My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Friday, April 29, 2005

Chris Candido passes away

I received the shocking news this afternoon from my buddy, TenzanTeam2K that former WWE/WCW/ECW star Chris Candido passed away last night at the age of 33. His brother made an official statement that the reason was due to a blood clot cause by complications of surgery to fix an ankle injury he acquired while working TNA's last PPV. Candido together with his real life girlfriend/wife Tammy Lynn Syntch, better known as Sunny from her WWF/E days, were one of the most recognised couples in all of wrestling and worked virtually everywhere together.
I'll admit I was never a big fan of his outside his ECW work as Mr. No Gimmicks Nescessary, but it's sad whenever someone in the business passes on at such a young age. Rest in Peace.
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Monday, April 25, 2005

Tanahashi wins the New Japan Cup

Hiroshi Tanahashi won the New Japan Cup Openweight Tournament last night in front of 5,800 fans at the Osaka Prefecturial Gymnasium, beating Manabu Nakanishi in the finals. Nakanishi defeated long time rival and current Blue Justice partner Kendo Kashin in the semis with his Hercules Cutter finisher, while Tanahashi advance beating Hiroyoshi Tenzan with, you guessed it, a cradle pin.
Tenzan not winning once again casts doubt on whether or not he'll beat Kojima for the IWGP title at the Tokyo Dome on 5/14, so I wouldn't be surprised if Tenzan lost again only for Kojima to ultimately lose the title to Tanahashi at a later date.

Results for the tournament (in reverse order):

NJPW, 4/24/05 (WPW/NJ+IWTV Internet)
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
5,800 Fans - No Vacancy

1. Hiroshi Nagao beat Yujiro (6:59) with a chokeslam.
2. Koji Kanemoto, Tiger Mask & Wataru Inoue vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Masked CTU-M & Hirooki Goto went to a draw (20:00) when the time limit expired.
3. New Japan Cup - Semi Final: Manabu Nakanishi beat Kendo Kashin (10:20) with the Hercules Cutter.
4. New Japan Cup - Semi Final: Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan (19:45) with an inside cradle.
5. Tatsumi Fujinami beat Katsuhiko Nakajima (3:59) with a Dragon sleeper.
6. Satoshi Kojima beat Togi Makabe (13:47) with a lariat.
7. Elimination Match: Masahiro Chono, Yuji Nagata, Scott Norton & Ryushi Yanagisawa beat Takashi Iizuka, Osamu Nishimura, Yutaka Yoshie & Shinsuke Nakamura (23:53).
- Yoshie used a diving body press on Yanagisawa (3:23).
- Norton used a powerbomb on Yoshie (10:20).
- Norton used a powerbomb on Iizuka (14:05).
- Nishimura used a backslide on Norton (14:42).
- Chono used a Shining Yakuza kick on Nishimura (16:44).
- Nakamura threw Chono out of the ring (18:46).
- Nagata used a reverse Nagata Lock III on Nakamura (23:53).
8. New Japan Cup - Final: Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Manabu Nakanishi (19:21) with the Sling Blade.

NJPW, 4/23/05 (SXW)
Yokkaichi City Gymnasium
3,200 Fans

1. Naofumi Yamamoto beat Yujiro (8:33) with a backdrop suplex.
2. Hirooki Goto & Akiya Anzawa beat Wataru Inoue & Hiroshi Nagao (11:29) when Goto used a cross camel clutch on Nagao.
3. Scott Norton & Jushin Thunder Liger beat Tatsutoshi Goto & Tiger Mask (11:58) when Norton used a Jackhammer on Goto.
4. Black Strong Machine, Togi Makabe & Ryushi Yanagisawa beat Tatsumi Fujinami, Takashi Iizuka & El Samurai (12:24) when Makabe used a modified powerbomb on Samurai.
5. New Japan Cup - 5th Place Match: Osamu Nishimura beat Koji Kanemoto (17:07) with a ground Cobra Twist.
6. New Japan Cup - 5th Place Match: Masahiro Chono beat Yutaka Yoshie (16:31) with a Shining Yakuza kick.
7. New Japan Cup Best 4+alpha Special Tag Match: Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & Kendo Kashin beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Shinsuke Nakamura & Hiroshi Tanahashi (23:58) when Nagata used a reverse Nagata Lock III on Tanahashi.

