and the next guy immediately hits his finishing move, you know damn well the first guy is going to kick out of it.  Where’s the drama in that?  Those are false finishes in the same sense that the movie Titanic doesn’t end when you first find out the movie is about the fucking Titanic.

So in short: stupidly paced, horrible crowd, artificial drama, three uses of WORST MOVE EVER~!! all resulting in a new runner-up for worst WWE title match ever at Wrestlemania, tying Sid/Undertaker from #13 but still being marginally better then Luger/Yokozuna from #10.

Time for the main event.  No pressure, guys.  You only have to single-handedly save this from being one of the worst Wrestlemanias of all time.

Match #10: No Disqualifications or Count-Outs
Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
Special Stipulation: If Shawn Michaels loses, he must retire.

Both guys have rather bland entrances.  It’s Shawn’s final match and he simply walks out.  Maybe that’s fitting in a way.  The build to this match was flawless, so there’s no need for bells and whistles.  Let’s get it on.  Undertaker charges but Shawn moves out of the way and chops away.  More chopping in the corner from Shawn, but then Undertaker reverses a whip that sends Shawn up and down in the corner.  Snake-eyes and the running big boot, then a clothesline in the corner.  They’re going to all the big stuff right off the bat here.  Undertaker winds up Shawn’s arm to go for the ropewalk, and he actually hits it.  Taker tweaks his leg on the way down, setting up the theme of attack for Shawn for the rest of the match.  Taker loads up the chokeslam but Shawn wiggles free and kicks away.  Taker smacks him down to prevent a comeback and loads up the Tombstone, but Shawn wiggles free of that and tries to apply a standing-crossface.  Taker breaks that and loads up a chokeslam again, but Shawn kicks the knee.  Taker grabs an arm and winds Shawn up, but Shawn ducks a short-arm clothesline and goes for the superkick.  It misses and we have a stand-off.  Hell of a start.

They avoid locking up, then Shawn gets Taker in the corner and kicks away at the injured knee.  Taker turns it around and punches Shawn in the corner, then punches him to the canvas, then slowly clotheslines him over the top and too the floor.  Undertaker sets up for the once-a-year plancha but Shawn runs in the ring and spears him down.  Shawn goes back to the knee and tries to slap on a figure-four, but Taker kicks him out of the ring.  Taker bails and rams Shawn into the ringpost.  He preps Shawn on the apron and drops the leg on him.  Undertaker hobbles back in the ring and Shawn slaps on the figure-four.  Taker tries to block it and grabs Shawn’s ankle, but he lets go and Striker redeems himself by saying that now the pain is worse.  Taker gets all wide-eyed and nutty looking, and after a near fall he turns the hold over and they break.

To their feet, where they trade blows.  And it’s actually done in a pretty good way.  This ends with Shawn hitting the flying forearm.  He nips up straight into a chokeslam for two.  Taker decides to try for the tombstone, but Shawn wiggles free and snatches him in an anklelock of all moves.  Fans are like “whaaaa?”  Shawn lays down on the move and grapevines his legs around Taker’s.  Fans don’t buy this as a possible finish one bit and treat it like a waste of their time.  Taker kicks the face to escape.  Shawn 360-clotheslines Taker to the outside.  I’m guessing he meant to skin the cat, but it doesn’t matter.  He goes for a springing-crossbody but Taker catches him on the floor and tombstones him there.  A referee and a medic check on Shawn while Undertaker catches a breather.

Taker tosses the medic out of the way and rolls Michaels in the ring for two.  Taker kicks Shawn in the gut and loads up the Last Ride.  In an awkward looking spot, Taker drops Shawn after his leg buckles.  In one of the rare instances where a replay actually works, we see that Shawn turned it into a face-buster.  But the spot was sloppy as hell and if it didn’t look good the first time you saw it, it wins no points on the replay.  This is known as the Armando Galarraga clause.  This is also not covered under Worst Move Ever Syndrome because of the amount of time that passed between spots.  Take notes, WWE Title match guys.  Anyway, Shawn climbs and goes for the flying elbow, but Undertaker gets a knee up, hurting both of them.  Shawn crawls over and gets caught in the Hell’s Gate, which he then jackknifes into a cover for two.  Announcers note that it’s the first time the move has been countered.  Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere and an immediate cover gets only two.  Shawn tunes up the band but the previous superkick was the WORST MOVE EVER~!! because Taker turns this one into the Last Ride for two.  He then dumps Shawn to the floor.

