WWE WrestleMania 25
April 5th 2009
-From Houston, Texas. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Michael Cole.
Money in the Bank Ladder match:
CM Punk vs. Finlay (with Hornswoggle) vs. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Kane vs. Mark Henry (with Tony Atlas) vs. Kofi Kingston vs. MVP
Match kicks off with a giant brawl in the ring. Kane and Henry clear the ring and continue brawling. Shelton and Christian bring in a ladder and wipe out the big guys. Kingston drop-kicks the ladder into Christian and Shelton, with it landing on the makeshift team. Kofi drives the ladder onto the veterans. Finlay returns but walks into a boot from Kane, who then races to the top with Henry. MVP and Punk return to make the save. Everyone teams up to dump Kane and Henry to ringside before racing to the top again. Kane and Henry return and knock both ladders over, sending four guys crashing. Kane tosses one ladder and climbs another, but Henry pushes him off. Henry tosses a ladder, but Finlay dodges, then kicking Henry to the floor. Suicide dive by Finlay onto Kane! Christian, MVP, Kingston, and Punk all take turns diving onto their opponents. Shelton climbs a ladder at ringside and dives off onto the others! Spectacular! Even Henry attempts a dive, but Finlay cuts him off. Hornswoggle brings in a mini ladder, uses it to climb onto Henry and hit a tadpole splash off of him to the floor. Fun stuff. Finlay and Kofi fight over a ladder, with Kofi using the ladder to propel himself around. Finlay uses the step ladder to slaughter his opponents. Henry pushes Kofi off the ladder. Henry tries to set up the ladder, but Kofi sprints up and almost gets the case before getting dropped off in sickening fashion. World’s Strongest Slam onto the ladder! MVP attacks Henry but Shelton stops him from climbing. Benjamin dives off a propped ladder, but MVP powerbombs him in midair! Christian pulls MVP off the ladder, but CM Punk almost has the case. Christian gets caught in a GTS position on the ladder but reverses into an Unprettier! MVP tries to climb again, but Shelton climbs up three ladders from the floor to cut him off. Shelton attempts a sunset flip Powerbomb but they mess it up. Shelton powerbombs MVP onto others on the floor. Finlay and Shelton race to the top, but Finlay is knocked off and bounces off the propped ladder on the way down. Shelton sets up a second ladder and races with Christian. The ladder falls over with Shelton hitting the floor, but Christian pushes off the ropes to go back to climbing! CM Punk stops him from the case (to big boos). Punk is caught on the steps, but Kane slams Christian off! Punk grabs the case, but Kane grabs his throat. Punk kicks Kane to the mat and takes the case at 14:24! CM Punk is the repeat winner! Tons of fun, as always, though a couple of botches hurt this a tad, ***¾.
Winner: CM Punk
-Time for a Kid Rock live performance to bring this show to a screeching halt. He performs through the divas entrance, so that sort of defeats the purpose of bringing back former divas for this special “showcase.” Good thing the Tag Team title unification match was bumped to the Preshow for this.
25 Diva Battle Royal
The participants are… actually, I really can’t tell. They didn’t get their own entrances. Rosa Mendes is out first. Oops, I was wrong, apparently Layla was gone before the ring announcer was even finished. Somewhere in this mess are Sunny, Molly Holly, Victoria, Joy Giovanni, and Jackie Gayda. How do you like that, Charlie Haas, even your unemployed wife gets to be a part of Wrestlemania, but you still don’t. Torrie Wilson was in there too apparently, and she’s gone. I think I spot Nidia in there too. Oh, and Santino Marella is in there dressed in drag. Victoria eliminates Maria. Jillian Hall and one of the Bella twins eliminate each other. Tiffany (who?) is out too. Molly Holly and Kelly Kelly are both tossed out. Beth Phoenix is dominating, getting rid of the Bella twins (I thought one was already gone?). Mickie James fights off Beth but is tied up on the ropes by Michelle McCool. Michelle and Mickie brawl on the top before falling to ringside. Beth Phoenix and Melina are the last two, besides Santino, who is just watching them fight. Santino waits for the right time to dump them both out for the win at 6:05. I didn’t even notice what happened to the Divas Champion, Maryse? What a mess, DUD.