NJPW, 4/21/05 (SXW)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
1,450 Fans - No Vacancy

1. Hiroshi Nagao beat Akiya Anzawa (6:34) with a chokeslam.
2. Jushin Thunder Liger, Jado, Gedo & Hirooki Goto beat Tiger Mask, Masahito Kakihara, Wataru Inoue & Katsushi Takemura (15:39) when Goto used the Go To Heaven on Takemura.
3. Scott Norton, Black Strong Machine & Ryushi Yanagisawa beat Takashi Iizuka, Hiro Saito & Shinsuke Nakamura (12:32) when Norton used a powerbomb on Hiro.
4. Togi Makabe beat Tomoaki Honma (11:49) with a lariat.
5. New Japan Cup - Round 2: Kendo Kashin beat Yutaka Yoshie (15:48) with a high-angle front cradle.
6. New Japan Cup - Round 2: Hiroyoshi Tenzan beat Osamu Nishimura (20:47) with the Anaconda Cross.
7. New Japan Cup - Round 2: Manabu Nakanishi beat Masahiro Chono (14:16) with the Hercules Cutter.
8. New Japan Cup - Round 2: Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Koji Kanemoto (17:38) with a Dragon suplex hold.

NJPW, 4/19/05 (Samurai! TV)
Hiroshima Sun Plaza
3,000 Fans - No Vacancy

1. New Japan Cup - Round 1: Koji Kanemoto beat Ryushi Yanagisawa (8:19) with a horizontal cradle.
2. New Japan Cup - Round 1: Manabu Nakanishi beat Hirooki Goto (7:34) with the Hercules Cutter.
3. New Japan Cup - Round 1: Minoru (Minoru Tanaka) beat Osamu Nishimura (16:47) by countout.
4. New Japan Cup - Round 1: Yutaka Yoshie beat Scott Norton (9:07) with a diving body press.
5. New Japan Cup - Round 1: Masahiro Chono beat Tiger Mask (10:29) with a Shining Yakuza kick.
6. New Japan Cup - Round 1: Kendo Kashin beat Shinsuke Nakamura (8:55) with a jackknife hold.
7. New Japan Cup - Round 1: Hiroyoshi Tenzan beat Jushin Thunder Liger (15:54) with a moonsault press.
8. New Japan Cup - Round 1: Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Yuji Nagata (24:12) by DQ.

NOAH Budokan notes

Some additional notes from yesterdays Budokan show, appearantly after his long fought GHC title match with Saito, there were some boos directed at Takeshi Rikio during his interview. Not sure if they were booing him for what he said or the poor quality of the match, but don't forget his opponent was Akitoshi Saito of all people, and Saito sucks in singles matches and should never have been given a second title shot to begin with.
SUWA appealed for a GHC Jr. Tag Title match after losing to KENTA by DQ for referee violence. Sugiura and Kanemaru also did run-ins during the short match, so hopefully something big is in the works to finally get the GHC Jr. Tag Titles off Marufuji & KENTA.
Kawada's appearance and hand-shake scored the biggest pop of the night, and Misawa accepted his challenge for the Tokyo Dome. All that's left is to see whether they decide on a singles match or a tag match. A singles match of course would be the best and better drawing solution.
The most heated match of the night was the Tenryu/Kobashi tag confrontation where the two had a chop battle and bloodied up each other's chests. Something I definately want to check out! I'll definately get this show when it becomes available as I want to see things for myself how it turned out.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

NOAH 4/24 Budokan results

Results from the big Budokan show today had a two big surprises!
First, TOSHIAKI KAWADA made his very first appearance in a NOAH ring as he met and shook hands with Misawa in the ring and announced he would be participating at the 7/18 NOAH "DESTINY" Tokyo Dome show!
The second big surprise was the announcement of the first match for DESTINY: KENTA KOBASHI VS KENSUKE SASAKI! A true modern day dream match if ever! Two of the all time greats in the business are sure to put on a Hell of a lariat battle!
As for the show itself, Takeshi Rikioh made his first successfull defence of the GHC Heavyweight title against Akitoshi Saito. The match went longer than I would have liked, but I hope it was at least a good match.
I very dissapointed the KENTA/SUWA match only went 7 minutes and ended in a DQ, but I guess this means a rematch will be in the works. Tokyo Dome maybe?

