Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross
- On the Pre-show The Colons defeated The Miz and John Morrison to unify both versions of the tag team championships. My head explodes that they think so little of these belts that a lumberjack match to unify to huge title is on the damn pre-show. Oh well, more Kid Rock I guess.
- Nicole Sherz…Nicole Suries….The Chick from the Pussycat Dolls sings “America the Beautiful”.
Money in the Bank: CM Punk vs Mark Henry (with Tony Atlas) vs (United States Champion) MVP vs Finlay (with Hornswaggle) vs Shelton Benjamin vs Kofi Kingston vs Christian vs Kane
We get a big pier 6 brawl to start that Henry and Kane win with ease. The next few minutes were spent with each guy trying to take one or both of them out in various ways. We then start piling up on the floor through various leaps of faith. Finlay dives on Kane and Shelton. Christian takes his turn taking down the pile, followed immediately by an MVP cannonball. Punk and Kofi do stereo suicide dives and the pace is pretty good for the first couple of minutes. Shelton then ups the ante by doing a swanton off a big ass ladder in the aisle and honestly it looked like NO ON CAUGHT HIM. I thought he was dead. Mark Henry goes up top to add to carnage but luckily Finlay and his shillelagh put a stop to that. In his stead Hornswaggle adds to the floor pile with a tadpole splash. There are too many damn people in this thing. Finlay takes control and tries to climb the ladder but Kofi cuts that off with a Trouble in Paradise. Mark Henry returns and starts to set up a ladder but Kofi climbs it like Spiderman. Apparently Mark hates Spidey though and causes Kofi to fall and then gives him the World’s Strongest Slam on a ladder after snatching him out of mid air. It starts to become chaos now, Shelton and MVP go at it for a minute followed by Punk and Christain. The latter pair fight on a ladder and Punk takes the Killswitch off of it. That looked shitty to be honest. If you can’t do it semi-safely? Don’t do it. Following up on that bit of craziness Shelton and MVP mess up the Sunset Slip Powerbomb off the ladder and it’s falling apart. Shelton then decides “fuck it” and Powerbomb’s MVP from the ring to the floor on a waiting pile of guys. Sure, when shit is getting messed up you might as well do something super dangerous to follow up on it. Shelton and Christian then fight at the top of the ladder and Christian wins that battle. The crowd is going APESHIT for Christian in this thing (He had returned from TNA not long before and not pulling the trigger on him here seemed weird at the time.). Punk stops Christian and the crowd doesn’t like that too much. Christian gets Punk tied up but Kane returns to toss him off. Kane is about to destroy the crowd completely but Punk manages to nail a bunch of kicks in to snag the briefcase for the second year in a row. This was OK but seemed like a lesser MITB to me. There were too many guys and too many obvious screw ups to make it an all time great in the genre. Plus the crowd liked Punk fine but he already had his chance and the crowd wanted someone new to win it. This was good but could have been great.
Winner: Punk grabbed the case for the victory.
- We get a recap of the Axxess festivities. They always do a great job with those.
- Hey! Do you like Kid Rock? If not too bad because the next bit is a mini concert that cuts into the entrances of all the ladies that returned for the upcoming Battle Royal. I don’t hate Kid Rock, I’ve seen the guy in concert and he was good. The fact is I don’t watch wrestling for the music, I watch it to see people fake punch each other.
Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal: Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix, Brie Bella, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, Jackie Gayda, Jillian Hall, Joy Giovanni, Katie Lea Burchill, Kelly Kelly, Layla El, Maria Kanellis, Maryse Ouellet, Melina, Michelle McCool, Mickie James, Molly Holly, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Rosa Mendes, Santina Marella, Sunny, Tiffany, Torrie Wilson, Victoria
You know how WWE pats them on the back for every nice thing they do for women’s wrestling? The reason they should just cut the shit is because of garbage like this. In what was supposed to be something honoring the female athletes in WrestleMania’s past they give us this cluster fest. There were some talented ladies in there but you wouldn’t know it by watching this crap. I wrote down one spot for the entire match and it looked like a botch. Gail Kim did a headscissors that took Jillian to the floor. I’m not even sure Gail was supposed to be going out. That’s it. The final five were Michelle, Mickie, Melina, Beth and…Santina. So four very talented female athletes, any of whom could have gotten a huge shot in the arm and recognition by winning this thing and making it somewhat legitimate. Take a guess which way they go. WWE you need to run like 20 All Women’s shows before you make up for this ridiculous abomination that only served to hurt the reputation of the women’s wrestling you pretend to now champion. I award this no points and may god have mercy on your souls.
Winner: Santina Marella dumps Melina and Beth and becomes Miss WrestleMania.
- She(?) then dances to celebrate making every woman on the show look like shit for comedies sake. I get angry and skip it.
