Joel: This WrestleMania marks the fifth time in a row that Triple H has been in a championship match. And in four of these past five WrestleManias, he was in the final match on the card. Even without watching all of the other Pay Per Views in these five years (not to mention Raws and Smackdowns) it’s easy to see where Triple H gets the burying reputation from. And that’s not to say that Triple H’s matches haven’t been good, or that he hasn’t been good in them, (his match here with Cena may have been his best WrestleMania match yet) but still, that’s been a lot of Triple H. All in all though it was a really strong show. Like Triple H, Vince McMahon has his best WrestleMania match to day, though it helps that he’s in the ring with Shawn Michaels here. The triple threat for the Heavyweight title was impressive as well. But the match of the night has to go to Mick Foley and Edge. This for the most part is Foley’s swan song when it comes to real, all out, full intensity hardcore matches. These to guys hold nothing back here, and it can still be stressful to watch at times, all these years later. We frequently talk about up and coming wrestlers saying that they’re “the next Shawn Michaels” or “the next CM Punk” or the next whatever famous/popular wrestler they remind us of. And while Mick Foley is my all time personal favorite, I really hope that we never get another wrestler who’s style forces us to say he’s “the next Mick Foley.” That would be too stressful.
Kue: Jesus, what a shit show. Besides James/Stratus and Foley/Edge, I can’t find one redeeming thing about this Mania. The two main events were jokes, to say the least. The ‘Eddie in hell’ crap left the WHC triple threat distasteful, especially with the Mysterio pandering win. And Cena/Trips was slow, plodding, and not fun in the least bit.
The more poignant aspect about this event was the complete disdain for face Cena. It’s been such a norm, one forgets that it was heavily showcased all the way back in this Mania. Hindsight does little to ease the pain of the never-ending Cena push. Let’s get to 23 quick.
Sanders: What an interesting parallel one can draw between the main event of Wrestlemania 22 and the main event we’re on the verge of witnessing at Wrestlemania 32, it also helps that one of the participants is in both main events and is the presumed heel in both as well (HHH). The commentators did their best with the crowd, shrugging them off as a strange group and an isolated incident because they wished to maintain the idea that people “liked” John Cena and hated HHH, it was the same attitude WWE used in Philly after the 2015 Royal Rumble when they boo’d Roman as the winner, a year after they had done the same to Batista. And now we’re a couple weeks removed from the main event feud properly kicking off in a brawl between HHH and Roman and clearly, WWE was going for a “shocked” reception by the Detroit audience as HHH beat Roman to a bloody mess but was instead met with thunderous applause and cheers. The pieces are falling into place and the result seems like it’s going to resemble Wrestlemania 22, WWE sticks to their guns and force-feed the main event to the fans with Roman probably ending up on top and a rolling thunder of boos. I had forgotten the negative reaction Cena was getting at WM22 and was honestly surprised because I think we were still in the period where people actually liked Cena but clearly I was wrong. It all comes back to the idea that it’s not so much about the fans getting the guy the want to win (or at least it shouldn’t be) but rather the fans don’t want the story to be given to them on a silver platter and having their intelligence insulted especially when it comes to continue to present a product that clearly isn’t working.
BD: WrestleMania 22 was project “Let’s Continue Pushing Roman Reigns Circa 2003 (aka John Cena) Into Geosynchronous Orbit” which failed miserably when the majority of the crowd started booing him right around this time… and cheering the monster heel, HHH. They had a bad main event, although on the HHH DVD he claims that this was the first time he ever told John Cena backstage how much he sucked in the ring. Good times.
The hardcore match with Edge is one of the only Edge matches I’ve ever really been able to get into, HBK McMahon is surprisingly watchable, and Rey winning the title is awesome. Rey entered #1 to win the Rumble and won a Triple Threat, which a lot of people complained about at the time (and now) but Rey was hugely over and great in-ring, especially at the time, and this was one of the only times a Hispanic wrestler was featred this prominently. The fact that he may as well have been riding Eddie Guererro’s corpse like a magic carpet to the top didn’t hurt, but that definitely wasn’t the bulk of his popularity.
Undertaker Henry is awful. Check it out if you like humorously bad matches like I do. And JBL beat Benoit, how hilarious is that? No wonder Voldemort became… uh, disgruntled?
Tags: clashy ring attire, Edge, HHH, John Cena, Mick Foley, Rey Mysterio, Shawn Michaels, VInce McMahon