Taker preps the announce table, and I guess Taker is showing his support for those who are against Arizona’s immigration laws because he leaves the Spanish team’s booth alone.  Taker loads up the wedgie bomb again, but Shawn wiggles out and hits another superkick, this time setting up Taker on the table.  Shawn climbs the ropes and hits a moonsault off the top and through the table, landing on Undertaker’s legs.  Shawn gets on his feet to celebrate, Looney Tunes style, and then collapses back down.  Yosemite Undertaker also pops up to shadow box at nothing.  Shawn rolls Taker back in the ring and both guys wobble around the ring.  Both guys are up and Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music… for two.  Fans bought it as the finish, much like Undertaker’s tombstone from 2009 that sure looked like the logical conclusion of the match.  See kids, THAT is a false finish.

And naturally, Shawn goes for another superkick but this time Taker catches him in a chokeslam.  Tombstone piledriver… gets two.  Fans bought THAT as the finish.  Taker can’t believe it, but then pulls the straps down and calls for the end.  Then he has second thoughts on the matter and barks at Shawn to “stay down.”  But then in one of those moments that is borderline silly, Shawn does the throat-slashy movement to Taker as if to say “what the fuck is wrong with you?  Tombstone me again already so that my career will be over and I can start to collect that beautiful Lloyds of London money!”  Taker missed the obvious signal, so Shawn fires off a bitchslap.  Taker gets somewhat pissed at that and decides he’s going to go all Benoit on Shawn’s nancy-boy ass.  Leaping Tombstone and th-th-th-that’s all, folks.  The unintentional hilarity continues with Michael Cole yelling in a jubilant voice “THE UNDERTAKER IS 18 – 0” and then, without missing a beat, goes into a somber, whimpering voice to say “Shawn Michaels’ career is over.”  I want that as my ringtone.  Taker shoots his pyro off, then stares down at the lifeless corpse of Shawn, wondering if necro sex is as good as his brother says it is.  But then Shawn starts to breathe and Taker is like “darn, oh well, maybe some other time.  Hart looks like he’s on his last legs.  Just stick around him.”

He picks up Shawn, shakes his hand, and then sells Shawn’s tearful hug like he’s Dr. House getting hugged by that little dying girl in that one episode.  Taker pauses long enough to sniff for delicious brains to eat, detects none, and then bails out of the ring.  The fans give Shawn the tearful sendoff.  Jerry Lawler says he’s never seen a Wrestlemania moment like this.  How about, I don’t know, Ric Flair’s retirement just two years before?  No music hits, no pomp and circumstance, just Shawn walking up the aisle and saying goodbye to the fans.  And that’s it for the show.  They don’t even have a big Wrestlemania 26 music video with highlights of the show to end things.  Then again, such a video would just be shots from this match.

****3/4 A little bit sloppy at times and the ending was a bit lame.  I mean, Shawn kicked out of the tombstone and then he’s like “you know, on second thought, I really don’t want to do this anymore, so give me another.  Don’t worry, I won’t fight back.”  I get that it was supposed to be Shawn acting all heroic at the end and accepting his fate or some such bullshit, but it didn’t work for me at all.  But those are just nit-picky complaints.  The bulk of this match was well executed, with a sound storyline and excellent use of psychology.  As a pairing, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker might have more chemistry then any two other wrestlers in history.  Even Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair stunk up the joint in one major pay-per-view (Spring Stampede 1994, which granted had a lot of political bullshit bogging it down).  This was the fifth singles match these guys had on pay-per-view, and it was still sublime.  No matter the circumstances, even when Shawn Michaels exploded his back on a casket or Undertaker brained himself on the concrete, these guys never failed to deliver.  The best pairing ever?  They have my vote.

BOTTOM LINE FOR YOU TWO DISCERS: If you bought the normal Wrestlemania 26 set, wow, sucks to be you.  This was Wrestlemania 13’s long-lost, marginally less evil twin brother: a one match show with a couple decent but forgettable midcard matches and nothing else going for it.  Undertaker/Michaels will undoubtedly hit a best-of set sometime in the future, and because of that there is simply no reason to own the full show, let alone pay an extra $10 over the cost of a normal pay-per-view DVD for it.  Huge thumbs down for one of the dullest Wrestlemanias in years.

