Thursday, April 09, 2009

Looking Back at Wrestlemania XXV

Well it appears that the event has come and gone. I made my first post about the event last year, and it appears that this will be my last post on it. I'll always remember the memories.

I'm going to look back at the matches, and see where it fits on my different rankings that took far too much of my time leading into this event.

Lumberjack Tag Team Title Unification Match
Carlito and Primo Colon vs. John Morrison and The Miz

An absolute crying shame that this was bumped to the pre-show, as these four performers really deserved to have a big moment in the sun, especially for something as important as a title unification match. However, in a move that shouldn't be shocking, they were moved to the pre-show. To be honest, I have yet to watch this match, as I have only seen the highlights, so I feel myself unable to comment on it, let alone rank it.

Money in the Bank Match
CM Punk vs. Kane vs. Mark Henry vs. Christian
vs. Finlay vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Kofi Kingston vs. MVP

Now this was a great way to open up the show! These guys really, really delivered. They did a repeat of the "everyone dives to the outside" spot from the first year, but followed it up with Shelton doing a crazy dive from the top of the ladder, that really could have gotten him killed. I quite enjoyed the series of ladders that they used, setting them up as a ramp going from the outside to the inside. As great as Shelton was (as always), the real star of the match for my was Kofi Kingston. He started the match by doing a standing leap over a ladder attack, and got better from there. Him jumping up the ladder that Mark Henry was holding onto was simply breathtaking. I am surprised that they gave it to CM Punk as a repeat, as the crowd seemed to want Christian really badly, and the WWE seemed to want someone else. I am hoping that they do a good redo on his first title run.

Rankings: I think that this is a hair below Money in the Bank 3, which is far from an insult. That puts it at #3 on the list of all-time openers, and #12-11 on the Extreme Rules list.

GG and TT's Prediction: Neither of us had Punk as the winner, but Travis said that this would jerk the curtain, so he gets a point. 1-0 for the bad guy.

Santina Marella wins the 25 Diva Battle Royal

It seems to me that they took everything bad about the gimmick battle royal from Wrestlemania X-7 (i.e. the quality) and none of the good stuff (i.e. the nostalgia moments during the entrance), as the only time that any diva from the past was mentioned was when they were eliminated. I understand that the entrances would have ruined the surprise of Santina Marella winning, but, I am sure that they could have worked around that. Also, Kid Rock's 10 minute "medley" was awful, and the time should have gone to the Tag teams, for shame.

Rankings: Somewhere in the "perverse entertainment" portion, mostly for Santino Marella's dancing at the end. I guess that puts it in the #12-8 ranks.

GG and TT's Prediction: My hope of a Stratus return was dashed, what hurts more is that my arch rival correctly called our new inter-gender champion. 2-0 for the Andy Kaufman to my Jerry Lawler.

Handicap Elimination Match
Chris Jericho vs.
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and Ricky Steamboat

I certainly was not expecting this to be pretty, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by this match. At the start, all three legends got in their spots and kept their time in the ring short. Snuka then tapped out, bringing the submission streak at Wrestlemania to six (after only three submissions in the first 19 events!), Piper was eliminated shortly thereafter, leaving Steamboat to go one-on-one with Jericho. The Dragon hasn't fought a match in I believe 15 years, and looks like he hadn't missed a beat. His flying body press, leap to the outside, and picture perfect armdrags were things of beauty. I love how the announcers played up the veteran still being able to go one more time (a la The Wrestler) without hitting us over the head with the comparisons. Steamboats roll ups were great, and I really thought that he would pull off a fluke win at some point or another. Of course, Jericho ended up hitting the Code-breaker and taking the win. The Rourke stuff afterwards really dragged on too long, and was a bit of a let down, but the match was decent though.

Rankings: Fine match, the celebrity involvement helped build the match, but added very little to the aftermath, putting it on about par with the Battle of the Billionaires from Mania 23, if not slightly better, putting it at #7 on my Celebrity rank.

GG and TT's Prediction: Looks like TT takes another one on me, and clinches the win in the third match. 3-0 in an anti-climatic moment, fitting of this match.

Extreme Rules
Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

Another match that was a touch of a let down. Don't get me wrong, these two performed well, but it seems like they just didn't have enough time to tell the epic story that they needed to. The big spots were a little rushed, especially at the beginning. I really liked the ending, with the leap-frog, followed by the Twist of Fate of absolute death with the chair. I suppose they did the right thing, saved some bigger spots for later in the feud, and made Matt Hardy look like a champ. Hopefully they really up the ante from here.