NOAH, 4/24/05
Tokyo Nippon Budokan

1. Jun Izumida & Makoto Hashi beat Masao Inoue & Kishin Kawabata (14:18) when Izumida used the Meteorite on Kawabata.
2. Tamon Honda, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura beat Bison Smith, Rick Steiner & Ricky Marvin (16:09) when Sugiura used an Olympic Slam on Marvin.
3. Scorpio, Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan beat Yoshinari Ogawa, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Richard Slinger (19:16) when Scorpio used the Drop The Bomb on Kikuchi.
4. Akira Taue & Takuma Sano beat Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima (10:58) when Taue used the Ore Ga Taue on Yone.
5. KENTA beat SUWA (6:23) by DQ.
6. Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji beat Mitsuharu Misawa & Kotaro Suzuki (20:00) when Marufuji used the Shiranui on Suzuki.
7. Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu beat Kenta Kobashi Go Shiozaki (17:30) when Tenryu pinned Shiozaki with a powerbomb.
8. GHC Heavyweight Title: Takeshi Rikio © beat Akitoshi Saito (25:06) with the Muso.

Overall, I think I'll be picking up this show as it does have some interesting moments I want to check out.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Champion Carnival 2005 results

Despite a big upset at the beginning and interesting booking throughout the Carnival, Kensuke Sasaki became the big winner this year, beating Jamal in the finals after going through Toshiaki Kawada and avenging his Triple Crown title match loss in January. Jamal himself made it to the finals pulling off a shocking upset over 4-Crown champion Satoshi Kojima, whom also Sasaki defeated on the opening day.

Full results for the tour (in reverse order):

AJPW Champion Carnival, 4/20/05 (GAORA TV)
Yoyogi National Stadium Gymnasium #2
5,300 Fans - No Vacancy

1. Arashi & Toshizo beat Masanobu Fuchi & Akira Raijin (5:26) when Toshizo used the Fisherman's Buster on Raijin.
2. Champion Carnival - Semi Final: Jamal beat Satoshi Kojima (16:22) with the Flying Sausage.
3. Champion Carnival - Semi Final: Kensuke Sasaki beat Toshiaki Kawada (19:11) with the Northern Light Bomb.
4. Taiyo Kea & Buchanan beat Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai (5:06) when Buchanan used the Iron Bomb on Araya.
5. AJPW World Jr. Title: TAKA Michinoku © beat Katsuhiko Nakajima (17:04) with the Michinoku Driver II (5th defense).
6. AJPW VS Voodoo Murderers: TARU, Giant Bernard, Chuck Palumbo, Shuji Kondo & "brother" YASSHI beat Keiji Muto, Kaz Hayashi, Tomoaki Honma, Kohei Suwama & NOSAWA Rongai (17:16) when Bernard used the Baldo Bomb on Rongai.
7. Champion Carnival - Final: Kensuke Sasaki beat Jamal (17:32) with the Northern Light Bomb.

