Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child sings “America the Beautiful” to kick off the show, accompanied by clips of the WWE superstars visiting the troops. She didn’t look to happy to be there, but she got into it towards the end.
I like the setup for the arena with giant posters of all the superstars participating tonight hung all around the arena.
Cue a really cool montage of great WrestleMania moments which includes classic face offs, legends, and superstars than and now. When that is done we see a cool video rundown of the main matches for tonight’s big show. Looks like Cena/HHH is the main event.WWE World Tag Team Titles: Carlito & Chris Masters VS Kane & Big Show (C)
Kane hits a dropkick and JR says it must be like being hit by a bowling bag. Welcome back JR. Big Show bodypresses Masters, followed by Carlito, throwing him out to the floor onto Masters. Kane hits a huge flying plancha off the top to the outside on Masters & Carlito. The challengers get the advantage for a little bit when they smack Big Show’s head into an exposed turnbuckle, followed by a flapjack. They try for a double suplex, but Show reverses it and tags Kane.
Kane cleans house, but Masters catches him out of the flying clothesline into the Masterlock! Show gives Masters a big boot to break the hold, which actually scored some boos from the live crowd. Show tries to chokeslam Carlito, but Masters takes him out with a chopblock. Masters tries to come off the top on Kane, but Kane dodges and Carlito takes the double sledge off the top. Kane gives Masters a boot out the ring and chokeslams Carlito to retain the tag titles!
Carlito & Masters argue for a bit after the match before leaving. Crowd was way into Carlito, and booed when they left the ring without any real hassle. This was more or less another total squash for the champions, but at least they kept the pace up to keep things entertaining.Match Rating: **
Interview with HBK Shawn Michaels, who says not to expect a five star classic like he usually does at WrestleMania, and Vince better be the one to pray when he comes out to the ring this time.Inter-brand Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Matt Hardy VS Shelton Benjamin VS Finlay VS Rob Van Dam VS Bobby Lashley VS Ric Flair
Lasley dominates the opening of the match until he is taken out by a sick kick by Benjamin. Hardy tries to bring a ladder into the ring, but RVD dropkicks it into him before doing a placha onto Hardy & the ladder! Benjamin brings in a ladder and smacks Finlay with it. He sets up the ladder and uses it as a rampway to hit a huge flip out of the ring on Hardy, RVD & Lashley! Finlay sets up the ladder in the ring, but Flair takes him down and goes up for the briefcase, but is cut off by Hardy who superplexes him off the ladder! Flair seems to land hard on his ankle and trainers are called him to help carry him out of the match.
RVD drop toe-holds Benjamin on a ladder, but misses Rolling Thunder on the ladder. Finlay goes up the ladder but is cut off by Benjamin, who tries to powerbomb him off, but needs help from Finlay & Hardy to get the big man down. Finlay smacks a ladder into Hard followed by Lasley & RVD. Flair makes his way back to the ring and takes out Finlay. He tries to go up the ladder but is stopped by Hardy & Benjamin. Flair takes out the youngsters and goes up the ladder. Flair almost gets the briefcase, but Finlay smacks him in the head with the shalayleigh. Benjamin cuts off Finlay, but Lashley whacks them both off the ladder with another ladder, and gives Benjamin the Dominator! Lashley now goes up the ladder, but RVD comes off the top and dropkicks a chair into his back!
Hardy sets up a ladder and gives Lashley a leg drop off the ladder. He sets up another ladder and makes his way up, and the fans actually boo him! Finlay catches him half way. Hardy gives Finlay a Side Effect off the ladder! RVD goes up the top of the ladder and gives Finlay a Five Star Frog Splash, which gets an ECW chant!
RVD goes up the ladder, and Benjamin comes out of nowhere pouncing onto the ladder with a springboard off the rope! Benjamin & RVD duke it out, but Hardy sets up a ladder next to them and tries to go for the briefcase. Benjamin catches him in the act and goes after Hardy. RVD pushes the ladder they are on and both men take a nasty spill out of the ring, and RVD claims the briefcase to win the Money in the Bank!
Awesome match!Match Rating: ****
Interview with the Hall of Famer Mean Gene Okerlund, but it’s interrupted by Randy Orton, who in turn gets interrupted by Batista, claiming he’ll be champion again by the time WrestleMania 23 comes around.