Rankings: I have it about pegged with McMahon-Hogan, but they are hard to compare, since this was clearly a better match, but McMahon-Hogan was more epic. Probably a touch better when it is all said and done, thus putting it at #12 (including the MITB match) on my Extreme Rules list.

GG and TT's Prediction: I finally got on the board with not one, but 2 points as there was a table break, giving me a bit of a fight in what may be automatically a lost cost. 4-2 for my turncoat brother.

Intercontinental Title Match
JBL (c) vs. Rey Mysterio

What a crock of garbage. Mysterio wins in a squash and JBL quits. Lame, lame, lame, lame, lame. JBL deserved a better send off in his last match, Mysterio deserved a better moment in his Triple Crown completion, and the IC Title deserves more after not being used on the show for far too long.

Rankings: Move over Maivia-Sultan, we officially have a new worst IC Title match in Wrestlemania history. Congrats guys, you earned it.

GG and TT's Prediction: Like the match length, we both came up short here. 4-2, but I won't quit after this loss.

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker

On the other end of the spectrum, we have this match, which was simply amazing. These two men, both in their fourties, went out and delivered an absolutely sensational match. They had a good mix of brawling, high flying, technical wrestling, and sick spots. I thought that Taker was going to die (for real) when he landed on his head on the concrete, but yet he got up and kept fighting. Both of these men really had you believing that anything could happen. I loved the countout spot (after said dive) and after some of those superkicks, I really thought that HBK was going to take the win. Like I said with Edge-Taker, it really speaks volumes about both performers when they got out and make you believe that what you *know* is not going to happen. What makes this even better, is that I watched this match a few days after the event (in China, you know) so I actually knew who won, and yet I was on the edge of my seat thinking that HBK would be able to pull it off. While it may not be the best Mania match ever, it is easily in the Top 10, and possibly in the Top 5.

Rankings: Taker's best match not only in Wrestlemania history, but possibly in the history of his career (on par with the first HITC, coincidently with HBK). I'm not certain about HBK's list though, as it is about on par with the Angle match from Wrestlemania 21. In all honesty, I would require a second viewing to decide the Number 1, and given my esteem for that match, it is saying quite a bit.

GG's and TT's Prediction: We both called for a Taker victory and we both said that it would be awesome, and what do you know, we were both right. 17-0 makes it 5-3.

World Title Match
Edge (c) vs. Big Show vs. John Cena

I said that this match could be surprisingly good, and it certianly was. The three men did well, and Cena holding both men up for the F-U was simply awesome. I also quite enjoyed the Edge getting F-U'd onto the Big Show, which was similar to what I predicted, just far less dangerous. All that being said, this realyl lacked the big match feel, and came across as more of a Raw main event than anything else.

Also note: Cena's entrance was awesome.

Rankings: This really had nowhere to go on my rank, as it didn't fit as a "last match", but if I were to do a ranking of best title matches to not go on last, this one would certianly be better than HHH-Booker and Cena-JBL, it was about on par with the Triple Threats from 22 and XXIV, but probably the worst of that lot.

GG and TT's Predictions: Both of us gain a point, but I fail to gain any ground. 6-4 for the Ultimate Opportunist.

WWE Title Match
Triple H (c) vs. Randy Orton

Bad match, bad result. Orton needed to win here but didn't. I understand not wanting to end the show with a heel win, but there were lots of other options for who to give the closing spot to. It seems like they are going to give the belt to Orton at Backlash, but it may be a touch too late.

Rankings: And so the streak of great main events at six, as we get what is out worst main event match since Wrestlemania X8 (when H also ended the show with the belt, coincidence?), I'll even rank it below Bret-Yoko from Wrestlemania X, putting this at #19.

GG and TT's Prediction: We both get no points for both the results and the match placements, thus making us join Orton, and everyone who watched this match as losers. Unlike Orton, the man who attacked a female interest gets the win here (note: maybe 5 people will get that one) giving it 6-4 to TT.

So the obvious question stands: Where does this Wrestlemania rank? Well looking back at my ranking from last year, I think that this one is pretty much in the middle of the pack, compareable to X8, 2000, and VII, all three had some very good undercard matches, but flat main events, so it fits somewhere in that pack. Decent show, but probably the worst edition of the event in the past six years or so.

Ahh well, better luck next year.

Until next time,


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