AJPW Champion Carnival, 4/17/05 (Samurai! TV)
Niigata City Gymnasium
2,550 Fans

1. Toshizo & Katsuhiko Nakajima beat Tomoaki Honma & Akira Raijin (13:37) when Nakajima used the R-15 on Raijin.
2. Champion Carnival - Block B: Jamal [6] beat Kohei Suwama [2] (6:08) with a Support hold.
3. Champion Carnival - Block A: Arashi [4] beat Giant Bernard [4] (2:38) when Bernard was disqualified.
4. Champion Carnival - Block B: Chuck Palumbo [5] beat Keiji Muto [5] (14:39) with the 187.
5. Satoshi Kojima, Kaz Hayashi & Tomoaki Honma beat TARU, "brother" YASSHI & Shuji Kondo (18:19) when Kojima used the CCD on YASSHI.
6. Champion Carnival - Block B: Toshiaki Kawada [7] beat Buchanan [5] (7:06) with a running low kick.
7. Champion Carnival - Block A: Kensuke Sasaki [6] beat Taiyo Kea [5] (21:01) with the Northern Light Bomb.

AJPW Champion Carnival, 4/16/05
Sunpia Matsumoto

1,800 Fans - Super No Vacancy Full House
1. TARU & "brother" YASSHI beat Kaz Hayashi & Taichi Ishikari (8:26) when TARU used the TARU Driller on Ishikari.
2. Champion Carnival - Block A: Taiyo Kea [5] beat Shuji Kondo [2] (10:34) with the Surfing Suplex.
3. Champion Carnival - Block B: Buchanan [5] drew Chuck Palumbo [3] (30:00).
4. Kensuke Sasaki, Toshizo & Katsuhiko Nakajima beat Arashi, Tomoaki Honma & Akira Raijin (16:26) when Sasaki used the lariat on Raijin.
5. Champion Carnival - Block B: Kohei Suwama [2] beat Keiji Muto [5] (13:09) with the German Suplex.
6. Champion Carnival - Block A: Satoshi Kojima [7] beat Giant Bernard [4] (8:56) when Bernard got counted out.
7. Champion Carnival - Block B: Jamal [4] beat Toshiaki Kawada [5] (17:31) with the Flying Sausage.

AJPW Champion Carnival, 4/14/05 (GAORA TV)
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium #2
1,600 Fans - Super No Vacancy Full House

1. Nobukazu Hirai beat Taichi Ishikari (7:31) with the Hirai End.
2. Champion Carnival - Block B: Chuck Palumbo [2] beat Kohei Suwama [0] (9:18) with the 187.
3. Buchanan & TAKA Michinoku beat TARU & "brother" YASSHI (9:56) when TARU assaulted the referee.
4. Champion Carnival - Block A: Taiyo Kea [3] vs. Giant Bernard [4] (10:51) ended when both got counted out.
5. Champion Carnival - Block A: Kensuke Sasaki [4] beat Shuji Kondo [2] (14:29) with the Norhtner Light Bomb.
6. Toshiaki Kawada, Kaz Hayashi & Akira Raijin beat Masanobu Fuchi, Nobutaka Araya & Katsuhiko Nakajima (17:49) when Kawada used a knee drop on Araya.
7. Champion Carnival - Block A: Satoshi Kojima [5] beat Arashi [2] (15:09) with a lariat.
8. Champion Carnival - Block B: Keiji Muto [5] beat Jamal [2] (13:14) with a Hurricanrana.

AJPW Champion Carnival, 4/13/05
Matsuyama ITEM
3,200 Fans - Super No Vacancy Full House

1. Champion Carnival - Block B: Buchanan [4] beat Kohei Suwama [0] (8:34) with the Iron Bomb.
2. Champion Carnival - Block A: Giant Bernard [4] beat Shuji Kondo [2] (3:20) with the Baldo Bomb.
3. TAKA Michinoku & Jamal beat TARU & "brother" YASSHI (9:01) when Jamal used the Landing Sausage on YASSHI.
4. Champion Carnival - Block A: Arashi [2] beat Kensuke Sasaki [2] (7:11) with an avalanche powerbomb.
5. Keiji Muto, Kaz Hayashi & Akira Raijin beat Nobutaka Araya, Nobukazu Hirai & Taichi Ishikari (16:04) when Muto used the Shining Wizard on Hirai.
6. Champion Carnival - Block B: Toshiaki Kawada [5] beat Chuck Palumbo [0] (9:32) with the Stretch Plum.
7. Champion Carnival - Block A: Satoshi Kojima [3] drew Taiyo Kea [3] (30:00).