Howard Finkel announces that Bret Hart was not comfortable being there tonight, and introduces the Hall of Fame class of 2006: Mean Gene, Sensational Sherri, Tony Atlas, Verne Gagne, celebrity inductee William “Refrigerator” Perry, The Blackjacks, and Eddie Guerrero being represented by Vickie Guerrero, which gets one hell of a pop and the other legends give Vickie their respects.WWE United States Championship: John “Bradshaw” Leyfield with Jillian Hall VS Chris Benoit (C)
JBL gets a rather cool entrance as the entire rampway is lifted up, and his limo comes in from underneath! Jillian looks hot as a cowgirl, too.
Benoit controls the opening moments as he works JBL’s arm and tries for the Crossface and the Sharpshooter. JBL takes control with a little distraction from Jillian, but Benoit comes back with a triple-German and goes up top for the swan dive head butt, but is cut off by JBL who gives him a big superplex.
JBL mocks Eddie Guerrero tries for the Three Amigos, but Benoit escapes the third suplex but runs into a big boot from JBL. JBL does an interesting shoulder nerve hold/Misawa face lock move to wear down Benoit, who eventually escapes with a back suplex. Benoit battles back and hits the Three Amigos followed by the diving head butt for a near fall.
Benoit charges in, but Bradshaw ducks and tries for the Clothesline From Hell, but Benoit ducks it and tries for a German, but JBL grabs the referee to prevent the move. JBL gives Benoit a back elbow and again tries for the CFH, but Benoit counters into the Crossface! But JBL rolls out of it and grabs the ropes for leverage as the referee counts three to crown a new champion!
This was a rather interesting match which toned things down from the ladder match. Interesting to see where they go with this. Not one of the better Benoit matches, but still solid none the less. I don’t think it was necessary for JBL to mock Eddie, but I think his win here adds some doubt to whether Rey Mysterio can win the title later, or will both men fighting in Eddie’s memory get screwed tonight?Match Rating: **Hardcore Match: Edge with Lita VS Mick Foley
Joey Styles joins King & JR on commentary for this one.
Edge brings the bat Foley gave him on RA and tries to whack Foley with it early on. Foley ducks and throws punches at Edge before giving him a bulldog and hangs him in the Tree of Woe and drops the elbow on his head upside down. Edge comes back and Lita tosses him some weapons to smack Foley in the head with.
Edge hits the spear on Foley, but is hurt himself more than Foley? Foley takes off his black flannel shirt, revealing the traditional red one underneath, only he’s got a layer of BARB WIRE wrapped around him! Edge’s left arm is bleeding as Foley chokes him with the wire and ties him on the ropes. Foley grabs a barb-wire bat from under the ring, but Lita jumps on his back to prevent him from using it on Edge. With Lita on his back, Foley gives Edge a Cactus-Clothesline out of the ring and all 3 crash on the floor!
Foley gives Edge a neckbreaker on the floor for a near fall. He tries to charge in on Edge, but Edge counters giving him a hip-toss into the steel steps! Edge rams him hard into the steps again. Edge brings out a table and sets Foley on it, but Foley rolls off as Edge goes up the top rope. Edge chases Foley up the rampway and slams his head hard on the steel entrance ramp!
They get back in the ring and Edge pours lighter fluid on Foley! Foley battles back and gives Edge a piledriver. Foley looks to smack Edge with a chair, but Lita distracts him and Edge hits him with a DDT on a cookie sheet for a near fall. Edge hits Foley with the barb-wire bat, busting him open. He gives Edge a bulldog on the barb wire bat for another near fall.
Edge grabs a bag of thumbtacks and pours them in the ring. He sets up Foley, but Mick counters with a backdrop onto the tacks! Foley brings out Mr. Socko, but wraps him in barb-wire before giving Edge the Mandible Claw! Lita tries to help, but gets a mouth full of wired Socko herself! Foley now goes to work on Edge with Barbie and Edge gets bloodied up, screaming in pain as Foley grinds the wire in his head!
Foley now grabs the lighter fluid and pours it on the table. Lita smacks Foley in the groin with Barbie and sets the table on fire! Edge spears Foley off the apron through the burning table and covers him for the win!
I guess any questions about Foley being out of shape were easily put to rest here. He didn’t get that WrestleMania moment he wanted, but it was definitely a memorable, brutal match.Match Rating: ****
Booker T & Sharmell freaked out by the Boogeyman backstage, and they run into Oprah-Dust, who says Booker shouldn’t fear Boogeyman, cause they are all freaks, and out come Snitzsky, Paul Burchill, Moolah, Mae Young, Eugene & Ted Dibiase! Oprah-Dust tells whispers to Booker where to stick the worms from Boogeyman. Booker calls them all freaks and stomps off, leaving Snitzsky to get in his “That wasn’t my fault!” line to a big laugh from the crowd, and Dibiase does his trademark laugh!
