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WWE WrestleMania 24
by SamoaRowe

-Disclaimer: this review is only going to cover the matches, as I’m watching this on MegaVideo.com.

-This is the biggest show of the year. Over 70,000 fans have filled up the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Our hosts for the evening are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for Raw, Michael Cole and Jonathan Coachman for Smackdown, and Tazz and Joey Styles are sitting in for ECW related matches.

Belfast Brawl:
JBL vs. Finlay (with Hornswoggle)

Finlay is kicked off the apron before the match can officially begin. Finlay dumps JBL into the ring and aggressively pounds on the Texan. Finlay heads to ringside to retrieve the usual weapons. JBL catches a garbage can and bashes it over Finlay’s skull. JBL, wielding a can lid in one hand and a cookie sheet in the other, nails Finlay with both. JBL fetches the steel steps from ringside and tosses it into the ring. JBL sets up Finlay for a piledriver on the steps, but Finlay back body drops him to the mat. Kick to the head by Finlay and a nasty shot with the cookie sheet. Cover by Finlay gets 2. JBL recovers and pummels Finlay to the corner. Hornswoggle grabs a kendo stick and helps Finlay knock out JBL with the shillelagh at ringside. Back in the ring, Finlay kicks a trash can into JBL’s face. Finlay sets up a table in the corner. JBL reverses an Irish whip into the table, but Finlay hit’s a clothesline. JBL runs to ringside to escape Finlay and the steel steps. Hornswoggle attacks JBL, but gets kicked off. Finlay repeatedly knocks Hornswoggle’s head into the announce table. Suicide dive by Finlay to the floor, but JBL cracks a can lid into his head in mid-air! DAMN! Cover by JBL gets 2. JBL randomly grabs a trash can and whips it at Hornswoggle at ringside! That was so mean it was awesome! JBL goes for the clothesline from hell, but runs into a weapon shot. Finlay angrily destroys JBL with a weapon. Finlay sends JBL crashing into the table, but can only get 2 with a cover. Finlay holds the steps over his head, but JBL hit’s a kendo stick to the knees, causing Finlay to land face first on the steps. Clothesline from hell by JBL is enough to put Finlay away at. Hornswoggle is disappointed, as is the crowd. This was a fun, yet short, weapons brawl, though I’d dare say the wrong man went over. **¾.
Winner @ 9:07: JBL

-Kim Kardashian is standing by with Mr. Kennedy, who can’t help but check her out. Kennedy screams his catchphrase in her face, which almost cracks her up.

Money in the Bank ladder match:
John Morrison vs. CM Punk vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Chris Jericho vs. MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Carlito

Most of the wrestlers go after ladders in the early going, leaving MVP alone in the ring. MVP knocks out Morrison, who was the first to get a ladder to the ring. MVP wields the ladder and knocks out the charging competitors. Jericho sneaks a ladder in, and they have a jousting contest! That was neat. Morrison tosses a ladder at Jericho, and climbs the turnbuckle. Morrison hit’s a moonsault off the top (holding the ladder) onto Benjamin, MVP, and Carlito at ringside! HOLY SHIT! Meanwhile, Kennedy sets up a ladder and prepares the climb, but Jericho cuts him off. Jericho goes for the Walls, but slingshots Kennedy into the ladder. Kennedy lands and immediately starts climbing. Kennedy almost wins, but Morrison shoots up and they exchange shots. Benjamin climbs up a second ladder, trying to bypass Kennedy and Morrison. Benjamin tries again, hit’s a sunset flip on Kennedy, who hangs onto Carlito with a duel power bomb! DAMN! This match wins points so far for creativity. Benjamin is on the ladder, but Carlito pushes it over. Benjamin walks on the ropes and propels himself back. It doesn’t work, and Benjamin crashes into the other ladder. CM Punk and Kennedy are in the ring, brawling over the right to use the ladder. Benjamin joins the fray, and tries to climb. Punk catches Benjamin and hit’s the Go 2 Sleep! Punk climbs, but so does Carlito, and Kennedy catches Punk with the Green Bay plunge onto a ladder! MVP returns, but is quickly dispatched. Carlito climbs, but Benjamin knocks him off. Carlito blocks the super kick, but gets hit wit ha spinning heel kick. Benjamin climbs but Carlito and Kennedy push him onto a ladder draped on the apron and barricade! DAMMIT, BENJAMIN IS DEAD! Kennedy, Carlito, and Jericho climb, but MVP pushes over the ladder. Morrison knocks out MVP and prepares his climb.

Morrison climbs, has the case in his fingers, but Jericho chases him. Jericho applies his modified walls of Jericho on the top of the ladder! Kennedy climbs a second ladder and also has the case within his grasp. Jericho lets go and fights Kennedy. Punk springboards to the ladder, and Carlito joins them. The four brawl on the top, with Jericho out-lasting. Carlito hit’s a backstabber on Jericho off the ladder! NICE! With everyone out, MVP stalls before climbing. MVP is about to win, when MATT HARDY runs in and hit’s the twist of fate off the ladder! Matt receives a HUGE pop from the crowd, who considers Hardy to be a bigger star than WWE officials do. Jericho is back up and drives the ladder into everyone around him. Two ladders are set up intersecting each other. Morrison climbs the ladder anyhow, but it gets pushed back. That was another new spot. Jericho frees a ladder and climbs, but Carlito stops him. Carlito is shoved off by Kennedy, landing on a ladder. CM Punk stops Kennedy, but Jericho puts him down with a code breaker. Jericho climbs, but Punk shakes the ladder. Jericho fights Punk for a while on top, but Jericho gets hung up in a tree of woe. Punk grabs the case at for the win! That finish was anticlimactic, but there was a ton of innovative ladder spots, ****. Punk wins a big one, in a great moment.
Winner @ 13:57: CM Punk

Raw vs. Smackdown:
Umaga vs. Batista

Batista has got to be annoyed that he’s not in a main event this year, and it shows with his lack of effort. Umaga wants to be there, and brings the intensity. A shoulder block sends Umaga to ringside to reconsider his game plan. Umaga hit’s a spinning heel kick and then kicks Batista off the apron (square in the jaw). Batista naps at ringside, waiting for Umaga to toss him into the ring. Umaga splashes himself onto Batista’s back and gets a cover for 2. The way Batista is selling would suggest this match had been in progress for longer than two minutes. Umaga hit’s a hard Irish whip and stomps away on the Animal. Umaga continues his ground and pound offense, and I’ll note he appears to be the crowd favorite. Umaga attempts a diving head butt from halfway across the ring, but Batista dodges. Umaga takes advantage of Batista’s hurt back and gets a cover for 2. Umaga works a neck vice. Before the match was dull, now it’s just boring. Batista fights out, but suffers a Samoan drop. Umaga moves so slowly that Batista gets back to his feet. Batista kicks off a charging Umaga. Umaga signals the spike (to a big pop) but Batista blocks. Umaga charges, but Batista directs his skull into the ring post. Spinebuster by Batista. Batista actually botches the Batista Bomb, but wins at. Good lord, this was bad. ½*.
Winner @ 7:08: Batista

ECW Championship:
Chavo Guerrero © vs. Kane

Kane won a 24 man battle royal before the show to earn this title shot. Armando Alejandro Estrada provides the ring introductions. Kane sneaks up on Chavo from behind. Kane immediately catches Chavo with the choke slam and wins the match. What a load of crap. DUD.
Winner @ 0:10 and new ECW Champion: Kane

Career Threatening match:
Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels

HBK offers a handshake, but Flair just caresses his hair. Just like he should. HBK hit’s a shoulder block before a series of reversals. Flair connects with a hip toss and struts around the ring. They lock up and corner themselves. They shove each other, with HBK slapping Flair across the face. Well, that wasn’t very sportsman-like. They stare each other down, and Flair gets a little more aggressive with chops. HBK corners Flair and hits some chops of his own. HBK gets caught with a kick to the chest, and Flair hits his patented knee drop. HBK hits an elbow block and goes high risk. Flair catches HBK and tosses him back-first to the mat. Flair goes high risk, and connects with the flying cross body! He was bound to hit it again eventually, right? HBK blocks the figure four by kicking Flair through the ropes to the floor. Baseball slide by HBK, who hits an Asai moonsault, but Flair ducks and HBK crashes onto the announce table! OUCH! Flair waits in the ring, surprisingly not doing anything to prevent a count-out. Flair connects with a back suplex, and gets a cover for 2. I’m surprised that Flair isn’t attacking HBK’s ribs area. He must really be hurt. Double underhook slam by Flair gets another cover for 2. Standing vertical suplex by Flair gets yet another cover for 2. HBK fights back with a spinning neck breaker. HBK then hit’s a back body drop over the ropes, Flair lands in a sickening fashion. HBK goes high risk again, hitting a moonsault onto Flair on the floor. Both men are out and need to crawl back to the ring. Flair gets to his feet first, but HBK responds for a chop fest. Inverted atomic drop by HBK and a scoop slam. HBK sells the ribs, but goes high risk again anyway. HBK connects with the flying elbow drop! HBK tunes up the band, but the crowd isn’t ready for this. Neither was HBK, as he stops himself, and Flair capitalizes by locking in the figure four! HBK escapes, but Flair goes for a side headlock takedown, which leads to a pinning combination. HBK counters a slam into a sunset flip and almost picks up the win. Flair drives his shoulders into the back of HBK’s knee, and now we’re in business. Flair attempts the figure four, but Michaels rolls him into an inside cradle. Flair gets the figure four, and HBK is in serious trouble.

Michaels is tossing around, really selling the hurt he’s in. They roll around and HBK finally gets the rope break. Flair is frustrated and stomps away. Flair struts, but walks right into the Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere! Michaels gets the cover, but Flair somehow manages to kick out! Michaels tunes up the band again, but Flair is too slow to get up. HBK signals SCM again, but Flair is still not up. HBK tries to hold up Flair, but Flair hit’s a blind low blow! YES! Flair gets the cover, but HBK barely kicks out. HBK applies an inverted figure four! Flair is in big trouble, I daresay. Flair escapes and gets a quick roll-up for 2. They engage in a chop fest on their knees. They chop to their feet and Michaels hit’s a third SCM out of nowhere! Michaels looks remorseful as he gets to his feet first. Michaels signals another SCM, but is beside himself. Flair gets to his feet, challenging him to bring it! Michaels mouths “I love you, I’m sorry” and blasts with the super kick. Michaels makes the cover, and 1...2...3, Flair’s career is over. The emotional punch of that finish is going to become legend. This was a solid match, and with the emotional considerations makes this one for the ages. ****¼.
Winner @ 20:54: Shawn Michaels

-After the match, Ric Flair receives a standing ovation from the gigantic crowd. A tearful Flair embraces his family at ringside and gradually makes the long walk to the back. Some fans are in tears, and it’s hard to blame them.

-Todd Grisham is standing by with World Heavyweight Champion Edge. Edge says we’ve just seen history, but there will be more to be made tonight. Edge discusses how he was in the audience at Wrestlemania VI. He was the biggest Hulkamaniac in attendance. And Hogan lost. And as a result, so was Edge’s innocence. You see, people rely on Undertaker to win at Wrestlemania. But that changes tonight. Edge is going to make the little kids in the crowd suffer the same way he suffered at Wrestlemania VI, when his spirit and innocence was taken from him. Now that’s just harsh, man. Awesome promo, by the way.

Bunnymania Lumberjack match:
Maria and Ashley vs. Beth Phoenix and Melina (with Santino Marella)

The ring is surrounded by the other WWE divas. The master of ceremony for the match is none other than Snoop Dogg, who is perfectly at home surrounded by half naked women (editor's note: usually MORE than half, but that's okay). Ashley starts off against Beth, who just palms her away like a fly. Ashley strikes back and hit’s a head scissors takedown. Beth shoves her off. Beth charges into the corner, but Maria cheap shots. Maria also apparently tags and helps double team the Glamazon. Melina tags, but gets tossed to the floor by Maria. The divas are all over Melina, and quickly toss her back to the ring. Maria corners Melina and hit’s a sloppy bronco buster. Maria drops Melina on her back and gets a cover for 1. Maria holds Melina on her shoulders, tags Ashley, and drops Melina on the turnbuckle. Another head scissors by Ashley and a clothesline. Face buster by Ashley, but Melina gets back up. Melina capitalizes on an assist from Phoenix for a cover for 1 or so. Ashley is tossed into the sea of divas, who roughly deliver her back into the ring. Melina catapults Ashley into a bear hug by Beth Phoenix. Melina tags, and climbs onto Beth’s shoulders for a splash. Maria breaks the following cover, but Ashley is screwed. Melina trips over Ashley and tags the Glamazon. This is where the lights go out! Seriously! “Did the Undertaker just arrive?” asks Lawler. The match continues in darkness, until the spot lights come on. Maria hit’s a cross body on Phoenix, but gets a cover for 1. Double arm chicken wing by Beth, but Maria counters into a bulldog. Beth accidentally spears Melina off the apron, and Ashley disposes of Melina with a cross body to the floor. The divas jump them, while Santino breaks up Maria’s cover on Beth. Jerry Lawler attacks Santino, laying him out with a right hand. In the ring, Beth hit’s the fisherman suplex for the win. This was sloppy, but overall wasn’t too bad. Unlike Batista, I got the impression these women actually wanted to be here. *.
Winners @ 7:57: Beth Phoenix and Melina

-Santino Marella continues to act like a douche after the match, and gets taken down by a clothesline from Snoop Dogg. The crowd approves, and so do I.

WWE Championship:
Randy Orton © vs. John Cena vs. Triple H

Orton jumps Triple H as the bell rings. Cena jumps Orton with a bull dog. Hard Irish whip by Cena and a suplex on Orton. HHH saves Orton from Cena, tossing him over the ropes. HHH turns his attention to Orton, directing him to the announce table for some head shots. Back to the ring, Orton ducks a clothesline from HHH, but gets caught in a sleeper. Cena goes for the F-U on HHH, but it’s blocked. Inverted back breaker by Orton on HHH. Cue the dueling “Let’s go Cena” and “Cena sucks” from the crowd. Orton is the only one standing, taking turns stomping on both challengers. Cover attempt on Cena gets 2. Big leg drop on HHH for cover for 2 by Orton. Orton goes high risk, but Cena cuts him off. Triple H sets up Cena on his shoulders for the flying cross body by Orton! Cena rolls out of the cover for the F-U, kicks Triple H away, but Orton counters into a sunset flip. Triple H attempts a clothesline on Orton, but hits Cena instead. Orton knocks down the Game and is back to being in control of both challengers. Orton sets up both Triple H and Cena for rope assisted DDT’s and connects! Cover on Cena only gets 2, as does the cover on HHH. Orton prepares for the RKO, though he doesn’t seem sure which opponent to hit. Cena is the lucky victim, but he counters, tossing Orton’s right onto Triple H! Cena hit’s the blockbuster on Orton and goes high risk with the flying leg drop! Cena looks for the STFU, but Orton hightails it to ringside. Orton tricks Cena, sending him right into the ring post. Meanwhile, Triple H has powered up and attacks Orton. Triple H works on removing the leg of the WWE Champion. Cena returns, but is dispatched, and Orton uses the distraction to take down HHH. Cena trips Orton into the STFU! Cena used this hold to win two consecutive main events at Wrestlemania, so this is meaningful. Triple H grabs Orton’s arm to prevent a tap out (similar to the Wrestlemania XX triple threat that we can’t discuss anymore). Triple H locks on a modified Indian death lock on Orton. Cena returns to save the match, and dishes out a hard Irish whip to the Game. Cena locks the STFU onto Orton again. Triple H tries to break the hold, but has to forcefully remove Cena’s hand. Triple H locks a crossface onto Cena! This stirs up quite the reaction from the crowd. Triple H is taking it back! Cena and Triple H slug it out after a rope break. Cena is a house on fire and delivers the five knuckle shuffle to the Game. Triple H blocks the F-U, Cena blocks the pedigree, Triple H counters the STFU! Face buster by Triple H and a spine buster! Triple H diverts his attention to the returning Randy Orton, tackling his legs. Triple H escapes the F-U and hit’s the pedigree! Cover by Triple H is broken up by Randy Orton’s kick to the face of death! Orton pins Cena to a complete “WTF” reaction from the fans! EXCELLENT finish! This was all action right out of the gate to the very end, and featured a big shocker of a ending, ***¾.
Winner @ 14:08 and still WWE Champion: Randy Orton

Floyd “Money” Mayweather (with his posse) vs. Big Show
There is no time limit, and there must be a winner! Mayweather ducks Show’s early attempt at crushing the life out of him. Mayweather is using his speed advantage well, as even a trim Big Show is still pretty slow. Mayweather dodges Show again and unleashes a flurry of body shots. Big Show no sells them, to which I say HA. Mayweather connects with a shot to the jaw. Show leans in to attack him, but Mayweather connects again. A member of the posse offers Mayweather a drink, which angers Show, leading him to charge. Show attacks the posse! That was satisfying. Mayweather’s fist is caught by Show, who tries to stomp on it. Well, Show did promise to end Mayweather’s boxing career. Show catches his prey and places him on the top for a choke slam attempt, but Mayweather fends him off with stiff shots. Mayweather attaches himself to Show’s back, and utilizes a chinlock in the process. Show eventually frees himself and stomps on Mayweather’s hand! The posse checks on Mayweather, but Show pulls him away. Show signals a big, nasty chop, which receives the biggest pop I’ve ever heard a crowd give him for that spot. “One more time” chant from the wrestling loyalists, as Show chokes Mayweather with his boots. Mayweather targets Show’s gut with some kicks, but Big Show responds with a side slam. Leg drop on the arm by Show, who then places his full weight on the tiny boxer. Show signals the choke slam as the crowd roars in approval. However, the posse pulls Mayweather to safety at ringside. They start carrying Mayweather to the back, and the crowd is pissed. Show chases after them and demolishes members of the posse to get to his main target. I’m marking out right now with thoughts of “Yes, get that coward back to the ring, Show!” The match returns to the ring for a choke slam, but a body guard makes the save. Show tries again, but another body guard hit’s a chair shot! Show choke slams the posse member. Show turns around in time to get a chair to the gut by Mayweather. Show goes for the choke slam again, but Mayweather gets the low blow and some more chair shots! Mayweather grabs some brass knuckles and nails Show in the head! The crowd is mad as hell! Show can’t get up, so Mayweather wins by K-O! Basic match that produced some huge heat, and was entertaining to boot. Even with the loss, this will probably go down as the greatest moment of Show‘s career. **½.
Winner @ 11:36 : Floyd “Money” Mayweather

World Heavyweight Championship:
Edge © vs. The Undertaker

Undertaker tries to intimidate Edge, but gets shoved. Edge won’t stand down, but he might get knocked down. Taker tosses Edge to ringside and chases him. Edge gets dropped neck first on the ropes. Taker pummels Edge with his methodical brawling techniques. Early cover by Taker gets 2. Huh. Taker is directing traffic and goes “old school” but Edge counters. Taker counters and chokes Edge in the corner. Taker goes for the corner clothesline, but Edge sends him falling to the floor. Edge knocks Taker off the apron into the barricade. On a side note, this is the main event and it’s called by Michael Cole and Coach. If this isn’t bizarre, I don’t know what is. Edge repeatedly keeps Taker from getting into the ring, at least not until he’s ready. Edge dominates, spearing Taker into the corner. Taker fights back with head butts. Cross body by Edge gets a cover for 2. Edge goes high risk, but Taker pushes him off to the floor! Taker flies! Edge and Taker are both down and out at ringside. Taker drops a leg drop on the apron, and Edge is dead. Cover by Taker gets a closer 2 count than it probably should have been. Taker sets up the Last Ride, but Edge blocks. Big boot by Edge! Cover by Edge gets 2. The fight heads to ringside, where Edge dishes out a back suplex onto the barricade! That looked painful! Back to the ring, Edge gets a cover for 2. Half Boston crab by Edge. Taker eventually counters into a roll-up for 2. Edge isn’t discouraged, and goes back to work on Taker’s leg, wrenching it back. Taker kicks him off, but Edge remains in control. A slug fest erupts! Taker hit’s a clothesline in the corner and snake eyes! Edge counters a big boot with a drop-kick and a cover for 2!

Taker attempts a choke slam, Edge counters, Taker tries again, and Edge counters with a DDT! Edge gets a close 2 and a half cover attempt. Taker counters the spear and hit’s a choke slam! Cover by Taker gets a very close 2. Taker goes “old school” again, but Edge trips him up on the turnbuckle. Superplex by Edge! Another near fall by Edge, the Dead Man just won’t stay dead. Edge gets turnbuckle punches in, but almost gets caught with the Last Ride! Edge countered into a neck breaker and picks up another near fall. The counters in this match are great. Taker sets up the Last Ride and finally connects! Taker covers and it’s 1.…2.…NO! That woke the crowd up. Edge counters the Tombstone and gets another near fall. Taker reverses an Irish whip and hit’s a big boot. Taker goes “old school” again and third time is the charm. Edge ducks a rampaging Taker, and the referee is down and out. Edge plants Taker, but there is no referee for a cover. Edge smack talks, and gets choked for his troubles. Edge knocks the Dead Man down and grabs a video camera (following up on his attack from Survivor Series). Edge connects with the camera shot! Edge tries to revive the referee, to no luck. Taker counters a power slam with the Tombstone piledriver! Taker gets a cover, but the ref is still napping! A new referee makes the long run to the ring, starts the count, but Edge kicks out! Hawkins and Ryder run in, but Undertaker choke slams one onto the other. Edge hit’s the spear and it appears to be over… but Taker kicks out! Edge hit’s a second spear! Edge goes for the cover, but gets caught in the triangle choke! Edge taps! Another good finish in a night full of them. This was a nicely built match, lots of reversals, and a satisfying conclusion, ***¾.
Winner @ 23:50 and new World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker

Final Thoughts: Despite the dismal build to this show, Wrestlemania XXIV turned out to be a lot of fun to watch. There were a couple stinkers in the undercard, but they were kept short. All the heavily hyped matches either lived up to expectations or exceeded them. I’d be recommending this show based on the fact that there were two **** matches and two other ones that came very close, but I think the best reason to watch this is to see Ric Flair’s last match. It wasn’t his best wrestling performance, but it was definitely his most emotional.

Thumbs up.

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