AJPW Champion Carnival, 4/10/05 (Samurai! TV)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
2,100 Fans - Super No Vacancy

0. Masanobu Fuchi, Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai beat NOSAWA Rongai, Taichi Ishikari & Akira Raijin (9:43) when Araya used the Moonsault Press on Raijin.
1. Toshizo & Katsuhiko Nakajima beat TAKA Michinoku & BLUE-K (10:27) when Nakajima used a German Suplex on K.
2. TARU, Chuck Palumbo & "brother" YASSHI beat Kaz Hayashi, Tomoaki Honma & Kohei Suwama (12:16) when Palumbo used the 187 on Palumbo.
3. Champion Carnival - Block A: Taiyo Kea [2] beat Love Machine Arashi [0] (4:01) with a horizontal cradle.
4. Champion Carnival - Block B: Buchanan [2] beat Jamal [0] (8:50) with the Iron Bomb.
5. Champion Carnival - Block A: Satoshi Kojima [2] beat Shuji Kondo [2] (15:44) with a lariat.
6. Champion Carnival - Block A: Giant Bernard [2] beat Kensuke Sasaki [2] (7:50) with a Reverse Splash.
7. Champion Carnival - Block B: Keiji Muto [3] drew Toshiaki Kawada [3] (30:00).

AJPW Champion Carnival, 4/9/05 (GAORA TV)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
2,100 Fans - Super No Vacancy

0. Toshizo & Katsuhiko Nakajima beat Tomoaki Honma & Akira Raijin (9:38) when Nakajima used the R15 on Raijin.
1. Masanobu Fuchi, Kaz Hayashi & NOSAWA Rongai beat Nobutaka Araya, Nobukazu Hirai & Taichi Ishikari (9:20) when Hayashi used an inside cradle on Ishikari.
2. TAKA Michinoku , Taiyo Kea & BLUE-K beat TARU, Giant Bernard & "brother" YASSHI (7:34) when Bernard got disqualified for referee violence.
3. Champion Carnival - Block A: Shuji Kondo [2] beat Love Machine Arashi [0] (10:33) with a chickenwing hold.
4. Champion Carnival - Block B: Jamal [2] beat Chuck Palumbo [0] (14:27) with the Flying Sausage.
5. Champion Carnival - Block B: Toshiaki Kawada [2] beat Kohei Suwama [0] (3:36) with a Jumping High Kick.
6. Champion Carnival - Block B: Keiji Muto [2] beat Buchanan [0] (9:13) with the Shining Wizard.
7. Champion Carnival - Block A: Kensuke Sasaki [2] beat Satoshi Kojima [0] (29:29) with the Northern Light Bomb.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Osaka Pro 4/15/2005 Results

Osaka Pro Wrestling ran a big show from Korakuen Hall yesterday, with the significance being that it would be the last show before the changing of the guard where many of the top workers are leaving or retiring.

Korakuen Hall - 1308 Fans

1. Disco Machine beat La Uchida in 5:34 with the Choke Breaker.
2. Onryo beat YUTAKA in 11:13 with the 666 Lock
3. Takaku Fuke beat Tsubasa in 11:05 with a chickenwing facelock.
4. Big Boss MA-G-MA beat Gamma in 14:05 with the Last Ride.
5. Jushin Thunder Liger & Kabuto Daio Beetle beat Black Buffalo & Daio QUALLT in 15:07 when Beetle used the Maximum Drive on Daio.
6. Kuishinbo Kamen, Super Delfin & Super Dolphin beat Billy Ken Kid, Ebessan & Perro in 18:13 when Dolphin used the Dolphin Magic on Perro.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

WWE WrestleMania XXI results

The show opens with Lilian Garcia singing the American National anthem.
What? No interferance from Mohd. Hassan?

They then air the latest WrestleMania movie trailer featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin in the famous scene from Gladiator where he faces Caesar and vows revenge.

