In one of the interviews he did before the show, The Rock said something about this Wrestlemania being one of the most memorable ever. But now that I’ve watched it, one of only two things I’m going to remember is how forgettable it was. I obviously don’t know how much everybody’s being paid, but nobody on that show had better be making more than The Undertaker and Triple H. Without them and the awesome match they had, WWE would have laid a $55 turd.
Maybe the show was better if you were there. You could tell the crowd was going pretty nuts in spots and having a great time, so I’ll bet that’s the case. But watching at home, hardly anything delivered. Aside from Taker and HHH, everything else ranged from pointless to borring to fine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting every single thing on Mania to be great. But on a show this big I expect a little more, and most of this didn’t even come off as special enough to cover for things being so so.
I had a feeling we were off to a bad start when I found out that Sheamus and Daniel Bryan’s U.S. Title match got bumped from the main card. It wasn’t a main event or anything, but I was looking forward to it and I’m surely not the only one. And not only did it become a dark match, but it then went from a lumberjack match to a battle royal, so even the people in the building didn’t get what they paid for. I suppose it can be argued that they actually got more, but to me they were cheated out of a title match that could have been pretty good.
the show started off with the Rock doing a promo. He did a nice job of working up the crowd, so I’m not going to complain like I’ve seen a few people do. There’s no way it could have translated as well on TV as it did in the building. The place is huge and as somebody who relies on sound to tell what’s going on, I could tell the noise would have been pretty unreal in there.
But even though I’m not going to complain about that opening segment possibly running too long, I do want to complain about the use of Rock. when you have a name like that and you say he’s hosting Wrestlemania, having him actually host the thing might be a good idea. Beyond that opening segment, we got a couple of backstage things that were pretty bad (Mae Young and Pee Wee Herman) and him ruining take 2 of the crappy main event. I’m not sure what they could have done, but he certainly could have been much better utilized than he was. Maybe he should have been ring announcing or perhaps doing some guest commentary. Almost anything would have been better than the few appearances he made.
Speaking of commentary, who’s idea was it to have Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler out there calling the first half of the show? That was stupid. We shouldn’t have seen or heard anything from either of them until it was time for their match. Even if WWE didn’t want to use Jim Ross all night, it’s not like they didn’t have other options. There are people they could have stuck out there with Josh Mathews, and they should have used at least one of them. Having them out there took their match down a couple of notches in my eyes.
The match they had didn’t help matters either. Granted I didn’t expect a whole lot going in, but it didn’t have the heavyish feel that the storyline leading to it had. I was really impressed with the build, how personal it was. Family got involved, harsh things were said, friends were attacked. Then the match just sort of happened. Swagger and Stone Cold both got involved as expected, Lawler beat up Cole some and then he won…until he lost. The Raw GM sent an email reversing the decision and giving Cole the win since Austin got involved and referees aren’t supposed to do that. Something like this didn’t belong on Mania. Mania is where stories like this end, not a place to set up another match. If this was the direction all along, they should have had this match either on Raw or on Elimination Chamber. JBL could have reffed that one, helped screw Lawler, and then we move to Mania and the King gets his moment. This just seemed all wrong.
On the subject of endings rather than beginnings, did Alberto Del rio shit in somebody’s bag? Maybe it’s just me, but man he looked like a complete goof. The opening the show with a title match thing was strange, but I can get over it. But the match felt like one of those not bad Smackdown matches, only without a commercial in the middle. The crowd was having fun, but it didn’t feel like a Wrestlemania championship main event, and then it up and ended when it felt like things should have been just getting started. Then Del Rio cried, and Edge beat up his car. No idea where Del Rio goes from here, but unless they’ve got a big plan I can’t figure out my guess is down the card. All of this sure made the Royal Rumble seem quite unimportant, which I doubt was the goal.
