For the 25th Anniversary of Wrestlemania, the tag line may as well have been, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” The top of this year’s card looked an awful lot like last year’s. Just swap out Floyd Mayweather for Shawn Michaels and everyone else was the same. John Cena, Edge, Triple H, Randy Orton, Undertaker and Big Show all had spots at the top. And once again, Shawn Michaels stole the show, leaving the championship matches to be a letdown.
With the Undertaker and HBK putting on a once-in-a-lifetime match that saw the Dead Man continue his undefeated streak, Cena, Big Show and Edge had a tough act to follow. Judging by the reaction of most of the crowd of 72,744 at Houston’s Reliant Stadium, they really didn’t do anything to help themselves.
Vickie Guerrero was wheeled to the ring by Chavo, followed by uneventful entrances by Big Show and World Heavyweight Champion Edge. Cena’s old entrance music hit, and we were greeted by an army of Cena look-a-likes. They lined the ramp, and when Cena’s current music hit, they all started the “You can’t see me!” wave.
Cena started the champ off with a bulldog, but was quickly taken out in turn by the Big Show. Edge wanted a test of strength with Show, but instead got picked up and crotched on the top rope.
Chavo made his presence felt by pulling Cena out of the ring, saving Edge from the Attitude Adjustment. Edge attacked Big Show, who got caught in the ropes. Cena connected with a clothesline and set up the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Vickie saved Edge from the apron, only to have Cena dodge a spear that knocked her and Chavo to the floor. Cena tried a quick roll-up for two, and then both men knocked each other to the mat.
Big Show was finally freed from the ropes, setting up both of his opponents for a chokeslam. Cena slipped out, allowing Edge to take the full force of the move. Big Show countered the AA (Attitude Adjustment) with a big right that sent Cena to the mat.
The action moved back to floor, where Edge used the stairs to fly into and crush Big Show through the security barrier. Edge turned his sights on Cena, who then gained the upper hand and locked in the STF. Big Show made the save by pulling Cena from the ring, but then crashed and burned on a move off the ropes.
Edge and Cena teamed up on the groggy Show with a tag-team suplex and knocked him over the ropes. Cena hit the Throwback and climbed the turnbuckle. He was pushed off by Show, right into a spear from Edge.
Edge jumped on Show’s back to apply a sleeper. Cena slipped under Show and set up the AA. Edge fell to the mat just as Big Show was slammed. Cena then hit Edge with the AA onto Show. Edge fell out of the ring, allowing Cena to get the cover and win the World Heavyweight Title.
After the required filler, the WWE Championship was up for grabs. There were no elaborate entrances for this emotionally charged match. Orton came to the ring by himself, and after giving a slight nod to Shane and Vince backstage, Triple H walked out on stage. He stood in front on a large mirror before shattering it with the sledge hammer. We were then all reminded of the stipulation that Triple H could lose the belt on a DQ or count out.
After the bell, the ref immediately reminded Triple H that a DQ will lose the title. Orton used the distraction to nail an RKO. He stalked his prey, but Triple H dodged the punt to the head. Hunter responded with a Pedigree.
The fight headed to the floor, and Orton was slammed into the ring post. Orton begged for mercy in the ring, where all he got was a boot to the chest. But the champ turned the tables quickly, using the bottom rope to crush Trips in the throat. Orton followed with a neckbreaker.
The fight spilled to the floor again, where Hunter was whipped into the stairs and over the barricade. Orton quickly made his way back to the ring, where the ref started his count. Triple H slowly made his way back and slid in the ring at eight.
Orton pummeled his foe but had a headlock countered with a back suplex. Hunter connected with a high knee and then a knee lift. Orton countered the Pedigree and catapulted HHH into the turnbuckle, but could only muster a two count.
Trips flipped Orton over the ropes to floor. Hunter picked up a monitor and was warned again. Hunter complied, instead choosing to kick Orton in the head. HHH set up Orton for a Pedigree on the announce table, but Orton countered with a back body drop. Hunter hit the table hard, and it did not break. Orton then held Triple H parallel to the floor before dropping him with a DDT.
The challenger scampered back into the ring, and the ref started the count. Hunter barely moved, but was able to get back in at nine thanks to a slow count. Orton stomped away and Hunter started to fight back. Orton then tossed Hunter into the ref, knocking him out.
After an RKO to Hunter, Orton went back outside the ring and grabbed a sledgehammer. Re-entering the ring proved dangerous though, as Orton received a taste of his own medicine in the form of a punt to the skull. Hunter picked up the sledgehammer, decked Orton and tossed it from the ring.
By this time, the ref had recovered. Hunter picked Orton up for the Pedigree and nailed it. Hunter then covered and got the three count to retain the WWE Title.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Backlash on April 26th.
Full WrestleMania 25 Results
With Tazz’s contract ending earlier this week, WrestleMania is featuring a three-man booth with Jim Ross, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.
