Tuesday, April 4, 2006

WWE Wrestlemania 22

1. Big Show and Kane vs. Chris Masters and Carlito - 3
2. Shelton Benjamin vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Ric Flair vs. Fit Finlay vs. Matt Hardy vs. Bobby Lashley - Money In the Bank Ladder Match - 7
3. Chris Benoit vs. J.B.L. - 4
4. Mick Foley vs. Edge - Hardcore Match - 5
5. Booker T and Sharmal vs. Boogeyman - Handicap Match - 2
6. The Undertaker vs. Mark Henry - Casket Match - 5
7. Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James - 6
8. Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon - No Holds Barred - 3
9. Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle vs. Randy Orton - 6
10. Candice vs. Torrie Wilson - Playboy Pillow Fight - 1
11. John Cena vs. Triple H - 7

The opening tag match wasn't memorable--roughly your basic Raw opener. I guess it was a good choice to start with, though, as it would have came off even worse had they done it later in the show. Afterwards, they teased a Carlito/Masters split; can you imagine the matches that feud would birth? The ladder match was admittedly fun. These clusters can become tedious when they're overused, but this was enjoyable. Shelton and Flair looked especially good, with Benjamin showcasing his agility and Flair taking a nasty suplex off a ladder by Hardy. Van Dam won in the end, but most of us didn't care who got the victory, it was watching them all get to that point that interested us. Benoit and Layfield worked a slow, mostly unspectacular match. Benoit's always a joy to watch, but Bradshaw's sells of his suplexes were lazy as hell, and the ending was disappointing.

I used to dig Foley, but it's hard watching him to do the same old shit, again and again, whenever they need him to bump. Yes, he took some nasty spills, but ultimately, I never truly got into this match. Credit goes to Edge, too, as he took a few nasty bumps, including a back suplex into thousands of thumbtacks. The ending, involving a flaming table, was inventive and kind of cool. Boogeyman looked completely awful, he's supposedly legit injured, but even that's no excuse for this pile of shit. I feel bad for Booker, who in past interviews had hopes of being in the main event of a Wrestlemania, and instead, is using his career and wife to put over a silly gimmick. Henry and Undertaker was about as good as anybody could have expected, Henry didn't do much, but Undertaker worked hard as always. This was relatively short for a stipulation match, with the major highlight being Undertaker doing a huge dive over the top rope onto Henry on the floor.

Trish and Mickie had a very good match together, the crowd turned on Stratus about halfway through it, and Mickie was just eating it up, playing the evil bitch perfectly. They ruined the finish, just absoultley botching James doing Trish's Stratusfaction finisher, as both slipped and crumpled to the mat. Besides the ending, this was rather solid. I didn't want to see McMahon wrestle, and this was the mess we all knew it would be. The Spirit Squad and Shane McMahon got involved, adding to the absurdity. The big bump was McMahon, with a garbage can covering his upper torso, being driven through a table by a Michaels elbow drop off a ladder. This was uninspired drivel. The three-way match was good, albeit short, only 9 minutes or so. Angle was over huge, and all three guys looked mostly good. Rey botched a ringpost 619; slipping and falling on his ass, looking like a complete idiot. Rey won the World title, which years ago I would have never believed; I'm interested to see how his reign turns out.

Candice and Torrie was worse than anticipated, fumbling in lingerie through a ring with a bed and tons of pillows in it. I wonder how Kidman feels, his wife Torrie is working a premier match at the biggest wrestling show of the year, and he's stuck working the drive-thru window at a Sonic restaurant. The main event was--interesting. The crowd was so into this, in a really odd way, their newfound hatred for Cena very present. The build was very slow and methodical, but the heat they had was tremendous. From a technical standpoint, it was flat, but from a heat standpoint, this was truly a major moment. The crowd was eating everything up, including Triple H's typical tame move set. The ending was genius, though, as Cena won clean, making Triple H tap out to his patented STFU. The crowd was stunned, as most people figured politician Triple H would reclaim the championship, for yet another run of mediocrity. Overall, this was an entertaining show, easily the most solid Wrestlemania since 19 in Seattle. There were a few throwaway matches, that did little except hurt the event, but for the most part, the pace and tone of the show was fine. I'm hoping next year's Wrestlemania in Detroit takes what was good about this show, improves upon it, and delivers a truly memorable show, worth being compared to the truly classic Wrestlemania events of the early 80's.

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