NFL Hall of Famer Joe Theisman & Michelle Williams are shown in the audience as the next match is about to kick off.Handicap Match: Booker T & Sharmell VS the Boogeyman
Booker pushed Sharmell to start the match, but it’s just a distraction as Booker attacks from behind and pounds away on Boogey for a while. Boogey comes back, but gets hit with a Book-End for a near fall. Boogey escapes dodges the scissors kick and rams Booker into the corner post. He grabs a hand full of worms and stuffs them into his mouth as he waits for Booker to recover. Sharmell sneaks up behind him and tries to take a shot at him with his own cane, but Boogey catches her and gives her a big kiss with a mouthful of worms! Sharmell runs off all hysterical, and Boogey hits Booker with a double-arm choke bomb (Baldo-bomb) for the win!
Crap match as expected, but at least Boogey picked up a more legit finisher than the pumphandle slam. Sucks to be Booker even if he did get on the show.Match Rating: DUDWWE Women’s Title: Mickie James VS Trish Stratus (C)
Starts off with a slugfest, and Trish in control unleashing elbow strikes and chops on Mickie. She catches a kick from Micked and pulls her down into a leg split! They take it to the outside, and Trish misses a Chick Kick which hits the corner post. Back in the ring and Mickie starts working on her bad leg as a “Lets Go Mickie” chant starts up!
Mickie uses all sorts of innovative moves on Trish’s leg, but Trish counters one of them into the spinning head scissors, which actually gets booed by the crowd. They boo more as she mounts a come back! Trish hits a spinebuster for a near fall and charges into Mickie in the corner, but runs into Mickie’s feet instead. Mickie goes up top but Trish tries for the Stratus-phere, but Mickie counters into and snaps Trish’s bad leg on the top rope!
Mickie tries for the corner hurricanrana, but Trish counters into a Liger-bomb! Trish tries for Stratusfaction, but Mickie grabs her crotch to break the hold! Mickie licks her hand, but turns around and eats a big elbow strike. Mickie kicks Trish in her bad knee, and tries for the Stratusfaction, but they botch the move, which gets a “you f*cked up” chant from the crowd, but JR was smart enough to call it as Trish’s knee was too busted up for the move. Mickie hits the Mick Kick for the win.
Save for the botched finish, this was easily the best women’s title match ever at WrestleMania I’d say.Match Rating: ****
The McMahon family is backstage and Vince calls for a family prayer. He says he and God aren’t too fond of each other and he’s defied everything God has thrown at him, and God is jealous of his Herculean physique, and says he’s gonna take out HBK tonight since HBK is close to God.Casket Match: Mark Henry VS the Undertaker
Cole hypes up ‘Taker’s unbeaten streak, going through the list of 14 wins and comparing it to the likes of actual sports records. Could this be a bad sign?
Henry attacks ‘Taker early on, but the Dead Man comes back with a big boot and tries to take down the big man with clotheslines, but gets dropped himself by a big clothesline from Henry. They take it to the outside and Henry smacks ‘Taker into the steps. Back in the ring and Henry escapes Old School and tries to put ‘Taker in the casket.
‘Taker fights it off and comes back to hit Old School on Henry, who still hasn’t gone down once yet in the match. ‘Taker tries a Complete Shot, but Henry counters with an STO. Henry sets up ‘Taker on the ropes and tries to slam into him, but ‘Taker dodges and Henry goes into the casket! Dead Man with heavy punches on Henry and they both go in the casket fighting. They get back in the ring where Henry gives ‘Taker a big slam.
Henry puts ‘Taker in the casket, but ‘Taker quickly gets up and drops Henry’s throat on the ropes. Henry battles back and pounds on Taker in the corner, but Taker powerbombs him out of the corner! Taker tosses Henry out of the ring and he lands on the casket, rolling out to the floor.
‘Taker than hits huge, HUGE dive over the top rope and over the casket, and takes down Henry on the outside! They get back in the ring and ‘Taker hits the Tombstone on Henry before tossing him into the casket for the win, retaining his undefeated streak!
A rather sluggish match, and obviously not one of ‘Taker’s best, but DAMN was that plancha impressive!Match Rating: **No DQ, No Count Out: Shawn Michaels VS Vince McMahon
JR makes a good point that Vince is going to Hell when he dies, and he’ll most probably take over when he gets there!