CM Punk vs. Mark Henry w/ Tony Atlas vs. MVP vs. Finlay w/ Hornswoggle vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Christian vs. Kane – Money in the Bank Ladder Match
It’s hard to believe that this is the fifth MITB match. Kane and Mark Henry clear the ring to face off against each other. Benjamin and Christian team up to take out Henry and Kane with a ladder, only to have Kofi dropkick the ladder into them. Kane and Henry are both taken out by the other six men, and all six then climb two ladders only to have Kane and Henry knock them down. A suicide dive from Finlay takes out Kane, and Christian follows with a move over the top rope. MVP follows with a move of his own, leaving Punk and Kingston to clean up the garbage. Shelton Benjamin scales a 20-foot ladder and hits all six men with a somersault off the top. Hornswoggle helps out with a stepladder and hits a splash off of the back of Henry onto the other six on the floor. Kingston takes out Finlay with a jump kick through the ladder, but is in turn slammed onto a ladder by Henry. Christian botches an Unprettier off a ladder. MVP takes the opportunity to get the case, but Shelton cuts him off and botches a sunset flip off the top of the ladder. Christian tips a ladder with him and Shelton on it, but Christian sticks a leg out to save himself. Punk tries to stop Christian, but Kane gets the job done, chokeslamming him to the mat. Punk recovers to knock Kane to the mat, buying himself enough time grab the case for the second straight year.
(This was a great match despite the botched spots. These guys went all out to try new things and keep this match fresh after five years.)
Winner … CM Punk at 14 minutes and 32 seconds.
Match Rating: 9/10
Kid Rock performs, and the crowd isn’t too enthused. This is way too early for intermission. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, the Divas make their way to the ring.
25 Diva Battle Royal to crown Miss WrestleMania
Santino Marella is involved in this match dressed in drag, as Mae Young and Candace Michelle look on from ringside. I can’t even tell you who all is in this. Santino and Beth Phoenix are still alive, along with Michelle McCool, Mickie James and Melina. McCool and James eliminate each other off the top turnbuckle. As Beth Phoenix tries to push Melina over the top rope, Santino eliminates them both. The announcers act clueless as to whom it is. Santino calls himself Santina, Santino’s twin sister. Beth Phoenix is furious. Santino then dances in the ring.
Winner … and new Miss WrestleMania…Santina (Santino) Marella at seven minutes and 25 seconds.
Match Rating: 4/10
Mickey Rourke talks about his movie, The Wrestler, and the whole quasi-feud with Jericho is recapped.
Chris Jericho vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper w/ Ric Flair – Elimination Handicap Match
Mickey Rourke is at ringside. Piper starts off and takes Jericho over the top rope and then smashes him into the announce table. Piper follows with a low dropkick. Snuka tags in, knocking down Jericho. Steamboat tags in and comes off the top turnbuckle, following up with arm drags. Jericho locks in the Walls on Snuka, who quickly taps. Jericho hits Steamboat with a cheap shot. Jericho gets out of the sleeper from Piper and hits a running enzuiguri. Steamboat connects with a flying cross body but only gets a two count. Jericho slaps on a sleeper, but Steamboat fights out. Ricky skins the cat as Ric Flair is knocked off the apron. Steamboat sends Jericho out over the top rope and then flies over himself, nailing Jericho on the floor. Steamboat rolls up Jericho in the corner, but Y2J kicks out. Jericho hits the running bulldog, but Steamboat rolls away from the Lionsault. Ricky hits a scoop slam, but Jericho locks in the Walls of Jericho. Steamboat counters into a roll-up. Jericho kicks out and nails Steamboat with the Codebreaker to gets the pin.
Winner … Chris Jericho at eight minutes and 33 seconds.
Match Rating: 7.5/10
After the match, Flair storms the ring, catching Jericho off guard. Jericho recovers to hit a back body drop and then a Codebreaker. Jericho stalks the Hall of Famer and kicks him from the ring. Jericho calls for the stick to tell the Houston crowd he did what he said he would do. Jericho calls out Rourke, saying Rourke plays a tough guy, while he is tough guy. Jericho tells Rourke to get in the ring. Mickey gets up, but is real tentative about getting in the ring. Rourke finally gets in the ring (prodded on by Frank Shamrock) while Jericho just stands in the corner. The two men circle each other, and Rourke comes at Jericho with jabs. Rourke ducks a punch and then connects with a left hook, and DOWN GOES JERICHO! Flair holds Rourke’s hand up in victory.
Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy – Extreme Rules Match
Jeff Hardy wastes no time chasing Matt to the floor, where he is leveled with a sign. Jeff then flies off the steps into his brother. Matt avoids the Poetry in Motion and catches Jeff with a chair shot as he tries the Whisper in the Wind. Matt scores with another chair shot and drills Jeff with a shop vac from under the ring. Matt connects with the Side Effect. Jeff fights Matt off the turnbuckle and follows with a flying forearm off the apron. Jeff pulls out a kendo stick and takes out the trash with a crutch. Jeff then hits a dropkick into the trash can with Matt in it. Matt rolls away from a Swanton Bomb and connects with a suplex off the ropes. Jeff recovers to lay Matt out with a chair. Jeff then sets Matt on a table and sets another table on top of him. Jeff climbs the turnbuckle and splashes through both tables and Matt. Jeff rolls Matt into the ring, but the older brother gets his foot on the rope. Jeff lays out Matt again and sets two ladders into the ring. Jeff leapfrogs the one ladder but misses the legdrop as Matt rolls away. Matt hits a Twist of Fate with Jeff’s head in a chair. That’s enough to let him cover for the win.
Winner … Matt Hardy at 13 minutes 38 seconds.
Match Rating: 8/10
Randy Orton and Legacy are getting ready in the back.
JBL (champion) vs. Rey Mysterio – Intercontinental Title Match
JBL comes out of the back with a microphone and says he has returned as a champion. He calls out the people Houston, saying he is the hope they need. JBL says this will be the most dominant victory in WrestleMania history. Rey Mysterio enters with a Joker-themed outfit. JBL cheap shots Rey before the bell has even rung. The bell rings and Mysterio hits an enzuigiri. He follows with a 619 and a splash from the top turnbuckle and covers for the win.
Winner… and new Intercontinental Champion… Rey Mysterio at 21 seconds .
Match Rating: Epic Fail for JBL (Rey gets a 10 for outfit)
After the bell, JBL addresses the crowd with two words, “I QUIT!” JBL yells at the fans as he heads to the back.
Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
HBK nails ‘Taker with forearms in the corner. He ducks a clothesline but has a right hand blocked. Undertaker almost tosses HBK from the ring. Michaels connects with a Thesz press. Undertaker recovers and hammers HBK in the corner. Michaels is whipped into the corner and flips; Undertaker scores with a press slam and an elbow. Undertaker goes Old School but misses a kick in the corner. HBK locks in the Figure Four. The Dead Man punches his way out of the hold and hits a clothesline in the corner… and another. UT hits snakes eyes and follows with a big boot and a legdrop. Michaels counters a chokeslam with a crossface. Taker powers up to his feet and shakes Shawn loose with a side slam. HBK connects with two reverse atomic drops, but then leaps into a chokeslam. Michaels counters, but Taker drops before Sweet Chin Music arrives. HBK tries for the Figure Four, but Undertaker counters into the Hell’s Gate. Shawn gets to the ropes to break the hold. Michaels avoids a guillotine leg drop on the apron. Undertaker moves away from a moonsault and Shawn catches nothing but floor. Michaels uses the ref to get up and pulls a cameraman into the path a flying Undertaker. The Dead Man takes out the cameraman as Shawn knocks down the ref. The cameraman and Undertaker are still down as Shawn tries to get the ref to start a count. Undertaker pulls himself up and into the ring at the count of nine. HBK warms up the band, but Taker counters Sweet Chin Music into a chokeslam. Undertaker covers and Michaels kicks out. Shawn floats over on a Tombstone attempt, and then breaks up a chokeslam with Sweet Chin Music. HBK covers with an arm, but Undertaker kicks out at two. Michaels kips up and is caught by the Undertaker. The Dead Man sets up the Last Ride; HBK counters but can’t get the sunset flip over. Undertaker sets up the Last Ride again and connects. Michaels somehow kicks out, and the match continues.
With HBK down on the mat, Undertaker climbs to top turnbuckle and drops the elbow, but catches nothing as HBK rolls away. Shawn gets caught skinning the cat, and Undertaker has him set up for a perfect Tombstone, which connects. Undertaker pins but HBK kicks out. Shawn counters another Tombstone by using his momentum to hit a DDT. Shawn drags himself into the corner and tries to go up top. HBK drives an elbow into the chest of the Dead Man. The band warms up and HBK connects with Sweet Chin Music, but the Dead Man kicks out. Both men trade punches until a big boot knocks down Michaels. HBK fights out of another Tombstone and gets a boot up to knock down ‘Taker. HBK goes for a moonsault; Undertaker catches him in mid-air and drops him with a tombstone. Undertaker covers and finally gets the pin.
Winner … The Undertaker at 30 minutes and 44 seconds.
Match Rating: 10/10
Edge (champion) vs. Big Show (challenger) vs. John Cena (challenger) – World Heavyweight Title Match
Winner… and new World Heavyweight Champion… John Cena at 14 minutes and 33 seconds.
Match Rating: 6/10
WrestleMania 26 will take place in Glendale, Arizona, at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Hall of Fame inductees are honored. Stone Cold ducks out early, only to return driving his ATV. Austin then hits the ring for a beer bash. Lillian Garcia announces the attendance is 72,744.
Triple H (champion) vs. Randy Orton (challenger) – WWE Title Match
Winner… and still WWE Champion…Triple H at 24 minutes and 35 seconds.
Match Rating: 7/10
Total Event Time: 3 hours and 56 minutes
Event Rating: 7.5/10