Winner: Santino Marella
-Mae Young and Candice Michelle were the guest time keepers, with Candice getting into the ring to give “Santina” her Ms. Wrestlemania crown. Santina explains that she is Santino’s twin sister. The crowd likes this part.
Chris Jericho vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (with Ric Flair)
Mickey Rourke is watching from the crowd. Piper starts for his team, tackling Jericho from the get go. Jim Ross is already making excuses for the legend’s physical states on commentary. Piper pursues Jericho to ringside, smashing him into the announce table. Back to the ring, Jericho gets some shots but almost gets pinned in a sunset flip. Drop-kick from Piper, who slaps Jericho around a bit. Snuka tags and lands some body shots. Steamboat tags, goes high risk immediately, and drops a fist off the top! Deep armdrags by Steamboat! Excuse me while I mark out. Steamboat works the arm. Snuka tags and helps double team Jericho. Head-butt by Snuka, but Jericho catches him in the Walls of Jericho to eliminate him at 3:45. Well, at least Snuka lasted longer than Chavo last year. Jericho cheap shots the legends, inspiring Piper to aggressively attack him. Piper pokes the eyes and locks in a sleeper! Jericho breaks out with the ropes and nails an enziguri to eliminate Piper at 4:44. Well, at least he lasted longer than Funaki at Wrestlemania XX. Flying cross body by Steamboat gets a cover for 2.5! Hard clothesline by Jericho who then locks the head. Steamboat skins the cat, while Jericho is distracted by Flair. Jericho is dumped to ringside, where he eats a dive from Steamboat! I’m feeling overwhelmed by my inner mark. Steamboat rolls up Jericho for a painfully close near fall. Running bulldog by Jericho. Lionsault misses! Jericho runs into a power slam for 2! Jericho attempts the Walls, but Steamboat counters into an inside cradle for 2.5! Alas, a Codebreaker finishes Steamboat at 8:58. Well, that wasn’t always pretty, but the crowd heat was great and Steamboat’s performance was breathtaking, **½.
Winner: Chris Jericho
-Ric Flair isn’t finished and storms the ring to beat up Jericho. Jericho fights back with a high back drop. Codebreaker on Flair! Jericho kicks Flair out the ring and soaks in his self-perceived glory on the microphone. Jericho calls out the man who started all of this: Mickey Rourke. Jericho calls him a coward and a hypocrite, so Rourke makes his way to the ring. Rourke uses his past boxing experience to land a blow to Jericho’s head, knocking him to the mat! Flair celebrates with Rourke to end this rather crowd-pleasing segment.
Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy
Jeff slaps his brother’s face to kick off the fight. They move to ringside, where Jeff whacks Matt over the head with a Wrestlemania poster. Jeff dives off the steps to wipe Matt out against the barricade. Back to the ring, Jeff dives off a set chair, but misses. Matt blocks the Whisper in the Wind with a chair to the knee. Matt grabs a vacuum cleaner (yes, you read that right) and nails Jeff in the head. Side Effect onto a chair by Matt gets a cover for 2. Matt chokes with his boot and stretches Jeff against the ring post. Matt sets up a table at ringside and tries to suplex Jeff off the apron, but it’s blocked. Jeff clotheslines off the apron. Mule kick into the steel steps by Jeff. Jeff whacks Matt around with some crutches. Drop-kick into the corner by Jeff, with a garbage can around Matt’s head. Cover by Jeff gets 2. Swanton Bomb misses. Matt rebounds with a Twist of Fate for 2. Matt goes high risk, but Jeff cuts him off with a superplex. Chair shot by Jeff sends Matt to ringside. Jeff sets his brother up on the table with a chair on his chest. Jeff fetches a second table and sandwiches it on top of Matt. Jeff climbs the top rope and drives himself through both tables, the chair, and Matt! Jeff manages to get Matt to the ring for a cover, but Matt gets a rope break. Jeff drags some ladder to the ring and hits a leg drop off a chair. Jeff sets up both ladders and climbs to the top of the bigger one for a leg drop, but misses! Matt wraps Jeff’s head in a chair and delivers the NASTIEST Twist of Fate ever! That’s enough for the win at 13:15. Lots of great spots in this one, but was lacking in emotion from both Hardy’s and didn’t quite have enough time to tell it’s story properly, ***.