Shawn takes it straight to Vince on the outside and batters Vince on the outside with chops and smacks him with the microphone. Back in the ring and HBK breaks a big photo of Vince’s Muscle & Fitness magazine cover over Vince’s head.
The Spirit Squad than run in and beat down HBK, but HBK mounts a comeback, dodging a big leg drop, than whacks the rest of the Squad with their megaphone before launching them out of the ring. Unfortunately Vince had enough type to rest up and attacks HBK from behind. I guess Vince has a paper cut since he’s busted open from a cardboard poster. He also gets a “Steroids” chant from the crowd.
Vince whips HBK with his belt and chokes him with it. HBK mounts a short comeback, but is taken down by a belt shot across the throat. Vince tunes up the band and tries for Sweet Chin Music, but Shawn blocks it and mounts a comeback, taking down Vince with the flying foreman, doing the kip-up, and than wailing on Vince with his own belt.
HBK goes up top and hits the big elbow drop and tunes up for Sweet Chin Music, but Shane McMahon clobbers him from behind with a kendo stick! Shane brings out some handcuffs, but Vince wants HBK to kiss his ass instead and pulls his pants down! Shane is about to push HBK’s face in Vince’s ass, but Michaels blocks it and shoves Shane’s face in instead! Vince realizes what happens, and gets low-blowed by HBK!
HBK takes Shane to the outside and handcuffs him to the ropes. Shane takes out the keys, but HBK grabs them and throws them out to the audience! He mocks Shane’s shuffle than whacks away at him with the Singapore cane! Back in the ring, HBK whacks Vince senseless with a chair shot and goes for Sweet Chin Music, but instead goes to get a ladder from under the ring! He whacks Vince with the ladder and again cues SCM, but stops again and this time grabs some thrash cans and a table from under the ring!
HBK smacks Vince with the garbage can and sets him up on the table. Shawn goes up the ladder, but changes his mind and gets booed. He goes out the ring and pulls out an even bigger ladder! It’s at least 15 feet tall! Shawn picks up Vince, punches him a few times, than places the garbage can on him and puts him back on the table! He goes all the way up the ladder, does the DX chop, and drops a HUGE elbow drop on Vince in the garbage can!
The trainers and medics come down the isle, but HBK chases them off! He picks Vince up, looks him in the eyes and tells him he’s gonna kick his teeth down his throat, right before giving him Sweet Chin Music, and pinning him to win the match!
Well, after all the crap we had to endure these few months, HBK gives Vince the beating of a lifetime here. As Vince is stretchered out, he’s still able to give HBK the finger!Match Rating: ***1/2
They announce WrestleMania 23 will be held at the Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.World Heavyweight Title: Rey Mysterio VS Randy Orton VS Kurt Angle (C)
POD perform Mysterio’s entrance theme live on stage. Rey comes out in some traditional Spanish garb. Would have been interesting if they had Orton come out to his new Killswitch Engage theme, with KE performing on the opposite stage from POD.
Randy attacks Angle with the championship belt before the bell rings, and goes after Rey, but Angle returns and gives him a German. Orton escapes a second German and Mysterio tries for a bulldog, but Angle German’s BOTH Orton & Mysterio! Orton goes up the second rope, but Rey smashes Angle’s head into his crotch. Rey charges and Angle, who launches him into Orton and Rey franskesteiners him off the top rope!
Rey takes control on Angle and hits a big spinning head-scissors. Rey surprisingly is getting booed here. He tries for the 619 on, but Angle catches him into an ankle-lock! Rey TAPS! But the referee is distracted by Orton!
Angle back in control as he tosses everyone around with suplexes, and Angle-slams Rey out of the ring. Angle locks Orton in the ankle-lock, and Orton taps, but now Rey is distracting the referee! Rey breaks up the hold with a springboard leg drop.
Rey gets sent into the corner post, and Angle tries for the Angle-slam on Orton, but he escapes and hits the RKO! But Orton’s ankle is still hurt as he crawls to pin but only gets 2. Orton goes up top, but Angle quickly recovers, runs up the corner and suplexes Orton off the top!
Mysterio back in and gets a near fall on Angle with a modified pin move. Orton back in and hits Mysterio with a modified neckbreaker. He stalks Rey for the RKO, but Angle comes in from behind with the Angle-slam and gets a near fall! Angle tries to Angle-slam Mysterio, but he flips out with an arm-drag, sending Angle out of the ring. Rey hits the 619 on a dazed Randy Orton, and hits the West Coast Pop to WIN THE WORKD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE!!!
