My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

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!


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