I wasn’t going to order Wrestlemania this year. We were going to a local drinking establishment where we could watch it free. However, there were literally no seats and it was crazy loud, so we turned around and went home. Mrs. Penguatroll begged and begged, and in the end, I caved, and we ordered it.
It was a huge mistake.
The price tag for WM this year, in HD, was $64.95. In the end, some of the matches were hugely disappointing, others never happened, and only three really stood out to me as being of reasonable quality.
Winner in bold:
The Good Matches
HHH vs. Undertaker
I want to say one thing off the bat — this was not as good as HBK – Taker 1 or 2. I didn’t expect it to be — HHH isn’t the wrestler Shawn Michaels is. He’s still one of the best in the business, but he’s no HBK. That said, this match told a very different story. Triple H did everything he possibly could to win — I counted a dozen chair shots to the back at one point, even one to the head, which isn’t done these days (the whole Chris Benoit fiasco). They teased the sledgehammer, but it never got used. In the end, HHH gets choked out, yet Taker looked borderline dead at the end of the match. Whether Taker was just selling really well or he’s just lost a step or ten, I was genuinely afraid for a few moments he might be unconscious.
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
Probably the best match I saw all night, in terms of skill and work-rate. Punk did a fantastic job of playing the sadistic bastard who reveled in Orton’s misery, and when he got what he had coming, it was awesome. Orton isn’t as hugely popular as he was a few months ago, but the man sold the leg injury the entire match, which is something some Superstars forget from time to time ::cough:: John Cena ::cough::
Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio
He won via shenanigans, but honestly, this is the right move, and I give WWE props for letting the right man win. A very entertaining match, and Rhodes has grown tremendously as a character. He’s a future world champion, no mistake about it. Mysterio brought his A game; the second best match on the card in terms of technical ability.
Edge vs. Alberto del Rio
Honestly, it was phenomenally stupid to put this match first. I expected more from ADR, but the match was still fairly good. My biggest complaint (although I know why they did it now) was that they’ve successfully cheapened the Royal Rumble — that’s now two years in a row the Rumble winner hasn’t won the title at Mania. I’m beginning to worry that del Rio is a one-trick pony — work the arm, hit the cross armbreaker, match over. I love submission wrestlers, and del Rio is a great one, but he needs more moves in his arsenal to truly be great. He’s almost there.
The bad matches
Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella and Kofi Kingston vs. The Corre [sic]
I had to look up the match time afterwards. Two minutes. Two! You’ve got four hours, WWE — surely you could have used your time better? It’s a shame, because I like all the guys in this match.
John Morrison, Trish Stratus, Snooki vs. LayCool and Dolph Ziggler.
Let’s see. We’ve got five bona fide wrestlers, multi-time champions of one kind or another, and one publicity stunt. The men were never in the ring at all. Trish showed quite a bit, but Snooki pinned Michelle McCool for the win. A complete waste of time. I get why they did it — Vince wants casual viewers to buy his show — but I got up to get a sandwich and missed nothing. Well, I missed 90% of the match, but in another sense, I did miss nothing.
Michael Cole vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
This was actually an entertaining match. Cole got his ass handed to him, after Jack Swagger was taken out of the equation, and Stone Cold was awesome as the guest referee. Here’s what I didn’t like: the ending. The “Anonymous RAW GM” disqualifies the King after the King made Michael Cole tap out because Stone Cold “got physical” with Michael Cole. Stone Cold stunned three people during the match, none of them Michael Cole. He gently shoved Cole at one point — apparently that was the DQ. It’s ridiculously obvious that Cole is the GM, or somebody extremely pro-Cole. They’ve kept this up for way too long, and it looked like they didn’t want the feud to end between Jerry and Cole, which actually pisses me off — it’s gone on for way too long.
The worst match of the night
Penguatroll, I hear you ask, aren’t you missing the main event? No, but I wish I did.
The Miz vs. John Cena
This was a reasonably acceptable match, wrestling wise. The Miz showed more talent than he has in a while. There was a reasonable amount of interference, to be expected, since Miz is a “chicken shit heel” and not a “bad ass heel.” I was legit stunned when he kicked out of the AA — it’s just not something you see often, and helps establish the Miz as a legit competitor.
Here’s what I hated. First, they tease the double count out. The Rock comes out, interrupted by the RAW GM, at which point he chucks the laptop and restarts the match, no DQ, no countout, etc.
Then, he Rock Bottoms Cena and Miz covers, so Miz retains the championship. This is the first time since WM XIX that a heel won the main event — I give them credit for showing balls here and knowing that a lot of people would crap on the match. This sets up all kinds of interesting things — Cena vs. Miz vs. Rock triple threat, etc. — but it’s still a cheap end for the end of Wrestlemania. Why not put HHH-Taker last? I wouldn’t have been nearly as mad. Hell, even let Miz retain cleanly — show he’s not a wuss and can win matches legitimately.
After Rock lays out Cena, he then gives a People’s Elbow to the Miz, and so the person celebrating at the end of Wrestlemania… wasn’t even part of the card.
This fails on at least three levels.
1) A lot of fans are going to be pissed because the Miz won. I’m not one of them, I’m pissed at how he won, but hey, a lot more will be mad.
2) The Miz looks like a chump because he had to retain without outside help.
3) Cena (that’s right, Cena!) looks like a chump because he got his ass handed to him by a guy who hasn’t wrestled in seven or eight years. You can argue all you want that Cena got screwed, and he did, but if Cena is truly the man in the company, he needs to look like at Wrestlemania.
So here’s what we got: one really good match, two good to great matches, a decent match, and a bunch of crap. This is not what I expect from Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania is where some feuds end and others start, not “every feud carries on exactly the same.”