Non-stop action from the opening bell, and I’ll admit I was surprised Mysterio pulled it off afterall, and got booed by some of the crowd here. Chavo & Vickie Guerrero come out and congratulate Rey on the entrance ramp.Match Rating: ****
We see John Cena (who gets booed) and Triple H (Who gets cheered) getting ready backstage, and JR runs down the difference between both men, both in up-bringing and wrestling styles. JR & King still put H over as the better of both men with more experience and in ring ability.Playboy Pillow Fight: Candice Michelle VS Torrie Wilson
Candace is in yellow and Torrie is in black. Torrie takes it straight to Candance and suplexes her before backdropping her on the bed. Torrie overturns the bed on Candace and stomps on her under the mattress. She gets her little dog and gives Candace a dog-stink face! Torrie strips Candice out of her gown and charges her in the corner, but Candice gets a foot up. Candice does that corner head-scissors choke of hers and then drops a chop in Torrie on the bed. She gets out a scissors and cuts off Torrie’s gown and looks for something under the bed. She pulls out a shalaleigh, and than her Playboy mag, rubbing it in Torrie’s face. She charges at Torrie in the corner, but Torrie dodges and rolls her up for the win.
I’m surprised that there was more wrestling in this one.Match Rating: *WWE Championship: Triple H VS John Cena (C)
Triple H has a new entrance theme by Motorhead, called King of Kings. And he comes out sitting on a throne like Conan the Barbarian, complete with crown and full barbarian gear! His regular theme kicks in and he makes his way to the ring.
The MAFIA comes out next! Followed by John Cena who fires off a Tommy-gun on the ramp way before making his way to the ring.
With both men in the ring, we get a traditional in ring announcement of the fighters. I think it would have come off better if they had Howard Finkel instead of Lilian Garcia to do this bit.
H dominates the early mat grappling bit of the match, with the crowd heavily behind him. There’s even a “F*ck you, Cena” chant! H continues to outsmart Cena, and tosses him out of the ring. H turns his back and Cena attacks him from behind taking full advantage hitting a series of moves and a fisherman’s suplex for a near fall. We get a “Cena @$shole” chant now.
Cena uses brawler tactics now, and launches H over the top rope with a big whip. They fight out to the ramp way, and H tries for a piledriver on the floor, but Cena backdrops him on the steel entrance ramp! There are a whole lot of obscenities coming from the crowd now, stopping only when H regains control with his jumping knee attack. They go back to the outside and H whips Cena hard into the steel ring steps.
H continues control almost takes Cena’s head off with a hard lariat. H hits a big neckbreaker for a near fall. Cena fights back but is taken down by another neckbreaker for a near fall. Cena escapes a long sleeper and gives H a hard lariat.
Both men back to their feet and they trade punches. The way the crowd is cheering and booing here reminds me of the old Malaysia VS Indonesia badminton matches. Cena hits a barrage of clotheslines and a spinning backdrop. He goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but H catches him with an Anderson-spinebuster for a near fall. Cena back with several flying shoulder blocks and counters a sleeper with a backdrop. He pumps up his sneakers, and H tries to hit a clothesline, but Cena ducks it and takes him down with a drop toe-hold before locking on the STFU! H manages to fight his way to the ropes to break the hold.
Cena tries for the FU, but H flips out of it and rams Cena & the referee into the corner! He gives Cena a lowblow, which also connect with the referee! He gives Cena the old DX chop and goes for the sledgehammer under the ring! Cena intercepts with several punches, but gets hit with the hammer to the head. H covers and the referee crawls over to make the cound, but only gets 2! Another cover and another 2 count!
H tries for the Pedigree, but Cena flips him over and hits the FU, but only gets a 2 count! Cena goes up top and misses a cross body block. H again tries for the Pedigree, but Cena rolls through and locks on a modified STFU holding on to one of H’s hand so he can’t get to the ropes! H seems to be out as the referee checks on him. H’s arm goes down twice, but he manages to awaken on the third drop! But this just causes Cena to pull back harder, and HHH TAPS OUT! Much to the surprise of everyone, Cena retains!
Well, I’ll admit I’m more than a little surprised that H tapped out here, so I guess I was right when I said H didn’t want his big 11th title win to not be overshadowed by everything else on the card, and he’ll win the title at Backlash next month. The match had insane heat to it as Cena again defies the odds, and give both men credit for a solid main event.Match Rating: ****
A great recap video of the event closes out the show.Overall:
A solid PPV despite the lousy build up and poor on paper card. I still feel that they should have made Rey’s title win the happy send off moment for the crowd, rather than the crowd booing Cena.