Now, for you three disc types, we have six more matches to go.

Match #13: Twenty-Six Man Battle Royal
3/28/10 Wrestlemania XXVI Pre-Show

Big brawl and a bunch of people get eliminated.  Shad tosses JTG to kick off their split.  That’s pretty much the extent of the highlights.  The fans are decidedly behind Santino Marella, but he does nothing of note.  My whole DVD drive on my PC died and had to be replaced half-way through viewing this.  Pause disc and assume three hours have passed.  Ironically that’s how long this match felt.  Zach Ryder knocks out Mike Knox and Finlay, then Yoshi Tatsu knocks him to win, causing a collective “whaaaaa?” from the crowd.

DUD Death, Taxes, and Battle Royals sucking.

And now for the Hall of Famers.

Match #14
Mad Dog Vachon vs. Rick McGraw
1/1/85 Primetime Wrestling

Vachon is fifty-six years-old here.  McGraw is not yet 30 and would die eleven months after this match from a heart attack.  Wink.  Nudge.  According to various wrestlers it wasn’t uncommon for McGraw to throw down a handful of Placidyls before he would wrestle, which is fucking amazing from my perspective because McGraw always struck me as being one of the more talented job guys in the WWE.  These days, if a wrestler from the 80s writes a book, it’s usually a gimmie that at least one story of Rick McGraw’s misadventures with pills ends up making the cut.  I still don’t see why the WWE, especially in their new family-friendly, PG era doesn’t do some kind of Public Service Announcement featuring shots of every wrestler who died of an OD, basically telling people “look, they were stars.  They’re worm food now.  Don’t do drugs you dumb fucks!”

To the match, where they lockup and go to the corner, where they break clean.  Lockup and Vachon snaps McGraw over with an armdrag into a side-headlock.  This goes on forever and the fans seem to loose patience with it.  McGraw rolls it over for two, but Vachon holds the headlock.  McGraw stands up on it and muscles himself free, then goes for a drop-toehold.  Vachon either fails at no-selling it or simply doesn’t feel like bumping down for it, so he lays down gingerly and lets McGraw slap on his own headlock, which gets a few near-falls.  Vachon stands up and moves McGraw over to the ropes where they trade chops.  Hiptoss by Vachon, and then McGraw goes for a headlock but gets caught and bitten.  Back-rakes, biting, and eye-raking by Vachon, followed by various other biting.  Rake of the face across the top rope by Vachon, and the referee bitches him out.  McGraw reverses Vachon to the corner and chops him, then hits a snapmare for two and we have a stand-off.

Chokehold by Vachon, then a shoot off leads to another.  Another shoot-off leads to McGraw hitting a dropkick, which Vachon is slightly late ion bumping for, just enough to make it look bad.  Reverse whip to the corner but Vachon charges and misses, eating post and getting covered for two.  Another dropkick by McGraw gets two.  Scoopslam gets two.  Shoot off and McGraw goes for a dropkick but Vachon holds the ropes and Rick wipes out.  Choke on the ropes by Mad Dog and then a head-of-steam for two.  Piledriver finishes for Vachon.

* Normal 80s jobber match.

Match #15: Women’s Championship
(c) Fabulous Moolah vs. Wendi Richter
7/23/84 Brawl to End it All

Worth noting is that this is the inaugural Wrestling Observer Worst Match of the Year winner.  That’s pretty ominous.  Wendi notes that she feels like she could go back and win it again.  That’s fine with me, Wendi.  Just don’t ask for more money after you win it this time.  Oh, and don’t bring Cyndi Lauper with you.  As someone who actually watches the Apprentice, I’ve seen enough of Lauper to last a lifetime now.  Censorship note: the camera pixilated out some obscene gestures from the fans.  OR DOES IT?  Actually, it appears the fans are simply pointing at Lou Albano and Moolah, and they’re not even using their middle fingers.  What the fuck?  So welcome to the TV PG era, where now even pointing your finger at someone is banned.  Presumably this is also the work of Mattel, who doesn’t want to be associated with menacing use of a finger tip.  It makes sense though.  Maybe Chris Benoit pointed at Nancy before he choked her to death, and as a corporation devoted to making wholesome toys manufactured using the finest toxic Chinese plastics, Mattel simply can’t allow such vulgar, aggressive finger pointing to be shown.  They’re thinking of the children, folks.

