Monday, April 6, 2009

WRESTLEMANIA 25 (not the 25th anniversary.)

Straight up- this was an average Wrestlemania for a bunch of reasons. It may have had the greatest non-title 'Mania match of all time in HBK v Undertaker but there were two many 'meh' spots on the show. Here is a run down:

Nicole from Pussycat Dolls is up with the anthem. She isn't Aretha Franklin, or even John Legend.

Money In The Bank was the usual stunt fest and was executed well, despite Christian fluffing his Unprettier on CM Punk, and Shelton nearly killing MVP with the powerbomb. Finlay was useless but Kane and Mark Henry worked fairly well. Obviously Shelton Benjamin and Kofi Kingston spent plenty of time air borne and made the match entertaining. Chirstian was my tip but I'm not disappointed that Punk won. The chase begins...

Kid Rock then performed a medley of garabage as the divas made their way to the ring. The ensuring battle royal was rubbish. None of the returning divas were featured and the announcers playing dumb over Santino's involvement was ridiculous. I didn't see either Torrie Wilson or Sunny, and only briefly saw Victoia and Molly Holly (and even then it was because she had been dumped out in front of a camera). They couldn't fit the tag title unification match on the show because of this?

Matt and Jeff was another good stunt fest that went fairly hardcore. Shame it followed the MITB so closely as they went the ladders as well. The Twist of Fate in the chair was a great finish and saved the match. By the end of the show though I'd forgotten this match has even happened.

Jericho slapped the legends around. Steamboat looked great but Snuka and Piper struggled. Rourke entered the ring after Jericho challenged him and knocked Chris out. Kind of lame really. Jericho is money, especially considering what he had to carry to make this watchable.

Rey v JBL lasted 20seconds. Irrelevant. JBL retired after Rey beat him quickly. No one really cared since JBL has done little since his return. We missed a tag team unification match for this?

Undertaker defeating Shawn Michaels was incredible. Tom sat next to me and as we both waved off false finishes (chokeslams, devil's gate, and the odd chin music) we totally bought that Michaels might make it when he kicked out of the Tombstone. The Undertaker's dive onto the camera man was a highlight reel moment, better than anything in MITB or the Hardys match. The pacing was perfect and Michaels must surely jump higher on the list of all time great performers. He could go 30 minutes and get 5 stars out of a broom stick. The finish though, Undertaker caught Michaels mid moonsault and held on to hit the Tombstone, was brilliant. This is the sort of match wrestlers must watch if they ever want to main event. Proabably the best non title match ever and the best 'mania match since the Benoit won three way at Wrtestlemania XX.

My comment after this is that they can hold on to have Undertaker go to 20-0 in a few years. He is beyond facing midcarders now in this streak so they must line up a couple (Punk? Christian? MVP? Kennedy?) before facing Cena. Maybe he gets to WM30 and faces Swagger or DiBiase for the title?

The two title matches had no chance after that. Much like Hogan-Rock at X8, the crowd was deflated after the elation of Taker-Michaels. The three way did their best though to get it going again, and continuing the run of strong finishes to matches, Cena lifting both Show and Edge was awesome. The three way worked well with some great spots and moves (Show pushing Cena into a Edge spear was great). They really know how to make Cena look like a million bucks and it works. This isn't so monumental though since he was just champion six weeks ago.

After an insane build up, the decisions made in booking Orton-HHH made no sense and left this a massive let down. HHH kicking the crap out of Orton wasn't what needed to happen. With all that Orton has done to the McMahon-Helmsley family, a HHH punt, sledgehammer shot and pedigree was all the revenge Hunter needed. Add that to denying Orton his title dream and the feud is now dead. Any momentum Orton had going into this is buried. A really terrible ending to 'Mania.

Overall there was a legendary match, some solid stunt matches and a pretty good three way. I'd rate it well below X-Seven, slightly below XXIV though probably above the likes of XXII and X8, 21 and 23.