I was glad to see Cody Rhodes win. He’s been really good lately, and the loss would have hurt him a lot more than it does Mysterio. I hope they do something with him now and don’t just keep him running in place. Again, match was fine, but nothing I’m going to remember for years to come.
I’m not sure if it’s because Randy Orton annoys the hell out of me or because the match was really as slow and dullish as it seemed, but Orton vs. Punk bored me to the point that I started looking for little things to do around the house so I wouldn’t have to sit there and watch it. The crowd seemed to quiet down and it felt like the announcers were disinterested, and I can’t say I blame them. It was hardly the worst thing on the show, but the outcome was really never in doubt and it didn’t feel like anything was riding on it. It was just another plodding Randy Orton match.
But the one thing I’ll say for Punk vs. Orton is that at least it was better than that fucking main event. Cena and Miz had gotten kind of overshadowed by Cena and Rock, but there’s no excuse for ending a Mania with this shite. They wrestle a so so match for a few minutes, then it spills to the outside and ends in a double countout. Rock comes out, restarts the match…and then immediately Rock Bottoms Cena and Miz gets the win. He then gets the smack laid down on him and Rock is standing tall to end the show. Well, at least the Cena Rock story has been advanced, but none of this did Miz any favours. And has there ever been a worse closing match at a Mania? I’m sure some of you are screaming at me about how Hogan and Andre the Giant from Mania 3 or even Hogan and Bundy in the cage at Mania 2 were much worse, but you have to remember a couple of things: 1, both of those matches sold the show and 2, there was massive excitement for both of them, especially Hogan Andre. They also weren’t expected to be 5 star classics. You were paying for the spectacle and to see Hogan settle a score, and in the end, that’s what you got. What you got with this Cena Miz match was the show closing angle from an episode of Raw. Miz vs. Lawler in the ladder match that got the Cole and Lawler feud going or even the Miz vs. Morrison match from raw a few months ago were more Mania main than this dreck. Just a terrible way of ending a pretty bad show. But to be positive for a second, Cena’s gospel choir and praying to the lord entrance still getting him booed out of the building, that was funny.
I know why it wasn’t in the spot, but Undertaker vs. Triple H was the true main event. It was a slow, deliberate match also, but the difference between it and Punk Orton is that in this one, every move meant something. It could have ended in so many places, including when HHH gave Undertaker his own tombstone and damn near beat him. All that was missing was Taker giving H the Pedigree, but that’s just a small thing. In the end, HHH tapped out to the Hell’s Gate choke. Can’t remember the last time he gave up. the post match stuff was great too, with both guy’s looking like they’d been through a true war. Undertaker even had to be helped to the back, which is unheard of. I’m not sure if this is either guy’s last match, but if it was, what a way to go out. I can’t say I enjoyed this more than either of the Taker Michaels matches from the last two years, but it was right up there. Maybe call it a draw. Just great stuff, and this show needed it. If you’re going to watch it, this is about all you truly need to see.
The rest of the night was what it was. The 8-man tag and the 6-person tag were too quick to be anything. Only thing to note from either one is that Snooki looked pretty good doing her few spots. I have next to no idea who the hell she is, but I’m glad she didn’t embarrass herself or wrestling during her brief time in the ring.
I can’t help but wonder how much match time had to be cut for all of the backstage “comedy” bits. Yes, comedy is in quotes for a reason, although the Great Khali singing summer Lovin’ got me. Still, if I had to choose between that and longer matches, I’d go with the matches every time. Even though in WWE wrestling is a dirty word nowadays, that’s what we’re paying to see. If we wanted to watch SNL we would, and it wouldn’t cost us $55. And I’ll bet if people tuned in SNL and got wrestling matches they’d be pretty pissed, much like I am after sitting through most of this Mania.
Don’t bother ordering the replay, unless you’ve got more money than you know what to do with and want to see Taker HHH. That match singlehandedly saved the show. Without it, we might have been getting close to 9 and 11 territory, though I think I had more fun watching either of those than I did watching this.