Winner: Matt Hardy
John Bradshaw Layfield © vs. Rey Mysterio
JBL antagonizes the crowd with a surprisingly anti-Texas promo on his way to the ring. JBL promises to deliver the most dominate victory in Wrestlemania history. Side note: this is the first time the Intercontinental title has been defended on Wrestlemania since 2002. Rey comes out dressed like The Joker, Heath Ledger style. JBL nails a big boot before the bell rings. The referee orders JBL to back off so the match can begin. Enziguri by Rey, who then nails the 619. Frog splash finishes JBL at 0:20! Ah, that was satisfying, ¼*.
Winner and new Intercontinental Champion: Rey Mysterio
-An irate JBL takes the microphone and announces that he quits!
Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
HBK floats in from the heavens for his entrance. Normally that would annoy me, but it works nicely to contrast The Undertaker’s darkness. Michaels connects with a chop first. HBK is too quick for Taker in the early going. Taker grabs Shawn by the wrist and powers him into the corner. Michaels fakes a knee injury to lure Taker into a Lou Thesz press. Taker connects with hard shots. Michaels reverses with some chops but gets whipped into the opposite corner and eats a backdrop. Press slam by Undertaker and an elbow drop for 1. Taker grabs the wrist to control Shawn, and nails “old school” early. Taker misses a running boot to the corner. Shawn begins to target Undertaker’s leg. Figure four by Michaels! Taker gets out, but Shawn drop-kicks the hurt leg. Taker catches Michaels, driving him into the corner for more abuse. Snake eyes by Undertaker and a big boot. Leg drop by Undertaker gets 2. HBK reverses a chokeslam with the crossface. Taker rolls Shawn into a pinning predicament, but the crossface is held on. Taker powers to his feet and nails a side slam for 2. Back to their feet, they exchange shots. HBK picks up the advantage with his chops and floors the Dead Man with a forearm. Inverted atomic drops by Michaels and a clothesline. Michaels goes high risk, but Taker sits up and catches him for a chokeslam. HBK counters, but Taker counters back with the Hell’s Gate. Shawn gets the ropes. Taker sets Shawn up on the apron for his trademark blows. Shawn dodges the leg drop! Low baseball slide by Michaels. HBK attempts a moonsault to the floor, but Undertaker swats him away! Undertaker does his annual Wrestlemania dive over the ropes, but Shawn pulls the camera man into the way, and Taker crashes and burns! That was nasty, it looked like Undertaker hit the floor head first! Michaels pulls the dazed referee to the ring and asks him to count Undertaker out. Taker gets back right before the 10 count. Taker blocks Sweet Chin Music with a chokeslam for 2.5! Michaels tries again, and blocks a chokeslam with his super kick. HBK slowly makes a cover for 2.5 as well! Undertaker attempts the Last Ride, but Michaels counters. Taker tries again and hits it! Cover by Taker gets 2.9! Taker goes top rope but misses a big elbow drop! Michaels is tossed, but skins the cat, right into the Tombstone! Michaels kicks out after the Tombstone! The Undertaker cannot believe it! Michaels counters into a DDT! Shawn drags himself to the top rope but he connects with the flying elbow! Sweet chin music connects, but Undertaker kicks out! They hang on to each other to stand up before trading shots. Michaels attempts a moonsault, but Taker catches him for a Tombstone! This one finishes HBK at 30:41! This was an all-around terrific match, lots of great counters and action. They spent a good 12 minutes kicking out of each other finishers, so I think the match could lose some luster with repeated viewings, but certainly made for an electric atmosphere on this evening, ****½.