Moolah charges at Lauper before the match even begins.  We stall for hours, and then finally get started with Moolah firing off an armdrag, then eating one of her own.  And since she’s already a senior citizen by this point, everything she eats has to be mushy and soft enough to digest and thus Wendi has to throw her around like she’s trying not to crack an egg.  They end up in the ropes and we stall some more.  Kick to the gut and some snaphairs by Moolah, who then dumps Richter into the announce table.  Moolah slings her back in the ring and chokes away, then places her knee on the hair for added evilness.  Kneelift and Moolah raises her hands in victory, but it’s a premature celebration (common in people her age) and Richter brawls her down and covers for two.  Armdrag of shorts by Wendi leads to an armbar, which she drops her weight on.  Wendi goes for a splash, but it whiffs.  Moolah misses one herself and ends up laying limp on the ropes.

Nothing happens until Moolah takes control on the ropes, tying Wendi up and snapping her off the top rope.  Stomps to the hands, then choking on the ropes.  Snaphair by Moolah.  Wendi tries to fight back but misses a charge in the corner and Moolah keeps control.  Random brawling, then a choke with the foot.  Chop by Moolah, but Wendi fights back with a headbutt to the gut, which Moolah bumps off of pretty decently.  She ends up in the ropes, where Wendi ties her up in a sort of tree-of-woe, giving her a bunch of free shots.  Lou Albano tries to free Moolah but he’s retarded and accidentally makes it tighter.  Moolah seems dead so Wendi puts on a full-nelson to try and give Cyndi Lauper a free shot.  Cyndi doesn’t want it, so Moolah snapmares herself free.  Richter puts it back on again, and this time Cyndi takes the free shot, which somehow doesn’t lead to the match being scrubbed.  Wendi then fires off a dropkick for two.  Seriously?  I just looked at the progress bar on the DVD and we’re only half-way through.  Sweet Jesus.

Crazy scoop -suplex by Wendi gets two.  Backbreaker gets nothing as Moolah pulls the hair, so now it’s a chinlock by Wendi.  Lamest eye-rake ever by Moolah to escape, which is over-sold by Wendi.  Chop by Moolah and a monkey-flip for zero and two.  Weird.  Timing is just awful now.  Backdrop gets two as Moolah yanks her up by the hair instead of getting the pin.  Full-nelson now by Moolah so that Lou Albano can get a free shot, but he comically swings and misses.  Moolah still has control and slams Wendi’s face into the turnbuckle a few times, then bridges her… for three?  Yipes.  BUT WAIT~!!  Because Wendi got HER shoulder up, she is declared the new champion.  Well that was about as unsatisfying as possible, but the fans are happy regardless.

So Lou Albano and Moolah beat up the referee while Cyndi Lauper and Richter celebrate.  Then Moolah tries to attack again, but nothing happens.  This set includes the post-match celebration in the dressing room.  Wendi credits Lauper with, among other things, how to put on makeup.  Step One: put makeup in a shotgun.  Step Two: shoot yourself in the face with it.  Step Three: beauty!  David Wolff, Cyndi’s producer, notes that this shows that women aren’t just good for having babies in the kitchen anymore.  Huh.  I figured by the 1980s women had started going to the hospitals to have the babies before going home and cooking some dinner.   Sgt. Slaughter shows up, along with Hulk Hogan.  The Hulkster declares Richter the Marilyn Monroe of professional wrestling, despite the fact that she’s not blond and lived long enough to see her 40s.  Then Lou Albano shows up to act crazy.  And that’s it.  Any bets on which one of those present had the most cocaine during the post show?

I’ve got my money on Mean Gene.

DUD Horrible match, too long and soft hitting.  Moolah had old-lady mood swings through out it, switching at random between selling and not-selling stuff.  I’m not sure if it really was the worst match of 1984, but it was at least good enough to kick off the national push for the WWE in a big way on MTV, drawing record ratings (this was the only match that actually aired on that show) and making professional wrestling as close to mainstream as it had been since the Gorgeous George era.  Not that it makes the match worth watching.  In fact, you likely should skip it for your own good.

