Sunday, April 05, 2009
Cheap Heat Wrestlemania 25 Edition by Gene Jackson
Well once again for the 5th or 6th year in a row I've sworn to myself I wasn't going to order Wrestlemania then I come home from work an hour before it's gonna start and talk myself into getting it. Once again, just like last year it was the Shawn Michaels match that made me buy the pay per view. As was the case the year he wrestled Kurt Angle, even when he wrestled Vince McMahon. The only Summerslam I've actually paid for and watched live in years was the HBK/Hogan Summerslam of '05. However unlike last year with Flair and the Summerslam with Hogan, Michaels wasn't carrying the load all by himself this time, but more on that later. Let's rundown the whole show match by match.
MATCH #1- Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Christian vs. CM Punk vs. Mark Henry vs. Kane vs. Kofi Kingston vs. MVP vs. Finlay vs. Shelton Benjamin
This is one of the matches I've come to look forward to each year at Wrestlemania and what a way to kick off the pay per view (well following the Pussycat Doll singing "America, the Beautiful", who really should stick to shaking her ass in music videos and not really be in a situation where people are forced to notice your "singing") Anyways, good match to start off with. A few blown spots here and there but overall an exciting match that gave everyone involved a time to shine, especially Kingston being his first Wrestlemania. Nice spot early on with Kane and Henry pushing all the other participants off at once. Even Hornswaggle got a spot in climbing a step ladder and jumping off of Mark Henry's back onto a pile of waiting guys who all kinda had to stand around an awkward amount of time in a huddle waiting for the Finlay and the little guy to get set up for it. In the end CM Punk won for the second year in a row, the crowd didn't seemed thrilled with Punk winning as they seemed to favor Christian during their exhanges but I didn't really think Christian would roll in from TNA and win such a high profile match at Wrestlemania. Last years win resulted in a short reign as World Champion for Punk, we'll see how this one goes.
Match #2- Diva Battle Royal for the title of "Ms. Wrestlemania"
This was kind of a cluster as the lead in to this was the Kid Rock medley performance which I didn't give a s*** about and seemingly neither did the live crowd. The divas made their way down to the ring while Kid Rock performed one of his new songs. Suddenly without warning the match had started and for most of the match it seemed we were watching it from a fan cam in the crowd as the camera stayed panned out for most of the match. (I can only assume this was to help prevent folks from noticing that one of the "divas" looked a lot like Santino Marella which somehow the announcers never figured out til late in the match) Anyhow, they went through the trouble of bringing back people like Sunny, Torrie Wilson, and Molly Holly and they weren't even announced at the beginning and could barely be made out on camera during the match because of the constant wide shot from the camera. Hell it could have been anyone in there until it got down to the final few. So, as you can figure Santino (or Santina as it were) tosses out Beth Phoenix to become "Ms. Wrestlemania" and proceded to doing a disturbing celebration dance.
Match #3- Chris Jericho vs. "the Legends" (Roddy Piper/Jimmy Snuka/Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat) w/Ric Flair & Mickey Rourke in the audience
Ok, so this is another reason I ordered the ppv, I'm a big fan of Chris Jericho's current heel persona and the curiousity of seeing Steamboat back in the ring after all these years. This was a three on one handicap match with Jericho having to beat each of the legends to win the match, but they only had to pin Jericho once to get the win. Piper physically looked better than he has the last few times he's been in the ring but probably really shouldn't be in there anymore. Snuka has no business getting in there anymore, stick to conventions and autograph sessions or maybe the local indy show but he really shouldn't be in the ring on a major pay per view. Steamboat for having (at least to my knowledge) not being in the ring in an official televised match since around '94 looked to be in great shape and could still pull off his signature moves such as his patented armdrags, top rope chops to the head etc, etc. All in all the match came off much better than if should have realistically. As you could guess Snuka went down first to the 'Walls of Jericho', Piper second to a enziguiri, and finally Steamboat after a valiant effort fell to the 'Code Breaker'. Afterwards, Jericho challenged Flair to get in and of course Flair bounced around for him for a minute or so until Jericho turned his attention to Mickey Rourke at ringside. After some namecalling and what not from Jericho, Rourke came into the ring and went round and round with Jericho before "dropping him with a big left". Hey, I know some people will say it hurts the business for Jericho to take a dive for a 50 something year old actor but come on it's not 1975 anymore, it's the way these things work. The legends did the right thing for business by putting Jericho over and Jericho did the same for the movie star who will get them at least a few mentions in the mainstream, hell it ain't like he won the World title or anything. No harm, no foul. Hell Sting would be tapping out to Rourke tommorow if Russo could have landed him for TNA.