Winner: The Undertaker
World Heavyweight Championship:
Edge © (with Vickie and Chavo Guerrero) vs. John Cena vs. Big Show
Cena has a nifty entrance, as an army of clones line up for his arrival. Cena fights off both heels in the early going. Bulldog on Edge, but Show casually brushes Cena off. Edge looks for a high five from Big Show, but instead gets lifted and dropped crotch first on the ropes. Show whips Edge into Cena for an Attitude Adjustment, but Show kicks Cena down. Show goes to work on Cena while Vickie checks on Edge at ringside. Show misses a big boot and crotches himself on the ropes. Cena pushes Show to ringside, where Edge drop-kicks the steps into Big Show. Top rope leg drop to the floor by Cena wipes out Big Show. Edge is suddenly in control and directs Cena to the ring. Edge counters the Attitude Adjustment with the Edgeocution. Cena knocks Edge off the top, but Big Show is back, nailing a side slam for 2. Cena fights back, but Chavo pulls him to ringside. Cena flattens Chavo with an Attitude Adjustment. Back to the ring, Cena ties up Big Show in the ropes and cleans house on Edge. Vickie provides a distraction on the apron, but Edge accidentally spears her off onto Chavo. Roll-up by Cena on Edge gets 2. They wipe each other out with clotheslines, while Show is still stuck in the ropes. Show is freed and nails a double shoulder tackle. Edge and Cena take turns getting dismantled by Show. Cena escapes a double chokeslam while Edge gets planted. Show punches Cena in the face, sending him crashing to ringside. Show attempts another chokeslam on Edge at ringside, but Edge counters with a rolling DDT. Edge sets up some steps by the announce table and dives off of it to drive Show through the barricade and into the crowd. Edge finds the still knocked out Cena and moves him to the ring for a close near fall. Cena counters the spear with a drop toe hold into the STF! Show pulls Cena off of Edge and knocks him down to ringside. Show climbs the ropes and attempts a splash, but Edge dodges! Cena and Edge team up to suplex Show and then clothesline the big man to the floor. Edge cheap shots Cena and gets 2.5. Blockbuster on Edge by Cena, who goes top rope but Show pushes him off into a spear! Cover by Edge is broken by Show. Edge locks a sleeper on Big Show, who back into the corner. Cena lifts up both men for an Attitude Adjustment, but Edge escapes. Cena nails the Attitude Adjustment on Edge right onto Big Show. Cena pins Show at 14:43! I wasn’t expecting much, but all three men worked hard and well together to put on an exciting contest, ***½.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena
-They trot out the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame inductees for their moment of glory. Stone Cold Steve Austin hogs the moment to have a beer bash in the ring and drive around on his ATV. Austin is now being referred to as the “Greatest WWE Superstar of All Time” which seems more like a way to dig at the uncooperative Hulk Hogan. This eats up enough time that they probably still could have had that tag title unification match, but I suppose I should let it go.
-Lillian Garcia announces tonight’s sellout at 72,744 fans.
Triple H © vs. Randy Orton
Vickie Guerrero has made it so that if Triple H gets counted out or disqualified, he will lose the belt. Long stare down to start, with HHH getting a sudden tackle and pummeling Orton around the ring. Considering that Orton just gave his wife a DDT and kissed her while she was unconscious, HHH should probably be way more pissed than this. The referee scolds HHH for being rough, allowing Orton to nail an RKO! Orton sets up the punt to the head of death, but misses and eats a Pedigree! They are already both down selling their epic battle. The fight heads to ringside where HHH smashes Orton into the announce table. Orton flees to the ring while Triple H enjoys a water break. Back to the ring, Triple H targets the head with repeated shots. They brawl at ringside briefly, with Orton’s skull bouncing off the post. Back to the ring, Orton wants Triple H to wait, but as you might have guessed he just ends up eating more shots to the head. Back to ringside, Orton reverses a whip, sending HHH crashing into the ring steps. Orton sends HHH crashing over the barricade and returns to the ring to wait for a count out. HHH returns at the 7 count, but is helpless to a series of stomps. Kick to the head gets 2 for Orton. Cue the Orton chinlock, but HHH quickly reverses into a suplex. The crowd is really bored, by the way. Triple H runs into a power slam for 2. Back to the Orton chinlock! HHH fights to his feet and they trade slugs. Knee lift by Triple H and face buster. Orton counters the Pedigree with a catapult into the turnbuckles. Clothesline by HHH gets 2. Crowd seems to be into it now, at least, as they battle on the top ropes, with Orton dropping Triple H head first on the padding. Orton jumps into HHH’s boot, and they counter into a pinning predicament that Orton kicks out of. HHH blocks the RKO and rolls him up for 2. Orton runs into a Spinebuster. Orton counters the Pedigree with his inverted back breaker. Cover by Orton gets 2. HHH jumps off the top into a drop-kick. Orton looks for the death punt again, but HHH catches his foot and gets flipped to ringside. They brawl at ringside, with the referee talking Triple H out of using a monitor. Triple H instead tries to Pedigree Orton on the table, because that is apparently legal. Orton counters with a backdrop, sending Triple H crashing onto another table. Orton hits a table assisted DDT onto the floor, and leaves HHH to be counted out. Triple H barely makes it back and suffers some angry stomps. Orton stomps and punches and stomps and chokes, and yes it’s just that exciting. HHH fights back, but Orton drives him into the referee! RKO by Orton, but the referee is down and out. Orton fetches a sledgehammer from under the ring, but HHH punts him in the head! There’s a sad lack of a reaction for that spot. HHH takes the hammer and nails Orton in the skull. Triple H unloads on Orton, and the referee has to pull him off. The Pedigree finishes it at 23:32. I really wanted to like this match, because it had it’s moments, but overall was way too plodding and not nearly as intense as it needed to be. The match failed to live up to it’s build and the mostly dead crowd didn’t help either, **¼.
Winner and still WWE Champion: Triple H
-Triple H poses with his WWE title and fireworks go off to close the show.
There was a lot of good on a show that really needed to take it a step higher and be great. I have a number of issues with this Wrestlemania. First and foremost, it is bothersome to me that The Miz and Morrison vs. The Colons got bumped down to a dark match. It would be one thing if it was because this four hour show was soooooo stacked that they just couldn’t fit it in, but then they went and gave 20 minutes to Kid Rock to perform, endless video packages and commercials, Austin playing around on his ATV forever, and some drawn out entrances for the main eventers. I skipped over almost all of that for this review and it only took me two and a half hours to do. That means there was a full hour and a half of complete and utter fat. I was also annoyed that the divas didn’t get any entrances for their battle royal. I understand this was probably (another) time cutting maneuver, but was mostly to try and hide that Santino Marella was in there. Unfortunately, it also hid that Molly Holly, Sunny, Torrie Wilson, Nidia, Victoria, and Jackie Gayda were in there, thus defeating the purpose of flying them all in for this “special” one shot nostalgia match. When I’m getting huffy and puffy because the freaking divas didn’t get their proper respect, you know there’s SOMETHING wrong.
Now from there, I did like quite a bit about this show. Money in the Bank was the usual fun train wreck that it is every year, though obviously not quite as great as some of the past editions. Taker/Michaels was a true MOTYC, and will likely be the only match from this show that people are still talking about in six months. The Hardy’s put on a good little garbage match, but again was merely good, when a few tweaks could have made it great. At first I was annoyed to hear that the IC title match only got 20 seconds, but it was executed rather nicely, and if JBL’s back is in bad shape, totally understandable. The World title triple threat actually exceeded my expectations, as I’d been hearing a lot of middling sentiments regarding it over the past two days, but it was smartly booked. The only real gripe I’d have was that since this was Wrestlemania and all, it probably should have found a way to wrap up Big Show and Edge’s issue with Vickie, but I’ll let that one go. The main event, however, was a huge disappointment. The build to it was excellent and heated, but the blow off was poor. It might have been a combination of Triple H being overconfident and Orton getting a tad flustered over being in the main event on such a grand stage, but it just didn’t click. In their defense, things would have looked so bad if the crowd had actually been into the match, but I think they lost them early on when it became obvious that the bout wasn’t going to be as consistently intense of the feud up to that point had been.
Okay, that’s enough from me. Thumbs in the middle. Leaning up, I suppose.