Eddie Guerrero VS Rey Mysterio
Michael Cole hyped the match as the first time in WrestleMania history that co-holders of the tag team titles face off with each other. This was a very mat-based match with Eddie controlling most of it with his size and power advantage. They were very good at trading counters, like Eddie had to attempt the Three Amigos suplex three times before he could actually get all of them cause Mysterio kept wriggling out of it. After Eddie finally completes the trifecta, he misses the Frog Splash leading to Rey Rey hitting the 619, but Eddie counters the West Coast Pop into a sick powerbomb! Mysterio won the match with a roll-up counter out of nowhere, which made it look a bit like a fluke. A good match overall, but nothing really outstanding.
Rey & Eddie shake hands after the match, but both seem to forget their tag title belts at ringside
Match Rating: **

JBL and the Cabinet run into Triple H & Ric Flair backstage, and the two start poking fun at each other. Bragging about who the better champion is, they settle it by seeing who will hold on to their title by the end of the night.

"Money In The Bank" Ladder Match:
Chris Benoit VS Chris Jericho VS Christian VS Edge VS Shelton Benjamin VS Kane

This was just AWESOME! Definately a game of one ups-manship in this one as it was a big spot-fest from the start! I'd have to say Shelton Benjamin was probably the MVP of this match as he pulled some incredible moves like a giant dive over the ropes onto everyone, using a ladder as a ramp to run up another ladder, and giving Edge the T-Bone off the top of a ladder! There was a HUGE Shelton chant going for him. The only other person who could arguably be the MVP of the match was Benoit, who German-suplexed Jericho while he was holding a ladder and hit a swandive headbutt off the top of a ladder! Kane busted Benoit's arm though, when smashed it between a ladder. Give Kane credit for working hard in this one also cause he even did a HUGE dive out of the ring on everyone, and almost KILLED Christian by tipping over his ladder causing Capt. Charisma to crash outside on Tyson Tomko. Heck, Kane even took a ladder conchairto from Edge and Christian! One thing I didn't like about this match was the ending, where Edge smacked Benoit's bad arm with a chair causing him to fall off the ladder, giving him an open opportunity to grab the contract and win the match. The match went about 15-minutes, but I would so have preffered if it went just a bit longer
Match Rating: ****

JR & Jerry Lawler point out Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider in the audience. No one mentions one of the Black Eyes Peas sitting behind them.

Eugene makes his return as he heads down to the ring and starts babbling about midgets, which of course leads to Mohammad Hassan coming out to complain about not getting on the WrestleMania card. He goes on to rant that if he doesn’t get a WrestleMania moment, that he’ll make his own. They then proceed to beat down Eugene, and Hassan again does the throat slash gesture before applying a camel clutch on Eugene.
Now, I KNOW what was about to happen, but I STILL couldn’t help but mark out like a little kid when REAL AMERICAN hits on the speakers and HULK HOGAN comes out to make the save! Both Arab-Americans beat down Hogan as he gets in the ring, but Hulk instantly rallies back and takes them both out! Hogan gives Hassan the big boot before tossing him out of the ring. Daivari gives Hogan a shot to the back with a chair, but Hulk no-sells it and gives him a big boot before tossing him out as well! We all know what happens next as Hogan does his trademark ring poses to a HUGE ovation from the crowd, and even I couldn’t help but cheer a bit. You might hate the man today, but his legacy is UNTOUCHABLE. Yes, ladies and gentleman. THIS is what you call a WrestleMania moment! I think the fans were a disappointed he didn’t do a leg drop though.
Interesting to note that former WCW champion (Can’t believe I just typed that) David Arquette is in the audience with Hogan’s family, cheering him on.

