So, I'm closing in on the end of a huge undertaking but a fulfilling one. WrestleMania is held in such high regard by casual fans, but I think it feels a lot less important to hardcore fans due to type of scheduling they usually run on these shows. WrestleMania has always been about 2-3 huge matches on 1 show, filled in with tons of other things playing out. Looking forward to putting a stamp on the end of this series and awaiting each Mania as it comes. Enjoy the 26th entry of this huge spectacle.
1) The Miz/ Big Show v. John Morrison/ R Truth- 3
I understand the fur coat, but why was Morrison sporting a Cleopatra-like amulet around his neck? This was a total tv match, designed to get the show off to a quick start. It accomplished that. Miz and Truth both were bumping and selling particularly well. Notice every Mania Show only does a few spots and they're usually big. This year was a bump from the 2nd rope. Maybe next year he'll try that dropkick off the top.....or likely not. Probably have a better chance of Jersey Shore's Snooki semi-maining the show.
2) Randy Orton v. Cody Rhodes v. Ted Dibiase- 3
Everyone's sporting fresh brand new tights, good for them. Is there anything sexier than the clean white Triforce boots Cody's wearing? Randy is in the selling zone as usual here. But this match lacks early from my main gripe from Orton stuff; it's slow paced, almost to it's detriment a lot of times. Was Kidman the agent for this? Just saw his goofy clothesline behind the other guys' back. The announcers are cracking me up; Cole is so bad he's not even pretending Orton's not winning. Striker just said "perhaps a future WrestleMania main event here- Rhodes v. Dibiase." Not even their famous fathers would think that's a good idea. Most of this was executed well, but this felt flat in many ways.
3) Kofi Kingston v. MVP v. Evan Bourne v. Jack Swagger v. Shelton Benjamin v. Matt Hardy v. Dolph Ziggler v. Drew McIntyre v. Kane v. Christian (Money in the Bank Ladder Match)- 5
This was a weird one, more guys than ever were in this and it just defies logic when guys haven't been seen in 10 minutes or more just laying around on the outside like they're poolside somewhere. But the big moments here were pretty huge, some sick bumps. Kofi, Ziggler and Matt all took crazy dangerous bumps onto ladders in some great moments. Ending is borrowed from Jericho/Michaels as every ladder match after it has copied that ending; and Swagger winning? He didn't have a single highlight in the entire match.
4) Sheamus v. HHH- 4
This is a slice of that humble pie Trips likes to eat every once in a while so he goes on early with this show but Sheamus still looks like a goof afterwards. HHH is so tanned he's bronze. Lots of punching here, none of it too good though. Thing that hurt this was crowd heat, or lack there of, the people only popped when Trips hit a signature move. Couple quick reversals but the flash finish looked shittier than "Zookeeper."
5) CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio- 6
This never stopped, nor slowed down. Felt like a good package of Rey's style and Punk using all he's learned over the years and putting it to good use. Punk could have shortened so many of his long in the tooth indy stuff and packed it full of high impact spots like this was and would be a better man for it. Well, i'm not 100% sold on that. But even though they've had much longer and more in depth performances, I have to recommend this because you won't be bored.
6) Vince McMahon v. Bret Hart (No Holds Barred)- 2
Jesus the Hart Family around ringside for this looks like the cast of Golden Girls. This for all intents and purposes should be a 1, but even though he's an old lecherous dirtstain, seeing Bret bash him with a chair over and over again was enjoyable.
7) Chris Jericho v. Edge- 6
when i first saw this live, thought it was underwhelming as M Night Shymalan's career the last 5 years. On 2nd watch there was some good stuff. Jericho seemed tired when this started, and there was a general malaize over this. Not until 10 minutes in did the crowd actually wake up and the action get turned up. At one point they get this extreme close up of Jericho who you see turn it on in one twinkle of his eye. The spear counters were great and sort of brought you back to that period in 2001 or so when the top guys of this time were first coming up and doing matches mostly consisting of counters and smart transitions. Crowd was buying a submission finish as much as I buy honey roasted peanuts at the store (I don't.) Final move looked as good as Edge's hairstyle in 2011.
8) Laycool/ Vickie Guerrero/ Maryse/ Alicia Fox v. Mickie James/ Kelly Kelly/ Beth Phoenix/ Gail Kim/ Eve- 2
This took about as long as it takes me to eat a Kit Kat Bar. That being said, it was just finishers back to back to back; reminds me of a quote from the Office calendar i had at my desk, " It's strippers and cupcakes all the way down." Anyways, A Fox hit an axe kick that could cut through solid diamond. Vickie picks up the win with the aptly named "Bullfrog splash."
9) Batista v. John Cena- 6
I was live in Indianaoplis for their 1st match at Summerslam 2008 and it was awesome that night. This still had some good remnants from that bout but not as many. Crowd suddenly woke up during a strike exchange about 8 minutes in, strangely. If you would have told any fan 4 years before these two would headline Mania, they would have laughed and told you to stay off the wacky 'backy but both men had picked up so much in their respective games I was most looking forward to this bout on such a stacked card. Cena has trained himself on reversals and his timing is excellent on them. With their bulky bodies not a lot came off smooth and some stuff just didn't work, such as the spinebuster catching Cena off the top but I noticed Cena falling back into some careless throws on Big Dave who looked stunned.
10) Shawn Michaels v. The Undertaker (Career v. Streak)- 5
To say this match had so much going for it emotion wise, story telling wise, all of that would be a huge understatement. The thing that works against it is they just had a classic match the year before. They decided to leave out the impotent ground work to start and just kind of clunked through a bunch of different stuff, one where Taker's leg was being worked over yet he did more to keep that going than Michaels. If Ric Flair caught a video of the figure four Shawn used here, he probably would have taken off the Rolex Shawn gifted him and stomped it on the ground into pieces. tombstone spot on the ground came off pretty good. Michael's superkicks looked weak in this match and he hit 3 of them. The moonsault onto the table is a good idea and I give them credit for doing it how they did but I would have went with an elbow. Michaels sort of missed him in the replay. Nearfalls were the bread and butter and crowd reaction as well. This feels along the same lines as the flair match; more than likely overrated by most, some work that didn't flow into any cohesive story, but enough good stuff from both guys years of experience to make it a worthwhile effort; Michaels selling especially was damn good in this and took some great bumps.