Saturday, April 08, 2006

Wrestlemania Review

Wrestlemania 22 had the potential to be one of the greatest Wrestlemanias of all time, with some very good buildup, and some very good matches. But did it deliver? That's what I will reveal in this Review.

Wrestlemania opened with the Tag Team match, which was a very good, close contest, it really seemed like Carlito and Masters might win, but in the end Kane and Big Show retiained the titles, to the surprise of many. A good match.

The second match of the night was the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, which had some exciting moments, and at one point Ric Flair seemed to be legitimately injured, but he turned out to be OK. Lots of really cool high spots in this one, as of course there would be with bigtime high fliers in a ladder match. RVD ultimately scored the victory, and is now, in addition to being Mr Monday Night and Mr Pay Per View, is now Mr Money in the Bank.

The third match was JBL vs Benoit, and I will admit I didnt really care much about this match, I was glad it was as short as it was, and in the end JBL did win the match by using the ropes while pinning Benoit, and after the match paid tribute to Eddie Guerrero. JBL was a good friend of Eddie, and he won by cheating (reminiscent of Eddie's 'lie cheat and steal' gimmick) so it was a good ending to the segment.

The fourth match was Edge vs Mic Foley in what was a really awesome Hardcore match. The things they did in that ring were incredible, Edge tossed into the bed of thumb tacks, Both men bleeding a great deal, even Lita herself got a little bloody when Mic wrapped Mr Socko in Barbed Wire and used it on her (after using it on Edge). All sorts of major action in this one, the topper of course being the FLAMING TABLE, that Edge speared Mic Foley through for the victory. Incredible match, incredible performance by both men, definitely one of the best matches of the night.

The fifth match was Booker T vs the Boogeyman, but the most entertaining part happened before the match, an incredibly hilarious backstage segment with the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, Eugene, Golddust, and others. The greatest backstage segment of the night by far. The Boogeyman's entrance wasnt as impressive to me at Wrestlemania as it was at the Royal Rumble, maybe its because I had seen it before, or maybe it just wasnt as impressive. In any event, the match itself was Ashley vs (insert name of anyone here) level awful, and dragged on a bit longer than it should have, but the result was a bit of a surprise, with Booker T being the one who was pinned by the Boogeyman, not Sharmell.

The sixth match was the Women's Championship match, Trish Stratus vs Mickie James. The greatest buildup to a match ever, and as for the match itself, it was the greatest Women's Championship match of all time, hands down. Even though Mickie got some pretty loud crowd support on the final RAW before Wrestlemania, I still didnt expect her to have much in the way of crowd support at Wrestlemania. However, after the intro package played (I saw the package on the night before the event), Mickie's music hit, and the crowd once again was quite loud for her. When Trish's music hit, she got a slightly less enthusiastic reaction, but still a very good one. The crowd was clearly into both competitors, and this awesome matchup. For the first few minutes of the match however, the crowd was largely silent. But after the two exchanged punches in the center of the ring, culminating in a dropkick by Mickie onto the leg that Trish had hurt early on in the match, and then Mickie began going to work on that injured leg, suddenly the crowd got into it. 'Let's go Mickie!' chants filled the stadium, and the announcers were beside themselves as they probably never expected this reaction from the fans. If they were surprised by that, they may have been STUNNED when, after Trish eventually broke free of Mickie's grip long enough to do her 'Whrly Bird' move, the crowd erupted into BOOS for the Women's Champion. The match became Rock-Hogan all over again, with the crowd booing everything that Trish did, and cheering everything that Mickie did, the crowd was into this match like no Womens match in the history of the WWE. When Mickie climbed to the top turnbuckle, and Trish went for her StratusFear move, the crowd booed, when it became obvious Mickie was going to counter it they cheered, and when they saw the counter, which I really cant describe, expect to say it was an amazing, RVD-like super-high flying top turnbuckle move that resulted in Trish landing inside the ring, and Mickie landing outside of the ring, when that happened the crowd EXPLODED, it was a truly remarkable move. For most of the match Mickie was working over Trish's leg much like Bret Hart back in the day, and then the move I just described was very RVD like. Toward the end of the match, when Trish went for the StratusFaction move (yes, its true, Trish Stratus has almost as many Wrestling moves named after her as I have Chess Openings named after me), Mickie's counter to that move was, well, very Ric Flair like. However, what she did immediately following the counter was, lets just say, totally Mickie. Shortly thereafter Mickie nailed Trish with the Mick Kick for the 1 2 3, and the crowd goes wild in support of the NEW Women's Champion, Mickie James! The greatest match of the night, the greatest Womens match in the history of the WWE, and never before have so many fans been so into any Womens match due to the nearly 6 month buildup to it, so they picked the perfect time to have the best WWE womens match ever.

