Joel: The whole WrestleMania goes Hollywood theme of the evening gets a little closer to the feel of WrestleMania IX than I would like but it never quite makes it to the level that the whole Roman Toga Party got to on that one. It doesn’t really add anything to the show, and makes the whole thing feel a bit more silly and less grandiose than it should, but I’m willing to let it off with a warning here. It doesn’t hurt that XXI has a much better card than IX did. We get some pretty fantastic matches here starting right out of the gate with Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. It’s kind of a bummer that Eddie went from winning a championship title last WrestleMania to being on the opening match for this one, especially since this will be his final WrestleMania appearance, but it’s a fantastic match, and really a good example of using a big match to get things started in a big way.
We also get our first ever Money in the Bank ladder match which, it’s nice to see, was a great concept for a match right from the start, and we get Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle in what was probably the match of the show. The only real downside to this WrestleMania is that the two main events, the title matches that were supposed to care the most about, are kind of a let down after the earlier matches on the card. It’s not that either one of them is bad, but they both feel a lot more “meh” than a WrestleMania main event should feel, especially when the undercard really brought it this year. If you’re pushed for time on this one (although the whole thing feels short compared to last years five hour extravaganza) you can pretty safely stop watching after Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle.
Kue: The tagline for the previous Mania seems more appropriate for this one. Many things did begin again here, including the Money in the Bank concept, the beginning of booking the entire female roster with models over wrestlers (with winner of the first Divas search Christy Hemme in the championship match), and the ascension of Cena and Batista into the main event scene, defining, for better or worse, the next decade or so of WWE.
With that said, this card was as solid as the Hollywood marketing for it was shitty. Pretty much all the matches save three were very well worked. Guerrero/Mysterio was tremendous fun. Taker/Orton had surprisingly great chemistry. And the match of the night (and of that particular year, if I’m not mistaken) went to the exceptional Angle/Michaels I. However, the Trips/Batista and Cena/JBL did nothing in terms of match quality. And what the hell was that rancid Akebono/Big Show match?
All in all, a good Mania.
Sanders: All-in-all a good show, we see the main event arrival of both John Cena and Batista. The Kurt Angle/Shawn Michaels match was about as incredible as you’d imagine. After sitting through Wrestlemania 20, it was refreshing to sit through one of these that was under 4 hours long and, aside from the dopey beginning and Hulk Hogan loves America bit, Wrestlemania 21 felt like it had far less dumb backstage segments. And yes, sound the alarm because I actually enjoy a Rey Mysterio match although I’ll gladly give Eddie Guerrero the credit for that. Speaking of Eddie, it should be noticed that this, sadly, is his final Wrestlemania appearance before his death later that year. On a much lighter note, the first ever Money in the Bank ladder match was held in this Wrestlemania and I sure am thankful for it. I do miss it as a Wrestlemania exclusive event and there’s been a void in the event ever since the match was given it’s own pay per view. Not that I completely mind the pay per view, it gives us something exciting to look forward to during the pocket of suck period of time between Wrestlemania and Summerslam.
BD: WM21 was pretty historically relevant if you look at it being both Cena and Batista’s first World Title wins and WM main-event matches. It was a sign of the future direction for the country, so for that reason I think we can all agree that WM21 was a huge failure. The matches themselves were awful, and that trend would continue with these 2 gentlemen until at least WrestleMania 30. Ditto for Orton, who also had his first time in a high profile WM match against Undertaker, which was also lame.
Only good matches on this card were Eddie Rey and HBK Angle, which stole the show. It wasn’t a hard show to steal, but Angle HBK in particular was amazing and worth tracking down.
Pop of the night was for a returning Hulk Hogan, who returned after a HOF induction the night before to save a “differently abled” guy against 2 terrorists. This started a rich tapestry of events that led to Hulk Hogan supporting a spam-colored parade balloon that would eventually be President of the United States.
Tags: Batista, clashy ring attire, HHH, jbl, John Cena, Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels