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3.30.2008

WrestleMania: Better Than Advertised!

People talked about not being too excited about this year’s WrestleMania. Some even went as far as to forget about Mania and grab tickets to a concert and blow it off. For those that watched WrestleMania, it delivered Big Time.

Even though Big Time was the slogan a few years back, it was fitting for this year as well. From heartfelt and emotional goodbyes to continued streaks, and even a broken streak, almost every match screamed WrestleMania.

As is always the case with WrestleMania there was no shortage of celebrities on hand. John Legend opened up, Kim Kardashian did her thing, Snoopity Dogg did his, and Money Mayweather shocked the world. Raven Symone introduced the Make a Wish Foundation kids and got pops from the Disney Channel crowd.

We aren’t the Disney Channel crowd so let’s get right to the meat and potatoes. Even though Donnie was sitting on a bar stool marking out, the rest of the world was sitting shocked, scratching it’s head wondering what the hell the purpose of the Belfast Brawl was.

Why have Hornswaggle return only to get slapped around and be a non-factor? The match itself was fine, I popped for several spots but the end served no purpose. JBL didn’t need to win that match. It makes no sense for him to win that match. JBL marks put your objectivity aside and think about it. What does that accomplish?

Money in the Bank always equates to O-fest! John Morrison and Shelton Benjamin had a highly competitive stretch of who was Mr. O. John Morrison climbing the ladder that was closed but weighed down by the other ladder and the subsequent bump, and Shelton's ladder breaking swan-dive was all worthy of a standing “Oooo!”

Maybe I’m the only one, but I think the E could have done a lot more with Matt Hardy. Why not have him in the match, or cost MVP the case and win it himself. He wouldn’t have to cash it in. Let that be the new focal point of the feud. Have MVP take it from Hardy down the line and go on and win the strap.

It makes sense for Punk to win, but what worries me about that is that the E will waste this year’s MitB briefcase on the ECW title. I know the ECW is considered a world title, but I think CM Punk can be the World Champ on "SmackDown!"

I did like the finishing exchange of that match where Jericho kept kicking Punk and yelling “Stay down.” I also liked the innovative tree of woe Punk locked Jericho in on the ladder to grab the case.

It is very rare that I praise Michael Cole. Tonight that all changed, because Michael Cole referred to Batista as Bootista. Bootista is now the official name of Dave Bautista on Tha O Show. Umaga did his best to make the match a success, but in the end Big Dave dropped the ball, almost literally.

The Bootista Bomb hasn’t looked good in a long time. The WrestleMania version was no exception. As he lifted Umaga he fell backward, blowing yet another spot. Umaga still sold it and ate the pinfall. Why does WWE want us to believe in this hack? I’ve tried, but to no avail. Bootista is 100% shit.

The backstage interview with Todd Grisham and Snoop Dogg was hilarious. It turned the night in the right direction. The night didn’t get worse after that, it only got better. Santino and Snoop drew an O, Festus drew an O, and Mick Fizzle drew an O, as did a blinged out Socko. As Mick Foley told us, “Have a nice dizzle!”

The ECW World Heavyweight Championship changed hands in about six seconds. Kane won the battle royal on WWE.com before the show, which by the way lasted around eight minutes. ECW was given a grand total of nine minutes at WrestleMania, but it’s all good, because Kane walked away from WrestleMania as the new ECW Champion.

It’s not often that a match occurs that you never look away from. Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair stole the show. It was an old school match. Sure they missed a few spots, but it didn’t matter. The crowd was sucked in from start to finish. It was a lively crowd all night, but never more so than during that match.

I’m a mark for both guys, but Flair will always be the man. The finish to the match was so full of emotion that nobody should care that the spot was blatantly called. As Flair stood up he had to motion for Michaels to hit the SCM. Michaels in turn told Ric that he was sorry and he loved him. It may scream fixed wrestling, but it also screams REAL emotion.

Snoop Dogg even gave props to Ric Flair during the opening of Bunny Mania. I don’t think there is anyone anywhere who was excited or impressed by Bunny Mania. The only positive thing from this was Beth Phoenix winning and Santino getting the spotlight.

Santino Marella is a guy that can and will be used long into the future. When people on Tha O Show talk about “IT,” Anthony Carelli has IT. The WWE thinks John Cena is their draw and their entertainer. They’re dead wrong. It’s Santino Marella. If someone there could do what Rock did as an entertainer, it’s Johnny Geo Basco.

On the WrestleMania Predictions article everyone, well, almost everyone picked Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship. We were right. Randy Orton not only retained his WWE Championship, but he pinned John “My entrance music was performed by a marching band,” Cena.

The spot in the match where Cena plopped down into a piss-poor head hugger was only saved by Triple H who took a stroll down Benoit Boulevard and locked in a Crippler on John Cena. The finish of the match was awesome.

Not only did Cena eat canvas with a Pedigree, but Triple H got the old-school, if you can call it that, punt to the face which allowed Orton to retain by pinning Cena’s shoulders to the mat. Initially I was shocked. Then I realized that Triple H wasn’t going to take a fall at yet another WrestleMania. Cena's undefeated streak which stood at 4-0 is now over.

Money and Big Show was a match that Mayweather promised would shock the world, and it did. I expected something to go down to allow Floyd to get the win, but I didn’t expect the finish to be Show knocked out by brass knuckles and a count out W. I know that it couldn’t have been marketed as a Last Man Standing match, but their next encounter could be if there is indeed another one.

The main event of the night, and rightly so was Edge and Undertaker. Last year Taker got the belt and the shaft by going on fourth. This year he got the strap and closed the show. Off the top of my head I can’t come up with a match that either has been in that was as good as this one in the last three or four years.

It wasn’t a five-star classic but it was close. Edge looked really good keeping his momentum and cutting off Taker at almost every turn. Taker looked really good too staying in the match while having to fight off Edge. The end didn’t need the run-in, but I guess its ok.

Taker pulled of his yearly swan-dive over the top rope. The only thing I didn’t like during the match was Charles Robinson. That’s only because I felt sorry for the poor bastard having to run 100 yards or so on camera. Edge kicking out of the tombstone was a nice touch that pulled the crowd right back in.

The falsies worked and kept the crowd going as well. There weren't 100 false finishes, but every one they did fit and worked. Edge and Taker did an awesome job of keeping the crowds interest and keeping the match on the up-slope. There wasn’t a drop in the match. The action may have slowed but it was in the right place at the right time each time they did it.

In the end, while I wanted to see Edge be the guy to get the rub of ending the streak I was incredibly happy with the way it turned out. Edge and Undertaker can keep this feud going. I see no reason as to why this feud has to be over. I expect some sort of gimmick match at Backlash, but maybe I'm wrong.

Orlando’s Citrus Bowl had a new attendance record and this years WrestleMania may have indeed set a new record when it comes to PPV buys. Floyd Mayweather predicted 1.4 million, and the buyrate may equal, or even surpass that.

WrestleMania Results…
*Kane wins pre-show battle royal to become #1 Contender to the ECW title
*JBL def. Finlay in a Belfast Brawl
*CM Punk wins Money in the Bank ladder match
*Batista def. Umaga
*Kane def. Chavo Guererro to become new ECW Champion
*Shawn Michaels def. Ric Flair
*Beth Phoenix & Melina def. Ashley & Maria
*Randy Orton def. John Cena and Triple H to retain the WWE Championship
*Floyd Mayweather def. The Big Show
*The Undertaker def. Edge to become the new World Heavyweight Champion


25 comments: on "WrestleMania: Better Than Advertised!"

Sir Nathaniel said...

Michaels and Flair was gold, loved that after the match, there was no music, no pyro, just Flair walking out to the sound of a loud respectful standing ovation.

Undertaker and Edge delievered a great mania main event, one of the best mania main events in some time.

Anonymous said...

I dont think Flair was calling the spot on camera. he was in character sayin COME ON HIT ME.

There's nothing fake about that.

B4 said...

I have never been so glad to be wrong about a match as I was about the Triple Threat. I'm no Orton mark, but the guy has looked week over the past weeks against HHH/Cena, so him going over is the way it should have been booked and the E did it right.

I agree with you JBL going over. This match was supposed to be the payoff for the miserable months we...I mean Horny...have had to suffer through. Sometimes it pays to be Vince's boy.

I don't think they are booking Punk for another ECW title run. I actually think they might literally be giving him Jeff Hardy's push. We might be seeing him moving to RAW and challenging Orton soon. He'll be the "first" (not counting Kennedy, like JR) MITB winner that doesn't win the belt.

I was reminded the other day that Paul Wight called "Big Show" is slave name in Memphis last year...does coming back, taking back the slave name, and putting over a midget boxer mean he's "into" being a slave?

I didn't make a prediction for the Bunnies crap because it was a bathroom break for all, but glad to know it was at least a spot for Santino to shine.

As I said, Glen Jacobs is on his last run and they are giving him the strap for his service over the years. I wish they had done the same for Ric Flair, but Flair's WWF title reigns, though not magical, weren't just a cup of coffee like Kane's one. The bad thing is, ECW TV is about to go from shit to shittier.

I'm very much looking forward to Taker/Edge 2. I think they'll step it up even more.

I would say that last night was a solid PPV...but still a weak Wrestlemania and glad I didn't spend $55 on it. However, it did give us some good matches and a fond farewell.

Jeff said...

DJB, much love, but you did not get the story to the Flair/Michaels classic... missed spots? you said that... called finish? that's what you saw?

Dude that was the greatest story I have ever seen told in a ring and a match that I will remember forever...

mach23 said...

I think this was one of the better wrestlemanias in a while. I enjoyed watching all the matches and laughing at batista. I thought when matt hardy came out he was gonna win but he left and i noticed they tried to do some similair moves to make up for jeff not being there and for Flair......I'm Sorry...I Love You, it had to end that way

Anonymous said...

Ya DJB there was not 1 missed spoint or called finish in Flair vs HBK

Anonymous said...

Ya DJB there was not 1 missed spoint or called finish in Flair vs HBK

Matt said...

I thoughts were exactly what you wrote about the opening match. Great match, questionable finish. The only reasons behind it that i could think of could be
1. they wanted to open the show with a heel victory, to ease the crowd into the big heel win later in the show (Orton) or...
2. they want to continue the hornswoggle angle (hopefully this isn't the case, but it probably is.
Either way, great match, and great opener.

I don't have a problem with the Kane match and bunny mania, as there needed to be some spots for the audience to catch their breath between the 4 huge matches of the night. Santino being on the show was great, as was the rock calling him out at the HOF, as it shows that he is important to the company. The only other guys the rock called ou besides him were Cena, Jericho, and Stone cold. That's good company to be in.

Flair's match was a rollercoaster of emotions as expected. I was hoping Orton went over, but was still pleasantly surprised that he did. Was hopeing but not really expecting it to happen.

CM Punk was another unexpected win for me, but it makes sense. MVP cant be pushed too fast, and I dont thi nk he's quite to that level yet. But when he gets there, it will be that much better for us as smarks. I don't know Punk will go from here. For me, best case scenerio is that edge wins the belt back in a few months, and punk holds off on his case and we get the star fued we've all been waiting for.

Taker and edge's match satisfied high expectations, but the run-in was a terrible idea. Those two wont have contracts by this time next year.

On a side note, we should reconsider batista's new name. I dont think he should have any O's in his name, nevermind 2. I still like the name BATTI-sta. When is Umanga going to win?

I initially thought lockdown would be better than mania, but last night was pretty good. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

the only thing better than the hbk/flair match was the family in the front row who wore mania shirts all night until the triple threat match.
they pulled off those shirts to reveal "we hate cena" shirts.
that group is awesome!
honorable mention goes to what i believe was the "tna plane" rumoured to fly around the citrus bowl.
if i'm not mistaken- you could hear it for most of the night until the sun went down.
tna's dry hump tactics belie their desperation.

Anonymous said...

nm i just read they didn't actually do tha 'tna plane' deal.
i suppose everything else they're doing right now is adequate dryhumpage.

D.J.B. said...