The Undertaker VS Randy Orton
Now THIS was a WRESTEMANIA CALIBER MATCH! Arguably ‘Taker’s best match in a LONG time. Both men put on a incredible match here that was well worked and had a great pace to it. Taker countered an early RKO attempt by tossing Orton right out of the ring. Taker even brought back the old TCB dragon sleeper to get a near submission. Ending of the match sees referee Earl Hebner get bumped, the Ace Cowboy Bob Orton runs down to help his son by whacking Taker with his trademark armcast (Doesn’t that thing EVER heal?!?). Orton covers for a VERY near fall! Taker rallies back and takes out Cowboy Bob and revs up Orton for the chokeslam, but Orton counters it into a WICKED RKO! Orton covers and gets a 2.999!!!! Orton is shocked! Orton signals for the TOMBSTONE! Orton picks up Taker and has him up, but in true Taker fashion, he flips over and counters into a Tombstone piledriver of his own! A three count later and the Undertaker is 13-0 for WrestleMania! Happy, Krinkle?
This match was so good, even I was rooting for Taker to take it home. I also noticed the match exposed Orton’s serious lack of offensive moves, which he’ll definitely have plenty of time to work on since he’s still young. Best WRESTLING match of the night so far!
Match Rating: ****3/4 (Point deducted for outside interference and ref bump)

WWE Women’s Title: Christy Hemme VS Trish Stratus
Ok, not as bad as I expected it to be, but Christy still needs a lot of work on her offence as the only move she did that looked good was the Twist of Fate. Everything else was really sloppy from her and you could see Trish instructing her at certain points. Christy does have some interesting moves though, like the split legged sunset flip out of the corner. After several roll-up counters, Trish hits the Chick Kick to retain her title. Guess this means Christy will win the title on RAW tomorrow?
Match Rating: *

Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Marg Helgenberger of CSI are shown in the audience as we head to the match EVERYONE (Don’t deny it!) has been waiting for

Shawn Michaels VS Kurt Angle
Everything about it was pure greatness! From the opening mat grappling to the insane bumps, this match had it all! Great story, great psychology, and definitely worth every penny! And unlike the Taker/Orton match earlier, they didn’t rely on old-school run ins or referee bumping, just great ring-work!
First sick bump of the match was Angle giving HBK an Olympic Slam into the corner post outside. Later, Angle would try to German suplex HBK off the apron through the announce table, but HBK countered with a low blow that received plenty of boos from the audience. HBK would then hit a HUGE springboard moonsault onto Angle on the announce table, and the table DIDN’T BREAK cause as Lawler pointed out, the announce tables have been REINFORCED! Angle would continue to attack HBK’s back with multiple front suplexes, and would try for a super front suplex off the top only for HBK to knock him off, but HBK would miss the diving elbow. HBK would later counter the Olympic Slam twice for two near falls, but Angle would finally connect with the Slam after countering a Sweet Chin Music, but only get a 2.5! Frustrated, Angle would pull a Kobashi and use a move he hasn’t done in YEARS! THE MOONSAULT! But unlike Kobashi, Angle missed! Exhausted, HBK would again go up the top rope for the elbow drop, but Angle pops up and quickly runs up top to give HBK a SUPER OLYMPIC SLAM! Angle covers, but AGAIN only gets a near fall! Angle is IRATE! He picks up HBK and screams in his face for him to just give up and tap out! HBK would respond by shoving him off and kicking his teeth in with Sweet Chin Music! HBK barely has the strength to crawl over and make the cover, but only gets a 2.9! Then, just as HBK manages to get to his feet, Angle just pops to his feet and locks HBK in the ANKLE LOCK! HBK rolls around several times trying to escape, but Angle has it locked tight and drops into the GRAPEVINE ANKLE LOCK!!! HBK struggles for all he’s worth as the crowd is going nuts, but eventually TAPS OUT!!! ANGLE WINS!!! AND WE HAVE A MATCH OF THE YEAR RIGHT HERE!!!
Match Rating: *****!!!!

After Angles leaves, HBK struggles to his feet and gets a big reaction from the crowd, but some boos could also easily be heard.

JR & King announced the some of the winners for the WrestleMania trailers, with the award for best female going to Stacy Kiebler in the Basic Instinct skit.