1 on 3 Handicap Elimination: Chris Jericho vs Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper (with Ric Flair)
This all came off Jericho getting his panties in a bunch over the Mickey Rourke movie “The Wrestler” and started disrespecting older performers. We start with Piper and Jericho and Piper is moving pretty well considering his look and health issues. Snuka then makes the tag and if you like chops from possible murderers then this is your jam. Finally Ricky tags in and looks like hell but wrestles like it’s 1992. Sadly he tags back out to Snuka way too soon. That doesn’t last too long and he taps to the Walls right away. Piper is back in to try and kick a little ass. He ends up getting the sleeper locked in but Jericho is able to counter and get the step up enzuigiri to send him packing. Steamboat is alone now and gets a high crossbody for 2. Jericho is the ultimate piece of crap in this match though and takes shortcuts against a guy that has been retired for a decade plus. Ricky pulls out a skin the cat and a plancha for old times sake and they have made a retired 50+ year old man into a star in like 5 minutes. Jericho nails his bulldog but then misses the Lionsault. Steamer nails a nice powerslam and the crowd is buying this big time. Jericho goes for the Walls again but falls victim to a rollup for 2. Jericho finally has enough and puts him away with the Codebreaker. Snuka and Piper did as well as can be expected but Steamboat was a revelation in this thing. The man that had to retire due to debilitating injury looked amazing out there and was even able to have a singles match with Jericho not long after. Chris also did an awesome job and showed his talent by keeping this whole thing together. Great story and an alright match.
Winner: Jericho eliminated his opponents, lastly pinning Steamboat with a Codebreaker.
- Flair comes in to brawl with Jericho and falls victim to the Codebreaker as well. Jericho then calls out Mickey Rourke in the crowd. This takes forever before Rourke comes in and knocks him out. This took forever and I don’t care about the little bit of publicity they got it was a complete waste of time.
- We recap the Matt and Jeff feud and Matt murdering Jeff’s doggy.
Extreme Rules: Matt Hardy vs Jeff Hardy
Jeff slaps the ever loving piss out of him to start. The younger Hardy goes for the plunder early and they head out to the floor. Nero nails a beautiful Air Sabu off the stairs to Matt. He tries in back in the ring and it doesn’t go so well. Matt just can’t keep momentum going yet. Jeff goes up for the Whisper in the wind but Matt baseball bats his ass out of the sky with a chair. He then nails a big chair shot for 2. Matt keeps in control this time and nails Nero with a shop vac for another 2. A Side Effect on a chair gets another 2 count and Jeff needs a comeback. A table is setup and we get a clothesline off the apron for Jeff. He then added a mule kick to the stairs. That comeback is now in full affect as Jeff gets a Kendo stick, crutch and trashcan all involved in the action. He stuffs Matt in the can then beats his ass with a crutch and nails the pendulum dropkick in the corner. He gets cocky though and misses the Swanton. Matt hits the Twist of Fate for 2. He goes up and ends up being superplexed by Jeff for another 2 count. We get a sick unprotected chair shot to the head next. That seems dangerous. Jeff stacks Matt on a table with a chair on his chest, he then adds another table to the top of that to make a very painful sandwich. Jeff splashes that set up and leaves both guys down on the floor. They replay the crap out of that. He rolled Matt back in and got a 2 when Matt was able to get a foot on the ropes. The ladders are now in play. Jeff nails a nice legdrop onto a prone Matt from the chair and starts setting up the next big spot. Jeff does the Frogger spot into a missed dropkick. Matt recovers and nails another Twist of Fate, this time with Jeff’s head in a chair to finally end this. I really liked this one a lot. If it was the 1980’s this would have been a good old fashioned grudge match but this was updated for the 2000’s. The only real issue is setting up the Rube Goldberg setups of the attacks seem less realistic when you are going for blood. Fine match but not perfect.
Winner: Matt gets the pin after a chair assisted Twist of Fate.
- Randy is backstage prepping himself for the main event. Legacy earns their pay by sitting there looking concerned.
Intercontinental Championship: (C) JBL vs Rey Mysterio
JBL talks shit all the way down the aisle and into the ring. He craps on Texas and then promises the most dominant performance in WrestleMania history. The bastard then boots Rey down and jumps him before the match. He should have done more because we get 3 moves from Rey and a new champion. So JBL didn’t lie, that was dominant. Say what you want about JBL but he got to go out the way he wanted and put over someone huge on the way out. Not a real match but a cool moment.
Winner: Rey got the pin after a big splash to claim the championship.
- We get a Michaels vs Taker setup.
Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker
We get one of the greatest juxtapositions of entrances in wrestling history. Shawn, clad in white, comes down from the heavens. Undertaker, in his traditional black, rises from the pits of Hell. They start with Shawn getting on his horse and trying to ride against the much bigger man. HBK even fakes a knee injury in the little cat and mouse game to try and get an edge. Didn’t work. Taker starts to lay in a beating and nails a huge Gorilla Press followed by a big elbow for a 1. We get some Old School action but Taker misses the big boot in the corner so Shawn takes over on the knee. The inverted figure four is locked in but Taker is too big and punches out. Shawn tries to go back to the knee but Taker nails some haymakers, a snake eyes and the big boot/legdrop combo for 2. Taker tries for the chokeslam but Shawn counters that into a Crippler Crossface. We get that for a couple of minutes before Taker powers out again, this time with a side suplex for 2. Shawn goes back to the speed game. He nails the flying forearm and the kip up spot followed by 2 inverted atomic drops. He gets caught coming off the top but fakes the super kick and tries for the inverted figure four again but Taker blocks that with Hell’s Gate. Shawn makes the rope and I try to catch my breathe just watching the damn thing. They brawl on the floor now and Taker misses his apron legdrop. Shawn goes for a baseball slide on the floor and nails it. Shawn then goes up for a moonsault to the floor but Taker swats him away and he crash lands. Taker then goes for what almost became the most tragic spot in WrestleMania history when he goes for the huge dive to the floor and then lands on his DAMN HEAD. That was almost deadly. Everyone is out until finally Shawn revives and tries to drag the ref in to count. Shawn’s acting here is some next level shit, he looks so desperate. We get one of the slowest counts ever and Taker makes it back in at 9. Sweet Chin Music is lined up but Taker blocks that with a chokeslam for 2. Both guys are out but Shawn kips up and Taker revives. Takers next chokeslam is blocked by a SCM by Shawn for another 2 count. The crowd is having a heart attack and I am as well even though I’ve seen the match and know the ending. Another kip up from Shawn and Taker goes for the Last ride which Shawn can counter once…but not twice and we get a 2 count. Taker goes to the top for some stupid reason and misses a CM Punk level flying elbow. Shawn goes after Taker but misses and skins the cat right into a damn Tombstone…for 2. Undertaker and every person in that building is shocked. Taker pulls the straps down and shit is getting serious. Taker tries for another chokeslam but Shawn counters that into an ugly DDT. He then heads up and nails a picture perfect elbow and sets up for a SCM which he then nails for 2. Both men are up nailing each other back and forth until taker nails a big boot. Shawn counters a Tombstone with some chops and kicks and heads up for the moonsault. Unfortunately for Shawn that was a poor decision and he gets caught in the Tombstone. That’s a wrap. I don’t know if it was the greatest WrestleMania mtch of all time but I would be willing to listen to any arguments one way or another. This was a classic match that defied all expectations coming in. If you don’t appreciate how good this was we can’t be friends.
Winner: Undertaker with a Tombstone.
- We a recap of the World Championship feud that is in the unenviable position of following that classic. Good luck bitches.
World Heavyweight Championship/Triple Threat: (C) Edge vs Big Show vs John Cena
We see who the real star of this match is by the huge (and awesome) entrance John Cena gets. I am 100% not going into as much detail on these last two matches because you can rest assured they in no way could follow that last match. Big Show is a force of nature in this match and both Cena and Edge try and get him out of there, even teaming up for a bit. Edge plays the opportunistic jerk and Cena the virtuous babyface(?). The really big spot of the match that everyone remembers is Cena picking up edge and Show for the Attitude Adjustment at the SAME TIME. The dude is strong as a ox. In the end the belt went back to the guy they wanted to caryy the company and that’s OK. This was fine but like a lot of triple threat matches there was a lot of “you two wrestle while I nap” shit. It was fine but mostly unmemorable in every way.
Winner: Cena gets the win with an AA of Edge on top of Big show.
- We now get our Hall of Fame tribute Deal. Von Erichs, Funks, Koko, Finkle, Watts, Steamboat and Stone Cold. Stone Cold was NEVER COMING BACK and this was his big farewell sendoff. He rides the atv drinks some beers and as we all know stays away forever and definitely wasn’t the guest ref when I went to WrestleMania 2 years later.
- We get a recap of the HHH/Orton feud.
WWE Championship (If HHH loses in any way he loses the title): Randy Orton vs (C) HHH
This was technically fine. I get what they were trying to do with the stipulations and I didn’t have a single problem with the actual physicality involved in this. Both guys looked great and did a great job…it was just boring. Even though a match had preceeded this the crowd was still burned out by Michaels/Taker and nothing these guys could do could bring the crowd back. Even an RKO and a Pedigree 3 minutes in did little to get the crowd super into it. Poor HHH had this happen to him at WrestleMania 18 as well (Also against Roman but that’s later). Sadly this was just an anticlimactic end to both a feud and WrestleMania. What a bummer.
Winner: HHH gets the win with a sledgehammer shot followed by a Pedigree.
Overall Thoughts: Nothing (besides the battle royal…but I covered that) was outright bad. The card as a whole was mostly just compiled of decent matches except for the obvious glaring exception of Shawn vs Taker. That match makes this show a thumbs up all on it’s lonesome and if you haven’t watched it in a while go back and see what true greatness really looks like on the big stage. You won’t be disappointed.
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