-There isn’t a match of Stu Hart’s, so instead they copy and pasted some stuff from the latest Hart DVD.  A review is coming.  I swear!

Match #16: National Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship
(c) Antonio Inoki vs. Great Hossein Arab
12/17/79 Madison Square Garden

The Great Hossein is better known as the Iron Sheik, and it’s basically the exact same gimmick with a different name.  He grabs the house mic and jaws with the fans, then jumps Inoki, who actually got a pretty decent pop from the crowd.  Sheik punches and kicks away, then Inoki fights back and hits a scoopslam.  Choke on the ropes by Inoki, then he grabs Sheik’s ceremonial garb and chokes him with that.  He rips it apart, then tosses it to the crowd.  Shoulderblock by the Sheik, which he pays for by eating three armdrags and an armbar.  Headlock, then Inoki gets shot off and they criss-cross the ring for a bit, then Inoki fires off a hiptoss and an arm combo.  Shoot off by Sheik and he gets a scoopslam, but an elbowdrop misses.  He goes for a head-scissors but Inoki blocks that and puts a standing leglock on, then drops down on it.

Sheik elbows out and chops Inoki to the corner and slams him into the turnbuckle.  Another chop, then a backdrop for two.  Snapmare into a chinlock by the Sheik, as the crowd chants “Iran Sucks!”  Who knew 1979 people were so hip with the lingo?  Inoki tries to escape but Sheik keeps the hold on tight.  Inoki tries to muscle out and instead sort of swings the momentum of the hold over, then dropkicks him for two.  Inoki knots up the legs with some kicks and covers for two.  Rake of the eyes by Sheik and a beautiful dropkick gets two.  Sheik looks basically as old here as he does today, but he’s clearly more limber.  It wouldn’t last.  Abdominal stretch by Sheik, reversed by Inoki with one of his own.  Sheik grabs the hair and weakly hiptosses out of it for a slight double-KO.  Shoot off and both guys hit heads for a real double-KO.

Sheik is up first and fires off a vertical suplex for a delayed two.  Sheik loads up another suplex but Inoki reverses it, then drops a leg for two.  Gutwrench suplex gets two for Sheik.  Sunset flip by Inoki gets two, and then he ends up tying Sheik’s legs up for the Indian Deathlock.  Sheik won’t submit even after Inoki rolls it into a bow-and-arrow hold.  Rake of the face by Sheik and he loads up his boot, but Inoki blocks it and tries to unlace the shoe.  Sheik counters but Inoki snatches it again and removes it, popping the shit out of the MSG crowd.  That’s fine with Sheik because the other boot is loaded as well.  He kicks Inoki with it, then rams his head against the boot that was taken off.  This isn’t grounds for disqualification though.  Inoki is bleeding, but it’s old, TV-PG quality blood.  Sheik gets distracted by the referee and Inoki fires off the Enziguiri for a quick three count.  After the match, Sheik attacks Inoki and the referee with the shoe and then bails.

** Not horrible but still not really worth watching.

-Clips of Bob Uecker in the WWE.  The highlight is a semi-drunk Jake Roberts promo.  Every DVD should have at least one drunken Jake Roberts promo to liven things up.

Match #17
Gorgeous George vs. Frankie Talliber
Guest Referee: Jack Dempsey
Circa 1951

Match is clipped and not really worth rating, but I actually enjoyed watching the seven minutes of it.  George’s routine draws mostly laughs from the crowd, but he’s the reason most of them are there anyway and seeing his routine in person in the 50s was on the level of seeing a Broadway play.  It was the hip thing to do.  People would come to the matches just to watch him, and if he was in anything but the main event, over half the crowd would leave once he was finished.  Going off the highlights here, you can see that the guy was a legitimate athlete as well.  He was a tremendous bumper and seller.  Many of his routines are still being used to this day as well, such as thumbing the eye while the referee isn’t looking or developing a substance abuse problem and dying before you hit fifty.  George wins the match with his finisher, the falling headlock.  It’s kind of like a Stone Cold Stunner meets a headlock-takeover.

No Rating but worth checking out.