I got the Flair story and I'll never forget it either but I'm not going to cover for the blown spot where Michaels couldn't bridge out of the pin, or the one where they missed their steps and Michaels had to run sideways into the ropes and back out but that doesn't matter.

Matt I agree, O's are the wrong thing Bati's name so how about Buutista? Does that work for everyone.

Anonymous said...

it's amazing (and a shame) that while hbk is one of the best at tellin a story w/ his mannerisms and movements; the story is still grossly misinterpreted...

Anonymous said...

The bridge was not a missed spot DJB! It was HBK selling!! geeezzzz

Darth Frost said...

exactly it was pretty obvious. HBK did just go through an announce table. This was by one far one of the best shows this year

Anonymous said...

Ok, so that was a "sell." If it was a sell why would he chose to sell on a move that used his legs not his already bad back? Why would he hit another moonsault and why would he go out of that spot and back on the offensive if he didn't have the power to do it?

I gotta agree with DJB, he missed that spot, but it was still a great match, one of the greatest matches I've ever seen, and one I'll never forget.

Great recap for a great show.

Andrew Gray said...

It was a missed spot from my view. And so was the moonsault to the outside by HBK when Flair failed to catch him. When HBK was going up to the top rope, I said to myself, "He [Flair] better catch him," especially after the rough landing on the announce table . . . and then Flair didn't. But let's not focus on one throwaway sentence (and not even the most important part of the sentence at that) from DJB's article: "Sure they missed a few spots, but it didn’t matter."

The Edge-Undertaker match was good, but I'd say it wasn't even the best of the night. They struggled to get the crowd involved at first: partially because the crowd was tired, partially because everyone knew Taker was going over, and partially because they were a little off. But they had the crowd sucked in at the end, no doubt.

I'll echo anonymous's thought: Great recap of a great show.

mach23 said...

They should add the Flair farewell address tothe end of the Wrestlmania dvd when they make it

D.J.B. said...

Thanks anonymous, and Andrew, I'm glad you guys caught onto the part about it not mattering. They could have played hopscotch while hula-hooping and I wouldn't have cared.

Mach23 I echo that. They should, and I also can't wait on the next Flair DVD release.

Thank you Ric!

Andrew Gray said...

My guess is his retirement match will be on the next Flair DVD release (scheduled for later this year) along with the farewell address from Raw (plus, the stuff we didn't see ie. Taker, Vince and Steph coming out too) - - - which would be sweet

I don't think it's a coincidence that the release of his DVD is coinciding with his retirement.

D.J.B. said...

Taker and the McMahons will be on a DVD much like his celebration after his match with HHH in 04. I'll own that DVD too.

MW said...

Seriously, how good was the Show/Mayweather match? I was expecting a normal celebrity spot but Mr. M'O'ney Mayweather delivered a better in-ring performance than Batista. True, it's not saying much but Mayweather isn't a worker. Props to both guys for putting on a great match. Props to Show for taking some nasty punches and chair shots. Props to Mayweather for successfully crossing over, taking a nice chop from show and just an overall good outing.

While they had a good match, the Flair match was intensely emotional. Ouch to Michaels' moonsault to the announce table. And the finish was perfect. I always thought Flair was overconfident and arrogant. But it's okay when you are what you say you are and Flair is definitely what he says he is.

Dan-e-o said...

For the record DJ, I never bought concert tickets to blow it off. Tix were purchased before realizing it was the same day as Mania. Either way, I saw it the next day and enjoyed it as well.

More, of course, on this week's show.

Cena = worst performer of the night.

D.J.B. said...

I remember that conversation Dan, I was just giving you hell, because I remember you saying you'd have to find a way to watch it soon.

Cena=horrible, but the overall show was good.

Jeff said...

Cena worse than Batista?

D.J.B. said...

Yes. Batista at least does captivate his audience before the match but he completely ruins it inside the ring.

Cena completely bores people to death. Nobody in the arena either cared, or knew that it was Cena who was having his music done by a marching band. Then his half stroll broken into a full run to the ring had people's give-a-shit-o-meter at 0. I also can't tell how many times Orton's head almost fell out of Cena's head hugger. That was the most pitiful version I've ever seen.