Today we did our annual duty to support the economy by ordering Wrestlemania on pay per view. The Super Bowl of wrestling, this year was stacked with guests and stunts and everything you've come to expect from the WWE. Match by Match, here's how it went down:
The Money in the Bank match was first. There's been a couple of these so we kinda knew what to expect - ladder match madness with big spots and big bumps. I saw they stacked the deck by bringing in the more acrobatic wrestlers Kofi Kingston, Shelton Benjamin and CM Punk in. Those three did not disappoint, particularly Shelton Benjamin who has taken the biggest stunts and spills of the past few Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania matches. Tonight he did a swanton bomb worthy dive off a tall ladder into a crowd of opponents. There were some knew wrinkles added, particularly the addition of big guys Kane and Mark Henry. I have never seen so much ladder throwing in one of these matches before. Finley dominated the middle section and even did an out of the ring dive himself. CM Punk came out on top to the disappointment of the crowd who seemed to want Christian to get it. This was one of the best lead off matches I've seen at a Wrestlemania, they all worked hard on this one.
Kid Rock then played a concert which was just modestly entertaining since I'm not a big fan. Then the Divas Battle Royal kicked in. It should have been exciting but the way it was covered it really was just a cluster of moving hair and bodies. Hardly any fanfare was given to Divas past that returned including Sunny, Tori and one of my faves Molly Holly. Santino Marella won in dressed in drag as Santina Marella. Should have been great but it really was just space filler in the end.
I think Chris Jericho versus the Legends of Wrestling was next. Jimmy Superfly Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat faced off against Y2J. Piper and Snuka did OK considering their age and Piper's prior health issues. Steamboat was a revelation, showing he still could crank out a good match well into his 50's. He even performed a diving cross body from the top rope that cleared half the ring! Ric Flair was on hand ringside to get into it a bit with Y2J too, but the Walls of Jericho proved too much for the old timers. Then Jericho called out actor Mickey Rourke and got a left hook from the actor for his trouble.
The all talent no speaky Hardy Boyz took their sibling rivalry extreme rules match seriously despite the labored storyline. You killed my dog, Matt! They had some decent spots, especially the part where Jeff Hardy dives through two stacked tables with Matt in the middle. Ultimately it fell short of the hype in comparison to the Money in the Bank match. Oh yeah, Matt won.
After that some comedy was needed so JBL faced off against Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental Title. Mysterio came out in Joker garb and fired up the crowd. He then defeated blowhard JBL in 21 seconds upsetting the millionaire so much he quit.
And with that out of the way came the match of the night. Wrestling is said to be morality plays of good versus evil and with two babyface wrestlers against each other that angle was worked mercilessly. Shawn Michaels versus the Undertaker, two veterans who have given some of the best matches in WWE history. Michael's aim was to break Undertaker's undefeated streak. He failed to beat the streak. Yet what they accomplished was amazing. A long, dramatic match of two future legends. Each got in their signature moves multiple times and their see saw battle drove the crowd into a frenzy. A model of pacing and working the audience, it really doesn't get much better than this match.
Speaking of legends, the Hall of Fame class of 2009 rolled out next led by The Rattlesnake, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin drove an ATV down to the ring for an old fashioned beer bash just like old times. Oh Hell Yeah!
What could follow these huge events? The weakest of the matches on the card, Edge versus Big Show versus John Cena for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. To be honest, I didn't watch all of this and decided to eat a little dinner instead. What I did catch was OK but nothing show stopping. Cena won the belt again.
Last was the big storyline, Randy Orton versus Triple HHH for the WWE I forget it's exact title but equal to Heavyweight Championship belt. The two took a deliberate, slow pace to build the drama and ensure the audience felt every blow and reversal of momentum. It was pretty good and the pace helped distinguish it from other matches. Trips got his revenge in the end, retaining the belt.
Wrestlemania was pretty good this year, on a scale of 1 to 10 I'd say it was a 7.5. The Taker versus HBK is going to go down as a classic I'm sure. And while no Stunners were handed out, it was great to see Stone Cold again. The Money in the Bank match was the other highlight.