Match #4- Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy- Extreme Rules
Ok so I think this match could have worked solely on the premise of jealously and sibling rivalry rather than bringing in the ridiculous premise that Matt set Jeff's house on fire and killed his dog.....but whatever. Matt has finally updated his look with some new tights that really helped since the old one had been played out for quite a while now. (perhaps someone should let Jeff know as well) There's 5,000 indy guys wearing "hardy boy pants" every weekend in shitholes across America, time for something new, Jeff. On to the match. These guys had their work cut out for them with their past tag matches (TLCs, Table Matches, Cage Matches, Etc) to live up to. The match was an "extreme rules" match which I guess is what they now call what was once known as "hardcore" matches. The match was good, not an excess of weapons but enough to get the match over. Of course when the Hardy Boyz are involved some ladders came into play. Jeff set up two ladders and did the leap frog off one ladder over another into a legdrop off of one of those fifteen foot ladders, I don't see how it didn't break his tailbone the way he came down on the mat. The finish was Matt giving Jeff the "Twist of Fate" with a chair around Jeff's neck. Nice finish, which didn't hurt Jeff any as he came out of the match looking as good as Matt even being on the losing end. Nothing too spectacular but better than average match.
Match #5- I.C. Title: JBL vs. Rey Mysterio
JBL cuts a promo while walking down to the ring managing to get even more heat in before Mysterio made his way down. Rey was sporting a "Joker" style outfit tonight complete a with green wig that a fan managed to snatch off his head on the way to the ring. After all JBL's talking Mysterio managed to take the IC title in 21 seconds. It's hard to say whether this was done due to injuries that JBL has, or due to the fact that the show was already seemingly off schedule to be over by 10pm. Either way, it didn't need to be any longer as it served it's purpose and JBL declared "I quit". It wasn't clear whether he was quitting wrestling, drinking, smoking, women, the WWE, or molesting green wrestlers in the shower but I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Match #6- Mr. Wrestlemania vs. the Undefeated Streak: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
Ok so this is the main reason I ordered the pay per view. $55, this better be good. Shawn makes a grand entrance lowering from the ceiling in the white version of the Undertaker's coat and hat that he wore on TV recently, before going into his usual routine. Taker makes his usual entrance and we're under way. The match had a nice slow build as Shawn out quicks Undy early on until Taker manages to get a hold of him. A good back and forth match where it seemed the entire match this thing could go either way. A sick spot where Shawn goes for the moonsault out to the floor but is just brushed by Taker sending HBK crashing to the floor looking like he might have landed on his shoulder was topped only moments later by Undertaker doing his over the top rope front flip out to the floor with Shawn pushing a camera guy in the way and Taker seemingly landing partially on his head out on the floor. Just a really rough looking bump that looked like it could have seriously hurt the Undertaker but apparently it didn't as he finished the match. This match had the most false finishes of any match I've since the days of the real ECW. It was crazy and the crowd was right there with them every step of the way. Multiple Sweet Chin Musics, Chokeslams, Last Rides, and Tombstones made this one of the most exciting matches in quite a while and everytime you thought you had things figured out the pendalum swung the other way. As good as Shawn is, Taker was there with him every step of the way and really showed he could hang with a "worker" as good as he can with a brawler like Kane or Batista. Finally in the end the streak of the Undertaker stayed in tact as it moves up to 17-0 at Wrestlemania, undeafeated since his first Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 7 in L.A. It will be interesting who they ever decide to let be the one to beat the Undertaker, if they ever do. Perhaps, he'll go out undefeated at Wrestlemania. Hopefully, it will be someone who can parlay it into something big for their career. I understand not putting Shawn Michaels over because he doesn't really need an extra rub from beating Taker. Hopefully, it won't be HHH, heck I'd rather Cena be the one that ends it over HHH. Of course, I had hoped Edge would pull it off last year so.......Anyways, awesome match and I'm sure Orton, HHH, Edge, Cena, and Big Show are wishing they could get in the car and leave at this point. There's no hope of them topping this.