The bagpipes the start up and out comes Rowdy Roddy Piper for Piper's Pit with Stone Cold Steve Austin. This was a new version of Piper's theme. I preferred the old one he used to use. Piper got on Austin's case about being a rebel and that Piper was being a pain in Vince McMahon's ass since Austin was a baby. Piper also played up to the crowd real well as he reacted to their "What?" chants. I also noticed that Piper just smokes Austin when it comes to talking on the mic as he didn't have to use any swear words to make himself sound more intimidating. Just when it seems to two might come to blows, out comes Carlito Caribbean Cool!
Carlito says no one wants to see the two of them cause they aren't cool and asks them to leave the ring. Piper grabs his apple and chomps down on it before spitting it in Carlito's face! Carlito takes down Piper and pounds away on him as Austin looks on with a smile on his face before pulling Carlito off and stomping him in the corner before tossing him to Piper who gives Carlito a thumb in the eyes and Austin hits the Stunner! Piper tosses out Carlito and he and Austin enjoy a beer bash, to which Piper couldn't keep up with Austin's drinking and is on the verge of tipping over when Austin gives him a Stunner! Austin does his usual routine before leaving the ring.
Austin giving Piper the Stunner was predictable from the day this segment was announced, but the addition of Carlito was a nice twist.

Next up, they announce the WrestleMania movie trailer that won fan favourite, which went to the Taxi Driver audition trailer.

The next match is the highly anticipated Sumo match!

Sumo Match: Akebono VS The Big Show
It was pretty obvious the American fans had no idea about the routine for a Sumo match as they booed when the two big men assumed the start position, but would then break off to go to their corner. This is common practice for a Sumo match.
When the match eventually started, it was obviously worked as they broke off several times so they could stare each other down. On the second break, Show does his arm lifting taunt and they go at it again, with Show actually lifting Akebono off his feet and turning him around, but being the skilled Yokozuna he is, Akebono used Show's own momentum to toss him out of the ring and win the match!
Big Show was upset at first, but ended up shaking Akebono's hand and giving him a big hug. The two laughed it off as Show gestured how he almost had the match won. I won't rate this match as it was not a standard match, but it was still fun to watch if you like traditional Sumo.

WWE Championship: John “Bradshaw” Leyfield VS John Cena
How HORRIBLE is Cena’s new entrance theme? It just so does not match his persona. It sounds more like it’s suited to the Guerrero’s or some other Latino wrestler instead.
Ok, from a wrestling stand point, this was a good match. But from a WrestleMania point of view, this was just poor. I mean sure Cena won the title, but where was the drama? Where were the back and forth near falls to get the fans on their feet? One missed Clothesline from Hell into the FU and that’s it?!? It should have taken at least two to get the fans into it more. There was nothing here to put any doubt as to who would have won the match, or to make it look like it could have gone either way. This was a big step down compared to the climax of Taker/Orton and Angle/HBK. The flash three count on Guerrero from Mysterio was bad enough, but a one shot KO win like this is just disappointing when you consider the grand stage it was on.
Match Rating: **1/2

Highlights of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony were shown, followed by Mean Gene in the ring to introduce the Hall of Famers to the live crowd. Again, they are Nikolai Volkof, The Iron Sheik, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorf, Ace Cowboy Bob Orton Jr. (selling his bump from earlier), “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart, Rowdy Roddy Piper and “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan.

World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H VS Batista
Motorhead do a live performance of Triple H’s “The Game” theme. Lemmy Kilmister might be a metal God, but for some reason his vocals just couldn’t keep up with the speed of the track.
On to the match, and while it was definitely better than Cena/JBL, it was still lacking something that the two big interbrand matches had: Story and Drama. Both men worked really hard here, but when you see someone like The Undertaker raise his game the way he did earlier, I definitely would have expected more from Triple H and Batista. Even if H did do a killer blade job (but HBK didn’t this time around and still had a spectacular match), this still could have been a lot better since it was the main event of WWE’s biggest PPV of the year.
Match Rating: ***

Overall: Despite the shortcomings of the two main events, when a PPV has two matches that gets you to shout at your screen in support of the action and one true WrestleMania moment that gets you to mark out like a kid, then this show definitely gets a thumbs up!