Match number severn was The Undertaker vs Mark Henry in a Casket match, and it was pretty much as boring as one would've expected. The Undertaker did do several really nice moves toward the end however, to end the match on a high note to what would've otherwise been probably the most boring Wrestlemania match the Undertaker had ever been in. The match was too long, but the Undertaker wins and extends his Wrestlemania record to 14-0.

Match number eight was Shaun Michaels vs Vince McMahon in a No Holds Barred match. This match was much better than I imagine most people ever expected it to be. HBK dominated Vince, he teased the Superkick, teased jumping off a ladder, before finally jumping off a HUGE ladder, driving Vince through a table, and THEN nailed him with a Superkick, for the 1 2 3 ! A surprisingly good, and fun, match.

Match number nine was the Smackdown Main Event, and it was a pleasant surprise just how short this match was. Sadly for many people who were actually enjoying the match, it actually ran about 9 minutes, roughly the same amount of time the Women's Championship match lasted, even though this match had THREE competitors in it not two, you would've probably thought 15 minutes (or maybe even more) would've been a minimum due to the 3 man nature of the match. Sadly, Kurt Angle's title reign came to an end when Rey Mysterio pinned Randy Orton. But again, the shortness of the match took away from the patheticness of the ending, at least a bit.

Match number ten was the other womens match, the Playboy Pillow Fight match, and while putting the Womens matches in spots #6 and #10 was very good placement, they got them BACKWARDS, as this match had no business being the penultimate match of the night. I imagine they did it to cool off the crowd and make the Main Event look better than it otherwise would look, because it would be following this horrible match. But the proper way to end the night would've been with the three Title matches the fans actually cared about. In any event, this match was far worse than I expected, multiple 'Boring' chants by the crowd, and I dont think there was even one use of any of the pillows, despite the fact that the NAME of the match is the 'playboy pillow fight' match. Torrie Wilson won with a rollup, mercifully ending this terrible match.

Match number eleven was the Main Event, and the Main Event was the RAW Championship match. As a match this would've been a fairly mediocre match, but this wasnt a match, this was an experience, due to the unbelievably hot crowd. It started with ring entrances that were both unique and unfathomably bizarre. These were not ring entrances that either competitor had ever used before, nor will they probably ever be used again. Both men actually had TWO sets of ring entrance music in fact. They both wore costumes as well. But despite their best efforts to make the crowd boo HHH and cheer Cena, Cena was booed out of the building, HHH got a lot of cheers as well, but unlike Trish-Mickie, in which the fans were cheering Mickie and booing Trish because they liked Mickie not because they disliked Trish, in this match it was more like they were cheering HHH and booing Cena because they disliked Cena, not because they liked HHH (although no doubt many did). The chants they directed at Cena throughout the match were very extreme (lets just say that John Cena's first name doesnt start with the letter f, but you might've thought it did if you listened to the crowd, if you know what I mean), this was a crowd that loves wrestling, and wrestling talent, and Cena's super long title reign despite his major lack of wrestling ability, did not go over well with this crowd. Its not an exaggeration to say that if the winners and losers of the matches in the WWE were determined solely based on the in ring ability of each wrestler, John Cena would lose to fully half of the women in the RAW Women's Division. In any event, the match was slow paced and would've been boring, but it was highly exciting thanks to the Chicago crowd who made this match very special indeed. Cheering everything HHH did, booing everything Cena did, and doing it with gusto, just like the Trish and Mickie match. The crowd made the match so much fun, and in the end when HHH tapped out to the most pathetic submission hold in the WWE, it wasnt as depressing as one would've expected it to be because the crowd had made the match far more enjoyable that it would have been on its own merits.

Overall the night was full of excitement, thrills, and tremendous entertainment. It was, in my opinion, the greatest Wrestlemania of all time. The crowd made a decent HHH vs Cena match great, and made a great Trish vs Mickie match the greatest Womens match of all time. Mic Foley finally had his Bigtime Wrestlemania Moment, going through a Flaming Table after what was already a great Hardcore Match. So many Bigtime Wrestlemania Moments thoughtout the evening, I hope everyone who hasnt yet seen Wrestlemania will order the DVD set and watch it, you'll be very glad you did, as Wrestlemania 22 truly was the greatest of all time!

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