Match #7- World Heavyweight Title- Triple Threat Match
John Cena vs. Edge vs. the Big Show
So this all has the side story of the Edge/Big Show/Vicki Guerrero love triangle......let's just overlook that shall we. Ok, neat entrance from Cena with the Eminem "Real Slim Shady" from the MTV Music Awards years back with about 100 Cenas lining the aisle coming out to his old "Word Life" theme. For the record, I HATE triple threat title matches at Wrestlemania. The only decent one they've ever pulled over was HHH vs. HBK vs. Chris Benoit and we're not allowed to remember that anyway. Decent match but Ray Charles can predict Cena will take the belt in this one......and he did. Impressive spot with Cena lifting Big Show and Edge (on Show's back) up into the 'F-U', oh sorry. I mean the 'Additude Adjustment' (I hope Tony Dabbs is sueing for gimmick infringement) Cena is the new champ, yay. Next.
Introduction of this year's Hall of Fame Class of '09
They announce this year's inductees and they come out in their tuxedos. The Funks, Bill Watts, Howard Finkel, Steve Austin, Kevin Von Erich, Ricky Steamboat and last but damn sure not least "The Birdman" KoKo B. Ware! Austin noticeably leaves while everyone else is still out there waving to the crowd when suddenly you hear the breaking glass and Austin has ditched the suit and rides out on a 4 Wheeler and drives around ringside, then heads back up the aisle, then backs back down the aisle in reverse and gets in the ring and does the drinking beers thing until finally leaving.....little did they know the crowd should have left with Austin because "business was NOT about to pick up", next up our "Main Event".
Match #8- WWE Title Match- Triple H vs. Randy Orton- Title can change hands on a countout or DQ
Now look I'm not one of those people who get off on hating on Triple H. I like a lot of his matches this however was not one of them. With the stipulation and the fact that this is kind of their last chance to establish Orton as a legit threat to.....well anyone. They would have to do something screwy to play off the stip and not give us the predictable HHH wins with the pedigree finish. Especially after all the twists and turns in the HBK/Taker match. However, if you think that you would be wrong as we get a standard HHH/Orton match we've seen a hundred times at this point then at the end, referee Scott Armstrong gets knocked down. Ok, so here it is Stephanie is gonna come down and turn on Hunter for letting her get RKO'd and DDT'd. Maybe Vince will screw HHH, or Shane will join the Legacy stable or something remotely unexpected. So Randy Orton gets the sledgehammer but as he slides in the ring he get's punted in the face by HHH. Hunter then picks up the sledgehammer and hits Orton in the head with it. Now HHH straddles him and goes crazy raining punches down him. Now the referee is back up......ok so here it is HHH is gonna go crazy and get DQ'd losing the title because of his uncontrollable rage from his family being attacked........Armstrong comes over warns Triple H to stop punching him.....SO HE.....HE.....does. He stops punching him....calmly gives him the pedigree and pins him......and that's it.....no twist.....no false finish......just a flat, dead crowd....no heat....no pop.....ending to the the match.....that had to be the most anti-climatic disappointing finish I've ever seen.....the guys is supposed to be beside himself with rage, therefore Orton slips in the stip if he gets DQ'd he loses the title but each time the ref tells him to stop......He does....then with no drama whatsoever he just pins him.....like a real shitty indy match where the two guys in the ring have no psychology and just end the match with no heat....unfrickinbelievable....oh well.
All in all I enjoyed the show, the Jericho vs. Legends and HBK vs. Taker matches made it worth the money but the Michaels vs. Undertaker match should have closed the show, the match was better than the last two and either way it went finish wise most of the crowd would go home happy. Normally I don't mind Michael Cole all that much but being the third wheel out there with J.R. and Lawler he just seemed out of place and annoying. Sometimes less is more and we could have used less Michael Cole here. If you didn't see it live, check out the replay or get the DVD, if you did watch the show feel free to share your thoughts on the show on the Kayfabe Board.