Match #18
(c) Ted DiBiase vs. Jake Roberts
4/1/90 Wrestlemania VI

We get the full Jake Roberts promo before the match.  This time, he’s sober, which is just as good as drunk.  Jake’s spiel is actually one of the better Wrestlemania promos of all time, and it was later shown in part in the movie Beyond the Mat.  DiBiase calls this one of his favorite matches ever.  Million Dollar Championship is unofficially on the line here.  CENSORSHIP NOTE: Jesse Ventura’s commentary is gone again.  For the love of God, will someone in the WWE cut him a one and done check to cover all future DVDs, please?

Shove off to start, then a huge slug-off.  Shoot off by DiBiase but he eats a shoulderblock.  Kneelift by Jake, then he goes for the DDT but DiBiase bails.  Back in, Jake shoots DiBiase off and hits a hiptoss.  Elbows miss for both guys, then DiBiase turns and sees the snake in the bag.  He turns around and almost gets DDTed, so he bails again.  Back in, Jake grabs Teddy by the arm and starts to wring it.  Hammerlock and knees to the back by Jake, then he cinches up on the hold.  “Come on Ted, say you will” says Roberts so coolly that it makes me think smoking crack could be the way to go.  DiBiase gets to his feet and reverses the hold, but Roberts dives down on it to leverage Teddy to the floor.  Jake tosses him back in, then lowers his head into an elbow.  Shoot to the corner but Jake catches him charging with a knee.  Running kneelift is side-stepped by DiBiase and Jake wipes out hard against the ropes.

Ted is in control now and he lightly brawls Jake around.  DiBiase is totally gassed as he drops some elbows.  Front-facelock by DiBiase so that he can get some air in him.  Jake drives him to the corner but gets punched down, then stomped out of the ring.  Teddy follows and yanks Jake by the arm into the post.  Fans are HOT for a Roberts comeback here.  Back in, DiBiase loads up a piledriver and hits it, but he stalls instead of pinning.  He arrogantly pins Roberts using his knees for two, turned into a cover by Jake for two.  Ted gets pissed and stomps away, then calls for the Million Dollar Dream.  He gets it on and Jake fades down, so DiBiase covers for two as Jake gets his feet on the ropes.  Teddy drags him to the center of the ring and covers again for two.  He climbs to the second rope goes for a sledge, but Jake catches him coming down and clubs him in the chest.  Clothesline by Jake, atomic drop, and another clothesline.  The fans want a DDT, but Jake needs to soften him up a bit first.  Backdrop and Jake jaws with Virgil.  Short-arm clothesline and Jake feels like it’s DDT time.  DiBiase grabs the referee’s foot, then dumps Jake to the floor to deal with Virgil.  Jake slams him on the floor, then gets caught in the Million Dollar Dream.  Teddy tosses him away and then gets rolled back in the ring by Virgil to beat the count and win the match.  Lame finish that deflates the shit out of the crowd.  DVD cuts out Jake’s post match attack.

***1/4 Pretty decent match that could have used a little bit of spice.

BOTTOM LINE: If the two discers got screwed, the three disc types, like me sadly, took it up the ass with a sandpaper condom.  Of the eighteen matches you get total, ONE of them broke four-stars.  Granted, it’s an awesome, historic, show saving match, but it’s also a match that will show up elsewhere as sure as the tide will roll in.  Without it, Wrestlemania 26 would rank near the bottom of the show’s history.  The crowd didn’t help much either.  In fact, I would say it’s the worst crowd for a Wrestlemania since the Trump Plaza ones back in 1988 and 1989.  Wrestlemania 26 is an early contender for Worst Pay-Per-View of the year, and yet because it’s a Wrestlemania the WWE is charging anywhere from $10 to $15 more than an average PPV DVD.  That’s robbery.  And what does your extra $5 to $10 investment for the three-disc set get you?  Four really dull bonus matches and one slightly above average match that you likely already own somewhere else.  Oh, and you get the entire 2010 Hall of Fame ceremony instead of just the version that aired on USA.  Hooty hoo for that.  The Hall of Fame ceremony is somehow even more boring than the main show was, with the weakest class since concept was brought back in 2004.

If you must own Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker on disc, wait for it to appear on DVD somewhere else.  Wrestlemania 26 was about as exciting as watching the paint dry and it gets a huge thumbs down from me. But I’m confident that Atlanta will take better care of the show and not fuck up the privilege of hosting it like Arizona did.

Thanks to Chris and Red for editing.  Way Too Long fans send your thanks to Red as this was his last show helping me with editing.

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