Joel: There’s no real question about it, WrestleMania 24 is a good show. It’s got several high profile matches and thanks to the pageantry, the fireworks, and the video packages, most of the matches feel like they are a big deal. I don’t have anything bad to say about WrestleMania 24, but the interesting thing is that I don’t have that much good to say about it either. Yes, pretty much all of the matches are good, but nobody has a career defining match on this card. We’ve seen almost everybody do better at another WrestleMania. It feels like WrestleMania 24 is going through the motions a little bit and making sure all of the boxes are checked. There’s a title match for each of the three brands. Check. There’s a money in the bank match. Check. A celebrity match? Check. A Smackdown guy vs. a Raw guy match? Check. A diva’s match that lasts less than five minutes? Check. I’m sure that it was fantastic watching the show live. It feels like WrestleMania 24 delivered on everything it was trying to pull off, but watching it years later trying to stand alone without all of the build up, it feels like just another, run of the mill, WrestleMania.
The exception to all of this though, is of course the retirement match for Ric Flair. I can’t believe this match was as early on the card as it was. Ric Flair retiring after a thirty-five year career would have been an emotional moment all by itself even if the match had been lacking. But Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair instead put on what had to be the match of the night, with some truly fantastic storytelling going on here. Even without the video package letting you know what the buildup to this match was, you can feel the emotions from the two wrestlers as they craft the story of the match between them. Then is how retirement matches should feel, and it easily the best one we’ve ever seen up to this point. Though I think that will change two years later when it’s time for the other half of this match to retire.
Kue: Another shitfest of a Mania that echoes traits of the year before, including celebrity hype (Mayweather), shitty women’s match emphasizing models rather than wrestlers, and a forgettable card save three matches. Money in the Bank was decent enough, though losing steam from previous years, with the notable first win from Punk. Taker/Edge was a good outing, establishing an entertaining enough rivalry between the two.
The only real match that this Mania is known for, however, is Michaels/Flair. The two delivered an emotional performance that culminated in a heartbreakingly bittersweet victory for Michaels, leading to the (supposed) retirement of one of the greatest in-ring careers of all time.
Other than that, lackluster. Next.
Sanders: I’ve always looked remembered this Wrestlemania fondly but for some reason, I didn’t enjoy WM24 as much as I remembered that I had in the past. The Belfast Brawl was a meh ending to a staggeringly dumb story-line that culminated in the revelation of Hornswaggle’s true parentage. This started the dumb trend of tying loose ends of story with Hornswaggle and that’s not a bad thing, it’s an awful thing. Honestly, the Money in the Bank match probably would’ve been a better choice to start the show (something WWE figured out the following year). As far as the MitB match goes, it’s one of my favorites because we were originally suppose to have Jeff Hardy win it but he was too busy being suspended and so CM Punk won it instead, thanks substance abuse!
Batista vs Umanga (if William Regal says it that way, I dare not to defy him) was alright but the finish made the whole thing worth it. It really was one of the more impressive Batista Bombs we’ve seen especially since he had to make an adjustment in the middle of it. Kane vs Chavo for the ECW Championship is a perfect metaphor for the WWECW era. It was nice of Shawn Michaels to send Ric off with one of the best matches Flair ever had and it was easily match of the night.
If you ever need an example of what exactly was so bad about the Divas era in recent history, show them this Playboy match. A bunch of women all jealous and distrustful of each other while their existence seems to be predicated on the actions of a guy. But it’s ok, just make out with an old rapper.
Mayweather/Big Show was probably the best match in terms of celebrity involvement that WWE has ever had. Mayweather actually took some bumps and rather than ignore his short-comings and sell his offense anyway (ie. Snoop’s clothesline), the entourage (Michael Tarver sighting!) stepped in to keep the energy up and make it a little bit more believable. Also, rather than to have a celebrity with zero wrestling experience come in a beat a WWE superstar clean, they brought in one of the best professional boxers with brass knuckles. If WWE absolutely has to utilize celebrity involvement, either do this or keep the celebrities ringside. And Undertaker/Edge was fine but I always remember this match because of the pyro that ended up getting aimed right at fans in the upper sections at the end.
BD: This is one of the most overlooked shows when it comes to deciding the worst WrestleMania. I’m not saying it’s the worst one, but it HAS to be close. There is not a SINGLE good match on the entire card, and yes, I’m including Edge Undertaker and Batista Umaga. I am. They weren’t good. Sorry. It’s the truth.
Money In The Bank is always an entertaining car crash, but it had already started to lose it’s luster by this year. Punk won, which was a bit of a surprise, but this particular MITB win did not do him a lot of good.
The ONLY passable match aside from that is Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair, and that was for obvious reasons. Even with everyone KNOWING exactly what the outcome would be, it was a surprisingly good match and not just because of the emotion behind it.
Tags: Big Show, clashy ring attire, CM Punk, Edge, floyd mayweather, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, undertaker