Wow, does anyone else remember the theme of this Mania being called "All Grown Up?" Haha, what a terribly shitty idea
1) Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Jeff Hardy v. King Booker v. Finlay v. CM Punk v. Mr. Kennedy v. Matt Hardy v. Randy Orton v. Edge - 5
Wow this was a major trainwreck, first the bad; the usual complaints, some guys were really non-factors, Booker only made 3, seriously, 3 real appearances in this where he did a spot, other than that it was naptime outside. Punk was pretty unimportant, lots of insanely ridiculous spots, actually the same one over and over again, Edge hit 7 guys in a row with spears, felt like watching an old Batman episode where the same thugs just run into Adam West's punches. Orton then pulls off the same thing where he RKO's 3 guys back to back to back. Ludicrous, not the talented hip hop artist, the adjective describing something ridiculous or stupidly unordinary. Some fun stuff was Edge's really stiff strikes, like he found out everyone gangbanged Lita in Roanoake the week before, read that in the Wikileaks actually. Matt "Bumps like God could if he was a pro wrestler" Hardy took 3 insane bumps during the course of the match. Finlay was fun as always as a craggy bastard who bleeds and stiffs, Jeff's ledgrop through the ladder was really fun especially since Edge was trapped underneath. That really was a sickening spot. Overall I can't really recommend it as there was too much bullshit cluttering up major portions of this.
2) Great Khali v. Kane- 2
I bet they were wishing Kane's years of experience in the sport would help guide Khali to a decent match and Khali would be able to feed off Kane's great workrate to push his performance up. I bet those people were the same ones buying bridges over the weekend. Did Kane actually pull out a giant hook to put cattle on? And why did Khali open up a turnbuckle like George "the Animal" Steele? Kane took a bump at one point like he tripped over a his kid's toy cars in the dark trying to go get a glass of skim milk in the middle of the night. The ending was so haphazard and out of nowhere it didn't help matters. Kane's body slam though was hot, but Jim Ross comparing it to Hogan slamming Andre was like comparing the Resident Evil films to the Godfather franchise.
Okay, let us pause to comment on the "dance party" that took place in the back between these matches. People were flipping out over the one on the Old School Raw just a few weeks ago when this one was easily better, mainly for the incredibly tight outfits of Layla & Kelly Kelly as well as Slick appearing and doing some pop and lock stuff, and had at least a dozen ridiculous men over 50 in costumes showing up out of nowhere pretending they know how to dance. I have been to quite a few parties in my day but never one where a drill sargeant, a ninja, an IRS agent, 70 year old women in leotards and a man in a suit walking around doing Native American war cries filled in the ranks of attendees. Christ, i'm going to stop here for the night before i have any nightmares related to this.
3) MVP v. Chris Benoit- 4
3 months before Benoit commits murder of his whole family, more you look at it, the signs were there. Cole goes on a tirade saying how wrestling is Benoit's "life, it consumes him, it's his mistress." This is mainly good for watching MVP dissect Benoit's arm, does some quality work on it, like an old Anderson beatdown. So different from the formula shit he was breezing through on Smackdown the last 2 years. Benoit has some good touches to the selling, but MVP apparently still hadn't learned how. Watch his face on the rolling Germans, it's like when you tell a kid to stay as perfectly still as they can. Ending was so out of nowhere and out of context.
4) Batista v. Undertaker- 6
You could accurately describe this match as being an 80's action movie, no plot but tons of adrenaline fueled beatdowns. The whole first act is copied and pasted right from a Smackdown main event, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Taker's suicide dive never looked better. He even takes a Mick Foley bump later on, so he must have taken an extra cortizone shot. What works for Dave here is he isn't hesitating and his instincts are right throughout. His strikes look real, his movement isn't stutter-stepped, it actually feels like a big title match. Ending has been done so many times, why at this point anyone picks Taker up for a Tombstone is beyond me. Batista bomb though drilled Taker harder than we will be doing to Brazil in 30 years looking for natural resources.
5) Sandman/ Rob Van Dam/ Tommy Dreamer/ Sabu v. Matt Striker/ Elijah Burke/ Marcus Corvon/ Kevin Thorn- 3
This more than anything else felt like a pure 7 minute tv match. Sabu did a total of 4 moves the duration of this, guess that sounds like a complaint. Sandman did a total of 2 moves. Dreamer sold the whole time and RVD ran through his offense like he would a bowl with Bill Alfonso and Miley Cyrus later that night. Striker made me laugh to even see him out there on this stage, but he actually took some crazy stuff incl. a monkey flip that would make a Jackie Chan extra envious and scentillating DDT from the Venis playbook. Corvon was a beast too and looked more motivated than anyone, perhaps trying to avoid an eventual trip back to Orlando (can't blame you there)
6) Bobby Lashley v. Umaga- 4
I actually felt like my eyes were on steroids and painkillers just watching this. Both men were bulky and breeming with needle marks. They both took stupidly but fun to watch car crash bumps outside that really played no part in the match. Some clunky in ring work was all to see of these guys. The most interesting component by far was Steve Austin, who has never lost his magnetic presence. His selling after the two shots from Umaga blew away everything else on the show up to that point in realism. Some McMahon hijinx to remind us 1999 really did blow as badly as remembered. You can also skip the aftermatch hair cutting involving Donald Trump unless you're a giant Vince mark.
7) Melina v. Ashley Massarro (Lumberjills Match)- 2
2 things, no, 3 things come to mind while watching this, first they show a clip from a dark match with male lumberjacks that involved Ric Flair/ Carlito v. Chavo/ Shane Helms and Cole says it was "a really great match" but they decided these two would be a better fit for the live show. Boo. 2nd, Melina was a great heel and I really have no idea why she's been a face now for like 4 years. 3rd, Easily 80% of the women standing around ringside had triple the talent Ashley, who while at one point during a rollup sequence looked like she transported back to tumbling class in the 8th grade. This was the worst thing on the show.
8) John Cena v. Shawn Michaels- 8
Former (and future) NHO staffer Adam once said about the new WWE-version rebirth of ECW, and I quote: "This is wrestling." While that may be one man's opinion (and it probably was) I would like to not particularly say definitively about this match but say the crux of that statement could be applied here. First off, I like big matches, long matches that build up accordingly, some people don't care for them because too many fans are too anxious to sit and watch as it builds up, as here where Michaels does an excellent job attacking Cena's legs (which boggled me since they had little do do with the match as a whole) but the back and forth that took over after that initial build up which sets the stage with Shawn being the veteran and controlling the match to Cena still not on his level. Love Shawn's piledriver on the steel stairs, he doesn't break it out all the time so when he does it's quite special, Cena even takes a step further here by blading the top of his head, brilliant stuff. Some of the exchanges and counters of big holds later on were impressive, damn impressive actually and Cena and Michaels both know how to sell frustration, fatigue and pain better than almost anyone ever employed by the company. All I can say is if you have fond memories of big Mania main events and you want to watch one of the greats, this is one of them.